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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

How I would rewrite WoT


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Sometimes reading threads I wonder if we are all reading same books. I mean let us start with killing main characters. It took wheel 3000 years to plot everything into place for TG. Everyone who is great fan of textual evidence should not have missed it. For instance, let us consider the scene where Rand in his POV thinks about how Tigraine has to leave and get intimate with Janduin to die giving him birth at dragonmount. All of the books are replete with such examples. Then we had a Min viewing right at the beginning in tEotW where she says that "all of you have to be there to do something. He will have to do it but all of you have to be there or he will fail" It was right when they moved into Baerlon and Nynaeve joins them. What has been the most repeated dialogue in the entire series? Wheel weaves as wheel wills. Everyone is there for a reason and if you had not got it in first few books you should have left a long time ago. cutting Perrin to a minor character. I mean I honestly do not understand what does that mean? He is one character that has stayed true to what he was. He is the most unpretentious character that you can have and he has stayed consistent through out. I agree that the chase sequence went on for too long, but when did he behaved in a way that was not consistent to we had all pictured him at the start? Other points have been quite admirably answered by Mr. Ares not that these two were not, but they irritated me too much to let slide.

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Succinctness is a virtue that every editor appreciates. Brevity is the soul of wit. Etc, etc.
Lots of books is something a publisher has some appreciation for, especially if they're all big sellers. Doubling the number of books in the series might be less brief, but it will make a lot more money.

 

An interesting idea, but not well suited to the series. No matter how much "skirt twitching and whatnot" you cut out, you still have a huge amount of ground to cover - it's possibly a novel in its own right that story. Again, the Ayyad, the channelers, are the rulers there. How would he gain power over an area that big with such diffuse power?

 

Who says there must be a novel? It could be done in the shadows, with only the barest of hints until the dramatic denouement in the epilogue of the penultimate book: Demandred addressing his massed Sharan followers, proclaiming himself the true Dragon and calling for the destruction of the imposter Darkfriend Dragon in the west. (Although after the series is ended Demandred's adventures to become the Dark Dragon could plausibly be made into a book. I'd buy it.).

Well, look at how much time was spent getting us to accept Rand gaining his Aiel army - RJ starts laying the groundwork in the second book, and it takes up a significant part of TSR and TFoH. To accept Demandred becoming leader of a vast empire requires a lot of work on the author's part. Such things going on in the shadows would probably end up being unsatisfying if you had it become a major plot point in the last book after the previous several never spent any amount of time doing more than providing the barest of hints. It would require a prominent Demandred plotline, probably over a number of books. And while it is an interesting idea, it cuts against what you have called for elsewhere in terms of a shorter, less bloated series.

 

Really, I don't think that any of your suggestions make sense as ways of solving the problems with the series, because none of them try to get to grips with what the underlying problems are. How about you tell me what you think the problems with the series are - from there, work out solutions to those problems. If the changes you make are not made to solve any particular problem, then why bother making them?

 

My proposed changes are solutions to what I see as underlying problems.

I fail to see how you re really addressing them. What problem is solved by halving the number of books, for example? If there is too much bloat, then why not simply cut out the bloat - which would leave you with shorter books, but not necessarily fewer. How is lack of death a problem? The books don't need to rely n death for interest, and what matters is how things are handled, not what happens. Death can be boring, uninteresting and stupid, leaving a frustrated reader with a sense that he was wasted time. Why is that a good thing for a series?
I also think you're taking all this a bit too seriously.
Not really. I'm doing this because it's fun.

 

I agree with the OP on most points, but i accept that for the most part that's just because i prefer a different style of book. However, number 3 i agree with 100% even for Jordan.

 

Important characters in this series simply do not die. Ever. Even the old guard--Moraine, Lan, Siuan, Morgase--are still alive and kicking through absolutely ridiculous circumstances. I don't think i've felt legitimate fear for characters since book 3, where it became obvious that characters were pretty much invincible.

 

I'm gonna delve into Mr. Ares defense of this:

Pretty damn arbitrary again. Killing character does not, in and of itself, provide any benefit to a work. It is not an inherently good thing. It doesn't generate tension, or pathos, or any emotional reaction.

Death does not necessarily cause drama, but a distinct lack of death can definitely sap from the drama. Jordan gets away with it somewhat because he never tries to create drama by putting characters in danger of death--there are other ways to hurt and change someone. However, there are times where situations that could be dramatic are not. Mat's first encounter with the gholam--we know immediately that Elayne is alive, because she's Elayne. If Jordan had shown more willingness to off characters offscreen--or better yet, up-and-up killed Elayne right there--it would have been an extremely emotional scene. Instead, it's moderately interesting, and creates a mildly interesting rivalry between Mat and the gholam.

Killing Elayne then and there would not necessarily have created an emotional scene. That's the problem. How you handle death, or the lack of it, is important. Frankly, the gholam killing Mat's friend and colleague should provide dramatic conflict enough - even if we readers don't have the same attachment to Nalesean as Mat, we should be able to see the impact through him.

 

 

It can be used for that, but such things lie in how it is used, not in the mere use of it. If Lini had died, for example, then what? Oh, it's only Lini, who cares. Fine, so kill someone more major - how about Mat? OK, how? More importantly, why? It is the execution of the act, not the act itself, that adds to the work. Simply saying more people should die is absurd. It doesn't benefit the series.

The important thing is to show the audience that the tension and danger is real. Characters constantly surviving creates a tendency, and suddenly readers care less about the danger since they will obviously survive it. Surprise is and important part of building suspense. Lini is a bad example, since she's not important--but killing a core character means that the other core characters are in danger.

You can show that the tension and danger are real in ways that don't involve offing your leads. Killing supporting characters, causing physical and emotional harm to main characters - these are equally valid tools that serve the same end. Rand's insanity and declining mental state over the course of the series is more interesting than a mere killing would have been. Just because our characters don't die, doesn't mean they are protected against any harm that might come upon them. And if they suffer real harm already, then killing serves no greater purpose. It is just death for the sake of death.

 

 

There are many interesting things you can do to a character, things that are more interesting than just killing them. A death is an end to a character arc. It has a place, but to desire death for the sake of death, which is what you're calling for, doesn't improve any character arcs. A work can tug on the heartstrings, generate tension, do all manner of things, without ever resorting to such a blunt instrument as killing someone. If there are failings, then treat the root cause of the problem, don't try to apply an arbitrary quick fix.

Death is an irrevocable finality that ends any and all effects a character can have. A well placed death can not only change but absolutely define a series--ASoIaF is a great example of that. You can do other things to a character, and make them more interesting, but the widespread effects a death can have on a series is pretty much unmatchable. It is not as simple as "suddenly, this character is dead, cause idk lol", i agree, but i think it is is pretty incorrect to say that death doesn't improve character arcs, and the lack of death, the lack of finality or loss, really hampers those same arcs. Especially in a book series so based on things eternally changing, death is a reminder of what is lost and cannot be returned.

Your first sentence there provides a decent summation of the problem - ending the effects a character can have on the narrative, providing that finality, can be good or it can be bad. And just as ASoIaF might be defined by a death, so WoT is defined by a madness - Rand's insanity is central to the series. I fail to see why that is, in concept if not execution, lacking compared to death.

 

 

There might be no good reason for Morgase to live - but was there a good reason for her to die? Her time with the Whitecloaks made for interesting reading, and she had a purpose in ToM with Galad. So it seems there was more benefit to keeping her around than there would have been just to kill her off to get her out the way. What specific flaw do you feel there is that this is intended to rectify?

Morgase, i agree, is a bad example. She is a pretty minor character all-in-all, and her survival is more interesting than her predictable death would be anyway. But for characters like Moiraine, the lack of death is definitely felt, imo. Moiraine's dive into the ter'angreal should have been the final sacrifice, letting the world fall through so now Rand had to rely on himself, showing that she is willing to do what is important, and that the rest of the characters finally see her for who she is rather than thinking of her as manipulative and annoying. By bringing her back, it undermines her sacrifice, both the sacrifice of her life and the fact that she left the world to Rand, and doesn't add anything near as interesting to the story. Learning she was alive undermined any and all risk i thought any character was in in this series until AMoL--Jordan's unwillingness to kill characters is easy to read and take comfort in, and saps suspense.

