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Could Egwene's overall arc be the most tragic thing ever?


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On 7/26/2022 at 4:33 AM, Stedding Tofu said:

Egwene isn't ta'veren though,

She was ta'veren

 

Spoiler

I remember reading the passage where Siuan mentioned she was mildly ta'veren; wish I could remember where so you could go look. In the companion it's written that "she showed some of the same effects of the old blood as Mat, though not as strongly."  I find this acceptable, because how else would she gain supporters as so young an Amyrlin.

 

Her sacrifices, dreaming, and channeling abilities where admirable but would have marked her for future leadership without something to propel her advancement to the here and now.

 

Really liked your Gawyn insights.

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6 minutes ago, Remodel said:

She was ta'veren

 

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I remember reading the passage where Siuan mentioned she was mildly ta'veren; wish I could remember where so you could go look. In the companion it's written that "she showed some of the same effects of the old blood as Mat, though not as strongly."  I find this acceptable, because how else would she gain supporters as so young an Amyrlin.

 

Her sacrifices, dreaming, and channeling abilities where admirable but would have marked her for future leadership without something to propel her advancement to the here and now.

 

Really liked your Gawyn insights.

 

In the flight from Baerlon the party end up trapped by Trollocs near Shadar Logoth and have to fight their way through them.  In the stress of the encounter both Mat and Egwene come out with snippets of The Old Tongue, Mat the more so.  Moiraine explains this to them as The Old Blood (of Manetheren) running strong in their veins.  I believe that is what you are referring to in The Companion.  If so, it's not a sign of being ta'veren - Perrin and Rand have no such latent facility with The Old Tongue - just a sign that The Two Rivers and our Emond Fielders are special.

 

Siuan has the talent for seeing ta'veren.  She is around Egwene an awful lot in series, including when she mentors Egwene as the Salidar Amyrlin and she is a frequent pov character herself.  She doesn't remark on how she and others are pulled along in Egwene's ta'veren web or how events fall out as Egwene wishes because she can influence the Aes Sedai by her ta'veren nature.  Quite the opposite in fact, Siuan comes to admire her because Egwene's success is through trickery (The Law of War), blackmail (Sheriam's group), clever politicking (balancing Lelaine and Romanda's factions), strength of character and boldness.

 

Siuan sees Rand at Fal Dara at the start of The Great Hunt.  She remarks to Moiraine it took her breath away how he seemed to glow so bright was the ta'veren aura she saw around him.  There is nothing like this about Egwene in any of Siuan's interactions with or observations of her.  If you can remember the quote you are thinking of it would help to see what caught your attention.

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On 7/26/2022 at 4:33 AM, Stedding Tofu said:

Egwene isn't ta'veren though

You're right.  I found some interviews by RJ where he confirms your assertion.  In my mind I still remember Suian saying she was Ta'avern, but I probably miss read.  It's a long entertaining story after all.

 

I will say Egwene is so tightly, strongly woven into the pattern that she is propelled further than her youth would not normally have allowed.  Quote from Moiraine to Egwene and Nynaeve in The Eye of the World chapter 43 pp. 604 "You are part of the Pattern, too, both of you, in some fashion. Perhaps not ta'veren--perhaps--but strong even so. ... And no doubt by this time the Fades know it, too.  And Ba'alzamon."   It appears she was fated to her death which to me read like a release for her; she was finally free.

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7 hours ago, Remodel said:

You're right.  I found some interviews by RJ where he confirms your assertion.  In my mind I still remember Suian saying she was Ta'avern, but I probably miss read.  It's a long entertaining story after all.

 

I will say Egwene is so tightly, strongly woven into the pattern that she is propelled further than her youth would not normally have allowed.  Quote from Moiraine to Egwene and Nynaeve in The Eye of the World chapter 43 pp. 604 "You are part of the Pattern, too, both of you, in some fashion. Perhaps not ta'veren--perhaps--but strong even so. ... And no doubt by this time the Fades know it, too.  And Ba'alzamon."   It appears she was fated to her death which to me read like a release for her; she was finally free.

Several characters jokingly ask Egwene "are you sure you're not Ta'veren too?" over the course of the books.  It doesn't mean she actually was, just that her story was remarkable enough that people would talk about it.

