Jul 22 2009 4:20pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 23

Greetings, fellow WOTians! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

I apologize for the blip in the schedule, mostly because it makes me a liar, most likely; I said we were going to finish The Fires of Heaven this week, and, well, that’s looking problematic at this point.

As a side note, I would like you to know that this week is officially fired. I swear, it’s like all the retarded crap in the world can smell when your vacation is coming up, and is like GERONIMOOOOOOOOO *boooge*


Ergo, this post, which is only covering Chapter 53. However, this is not to imply you aren’t getting your money’s worth, because it turns out that I had... rather a lot to say about Chapter 53. Oh yeah.

Possibly not unrelatedly, y’all are gently reminded that this is a happy fun blog. Debate, yay; flames and attacks, nay. Do not taunt Happy Fun Blog.

As for the rest of the book, I wanted to finish it before I went on vacation, but given all the explodedness going on I just don’t know if that’s going to happen, especially because I feel the need to do this particular Big Ass Ending justice, commentary-wise. So, schedule is pending. I will keep youse guys posted in the comments.

Anyway. Previous posts are here, and there are spoilers all up in this thing for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so be warned. Got it? Good. Go!

Chapter 53: Fading Words

What Happens
Rand watches Moiraine and Lanfear fall through the doorframe numbly as lightning crackles around it. Lan lurches toward the wagon, and Rand catches him in flows of Air, telling him there’s nothing he can do. Lan answers that he knows, hopelessly. The wagon is catching fire, now, and Rand weaves a chimney of Air around it to funnel away the smoke as the ter’angreal melts, then releases Lan.

“She is gone. I cannot feel her presence.” The words sounded ripped out of Lan’s chest. He turned and began walking down the line of wagons without a backward glance.

Rand sees Egwene on the ground, with Aviendha holding her and Mat and Asmodean hovering over them, and runs to them as the Wise Ones arrive and begin examining her. Egwene is alive, but in great pain, and Melaine tells Rand she cannot go with him to Caemlyn; Egwene tries to protest and is firmly ignored by Bair and Sorilea. Aviendha says she can still go; Lanfear had not held her as long as she had Egwene. Rand says “Of course”, hollowly, and Aviendha adds she did not see everything that happened. Rand tells her that Moiraine and Lanfear are both dead, and Egwene begins to cry. Amys stands and tells him he is a fool.

He turned away from the accusation in her eyes. Moiraine was dead. Dead because he could not bring himself to kill one of the Forsaken. He did not know whether he wanted to cry or laugh wildly; if he did either, he did not think he would be able to stop.

Rand looks around at all the wounded, now with no one to Heal them. He notices again that there are no Maidens anywhere, and that Dobraine is there, watching him; not far off Talmanes, Daerid and Nalesean are watching Mat as well as him. People line the walls, too, all watching. Rand goes to Lan and apologizes to him, and Lan answers that Moiraine was just as much a warrior in her way as he, and she always knew this could happen, and “It was a good day to die.” Rand tries to get him to stay, but Lan explains to him about Moiraine passing his bond to another sister, and now he must go to her. He mounts, hesitates, and tells Rand that if he sees Nynaeve again, to tell her that he’s found someone else, that he left to be a Green sister’s lover. Rand replies that he’ll pass on the message, but doesn’t know whether she will believe him.

Lan bent from the saddle to catch Rand’s shoulder in a hard grip. Rand remembered calling the man a half-tame wolf, but those eyes made a wolf seem a lapdog. “We are alike in many ways, you and I. There is a darkness in us. Darkness, pain, death. They radiate from us. If ever you love a woman, Rand, leave her and let her find another. It will be the best gift you can give her.”

He salutes Rand, which Rand returns in kind, and gallops away. Rand suddenly can’t stand all the eyes on him, and hurries into the dockmaster’s hut, where he curses himself for not seeming to be able to mourn. He pulls out Moiraine’s letter and opens it. In the letter, she warns him that the writing will fade once it leaves his hands, and that if he is reading this, then events at the docks have happened as she hoped they would; she’s known since Rhuidean that one day news would arrive in Cairhien of Morgase, and each time that news led to the docks the next day. There were three possible “branches” from that, but if he’s reading this, then she is gone, and so is Lanfear.

Rand’s hands tightened on the pages. She had known. Known, and still she brought him here. Hurriedly he smoothed out the crumpled paper.

The other two paths were much worse. Down one, Lanfear killed you. Down the other, she carried you away, and when next we saw you, you called yourself Lews Therin Telamon and were her devoted lover.

I hope that Egwene and Aviendha have survived unharmed. You see, I do not know what happens in the world after, except perhaps for one small thing which does not concern you.

She continues that she could not tell him, for it seems that men of the Two Rivers share many traits with their Manetheren ancestors, and she could not risk that he would place her life above his own. She asks him to deliver Thom’s letter safely, and to tell Lan that what she did was for the best, and hopes he will understand one day. She also writes that he should “trust no woman fully who is now Aes Sedai”, and he should be as suspicious of Verin as Alviarin.

We have made the world dance as we sang for three thousand years. That is a difficult habit to break, as I have learned while dancing to your song. You must dance free, and even the best intentioned of my sisters may well try to guide your steps as I once did.

[...] Lastly, be wary too of Master Jasin Natael. I cannot approve wholly, but I understand. Perhaps it was the only way. Yet be careful of him. He is the same man now that he always was. Remember that always.

May the Light illumine and protect you. You will do well.

Rand is flabbergasted that she knew about Asmodean all along, and yet had done nothing. He ruminates about the other items in the letter, and reflects that true to her heritage, as Aes Sedai and as Cairhienin, she had “wrapped herself in mystery and manipulation to the end.” Her last words, “you will do well”, cut him to the quick. Sulin enters with three spears, and asks why he weeps alone; he glares at her and denies it, and asks what she’s doing here; he thought all the Maidens had abandoned him. She answers that it is he who has abandoned them, and takes one of her spears and snaps it in two with her foot. He asks what she is doing, and she ignores him and picks up her second spear. He puts his hand over her foot and repeats his question.

“Will you put us in skirts, and make us marry and tend hearth? Or are we to lie beside your fire and lick your hand when you give us a scrap of meat?” Her muscles tensed, and the spear broke, scoring his palm with splinters.

Rand curses and snatches back his hand, and protests that he meant no such thing, just because he kept the Maidens out of the fight with Couladin. Sulin is incredulous, and replies that they kept him out of the dance, not the other way around; the Car’a’carn has no right to risk himself needlessly. And now he goes to battle this Forsaken; it is a dance he must risk, since unlike before no one but him can fight it, but he chose warriors from every other society except the Maidens. Far Dareis Mai carries his honor, and now he takes it away. Rand confesses to her that it rips him up to see a woman die, and he would rather go against Rahvin alone than see one of them get hurt. Sulin replies that this is foolish. She tells him she forgets sometimes that he was not raised Aiel, and to listen when she tells him that this – she raises her last spear – is what she is.

“Sulin —”

“Listen, Rand al’Thor. I am the spear. When a lover came between me and the spear, I chose the spear. Some chose the other way. Some decide they have run with the spears long enough, that they want a husband, a child. I have never wanted anything else. No chief would hesitate to send me wherever the dance is hottest. If I died there, my first-sisters would mourn me, but not a fingernail more than when our first-brother fell. A treekiller who stabbed me to the heart in my sleep would do me more honor than you do. Do you understand now?”

“I understand, but...” He did understand. She did not want him to make her something other than what she was. All he had to do was be willing to watch her die.

He wants to snarl, but instead tells her to choose out her Maidens; they will have as many as any other society. Sulin smiles in pleasure, and he stalks out of the hut to find a line of Maidens waiting outside, each with three spears in her hands, stretching back all the way into the city, and when they see Sulin with spear intact, all of them smile with the same pleasure as she had shown. Amys, standing nearby, smiles too, with a nod as if to congratulate him on stopping foolish behavior. Mat, leaning on his spear, comments that he thought maybe they were taking turns kissing Rand out of his misery, and Rand asks how he can be so cheery. Mat snaps back, because he’s alive, all right?

“Burn me, if we’re going to do this thing, let’s do it. Dovie’andi se tovya sagain.”


“I said, it’s time to roll the dice. Did Sulin stop up your ears?”

“Time to roll the dice,” Rand agreed. [...] Done was done, and he had to live with it. Death would be a release from what he had to live with. “Let’s do it.”

I feel sorry for Rand at many points in this series (because as I’ve said before, WOW his job sucks), but this is one of the chapters that really made my heart just ache for him. Given his well-established tendency to blame himself for things he couldn’t control, the fact that his guilt here actually has some basis in fact just has to make it ten times worse.

Mind, I’m not blaming Rand for Moiraine’s death... precisely. But the fact remains that if he had just been able to bring himself to kill Lanfear, none of this whole scenario would have happened. And so once again we are brought to one of Rand’s central handicaps as a character: Chivalry as Crippling Mechanism. And yes, I view his chivalry as a handicap. Chivalry is a handicap, period.

Ah, I can hear some of your brains going sproing! from all the way over here. Chillax, dudes and dudettes.

Hear me out. Read, think, then react. This is all I ask.

I think a lot of people (both men and women) do not really understand the feminist objection to chivalry. And I think it’s understandable that they are confused, because it’s a subtextual objection, which not everyone knows (or cares) about looking for. They are only looking at the surface of chivalry, which on the face of it seems to have nothing remotely objectionable about it. How, they think, can anyone have a problem with a code of conduct that demands you treat women as precious, and protect them at all costs from harm? Those are good things, right? So how can they be bad?

Because, I answer, it makes the woman in question less. And that is not acceptable.

First of all, before we go any further, we must define our terms so that we’re all talking about the same thing. “Chivalry”, boys and girls, is NOT, I repeat NOT, an interchangeable term for “courtesy”, “good manners”, “honor”, or any of that. “Chivalry” is often used to mean those things, but I reject that definition, because it clouds the issue and makes it impossible for me to say “I object to chivalry” without some clown accusing me of meaning that I object to good manners or “being nice”.

Let me be perfectly clear: I like good manners. I, in fact, adore good manners. I think good manners are peachy keen. I think “being nice” is positively spiffy, y’all. For true.

If a man opens a door for me, generally speaking I have no issue. If a woman opens a door for me, generally speaking I have no issue. But if I open a door for someone and they refuse to go through it because it is a woman performing the courtesy? Oh, we got issues, honey.

(And before you say anything, know that this has happened to me, more than once. And I am not alone.)

The reasons behind opening doors for women and pulling out chairs for women and carrying bags for women are rooted in historical assertions of women’s weakness, and that it is a man’s role to take care of her. Same thing with money: the man is supposed to pay for the date because historically, women could not acquire their own wealth, and it is the man’s role to take care of her. The equation of women with children made here, as weak lesser beings that need care and protection, is not accidental, and it is, in a word, insulting and degrading. (Okay, that was two words.)


That being said, the practice of shaking hands is (supposedly) historically rooted in the need to make sure that your opposite number was not holding a weapon, and I suspect most people who shake hands today are really not thinking about checking if the other guy is packing, but are just doing what they’ve been taught to do, which is that when you meet someone, the polite thing to do is shake hands. So, too, I suspect that most guys who open a door for a woman are not thinking ZOMG must open the door for her because her fragile little hands might BREAK OFF!!1!!eleventy!, but are merely being polite in the manner in which they have been taught.

In other words, the possible negative historical associations of a tradition, in my view, do not necessarily invalidate that tradition automatically. And, you know, it’s nice when people open doors for you, especially if your hands are full.

HOWEVER, that does not mean those associations can be forgotten, or fail to be addressed. And by way of addressing the essential non-equal tradition that these types of courtesies grew from, I have no objections to said courtesies – but only as long as they are equally applied to either sex.

If you want to be courteous to me because being courteous is a nice thing to be to people, a collective group of which I am a member, that is good manners and I will be pleased to have some. If you want to be courteous to me because I am a woman and you are a man, that is chivalry, and I do not want it.

In other words, I totally don’t mind if you want to open the door for me, my guy peeps. But you really better not give me any shit if I want to, in turn, open the door for you.

Seriously, just go through the fucking door.

Which brings us back to Moiraine and Lanfear. (Ba dum dum.) I’ve been using the relatively innocuous example of opening doors to illustrate my point, but mere courtesy (and the intentions behind it) is far from the only thing chivalry covers, and in this chapter and the one preceding it we deal directly with what this is really all about. Which is that chivalry, as I’ve defined it and as Rand practices it, is about choices, and how chivalry is at root a very polite and courteous way of taking those choices away.

This is what both Moiraine and Sulin address in what they communicate to Rand here. Moiraine’s letter is a little less direct (as is her wont), but they are both essentially saying the same thing: Rand’s determination to protect Moiraine and the Maidens (and every other woman) from harm is laudable on the surface, but in effect what he is doing is attempting to take away their choice to fight.

And not only to fight in a generic sense, but to fight against Ultimate Evil, an evil that MUST be defeated at all costs, an evil that will destroy the women just as much as it will destroy the men if not defeated. So it’s insulting AND it’s stupid. Yay, not.

Moiraine also knew (and says in the letter) that Lan has this same problem (though not to Rand’s extent, perhaps, or possibly just in a different way), which is why he tells Rand all this bullshit here about leaving his loved ones for their own good. And it is bullshit, because again it’s all about taking the women’s choices away from them. Who died and made Lan (or Rand) arbiter of what Nynaeve/Elayne/Min/Aviendha do with their lives? Chivalry! Bad!

(Not to mention, Rand DOES NOT NEED fuel for his psychoses vis-à-vis romantic relationships, dude! Not helping!)

Moiraine, in her awesomely devious way, decided to sidestep the problem of Rand’s chivalry by simply not giving Rand the opportunity to take her choice to fight Lanfear away from her. Sulin, by contrast, confronts him head-on, and demands that he acknowledge that that is what he is doing, and that it is not right for him to do so. And it is to Rand’s credit that once it is explicitly stated to him in that way, he acknowledges (however painfully) that Sulin is right.

And she is right.

(Why, yes, that is a gauntlet you see before you.)

It follows, therefore, that if women have the right to fight, then they have the right to be injured or killed doing so. Freedom means accepting the consequences of that freedom, and this is precisely what Sulin demands and Moiraine simply arranges to take. They are, essentially, demanding the right to be grownups, with all the possible ugliness and harsh realities that adulthood confers.

And it sounds a little deranged, but it also follows, therefore, that if Lanfear has the right to choose to be evil, she has the right to be treated like any other evil person and be killed with extreme killedness. Sheesh.

Of course, this particular aspect of the anti-chivalry argument is a lot harder for many people to swallow than most of the rest of it. In other words, to open a door or not to open a door is one thing, but women in combat, that’s a whole ‘nother question.

Given that, I had something of a revelation when recapping Rand’s scene with Sulin, which may or may not be correct, but it rings true to me, so what the hell, I’ll share it. And that revelation is: sometimes an author’s personal voice leaks through his or her stories, and I think this is one of those times.

This is a little “huh?”, maybe, since WOT is all Jordan’s voice, seeing as he, you know, wrote it. But what I mean is, the conversation Rand and Sulin have in this chapter strikes me as being a more or less direct transcription of the dilemma Jordan himself had with this issue, that of women in combat.

Whatever criticisms one may (legitimately or otherwise) make about Jordan’s portrayal of/experiments with gender politics in WOT, there can be no doubt that he was writing from an at least nominally feminist perspective. By which I mean, it’s clear to me that he generally believed that female and male power (in whatever way you mean that term) should ideally be complementary; not the same, and not never in conflict, but also never one ascendant to the other. Whenever that does happen in WOT (one gaining more power than the other), the world doesn’t work right; it’s only when the two halves work together equally that harmony can be achieved. This basic philosophy is reflected, obviously, in the magic system he constructed for the series. (More or less; we’re not getting into my issues with the whole saidin:fight::saidar:surrender thing today.)

Where it is less perfectly reflected is in the “real”, or physical world of Randland, where there are imbalances that are not addressed or accounted for. These are many, but the one we’re talking about at the moment is the issue of female fighters, and that for all the gestures Jordan makes in that direction, it remains that they are not the norm in any culture in Randland proper.

This, by the way, includes the Aiel. As commenter “welltemperedwriter” pointed out, yes, Far Dareis Mai are a society of female warriors, but their unique status among the societies indicates that they are an exception, rather than a rule. A fully accepted exception, true, but an exception nevertheless, and one that still manages to categorize them based on their gender first, and everything else second. A male Aiel warrior has many choices about which society he may join; he can be a Stone Dog or a Thunder Walker or etc etc. A female Aiel warrior has one; be a Maiden, or not.

This is not me saying Oh, the poor Maidens, they are so downtrodden. I am saying that it’s an imbalance, one that at least partially contradicts Jordan’s basic tenets of male and female being complementary halves of a whole. And one that gets exponentially more problematic when you expand to include the other cultures in Randland, where women in combat are frowned upon where they are not outright forbidden. (The Seanchan are an exception, true, but their status as the “exotic other”/outsider culture in WOT is... not helpful to the argument, I’m afraid.)

And I think this is due to a conflict Jordan himself had in this particular arena, in that (I believe) he intellectually believed men and women should be equal in all ways, but viscerally he had a problem adhering to it when it comes to women in combat.

I also believe he was aware of this contradiction, and the scene here with Rand and Sulin pretty much explicitly addresses this dilemma. And again, I give Jordan credit (as I did Rand, as Jordan’s voice) that he understood that the impulse to protect women may be anchored in noble intentions, but that does not change what it is, which is an attempt, however unconsciously, to take her choices away. To make her less.

I could wish that he had seeded this acknowledgment a little more thoroughly throughout Randland, and I do wonder why he appeared to consider Far Dareis Mai to be a sufficient sop to the notion, but I appreciate the acknowledgement, at least. It’s more than you get from most quarters.

I have no proof that any of what I’m postulating about what Jordan really thought on this subject is true, of course, but this was how it came across to me, and since I’m the one riding this here hoss, you got to hear about it. length, evidently. Ahem! So, in conclusion, this chapter made me think some things, and these are the things I thought. About these things. Hopefully they have caused you to think some things, too. You may not think the same things that I thought about these things, but I hope that you have at least thought about my thoughts on these things.

And now, I think I will go *thunk*. Whew.

And that’s our post for today, kids! Be as excellent in commentage as you consistently have been for this here blog, and for which you get many warm fuzzies from me, and watch your karma embiggen. See you – uh, well, soon. More As It Develops. Fin!

1. ClairedeT
Go Leigh!

A great commentary, which I fully agree with. One of the things I find most irritating about Rand is his issue with protecting women. On a similar? point, I've also always found it strange that often the 'good' guys explicitly won't kill people. Surely it is better to humanely remove someone like Lanfear than let them wreak havoc on total innocents?

Anyway, can't wait for the concluding chapters.
Marcus W
2. toryx
Lastly, be wary too of Master Jasin Natael. I cannot approve wholly, but I understand. Perhaps it was the only way. Yet be careful of him. He is the same man now that he always was. Remember that always.

This is why I'm sure it wasn't Moiraine who killed Asmodean. She knows better than to interfere with the situation.

Sulin's demonstration to Rand is one of my favorite scenes in the series. I don't remember how old I was when I first read this book (right after it was published) but I do remember putting the book down for several minutes after reading that scene and processing it, feeling my understanding of the world and my place in it change. That was when I lost a lot of the "chivalry" as Leigh defines it that I was raised to believe in.

I agree completely with Leigh's suggestion that this represents a struggle within Robert Jordan himself. I think in a large way, it's a struggle Rand is never able to reconcile because RJ couldn't either. That really disappoints me, personally. I understand why Rand feels the way he does, as one who once felt that way myself, but I wish he'd done more than understand what his actions do to women. I wish he were capable of accepting that his beliefs are wrong and hurtful toward women and make a change as a consequence of that.

Sometimes we just have to learn that what we were taught to believe since birth is wrong. Maturity comes when you accept that and make the changes in yourself that are necessary to become a better person.

-Edit to clarify first paragraph.
Rich Gold
3. richg25
wasn't it General Sherman who said (paraphrasing) that war is hell and any attempt to make it otherwise is wrong. The point is - either shit or get off the pot. If you're going to fight a war, which is an inherently evil thing, then go all out and get it over as quickly as possible. Playing at it is actually even MORE evil.
Michael Catapano
4. hoping
Have a nice vaca

I agree with much of what you said above. However, Rand's difficulty with killing women, or any of his weaknesses, don't bother me at all. They just make him more human. I think we see all along that Rand can't behave like others want or do what others tell him to do. He has to intuitively find his own way and that is the only way he will be able to defeat the DO. Moraine figured this out shortly before her current demise and became a much more effective teacher and helper.

We'll savor Asmo one more week.
Kurt Lorey
5. Shimrod

What if Rand is being overly affected by LTT's feelings here? Can't/won't kill another woman because of his guilt over Ilyena? IIRC, Rand didn't have as many qualms back when he killed that DF chasing him while on his way to Andor.

It's Mat's behavior that ought to be the subject of your chivalry discussion. Shouldn't it?

As for Moiraine, placing that angreal in Lanfear's reach might have preempted Rand's ability to kill Lanfear. Getting that angreal to Lanfear probably evened the playing field, power-wise. Circular argument...

For the rest of your thesis, I agree completely.

Hang in there, vacation will come.
AJ MacPherson
6. Mackey62
Wow, Big Can meet Leigh, Leigh, Big Can.

I understand the "making less" part in choices being taken away. But the door thing is example is pushing it a little. Personally, the decision to hold a door open or step in for someone holding a door has nothing to do with if they can hold the door, but just being nice. If a man or woman is holding the door, most times I will let him or her go through b/c they were there first and most likely want to get some where as well. It is a returning of a nice gesture of opening the door. And if we are being honest, sometimes you do that for a woman because you want to get a better look! (I like women, shoot me).

So yes taking away choices from women is bad. Taking choices away from anyone is bad. So much to say, will jsut leave it at that.
7. ladyboredom
Leigh, thanks for the great summary, but the commentary was.... *snore*
Antoni Ivanov
8. tonka
Amys stands and tells Rand he is a fool.

What do you think Amys meant by calling Rand a fool ?
Marcus W
9. toryx
Mackey 62 @ 6:

But the door thing is example is pushing it a little. Personally, the decision to hold a door open or step in for someone holding a door has nothing to do with if they can hold the door, but just being nice.

As Leigh pointed out, there's a big difference between holding the door to be nice, and refusing to allow it in return. That's the distinction she's trying to make. And I've seen men treat women like that before too. Very uncool.
10. Lightblindedfool
I know this is a little late, but I thought the book said Moiraine pulled the angreal "at random" out of a bag to place by the doorway.

I keep meaning to re-read that part, but I keep forgetting. Since I cannot follow through, I deserve to "lower my eyes" here if I am wrong.
Duane Swab
11. Qtip-the-Sixth
You bring up some excellent points on chivalry, and why it is a politely demeaning institution, but you did not bring up the point that won the argument for my girlfriend a decade ago: Courtly Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry. That is, the worship of women as precious from afar, without sullying them with physical affection in any way. To place them on pedestals and not acknowledge their humanity, or that they could have their own base desires.
It truly was a revlation at 23, that women were human, too: with all the concommitant vices and virtues commmonly associated with humanity. To consider them anything else, even as the better sex, reduced their choices and their very virtues to something they could not help but happened due to their gender.
I'm not sure I appreciated the discussion then, or now, but the reminder IS helpful. Also I have walked through portals opened by women for the past 10 years. (unfortunately, I still inwardly wince about it. I guess I'm only intellectually reformed.)
AJ MacPherson
12. Mackey62
toryx @ 9

I understand there is a big difference, not saying it is right. What I was trying to say is that assuming that a man in that situation would refuse to allow a woman to hold the door because he thinks she is the "weaker sex" is just as bad as having the door held open because he does think a woman is the "weaker sex." Generalizations, either good or bad, are not the only reason people do things.
JS Bangs
13. jaspax
Great summary and commentary, Leigh. Some thoughts, mostly contradictory, but I hope respectfully so.

Chivalry: it doubtlessly has an aspect of taking away choice, but I would argue that much of that is a reflection of choices that weren't taken away by society, but by Mother Nature herself. Forget about opening doors here for a second: the chivalrous precept that's at stake in this chapter is the refusal to hurt a woman. In the real world, and for most people in Randland, this is a way of protecting the weak from the strong. Almost every man is stronger than almost every woman, and the ban on striking a woman is a way of recognizing this fact and attempting to limit the damage that it can cause. Violence against women is bad, amiright? Which brings us to...

Women in combat: your post ignores the most basic motivation for keeping women out of combat for most of history, which was the fact that they'd get their asses kicked in any sort of physical confrontation. Direct your complaints about this to Mother Nature. The Aiel Maidens are the exception in Randland, but tellingly I don't know of a single example in premodern times of this sort of thing in the real world. (I'd love it if someone could point me to an exception.) There were a handful of female commanders, semi-legendary stories about girls disguised as boys, and mythical counter-examples, but AFAIK no historical society ever had a recognized, accepted contingent of female warriors. In modern times this has stopped being true, not because of widespread feminist enlightenment, but because many modern military positions don't require brawn as much as technical expertise.

But I actually agree that Rand is being an idiot by being chivalrous in this scenario! When it comes to the Power, the women have no disadvantage relative to the men. It's one thing to refuse to hurt someone who is weaker than you, and quite another to refuse to hurt someone who is your equal, and represents a mortal danger to you and your loved ones. And the Maidens, realistic or not, have also proven themselves to be equals to the men, and so deserve to be recognized as such. Fortunately Rand does eventually recognize this... too late for Moiraine, though.
Pam K
14. PamK
Oh, the not-walking-through-the-door thing! So douche-y!

And yeah, Rand's excessive chivalry is definitely a weakness and character flaw. 'Cause as you point out, it's *not* about saving women's lives--it's about Rand not having to feel bad. And hey, everybody's fighting to save the world from ULTIMATE EVIL--nobody cares if your feelings get hurt, Rand!
Aidan Young
15. aidanyoung1102
Leigh, I think you make excellent points here about the nature of Chivalry in our society. I have a few thoughts to add to it.

1) There's a challenging dynamic that occurs for men in our society because there are still some women (I'm not sure what percentage these days) that expect "Chivalry" such as paying for the date, holding open the door, opening the car door, etc. I think the ratio of women varies greatly from region to region, and also generation to generation. The dilemma is that as a man you have to figure out how a woman feels about these things in any given situation; you can be "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

I will always go through the door if someone holds it for me, though. That is just being polite.

I also think we have a societal tendency towards this type of chivalry towards elders and women with small children, right or wrong.

Of course, it is never my intention to be disempowering, but it creates an additional need for awareness of each individual.

2) In terms of combat, the challenge is greater, I think. Generally speaking, men are better equipped for physical combat in terms of size and spatial coordination, but that is just a generalization.

My wife is a 3rd-degree black belt. She's also 5'3". She more than holds her own against much larger men on a regular basis, in fact she is even tougher than the average black belt because she has consistently been physically far outmatched and had to become a smarter fighter for it. My sisters, on the other hand, would go down quickly in a fight against any male that was larger and had an average amount of athletic ability.

However, these facts aren't related to their gender. My 12 year old brother -compared to an average adult male- is small, weak, and uncoordinated. So, I guess my point is that when it comes to combat the most important thing isn't gender, but size, ability, ferocity, and willingness to be involved.

The single society of female Aiel warriors is an interesting point, too, and I had never thought about it before. It probably makes more sense to have women represent a small percentage of each society, except for the HUGE problem of sexual issues entering the environment of a close-knit group of people working together as fighters. I think that's the argument against homosexuals in the military or an argument for don't ask don't tell. Sexual tension and combat tactics and training does not make for a good combination. And, unfortunately, it's very difficult to keep it out of a group of human beings when there are people sexually attracted to one another.

Back to chivalry-ish stuff. I would never hit a woman -or a man- because I would never start a fight. However, if someone started a fight with me, whether or not I hit back depends only on whether or not they are a physical match for me. Gender doesn't enter into it. I will always try to restrain someone or end the fight before anything else, regardless. Physical violence, to me, is an absolute last resort.

If it was Lanfear, though, that bitch would be dead.

Lastly, just want to say that I mean no offense to anyone! I'm looking forward to a friendly debate around these issues.
16. MasterAlThor
Great post as always Leigh!

And now....the perverbial kick of the anthill.

I fully understand and agree with your assessment of chivalry, but let me play DA.

I offer you the end of the movie the Incredibles.

Mr. Incredible does not want his wife to take part in the upcoming battle not because she can't handle it (she is a super after all), but because he knows that there is a possiblility that she may die. I do not see love as making someone less.

Let's put it this way. If a burglar broke into my home intent on killing someone, I am willing to die before I let any harm come to my wife.

Now why did I use that example? The defense of our home and family put me and my wife on equal footing. If I was not there and that happend she would give her life to protect the kids.

I simply say this, I am expected and will give my life for my wife in a do or die situation. Most if not all husbands will do the same. Most wives would expect it. I do not expect the same from my wife. I simply would not allow it. Sorry.

Now, if I was one the street and someone decided to attack me and a woman stepped in to help and I tried to defend her, that would be making her less. I think I would appreciate the help, expecially if I was getting my ass handed to me.

I can't defend Rand here, but I empathize. For the feminist, I try hard not to make women less, but I would still try to protect them if shit went down. Unless you are a cop or in the military, then I expect you to do your job.
Richard Fife
17. R.Fife
This is an interesting contrast to Borderlanders in general, isn't it? After all, it is a Borderlander that would take a mortal wound to save a woman from a scratch and call it a fair trade. Also, as I recall, didn't someone comment that Rand has taken too much to Borderland ways?

Personally, I'm of the school that the best woman is one who can kick my behind. *moment to drool over concepts of femme fatale* So I'm definitely in the camp of "old fashioned chivalry = bad" but I have to wonder, what about some of the other aspects of it, like Perrin sending Faile away, and I'd even comment on Lan's opinion over Nyneave. These aren't blanket "OMG women are less" as much as they are "OMG I want to protect the person I care about."

Yes, it might be somewhat misguided (at least in Lan's instance, but where is the line drawn between wanting to protect a person you care about and making them less? It is a quandry, and one I don't feel like addressing answer-wise right now.
18. David M.
I've only occasionally had issue with Rand's view on women, because I pretty much share it entirely. Now I do think I could have killed Lanfear. That being said, I also would gladly take a bullet for a woman, as it were. I'm a big enough fan of personal liberty to allow a woman to fight and die if she chooses, but I also ask to be allowed to feel absolutely and completely devastated by it. So I agree with Rand's choice here; let them fight if they so choose, but with the proviso that doing so will, in a very real way, wreck him emotionally.

As for Jordan and women in combat, I'm 90% sure I read a quote by him about his experience in Vietnam where he said he saw a woman shot and killed, and how that was so much worse than witnessing men suffer the same way. I can't find it right now, but I'm almost certain he said that, so your argument is appropriate. For the record, and this is almost certainly due to my small town Indiana upbringing, but I'm with Jordan on this one. It may not make logical sense, and I don't mean it as a way to demean women--quite the opposite, really--but on a basic, visceral level, seeing a women hurt is a gut wrenching thing for me.

One last thing, concerning the Maidens. Maybe they're not held as separate so much as they hold themselves separate. In other words, it's not that they're not allowed into other societies, it's that they view being a Maiden as a point of honor and choose to be separate.
Vincent Lane
19. Aegnor
I don't think Rand's inability to kill women, or order them into combat where they will be killed, necessarily has to do with how he was raised. It does have some impact, but I think the root cause lies elsewhere.

I think it comes from LTT. He was permenantly scarred by his killing of Ilyena, and I think that is bleeding through to Rand.


I disagree with some of what you say regarding chivalry. In today's civilized world, much of chivalry is unnecessary. But years ago, that was not the case. The inescapable fact is that, in general, women are physically weaker. And in a more primitive society, there certainly is a need to protect the women.

Then there is the evolutionary drive. In a primitive society, struggling to survive, women are extremely important. The limiting factor on how fast a society can grow, is how many women they have. Put bluntly, a single man can theoretically impregnate hundreds of women in a year. A woman, however, can only give birth to a single baby every 9 months. That makes protecting women a critically important evolutionary trait for any primitive society's survival.

This is why the Aiel just have the one warrior society for women. For the Aiel to survive as a people, with their incredibly harsh living environement, they need women making babies.
20. gbm
I, too, fully agree with your analysis Leigh. Being polite and showing courtesy to other people, men and women, is a GOOD THING. Chivalry, in historical and modern context, has always consisted of men treating women like helpless children.

On this point, I think you do not give Jordan enough credit, either for his general approach to balance between gender or for his specific attitudes towards women fighting. Throughout the series with Rand, there is really no point where his 'chivalrous' attitude (i.e. his obsessive guilt whenever any woman is harmed) is presented positively. Rand's thoughts are always shown negatively, whether as literary description or for effect within the story. I interpret this to mean Jordan very consciously wanted to undercut this attitude, which is why the scene/discussion with the Sulin and the other Maidens comes immediately after Moiraine's 'death.' Jordan's entire theory of gender, as you point out, is that society does not work when gender roles are out of balance, and this means neither men nor women can deny others the right to chose their own paths in life.
21. JoeW
A very wise comment, this:

"...female and male power (in whatever way you mean that term) should ideally be complementary; not the same, and not never in conflict, but also never one ascendant to the other."

In my experience, however limited that is, feminism tends to degrade into a (subconscious, perhaps) quest for gynarchy. Female-ruled is as bad as male-ruled, albeit bad in different ways. And that's the crux of what you said, as I'm reading it - that we're different. Not unequal but not the same either.

Personally, I've never had a problem with women wanting to be treated equally. We are all people. We all share the same dignity as people and deserve the same respect. (And Rand's chivalrous attitude was, again perhaps subconsciously, rejecting that notion. And he corrected it, to his credit, as you said.) Where I have a problem is women wanting to be men. Or men women. We're different and it goes deeper than the physical equipment. It makes sense to me that the Aiel societies would be divided on gender lines; its a very natural thing to do. Men are men and women are woman. Equal - and equally able to fight against the Dark One - but different - enough to warrant their own subcultures within the larger umbrella of asskickery.
Vincent Lane
22. Aegnor

Amazon women is one case where it did occur. Or at least we think it did. It could be that it is myth, but there is significant evidence that Amazon tribes of women warriors did exist (I think near modern day Turkey).
JS Bangs
23. jaspax
Aegnor @22:

The Amazons fit my description of "mythical" :). What's the evidence they actually existed?
24. Latecomer
Great post Leigh, and doubly delicous after the starvation diet of the last few days.

Re. the chivalry issue, it does feel like an exploration of old fashioned values v/s modern attitudes. It made sense even a few decades ago to protect women as the weaker sex, because they were. This isn't just a physical thing - if that was the case, fart boy (OK I meant to write frat boys, but the typo stays) would be protecting the geek guys, not torturing them.

Women were the weaker sex because they had no power in society to a large extent. They couldn't vote, own property, go out to work the same vocations that men could, couldn't travel unchaperoned, couldn't vote, and esentially didn't have their own financial or societal independence. Chivalry was just the men's idea of balancing this.

These days, the idea that women are weak or powerless is out-dated. Women can and do almost anything that men do. So to people that have grown up in the last 30 years, particularly in environments with women achievers, the idea of calling women weak and doing the chivalrous thing is mystifying - most women a 25 year old ,male knows of his age can technically do anything he can- have a job - nay, a career, choose to marry, travel, shoot, go out and do what she wants, when she wants, with whom she wants. The idea of 'protecting' this woman is ridiculous (unless actual physical harm is threatened).

Perhaps, by contrast, you'll find the chivalry coming more from older men or those growing up in enviroments where the old-fashioned ideas still apply to their mother/ sister/ other girls their age.
Joseph Blaidd
25. SteelBlaidd
This has always been one of my favorite chapters especialy for how it shows important things about Rand.

Most importatntly he berartes him self because two women died when if he had been able to kill Lanfear only one would hve had to. It's importatnt to recognize that while Jordon uses this as part of his continueing critique of "paternalism" whether male or female(ex Nynaeve and Birgiete) but its also importatnt to recognize that for both Rand and latter Mat it's not so much a matter of Chivalry but a reflection of thier own isues with bing avatars of death and destruction.

Perrin the Builder deals with the killing of women the easiest, Mat the Lord of Death has dificulty because it clashes with his self image as "a lover, not a fighter" Though he can do it if neccesary. Rand, Destroyer of Worlds, has a full blown psycosis. He recognizes the need to let them fight but he also has The List. I think "Visceral" is the right word for his reaction. It's something that bypasses his brain despite his best efforts.

It has to do I think with the corespondance of all women with "Eve, the Mother of all Living" and their roe as the source of the next generation. Notice that the Boarderlands, where war is a way of life, have a culture wide hang up on harm comeing to "the sources of life".

Now as to the imbalance in numbers. I think Suain addresses it back when showing Egwene that she can make a sword out of air. At this tech level combat abillity is highly dependent on upperbody strength, and just generaly have more of it. Additionaly remember that 90% of boys, if given a Barbie doll, will turn it in to a sword. Playing solder is very much a "boy" thing

As the books have gone on we have more women taking up ths sword (Cha Faile, Elaynes Guard, that Women of Emond's Field, Aeil Wise ones and Aludra with her Cannon) as recognition thta only full comitment of every one will be required to Win. Cnsider that the last war ended with women standing asside, which resulted in the Taint and the Breaking.

Ftrom a recent post on the Battle of Emmonds Field at the 13th Depository
Perrin will send Faile away to illusory safety (there is no safety for women and children under the Shadow - the only way to bring safety back, to save women and children, land and possessions, to have a chance at life again is to win). Faile however will deceive Perrin, like the Emond's Field women will, promising to stay with the children and flee to hide in the woods (where they would obviously have fallen to Shadowspawn). At the end, the men aren't enough, their lines are breaking fast and defeat is imminent. This is when the women and older children of Emond's Field will come to reinforce the men (saving the lives of Perrin and his men to the North), when Faile returns from Watch Hill as general of a Two Rivers army turns the tide to the North. To the South, it is the people of Deven Ride, who come to join those of Emond's Field. Men and Women fighting side by side, the land united as One, the necessary sacrifices accepted and the illusion anything can be sheltered aside when fighting the Shadow .
26. Latecomer

As I have said above, the degree of independence allowed to women has everything to do with whether they are going out and doing the same thing as the guys.

So show me a society where historically men and women had exactly the same individual duties, rights and resposibilites, and I'll show you warrior societies that included women.
John Mann
27. jcmnyu
Sorry, Leigh, I love ya, but I'm not going to drink the kool-aid on this one. First, Jordan never states explicitly or implicitly that men and women are equal and should be given equal opportunity. Your displeasure about the Maidens being the only option for women in the Aiel society is looking at it bass ackwards. The fact that there is a society for them at all is progressive. This is a world which, unless you can channel, is going to favor men. It ain't the 21st century. People fight with swords, bows, lances. All of those things require a certain amount of strength to accomplish without being skewered. Not to say that there aren't women who can accomplish the task and men who can't. But on the balance, the job will fall to the men. Once that divide is established and en-grained over centuries, gender roles are inevitable. Now the gender roles in Randland are not exactly the same as in our history, but they are pretty close.

So, with regards to Rand, his inability to quickly adjust to and accept a completely different set of rules all by himself is absolutely understandable and expected. In fact, if he were to immediately begin using the Maidens as warriors, it would ring false. Now, I will grant you he should have killed that batshit crazy Lanfear because her crimes warranted it. But I cannot equate that to Sulin, Aviendha, Liah, Moiraine, Egwene, and the rest. His entire upbringing tells him, screams to him, that it is his job, responsibility, and duty to protect the women in his life. And if more of them would treat him as Sulin did, as person capable of being reasoned with, maybe he would come around to see things their way faster. Rather, they women in his life seem to think their only jobs are to keep his head from inflating too big and to make him do what they want. And that kind of attitude does nothing to change his mind that they need protecting.

To bring in a real world example, I am sad that Thomas Jefferson had slaves, but I don't think less of him as a person that he did so. He, like all of us, was a product of his experiences. To expect him to act as if he had the benefit of 200 years of social progress is unfair.

So, be sad for Rand, but in my opinion he is blameless for trying to keep the women in his life from harm.
Genevieve Williams
28. welltemperedwriter
JoeW: Just to be annoying, where do intersex people fit in your scenario? (This is, by the way, a far more common condition than most people think.)

And then, NOT just to be annoying: Jordan never addresses this and I never really expected him to, but I've often wondered whether an intersex or transgendered person would channel saidar or saidin.

(By the way: I've known some pretty ardent feminists in my time, women who make me look like a Stepford Wife by comparison, and not one of them has ever wanted to be a man. In my experience, wanting to change gender has nothing to do with one's opinion of gender relations. Just sayin'.)
29. Baravius
Great post Leigh! I do, on occasion like to open doors for people and I appreciate your ability to see past (at least somewhat) the historical implications thereof. These underlying issues in gender equality will,overtime, disapear I think. Letting them do so naturally may be a little less messy than forcing them all at once. The major ones do need to be conciously dealt with though. Just my opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would heartily disagree with that and they have that right.

Far Madding comes to mind when you are mentioning the female/male balance in Randland. They don't have any female warriors but if they wanted to, I'm sure they would. I personally think that they just let the men do the fighting there because the women have better things to do.

Anyway, Great Post!!!
Genevieve Williams
30. welltemperedwriter
This is why the Aiel just have the one warrior society for women. For the Aiel to survive as a people, with their incredibly harsh living environement, they need women making babies.

However, it is not when Maidens have children that they cease becoming Far Dareis Mai, but when they marry. Otherwise, the child is given to someone else to raise.

That raises a question in my mind: is there any such thing as a single mother in Aiel society? What if a Maiden has a child and wants to keep it? I think it's reasonable to assume that she would give up the spear in that situation, since carrying an infant into battle doesn't bode well for the kid's long-term survival. On the other hand, the example of Rand's mother suggests that Aiel women who are pregnant do fight, at least up to a point.

So, with regards to Rand, his inability to quickly adjust to and accept a completely different set of rules all by himself is absolutely understandable and expected.

I don't think that Leigh is saying that it isn't, actually. She's pointing out that it's a liability, and I agree.
Kristina Blake
31. kab1
I agree with most of what you said Leigh concerning chivalry as it relates to combat. If a woman wants to fight- let her!

I do however agree with Aegnor that on some level to desire to protect women (and children) is ingrained in human nature. Women provide life, give birth and after that women were traditionally in charge of raising the children.

In terms of the argument between protecting someone because you love them and protecting someone because they're a woman, well I think that would depend on the fact that you love them. Rand not being able to kill women in general is definitely an issue. He needs to use the maidens- not lessen them. However, his desire to die before Ewg, Avi, etc, seems understandable to me as he cares for them.

I think that Rand and Lan pushing the women they love away to try to protect them is definitely degrading. The women should have a choice to be with the men they love (which ends up happening!).

at last comment on the door thing- I have as well allowed the person holding the door open for me to go though first, thinking I was being nice in deferring to them. I'm a bit horrified that this could have been construed as rude by the person in question. Yikes. Maybe if all doors became automatic we could end this problem of whom is being rude to whom!
Maiane Bakroeva
32. Isilel
I have to say that IMHO Moraine wasn't _that_ manipulative and it was a bit unfair of Rand to think of her this way at this juncture.
Also - "my choice"? Hubris, much? The choice was clearly Moraine's.

I do not think that she knew for sure that she would survive, only that there was a chance - in her POV in previous chapters she only had a "small bubble of hope" and here that she doesn't know what would happen in the world, except for one small thing. Hm... or was it that she didn't "see" anything else in Rhuidean? But might have known more from her 3 questions to the snakes. Hm...

Re: Lan and chivalry, Lan is actually much better than Rand or other Duopotamians because from the beginning he at least trusted female channelers to hold their own in combat and didn't agonize over Maidens being in harm's way.

Re: Borderlands, it actually makes practical sense to protect women in general more, as population growth is more dependent on them.
What doesn't make sense is that they don't receive basic combat training with weapons that would allow them to defend themselves without coming into a very close range, where they'd be at the greatest disadvantage vis-a-vis Shadowspawn.

I mean, with human enemy, not resisting can be a decent survival strategy for women, but with a completely implacable murderous enemy like Trollocs?! Nor can it be guaranteed that there will always be men to fight.

Basically, what Jordan willfully disregards is the fact that those who don't wield the sword can and do still die by it.
All Rand's and other Duopotamians chivalry only ensures that women who are willing to fight will be less seasoned and less prepared when the inevitable all-out fighting comes.

And while I couldn't agree more with Sulin, I do feel that in interest of Rand's safety Far Dareis Mei should have abdicated as his bodyguards. Rand does need a good bodyguard or two, to watch his back at all times.
And yes, it is very low what he does to the Maidens, but in the end his safety and psychological stability are more important.
As a result of this compromise, Rand just sneaks out on them and gets hurt and nearly killed repeatedly.

Maybe that's why Egs had to become Amyrlin - as Rand is clearly incapable of directing women channelers in a fight, she'll have to? Maybe even the Maidens will have to come under her command somehow, to take part in combat with any effectiveness.