Perhaps it's just that I knew (or strongly suspected at the least) that Moiraine would be returning before she even left, but I don't see her survival as detracting from her sacrifice. She was willing to give up a lot, perhaps everything. Just because she had a small chance of survival to cling to does not diminish what she was willing to give up, what she was willing to risk - death, immediate or lingering, severing and captivity were all fates that could await her in a very uncertain future. She sruvived, she was freed, and she still has an important part to play. Plus, don't forget that the mentor "dying" and coming back in some form is a standard part of the story - Obi-Wan in Star Wars, Dumbledore in harry Potter, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. You need to separate the hero from the mentor in order for the hero to shine without them, but you can still bring them back for some last bit of advice.

 

 

Bear in mind, GRRM, he of the immensely exaggerated reputation for killing everyone, struggles to generate tension for all his characters in every situation - so often, people are left with a feeling of "of course x is OK". Even with all his deaths, he still struggles to make you feel his characters are in genuine jeopardy.

GRRM's reputation for killing everyone is, as you said, massively exaggerated. He doesn't really kill characters unless the plot requires it, and when character do die it is almost always obvious that they will. But his use of death is so emotional and direct that it gives the impression of widespread death, and allows readers to feel more worried about their favorite characters. It's a great example of what exactly death can bring to a series.

GRRM's approach shows both the benefits and dis-benefits of character death - people on internet forums warn you not to get too attached because anyone can die (and most of them will!), many characters suffer apparent deaths and readers feel little worry, due to the number of times false deaths have been used, he kills characters people didn't care about anyway, so they merely consider reading about them a waste of time. The emotions generated vary a lot, and not always in ways that the author was aiming for - I don't think Lady Stark's death was meant to be the cause for celebration some fans see it as.

 

Elayne's political arc probably would have benefited from being cut down.

 

My biggest gripe (well, maybe besides the Sea Folk being Aes Sedai clones of the sea,) is tPoD. Take the first few chapters of that, the end of the Bowl of Winds arc, and make it the conclusion to aCoS, ending with Avi, Elayne and Birgette's escape from the Seanchan and gateway explosion. That would have put a more definitive end to aCoS then the 'wait, what happened to Samael?' ending. And honestly, the rest of tPoD could have been combined with Winter's Heart, fluff removed, and the combined book been better. (Probably.)

 

I hate talking about changes to the WoT, simply because it is one of the greatest series of all time and I don't like placing myself in such a theoretical position, but if I could make one change that would not drastically alter anything major, that would be it. End aCoS with the beginning of tPoD, and combine the essentials of tPoD and WH.

I've said that in the past as well. Part of the problem with PoD is that it's the first half of one book with WH - making those two into one book would likely be an improvement, and the end to the BoW makes more sense at the end of ACoS than it does at the beginning of PoD.

 

(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.
If you did that, the novels would probably be even longer. The "long journey from point A to point B" stages takes up a significant number of pages in the earlier novels. The fact that Rand can hop from place to place later actually speeds up the plot by a fair degree, IMHO.
It is worth remembering that just because the characters are going on a long journey, doesn't mean the readers need to be with them - it's quite possible to skip the travelogue portion. Of course, that does mean that the characters take longer to get from a to b, so the series would likely have to span a longer period. That has upsides and down - less chance for characters to get implausibly good in such a short span, as they'll have more time to grow, but against that it imposes certaint limits on the story. Think of plot points like Rand's attack on Rahvin - absent some for of quickly getting from one place to another, it doesn't work. The enemy have more time to prepare. You likely end up with Rand's forces laying siege to Illian, rather than using an army as a distraction, before striking at the city alone and fighting Sammael in SL. Also, all the time the characters gain, much of that has to be spent on longer travel times and longer for communications and such. "Egwene, I want you to gather the world's ruler to Field of Merrilor, for about this time next year - they'll need to gather their armies and so on, and they won't be able to make it before winter hits". Doesn't have quite the same sense of urgency.
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Who says there must be a novel? It could be done in the shadows, with only the barest of hints until the dramatic denouement in the epilogue of the penultimate book: Demandred addressing his massed Sharan followers, proclaiming himself the true Dragon and calling for the destruction of the imposter Darkfriend Dragon in the west. (Although after the series is ended Demandred's adventures to become the Dark Dragon could plausibly be made into a book. I'd buy it.).

 

 

[removed. AMoL Spoilers]

 

As far as the traveling thing though, I would most certainly leave that in. The many forms of getting around the story has gone through (from horses to ways to portal stones to skimming to gateways) has shown a maturation of power to me. Also main characters need to be able to get to multiple areas instantly, and it lends to certain dramatic effects as well; look at Rand in tGS leaving Arad Doman as a failure, only to be hailed in Tear on the otherside of the gateway. That was a nice little scene there.

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(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

 

(8) Baddies are pathetic, implausible, and have no depth. Rand is killing Trollocs for breakfast (heavily armored men the size of bears... right) as early as the middle of TGH. They very quickly lose the sense of dread they initially evoked. T

 

This applies tenfold to the Forsaken, who as everyone has noticed are bumbling and incompetent to a degree that far exceeds any attempt to explain their failures by referencing their contempt for Third Age people. In particular, two of them (!) are killed in the very first book. This severely damages their dark mystique, and the further death of Be'lal and Ishamael, and the capture of Moggy in TSR, finishes off whatever remained of it. They should be endboss type characters. Also their numbers should be reduced to 7 or even 5 (say, Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Semirhage, Moggy; and maybe Aginor and Graendal) so that their individual characters can be developed more thoroughly, instead of having many of them serve as higher ranked cannon fodder.

 

The final problem with them is that they have no depth and I find the reasons Darkfriends and the Forsaken give for going over to the DO to be very implausible in the main. This is another area that could have done with much more development and explanation.

 

 

I always wondered, when the forsaken were given the command to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" why didn't they do the following:

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

I mean, if the goal is to sow chaos what better way than to thoroughly disrupt cities and strike terror into the heart of people at the same time. It would be an almost unstoppable tactic the first time used, if they all went at it together. Afterwards the AS/Asha'man could set wards or something, but by then it would already be too late.

 

*Not complaining, but every time I read it I think "Man, if I was a forsaken I would do this and this and this and..."

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Killing Elayne then and there would not necessarily have created an emotional scene. That's the problem. How you handle death, or the lack of it, is important

Oh? I think that if the text made it clear that Elayne was dead, it would be gut-wrenchingly emotional, and the continued conflict between Mat and the gholam would have been phenomenal. Even if you don't really rewrite all that many scenes. If you do it correctly, it would probably have been one of the most shockingly emotional scenes in the series, tbh. Death has impact.

 

Frankly, the gholam killing Mat's friend and colleague should provide dramatic conflict enough - even if we readers don't have the same attachment to Nalesean as Mat, we should be able to see the impact through him.

But it doesn't, because we don't, because it can't. Nobody cares about Nalesean, so it is harder to relate to Mat on it, and even if we do we only care about who Nalesean is in relation to Mat. There is no real emotional investment in the hatred of the gholam, its just another part of Mat's arch--interesting, but hardly emotional.

 

You can show that the tension and danger are real in ways that don't involve offing your leads.

But you can't really create tension in life-or-death scenarios when the audience knows that death isn't an option. "Don't make a threat you can't follow through with". It's possible to create drama without death, but that means the drama can't be related to death. There's certain scenes, like Elayne's kidnapping or Rand's dagger wound, that is robbed of emotional tension because we know the character won't really be killed.

 

Killing supporting characters

Which Jordan also doesn't do, funnily enough.

 

causing physical and emotional harm to main characters - these are equally valid tools that serve the same end.

But i wouldn't say they are the same tools that have the same power. There is a time for insanity and there is a time for death and...holy crap that sentence is morbid. But i wouldn't say that simply because you can create drama without death that you should--and removing death from the equation really limits your tools.

