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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Aiel Heart

[SG Faire: Aiel] Real of Time: A Culture Discussion

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Robert Jordan took parts of many different legends, peoples, and other aspects of our world when writing his books. There are many speculations on what features and details in the books could be possible ties to something in the "real world"

 

Here, we will focus on the cultures and countries of Randland, looking at what ties are suspected and different ways we see these ties within the books.

 

We will be starting with the Aiel:

 

 

 

 

 

In the books, the Aiel are a Warrior race, who follow a very strict code of honor. They are set up into Clans, Septs, and Warrior Societies. 

 

According ot WoT Wikia:

 

Robert Jordan has said that the Aiel are based on the Zulu, Bedouin, Apache and Japanese cultures, among others.



The Da'shain Aiel were somewhat reminiscent of Jain. The Jenn Aiel were similar to Jain and were the clan who held to their beliefs, while the other clans abandoned their pacifism.


The twelve Aiel clans are similar to the Tribes of Israel. There is a thirteenth clan, not counted among them: the Jenn Aiel, who built the city of Rhuidean, a repository of Aiel history, equivalent to the Hebrew Levites.


The system of clan and sept is also one that is a parallel of old Scottish and Irish clans and septs. Jordan has said that he thought it would be fun to have the Aiel as a desert culture but with Irish heritage. The Aiel are further connected to the Irish through the Tuatha'an.

 

What are some of the ways you see qualities of the cultures listed above or other cultures used in WoT? How strong of an influence do you think they had on the Aiel Culture?

Edited by Aiel Heart

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!

 

I always thought the Aiel were influenced by the arabian/persian era. The skin color, the clothing, the climate they live in, the weapons they use (especially the bow they carry seem to resemble the horseback bow the persians used to defeat the romans)

Only problem I can see here is that they don't ride horses, which was a huge part of the way Persians fought. Otherwise the way society functions, in that they follow the laws set with brutal conviction lest they suffer terrible consequences, is also similar to how the arabcountries had to follow their laws.

 

Although I'm not saying that they aren't based on  Zulu, Bedouin, Apache and Japanese cultures, just that I don't know much about these cultures.

Edited by Arez Al'Loke

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Here's some of the ones I know:

 

Andor - hugely influenced by the Tudor-era England.

Tear - speanish influence, I would guess from about the same era as the Tudor-times.

Cairhien - clearly French, with their type of clothing and hairstyles that is very similar to the fashions of the time of Marie Antoinette. A lot more sombre in the colors than their real life version though.

Arad Doman - I'm torn here. Their food is described as spicy and sticks are used as eating utensils, wich would indicate asian origin, but they are also described as "cobber-skinned" wich I think sounds more like Latin America. Their clothing seem to have no real life counterpart, at least not the dresses the women wear.

Seanchan - clearly Japanese influence in clothing, and some customs (like the way they prostate themselves on the floor).

Altara/Ebou Dar: Reminds me more like pirate stories than anything else :laugh:

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XD Mish we're focusing on the Aiel first. And it's likely that RJ took qualities from multiple cultures in his creation of the Randland ones. 

 

Arez, I always saw similarities between the Aiel and the Arab culture myself. Though note here that the cultures weren't supposed to be direct reflections of real cultures, so he possibly took out the horses simply to make the Aiel different.

Though... Come to think of it, we don't really have a "people of the horse" in Randland....

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I would never have thought Irish/Scottish when thinking of the Aiel.  Except for the Tuatha'an.  Very interesting and on my re-read, I'll have to see if I can see that.

 

The stoicism I can see from the Bedouin and Apache.  The sense of honor reminds me of the Japanese infuluence.  All of the tribal cultures mentioned are renowned for their warriors. 

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Oh sorry, I can edit it all out if you want? :)

Eh don't worry about it. We can reference it in a couple of days when the discussion moves on :P

Edited by Aiel Heart

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I would never have thought Irish/Scottish when thinking of the Aiel.  Except for the Tuatha'an.  Very interesting and on my re-read, I'll have to see if I can see that.

 

The stoicism I can see from the Bedouin and Apache.  The sense of honor reminds me of the Japanese infuluence.  All of the tribal cultures mentioned are renowned for their warriors. 

Yeah I wouldn't have either... But when you think about the structure of their people it does kinda make sense with the clans and all... 

 

Oooo Apache stoicism!! Yes!!! That's the culture I was trying to think of!!!

 

And I agree with all of your other points.

 

Which culture's fighting style do you think the Aiel represent the most?

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Which culture's fighting style do you think the Aiel represent the most?

 

With their expertise using spears and bows, plus the ability to run very long distances, the Aiel's fighting style reminds me most of the Zulu tribes of Africa. However, the Aiel way of fighting without weapons represents the Apache style of weaponless hand to hand combat.

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I can definitely see Bedouin and Zulu in the Aiel, bedouin for the dress and desert-ness (and maybe even part of the honour system, Zulu for spear warriors/hide bucklers)

 

I think the Seanchan fit more with Japanese cultural strictness than the Aiel though.

