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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

I noticed something missing.


nirve9909
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In the Wheel of Time world we have just about every type of people represented; there are Blacks, Whites, what appear to be Spaniards and Asians (Tear), and even Arab (sort of, more north African with the Fezs worn by Tanchicans). There have also been implied homosexual relations. Two things missing (or maybe one) are people with disabilities. There are no hunchbacks, club feet, mentally challenged or otherwise developmentally disabled people. I realize it wouldn't aid the story along too much but why couldn't someone have a cousin who had down syndrome. Or a begger who had a cleft lip. I apologize if this sounds tongue in cheek, or offensive but for a world as rich as this, it stands out. I have to admit I only really noticed this after seeing a hunchback of Notre Dame skit on Jackass, so feel free to tee off on me.

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In a world where there is a Yellow Ajah and all of the Aes Sedi can perform Healing to some extent, it's quite probable that children born with disabilities would be healed whenever possible. Still, I would expect some disabled people, especially in Tear, where Aes Sedai are not welcome. But if my child was born disabled I would do ANYTHING to find an Aes Sedai.

Do not forget the Kin and all the wilders wisdoms & co. who practice "unlicensed" OP healing!

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The saying was that anything could be healed save death and stilling.

 

That said, the list got added to during the course of the series, with afflictions of the mind being highlighted as beyond power intervention. Remember too that it's a medieval society in it's technological and in many senses it's societal developmental states. Disabled people in general would do one of 2 things - just get on with it and work around their disability. Or die.

 

It is, btw, explicit that Thom has a pronounced limp, Rand has a hand missing, Messana has the mind of a young child. There's probably others too, but anyhow, all 3 are patently disabled in one manner or another.

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the AS are not so numerous, and don't go so far afield, as to heal all who need healing.

 

and while the developmentally or mentally or otherwised challenged may get on with it or die, it is odd that they are never mentioned, in books where almost everything is mentioned.

 

i think either it wa something RJ wasn't interested in including, or we're to believe that the population bottlenecks of the breaking and other disasters have somehow culled the gene pool.

 

i doubt the latter would be the case, as it never has in RL. and mutations and injuries, especially at birth, continue to occur.

 

so i'm gonna say he just left the whole thing out of his world. maybe these things exist in the WoT off-screen. they should exist, logically.

Edited by cindy
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Guest PiotrekS

I see it as something similar to the fact that almost all main characters in WOT are at least above-averagely attractive physically. Every female protagonist is beautiful (or at least becomes so, as Siuan did), every male one is fit and handsome.

 

I see it as a funny and innocuous feature of WOT. It is the alternative world, but it is not supposed to be very, very realistic - just enough for us to have fun when reading about it. I like to watch a Woody Allen movie about beautiful and smart young people in glorious scenery of Barcelona or Paris and similarly I let it pass that in WOT almost all the people are beautiful and nobody suffers serious health problems, every old person is strong and healthy, there are no disabled people etc.I accept it is not the story supposed to get deep into depicting human society in all its nuances.

Edited by PiotrekS
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somehow i feel like i'm reading a thread with the title "why didn't a main character die in the second book" but at the same time i do take this seriously. yes i must admit that it is a little lacking that there are no characters with birth disabilities out of over 1000 characters with names. the mention of someone, or even the direct encounter with someone with such an issue might have been possible in this series, but that encounter would kind of be forced into a darkfriend encounter. any light friend would likely try to find a solution to the issue. although in this world it seems that all mental illness is caused by power of some sort or another, even fain can be explained. but i don't find the lacking quality mentioned to be a real issue, it simply has nothing to do with the story, detailed as rj is, i doubt he would have wanted to even once jump into the detail of describing even a person who was born blind, unless he needed that for the story.

 

EDIT: AND NO DONT SPOIL IT FOR ME!!! I HAVNT READ THE BOOK WHERE A MAIN CHAR DIES IN THE SECOND BOOK, DONT TELL ME

Edited by Testy al'Carr
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unfortuanately few peolpe with serious defects would live past a certain age with serious defects, tho Noal, Boundless' brother, had something, and another stable hand had something

Also people who could function/work would be given work outside of view of the general public, and may not go to emond's field on holidays even.

