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Early Book Inconsistencies


capuga
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What this thread is - To discuss items in the world, magic system, characters, etc. that RJ did not completely flesh out when he started writing the books and, therefore, make things in the early books seem strange after we learn more later.

 

What this thread is not - A place to accuse RJ of lying and/or changing his mind just because your pet theory died a painful death (yes, I am looking at you Taimendred people :biggrin: ).

 

A couple to get started:

 

Moiraine using a staff the first few books to "focus her power". We never see any other character later in the books use a prop to focus their power.

 

The big VOICE at the end of tEotW. Presumably the Creator who never makes another appearance.

 

The first Aiel the group stumble upon in tGH mentions that he thought Verin was a Wise One-type because she looked similar to the Aiel Wise Ones. However, we see later that the Wise Ones do not have the ageless look because they don't swear on the Oath Rod.

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Elaida calling Logain "the unbeliever" in EotW. I can't think of a logical reason to call him this, and I don't believe the term is used again.

 

I noticed in the glossary of TGH that it said the Warder bond does not enable the Aes Sedai to tell which direction her Warder is in. Maybe it's just a misprint though.

 

Basically all the end fights of the first 3 books don't make that much sense in relation to what we learn about the world later on. Can't give the details cos I haven't read them in ages.

 

I know it's not exactly an inconsistancy, but the way Moiraine dealt with Aginor. It makes me wonder if RJ hadn't yet thought up the concept of shielding, because surely she would have been shielded right away. At any rate, she shouldn't have caused Aginor any problems at all when we consider what we now know about their strength/knowledge in terms of the One Power.

 

Can't think of anything else atm.

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I suppose the most glaring one, for me, is how much more formidable Fades and Trollocs were in the first few books.

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I know it's not exactly an inconsistancy, but the way Moiraine dealt with Aginor. It makes me wonder if RJ hadn't yet thought up the concept of shielding, because surely she would have been shielded right away. At any rate, she shouldn't have caused Aginor any problems at all when we consider what we now know about their strength/knowledge in terms of the One Power.
She did have an angreal, which probably put her on an equivalent level strength-wise. Still, there's no reason he couldn't simply have balefired her.

 

Tel'aran'rhiod is inconsistently done at first – Rand has a thorn stuck in his hand after waking, Perrin is covered in somebody else's blood, etc.

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For me, it's gotta be Min having learned her abilities with knives from Thom and remembering him and his lessons fondly, given that these 2 characters have met and interacted fleetingly, at best.

 

But, even if Thom and Min had interacted more offscreen that was shown to us, I don't think said interaction would be as long and constant as Min would need to master w/e Thom might have taught her.

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When did Thom teach Min knives? IIRC the only time they were together at the same place for more than a day was in Salidar.

 

Thom seem to be a genius of a teacher. He taught Mat to juggle 6 balls at once in two weeks on the board of Domon's ship. he taught Rand to play the flute decently during the same period too. During the few weeks the were with Luca's circus, he taught Elayne to do handstands and backflips so well she performed them flawlessly on the highrope without using the One Power for help.

 

Anyway, for me biggest inconsistencies are the final battles in the first two books. They really don't fit with the rest. Rand and Ishy battling in the sky at Falme and their battle influencing the battle below, Rand somehow Traveling to the Tarwin's gap in EOTW in a completely different way than we've seen after that, etc.

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When did Thom teach Min knives? IIRC the only time they were together at the same place for more than a day was in Salidar.

 

 

When did Thom teach Min knives? Now, that's what I would like to know myself. Because that's exactly why I question this quote:

 

Min sat cross-legged on the bed, not as comfortable a position in a riding dress as it was in breeches, and rolled one of her knives across the backs other fingers. It was an absolutely useless skill, Thom had told her, but sometimes it caught peoples' eyes and made them pay attention without need to do more.

 

Winter's Heart, Chapter 33: Blue Carp Street

 

IMO, that sounds like these two spent much more time together off-screen because she certainly sounds like she knows the former-court-bard-turned-gleeman well enough to trust his teachings/advice on knives. Perhaps he wasn't her most important teacher but to me, this is an inconsistency found in the early books, because these two didn't spend enough time together to develop such rapport between them.

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She saw in EOTW that Thom would marry Moiraine, with whom she does have a certain rapport.

