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Tuon's Ethnicity?

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I had always thought she was more like pacific islander or maybe even Indian (from India), but I recently saw an artist depiction of her as being black.  Did I misread her description?

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Along with Rahvin and all the Sea Folk.

 

Rahvin is never described as black, just dark, which is usually a very different thing.

I think it might have raised an eyebrow or two if he had waltzed into aemlyn, claiming to be fron Andor, while sporting a colour of skin only those who had met the Sea fold would have ever seen before...

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Along with Rahvin and all the Sea Folk.

 

Rahvin is never described as black, just dark, which is usually a very different thing.

I think it might have raised an eyebrow or two if he had waltzed into aemlyn, claiming to be fron Andor, while sporting a colour of skin only those who had met the Sea fold would have ever seen before...

 

Semirhage is described as having a "dark face" (LoC, Prologue). Tuon is described as being "dark" (WH, Ch. 14). Rahvin is described as being "dark" (TDR, Ch. 24). The Sea Folk are described as having "very dark skin." All of these characters are black.

 

In the Dabel Brother's drawings of Semirhage and Rahvin, which RJ looked over to make sure they matched what his characters were supposed to look like, they were drawn as black.

 

Rahvin is black.

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Tuon and the sea folk are described as having dark skin, Rahvin is just describes as dark. There is a huge difference.

Rahvin should have a colouring of an Arab, or like some Spaniards or Greek people. Ie black hair, dark eyes, and a skin tone that is darker than people in Scandinavia, Ireland etc (which is the people we can look at for the average people in Andor), but not so dark that he would have to use Compulsion on an entire city to make them believe he could actually be from Andor.

 

Imagine that you go to Ireland, and see a black guy, claiming to be ethnically Irish. Not adopted, not an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, but ethnically Iish. Are you telling me you would believe him? Because that is what you are saying if you want to insist that Rahvin would be black, or even brown like people in and around India.

 

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Along with Rahvin and all the Sea Folk.

 

Rahvin is never described as black, just dark, which is usually a very different thing.

I think it might have raised an eyebrow or two if he had waltzed into aemlyn, claiming to be fron Andor, while sporting a colour of skin only those who had met the Sea fold would have ever seen before...

 

Uhm, correct me if I'm wrong here, but as I remember it, when Rand and Mat first came to Caemlyn, the people were discribed as very varied, something about the skin colors ranging from "too dark" to "too pale".  After all, Caemlyn is one of the biggest cities, I don't think anyone would have raised an eyebrow at Rhavin just because he was black.

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Tuon and the sea folk are described as having dark skin, Rahvin is just describes as dark. There is a huge difference.

 

No, there's really not. Semirhage, for insistence, is described as having a "dark face," not "dark skin," yet she is black. If I said that Denzel Washington was "dark," you'd assume I was referring to a man of Middle Eastern descent? You're still contributing the word "dark" to referring to Rahvin's skin color. Therefore, there's no difference between calling him "dark" or "dark skinned." They're both referring to "dark skin." No where in the books is the world "dark" contributed to a character's skin color without that person being black. RJ does not call people black. He says they are "dark" or "dark skinned." Rhavin is "dark" and therefore black.

 

Rahvin should have a colouring of an Arab, or like some Spaniards or Greek people. Ie black hair, dark eyes, and a skin tone that is darker than people in Scandinavia, Ireland etc (which is the people we can look at for the average people in Andor), but not so dark that he would have to use Compulsion on an entire city to make them believe he could actually be from Andor.

 

So in a land of pasty white people he could pass as an Arab, but not as a black man? Randland is a multi-racial world where your main character isn't even the same race as those in Andor, yet grew up in Andor. RJ doesn't really ever talk about race relations in his novels, except between Aiel and people in the Westlands. There are black people in his novels, and Rahvin is one of them.

 

Imagine that you go to Ireland, and see a black guy, claiming to be ethnically Irish. Not adopted, not an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, but ethnically Irish. Are you telling me you would believe him? Because that is what you are saying if you want to insist that Rahvin would be black, or even brown like people in and around India.

