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Barid Bel Medar

IWW: A look at WoT's women

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Ugh, just to clarify, this thread is for you guys to voice your opinions on who you look up to etc.. I'm not going to do a write-up or anything, although I'll have a say. 

 

 

Also, if you don't like a certain character, this isn't the place to do it. This thread is specifically about what female characters people look up to. Discuss it to death elsewhere, but if you disagree with someone, don't argue it on this thread. 

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If I have to pick just one Egwene. She was a charicter I could not get into until about the 7th book. She developed into a more interesting piece at that point and then about book 10-11 became one of my favorite charicters to read. 

 

Next few on the list 

Moraine 

Faile, though I dislike most of the Perrin story arc

Nynaeve when she is not being so hypocritical. 

Lanfear, because of her unreciprocated love for Lews Therin. 

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These seem good to me::

-Moiraine; her commitment to keep people from turning to the Shadow.

-Aviendha & the Aiel Wise Ones; their morals.

-Elayne; she seems to intend the best for her people.

-Nynaeve; her commitment to protect the 3 taveren, and she seems to attempt to heal wrong things.

-Egwene; she also seemed to have morals and seemed to be a good leader.

-Min; her concern for people who will experience bad things.

-Faile; she seemed to be a help towards Perrin's good leadership.

-Suian; same as Faile but for Egwene.

-Tuon; she seems to be against the Shadow.

 

edit::

thought of these after making this post::

-Morgase & Lini; their advise/wisdom/etc to Elayne and Elayne's siblings.

-Loras; she was not willing to help break Egwene.  And her help in Suian's and Leane's escape seemed good.

 

another edit::

-Sea Folk; they seem to always keep their promises.

Edited by mb

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These seem good to me::

-Moiraine; her commitment to keep people from turning to the Shadow.

-Aviendha & the Aiel Wise Ones; their morals.

-Elayne; she seems to intend the best for her people.

-Nynaeve; her commitment to protect the 3 taveren, and she seems to attempt to heal wrong things.

-Egwene; she also seemed to have morals and seemed to be a good leader.

-Min; her concern for people who will experience bad things.

-Faile; she seemed to be a help towards Perrin's good leadership.

-Suian; same as Faile but for Egwene.

-Tuon; she seems to be against the Shadow.

 

It doesn't count if you just list ever major female lead who isn't a darkfriend :p

 

 

 

I'd have to go with Moiraine. Whatever her personality flaws are, she has a single minded drive towards seeing humanity survive the Last Battle, a willingness to put aside any petty distractions or personal feelings in the name of the greater good, which I always found incredibly admirable. She doesn't sit around the White Tower caught up in petty politicking or roam the world with her nose up at the common populace like 99% of the other Aes Sedai, she goes out and damn well does what needs to be done, gives all of herself to the cause from beginning to end. Even aforementioned personality flaws (her tendency towards manipulation and withholding information, often arbitrarily) she's eventually capable of recognizing and working to reign in when she realizes that they're counterproductive to her goal.

 

My second would be Egwene, for two reasons. The first is that she has a strong moral core which I feel is really lacking in a lot of the other female leads, especially as she develops as a character. The second is her sense of drive - most of the other main characters were roped into things one way or another, because of birth (prophecy/ta'veren/rank/power) or because they were pulled into events by the actions of others or because of their feelings for others, but Egwene is one of the few who knew what she wanted (to see the world outside her village and to reach her full potential as a person) and had the volition to grab her chance at it and hold on, the drive to keep pushing herself to become the person she wanted to be. In a series full of characters who are pulled around reluctantly by fate or birth or society, Egwene is one of the few people who decides what she wants to be herself and then does what she has to to make it happen.

 

Finally, Min. For the sheer balls it would take to navigate a world full of deadly warriors, horrible monsters and demi-godlike channelers with nothing but your wits, a pair of knives and some (pretty useless) clairvoyance.

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It doesn't count if you just list ever major female lead who isn't a darkfriend :p

From the opening posts, it seems to me there is not a limit like that.

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.

Gosh. So many I could make a long list. However I will just name a couple:

 

 - The women of Emond's Field; going on half rations during the siege without telling the men so they would not worry; successfully filling in the holes when the line broke with their kitchen cutlery as weapons.

 - Faile; her unwavering fierce devotion to her husband's success. Even when their plot got a bit wacky, she was always 100% behind her husband. Very smart girl too.

 

.

 

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I like a lot of the women, but I don't really look up to very many of them, except for Moiraine. She's just awesome and not a whiny man-hater like many of the others.

