Oct 16 2009 1:33pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 30

Hey-o, people. This here is a Wheel of Time Re-read, in case you couldn’t tell.

Today’s post covers only Chapter 53 of Lord of Chaos, because it turns out I had a lot more to say about it than I thought I would. What is it about 53rd chapters and controversial subjects? It’s uncanny, I tell you!

Yes, I know. I totally promise that your hearts will go on somehow.

Previous entries are here. This and all prior posts contain spoilers for all currently published novels of the Wheel of Time series up to and including Knife of Dreams, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

The Prologue of The Gathering Storm, “What the Storm Means,” is available for download here on or at multiple online vendors. Chapter 1 is still available as well, and Chapter 2 is available in audio format. Please refrain from posting spoilers for either the Prologue or Chapters 1-2 in the posts for the Re-read, in order to protect those who have not yet read them, or do not intend to before the release of the entire book. Spoiler discussion is going on at the respective posts announcing the releases, linked above; please keep them there. Thanks.

And so, read on for maximum verbosity!

Chapter 53: The Feast of Lights


What Happens
Perrin makes his way through the streets of Cairhien, appalled at the licentiousness on display, as the Cairhienin make up for a year of reserve with wild abandon on the Feast of Lights, the last day of the year. But he’s more concerned with Rand, who has been gone for six days now, and so has Min. Sorilea has told him bluntly to stay out of Aiel business, and no one else seems to know anything; he is coming back from Rand’s school, a last resort, but even there they were too busy celebrating to be helpful.

He could feel Rand’s need like an itch everywhere under his skin, stronger every day [...] Burn Rand! He had gone off without a word, when he knew about Min’s viewing, knew he was going to need Perrin desperately. Even the Aes Sedai had grown disgusted, apparently. Just that morning Perrin had learned they were three days on their way back to Tar Valon, having said there was no further point in remaining. What was Rand up to? That itch had Perrin wanting to bite something.

Perrin reaches the palace, where the Aiel look as disgusted with the goings-on as he, though he suspects the Maidens’ disgruntlement is due to Rand’s absence more than anything else, and heads to his apartments, where Faile is playing stones with a very uncomfortable-looking Loial. She ignores Perrin as usual, and Perrin can smell disappointment from her even more strongly than jealousy or anger, and wishes she would give him just one word. Sulin enters with pillows, and Perrin thinks she smells worried and afraid, which he finds odd for some reason; she goes to open the door for Dobraine, and sneers at first, but then suddenly forces herself to curtsy to him, and Perrin notes that her smell of shame suddenly becomes almost overwhelming. Dobraine notices none of this, and tells Perrin that this morning Lord Maringil was found poisoned in his bed, and Lord Meilan was knifed in the streets a while later, apparently by a footpad. He continues that Colavaere dined with a number of heads of smaller houses to discuss support for Colavaere’s bid for the Sun Throne, and made little effort to hide what she was doing. After a moment, Perrin gets what he’s hinting at, and asks why he doesn’t take it to Rhuarc (changing from “Berelain” at the last moment). Dobraine is disdainful of the “Aiel savage” being able to do anything, and doesn’t think Berelain will do much better, opining that Colavaere will “have her sliced and cooked with peppers”, and cuts off as he realizes Berelain has entered the room, carrying a long bundle. Infuriated that she would dare come in his rooms, Perrin jumps up and roars at her to get out; everyone including Berelain stares at him in shock, except for Faile; Perrin can’t understand why she should so suddenly smell hurt. Then he sees that the bundle contains Rand’s sword and the belt with the Dragon buckle; he doesn’t think Rand would have left without those, and growls.

“They have taken him!” Sulin wailed suddenly, shockingly. Head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, she moaned at the ceiling, and the sound of her voice was enough to make Perrin shiver. “The Aes Sedai have taken my first-brother!” Her cheeks glistened with tears.

“Be calm, good woman,” Berelain said firmly. “Go into the next room, and be calm.” To Perrin and Dobraine she added, “We cannot allow her to spread word—”

“You do not recognize me,” Sulin broke in savagely, “wearing this dress and with my hair grown longer. Speak of me again as though I am not here, and I will give you what I hear Rhuarc gave you in the Stone of Tear, and should have since.”

Everyone else is puzzled, but Berelain flushes crimson. Sulin flings the door open and flags down a passing Maiden, ordering her to go get Nandera, and to bring her cadin’sor and scissors for her hair. Faile gapes, and Dobraine proposes tying and gagging the crazy maidservant, but Berelain tells him Sulin is a Maiden, though she doesn’t get the rest of it. Then she pretends that Sulin unnerves her and starts moving toward Perrin, and they end up doing a sidle/shuffle around the room as Perrin tries to get away from her and discuss what could have happened to Rand at the same time.

Whirling to face her, Perrin shoved stiffened fingers against her chest hard enough to make her squeak. “Stop right there!” Abruptly he realized exactly where his fingers were nestled and snatched them away as if burned. He managed to keep his voice hard, though. “Stay right there!” He backed away from her, glaring hard enough to crack a stone wall. He could understand why Faile’s jealousy was a cloud filling his nose, but why, why, why did she smell even more hurt than before?

“Few men can make me obey,” Berelain laughed softly, “but I think you are one.”

Then she returns to business, and explains that she searched Rand’s apartments after the Aes Sedai left, since it made no sense to her that they had given up. She also tells them how the Aes Sedai had visited her on a number of occasions and made it clear that she should go back to Mayene, or risk being sent back there involuntarily.

Sulin muttered under her breath, but Perrin’s ears heard clearly. “Rhuarc is a fool. If she was truly his daughter, he would have no time to do anything else for having to beat her.”

Dobraine points out that Rand had stated he meant the throne for Elayne Trakand, who has a much better claim to it than Colavaere; he thinks Colavaere would never have made such an open bid if she thought the Lord Dragon was coming back to Cairhien. Berelain puts in that she has proof that Colavaere was behind Maringil’s poisoning, and thinks they must start thinking of how to stay alive in the current situation. Perrin growls that he will get Rand back if he has to go alone, and Loial quickly throws in his lot with Perrin; Dobraine says he has five hundred men he can send, though he’s not sure what good they will do against Aes Sedai, but questions whether they can trust “the savages”. Sorilea, Rhuarc, Amys, and Nandera enter, and Sorilea wants to know in turn whether they can trust “the treekillers”. Nandera tells Sulin it’s about time, and they go off to change her clothes. Perrin wants to know how they knew, and Faile says “Maiden handtalk” only loud enough for him to hear, though she avoids his grateful glance. Perrin asks if Rhuarc will send his hundred thousand Aiel in Cairhien against Aes Sedai, and Rhuarc tells him he cannot send so many, for the Shaido are moving back into Cairhien in force. Perrin thinks worrying about Cairhien is ridiculous when the Dragon Reborn is captured, and Sorilea studies Perrin and abruptly tells Rhuarc to tell him everything, as he is Rand’s “near-brother”. Rhuarc tells Perrin that only the Maidens and siswai’aman will fight against Aes Sedai, and he will not tell the rest for fear the bleakness will take them. Perrin doesn’t really know what any of that means, but thinks he still has the wolves, wondering how many of them will die, and Dobraine stiffly assures him that he has five hundred Cairhienin at least.

Even Sorilea’s cackle was leathery. “Do not fear the Aes Sedai, treekiller.” Suddenly, shockingly, a tiny flame danced in the air before her. She could channel!

She let the flame vanish as they began planning, but it remained in Perrin’s thoughts. Small, flickering weakly, somehow it had seemed a declaration of war stronger than trumpets, war to the knife.

Galina tells Min that her life would be “more pleasant” if she cooperates; Min glares back sullenly, shifting painfully on her stool. Galina wonders what information she has, and whether Min or Elmindreda or whoever she is might be able to give her leverage against Elaida; then she senses a change in the flows being channeled outside and takes her leave, telling Min to “think carefully on how many tears a man is worth”. She strides through the camp (now with thirty-three Aes Sedai, plus Warders and Gawyn’s Younglings) to where Erian stands near the six Aes Sedai shielding the brass-bound chest containing al’Thor, which Galina suspects Erian wants to keep him in the whole way to the Tower. Erian, with red-rimmed eyes, tells Galina that he tried to break through the shield again, and she wants to be the one to punish him. Galina thinks it would be much more effective to punish Min again.

He had certainly raged enough seeing her punished for her outburst last night, which had in turn come from seeing him punished. The entire incident had begun because al’Thor discovered Min was in the camp, after one of the Warders carelessly allowed her to walk in the darkness instead of keeping her closely confined in her tent. Who would have thought that al’Thor, shielded and surrounded, would have gone mad that way? Not just trying to break through the shield, but killing a Warder with his bare hands and severely wounding another with the dead man’s sword, to such an extent that the second died in the Healing. All that in the moments required for the sisters to overcome their shock and bind him with the Power.

Galina would have gentled him days ago, but that was prohibited. Since both of the dead Warders had been Erian’s, she thinks it would be better to let the Green sister get her rage out now, so she can “admire that porcelain face unruffled” for the rest of the trip. She agrees.

Rand flinches as the chest opens, knowing what’s coming, and Lews Therin goes quiet. He is lifted out of the chest, and Erian faces him with a furious expression. She begins flogging him with Air without a word; Rand tries to hold onto the Void, but fails. He refuses to cry out, though, and thinks that they mean to break him and make him crawl to Elaida. As the beating continues, he makes himself smile at Erian; she hisses, and the beating intensifies.

The world was pain and fire. He could not see, only feel. Agony and inferno. For some reason he was aware of his hands trembling uncontrollably in their invisible bonds, but he concentrated on holding his teeth shut. This comes of—Won’t cry out! I will not cry ou—! Never again; not an in—! Not an inch; not a hair! Never agai—! I will not! Never a—! Never! Never! NEVER!

After it is over and Rand comes back from semi-consciousness, he sees that there are Wise Ones in the camp, and recognizes Sevanna with a shock. She comes over to him, and Rand realizes with incredulous amusement that she’s checking to see if he’s looking at her breasts; she runs a finger around his throat, and announces that the Aes Sedai have kept their part of the bargain, and she will hers. The Aes Sedai double him up again and cram him back into the chest, and Rand agonizingly fights to assume the Void again, whereupon Lews Therin starts fighting to seize saidin ahead of him.

Burn you! Rand growled in his head. Burn you! If you’d only work with me just once instead of against me!

You work with me! Lews Therin snapped back.

Rand nearly lost the Void in shock. There could be no mistake this time; Lews Therin had heard him and answered.

He answers that they could work together; Lews Therin laughs crazily, and agrees, “whoever you are”. Rand feels along the shield again, and notes the six soft points once more; Lews Therin tells him they are soft because they are being held. If they knot the flows, he can unravel the web, but not while they hold it. Then he asks if Rand is real, and disappears. Rand tries to plan, thinking he should let them think he was broken so he could seize his chance – if he gets one. He realizes he is laughing uncontrollably.

Galina frowns after the departing Wise Ones, disturbed that all but one of them could channel strongly, and then dismisses them, thinking they are only needed to get rid of Gawyn and his men. She goes back to Erian, who tells her that al’Thor is weeping in the chest, and suddenly starts crying herself; Galina tries to get her to come back to her tent for tea, offering to “lay a damp cloth on her brow”, but Erian says she must go to her remaining Warders and comfort them, and leaves. Galina frowns at the chest, unable to decide if it’s weeping or laughing coming from inside, and decides from now on he will be beaten each dawn and sunset until they reached Tar Valon, twenty days from now.

Sevanna asks the Wise Ones if they can duplicate what the Aes Sedai are doing to hold Rand al’Thor, and Therava confirms they can. Sevanna nods, fingering the cube the strange wetlander had given her and told her to use once al’Thor was captive, but Sevanna decides she is going to throw it away instead.

She was the widow of a chief who had been to Rhuidean and of a man who had been called chief without making that visit. Now she was going to be the wife of the Car’a’carn himself. Every spear of the Aiel would be grounded to her. Her finger still retained the feel of al’Thor’s neck, where she had traced the line of the collar she would put on him.

She tells Desaine, who had grumbled about Sevanna’s elevation, that “it is time”, and Desaine screams as the other Wise Ones literally tear her apart, as it is very important that her death be obviously accomplished with the Power. Sevanna watches with fascination.

Yeah. So, I think about the only person in this chapter I don’t want to backhand with a two by four, other than Rand and Min of course, is Dobraine. Holy Christ.

Okay, so I don’t want to backhand Rhuarc. Or Sorilea, actually. Or any of the Aiel, really. Or Loial. So, uh, basically I want to smack the Aes Sedai, the Shaido, and the Love Triangle of DOOM. But that’s mostly everyone! Or something. Look, shut up.

Speaking of which, SERIOUSLY, Berelain? That is SUCH BULLSHIT, with the chasing around the room while Rand is freaking kidnapped. I am, shockingly, kind of in agreement with Sulin that Rhuarc should beat your ass at this point.

(Parenthetically, okay, so somehow Rhuarc has decided Berelain is like a near-daughter, or whatever the actual term for that would be for the Aiel. Hey, they have near-sisters and brothers, why not near-daughters/sons? But... why? I don’t think we ever get an explanation for this. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, but it continues to bug me.)

Faile: So, what is the correct response Perrin should have done here? Because I’m stumped, personally. Anger = bad, avoidance = bad, so... what should it have been? I’m not being sarcastic here, I’m honestly trying to figure it out. Lofty disdain, perhaps? Indifference? Weeping self-flagellation? Brazen flirting back? Or was it that he didn’t take the anger far enough, and was supposed to, I dunno, beat the crap out of Berelain or something? Or even kill her? I don’t know! The world may never know, because Faile won’t freaking tell us. Oh, and also, GAH.

Dobraine: I kind of wish we could get a POV on him at some point. In an overall sense he is fairly minor, of course, but I’ve always been somewhat curious as to why he’s so steadfastly loyal to Rand when every other Cairhienin noble is like a weather vane in a tornado with the allegiances. But in lieu of an explanation, I guess we are left to conclude that that’s just how he rolls. Which makes him pretty awesome, when all’s said and done.

Sulin: Interesting random detail, that it’s forcing herself to bow to Dobraine-the-treekiller that finally shames her enough to be like “okay, enough.” It was mostly just kind-of-strange comic relief anyway, I think.

Sevanna: Is annoying. And throws away her box. The End.

Okay, no, I have more: I’m a little confused, because if I’m not mistaken Sammael doesn’t tell Sevanna that he can give her something to control Rand until ACOS, and yet Sevanna has been all cackling over her “brilliant” scheme to marry Rand and make him make her the Boss of All Aiel for like two books now. And ya know, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that that is so never in a million years going to work – without squeegeeing Rand’s brain to mulch first, that is. So am I misremembering something, and Sevanna already thinks she will have something to Compel (or even just compel) Rand with, or is Sevanna really that much of a blithering idiot? Because, if the latter, damn.

Rand: Aahhhh. Even now, after *mumble* number of times reading this, my heart just hurts for him, even as I kind of defiantly rejoice in his badassedness in killing two Warders in five seconds flat.

That said, even while being utterly horrified by Rand’s treatment here (I mean, my God), I remember I read Rand’s repeating “no trust” litany with a kind of sick sinking feeling, kind of oh, this is so bad and it’s going to screw things up so very, very badly. And was I ever right, not that it took a genius to see that.

This is a true gift Jordan has, for recreating the very real-life-like dilemma of being able to make the reader totally understand why a character is induced to do the most counter-productive thing imaginable for their goals. No one in the freaking world could blame Rand for not being able to trust Aes Sedai after this, but oh, how it’s going to trip him up! And it’s just kind of heart-breaking in general to me, to see good people’s trust and hope mangled this way. Such a painfully accurate representation of how things can go so terribly wrong, all through nothing more than misinterpretation coupled with a few malicious people’s despicable scheming. It’s really beyond infuriating.

And then there’s the other thing in this chapter. Namely, Galina.

Ugh. Loathe as I am to even stick my foot in this particular quagmire, it has to be said: as well as being a generally horrible character who even aside from what she’s doing here is partially responsible for dragging out my least favorite plotline in the series later on, Galina is also representative to me of Jordan’s most conspicuous Fail as an author, and that is the treatment of homosexuality in WOT.

For all the good things Jordan does for sexism in WOT (and yes, he does – I may have my criticisms of it in the specific, even severe ones on occasion, but I’ve never wavered from my praise for his examination of the subject in general), in the arena of sexual orientation WOT falls woefully, nay, even painfully short.

How? Well. After six books and umpty-thousand pages and nearly as many characters, we finally meet a gay character – and it’s Galina. Seriously? A character who is evil, creepy, bitchy, hates men, and, oh yeah, evil. And we find out she’s gay because she’s all ickily up in Erian’s Kool-Aid, and basically acting like every worst stereotype of homosexuals ever. Seriously, I weep.

Now mind you, if Galina had been only one of several gay characters, with some of them being, you know, not stalkery and creepy and evil, I would have been more than happy to let it go, because in reality, one’s sexual orientation should (and doesn’t) have anything to do with whether one is a nice person or not. However, that is not the case; instead, after six novels’ worth of not even acknowledging the subject’s existence, we are suddenly smacked in the face with a character whose gayness is pretty clearly meant to contribute to her overall nastiness as a human being.

And that... that is really not cool.

To add insult to injury, while later books made what I believe was an effort to redress this issue, by implying (and then outright stating) the commonplace presence of “pillow friends” in the Tower (a concept I have no problem with on the face of it, though I have issues with the implementation once you start to really look at it), this is undermined by the extremely conspicuous lack of parallel phenomena on the male side of the equation. And when I say “lack”, I mean nothing. In a cast of thousands, I cannot think of one single male character in WOT who has been presented as even possibly ever having engaged in a same-sex relationship. I mean, forget social politics, that’s full of Fail just from a statistics standpoint.

So it’s actually the double whammy of bad stereotypes: lesbians are either “fake” (as in “well, only since there are no men available...”) or devious man-haters, and gay men don’t exist at all. I headdesk, I really do.

And no, Jordan was hardly alone in contributing to the invisibility and/or vilification of homosexuality in sf (or, indeed, in Western culture at large), and I recognize that. However, this does not makes it all right, and his otherwise quite laudable attention to other issues of privilege and prejudice makes the omission on this front all the more glaring, in my opinion.

So. There's that. However.

However, in Jordan’s defense, even with all I’ve said above, I honestly do not attribute the dearth of (non-evil) gay characters in WOT to either maliciousness or homophobia on Jordan’s part. Rather, I think it was the same unintentional blindness that plagues so many writers coming from a background of privilege with regard to the particular minority in question. In other words, as a straight married man with a strong military background, there’s a distinct possibility that addressing the issue of homosexuality simply never occurred to Jordan – especially in the earlier novels.

And when it did occur to him – well. The thing is, being aware of a sensitive topic and knowing how to address/incorporate it in your own works are two very different things, as anyone in sf fandom with access to the Internet in 2009 is probably in a position to know.

I don’t know that I intend for any real conclusion to be drawn from this. My modus operandii for this re-read has always been to simply note the things which jump out at me as I read, and expand/muse upon them. And this is what jumped out at me here. I certainly am not suggesting that this makes Jordan a horrible person or that the series is worthless as a result of his issues on this score (to head some of the more ridiculous possible accusations off at the pass), but I could not in good conscience let it pass without giving my honest opinion on it. I certainly think, as readers and writers and general participants in the human race, that this is a topic which we ought to give thought upon, and so I have. Make of it what you will.

And, that’s about the size of it. I’ll be polishing off the rest of LOC Monday, barring disaster, and I think I’ll have some interesting news for you then as well, so definitely stay tuned. Have a lovely weekend, and as always, be excellent to each other in the comments. Remember: intelligent debate yay, ad hominem attacks and vituperation nay. Also, “vituperation” is a really good word. Say goodnight, Gracie!

Jeremy Preacher
1. Jeremy Preacher
I recently reread the prequel, and was actually reasonably pleased by the genuine relationship between Moiraine and Siuan, even if there was more than the usual fade-to-black. I do have to say that most of the dykes I know (including myself) would be much closer to Green in philosophy than Red.

And amen on the no-gay-men thing. It's a pretty clear absence.
Jeremy Preacher
2. Lost in my own mind
Killing two warders with your bare hands in two seconds. The coolness cannot be measured. I know in real life admiring people's ability to kill each other is not so kosher, but the truth is I read these stories in part for this kind of hero. I just like to keep them in fictionland.

I understand you opinions about jordan's treatment of homosexuality via Galina, and I agree with most of it. I do disagree that her homosexuality was supposed to contribute to her vileness, I don't think Jordan went that far.
James Jones
3. jamesedjones
Jost gotta say, I think Sevanna is that stupid. But then, she grew up around honorless Shaido dogs. I think we got a POV from her that said she used one look in the sweat tent to win a clan chief. So, yeah, I can't belive Leigh skipped over the 'other side' of sexual assumptions going on here.

Edit: OK, so it is from the prologue of the next book, but maybe Isilel will address it.
Bill Reamy
4. BillinHI
Small aside on finding new posts: bookmark Leigh's entry/page from the blogger listing on Tor's main page. As far as I can tell, this is updated automatically when Tor's main page is updated.
Sean Banawnie
5. Seanie
Just a quick response , Leigh but from what I remember about Faile' POVs , she expects less rxn to Berelain . He is supposed to treat her as no threat or with yes- indifference . Not the news of Rand just rxn to Berelain . Back to reading your post.
Lannis .
6. Lannis
Call me silly, but why is Sulin thinking that Berelain should be beaten after Berelain reports having searched Rand's rooms and what the Aes Sedai told Berelain? I'm confused... I mean, I know Berelain's behaviour towards Perrin here is stupid, but why does Sulin grumble after the info dump?

Sorilea is awesome... I love her!

Now, someone mentioned many threads back (I can't remember whom, nor where), that the whole Rand-in-a-box torture ending of LOC seemed (in their recollection of the book) to go on and on, and during their reread of LOC they were actually surprised at how short it really is (a chapter or two only). The reason I mention this is because I too was surprised when I reread LOC not too long ago, and this poster's comment hung in my memory as I read... The whole event must carry such weight in reader's memories because of heavy metamorphosis in Rand (in himself and his relationship to LTT)... anybody else find this is the case?

Rand's escape attempt and subsequent Warder killing... M.O.A!

Leigh, I think that Perrin's response should have been to be civil to Berelain, but not show her that her actions were getting under his skin... he should not have yelled at Berelain when she entered the room... that's why Faile's disappointed... Perrin shouting is showing (in Faile's culture) that he thinks Berelain is a strong woman, and by not shouting at Faile he's saying that Faile is not... uh... or at least that was my interpretation of that F-ed up Saldaean culture...

Thanks for the recap, Leigh! Have a great weekend! :)
Jeremy Preacher
7. Blacktower
Right on for bringing the gay card in the WOT series. And also right on for mentionging that although Jordan does bring up (typically and with cliche') lesbianism (because to straight men that form of homosexuality is OK) he never once mentions gay male characters. Which no doubt must have crossed his mind since as the books went by we got more and more of "pillow friends" which, in a way, is a fear of talking about homosexuality. Jordan apparently feels the same way about "a love that dare not speak its name".
F Shelley
8. FSS
From PoD, after Elyas teached Perrin how to treat Sladean women, Perrin starts treating Berelain like a small child who's flirting with him (and to put Faile in her place, damn it), and Faile thinks to herself that he's finally acting correctly.
F Shelley
9. FSS
On Sevanna - when Sammael gives her the fool box and tells her of the binding rod (or a chair? been a while), it is clear that they have talked before, and he'd promised her something to control Rand. He says something along the lines of her not needing it sionce she doesn't have Rand yet.
Jeremy Preacher
10. Alfvaen
I always thought, for some reason, that it was the news of Rand's capture that told Sulin that she had met her toh, not the bowing to Dobraine. Not that I can necessarily explain how that would work. I guess that if she hadn't met her toh, but decided that rescuing Rand was more important, she would've just dug herself in deeper and been wearing skirts for another year in the next book. But I suppose humbling herself before a "treekiller" would earn you a few shame points.

By the way, I confess that I seriously wish the Aiel would just get over themselves with the whole "treekiller" thing. Did King Laman call a vote of the whole country's population before he made his throne? No? Then why the hell do they blame the entire country for one lunatic king? I suppose that they could blame everyone who participates in Daes Dae'mar, for incubating the culture that led him to think this was a good idea, but, say, the Foregaters? Random villagers? The servants in the palace? Mind you, their whole gratitude to the Cairhienin for helping them thousands of years earlier was a little out of whack the other way, too.

But then, the whole Aiel War came about so that Rand could be born on the slopes of Dragonmount, so it's really all Gitara Moroso's fault for telling Tigraine to leave her husband, which IIRC indirectly led to King Laman's motivation for the treekilling in the first place. So...if Foretelling of the birth of a powerful ta'veren causes that ta'veren's birth, is it all Rand's fault, then?
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Gay characters (closeted category). Taim, Balwer, Elder Hannum....
Jeremy Preacher
12. Uinhilla
I look forward to these chapters every time I read the series. It is a milestone for Rand's character. From this point on he is becoming the ruthless hero that he must become to win the Last Battle. Very well done by RJ.

Leigh you spent more words ranting on your view of RJ's handling of homosexuality than you did on the actual commentary. I can appreciate your opinions and have no problem with them..but I think you make a lot of assumptions on the author's motivations and intentions. Probably a great topic of debate in another time or place.

Looking forward to the upcoming chapters.
Maiane Bakroeva
13. Isilel
I have to say that the Feast of Lights and behavior of every other Cahirienin woman that gets screen space always jarred with the PoV of bashful young Moiraine in NS for me, who seemed as straight-laced and inexperienced as Elayne or Duopotamian girls.
Yea, yea, apart from the pillow-friend stuff which I really didn't get until I read RJ's blog answers (I thought that Merean just wanted to discomfit Moiraine) and which seemed rather OoC to me after what we have seen of Siuan's and Mo's interactions in TGH and their PoVs in the main series. Or in NS itself, actually.

Love Sulin's big reveal, heh.

I have to say that the whole "treekiller" thing on the part of Aiel annoys me to no end, as it is really unjust. I hope that maybe Moiraine will have enough clout to stop this somehow when she returns or maybe Elayne.

Well, that's one more example of why Berelein isn't a good example of a competent non-channeler female ruler. Colvaere would eat her for breakfast. Enough said. And the "triangle"... Aaargh! Stalking Perrin when things are so serious - urgh.
I honestly don't see why the Aiel like her so much. Maybe they like flattery?

Sevanna is too stupid to be believable and I really don't see why the Shaido WOs follow her. Or, for that matter, followed Couladin. Did they all cheat on their Rings/Columns test? Is there a special "Shaido - you suck" setting on these devices?
I could imagine some WOs not seeing relevant bits or distrusting the Aes Seadai delivered prophecies, but having them all concentrated in one clan and only there strains credibility to the breaking point, IMHO.

My heart goes out to Rand... but IMHO his attack on the warders was just a senseless outburst. It may have cost him a chance at escape with Min or letting Min escape.
Also, too bad that he didn't try to enter into dialog with his captors, like Egwene later did. Instead of the attack, that is, when they still let him out and didn't mistreat him.
James Jones
14. jamesedjones
11 RobMRobM

OK. Thank god I wasn't drinking milk when I read your post...

BTW We've got to get tGS into the top 10 best-sellers category.
Jeremy Preacher
15. Dedicated
First, Lannis is right. Faile never explains this, but Elias does. Faile wants Perrin to treat Berelain like a wayward child, not to raise his voice to her but instead gently but firmly per her in her place. At the same time she wants Perrin to yell at her. So Perrin is treating Faile like Faile wants Perrin to treat Berelain, and Perrin is treating Berelain like Faile wants Perrin to her. What a mess!

Now Sevanna, yes, she thinks she can control Rand with sex. That is the way she thinks. It is obvious from the way she expects Rand to look down her cleavage while he is bound up and has just been beaten. She may think men are just that way, after all she has already found two men that worked just like that.

Also with Sevanna, she thinks about throwing away the call box, but of course, she never does.
Jeremy Preacher
16. Alfvaen
The gay Galina thing (which I never even twigged on until you mentioned it) reminds me of a recent con panel I attended, sparked by the whole Elizabeth Bear Race Fail 2009 thing. The question is to what extent an author can be blamed for race/gender/whatever bias in their fiction. And it's a whole other thing to distinguish between stereotyped portrayals of the minorities/marginalized people you do include, and the absence of them at all. Would you rather have them absent or badly portrayed?

How many character's love lives are we privy to? Do we have a large enough sample to conclude that they're being left out on purpose? Was Jordan just trying not to alienate his readers? (You know, the ones he must have been trying to win over by the ample bosoms of 75% of female characters introduced in the last several books... Is there a list of those somewhere?)

Still, a few gay Asha'man (and not just from Taim's bunch either, that would just as bad) would be believable enough. Can two Asha'man bond each other? (For that matter, can any channeler already bonded make a bond, either with the same person or someone else? Would it do anything?)
Matthew Smith
17. blocksmith
After reading this chapter I do recall a substantial amount of frustration that Berelain did not realize more quickly that something was up with Rand's disappearance. And her behavior with Perrin...I liken it to someone laughing out loud at a wedding. No matter how funny the joke, just not the right time or place.

We don't often get scenes describing characters that kill Warders. Gawyn's during the WT takeover was probably the other up to this point. Clearly Rand has earned the cover on Randland's People Magazine as "One of the Most Dangerous People".

I also believe that Leigh touches on a grain of truth in her explanation as to RJ's way of handling least the male version.

"In other words, as a straight married man with a strong military background, there’s a distinct possibility that addressing the issue of homosexuality simply never occurred to Jordan – especially in the earlier novels."

I would opine that instead of never occurring to him, it may have been discomfort. Having a somewhat similar background, it's not my favorite topic of discussion and it may not have been his to write about or fit into his story, IMHO. I am not saying the RJ was homophobic or discriminatory at all. Simply that the combination of his background/history and the epic itself did not lend themselves toward the inclusion of that aspect of society in a meaningful/examined manner.
Todd Willis
18. tswillis
Uinhilla, I almost jumped on that bandwagon until I decided to go back to that start of this blog and see what the purpose/style it was going to follow. Looks as though leigh is giving us exactly what she is supposed to :-)

Comments from the intruductory post to this Bolg:
"What I hope to do, instead of providing commentary at length, is to identify items of interest/controversy/what-have-you to serve as jumping-off points for you guys to run with in the comments.

Discussion and participation is the aim, because otherwise what’s the point? I want to hear your thoughts on my thoughts: do you agree, do you disagree, do you think I’m out of my ever-loving mind? Let me know."
Leigh Butler
Jeff Weston
19. JWezy
17@blocksmith: Elyas kills a warder (off screen), but Semirhage is the only one I can think of who does so in full POV.
Jeremy Preacher
20. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
DO's advocate on the homosexuality thing;

Jordan has set up a world where a single all-female group has the power to do pretty much whatever they want and not be judged by society. The Aes Sedai may very well be the only group with the chutzpah to be open about something that's generally going to get you reviled in society (assuming an earth-like crappy level of tolerance). And it's not as if the Aes Sedai are very open about it, but we're much deeper in the AS as a group, through pov's and just sheer amounts of characters, than any other group.

If we weren't all up in the AS innerworkings, we wouldn't even know about it. Other than the Superdudes, we really don't get nearly as many POV's from men as from women (this of course being totally off the top of my head), what with all the Jane Random Aes Sedai pov's. And the tropes that those 3 fit into, as well as the other men we get pov's of (mostly military commanders) don't really lend themselves to open homosexuality without catching a knife in the ribs from someone at some point. Remember, these are backwoods farmboys from midcentury England, essentially.

My point is, the lesbianism isn't actually very open either, it's just known to us because of whose eyes we see through. I don't think it totally excuses Jordan from ignoring male homosexuality totally when he obviously wants to address the issue as a whole. Or maybe he's just exorcising authorial fiat to make a straight man's ideal world. You know, hot powerful women sleeping with each other, not to mention Aiel and Sea Folk's freedom with their attire.

Notice Sea Folk only go topless at sea, not bottomless? "So, Mastew of the Bwades, is it twoo what they say about the way you people are...gifted? Oh it's twoo, it's twoo, it's twoo!"


But seriously, while I'm glad Jordan didn't go all BrokeBlack Tower on us just for fairness' sake. I do agree that at some point the idea could at least be broached. I'm also glad he didn't go with the creepy gay guy trope either, and just have it be Cenn Buie and Padan Fain, with Rahvin swinging both ways with compelled little boys.

In short, though it wasn't handled well, I'm glad it wasn't handled especially hamhandedly either.
Jeremy Preacher
21. rosetintdworld
Thank you, Leigh, for bringing this discussion of homosexuality out into the open. As strange as it sounds, the way Galina was portrayed in LoC never really registered with me until this read-through. It was actually KoD, a book that I loved in many, many ways, that made me uncomfortably aware of this big problem in The Wheel of Time series. I'm anxious to get your response to Book 11's treatment of lesbianism, which, as I recall, adds Aran'gar and Elaida to the list of confirmed mustache twirling evil lesbians (well, okay, Aran'gar is complicated.) Not to mention, giving Galina her "deserved" (by heavy implication) poetic justice--a lifetime of repeated rape by another lesbian who is every bit as sadistic as she is.

I, too, love this series for the innovations it brings to discussions of gender in sf/fantasy. But as a gay man, I can't read a Galina/Therava/Elaida/Liandrin segment without shaking my head sadly. I'm holding out a little hope that a perfectly well adjusted badass gay male character, with a partner who is more than just a "pillow friend," appears at TG. But I'm also not holding my breath.
Sean Arthur
22. wsean
Leigh--so you're saying statistically, you'd expect a few gay characters? Must be ta'veren twisting of the Pattern. :P

Yeah, I never cottoned on to Galina being gay before. Doesn't change my view of her one iota, though.
Maiane Bakroeva
23. Isilel
Alfvaen @10:

Did King Laman call a vote of the whole country's population before he made his throne? No?

For that matter, did even Laman understand what a grave offence he was commiting? IIRC, the Aiel never explained anything when they handed the sapling and the right to cross the Waste to Cahirienin 5 centuries ago. And it isn't like he had his own version of the history ter'angreal to educate himself.

Also, despite the gravest offences that the Shaido have commited against everything Aiel stand for, they are still accorded the customary treatment.

The Aiel are massively hypocritic, judgemental and annoying like that.

Re: homosexuality, IIRC there are a couple of minor female characters in Cha Faile that were hinted to be it, and that one Green who is with Perrin, too.
But of course, then we have juxtaposition of Tarna and Elaida, which... yea.

And the only allusion to male homosexuality was in relation to clercs whom Siering Vayu dismissed in NS.
Herb Schaltegger
24. LameLefty
While I appreciate your attempt to expound on gender politics in WoT-ville at all possible instances, don't you think the fact that LTT actually, you know, specifically LISTENED AND TALKED TO RAND for the first time is kind of an important topic and worthy of some comment? It sets the stage for so much future-crazy and yet we get a lecture of GLBT stereotypes in SFF. I'm about as open-minded and freak-positive as they come, but seriously. Sometimes it's just a story and the plot elements deserve more comment than the context and perceived hidden meanings.
Matthew B
25. MatthewB
Without checking the actual text i can't be sure, but i don't think it was bowing to Dobraine that broke Sulin - it was learning that she had failed to protect Rand. It was the shame of that combined with the knowledge that the only way she could erase that toh was to rescue him, which would require her to take up the veil again.
Kristina Blake
26. kab1
@6 I had exactly the same reaction. I remembered the "Rand in a box" sequence as being super long, but upon reread, it's so short. I think I was just in agony over when (when!?!) everyone was going to realize he was gone and when were the AS going to tie off those sheilds!!!
27. marcamante
I just re-read the prologue a couple of weeks ago, and at one point, after the investiture of Sierin Vayu, all of the male servants were fired, "even the ones who had no liking for women at all". So there is a late, kinda-mention of male homosexuality in the series...if you look hard enough

edit: ninja'd

on a completely unrelated note, Rand killing two warders in a few seconds is totally badass
Jeremy Preacher
28. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
Other comments.

As much as it bothers me to say this, I kinda see where Faile is coming from in not wanting to see Perrin handle Berelain the way he is. I sure wouldn't like my wife to screech and run away every time a hot guy walks in the room, like "I can't handle being around him!" Also no go on the yelling and shouting thing, it just makes it seem like Berelain has power over him, he's just not going to give in. What she wants to see is Perrin acting like Berelain doesn't affect him at all. That said, she could tell the poor guy that, because she's got to know he's the rootenest tootenest non-cheatenest person this side of the Cuyahoga.

Can't wait for Rand to start stilling some of these bitches. Always thought it was one of the most amazing scenes in the book, for actual in-story and allegorical ideas. Plus it's just always good to get a lot of main characters together and play musical POV's to see what they think of each other. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So the dark side not only wants Rand alive at this point, but wants him to be able to channel too? Or else Galina would just still him, and say damn the White Tower regulations. Must be word from Mesaana if she's obeying it.

Right here we have an example of the behind the scenes scheming coming back to hurt the bad guys. If they had taught each other to Travel, Galina opens a gate to SG and they turn Rand right here, booyah.
Jeremy Preacher
29. rapier

"I'm holding out a little hope that a perfectly well adjusted badass gay male character, with a partner who is more than just a "pillow friend," appears at TG."

The Rock Hudson type? Now that would be a smash!!
Jeremy Preacher
30. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
@ LameLefty

I dunno about the LTT in Rand's head thing being super momentous. I mean, it was to him, but by this time we've all made up our minds about whether he's real or not, I think, and we've talked to death on the re-read about how any piece of evidence can be made to support each theory.
Jeremy Preacher
31. J.Dauro
I never really thought much of the revealing of Galina's sexual orientation here. It more disturbed me that she wanted to manipulate Erian because of her sexual attraction than the fact that they were both female.

