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What Have You Noticed on the Nth Read Through?


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But why would Rand display that characteristic when no other males do?  Sure, he's the main character and all, but it's not consistent with the rest of the world.  People in societies tend to mirror each other in terms of general behaviour.  His behaviour towards women is extreme and at the complete opposite side of the spectrum that the other males exhibit in the series.

 

The other males in the series treat women as superior/equal is what I should have put.  You don't see other males having nervous breakdowns whenever a female dies.  It's just Rand, Perrin, and Mat.

 

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adverge, what you are having problems understanding, is that Rand's behavior towards women is completely consistent with the culture of chivalry that we see from nearly ALL of the MEN of Emonds Field and Two Rivers. Also, Rand's protective attitude towards women, wishing to do everything that he can to prevent them from harm, or from dieing for him, is an attitude that is consistent with males from a culture (such as the Old South in the USA) where men would gladly take a bullet to protect a woman, rather than see that woman get hurt or killed.

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But why would Rand display that characteristic when no other males do?

 

He's insane in the membrane.

 

Insane in the brain.

 

People in societies tend to mirror each other in terms of general behaviour.

 

Tendencies are meaningless in examining what is, by definition, an exceptional case.

 

Also, Rand's protective attitude towards women, wishing to do everything that he can to prevent them from harm, or from dieing for him, is an attitude that is consistent with males from a culture (such as the Old South in the USA) where men would gladly take a bullet to protect a woman, rather than see that woman get hurt or killed.

 

I'm not sure that's true, in my opinion Rand goes farther than even the most parochial Southern Gentleman would have (and I was born in southern Virgina, and am now living in a North Carolina town that was incorporated back when this was still England, so I do have a little experience to base that opinion on).  But, even if it was true, all that would prove is that Rand's behavior falls within potential human norms.

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Thats what I was trying to say. Although Rand's behavior may go "farther then even the most parochial Southern Gentleman", his behavior still falls within potential human norms. It is a bit extreme to be sure, but still not potentially unrealistic.

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Sometimes I've wondered if Rand's obsession, as it has grown to be, not to kill women could have been something Lanfear could have induced in him. Either by compulsion, or in a t'a'r some kind of binding, so as to make him safer for her. It would certainly be something Graendal would find useful, but I don't know that we've seen her around him so early even in disguise. I'm thinking of a similar thing as made Nynaeve almost certain Moghedien was just a servant passing by before their fight in Tanchico, though the compulsion had been broken, and probably this was what allowed Moghedien to enter Liandrin and co's room in Hidden Faces to clean without them noticing-- I get the impression Moghedien was startled and that allowed Liandrin to become aware of her presence-- some kind of inverted Grey Man weave.

 

Anyway, later I've thought that for Rand, not killing women is one of the last vestiges of himself that he is clinging to. Nynaeve commented on him ordering that Aielman's hanging, that it was odd, that Rand had been a gentle boy. Of course it is natural to have laws, but I think Nynaeve is right too. Rand has been hardening himself so much that he really is losing his humanity, but the not killing women and the list of killed women -part might be what he uses to keep himself together mentally, without knowing it. Like those knots of Perrin's. Essentially, it is induced by Rand's experiences and what he tries to make of himself, what he thinks he must make of himself.

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I doubt any sort of "help" was given to Rand from anyone in the area of wanting to protect women. But, seriously, were you guys paying attention during the Shadow Rising? There were several instances where the Two Rivers women kept information from the men because the men would protest and try to "protect" them. The most notable that springs to mind was when the women decided to go on half-rations. The didn't tell the men because the men would have a snit despite how much sense it made. In the battle over Two Rivers, no women were involved aside from Faile, Bain and Chiad until the last battle at Emond's Field- and even then it was only because they had to step in to keep the men from being overrun. Rand simply has gone way too far in this, but I think that is because of the elevated consequences for everyone of his decisions. The one thing that the Big Three have in commmon is that they literally hold the fate of the world in the palms of their hands- and despite what Mat thinks of himself, it is clear that the pressure has caused them to react in extreme ways to things.

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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.