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She really was! It was subtle but  there. She wanted Lews Therin, now Rand was a very different man (height aside) but she decided she could live with it, then remember how she was discussing how she liked him all uncertain and unsure of himself? Then when that changed she told him how she liked him strong and decisive. Like I said, she knew what she wanted but was flexible as to the details.

 

Cyndane was never as much fun.

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She was flexible about Rand because she didn't want him for his personal qualities, she wanted him for the power he represented, exactly the same as when she was Mierin and dating Lews Therin. If there had been a more powerful male channeler with greater political influence (and possibly not even the latter, as she planned to set herself and her partner up as more or less gods anyway), Lanfear would have been all over him instead. She wanted power (to an almost mentally unstable degree - overthrowing the creator and so forth*), nothing else. Lews Therin is quite explicit about this, which is why he left her in the first place.

 

*One has to wonder what this would entail exactly - the creator isn't a ruler, just, well, the guy who created everything. It's obvious that Lanfear is the only one other than Ishammael with goals that go beyond earthly power, but what are they? What would Lanfear want so much that she places it above ruling the world in the Dark One's name, as the other Forsaken (bar Ishammael) think they will. It's interesting to speculate, given that Lanfear was a researcher of presumably considerable influence in the AoL and likely acquainted with all sorts of metaphysical and philosophical ideas. Recreate the world in her own image, as opposed to the Dark One's? But she's still just ruling a physical plane of reality. Create her own world with it's own rules? Break the dualism which is inherent in the pattern (getting around this dualism was, after all, the result of the experiment she was involved in which resulted in the Bore)? If she managed this, she could then cast off her male partner without the need for a man to access half of the One Power - but then what?

 

It's a shame we see so much of Lanfear as the jealous ex-lover/temptress/power hungry villain, but none of what must have been her considerable depth of scientific and metaphysical knowledge, her ideas and theories and the specifics of her goals. Like most of the Forsaken, she had the potential to add considerable depth to the setting which was never really utilized.

Edited by Azrayne

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Ishammael?  I think his name was "Ishamael".

 

the other Forsaken thought that they would rule the world?  From what I recall/skimmed, very few of them revealed thoughts that were similar to that.

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That is what I said Azrayne, she knew what she wanted, but was flexible about the details. Really though, Rand could have been severed and I don't think it would have mattered all that much, I think by the start of the series it had moved well beyond power for her, she wanted him one way or another.

 

As to her goal of challenging the Creator, I think that was just a crazy notion of hers, she wanted power, what was more powerful than the DO or Creator? She wanted absolute power, that doesn't mean it was remotely achievable.

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Ishammael?  I think his name was "Ishamael".

 

I added an extra 'm,' sue me. The forum auto-correct doesn't include fictional villains.

 

 

the other Forsaken thought that they would rule the world?  From what I recall/skimmed, very few of them revealed thoughts that were similar to that.

 

 

That's exactly what they thought - they each schemed to become Nae'Blis, the one who would be the Dark One's regent on earth when he reshaped the world in his own image.

 

 

The title of nae'blis is promised to the one who will rule the world one step below the Dark One, ruling over all the rest of the Chosen as well as the lands. All the Chosen contend for this position of great importance, and the Dark One himself has mentioned it to some as a possibility - http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Nae%27blis

 

 

 

 

That is what I said Azrayne, she knew what she wanted, but was flexible about the details. Really though, Rand could have been severed and I don't think it would have mattered all that much, I think by the start of the series it had moved well beyond power for her, she wanted him one way or another.

 

I'm not sure if there's any textual evidence one way or the other for this. She certainly had gotten her desire for power tied in pretty deep with with her desire for Lews TheRand on some psychological level (maybe she needs to sit down on the couch for a few sessions with Graendal?), but it's made pretty explicit that her original desire for him was purely (or at least largely) based on his power and influence.

 

 

As to her goal of challenging the Creator, I think that was just a crazy notion of hers, she wanted power, what was more powerful than the DO or Creator? She wanted absolute power, that doesn't mean it was remotely achievable.

 

 

Who knows how crazy it is or isn't? That's my whole point - she wasn't just some superpowered jealous ex, she was one of the forefront researchers of the most technologically and intellectually advanced period of time we know about, behind the jealous woman she was portrayed as (the 3k years trapped in the Bore after the War of Power might have had something to do with that, but I think it was just a question of writing) there had to have been a brilliant, sophisticated and well educated mind in it's own right - who knows what knowledge and theories she possessed which may or may not have been possible to enact with the most powerful male/female channelers in the world working together wielding the most powerful sa'angreal in existence?

