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What Have You Noticed on the Nth Read Through?


John
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Yet, later on in the same book, cadsuane lays down the law with the sea folk woman bothering her.
Cadsuane wasn't one of the teachers. Nor do most other AS have the same strength of will as Cadsuane.

 

But it gets applied in too much of an extreme, particularly with Matt and Rand's aversion to killing women, even women who are actively trying to kill them.
Rand is not the sanest of individuals, and his obsession in this regard is hardly healthy. Mat's refusal to kill women is as a result of killing Renna. TR culture, and Shienaran, encourages a level of proctection for women. And Mat orders one of his men to shoot a woman in the back. His refusal to kill women any more is a reaction to that. It's guilt, essentially.
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That's precisely my point.  Jordan has created a world where women are most definitely not subserviant.  There are numerous queens, all the aes sedai, and a plethora of cultures that lean matriarchal.  What you're implying is akin to "having your cake and eating it too".  Thus my previous post on this topic - it seems just plain weird that the culture is set up so equalized, but only the women seem to realize it consistently.

 

Aes Sedai and Queens are far, far from the Two Rivers, where these boys learned their moral customs, and where their moral customs developed.  We see a lot of them in the stories, but most people would go their whole life and never meet an Aes Sedai, much less a Queen.  The lower technology level, and the corresponding effects of the differences between men and women, would have a much larger impact.

 

However, Rand and Matt are weirdly out of character that they will not kill any woman, even one trying to kill them!  That's just plain silly, given how the culture and characters are fleshed out otherwise.

 

Rand has other reasons, above and beyond his cultural upbringing, that make him an exception.  He literally has mental illness, some of the grief and guilt from Lews Therin (irrational as that may be), etc.  Mat is a little harder to pin down, but he has memories from others, too.  We should keep in mind that both of these men have experienced significant mental trauma.  It would be surprising if they were still normal.

 

That said, Rand takes it farther than Mat, just as Mat takes it farther than Perrin.  Rand and Mat are almost certainly unusual in the strength of their conviction, but that is PART of their character, not being "out of character".

 

My point was, however, why do only Mat and Rand and a few Shienarans exhibit the idea that women should be protected at all times and never ever killed, no matter what they do?

 

See above for Rand and Mat.  And yes, I entirely agree with you about Rand's guilt for Lews Therin's actions.

 

As for the Shienarans, they have developed a warrior culture due to their proximity to the Blight.  Warrior cultures tend to take social interactions to relative extremes, since success in war depends, in large part, on everyone acting in their specific role or place.  The more stress that is placed on a culture, the more rigid it often becomes.  An idea like "women should generally be protected" shifts and hardens over time to the admittedly extreme position the Shienarans have.

 

Again ... very odd to us, as modern technological Westerners.  Perfectly natural for them, and certainly not the most extreme example of social development.  Even in the real world, much stranger systems have developed and worked fine for a time, its not surprising at all in a fantasy world with Trollocs and Myrddraal and the like.

 

Just about everything that Jordan does, sociologically, has an analogue in real history.

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Aes Sedai and Queens are far, far from the Two Rivers, where these boys learned their moral customs, and where their moral customs developed.  We see a lot of them in the stories, but most people would go their whole life and never meet an Aes Sedai, much less a Queen.  The lower technology level, and the corresponding effects of the differences between men and women, would have a much larger impact.

 

Yes, but even the two rivers has a very powerful "women's circle" that operates with a considerable degree of autonomy.  I guess we're coming at it from different points of view:  I think it unfortunate that there is a wasted  opportunity to extend this equalized culture out "completely", whereas you think that is intentional.  Meh.  Hard to argue that perspective, and it is a good way to justify the actions in question.  It just seems like an enormous plot hole, since Matt and Rand are just asking to get taken down by some female darkfriend.  It does create tension, I guess...

 

Good points regarding Rand and Matt's mental state.  I'd argue that Rand was always very protective, but it is certainly plausible that his situation has made it much worse (e.g., his desire to rid himself of elayne at the end of TFoH or his constant desire to convince Min to leave him during the end of PoD and the beginning of WH).