That's simply impossible in practice. I'm sure the Aes Sedai did that at first. Like that AS called Amelia or something. But it's difficult with a dozen Sea Folk Windfinders. They just would've clapped on a shield, tied to you to the rigging and give you a good flogging.

Amelia's captivity is about as nightmarish as Galina's.

Interesting point: Sisters captured by the Aiel(like Kiruna) seem to be gaining strength of will from the Wise Ones whereas the ones with the Sea Folk become stuttering cowards(Merillile).

But I agree with you, someone ought to tell the Sea Folk to shut up, preferably with an extremely strong angreal or a saidar nullifier like Mat's.

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But why would Rand display that characteristic when no other males do? 

 

They do though, to degrees. Moiraine even comments on the fact that Two Rivers men, like borderlanders, would rather see themselves dead then a women, and Tuon comments on Mat--calling his inability to kill women a 'curious weakness'.

 

Quote from: rhadamanthus on March 17, 2009, 09:46:06 AM

Quote from: ares

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.

 

That's simply impossible in practice. I'm sure the Aes Sedai did that at first. Like that AS called Amelia or something. But it's difficult with a dozen Sea Folk Windfinders. They just would've clapped on a shield, tied to you to the rigging and give you a good flogging.

Amelia's captivity is about as nightmarish as Galina's.

Interesting point: Sisters captured by the Aiel(like Kiruna) seem to be gaining strength of will from the Wise Ones whereas the ones with the Sea Folk become stuttering cowards(Merillile).

But I agree with you, someone ought to tell the Sea Folk to shut up, preferably with an extremely strong angreal or a saidar nullifier like Mat's.

 

The Sea Folk are kind of like children, demanding what they want when they want it, and throwing tantrums when they don't get it. Their whole attitude--Bargaining for their own advantage with the Coramoor, who was to save them and the world from the single greatest evil it has ever known, and then punishing the ambassodor for not getting enough, not to mentioning bargaining involving the Bowl of the Winds which was already directly effecting them detrimentally is just plain disgusting.

 

That being said lgautam is correct--with strong channelers an individual Aes Sedai would be hardpressed to assert herself for a long period of time. Partially this is Elayne's fault--she had the balance of power there, all she needed to do was refuse any teaching until the Atha'an'Miere started behaving, but her fear of 'breaking the agreement' hamstrung her. In reality the Aes Sedai did not agree to that, they agreed to being teachers, and what they need to do is have someone go to the Sea Folk and lay out that they will teach, but that they Sea Folk have no right to demand service, or to punish, and they need to tell them that if they don't do this they won't be sending teachers.

 

In the Aes Sedai's defense, its been thousands of years since they dealt with a group strong enough to assert themselves against even an individual Aes Sedai--they are not used to dealing with it.

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But I agree with you, someone ought to tell the Sea Folk to shut up, preferably with an extremely strong angreal or a saidar nullifier like Mat's.
Like Cadsuane?

 

But why would Rand display that characteristic when no other males do?
They do. Just not to the same extent.
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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.   ???

 

 

 

Haven't you ever engaged with Mr Ares on these threads?  Like Rand, he is staying completely in character.

 

As interesting as this discussion is, it has been done before.  I was enjoying everyone's "discoveries", some of which I've caught and some I haven't, so would like to see more.  I'm just starting my last read-through, and the only thing I've discovered so far is that my EoTW book probably won't survive past this reading.

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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.

 

That's just plain silly.  The two are totally opposed to each other.

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That's just plain silly.  The two are totally opposed to each other.

 

Not really.  Rand's "hardness" is as much being hard on himself as it is being hard toward others, and so he is piling unnecessary (and irrational) guilt on himself, assuming responsibility for the decisions of capable, independent women (which is what more modern sensibilities find almost offensive) and punishing himself for their deaths.  The tendencies are related, and developed together.

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That's just plain silly.  The two are totally opposed to each other.

 

Not really.  Rand's "hardness" is as much being hard on himself as it is being hard toward others, and so he is piling unnecessary (and irrational) guilt on himself, assuming responsibility for the decisions of capable, independent women (which is what more modern sensibilities find almost offensive) and punishing himself for their deaths.  The tendencies are related, and developed together.

