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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
EmperorAllspice

Do you ever imagine a character looking completely different from how they're officially meant to look?

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I have a very hard time reconciling the fact that Aiel (and implicitly Rand) are basically desert-vikings in terms of appearance. You evolve in a desert like environment, you get dark skin and dark hair/eyes. You don't grow into a ginger! I don't know, maybe DNA/evolution doesn't work the same way in Jordan-verse. I try to ignore it as much as possible. 

A considerable amount of Aiel seemed to have visited Rhuidean before the main series.  Rhuidean was covered in fog/mist up to the time of Shadow Rising.

Rand had some wetlander blood through his mother.

 

The Aiel have also only lived in the waste for an eyeblink, in evolutionary time.  

 

From my understanding, genetic changes (if any) would be common after several generations.

 

No.  Not "several generations." Dozens or more likely hundreds of generation.

 

How long have Boers lived in South Africa?  Do they have dark hair, skin and eyes now?

 

There is nothing remotely unlikely about the current appearance of the Aiel.  If they didn't all die in battles and so forth, they'd probably all die of skin cancers.

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dozens/hundreds of generations does not make sense to me.

 

my reasoning for several generations:

1.  A number of the people get the changes.

2.  They afterward beget children.  A portion of the children would be carriers of the changes.

3.  The children beget children (grandchildren of the people).  A higher percentage would be carriers; and a number would display the changes.

4.  The grandchildren beget children.  Now most of them would display the changes.

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dozens/hundreds of generations does not make sense to me.

 

my reasoning for several generations:

1.  A number of the people get the changes.

2.  They afterward beget children.  A portion of the children would be carriers of the changes.

3.  The children beget children (grandchildren of the people).  A higher percentage would be carriers; and a number would display the changes.

4.  The grandchildren beget children.  Now most of them would display the changes.

The change in one generation is tiny. And can be easily cancelled out if those with the changes don't prove to be more successful breeders.

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dozens/hundreds of generations does not make sense to me.

 

my reasoning for several generations:

1.  A number of the people get the changes.

2.  They afterward beget children.  A portion of the children would be carriers of the changes.

3.  The children beget children (grandchildren of the people).  A higher percentage would be carriers; and a number would display the changes.

4.  The grandchildren beget children.  Now most of them would display the changes.

Simply not the way it works.  Not even in fruit flies' not even in Mendel's pea plants.

 

Dozens or hundreds of generations.

 

It takes dozens of generations even for breeders of commercial poultry to make major changes.

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Dominant genes I take would have a high chance of becoming common in several generations.

Recessive genes; hundreds of generations I would count as an exaggeration.

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This isn't about dominant or recessive, it is about the initial mutation.  

 

I repeat:  In the real world, Boers have lived in South Africa for hundreds of years?  Are they now dark?

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I totally agree with that Perrin's pictures don't match expectations.

 

The big one for me though is Lanfear. None of her picture (see http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Images_by_John_Seamas_Gallagher?file=Lanfear_2.jpg) really capture her likeness for me. She is described as being the most physically beautiful woman making Graendal look plump.

 

The picture doesn't really give that impression. I guess though it is a case of imagined expectations being impossible to meet.

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I don't like it when people make Rand look like a weightlifter. (Example - Crown of Swords cover) I get that Perrin should be muscular - he's a blacksmith - but where would Rand get his muscles from?

 

I imagine Rand as being normal-built, Mat as skinny, and Perrin as muscular but NOT like a professional wrestler.

Rand has been a shepherd his entire life. There is a lot of heavy lifting to be done in that line of work. Additionally he has been training with that Two Rivers longbow for years and is quite proficient. Drawing a bow of that size takes considerable strength. I could see him being of more than average build. He would have very hearty genes as well since his biological father was the youngest clan chief in recent memory.

 

I would not expect Mat to.be skinny either. He might look it next to Rand and Perrin but I would think Mat is of at least average build. He is also skilled with the bow and the quarterstaff.

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I always picture Moiraine as a blue-eyed blonde. I can't shake it out of my head. (Perhaps the illustrator for the first book had the same issue?) And I imagine Siuan as a thin, rather petite woman with short hair, but I believe she was described as "sturdy" and with long hair.

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Honestly, most of the female characters are like this for me. Their descriptions are usually primarily personality based, with one or two distinguishing physical aspects (Nynaeve's braid, Egwene's wide brown eyes, Min's short hair and tomboy dress sense, Aviendha's Aiel features), so, eg. no matter how much I know that Nynaeve is supposed to be young and attractive, she always appears as an elderly, hunched over, bitter spinster type in my mind, because that's the archetype she acts out 90% of the time. Every time she starts tugging her braid I have to mentally adjust her age back 40 years.

 

Aviendha's the same - I know that once she starts training as a Wise One she grows out her hair, and that she's in the same age range as most of the cast (late teens/early 20's), but I still can't shake the image of a leathery skinned, muscular, crew-cut warrior woman in her 30's or 40's without conscious effort, because that's how she acts.

 

Egwene and Elayne are pretty much interchangable blobs of whatever clothes they're wearing with the appropriate hair attached.

 

Min is tricky too because so much focus is put on her wearing mens clothing and having "short" hair (which isn't very descriptive) and none on her actual innate physical appearance. Then there's the Wise Ones - I don't even bother trying to keep track of them, they're all just interchangable old women with wrinkled tanned skin in dark skirts, white blouses, scarves and jewelry.

 

There are female characters which it's easier to create a visual of - Moiraine, Tuon, Graendal and Lanfear, Verin, Sheriam, Birgitte, etc. But on the whole, the women's descriptions are more based on personality and archetype than physical appearance. By contrast, we get much stronger physical descriptions of the male characters. Their stronger tendency to appear on the covers (which was a big influence back when I first started the series, especially with the big 3) helps too, but even with characters like Lan, Logain, Taim, Sammael, Rahvin, etc. I find it much easier to visualize them. The only ones I struggle with are Galad and Gawyn, Galad because's he's just constantly described in terms of how women react to him, and Gawyn because he's just 'handsome, but not as handsome as Galad, oh and he has red hair,' which isn't much to work on. All in all, it's probably got something to do with RJ's weird gender hangups.

 

It wasn't until I did my pre-AMOL re-read, during which I used the wiki as a constant reference, that I actually managed to create more detailed images of these characters in my mind due to the great fan art. But even now, I still have to make a conscious effort with the tricky ones like Nynaeve or Galad.

 

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