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Rhienne

Character Zeniths and Nadirs?

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I was recently talking with a friend about the concept of nadirs (the low point, the part where the character hits rock bottom and suffers the most they can withstand while still being capable of growing from it) and zeniths (opposite of nadir, generally occur as a major hight point achieved due to growth brought on by experiencing their nadir) as part of character development in literature, and got to trying to figure out what they were for each of our main cast (if indeed they have them at all).  

 

Some of them (or some possible candidates) seem very obvious, e.g. For Rand his nadir would be the scene in tGS where Semirhage uses the domination band on him, forcing him to try to kill Min, which results in his use of True Power Balefire to kill two women (his moral event horizon).  His zenith would be the end of tGS when he accepts himself, Lews Therin, his duty and fate, but also his humanity.

 

For Perrin, I would guess the decision to put aside the greater good and rescue Faile while neglecting his duties to his people (never mind using torture on Aiel prisoners, and killing the semi-innocent Rolan) would be his nadir, while the forging of his power-wrought hammer would be his zenith, representing his acceptance of the part of him that is wolf, and his role of leadership.

 

For Nynaeve, I think her nadir would be somewhere within LoC-APoD where her authority is completely eroded, and she is no longer able to see herself as a leader (i.e. how she saw herself as Wisdom), having Egwene elevated above her, and the TR boys being beyond her care at this point.  Maybe the scene with Talaan would be the exact point, where she is treated with complete disdain by the Windfinders.  Her zenith could be raising the Golden Crane (her acceptance of Lan's duty, and her own) or maybe her raising to AS when she realises that actually she doesn't need the respect of the AS (or anyone else) as she has realised what is truly important to her in life (Lan, Rand, and Healing).

 

I'm not sure on the other main characters.  Siuan's (and Leane's) nadir would be their (deposition), stilling, and imprisonment; Logain's would be his gentling (nadir) followed by the scene at the end of AMoL where he finds his glory (zenith).

 

I am struggling to come up with them for the other main characters though (e.g. Elayne, Egwene, Mat, Min, etc.).  Maybe Egwene's were very early - her capture as damane (nadir) and meeting her toh to the Wise Ones (zenith)?

 

I wondered if anyone had any other ideas, or ideas for Mat, Elayne, etc.?

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With Elayne, I would expect the obvious - Birgitte's death. For Mat, possibly balancing his distrust of channeling in genearl and Aes Sedai in specific with his acknowledgement of the fact that they are an integral part of his life.

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Wouldn't Rand's be when he came within instants of killing his own father?

 

True! That's Rand's below rock bottom moment. 

 

To me, Nynaeve's nadir is her decision to go to the WT to seek vengeance against Moiraine. Pretty petty! From there she kept moving upward with a few road bumps along the way. 

 

Mat's moment was in Book 2 when he tells Rand that he'll sleep as far away from him as possible. His awesomeness in AMoL is only surpassed by Rand's in importance. Rand fought the DO; and Mat took care of business. 

 

Perrin's low moment was So Harbor .... He denied help to suffering people when he could have afforded to give that help. 

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I would say Rand's Zenith and Nadir came within the same chapter, on top of Dragonmount.  Yeah, previously he almost killed his father, but on Dragonmount he almost killed the world. :)

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Mat's nadir:  Being carried into Tar Valon unconscious and hours/days from death, and having to be healed by Aes Sedai

Mat's zenith:  His rescue of Moraine from the ToG, and more specifically his giving up his eye to get her back.  Not just rescuing an Aes Sedai (which he does more so than anybody else in the entire series, ironically), but actually sacrificing a part of himself to accomplish a goal for the greater good.  Everything else he does after that is his post-zenith pinnacle, doing what we always knew he could

 

Perrin's nadir:  1a: Finding out that his whole family was dead. 1b. almost freezing to death in the cold when Faile was kidnapped, and having to be saved by Berelain

Perrin's zenith: Forging the Hammer.  No question.  It is his own epiphany similar to Rand's on Dragonmount

 

Rand's nadir: 1a: Being locked in the box by Elaida's Aes Sedai. 1b: Almost killing Tam 1c: almost falling to the Shadow again following Egwene's death.  There wasn't enough time given to it, but I could have seen it being a better nadir if there was enough time to really dwell on it

Rand's zenith: Dragonmount epiphany

 

Egwene's nadir: damane time in tGH.  It haunted her for the rest of her life

Egwene's zenith: 1a: Seanchan raid on the White Tower. 1b: Her defeat of Mesaana in TAR 1c: Discover of the "anti-balefire" weave, followed by her blaze of glory death

 

Nynaeve's nadir: Difficult to determine.  While she has many low points, none ever really seem rock bottom.  Except possibly how she felt when Moraine told her she could channel, but not sure...

Nynaeve's zenith: The testing for the shawl.  She finally discovered what she was made of, and who she was and what her purpose was.  It was hard on her, true, but her resolve following the test in her conversation with Egwene really showed how far she's come

 

Thom's nadir:  Discovering Dena's body in their rooms in tGH.  Could also possibly be the only nadir that is before the series, with Owyn's death

Thom's zenith: 1a: Seizing Moraine out of her prison in the ToG. 1b: Composing the Last Battle Ballad on the slopes of Shayol Ghul.   While I'm not sure how much I liked his self discussion on vocabulary, it is a scene where you get to see all his skills at work.  He's composing a Ballad, the most epic ballad ever, not 20 feet away from the most important battle, using his Game of Houses skills to notice that the Black Ajah sister's are not who they appear, and his slight of hand to kill them.  

 

Moraine's nadir:  So difficult.  It most definitely NOT her plunging through the gateway with Lanfear, or what followed.  She understood that situation, and made her choice, the RIGHT choice.  Possibly her battle with Aginor in tEotW, where she is trounced.  Otherwise Rand's running away in the beginning of tDR maybe?

Moraine zenith: Her arrival on the Fields of Merrilor.  She basically shows up, and makes sure there is the Dragon's Peace, and that Egwene will break the seals.

 

Lan's nadir:  Moraine plunging through the gateway with Lanfear.  Very VERY VERY few warders survive those after-effects.  Granted he might not have without the bond passing to Myrelle, but then again, Lan's force of will and sense of duty are maybe the strongest of all the characters.

Lan's zenith: "Sheathing the sword" to kill Demandred

Edited by DaoineSidhe

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@clutzyninja,

i completely agree.rand's nadir and zenith came within hours of each other

on top of dragonmount,but what a majestic nadir it was,rand exhibited fury

and power of an angry god:"he was the sun.he was fire.he was life and death."

...and the world was on the brink of destruction....

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Nynaeve's nadir: Difficult to determine.  While she has many low points, none ever really seem rock bottom.  Except possibly how she felt when Moraine told her she could channel, but not sure...

Nynaeve's zenith: The testing for the shawl.  She finally discovered what she was made of, and who she was and what her purpose was.  It was hard on her, true, but her resolve following the test in her conversation with Egwene really showed how far she's come

Nyn's nadir, being thrown off the boat and almost drowning before she finally leanred to let go of her anger.

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Perrin

Nadirs: learning his family is dead, Faile captured (around midpoint), Hoppers Death

Zeniths: becoming lord and not bowing to WC pressures, acknowledging that his strengths in campaigning and reclaiming Faile, the forging of his hammer (and claiming his destiny)

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