 

Cadsuane wasn't one of the teachers. Nor do most other AS have the same strength of will as Cadsuane.

 

I think we can generically state that most Aes Sedai do not let themselves get taken advantage of as badly as the sea folk teachers do.  I could understand young Aes Sedai (Nyn or Elayne) but it's actually Merille (sp?) that gets the most bullied.  My point regarding cadsuane was only that it was not that difficult to get the sea folk to shut up - just tell them the terms and ignore any protests.  Everywhere else in the series the Aes Sedai (even Nyn and Elayne - see Thom and Julian in Tanchico) seem well attuned to this strategy, except with the sea folk.

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I think it unfortunate that there is a wasted  opportunity to extend this equalized culture out "completely", whereas you think that is intentional.

 

I would agree with that if Robert Jordan had been attempting to describe an ideal society.  But actual societies, as far as we know, have never been ideal, and while Jordan's world certainly isn't real, he did try to make it realistic.

 

People do now, and always have done, things that don't make sense to others.  Anyone who tells you that humans are rational creatures is a silly person.

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I would agree with that if Robert Jordan had been attempting to describe an ideal society.  But actual societies, as far as we know, have never been ideal, and while Jordan's world certainly isn't real, he did try to make it realistic.

 

People do now, and always have done, things that don't make sense to others.  Anyone who tells you that humans are rational creatures is a silly person.

 

 

I think you have a good point.  Mental illness + natural human irrationality = odd activity.

 

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Rand has other issues as stated, Perrin has less suicidal chivarly because he is somewhat of a berserker(in the way that he fights I mean).  Matt sas raised among suicidal chivalry.  It's not just the Sheinarans, it's said all the borderlanders do, though in Saldea that notion got screwed up.  The Aiel have that disease too.

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While going through The Shadow Rising the other day, I got hit in the face.

I always thought Ogiers were bigger than trollocs.

But according to Perrin, Ogier are half again as tall as a normal man, and twice as wide. Later in the book, that is exactly how he describes the trollocs.

That was a bit sad for me... I allways imagined Loial with his huge axe towering quite a bit higher than your average trolloc...

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Remorse for maidens dying I can understand, heck - I can understand any of Rand/Matt's dislike about seeing people, especially women, suffer for him - but darkfriends?

 

I can never decide if it's more insulting to the Maidens who dies for Rand, the way he behaves about them (including that silly list of his), or more insulting to the males who die for Rand and the way he writes them off as "I feel sad for them but they made their choice".  Why don't the Maidens get to make the same choice with the same amount of respect for that choice?  Why does Rand write off the men as expendable?

 

 

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It just seems like an enormous plot hole, since Matt and Rand are just asking to get taken down by some female darkfriend.
How is it a plot hole? It is entirely reasonable, given what we know of the characters.

 

I think we can generically state that most Aes Sedai do not let themselves get taken advantage of as badly as the sea folk teachers do. My point regarding cadsuane was only that it was not that difficult to get the sea folk to shut up - just tell them the terms and ignore any protests.
Well, just because Cadsuane has the strength of will to tell them to shut up and go away and have them obey, doesn't mean Merilille does. Furthermore, Cadsuane never accepted a position as a Sea Folk teacher. Merilille did. That gives her a certain, very low, position in their hierarchy. If an underling of yours tried that, would you let them get away with it? Most likely not. If Merilille tried it, they could tie her up and beat her, for example.
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It just seems like an enormous plot hole, since Matt and Rand are just asking to get taken down by some female darkfriend.
How is it a plot hole? It is entirely reasonable, given what we know of the characters.

 

Maybe "plot hole" is too strong. How about "very lame weakness that seems strangely out of character that just begs for an easy addition of drama to any scene involving Rand and a woman"?  Well see, there it is - that's exactly what I'm getting at - a plot hole is not only that which is illogical or unexplained, it's also that which is ludicrously out of character.