Many have commented on previous occasions that with emergence of male channelers Randland is coming back to the state of power balance between genders. Unfortunately, that's not the case, IMHO, since military power is already exclusively in the hands of men.
33. hapazard
@ Aegnor

Very true, I have even seen argued that society at it's extreme basis can be viewed as a construct to keep women safe and having many children. Simply put: the society that managed to grow fastest, read produce the most children, would out compete the others and rise to dominance. Therefore in the end the world came to be dominated by societies that kept their women safe and producing babies, ergo out of harms way in war.

That said I completely agree that this is a bad thing in general today. But by this reasoning it IS hard to realistically produce societies that don't embrace the concept of chivalry. At least not if the capability to produce many children has ceased to be the prime competitiveness advantage, ... as it has today.
34. ToMyApparentShame
A couple of days ago on my way into the office I saw a woman with a significant box of various and sundry items in the parking lot. I offered to help her because she was a woman, had she been a man I would have walked on by. However, I didn't try to open the door for us both while carrying the box, so perhaps there is hope for me. Perhaps the reason I let fellows lift their own boxes is because I'm generally smaller in stature than they are and figure they are more able bodied.

I can only imagine getting flammed for the following statement. However, with regard to women in the battle field, an entirely pragmatic or evolutionary approach would be to preserve the females to perpetuate the race. I'm reminded of the do-do birds in the first Ice Age movie. One commented to the other, "There went our last female." Of course, it would be just as drastic to loose the last male, but there were plenty of male do-dos in that case.

Though our civilization isn't likely to be in danger of this extremity any time soon, it would do far more damage to a race to have far fewer females than if there were far fewer males. Look at the trouble the far eastern countries are having when they abort female fetuses hoping to have a male instead. They have rent-a-girlfriend services to take home to you family for the holidays. Ah, the fruits of eugenic practises; just keep passing out contraceptives and abortions.

Whoa, what a tangent. Anyway, despite efforts to feel differently, I expect my heart strings will always be pulled more when I see a woman on the side of the road than a man.
35. SeanM
Two random unrelated thoughts:

1) @ 11 "Courtly Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry."

When I read that, I read it at "Courtney Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry". Which, wow, sort of blew my mind away :)

2) Opening a door for a man who doesn't go through- how does that work? Does he just stand there and refuse to go through?

Actually, my wife just came home and I asked her. She said that what happens a lot is that the guy would come up, take the door from her, and tell her to go through first. Is that what we're talking about here?

Something else she brought up is what happens if you're at a set of 2 doorways, and you open one set going out, but a man opens the second set coming in. Do you stay in a stalemate holding the doors for each other?

Geez, being a woman is complicated :)
36. SeanM
Two random unrelated thoughts:

1) @ 11 "Courtly Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry."

When I read that, I read it at "Courtney Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry". Which, wow, sort of blew my mind away :)

2) Opening a door for a man who doesn't go through- how does that work? Does he just stand there and refuse to go through?

Actually, my wife just came home and I asked her. She said that what happens a lot is that the guy would come up, take the door from her, and tell her to go through first. Is that what we're talking about here?

Something else she brought up is what happens if you're at a set of 2 doorways, and you open one set going out, but a man opens the second set coming in. Do you stay in a stalemate holding the doors for each other?

Geez, being a woman is complicated :)
37. SeanM
(sorry if this comes up twice, I think it's getting eaten)

Two random unrelated thoughts:

1) @ 11 "Courtly Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry."

When I read that, I read it at "Courtney Love goes hand-in-hand with chivalry". Which, wow, sort of blew my mind away :)

2) Opening a door for a man who doesn't go through- how does that work? Does he just stand there and refuse to go through?

Actually, my wife just came home and I asked her. She said that what happens a lot is that the guy would come up, take the door from her, and tell her to go through first. Is that what we're talking about here?

Something else she brought up is what happens if you're at a set of 2 doorways, and you open one set going out, but a man opens the second set coming in. Do you stay in a stalemate holding the doors for each other?

Geez, being a woman is complicated :)
38. SeanM
Sorry about the double post. Dang comment system..
Maiane Bakroeva
39. Isilel
Oh, and another thing - Rand repeatedly thinks that all these women die _for him_ which is just... incredibly arrogant. They fight to save their world, dang it, and would have fought without Rand, too.
Andrew J
40. Waitingforthenextpost
I am going to agree with the comments that point out that while chivalry is less important in our day and age, this book doesn't occure then.

In a world where there is so little population that nations can't hold the area that they claim on a map, population pressure is non existant.

In those situations, protecting those that give birth to the next generation are going to be fairly well ingrained and literally life and death for a country. It also explains why the female Aeil only have one society. Given the brevity of their lives, you would most likely have a seriously detrimental effect on the ability of a population base to rebound after a generation of warfare.

I will grant that there isn't a explination of the various society's populations, but if the disparity was a maiden or nothing I would assume that the maidens would be at least three or four times larger then any other society. That doesn't seem to be the case. You have to protect the breading population, and lets face it you don't need as many men per female. (Socially yes, biologically no)
Genevieve Williams
41. welltemperedwriter
In those situations, protecting those that give birth to the next generation are going to be fairly well ingrained and literally life and death for a country. It also explains why the female Aeil only have one society. Given the brevity of their lives, you would most likely have a seriously detrimental effect on the ability of a population base to rebound after a generation of warfare.

I'd have no trouble buying this, except that Maidens can and do have children, and arrangements are made for those children to be raised if the Maiden isn't going to do it herself.

It's not when they get pregnant that Maidens give up the spear, but when they marry. We don't really see the family dynamics of Aiel society, whether they're basically nuclear families or what, so this dimension is left largely unexplained.
Vincent Lane
42. Aegnor

While Amazons as envisioned by ancient Greeks and Romans, may not have existed exactly, they were likely inspired by the real thing. For instance armed Sarmation women comprised about 25% of those found in burial groups (according to wikipedia). There was certainly historical basis for Amazons.

But I do agree with the overall point. That isn't typical of primitive societies, for very good reason.
43. Maimie
welltemperedwriter @28: We have one transgender channeler, don't we? Aran'gar/Halima has a man's soul and a woman's body, and (s)he channels saidin. Yes, I know that he is somewhat of a special case, being resurrected by the Dark One and all, but I think that implies that a transgender channeler channels the Power respective to his/her "mental" gender.

This of course gives us the problem of no transgender channelers mentioned in the series, Aran'gar excluded. But I think that can be explained by that people of Randland simply don't recognize them: a man channeling saidar goes unnoticed, if he keeps his ability to himself (and he does, because of all the issues about channeling men). A woman channeling saidin will go mad and die, but... well, people go mad and die of mysterious diseases sometimes. At worst, the Red Ajah will blame some man near her for the visible consenquences of male channeling.

(And once again I don't have anything to say about the actual topic. Well, I blame 1:21 AM for that. I even forgot to enter my name and email.)
Vincent Lane
44. Aegnor

Provisions are made for those times when "accidents" are made. But maidens do not, in general, have children. When an Aiel woman gets married, she is expected to reproduce, often. A maiden is not. They may occasionally produce a child, but it is not expected of them.
Jason Lyman
45. jlyman
@28. welltemperedwriter

NOT just to be annoying: Jordan never addresses this and I never really expected him to, but I've often wondered whether an intersex or transgendered person would channel saidar or saidin.

Don't we have a transgender character in Halima? I would guess from that precedent that your gender before the operation/resurrection would dictate which side of the Power you drank from.

@43. Maimie

And you beat me to it!
46. GregoryD
A fine commentary. Long overdue.

I agree with you 100 percent.

Now if you could do a little commentary for us dudes to explain how we are supposed to know when to do the Chiverly thing for those that want it and expect it, and when to know not to for those that will be offended if we don't.

Also include a section on what to do with the chick who wants it sometimes and doesn't want it other times and has no clue when she does and when she doesn't.

Please include me in the royalties for your book. You and I are going to make milliions.
Maiane Bakroeva
47. Isilel
Well, a lot of primitive societies also practiced female infanticide for instance, so it isn't quite so cut and dried.
IMHO, quite a bit of the social structures also had to do with control over women to insure paternity.

There are many examples of human societies engaging in practices which aren't so great from the survival POV, yet muddling through somehow. Not everything that works is actually the best possible solution. That's how nature functions too.

And in any case, that has no bearing on Randland.

In Randland they have :

1. Reliable contraceptives

2. Women who have full rights, by and large.

3. Much better medicine than what was historically available.

Given that I would expect there to be a noticeable minority of women warriors in every part of Randland.
And what is more, I'd expect more women to have some training at arms because many of them are in professions where it would be helpful. Like traveling traders, nobles or AS.

And the Borderlands - I see the logical reasons for chivalry towards women in general, but not for their lack of basic combat training. It only ensures that if there are no men to defend them, they _will_ get butchered.
Even wives of the samurais were trained with naginata and the bow IIRC and they only had to deal with brigands when their men were away, not Trollocs.
Genevieve Williams
48. welltemperedwriter
Point taken, Aegnor. I recall Sorilea harassing Aviendha about it, once she'd embarked on WO training.
barry troy
49. perrin5454
Regarding women in combat...

As has already been pointed out by several posters, women in a combat environment are already at a large physical disadvantage to the average man before they even enter battle. I remember reading an article written by the female Master-Of-The-Sword at West Point. Basically, women have less upper body strength, 40% less lung capacity and a generally higher percentage of body fat (which insulates them better, which causes their core temperatures to rise faster while doing things like running around all day in body armor). Women are also generally smaller in stature then men. Now, leaving aside all modern day equivalents and lets look at simple sword, lance and Plate Armor. First of all women would be at a decided reach disadvantage against almost every man. Additionally, most would be at a comparably large strength disadvantage. These limitations can be overcome with superior technique and strategy. However, all other things being equal, a man with equal technique will destroy a woman by the simple fact that his reach and strength advantage will be overwhelming. For a modern day example, think of an MMA lightweight fighting a Light heavyweight.

Now leaving aside the reach and strength, let's look at the wear of armor. Simply put, Body Armor of any kind is heavy, akward, hot and literary license aside, completely necessary in a combat environment. I have no idea what an appropriate set of body armor in Jordan's world would weigh, but I can tell you how much my body armor that I wear does. I am a pretty large man at around 215 lbs (100 kilos) when I put on my Body armor, Helmet and weapon I weigh more than 300 pounds. At all that armor slows me down considerably and over a long 8-10 hour day really kicks my ass (especially when its hot). now consider that I am in decent shape and that my kit only weighs about 30% of my body weight. The same set of armor on a normal sized woman would weigh about 70-75 pounds, over 50% of her body weight and she also has the aforementioned physical shortcomings. The average woman would have less lung capacity and strength which means she will tire faster and the extra body fat will cause her to overheat faster.

Taking these two points together, the simple fact is that physical limitations will exclude most women from being professional warriors. The women who will be viable warriors will have to be above average in strength, stamina and technique just to compete with your average sword-swinging male schmuck. To become an elite fighter as a woman narrows the pool even more.

So, leaving aside all of the gender politics for a moment, that is the practical reason that women in combat has not been the norm throughout history or in Jordan's world which is based on a pre-industrial, pre-gunpowder world. This does not preclude all women from being physical warriors with the Maidens and Birgitte being cases-in-point, but it does explain the fact that women in combat is not common.
Genevieve Williams
50. welltemperedwriter
I don't think anyone is arguing that there aren't practical limitations. I've done unarmed martial arts for over a decade and I'm well aware that I'm at a disadvantage where physical strength is concerned (IME, whether small size is a problem is much more dependent on what you're doing; small stature is actually a benefit in my particular style).

This does not by itself, however, explain Rand's debilitating reluctance to directly cause a woman harm, or that women in the Borderlands apparently have no fighting training at all.
51. whatusername
I could wish that he had seeded this acknowledgment a little more thoroughly throughout Randland, and I do wonder why he appeared to consider Far Dareis Mai to be a sufficient sop to the notion, but I appreciate the acknowledgement, at least. It’s more than you get from most quarters.

Because female fighters in the familiar (european) cultures (Andor, Tear, etc) would appear so different that it could rupture the suspension of disbelief. That's why the female warriors are in the alien societies (aiel/seanchan) - if you don't have true paralells then you might believe it more
John Massey
52. subwoofer
Wahoo! Fresh Post! Break out the peanut butter and hot dogs!!! Good times Leigh!
lanyo lanyo
53. lanyo
Chivalry very much sets aside the choices that might have been made. It's why women constantly are saying they aren't porcelain dolls. Adult women (whatever makes them adults in the society they are in) should be able to choose what's best/right.
If they can't choose, is it because they are incapable of the choice? Have they been granted adult-status while being mentally deficient? Are they large children? Should they be grounded and be made to pout at home while "real" grown-ups take care of everything?
Then why are they adults? How are they allowed to raise children, or keep a home? Shouldn't "large children" have constant supervision, else they may wreck the house and kids without it?
It can't be both ways.
If I am an adult, then I choose how my life goes, even if I royally f up, because I will take the consequences of my actions. If I am not an adult, I shouldn't be allowed out w/o my father, who should therefore be responsible for any mistake I manage to get past him.
Like a child.
Sorry. I tend towards anger and frustration when I'm treated like I'm not as capable as others. Just like most people do, no matter their age/sex.
54. Wha?
An extra long wait for one chapter (albeit a pretty powerful one with Moiraine's letter and Sulin's spears) and we get... opening doors? I understand it is your blog and you can talk about whatever you damn well please, but it gets annoying sometimes.
55. Noren
Check out the ladies of the Mino,an all-female Fon regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa.

At their peak,they numbered between 4000-6000,a third of the Dahomey military.The French Foreign Legion spoke of them with respect.

Also the Sarmatians
mark Proctor
56. mark-p
Nobody has asked why Rand is able to kill men (I guess the series would be a bit (lot)shorter if he couldn't) It dose seem to way on his conscience at times but nothing like as much as the women.

50. welltemperedwriter

I don't think anyone is arguing that there aren't practical limitations. I've done unarmed martial arts for over a decade and I'm well aware that I'm at a disadvantage where physical strength is concerned (IME, whether small size is a problem is much more dependent on what you're doing; small stature is actually a benefit in my particular style).

maybe this could be one reason for a separate society for the women, if they need to use different tactics in a battle because they are at a disadvantage in a straight fight.
I just looked at the books glossary it lists all the societies and says they have sometimes specific duties e.g Stone Dogs are rear guards in a retreat and maidens as scouts.
So maybe Aiel join the society they are the best match too. That still doesn't really give any choice to the female Aiel who would prefer another society but maybe RJ thought that was the best way of designing a culture that included a high percentage of female warriors (unlike most in our histories) but still seem plausible to him.
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
Sure, a topic or aspect of the discussion may interest some more than others...but let's cut Leigh a little slack, eh? It's challenging to come up with a fresh perspective, each time a post is put together.

If you'd like the discussion to be a bit more "on topic", jump right in and make your comments about the chapter. Do a good enough job, and you'll steer part of the comment chain in that direction, I guarantee it.

For my part, I found that others have already expressed my thoughts on the gender issues, and done a better job than I could have.

Not to butter this crowd up but ... check out the quality of most web comment forums, and then check out this forum. There are a LOT of really well written comments attached to these posts, and a lot less noise. It's a treat. Really.
58. Renegade248
I been waiting for us to get to this chapter for awhile with Mo's apparent death. All this talk of chivalry is just indicative of all societies, including our own, and I don't believe anything will change in the future. It is human nature for a man to feel protective of women, especially the ones he loves the most.

With Mo's letters, I am not sure whether she seen her own successful rescue, or whether it is perhaps a maybe. With her letter stating that she 'PERHAPS' saw one future after the Lanfear incident. Note the perhaps, which makes me believe it is not a definite. What if we are all waiting for the Mo rescue, and we come to find out she is really dead? I don't believe this as Min has a viewing where Rand will fail without a woman long dead and gone, or some such. I believe Mo will be rescued, but what if we are all wrong?
59. Renegade248
I been waiting for us to get to this chapter for awhile with Mo's apparent death. All this talk of chivalry is just indicative of all societies, including our own, and I don't believe anything will change in the future. It is human nature for a man to feel protective of women, especially the ones he loves the most.

With Mo's letters, I am not sure whether she seen her own successful rescue, or whether it is perhaps a maybe. With her letter stating that she 'PERHAPS' saw one future after the Lanfear incident. Note the perhaps, which makes me believe it is not a definite. What if we are all waiting for the Mo rescue, and we come to find out she is really dead? I don't believe this as Min has a viewing where Rand will fail without a woman long dead and gone, or some such. I believe Mo will be rescued, but what if we are all wrong?
60. BringBackChivalry
Leigh, I loved this post. We'll have a long comment session with this thesis. Hope we don't break the bank! I sure do hope Rand gets over his "dilemma" by the last book. Needs to buck up and take a few pages out of Mat's book.

I agree with you Leigh: planning a vacation, is just plain work, and mostly we women get to make all the plans. If we don't get it right, "all the retarded crap in the world" right before you leave! Also just about every day of the trip.

A good trip is when you go off alone. Leave the family at home! We women's lib types get to do a lot more than we used to.

I say Bring Back Chivalry, and let the MEN do a better job of planning the vacation! I just got back from a week of "vacation". I did all the work, the rest of the family just jumped into the car.

I do dislike pompous a$$es who LET women act like they should expect chivalry. I really like Mat's character, he's the anti-Rand from Two Rivers.
mark Proctor
61. mark-p
55. Noren

Quote from that article relevent to this discussion:
According to Holmes, many of the French soldiers fighting in Dahomey hesitated before shooting or bayoneting the Mino

Chivalry didn't really help the French here.
62. Renagade248
Sorry about the double post all. :)
j p
63. sps49
Leigh- the obvious solution is for you to postpone your vacation for us. Or, take your laptop! :)
sandi vogel
64. sinfulcashew
“She is gone. I cannot feel her presence.”
Hmmm, doesn't necessarily mean 'dead'?

2. toryx
"This is why I'm sure it wasn't Moiraine who killed Asmodean."
All the talk lately about her actually killing Asmo?
She went first, how the h-e-double toothpicks could she have killed him?????

7. ladyboredom
Just a thought, why are you even reading? How can you be bored?

35. etal: How about three posts? First time for that?

54. Wha?
Pleezz refer to #7?

Sheesh! A long posting with relevance, why complain?

Perhaps these things mean nothing to you and you probably wouldn't even open a door for your mother?

Sorry to sound snippy, but I really enjoyed Leigh's verbiage. A real insight to someones actual thoughts, not that we haven't had a lot of that, but this is our moderator!

Enough for now, later.
j p
65. sps49 posters, next week:
“Leigh is gone. I cannot feel her presence.”

But seriously-

1) In Black Hawk Down, women and children were apparently used as cover and/ or combatants. It worked to an extent, and for a while. Anti-chivalry?

2) I dunno where all y'all live, but around here are places where some female friends of mine would rather not go unless accompanied by me (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to avoid potential problems. Somehow bringing another 5"1', 95# girlfriend isn't the same.

3) Mexico is worse. I don't mean tourist Cancun, I mean the bus from Leon airport to Aguascaliente.

4) I will try for the door if it's a tie, but if you are there first, thank you.
66. CalaLily
@ 43

I don't think it has much to do with "mental" gender so much as the gender of the soul. Aran'gar was trapped in the body of a woman and learned to like it. Eventually the mind bent to the body, and the soul bent to the mind but I don't see any instances other than Halima where either a man or a woman feels like they are trapped in the wrong body, especially naturally. Since channelers make up a very small percentage of the population as well, the likelihood of a "transgender" channeler seems like an occurance that would be unlikely, at best.

Re: the whole chivalry thing:

Where I work, we're told to provide "excellent service", by carrying trays to tables opening doors, and, on rainy days, carrying an umbrella out to the people parking so they don't get wet on their way in. Now, when I work out in the dining room, I usually end up opening doors for a lot of people on their way in and out. Being an 18 year old female, I do get funny looks from the guys, especially the older ones, but the rudest of them has just never said "Thank you". When providing assistance they actually -need-, however, such as carrying food to their cars or holding an umbrella so they don't get wet in pouring down rain, I've never felt like they feel the least bit awkward over what I'm doing, or the sort of "role reversal" of the action.

I guess if I were to do it off-work and out of my uniform I might get a different reaction, though. -shrug- A lot of the things guys do, my dad taught me to do because it was common courtesy [i.e. holding open a door for someone else]. It's his "respect someone until they give you a reason not to" attitude, and he's pretty good at applying it equally to men and women. To him, it's more about being polite and conducting yourself with dignity than "I'm a guy, she's a woman, MUST OPEN DOOR."

And paying for dinner...Mom has control of the checkbook, anyway. It isn't something he's had to worry about since their first date.
67. gunrock
I agree with most of the earlier posts my problem with any of these discussions is you get into attempting to place restrictions on a group by giving a stated set of rules as a one size fits all. Chivalry= all men treat all women this way. but then a different group comes out and says hey femenisim means dont put your restrictions on me let me do it on my own. the earlier mention of damned if you do damned if you dont is pretty acurate i want to show ALL people, regardless of gender, respect but i have no idea how you will take it. how can we expect to lump an entire gender into a group and say this is how you behave? you cant, get to know someone first then move on with your code of conduct, also dont prejudge them with your own views of respect without at least trying to understand thier point of view(everyone is an individual and special little snowflake). As a former member of the military i have objections to women warriors if you can and want to fight for your rights fight for them but dont get mad if your not given jobs that require different skill sets such as lifting 100lb. weapons systems and treking across the desert. Its not because you have boobs its because your not physically going to be able to accomplish your mission which in turn makes it impossible for me to complete MY mission which means we lose, and learn to bow to the supreme ruler of whatever country whipped our backsides, unless of course you CAN lift the weapon system and carry it because then by all means carry it i dont care who you are as long as i dont have to carry it anymore! lol I apologize for the lack of grammar punctuation and capitolization in this post but i felt the need to chime in on this one.
Hurin Smells
68. HurinSmells
I think the practise of opening a door for a woman has evolved past chivalry... now it's just a great excuse to check out their bum :)

Aiel culture is essentially matriarchal, as are most cultures in WoT. For the Aiel men, being a warrior and then clan-cheif is as high as he can aspire to, unless he wants to be a blacksmith. For a woman there are options like being a roof-mistress or Wise One, and also being responsible for rearing future generations of Aiel warriors is a pretty big deal (ref the women of Sparta). It's just basic anatamoy that women are constructed and operate differently to men, and I'm not just talking about in the underwear area, so having single gender societies makes sense as IIRC each warrior society has their own slightly different style of fighting. The Maidens would need a style to cater for less muscle and height and still be effective. Although there's no good reason why there can't be multiple female societies. Maybe the girls would just prefer to stick together?

Rand not being able to kill women is just a great a great plot device, much like Batman not being able to kill at all. The SG's are also guilty of not killing someone that needed killing when they don't kill Mog or any of the BA. And what's with capturing Semirhage? If anyone is a candidate of BF-ing it's her! I think if it was easy for any of the good-guys to go around killing anyone that needed killing they would be less human and therefore harder to relate to as protagonists.
Kristina Blake
69. kab1
@65 you beat me to that joke!

Leigh- I really enjoyed the commentary and your feelings/insights into the matter. Rereading the books along with you and the other commentators has really been fun. I especially appreciate your insights into the writing style of Jordan and other authors. so thanks!
Genevieve Williams
70. welltemperedwriter

maybe this could be one reason for a separate society for the women, if they need to use different tactics in a battle because they are at a disadvantage in a straight fight.

I said smaller size was an advantage, not female gender. I train with men as well as women, many of them bigger than myself, and always have.
71. longtimefan
Sexism in all its many and delightful forms affects both genders. The most sexist thing I ever heard was a Judge people in open court that when a girl cries it breaks his heart but when a boy cries it is just annoying.

While feminists often can point out all the ways that sexism affects women almost no one points out the negative ways sexism harms men.

Men are just meat sandbags to place in harm’s way or to heap burdens upon. They are expected to take the abuse and are ridiculed if they say otherwise or have an emotion other than stony silence or fiery rage. A man who will not be harmed is considered inferior. While feminism is changing some of societies ideas about how women should be treated there is no similar social change occurring with mens roles. The Idea that someone male should accept harm or give up their life is not only socially acceptable it is downright laudable. A swift kick in the groin is now considered humor appropriate even for children’s movies. It is socially acceptable to despise and degrade men for laughs. As a person I am not that interested in being hurt or dying but apparently that is my position in society based on my gender.

When people are treated like objects be they birthing chambers or meat sandbags they are going to reap certain benefits from a society that appreciates those abilities. They will have limitations placed by the same society that wants to foster those categories.

As for transgendered people it is all psychological stemming entirely from the social pressure of sexism. Having worked with dozens of people who have made these choices for many years I have heard dozens of reasons and stories and watched various behaviors. They all boil down to one thing. Power. There is power in playing into the ingrained stereotypes people have about gender. As much as men become women to gain the advantage of breasts and lowered physical and mental expectations women become men to gain the advantage of respect in the workplace and unquestioned opinions. These are not always as easily gained as the people may think and often there are additional burdens because it is obvious that the person has changed.

Biologically no one is born the wrong gender (hermaphrodites are a different subject) but psychologically people can convince themselves that if they cannot get what they want as one gender it would be attainable by the other. Giving in to the stereotype may not seem like the easy way out but it is. It is much more difficult to tell society to accept you as a person than to give into its sexist undercurrent.

Sadly equality is only a mathematical construct not a biological reality. No two people are ever equal. Even identical twins are only similar since they are not the exact same person. Six apples are an equal number to six oranges but the number the only term where equal is applicable. Everything else is similar or different. Similar as they are both fruit and grow on trees or different because the are different weights and colors

People are similar because they have hands and feet and intellects and eyes and mouths. They are different because of what they can do with those similarities.
The chemical and physical differences are so limited to what they change in modern society that they are almost negligible. Sexism still exists because it benefits the people who keep it going.
Genevieve Williams
72. welltemperedwriter
Although there's no good reason why there can't be multiple female societies. Maybe the girls would just prefer to stick together?

It could just be a matter of numbers. If relatively few women choose the spear then there might not be enough of them for more than one society.
John Massey
73. subwoofer
Gender equality is always a sensitive topic... so I'll jump in with both feet ;)

Take a modern day example- fire fighters, cops, ems etc. Locally, there is a physical required for these as part of your hiring process. You don't pass the basic fitness, you can't advance to the next stage. For the men, there is one test, for the women, another, with much lower standards. The reason being that not enough women were passing the original, single standard and as a result, equal rights groups were up in arms at a gender dominated public job.

Last time I checked, a 300lb fat man weighted 300lbs regardless of if you are a man or women. If you are in a position where you have to carry/ drag/ cut up and take out in pieces of a burning building, different standards do not come into play. There is one standard, save the life. To me it feels like compromising of standards compromises safety of the very people who complained in the first place.

The harsh reality is that men are stronger than women. In modern society, that is not so important, we have gone away from basic fighting for survival, but war and sword and shield time, yeah, it counts. Take an average sampling of 100 guys and girls, randomly. The percentage of men that would win out in physical challenges is grossly skewed.

I am not saying right or wrong, it just is. For societies, this also boils down to percentages, more men are combat ready than women so many societies among the sects etc. Less women can kick butt so there is not a need for a plethora of societies. meh. It just is. I don't see a massive cry and hue raised that Wise Ones are special and female. There are many more WO than clan chiefs. Sometimes, what is, is.
74. Freelancer
I will play nice and leave the primary debate alone. Almost.

Leigh, it is humanly impossible to avoid affecting others. Whenever I make a choice, regardless of purpose, reason, rightness etc. of that choice, it has the effect of limiting choice somewhere else. As C. S. Lewis wrote, a drunk can choose to become sober, but not while in the cup. In a way, your argument demands that one person's choices be revoked out of fear that they will infringe another's choice. If Rand is not allowed to choose as he does, is he not made less?

Let me be clear that I am not speaking in favor of nor opposition to traditional Chivalry, just making a logical point. Have fun with that.

On a side note, I find that the global culture of the WoT world would not have developed quite our historical perspective on Chivalry, given that the most hated people in history are men who channel, and the most fearfully respected people of the present age are women who channel. Where a cabal of women have such influence over rulers and other aspects of life (even if they have largely abdicated a direct physical presence to society), that gender would be much less likely to be seen and treated as weaker, or as needing such a level of protection as your "bad" Chivalry suggests.
Genevieve Williams
75. welltemperedwriter
Biologically no one is born the wrong gender

I'm not sure how you can say this when you've argued in the previous paragraph that it's a social construct.

I've also known quite a few transgendered people, and I'd conclude that power is an element, sure, but it's the power that comes from being secure in your own identity. If that means altering your equipment to fit your sense of self, so what?

Subwoofer: this may make me unpopular among my fellow feminists, but I actually don't think there should be separate standards. I wouldn't expect accommodation for other things (performance on standardized tests, for example) and I don't think it'd be fair for me to accept them there, either.
76. musicalcolin
Shorter commenter consensus: Back on the veldt women nested because they were weak and carried babies while men hunted because they were strong and had long arms. This is genetic. Thus, chivalry is necessary and/or innate!
Pete Pratt
77. PeteP
Musicalcolin @76 -- interesting enough, in hunter/gatherer cultures, the women actually are much more important than the men, in spite of appearances. Most of the food comes from the women's efforts. They maintain the village and the society. The men laze around and once in awhile bring in some meat. Hunter/gatherer societies are much healthier for both men/women. Women are very capable of defending/protecting.

Sedentary societies have less balanced diets. The people are fatter.

However, sedantary farming societies win out. Why? Fertility is higher among women who are not as lean. Runners are less fertile than, as RJ calls them, the "pleasantly plump". Fertility doctors today sometimes recommend to infertile couples that the woman gain a little weight to aid conception.

How this applies to this debate, I am not going to comment more.
78. musicalcolin
77. That's interesting info, and if it wasn't entirely clear, that sort of ambiguity was what I was trying to point out was missing from the discussion. "On the veldt" discussions tend to paper over any actual informed opinion on hunter/gatherer societies, and assume that there are Good biological reasons for decreasing a woman's choice to continue. In Randland the fact that so many of the women that Rand is protecting are incredibly powerful makes the relevance of veldt arguments even more dubious.
79. mike237463273902
Ive got some problems with the things youre saying, Leigh. I think you might be over thinking (or UNDERthinking?) some things.
80. EmmaPease
I will note that in marksmanship women have sometimes beaten men in open competition (such as Zhang Shan who won Olympic gold in skeet shooting in 1992 ). The Soviet Union used women snipers in WWII.

Not sure there is an equivalent weapon in the WoT yet.
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
I think with any book a person reads, their own perceptions, their own personal experiences are going to determine what they get out of the book.
I have a comment from RJ about gender issues that follows. (One of my great disapointments is that I never got to meet and converse with Mr. Rigney - it would have been an amazing conversation, he was interested in so many different things - and you can see that just by reading what he has out there.)
{26 On the large scale, the gender relationships in the Wheel grew from the very beginnings of the books, really. I recall seeing a paperback book back in the 70s, a fantasy novel about a young woman who wasn’t allowed to become a magician of whatever sort it was because she was a woman. The notion struck me as interesting, since it was the first fantasy novel with that theme that I had ever seen, but what really stuck with me was this. That novel was a simple reflection of the then-current mundane world, but what about if it were men who were not allowed to become whatever it was? Now that would be an interesting twist, and unexpected. Why would that be, and how could it be enforced? As Harriet has often pointed out, many of the world’s gender inequalities stem from superior male upper body strength. (To which I usually say, “Oh, dear! Isn’t that awful and unfair!” While pulling off my shirt and flexing my biceps, to be sure,) From that genesis grew the division of the One Power into a male and a female half with the male half tainted, giving a reason why men not only would not be allowed to become Aes Sedai, as they were not then called, but must not be allowed even to channel, again as it was not then called. From that, and from the history that I was even then beginning to put together for this world, though I didn’t realize it then, came the result of 3000+ plus years when men who can wield the ultimate power, the One Power, are to be feared and hated above all things, when the only safety from such men comes from the one stable center of political, and other, power for those 3000+ years, a female center of power. The view I then had was a world with a sort of gender equality. Not the matriarchy that some envision — Far Madding is the only true matriarchy in the lot — but gender equality as it might work out given various things that seem to be hard-wired into male and female brains. The result is what you see.
Hurin Smells
82. HurinSmells
I think the gender equality argument is the exact reason why lots of people have issues with the SG's. They're always all like "We're gonna save the world, so get outa my way you stinking men, and don't even think about trying to help!"

And on the other hand we have Rand being all like "Damn, now I have to go save the world, so please stay over in the corner ladies, I don't want you to get hurt while I battle evil"

Perhaps this is why we like Mat so much because he's just like "Hell no I'm not gonna do any more work than I absolutely have to, but for some reason I keep getting dropped in the middle of a shit storm, so I'll use my mad skillz to get outa here and try to drag everyone out with me, including you ladies, cause there's no way anyone would wanna be here in the first place!"
Julian Augustus
83. Alisonwonderland
This does not by itself, however, explain Rand's debilitating reluctance to directly cause a woman harm

Rand's debilitating reluctance to harm women, shouldn't need much explanation from anyone who has read the prologue to tEotW. It seems to me the answer is really obvious, yet most everyone ignores it. Rand is Lews Therin Telamon. In the same way that Rand can access his LTT consciousness and do things with the power to save himself whenever his life is threatened, he is subject to other aspects of the LTT consciousness seeping into his behaviour and thought. If there is one thing we know about Lews Therin, it is that he killed his wife, children, friends and everybody dear to him. And that consciousness, of what a horrible act he committed, is intact in Rand's mind and influencing his actions. It should be perfectly understandable that Rand would have a psychosis about killing another woman. The Lews Therin part of him will absolutely prevent him from doing so!
84. twicemarked
1.I agree that the feminist movement should be about choices. But given a choice, not all women, but some, would choose to have her man protect her. So from the outside, the only thing visible is that a man is protecting a woman. However, this can be either
a) the woman has no say, and the man took away her choice, or
b) the woman was given a choice, and asked the man to protect her.

If a woman fights to protect herself directly, like Elayne/Min, it is obvious she had a choice. Sending them away to "protect" them would be an insult to them. But when not, it is non-obvious whether it is case a) or case b). Alliandre asking Perrin for protection does not deminish her worth.

So the question is not whether man should protect woman, but whether man is taking up unnecessary work when no one asked for it.

2. Also, I do not believe that evolution is sufficient to explain the cultual bias for protecting women.

While in theory, a village can exist with one man, 100 women and lots of children, they would not be able to raise enough food to feed them all, or defend the village. In the pre-industrial ages, adult males are as valuable a resource as women of child bearing age.

In a wheat farming setting, the women can do most of the field work around the year, except during harvest. Harvesting is a back-breaking hard labor, and if you can not harvest in time, the crop left on the field is ruined. So man are truly needed only during harvest time.

Historically, after any major war that decimated the male population, the soceity's biggest problem was to have enough adult male to produce food and fire wood to sustain the population left over, not how many women able to bear children.

Chivalry is about protecting Noble women, rather than peasant women in general.
Aidan Young
86. aidanyoung1102
Two thoughts:

1) I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but I think chivalry among the historical "peasants" came from the need to protect women from male predators. Consider this recent statistic: 1 in 3 South African males admit to having committed rape.

The bottom line is that it was not two long ago that sexual assault was a common practice in the male population. It still happens in a shockingly large number of countries on a very regular basis. And, even in America and other "civilized" nations, college binge drinking leads to a lot of questionable situations. The pornography industry is another example of women being regularly exploited and mistreated, regardless of whether they "signed up for it" or whatever.

That's a pretty gruesome reality, but reality nonetheless.

So, in terms of chivalry as it relates to protecting the safety and integrity of the women close to me -or even a stranger- I make NO apologies.

2) I think that the Super Girls reflect some of RJ's commentary on the extreme (and pretty rare, in my experience) reaction of feminism, which goes something like "F*** men, we can do it ourselves" and leads to rejecting an offer of aid, even when it might genuinely be needed. I haven't experienced this much in my life, but it was very frustrating the few times it happened. Honestly, it's probably how most women felt for a very long time when men would laugh off their opinions or offers to help.
87. Alfvaen
To avoid the whole chivalry discussion entirely...

@64 It just now struck me...Lan makes his declaration about not being able to feel Moiraine's presence just a minute or two after she falls through, right? Now let's think about this.

What happened when Moiraine went through the doorway in the Stone of Tear? Did Lan also fail to detect her that time? How could he, if she had stepped into another dimension? I'm presuming that Finnland is either something like Tel'aran'rhiod (given its disregard of physical laws) or at best it's inside the Tower of Ghenjei and thus many miles away. But Lan didn't rush around then and say that he couldn't detect Moiraine and therefore she must be dead. Admittedly, Moiraine might have warned him beforehand, that time, but if she did, then wouldn't he be expecting the same thing to happen this time?

I also presume that while time in Finnland may not pass at the exact same rate, the previous scene with Mat and Rand and Moiraine all stepping out one after the other means that your visit is not instantaneous. I confess I had always presumed that whatever happened to Moiraine did not result in her instant death, but at best a bad bargain like Mat's.

So, basically, Lan's reaction is inconsistent. If he freaks out after she goes through this doorway, why didn't he when she went through the other one? And vice versa.

I'm going to assume that RJ just didn't think of the problem in Tear, but he seems a little too quick to let Lan tell us Moiraine is dead in this scene for me to believe it. I really hope the new books let us know what the heck actually happened to Moiraine and Lanfear on the other side, and that it makes sense and doesn't screw everything up.
Genevieve Williams
88. welltemperedwriter
Alfvaen: I interpreted that as the destruction of the doorway severing the link between 'Finnland and Randland...
Ryan Thistlethwaite
89. shintemaster
30. welltemperedwriter

I’m pretty sure that Rand’s mother wasn’t supposed to be fighting however his father ‘couldn’t say no’ to her with anything.

31. Isilel

Many have commented on previous occasions that with emergence of male channelers Randland is coming back to the state of power balance between genders. Unfortunately, that's not the case, IMHO, since military power is already exclusively in the hands of men.

Possibly, although Egwene is currently extending the White Tower’s network to encompass the entire world and the Wise Ones and equivalents in other culture’s only seem to be getting stronger.

35. SeanM

Actually, my wife just came home and I asked her. She said that what happens a lot is that the guy would come up, take the door from her, and tell her to go through first. Is that what we're talking about here?

See, I think that’s interesting. I’m 30 years old and I’ll quite often open doors for either gender or do as you said ie. take over holding it and let them go through. I’m also quite happy to walk through if someone else is settled in for the job! Maybe it’s an age / background thing but I’ve never thought about it too much, I’m probably a product of that era of post 70’s ‘equality’. Or maybe I’m just reasonably polite – which is the way I’ve always looked at it.

43. Maimie

We have one transgender channeler, don't we? Aran'gar/Halima has a man's soul and a woman's body, and (s)he channels saidin. Yes, I know that he is somewhat of a special case, being resurrected by the Dark One and all, but I think that implies that a transgender channeler channels the Power respective to his/her "mental" gender.

I’ll give you that it’s an example however it’s certainly as you say not a natural one by any means. I’m about 99% sure that I’ve read quotes of Jordan stating that channelling can be linked to the soul or can be genetic. In other words there is not guarantee that a reborn soul of Elayne for example would be able to channel at all or to equivalent levels.

*Actually speaking of that, I don't know that the question has ever been asked if souls can be male or female in different lives...
craig thrift
90. gagecreedlives
Remember Rand is as far as everyone including himself is concerned is gonna go insane, and the previous incarnation of the dragon when he went insane killed everyone that he loved. So why would he keep the women he loves around when he thinks it likely that he will kill them.
And Lan has just had the warder bond snapped. Not many warders survive that. From what we’ve been told when that happens the warder go into a manic state and just stop caring about what happens to them. IIRC when he gets to Myrelle he is in bad shape. It looks like he has ridden through a battle.
As for taking their choices away well the women end up with what they want anyway despite the wishes of Rand or Lan.

“Burn me, if we’re going to do this thing, let’s do it. Dovie’andi se tovya sagain.”
“I said, it’s time to roll the dice. Did Sulin stop up your ears?”

That cracked me up. I always get a kick of Mat speaking the old tongue and not realising it.
Hurin Smells
91. HurinSmells
@87, @88
It may be that Mo was stilled/burned out, which would sever the Warder bond I believe.
Roger Powell
92. forkroot
Also possible that Moraine deliberately released the Warder bond shortly after passing through the doorway.

Consider this: She knows that her only chance to be rescued from Finnland is if precisely three people come for her: Mat, Thom, and a third man she doesn't recognize. There would be no way to stop Lan from coming if he were still bonded.
93. Daniel Holm
The reasons that women are less rare than men in armies (in Randland as well as the real world) is pretty darn simple (and Jordan pointed it out more than once).

Men have, on average, greater upper-body strength than women. This gives an inherent advantage in any fight.

Does this mean that women can't or shouldn't join armies? No, not at all. Average is just that: average. There'll be women who are just as strong and/or stronger than the average man -- especially if they train in the same manner as men from childhood.

What one should do, what one needs to do, is to evaluate everyone on their own individual basis. That doesn't mean you can't have a default behavior to fall back on when you're not capable of evaluating the person in question. Chivalry is not a bad default behavior. It only becomes degrading when it is practiced despite the offended party's express wishes.

To anyone who claims Rand refused to kill Lanfear because of LTT's influence -- go reread part 22, please. LTT was trying to tell Rand how to kill her.
94. Daniel Holm
Bah, typo. More rare!
craig thrift
95. gagecreedlives

But if she just released the bond as opposed to it being severed would that have resulted in Lans emotional state?

I think Moraine was either stilled or the doorway actually melting caused the bond to snap.
96. Freelancer

I have real-life experience with your firefighter situation. The local fire department's first stage of segregating applicants is a physical agility test. 14 simple events, but all designed to show that you could do what a firefighter must do to save lives. My brother and I used to go and do the test just for fun when we were teenagers, and the same year I graduated from high school, the daughter of the senior fire chief sued the city because of the "discriminatory" test. She could not take a 24-foot extension ladder down from a set of hooks, set it on the ground, straighten up, then bend back down and lift the ladder back onto the hooks. She said the hooks were too high. They were the exact height the ladders are hung on the side of the trucks. She could not drag a 50-foot length of hose, filled with water and a closed nozzle on each end, around a 400-foot perimeter square in under a minute. Actually, she couldn't drag it that far no matter how much time she was given. She could not do a single pull-up regardless of grip direction, and you absolutely must be able to lift your own body weight. She was wearing gym clothes, not a full turnout suit.

I know all this because my dad was the battalion chief who designed the test, and he was the defendant of the suit along with the city. Originally, the state upheld the claim, in spite of proof that two other female applicants had passed the test. An appellate court threw out the case once it was demonstrated that inability to perform any of the requirements would put the firefighter themself, their fellows, and potential victims at greater risk. The upshot was, the chief's daughter was a student at UCLA majoring in women's studies, and was simply grandstanding in the name of "equality". She probably to this day doesn't realize that she hurt her cause more than helped it.

Regarding Lan/Moiraine and the Bond:

No, releasing the bond would have been different in two ways. 1) He wouldn't have been compelled to go to Myrelle. Moiraine's bond was adjusted to pass if something happened to her. 2) He wouldn't have entered that manic state of not caring if he lived or died. If released by his Aes Sedai, a warder is just fine.

I maintain (as do many others) that the destruction of the doorway severed the bond due to extreme distance. The Tower of Ghenjei is a portal, as are the two doorway ter'angreal, it is not the actual location of the 'finn. They are on another planet, or in another dimension. We know that the strength of the bond is directly related to the distance between the two, and if that distance were many lightyears, it's easy to accept that the bond could not hold. Moiraine isn't dead, this is certain from her letter to Thom. She can't see what happens in Randland once she's through the door, explaining why she isn't sure if the girls survived Lanfear's attack. But she knows she'll see Thom again, during the rescue attempt. Yes, being burned out would abolish the warder bond, and there's no proof one way or the other on that count (yet), so we each choose one of two options as to why the bond is gone.
Antoni Ivanov
97. tonka
@ 87.Alfvaen

There is one major difference between Tear and Cairhien. The doorway in Tear didn't melt. It might be that Melting the doorway sever the connection between this and the Fox's world.
Or, as someone said, Moiraine burnt out.

In any case this is RAFO for us.
98. Noren

The Mino had been in existence for at least a hundred years before the French invasion.AND had a pretty good military rep.You don't maintain and equip a third of the army of an aggressive military kingdom that ran regular slave raiding expeditions and not make it effective.

Chivalry?Really?From French Colonial troops?I doubt it;the kind of people who made it into the infantry in those days were not noted for their charity.More likely,they were outfought by "savages",had to retreat and reinforce(historical record),and had this chivalry story bandied around to explain their casualties.

Won't be the first time a colonial army got FUBARed for underestimating an opponent.
99. mcrbryant
Agree with much of your commentary, however some contextual points. Randland is not our world - at least not in this age, and the Aiel are certainly apart from it and tribal in nature.

The reason that women, in general, were not allowed to fight in tribal societies is that the future of your tribe, its very survival, DEPENDS on women - men are, by and large, more expendable (and again, by and large, more physically suited to combat). Only women can have babies, replacement men can be found, if needs be, one man could repopulate an entire tribe that had many women - might have some serious genetic problems down the line, but that is an extreme example.

