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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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(Warning: if you find writing process/character construction stuff boring, then this ain't for you...)

 

I recently reread ToM, and I gotta say Zen Rand was far...stranger second time round. And he was strange enough the first time.

Now don't get me wrong; he had his moments (Rand Sedai and his talk with the Borderlanders, for example) but I spent a fair amount of the chapters he was in just thinking 'this isn't Rand'. I just had to cringe at the amount of monologuing he did about himself. Wearing his heart on his sleeve in front of randommers like Ituralde or Siuan, for example? Extremely unRandlike, and kind of weird to boot.

 

It was obviously to be expected after Veins of Gold that Rand would be wiser, calmer, more mature, etc, but I found it very hard to believe that he was supposed to be this different. What would be the point of building up a main character for twelve books, only to turn him into a completely different person for the finale?

 

But then it occurred to me that Zen Rand could be a total consequence of what was originally supposed to be one final book getting split into three. The whole reason for Rand's lack of PoVs was that Brandon Sanderson couldn't give away too much before the end. However he couldn't just leave Rand out of the book either and he obviously had to try and fill us in on what happened to Rand after VoG.

 

So what was the result? Loads of sappy monologuing and Rand acting in a really exaggerated zen way to make up for the fact that we weren't able to see his thoughts. Which were probably originally intended by RJ to be very important at this juncture. It makes me hold out hope that Rand will be much less strange to read in AMoL, because his one PoV in the epilogue was actually good imo.

 

So what you think? Was Zen Rand intentional or a sort of mistake?

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I think that ZenRand is completely intentional. You can actually see the flip side of ZenRand in The Gathering Storm. Consider any of Rand's conversations in The Gathering Storm, and to a lesser extent Rand's actions in Knife of Dreams. Look at Rand's conversation with Cadsuane in the chapter A Warp In The Air, or with Nynaeve in A Conversation With The Dragon. Rand spoke in the same way. Even when Rand returns, that's one of the things that Nynaeve mentions to Egwene - “He's the same person – he even talks the same way as before. Quietly, without anger. Before it was like the quiet of a knife being drawn, and now it's like the quiet of a breeze.”

 

ZenRand is Rand coming full circle. He has the wisdom he's gained over the past two years, while his personality in a lot of ways is a calmer, more confident version of where he was two years ago. He's lost the fear that he had in the early books, he's in control of his anger in a way that he wasn't in the later books. His sense of humour, which showed up more and more rarely as the series progressed, is fully back.

 

The end result is what we see in Towers of Midnight. It's not that he's had a sudden departure. Quite the opposite, the series has been building towards this. The Prince of the Dawn has left behind the young hero role, the Lord of the Morning has returned in a mentor role. The Dragon rides again on the winds of time.

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He;s trying to clear the decks and apologise and explain his actions to everyone who's fought for him. He knows he's going to die and he wants to go with a clean conscience. The most obvious pointer to that is, his asking for Hurin. By analogy with AA, he's doing a 12-Step programme.

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He;s trying to clear the decks and apologise and explain his actions to everyone who's fought for him. He knows he's going to die and he wants to go with a clean conscience. The most obvious pointer to that is, his asking for Hurin. By analogy with AA, he's doing a 12-Step programme.

No see I get the apologies. To the Aiel, to Ituralde, to his father, etc. What I don't get is why he'd start discussing his innermost thoughts and feelings with, you know, anyone who'll listen. I just don't think there would have been a need for it if BS had been writing from Rand's PoV. Along with a lot of the other over the top stuff.

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You know, I somehow doubt that's his inner most thoughts. He never let slip in one way or another to anybody else that he intentionally went to WT with the purpose of angering Egwene and getting her to gather all the monarchs for example. It just seems he's far more honest and open about things that really serves no point in being kept secret, like any normal person would do, if they weren't born in the WOT universe :p

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You know, I somehow doubt that's his inner most thoughts. He never let slip in one way or another to anybody else that he intentionally went to WT with the purpose of angering Egwene and getting her to gather all the monarchs for example. It just seems he's far more honest and open about things that really serves no point in being kept secret, like any normal person would do, if they weren't born in the WOT universe :p

 

Actually he did admit to someone, don't remember who, that he had 'poured hot oil into the white tower and it would be boiling soon' or something. But yeah mostly he kept his plans schtum, because that's important to the plot. Doesn't explain why he decides to share with Siuan, a woman he's met once, that he thinks seeing Egwene again might hurt. I thought he was trying to act crazy, but that sort of thing just kept happening. And you said it yourself:

like any normal person would do, if they weren't born in the WOT universe
. But Rand was born in the WoT universe, and it just seemed bizarre. Imo a character like that in any book would seem odd.