 

Rand is (at the moment) the epitome of "cold and hard" - he has spent books developing this persona.  He is utterly callous in his desire to ally or crush anyone in his way.  He kills Morr himself at the end of PoD without a hint of emotion - he kills (indirectly) rochaid with so little feeling that Min can't feel anything in the bond.  He tells cadsuane in KoD that if he cannot ally with the seanchan he will annihalate them.

 

See where I'm going with this?  All of this grim acceptance of what he "needs to do" to prepare and (hopefully) win the last battle, but he leaves only this one aspect of sentimentality.  That's not a bad thing - but it's bloody odd don't you think?  Particularly in a society full of powerful and dangerous women?  Even more odd given that Rand is very well attuned to how these aforementioned women can hurt/wound/encumber/defeat him...

 

Meh.  The obvious answer (as RAW already pointed out) is that Rand is not altogether coherant in this regard.  Fair enough.  But it seems like a strangely trite weakness for a character continually shown to "stamp out" similar weaknesses.  Think the Far Madding dungeon: "I must be hard..."

 

Well, just because Cadsuane has the strength of will to tell them to shut up and go away and have them obey, doesn't mean Merilille does. Furthermore, Cadsuane never accepted a position as a Sea Folk teacher. Merilille did. That gives her a certain, very low, position in their hierarchy. If an underling of yours tried that, would you let them get away with it? Most likely not. If Merilille tried it, they could tie her up and beat her, for example.

 

Fair enough.  This is not so much a complaint from me regarding the situation, as much as it seems like an unnecessary addition - one that really only serves to make the reader irritated with the athan meire.

 

Since we are on the subject of my whining - I have a new observtion in my re-read:  The seanchan are a repuslive culture.  It's been a while since I've read the descriptions of there activities carefully - I had forgotten just how much their ideologies offend me.  Which is really very interesting, because most of the conquered commoners seem happy that seanchan bring order and stability.  It's an obvious case of Jordan making the reader second-guess values, and it's quite fun to think about.  Of course, that does not make me any less disgusted with the seanchan - it just makes the alternative less idyllic.  Good writing.

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Maybe "plot hole" is too strong. How about "very lame weakness that seems strangely out of character that just begs for an easy addition of drama to any scene involving Rand and a woman"?  Well see, there it is - that's exactly what I'm getting at - a plot hole is not only that which is illogical or unexplained, it's also that which is ludicrously out of character.
I know what a plot hole is. But this is not out of character. Therefore, how does it constitute a plot hole? Rand being cold and hard exists hand in hand with his obsession with not killing women, and remembering those who do die. In FoH he couldn't kill Lanfear. Then came the list. And this alongside (if not before) his increasing desire to shut himself off from his emotions.

 

but it's bloody odd don't you think?
Well, as I pointed out, Rand is not the sanest of individuals. So yes, he knows these women are dangerous, he thinks he has to cut himself off from his emotions, yet he also thinks that he has to protect women. Which is part of his upbringing. Plot hole is completely the wrong term, as it is explained and in character.
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Plot hole is completely the wrong term, as it is explained and in character.

 

Arguing terminology, while fun, is really not the focal point here.  If you dislike the term "plot hole", because you subscribe to the opinion that this aspect of Rand is in character, so be it.  I can accept that, even if I disagree - which I do.  Not to beat a dead horse but everything about Rand, everything that we are led to think about him is now revolving heavily around the idea that his emotions are too taut, too rigid, too hard.  But then that entire motif is thrown out the window when he deals with women.  The only reasonable explanation is that he is not altogether sane in this regard.  While this is a valid explanation, it's also a cop-out.

 

Look, I don't think it's a bad thing per say, just that it comes across to me as lame, given how the rest of the writing happens to be tuning the reader to a different perspective.  Thus the plot hole commentary regarding potential conflict.  It's frustrating to me that I have to be more fearful for Rand in front of one woman than facing an army full of channelers on leashes.  Given his demeanor, that's, frankly, somewhat preposterous.

 

I'm glad you brought up Lanfear, because that's ammunition for my point of view as well.  He berates himself for not killing her.  Over and over.  You'd think that would add to his "hard" persona, but the opposite happens.  That's odd.

