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Mytthology references (and other references) in WOT


alokov
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So, people have made a big deal out of the Asian influences in WOT and
that's fair enough, as RJ admitted them, but, as far as I know, no one's
mentioned the obvious Norse influence. You've got Mat, who is obviously
Odin for various reasons which I wonh't expound on here, you've got
Rand al'Thor (obviously) though that, and being a guy who fights evil
are about the only similarities between Rand and Thor, and  you've got
Ragnarok of course. Plus, the Dark One's method of touching the world,
at least initially; extremes of heat and cold, seems reminiscent of
Muspellheim and Nifilheim.
Finally, the Pattern itself could be interpreted as similar to Wyrd,
depending on your interpretation of Wyrd, though, of course, RJ has said
it was based on an Asian concept. That's all I've found so far.

 

Also Tamlin is, of course a character from Celtic myth, and there's the obvious nod and wink stuff like the mention of Gilgame in TOM.

 

Anything I've missed?

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The Age of Legends brings to mind the belief held by some Hindus that the world described in Ramayana and Mahabharata was one of advanced technology. There are the flying "transports" used by the Gods interpreted as aircraft, a spear interpreted as a nuclear missile and an armored machine equated with a flying saucer! I can't help but think of this when I read of the TOL in WOT. Jordan asks "what if it was true?"

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One very minor thing which I noticed for the first time on my current read through is the 'All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." is a phrase mentioned by Joine or Corin (the Wavemistress and Sail Mistress) who take Nynaeve and Elayne to Tanchico in tSR.  Its also said by someone else no long after, but I can't remember who (possibly an AS or a WO?).  This was allegedly a message from God given to the the anchoress Julian or Norwich in the 1300s.

 

I also like all the Arthurian and Celtic parallels, athough they are all mixed up despite some of the name's being almost spot-on:

  • Urther Pendragon = Artur Paendrag Tanreall/Hawkwing
  • Merlin, the wizard = Thom Merrilin
  • Guinevere = Egwene al'Vere (She was King Arthur's wife, but commits adultery with Lancelot. Arthur sentences her to be burned at the stake by his knights, but one of them, Gawain, refuses.  She is sometimes portrayed as an opportunistic traitor, and over times as a noble and virtuous woman - similar to the conflicting views fans have of Egwene's character)
  • Excalibur/the Sword in the Stone = Callandor (in the Stone of Tear)
  • Mordred = Moridin (Arthur's nemesis)
  • Camlann/Camelot = Caemlyn
  • Arianrhod/Annwn = Tel'aran'rhiod (a mythical welsh figure, and the welsh otherworld)
  • Tuatha de Danann = Tuatha'an (settlers of Ireland)
  • Brigid (=Athena/Minerva) = Birgitte (Celtic Goddess, equivalent to Minerva and Athena)
  • Igraine = Tigraine (King Arthur's mother)
  • Elaine = Elayne (Igraine's daughter)
  • Morgause = Morgase (also Igraine's daughter)
  • Gawain = Gawyn (one of King Arthur's knights, son of Morgause, true and rightful heir of Camelot after Arthur)
  • Avalon = Tar Valon (legendary island)
  • Galahad = Galad (Knight of the round table renowned for his purity and gallantry.  Son of Elaine and Lancelot)
  • Lancelot = Lan?
  • Nyneve = Nynaeve (the Lady of the Lake - very appropriate now that Nynaeve is the Lady of the Lakes to Lan's Lord of the Lakes.  She is the ruler of Avalon and a powerful magician.  She is also connected to Excalibur, and is one of the four women who carry Arthur's body away after his death.)
  • Gareth = Gareth Bryne (another knight of the round table who died in battle)

Also a few other connections (some quite tenuous) from other mythological sources:

  • Min = Min (an Egyptian god of fertility)
  • Odin = Mat (one eyed Norse God associated with ravens,although also with wolves so possibly links to Perrin)
  • Yggdrasil = Avendesora (an immense and holy ash tree)
  • Ragnarok = Tarmon Gaidon (the end of the world)
  • Thor = Perrin (Norse god who wields the hammer, Mjlolnir)
  • Frigg = Min (a Norse woman who can see the future)
  • Abell Cauthon and Gaidal Cain = Cain and Abel from the Bible
  • Bel Tine = Beltine (a Druidic summer festival)

 

One I am curious about is Aviendha.  Almost all of the other main characters have some kind of mythological link, but I can't think of any for her, other than perhaps as a valkyrie, but this doesn't seem likely.

