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Elayne's personality


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The idea of this thread is to discuss Elayne's personality and whether she deserves the negative comments it routenely get from WoT fans. It isn't about whether her plotline, her as a character, or her personality are boring or whether you found the Succession plotline too long, so please don't post about this.

 

Admittedly I am rather biased in Elayne's favour, but I've always found it a bit baffling that so many WoT readers express the opinion that she's a terrible person. I don't think this claim is supported by the text.

 

I've seen plenty of people call Elayne selfish and I can't see it at all. Time after time she risked her life to save or help others. She stayed for weeks in Falme, knowing there was a big risk of being caught and made damane, so she and Nynaeve could find a way to help Egwene. She entered the TAR nightmare in LOC and was seconds away from death to save a few Aes Sedai she didn't even like all that much. She risked serious mental trauma by bonding the dying Birgitte with no guarantee this would work to save her life. Even her recklessness, which in itself is a negative trait, shows she's not selfish and is ready to risk her life for an important cause.

 

A common opinion is that Elayne is a haughty and spoiled noble who feel and acts superior towards commoners. On the surface it makes sense, her being a princess and all. Yet if we look at her actions, this doesn't bear scrutiny IMO. Look who are her closest friends - Egwene, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Min. None of them were nobles or in any position of real power when she befriended them. She was seriously considering marrying Rand even when he was just a sheepherder from the back end of nowhere. Of all the people close to her age in the Tower she chose Min, Egwene and Nynaeve for her friends, and not some of the many nobles. As for spoiled - she's a much better cook and better at sewing than Egwene and Nynaeve and enjoys doing it. During her travels or while she was in training in the Tower and living in a tiny room with no comforts Elayne never expresses a desire to be back at the luxury of the Royal Palace and had her maids serve her. Besides, Morgase and Lini seem quite strict from the bits we've seen.

 

Many times we see that Elayne has plenty of compassion. The first time we see her, she treats Rand's injuries and makes sure he's OK. In Tear she's angry at the way the High Lords treat the commoners and helps Rand's efforts in changing this. Watching the burning villages in Cairhien makes her quite sad. On the ship towards Salidar, she spends plenty of time playing and taking care of the children of the refugees and helping them out by giving the money to those which were most in need.

 

I feel she has been a very good friend overall throughout the series. She spent months trying to save Egwene from the Seanchan and always supported her. Apart from a few minor verbal fights between them, she managed to put up with Nynaeve's temper and insecurity remarkably well (I love Nynaeve as a character, but if I had to travel with her pre-marriage version for months, I'd probably go crazy and tell her to go to hell). She was always nice to Aviendha and Min.

 

Does she have her bad moments and flaws? Sure. She should've thanked Mat for coming to help her in the Stone much earlier. The way she treats Galad most of the time is pretty childish and unfair. Keeping her brothers totally in the dark about her plans and her falme adventure was unfair to them. At times her treatment of Tom and Juilin was wrong. Not telling Mat anything about their Ebou Dar mission for weeks was silly and mean. She really should've shown more regret and sadness for the deaths of the soldiers who died trying to save her from the BA in KoD. She's sometimes dismissive of the capabilities of men compared to women, though less often than most of the male female characters.

 

But overall I think the good sides of her personality clearly outweigh the bad.

Edited by David Selig
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I will admit to not being overly fond of her, I mean, not quite liking her before she made peace with Mat; however, her travels with Nynaeve were...hilarious. After the detente with Mat she is firmly in my good books, even if her trek to becoming Queen makes my eyes water. Ummm, she is the only woman besides Teslyn and Setalle that recognize his true value. Okay, maybe Birgitte and Avi, but they are basically coming from different places.

 

She is not...super smart. That's not a character flaw in and of itself, but she endangering herself, Camelyn, Andor, her babies by being very rash. She did not need to go arrest the Black Sisters. Set the building on fire and have several hundred archers outside, I don't know, something but what she did do. There are many other instances of her needlessly risking her life. However, I do not expect someone to make a complete 180 from where they were only a short time ago. Since the very first time she left the tower with Liandrin, she has had to take care of things on her own, so it's in her character, but it needs to change.