 

Rand's insanity and declining mental state over the course of the series is more interesting than a mere killing would have been.

But these aren't mutually exclusive traits. Though i would love to read a series where the chosen one gets offed halfway through and the world is left scrambling.

 

Just because our characters don't die, doesn't mean they are protected against any harm that might come upon them. And if they suffer real harm already, then killing serves no greater purpose. It is just death for the sake of death.

Death is a specific kind of harm. I agree that Jordan can create drama without death, mostly because he isn't trying to avoid death merely to maintain the status quo--Egwene's untimely death would have been less suspenseful than her strange capture. But avoiding death means that i only care about how the character moves forward without ever having the doubt that the character will move forward.

 

Your first sentence there provides a decent summation of the problem - ending the effects a character can have on the narrative, providing that finality, can be good or it can be bad.

But the finality is a change from temporarily, and all drama must be derived from a change. A change from which you cannot go back is going to be a stronger change, which is going to create stronger drama. Yes, death can be misplaced, but that's true of anything. Not using death is a waste of dramatic tools.

 

And just as ASoIaF might be defined by a death, so WoT is defined by a madness - Rand's insanity is central to the series. I fail to see why that is, in concept if not execution, lacking compared to death.

I would say that ASOIAF is "defined" by death in the same way that WoT is "defined" by sexism--it is a quality that leaves a long-term impression on the readers, not really a theme or critical plot point. ASoIaF is a widespread power-political driven conflict with focus on "identity", while WoT is a widespread good vs evil world-ending conflict with a focus on love, relationships, and responsibilities. But back to the point. I don't think that GRRM is as strong of a scenewriter as Jordan, but the RW is a far more emotional moment than anything in WoT. Because death as a tool is, at its core, much stronger than something like madness. It isn't as simple as "you must use death to create drama"--this obviously isn't true. Jordan creates plenty of drama without death, and many others use death so poorly that it actually drives readers away from the characters. But not using death, and making it so obvious that you won't use death, is simply going to weaken the overall effect of the drama.

 

I don't think the Wheel of Time is a dramatically weak series by any measure, but i think it could be vastly improved simply if Jordan was more willingly to knock off some big characters.

 

Perhaps it's just that I knew (or strongly suspected at the least) that Moiraine would be returning before she even left, but I don't see her survival as detracting from her sacrifice. She was willing to give up a lot, perhaps everything. Just because she had a small chance of survival to cling to does not diminish what she was willing to give up, what she was willing to risk - death, immediate or lingering, severing and captivity were all fates that could await her in a very uncertain future. She sruvived, she was freed, and she still has an important part to play. Plus, don't forget that the mentor "dying" and coming back in some form is a standard part of the story - Obi-Wan in Star Wars, Dumbledore in harry Potter, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. You need to separate the hero from the mentor in order for the hero to shine without them, but you can still bring them back for some last bit of advice.

I didn't mind Moiraine coming back that much on its own, tbh, for exactly the reasons you said. And she was gone for more than half the series, so there was actual loss there. But i think it didn't undermine her sacrifice and the sacrifices that all the characters are willing to make. Who cares if Cadsuane is going to go toe-to-toe with the forsaken, or if Semirhage gets ahold of Min, or if Perrin goes after Slayer? They aren't in any actual danger. The fact that they are going to charge in stupidly and somehow get off is a foregone conclusion, and the suspense is suddenly missing. Nobody cares that Nynaeve is scared out of her mind when she hears about Mogheiden, because Moggy won't actually get her. Egwene's failure to recognize the bloodknives as Seachan comes across as amusingly/annoyingly shortsighted rather than terrifyingly dangerous because they aren't just going to off the new Amyrlin. The gholam's pursuit of Mat is hardly pointless, but we only care about it to the extent that secondary characters could be hurt rather than actually fearing for Mat's life.

 

When i don't have to worry about characters dying, i tend to care less about the characters in general. Moir fell into the ter'angreal? See you in a few books! I don't actually have to mourn the fact that she's dead, because she's not.

 

GRRM's approach shows both the benefits and dis-benefits of character death - people on internet forums warn you not to get too attached because anyone can die (and most of them will!), many characters suffer apparent deaths and readers feel little worry, due to the number of times false deaths have been used, he kills characters people didn't care about anyway, so they merely consider reading about them a waste of time. The emotions generated vary a lot, and not always in ways that the author was aiming for - I don't think Lady Stark's death was meant to be the cause for celebration some fans see it as.

I don't think anyone celebrated Cat's death, even those who hated Cat with a passion.

 

GRRM undercuts the drama by still giving some characters plot armor and then trying to fake suspense by putting them in "life-threatening situations". Honestly, the ability of the universe to save Tyrion's ass probably surpasses any ta'averen.

 

But more to the point is that i do have to worry about characters like Brienne, or Jaime, or the Reeds, or some Dornish, or some Tyrells, or some Lannisters. Because GRRM could kill them off, but they are interesting characters to examine and explore. I don't have to worry about Birgitte, or Gawyn, or Lan, or Min, because they aren't going anywhere. I think that ASoIaF has slowed down too much, although interesting, despite the comparisons, i find the slowdown almost nothing like the WoT slowdown.

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I don't think anyone celebrated Cat's death, even those who hated Cat with a passion.

 

Haven't spent much time around the Westeros Forums I take it?

Oh, i meant right after reading it. That's not exactly a chapter to make you feel jubilant.

 

Yes, after the fact, Cat does get a lot of hate. She's got too much Tully-stupid to deal with. Although as a Sansa fan myself i try not to bring it up, because those fights always turn into feminist flame wars anyway.

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I seriously doubt that anyone is reading the books anymore. I man what got me hooked to the series was the simple fact that w ad a hero that was the mankinds only hope and its worst fear. We have seen how he descends into madness and destruction. On one hand you peopl claim that ther has not been enough killing and then you go on and say oh the way Rand treated Tam, Natrin barrow or any of the Dark Rand episodes were bad. You do not like Perrin cutting of the hand of Aiel what was his name I always forget. Please make up your mind. Killing Rand off would have served no purpose except writer having to find another person to fill his shoes. His descent into madness was terrifying. In the end it comes down to personal preferences. Do you want an intellignt story where things are happening at multiple level or a b grade horror/porn flick that thy air after 2 am on all night cablechannels.

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(7) Speaking of which, ban Traveling. That is the most over-Powered power of them all.

 

(8) Baddies are pathetic, implausible, and have no depth. Rand is killing Trollocs for breakfast (heavily armored men the size of bears... right) as early as the middle of TGH. They very quickly lose the sense of dread they initially evoked. T

 

This applies tenfold to the Forsaken, who as everyone has noticed are bumbling and incompetent to a degree that far exceeds any attempt to explain their failures by referencing their contempt for Third Age people. In particular, two of them (!) are killed in the very first book. This severely damages their dark mystique, and the further death of Be'lal and Ishamael, and the capture of Moggy in TSR, finishes off whatever remained of it. They should be endboss type characters. Also their numbers should be reduced to 7 or even 5 (say, Ishamael, Demandred, Lanfear, Semirhage, Moggy; and maybe Aginor and Graendal) so that their individual characters can be developed more thoroughly, instead of having many of them serve as higher ranked cannon fodder.

 

The final problem with them is that they have no depth and I find the reasons Darkfriends and the Forsaken give for going over to the DO to be very implausible in the main. This is another area that could have done with much more development and explanation.

 

 

I always wondered, when the forsaken were given the command to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" why didn't they do the following:

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

I mean, if the goal is to sow chaos what better way than to thoroughly disrupt cities and strike terror into the heart of people at the same time. It would be an almost unstoppable tactic the first time used, if they all went at it together. Afterwards the AS/Asha'man could set wards or something, but by then it would already be too late.

 

*Not complaining, but every time I read it I think "Man, if I was a forsaken I would do this and this and this and..."

