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Egwene's Arc (Full Spoilers)


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Eh, Egwene was a hit and miss through the book.

 

Her death was heroic and truly fitting end to a great woman.

 

However, she was all over the place in the rest of the book, you couldn't determine what she was going to do or say, she was so inconsistent. Her research and words to Elayne about the Seals were totally thrown out the window in the Dragon's Farce.

 

Her and Rand both were so ridiculous in that scene, she changed completely and acted like a total idiot, all her development thrown out the window. First she goes in and intends to have the White Tower in control of the Last Battle (inconsistent in itself) then when Rand says the Amyrlin is no good to lead, she doesn't say a thing. Not to mention that bloody farce of a paragraph when she suggests Rand takes the "safe" option and gets saidin tainted again! Of course, she is not doing what Rand says, but there is no way I am buying Egwene would suggest that, no matter the reasons. Since when has she ever shirked from a difficult task. Rand's reaction to it was similarly ridiculous, but at least understandable in the slightest, it was so out of character that it almost seemed like a reasonable conclusion for Rand.

 

Her meeting with Tuon was good for her, but it made Tuon out to be a total idiot - which she is most definitely not, whatever else you may call her. Egwene was awesome, but unfortunately it required replacing Tuon with Mesaana.

 

I was angry that Gawyn did that too her, she deserved so much more, and while she did hold the world together, dying well, perhaps it was even needed to keep the world alive, it was annoying nonetheless, that Gawyn practically killed her.

 

Then the random flip with the Seals was ridiculous. It reminds me off the cliche of a villain "righting all their wrongs" on their deathbed. It was good that she came to the conclusion, but poorly done. She should have slowly changed her mind, seeing the horrors of the Last Battle, and the balefire, slowly realise that it was necessary.

 

So while I admire her heroic end, and her as a character, the inconsistencies really took away from her death, I SHOULD have felt more sorrow, but it was just so strange that I can only do it in hindsight.

Solid Barid. I should mention she has been veering wildly in ever since the meeting in the WT with Rand when it seemed as if she had split personalities with the constant contradictions however. The FoM seen was poorly done but unfortunately that doesn't stand out in the slightest at this point.

 

I thought she only got erratic after Gawyn first put on a Seanchan ring, so I thought she was being affected through the bond? 

 

I absolutely love Egwene, have enjoyed her thread in the pattern very much, and would have loved it if she hadn't died, I cried like a baby, my boyfriend thinks I'm mad. But I wanted to see how she did as Amyrlin on a more long term basis, and she didn't get to interact with her parents at all, as far as I can remember, unlike many of the other characters. Felt sorry for the Al Vere's.

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I think another reason why Rand didn't want to have a proper discussion with Egwene when he went to her at the White Tower was because he would have been extremely uncomfortable in that situation.  He is shielded, brought before the Hall of the Tower, in Egwene's seat of power, and Egwene wants to send him to Yellow Sisters to be checked over.  I think Egwene at some point thinks about if they can keep him there are guide him.  Rand seems very zen in this scene, but in AMoL we see that a lot of the Zen!Rand behaviour is actually a front.  He still has many of the same insecurities and fears that he always did, they are just better under control.  He is not completely trusting of the Aes Sedai (unsurprisingly given that the majority of his experiences with them have been unpleasant - kidnap, manipulation, lack of respect, a desire to guide him, etc.), and within the White Tower I get the impression that he would be expected to defer to Egwene (e.g. he bows to her while she does not show him any similar sign of respect).  I don't think the White Tower presents particularly favourable conditions for a meeting.

 

This, a thousand times over. If you look at the scene where he shows up to the WT, it sort of mirrors the scene where Cadsuane marched into Rand's "throne room" and made him lose his cool, and the more I think about it, the more I think it was intentional. First, it showed that Rand had, indeed, grown, and that he was in control of himself (something he lacked when Caddy walked in and practically poked him in the eye after proverbially spitting in his face). Second, it showed that Rand had learned the game, the very game Egwene learned to master almost immediately after watching Moiraine stick her nose up in the air and be mysterious, only sharing what she thought others needed to know (something Egwene was still doing at that point and thought was fine, as long as she was the one controlling information and the one with the upper hand). 