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I agree with you, David. She has flaws, every character in WoT has flaws, but I don't understand where most of the criticism I see people give come from.

 

But do be warned that this topic will probably end up with 20 pages telling you exactly how wrong you are and why Elayne sucks, like my similar thread about Egwene did XD

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I agree with you, David. She has flaws, every character in WoT has flaws, but I don't understand where most of the criticism I see people give come from.

 

But do be warned that this topic will probably end up with 20 pages telling you exactly how wrong you are and why Elayne sucks, like my similar thread about Egwene did XD

 

That's because Egwene sucks lol (kind of kidding)

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She's a princess, then a queen and aes sedai. She is supposed to be haughty and spoiled, but the books show her change for the better. She does some incredibly stupid things at times, though.

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I don't seem too many overly stupid things. The Chosen impersonation, while rash, was for all SHE knew likely to end with nothing gained and nothing lost; the BA were under guard and all that.

 

She is at times haughty, but less so than you might expect from an Aes Sedai, let alone an Aes Sedai with a throne.

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Personally, I found her a generic fantasy noblewoman adventuress archetype, without any personality whatsoever. Her relationship with the other major characters did not develop naturally, it simply sprung up into existence out of nowhere. Five minutes after meeting Egwene, one of them has the feeling that "they will be friends". A few days after meeting Rand, they are deeply in love, and the next time they meet, she marries him along with two other women. Pathetic non-character, even to the admittedly very low standards of this series.

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Well, those comments can apply to almost ever character. Rand thinks a lot about Min before seeing her again, and Elayne. Min fell in love with Rand having seen him for like a whole 5 mintues in Baerelon. Nynaeve falls in love with Lan mostly because he complimented her tracking, so on and so on.

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Min fell in love with Rand having seen him for like a whole 5 mintues in Baerelon.

 

I think it was more like "Min saw Rand and saw that she was destined to fall in love with him, oh yeah and she was going to share him with two other women", before she had even spoken to him. That's got to be a total mind-trip, even for someone like Min, who has been dealing with that kind of thing her whole life. So she started talking to him to try to figure out what he was like. It was a weird romance, because from her point of view, she both knew that she was going to love him and didn't have any choice in the matter, and knew that there wasn't any real risk that he wouldn't like her, so she didn't have any of the normal anxiety about that kind of thing.

 

Which is probably why Rand always just felt relaxed and non-stressed around her; she was the one character who had absolutely no self-doubt about her romantic life.

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I find her recklessness to be hilarious, actually. She's someone who is naturally brave, bad at recognizing danger, has always been told she needs to be brave, and surrounded by other brave people. And then Min tells her she'll be pretty much invincible. So she just goes into everything guns blazing. What's the quote: She doesn't check how deep the lake is, she jumps without even checking if there's water.

 

Beyond that, she's remarkably down-to-earth for a Daughter-Heir, and always remains compassionate, even when she has to be selfish. Aveindha's musings on the subject are interesting, how Elayne would care for the poor and weak, while simultaneously making her position stronger from her actions.

 

The one thing that confused me was her politicking for the throne in Andor. It seems Andoran politics is mostly "clean"--her accepting the throne without the assent of the majority of the major houses would be foolishness, and each house is generally straightforward with their claims to the throne. Yet the bulk of her forces in the Civil War were mercenaries, she relies heavily on the Crown's coffers to support her war, and she uses Kinswoman and Aes Sedai to work around the siege. And the entire war was definitely personal. Had she thrown her support behind Dyelin, Dyelin would have been pretty much forced to accept the crown (she was already planning to if Elayne came back to "accept" it from the DR instead of lay claim to it). Elayne would not only have to win the support of every major house besides Dyelin, she would have to fix all the alliances destroyed by Ravihn. She believed that the throne was hers by right and it belonged to her, which i could definitely see being viewed as "arrogant".

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I see Elayne as someone with in-bred arrogance due to being royalty, but who many times shows compassion and a sense of the responsibility of being Aes Sedai, not just the power of it. She lets out her arrogance when it suits her purpose, and pretty much any time a man is involved, but she also puts it away when other things are more important. I think, overall, she has shown a desire to be more than just what one expects from a royal, but she has to learn such things, they don't come naturally to her.