 

The book describes him as having dark skin, just like all the rest of the black characters in WoT. The artistic renderings of him done by people who were contracted by the RJ and the Rigney estate color him as black. People in Randland don't hate others because of the color of their skin. Rahvin does in fact use Compulsion on the entire court of Andor.

 

And yes there are Irish black people in the United States, as their are black people in Ireland. And if they told me they were Irish I would believe them because they are Irish. Just as I would believe a white person in the United States who told me he was American despite not having a drop of Native American blood.

 

But you are perfectly free to think of Rahvin or any character as having whatever skin color you wish. But RJ intended him to be a black man, he's described as being a black man, and he is supposed to be thought of as a man with black skin..

 

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A always imagined Rhavin and the Sea Folk as rather deeply tanned, almost like hispanic coloring, but never black. I don't know if you guys are right, but this late in the game, I doubt I'll be changing my mental image.

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Imagine that you go to Ireland, and see a black guy, claiming to be ethnically Irish. Not adopted, not an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, but ethnically Iish. Are you telling me you would believe him? Because that is what you are saying if you want to insist that Rahvin would be black, or even brown like people in and around India.

 

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Uhm, correct me if I'm wrong here, but as I remember it, when Rand and Mat first came to Caemlyn, the people were discribed as very varied, something about the skin colors ranging from "too dark" to "too pale".  After all, Caemlyn is one of the biggest cities, I don't think anyone would have raised an eyebrow at Rhavin just because he was black.

 

Rahvin claimed to come from the far west of Andor, which would mean close to the border against Tarabon/Almoth Plain/Arad Doman. Incidently, both Tarabon and Arad Doman are heavily influenced by Arabic (and Iranian in Arad doman) cultures.

So, in the area he claimed to come from we have people that would seem "too dark"  in a nation that mostly is influenced by England/Ireland. While we do not have a single observation of a black person from Andor, or anywhere on mainland Randland.

 

 

No, there's really not. Semirhage, for insistence, is described as having a "dark face," not "dark skin," yet she is black. If I said that Denzel Washington was "dark," you'd assume I was referring to a man of Middle Eastern descent? You're still contributing the word "dark" to referring to Rahvin's skin color. Therefore, there's no difference between calling him "dark" or "dark skinned." They're both referring to "dark skin." No where in the books is the world "dark" contributed to a character's skin color without that person being black. RJ does not call people black. He says they are "dark" or "dark skinned." Rhavin is "dark" and therefore black.

 

First time we see Semirhage, her face is described as charcoal-dark. When Mat later sees her he thinks her face is almost as dark as her black dress. The Sharans we see at Graendals palace are described as very dark-skinned, and the Sharan we see make a cameo in KOD is described as very dark. Tuon has been described as dark-skinned. the Sea Folk have been described as dark-skinned, even very dark-skinned.

Meanwhile, regarding RJs use of the word 'dark'...in KOD we see Rand thinking that "Not all Tairens were dark by any means", which means that most of them actually are dark. Dark as people in Spain, which is the nation that has influenced Tear the most.

Seems like RJ did make a distinction between black, and merely dark. But of course, I am only basing this on the books, and not the superiour evidence from a drawing made by someone other than RJ...

 

So in a land of pasty white people he could pass as an Arab, but not as a black man?

 

Have you actually seen an Arab?

 

The book describes him as having dark skin, just like all the rest of the black characters in WoT. The artistic renderings of him done by people who were contracted by the RJ and the Rigney estate color him as black. People in Randland don't hate others because of the color of their skin. Rahvin does in fact use Compulsion on the entire court of Andor.

 

Well thren, find one, just one mention in the books of him having dark skin.

 

And yes there are Irish black people in the United States, as their are black people in Ireland. And if they told me they were Irish I would believe them because they are Irish. Just as I would believe a white person in the United States who told me he was American despite not having a drop of Native American blood.

 

You missed the word ethnically. A single word can make such a big difference...

 

But you are perfectly free to think of Rahvin or any character as having whatever skin color you wish. But RJ intended him to be a black man, he's described as being a black man, and he is supposed to be thought of as a man with black skin..

 

 

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Rahvin claimed to come from the far west of Andor, which would mean close to the border against Tarabon/Almoth Plain/Arad Doman. Incidently, both Tarabon and Arad Doman are heavily influenced by Arabic (and Iranian in Arad doman) cultures.