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Here's the thing - openness and honesty about your feelings is a part of good communication. Rand is communicating well (imho, anyhow).

Something that most people in the WOT world don't do, so it sticks out. I'd say like a sore thumb, but that would imply that it's a bad thing. It's not. It sticks out sort of like a single flower in a field of grass.

Three cheers for good communication!

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Personally when I first read about Rand Sedai I felt a very keen sense of disassociation - the Rand that I had spent so many books getting used to, adapting to his subtle changes had abruptly had a massive personality shift and his mannerisms had changed as well, he felt 'alien' after the descent from Dragonmount.

 

I believe that this is intentional - that the abrupt and jarring shift from the 'dark' to the light Rand was intended to be so marked that it makes the reader re-evaluate their understanding of the character and potentially what it means to be strong or to be a hero. I think it is also intended to ensure that it is too difficult to simply overlook the changes wrought in Rand due to his 'acceptance' (not of his role or his death but perhaps of his nature... its unsure) the sense of unfamiliarity I think is a tool to make the user perceive the actions of this 'new' Rand as being something more or better than what the old rand was capable of (some sort of enlightenment that comes from being 'good')...

 

I don't much like this new Zen Rand critter... but then again 'like' isn't that important is it?

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like any normal person would do, if they weren't born in the WOT universe

. But Rand was born in the WoT universe, and it just seemed bizarre. Imo a character like that in any book would seem odd.

 

I somehow suspect this complete lack of communication between people, especially male and female, is a doing of the third age. Something you can most likely blame the Aes Sedai and The White Tower for starting and further encouraging with their manipulating and so forth. So Rand suddenly being reintegrating with his previous life, 400 years during AoL, would make him realize how stupid this kind of behaviour is.

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I found the personality shift disturbing too.

I am trying to explain it away in my own mind as a young man suddenly becoming old with the wisdom that experience brings.

I believe that we all have personality changes (usually subtle) as we grow older. I am trying to believe that adding, who knows for sure, how many years of experience to his present in a nearly instantaneous fashion would be a shock and some of those personalities will wear through those memories.

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I found the personality shift disturbing too.

I am trying to explain it away in my own mind as a young man suddenly becoming old with the wisdom that experience brings.

I believe that we all have personality changes (usually subtle) as we grow older. I am trying to believe that adding, who knows for sure, how many years of experience to his present in a nearly instantaneous fashion would be a shock and some of those personalities will wear through those memories.

 

I agree, and I didn't have a problem with the basic personality changes at all. I was very much looking forward to Rand being calmer and wiser and more compassionate again, and he was all those things. But it's like... A comedian could tell a good joke simply, and it could be hilarious. Or he could tell that same joke in a really exaggerated ridiculous way and ruin it. To me, that's sort of what it seemed like to read Rand in ToM.

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I'd say it was intentional. I always hoped Rand would one day feel as timeless as the Forsaken do and for the most part he does now. Im not keen on parts of it though to be honest, I wasnt to keen on him suddenly breaking out and crying in front of everyone. Its not the fact that it happened, just that it seemed incredibly abrupt. Although admiteddly I am used to seeing his thought chains develop gradually and we didnt get that this time, so its understandable... ish.

 

TGS was an AWESOME book, but in my opinion we are still hanging from the cliff that is VoG! I still miss the madness, but I'm looking forward to some hefty Rand Therin Sedai PoVs.

Edited by Drekka Mort

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I think its safe to say that the new rand was intentional. the question is whether it was merely a plot device or part of his character due to his recent changes. imo it is really how rand would behave. i mean to suddenly gain the wisdom and experience of 400 years is going to change you. not to mention the fact that the biggest weight on rands mind was his death,and he now has the memory of going insane, killing his family and everyone he knew then becoming sane just long enough to kill himself. knowing the worst possible way he can die must make sacrificing himself to stop the dark one and save the world seem easy. these two things alone would explain his new "zen" attitude. as to the monologues with strangers thing; the two rivers was a quiet peaceful place where rand grew up honest and unafraid and as we see when he encounters daes daemar he prefers to be straightforward and it works. as he became darker he trusted everyone less and less and kept his thoughts to himself more which led to him becoming even darker. now that he has released that darkness he can return to the straightforward person that he is.

