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udbabor520

Education in Randland

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"I don’t know what would be enough, Perrin." She shivered slightly. "Is there anything an Aes Sedai would not do, or put up with, if the White Tower told her to? I have studied my history, and I was taught to read between the lines. Mashera Donavelle bore seven children for a man she loathed, whatever the stories say, and Isebaille Tobanyi delivered the brothers she loved to their enemies and the throne of Arad Doman with them, and Jestian Redhill... " She shivered again, not so slightly.

   "It’s all right," he murmured, wrapping her in his arms. He had studied several books of history himself, but he had never seen those names. The daughter of a lord received a different education from a blacksmith’s apprentice.

 

Stopping at the edge of the green, Egwene gazed back at the wide stone bridge that arched over the rapidly widening stream running from a spring that gushed out of a stone outcrop strongly enough to knock a man down. A massive marble shaft carved all over with names stood in the middle of the green, and two tall flagpoles on stone bases. "A battle monument," she murmured. "Who could imagine such a thing in Emond's Field? Though Moiraine said that once a great battle was fought on this spot, in the Trolloc Wars, when Manetheren died."

   "It was in the history I studied," Elayne said quietly, glancing at the bare flagpoles

.

 

 

I'm not a history buff, I can barely remember a few things from HS. When Perrin states that he studied SEVERAL books of history what does he mean by it? They are basically peasants (but they can read and write) in a very little village far from the world.

 

What kind of education did a peasant have in the 16-17th century? Or is this an error? (For example blacksmiths are not bodybuilders, no, they are not.)

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WoT isn't really like real 16-17 history in this respect, at least in Two Rivers and other areas. Everyone in Two Rivers is literate and plenty of them has read a lot of books. Books seem to be relatevely cheap due to printing presses.

 

Here is what Jordan said about this when asked:

 

"For Kison, education in this world is a very sometime thing. In the Two Rivers, where literacy is valued, parents teach children, and if, say, old Jondyn is known to be knowledgeable about history, parents send their children to him. This education is not as broad as that they might receive in a school, but then, the education given in many schools as late of the 19th Century would hardly stand up to today's standards. Rhetoric was given as great a weight as mathematics when it wasn't given more. Modern languages were deplored, and not taught even at university level. Parents teaching children is the general model followed. Sometimes a village might hire a sort of schoolmaster, but this is usually thought to be a waste of money since the parents between them have enough knowledge to teach most subjects to the extent necessary."

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David, thank you very much, this was a very helpful post.

 

Two things: the leader of our book club suggested to me that I should read a book called The Making of the English Working Class, I'm skimming the book right now (I will read it this week), and while the author gives us plenty examples how parents teach children, I think there is big difference between the 16th century and the 19th century regarding the teaching, reading etc.

 

The second one. Two Rivers has no real connection to the world but they have so many books, they are 'too' educated. Coming from a little village, I can say that even 200-300 years later they are too erudite/well read.

 

They have their bestseller (Farstrider), everyone reads that book all day, I can accept that, but the fact that a simple blacksmith in very little village at 'end of the world' reads several books about history (even they are light history book) is just too much for me.

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They do get peddlers through to the two rivers, Fain for one use to come every year.  The mayor even had ordered fireworks.  They might be remote but its not like they had no contact at all with the outside world.  After all two rivers tabac was prized. Like the Aiel where it was mentioned they bought up all the books the peddlers brought with them, it might be the same in the two rivers.  Whatever books they brought, people might of bought regardless of what it was about.  Not to mention they can also travel to the other two river towns to trade so they might come back with books also.  So they might of been remote and many outsiders had no reason to go to the two rivers but they still conducted trade with the outside world.

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They do get peddlers through to the two rivers, Fain for one use to come every year.  The mayor even had ordered fireworks.  They might be remote but its not like they had no contact at all with the outside world.  After all two rivers tabac was prized. Like the Aiel where it was mentioned they bought up all the books the peddlers brought with them, it might be the same in the two rivers.  Whatever books they brought, people might of bought regardless of what it was about.  Not to mention they can also travel to the other two river towns to trade so they might come back with books also.  So they might of been remote and many outsiders had no reason to go to the two rivers but they still conducted trade with the outside world.

 

I understand your point, but it does not click to me.

 

Aiel: how many books do they have? 10/30/50/100 per holdings/septs/clans?

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Not sure how many books the Aiel have; or the ratio to holding/sept/clan.

 

Nobles I guess are taught the most.  White Tower initiates I guess would be second.

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In terms of education, you have to remember that only 3000 years ago, this was a world of near utopia, where nearly everybody had some kind of education, and could read, and there was likely a culture supportive of education generally.  Then you have the Breaking, where you have people fleeing for their lives and trying to cling to anything from their former livelihoods they can preserve, and most crucially, the survival of printing presses, which actually made preserving literacy possible.  With the Two Rivers specifically, you have a former great nation, Manetheren, founded just after the end of the Breaking, which was a center for culture, learning and trade, and was apparently prosperous enough to not suffer from high rates of oppressive poverty, roughly two thousand years ago.  