It is this ancient tribal reality that is the foundation of the culture of protecting women from harm, from a time when motherhood was something that was revered and respected rather than something that feminism has caused to become devalued and degraded by the implicit (note implicit) message that to be a stay at home mother is a 'lesser' use of your time and an indication of subservience. Incidentally note the rising delinquency of children in western countries - a coincidence - I think not, direct correlation? again not - it is more complex than that. To prevent people jumping on a bandwagon here, I am not implying that women should stay at home and raise the children, I do however firmly believe that it is beneficial for one parent to do this. I also believe that the degradation of the status of stay-at-home mothers is a direct by-product of the feminist message and is both insulting, unfair and has had a hugely negative affect on society as a whole. For those who might try to deny it, have you ever seen the reaction of businesswomen at a party when introduced to a woman who says that she is a 'homekeeper' or a 'full time mother'. No? You have to be kidding - watch harder and see the patronism and condescension that often results.

Anyway, I digress - chivalry developed from this tribal protection of women. Is it anachronistic in the modern world? Yes, of course. Is it likely to be prevalent in a world and culture such as in Randland? Equally, yes, of course.

However, I was brought up to behave chivalrously, if you like, open doors for women (not that I would ever drop a door on a guy), give up my seat on the train/bus, etc. I get why giving up the seat could have negative connotations, so that is now reerved for elderly people and pregnant women. Would I have refused to go through a door that a woman opened for me? No, that's frikking retarded. But equally retarded is women who have said, "I can open my own door" or PREGNANT women on public transport who have refused to take my seat when offerred and believe me - that happens ALOT.

By the way, my grandmother always took the philosophical view that feminists have done alot of good but have thrown the baby out with the bathwater - if people want to open doors for you, give up their seats for you, go out to work and earn money while you play golf every day and play off a handicap of 2 (as she did ) then let them. IF they think you are some how a lesser person for doing that, again let them - who is smarter?
100. simonLikesMe
Despite all the over-amplified feminism, this post has been really enjoyable... until this post. Jebus! Tone it down! Women are a wee bit weaker in general. Get over it and move on. I'm hoping Ms. Butler got everything out of her system so we can get back to commenting on the actual book.
101. MattG
I am leaning towards the opinion at the moment that the whole Rand and women thing is not just meant to be an allegory for overbearing chivalry in society, or even simply a representation of a flaw in his thinking.

Rand is developing mental tools to try and cope with the 'reality' of his situation. Part of that is trying to hang on to part of his sense of himself. He has chosen a factor of the innocent Rand's value system and clung to it as an anchor to his previous self and in his desperation to not lose it is building it into an absurd absolute.

As a result he clings to the ideal even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is incorrect. It takes actions as severe as Sulin's to put a chink in that rock.

That is not to say that the other commentary on the chivalry thing is wrong. While I think Jordan was aiming to show this psychological coping method, there were many facets of the innocent Rand he could have chosen to be the cling target, however he chose one that also allowed him to explore some other social mores and frictions at the same time.

In regards to Moraine taking direct action to fulfill the prophecy of her 'death' (which was discussed in more detail last post), I am not as critical of Jordan in how he has set this up as others are. One of the factors of the futures Moraine saw was that she saw all the things that would happen down a number of different branches. For example she talks at one stage of having seen what the consequence would be if she had taken Rand as a lover. A path she had considered.

I will give Jordan the benefit of the doubt in this one and presume that Moraine knew that if things did not happen the way they did then there would have been major consequences in the future. This was why she went to effort to ensure that what she had seen came to pass in the right way. It is still a little self serving though.
Philbert de Zwart
102. philbert
I had a lot of points to make but they have all been made by others.

So I'm just going to support simonLikesMe's point @100: Let's get back to the book! I like the book.

Some foreshadowing: next chapter will have a Mat quote that cracks me up! I count on Leigh to quote that quote!
Maiane Bakroeva
103. Isilel
I don't have any issue with Aiel warrior women only having one society. That actually seems realistic, given how many would be qualified and want to be fighters as well as the fact that many leave to marry after a few years, while we never heard of men leaving.
What is the issue is that the Maidens can never become chiefs - i.e. have a ceiling in their chosen profession. Even if one was as brilliant as Napoleon, they'd never get to be generals.

Re: roofmistresses, it is not actually a career where you rise by merit, you know? To become one, one has to be married to a chief. Hence a trophy wife like Sevanna becoming a clan roofmistress at 16.

Re: LTT, while he might have been dead set against killing women initially, due to Ilyena, he does want to kill Lanfear and other Femsaken and later even some AS.
BTW, I'd say that in dealing with AS at Dumai's Wells chivalry finally worked for Rand. I am sure that killing the lot of them would have had disastrous consequences, however understandable.

What I find so frustrating in Rand's interview with Sulin is that so little changed after it. Yes, Rand took them along a couple of times (once forcing Sulin to incur serious toh in the process) and then was back to slipping away without them - or any bodyguards, and nearly got killed. The Maidens should just give up and find something more productive to do. Yes, it is entirely Rand's fault, but keeping him safe is more important.

Any notions as to why Amys said "about that and other things you are a fool"?
Also a bit strange that Aiel don't mention Moraine ever again.
mark Proctor
104. mark-p
98. Noren
Sorry that was supposed to be a joke, that didn't really come off well.(it was 1.30am)
I don't think chivalry as we are talking about it here has ever been part of a battle even for knights in shining armour.

70. welltemperedwriter

I said smaller size was an advantage, not female gender. I train with men as well as women, many of them bigger than myself, and always have

Yeah I realise that but on average women are smaller than men so I thought they might use different tactics.
I was trying to think of why the Aiel have different warrior societies and how they worked.
I'm considerably below average height/weight for men (so all the Maidens of the Spear would be bigger that me), When I played Rugby as a kid, I was fast so did ok in the Backs but wasn't much use in a scrum when I was half the weight of the Forwards. But a team needs both to win.
So it could have been one reason RJ decided to have a separate society but obviously it can't be the only reason if a Maiden more suited to the Stone Dogs can't join them. And there have been other suggestions such as the numbers becoming warriors being much lower than men.
105. JWezy
Isilel@103: Any notions as to why Amys said "about that and other things you are a fool"? Also a bit strange that Aiel don't mention Moraine ever again.

From the second reading, it seemed to me that the comment was in reference to Rand saying that Lanfear and Moiraine were both dead. I have absolutely no idea why or how they would know (the rings?), nor whether they meant one or the other but not both, but once you think of that, the passage always reads that way, at least for me.

We know that the Wise Ones saw Moiraine in their dreams as well, and perhaps there was something there. Do they know something more, do they anticipate that she still has a role to play? I don't recall any other foreshadowing comments from them, and I also (as you mention) don't recall them mentioning her again. But then again, there was the curious incident of the dog in the night-time...
106. birgit
So, basically, Lan's reaction is inconsistent. If he freaks out after she goes through this doorway, why didn't he when she went through the other one?

AS can shield the bond, so if he didn't feel the bond for a while, that isn't really a reason to worry. But this time he feels the bond to Myrelle instead of Moiraine, which for him is proof that Moiraine is dead.
Wayne Wilson
107. stylusmobilus
About this and other things, you are a fool...

I've always thought she meant about what just happened, and the other things being unaccepting of the Maidens as a killing machine, putting himself in danger by using a sword, etc.
John Massey
108. subwoofer
Is it possible that Moiraine passed the bond when she went through the doorway, or was on the other side? Lan does get dramatic from time to time. Makes up for his stone face.

One thing that disappoints me was Pevin. He was a nice character that I did sympathize with. Guy who lost everyone he loved to the fighting going on. Then dies himself. RJ has killed off a few good people.

I was also wondering about Mat... he was clearly dead. Again. Of course, balefire erases all traces of what happened, but there you have it. I feel cheated. Kinda like me dicing with Mat. He seems to cheat death a lot.

As far as chivalry... to me it is not a question of gender, it is the Golden Rule. Regardless of being male or female, treat everyone well and with respect.
Marcus W
109. toryx
I'm way behind, so forgive me for responding to old comments.

Aegnor @ 19:

There are two problems with your theory that Rand's inability to kill women is coming from Lews Therin:

1. The LTT persona itself, once he becomes more present, wants all of the Forsaken to be killed, as well as a number of the Aes Sedai. He seems to have no qualms with killing women. More to the point, LTT was trying to give Rand methods to use to fight Lanfear and Rand purposely blocked them out.

2. Mat is almost as fickle about killing women as Rand is, and Perrin may be even more so. That pretty strongly illustrates just how forceful an impact their upbringing had on them.

jcmnyu @ 27:

I don't buy the argument that men are stronger physically and women are weaker as a valid reason for the discrepancy between the sexes. In my opinion, the strength argument is a tool men used against women that doesn't really have any validity in nature.

Strength does not automatically equal superiority. A strong fighter who faces a faster, yet weaker, fighter will not automatically win. A stronger fighter against a more intelligent, but weaker, fighter again will not automatically win.

Strength is bullshit. Women are just as capable of protecting themselves against the strong as any weaker man is against a stronger if she has the tools to do so. The problem, historically, is that women were denied those tools. They were denied any of the advantages that would allow defense against an opponent: education, exercise, even the dress that might be required to do so. Even if a woman were stronger than a man (which can well happen, particulary in a society that didn't have easy access to food) a woman wearing a full dress will automatically be at a disadvantage against a man wearing small, tight fitting clothes.

The reality is that a patriarchal society created all these obstacles against women because the protection required in such circumstances led to ownership. Strength, then and now, was an excuse.
Anthony Pero
110. anthonypero
I have to make a point here about Chivalry: it does NOT come from some Judeo-Christian ethic of women being weaker than men. Leigh, I love ya, but the whole premise is flawed. Certainly you are right that, over time, many men have viewed it that way. But there is no Chivalric code present in the Old Testament, there is none in Judaism at the turn of the millennium when Christianity is formed; so where did it come from in Medieval society? It came from pagan influences on Christian societies.

It was designed to combat what was ultimately an Oriental debasement of women that was being carried through eastern influences like Christianity on Western society. Pagan cultures valued women as greater and more important than men because of the fundamental difference between men and women: childbirth. Women were protected because successful childbirths were so incredibly rare compared to today. In order to facilitate the continual propagation of the species, women were not allowed to do some of the more dangerous things that men did; not because they were inferior or less than men, but because they were greater and more than men.

Chivalry developed in a society in which childbirths were at an all time low, and pagan influences on Christianity were used to shape the culture in such away as to allow for the greatest chance of survival for western civilization. Then, like many things, it became a creed without a purpose.

But the whole feminist argument that Chivalry itself equates to discrimination against women is absurd. Codes don't discriminate: people do.

In Rand's case, in particular, he is up against a culture clash. There is nothing inherently wrong with his culture. In fact, in his culture, like pagan culture, women actually have more power and authority then men. But because people are the greatest resource the Two Rivers has, women are valued the most highly for their ability to bear healthy children. Is this consciously playing on his mind? Of course not, but that is where the attitude comes from, not that women are weaker than men, but that women living and bearing children is more important than a man living.
Marcus W
111. toryx
Anthonypero @ 110:

But there is no Chivalric code present in the Old Testament, there is none in Judaism at the turn of the millennium when Christianity is formed; so where did it come from in Medieval society? It came from pagan influences on Christian societies.

I complete disagree. The Christian Church borrowed many things from the pagans, but the Chivalric code was not one of them. And I'm afraid your example of the bible as a support for your argument is not sufficient either. Very little of modern or medieval christianity that was implemented by the Christian Church (which is what it was before Protestantism came along and the Christian Church became the Catholic one) is from the bible itself.

Chivalry has had many meanings and Leigh specifically pointed out what meaning she was assigning to it. But in general, the notion of Chivalry came out of France in response to the notion of Courtly Love which itself has its roots in the Christian Knight's exposure to Arab poetry during the crusades. By that time the social impact of the emphasis on the Virgin Mary had already spread enough for the knights to be eager to take it one step further and embrace the muslim values of hiding away the women to "protect women," from themselves as much as others.

But the whole feminist argument that Chivalry itself equates to discrimination against women is absurd. Codes don't discriminate: people do.

Codes are created by people; if people discriminate, then it stands to reason that codes created by those people in order to discriminate are, in fact, discriminating.

I think the old adage that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" is appropriate here. The intent behind discrimination may be good, but it's still discrimination.

* Edit for misspelling.
John Mann
112. jcmnyu
@109 toryx

You are absolutely right that strength does not equal superiority. Never claimed it did. My point remains that on balance, men will win in a physical contest with women, and the best men will usually beat, maybe always beat, the best women. (Think triathalon, sprinting, high jump, shotput) I agree with you that a quicker woman could beat a stronger man. However, it is more likely that a man will be both quick and strong than it is for a woman. So, just to pull some numbers out of the air, let's say if you were to pick a fighting force based on skill, you would get 80% men and 20% women. That would be considered a male dominated fighting force. The next generation could be influenced by that ratio and may see it as "men's work" and the women who participate as "trying to be a man". We see this all the time in our society. Women are denigrated for trying to participate in roles which used to be all male. Same goes for men who take on roles or jobs that were considered "women's work". Male nurses, flight attendants, and stay at home dads all can face varying degrees of scorn for their choices. This can have the result of limiting the pool of people in the next generation who choose to take on those roles. So instead of 20% women, maybe then there are only 15% because qualified women don't want the job. Then it snowballs until you have a role which is only done by one gender, even though it isn't necessary. And in the books, we are talking about 3000 years of hardship and little progress so the roles are very well established. Exceptions to the rules like Birgitte would be remembered for their uniqueness, and some would try to emulate her. But on the whole, the gender roles would endure failing some enormous outside influence. Say, the end of the world?
Anthony Pero
113. anthonypero

And I'm afraid your example of the bible as a support for your argument is not sufficient either. Very little of modern or medieval christianity that was implemented by the Christian Church (which is what it was before Protestantism came along and the Christian Church became the Catholic one) is from the bible itself.

That is my point. Much of what the medieval Christian Church did was not rooted in the Oriental culture that gave it birth.

As far as codes discriminating... I stand by my point. People discriminate. Later people used the code to discriminate. That was not the intention of the code itself.
someone else
114. Naraoia
jcmnyu @112: I think you made a great point about snowballs there.

Re: Maidens, I had a thought that it's telling how the Maidens are pretty much the only society whose name has anything to do with gender (with the exception of Brothers of the Eagle). On a second thought, though, that can easily be a direct consequence of them being the only female society. Witness the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact ^_^.

Much as I hate being the weaker sex, I have to agree that women vs. men is (on average, given equal amounts of training) not a balanced fight. IIRC RJ says something about this when Elayne is getting her female bodyguards; I think there's a remark somewhere that because these ladies she's recruiting are women, they had to be really, really good to persist in their jobs.

Which probably implies that the Maidens must all be exceptionally kickass fighters in a culture where all fighters are supposed to be kickass... Go Maidens!
115. Ben Frey
In general, I agree with your commentary.

In detail, though, there are differences, both physical and mental, that really do make men and women different in their societal roles.

1. In general, men are larger and stronger. It's just a fact. It's testosterone for the most part, but that's how it works.

2. Women have breasts. Traditionally, those were for feeding babies. That's still true for most mothers in the world. That automatically attaches women more strongly to children, even after birth, than men.

3. Men have penises. In a heathen-style war environment, that often, sadly, leads to raping of women, primarily due to #1 up there. The men in a village/tribe/country don't want their women raped by the men of another village/tribe/country for obvious procreative reasons.

4. Hormones. These play pretty obvious roles in #1 and #2, but they also shape our minds. Women, on average, are more interested in children than men are. They are less "lusty" due to the lack of testosterone. Are there exceptions to all of this? Sure.

These factors exist today. If you erased the remembered and learned biases of the entire human race all at once and gave us a clean gender-relations slate to start from, very quickly you would find that men take up a role as protectors of women/children/elderly.

The whole "refusing to go through the door" thing is dumb, yes. But as for combat, I think you need to consider a combat situation that's more true to most of the world's the US, we haven't had a war on our soil since the civil war...We haven't had enemy soldiers invading our towns and pillaging, etc. We see military service as something you do "there" instead of "here," so it has become easier for us to think about women in combat. The argument that women should be allowed on the front lines just like men isn't as clear-cut as a general statement as you seem to think. You say that anything else is making the women "less." So why not let children and elderly people fight? Some of them are just as strong as the average young man, too. We aren't making children "less" by withholding them from battle. We are saving them for a more valuable societal purpose: growing up to be bigger and stronger and smarter. Old people, on average, are more valuable for dispensing wisdom than they are for marching around in harsh terrain carrying 100lbs of gear all day. Women are better at raising children and keeping things running smoothly in extreme times. They are. Part of the reason is physical, part of it is mental. Yes, there are some women who are bigger and stronger and tougher than the average man. That doesn't mean that men and women aren't equal. it means they aren't the same. There aren't any female running backs in the NFL because no women really want to be running backs in the NFL. Well, maybe some do, but they aren't big enough or strong enough. If it were a discrimination issue, there would be women's football leagues. Are the women olympians consistently and dramatically slower, weaker, and less agile than their male counterparts out of some response to men being sexist? Nope. They are slower, weaker, and less agile. Those sound like "negative" traits, but it's more that they are trade-offs. Women get all sorts of advantages over men in many areas of life. It's just common sense to utilize your strengths and weaknesses in a way that is most beneficial to you or your "people."
You don't equip your magic users with swords and put them at the front of your party in a RPG, do you? Of course not. That doesn't mean you're making them "less" it just means that you're not being a wool-headed pig farmer. If there actually were tribes of Amazon warriors in the past, I think it's pretty obvious that they were doing something wrong, because otherwise, where are they today?
116. Lost in my own Mind
I wanted to comment on Jordan's use of a seperate Aiel society for women. I think he did this for the sake of the story rather than as a statement about male/female relationships. I agree with Leigh that it would be more equal to have mixed warrior societies or at least multiple female societies, but that wouldn't have worked for the story. One of the reasons Far Daris Mais (sp?) exists is to highlight Rands struggle with female roles and how protecting someone can make them "less". If the society guarding his honor was not all female or if there were multiple female warrior societies this point would be muddied.
Joseph Blaidd
117. SteelBlaidd
As an adjuct to our dicussion of the Double Standards that Show up in Wot here is a list of some of the Tropes I recognize.

All Amazons Want Hercules (Strong women can only find their fulfillment with stronger men.)

Feminine Women Can Cook Nyn and Ely in the circus

Real Women Never Wear Dresses Aviendha Lampshades this one all to hell and gone.
God Save Us From The Queen (Women in positions of power are usually portrayed as shrill, PMS-ing, manipulative bitches or all-along incompetent rulers.) Elayne and Egwene get this from fans a lot.

Rape As Comedy (More likely in modern Western media when the victim in male.)
Rape Is Ok When It Is Female On Male (Women can't 'really' rape men, it is implied, so he must have wanted it or been so weak he's not worthy of sympathy.)

Particularly relevent to this thread:
Men Are The Expendable Gender (Similar to Disposable Woman)
Men Don't Cry (because if they do, they're less manly)

There are others.
let see what else we can come up with.
118. lurker
Jaspax: "Women in combat: your post ignores the most basic motivation for keeping women out of combat for most of history, which was the fact that they'd get their asses kicked in any sort of physical confrontation. Direct your complaints about this to Mother Nature. "

This is also directed to everyone else who chimed in about women being smaller, less strong, less lung capacity, blah blah blah.

You're not thinking straight.

Here's why. Combat (real, honest to God combat) is not about who can last longer. People die. Fast. It's about who is more *knowledgeable* about how to kill the other, and who is more willing to cause absolute destruction.

I know that I would win in a fight over many of the women I know, but that's because I know more, not because they are not capable of performing the exact same techniques. And given a gun, I'd probably die instead, because my aim is terrible.

So Leigh is right, if women want to fight, more power to them. If men want to 'protect' them, take a long hard look at how you're doing in real life, most times women just build us up so our fragile egos won't be bruised. (much like the characters in the story, hmm, imagine that)

Similarly, if a woman is fighting against you, trying to kill you, do what Matt did and kill her first. Can't buy into that concept halfway.
119. OldWoman
I can't help but comment here.
I think you are mistaken in what the 'feminists' were about. It wasn't to devalue the stay-at-homemaker. The issue was about choice. If one chooses to stay at home to raise the children, one should be valued for that. It is not of lesser value and in fact is an important part of society as one is raising the next generation. If one chooses to have other work, it should be valued and judged on ability, not gender, and does not mean a woman is wanting or trying to be a man. The movement, which I was involved in at a very intimate level, was about freedom to chose, equal pay for equal work, equal respect for all. I always considered the women's rights movement to actually be a human rights movement as it also freed men from their artificial societal restrictions.
120. MSedai
I suppose my comments on this topic should be taken with a grain of salt, since I have had the advantage of growing up in the "enlightened" age, and was never taught by my parents that I was anything less, or could do anything less, than my brother.
That being said...

It may not have been what feminists were about, but that is a consequence, and this is where feminism gets me all riled up. The ideal is great. The practice offends me. I am very glad I was never taught that I was less than a man, but at the same time, I have never thought it was reasonable for me to think that I would do as well as a man in certain physical endeavors. EQUAL DOES NOT MEAN IDENTICAL. Intellectually, I am as smart (or smarter) than any man. Physically, I am not going to pass the firefighter test. And that doesn't matter. But now, society has swung so far in the other direction, that, yes, women in traditional feminine roles are now seen as "less" because they aren't striving to push society's buttons, and let everyone know "I'm as good as a man."
I think a really screwed up sign of this is a personal anecdote: I recently made the decision to take a year off from school rather than pursue a PhD. The biggest reason for this was my husband's and my hope to conceive soon. The decision to not continue on in school for now was the most emotionally difficult decision I have ever made. And why? Because instead of being an educated woman first, I would be a wife and mother instead. As if that were less of a job and life goal.
Alice Arneson
121. Wetlandernw
Haven't read the comments yet, but Leigh, I'm dreadfully disappointed in the commentary. This was a heart-rending chapter, and then all you really dealt with was your view of chivalry and how it doesn't make you as a feminist happy. Speaking only for myself, you've already said all that and I don't find it particularly engaging to read it yet again. Especially since I disagree with you on a lot of it, but hey, that's personal. Just disappointed that you couldn't find more in the text that was worthy of comment and could only focus on your personal dislike of your understanding of chivalry. Meh. It's your blog, but I'm bummed, if that's what we're left with for the next week or more.
Andrew Lovsness
122. drewlovs
(More or less; we’re not getting into my issues with the whole saidin:fight::saidar:surrender thing today.)

I'm not sure if anyone has kicked THIS ant hill, bu I will. I'm not above starting a huge word incident!!

This part of the one power has always made perfect sense to me, probably because I am a man and never had to deal with chauvinists. Having to protect your own equality will cause a person to see things very differently from those who have never had to deal with it.

But the "surrender" part of Saidar makes sense, as I've said, for 2 big reasons. The first is based in psychology; men are problem solvers and "aggressive" when it comes to challenges. Where a woman might want to discuss a problem, to try to understand both sides and perhaps vent, there male counterpart will immediately try to "solve" the problem for them. We as a gender do that with each other as well... its a big difference between how men and women think.

Second, I will use my wife as an example. When my kids start in with disobediance or, in the young one's case, crying, I have this NEED to "fix" whatever is wrong. I tear into the situation, like a bull in a china shop (my wife's words), talking, picking up, or yelling (depending on the case) trying to MAKE the situation better. My wife, on the other hand, weathers the storm, allowing the kids to find their own solutions, letting the little ones cry a bit if there really isn't a problem, etc. If the kids were the one power, she would be surrendering to it, while I would be fighting for my life.

And I do not think we are atypical. My mother was the same as my wife with my siblings and I, as are many of my wife's friends with THEIR kids. The other fathers and I are constantly amazed at their patience and... peace. They don't fight the storm, they surrender to it and as such, weather it.

I think of my wife as a palm tree in a typhoon; I am an oak in a hurricane. That Jordan used this approach to the one power always made sense to me for these reasons.
Anthony Pero
123. anthonypero

It seems to me we are arguing this on the basis of our own world and time, instead of in the contexts of the societies represented in the text and their counterparts (however loosely) in our own history.

We have advantages in our society that allow for an equalizing of the playing field amongst men and women that Randland just doesn't have. It's interesting that the AoL has those advantages, and men and women are portrayed as equals by RJ. This makes everything else more interesting, as far as his social statements go.

Low birthrates amongst our own societies up until really the 1900s contributed vastly to the societal structure that informs our own prejudices and worldviews in the 21st century.

I can't imagine that Randland doesn't have similar staggering birthrates. In fact, we find out about miscarriages and children dying in the very first section of tEotW. Providing women with the ability to stay home and have babies was absolutely critical in our society until modern medicine alleviated the problem. I don't know the exact figure, and I'm not going to waste time looking it up, but it was something like 1 in 6 pregnancies ended with a child reaching adulthood until modern medicine stepped in. Prior to the Enlightenment those numbers were far worse.

Rand's unconscious need to protect all women in no way is a statement on him thinking women are weaker than men. It's the product of 3000 years of culture that subconsciously says "The only way we are going to survive as a species is for women to get pregnant as often as possible."

Until the United States was born, the needs of society at large had trumped the needs and rights of the individual in every society in history with the exception of the Ancient Greeks.

And some people would like to see perceived societal needs trump individual liberty again... but that's another blog ;)
Anthony Pero
124. anthonypero
I guess what I'm trying to say is that in the context of Randland, I believe the motivation is that women are sacred, not weak.
Maiane Bakroeva
125. Isilel
JWezy @105:

Wow, I have completely forgotten that the WOs had dreams about Moiraine. Maybe they know that she might return.

Toryx @109:

They were denied any of the advantages that would allow defense against an opponent: education, exercise, even the dress that might be required to do so.

Couldn't agree more. Which is why it is particularly implausible that it is the case in Randland, where women aren't otherwise oppressed and in fact often have jobs where it would be helpful or live in places where they might have to defend themselves to survive, like the Borderlands.

Re: birthrates, sorry, but it is not a convincing argument. In Randland they have medicine which is as good as that of the early 20th century, although largely herb-based. They are also nearly as hygienic. Which alone accounts for high infant survival rates.

Forget your RL medieval or Renaissance societies - Randland just isn't like them at all, as nobody purposefully persecuted wise-women, midwives and doctors for centuries.

And BTW - a lot of people in these RL societies didn't marry because they couldn't support a family. Somehow this very pertinent fact tends to get constantly overlooked. There were "spare" women, always.
Anthony Pero
126. anthonypero
Let's take Perrin as a case in point; he has the exact same feelings about women that Rand does. He would much rather protect them than have them fight. The women and children needed to be protected so that the society could go on. And the women were ok with this. They recognized the wisdom in it.


...when faced with the extinction of the Two Rivers, when they all would have died anyway, they fought, and Perrin's eyes weren't all of a sudden opened to women in a new light: he knew that they could and would fight, he just thought it was a shame that they had to.

Rand's situation with the Maidens is completely different, and that's why he struggles with it. He is taking the fight to the enemy, the Aiel were not threatened prior to him bringing them across the Spine, and he has yet to embrace their culture and reject his. Is his worldview wrong, or right? It's right, from his perspective, and in the society where he grew up, because it is necessary.

The Aiel on the other hand... well, their whole society is impossible in the real world, as has been discussed ad nauseum for years. If I had to try to justify it in the context of the Breaking, they had Aes Sedai traveling with them for a long, long time... maybe birthrates were less of an issue for them as they developed. Certainly, since the men of the Aiel refused to fight and protect their women, I can see how the first maiden came to be. If the men were going to abdicate their societal responsibility to protect the next generation, the women damn well were going to step up and do it. I can see any mother making the same choice as the first maiden did.
Anthony Pero
127. anthonypero

How high the rate of successful births are now in Randland has absolutely nothing to do with how their society developed. To use this as an argument against birthrates affecting the desire to protect women doesn't make any sense. The preceeding 2000 years since the Trolloc Wars would have left a lasting mark on their culture.
Kurt Lorey
128. Shimrod
That is off kilter a bit, @124 anthonypero.

Emond's Field Women's Circle. Did you see them sitting back behind the Whitecloaks during the battle with Isam's Trollocs? How does that square with claiming that Emond's Fielders treat women as being on pedestals?

Maybe the three (Rand, Mat & Perrin) are just lacking breadth of experience?

Also, too much thinking here that armor and heavy swords are the be all and end all in combat.
Perhaps a simple reminder of what happened to the flower of French Chivalry at Agincourt might be appropriate here? There are other examples I can name off the top of my head.
Anthony Pero
129. anthonypero
Also, the medieval examples are not meant to be held up against Randland, they are meant to illuminate our understanding of chivalry, which was the entire point of Leigh's commentary, so yes, I do think bringing up examples from Medieval Europe applies in this thread.
Jason Deshaies
131. darxbane
While I agree with Wetlander, I can't help but chime in. My biggest pet peeve in a logical discussion is when someone refuses to even acknowledge evidence against his/her claim. I will not put the name of the poster, but the person who continously argues that physical ability doesn't factor in as strongly as knowledge/training is disregarding one major point; Sports. Sports are competitions. They simulate COMBAT SITUATIONS (at their core at least). In the last 30 years or so, women have had access to the same training techniques, workout regimens as men, yet still are unable to compete. By your logic, a woman could successfully play football at a professional level if she were only trained properly. This is simply false. Getting away from brute strength, at the 2008 Boston Marathon. The first woman to cross is always around 25 minutes behind the first man, and the average completion time for men was a full half-hour sooner than a woman. How are men holding them back there? Since getting to the most advantageous position first is critical in battle, would you want people in the group to slow you down?
Note: The above has no bearing on modern warfare. while physical strength and stamina are important, they are not as critical as they were before vehicles and guns. In fact, shooting has been the only sport where women compete with and actually best men (as someone pointed out). In some cases, women may even have an advantage over men (a smaller target is harder to hit, especially while she's capping your squadmates from a thousand yards away).

Back to the Story, I actually see Perrin as the most capable to kill women (the wolf instincts play a part here). He doesn't try to protect Faille because she is a woman but because he loves her, and after he loses the other 17 members of his family, becomes a little over-protective of the only family he has left. Matt, on the other hand, goes the opposite way. After he orders the Sul'Dam killed (her name escapes me), he swears to never kill another woman, and almost gets killed because of it (he would have it Tuon hadn't saved him). He isn't as unaffected by it as some of the Matt lovers make him out to be.
James Jones
132. jamesedjones
I agree with HurinSmells, Leigh. The guy's just upset that you won't let him watch you walk in front of him. :o

Then you get offended and he has to pretend he was being chivalrous. :P

Personally, I always try to make the attempt to wave my hand in front of the automatic doors at Wal Mart for the ladies.

And before I go, Peanut Butter and Hot Dogs? Thanks, Subwoofer! Always glad to see your posts.
John Pigott
133. AbEnd
And meanwhile, Lan gets passed on like a favorite slave to Myrelle to protect him from himself. Cute little Borderland king, we know what's best for him regardless of what Lan wants.

Compulsion is compulsion is contemptible whether wielded by Graendal or Moiraine.
Jason Deshaies
134. darxbane
Is it, though? I mean, sure, we don't want to have our will taken away, but if it saves our lives? If you saw a friend was going to commit suicide, would you do whatever it took to stop him/her, or would you be as "scrupulus" about defying someone's free will? There are times when people need protecting from themselves. Ironically, it is usually those who appear to be the most strong and in-control. What Moiraine did was out of love, and because she really did know what was best for him, which certainly wasn't to kill himself in a hopeless fight. Now he is married and on his way to reclaim his army and his kingdom, which could tip the scales of the last battle in favor of the light. Hmmm...your right, she should have just left it alone.
John Fitzingo
135. Xandar01
Hey there is a TOR post on WOT maps over here.

Maps are so cool. How far is Lan going to have to ride now??
Jason Deshaies
136. darxbane
FAR. Over 2,000 miles I think.


All Amazons love Hercules - I think it is ingrained for any woman to want a strong man. Now, what your interpretation of strong might be is up to debate. The Amazons loved Hercules because he was the only man stronger than they were. Where does this fit in with the story, by the way? The only one who loves Rand is Aviendha, the others treat him like a son or brother.

Real Women Never Wear Dresses - Since Maidens are the only significant group of women who don't wear dresses, I doubt there is any double-standard here. It is much harder to fight in a dress, I imagine, and Aviendha is simply lashing out at the fact that she can no longer be a Maiden.

God Save us from the Queen-I just don't see this personally. If anything, my comment would be that the male kings in this story are all selfish brutal assholes who shouldn't be allowed to run a hot dog stand (sadly this has been true in our world as well, and I am not talking about Bush or Obama)

Men are the expendable gender-Completely agree with you on this one. A life is a life.
137. David M.

So then it's okay for Rand to send away Min, Elayne and Aviendha or anyone else he cares about, right? Because if they insist on staying near him, their chances of dying are pretty high.

Sure, what Moiraine did probably saved Lan. But it's not much different than what people are criticizing Rand for.
Anthony Pero
138. anthonypero
darxbane@136: A life is a life.

Really? Are you saying that all life is of equal value? As a parent, I have to disagree. If faced with saving my child or someone else, I'm not going to hesitate. My child's life holds more value to me.

And in cold dispassion, I would choose to save the life of a child whom I've never met over almost any adult, with the exception of my wife (since cold dispassion would obviously be impossible in that situation.)

I doubt I'm alone here. Why is that instinct ingrained into our society so strongly, if all life holds the same intrinsic value?
Maiane Bakroeva
139. Isilel
David M. @137:

Warders who lost their AS are mentally ill - non compos mentis, so I don't see how Moraine's actions re: Lan compare to Rand's actions towards women around him - who are all of sound mind according to Randland standards.
Leigh Butler
140. leighdb
I regret that I do not have time to fully participate in this discussion, as it is obviously an important topic to me, but here are some relevant links addressing many of the points raised.

The issue of whether women should be in combat is a little deflated by the fact that women are in combat, right now, and they have been for years, and they are doing just fine at it, apparently. We just don't get to hear about it, evidently - not unless you go looking.

(Interesting how we were bombarded with news about the damsel-in-distress-like rescue of Jessica Lynch, but hardly anyone seemed to even notice Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, the first female solider to earn the Silver Star for valor in combat since WWII. Sounds like a total wimp to me.)

Then there is She Fights Too, an article written by a former Canadian naval commander who examines objectively the issues with women in combat. Summary: he thinks at this point the argument is moot.

To the assertion that men, specifically male soldiers, bear the brunt of the costs of war: No. In the 20th century, 90 percent of all war deaths were unarmed women, children, and men.

Given this appalling (and yet not very surprising) statistic, I find the assertion that women do not and should not have to be able to protect themselves frankly ludicrous. It also gives the lie to assertions that men "instinctively" want to protect women, because that's overwhelmingly not the "instinct" on display here.

As someone (I unfortunately lost the link) pointed out, if chivalry actually worked, there'd be no need for chivalry in the first place, would there?

Must run, more later if possible.
Jason Deshaies
141. darxbane
Yes, all life is equal. Does that mean you can't choose to save one life at the expense of your own, or even another? No. What I am saying is that life is not something to be thrown away. Of course we will be biased when faced with the situation you described (I have two myself, after all). It is perfectly natural. That does not mean that the person who's life could not be saved is less important than your child's, it's just less important to you. In most cases, the adult wouldn't let you save him/her first anyway. Would it really be cold dispassion? I know I would feel bad leaving someone behind, no matter how many people I saved.

Hear, Hear, Leigh! I may not agree with every point you make, but women should definitely be allowed to protect themselves, and honestly should get a chance to run things for a while. How much worse could you do, really?
Anthony Pero
142. anthonypero

Thanks for the links, I will check them out!

However, 20th Century war practices have nothing to do with this thread, since the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets was a non-issue for most of the last 3000 years when these societal norms were being developed.

And I don't think anyone here is saying that a woman could not do as well in modern warfare as a man could, if she has the right temperament and training. The tools have reached a point were temperament and training are all that really matter. This is not, however, the case for most of the last 4000 years of warfare.
Anthony Pero
143. anthonypero

I am saying flat out that all life does not have equal value in any objective sense, or it would be impossible to choose. The simple act of choosing whom to save first places more value on one life than another by definition. Societies at large know this, even if we as individuals have a tough time accepting it. This is how social norms develop in the first place. And it's not wrong.

Think of any disaster movie you've ever seen. The world is ending, civilization is crashing down around us: who gets to go into the bunker? The people whose lives society has determined hold more value, objectively, than others.It would be the best and the brightest of our children, and those who can teach them. Plus the leaders already in power, of course, because they're holding the guns ;)
144. David M.
Isilel @139

That's a fair point, except for Lan made the choice to serve Moiraine, knowing the potential costs, before any real or imagined mental illness set in as a result of her supposed death. And when he was informed of her decision to transfer his bond, he objected to it. So in other words, his choice was to serve her knowing full well what would happen to her if and when she died, but his choice was not to be passed along afterward--all while being completely mentally sound.

She made a choice for him to save his life, true, but it wasn't his choice. Rand, however, is criticized for wanting to spare the lives of those closest to him even against their own expressed anger at him for it. All these decisions were made by people who are relatively sane, except for Rand, of course, and maybe that's the crux of the argument.

Additionally, the three women who love him most didn't have a say in the matter. They were destined to be in love with him. So if the argument goes that after Moiraine dies Lan has no control over his own suicidal tendencies, then the argument can also be made that neither Min nor Elayne nor Aviendha have any control over their desire to be with Rand, which has a very high chance of ending badly for them. Rand, however, does have a choice, at least as he sees it--he can isolate himself to protect them.

I'd say that Rand is at least as noble as Moiraine, if misguided.
Jason Deshaies
145. darxbane
Sad but true, Anthony. The point, however, is that we place that value subjectively, and therefore must not forget that people will die as a result. Yes, if civilization is crashing down, we would try to save the most "valuable" members of society first, but we would also try to save as many people as possible, overall. The more that survive, the better chance the society, the species, has. I am not disagreeing with you, I am just pointing out that life should not be so coldly categorized. We do what is necessary, but we shouldn't take it lightly.
James Jones
146. jamesedjones
143 AnthonyPero

"The world is ending, civilization is crashing down around us: who gets to go into the bunker? The people whose lives society has determined hold more value, objectively, than others.It would be the best and the brightest of our children, and those who can teach them. Plus the leaders already in power, of course, because they're holding the guns ;)"

A Dr Strangelove reference FTW!
John Massey
147. subwoofer
um.... not to get too much into this but if we are talking sports, the biggest example is the Olympics. The fields are still separated into mens and womens. If they competed on equal footings, not many females would be going home with the gold. Also look at the differences in record times.

Of course all this goes out the door once you shoot someone. But there are no bullets in Randland. Just Birgette.

Just sayin'.
Jason Deshaies
148. darxbane
My point exactly, Subwoofer. There's a reason why Sam Colts invention was called "The Great Equalizer"....
Dru O'Higgins
149. bellman
@darxbane 131

Yes, women have had the same training as men for sporting events. But it has recently been suggested that all of that training was learned through the study of male athletes, and female athletes may very well require different methods. It is quite possible that the difference in strength is much less than we think.
150. longtimefan
Last Saturday I was eating this really nice caramel apple down by the river. I thought to my self. "Why don't they have caramel apples in the Westlands?" They have honey, they have milk, they have apples. I suppose you could make some sort of caramel from boiled honey and milk and there are plenty of knives and trees for stick whitlting and pots for boiling. They could have lots of sweet sticky apple treats to walk around during a little village fair or a grand day out in a major city.

They need more caramel apples in the Westlands. It would make people happy. There are not enough happy people in the Westlands these days. What other foods do you think would make people happy that are missing from the Westlands?
Kurt Lorey
151. Shimrod
@150 Randland has no Dentists. Hence, no caramel apples.
Anthony Pero
152. anthonypero
@150, 151

Imagine Semirhage as a dentist...

Ok that's too creepy!
John Massey
153. subwoofer
@darkxbane- I made this point several posts ago. will spend the time finding it later but basically I referred to who was better, Bruce Lee or Roy Jones Jr. and that it didn't matter because they can't beat a finger twitch. The finger twitch represents any schmuck on the street that happens to have a fire arm. So you can train for years, have nth degree black belts. And be just as dead from some kid with a gun. Male or Female.

How is this relevant in Randland though is the question. Unless you sub gun with balefire. But then, not everyone can channel. Society as a whole is still evolving to the point where like in our world, many people ride a desk, so physicality does not matter as much.
Andrew Lovsness
154. drewlovs
I have NEVER understood the "keep the women and children safe", especially in "the old days." During the trojan war, EVERYONE died when the Greeks got in; they did not limit their killing to men with weapons.

Thus, why would you EVER take a weapon out of the hands of someone that might make a difference? The point that now in our society women finally are equals on the battlefield means little to me. Yip yip yahoo, women can drive tanks too!!

The best snipers of WWII were women. Don't believe me? Look up Stalin's all women sniper battlegroup; I believe the best of them killed over 1,000 germans during her stint as "death from nowhere." That is one woman; I saw a picture of her, and she was smiling happily for the camara. Just don't get on her bad side...

Women in Randland could be trained with bows, and be just a deadly. In fact, considering the only glimpse we have had of what the world would be like if the dark lord got control (the beginning of LoC, where Demandred sees the woman with a baby waiting to die...I THINK that was demandred), it makes absolutely NO sense to make women "sit tight and pray" their male counterparts win the big battle.
John Massey
155. subwoofer
I believe- but Brad Pitt would be disappointed. Would have to recast his new movie...;)
William Fettes
156. Wolfmage
Going by the definition Leigh has provided, I'd have to agree with her in finding chivalry problematic. Perhaps there is a better, salvageable definition which isn't problematic, but we'd need to put it on better footing.

I see myself as mildly traditionalist, but along with what you might call my romantic sensibilities, I'm a feminist through and through. And no, I don't accept South Park or agitprop caricatures of what feminism really is; I'm talking about bonda fide feminism like that found in Simone de Beauvoir's literature, which is about looking critically at gender roles. Most blanket rejections of feminism, I find, are based on a lack of familiarity with real feminist philosophy or literature. Those who are hostile are hostile because they only get doses of it through the prism political radicalism, or highly distorted caricatures of it. That barrier helps explains why so many young women these days are more likely to self-identify with morally worthless exemplars like Paris Hilton rather than real positive role models.

Re: Moiraine - I don't see any equivalency between what she does to Lan, and what Rand does to the Maidens. Moiraine knows full well that severing the warder bond will produce a pathological despondency within Lan which will induce him to fatal levels of reckless indifference to his life. This is doubly obvious to Moiraine because, in Lan's case, he already has a kind of inner darkness. She isn't acting contrary to his autonomy though, because his death would not be a properly considered decision by him. Without doing what she did, he would just rush off to the Blight by himself to a meaningless death. The analogy to mental illness mentioned above is very apt here. Her actions are the equivalent of reporting a mentally ill family member so they are forcibly interned in a medical facility, for a temporary period until their condition can be stabilised to prevent suicide attempts. It may not 'nice' in an conventional interpersonal sense to have someone do this - but it is still completely benign. It's also not like denying someone euthanasia - which is a valid, rational choice.

In contrast, the Maidens are in the fight because of a fully rational informed choice they've made. They aren't cognitively and emotionally impaired, and they aren't throwing their lives away. Indeed, whether they lose their lives at all is completely contingent. They may very well fight on and live. Rand's position on this is untenable. As is his refusal to fight Lanfear.
Alice Arneson
157. Wetlandernw
Gotta say it. You need more than opportunity to pursue a particular career path. You have to have aptitude, ability and desire. Lots of discussion above in the "warrior" context about aptitute (being able to develop the necessary skill) and ability (strength, reach, etc.) But you still need the desire, and as near as I can tell, that's a significant reason that there aren't more female warriors in Randland. There just are proportionately fewer women than men who WANT to be fighters. Women are perfectly willing and (more or less) able to defend themselves, their children and their homes when necessary, but not all that many of them actually want to make a career out of fighting. They have plenty of other options, after all. So in Randland, no one makes a big deal about a female mercenary or caravan guard, but there just aren't that many because most women have other things they'd rather do.
William Fettes
158. Wolfmage
drewlovs @ 122
“But the "surrender" part of Saidar makes sense, as I've said, for 2 big reasons. The first is based in psychology; men are problem solvers and "aggressive" when it comes to challenges. Where a woman might want to discuss a problem, to try to understand both sides and perhaps vent, there male counterpart will immediately try to "solve" the problem for them. We as a gender do that with each other as well... its a big difference between how men and women think.”

With all due respect, I’d say that’s nonsense on stilts. Nothing in my experience suggests men are more inherently assertive problem solvers than women. I happen to have many associations with highflying women in academia and business, not to mention my lawyer wife, and I’d say that’s a grossly unhelpful generalisation. Regardless, neither of us is in any kind of position to make sweeping claims about inherent cognitive differences based on mere anecdotal experience. RJ’s dichotomy of surrender and struggle is at best a highly simplistic literary conceit with no basis in modern psychology.

Even if there did happen to be research showing men were more likely to adopt assertive roles, we would have every reason to believe it was a product of social conditioning and reinforcement, rather than an inherent feature of cognitive differences between men and women.

The feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan wrote a paper in 1982 In a Different Voice which does argue that there are differences in moral development between men and women. In the paper, Gilligan surveys a bunch of young girls over time on moral issues - and then concludes that, contrary to Kohlberg's traditional model, women tend to be more likely to conceptualise moral dilemmas through a prism of relationships and as part of a highly socially embedded picture of moral autonomy. This model contrasts with men's cognitive bias towards more individualistic / atomised usage of abstract principles. However, Gilligan’s research is hotly contested and the differences she argues for in the paper are a lot more sophisticated and subtle than RJ’s model of surrender v fight.
Hurin Smells
159. HurinSmells
longtimefan@150... you're my new hero! I love that comment so much I want to marry it!
160. tugthis
I think Leigh and some others are guilty of looking for evidence of a 20th century American or at least western sensibility in what is clearly a preindustrial or feudal society. It is not a question that women could have been warriors but were held down by the "man". It is that quite literally they could not have been, or would have been so unreliable on the battlefield as to have been distractions. It is a pretty thought to think in terms of Feminism and equality but in the miliea that Jordan has invented it is simply not a consideration.

Numerous examples have been put forward of women warriors, from the mythological to the doomed and destroyed, but the sum total is that until the mechanized age women were the spoils of war, not the combatants in the war. The exceptions that have been pointed out are just that.

We have an understandable desire to want people who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago to think as we do today. I am sure that hundred of years hence our beliefs in democracy and equality will be viewed as quaint, antiquated and primitive. We make a mistake as readers, and people too I believe, to find fault in practices that sustained cultures and humanity, that have in many ways brought us to this point of benvelovent retrospection.

Ceasar was not a bad man when he destroyed the tribes of Gaul and sold upwards of 100000 Gauls into slavery in Rome. He was a Roman. Likewise the Peruvian and Aztec cultural and religious tradition of human sacrifice is easy to criticize now-- although I do not know how fair it is to criticize a culture that has passed.

We want the women in Randland to be feisty and liberated and act like some 21st century Buffy-, the reality is that they would not have been much more than the barmaids, goodwives and prostitutes that was their lot in life. . . Unless their life was enhanced by being in a royal family or gifted with magic.

Rands' behavior is childish, as our conception of chivalry probably did not exist for him. Death would have been an every day action, and death by natural causes a rarity (Does anyone in WOT die that way?). There certainly is no religious prescription against murder. I don't believe there is any religion in WOT. There are few civil authorities in Randland and none that constrain a king or legendary personage like Rand. He wants Lanfear dead, but will not do it himself . . . it is not chivalry but a moral cowardice, in the sense of being hypocritical, in the absence of some developed sense of ethics.
161. Belmont
In reference to the scene after Moiraine/Lanfear
have gone, I was wondering why there appear to be no
Aiel Wise Ones who don't know the Healing weaves.

I don't recall any up through this book or any of the others that follow. I would think this would be something they would want to learn. Couldn't Moiraine have taught some of them? IIRC, there seems to be one general purpose Healing weave with variations. Nynaeve (of course) figures out a lot on her own.
Pete Pratt
162. PeteP
tugthis @ 160 -- I do not believe Rand really wanted Lanfear dead. He is still too intrigued by her. This is why Moiraine saw too other possibilities -- Rand dead or Rand as LTT sex slave.

That is why Mo set everything up just as it needed to be. If Lanfear had been allowed more time to cool off, Rand would most likely ended up as LTT sex slave, rather than dead.
Joseph Blaidd
163. SteelBlaidd
Good points Wolfmage However I think it is vital that everybody be clear on one particular point.

It is not that Rand won't fight or kill Lanfear it's that he can't. He literally can't make himself do it That's why Moraine has to do what she does.

darxdane @136
All amazons: I was referring to Faile's mom's speech on proper husbandry behavior. I would bet it aplies to Nyn and Lan.
see also
No Guy Wants An Amazon - Cited as a reason why Aes Sedai don't marry (the occasional Green aside). Maidens of the Spear, listed above, also seldom marry, though this is more due to the fact that they are obligated to give up the spear if they get married.

* Later lampshaded in that a character states that this is bunk... Aiel Wise Women marry on a regular basis, the real problem with Aes Sedai is that they can't lie. "Was it good for you too, honey?" "..."

The God save us from the Queen for me is mostly in how Ele and Egwene get dumped on for being bossy and or horrible hypocrites by lots of fans.
Subverted and played straight in The Wheel Of Time. Morgase treats Rand fairly when he accidentally falls into the Royal Palace, despite her Aes Sedai adviser acting like a Hanging Judge. Covalere puts all the refugees out of Carhein (the city). She gets removed from the Sun Throne. Tylin is treated sympathetically despite being a sexual predator.
William Fettes
164. Wolfmage
tugthis @ 160

"I think Leigh and some others are guilty of looking for evidence of a 20th century American or at least western sensibility in what is clearly a preindustrial or feudal society."

I wouldn't characterise Randland as a straightforward analogue of pre-industrial or feudal society. The presence of very disparate contemporary cultures, nation-state structures, a nascent technology frontier, cosmopolitan political ideas, the legacy of the Age of Legends and the circular nature of the Wheel of Time reality - which puts all progress and entropy on a single continuum - all shatter such a simple historical analogy.

"It is not a question that women could have been warriors but were held down by the "man". It is that quite literally they could not have been, or would have been so unreliable on the battlefield as to have been distractions."

Putting up such a deterministic barrier to the existence of female warriors in WOT, based on a materialistic analysis, seems kind of silly. There are already numerous female warriors in WOT, so this is a debate about the proliferation of such roles based on a preference for empowerment. It is not about arguing for the invention of a role which is utterly alien and discordant with reality in WOT.

Also, let's not forget this is an entirely fictional universe, crafted by the whims of authorial fiat, so it is entirely coherent to think about extending the fiction with plausible alternatives. Materialistic logic is there to help establish the world's realism and coherence, but strict compliance with analogies to the real word is not required. Indeed, such analogies are of extremely limited value in setting the parameters of social life in Randland. Randland is quite obviously not just medieval England, and even the parts that are more straightforward in their resemblance are not representing female disempowerment faithfully.

"It is a pretty thought to think in terms of Feminism and equality but in the miliea that Jordan has invented it is simply not a consideration. "

What a strange comment. The books are positively full of contestation over gender roles, both self conscious and alluded to. RJ deconstructs these roles all the time through dialogue and plot. Indeed, one of his central premises for the series, the ramifications of only Saidar being untainted – is clearly based on his desire to explore the phenomenon of female empowerment vis-a-vis men. To say that RJ has not imported feminist considerations into WOT is plainly incorrect. Whether or not they are self-styled as part of a modern movement or not is irrelevant, obviously there are huge strands of feminist ideas in the books.
Hurin Smells
165. HurinSmells
I agree, RJ has constructed the world and it's cultures purely with a view to telling his story. The entire premise of the series depends on a PREGNANT warrior woman giving birth in the midst of battle!

Say all you want about women in combat in the modern-era... I can't imgaine that any culture that exists today would allow a pregnant woman to serve on the frontlines, especially not as part of an invading force!
166. tugthis

That RJ used feminist themes is undoubted, but their existence can be found in any work of literature. I would ask you to name any work of literature that does not touch on gender roles. The question that Leigh raised was the idea of Chivalry . . . which is a specific middle ages, European construct of gender roles. Here the suggestion is that RJ is conducting a social experiment in his fiction by inventing a system that makes women more powerful--- in some instances than men. How do they act with that ability and knowledge and how do men act with that knowledge. He may want his readers to read the book with the idea that inherited ideas of gender roles have been turned on their head.

Also, I am not clear why he would not want Lanfear dead. It seems pretty clear that the way to win the battle is to whittle his opponents down, one by one until the forsaken are all dead and unable to come to the DO aid in the final battle. Why fool around with Lanfear, when the opportunity exists to kill her. . . . and perhaps immediatly save his friends lives?
lanyo lanyo
167. lanyo
Thanks for bringing notice to the maps! Gives me something good to look at while pretending I'm not missing comic con. ;)
John Massey
168. subwoofer
And don't forget she was on the front lines because her husband could not tell her "no".

I still feel ripped that Pevin dies here.

I was on a wiki and it said that Elayne bares more than a passing resemblance to IIyena. I am wondering if Rand's attraction to her is being influenced by LTT. Also, in terms of relationships panning out etc. LTT had Lanfear competing for his attention. Rand has these two other women. They all bonded him and they are all trying to be civil, but how long will that last?

I can see things going sideways and maybe, if BS writes it so, Min and Avi dying and Elayne and the twins living on. Oh yeah, and Rand dies too. Andor has a queen, and Morgase sat on the throne without a husband.
sandi vogel
169. sinfulcashew
All this comparing men and women brought an incident to mind:

There was a minor earthquake in my area 5 or 6 years ago. I worked at a primarily women's store. (fabric, notions, etc.)
This particular day, when I got to work, shortly after it happened, I was told about 2 -men- who had been shopping at the back of the store when it hit.
They hot-footed it out without a word to anyone just as fast as they could run.
Of course the ladies still there were LOL.

I'm just sayin.....
170. alreadymadwithshopping
Subwoofer @168
Rand was in love with Elayne before he became conscious of LTT's tastes so I doubt it. Probably more to do with the concept of cycles of rebirth and reincarnation.

sinfulcashew @169
So... does that mean shopping takes priority over earthquakes?
171. David M.
I agree that Rand should send the Maidens to fight, since that is their purpose and desire. My argument centers around Elayne, Min and Aviendha. They have no more choice in falling in love with and wanting to be near him than Lan would in desiring death after the bond is severed. Rand, however, does have a choice. He can let them stay with him or he can send them away for their own protection.

Now we know, or at least it is foreshadowed, that the three of them will survive through the last battle. Rand, however, is not privy to such information. What information does he have available to him? That he is the reincarnation of Lews Therin Telamon, a man who killed his wife, children, everyone he loved, and was directly responsible for the near total destruction of the world. Additionally, it is prophesied that he will also break the world. Already Fain has tried going after the Two Rivers to hurt him. The Forsaken tried to kill Mat as a way of getting at him. Given all that, it's reasonable for him to suspect that his very existence is a threat to those closest to him.

Not only is it reasonable, there is direct evidence in the later books that his suspicion is correct. In this chapter alone Aviendha is nearly killed by Lanfear for being close to him. In the next chapter (I believe) she actually IS killed, and not because of anything she did. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which just so happens to be with Rand. Min is taken prisoner by the Aes Sedai in LoC because of her proximity and relationship with Rand. In fact, unless I completely misremember, she is beaten for it. Then in book eight, when the renegade Asha'man attack the Sun Palace, she is very nearly killed just because she is in the same room as him. Elayne suffers no attacks because of Rand that I am aware of, but just the fact that she hides the identity of the father of her children strengthens the argument.

In short, Rand has ample cause to want to keep the three of them away from him. I don't think it's exceptionally unfair of him to do so. If that does not hold the moral equivalency of what Moiraine did to Lan, then it doesn't, but I don't see a world of difference. Certainly Lan would be more determined, as it were, to seek his death than either of the three women would be to be with Rand, but in the end, they are all three targets because of their association and close relationship to him--an association and relationship that none of them had any say on or control over.
Hurin Smells
172. HurinSmells
I think the point of contention in the story is that the women involved WANT to be with their men to face the fight with them, and more to the point they can't see how it's possible for their men to succeed without them.

When the men try to keep the women away from trouble in an effort to protect them, the women hear "you're not capable of protecting yourself", whereas what the men are really saying is "I can't bear to see any harm come to you"
173. Valan
Wow, did all of this discussion begin with Leigh being pissed off over some guy that wouldn't walk through the frickin door?? I kid, of course, Leigh. ;)

Anyway, just because nobody has touched on this, there is another possible reason that Rand can't kill Lanfear.

She is the most beautiful woman ever to grace the Age.

Now, I'm sorry to say, killing that would be hard far me to do as well. I'd have to capture her and give her to the Wise Ones.

Now, as far as sending EMA away, I think Rand has a good reason... for Min. Rand is and is going to be until the Last Battle in an eternal state of warfare. He wants his loved ones to stay away for the same reason Marines leave their wives/ husbands in America. To protect them. There comes a point where you got to deal with them being pissed off to protect them.
Just like Moraine did for Lan. :)

Now as for Elayne and Aviendha, eh, they can handle themselves. Or Aviendha can handle both of them. Or maybe I just don't care if Elayne gets killed. But Min's already had lots of close calls with death for being next to Rand, and I have to agree whole-heartedly that thats not the safest place for her, and I don't blame Rand for wanting to send her away, especially because we know he really doesn't want that.

Great post Leigh! Thanks
Now we're on to the really cool stuff.
sandi vogel
174. sinfulcashew
170. AMWS
HAHAhaha ha ha ha ha!
Take whatever you want from it!
The 'men' just were faster on the get-go than the shoppers.
By the time I arrived, even the 'shoppers' had gone.
Just us lowly workers were left!

Also, I wish I could add a couple of ~sense~ to the opinions here, but everything is so nicely covered that it leaves me no alternative but to throw in oddities and strangenesses!
You guys are sooooo good!
Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
Hey Leigh - have a great vacation, come back refreshed and ready for the BAE; you know we'll all be waiting with bated breath and lots of twitches. Oh, and may I respectfully suggest that you avoid spraining your ankle on the second day? It really cramps your style for the rest of the vacation. Also for some time thereafter. Just saying...

Note that it also creates a tendency toward carrying on cranky, which is definitely not a plus for either vacation or blogging. So don't go there. K?

Happy trails.
Ian H
176. Moewicus
I apologize if this has been brought up by now (175 comments is a lot to read through), but on the topic of Rand's chivalry we may be forgetting that (as I recall) Rand was forced to kill his resurrected mother in a do-or-die scenario in EOTW (my memory is somewhat sketchy at this point about the details, though). Rand was probably traumatized by this and because he does not understand psychology allows this to overcome his rational need to kill Lanfear with extreme killedness. And hence the memorization of the names of women he has in one way or another caused the death of in successive books. So, it seems uncharitable to me to call it a character flaw instead of, say, an emotional block.

Of course, my memory is sketchy and I realize I could be missing an important detail on this topic.

Anyways, interesting post as usual Leigh.
177. kab1
@ MSedai 120

You should feel empowered by your choice to put your family before your own goals. It's amazingly self-sacrificing. Also, I think you made the right choice I am currently pursuing my PhD and I had two kids along the way. Not the best of choices, as both kids and thesis take a lot of work. So, I'm glad I have the reread to take a break with!
Leigh Butler
178. leighdb
Hey guys,

Just a quick note to say what you probably already suspected, that there will be no post tomorrow (or, er, today), considering it's 2 AM and I'm only just now getting a chance to pack for my flight in the morning. (!!)

I'll keep you posted on when you can expect the next one. Until then, have fun.

I also just want to say thanks for having such cogent, thoughtful and reasoned discussion regarding this post (and, indeed, all my posts). You are hereby awarded multiple Internets for general bizzombness. Cheers!
179. kab1
@ 157 You said exactly what I've been thinking during this whole combat debate. but you said it much better than I could. thanks.
j p
180. sps49
Leigh, clearly you did not read my post @63. It's not too late!

Srsly- have fun! Take pictures!
Maiane Bakroeva
181. Isilel
Tugthis @160:

Well, yes some women could have been warriors, but were held down by "man". A minority, certainly, but still. Some few still did it in disguise or as robbers.
That is not in dispute - I mean look at all the laws that forbade under very strict penalties, for women to dress as men. Don't you think that these laws were made for a reason? Because otherwise women who had the requisite ability would have encroached?

You'd like to rationalize the historical status quo, but you have to remember that in history, like in nature, often something is successful enough to survive even if it is not the best possible solution.

the reality is that they would not have been much more than the barmaids, goodwives and prostitutes that was their lot in life. . .

What reality? Certainly not the one presented in WoT, where women can be artisans, clerks, merchants, and bankers and even cargo-loaders (sic! surely those would have been strong enough to be warriors).
And before you say that IRL it was different - again remember that specific laws had to be made to prevent it.

Generally, I find it sad that certain part of the audience wants to see women still oppressed and/or held by historical social limitations in fantasy. I mean, you have a world with different natural laws, you have world-shattering magic - but different social position for women is just too much?!!

Wetlandernw @157

Actually, it is the opposite. We saw quite a few women who wanted to be fighters, but were denied opportunity, formal training or place of employment. Faile, Tenobia all those Hunters for the Horn, women that were recruited for Elayne's Guard. Things are changing due to Rand's influence on the Pattern changing everything, but that's how it used to be.

As to women being able to defend themselves - also no. In Borderlands they are just a helpless fodder for the Trollocs once the men are killed. Why anybody would think it a sensible arrangement, is anybody's guess.
j p
182. sps49
Back to the story-

If Moiraine knew enough to arrange to pass the bond, why didn't she just remove it prior? It should be easier, and would remove the Myrelle step. Sure, Lan would wonder What Was Up, but Mo could say he has served her well and that Nynaeve and he need each other.
183. cannae216
The reason Moiraine didn't just release Lan's bond (presuming its possible, but that's a different debate) is that she knew (or assumed) that Lan would just go back to his solo War with the Shadow.

Thus she was manipulating him and robbing him of the choice to live his life as he saw fit. Its clear from many of her statements in the text when she says things to the effect of 'I won't have you wasting your life'. Its his life, he should be able to waste it.
John Massey
184. subwoofer
@sps49- That was me in TFoH 22-post 84. I figure Lan and Ny should be hooked up by now. Seriously, if Elayne, daughter heir of Andor(who spends time reminding everybody about it when she hears her mom's kacked)has Birgette Silverbow of legend as her warder, and not a single AS notices the striking resemblance to a Hero of Legend or the fact that she is bonded to an Accepted, why not? Nobody would notice Lan, he could blend in. He could hide in a stack of hay or something while Ny is doing her AS training. Then, when she is sent away to Ebou Dar to look for the Bowl- ta dah- out pops Lan from the hay and all is good.

Enough about this looking like a half tamed wolf and death follows me crap. If he knew he could be with the love of his life and was compelled to find her through the warder bond- wouldn't he?

edit- not talking about releasing his bond, just passing it to the right person. And Ny has these special healing powers... she heals Logain. She heals fish guts and everything. You'd think she could make flowers grow where dust and rocks were, or some such...
Marcus W
185. toryx
Isilel @ 181:

I mean, you have a world with different natural laws, you have world-shattering magic - but different social position for women is just too much?!!

Well said.

I don't particularly fault RJ extensively on this because I think he did a lot better than many other writers (fantasy and outside of it). I wish he had done more with it but I appreciate the strides he made even as I am disappointed in areas where I don't think he went far enough.

The issue of equality of the sexes is a hot one for me and I tend to write too quickly out of emotion rather than with rational thought, so I'm giving up on the topic. But I appreciate the discussions we've had as a result of Leigh's post here.
John Massey
187. subwoofer
Have a great vacation Leigh!!!

um... If you happen to pick up any souvenirs like a signed copy of the Gathering Storm, or something, perhaps you could throw it my way. That would be a nice score... I could be your friend ;)
Anthony Pero
188. anthonypero
OK at @181 and @185:

Who is arguing that women can't have different social positions in fantasy? Or IRL? This whole thread is in response to what's going on inside Rand's head! Those of us defending Rand, saying his thought processes in no way equates to discrimination against women, are comparing Emond's Fielders in different historical contexts to try to explain why Rand's thought processes are what they are, and how they are perfectly consistent with the whole society that RJ has set up in the Two Rivers area.

To say that RJ did not go far enough in bending gender roles is incredulous to me. He's writing a story, not a manifesto. He consistently portrays women in multiple roles with multiple points of view on different topics. Characters such as Nynaeve and Elayne and others make blanket generalities about men and women, then RJ puts the lie to those generalities by showing other women who conflict with their presuppositions.

Men, however, seem to be pretty monolithic in their depictions. If anything, RJ has dis-served men in this story, by not showing any difference between them, other than those with character and courage and those without. Probably because that's how RJ defines manhood.
Jason Deshaies
189. darxbane
Someone above made a great point about Randland's women simply not wishing to be warriors. We have been assuming that women are not allowed to fight, but what if they simply don't choose to? We also keep assuming that women are not trained to defend themselves in WOT, yet every almost every women we see (Min, Faile, Berelein, in particular), are quite handy with knives and even martial arts. The Emond's Field women fight quite well when they are needed as well. In this story, men are the second-class citizens, for the most part, so it doesn't surprise me that their role includes the more dangerous jobs. If you have any question of RJ's Feminist inclinations, read the Far Madding chapters over again. Pay attention to the fact that Andor only allows women to rule. Remember that saldeaen warriors bring their wives with them into battle. How about the fact that women are more likely to duel you than men in Tarabon? Lastly, ever notice that the three major nations that have become male dominated (Cairhien, Tear, Illian), are also the most corrupt?
190. MasterAlThor

Good points....but I give you Nynaeve. I do not know what book it is but she says something about men and swords that certainly doesn't earn her any points with me. Randland women do not choose not to become warriors. In their minds they understand that men need to do this. Non aggressive people do not choose aggressive occupations because they're (read jobs) aggressive, they don't choose them because it is not in their character.

Example: Paris Hilton will not join the military not because she might have to kill someone, but because she doesn't have the mentality to do so.

Your other arguement about Min, Faile and Berelein all could be explained by their positions. Min need to learn how to defend herself, Tom showed her. Faile had "uncles" teach her because her father would not. Berelein is the ruler of a tine nation and she is stoopid hot with a brain. Whoever her handlers were would have seen to her being able to defend herself and her nation
Marcus W
191. toryx
darxbane @ 189:

Someone above made a great point about Randland's women simply not wishing to be warriors. We have been assuming that women are not allowed to fight, but what if they simply don't choose to?

I actually made the same point several posts ago. Nynaeve, for all her desires to beat men over the head with a stout club, often thinks dismissively of violence with weapons.

In my opinion, the women of Randland have often taken up arms and used them quite effectively when needed, but usually showed reluctance to do so rather than inability. The women of Emond's Field as Darxbane points out were just as helpful in the battle as the men; hell, the men had very little more experience with weapons than they.

anthonypero @ 188:

My issues with RJ isn't in how he presents the women per se (although I don't like how eager they are to turn the table on the men) but in the men's reluctance to accept the women's responsibilities for themselves and their own safety.

I agreed with Isilel's particular statement regarding fantasy in general; I wasn't suggesting that anyone had been arguing the contrary.

From what I see, many of the male characters are actually very different. The similarities between the Rand, Perrin and Mat are justified by their shared upbringing. Yet they all have individual ways of reacting to many different things. And they're very different from men of other cultures such as Thom, Lan and Rhuarc.

I'd go so far as to say that Rhuarc at least accepts women for who and what they are in a way that the TR men don't. So does Lan, for that matter. I guess my biggest issue with the TR men is that they never freaking change. Rand and Perrin in particular have all the reason to develop a different way of seeing things but they never do. That irritates the heck out of me. I want more character growth, damn it!
192. MasterAlThor
I have seen several post that point out the Two Rivers women and how they took up arms. I don't beleive that has merit here.

Here's why

In that given situtation anyone would have taken up arms (tinkers notwithstanding). It's cookpots or dead trollocs. Women, which would you choose?

It is not a matter of reluctance. They (Randland women) look at the world differently. They actually beleive that if they ran the world there would never be any use for weapons and war. Hence all the talk about muscles, men and fools.

Wasn't it one of Min's aunts that said that men were only good for three things? Stabbing people with a weapon had to be one of the three.
Jason Lyman
193. jlyman
I admit that I've only skimmed much of the discussion on this post. And my feelings on the subject(s) has been portrayed well by several people. Also views that I don't necessarily agree with, but that I can understand.

In my own re-read I just recently started Fires of Heaven and so I am reading all the areas where there is foreshadowing of events that have recently been discussed. I came across a passsage that I found interesting:

"Once he had killed a woman; a woman who had meant to kill him, but the memory still burned.He did not think he would ever be able to do it again, even with his life in the balance. A foolish thing, with female Forsaken likely seeking his blood or worse, but there it was. And if he could not kill a woman, how could he stand by and let a woman die? Even if she deserved it?

I don't remember who mentioned Matt and his decision not to harm women anymore after killing one in self-defense. It seems to me that what happened to Rand on the docks directly confronted him with a decision that went against both of the decisions that he had made previously. One decision to not kill a woman again. He didn't like the way it made him feel, even though he knew that at the time it was necessary. And two, he would not stand by and let a woman be killed (and I also read into that "harmed").

So that day on the docks when the jealous Lanfear attacks him he knows that she needs to die, but he has already made the decision not to kill another woman. Then when she starts in on Aviendha and Egwene he is confronted with another problem, he had decided not to stand by while another woman is harmed or killed. So he placed himself in quite the quandry over what he could do. It seems to me that he effectively paralized himself by making the two decisions that he did beforehand.

Whether you agree or disagree with his decisions, or lack thereof, when the crap hit the fan, you must admit that RJ's foreshadowing in this event is quite good. Presenting Rand's decisions and frame of mind on this matter in the first chapters of the book and then putting him in exactly that situation near the end. It's the kind of decision that none of us hope to have to make.

Oh! And bummer about the posting today... or for the next week, for that matter! Our mother is abandoning us!
Marcus W
194. toryx
jlyman @ 193:

I actually think that Jordan dropped the ball with the woman Rand killed in TDR and did a sort of fumble-recovery in the later books. At the time that he killed that particular Dark Friend woman, he didn't feel any remorse or regret.

It's only later that Rand's all, "Oh yeah, that's right, I feel terrible about that."

I wonder what made RJ decide to change directions in this particular aspect of Rand's character?
195. MasterAlThor
I just read that we won't be getting a post today.

There is going to be much wailing and nashing of teeth.

I hope that I can make it that long.

Leigh, enjoy your do need it.
Jason Lyman
196. jlyman
@194. toryx

You're right. I was thinking about the woman that he and Matt ran into in the Eye of the World. But Rand was sick at the time and it was Matt that took care of her. But if I remember right, he just locked her up and didn't kill her. I don't have the book right here with me.

I had forgotten about the woman with her guards in The Dragon Reborn. It seems that maybe there is some inconsistency there. Although I do think that Rand was very "not himself" during that whole book. Though I think that comes mostly from so little of his point of view.
Roger Powell
197. forkroot
I was thinking about the woman that he and Matt ran into in the Eye of the World. But Rand was sick at the time and it was Matt that took care of her. But if I remember right, he just locked her up and didn't kill her.
In retrospect, it might have been better if Mat had indeed killed her. That was Mili Skane - who later assumes the identity of Lady Shiaine. It is at her house in Camlyn where Elayne, Sareitha and Vandene are ambushed.

Mili does get points though for finishing off that piece of pond scum otherwise known as Jaichim Carridin.
Jason Lyman
198. jlyman
197. forkroot

Now see, that's what I get for not having read the latest books more than a couple of times. I can never remember what goes on in them as well as the first books. I remembered Mili's name, but had no idea that she played so prominently in the story later.

That's what I get for reading from the beginning each time. I am definitely mulling "half-rereads" from now on. Maybe I'll be able to remember some of this stuff better.
Alice Arneson
199. Wetlandernw
As I often do, I had to go to RJ himself for a quotation:
Now in most of these societies — Far Madding is the obvious exception — I did not and do not view them as matriarchal. I attempted to design societies that were as near gender balanced as to rights, responsibilities and power as I could manage. It doesn’t all work perfectly. People have bellybuttons. If you want to see someone who always behaves logically, never tells small lies or conceals the truth in order to put the best face for themselves on events, and never, ever tries to take advantage of any situation whatsoever, then look for somebody without a bellybutton. The real surprise to me was that while I was designing these gender balanced societies, people were seeing matriarchies.
One of my biggest problems with the prevalent forms of feminism, is the insistence that everything needs to have equal numbers of men and women in order to be balanced. (Hence Affirmative Action and similar craziness, where actual qualifications come in a poor second to gender or race quotas. Those things drive me nuts, and I VERY MUCH resented the implication (which rose every now and then) that I got my job just because I was a woman. I know I got my job at Boeing because I was eminently qualified for it, more than most other engineers would have been, but the mere presence of AA made the implication possible, and that really made me mad. Almost as mad as having to work with someone who did get their job just because of those quotas, when they really weren't very well qualified for it.)

Gender-balanced doesn't have to mean "just as many women as men in the fighting force". It means that in society at large, both men and women have the opportunity to follow the path of their abilities, aptitudes & desires. Granted that certain individuals are given more or less choice in matters by their parents or position, you can't really say that Women have less opportunity than Men as a whole. Yes, Faile's father insisted that she stay home and run the estate instead of going to fight the Blight or whatever, but you can't generalize that to say that Saldaean women have no power. They have a Queen, for crying out loud. (But it's not a matriarchy; Tenobia's father was King.)

BTW, Isilel @181: We saw quite a few women who wanted to be fighters, but were denied opportunity, formal training or place of employment. Faile, Tenobia all those Hunters for the Horn, women that were recruited for Elayne's Guard. Please explain to me how these women were denied opportunity, formal training, or place of employment. Faile ran away to be a H/H because she didn't want to stay home and manage the Bashere estates. Queen Tenobia is riding around the Westlands at the head of her army of 50,000 men. The women recruited for Elayne's Guard were mostly drawn from mercenaries or merchant-guards, and all knew what they were doing with their weapons of choice BEFORE joining the Guard. How exactly were they denied opportunity or employment? And just how much more "formal training" were male mercenaries or caravan guards given than these women had? Oy.

Throughout the Westlands, you see women in positions of authority and influence, as well as women not in such positions. Oh, hey, you could substitute "men" for "women" in that sentence, and it would still be 100% true. There are people who rise to positions of power, authority or influence: kings, queens, Aes Sedai, Asha'man, generals, chiefs, Wise Ones, Windfinders, Sailmistresses, Wisdoms, mayors, village councillors etc. etc. Some are there because they want it, some because they have no choice. There are other people who remain in relative obscurity, performing all those tasks that make civilization possible: farmers, shepherds, merchants, innkeepers, sailors, blacksmiths, seamstresses, shopkeepers, goat-cheese-makers (for you, hoping), thatchers, carpenters, maids, grooms, etc. etc. Some are there because they want it, some because they have no choice. Those people - in power and in obscurity - are both men and women. Some are happy with their place, some are discontent and find a way out, some dream about other things but never bother to try to change it.

I really think this thing about "women are opressed in Randland" is WAY WAY over the top, especially in regard to the fighting force. Not everybody gets a whole lot of choice in life. Deal with it. In 21st-century America, we have a lot more choice about what jobs/careers to pursue than our great-grandparents did; we also have a lot more choice than much of the population of our world RIGHT NOW. In the kind of society you're looking at in Third Age WoTland, you don't have machines to make it possible for one man to effectively farm a thousand acres; one man can manage maybe about 5 or 10 acres with a horse, a single-share plow, a rake and a scythe. You need a LOT of farmers to supply food for Randland. And they need wives and children to keep the home, help with the farm work, milk the cow, collect the eggs, make butter and cheese... If a whole lot of people don't remain more or less content to do those things, you can't have armies because there's no food for them; you can't have caravans to need guards because there's nothing to trade; the whole economic structure falls in and you have chaos and starvation until people realize that if they want food (more than what they can hunt or pick from wild growth) they're going to have to go grow something. Then you go back to a whole lot of people who toil along in obscurity so that they can live in relative peace with one another.

Personally, I think RJ did a pretty fair job of keeping things balanced in WoT. There certainly are areas which are male-dominated, just as there are areas which are female-dominated. AS A WHOLE, if you can get your head out of "physical force = power" mode, authority and influence are not really skewed to either gender. Individual attitudes notwithstanding, society at large works fairly well with gender strengths and areas of influence complementing one another to make it all swing. I think RJ deliberately set up that balanced society as a backdrop against which this huge imbalance should be a stark contrast: those who use the OP don't know how to work together. They don't understand their old AS symbol, where the two halves form a perfect circle; instead they only see the White Flame and the Dragon's Fang. IIRC, most of the women whose attitudes toward men are the most irritating are those who can channel, am I right? (might not be) If so, though, they are exactly the women who need to learn that only when they join the Flame and the Fang in balance can they be truly effective against the DO. And the men need to get over their defensiveness and/or arrogance toward the women and learn the same lesson. Rand & Nynaeve (and company) made a HUGE step forward with the cleansing, and the rest are making baby steps with their ideas of bonding and finding ways for the WT and BT to make alliance. Once they finally understand their own symbol, they can be as gender-balanced as the rest of society (okay, to the best of RJ's ability, if you must) and they'll have a real chance against the Forsaken and the DO.

Okay, that's my longwinded essay for the day. Wonder if anyone actually made it all the way through... and now I can go read the comments everyone else posted during the last 1.5 hours while I hammered this thing out. Oy.
Alice Arneson
200. Wetlandernw
Wow. Just looked at that one... it has to be at least close to medal position for longest post. Sorry... Maybe it'll serve as fodder (or at least reading material) for a few minutes while Leigh is vacationing.
Roger Powell
201. forkroot
Made it all the way through, enjoyed it too. Admire your writing ability. This is why I read this forum. Don't apologize for a well-crafted, thoughtful post.
mark Proctor
202. mark-p
not just long but worth reading too
Sam Mickel
203. Samadai

Amen and thank you. perfectly said. Now since we are abandoned again I propose some more fiction fiction to be written and enjoyed while we *twitch* for the next post in a couple of weeks.
James Jones
204. jamesedjones
199 Wetlandernw

"There are other people who remain in relative obscurity, performing all those tasks that make civilization possible: farmers, shepherds, merchants, innkeepers, sailors, blacksmiths, seamstresses, shopkeepers, goat-cheese-makers (for you, hoping), thatchers, carpenters, maids, grooms, etc. etc."

But, sadly, no candy apple makers. Alas.

And nice word play with 'The Flame and The Fang'. Someone needs to use that for their handle. (Preferably someone who is severely gender biased one way or the other.) :P
Anthony Pero
205. anthonypero
Wetlandernw closes this thread as far as I'm concerned. Bravo.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
But, sadly, no candy apple makers.

No, much to my sorrow, I was unable to locate a single candy apple maker in all of Randland. But since they wouldn't let me explore Shara, there's still hope that someday one will be found.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your kind comments.
Hugh Arai
207. HArai
Wetlandernw@199: People would look forward to the long posts if they were all that well thought out and clearly presented. Stop raising the bar! :)
Jason Denzel
208. JasonDenzel
Way off the topic of feminism....

This is the only chapter (I'm pretty sure....) in the entire WoT series that Rand sheds tears.

209. rosetintdworld
I've been lurking on here for ages now, but being someone who just finished gender studies at college, I feel the need to wade into this one--even if I'm not sure I have anything substantive to offer.

As Wetlandernw and others have noted, I've always thought of the central purpose of WoT as a speculative exercise in re-imagining what history would have been like if starting point of recorded history began with a disaster attributed to men, rather than women. Thus, a lot of the assumptions our society makes about women are non-existent in Randland; many are reversed. (And almost all are discredited, in any case.) The point being, RJ has made an admirable stab at envisioning what a world might be like if the Eve myths and other relevant gendered origin stories were reversed.

It is made all the more admirable by the fact that practically every decision RJ makes, with regard to the way characters of opposite genders interact, is guaranteed to piss somebody off. For every reader who see Eg and Ny as insufferable because they approach day to day interactions with the hunch that men are going about things from a cutely dumb standpoint (classic gender reversal,) there's going to be another who is angered that any woman in the series cooks or cleans, or swears fealty to a man. (Some more recent gender studies stuff would probably take issue with RJ taking it as a given that "men" and "women" exist as soul-driven truths, rather than societal constructions, at all) Where any reader falls is probably going to depend on what he or she makes of nature and nurture, of societal influence versus "God-given rules" about gender.

I don't have a firm answer to any of those questions, and I doubt many people do, so all I'll say is that I haven't seen any other writer ever attempt this sort of exercise, so I think it's grand that RJ has done so.

That being said, I do have qualms about a few of his choices. I agree with Leigh that the polygamy status quo existing without its counterpart is disturbing, (as well as the large numbers of old men who wind up with young, attractive women as their destined mates...), and I also don't really understand why women have to be weaker in the Power than men.

Rand, Lan, Mat, etc. practicing a form of chivalry has never been one of my qualms, though. I'm not sure there's a good reason for this, except that I like to think that women are valued so much for their contributions to the political sphere, and the White Tower's cultural aversion to "losing" any girl who could potentially channel subtly seeping through Randland to make women's lives intuitively more valuable than men's. This is probably all BS, but I don't like to think of Rand as practicing any sort of pedestal worship--it seems horribly out of character. So this is what I come up with.

Sorry for the length of this post--felt good to type even if it may not make much sense.
210. Cowboy Funk
@209 well said.

This is random but I was thinking of getting that WOT companion guide thingy...mainly cus I am thirsty for anything WoT related and I cant wait for TGS. Those who have already aquired it a must have? Worth it? etc?
Anthony Pero
211. anthonypero
The BBOBA (Big Book Of Bad Art) is worth browsing throu at B&N on a Saturday Afternoon, but it is not worth buying, IMO. And of, course, i bought it the day it came out :)
John Massey
212. subwoofer
I dunno, Bela's getting sensitive about us beating this one but I just wanted to put in a few suggestions. Maybe looking at Randland paired down- not the whole scale of it but maybe just tTR. There is the Village Council and the Woman's Circle. It is arguable which wears the pants, but there is somewhat of a balance, although the women do seem to one-up the men on a couple of occasions.

Also it was mentioned that in the "great battle" of the Two Rivers, the women pitched in as much as the men. I feel that this has some merit. Even in today's world, many guys don't really get down to the physical side of things- combat, fighting, war. There are many men who have never swung a fist in anger or been in a fight in their lives. During feudal times men still had to fight but there were farmers, and i dunno, every day guys who were not fighters, soldiers. Tam and Abel are exceptions.

Don't know were I am going here but I just wanted to say that not everyone in WoT is a blademaster or some gifted general. We just get exposure to these people and think they are full of awesome. I am sure the women are the same.

- edit- sorry about the quality of the clip but Youtube have been fun nazis lately banning everything.
Karen Walters
213. Wrenza
Women have fought in several wars, including the american civil war, english civil war, WWII, Battle of Trafalgar. They had to disguise who they were in most cases, and the evidence is scant, but it is there. I'd be suprised if they haven't always fought in some capacity. And for those looking for female warriors - try Boudica and the people who followed her.

Woman can and have fought, whether it was with guns or with spears. How much it has been acknowledged depends more on the society at the time.

I have a dislike of chivalry. I don't want to be put on a pedestal, I'd prefer the old medieval point of view of women being the root of all evil (see eve). At least then you were accountable for your actions.
214. RobMRobM
Off the point, I wanted to echo the comment of someone in a recent thread who recommended recent posts at the WOT site the Thirteenth Depository. I was blown away by several of the pieces, notably the essay on the structure of TSR and the one on symbolism in the WOT series. Remarkable insights, such as that the Village Council in TR has seven members and it appears clear that each is picked to represent the characteristics of one of the seven White Tower Ajahs (Cenn Buie Red, Tam Green, Bran Brown, etc.) Lots of talk that major stories in one part of the series are echoed subtly in the smaller plotlines. Pretty much essential reading for the serious WOT fan, IMO.

Sam Mickel
215. Samadai
Vajan stood in the court awaiting his turn before the Mother-of-all. Shima and Luna, his keepers, were staring around with wonder in there eyes. This was his first time to visit the great hall since he awoke from his long years of the waking dream. He remembered his mother and father encouraging him to stand for the testing, How he was the first person in his family thought to have the gift. Then the Mother called him forward and told him kneel. When the old man was brought before him by his keepers and set before him he could see the strange emptiness in his eyes. “Now” said the Mother and his two keepers allowed the old man to waken. He watched as his eyes came into focus and suddenly felt that the man was staring into his soul. A flame appeared between them and the man told him to watch and wait. after a couple of minutes went by he could feel a faint feeling, almost as if he were feeling an echo of. “He has it” the old man said as sadness lined his face for a second before his eyes went blank again. The court rang out in joy and his parents wept with honor. “Vajan from this day you are sealed to me and mine” announced the Mother.

The couple of years passed by in a blur as he learned to wield the power and was controlled by Shima and Luna. As the taint grew in him he was kept more and more asleep in his mind as his keepers kept control of their link. The years passed and fled into decades as he slept wide awake. Until that time, in even his comatose state, he felt the immense swell of power that radiated from the north for a whole day. As the day ended he felt the release of his mind as he awoke. Shima exclaimed to Luna as she held the link “feel the power flowing from Valan it is free from the taint. We must wait for the summons from Mother.

And finally the day had come here they were all standing in the great hall about to finally understand what is going on. The Mother called for quiet as she slowly stood up. “You all know that I foretold this day to come when Saidin would finally be free of the taint. We have labored for these thousands of years to finally see and end to this age. You are my accounting for the wrong I did when I let the men go through with their plan alone. Always together should the one power be used and together you shall help the world with this Last Battle. Far to the north of this land is a great land where the side of the light fights the side of the dark. Terrible is the struggle and it is there you will go. You will find the one foretold, the Dragon Reborn and you will help him in his task. Always remember only together with each other can the day be one.

This is a gateway it will lead you to this distant land. Go forth from this Land of Madmen and should you see the Dragon reborn tell him this for me. The Cutter of the Shadow is sorry she was not there for you and please forgive me.
Sam Mickel
216. Samadai
Hope you all like my further attempts at fiction fiction
lanyo lanyo
217. lanyo
Bravo wetlander, for being wicked smart ;) No apologies for long-windedness when you get the point across well.

Samadai what a cool story, and you finally told us about one of the unknown lands!!
218. cannae216
Let me step back a moment to what Leigh's comment was that kicked off this whole shindig. That chivalry is bad. I ardently reject that notion.

The problem as I see it is a shallow definition of the term. Leigh's view, though she never says it straight out, is that chivalry is about men protecting women because they are weak. That is a limited view of the term. In reality chivalry is about sacrifice, specifically self-sacrifice.

Part of that is admittedly protecting the weak, but by weak one should not read women. It also includes non-combatants, children, and any one else who is not able to defend themselves, their rights, or their property. It is also giving of one's self to further societal goods, such as the church or organized religion. Finally it often encompassed vows of poverty and or rejection of material goods or wealth.

These are all noble and good causes, and the reason why they can and should be applauded is that they speak to societal aspirations regarding intrinsically good moral behavior. Many of you may be thinking that doesn't sound like much of the noble knighthood of Western Europe. You'd be right, but that is because chivalry was not about how people actually lived in the middle ages.

Most of the 'nobles' of Western Europe arose because they were the meanest most blood thirsty bastard around (Richard the Lion-heart really got his crown by killing all of his family members that stood in his way). Chivalry was about the romanticized notion of how people in the late Renaissance to the Victorian periods imagined life was (think Ivanhoe, King Arthur, Robin Hood etc.). Chivalry is a fairy-tale that people told their children and each other to impart lessons about ethics.

That being said, when someone conducts a chivalrous (i.e. self-less) act they should be given credit and recognition for their deed, and that's what most militaries' highest honors are reserved. When someone conducts a cowardly or selfish act, they should be heaped with the scorn they so richly deserve.

How then do we square this circle? As I said I reject the notion that chivalry is or should be dead. I think the answer lies in taking some of feminism's critiques to heart. That means recognizing women can be chivalrous too. We should expand the definition so that it is no longer 'just a guy thing' and give recognition where recognition is due for any individual's self-less act. That may not always be by serving as a protector or guardian, maybe it comes through service as a healer, a teacher, a mother, and more often today a provider.

It'll be a sad day when chivalry dies and people stop looking out for and caring for each other. Hopefully I'm never around to see it.
Joseph Blaidd
219. SteelBlaidd
The thirteenth Depository is where all the Articles from the old Wotmainia Faq are going, plus thay are adding new ones.

I also recommend checking out the Wheel of Time Page at TvTropes for some good lulz
220. ammbd
Rand's sheer cowardly, self-pitying, selfishness is maddening.

it's long since been utterly clear the woman is too crazy, evil, persistent!, etc. to be allowed continued existence.

AND YET there he writhes, a hair from irrevocable insanity, a hair from death, a hair from failing to save the WORLD - knowing & refusing, consequences be damned, to do what needs to be done.

in essence making it just as crystal clear, he will not - WILL NOT - as opposed to CAN NOT, do what's necessary.

sorry, he's in the position he's in. really am. however, it's far past time for him to sack up & take care of the Lanfear business. AND to stop with the "eeek! it's a, a, gasp! woman! committing evil! must immediately cave, collapse, FAIL."

as a woman i find Rand's insistence on such stupidity so far beyond offensive the Hubble's needed to see whatever word's out there that fits.

You have the crappiest job ever - yes you do & I really feel bad for you. However, just because you have the crappiest job ever, does not mean you get the luxury of refusing to kill a woman, or man for that matter, if it's going to cost the WORLD.
Andrew Lovsness
221. drewlovs

I too contest Gilligan's analysis. But then, I tend to look at a lot of the newer studies as fodder for preconceived notions. Life in a bubble tells us nothing about the world as a whole, and if we were to broaden this discussion (which would bore the rest of the readers to tears), I would do a disertation on studies that are conclusion before data orientated. My wife just finished her degree in sociology, and I proof-read some of her summations on the books that she was required to read.