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10 hours ago, Andra said:

Several characters jokingly ask Egwene "are you sure you're not Ta'veren too?" over the course of the books.  It doesn't mean she actually was, just that her story was remarkable enough that people would talk about it.

Exactly.  Some folks seem personally offended that Egwene was not ta'veren.  If anything, her not being so makes her accomplishments that much more impressive.  Rand, Mat, Perrin all had 'aid' from the pattern because of their ta'veren status.  Their accomplishments had help.  Egwene did it all on her own and her accomplishments were no less impressive.  Being ta'veren would actually reduce her awesomeness.

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At first I thought Egwene stopped wanting to be with Rand because she could do better...but then she ended up with Gawyn so I had to throw that theory out the window.

 

In all seriousness though, I actually liked her and Rand's break up. Most people don't end up with their childhood crushes in real life either. And I appreciated that it didn't end with some big dramatic fight or betrayal, they both slowly realized their feelings and circumstances had changed, and had a pretty mature and direct conversation about it. Made me think those two would be so smart and level-headed about the rest of their romantic relationships going forward...oh well.

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  • 2 months later...

I have always seen Egwenes story being a tragedy in the line of some of the best stories. Going right back writers have always understood the power of a great tragic tale vs a heroic one. And as many have said Egwenes story more then any others is the parallel to Rands. Even the end. 
 

At the very start of the books when Lewis Therin breaks the world he leaves the indelible sight of Dragon Mount, A mountain sticking out if the earth. 
 

When Egwene, with her weave undoing the cracks, fixed the world she left a beautiful glass like spike to remind the world of what is possible. Those are the 2 bookends to the series. 

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1 hour ago, Sir_Charrid said:

I have always seen Egwenes story being a tragedy in the line of some of the best stories. Going right back writers have always understood the power of a great tragic tale vs a heroic one. And as many have said Egwenes story more then any others is the parallel to Rands. Even the end. 
 

At the very start of the books when Lewis Therin breaks the world he leaves the indelible sight of Dragon Mount, A mountain sticking out if the earth. 
 

When Egwene, with her weave undoing the cracks, fixed the world she left a beautiful glass like spike to remind the world of what is possible. Those are the 2 bookends to the series. 

Never thought of that parallel before.  Huzzah!

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  • 6 months later...

I’m just popping in here, bumping this thread… Randomly… 

 

I started the series over 15 years ago, stopped after Gathering Storm. I just now finished the series… like an hour ago. Still trying to process. None of my friends have read it so I had to hop back on DM… 

 

I just needed a moment to grieve… a fictional character. 🤣 But seriously… Siuan hurt so bad… and then Egwene! 
 

I’ve read through this thread and I understand all sentiments. I think Cadsuane will be an amazing Amyrlin. But still… all those thing Egwene had plans for. Will Cadsuane continue with the agreements with the Aeil and the sea folk? 
 

What haunts me was her line to Tuon mere chapters before so adamant “I plan to live for centuries” ouch… 

 

but that gives me the only clue as to why she would “Need” to die. That her justified hatred of the seanchan would hold her back from somehow finding the peace Rand wanted. (And then he just gets to ride off into the sunset with the face of a forsaken??) 
 

I dunno… so much to process… 

 

Anyways, I get it… I’m just mad… lol! Needed to rant somewhere where I’d be heard and get a pat on the head telling me it’s all going to be ok…. 
 

Any good fourth age fanfics out there. 🤣🤣

 

(Ps… forgive any spelling mistakes. I listened on audio and don’t have a paper copy anymore) 

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I was pretty distraught with Egwene's fate as well. It just got worse on my first re-read when you remember she wasn't supposed to leave Emmond's Field at all but forced her way into the group. It's always a bit gut wrenching to read that part early in EotW when you know that was when she set on the path towards her destiny. Especially coupled with Rand's vow to keep her safe whatever happens. Ugh. On the other hand maybe it helps to realize that was the life she chose for herself rather than staying safely behind. She was always the most mission driven of the EF5 and in the end really embraced the leadership role. 

 

Her relationship with Gawyn was always a little weird and dysfunctional much like most love relationships in WoT but for me it added to the tragedy. The way she tried to push him away in the last months before the last battle and quarrelled with him only to have both lives cut short prematurely. 