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Perhaps, instead of a plot hole, Jordan (in typical hammering at a point until it drives you crazy fashion) was simply setting up an Achilles' Heel with which the Dark One will kill Rand.  Maybe the Dark One will appear in female form at Shayol Gul, which will make it difficult for Rand to defeat her.  Of course, that opens up a whole new kettle of fish of the Creator being generally thought of as male-ish and the Dark One suddenly being female.

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Plot hole is completely the wrong term, as it is explained and in character.
Arguing terminology, while fun, is really not the focal point here. If you dislike the term "plot hole", because you subscribe to the opinion that this aspect of Rand is in character, so be it.
It is not an opinion, it is a fact, and you were the one who provided a definition of "plot hole" and then failed to show where exactly this imaginary hole is. When Lanfear dies, so does Moiraine. Her name is at the top of the list of dead women in his head. So all this time he is making himself harder, he is beating himself over the head with his failures t protect these womens' lives. How could you miss that? And protecting women is part of the culture he was raised in. It is perfectly reasonable, it is perfectly in character. He just takes it to an unhealthy extreme.
The only reasonable explanation is that he is not altogether sane in this regard. While this is a valid explanation, it's also a cop-out.
How is it a cop out?
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Another thing I noticed on my latest read through (I'm about half way through WH)...

 

The sea folk are still unrealistically irritating.  And I don't just mean the characters themselves (although that is obvious), I mean also in how they relate to other characters...

 

E.g.:  So Elayne and Nyneave screw up the deal and now the sea folk are owed lessons.  They abuse this constantly - and get away with it!  All it would take is for one of the Aes Sedai (you know, those women who everywhere else in the series are unflappably vigilant in protecting their interests) to say "you know, I said we'd teach you, not be your slaves - keep this up and the bargain is null and void".  But they never do.  It's absolutely ridiculous, and can only be allowed to further some nefarious scheme of Jordan's to make everyone hate the sea folk.  Talk about irritating.

 

This has always irritated me, as well. You should show some respect to your teacher, and conversely, a teacher should demand some respect. They are doing the student a favor, after all, as they already know the subject/skill/art/whatever-- the pupil is the one in need. It need not go as far as the respect shown a sensei in a martial arts dojo, but the Sea Folk should be embarrassed and shamed by their own behavior, and the Aes Sedai should be embarrassed and ashamed that they do not insist upon proper treatment.

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I'm on about my twenty-fifth re-read, and I still notice interesting facts--like for instance that peaches are poisonous--when and how did that happen?

 

It's like in the middle ages, people thought that tomatoes were poisonous.

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It is not an opinion, it is a fact, and you were the one who provided a definition of "plot hole" and then failed to show where exactly this imaginary hole is. When Lanfear dies, so does Moiraine. Her name is at the top of the list of dead women in his head. So all this time he is making himself harder, he is beating himself over the head with his failures t protect these womens' lives. How could you miss that? And protecting women is part of the culture he was raised in. It is perfectly reasonable, it is perfectly in character. He just takes it to an unhealthy extreme.

 

The unhealthy extreme bit you ignore is kind of the crux of my argument.

 

I'm not quite sure why you're being so combative.   ???

 

The definition I provided was that a plot hole can refer to things way out of character as well as things that literally don't make sense.  You don't think this applied because Rand seeks to protect women - thus it is in character.  I think this does apply because Rand also is actively trying to harden himself - not killing darkfriend women is therefore out of character.  Two sides of the same coin (both factual!  wooooo).  Be that as it may, I did acknowledge that "plot hole" may be too strong a term (did you read my entire comment?).  Moreover, my complaint was really never about the specific actions, but rather that I felt it was counterintuitive to the culture Jordan built.  RAW already explained how this can be understood - and I accepted that.

 

The reason Lanfear is interesting, is that he berates himself for not killing her, for not being "hard enough".  Yet, even post-Lanfear he is still avoiding punishment or death for women who are actively opposing him.  See Dumai's wells.  Holding all the Aes Sedai was very risky. 

 

How is it a cop out?

