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Gritting my teeth against Rand being so sexist


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Granted that the women have their own issues, but none of them are neurotic enough to compare to Rand, with his list of dead women.

 

Here is a site with a pretty good article on this Click here

 

 

The world of the Wheel of Time has a three thousand year history of subtle female domination. The cultures and characters are developed accordingly. In our world, perhaps, bristling relationships between men and women are not so commonplace... but Jordan has a unique view on society. He seems to suggest that men would have a much harder time accepting female dominance than women in our own culture have historically accepted male rule. There are nations in Randland where men are treated like second-class citizens. But Jordan is not catering his series to women exclusively. His male characters are equally strong, and it seems that his world is on the cusp of an era where balance will be restored, and men will reestablish their equality with women.

 

Granted, no females go around with a list of men who have died in their heads, but what they have done:

 

In Ebou Dar, and presumably other places, men are seen as second-class citizens.

 

Tylin forcing Mat to be her sex toy.

 

The catechism "There is no wind so strong..." trying to make it seem like men have the weaker powers

 

The numerous harrumphs, and frequent use of the word "Men," as a derrogatory term. (God, there are innumerable examples)

 

Tracing the succession through females (in Andor).

 

I'll have to compose a list later, but you get the idea...

 

 

 

 

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The world of the Wheel of Time has a three thousand year history of subtle female domination. The cultures and characters are developed accordingly. In our world, perhaps, bristling relationships between men and women are not so commonplace... but Jordan has a unique view on society. He seems to suggest that men would have a much harder time accepting female dominance than women in our own culture have historically accepted male rule. There are nations in Randland where men are treated like second-class citizens. But Jordan is not catering his series to women exclusively. His male characters are equally strong, and it seems that his world is on the cusp of an era where balance will be restored, and men will reestablish their equality with women.

 

Damn, that guy is optimistic. Given human nature, I'd expect the reestablish of a patriarchal society. Not immediately of course, but slowly but surely. Only the prospect of a rapid technological development in the next few centuries is likely to prevent it.

 

 

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Actually, that was a woman. ;)

 

Anyways, I think she was going on the assumption that the ability for females to channel would ensure that there would not be a patriarchal society, that they would at least be considered equal.

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By the way, Masharia, check your messages. I sent you one. I assume if you didn't know how to quote, you will need help finding that too.

 

At the top of the screen, in the middle, right above where it says

"Dragonmount Forums > Wheel of Time > General Wheel of Time Discussion > Gritting my teeth against Rand being so sexist"

there will be something that says "My messages." Click on that, then scroll down to see the message I left. There should be a reply button, just like on a regular post.

 

 

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Actually, that was a woman. ;)

 

Anyways, I think she was going on the assumption that the ability for females to channel would ensure that there would not be a patriarchal society, that they would at least be considered equal.

 

In her domestic violence section, she uses the example of Perrin spanking Faile, but didn't he do that because she threw china at his head? Also she doesn't make mention of the straps that Far Madding women carry around.

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1) Read some psychology.

So, basically, you can't defend your views?

 

2) Rand's issue with the Maidens predates being trapped in the chest.

Exactly. Because he, like Mat and Perrin, were raised to believe that they should lay down their lives for any woman. It's not only his issues with Maidens that predates his being trapped in the chest, it's his issues with all women. Remember that little incident at the docks, in FoH? How he couldn't even hurt Lanfear? That's a product of his upbringing, plus his growing mental instability. Lanfear has nothing to do with his mother.

 

 

Way to cop out there, BranFire. ;) Instead of actually saying something meaningful in defense of your beliefs, you simply refer him to a psychology book.

I'm a her ;)

 

More "important"? Give me a break. We protect children and the elderly because they are more vulnerable than adults in their prime years. To put women in the group that needs protection is to say that we are also more vulnerable. And that is an incredibly false generalization. In our world and WoT.