 

The Forsaken are just as powerful as Nynaeve or Rand in terms of power and it is said that even 13 weak Aes Sedai would overpower any channeler in the series if they linked together. Nynaeve gets exhausted several times in the series and Moghedien for example in her first duel with Nyn has troubles doing anything shortly afterwards. Simply traveling and then blasting shit with lightning is exhausting work, you make it sound as if it's easy. Moreover, without proper grip of a nation or people, the Forsaken won't have any real impact, they cannot be sure when/if Rand and companions will re-discover traveling, not to mention that they know the risks of removing residue from a weave(something which few but Aviendha seems to be able to do) meaning that they would likely leave traces to Aes Sedai and Rand in how to travel too if they did it carelessly. As it was already concluded that all that was needed was 13 Aes Sedai linked and they have at least 250 or so that aren't Black Ajah, while also having Wise Ones and what-have-you at hand, that plan sounds incredibly reckless. Not only would they weaken themselves greatly, it would serve little good in the long run. They are trying to create chaos, not make the land quickly unite against the Shadow(which they probably would if the Forsaken kept showing up and scaring them). The nations are just as important as the channelers in the last battle even if channelers are more powerful, they need that meatwall/cannonfodder.

 

What the Forsaken are doing in the beginning is to make it harder for Rand to unite the nations, I would say they succeed in this quite well. Semhi and Ishy fucks with the Seanchan, Sammael messes with Illian, Be'lal didn't have much of a grip yet and Rand decided to go there right after duel 2 with Ishy at Falme. Moreover, he did not expect the presence of an Aes Sedai that could channel Balefire. Lanfear is only interested in challenging the creator and the Dark One too, she simply wants power and knows that it is most likely to achieve this together with The Dragon or possibly Ishy, problem with Ishy is that he's dead set on ending the world, Lanfear isn't. Add to this mess that the Forsaken knows that one or possibly two of them will be Nae'blis once the Dark One returns, so there's a fight for power among the Forsaken. If one of them teleported around to bring lightning down everywhere it would not only draw attention because of the amount of power channeled(which is "visible" to all local channelers to the very least) from forces of The Light, it would also draw attention from other Forsaken and make you vulnerable. As Verin thought, the only thing that marks a Forsaken isn't really their power but their selfishness, a trait that the Dark One can rely on to some extent, he knows that they will kill or at least challenge one another which is part of the Chaos. The Dark One does not really care how many of his followers that survives after the Last Battle, but we don't really know the motives of The Dark One, the closest we have is Ishy(who wants to end the world) and Shaidar Haran who wants The Dark One to break loose from Shayol Ghul. The Dark One has a supposed goal, but we can never be sure what it is or how he wants to get to that goal. Since we have yet to see/know the true motives(not the supposed motives) of the Dark One, we can never really claim that he's acting dumb. The Forsaken acts mainly on his command, with the only exception that they won't hesitate to kill another forsaken in hopes to not share the supposed power they shall be granted after The Dark One is free. The only one of the who might oppose him would be Lanfear, which is not very likely for the moment.

 

So all in all, I can't say I find The Forsaken's actions stupid or dumb, we don't know the Dark One's motives or purpose, we only know what the characters assume.

 

 

 

In regards to the power, for the majority of the series Saidin is tainted, thereby creating quite the cost for any male channelers of the Light before Saidin was cleansed. In regards to Female channelers, at least Aes Sedai, they are bound to oaths. They have Black Ajah among them and on top of that they are through the majority of books also split up into factions that plot against each other and also disagree in every matter you can think of. Meaning they have a slow process of actually deciding anything.

 

 

Lastly I want to add that I've thought along the same lines as the OP regarding the matters I choose to adress, the first ones are more related to preference rather than things worth discussion since it's more or less about what character you like most and how many deaths you want in a series to make a "dangerous" setting. Sure, they could have added more characters simply with the purpose to die, like the Aybara Family(we never saw anything of them, we saw FAR more of the Luhhans). But I'm not sure it would make everything better, I won't deny that it might have, but I'm not convinced either. The only things that mildly bothered me in terms of how the series is built is how much prophecy there is, although it is still uncertain whether or not prophecy/viewings/dreaming can be fully trusted so I won't comment too much on that until the series is actually done. "Get rid of the annoying things" is subjective, but as a consequence I guess we'd get rid of Tuon as you wanted Elayne with Mat instead, unless you suggest polygamy here too which would indeed cause an amusing sort of alliance(or perhaps rivalry?) between Seanchan and Andor. For all we know though, Mat might've experienced this in chapter 37 "What Might Be" in The Dragon Reborn. I'm all for alternate storylines and I'd probably enjoy it very much, as well as more prequels and/or detail about certain storylines past The Last Battle. Sadly the original author is dead and we'll have to play around with it here instead.

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I always wondered, when the forsaken were given the command to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" why didn't they do the following:

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

I mean, if the goal is to sow chaos what better way than to thoroughly disrupt cities and strike terror into the heart of people at the same time. It would be an almost unstoppable tactic the first time used, if they all went at it together. Afterwards the AS/Asha'man could set wards or something, but by then it would already be too late.

 

*Not complaining, but every time I read it I think "Man, if I was a forsaken I would do this and this and this and..."

What better way? Well, virtually any. You show up, cause a relatively small amount of damage, and then leave and things get back to normal. It's inconvenience more than long term chaos that you would cause. Also, you have to remember that the Chosen began by trying to carve out power bases - let the Lord of Chaos rule was an order from on high. If Shai'tan had wanted massed lightning strikes on cities, he could, of course, have ordered them, but I don't think that would have gained Him what He wanted. Graendal probably caused more chaos in Arad Doman than any other plan could achieve for the same effort - and without being so overt as to place a big red flag to show there is a Chosen involved. When the plan involves turning the Light against itself, acting too overtly is counter-productive, as it highlights that they should not be fighting each other, they should be fighting you.

 

Killing Elayne then and there would not necessarily have created an emotional scene. That's the problem. How you handle death, or the lack of it, is important

Oh? I think that if the text made it clear that Elayne was dead, it would be gut-wrenchingly emotional, and the continued conflict between Mat and the gholam would have been phenomenal. Even if you don't really rewrite all that many scenes. If you do it correctly, it would probably have been one of the most shockingly emotional scenes in the series, tbh. Death has impact.

Firstly, a lot of people don't like Elayne - say she's dead and you end up with a lot of people experiencing quite the wrong emotion. And no, death can have impact, but it doesn't always. Which goes back to my point - to want a greater emotional impact is one thing, to want more death is another. Death is a means to an end.

 

Frankly, the gholam killing Mat's friend and colleague should provide dramatic conflict enough - even if we readers don't have the same attachment to Nalesean as Mat, we should be able to see the impact through him.

But it doesn't, because we don't, because it can't. Nobody cares about Nalesean, so it is harder to relate to Mat on it, and even if we do we only care about who Nalesean is in relation to Mat. There is no real emotional investment in the hatred of the gholam, its just another part of Mat's arch--interesting, but hardly emotional.

Killing Elayne wouldn't generate motional investment. Further, Mat isn't hugely fond of Elayne. Killing Nynaeve would have had a bigger impact on him. Elayne? Well, he's failed to protect her, but that's the real emotional sting for him. And given we have so much of that with Rand already it doesn't really add to the story.

 

You can show that the tension and danger are real in ways that don't involve offing your leads.

But you can't really create tension in life-or-death scenarios when the audience knows that death isn't an option. "Don't make a threat you can't follow through with". It's possible to create drama without death, but that means the drama can't be related to death. There's certain scenes, like Elayne's kidnapping or Rand's dagger wound, that is robbed of emotional tension because we know the character won't really be killed.

How do we know that? Because the author hasn't killed anyone before? That's just silly. Characters serve a purpose in the narrative - to kill a character before they have served their purpose probably means you will need another character to carry out that purpose. We don't, on first reading, have guarantees that anyone will survive, save for the fact that they are still needed by the narrative. Sure, you might think people are safe. People think the same even in series that do kill people a lot. People are still capable of working out who will live and who will die, no matter how much or how little death you throw at them. Killing a few major characters would have just meant people say "well, we know x and y can't die".

