Fri
Jun 18 2010 2:31pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Path of Daggers, Part 16

What up, yo: Welcome back to this here Wheel of Time Re-read, yeah? Yeah.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 25 and 26 of The Path of Daggers, in which I poke gingerly at the ratio of Awesomeness to Skeevery withal, and come to very little conclusion on’t. You Have Been Warned.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, in which you can find links to news, reviews, and all manner of information regarding the newest release, The Gathering Storm, and for WOT-related stuff in general.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 12, The Gathering Storm. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And… yeah. The post!


Chapter 25: An Unwelcome Return

What Happens
In her study, Elaida plays with her ivory carvings as she listens to the six Sitters before her argue and snipe at each other, and feels exultation that she is so firmly in charge of them. Velina (White) is opining that even if a ter’angreal exists that can control a woman’s channeling, there is no way there can be many of them, since hardly any two ter’angreal do the same thing; therefore, logically these stories of women on leashes are a story made up by Rand al’Thor. Shevan (Brown) drily replies that everyone was sure that only a shield could prevent a woman from channeling too, and then they found out about forkroot. The mention of the drug makes everyone uneasy, and Elaida wonders what they would do if they knew the Asha’man had rediscovered Traveling. Andaya (Gray) asks cuttingly if anyone has anything useful to talk about, and Rubinde (Green) snaps back that most everything that can be done, already has. Elaida cuts into the squabbling (which she finds amusing) to make a threat about punishing “sloth” in attending to the decrees she has given them; the Sitters murmur obedience nervously, and Elaida thinks with satisfaction that none of them want to be sent to Silviana for “Mortification of the Flesh”. The Sitters head for the door, but before they get there it opens to reveal Alviarin.

Elaida felt her smile go crooked and begin sliding from her face. Alviarin had a single sheet of parchment in one slim hand. Odd, what one noticed at a time like this. The woman had been gone almost two weeks, vanished from the Tower without word or note, without anyone so much as seeing her go, and Elaida had begun to think fond thoughts of Alviarin lying in a snowbank, or swept away in a river, sliding beneath the ice.

Alviarin doesn’t move out of the Sitters’ way, but instead tells Sedore (Yellow) to leave the folder of Elaida’s decrees with her, and Sedore barely hesitates before giving it to her; Elaida grinds her teeth. The Sitters leave, and Alviarin thumbs through the papers, all decrees Elaida had made in the hope that Alviarin was dead. Alviarin murmurs that some of these could go through, but not others, and casually crumples up the rejects and throws them on the floor before coming over to Elaida and slapping her face, hard. She says she’d thought they’d settled their positions, and that Elaida knows Alviarin can have her deposed, stilled, and birched before the whole Tower. Elaida tells herself she has to be careful, as Alviarin can tattle not only on the botched kidnapping of al’Thor, but regarding Toveine’s soon-to-be-disastrous assault on the Black Tower. Elaida still has hope for Toveine, though, because of her Foretelling.

The Black Tower would be rent in fire and blood, she had Foretold, and sisters would walk its grounds. Surely that meant that somehow, Toveine would triumph. More, the rest of the Foretelling had told her that the Tower would regain all its old glories under her, that al’Thor himself would quail at her anger. Alviarin had heard the words coming out of Elaida’s mouth when the Foretelling took her. And she had not remembered later, when she began her blackmail, had not understood her own doom. Elaida waited in patience. She would repay the woman threefold! But she could be patient. For now.

Alviarin shoves her single piece of paper in front of Elaida and commands her to sign it. Elaida doesn’t think anything can be worse than the last thing Alviarin had forced her to sign, which gave sisters in their own Ajah quarters authority over any sisters in their quarters not of that Ajah, but then reads the proclamation with growing horror. It declares that Rand al’Thor, being the Dragon Reborn and also a man who can channel, lies within the authority of the White Tower alone, and any attempt to approach him except through the Tower is “treason against the Light”.

“The Light have mercy,” she breathed fervently. “If this is proclaimed, it will be impossible to convince al’Thor that his abduction was unsanctioned.” It would be hard enough without, but she had seen people convinced before that what had happened, had not, and them in the middle of it happening. “And he will be ten times on his guard against another attempt. Alviarin, at best, this will frighten away a few of his followers. At best!” Many likely had waded so deep with him they did not dare try to wade back. Certainly not if they thought anathema already hung over their heads!