I could be wrong, but I think what they were trying to say is that women were an absolute necessity for a stable society, especially in the WoT world. Infant mortality rates would have been very high, and many women would have died in childbirth. There was no infant formula, so breastfeeding was a necessity. So the protection of women was more for the continuation of society, and not so much because of vulnerability.

 

But, again, I could be wrong :P

 

Granted that the women have their own issues, but none of them are neurotic enough to compare to Rand, with his list of dead women.

None of them have a dead man in their heads, either. He wouldn't have the list at all if it weren't for LTT and the other trauma he's been through. Give the poor, insane guy a break ;)

 

In her domestic violence section, she uses the example of Perrin spanking Faile, but didn't he do that because she threw china at his head? Also she doesn't make mention of the straps that Far Madding women carry around.

Yeah...I think I've read that article before, and it's riddled with factual errors about the books and omissions of things that don't agree with her theory. In that particular example, she ignores the fact that Faile wants Perrin to be hard on her because, according to Saldea's bizarre customs, only weak women are treated gently, in the way Perrin usually wants to treat her. For her, it's not a matter of submission (I can't imagine Faile submitting to anything she doesn't already agree with), it's a matter of knowing that her husband doesn't view her as weak.

 

In Ebou Dar, and presumably other places, men are seen as second-class citizens.

Far Madding is another one. They reduce their men to what are essentially trophy husbands, who will spend their lives being cared for economically and emotionally.

 

I won't quote the rest of your post, but I essentially agree with it. Sexism towards women in Wot is pretty much limited to, "it's impossible to understand women," and a desire to protect women physically, in certain societies. Sexism towards men typically includes men being seen as mentally and intellectually inferior to women. Aside from the Reds, Egwene is the most sexist character in the books, followed by Nynaeve and Elayne.

 

Well, as I said, she is a woman. ;)

This unbelievably sexist comment -- which I hope is only a joke -- makes me wonder, did you refer to me as a "him" earlier because you assumed that anyone disagreeing with Mashiara must be male? Even though I'd already referred to myself as a woman in a previous post? Or was it a completely unrelated mistake? Be honest :P

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Granted that the women have their own issues, but none of them are neurotic enough to compare to Rand, with his list of dead women.

None of them have a dead man in their heads, either. He wouldn't have the list at all if it weren't for LTT and the other trauma he's been through. Give the poor, insane guy a break

 

You're saying give him a break because of all those things he's going through. That I understand, but I don't think everyone else is attributing that "list" to Rand's issues.

 

 

More "important"? Give me a break. We protect children and the elderly because they are more vulnerable than adults in their prime years. To put women in the group that needs protection is to say that we are also more vulnerable. And that is an incredibly false generalization. In our world and WoT.

I could be wrong, but I think what they were trying to say is that women were an absolute necessity for a stable society, especially in the WoT world. Infant mortality rates would have been very high, and many women would have died in childbirth. There was no infant formula, so breastfeeding was a necessity. So the protection of women was more for the continuation of society, and not so much because of vulnerability.

 

But, again, I could be wrong

 

Somehow I doubt "important" refers to: we need the women around so they can have lots of babies.

 

 

 

The article was interesting, but I don't really agree with much of what she says. I understand that Randland is sexist in not just one direction. I don't condone the situation in Ebou Dar or Far Madding either. 

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I'm not getting on Rand's case more than everyone else's just because he may be more sexist than the next guy/gal. (Believe it or not, my heart does go out to the poor guy.) The thing is that even if others believe as he does, they don't have the kind of power he has. It's one thing to feel a greater pang when a woman dies for him than when a man does, but it becomes very serious when Rand lets his actions follow those feelings.

 

He couldn't kill Lanfear...look what that got. If he could redo the scene he still wouldn't be able to kill her.

 

If Colavere had been a man, she most definitely would have gotten death penalty. It's to the point where he lets his feelings obstruct justice.

 

There are lots of other examples that I can find once Amazon ships me my WoT books.  :)

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This unbelievably sexist comment -- which I hope is only a joke -- makes me wonder, did you refer to me as a "him" earlier because you assumed that anyone disagreeing with Mashiara must be male? Even though I'd already referred to myself as a woman in a previous post? Or was it a completely unrelated mistake? Be honest

 

lol. Believe me, I was joking.

