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Egwene's Arc (Full Spoilers)

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I have mixed feelings on Egwene's death. 

 

On the positive side, it was beautifully written (at least, her 'conversation' with Rand was).  Egwene was annoying at times, but she was fantastic in KOD and in Sanderson's books (it was a total character change, but it was for the better, in my personal opinion).  It's going to be so strange rereading the series, knowing that Rand is not the one to die at the Last Battle (well, not entirely), but Egwene. 

 

On the other, I was convinced Egwene was going to be an integral leader following The Last Battle.  Considering she freed Logain, he might trust her enough to work with her, so that the White and Black towers can coexist peacefully.  That trust would likely lead to Egwene sending Nynaeve to heal the mens madness (though that may have happened anyway). 

 

I'm... not convinced Cadsuane will be a good Amyrlin.  She's uncompromising and, whether she knows it or not, a good leader, but a diplomat she is not.  If I had to guess, I'd say her role in history is to enforce the changes that Egwene set down.  She likely won't hold the position for very long, considering her age.  I imagine she'll be remembered as a transitory Amyrlin.  Who knows who will take over after Cadsuane passes: perhaps Bode? 

 

One thing I'm very interested to hear from others: was it thematically appropriate for Egwene to die, in your opinion?  Will relations with the Seanchan and Black Tower suffer without her?  Looking back on the series (this I cannot do, as this is my first read of the Wheel of Time), does it feel "right" that Egwene is only one of the six (arguably) main characters to die?  As I said, I'm completely split on it.  It worked wonderfully in the sense that it was a shock; by the time Egwene died, I was convinced that Rand was going to do something that would bring back all those who died in the Last Battle, because RJ had been so reluctant to kill characters up to that point. 

 

Part of me wants to say I wish Elayne had died instead, but I don't really, because I liked Elayne so much less than Egwene, it would have hit me so much less. 

 

The bolded parts are probably my biggest beefs with Egwene dying.  I thought her death was very well written but at the same time, I kind of thought it ruined all the building of her character.  Truthfully, I don't know how else the Sharans could have been dealt with but I still feel the same way about her death.  Egwene's character was built up for so much.  I really did feel like she'd be around for a while, you know, to keep the tower on track and help guide the world after the last battle.  Her death, I don't know.  To me if feels like it made all of her build-up worth nothing.  I do think her death was very well done and that if she had to be killed, Egwene went out with a bang she deserved.  But I still think it doesn't completely make sense.

 

As to Egwene being the only main character to die, that's probably another reason why I'm not too fond of it.  If any main characters were to die, I'd have preferred it to be more than one.  The fact that it's just one while everyone else lives makes me both sad and kind of pissed off for some reason.

Edited by draborn88

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Egwene was designed to be killed from day one.  Hence RJ's intentional insertion of qualities that are not exactly loveable.  All of the Egwene hate throughout the years was intentionally designed by RJ, and then he capped her off with a full out selfless act to redeem her character.  I think it suffered a bit with the author change so it didn't hit a lot of us that hard, but I saw her character as perfectly setup to be killed off in this last book.  It had been one of the things I was looking forward to seeing - whether or not she makes it or not.

 

I also feel like at least one other major or semi major character should have bit the dust though.  Faile, Elayne, Min, Perrin, Mat, etc.  One more major loss would have driven the point home that the heroes really suffered some serious loss and gave it their all to win.  Rand dying would have had the same effect, but it appears clear now that RJ had never intended on killing him off.

Edited by Mark D

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If that's at all true, I can't say I agree with the idea.  From a storytelling standpoint, the "redemption equals death" trope only tends to work well with minor characters, or perhaps second tier characters.  To make a main character intentionally unlikable, only to kill her in the end in an effort to redeem her, doesn't sound particularly logical.  You want the reader to feel sorrow for the only true main character death of the series.  I think you're right in the sense that Jordan originally set Egwene up as annoying, but I definitely feel we were meant to like her around the time she became Amyrlin.  That was more successful on some than others... personally, I was on board the Pro-Egwene train by KOD. 

 

On that logic, it seems like he would be aiming for Elayne, as she's usually much less likable than Egwene, at least as far as I'm concerned. 

 

Honestly, Egwene, along with Perrin, was actually a character I found I liked more with the author change, but I suspect this has more to do with Robert Jordan than it might appear.  Egwene changed character (or, err, "rapidly developed") quite quickly in KOD. 