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I think its safe to say that the new rand was intentional. the question is whether it was merely a plot device or part of his character due to his recent changes. imo it is really how rand would behave. i mean to suddenly gain the wisdom and experience of 400 years is going to change you. not to mention the fact that the biggest weight on rands mind was his death,and he now has the memory of going insane, killing his family and everyone he knew then becoming sane just long enough to kill himself. knowing the worst possible way he can die must make sacrificing himself to stop the dark one and save the world seem easy. these two things alone would explain his new "zen" attitude. as to the monologues with strangers thing; the two rivers was a quiet peaceful place where rand grew up honest and unafraid and as we see when he encounters daes daemar he prefers to be straightforward and it works. as he became darker he trusted everyone less and less and kept his thoughts to himself more which led to him becoming even darker. now that he has released that darkness he can return to the straightforward person that he is.

+1

 

And Rand´s transformation- although the depth of it was unexpected for me it fits his charactergrowth really well. I for one love Rand Sedai.

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He learns to harness his powers properly, using them when needed but not giving in to anger.

 

I think Rand had become such a hard ass it was getting annoying. You could almost feel the burden of his character, from holding all the pain inside, to going crazy, to the guilt of all the deaths he caused. It's all we ever heard about in his PoV moments. Tam confronted him to bring him back to his roots, then he "exercised" the darkness building inside him on Dragonmount. Shazam, weight lifted.

 

The character development was somewhat sudden, but I really like what Rand has become. He's the leader he needs to be without all the "I'm going to balefire everybody".

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The character development was somewhat sudden, but I really like what Rand has become. He's the leader he needs to be without all the "I'm going to balefire everybody".

 

Absolutely. The change was sudden but its not like we didnt know it could happen. I do like Rand Sedai I really do, I think I just prefer the sheer badassery and eagerness to act from before. I personally thought the madness with Lews Therin to be one of the things that made Rand such an interesting character; the sheer power, but with the worry that he might lose control at any given moment, and the paranoia that the destructive prophecies were all going to be a result of his conscious choices... it just made the whole thing feel on the edge of going wrong ALL the time. Rand Sedai is in total control, which for me lessens the suspense. Sure, the ultimate Ta'verenism had his back all the time anyway, but MAN it was awesome to see Rand begin to understand how to control that at the same time as reaching his darkest moments!

 

Me and my bro were talking about it after TGS came out, how awesome it was that after 11 books of building Rand up we got a full book devoted to his fall from grace. Dark Rand was amazing.

 

Having said all that, I think hes really ready to go for Moridin now. I REALLY hope that rivalry becomes a serious, serious main plot in AMoL. Like, as serious as the darkness was in TGS. Rand might have gained control after a seemingly endless madness, but madness has had Ishamael for a near eternity already and he was in control for ALL of it!

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I think it was completely intentional and purposefully abrupt to show the huge contrast between Dark Rand and Zen Rand. As far as Rand sharing to much with people, it is about damn time. The theme of people not communicating leading to bad things has been ongoing and it only makes sense for the central character to be one of the characters to start trusting people. I think that it makes since that he is starting to trust, considering that Lews Therin lived a good portion of his life in the AoL before the Bore was drilled. That culture probably was a lot more trusting then the end of the AoL and the Third Age. Lews Therin may have had a horrible life towards the end, but the vast majority of his life should influence Rand for the better.

 

As far as people liking or disliking the shift, I think that part of that probably has to do with what reader's wanted to happen with Rand. Most people probably assumed that Rand would be redeemed, but not that so much of LT would shine through. I happen to like the change and like the way he has become such a positive force in a world that is running low on positives.

 

Also, as far as Rand sharing a lot because of the fact that he has no PoVs until the end, that probably did happen a little (maybe just once or twice). Just not easy to not have the central character not have a PoV and still get a lot of what his intentions are across to the reader. Just a sacrifice that was probably made to hide something that in Rand's head.

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"Zen Rand" is rather kind, I think in another thread, somebody called his transformation "12-Step Rand."

