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Lan's March to the Blight


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What is the point? Did he really feel obligated to march into the blight, alone, sword aloft, in some kind of ridiculous suicide run? I find the same annoying, illogical, refusal to accept his position has now infested Lan. It's not enough we have to hear Perrin whine mercilessly about how he's "just a blacksmith" and never wanted to be a military leader (except when his honey was kidnapped, then all bets were off). Not enough that Rand goes on and on and on for, literally, 8 books refusing to accept his full station as the dragon reborn and leader of the free world. Now we have Lan doing the same thing, refusing to accept his place as king of Malkier and leader of its displaced people, many of who seem ready to fight, whining about followers. Why? Blood and ashes why? Was he really going to march into the blight alone? Why? Why throw his life and future away on absolutely nothing? It bothers me to no end how most of the male characters are written like cartoons, single minded to fault and beyond.

 

Has anyone noticed the only two characters to embrace their leadership positions were Egwene and Elaine? Elaine was the rightful heir of Andor and it made sense that she would embrace her place as queen. But why is that Egwene feels none of the doubt, none of the reluctance? Of all the leaders in WoT, her leadership role is the least legitimate (meaning she did nothing to earn it before she got it) yet she's written as some kind of hero for it. Lan is the rightful and true kind of Malkier and its people. His refusal to accept their allegiance is both selfish and stupid.

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Egwene (and to a lesser degree, Elayne) had many of the same doubts and fears. The difference is that they got on with the job regardless.

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What is the point? Did he really feel obligated to march into the blight, alone, sword aloft, in some kind of ridiculous suicide run? I find the same annoying, illogical, refusal to accept his position has now infested Lan. It's not enough we have to hear Perrin whine mercilessly about how he's "just a blacksmith" and never wanted to be a military leader (except when his honey was kidnapped, then all bets were off). Not enough that Rand goes on and on and on for, literally, 8 books refusing to accept his full station as the dragon reborn and leader of the free world. Now we have Lan doing the same thing, refusing to accept his place as king of Malkier and leader of its displaced people, many of who seem ready to fight, whining about followers. Why? Blood and ashes why? Was he really going to march into the blight alone? Why? Why throw his life and future away on absolutely nothing? It bothers me to no end how most of the male characters are written like cartoons, single minded to fault and beyond.

 

Has anyone noticed the only two characters to embrace their leadership positions were Egwene and Elaine? Elaine was the rightful heir of Andor and it made sense that she would embrace her place as queen. But why is that Egwene feels none of the doubt, none of the reluctance? Of all the leaders in WoT, her leadership role is the least legitimate (meaning she did nothing to earn it before she got it) yet she's written as some kind of hero for it. Lan is the rightful and true kind of Malkier and its people. His refusal to accept their allegiance is both selfish and stupid.

 

I could not agree more. I've always hated Lan as a character, and can't for the life of me understand why so many people think he's so amazing.

There is absolutely no depth to his role at all, and the sad thing is Jordan/Sanderson will probably save him in the end.

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Yeah I have to say its a bit ridiculous. One minute he's going on about how Nynaeve is his life, the next he's off to the Blight because his country, which he can't even remember living in, died 40 odd years ago and his mum made a stupid oath about sending her son to fight the Shadow. He didn't bother doing it for years just because he was Moiraine's Warder then he finds Nynaeve (apparently his life, purpose, all that, not to mention she'll be involved in the LB anyway) and suddenly his personal war on the Shadow can't wait. NO! You don't fall in love with some so much they become your whole life, let them bond you so they'll feel you die, then run off to die when you don't have to! Not unless you're a complete monster!

 

Sorry but I find this sooo annoying because in every other way Lan is a brilliant character. And this one silly pointless thing has to ruin it all and make him an unbelievable character instead.

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He didn't bother doing it for years just because he was Moiraine's Warder

 

He WAS doing it all those years as Moraine's Warder. Finding the Dragon Reborn was the single most important way to fight the shadow during that time.

 

I find the same annoying, illogical, refusal to accept his position has now infested Lan.

 

His stance on this has been made clear from the very beginning, it isn't a recent development. The nickname Aan'allein after all was earned well before he ever met Moraine.