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Quick correction:  I was giving my opinion about Egwene and her being designed to be killed from day one.  I dont actually have any inside information that confirms that by Team Jordan.

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Honestly, I feel that it makes perfect sense for Egwene to die in this book. I've never really been that great at reading into foreshadowing in novels, but I know that there has been talk of how Egwene and Rand are counterparts in terms of the novels. This was noted upon when TGS was released and they almost split the novel down the middle. Both had to grow into their own power and positions of authority and both did so in very different ways. I always liked Egwene, but she did start out a little annoying, but she evolved over the course of the novels, just as Rand evolved in his own way. I feel like because the two were so intertwined in this way, when Rand was given a reprieve from death at the end of the novel, although he was destined to die, Egwene had to die. There had to be a monumental cost associated with winning the last battle, and if it wasn't going to be the Dragon reborn, it had to be her. I have to say that her death scene was very well done, and very fitting for the character.

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Personally, I think RJ chose to kill her off, specifically BECAUSE nobody (or very few people) saw it coming.  One of the best parts about this series is that nearly every action is foreshadowed and hinted at well in advance.  The only drawback to this is that the people most into the story (people who see theories online and post on these forums) have nothing left to surprise them.

 

A final book to a series this large needed at least one surprise.  Looking back, I wonder if this was intentional.  Min and Egwene were our two primary 'foreshadowers'.  Egwene never saw visions o her own future and Min was kept suspiciously quiet about Egwene.  In fact, I'm not sure we ever got any Egwene viewings from Min after book 2 (I could be wrong, been years since a re-read).

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Question. So we got that throwaway line about Vora's wand not having a buffer there at the very end when Egwene sacrificed herself. However earlier when Gawyn died and she went off from grief it says she drew as much as she could hold?

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Well, was just thinking. She was raw with grief and drawing as much as possible. Without a buffer shouldn't we have gotten some hint then of what could go wrong?

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I thought that Egwene's death was handled fairly well... at least she got to go out in a blaze of glory, _accomplishing_ something. If this was Harry Potter, she would have died offscreen, and noone would have seen it at all.

 

Y'know, like Siuan and Gareth.

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I don't understand why there has to be a lack of a buffer--i though a buffer was to prevent the aftereffects of drawing as much power as the angreal allows you. Since an angreal doesn't limit how much power you can draw, shouldn't you still be able to overdraw power, just by going over the amount that the buffer safely provides for?

 

To use an analogy to an actual buffer in chemistry, the buffer will allow you to use a lot of acids without decreasing the pH. With enough acid, however, you will eventually drop the pH of the solution.

Well, was just thinking. She was raw with grief and drawing as much as possible. Without a buffer shouldn't we have gotten some hint then of what could go wrong?

It's entirely reasonable to assume that Egwene could have enough self-control to not intentionally overdraw herself, even when consumed with grief, especially considering she had to make a conscientious effort to overdraw herself later. It's hardly the least likely thing in the WoT universe.

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Egwene is the absolute worst character they could have chosen to kill off. We spent so much time watching her train to become an Aes Sedai, a Wise One, rise to power as the youngest Amyrlin ever, settle the division in the White Tower, initiate a number of much-needed reforms, eradicate the Black Ajah, confront the Seanchan empress, was promised to be the longest-reigning and most powerful Amyrlin in history - and she's the only one who is first deprived of her loved one, and then of her life? Was this really a way of saying "even the most May Suish character can die in this series"? Even Rand got to remain alive, by predictably taking over Moridin's body. Nobody else out of the first and second-tier characters died, so what gives? I just don't see what Egwene's death was supposed to accomplish, especially considering that her replacement Cadsuane will likely die of old age very soon. It's the least of the problems that this awful, awful volume suffers from, but it is the most baffling one. Feels like it was picked completely at random, or based on fan hatred.

someone give this man a medal

 

perhaps we should ask our resident wise one terez to chase this issue with brandon and co.

 

there is no foreshadowing of egwene's death at all in this series. not even once.

 

even moridin/rand body swap was hinted by min in book 7!!

 

Actually, I'm almost positive that it was foreshadowed in one of Min's viewings.  I don't remember exactly- I've read the books over the past few months- but I do remember a scene where Egwene is walking among pillars of glass, and Min see's "an explosion of light" from Egwene, or something similar. 

 

I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure on that one.

egwene's death has not even been foreshadowed once.