 

No.  The "hardness" has always, always, always been about doing what must be done, no matter how difficult or painful.  Thus the beratement Rand has about not killing Lanfear and letting Moiraine die.  Thus the constant "I do what I must" in The Shadow Rising and Fires of Heaven.  Thus the rant in the Far Madding prison - which is by far the most telling of Rand's "hardness" motivation.  He lists the women who died for him because he was not hard enough.

 

And this is where my problem stems from - this hardness he desires seems to not apply to women he interacts with - even after the "Lanfear Incident" and the kidnapping.  That's really weird.

 

I'm not demanding some no-contradiction version  -- humans are contradictory creatures.  It's perfectly reasonable to waffle about difficult choices.  But a little parity would be nice.  Sure, sure RAW; I know he is mentally winded, but he was that way long before he really started to lose his grip.

 

Ares seems to think (not surprisingly) that I am advocating a merciless Rand, where all I am really looking for is a touch more rationality from a man fully aware of the power women in this series have.  As adverge pointed out - it's just plain silly that Perrin (for example) exempts the Aes Sedai post dumai's wells from being held to task.  Not because chivalry is lame, but because it's totally at odds with the reality of the situation!  Chivalry is not supposed to imply an inability to hold grown adults accountable for crimes.

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Ares seems to think (not surprisingly) that I am advocating a merciless Rand, where all I am really looking for is a touch more rationality from a man fully aware of the power women in this series have.  As adverge pointed out - it's just plain silly that Perrin (for example) exempts the Aes Sedai post dumai's wells from being held to task.  Not because chivalry is lame, but because it's totally at odds with the reality of the situation!  Chivalry is not supposed to imply an inability to hold grown adults accountable for crimes.

 

Perrin thought the way they were being held prisoners was wrong and also he thought Rand was going to do more than hold them prisoner, thats why he disagreed so aggressively with Rand. He thought Rand was going to torture them or something extreme like that.

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I think with Rand and Perrin and Mat also there is the psychology of their characters to be combined with the culture in which they were raised. The Two Rivers culture seems very segregated almost (if that is the word), with certain things done by men and certain things by women, while both groups think they are the ones who take care of the important stuff. In this particular culture, it is not necessarily clear to especially young people that men and women are both humans, fully. You have this situation for the young men that there are men, and then there are women who are different from the men and who have different roles. In the outside world the situation is different and if there are specified roles, they are different too, it is not really possible for them to go on and say as a man or a woman this or that person should do this or that, when these people have very different views on such matters, and the Two Rivers way is no way the only way or the right way.

 

I think, at the root, this is an issue Rand, Perrin and Mat need to cross, though in no way is it the only thing they have to do of course, but for personal growth it is a barrier for them.

 

I think Mat makes the best progress on this. He slowly learns to regard women as people the same as him, and as a result he also learns to see men too as people, that is, people are people and have a right to exist as they are and should be respected as such. I see the development of Mat's relationship with Birgitte, Nalesean, Aludra, Talmanes, and finally Tuon as such. Had Tuon popped up a year ago, he would have seen her the same as Betse, and that careless relationship got him Olver to take care of. It is fitting that, though he could not make himself like it (not that he should), Mat did not hesitate to give the order to kill Renna either. Tuon will teach him the rest of the lesson.

 