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1 hour ago, Vartija said:

I was pretty distraught with Egwene's fate as well. It just got worse on my first re-read when you remember she wasn't supposed to leave Emmond's Field at all but forced her way into the group. It's always a bit gut wrenching to read that part early in EotW when you know that was when she set on the path towards her destiny. Especially coupled with Rand's vow to keep her safe whatever happens. Ugh. On the other hand maybe it helps to realize that was the life she chose for herself rather than staying safely behind. She was always the most mission driven of the EF5 and in the end really embraced the leadership role. 

 

Her relationship with Gawyn was always a little weird and dysfunctional much like most love relationships in WoT but for me it added to the tragedy. The way she tried to push him away in the last months before the last battle and quarrelled with him only to have both lives cut short prematurely. 


 

ugh! Yes! I kept thinking about the show too, knowing if they finish the series I’ll end up watching it too… 😭

 

The whole thing, it’s just so heartbreaking… all that hard work and determination. There were others of the EF5 I would have been able to handle better. I was honestly half expecting it to be Nyneave as close as she had been to Rand… who was supposed to die… and Mins’ viewing of her crying over a body. I figured that it was her and Lan making a last stand. Pleasantly surprised they made it. 

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I thought it was perfect for her, though I fully felt the tragedy and sympathize. As the ultimate ruthless pragmatist who always did what was needed, she embraced that final needed thing and was the purest and greatest hero (despite not being perfect, but no one is) of the whole story. To me, anyway. All the little girls dreaming of being Aes Sedai for thousands of years after would look to her as the one to aspire to.

 

When the need of the hour is done, so is the pragmatist, their legend complete...

 

Let the others coming after drown in the politics and machinations of failure — Egwene was the uncorrupted Flame of Tar Valon, who swallowed balefire and protected Time itself! Look to that crystalline monument on the heights and remember the purest soul of service to humanity's tomorrow, remember her light sparkling bright before the Shadow and stabbing its very dread heart! She suffered as a slave and kept her mettle, she suffered amidst vipers and schemers and plotters out for their own ends, all to a conclusion she foresaw and accepted, all to prove once and for all what Tar Valon, what the Amyrlin Seat — what Aes Sedai truly stood for.

 

Hold her flame in your heart and by it — through it — she'll never die.

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8 hours ago, RainHarlow said:

I thought it was perfect for her, though I fully felt the tragedy and sympathize. As the ultimate ruthless pragmatist who always did what was needed, she embraced that final needed thing and was the purest and greatest hero (despite not being perfect, but no one is) of the whole story. To me, anyway. All the little girls dreaming of being Aes Sedai for thousands of years after would look to her as the one to aspire to.

 

When the need of the hour is done, so is the pragmatist, their legend complete...

 

Let the others coming after drown in the politics and machinations of failure — Egwene was the uncorrupted Flame of Tar Valon, who swallowed balefire and protected Time itself! Look to that crystalline monument on the heights and remember the purest soul of service to humanity's tomorrow, remember her light sparkling bright before the Shadow and stabbing its very dread heart! She suffered as a slave and kept her mettle, she suffered amidst vipers and schemers and plotters out for their own ends, all to a conclusion she foresaw and accepted, all to prove once and for all what Tar Valon, what the Amyrlin Seat — what Aes Sedai truly stood for.

 

Hold her flame in your heart and by it — through it — she'll never die.


 

😭😭 I’m gonna cry again! What a beautiful way to put it! 

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  • 4 months later...
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I am so happy that so many people appear to have been able to appreciate Egwene's contribution. And her story arc. 

 

Because I could not. It was dumb. It was rushed. It made no sense. It sapped my will to live.

 

Egwene's arc was to be the greatest Amyrlin of all time. She was meant to mold the White Tower into something it had never been before, overcoming the pettiness, the suspicion, the unwillingness to work together. Instead she is a footnote. She was raised as a puppet for the rebels, took over the tower as Elaida was abducted by the Seanchan. She raised rebellion, her siege failed, she was captured and she was Amyrlin for what, a few months? Everything she was working for would be undone, or half-heartedly implemented by those who did not believe. Her death in the Last Battle makes her life a failure, at least as how it will appear to the history books. The youngest ever Amyrlin due to circumstances, died in the last battle, achieved nothing. 

 

Would Alexander the Great be as revered if he had died conquering Greece? Meh.

