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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Why do people hate the Wheel of Time?


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Trashbird, I must agree with you in regards to Tolkien, it is a monotonous drone with little to no emotion reflected in the language especially in battle scenes. There is no character development in Tolkien with the possible exception of a single major character.

 

Jordan can also have a monotonous drone with his level of description but not in a battle scene or conveying a character's emotion.

 

What others find cheesy I find subtle. Recognition of characteristics after the fact is something we all do in life and then we think "oh that's why".

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Ares raised a couple of good points and people asking him "wth he's doing on a WoT fansite" should get a grip.

Seeing flaws in things you love doesn't mean you're not a fan.

 

I'm a huge WoT fan, I've spent countless hours just thinking about the characters and what will happen. All the fantasy nerd stuff.

 

I actually like it because it doesn't lend itself well to "fantasy nerd stuff." Perhaps you feel differently, but I feel like most other books I've read fill those stereotypes too well.

Whether or not the series lends itself to fantasy nerd stuff probably depends on your definition of what consitutes fantasy nerd stuff.

 

2) People not talking to each other. Seriously, I'm glad Sanderson took over the series just for this aspect. Finally people start communicating.

 

I believe this is a problem with real life that Jordan portrays excellently.

The criticism people have is that RJ overdoes it, taking it further than generally happens in real life. Of course, how realistic people think it is might well depend on their experiences. Reality isn't always as realistic as people would like to think.

 

I'm not saying Sanderson or Jordan should've killed characters off just for the sake of doing it but it does add a sense of danger to the plot. It makes you care more cause you don't know what will happen.

Damn carebears!

 

Plenty of important characters die. Again I disagree.

The major good guys (Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve) have all survived the duration of the series, as have many more minor characters besides. On the side of the good guys, which major characters have died? Verin would be the most prominent example. Usually, it's more minor characters who die (Fel, Morr, Adley, Vandene and Adeleas, Geofram Bornhald, Niall, etc.). It's really not enough to disagree, it would be helpful if you could say why.

 

2) I'm not fond of the character driven nature of the story. Having read both books 1 and half of 12, it seams very strange to me that the preponderance of the important characters and concepts are introduced in the first book.

The Emond's Fielders just become way too important. It's melodrama. That is drama, produced through illogical plot contrivances. I don't care how the characters came to be in their positions. When the endpoint isn't plausible, there's something wrong with the mechanism.

A story being character driven is a flaw? Interesting, that's a new one to me. Why do you consider it strange that a series would introduce the important elements early on? If anything, isn't that only to be expected? And surely the mechanism by which the Emond's Fielders attain their status is important in deciding whether or not it's plausible they got where they did? Or whether the plot contrivances are illogical? If you don't know how they got where they did, then you have no basis for calling it melodramatic.
4) Why are there so many Darkfriends?
How many should there be? Bearing in mind this is an organisation that, once joined, can never be left. Expecting people to work for the Shadow because they will be killed if they don't is against human nature? People don't have survival instincts?
6) Ultimately, it seams more like a superhero story than a fantasy novel.
How so? Rand being a Gandalf/Superman cross doesn't answer that.
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Ten years ago, a friend of mine loaned me The Eye of the World.... I was hooked half-way through, and when I returned the book, just imagine my delight when he pointed to his book shelf and said "There's a few more in the series. And it's not done yet. He's gonna write 13 total." .... I was in fantasy-nerd heaven..... It would be a perfect world, indeed, if a new volume was published every other year for the rest of my life....

 

I wasn't a big fan of Brandon Sanderson back before he became "WOT famous", but my immense sense of gratitude for him writing these final three books shines like the sun. Thanks, Brandon!

 

 

The "Less adjective, more verb" comment was right on the mark.

 

People "hate the WOT" because it demands a very high level of engagement for it to work. People don't always know how to participate with books that way, and instead just want the television ease in their reading. I mean, you open a David Weber novel and go for a ride, right? Can't really do that with WOT and it bothers people. This is why they call the writing "bloated", maybe....

 

I've also observed that the people who "hate WOT" tend to be the same people who "love Sword of Truth", if that's any indication.... [i just heard they are making a tv series out of that pablum! Oh, gods; the horror....]

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I've also observed that the people who "hate WOT" tend to be the same people who "love Sword of Truth", if that's any indication.... [i just heard they are making a tv series out of that pablum! Oh, gods; the horror....]

 

It's already made, they are in their second season now I believe.

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There is something simple I would like to add, acrually, concerning the female nudity. I believe and always thought that this was RJ's way of touching upon a more paganistic view of nudity being natural and connected to the Earth. It just so happens that we only really see female nudity and not male because of the societies having so many women more involved in positions of power, positions that require ceremony. And doing things nude lends power and raw feeling to a ceremony, and vulnerability. In my opinion anyway.

Also there is male nudity too, where applicable: gai'shain when being captured, and also male da'covale.

 

 

I also want to say something I love about WoT, and what many people dislike, is the descriptive style. I DO want to know what every little thing looks like (I'm disappointed RJ never once described if AS shawls look universal or not, despite the Flame and fringe--I wanna know what color(s) the body is too!) but anyway, for mevrhe more detail the better, though it does slow my reading down quite a bit--I noticed that over the years I've developed a bad habit or reading a paragraph, or often a single sentence, multiple times in a row, even though I know what it's bloody saying, as if I need to digest every single word. I find it annoying but I can't seem to mentally break the habit. If someone mounts a horse a certain way, I may read it four time before going on. Ah, anyway...

 

I have to say, I picked these books up at 14 and though my young brain did find his writing style very confusing, it was also what I found so intriguing as well. As a matter of fact, by the time I was16 I determined that it is a requirement that my future husband has read and liked WoT. *grins*

 

Oh yes, though. Some actions are a bit annoyingly repetative: crossing arms under breasts, hands on hips, etc.

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Why do you consider it strange that a series would introduce the important elements early on? If anything, isn't that only to be expected?

In a story of this length I would have expected that there would be key protagonists who are introduced later in the story.

