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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Are the personalities in the WoT believable?


MrJekyll
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I have respect for Robert Jordan writing 'non bad guy' characters that are inherently unlikable, with real flaws and issues. He also writes from a very unique perspective for a fantasy novel - the thoughts of the characters. And those thoughts are sometimes less then interesting, but hey, not all my internal thoughts are deep and profound.

 

One things that's particularly interesting about this is that thought and action aren't always the same thing. So you can have a character saying "I think this and will act this way, and I don't give a damn what you have to say", but when the time comes, their actions are different then their thoughts.

 

I think that's why there are so many complaints about unlikable or unbelievable characters. I'm sure if we had access to someone's inner thoughts; not just the deep and profound but also the shallow and stupid; that they'd be unlikable as well. But sometimes, it feels like the characters in the Wheel of Time just aren't believable, and those thoughts they have are too out there.

 

Example:

Rand refuses to kill or harm a woman, even the Forsaken. This isn't in and of itself unusual; many men have an overdeveloped sense of honour and what is right, and the WoT world seems to have particularly sharp gender roles. However, he is the Dragon Reborn. His destiny is to fight 'the dark one'. Now rationally speaking, the refusal to kill a woman, even if her death might save the world, seems insane and inane (in the membrane). However, that is rational, and as a reader, I sometimes throw up my hands and think "Holy crap, just kill Lanfear and stop with the whining. She is evil! Her death will make your victory, upon which the fate of EVERYTHING rests, that much easier!" I find it annoying in the extreme Rand's over developed sense of the importance of women, which I find condescending and often ridiculous. However, that's just me, and that's me with a broader perspective on events then Rand would, in the middle of the story.

 

So, do you think Rand is a believable character, with his refusal, even with the world at stake, to harm a women?

 

Despite all I said above, I do see Rand as believable. I think it's perfectly plasible for someone in his situation (which would be shockingly overwhelming) to latch on to something that isn't perfectly rational to cope. Perhaps this helps him keep his touch on sanity and humanity (or he thinks it does). But regardless of what it actually does, I can honestly see someone reacting in the same way (blowing a small thing out of proportion to its importance in the grand scheme of things) when faced with something so enormous.

 

Example 2:

The Aes Sedai. Personally, I hate the lot of them. I'm currently listening to the audio book for Book 6, and finished the part when the 6 Aes Sedai get trapped in a nightmare in the dream world. They get trapped because they are so puffed up with self importance and belief that they know more then anybody else. The majority of Aes Sedai are pompous ninnies, and I sometimes loath to read (listen ;)) to sections of the book concerning them.

 

But ya know what ... I actually know people like this. A depressing number of people like this. Plus in the WoT world, Aes Sedai ARE power, for as long as legend goes. It would be hard not to become full of yourself, in such a situation, especially given the gender relationships across the rest of the WoT world. Plus, as in our world, just because a position is important doesn't mean someone who is intelligent or even competant will fill that role. It sometimes feels, more often then not, that the more incompetant you are, the further you go. That certainly holds true here, and is why I believe the Aes Sedai are also believable, if incredibly annoying to read about.

 

***

 

I think that's the feeling I have for most characters here. I can see them existing in this world with the same flaws they have in the Wheel of Time. It's just that having to read about them, and read their thoughts, isn't always the most enjoyable thing in the world.

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Frankly, yes. I major in Comparative Religion, which is essentially a course that studies history through peoples minds, social position and personal belief, and if it's taught me anything at all, its that people are capable of extreme mindsets--more specifically, people tend to focus around gender based establishments of power.

 

In a world where the highest social standing can only be held by a woman... yes, i completely see the basis of RJ's characters. In particular i like what he did with the Aiel... the gender balance established through the social machinism of power despite the reality of real streangth as held by the Wise One channelers... enacted perfectly.

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I don't want to parrot the words of Luckers and MrJekyll. However, I will add in my agreement to your posts, and also my appreciation to the esteemed Author, Mr. RJ. Also, I believe that, when readers understand the cultures of the cities and nations and lands which RJ has created and written about in intricate detail, then "believability" of the personality traits of RJ's major and minor characters in WoT becomes much more easier to see, accept, and even appreciate.

btw, MrJekyll, your OP of this thread is excellent, and well written. good job, :) and of course, Luckers contributed to a thread with another good post, too. :D

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I would have to say, on the subject of the men in this book, most are believable. Albeit not so likeable but believable. the women on the other hand well as RJ would say women are a great mystery. One that he evidently could not figure out, because the women in this book act like either children or men.