Min considered producing a knife and performing one of the flashy finger-rolls Thom Merrilin had taught her.
It sounds like she already had a certain amateur interest in knife-fighting/throwing and he just taught her a few magician's tricks.
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I believe that most of the inconsistencies can be explained away by saying that the early books were written from the perspective of a bunch of country bumpkins that wouldn't have understood the real complexity, magnitude or details if they had been explained up front with pictures.

In short the story doesn't develop the reality of the threat or limitations until the main characters are capable of comprehending them.

 

This is one of the things that I have appreciated in my many re-reads of the series. When one of the characters first encounters something new weather great or terrible that thing is magnified by the unknown respectively to be miraculous or invincibly awful.

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I suppose Moiraine's staff and gem could be explained away as merely an aid to concentration...

 

As for the Creator's voice, he says straight out that he will not get involved. Pretty much a quick, "This is your destiny. Now you're on your own..."

Edited by Xader
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we have seen other items that have been used as a focus other than Moiranine's things, and they are pretty big things. The Seals were used as focuses to seal the dark one and as been talked about after the first few books

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I always thought the amount of Wise Ones that can channel greatly increased. I recall Avi saying that it was a rare thing for Healing among Wise Ones. Then bam it's like every WO can Channel.

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She saw in EOTW that Thom would marry Moiraine, with whom she does have a certain rapport.

Min considered producing a knife and performing one of the flashy finger-rolls Thom Merrilin had taught her.
It sounds like she already had a certain amateur interest in knife-fighting/throwing and he just taught her a few magician's tricks.

 

Each of the original male characters had a specialty with weapons. Rand's and Lan's was the sword, Perrin was the axe, Mat was the bow and quarterstaff, and Thom was the knives. Min was never shown to us as someone with experience with any kind of weapons in the early books. Her thing was her clairvoyant ability. It wasn't till much later that she was shown to us a master with knives.

 

Still, Min was old enough to have picked up the skill on her own, even before she was introduced to the reader. But Jordan could have easily written that she remembered finger-rolls learned when she picked up the knives w/o the need to get Thom involved and it would've been perfectly fine. Not every major character has to be related to other major character in a story.

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I always thought the amount of Wise Ones that can channel greatly increased. I recall Avi saying that it was a rare thing for Healing among Wise Ones. Then bam it's like every WO can Channel.

That's addressed very early on.
Will you Heal Mat?”

 

Amys and Melaine exchanged looks he could only call rueful.

 

“Our paths have gone other ways,” Amys said regretfully. “There are Wise Ones who could do what you ask, after a fashion, but we are not among them.”

Healing is just a weave the Wise Ones don't know, lost among them just as it was among the damane in Seanchan; a few probably just patched together some instinctual weaves like Nynaeve, or like Verin's Compulsion. Edited by moratcorlm
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Min was never shown to us as someone with experience with any kind of weapons in the early books. Her thing was her clairvoyant ability. It wasn't till much later that she was shown to us a master with knives.
She showed somewhat of an aptitude for knifework in her limited combat scenes. She stabs Elbar in TGH40, and fights Trollocs with knives and a cudgel in TDR5... ah, here's the quotation that sort of disproves my earlier point, though it still argues against this notion of 'mastery':
She had a pair of knives up her coatsleeves that Thom Merrilin had showed her how to use, but she had the feeling this woman could take them away and peel her with them.
Later, Aviendha also thinks that Min is more showy than dangerous with knives. Although she has learned to throw them somewhere.

 

Either way, I agree that it should have been handled differently, though it's such a minor point I'm surprised anyone noticed it. If her teacher were mentioned at all, perhaps he should have substituted Thom for Sheriam's Warder, or that Warder who she became friendly with on the way to Caemlyn. Maybe someone who's revealed to be a Darkfriend.

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She showed somewhat of an aptitude for knifework in her limited combat scenes. She stabs Elbar in TGH40, and fights Trollocs with knives and a cudgel in TDR5... ah, here's the quotation that sort of disproves my earlier point, though it still argues against this notion of 'mastery':

She had a pair of knives up her coatsleeves that Thom Merrilin had showed her how to use, but she had the feeling this woman could take them away and peel her with them.
Later, Aviendha also thinks that Min is more showy than dangerous with knives. Although she has learned to throw them somewhere.