There is a tendancy to draw omni-reaching conclusions based on one set of data, and I felt Gilligan did the same. How is her conclusions any more valid than those that she contradicts? She also uses Piaget's stages of development, which you could argue tells you only about Swiss children. My point is, I see that you agree with their views, but that doesn't mean mine (and other's that I drew them from) are "nonsense on stilts".

What I said in post 122 was based on studies that some disagree with, but others swear by. You are obviously in the former group; I still stand by what I said. But then, that discussion is exactly what this is all about, isn't it?
Tess Laird
222. thewindrose
I love this PoV from Rand as he reads Mo's letter:
Aes Sedai and Cairhienin, she had wrapped herself in mystery and manipulations to the end. To the end.(emphasis mine)
The repetative 'to the end' always makes me smile. Mo is my favorite Aes Sedai manipulator, Verin a close second. For some reason I am not to fond of Cadsuane.

Also a comment on Rands relationships with the Far Dareis Mai. He does start out to follow his agreement to 'not make them less' and let then join the dance as needed. But think about it. How many of any of us have to put up with constant supervision(as I see it) 24/7. It would grate after awhile. It may even make you want to sneak out and do things on your own, made even eaisier by means of Traveling. Also, he not only sneaks out on them, but he has other Aiel and sundry other that also 'guard' him. He is well aware that all sorts of people spy on him - i.e."That, and be aware that the Tower knows what I do the day after I do it." Obviously the Forsaken watch hin, he is well aware that this is so, otherwise why lay so many deceptions about what he is thinking and doing.
I like how he takes Mat to task, and gets Mat thinking about where his true path lies - regardless of if he likes it or not.
Maybe the laughter and tears that Cadsuane needs to teach him is about accepting that he must accept that women will fight and die for the same cause he is willing to fight and die for.
Alice Arneson
223. Wetlandernw
Samadai - enjoyed the fiction fiction at 215. Would be fun to develop into a full short story! Cool possibilities. You have the creative imagination that I mostly just wish for.

jwdenzel @208 - the only other reference I could find was in TSR chapter 26, where "tears stung his eyes" while he's in the Rhuidean columns watching the Aiel history lesson. Must consider prior to further comment... :-) Could actually be a topic for some thoughtful discussion.
224. Freelancer

Only Nixon could go to China, and only a women could have written that essay. I have a strong impression that had the exact same thoughts been presented by a male, the response would have been a tiny bit different. I can only hope I'm wrong on that count. That said, well said, m'lady.

Yes, it was always one of Jordan's background purposes for this story to turn myths, traditions, and historical perspectives on their collective ear. And he did so remarkably well.


Given that you just completed gender studies, you get a pass for now, with one exception: Why must the term 'God-given rules' be in scare quotes? Such commonly implies that less veracity is given to the thought, almost the written equivalent of an eye-roll. I'd not presume that you intended your comment to be insulting or belittling to those who have faith in a Creator, so I'm simply pointing out that it could be perceived that way.

For everybody, the behavior being called chivalry in Randland has its basis in what Wetlandernw spoke of so eloquently. In the sort of era with the culture present during this portion of their history, the farm is a local matter, and family operated. A very small minority of farmers hire out labor, usually because they are widowers, or they and their wives are unable to have children for one reason or another. The remaining majority acquire their labor from within. This means that the wife's major contribution to the family business is bearing and raising children. Since men don't get pregnant, only one of the adults is going to be available for farm work during latter portions of pregnancies, and during infancy of the child. Even if the woman is perfectly capable of out-laboring her husband (pun intended), it is she that must feed and nurture the babies until they can be tied to her apron strings. In any pre-industrial society, this is simply what must be. No prejudice, bias, or other condition contrary to equality can stop this from being true.

Taken to the next step, the more laborers (who only need to be fed and clothed, not paid), the more profitable the farm. And prior to adequate medical technology, with lower odds that most births reach adulthood, that means more children must be born to produce a more profitable workforce. Does that mean that the wife is reduced to nothing more than a baby factory? That depends upon the integrity and conscience of her husband, but if he has the slightest glimmer of common sense she will be as adored and cherished as she deserves, independent of her "production".

Sadly, this also provides the logical justification for polygamy as more likely than polyandry. One man can be responsible for multiple simultaneous pregnancies, the opposite can never be true. This justification is, of course, no more than a rationalization, because the practice is always wrong, and always should be. Ladies, please don't be upset that you can't have as many wickednesses as the men.

Ok, any unkicked anthills left?
sandi vogel
225. sinfulcashew
"Samadai - enjoyed the fiction fiction at 215. Would be fun to develop into a full short story! Cool possibilities. You have the creative imagination that I mostly just wish for."
---from Wetlandernw

I am in complete agreement!
Have you taken courses in writing or are you a natural?
Whichever, I want to read a whole book with this topic.
The possibilities are endless.
I may have missed any post where you talked about your abilities, so sorry if I am way behind here.
But, goodness, I was fascinated by the whole premise of your story!!!!! I am salivating for more!
226. David M.
I'm pretty sure Perrin sees Rand crying over the women who have died for him near the beginning of Crown of Swords, doesn't he? Kind of an odd book to find it in, since that's when the whole "teach him laughter and tears" plot starts, with the epigram. The whole bit about the soul of fire and heart of stone or what not.
Alice Arneson
227. Wetlandernw
Freelancer Sad to say, I'm afraid you might be right. Pity, but there it is. That's one of the reasons I said it. ;) Also appreciate your additional comments. I was going to raise a minor argument on the wife's major contribution to the family business is bearing and raising children, because I KNOW how much a farm woman works (I grew up watching my mother, after all!) but then I came to the conclusion that you're right. She has many other contributions, but without her to both bear and raise the children, her husband is working with one hand tied behind his back. If she dies in childbirth, for example, he can't be out in the field and caring for infants at the same time, so he has to either remarry or hire someone to care for children. The effort she expends to help with harvest, milk the cows, preserve food, and so on are not insignificant - far from it. However, you can get rid of the cows, trade food preservation for a share, and hire help for the harvest, but those don't help with small children. Well, you already said the rest. And indeed, a wise husband loves and shields and cares for that wife with everything he has, while she does her best to make sure that all those things entrusted to her care are as productive as possible. Hey, look, everyone gets a good deal that way! Isn't that amazing?

rosetintdworld @209 ...practically every decision RJ makes, with regard to the way characters of opposite genders interact, is guaranteed to piss somebody off. LOL!! I had never realized this would be the case until I met up with this bunch. I tend to read fiction just for what it is, and rarely analyze it much unless I find it particularly irritating. (Then I analyze it to figure out what it is that bugs me. Often it's just a writing style, although not infrequently it's the overt world view of the author with which I strongly disagree. In either case, I tend to avoid further reading of that author unless someone I respect makes a very persuasive case for trying again.) Mostly, I read for entertainment, and that usually means I don't work very hard in the process.

Regarding your personal qualms, I don't really expect this to make a difference, but here are a couple of thoughts:

WRT polygamy/polyandry, Freelancer pretty much answered that one so I won't say much more. You might note, though, that various members of the Green Ajah are sometimes suspected of marrying several of their Warders (Myrelle specifically comes to mind). This may be another case of something that RJ didn't particularly intend to exclude but never found sufficient plot necessity to incorporate. In any case, I personally don't miss it.

Not sure who you're thinking of with "large numbers of old men who wind up with young, attractive women as their destined mates" so I can't respond to that. The only one I can think of off the top is Thom & Moiraine, which doesn't exactly constitute "large numbers".

WRT women being weaker in the Power than men, RJ made several comments on it. One point he made several times is that men have the advantage of strength, but women have the advantages of linking and deftness. To give you another blog quote on the subject,
Men can be much stronger than women in the pure quantity of the Power that they can channel, but on a practical level, women are much more deft in their weaving and that means the strongest possible woman can do just about anything that the strongest possible man could, and to the same degree.
I would submit that it's another case of gender balance as opposed to equality, i.e. sameness. What's the point (as a writer) of having saidar and saidin if everything about them and their use is the same? Then again, the same could be said of gender itself... What's the point of having men and women if all their abilities and inclinations are the same? Boring...
Maiane Bakroeva
228. Isilel
OK, sorry, but IMHO women lacking military power is a serious argument against balance. IRL military power often determined who got to wield political power and it is the same in Randland, to a degree. It also provides a path for talented common man to rise on merit to position of prominence - there is no equivalent for non-channeling women in WoT. And channelers are a really tiny minority, despite their importance to the plotline.

I also don't see how it is feasible for _all_ noblewomen to voluntarily weaken their power by handing out command of their troops to somebody else. People in command don't have to fight all that often anyway, unless they chose to, that is - after all, Balduin V the leper king of Jerusalem and Eugene of Savoy in his later years commanded from a stretcher and Goetz von Berlihingen, while he could still mount a horse, lacked half of his limbs. That's what bodyguards are for.

I also don't see how some women covertly and against resistance of their families learning to use knifes constitutes freedom to chose to be warriors.
Firstly, knife is absolutely the worst weapon for a woman to use, because it really magnifies her disadvantages of reach and strength. Against something like a Trolloc it would be next to useless without a huge dollop of luck. Again, something like bow and naginata, which samurai women were taught when there was a real problem of bandits attacking their homes if men were away would make vastly more sense. Or swords, sabers, etc. Victorian inventions notwithstanding, swords really aren't heavy. Leave alone sabers.

Faile's lack of military training just made her much less effective a ruler than a man would have been, unable to make informed strategical decisions on her own. Again, a ruler who rides to a fight would have bodyguards and wouldn't get into the heat of battle if he has two brain cells to rub together. Vast majority of successful RL commanders never got into pitch battles personally.
And what use are Saldeian wives riding to war, when they have no weapons training and no command training?! They are just moral boosters.

Wetlandernw @ 227:

The things were very different re: farming in the past. You are thinking in modern terms - nuclear family, expensive labor, etc. This is not how the things used to be in Europe of say, 16th-17th century. Only the eldest son inherited the land and there were very definite ideas about what constituted enough for him to support a family. He had unmarried family members working for him and if he was doing decently or had no family, he also could afford to hire labor - and did.
Ditto artisans. The differences in income were very sharp. Nearly everybody either was a servant/laborer or could afford one. And servants/laborers usually did not marry, as their income wasn't sufficient to support a family, only to feed themselves.

The idea of a wife looking after children is also modern. Young farmwife just had too much work to do, except in winter. Elderly family members, older children, or a hired child cared after young children. And children were considered self-sufficient at a very young age indeed.

Again, please remember that there were tons of unmarried women around (hence also nunneries). The idea that every woman had an opportunity to procreate or that it was needed to uphold population numbers is just completely false.

And there is really no point in bringing up RL medieval infant mortality numbers, because Randland medicine is vastly better than anything in RL before early 20th century - at which time it was certainly not an issue statistically speaking.

Re: male versus female channeling - I would have no objection to the differences in strength if we actually saw "deftness" or skill affecting anything.

What we saw is that Asha'man with a couple months of training can easily overcome AS with hundreds of years of experience and supposedly very honed skills. Additionally, they can feel when woman embraces the source, but no vice versa (a huge one-sided advantage), they are vastly better at breaking through shields, in one-on-one link they have to lead, etc. All of this together is just too much of a disbalance for me. YMMV.
Erik Smith
229. ArabiaTerra
First post (Yay), but I've been following the re-read from the start.

Something that's been bugging me is that many of the poster's on this thread have been referring to Randland as a Medieval or pre-industrial society. It isn't. It's a post-apocalyptic society, littered with the ruins, scars and artefacts of that apocalypse.

Take the medicinal herbs, for instance. I've always assumed that these were created as such during the AoL.
John Massey
230. subwoofer
Just throwing it out there, but did anybody get any swag for the big Anniversary thingy? I got a big pile of Bupkis mit Kuduchas and I barked at everything.

Er... just on the topic of Rand being cannon fodder... was thinking about it the other day and just gonna put my thoughts down. From what I can tell, things are not going to end well for Randster. I will be disappointed if he actually lives.

There is much talk of him breaking the world and remaking it. IMHO his breaking is going to be like a World War where all the nations march to the Gap and fight the Shadow and not many people live. I can't see any large scale battle, even with Aiel, having everybody living. Things just don't work that way. The people are gonna be fighting creatures twice their size with big weapons, a huge reach advantage, and not to mention the Myrdd. Tactics will play an important role to the mindless Trollocs but there you have it. Big death, large scale, depopulating Randland.

As for rebuilding the world, I think Rand is already doing that. His amnesty, making male channelers legit is a start. Cleansing Sadin. And more important, rediscovering tech and founding schools. All point towards a remaking of the world to an industrial era again. One where OP will not be needed or exist.

The source of all these sweeping edicts also makes me think. Are all these ideas coming from a sheep herder or is LTT taking an active role and remaking the AOL, where there were higher learning centers and many great discoveries? RJ mentions all these things that are happening that have not happened in thousands of years so something is up.

Also, if this is a continuing battle of the Wheel, as Herid Fel talks about, is Rand destined to kill everybody in sight? He does have LTT in him, Elayne is the spitting image of Ilyena, things are lining up...

Unless the DO wins and things really hit the fan. Then this is all moot.

Just sayin'.

Go Bela!
James Jones
231. jamesedjones
228 Isilel

I spent 6 years in Kentucky. And during that time I learned that all the time in the world studying farmlife will teach you nothing compared to a full year spent actually doing all of the work involved. Please do not try to involve yourself in a discussion with Wetlandernw, or anyone else who grew up on a farm, regarding this topic. It is a completely different world (as your comments have illustrated), and she understands the details, differences, and similarities of farming throughout history far better than you or I ever could.
Abdel Masdoua
232. TheDarkOne
Just wanted to say:

Leigh, I loved the commentary and I wholeheartedly agree with ya!
Sam Mickel
233. Samadai
@WetlanderNW and Sinfulcashew

thank you for your compliments. I have been interested in writing for years and have been working on writing my own books for years. If you would be interested I would gladly share a short story I have started on the Land of the Madmen when it is finished. of course that goes for all the posters on this board who would be interested.
234. sody pop
Not wading into the gender politics, but a minor point:

I think Moiraine put the angreal where Lanfear could reach it to prevent Rand from overpowering her too easily. If Rand could quickly disable her, she would remain alive, albeit captive, and able to escape or manipulate him to the point where he becomes her lover, as Moiraine foresaw. Instead, she gives Lanfear just enough extra oomph that Lanfear can hold him off for long enough to give Moiraine the chance to tackle her through the doorway.
235. johntheirishmongol
Sorry Leigh, but I have to disagree with you about chivalry. For some reason, you seem to equate chivalry with sexism and they are totally different things. In fact, I would say that modern chivalry can be even more important because it values women even higher than men. There is absolutely nothing demeaning about courtesy and manners. They are the lubrication society needs to be able to get along with each other.

As for Lanfear, she has already proven herself to be beyond the pale by being one of the Chosen and I wouldn't have any compunctions about ending her life if I was Rand. However, I do understand the hesitation. Frankly, he should have already prepared for this because it was always a high probability.
236. johntheirishmongol
Sorry Leigh, but I have to disagree with you about chivalry. For some reason, you seem to equate chivalry with sexism and they are totally different things. In fact, I would say that modern chivalry can be even more important because it values women even higher than men. There is absolutely nothing demeaning about courtesy and manners. They are the lubrication society needs to be able to get along with each other.

As for Lanfear, she has already proven herself to be beyond the pale by being one of the Chosen and I wouldn't have any compunctions about ending her life if I was Rand. However, I do understand the hesitation. Frankly, he should have already prepared for this because it was always a high probability.
Alice Arneson
237. Wetlandernw
Isilel, how many farms have you grown up on? or your parents? or your grandparents? or your greatgrandparents? Just curious - before I bother to debate points, I'd like to know what your credentials are in regard to non-mechanized dirt farming in a non-feudal society.
238. ammbd
Samadai: very well done :) thank you for sharing!
Maiane Bakroeva
239. Isilel
Um, this sounds like complete non-sequitur Wetlandernw. I am not talking about mechanics of farming per se, but about the fact that there was a significant number of people in 16-17 centuries Europe, who never married. And also that people lived in great families, rather than nuclear units. Both are matters of historical record, so I am not sure how your experiences in 20th century US could apply.

I did live on a farm summers as a kid, and in rather spartan conditions too, i.e. no running water, no telephone, no car, a few clicks through woods to the bus and and cooking on a wooden stove.

ArabiaTerra @229:

Medicinal herbs exist IRL and actually are quite effective if used by a true expert. Unfortunately, use of herb lore was consistently persecuted as witchery, hence unlike in Randland IRL western medicine was basically more harmful than helpful until late 19th century or so. The number of people who were killed by the practice of blood-letting!
Alice Arneson
240. Wetlandernw
You know, Isilel, I'm going to drop this. Without conceding any points, because I still think you're wrong, I'm not going to get into any more debate with you. You've made a lot of points based on unfounded assumptions, and you have made points that undermine your other points, but you're so convinced of your position that you can't see your inconsistencies. In any case, I have much more pleasant things to do with my time than read your posts and spend hours doing point-by-point debate. I could go clean toilets, or scrub the floors, or clean out the garage, or any number of more enjoyable things. So... you just keep on believing that Randland is inherently sexist and male-dominated, or whatever it is you feel a need to believe about it. I'm not going there with you any more.
sandi vogel
241. sinfulcashew
233. Samadai
I would love (\/)
(trying to make a heart there!)
to see a copy of your story. If it is anything like the 'teaser', wow!
The concept there was staggering to me.
I hope I'm not sounding too overboard, but as I read it and wondered what book it was out of.....I was going to go get the book immediately.
Imagine my surprise when it seemed to be about WOT?
(I'm going to go for now, as my keyboard is all slobbery from salivating!)
242. kab1
wetlandrnw @199- once again, I am in complete agreement. well said. I enjoyed reading the post.
243. kab1
@209 rosetintwnd
This is why this blog is so amazing to me. I read mainly for fun, and WOT certainly provides hours of reading and rereading fun to try to puzzle out the connections and hidden gems, but I never analyze the work on a broader scale. It never occurred to me that RJs world was based on a man breaking the world instead of the Eve/woman's sin beginning. Thanks for your insights.

@Samadai- loved the fan fiction. If you want to share more, I'd love to read it.
John Massey
244. subwoofer
@Samadai- keyboard is dry here, but well done! I personally would be interested in reading your offerings. Was trying to write at one point myself, but my niche of immature, low level writing is glutted so I bowed out. er... woof.

I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex.
Katharine Hepburn
Alice Arneson
245. Wetlandernw
Got to thinking as I was doing the dishes tonight... Isilel actually made a couple of my points for me. Please note, however, that Randland is NOT exactly the same cultural setup as 16th century Europe, even if much of the technology is similar.

1) "...Military power often determined who got to wield political power..." So true. So for example, the Queen of Saldaea, with her 50K men, wields a fair bit of political power, maybe? A general may lead the troops, but he takes his orders from the queen or king he serves. Unless, of course he wants to be beheaded for treason or something.

2) "Elderly family members, older children, or a hired child cared after young children." Indeed, when such were available, this was often the case. Older children, however, start as babies too, and someone has to give them birth and feed them in infancy until they are old enough to help with the younger children and assorted other tasks. (Oh yeah. Other tasks. Can you say "weed the garden?" Yup. You start that at a pretty early age...) Still, the task of bearing children belongs solely to the wife, and even with help she is primarily responsible for raising them. Don't get me wrong; no one has claimed that a farm wife had nothing to do except play with the kids all day. Hah! (Like I said, I watched my mom... She rarely stopped working except to eat or sleep. That's what life on a farm is.)

One more point. Nunneries were definitely a part of European history; it was a good place to send "extra" women who for one reason or another couldn't be married off and had no useful labor to do. But a) not too many peasants went there unless they REALLY wanted to and b) there are no nunneries in Randland. So the point would be...? Nope. Women in this kind of culture are far too valuable to send away as excess baggage, single or no. If they weren't married, bearing and raising the next generation along with all their other work, they were needed to help with said raising, or to perform other needful tasks in society.

(Yes, I grew up in the 20th century, with most of the expected conveniences, but I learned to cook on a wood cookstove, and we did need to use the outhouse if something went haywire with the plumbing. My grandmother, on the other hand, grew up in a sod house. Lots of good clean fun there...)
Alice Arneson
246. Wetlandernw
And on a completely off topic, totally, totally irrelevant zing... I must share with you all some solemn words of wisdom from my Uncle Clare:

A man with eight children is happier than a millionaire.

Why, you ask?

Let me tell you.

Wait for it...

Wait for it....

Because a millionaire always wants more.
James Jones
247. jamesedjones
246 Wetlandernw


Did not see it coming. Very funny. In a very, very, very scary way.
Andrew Lovsness
248. drewlovs
228. Isilel

Nunneries are proof of unmarried and unwanted women? Huh? I'm a bit flabbergasted at your assertions... would you mind linking where you are getting your information?

I'm not going to say you are wrong right away; I have found that some of what I've learned in school is indeed poppy-cock. But what you have said completely contradicts much of what I know about the European and American past.

As for Faile... where does it say any of her training was on the sly? I didn't know that she is only good with a knife, either. And kings never allow others to lead their armies, but queens always did?

I am sure there are situations where what you assert is completely true; but I reject your insistance that it was always the case. Read some of Elayne's thoughts on previous queens; they led their armies, and were completely in control.

Do we just throw out Andor's past when considering the gender politics of Wot?
Roger Powell
249. forkroot
Oh crap .. Wetlandernw .. now you did it! I laughed too loudly at @246 and now my wife is wondering:

    a) Why haven't I come to bed yet?
    b) What is this web forum that I spend so much time on?

Hard to explain to her... she doesn't read fantasy and wouldn't spend time with any on-line forum. So when she asks what the point of all of this is ... the best I could do was say that without this forum I never would have learned important terms like "batshit crazy".
Alice Arneson
250. Wetlandernw

Hah! R.Fife was right. I AM the scary lady... ;>
251. David M.
"So for example, the Queen of Saldaea, with her 50K men, wields a fair bit of political power, maybe? A general may lead the troops, but he takes his orders from the queen or king he serves. Unless, of course he wants to be beheaded for treason or something." --Wetlandernw

Which, of course, is exactly the fate Bashere expects if Tenobia ever finds him.

I'll also toss out the fact that it is expected by women in Randland that Rand, as Dragon Reborn, car'a'carn, Coramoor and who knows what else should and will submit to the Amyrlin, whether that be Egwene or Elaida. And if not to them, then to the Empress of Seanchan. In other words, even though he is the apparent savior of the world, he should submit to the authority of powerful women in the world. If this were reversed, and Rand were a woman expected to submit to a male authority, a feminist argument might be made. Instead, Jordan established a subversive inversion of typical gender authority, and this has gone ignored (I believe).

But somehow Randland is male dominated? Hm.
Anthony Pero
252. anthonypero
About LTT/Breaking being Eve/Fall...

Is this documented somewhere by RJ? Because elsewhere, including on this board by others, The connection has been made that Lanfear represents both Eve and Lilith. Eve, for drilling the Bore... Let's not forget, it's drilling the Bore that "ruined" paradise, not the breaking. It didn't seem like the AoL was that great a place to live after Lanfear drilled the Bore.

This seems like a more likely reading, to me. Although, in the Bible, IIRC, Adam was right there next to Eve when she ate the fruit, so I've never understood using this passage to justify women as lesser than men. It seems to me that Adam came across as pretty weak in that particular story.
John Massey
253. subwoofer
What could Adam do? Most guys would jump through hoops if there was er...smiles at the end of it... and Eve was naked at the time;)

Went looking for the Eve thing, got Bupkis- again- but came across this. I was on another site and both came to the conclusion that it was jealousy of LTT that turned many of the male Forsaken. Or maybe LTT's pride. Also came on Leigh's index and found...
LTT often raves about Demandred, and killing him, every time Taim is around. LTT raves, "Sammael, oh, yes, but Demandred first. First of all I rid myself of him, then Sammael." LTT and Rand know where Sammael is. But why does LTT insist on killing Demandred if he doesn't know where he is?

Minion Taim: It's clear that if this theory is the correct one, Taim has picked up a lot more than just OP training from Demandred (more on that below), which could have caused LTT to confuse the two men.

I find the LTT angle and his power interesting. If the head of the AS in the AOL had the ONE Ring- er- that was LTT- where's the darn ring now?

Also it explains why all the male Forsaken spend so much time trying to convert LTT/Rand as opposed to just killing him. Have more to say but not sure how. Maybe if I go wash some dishes...

Go Bela!

edit- can we stop beating her now? She's getting sensitive.
John Massey
254. subwoofer
Maybe we could go for 1000 on gender topics but that will make for lines in the sand and actual fisticuffs and stuff. Somebody may even throw a chair... :)

edit- how about... did RJ model Rand after Luke Skywalker?
Tess Laird
255. thewindrose
subwoofer - Your wife needs help with the floors, not the dishes:)
As for the The One Ring, what if LTT was wearing it when he made Dragonmount? It was either destroyed, or it is in the mountain. If it is the second case and had some type of ore in it, I suppose Egwene could find it with her ore finding Talent. (an aside on if Egwene actually got the One Ring from the LotR series(as she is now) - she would fail the Frodo test - she would definitaly take it, and think is for everyones good)
I have been checking out the Thirteenth Depository - has some very interesting articles on WoT. Here is one for Rand.

Samadai- I would be very interested in a continuation of that story line.

forkroot@249 - I am in the same boat, husband thinks I am insane:)
Antoni Ivanov
256. tonka

The reason that Lew Therin wants Demandred is that Demandred fancied Ilyena.

Demandred, Lews Therin snarled. He wanted Ilyena!
257. kab1
@wetlander- loved the joke.

@forkroot and thewindrose- well there at at least three of us in that boat!

@252 yes, I see your point as well. That is how I had always thought of it before, with Lanfear as Eve. But then having the men go crazy kind even things out a bit- maybe again RJ balancing things? Additionally, I'm not sure how many people know it was Lanfear who drilled a hole in the bore, as least the "common" people.
But then again, thinking about it a bit more, none of it is really comparable, as there is no organized religion in Randland (Yes I know, they believe in a Creator and DO, but by this I mean attending services and such) So it's not really at all the same as our world, where some people feel the christian church has treated women "unfairly" over the centuries (let's not jump on this- people do indeed feel this way, even if you don't). By this I mean, even though men broke the world, it was men who could channel, and it's a fact that you will go eventually go crazy if you are a male channeler (er, at least until the cleansing). Which is different than some of the crazy notions that exist in our society such as all women are "temptresses" because of Eve's behaviour.
Either way, as far as I know RJ never commented on this one way or the other. Personally, I don't think he set out to create a world based on a man's "sin/error" instead of a woman's, but I did think it was an interesting interpretation of the work. Ideas like this never occur to me, so I enjoy reading the posts because they look at things in such a different light than I would. Plus the ideas and writing are always just so well crafted!
Vincent Lane
258. Aegnor

"Again, please remember that there were tons of unmarried women around (hence also nunneries). The idea that every woman had an opportunity to procreate or that it was needed to uphold population numbers is just completely false."

Ok, there are a few problems with your argument. In addition to nunneries, there were also monasteries. But that is kind of beside the point. Many things which are imperative in a very primitive culture, become ingrained as tradition, and remain long after the original purpose behind it is no longer relevant.

By the time you reach the point in time where there are nunneries, the need to procreate as a means of staving off extinction, is pretty much a thing of the past. But that doesn't mean that the traditions that came out of that need don't remain.
Andrew Lovsness
259. drewlovs
To elaborate on nunneries.

The institution was not a place for completey devote women who dedicated heir lives to religion, as it is thought of today. In fact, when Hamlet sends Ophelia to a nunnery, it was as much to banish her to a house of ill repute than anything else. I got that little tid bit from a book of facts from England. If you disregard my memory, there is more to chew on.

Here is something from Wikianswers on nunneries:

Cardinal Peter d'Ailly declared that the immorality in the nunneries was so notorious that it was common for girls who wanted to enter a life of prostitution simply to take the veil. One of the reasons for the Church's denunciation of Savonarola was that he declared the nuns in the convents were no better than harlots, and that the whole fabric of morality was being corrupted by the adultery of members of the religious orders.

In order to remedy the evil of the widespread immorality existing in the nunneries, the Council of Saragossa forbade virgins to take the veil unless they were at least forty years of age.
Maiane Bakroeva
260. Isilel
Drewolvs @259:

These views seem to me a mixture of anti-Catholic propaganda (quite logical in Tudor England) and exaggerated hysterical notions on female chastity and morality prevalent at the time. I dare say that even one case that became public would have led to a given convent being seen as a sink of iniquity, just as a women who gave in just once was seen as "fallen".

Re: single women during high Middle Ages and Renaissance, I did a quick search and found that 49% of women in Zürich in 1467 were not married. Now, obviously this includes widows and women who weren't married yet and it varied sharply from region to region, but it supports my point well enough that I won't search further. My recollections from readings of various books on history are that number of single women only grew in 16th and 17th century, as opportunities to support themselves as servants, etc. expanded.

And again, Randlandians with their superior and accessible medicine just don't need to have that many children to maintain and grow population. r versus K reproduction strategy and all that. K strategy would be one argument for polyandry, BTW - fewer children, but those with superior chances of survival due to extra resources.

Anyway, this debate has worn itself out, so let's just agree to disagree, OK?
James Jones
261. jamesedjones
260 Isilel

Or we could agree that 42.7% of statistics are made up. :)
John Massey
262. subwoofer
@thewindrose-finished the floors at 1500 MNT yesterday. Onto the wonderful world of base boards and basic geometry which I have not had to think about in years. Going to ask my 10 year old brother-in-law for advise. Did the dishes too.

Was on the Thirteenth Depository-er... sounds anal- and was annoyed by one thing. Looked up the Dragon- said see Lews Therin Telamon, and there was no entry! Site is still under construction. Other interesting stuff on there, though. Matty Matt Mat.

cab1 brings up an interesting point about organized religion in Randland. I have read a few people saying thank the Creator or thank the Light but unless I am reading wrong(okay- shush from the peanut gallery) there is not mention of churches.

When I read Eddings first couple of series, there were temples and such worshiping the various gods and much of the series of books were based on the struggle between them-ie Torak. RJ has a bit of a structure in place- DO imprisoned by the Creator- the Pattern- Maesma, Prophet of the Dragon, but is it an actual faith?

Are Aes Sadai monks/nuns? Would that make Greens warrior monks? Is the Amyrlin Seat the Pope or the Dalai Lama equivalent? Suian-fish guts and all being leader of organized religion in Randland. Elaida, funky smell and all being current leader...


edit- no Bela entry either! Grrrrr!
263. kab1
I guess the whitecloaks might be an example of religious fanatics.

I think that most of the elements are there, prophesies and such, and you have a "light" and and a "dark" side, but there's simply no worshiping services (that I picked up on). The closest thing to worship is from the darkfriends who must bow down to the forsaken, etc. but that's more like groveling.

I actually think this is another one of the reasons I like RJs world so much, you can put your own image of the creator into the books, since he doesn't define him much.

and of course there's the whole "time as a wheel" concept and people being reborn again and again. It's really interesting to think that Rand might do all this work to save the world, but then everyone will forget about the DO and he'll eventually have to be born all over again! Has anyone else heard RJ talking about this at the end of the audiobooks? (I must say he has quite a rich voice, I was stunned by his presence/voice at a booksigning I went to once)

Anyone want to discuss randon topics from the books while Auntie Leigh is on a well-deserved vaykay? I'm gonna ask some random questions. I feel like it would be fun to discuss with you guys, as sometimes as hard on the various forums with all of the nasty commenting and arguing.

Feel free to bring up totally different issues these just popped into my head (while I was doing the dishes, or was it the floors? sigh, so much cleaning) Maybe things from previous threads that never got fully explored because a new post went up?

Where do the prophesies come from? I mean who knows that the Dragon will be born again? Who wrote down all of the prophesies of the dragon? Were they all from foretellings of Aes Sedai after the breaking? Is this in the Big White Book?

We haven't gotten there in the reread, but:
On the subject of foretelling- there was a discussion of this on the Podcasts about the ability of Damane to have the fortelling- or tell the future as Tuon puts it. Is it the same as foretelling or different. Tuon seems to indicate you can simply ask a damane for your future and she's give it to you. So is it the foretelling- and can it be "commanded" from a damane? or is it different? does it have to do with the collar? What do you guys think?
264. RobMRobM
Entirely off the point request and potential time killer during Leigh's vacation.

I read SF and fantasy voraciously and comprehensively through end of college in mid 80s, then read virtually nothing in the area for past 20-plus years of marriage, grad school, career and kids. Thus, while I have read Dune and sequels, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Zelzazy, Ellison, early Piers Anthony, early LeGuin, etc., have have read virtually nothing since. I have read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead; WoT (obviously); and Mistborn (obviously). Reading "The Sparrow" now, which one of my friends recomemmended. Also read various forms of middle-school SF/Fantasy with my kids (Percy and the Olympians, Ranger's Apprentice, etc). But no Eddings, Salvatore, Bujold, Scalzi, etc. Wouldn't even know these names if not referenced on the this booad or Tor. com.

So - I'd like feedback on the top 5 books/series in SF or fantasy that you would recommend I should read following my Rip van Winkle period. Best of the best, please. Once recommendations are in, I'll make a decision on top five and let you all know.

265. RobMRobM
One addition - I also read GRRM Song of Ice and Fire, so no need to recommend that. R
Marcus W
266. toryx
Okay, here's my top 5.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM*
2. Robin Hobb: Especially The Farseer Trilogy and the Liveship Traders Trilogy
3. Connie Willis: To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether and Doomsday Book are my favorites (Science Fiction, mainly)
4. Guy Gavriel Kay: The Sarantine Mosaic. (Fantasy)
5. Robert Charles Wilson: Spin (Science Fiction)
6. Robert Sawyer: Lots of great science fiction novels. A recent discovery of mine that I really enjoy.

* I know, you already read the series, but it's not a top five list of fantasy/ science fiction books/ series without GRRM. I also highly recommend the Hedge Knight novella if you haven't already read it. The first one is my favorite.

While we're on the topic of other novels, I actually managed to finish Warbreaker the other day and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The Prologue did absolutely nothing for me, but the rest of the novel was actually quite good.

Edit to add a sixth writer, since Rob already reads GRRM.
Roger Powell
267. forkroot
Let's start at the top: Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. These books occupy the same lofty place in my estimation that LoTR and WoT do. (The first two trilogies anyway ... he's currently revisiting the series and doing a final four books; I'm reserving judgment on that.)
268. RobMRobM
Forkroot - read the first series back in the day and liked it. I'll consider the second one.

toryx - have never heard of any of your 2-6 books. This is precisely why I've asked for your collective help. Looking forward to more suggestions.

269. zdrakec
The last Donaldson offering on Covenant - absolutely horrible, in my opinion. Any book with the line, "she had never been a woman who could read stone", in it, should be execrated.
The second trilogy - scarcely better. He hit the true magic with the first trilogy, and really should have left the Unbeliever alone after that, in my very humble opinion.
He hit the real magic again with the Gap series, too, I think.
James Jones
270. jamesedjones
264 RobMRobM


Highly Recommended

1)Stephen R Donaldson: The Gap Series
Incredible resolution. An absolute 'Apotheosis' of the genre. Only drawback: having to deal with 2 books and a novella of infodump.

2)Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker Series
Even if you've read it before, this series never fails to satisfy as Adams tweaks and pokes his way through societal issues while weaving a greater (and darker) story than anyone expected.

Useful to kill time until Nov... 2011(ugh)

3)Terry Pratchett: Discworld
Fun Stuff. 'Nuff said.
4)R.A.Salvatore: Drizzt tales
The first two trilogies (Icewind Dale, and Drizzt's history) are great, and the rest are enjoyable but not really incredible.
5)Raymond E Feist: Riftwar Saga and Daughter of the Empire
Feist manages to come at a war from both sides, and allows you to sympathize with each.
Sam Mickel
271. Samadai
@264 RobMRobM,

1) Terry Brooks.Shannara series, Word and the Void series

2)Raymond Feist.

3)RA salvatore.

4)David Eddings

5)Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman; Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends.

6)Ed Greenwood; alot of Forgotten Realms books.

7)Douglas Niles and Richard Knack; various Dragonlance and their own series.
272. RobMRobM
So, second vote for Gap series. Hmmn.

Second for Feist.

I'm well acquainted with the Douglas Adams oevre (yes, my ten year old daughter knows the answer to what you get when you multiply 6 times 9).

Read the original Shanarra novel, nothing since. Rest are worthwhile?

Don't know anything about the rest so keep em coming.

Tess Laird
273. thewindrose
As we are passing time, I had to bring up this Q&A from DragonCon '05:
Q1: Ishamael mentions that in prior turnings of the Wheel the soul of Lews Therin was raised up as the Shadow’s champion, and if that is the case, who was the champion of the Creator? Was it …

RJ: You believe Ishamael??? Sorry, man, but c’mon!

From RJ's Blog for kab1 on damane Foretelling:
For kcf, Tuon is stating a misbelief, really, a Seanchan urban folk tale, if you will. The Seanchan no longer know about Foretelling — though they are beginning to hear reports – but they have memories of the knowledge, you might say. There memories have gotten twisted into the widespread belief that any damane can tell your fortune. This belief is strengthened by the fact that some damane actually can Foretell, and more of them than on “this” side of the Aryth Ocean, a facet of sul’dam remaining in the breeding pool with the result that there are a higher percentage of women who potentially could channel among the Seanchan than on the Eastern side of the ocean. And also a higher percentage of many Talents.'
Note that the Seanchan have a higher percentage of channelers with Talents, but they are really never found, as the biggest demand is for the linked damane to be a weapon. The only thing they test every damane for is the ability to find ore and if the damane can make the adam.
Sam Mickel
274. Samadai

The Elfstones of Shannara is imho the best of them, But I have read all of them multiple times.
Marcus W
275. toryx
RobM @272:

I personally don't care for any of the Shannara books or Terry Brooks. Highly overrated, imho. But if you liked the Sword of Shannara, the rest of the books are a little more original and I think the writing does improve, for what that's worth.

You should be aware that Salvatore, Greenwood, Weis and Hickman, and Niles and Knack all write novels relying heavily on tabletop roleplaying game settings. It's largely a matter of taste but if you aren't interested in that kind of thing, you should be aware that they are all of a kind.

David Eddings can be entertaining. He's very much a 'light' fantasy novelist with a good sense of humor but a habit of repeating himself.

I've not read the Gap series. I might have to give it a try sometime. I tried Feist a couple of decades ago and wasn't impressed, but I'm tempted to give him another shot.
Marcus W
276. toryx
Just thought of another great fantasy novelist:

Daniel Abraham (who Jo Walton has been praising on Tor for a few weeks now). I've only managed to get ahold of the first book of his trilogy so far myself but it was fantastic. His attention to detail in building his fantasy world was on par with both Jordan and GRRM and he tells a very unique story.

For some reason he hasn't quite caught on, so he's not in bookstores nearly as much as he should be. I'd really like to see him build a larger readership.
277. cps2195
some other good scifi/fantasy suggestions:

Hyperion series by Dan Simmons-The first book is best described as The Canterburry Tales in a far future setting.

The Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card- Really unique fantasy set in 19th century America.

Darwin's Radio-Good near future scifi.

The Speed of Dark Elizabeth Moon-probably my favorite book I've read in the lasy few years. Extremely moving story and one of the best characters in scifi.

The Yiddish Policeman's Union-Michael Chabon- This guy is just a brilliant writer. He is a true master of the written word. The book is funny and witty. I read this immediatley after reading Eragon (someone let me borrow that trash) and the contrast in both writers command of language was mindboggling.
Anthony Pero
278. anthonypero
Fantasy Must Read List (This is just by Authors, start where you will with their books):

1. Brandon Sanderson - Elantris and Warbreaker far exceed Mistborn, IMO

2. Melanie Rawn

3. Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Death Gate Cycle

4. C.S. Friedman - Mostly Sci-Fi, but her ColdFire Trilogy is awesome fantasy

5. Jacqueline Carey - Her books are not for everyone, but I loved them, and so did RJ.

David Eddings reads sort of like a Fantasy Primer, as does Terry Brooks. I would skip Eddings entirely (You're beyond him, probably), but The Sword of Shannarra, at least, is a must read: it really did birth the modern fantasy movement in 1977.
Anthony Pero
279. anthonypero
Oh yeah, just re-read others posts... DEFINITELY read Robin Hobb, at least, the first three series... skip The Soldier's Son Series, for your own sanity.
Alice Arneson
280. Wetlandernw
subwoofer - congrats on finishing the floors. And the dishes. (Seriously, I find mindless tasks like that very conducive to cogitating on things like WoT.) I wouldn't recommend too much WoT-thinking while doing geometry, though; you might end up with some odd shapes. ;)

I, too, have thought a lot about the lack of organized religion. I suspect RJ just didn't want to add yet another complication, for which I must admit I'm truly grateful. I guess that's one advantage of a Deistic setup - the Creator more or less leaves you alone, so theology isn't a major area of study. At the same time, you really don't see anyone who doesn't believe in the Creator, the DO, the Wheel and the Pattern. It seems to be universally accepted. Hmmmmm. This is leading me to all sorts of theorizing, but it would rapidly turn to theologizing, and this isn't the right forum. One relevant comment from RJ, and I'm just going from memory, not quoting directly. Someone had asked about how you find Darkfriends if you want to be one. It was something along the lines of doing things that would draw their attention, like maybe making the occasional comment that the DO might not be so bad or the Creator might not be such hot stuff after all. The relevant bit was this: you don't want to try saying that the Creator doesn't exist, because that would imply that you don't actually believe in the DO either, so you wouldn't make a very good DF (aside from the probability of the local folk deciding you need a hard lesson in thinking straight).

For RobMRobM, of course it all depends on the style you like. My personal faves over the years (excluding the ones you already mentioned) would include

David Eddings
Raymond Feist
Anne McCaffrey (hey, I like the dragonriders, okay? even if the later ones aren't quite up to standard)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Terry Pratchett

Those aren't in any particular order, just ones that I have enjoyed. They all tend to be fairly prolific writers, which is good when it's good, but can really go downhill if they can't come up with something new once in a while. Nothing, of course, quite compares with LotR for scope, storytelling, quality of writing, conciseness, consistency, and a bazilion other things that were SO good because of who he was and who he worked with, but not many writers have those advantages.

For what it's worth, I'd also recomment Nate Wilson's "100 Cupboards". It's children's literature, and he's a relatively young author, but I found them (the two that are out - third is yet to come) very enjoyable and refreshingly different from most of the other stuff on the shelves.

Oh, and Isilel, it really doesn't do your credibility as a researcher any good to say "I found one data point that supports my theory, so I'm going to stop there." I understand your point, and to a large extent agree with it regarding European history, but that statement... Well, it didn't help your argument. But you're right in another thing. Poor Bela is REALLY getting tired of this. ;)
Anthony Pero
281. anthonypero

Where do the prophesies come from? I mean who knows that the Dragon will be born again? Who wrote down all of the prophesies of the dragon? Were they all from foretellings of Aes Sedai after the breaking? Is this in the Big White Book?

We know of at least one AoL Aes Sedai who uttered the prophecies: Deindre Sedai. This is found in TSR Ch 26: The Dedicated. This is from Rand's flashback sequence in the Columns of Rhiudan (sp?). Rand sees two Aes Sedai arguing, in front of Calendor and LTT's banner, and the Horn of Valere, and one asks the other what good her fortellings are if she can't tell them when.

That doesn't mean she was the only one who gave the Prophecies of the Dragon, and I have no idea who collected them into a Big Book.
282. RobMRobM
Keep them coming and very much appreciating both the new names and the commentaries on existing nemes. Thanks to all for the "education" and looking forward to getting more in and then whittling down.

cps - I read and loved the Yiddish Policeman's Union, which kind of counts as Sci-Fi (alternative world where the Jews ended up in Alaska rather than Israel and the district is going back to US a la Hong Kong-China) and is more a police procedural in an interesting culture. Great stuff.

Jason Lyman
283. jlyman
I have enjoyed Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies. I also have enjoyed her Exiles series. But talk about waiting a long time between books. It's been like 15 years since number two was released and I'm still waiting for the third! Sheesh! And two ended on a cliffhanger too! I like her writing though. It's very detailed and in some ways similar to Robert Jordan's.
284. H4rford
Malazan book of the Fallen, By Steven Erickson.
Worl building on a scale with WOT, and much more actionless mind-numbing discriptive detail.
already 9 books with a tenth dropping soon.
285. toddywatts
If you like the silliness of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams you might like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.
Alice Arneson
286. Wetlandernw
kab1 @263 )The closest thing to worship is from the darkfriends who must bow down to the forsaken, etc. but that's more like groveling. Cracked me up. :>

Meant to respond to more of your post earlier, but forgot. thewindrose already answered the part about damane fortune-telling with the exact quote I would have used. Great minds, and all that... ;)

I think we started a discussion once about the source of the prophecies, but either we trailed off into ignorance or it got overwhelmed by another topic. So far I haven't found anything definitive on the source, but I haven't finished looking yet. Will let you know if I do. I'm betting, though, given the world setup RJ has established, that the prophecies are a collection of AS Foretellings, quite possibly both male and female. There would have been plenty of time between the drilling of the Bore and the start of the Breaking for both to be recorded before the men went mad, and some may have come from before that as well. We have pretty good indicators that Talents were well developed in the AOL, so that could well include Foretelling. Given the attitudes of the time, I would think it would have been encouraged, and all episodes recorded thoroughly. (Hopefully, anyway, unlike Elaida who kept most of her Foretellings to herself, to use for her own personal advantage/agenda. Grrr.) I say this only because I haven't seen any other mechanism for prophecy amond general Randland. The Amayar had their own prophecies, and we don't know that there were any AS in their culture, but then again we don't know that there weren't. Maybe some AS with Foretelling gave them their prophecies and sent them off to Tremalking to hide. (Side note: I wonder if we'll find out any more about them?) The Aiel, Seafolk and Seanchan, of course, have their own prophecies, but we know there was plenty of past AS/channeler involvement for all of them.

