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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Point of Cyclical Time


phoenixtrinity
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This was brought up in another thread (here on the Spoiler Forum: http://www.dragonmou...rough-7th-ages/), and I was curious to see what other users had to say about the idea of the Wheel of Time not being a center point in the series, despite the series' title.

 

Personally I feel as though it is a huge part of the series in addition to making it fairly unique for a fantasy series and giving it more depth. However, since some seem to see the cyclical part as pointless to the development of the series, I am curious what others think.

 

 

Also I apologize in advance if this is 'stealing' another person's thread; I didn't see one like this posted and I was interested in hearing others' opinions. Thanks~

 

~Lykouros

Edited by phoenixtrinity
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I read it on the other board and think I can understand both views. If you removed the cycle it wouldn't change much, there are cultures that believe in rebirth, reincarnation, etc without needing cyclical time. The only people that have really brought it up plot point wise is Ishy and Herid Fel(?)

 

But I view the wheel as being like a religion, this isn't a great example but it would be like comparing Marion Zimmer Bradleys Avalon series with Disneys Sword in the Stone, the background of religious conflict gives the Avalon series a much greater depth, sure it's possible to tell the story without it (see Disney) but the story is deeper with it included (not to diss Sword in the Stone - I still think it has one of, if not, the best magical dual ever.)

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Although I think "The Dark Tower" loop is cliche that may be the point if the series. At least RJ's original intention. You keep re-liveing the past until you get it right. To me that seems the point of reincarnation. To atone for your past sins and live your life correctly. LTT even says in a convo with Rand "we live so we can do it right" or something similar. Don't have that book with me or id have the exact quote.

Hopefully we will get a "real" ending and not a bs ending like The Dark Tower. Damn you King for sucking me in and screwing me over! (Sorry tad off topic)

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While I'm certainly pleased with the amount of respect I gesture towards my fellow posters, I'd just like to note one tiny flaw in my opponents' logic:

 

Religion, especially in the medieval epoch, implies the presence of a formal organization, a holy scripture, religious practices, rituals, sacrifices, prayers, religious philosophy, temples, a societal class. All of this is completely and utterly absent from the WoT. Knowing that the Creator exists isn't religion, nor does it cancel out the need for a religion to exist. After all, none of the Randlandians (Seanchanese, Sharans) know about the Creator's existence from empirical evidence, and the same could be said about medieval Christian Europe when God's existence was pretty much regarded as a fact in the mentality of the people, and atheism was rare.

 

The most we get is someone "uttering a prayer for the dead" at one or two points early in the series. Without priests, temples, holy scriptures, practices, religious laws, theology/theosophy, dogma, the concept of divine punishment for those who deviate from the faith, and a very blurry understanding of the afterlife, it's pretty much determined that WoT was written without a religion in mind. Which is all well and good, but puts into question the validity of people remembering metaphysical concepts from the Age of Legends over 3500 years, regularly interrupted by massive wars and genocide. At least none of them breached three different lines on any codes of conduct.

Edited by Wool-headed lummox
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@wool-headed lummox - badly phrased (what comes when posting in a rush), I wasn't trying to compare their belief in the wheel to religion - as you say their belief has none of the trappings of religion, although perhaps the foundations for one. The use of the example above was solely because I haven't read/watched many stories that cover the same story, and Arthur/Merlin is one that's been covered several times and one of the chief differences between the tellings is how central the religion is. So the story can be told without the religion, or more specifically the religious conflict, but is more meaningful with.

 

I don't see much problem with metaphysical concepts being remembered from 3500 years ago - unlike the current world there is an institution that's dedicated to learning/remembering knowledge and filled with people that live long lives and therefore have lots of time to learn stuff, I'd say it's been downhill for teh last 500 years (or so) as the threat of the DO receded in their memory and therefore political infighting became more normal. Additionally there are the Ogiers, again a very long lived race dedicated to the collection of knowledge. More recently Rand has gained access to ancient knowledge as has Mat (although the last is less important than the first two). So if the question then becomes how did the AoL find out, then it sounds like Ishy was a philosopher, or it could have been discovered after the bore was drilled (idea stolen from another thread, can't remember which one), or maybe they gained insight from the portal worlds, maybe through the snakes and foxes...