I have never encountered a woman such as any RJ portrays! For example, the women Rand are in to. Three strong, spirited, young, free, un-brain-washed women just say Ok we are sharing this guy and, that’s the end of the story. That is so retardedly fictional it’s absurd. No competition no fights no even deep down resentment? Are we talking about three men here, because no woman would act like this! Am I the only one who sees how little sense it makes? ???

As a side point dose anyone else think LAN’s is abusing Nyve? ;D

 

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Before the three of them bonded to Rand using the one power, there was quite a bit of thoughts among themselves as to whether or not that they would be willing to share Rand with the others. However, after spending enough time with each other to form a strong & deep bond of friendship, they all realized that they could all still be happy with the three of them all loving Rand equally to the same extent in which he loves the three of them.

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Plus let us not forget that Rand is fated to go mad and die ... very shortly. That would certainly change how the women react to others who love Rand as well. Sure, they could get in catfights and refuse to even consider 'sharing' the man they love, but the dude is going to be dead within the year and the fate of the world decided. Perhaps when faced with that, the three concubin ... I meant, the three lovely young ladies ... would be willing to put their jealousies aside and love Rand while he's there.

 

Plus let's not forget that there is an actual religion in the real world that has this exact situation (multiple wifes / one husband). Not saying if it's right or wrong (although it's wrong), but there is a real world precedent for this behaviour. It's been precedented, baby.

 

PS.

Thanks Vambram. :) I used to be a lot better at writing then I am now; I sometimes re-read my posts and think they are way too scattered, always jumping around from one subject to another without a strong central theme. It's been a couple years since I've had to write essays though (ok ok ... more then a couple of years!), so I'm really out of practice. But I have to admit, when it comes to using a semi-colon, I'm a viking.

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Plus let us not forget that Rand is fated to go mad and die ... very shortly. That would certainly change how the women react to others who love Rand as well. Sure, they could get in catfights and refuse to even consider 'sharing' the man they love, but the dude is going to be dead within the year and the fate of the world decided. Perhaps when faced with that, the three concubin ... I meant, the three lovely young ladies ... would be willing to put their jealousies aside and love Rand while he's there.

 

Rand's not actually gonna go mad anymore... well, at least its no longer certain. Additionally there are also some serious problems with the idea that he is fated to die as well...

 

Plus let's not forget that there is an actual religion in the real world that has this exact situation (multiple wifes / one husband). Not saying if it's right or wrong (although it's wrong), but there is a real world precedent for this behaviour. It's been precedented, baby.

 

I don't see how its wrong. If people find happiness in it, than what is the issue?

 

By the by polygamy has been practiced more consistantly that monogomy in all religions, including christianity, Judaism and Islam. It's not actually forbidden by any moral codes in those religions (well, it is for women (as in one woman having multiple husbands) in a lot of them, but meh).

 

The original reason we outlawed it as a society was mostly to stop village elders from marrying off young girls in a form of sanctioned slavary; and in modern terms it also has certain implications for taxation. But those issues arnt singular to the practice of polygamy--any unconcenting forced marriage as a method of legal prostitution is obviously wrong, and defacto partnerships influence all tax based issues.

 

I would have to say, on the subject of the men in this book, most are believable. Albeit not so likeable but believable. the women on the other hand well as RJ would say women are a great mystery. One that he evidently could not figure out, because the women in this book act like either children or men.

I have never encountered a woman such as any RJ portrays! For example, the women Rand are in to. Three strong, spirited, young, free, un-brain-washed women just say Ok we are sharing this guy and, that’s the end of the story. That is so retardedly fictional it’s absurd. No competition no fights no even deep down resentment? Are we talking about three men here, because no woman would act like this! Am I the only one who sees how little sense it makes? 

As a side point dose anyone else think LAN’s is abusing Nyve?

