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imlad

Just one reason the Aiel piss me off

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In my opinion, the mentality of the Aiel is just utter stupidity on so many levels I could write another one of my long Walls of Text about it, but I'm not up to that right now. I just have to get this one point down and out of my head before it bursts.

 

Aiel take great pains to point out to wetlanders that Aiel chiefs are not wetlander kings, and that any Aiel can talk to their chief. To me, this implies some sort of responsibility from the chief towards his clan members (even though the chief was chosen by the Wise Ones). And it also implies that the Aiel understand that wetlander kings have no responsibility towards their commoners, and that commoners have zero control over their kings.

 

So why are the Aiel so stupid as to hate and blame all Cairhienin for Laman's cutting down of the chora tree? The have to know that no Cairhienin noble, let alone commoner, had any ability to control or stop Laman from doing this. So why hold all of them responsible for this man's act? Would the Aiel hold all Taardad Aiel to blame for something that Rhuarc did? And further, doesn't ji'eh'to revolve around the whole idea of personal responsibility for one's own actions? So doesn't blaming all Cairhienin and holding them to account for what Laman did fly in the face of ji'eh'to

 

How does the Aiel blaming all Cairhienin, and often killing Cairhienin, for what Laman did, fit in with ji'eh'toh? How did pouring over the mountains into the wetland and devastating everything in their way fit with this supposed code of "honor?"

 

I say it doesn't, and that in the end, Aiel have no sense of real honor whatsoever, and only utilise ji'eh'toh when it fits their purposes. They are savages who have a serious problem with sado-masochism, and the only place they truly belong is in the Waste, as that is the sort of land that befits a people with so little regard for life and civilisation. To the Aiel, any concept of honor is, much as it is with many nobles in the wetlands, just an excuse to kill. And before anyone says anything, as far as I am concerned, 99% of all the nobles in the wetlands should be dumped into the Waste as well, Borderland nobles aside (probably).

 

 

Prove me wrong.

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The Aiel are not meant to be perfect and in fact most societies that excelled at warfare had deeply unpleasant aspects to them as well.

 

If the Aiel had been perfect then they would have been an example of unrealistic world building, but, by contrast, their willingness to carry out mass slaughter to avenge a perceived sleight seems very realistic for a society where warfare often results from breaches of honour or old blood feuds.

 

They are people like any other and have developed to survive in their environment. As a reader we probably find them more interesting than the societies on the other side of the dragonwall, but that doesn't necessarily make them better.  

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Love your passion !

 

I see it a lil bit differently though.

 

Laman cut down the Avendesora tree and made a throne out of it, a very very dishonorable thing to do, Aiel are pissed and they are coming for him.

 

but he’s a king, so he tries to protect himself with his army(s) 

 

if the army stood aside the Aiel would have just killed Laman and gone home.

 

from the Aiel point of view, the wetlander Army(s) did the dishonorable thing and tried to protect the Tree Killer.  Therefore they are all teee killers. They have no honor and should be treated as such.

 

Some nations came to Lamans aid, but the Aiel kept going till they captured and killed Laman. Then they went home.

 

in their mind everyone from Cairhein stood in the way of their mission to kill Laman, and they are nearly as bad as Laman himself.

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The Aiel call the Cairheinen Treekillers, precisely because Laman cut down the Tree and his people knowingly backed him, and called for aid from other nations when Cairhein's armies were not enough. 

 

That sentiment is why the Aiel believe wetlanders cannot be trusted; entirely because of Laman's actions and what the wetlanders did in response. They just consider Treekillers to be worse, and hold them responsible for what should have been for the Aiel a mission of justice against one specific man.

 

For showing disrespect for a Chora tree that was their symbol of their ancestors efforts across the Breaking and entire generations of Aiel to allow the Jenn Aiel to plant the parent tree before their extinction.

Edited by wotfan4472

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I can understand the slaughter of armies brought out to stop them from getting at Laman, that's a given, arms were brought to bear, and battle was made. But the maltreatmen and disdain shown towards civilian commoners is what bugs me the most. Those are the people who had no knowledge of what Laman planned to do before he had the chora tree cut down, could not have stopped him from doing it when he did, and probably didn't even know about it afterwards. All they knew is suddenly these crazy veiled gingers come running down from the mountains laying waste to everything before them, calling them Treekillers. "What frakking tree?" They had nothing to do with killing a tree! Did the rest of the Aiel treat the Shaido who didn't put up with Couladin and Sevanna's BS like absolute crap and blame them for C&S's actions? No (they might not have treated them great, but they didn't basically kick them in the face the way they did to the common Cairhienin). 