In regards to homosexuality, one of RJ's quotes
I have gay and lesbian characters in my books, but the only time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I haven’t been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a matter of course.
- The Official Robert Jordan Blog, October 6, 2005
As we have had little onscreen sexual activity, and not much offscreen activity directly referred to, it never really got to me. I always figured if it made story sense for a gay scene we would see it, and if not, RJ wouldn't dag it in just to have it.

Or you could take this that RJ, as a married male hetrosexual, just could not get into the "head" of a gay character. However, I do not feel that he is intentionally trying to disparage homosexuality. To me it always seemed more of the "it is sex, and it doesn't matter much who the two characters are." We would all probably be better off if it wasn't noticable, that is, if we didn't think it made a difference.

When we look we do see some positive lesbian relations. Moiraine and Suian, Shaoln and Ailil.

HeWhoComesWithTheNoon @20

RJ has specifically stated that homosexuality is "taken as a matter of course." It is not reviled.

Isilel @13

Why would you consider that an example of Berelain not being a competent ruler? She has ruled, and used every tool she has to keep Mayene independent. She is doing so now, when the DR's favor is probably the best thing she can do for her country, and probably more importanat than being in the country. Yes, in Cahirien she would probably lose to Colavaere, since she does not have the power base Colavaere has. I doubt Colavaere could succeed in replacing her if they were in Mayene. You work with the assets you have, and even the AS have commented that she has ruled well for Mayene.
Jeremy Preacher
32. peachy
A bit off-topic perhaps, but the Drake/Stirling joint 'The General' has always struck me as one of the better political/military SF series when it comes to same-sex relationships - two of the main characters, both highly competent (even heroic) officers, are a long-term couple. (Well, they actually become a bi threesome with their mutual concubine pretty early on in the series... it's too complicated to explain right here, but it makes perfect sense in context, I swear.)
James Jones
33. jamesedjones
13 Isilel
Is there a special "Shaido - you suck" setting on these devices?
I've learned not to drink anything when reading these comments, but I never thought you'd be responsible for the restriction. I just got an image in my head of a circle of Shaido WO's telling the potential candidate, "Once you get to the glass collumns, press the A button twice while holding the joystick all the way to the right, then let go of the joystick and press the y key..."

Edit: Added the Shaido classification
Kristina Blake
34. kab1
I too never realized Galina was a lesbian at this point. I figured it out sometime later in the books. and @21 I don't think I ever thought Therava was a lesbian. But then again I never picked up in the fact that King Robert was gay in GRRM's Ice and Fire series. I'd agree that RJ didn't do a great job of depicting homosexuals, but hey it's his series.

"Yea, yea, apart from the pillow-friend stuff which I really didn't get until I read RJ's blog answers (I thought that Merean just wanted to discomfit Moiraine) and which seemed rather OoC to me after what we have seen of Siuan's and Mo's interactions in TGH and their PoVs in the main series. Or in NS itself, actually."

I don't remember the scene with Merean? was that from NS? Which RJ blog are you referrring to- date? I'd like to read it as well, since I seemed to have missed picking up on most of this "pillow friend" stuff as well.

Edit: It is the one in comment 31? I agree with most of your comments J.Dauro, well said.
Leigh Butler
36. leighdb
12 & 24:

It is very interesting to me that whenever I bring up uncomfortable or controversial topics in this re-read, there are inevitably multiple attempts to either belittle the importance of the subject, or to suggest that this venue is an inappropriate place for it.

I submit to you that in feeling the need to try to dictate to me what I may and may not talk about in these posts, that you have in fact rather proved the opposite of both statements.
Jeremy Preacher
37. smcyc
I am kind a surprised the Leigh does not get why Faile is hurt in this sequence. Perrin is clearly showing strength to Berelain while showing 'softness' to Faile. Faile's (backward/Sladean) interpretation of this is that Perrin find Berelain to be stronger than her, and well of coarse she is hurt by this.

Oh, and Sevanna is not really that stupid, but she is VERY arrogant and delusional and power hungry. All of this we will see shortly in during her POV in the next prologue.
Jeremy Preacher
38. Ishmayl

I think I actually get it for the first time ever, but it's only in reading your condensed summary, and not the actual text.

We find out in aCoS, once Perrin gets back, that Faile is still in a jealous-humdinger-BS-whiny-hissy fit, and it is only AFTER Perrin yells at her, calls her out on being foolish, and nearly crushes her to death in hugging her that she finally, finally forgives him.

It seems to me, in seeing that Berelain came in the room and Perrin went all psycho-yelly, and then she started "dancing" with him and he went psycho-yelly again, that Faile wanted Perrin to express outrage - either to her (about Berelain), or even at her directly. Her "hurt" smell comes immediately after he yells at Berelain twice, and as we've heard from her not-quite-sane parents, they expect a strong son who can "bend her over his knee every now and then." In her weird mind, she must have been wanting to see that anger, but for whatever reason, direct towards her instead of Berelain.

Anyhoo, that's me thoughtsies.

And thus, Galina starts her never-ending path to being a slave for the rest of her life to the Shaido Wise Ones. Yay! Comeuppance works!
Jeremy Preacher
39. Cloric
@ the NS "gay-male" character comments

not liking women at all and being gay aren't the same thing. Even Faile, after her capture by the Shaido, thinks something along the lines of her captor being a man who doesn't like women "in that way," but we have no mention of a man looking another up and down in an approving manner or some such. I've never really read it as a comment on homophobia by RJ, or I would have quit reading the series most likely. That said, I am hoping for, at the least, a low key confirmation that the male-male relationship is not unknown in either the Black Tower or the wider world. And agreed, from any faction but Taim's.

Hmm... I know BS lives in Salt Lake City, but is he Mormon? Religious strictures can heavily affect written content, sometimes. And the Mormon church tradionally is as condemming of homosexuality as the Catholic or Southern Baptist.
Jeremy Preacher
40. justareader
G'night, Gracie!
Jeremy Preacher
41. TexanSedai
Lannis @6 - Great explanation for Faile's reactions. I never looked at it from that point of view, but it actually makes alot of sense.

Sevanna is severely(sp?) annoying and I agree with Isilel - not sure WHY anyone would follow her. But then again, I can think of several RW leaders that I can't understand why anyone follows them either.

I typically try to refrain from commenting on the days that Leigh's commentary gets a little "controversial" but I am going to put my two cents in today for what it is worth. It really does not bother me in the least that RJ did not create many openly gay characters. I actually never noticed. I am not a homophobe, and really don't care one way or the other about other people's sexual preferences, that is their business not mine. But I also read fiction, because it is that - FICTION. If wanted an author's POV on a current cultural or political topic, then I would read that genre. I am really only looking for a great story that keeps me on the edge of my seat...not political hot buttons. So...much like I am ok with RJ's fade to the fireplace writing of the sex scenes, I am also ok with the vagueness of the homosexuality.

On the love triangle, Faile is acting like any HS age girl. She just needs to be cool and not let Berelain under her skin, and Berelain would probably stop. If I were Berelain, and I saw that I could cause so much trouble for a girl I didn't like just by some shameless flirting, I'm sure I would probably do it and be LMAO behind closed doors. I also have a strange sense of humor, so take that for what it is worth :)
Sean Arthur
42. wsean
@21 - A well-adjusted gay male character? Given the dearth of well-adjusted characters, and the dearth of gay characters, that combination doesn't seem likely. :P

Leigh- It's not an easy topic. And there can be many reasons for being bothered by it--not wanting to see one's favorite author tarred with the homophobe brush (I know you didn't do that, just saying), not wanting to confront one's own feelings on the matter or one's own prejudices. Or maybe they honestly do want to hear more about Rand being crazy. Unlikely, but you never know, right? :P

Personally, I find it really difficult to think about this stuff sometimes (Racefail was the same way). As an aspiring writer, I feel in something of a bind. If I'm not careful to make diversity explicit in my stories, people will assume it's not there and be put off. If I make it explicit, but I lack subtlety, it will seem like tokenism and people will be put off. I dunno, for someone who's still flailing around trying to figure out plots and characters and dialogue, it's almost just too much to think about.
Tony Zbaraschuk
43. tonyz
I don't think we have any particular evidence that Therava is lesbian, though maybe I missed something.

As far as Galina goes, can we agree that part of Rand's treatment is due to Black Ajah orders? We don't see this sort of thing in other accounts of men who can channel being taken to the Tower, and even most of the Reds don't seem to be quite as "break-them-into-little-pieces" here. (Cadsuane's course treatment seems to be entirely different, for instance.)
Joseph Blaidd
44. SteelBlaidd
Seconding Seanie@5, Lannis@6

Faile is fealing hurt because, according to her understanding of proper marital behavior, Perrin should not be afrid he will hurt her by shouting when when he's mad as this shows he thinks she's a big girl and can handle it. By shouting at Berelain and not her he is saying that he respects Berelain's strength more than Faile's. So...yeah.

Regarding Galina, I was never creeped out because she was gay, what was creepy about her was the "Mad Men, bad boss hiting on the girls in the secretaies pool" vibe she always gave off. The fact that it was female on female was not the issue, by this point one would expect a Red to be a lesbian.

I think the reason gay men haven't come up much is that it hasn't been relevent to thier characters. We only know that some of the clerks dismised from the Tower in NS were gay because they were dismised for, making passes at novices/Accepted, and that it was considered compleatly ludecris.

Dykes mentioned; Seonid Traghan(Green) does non like men as men, Arrela one of the Cha'Faile (KoD ch30 Arrela did not like men that way).
James Jones
45. jamesedjones
39 Cloric
Hmm... I know BS lives in Salt Lake City, but is he Mormon?
Sanderson is LDS. But he is very impressed with authors exploring their characters. He openly lauded JK Rowling for her addressing the preferences of Dumbledore. He's also offered a brief synopsis of the LDS view of homosexuality. That is, it's a natural occurrence that is not conducive to an individual's maximum growth potential. Like most religions, LDS beliefs seem to see trials and tribulations as the best means of personal growth. :D

Please take this with a grain of salt from an agnostic that has studied a LOT of different faiths, and has a great respect for almost all of them.
Hilde Sørensen
46. edlihs
Considering how they view him I don't think talking would help.

So only the bad guys kills warders "directly"? How many characters has killed warders on screen? How many warders have we heard been killed? Seems we only hear about it happen in the past most of the time. Inquiring minds want to know.

It might tip the wrong people of to her true ajha. The dragon reborn is rather important figure after all. Didn't the black ajha take oats against reviling themselves?

EDIT: Ajah

Leigh I hope your desk isn't very hard...
Jeremy Preacher
47. Lsana
I'm not going to touch the whole homosexuality thing.

Instead, I want to talk about Lews Therin and a question that has come up for me: in this chapter, Lews Therin asks and, "Are you real?" Has Rand ever asked the same question of Lews Therin? Or in other words, has Rand ever asked himself if the voice he hears is real or a product of taint-induced madness? I can't remember either way, so I figured I would ask the experts (ie all of you).
Sean Arthur
48. wsean
@46 Yeah, why revile themselves when they've got us to revile them?
Lannis .
49. Lannis
Okay, I'm with TexanSedai (@ 41) on the whole "gayness" or lack thereof of WOT characters... uh, I never noticed. Clueless, no less... aside from the pillow friends comment (which, on first read, went waaaaay over my head), it never occurred to me to think about a character's sexuality...

On a similar line of thought, IRL, I don't believe that anyone's sexuality is my business... unless, of course, their attentions are on me.

Weird thought... maybe I would have thought more about the whole sexuality in WOT if, say, Min had a vision of a gay/lesbian character having children and the fate of the world resting on said reproduction... then maybe I would have spent some time on contemplating that happening...
Jason Deshaies
50. darxbane
It has been mentioned many times above, but the chapter in APoD's where Faile is kidnapped by the Shaido explains her POV quite nicely. I wish I had it in front of me now so I could quote it. It is all about respecting the woman's strength. TBH, I think Perrin's nose has actually been detrimental. If he didn't know how jealous she got of Berelein, he wouldn't have tried so hard to push her away.

I appreciate your opinions, Leigh, and would love to have an honest discussion with you in person one day, both on things we agree and disagree on. However, I do feel you read into things a little bit too much this time. I feel intent must be given more weight, and I highly doubt RJ (or Harriet for that matter) intended to vilefy homosexuals. Galina wanting a piece of Elian just after she lost 2 warders is quite callous (not to mention letting her beat Rand just so she could stop crying and look pretty again), and I believe that was the effect RJ was going for.

Whoever said above that Arangar was Gay, uhhh, I think this qualifies as an abnormal situation, don't you? He is literally a man in a woman's body, and a quite lecherous one at that.
Jeremy Preacher
51. Lionthrone
Not surprising that people like Texansedai say they would rather have no mention of homosexuality in the series, even though they claim they're not homophobic. They obviously don't seem to mind the many heterosexual POVs in the series like Rand's lechery, Perrin's never ending "I love my wife" yammering, and Matt's looking at any skirt that's under 50. People don't mind reading about that stuff, but have a hard time stepping outside of their comfort zone.

You did the right thing Leigh by bringing it up. These people need to be woken up. Keep on with the political injections. That, after all, is what these commentaries are for.

And btw, Siuan and Moiraine are def. not gay as we will no doubt find out once Thom and Matt rescue her and she get's hitched to Thom. And of couse, Texansedai won't mind that little bit of not-so-vague heterosexuality.
Rikka Cordin
52. Rikka
seriously did not even notice that Galina's showing the gay here and then never connected it back once I figured it out later... whoopsies. XD
Ron Garrison
53. Man-0-Manetheran
As a politically active gay man and contemporary of RJ, Galina’s sexuality or the lack of gay characters in WOT has not bothered me in the least. I don’t even recall having a reaction to Galina’s sexuality. I already hated her for being the vile, evil *itch she is.

A widely repeated piece of advice to writers is to “write about what you know.” I much prefer a lack of gay characters to ones that are written dishonestly. RJ was an amazing author and self aware being, and I think it was very smart of him to not go there. I love these books, and I cannot diminish them in any way for the portrayal or lack of GLBT characters.

Rob @ 11: Best Candidate for (deeply) Closeted Gay Character: Aram (“A very attractive long legged young man with a low confident voice. He was able to attract girls easily...”)

And, of course, all the Forsaken could be classified as metrosexuals.

Wsean @ 42: Good one!

And just for the heck of it:
Lord of Chaos - published in 1994
Rocky Horror Picture Show - released in 1975
Joseph Blaidd
54. SteelBlaidd
Yes he is, but he has also stated that he makes a special effort to make characters whose philisophical and or cultural underpinings are different from his own as REAL as he can.
Think of a personality trait, activity, or ideology you disagree with, then write a story with a main protagonist who has that trait. Difficulty: Their character arc doesn't include changing this trait.

One of the things I find the most challenging—and therefore most rewarding—in writing is trying to understand and write characters who don't believe like I do, and do it in a way that those who agree with that character would find them believable. The above conversation, for instance, reminds me of several times when I've considered having a gay character as a protagonist. The real trick in doing this, however, is to make that protagonist feel REAL. If you include them just so that their way of life can be proven wrong, I think you're undermining your fiction—and insulting people who believe differently from yourself.

Given the focus of the series on the balane between male and female being necesary for proper functioning of the world it is theamaticly consistent that hetero relations are given preeminence.

And to quote "I ain't never seen, heard, nor smelt a topic that was so dangerous it coulden't be talked about."
Jeremy Preacher
55. brown aja
its amazing that after re-reding this series a milion times ' thers still stuff i totely miss- i had no idea thar galina was sopussed to be gay!
Captain Hammer
56. Randalator
Re: hearts will go on

Please, never ever again reference Celine Dion coincidentally or otherwise. In fact don't mention any humanity destroying alien life-forms at all. Thank you very much.

Re: Galina, the Killer-Lesbian of Doom

Until you mentioned it she hadn't even registered as gay with me. Okay, I think I somehow filed away the "hates men" part of her lesbianity which occasionally but quite rarely happens. But that never struck me as a "look at the evil lesbians" kind of thing. More as a "oh, she's gay and not in the good, fuzzy, non-fascist way". I just didn't connect her general suckiness to her sexual orientation in terms of judgement of said orientation or whatever.

Maybe I just know too many gay people to attribute negative character traits to their sexual orientation even if the first is in a way caused by the latter. Because I have met some of those and they really are assholes (pardon my French) due to their homosexuality. But that doesn't reflect on my view on homosexuality as a whole. Or maybe I'm just slow. It's a toss-up...

Anyway, from the casual just-throw-a-bit-in-about-random-female-character-liking-men-just-not-THAT-way-ness of other lesbians in WoT I think that RJ never meant it to be read this way.

Re: Faile

I seem to remember from TPoD (?) that Perrin is supposed to treat Berelain like a spoiled child. From Faile's perspective ignoring her is just, well, ignoring her without actually dealing with the problem. Violence is a no go because that is reserved for crazy Saldean marriage customs (Yeah, I know, don't start). As in "Don't you dare spanking her around when you could be spanking me instead! *slap* *punch* *scratch* puts on hurt smell*
Jeremy Preacher
57. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon

While I'm tempted by my coastal liberal heart to jump down the throat of anyone with "Texan" as part of their handle, I will point out that Texansedai did not say he/she would rather have no mention of homosexuality, just that they had no problem with RJ not spending more time bringing the subject to the forefront.

While it would be great for authors to decide to bring more openly gay characters to the forefront, and even greater if their definition of those characters are not based solely on their sexuality, they're not under any requirements to do so.
Jeremy Preacher
58. rosetintdworld
@ darksbane 50 Of course Aran'gar is an abnormal situation, and that's precisely the problem: gay and bisexuality arising as a result of "abnormality" is the rule, not the exception, in The Wheel of Time. For gay characters you have girls sequestered in a tower without men, sadistic misandrists who think men caused the destruction of the world, and a man trapped in a woman's body.

Even the positive example of lesbianism that people bring up, Shalon and Ailil, has problems. I remember loving the passage in WH where an Aes Sedai (Verin or Cadsuane, can't remember,) is really bemused that Shalon would be embarrassed by her dalliances. At the same time, that's exactly how RJ portrays them: indiscreet dalliances, caused by Shalon's long separation from her husband.

Sometimes homosexuality just...happens. It happens not only when one gender is separated from the other by force, and not only when an extradimensional cosmic being with a twisted sense of humor performs a gender swap on one of his servants. An otherwise perfectly ordinary person COULD be gay in Randland, but thus far he hasn't been.
Pelumi Adefope
59. GenghisCan
To be honest, I've always thought that Talmanes and his manservant were in a homosexual relationship. Jordan said that male homesexuals were in the WoT but that we just didn't look hard enough.

In KoD, Nerim repeatedly says that he is sure Talmanes misses him and vice versa and then when, Mat reunites with the Band, Tuon notes that "Talmanes had a brief reunion with gray-haired Nerim...that sort of thing should have been done in private."

It's not the best proof but that's what I always thought.

Anyways. One thing I like about Jordan is that he gives some of the best action scenes but they're off-screen. Rand killing the two warders, Mat killing Couladin, etc are so awesome because he gives us the outline of what happens but you're free to fill it in however you imagine it.
Jeremy Preacher
60. TanchicoChico
It's not surprising that many of the people commenting here never even noticed any lesbians in the series, or it could be that lesbians often don't get the attention that gay men get. Most of them would rather wish that homos would just go quietly away then read about and much less talk about it. So they block it out. It makes them uncomfortable. And they would rather it never came up.

And these people are probably one of the reasons RJ never did bring up many gay characters. He didn't want to alienate his slighlty, and not so slightly, homophobic fans. And as this post demonstrates, there are many out there.
April Vrugtman
61. dwndrgn
Never cottoned on to Galina being gay. Well, doh! To be honest I have cringed through her scenes during each reread as her evilness is just eww.

Anyway, as to RJ's references (or not) to homosexuality - I don't see it as either here nor there. If the characters have a need to show their sexuality onscreen - it has to be important to the plot. Otherwise it is just there to be there and useless. The only sex we hear about is all very important to the plot - otherwise it is all behind the scenes and who knows who is doing the wild thing behind that closed door. They could all by gay for all we know.
Jason Deshaies
62. darxbane
Lionthrone @51,
Which "People" exactly? Just TexanSedai? Maybe he/she just wants a fantasy story that is as devoid of real life issues as possible. After all, if the fantasy mirrored real life too closely, it woudn't really be fantasy anymore, would it? I am all for pushing the equality engine. However, I am less than enthused at requirements to include every viewpoint into everything possible just for the sake of it.

By the way, isn't it fitting that this discussion is happening on National Coming Out Day?
Jeremy Preacher
63. Lionthrone
@he who comes with clown

Gay people have been victimized so much BECAUSE they're so often relegated to the background and BECAUSE they often haven't been given a voice. A straight person probably never noticed because society treats heterosexuals differently and doesn't constantly try to silence them.

And the point was that Texansedai doesn't mind homosexuality never being mentioned, but also don't seem to mind all the heterosexual stuff mentioned either. It's a double standard. And who wants to live in a society that has double standards? Oh yeah, homophobes.
Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
@53. Aram -yes! Talmanes - could be! How about Dobraine - was he married? Dain Borhold?
65. PhantomIce
Have to say in all honesty that I did not get Galina's gayness until KoD when Tarna(? I think, can't find book to confirm) thinks to herself that Galina had wanted to maintain their relationship after Tarna was raised to the shawl.

And when Elaida mused to herself that maybe she would renew her "friendship" with the Salidar AS ferret (sorry can't remember her name either) my first thought was that RJ was using the whole pillow friend from Tower days as a plot device to give extra reasons for using the ferret AS to get into Elaida's confidences.

I can see how the fact that the two most obviously lesbian characters are highly unlikable women who fit the worst stereotypes of lesbian women that people of our world can have makes it appear that homosexuality is being handled badly in the series.

But this doesn't bother me too much because in the end there are only so many issues with which an author can deal with in depth and like I said I honestly thought that the whole pillow friend thing was essentially a plot device with perhaps (for once?) litte thought to how it might be interpreted in terms of views on homosexuality.
Jeremy Preacher
66. Rand al'Todd
Lannis @6
why is Sulin thinking that Berelain should be beaten after Berelain reports having searched Rand's rooms ... I know Berelain's behaviour towards Perrin here is stupid, but why does Sulin grumble after the info dump?

Look at Leigh's quote:

“They have taken him!” Sulin wailed suddenly,...

“Be calm, good woman,” Berelain said firmly. “Go into the next room, and be calm.” To Perrin and Dobraine she added, “We cannot allow her to spread word—”

“You do not recognize me,” Sulin broke in savagely, “wearing this dress and with my hair grown longer. Speak of me again as though I am not here, and I will give you what I hear Rhuarc gave you in the Stone of Tear, and should have since.”

What is the Aiel greeting? "I see you."

Berelain just insulted the crap outta Sulin to her face!! Badly!!! One of the worst insults you can give an Aiel. And compounding it by implying Sulin is just a hysterical servant who needs to be silenced to limit spread of a rumor. She's lucky Sulin didn't grab a spear from one of the Maidens and run her through on the spot.

Especially if Sulin had interpreted the "we cannot allow" to mean some more permanent form of silence (which we HAVE seen suggested on some occasions, even by the good guys.)
Sean Arthur
67. wsean
@60 -
It's not surprising that many of the people commenting here never even noticed any lesbians in the series, or it could be that lesbians often don't get the attention that gay men get. Most of them would rather wish that homos would just go quietly away then read about and much less talk about it. So they block it out.

Gosh. That's something of a leap, don't you think? Nearly every one of these rereads have contained some tidbit that I never noticed before, either from Leigh or in the comments. *shrug*
Jeremy Preacher
68. TexanSedai
Hey Lionthrone @51 - thanks for telling me what I do and don't like!!! Because oher people's sexual prferences are so off my radar that I don't care if an author puts it in a story? Why should I care about heterosexual relationships being in a story? From your line of reasoning, if there are no gay relationships there should be no straight ones either? Straight relationships are in the vast majority of modern media - so why is it not ok to like Mo and Thom finding each other? Why is it expected of me to respect your viewpoint, when clearly you do not want to respect mine? You want SF with homosexuality? Good for you! Go for it - free country, you can do that. I don't care if its in mine or not? Hey thats fine too, I can read what I want. I guess I really don't understand what your problem is....
69. PhantomIce
While I agree that heterosexuals might not be as bothered or in all honesty notice less the lack of in depth mentioning of homosexuality, I think it is a bit unfair to color all with the brush of being homophobic.

Some may just be unaware, very few people are equally sensitive to all the ills in the world and not being sensitive to one does not immediately make you a hater of it.

I mean for instance RJ does not make nearly as many references to destruction of nature as Tolkien did, would this make RJ and those who don't notice this omission haters of all things green, big lovers of industry and who cares if the planet is destroyed in the meantime? I think that kind of extremism in either direction is a bit unfair.
Lannis .
70. Lannis
Lionthrone @ 51: re: homosexuality or lack thereof in WOT... please take this as respectfully as possible, because I think there was some misinterpretation... I reread our comments (TexanSedai's and my own), and I didn't catch the "would rather have no meniton of homosexuality in the series." Uh... I believe we said we didn't notice the homosexuality. At least, that's what I know I meant...

The part of TexanSedai's comment (@ 41) that I think you're alluding to:

If wanted an author's POV on a current cultural or political topic, then I would read that genre. I am really only looking for a great story that keeps me on the edge of my seat...not political hot buttons. So...much like I am ok with RJ's fade to the fireplace writing of the sex scenes, I am also ok with the vagueness of the homosexuality.

When I read it, I get that TexanSedai is saying that they're not reading the series for the sexual relationships, regardless of orientation, and if s/he were interested in such topic, they would probably go and read something from that genre of literature, and not high fantasy--known for it's epic good and evil battles.

That said, my own comment (@ 49) was more that the whole sexual orientation of the secondary/tertiary/whatnot level characters is more vague than anything else... Jordan laces subtlety through the text regarding many subjects (remember the plastic Mercedes symbol in tGH? I didn't catch that on my first read, either), and some things I pick up, and others I don't... That's the whole point of this forum... to, as a group, bring our collective experience, observations, and interpretations of the text together and enjoy it all! Never would I say that I didn't want gay/lesbian/bi relationships to be included in WOT... quite the contrary, the world is more realistic and colourful for it. At the same time, Jordan has written it so naturally into the text that I didn't notice it, which in itself speaks of a world where the existence of said sexual orientations are more accepted than that of our own world (unfortunately for all of us).

Now, I'm not here to start a flame war, and neither do I think is anyone else. I enjoy the controversy of certain topics on this forum, and I enjoy hearing other people's viewpoints. Please do not mistake my own. Thanks for reading. :)

Sorry about the wall o' text... here, have a cookie. Chocolately chip. :)

Oh, and TexanSedai, sorry if I've put words in your mouth incorrectly. :)
Jennifer McBride
71. vegetathalas
BrokeBlack Tower. HAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!

I had less problem with Galina being gay than with the fact that all the good POV lesbians 'grow out' of being gay. Moiraine will end up with Thom. Siuan ends up with Gareth. Tarna says pillowfriends are for kids/novices, not adults... Basically, all the bad lesbians stay bad lesbians and all the good lesbians grow up.

I'm bisexual myself, but I don't feel like fantasy necessarily needs to be representative of real life, so I don't mind when its not mentioned. After all, the majority of readers aren't gay, yet they need to project themselves into the romance. Actually, whenever I read straight male authors projecting themselves into the minds of lesbians...I get kind of squicked out, honestly. Because they don't do it right.

While Therava was a dominatrix, she isn't necessarily gay. She taunts Lina with being pretty and gets all angry about her bruising her face, but that could be general mockery. Yet one does wonder about why Therava wants to keep the oath rod so close. Maybe if you channel fire into the end, it has a vibrate feature?
Jeremy Preacher
72. cps2195
TanchicoChico @ 60:

so because people didn't notice any characters were gay they are doing so because they are subcosciously trying to suppress their homophobia? So If I'm driving down the road and don't see a dog in the street and hit it it is because I secretly hate dogs? Your logic is astounding.
Lannis .
73. Lannis
Rand alTodd @ 66: AHA! Yes, the old "I see you!" ;)

Thanks! :)
74. PhantomIce
@ 72 cps2195

well said: that was much more clearly put that my poor attempt
Jason Deshaies
75. darxbane
Well now, if you can find me a person that doesn't accept at least one double standard in life, however small, I'll give you my next paycheck. In fact, by assuming someone is a homophobe (with little evidence I might add)just because they would rather not have a certain topic discussed, aren't you being a little bit judgmental yourself?
Jeremy Preacher
76. Argenstock
Seriously, I think Faile's expectations on how Perrin should treat Berelain is messed up. I have the utmost sympathy for Perrin and would have done exactly what he did to Berelain if I were Perrin. A woman relentlessly flirting with a married man doesn't deserve to be treated like an ignorant child. Smack some sense into her! She's obviously selfish and wants Perrin to notice her (my sister's dog does this same thing! Barks at us when we pay attention to my dog instead of my sister's dog. She should have named the dog Berelain instead of Aviendha! lol). I irked me every time Perrin would smell Faile's aggravation and jealousy when he started yelling at Berelain. Hey Faile, he doesn't want Berelain around! He'll well at her if he wants to! I expected Faile to at least tell Berelain to quit the immature flirting and get her senses straight. I think Berelain needs her ears boxed or her ass kicked in order to understand that PERRIN HATES YOU.
*ends rant*
j p
77. sps49
tonyz @ 43-

Rand's treatment is due to Elaida's orders. She thinks it will make him "biddable". Normal male channelers taken are only kept until stilled at Tar Valon; the Dragon Reborn is the only one who must be kept around with his ability iintact. Galina, herself, would've been fine with no beatings except for Elaida's orders.

Re: sexuality- Female homosexual stuff, especially when both are reasonably cute, has a lot of positive reaction or no reaction, but not much negative reaction. Male homosexuality will give a positive reaction for a smaller subset of the audience, some neutral reaction, but a higher negative reaction. No author or editor or seller wants to do something that has a good chance of reducing their potential audience. This may be why the Red Ajah is hinted at more than once to be composed of lesbians, but we don't see a balancing male version.

And Shalon's vulnerability is caused by her marriage, not by her partner, I thought.

We shouldn't be throwing labels at TexasSedai. Be nice!
Jeremy Preacher
78. Balefiredjock

I don't think it is right to label anyone as agomophobe just becasue they didn't notice it. Quite frankly speaking, homosexuality is always hinted at, slipped in between. The sheer amount of detail that RJ provided could easily make anyone miss out on this when they are in the I-need-to-finish-this-book-and-know-the-end-daze. I have read the series almost 10 times and they still suck me in. I caught on the underlying homosexual subtext only on my later re-reads.

Btw, first time poster. Have lurked a lot.
Leigh, I love the way you write and your wit.
And Leigh, marry me ? .I have headesk-proof desks, large inheretence and am 18. ( can dark chocolates work as a bribe ?)
Jeremy Preacher
79. TexanSedai
Lannis @70
Thank you - quite eloquently said...much better than I actually said myself!

totaly agree with your commets and rationale.
Jeremy Preacher
80. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon

Your juvenile little change of my name is about the most clever part of your post.

I'm straight, and I've been hit over the head with a beer bottle thrown from a car while protesting CA prop 8 outlawing gay marriage. Therefore, I think that if nothing else I've earned the right to avoid lectures from some reactionary idiot who resorts to straw man attacks on a message board because they think it's ridiculous that a person isn't clamoring for more overt discussion of sexuality, HETERO OR HOMO, from an epic fantasy novel.

It's exactly people like you, speaking loudly saying nothing, that makes it so easy for heterocentric society to marginalize legitimate concerns about sexuality by attributing the arguments to ONLY people like you. Pounding your fist discussing such a non-issue PREVENTS, rather than foments, real discussion.
Jeremy Preacher
81. Balefiredjock
A homophobe I meant insted of a " homophobe".

I blame it on pudgy fingers and iPhone keypad.
James Jones
82. jamesedjones
63 Lionthrone

Please refer to Leigh's analysis of Righteous Smackdown in LOC part 28. You might be alienating the folks who would support you just because they don't support you in exactly the way you want them to.

That said, I love the discussions and disagreements on this post. Not because I love folks getting upset and emotional about stuff, but because I love honesty! I think I've mentioned on another reread post my annoyance with any dinner date that leaves me wondering what the person really believes because they are so unwilling to hop off the fence during the discussion. We should all be able to disagree with everyone about at least one thing (not necessarily the same thing). And we should all be able to agree with everyone about at least one thing. I would be seriously freaked out if I found someone that thought and felt and believed all the same things I do.

Edit: changed to get with getting. :)
Jeff Weston
83. JWezy
edlihs@46: No, I was just responding to an earlier post which seemed to indicate that it was very rare to see a warder killed. No judgement either way, it's all fiction anyway ;-)

The point about a direct POV is just that this was the only instance I could think of that wasn't off-screen. Not sure why, maybe RJ had a tough time showing how the baddest of the bad can still get offed. I mean, do you portray them as having made a fatal mistake, or are they just not as good as they think they are, or is somebody else just better, yadda, yadda, yadda.

PS: Sorry for the off-topic post, I didn't mention gays at all!
James Jones
84. jamesedjones
83 JWezy

That's ok. I think I forgot to mention RHPS in the last reread post. :P
Sam Mickel
85. Samadai
Why do I imagine Leigh Laughing her ass off over the flame war she probably knew she was starting and Torie and Pablo grinding their teeth knowing they are going to have to calm people down
Jason Deshaies
86. darxbane
I think the killing of Warders is limited because of the effect it has on their Aes Sedai. It makes a great plot device. Oh, and I agree that they are portrayed as a bit superhuman, so knocking them off left and right would lower them a peg, and RJ already reduced one supposed uber-class into obscurity (I'm looking at you, Gray Man).
Jeremy Preacher
87. cps2195
I'm just hoping TGS doesn't have the wise ones performing some one power abortion on Elayne.
Jeremy Preacher
88. Lionthrone
Lannis, darxbane, and texan, good way to band together. Now you can all get together and stay in your comfortably colorless worlds and have a tea party.

Oh, and I'll send cookies. Chocolate cookies. Have a nice time!
James Jones
89. jamesedjones
88 Lionthrone

Wait! If we disagree with you, we get cookies?! Why wasn't I told this beforehand?

Edit: Can you throw in some snickerdoodles?
Jeremy Preacher
90. J.Dauro
edlihs @46
Didn't the black ajha take oats against reviling themselves?
Wow, I knew there was a reason I liked my Quaker oatmeal in the morning. ;^)

Lionthrone @51
Rand is not lecherous (lechery - inordinate indulgence in sexual activity.) Heck, he had to have each of his women trip him to get him into the sack. And he doesn't think it is right, but finally realizes he does love each of them. Mat might be considered a lecher. Of course it all depends on your definition of inordinate. (And I would be careful of saying that having multiple partners makes you a lecher, at least when Rhuarc is around. Aiel can be a bit touchy about these subjects.)

No one said Siuan and Moiraine are gay (meaning they do not like men in that way), they said they had had a gay relationship (meaning that they engaged in same gender sexual relations.) And I think we can trust RJ to know this.

rosetintdworld @58
IIRC Shalon would not be embarassed by exposure, she would be demoted and divorced (or the equivalent.) And that had nothing to do with lesbian sex, just to do with extra-marital sex.

TanchicoChico @60
I actually think some of us don't notice it because we know too many gay folks, and don't really care. If it's not needed in the story, or mentioned in passing, why should we care? And no, gay relations do not make me uncomfortable.

Lionthrone @63
Your logic here doesn't hold up. Just because someone doesn't mind homosexuality not being mentioned does not mean that they mind it being mentioned. Just as in any story I read, I want it included when it is part of the story, and not pushed in because someone wants to make a point.
Josh Davis
91. YoSoyElJosh
Reading some of the other responses, I'll provide my own.

I don't think we see an abundance of homosexual behavior in the series because the world in which they live doesn't allow for it.

This is a world where the population has been shrinking, where homes and careers and rights are still passed down through a family line. It's likely that several of our characters are gay, but can't live a comfortable lifestyle that way. They're expected to have children to work the farm, or work in the stables, until they're old enough to take over the business, or start their own.

Not many of the characters in this world can afford to remain single all of their lives. I don't think it's a mistreatment of sexuality - the only individuals who don't possess property and are impervious to public opinion are the Aes Sedai, and so they are free to engage in same sex relationships, though even they remain discrete.
Jason Deshaies
92. darxbane
Way to ignore what everyone is saying and continue to spew venom rather than admit you may have overreacted a little. And chocolate cookies would obviously be way too vibrant and tasty for us colorless fools; stale white bread will be just fine.
93. MasterAlThor
i wanted to say something about the whole homosexuality thing, but everyone has beat me to it.

Suffice to say that I believe that Jordan may have been uncomfortable with it. I do not have a military background. I am not a southern gent. I would not know the first thing about writing man on man love. It would be infinitely easier to write about women on women.

I don't know what exactly that makes me, but it is what it is.

Enjoy your weekend guys/gals
Jeremy Preacher
94. TexanSedai
Thanks for the peace offering Lionthrone! I like choco cookies so I'll take 'em, and snickerdoodles if you feel especially generous!!

I really do not know much about RJ, but I have to think that as an author, having your work so thoroughly discussed 3+ times a week by so many fans has to be a HUGE compliment! These posts are such an amazing tribute to author of such a wonderful body of work. I truly enjoy the opportunity to participate (when the work load allows) and I have learned so much about the series and characters that I missed when reading on my own. Thanks for the great discussions everyone!
Dorothy Johnston
95. CloudMist
Stepping out of lurker mode . . .