Okay, so that's totally non-conclusive, but I think it's the most likely scenario. Other thoughts, anyone? I guess we could do a "calling all looney theories" request... :)
Joseph Blaidd
287. SteelBlaidd
P.C. Hodgell has one of the most original and just hillarious Series I've ever read.

Otherwise. Prattchet, Bujold(Vorkosigan, Chalion, Sharing Knife), Steven Brust, Anne Bishop's Black Jewels Series is a facinating little exploration of sex and sexual politics. Deals with some heavy topics though so be warned.
Andrew Lovsness
288. drewlovs
Katherine Kurtz and her Dernyi series is top notch, though I have to admit I've only read the "chronicles of Deryni" and the "Camber Series"; so I cannot tell you if her additional books add or subtract to the story. I love her writing style though.

I also have no problems moving on for the discussion, Isilel; but I AM Catholic, and was not in any way trying to attack the church. That being said, I also have no intentions of re-writing history because it "ain't so good" at times.

Besides, the history of nunneries really has nothing to do with the church as an institution. Some weird crap happened in monestaries as well.

Overall, I too agree to disagree.
Sydo Zandstra
289. Fiddler
I'll gladly second Steven Erikson.

The man is able to write the funniest dialogues in the grimmest situations. Deadhouse Gate and Memory of Ice (book 2 and 3) are two of the best books I ever read.

If you liked Martin, you'll probably like Erikson as well.
Alice Arneson
290. Wetlandernw
I finally found something to quote regarding the source of prophecies (from the wotmania FAQ):
It has also been quite clearly stated by Jordan that the Prophecies of the Dragon are also Foretellings:

was later recovered and sealed up with the Dragon Banner because along with the Foretellings that made up the Prophecies of the Dragon was one saying that it must be.

It could be assumed that all other similar prophecies are also Foretellings. These are: The Rhuidean Prophecies, the Jendai Prophecies and the Seanchan version of the Prophecies of the Dragon.

So that's what I know today. FWIW.
Marcus W
291. toryx
Fiddler @ 289:

If you liked Martin, you'll probably like Erikson as well.

That's enough to persuade me! I'll check for his books at the library this weekend.
James Jones
292. jamesedjones
286 Wetlandernw

I remember hearing somewhere about the Amayar prophecies being manufactured by the society in order to avoid any tampering with the sa'angreal. Not sure if it was a looney theory, or came from RJ himself. I can't track it down right now (curse you, employment). Does anyone else remember this?
293. MasterAlThor
Hey guys....just thought that I would share some news with you. You guys are like my cousins, some I get on with others....well we will see.

Anyway, on to the news. I just saw my 6' 16yr old daughter that was adopted when she was a baby.

I am on cloud nine.

Sorry that it's not WoT stuff, but we got a week off so what the heck.

She is a beautiful girl. She is the only daughter I have. She wants me to be her dad and she called me daddy. I about died.

Well thanks for letting me share my excitement. Now anyone got a handbook on how to handle a 16yr old girl???
Kurt Lorey
294. Shimrod
That's really great, MasterAlThor.

Mine didn't come with instructions, and were completely different from one another. Lessons learned from the first weren't applicable to the second.

Good luck!
Jason Lyman
295. jlyman
@ Master Al'Thor

We are expecting our first teenager in September, and it's a boy. So I don't know that any advice I could give would be relevant. However, I may suggest becoming a doctor. When they are very busy they have a lot of patients.


Actually I think that your experience is really neat. I am only a step father, so I understand the thrill at being called "daddy." Our two boys were too old to really start calling me daddy or even dad. So I wonder if I will ever hear that name directed my way.

Tess Laird
296. thewindrose
Congrats MasterAlThor! I would suggest getting her into the WoT - so many books + the blog will help keep her out of trouble. Well, actually I don't know about that since my oldest is 8, and I seem to have these memories of myself at that age, and I did read a lot, but also was accused of giving my mom premature white hair - like by 36 she would have had a full head but she dyes it:) Anyways - just enjoy her, and of course use the patience you learned while waiting for the next book...
297. Damplander
Sci-fi and Fantasy books I'd recomend

1. David Brin any of his books really great sci-fi but in particular his Uplift War books there are three mostly standalone books and then a concluding triology. Definitely worth reading.

2. Fantasy recent writer I find very entertaining Jim Butcher, in particular his Dresden Files (modern setting fantasy) series 12 books and counting, and his Codex Alera series which concludes this fall on book 6.

3. I would endorse Raymond Feist in particular his first series later books are not as compelling.

4. Dragonriders of Pern

5. Any Sci-fi books co-authored by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Footfall, Mote in God's Eye in partictular.
Vincent Lane
298. Aegnor

5. Any Sci-fi books co-authored by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Footfall, Mote in God's Eye in partictular

Yeah, Niven and Pournelle books are quite good. I originally read Mote a decade or so ago. I just recently re-read it and am now r-reading Gripping Hand.

One of my favorite Niven and Pournelle books is Lucifer's Hammer. With most movies and books that deal with comet or meteor impacts with earth, the actual event occurs at the climax of the book/movie. With Lucifer's Hammer, the comet hits a third of the way through the book, and the rest is the survivors dealing with the aftermath. I wish they'd make a movie out of that book.
Brett Michie
299. bchurch
On the other SF and Fantasy authors . . I enthusiastically second cps2195 in endorsing Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. But would further suggest Card's Ender novels for SF. Probably the best SF I've read; they're all good, but Ender's Game can be read stand alone. Indeed, it is the one book I've re-read nearly as many times as any WoT novel.

Weis and Hickman's first two Dragonlance trilogies are good, and I like the Death Gate Cycle for it's world building, but somewhat juvenile compared to Jordan, IMHO. Loved them as a young teen.

Brooks' Shannara books are much in the same vein for me.

Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books are great, I need to re-read them, and finish the Gap books.

And I have to plug Stephen King's Dark Tower as a great read. Y'all can point and laugh if you like, but I dig me some Stephen King.
300. RobMRobM
my last attempt to respond to @298 was eaten by Oh well.

I read Lucifer's Hammer and Ringworld back in the day and thought they were interesting (from what I can remember). No N or N/P since. Rob
301. altarego
I have to mention Michelle West (or Michelle Sagara, her other pen name). Especially if you enjoy the intricate threads, mysteries, and little "ah ha!" moments from WoT.

She's probably one of the best fantasy writers I've ever read, regardless of her niche. The "West" novels are a bit more high fantasy, esoteric, multi-threaded masterpieces; the Sagara books are more of a fast-paced, fantasy crime/political drama with a sardonic edge.

They both involve intense characterization (with a focus on strong female characters), and huge world-building. However, she avoids cumbersome exposition and it often takes a reread or two to really pick up the undercurrents of her stories.

She has first chapters of several books and several short stories up on her Wordpress site; I suggest anyone interested spend a few minutes to check it out:
302. OldWoman
I agree with most of the recommendations and want to add a few authors that I personally found interesting. Octavia Butler...she unfortunately died in 2006 so no more from her. Neal Stephenson...I found his books interesting and compelling. Naomi Novik...I just have this thing for dragons.
Vincent Lane
303. Aegnor
I really did not like Orson Scott Card's initial sequels to Ender's Game (Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide). I haven't read them in 15 years, but I have bad memories of trying to make it through them. Of course, if you haven't read Ender's Game, then read it right now. It is an absolute classic, and excellent read. The more recent sequels and umm...paralels (?) are very good (Ender's Shadow is another must read). Skip Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide though. No need to read those.
304. RobMRobM
Aeg @303. In my initial post, I noted I have read Ender's Game and Speaker -- nothing thereafter. I've seen the discussion of Ender's Shadow comics on Tor and agree that looked darned good. Rob
305. kab1
Thanks you guys so much for the quotes from RJ himself on those topics. I love RJ quotes. I didn't realize there were so many of them out there. I'll do more research next time before asking questions! I basically read the books in a vacuum not realizing how popular they were until I went to a book signing and the line was amazingly long (I mean amazing long, I was floored!). and everyone was asking tons of questions. It's great that people have posted his answers.

Concerning the foretelling damane bit- I'm not surprised by RJs answer, I thought it might be something like that. However concerning Tuon's particular fortune-telling, one of the things that always confused me was that it seemed like she asked the damane for her future and got an immediate answer. I thought foretellings were more spontaneous? or does it work differently for different channelers? I think some remember their foretellings while others do not. It's hard for me to look stuff up in the books because I have all audiobooks (except one). So I apologize for that. I am going to have to get a new set of these days.

RobMRobM- maybe you've already read it, since you've read Mistborn but I am listening to Elantris right now and really enjoying it so far. I have not had much time for reading myself, and thank you for asking the question, now I can always come back to this post for suggestions!

@MasterAlThor- congratulations- that's wonderful. I only have a 3 and a 2 year old so I can't offer any suggestions. But good luck, I can remember being a 16 year-old girl myself, I must have been a nightmare for my parents. Honestly, I second the suggestion of getting her into the WOT, I was a teenager when I read them and loved them!
306. ZamIt
This site keeps dropping my posts. I wonder if this one will work?
307. Freelancer

Already mentioned, but heartily approved:

Feist, Salvatore

You should read, but not expect to be as impressed with:

Brooks, Pratchett

I don't believe anyone else mentioned C. S. Lewis. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia, he wrote a wonderful Space Trilogy. A complete master of the English language.
308. Shadow_Jak
Greg Keyes, "The Age of Unreason" is fun. First book was Newton's Cannon"
john mullen
309. johntheirishmongol
Since we aare doing book author recommendations let me list some for you.

Steven Brust
David Eddings
Raymond Fiest
Robert Lynn Asperin
Jim Butcher

Science Fiction
David Weber
Lois McMaster Bujold
Gordon Dickson
Alan Dean Foster - flinx series early
Christopher Rowley
Anne McCaffrey
Harry Turtledove - alternate history
Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle
David Brin - Chtorr series
John Ringo

Edgar Rice Burroughs
C.S. Forester
H. Rider Haggard
Frank L Baum

This should keep you busy for at least the rest of the year.
310. Freelancer

Congratulations on regaining your daughter's relationship. I could tell you that there is a very Good Book for being a parent, but I'd get summarily hammered here, so I'll leave that to your understanding. Still, since you ask...

It's good that you didn't have this issue before she turned 14. When my daughter turned 12 I informed her that it was her last birthday for two years. She would be allowed to turn 14 on time, but I refused to have a 13 year old girl in my house, as I'd known too many of them, and it was never good. I persisted anytime the issue was raised, and she came to accept it. She was, of course, quite happy when we celebrated her 13th birthday.

I spent significant time training my daughter in many ways, but the most important was by teaching her every way I could how words, thoughts, and intentions can be twisted by someone who doesn't want their true agenda recognized. For quite some time she would roll her eyes and wonder why I bothered. After she went off to college, I began getting phone calls about twice a week where she would tell me about some doofus guy or another who attempted to "smooth talk" her, and how she'd laugh them down the road, and she'd thank me for preparing her to deal with them from a position of strength.

Not sure if this is applicable to starting out a relationship with someone nearing adulthood, but it's a good idea to remind your offspring now and then that you went through what they went through, that you haven't forgotten how it feels to feel alone inside, and give them evidence that you really do get it. Kids go through a progression where, when they are very young, they believe their parents know everything. Then once they start to realize you don't know everything, it begins a slippery slope which, if you aren't careful, ends with them believing you know nothing. Most of us went through a time like that, so we should know how to forestall it. I told my kids that if they ever started to think that their parents have turned stupid, to ask themselves what exactly happened that destroyed our brains. Usually they'll find out it was nothing more than something they wanted and were denied for their own good, and were feeling bitter about it. They are always allowed to ask for things, and when reasonable are allowed them. When the answer must be no, the reason why not is given. If the follow-up to that is "But I REALLY want it", now it's just whining, and that has never worked once in their lives. They quit trying quickly when there's no record of success. Once you've made a decision, unless new information provides a valid reason to reconsider, don't cave in, or you set a precedent that enough whining may work. Again, I don't expect that to be an issue in your case.

More important than anything else, never fail to show affection, and to truly have fun.
sandi vogel
311. sinfulcashew
I read the Thomas Covenant series 25-30(?) years ago. Loved it!
Found the old books recently and reread..hated them.
I think my life was weird at the time of the first read. Second time, they seemed very dark, black, downer.

Orson Scott Card....'Bean'. (edit-is this the
'Enders Shadow' someone mentioned?)
I am looking for a new copy, as I can't find my old one. Love Enders Game.

C.J.Cherryh-wrong spelling?-'Cuckoo's Egg'.
Have looked for a second in a series , but only seems to be the one. Should be a follow up.

I loved the Anne Mccaffrey(?) Pern series.
But, for most of you, there aren't swords, battles, magic, etc. There is a kind of an innocence to them.

Roger Zelazny-'Amber' series.

Eddings-Series with the Sapphire Rose-I think?
Didn't read them all, but really enjoyed the ones I could find.

Piers Anthony-Loved the first book and then it seemed to grow horns or something. All the punnery? just went south, I thought.

Now I am waiting for the new book out by Samadai?

As you can probably tell, I really haven't read a lot of scifi for awhile. I did read the Eragon books, but they lacked a certain maturity.?.

Mostly I have stayed with WOT and rereads. Nothing else measures up to it.

Can't think of any others that really struck me. I will certainly comment if I think of any more?
Ya just can't wait, huh?
sandi vogel
312. sinfulcashew
Stephen Kings 'Dark Tower'
and isn't there another scifi futuristic one by him?

John Ringo?????LOL
Pete Pratt
313. PeteP
RobMRobM -- lots of interesting books posted.

Here are a few more:

Iain Banks Culture novels.

David Weber's various ongoing sf and fantasy books -- Honor Harrington is really, good, though gets into too much detail of space battles at time. The first book of each of his series is available on the Baen website. Easy way to browse a book to see if you like it -- lots of authors there too.

The Gap series is really interesting.

L.E. Modesitt has a number of interesting SF and Fantasy books.

I second the Coldfire Trilogy.

Bujold is really good, as is Elizabeth Moon.

Lawrence Watt-Evans has some fun and some interesting works.
Hurin Smells
314. HurinSmells
For RobMRobM, my top 5 sci-fi/fantasy reads that you've not mentioned...

1. Jacqueline Carey (fantasy) - picked up her Kushiel series based on a cover quote from RJ, and was not dissappointed! On par with RJ and GRRM for me.

2. Peter F. Hamilton (sci-fi) - if you like epic space opera this guys is for you. Read any and all of his books you can find.

3. Brent Weeks (fantasy) - His Night Angel trilogy is quite good, a bit lighter than WoT, but on par with Mistborn I'd say (plus he's a massive WoT fan)

4. Neil Gaiman (fantasy) - More of a twisted modern fairy tale, but American Gods is great, and Anansi Boys is also quite good

5. Richard Morgan (sci-fi) - Altered Carbon is an awesome cyber-punk book. Broken Angels and Woken Furies follow the same character, but it's not exactly a trilogy. All worth a read though.
Tess Laird
315. thewindrose
Wise words Freelancer.
Above all else I truly believe in you last sentence: More important than anything else, never fail to show affection, and to truly have fun.
What a world this would be if everyone did that!

Sinfulcashew - One of the first series I read after LotR was the Amber series. (Good times) I was very lucky to have parents who were really into science fiction and fantasty and also had the means to buy all the books being mentioned (hardcover!). Of course there are some listed that I will have to check out, always looking for something new! Great idea RobMRobM. On an aside - I always tell them not to get rid of any books as I would be happy to take them:)
Aside from all those, they also have an extensive English Lit section - my mom was a English Lit major. Well anyways, at the moment I am reading C.S. Lewis (Narnia) to my kids - it sounds wonderful out loud and we all treasure the time spent together with a good series and some of the discussions that come up from it.

On other thing I wanted to comment about - statistics. I remember from one of my econ stat classes that you can make statistics prove any point you want to make. To be reliable, you must do several trials and reference and explain all conditions. My professor for that class used to always say - lies, lies and statistics:)
sandi vogel
316. sinfulcashew
Here's another, and I haven't seen him mentioned.
~William Gibson~
Read quite awhile ago. I don't know if he has anything new, but I really enjoyed a couple of his. Can't remember titles right now, does that take away points?

I used to belong to the Sci Fi book club. I read so many single story books, some good, some....well....really bad.
Not too many that lead me into following the author and any newer works.

My Mom, in the 50's, got me into scifi. She also read Fate mag. and especially Asimov's magazine.
Alice Arneson
317. Wetlandernw
kab1 @ 305 I'll do more research next time before asking questions!

Oh, don't do that. You'll spoil the fun! :) I know what you mean about reading in a vacuum, though. It wasn't until about 8 or 10 months ago that I discovered all this online stuff. I'm pretty sure I haven't found all of it yet, but there's some seriously fun stuff out there. And it's so much easier to keep track of the various characters and plot lines when you have these great databases out there to look things up when you forget. Or never bothered to sort it all out in the first place...
Michael Catapano
318. hoping
300+ posts. I am really behind. But I see that I missed mostly gender politics and chivalry. meh.

I've read most of what has been listed but none of them compare to RJ although many are enjoyable.
The only other books that I think are re-read worthy are Patrick Rothfuss 'the Name of the Wind' (still waiting for the sequel:( )and JV Jones 'Sword of Shadow' series.

Congrats on the reunion - a real lifechanger.
We had one teenage girl and two teenage boys and we all survived, but a little worse for wear.
As difficult as they can be, stay engaged.
319. El Fitcho
On the subject of worthwhile fantasy reads, I've enjoyed the following, which no-one else seems to have mentioned so far:

David Zindell's Ea Cycle. Has some strong similarities to WoT and LotR, but an extremely good read nonetheless. His novel Neverness is also worth a try, though this is more sci-fi.

Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun series. At turns mindblowing, bewildering and fascinating with some of the concepts it uses.

And it might seem an obvious one, but I'd recommend Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy to anyone.
320. RobMRobM
Master - congrats and best wishes.

Freelancer - wise words that I'll keep in mind as my 12 and 10 year old kids enter teen years.

Sinful - I'm a big Zelazny guy. Not just Amber but This Immortal in particular.

John@309 - I've read the classics (and it only kind of by coincidence that my son's first and middle names are John Carter - a fact that makes my brothers chuckle)

To all - I'm thankful but a bit overwhelmed by the variety of suggestions. It will be hard to winnow this cornucopia of fantasy and sci-fi down to only five books/series. Where is Wetlander to help with the survey when I need her. Here are the basic paramters I have been considering:
- I would like to have some diversity between fantasy and sci-fi - perhaps 3 of the former and 2 of the latter.
- I'd also want to have at least one, and probably two, of the five be from women writers. I loved many of LeGuin's books, and I read McCaffery, but there weren't a ton of women writing in these areas during my active reading era and I'm looking forward to making sure I get acquainted with what appears to me from the outside to be a large wave of good women writers. (Side note - my favorite sci fi short story was from a woman writer, Wilmer Shiras' In Hiding, which was in a compilation of the best stories in the first 25 years of Sci-Fi. Brilliant story about a bright, friendly 12 year old boy named Timothy, whose grandparents (he's an orphan) decided to send to a psychiatrist because they were worried he wasn't fully connecting with his classmates. The psychiatrist can't find anything wrong with this polite, thoughtful child -- until, on hunch, he gives him a Rorschach test....)
- I also don't want all of the five to be series. Probably at least two standalone novels out of the five.
- Also, I don't want any of the five to be those I have read before. So while I may pick out Donaldson's Gap series on my own down the line, I'll hold off until I get through this initial set. the moment I'm leaning towards Feist being one of the series (you'll have to pick which one). Many have liked, none have disliked. I'm also leaning towards Salvatore for the same reason and because the name Drizzst (?) sounds funny to me (again, someone will need to give me the right books). I'm wide open on the other three. Proposals within the above parameters?

John Massey
321. subwoofer
Sorry everyone, went out to celebrate finishing the floors and things slid sideways after the first pint. Moving a little slowly.

Master AlThor-good on you! It is never too late to begin a good relationship. Er, have a niece the same age that now thinks Uncle Sub is the stuff after about five years of Uncle Sub is a doofus. These things come and go, you have no control so ride it out. Teenagers are very fickle, moody and other stuff, but I am sure your daughter is aces:)

Books- ditto to many- gonna find the Yiddish cop one now.

Eddings has his moments. Kinda like Star Trek where the heads of the crew go out into the big world and miraculously make it back. Beldin makes up for much though.
Craig Shaw Gardner
Douglas Adams got me started
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman second- loved the idea of Raistlin Majere and Huma.
Ester Friesner- if you like oddball stuff.

Spend too much of my time reading other genres to comment here as WoT is my binge for Fantasy.
Marcus W
322. toryx
bchurch @ 299:

And I have to plug Stephen King's Dark Tower as a great read. Y'all can point and laugh if you like, but I dig me some Stephen King.

Hey man, I'm with you. Stephen King is in my top 5 list of all time favorite authors. And the Dark Tower series overall was a lot of fun.



In terms of women writers, my favorite of all time is Connie Willis. She writes science fiction, primarily, but it's not real heavy on the science and the settings are so real as to be virtually undistinguishable from the real world. She's also got a brilliant sense of humor.

I recommended To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book. Both of those are time travel stories. The latter of the two is the more serious. The second is just pure fun.

Bellweather is set more in the present and is just a very astute look at the world we live in. It's actually kind of impossible to describe, but I nearly read the whole book in one sitting. If you're looking for something that's just different and written by a brilliant female writer, that's just the thing. And it's not a series either! Connie is also a multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner if that makes any difference for you.

Jacqueline Carey is a female fantasy writer that I've heard a LOT about but never got around to reading, mainly because everyone who has ever mentioned it to me mentioned an aspect of the sex involved that doesn't appeal to me. But she comes highly recommended by almost everyone, so she might be a great choice.

Still, I'd recommend Robin Hobb for a female fantasy writer. She's got the courage to do things in fantasy that have never been done before, and has written the most believable unsympathetic hero I've ever encountered outside of Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series. All of her characters, however, are very real and very much shades of gray. She writes in trilogies, mainly, and her Farseer trilogy is a very good place to start.
323. altarego
Feist is the author who brought me into the fantasy genre. The reading is light, the story has a great emotional payoff, and it's tight - at least for the first 4-5 books in his Midkemia universe. The later series are just iterations of the same plots, a la David Eddings' drivel. Start with "Magician" (hardbound; or the two paperback books split into Apprentice and Master).

Also, he teamed up with Janny Wurts before she smoked too much weed and wrote an excellent teamed "Empire" series that parallels the first 4-5 Midkemia books. They are must reads in their own right, with a very powerful female viewpoint.

I should also mention R Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" series, for a bit of philosophically-oriented fantasy. Not "action-less", but it's a mystery that will definitely keep you thinking.

I don't normally recommend Piers Anthony to anyone over the age of 16, but some of his earlier works from the 80's and early 90's are good. The "Incarnations of Immortality" is a great tongue-in-cheek commentary on religion and social stigma in modern society.

For scifi, I heartily recommend the "War Against the Chtorr" series, but need to correct a previous poster in that it was written by David GERROLD. His books are out of print, but not too expensive if bought used. It's an interesting psychosocial look at how humanity would deal with invasion and integration of a completely alien species. It's very heady at times.

Also, if you don't mind heading back in time a bit, Norman Spinrad is sort of a flower child of scifi. "Child of Fortune" is certainly a classic and should be a must read for any scifi/fantasy teenager and then again as an adult. It's a great coming of age tale that tugs at a lot of heartstrings.

And finally, if you're looking for good, strong female writers, I have to reiterate the suggestion for Michelle West (Michelle Sagara) that I presented earlier. You won't find anyone with a more beautiful sense of...I don't know how to put it..."silence" maybe, between the written and spoken word. Check out her wordpress site.
Tess Laird
325. thewindrose
How about another query: Who is taking off work or making arrangements for their kids on November 4th?
I am, I will be pulling an all-nighter when I get tGS.
326. Damplander
RobM I see many have already told you the Feist book to start with. So I'll attempt to help you with R.A. Salvatore and Drizzt. If I recall correctly the first book with Drizzt is The Crystal Tower. Which is the first of the series with Drizzt as one of the group of characters. This is the first of a triology and is most definitely the work of first time author it's not bad but if it wasn't for the coolness of Drizzt I'd never have kept reading the series.

Later Salvatore went back and did a prequel triology laying out the origin of Drizzt and that is quite good but I couldn't tell you the title of that one as all the Drizzt books began to run together for me. There were at least 10 books when I stopped following them and I always had a hard time keeping track of them.
327. Damplander
RobM I see many have already told you the Feist book to start with. So I'll attempt to help you with R.A. Salvatore and Drizzt. If I recall correctly the first book with Drizzt is The Crystal Tower. Which is the first of the series with Drizzt as one of the group of characters. This is the first of a triology and is most definitely the work of first time author it's not bad but if it wasn't for the coolness of Drizzt I'd never have kept reading the series.

Later Salvatore went back and did a prequel triology laying out the origin of Drizzt and that is quite good but I couldn't tell you the title of that one as all the Drizzt books began to run together for me. There were at least 10 books when I stopped following them and I always had a hard time keeping track of them.
mark Proctor
329. mark-p
I haven't read much fantasy for the last few years
so these suggestions are good for me too.
but out of the little i have read:
I would agree with toryx that Robin Hobb is really worth reading and her central characters are allways interesting even if they aren't perfect people.

8 years or so ago I read a book called The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. It was really good so I wanted to reread it. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print but i just read her trilogy, The Fall of Ile-Rien. Reading half a page from any ware in the books makes it seem terrible but once I read the first chapter I read all the books back to back.

There is also Scott Lynch's The lies of Locke Lamora, it seems slightly like it is taken from a rpg, but is still a good yarn. (I found Fiest a bit like that too)

I read Terry Brooks books when I was a teenager but I can't remember a thing about them so they can't have been too original.
Jason Lyman
330. jlyman
Speaking of women authors, I tried a Sci-fi trilogy from Margaret Weis at one point. I enjoyed the Dragonlance novels and thought I would give it a try. Iwas pleasantly surprised. The Star of the Guardian series is really quite good. Very much like a space opera. The story itself could easily take place in a fantasy world, but instead she takes you to diferent worlds across the galaxy. I would recommend that one if you have liked her work before.
331. treblkickd
I'm pretty sure this is my first post here (and I'm loving the re-read, Leigh - thank you!). This talk of other authors draws me in, because I don't see anyone mentioning Ursula K. le Guin. She's my favorite author, period, and I think that her science fiction (e.g. The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness) and her short stories are on a level above anything else out there. Le Guin's stories aren't action packed or big on battle scenes; the focus is more on morality, identity, and human interaction, so it's not as much light/easy reading as a lot of other fantasy/scifi.
334. WinespringBrother
@325 ... I am taking off from work that week :) Hopefully Brandon will do a book tour stop that week in NY, as RJ usually did during the first week of his book releases (at least from WH on when I started the series)
Sean Banawnie
335. Seanie
some authors not mentioned that I really like:
Saberhagen and Robert Silverberg . Lord Valentines Castle is a terrific read and first in a trilogy ( later added to that I just found out...haven't read them yet.) Empire of the East is an interesting series as well .
Re; teenagers....oh boy my son just turned 13 and my middle daughter is 11 ...could teach a mongoose and cobra to dance...*reaches for Tylenol*
Alice Arneson
336. Wetlandernw
RobMRobM - I may yet find a way to log & "rate" all the recommendations; I think I'll be checking out some of these folks myself. Right at the moment we're in the middle of a very abnormal (for us) heat wave - Seattle doesn't get into the 90's very often, and the 100's MUCH less, but... here we are. It's enervating. But maybe for something to do while sitting still in the heat, I'll tackle it yet. Don't hold your breath, though - it might be more than my brain can handle without frying. LOTS of good input!

And just in case you're looking for more (hah!) here's one I like to recommend. Not sure if it qualifies as fantasy or metaphysics... but almost anything by Charles Williams. Not new stuff - he was actually a friend of Lewis and Tolkein - but VERY different and very well written. I'd recommend "The Greater Trumps" as a place to start; "War in Heaven" is tougher to wrap your head around, and "Descent into Hell" is very strange and NOT a good place to start! Haven't got the others yet; they are VERY hard to find in the USA. Canadians have a better chance, though not much better.

Oh, and in the same vein, any fiction by G. K. Chesterton. WILD stuff - read "Manalive" for a completely new way to look at life.

Well, running out of battery and must go get new glasses for a small boy. About as much effort as I can manage today, I expect.

Master Al'Thor - WAY COOL!! congrats and best wishes.

Freelancer - good stuff. Thanks.
Sydo Zandstra
337. Fiddler
Alice Arneson
338. Wetlandernw
Seanie - ...could teach a mongoose and cobra to dance... LOL!!! Mine are only 8 and 6, and doing their best to emulate that effect. Not looking forward to the hormone-enhanced version!! ;) Well, yes I am, in some ways, but dreading it, too.
Marcus W
339. toryx
jamesedjones @ 333:

Well, it's also a lot easier and faster to write a novel when you're basing it loosely off of someone else's.

thewindrose @ 325:

Honestly, I'll probably not get the book until Christmas or after Christmas. Even if I do end up buying the book right away, I wouldn't rush to read it. After waiting so long for the next WoT book I'd rather savor it like a fine wine. It'll likely take me a week or two to finish.

When KoD came out, I bought it right away but I didn't even start reading it for a good six months or so.
James Jones
340. jamesedjones
339 toryx

LOL. You're one of the lucky ones. I wish I'd realized that I should stop reading it, but there are so few books that I can put down without wanting to - as Sanderson puts it - be disappointed that the book ended because it was good, or be disappointed that the book ended because I wasted my time and money. :)
Alice Arneson
341. Wetlandernw
toryx, not sure if I have quite your self-control, but I'm going to do my best to savor it. Maybe I'll wait until I've got the book (already pre-ordered) and go back through CoT and KoD, and then enjoy reading the newest with all that fresh in my mind. Of course, then I'll have to re-read it after a month or two to see what I missed the first time through. Big question is how we're going to keep GS spoilers off HERE! Or will those who haven't read it just have to avoid the comments for a while? November should be interesting...
Marcus W
342. toryx
Welandernw @ 341:

That's a good point about the spoilers. I hadn't thought of that. Hmm.

Ordinarily I'd just stay away until I read the book so I wouldn't have anything spoiled. If it were just a couple of weeks, that'd not be too hard. But part of the reason I won't be buying the book right away is that I'm going to be strapped for cash after spending a month gallavanting around Europe just before the publication date.

Obviously I should have planned my vacation time for when GS comes out instead of the month before! Oops!
James Jones
343. jamesedjones
341 Wetlandernw

OMG! I hadn't even thought of that. It's really stunning to realize that we have almost 4 years of posts, discussions, and direct interviews to analyze everything from KOD and before. How many looney theories will we have to deal with in the few weeks/months after GS is released? I mean, before anyone has a chance to reread or really think about what happened and what is hinted at, what will we come up with next? November might be a good time for Tor to allocate some of their budget to upgrade the server and network. ;)
Sydo Zandstra
344. Fiddler

Maybe I'll wait until I've got the book (already pre-ordered) and go back through CoT and KoD, and then enjoy reading the newest with all that fresh in my mind.

I was thinking about that too. But I guess WH would be a better starting point, with Far Madding and the Cleansing being in it, along with the scenes that finish off the Taimandred theory. I'd like to have that 'fresh' in mind when reading tGS.
345. kab1

As far as Nov 4th. I'm so looking forward to it. I definitely have no willpower and will be up all night reading. I know it already. Is the book available for preorder yet?

I am actually glad to know there will be two more books, as I don't feel as compelled to savor this one as much, as there will be more. I also think that this way more plotlines (hopefully!) will be resolved and the characters we love or hate or love to hate will get more "screentime". I enjoyed reading Brandon's blog post on the subject.
Sydo Zandstra
346. Fiddler
@kab1 :

The book is available in preorder. I have ordered it through Amazon.
Tess Laird
347. thewindrose
@ Fiddler Me Too!!
@ kab1 - no will power, must read book asap!!!
Sam Mickel
348. Samadai
You all will probably think I am insane I am taking that day off as a vacation day from work and disconnecting all phones so noone can bother me.
350. Freelancer
Damplander@326 (&327)

The three fantasy characters about whom I'm least likely to employ the eight deadly words are Rand al'Thor, Pug, and Drizzt Do'Urden. And while the Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, The Halfling's Gem) was written first, I would strongly recommend that someone new to Salvatore's Drizzt saga begin with the Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland, Exile, Sojourn), both because it is the rare exception where a prequel matches the original work, and that it puts the character in better perspective when beginning the "surface" stories.
351. AA Loops
I will not be going to any blogsites or anything from the moment the book comes out till I have read it 2x. That way, nothing will be spoiled for me :) then, I will peruse everything and say "haha, that's not what it is".
Maiane Bakroeva
352. Isilel
Reading recommendations:


Guy Gavriel Kay - Tigana, Song for Arbonne, Lions of Al-Rassan - all single books, and Sarantine duology.

Robin Hobb - Fareseer series 1 and 2 and the Liveship trilogy.

Lois McMaster Bujold - I am a particular fan of her Vorkosigan series, which is a very well-written space opera series. But her fantasy novels "Curse of Chalion" and "Paladin of Souls" are also very enjoyable, IMHO.


Richard Morgan - Altered Carbon, Woken Furies, fallen Angels. Gritty SF noir.

C.J. Cherryh - Merchanter's Luck, Cyteen, Chanur series, etc.

Speaking of WOT, I am surprised and disturbed about the RJ quote concerning sul'dam having children. Not only are they professional torturers, but I thought that OP use is so addictive that nobody can give it up. Now, sul'dam only experience it at remove, but it is still difficult to imagine that one would choose to retire.
And wouldn't they be much more likely to have sparker children, both sons and daughters? I'd have thought that it would be a rather awful conundrum for anybody.
Tess Laird
354. thewindrose
With the slower pace of the reread(see TSR4 for Leigh's comments), we may not even be rereading KoD when tGS hits the market. Did any one figure out where we will be? Leigh has stated that she will also be reviewing NS before tGS, so that is that... I am sure there will be spoilers for tGS before we get to it, and new Loony Theories. I really don't think there will be a way to avoid the spoilers unless a. you read tGS when it comes out or b. avoid the blog(which I hope no one does) or c. just accept that you are going to read some spoilers.
355. MasterAlThor
Thanks everyone for the well whishes.

Nov $ is marked as a holiday for me so I will be busy ready for the next week or so.

Don't diss Glenn Beck

Limbaugh and Hannity are fare game
James Jones
356. jamesedjones
Re: November Spoilers

Let's not forget that Leigh will be reading GS with us. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this post was off on the Wednesday (and maybe even the Friday) after the release of GS.
Andrew Lovsness
357. drewlovs

I am surprised no one else has mentioned Kurtz when talking of good fantasy. Her Camber series has got to be one of the best prequel series I've ever read. Like Lucas's I-III of Star Wars, you know (if you have read the Chronicles of Dernyi first) what will ultimately happen, but I found myself hoping that there would be a twist or something unexpected that the "world history" knew nothing about. I won't say that there was or wasn't; read and find out.

Some male authors cannot write female characters; some women cannot write male characters. But a few great artists don't seem to have any problems with gender. Kurtz is one of those. Again though... I only read those first 2 offering of her, so I cannot plug any of her later books.
358. Valan
To Master Al’ Thor 355

Sorry Master Al'Thor but I am totally dissing Glenn Beck, I HATE that guy. Seriously pisses me off.

Feel free to diss John Stewart and Bill Mahar all you want now. ;)
Stay away from Stephen Colbert his ego can’t take it.

Now I've got to catch up on the comments. I really don't know what the hell I'm going to do at work when this re-read ends.
359. Valan
To Master Al’ Thor 355

Sorry Master Al'Thor but I am totally dissing Glenn Beck, I HATE that guy. Seriously pisses me off.

Feel free to diss John Stewart and Bill Mahar all you want now. ;)
Stay away from Stephen Colbert his ego can’t take it.

Now I've got to catch up on the comments. I really don't know what the hell I'm going to do at work when this re-read ends.

(For the record this is like the 10th time I 've tried to post this comment, did we break again?)
Vincent Lane
360. Aegnor
I noticed a couple weeks ago that Tor boards were eating posts when using an unregistered account, so I just registered and I haven't had an issue since.
361. alreadymadwithlostposts
The only thing I noticed was that I couldn't post at work, which I attributed to the firewalls therein. Elsewhere, I haven't noticed anything.
363. alreadymadwithdailygrind
Something has to put food on the table. And pay for that copy of GS I'm looking to get for my birthday. Just another brick in the wall.
Alice Arneson
365. Wetlandernw
Fiddler, I think you're right about starting with WH. CoT is more of a transition from WH to KoD, so probably not the best place to pick up the threads. Unless Leigh or Tor manage to ban GS spoilers from the site, I'll probably avoid at least the comments until I've finished it at least once.

Assuming Leigh doesn't throw GS spoilers into her commentary, I suppose we commenters could make a pact to refrain as well, for a month or so (or two months, until toryx can regroup from his vacation spending spree and afford the book!). Or we could agree to put some kind of flag at the beginning of any comment about GS so that those who haven't read could skip... Okay, that gets complicated. I expect we're all on our own. Scan, or skip the comments until you've finished your read. *sigh* Now I want to get started on it!!! And we have over 3 months to go. ****sigh****
Roger Powell
366. forkroot
Another author that hasn't been mentioned is L. E. Modesitt. His "Recluce" novels are enjoyable (read them in the order they were published). They've occasionally been criticized for reusing the "coming of age" theme, but the pluses still outweigh the minuses IMO.
367. kab1
Okay I am preordered and ready to go! Thanks Fiddler for letting me know.

As far as GS spoilers I agree we should try to keep them off the board for a couple of weeks to let everyone finish. Not quite sure how we could manage that but hey it's worth a try!

I'd seen the cover art before, but could never figure out who's in the background? I can't think of who it would be considering of those I remember being at the manor with Rand. Maybe it's obvious and I'm just not remembering correctly.

As far as Rand losing his hand, you know I remember being kinda shocked at first cause I didn't see it coming, and that scene was so quick, one minute we were riding up and then wham no hand and something funky with the eyes. looks like Mat's in store for an eye loss as well if the theories are correct!
craig thrift
368. gagecreedlives
I dont remember seeing his name posted so I will throw Harry Turtledove into the mix. He tends do get stuck on WW2 a bit but I find most of his series to be enjoyable.
Tess Laird
369. thewindrose
kab1 - We figured the lady was Aviendha. As Min has dark hair and Elayne is in Andor with babes on the way. As always with the cover art - who knows!

For alreadymad:
"Wrong, Do it again!"
"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
"You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"
Brett Michie
370. bchurch
alreadymad and thewindrose:

Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?
lanyo lanyo
371. lanyo
"Hey guys....just thought that I would share some news with you. You guys are like my cousins, some I get on with others....well we will see."
This is why I keep coming here, rather than any other place to geek out over books.

Congrats on your "new" baby!!!
373. cannae216
Let me add another author that I'm surprised no on has mentioned yet. Mercedes Lackey.

She has a number of great strong female leads (I've mainly read her Valdemar series). I'd personally recommend her book "By the Sword". Its a stand alone novel, but it also set in the same world as many others so if you like it you can easily jump into the others.
John Massey
374. subwoofer
Back in the day I also read Spell Singer by ADF.

As far as sci-fi Ben Bova did the Orion series. The premise reminds me of the Wheel spitting out the Dragon to re-seal the prison of the DO.
375. RobMRobM
Aegnor@360. I've remained (proudly) unregistered but the cost of that is the periodic eating of posts by as you've noted. I probably lose about 25%, typically in bursts (i.e., days with no problems, then lose 3 or 4 in a day). Rob
376. isriam

Raymond E. Feist - Riftwar, Servant of the Empire and any of the later series - all excellent

Weiss and Hickman Deathgate series

David and Leigh Eddings both main series and the extended books

Melanie Rawn - the original two sunrunner series I don't like the new stuff

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory - the Obsidian Trilogy

Just a few and some different than others have mentioned

Happy Reading!
Marcus W
377. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 365:

That's a very nice thought about trying to keep spoilers out, but I think it'd be a miracle if that worked for a week, much less two months.

I'll probably wind up buying it somehow and try to miss only a week or two of the discussions. When you get right down to it, having the chance to discuss the book with y'all right away isn't something I'm going to want to miss.

What I'm hoping for, however, is that Tor puts up a separate post just for TGS so that Leigh's re-read posts aren't totally washed out by off topic discussions.

forkroot @ 366:

I read L.E. Modesitt's first book in the Recluce world a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. But I was having a hard time deciding whether or not to read the next when I found out that it had little or no relationship with the first characters.

One of these days I'll get into the next one, since I've got a random few copies of his later books sitting on one of my many bookshelves.
Tess Laird
378. thewindrose
bchurch - If you think about it, the chant - 'Tear down the Wall!' is similar to 'break the seal'.
Or not:)
379. isriam



My best advice is to enjoy her. My baby girl is now 38 years old and a mother. She was and is one of the greatest lights of my life.

(the other is my 18 year old son and two grandsons)

Peace be with you

380. isriam

I was wondering the same thing. Why can't tor. start a seperate spoilers thread like the other sites do when there is a new release? That way people can either read them or avoid them as they wish.
James Jones
381. jamesedjones
380 isriam

I'm pretty sure this is the separate spoiler thread. :)
Marcus W
383. toryx
Aye Aye Sedai @ 382:

I really liked Chalker but I only recommend his books when I know the person really well. He really will twist your mind upside down and inside out.

And yes, Glenn Beck is a douchebag.
James Jones
384. jamesedjones
383 toryx & 382 AyeAyeSedai

Am I the only one who gets the feeling that the DO is just a really big, powerful, super-evil Nathan Brazil that just keeps waiting for a group of indivduals to allow him to destroy the world, but keeps having to hit the 'reset' button every 7k years. Seems depressing...

Roger Powell
385. forkroot
I read L.E. Modesitt's first book in the Recluce world a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. But I was having a hard time deciding whether or not to read the next when I found out that it had little or no relationship with the first characters.
Modesitt reveals his world in a patchwork fashion, jumping around in history. It wouldn't be quite accurate to say that the characters in the second book (Towers of Sunset) had little relationship to those of the first book.

There is a certain joy of discovery as you realize how all the parts of the world and history fit together. After 8 books or so, you do have a pretty good idea of the history and the later books lose a bit only because they are just exploring other countries/times of a pretty worked-out world/history/magic system.
Jason Deshaies
386. darxbane
I didn't really catch up, but in case no one else brought it up, I would like to remind everyone about the Bore being drilled. It was done by a man AND a woman. I forget his name now, but RJ was asked about him, and he committed suicide due to the shame of his actions. Lanfear chose the dark side. Irrespective of what path they chose later, they were both equally responsible for the bore being drilled, so the Eve/Lillith analogy is really thin.

I would like to know where you get some of your assumptions regarding the women's training in WOT. I have read the story several times now, and have never seen where women were not taught how to defend themselves. I even gave examples in an earlier post. It is never frowned upon for women to learn self-defense. The only instance where people are uncomfortable is with women learning the sword.

By the way, if you learn to throw a knife, it makes up for the reach advantage. If the knife is hidden on you, it will be a nice surprise for the person attacking you, especially if they are unarmed and foolish enough to think you defenseless. You keep right on ignoring everything but what you want to see though. I don't mind. In fact, it helps to solidify my points.
Vincent Lane
387. Aegnor

His name was Beidomon. I thought I remember reading that he was killed in te backlash, but I can't remember where I heard that.
Tess Laird
388. thewindrose
Beidomon - Tor question of the week:

Week 12 Question: Who was Beidomon, who helped Lanfear with the project that lead to the drilling of the Bore? Did he figure in the later events at the end of the Age of Legends?

Robert Jordan Answers: Beidomon was a male Aes Sedai, and a research genius, who believed that they were onto something great. The drilling of the Bore itself caused great damage, and Beidomon, Lanfear and others involved were blamed for that. Once it became clear what had actually happened, the opprobrium increased, and Beidomon sought obscurity, finally committing suicide when he was unable to achieve it. Everyone knew his name, and what he had done. He had nowhere to hide.