Edited by Rhienne
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Actually, Caemlyn has nothing to do with Camelot! It was completely, 100% inspired by a place near my home town, that is called Camelon...  :tongue:

If you are referring to the Camelon by Falkirk in Scotland then I am struggling to see the similarities :tongue:

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Actually, Caemlyn has nothing to do with Camelot! It was completely, 100% inspired by a place near my home town, that is called Camelon...  :tongue:

If you are referring to the Camelon by Falkirk in Scotland then I am struggling to see the similarities :tongue:

 

I am indeed referring to there. Plus, it's closer to Caemlyn than Camelot is. At least, in name.  :laugh:

 

Plus, I never noticed you are from Scotland, so my bad.  :tongue:

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Actually, Caemlyn has nothing to do with Camelot! It was completely, 100% inspired by a place near my home town, that is called Camelon...  :tongue:

If you are referring to the Camelon by Falkirk in Scotland then I am struggling to see the similarities :tongue:

 

I am indeed referring to there. Plus, it's closer to Caemlyn than Camelot is. At least, in name.  :laugh:

 

Plus, I never noticed you are from Scotland, so my bad.  :tongue:

Heheh, my step-father's from Falkirk so I know it quite well :smile:

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  • Tuatha de Danann = Tuatha'an (settlers of Ireland)
  • Bel Tine = Beltine (a Druidic summer festival)

 

One I am curious about is Aviendha.  Almost all of the other main characters have some kind of mythological link, but I can't think of any for her, other than perhaps as a valkyrie, but this doesn't seem likely.

 

Tuatha dé Dannan aer not jus settlres of Éire, its the naem for a specific tribe of Áes/Áos, i.e. pre-christin deitis, latre demened in christin writings to apear more mortl and les significant such as in th book of invasions. Even if taking the chrstian corruption thogh, I stil dont see hw they equaet to the tuatha'an in the book wahtsoevre other than they both use the word for tribe/people. Bealtaine, yuor descriptin was odd to me, becuse as druids are the adminstres/priests of the old Celtic polythesms, that wuold be somewht like caling Christmas a bishopric holiday. Just wantd to say those.

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I see allot of Yogic an Hindu concepts in WoT, especially in the channeling system. Among other things channeling illness is almost word for word what Yogis think can happen to you if you get a spontaneous Kundalini Awakening or if you mess around with Kundalini and do not know what you are doing. The One Power with it's two sides is off course heavily based on other Asian systems as well and the concept of Yin and Yang, so there is allot of references to Eastern mysticism in the magick system. It can also be noted that the Ouroboros that the Aes Sedai use as they symbol, also is a symbol for Kundalini Herself.

 

There are many references to the Tarot, for example the attack by Seanchan on Tar Valon evoke the imagery of the Tower cards, the Magician card who in the most common modern Tarot deck show a man surounded by the symbols of the four elements while he himself is Spirit with one hand pointing to the sky and the other pointing to the ground as he draw magick from the cosmos and bring it to eath though the elements, an Ouroboros around his waist. The Magician would stand for any kind of channeler in WoT. Also if you look at Rand's journey from book one to book fourteen you very much see the Fool's journey though the Major Arcana.

 

I have always seen Moiraine, Siuan and Tamra as the three wise men from the Bible. The three wise men was magi, astrologers and mystics and Moiraine, Siuan and Tamra are three mages who after a sign start looking for the chosen child, now off course only Moiraine and Siuan continue on this path and Tamra get murdered but in the beginning there was three of them.

 

The names for the two halves of the One Power is extremely similar to the name of one of the old Norse magick systems which was called Seid, the pronunciation is even similar, at least for the modern way to say the world. In addition in old Norse society magick was an art almost completely reserved for women for it was considered to be unmanly to use magick, in fact many Seidmen wore women's clothing as to practice such arts was to have a woman's role in society. In addition in old Norse society the Volve had an extremely elevated position, until Christianity was adopted by the position a Volve had a position only one one place down from a chieftain in most places. Volves was Seidwomen, often they could also practice Galder the other magick system commonly believed in by old Norse society, the Volve was advisors and often also healers, though her main job was as a oracle and a priestess. Volve means staff carrier and in fact one of the few descriptions we have of a Volve from the time, the description of a woman named Heid is very similar to Moiraine as she wears all blue.

 

Modern Neo Pagan religion have the creation story of the universe (well this is one of the more popular ones, there is many, us Neo Pagans are a diverse bunch.) that the One, the first being, creation itself one day decided to create so he made the Goddess and the God, the primal feminine and the primal masculine, equal but opposite forces who's union then created the universe and their eternal dance though the days, seasons and ages continue to drive the world forward. I do not know if this was an inspiration for Jordan when it came to how he worded the relationship between Saidar and Saidin but allot of it is word for word the same as what many Wiccans and other Neo Pagans have as a part of our religion and many have fallen in love with the WoT books for that reason.

 

Let me see what else, well the Aes Sedai is in many ways similar to European nun orders, with their concept of penance, how they structure their lives and their words and terminology. I could probably come up with more similarities as well. Now off course allot of these things are rather universal archetypes and I am not saying that Jordan was inspired by any of the things I mention here, but I am saying that I at least have found the similarities to the above striking in the books.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read somewhere that Perrin has similarities to the Slavic god Perun

some examples would be:

 

They both have wolves for allies

They both use an axe, a hammer, and a bow

Perun has the bellow of the bull whereas Perrin is called Young Bull

 

there are others but I don't remember

 

For Rand there are a bunch.. Tyr, Christ, King Arthur...

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