"No male gay characters in the WOT" -- does anyone remember Changu and Nidao from The Great Hunt -- the two guards from Fal Dara that Fain ultimately skins alive for Ingtar and co. to find? As Ingtar tell Rand "They always stayed togehter, even if they had to trade or do extra guard duty together." I've always assumed they were lovers, just as I've always assumed that Ingtar or Fain framed the guards so no one would suspect that Ingtar opened the gates for the Trollocs.
Jeremy Preacher
96. Rand al'Todd
You get several books into the Honor Harrington series before you discover that the Winston family (i.e. the QUEEN) is black.

Overall it puts race where it OUGHT to be: just a small tidbit of the description of a person. In a society which HAS racial equality, race NEVER becomes an issue.

In a society in which sexual preference is, in fact, left to the individual with no social prejudice, then sexual preference is not an issue.

Do we care who in the story is left handed?? We do seem to get some of the height bias (characters wanting to stand taller in order to loom over and intimidate others). We get a lot of jock vs wimp. We get a lot of hair color descriptions - and the Aiel tend to be red-headed - Are we supposed to get a "fiery Irishman" connotation? We are told certain women are blond - are those women portrayed as "dumb blonds"?

If race or sexual preference is essentially ignored in a story, it means that it is not important to the story. And the author has chosen NOT to invoke racial/sexual stereotypes.

If the first description of a character emphasizes or focuses on that character's race or sexual preference (or political leanings, or education level, or job, etc.) then one must assume that the author is trying to invoke stereotypes, even if the author intends to show us later that they don't really apply to the character (i.e. break the stereotype).

I grant the author the right to pick what features/characteristics are going to be important to the story. I do not deny the author's right to free speech by imposing a requirement that said author meet my interpretation of being politically correct.

IF the author offends me, I retain the right to be offended. If, as a result, I choose to not read/buy additional books by the author, I have exercised my rights.

Jordan exercised HIS right to make sexual orientation a minor issue, while making general gender relationship issues a BIG deal.

AND, just to make a point, IF Jordan was a homophobe, that's his bloody right!!! If you can't accept that, then YOU are the one who is hopelessly prejudiced.

End of rant.
Matthew Smith
97. blocksmith

Should have clarified and added that it was done without the use of the one power. What Mesaana does, through torture, was basically a lion vs. kitten and that's not badass by any stretch. Rand w/o the one power...that's the stuff of legends.

Good catch on was also done while trying to escape from Aes Sedai, so very good parallel.
Jeremy Preacher
98. Texansedai
Rand 'Al Todd @96
Very nicley said.
Lannis .
99. Lannis
TexanSedai @ 79: No problem, anytime. :)

Samadai @ 85: re: Leigh, Tori and Pablo... I was just thinking the same thing... ;)

Lionthrone @ 88: re: colourless worlds... I like to respond to people and have a respectful discussion. If you are going to blatantly and incorrectly project what you feel is my opinion, feel free. But rest assured that what you apparently think I believe is not what I do believe. And something else I believe is that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all... so this will be my last post directed your way. Thanks for your time.

jej @ 89: I make some killer snickerdoodles!
100. PhantomIce
I was so sure we'd have so may plot points to discuss on this pivotal chapter for Rand but I guess our discussions have derailed considerably. Still enjoyed them though :-)

Just can't comment on the love triangle since it's going to continue for many more books to come. bleh

Always thought the fact that Rand was able to kill two Warders bare handed (off screen) was this really subtle note to remind us that Rand had become quite the bad ass even by this point.

I believe that Selena really is AGHHHHH enough to think that she can get Rand to marry her with or without items to control him but as someone pointed out she had already spoken to Sammael and perhaps she believed he would give her the item as soon as she called him and showed him Rand.

And really poor Rand, bad enough he's destined to go insane and die (to his mind at least) while saving the world, now he has to get stuck in a box, regularly tortured and watch one of the loves of his life be beaten as well. Like that's not gonna make him insane or at the very least give him a serious case of PTSD.

perhaps cooler heads will have prevailed by morning, enjoy your weekend all
Jeremy Preacher
101. Shyft
I can no longer remember the source, but RJ once described his culture building as making tree-like diagrams. The basic premise is that he selects some basic cultural traits, then begins to infer what must be true in order for those traits to be internally consistent. This process continues until a family-tree type structure is built with a whole slew of cultural characteristics. He knew he was finished when he started to get conflicting inferences - the conflicts made the cultures seem real.

My observation based on this process is that RJ wrote from the bottom of his trees. The little details and conflicts that he devised about each culture are the tidbits he used to teach the readers about it. I'm willing to bet that increased incidence of lesbianism showed up at the bottom of the tree for Aes Sedai (with the causal nodes being cultural isolation from the opposite sex, presence of a anti-male group, etc).

The conclusion is that homosexuality shows up primarily with female characters simply because they have the only culture that includes it as part of the tree. Other cultures include homosexuality (male and female), but they are not driven by the culture itself and therefore don't show up on the cultural trees. Another way of stating this is that seeing how lesbianism works in the White Tower gives us information about the culture there. Since homosexuality is considered generally unimportant in Randland, seeing it in other cultures doesn't really give us any information.
Jeremy Preacher
102. Argenstock
about all this sexual orientation stuff:
I agree with 96, Rand al'Todd. If RJ wanted to make it a minor thing in his story, he as the right.
When I write, I never add sexual orientation to characters. The reason? I don't really care about it. If you're gay, so be it. Doesn't bother me. I just don't find it a big deal to write about different sexual orientations. I also leave out sexual orientation in my stories because it's not a plot or plot device. It won't help me to have a gay character. Sure, it might not HURT it, but it doesn't help. Don't fix something if it's not broken, right? It's not a crime to NOT add gay male characters when there are the same with females. If someone was to write about winter, would it be a crime NOT to have summer? Maybe RJ felt the need to have a lesbian character because he felt that it helped/added to the story. Maybe he felt that a gay male character just didn't help the story? for what reasons he did what he did, I don't understand, and I don't really care. It's his book to write. I'm good with that. If someone wants to write a book antagonizing gay people, it's their right. If they want to write a book glorifying homosexuality, it's their right, too. As Rand al'Todd said, it's our right to not read it.
paul Hend
103. tugthis
As a commentator Leigh is doing her job to. . . provoke commentary. It seems like opening the can of worms of sexuality
is this weekend's installment. And I think Leigh seems to come right down in the middle. . . RJ does have a homosexual character appear here
in a pretty prominant role in the story. I think Leigh and many readers are scratching our heads wondering "so what?"

That is--is RJ using a character to make a point about homosexuality? I don't think so, and rather like the quote someone found that
said he treated homosexuality as a "matter of course". The other side of the coin is that in a work of art as this is, the
author's intent is not everything, and once let free on the public we "own" it as it were and can see in it what we want. I
can understand that some would see the portrayal of a single homosexual character in a bad light may be significant because of the
totality of RJ's fictional creation, and personal bio. There may be a point there. Personally I don't think so, but I think the Leigh's purpose
was achieved. . . .

I would not though, want to suggest that RJ should then assume some affirmative action policy in introducing characters whereby he now has
to introduce two "good" homosexuals, to counterbalance and outweigh the negative effects of the "bad" one. There is a world of social,
political, and other inequities in the world that RJ does not touch on that I think should, in deference, give him a pass on his brushing up
against this topic.

More signifcantly for me is the question of the treatment of Moggy by the Supergirls. Is it a difference in kind or degree from
the AS treatment of Rand?
Joseph Daly
104. Joed1414
The white cloaks are totally gay...all of them. Including Galad. Can't you tell he's too goodlooking all the women sigh over him. Valda had to die cause he fantasized about riding Morgaze.
Jeremy Preacher
105. Lionthronw
@darxbane..check yo self and other's comments before you start whining about people spewing venom. Maybe you should have a little pep talk with hewhocomeslikea(insert joke here). Classic straight irritation. When any gay person even bothers to criticize heteros they get all freaked out. Don't worry y'all (linguistic switch so Tex can keep up) heteros are still masters of the universe. Your world isn't coming crashing down.

Oh, and hewhoyaddayadda, save your vocal chords for a real rally where you can actually do some good. And let me know which one you go to and I'll be sure to alert the Christian right wing you're there. :)
106. PhantomIce
As a side note: for those who feel they absolutely must have homosexuality at the forefront of a fantasy novel, though it's not the in depth fantasy of WoT (but then so few are) I've always really enjoyed Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series in particular Magic's Pawn, Promise, Price trilogy. I think it's got a lot of really likeable gay characters whose difficulties in chosing that life style are discussed as a believable part of the plotline. and as a bonus there are even some truly evil characters who are hetero men who like torturing virgins.
Matthew Smith
107. blocksmith
Man-o-Manetheren @ 53

"A widely repeated piece of advice to writers is to “write about what you know.” I much prefer a lack of gay characters to ones that are written dishonestly. RJ was an amazing author and self aware being, and I think it was very smart of him to not go there. I love these books, and I cannot diminish them in any way for the portrayal or lack of GLBT characters."

Thank you for stating it much better than I @ 17:) my non-politically active hetero male viewpoint.
108. Freelancer
Apologies up front for something I usually do not do, which is post without reading the comments up-to-the-minute.

On lack of male same-sex relationships, whatever.
On Galina's girls-only thing being seen as part of her evilness, NOT.
All I care to present on that issue, except that if anyone out there is hoping for Brandon to correct this glaring miscarriage of relationship egalitarianism, don't hold your breath.

Berelain. Never liked her, never will, and this chapter cemented it.

Perrin. Trying for all he's worth to not do it wrong, couldn't yet figure out how to apply the information he got from Faile's parents. Poor wolfbrother.

Leigh, of course we know now what Faile expected, why she feels hurt. Perrin is treating Berelain as a strong individual, and treating Faile like Sea-Folk porcelain. Amused indifference is what he needs to show to that Mayener trollop.

Sulin. It wasn't having to curtsy to Dobraine that broke the camel's back. It was discovering that Rand had been kidnapped. We have Perrin's POV that the smell of her shame is almost overwhelming. To his nose. That does not mean her shame has hit its ceiling. Also, awesome on her part to take one look at the sword/belt/buckle and know he's been taken. Clearly Berelain realized the same thing, to have brought them wrapped up to Perrin. Next, she doesn't say "They have taken the Car'a'carn!", but "They have taken my first-brother!". Nifty. Last thing on Sulin. Her thought that Rhuarc would be beating Berelain day and night if she really was his daughter, is based on her not reporting the "advice" from the Aes Sedai for her to go back to Mayene. Sulin sees immediately that such information might have warned that the Aes Sedai intended something against Rand.

Rand > Gawyn. Gawyn beats two warder trainers, but with a sword. Rand is still shielded and wipes out an armed warder bare-handed in seconds, uses that one's sword on the next. Thanks, Lan. Thanks, Rhuarc. Also, Lews Therin answers him, directly, for the first time, and Leigh skipped it. Significance alert!

Min. See? Rand warns his ladies to stay away, and this is why. He can't bring himself to keep Min away, and now she suffers for it. He loses his hand in KoD for it because he can't tell her to stay somewhere safe, and won't let her get hurt.

Erian. I thought Myrelle was the top warder-bonding sister. She lost two to Rand, and needs to "go to her remaining Warders and comfort them". This has the sound of more than two, but is at least two. Egads.

Sevanna. How did she convinced Wise Ones to murder a fellow WO, just for a frame-up of Aes Sedai? Are all Shaido this honorless? Must be. It's one thing for a wench like Sevanna to concoct such a heinous scheme. It's actually worse for the channeling Aiel to carry it out.


Rand bonds MinAviyne after already bonded to another channeler, Alanna, so no worries about that.
Hilde Sørensen
109. edlihs
Maybe they are not important enough? It does seem like a pattern. The famous to many character syndrome? ;-)
and darxbane@86
The warder bond again. Always makes me wonder if all of them are seen from WOT-perceptive such. Or is it the gleeman's stories again. RJ trying to show the true side of them? Some of them most be just a pear of hands to bring books for some brown aes sedai.
Rich Gold
110. richg25
Poor Rand. If he could have only stayed calm, he might have realized he was still holding all the cards. What would the (non-black) AS do if he told them he would be sitting out TG due to their treatment - that they could fight the DO all by themselves? But, of course, that's not in the plot.
111. PhantomIce
@102. Argenstock
"Maybe RJ felt the need to have a lesbian character because he felt that it helped/added to the story."

I agree, for one, I don't think that many people realized Galina was gay based on this particular chapter it's our knowledge of KoD that's making us so sure she's a lesbian.

In terms of plot device, again in KoD when Elaida mused to herself that maybe she would renew her "friendship" with the Salidar AS ferret (sorry can't remember her name either) my first thought was that RJ was using the whole pillow friend from Tower days as a plot device to give extra reasons for using the ferret AS to get into Elaida's confidences. It's just more believable that your ex girlfriend wants to spend time with you than just some random friend from freshman year.
Jeremy Preacher
112. rosetintdworld
Rand al'Todd @ 96 I agree with you about 95%. I especially like the point that when issues, whether social, racial, or sexual, aren't stressed, they can become accepted as a matter of course. Jordan also does this, by the way--it took me about two readthroughs to realize that Tairens and Semirhage were black, and Borderlanders resembled Asians, simply because Jordan's descriptions mentioned those details so offhandedly. A lovely way to make a point about race.

My problem is that, with Galina at least, sexual orientation IS important to the plot. It is important to emphasize just how creepy and abnormal she is, and to make her eventual fate ring true with poetic justice.

That bothers me.

It does not bother me enough to make me discount any of the thousands of things that I think The Wheel of Time does right, much less stop reading the series. While I respect your comment about reserving the right to stop paying attention to offensive material, it does hit a little close to something other people on this board have been saying that I don't respect. Namely, this is "just" fantasy, so we shouldn't be discussing social questions that it raises here. IMHO, the tradeoff with writing literature is that anyone at any time can and will discuss stylistic choices that you make or vexing issues that you raise--just for the sake of doing so. It's the greatest honor we can do Mr. Jordan, even when we do disagree with him.
Joseph Daly
113. Joed1414
Can't wait for Faile to die and Berelain to be there for Perrin. He deserves someone who isn't a total b*tch Darkfriend.
Jeremy Preacher
114. Joebuu
Re: Sevanna,
Leigh you mention in your recap that
Sevanna asks the Wise Ones if they can duplicate what the Aes Sedai are doing to hold Rand al’Thor, and Therava confirms they can.
I thought this was how Sevanna was going to control Rand. I guess she thought if she had a bunch of Wise Ones shielding the Car'a'carn then she wouldn't need Sammael's help.

On the sexuality, I just have to comment that when I first read the WoT I was in my middle teenage years so most off the sex references went right over my head. Nearly 15 years later I now have the experience of those years and they give me a different perspective. Before I only cared that the books had cool sword fights, awesome magic, and Mat. Now when I'm reading and RJ makes a vague reference or leaves it to your imagination I'm thinking, "Oh, that's what is going on here."
Jeremy Preacher
115. Rand al'Todd
RE Phantom Ice @ 100

Comment about Rand "stuck in a box, regularly tortured and watch one of the loves of his life be beaten as well."

Basically this is the super hero secret identity issue Rand has had from early on. It is exactly the reason he tried to keep Elayne and Aviendha safely away from himself.

We already had a POV that he felt guilty about being too weak to send Min away also. It has been one of his greatest fears that some or all of those he loves will be hurt due to their association with him. Now his fear is proven perfectly justified.
Jeremy Preacher
116. Roywa
First recap I haven't really liked. Thats quite a compliment considering how many you have done Leigh. This was such an important chapter, and I think that you barely brushed the content, and we so focused on something that you obviously are passionate about that so much was missed.

This isn't a romance novel. There is some reproduction, sex and general relationships that must occur to develop the characters. The thing I find amazing is that no one has slandered Jordan or Sanderson based on their faith yet. Usually that is the first step in these type of discussions, and I'm pleasantly pleased to see that that hasn't occured.

I think a few of the comments here have sadly been hurtful to the memory of Jordan, and if I were his wife I would definitely be sad to read this thread and a couple of lines of Leigh's post.

Jordan wrote the story the way he wanted it. That's an authors choice. I have always looked at this as a fantasy world and not the real world. Jordan obviously felt that his readers or he himself wanted to have more relationships focused on later in the series, and did insert both more hetero and homo relationships. An author who wants to sell their books writes to the people who will read them. I have to say that most of us that read the fantasy genre are more liberal and willing to see the world more as it is than as it was.

I hated the comment above about the fact that people who don't notice something are biased against it (I'm paraphrasing what I interpreted from several posts). If I don't notice the penny on the ground near me, do I hate money? If I don't notice something my friend did for me, does that mean I don't appreciate my friend? Its a weak and unfair argument.
117. PhantomIce

I agree. But despite that he still hasn't sent Min away even though it's cost him a hand so there's still hope that he'll find his humanity somewhere in all that steel he's wrapped around his soul.
Francesco Paonessa
118. ErrantKnave
For what it's worth, Leigh, I am A-okay with you discussing the finer points of RJ's writing, including the FAILs and omissions. I thought that was part of the point of all this. It's all WOT related, yet it relates to the real world as well. Where is the problem with that?

Anyway, this re-read was typically great. Can't wait for Monday. LEIGH/RAND SMASH? One can only hope.
Alice Arneson
119. Wetlandernw
Let me just say that I'm grateful for Jordan's lack of dealing with homosexuality in this book. There are some fantasy authors who simply cannot write a book without major in-your-face gay characters, and the truly annoying thing about it is that they are rarely plot-relevant. I mean, when the sexual preference (or even involvement) of a particular character is actually relevant to what's going on in a plot, fine. I might not like it, and I might not bother to read the rest of the book, but at least it has a purpose in being there. When it has nothing to do with the plot and is clearly thrown in just because the author obviously wants everyone to know that he or she thinks its a good thing, it just irritates me beyond bounds. At that point, I refuse to read anything else by the author, because I feel they aren't worth my time. And before you accuse me of anything, I do the same with politics, religion and several other issues. If an author can't weave their views into the plot in a meaningful way and have to rely on smunching it in there willy-nilly because they just want to make their point, I'm out of there. It's just not good writing - or at least not good fiction.

As for "there’s a distinct possibility that addressing the issue of homosexuality simply never occurred to Jordan" - why on earth should it?? Does every book have to address every possible questionable practice in existence to be valid? Maybe I'm wierd, but I don't read fantasy for PC commentary.

As for the way he used Galina's preferences here, I didn't have any problem with it. It actually does have some relevance to her character and the things she does, so why not?

And.... since that's all my personal opinions, I shall break my usual rule and post this without reading all the comments first. Hopefully I won't injure either my head or my desk reading them...
Jacy Clark
120. Amalisa
A new explanation for thunder:

"Honey, it's just Robert Jordan *headdesking* in heaven..."

The genuinely evil and obnoxious heteros far and away outweigh the evil and obnoxious GLBT's, eh? And I can't help but wonder how someone would feel about the Galina reveal (if it really can be called that considering that a number of people never got it until the re-read) if they read the series in chronological order (i.e., "New Spring" first) rather than in the order the books were written? Knowing about "pillow friends" way back in the beginning would make Galina just evil Galina - not evil GAY Galina.

Guess it's all about perspective, huh. Funny, that.
Joseph Daly
121. Joed1414
@116 Couldn't agree with you more. I find that minorities like to throw that minority in your face if you don't notice it. They don't get enough attention. So what you're Gay or a Lesbian Black Hispanic Asian European scadinavian. Big Deal. I'm living my life you live yours. This is a great story just cause that stuff isn't constanly in you're face doesn't make it a mistake by Mr. Jordan. It is not a major plot device and shame on anyone who thinks it should be.
Jeremy Preacher
122. TexanSedai
OK Lionthronw now ya did it. You can trash on my persnal beliefs all you want - BUT DON"T MESS WITH TEXAS. Them theres fightin words. I am truly sorry that you are so closed minded that you can not and will not have a mature discussion with someone holding a different viewpoint. Not opposing neccessarily, but different.


Good point tugthis @103 - you would think that the AS would be worried about a male channeler loosing his sanity, and what do they do? Stuff him in a box and torture him. Thats really going to help the sanity level. These chapters were some of the hardest in the series for me to read. But the ending of his captivity was absolutely some of the best.
123. PhantomIce
@120. Amalisa

A new explanation for thunder:

"Honey, it's just Robert Jordan *headdesking* in heaven..."

love it


* wipes tears from eyes *
after such intense discussions I needed that thnx
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
So you know, here's a quote direct from RJ's blog on the subject, and the only comment he's made on it that I've read:
For jofraz, I have gay and Lesbian characters in my books, but the only time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I haven’t been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a matter of course. Remember, Cadsuane is surprised that Shalon and Ailil were so hot to hide that they had been sharing a bed even knowing how prim and proper Cairhienin are on the surface. Well, for many it is just on the surface.
So he just didn't feel that it was important to the plot, maybe? For my part, aside from my own opinions on homosexuality, I've always felt that a lot of things should have been tightened up anyway, so adding in more irrelevant details would not make me any fonder of either the writing or the editing.
Sean Arthur
125. wsean
123- RJ headdesking in heaven?

More like RAFOMAO
Jeremy Preacher
126. Lionthrone
Oh no, now I've done it. I've gone and messed with Texas. You know, you, darxie, and he who needs to shorten his user name, are just full of scintillating ideas.

Oh, and to Joed1414, way to say it like a white, borefest. Soudns like someone who's never been the target of a bigot.

And to Roywa, yeah, if you have a black friend and you are completely blissfully ignorant to their struggles, or to any other minority that suffers a lot of prejudice, you do suck. And you're not a good friend. THAT's what the comments meant.
Leigh Butler
127. leighdb
Lionthrone or Lionthronw:

I think you missed the part where I said to keep it civil. No ad hominem attacks, please.

If you can't argue an issue without turning it into personal attacks on your opponents, then you need to go back to Arguing School.
Jeremy Preacher
128. J.Dauro
Joed1414 @114

Sorry, but unless you can convince Perin that he needs a major wardrobe change, it ain't gonna happen. And blacksmiths tend to avoid white.

rosetintdworld @112
If Galina was male, and had the thought that he would let Erian beat Rand so he could score, would you consider that an indictment of heterosexuality?

I do not consider Galina's desire for another woman an indictment of homosexuality, I do consider what she does to accomplish it an indictment of Galina.
Kev Hamm
129. cavynmaicl
Ok, I realize that I'm full-on weird, and being a big ol' 'mo, I have a different opinion, but here it is.

Galina, while being a world-class, nearly forsaken-class, villian, is also shown to be able to feel because she does see beauty around her. What's creepy and horrible is that we only get to see it when it's a POV of hers, and, well, she's creepy and horrible at the same time as seeing beauty. That easily makes for a very uncomfortable read.

Which is why I think it was brilliance. Had she been hetero and had something in her head along the lines of what Graendal would think, i.e. "He's a good looking enough boy, but still just a jumped up farmer" when looking at Rand, it wouldn't have been as creepy.

So, for my take on it, yes, she's a lesbian, and yes, she's creepy and evil, but it's the normal parts of her lesbian outlook - noticing someone's beauty - that juxtaposed with her creepiness and horribleness that really make her stand out as a character.

That's my take. I'd like a cookie, too, please.
Rob Munnelly
130. RobMRobM
@126 - You are new to the forum, and enjoy the benefits of latitude, but your comments are heading down towards the troll side of the street. Don't be surprised to get a virtual visit from the moderators.

For my part, I would appreciate it if you would dial down the name calling and focus on substantively contributing to the discussion. We've had people have rough entries to the forum and then turned into really thoughtful contributors. I hope you can do the same. Rob
Joseph Daly
131. Joed1414
I've been biggoted before buddy. Everybody has no matter what color they are. Just cause I'm white I can't have an opinion? Just cause I'm white I'm a Bore? Not cool man no matter what race you happen to be. I do have many friends of differrent races. Its the content of the character thats important MLK said that. I'm no racist.
Andrew Blackburn
132. ajbcool
Honestly, I never noticed the existence of gay people in the Wheel of Time. At least, until I heard from other sources (like here and the WoT Encyclopedia) about the so-called 'pillowfriends' and what that meant...

If the clues are in the book, they totally flew right above my head.
133. Freelancer

You ignored Leigh's plea:
Remember: intelligent debate yay, ad hominem attacks and vituperation nay.

You have chosen to villify people even after they have expressed openness and interest in the side of an issue with which you obviously relate. In other words, many would consider these people allies in your corner from a debate standpoint; so you call them names, judge them, assign unkind motives to their words with no justification.

You do yourself no favors. Now the question is, are you mature enough to take neutrally offered advice?

Edit: Heh, hi Leigh! ::points @127:: What she said!
Jeremy Preacher
134. Lionthrone
Joed1414, if you don't want to come across as intolerant then don't post stuff like "I find that minorities like to throw that minority in your face if you don't notice it. They don't get enough attention."

And Rob, "troll side of the calling"?

Just saying.
Jeremy Preacher
135. rosetintdworld
J. Dauro @128

I appreciate your thought exercise, and I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion. But I would never mean to suggest that Jordan included Galina in the story in order to "indict homosexuality." All I am suggesting is that by LARGELY ignoring homosexuality, and mentioning it only with regards to young girls who will "grow out of it," and contemptible villains, Jordan--probably unintentionally--reinforces some age old negative stereotypes that leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Jeremy Preacher
136. Lionthrone
@134 is that neutral enough for you Freelancer?
James Jones
137. jamesedjones
122 TexanSedai

Just wanted to remind all of us Native Texans out there, DONT MESS WITH TEXAS is a... well... it's a litter campaign. A very funny, full of state pride, litter campaign. A lot of folks outside of Texas don't realize it, 'cause they only hear what they want to hear.

Edit: Changed to A lot of folks outside of Texas don't realize it,
Kurt Lorey
138. Shimrod
Don't forget Katerine Alruddin.

Whoever does the stats around here should start watching to see if comments about GLBT characters comes close to comments about the "s" word.

Very interesting observation about writing from one's own socio-cultural environs, Leigh.
Joseph Daly
139. Joed1414
Haha. I'm not tolerant you are absolutly right. I'm not tolerant of anybody gaining or losing anything because of being in the minority or the majority. I understand there are hatful people out there thats a given. I hate Faile. I save my hate for fictional characters not real people.
Jason German
140. illian
"(Parenthetically, okay, so somehow Rhuarc has decided Berelain is like a near-daughter, or whatever the actual term for that would be for the Aiel. Hey, they have near-sisters and brothers, why not near-daughters/sons? But... why? I don’t think we ever get an explanation for this. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, but it continues to bug me.)"

I've always read that as being the Aiel's way of signaling that this person is almost family to them. The Aiel know and trust Rhuarc's judgment so they extend at least some of that to his "near-daughter" (Rhuarc likes her that much, there has to be SOMETHING there). It also warns the hotheads about who else they might have to deal with if they do something unwise.

@10 Aiel and the "treekiller" thing:
I think its a case of the Aiel imposing their own way of doing things on outsiders (again). If Rhuarc went crazy and attempted to chop Avendesora down, his clan wouldn't hesitate to take him down. They figured the Cairhien "clan" should have done the same to Laman.

BrokeBlack Tower may be the most hysterical thing I've read on here in a while.

For me, within the text, its a testament to RJ's writing ability that Galina's evil and lesbianism are each utterly distinct aspects of her personality. She is a person who has gone evil who happens to be a lesbian. Outside of the text, however, the fact that Galina is our first relatively blatant homosexual and is evil to boot is troubling.

As I see it, the main meta problems with homosexuality in the books is that we have cast of well into the double digits, if not triple, and we have a terribly small sample of non-heterosexual characters. The female characters who display it either have "prison sexuality" where its a case of they do it because there aren't any other options or they are flat out bad people (or at least ones we as readers have few reasons to like). On the male side, it is either absent or muted to the point of near invisibility. There is a reason that 'SILENCE = DEATH' is an activist slogan. People get wound up about a section of the population effectively being disappeared. It makes ignoring injustices easier.

I don't think RJ meant anything by it and this is the writer equivalent of a blind spot. Unfortunately, its a blind spot that is too similar to one that non-heterosexuals have to struggle with in real life and there is a lot of resentment over seeing it blithely replicated in a favorite author's books.
Jeremy Preacher
141. Lionthrone
A thoughtful comment Joe, but unfortunately comments like:

"I find that minorities like to throw that minority in your face if you don't notice it. They don't get enough attention."

Only come across as one way to people whether they're fictional or real.

See Freelancer, I can do it.
Jeremy Preacher
142. rosetintdworld
Illian @ 140

What a beautiful expression of everything I have been trying to get across and then some. Thank you.
James Jones
143. jamesedjones
Is this a new record on posts? It's not even 5 hours old.
Rich Gold
144. richg25
You know, I've read a lot of fiction where religion and society interplay and it is very rare that my religion gets mentioned. Of course, its a small religion - no more than a few percent of the population - so I'm not surprised. We don't seem to get noticed even though we've faced our share of persecution. Usually it's Christianity that plays the major role, of course. But it's never bothered me that we don't get mentioned in most fiction. Should it?
Rich Gold
145. richg25
143. jamesedjones - a new record for posts??? I doubt it. In fact the postings have slowed down from the earlier books I think. Of course there were those infamous days when Leigh was gone and the count broke the servers!
Joseph Blaidd
146. SteelBlaidd
I compleatly agree with Wetlandernw. The only reasion we should know anything about anyone's orientation/philosophy/religon/ethnicity in a book is because it has plot relevence.

A great example is the only reason Rowling even mentioned Dumbledore is gay is because the screen write for the movies was attempting to put in some romantic tension between him and Ms. McGonegal, and she had to explain why that didn't work. Knowing that he is adds some aditional undrstanding to his behavior, especialy in the last book, but it's not something Harry needed to know so he never brought it up.

Food for Thought: An observation I ran in to

"The secret of the popularity of lesbian/Gay porn among stright males/females is the self-insert fanfic."
147. Freelancer
What I see, Lionthrone, is that you cannot accept the words of someone with whom you have decided to disagree. You think you are being neutral? I'm so sorry. That's ok, we all go through that. We also turn 14.
Jeremy Preacher
148. Lionthrone
Oh boo hoo Freelancer. Pointing out someone's words is hardly being mean to them. Just reminding them of what they've said.

I would insert a scalding comment here to match your own, but I'm not feeling as childish as that.

Big hug.
Joseph Daly
149. Joed1414
141 Sorry I don't take stuff as serious as you bud.
Anyway like I said the Disparity of gay/straight characters in no way takes away from the story or paints Jordan as a Homophobe IMHO. I don't think he started writing this story saying I think i'll make the Character who saves the world Gay or lesbian thatd be a twist they never saw coming. And I'd get street cred from all the Gay/lesbian community and theyd buy my book. You don't write a story that way unless you have a marketing agenda. His was to write a great fanatasy Novel. Mission Accomplished
Hilde Sørensen
150. edlihs
Aiel has different ideas. Besides Rhuarc is married to them.

Galina, Sevanna none of them seem to understand what "drives" people. According to the Thirteenth Depository Rands torture is a messiah parallel. Doesen't make it any better that almost everyone ignores it afterwords... Agrees on PTSD. Read about schizophrenia and split personality disorder on wikipedia. Creepy how many symptoms fitted.

Was it Fains speech of "tie a string to someone he knows" to Elaida that brought Mins' kidnapping?

I think the WT isn't a bad symptom, rather that they (novice/accepted) was strongly kept apart from the opposite gender. The pillow-friends is just a way to say they are human and have human "drives". It is in my view not a negative picture of them, rather the WT isolation and belief that if they had contact with males they would run away. Mins' viewing of a novice and a farm with children comes to mind. Siuns' idea that the "harmful" influence/future was averted...

Or WOT fans?

They know he is going to go mad. They wouldn't dream of thinking THEY were the cause of it. After al they believe they know best.
Vincent Lane
151. Aegnor
A few things you have to keep in mind when wondering why we don't see any gay male characters in the story. We have a limited set of male characters for which we see enough to know their sexuality. Then on top of that, homosexuality is rarer than you might think. I think the number I last heard was 2% of the population. So with the limited character set, and the small % of overall population that are gay, it is not inconceivable at all that we wouldn't have encountered a gay male character yet.
Jeremy Preacher
152. Lionthrone
@149 Don't worry Joe, no one here is taking this commentary very seriously. I love WOT too, that's why I know so many inane details of all the books. And I think Jordan actually was trying to include homosexuality in his books. Especially the later ones with more and more inclusion of lesbians. Gay males on the other hand, I don't think he was quite ready. And that's okay.

@151 don't believe all the random numbers you hear.

And on a non-related issue, yeah I wish Galad would be gay, but unfortunately, Berelain is going to snag him.
Jeremy Preacher
153. TexanSedai
@137 JEJ

HAHA - I am well aware of that - as a daily driver of Texas highways I see the signs regularly :)
It was just a joke - funny funny haha - because Lionthrone was all let me dumb down the lingo so Tex can keep up.

Joed 1414
Faile hater here as well. And her stupid games in these chapters with Perrin is one of the main reasons. But alas, I don't think Berelain and Perrin are meant to be. I think she winds up with Galad to be the RW equivalent of Brad an Angelina. The hottest guy gets the hottest girl. Now that is something I am looking forward to :)
Joseph Daly
154. Joed1414
It does seem to be going that way doesn't it? A shame really. Women know a man that good looking in real life couldn't possibly be straight.JK IDK This is a work of fiction though. It would be funny if it was a different white cloak though. Maybe Bornahld or Byar lol
Jeremy Preacher
155. thelastgoodkiss
(Someone may have already mentioned this, but I didn't feel like reading through 154 comments in order to find out.)

Anyway, the reason that Faile is so hurt by Perrin's actions in this chapter is not because she thinks that he wasn't angry enough with Berelain--it was because he was angry with Berelain at all.

In Saldean culture, women like to know that their husbands can command them. In other words, the fact that Perrin yells at Berelain yet refuses to yell at Faile hurts her feelings. It's like every time he yells at Berelain, he's saying that she's more competent and able to handle his temper than Faile is. From Faile's perspective, Perrin is treating her like an idiotic porcelain figure and treating Berelain like an equal.

I guess, in a way, she's sorting of testing him. All she really wants is for him to yell at her and say, "Faile, STOP BEING SO FREAKING JEALOUS. I love you, and you should KNOW THAT. I have not been flirting with Berelain, and you need to respect me and trust me!"
But, because she's an irrational girl (Sidenote: As of KoD, Faile's only 17.), she refuses to actually communicate her feelings to him.
Jeremy Preacher
156. TexanSedai
Joed1414 @154 -

Ok Bornhald and Byar are just gross. I am going to have that mental pic in my head - but wouldn't that be a huge twist no one saw coming?
Jeremy Preacher
157. chapterdad
Dear Leigh:

I want to thank you for all of the work you are going to so that we can remember what has happened, before we read the new book.

However, I would like to request that you remember that Jordan seldom uses profanity. It would be a more pleasurable reread for me if you would try to minimize the same. I really do appreciate it.

I like to get into these fantisy stories as an escape from our every day lives. I would also like to say that there are many of us who appreciate Jordan's minimizing the gay speak, as we have a different view than the "progressives" do, and believe what the Bible says.

Anyway, please continue to do your magic with the reread and believe that we appreciate you for it.
Jeremy Preacher
158. Hari Coplin
I think Faile is hurt because she thinks Perrin thinks Berelain is more of a woman than she. It is the thing Deira talked about. In Faile's opinion, Perrin is treating her as a weakling, while taking Berelain seriously. She should be ignoring Berelain, making a fool of her in a condescending manner, instead of giving her his passions like that. It hurts Faile, that Perrin thinks she cannot stand being confronted, as well, that Perrin treats her like a child of some sort. "Oh no, whatever is wrong," instead of "You listen to me, fool woman." As she did with Berelain there.

Perrin unfortunately, because of him always having been bigger and stronger than everyone else, has this sort of patronising outlook on the abilities of others-- probably he is not aware of it, but this is why any Aes Sedai or Wise Ones he meets want to pound some reason into him, that just because he is physically strong does not mean he is always right in the end when it matters. I think Berelain's actions are as much explained by his actions toward her in the Stone. Basically, as she does there, sweeping the floor with Perrin, she wants to prove absolutely, that she, a beautiful woman, is the more capable, despite Perrin arrogantly ignoring her and her requests in Tear.

Well, Perrin does annoy me personally...: aside from the previous quality of assumedly being the one ultimately in charge, he assumes he must decide on all matters which he hears about, when he does not know so much about many things. That can be a good quality in a leadership position, but I hope something shakes it out of him, makes him doubt his own actions and wisdom for once, since without knowing it he does skirt around some fairly dodgy ground.
Jeremy Preacher
159. TexanSedai
chapterdad @157 - very nicely put.

harrycoplin @ 158 - nice observations. I really didn't understand what Faile wanted from Perrin until some of the very intelligent and thoughtful responses in this post. And I agree, Perrin does err on the annoying side after the first few books :)
Joseph Daly
160. Joed1414
What does the bible have to do with WOT???
Jeremy Preacher
161. Lionthrone
If these posts lose all the hilarity and depth derived a little use of profanity and the occasional hot-button issue well, I have to say, just wouldn't be as interesting.
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
Hey, why can't I edit my own comment today?? I just wanted to note on 124 that someone already quoted that... sorry for the repeat.
Vincent Lane
163. Aegnor

Well, you made me look it up (as I was just going by memory. A 2008 study put the number at 2-3%, an exit poll from the 2008 Election put the number at 4%. So it is right around there. Australia did an extensive study, and found the numbers to be 1.6% gay, and 0.9% bi for men, 0.8% lesbian and 1.4% bi for women.

The media influences our perceptions on the percentages. In the 50's there were absolutely no homosexuals on TV and in the movies (or nearly so) and it wasn't talked about in the news either. So someone living in that time period may think there weren't any (or nearly so). While people living to today may think the percentages are higher, due to the media. Neither perception is correct. The percentage of homosexuals in the '50s was likely very similar to what it is today, it is just then there was no media exposure to it.