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I wasn't too annoyed by her until she met with Perrin and Faile after they had protected The Two Rivers, saved half of her family's life (Morgase, Galad, Lini) and more or less also created an army out of farmers and stuff. And she greets him with threats of execution. That was the thing that bothered me the most. The other things I am somewhat fine with.

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Did Elayne or really anyone outside of the folks Perrin is towing around with him ever get any information on the scope of what happened in the Two Rivers? People are just throwing around saying well she should be grateful because Perrin did X, but do we know she knows? I don't think so, but am not sure.

 

If she doesn't know anything other than they had some problems with some Whitecloaks, then he just raised an insurrection and an army, which may be useful for TG but it's not like Perrin said that's why he raised the Two Rivers folks into an army, or taken oaths of fealty from foreing royalty.

 

To top it all off, I am pretty sure Elayne was negotiating, not seriously saying she would execute him, but playing the Game of Houses with Perrin who has no idea what the hell is going on.

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I'm going to have to agree, her being angry over the rise of Perrin and the two rivers was very annoying. The two rivers has not seen A tax collector in three generations or the queens guard. She talks about being a good ruler to her people yet the lion throne has let the two rivers down with Trolloc incursions and the white cloaks. Her sense of entitlement to the two rivers after all of that is what puts me off the most.

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To top it all off, I am pretty sure Elayne was negotiating, not seriously saying she would execute him, but playing the Game of Houses with Perrin who has no idea what the hell is going on.

 

This. It was beyond obvious that she using it as a ploy nothing more. Elayne has shown her self to be a shrewd ruler and compassionate friend. We are constantly shown the weight she feels in living up to the former Andor rulers and working for the good of the world. She put her political aspirations on hold in order to help save the world during the bowl storyline. Her good points far outweigh the bad and it is far past time a bit of reality entered the discussion here at DM concerning her character. It astounds me the amount of hyperbole and vitriol that gets tossed around here against certain characters which a good deal of the time stems from bias and not actual support from the text. Well done with this thread David.

Edited by Suttree
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My biggest problem with Elayne is that she doesn't fully realize her responsibility to be a strong Daughter-Heir, and because of that a lot of people die. It's a harsh and demanding criticism, but she is expected to be more than the average woman. Vested with her level of power, she needs to better understand her role.

 

First, the quest for the Bowl of the Winds. Her nation is ravaged by war, hundreds (thousands?) of her people are dying and need a strong ruler. I don't think she needs to be physically in Altara; any aid she lent to that expedition could have been rendered via Tel'aran'rhiod.

 

Second, she had to be personally hunting Black Ajah in KoD (as David Selig mentions)? Obviously she is a powerful Aes Sedai, but she has to consider consequences from a monarch's standpoint. If she gets captured or killed, hundreds (thousands?) will die in the subsequent rescue or succession war. You don't risk that on the hunch that you might crack the case by busting into some situation you have half a clue about.

 

If you want to be the heroic Green Ajah Aes Sedai fighting specialized battles against the Shadow, abdicate and give Dyelin the throne. She's a practical woman and would accept the offer if you convinced her you needed to fight that way. History doesn't remember a lot of strong Aes Sedai queens, and there are reasons for that beyond improbable birth conditions.

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While it may not have been wise to go after the Bowl, or to chase down the Black Ajah there can be no estimation of just how great a value such experience will be to her in her role as Queen. She learned the odd bad lesson, she still has to the learn the fine art of delegation now, but it seems to me that she has grown quite a lot and her capability has grown at the same time, both in life experience and channeling the OP.

 

She will be a far better Queen for having undertaken those tasks, presuming she doesn't bite it during TG. Was there massive civil war? Nobody was doing anything while she was off doing those things, it went from Gabriel to Rand, things were bad under Gabriel but all the badness in the region had more or less shut down since Rand was now in charge of Cairhienen and Andor. Getting the weather right would do far more for her country than she could have done by assuming the throne at that point. She considered that very point in the book I think.