Edited by Suttree
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He didn't bother doing it for years just because he was Moiraine's Warder

 

He WAS doing it all those years as Moraine's Warder. Finding the Dragon Reborn was the single most important way to fight the shadow during that time.

 

 

But is rushing off to fight hordes of trollocs with a relatively small army the best way of fighting the Shadow now? In fact, if he'd had his own way he'd have been alone. I think there's other ways he could have helped, less suicidal ways. And I don't think Lan's mission has just been to fight the Shadow. I think it's been to die fighting the Shadow. We've seen from what Lan says that he considers himself a dead man walking. But why? The only explanation I can think of for that sort of attitude is some sort of mental disorder.

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To die in a hopeless battle in the Gap, delaying the Trollocs for several days while Rand gathers his forces, would be heroic.

 

To die, with all of his people, in a hopeless change that will be over in minutes or hours is vainglorious, wasteful and stupid.

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I hate to agree...but I do. :uno: Lan does bleed typical sword master fantasy bore. :blink: I will add that I think that Lan basically had no role to play, recently, except to go on the promised death wish he has been setup for in the series. I think the set-up of Nynaeve gathering the Malkeri was a clever story line but I'm hoping there is a payoff for Lan in AMOL.

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He didn't bother doing it for years just because he was Moiraine's Warder

 

He WAS doing it all those years as Moraine's Warder. Finding the Dragon Reborn was the single most important way to fight the shadow during that time.

 

 

But is rushing off to fight hordes of trollocs with a relatively small army the best way of fighting the Shadow now? In fact, if he'd had his own way he'd have been alone. I think there's other ways he could have helped, less suicidal ways.

 

Agree with this first part completely.

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Lan is bound by an Oath to fight the Shadow. It is not only out of desperation or lust of dying he is willing to go to the Blight alone. You probably have seen how Oaths are kept (well, by regular people anyway, let's not take Aes Sedai into account). When they swear something, they can't bypass it.

 

And more, Lan know that fight can't be won. That's why he wants to go alone. This is his fight, as uncrowned king of Malkier. He don't want to loead other people to their deaths, as he knows they will meet their end.

 

By following Moiraine for some 20 years, he accepted to delay his Oath to serve a greater good. But at Moiraine death, he felt the Warder death rage, but never trully overcame it with Myrelle. Only Nynaeve gave him a motive to stay alive, and even that wasn't enough, as he was "courting death and didn't want to give her mourning black as a wedding gift blababla". But IIRC, he felt that she took the bond only when arriving at Tarwin Gap, or a little sooner.

 

Another point toward his willingness to go to the Blight was the fact that nobody was there to prevent an attack from the Shadow. I suppose he knew he wouldn't make any difference, but that was something he could do. As someone mentioned earlier, he isn't a character who drive the plot forward. Indeed, he didn't make anything interesting since WH IIRC, when he killed Toram Riatin. So moving to the Blight was the least he could do (plot-related and chracter-related).

 

For me, his actions are really understandable.

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Did Lan ever actually take an oath as a grown man? Cos all I can remember is someone making the oath for him over his cradle.

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Did Lan ever actually take an oath as a grown man? Cos all I can remember is someone making the oath for him over his cradle.

I think he hasnt, its just ingrained into his mind that it is a required thing of him to do

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Did Lan ever actually take an oath as a grown man? Cos all I can remember is someone making the oath for him over his cradle.

I think he hasnt, its just ingrained into his mind that it is a required thing of him to do

 

Well I don't really see that it's that understandable then. Either way it's still stupid. Also, the oath is to fight the Shadow so why couldn't he just join a Borderland army? I'm sure plenty of Borderland soldiers live at least long enough to marry and see their children grow up. There's just no logical reason for him to be so determined to die in his fight.

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Did Lan ever actually take an oath as a grown man? Cos all I can remember is someone making the oath for him over his cradle.