As an aside, for those who think that Lanfear was in some way twisted against her will by being involved in drilling the Bore---I have heard the theory advanced---of all those involved in the project, she was the only major figure to go over to the Shadow. She was ripe for the Shadow's plucking long before the Bore was drilled.
Marcus W
389. toryx
Darxbane @386:

Irrespective of what path they chose later, they were both equally responsible for the bore being drilled, so the Eve/Lillith analogy is really thin.

I don't really give a lot of thought (or even care really) about the Eve/ Lillith analogy, but I not only think that the analogy is a good one, but intended.

Beidomon was involved, and he did commit suicide. But even in the old Genesis myth, Adam's responsibility came from eating the apple. He took part in the Fall just as much as Beidomon did and he too was punished.

Either way, it was Lanfear's thirst for knowledge (and power) that led to the Boring just as it was Eve's hunger for the forbidden fruit. I think that the analogy was absolutely intended by RJ. There are just too many parallels.

I do agree with the knife comment. Knocking a knife out of the air with a sword is nowhere as easy as it sounds.

forkroot @ 385:

I'll have to pick up Modesitt again somtime.

Jamesedjones @ 384:

Absolutely. The reset is just another way of saying that the wheel has spun the whole way 'round again. And it's not like the DO/ Nathan Brazil are evil, exactly. Just really misunderstood.
Jason Deshaies
390. darxbane
The big difference there is that Eve was tempted by Satan to eat from the tree that they were forbade from eating, and Adam went along with it after. It has always been written to imply that a woman made the bad choice, Adam agreed, and therefore women are no longer allowed to make any decisions without a man to guide her (it really is written this way). In the case of the bore, both parties were needed to drill the bore (and from the RJ quote above, there were others as well). Now, as an allegory to beware of something too good to be true, or that seeking knowledge has risks, then I agree with the parallel. However, many people have used the Eve/Lanfear comparison to argue that women were still given blame for the issues of Randland.
Antoni Ivanov
391. tonka
Except that no one besides Rand and the Forsaken knows that it was Lanfear who participated in drilling the bore of the DO prispon
Alice Arneson
393. Wetlandernw
toryx @389 was Lanfear's thirst for knowledge (and power) that led to the Boring just as it was Eve's hunger for the forbidden fruit. Actually, the Lanfear comment applies to Eve as well: she ate because she saw that it looked good, would be good food, and would give her knowledge to make her like God. (Of course, that last wasn't quite true, but she believed the serpent instead of God. Always a bad idea, that.)

darxbane @ 390 It has always been written to imply that a woman made the bad choice, Adam agreed, and therefore women are no longer allowed to make any decisions without a man to guide her (it really is written this way). Huh??? What version do you read? Each bears their own blame: Eve allowed herself to be deceived instead of trusting God. Adam flat out disobeyed God, no deception required. If you use the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament (as you should) it's quite clear that from God's perspective, ADAM bears the blame because the command was given to him and he disobeyed.

Okay, not to argue theology on here, but if you're gonna quote, quote it right.
Marcus W
394. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 393:

Yep, agreed on Eve's desire to be like God.

As far as darxbane's comment about the woman, it depends largely on the particular religion you're talking about. The Lutherans that I grew up with strongly intimated that Adam was fooled by Eve; Eve knew very well that the apple was forbidden and tricked Adam into eating it.

I've been in Methodist congregations that said the same thing and others that agreed with you.

It all depends on the intepretation. At any rate, Darxbane is quoting it right and so are you. There are more versions of the bible than Prophecies of the Dragon.
395. CalaLily
I was always under the impression that Adam knew what he was doing just as much as Eve did. I mean, God commanded him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I imagine the conversation went something like, "Don't eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yeah, that tree. See the pretty fruit? Don't eat it. Seriously. You'll die."

The lesson I take from that is that mankind as a whole is fallen, not just one half. So Eve ate the fruit; ladies, no claiming to be better than men. Adam ate the fruit; guys, you're just as guilty as the ladies.
Jason Deshaies
396. darxbane
Wetlander I'm hurt ;). We are almost always on the same page. I honestly can't say for sure where the new testament says what you says (I will take your word for it), but God does command that a woman's "Desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you". 1 verse later, he curses Adam "because you listened to your wife's voice". Believing the New Testament's interpretation over the old doesn't really pertain to the fact that what I said was true. I didn't say I believed it, or that I even accept what is implied. I completely agree that we are just as guilty, just as flawed, which is why I was trying to debunk the Lanfear/Eve theory. It sounds like a compromise to me, like RJ wanted to make the men the weaker sex, but coudn't give in completely so he threw that little nugget in there as if to imply "Well, there wouldn't have even been a breaking if not for that Mierin chick". I just don't buy it.
397. Freelancer


And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:15-17

Some firsts:

First challenge to God's Word:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

First re-write of God's Word:
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

First lie:
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

First disobedience:
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

First shame:
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

First accusation:
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

First blame-shifting:
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Second blame-shiting:
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

The Sin: Eve chose to trust another creature's word above that of her Creator. Adam also knew what fruit he was eating, and willingly disobeyed. It is not certain, though implied, that Adam was not present when the serpent spoke to Eve, else it would seem he would have addressed them both. Others say that the last part of vs 6 suggests that immediately after Eve ate she turned and handed the fruit to Adam, so he must have been there. I cannot say which is right.

When God pronounced His judgements for this, nobody was left free. The serpent, being the instigator, received the first and harshest judgement. Then the woman, who trusted the serpent instead of God. Finally the man, who trusted his wife instead of God. The curse upon Adam wasn't because he merely "hearkened unto the voice of his wife", but that he did so in place of hearkening to his Creator's instructions. There is not a word that suggests that part of Eve's judgement is to not be allowed to make decisions without a man to guide her. Not a word in the entire Scripture. That would be ridiculous, given that Adam made as much of a mistake by choosing someone other than God to trust. Every individual stands or falls before God for their own decisions. There is no gender bias in those words except that which people falsley assign to them.
Alice Arneson
398. Wetlandernw
darxbane, just saying that both Adam and Eve sinned, but in Biblical terms, "death came through one man, Adam". Won't get into the theological implications of the wording of their curses... Too hot to think that hard. (Who would ever think of 100-degree(F) temperatures in Seattle of all places? Ack.) You're right, of course, that many people have found ways to quote the Bible to support their contention that women (in Eve) are to blame for everything, but the Bible sure doesn't say that if you take the whole thing and let it speak for itself. I think my real contention was with your statement "it really is written this way" because it's not. There are a few verses which seem to say that if you take them out of context, and that's been done a LOT. (But I won't get into gnosticism and the craziness it leads to... MUCH too hot for that!) Just can't let anyone think that orthodox Christianity supports the idea that women are evil/the source of evil.

Okay, I'm not sure I'm making sense any more. The thermometer on my patio reads 109. Ack. I know that's partly because the patio & house are reflecting and holding the heat even though the thermometer is out of direct sun, but still. Ack. If it wouldn't take so much effort to move it, I'd got put the kids' pool in the shade and fill it with cold water...

Oh no. Is the DO reaching out of his prison to overheat Seattle?

Edit: Freelancer - Thanks. That's what I wanted to say. You did it a lot better, though.
399. Freelancer
An addendum to 397

RE: The issues about Adam ruling over Eve, about sin and death coming through one man, Adam, etc.

In organizations, heirarchies are established if a chance of success is to be expected. In God's heirarchy, the man reports to God, the woman reports to the man. This isn't meant to be chauvinistic nor belittling. Ephesians chapter 5 sets out the roles and responsibilities of each position in relation to another quite thoroughly, and where there is authority, there is accountability. Any man who takes advantage of his wife based on the misbegotten notion that God prefers man over woman, or has given man power over women, is both a fool and a cad. The president of the company I work for doesn't tell me what he needs done. There are levels of the heirarchy between he and I, and it would be both inefficient and unwise for him to directly manage everyone. Not that God couldn't, but for our example on how to get things done right, such an organization is delineated. Once again, it is never meant to uplift one gender nor keep the other down.

For every Eve who is beguiled, there is a David who murders a husband to have the wife. For every Sarai who says "I am too old to bear, take Hagar", there is an Abram who laughs in disbelief at God's promise of a son. For every Joshua who says they can conquer the land, there is a Rahab who trusts that there is one God. For every Samson who accepts death to pull down the temple of the Philistines upon them, there is an Esther who risks the wrath of the Persian king to save her people. God is no respecter of persons. Only of faith.
400. MasterAlThor

Man, that was good. I didn't even get a chance to see what you were responding to, but it was too good not to put up an immediate post.

You and Wetlander competing or something???

I'm gonna go a read what you reponded to now
Tess Laird
401. thewindrose
MasterAlThor - You are #400 - Whoo hoo!!
Freelancer and Wetlander are not competing, they are building upon each other. (Although they may be competing for being the most verbose:))
Alice Arneson
402. Wetlandernw
(Although they may be competing for being the most verbose:))
I wonder when we get the most verbose - when we agree or when we disagree. ;)
Lesley E
403. Mirax
First time post and completely off topic, but maybe you will all at least chuckle. : )

I have been doing my own reread and ran into this fantastic reread about 2 weeks ago. Since then I have furiously been playing catch up in the books and on the site reading not only Leigh's summaries, but also all the comments. (I'm still only on part 10 of TSR) I realized I had been spending way too much time on here when yesterday, while at the grocery store, I initially read "Leigh Butler" instead of "Light Butter" and it was about 10 seconds before I realized something was wrong about that. *oops*
404. Freelancer
Hard to say. Trying to remember when we've disagreed. Though for myself, I generically provide more detail in explanations founded on answering an opposing view. So, when disagreeing.

In this case, it was much more about backing up what you'd already had the guts to start. ;-)
405. MasterAlThor



Seriously, I got tears coming down my cheeks.

Thx for the laugh
Roger Powell
406. forkroot
Once again, Demandred entered the inner chamber at Shayol Ghul. He was never sure if it was dread or anticipation that caused his heart to beat as if his chest cavity were too small.


"No Great Lord my news is of delay. Once again the Creator has changed his plan. Originally you were to break free in no more than three books. It crept up to twelve, but now it is fourteen, Great Lord."


"Um Great Lord, I did use 'the balefire' a while back on that annoying oversize Fade. Don't you remember? .. No? OK, well no matter."

[i]There was an awkward pause as Demandred considered the fact that the Great Lord didn't seem very happy or annoyed about the Myrddraal. He'd just made another one almost as if the first one had never existed even in his memory. Perhaps a bit of small talk was called for?[i]

"Great Lord? When your victory is complete and you enter this world fully, what will your pleasure be?"


"What priceless thing might that be my master?"

Anthony Pero
407. anthonypero
@406 - AWESOME!!!!!!

@This Thread In General:

If everybody can manage to be respectful to the last little bit of this thread, I will be seriously, seriously impressed with the WoT community on this site.

This thread has ranged a whole lot of highly contriovertial topics with lots and lots of strong opinions presented, and everyone for the most part has played nice... except when I brought up Glenn Beck, of course, lol.

Bravo, WOTers
408. MasterAlThor
@406.....Ditto what 407 said

@407....Don't mess with Beck and everything will be fine. lol

Pick on whoever you want
Tess Laird
410. thewindrose
forkroot @406
Hahahhahahaahhah That was great:)
OK, I am getting that look from my husband. Not the nice, why don't you come hither darling, but the you are insane you may need some serious help. *shhh...too funny*
411. MasterAlThor
hey I got that look today from my wife...
Do people go to school for that or something???
Alice Arneson
412. Wetlandernw
Mirax @ 403 - TOO funny! Especially the 10-second delay... Yup. Too much tor time. :) Should warn you, TSR 10 may take a week to read all by itself. We broke the site that time. Ah, memories. XD

Freelancer @ 404 - The only thing I remember getting in a verbal battle on was Nynaeve. In retrospect it's gotten funny: you were arguing against her actions, while I was arguing for her motivations. Cross-purposes, maybe? Differences in perspective, certainly. And here we are, in Leigh's absence, discussing theology. Didn't I say once that I wouldn't discuss serious theology on this forum? Oops. But as anthonypero says in 407, people have been amazingly cool. My apologies to anyone who was annoyed. Just sometimes when "off" theology is assumed to be orthodox I can't stand it any more and jump in to defend. *sigh* I'll try to keep it more WoT oriented. But maybe someone enjoyed it...

forkroot @406 - A KEYBOARD WITH LOWER CASE LOL!!! talk about blindsided by the punchline. Oy!

anthonypero @ 407 Bravo, WOTers Hear, hear! This is a seriously great bunch of people - even when we have strong opinions. Maybe especially then, because there are some widely varied perspectives here, and while there are heated debates, the flaming really has been pretty minimal. Proud to be a part!
John Massey
413. subwoofer
@Mirax- welcome to the bunker- quick R.Fife- bar the door so Mirax can't escape... er high, s'up?

'K- now for something controversial... which is better- onions or garlic? Kidding... ah, I got nuthin'. Threw a few things out there, nothing really stuck.

Couldn't find Bill doing Adam and Eve, but here's Noah.

Comfy underwear everyone :P
Michael Catapano
414. hoping
I was hoping to get some guidance from the group on a small issue, somewhat WoT related.

A few weeks ago our dog died. Actually she was mostly my dog. My wife got her from the pound 16 years ago. She went looking for a beagle and the attendant showed her a dog. It looked like a german shepherd/collie cross with something else thrown in, nothing like a beagle. When people ask her breed, we say she is an australian goat dog, and they nod knowingly. Anyway, the big eyes won over my wife and she asked the dog's name. The attendant said her name was 'dead in an hour.' That made the decision for her. Sixteen years later the ears wore out, then the hips wore out and finally she wore out.
I guess I've been moping around so my wife goes back to the pound and brings home a bouncy cocker spaniel looking dog. We instantly connect with her energy and we start thinking about a name.

This is where I need some help. My wife wants to call her Jordan. She is quite familiar with my WOT obsession and has seen me re-read for 18 years and more recently spend time on this site (my first time for this type of thing ever.) She thought it would be a great tribute to someone who has meant so much to me and I thank her for thinking of that. But I wondered if it was appropriate to name a dog after RJ.
I would appreciate your help.
Lannis .
415. Lannis
@ hoping: re: pet names

I don't see any problem with honouring a favourite author by using them as a namesake. That said, I have a cat named Shakespeare. I was thinking of the whole pet-name issue just the other day, actually... in my reread I just finished ACoS, and all of the lovely character names thrown about make me want to use one for a pet... one of the Aes Sedai or Kin names...

Maybe think about using a character name for the puppy instead of Jordan's name if it makes you feel more comfortable? Happy choosing! :)
John Massey
416. subwoofer
@hoping- um... I borrowed my handle from my dog so I can identify. Our "pup" is getting geezerly so I am sure that will happen to me too. As for names- why not? RJ wouldn't mind, especially if he was an Indy fan. If doggy is male you could go with Loial or Lan, female- Mo or Jaine...

just sayin'.

Sorry about the woofer:(...
Marcus W
417. toryx
hoping @414:

Naming a pet after someone is usually done out of respect and often, as would apply in this case, rememberance as well. I don't think it'd be disrespectful at all, unless it was well known that RJ couldn't stand dogs, especially cocker spaniel types.

Even then, though, RJ itself is a pseudonym. I don't think there'd be any problems with naming something you're going to take care of and love for the next umpteen years (Light willing) after someone you admire as much as Jordan.

If anything, it's touching.
Tess Laird
418. thewindrose
Hi Hoping *waves*:)
I think Jordan would be a great name. Robert Jordan is a pen name, so I don't think it would be an insult, more of a tribute as your wife said. RJ may be even more fun, I sure you would get a lot of questions about what that stood for. (Perhaps even a chance to spread the addiction:))

'Tis my B-day today, 39 so one less than the big 40.

edit - I see toryx already commented on the pen name:)
419. RobMRobM
Hi all - Tor just ate my detailed most outlining the summary of my reading recommendations. Arrrrgggggggg!!!!!!!

Will have to do it again later and try to save before sending next time.

Kurt Lorey
420. Shimrod
Happy Birthday, thewindrose!

39, eh? Gonna start playing the violin?

My Mom is 39, too. In fact, I think this year marks her 42nd 39th birthday. ;)
craig thrift
421. gagecreedlives

I never met RJ but I cant imagine that he would have a problem with naming your dog in a tribute. He might of got a kick out of it. But if your not comfortable with it why dont use something like Hopper or Dapple.

Happy Birthday Windrose.
Tess Laird
422. thewindrose
Shimrod, your mom may be on to something there. Sounds like a wise woman to me:)
No need for violins of the sad variety. Do like violins though. I have good health, good job(just as long as I can justify my time on this blog;), wonderful family - so no complaints from me. I just need to live like forever so I can read all the books I want to read.(Reason to go over to the dark side? No - I think the DO would probably burn all books - he is evil.)
423. ctk
I second (third? fourth?) the recommendations for Lois McMaster Bujold, P. C. Hodgell and George R. R. Martin. I'd add Neil Asher (books are reminiscent of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels), John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Steve Erikson (the Malazan books are reminiscent of Glen Cook's Black Company books), Daniel Abraham, Tobias Buckell. For the classics, I love Roger Zelazny's short stories, his Amber series, "Lord of Light" and "Creatures of Light and Darkness", etc. Cordwainer Smith is also very good, and I have a soft spot for Eric Frank Russell...
425. RobMRobM
Short version of long post from earlier eaten by Pablo and Torie.

80-plus recommendation.

Feist - highest scorer
Weis/Hickman - second
Salvatore - only got three votes but my endorsement may have squelched support so I'll keep him in.

Others receiving substantial support: Bujold, Donaldson (Gap series), Hobb, Eddings, McCaffery, Mondessit,

As noted earlier, I'm going to rule out Donaldson and McCaffery as I have read them previously and I want fresh blood. So I need two out of the remaining four Bujold, Hobb, Eddings, Mondessit and the appropriate selection of particular books/series for them and Weis/Hickman. Thoughts - keeping in mind I want two SF books and would prefer a standalone novel or two.

James Jones
426. jamesedjones
Hello, Hoping. Really sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I can honestly think of no reason that it would be disrespectful or inappropriate to name your new addition to the family after a favorite author. On the other hand, you could always name it -


Sorry, what was I talking about?

BTW, Happy Birthday, thewindrose!
Marcus W
427. toryx
Rob @ 425:

Strange, out of the top 3 you've got I wouldn't recommend any of them. Salvatore in particular does nothing for me.

I'm not so familiar with Bujold or Mondessit so I don't know if either of them write SF. I can say that both Eddings and Hobb are fantasy.

Eddings is light fantasy and best well known for two connected series of five books (The Belgariad and The Mallorean, in that order). I consider him an either YA writer or at the very best, popcorn. Gods play a very big role in these. Entertaining, but without much depth. He wrote a few other series after the Mallorean. One of them, whose name I can't remember started with The Crystal Throne and was a trilogy. I thought that one was pretty good, though its very similar to his other two series I already mentioned.

The follow-up trilogy Eddings wrote, The Tamuli, I didn't like at all. I so disliked it, in fact, that I never read another Eddings book again. I think he may have written a standalone book...maybe someone else could say what that was.

Hobb is, I believe, much better and female to boot. But she hasn't published any standalone books that I know of either. The Farseer Trilogy (first) The Liveship Trilogy (second) and the Golden Fool trilogy (third) are all set in the same world and should be read in that order. But that's also nine books. Much as I enjoy Eddings, I think Hobb is far superior.

The Soldier Son trilogy is her latest completed series and has been criticized pretty heavily. IMHO, they were great but difficult to read because the main character was one of the most unsympathetic characters I've ever read. They're very well written books but difficult to read, just because everyone in them is so badly flawed. I'd NOT recommend reading them until you've tried the others.
Marcus W
428. toryx
Rob @ 425:

Oh, wait. You meant L.E. Modesitt.

Okay, he might be a good SF option, though I've not read any of them. I have a few of both his fantasy and SF books lying around at home, but I've only read one of them, a fantasy. It was pretty good, but didn't immediately inspire me to go out and read the others.

I don't think I've read any Bujold. Sounds like it might be a good bet for SF but it all seems to be a series as well.
430. kab1
@hoping, I think Jordan sounds like a great name, I agree with others that it would not be disrespectful. I like RJ as well as thewindrose suggested. gagecreedlives suggestions of hopper or dapple are great ideas as well.

@thewindrose - Happy Birthday!

@forkroot- LOVED THE JOKE!

@Mirax- too funny, thanks for sharing. I also found the rereads much after they started and had a heck of a time catching up. I actually started reading the current thread and the old threads at the same time, so I could add to the active comments.
Kurt Lorey
431. Shimrod

Does no one here get the connection between being "39" and playing a violin?

The violin reference was not to bemoaning the fact the you have reached a milestone, but to a certain 20th century comedian who was eternally 39, and who played the violin.

Where, oh where are the steadfast paladins for the preservation of popular American culture?
432. OldWoman
Shimrod@431 It is a sad commentary when such an icon passes so far from memory that no one understands the connections anymore. Well!
Roger Powell
433. forkroot
I got it, but then I'm over 50. That reference goes a way back too.

A true story from WWII: A US pilot trying to land at an American outpost in the S Pacific ... I can't remember why, but there was some issue with id'ing his plane, and ground control was worried that he was a Japanese impostor.

The issue was solved by GC asking the pilot what Jack Benny's age was.
Tess Laird
434. thewindrose
Is this what you are referencing? I am checking it out, sorry I didn't catch it.
Michael Catapano
435. hoping
Thanks to everyone. I feel much more comfortable with Jordan.
Lannis-I have a cat named Perrin
Sub- Hard to watch the poochies get old and not know if they are suffering or not. She didn't appear to be but...
Toryx-duh, I forgot it was a pen name
thewindrose- RJ is good. My son has a dog named RJ (after Rick James tho.) Happy Birthday
Gagecreedlives- Dapple and Hopper Good names for pets. My wife had a horse named Dapple when she was a little girl.
Jamesedjones- lol
Kab1- My wife has been calling the puppy Jordan for a week and it seems to fit

Shimrod- I feel your pain

Is it too early for Asmo theories?
Roger Powell
436. forkroot
While we're on the subject of stuff known only to us oldsters: I would have liked to have ended my post @406 with:


That would have been tighter and funnier, but would only have drawn laughs from people over 50.

For the benefit of all the young'uns reading, the ASR-33 was an old clunky printing terminal made by the Teletype corporation. It was a popular terminal for those of us who worked with minicomputers and/or on-line services back in the late 60s into the 70s.

It was noisy and slow (it could only print 10 characters a second), and it took a lot of effort to press the keys. But it had a paper tape reader and punch (this was our off-line storage back then), and it was (relatively) cheap as there were a lot of them floating around.

One of the annoying things about the ASR-33 was that it did not have the full ASCII character set. It lacked the lower case letters as well as a few special characters like the braces {} and the vertical bar.

In the mid-70s I starting playing with an operating system from Bell Labs called UNIX and the new language it used ("C"). It was a major PITA to work on some UNIX systems that only had an ASR-33 because I had to use things like "\Yeah, yeah, we walked 5 miles through the snow to the data center. Uphill both ways :-)

Geezerdom - it beats the alternative
Roger Powell
437. forkroot
One more thing - in all of my drivel above, I forgot to get to the most important thing:

Happy Birthday thewindrose!

May you have many more, and more importantly may you enjoy the years that they mark.
Anthony Pero
438. anthonypero

Bujold is the best on that list for SciFi, and a woman. She writes Space Opera, mostly, not hard or military SciFi. Her newest Fantasy Series, the Sharing Knife, was excellent, and unique. It is set in an alternate, post-apocalyptic Midwest US.

I'd read Death Gate Cycle first of Weis and Hickman. It's very unique epic fantasy. Unfortunately, one of the funniest gags in there is a recycled Character from Dragonlance whose name they spelled backwards, so you won't get some of his references, but it's only really one book, and it doesn't damage the story.
439. Cristine
Don't read if you don't want spoilers.

Twitter: "dragonmountI have read THE GATHERING STORM by #RobertJordan and @BrandonSandrson. Read my review. -Jason #TGS"

The Gathering Storm: Our Review
Alice Arneson
441. Wetlandernw
ACK!! No way am I reading spoilers. Not a chance. I'll wait for the book and get all the salty goodness at once, thanks. ;) And if anyone reads it and starts talking about it here, can you PLEASE warn about GS spoilers so we don't get them if we don't want? Please???

thewindrose: Happy birthday!! And many more!
James Jones
442. jamesedjones
439 Cristine

More like legends of spoilers or myths of spoilers.
Jason Lyman
443. jlyman
I couldn't resist. Had to read the review. Nice work on the (as one commenter said) "spoiler-less spoilers."

I can hardly wait!!!

EDIT - I wondered about the spoilers too. But they turned out to be more teaser than spoiler. Revealing just enough to intrigue, but not enough to give anything away.
Sam Mickel
444. Samadai
I hope you all forgive me for this but,

TheGatheringStorm could be seen in the distance as they could feel the presence of the DarkOne. The RebornOne, the Randalator, Shadowkiller, Darxbane, AlreadyMadWhenSaidinWasCleaned, stood at the top of the hill. TheWindRose up around him as he could see Perrin5454 climbing the hill. With a group of people. “rand” Perrin said “these are my followers, this is Elyas my Subwoofer, and I think you know my captain MasterAl’Thor. Rand gaped in surprise as Tam stepped forward and said “My son you have no idea how proud I am of you, you are the best son a father could ask for.

Perrin steps back up to Rand, takes him aside, I have a group of AyeAyeSedai with me but don’t worry they are under the effects of Forkroot. I am Hoping you can find some use for them. Gerard Arganda is my captain of the Freelancers and they are all very good with the SteelBlaidd.

Perrin follows Rand into the Bchurch inn and as he enters smells fresh Calalily and the scent of roasted SinfulCashew. Rhuarc walks in, “There are a bunch of Saldeans from the WetlanderNW here and they Have a Fiddler playing a marching song.

all characters in here are fictional any resemblance to an actual person is unintentional
Kurt Lorey
445. Shimrod
@434 the windrose.

"Aack!", came from Bill the Cat as he coughed up a hairball on Connie Chung.


I mean this.

Jack Benny

Notice amongst his original radio cast, Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, et al) and Phil Harris (Baloo the Bear, et al).

The pain, the pain.

@444 Samadai.

That was hilarious!
Roger Powell
446. forkroot
LOL!! Love the idea.

This forum continues to amaze and delight, even during our "down time".
Vincent Lane
447. Aegnor

The spoilers are clearly seperated out in a labeled section, so you can read the review and skip the spoilers if you want. But the spoilers were fairly minor in nature.

Awesome review.
Sam Mickel
448. Samadai
I read the Dragonmount post as well and there is nothing I would chacterize as a spoiler there just a little tease
Sam Mickel
449. Samadai
I know I left a bunch of names out and I apologize if you feel slighted
450. Freelancer
The violin reference to being 39 is Jack Benny, who always gave his age as 39, even when he was nearing 90.

Oh, I see he answered that already.

Happy Day, thewindrose. Did I ever tell you that I love your nick? Quite clever. My mom's birthday is tomorrow. Kinda bittersweet, she'll be 80 but she's recovering from a stroke and she hasn't been out of a care facility in months. She still kicks butt watching Jeopardy.

OldWoman, nice touch! Well!
451. Freelancer

Just noticed your post. A friend has a husky-wolf mix that he named Perrin. Awesome animal.

I'm with every one else. Naming a pet in honor and remembrance is a good thing, and I cannot imagine RJ would be less than pleased.
Tess Laird
452. thewindrose
Samadai @444
That was great!
Now I am getting the 'she is an insane coworker but it's her birthday and we are having ice cream cake so it's alright' looks.

I had to read the review as well, and it is as stated by other commenters - more of a tease not a spoiler.

Wetlandernw - We are having blended margaritas tonight, and I thought of you and how hot it is where you live - hope you can join us in spirit!

Shimrod - I do know Bill the Cat and thank you for the correct link.
Alice Arneson
453. Wetlandernw
Okay, y'all convinced me it would be safe, so I went and read it. You're right, there really aren't any spoilers other than confirming what was already posted somewhere about which plot lines would have most of the focus. But I almost wish I hadn't read it anyway. Makes the wait until November seem even longer. Nice to know that JD, at least, feels that Brandon does full justice to the writing and this one "fits" the WoT world very well. I wasn't that worried; Harriet wouldn't let anything else get through, but it's still nice to know.

It's a hard life, waiting so long for another book...

Hey, does Harriet have a fan club?
Alice Arneson
454. Wetlandernw
thewindrose @452 Thank you for your kind thoughts - I will most happily join you in spirit! Maybe even in action, if not in presence. Sounds like a FINE idea!
Kurt Lorey
455. Shimrod
@452 thewindrose.

You don't think I would stoop to Rickrolling you, or something, do you?

I would never stoop to such a low, mean trick.
Michael Catapano
456. hoping
Free@451 thanks
Samadai@444 classic

I'm so excited after reading the review of tGS. I've read BS's books and thought they were OK but not worth a re-read so I've been leery of the choice.
Can't wait. Only 95 days
Tess Laird
457. thewindrose
Samadai @449-
Remember when asgerix did the post / word count summation? Well he said there were around 1165 different commenters. Wow, there are a lot of us.
Claire Edwards
458. ClaireBelle
I think Dragonmount has crashed - I can't get on it to read the review :( Anyone else having similar probs?

So I've pre-ordered TGS to cheer myself up!
Alice Arneson
459. Wetlandernw
So I've pre-ordered TGS to cheer myself up!

Sure-fire solution!! Problem is, it only works once. :(
Sam Mickel
460. Samadai

yes I remember that. I dont think I would have enough time to include everyone that posted on here. Although if I tried it would probably end up much wierder than it allready was.

As to my story that several of you said you would be interested in reading when it is finished I will need some help to get it online or emails when it is ready.(I dont think Pablo or Leigh would like it on here.)
461. RobMRobM
I've had eight posts eaten by Tor. com today. Pablo and Torie must be hungry, darn them. Rob
462. Freelancer

When I'm at work, I'll compose a post in Wordpad, then paste it in and send it once complete. The weirdness of the network here causes my tordotcom log-in to drop randomly, at varying time intervals, and for no apparent reason. Then when I go to Submit, it makes me log in again, and probably 60% of those times my comment is lost. Better to complete the text, log in and submit all at once. I know you don't use a registered log-in, but perhaps the time you take to compose the comments causes interference.

And, if you already know all that, perhaps someone else will benefit from the thought. Or not...
463. RobMRobM
Don't usually use in Wordpad but I may have to. How can I maintain my top ten ranking if my posts don't post? LOL.

464. GSaiz
From Weis and Hickman, Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends. Both trilogies are great, i didnt liked The Death Gate Cycle much.

From Salvatore, The Dark Elf Trilogy is great, the second trilogy is really good aswell.

I endorse the Shadow series from Scott Card aswell, Ender's Shadow is a must and the others are very good aswell...
Brett Michie
465. bchurch
hoping (and freelancer)

I had a husky-wolf hybrid in the 90's whom I named Perrin. He was a great wolfbrother. I may have mentioned this before, but I also named my first son Rand. He should be grateful he's not a girl as we were considering Aviendha, lol.


Pure awesomeness!
466. RobMRobM
Bchurch - please tell us you gave your son the middle name of "Al". Maybe he'd be considered royalty if he made it to Cairhein. LOL. Rob

p.s. second attempt at posting this short joke.
Roger Powell
467. forkroot
I didn't name a pet for anyone from WoT but we did name our house the "Heron House".

In 1996 I bought an empty hillside lot here in Phoenix; later that year I proposed to my (now) wife right on that lot. I asked her to marry me and said we'd build a house together.

Fast forward to 2002: It's our five-year anniversary and still nothing on the lot. So we decided to get serious and cut the first check (to the architect) in August of 2002. This was to be our dream house - spending our life savings in one dramatic splurge.

In an earlier visit to Newport RI, we had noticed that all the mansions didn't just have addresses, they had NAMES (the Rose House, the Marble House, the Breakers, etc.) So we started trying to come up with a name for our dream house to be.

While on a business trip to China, I bought two bronze replicas of a famous statue in the Forbidden City. This statue features a heron standing on a turtle.

The light bulb game on for me ... I suggested "Heron House" to my beloved. I told her it was because of the statues, but that was only partly true - all along the "Heron-marked blades" of WoT blademasters were in the back of my mind as well.

The house took 5 years to complete ... we moved in to it in October 2007. It is indeed our dream house. One more thing that's coming shortly is the little plaque in front that will say "Heron House". A quiet little nod to RJ always.
468. kab1
Samadi- let me know when the story is ready.

I'm off to dragonmount the read the review. yippee!
Kurt Lorey
469. Shimrod

I used to work with someone who named her daughter Aviendha (at her fan-husband's insistence). The young woman ought to be in the 12-14 yr old range now.


As a quick fix, you could always copy your text to the clipboard before hitting the Preview Comment button.
470. Latecomer
Happy Birthday, the windrose. I have been thinking of you a bit recently at home - last weekend we bought a bottle of white wine called Wind flower (the flower looks like a rose) and every glass I have had (I have a glass every few days) I think of you and then other posters/ tor etc. Hubby is a fan (if not as crazy) too so you are a wonderful excuse to talk about WOT in our house right now :)

Does no one have a dog named Young Bull! *amazed*

Re. Gathering Storm review:
1. Thanks for the link
Brett Michie
471. bchurch

I had to concede on his middle name, he got his maternal great-grandfather's surname on that count, but don't think I wasn't tempted!


My son is now 12 . . . so the potential is there, however long the odds, for a real world Rand/Aviendha fling.
sandi vogel
472. sinfulcashew
forkroot @406 -' A KEYBOARD WITH LOWER CASE LOL!!! talk about blindsided by the punchline. Oy!'

Yes, HE could use a new board!

'The attendant said her name was 'dead in an hour.''

Sad, but very funny! Should the guy be fired?

460. Samadai
As to my story that several of you said you would be interested in reading when it is finished I will need some help to get it online or emails when it is ready.(I dont think Pablo or Leigh would like it on here.)

Do you want our email addresses or what? Let us all know!

Back to the authors:
One I enjoyed is Tanith Lee. She is out there!
The one book that I enjoyed the most, is called "Red as Blood" Actually our beloved fairy tales re-written. Daughter 'borrowed' the book and it has disappeared?

Almost forgot!
Toasted with walnuts and almonds, too!`
James Jones
473. jamesedjones
472 Sinfulcashew

"'The attendant said her name was 'dead in an hour.''

Sad, but very funny! Should the guy be fired?

Hoping, you never told us your dog's name, unless you kept it the same. I guess if it comes when you call, go with what works...

Let us know.

You also might want to check out this link to help cheer you up.

Or this one works, too.
Tess Laird
474. thewindrose
On naming pets. Funny story about our first dog, Thor. He is a very handsome american german shepard, a little over 10 years old now. When we got him as a pup, we were thinking of all sorts of names but settled on Thor. About 3 months later, there was a fierce thunderstorm that rolled through our town. After the first boom of thunder, he jumped up on to our bed, got under the sheets and was shaking. He has since mastered his fear(to a degree) but it always makes me chuckle when there is a thunderstorm and I think about what had happened. Thor is getting old now, and moving so slow, it does make my heart heavy. My kids don't realize how deeply I care for this wonderful dog and go on about getting a new puppy and what sort it should be. Ah well, to be a kid again. But hoping has made me think about the rich world of names we could choose from in WoT for when it is time to get a puppy.
Nice links jamesedjones!

Latecomer - thanks for the kind thoughts - I am quite fond of wine and will have to try and find Wind Flower - where does it hail from? We have a great wine shop that will order a wine if they don't carry it. There are a lot of things that come up on this blog that I talk about with friends and coworkers - you all are a great bunch of people!

Oh, and I am so excited about tGS, at least we have this to while a way the time until it comes out!
Kerwin Miller
475. tamyrlink
i read the review of The Gathering Storm on Dragonmount (i even gave in to temptation and read the spoilers!!!)





Michael Catapano
476. hoping
This was the town pound. I don't think they can be fired. (It was effective anyway)
Roxy was the old girl's name and we have settled on Jordan for the new puppy.
And you should be ashamed for taking advantage of me in my bereaved state. :)
477. LynnOH
RobM may I suggest "The Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis. Funny more than doom and gloom. May need to reread it myself soon.

Happy Birthday WindRose!

Puppy name----Bela
Kathy Keith
478. Babokathy
Hoping: many condolensces of the loss of your friendly pooch.

Leigh: please come back! This post needs to get back on track!

Kitty Kat names: Milo (Milo and Otis), Choo Choo (Top Cat's cartoon alley cat friend), Two Socks (Dances with Wolves), and Freckles (looks like baseball player Robert Fick, red hair and all)!!!

I can hardly wait until we get to the part where someone kills You Know Who! There'll be a long comment stream.
Kathy Keith
479. Babokathy
Brandon Sanderson's website has much good info to learn on his writing style, which might give us all insight into what we can expect in November.

I'm reading the Mistborn series, which gets better each book, and he has extensive chapter annotations available to peruse. He's very openly analytical about his writing style.
480. MasterAlThor
Hey guys I've been reading KoD. Will the fourth age have female channelers?

I ask because I keep reading about how saidar is failing. Could this be the DO counterstroke for using the Bowl of Winds?

Someone let me know
craig thrift
481. gagecreedlives

Funny stuff. Although it did result in funny looks from my coworkers.


I thought it was the wardings and such werent working as they should being more evidence of the dark one touching the world.

I dont recall any female channellers saying that a particular weave didnt work as it should.

Have we got any bookmakers among us that will give me odds on how many more posts will be allowed to do on this thread before Pablo or Torie tells us to stop.
John Massey
482. subwoofer
Holy Schnike! This was a long day- and a long time to catch up on posts. Still baffled by what went on and where the time went.

@thewindrose- happy birthday! Er... if it is still your birthday. If not, happy belated birthday!

Dale schenstrom
484. Dryheat77
Samadai: I want to be included in the those looking forward to the story.
TheWindRose: Happy belated B-day.
To everyone on this thread: What a great way to be connected to a community, this is a first for me.
By the way who exactly was it that used compulsion on me so that I have to read all of the comments, isnt that an illegal weave?
Thomas Garst
485. Garstzilla
These guys have proposed almost every thing I enjoy reading. So I drop in some lighter stuff that I always like, possibly because the main characters never seem to loose sight of the ironic or humorous side of the fantastic. A favorite of mine since college. Christopher Stasheff and both of his series the Warlock books and Her Majesties Wizard. Steven Brust's Taltos books are always a treat to reread. Butcher though already mentioned falls into this category as well as Cooks PI Garrett. Some of Simon R. Greens books are also in this category for me, the Haven series esp. Though you may have read these by Patricia McKillip before your hiatus The Riddle Master of Hedd trilogy and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.

About 16 year old daughters, have plenty of money because they will spend it. Mine was invited to Prom as a sophomore. Let’s see $300 dollar dress, $60 dollar shoes, $25 dollar clutch, Hair dressing day of, $50 dollars, ext. ext. and the shopping Dad thing should be considered worse then waterboarding. All stuff she will never wear again and I still have two more of these nightmares to get through. Yet you will do it just to see that smile of excitement that you will some how dimly remember from your own past. Just remember to take plenty of pictures.
Pepijn Vemer
486. Artsapat
Boy, you must hate "Head over Feet".

Heh, had to think about you and this blog after I heard THAT song on my iPod yesterday.

Not really certain about my feelings for your ideas, but yes: I will give it thought before starting a flame war. ;-)
487. birgit
Except that no one besides Rand and the Forsaken knows that it was Lanfear who participated in drilling the bore of the DO prispon

Rand saw an Aiel who served Mierin / Lanfear in the history ter'angreal. There should be at least some bloodlines of Aiel clan chiefs / Wise Ones who saw that, too.

When a post gets eaten, you can use the back button of your brower to go back and save your text / try again.

If you like wolfbrothers, try the Wolfwalker books.
Antoni Ivanov
488. tonka
No one knows that Lanfear is Mierin. Rand make the connection thanks to Lew Therin's memories.
What they saw is Beidomon(male) and Mierin(female) making the hole. Equality.

(unrelated ,but for those interested , Beidomon commits suicide after he found out what he'd done , e.i. driven a hole in the DO prison)
Susan Brownhill
489. SusanB
Mcbryant @ 99.....

I don't live in a city, so perhaps suburbia is different, but when I tell people I am a stay at home mom I have only every gotten one of these two reactions:
1) Wow, you are so lucky! I wish I was financially able to do that. 2) Wow, how do you do that?! I was home for six weeks after giving birth & I was ready to rip my own hair out from boredom! I could never stay home all the time.
No one has ever suggested or implied that I am less because I choose to stay home.
As for the behavior of kids. I think it entirely depends on the parents. I know lots of day care kids. Some are wonderfully well behaved b/c their parents work on that whenever they are home. I also know other day care kids who are awful. THere parents obviously don't stress dicipline at home. (In my personal experience these parents often feel guilty about having to put their kids in day care, so they "spoil" them when they get to spend time with them).
As for pregnant women refusing to take your seat on the bus. For most of them it probably has nothing to do with feminism. As someone who was recently pregnant I can tell you that I probably would have refused your offer as well. When I was pregnant with my first son I could not sit in an upright position. I could sit if I was reclined in a recliner or I could stand. But the way he was wedged in there made it really uncomfortable to sit. I often had trouble breathing when sitting like that. I stopped eating out at resturants in that pregnancy b/c I could only eat in my recliner. So, these women may be having similar issues.
Marcus W
490. toryx
I always joked that if I had kids I'd name a son Rand or Perrin. I don't really like any of the female names in Randland enough to hoist one of them on a kid.

I've named some of my cats after GRRM characters but no WoT characters yet.

Word of warning to Samadai: If you post your story anywhere public, make sure you copywrite and date it. I'd caution you in general about posting it publicly anyway, particularly if you ever want to publish it. Publicly posted stories are a hassle to publishers unless they were posted on a PH site, and especially when it's a newcomer an editor might be very wary of buying it.

The truth is, while there's tons of great posters on here who are certainly unlikely to steal anything, there are also lots of people who never post at all that may take advantage of things like that. You have absolutely no control of who sees what you post and presenting a story in pieces or whole online is very risky.

I'm just saying, be careful.
Tess Laird
491. thewindrose
Thanks for the nice thoughts everyone!

subwoofer - you found Bill the Cat:)

One wish didn't come true - it had to do with a new post *shrugs* I tried:)

Anyway - MasterAlThor - Not all ages have channelers, so it could be that the price of TG is the loss of the one power. That to seal the DO up like he was never around costs that price. It is an idea that some have brought up before and I have been thinking about it lately.
One of the problems I have had with some of the relationships are channelers with non-channelers. This would solve that. But I like the magic in this world, so it is hard to think about loosing it. Also, it has been clearly stated that some ages do not have magic, but as the wheel turns it comes back. There are seven ages, it would be interesting to see how many ages have magic and how many don't.
Anyone have thoughts on this?
Kristina Blake
492. kab1
I love how everyone enjoys GRRM as well. are there any good fan sites dedicated to that series? I had a friend who started one (years ago), but it didn't catch on, and he didn't have the time to devote to maintaining it. any rereads? I can honestly say I have almost no recollection about where we are in that series, I'll definitely need to start over. I'll probably be shocked all over again when he starts killing people off, I still remember being stunned when he killed... well, I shouldn't say who!

I enjoyed the preview at dragonmount, thanks for posting the link.

I wish that we had named out daughter Aviendha, but at the time my husband hadn't read the series, and as it is, Aviendha isn't one of his favorites. I do think it would have suited her however as she is quite feisty, strongwilled, and independent! (but then again, I haven't met many 2 year olds that aren't!)

Looking forward to the next post, and to have discussions of Asmo (and crazy theories!). I can't say it's one of the plotlines I personally need wrapped up, but after all the discussion and hype about it, I think it will be interesting to finally find out who did the deed. I loved Jayson's RAFO. heh.
Marcus W
493. toryx
kab1 @ 492:

There's a pretty big group of fans of GRRM and most of them meet at a forum at this address:

I used to be pretty active on that about 5 or 6 years ago. Lots of good people, and GRRM is fantastic to his fans.

There's also a fan group called the Brotherhood Without Banners. Again, I haven't been involved in several years, but they are pretty well organized and have big parties at all the WorldCons (in Montreal this year). If you're ever fortunate enough to go to one of the WorldCons and hook up with the brotherhood, GRRM may even knight you. I myself was knighted as Ser Toryx of the Lamprey Pie back in 2001.

I'm not aware of any re-reads, though that may well happen when the publication of the next novel gets announced.
John Massey
494. subwoofer
@thewindrose- big fan of Billy and the Boingers. Was sad when Bloom County left us then Outland left us.

Age of magic. I seem to of read somewhere that magic gets replaced by technology. In Shadow Run there is a blending of the two and the most powerful in either realm either are big on magic or big on tech.

Rand, with his schools, are rediscovering a tech age. Gasoline, steam, flight, light bulbs- all these things are the dawning of a new Age and the death of another. I think I mentioned this before but Rand Breaks the world with his fight with the DO. His legacy or how he is Randland's salvation could be what he is doing to further knowledge.
Vincent Lane
495. Aegnor

No one knows that Lanfear is Mierin. Rand make the connection thanks to Lew Therin's memories.