All I'm trying to say, is that given the percentages that studies have shown, and the relatively few male viewpoints or in-depth character analysis, it is not suprising that we haven't seen a gay male character.
Noneo Yourbusiness
164. Longtimefan
Argh. I am currently having some "headdesk" time and I will get in "comment mode" later.

I will at this point agree that the response of Lewis Therin to Rand in the box is fairly significant and should be a comment point.

for now I will just mention that I am not a cultual or political "topic" and terming such things so is uninteded diminishment of an existing reality.

More in the calmer evening.
Jeremy Preacher
165. Lionthrone
You are a dear for looking Aegnor. Now was it out of genuine curiosity or just to prove a point? The point I didn't make earlier is that even with new censuses finding out who's gay is impossible with all of the closeted people out there (and you better believe they are legion) and the self-loathing because of the way society treats gay people those censuses are going to be way off. I theorize, and this is based on nothing more scientific than my own judgement, it's at least 15% if not more.

But here's the real kicker Aegnor, there are gay people every you look. You just don't know. And if there are gay people wherever you are, and wherever I am, you can believe that wherever Rand swings his...uh, dragon scepter, there are gonna be boys who like the boys and ladies who are getting down with the pillow talk.

Jeremy Preacher
166. alreadymadwithtalkofgays
Man-0-Manetheran @53
LOL. Reminds me of a running joke around here about metrosexuals.

Joed1414 @104
No, Valda had to die because he did not stop at fantasizing about riding Morgase.

And no, I did not automatically take any of these to mean Galina was gay. Just uber misandristic. And yeah.. BrokeBlack Tower..

As for Faile, I practically believe Berelain is pursuing Perrin just to get a rise out of her. And no she doesn't tell Perrin what she wants, because everybody knows what she wants is twisted.
Eugenie Delaney
167. EmpressMaude

"However, I would like to request that you remember that Jordan seldom uses profanity. It would be a more pleasurable reread for me if you would try to minimize the same. I really do appreciate it."

Actually, the Wheel of Time series is heavily laden with profanity. Mat actually has a filthy mouth, and Elayne lapses into vulgarities at times. It's just that it's a different set of vocabulary. Every time someone refers to your "bloody horse" or exclaims "burn me" they're basically saying your "fucking horse" or "fuck me."

I for one would also really appreciate it if Leigh used more profanity.

"I like to get into these fantisy stories as an escape from our every day lives. I would also like to say that there are many of us who appreciate Jordan's minimizing the gay speak, as we have a different view than the "progressives" do, and believe what the Bible says."

Chattel slavery, polygamy, stoning and that eating shrimp is immoral?

Or more along the lines of judge not, lest ye be judged, love thy neighbor and do unto others as you would have others do unto you?
Joseph Daly
168. Joed1414
I thought he was lying when he said he rode her just to piss Galad off. I thought she escaped before he had a chance to do any riding. I could be wrong though
I was going to go into some of that but I thought it'd be mean. Like without "Progressives" there would be no progress which would be just fine with most of the religions in the world. Focusing on such a small thing as cusing and not dealing with the real issues in this world.
Ron Garrison
169. Man-0-Manetheran
Wow. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was a love fest compared to today's scorcher. What with all the lyin' thrown, gay speak (not sure what that is, missy) and such.

Love ya, Leigh, but you lit a fire today. Pass the shrimp.
Don Barkauskas
170. bad_platypus
Joed1414 @168:

There's a Morgase POV where she remembers thinking she was strong but that a little time with the Questioners' torture led her to agree to have sex with Valda. It's not explicitly stated, but the implication is clear. Combined with Valda's statement, it's pretty safe to assume it actually happened.
Sara H
171. LadyBelaine
Brokeback Tower?


I personally take a small degree of offense at many of the "traditions" that RJ included in his all-female societies, which include naked slap fights, bondage and masochism, and institutional schoolgirl lesbianism. All of which are indications about what Our Dear Author found titillating. Of course, in any group of women, the spectrum of sexuality will be represented, but I highly doubt that the novices and Accepted would head in a Sapphic direction due to propinquity and access anymore than sorority sisters would, or in the numbers that he came to suggest in the later books.

Can you imagine him having a clique of homosexual Asha'man, or a 'companion-bonded' Aiel warrior society? What about a cultural tendancy toward male homosexuality in Illian? Such things are are certainly in the spectrum of human society, and with historical precedent but there is a nary a whisper of a suggestion at all that, I dunno, maybe things are a little "brokeback' among the Younglings, for example. We are to get the impression that Aiel sister-wives engage in homosexual relations with each other, right? Is there a corollary suggestion that Myrelle's multiple warder/sex partners sometimes get a little funky with each other? I doubt it.

The undercurrent that Red Ajah is reputedly filled with man-hating lesbos was not accidental, and he didn't do himself any favors by making two of the most vile characters (Elaida and Galina) gay. And predatory lesbians, at that, using their authority to compel submission.

To RJ's credit, he did disarm 'Red Ajah=lesbians' subtext later, but then he threw in Toveine, who although preferring heterosexual relations, likes them with young boys "she can dominate." Not much of an improvement, imho.

(Don't even get me started about Gabrelle swooning with pleasure about how it feels to sleep with Logain and be under his thrall. )
Jacy Clark
172. Amalisa

Happy to provide a little comic relief... :D
Jeremy Preacher
173. peachy
@ 108 - I guess Myrelle is just the top Warder-bonKing Sister. Hey-ho!

@ 171 - A 'Sacred Band' style unit would have been a nice little quirk, and very historically appropriate, as you note. One of the Aiel societies would be perfect... and really, it's not too late to retcon it, Mr Sanderson - there are twelve of them for guys, and at least half have barely been mentioned, much less described in any detail. Besides, it's not like the Aiel broadcast ANY information about themselves to outsiders, so readers could easily buy it as something that just hadn't come up.

Another author/series that does solid battle/intrigue with organically gay major characters (ie, it's an important and 'natural' aspect of their identity rather than a talking point) is Turtledove's first Videssos series - a primary character, a secondary character, and later on an entire (small) culture, plus assorted spear-carriers.
John Massey
174. subwoofer
Holy ?!! Does no one work for a living anymore? Well, for me I was tremendously busy so I get to this 172 -and counting- comments later.

First off, Perrin- welcome to the damned if you do, damned if you don't world of being a guy and trying to please your sig O. Best thing to do, keep a level keel and just treat Berelain the same as anyone else. Take no bulls#!t and stop putzing around with the whole right/wrong Faile thing. You're gonna be blamed regardless so just do your thing.

I am so not wading into the whole gender thing. I am thinking that many of the comments are about this hot button topic. I'd rather go poke a bear with a short stick. Would be more fun too.

Rand- this is like a certain movie where the guy get's his ass handed to him for pretty much the whole show. Rand can take a beating, but whoa! Forget the Min thing, just survive buddy, the rest will take care of itself. It's only when you show you care for her that Min gets in trouble.

Edit- @Lannis6 -silly

Vincent Lane
175. Aegnor

I looked it up because you essentially said I made it up. You called me out on it, so I went to the effort to look it up as I wasn't 100% sure my memory was accurate. Turns out it pretty much was.

And the survey was anonymous, and it was people that "self identified" as gay. I wouldn't be surprised if your number of 15% is probably close for those that have had homosexual thoughts before, but that doesn't make one gay, or even bi.

I can see that this is a sensitive subject for you, but I can't say I appreciate your tone. You talk as if I'll be freaked out by the thought of gay people walking around (without me knowing! Oh the HORROR!). Three interests of mine are choir, theatre, and opera. Believe me, I'm not freaked out by gay people.

Whats more, what you have said doesn't really impact my point at all.
176. Freelancer
And the final score is 2-1 LA, evening up the NLCS as the teams head east to the bandbox that is Citizen's Bank Park.

As long as nothing else useful is being communicated.
Alice Arneson
177. Wetlandernw
Alfvaen @ 10 - King Laman and the Aiel... It's called headship. What the leader or "head" does represents and is done on behalf of the entire nation. In one direction, the head can be held responsible for the actions of any one of his subjects; in the other direction, the head acts/speaks on behalf of all his subjects, so what he does can be considered to have been done by all his subjects. It grates on our individualistic mentality, doesn't it?

Sevanna... yeah, that stupid. She really thinks that her "awesome body" is enough to make Rand go completely brainless. Hey, it worked on two guys, it must work on anyone she wants it to, right? Of course, her mention of the collar means that she's shrewd enough to realize the importance of a back-up plan, but I've always read her as being really that shallow.

Oh, another comment on Galina that occured to me over lunch... The thing that really lights up her "evil ickiness" is not her sexual orientation, but her complete self-centeredness. She's basically thinking "okay, she's gotta do it, so let's just get this dumb grieving-for-the-dead-warder business out of the way so she can be pretty for me to look at again." Oh, and thinking maybe a little tea-and-cuddle would help. Would we be any happier with that attitude from a man? Not, I think. It's that attitude of making someone else an object, with no consideration of (much less respect for) their emotions, desires or needs. The fact that it's woman-to-woman is sort of necessary for the scenario, but IMHO it's really that attitude that makes her hateful here.

LameLefty @ 24 - Thanks for bringing that up! It still gives me shivers to read that: Rand nearly lost the Void in shock. There could be no mistake this time; Lews Therin had heard him and answered. And then an almost conversation... I had such a gleam of hope there! It was fulfilled, a little, by his escape through use of the information he learned from LTT. Still waiting for more of that...

Lannis @ 49 - Loved that: "...if, say, Min had a vision of a gay/lesbian character having children and the fate of the world resting on said reproduction... " That's the kind of situation where sexual orientation is really part of the plot, not just a tacked-on political view.

Man-o-Manetheren @ 53 - A widely repeated piece of advice to writers is to “write about what you know.” I much prefer a lack of gay characters to ones that are written dishonestly. RJ was an amazing author and self aware being, and I think it was very smart of him to not go there. Kudos to you for being more clearheaded and objective than most about this sort of thing. I'm with you: far better to leave something out than to write it badly just for the sake of making sure you get it in.

Joed1414 @154 - It would be funny if it was a different white cloak though. Maybe Bornahld or Byar lol Literal LOL!! That never occurred to me - what a lovely idea!!! :>

And I have to say this, after all the debate... "Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none." Not that there aren't some folks here with a great deal of talent, but... Okay, mostly I just thought it was funny. :P

Hey, you out there cracking jokes in class... Keep it up! Thanks for the chuckles on the way through a veritable mine-field. Wow.
178. bluecansam
So, if he creates an evil gay character, does he have to balance with a nice gay person? If he creates a woman gay character, does he then have to create a male one, too? Should he then maybe have four gay characters so he has all his bases covered? Maybe he just shouldn’t have touched upon the topic at all to save himself the politically correct arguments in the first place.

Later in the series, Ailil and Shalon also have a sexual relationship, and the PoVs from Shalon, at least I thought, made me feel empathetic to her and think of her as a “good” person, etc.

No male gay characters, I will admit, does come off as being a bit conspicuous, but then, he doesn’t disclose the sexuality of many, many of his characters. So perhaps he did intend, or imply that some of the men were gay. I do think some of his male characters do come off as being a bit asexual.
Jeremy Preacher
179. Hari Coplin
I think, on the matter of sexuality, that WoT does quite well. Now, as far as my understanding goes, there are very few 100% hetero people existing: Most people in my opinion are somewhere in between homo and hetero. The cultural surroundings will naturally affect people's choices, though, and particularly in less developed societies, as all of history pretty much is, there is a tendency toward homogeneity :). Taking such a stance, that is not really giving much worth to a hetero/homosexual polarity, it is not important that people are known to be of a particular sexuality, particularly in a culture where personal attributes that differ from the known norm are much more accepted, as is the case in WoT compared to the Western cultures in our time. Also, love is not limited by sexuality, being sexually attracted to someone does not really define a relationship, it is a parametre if anything.

However, there is the cultural tendency, in the WoT, toward reproduction, as is understandable in the technological stage, and marriage after all, giving men a social pressure to look after their children, is part of that. It is reasonable that many people at the outset will consider such relationship, since that is the cultural tendency, to reproduce. So, it is natural that some heterosexual relationship will be portrayed in the books, as they have a social and cultural function as well as being only a portrayal of the pov character's possible growth or development. Sexuality in itself would hold little of this: People eat, drink, etc, without it contributing to the story, only when it happens when something else happens is it included. I do not mean to belittle sexuality, but in my opinion it goes into the area of human desires, tastes even, when RJ is discussing different matters.

As for Galina, I think the homosexuality is merely incidental. It is natural enough for a Red sister to be attracted to women: such could be the case in a much more numerous group of women, however the Reds often do not even consider the men, so the choice in sexual behaviour becomes a choice between asexualism and lesbianism.

In Galina's case, the sexuality serves a point, to show how she behaves. The moment someone displeases her they can just die horribly, and she means to see to it, though a moment before she had no interest in them whatsoever. The ground is flimsy because it has nothing to do with anything important to the Tower, there is no political import.

I would be surprised if Taim were not largely gay (it must be him gathering all those men, as well as his private 'lessons'), but it has not been revealed. There has been no reason, or there has been reason not to, go into such things in the Black Tower. I think RJ has wanted us to decide on our own, by what we hear, about the Black Tower. It would be nice, I think, if male homosexuality were referenced more in the books, but then, sexuality in itself has little to do with the subject of the books. How people behave toward others is important, that is, but not what their characteristics are.

Well, perhaps I'm off on that or not, but so I think on the matter. That is, homosexuality is culturally not much mentioned, because on one hand, it does not matter in that culture-- it is not a taboo like in our world, and because most cultures we have read of (not life in cities, not the nobles), aside from the White Tower, seek to promote reproduction socially.
Ron Garrison
180. Man-0-Manetheran
Wetlandernw: As always, you're awesome. Love your final quote. I hadn't heard it before, but I won't forget it.
181. Siuanfan
rosetintdworld @ 21 - you know, it never once occurred to me that Therava was gay or that her domination of Galina was sexual. Sure I know she called her "my little Lina" but I figured that was just because she was a crazy bitch, not that she was actually sexxorizing her up at night. Interesting. Also I sort of had the impression that Rodel Ituralde was gay. So maybe you'll get your gay badass dude after all.

Ishmayl @ 38 "In her weird mind, she must have been wanting to see that anger, but for whatever reason, direct towards her instead of Berelain."

I think it's not so much anger necessarily as it is strong emotion of SOME sort. Saldaeans seem to be emotionally demonstrative (remember how she and her mom got all slap-happy) to their loved ones - it seems to show that you care when you get all worked up over something... so when he was expressing a strong emotional reaction to Berelain while showing little but soft gentle words to Faile, that comes across to her as though he's more emotionally invested in Berelain than Faile.
John Massey
182. subwoofer
Whosh! Finally waded through all the comments and one of the things that got buried at the back of the paper with the obits, was Free's comment @108 about LTT talking directly to Rand. This blew many of my theories out of the water in regards to the 1 body 2 soul thing- is Rand possessed etc.

On the one hand, LTT is seemingly crazy, or at least, has very few lucid moments, and those are usually when Berelain is in the room and LTT is admiring her...eyes. On the other hand, LTT can write a Channeling for dummies book for Rand and could really help with control of the Power so Rand can stop buggering around. Lanfear did say that Rand only does a 10th of what he can do.

Hi Leigh:) Good times!

And, no less significant that what Free said, did somebody mention snickerdoodles? Boy do I have serious jonesing for some now. Beer and Clodhoppers just don't cut it.

Jeremy Preacher
183. Lionthrone
Dear Aegnor,

I did not in any way say you made up a number. I said to not trust random numbers you read or hear about. Yes, yes, your census blah blah blah, do you really think a census is going to you the whole truth?

I guess you do.

As for the point, I addresed it quite clearly. You thought, based on your numbers that there are very few gay people in the world therefore there must not be very many in Randland and that's why we haven't seen any. And I said, there are many, despite your census (sorry to dispute your demos!)there would be many in WOT. Whooh. That was tough to re-explain.

And no Aegnor, I don't think you'd be freaked out by gay people, especially by hearing your choice in hobbies: theater and opera.

And the number 15% isn't meant to represent people who merely think the occasional gay thought. God, knows that's common enough. No, the 15$ solely encompasses people who want to full-on, get-it-on with some same-sex lovin.

Good night sweet pea.
John Massey
184. subwoofer
Broke up the post because I didn't want it to become a Russian novel.

Sevanna- hmmmmm. Nothing really special about her. Basic sack of hammers material. Just pretty and ambitious, and knows how to flash what she has to her advantage. I am disappointed that the other Shaido WO's don't say "shenanigans" to her and call her out for being a numb nut. But back to Isilel, and the "Shaido- you suck" setting, seems to run with the whole clan.

Sorilea- bag of Awesome! Reminds me of Supernatural last night. All Sorelia needs is a joy buzzer and a straight face...

Dobraine- loyal soldier. Well done. Well trained. That is discipline for you.

Faile? Her and Berelain both need to be beaten from sun up to sun down here. The savior of the free world is captured and you guys have nothing better to do other than play ring-around-the-rosy? Honestly.

Edit-balefiredjock- welcome to the club. Please do not let current events throw you off how good these blogs can be ;)

Everyone else-relax. Take it easy. We are all friends here.

James Jones
185. jamesedjones
178 bluecansam
So, if he creates an evil gay character, does he have to balance with a nice gay person?
You're totally missing the point. The real question is: if he creates an attractive gay character, does he have to create an ugly one? Is it a two to one ratio? Seriously, you gotta put your thinking cap on to really contribute to these posts. :D
Kristina Blake
186. kab1
Comments were making me headdesk for a while there, but things seemed to have settled down. thanks guys. Can we still have cookies?

@157- I'd have to agree with Empress Maude @167, there's a lot of profanity in WoT, Elayne is even trying to learn it! It's just not the same as the profanity in America. I'm pretty sure 'bloody' is profanity in England, but I could be wrong!

As for Leigh, I honestly don't remember her using much profanity, but I think she's entitled to say what she wants and what the Tor site will post. After all, you can skip her commentary if you just want the reread. However, I must say I do like the way you state things- very polite!!!

As far as LTT answering Rand, this made perfect sense to me, because I always thought he was real. It never even occurred to me that he might be an alternate personality. But a pivotal moment for Rand I'd say. Geez, he must have been surprised when LTT answered him!

Really looking forward to Monday's reread. I love Perrin's line to Dobraine after Dobraine asks "Are we going in there?" but can't quite remember the exact quote. (Time to use Idealseek, but must do dishes first...)

and can I add that Free and Wet are really too alike. You both broke your rule today of not posting until you'd read all the comments. Ha!
j p
187. sps49
Lionthrone- fifteen percent is far too high. I recall a few years ago when the local media called shenanigans on the supposed 10% of the population; the more vocal members living near the Twin Peaks Tavern went apeshit and then said didn't matter how large the percentage was.

Please don't be so offended/ defensive. This is a work of fiction we are discussing; I hope real life isn't giving you a difficult time.
Jacy Clark
188. Amalisa

Rodel Ituralde was married. He had his scout carry a letter to be delivered to her in the event of his death. And in his inner monologue stated that he hoped this would not be the time she received it.
Kristina Blake
189. kab1
one more thing before I get to those dishes, Leigh didn't cover it (or did she?), but I was throughly amused by both Perrin's and Faile's reaction to finding out Sulin was Aiel, especially after all the times they'd thought she was "a bit off" as a servant. Heh. I love Sulin! Loved her "first-brother" comment as well.
John Massey
190. subwoofer
@Kab1- here ya go
"The Lord Dragon is down there?" Dobraine asked, looking across Rhuarc. Perrin nodded. "And you mean to go in there and bring him out?" Perrin nodded again, and Dobraine sighed. He smelled resigned, not afraid. "We will go in, Lord Aybara, but I do not believe we will come out." This time Rhuarc nodded.

Laid this out several posts ago, but it bares repeating;) Ahhhh memories!

Can't say enough about Sorilea either. Too cool.
“In my day, girls jumped when a Wise One said jump, and continued jumping until they were told to stop. As I am still alive, it is still my day. Need I make myself clearer?”

Ron Garrison
191. Man-0-Manetheran
Thanks for the Bob Marley, Woofer - better than cookies.
Kristina Blake
192. kab1
@Sub. Ha! That's too funny, Perrin didn't even respond, just nodded and I still remember enjoying it (I think it was Dobraine's response I was remembering as well). Just the sheer seriousness of it, they know what lies before them and they go on because they must. This moment is up there for me, but the Golden Crane was the best!
John Massey
193. subwoofer
@191- No problem- folks were getting wayyyy too worked up. This is fiction after all, and this blog is my escape from the real world. Not so long ago I used to get bogged down in the rat race thing just making money. Went to Jamaica and those people are poorer than poor. But they were in paradise and they were happy. If they made $5 a day it was all good, and I make good money and I want more. It really made me look at my headspace and see what was worth getting stressed about.

WoT is awesome, great read. This blog is part of my day and I have come to view the various people on it as friends. There are rough patches in all friendships but there is no reason to bare grudges here and be small. We can all voice our opinions and get along. I disagree with much of what has and will be said, but everyone has a right to speak their mind. Just keep it friendly and respectful.

steps off soap box

Jeremy Preacher
194. thelastgoodkiss
re: LTT/Rand

Robert Jordan actually said in an interview that LTT/Rand are two personalities of the same soul.

Exact quote:
"Q: The question is, with Rand and Lews Therin, do they have 1 soul or 2 souls in the body?
RJ: They have 1 soul with 2 personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I together."

To me, this is conclusive evidence that LTT is real, etc. etc. (Not that I want to argue the point. Obviously no side can conclusively prove anything, or there wouldn't still be fifty billion theories floating amok...but, yeah, imho LTT is totally real and not a result of Rand going mad ...though perhaps a contributor to him going mad.)
However, at the very least, this quote does prove that Rand and LTT are not two different souls inhabiting the same body. (I don't know if anyone actually still thinks that they are two souls inhabiting the same body, but, um, I just thought this quote was relevant, so I'd share.)
Jeremy Preacher
195. thelastgoodkiss
@189 kab1

Sulin's "The Aes Sedai have taken my first-brother!" line is one of my favorites in the entire series. It makes me laugh every time because it's just so sweet and wonderful. And, of course, it's also just incredibly touching. Her passion about the whole thing just makes my heart happy. :)
Joseph Daly
196. Joed1414
Couldn't it be like Slayer and Luc? Perhaps LTTs soul is linked to TAR somehow.
Jeremy Preacher
197. Lionthrone
sps49, of course I'm not offended. It's just my opinion, you don't have to believe it.

Just don't trust censuses. Do you think Larry Craig or Ted Haggard filled out their censuses truly? Think about it folks. There's a lot those numbers aren't picking up.
John Massey
198. subwoofer
I was always wondering if LTT is mad? He was cured so he could see the damage he wrought so where does that leave us? Is the voice one of LTT cured or LTT gone bonkers? Even sane, has the taint of Saidin left its mark? Same goes for Rand. Saidin has been cleansed, but is there some residual damage? Scar tissue if you will.

My Sulin moment was when Dobraine thought she went cookoo for cocoa puffs and wanted to gag her. That could of ended funny- like my wierd Uncle Roy with the bad limp and jello molds. I'll gag a Maiden- could be a strong second for crazy Aiel games right up there with Maiden's Kiss.

Lannis .
199. Lannis
Subwoofer @ 174: I heard that! ;)

(Oh, and I really *do* have a recipe for snickerdoodles... we bake 'em every Christmas--they freeze wonderfully!)

Wetlander @ 177: Thanks! I have my moments. :)

Sub @ 190: re: "The Lord Dragon is down there?"... the best is the line "This time Rhuarc nodded." Love that quote!

Oh, yes, and Sub's reminding me of my manners... welcome new folks! There's extra lawn chairs around here somewhere... might I suggest setting up in the cuendillar bunker tonight? Have a cookie... I only have chocolate chip right now... snickerdoodles are in the oven...
200. thelastgoodkiss
@196 Joed1414

Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with TAR (and I find Slayer and LTT/Rand to be very different), but like I said before...there are so many different theories, and none of them have any sort of conclusive evidence.

@198 subwoofer

RJ said (many times) the cleansing of Saidin did NOT reverse any damage that the taint had already caused for a person. Basically...they wouldn't continue to go insane, but they also wouldn't be cured of previous insanity. So yes, the concept of residual damage exists, though I don't know if Rand suffers from it, because I don't think that Rand ever really started to go insane.

So...I think that LTT is totally insane, and that Rand is MAYBE a little bit mad...but if he is, not drastically so. I think that Rand's "insane" behavior mostly comes from the fact that he thinks he's insane (seeing as how he has a voice in his head) and because of his whole "I must be a stone" philosophy (which causes him to act almost inhuman at times because he is TRYING not to be human as he considers it a weakness). And I think the dizziness and stuff that he feels comes from when his and Moridin's balefire streams crossed in Shadar Logoth that one time.
Jacy Clark
201. Amalisa
@199 and others

Yes, welcome to the newcomers! Pull up a chair and set a spell... I have wine (from the Texas Hill Country), chips and salsa! Homemade salsa, of course... :)
John Massey
202. subwoofer
Sorry wha? Somebody said "snickerdoodles" again. Totally threw off my concentration.
“I would not mind you in my head, if you were not so clearly insane.”
—Lews Therin to Rand WoT wiki

Ishamael did heal LTT of his madness. That was how Lews realized the slaughter he had committed and drew in so much power it resulted in Dragonmount. At the end, he was sane. He is also spun out by the Pattern. I am of the mind that LTT is a sane person just struggling to grasp his current situation of not having a body and also dealing with the various traumatic scenes from his past. I am sure there are enough for any man, even the Dragon, to deal with.

Look at Rand, not even 25 and while not insane, still has desperate need for therapy, or a long vacation. Rand has a lot of inner conflict going on that manifests itself at the least opportune times. Those around him are starting to question Rand's sanity. And Rand is sane. Just broken.

203. bluecansam
James Jones: 185

You really need to read between the lines to see what I’m getting at.

What I’m suggesting is that if RJ wrote a character we immediately liked who happened to be gay, it’d come off as pandering. In the case of Galina, it makes sense to me that she would be gay, or at least lean that way. As others have pointed out far more eloquently than I, reds, which Galina originally was, gain a distaste towards men over the years. Combine a distaste towards men with sexual desire, and an appreciation for how your own gender looks, and I’d say you’d come up with a gay character.

If anything, I admire RJ’s risk taking by creating a character who is gay and evil. I would say that someone in his shoes would be tempted to try and walk the “politically correct” line, or at the very least, seek a balance by creating contrived gay characters.

So, if you aren’t going to contribute in a positive manner, I’d suggest you don’t respond, James Jones.
Alice Arneson
204. Wetlandernw
Sub @202 - Well said. That's pretty much where I stand, but hadn't gotten around to putting into words.

Have a cookie.
205. thelastgoodkiss
@202 subwoofer

Oh right. I forgot that Ishy healed LTT. XD

Okay. Well. I agree with you.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
BTW, bluecansam @ 203, you gotta realize... that's the ol' jamesedjones there. He's pulling your leg - or maybe both of 'em - all depends on what you give him a handle on. One of our resident atmosphere-lighteners, and much appreciated as such. Smile. Have a cookie.

(Sorry, Lannis, am I being too free with your cookies? I didn't have time to bake any today.)
James Jones
207. jamesedjones
203 bluecansam
Combine a distaste towards men with sexual desire, and an appreciation for how your own gender looks, and I’d say you’d come up with a gay character.
Add a dash of salt, with a pinch of vinegar, and then what do you get?

Seriously, don't ever suggest that I start being serious. I'll just see it as an open invitation.
208. bluecansam
For a point of contrast, if anyone has read Mercedes Lackey, I was wondering how you felt about how she deals with sexuality vs Robert Jordan.
James Jones
209. jamesedjones
Ah well, I see wetlandernw beat me to it. I was busy with a chocolate cookie.

Go Light!
210. bluecansam

So much to learn. *grin* You're the resident WoT genius, and James Jones is the resident joker.

Joseph Blaidd
211. SteelBlaidd
I think you win the contest to explain Faile's reaction.

Oh and I made Pumpkin Molasses ginger cookies this week, have some.
John Massey
212. subwoofer
Sorry folks. Am with Lannis and Amalisa out on the lawn chairs. Snickerdoodles and chips, perfect! Broke out the Red Stripe and am content. Truely, good times!

Lannis .
213. Lannis
Wetlander @ 206: Feel free to hand out the cookies... the snickerdoodle recipe makes four dozen... no kidding... hence the freezing! :|

Mmmm! Salsa!
Alice Arneson
214. Wetlandernw
bluecansam @ 210 - Wow! Now that's something to live up to... Truth is, though, I'm not the genius so much as the one with the sporadic eidetic memory. (How's that for a collection of two-buck words?) I tend to remember much of what I've read and more of what I've studied or read repeatedly. I also have a very visual memory, so I tend to be able to find things again fairly quickly. That, and I'm sort of OCD... ;) Hang out here for a while, you'll get us sorted. It's a fun place to be.

By the way, I have read Mercedes Lackey. She's a good storyteller, but I find that she's too overt in her homosexual characters, to the point that I simply can't enjoy the books any more. To me, it never felt necessary to the plot; more like she really needed a gay relationship in every book, so she put in either an extra plot line or just smashed it in whether it was relevant or not. I probably overreact compared to most here, but I just found it too much after while - like cinnamon-scented candles, where a little goes a long way and it was like a roomful all lit at once. Just overwhelming and nauseating after while. I'm sure Lionthrone has all manner of names for me, but I see no reason to read something that I don't enjoy, so there it is. (But I still retain visuals from the books, even though I got rid of them 10 years ago... she is a compelling story-teller. If only she didn't have such an agenda. On the subject, Vonda McIntyre is another one that I just stopped reading after a couple of books, for much the same reason.)
Alice Arneson
215. Wetlandernw
Can I have another cookie? All that typing made me tired. ;)
Jacy Clark
216. Amalisa
Mmmmm! Red Stripe! *lol*

And, Wetlander, here's your cookie!
Alice Arneson
217. Wetlandernw
Thanks! Think I'll go spike myself some cider to go with it. Ain't we the laid-back bunch tonight!

Speaking of wetlands, it is seriously pouring rain here, so I think I'll forego the lawn chairs for now. Come daylight, I'll have to look and see if we need pontoons on the minivan. Oy.
Tony Zbaraschuk
218. tonyz
Lackey does the Sledgehammer Of Teaching very well, and never gets beyond the level of Misunderstood Teen Learns Stuff And Saves The Locality.

Jordan has a vastly wider range, and manages things with an amazingly greater degree of subtlety, even though they're both writing mostly about Super Teens. They're not even on the same scale.

As far as Lews Therin answering back to Rand, does this mean they've finally got a real communications breakthrough or is this the point when Rand finally goes over the edge?
lanyo lanyo
219. lanyo
Dang. You guys got all crazy before I even got here. On the plus side, I got here in time for cookies! Yay!

I kinda thought there were lots of people doing whomever they chose. Unless you tell me otherwise, I choose to think fictional characters don't have the sex. Just like they don't use the bathroom. I mean, if it isn't written, or alluded to, then it likely didn't happen.
Unless we think WOT is in a Jasper Fforde novel.
Alice Arneson
220. Wetlandernw
Hooooo!! Jasper Fforde FTW! Good answer. Have a cookie.

(I think we're nearly exhausted now... at least until Europe comes on line...)
Jeremy Preacher
221. Lily of the Valley
I suffer a hard day's work to come home to my favorite Blog nearly in flames! And I missed it!

Being a Libertarian and a Creationist, boy would I have loved to wade in, but ya'll calmed down without me. D: I feel cheated. Leigh! Quick! Make more incendiary remarks! =D I have sweet tea and shortbread cookies, I'm good for an all-nighter!

Anywho, I'm still lurking. Expect massive wall-o-texts in the future, although slogging through homework currently diminishes posting capacity. Brainspace is overloaded as it is; forming anything less than rational thought on this thread might just get me tarred and feathered. >3>

Or, you know, pointed and laughed at.

PS: Welcome to the newbies!! Don't worry; we're all mad here. :>
john mullen
222. johntheirishmongol
I don't care if Galina is a lesbian, she's an evil bitch. It annoys me that people have to be so politically correct that you can't have an evil gay character. I hate to tell you this, boys and girls, but I have been around and I don't care what your orientation is, there are as many pains in the butt gays as heteros.

If RJ really wanted to tackle a sexual issue, he could have been way more revealing about Halima and what he/she is up to, because unlike tg reality, it is a total transformation. I know it has been tackled, very successfully, in Scifi before, but he didn't and I am not complaining.

As for the rest of the chapter, the Perrin/Faile/Berelain 3some continues to annoy. Sulin and Sorilea are awesome. Rand taking out 2 warders while shielded with his bare hands is total kickass. I hated the beatings, but the payoff at Dumai Wells is the best in the entire series.
Ron Garrison
223. Man-0-Manetheran
LTT has been giving Rand some pretty sane advice from time to time: "Kill him! Kill him now!"

My great aunt Naomi made killer snickerdoodles, but the Pumpkin Molasses ginger cookies sound really good -especially with some hard cider.
Jeremy Preacher
224. Wes S.
Wow. Looks like I missed a good flame war...

Sorry, Leigh, but I don't see the alleged lack of gay characters as a problem. It's all too easy to overdo sexuality at the expense of plotlines, and Jordan generally, and quite sensibly IMHO, avoided focusing on any sort of sexual activity, or going into great detail about personal relationships, unless the plot absolutely required it.

Take, for example, the part in New Spring when we found out just how intimate Moiraine's friendship with Siuan was. The fact that Moiraine and Siuan were not only close friends but lovers as well explained to me, in retrospect, much of the reason Moiraine and Siuan had such complete and utter trust in each other. (Something quite rare in the backbiting, politicized environment of the White Tower.)

I have to say Galina's preference for men went right over my head the first time I read LoC. And, for that matter, I missed the gay aspects of Dumbledore's relationship with Riddle/Voldemort on my first read-through of the Harry Potter novels...and when I realized what was going on there my first thought was that J. K. Rowling was playing with British private-school stereotypes.

That's probably because when I pick up a book I'm just looking for a good story. I'm not looking to pigenhole the characters based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or any of the other subjective distinctions you want to mention, and I personally don't give a damn about that sort of thing UNLESS, and ONLY unless, it's crucial to the plot.

To do otherwise just detracts from one's enjoyment of the book...and, for that matter, life. And the bitter flame war raging throughout this thread over Queer Theory applied to the WoT just proves the point.

On the other hand, when it comes to sexuality in the WoT, I personally find RJ's apparent schoolgirl spanking fetish really annoying, especially in the later books. Parts of Egwene's travails in Knife of Dreams, after Elaida puts her back in white, read as if they were ghost-written by John Ringo. But that's a flamewar for another time...
Jeremy Preacher
225. alreadymadwithlttsmadness
I don't think it's just time to time. Whenever LTT talks, he generally makes sense. Except when he's being impulsive that is "Break it..."

In one of the examples quoted above, he's of the opinion Rand is batshit crazy. And from what we see, he's not really that far off the mark. I've got another in mind of LTT saying Rand was already "much harder than I (LTT) ever was."
john mullen
226. johntheirishmongol
As an aside to the JK Rowlings fans, sorry but I never ever bought that Voldemort was gay. I don't care if she is the author, he never read sexual at all and was recidivism at its worst.
Jeremy Preacher
227. M&M
1st time to comment here, good job on the reread/commentary so far.

Joed, as for "So what if someone is gay, lesbian, black etc" and that it is not a big deal...

It IS a big deal to not be able to say "this is my wife/girlfriend" without worrying that you will lose your job, be passed over for a promotion, be attacked or have your property damaged.

It IS a big deal to be more likely to be suspected of a crime or harrassed by the cops.

It IS a big deal if your name happens to match a name on a no fly list because your name is the Arab equivalent of John Smith and some terrorist has the same name.

Ending this and acknowledging that we are all people takes NOTHING from anyone.

To whoever it was that brought up the Bible as a reason to keep gay people invisible, how would YOU like it if Christianity was not the majority and YOU were asked to be invisible?? To me, discussions of which religion is better are less interesting than debating Star Wars vs. Star Trek,(-1 on a scale of 1-10) but I don't tell people to STFU because it offends my delicate sensibilities. We're here, we're queer and we're not going anywhere.

As for RJ, obviously I like WOT or I would not be here. I think that RJ was not deliberately being homophobic, just this is something he did not know much about. Nobody's perfect.

Guess this turned into a wall o'text afterall...sorry about that.
Jeremy Preacher
228. TexanSedai
Amalisa = I have my bottle(s) of Messina Hoff so I am in!!! And I like my hot sauce with jalapeno seeds in it - gives it an extra little kick!
Just got home from taking the kiddos to the circus and there was this contortionist/ most flexible person in the world doing a routine that ended with him folding himself into this itty bitty clear plastic box. It was soooo creepy. Really gave a visual to poor, poor Rand being stuffed in a box and being beaten twice a day. Perrin, leave Faile and Berelain to duke it out and go save Rand!! I just hate leaving my heros in trouble....
Jacy Clark
229. Amalisa

Becker Vineyard's Syrah is my current favorite!

I'm a touch claustrophobic so... contortionist in a box... Yikes!
Jeremy Preacher
230. mikauk
No idea if this has been posted already, but there's a scene (possible this very chapter) where Perrin is walking through a festival of some sort, and a group of people are "plucking at his clothes", specifically mentioning that there are men giving him come-hither eyes of some sort.

Not that that really qualifies as a gay male character, of course, but it's better than *nothing*.

