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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Ji e Toh


bjclinton
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Okay, so I was on my way home from work today and I started thinking about Laman's Sin and the "Aiel War" that ensued and by the time I had worked through my logic, I can't help but find a bit of a paradox at the outcome. I'll explain:

 

From the 'wetlanders' stand-point, the Aiel War started when they poured over the Dragonwall, sacked Cairhien and went on their little rampage and then somehow were defeated and driven back.

 

From the Aiel stand-point, there was no war...they crossed the Dragonwall for one purpose and one purpose only: to punish King Laman for his sin as an oath-breaker. Now, to my knowledge, we do not know what Oath he broke exactly, but its pretty obvious that it was one of his ancestors to take care of the sapling from Avendesorla. Since King Laman cut it down to use as a throne, he broke that Oath.

 

Here's where I have a problem. Knowing that the Aiel live by the code of Ji e Toh, this is why they immediately stopped their killing and rampage once Laman had been executed. One can only assume that they felt they had properly preserved their honor and punished Laman for breaking an oath....what I dont understand when I really think about it, is knowing how Ji e Toh works, why do the Aiel refer to all Cairhien as Oathbreakers? Or more importantly, even acknowledge the sin anymore since their Toh had been met with the death of Laman? Its seems very contradictory from what we've seen of Aiel Culture. Starting in TSR, we truly get a taste of Aiel culture, and once someone incurs a loss of honor, once they settle their Toh, their prior loss of honor is never acknowledged- it is as if it never happened. In fact to bring it up would shame the person talking about it rather than the initial offender. They are also very hesitant to acknowledge the loss of honor that the "wetlanders" among them may incur. I don't have quotes for this, but I can clearly remember them feeling embarrassed by the wetlanders ignorances of honor and obligation, yet doubly so if anyone pointed them out. Yet all of that being said, it almost seems like it goes against Ji e Toh for them to still continue to refer to Laman's people as Oath Breakers and to continue to punish them verbally for the sin that he committed against the Aiel that he had been properly punished for.

 

I'm not sure if my thoughts are coming through as clearly as I want them to- its much easier to say them than to type them, due in large part to the complexity of this issue, but to me I will sum it up by saying this:

 

Its almost as if the Aiel are incurring Toh towards the Cairhien by continuing to shame them for something that was justly punished and (at the time) they felt as if they accomplished exactly what they needed to do in order to go back to the three-fold-land.....

 

I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on this. My first "devil's advocate" reaction is to say that since Wetlanders don't follow Ji e Toh, they can't be held to these very standards and thus have not fallen into the rules of this cultural way of life, however if that were the case, why do they also refer to Laman's sin as having been settled. Seeems a bit contradictory to me. I wish there was an Aiel in front of me right now....i'd have it out with him....

 

or her  ;D

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Laman broke an oath. The Tree of life was a friendship offering. By destroying it Laman dishonored himself. By not doing anything to punish Laman the Caihernan showed they were without honor. (Remember in those rare occasions a gaishen runs away before his 1 year of servitude is up his family/hold will forcibly return him to serve out his 1 year). Moreover since the tree was a friendship offering by not punishing Laman themselves the Caihernan showed that they were not only implicite in Laman's "sin" but that they repudiated the frienship with the iel. While Laman's personal sin was extinguished with his death the sin of the Cairhernan remains.

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Only thing I've always wondered was, the Aiel at sopme point in TSR say that since wetlanders don't follow Ji'e'toh that they are excused for offenses that would put an aiel in white. I always assumed that Aiel held the Cairhienen to a higher standard, and didn't really lump them in with the rest of the wetlanders. Still the way they blame everyone who is cairhienen, even the lowliest farmer seems unfair. Aiel, I think should at least try and realize that their are maybe 15 or maybe 50 people max who, were involved in the cutting of Laman's tree and that virtually no one can stop a king doing what he wants, or persuade him not to.

 

Idk i guess it would just suck to be a Cairhienen peasant and be mocked by the Aiel cause your dumb king cut down a tree, and you didn't stop him.

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Thats kind of the same point that i'm making Chel- we're definately on the same page here.....this would be a much better discussion verbally, because it takes too darn long to type it all out, to the short version is that the Aiel definately have very small, yet significant, inconsistencies w/ their code of honor and obligation....

 

for example, if the Aiel are considering the rest of the Cairhien just as guilty for not killing him, then why did they only kill and punish Laman. You would think that all the clans would have crossed the wall to whipe them off the map.

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Just because the Cairhienin didn't follow ji'e'toh, doesn't mean that the Aiel's ji'e'toh requires them to do nothing when their covenant gets spit on.  The Cairhienin knew that Avendoraldera was the token of the agreement that let them cross the Waste and trade.  If the Cairhienin had acted with honor (as the Aiel think of it), they would have taken Laman themselves, and given him to the Aiel.  But his people followed Laman into battle ... the Oath was with the people of Cairhien, and since they defended the main Oathbreaker, they became Oathbreakers themselves.  Not to the extent that the Aiel felt they needed to hunt down every person from Cairhien, but enough that they despise them.

 

Does it seem unfair?  To us, certainly.  But within its own context, it makes sense.  Aiel don't view their leadership in the same way that Randlanders do.  A lowly farmer wouldn't dream of even speaking to the King of Cairhien, no matter what he did.  Any Aiel would call his/her chief honorless if their chief had broken oath like Laman did.

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