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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Real life mythological and religious symbols in the Wheel of Time


aussie_ashaman123
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has anyone picked up on how many thing from history and mythology abound the Randland?

 

for example, the 3 women rand loves, elayne, aviendha and min. in briton mythology, the triple goddess was made of 3 seperate women, the maiden, representing fertility, (and who happens to be pregnant at the moment?) the warrior, and the wise woman, who all together form a greater whole than the sum of their parts.

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Actually it was the maiden, the mother and the crone. The Warrior was (usually) a male aspect of the Goddess, also sometimes represented as two figures himself, the Oak King and the Holly King, or the Summer King and the Winter King (in scandenavia). The rise and fall of the God, the sacrifice at Midwinter--life and death, the gifts of the Warrior.

 

But the link Maj provided is pretty comprehensive, though something that isn't mentioned there is the heavy Mahayana buddhist influence on the main epistemology of the Wheel--the idea of the Heroes, for instance, closely resembles the idea of the Boddhisatva, the figure that does not go on to Nirvana but chooses to return again and again so that he or she might help the world (the Dalai Lama for instance is the Boddhisatva of Mercy (Avalokitsvara)). And the very idea of the wheel itself, circular time that changes slightly with each turning to include all previous turnings, is very similar to an ancient Vedic concept called a Kalpass, or time the exists in a spyral.

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Guest The Thin Inn Keeper

Just a quick FYI -

 

Shai'tan (the Old Tongue(?) name for the D.O.) is a transliteration of the Arabic word for The Devil, in Arabic it's pronounced shy-tun.

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Quote:

 

Is Bela's name delibrately similar to the Latin word for war the primary form I believe is bella.

 

"Bella" is Italian/Spanish for beautiful.  "Bela" Lugosi was a Hungarian actor that played Dracula in the 1930's movies. "Bela" Abzug was 1960-s, 70's feminist/liberal New York Congresswoman.  Both Lujosi and Abzug were said to resemble a horses rear-end.  Where RJ got the idea for the name of the horse is unknown.

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Alot of ideas about "The Wheel of Time" reflecting various real world mythologies have been kicked around alot.  But here's one that I don't think has been considered before:

 

Nyneave = Lilith

 

For those not familiar with Lilith she is a figure of Hebrew legend who was said to be Adam's first wife.  The idea of Lilith came about because of the disparity in the two creation stories presented in "Genesis."  In the first story God creates human beings, both male and female, out of the clay of the earth.  In this story man and woman are created at the same time and none are given specific names.  In the second story God first creates Adam, the first man, from the clay of the earth and later creates the woman, Eve from Adam's rib.  The ancient Rabbis decided that because of this disparity that the woman created in the first story of creation must be a woman other than Eve.  The story goes the Adam and Lilith were both made from the clay of the Earth at the same time.  Lilith reasoned that because they were created at the same time that she was equal to Adam and basically found it unfair that she was always on bottom during sex. In her frustration she unttered the unspeakable name of God and as punishment Lilith was banished from Eden and turned into a demoness who haunted men's dreams and derived them of fertility (basically she became a sucubus).  After Lilith's departure Adam becomes lonley so God creates a more dosile woman, a woman whose proper role is defined as being submissive to the man.

 

So what does all this have to do with Nyneave?  Well, it is believed that Lilith was a Hebrew adaptation of the Babylonian storm goddess Ninlil.  Certainly Nyneave is not a sucubus, however, she certainly does consider herself to be the equal (if not superior to) any man and becomes quite frustrated when she is not treated as such.  Moreover, while Nyneave does not haunt men's dreams, she certainly has tormented many a man in the waking world (Mat, Mesema, Uno and Galad to name a few).   Here are a few other looser connections.

 

Lilith, like Nyneave, was portrayed as having a short fuse and a rather severe temper.

 

Ninlil is a storm goddess.  Nyneave was heavily involved in the search for and activation of the Bowel of Winds.

 

Lilith haunts men in their dreams. Nyneave frequently enters TAR (though admittedly walking in TAR and visiting and/or spying on men's dreams is more associated with Egewene than Nyneave).

 

Another possibility is that the name "Nyneave" is a combination of the names Ninlil and Eve, thus combining Adam's two wives into one character.  Thus Lan will not have two separate wives, but rather will have one wife who begins as a Lilith-like figure, but later, perhaps because of her feelings for him, will become more Eve-like.  This may indicate by the end of AMOL that Nyneave will become a more dutifull wife and will begin to find her more motherly side.  So is there any evidence that Nyneave is becoming less like Lilith-like and more Eve-like?  Well, throughout the story Nyn has come to appriciate her own femininity more and more as she has deveoped a fondness for pretty dresses and, though she would never admit it, she has found that she likes to show off her goods.  Moreover, she was married according to Sea Folk rules which has bound her to be submissive to her husband at least part of the time, just a Eve was bound to be submissive to her husband, Adam.  Jordan's unique twist on this legend is that it was not necessarly wrong for the woman to want to be equal to the man, thought perhaps here feirce, bullying (Lilith-like) ways were not the best way to go about it.  However, throught the sea folk marriage ceremony she finds a new sort of equailty with her man which involves the woman being submissive to the man at times, but unlike the case of Eve and Adam, also requires the man to be submissive to woman at times.     

 

 

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