Perrin has perhaps learnt something while rescuing Faile, depending on how he takes Galina's betrayal in the book. He has a serious issue dealing with uncertainty. This must partly come from his being a blacksmith, he is used to always ultimately being able to control everything. I find it annoying, but I do understand how it's a tough hurdle. I think, partly, this is what makes Perrin so protective of women: it is this other group of people, who would suddenly then act completely independently and unpredictably, he would not be in control. The classical example is Perrin's occasional mental delusions: He thinks he can make Faile safe in Cairhien after he has left by having Bain and Chiad there to guard her, and when it is reveal that they are not there but with the party after Rand, all of a sudden Faile is in danger; Perrin cannot control Faile's situation at all and this he cannot deal with. Perrin then, to deal with this, creates the fantasy that he can control Faile's safety by making sure Faile's horse is safe: if he takes the horse safely to Cairhien, Faile will be safe. This situation repeats itself in the kidnapping, Perrin makes his knots to keep himself together (which in the circumstances is a good thing since perhaps that was not the ideal place for an identity crisis), and even in the rescue attack makes incredible, completely unrational efforts to force Faile to be safe in the ensuing battle. It remains to be seen what effect on him there is in that his greatest attempt to see Faile safe, which was speaking to Galina, that this was what put her to the greatest danger. Essentially, Perrin does not want the Tower Aes Sedai to be kept prisoners after Dumai's Wells because then they and all other women would be real people who act independently of himself, and he cannot deal with the uncertainty.

 

Rand is much the most difficult character. I do not doubt RJ put much of his experiences of war into his mental state. I really do think that what Rand is trying to do, in trying to make himself hard, is exactly that. A surface is hard. He is building this cold, inhuman surface for himself, and making it stronger and stronger while trying to kill and extinguish anything that might reside inside the surface. He thinks this is what he must do, and indeed it is easier to accept his fate of dying if there is no longer anything that would die but surface. The problem he has with this, as anyone would have, is that he does not want this to happen, he does not want to become stone. I do think this mental struggle is what result in a lot of irrational behaviour on his part. In particular with the women: what he remembers is what he did to those people in the Dragon Reborn, the people who obviously for us were Darkfriends who wanted camp with him and he without hesitation killed the lot and then arranged the bodies to kneel to him; this is what he is trying to make himself into and into which he does not want to become. What is inside of him works well, particularly in the earlier books he does listen to advice even though he may not take it, and thinks things through by himself as he is the one who must decide things. This is probably what Cadsuane needs to teach him, that he can act rationally and does not need to barricade himself into a feature of his childhood culture, if he just doffs the surface and is himself. For Rand it is also this surface, I think, that he thinks needs to be in control of everything, is instantly annoyed when hearing an opposing argument and too impatient to listen to advice. For Rand there is, though, also the problem that he thinks he will die before he needs to face himself like that.

 

Well, that's what I think anyway, or thought on my last read-through ;).

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No.  The "hardness" has always, always, always been about doing what must be done, no matter how difficult or painful.

 

Sorry, but I simply disagree.  Its not as obvious, but he drives himself harder and farther than anyone else, and takes responsibility for things that are outside of his control.  The day on the wooden tower during the battle for the city of Cairhien is an excellent early example.  Shrugging off the loss of his hand is an excellent late example.  He refuses to acknowledge damage to himself, even when he is being damaged by his own actions.  Always "doing what must be done" leads inevitably, in his mind, to his death at Shayol Ghul, so being "hard" is directed as much inward as it is outward.  His attitude toward women is the complex collation of guilt (personal and "inherited" from Lews Therin), social mores learned in the Two Rivers, and, truth be told, his own repressed generally gentler nature.

 

The result is far from rational, but humans aren't rational in groups, much less as individuals.

 

Chivalry is not supposed to imply an inability to hold grown adults accountable for crimes.

 

Actually ... um ... the rationale that women could not be held responsible for many of their actions was a big part of the rationale for objectifying women.  Or the objectification of women led to belief that that they could not be held accountable ... its a little unclear which came first ... probably the objectification, since rationales are generally methods of "justifying" norms or behaviors already in practice.

 

None of that is immediately relevant here, I'm just pointing out that the sort of individualized accountability you're describing is in many ways a modern sensibility, not an inherently human one.

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Two things, it just hit me when I was listening to tSR that the Aiel failure was preventing the drilling of the Bore, I know that was a duh moment.  Two was when Elayne told Egwene about Jorin and some windfinders chanelling, Egwene thinks Wise Ones and Windfinders channeling and not bound by the Oath Rod "to make them safe" like Aes Sedai.  That's a very Seanchan way of thinking binding women who channel to make them safe.  Yet another reason to hate Egwene.

