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Foreshadowing. Can I play Devil's Advocate?


keef
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If this has already been brought up, I apologise. I did look, but found nothing. Please direct me if you wish, to where this idea has been discussed...

 

 

So, being a long time, and multiple reader of TWoT, I thought I had a fairly good understanding, and decent knowledge of the story. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this site about a week ago, and proceeded to rush home from work everyday to read more and more. Hidden gems in the writing, theories (all well mannered discussions too, unlike most forums) and foremost on this list of discoveries, Foreshadowing.

 

So, all excited about this amazing, genius and astounding technique/tool, I try to explain to a soon-to-be-TWoT-reader work mate an example I had seen. (The example I used was Nynaeve hoping Sheriam didn't mean spiders when talking about facing your fears, and the theory that this was some foreshadowing about Nynaeve vs Moghedian (sp))

 

During my retelling I think to myself, is it not possible that Foreshadowing is 'not really a thing?'. Isn't it quite possible that all of this (forgive me) 'supposed Foreshadowing' is just very clever retrospective writing? And has all of us fooled?

 

I by no means believe that my idea is 100% correct, or that I've picked up on something that nobody else has. It is just a thought/theory that I felt I should bring up.

 

Flame away. :biggrin:

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As I understand, Robert Jordan had an extensive database of his characters and their respective plotlines already in his head and worked out pretty detailed in notes. Any writer with world-building and plot-building talents has these as standard tools.

 

With detailed notes and suffficient writing talent it is actually fairly easy to write foreshadowing and recurring themes into the small details. Even so small they're overlooked the first time.

 

I can't be 100% sure ofcourse, but the quality of the writing has me convinced that Robert Jordan could easily write foreshadowing as foreshadowing.

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I'm a hobby writer, and seven chapters into my WIP i've inserted some foreshadowing. It's just a case of knowing what events/characters/interactions are going to take place within your work, and then when the opportunity arrises, alude to it in a very subtle way.

 

Quite easy. With RJ's fondness for notes and planning, I have no doubt they are all planned. Well, most of them. Some of the examples of foreshadowing I've seen quoted are just straight up coincidences, rather than any planned noddle-scratcher moments.

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During my retelling I think to myself, is it not possible that Foreshadowing is 'not really a thing?'. Isn't it quite possible that all of this (forgive me) 'supposed Foreshadowing' is just very clever retrospective writing? And has all of us fooled?

All of us? Not quite! Clever retrospective writing is part of the art of foreshadowing. Some of it was no doubt planned; some of it surely wasn't. I've said as much many times before.

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During my retelling I think to myself, is it not possible that Foreshadowing is 'not really a thing?'. Isn't it quite possible that all of this (forgive me) 'supposed Foreshadowing' is just very clever retrospective writing? And has all of us fooled?

All of us? Not quite! Clever retrospective writing is part of the art of foreshadowing. Some of it was no doubt planned; some of it surely wasn't. I've said as much many times before.

 

 

well writing a fantasy book you cant really just start and go linearly, you need to plan all the major and any minor events the affect the major first then when you write you can insert everything else and expand upon them.

 

Its a really boring book if you just have this happend then this happened and then this happend and finally they all live happily ever after. Life doesn't just happen, stuff causes other stuff and just small differences int he past affect the future, like If Rand did not get stabbed by Baalzamon and also slashed by Fain he could not have clensed the source, If these events did not happen but he cleansed the source then its just a random event that has no reason for it happening, like it was randomly plucked out of the air. "Hey lets channel saidin into shadar logoth with the 2 most powerfull sa angreal and see what happens" All the prophecys are forshadowing aswell, some of the prefecies are a specifica cause of the events int he books, they are self fullfilling, Rand did it because he knew thats what he was to do.

 

so RJ knew everything or most of what was going to happen in summary form and then he just had to tie it in when he wrote the books through.

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Even RJ said he only had the major details planned, and that more minor details were filled in as he went along. That's why the projected series length kept expanding. Like I said, some things were foreshadowed deliberately, but retroconning foreshadowing is part of the art.

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I would guess that RJ intentionally put in a lot of foreshadowing, but also went back and made use of old content sometimes. And some things were probably never intended as foreshadowing at all, but were interpreted as such by fans. In that regard, we're not unlike Tuon at times. :wink:

 

I've sometimes wondered if RJ originally intended for Egwene to end up with Galad and changed his mind later, since Thom's line in TDR ("Next you could try telling the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks he should marry the Amyrlin Seat.") sounded so much like foreshadowing once it became clear Egwene would become Amyrlin. I guess there's still a slight chance of that happening in the distant future, should Galad turn out to be a latent channeler and outlive both Berelain and Gawyn...

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Oh I think RJ was very good at foreshadowing. I think the Nynaeve-spiders-Moghedien thing is very clever.

 

I reckon I spotted a good one a while back, but few people will agree.

 

I reckon Taim is Moridin in disguise, yada yada, thats old news. Now, when the term "madman" is used, usually the first two people that come to mind are Lews Therin and Ishamael. When Taim is introduced, Rand specifically has in mind the idea of it not being Taim, but he comes to the conclusion that Taim channeling means Taim=Taim (whereas it actually confirms as a suspect) but Rand thinks to himself "Only a madman would claim [the name Taim] if it wasnt his."

 

Its not exactly a piece of evidence that Taim=Moridin. But if you are already convinced he is... well its one of my favorite bits, that. Trust me, I will be mentioning that quote again after the revelation

 

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Edited by Drekka Mort
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I would guess that RJ intentionally put in a lot of foreshadowing, but also went back and made use of old content sometimes. And some things were probably never intended as foreshadowing at all, but were interpreted as such by fans. In that regard, we're not unlike Tuon at times. :wink:

 

I've sometimes wondered if RJ originally intended for Egwene to end up with Galad and changed his mind later, since Thom's line in TDR ("Next you could try telling the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks he should marry the Amyrlin Seat.") sounded so much like foreshadowing once it became clear Egwene would become Amyrlin. I guess there's still a slight chance of that happening in the distant future, should Galad turn out to be a latent channeler and outlive both Berelain and Gawyn...

 

 

I'm going to throw out "Red herring" right now. When fans are rabidly searching for any hints as to the future, purposefully adding in false trails is a way to throw them off the course. The above could be an example of that.

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To me, foreshadowing is a real thing; and that it occurs in most fiction.

 

5 categories of foreshadowing::

-intended by author to be foreshadowing

-not intended (by author)

-possible foreshadowing that author intended (unfinished fiction, the scene/scenes yet to be written/published)

-possible foreshadowing that author did not intend (unfinished fiction, the scene/scenes yet to be written/published)

-not foreshadowing at all

The scenes of this series which fit under each are probably unknown.

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