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Zodd

Ethnicity in WoT

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Purely from a casting standpoint, figuring out which race a person should be is a thorn in my foot. Jordan put all our cultures and races of the world in a big bag, shook it around, and pulled out each for WoT (figuratively I mean). I've not found a single definitive other than that the Aiel are mostly tall Irishmen of the desert, and that's from my own encyclopedia (my head). So casting for Cairhien and Shinaran peoples becomes a real pain when one description of a person from this place says he's Asian, and the other say's he's Indian. :dry:

 

So I ask for your help. What countries seem to have the closest ethnicity to The Wheel of Time to you? Or point me to an article that everyone agrees with.

Edited by Zodd

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I always see Carhienin as short white people, Tear is split between black and white. Arad Doman is sort of coloured/indian. these are all from my head I cannot wuote any evidence for this

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Wow, this is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Graendals favourite!

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I always pictured the Aiel as looking kind of like Indians (from the country India, not the stupid misconception of Native Americans as Indians), and most of the "wetland" countries as being a mixture of various races but predominately white, like Europe.

 

Saw the FAQ. Nice information. I also picture the Seanchan as something of the Chinese or Persian Empires because of its conquering attitude.

Edited by True Source Creator

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I actually see the Aiel as a zulu war style with a aztec culture (except no sacraficial ceremonies) with an emphasis on capturing an enemy instead of just killing them

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This is what i could gleen from the desctriptions in the books and my own imagination.

 

Saldaea: Crimean very slavic. Tilted eyes dark hair ect.

Arafel: Same as above but more russian in ethnicity.

Kandor: Very similar to Shienar

Shienar: Japanese with Europian fuldal influences in fasion, Armored horses ect...

Malkier: Similar tp Shienar in ethnicity but more tibetan and euopian influence

Cairhien: Renesaunce France. Wide dresses and tight curls on the women. No hatred of commoners but there is a massive gap between Nobal and Peasent.

Andor: Anglo-British, dark hair and eyes ect. Elizabethan England

Two Rivers: Mabey welsh celtic or english with more celtic influences

Arad Doman: Middle eastern in ethnicity more weastern in culture

People of Almoth: Middle eastern but more similar to Andor in culture

Tarabon: Turkish/Greek in ethnicity fasion and culture leaning towards a Turkish feel

Amadicia: North eastern Gemanic. Tutonic order are very similar to the Whiteclokes

Ghealadan: Same ethnicity as two rivers but more like 16th Century europe in culture

Altara: Northen Italian in ethnicty and culture

Murandy: Definatly Germanic, Reminicent of the Holy Roman Empire in the 15th Century.

Illian: Southern intalian in ethnicity

Tear: Spanish in culture and ethnicty

Mayene: I Imagine something like venice or Genoa

Sea folk: African/Indian Definatly mostly sub shaharan in culture

Aeil:Gypsy/Irish/Scotish This links well with the Tinkers, and explains the red hair and green and blue eyes. The taned skin i think is just a evolution from living in the waste for 3000 years. native american in culture.

Seanchan: Mixed ethnicity no ruling ethnic class. Indo-Chinese in culture and fasion

Edited by Dashaan Vorsharn (MK_Kupa)

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This is what i could gleen from the desctriptions in the books and my own imagination.

 

Saldaea: Crimean very slavic. Tilted eyes dark hair ect.

Arafel: Same as above but more russian in ethnicity.

Kandor: Very similar to Shienar

Shienar: Japanese with Europian fuldal influences in fasion, Armored horses ect...

Malkier: Similar tp Shienar in ethnicity but more tibetan and euopian influence

Cairhien: Renesaunce France. Wide dresses and tight curls on the women. No hatred of commoners but there is a massive gap between Nobal and Peasent.