 

Umm. I've been engaged in a relationship like that... and if you think I'm not strong willed, young, free, unbrainwashed and all those other terms you tossed around... then lol. That would amuse me immensely.

 

The fact is that they wanted that relationship set up. Rather then destroy their friendship over a man, they maturely agreed to share them.

 

Love pretty much does what it wants, and if they are mature enough to be able to deal with that, I'd say they're much better off than you.

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Love pretty much does what it wants, and if they were mature enough to be able to deal with that, I would say they are much better off than you are.

Oh ouch but if we are being frank right now I definitely do not think I will marry for true love. I just do not believe in it. What people have are infatuations NOT Love. The concept of it makes no sense. Why do you think the divorce rate nowadays is so high? You guessed it- True Love matches!!!

The couple is in love and after a few years when it fades, they find they are not compatible and BOOM that screws that especially if there are kids involved. Besides men are masters at convincing. They know how and what to tell a girl at the right time - how do you think Rand landed with three girls?

Then one gets pregnant - not married mind you so the child is illegitimate bast...child. Because of this smart guy, and she is stuck with the child.

Now do not tell me that will not happen with Elaine. For G-d's sake Rand is destined to die. In addition, princess is stuck with an illegitimate kid funny how the world works. ;D

 

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Vambram I'd appreciate it if you kept our personal business off of the internet :D

 

Lol. Unsubtle much? I love it.

 

The concept of it makes no sense. Why do you think the divorce rate nowadays is so high? You guessed it- True Love matches!!!

 

Actually, sociologically speaking divorce rates are so high because the social stigma about divorce has faded from the social mindset.

 

As to that implying anything about the actual nature of love matches, yes, i would agree that many of them are false--resulting from lust, or the fear of lonliness, or the belief that we should be married, or at the very least in a commited relationship... but Niss, marriage and love are not the same thing. It is the formalisation of a romantic bond, it does not imply anything about the original nature of that bond or its strength.

 

Indeed, i would suggest that those that find their ways into relationships not recognized as the stereotypical relationship like marriage are stronger, and indeed that is precisely what we are talking about here. Elayne, Aviendha, Min and Rand experience a love so profound--not just male to female, but between each other as well--that they are able to step clear of all their upbringing and figure out a way to make it work.

 

Besides men are masters at convincing. They know how and what to tell a girl at the right time - how do you think Rand landed with three girls?

Then one gets pregnant - not married mind you so the child is illegitimate bast...child. Because of this smart guy, and she is stuck with the child.

Now do not tell me that will not happen with Elaine. For G-d's sake Rand is destined to die. In addition, princess is stuck with an illegitimate kid funny how the world works.

 

This is, forgive me, absurd. Aye, men have held a position of social power for thousands of years, and in most cultures women are either de-sexualized or vilinized for their sexual nature, whilst men rejoice in their own... but this perception of the women getting duped into serving men's sexual desires is completely innacurate. Women are just as sexual, and just as manipulative in seeking the gratification of these sexual beings.

 

And in this specific case? Rand didn't play these girls, Rand didn't push them to come to this conclusion, he didn't presure them, didn't manipulate them. He didn't choose his words with the intention of misleading, or redirecting them... indeed, of them all only Elayne ever did that. It was the girls that came together and decided it would happen, the girls that worked out the details, the girls that came to him and told him it would be this way. Prior to that he wasn't even aware of their plans.

 

Rand ended up with three girls because those three girls wanted it that way.

 

As for Elaynes pregnancy, she wanted that too. Her social position required an heir, and given the danger she faced, it required it soon. I mean honestly, where did you get all that about Elayne being 'stuck with the child'? The daughter will be the Daughter-Heir and the son will be the First Prince of the Sword. It's not like Elayne would be lacking in means to raise these children. Additionally, theirs is a society that seems to have no onus on the parents of a child being married. There is no question in anyones minds that Elayne's children will be her heirs, and they think Mellar is the father. The concept of illegitimacy is a silly one, so im afraid i really dont see the significance.

 

Honestly, you seem to be going into this looking for the way evil Rand manipulated these poor inept women. These are strong willed, intelligent women who fell in love, and did something about it. They are precisely where they wish to be, and in no way are they suffering from it.

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