 

There's nothing.

 

Either RJ planned a suprise major character death or brandon killed her off. Nothing could explain the bulding up of character and achievements of egwene.

 

Even the male rival counterpart rand survived!

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egwene's death has not even been foreshadowed once.

 

There's nothing.

 

Either RJ planned a suprise major character death or brandon killed her off. Nothing could explain the bulding up of character and achievements of egwene.

 

Even the male rival counterpart rand survived!

 

Eh?

 

Gawyn kneeling at Egwenes feet with his head bowed, and Gawyn breaking Egwene neck, first one then the other, as if either could be the future. She had never seen that fluttering back and forth, as though not even the viewing could tell which would be the true future. Worse, she had a feeling near to certainty that it was what she had done this day that had turned Gawyn toward those two possibilities. (Min Viewing)

 

Her mom weeping (Egwene dream)

 

In another he began swinging a door closed on her, and she knew if that narrowing gap of light vanished, she was dead. (Egwene Dream)

 

Not to mention, she has been compared to a couple of historical Aes Sedai, one of them being Rashima Kerenmosa, who died during the Trolloc Wars in a similar heroic manner.

 

So those above dreams and viewings may not have references what happened to her directly, but it definetly shows that she had alot of foreshadowing concerning her death. Out of the main characters, I considered her death the most likely and while saddened when it happened, was not overly surprised. Her going out in a blaze of glory fighting a member of the Forsaken fits her character pretty well.

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Didn't the Last queen of Manetheran kill every trolloc when she drew too much of the power after their army failed?

 

Well if what I said above is true, then it is entirely possible that Egwene could kill all the Sharan channelers too

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I liked the her in this book if simply because I predicted an Eldrene-style ending for Egwene.

Some character just HAD to die that way.

 

Could somebody explain to me how she knew the light would be the signal to break the seals?

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I have mixed feeling with her arc as well.

She was one of the participant in the two most ridiculous scenes in the book (Egwene-Rand, Egwene-Tuon). Could you imagine that Roosewelt (Churchill) and Stalin had a similar argument as Toun and Egwene during the WWII? Does it make any sense during the Last Battle?

Furthermore her behaviour was inconsistent as Barid mentioned before. Finally I don't know how she guessed the right time to break the seals, maybe I missed something.

In contrast she was awesome during the battles (both in Kandor and in the Last Battle). Nevertheless the scene about her sacrifice was a little bit rushed which decreased the impact for me. Finally it was a little bit "too heroic" for me, it would have been better if someone else took care at least the Sharans. Defeating Taim and restoring the Pattern would be more than enough and realistic for her to get her glory. And more foreshadowing about the anti-balefire wave would have been nice.

 

In conclusion although I never particularly liked her, her death was one of the saddest moment of the book, but at least she did it in style.

Btw I don't understand what she saw in Gawyn. He lived and died as a fool.

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Beer Rot: Posted 17 October 2011 - 03:33 PM

If anyone from the two rivers dies, I think it should be egwene. i like nynaeve too much to want her to die, braid tugging aside.

 

well i got something right at least... was just surprised at how much i teared up over it, this sniffer really grew on me.

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So wanted to pull this conversation over from TL. Terez caught a great link that I noticed on my first read but then forgot as I got further along...

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Dom viewpost.gif
Egwene's not bad, but I'm not wholly satisfied with the arc in TGS (possibly the effect that RJ outlined most of it, and Brandon didn't flesh it out enough... it ended up a bit too simplistic, too devoid of the usual refining/subtleties Jordan would have layered over the outline as he wrote the final version)

Terez: One thing I noticed on reread is that Egwene mirrors Rand's bond to the land:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AMOL 5
Rand closed his eyes. He could feel it, the land itself, like a faint Warder bond. Beneath his feet, grubs crawled through the soil. The roots of the grasses continued to spread, ever so slowly, seeking nutrients. The skeletal trees were not dead, for water seeped through them. They slumbered. Bluebirds clustered in a nearby tree. They did not call out with the arrival of dawn. They huddled together, as if for warmth.

The land still lived. It lived like a man clinging to the edge of a cliff by his fingertips.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMOL 13
Within the embrace of saidar she could see the signs of color that the Shadow wanted them to ignore. The grass wasn't all dead; there were tiny hints of green, slivers where the grass clung to life. There were voles beneath it; she could now easily make out the ripples in the earth. They ate at the dying roots and clung to life....