 

Think back to the AoL - they believed that had peaked in their development, that they as a global civilization couldn't go any further because of the divide between Saidin and Saidar. So when they find a potential source of power that could allow them to overcome this divide, to take their civilization to undreamed of heights, it isn't going to be the chump researchers from backwater establishments on the project, it's going to be the best of the best. Even if she was just some kind of intern assisting (and the few references we have suggest otherwise), she would have have had to have been top of the class, so to speak, to earn a spot working on so prestigious a project.

 

So we're talking about one of the top minds at the peak of human civilization (that we know of), likely specializing in the application of the one power and the (meta)physics involved, and with an at least substantial knowledge of other dimensions and worlds (she claimed the WOD as her own, even though we find out she wasn't the most practically proficient there as she thought, and she obviously knew quite a bit about the portal stones and the worlds they connected to). We have absolutely no idea how viable her theories are (whatever they are). They seem insane to the characters of the 3rd age (most of whom aren't even especially well educated by the standards of the time) because they've essentially reverted back to a Renaissance era level of technology and understanding, but Mierin, who's understanding would be far above and beyond even the top minds of an age with an understanding equivalent to our 21st century, would have an entirely different understanding of what is and what isn't possible.

 

It's like a professor in quantum physics at Oxford talking to a farmer from 16th century rural England (which is pretty much what most of the main characters are, if literate ones - this excess literacy could be put down to a hangover from the Age of Legends - and the nobles aren't shown to have a much better understanding of science, just more knowledge of history/language/politics). Explaining what is, to her, the basics of her field, the things she teaches students in their very first semester, would be impossible without years of concerted effort.

Edited by Azrayne

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Tough question! There are so many strong female characters in these books it can be hard to choose.

 

I respect Verin even though she was a darkfriend. She did more to undermine the dark than maybe anyone else, so props to her.

Cadsuane. I spent a long time hating her, but she was indeed a tough SOB and ultimately helped Rand laugh again.

Min. Other than her love for Rand she never EVER had any other motive. She loved her sheephearder and everything flowed from that.

My favorite, though certainly not at first, is Egwene. She left the Two Rivers a naive girl with stars in her eyes, went to the Waste and discovered her strength, overcame the attempt to make her a puppet Amrylin Seat, defeated the Seanchan at the Tower, healed the broken Tower, reconciled the Tower with Rand and gave her life in the most spectacular way imaginable during the Last Battle. And I'm skipping stuff. Compared to her, Rand went to a void, yelled at the Dark One, and got a new body at the end. Who is the stronger character there?

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Compared to her, Rand went to a void, yelled at the Dark One, and got a new body at the end. Who is the stronger character there?

 

 

Yup, like I said in my first post, Egwene worked to seize everything she became. Rand/Mat/Perrin were awesome (well, at least Rand and Mat were, Perrin... meh) because the Pattern and Prophecy demanded it, Aviendha was entirely a product of her environment - she would have just spent her life as another generic (very generic) Maiden if not for genetics giving her a powerful Spark, and the Wise Ones forcing her to undergo training (which she accepted with great reluctance). Elayne likewise, all of her power came from her royal birth and her powerful Spark, she never worked especially hard at anything beyond making Ter'Angreal (which to be fair is admirable), gaining the Throne (after running off and abandoning her country for months so she could adventure in Ebou Dar, forcing Rand to keep to Lion Throne open, which severely weakened his position in Andor, and then getting angry at him for doing it when she finally bothered to return), which she gives the impression of doing out of possessiveness more than anything, and seducing Rand.

 

But Egwene built herself from the ground up. Yes, she was lucky to be born with the potential to become a powerful channeler, but nobody forced her to. Moiraine didn't drag her off, she's the only one of the Emond Fields kids who volunteered to go, because she wanted to see the world instead of living out her life as a village Wisdom. Even before Moiraine raised the subject, she asked about how a woman became Aes Sedai. She jumped at every chance to learn more than she knew, to experience more than she had, to become more than she was. And yet Elayne lives to rule for 500 years or whatever while Egwene dies with her work unfinished :( Probably my biggest regret about the way AMOL played out.

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As far as I recall, the only thing of Rand that Elayne was angry at seemed to be his wording (he giving the Lion Throne to her).

Ebou Dar; that to me seemed to be more obligation than adventure.  Getting the Bowl of the Winds was more important than her own country; and that getting seemed to be prophesied.

 

Egwene's work unfinished? maybe; but she seemed to have made a good start, and others I imagine would continue her work.  At least to keep her memory alive.

