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The Devil has the best tunes - Why I love WOT

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Now I know that title is gonna confuse a few people but let me explain.


I think it's often the things in life which invoke emotions in us which we like the most.


The Wheel of Time books bring out some of the strongest emotions in me of any books I've ever read. I can honestly say I dislike roughly 80% of the characters in the WOT and it's this hatred which makes the books so appealing. I think it's due to the absolute quality of the writing that makes me emotionally link to the books and brings out all the anger and dislike.


I know we've had plenty of people saying who they hate so I won't go into too many details but I can't stand the following in order of emotional response:









All the above make me just make me rant and rave, due in no small part to the high quality of the characterisations. If they weren't realistic and I didn't know women like them in real life I don't think I would dislike them as much. I read (devour) each chapter they appear in hoping nasty things happen to all of them and cheering when someone gets one over on any of them.


However while I do love to read about the people I like I think it's the thrill of being able to let out all my negative emotions out on the characters I hate. I feel justified in hating them all as they're so obnoxious (due again to the awesome quality writing), and it's here I link it back to my title, it's often the things we hate most that fascinate us the most.


I read WOT hoping the next page will show all the above characters brought humbly down to earth with the rest of the mere mortals in the story. I want them all to admit that us men are useful for something and not simply to be used as either tools or cannon fodder. I hope they all stop being Female Chauvanist pigs. Finally I want Mat to finally get one over on Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve and for them to admit he actually knows something and he's not 10 any more.


On the flip side (and to show I'm not a woman hater), I really like the following characters:


    Rand (Obviously)







And finally, I have to say I'm lucky enough to be married to Min, my wife is very similar to her in her attitude to life and her general outlook and I think I'm the luckiest man on the planet to be married to her.


Just my 10p worth anyway, and I'll keep reading the WOT in the vain hope that somehow the story will have changed and the people I can't stand will somehow get their comeuppance  ;D




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I actually enjoyed reading this post, because I agree with what you are saying. I too hate most of the female characters that you listed on your own hate list, but the only thing I don't agree with you, or have different opinion on, is what I like. I like when Rand steps down his foot, and drag down all the nobles back to the earth, I just love it! Also, when Rand and the others all get strategist, and plan how to defeat the enemy, I just read on, and cant stop reading, because I love strategy so much, that I enjoy every word!

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Guest Dreadlord

I understand what you are saying, but I must say that in comparison to how many cool male characters there are, there are virtually no decent females.


Take note of the IN COMPARISON bit though. There are female characters that I like. Moiraine is by far my favorite female character, the "mysterious Aes Sedai" that everyone is wary of at the start, who turns out to be the only Aes Sedai Rand can really trust. Nynaeve and Aviendha are my second and third favorites, I can't decide who comes second. Nynaeve is great, BECAUSE she is the bossy, sexist woman she always has been, and she is the only female that has a right to be like that-the youngest Wisdom the Two Rivers has ever seen. I like Aviendha because she is a female warrior. I think the Aiel are great, and Aviendha for a while was the main Aiel character (not counting Rand, of course).


Egwene, Elayne, Faile... they are all the same. THEY PISS ME OFF! And I dont mean this in a good way. I almost feel like, when reading any of their PoVs, that the only way you know whose eyes you are looking through is because their names are typed on the paper I am looking at. I could easily identify Rands PoVs from Mats, for example, if their names werent on the paper. All the "bloodys," all the anti-being-a-lord stuff, all the gambling metaphors, they set Mats personality apart from Rand, with his sense of duty, paranoia and cynical thoughts of himself being a madman. Do you see what I mean? All I seem to remember from Faile, Elayne and Egwene are them calling men stubborn and acting like a seven year old spoilt *insert swear word here.* Not all females should be so bossy and annoying. Nynaeve has a reason to be like that, the others just annoy me and make me wish they would just die, especially Faile as you all probably know by now.

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The females in WOT are not intended to be anything like real women. Their bossy, unrelenting attitudes are apparent in all cultures; they are the logical conclusion in a world broken by men. Men committed a terrible act three thousand years ago that people haven't forgotten, and each time a male starts channeling and hurts someone, that mentality is reinforced.

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I was really miserable this morning. Thank you Zarachiel for cheering me up.


I read WOT hoping the next page will show all the above characters brought humbly down to earth with the rest of the mere mortals in the story.


I generally read a book and hope that some horrible misfortune befalls the evil characters-but then that would be because I dislike the evil characters. If you don't like the supposedly good characters then its only natural to want something to happen to them too, I guess.