 

I think what he did in Ebou Dar was great. Trying to apologize to Hurin was over the top. Instead of waiting for an hour for them to find Hurin, he could have saved another city from starvation and cemented "Zen" status.

Edited by Toy'varen

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Zen Rand was a pretty big problem for me... he's inhuman. Only a stoner or a sociopath would be as calm as he is in the face of what occurs, and when you add it to his random, unexplained new powers... its creepy.

 

And aside from creepy, him releasing Weiramon and Anaiyella is pretty monstrous... the things those two would have done as darkfriends, much less what they might do, deserved justice. I don't care if Rand got a hug from his dad for the first time in years, he has a responsibility to the world...

 

Though, that being said, I am waiting on aMoL before making my final judgement. It may be something more is going on here as the OP suggested. I frankly hope so, because if Rand is genuinely as he seems to be in TofM it would be a killing point on the series for me.

 

 

Btw I hate Rand Sedai... not because of the concept, its amusing--but it was bluntly written. A bit like Mat's 'I assumed you saidared it.' from tGS. A wink to the readers that feels forced in its portrayal in the story.

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feels forced and fake.

 

you don't go to WT and power base of the aes sedai, tell them you are going to break the seals, ignore attempts at planning and simply walk away without a care in the world. That's not zen. That's manipulation and gameplaying. the very things the old rand was very good at.

 

i have always wondered if that chapter was ever jordan's or sanderson himself. Besides it makes rand completely and utterly boring.

Edited by Elan Tedronai

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I mentioned it on the first page, but I think it bears repeating: the changes in Rand's manner occurred before VOG. While his perspective changed after VOG, his manner remained the same. Rand's style of speaking has not changed from the time the Domination Band was placed on him; it was trending towards more formal from Path of Daggers or so onward. Rand post-VOG is the Rand of KOD/TGS in manner, but the Rand of TEOTW in viewpoint.

 

Or, as he puts it in TOM: "I feel more myself now than I have in months. I feel more like myself than I ever did as Lews Therin, if that makes any kind of sense. It's because of Tam, because of the people around me. You, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat, Aviendha, Elayne, Moiraine." Rand is the full knowledge of Lews Therin combined with the earnest nobility of Rand al'Thor.

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"Zen Rand" is rather kind, I think in another thread, somebody called his transformation "12-Step Rand."

 

I think what he did in Ebou Dar was great. Trying to apologize to Hurin was over the top. Instead of waiting for an hour for them to find Hurin, he could have saved another city from starvation and cemented "Zen" status.

 

I think it was an important task for Rand to apologize to Hurin. Rand is being human and making amends to people he cares about. Hurin was a friend and Rand felt he needed to let him know that he was sorry. I think "Zen" Rand is kind of a poor term for him.

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Zen Rand was a pretty big problem for me... he's inhuman. Only a stoner or a sociopath would be as calm as he is in the face of what occurs, and when you add it to his random, unexplained new powers... its creepy.

 

And aside from creepy, him releasing Weiramon and Anaiyella is pretty monstrous... the things those two would have done as darkfriends, much less what they might do, deserved justice. I don't care if Rand got a hug from his dad for the first time in years, he has a responsibility to the world...

 

Though, that being said, I am waiting on aMoL before making my final judgement. It may be something more is going on here as the OP suggested. I frankly hope so, because if Rand is genuinely as he seems to be in TofM it would be a killing point on the series for me.

 

 

Btw I hate Rand Sedai... not because of the concept, its amusing--but it was bluntly written. A bit like Mat's 'I assumed you saidared it.' from tGS. A wink to the readers that feels forced in its portrayal in the story.

 

I think he is the opposite of inhuman. He was shown doing some very human things in ToM. Here is a small list: saving the apples, hugging his father, fixing problems that he helped cause in Arad Doman, apologizing to Hurin, and just expressing emotion in gener to those around him (other then anger).

 

How is showing mercy monstrous? No, it is not the right thing to do, but it does fit with the whole saviour thing. His responsibility to the world is to face the Dark One, not to kill every human Darkfriend. In fact, them reporting back to other Dark Friends about what they saw could reduce morale among the "Darkside."

 

Hmm, I did not feel that way about the Rand Sedai scene. I will agree on the Saidared thing though.

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