 

And surely the mechanism by which the Emond's Fielders attain their status is important in deciding whether or not it's plausible they got where they did?

No it isn't. You simply aren't going to find that many people who are that extraordinarily talented in such a small population. Probability and genetics don't work like that. Then there's the fact they will be socially maladjusted for civilized society. If each book covered a year's timespan, the latter could be argued away. But the former can't be.

 

4) Why are there so many Darkfriends?

 

How many should there be? Bearing in mind this is an organisation that, once joined, can never be left. Expecting people to work for the Shadow because they will be killed if they don't is against human nature? People don't have survival instincts?

 

And who does the enforcement? Other dark friends. This is circular logic. I know too much about real human history to buy into this. The loyalty of any army is based upon how well they are paid. An absolute constant throughout human history. Not one exception. Ever.

 

How so? Rand being a Gandalf/Superman cross doesn't answer that.

The channelers are too powerful.

Edited by Clegane
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It's already made, they are in their second season now I believe.

The TV series at least, is totally unpretentious throwaway entertainment. And at least at the beginning of the 2nd season, Darken Raul plays the protagonists for twits. I haven't seen but the first 4 episodes of the 2nd season. I did find the 2 main protagonists to be irritating. The story probably would have eventually grated on me.

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Ten years ago, a friend of mine loaned me The Eye of the World.... I was hooked half-way through, and when I returned the book, just imagine my delight when he pointed to his book shelf and said "There's a few more in the series. And it's not done yet. He's gonna write 13 total." .... I was in fantasy-nerd heaven..... It would be a perfect world, indeed, if a new volume was published every other year for the rest of my life....

 

I wasn't a big fan of Brandon Sanderson back before he became "WOT famous", but my immense sense of gratitude for him writing these final three books shines like the sun. Thanks, Brandon!

 

 

The "Less adjective, more verb" comment was right on the mark.

 

People "hate the WOT" because it demands a very high level of engagement for it to work. People don't always know how to participate with books that way, and instead just want the television ease in their reading. I mean, you open a David Weber novel and go for a ride, right? Can't really do that with WOT and it bothers people. This is why they call the writing "bloated", maybe....

 

I've also observed that the people who "hate WOT" tend to be the same people who "love Sword of Truth", if that's any indication.... [i just heard they are making a tv series out of that pablum! Oh, gods; the horror....]

From what I've observed, there are many people who have strong criticisms about WoT, but who absolutely despise SoT. Fans of, for example, Malazan Book of the Fallen or A Song of Ice and Fire have voiced preference for those series over WoT. MBotF and ASoIaF are both series that require a high level of engagement, both are series comprised of multiple doorstoppers, and I don't think either is for people who just want "television ease". Likewise, people with an appreciation of the classics might find things to dislike about WoT. True, there are people who voice very silly reasons for disliking the series, who will find it "too complex", but I don't think that blanket attempts to dismiss the critics by suggesting they're just not smart enough for the series really work.

 

 

Why do you consider it strange that a series would introduce the important elements early on? If anything, isn't that only to be expected?

In a story of this length I would have expected that there would be key protagonists who are introduced later in the story.
There are several very important characters who are introduced after the first book. But it is only reasonable to expect the bulk of who and what this series is about to be introduced up front.

 

And surely the mechanism by which the Emond's Fielders attain their status is important in deciding whether or not it's plausible they got where they did?

No it isn't. You simply aren't going to find that many people who are that extraordinarily talented in such a small population. Probability and genetics don't work like that. Then there's the fact they will be socially maladjusted for civilized society. If each book covered a year's timespan, the latter could be argued away. But the former can't be.
So how many people would you expect to be extraordinarily talented? And how many extraordinary talents did we actually find? Mat is a brilliant general and gambler for reasons other than his birth, for example. Furthermore, ta'veren is a mechanism that distorts probability.

 

4) Why are there so many Darkfriends?

 

How many should there be? Bearing in mind this is an organisation that, once joined, can never be left. Expecting people to work for the Shadow because they will be killed if they don't is against human nature? People don't have survival instincts?

 

And who does the enforcement? Other dark friends. This is circular logic. I know too much about real human history to buy into this. The loyalty of any army is based upon how well they are paid. An absolute constant throughout human history. Not one exception. Ever.

Of course an army needs to be paid. Of course, no-one ever said the Darkfriends aren't paid, so you really don't have a point. Even if the pay was bad, leaving would make them marked men, as those who weren't leaving would take the opportunity to advance through the ranks and gain favour. And there was nothing circular about the logic. Nor did you provide any evidence to back up your assertion that all armies have loyalty proportionate to how well they are paid.

 

How so? Rand being a Gandalf/Superman cross doesn't answer that.

The channelers are too powerful.
How so? How powerful should they be? Why does that make it a superhero story? Why is being a superhero story bad, in your eyes? Why do you see a contradiction between the concepts of "superhero story", which can be in novel form, and fantasy, and "fantasy novel"?
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There is something simple I would like to add, acrually, concerning the female nudity. I believe and always thought that this was RJ's way of touching upon a more paganistic view of nudity being natural and connected to the Earth. It just so happens that we only really see female nudity and not male because of the societies having so many women more involved in positions of power, positions that require ceremony. And doing things nude lends power and raw feeling to a ceremony, and vulnerability. In my opinion anyway.

Also there is male nudity too, where applicable: gai'shain when being captured, and also male da'covale.

There are occasional offhand references to male nudity, but nowhere near the level of loving detail that is spent on describing female nudity. And I think there are one or two offscreen instances where men are subject to corporal punishment, but again, nothing like the number of times that women are being stripped and spanked/whipped/caned/birched. The asymmetry of it makes any explanations that don't involve fan-service or the author's personal kinks pretty far-fetched.

 

I'd have a hard time believing Robert Jordan isn't into spanking. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but as a gay dude, hot girl-on-girl spanking action doesn't do much for me and being confronted with all that faintly porny all-girl S&M action gets old and kind of creepy after awhile.