But there have been a number of instances where nice things HAVE happened to those people on your list-especially Elayne in KOD-nobody listens to her commands without approval from Birgette first! hehe.


Dreadlord, why do you say that Nynaeve has 'a reason to be like that?'


I do like Nynaeve overall. But, as someone pointed out to me on a different forum, a person's braid unravells when tugged and so people possessing such things do not usually tug on it. ;D



And finally, I have to say I'm lucky enough to be married to Min, my wife is very similar to her in her attitude to life and her general outlook and I think I'm the luckiest man on the planet to be married to her.



:o How many knives does she have up her sleeves?


The females in WOT are not intended to be anything like real women. Their bossy, unrelenting attitudes are apparent in all cultures; they are the logical conclusion in a world broken by men. Men committed a terrible act three thousand years ago that people haven't forgotten, and each time a male starts channeling and hurts someone, that mentality is reinforced.


I'm pretty sure the female attitude does NOT come from the fact that male channelers went mad and broke the world. And the frequency of finding a male channeler is very very low indeed so there are not many chances of that 'reinforcement.'

There should be a mass guy rebellion. A few months wearing Seanchan collars could work wonders. Especially for the married ones. ;D

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I hate Egwene. No, wait, I despise her. She is a total *^&(#)U don't want to know%*&*(&.


Yeah, I read most of the WOT books hoping she will be finaly put down or humiliated.I hoped, either Rand or Mat will be the one to bring her in line.

But unfortunately that never happened. Now I am dreading the last book, waiting to see how she become "Cool" and all her fan go all moon eyed about it.

The most appaling aspect is Elaid's fortelling. Rand will be "cowed by her" in the last book.

No don't tell me he won't, I know it say's Amyrlins wrath..but think of all the confrontation between Rand and Egwene, she never hesitated to do so.It is obvious that her wrath will humiliate Rand. And Cady will go all moon eyed over her, oh...she is just like me...oh, how extraordinarily she berated the boy...bravo Egwene...and then Cady announcing...I didn't think I will like you Egy, but now that I see how super duper cool you are, you will be the greatest and coolest amyrlin...ever.And alas, the Story which began with dragon as the central and primarly active charcter will end with him being a mere mascot.


I never thought I will hate any character in my life so much.Come to think of it, if there comes a time when she fight with a black ajah, I will honestly support the black ajah. "Go Dark one Go".



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Funny to come in here and read your post.  I am still working my way through the series for the first time and am just past halfway through The Fires of Heaven and was planning to post how the female characters seem to have taken over the story!


I have to agree that most of them are annoying, particularly Nynaeve and Elayne and frankly, I don't think they're written very well either - I mean how many "sniffs" can one girl use in an average day and have it still mean anything - or "hands on hips" or "pull on braid" or "fold arms under breasts."  And this whole thing with how much bosom to show or not to show?  The females tend to be more caricature than the rest for some reason.  Even the Aiel women, who imho, are far more interesting than the annoying wetlanders, sniff and snort and seem to do all the cliche' female things. 


And yet I read on - why?  Because just when I think this series is getting rutted in predictability and falling back on the old fantasy cliche's he throws in some subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) twist of fortunes - like Rand and Avhienda little tryst in the igloo - who saw that coming?  Okay, maybe I did, but still, the whole Elaine, Min, Avhienda love triangle - no clue where this is going. 


As for the male characters - most are just as annoying, in fact, the only male character I really, really like is Mat.  Maybe it's the hat.

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I see a lot of stuff on these boards about how people HATE ( choose one or any combination of ) Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne.


Mostly that's based off of how they treated Mat on a couple of occasions when he saved their bacon.


Consider that Elayne doesn't really know Mat.  She takes her cue from Egwene and Nynaeve who do.  In fact, both ladies have just about a whole lifetime's experience with young Master Cauthon, who is the closest thing to a juvenile delinquent ( short of a Coplin ) that Emond's Field could produce.


Neither of them is about to admit how far ahead, after all those years, Mat had gotten in the Gotcha Game.


So, when Mat comes along and pulls them out of a couple of scrapes, they cash a couple of Payback Chips.  Human nature.  What goes around comes around.  Since they each are probably still sitting on at least 50 more Payback Chips, when it comes to those two, it's gonna suck to be Mat for a good long time yet.


And ... he brought it all on himself.

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You know, there are a few things that came to mind when I read this thread...