 

Then came the Fall of Manetheren, where the population was much more than decimated, land and buildings destroyed, and the capital city left completely razed and depopulated.  The few survivors managed to cling on, but the Old Road that connected Manetheren to the rich trade routes to the south was effectively abandoned and lost, cutting them off.  The Old Road heading north to the Caemlyn Road kept them marginally connected with the rest of the world, but there wouldn't have been much reason for anybody to go there except for small-time traders and tinkers doing business with the survivors and their descendants.  That marginal connection allowed them their supply of books with which they could maintain their culture of general literacy and basic education.  

 

Eventually, they grew and became a source of export of wool and tabac, and by the time Hawkwing united Randland, that would only have benefited their culture as well.  By this point, they were at least prosperous enough to be taxed and have their roadways protected and laws enforced by a police force, in spite of their isolation.  When Hawkwing's Empire fell, the Two Rivers folk would hardly have noticed much, they no doubt didn't even have to submit their taxes to different tax collectors.  The time since the Hundred Years War has been depicted as a period of general decline, or at least stagnation, of civilization generally in Randland, but the Two Rivers at least would have been fairly isolated from that decline, at worst experiencing a mild economic lull as demand for their wool and tabac slackens, but one that would be alleviated somewhat by Caemlyn stopping the collection of taxes in that area several generations back.  And while that should cause literacy rates to fall somewhat, fairly high literacy rates should persist.

 

Stories in the rest of Randland will be different depending on their different histories, it would be easy to see how the peasantry of Tear, for example, or the residents of the Foregate of Cairhein, may no longer be very literate or educated as a whole.  But some of them, like the Aiel, would be hard to say how literacy and education would have been preserved, how much and how it's taught.  

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From memory, one of the Clan Chiefs actually asked for Two Rivers tabac from the peddlers in The Shadow Rising. So they're known in the Waste at least.

 

As for the books per clan, the books brought in by the Peddlers were all snapped up very quickly, so I would say that it's quite possibly large.

 

The Printing Press helps with that as well - Literacy rates were low for so long in our world because books were so expensive. The printing press fixes that problem.

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Not sure how many books the Aiel have; or the ratio to holding/sept/clan.

 

Nobles I guess are taught the most.  White Tower initiates I guess would be second.

I think that generally Aes Sedai will have the best education, then nobles. (Obviously there will be some nobles that know a lot as well). This is partly because Aes Sedai live longer, so can study more and partly because they 'need' to know more than Nobles as they 'need' to be respected, able to take charge. The Aes Sedai also have one of the best libraries in the world, so have more access to knowledge. Most nobles won't have access to the same sort of resource.

 

Interesting to think where Ogier fit in, they also have very long lives, are very interested in knowledge, etc... Moiraine asks Loial for information on the Forsaken, and Loial won't know the most out of the Ogier.

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The Printing Press helps with that as well - Literacy rates were low for so long in our world because books were so expensive. The printing press fixes that problem.

 

Basic literacy was common in the Classical antiquity.

 

As for the books per clan, the books brought in by the Peddlers were all snapped up very quickly, so I would say that it's quite possibly large.

 

Then I'd say that it's quite possibly small. ;)

 

 

I think that generally Aes Sedai will have the best education, then nobles. (Obviously there will be some nobles that know a lot as well). This is partly because Aes Sedai live longer, so can study more and partly because they 'need' to know more than Nobles as they 'need' to be respected, able to take charge. The Aes Sedai also have one of the best libraries in the world, so have more access to knowledge. Most nobles won't have access to the same sort of resource.

 

Interesting to think where Ogier fit in, they also have very long lives, are very interested in knowledge, etc... Moiraine asks Loial for information on the Forsaken, and Loial won't know the most out of the Ogier.

 

Very good post, thank you.

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From which books do the quoted scenes come from?

I have no idea about the printing press.

 

The Aiel buying books as a priority is from the Shadow Rising after Rhuidean when the clan comes across the Peddler, chapter 37

 

Moiraine asks Loial about the Forsaken in the Dragon Reborn, chapter 50

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From which books do the quoted scenes come from?

I have no idea about the printing press.

 

The Aiel buying books as a priority is from the Shadow Rising after Rhuidean when the clan comes across the Peddler, chapter 37

 

Moiraine asks Loial about the Forsaken in the Dragon Reborn, chapter 50

 

I was asking about the ones in the opening post.

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Lol sorry :(

 

The first ones in a crown of swords.

 

The second's in Winters Heart

Edited by BFG

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Education has always been a bit wonky in Wheel of Time. The fact that Egwene learns how to be smarter and better at everything than women who've spent decades if not centuries plotting and learning, and in less than two years, should tell you that. Best way to look at it is to just accept that Robert Jordan left a few holes here and there.