....Egwene returned to rupturing the earth. There was something energizing about using raw power, sending weaves in their most basic forms. In that moment—maiming, destroying, bringing death upon the enemy—she felt as if she were one with the land itself. That she was doing the work it had longed for someone to do for so long. The Blight, and the Shadowspawn it grew, were a disease. An infection. Egwene—afire with the One Power, a blazing beacon of death and judgment—was the cauterizing flame that would bring healing to the land.

Haven't seen it discussed here and wanted to toss it in.

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One thing that really dissapoints me about BSs treatment of Egwene in the last 2 books is his lack of love for the character. It's really evident in the way he writes her and Gawyn that he doesn't understand what motivates of drives them.
Case in point, Rand and Perrin both got to reconnect with their Emond's Field father figures before heading off to the last battle or before their last fights. In doing so they got reminded of their roots. Egwene was constantly aware of her roots in earlier books, making decisions as Amyrlin basd on advice or annecdotes she got from her father about how to be Mayor. Instead Sanderson writes her as an ego-maniac who doesn't even have a moment of softness for her own Husband.

Surey we could have had one less descripton of a point in the battle and instead had more than a throw away sentence mentioning that Egwene is now married. I think earlier when Gawyn asked she said she couldnt marry him without her Father present. Surely some grounding and a chance to show her loving nature by returning home for her wedding with her family, and some words of wisdom from her parents would have created more love for her character.
Also as far as I can tell her and Gawyn never really 'did it' in the books because they weren't married. A sex scene showing her nervous and inexperienced could have reminded us that although she's Amyrlin and learnt a lot she's still innocent and very young emotionally.

I don't think BS writes about emotions well in WoT or his other series. He doesn't express or spend time developing the complexity of emotions at all, or subtle conversations/body language. He's very boy-like, just says exatly what he thinks word for word with no fleshing out, then back to the battl scenes. That was the downfall of his Mistborn trilogy as well.

Edited by Bellarific

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I 100% agree with the 2nd post on this thread.

 

Egwene by book 12/13 had become the best character in the books with her iron nerves and sheer determination to beat Elaida by passive aggression (like Gandhi).  Her speech and actions were that of a 1,000 year old monarch - WAY ahead of her time.  Then in the last book - her speech and actions go back to being a little girl who I lost a lot of respect for.  She didn't have the right dialogue that made her Amyrlin. At times I forgot she was Amyrlin!!!

 

I didn't like it - but her death was really cool.  I did not expect it.  The books definitely kept me guessing as to who was going to kill taim/demandred and how logain would gain his halo of fame . . . of course we all thought it was through killing demandred or taim or both. 

 

Out of the main characters that left Emonds Field - Lan, Moraine, Mat, Perrin, Rand, Nynaeve and Egwene.... only Egwene died.   Was def. surprising (to me) and I was sad - but impressed.  It was her best part of this last book after reading all her horrible dialogue at the meeting etc... as described in post 2.

 

MB

Edited by Brazil M

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Am I the only one who found the whole anti-Balefire thing to be a bit of an ass-pull?

You aren't alone. If it had been written differently, I probably wouldn't have minded.

 

A scene between Egwene and Nynaeve, before everyone split up, with Egwene commenting on the ground looking as though it were breaking apart and the darkness inside and Nynaeve commenting on how it reminded her of Healing men who have been severed would have fit nicely. Nynaeve is the expert on Healing what can't be healed, and Egwene excels at Earth and Fire. If Nyn had explained to her about how a severed channeler has to have something to bridge the gap that was created by the severing, then she would have thought on it (she has always been the type to think out weaves before trying them rather than fly by the seat of her pants the way Nynaeve does) and managed to reason out that the "nothingness" created in the land by balefire had to be filled with something...and that something is probably life/soul/whatever.

 

I feel the same way, but I would've liked a cuendillar-based inspiration for it, rather than Healing. Cuendillar actually can ignore balefire, and Egwene is extremely talented at making cuendillar, even figuring out most of it herself. Just a sentence or two, either in that scene or in the one where Egwene healed the cracks, about cuendillar weaves, would've helped smooth it over for me a lot.

 

Also the sa'angreal having no buffer... just mentioning it anywhere sooner than the same page Egwene died on might've done it for me. In a way I appreciate that the death wasn't foreshadowed, since it's appropriate that death be shocking rather than expected. But the mention of the lack of a buffer was so abrupt that it feels like it was added as a last-minute "correction", not worked in organically.