So, in the area he claimed to come from we have people that would seem "too dark"  in a nation that mostly is influenced by England/Ireland. While we do not have a single observation of a black person from Andor, or anywhere on mainland Randland.

 

None of this connects to WoT. You're associating Randland to Europe as though the two connect. He says he came from western Andor, not that he was "ethnnically" Andoran. There can be black people in western Andor.

 

First time we see Semirhage, her face is described as charcoal-dark. When Mat later sees her he thinks her face is almost as dark as her black dress. The Sharans we see at Graendals palace are described as very dark-skinned, and the Sharan we see make a cameo in KOD is described as very dark. Tuon has been described as dark-skinned. the Sea Folk have been described as dark-skinned, even very dark-skinned.

Meanwhile, regarding RJs use of the word 'dark'...in KOD we see Rand thinking that "Not all Tairens were dark by any means", which means that most of them actually are dark. Dark as people in Spain, which is the nation that has influenced Tear the most.

Seems like RJ did make a distinction between black, and merely dark. But of course, I am only basing this on the books, and not the superiour evidence from a drawing made by someone other than RJ...

 

The first time we meet Semirhage her face is described as "dark." Not "charcoal-dark." You're still connecting "dark" to "dark skinned" without any reason for us to believe Rahvin isn't black. Semirhage is described as "dark," you've said Tuon is as well. Rahvin too is described as "dark." The Tairen's are also, sometimes, refered too as "dark." So by your definition none of these characters are black. RJ doesn't refer to characters as "black." So you're not proving Rahvin is Spanish. The artistic drawing was overseen and approved by RJ. It shows Rahvin being black, along with Semirhage. Rahvin is black, as described in the book, and the art.

 

So in a land of pasty white people he could pass as an Arab, but not as a black man?

 

Have you actually seen an Arab?

 

Yes. Arab's have darker skin then white people.

 

Well then, find one, just one mention in the books of him having dark skin.

 

I did. You still haven't shown how a person being dark doesn't describe their skin, and how that proves he's not black.

 

You missed the word ethnically. A single word can make such a big difference...

 

Not really. A person can have an Irish mother or father, and a black mother or father and still be Irish and black. But this again has NOTHING to do with WoT or how races are treated or migrate in Randland.

 

I love how you compare all this to our own world's racial problems as though the two mix. Rahvin is a black man. He's described as one. Sorry that offends you so terribly.

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Why are there no South Asian characters, and why don't any of the 'black' characters have kinky hair, and why is Tuon so notably dark of skin if her skin tone is common among Sea Folk, Andorans, Tairens, Taraboners, Altarans, Domani, Seanchan, Saldeans and Aiel (they are also described as 'dark')?

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Why are there no South Asian characters, and why don't any of the 'black' characters have kinky hair, and why is Tuon so notably dark of skin if her skin tone is common among Sea Folk, Andorans, Tairens, Taraboners, Altarans, Domani, Seanchan, Saldeans and Aiel (they are also described as 'dark')?

 

Errh. Sea folk are described as very dark, Domani coppery-skinned, Altarans olive-skinned, and Aiel sun-dark (but actually pale underneath their clothes). I don't recall Saldeans ever being described as dark, and Seanchan people are very varied in skin color (Tuon being very dark, Selucia creamy skinned for example). I don't really understand what you mean by "why is Tuon so notably dark of skin"... She's just black, I never perceived it as her being "notably" dark, that she stood out or anything. People in Randland have all different types of skin colors and that's just the way it is.

Oh, and btw, when Tuons hair was growing out, Mat described it as very tightly curled, which probably means she has "kinky hair"...

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I think you miss my point.  It's being put forward that 'dark' is synonymous with ethnically 'black'.

 

Tuon, and at least another off-hand description I can recall from one of the earlier books references a 'tight cap of curls' on a 'dark' character.  I took this to mean they were black.  From what I recall though a lot more attention is paid to Tuon's skin color than other similarly 'dark' characters.  The OP noticed that Tuon is being described as black where he missed it with other descriptions.  That's because it is really hammered home more so than other characters with dark skin.