 

And it was such a stupid death. Taim was not even a real Forsaken. He turned a few Asha'man who were taken by surprise and could not fight back. Oooo. They will be scaring kids for centuries with stories like that. Logain or Androl should have clocked his ticket. And she, in the moment of death, wove the opposite of balefire. You mean she reversed the positronic capacitors while transmogrifying (wait, that is a real word? are you fecking kidding me spellchecker?) the semi-valent downward flow shift? You should have thought of that earlier Scotty! And she named it? While dying? I call it the Egwene Maneuver, everyone will be doing it soon, even though I'll be dead in a few seconds. But no honestly in the middle of battle everyone will have learnt the weave, its not like there are any distractions or that it is unusual to be able to learn a weave from one viewing, and people aren't so exhausted that they can barely stand. It's all good, honestly. 

 

It's sad. I like to consider myself good with words, but no, I cannot express my disappointment adequately. I mean losing any of the main characters would suck, but Egwene had been through so much, had worked so hard, and had so much still to do. But as she was not part of Rand's harem, nor needed for the planned sequels, she is bumped off, in the most ridiculous manner. 

 

I really am glad that not everyone experienced it the same. I guess the idea was to have you weeping, but for me sorry, abject failure. 

 

"My husband rides to Tarwin's Gap. Will he ride alone?" That had me in tears, heck, I'm tearing up just typing it. Egwene dying makes me want to hurt someone.

Edited by HeavyHalfMoonBlade
I can't even. I proofed it three times...
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2 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

I am so happy that so many people appear to have been able to appreciate Egwene's contribution. And her story arc. 

 

Because I could not. It was dumb. It was rushed. It made no sense. It sapped my will to live.

 

Egwene's arc was to be the greatest Amyrlin of all time. She was meant to mold the White Tower into something it had never been before, overcoming the pettiness, the suspicion, the unwillingness to work together. Instead she is a footnote. She was raised as a puppet for the rebels, took over the tower as Elaida was abducted by the Seanchan. She raised rebellion, her siege failed, she was captured and she was Amyrlin for what, a few months? Everything she was working for would be undone, or half-heartedly implemented by those who did not believe. Her death in the Last Battle makes her life a failure, at least as how it will appear to the history books. The youngest ever Amyrlin due to circumstances, died in the last battle, achieved nothing. 

 

Yes, she had planned to do all you said.  She was cut down before those things were realized.  But she inspired many on both sides of the Tower rift.  And they will likely accomplish many of Egwene's goals because of her selfless example and sacrifice.  She planted a seed.  They will succeed to a greater or lesser extent, and in some areas they will fail or go against her vision.  But we don't know, nor can we, how successful Egwene would have been either.

 

2 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

Would Alexander the Great be as revered if he had died conquering Greece? Meh.

 

And it was such a stupid death. Taim was not even a real Forsaken. He turned a few Asha'man who were taken by surprise and could not fight back. Oooo. They will be scaring kids for centuries with stories like that. Logain or Androl should have clocked his ticket. And she, in the moment of death, wove the opposite of balefire. You mean she reversed the positronic capacitors while transmogrifying (wait, that is a real word? are you fecking kidding me spellchecker?) the semi-valent downward flow shift? You should have thought of that earlier Scotty! And she named it? While dying? I call it the Egwene Maneuver, everyone will be doing it soon, even though I'll be dead in a few seconds. But no honestly in the middle of battle everyone will have learnt the weave, its not like there are any distractions or that it is unusual to be able to learn a weave from one viewing, and people aren't so exhausted that they can barely stand. It's all good, honestly. 

 

It's sad. I like to consider myself good with words, but no, I cannot express my disappointment adequately. I mean losing any of the main characters would suck, but Egwene had been through so much, had worked so hard, and had so much still to do. But as she was not part of Rand's harem, nor needed for the planned sequels, she is bumped off, in the most ridiculous manner. 

 

Losing main characters sucks - really?  That is life.  That is reality.  Stick with children's books or the Hallmark channel if you want a happy ending.  How much more could MLK or JFK have done if their lives had not been cut short.  Or how about the young person just leaving college or starting their first 'real' job with great hopes and aspirations to improve the world = but their life is ended by a thug wanting drug money or they made a stupid decision to drink and drive while celebrating.  It sucks, but it is real.  I don't see how Egwene's death makes the books less.

 

2 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

I really am glad that not everyone experienced it the same. I guess the idea was to have you weeping, but for me sorry, abject failure. 