 

Also, it was an unrelated mistake, I wasn't thinking about your gender when I said that to Brainfire.

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Also, it was an unrelated mistake, I wasn't thinking about your gender when I said that to Brainfire.

Okie dokie, then :P I think I need to put "I am female" back into my signature, or get an avatar with a woman's face. Or...something.

 

You're saying give him a break because of all those things he's going through. That I understand, but I don't think everyone else is attributing that "list" to Rand's issues.

Is this a popularity vote? ;) What should be important to you is whether you believe that Rand's list-making (and associated behavior) is due to his psychological problems or not. Honestly, I'd like to see someone try to argue that it isn't. Rand didn't start keeping a list until after LTT made his presence known, until after he'd been kidnapped. Healthy people simply don't torture themselves the way Rand does.

 

Somehow I doubt "important" refers to: we need the women around so they can have lots of babies.

Well...I meant more like, protect that which is necessary for the survival of society. Or maybe these men see baby-making as such a precious, spiritual thing that they feel the need to protect it. I don't know :P Hopefully, one of them will respond to explain themselves.

 

He couldn't kill Lanfear...look what that got. If he could redo the scene he still wouldn't be able to kill her.

I'm not disputing that his attitude causes problems. But wasn't your original argument that Rand is the most sexist because of his list? I'm just saying, that list isn't sexism, it's insanity.

 

Remember, also, that Rand did kill a female Darkfriend in TDR. Rather brutally, I might add. Killing someone you've been raised to protect probably helped put him over the edge, but the fact that he did kill her supports the idea that Rand's obsession with protecting women didn't reach dangerous levels until after his problems started.

 

If Colavere had been a man, she most definitely would have gotten death penalty. It's to the point where he lets his feelings obstruct justice.

I'm not a fan of inconsistency, but I'm also not a fan of the death penalty. At least Colavaere could have done some good if she was working on a farm. It isn't right that he sentences men to death and not women, but in this case, I'd call that being sexist against men, not against women.

 

It's possible that I'm forgetting some examples that would completely contradict what I'm about to say, but it seems like after his abduction, Rand has been less protective of at least women who can channel (though not the Maidens). I'm thinking of the Aes Sedai who captured and tortured Rand. Perrin wanted to treat them mercifully, gently even. He didn't want to hand them over to the Wise Ones because he was afraid the Wise Ones would mistreat them. Rand, on the other hand, let the Wise Ones do pretty much whatever they wanted to.

 

There are lots of other examples that I can find once Amazon ships me my WoT books. :)

I don't doubt that there are :P Like I said, I don't deny that his attitude causes problems, I just think it's hard to fault him for something that is a consequence of his going batty.

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I don't think that anyone here is arguing that Rand's list is healthy.  It is a pathological reaction to his mental state.

 

But there is a big different between where Rand is (mentally ill), and societal imperatives for men to defend women physically.

 

Its very popular to say, nowadays, that "Anything a man can do, a woman can do too."

 

Physically, thats simply not the case, for the vast majority of people.  Thats why LeBron James and Diana Taurasi don't play in the same league.  Thats why Serena Williams doesn't have to play Roger Federer at Wimbledon.  Thats why every woman that gets pissed off at me for my smart mouth and punches me in the shoulder, stomach, or side of the head ends up being even madder at me for her hurt knuckles or wrist.

 

Technology has allowed for a great deal of equalization between men and women, especially in the military sense.  Guns don't require great upper body strength.  Piloting a jet does not require hulking shoulders.  Running a computer targeting system does not require prodigious physical acumen.  But none of these things exist in Randland.  And channeling is only available to 1% of women ... and not all of those women even know it.

