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Why do they not like Moiraine?


Goji
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Okay so I’m a fairly new reader (up to ch 7 in the Great Hunt, so please no spoilers beyond that) and already I’m severely annoyed by the Emond’s Fielders’ attitude towards Moiraine. Sometimes they trust her, other times they look at her with suspicion. Oh we need protection from Trollocs or the Dark One? “Moiraaaaiiine, HEEELP.” Oh but she’s an Aes Sedai, “WHAT A MANIPULATIVE SNAKE.” The fact that she’s even saving them at all should elicit some kind of trust, and the fact that she risks herself to do so. I get that she’s stronghanded and secretive, and sometimes cold, but that is severely outweighed by the good she does for them. She’s literally the best hope they have at surviving, and the most informed on matters regarding the Dark One, Wheel of Time, One Power, etc. Surely the suspicion should have at least faded a bit by the time they reach book 2… I don’t want them to completely trust her, I just don’t like that they treat her like some kind of dangerous animal.

 

It doesn’t help that she’s our first real introduction to Aes Sedai. I think this was handled poorly by the story. We’re told that Aes Sedai are scheming, dangerous, responsible for destruction, etc. But the first one we see is seemingly compassionate, level-headed, helpful, etc. We as readers aren’t even given enough to hate or distrust Aes Sedai like the rest of the world supposedly does, and that’s why it’s annoying to read the Emond’s Fielders treating their only true companion like shit. Realistic as their prejudice might be, it’s still frustrating, and it’s hard to get on with the prejudice as a reader. It’s a bit overboard for me. 
 

If the story wanted us to be suspicious of Moiraine, it should have made her way more shady, less helpful, less likeable, etc. Maybe that’s just me tho. Moiraine and Lan are by far my favorite characters so far. 

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These are villagers from a geographically isolated region who are consistently suspicious of all outsiders.  Even people from Taren Ferry one days journey north have a bad reputation, and tinkers, merchants and their guards are kept at arms length (even regular visitors like Padan Fain).  They are not cosmopolitan even to the extent that those from major cities in their own world are (and those are still suspicious of outsiders  or nurse unreasonable prejudice against traditional enemies e.g. Tear and Illian).  They are a massive way away from our 21st century liberal tolerance. 

The inconsistency you note of turning to the more familiar strangers (Moiraine and Lan and even Thom) against outside threats and then remaining worried about them is perfectly reasonable when considered against their lifetime indoctrination against trust of outsiders.

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I shared your reaction to this, like you said as a reader you don't have much reason to distrust Aes Sedai and Morraine is definitely on the good side... As the books progress and we get a better understanding of White Tower politics, the kind of severe distrust many people in that world have of Aes Sedai starts to make more sense. You see how they are incredibly entitled in their assumption that the world should run according to their will, they will prioritize their own interests as Aes Sedai and the good of the white tower over almost anything, they are scheming and secretive, hierarchical and elitist, etc. Pretty miserable lot. But you are right that as readers, you don't really see that in the first 2-3 books....

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On 8/5/2022 at 9:15 PM, Goji said:

Okay so I’m a fairly new reader (up to ch 7 in the Great Hunt, so please no spoilers beyond that) and already I’m severely annoyed by the Emond’s Fielders’ attitude towards Moiraine. Sometimes they trust her, other times they look at her with suspicion. Oh we need protection from Trollocs or the Dark One? “Moiraaaaiiine, HEEELP.” Oh but she’s an Aes Sedai, “WHAT A MANIPULATIVE SNAKE.” The fact that she’s even saving them at all should elicit some kind of trust, and the fact that she risks herself to do so. I get that she’s stronghanded and secretive, and sometimes cold, but that is severely outweighed by the good she does for them. She’s literally the best hope they have at surviving, and the most informed on matters regarding the Dark One, Wheel of Time, One Power, etc. Surely the suspicion should have at least faded a bit by the time they reach book 2… I don’t want them to completely trust her, I just don’t like that they treat her like some kind of dangerous animal.

 

It doesn’t help that she’s our first real introduction to Aes Sedai. I think this was handled poorly by the story. We’re told that Aes Sedai are scheming, dangerous, responsible for destruction, etc. But the first one we see is seemingly compassionate, level-headed, helpful, etc. We as readers aren’t even given enough to hate or distrust Aes Sedai like the rest of the world supposedly does, and that’s why it’s annoying to read the Emond’s Fielders treating their only true companion like shit. Realistic as their prejudice might be, it’s still frustrating, and it’s hard to get on with the prejudice as a reader. It’s a bit overboard for me. 
 

If the story wanted us to be suspicious of Moiraine, it should have made her way more shady, less helpful, less likeable, etc. Maybe that’s just me tho. Moiraine and Lan are by far my favorite characters so far. 

