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Egwene and Gawyn (Spoilers, just in case!)


Maedelin
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Ok, so this has been bothering me ever since my first reading of tWoT.  Is Egwene's story arc heavily edited by the fact that Gawyn unknowingly caught her in a dream?  Multiple times in that passage she reflects on the fact that there are two Egwene's within her.  One is herself, and the other is the one that is reacting in the script that Gawyn is performing in his mind as he dreams.

 

Eventually, even that part of Egwene that was created from the dream speaks to her.  She asks the true Egwene about her fear, as if confused.  They both love Gawyn, so why is she fighting so hard?  The two end the passage merging, and Egwene embraces the fact she loves Gawyn.  

 

Gawyn sees her as more beautiful than she sees herself.  He sees her as his one and only love.  While Egwene loves him in return and dreams of him often, I am more concerned with how strong the tonal shift is from her a few chapters prior, to her arrival in Salidar.  She seems to grow incredibly fast between those two sections of the very same book.  I am wondering if the dream Egwene, the Egwene Gawyn sees has affected her to the point that her personality was heightened/enhanced by the dream version of her, and the Egwene we see from this point on is a combination of the two.

 

I'm not trying to say that Egwene could not have been a good (or even great) Amyrlin, (Though I am reserving my opinions of her at the end of the series at this time because that too was an odd step back for her during tLB) but the ease to which she dove into the politics, the fierce sense of self, the pride and honor she chose, all of those things were being trained by the Wise Ones, but after that one night stand in Gawyn's dreams, it seems...ramped up.  Overinflated.  Steroid-like.

 

In a previous post in the thread regarding Elaida and her capture by the Seanchan I mention that Elaida's base personality was manipulated by Padan Fain during his time at the White Tower.  The Elaida of the first three books was not like that.  Stern and austere, yes, but not capricious and petty.  If Padan Fain affected Elaida, is there a chance that Gawyn (inadvertently) affected Egwene?

 

So, is it because of Gawyn?  Is it because Robert Jordan needed her to "woman up" quickly?  Or am I ignoring aspects of Egwene that I didn't see before?  To me, she was the most naive of the Wondergirls, and that seemed to evaporate as soon as she was summoned to Salidar.

 

And yes, I like Egwene, I like her a lot.  So this is a thought that I have thought long and hard about. :)

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It's natural that getting a self confidence boost like that would strengthen your inherent qualities and make you more certain in your actions and words.

 

But I don't think that steaming dream was the turning point for Egwene. What toughened her up and completely changed her perspective, was her stay with the Aiel.

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I think it was a combination of several things. First though... in regards to both how Egwene and Elaida changed I liken it to the bust rate of college quarterbacks playing in the NFL. You never know what you're going to get until the pressure is on. Egwene was able to rise and overcome the pressure where Elaida succumbed to it and more or less washed out. Being a leader like that is one of those things where success is very difficult to determine ahead of time.

 

Egwene's success as Amerlyn come from several places. First is that she was toughened up by the wise ones. Second was that she was guided by Siuan with both of them being fully invested... Siuan the teacher and Egwene welcoming the the guidance. Looking at how Egwene was from the beginning: being Nyneave's apprentice, to novice, to accepted, to wise one dreaming trainee, etc... She was always able to mold herself to become what she needed to be. She embraced her role. As much as other parts of her personality irritated me this one is not one of them.

 

It's hard to say whether the dream with Gawyn had any effect. It could have just been as simple as the assurance that knowing the person she loves returns the love. That can have a very self-assuring affect, especially to someone in their late teens.

Edited by dexterryu
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I think it was a combination of several things. First though... in regards to both how Egwene and Elaida changed I liken it to the bust rate of college quarterbacks playing in the NFL. You never know what you're going to get until the pressure is on. Egwene was able to rise and overcome the pressure where Elaida succumbed to it and more or less washed out. Being a leader like that is one of those things where success is very difficult to determine ahead of time.

 

Egwene's success as Amerlyn come from several places. First is that she was toughened up by the wise ones. Second was that she was guided by Siuan with both of them being fully invested... Siuan the teacher and Egwene welcoming the the guidance.

 

It's hard to say whether the dream with Gawyn had any effect. It could have just been as simple as the assurance that knowing the person she loves returns the love. That can have a very self-assuring affect, especially to someone in their late teens.

I think your final paragraph was very well said.  Perhaps it was just that simple.  :)

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