 

"My husband rides to Tarwin's Gap. Will he ride alone?" That had me in tears, heck, I'm tearing up just typing it. Egwene dying makes me want to hurt someone.

 

Life is pain.  Life is joy.  Be prepared for both.  How you react is your choice.

 

Edited by DojoToad
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6 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

I am so happy that so many people appear to have been able to appreciate Egwene's contribution. And her story arc. 

 

Because I could not. It was dumb. It was rushed. It made no sense. It sapped my will to live.

 

Egwene's arc was to be the greatest Amyrlin of all time. She was meant to mold the White Tower into something it had never been before, overcoming the pettiness, the suspicion, the unwillingness to work together. Instead she is a footnote. She was raised as a puppet for the rebels, took over the tower as Elaida was abducted by the Seanchan. She raised rebellion, her siege failed, she was captured and she was Amyrlin for what, a few months? Everything she was working for would be undone, or half-heartedly implemented by those who did not believe. Her death in the Last Battle makes her life a failure, at least as how it will appear to the history books. The youngest ever Amyrlin due to circumstances, died in the last battle, achieved nothing. 

 

Would Alexander the Great be as revered if he had died conquering Greece? Meh.

 

And it was such a stupid death. Taim was not even a real Forsaken. He turned a few Asha'man who were taken by surprise and could not fight back. Oooo. They will be scaring kids for centuries with stories like that. Logain or Androl should have clocked his ticket. And she, in the moment of death, wove the opposite of balefire. You mean she reversed the positronic capacitors while transmogrifying (wait, that is a real word? are you fecking kidding me spellchecker?) the semi-valent downward flow shift? You should have thought of that earlier Scotty! And she named it? While dying? I call it the Egwene Maneuver, everyone will be doing it soon, even though I'll be dead in a few seconds. But no honestly in the middle of battle everyone will have learnt the weave, its not like there are any distractions or that it is unusual to be able to learn a weave from one viewing, and people aren't so exhausted that they can barely stand. It's all good, honestly. 

 

It's sad. I like to consider myself good with words, but no, I cannot express my disappointment adequately. I mean losing any of the main characters would suck, but Egwene had been through so much, had worked so hard, and had so much still to do. But as she was not part of Rand's harem, nor needed for the planned sequels, she is bumped off, in the most ridiculous manner. 

 

I really am glad that not everyone experienced it the same. I guess the idea was to have you weeping, but for me sorry, abject failure. 

 

"My husband rides to Tarwin's Gap. Will he ride alone?" That had me in tears, heck, I'm tearing up just typing it. Egwene dying makes me want to hurt someone.

Much of her plans where already put in motion and "off screen" had been agreed by the Aes Sedai as being necessary, opening the book to older novices won't be rolled back, the idea of retirement to the Kin is not going back in the box and the offer to allow sharing of accepted between the sea folk, aiel and aes sedai was voted on and agreed off screen because it got the Aes Sedai out of the deal with the sea folk. Egwene didn't need to be about to see all of that through. 

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22 hours ago, DojoToad said:

 

Yes, she had planned to do all you said.  She was cut down before those things were realized.  But she inspired many on both sides of the Tower rift.  And they will likely accomplish many of Egwene's goals because of her selfless example and sacrifice.  She planted a seed.  They will succeed to a greater or lesser extent, and in some areas they will fail or go against her vision.  But we don't know, nor can we, how successful Egwene would have been either.

 

 

Losing main characters sucks - really?  That is life.  That is reality.  Stick with children's books or the Hallmark channel if you want a happy ending.  How much more could MLK or JFK have done if their lives had not been cut short.  Or how about the young person just leaving college or starting their first 'real' job with great hopes and aspirations to improve the world = but their life is ended by a thug wanting drug money or they made a stupid decision to drink and drive while celebrating.  It sucks, but it is real.  I don't see how Egwene's death makes the books less.

 

 

Life is pain.  Life is joy.  Be prepared for both.  How you react is your choice.

 

 

17 hours ago, Scarloc99 said:

Much of her plans where already put in motion and "off screen" had been agreed by the Aes Sedai as being necessary, opening the book to older novices won't be rolled back, the idea of retirement to the Kin is not going back in the box and the offer to allow sharing of accepted between the sea folk, aiel and aes sedai was voted on and agreed off screen because it got the Aes Sedai out of the deal with the sea folk. Egwene didn't need to be about to see all of that through. 