I think he hasnt, its just ingrained into his mind that it is a required thing of him to do

 

Well I don't really see that it's that understandable then. Either way it's still stupid. Also, the oath is to fight the Shadow so why couldn't he just join a Borderland army? I'm sure plenty of Borderland soldiers live at least long enough to marry and see their children grow up. There's just no logical reason for him to be so determined to die in his fight.

survivors guilt. that he is the only one living in his family could cause survivors guilt

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Lan's my fav character and I don't get the hate for him. As some have already mentioned, his single-mindedness comes from him honouring the cradle-oath and accepting his tragically fated role as the king of a kingdom that was destroyed and taken over by the blight. While we feel he could choose to do otherwise, he feels--rightly, from a non-omniscient point of view--that the war against the Shadow in terms of recovering Malkier is hopeless, but his responsibility nonetheless. While he has a displaced people, he is reluctant to stir up or accept their support in that he does not want to lead anyone else to their death--he is committed to honouring his oath and accepting his responsibility (as he sees it) but does not want to lead others to their death.

 

From a more omniscient point of view, we see that Lan has a displaced people who will support him, a wife who would literally move spirit and earth for him, and, ultimately (I think) a portalled-in army of borderlanders who will follow the Golden Crane in pushing back the armies of the Blight in a heroic battle that will end with the reclamation of Malkier. My eyes water a bit just writing and thinking about it.

 

Yes, no doubt about it, there is an overriding theme amongst many of the male characters about accepting one's role in society as a leader or otherwise after wrestling with it for some time. Keep in mind though that we follow their struggles over years, but for the characters (especially Perrin and Rand), the entire series plays out over a relatively short span of their lives. In Lan's case, he does not realize the forces that surround him that could help him if he fully reached out to them because he believes it won't work. From his point of view, I think he is right, which is why I think he's an excellent character. Ultimately, whether he is a heroic or tragic character will depend on the culmination of his plotline in aMoL. Given the traditional leanings of RJ where the baddies die and the good guys grow up to be heroes, I'm banking on Lan having a heroic plot arc--and can't wait to read it :)

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NO NO NO NO NO! Lan has spent the last three or more years in the presence of the Dragon Reborn. He knows the last battle is coming. He knows the prophecy that the Dragon must defeat the dark one and that he will do so with an army behind him. How can Lan possibly think that marching headlong into the blight, mere weeks or days before the last battle, alone or even with a small band of his kinsmen, can accomplish anything, can serve any purpose? If he truly has some kind of deathwish then why wait for so long? Why did he not ride straight for the blight the second he felt Moiraine's bond sever? Why wait until Tarmon Gai'Dan is on his very doorstep to toss his life away, toss it away when he has a wife and a future? Like so many actions and reactions in the latter part of this series, characters seem to be taking actions that defy logic and good sense, actions that either selfish or just mind bogglingly stupid.

 

And no, I don't pretend to believe that Lan will die, if he faces a single trolloc, or ten thousand trolloc hoards. His foolish suicide ride will be justified in the end and he will survive and will return as King, take his wife Arwen...errr, Nynaeve and rule over his newly reunited kingdom. I can see it coming as plain as day.

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NO NO NO NO NO! Lan has spent the last three or more years in the presence of the Dragon Reborn. He knows the last battle is coming. He knows the prophecy that the Dragon must defeat the dark one and that he will do so with an army behind him. How can Lan possibly think that marching headlong into the blight, mere weeks or days before the last battle, alone or even with a small band of his kinsmen, can accomplish anything, can serve any purpose? If he truly has some kind of deathwish then why wait for so long? Why did he not ride straight for the blight the second he felt Moiraine's bond sever? Why wait until Tarmon Gai'Dan is on his very doorstep to toss his life away, toss it away when he has a wife and a future? Like so many actions and reactions in the latter part of this series, characters seem to be taking actions that defy logic and good sense, actions that either selfish or just mind bogglingly stupid.

 

And no, I don't pretend to believe that Lan will die, if he faces a single trolloc, or ten thousand trolloc hoards. His foolish suicide ride will be justified in the end and he will survive and will return as King, take his wife Arwen...errr, Nynaeve and rule over his newly reunited kingdom. I can see it coming as plain as day.

Lan was compelled to go to myrelle

 

Lan is trying to hold back the shadow in Shienar, to buy time for rand and co to get their poop in a group

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Lan is trying to hold back the shadow in Shienar, to buy time for rand and co to get their poop in a group

 

If this is true, he is employing the tactics of an imbecile.