 

I would actually rank it as one of several aspects of a growing sexism that I didn't notice at the beginning of the series (even on reread) but that crept up along the way, up until book 12, and it's one of the things that makes the thought of rereading them kind of daunting. If I wanted to read novels chock-full of gross, creepy sexual abuse, I'd be reading Terry Goodkind.

 

 

People "hate the WOT" because it demands a very high level of engagement for it to work. People don't always know how to participate with books that way, and instead just want the television ease in their reading. I mean, you open a David Weber novel and go for a ride, right? Can't really do that with WOT and it bothers people. This is why they call the writing "bloated", maybe....

So, what, people don't like it because they're not smart enough? These novels aren't exactly Tolstoy or Garcia Marquez. I think I started reading them when I was 12. Having so many characters you basically can't read them without outside resources isn't really what I would count as intellectual depth.

 

 

And then there are characters that are not necessarily evil but they don't help any of the good guys: like the Children of the Light.

Crazed religious zealots are basically a stock character type in fantasy/sci-fi novels in my experience; I'm not faulting him for including the Whitecloaks but I'm not sure I can accept them as representing a nuanced look at good-versus-evil.

 

 

But all in all, my main criticism would be, as many others have mentioned, the pacing. I seriously was thinking about rereading them before the latest one came out, or else rereading the whole thing now that I'm done with book 13, since I'm back to wanting more, but the thought of trying to slog through books 7 through 10 is just sort of impossible.

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WOT is like the War and Peace of the fantasy genre! What? Sanderson recently stated an estimation of about 2,000 characters.

 

Therefore, appreciation of this series requires a commitment to reading; it's not light reading. It might just be over the heads or focus level of some folks whom we otherwise like very much.

 

Okay, in the case of "Twilight," there is no question it is written at a reading level for youth, maybe about sixth or seventh graders? Very light reading.

I think Jordan does very well with the POVs of the female characters. But for someone to admit that WOT is too much for them, they would be embarrassed so they might sidestep the real issue.

We cannot beat our friends over their pointy little heads when they just can't get into the same literary tastes we enjoy.

 

I love Tolkien and Jordan. I rather suspect that Jordan loved Tolkien too. But they were not contemporaries. Tolkien served in WWI. Jordan served in Viet Nam. That's at least two generations apart. (Even Tolkien's son is in his late 80s now.) The language of fantasy has necessarily changed as times change. If you read Tolkien, your English will be improved. Yet of course Jordan is a master of fantasy, and he is every bit as descriptive as Tolkien.

 

Therein lies another point where there will be people who are afraid of reading both these authors. Some readers are not yet able to handle heavy descriptive narrative. They are spoiled perhaps by action movies, and they want action all the time. Crossroads moved several subplots forward and was a necessary transition in the development of the storyline. But for some readers, it required more focus than they could manage.

 

Conclusion: Don't let it get to you. Find something else you can discuss or do with your friend.

 

 

I feel like this is an insult to the taste of 6th or 7th graders... but otherwise I agree. My best friend is a dedicated reader like myself and she couldn't get passed the 9th WoT book. And she had already read to 9! 9! and she quit. A lot of people have problems with the stereotypical male/female attitudes/gender roles. Like, and this is according to my friend, the women are all pushy b*tches and the men are all stubborn idiots. Which drove her insane. I have heard similar opinions from others who have read them. I personally love WoT, but I think this is a main reason people do not like them.

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I can think of plenty of books that I didn't like, but I wouldn't say that any of them "just totally suck." Beside that, why does anybody think these books suck?

 

Okay, this is coming from a die-hard fan of fantasy but, casual fan of TWoT. So, I think my opinion is pretty neutral and unbiased. I like this series, but my enjoyment of TWoT certainly doesn't blind me to the truth. Why does anybody think these books suck?

 

Because books 7-10 got terrible reviews and for good reason, too. IMO, those 4 books are dreadful. They were a far cry from the sense of epic adventure and intense excitement that this series had from the moment the Emond's Fielders fled to Dumai's Wells. Compared to all the epic, grand things that RJ wrote about in those first 6 books, the next 4 (and I'd even throw in KoD. But that's just me) were a bucketful of cold water poured on a really hot tale, where very little important stuff happens, while RJ digressed and drifted a lot from the main plot. And the whole series might've suffered as the result from that.

 

It's deep: yes, it's a fantasy novel and there's a certain levity that goes with that, but Robert Jordan deals gracefully with everything from intimate relations (an everyday subject) to free will versus determinism, the limitations of language; he deals with how folklore and history interweave, power structures in society, the place of art in society, and of course SEX! Show me another fantasy novel, or any kind of novel with mass appeal that deals with topics worthy of Rousseau and Wittgenstein. In the Wheel of Time it's all there, just as it's all there in real life. As I said above, I have not seen another author tackle more topics as well as Robert Jordan.

 

If you think that having all major characters survive nearly unscathed for 13 books is realistic, that's your opinion and I respect it. But, I for one, strongly disagree. TWoT is pretty good entertainment, but one certainly has got to resort to suspension of disbelief much more often than in some other series. Now, George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, that is tackling real life topics well. That is knowing how to create a complex fantasy world that offers depth, colors, complexity and a real life feel. So, don't tell me the late Mr. Jordan was the only one who could pull off such a difficult trick. In many ways, Martin's a far superior story-teller, even if Jordan was the better writer.

 

Star Wars prequel trilogy: that sucked. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: sucks.

 

Now this, I frankly cannot understand. You claim to be unable to see why some people would think that TWoT sucks but, you think that the most popular fantasy/fiction films and books of all time suck? I'd appreciate it if you could clarify this. Because frankly, I'm stunned.

 

Well, I mean, if you really feel that way about Lucas' and Tolkien's masterpieces, that's your thing and I respect it. Your friend and all others who claim TWoT sucks have their reasons for it, just like you have your reasons for saying that about the SW Prequels. Hey, can't blame you, because I can't understand (much less relate with) your opinion, but it doesn't affect my enjoyment of Episodes I, II and III. I can't see why I'd be bothered by the opinions of others. But, if you've got your reasons to state that the SW Prequels flat out sucked, then the least you could do, is understand those who feel that TWoT sucks. Even if you disagree with their opinion.