My point is that, to me, it feels very much unfinished. She had put in so much work into the various projects, and the idea that the Hall will now suddenly be a bunch of little Egwenes, implementing and improving on her vision seems hopelessly optimistic. And which Amyrlin will steer the tower through these changes, Cadsuane, the Phantom Spanker of Old Tar Valon Town? What could go possibly wrong? She has such a good relationship with the Sea Folk and she does not hold every sister complete contempt. Where is the sarcasm emoji? For me, in my personal take, this feels completely off. It feels like the arc of Egwene and the Tower was broken off for a poorly executed attempt of evoking emotion. Which for me it did not manage, it did not make me feel sad, just frustrated. 

 

But as I say, I am very happy that this does not appear to be common view, because Egwene was special and it is good to know that her character was not ruined for everyone. 

 

And no, it is not life. It is a story, so I don't quite follow your arguments about me needing to suck it up and deal with the grittiness of reality. I thought we were discussing a story line that someone chose. 

 

And I loved Egwene, I mean, I really... hmm, perhaps I said too much  😄

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I'm with most of the group that Egwene's arc is heroic, not tragic, even though she died at the end. She defeated thousands of her enemies, inspired her best friend to win the entire war. And cleansed the White Tower, positioning it to deal with the traumatic change it needs to go through now that the Black exists to balance the White.

 

In terms of story arcs, I'm having a hard time thinking of a plot arc that ends in tragedy, unless you think of Ryma of the Yellow Ajah - and that's minor - or if you include what happens to Aviendha and Rhuarc.

 

In terms of character arcs, though, Gawyn is probably the most tragic character in Wheel of Time, as a hero falls to his own inherent personality flaws.  In no other case I can think of did a character on the side of the Light fail, not because of being overwhelmed and defeated, but because of their own inner failings.

 

As every sports fan will tell you, there is a big difference between getting beat, and losing. At the end, Egwene got beat; Gawyn lost.

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2 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

I understand that I am in the minority here, it's just, well, we could have been so happy together...

And my point was that this story was modeled after life. The best laid plans of the mighty and the low often do not come to fruition during their life. But if a fictional heroine’s death frustrates you - my condolences…

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32 minutes ago, DojoToad said:

And my point was that this story was modeled after life. The best laid plans of the mighty and the low often do not come to fruition during their life. But if a fictional heroine’s death frustrates you - my condolences…

Sorry, my mistake, I forgot the smiley. 

 

Modeled after life? Ah, now much is clear. My mistake for venturing an opinion. I appear to be nothing but mistakes these days. How incredibly inept of me.

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From other posts point of view, my post will be a little heretical.

But I don't see her story arc tragic at all. She got what she wished for. Maybe we should add "beware of what you wish!"

 

Although all of 5EFs had some thought about adventures. None of other 4EFs actualy wished to live such lives. Egwene's was only one who wished leave a secluded village for adventure live, heroic deeds and be somebody world will remember for ages.

And she got exactly that. Her life burned briefly, but intensely and with a big bang at the end.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/14/2022 at 9:41 PM, ForsakenPotato said:

At first I thought Egwene stopped wanting to be with Rand because she could do better...but then she ended up with Gawyn so I had to throw that theory out the window.

At the time when she started becoming attracted to Gawyn, he was indeed a much better option than Rand.

 

Egwene does seem like the type to think that they deserve to be high status.

Edited by Ioulaum
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  • 5 months later...

Well for starters, they did not want her to come with, she insisted and basically blackmailed them into letting her come along.  So, I am not so sure the "poor Egwene swept up in it all" works..  She wastes no time flirting with Aram.  (but internal monologues jealousy that Rand met Elayne)  I believe he also gets the stink eye because he talked to Min in book 1.  I think at several points she is clearly NOT that torn up about writing Rand off.  She was pretty much a career woman chasing power from day 1.   (that's fine, just don't play the "poor her" card)  She is all in for chasing power and learning stuff from the first instant and pretty much writes off anything that prevents that.  These would be choices she made, not the world or the author doing her wrong.  She CHOSE to goto the white tower and learn, so if she is punished its part of the deal, its not picking on Egwene.  (who has it easier than any novice in the history of the world with a mere 13 weeks of training in the tower total)   She CHOSE to apprentice with the wise ones.  So, anything that happened there was again, her CHOICE.  She CHOSE to lie, she CHOSE to go into the dream world when she was not suppose to.  She CHOSE to ignore instruction and get in trouble.  

