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Talenmor al'Rahl

Perspective. Seeing the story in a new way over the years

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I've started listening to Eye of the World through Audible recently and am sharing it with my sons.  Its just been such a weird experience to re-experience this story at this point in my life.  I read the book in the early 90s while in high school.  Over the years as new books came out I read them all again and then the new one....much like many of you.  But, as life demanded more of me I read less often.  When Sanderson finished the series I couldn't keep up.  I finished the series in late 2013 while my second son slept in my lap and I cried.

 

I identify more with Tam than I ever did and understand so much more of his perspective.  Lan and Moiraine and Nynaeve in these early scenes just seem to represent me more this time through.  The first time I felt like one of the boys along exploring the world and wondering why everyone kept telling me to watch out and be scared.  Such is life I guess.

 

How has the series changed for you over the years?  What didn't make sense that now does?

 

To me the Aes Sedai look weirder than ever at this age.  They look unhealthy.  They abandon normal connections to the world and hide away to scheme with each other. I guess I didn't understand how much they'd left behind before I was a parent and had a wife sharing her view with me so much.  Their sacrifice seems to lessen them rather than enable them.  I would have never thought that at 20 though.  I guess they feel like some weird stereotype 80s movie career woman...a bit lacking in depth.  Wow, probably not a popular opinion.  I just wish they maintained connections to their families....sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers...so weird that they just become so apart from their past.

 

I guess, I'm posting because I love this story and world so much.  And, I just want to know if others who share that love have had this experience of changing the way the story is felt as life has been lived.  I love it no less now...I just feel it in a different way.

 

 

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No, you’re right. I’ve experienced this myself. I’m not the same person I was when I was 12 and which characters I identify with has changed too. That’s the nice thing about the Wheel of Time, it may not speak to me the same way it did when I was a kid, but I still find themes and characters that resonate with me as an adult. 

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I am having a very similar experience.  It's so strange to read the first book after finishing the series.

I have such a different perspective and the younglings seem so naive.  Although Moraine doesn't seem to handle her connection to the Emond's Fielders very well, she keeps them in the dark so much that they make stupid mistakes because they don't know any better.  Such as leading them into Shadar Logoth without warning them of the danger at ALL. 
 

Also, did anyone else LOL so hard when Perrin and Egwene tell Elyas they are from Saldaea?  The first time through that doesn't really have any meaning but knowing now about the people and customs from Saldaea...in addition to Faile!  It's so funny.  Elyas would obviously know they are not from there.

Edited by daughterheir

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Yes, and the scenes with Min are much more hilarious, and the things she sees have so much more meaning.  And Thom....wow, I empathize so much more with him.  It's so clear to me now that he's an old guy full of regret and trying to make amends for his failure to support his family.  I guess from 15-30 when I was reading these books every year or so as new books came out I just thought of him differently, but now his reason for standing up for the guys makes so much more sense.

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On 1/19/2020 at 5:07 AM, Talenmor al'Rahl said:

How has the series changed for you over the years?  What didn't make sense that now does?

 

To me the Aes Sedai look weirder than ever at this age.  They look unhealthy.  They abandon normal connections to the world and hide away to scheme with each other. I guess I didn't understand how much they'd left behind before I was a parent and had a wife sharing her view with me so much.  Their sacrifice seems to lessen them rather than enable them.  I would have never thought that at 20 though.  I guess they feel like some weird stereotype 80s movie career woman...a bit lacking in depth.  Wow, probably not a popular opinion.  I just wish they maintained connections to their families....sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers...so weird that they just become so apart from their past.

 

 

I can see your point with the Aes Sedai, but for me it is the exact opposite. I am glad Robert Jordan 'created' them as they are. That they do abandon connections to normal life, family etc makes them more unique and mythical  in a way which I appreciate(d), more 'special' and interesting, and makes their great sacrifice (can there be greater sacrifice than to abandon your family and relatives?) in service to the Light that much stronger and more powerful. Had they been depicted as 'normal' women with family-associations etc just with the added One Power and the White Tower the effect would have been poorer for me. I was also from the beginning fascinated by the political intrigue and 'in-fighting' of the Aes Sedai and enjoyed that part throughout the series. Personally I disagree with the Aes Sedai lacking in depth also. If there is any group I think Robert Jordan described in depth and gave (individual) character, it was the Aes Sedai. So many women, all different in many ways from different countries and different destinies, but also all the same. Fascinating I think!

 

Reading your reflections I think your opinion is coloured by your family situation and that it seems inconceivable to you to not have some connection to family whatever one's position and journey in life, less 'human' in other words. And in real life I think most people would agree with you. Family is most important in life for many people. Some will agree with this also for the Aes Sedai, but for me atleast Robert Jordan made the right decision, emphasizing their 'specialness' and the huge sacrifice they make on behalf of mankind. I felt it so when I first read the first books back in the early 1990s and I still do now almost 30 years later.

 

For me the series has not changed much over the years. I have read and re-read the books many times and on the whole I feel the same about the series as I did in my younger days (fascinated, excited, thrilled and impressed by the scope and depth of Rober Jordan's fantastic story). Some things here and there I may look at differently today, but most things, the important bits, have stayed the same for me. I know others, however, whose views have changed as they have grown older, making them appreciate parts more and also some less, and this will always be individual and personal.  

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Well of course my experience is colored by my family situation.  That is exactly my point!  I see the books in a new light today...one that I did not in a different situation.

 

Yes, I think that the severing of connections leads to the withdrawal from the world that we see in the books.  I think Joran presents the Aes Sedai to us the way he does not in admiration but as an example of what happens when things lose balance.  The Aes Sedai are not effective.  They do not lead.  They are feared, but not admired or respected by most.  In the age of legends they lead the world in peace.  How far they have gone from that....and I think it is because they spend more time worrying about internal politics and status than they do about making the world better.  They look in...not out...and I think the loss of their connections to the world are a big factor in that way of thinking.