 

They know absolutely nothing about Aes Sedai and all the stories they learn in their backwater are that Aes Sedai are dangerous and not to be trusted.  Even after Moiraine and Lan save Emond's Field from the Trollocs some of the Coplins and Congars scrawl The Dragon's Fang on the Inn door and demand that Moiraine and Lan leave or they'll burn them out.  Some of the stories they know say they are darkfriends, some even say the Aes Sedai were responsible for The Breaking of The World.  They are in awe of Moiraine but also afraid of her and fear being caught up in Aes Sedai schemes - even if they don't know what that means - almost as much as Trollocs or The Dark One.

 

Moiraine's issue is she offers help but also tells them little making them suspicious of her intentions.  Even everyman Thom is wary of Aes Sedai.  And they have dreams that tell them not to trust Aes Sedai - quite simply the three boys are being manipulated to distrust her.  From time to time she tells them she will not let The Dark One have them but it's clear she sees them as expendable in the last resort to deny The Dark One and that's got to be uncomfortable for a bunch of teenagers who have had their lives turned upside down. 

 

Imagine if Gandalf didn't explain anything about the ring to Frodo and instead of having a reputation for  making fireworks had a reputation for deception, manipulation and using people up in carrying out his schemes and at night the hobbits had nightmares that warned them that wizards were untrustworthy deceivers.  The Fellowship wouldn't have been a very comfortable one.

 

Also, Nynaeve is, well, Nynaeve, and she has her own reasons for disliking Moiraine.

 

I always liked Moiraine but one glimpse of Elaida or Liandrin who I think you've met and you can see why the suspicion or fear would be there.

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2 hours ago, Stedding Tofu said:

Even everyman Thom is wary of Aes Sedai. 

I wouldn't exactly call Thom an "everyman."  Though we don't find out just how much he isn't until later.  But we also find out fairly early on that he has a very specific personal reason to be wary of them.

 

He finds out later that it's it's just Reds who did him dirty, but at the beginning of the story he doesn't know that.  Since they had come and gone before he got to his nephew, and found what had happened.

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5 hours ago, Andra said:

I wouldn't exactly call Thom an "everyman."  Though we don't find out just how much he isn't until later.  But we also find out fairly early on that he has a very specific personal reason to be wary of them.

 

He finds out later that it's it's just Reds who did him dirty, but at the beginning of the story he doesn't know that.  Since they had come and gone before he got to his nephew, and found what had happened.

 

Yes but Goji is a first time reader a little into TGH so Thom, who shuffles off stage at Whitebridge, appears as a knowledgeable and well-travelled man, particularly compared to our country bumpkins, so his wariness reinforces their unease rather than helping to correct their preconceptions.

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As you will read later in the series, Moiraine is the archetypal Blue Ajah Aes Sedai : yes her life is dedicated to fight the Shadow and more, but it is not tempered by empathy. And Lan would be the same, he is very much the archetypal silent badass.

 

So yes, they are not accustomed to deal with teenagers (what with being on the road since 20 years) - and fail to take basic empathic approach to the "sheepherders". Both of them were born into high nobility and never interacted casually even with their own family. And they are from very different countries than the Two Rivers.

 

It's not that Robert Jordan failed to create the ultimate sorceress with Moiraine : he designed her exactly as needed so they would be wary, but with very good reasons. Exactly as intended.

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On 8/7/2022 at 4:12 AM, Stedding Tofu said:

 

Yes but Goji is a first time reader a little into TGH so Thom, who shuffles off stage at Whitebridge, appears as a knowledgeable and well-travelled man, particularly compared to our country bumpkins, so his wariness reinforces their unease rather than helping to correct their preconceptions.

My bad.  I missed how early Goji is in the story.

At least Thom has already told some of the story of Owyn, which explains his mistrust of the Aes Sedai.  And we also know his mistrust is tempered by his knowledge, as evidenced by him being the one that suggested Moiraine as being able to save Tam's life.

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2 hours ago, JyP said:

As you will read later in the series, Moiraine is the archetypal Blue Ajah Aes Sedai : yes her life is dedicated to fight the Shadow and more, but it is not tempered by empathy. And Lan would be the same, he is very much the archetypal silent badass.

 

So yes, they are not accustomed to deal with teenagers (what with being on the road since 20 years) - and fail to take basic empathic approach to the "sheepherders". Both of them were born into high nobility and never interacted casually even with their own family. And they are from very different countries than the Two Rivers.

 

It's not that Robert Jordan failed to create the ultimate sorceress with Moiraine : he designed her exactly as needed so they would be wary, but with very good reasons. Exactly as intended.

And of the two of them, it's actually "Stone Face" Lan who treats the youngsters in the most personable way.  The weapon training is a big aspect of it, even as it helps move them beyond being the youngsters they started out as.

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14 hours ago, JyP said:

So yes, they are not accustomed to deal with teenagers (what with being on the road since 20 years) - and fail to take basic empathic approach to the "sheepherders". Both of them were born into high nobility and never interacted casually even with their own family. And they are from very different countries than the Two Rivers.