 

I actually have more respect for the Children of the Light, partially because they stood for something, and partially beacause they were about 20% right (around 1 in 5 Aes Sedai turned out to be a Darkfriend afterall)*. I might not agree with most of their attitudes, actions or tactics, but as a whole they didn't perpetrate wholesale slaughter in the wetlands with poor justification. If someone thinks the death of a tree, not matter what sort of tree, no matter how precious or what it represents, is worth the lives of thousads, tens of thousands or more, then they are seriously messed in the head. One tree is not worth the life of even one human being. Period. And of course the Aiel knew there was no way they would be able to just come pouring over the mountains and into Cairhien to take and kill Laman without armies coming to stop them. Wwhy else would they have come in such numbers if they didn't expect resisitence? How many Aiel does it take to kill one wetlander after all? No, they knew there would be serious resistence, so they knew it would be a slaughter.


In that same vein, the whole concept that honor is something worth taking or giving a life for... that's insanity. "Death before dishonor" (as I've heard some say in real life, and in some fictional settings) has got to be the most foolish, asinine, mentally unfit, nigh suicidal statement conceivable to me. That's not to say one shouldn't act and behave with honor, but honor should never be the "be all and end all" of life. Life should be. Life is what is precious, not honor. Honor is a goal to attain and try to maintain. Taking a life for matters of honor doesn't make you a noble warrior, it makes you a cold blooded murderer. Nothing more. Giving your life for honor, whether on the battlefield or in some sort of suicide, that's simply suicide. Nothing more.

 

My take away from the series is that in addition to the tendency to blame an entire nation for the actions of one man with all the power, the Aiel have little care for human life in general, including Aiel lives. To them, like many real world cultures today, life is cheap. And I find that immoral. (Of course, there are a number of cultures/groups in these books that this could be said of as well, just the Aiel are the most egregious offenders in my opinion, but I'm willing to hear arguments for others.)

 

 

 

* For that matter, in some ways I have more respect and understanding of the Seanchan even; I do NOT agree with nor condone slavery in anyway, but I understand why they leash the damane after the what?, thousands? of years of channelers ruling over their own petty nations as tyrants. Isn't that what the books tell us Luthair's fleet found when they crossed the ocean? (I'm including the Big White Book in that) Now, sure, the leashing of channelers was a political move by the ruling class, but in the mindset of the underclasses damane definitely needed to be leashed due to their cultural memory of history in their lands.

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10 hours ago, imlad said:

 

* For that matter, in some ways I have more respect and understanding of the Seanchan even; I do NOT agree with nor condone slavery in anyway, but I understand why they leash the damane after the what?, thousands? of years of channelers ruling over their own petty nations as tyrants. Isn't that what the books tell us Luthair's fleet found when they crossed the ocean? (I'm including the Big White Book in that) Now, sure, the leashing of channelers was a political move by the ruling class, but in the mindset of the underclasses damane definitely needed to be leashed due to their cultural memory of history in their lands.

 

 

You denounce Aiels for killing all Carhienans, because what King Laman did, at first.
Then you approve the leashing of damane because of some
channelers actions in distant history.

 

Your initial opinion hold some true, but with second opinion, you lost consistency.

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7 minutes ago, Elendir said:

 

You denounce Aiels for killing all Carhienans, because what King Laman did, at first.
Then you approve the leashing of damane because of some
channelers actions in distant history.

 

 

 

Your initial opinion hold some true, but with second opinion, you lost consistency.

 

 

I ask you to please read what I wrote again carefully and ask yourself where I actually approve anything. All I said was I understand, and in fact the quote you yourself use shows me, in bold print no less, stating my opposition to slavery, which the leashing is a part of. But to those people, the natives of Seanchan, their cultural truth is that channelers are the gravest of threats (think of the fear of male channelers on the Eastern side of the ocean), one can should be able to understand why they would want them controlled, whether or not you agree with said control.

 

I can understand a great many things that I would not condone or approve of. That does not make my stance inconsistent in anyway. It just means I am capable of seeing things from angles I disagree with.

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On 1/20/2020 at 10:33 AM, imlad said:

I can understand a great many things that I would not condone or approve of. That does not make my stance inconsistent in anyway. It just means I am capable of seeing things from angles I disagree with.

 

If you understand Aiel in same way, then ok. If not, then my previous comment stand.

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