 

Killing supporting characters

Which Jordan also doesn't do, funnily enough.

Yes, he does. Verin and Ingtar being good examples. And pointing out that he could do it more would just be moving the goalposts.

 

causing physical and emotional harm to main characters - these are equally valid tools that serve the same end.

But i wouldn't say they are the same tools that have the same power. There is a time for insanity and there is a time for death and...holy crap that sentence is morbid. But i wouldn't say that simply because you can create drama without death that you should--and removing death from the equation really limits your tools.

But death never has been removed from the equation. Who do we know will survive TG? Well, we've been told Mat and Tuon will, and Elayne and Avi both need to have their kids. A few other people have some arguable degree of survivability - Logain has glory and power to come, Perrin will probably inherit the Broken Crown. Anyone else? Can die. There's a huge number of people who could go and meet the reaper. The argument boils down to RJ should have more use of one tool in particular, regardless of whether it was right for the job. As for a time for insanity and a time for death - sounds like it could be the title to my memoirs.

 

Rand's insanity and declining mental state over the course of the series is more interesting than a mere killing would have been.

But these aren't mutually exclusive traits. Though i would love to read a series where the chosen one gets offed halfway through and the world is left scrambling.

China Mieville's young adult novel UnLunDun does use a similar idea, and to good effect.

 

Just because our characters don't die, doesn't mean they are protected against any harm that might come upon them. And if they suffer real harm already, then killing serves no greater purpose. It is just death for the sake of death.

Death is a specific kind of harm. I agree that Jordan can create drama without death, mostly because he isn't trying to avoid death merely to maintain the status quo--Egwene's untimely death would have been less suspenseful than her strange capture. But avoiding death means that i only care about how the character moves forward without ever having the doubt that the character will move forward.

Again, we comeback to the reason for your lack of doubt. You don't know they will continue because no-one has died before. You know they will continue from other evidence. Even had a few died, you would still possess the same certainties, in all likelihood.

 

Your first sentence there provides a decent summation of the problem - ending the effects a character can have on the narrative, providing that finality, can be good or it can be bad.

But the finality is a change from temporarily, and all drama must be derived from a change. A change from which you cannot go back is going to be a stronger change, which is going to create stronger drama. Yes, death can be misplaced, but that's true of anything. Not using death is a waste of dramatic tools.

Again, I have to disagree that death creates stronger drama. Death used well creates stronger drama than other forms of drama used badly, other dramatic tool used well work better than death used badly. Even comparing death used well to other dramatic tools used well, I'm not convinced that death is inherently more powerful as a dramatic tool. If anything, ubiquity has robbed it of much power. It has become practically cliché.

 

Perhaps it's just that I knew (or strongly suspected at the least) that Moiraine would be returning before she even left, but I don't see her survival as detracting from her sacrifice. She was willing to give up a lot, perhaps everything. Just because she had a small chance of survival to cling to does not diminish what she was willing to give up, what she was willing to risk - death, immediate or lingering, severing and captivity were all fates that could await her in a very uncertain future. She sruvived, she was freed, and she still has an important part to play. Plus, don't forget that the mentor "dying" and coming back in some form is a standard part of the story - Obi-Wan in Star Wars, Dumbledore in harry Potter, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. You need to separate the hero from the mentor in order for the hero to shine without them, but you can still bring them back for some last bit of advice.

I didn't mind Moiraine coming back that much on its own, tbh, for exactly the reasons you said. And she was gone for more than half the series, so there was actual loss there. But i think it didn't undermine her sacrifice and the sacrifices that all the characters are willing to make. Who cares if Cadsuane is going to go toe-to-toe with the forsaken, or if Semirhage gets ahold of Min, or if Perrin goes after Slayer? They aren't in any actual danger. The fact that they are going to charge in stupidly and somehow get off is a foregone conclusion, and the suspense is suddenly missing. Nobody cares that Nynaeve is scared out of her mind when she hears about Mogheiden, because Moggy won't actually get her. Egwene's failure to recognize the bloodknives as Seachan comes across as amusingly/annoyingly shortsighted rather than terrifyingly dangerous because they aren't just going to off the new Amyrlin. The gholam's pursuit of Mat is hardly pointless, but we only care about it to the extent that secondary characters could be hurt rather than actually fearing for Mat's life.

That might be considered a failure on the author's part to convince that characters are in genuine peril, but it doesn't follow that that lack of peril results from a lack of death.

 

GRRM's approach shows both the benefits and dis-benefits of character death - people on internet forums warn you not to get too attached because anyone can die (and most of them will!), many characters suffer apparent deaths and readers feel little worry, due to the number of times false deaths have been used, he kills characters people didn't care about anyway, so they merely consider reading about them a waste of time. The emotions generated vary a lot, and not always in ways that the author was aiming for - I don't think Lady Stark's death was meant to be the cause for celebration some fans see it as.

I don't think anyone celebrated Cat's death, even those who hated Cat with a passion.

I certainly know people who were none too fussed that she died.

 

But more to the point is that i do have to worry about characters like Brienne, or Jaime, or the Reeds, or some Dornish, or some Tyrells, or some Lannisters. Because GRRM could kill them off, but they are interesting characters to examine and explore. I don't have to worry about Birgitte, or Gawyn, or Lan, or Min, because they aren't going anywhere. I think that ASoIaF has slowed down too much, although interesting, despite the comparisons, i find the slowdown almost nothing like the WoT slowdown.
So you have to worry about the lives of the minor characters, not the leads. The big names, the equivalents of Mat and Rand, they survive, while characters more at the level of, say, Nalesean, Verin, Nicola, etc., they are in genuine peril.
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So you have to worry about the lives of the minor characters, not the leads. The big names, the equivalents of Mat and Rand, they survive, while characters more at the level of, say, Nalesean, Verin, Nicola, etc., they are in genuine peril.

 

 

Whatever you do, make sure you are wearing the same color as the Captain when you beam down to the surface.

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I always wondered, when the forsaken were given the command to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" why didn't they do the following:

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

I mean, if the goal is to sow chaos what better way than to thoroughly disrupt cities and strike terror into the heart of people at the same time. It would be an almost unstoppable tactic the first time used, if they all went at it together. Afterwards the AS/Asha'man could set wards or something, but by then it would already be too late.

 

*Not complaining, but every time I read it I think "Man, if I was a forsaken I would do this and this and this and..."

 

The Forsaken are just as powerful as Nynaeve or Rand in terms of power and it is said that even 13 weak Aes Sedai would overpower any channeler in the series if they linked together. Nynaeve gets exhausted several times in the series and Moghedien for example in her first duel with Nyn has troubles doing anything shortly afterwards. Simply traveling and then blasting shit with lightning is exhausting work, you make it sound as if it's easy. Moreover, without proper grip of a nation or people, the Forsaken won't have any real impact, they cannot be sure when/if Rand and companions will re-discover traveling, not to mention that they know the risks of removing residue from a weave(something which few but Aviendha seems to be able to do) meaning that they would likely leave traces to Aes Sedai and Rand in how to travel too if they did it carelessly. As it was already concluded that all that was needed was 13 Aes Sedai linked and they have at least 250 or so that aren't Black Ajah, while also having Wise Ones and what-have-you at hand, that plan sounds incredibly reckless. Not only would they weaken themselves greatly, it would serve little good in the long run. They are trying to create chaos, not make the land quickly unite against the Shadow(which they probably would if the Forsaken kept showing up and scaring them). The nations are just as important as the channelers in the last battle even if channelers are more powerful, they need that meatwall/cannonfodder.