Andor: Anglo-British, dark hair and eyes ect. Elizabethan England

Two Rivers: Mabey welsh celtic or english with more celtic influences

Arad Doman: Middle eastern in ethnicity more weastern in culture

People of Almoth: Middle eastern but more similar to Andor in culture

Tarabon: Turkish/Greek in ethnicity fasion and culture leaning towards a Turkish feel

Amadicia: North eastern Gemanic. Tutonic order are very similar to the Whiteclokes

Ghealadan: Same ethnicity as two rivers but more like 16th Century europe in culture

Altara: Northen Italian in ethnicty and culture

Murandy: Definatly Germanic, Reminicent of the Holy Roman Empire in the 15th Century.

Illian: Southern intalian in ethnicity

Tear: Spanish in culture and ethnicty

Mayene: I Imagine something like venice or Genoa

Sea folk: African/Indian Definatly mostly sub shaharan in culture

Aeil:Gypsy/Irish/Scotish This links well with the Tinkers, and explains the red hair and green and blue eyes. The taned skin i think is just a evolution from living in the waste for 3000 years. native american in culture.

Seanchan: Mixed ethnicity no ruling ethnic class. Indo-Chinese in culture and fasion

 

Wow.. spot-on!

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Massive thread Necro, but I'm currently doing a re-read and have been trying to really pay attention to descriptions. 

 

I like what Dashaan Vorsharn has said, with a few changes: 

 

Tairens, while Spanish in culture, are ethnically not Spanish. The descriptions for Tairens match up really well with India/Pakistan/Afghanistan. Some of them are super dark skinned (like Juilin), others paler. Some have shocking blue eyes and paler skin like Suian Sanche (like this lady afghan-girl-portrait-article-phot-127438)

Cairhienin, while definitely 17th century french in culture, are very much northeast asian in appearance. They are pale skinned, dark eyed and short; descriptions match up well with Japanese and northern Chinese. The only real problem with this is that there is no mention of epicanthal folds. (Also there's an issue in that Elayne and Gawyn have red/gold hair, but have a Cairhienin father. This is rarely seen in first generation half-asian children, but is not uncommon in quarter asian children; if Taringail Damodred was himself what would be considered 'half-asian' then this isn't a problem). 

 

Other than that, really good work Dashaan!

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Cairneinin people are definitely NOT Asian appearing in any manner. Their faces nor their eyes are ever mentioned as having such features. The only people descibed this way are Saldaeans. As mentioned above, they're just short white people. I've been doing extensive research on this for the past month or so, especially concerning skin tones. Curiously RJ never talks about facial features except for the appearance of Saldaeans (hooked nose, tilted eyes) and Taraboner women (doll-like faces)--Liandrin and Auldra and the Panarch).

 

A great majority of people in WoT are dark-eyed and dark-haired, just like in real life all over the globe. But the Midlands area (inckuding Andor and Cairhein) can and does produce people with light eyes and hair. Curiously so does Saldaea (like Sheriam), and Tear. It is clear in WoT that skin tones and facial features are mixed in a way that you do not find in real life. Unless people like Sheriam are supposed to have mixed heritage. I do not recall her having a Saldaean hooked nose.

 

By the way, on a note of Arad Domon; a coppery skin tone is often dscribed. Copper was first used as a descriptive word for the reddish hue of Native Americans. I didn't find any other skin tones described like this. Olive skin tones (Altara, Ebou Dari) are described for south European like Spanish and Italian people.

Edited by Jagen Sedai

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Cairneinin people are definitely NOT Asian appearing in any manner. Their faces nor their eyes are ever mentioned as having such features. The only people descibed this way are Saldaeans. As mentioned above, they're just short white people. I've been doing extensive research on this for the past month or so, especially concerning skin tones. Curiously RJ never talks about facial features except for the appearance of Saldaeans (hooked nose, tilted eyes) and Taraboner women (doll-like faces)--Liandrin and Auldra and the Panarch).