 

The scene had things that added more layers as well, such as Rand being shielded and being treated extremely hostilely, whereas Cadsuane might have been treated with hostility but she was not shielded and knew Rand could not hurt her thanks to her ornaments. Rand seemed confident, and his ta'veren nature might have protected him had Egwene really tried to take him into custody, but he could not have known that, so it is even more of a testament to how much he had grown that he remained so calm when he had an entire Tower of women who were so obviously against him. As you said, Rand's reluctance to have a proper discussion was likely due to the circumstances - ability to emit calm or not, their treatment of him was ridiculously hostile, and that includes Egwene's treatment of him as Amyrlin. Plus, he needed to speak to an equal and he could not do that in Egwene's throneroom with her up on a pedestal and him practically bound and chained before her with her treating him as though he were a supplicant rather than the Dragon Reborn and, in the past, a friend. But he needed to get her attention, he needed to get her to come to *him*, and the only way to do that was to pull a Cadsuane...walk into her inner sanctum, poke her in the eye to get her attention while showing that he had no fear of her or her minions (which made her and them off balanced) then march out. Cadsuane would've been proud of him, I believe. 

 

The scene also showed something about Egwene, and about what Cadsuane would've really wanted from him. I'll be the first one to say I have never liked Egwene and my dislike of her character only grew with each successive novel. However, overlooking her detestable thoughts in this scene (for example, how she considered doing just what she blasted Elaida for trying, i.e., kidnapping Rand and forcing him under her authority), she behaved about as well as could be expected from anyone in this scene. For the most part, she remained calm and maintained her air of authority, and it was only when he really poked her in the eye with the seals that she started to lose it. Even then, she did not turn into a ranting, raving maniac like Rand would have done only days before. She just got understandably pissy and tried to get the upper hand back by insisting he couldn't leave without asking permission first, and he basically won that with her as well, by telling her not to make him defy her in "her house". I don't think the queen of cold, Cadsuane, could've handled the situation with any more grace and calm than Egwene, and that says something. 

 

That said, I think the fact that it mirrors the Rand/Cadsuane scene also reminds us of something else - no matter how cool you think you are, there will be situations (and people) who can get under your skin and throw you off balance. We get reminded time and again throughout the series that, despite the fact that Aes Sedai like to present themselves as equals to the Creator, they are, in the end, human. They have human feelings (some of them, anyway!) and human reactions. Training yourself to never show emotion, no matter what happens, can never ensure that you can maintain a calm facade in 100% of all situations. Egwene had gotten to the point where she and, more importantly, the readers, believed her to be completely unflappable and that nothing could ever get under her skin, thereby putting her in the 'top dog' position no matter the situation. I think this scene was a bit of a reminder that, no matter how awesome some readers think she is, she's human, just like Rand. 

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Her and Rand both were so ridiculous in that scene, she changed completely and acted like a total idiot, all her development thrown out the window. First she goes in and intends to have the White Tower in control of the Last Battle (inconsistent in itself) then when Rand says the Amyrlin is no good to lead, she doesn't say a thing. Not to mention that bloody farce of a paragraph when she suggests Rand takes the "safe" option and gets saidin tainted again! Of course, she is not doing what Rand says, but there is no way I am buying Egwene would suggest that, no matter the reasons. Since when has she ever shirked from a difficult task. Rand's reaction to it was similarly ridiculous, but at least understandable in the slightest, it was so out of character that it almost seemed like a reasonable conclusion for Rand.

 

Her meeting with Tuon was good for her, but it made Tuon out to be a total idiot - which she is most definitely not, whatever else you may call her. Egwene was awesome, but unfortunately it required replacing Tuon with Mesaana.

 

Then the random flip with the Seals was ridiculous. It reminds me off the cliche of a villain "righting all their wrongs" on their deathbed. It was good that she came to the conclusion, but poorly done. She should have slowly changed her mind, seeing the horrors of the Last Battle, and the balefire, slowly realise that it was necessary.

 

I agree with you on her meeting with Tuon. Much like a multitude of other scenes, on character was turned into a bumbling idiot in order to make the other character appear badass and awesome (most of the time, that did not work on me, except when it was an underdog getting some back at an annoying prig of a character). I don't think Tuon was the type to turn into a moron simply because Egwene raised her chin and looked superior, not when Tuon had been raising her chin and looking superior (while plotting to drive a knife in someone) for most of her life. She has far more experience at that crap. If anything, the meeting should've simply given Tuon some food for thought, rather than making her (just like everyone else Egwene decides to stomp down) look like Egwene's bitch. 

