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Rand's Three "Wives"


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Does anyone else feel that this plot point is one of the worst in the entire series? I'm sure it's been brought up countless times, but I just want to give my two cents on it. I don't understand why Jordan felt the need to connect him to Elayne and Aviendha. CLEARLY the only real connection he has is to Min. They actually have a pretty decent love story going. There is absolutely no endgame for his "relationship" (if you can even call it that) with Elayne and Aviendha.

 

I read this whole series as an adult and this bugged me the entire time. It seemed like a teenager's fantasy (being written by a man in his 50s-60s, all the more creepy). It's not like Rand's relationship with Elayne and Aviendha even served any sort of fantasy narrative purpose. 

 

Someone convince me I'm wrong?

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Oh my. Is there an end game to relationships??

 

Polyamorous relationships are out there. I think Rand has a different type of relationship with each of them and they all four seem to be more or less comfortable with it.

 

And the books also show it 'the other way around': one woman in a relationship with more than one man. Did that bother you as well? Because it is perfectly fine to be happy with a relationship being one-on-one, but it is not that uncommon for relationships, even romantic ones, to be different to that.

 

I don't have to convince you ? You can find it weird and creepy. Just accept that it is not something for you personally yet it may actually work for other people, including the fictional characters in a book.

 

But do tell me about relationship end game and what that is. I have no clue and maybe I have been doing it all wrong in my relationship!! ?

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I preface this briefly by saying I'm not one to judge what consenting adults choose to do within their personal relationships. 

 

That said, to me, I always felt that Avi & Rand's relationship was the most believable. There was real tension during the tutoring in the Aiel, and Rand's genuine attempts to gain her respect as he attempts to absorb her culture. This culminating in the snow scene sang true in my ears. This arc was one of the absolute highlights of the entire series. I was disappointed with how little it was developed afterwards, admittedly.

 

Min seemed plausible. 

 

Elayne & Rand contained some of the worst parts of the entire series for me. Them smooching in the recesses of the Stone of Tear was cute and I found believable, but the later-era baby-mongering Queen Elayne made me cringe repeatedly. It was as though Rand just served a means to an end for her. 

 

And don't get me wrong, I understand that Jordan loves to flip "expected gender roles and positions" on their head. I'm mostly cool with it all, just sometimes he didn't quite pull it off in the character and/or plot development that I would've liked to see, in order to enhance believability. 

 

My 2 cents. ?

Edited by WheelofJuke
grammer n spellin
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I think it's basically a less than conventional theme thrown in to make the whole story a little more interesting.

I thought his relationship with Min was the only real plausible one.  I like that RJ included alternative relationship styles, and in a way, Rand having 3 wives/partners feels less cliche than having 2, like if it had been just Min and say, Aviendha.  I also would've liked to see more poly relationships outside of the Aiel, more queer couples or throuples (like Gaul, Chiad, and Bain would've been), and more polyandry.  Myrelle comes to mind for "marrying" her warders.  I don't think any non-Aes Sedai had multiple husbands though, not even Ebou Dari women.

Aviendha's love for Rand is reminisicent of the Aiel saying, if you can't stand a man, then stay away from him, kill him, or marry him.  At least the two develop a relationship over time, that ties into Aviendha's personal growth, which has a stronger arc.

My issue isn't that he has 3 wives, but that at least one of his wives (Elayne) seems to view him as her subject, or as an object to own.  I found her a difficult character to connect with, and wondered what exactly Rand saw in her.  Her naivete is a bit endearing, I suppose.  Elayne seems the youngest of all the main characters.  She and Faile both seemed like extremely annoying partners, and in turn, Perrin and Rand look like masochistic, naive boys for choosing them.  Elayne basically doesn't even know Rand and is obsessed with bonding him, which falls under the "lust" category for me.  To her credit, she does act differently towards Rand than she does to say, Mat, or any other person.  I find both Perrin and Rand to seem emotionally immature for loving such possessive women (especially Perrin).  I agree with the person above who mentioned RJ flipping gender roles around, and I like looking at it in that light.