 

Either way, I agree that it should have been handled differently, though it's such a minor point I'm surprised anyone noticed it. If her teacher were mentioned at all, perhaps he should have substituted Thom for Sheriam's Warder, or that Warder who she became friendly with on the way to Caemlyn. Maybe someone who's revealed to be a Darkfriend.

 

Well, I didn't mean to say that she was a master per se. Only that she learned from Thom, whom IMO, hasn't been around her to teach her much but not enough to imply that she's become a master. So, my bad there for not choosing the right words.

 

Thanks for the quotes from the early books. I didn't remember that but that definitely shows that she had some experience w/knives, at least, yes.

 

And finally, I agree that this is a very minor plot hole or inconsistency but it did jump to my attention after reading the times when Min mentions having learned from Thom that you and I have both quoted. Again, it just feels a little too contrived and I would've found it better if RJ had written about Min picking up her skills in some other way, like those ideas you mention or even if her instructor remained unknown. I just think it would've been cooler.

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Min sat cross-legged on the bed, not as comfortable a position in a riding dress as it was in breeches, and rolled one of her knives across the backs other fingers. It was an absolutely useless skill, Thom had told her, but sometimes it caught peoples' eyes and made them pay attention without need to do more.

 

 

I interpretted that to mean that Thom had merely told her "doing that knife thing is pretty much useless. Looks fancy, catches his eye, but it's not any practical use". I never thought about it as "Thom taught her that skill"

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The final battles at the end of book 1 and 2 bother me. Especially the second one. How did Rand end up in the sky? How did there battles become linked? As for book one, the way he traveled to Tarwins Gap, I have no idea, he just suddenly appeared there, maybe the creator? As for when he went from the Gap to TAR where Bala'azman was, I think the creator created those steeps, and it sounds sort of like skimming... but without the platforms.

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The end of tGH was some deux ex machina, literally. The whole effect in the sky, casting down the false Dragons, and the link between two battles was directly linked to intervention from the Wheel, according to Jordan.

 

Q98: At the end of TGH, when Rand and Ishamael were fighting in the air above Falme, they appeared in the sky over many places. And my question is whether this is something done by the One Power or something done by the Creator? How did they appear in the sky?

 

RJ: An effect of the Wheel, really. It wasn’t the Creator. The Wheel is more than a simple mechanism. Remember the Wheel can spit out ta’veren, can spit out Heroes as a self correcting device because the Pattern is drifting from what it is supposed to be. We are not talking about something as simple as a spinning wheel at all, we are talking something more along the lines of the most complex computer you could possibly imagine. There were at that time, two, there were False Dragons that had a chance to create a lot of disruption. By the appearance in the sky at that battle, not just in Falme but in other places, those False Dragons were taken off the board because there was only room now for one, for one Dragon.

 

It's from the Thirteenth Depository.

 

As for the battles being so closely linked, given that Rand's so strongly ta'veren, and how closely we see with the land being connected to the Dragon Reborn in later battles, we can clearly chock it up to some extra strong Pattern bending around Rand at the moment.

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Traveling in the prologue of EotW.

 

Behind him the air rippled, shimmered, solidified into a man who looked around, his mouth twisting

briefly with distaste.

 

On the island, the air shimmered and coalesced. The black-clad man stood staring at the fiery mountain

rising out of the plain.

 

While the most description is given to Ish we've seen TP traveling and this isn't it, and LTT seems to be shown traveling instantly and without a gateway as well.

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We haven't seen TP Traveling from an omniscient or external (i.e., someone who can't see the weaves) perspective, to my knowledge. Lews Therin is more problematic, but just ambiguous enough to possibly be consistent.

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I don't see the difficulty in reconciling earlier accounts of Travelling with later accounts. When for example Lews Therin in the epilogue Travels we don't need the detailed account of the light appearing in the air and parting etcetera. We don't need a detailed account of each step through the Gateway.

 

For the Ishamael account in particular, is it not possible that we are seeing the other side of the Gateway? I believe I read somewhere that it is like a heat-haze on that end. That could easily fit with the Ishamael account with the lack of mention of any light.

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Ishy was half trapped in the bore so was only able to project an image of himself at the time.

He did the same outside Shadar Logoth when forcing the Trollocks and Fades in after Rand and co.

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