RJ could have gone into it more but it is not critical, most authors don't go beyond war injuries

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It's one of those things that just isn't important to the story, kind of like how we really don't see characters going to the bathroom.

 

But historically, in our own world, people like that would either die very young from lack of proper care/medicine, be killed because something was wrong with them, or be basically kept hidden out of shame. Up until fairly recently, people born with disabilities were frequently put in insane asylums and then not spoken of any longer by their families. I imagine it would be somewhat similar in the Wheel of Time world, not necessarily the outright cruelty that many of these people went through, but at least the high mortality rate and being kept hidden away.

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You've also got to account for the fact that many diseases, defects and the like that cause such disabilities would have been eradicated in the Age of Legends. Admittedly there's 3000 years to allow mutations to produce new manifestations of disabilities, but I would imagine a higher order society such as the AoL would have prevented the more malevolent possibilities permanently.

 

Then there is the level of sophistication of a Medieval level society to deal with them...

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Yeah, it makes sense that a lot of people like that would stay hidden. As has been mentioned, it wasn't long ago in our own history that such people were relegated to asylums, or before there were such things, just kept in the home, out of the sight of the public and out of trouble.

 

I think it would be even more so in the WoT world. Any sort of mental illness (especially amongst males) would most likely be hidden because of the associations people would have with the One Power. Physical deformities could be viewed as some kind of curse from the Dark One, or Aes Sedai work. Although now that I think about it, there was some sort of old adage about people who were mad being protected by the Light or something in The Eye of the World when Agelmar and his soldiers are discussing how a madman (Fain) made it so close to the gates of Fal Dara.

 

But anyway, the point is I could see wanting to hide people that have some kind of disability if they were in your family, amidst an uneducated populace, and people like Whitecloaks or Coplin/Congars who are willing to shout Darkfriend or scrawl a Dragon's Fang every chance they get. Noal's brother kept him in that cage in the stable because there were Whitecloaks around and he didn't want them to see his brother in that condition. And considering he had no idea about Wolfbrothers, he thought Noal's condition was some sort of mental illness since he was hoping Moiraine could have Healed it. His behavior is probably indicative of how any village bound person would probably treat a family member with an actual mental illness, or even physical disability.

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mmm so being black or homosexual is like being disabled?

 

Of course being black has nothing to do with disabilities. There are multiple examples that racism does not exist in WoT world. As for the homosexuals... well, homosexuality is a kind of innate disability. (don't kill me! Please! I do not have any prejudices towards homosexual people) I mean real homosexuality, which is determined during the intrauterinal life and is due to some problems in gonads maturation (and not being gay just for the fashion). It's a kind of mental disability which is against the main evolutionary strive towards species continuation. Of course, homosexuals should not have problem to integrate in a modern hi-tech society, but the same is for most of the physically disabled people (I know some people with poliomyelitis that are great IT specialists). But it is not the case in a medieval society, where disabled people (as well as homos) are considered a real burden for the family. So, unlike racism, the homo-phobia and disrespect to the disabled people have some sense in terms of history.

 

And now, back to the main topic. WoT world is a severe one, where a lot of people are on the path of the constant strive to survive. So, for most of the innate disabled children it would be: "Be healed or die" dilemma.

Personally I don't feel that the story would be better if new characters are involved just in order to imitate real life more and more. It's fantasy, after all.

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the range of functional impairments of almost any "disability" if that's the word you want to use, though it wouldn't be mine, falls on a bell curve. it's not an all or nothing situation. and not every "imperfect" specimen of humanity would be locked away or hidden. in most communities, those who can work would work, in some capacity, in any capacity. and be part of the community.

 

most who are born "different" in the way we're talking about do live, and function fairly well and often independently or with little support.

 

rj chose not to include this aspect of humanity in his stories, which is fine. but there's no basis in the stories to assume anything beyond the author's privilege to write what he likes. and it makes me no nevermind. he didn't include a lot of things.