Edited by henfen
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I know I'm in minority, but I really disliked Rand's relationship with Min (I found her clingy and irritating, and her insistence on showing up to one power fights armed only with mediocre knife skills very grating) and instead felt that Elayne's and Aviendha's characters made a better match for Rand.  

 

Just posting this to point out that seeing Min as Rand's 'true' relationship and the others as add ons isn't the only viewpoint to be developed from this plot point.  I actually find it really interesting that people react to this relationship in so many different ways.  For that alone, I think it was worth including in the books!

 

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The thing for me with his wives were that there are numerous examples of female trinities throughout literature and myth. Rand's Wives are another take on them, and can be looked at through a Freudian lens (id, ego, superego) or as reflections of different parts of Rand (warrior, philosopher, king), or (and this might get me in trouble) filling the "traditional" role of women (nurturer, partner, pedestal object - With Meirin as temptress). There is also an early factor of the power dynamic (overawed by Elayne to start, overawes Min in the middle, always equals with Avi) that is involved.

 

I think each relationship between Rand and these women is believable, singularly, from start to finish. I am just not familiar enough with cultures where this occurs to know whether or not the relationship between the women that results is believable.

 

I also think that people stating which one they think is the best match for Rand is more about them, then it is the story. I could be wrong on that, tho. For the record, FMK = Avi, Min, Elayne ?

 

This is going to be such an interesting thing to watch beginning in season 3, but that is a discussion for another time and place.

Edited by Jaysen Gore
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  • 4 weeks later...

I also didn't find most of Rand's relationships in the books particularly convincing. Yes, each woman teaches him something, but loads of characters teach him important lessons and he doesn't bang most of them. And while there's big sections of the books where everything is fine or he's just not near any of them, there's absolutely sections that do feel pretty creepy to me. I'm especially thinking of the scene where he and Elayne sleep together while the other two can feel it through the warder bond. Not consensual, and not relevant to the overall plot in any important way--they could have had the bond masked correctly or done the warder bonding after instead of before. It was a deliberate choice and a weird one.

 

Furthermore, the ways he meets or ends up with each of them all have some pretty unbelievable moments (fell over the garden wall! naked in an igloo! I don't actually remember with Min -- she start wearing tighter pants to make him fall in love?). And how much time does he actually spend co-located with any one of them over the course of the books. A few months? Maybe a year max? It feels like puppy love, not relationships that have the time to grow and blossom and get past the honeymoon phase. I know people in poly relationships that seem really healthy, but they dedicate a lot of time on their calendar to quality time with their partners. They are frankly too busy being emotionally supportive to be the dragon reborn.

 

Other characters in WoT had romantic moments that I found genuinely moving. When Faile comes back for Perrin at the Battle of Two Rivers and they win and are reunited? I forgave every other moment those two had me rolling my eyes for that scene alone. Or there's a scene where Lan tells Nyneave "Tai'shar Manatheren" after she's made a tough but right choice, and we see from Elayne's perspective how both of their walls come down when they are with each other. It was a small moment but damn I ugly cried. You got me good Robert Jordan with that one, but miss me with the holy trinity of our lord Rand.

 

ALL THAT SAID, some level of wish fulfillment is part of the dna of the fantasy genre. It's part of why many authors write and part of why many people read it, and romances are an area where it's often the most heavy-handed. This happens to be my pet peeve and I struggle to think of a fantasy series where I've found myself really rooting for the main characters big relationships. It's my own issue as a reader that I can suspend disbelief about Avhienda's magical portal creation and then 5 minutes later be upset that the sex igloo is not "realistic".

Edited by ForsakenPotato
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  • 3 weeks later...

I never had any particular problems with the idea of polygamy - marriage to more than one person; a lot of cultures have it, and if it is usually one male to more than one female, there are several reasons for that, among them the unhappy fact that childbirth is not a particularly safe experience, and for the higher-ranking males in a given community, an extra wife is a back-up for the first wife in case she dies during childbirth.

