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RJ's real-world references


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So, RJ's concept of the Wheel is that all the myths and legends of our time are vague remembrances of the events in WoT, and their stories are sometimes very vague remembrances of events in our Age. Hence we have a lot of Arthurian legend and real world religions referenced, etc. This gets a lot of discussion.


It occurred to me that there are at least three references to modern pop culture in the books. I think there are more that have occurred to me, but these three come to mind, and I think they're all deliberate:


1. Karate Kid (1984). The crane kick seems to have been referenced with Heron Wading in the Rushes in TGH (1990).


2. Terminator II (1991). This seems to have been referenced with the new breed of Darkhounds in TFOH (1993).


3. Ghostbusters (1984). Crossing the streams is bad. Very bad! From ACOS (1996).


Can anyone think of more?

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a lot of references to the aiel and rand's captivity and torture feel like lawrence of arabia, and somewhat like gunga din. i can't give scene specifics, but if you see the movies i think you'll see what i'm talking about.


i also get threads of many classic westerns, but again, i can't be specific, cause i've seen a lot of westerns, and i suspect RJ loved him some westernes, and movies in general, too. and definitely many ww1 and ww2 movies, which, again, melt into a cultural consciousness that's difficult to disentangle, but can be sensed throughout.


not too helpfull, sorry.


but this is a wonderful thread, and i look forward to reading, better answers. thank you!

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i also get threads of many classic westerns, but again, i can't be specific, cause i've seen a lot of westerns, and i suspect RJ loved him some westernes

Indeed. He sometimes cited Louis L'Amour as one of the authors that influenced him most.

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Elayne's Atomic Gate way = Atomic bomb sort but way smaller.

Saidin cleansing implosion = Ebola Virus bomb.


I think someone else posted something like this awhile ago. These are sort of what I remember from that tread;

Moghedien = financial advisor (how direct a refference can you get? I get a laugh every time I remember this :laugh: )

Materese the Healer = Mother Teresa

Tales of Mosk the Giant, with his Lance of Fire that could reach around the world = he also said this is moscow with his nukes.

and his wars with Alsbet, the Queen of All = Queen Elizabeth?

someone else said there was a rolls roys car hood in the panarch's palace.

and of course the panarch's palace is a musuem. remember the dinosaur skeletons?


from tEotW 4: the Gleeman

Ages ended by fire raining from the skies = Asteroid hit earth theory

and Ages doomed by snow and ice covering land and sea = Ice Age


In aviendha's vision she seas some railroads being built in the waste. The Aiel are native americans being hunted into extinction?

Shara = sahara desert

KoD21: some sharan is selling silk worms.

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Elayne's Atomic Gate way = Atomic bomb sort but way smaller.

Saidin cleansing implosion = Ebola Virus bomb.

I'm looking more for pop culture references. Anla the Wise Counselor is probably the closest thing to what I'm looking for that was in that other thread.

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Yeah! Sorry but it's actually from the movie Outbreak, but Ebola virus was the first thing that came to mind.


Outbreak; Dustin Hoffman, Reene Russo and Morgan Freeman.


Oh you mean the Daisy Cutter.



I like that, mostly because it wasn't intended to be a weapon, but the witnesses came to see it that way. And of course, RJ/Nam. (But of course, I don't see that as being a pop culture reference but rather an influence from his own experience.)

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The Song the tinkers are looking for is obviously All Along the Watchtower...


I'm pretty sure "The Song" isnt Stairway to Heaven!!


I was listening to stairway to heaven while reading the part where the daishain aiel were linking arms around the mad male aes sedai and singing...trying to bring him back go sanity.


just when the heavy guitars kick in at the end of the song, the male aes sedai started blowing them up.


Twas gold.

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How about The Matrix (1999)? Even though Agent Smith shot him multiple times, the fact that Neo refused to accept it - or the subsequent bullets fired at him - made them irrelevant. Like TAR?



TAR was surely created before '99


Edit: re-read ur post do u mean The Matrix is based on TAR?

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Edit: re-read ur post do u mean The Matrix is based on TAR?