Also, @226, please please please for the love of god be being sarcastic.
Bill Bácsi
231. billbacsi
Oh my, oh my. I've come late to this post, and I just can't bring myself to get through all the comments. Well, I made it about a third of the way through, but I won't go further ~sigh~ because it's makes me sad and frustrated.
RJ has indeed failed on the homosexuality issue, and no amount of "but he was just.." or "i didn't see.." or "how dare you.." will change that. RJ is -still- one of my favorite authors, and WoT is -still- one of my favorite series. I read and re-read these books for the good stuff, and I am willing to gloss over a Fail and forgive the author for being human. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, y'all. And don't accuse others of the baby-throwing-out-with-bathwater when they make a criticism or call out a Fail. Every single one of us (including the late RJ) has blind spots and preconceptions and failures.

So, that said, aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAaaaarghh!

Thank you Leigh for not letting it slide.
Jeremy Preacher
232. Landro Gaidin
@39, yes, Brandon is a Mormon. The link below gives some of his viewpoints about homosexuality.
Alice Arneson
233. Wetlandernw
billbacsi @231 - I suppose I should just let it slide, but I have to say it. Or ask... Just because RJ didn't come out and make clear what you believe to be true, he has therefore failed? What if he didn't believe what you believe? If he made your point, even though he thought it wrong, would he have failed? As you say, we all have our blind spots - but just because someone doesn't agree with you, or make a point of overtly agreeing with you, does that make him "blind"? Say rather, one man's "Fail" is another man's "Well Done" and you're closer to the mark.

If he'd been trying to make a particular point about homosexuality and failed to make it, okay. But to choose not to make it a big theme in his books? Hardly a "fail" no matter how many people wish he'd done so.
Jeremy Preacher
234. Hari Coplin
I think one of the many great points about RJ's writing, and this is to be expected of a well-read intelligent man, that he does not preach. There are matters he wants to discuss-- and they come with many fine points, as with Asmodean, only who works at it gets anywhere-- but he does this by presenting different arguments in different situations and letting the reader make his mind.

This goes to many subjects, but when you compare something great to standards that are mediocre, that great thing will inevitably be found lacking. Popular music is a great example, there are so much good music that is slagged off because it does not conform to the standards of radioplay. How could it, anything worth listening to in it is something that is not what plays in the radio, something extraneous that takes up time. (Not to say there's not good music there, too, but it isn't too ambitious.) In general, this extra would be something the audience has not experienced before, where as pure entertainment tends to be based on repetition, to give the same thing again and again.

To avoid the novel form in the post this time, is that I mean that when there is a perceived flaw in the books, perhaps the flaw is in that one does not expect that much of the writing. However, perhaps RJ has understood this matter, but wants to address something slightly different, wants to bring the colours into the black-and-white picture that is usually the only one found in popular culture. On WoT discussions I have seen this many times, thought I should just tell people that actually RJ evidently thought of that too, he just kept thinking way past that. Indeed, there is no reason to stop thinking.

In the sexuality issue, we are talking about a world where sexuality is not a problem, any more that a woman being a merchant's guard would be. A work of art simply does not need to preach, good high-level discussion is what is rare, and for this work, more important matters are the "there is good and evil, right and wrong, honour and obligation, and it is worth taking a little time and effort to figuring out which is which even when it is hard," and "Societies change, cultures clash: Cope!"

I am of course a fan with a high opinion on RJ, but I still think the opinion is justified. :)
235. PhantomIce
@234 I think you've touched on a great point when you say that instead of preaching whatever message he may want to give, RJ prefers to present the reader with the various arguments on that issue and make us think about it.

As a nerd and child, grandchild, niece, cousin, even daughter in law to teachers (* lowers eyes in shame * yes my husband and I are the black sheep in our families having become *shudder* lawyers instead of teachers) I think this is the best way to make someone really think deeply on an issue.

So kudos to him for making us think and argue on so many topics.

any cookies left? I'd like some chocolate chip please

(usually go for salsa and beer over sweets but it's 9.30 in the morning here so cookies and coffee it is)
Roger Powell
236. forkroot
I suffer a hard day's work to come home to my favorite Blog nearly in flames! And I missed it!

Being a Libertarian and a Creationist, boy would I have loved to wade in, but ya'll calmed down without me. D: I feel cheated. Leigh! Quick! Make more incendiary remarks! =D I have sweet tea and shortbread cookies, I'm good for an all-nighter!
Yeah ... I just caught Leigh's post before I had to run to the airport and fly. I thought "bet there will be a lot of responses to wade through when I get home and check again". I thought right.

For me tonight, it was Halloween cookies with icing - one like a pumpkin, one like a candy-corn. And the cappuccino tasted nice too.

J. Dauro(all the way back)@90
edlihs @46
Didn't the black ajha take oats against reviling themselves?

Wow, I knew there was a reason I liked my Quaker oatmeal in the morning. ;^)
Dude, you got a fastball sent down the middle of the plate and you just whiffed it! When I saw you picked up on edlihs' typo I was just waiting for a great line involving our favorite oater. Bela is ashamed of you.
Jeremy Preacher
237. afterthefallofnight
re: gay population statistics... I seem to recall that the 10% number people used to bandy about was based on a discredited report by Kinsley. All the more recent surveys I have read have reported significantly smaller numbers. They were also based on self identification (this should raise a red flag). And I also seem to recall that "reliable" repeated surveys in the US and the UK are trending upwards (this should raise a complementary red flag).

I think these sorts of statistics should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Mark Twain said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." That fellow was pretty smart, for a writer.

re: Gay Guys... I don't remember noticing the lack of gay men in the series the first time through, but in hindsight I believe Leigh is basically right. Jordan was trying to make gender politics an important part of the story he was telling. He has said he had gay and lesbian characters and being gay or lesbian is not particularly stigmatized in his universe. I don't think gender politics or who is hitting on who or who is attracted to what, should only be discussed in order to further plot. In fact in most cases it is about creating character or "color". In that light, the lack of clearly gay males characters, even minor characters is ... I don't know. Odd? Surprising? At least noteworthy enough for a book club discussion group.

re: Berelain and character flaws...One of the things I like best about Jordan's work is that he seems to be able to consistently capture the flaws or foibles of individuals or groups. I think Berelain *really* dislikes Faile. Her behavior, in this chapter is stupid but consistent with her prickly pride, and her vindictiveness. I have known people who will hurt their team just to hurt their "enemy".

In a similar vein, Jordan consistently portrays people from different cultures as not understanding each other. I don't just mean that no one understands anyone else, I mean they continue to misunderstand each other in the same way. Perrin and Faile continue to misunderstand each other in a consistent way. The Aiel consistently misunderstand and are misunderstood. As are the Seanchan. And almost everyone else.

re: LLT... I always thought Lewis T. was more reincarnation than a memory. This chapter convinced me he was a separate personality. The one soul vs two souls debate never seemed important to me.

Eating shrimp is immoral. Chattel slavery, polygamy and stoning are cool.
Kev Hamm
238. cavynmaicl
@ 157 - Mother's milk in a cup!

Just because you don't know just how very dirty that curse is doesn't mean that everyone lacks that insight. Glad you enjoy your bible. Glad you're enjoying the reread. Too bad you think that because RJ used different phrases that he didn't use cursing. He did. They did. And it's quite, quite dirty.

Jeremy Preacher
239. t0kengirl
OMG this is proper headdesk stuff.

Surely the biggest acceptance of someones sexuality is when it's really not important to who they are? I mean I have friends who are gay but its not my gay friend its just my friend. I think Galina's the same. Not Gay Galina just Galina who happens to be gay. Same with all the characters. Last time I checked epic fantasy wasn't the most romantic of genres. They do have sexuality it's just not a big deal. Just like how reality should be.

There, now I feel better. Feel free to headdesk in my general direction
Lindy Brown
240. lbrown
Actually, if you're looking for a gay guy character, look no further than Aran'gar.

Aran'gar is now a woman but was a man in her former life and has a man's soul. She/He seems to now like men and women. So since Aran'gar is technically a man and he likes men, that should satisfy your requirement.
Noneo Yourbusiness
241. Longtimefan
A post werein I will try to address certain points about same sex relationships, opposite sex relationships, the actual agendas attached to each and the point that inclusion does not mean creating a character to specifically represent only that behavior while trying not to call names, make unpleasant statement or generally ruffle already disordered feathers.

From our Illustrious Hostess Leigh Butler. “Loathe as I am to even stick my foot in this particular quagmire, it has to be said: ... Galina is also representative to me of Jordan’s most conspicuous Fail as an author, and that is the treatment of homosexuality in WOT.

For all the good things Jordan does for sexism in WOeT (and yes, he does – I may have my criticisms of it in the specific, even severe ones on occasion, but I’ve never wavered from my praise for his examination of the subject in general), in the arena of sexual orientation WOT falls woefully, nay, even painfully short.” ”...his otherwise quite laudable attention to other issues of privilege and prejudice makes the omission on this front all the more glaring, in my opinion.”

@96 Rand al’Todd

“In a society in which sexual preference is, in fact, left to the individual with no social prejudice, then sexual preference is not an issue.If race or sexual preference is essentially ignored in a story, it means that it is not important to the story.”

Unfortunately Jordan did not ignore his characters sexual preferences. They are made quite clear in many cases.

“And the author has chosen NOT to invoke racial/sexual stereotypes. Jordan exercised HIS right to make sexual orientation a minor issue, while making general gender relationship issues a BIG deal.”

If one is to address gender relations and role reversals and all the other issues of “sexism” then sexuality is also in play. Sexuality is a large point in the books. It is the underlying principal of “balance” between men and women since the way to keep them from being isolated, monosexual cultures is to develop romantic relationships between them. I do not think it is intentional homophobia but it is homophobic to insist that the only way to have a world where all is good and right is to have a world of heterosexual relationships. Heterosexuality is not normal it is just very common.

The heterosexual agenda is a very valid one, reproduction. It is very important to the continuation of culture and society that children are born and raised to believe the things their parents believe and to develop on the foundations their parents have laid. To be controversial and entirely logical the only point of heterosexuality is reproduction.
To be even more shocking I will say that the entirety of the homosexual agenda is to have a relationship with someone you care about. Really, that is the only point there. It just happens that the relationship a person society calls (erroneously) a homosexual is with someone of the same gender. I say erroneously because homosexual and heterosexual refer to actions not people. Humans are just lazy. I will not go into the problems I have with people being referred to as “straight” or “gay” because a simple word of social limitation is easy to say.

@91 YoSoyElJosh
“I don't think we see an abundance of homosexual behavior in the series because the world in which they live doesn't allow for it.

This is a world where the population has been shrinking, where homes and careers and rights are still passed down through a family line. It's likely that several of our characters are gay, but can't live a comfortable lifestyle that way. They're expected to have children to work the farm, or work in the stables, until they're old enough to take over the business, or start their own.”

This idea flies in the face of the Jordan blog quote “in this world such things are taken as a matter of course.” If it were true that “such things” were a matter of course then there would be lineage and property rights that would include such behaviors. If there are not then the people of this fictional world would be not taking “such things” as a matter of course since that limitation would be prejudiced against “such things”.

To make a simple point, in Aiel society the Clan Chief guides the clan but the Roofmistress holds the house. A Clan Chief can have one wife, even two wives but if he wants to sleep indoors he needs a wife. Granted, the “matter of course” may not apply to the Aiel since they developed separately from the general Westland cultures. To go with a more Westland based culture Andor has a Queen who benefits from having female heirs because they will ascend the throne after her. (generally) If a Queen from a strong house has a daughter who is interested in pursuing a relationship with another woman does she lose her place in line to the throne? Would that action be “taking such things as matter of course?” Fortunately in this fictional world everyone is born with heterosexual interests so that has never been a problem.


“As we have had little onscreen sexual activity, and not much offscreen activity directly referred to, it never really got to me.”
?I will disagree just a little bit here since, dancing, flirting, ogling and embarrassment over perceptions of attraction have sexually motivated overtones. There may not be a lot of people getting to first base but there are plenty of looks and conversations and actions that make many characters sexual orientations defined.

“Or you could take this that RJ, as a married male heterosexual, just could not get into the "head" of a gay character.” and @53 Man-oManetheran
“A widely repeated piece of advice to writers is to “write about what you know.” I much prefer a lack of gay characters to ones that are written dishonestly.”

Again just a tiny disagreement. A “gay character” is no different than a “straight character” except for the difference of who they find attractive. Just change Faile to a young man and Perrin’s character is “gay”. Nothing else needs to be changed about his personality. Some pronouns and the conversations about having children but generally the jealousy Faile has for Berelain could still be vaild if she was a young man concerned about competing with someone who brings something to the table that he could not. The crazy devotion is still valid and if “such things are a matter of course” following Lord Perrin Goldeneyes to rescue his male partner would be something that the Westland people would do for him. He would not need to lisp or flounce or behave in stereotypical ways.

When something is a matter of course for a fictional world or its people the reader does not get long handwringing sessions from the characters about their differences and how they are treated differently because of it.

It does however show up.

as rosetintdworld says @ 58

“Sometimes homosexuality just...happens. It happens not only when one gender is separated from the other by force, and not only when an extradimensional cosmic being with a twisted sense of humor performs a gender swap on one of his servants. An otherwise perfectly ordinary person COULD be gay in Randland, but thus far...hasn't been.” To which I would jest and say that a perfectly ordinary person probably is gay in the Westlands but since they are so ordinary the story has no use for them.

@ TexanSedai and @157 chapterdad

Both of you bring up the valid point that it is fiction. Honestly I did not like the fact that the series was so blatantly simple in the fact that everyone was heterosexual when the world being built was so very complex but it is common in fiction so it was fine. I have been reading the series since 1991 and I was a bit more annoyed when the “lesbian” characters were revealed because it did seem more like pandering than an ingrained aspect of a world that had already been developed for six books. (more like seven since one offhand comment hardly integrates the “lesbian” concept to the series) Homosexual behavior is not a current “hot topic” TexasSedai nor for chapterdad is it part of everyday life that he gets into fantasy novels to escape from. I assume this because the “bible” tells me so.

@61 dwndrgn

“If the characters have a need to show their sexuality onscreen - it has to be important to the plot.”

I agree that this is true about any thing in literature, if there is a Tairen rug in the room it better be important to the plot.

However the main plot is Rand goes to Tarmon Gai'don. Everything else is sub-plot or support to the the main plot. Since we have not gotten to Tarmon Gai’don we do not know how important it is to the plot resolution that Rand have children with two if not three women.

“The only sex we hear about is all very important to the plot”

This i will disagree with and say that it is more about making the majority of the readership comfortable with the actions of the characters because it is the kind of behavior that the general reader would approve of. Granted there are actions that people do not like but they are couched in the socially dominant behavior of heterosexual relationships. If “such things” were a matter of course there would be sub-plot relevant relationships that would have minor characters in same sex relationships in both genders a bit earlier in the series than the seventh book. (there is no relationship in this book, just a passing thought)

It is not about putting same sex relationships in the forefront or in the plot to have a progressive agenda pushing hot button topics. It is the simple fact that if one is dealing with gender roles and sexual stereotypes in a world were “such things are a matter of course” then they would show up. Or they would not show up at all and avoid the half hearted attempt to adjust for a noticed lack of “realism”.

People in same sex relationships do not stop reading well written novels because all the characters are in opposite sex relationships. It is unfortunate that some people who are in opposite sex relationships would cite the same sex relationships as a reason they would not continue to read a series.

I will say that I personally have not found society in general to have handled homosexual relationships well from either side of the fence as it tends to be more based on reactionary statements than simple reality.

I have never written anything this long before and I completely understand if it gets skipped for both length and content but I was getting very annoyed by Lionthrone being the most vocal “gay activist” on the thread.

I hope that I have made my point without offending anyone since offense is the fastest way to make sure someone will not understand you.

Smiley faces and muffins all around.
Ian Horn
242. IanGH
Bloody hell! (ChapterDad @157, close your eyes) Bloody fucking hell!!

I read the post over lunch thinking there would be a lot of comments on it. Didn't expect to be up all night reading it.

Leigh, for once I am pretty much in agreement with you. RJ didn't have to include homosexuality in his work at all but the fact that what he did include was not even-handed is a weakness. Not a fatal flaw IMHO, but a weakness. I'm not so concerned about our first outed gay character being evil as the dearth of any references to male homosexuality.

I must admit it took several rereads for me to see this. The pillow friends thing went right over my head the first time through. Part of the reason for this, I think, is because it was written so matter-of-factly. Homosexuality was not an issue at the forefront; it didn't interfere with the plot, just colored it a little. (Galina is still evil, gay or straight.)

Oh, and about Faile and Perrin... On the reread, I was thinking, "How can Faile expect Perrin to know the right thing to do? She knows the context in which he grew up but he doesn't know likewise. Why doesn't she just explain it to... Aw shit! Never mind."
Sean Arthur
243. wsean
Longtimefan @241 - Great post. I don't agree with all of your points, but that's a wonderfully lucid and even-keeled take on a sensitive topic. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

And your muffins. Mmm, muffins.
Thomas Keith
244. insectoid
241?? Good Grief, Charlie Brown! I know that it is a controversial topic and all, but...

Sevanna: Is annoying. Don't know if anyone's already mentioned this (like Dedicated @15, say?), but she still has the cube. At least until the Wise Ones use it to call Sammy in ACoS. And maybe after that too; I can't recall.

Berelain: Should be smacked. Seriously.

"Like a weather vane in a tornado": I like that! Very clever.

Galina: Is nasty. Talk about throwing a re-read curveball--I don't know about anyone else here, but as for me, I totally missed that little bit in my first three re-reads, which either makes me very tolerable (which I am, to some degree) or very unobservant. Or because I read too fast. Enh.

(As a side note, my mother says that she's read books where things like that are very clearly spelled out, and nowhere near as vague as in WoT.)

As far as the subject itself, while I walk the fine line between acknowledgment (read: I acknowledge that it exists) and disappproval of the practice as far as the real world goes, it does seem rather unusual that it is only the women who are involved with each other, and not men. True, it is a female-dominated society, but it still seems a little unbalanced. (I don't actually mean to be critical of Mr. Jordan's writing.)

(Did I mention Galina is nasty regardless?)

RobM² @11: BAHAHAhahaha!! I totally saw that coming...

Dedicated @15: Gets the honor of the first to mention that Sevanna still has the call box. And is annoying. The End. ;)

Samadai @35: No kidding. There'll probably be 800 comments by then...

edlihs @46: Oh, yes... Leigh... please use bubble wrap... we want an intact poster on Monday :)

AND that's gotta be one of the longest comments I've ever posted here. Yay?
Jeremy Preacher
245. Hari Coplin
As a final point, let us look at our pov characters in the Wheel of Time. As a crazy fan, I have at some point calculated how many povs each character has, so I will list them at first:
91- Perrin
82- Egwene
74- Mat
59- Elayne
51- Nynaeve
31- Moiraine
21- Min
14- Faile
9- Fain, Siuan, Cadsuane
8- Morgase, Lan
7- Galina
6- Sevanna, Moghedien, Elaida,
5- Geofram Bornhald, Niall, Egeanin, Demandred, Verin, Alviarin
4- Thom, Liandrin, Carridin, Graendal, Gawyn, Furyk Karede
3- Domon, Bryne, Merana, Aviendha, Ishamael, Seaine, Aginor, Lanfear, Valda, Elza, Suroth, Tuon, Pevara
2- Dain Bornhald, Kadere, Katerine, Sammael, Delana, Demira, Falion, Reanne, Sheriam, Kennar Miraj, Toveine, Shalon, Bashere, Daved Hanlon, Romanda, Balthamel, Ituralde, Nesune
1- Lews Therin, Byar, Sahra, Rahvin, Alteima, Asmodean, Mesaana, Semirhage, Sulin, Sarene, Asunawa, Lelaine, Dyelin, Luan, Ellorien, Vilnar, Bain, Sorilea, Myrelle, Joline, geezer, Maeric, Shaidar Haran, Ethenielle, gholam, Chulein, Assid Bakuun, Bertome, Varek, Abaldar Yulan, Asne, Shiaine, Bethamin, Kisman, Luc/Isam, Barmellin, Timna, Eben, Gabrelle, Yukiri, Samitsu, Elenia, Galad, Beonin, Arymilla, Loial, Weilin Aldragoran, Harine, Tarna, Birgitte.

That is perhaps a more thorough list than is needed here, but let us say we take of the first tier, that is Rand, Perrin, Egwene, Mat, Elayne, Nynaeve, Moiraine, Min, Faile. What we have in the middle of the list, with a few exceptions, a list of women. Furthermore, the further down the list we go, the less likely we are know anything about the character's inclinations. And flirting doesn't count, as long as it is only entertainment. Who knows if Lord Bertome might fancy men, or Assid Bakuun, or Kisman? However, the scenes in which they are shown, do not easily allow them to think about something that is of no consequence to anyone, especially since they are not out courting. On the other hand, seeing things from another's point of view doesn't help, since the observer would not recognise whatever they see as abnormal. Well, I will simply assume Bertome, Bakuun and Kisman are themselves. It just is not our Age, for instance the influence of Christianity should be completely removed when considering our history, in order to make a comparison.

So there. I am not sure how great a point that was, but I thought it could be made:).
246. PhantomIce

I am in awe that you actually counted all the POVs.

Edit: @247, thanks for the heads up on typo
stefan warsink
247. grubber
@ 246: seconded. except for the typo, I don't second that ;)

and OMG, is there sex in WoT?? ewwwww. I'm so burning my books.

people need to lighten (and in some cases grow) up. it's fiction, like stated before.
Rob Munnelly
248. RobMRobM
@181. Iteralde is married, so probably not gay - but one can continue to hope. R

EDIT - someone else pointed it out first, with proper spelling of the name too.
stefan warsink
249. grubber
well, but I must say I find most domani man a bit fruity. with the beauty patches, veils and all.
and there are some (I ain't calling names, but the profile is not available anymore) who claim that the gays are everywhere!!!!!

I don't really mind either way. I'm as comfortable with gay people as straight people, as long as they're nice. but I don't feel bad if I go a day without seeing one. it never irked me in WoT as it does others, but that probably is just me (or them, or both, or neither)..

and as for cookies: I'm not in a position to bake, but I got a roll of oreo's for anyone who wants one :)
Rob Munnelly
250. RobMRobM
Kisman - there's another one for the Brokeback WoT list, and the suggestive name is only part of the reason I've added him to the list, eh?

I'm missed the cybercookies and beverages last night. Had a spanish red (Zestos) with my pizza last night, and a low cal fudgicle for dessert. I do have extra Italian sparkling wine downstairs so am prepared to buy some OJ and make mimosas for the group....I'm back from the store. Who wants one?

One a more serious note, I agree with Leigh that it is a fail that there is not one gay male character clearly identified as such somewhere in the story when contrasted several really nasty identified lesbian characters. There is an unbalance there. It doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the series, and I have no rooting interest in the subject, but it is one of those things where even a single mention would have taken the problem out of play. Or perhaps a simple Frankenfurter-Brad or Frankenfurter-Rocky scene would have done the trick (thinking back to Wednesday's post-fest). *sips the mimosa and nods*

Moving on, am very happy this post settled down into lots of really good points, with a hearty doses of the usual silliness thrown in. Good show, as always.

Rich Gold
251. richg25
165. Lionthrone
"And if there are gay people wherever you are, and wherever I am, you can believe that wherever Rand swings his...uh, dragon scepter, there are gonna be boys who like the boys and ladies who are getting down with the pillow talk."

I haven't read all the comments overnight since this was posted, so if someone already made this point, forgive me.

Let me clue you in to something. Rand et al are characters in a story! They don't actually exist in our real world. One way you can tell that its different from the real world is that in this story, people can channel something called the One Power. If the author had written his story without a single gay behavior, it would still be a valid story. If there's only two gay people in this entire world, that's still part of the fantasy world. So far, I haven't noticed any Little People in the story. Do they exist in this world? Perhaps not.
John Massey
252. subwoofer
Wha? Glad to see we didn't run out of steam. This seems to be the topic that no one sits out for. Except me.

What I really want to point out to everyone is 10 DAYS TILL TGS COMES OUT!!! Ahem, sorry, we will now continue with our regular scheduled rantings.

253. bluecansam

Very awesome post and I agree with much of what you said. However, this somewhat bothered me.

“People in same sex relationships do not stop reading well written novels because all the characters are in opposite sex relationships. It is unfortunate that some people who are in opposite sex relationships would cite the same sex relationships as a reason they would not continue to read a series.”

I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I do think it’s an over generalization that can be taken the wrong way, and can potentially make you a representative of your own statement.

“I will say that I personally have not found society in general to have handled homosexual relationships well from either side of the fence as it tends to be more based on reactionary statements than simple reality.”

I’ve got to say that when I first read WoT, I didn’t even give the issue of sexuality that much notice. When one of the characters casually mentioned “pillow friends,” or whatever, I seriously didn’t give it a second thought and didn’t feel like it was awkward or like it strained the bounds of logical character motivation and development, etc.

Now, I’m a straight married male, so I do have to admit to a certain amount of insensitivity in this area. I mean, I empathize with the struggles the gay community have had and continue to have, but I’m just not aware of the full depth of the gay communitys’ emotions on this issue. I’m not sure if that makes me sound like an ass or not. I’m just trying to be honest, though, because I definitely agree a crapload with your post, but I also feel like I am not grasping the full problem the gay community has with RJ’s portrayal of same sex relationships.

For example, you say, “If “such things” were a matter of course there would be sub-plot relevant relationships that would have minor characters in same sex relationships in both genders a bit earlier in the series than the seventh book. (There is no relationship in this book, just a passing thought)”

I may have been misreading, but I always felt from my very first read through at the age of 13, and even now at the age of 27, that there was something sexual about “sister wives.” And while same sex relationships aren’t explicitly mentioned until book six, the topic does come up there after from time to time.

Something that is conspicuous, which I’m sure someone has mentioned before me, isn’t so much that there is an absence of gay males, but more that none of the explicitly mentioned same sex relationships were committed or willing ones. But, as I said and still think, sister wives.

At any rate, I’ve rambled long enough. Sorry all for the huge babble.
Hilde Sørensen
254. edlihs
I think it is in this chapter I truly understand how little of the world of politics Perrin understands. It is a real jump from Rand. Perrin is not very good at analyzing peoples reactions and consequences of his or reactions of other. Rand seems to have an ability to read people from the first book. The scene with Sorilea channeling strikes me as a good example. Rand would have realized uther wise ones could channel in that situation. Perin sees one channeler and thinks she want do much good with so little strength.

On lack of gay-balance:
I can't help wonder if RJ did it just to see if we noticed. It might be personal discomfort as mentioned or editing. It might also be a way to see how readers would react. Leigh has mentioned reversal of gender-roles before. Maybe he wanted to see if the lack would be noticed.It is a paradox that we say it doesn't bother us and that we accept it's presence in society, and still many find it odd or unconformable. hmm
To males out there: Is the subject of gay relationships "worse" subject the lesbian?

(goes hunting for typo)
Hilde Sørensen
255. edlihs
What I really want to point out to everyone is 10 DAYS TILL TGS COMES OUT!!!

Now I will never get through all the posts! I'm still trying to read through all of them before release, but I'm on The Fires of Heaven, Part 5. That is what I get for joining late I guess..
256. PhantomIce

how lucky are you that you live in a country where you can get GS the day it comes out...I have to wait for overseas shipment and hope the customs gods are with me. now I'm depressed. and very envious

rob@250 since it's after 4pm my time, can I just have the champers, hold the oj?
stefan warsink
257. grubber
I'm actually gonna practice my patience with this one.
I have the whole series in paperback, and live in mainland europe. so it will take me about half a year extra to get my hands on the book.. *gasp*
I'm knida OCD like that, not wanting to have the last few books in a different style. it's doesn't look right on the shelf, that's all..

so I'd actually mind all the spoilers that will definitely creep in here. but hey, I'll manage. it's my problem, and I'll deal with it ;)

and still my personal opinion on the general gist of this thread is that people taking offence on the (imagined) fail on RJ's side have issues on this topic themselves. not necessarily identity-wise, but when you can go into a fantasy-book complaining about how it does not mirror the real world, you have an issue.

so, I for one hope that monday's post will bring the silliness along with the awesomeness..

keep us on our toes leigh, you're doing a great job!
(although you do go off the deep end sometimes ;)
William Fettes
258. Wolfmage
Longtimefan @ 241

A very thoughtful post. Well done.

I share your sentiment that RJ's work is still wonderfully vibrant and cosmopolitan whatever it's shortcoming in this area. But it's true that homosexuality could have been incorporated without disrupting much characterisation. I agree that you don't need a plot-critical 'excuse' or some elaborate contrivance just to have it. That seems like a very loaded approach, rather than good writing.

The way the writers of the HBO show The Wire created the gay stickup boy character, Omar, is instructive here. You can have gay characters who deviate from typical gay stereotypes without it being contrived or PC in any way. Ideally, homosexuality need not be a focus or determinate of the character at all.

However, I can't really agree with you that homosexual identity is the same thing as homosexual activity. Whilst I don't deny that labels can be destructive and unhelpful, obfuscating the broader identity, it's clear to me that homosexuality is something distinct from acts of homosexual behaviour.

So, whilst homosexuality may not have a binary quality, it is certainly something that can crystralise sufficiently at the level of individual identity rather than something that simply describes practice. Otherwise we would have a great deal of difficulty coherently describing what is going on with sexual experimentation or closest homosexuality, through time.

In that respect, I agree with vegetathalas @ 71 and illian @ 140, in preference to your take on the whole pillow friends situation; I don't see it as retcon. Rather, I see it as evidence that RJ was more comfortable writing about such issues from the viewpoint of male titillation, whilst avoiding the ramifications of actual homosexuality identity.. That is, his sympathetic portrayal of 'lesbian' characters only extends to those who experiment sexually, rather than committed self-identified lesbians. Moiraine and Siuan, for example, engage in homosexual behaviour as pillow friends, but are otherwise subsumed within a robust heterosexual identity. Tarna's comment that full Aes Sedai women grow out of such relationships confirm this underlying dynamic. Therefore, Galina as the main example of an unabashed, confirmed lesbian is at least somewhat troubling because she is so comically evil. That doesn't mean I think RJ is using her evil as an allegory for lesbianism. But it's symbolically unfortunate that there is no counter-point... Personally, I think it would be easier to dismiss this as an isolated aberration if male homosexuality wasn't also completely absent in series.
Hilde Sørensen
259. edlihs
Name of Elaidas pillow-friend: Meidani
Jeremy Preacher
260. SamanthaBee
Wolfmage@258 -

"Tarna's comment that full Aes Sedai women grow out of such relationships is an unhelpful confirmation of this depiction. Galina, therefore, as the main example of unabashed lesbian becomes more troubling because she is so comically evil. That doesn't mean I think RJ is using her evil as an allegory for lesbian, but it's symbolically unfortunate that there is no counter-point... "

Beautifully said.
Jeremy Preacher
261. SamathaBee
-- also,

don't forget Graendal, the sexually omnivorous decadent sybarite... who is all about pleasure and physical beauty. Although it's never quite said that she employs her 'pretties' for sex, it's strongly implied she does (this is setting aside whether this is all an act).

Her same sex attraction is supposed to be indicative of her general wickedness, much as Rahvin's predation of women is. (I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that RJ didn't make one of the male Forsaken a creepy, pervy schoolmaster type who likes little boys).

Suffice to say, all we'd have needed to set this issue to bed is something like introducing a pair of stolid, respectable benign Aes Sedai who are noted as long-term companions or something. Or instead of making Adeleas and Vandene sisters, make them an elderly retired couple. Something. Anaiya as a nurturing, genial woman, partnered with Cabriana, or something.

Instead, good girls dally with their pillow friends but grow out out of it and become 'normal.' Bad girls become manipulative, predatory lesbians. Oh, and the lead lesbian in the series tends to worship Satan.
Captain Hammer
262. Randalator
Wolfmage @258

Tarna's comment that full Aes Sedai women grow out of such relationships is an unhelpful confirmation of this depiction. Galina, therefore, as the main example of unabashed lesbian becomes more troubling because she is so comically evil. That doesn't mean I think RJ is using her evil as an allegory for lesbian, but it's symbolically unfortunate that there is no counter-point...

But later in the series we see one of the Salidar ferrets successfully pick up her relationship with Elaida (or being exposed just as she is about to be successful). Which doesn't elicit any disparraging comments from other Aes Sedai as far as I can remember.

So it seems to me that lesbian relationships between Aes Sedai are not completely out of the ordinary and Tarna's comment is, yeah well, you know, opinion, man.

Edit: Also the relative abundance of evil lesbians is more or less coincidental with the Red Ajah being high on the scale of ultimate suckiness. The Red Ajah by its very nature as a man-hunting organization (in the not so good sense) tends to attract among others the unhappy kind of lesbians. And since those are inherently unlikeable characters both in fiction and in real life they register more with the readers.
Bridget Sullivan
263. Ellid
Randalator - 262

"So it seems to me that lesbian relationships between Aes Sedai are not completely out of the ordinary and Tarna's comment is, yeah well, you know, opinion, man. "

Not quite. Tarna indicates that the novices and Accepted and even young Aes Sedai may develop homosexual relationships with one another, but they tend to grow out of it. Tarna indicates Elaida and Meidani's rekindled affair is a personal failing, which would seem to be corroborated by the fact that Moiraine and Siuan were embarrassed by Cadsuane when she called them out on it, and all the general comments that it's common among the younger residents of the White Tower, but not among the raised, accomplished sisterhood.

It's obvious that the Aes Sedai don't think it particularly immoral or sinful (Delana's purported dalliance with Halima is derided not became they're both women, but because of the gap in their stations in life - Aes Sedai and servant). They accept it, but may consider it a sign of immaturity or excess or lack of self discipline. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that this acceptance of the possibility of same-sex relationships in the White Tower of has been encrusted with a layer of societal opinions and assumptions... all the comments about how it's common, other women shouldn't interfere, assumptions that they will have escapades together..etc..

Which is fine. In fact, in such a society as the White Tower, it makes perfect sense, IMHO. A non-celibate sisterhood that inspires foreboding/awe/fear/dread from manhood at large.


The fact that there is not even the slightest suggestion of male homosexuality anywhere in this saga but for that one line in NS is particularly telling about the author.

I, for one, am now holding out for a 'Sacred Band' of an Aiel warrior society. The Night Spears (Cor Darei) would do nicely :) But then, I can never resist a double entendre.

([i]or maybe the Mountain Dancers [[/i]Hama N'dore ]. They are fierce! ;) ) Think of all the ways that a shoufa can be worn with panache!)
William Fettes
264. Wolfmage
Randalator @ 262

"But later in the series we see one of the Salidar ferrets successfully pick up her relationship with Elaida. Which doesn't elicit any disparraging comments from other Aes Sedai as far as I can remember."

I don't think that's a counter-example. Meidani isn't a lesbian AFAIK. She is simply attempting to renew her past homosexual behaviours with Elaida as part of an ulterior SAS agenda. Worse, for our purposes, is the fact that Elaida is sexually predatory with her. So, she can hardly count as an example of a sympathetically portrayed committed, self-identified lesbian.

"So it seems to me that lesbian relationships between Aes Sedai are not completely out of the ordinary and Tarna's comment is, yeah well, you know, opinion, man. "

I agree that I don't think we can substitute Tarna's comment for RJ's voice. But it remains symbolically unfortunate that there is no counter-point to Tarna's truism of a healthy relationship between two grown-up lesbians.
Captain Hammer
265. Randalator
Wolfmage @264

I don't think that's a counter-example. Meidani isn't a lesbian AFAIK. She is simply attempting to renew her past homosexual behaviours with Elaida as part of an ulterior SAS agenda. Worse, for our purposes, is the fact that Elaida is sexually predatory with her. So, she can hardly count as an example of a sympathetically portrayed committed, self-identified lesbian.

Which isn't what I wanted to say at all. ;)

Whether Meidani is the real deal or not, whether their relationship is healthy or not, all that is irrelevant for the point I tried to make. Because what I was interested in was the reaction of other Aes Sedai towards a sexual relationship between two Aes Sedai as opposed to pillow-friendliness between Novices.

And their views seem to differ quite clearly from Tarna's.
stefan warsink
266. grubber
randalator @ 262: "Also the relative abundance of evil lesbians is more or less coincidental with the Red Ajah being high on the scale of ultimate suckiness. The Red Ajah by its very nature as a man-hunting organization (in the not so good sense) tends to attract among others the unhappy kind of lesbians. And since those are inherently unlikeable characters both in fiction and in real life they register more with the readers."

nicely said. and I would like to add that they would be unlikable because of their unhappiness, not their sexual preferences.
Tony Zbaraschuk
267. tonyz
Of course, if we only had one male case someone would be muttering "tokenism" in the background.

As far as Aes Sedai relationships go, we do get one of Pevara's hunting team say that they had considered the possibility of two Aes Sedai off alone to be pillowfriends, and opining that that was nobody's business but theirs, so we have at least one counterexample to Tarna's opinion.
Joseph Daly
268. Joed1414
Its not a big deal. I find whining is counter productive to the cause. Did the Irish and Italians whine about the discrimination they had to deal with when they came to this country? No they worked hard stayed outa trouble (with the exception being the mob) and eventually were accepted. People should think of the solutions to their problems rather than whining about them all them time. So there's no plot line completely based on gay men in the series. I think it takes away from the story if he put that in there just to be politically correct. Next you're gonna start saying he made the seafolk so touchy cause they're black or that the taraboners have no good leaders because they're hispanics. Where does it end? Flame away!!!
William Fettes
269. Wolfmage
Randalator @ 265

"Which isn't what I wanted to say at all. ;)"

Fair enough. If you didn't set out to dispute that the books have no answer on this point then I won't put words in your mouth. Although I will say limiting your example like this doesn't do much to tackle the meat of the argument. I tend to think we don't have enough evidence to infer much from silence. But even if we accept the absence of on-screen controversy about relapsing pillow friends somehow demonstrates broader acceptability of such practices, it is not an unqualified acceptance of homosexual identity. Tarna's comment isn't the cornerstone of any argument, it just reflects the tendency in the books for same-sex sexual activity to be portrayed in a certain context.