The first is, how many of the female WoT fans dislike the women? How many of them think the women are portrayed unrealistically (based on the environment they live in, and the mileau RJ built...which is world  where "men almost destroyed everything"...seriously, part of the concept of this story is 'what would happen if the most powerful people on earth were women and men had caused a catastrophic disaster in the distant past"...that is a paraphrase, but true)


Second, how many males who read WoT dislike the women? How many of them think the women are portrayed unrealistically (based on the same situation as above)


Finally, Brandon Sanderson has a really good blog post on his website about what he believes makes the Sci-fi/fantasy genre unique and worthwhile in an all-encompassing 'good for society' fashion... In short, he said that traditional "literature"...that is to say, the great works of prose which are held up as examples for generations, decades, and even centuries as 'great writing' tend to engage the mind.


Fantasy especially, in Sanderson's opinion (and I agree) allows us to engage our emotions. It not only engages the reader's emotions but if written well it will allow the reader to better understand the emotional state of characters that are nothing like themselves. It is this ability to open someone's eyes and really give them the chance to 'walk in someone else's shoes' that makes fantasy great... Sure the magic and the monsters and the epic battles and challenging riddles, etc etc are great, and fun, but what it comes down to is... great fantasy is about great characters and the conflicts they experience with themselves and the other great characters in the book.


I have noticed for a long time that many my friends and family members do not seem to have the capacity for empathy that I have...and it has frustrated me... Why is it when someone does something which most people see as mean and nasty and unforgivable, I and a small minority of my friends are the only ones who tend to say things like "yes, it was horrible, but maybe that person had xyz happen to them". After reading Brandon's blog I am convinced that a large part of the 'why' here is that I and my small minority of friends are big fantasy readers... we devour books which dig deep in to the inner-soul of their characters and not only show the actions, but the reasons behind them...


I have been annoyed and disgusted and shocked by many of the characters in many books, including the Wheel of Time series...but I dont hate any of them... I love that they give me a glimpse in to how 'that sort of person' thinks...


And...that was a huge ramble...


/dismount soapbox

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What strikes me is how quick people are to judge.  How little most folks think regarding the situation as a whole.  How little evidence it takes for most to form unshakable opinions.


As far as being empathetic goes, it's good up to a point.  In the end, I don't care how much his father beat him.  Or how poor dad's reasons were for doing it.  If he's doing something evil, none of that cuts any ice.  Like a rabid dog, he has to be put down, and crying about how unfair that is due to his compromised circumstances does nobody any good.

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Oh I don't disagree at all... Justice is justice and right is right... but I still think there is value in  understanding the 'why'... I can be horrified and angry that someone did some horrible evil, and agree that they have forfeited their right to live by doing said evil, but I don't have to hate them as a person, in fact, it may even be better to not only regret the evil action but to regret the lost value of the individual who turned to evil ways, whatever the reason...not their lost life, as in execution, but the potential lost by the life path they chose to follow...

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Well... thanks for the kudos...


But my point in that thread was not to toot my own horn but to encourage people to learn how some women (like nyneave) think, and empathize more with them...

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She's actually one of my favorite characters. I've seen her change more than any of the female "leads". She starts off as sort of a "mini-Nynaeve", a woman with no respect for men as men, and totally bound by the insular society in which she was raised. By the time she is captured and reduced to the novitiate, we see her as someone who can stand with the great rulers of all time, assuming that she lives that long.... she's not there yet. But still, she has managed to bend people and situations to her will, and to rise far beyond her starting points.


Elayne, Nynaeve and Faile, I see as still being bound by their early training and assumptions. They are still who we first saw them as. We've all known people like that.


Elayne, especially, seems almost out of "Central Casting."


It's as if Jordan called out for the classic spoiled, beautiful daughter of wealth and privilege, and Elayne is what landed in his inbox.


Nynaeve at least has the strength of her weaknesses, and Faile is from a radically different culture. Note that all three Saldean women that have been explored in depth (Faile, Deira, and the Queen) have been, to put it mildly, odd. They fight the "battle of the sexes" by very different rules than we're used to.



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Yes, Elayne is a product of her culture.


Much of what she does is deliberate.  She does it, not because it's what she wants, but because she knows it's what her people expect of their queen.  Her job is to secure the throne of Andor - on terms that its people will accept and respect and back.  That's what she does.  And she does it in the way she believes will most endear her to her subjects.


Ultimately, that is what will serve Rand and the Light best in everything that is to come.

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It's more her personality than her actions that seem one-dimensional to me. I've no doubt that she'll make a good Queen, but as a human being, she seems lacking to me.


As a character, she's probably my least favorite woman. Given her importance to the story, I root for her to prevail, but I cannot like her.



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