 

The women I respect and admire the most are the women who, rather than spending their time trying to prove "I can do anything a man can do," spend their time refining and honing their own abilities.  So what if you can't bench press 275 lbs?  Men and women complement each other, they're not meant (either by evolution or God, whichever you believe in) to be the same.  And neither can be said (accurately) to be "better" than the other.  They are simply different.

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He couldn't kill Lanfear...look what that got. If he could redo the scene he still wouldn't be able to kill her.

I'm not disputing that his attitude causes problems. But wasn't your original argument that Rand is the most sexist because of his list? I'm just saying, that list isn't sexism, it's insanity.

 

Remember, also, that Rand did kill a female Darkfriend in TDR. Rather brutally, I might add. Killing someone you've been raised to protect probably helped put him over the edge, but the fact that he did kill her supports the idea that Rand's obsession with protecting women didn't reach dangerous levels until after his problems started.

 

No no no. I'm don't mean Rand is necessarily more sexist than the others, just that since he has so much power, it has greater effects on peoples' lives (not to mention he's ta'veren too).

 

If Colavere had been a man, she most definitely would have gotten death penalty. It's to the point where he lets his feelings obstruct justice.

I'm not a fan of inconsistency, but I'm also not a fan of the death penalty. At least Colavaere could have done some good if she was working on a farm. It isn't right that he sentences men to death and not women, but in this case, I'd call that being sexist against men, not against women.

 

It's possible that I'm forgetting some examples that would completely contradict what I'm about to say, but it seems like after his abduction, Rand has been less protective of at least women who can channel (though not the Maidens). I'm thinking of the Aes Sedai who captured and tortured Rand. Perrin wanted to treat them mercifully, gently even. He didn't want to hand them over to the Wise Ones because he was afraid the Wise Ones would mistreat them. Rand, on the other hand, let the Wise Ones do pretty much whatever they wanted to.

 

I'm not talking about whether the death penalty was suitable or not. My only point here is that he wouldn't have her killed just because she was a woman. Whatever the law is, it should at least apply equally to all people.

 

==========================================================================================

I know a lot of people brought up that Randland is more like the 17th century than modern times, and it doesn't make sense to compare their attitudes with contemporary ones. So I do concede that that's a valid point.

 

 

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Chivalry isn't quite so irrational as many here seem to think. The practice of Chivalry originated during a time when females could be neither scholars nor warriors, because of this they were put on a pedestal for their own protection.

 

In WoT, men (at least the Two Rivers variety) believe it's their job to protect women since they are physically stronger and more ideally suited for combat. They also believe themselves guardians against those men who don't follow the system  and are likely to take advantage. Let's face it, some strong women may not appreciate protection, but the best guard against an underhanded male scheme is a man, since many of us think alike. Women also protect men in a similar way, men simply take the role much more seriously due to testosterone and other factors.

 

Then, of course, there is Rand. Rand sees a number of women die as a direct result of his actions, and for psychological reasons he largely takes the blame on himself. Not a healthy choice, especially since many of the women were warriors ready to lay their lives down for him in just such a way as they did. Is this sexism? I don't think so, Rand knows exactly how trained and capable the maidens are, he just can't take having a woman die for him.

 

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I believe women and men are equal in intelligence and other qualities, yet men have always been viewed as the "protector". When safety is concerned, the father figure usually steps in to defend his family.

 

So this is where Rand gets hung up. I think that when he sees these women (that he feels responsible for) dieing, he feels he has betrayed his "protector" status. My two cents.

 

On a lighter note, and not to sound sexist; women are less strong in general then men, which adds to the protector idea. I am still waiting to see a woman deadlift 800 pounds

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Tautologies abound, that is for certain.

 

In relation to the ongoing argument, I think certain posters would do well to separate the two realities we are dealing with here. RJ's gender relations are most interesting when they are seen as being inverted compared to our history, very generally speaking, but I do not think modern feminism/anti-sexism theory can be applied here without being very problematic. I certainly think it unnecessary and somewhat ridiculous to express fear of the fact that Rand's political power may help perpetuate the chivalric values held by many in the world of the Wheel. I think there is a confusing of realities here that is not doing a lot for this discussion. Any literary work should be discussed on its own terms. TWoT is not a contemporary piece, and thus I do not think it makes much sense to analyze its gender relations seen through the lens of how modern gender theory in some way is superior.