Edited by Darth Krewl
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I've read all of the WOT books multiple times so far and I'm not about to stop now, but if I am going to be honest I am not reading wheel of time for its deep characters, character progression and philosophical viewpoints.

 

Wheel of Time for me is 13 (this far) big fat books of light reading; about 10.000 pages of entertainment. It probably takes a certain type of person to even consider reading 10.000 pages of any type of material, much less to do so for no other reason than it’s enjoyable.

Edited by Haran
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So how many people would you expect to be extraordinarily talented? And how many extraordinary talents did we actually find? Mat is a brilliant general and gambler for reasons other than his birth, for example. Furthermore, ta'veren is a mechanism that distorts probability.

If someone is the most talented out of several million people, then having them come from one small village is plausible - they have to come from somewhere. Having several people who are the most talented out of several million come from the same small village is not plausible. Using the Wheel as a plot device to explain how the improbably becomes probably in the main characters' presence is fine. This is a fantasy novel. Using it to epxlain how so many talented/important characters come from the same farming village doesn't wash with me.

 

Of course an army needs to be paid. Of course, no-one ever said the Darkfriends aren't paid, so you really don't have a point. Even if the pay was bad, leaving would make them marked men, as those who weren't leaving would take the opportunity to advance through the ranks and gain favour. And there was nothing circular about the logic. Nor did you provide any evidence to back up your assertion that all armies have loyalty proportionate to how well they are paid.

I don't have time to communicate human history to you. The point that you are missing is that payment and punishment of the Darkfriends requires bureaucracy to administer it. In other words, a government. Where is this government described?

 

How so? How powerful should they be? Why does that make it a superhero story? Why is being a superhero story bad, in your eyes? Why do you see a contradiction between the concepts of "superhero story", which can be in novel form, and fantasy, and "fantasy novel"?

The characters remind me of playing pencil and paper role playing games in my youth. Unfortunately, the well known document describing real men, real roleplayers, lunatics, and munchkins is no longer available online. I was going to direct you to that.

 

I think Haran has inadvertently expressed my opinion.

 

I am not reading wheel of time for its deep characters, character progression and philosophical viewpoints.

 

Wheel of Time for me is 13 (this far) big fat books of light reading; about 10.000 pages of entertainment. It probably takes a certain type of person to even consider reading 10.000 pages of any type of material, much less to do so for no other reason than it’s enjoyable.

This is precisely why I think the story is a good fit for a graphic novel.

 

I would only add that asking for philosophical viewpoints is asking for a bit much. I would be content with astute obersvations of human nature. Such as in the Game of Thrones when Lyanna says "Love is sweet dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature."

 

Crazed religious zealots are basically a stock character type in fantasy/sci-fi novels in my experience; I'm not faulting him for including the Whitecloaks but I'm not sure I can accept them as representing a nuanced look at good-versus-evil.

The problem I have with the whitecloaks is that it isn't explained where they get all of their money. Knights in shining armor are the resource equivalent of tanks. The Knights Templar raised money by running a banking system throughout western Europe.

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So how many people would you expect to be extraordinarily talented? And how many extraordinary talents did we actually find? Mat is a brilliant general and gambler for reasons other than his birth, for example. Furthermore, ta'veren is a mechanism that distorts probability.

If someone is the most talented out of several million people, then having them come from one small village is plausible - they have to come from somewhere. Having several people who are the most talented out of several million come from the same small village is not plausible. Using the Wheel as a plot device to explain how the improbably becomes probably in the main characters' presence is fine. This is a fantasy novel. Using it to epxlain how so many talented/important characters come from the same farming village doesn't wash with me.
How many super capable people are there? Most talented out of several million? Well, Mat gets his skill via magic, Perrin isn't exactly the greatest leader in the world. So you have Rand and Egwene, really. And even Rand has pretty big failings as a leader (insanity can do that to you).

 

Of course an army needs to be paid. Of course, no-one ever said the Darkfriends aren't paid, so you really don't have a point. Even if the pay was bad, leaving would make them marked men, as those who weren't leaving would take the opportunity to advance through the ranks and gain favour. And there was nothing circular about the logic. Nor did you provide any evidence to back up your assertion that all armies have loyalty proportionate to how well they are paid.

I don't have time to communicate human history to you.
Thank you. I have no desire to be lectured by someone who has manifestly failed to demonstrate any great understanding of the topic in question.
The point that you are missing is that payment and punishment of the Darkfriends requires bureaucracy to administer it.
That would be the point you have just made up. Probably why I missed it.
In other words, a government. Where is this government described?
Given that we spend precious little time with the forces of the Shadow, and even with the forces of the Light day-to-day admin isn't always the focus (and people are generally none too thrilled when it is), your complaint boils down to the author having neither the time nor the inclination to show us every little thing. What a terrible flaw. Why do we need this government described? The author shouldn't waste time when he could be getting on with the story.

 

How so? How powerful should they be? Why does that make it a superhero story? Why is being a superhero story bad, in your eyes? Why do you see a contradiction between the concepts of "superhero story", which can be in novel form, and fantasy, and "fantasy novel"?

The characters remind me of playing pencil and paper role playing games in my youth. Unfortunately, the well known document describing real men, real roleplayers, lunatics, and munchkins is no longer available online. I was going to direct you to that.
You answered none of my questions. Is that because you don't have answers? "I don't like it", true though it might be, isn't really a compelling argument, but that is what all your points have boiled down to.

 

I think Haran has inadvertently expressed my opinion.

 

I am not reading wheel of time for its deep characters, character progression and philosophical viewpoints.

 

Wheel of Time for me is 13 (this far) big fat books of light reading; about 10.000 pages of entertainment. It probably takes a certain type of person to even consider reading 10.000 pages of any type of material, much less to do so for no other reason than it’s enjoyable.

This is precisely why I think the story is a good fit for a graphic novel.
So something being enjoyable makes it a good candidate for a graphic novel? It being light reading? Both those qualities are quite common in prose fiction.