 

So ignoring that - and the fact that at least one Wise One seems to have practiced serial polygamy, burying two or three husbands when they've conked out of old age ... I think RJ was laying with various tropes in this. You have the Queen, the symbol of sexual fascination to males, and an inevitable source of lurid tales: ask Mary Queen of Scots, or Semiramis, or Cleopatra - unless you're The Good Queen Bess, who some consider to this day to have been a boy in drag ... You have the Seer, pretty much a no-go for males, except for the horrible tales about the Witches in Western Europe not so long ago. Then you have the Amazon, the female warrior, again, a symbol of sexual fascination for many males. Two of them jump him - the Seer, so much for the Seer's sexual abstention and the Amazon, again, so much for the Amazon's disdain for the male ... only one bothers to ask him, Daughter-Heir Elayne, and even then she's in a frenzy to get it on.

 

Rating them? Elayne's not really a person until later on, more of hauteur-in-training, so I tend not to rate her highly. I've always liked Min, because she's approachable, and it's only the serious consequences of her talent that keep her quiet. Aviendha would be a bully if she wasn't so concerned about ji'e'toh, so I was a little disappointed when they made the beast-with-two-backs; it's her acceptance of her duty as an apprentice Wise One that makes her tolerable in my mind.

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On 12/16/2021 at 5:08 PM, EmreY said:

I'm for Min.  If I were the DR, I'd find a seer much more useful than a queen or warrior.  She's pretty unique, the others are a dime a dozen.  I am, however, looking forward to the conniption. ?

Team Aviendha here. I think she's the most interesting partner for Rand by quite a margin. Perhaps the most interesting character in the entire series. She's our window into the most interesting culture, goes through a lot of growth and is generally a good but weird person who keeps us guessing a lot of the time.

 

Min is cute, but doesn't grow very much during the series. Elayne does grow a lot, but she can be annoying at times, and her misunderstanding Rand at every turn makes her the worst match for him.

 

But anyway, we shouldn't be reading WoT for the romance. Jordan did a fantastic job at most of the story, but that particular part clearly wasn't his forte. ?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/31/2022 at 11:02 AM, Asthereal said:

Team Aviendha here. I think she's the most interesting partner for Rand by quite a margin. Perhaps the most interesting character in the entire series. She's our window into the most interesting culture, goes through a lot of growth and is generally a good but weird person who keeps us guessing a lot of the time.

 

Min is cute, but doesn't grow very much during the series. Elayne does grow a lot, but she can be annoying at times, and her misunderstanding Rand at every turn makes her the worst match for him.

 

But anyway, we shouldn't be reading WoT for the romance. Jordan did a fantastic job at most of the story, but that particular part clearly wasn't his forte. ?

Hopefully the writers on the TV show do a better job with Rand and the ladies. In fact, I expect them to change the dynamics up quite a bit. They'll keep the poly aspect because that's vogue these days. They might just change other things too...I've read people who are rooting for Avienda to be bisexual. It's possible. 

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  • 7 months later...

I hope you're okay with spoilers because my oh my do I have a headcannon for this. 

 

My headcannon is that Aviendha is actually in love with Elayne, not so much Rand. Which made it even worse for her when she went to Rhuidean and discovered that one of those things that hád to be in her future, is that she had to have kids with Rand, who'd fall in love with her. Which to me is a great explanation of how she treats Elayne versus how she treats Rand, even after they slept together (imagine the shock when she turned out to have to do it again when she didn't turn up pregnant, and ironically, Elayne did). 

 

Furthermore, the way she talks about Elayne to Rand, describing how beautiful she is and how nice... I don't recall her ever saying anything complementary about Rand to Elayne or Min. Also, knowing her future as the mother of Rand's children and knowing Rand is falling for her (while not knowing about Mins viewing of the 2 other women), the only real way to keep her actual love interest Elayne close was to make Rand love Elayne and maaayyybe be sisterwives. 

 

I feel like everything that is said in the actual chapter where Avi&Rand bang makes so much more sense when you read it in this way: "the rings do not lie" making us believe that it's about love but it's actually about their offspring and in order to get those, they have to bang at least once, and followed by "it will not happen again" (probably because Aviendha thinks she can get away with a first time lucky shot with a ta'veren). 

 

I doubt this is what Robert Jordan actually had in his notes, but it's just sooo convincingly coincidental...