 

What the Forsaken are doing in the beginning is to make it harder for Rand to unite the nations, I would say they succeed in this quite well. Semhi and Ishy fucks with the Seanchan, Sammael messes with Illian, Be'lal didn't have much of a grip yet and Rand decided to go there right after duel 2 with Ishy at Falme. Moreover, he did not expect the presence of an Aes Sedai that could channel Balefire. Lanfear is only interested in challenging the creator and the Dark One too, she simply wants power and knows that it is most likely to achieve this together with The Dragon or possibly Ishy, problem with Ishy is that he's dead set on ending the world, Lanfear isn't. Add to this mess that the Forsaken knows that one or possibly two of them will be Nae'blis once the Dark One returns, so there's a fight for power among the Forsaken. If one of them teleported around to bring lightning down everywhere it would not only draw attention because of the amount of power channeled(which is "visible" to all local channelers to the very least) from forces of The Light, it would also draw attention from other Forsaken and make you vulnerable. As Verin thought, the only thing that marks a Forsaken isn't really their power but their selfishness, a trait that the Dark One can rely on to some extent, he knows that they will kill or at least challenge one another which is part of the Chaos. The Dark One does not really care how many of his followers that survives after the Last Battle, but we don't really know the motives of The Dark One, the closest we have is Ishy(who wants to end the world) and Shaidar Haran who wants The Dark One to break loose from Shayol Ghul. The Dark One has a supposed goal, but we can never be sure what it is or how he wants to get to that goal. Since we have yet to see/know the true motives(not the supposed motives) of the Dark One, we can never really claim that he's acting dumb. The Forsaken acts mainly on his command, with the only exception that they won't hesitate to kill another forsaken in hopes to not share the supposed power they shall be granted after The Dark One is free. The only one of the who might oppose him would be Lanfear, which is not very likely for the moment.

 

So all in all, I can't say I find The Forsaken's actions stupid or dumb, we don't know the Dark One's motives or purpose, we only know what the characters assume.

 

 

The point that I most agree with is bolded above. I still think that the best way to create chaos is to disrupt cities and trade. If the entire land is full of refugees then there can be no united lands and therefore no united army to stop the Trolloc cookpots from overflowing. If inverting a weave to Travel, travelling to a city for 30 seconds and unleashing a barrage of killing is too risky to disrupt large cities (do this in Caemlyn and see how Andor fares) then why not something like what Rand does in Shadar Logoth? Place an inverted weave of awesome terribleness at each of the gates going into and out of some of the larger cities, like Caemlyn. Make the weave something horrible so that everyone there begins to go insane and begins to distrust everyone else (I'm lookin' at your Semirhage). I can't see how craziness, destruction, chaos, and despair would not factor into the DO's plans especially when his plans seem to be "Hey, forsaken...umm...go and do something. No, I won't tell you what, but if you don't please me I will punish you severely. How do you please me? Figure it out."

 

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

@TGlems, I agree completely. I unwittingly raised the exact same issue in Lummox's thread on Missed Opportunities.

 

Thanks for the link!

 

I always wondered, when the forsaken were given the command to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule" why didn't they do the following:

1)Travel to Random City/Location

2)Use the 1 power to call down a massive burst of lightning strikes

3)Go to step 1

 

I mean, if the goal is to sow chaos what better way than to thoroughly disrupt cities and strike terror into the heart of people at the same time. It would be an almost unstoppable tactic the first time used, if they all went at it together. Afterwards the AS/Asha'man could set wards or something, but by then it would already be too late.

 

*Not complaining, but every time I read it I think "Man, if I was a forsaken I would do this and this and this and..."

What better way? Well, virtually any. You show up, cause a relatively small amount of damage, and then leave and things get back to normal. It's inconvenience more than long term chaos that you would cause. Also, you have to remember that the Chosen began by trying to carve out power bases - let the Lord of Chaos rule was an order from on high. If Shai'tan had wanted massed lightning strikes on cities, he could, of course, have ordered them, but I don't think that would have gained Him what He wanted. Graendal probably caused more chaos in Arad Doman than any other plan could achieve for the same effort - and without being so overt as to place a big red flag to show there is a Chosen involved. When the plan involves turning the Light against itself, acting too overtly is counter-productive, as it highlights that they should not be fighting each other, they should be fighting you.

 

First, this could cause a large amount of damage psychologically to the people. How many people would feel safe in cities if they never know when they might die in their sleep. I understand the Forsaken began to carve out power bases, but all it managed to do was to help Rand find them and kill them, so not very productive. After a few die I figure that the Forsaken should be smart enough to figure out that a plan like Sammael's is not the way to go. I agree Graendal did a great job, but is the plan really to have the Light fighting against itself, or just to "let chaos rule"? I suppose I don't view Chaos in the same way the forsaken do, because taking over as King and then giving people bad dreams in a well structured society doesn't exactly seem like chaos to me. Smashing cities and creating tons of refugees such that it is not feasible to help them since they are so many thus sowing distrust and havoc everywhere seems a bit more chaotic.

Also, it is not as though the DO has any care about massive death. He is perfectly happy with mass starvation due to weevils in book 10.

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I have only one counter argument against myself that makes any sense. The DO has tried to wipe everybody out in the infinity of battles streching back to the beginning of Time, and it hasn't led to the breaking of the wheel, which we assume is his ultimate goal. Thus, he tells the Forsaken in secret not to obliterate society because what he really needs for the final, ultimate victory, is something from the Dragon Reborn, and whatever it is he needs cannot be gotten by simply obliterating the world and turning Rand with a 13x13.

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I'd say that we the readers know exactly what the Dark One's plan is - to destroy everything. I'd also say it's also fairly clear that the only Forsaken who knows that is Ishamael/Moridin. We have things from Semirhage, Demandred, Sammael, not to mention multitudinous Darkfriends, that show they believe they are promised immortality and rulership. Moridin plays a different game entirely, which is why he seems insane at times even to his "allies." And he nearly won. We need to not forget that. Rand was seconds away from ending the cycle, or so it appears to me.

 

I posited in a different thread that if the Dark One's true plan were to become known to all of the Forsaken, then any of the Forsaken aside from Moridin might possibly be a candidate for betrayal; I don't believe more than one will turn back in any case, but they want immortality, not eternal annihilation and the prospect of such a different outcome than they expect might drive one or two back to the Light out of self-preservation. I don't know how likely it is, but it seems a possibility. So you could look at it as the Dark One has a bunch of followers who can only be "trusted" as long as they do not know that he has no intention of keeping his promises to them. So his plans and attacks and what not have to be a bit more circuitous than simple kill this and take that.

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There are so many plot lines that you would consider unnecessary. So many that could be removed from the books and the books shrunk. But the depth of the series is what makes it different from most other series. There is so much context for what is going on in the world and yes many of the plots do not have a ton of influence on the main story. I find it interesting to trace these from start to finish and see the affects they do have.

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Firstly, a lot of people don't like Elayne - say she's dead and you end up with a lot of people experiencing quite the wrong emotion.

But if someone doesn't like Elayne then no scenes she is in is going to be emotionally investing, not in a character-driven drama like this one. There are plenty of times where something that should be dramatic because you like the character ends up falling flat because you don't. That's not relevant to whether or not that character is dead, and Jordan certainly does not avoid it by avoiding death.

 

And no, death can have impact, but it doesn't always. Which goes back to my point - to want a greater emotional impact is one thing, to want more death is another. Death is a means to an end.

Death is an effective tool to create drama, and a pretty omnipresent tool in any action-adventure story. This characters are in life-or-death situations that are missing the death. Its presence would be meaningful and its absence is definitely hurtful.

 

Killing Elayne wouldn't generate motional investment.

I can say nothing beyond the fact that i believe that this is absolutely false.

 

Further, Mat isn't hugely fond of Elayne. Killing Nynaeve would have had a bigger impact on him. Elayne? Well, he's failed to protect her, but that's the real emotional sting for him.

I think the fact that Mat wasn't really fond of Elayne would actually increase his emotional investment--he would feel that he had bickered with her too much to protect her, and that it was his fault that she died. Suddenly Mat remembers when Elayne was nice instead of a bitch, drama emotions etc.

 

And given we have so much of that with Rand already it doesn't really add to the story.

But Mat still gets it with Tylin and Nalsean, its just less emotional so we don't care as much. Although i think that a great deal of guilt follows the idea of responsibility that is pretty core to the universe.