Lan never had a chance to interact with his family due to his age at the fall of Malkier.  But why would you say that Moiraine never interacted with her own family.  I doubt that is true and am wondering where you get it from.

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I didn't say they never interacted with their own family, but that they never interacted casually. Lan was treated as a king (a uncrowned battle king of the Malkieri) from birth, and Moiraine was from very high nobility in Cairhien - you know how Cairhienins are 😉

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2 hours ago, JyP said:

I didn't say they never interacted with their own family, but that they never interacted casually. Lan was treated as a king (a uncrowned battle king of the Malkieri) from birth, and Moiraine was from very high nobility in Cairhien - you know how Cairhienins are 😉

Not being high nobility, I couldn't know.  But I'd think that even nobles let their guard down on occasion especially with family or close retainers - especially when younger.  Just the outside looking in perspective...

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Moirane is distrusted at the beginning because she is not from their village, and Aes Sedai have a bad reputation for manipulation. She barely shares information at the beginning and tells them a barely believable story, leaving the 5 in the dark and forcing them to depend on her to know what is coming. However, with the dangers they face, they often have no choice but to rely on her, as she is the only one knowledgeable and capable enough to handle the situation. All of the Emonds Fielders are distrustful of Aes Sedai, and that trend continues on throughout the books. You will see that the mistrust of Aes Sedai in general is not without reason, and is something that spans the continent. The Aes Sedai were responsible for the Breaking after all, even if it was just the men, and that is not something people would forget easily. 

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9 hours ago, Andra said:

Please keep in mind again that Goji is only into book 2.  There isn't a whole lot told to the readers yet about Moiraine's background except her family name and nationality.  There's nothing yet to say that she's any more than a distant relation to any nobles.

Who is Goji?  I don't see her/him listed in the WoT Companion.

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7 hours ago, Zorkay said:

Moirane is distrusted at the beginning because she is not from their village, and Aes Sedai have a bad reputation for manipulation. She barely shares information at the beginning and tells them a barely believable story, leaving the 5 in the dark and forcing them to depend on her to know what is coming. However, with the dangers they face, they often have no choice but to rely on her, as she is the only one knowledgeable and capable enough to handle the situation. All of the Emonds Fielders are distrustful of Aes Sedai, and that trend continues on throughout the books. You will see that the mistrust of Aes Sedai in general is not without reason, and is something that spans the continent. The Aes Sedai were responsible for the Breaking after all, even if it was just the men, and that is not something people would forget easily. 

I think the Emond's Fielders overall were far more trusting of Aes Sedai in the show than in the books - meaning the townsfolk in general (not necessarily the 5), especially after the attack.  'Sure, take our young ones with you...'

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1 hour ago, DojoToad said:

Who is Goji?  I don't see her/him listed in the WoT Companion.

 

*Dies laughing*

 

@Goji is the person who started this thread, @DojoToad

They have not read any further than read up to chapter 7 of the Great Hunt and therefore asks for this thread to be spoiler free.

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2 hours ago, Elgee said:

 

*Dies laughing*

 

@Goji is the person who started this thread, @DojoToad

They have not read any further than read up to chapter 7 of the Great Hunt and therefore asks for this thread to be spoiler free.

That would explain why Goji is not in the Companion.  Well don't I feel three kinds of stupid...  I misread @Andra's post.

🤪

Edited by DojoToad
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On 8/9/2022 at 7:14 AM, Andra said:

And of the two of them, it's actually "Stone Face" Lan who treats the youngsters in the most personable way.  The weapon training is a big aspect of it, even as it helps move them beyond being the youngsters they started out as.

Moiraine starts out as being an exotic beauty, and proves she's actually a major-league warrior, wielding magic to destroy an attack by monsters out of gleemen's tales. She gives help freely, even while Rand babbles that he's willing to pay any price ... to get his father back alive.

 

But once they're out of the Two Rivers, she pays them little attention, leaving the boys to stew over being "caught up" in an Aes Sedai's web. And according to the gleemen's tales, Aes Sedai's webs are easier to get into than get out of. She leaves the boys to Lan, while she concentrates on teaching Egwene how to gain some early control over the Power.

 

Moiraine isn't quite what she appears. Lan likewise, but he is willing to spend time with the boys, giving them some hints about how to make use of their weapons.

 

Even being lionized in Fal Dara after they've gone into the Blight, doesn't alter that by much.

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9 hours ago, DojoToad said:

That would explain why Goji is not in the Companion.  Well don't I feel three kinds of stupid...  I misread @Andra's post.

🤪

I suppose I could have been more clear about who I was talking about.  By, for instance, properly referring to a user name.

😊

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2 minutes ago, Andra said:

I suppose I could have been more clear about who I was talking about.  By, for instance, properly referring to a user name.

😊

All good. Thought he might have been a survivor from Tarwin’s Gap. 

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