 

Though... Come to think of it, we don't really have a "people of the horse" in Randland....

 

maybe Tairens? Well, good Tairen bloodstock is referenced often enough. Saldea have a heavy cavalry, but yeah, closest would be Tairens IIRC

 

 

Which culture's fighting style do you think the Aiel represent the most?

 

With their expertise using spears and bows, plus the ability to run very long distances, the Aiel's fighting style reminds me most of the Zulu tribes of Africa. 

 

Zulus were only one tribe, mate. But the same logic holds with others I suppose, like the Masai, maybe even more the masai because of the tallness

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Well, in looks they remind me more of vikings, with the hair/eye color, skin color (where they're not tan) and general physique.

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Ooooohhh yes, definitely, Apache!!! As you said, their stoicism and fighting hand-to-hand combat - also their honour code I think. They had a great sense of pride and what was right/wrong, if you earnt shame by doing something etc. That's the culture I kneeeeew the Aiel reminded me of! North American Indians!! *facepalm* :D

 

I can see the Bedouin influence, obviously. And the Zulu is interesting too - definitely the spears/etc, but they couldn't be more different in looks :P

 

Hmm, interesting!

 

 

Well, in looks they remind me more of vikings, with the hair/eye color, skin color (where they're not tan) and general physique.

Yeah I was just gonna say Celts ir something like that - the tall, blond/light/red-haired types...

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara

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*twaps Nya* Celts and vikings are two completly different things! :tongue: The vikings raided the Celts :laugh:

 

But the red hair is more Celtic; scandinavian are more blonde or light brown.

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Sorry guys!!! I have had some crazy days!!!!!

 

Now, you can ad more thoughts on the Aiel if you wish, but we're going to move on to Andor!!!!

 

So, before I post what the wikia has to think, does anyone have any overall thoughts of Andor?

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Tudor-times England, especially influenced by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Andor is ruled by queens, The Rose Crown (a common term for a perfect, beautiful, English girl is "An English Rose"), the fashion... It's all very British.

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copy nd paseted from whn I wrot this months ago soemwhr else:

 

The Aiel remind me of the Gael, at least of Éire, of ancient times. The name aside (Aiel,Gael), one the names of the closest equivalent to gods in the old culture was the aes Sídhe, and as the Gael respected the aes Sídhe, in a similiar track the Aiel served the Aes Sedai long ago. Warrior bands and clans were very important in polythestic and into Christian times, just as they are important to the Aiel, and cattle raids were a chance to test battle skills and gain or lose honour besides gain more resources, as they seemed to be for the Aiel pre-Rand. Some other similiarities include the importance and elaborateness of honour, at least among the warrior roles, in both Gael and Aiel, and, more distantly, the importance of spears (in the Cycles, many of the most famous weapons are spears).

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Well it seems we have no thoughts on Andor besides England. I'll admit, I couldn't think of anything else, but I felt lik there was SOMETHING
 
The wiki also has little else:

 

  • Andor is thought by many to be based in part on England during the Middle Ages, and the author has confirmed that Andorans speak with a modern English accent.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Númenor was known by the Elves as Andor, meaning "Land of the Gift".

  

I've always wondered who the Domani were meant to be...

Let's move on to them shall we?

Any one have any ideas?

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Well, to me the Domani are based less any existing culture and more on tropes and idioms about the "far east".  Think of old, worn stereotypes about Arabia, or even the Mongals to illustrate this thought.  Diaphanous clothing of rice-paper thin material is not practical in the true Arabian landscape, but serves well enough in dime-store romance novels.

 

The men are based more on the Mongal stereotype, straight down to their mustaches and heated attitudes.  Although, the beauty mark is a bit of modern twist.  Maybe it is simply a male version of Monroe era style, to reflect the heightened - ahem - emotions of those times.  The beauty mark also ties wonderfully into the romance stereotypes the Domani represent so well.

 

Throw in a merchant government to represent the mentality of the Silk Road era (far east references again), food preparation and eating styles of Asia, and there you have Arad Doman.  (Arab Do Man?  Tasteless joke there, Mr. Jordan, but well played.)  So, that is my take on the matter.

 

The Domani are a collection of stereotypes with vague references to cultural stereotypes, and just enough creative twists look utterly original.

Edited by Elynde

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I can see that... I honestly had no clue with the Domani :P

 

Ok, we're going to open up to any culture now. Any particular WoT culture anyone has thoughts on?

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Just like the Domani seems to be based on Far East-stereotypes, I think the Ebou Dari are based on pirate-stereotypes.

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*twaps Nya* Celts and vikings are two completly different things! :tongue: The vikings raided the Celts :laugh:

 

But the red hair is more Celtic; scandinavian are more blonde or light brown.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_the_Red - so red sometimes

 

Tudor-times England, especially influenced by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Andor is ruled by queens, The Rose Crown (a common term for a perfect, beautiful, English girl is "An English Rose"), the fashion... It's all very British.

 

though art knowledgeable 

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