 

How do we know that? Because the author hasn't killed anyone before? That's just silly.

 

We don't, on first reading, have guarantees that anyone will survive, save for the fact that they are still needed by the narrative. Sure, you might think people are safe.

And so far, exceedingly accurate. Jordan won't off important characters, so i don't worry about them. Sure, we don't have guarantees, but that doesn't really make a dent in my confidence of their survival.

 

Characters serve a purpose in the narrative - to kill a character before they have served their purpose probably means you will need another character to carry out that purpose.

 

Sure, you might think people are safe.People think the same even in series that do kill people a lot. People are still capable of working out who will live and who will die, no matter how much or how little death you throw at them. Killing a few major characters would have just meant people say "well, we know x and y can't die".

Character arcs are holistic things, and it is oftentimes difficult to tell what it is and where it is heading until after the fact or on a close reading. Look again at the Red Wedding. Its a total shocker, but narratively and realistically it makes total sense and has so much foreshadowing that, on rereading, it seems completely obvious. Yes, there are times where you know a character will survive for some time, but the knowledge that they might die in a major conflict is what puts an audience on the edge of their seat.

 

Yes, he does. Verin and Ingtar being good examples. And pointing out that he could do it more would just be moving the goalposts.

Both of which were darkfriends--i don't criticize Jordan's work with killing antagonists, since he actually has that balance down pretty well--and neither were really "core" characters. Verin was used as an expository character a few times and moved mysteriously, but she was hardly central to any story arch and really her greatest significance to the plot was constantly appearing where she shouldn't be for strange reasons. She's probably the most major character to die though, but her death hardly creates and air of danger for the rest of the cast.

 

I'm talking about characters a little closer to the top--maybe not Rand, but i should certainly feel more fear for Mat/Perrin/Elayne/Min/Nynaeve/Aveindha/Egwene, and i should feel legitimate fear for people like Faile/Birgitte/Gawyn, and characters like the mentors (Lan/Moiraine/Thom) or other leaders (Rhuarc/Siuan/Sorilea/Amys/Melanie/Bashere/Berelain/Dyelin/Cadsuane) should actually be in pretty fair danger. Considering a major theme of the book is the place falling to chaos, having actual people getting taken down would be far better at increasing the idea of impending doom and constant degeneration that must be fought.

 

But death never has been removed from the equation.

The problem is that it pretty much has. I don't need to worry about pretty much any character anymore--i still enjoy their archs, but an underlining of danger has been removed that makes everything seem less impending or on the edge.

 

Who do we know will survive TG? Well, we've been told Mat and Tuon will, and Elayne and Avi both need to have their kids. A few other people have some arguable degree of survivability - Logain has glory and power to come, Perrin will probably inherit the Broken Crown. Anyone else? Can die. There's a huge number of people who could go and meet the reaper. The argument boils down to RJ should have more use of one tool in particular, regardless of whether it was right for the job.

The conclusion is a whole 'nother ballgame, and i think that the bodycount of the final chapter of the series is almost entirely irrelevant to my message. Whether or not Egwene will survive TG doesn't affect whether or not i fear for her death in the tower. It doesn't make me feel like any less optimistic about Elayne's inevitable escape if i think she's going to die bearing children. And the emotional impact is less as well, since we don't really see what happens because of their deaths, or how their deaths affect other characters developement.

 

As for a time for insanity and a time for death - sounds like it could be the title to my memoirs.

You should probably see a doctor about that.

 

Again, we comeback to the reason for your lack of doubt. You don't know they will continue because no-one has died before. You know they will continue from other evidence. Even had a few died, you would still possess the same certainties, in all likelihood.

No, i really don't think i would. In the later books i stopped worrying at all whether or not characters would die. And a character dying when you thought they would not is a great launching point for drama, anyway--certainly not enough to carry its own, but added shock value can be very effective.

 

Again, I have to disagree that death creates stronger drama. Death used well creates stronger drama than other forms of drama used badly, other dramatic tool used well work better than death used badly. Even comparing death used well to other dramatic tools used well, I'm not convinced that death is inherently more powerful as a dramatic tool.

Yes, shitty things tend to be shittier than nice things. But i think death used well is simply more emotive than almost any other tool in literature, and even when used decently its threat can cause a great increase in emotive investment. It can also drive it away, of course, but that's just crappy writing.

 

If anything, ubiquity has robbed it of much power. It has become practically cliché.

That's because death is ubiquitous. Not just in literature. It is not even a possibility, its just a matter of time. The constant danger, not only of "if" but of "when", is an important aspect of life even outside literature. In action-adventure literature, death's continuous threat is an important driving force to drama--they are in danger, and move fast because it can come for them any day.

 

That might be considered a failure on the author's part to convince that characters are in genuine peril, but it doesn't follow that that lack of peril results from a lack of death.

Considering the convincing of the lack of peril is derived directly from the lack of death, i don't agree with this statement at all. I don't think Elayne is going to die from the Black Ajah because i know that Jordan wouldn't write it that way, because he doesn't use death.

 

I certainly know people who were none too fussed that she died.

Once again, this is related to the character, not the plot device at all. I didn't find Aveindha's visions at the ends of ToM to be sad at all, since i don't care for her or the Aiel. However, I would find it silly to say that those visions are not dramatic because of that.

 

So you have to worry about the lives of the minor characters, not the leads. The big names, the equivalents of Mat and Rand, they survive, while characters more at the level of, say, Nalesean, Verin, Nicola, etc., they are in genuine peril.

I think that most people finishing WoT would be hard pressed to remember who all three of those characters are, and i wasn't even quite sure that Nicola died. Those characters are more background characters than "minor" characters. Jaime has a dozen full chapters over two books. I don't find the two to really be equitable.

 

 

I think you have a point about death driving people away--constant death is probably less dramatic than no death at all. But that doesn't mean death isn't dramatic, and moreso if used sparingly. If you played HL ever:

"A head crab hidden in all of the air vents is not scary. A head crab hidden in a tenth of the air vents are scary." Suspense is driven by uncertainty, and the belief that a character is going to die is even worse than the belief that a character must survive. The important balance is to make the audience afraid that a character might die.

 

The thing about it being "arbitrary" in WoT because it doesn't fit is pretty correct, i think. The character archs, the main actions and plots, are not constructed in such a way that a major character's death can be fit in without creating a pretty big hole. I think the scene with the gholam and Elayne is perhaps one of the only scenes in the series where the death could make any kind of narrative sense. But just because a narrative structure isn't built to include death doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit from being built to include death. The lack of death hurts the series, imo.

 

This is definitely one of the more fascinating discussions i've had in a while, though.

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GRRM has one thing going for his series, a reasonably high body count of major characters. But his books aren't going anywhere, and they will never go anywhere. He will die before anyone in the Seven Kingdoms know there are Others. Dany will never be queen. Atleast with WoT there is always an end game that was being headed to, though it got slow for a time.

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So you have to worry about the lives of the minor characters, not the leads. The big names, the equivalents of Mat and Rand, they survive, while characters more at the level of, say, Nalesean, Verin, Nicola, etc., they are in genuine peril.

I think that most people finishing WoT would be hard pressed to remember who all three of those characters are, and i wasn't even quite sure that Nicola died. Those characters are more background characters than "minor" characters. Jaime has a dozen full chapters over two books. I don't find the two to really be equitable.

 

Not sure how you can group Verin in with those others(she certainly can't just be waived away as a DF either)? No way you can possibly designate her as only a "background" character.

Edited by Suttree
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GRRM has one thing going for his series, a reasonably high body count of major characters. But his books aren't going anywhere, and they will never go anywhere. He will die before anyone in the Seven Kingdoms know there are Others. Dany will never be queen. Atleast with WoT there is always an end game that was being headed to, though it got slow for a time.