 

And I'll own up, I don't get the reference to breaching three different lines on any codes of conduct, but that's good?

 

 

Technically, I think the stories could be told without the wheel, it is unlike a sci-fi novel which relies on e.g. being able to breathe hydrogen instead of oxygen, or withstand 3,000,000 degree heat, where the plot centres around something different being necessary. But the inclusion of the wheel as something in the background gives the world depth. Not because I think RJ was trying to write a philosophical book or infer a deeper meaning by the wheel, but because it rounds off his world by giving them a belief. Again, not sure this is phrased correctly. *thinks*

 

I guess I could try using Alien as an example. The technology they use in the film is common place and thus their's no need to mention it and so they don't. In Randland the wheel of time is something they believe in, but it doesn't affect their everyday lives and so their's no reason to refer to it, except for characters like Fel or Ishy who are philosophers (and do refer to it). The fact that they believe in something, makes the world more believable, finding an entire world that believed in nothing would seem more unrealistic to me.

 

 

@AsmodeanisDemandred - that ending was the only thing that saved the books for me after he introduced himself as a character, I still think the last 2-3 books were a disaster, which is a shame, because going through his other books (none DT) and getting the references to the DT series is brilliant.

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The big point of the Wheel in the Wheel of time, is the fact that it is *not* a religion (Religion is based on sets of beliefs, beliefs that are to be maintained, either by the denial of truths to the contrary (Other religions saying other things), or in the lack of evidence to support it. (Faith in spite of facts, or the lack there-of.)), it is a fact of the setting, the world, people *are* reborn, souls *do* exist, so the cyclical nature of the world and setting is the center-point of the whole story/setting, hell, the main characters of the tale are all reborn souls, ta'veren, chosen by the pattern, which is created *by* the driving of the wheel.

 

The Creator is seen as existing, not through direct evidence, but through quite a lot of evidence to support it. (I call it finger-prints at a crime scene), because the Dark One, DOES exist, the Wheel DOES exist, the One Power *does* exist, not through miracles or stories only told by a small group of people on the inside. But as seen by facts, rules and natural laws, such as channeling, specific people being reincarnated to serve specific purposes (The heroes of the Horn, etc.) Prophecies that talk specific events that *actually* happen, (vs our real worlds generic prophecies that can be applied throughout history randomly by pretty much anyone, or that never happen.) The One Power, the True Power, all these things, mean that while "The wheel weaves as the wheel wills" is a very common phrase in the books, it's also the center-point of the story.

 

None of that stuff is metaphysical bullshit, those are *real* things, beings and laws and effects that happen and do affect the world, shape the world and have impact upon the world.

 

Hell, Rands entire story is basically about being a second chance at saving the world. The wheel of time starts showing the failure of one man, and then progresses to show his second chance, an age later, to "live a better life"

Edited by Sammael Darksbane
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i'm pretty sure rj at some point said something about them not needing religion to know the creator and the do exists because they see obvious evidence pretty frequently in their world. it is simply a fact of their life, not something they need to have faith in, because they get their nose rubbed in it on a pretty regular basis.

 

EDIT: oh and didn't the whitecloaks start out as monks before they went all warrior paladin.

Edited by Testy al'Carr
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Which is all well and good, but puts into question the validity of people remembering metaphysical concepts from the Age of Legends over 3500 years, regularly interrupted by massive wars and genocide. At least none of them breached three different lines on any codes of conduct.

 

Well, the Aes Sedi live for centuries, and they have a 3000 year old institution of learning with the biggest libraries in the world. And the rulers of the world regularly get advice from them. I'm not surprised that they've been able to keep knowlege from the age of legands around for so long. I don't think it would still be around without the white tower.

 

Think of medieval monks and how they kept writing alive, and then make them live for centuries, have magic, and be the most powerful force in the world.

Edited by Yosarian
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