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RJ's characters


cgarcia9
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Ok... is it just me or does Robert Jordan have a really hard time creating likeable characters? Don't get me wrong, I love the whole WoT story line but the vast majority of his characters bother the heck out of me. Here's a small list of just a few of my grievances:

 

1)Egwene- thinks she knows what's best for everyone and is too quick to embrace views she'd previously rejected (i.e., suddenly wants to become Aes Sedai in Book 1, suddenly adopting ji'e'toh even though she once found it ridiculous)

 

2)Mat- more focused on drinking, gambling, and carousing than anything else

 

3)Elayne- suffers from the delusion that the world needs to bend to her will

 

4)Aes Sedai in general- far too manipulative to make me comfortable

 

Now, I do acknowledge that the characters, for the most part, show improvement as the series progresses. And like all people, they are a blend of good and bad traits. However, most books have at least one character that you love to love but none of the people from WoT seem to do it for me.

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Have you read the whole series? Cos I'm quite surprised by your view of Mat if you have. Mat is the fav character for a lot of people.

 

Have to agree with your opinions of Egwene and Elayne though lol.

 

One thing to bear in mind is that while some people absolutely despise one character, there'll always be others who completely disagree. Also, it does add a bit more depth to the series for me, having characters I don't always relate to and who I just want to strangle lol.

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Different readers have different reactions to every character. Every character has their own strengths and weaknesses, which is what makes them so interesting. Nobody has to like every character, there are 1,000s of characters, it would be virtually impossible if EVERY reader liked EVERY character. RJ's no better at creating dislikable characters then the next author. It's just personal taste in the kinds of people you like.

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@Feral: No, I'm still plugging through LoC. We'll see how my views change over time... I mean, my views have been developing with the characters and probably will continue to do so.

 

I realized I came down pretty hard on the characters haha... certain parts of the story are bringing out their bad sides.

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@Feral: No, I'm still plugging through LoC. We'll see how my views change over time..

 

Would like to see what you think of Mat post KoD...

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Most people turn on Mat in TDR. Usually TFOH by the latest. As for the others, there are varying opinions, but many think RJ wasn't very good at creating sympathetic female characters. Within the fandom, we all have our favorites, but outside of the fandom the sweeping statement about the females is common.

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@Feral: No, I'm still plugging through LoC. We'll see how my views change over time... I mean, my views have been developing with the characters and probably will continue to do so.

 

I realized I came down pretty hard on the characters haha... certain parts of the story are bringing out their bad sides.

 

 

Oh just wait, if you hate Elayne already you are really in store for some more stones to hurl at her. My views of the characters changed drastically one way or another over time, some very late in the series. Jordan did write some pretty despicable characters depending on your point of view but that is the sign of a good writer. If you like every character then the author's portrayal of characters is narrow and not very diverse. Any series with a large cast of characters should have people of quite varying personality and demeanor.

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I realized I came down pretty hard on the characters haha... certain parts of the story are bringing out their bad sides.

 

Actually you were pretty spot on! They do have the flaws you describe. After that, it's all a matter of character development through the series (as it's been said, your opinion on some of them will probably vary wildly as you read on), and of course personal affinities.

 

For instance, I agree with you on all the character flaws you pointed out, but I've felt very different things for all of them: Egwene I tend to like, but sometimes very strongly disagree with - I feel she has her moments of genius, and those of stupidity. Mat I didn't like for a very long time, but in the later books somehow without me quite realizing it he's become very likeable and respectable. Elayne I just hated right from the start, and still hate her today, for the same reasons (oh boy, is she consistent).

 

In the end, they're all very human, thus flawed, and it's what keeps it interesting!

 

Plus, you haven't mentioned other main characters like Rand, Perrin, Nynaeve or Moiraine, so I'm guessting there are characters you love as well as those you can't quite stand ;)!

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2)Mat- more focused on drinking, gambling, and carousing than anything else

 

That's what makes him good.

 

3)Elayne- suffers from the delusion that the world needs to bend to her will

 

She is a princess, what do you expect?

 

4)Aes Sedai in general- far too manipulative to make me comfortable

 

I think they are purposely that way. They are a once helpful organisation that has lost its way.

 

My point being that more than anything characters need to evoke emotion. Not all characters can be likeable, because not all people are likeable. People have different traits, and different people like different traits. Egwene is the best example of this - there is a lot of hatred towards Egwene on this forum, but she also has a lot of fans.

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The other thing to keep in mind is that most of the main characters are teens and angsty teens at that, going through a fairly major upheaval in their lives. Think how many high school kids you can really relate to and/or like.

 

As has been pointed out before Elayne is fairly consistent throughout the series and is completely understandable as she is a princess, can channel and is a teenage girl.

 

I detest most Aes Sedai but that is what RJ intended I believe, they are essentially a corrupt governing body that exerts major influence over multiple countries and uses its influence for its own benefit, which sometimes aligns with the best interests of the general populace. In relation to their manipulative nature that can be attributed to a combination of centuries of stagnated politics and their inherent nature.

 

Throughout the series I have liked and disliked most of the main characters as they have changed and developed and I definitely seem to be in the minority who has liked Elayne all the way through, sure there have been instances where I haven't agreed with her actions, but hey she's a teenage girl, I have friends who are much the same (well not so haughty due to not being princesses, but doing things that annoy me from time to time).

Edited by Dragons_Eggman
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All of the major female characters in the series are flat out bitches and snobs. The only solid major female character is Nynaeve (there's a few others that are tolerable, but I wouldn't place them as major characters).

Edited by Mark D
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They aren't teens, in the literal sense, but in their 20's.

 

I actually really like Elayne, I think she has a very upright sense of duty toward the people of Andor, and so wants to do well by them, but that sorta gets in the way of actually important things such as uniting the nations for the last battle.