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There is nothing a man can do that a woman cannot.

 

Father Children. Done. See also, produce sperm and grow facial hair(except in cases of women with abnormal testosterone levels).

 

Also, in regards to the chivalry argument. I would have to agree with Jellybelly. We're discussing the WoT, but we aren't doing it on it's own terms. Isn't it possible that rather than Chivalry coming about due to men thinking women were weaker, or too valuable to lose (which is historically inaccurate as, during times of chivalry, common thought saw women, or at least wives, as little more than property), it came about due to the fact that they DO live in a matriarchal society?

 

Here's the reasoning: For nearly three thousand years the majority of Randland has been ruled by women. During this time the most powerful person on the continent has always been the Amyrilin seat. Now, before we go any further, we must address the issue of warders. Why do Aes Sedai have warders? It's simple, really. Aes Sedai are bound by the three oaths. They cannot channel to defend themselves unless they are attacked specifically (by the very wording of the oaths). Because of this they need someone who will stand between them and their assailants and even take damage for them if necessary. This is where the notion of Chivalry came from in the WoT.

 

Viewed in this light, isn't the men's inbred need to protect women actually sexist against men? It isn't done because men are 'stronger' or more 'powerful', it's done because women are 'more valuable' and require, dare I say, disposable protection. (fortunately the nature of the bond keeps Aes Sedai from forgetting that they aren't disposable, but nevertheless, the lower classes always mimic the upper, and the reminder isn't nearly that far reaching.)

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I think all of the Two Rivers folk and Andorans would, by our standards, be considered sexist.

 

I think it's interesting that polygamy has come up in this thread and in the article published earlier as an example of Rand, the Aiel and even RJ being sexist, but no where in this thread has it been mentioned what happens behind closed doors in the quarters of Green sisters. 

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  • 12 years later...
On 8/8/2007 at 2:45 AM, trakand01 said:

It isnt sexism in my book, its actually quite touching. He was raised to protect women (as the majority of the world should be) not to place them in situations of danger and certainly not to hurt them or cause harm to them. For so many women to have died because of him must be soul-destroying for him.

 

Remember - the books are not set in this world 2007 where women and men alike join the army, go out on the streets on a saturday night and fight, it is Randland, where the men go join the army, the women raise children and keep the home; that's just how it is. I'm sure he doesnt LIKE men dying for him but he understands that soldiers die. Soldiers are killed in battle. Women are not normally soldiers in his day and age and so they shouldnt die.

 

I really dont think we can apply too many modern 'isms' to the books - they are not meant to represent modern times, viewpoints are completely different and are meant to be. If we're going down that route Nynaeve and Elayne are incredibly sexist - they see men as lesser, stupid and not be left with too much responsibility. Not to mention the Reds, who take it just that step further...

 

I also agree with Zardi - the experience that he and LTT combined have had of women dying for and because of him must cause some sort of mental 'issue'!

But why should this treatment apply to the Forsaken? Even in his mentally unstable state, he can surely separate them from regular people. I just started reading book 12, so I don't know everything that happens yet....but how would he treat Aran'gar, for example, when he finds out she used to be a guy? Would he feel easier killing her? It's just dumb that he doesn't even want to hurt Semirhage who had likely caused more pain and suffering than a thousand trollocs and their myrddraal. So if a woman is about to kill 20 men on the spot, would he just let her because she's a woman and they are men? Ugh...it bugs me.