 

She did get done wrong in book 2 with the Seanchan.  She also went through an ordeal in book 11-12.   But that's it.   Up till book 11 she has basically done ZERO for the war effort.  The other characters have fought battles, fought forsaken, struggled, suffered, been captured, made mistakes.....  Acutally done things to help the war effort.  Egwene has it ridiculously easy in what she has to do to gain her position up until book 11 honestly.   The way they write how she just masters everything instantly is ridiculous.  She consistently puts her gaining some goal over being honest with her allies and friends.  She is more than ready to USE people who trust her to gain advantage. (Mat book 6 for example)  She is more than ready to bully and be horrible to people who are suppose to be her friends.  (Nyneave from book 3 onward with 5 and 12 being shame on her)  What she tries to do to Rand over and over is just insane.  

 

  I would also point out that she is pretty ready to go to the tower before book 1 is even half over.  She is already more than willing to be bossy to the boys by book 1.  Moiraine puts her "in charge of the boys" who are all older than her.   Based on what merit?   None.  Don't worry this continues through the series.  Egwene granted perks and positions based on no actual merit other than the author just said she had it.  Why did she have it?  Who knows!?   No memories, No most powerful channeler perks, no wolf powers, no reborn guy in her head, no Ta'Verin.  It is just because she is amazing at everything by age 18.  By book 3 she is ready to bully Nynevae.  At pretty much ANY point in the books she assumes she knows better than any man, ever, period.  By book 4 and 5 she starts thinking she knows better than Moirane.  By book 7 -9 she is certain she knows better than anyone alive.  Is it possible she is good at stuff?  Of course.  Is it possible she is the best at stuff?  Sure, maybe even a few things.   Is it possible she is the best at EVERYTHING from book 6 till book 13?  Probably not.   Yet here we are.  Politician, Diplomat, Orator, Channeler, Master of Histories, Master of Tower Law, inventor of multiple weaves with like NO practice compared to other main cast, master of willpower (making 200 year old sisters and forsaken quail with a glance)  Master of taking pain, master planner, master schemer, Master manipulator.  It just makes you want to puke.  

 

She IS a master liar, liar by omission, user of her friends, and hypocrite.  

 

You can love her, she is a good character.  She is just not a character I could ever like because she is not a good person and she actually earns only a fraction of what she gains.  Other characters (Rand, Nyneave, Avienda, etc ) struggle for many, many BOOKS to figure stuff out and reach their mature mode.  It feels EARNED and good when the finally do earn something.  With Egwene it feels like "ok the author decided she was awesome at something else.  She is true to the tower and she does have some good ideas, they just went way too far with the "Egwene is ssooooo amazing" scenes and in the mid books they had her be a HORRIBLE person to her friends.  

 

No matter if you love or hate her she is not "poor Egwene" just a simple girl who got swept up and lost her man.  What she is (after the first time through) is why they have the SKIP button.  

 

Edited by Winnower IV
typo
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  • 1 month later...
On 3/21/2024 at 7:05 PM, Winnower IV said:

Many things

 

 

I will absolutely not stand for this Egwene slander. It is absolutely baffling to me to have a whole paragraph arguing her achievements are "unearned," when each and every other explanation for a character's power is..... also completely unearned!

 

Your argument is self-defeating as a result. Everything you list is the exact evidence needed to argue that Egwene earned her power as much, if not more than any other character. Egwene chose to join the Aiel, yes. And she worked her ass off (and got her ass beaten off) to learn from them! She is later able to resist the Tower's coercive violence due to learning the Aiel approach to processing pain. How is that unearned? She is born with a Talent in dreaming, but her skills in TAR are earned by endless practice and experience. She is born with a ridiculous talent in the Power, sure, and also she earns her abilities by practicing with every single group that channels saidar outside of Shara (brief but intense period in the tower, forced by the Seanchan, learning with the Aiel, and brief but instructive turns with the Sea People and the Kin).

 

How is this not merit? You seem to have missed that she was explicitly raised Amyrlin to be a puppet; every shred of material power she wielded was power that she earned through shrewd politicking. Political acumen she learned and earned from the Wise Ones and from being smart enough to know when to listen to Siuan and when to push back, a nuance that many other characters in the book treat as all (everything this person says is gospel) or nothing (woolheaded fool!).