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Lan is trying to hold back the shadow in Shienar, to buy time for rand and co to get their poop in a group

 

If this is true, he is employing the tactics of an imbecile.

 

Lan's one-man stand is an idiotic view to us as readers but IMO to him, with his unwillingness to lead others to certain doom, I believe it to be the only way he saw to complete his mission of fighting the shadow, but now because of some meddling from Nyn he has an army (small as it may be compaired to all the others we're seeing popping up all over the place) he's decided to resort to tried and tested tatics, bottlibg a larger force into a narrow passage to cut out the advantage of numbers and hit them hard, fast and often.

We saw it in tEotW, we've heard about it in later books as well. In a situation like that, you go with what you know works, even if it is a lost cause.

 

A.

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Lan is trying to hold back the shadow in Shienar, to buy time for rand and co to get their poop in a group

 

If this is true, he is employing the tactics of an imbecile.

 

Lan's one-man stand is an idiotic view to us as readers but IMO to him, with his unwillingness to lead others to certain doom, I believe it to be the only way he saw to complete his mission of fighting the shadow, but now because of some meddling from Nyn he has an army (small as it may be compaired to all the others we're seeing popping up all over the place) he's decided to resort to tried and tested tatics, bottlibg a larger force into a narrow passage to cut out the advantage of numbers and hit them hard, fast and often.

We saw it in tEotW, we've heard about it in later books as well. In a situation like that, you go with what you know works, even if it is a lost cause.

 

A.

 

Bottling the enemy into a narrow passage would be wise. It is also not what he is doing. Read the passage again; he has led his army through the Gap and into Malkier.

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Where he will end up leading the army that throws back the Shadow's army, reclaiming Malkier from the Blight :) My money is on Rand and co. portalling in the borderlanders to save Lan and that having the borderlanders leave to go find Rand (with a less than desirable rationale for doing so imo) is part of what sets up that arc (i.e., borderlanders not present, so Lan heads to fight the Shadow, borderlanders come in to help save the day).

 

I see the comparable LOR plotline being Gandalf bringing back the riders of rohan to save the day in the TT.

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Then he will be saved from the consequences of his stupidity through the actions of another. He's still acting like an imbecile.

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I see more of parallel with Aragorn's ride to the Black Gate to draw Sauron's attention away from Frodo and Sam - only Lan has no idea he's drawing the attention of the dark one away so that Rand can have the element of surprise, has no idea that he's playing a vital role in the last battle, a role that will require him to have a substantial army, an army that is already geared up and ready to follow him were it not for his stupid and mystifying one-man agenda. How much more sense would it make for Lan to embrace his Kingship, rally his displaced people, ride for the blight knowing that many if not all of them will die but will die knowing they bought precious time for the Dragon Reborn to defeat the Dark One, possibly forever?

 

Instead, we have Lan, goaded by his wife to take up some forgotten and useless duty, suddenly determined to march headlong into the blight and face all the forces of the dark one alone, to die as nothing more than a flyspeck on a mission all but forgotten, for no purpose other than his own selfish desire to die in the blight?

Edited by HighWiredSith
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Instead, we have Lan, goaded by his wife to take up some forgotten and useless duty, suddenly determined to march headlong into the blight and face all the forces of the dark one alone, to die as nothing more than a flyspeck on a mission all but forgotten, for no purpose other than his own selfish desire to die in the blight?

 

How did Nynaeve goade him into it? She gave him permission and helped a bit, yes, but I can't say I blame her. Imagine how miserable it would make you, knowing you're not enough to stop your other half wanting to die, knowing he's already completely dead inside and possibly resenting you for trying to keep him alive. On top of all that there's not even a decent, logical reason for all this. You'd end up feeling suicidal as well if things went on like that forever.

 

I have to say though that the general attitude of RJ's characters to death annoys me. Egwene prefers death to being a damane. Pretty much all channellers prefer death to being cut off from the Power. Rand prefers death to hurting the most evil women in the world. Nobles prefer death to being stripped of their titles. Seriously does knowing you're going to be born again do something to people's survival instincts?

Edited by Feral
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