 

 

i

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You've also got to account for the fact that many diseases, defects and the like that cause such disabilities would have been eradicated in the Age of Legends. Admittedly there's 3000 years to allow mutations to produce new manifestations of disabilities, but I would imagine a higher order society such as the AoL would have prevented the more malevolent possibilities permanently.

 

Then there is the level of sophistication of a Medieval level society to deal with them...

 

this assumes that AoL is in our future, but by the wheel of time it is both our future and our past, so genetic disorders cannot have been removed from the DNA of human society...

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You've also got to account for the fact that many diseases, defects and the like that cause such disabilities would have been eradicated in the Age of Legends. Admittedly there's 3000 years to allow mutations to produce new manifestations of disabilities, but I would imagine a higher order society such as the AoL would have prevented the more malevolent possibilities permanently.

 

Then there is the level of sophistication of a Medieval level society to deal with them...

 

this assumes that AoL is in our future, but by the wheel of time it is both our future and our past, so genetic disorders cannot have been removed from the DNA of human society...

 

Is it ever explicitly stated that reality is supposed to be an Age of the Wheel of Time? I don't think you can apply real world rules to this fictional universe, no matter how similar they may be.

 

But if we accept the supposition that reality is an age of the WoT universe, who's to say genetic disabilities can't be culled out for an age? Channeling does not exist in our age, so it seems just as possible that genetic disabilities don't exist in theirs.

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You've also got to account for the fact that many diseases, defects and the like that cause such disabilities would have been eradicated in the Age of Legends. Admittedly there's 3000 years to allow mutations to produce new manifestations of disabilities, but I would imagine a higher order society such as the AoL would have prevented the more malevolent possibilities permanently.

 

Then there is the level of sophistication of a Medieval level society to deal with them...

 

this assumes that AoL is in our future, but by the wheel of time it is both our future and our past, so genetic disorders cannot have been removed from the DNA of human society...

 

Is it ever explicitly stated that reality is supposed to be an Age of the Wheel of Time? I don't think you can apply real world rules to this fictional universe, no matter how similar they may be.

 

But if we accept the supposition that reality is an age of the WoT universe, who's to say genetic disabilities can't be culled out for an age? Channeling does not exist in our age, so it seems just as possible that genetic disabilities don't exist in theirs.

 

Here's a list of references that give the implication that it is Real world references

 

As to genetic disorders - easily explained by a cataclysmic event ending an age and either exposing the bulk of humanity to low levels of radioactive poisoning, or weakening the ozone layer to the point that cosmic radiation becomes a factor in genetic mutation.

 

 

Naaa, scrub that. Everyone knows that the ozone layer could never have a hole in it in reality.

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they can't.

 

even if they could, which they can't, prenatal and neonatal and postnatal injuries and environmetal issues would still be causing physical, mental, and emotional impairments.

 

he didn't write about them. no big.

 

but no way they wouldn't exist. if the world was real.

 

which it isn't.

 

We have references to standing flows, which I've taken to mean streams of power permanently available for use by tecnology. Kinda like the electricity grid we have now.

 

We know next to nothing of the technology of the AoL. Why could there not be a ter'angreal in every hospital that corrected harmful genetic deviations from the normal range. While permitting trivial or beneficial alterations - eg.. it detects the gene modification needed to cause cystic fibrosis is present in a baby in the womb and alters it to a non-harmful sequence.

 

Pure, unsupported speculation, but as with so much that occurs off screen, with no on-screen consequences - you can't say it isn't the case either.

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i can say it because time is a wheel.

 

i can say it because genes mutate. it's what they do. it's why we're not one celled organisms.

 

and ic an also say it because there is no indication that the birthing process has changed in the 3rd age, and that alone leads to all kinds of issues.

 

i could go on and on and on, but i won't.

 

doesn't matter.

 

it's not in the books. the author didn't put it there. didn't mention it. didn't give a reason. so we're just bickering pointlessly.

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There's multiple references to calves born with two heads and things like that. Osan'gar is considered plain looking, and he pants from exertion (a short run) during the Cleansing. Lots of characters aren't considered handsome or beautiful (Sorilea, Teslyn, Kumira, Vandene...)

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