 

Mat as well, he thinks of himself as a ladies man and gambler, but most other characters recognise his honorable traits like generosity etc.

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I actually think this is why RJ's characters are so good judged relative to many other fantasy series. They defy expectations, and so they lead to dissent. That's what real people do--especially women. Most of the time in fantasy it's like the characters are wearing little signs that say "Like me!" "Don't like me!".

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All of the major female characters in the series are flat out bitches and snobs. The only solid major female character is Nynaeve (there's a few others that are tolerable, but I wouldn't place them as major characters).

 

Wow. Um, please list the major female characters as my list and your list must be vastly different of major characters.

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I actually think this is why RJ's characters are so good judged relative to many other fantasy series. They defy expectations, and so they lead to dissent. That's what real people do--especially women. Most of the time in fantasy it's like the characters are wearing little signs that say "Like me!" "Don't like me!".

 

Really?

 

I'm pretty sure Egwene has "Like Me!" branded on her forehead.

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I actually think this is why RJ's characters are so good judged relative to many other fantasy series. They defy expectations, and so they lead to dissent. That's what real people do--especially women. Most of the time in fantasy it's like the characters are wearing little signs that say "Like me!" "Don't like me!".

 

Really?

 

I'm pretty sure Egwene has "Like Me!" branded on her forehead.

 

But my point is that we don't all acquiesce!

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They aren't teens, in the literal sense, but in their 20's.

 

I think some of them are just out of their teens. From Eye of the World to ToM I think abit over 2 years or is it 2.5 years have passed. In the beginning of EoT I think Eggy was 17, 18, Rand, Mat and Perrin 18, Nynaeve 25, and when we first see Faile she was 16, Avi I dk... maybe 20?

 

I maybe we way of on some though.

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They aren't teens, in the literal sense, but in their 20's.

 

I think some of them are just out of their teens. From Eye of the World to ToM I think abit over 2 years or is it 2.5 years have passed. In the beginning of EoT I think Eggy was 17, 18, Rand, Mat and Perrin 18, Nynaeve 25, and when we first see Faile she was 16, Avi I dk... maybe 20?

 

I maybe we way of on some though.

 

Egwene and Elayne are either 19 or 20. We don't know what months they were born, or for that matter what month it is now in the story. But they could well be teenagers. Since we know Rand is a year older than Egwene, and the other boys the same age as Rand, the three boys must be 20 or 21.

 

We know Faile was no more than 17 when she took the Hunter's Oath, so she is a teenager.

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Nynaeve was born in 973. Current year is 1000. She is 27 now and 25 at the beginning of the main series and 6 during New Spring. Rand, Mat and Perrin are born in 978, Aviendha in 980, Elayne and Egwene in 981. Min's birth date is unkown.

 

Edit for lack of proofreading

Edited by Smittyphi
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One thing to keep in mind is that years in WoT are different from our years. 10 months, each of 30 days, as I recall. So someone who is 20 in our years is 7300 (20x365) days old. Someone who is 20 in WoT years is 6000 (20x300)days old. Or 16 years, 5 months in our world.

 

Meaning that the major character are all teenagers, by our standard.

 

I'm not sure about this, I don't have the books with me. I am sure a week is 10 days. I'm not sure how many weeks in a month, and I'm not positive there were 10 months.

 

Of course, we don't know how long a day is, so these characters could all be middle aged for all we really know.

Edited by randsc
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One thing to keep in mind is that years in WoT are different from our years. 10 months, each of 30 days, as I recall. So someone who is 20 in our years is 7300 (20x365) days old. Someone who is 20 in WoT years is 6000 (20x300)days old. Or 16 years, 5 months in our world.

 

Meaning that the major character are all teenagers, by our standard.

 

I'm not sure about this, I don't have the books with me. I am sure a week is 10 days.

 

Of course, we don't know how long a day is, so these characters could all be middle aged for all we really know.

 

Wow I never thought about that lol. Then they are all so... young.

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One thing to keep in mind is that years in WoT are different from our years. 10 months, each of 30 days, as I recall. So someone who is 20 in our years is 7300 (20x365) days old. Someone who is 20 in WoT years is 6000 (20x300)days old. Or 16 years, 5 months in our world.

 

Meaning that the major character are all teenagers, by our standard.

 

I'm not sure about this, I don't have the books with me. I am sure a week is 10 days. I'm not sure how many weeks in a month, and I'm not positive there were 10 months.

 

Of course, we don't know how long a day is, so these characters could all be middle aged for all we really know.

 

RJ has explained that the WoT world is our world in a different era. Something about being our future or past, depending on what way you look.

 

Found here

Edited by Smittyphi
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One thing to keep in mind is that years in WoT are different from our years. 10 months, each of 30 days, as I recall. So someone who is 20 in our years is 7300 (20x365) days old. Someone who is 20 in WoT years is 6000 (20x300)days old. Or 16 years, 5 months in our world.

 

Meaning that the major character are all teenagers, by our standard.

 

I'm not sure about this, I don't have the books with me. I am sure a week is 10 days. I'm not sure how many weeks in a month, and I'm not positive there were 10 months.

 

Of course, we don't know how long a day is, so these characters could all be middle aged for all we really know.

 

RJ has explained that the WoT world is our world in a different era. Something about being our future or past, depending on what way you look.

 

Found here

 

Right, I think that's obvious. That doesn't mean the measure time the same way. No logical division of the Earth's natural calanedar would result in a base-10 week, for example.

 

And do the days even have names in WoT?

 

Maybe instead of describing yet another dress and/or rounded bosom, Jordan could have answered some of these sorts of questions.

Edited by randsc
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