 

Chasing the BA, yep, she didn't really need to jump into that, but her best friends were doing it and she was of great assistance, they had already been through hell together (Falme). I agree that it is somewhat reckless, but that's part of her personality. I don't know if anyone except Ituralde is perfect in these books.

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Despite being haughty and all I find Elayne to be one of the kindessest and most admirable. From handling Nyn/Egwene with grace to sticking around till the last moment in the portal stone alt reality when Seanchan attacked Caemlyn. And basically I agree with everything the OP mentioned. As a bonus Elayne's one of the few who's position of power and ability in political maneuvering isn't too far a stretch from where she wa initially. Some find her boring I guess but I personally enjoy her perspective due to how much I like her personality.

 

In regards to her horrid treatment of Mat, while not justified, her actions were understandable. Her knowledge of him was based on the many biases of Nyn/Eggs. And when she did see Mat beyond those she was quick to reassess her opinion of him. I felt she redeemed herself in the end when she refused to take his medallion, and later with the genuine apology. As for Galad, I can't imagine it's easy growing up with a perfect sibling and tattletale who your mother favors over you.

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Well, those comments can apply to almost ever character. Rand thinks a lot about Min before seeing her again, and Elayne. Min fell in love with Rand having seen him for like a whole 5 mintues in Baerelon. Nynaeve falls in love with Lan mostly because he complimented her tracking, so on and so on.

 

This can actually be attributed to the characters ages. Most of the main characters in this story are in their late teens, early twenties. I was actually thinking about this the other day. All these kids are in charge of the whole world. But, it explains the quick "I love you"s and "You're my best friend"s. People at that age tend to make rash decisions and judgments and act on gut instinct. The prefrontal cortex is not completely mature until the age of 25. I know I was crazy at that age. This seems to me to be an accurate portrayal of kids that age.

 

What we do have are smart kids with inherently good leadership skills, especially Elayne. But Egwene, Galad, etc. all show this to some extent.

 

As far as how Elayne handles Perrin, I always thought her threat to hang him was tongue in cheek.

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Elayne is one of my favourite characters. She's positive, bright, ambitious, sexy and funny.

 

She's been told she'll inherit the throne of Andor and this is why she puts on airs. When she first arrives back to the palace and Birgitte is telling her she needs bodyguards, Elayne blushes because no-one should see a queen being disagreed with. That sort of thing exasperates her, and she uses intelligence to plot revenge against people that do it to her, but always with a wink and a glint in her eye. RJ is sure to humiliate her soon after though: she's attacked by 3 men, 1 with a poisoned dagger, and Birgitte insists on a bodyguard of 20. Elayne again gets her back by promoting a womanising Lt to Cpt - knowing that he might unsettle her all-female bodyguards and thereby irritate Birgitte too. :)

 

She's someone that accepts her duties without question, genuinely considers the needs of the 'less fortunate' and capitalises every step of the way. An impressive young queen!

Edited by MichaelOfTheWhite
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To be honest I think most of her faults are mainly because of her age, she is young and used to being solely responsible for herself, with that in mind, she shouldnt she go chasing after threats to her kingdom? Its not what a Queen should do at all, but she is not used to being a Queen...

 

In a way she suffers the same problems as Rand, he's a king/general who puts himself at risk constantly because he does not want to risk other people or doesnt think they can manage it. Its irresponsible some of the time, but it usually gets the job done other than causing all kinds of stress for those whose duty it is to keep them safe.

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Pretty well everything I hate about her personality stems from the fact that she's nobility of the highest order.

 

Eventually, in any argument or conversation it comes up and the condescending attitude comes in. She may be friendly with a a couple of her chosen friends, but to most of the others around her she has that arrogance that irks me. Moreover, she's manipulative. Maybe it's just BS's interpretation of her character...but recently all the 'how can I use this person?' thoughts, even to those she owes debts too, has set her back to Day 1 IMO.

 

All the Ji'e'Toh she learned from Aviendha seems to have left her. And that was when she was at her best. One of the wondergirls, doing what was right, without thought of the risks it entailed.

 

Honestly she's always been a little haughty, but with friends and while she was the daughter-heir...people bugged her, teased her, and put her in her place. Now no one says boo.