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Two things, it just hit me when I was listening to tSR that the Aiel failure was preventing the drilling of the Bore, I know that was a duh moment.
But the Aiel's "failure" was to give up the Way. I don't see how the Aiel, who existed to serve Aes Sedai, could have failed the Aes Sedai by not somehow preventing one of their experiments. However, as Solinda made Jonai promise, the Da'shain were to keep the Covenant, the Way of the Leaf, if they lost all else. Of course Solinda meant it so that The Dedicated to Peace in Battle were the most precious thing to save from the Age of Legends, if possible, much more important than the ter'angreal they carried, but no doubt failing Solinda was what sent the Aiel to the Waste, following the Jenn Aiel and protecting them. Those who fail the Aes Sedai the second time, and do not follow the prophecies of Rhuidean, will be destroyed utterly.
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The Aiel's failure was not related to the Bore.  That was Charn's thought about himself, personally, when he saw the Bore being "drilled".  But the source of that thought was the same as the Aiel's perception of their own failure in general.

 

The word Aiel means dedicated.  The Aiel were charged with serving the Aes Sedai, and made a Covenant to keep the Way of the Leaf.  Jonai misinterpreted the charge given him by the Aes Sedai to mean that the Aiel were primarily to keep the various 'angreal safe until the Aes Sedai needed them.  Of course, Solinda Sedai was far more concerned with preserving the Da'shain Aiel, as Graendal's favourite said.

 

The Aiel leadership came to believe that their failure was two-fold.  One, they did abandon the Way of the Leaf, which caused the conflicted shame response that killed so many of them in the Pillars of Rhuidean.  Second, they failed, as they saw it, to carry out the charge to keep the items of the Power safe. 

 

There are many parallels here to the Old Testament story of Israel.  The word now translated as "Holy" actually means "Dedicated", and the Israelites were bound to their God by a special Covenant.  Failure to keep that Covenant lead them to be lost in the desert wilderness of Sinai, while searching for a "Promised Land" (place of safety?).  Of course, the duration and details are very different, but the parallel is there.

 

(Yes, I'm aware that this is mostly an expansion of Graendal's favourite's answer.  Consider it an endorsement as well.)

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Two things, it just hit me when I was listening to tSR that the Aiel failure was preventing the drilling of the Bore, I know that was a duh moment.  Two was when Elayne told Egwene about Jorin and some windfinders chanelling, Egwene thinks Wise Ones and Windfinders channeling and not bound by the Oath Rod "to make them safe" like Aes Sedai.  That's a very Seanchan way of thinking binding women who channel to make them safe.  Yet another reason to hate Egwene.

 

Well, truth be told that Egwene was musing on the idea that the Windfinders and Wise Ones were not bound to make them "safe," and that the idea was intriguing because they have respected places in their cultures. She was parrallelling that in her mind to what she was thinking about the Three Oaths. Remember what she says in book 8 to Siuan about her feelings toward the Oaths. She tells Siuan that she wants to remove the Oaths as a part of being Aes Sedai. Egwene, to be honest is one of my favorite characters in the series. I believe she is one of the most complete characters, and one of the most rational and likeable. Egwene wants to use the Kin as a retirement agency so to speak for the Aes Sedai. Upon retiring, the Oaths will be removed.

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(Yes, I'm aware that this is mostly an expansion of Graendal's favourite's answer.  Consider it an endorsement as well.)

Well yes, while pride can be a prickly thing for us who have reached the exalted rank of WoT Geek of the Year on previous years, it indeed does make sense to expand upon answers that are not complete. It is after all not always possible for one person to cover everything, and for another to only mention things not said before is quite difficult. It is much easier to give a complete answer in the depth necessary for what is said, as well as such a thing can more readily be understood by merely reading that particular answer.

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Why do Rand and Perrin (and other characters) always go on about doing what they must do?  How exactly do they know what they must do?  They are never seem to be given absolutely no choices in any matter, except for Rand fighting the Dark One during the Last Battle.  Why do they always talk about strings being inevitably tied on them?  Is it simply their own perception that they have no choices or are they just failing to realise that they could, in fact, tell the Aes Sedai 'No, go away you dumb b***h and leave me be?'

 

 

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