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I always thought of the buffer as an indication of the burn-out point. Is it ever said anywhere that a buffer actually prevents one from drawing too much of the OP if they want to?

 

As to the Rand and Tuon conversations - I bought them. To her, Tuon represents the source of her imprisonment and torture as damane, something she clearly never got over. Of course she would lose her cool. The same goes for Rand. She believes that he is going to do something that will destroy the world. She is also determined that she is not going to be affected by him being ta'veren. It's not hard to believe that she would overcompensate, especially when part of her still thinks of him as a woolheaded sheepherder.

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Egwenes Death...moved me in a way I wasn't expecting. I have come to believe it is mainly because it represents the end of the series to me in. (though I did find it disappointing that the cycle continues unabated - there was nothing extremely important about this particular cycle. Nothing to move it away from the norm, nothing to say why this is the cycle written over the others) But still it was sad.

 

That said for those wondering about foreshadowing, who to blame etc, I had always wondered how this dream of hers from ACOS would play out. 

 

---  “She stands at fork in road. Gawyn rides up not seeing her. One road leads to violent death, the other, long life. Down one road they marry, the other, not. Gawyn smiles and chooses.”

 

They Bonded, They Married, They Died. 

 

It is 100% Gawyns fault that Egwene is dead. In case there was any doubt out there. If he doesn't run off like a kid who has serious ADD issues, he doesn't die (or perhaps they would not have been bonded when he died), unbalance Egwene and she is then at a different place at a different time and survives.

 

Would be interesting to go back and figure out the steps and implications of the other path.

 

Then again this same dream came to my mind when Gawyn saved her in the previous books when the WT was attacked (Red Herring?). But they weren't married at that time and... too much to think about for me too soon. I'll have to let it all sink in.

 

Perhaps that was RJ/Brandon building in (and now having had written) two different fulfilments to the same prophecy, just in case he decided to go a different way is this book. Can anyone think of a different example of this occurring?

 

This foretelling now is now obvious, if it wasn’t always. 

 

---- “The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade.”

 

The Dragons Peace will lead to an immense cold war military build-up. That is all. It will not last, just gives people time to learn to hate each other more.

 

I only mention it as I always imagined her there, leading. She had links to everyone important on her side, strong solid links. I don’t see anyone else able to step up, able to draw on the others that will have to oppose the delayed Return.

 

Without Egwene, that future teeters a little more violently.

 

-Bao

Edited by Baoandred

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Egwene acted like an idiot with Rand and Tuon. Also, no reunion with her and her family? I would have loved to see that. There were hardly words between her and anyone.

How did Egwene know to watch for the light? That bugged me.

I didn't like the crystals and cracks at all. It doesn't seem intuitive that the blackness beyond the pattern would actually show as the pattern unravelled. Also, why was there so much blackness in the ground as compared to the air*? A few tendrils of blackness moved out of the cracks in the ground, but why did they need to originate there? There's nothing special about the ground.
The anti-balefire weave (and Egwene coming up with it) seems plausible to me, for many of the reasons already mentioned, but why couldn't the cracks just close? Is it because the opposite of burning something is freezing that something**, thus the ice-like crystals? She did call it the flame of Tar Valon, though. If a thread is balefired, I'd think anti-balefire would gather up all the little particles of the burned thread (the motes) and place them back together, despite the fact that it's pretty much impossible to do this in the real world when something burns. Since burning is generally regarded as irreversible, though, I can live with anti-balefire putting something else in a thread's place with the same shape, but I still don't see why it'd have to show physically, and as a crystal specifically. It could just be realized as the blackness leaving the cracks and the Sharans dropping dead.
Also, her weave having a greater effect on people who had turned to the shadow is ridiculous; a weave like that shouldn't be so unbalanced.

 

 

 



* I know a crack in the air doesn't seem to make sense (what would it look like from the side?), but that's because we're used to cracks in surfaces, which are 2D. The cracks in the air would have to be 3D, which is impossible to visualize. As a matter of fact, the ground cracks, and all other cracks in the pattern itself, would have to be 3D as well, since the pattern is 3-dimensional.
** I know that combustion involves the oxidization of a fuel along with the expulsion of energy, so its true opposite isn't very clear; let's not get too scientific about it. Burning something makes it hot, freezing something makes it cold, so that's that. They're opposites.

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