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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
FiachraÓRaghallaigh

The WoT and Deus Ex Machina

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Is there much Deus Ex Machina in the WoT? Don't get my wrong, I loved the books (else why would I spend so much money on buying 13 books), but it's something that I've remarked on while reading them. Consider the Cleansing of the Saidin - the taint created a situation that gave the enemy a clear advantage. However as soon as it became clear, Rand suddenly got an idea, that mysteriously enough, nobody thought of before.

 

Ta'veren abilities are another example that I remarked upon, especially Mat's luck. And of course Rand's sudden transformation on Dragonmount...

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It's not that no one ever thought of cleansing the taint before, it's just that no one ever thought it was possible.

 

He also spent a good deal of time researching and running his ideas for cleansing the taint by Herid Fel. It's not like he just thought it up out of the blue.

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Is there much Deus Ex Machina in the WoT? Don't get my wrong, I loved the books (else why would I spend so much money on buying 13 books), but it's something that I've remarked on while reading them. Consider the Cleansing of the Saidin - the taint created a situation that gave the enemy a clear advantage. However as soon as it became clear, Rand suddenly got an idea, that mysteriously enough, nobody thought of before.

 

Ta'veren abilities are another example that I remarked upon, especially Mat's luck. And of course Rand's sudden transformation on Dragonmount...

 

 

Strangely I think the cleansing of the Taint was one of the examples of how well Jordan wove foreshadow and preperation into an event. The Finns gave Rand the first hint to the solution in tSR, and he spent months thinking on it, including seeking the opinion of Herid Fel. The second hint came from the nature of his wounds, and the resonance between the Taint and the evil of Shadar Logoth that he experienced in LoC. He still spent yet more time planning, finally be pushed to it only by Morr's break with reality.

 

Jordan built this event for books, nor is Rand the only one who had this thought--the creation of the Eye of the World was very similar, only they lacked the tools to finish the job. Same goes for Rand's transformation. Cadsuane's been working on that since the moment she stepped on screen in aCoS, and Rand himself has obsessed over the issue himself.

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I think Dues Ex Machina is a term that gets tossed around way too much and often incorrectly. It's supposed to mean a miraculous solution to a problem that comes out of nowhere.

 

That is not the case with ta'veren abilities or Mat's luck. Those have been well established abilities throughout the whole series. It's not miraculous when Mat gets out of an impossible situation through luck because we expect him to get lucky. It's not a miraculous solution when Rand gets what he needs because he's strongly ta'veren because it's been well established that's how the Pattern works.

 

Sure it's convenient, but it's part of the well established WoT mythology. And, thus, doesn't meet the definition of Dues Ex Machina.

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the only Deus ex Machina I can think of right now off the top of my head would be Egwene escaping the collar in ToM

 

although VoG did seem like a cop out for me

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Mat and Verin finding each other EXACTLY on time (Mat because food was running low ; Verin because the Seanchan were gonna attack)

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*Though this may seem rude, it is not intended to be so, I apologize if you take offense to my opinion.

 

When I read the premise of this thread, my first thought was "Duh". When the author explains the fictional universe is governed by a cosmic machination analogously known as "The Wheel", everything that happens ought to be considered Deus Ex Machina as every event is literally 'god from the machine'.

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The verin gateway thing was weird, but I just took it as Brandon getting a bit over geeky with ta'veren, not a dues ex machina... After all there were easy ways verin could have tracked mat down if it was simply a need for her to find him. "You hide well for a man with an army matrim. But you are still a man with an army..."

 

I reckon Brandon just thought that would be cool.

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I certainly think of the concept of ta'veren as an excuse for deus ex machina, or at least for coincidence. Just because it is woven into the WOT universe doesn't make it any less convenient. After all, the ancient Greeks who invented the God From the Machine did so under presumption of the existence of gods, so the concept wasn't just out of the blue for them. In any case, it's a common enough device in fantasy, and not worth our concern. If it were absolutely realistic, it wouldn't be WOT!

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Not to mention that the whole WOT concept is predicated on the inevitability of Shaitan's defeat. After all, there are quotes from history books written from the perspective of the Fourth Age--after all these contemporary events. And I don't think there'd be much writing if the whole of Creation were consumed in fiery darkness.

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