 

I would only add that asking for philosophical viewpoints is asking for a bit much. I would be content with astute obersvations of human nature. Such as in the Game of Thrones when Lyanna says "Love is sweet dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature."
Well, if you're willing to set the bar for astute observations on human nature so low, then RJ certainly cannot be considered lacking. "You can weave silk from pig bristles before you can make a man anything but a man."

 

Crazed religious zealots are basically a stock character type in fantasy/sci-fi novels in my experience; I'm not faulting him for including the Whitecloaks but I'm not sure I can accept them as representing a nuanced look at good-versus-evil.
The problem I have with the whitecloaks is that it isn't explained where they get all of their money. Knights in shining armor are the resource equivalent of tanks. The Knights Templar raised money by running a banking system throughout western Europe.
Running a country probably helps the coffers a bit. That said, saying something isn't explained when you haven't actually bothered to read books 2-11 and 13 does sort of run the risk that you'll miss those explanations, and thus end up looking a bit silly.
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How many super capable people are there?

Most talented out of several million? Well, Mat gets his skill via magic, Perrin isn't exactly the greatest leader in the world. So you have Rand and Egwene, really.

And even Rand has pretty big failings as a leader (insanity can do that to you).

I don't care where Mat gets his skills from. Perrin isn't the greatest leader in the world, but he still leads an army larger than the population of Emond's Field and

he achieved this without magic, if I'm not mistaken. Both of them are more talented than one out of a few hundred.

Nynaeve is the strongest channeler of the Aes Sedai, so you have a 3rd character is one of the most talented out of millions.

 

Thank you. I have no desire to be lectured by someone who has manifestly failed to demonstrate any great understanding of the topic in question.

Then why are you replying? You can support contentions about a work of fiction by citing a few passages. It takes a book to support a historical thesis. I was curious if

you would think of an example to debunk me. But it was a clumsy attempt to get you to acknowledge the validity of my criticism of the story, which I don't think you are

ever going to do.

 

That would be the point you have just made up. Probably why I missed it.

you can never keep your soldiers' loyalty unless you are paying them. That's one hell of a wide ranging network. Who works in the Dark One's human resources department?

compared to

The point that you are missing is that payment and punishment of the Darkfriends requires bureaucracy to administer it. In other words, a government. Where is this government described?

It was my point from the beginning, just not as clearly written.

 

Given that we spend precious little time with the forces of the Shadow, and even with the forces of the Light day-to-day admin isn't always the focus (and people are generally none too

thrilled when it is), your complaint boils down to the author having neither the time nor the inclination to show us every little thing. What a terrible flaw.

Why do we need this government described? The author shouldn't waste time when he could be getting on with the story.

The story is over 10000 pages long. It was easy enough to convey a lot of information about the kingdom of Andor and Emond's Field's relationship to it with a few short lines.

You were able to easily communicate concerning the whitecloaks with material I hadn't read, but nothing on how the Darkfriends raise money, distribute pay,

or track and punish violators of their rules? Or what makes people want to become Darkfriends in the first place? I understand channelers becoming Darkfriends well enough,

George Lucas laid the groundwork for that.

The forces of Light have organized governments with Aes Sedai advisors, and yet their citizens become Darkfriends with impunity. Yet we are expected to accept that turning away

from the dark side will inevitably bring terrible retribution. It doesn't work for me. The fact that you can never leave the Darkfriends is a good reason why people, even channelers,

would never want to become one in the first place. I need the author to convince me this makes sense.

 

You answered none of my questions. Is that because you don't have answers? "I don't like it", true though it might be, isn't really a compelling argument,

but that is what all your points have boiled down to.

A grade A answer would require an essay citing known experts in the field of literary criticism supporting my opinion. I tried to answer in a brief way by making an analogy.

I did remember something fitting.

You may be a munchkin if...1

 

You may be a munchkin if...2

 

There's my standard, if the main characters of a story meet any of those criteria, I think it is a superhero story.

 

So something being enjoyable makes it a good candidate for a graphic novel? It being light reading? Both those qualities are quite common in prose fiction.

The light reading. That, and Jordan's emphasis on descriptions.

 

Such as in the Game of Thrones when Lyanna says "Love is sweet dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature."

Well, if you're willing to set the bar for astute observations on human nature so low, then RJ certainly cannot be considered lacking. "You can weave silk from pig bristles before you can make a man anything but a man."

The quote I cited is a statement about individuals and can apply equally to women. It's advice that is routinely flaunted by people's choice of lovers and roommates in the real world.

Edited by Clegane
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I got into WOT about 3 months back after reading a few opening chapters of New Spring. I got really obsessed after reading EOTW, and pretty soon, I was reading day and night. My friend, who is also a fantasy fan, and who has also read Shakespeare and stuff, which I find somewhat boring(although I'll admit I've never given it a proper chance) told me that he would give the series a try if I could tell him what it was about. He trusts a little too much on my narrative because that is how I got him into several other things. He thinks I'm great at telling stories. So I gave it my best shot.

I told him a little about Aes Sedai. His reply - Jedi

The opening few chapter of EOTW - LOTR

Trollocs - Orcs

after I described all the main characters in EOTW, he said, "Is there anyone in the whole group who isn't the most powerful this or that?" which might've happened because I was cramming 12 novels worth into a 15 mins conversation. So, after telling him that he's just gonna to trust me on this one, I stopped. I think he'll try to read it, but I still don't think he'll get into it.

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How many super capable people are there?

Most talented out of several million? Well, Mat gets his skill via magic, Perrin isn't exactly the greatest leader in the world. So you have Rand and Egwene, really.

And even Rand has pretty big failings as a leader (insanity can do that to you).