 

Also, not for nothing.. she is involved "in the war" from day 1, and her actions are absolutely key to winning it. She "tangles" with Lanfear at the docks (and gets horribly tortured, helpless, almost like she's not a day-1 superpower, fascinating). Multiple Forsaken had spent literal millennia ensuring that the White Tower would be, at best, a fractured mess at TG. And they did a good job! Yet Egwene delivered a unified, motivated, effective force. How? Through constant (on screen!) hard work. It's contrived, yes, but my brother in the Light you are reading a fantasy novel; every single thing she does prepares her to do the things she will do. She had to learn in the Tower, get caught by the Seanchan, and study with the Aiel; this allows her to become effective. And effective she is! First keeping the Salidar group together through force of will, and then doing civil disobedience so hard she destroys an Amyrlin seat, then directly fighting the Seanchan in the Tower Raid more effectively than literally any other character in the entire series, then taking two sides that were textually at war a week ago and leading them into battle as a unified force.

 

Of course, to you all of these are "unearned." Every accomplishment is another sign of how she didn't deserve her accomplishments. Every conversation with Moiraine (Light forbid she question the mysterious wizard that has them wrapped up in 85 plots she doesn't understand, even the evidence that she's not a day-1 genius is instead evidence she's horrible), every miserable night she spent running laps unclothed in 30 degree weather to earn more lessons from the wizard-politicians of the waste or being pushed to burnout for living weapon purposes by a sadist using a nightmare slave collar or discussing politics with one of the greatest wizard-politicians to ever do it doesn't count, for some reason, as "earning it." OK sure. She "has it ridiculously easy." I don't... did you read any chapters that involve a Wise One? Or the Seanchan?

 

What, in your eyes, makes a character "deserving"? What makes Rand a leader and Egwene a bully? What is the line between ambition and megolomania? Why is Thom playing the game of houses just him being experienced and skillful, and Egwene doing it a sign that she is a dishonest liar that USES people?

 

With that established, I find it fascinating that of the 12 things you listed she was "unrealistically" a "master" of, 10 of them are just "things politicians do" and 2 are "channelling." These are, precisely the two things she spent every single page of the series, from her introduction as the Mayor's daughter and potential Wise Woman apprentice, learning (or being forced to learn) to be good at. You're gonna have to help me out here.

 

Being the class clown and prepped for selling horses, but then bumbling into a mystical alternate reality, shouting nonsense like a stubborn idiot, and getting tricked into having memories shoved into your brain while nearly dying.... now that's 110% legit earned. Mat is obviously the greatest general of all time and it's based as hell. Don't worry about it.

 

When it comes to relationships, I think that *just like Rand* in the first few books, Egwene is experiencing a lot. She's suddenly out of her tiny village, she's had some trauma, her and Perrin find a (relatively) safe space among the Tuatha'an for a minute.. Is it really some kind of massive character flaw that she smiles at and dances with a guy? And then leaves the next day? A little harsh. Smiles and dances were all she'd ever done with Rand! They were "expected" but not really in any modern concept of dating or "going steady"?

 

And with that, I do disagree with a lot of the years-old sentiment in this thread that she was done dirty in this; I think it's a great example of how, as in real life, childhood sweethearts can enter a larger world, both grow and change, and realize they grew and changed apart. It's totally fine and neither of them are at fault. It's a completely normal part of life! I know only a few adults who are still with someone they were into when they were 16; RJ was spot-on with that whole dynamic.

 

Yet for you, it is a sign she is a "HORRIBLE" person. Yikes.

 

I don't think Egwene is a tragedy, as the OOP speculates; I absolutely do not think she is HORRIBLE, as you disjointedly ranted. As the crowd seemed to get to towards the middle of the thread, Egwene's story is a triumph. Yes, she lived fast and died young. But in that time she accomplished a tremendous amount; her death itself took two of the most powerful tools (Sakarnen and Taim/the Dreadlords) the Dark had off the board and was one of the last pushes Rand needed to understand that human beings fundamentally deserve the right of agency. All of that while having "No memories, No most powerful channeler perks, no wolf powers, no reborn guy in her head, no Ta'Verin." Good for her!

 

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