"And their views seem to differ quite clearly from Tarna's. "

Let me get this straight- the alleged silent majority - whom we know only through their off-screen silence - must surely hold categorically different views to Tarna because of their.... silence. I bow to your bulletproof evidence sir. :)

tonyz @ 267

"Of course, if we only had one male case someone would be muttering "tokenism" in the background."

That's a cheap way of dismissing the concerns raised here. I'm heterosexual and have no interest in nitpicking these things just for fun or minority politics griefing. Homosexuality isn't even a hot button issue for me, although I'm sympathetic to the dictates of equality.

I think any fair minded person has to see that male homosexuality is conspicuously invisible in the text. It certainly doesn't bother me enough to indict the series or the author, but it is what it is.
Joseph Blaidd
270. SteelBlaidd
While I agree it would be more balanced for there to be at least one positively regarded committed homosexual couple I think it would have been tricky to work in to the theme of Male/Female balance.

Additionally, when Jordon started writing them you couldn't casually include homosexuality. TEotW came out in 1990, 4 years before Tom Hanks's movie Philidelphia about one of the 1st AIDS discrimination cases which happened in 1987. During the publication period of the first few books any gay characters would have been "a big deal." On top of that we just don't spend that much time with the guys out side the big three. Seriously, named female characters out number named male by about 4 to 1.
271. thelastgoodkiss
Has anyone considered that Tarna's disparaging comment regarding mature Aes Sedai having pillow friends is not an attack against homosexuality, but an attack against the need for companionship?

It's made pretty clear that most instances of pillow friends are novices and accepted who need someone to help them get through the trials and tribulations of life in the Tower. They are given a rough time, and they need someone to help them get through it. Young Aes Sedai who are similarly bullied might need the same thing. But in Tarna's opinion, once you become a more mature and capable Aes Sedai, needing a companion to lean on is a sign of weakness. She probably feels the same way about Green's who are in love with their warders and rely on them for comfort as well as physical defense.

I don't see anything prejudiced in Tarna's opinion. I think that she just sees needing other people as a sign of weakness. I think that if one wants to find a problem within all of this (and I'm not saying that I personally do, but I understand if one does), it should be over the fact that pillow friends are portrayed as really only being pillow friends because there are no men around and not because they are actually lesbian.
Jennifer McBride
272. vegetathalas
@ 241

"To be controversial and entirely logical the only point of heterosexuality is reproduction.
To be even more shocking I will say that the entirety of the homosexual agenda is to have a relationship with someone you care about..."

WHAT??!! Perhaps I'm misinterpreting you, but it sounds like you're saying because heterosexuals CAN have children, that's their ONLY motivation behind their relationships. Are you actually suggesting that one kind of relationship is ipso facto emotionally 'purer' than another because it lacks the capacity to reproduce?

Please tell me I'm misinterpreting you.
Hilde Sørensen
273. edlihs
But in Tarna's opinion, once you become a more mature and capable Aes Sedai, needing a companion to lean on is a sign of weakness. She probably feels the same way about Green's who are in love with their warders and rely on them for comfort as well as physical defense.

She goes back to Erian, who tells her that al’Thor is weeping in the chest, and suddenly starts crying herself; Galina tries to get her to come back to her tent for tea, offering to “lay a damp cloth on her brow”, but Erian says she must go to her remaining Warders and comfort them, and leaves.

Do you think there is a connection between their views?
Neither understanding heterosexual/normal non sexual partnership between genders?
Jeremy Preacher
274. afterthefallofnight
Tarna's comments about pillowfriends being for kids/novices, not adults - felt more like an echo of college life than a suggestion that lesbians are bad.

It felt perfectly reasonable to me. Plenty of people did things when they were young that they would find embarrassing if publicly discussed.

And to those of you without such "skeletons", what's wrong with you people?
Jeremy Preacher
275. alreadymadwithDelana
Ellid @263
I don't think it's the gap Halima and Delana's stations in life that elicits comment among the Salidar residents so much as the fact that it's becoming obvious Delana is letting herself be controlled by her pillowfriend.
Noneo Yourbusiness
276. Longtimefan
@241 vegetathalas

I happened to log in right under your post so I will address your question because I was not clear. I should not have used "heterosexuality" I should have said "heterosexual behavior"

an agenda is not the same as a person.

The heterosexual agenda is to promote relationships that encourage relationships between people of the opposite gender because this heightens the possibility of having children. This is not good or bad, it just is. It also happens to be the prevalent cultural policy which makes it difficult for people to observe neutrally. The behavior's reproductive opportunity is the only reason that societies promote the behavior not the only reason people have relationships.

People who engage in heterosexual relationships are not better or worse than people who engage in homosexual relationships. The the desire to be in a relationship with someone they care about is similar.

However to analyze the point of heterosexual behavior as a sexual activity it is to create an opportunity for reproduction to occur. This is important for the growth of a culture and civilization. It is not however necessary for everyone to participate in nor is it imperative for it to be the primary relationship of interest for a person because they can chose to engage in reproductive activities outside of an emotional relationship.

I would not say that one type of relationship is "purer" than the other. All relationships are what the people involved chose to make of it.

I am not intending to attack or diminish heterosexual relationships but I am trying to make a point that there is a difference between "relationships" and "behavior".

Also I will say again that I do not believe that heterosexual or homosexual can be applied to a person only to an action.

People just are. Who they chose to be in a relationship with and what they do socially are just ideas and actions they implement in their lives.

If someone was to believe that a fictional society took "such things as a matter of course" then it would not promote only heterosexual behavior by rewarding that behavior with all of the opportunities of heritage and inheritance.

In the end I would prefer that the series remained unrealistic and entirely hetero centric. The inclusion of "lesbian" characters was limited and only highlights the lack of the Westlands "taking such things as a matter of course".
Kristina Blake
277. kab1
can't keep up with all the posts....too many. Heading over to the bunker for some cookies and cider (spiked of course!).

Sub@202 great post, I agree completely! and of course I also agree with 252. Ten days!! Can I tell you how excited I am? I downloaded a new audiobook yesterday and I couldn't even start it, too into WoT right now. I just picked up where I was in CoT. I'm hoping to get through the rest of it and KoD before the 27th, but I can tell it's not gonna happen.

Hubby is on CoT and is like "who's this Ituralde" guy? I said, just keep going...I really want him to get to KoD. Poor man is so confused, so many characters on a first read thru. As evidenced @245. Awesome post. I'm still trying to sort out my reaction to the numbers for everyone. For now, I'll say that I realized Thom didn't have many PoVs, but only 4?!? I'd love another from him. and Logain doesn't have any huh? I never realized that for as much as I like his character.

PS @247- where was the typo??
Jeremy Preacher
278. Lionthrone
@251 rich,

thanks for clueing me in there. I keep waiting for little people to pop out everywhere I go.

But seriously, no one is saying, certainly not me, that WOT isn't a valid story. Aside from little people, I think we can say that gay people are real, not matter how much certain people would like to ignore that reality. And the people in WOT are in fact human. And where humans are, and animals too, there's a lot gayness. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Oh and thanks for reminder that the WOT isn't in fact the NY Times. I forgooooot!

And to the rest of the people who are bothering to debate about numbers, I'm amazed that you all think that people answer truthfully when asked if they're gay or not. Sounds like you need to give your lesson in reality to others richie.
j p
279. sps49
Ellid @263-
Moiraine and Siuan can get embarassed without it being a personal failing. If anyone started talking about how I had sex with a former lover, especially in public, I would be embarassed and angry. MAybe in the WT it is tolerated and normal, but RJ did base the WT partly on convents- where similar behavior takes place with a double helping of shame.

>Think of all the ways that a shoufa can be worn with panache! One does want a spot of color?

Longtimefan- There is no "heterosexual agenda". That is far too large a group to have the same view on any topic.

Society in general has an interest in promoting childbirth; a falling birthrate eventually spells doom (DOOOM!).

Re: you post 241- "only point"? "entirety"? Seriously?
280. Freelancer
People have blind spots in expecting everyone else to be like themselves, in one way or another. As we have all seen, that tends to end up causing people who most demand tolerance to become intolerant.

Tolerance is not acceptance. A reasonable person may be tolerant of many things which they find unacceptable, because they are reasonable and have no need/desire/interest to take in the issue.

Having lived where and how I have lived different parts of my life, I have dealt directly with people I have liked and disliked, accepted or not accepted, admired, appreciated or loathed. And for a very broad variety of reasons across the spectrum. Some I admired but disliked, some I appreciated yet disapproved of, some I loathed but accepted. All of that simply makes me human. But something which is sure to remove any chance of acceptance or approval on my part is another individual's demand that I partake of their viewpoint on anything. I do not make such demands upon others, and will never accept them. Be "in my face", and you have an enemy, no matter what your cause.

Were I of the "mainstream" type in all aspects of my character (be assured that I am not), the current culture would allow me the least leeway in expecting others to agree with my viewpoints on firebrand issues. Were I of an "underrepresented" class in one identifiable aspect or another (I am), I would have virtual carte blanche to be "in your face" to see things my way. This is what we have today, and whether anybody likes it or not, dealing with reality makes life much easier than presuming that your own personal wishful thinking will really change anything. Play the hand you're dealt.

I quit reading Heinlein when I the mastery of his story-telling got trumped by his need to push his internal salacious fantasies on his readers.

I quit reading Herbert when the sexual aspects of the Dune books became the most significant threads of the story.

If those are what a reader wants, there are numerous other genre available to cater to that mindset. I read SFF for the fantastical elements of an engaging story, not for the fantasy engagements of the characters.

Among the many reasons why I enjoy Robert Jordan's work in this saga are that he could see through the cloud of sensibilities, and present a story that teaches truth both from within them and without. Someone said he doesn't preach. I find that he does, but with terrific clarity, and in an understated, reasonable manner.

Readers are arguing over whether there is profanity in WoT. There is cursing, indeed, which is clearly meant to represent those words in our society which have been determined profane and vulgar. Yet he chose to do so with innocuous words and phrases in their place, given them a more palatable, and indeed whimsical, quality.

Some would say he was a coward to do so, why not just say what you want understood? Because many readers would not have gone past the first or second volume if he had. Again, refer to what I said above, Jordan played the hand dealt, and didn't substitute wishful thinking that every reader should just accept the profanity and not be offended. This is genius.

On the other hand, expecting an author to "deal with" or "handle" an aspect of real life contemporary society in the way you want him to, this is the wishful thinking, and not genius.


Since yours is the last comment I could see while writing this novella, I read it through. I appreciate all that you have said, while differing on one very tiny point. There are more differences to why people chose a hetero- vs homosexual relationship than reproduction. I was most certainly hetero at age 7, I simply enjoyed the company of girls in a clearly different manner than I did boys. Be assured I had no designs on reproduction at the time. I think I can safely say that the great majority of marriages are entered into without reproduction being the first order of business. Please don't take this as disagreeing with your intent, it is good and well presented. Just that with how you stated that part, it comes accross almost as though if reproduction were excluded from the equation, people would be in a coin-flip to choose from which vine to swing, and I think that would be going much too far.
Hilde Sørensen
281. edlihs
Readers are arguing over whether there is profanity in WoT. There is cursing, indeed, which is clearly meant to represent those words in our society which have been determined profane and vulgar. Yet he chose to do so with innocuous words and phrases in their place, given them a more palatable, and indeed whimsical, quality.
A linguist in the media (in my country, Norway) was asked about the origins of a particular swearing word. The word was "translated" to something completely different then what would have been expected. He used the opportunity to talk about how what means one thing in one generation can be acceptable in the next.
Many of my generation has no problem with swearing words in any form, as long as it is not meant to directly harm, embarrass or belittle of them or others yet others only some generations earlier would "loose it". I agree with you on use/non use of such words. It is a little like earlier talk about "rude" tavern names. You can choose to ignore it if you wish. If you get it. Or you can think it is a strange name. Many wouldn't dare.

expecting an author to "deal with" or "handle" an aspect of real life contemporary society in the way you want him to, this is the wishful thinking
We should be happy RJ succeeded in adding as much as he did from my poit of view
282. Lily of the Valley
I always assumed Nisao has dwarfism of some sort, to be honest, in regards to the lack of Little People.

And, I can honestly say that a well-adjusted, long-time committed gay Aes Sedai couple is...unlikely. I don't see Tower initiates at this point in the world that RJ built as being able to sustain any sort of "equal" relationship, regardless of whether they're gay or straight.

Regarding homosexuality on a whole: I try to live by Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and judge people not by their color , but on the content of their character. Galina's the kind of person that in the modern world would be slapped with multiple sexual harassment suits or in jail. Period. My disgust for her has nothing to do with her preferences and everything to do with the fact that she is Evil

Also: happy fun times for WOTfans?

I found this to be somewhat of a parallel to our usual hearty debates. :)
Roger Powell
283. forkroot
Regarding swearing in the WoT world - I disagree with the assertion that WoT "cursing" is equivalent to real world cursing. All of the cursing in WoT uses ordinary words that themselves are not considered obscene. E.g. "Burn me!" may be considered rude or worse, but the words "burn" and "me" are not intrinsically obscene.

The analogy with the real world might be a rude statement like "You bastard!" - crude, but not obscene. (My wife just rolls her eyes when I try to be clever and say something like "this file is a real bastard".)

On the other hand in the real world we have words like f---, sh--, etc. that are vulgar in any context.

Note: I am not arguing that the inhabitants of WoT necessarily take "cursing" more lightly, even though the formulation of curses requires juxtaposing ordinary words in certain ways. For example, we see Nynaeve struggle with Uno's "cursing" much the same way someone might have an issue with a person in our world who peppers their speech with "f---ing this" and "f---ing that".

My argument is only that the view that WoT obscenity is like our own but with different words is a simplistic view, not supported by the text.
Roger Powell
284. forkroot
Now I am haunted by an image of Nynaeve and Uno at a fancy restaurant, with Uno attempting to order a Baked Alaska similar to one at another table:

"I'll have that flaming dessert over there"
Jacy Clark
285. Amalisa
The overall cursing debate...

The Online Etymology Dictionary offers some interesting looks at how some of the words we now consider obscene came about. Most have always been considered vulgar - or at the very least, very common, in the social class sense of the word. Some are English bastardizations (if you will) of words from other languages. All have made their way to varying "obscenity" lists over the last three centuries or so.

"Flaming", "burn", and "bloody" have been minor swear words for a long, long time, of course. As has already been pointed out, it's all in the context. In my opinion, they are also much more in keeping with the setting for Wheel of Time.

alreadymadwithDelana@275 and Ellid@263:

From Knife of Dreams, "Call to a Sitting", Romanda's pov:
...It was always a mistake to choose a pillow-friend who did not wear the shawl. Especially if you were fool enough to let her take the lead.

Yes, the gap between Sister and servant is a problem. No, having a pillow friend who is also an Aes Sedai is not necessarily considered a weakness or failing.

Generally speaking, there is a basic need in humans for companionship. That would hold true for Aes Sedai, I would think. And if you consider that AS rarely marry, then that "companionship" would have to be more transient in nature. I remember another pov - from one of the Tower searchers, maybe? - about having found a few men over the years who were not intimidated by a woman who could channel. I took that to mean that AS do get around. Or they have relationships with other AS. Again, generally speaking. I'm sure that there are some who completely put aside any need for companionship of any kind.
Ron Garrison
286. Man-0-Manetheran
Whew! I can't believe this thread is still going. Note to Leigh: do not bring up healthcare reform.
Bridget Sullivan
288. Ellid
Amalisa -

"From Knife of Dreams, "Call to a Sitting", Romanda's pov:
...It was always a mistake to choose a pillow-friend who did not wear the shawl. Especially if you were fool enough to let her take the lead."

Thanks! That's the passage of which I was thinking.

All which, I think, would buttress my idea that of course the Aes Sedai pair off occasionally. They have a lifespan of centuries, supposedly live in a world where most men would find them off-putting (to say the least) and as you say, there is a basic human need for companionship.


Before anyone says that maybe the Aes Sedai culture might be responsible for fomenting situations where women would get all Xena and Gabrielle with one another, and that explains why we have only lesbians in WOT and not gay men, (since it is actually a logical end result of White Tower life, and so much of the story is focused on the White Tower and all its attendant cultures and factions) bear in mind we have seen lesbians (or at least bisexual women) who are among the Sea Folk (Shalon), upper Cairhienin nobility (Ailil) and Tairen nobility (Arrela) and the Far Dareis Mai (Arrela's Shaido lover).... but...

No intimation, hint or innuendo about any male homosexuality...anywhere. It's a glaring omission, that speaks about Mr. Jordan's "blindspot(s)."
Jay Dauro
289. J.Dauro
Forkroot @236

I am hanging my head in shame. That would have been the much better response. Where is my brown paper bag?

edlihs @254

Perrin sees the most powerful Wise One (where power is defined as their hierarchy, Sorilea is the leader) and she can barely channel what a novice in the WT can. Does he know how the WO figure leadership? So is it reasonable for him to assume that the WO may not have the strength in the power that the AS do?

But the actual quote is
Small, flickering weakly, somehow it had seemed a declaration of war stronger than trumpets, war to the knife.
I believe he does recognize they are serious.

If you are pulling from a different place (next chapter maybe), can you quote it?

SamathaBee @ 261

I always thought Graendel did use her pretties for sex. All of them, male and female. But I see the evil here in the word "use" not in the words "same sex"

Forkroot @283

Yes both "Burn" and "me" are acceptable in our culture, and in WoT. But, if you are a writer who wants to portray profanity without using what many in your audience would consider profane words directly, you really have limited choices. You can make up words ( which has been done in many books ) or you can use words the reader knows in a manner to indicate you want the expression to be considered profanity. RJ chose method 2.

And although you may consider that words like f---, etc are vulgar in any context, I know many people who do not find them so. (yes, I do find they make me uncomfortable, but I realize there are different points of view.)
290. Freelancer
To call it a glaring ommission, or a blindspot, is to speak much more clearly about yourself, and your expectations (and yes, Leigh, that includes you) than it does about the author. You are welcome to be disappointed, even offended. But you are not so welcome to expect that he would do other than what he would do, and not to expect me to agree with such a narrow assessment, simply because it's an "important issue".

Let's just say that if I made the exact same presumption here on this forum about certain things which I find important, I'd be flamed to kingdom come. The intolerance of the tolerant would most certainly be exposed.
Bridget Sullivan
291. Ellid
Freelancer -

To call it a glaring ommission, or a blindspot, is to speak much more clearly about yourself, and your expectations (and yes, Leigh, that includes you) than it does about the author.

Indeed it does.

Your point would be what?

To me, had RJ left the issue silent, being vaguely puritanically vague about sex in all its stripes, then the absence of lesbians or fags (or bondage fetishists or whatever), to do so would have fit soundly within the narrative, consistent in tone and theme.

He didn't.

He went, suddenly, out of his way, to includes various episodes of lesbi-sex. Which is odd. And only lesbian sex, mind you. Around book 8 (PoD), it was openly thrown about that the Accepted have sexual affairs (obviously), captive high-ranking women (Ailil and Shalon) would resort to lesbianism if kept away from their men (imagine flipping that scenario around!) and even Elaida, who, if nothing else, was uniformly grim and ruthless and joyless.. well, it goes without saying she must be a dyke, right? I am sorry, if I find all of that jarring, and suggestive about the author's mindset.

That speaks loudly to me and about me, I suppose. What it says about you, I'd leave open to discussion.
John Massey
292. subwoofer
Holy Schnike! Are we still wailing on poor Bela here? 'K folks I see this is a passionate issue for all, and although this is not a political forum, and the chances that anyone's opinion will sway another are slim, go ahead say what you want. I think we have reached the point however, that all that needs to be said has been said, to the extent of repetition.

Let's move on, shall we? We are within striking distance of the new book and it is a time to celebrate and leap about with anticipation.To coin a classic line,
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Noneo Yourbusiness
293. Longtimefan
So I was thinking about which culture in the Westlands would invent the caramel apple and I have narrowed it down to Arad Doman and Arafel.

Why? Because A is for Apple, DUH!

So as a general poll that probably no one will get to because this freaking post is a million miles long with the blah blah blah (I admit I had a couple blahs in there somewhere) I submit that people who are interested would chose not only which country but also a few reasons why those countries would have access to apples and caramel and an ingenious Innkeeper or household cook or royal retainer who would find the magical alchemy of caramel apple dipping goodness that is so seasonal these cold Autumn days.

I vote Arad Domon and it would be an Inkeeper from a prosperous trading town looking to amuse a wealthy Domoni merchant who has grown pensive when the brisk winds of Autumn rush down from the northern forests.

Hopeing to delight her with an unusual treat and keep her spirits up so she continues to bring brisk and lucrative trade to his common room he sets about to make a roasted apple and puts it on a stick to set over the hearth fire.

The undercook is making a strange brown sauce from tree sap and honey that she claims is a secret recipe from her grandmother in the hill country.

Not giving it too much mind he props the apple up and sets about for a small bottle of Andoran brandy that he remembers seeing in the cellar last week.

upon returning he finds the apple skewer too hot and it slips from his fingers into the kettle. Quickly he pulls it out and finds the apple has been glazed with this sweet smelling sauce. A finger taste finds the innkeeper smiling at the flavor and delighted to serve the new found treat to the sighing merchant.

Delicately she slices into the glistening apple and takes a tiny bite from the fork.
Her smile lights up the room and the inn has a new menu item that will be renowned and guarded for years.

Caramel apples for everyone!

or just regular apples for those who are not that interested in caramel.

I think there is a small kettle of chocolate in the back if some would prefer that.
Jeremy Preacher
294. jotto
I would like to appologize if I am repeating a point somebody already made, but, 250+ comments is alot to read at any hour.

The following exerpt is the only time, I can remember in the series, that male homosexuality was hinted at.
".... Sierin Vayu had been raised from the Gray. An Amyrlin was supposed to grant indulgences and relief from penances on the day she assumed the stole and the staff. None came from Sierin, and in the space of half a week, every last male clerk in the Tower had been dismissed without a character, supposedly for flirting with novices or Accepted, or for "inappropriate looks and glances," which could have meant anything. Even men so old their grandchildren had children went, and some who had no liking for women at all."
This comes from New Spring, chapter 14: Changes. (page 205 & 206 in the paperback version)

I'm a gay closet-case from rural Michigan and this has always stuck with me. I'm glad somebody mentioned the big pink elephant in the room, or in this case the missing big pink elephant in the series.

Thank you Leigh.

The world Robert Jordan created is not perfect, but neither is the world we live in. There may be parts of both I do not like, but I do love both of them. The Wheel may yet right the worlds wrongs, just give it time.

I won't stop hoping.
295. Freelancer

I understand. Truly I do. To call the text which references those events "episodes" is rather a leap, don't you think? We get no "look through the bedcurtain" if you will (thank goodness), no details of any kind. We get Galina taking a selfishly romantic look at Erian. We get completely offscreen references to clandestine "meetings". We get one SeaFolk windfinder, who is obviously married to a man, internally exhibiting shame and fear over the affair. In New Spring, we get Moiraine's outrage at having her intimacy with Siuan spoken of openly (she is not outraged in shame at the truth, but as a Cairhienin in having such private matters made public).

In truth, we get no "lesbo-sex", we get backwards and lightly veiled referrals to such. That's as I would prefer it, so I'm happy. Your point remains true and valid, that no male equivalent references occur in the text.

My final question to you is, what would it change about you, about me, about Jordan, if he had? Given the thoroughness of Leigh's commentary, I can suppose that she would find some sense of balance in that.

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more, is none.
Michael Catapano
296. hoping
Imagine my surprise
ALmost to three hundred comments.
Rand in a Box (I'll have the sourdough Jack, thank you), LTT speaking to Rand, Sevanna's cleavage, and Demandred's (I'll wager) plan for Chaos coming to fruition and the predominant thread is the treatment of homosexuality in the WoT?
How about a discussion of homosexuals spanking in Randland? We could get to 1000

Whoa, TG is coming, people, (who is TG anyway) and we have issues to discuss.

I don't much care about sexuality in the WoT. I need magic and adventure in my fantasy novels.

As I have said, it is breeding season on the goat farm and the hormones are flowing like saidin thru the choedan kal. Remember when you were eighteen? Well, multiply by ten. My boy goats are doing fifteen to twenty girls a days. Girls are humping girls, boys are humping boys and the boys are trying to hump the llama but he is too accurate with his spitting. What does this have to do with human sexuality, or WoT? I have no clue, but I thought I was going somewhere. Just sharing. I'll settle down now.

What I really want to point out to everyone is 10 DAYS TILL TGS COMES OUT!!! Ahem, sorry, we will now continue with our regular scheduled rantings.
I feel your pain. You might be too young to remember this but I hope it helps. Feet don't fail me now.

It seems you have accepted your shortened name, or at least you have embraced it as the Aiel embrace pain. On the other hand, you now carry the mantle of WoT genius, so that must soften the blow.

Re closeted gays.
You missed Mandarb. He must be gay. Otherwise he would have jumped Bela's bones before they hit Taren Ferry in tEoTW.

I won the Cherie Priest novel 'Boneshaker' in the giveaway on 10/14 and received it 10/16. Yay, TOR.
I'm about one third thru it and am very engaged. No longer a steampunk virgin.

thanks for not stopping me

Just some random thoughts.

Got to get back to the Yankee game. Am heading to the bunker to watch on the big screen. Is there room? I have goat cheese and hot pepper jelly (and wine.)

Can I reserve a caramel?
John Massey
297. subwoofer
Ahhhh Free- Macbeth. Well played sir, well played.
When you durst do it, then you were a man; and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.

A worthy topic indeed. Somebody said hot pepper jelly- gonzo to the bunker.

Prithee, peace!

Brett Michie
298. bchurch
Ahhh, Shakespeare. Well played.

Minds me of something that belonged a couple posts ago, when Bashere was talking to Perrin about how nobles became nobles.

Honors thrive when rather from our acts we them derive than our foregoers.

edit--forgot how to spell Shakespeare
299. Freelancer
And if it must be Hamlet, then to be apropos:
This above all — to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Or to answer whomever would seek to "improve" upon another's work:
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
Alice Arneson
300. Wetlandernw
Amalisa @ 285 Most have always been considered vulgar - or at the very least, very common, in the social class sense of the word. That's what "vulgar" means. :) See below.

Longtimefan @ 293 Caramel apples.... If I had any hope of coming up with one that good, I'd try, but you set the bar too high!

Hoping @ 296... :D
Yeah, the shortened name makes me cringe still, but I suppose that's what I get for not following my own baby-naming advice... always consider the probable nicknames. *sigh* As for WoT Genius... duty is heavier than a mountain...

I love this place. Ten days from now.... I'll probably have to stay off line, because I know I won't get to read much until the weekend. But I'm REALLY pumped!

Oh, and on the subject of "colorful metaphors"... These are generalized definitions of what the words used to mean, anyway. Not meant to be a point of argument, just reference material. Examples are probably not the best that exist, and many words could fit more than one category depending on individual viewpoint. I thought about including multiple examples, but I'll leave that to you to fill in.
---Vulgar: common, low, in poor taste (Example: sh**. We all know it exists, and hopefully experience it regularly, but it's poor taste to discuss it. Especially in front of Aunt Sarah.)
---Obscene: something which should remain off scene; a private matter which should neither be shown nor discussed in public. (Example: f***. As referencing a specific act, it's something generally considered to be more appropriately private than public. Some, especially in earlier generations, would put my previous example here.)
---Profane: as opposed to sacred, specifically applying sacred terms to things which are clearly mundane. (Example: holy. When used appropriately, no one minds; it's only profane when misapplied: "holy sh**".)

And for IanGH @ 242, that was really tacky. I know it happens all the time, but when someone politely says that a particular thing bothers them, it's really cheap to respond by being deliberately offensive for no reason other than to be deliberately offensive. Cheap, tacky, vulgar and, frankly, a bit childish.

EDIT: I got 300?!?! And I didn't even notice. Cool. :>
Noneo Yourbusiness
301. Longtimefan

Wetlander beat me to post 300.

I did not have anything to say really but I was just looking to say


I guess 300ish is not quite the same.
stefan warsink
302. grubber
@ 291: "even Elaida, who, if nothing else, was uniformly grim and ruthless and joyless.. well, it goes without saying she must be a dyke, right?"

assumptions, assumptions. *shakes head*

who else had this stuck in his head by the way?

and on the cussin': mother's milk in a cup. ew.
I think that the swearing/cursing in the series is meant as a parallel (not to scare away the customers and all), and if you're going to be offended by profanity in here, be offended by the profanity in there. for example: "you have the DO's own luck" can almost only be translated to "you lucky SOB"..
304. Freelancer

The comment you quoted, referencing men who had no liking for women at all, is most certainly not intended to identify them as homosexual. The purpose of that statement is to show the absurdity of the dismissal of every male servant in the Tower on trumped-up charges of inappropriate behavior toward women. While it might have been true of a small minority of those men, it is ridiculous to suppose it could be so of older men, or men with no romantic interest at all.

Saying someone had no liking for women at all does not automatically demand the they like men, and the particular usage of the phrase in that passage is not about, nor does it specifically indicate, those men's opinions or attractions in regards to other males.
stefan warsink
305. grubber
even better. now is that profanity or what?
Jacy Clark
306. Amalisa
Wetlandernw@300 (congrats on that, btw!)

Yes, it does, doesn't it... I'd forgotten that. It also means (per Merriam-Webster): a. offensive in language b. lewdly or profanely indecent. ;)
307. Freelancer
Ahh, wait. I have it...

That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard. When we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds. Then, noble partners,
The rather for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to th'matter.
Barry T
308. blindillusion
Wow, what a difference a few days makes, huh? Went from a happy-happy-joy-joy Monty Python and RHPS thread to a full on socio-political blowout.

Glad I missed it. Whoo-hoo for family get togethers.

Anyway, I didn't read through all the comments because by close to 200 or so I was just tired.

But I will say this...Galina's sexual preference had nothing to do with her evilness as a character. The fact that she would use another's pain to fulfill her sexual needs is what makes her an evil character here.

Take Erian and replace her with Gawyn and you still have evil.

I'd assume Mr. Jordan made Galina a lesbian simply because he's taking a female character that uses another's pain to fulfill her needs sexually and placing that character under the complete control of another female character that uses sexual acts to cause pain and humiliation as an ultimate example of "just deserts".

Galina is in for a long, hard road. And this is after she gave up the Light for supposed immortality. Eh well, as far as I'm concerened she got off easy. She deserves more than she gets.

Anyway, as to the chapter itself. (And for all I know these points have been made..but all those posts above...sheesh.)

This is perhaps one of the more important chapters in the whole series. This is the point where Rand loses trust in EVERYONE, the point where he is never completely open again, the point where he begins to LOOSE his humanity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Shit met the Fan.

Anyway, I could go into the whole socio-political argument, but I choose not to, just as Mr. Jordan chose not to make the nature of sexuality as important in his world as we see it in ours.

As to everything else that happens in this chapter:

Rand stuffed in a box kinda trumps everything else.

Edit: Now where's Tim Curry when you
really, really need him.... I'm just saying.
Rob Munnelly
310. RobMRobM
@296. Mandarb! Of course. On the other hand, perhaps Bela stays on the fillies side of the barn.

That reminds me, of perhaps the most important closeted character in the WoTverse - THE DARK ONE. Now we know why he made his Naeblis look so darn gorgeous. Just saying.

Hilde Sørensen
311. edlihs
Perrin sees the most powerful Wise One (where power is defined as their hierarchy, Sorilea is the leader) and she can barely channel what a novice in the WT can. Does he know how the WO figure leadership? So is it reasonable for him to assume that the WO may not have the strength in the power that the AS do?
I see your point. But as I read that part I got the impression that she was one of a very few of the WO and that he would only get perhaps a dozen or so. But I agree about his lack of knowledge of their strength. (Side note: what does non tower-trainees know of novices and their strengh? Forget that.)

from the book: "Do not fear the Aes Sedai, treekiller." Suddenly, shockingly, a tiny flame danced in the air before her. She could channel!
I believe he does recognize they are serious.
If you are pulling from a different place (next chapter maybe), can you quote it?

I might be unconsciously drawing some from next chapter, since a read both together, but my thoughts was on the quote you presented. I'm trying to keep next post out of it. But here is the nearest I can think of:
"What he knew of the One Power could be stuffed into a thimble with room left for a fat thumb, but he had seen what Verin and Alanna could do, and he had seen that flame Sorilea had made. If she was one of the strongest in the Power among the Wise Ones, he was not sure six Aes Sadei would not wrap all ninety-four of them into a bundle." from The Sending chapter 54
It is not the best argument but I don't think he should have assumed that Sorilea was strongest, just because he was told she led them. But that is of course a readers perspective and may not be objective.
Jeremy Preacher
312. alreadymadwithsorilea
edlihs @311
Another important detail to consider is that Perrin was trained in a craft wherein experience, skill and reputation count for a lot. Despite the Wise Ones admonition not to fear Aes Sedai, he of course cannot determine whether this is the extent of Wise Ones' channeling ability or if it is the least. Wise Ones are rarely ever seen practicing with the Power, if at all. And from what he'd seen of AS abilities, they would be the acknowledged masters in using the Power. Sorilea was probably the last person to make such a declaration believable.
Hilde Sørensen
313. edlihs
alreadymadwithsorilea @312
Another important detail to consider is that Perrin was trained in a craft wherein experience, skill and reputation count for a lot. Despite the Wise Ones admonition not to fear Aes Sedai, he of course cannot determine whether this is the extent of Wise Ones' channeling ability or if it is the least. Wise Ones are rarely ever seen practicing with the Power, if at all. And from what he'd seen of AS abilities, they would be the acknowledged masters in using the Power. Sorilea was probably the last person to make such a declaration believable.
Also he didn't know they could channel at all, and that I think counts for the majority of those present in the room at the time, except the Aiel...

EDIT: In the Two Rivers he showed that he can't judge Aes Sedai strength vs. Rands' strength or Talents/knowledge
Jeremy Preacher
314. alreadymadwithmandarb
Just because Mandarb didn't jump Bela he's gay? For all we know he simply preferred Aldieb. Of course this is on the assumption Aldieb is a mare. Otherwise both of them might be gay.
Rahul Luhar
315. Gerontius
**Totally off topic**
When I saw the number of posts I wondered if this was close to the most. After a quick search, I found a lot of threads had reached 300, but only 4 had reached 400:

The Fires of Heaven, Part 23: 545 replies
Reason: Rand's Chivalry

The Shadow Rising, Part 21: 488 replies
Reason: No idea

The Shadow Rising, Part 14: 619 replies
Reason: Leigh: "I am giving myself a wee little holiday from blogging."

The Shadow Rising, Part 10: 845 replies
Reason: Leigh: "I am off to Georgia for some type of gathering"

Does anyone know why Part 21 got so many comments? Is there any post I missed?
85 more required to get onto the 400 list. I bet I can help the cause with this statement:
-Rand being chivalrous is the best thing since sliced bread
Hilde Sørensen
316. edlihs
Does anyone know why Part 21 got so many comments?
Possible suspects:
- Scheduling note: There will be no WOT Re-read post on Friday, as I want a little prep time before getting started on the next book. However, I may—MAY—have something else up for you on Friday instead, so keep an eye out, ya heard me?
-"actor talk"
-Gawain hate, Lanfear hate
-"twitches" note: I don't think this is the worst post in that regard
-Alcair Dal, Asmodean captured
-TSR part 21 posted Wednesday May 20, TFOH part 1 posted Wednesday May 27
Lannis .
317. Lannis
Uh... okay, nevermind... was going to tell Gerontius to check the dates of the posts (there was a week where Leigh was sick and another where she had the Dabel Bros. interview)... but edlihs beat me to it...

Oh, Hamlet... thinking if I finish this Picoult novel today I might zip through Hamlet before the 27th... getting all wistful and nostalgic... :)

BTW, you guys want controversial topics? Picoult writes realism, not fantasy, but very grabbing--she's kind of minimalist--every word is essential to plot and character development, no lulls in the narrative. Reading My Sister's Keeper right now... Picoult pulls on heartstrings and examines questions of ethics... very good!

Mmm! Caramel apples! Yummy! I brought more lawn chairs--anyone need a seat?
Lannis .
318. Lannis
Thought I'd better post something WOT related... :O

Re: Lews Therin or Rand's a headcase?

Okay, so I was thinking yesterday about how in KoD Semirhage does the whole "do you hear a voice yet, Rand? Sounds real, eh? Guess what, it's not..." thing when Rand loses his hand... and it occurred to me that there are lots of instances where someone in the narrative of WOT states an absolute directly which in turn is proven wrong later in the narrative. There's many examples of this, and we've discussed it before... stilling unable to be Healed; Warders only being male; saidin unable to be cleansed; even Moiraine being dead...

Anyhow, my point is what if this is Jordan giving us the old switcheroo again? Semirhage's blatantly stating one thing, and it's increasing the tension regarding the whole LTT/Rand's madness plot... but it's not Jordan stating that fact... it's skewed by Semi's POV (like so many things we've seen before...). Jordan did the same thing with the "Moiraine dead" plot... got us all sappy, planted a few clues that it's not the case, then BAM! Moiraine's alive and able to be rescued!

What if LTT is real? Again, cool factor: having LTT speaking, really existing in Rand's head, is just too cool to just be run of the mill insanity. What if Jordan's deliberating stringing us along, feeling all sympathetic and panicky about Rand's abilities to fight for the Light if he's nutso, when really Lews Therin is actually in his head, and Rand's not a nutcase?

