There is always a Sorcerer Supreme, and for very nearly as long as there have been Sorcerer Supremes, there have been Wongs.
“Wong” isn’t really a name per se. It’s a title that the bearer takes in place of his name (which is why it doesn’t really relate back to any actual culture – “Wong” is a poor Romanization of either “Huang” or “Wang”). The current Wong is the first in his family line to take the name – and his family have been serving Sorcerer Supremes faithfully and skillfully for ten generations, so you get an idea of how seriously the Sorcerer Supremes take the naming of Wongs. You have to be the most deeply trustworthy sort and utterly devoted to the mission of the Sorcerer Supreme to become Wong.
Nobody remembers Wong’s previous name before he was Wong. That’s part of the magic of the name. Once you become Wong, you have in a sense always been Wong, just as the previous Wong was always Wong even before he became Wong, and so on and so forth. This is all part of the duty of the Wongs – you sacrifice the idea of yourself, in a way, to continue the tradition. Wongs are a source of pride in every family line in Kamar-Taj.
Except for the seventeenth Wong. He is not spoken of. Ever.
The seventeenth Wong had the misfortune to serve a Sorcerer Supreme who was particularly malicious, cruel, arrogant and selfish. As has been said before: Sorcerer Supremes are tasked with protecting their reality. There’s no rule that they have to be nice about it, or even that they have to be particularly careful of preserving life in this universe. Some Sorcerer Supremes have been utter bastards, and this one was one of the worst. Even so, the seventeenth Wong gritted his teeth and did his duty faithfully, serving this Sorcerer Supreme to the best of his abilities –
– until that Sorcerer Supreme took notice of the seventeenth Wong’s wife.
After her funeral, the seventeenth Wong walked away from his service, cursing the Sorcerer Supreme, the Vishanti, the whole damn system. And here was the problem: they couldn’t just replace him and bring out the eighteenth Wong, because what very very few people knew was that “Wong” was in fact not a name nor a title but a sort of magical equivalent of an acronymic word of power, the capstone of a very powerful spell of imprisonment. That’s why there’s always a Wong, why the people of Kamar-Taj make sure that a new Wong is brought forth within hours of the death of his predecessor.
The ruling council of Kamar-Taj sent out thief-chasers and bounty hunters to capture the seventeenth Wong, but like all Wongs, the seventeenth Wong was a master of martial arts, fluent in dozens of languages and cultural norms, and exceptionally intelligent – exactly the worst sort of person you want to have evading your attempts at capture. Five years passed, and eventually the council appealed to the Sorcerer Supreme, who took matters into his own hands. However, the Sorcerer Supreme discovered that the seventeenth Wong had anticipated his intervention, and all his spells of seeking and searching were useless. The seventeenth Wong had prepared exactly the right magical countermeasures.
Of course, the Sorcerer Supreme was extremely smart – and not burdened by morals – and it only took about half a dozen massacres, maybe four thousand deaths all told, for the seventeenth Wong to give himself up so that the Sorcerer Supreme would stop killing innocent people. But by this point, the Sorcerer Supreme was infuriated, both at having to deal with this insect personally, and that the insect had thwarted his spells so judiciously. So instead of simply killing the seventeenth Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme created a torture bubble hanging just outside the universe, stuck the seventeenth Wong in it, and called the matter solved.
But the problem is this: the spell which is completed by the existence of a Wong would start to unravel were there ever two Wongs around at the same time. And if the seventeenth Wong ever managed to escape that bubble realm, thousands of years later, a decent and good man only very tenuously sane after millennia of horrors man was not meant to endure – he would not be inclined to care…
Top comment: Zifnab’s just over-compensating for the fact that he didn’t get to do the “Two Wongs Don’t Make a Right” thing first… and we all feel it.
Its as if MGK set up the “shave and a hair cut” and now the rest of us are forever silenced because someone already said “two bits”. Its maddening. — Zenrage