 

That being said, my point was that not all characters described as 'dark' are described as being ethnically 'black'.  Sea Folk characters with descriptions of long, flowing hair, et cetera are likely meant to be South Asian in appearance, not African (or they are comprised of both). 

 

Every time a character is described as being 'dark' doesn't mean they are described as being black (especially given that most of the PoVs are coming from pale faces, so 'dark' is a very relative term there).  It certainly does mean that some of the time; but a 'dark' Tairen or Altaran is likely just a Tairen or Altaran with a tan, not a black Tairen or Altaran like is being put forward.

 

For reference here is the Dabel Brother's artwork for Rahvin that was (allegedly) personally approved by RJ:

 

http://www.dragonmount.com/Images/Forsaken/Rahvin_Wallpaper_800x600.jpg

 

I personally wouldn't describe that character as black, although I would describe him as dark.  Maybe he was intended to be a black man by the artist, but I don't think so.

 

Here is a RL pic of Portugese athlete Cristiano Ronaldo for reference:

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/C_ronaldo_cropped.jpg

 

Not that I care how people imagine characters in their head that much.  It's not badwrongfun.  It's not logical to assume that 'dark as a Tairen' means Tairens are black because dark = black.

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Along with Rahvin and all the Sea Folk.

 

Rahvin is never described as black, just dark, which is usually a very different thing.

I think it might have raised an eyebrow or two if he had waltzed into aemlyn, claiming to be fron Andor, while sporting a colour of skin only those who had met the Sea fold would have ever seen before...

 

Uhm, correct me if I'm wrong here, but as I remember it, when Rand and Mat first came to Caemlyn, the people were discribed as very varied, something about the skin colors ranging from "too dark" to "too pale".  After all, Caemlyn is one of the biggest cities, I don't think anyone would have raised an eyebrow at Rhavin just because he was black.

I think the 'too dark' and 'too pale' references were from the point of view of the boys who had been villagers their entire lives... when you have only a single frame of reference, even a minor variation can seem significant. I think RJ was attempting to make the point of how un-worldly the boys were using that language as he did.

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I don't think it's to do with POV's, dark Andorans are mentioned every now and then throughout the series.

Somewhere in book 7 (or maybe 6) Mat (or maybe Perrin) note a very dark skinned Andoran (yeah, that's not something to hang your caoat on, but I'm not willing to chase it down). They're well enough travelled at that point to have good reference.

 

In book 8 - Chpt 28 - Crimsonthorn, when Elayne gets back to Caemlyn she's standing in the throne room looking at the windows. Direct quote: "... the White Lion of Andor alternated with scenes of Andoran victories and the faces of the land's earliest queens, beginning with Ishara herself, as dark as any of the Atha'an Miere,..."

 

So while probably not all that common, there are very dark skinned Andorans, and enough that Rahvin would not occasion much comment.

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I think the problem is that some of you are attempting to compare the WOT ethnicities to our modern (and screwed up) understandings of race, ethnicity and even nationality.

 

WOT characters seem to describe things that would make a huge deal to "us" like skin color, as just a part of the characteristics. They pay more attention to their country of origin and associated habits, not assumed inherent traits.  There also seems to be no discrimination based on physical attributes alone, like we have.

 

I think its wholly ridiculous to try and classify the characters to our conceptions of race and ethnicity. I always assumed the RJ purposefully wove a clear and unique conception that the WoT populace had, that was different from our own.

 

Accept them for how RJ and his characters describe them. Make the categories out of their own way of describing each other. Stop trying to do so via our own terms. It just doesn't fit.

 

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So while probably not all that common, there are very dark skinned Andorans, and enough that Rahvin would not occasion much comment.

 

I don't have issue with that, and agree.  The issue isn't the existence of very dark skinned Andorans, or Andorans being described specifically as being black, including RJ's 'tightly curled hair', et cetera.  What I take issue with is that all characters being described as 'dark' or even 'very dark' are being described as 'black people' as Kadere contests.

 

Tairens specifically are described as dark, and specific 'dark' characters are also described as being swarthy, such as Juilin.  Dark and black are not synonymous in RJ's descriptions.