 

Also, I don't like her hampering Brigitte's style. I've never felt that relationship was 2-way...I feel like Elayne is the master and Birgette the lackey. Birgette sometimes makes a joke at her expense...but aside from that it's Elayne's wishes, Elayne's commands, yadda yadda yadda. True Aes Sedai-Warder bond. I always thought the bond was a reverse sexist comment, that because they were men they were the ones being bossed around. That with a female warder it would be a chance to showcase how equals could work together to achieve great things. Instead it's been the same old formula...and Birgette should be free. Just another example of using a friend for personal gains/needs.

 

Her relationship with Rand is also another thing that irks me. He saves Camelyn, he rules there, he gives it up to her, and she acts like 'DUH! He better'...he's the freaking Dragon. Here is someone who has more political power, and actual power than her...and she still doesn't have respect. I didn't want her to bow and scrape or anything like some kind of subject, but here is someone who is your equal...a level of give and take would be expected yes? And yes yadda yadda yadda I know they hook up and she is carrying his children. Thanks for telling him he's a father. Way to make that choice for you both.

 

Mat and his Terangeral. He's offering to save the city, stop the murders, kill the impossible to kill Gholam and she wants to negotiate. Like WTF. Fine, you deal with it yourself then, happy hunting and hope the gholam finds you.

 

 

 

ARGH. Nope. Of all the characters she's #1 in the I can't stand list (yes, passing Eggy).

Edited by Jak o' the Shadows
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Her relationship with Rand is also another thing that irks me. He saves Camelyn, he rules there, he gives it up to her, and she acts like 'DUH! He better'...he's the freaking Dragon. Here is someone who has more political power, and actual power than her...and she still doesn't have respect. I didn't want her to bow and scrape or anything like some kind of subject, but here is someone who is your equal...a level of give and take would be expected yes?

 

The issue of Rand "giving" her Caemlyn is one where the arrogance of her response is completely reasonable. Andorans wouldn't respect or accept a queen who was given the throne by someone else. She would be seen as a puppet and likely would be toppled in short order. The throne was hers by right, and she had to claim it in the usual way in order to be an effective queen.

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They made the deal with his ter'angreal, before she knew the Gholam was back.

 

Oops. That was the cannons that time, not the terrangeral. Can't remember what she ransomed for the terangeral now...

 

Her relationship with Rand is also another thing that irks me. He saves Camelyn, he rules there, he gives it up to her, and she acts like 'DUH! He better'...he's the freaking Dragon. Here is someone who has more political power, and actual power than her...and she still doesn't have respect. I didn't want her to bow and scrape or anything like some kind of subject, but here is someone who is your equal...a level of give and take would be expected yes?

 

The issue of Rand "giving" her Caemlyn is one where the arrogance of her response is completely reasonable. Andorans wouldn't respect or accept a queen who was given the throne by someone else. She would be seen as a puppet and likely would be toppled in short order. The throne was hers by right, and she had to claim it in the usual way in order to be an effective queen.

 

Toppled in short order? LOL. Not likely. Who is going to challenge the Dragon? He had Aiel marching in the streets. Andorman still remember the Aiel. They might have hated a foreigner being the ruler, or the 'man behind the throne' but they couldn't do squat about it.

 

Trying to stay on topic...the situation as it was was that he had the city, he had control, and he made it clear he was keeping the throne for her by his own choice. He didn't have to give it to her. She's lucky he didn't just say, yep, swear allegiance to me as my vassal queen or be destroyed. He's held every other throne. Given all that, I'd think she should have been more humble about the situation, not the 'how dare you presume to take my throne!' sort of attitude.

 

Again, maybe it's a bad example...but it's one in a long list that bother me.

 

 

 

 

Perrin why shouldn't I have you executed!? Ummm 'cause I have a massive army here and you're weak from the war of succession, I have ashaman, wise-ones, aiel, and power forged weapons, Rand is counting on me to fight in the last battle and won't be best pleased if you do anything to me...nevermind Saldea, I'm a freaking wolf brother and wolf-dream walker with a big ass maul and I'd like to see you try?

 

They're supposed to be friends and allies. My friend talked to me like that...and they'd be shelved in a hurry.

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