 

They have sacrificed...sure...but should we admire them for it?  And, what are we to take from the fact that multiple societies exist where they actively hide channelers from the Aes Sedai?  The Kin, the Windfinders, the Aiel Wise Women...and I've got to think there are others that just don't come up in the books.  How hard do you have to fail that entire nation states refuse to admit they have people who could join your magic club as a birth right?

 

Well, I'm way off topic.  Perspective.  I missed all of the above as a 14 year old boy.  At 43, I do see the books differently and I'm very surprised you do not.  I love the books no less and I'd say I respect the skill and extreme effort of creation even more.  But, it is a different story today.  I'm very much looking forward to this most recent trip through.

 

 

 

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As I said in my former post, it is always a matter of perspective and opinion. You asked for reflections and I gave you mine. Your opinion is just as surprising to me as mine is to you. Though both adults with many years behind us we are different people with different stories and thereby different interpretations and insight. Unless Robert Jordan said anything specific about the Aes Sedai over the years (I don't know myself), we can only speculate whether the sacrifice and isolation of that very special group of women was something he admired or scorned. How effective they have been in de facto 'ruling' and keeping the peace can of course be debated.  I think any organization in life will at some point experience power struggles and intrigues because people are people. How they deal with that will always depend on circumstances. The White Tower was perhaps an extreme example but all the more fascinating imo.

 

If a group of people make the ultimate sacrifice, we can cut them some slack as they say. The Aes Sedai were far from perfect, Robert Jordan never intended them to be, but their main cause (to fight for the Light despite often being unappreciated by the populace of 'Randland') is to be admired imo.

 

When I joined DM first time back in 1999 when this site was all new, we had masses of activity and members discussing the books and issues like you mention here. It is great that a series of fantasy books can give so much food for thought and I hope more members here today (though activity is at a totally different level atm, though that could change when the tv show comes) will share their personal reflections and views. I don't have anything more to add to this matter but thanks for the interesting discussion. Keep enjoying Robert Jordan's wonderful books and best of luck!

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I started Wheel of Time in the 90's, when epic fantasy was scarce.  Before WoT I read LOTR, of course, Shannara, Michael Moorcock's Elric Saga, and the Recluse books.  I really enjoyed Wheel of Time for the most part despite feeling like many of the later books drug on incessantly.

 

When I read that Amazon would be making a series, I started a re-read and have really struggled enjoying the books.  Maybe they're just outdated, with all the male-female bickering, the constant descriptions of every single piece of clothing that every character wears in every scene, the idea that so much of conflict revolves around characters simply choosing to not share important information for reasons that don't often make sense, and then passages that seem to go on forever, dumping tons of information on history and customs but cover very little plot ground.  I think maybe having read so much fantasy since that maybe I see fantasy in general differently now.  I suppose the one series I most often compare it to is Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight archive which also very long and very detailed and full of info dumps and long passages but seems to move along briskly despite the lengthy page count.  I got to Lord of Chaos and have stopped, knowing that I'm getting to the part of the series I really struggled enjoying the first time.  I'm curious to see how the series addresses this, if they will quicken the pace of the books, consolidate the many, many plot threads, generally change the way the female and male characters interact.  I don't hate on the books like some people do because I did really enjoy them the first time around.  

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17 hours ago, HighWiredSith said:

I started Wheel of Time in the 90's, when epic fantasy was scarce.  Before WoT I read LOTR, of course, Shannara, Michael Moorcock's Elric Saga, and the Recluse books.  I really enjoyed Wheel of Time for the most part despite feeling like many of the later books drug on incessantly.

 

When I read that Amazon would be making a series, I started a re-read and have really struggled enjoying the books.  Maybe they're just outdated, with all the male-female bickering, the constant descriptions of every single piece of clothing that every character wears in every scene, the idea that so much of conflict revolves around characters simply choosing to not share important information for reasons that don't often make sense, and then passages that seem to go on forever, dumping tons of information on history and customs but cover very little plot ground.  I think maybe having read so much fantasy since that maybe I see fantasy in general differently now.  I suppose the one series I most often compare it to is Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight archive which also very long and very detailed and full of info dumps and long passages but seems to move along briskly despite the lengthy page count.  I got to Lord of Chaos and have stopped, knowing that I'm getting to the part of the series I really struggled enjoying the first time.  I'm curious to see how the series addresses this, if they will quicken the pace of the books, consolidate the many, many plot threads, generally change the way the female and male characters interact.  I don't hate on the books like some people do because I did really enjoy them the first time around.  

 

In respect to Male female "bickering". It is a society that is pre modern but with far greater gender equality because the original sin in this world was male.

 

The relevance of it being pre-modern is that there are still separate male and female spheres, particularly in the world of work. Hence creating more of a gender divide than in today's societies. I personally still think it has a great deal of relevance in that it has independent and powerful female characters who are still realistic, in that they are recognisable female.

 

On the whole though if you are struggling with the first six books I would give up there if I were you because it gets far worse before it gets better.

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In respect to re-evaluating the series as a whole. Yes very much so. As a young man in my late teens you would naturally identify more with the young lads.

 

These days I find Rand and Perrin rather tedious in the first two books and Matt isn't really in it until book 3. These days probably my most entertaining point of view is mid books Nynaeve.

 

In terms of re-evaluating the books themselves I think if you skim through the later books between book 7 and book 11 (KOD) and just skip anything involving Faile and just skim read many of the other boring plot lines, you can appreciate more the things that really work in those books. I think Mat actually has his best chapters in those books and in KOD. Also liked most of the Rand chapters in those books as well.

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