 

A great majority of people in WoT are dark-eyed and dark-haired, just like in real life all over the globe. But the Midlands area (inckuding Andor and Cairhein) can and does produce people with light eyes and hair. Curiously so does Saldaea (like Sheriam), and Tear. It is clear in WoT that skin tones and facial features are mixed in a way that you do not find in real life. Unless people like Sheriam are supposed to have mixed heritage. I do not recall her having a Saldaean hooked nose.

 

By the way, on a note of Arad Domon; a coppery skin tone is often dscribed. Copper was first used as a descriptive word for the reddish hue of Native Americans. I didn't find any other skin tones described like this. Olive skin tones (Altara, Ebou Dari) are described for south European like Spanish and Italian people.

Sheriam clearly belongs to a former ethnic group in what is now Saldae (although the region appears to have always comprised a single state) there are other Saldaeans with Sheriam's appearance, but they are fairly rare so clearly a minority group in terms of racial background, but in a cultural sense they appear to be fairly assimilated into the Saldaean mainstream (though I do not recall them being depicted in quite the same way as other Saldean women so there is that I guess.

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I know the Aiel are described as "paler than you'd expect" so they are probably just super tan Irishmen. However, I always pictured them as kind of Native American (specifically Apache) with unexplainable red hair.

 

WoT is basically our world with the continents all broken apart, scrambled up, and then put back together during the Breaking. In my mind, everyone's mixed race. For example, in my head, Shienar is basically a nation made up of Eurasians with a culture that has a heavy Japanese influence. 

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I would agree with you that I see the Shienarian/Malkieri as more Eurasians at most than actual Asians (aren't Lan's eyes blue? I always pictured him looking rather like Clint Eastwood to be honest).

 

I do not understand your thoughts regarding an Indian influence amongst the Aiel, given that they are described as almost invariably red/blond haired and blue or green eyed, with anything else being noteworthy. Coupled with skin that also emphasised to be quite pale wherever it wasn't caught by the Sun.

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I've always thought of the Mongols when reading about the Aiel. Their racial origin may be different, I think that the culture of the Mongols (maybe minus the colors and fur) would suit the Aiel quite well. 

I mean, both lived in incredibly harsh environments, both were highly skilled warriors, harsh people, intricate customs, nomads, hate cities. It's pretty much the same, but in a desert.  

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Mongols were horsemen, though, while the Aiel were definitely not, and the relationship with their horses formed a big part of Mongol culture.  And the Aiel weren't really nomadic either, but were based out of holds that were more or less permanent, while maintaining a long range.  They didn't have cities because they were constantly raiding each other and focused their defenses on hiding, rarely having enough that the loss was unrecoverable, and counterattack.  They might get burned out of a hold, but would quickly return and reestablish themselves there, as access to water and shade that holds provided was too precious to abandon, but except for a few rare cases like Cold Rocks Hold, were too difficult to fortify well, and doing so would go against various aspects of Aiel culture and warrior ethos, particularly the intermingling of clan and sept even during times of war and conflict and the apparent ease with which Aiel warriors could infiltrate such fortifications in any event.  The Zulu or certain pre-Columbian Native American tribes would probably be a better cultural match.  Ethnically they're pretty clearly a mixture of Irish and some other ethnicity that would give them the height they are described as having, or a subset of very tall Irish whose tallness was preserved along with their pale skin, red hair and blue/green eyes.

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The land in Tear is based on Vietnam.  Take from that what you will.  (Bamboo fields?  Platform shoes to navigate the mud?)  Tear is about as far from Spain as you can get without actually leaving the earth.

 

Considering Rigney fought a war there, it's not a shock that he'd create a culture based on Vietnam in his work of fantasy fiction that demonizes the rulers and holds up the common people, since that was basically the opinion of most of the GI's in the Vietnam war.  Leadership sucked, yet the average South Vietnamese were held in much higher regard.

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The SeaFolk seems to be Southeast Asian/Indo-Malay or Polynesian in ethnicity and culture. Curved blades with curved hilts that open like mouths, tattoos, expertise in sea navigation, and many more

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