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On 8/8/2007 at 4:53 PM, Mashiara O Aan.a--ein said:

Why is Rand so ridiculously sexist?  ??? That whole list of women whose deaths he blames himself for is way overkill. I don't understand why he feels worse for the death of a darkfriend woman than for a loyal Aielman who died for him. It just makes no sense that he can't kill a woman but can kill a man. It's driving me nuts...if it was just Rand I could attribute it to a thick skull, but Perrin and Mat seem to harbor the same feelings! Does anyone understand that whole "worse to kill a woman" thing? It just seems so fake to me. How dare he base his level of guilt for a death on gender!  >:(

 

It's almost insulting, as if he believes the woman did not stand as good of a chance. The Maidens seem to get a tad frustrated with this, but they don't sweat over it. If anyone can possibly explain Rand's attitude, please do, because my brain will soon turn to mush fuming over it.

 

There's something I read in a book on primatology and anthropology, about the way a troupe of baboons moves, with the males on the outside (where they face predators) and the females and the young on the inside of the group. Evidently baboons are sexist.

 

It's not general ignorance of social anthropology and gender relations that bothers me so much as general ignorance of gender relations in various species. We humans are not an island, but some of us think we are a sizeable peninsular - which we're not. One of our surviving co-pongids, the chimpanzee, is an outright patriarchal outfit; the other one, the bonobo, is a matriarchal outfit.

 

And it is an unpleasant and uncomfortable fact that males are generally more expendable than the females - one virile young man can populate a village in his lifetime, but each woman can only produce a limited number of offspring. (I think the limit is about 14, and that is with modern medical care and technology. Childbirth is quite a risky business - the New Zealand Maori have the proverb : "He puta taua ki te tane, he whanau tamariki ki te wahine" - the battlefield for man, the childbed for woman. Indicating where each gender was most likely to find an early death.)

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Currently in my rereading of WoT, I'm in TSR, and Rand hasn't started, or hinted, his list yet. Lanfear reveals herself to him, he does attack her, and she does over power him since he really still doesn't know what he is doing. Several woman and children have died, some Maidens, and he hasn't yet started carrying the guilt about it he does later. 

 

Also, the whole truth about who he is to the Maidens has yet to be revealed. It was mentioned  earlier that "the list" could be more on a psychological condition, and I can agree it looks sexist, I believe it's more a development of psychological stress, on top not having a mother figure in his life, (the village women maybe, but it seems like they didn't them as "their son"). The early books don't really show that much of an extreme in Rand. He picks up, shields, and damn near threatens Egwene and Elayne early in the TSR and on feels regret for not having full control yet over his powers. 

 

So, my two cents, Rand is under severe stress with a predisposition to protect women since the mothers in life have either been none existant or have died.

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On 7/6/2020 at 9:02 PM, Kalessin said:

 

There's something I read in a book on primatology and anthropology, about the way a troupe of baboons moves, with the males on the outside (where they face predators) and the females and the young on the inside of the group. Evidently baboons are sexist.

 

It's not general ignorance of social anthropology and gender relations that bothers me so much as general ignorance of gender relations in various species. We humans are not an island, but some of us think we are a sizeable peninsular - which we're not. One of our surviving co-pongids, the chimpanzee, is an outright patriarchal outfit; the other one, the bonobo, is a matriarchal outfit.

 

And it is an unpleasant and uncomfortable fact that males are generally more expendable than the females - one virile young man can populate a village in his lifetime, but each woman can only produce a limited number of offspring. (I think the limit is about 14, and that is with modern medical care and technology. Childbirth is quite a risky business - the New Zealand Maori have the proverb : "He puta taua ki te tane, he whanau tamariki ki te wahine" - the battlefield for man, the childbed for woman. Indicating where each gender was most likely to find an early death.)

14? Keep going, the record is 69 to a 18th Century Russian woman in 27 seperate pregnancies 4x4,7x3,16x2. There are 8 recorded cases of woman with more than 40, but all these where pre 1800 so there may be some exaggeration. 
There is actually a TV reality show about a couple who have something like 20 kids as well.

Edited by Harldin
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Guys can i make a suggestion. Check the dates of the last post before replying. There is a 13 year gap between posts here. Probably absolutely pointless replying to a post made before Brandon Sanderson had even been asked to write the last 3 books and the person who wrote that post hasn’t posted in 11 years. 

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