Of course I cannot prove that & the Wachowski brothers would ever admit it even if I could prove it, but the WOT had been around long before The Matrix. I am just saying that they are all writers. And all writers have influences. Surely even the most skeptical of my idea must admit the similarities of TAR & the dream world of The Matrix.

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i can't call up specifics except as i read through, i'm sorry... that's lame, i know.


the first thing i noticed was the most obvious, shelter from the storm. but there seems to be a ton of john wesley harding and blood on the tracks and street legal and highway 61 imagery. not that there wouldn't be with the messianic and political and odd comedic stuff, but as a bob-head, it always sings of dylan to me. the later work seems to get kind of time out of mindy, too, like cold irons bound and highlands and not dark yet. i guess more of a general feeling and little phrases that just pop out at me while i read. wish i took notes so i could say this better.


when i read these books, i feel like i can sense some of the places the author was coming from, culturally i mean. i feel like i can tell what kinds of books he read, movies he watched, paintings, music... i'm probably delusional, but in reading interviews and stuff after i'd come to my own conclusions, i have found i was right about a lot of it.


but again, both RJ and bob wrote/write about everything, so i guess there'd be plenty of room for coincidental overlap.


*shrug* dunno, can't find better words. sorry again. :blush:

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No, that is really interesting, I wish I was more observant to such things when I read. I'm going to have to do a re-read now, see if I can spot anything.


Actually, now that you mention it Not Dark Yet could be about Rand in his pre-Veins of Gold state, the first line anyway. Ha, and thinking about it further that line 'She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so fine, she put down in writing what was on her mind, I just don't see why I should even care' could definitely be about Rand thinking on his letters from Elayne in the Shadow Rising.


I now have a strong urge to listen to some Bob.

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i am sorry to hear that, but it's not uncommon. people have strong feelings about him, both ways.


i posted this a few weeks ago in the BT song thread - it's from blood on the tracks, 1978, so the parallels are probably coincidental, but seriously can be interpreted WoT-ishly with no effort --



Changing Of The Guards


Sixteen years

Sixteen banners united over the field

Where the good shepherd grieves

Desperate men, desperate women divided

Spreading their wings ’neath the falling leaves


Fortune calls

I stepped forth from the shadows, to the marketplace

Merchants and thieves, hungry for power, my last deal gone down

She’s smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born

On midsummer’s eve, near the tower


The cold-blooded moon

The captain waits above the celebration

Sending his thoughts to a beloved maid

Whose ebony face is beyond communication

The captain is down but still believing that his love will be repaid


They shaved her head

She was torn between Jupiter and Apollo

A messenger arrived with a black nightingale

I seen her on the stairs and I couldn’t help but follow

Follow her down past the fountain where they lifted her veil


I stumbled to my feet

I rode past destruction in the ditches

With the stitches still mending ’neath a heart-shaped tattoo

Renegade priests and treacherous young witches

Were handing out the flowers that I’d given to you


The palace of mirrors

Where dog soldiers are reflected

The endless road and the wailing of chimes

The empty rooms where her memory is protected

Where the angels’ voices whisper to the souls of previous times


She wakes him up

Forty-eight hours later, the sun is breaking

Near broken chains, mountain laurel and rolling rocks

She’s begging to know what measures he now will be taking

He’s pulling her down and she’s clutching on to his long golden locks


Gentlemen, he said

I don’t need your organization, I’ve shined your shoes

I’ve moved your mountains and marked your cards

But Eden is burning, either brace yourself for elimination

Or else your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards


Peace will come

With tranquillity and splendor on the wheels of fire

But will bring us no reward when her false idols fall

And cruel death surrenders with its pale ghost retreating

Between the King and the Queen of Swords

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yep street legal. it's all i can do to stop myself from going through the whole catalogue and posting every other song for RJ relevance. but i can barely keep myself under control, and suggest (what i'm sure you already know) a cruise through the album and song sections of bobdylan.com, with the help of the friendly lyric search.


i can make no sense until i'm out of the highlands... wish they'd let him do the whole side like he wanted.


and, man, not dark yet... so good... and so rand.

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