 

Because one can excuse anything by just claiming "well, he's not mentally sound".  It works, don't get me wrong - but it's also seductively easy.

 

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Lews Therin had nothing to do with it, but I do remember Rand noting that Ilyenas name had been added to the list, that Lews Therin put it there, and that Rand for some reason didnt want to take it off. I think the list began with the Maidens didnt it? I remember that Moiraine definitely wasnt the first on the list.

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I just started 'A Crown of Swords' during my audiobook re-listen.

 

I cringed every time Perrin wanted to protect the captured Aes Sedai from harm.  He generally doesn't bother me as much as Mat and Rand with the 'protecting women' thing because it's generally directed towards Faile, who is his wife and I think this is fairly normal.  He seemed with the Aes Sedai, however, to want to let them go completely unpunished.  He felt they were 'helpless women' and didn't seem to feel they were responsible for their crimes.  Also, his behaviour was completely hypocritical because he wanted to protect the Aes Sedai prisoners but he didn't have any feelings of protectiveness towards the Shaido Maiden prisoners.  He never once thought that they might be harmed or in danger from the Aiel.  He's barely had any contact at all with the Aiel culture (Gual's a friend and not a culture contact and he barely talked to the two Maidens) so he shouldn't have written the whole thing off as natural without a second thought beyond embarassment of seeing them naked.  Also, what did he think Rand was going to do with the Aes Sedai?  They obviously need to be punished in some manner.

 

I was thinking about the arguments earlier in this thread about the fact that the culture of this world is medieval and not industrialised, which tends to put women on a lower level than men, causing chivalrous/protective feelings from men towards women.  However, that's really a false argument because the only people who treat women in this manner are Rand, Mat, Perrin, and some of the Shienarans.  All the other men in the story act scared, subservient, or at best, equal to all the women.

 

 

 

I also want to point out how bloody stupid and arrogant Egwene is when she takes the Amyrlin Seat.  She was a pretty good character until the Aiel got to Cairhein and she kept "adjusting her shawl/crossing her arms beneath her breasts" at Rand.  After that she just started getting more and more arrogant (I do remember, however, liking Egwene later on in the novels again).  I get the feeling she believes she and the White Tower are more important to Tarmon Gaidon than Rand, the Dragon Reborn is.  She's worse about controlling him than any other group of Aes Sedai, but she covers it with saying how much she wants him to remember himself.  She hides information from him.  On top of that she fails to clue into the 'Alanna has an attachment to him' bit in the letter from the embassy (Suian also misses this and you'd think she would at least).  She also misses the whole Halima thing by miles and then takes her happily under wing later on.  She also misses the fact that Delana agreeing to everyone makes her highly suspicious.  She also misses getting Gawyn to her away from the Tower Aes Sedai - she could simply ask him to come to Salidar (or someplace close) with his Younglings (althought may be bad since he helped toss out Suian).  I think the whole Salidar thing with her getting power over the Aes Sedai is a pretty interesting thing, especially how she does it, and that part is well written, but she's so stupid in other areas.

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The definition I provided was that a plot hole can refer to things way out of character
And there is nothing here that is even slightly out of character. Rand's being protective of women has been there from the start. It has just gone hand in hand with his increasing hardness, not been replaced by it.
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And there is nothing here that is even slightly out of character. Rand's being protective of women has been there from the start. It has just gone hand in hand with his increasing hardness, not been replaced by it.

 

It's out of character with the rest of the males in the series.  The only other males who exhibit this kind of behaviour are Mat and Perrin.  Not even the other Two Rivers males are as rabid as they are about protecting women.  All of the rest of the males treat women as superiors.  Those three treat them as inferiors incapable of making decisions on their own.

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It's out of character with the rest of the males in the series.
But it is completely in line with Rand's character, which is the important one.
The only other males who exhibit this kind of behaviour are Mat and Perrin. Not even the other Two Rivers males are as rabid as they are about protecting women. All of the rest of the males treat women as superiors. Those three treat them as inferiors incapable of making decisions on their own.

When do they treat them as such? Also, what other TR males have we been with for any length of time that would allow them to betray such a sensibility?
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