 

 

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On 12/4/2021 at 4:10 AM, HeWhoRunsWithTheSpears said:

Does anyone else feel that this plot point is one of the worst in the entire series? I'm sure it's been brought up countless times, but I just want to give my two cents on it. I don't understand why Jordan felt the need to connect him to Elayne and Aviendha. CLEARLY the only real connection he has is to Min. They actually have a pretty decent love story going. There is absolutely no endgame for his "relationship" (if you can even call it that) with Elayne and Aviendha.

 

I read this whole series as an adult and this bugged me the entire time. It seemed like a teenager's fantasy (being written by a man in his 50s-60s, all the more creepy). It's not like Rand's relationship with Elayne and Aviendha even served any sort of fantasy narrative purpose. 

 

Someone convince me I'm wrong?

 

I tend to have two takes on this.

 

The first is the same as yours.  I read Rand's "love story" as a missed opportunity for a believable story of emotional and sexual maturing from a sheltered village youth from a conservative society into an adult more able to understand and process his feelings and emotions (an opportunity RJ messes up with the trinity of wives).

 

So Rand starts believing he will marry his childhood sweetheart even though they don't have much contact, he living on a farm outside Emond's Field - have they ever even kissed?  When this assumed union dissipates as they become adults with lives heading in different directions, Rand has the first fumbling of a physical and emotional relationship with Elayne in Tear but this only amounts to a bit of kissing and whispering before they part.  Rand is then subjected to Aviendha, whose tempestuous and volatile nature makes for a love hate relationship before they sleep together - once - and then part.  The mysterious Selene, revealed as Lanfear, is looming and enticing in the background throughout this period. 

 

Rand then meets Min again, after a brief earlier encounter in Baerlon, and she becomes his lover and, to me at least, his soulmate.  Unlike the politics that Elayne and Aviendha cannot avoid bringing into their relations with Rand, Min just want him and he wants her.  They're good for each other and Rand seems to have found a woman who will make him happy. The exes or the might have beens for whom he has tangled feelings and perhaps regrets - and we've all been there - belong to his past and is where they are better consigned but RJ brings them all together as a group.  This doesn't really work for me as it seems to avoid the need for mature decisions and genuine commitment (polygamy and polyandry, unless the latter is part of formative or experimental behaviour in youth, being oddities to me, though maybe not to others).

 

The second take is that, as Rand is not just ta'veren but uber ta'veren and Dragon Reborn, he influences people unexpectedly and is therefore stuck with three women loving him whom he also loves.  This gives RJ opportunity to both put him and the "wives" through the wringer of human emotions, including  embarrassment and awkwardness at the situation, something which appeals to RJ's sense of humour, that for all of each of the four's political power, Channeling or seer ability, they are completely out of their depth, comfort zone and fumbling about.  Given only Aviendha comes from a  society that accepts polygamy and Rand comes from a conservative background I find this unrealistic and that it takes up too much of the books but it is part of RJ's portrayal of Rand as a young man who suddenly has the weight of the world put on his shoulders as well as the usual trials of adolescence / early adulthood to deal with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yep. to me Elayne and Aveindha really should have been his Exes.....ones he still loved but got out of harms way and they remained friends and his baby mommas

 

the whole thing where the girls all agree to share, whilst i understand is a lifestyle choice for some, is a bit tacky, would have made his arc and pain more realistic if he had to lose the ones he loved....not just kept them all....

 

the scene where he and elayne are getting jiggy with it and the other girls are feeling it so have to get drunk is definately teenage fantasy crap.....

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also, i think all three have a unique and significant bond...elayne being the weakest.

 

i flit between Min and Aviendha for the most enjoyable read....the long run up he has with Aviendha is awesome, its cut short though and i wish they had a bit more time with each other once they had admitted it was pointless fighting it...niot so much to get it on more....but one or two adventures together in battle....lmagine if you would, Aveindha and Rand hunting Ashamen in far madding together with Lans assistance....thatd be cool

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On 9/28/2022 at 12:54 PM, RextheDog said:

the scene where he and elayne are getting jiggy with it and the other girls are feeling it so have to get drunk is definately teenage fantasy crap.....

I thought that scene was hilarious. 😅

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