 

Also, "only 3000 years ago." lolwat?

Edited by Tranovious

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The gap in education between Elayne and Nynaeve (and Egwene early on) is shown to be pretty big quite a few times. Egwene is quite annoyed about it a few times in TDR. ;)

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@Tranovious, I always felt there was too much of a push by RJ and BS to make Egwene too good, too smart, and too powerful.  I almost felt as if she was suppose to be the female Rand.

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3000 years ago isn't that long, to be honest.  It's roughly as far back as Hellenistic Greece.  There's lots of little culture quirks and traditions that can be traced back that far and farther.

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@Tranovious, I always felt there was too much of a push by RJ and BS to make Egwene too good, too smart, and too powerful.  I almost felt as if she was suppose to be the female Rand.

 

There is no 'if'.

 

I forgot to add this last time (tEotW, chapter 36):

 

When he stepped into the room to which she had directed him, he stopped and stared. The shelves must have held three or four hundred books, more than he had ever seen in one place before. Clothbound, leather-bound with gilded spines. Only a few had wooden covers. His eyes gobbled up the titles, picking out old favorites. The Travels of Jain Farstrider. The Essays of Willim of Maneches. His breath caught at the sight of a leather bound copy of Voyager Among the Sea Folk. Tam had always wanted to read that.

 

So many books. A simple inn has a huge library. Or is it normal???

 

The bolded part vs "all of Bran’s books stood idle on the shelf opposite the fireplace" (tEotW, chapter 2) I could call this a contradiction but who knows, maybe there is a villager who owns at least 40-80-100 books. Maybe.

Edited by udbabor520

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Can we assume that education and literacy is widespread just because our main characters can read? Just cause rand and egwene can read doesn't mean the congars and coplins can.

 

Rand is the only son of a widely traveled soldier who was at one point an officer in the illian equivalent of the secret service. He saw politics first hand and knew the benifits of an education. Egwene was the daughter of arguably the region's only politician and possibly it's wealthiest family. Ny was likely expected to be educated to hold her post. Mat's father was one to try to find a leg up on everybody, etc.

 

And it is not presented unreasonably in my opinion. Remember how Mat's letters were described?

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Remember how Mat's letters were described?

Ugghh why remind us. That was a Sandersonism, I wouldn't read anything into that.

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Can we assume that education and literacy is widespread just because our main characters can read? Just cause rand and egwene can read doesn't mean the congars and coplins can.

 

Rand is the only son of a widely traveled soldier who was at one point an officer in the illian equivalent of the secret service. He saw politics first hand and knew the benifits of an education. Egwene was the daughter of arguably the region's only politician and possibly it's wealthiest family. Ny was likely expected to be educated to hold her post. Mat's father was one to try to find a leg up on everybody, etc.

 

I see where you are coming from but to me is very clear that almost everyone is able to compose/read letters/books, yes, that is my big problem. There is a sense of a very good general education (a blacksmith - 'at the end of the world' - reads several books on history, 20-40-60 books per household) but we don't see it (aside from AS).

 

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As for the inn having so many book, is was an inn in a very large city.  So he would have access to a lot more books to purchase not to mention some of those book might of been there awhile.  Its possible things like books are handed down so that library might of been growing for many many years.  I don't see any issues with everyone in Edmonds Field being literate and having some education.  A place like Edmonds Field books might be shared among friends etc...  Now are they probably reading deep philosophy, probably not.  Now had the group left the two rivers and suddenly started spouting off histories of certain areas, or Rand was suddenly an expert on taxes and marshaling armies I would have a much bigger issue with their education.  I am sure even a Tarien common farmer probably has a very basic education that includes reading and writing.  But again if average tairens are spouting off some old tongue I would question it. 

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About Mat; at least part of his education seems to come from the memories.  Not sure how much came from before he got them.

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As for the inn having so many book, is was an inn in a very large city.  So he would have access to a lot more books to purchase not to mention some of those book might of been there awhile.  Its possible things like books are handed down so that library might of been growing for many many years.  I don't see any issues with everyone in Edmonds Field being literate and having some education.  A place like Edmonds Field books might be shared among friends etc...  Now are they probably reading deep philosophy, probably not.  Now had the group left the two rivers and suddenly started spouting off histories of certain areas, or Rand was suddenly an expert on taxes and marshaling armies I would have a much bigger issue with their education.  I am sure even a Tarien common farmer probably has a very basic education that includes reading and writing.  But again if average tairens are spouting off some old tongue I would question it. 

 

Sounds about right.

 

Ironically I'm re-reading KoD, and when Rand returns to Tear, he thinks to himself that he had no idea whether his tax cuts were actually helping people and Elayne would know better. LTT replies to him by trying to explain wealth creation and how it interfaces with taxation to create jobs. Rand doesn't understand a single word of it.

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