 

As for the Rand/Egwene thing, I thought the same as you, more so with Rand than with Egwene. However, I went back and re-read the book and I guess distance gave me a bit of perspective, or at least I managed to come up with an explanation. There are certain people in your life, or that you meet throughout your life, that affect you the same way you would be affected by having a cheesegrater dragged across your skin (or the reaction you have when someone rakes their nails down a chalkboard, or whatever sound/feeling you find most irritating). Hell, I've met one of those people on this very board (and no, fionwe, it's not you, though sometimes I think battling you with those foam covered bats would be a great deal of fun so I could beat you in the head a bit :P). The point is, there are people we encounter who grate on us and who cause us to turn into a defiant, loud-mouthed jerk simply because we can't stand them and if they say up, we want to say down even when we know they're right. I'm sure some people will deny it, but it is simply human and everyone behaves that way on occasion, be it due to being around an annoyance or being stuck in a situation that simply grates on our nerves. Unless you slip into what my mother aptly named "robot mode" to avoid showing emotion, it's going to happen sooner or later. I think that sums up Rand and Egwene's reaction to each other. They may have once been friends, they may have once been promised to each other, but they were always like oil and water - they simply don't mix, and they don't bring out the best in each other, but rather, more often than not, the worst.

 

In that context, the scene between the two of them, with Egwene being a self-righteous overbearing bitch and Rand acting like an adolescent having a hissy fit and stomping out in a fit of anger, makes perfect sense. Had Egwene never been Amyrlin, and Rand never the Dragon Reborn, they might have been able to grow enough to deal with each other reasonably, but their positions ensured that neither of them would budge an inch. This was not a meeting between friends, or even allies. It was a meeting between a woman who saw herself as the Creator's hand dealing with a man who knew if, he gave even an inch, she would run over him and he would be forced to go to the Last Battle her way rather than on his own terms (and her throwing out the "do it the same way, at least we know how to deal with insane male channelers so it's no big deal" idea did not help matters at all, and made it clear to him that she only cared about her power and the WT's position as rulers of the world). So, really, the scene is perfectly believable. That's not to say that the characters did not behave erratically - they did, in other ways - but this scene fit, in my opinion. 

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This was not a meeting between friends, or even allies. It was a meeting between a woman who saw herself as the Creator's hand dealing with a man who knew if, he gave even an inch, she would run over him and he would be forced to go to the Last Battle her way rather than on his own terms (and her throwing out the "do it the same way, at least we know how to deal with insane male channelers so it's no big deal" idea did not help matters at all, and made it clear to him that she only cared about her power and the WT's position as rulers of the world).

<removed>

 

 

I am breaking my self-imposed rule of avoiding responding to you altogether, and I know I will regret it, but I have to ask...

 

Why, exactly, do you think she threw that suggestion out there if not to protect the White Tower, and ultimately, her own interests? You can twist it, if you'd like, and say that it was to protect the world - better the devil you know, so to speak - but the fact remains that she did suggest it and had to have had reasons for it. Since she truly believes that the world can't function without AS pulling strings, it stands to reason that it had something to do with the fact that she told the Dragon Reborn that perhaps he should TAINT SAIDIN ALL OVER AGAIN AFTER HE RISKED HIS EFFING LIFE TO CLEANSE IT! 

 

<removed>

Edited by BFG
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I have started the series over and am half way through TFoH she is coming off as even more of a self-center bitch than the first time. All of the other PoV characters worry and seem aware of the others problems except Egwene. The only times she thinks of the others it is how they are effecting her which she seems to think they are somehow trying to hold her back. The background given on Lanfear seems much inline with Egwene's attitudes I can easily see her turning to the DO if the story had drawn out a few more years.

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Why, exactly, do you think she threw that suggestion out there if not to protect the White Tower, and ultimately, her own interests?

 

 

As has been pointed out to you many times before, you can fault Egwene for putting to much faith in the failed AS institution but you can't question her motives. To say all she cared about was personnel power and she could care less about saving the world is laughable. I mean for one just go back and look at AMoL, your claim is directly contradicted by what is written.

 

"So you don't know," she said. "Well, I have been looking, reading, listening. Have you read the works of those who have studied this, thought about it?"

 

"Aes Sedai speculation."

 

"The only information we have, Rand! Open the Dark One's prison and all could be lost. We have to be more careful. This is what the Amyrlin Seat is for, this is part of why the White Tower was founded in the first place!"