What if Jordan is deliberately putting us through the sympathy-grinder, planting clues that Rand's case is exceptional, so that later in the narrative he will yank the rug out from under us again, BAM! LTT is real!

We've heard it stated that this situation is unprecedented (Grandael said this? or Semi?), so what if because of this unprecedented situation the usual standards do not apply? Perhaps in the past all the men who went crazy from the taint heard voices, but what if, in Rand's case, it's actually LTT? We know straight from Jordan that it's one soul that has resided in two bodies. Perhaps the crazy-taintedness has made it easier for LTT to cross that barrier, but perhaps he's truly there? What if the ugly taint has caused some of the body-rot that Rand's dealing with, but his mind is fairly sound? (I'm not suggesting it's completely sound, just not entirely a write-off...)

K... done thinking for now... where're those caramel apples again? YUM!
John Massey
319. subwoofer
S'okay- I brought my lay-z-boy to this shindig. It is football Sunday after all and I like to do things in comfort. Nine days to TGS!!! OMG!!! just sayin'
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

And... TGS chapter 1 is approaching the coveted 8 hunny! maybe if we all visited...

Kristina Blake
320. kab1
Jotto@294 and Freelancer@304. While I agree that the phrase "some who had no liking for women at all" doesn't clearly state that the man is homosexual, I do think it could be interpreted in that way. Like Freelancer, I do think Jordan was trying to illustrate how ridiculous is was to dismiss all men, when it was certainly only a minority that were in the wrong.

However, like jotto, I did take it to mean that a few of the men who were dismissed could have been homosexual. I think it's a fine interpretation of the phrase, and considering jotto and I both had that interpretation, I don't think we're crazy or that you can definitively say that Jordan did not mean gay men. RJ could have meant gay men and/or men who had no romantic feelings in general, who's too say (Harriet!). (btw, I read that sentence meaning that the men who had no liking for women were different than the old mean in the first half of the sentence).

In fact I suspect if you asked the average person on that street what it means to say "a man has no liking for women", most people would say he's homoseuxal in nature. Although, RJ had that one boat captain that simply hated women, and he was clearly not gay.

Given that RJ clearly stated that there were gays and lesbians in these works (@31), again, I don't think it unbelievable to assume some (a few) of the men dismissed were gay.

In general I almost always agree with you Freelancer, but I really felt like you jumped on Jotto @294 and told him that his own interpretation was wrong (when in my belief it's murky as to exactly what Mr. Jordan was referring too). Kinda like if LTT is real or not, we all have our own opinions, and our own interpretations of what the sentences mean. Now, if someone misquotes the texts, I'd say jump in!

Okay, rant over, sorry I don't know quite what got into me, but I thought it was a bit harsh.

Edit: for typos/clarity
Kristina Blake
321. kab1
Okay, now that I'm done being a grumpy Gus- anyone have any guess as to Leigh's possible news on Monday? Something about GS I'd guess.
322. PhantomIce
@318. Lannis

I hope you're right and Semirhage is proven wrong because from my first read on, this particular chapter convinced me that LTT and Rand were two different souls inhabiting the same body.

I also thought that LTT's presence in his head was a huge contributing factor to Rand feeling he's going nutso.

But despite all his wacky behavior I always felt that Rand was stressed out (and really who wouldn't be with the fate of the world on your shoulders but pretty much no one you can trust and not many who really trust you to do your job well - which is well-illustrated by this chapter) and convinced that he was going batshit crazy because he heard LTT and people told him he would go crazy.

So when Semirhage made that comment in KoD I was really unhappy thinking Rand really might be crazy after all and was disappointed. Which is why I'll be very happy if your theory is right and Rand and LTT are really different people and not a manifestation of Rand's brand of crazy.
Lannis .
323. Lannis
@ PhantomIce... yeah, I was disheartened for Rand at the end of KoD (just finished rereading it not long ago), and it's bugged me a lot... so when I remembered the WOT habit of stating an absolute, then proving it wrong, I was so excited! I'm crossing my fingers Our Hero is going to be okay. :)
324. PhantomIce
@323 Lannis

* also having crossed fingers * here's to hoping
Rob Munnelly
325. RobMRobM
@315/16. TSR 21 was the one where we disclosed our locations to each other using the Aiel terminolgoy - i.e., I'm part of the Massachusetts clan. Lots of discussion and follow up.
Rahul Luhar
326. Gerontius
@318 Lannis
OTOH, perhaps RJ knew that we would catch onto this and gave us a double switch. I.e. RJ made Semi say this so that we would think that he was trying to make us think that LLT was not real, and so we would think that LLT was real, because we thought we knew what he was doing, when he was not, and when we did not. Wow! That is confusing.
I really think I need to go to bed before I post anything else!
Lannis .
327. Lannis
@ Gerontius... damn you and your cursed double switch logic! ;)

Caramel apple? I've heard they're are good for you before bed... or, you know, any time... ;)
Sydo Zandstra
328. Fiddler
First, I'm not going into the gay/lesbian debate, because I don't really care about it. As others said before, this is a work of fiction.

That doesn't mean I have a problem with gay people. I know enough gay people, at work, and in my social life, and I merit them on their character, as all people should be merited on.

I picked up Galina's vibes on my first read of LoC. I wasn't really disturbed by it, because RJ had made the whole Red Ajah look that way.

I'm glad that in the later books we get to see Red Sisters who are redeeming the view we had on that Ajah earlier. Teslyn, Tarna, Pevara and Tsutama come to mind.

Anyway, back on topic. What Perrin should have done, and I know it's out of character for him, is to ask Berelain "why are you set on wrecking my marriage?", with somebody else around, like Rand, or Rhuarc. That would have been the end of it.

On a side note, soon my favourite WoT quote will come along:

They will pay, Lews Therin growled, I am Lord of the Morning.
Hilde Sørensen
329. edlihs
Has Egwene found out about Gawyn's role in the kidnapping of Rand?

EDIT: She knows he came with the tower embassy but has she ever discovered his true role? Or that of the embassy?
330. Freelancer
Semirhage's statements regarding Rand/Lews Therin are meant to be taken as truthful, and at face value. That does not make him insane, and it does not make him hopeless, as he is indeed a unique case.


That seems like it should work, for you or I or some other reasonable set of folks. However, Berelain gave Faile Ogier's oath that she'd take Perrin away as her plaything, so I think it wouldn't work for him in this situation.


Sydo Zandstra
331. Fiddler

I forgot about the reasonable factor.

How about if Loial were present? ;)

It might give Perrin some relieve though since it would sort of take the 'battle'to Berelain's grounds.

Just exploring here. ;)
Jeremy Preacher
332. holeinthewall
I think the real evil conspiracy here is the obvious cover-up by RJ in which he does not have the proper representation with gay and lesbian ogiers. I mean there was a census taken and at least 10% of the ogiers interviewed clearly stated that the LGBT. Now I think the number might be higher in the Elfinn and Aelfinn society what with the sensations and all. We know what that veiled reference meant, and with Mat of all characters... closeted much, I think so. Just my two cents.
Jeremy Preacher
333. alreadymadwithsemirhage
He's insane,
Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty. I will try, however. You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are the voices of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things from our own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin's voice. It makes no difference that his voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to achieve reintegration with someone who heard a real

This is what Semi said. A lot of things jump out at us, but for me the most important part is that she immediately deferred to Graendal being the expert. In other words, she pronounced her prognosis, that Rand was insane, pending Graendal's own examination as the expert.

As for Graendal, this is what she said on the subject:
"It may well be that, as many believe, all are born and reborn as the Wheel turns, but nothing like this has ever happened that I have read. A specific man reborn according to prophecy. Who knows what he is?"

With the information at hand the expert has declined to pronounce judgment.
334. Freelancer

Indeed. We know that you're alreadymad, but Rand, while troubled and burdened beyond any sense of normalcy, remains sane. Too hard, too unfeeling, but sane.


My only answer to your review of my comments to Jotto is this. Every time a group of people of any significant size is mentioned, you can choose to proclaim that it must include some of this persuasion or that. I did not say that none of those men from the White Tower who were summarily and improperly dismissed were homosexual. I said that using the phrase Jotto did as evidence was unfounded. And, in your own comment you give proof of that concept in reference to Agni Neres, Captain of Riverserpent.

I make the same argument whenever someone cries Compulsion because a character doesn't behave as a particular reader would expect or wish. Wishing does not make it so, if there is no textual evidence to back it up. Reading that phrase, which was written to convict Sierin Vayu of official misconduct, as a thin reference to gay males, simply fails to fit either the style or the substance of Jordan's writing viewed in whole.
Kristina Blake
335. kab1
Freelancer- my point was that people can interpret the text differently. Indeed I don't think I made any claim that this statement MUST mean that (referring to texual evidence), only that that is the way I interpreted it. Although I didn't phrase it at all well, my main point was not to argue what the text meant, but just that people can "view" it in different ways (unless it's outright contradicted in an RJ quote or another place in the books of course) I think that alternate interpretations of a sentence is different than throwing around Compulsion willy nilly (totally agree with you on that one).

I think that we simply have a difference of opinion. It could certainly be that my interpretation is totally off base and that's why I pointed out that there is another place in the text where disliking women does not mean homosexual.
I'm not trying to state outright facts (I guess that was unclear), I'm just telling you my opinion of the text. You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for ........

I really enjoy all of the comments on the board and I think that being able to interpret the text differently and get different takes on it is half the fun. Unless there's a serious point to be made, or a crazy theory that needs text to back it up, having different interpretations is ok! At the end of the audiobooks, RJ speaks about enjoying the audiobooks because it is a different take on his writing and that he likes to see how the narrators interpret his work, and which words/sentences, etc. they emphasize. He likes to listen so he can see if he made his point clearly (or not).

Phew this is long, hopefully I made some sense. Typed it fast.
John Massey
336. subwoofer
I dunno, could these guys just be misogynists? There, I said it. That's as much as you'll get out of me in this one.

On to brighter topics- can we as a group, bring The Gathering Storm to best seller status instantly? I hear about lineups for Potter and shake my head, but I have always felt that WoT get's the short end of the stick as far as how epic it is. And... if flippin' Twilight etc. gets that kind of ranking, it is a sorry state of affairs if the new book doesn't.

I don't know how many sites and groups there are around the world, but I am sure that they are just like me, chomping at the bit to see what happens next. It would be nice, in an immature but prideful sort of way to finally see WoT get the spotlight.

Incidentally, I went shopping for audio books and the sticker shock!- I could get one of the vertically challenged to follow me around reading to me for that price.

And I still think that Berelain was in poor form giving "Ogier's oath". Really dim. Faile is young and doesn't seem to have the wherewithal/social skills to rise above, same for Perrin. But Berelain definitely needs some disciplining. Got to AMW's room.

Jeremy Preacher
337. alreadymadwithspanking
Hmmm... Let me see...

I have three different belts, four pairs of slippers, three pairs of shoes, an umbrella plus my bare hands.

This is gonna take a while.
Brett Michie
338. bchurch
I know it's been hashed and re-hashed nearly to death and maybe beyond already on this thread, but I kinda want to add my own two cents. For those of you who are rolling your eyes already, please feel free to skip this; you won't hurt my feelings:). I have been lurking through this post and agree with much of what has been said concerning the topic of seemingly absent male homosexuality. I disagree with much of it too, but I'm not going to get all up in arms about it and have no wish to offend anyone else, just want to put forward my take on it.

The passage from NS has been cited many times already, and as that is the only WoT book I've read only once, I'm not super familiar with it. This other passage has also been mentioned here, though not as much that I've seen. This is Faile thinking about Rolan, her Mera'din captor:

She was sure she did not need to fear him trying to force her. Rolan had had his chance for that, when he had her naked and bound, and he could have been looking at a fence post then. Perhaps he did not like women in that way.

--Crossroads of Twilight, Traps

Now we come to find that Rolan is not gay just a few paragraphs later as he starts to make his interest in her known. Again, Faile thinking:

So much for his not liking women

But what this passage tells me is that Faile is aware of male homosexuality, and seems to take it as a matter of course. Others may disagree, saying that there is not enough here to make that judgement, and that's fine. But from my first time reading, that's how I took it.

This is not an attempt to balance the many examples of female homo or bisexuality we are given in the text, but just a small clue to be taken alongside RJ's quote @31 that male homosexuality indeed exists in Randland.

I think our lack of concrete, textual examples are in part due to what has already been stated about the disparity between male and female povs that we're given. And partly due to the fact that that is just the way RJ wrote it. I'm not going to hold it against him.

Again, sorry for the redundancy, just wanted to weigh in. And hopefully this will get missed given the lateness in the thread.

Cheers all!

--edit for grammatical errors
John Massey
339. subwoofer
What the deuce can you do with an umbrella?! Um... forget I asked.

Jeremy Preacher
340. alreadymadwithnotliking
From practically everything else I've read, not liking a woman/man that way is usually a euphemism for homosexuality.
Jeremy Preacher
341. alreadymadwithumbrellas
I'll answer anyway..

For a good two-handed grip.
Brett Michie
343. bchurch
And on a lighter note . . to bridge this thread with the previous:

Mr. Green: I have something to say. I'm not going to wait for Wadsworth here to unmask me. I work for the State Department, and I'm a homosexual.

Mr. Green: I feel no personal shame or guilt about this, but I must keep it a secret, or I will lose my job on security grounds.

Mr. Green: Thank you.
Brett Michie
344. bchurch
Or perhaps, Sir Galahad's timely rescue from the perils of spanking!

Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Sir Galahad: I don't think I was.
Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
Sir Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Sir Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Sir Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.
Sir Galahad: I bet you're gay.
Sir Lancelot: Am not.

Sorry everyone . . bored on a Sunday and procrastinating things I should really be doing.
Rob Trotter
345. shadar
I know this comment will get lost, but I want to add it in anyway.

I think this event showcases something. This is probably the most important event to happen to Rand from Rhuidean until the Cleansing (5 books!). And it's possibly the most influential thing ever on his character.

And the reason? Not because Elaida/(Alviarin/Mesaana) ordered it. Not because the Highest of the Black Ajah thought it would serve the DO. No thought of the Lord of Chaos. No Compulsion. It was because Galina was hitting on one of the sisters.

Moridin says it best in WH: "Small apparantly unimportant matters can become very important.... A word whispered in the wrong ear, or not spoken in the right one. A butterfly stirs its wings on a branch, and on the other side of the world a mountain collapses."

I see the whole Galina being Gay thing as the most innocuous way for RJ to pull off that beating. One of the most cruel scenes in the book - for such an insignificant reason.
Hurin Smells
346. HurinSmells
Ok so i'm a bit late on this one (345? Really?), but here's my $0.02. Apologies if im repeating anyone, I haven't read all of these.

Perrin/Faile/Berelain - Perrin is supposed to laugh at her at treat her like a foolish child. We get a Faile POV in tPoD that indicates they got to do this to her just before Faile is taken by the Shaido.

Sevanna - i believe she thinks she can compel him with whats barely being covered by her blouse.

Homosexualtiy in WoT - some people have already referenced sections where male homosexuality is recognized as a thing in WoT. WoT can hardly be called overtly sexual in nature though, so I don't personally feel the lack. Although for a series that's all about balance, to explore female homosexulaity without presenting the male equivalent is a bit of an oversight.
Jeremy Preacher
347. M&M

Disagreeing with you =/= whining.

I am sure that those Irish and Italian immigrants who eventually overcame discrimination were seen as "whiners" by some people, does not mean that they were. Same as people now dealing with these issues

As for the Sea Folk, they just have a very strict hierarchy because being in ships most of the time takes a lot of organization, also they started living in ships because of a disaster and are thus seen as "touchy" by others...nothing to do with being black.

As for Taraboners, I always saw them as more Middle Eastern than hispanic, as well as Domani...wearing veils, not getting along with neighbors...

I suppose you are 1 of those people that sees anyone who disagrees with you or points out something you missed as whining or yelling, no matter how calmly/politely they state their position?

No need to tell you to flame away...I don't tell the sun to shine after all ;)
stefan warsink
348. grubber
@ 339: I thought you were going this way.. oh well, it's early monday morning for me, can't be helped..
349. MasterAlThor
Ok I take the weekend off and you guys go nuts


As a card carrying Christian I come in defense of the Bible. It does not want gays to be invisible, it just says that it is wrong. Personally, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle, but if that is your choice so be it and good luck in life. I really hope you get everything out of it you want.


I can almost empathize with the gay community. Being black has not made my life any easier. But I refuse to use my color as a crutch. Note that I am not saying that gays do. What I am saying is that their are minorities and alternative lifestyles that do. Boo for them.


I am native to the north, and my love will always be with the Wolverines, but Hookem Horns. I lived in Texas for 6yrs I know whats up. TexasSedai and you other Texans I got your back.


My wife makes Cranberry Hootiecreeks those are some good cookies ya'll. So I will be passing them around. Just make sure I get some Chocolate Chip and some of those Snickerdoodles.

Now, I am done, so can we please be done with all the I'm mad about the lack of gay characters. There really isn't any major black characters and I am not offended by it. A couple of people have said if you want that kind of thing go read it in that genre.

I just want us to get back to the funny. Sorry if I stepped on anyones toes.

Edit: I just couldn't take it anymore. I apologize again. Thanks goes out to the person who quoted the Castle Anthraz skit.
Noneo Yourbusiness
350. Longtimefan
It is true there are not that many black characters. The two big ones are both women, Semirage and Tuon.

As for the Mr. Green reference in Clue. When you get to the end of the film he admits that it is untrue and he is going to go home and sleep with his wife.

I did see all three versions in the theater when I lived in New York. (that was a while ago and only for a year)

It was an odd thing to make three different endings and play them in different movie houses. You could tell which ending you were paying for by the attached letters of a, b or c.
Jeremy Preacher
351. brad21088
Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought Jordan failed big time with same-sex relationships. It's weird because he was so progressive on many other issues. Like you, I agree that it probably wasn't homophobia on Jordan's part; rather, it's just a sign of the times. You're not going to find very many SF/Fantasy novels with gay characters, or gay characters in any novel for that matter. The obvious exception is books targeted to gays, but that doesn't really count. I don't understand why it would be so hard to include a few gay characters in a story, just like there's a few gay people in everyone's real life adventure. Gah. But that's society, not particularly Mr. Jordan.
Noneo Yourbusiness
352. Longtimefan
You know at castle anthrax there is only one punishment for setting alight the grail shaped beacon.

A Spanking.
353. MasterAlThor

And let us not forget the oral sex.

I'm pretty sure that is the reason he wanted to stay
Alice Arneson
354. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @ 349 - Thank you. Once again, I appreciate your honesty and forth-rightness. And you responded to a few things much more graciously than the things I was thinking and trying hard to refrain from posting... :)
Vincent Lane
355. Aegnor

As for the point, I addresed it quite clearly. You thought, based on your numbers that there are very few gay people in the world therefore there must not be very many in Randland and that's why we haven't seen any.

I wouldn't exactly say that 135.82 million people is "very few gay people" (that is 2% of the world population). And going by the percentages, we most likely have seen gay characters in Randland. But we just haven't seen enough of them to know they are gay. We haven't really seen that much about any male characters. Maybe 25 with the type of characterization where someone self identifying as gay would come up? If I remember my statistics from 12 years ago, that would put the chances of not running into a gay character (that has been...characterized) at 60%.

Now, we are talking about a work of fiction. So the author controls all probabilities.

Oh, and 15% is way to high for people that "want to full-on, get-it-on with some same-sex lovin". But if you have any evidence to support that claim, I'd certainly be willing to take a look at it.
356. MasterAlThor

I am honored and I sincerly doubt that that I could respond better than one of our resident gurus.


Let it go. I am not trying to jump into your mix, but I have read some of your other post. You don't have to convince anyone.
Brett Michie
357. bchurch

I know Mr. Green's gayness was a farce in the movie. Can't remember which ending I saw in the theater, but have the dvd now.

Apparently, in that movie, homosexuality, like communism, is a Red Herring.

Which makes me think of the Knights-who-till-recently-said "Ni!"
Noneo Yourbusiness
358. Longtimefan
As I re-read through the thread (yes I have read this entire thread more than twice) a few points have popped into my head that I think may not have been made or made clearly. I will only try to address those points and not really comment on the adjunct subject.

Point one that people seem to get near but miss is the introduction of the "hint" that a character may be interested in a same sex activity of a certain nature coming 6 books into the series and done with a character that is very much in the "bad" category.

It is not the "gayness" that makes the character bad nor do I think that it is what was intended.

The point being made was that traditionally in literature when a character is introduced in such a way it is as a "bad" character. It is easier for prejudiced and non prejudiced people to accept. It will not be questioned. "oh, this character is "evil". A bit later "oh, this character is "gay". There is no "why do that to a character". It is acceptable for a "bad" character to also have traits that are socially unacceptable.

Yes, It has been stated that "such things are taken as a matter of course" in that world but the book is not being sold in "that world" it is being sold in this world. A world that in the books is hinted at being many thousands of years in the past.

In this world most literature with any "gay" characters generally only hints that a character might be and often kills them off or makes them miserable by the end of the book if they have not been "redeemed" by change. Not all but most. Even to use the "Dumbledore model" as a good character who happens to be "gay" the only information about that comes to the fore after he dies (spoiler, oops) and is in a relationship with someone who is eventually also "evil" and when the character "redeems" himself by not believing the "evil" idea that wizards are better than muggles (it is more complicated but I am trying to keep this short.) the relationship also goes away with that idea.

No new relationship is ever mentioned. It appears in the books that Dumbledore does the "appropriate" thing and becomes celibate for the rest of his life.

I do not know about most people here but I will say that I do not feel that being celibate instead of finding a relationship with some one I care about is the "appropriate" thing to do because socially, morally or some other ally other people are uncomfortable, disinterested, or contemptuous of same sex relationships.

Yes it is only fiction, however for fiction to be well written it must convey a sense of realism in many of its mundane details.

One of those mundane details in this series is "relationships". Another of those mundane details is the allusion that this world is a distant relative of our own.

In this world there is the reality, not social idea or political talking point, the reality that there are people who are in relationships with someone of the same gender. Some of these people are important, well known, political or powerful. They would be the types of people that characters on an adventure could run into.

When people get off the point and talk about these statistics or that social problem facing such people today they miss the intended issue which is

In a richly developed fantasy world with amazing attention to detail and character development and thousands of characters and many points of view on relationships and gender roles that has spanned 6 books and hundreds of thousands of words that is hinted to be our world thousands of thousands of years from now it is noticeable that only at this point is one character hinted at being interested in a same sex relationship.

I do not see this as a failure (just to be clear) but it is an unfortunate use of current social mores in a world where "such things are taken as a matter of course".

I have stated before and I will say it here as well, the series would have been better off to have just left the subject of same sex relationships out all together. It would be unrealistic but it is only fantasy.

As the subject is so carefully broached (if not obliquely) it could be erased from the series and replaced with different motivations in the few places it serves to nudge the minor plot threads it shows up in.

I am not saying this because I dislike the realism of having characters in same sex relationships. In real life I am a character in a same sex relationship. I am saying I do not like half hearted attempts to "include" a behavior that is limited and furthers the underlying social position on the behavior. See other people at the beginning of this thread for that position.

It is a story with the underlying theme that men and women need to be together to make the world balanced and "right". That is fine. Just keep the backhanded inclusion of same sex relationships out of it as part of the way to make that point.

Also, per the bible.

It does not exist in this fictional world therefore it is not useful in debating what should or should not be in this fictional world.

I am also aware of what the bible says about homosexual behavior. It does not just say that it is wrong, it places it on the list of things you do not do because if you do them you should be killed.

A bit more severe than "don't do that but if you do I will forgive you."

Then again there are so many versions of the bible maybe there is one where it is not a death sentence.

My bad if I am not familiar with that version.
359. MasterAlThor

New Testament

Jesus says "let him without sin cast the first stone".

That puts this at an end for me. You are in a same sex relationship, good for you. I disagree with it, but it is not my choice. I have no right to make you change nor would I want to.

That particular quote referred to a woman who was a an adulterer but it applies to so many different things. People need to understand that some Christians don't want to beat non Christians over the head with our most sacred book.

How it should be:

I live my life as close to perfect as I can get. If you see that and want to follow, all good. If that isn't for you, then I pray for you and yours and leave you to whatever it is you want to do.

You are not required to walk in my footsteps.

This nugget of wisdom came years after a terrible incident in which I didn't react proplerly to an advace that was shown to me. I am incredibly ashamed of my behavior, and as such have vowed to never be that guy again.

So everyone, please lets just move on.

You know that there will be unjust treatment of gays.

There will be unjust treatment of minorities.

How we deal with it makes us better than the unjust.

Edit: You said that the bible cannot be used here because WOT if fictional. But if it is based off our world just very far in the future or past then how can it not?
Jeremy Preacher
360. toddywatts
My impression was that full AS don't indulge in lasting relationships. Some of them think it's oogy that some of the greens sleep with their warders. I think there are even rumors about that, aren't there?

I think it's not about the fact that Galina is homosexual, but that she wanted to continue the relationship, which would be a weakness according to AS guidelines.
Thomas Keith
361. insectoid
Whoa, the post went sideways again! In any case I'm revising my previous comment estimate to 500 ;)

Sub @252, 292: YEAH!!! *does happy dance*

Longtimefan @293: Caramel, please :)
EDITED to add: But no nuts. Except that we already have those, don't we? ;)

hoping @296 re: 1000: Shhh...they'll hear!!

AMW @337 et al: LOL!

bchurch @343,344: Oh we go again...
Alice Arneson
362. Wetlandernw
OFF WOT TOPIC - this is all about the Bible, so don't read it if you don't want. Except for the part about the shrimp.

Longtimefan@358 - If it's an honest question, may I answer? (Regarding the part beginning I am also aware of what the bible says about homosexual behavior...) Here's what the Bible says, in I Corinthians:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
So homosexuals are not singled out as the "ultimate bad" in any way, but the practice is included here in a (limited) list of unrighteous behaviors. The point is NOT that it is a death sentence - that is due anyone whose sins are not forgiven. The point is that any sinner can be forgiven, cleansed and justified, but only through Christ. As with most things, it's best read in context; see I Corinthians 6. (Better yet, the whole book, but that's a good half-hour or more of reading, depending on how fast you read and how much you stop to think as you read.)

If it wasn't really a question, never mind. Or for those who really aren't interested in what the Bible actually says, oh well. But can I just say, eating shrimp is totally allowed in the Bible. It was only excluded for a time while the Jewish nation was required to maintain certain cultural distinctions; with the end of the temple sacrifice and the fulfillment of earlier promises (see Adam & Abraham) the restrictions on squirmy things were also removed and we were returned to the status as of Noah, who was given "every living thing that moves" as food. Personally, I loathe shrimp (and fortunately am allergic to them, so I have a good excuse to turn them down) but for the rest of you, eat up! It's okay. God said so.
Sean Banawnie
363. Seanie
Fiddler @328 Many good points.
MMMMMM shrimp. And caramel apples. Cookies , beer...
Anyone for pizza ? would that get me in the bunker ?

TGS approacheth even more !
Jeremy Preacher
364. biblescholar
I really had to step in here: My background in Religious Studies at the University level, and as a bit of a scholar of the bible I hope will give anyone who disagrees with me at least the courtesy of poking about the internet to see that my claims are substantiated in many places.

To all of you who throw out "the bible says" and use that as an unassailable position, I assail you. In the name of Truth, Justice, and Equality, I say please feel free to be entitled to your opinions, But I want all people of good will to forever know that your interpretation of the Bible may be Dogmatic to your faith, but it's not necessarily what God intended, Jesus intended, or the many authors of the bible with their many personal and political motives intended it to mean. At least according to the best scholarship, and closest study that people who have looked beyond indoctrinated meanings have found.

I have not seen anyone quote the bible here in a fashion that represents anything but the most peripheral knowledge or study.

The story where Jesus talks about letting he who is without sin cast the first stone for example. If a woman is an adulteress, who was she committing adultery with? A Man. In this case, a Man who happened to be among the people bringing this poor woman out to be stoned. Jesus is calling Him out. You want to stone her for adultery? How about you sir, you can come be stoned too for your indiscretions.
That's not what they tell you in Sunday school now is it? We can go further to point out that this woman likely wasn't the one who came up with the idea of “having a good time behind the barn”, and may in fact have been raped. We see this kind of thing happen in fundamentalist Islamic society often enough to be in the news here. It’s not uncommon, especially in societies that punish women and forgive men.

Homosexuality is stated as abomination in Leviticus, a text that also calls eating seafood abomination along with various other things, substitute eating shrimp for having a relationship with another man into that "I don't agree with it but I'm not going to tell you what to do" comment. I've never heard anybody say that, I doubt any of you have either. Leviticus has been brought up, as have the slavery and women as chattel issues covered in Leviticus. This is not a text most Christians spend any time with except to pull that homosexuality bit out of context and throw at people. Trust me, Leviticus has some very interesting context, if you want to learn something go look it up. Condemning homosexuals was not its purpose, not even close.
Further things to point out:
The Sin of Sodom wasn't homosexuality; it was a lack of hospitality. Honest. Guys raping other guys wasn't even considered homosexual back then, just rather rude to do to somebody else's house guests. They even though it happened to you too many times it might turn you into an effeminate person, (I think they swapped the cause and effect there). Pederasty is not a homosexual thing either just FYI.
We’ll leave the misogyny of the bible to another time.

I do happen to agree that a 15% figure representing people whose sexuality on the broad spectrum that is sexuality would fall in the LBGT/somewhat LBGT/ other non mainstream category. Being "Gay" is very much like being Left handed. It's not altogether uncommon, I don't happen to be, and have a bit more personal trouble with it than I'd like to admit (I do try to be an open minded and accepting person to all.), but it's natural and normal, though a minority, and that's about it. Plus of course "the Church" (if I can vilify it as an entity that way) will try very hard to beat it out of you. I happen to know people who were beaten by nuns with rulers for trying to write left handed, they were told they were taken with sin, and that the devil was in them, that being left handed was abominable. Luckily this practice doesn't still continue... well not mainstream at least. I hope not anyway.

I would like to point out that many people have glossed over Asexuality, kudos to those of you who did acknowledge its existence. I don't think there is a big enough Asexual audience here to demand asexual characters, or the personal struggle of a young asexual man of woman growing up in a sex-obsessed world. Now I challenge all of you to imagine a book about asexuals. Unless you are one, I really doubt your relate well to it. Same goes here; I don't think straight people much care one way or the other about homosexuality in literature unless they are directly looking for it (aside from those with moral objections). So I don't think it's too terrible that many straight people are ambivalent, while other people, (who I believe are mostly from the LBGT community), happen to enjoy and want more gay characters. People like to read about things they relate to. I have Gay friends who adore even the most peripherally gay characters, simply because they relate, and they love to see it in stuff they read. Personally I think that "making a character gay because it's such a small part of their overall person" is flawed. Your sexuality is a huge part of who you are, science is proving it more and more every day. Randomly making characters happen to be gay would lead to not very believable gay characters. That doesn't make for great literature, it makes for tokenism. I find that RJ should be congratulated for putting homosexuality in there, forgiven for being respectful of people in his audience who wanted to pretend they didn’t see it, and not condemned for the fact that I don’t really think his talents were truly up to the challenge of making gay major characters central to his story. That said, we can wade into the grey area of well, we have lesbians who are supposed to grow out of it, and really a dearth of Gay men. I think that says to me, RJ really tried to get it in there, but homosexuality probably wasn’t one of his strong suits as an author, perhaps his concept of what homosexuality is was a bit off too. There are many young girls with raging hormones and no other alternatives who would never turn to another girl for sexual release. Besides, novices and accepted did seem quite capable of finding young men in Tar Valon if they tried hard enough. Additionally, I know girls who have had very close friends who they shared everything with, had sleepovers with where they cuddled up to each other to sleep, and were extremely closely bonded who would be totally bamboozled at the idea of having or considering any kind of sexual relations with each other.
I think the best we can hope for is that as acceptance and public attention to people of all sexualities grows, there will one day be many more gay characters, who are excellently written appearing in novels of all kinds, as they will be necessary for a book to be believable at all.
In closing, if you look at societies where homosexuality really is accepted as a matter of course (they really do exist!) you’ll find that their literature has far more gay characters who are well done, and not token feeling. Those of you who are looking for such things and having trouble finding it, head on back to that TV tropes page Leigh has so often quoted and look at the Anime and Manga series’ from Japan that are very well represented.
I apologize in advance for any overly pedantic, opinionated, or offensives sounding things I’ve said. Your mileage may vary, but I really wanted to put in some of my observations that I felt didn’t come up in over 350 posts. wow that was long. I hope somebody learns something useful from it.
Jeremy Preacher
365. JennB
I have been desparately trying to finish rereading the series before TGS so I haven't read any posts for a couple months. I decided to just peak to see how far Leigh has gotten and got drawn in. Now I've lost an hour of reading and an hour and a half of sleep.

First off why does everyone keep saying that Galina and Elaida are the most visibly gay characters in the books. Shalon's relationship with Lady Alil is the most visible. Neither of them are bad guys and neither hates men.

Second why does Galina's sexuality make her a more creepy character? That is your own interpetation. I think that her private thoughts about Erian are chauvinistic but that doesn't have to do with her sexuality, it has to do with her feeling of superiority. I didn't really think her offer of tea and a cold cloth were inappropriate. I guess you can interpet it as Galina trying to take advantage or simply as her wanting to comfort and spend time with someone she is attracted to. Either way, she did not push when Erian said no.

Third, calling Jordan's lack of prominant male gay characters a failure is just silly. It implies that he owes you something. It is quite possible that his story just never led him there.

PS I think Sulin rejoined the maidens because saving Rand was more important than her pride.
Michael Johnson
366. ZshadeZ
@364 biblescholar:

When I saw your chosen name I winced, but after reading what you wrote I agree with you completely. Kudos to you for a well written and well thought out post, I sincerely hope Leigh reads it as well
Roger Powell
367. forkroot
Considering your choice of screen name, I find it interesting that you choose to analyze the "adulterous woman" story (John 7:52-8:11).

I would think that the proper response of a bible scholar would be to note that the passage should be considered apocryphal. It did not appear in any of the original manuscripts of John, and thus should not be considered part of the Bible. Virtually no reputable New Testament scholar believes otherwise.

This doesn't mean it didn't happen - heck, there are a lot of things attributed to Jesus by various apocryphal writings. But it is clearly not part of the canon accepted by the early church.

The story itself is compelling, and many people think it "sounds like" Jesus. A lot of people want to believe it happened. Unfortunately, that same love of a good story is what makes urban legends so popular too.

Another concern: You did not respond to Wetlandernw's arguments about what the Christian bible says about homosexuality. She quoted the Apostle Paul (NT), you concerned yourself with Leviticus (OT).

Disclaimer: I'm not taking a position on the issue itself. I'm pointing out that you did not make a valid argument against the New Testament quote.
368. Freelancer

I will be plain, I agreed with perhaps 30% of what you wrote. But I will only take issue here with one point:
3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Nowhere in Scripture is it said that the man with whom the woman was committing adultery was among those present. It is often supposed, presumed, and surmised by preachers, teachers, and "bible scholars", but that is all. The real point, the one that cannot be missed in bible scholarship, is that if the woman was taken "in the very act", where is the man? For the law was quite clear that both were to be stoned. The scribes and pharisees had no interest in seeing justice done, they wanted an opportunity to accuse Jesus. Being God, He knew this, and did not rise to their bait. People may offer conjecture all day long about exactly what He wrote on the ground, supposing that it caused the men's reaction to begin leaving. However, once again, we'll never know this side of Heaven, because it isn't in the text.
stefan warsink
369. grubber
@ freelancer: I'll bet my eternal soul that it was something about Bela :D

come on people, only 31 to go!
Dorothy Johnston
370. CloudMist
To subwoofer re audiobooks

If you have access to a fast internet connection, I suggest you try For a basic membership of $14.95 a month, you get one credit a month and most books cost one credit.
Rob S
371. RobSS
End of LOC *twitch*

Release of TGS *TWITCH*
Rob Munnelly
372. RobMRobM
Wait a second - here is an on topic post: several people in this thread (please don't make me took) stated as fact that Semirhage was blackskinned and one stated that Tuon was. Can someone give me textual support for either proposition becuase, if true, I never picked up on it? Thanks. Rob

p.s. Break it, break it.
Jeremy Preacher
373. alreadymadwithdarkskin
Hmmm... I picked up on Tuon being darkskinned. But not Semirhage. The closest I got was that Semirhage always wore black because Lanfear always wore white.
John Massey
374. subwoofer
Ahem*cough*cough*- 8 days until The Gathering Storm comes out!!! Good to see we are still going strong on Leigh's post, hopefully we save some of that fire for the stuff flying off the fan today. This is really killing my mouse batteries ;)

Interesting question that was brought up- did Eggy know Gawyn's role in the kidnapping? Eggy does know that Rand was beaten- how much she knows I'll have to look up, but does she know about the Sister's who did take part and then the Oaths and then her "beloved" being a doof? Things that make me go... you donkey...