Winter's Heart makes AFFC look downright speedy--GRRM's pacing isn't really that bad, tbh. The biggest problem was that AFFC had to introduce three new major players and didn't follow many of the interesting characters, with Brienne/Sam/Arianna/Greyjoys being pretty boring (although Jaime/Cersei/Sansa/Arya are pretty good reads). ADWD was better, but i think the series hit a low point that it has to climb out of with the Mereense knot and the infinite tutorships. It should be noted that GRRM did not mean to write AFFC/ADWD--there was supposed to be a five year gap for some things to settle down or start cooking up again, but it would not flow with the series. So you are left with most of the main cast not doing much, the Starks out, and a lot of crap to drudge through.

 

 

So you have to worry about the lives of the minor characters, not the leads. The big names, the equivalents of Mat and Rand, they survive, while characters more at the level of, say, Nalesean, Verin, Nicola, etc., they are in genuine peril.

I think that most people finishing WoT would be hard pressed to remember who all three of those characters are, and i wasn't even quite sure that Nicola died. Those characters are more background characters than "minor" characters. Jaime has a dozen full chapters over two books. I don't find the two to really be equitable.

 

Not sure how you can group Verin in with those others(she certainly can't just be waived away as a DF either)? No way you can possibly designate her as only a "background" character.

Verin sets a lot of interesting things in motion, and obviously plays an important role in the plot, but as a character she's pretty far in the background. Definitely not equivalent to someone like Jaime.

Edited by TNine
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Funny, but I had a thought along the lines of this thread the other day. I wasn't thinking so much about what plot-threads could be deleted or abbreviated so much as a thread I would change. Anyway, I got to thinking about the destruction associated with the Dragon Reborn and how undestructive (so far, for me) that destruction has actually been. Granted, we are seeing increasingly destructive effects of the weakening of the seals on the land in the last few books.

 

So, my idea: I would have tied the cleansing of the male half of the Source to the destruction of the land. About halfway through the series, I would have had Rand cleanse the source but have the cleansing cause devastating collateral effects on the land. Military forces under Rand would be scattered or destroyed. The same would be true for the forces of the dark. Rand would be blamed for the devastation, be filled with doubt and self-loathing, then ultimately unite the disparate forces of the Light, etc.

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Funny, but I had a thought along the lines of this thread the other day. I wasn't thinking so much about what plot-threads could be deleted or abbreviated so much as a thread I would change. Anyway, I got to thinking about the destruction associated with the Dragon Reborn and how undestructive (so far, for me) that destruction has actually been. Granted, we are seeing increasingly destructive effects of the weakening of the seals on the land in the last few books.

 

So, my idea: I would have tied the cleansing of the male half of the Source to the destruction of the land. About halfway through the series, I would have had Rand cleanse the source but have the cleansing cause devastating collateral effects on the land. Military forces under Rand would be scattered or destroyed. The same would be true for the forces of the dark. Rand would be blamed for the devastation, be filled with doubt and self-loathing, then ultimately unite the disparate forces of the Light, etc.

but that would only make the series longer and less of the main it would have been written by RJ
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If the DO just wants to end the world, he could just order the Forsaken to balefire the shit out of everything to ruin the pattern. Of course this would mean that the Forsaken would see through the promise of Immortality since there's no pattern to live in and therefore nothing to be immortal in, and even less to rule over. Don't forget that the DO has to plot cleverly in order to keep his own in check too, except for maybe Shaidar Haran, Shadowspawn and Ishy. All others must be controled and purposefully tempted to(of this is the DO's goal) destroy as much as possible without making it obvious that this is the intent of the DO, since(I repeat) if there's nothing to fight over, the fighting will likely stop.

 

Some Unrelated stuff that are about re-writing the series:

 

One tiny little detail I am always mildly bothered about every time I re-read is the very ending of The Eye of the World where Moiraine announces "The Dragon is Reborn" while eavesdropping on Rand's conversation with Lan/Egwene. While I understand that this was simply just a way to end a book in an epic way to hopefully tease readers enough to support writing of many more books, I think it is a bit lame. This of course unless I've missed something big, I would appreciate if anyone could shed light on this though.

 

My issue is as follows:

There's nothing as I see it that "confirms" that Rand is the Dragon Reborn from the conversations I'm mentioning, therefore I think that Moiraine should've come to the conclusion before. Maybe she talks to herself many times and is simply amazed that it's actually happening and every time she eavesdrops on him after the battle at The Eye she whispers this to herself, but it seems unlikely. I don't see anything related to the prophecies of the Dragon unless there's some of them that I have missed that talks about The Dragon never returning home, the Dragon refusing to start an instant march of conquest through all the nations(like most False Dragons do) or the dragon refusing to start channel unless the half is cut off first(amusing link, considering his arm is lost later in the series, but highly unlikely).

 

As many have already convinced me, Moiraine -must've- known this before the actual announcement. But it still gnaws my nerves, if there was something in the conversation that 'confirmed' that Rand was the Dragon and not just a lucky channeler whose purpose was to find the Horn, prevent The Eye's power to get used by the Forsaken and to find the Dragon Banner I would be deeeply satisfied.

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If the DO just wants to end the world, he could just order the Forsaken to balefire the shit out of everything to ruin the pattern. Of course this would mean that the Forsaken would see through the promise of Immortality since there's no pattern to live in and therefore nothing to be immortal in, and even less to rule over. Don't forget that the DO has to plot cleverly in order to keep his own in check too, except for maybe Shaidar Haran, Shadowspawn and Ishy. All others must be controled and purposefully tempted to(of this is the DO's goal) destroy as much as possible without making it obvious that this is the intent of the DO, since(I repeat) if there's nothing to fight over, the fighting will likely stop.

 

Some Unrelated stuff that are about re-writing the series:

 

One tiny little detail I am always mildly bothered about every time I re-read is the very ending of The Eye of the World where Moiraine announces "The Dragon is Reborn" while eavesdropping on Rand's conversation with Lan/Egwene. While I understand that this was simply just a way to end a book in an epic way to hopefully tease readers enough to support writing of many more books, I think it is a bit lame. This of course unless I've missed something big, I would appreciate if anyone could shed light on this though.

 

My issue is as follows:

There's nothing as I see it that "confirms" that Rand is the Dragon Reborn from the conversations I'm mentioning, therefore I think that Moiraine should've come to the conclusion before. Maybe she talks to herself many times and is simply amazed that it's actually happening and every time she eavesdrops on him after the battle at The Eye she whispers this to herself, but it seems unlikely. I don't see anything related to the prophecies of the Dragon unless there's some of them that I have missed that talks about The Dragon never returning home, the Dragon refusing to start an instant march of conquest through all the nations(like most False Dragons do) or the dragon refusing to start channel unless the half is cut off first(amusing link, considering his arm is lost later in the series, but highly unlikely).

 

As many have already convinced me, Moiraine -must've- known this before the actual announcement. But it still gnaws my nerves, if there was something in the conversation that 'confirmed' that Rand was the Dragon and not just a lucky channeler whose purpose was to find the Horn, prevent The Eye's power to get used by the Forsaken and to find the Dragon Banner I would be deeeply satisfied.

 

I think she might have suspected it, but she might not have known for sure until after all the crazy stuff happened at the Green Man's Place (unless you mean that some too-large amount of time passed between this and her announcement. I can't remember if that's the case or not). She may have deliberated over it for some time. She also may not have said anything because of the effect it would have on the others. Men who can channel are not well-liked in Randland, and people definitely had some funny ideas about the Dragon Reborn at first. After some crazy mess like that, there was no point in holding it back any longer.

 

I don't understand what the bolded part means. Could you clarify that a little bit?

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Well, Moraine knew that the Dragon was in the Two Rivers, and she knew exactly how old he was. And the bad guys knew the same thing, and figured it out at just about exactly the same time. That was enough to narrow it down to Rand, Perrin, or Mat, and from there it's not hard.

 

We know why both the Moraine and the bad guys knew the age; both Moraine and the Black Ajah heard the Foretelling about the Dragon being reborn. We don't really know how she knew where they were, though. Perhaps it was that "raised by the Old Blood" prophecy, but that seems pretty vague. Maybe there was something else that she figured out based on all the prophecies of the Dragon; she did play her cards really close to her chest. (Plus, you know, Moraine knows everything.)

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