I don't care where Mat gets his skills from.
So you don't care about relevant facts? Helpful, in a debate. At least now I really can be sure that I don't have to take your points seriously. It makes things much easier on me.
Perrin isn't the greatest leader in the world, but he still leads an army larger than the population of Emond's Field and he achieved this without magic, if I'm not mistaken.
He achieved it via ta'veren (whether that counts as magic is arguable) and his relationship with Rand. Again, how he got where he is is very relevant. So you have zero basis for calling it melodrama.
Both of them are more talented than one out of a few hundred.
You've moved the goalposts - more talented than one out of a few hundred from most talented outof millions.
Nynaeve is the strongest channeler of the Aes Sedai, so you have a 3rd character is one of the most talented out of millions.
Actually, there are about 1,000 AS. And we know of other channelers stronger than her, including a novice. The TR also has a high channeler population - channeling has a genetic component.

 

But it was a clumsy attempt to get you to acknowledge the validity of my criticism of the story, which I don't think you are ever going to do.
Not before they becaome valid, no. I will acknowledge that you make a good point if and when you ever do.

 

The story is over 10000 pages long.
It's still not relevant to the story. That's important. We also don't have information on how the AS distribute pay to their eyes-and-ears networks, for example, and we spend far more time with them - we only learnt that they collected tributes from various thrones in TGS. There might not be a way to work it organically into the story, doing so might reveal something the author does not yet want revealed (for example, if there was a Darkfriend city in the Blight that had the top ranks of the Shadow's beauracracy - RJ might not want the information known yet).
Or what makes people want to become Darkfriends in the first place?
Greed is a main motivator - people think there will be something in it for them.
The forces of Light have organized governments with Aes Sedai advisors, and yet their citizens become Darkfriends with impunity.
You mean they can join a secret organisation, that they can never tell anyone, even their closest friends and family, that they are a member, if the offer is made to join they accept or are murdered then and there, run the risk of execution if they are ever discovered, and will be killed by their own side if they turn traitor or run off (and given that it's a secret organisation, they don't know who might be a Darkfriend outside of their cell). I wouldn't call that "with impunity".
Yet we are expected to accept that turning away from the dark side will inevitably bring terrible retribution. It doesn't work for me. The fact that you can never leave the Darkfriends is a good reason why people, even channelers, would never want to become one in the first place.
Why? Darkfriends won't approach you to join without some degree of certainty that you're the sort of person who would, and once they made that move there's no going back.

 

You answered none of my questions. Is that because you don't have answers? "I don't like it", true though it might be, isn't really a compelling argument,

but that is what all your points have boiled down to.

A grade A answer would require an essay citing known experts in the field of literary criticism supporting my opinion. I tried to answer in a brief way by making an analogy.

I did remember something fitting.

You may be a munchkin if...1

 

You may be a munchkin if...2

 

There's my standard, if the main characters of a story meet any of those criteria, I think it is a superhero story.

Your standard?

(1) You are NOT a munchkin if you roll 3d6 for stats.

You MAY be a munchkin if you roll 4d6 and drop the lowest.

You ARE a munchkin if you roll 4d6 and keep *all four*.

Wow, very helpful. If you couldn't make a grade A answer, couldn't you have settled for something better than grade Z? Because wading through crap like that isn't helpful. Start by defining superhero story. Go from there. A better example for you to use would be wikipedia. Their articles on superheroes begins thusly: "A superhero is a type of stock character possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and dedicated to protecting the public and has some visual characteristic (typically an outfit) that makes him/her identifiable." Their article on superhero fiction says: "The form is a type of speculative fiction examining the adventures of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains."

 

So something being enjoyable makes it a good candidate for a graphic novel? It being light reading? Both those qualities are quite common in prose fiction.
The light reading. That, and Jordan's emphasis on descriptions.
Light reading is something found often in prose fiction, as I said, but not something found in all graphic novels. For example, Maus (about the holocaust) or Watchmen. In fact, Watchmen made Time magazines 100 greatest novels, despite being a superhero story, so that term in no way indicates a flaw. RJ's emphasis on descriptions would be lost in a graphic novel. Given that many people seem to be fans of his prose style, I can't say that would make for an improvement.

 

Such as in the Game of Thrones when Lyanna says "Love is sweet dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature."

Well, if you're willing to set the bar for astute observations on human nature so low, then RJ certainly cannot be considered lacking. "You can weave silk from pig bristles before you can make a man anything but a man."
The quote I cited is a statement about individuals and can apply equally to women. It's advice that is routinely flaunted by people's choice of lovers and roommates in the real world.
There's precious little distinction in what the quotes are about. One says love won't change someone's nature, the other says that nothing will. And my quote is also advice that is routinely flaunted in the real world. Edited by Mr Ares
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Why you might dislike the books depends totally on what you're hoping to get out of reading them (that's a truism that applies to any work of art). I first read the books as an awkward early-teen who read quite a bit of fantasy (as I suppose is true for a lot of people here). Had I not liked them then, it would have been for very different reasons to why I wouldn't like them now, as a literate and (I hope) culturally and artistically aware adult, fifteen years later. I just re-read them, all the way up to being half-way through the twelfth.

 

If you don't like fantasy, or are going to struggle with a novel that "isn't realistic", the series isn't going to persuade you otherwise. As aytpical a fantasy novel as it may be, it's still full of genre cliches, swords and sorcery and other such things which, rightly or wrongly, most people will dismiss out of hand and even many fans find faintly embarrassing. For what it's worth, the discussion that's going on about whether certain (non-human) aspects of the story are plausible or not is largely a distraction to my mind. I'd submit the issue isn't whether the organisations presented are financially viable or not, whether that many talented people could come from one place, or whatever. I also totally agree that if the novels took pains to demonstrate sound economic foundations of the various factions they'd be much the worse for it (as for the other, there are multiple references to the Old Blood to explain the unusual concentration). Rather what's important is narrative consistency; the author has a duty to establish a set of rules in the reader's head about how the world functions, and endeavour not to break those rules as the story progresses. I'd suggest that by and large, that happens in these books. One of my favourite novels of all time is One Hundred Years of Solitude; it isn't in the slightest bit realistic, but the narrative is internally coherent. Garcia Marquez won a Nobel prize; realism isn't necessary for literature to be appreciated.