Not entirely true. Rand first found out the Mierin=Lanfear connection from Rhuidean (at least that is the first time I remember him finding out Lanfear's real name). In one of the PoVs it talks about the old man (grandfather?) who is always talking about how he served one of the forsaken (Lanfear) back before she went bad. Thats why he was eventually killed by a mob after the sealing of the Bore.
John Pigott
496. AbEnd
One of the best places to get a great overview of the breadth and depth of SF/Fantasy writers is the Baen Free Library:

Free E-books! Read a few, figure out which author and style you like and then buy actual hardcopies of your favs.

And a great way to stay "busy" at work!
497. syncap8

Thanks for the link! I was looking forward to staying "busy" today ... pasted into my browser ... hit enter ... then ... "this site is blocked" message from my work computer.

How disappointing!
Marcus W
498. toryx
syncap8 @ 497:

How typical, the Man getting in the way of your at work recreation.
John Massey
500. subwoofer


Go Bela!
501. NoWoTName

Not only are free Baen books great for looking busy at work, but combined with a free Mobi Pocket Reader for my blackberry, I can be occupied anywhere. Not the most ideal way to read, but great for those long freight trains and other miscellaneous life delays.
Julian Augustus
502. Alisonwonderland
If you want to read a complex multi-dimensional epic fantasy on a similar scale to tWoT, there are only two series that measure up, in my opinion.

One has already been mentioned several times in this thread, GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire. This series has less magic and is on the whole a little less complex in the world-building than tWoT. But it has outstanding sometimes gut-wrenching realism and is second to none in political intrigues and scramble for power. Somewhat loosely based on the War of the Roses, I believe. The only drawback to GRRM is how slowly he brings the books out, about 5 years average per book in the last two installments of the story, and the next book is taking about as much time.

The other, only mentioned fleetingly in this thread, is Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen. If you think the WoT is complex, multiply that by about 10 for the MBotF. The story takes place on several continents, with multiple casts of characters, and more uber-powerful beings, gods, and ascendants than you can shake a stick at. Any story more complex than this one would be unreadable, in my opinion. The whole first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, reads like the prologue and chapter 1 in tEotW where the author just drops you into a world where things are happening, with no explanation of the people, magic, anything. From what I understand, most people who start his series are unable to get through the first book, but those who do discover a rare treat, a series with imagination only rivaled by tWoT in fantasy literature. Most amazingly, Erikson comes out with one thousand-page book a year, so there isn't much waiting around for the next fix. I highly recommend it for those who feel up to it.

For much lighter fare, the following two series are hard to beat, and I'm speaking as someone who has read Zelazny, Feist, Card, Brooks, Eddings, etc. The series' I have in mind are Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books and Glen Cook's Black Company books. You may call them the candy floss to Ericson's heavy meals, but highly enjoyable all the same.
503. Valan
I thought I'd just post a differing opinion.

Concerning GRRM:

I read the first book (A Game of Thrones i think it was called) - slowly. I found it to be pretty dense and I can honestly remember absolutely nothing about it. I finished it so I suppose it can't be that bad, I will completely drop a book that I don't like half-way through. However, I had absolutely no desire to read on in aSoIaF. Perhaps, I should have read it faster to keep everything in my mind fresh or something, or I was just in a reading funk those two months... The constant posts on here seem like most people put him right under RJ in sheer writing badassery, people whose opinions I tend to respect.
I'd like to hear some opinions of exactly why everyone thinks he is so good, I found his writing to be decidedly - unexciting, I guess. Food for thought in Leigh's absence.
504. Valan
I'm sorry if I seem to be discounting your opinion AlisonWonderland - you're the one that got me thinking I should maybe another shot.
give it
As well Erickson a first shot, sounds interesting.
sandi vogel
505. sinfulcashew
496. AbEnd
"One of the best places to get a great overview of the breadth and depth of SF/Fantasy writers is the Baen Free Library: "

I have to second that emotion!I didn't know about it and I went there to see what it is all about.
Found regular scifi writing by John Ringo. 'There Will Be Dragons'. I thought I should give him another chance.?. Pretty good start, but now, CH9, it is beginning to descend into a 'how do we live after the big (put in your own word)'. I will continue on for awhile.

I first read a review of one of his other books. Very.....what's the word? Raunchy? Lewd? But funny?

I think I would like to try GRRM's Song of Fire and Ice. Lots of positive thought here, although one against. Would like to hear same opinions Valan wants.
Sydo Zandstra
506. Fiddler
First, belated happy birthday, thewindrose.

Alisonwonderland is right in saying GRRM is second to none when it comes to political intrigue. And none of it is lame.

On Erikson,

From what I understand, most people who start his series are unable to get through the first book, but those who do discover a rare treat, a series with imagination only rivaled by tWoT in fantasy literature.

As I said earlier in this thread, Deadhouse Gate (book 2) and Memories of Ice (book 3) are ranked in my top 3 of Best Fantasy Books I Read. Personally, and I'm risking a lynching here, I'd say Erikson is a better writer than Jordan. He planned a 10-book series in advance, and kept in control of the plot all the time, which is why he can deliver a book every year.

That doesn't mean I'm not saying Jordan was good, of course. He paved the way for writers like Erikson to be able to create larger series, and WoT is still outstanding. Also, if you don't like Glen Cook or George RR Martin, you won't like Steven Erikson.

On naming pets, I named my big red cat after a character in Erikson's books: Stormy (for those who haven't read the books, Stormy is a big red-haired offensive brute in the military, who has an authority problem with those ranked above him).

(my name in this blog was stolen from Erikson's books as well)

On a side note, I have 3 books in pre-order at Amazon at the moment: tGS, the next GRRM book, and Dust of Dreams by Erikson. Amazon made me happy, yesterday:

Greetings from

We are pleased to report that the following item will dispatch sooner than expected:

Steven Erikson "Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen)"
Previous estimated arrival date: August 28 2009 - September 01 2009
New estimated arrival date: August 19 2009 - August 20 2009

Sean Banawnie
507. Seanie
Happy bdays to those that have them.primarily twr but at 500 plus posts , i ain't goin' back to check for anyone else.......hoping -go for it -RJ woulda loved it i think. (if u like him (the dog ,i mean ) its a compliment.) now otoh, my brother had a pig he named roseanne.....'bout 15 years youngest daughter's middle name is you see where i stand.
Abdel Masdoua
508. TheDarkOne
I don't know if anyone said so already ('cause I didn't have the time to read all you guys wrote - which is always great BTW!) but there is a bit of News on Dragonmount about AMOL!

Er... Sorry, I just saw it was up there...

Really great, Thanks Jason!
509. RobMRobM
OK. Here is my tentative reading list. Thanks to all for the incredibly helpful input. I remain open to tweaks with respect to the particular books chosen. Authors are pretty much set in stone. Do these meet my goals (mix of fantasy/sf; some women writers; some single books; but a strong list of current writers with whom I am not familiar)? Rob

Feist - Magician "trilogy" of four books.

Weis/Hickman - Dragonlance trilogy.

Hobb - Farseer trilogy

Willis - Doomsday Book or To Say Nothing of the Dog

Bujold - Vorkosigan series

Salvatore - Dark Elf Trilogy
paul Hend
510. tugthis
I will have to second the Erickson books. He is a very good writer and the series is addicting. The world is much, much more complicated than WOT, and he has a much larger caste of characters, who occasionally die. I too am awaiting the next book in that series.

I have a problem with postus interruptus on this site as well but have come across a solution. If you are running Firefox there is a free plug in called Lazarus, that automatically saves anything you write in a comment box. It works in the background and has saved me a few timees. I am not so hot at posting links etc but if you go to the Firefox add on site and look for Lazarus: Form Recovery you will find it.
James Jones
511. jamesedjones
503 Valan

Read the first book in SOIAF and had the same reaction you did. For me, the plot just wasn't rewarding.

But more than that, Lannister made me think of Lancaster which made me look up War of the Roses on wikipedia.

Turns out, GRRM is writing an alegory to the War of the Roses set in a fatasy world. This stunk for me, because I really liked the Starks. But, since they are the Yorks in real life, they get the short end of the stick.

GRRM has an amazing imagination, but no vision to create his own story. The political intrigue is exceptional because it came from one of the most FUBAR points in Anglo history.

The author is not going to save any characters because they match his vision of the over-arching plot. This is a very bald tale of some very crazy times. I still can't pick up the next one. Enjoy.
512. TAmyrlinring1
500+!!!! I wonder how long this thing will hold!

For you all seeking reading lists, I agree with the recommendation of Feist's Magician series (4 books), and even the Daugter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire series (3 books), but I have to say that IMHO that Feist went downhill from there on all the related series--Serpentwar, Riftwar, Conclave of Shadows, and Darkwar series (yes, each of those are 3 book series . . . each). He was writing for computer games at that point, and not so much for his readers I thought, and as those series progressed you saw basically the same story line over and over and over with changed names for the newer generation. I read them all, but I can't recommend the last few as "good" because there just isn't that much "new" in them.

I may have missed it, but I haven't seen Trudi Canavan listed in the posts I've read. The Black Magician Trilogy is pretty good. The Age of the Five not as good, but okay.

Otherwise, I agree with what I've seen posted so far, and thank you to all of you who have listed authors I haven't checked into yet! Can't wait to dive into a new series . . . now how to choose?
Alice Arneson
514. Wetlandernw
Rereading the "what happens" section above reminded me of something that's always irritated me. Not about the writing - I think it's perfectly consistent with human behavior, but it's one of those behaviors that grates my cheese. And now I'm not sure how to state it.

I love the Aiel, they are just TOO cool. But it really bugs me how they require Rand (and others) to accept their ways, but so often refuse to accept the ways of others. This is one tiny example. The Maidens line up to break their spears if Rand continues to try to keep them out of battles. First, he's just supposed to know what it means when Sulin starts this whole scene, and he has to figure it out on the fly, which is mildly annoying. But they ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to recognize the validity of his own upbringing, which has a code of honor different than theirs. Granted that they aren't easy to reconcile, but I really think scenes like this cause Rand some serious damage. When forced to accept something that he truly can't accept, he has to compensate somehow; hence The List to flagellate his soul inwardly while he outwardly accepts the things demanded of the him.

Back to the original thought: why is it that everyone else is expected to accept the Aiel ways, but they aren't expected to accept anyone else's ways? Granted that there are some who really like particular aspects and willingly learn to adapt, why is there so little adaptation by the Aiel? Aviendha is just about the only one who really tries to fit into another culture, and at that she gets a lot of flak about it every time she interacts with any of the other Aiel. It's like everyone else is supposed to just shrug and say "it's the Aiel way, so it's okay" but the Aiel can heap contempt on every wetlander custom, tradition, etc. It just bugs me.

Okay, I know there are still lots of "everyone else out there" who still think the Aiel are savages or whatever. What gets me is that they expect everyone to respect their culture but refuse to respect anyone else's. Comments?
515. Freelancer

Yep, as usual we have the same questions.

The Aiel are hard. The Waste is hard. They believe it must be so, and they actually make it a point of Pride that they are harder than anyone else, which though it's never said straight out, means they believe themselves better than anyone else. Why would anyone respect/accept a culture they believe inferior? Their prejudice is no different than any other, is not less offensive nor preferable to any other, but since in some ways their life is seen as a large-scale victimization (the Waste, life of battles, etc), it is given, at least partially, a free pass.

The same exact relation applies to the Chivalry issue. Anytime one person makes a choice, it unavoidably reduces other choices. If I believe it's proper to hold a door for a lady, have I taken away her choice to feel equal? I surely don't intend that, but if it is so in her mind, then she may make the choice to demand that I not do so. This then deprives me of the choice I made to be polite and deferential to a lady. The real problem is in people feeling the need to be adversarial when no such condition is present.

This is the lesson of RJ in the cultural variances which get portrayed in his story as points of contention. Different isn't automatically wrong. Conversely, the Aiel aren't being kind when they say "wetlander", even if the term does slowly become one of neutral purpose. Is that less offensive than others calling them savages? It's slightly better hidden contempt, and that's all.

::Freelancer hunts for his asbestos suit::
516. altarego

Those are fine choices.

You've read the advice on Feist. Stick to the first series and the Empire stuff he did with Janny Wurts and you'll have great fun.

Although I detest Weis/Hickmans's latest efforts, their older stuff including the Dragonlance trilogy is good. If you enjoy it and want a nice self-contained series, see if you can find used copies of the Darksword trilogy. Even rarer, a copy of the gaming guide "Darksword Adventures" which adds some fascinating backstory and doesn't require that you game (i.e. D&D) at all. It reads like a compendium. While the overarching plot is predictable, the elements of the Darksword universe are rather...unique...and make for a great read. Long live Simkin!

Robin Hobb is a fine writer. But I think if you're looking to break into her 'verse, you might think about the Liveship Trader series. It takes place (chronologicaly) after the Farseer series and indeed, she wrote it afterwards. But based on the selections you chose, I think you might be a bit bored by the Farseer trilogy. For example: the Farseer trilogy is almost exclusively first person perspective, while the Liveship Traders is multi-threaded. I guess I would just keep it open as an option, in case you want to try something different.

Willis is good, but recognize that she writes twists on historical fiction. If you are a student of history, that might either bother you or delight you.

Bujold is a clear winner, but in the typical space operatic style. Don't expect any huge surprises.

Finally, Salvatore....

I think I have a more stringent set of standards for writers writing within a predefined contextual 'verse. The books you mentioned are fine. But it begs the question: what could this author do without using the framework of dozens of other writers? Enjoy the story, but realize that if you want to read more, you're going to have to plod through works in the Forgotten Realms universe that really lack basic structure, let alone luster.

I tend to shy away from episodic, 'verse-driven books for the reason that they aren't *meant* to be complete stories, only parts of a whole. And that bothers me. *shrug*

Good luck!

P.S. I have to make one last plug for Michelle West, as a mature female author with a small, but intensely loyal fan base. She doesn't write about vampires, I promise! Please, someday, check her out.
Sydo Zandstra
517. Fiddler

You strike a point that hasn't had much attention so far, about the Aiel. I guess they are basically the same as all other societies in Randland as in thinking their way of living is BEST.

As for the whole debate about chivalry, I wasn't planning on commenting on this, but I will do now anyway.

Holding a door open for a woman, or a man, has nothing to do with chivalry. That is just about being polite. If you are on the receiving end and have a problem with it, you are just failing to see an act of politeness.

Why am I saying this is about politeness and not about chivalry? That's simple: This is the year 2009, and the concept of chivalry was actual in the Middle Ages, which was about 600 years ago. And even then, it was a Literature concept, and not a social accepted code which everybody should live by.

It shows up in Fantasy reading because most of Fantasy books are situated in a medieval setting, and it's nice to write with. That doesn't mean those writers have a clue on how it really was in the Middle Ages.
Alice Arneson
518. Wetlandernw
That doesn't mean those writers have a clue on how it really was in the Middle Ages.

Oh, so true! For that matter, neither do many of the readers. ;)
Roger Powell
519. forkroot
I agree that Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy is fairly good. I believe it was her debut effort too - a pretty good one if so.
520. MatFarshaw
511. jamesedjones

"Turns out, GRRM is writing an alegory to the War of the Roses set in a fatasy world. This stunk for me, because I really liked the Starks. But, since they are the Yorks in real life, they get the short end of the stick."

A Song of Ice and Fire has very little in common with the War of the Roses IMO and as of now (A Feast for Crows), the jury is out on who will get the short end of the stick - the Lannisters will not, I think.

"GRRM has an amazing imagination, but no vision to create his own story."

A Song of Ice and Fire is his own story IMO - in the first book one can already see that the plot differs, a lot, from that in the War of the Roses.
521. MarFarshaw
520. should have said "the Starks will not, I think"
John Pigott
522. AbEnd
Want to second HurinS' plug of Peter F Hamilton. I found Hamilton's "Night's Dawn Trilogy" very intense to the point that I had to put the first book down for a few weeks because the imagery of the infection creeped me out. The evil is definitely evil. Sometimes sold as a six-parter but it's really just one long book broken into three or six bindings.
James Jones
523. jamesedjones
520 Mat

Just want to make sure you understand that "the war of the roses" is the name of the English wars of succession that lasted about 30 years during the 15th century (wikipedia has it from 1455 to 1487), not the movie with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. :)
Julian Augustus
524. Alisonwonderland
Turns out, GRRM is writing an alegory to the War of the Roses set in a fatasy world. This stunk for me, because I really liked the Starks. But, since they are the Yorks in real life, they get the short end of the stick.

aSoIaF is only very very loosely based on the War of the Roses, so if GRRM follows the logic he's set out so far then it is going to be the Starks who win the war. Already you can see the Lannisters starting to implode.

On your other point that GRRM lacks much imagination because some aspects of the story resembles the War of the Roses, frankly that surprises me.The accusation sounds very much like those who would claim RJ doesn't show much imagination because some aspects of tWoT resemble The Lord of the Rings, which, I think you will agree, is absurd.
James Jones
525. jamesedjones
524 Alisonwonderland

Hang on a sec. I'm just offering some support to Valan, and making a suggestion for why the work of GRRM might be unexciting. IMO the idea of a loosely based rendition of the history was not an exciting idea. There are a ton of folks (like the lady in my college gaming group that convinced me to read the first book) who love the concept. She was seriously breathless when she described it.

Everyone else in the group thought it was a brilliant concept. I was the only one who wasn't impressed. But I was the only one who actually tried to read it.

GRRM clearly wasn't writing for me, and maybe not for a few other folks. I strongly believe that if the first book of a series doesn't capture your attention, you won't like the others. They're all written by the same author.
Julian Augustus
526. Alisonwonderland
Valan@503 and 504:

If you found A Game of Thrones, the first book in aSoIaF pretty dense, then I can almost predict you will find the first book in Erikson's MBotF, Gardens of the Moon, just about impenetrable. The first book in such a complex series as tWoT or aSoIaF or MBotF is almost guaranteed to be more difficult than subsequent books because the author is introducing his world and laying down the magic system, the characters, etc. You may not pick up on all the nuances the first time through, but you pick up a whole lot more on a reread. I suspect you might understand and get to like Martin's series a whole lot better when you read it again. That was my experience with both Martin and Erikson. Of course I was hooked by Jordan right away in the tEotW, and his characters are a lot more engaging and detailed, which is perhaps why he remains my favourite of the three.
John Massey
527. subwoofer
Tee hee hee- Wetlandernw said flagellate. Ahhhh, good times!

It has been a long while since I have dived into any fantasy series. Many other genres out there that I am into and life and work seem to constantly get in the way. Some of these series remind me of a Steinbeck novel. IMHO reading Steinbeck means sifting through 300 of the driest pages ever to get to 50 pages of gold. Question is, Pulitzer or not, are those 50 pages worth it? Well, they are gold, thought provoking, insightful and really powerful. Some people just don't want to wade through the 300 other pages.

On another note- the Aiel. I said it before, but I am still baffled by Aiel humor. Or their interactions with Rand and others in regards to wetlander humor. As far as respect or not I think the conversation that Rand has with Berelain and Rhuarc summarizes it very well. Rhuarc goes on about how certain young nobles are taking Aiel customs and are adapting it to their lifestyle. As Rhuarc puts it- they are mangling ji'e'toh. Rand says something to the effect that they are just impressed by the power of the Aiel and are trying to see if they adopt some mannerisms.

Aiel seem to be fairly prickly when it comes to their honor. It is what lets them survive in such a harsh environment. It is the way that they atone for their original sin of letting down the AS. The live by this right down to not using a sword. Their honor leads them to indenture themselves for a year if taken in battle. The one guy even hangs himself for breaking Toh. Their customs are not for everyone.

As for them adapting and accepting others ways... well... sometimes it is hard for such a hard and rigid people who have this all encompassing structure and code to bend to other ways. It has been said before(er, by the Aiel) that the Aiel are all that Rand needs and that they are his people.

meh. Sometimes people are the way they are. Change is easy for some and hard for others.

-smeg- did not mean to be so wordy. Apologies.
529. twicemarked

There is a basic reason for that: they won the second Aiel war, and they are the conqueror.

When the British Empire conquered the world, they did not go about study what they can learn form those "savages". The Europeans just assumed their culture is superior, and there were even scholastic studies whether non-Europeans are even humans, by anthropology standards, etc.

The reason soccer is so popular in the world now is greatly related to what the British liked and how many land they colonied.

It is same reason why baseball is big in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, lands where American had so many influences after WWII.

It is just natural. People want to learn the way Google does its business, instead of how GM does it. It is very possible that something done by GM is better than that done by Google. But how would you know or even prove which thing it is?

As to Maindens forcing Rand to accept their points of view. That is conflict resolution, and it is hard. If Rand continues down his path, the Maidens believe they would receive grievous harm. If the Maidens get their way, Rand would receive serious damage to his psyche. There are no "always pleasant" ways to deal with this in general. Sometimes, you can talk and communicate your way out of it, but not always.

The extreme liberals believe you can always talk your way out of conflicts; and the extreme conservatives believe you can always deal with it by force.

Even in today's world, when we elect the President, the winning side will force the other side to accept their choice of the President. We don't have a "compromise" President out of an election, right?

If you listen to the campaign ads, you would have thought the "wrong" candidate getting elected would mean the end of the world as we know it. Things are seldom that bad.

In this forum, sometimes people come to agreements, and often times not. You can be civil about it, but I can't see a way that always produces agreements.
530. MatFarshaw
523. jamesedjones

Yes, but I liked the movie.
531. MatFarshaw
529. twicemarked

"The reason soccer is so popular in the world now is greatly related to what the British liked and how many land they colonied."

That´s not exactly true, I think - when the British colonized the world, soccer wasn´t invented.
James Jones
532. jamesedjones
530 MatFarshaw

Brilliant! :)

529 TwiceMarked

Nice Analysis. There are a few, small discrepancies. But that's true for any generalizations. Overall, just a great summation.
John Massey
533. subwoofer
Why football ... er soccer, is so popular. That, and it is a sport that just requires a round object to kick around, running and kicking, simple. That's it. Very appealing for developing countries that can't afford high end hobbies. Every kid can dream that their playing evolves into a career. Was around when Pele lit it up. Was special.

History is written by the victors though. Maybe the Aiel will lose their sweat tents. Maybe the notion of servitude will be discarded and the dislike of people working at cooking or cleaning for others. I am not exactly sure why the whole gaishan thingy started. Was it to preserve life in the Waste? Was it to prevent decimation between warring sects? I dunno.

Change does come though. It has to be rapid now that HWCWtD dropped his bombshell at the Golden Bowl. The red head banded guys for instance. It is what it is. Adapt and overcome, that is survival.
Anthony Pero
534. anthonypero
@529, 531 -

History of Association Football (Soccer), according to Wikipedia:

Apparently, a version of the game was played as early as the 2nd century BC in China.

The rules were standardized in the 19th Century and spread throughout the British Commonwealth.

So you're both right!

Probably, soccer was popular around the world before the British Empire existed, but it's played all around the world in a standardized way because of the conquering Brits.
Sydo Zandstra
535. Fiddler
The Brits never conquered European mainland, but Football is still the main sports on this side of the Atlantic. So I wouldn't combine football to colonization... ;)
Kathy Keith
536. Babokathy
Alisonwonderland @ 524

I really fell hook-line-and-sinker for GRR Martin's aSoIaF. Frustrating waiting for, but understand we want ole George to get it done right, but too many years to wait!

I don't care if it's loosely based on the War of the Roses or not. And I agree that after reading this style of Martin's for this story (and Tuf Voyaging, another great shorty) that it will be the Northern Starks (particularly Jon Snow) who will prevail in the end. Mostly because the other families will have exhausted themselves, their over-confidence in their family-and-political ways weakening them unmercifully before Snow even gets back down to old Stark castle.

My question about the severe North: where did those fearsome Northern snow aliens go?

Fiddler @ 535 et al: Football???
Sydo Zandstra
537. Fiddler

I don't think it will be long before the Snowy Ones are at the Wall. Well, in story time that is. It may take GRRM 20 years to write that.

Yes, Football, a sports that has been played here way before some Americans started their own version of Rugby and called it Football. But let's not go there. :)
Karen Walters
538. Wrenza
I really enjoyed GRR Martin's aSoIaF, but then I love reading about the War of the Roses - although I don't remember anything in the War of the Roses that matches some of the blood letting in the books. I just got fed up with the wait for the next book to come out and have gone right off the series.

Not having time to read all the above, some of my favourites are Janis Wurts' series Wars of Light and Shadows and the old Dragonlance series.

That made me laugh a little. Roll on the new season.
Sydo Zandstra
539. Fiddler

First, glad to make somebody smile :)

Second, I read Janny Wurts's series about Light and shadows too. Did she ever finish it?
Ryan Thistlethwaite
540. shintemaster
Plenty of good stuff recommended here. Including some that I've never tried. GRRM is one of them, don't know why, 'just because' is about the best I can come up with - maybe one day.

As far as my recommendations. If you have a curious mind and love to be challenged, but more importantly if you simply love beautiful, creative and lavish use of the English language I simply cannot recommend more highly Gene Wolfe. I'd probably do the usual thing and start with his 'Sun' set of series. The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun & The Book of the Shortsun. There is plenty more that he's written and he is a prolific short story writer also ( and a very good one) if you want to ease yourself in.

I've read a lot, in many genres, but I have little hesitation is stating that I think Gene Wolfe is just about the best living author going around.
Karen Walters
541. Wrenza

Its still being written, I can cope with waiting for the books better because of the time gaps between the different subseries so at least there is closure for most of the characters and story arcs.
Michael Catapano
542. hoping
Will today be the day for the post? I can only hope (as is my wont.)
Marcus W
543. toryx
Valan @ 503:

Everyone certainly has different tastes and preferences. A lot of people have a very strong appreciation for things that I think are utter crap. That doesn't diminish their love of the writing, though.

As for myself, I actually put GRRM above Jordan. It's nothing personal either way. I've been reading RJ since EotW and persisted in him when a lot of others gave up completely.

But GRRM rocked my socks off with Game of Thrones. He's number 1 on my list of fantasy writers and only number 2 to Stephen King on my list of favorite writers regardless of genre (number 3 is John Steinbeck).

Anyway, the reason I love GRRM is because he doesn't pull his punches. Just like in real life, anyone can get killed and there isn't some overseeing creator or prophecy to make sure that everything comes out alright. The realism in that is where my devotion derives from. If I had one complaint about the WoT it's that I have absolutely no doubt that Mat, Perrin, Rand, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene will survive until at least the last book (and I bet the majority of them will survive to the end of that as well). Hell, even when someone gets killed, chances are they'll come back.

That takes away part of the emotional impact of the story for me.

I also like the gritty nature of the characters in aSoIaF. There isn't any Galad, nor is there a Fain. Most everyone falls somewhere in between, which is the way real people are imho.

Re: the whole War of the Roses...GRRM takes a lot of things from history. Some is from the War of the Roses, some isn't. One of the most pivotal scenes in the series (which those who have read will know about) is actually loosely based on a totally non-related event that occurred in Scotland.

As far as taking historical events and putting them into fantasy novels...what do you think Jordan was doing? The Wheel of Time is every bit as big a mishmash of myth, historical events and fantasy as aSoIaF. Rand alone is a combination of Jesus, King Arthur and Frodo. All of the cultures are amalgamations of real world historical ones. Jordan has never pretended otherwise.

I have no problem with people not liking GRRM. Everyone's mileage will vary. But the argument that the series is too historical just makes no sense to me.
Marcus W
544. toryx
Wetlandernw and others re: The Aiel.

I totally see where wetlandernw is coming from and I think she's got a point. On the other hand, Rand is asking these people to fight and die for him. He's taken them out of their home and destroyed half of what they believed in. They're not asking him to change; they're asking him to allow them to hold on to what little they have left.

They also want him to know where he comes from and respect that. Given that they are putting their lives in his hands to do with as he choses, I think it's a pretty reasonable request.
545. Jenny Creed
That argument about taking away choices was very well made and at least to me original. It's led to some discussion between me and a guy friend, who happens to espouse his own brand of what he calls feministic chivalry.

In essence: Without sweating the small stuff like holding up doors, acknowledging that on a purely biological level women are more important than men, and if given the choice then choose women over men; it's better to kill one hundred men than let one woman die.

Now I could argue that quantity, one I could live with but probably not two and certainly not 100. But anyway that's dodging the question of making choices for another person.

So he submits that that is wrong, in principle, and assures everyone that if he is put in a position where he has to make a choice for another person he'll feel just as bad regardless of their gender, but doesn't this make the debate not about gender?

Speaking for all women, I say all we ever wanted was to be treated like people, so maybe a great victory was won here today.

In closing he reminds us that when a guy wants to carry stuff for you it's not because he's a guy but because he's strong. Heavy lifting is pretty much all the dudes have left to do in the world and other subservient pedestal-putting crap.
546. Tayls360
In the letter, Moiraine compares Verin to Alviarin (rather than Elaida as Rand points out) Could Moiraine be hinting that Verin is Black Ajah?
547. Natael
Omg commentary for this chapter was way tl;dr.
Derek Barolet
548. Derek.barolet
I just started this re-read with ya'll and been working to catch up, but had to post a comment here despite the fact prolly no one will read it.
I am in the Armed forces and as an infantryman I see the continued use of forced Chivalry. Women are not allowed to be in the infantry. My view of this practice is this. Its not because women cant fight, Joan of Arc and so many other examples wore armour and swung sword for cryin out loud, compared to pulling a trigger thats some hardcore shit. It because so many men have this preconcieved notion of chivalry. The fear is that in battle your wounded comrades while important to treat come second to acomplishing the mission. You have to be willing to sacrifice your friends to do what needs to be done.

To many men in the Infantry would not be able to see this if women were there too, they would see a wounded woman and kick into chivalric "save her she is a woman" mode. So to make sure mission is accomplished they dont allow women to place themselves in a situation where that might happen. I think its unfourtunet, I think its odd that in this day and age we acknowledg such a degrading and antiquitated (sp?) belief to the point of not allowing a person to serve in the manner they want to because of other peoples stupidity and stubborn refusal to see equality. anyway those were my thoughts, i doubt i will get any thoughts on this due to my lateness but should anybody read this, any feedback would be cool.
Tricia Irish
549. Tektonica

Welcome. Glad to have you with us. I think you'll find a number of active and retired military are in excellent company, and thank you for all you do for the rest of us.

Some of us WOT addicts check when we see a new post to an older thread. What an interesting insight into today's military. I didn't know that women weren't allowed in the infantry. Interesting that this prejudice persists today. There are several reasons I can think why it might be difficult in certain instances, having to do with biology, but a blanket ban is odd. It know doubt has something to do with old chivalric codes.

RJ was a military guy, and was no doubt highlighting the very issue you speak of in the Two River Boys actions, to the point of absurdity. The maidens providing the counterpoint.

Maybe some of the other military guys on the threads will chime in......
Derek Barolet
550. Derek.barolet
I have seen some women in combat too, and they showed no less bravery or ability then men, they werent suppossed to be there but were thrown into a situation they werent prepared for and out soldiered alot of men i have served with, lol modern day maidens.
The way I have always seen it concerning women and now more prominently gays is if you can pull your own weight and are willing to fight and die alongside me, i dont care what gender, religion and sexual preference you are. i love the maidens in WoT, they are some of my favorite characters ever and their relationship with Rand is absolutely hilarious. Especially when they hockey beat his ass later on. Possibly my favorite scene ever.
Anyway love the reread liegh, been a huge fan of WoT for forever and this reread discovery and through it the WOTFAQ are awesome!
Noneo Yourbusiness
551. Longtimefan
@ Derek.barolet

People comb through the re reads all the time.

The other good news is that there are a few more books to go through and your thoughtful comments here will also have merit in future chapters so you can post again in a comment thread before 550. :)

These comment sections can get a bit long.

We just did the Maidens "hockey beat his ass" up further in the re-read. If you comment up there you may even be in the first 300.


Thanks for showing up and having something to say.
Alice Arneson
552. Wetlandernw
One of my personal problems with women in (particularly) infantry situations is that in general the physical testing standards have to be lowered for them. If a woman truly can "pull her own weight" - carry all the stuff she needs, run as far and as fast as her male compatriots, be able to haul them out as easily as they can haul either her or one another out, and all that... There are other issues, but that's the one that always bugs me most. (It's one of many reasons for the Maidens being a separate society, too.) If my life, or the success of a mission, depends on a certain level of physical capability, I would want to know that every single person on my team had that capability. I've always felt that if there were certain physical standards set to "make it" the same standards ought to be applied to both men and women. If a woman isn't strong enough, or fast enough, she can't do the job - as would be true of any man who wasn't strong enough or fast enough. IMO, that's where the double standard lies.
Valentin M
553. ValMar
Aren't infanrtymen carrying about 50kg of gear on missions nowadays? I think this is the point that Wetlander is making?
Still, this doesn't excuse a blanket ban.
Jonathan Levy
554. JonathanLevy
There is another problem with having mixed units of men and women, apart from the chivalric element mentioned by Derek.barolet.

When you take fifty new recruits and train them to become an effective fighting unit, you try to build an esprit de corps. Each soldier must consider himself part of the group, and put the group's interest ahead of his own.

Now suppose your unit consists of 10% women (those who pass the same physical test as the men). Human nature being what it is, each one will quickly have 3 or 4 suitors, if not more, which means a lot of potential for jealousy. Not the best recipe for small-unit cohesion.

Let me invent an example based on my military experience. Everyone hates guard duty. The worst part is that the guy who's relieving you is always a half hour late. And this time he shows up with a new hickey on his neck. And when you get back to the barracks, the female soldier you've been courting for the last month is walking out of her room with her hair mussed and her clothes disheveled, munching on the chocolates you brought her last evening as a gift with a dreamy look in her eyes.

What's the first thing you do? Apply for a transfer to another unit. Now multiply that by 10 and send them all into combat 3 days later.

Maiane Bakroeva
555. Isilel
To chip in a bit:

IMHO the "chivalric" explanation is lacking, because looking at history, there was little enough instinctive chivalry in war situations and women were for the most part massacred nearly as often as men. _If_ they were spared, it was because they weren't considered a threat or because they could be sexually exploited.

Speaking of sexual jealousy - historically, armies that allowed and even encouraged homosexual behavior were quite successful, so that can't be that big of a factor either.
And of course, people can be also quite jealous of non-sexual relationships, too.

It also seems to me that things like friendship should interfere with prioritizing goals in combat at least as much as the supposed chivalry or romance, but it has never been seen as a problem.

And sure, physical standards shouldn't be lowered.
Jonathan Levy
556. JonathanLevy
Humans in general have no problem being chivalrous to their own side and barbaric to the other side. In the middle ages, knights would perform great acts of courtesy towards other knights, even their enemies, while at the same time murdering peasants without mercy. I think Derek's point about chivalry is quite valid.

As for sexual jealousy, offhand I can't think of many armies which encouraged homosexual relations between soldiers. We need some concrete examples to work with. And I should note in passing that even the prolonged success of an army does not necessarily mean that *every* one of its institutions contributes to that success.

As for friendship and romance, they have a very different dynamic. Friendship is shared amongst a group, and binds the individuals together. Each section of 8-10 soldiers becomes a circle of 7-9 friends plus one misfit who was sent to another section. Relations between pairs may vary in strength, but as a whole friendship binds the group together.

Romantic liasons tend to be exclusive. Put 8 men and 2 women together for half a year, and you will get 4 people in a relationship, 2 Exes, 1 spurned lover, and 3 outsiders. Not to mention 1 foetus, if you're lucky.

And sure, physical standards shouldn't be lowered.
Valentin M
557. ValMar
Out of hand I can think of only the Theban Sacred Band. They were extremely successful indeed, but by itself 1 example is not enough of course. Also, their fighting tactic with one warrior rellying on his comrade to protect him with his shield lend itself to forming couples.

Otherwise, very interesting arguments are being put forward. Sounds to me that J Levy is being very specific and persuasive.
What about women in other military services, e.g. Navy, Airforce, Engineers? Why would these circumstances be significantly different than infantry?
Derek Barolet
558. Derek.barolet
Just an aside cause i got to get back to cathcing up, hehe the Isreali Army uses women in infantry and they dont have any problems....Those women are some bad bitches too i might add
Jonathan Levy
559. JonathanLevy

In Israel's war of independence (1948), women were used as front-line troops, mainly in defensive engagements. This was stopped after the state was established, for precisely the reasons you gave - chivalric concerns outweighing operational ones.

Women remained integrated in the armed forces in many non-combat roles, including training male soldiers. Ask me about my basic training some time. Over the last decade or so they've been re-integrated into active combat roles. There's even a female fighter pilot or two.

As for infantry, I think there's just one mixed unit (Karakal), and that one's fairly new - maybe 5-6 years old. I think it's still considered experimental, mainly used in border patrols and guard duty.

As for bad bitches Derek... well, you don't always get what you expect. One of the secretaries in my company was a former sharpshooting instructor (which means she was VERY good). Also, very pretty. Also, loved pink ribbons, frilly dresses, and small furry teddy bears, and was given to loud outbursts of girlish enthusiasm. Now happily married to a doctor, if I'm not mistaken.

If I'm not mistaken, Thebes achieved a short-lived measure of dominance in Greece mainly due to the genius of Epaminondas, who was the first to break Sparta's power. It is quite true that in Greece homosexual relations between males was common, but the standard form was an older male taking charge of a youth who had not shaved for the first time, and teaching and training him, not just using him. The relationship would be broken off when the youth became a man. Of course, it is quite possible that the Sacred Band was structured differently, and I am simply ignorant of this difference.

As for relying on your comrade's shield, the phalanx formation meant that each soldier would tend to move slightly to the right to be protected by the shield of the man to his right (except for the last guy on the right, who got screwed). This is what is usually meant by relying on your comrade's shield in this context, though of course you may be referring to something else. This would sometimes cause the whole army to drift slightly out of alignment with the opposing army, but I am not sure it would encourage the formation of couples, as the defensive relationship is not reciprocal.

As for other services, I think almost all the world's navies consider a woman on board to be very very bad luck, requiring elaborate purification rituals to avoid it. I think this superstition has a very long history.
Derek Barolet
560. Derek.barolet
I wonder if rj knew that and made sea folk Female commaded for that reason
Valentin M
561. ValMar
I don't know just how important the Sacred Band were in Thebes dominance but the unit itself was very highly rated.

They were indeed made up of older/younger couples. As to being made up of couples being relevant to rellying on your neighbour's shield, I am guessing. The greeks were placing their best on the extreme right to counter the effect you mention. But morale and discipline in the Hoplite phalanx was crucial and that's what the Thebans were aiming for in this particular arrangement.
But this is somewhat unusual case, I don't think USMC and SAS should be considering a major overhaul just yet ;)

Anyway this talk of homosexual units is a bit off-topic. It's more relevant to the Aiel warrior societies, especially the Maidens.
563. yasiru89
Wow, Leigh, that chivalry tangent of yours... well, I make no objections, but it seems to miss a crucial point entirely. A crucial point from the last chapter mind you, that explains Rand and his 'dead women' issue and later relates right back to the epiphany in tGS (when Rand's list is no more- even though it really was initially his list, though Lews Therin came to share it with him- which is a curiosity I highlight) many books later. I'm sure all agree that Rand's particular distress over the death of a woman is not at all like that of Mat or Perrin or just about anyone else in the series who may have similar qualms. It was baffling to me until I read the scene where Lanfear confronts him about Aviendha. A scene where it's all too easy to get caught up in what's happening with Moiraine to be sure, but it's really too subtle to escape notice in explaining Rand either.
There's the recollection of that scene from tEotW's prologue with Ilyena lying there, dead by Lews Therin's hand in this one, and for myself, that was really the only hint needed to piece together that Rand's aversion to being even tangentially responsible for a woman's death is indeed the first instant of the 'seepage' from his past life as Lews Therin into his present one.
The instant he was aware of what he did, Lews Therin fled to mark his grave, and with that, the greatest emotional ordeal he had faced was suspended till rebirth. Would things like thoughts of the Forsaken and who they were past really have trumped that in surfacing in him earlier? No. No matter how sublime, it's always there- in every dead woman Rand/Lews Therin sees Ilyena, lying dead by his own hand. Right up until the epiphany when he questions it all and comes to the joyous conclusion that perhaps she too is now reborn.
Neither Moiraine nor the Maidens could possibly have addressed this early on, and considering the state of the world Rand grew up in (power balance shifted to women on the whole, no matter what anyone says) and all the strong (or, at the very least, strong-spirited) women who've congregated about him since the whole ta'veren business began, it's only a mindset rooted in modern times (in our world, that is) that could possibly come to the conclusion that Rand's anguish is just some misguided (or not quite admirably originated, in being 'insulting by taking weakness for granted') form of chivalry. Note also Rand's complete lack of 'wanting to be noble' in PoV during his exchange with Sulin. It's a deeper, personal issue at work here, but unfortunately this is overlooked because of the fertile ground for female vs male debates.

On the point of the Maidens, the Wise Ones seem to be conveniently forgotten in Leigh's argument. It remains fact that in physical combat, women are, in general, weaker than are men. As weapons and war evolve, this rings less and less true, but for the Aiel and their methods of combat, it certainly holds. If I were an Aiel general (or whatever they call battle commanders), I'd not send a group of Far Dareis Mai over a group of Stone Dogs for a charge at the enemy if both options were open to me at the time (wait now before you name me sexist), but I'd send Maidens out to scout and that sort of thing without hesitation. The fact then is that the Maidens may be limited in scope as hand to hand/contact weapon fighters on the whole (individually, they may even include the top ten Aiel fighters ever, but in general is what we're on about here), and thus there's just the one society of them. On the other hand, that's one (society) more than any male could claim to have on anything at all a Wise One is responsible for. Sure, Maidens can't become Clan Chiefs, but males are not even marginally involved in activities even secondary to a Wise One (and don't dare claim disinterest as the reason). So even in Aiel society, the shift in power to women after the Breaking is clear, if only one is willing to delve a little deep. The sad thing is though, that despite the original 'Maiden''s intent in rescuing her children (or something of the sort, refer back to tSR and Rand's Ancestron sequence) when she picked up arms, the modern Maidens have taken to either raising a family (and presumably seeking power as Wise Ones if they are politically ambitious) or sticking to the spear almost mindlessly (in a 'it's badass and I am da badass' kind of way that Sulin puts better than I ever could, while sounding entirely reasonable). But I digress. Of course they can do that if they want to- just as they had the freedom to assert as much, as when Sulin did in confronting Rand. But if you've not the strength to assert that much, then perhaps the vile, chivalrous men have a right to snatch away what freedom is demanded just because demand can be voiced, with little concern for whether it can be backed up in action. Coming all the way back to the 'Supergirls' and their reckless fondness for traps right up until falling right into them, along with the dismissal of concerns as to their safety where men are concerned in enforcing such right before falling into and right after getting out of said traps.

PS- The embracing 'saidar' being code for surrender thing may seem better in duality- you surrender for the purpose of 'directing', which is the role of women in Randland society for the most part. On the other hand, a saidin analogy would mean a never-ending struggle, which is to the good, because men are then bogged down and- BAM!- directed as desired by a woman (or many women, in their being able to 'link'- compare single Aiel Clan Chief vs multiple clan Wise Ones) if for an instant they waver. On the whole, surrender sounds the sweeter deal.
564. yasiru89
On the other hand, I realised this may have been before tGS, in which case one is not blessed with hindsight (if one even agrees with me at all on Rand's chivalry-complex being an intimate issue than one of biased social outlook), but I daresay the hints are still there and tGS only makes it explicit and then addresses and underscores.
I hadn't read the FoH reread here before, but I decided I'd check on it given Brandon Sanderson's ongoing meta reread.
565. s'rEDIT
I must admit: my favorite part of these 500+ posts were the suggestions and discussions of suggestions of different scifi/fantasy authors. What a wealth of ideas you've given me . . . Thank you all!

@yasiru89: enjoyed your belated contribution too.
568. Winged Knight
You know, I always had a wacky theory to explain some of Rand's problems with fighting women. Purely my own opinion, of course, but I thought it was a neat bit of thinking.

Certainly, Rand was raised with certain expectations and notions that basically translate into chivalry. This undoubtably color his viewpoint. But if it was just that alone, though, perhaps he could push past it if he had to in order to get the job done when women are either going into battle or need to be killed. But he's also the reincarnation of a man who murdered his wife in madness and was made to realize it through the curse of sanity.

Maybe its farfetched, but perhaps part of Rand's issues with women in battle stem from this trauma of his past life bleeding through into his present one? Regardless of whether you agree with the notion or not, it's an interesting take on it. Probably too convoluted, but I like traveling down strange roads of thought occassionally.
William McDaniel
569. willmcd
OK, so I didn't read all the comments. And I certainly can't say anything about chivalry that hasn't already been said. In general, I think Leigh had a well-articulated and enlightening perspective on it.

A favorite moment from this chapter for me came when Lan said his farewell: "You are my friend, Rand." This is, I believe, the only point in the series to this point where he went on a first-name basis; Rand was always "Rand al'Thor". For someone as reserved as Lan, that counts as a real lowereing of boundaries, and shows how close these two have become.
570. DougL
Well, reading this post again, it invalidates my theory that Moiraine had seen perhaps dozens of permeations of the docks fiasco, but apparently not, just 3, and most of the differences centering on Rand.

My main point still stands, if Moiraine chose the best result of the three things she saw, she would take all the steps to make it play out that way. Moiraine is not one for tugging against the Pattern.

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