Rob Munnelly
375. RobMRobM
already @373. Thanks. Can you or one of the gai'shin hunt through the text of WH or elsewhere for her physical description? There are obviously black people in the Seanchan empire, but I hadn't picked Tuon as one of them. Interesting if true.
Jeremy Preacher
376. alreadymadwithkidnapping
subwoofer @374
I didn't think Eg even knew about the kidnapping. None of the dragonsworn Aes Sedai have contacted Salidar since Dumai's Wells. All she knew was that it might not end well, but not how bad. And Rand has encouraged everyone to keep quiet.
Hilde Sørensen
377. edlihs
She is taller than most men, with a smooth dark face and dark eyes. She has long, slender fingers. (LoC,Prologue) She is slender and very tall. Her charcoal black face is beautiful and she has large black eyes and full lips. (WH,Ch14) She has short, wavy hair. (WH,Ch17)

Thanks (also to the others who answered)
Rob Munnelly
378. RobMRobM
@377. Thanks. This is Semirhage, correct? (Tuon is short.) Do we have similar 411 on Tuon?
Hilde Sørensen
379. edlihs
Thanks. This is Semirhage, correct? (Tuon is short.) Do we have similar 411 on Tuon?
Yes to both
From (Tuon)

She is dark and petite with a heart-shaped face and large brown eyes. (WH,Ch14) She has full lips. (CoT,Ch3)

EDIT: Should have noted who it was since the encyclopaedia doesn't have "proper address".
Jeremy Preacher
380. biblescholar
@ 366, 367, 368, respectively (by which I don’t mean in that order, but ‘I see you’)
I actually wasn't responding directly to Wet, her post appeared sometime after I started writing and before I finished so I added some things about that for a recent example. My intentions were mostly towards the "the bible says it's wrong" folks, so I tried to hit the highlights of what I assume are their popular textual sources.

I was writing from the top of my head, and my point was more to encourage people to go look at some hard scholarship, or even some internet easily available re-hashing of some hard scholarship, not just take my word for it.
That said, I am well aware of sections of the bible are widely believed to be apocryphal. My NRSV clearly notes the adulterous woman as being a likely ret-con put in to make Jesus look more awesome. Its just a little more inflammatory a statement to go from, "look at other interpretations here", to start going, for example, oh BTW, did you know a fair number of Paul's letters are obvious fakes? I didn't feel like attacking the actual text in a post already going rather long, but yes, there are many many things about the canonical bible I am highly offended with, especially towards women in general. That said, I feel like more ground can be gained (if any) by starting small.

Also in case I misrepresented myself any, I am not an actual Biblical Scholar in the capital letters sense, but anyone can be a scholar of the bible if they sit down with it honestly and read about it critically and are open to learn.

My thanks for the encouragement, and criticism!
maybe I'll get flamed horribly later, maybe the new post will come out an no one will care. I look forward to seeing how it goes.
Jeremy Preacher
381. sleepy_not_from_seattle
Holy Crap, is this a new record for posts?
Please post the new re-read quickly so we can move on.
Jeremy Preacher
382. Lionthrone
@355 Aegnor

I'm perplexed why you cannot accept a figure outside of something you READ. Is it just that you don't want to be seen as, gasp!, wrong or is it something else deeper?

So, just because you read a 2% figure it must therefore be true. A lot of people thought the Earth was the center of the universe for a long time because, you guessed it, people TOLD them so. Open up your mind dear and stop trying to be right all the time. The number might not be 15%, but I'd bet you 5 copies of the TGS that it's a lot higher than 2.

Oh, and you also haven't been to NYC or the men's locker room if you believe that number.
383. MasterAlThor

While I may not be on your level of study, I do fundalmentally understand what that particular verse meant.

The most important part to me, and this is covering the homosexuality part, is "let he without sin cast the first stone"

Simply put because I have sinned, who am I to judge a fellow sinner? I did not quote that to make it a coverall for "bad" acts.

I admire your knowledge in things biblical, but I am just a regular layperson trying to do the best with the things I am given. I cannot agree with your assesment of my opinion.

Semi and Tuon

Yes both are described as being black. Don't have the exact pages but it does describe Semi at the end of CoT.

My point about that was Semi is flat out evil and Tuon is the head of a slave culture. I am not one to complain about those representations of dark skinned people. I don't see why people should complain about the lack of male gay characters or Galina. I will grant you that not everyone is like me, and the world is better for it, but to me it is like complaining why it's raining outside. There is nothing to be done about so why complain?

Someone said it's about balance. Well where is the balance of represented minorities in the heroes click?


See, this is the problem. Jordan wrote this just how he wanted it to be. It's his work, his mind. Should we the audience just critize his every representation of people in his fantasy world? I say no. I do believe that we can debate what a character should have or should not have done, but this RW comparison thing has got to stop. Leigh does a great job in relating it to how she feels about it(whatever it is). I think the rest of us(me included, my hypocrisy knows no bounds) need to relax and see this for what it really is. A fantasy story, with imperfect characters in an imperfect world. Remember why the first Matrix didn't work? It was too perfect, the human subconscience wouldn't accept it. I think the same applies here.

And now for something completely different....

Get on with it already!!!

What is your name?

What is your quest?

What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?
385. MasterAlThor

In short, no. You missed the 500+ post awhile back. I heard rumor that one time they posted so much they shut down the post.
Sean Banawnie
386. Seanie
seems like WOT is coming to mean Wall O' Text...
that being said.... Biblescholar--I agree with much of what you say(though not necessarily all)
and appreciate the thought you put into it. I have always thought that was an important passage and I try to remember it...too often today people
are too venomous with those they disagree with. How can we talk when everyone is shouting ? Too many times , self-righteous is substituted for righteous . Too many people take the good book and use it for their own ends . Judge not...treat others...he (or she )who is without sin... and toughest yet---love your enemies---all good words to live by , we all (pretty much , right? )
have heard them....good starting points ---so why
is there so little respect for others ?

Humility is sometimes in short supply around paraphrase RJ ,when people can make the internet tremble, don't expect them to post small.

Hear ye, hear ye TGS is approaching !!
End of twitching is nigh !!

end o' rant (al thor )
now there's a cool screen name for a talker...
Rant al'Thor

Peace favor your mouse.
SOW , sub u might want to buy more AA's.
Michael Catapano
387. hoping
Just about finished with KOD in prep for TGS. The first quote is from chapter six and the next when the group confronted semi in chapter 27

Grim tone or no grim tone, Mat enjoyed looking at the dark little woman who was to be his wife.

...and the tall, dark woman stood there, her face in fury behind the veil. He recognized that face...
Jeremy Preacher
388. biblescholar
@383 MasterAlThor

I don't mean to challenge your faith or your position. I certainly don't mean to say that you are "wrong" or that somehow I know better, far from it. I did want to point out that there are deeper inner workings, and more levels of complexity going on in most if not all the passages in the bible than simply the Sunday school take home lesson.
If the only thing someone gets out of that story is, "hey, don't judge other people, you're not perfect either" that's great, I think the world would be a better place if everybody aspired to live like that.

I just feel it's important to point out, especially to some of those who seem less open minded than you, that despite the beautiful and wonderful life lesson that we read into that story as modern day Christians, the original intention was something far different.

While I don't think you and Lionthrone for example are ever going to quite see eye to eye, I certainly hope you don't get the impression that I am belittling or attacking you. We can politely disagree on the matter of whether or not homosexuality is or should be considered a sin according to the christian faith. I believe that Men, not God have deemed homosexuality as wrong, and that time and the tireless efforts of people like Lionthrone who demand loudly that the world stop marginalizing gays will eventually bring our collective consciousness around to that point of view. Look at how long it took Christianity to stop saying that the Jews killed Jesus, and even is homosexuality is only 2% of the world population, there would still be 10 times as many gays as Jews.

also, @ Lionthrone, RE: Picking fights with people. I admire your tireless efforts, I really do, and I do not doubt you feel a proud sense of vindication in confronting people with your "we're here we're queer get over it attitude" But for me, and I believe for many others here, I am swayed by calm and collected logic. When someone goes on the offensive it puts my back up and that's the end of any attempt to convince me of your viewpoint. No offense, but even when I agree with what you are saying, you come across in a way that puts me off.
This forum is full of people who read Really long books for fun, I'm pretty sure you'll find that they bow to logic and reason far faster than a random forum for the average internet user.

one of these days I'm going to have to learn how to make shorter posts. I just keep rambling on and on.
James Jones
389. jamesedjones
386 Seanie
Hear ye, hear ye TGS is approaching !!
End of twitching is nigh !!
The coming of TGS is not the ending. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the twitching on the WOT reread. But it will be an ending.
Sean Banawnie
390. Seanie
389jej : Twitch on ,brother, twitch on !!
there is the short-term intense twitch and the long term yearning twitch which ,for brevity I will call the "Longing" which is yet far off . **sigh**
stefan warsink
391. grubber
lionthrone @ 382: I will take a number from a publicly published study over someone's claim any day. whereas eagnor's numbers can be verified (in a statistical sense, I'm not going to talk about hte outcome!), your claim has no discernible background in facts. just the notion that we should go to NYC or the men's locker-room. that is not an statistically valid sample of humanity, to say the least. and now I see I fall behind with the comments (one relating to 382), so I'll read those and type on..
oh yeah. somebody earlier (points vaguely up) mentioned about people getting 'in your face' and instantly being at odds (paraphrasing here).. well, that's what's happening here. like biblescholar is trying to tell.

reason (and being reasonable) and arguments (without getting argumentative -sp?-) are the key for discussions like these. I would hazard a guess, that most people here adhere to the principle of 'free choice'..
Lannis .
392. Lannis
MasterAlThor @ 381: No rumour... go and try to post on The Shadow Rising part 10... :O

Oh, and about Tuon and Semirhage... I always liked this blogger's renderings. Especially his depiction of Galad. Though I'm not too fond of his portrait of Rand... :)

EDIT: Added Galad.
Vincent Lane
393. Aegnor

I'm perplexed why you cannot accept a figure outside of something you READ. Is it just that you don't want to be seen as, gasp!, wrong or is it something else deeper?

You are perplexed that I would accept a percentage that was determined in multiple studies over your "feeling" based on no evidence whatsoever? I'm not one to just accept any number someone throws out. I look at the evidence and make a determination. So on one hand I have a number completely made up by you, and on the other hand I've got multiple studies putting the number at 2-4%. And you now are trying to imply I'm a homophobe because I choose to believe the evidence rather than your made up number?
stefan warsink
394. grubber
Lannis @ 392: that is so awesome. thanks for that! and I've only seen the forsaken and galad. awesomeness *ctrl+D*

and yes at aegnor, well said.

can someone pass me a beer?

edit: this has probably been done, but here goes anyway..
Faile ni Bashere t'Aybara, anyone?
Jeremy Preacher
395. Silvertip
Wow, I drop into the hospital to have my appendix removed before it blows and I come home to this! What did Han Solo say? "I'm out of it for a little while ..."

biblescholar @364: "Now I challenge all of you to imagine a book about asexuals."

Closest thing I know is Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness," in which the natives of Gethen/Winter are asexual neuters ca. 90% of the time and then go into "kemmer" (roughly, heat) once a month. Any individual can enter kemmer as either male or female depending on the circumstances. A very thoughtful piece of classic SF, although the setup poses essentially insoluble problems with pronouns in English writing. Worth anybody's time to read, as is most of Le Guin's stuff.
Jeremy Preacher
396. Lionthrone
@388 Biblescholar

I was in no way trying to "pick a fight". I was just saying what I beleived, just like you did. I used some sarcasm true, but it was just sarcasm. And keep me out of your crusade. That was like, 200 posts ago. You're the one who seems combative now.

But do feel free to rant on to this post too. You seem to enjoy long-winded speeches. I'll let the numbers game rest since many people on here (Aegnor just being one of them) seem freaked that there could be more than 2%. And no dear, the word homophobe didn't come up in my post. That little voice is coming from inside your own head.

And locker room bit. Also a joke! Lighten up.
stefan warsink
397. grubber
I also found this one, via the link Lannis provided: link
I like it as much, if not better.
get well soon, silvertip!
stefan warsink
398. grubber
"many people on here ... seem freaked that there could be more than 2%. And no dear, the word homophobe didn't come up in my post."

by implication it does/did.

and people are not freaked out by the number, they don't believe unsubstantiated claims.

and a joke? that's a first ;)
Barry T
399. blindillusion

I was thinking more along the lines of

Anyway. [i][b]Next Tuesday!![b]

Time to begin the preparations to punt the family into the next room.

Let's see, have the chips, drinks, desk, bubblewrap...
Jeremy Preacher
400. Lionthrone
A first to people with no sense of humor :)

You obviously didn't read one of my posts, and I guess Aegnor intentionally didn't process it, but I said do you think people like Tedd Hagard and Larry Craig answer truthfully on a census?

Hmmm, let's think, I'm guessing they don't. And you can believe it that they are many many people in the closet like them.

So, put that in your pipe and smoke it. Mwah ah ah!
stefan warsink
401. grubber
plain text is so devoid of emotion. (see what i did there? ;)

I did read your posts, and I haven't the faintest clue who those guys are. so if that was a joke, it wasn't very universal. you weren't very funny the rest of the time though, so I went with the pattern. there's quite a severe penalty at smoking my pipe here, so I'll do that in 3 weeks, ok?

and my posts weren't targeted at the numbers an sich, but at the presentation.

btw, 400! yay :D
April Vrugtman
403. dwndrgn
how lucky are you that you live in a country where you can get GS the day it comes out...I have to wait for overseas shipment and hope the customs gods are with me. now I'm depressed. and very envious

Just wanted to point out that Brandon Sanderson is signing 500 copies of TGS at a bookstore and those are for preorders, to be mailed out so that they can be received on the day of release. I don't know if they would be able to do these for overseas shipment but if you are interested you could certainly check it out. Check out his blog.
John Massey
404. subwoofer
@Lionthrone- you took the 400 and didn't even write me ;)

Incidentally someone took 8 hunny @ TGS chapter 1- woooo! We got there folks, now we just drum our fingers and wait for Leigh.- Absolutely NO blunt trauma to the head today people!

Vincent Lane
405. Aegnor

I'll let the numbers game rest since many people on here (Aegnor just being one of them) seem freaked that there could be more than 2%. And no dear, the word homophobe didn't come up in my post. That little voice is coming from inside your own head.

Read that paragraph again... you accuse me of being a homophobe and then in the next sentence say you didn't and then say it must have come from my head. You aren't flat out calling me a homophobe, you just say things like the above which clearly accuse me of being such. I can see you are emotionally attached to this subject and cannot evaluate it logically. You want there to be more than 2-4%, so there is more than 2-4%, regardless of any evidence.

Me? I'll let the evidence decide my position, and not emotion or bias.
Kurt Lorey
406. Shimrod
hoping reflects my sentiments exactly. ;)
Jeremy Preacher
407. Lionthrone
Okay Aegnor, live in your 2% world. You won't find me there :)
Lannis .
408. Lannis
Ditto on hoping @ 402, and Shimrod... c'mon new post!

Sean Banawnie
409. Seanie
save us Leighx4

almost a week left
*thinks of doing HAPPY DANCE ,decides its premature,has shit eating grin instead*

Glad family isn't here to see me , kids think I am goofy as is. Although my son offered to take out trash next week so I can read more. Good kid...


between the re-read wait and TGS , I'm
twitching like an epilectic on Red Bull.
Jeremy Preacher
410. Silvertip
OK, I think we may be getting a bit wound up over details that don't matter that much. How about agreeing that we should all have the right to live as we choose and love whom we wish, whatever fraction of the population our identifiable group corresponds to, and even whether our orientation is genetic, determined in early development, or simply chosen? Just don't scare the horses, and it's all good.

FWIW, the 2-to-4 percent figure is a real number but from a methodology almost certain to yield an underestimate (due to the problems with self-reporting noted above); the 10-plus percent figure is also a real number but quite likely to be an overestimate, also based on methodological issues (nonuniform sampling, specifically surveys at public health clinics in urban areas). Ancient guesstimation tradition in this case says you choose the extreme estimates that have any justification and take their geometric mean (multiply together and take the square root). In this case, that gives you five or six percent, which is as good a number as we're likely to have any time soon. Again, however, I really think that how we treat individuals would be the same if the number was 15 percent or 15 one-hundredths of one percent.
Vincent Lane
411. Aegnor

No problem. I'm not one to insist that someone dispell their self delusions. Just don't insist that I live in your fantasy world as well. Unless that fantasy world is WoT of course :P
Vincent Lane
412. Aegnor

Again, however, I really think that how we treat individuals would be the same if the number was 15 percent or 15 one-hundredths of one percent.

I can certainly agree with that.
Sean Banawnie
413. Seanie
Amen ,Silvertip. Welcome and hope the recovery is good. Bet TGS would make that easier, maybe you could plead mercy to BS and get a copy to help you which case ,my defibrillator could act up at any time and my blood pressure could be better , could I get one too ?
Jeremy Preacher
414. CJB
Re: Dark skinned characters

There's also Juilin Sandar, and possibly Alanna. I can't remember much about Alannas appearance off the top of my head, but I think she's usually described as being "darkly beautiful" or something simlar. However, Juilin is definately black.
Jeremy Preacher
415. Lionthrone
No one is insisting that you go anywhere you don't want to dear. Although, I'm guessing that the world you live in personally, that being the world of theater and opera, has a much higher concentration of homosexuals than 2%! And that dear, CAN be backed up by statistics!
Jeremy Preacher
416. Hari Coplin
On all these censuses on sexuality. I don't know if I should touch this subject at all, since I am not particularly interested in the numbers myself. Knowing who is what and on what scale is just not that relevant to me. However, I would question the questionaires on whether they ask clear questions. Not that this would be something that would be an easy thing to do. If you ask someone even anonimously whether they are homosexual, what you get is their answer on whether they think they are what they think homosexuality means. Certainly anyone living in a homosexual relationship will say yes, but for the rest?

I am not very well convinced that the popularity of major sports that are followed on tv or live by a predominantly male audience is not by large due to the appreciation of the male physique. Especially where admitting to such an appreciation on any level would be socially problematic (Not to me in most situations, but I see how people behave, just look at all the folk shouting this and this is gay). Why else do the sports that are most popular, predominantly enhance masculinity? Is there a connection between latent suppressed homosexuality and sports? One could claim this has nothing to do with sexual desire, but then, what is sexual desire? Does sexual desire necessitate that you realise what it is, particularly if it has never been practiced, like a pair of teens looking at each other, or a 40-year-old married man who likes to watch sports? The major sports are all male, pretty much, and supposedly coincidentally, male homosexuality is a taboo among those who follow them the most.

What I mean, is one should be very clear on what is meant by homosexuality. Someone here meant homosexual activity, but, though it is much easier to measure, surely that is the less interesting number. I take homosexuality to mean desire or appreciation for your own gender, not that everyone must desire everyone. Furthermore, it takes a fair bit of introspection to be able to say whether one might have any homosexual tendencies, and how they relate to one's heterosexual tendencies. To distill cultural and social influence on one's behaviour, that takes still more introspection, to know what one might do, left to their own devices.

On that last regard, I think, for the great number of people who would not dear to sing that last sentence aloud for fear of social 'disgrace', the WoT certainly gives them much input also on sexuality, though it does not discuss the matter explicitly. The WoT, I think, discusses sexuality on the general level of acceptance and diversity, which it discusses a lot.
Jeremy Preacher
417. TexanSedi

Great posts and very thoughtful! Once a Texan, always a Texan -you are welcome back anytime. We'll keep the chili hot and the sweet tea cold for ya.

Wetlandernw - also great post on Corinthians.

BibleScholar - I could not derive from your post wether or not you are a Christian but I will say this. Once you put religion aside and truly enjoy a personal walk with Jesus Christ, it makes all the difference in the world. "Religion" can really confuse people and can be a devious tool for the devil - the manipulation of scriptures being very common. But a personal walk with Jesus Christ is simply amazing. It is a joy I hope you and all of the WOT posters, if they don't currently know, will one day experience.

Now...I only have what, 8 days to hurry up and read KOD before GS? I better get on the stick!
stefan warsink
418. grubber
@ a lot of things are called gay.

I think this re-read and the people reading it are gay, meaning:

1. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
2. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
3. given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
4. licentious; dissipated; wanton: The baron is a gay old rogue with an eye for the ladies.

hmm, gay.
ok, enough shits and giggles, I'm off to bed, thanks to my outrageous time-zone!
419. PhantomIce
@403. dwndrgn

thanks for the suggestion, unfortunately I've had a lot of trouble getting stuff shipped from the US, takes too long and the weird Turkish addresses often lead to books being lost.

So this time I thought I'd try my luck with UK shipping and well today I found out they're delaying the release of TGS (at least on amazon UK) until the 2nd or so of november.

***starts crying in misery*** no faaiiiirrrr
Jeremy Preacher
420. alreadymadwithdark
Jahar Narishma is also dark. Darker even than Juilin. I always figured Juilin as dark in the dark-haired but not necessarily dark-skinned way. But Jahar is literally sun-dark.
Noneo Yourbusiness
421. Longtimefan
@362 Wetlandernw.

Thank you for your response. I was asking a question and I am glad you did not take my wording in a way that it may seem antagonistic.

I appreciate the information. As usual, even though we may not agree on many things you are always polite and well informed on the point you are making.

As for the rest of the bible stuff I am not getting involved. It is not relevant to the Fictional world of WOT.
422. Freelancer

Sorry, the picture you addressed isn't coming through, (or perhaps isn't coming through my work boundary), but I'm guessing it's the following. I was partly wanting to turn down the shock factor, since the RHPS pics seemed to unnerve some folks. I mean really, a dude in drag is far too sensitive in issue for this crowd.

423. Freelancer
Hari Coplin

It's called competition. Some people have no passion for it, and that's fine. Some (hand raised high) have competitivenss flowing through their veins. Some wish they were physically capable of doing what others do. The reasons people watch sports are based on those, either the embedded passion of competition, the vicarious enjoyment of the accomplishments of those who are the best at what they do.

Not latent "wish I could get next to him" feelings.
Jeremy Preacher
424. Hari Coplin
Well, Freelancer, I like sports myself. I like competition, I play tennis and chess with equal 'passion,' though not always with skill.

I was simply questioning whether the chess might be as attractive to the general public, if it could show good-looking masculine men engaging in competition. I am suggesting the wish to watch derives from the same source as the wish to get near him: perhaps a milder wish, then again perhaps filtered through what the viewer deems possible for him to feel, what his social context is. Just because you admire someone physically, does not mean you want intimate contact: perhaps, but perhaps for that you want intimacy also on another level, that is you don't want to get so close to a complete stranger.

In the last post, this was of course what I was referring to since it flowed into the text, and it fits so well this context so I'll risk links not being allowed: . People don't necessarily know, or think so much on what they would do themselves if it were left to them, so they answer a questionaire, on whether they might consider themselves as having any homosexual desires, that no, what they have is something different entirely, though what that is they may not know.
Michael Johnson
425. ZshadeZ
I'm pretty sure Hari realizes that on some level he wants to jump the guys he sees in most sports and so assumes it's the same for everyone. As for me, I don't watsh sports, because sports are gay... well, except for WWE because those guys are hot.
Adam Loops
426. Cecero
Hari: Not everyone and anyone has homosexual tendencies, unless, like you have done, one defines homosexuality in such a way as to make it so unbelievably general to include the entirety of the human population as having "homosexual tendencies".

Which, I think, people in the general population have a much much narrower view of what homosexuality is or homosexual tendecies are.
Barry T
427. blindillusion
tick *twitch* tick *twitch*

'Bout ready for the next thread. Buried in work and ready for a distraction. Bring on one of the cooler battle scenes in the series.


I didn't read all the posts from the previous thread, but there were people that were shocked by the RHPS pictures? In today's age? WOW.
Kristina Blake
428. kab1
@sub 336- Yeah, audiobooks are very expensive, the cheapest way I've found to get them is a subscription to they used to have multiple packages, but I think there's less options now. I have the $20 a month subscription which gets me 2 credits a month, or $10 a book. Most books are only one credit, there are a few rare ones (such as GRRM's SoIaF)that are 2 credits a book. I asked earlier, and audible told me that they expected GS to only be 1 credit as al of RJ's and BS's other books have been 1 credit. So $10, which I believe is less than what I'd pay for hardcover.

and, yes, I certainly hope GS shoots to #1 on NYBS list!! I thought most of RJ's other WoT books did? I certainly think WoT should get much publicity!!

Edit: I see Cloudmist beat me to it!
Eric Hughes
429. CireNaes
@ 364, 380, and 388 biblescholar

I'm curious. Where do you study and is it at an undergraduate or graduate level? I'm all for textual criticism, but you're going above and beyond what can be considered as ‘strongly’ supported in circles of biblical scholarship. These are hotly debated topics and you are only giving one side of the issue. The questions you raised over homosexuality in the Pentateuch alone are easily handled through the study of the Hebrew.

Questions as to the Legitimacy of the Bible as a whole or the quest for a purer form of the text (Based on belief that Christian theology developed over time commonly referred to as the 'developed' church theory all of which is a rather huge presupposition to begin with) all argue against these 'supposed' additions and subsequent canonization of pseudonymous writings which leads to claims of foreign theologies and high ecclesiology. It is argued that these attributes should not be attached to an early or 'more pure' form of Christianity which would naturally not possess the things that people often find to be insulting to their way of life. Judging from your post, this is your viewpoint and the viewpoint held by some, not all, biblical studies programs. As Mark Twain put it (Letters from the Earth), "The Bible has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies." Or perhaps Bart Ehrman better encapsulates this side of the argument when he says, "As historians have come to realize, during the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christians were so varied that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison." Harsh accusations, but they can easily be argued against by a thorough study of how the various books in the Bible were naturally recognized as authoritative Cannon and questions of authorship affirmed by early Church fathers who were very strict when it came to such matters.

It is almost assumed that the early church didn't even practice authorial safeguards or were not familiar with the issue of what was commonly accepted as authoritative writings. This quote by Origin (c. 185-253) best encapsulates how the majority of the church felt about such issues, “The church receives only four gospels; heretics have many, such as the gospel of the Egyptians, the gospel of Thomas, etc. These we read, that we may not seem to be ignorant to those who think they know something extraordinary, if they are acquainted with those things which are recorded in these books.” (First Homily on Luke). I could go on and on, but for the sake of brevity, I'll only give a few more points as to why the current New Testament canonized text was not as freewheeling as some would propose it to be in earlier times.
• Clement of Rome (c. 60-100) quotes from 7 NT books/epistles.
• Ignatius (c. 60-117) and Polycarp (c. 69-155) also quote from many NT books/epistles.
• The Muratorian fragment (discovered by Cardinal L. A. Muratori in Milan library believed to be dated to c. 190; includes nearly all of the NT and rejects the Apocalypse of Peter.
• Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 265-339); outlines accepted books and identifies Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermes, Apocalypse of Peter as not authoritative.
• Finally in 367 with Athanasius in his 39th Pascal letter we have the listing the full 27 books.

Textual criticism is an important tool and not to be condemned, but some theories of biblical scholarship are built on such a week foundation that they are not worth much consideration.

I'll stop with this quote since I don't have any more time talk about you viewpoint. It should bring some assurance to others who hold scripture in high regard because they were taught it, not because they've studied it (as if the teachings themselves were not developed by highly educated minds who have thoroughly scrutinized the text and its origins). “It may reassure you to know that seven-eighths of the time, the different text-types agree on a reading. If obvious mistakes like skipping a line are left out, only one-sixtieth of the readings are in doubt. Only about one word in a thousand involves both a difference in meaning and serious doubt of the correct text. No major doctrine of our faith is in doubt because of textual variants.” (Westcott and Hort).
Jeremy Preacher
430. Hari Coplin
Well, I don't assume everyone has homosexual tendencies. :) But what stops one from questioning, at least this is a matter that does not disturb me. What matter it if appreciation of something that involves the human physique is inseparable from sexuality-- what is sexuality, or sexual desire, when you narrow it down? I mean, I don't think would make such this argument except for being anonymous here. When watching sports, I do not particularly think of anything sexual, be it male or female sports, but I do like to see fit people competing, aside from the competition itself. That does not mean sexuality has nothing to do with it.
Ron Garrison
431. Man-0-Manetheran
The For-What-It's-Worth Department

I'm also re-reading Knife of Dreams, and in the chapters I read since Friday, there were EIGHT mentions of same-sex relationships. Two were male; six were female.

@ 374, 376: Egwene was not aware of Rand's kidnapping until after she was captured by the WT. In KOD, she overhears some of the sisters talking about it.
432. MasterAlThor
I go to class and come back and after all the pleading to stop the madness you guys are still on it?

That does it. I'm telling mom.


Thank you for the warm welcome. I'll have some tea please


Get well soon.

Non US persons

I deeply apologize for the delay in the release of TGS. I used to work for the Customs gods, I will let you know that they take pity on no one. If dwndrgn can find a genie maybe we could all get our copies at the exact same minute.

How about Dwndrgn? I don't know what you do for work over there, but you have to have some free time. Get to it man, find that genie.

Lannis and grubber

Thanks for the pics. Those were cool. Though I was not able to find the one with Rand.
Kristina Blake
433. kab1
@422 Freelancer and @399 Blindillusion- that movie is that guy from? Seems that I've tuned in the middle of that movie several times over various years, and have no idea what it's called!
Jeremy Preacher
434. cps2195

that is Tim Curry...he's just a sweet transvestite. The Devil garb is from the movie Legend
John Massey
435. subwoofer
Legend. Tom Cruise was there too.
Jeremy Preacher
436. Dr. Thanatos
Regarding the gay issue:

I think people are reading more into this than Jordan may have put in. Moraine and Siuan? Reminds me of all the star trek stories in the 70's featuring Spock and McCoy and a noticable lack of blue uniforms; readers projecting what they may want to see onto a moderately blank screen.

I didn't pick up heavily on gay vibes from Galina; maybe my gaydar is due for some preventative maintainance. But even postulating that, having an evil character be gay doesn't imply that they are evil because they are gay.

And I personally don't require every thing I read to make a statement pro-or-con anything. Wheel of Time doesn't illuminate the situation in the mideast, the question of evolution-vs-creation, or why anyone cares what Paris Hilton is doing, and would we all not agree that this is a good thing?

Was Mark Twain a racist because he accurately portrayed the society he lived in? He may or may not have been a racist, but his portrayal of Jim has no bearing on the question...same goes, as far as I'm concerned, with RJ's attitudes towards inflatable pillow friends .

At some point we have to say "come on, people, let's enjoy a wonderful work of fiction and not get worked up about whether there are hidden messages..."
John Massey
437. subwoofer
Saw this and just had to throw it out there as we started wading into the Bible.

Jeremy Preacher
438. Kazmatt
This homo Texan laughed out loud when I saw 'BrokeBlack Tower'

I do find the continued lack of reference to ANY gay men in the WoT to be conspicuous. Not bad. Not homophobic. Not sinister. Not nefarious. Not a black mark against RJ. Nothing more or less than conspicuous. I'm gay. As every reader does, I try to identify with characters in the books I read. Eleven books in without a single identifiable gay male and it's a tad obvious to me. Again, not end-of-my-devotion horrible.

Will I stop reading? No way. Will I continue to re-read later in life? Yes.

I'll just think of one of those random Aiel societies as predominantly gay men, or at some future date, a similarly pillow-freind-inclined ajah in the BrokeBlack Tower.

Leigh, thank you for speaking about this topic and all the work you've done. After reading most of these comments, my head and desk sympathize with yours.
Jeremy Preacher
439. Kazmatt
Wait, not that most if these comments are *headdesk* worthy, just that I have read most of the comments and had numerous *headdesk* moments on the journey from #1 to #400. :~}
Jeremy Preacher
440. GayWOTFan
Leigh, you rock. :-)
Simon Southey-Davis
441. Glyph
See, this is what happens when I'm stuck away from my RSS feeds for a few days. Two new posts go up, and everything I wanted to say about them has already been said repeatedly... Humbug!

Thanks for the posts, Leigh. I politely disagree with some of your interpretations for reasons no doubt explained upthread and previously, but I look forward to these dropping into my inbox. Mind, I'm a bit behind, having only made it into TGH in my re-read. At least the train commute is worth something, eh?

And I know it's been explained, but I'll say it anyway: Faile is 'hurt' because Perrin's giving Berelain the Saldaean Come-On by Being Masterful and Not Taking Shit, which can obviously only end up in Hot Angry Sex™. The fact that poor Perrin is completely oblivious to that interpretation...
Jeremy Preacher
442. Hari Coplin
Ah, Kazmatt, I wish I could know you already ! :)
Birgit F
443. birgit
Even Faile, after her capture by the Shaido, thinks something along the lines of her captor being a man who doesn't like women "in that way,"

Ronan is interested in Faile. Arrela is not interested in her captor:

Arrela did not like men that way, but Aldin refused to accept that he could not convince her to marry him.
KoD ch. 30

I thought he was lying when he said he rode her just to piss Galad off. I thought she escaped before he had a chance to do any riding. I could be wrong though

She did not think she could have decided in cold blood to lie with Valda, but had she, she could have lived with it. She thought the could. Another matter entirely to say yes because she feared facing Asunawa's knotted cords and needles again, feared worse that he would have gotten to eventually. However she had screamed under Asunawa's ministrations, Valda was the one who had showed her the true borders of her courage, so far short of where she had believed. Valda's touch, his bed, could be forgotten, whith time, but she would never be able to wash the shame of that "yes" from her lips.
ACoS ch. 26

That reminds me, of perhaps the most important closeted character in the WoTverse - THE DARK ONE. Now we know why he made his Naeblis look so darn gorgeous. Just saying.

Is the DO male? Maybe she tainted saidin because she thought it was unfair that men are stronger and she wanted everyone to use the TP.
Jeremy Preacher
444. Reganam
Late to the party, but one comment...I believe that RJ hinted that the captain of the ship that took the Supergirls & Moggy to Salidar was gay (sorry, I don't remember his name and I don't think he appeared again in the series). He was described as being someone who truly hated women and spent all his time with men.

At the end of the journey, Nynaeve was surprised to find out that he had a wife and children, but it was clear that he preferred to stay from them as far away as possible.
Jeremy Preacher
446. yasiru89
Don't much care for social commentary, but really? Galina lusting after Erian added to her villainy?
Also, we'd not know about Galina or later 'pillow friends' if not for the constant presence 0f Aes Sedai in the series. We've never gotten anything of the like for the Asha'man for instance, or even the armies that feature apart from their commanding figures. Going out of your way to purposely add a gay male character isn't good storytelling- it's just more modern social commentary (in universe commentary is fine, but even that needs an inlet) in a fantasy novel. Not really what I for one, am after.
Noneo Yourbusiness
447. Longtimefan
While this is so far down in the comments that no one will ever read it I have just re-read this particular chapter. Not only does it have the Galina makes some vauge comment about Erian that could be taken a certain way (or not) section of the book that leads to the question "where are all the non-heterosexually acting people six books and several hundered characters into a series but it starts off with this bit in the Feast of Lights proper observed by Perrin.

"Apparently any mand could kiss any woman, any woman kiss any man, and they were doing so with great abandon everywhere Perrin looked."

If the people of the series lived in a world where: (here I quote Jordan from the same passage at 127 posted by Wetlandernw)

"For jofraz, I have gay and Lesbian characters in my books, but the only
time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I
haven’t been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay
or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a
matter of course."

then by default Perrin's observation of the Feast of Lights would have noticed that the kissing abandon would have included more than just the traditional heterosexual behavior.

This is where the idea that no one comments on homosexual behavior because it is generally accepted (just non existent) plays false.

If such things were taken as a matter of course then it would be apparent in the revelry of the Feast of Lights.

The Galina sentence later in the chapter took most of the heat of the argument but the telling point is much earlier in the chapter. There are no people in the series who are interested in people of the same gender.

They do not exist because the key plot point of men and women working together cannot be developed in every thread if a serious relationship between two people of the same gender is allowed to exist.

Casual relationships that can be set aside for greater causes and eventual heterosexual relationships can exist but that does not make the culture accepting of the fact such relationships exist. The relationship is not accepted, it is just tolerated until the couple works it out of their system and then the relationship is glossed over as the people involved settle into heterosexual coupling so the key plot device of men and women working together can be fulfilled.

It is not the characters that deny homosexual interests, it is the fictional universe itself that forces it out of existence.

Including same gender relationships in the series would and does seem like a forced social commentary rather than an organic element of the universe itself.

The problem is that the other social commentary the series choses to make is that everyone should be heterosexual because it is the will of the universe. That, unfortunately is also a forced and false concept.

And it is jarring and relevant because this fiction is not satisfied with being only fictional but choses to include several hints that the world shown in the story is connected to the world the reader currently lives in but is thousands of years ahead or past depending on the point in the Wheel of Time one views it from.

It is fiction that insinuates itself as a lost reality.

This is only problematic if one thinks about the fact that not one person in the series that the reader can show admiration for is in any thing other than a heterosexual relationship because that is what the story demands. Not the readership or the publisher or the morality police but the actual story is so commited to the point that men and woman must become two halves that are now whole that there is no room for the idea that anyone, anywhere could be interested in a commited relationship with someone of the same gender.

It is rendered invalid by its absence and then renderd unimportant when it does appear by the fact that it is always a relationship that will be set aside at some point for the good of the story.

Indeed for the good of the Universe.

and that is kind of shitty when you are on the invisible end of that stick.
Jeremy Preacher
449. Nik85
@447 Excellent observations, Longtimefan! I've also thought about the fact that homosexuality doesn't really "fit" into the WOT very well thematically. It's an unfortunate side-effect of the books' (perhaps also unfortunate?) cosmic gender essentialism.

@448 Okay, fella... How about you stick to playing the banjo and burning crosses, instead of trying to type something coherent?
Jeremy Preacher
450. Aranfan
Wasn't it implied that those two guys who were set to guard Fain at the begginning of The Great Hunt were gay for each other?
William McDaniel
451. willmcd
I thought Sulin and Dobraine had moments of awesome in this chapter as they voiced their dedication to Rand in their own ways.

Sulin with her anguished, tearful shout of "The Aes Sedai have taken my first-brother!”, followed by her throwing off her enforced servitude and emerging as leader of the Maidens once again.

Dobraine with his answer to the question of who would be willing to fight six Aes Sedai: “I will, Lord Aybara. I and my five hundred, if there were sixty Aes Sedai.”
Jeremy Preacher
452. The Pink Tower
It horrorfies me that out of this entire wonderful chapter, your main point has to be one single throw away line about Galina admiring another female Aes Sedais complexion


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