 

Some fantasy fans will dislike the length and sheer number of characters - the series is incredibly long, and there are ridiculous numbers of people, a lot of whom don't play any significant role. Obviously there are a lot of people in the world, and we only care about a small fraction of them. For me, I could live without knowing the name, home country, hair and eye colour, preference for clothing and size of breasts of all these minor characters, but it's not enough to make me dislike the series. This and the descriptions do inflate the page count; on the other hand, it's not exactly challenging to read this stuff. You can whiz through the material in ways that you can't with more dense writing, so it's not really a problem, and dismissing it on page-count alone is silly anyway.

 

On my recent re-read, I noticed quite a few things that escaped my naive and uncultured teenage eye:

 

Jordan isn't that great a writer (by which I'm referring to the way in which thoughts in his head are translated to words on the page, *not* plot, story or characterisation). He's not bad, his prose is serviceable, and it's light years ahead of most of what passes for writing in the fantasy genre, but genre pieces always have a lower standard than the whole of literature, that's true of every type of writing. Of course that means he's far more accomplished than the average person, or even the average published author. He does a perfectly good job of describing what's happening, but the writing never really goes beyond that: there's no real beauty in the wording, and the work isn't going to be debated in literature classes. There are also grammatical errors (inconsistent use of conditional form of the verb "to be" > "if I were him" vs "if I was him", only one of those is correct but both forms are used at various points), typical errors like confusion of affect/effect or ensure/insure, and mutliple words that don't exactly mean what Jordan thinks they do (ostentatious being the example that springs to mind). It's not a reason to hate the book, for me, but serious literary critics may be put off by the language being purely a vehicle to deliver the story. It's probably worth mentioning that Brandon Sanderson is quite a lot worse by this criterion, and the switch in writing style is instantly recognisable.

 

As a couple of other people mentioned, the characters are too flat to believe that they're real people. There's no ambiguity in whether a person is good or bad (which in itself is an over-simplification that very little fiction beyond fantasy will make, the idea of good and evil). There is ambiguity from the reader's perspective, of course - you may be kept in the dark about a character's real motives, but that aside good people do good things and bad people do evil things. The most believable characters in fiction are morally ambiguous, flawed, irrational, inconsistent, and so on. The characters in this series of books are, by and large, caricatures, expressing a single or a small set of emotional traits to degrees that real people never would. Similarly, good and evil simply don't exist in reality, outside of religious dogma. That's fine, it's Jordan's book, and he can tell whatever story he wants; however, this means the story has little to add to our understanding of the human condition, is unable to comment on society or important institutions in our world, or the like. Many people would consider that a necessary condition for important art. Also, on a related point, nation of birth and to a certain extent social station are authorial shorthand for personality in almost all cases: in reality the country you're born in doesn't have nearly the influence on the kind of person you are that it does here. You only need say Cairheinin noble, (female) Domani merchant, Two Rivers farmer, or whatever to have an almost complete understanding of how that person will react in any situation, almost without exception in the books.

 

I think everyone accepts this, but nonetheless a huge issue is that the pacing of the later books in the series is indefensible: I don't think it's motivated by greed, but certain storylines became a chore to read, and seemed to take up enormous amounts of the books too. It didn't spoil them for me, but it was certainly an irritant, and if circumstances had restricted the amount of time I was able to read each day more than they did, a hundred odd pages of the same character's tedious perspective on an issue I didn't find very interesting to begin with might have caused me to stop.

 

It's worth pointing out, finally, that none of the above has stopped me from enjoying them thoroughly. Jordan tells an engaging story, with a phenomenally detailed world which he manages to keep coherent (I didn't notice any factual inconsistencies). There are reasons why lots of different people might not like the books, but that's always going to be the case for any piece of art; ultimately if somebody really doesn't want to read them, or has and disliked them, it hardly detracts from your enjoyment of the work, does it?

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I don't care where Mat gets his skills from.

So you don't care about relevant facts? Helpful, in a debate.

What is relevant to you and what is relevant to me are very different things. You point out later on that magic ability is genetic (no kidding) and then say Mat's abilities should be an exception to the laws of probability because they are magic? I think you are contradicting yourself, and I'm sure you have some warped explanation that makes sense in your own small mind.

 

You've moved the goalposts - more talented than one out of a few hundred from most talented outof millions.

I knew you'd say that. The fact you have more than one character more talented than the population of Emond's Field is necessary for the argument, the fact that some of them are the most talented on the entire continent is a truth that is unnecessary but more than sufficient to make the argument.

 

Your whole debate standpoint is to assume your opponent is stupid and write to show everyone how stupid your opponent is.

 

Nynaeve is the strongest channeler of the Aes Sedai, so you have a 3rd character is one of the most talented out of millions.

Actually, there are about 1,000 AS. And we know of other channelers stronger than her, including a novice. The TR also has a high channeler population - channeling has a genetic component.

The point being that any Aes Sedai is an extraordinarily gifted person, so the 1,000 number is not relevant. There we go again.

 

I will acknowledge that you make a good point if and when you ever do.

So your favorite story is beyond reproach fanboy?

 

It's still not relevant to the story.

Here we go again, you take a look at my criticisms and respond "that's not relevant." I take a look at your defenses of the story and say "that's not relevant". We don't perceive reality itself the same way.

 

Wow, very helpful. If you couldn't make a grade A answer, couldn't you have settled for something better than grade Z?

 

The two things I found most relevant were the ones about not needing to haggle over the price of an inn (hypothetically, if Rand wanted to buy one) and making a Wand of Wonder (Elayne rediscovered how to make magic objects, I can't recall what they are called).

 

I don't think costumes are important.

 

 

if the novels took pains to demonstrate sound economic foundations of the various factions they'd be much the worse for it

This is a misunderstanding of my argument. It would not take much to please me. But it does take something.

Edited by Clegane
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Why you might dislike the books depends totally on what you're hoping to get out of reading them (that's a truism that applies to any work of art). I first read the books as an awkward early-teen who read quite a bit of fantasy (as I suppose is true for a lot of people here). Had I not liked them then, it would have been for very different reasons to why I wouldn't like them now, as a literate and (I hope) culturally and artistically aware adult, fifteen years later. I just re-read them, all the way up to being half-way through the twelfth...