 

As far as characters not being discriminated against based on physical appearance; Masema's hatred of Rand because he looks like Aiel would say otherwise.  We deal with almost exclusively characters that occupy the heights of power, and are good guys.  Characters that excercise privelege due to high social status, and the rules at the top might not be the same as those at the bottom.  Even there we see some pejorative physical descriptions though, such as a Cairhienen captain's PoV in Winter's Heart referencing the 'land of gangly giants' while rubbing shoulders with Perrin's entourage of various nationalities.  We know our main characters don't discriminate based on physical features, because they are mostly heroic and good and above petty racism.  This isn't necessarily representative of what goes on across the entire continent, among every social class.

 

We do indeed have some very consistent physical traits that are strongly associated with various nationalities.  Coppery skinned Domani, tilted Saldean eyes, tall as an Aielman, short Cairhienen, dark as any Atha'an Miere, and so on.  While their might be a good deal of diversisty, and some nations such as Andor might have more than others, generally speaking most of RJ's nationalities also share some common physical traits.

 

It's also in no way ridiculous to attempt to draw parrallels between what's in the WoT and what's in the real world as RJ clearly and openly drew upon real world inspiritations for the sake of verisimilitude.  We never see characters that exist outside the scope of available physical traits that exist in the real world.  We never see any violet eyed, lustrous silver haired Taegaryans in WoT because those traits don't exist in the real world.  Also an obvious conciet of the series is that the events of the story take place on Earth of the real world, but in the distant past, or distant future.  There are parrallels to the real world, even if they are only approximations. 

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im sorry to burst your bubble with the violet eyes but have you ever heard of liz taylor? violet eyes right there, and my nana has lustrous silver hair. lol :D

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The issue isn't the existence of very dark skinned Andorans, or Andorans being described specifically as being black, including RJ's 'tightly curled hair', et cetera.  What I take issue with is that all characters being described as 'dark' or even 'very dark' are being described as 'black people' as Kadere contests.

 

I agree with that. I don't automatically count everyone RJ describes as 'dark skinned' as black. (I certainly didn't visualise Rahvin being that way.) I do count Tuon as something like an African in appearance as she is described as looking like a 'porcelain doll'. The same seems to be true for Anath/Semirhage, although I forget her hair type.

 

It's also in no way ridiculous to attempt to draw parrallels between what's in the WoT and what's in the real world as RJ clearly and openly drew upon real world inspiritations for the sake of verisimilitude.

 

I agree to some extent, but I think it's clear that not all races fit clearly into the main ethnic groups we have in our world. Take Saldaeans for example. They're described as  having tilted eyes which suggests East Asian appearance. However their skin colour appears to be fair with strong noses*. (Actually, I don't think their skin colour was ever described, but I assume this simply because when Seanchan of the East Asian type appeared, honey coloured skin seemed a novelty.) I'm of the opinion the Sea folk are a distinct race all to themselves having skin often as dark as Africans but differing facial features and straight hair. I have seen many Indians who fit that profile.

 

That certainly doesn't contradict what we see in our world though as race has always been fluid. (Take India as an example. Indians are sometimes stereotyped as being brown skinned, lighter than Africans, darker than Europeans or Arab for that matter. In fact their skin colour can range from a light olive brown, like Spanish to as dark as someone from Africa. I've even heard accounts of some Indians in the past having blue eyes.) The races of today are quite possibly the result of the interracial mixing of the past.

 

As for racism,  it certainly does exist in the WOT world. It doesn't seem to be predicated as much (I say 'as much' as certain racial slurs have been listed, as you've said.) on physical appearance as our world in the past though. It's more cultural. Even the prejudice against Rand by Masema for his Aiel like appearance was due mainly to the fear people hold the Aiel due to their prowess in battle and perceived barbarity. Masema, a Shienaran, has faced them in battle and thus has this prejudice.

 

*Incidentally, I feel that picture of Faile that appears in the top left corner from time to time to be incorrect as it seems to be patterned on a more generic east Asian appearance particularly in skin colour. From that world's perspective she just looks like one of the races of Seanchan (bearing in mind the Seanchan are actually a diverse people not one specific race), rather than Saldaean. It is a beautiful picture though.

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