 

He actually hesitated. Light, he was thinking. Could she be getting through to him?

 

"I don't like it, Egwene," Rand said softly. "If I go up against him and the seals are not broken, my only choice will be to create another imperfect solution. A patch, even worse than the one last time—because with the old weakened seals there, I'll just be spreading new plaster over deep cracks. Who knows how long the seals would last this time? In a few centuries, we could have this same fight all over again."

 

"Is that so bad?" Egwene said, "At least it's sure. You sealed the Bore last time. You know how to do it."

 

"We could end up with the taint again."

 

"We're ready for it, this time. No, it wouldn't be ideal. But Rand . . . do we really want to risk this? Risk the fate of every living being? Why not take the simple path, the known path? Mend the seals again. Shore up the prison."

 

"No, Egwene." Rand backed away. "Light! Is this what it's about? You want saidin to be tainted again. You Aes Sedai . . . you're threatened by the idea of men who can channel, undermining your authority!"

 

"Rand al'Thor, don't you dare be that level of a fool."

 

<removed>

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I have to disagree with this common dislike for her story arc. For MUCH of the books I was annoyed, bored or someway shape or form disliking her chapters. There were some moments here and there but overall she was never one of my favorite characters. I came to value her during the last battle. Honestly, I think that way she handled everything in the last battle was extremely proportional to her situation. Through this whole story leading to where she is, we tend to forget she's barely an adult. She's a young woman who's overcome so much and dedicated herself to becoming an important piece of bringing unity and peace to the world. She looked at every angle to unify the tower with other relative-type organizations (wind-finders, wise ones etc). I really got frustrated with the way she handled the seals, BUT the thing is. If you ignore everyone else story and try to put your self in her eyes... with her position the idea of breaking the seals is drastic. She doesn't have the information that clearly says they MUST be sealed. Rand provoked her into freaking out about the seals by the way he handled their meeting after he finally found peace on the dragonmount. He did this because he knew she would gather everyone together where he wanted them to.

 

All in all, I really did have a lot of complaints by the last book, but the last scene she is in I found so incredibly powerful. It just seemed so allegorically beautiful and it really seemed to make sense. I think as nonsensical as the anti-balefire sounds it does work. The flame of tar valon being something so strongly symbolic of the strength and light of the pattern was absolutely perfect in my opinion. We knew the sigil but never understood how it came to be and I think as an ancient weave long forgotten it worked. I hear a lot of complaints about the last book but I have to say I thought the tedious and challenging task was handled absolutely fantastic by Brandon sanderson. All in all Egwene, in the end, became one of my favorite characters. And I was saddened at her death. It was a beautiful way of bringing her story intertwined into the fate of the world. Showing her role in the last battle. And showing that even wonderful people you watched grow up die in war.

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  • 7 years later...

You see her as this i'm going to simplify it and say "selfish brat" 

 

I see her as a girl who in the beginning is, yes, a stupid, selfish brat. She bullies her way into the party when they leave, she bullies Perrin, she tries to bully Elyas. 

 

I'll admit, I dont like her in the EotW. 

 

But she grows. My favorite part about her is that here is this strong female character, who is flawed, who still tries to do what she sees as what is best for the white tower.  Flawed being a key word there. and for the white tower is the other one. Not for the world, not for the people, for the white tower. 

And incase you missed it. She was "kidnapped and held hostage" TWICE. 

 

The first time, was a mental hell. They tried to make her sub human. 

 

Go look at the other damane, go look at how they act. Me personally? If i could be a caster, I'd be one. but i'm naturally submissive, it matches who i am in a nonsexual bdsm way.  Egwene has a very vanillia look at this life style.  She believes that NOBODY should be treated like that. (I'm of the opinion that nobody should be forced to be treated like that) 

 

Wearing that collar scars her until one of the forsaken put one on her in a dream and she breaks free. 

 

Mental abuse? its freaking horrible and guess what, its baggage that most people carry for the rest of their lives. That Egwene came out of that experience as whole as she did proves to me how strong she is. 

 

The second time? they treated her like a novice. and they beat her when she refused to play thier game. 

One of my favorite scenes with her is when she learns how to laugh during the pain.

 

She is flawed, she makes mistakes, but honestly, those mistakes are in character of her. 

 

To me, the mistakes make her more real and relatable.

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