 

What an excellent post. Not quoting the rest, 'cause this would be too long and there's no need for that. I agree 100% with your sentiment, BA. To me, the worst part of WoT is the characters. I really find it hard to relate to most of them, their motives and reasons for immediately jumping into the worst possible conclusions, without even trying to make an effort to find out what is really going on. And this is a general trait you find in all characters in this series, including those who are supposed to be old, wise and experienced. Especially, the Aes Sedai and even the big, bad Forsaken.

 

IMO, the problem that I find in most fans who defend their favorite stuff through thick and thin is the same problem I myself have as a lifelong Star Wars fan. You grew up with this stuff and so, this stuff grew on you. It's hard to be rational when discussing the things we love. We won't be objective, but rather overlook its flaws and continue to love it no matter what, all but unable to understand why others wouldn't share our deep, passionate love for those things that have been alongside us for most of our lives.

 

I started reading the WoT only a couple of years ago and I'm no kid. So, naturally, I didn't grow up with this stuff. I had already read/watched tons of fantasy/fiction/adventure books/films when I started reading WoT and I found that my experience with the genre made the tale somewhat simple and predictable, but extremely enjoyable. All in all, I found it good fun and I relax whenever I read a WoT book. But most importantly, it's like you said, you can't let other people's opinions dampen your appreciation for that which you love.

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The forces of Light have organized governments with Aes Sedai advisors, and yet their citizens become Darkfriends with impunity. Yet we are expected to accept that turning away

from the dark side will inevitably bring terrible retribution. It doesn't work for me. The fact that you can never leave the Darkfriends is a good reason why people, even channelers,

would never want to become one in the first place. I need the author to convince me this makes sense.

 

Why do people join gangs then? They join knowing they can't leave without some kind of retribution. Yet they do anyway, for a variety of reasons. Protection, money, power.

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Why do people join gangs then? They join knowing they can't leave without some kind of retribution. Yet they do anyway, for a variety of reasons. Protection, money, power.

 

Gangs are something that exists in the absence of civilization and IIRC they are a sociological substitute for a family. A better analogy would be someone joining the mafia, or committing espionage. If there were anything in the story about Darkfriends getting busted, I'd be content. But if such a thing did occur, I would think someone would have told me by now.

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Why do people join gangs then? They join knowing they can't leave without some kind of retribution. Yet they do anyway, for a variety of reasons. Protection, money, power.

 

Gangs are something that exists in the absence of civilization and IIRC they are a sociological substitute for a family. A better analogy would be someone joining the mafia, or committing espionage. If there were anything in the story about Darkfriends getting busted, I'd be content. But if such a thing did occur, I would think someone would have told me by now.

 

I look at Darkfriends as akin to people who join a cult. Again, you have to be a pretty screwed up individual to that, if you will. But the hierarchical structure of Darkfriends (your status in the outside world not having anything to do with your status within the circle of DF's, etc.), the promised rewards in a new world when the Dark One is freed, the millenarian disposition of Darkfriends (the day of the Great Lord's return draws nigh! blah, blah, blah) are very similar to the way cults behave.

 

Of course, cult leaders are more than happy to promise anything to their followers, as long as they keep drinking the kool-aid. Just like the Forsaken do.

 

BTW, your posts are hilarious, Clegane...still trying to figure out if you're the Hound or the Mountain...hehe

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I think it was pretty obvious that people become Darkfriends because of the connections it gives them. Good networks lead to higher lots in life. This was Sheriam's reason for joining the Black Ajah. People want power, better lives, etc... And they're willing to join the network and get their hands dirty to do so.

 

That's not most people, of course, but it's enough for some, and that's not even counting the even rarer few who are just plain messed up in the head. To become a DF requires swearing oaths to the Dark One (and in real life there are plenty of societies that require the swearing of oaths), making these oaths marks you for the shadow. Jordan's commented on that. When you've got a tracker on you it's hard to break free without getting caught.

 

As to the Emond's Fielders, really now. Rand, Mat, and Perrin have been chosen by the Pattern, and I don't think Mat and Perrin are just random souls, either (given the cyclical nature of the Wheel and the presence of Odin and Thor in mythologies), so I believe they were selected for it. The Two Rivers being cut off from the outside world means that channelers have been having children there for quite some time without any being taken to the tower, so that area's going to breed some strong channelers. Most areas similar would be like this, but Emond's Field is the first one actively recruited from in a while. Nynaeve is a very talented Healer, but there are others with the talent, and she's not the strongest channeler in the world. And Egwene got to the position she's in precisely because of her connections to Rand, which led to her extraordinary predicaments as a novice and Accepted, and her training as a Wise One apprentice (because she was with Rand when he went to the Waste) and that was instrumental to her ability to command and lead, but that separateness, youth and connection to Rand is precisely why she was chosen as Amyrlin.

 

Jordan did a remarkable job of making it believable and laying things out well. You remark at so many talented coming out of Emond's Field, but it's precisely because of their connections to Rand that led them down the paths they went, and that's excluding Rand, Mat and Perrin (the latter, who, while certainly helped by their connections have been chosen by the Pattern as well).

 

Well that was a rambling post. Perhaps another time I'll write up a more coherent and complete explanation, but I have to disagree with the idea that the Emond's Fielders rising to where they are as being unbelievable. Unlikely? Possibly, but Jordan pulled this off masterfully.

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Clegane ... Not only are you needlessly argumentative and this is really getting boring.. But personal insult is crossing the line at DM

 

So your favorite story is beyond reproach fanboy?

 

I may only be speaking for myself but it would be nice if you would desist and find something else to do. Besides, arguing endlessly with Mr. Ares is like wallowing in mud with a pig. HE likes it. Unless, unfortunately, we've acquired a clone. In which case ... I think I'll go saw off my arm with a dull pen knife.

Edited by Auld Manriva
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