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@threadncromancer,

rand's personal appearance meant absolutely nothing to lanfear,she simply didn't

care a whit about it.

lanfear was powerful,ambitious,focused,unstable(to some degree) and obsessive

but(in my opinion) not flexible.

power,obsession and inflexibility made her tick,but also destroyed her,she was like a

guided missile,relentless and unwavering but rand was not a lews therin replica,he was

(to some extent) a different person so her approach and tactics were all wrong culminating

in the disastrous cairhienin  attack,an attack that cost  her everything.

 

"cyndane was never as much fun".

agreed,books 7-11 are full with half baked plots,incredibly stupid story arcs and lack of 

resolution,cyndane is a good example of what went wrong in the middle books.

when you bring someone as independent as lanfear back to the story it's either for revenge

(after all,rand "betrayed" her) or for redemption,she did neither,in fact,she did absolutely nothing.

cyndane was part of the forsaken attack during the cleansing and i expected her to fight and

die with a roar,i.e.frontal assault,all guns blazing,kamikaze style attack,well, cyndane did fight

but it was barely a whimper. lol.

robert jordan had no idea what to do with her,she returned like a broken machine,a rudderless

person,adrift and aimless.

Edited by jack of shadows

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As far as I recall, the only thing of Rand that Elayne was angry at seemed to be his wording (he giving the Lion Throne to her).

 

She should have been on her knees with gratitude for him risking so much to hold it open for her (and the Sun Throne on top of it - I get that he's in love and all but does she seriously need two Kingdoms to rule? with vastly different political and cultural setups. No way that ends well unless she sets up a Governor type figure in Cairhien), instead of handing it over to another capable candidate when she did a no-show for months (there was one, one of the older Andoran Noblewomen - forgot her name, but some of the others tried to put her up to it and she refused). He left a big, chaotic political vacuum in two major world powers which he barely held together while he was also ruling (well, Chief-of-Clan-Chiefing) the Aiel, Tear and later Illian, dealing with the Forsaken, political dissent, the Shaido, the Seanchan, trying to unite the nations for the Last Battle, building the Black Tower (which might have never become the disaster it was if he had had time to pay some personal intention instead of handing it over to a suspiciously knowledgable ex-False Dragon he just met who -shock - turns out to be a Darkfriend*). She didn't even bother telling him where she was going or when she'd be back.

 

If Elayne really cared about being a good queen to Andor and taking care of her people and her kingdom, she should have left Salidar the moment she could do so freely. Hell, she didn't even try to ask permission from the Salidar Aes Sedai to go back to Caemlyn after her mother died (as far as the world knew) and hold things together there, she didn't show any concern about the state of Andor beyond just shrugging when she thinks her mum is dead, she just chills out at Salidar getting petted on the head for making ter'angreal and the knowledge she stole from Moghedien. Then when Egwene is raised to Amyrlin and grants Elayne nominal Aes Sedai status, she could have gone back to Andor freely - it would have stabilized Andor and given her a chance to help Cairhien (even if she didn't know about Rand's plan to put her on the Sun Throne), been a huge win for the Salidar Aes Sedai having one of their own (more or less, at least someone on their side, even if they only accepted her as a full sister because of Egwene's public decree) ruling the major world power with the strongest ties to Tar Valon, made moving their army through Andoran territory a simple process instead of the stressful and potentially dangerous one that it was. She could have possibly even given military aid (although this may not have been a good idea, but it's a factor worth considering) along with more covert humanitarian, financial and political support. Her public reunion with Gareth Bryne would have undone a huge amount of the damage caused by Rahvin via. Morghase.

 

Even without all those factors, even if she'd decided it was most prudent to stay as neutral as possible as in the Tower split and let it be handled internally in the eyes of the world stage, she still had a responsibility to Andor and it's citizens, a responsibility she'd been raised with and one she'd made a big talk about earlier in the series - but when the time to step up comes, what does she do? She runs off to Ebou Dar. Her presence there was beneficial, sure, but only in hindsight, at the time she was making the active choice to ditch her responsibility as heir to the throne to run off adventuring, right when Andor needed her the most, and the world (and Rand) most needed her to be there.

 

It's not uncharactaristic, Elayne's behavior after TSR right through the series is defined by poor decision making, but it is a really stupid and irresponsible thing to do for someone born to rule that country,

 

*I still maintain that Taim was originally Demandred and RJ changed his mind, or possibly that the Prologue, Epilogue, entire Forsaken sub-plot and a good chunk of Taim's characterization in LoC was a giant, giant red herring. It's the only reading of LoC that makes the slightest bit of sense. I know bringing this up gets peoples panties in a bunch (RJ wouldn't lie to us!), but that's my honest to God opinion, and I would stand by it through anything short of a direct contradiction and a reference to what Taim was turned into in a verified and complete copy of RJ's original notes from that era.

Edited by Azrayne

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