Elaida gasps that she might as well set the Tower on fire as sign this, but Alviarin forces her to repeat her litany that she will do as she is told and is obedient to Alviarin’s will, and Elaida reluctantly signs the paper. Alviarin snatches it and leaves, commanding Elaida to stay where she is until she comes back. Elaida is furious at being confined to her quarters, and again contemplates killing Alviarin, but is sure Alviarin will have made arrangements to bring Elaida down in the event of her demise. Silviana enters and tells Elaida grumpily that Alviarin had said Elaida had sent for her for a private penance, to “remind her of something”. Elaida agrees dully, and after Silviana leaves lies weeping, praying that Seaine finds the proof of treason soon that will bring Alviarin down.

In her “crystal and chimes” Illusion disguise, Mesaana remarks to Alviarin that she didn’t tell her to have Elaida beaten, and wonders if Alviarin is getting above herself. Remembering what had happened last time she thought that, Alviarin grovels before her, and seizes the hem of Mesaana’s dress to kiss it, incidentally disturbing the Illusion enough that the real dress, “bronze silk with a thin border of intricately embroidered black scrollwork”, flickers through. Mesaana asks if the decree has gone out, and Alviarin assures her it has, then dares to ask if perhaps Elaida has now outlived her usefulness. Mesaana is amused at her “small ambition” to be Amyrlin, but has a more important task for Alviarin. She says that despite the growing divisions between the Ajahs, the Ajah Heads still manage to encounter each other with “surprising frequency”, and Mesaana wants to know why. She remarks that it’s a shame Galina got herself killed, and Alviarin mentally agrees, since Galina had been the only Ajah Head who was also Black. She says she will obey.

But she did file away a tidbit for herself. Trivial matter or not, Mesaana did not know everything that happened in the White Tower. And Alviarin would keep her eyes open for a sister in bronze skirts bordered on the hem in black scrollwork. Mesaana was hiding herself in the Tower, and knowledge was power.

Commentary
Hello, Elaida.

Man, she is just a walking disaster. Hurricane Elaida, destroying everything she touches—even if only by proxy, via being Alviarin’s whipping-girl. Or whatever, I’m not sure I used that term correctly. Anyway.

It’s kind of a weird no-win for me here, because even as you get caught up momentarily in sort-of-rooting for Elaida’s attempt to undo the damage Alviarin’s control has wrought, it’s still completely obvious that even if she weren’t under the Black Ajah’s thumb, Elaida would be making an unholy mess of things anyway. Anyone who can sit there and think that an ongoing cold war between your underlings is (a) indicative of how awesome a leader you are, and (b) funny, is someone who shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of a bingo game, much less the most powerful autonomous organization in All The Land. Good grief.

I’m actually surprised she grasped how disastrous Alviarin’s newest decree would be, but then again I’m amazed she actually thinks there was a chance in any case that she could absolve herself in Rand’s eyes of culpability re: his kidnapping, because really. One thing you gotta give Elaida, she certainly has a rich fantasy life!

Alviarin, meanwhile, continues to be fearsomely efficient and horribly awesome. I’ve said it before but I’m really interested to see what becomes of her now that she’s fled the Tower, post-TGS. Girl at least deserves to be promoted to Dreadlord; c’mon, Shadow, recognize tha skillz!

Also, it would be kind of awesome (if in a rather overly-twee-symmetry way) if Leane got to be the one to kill her. Or hey, maybe she’ll be on the Seanchan front, and there’ll be a damane named Suffa in the ranks… Hah.

Mesaana: Is a very sparkly villain, ain’t she? This, of course, is also the appearance of the Great Dress Debate, which you can read all about here if you’re so inclined. I totally love that we still don’t know who she is.


Chapter 26: The Extra Bit

What Happens
Seaine walks the corridors of the Tower, lamenting the way Talene, a Green Sitter and once Seaine’s friend, snubs her, and the shocking lack of deference sisters from other Ajahs pay her even though she is a Sitter too. She thinks of how the Ajahs had all gradually jumped upon Elaida’s “mad decree” regarding authority within Ajah quarters, and remembers the rumor that a Sitter had had “more than her dignity ruffled” by the Reds in their quarters. She thinks the Tower now resembles a group of “armed camps”. She sees the object of her search, a White sister named Zerah Dacan, and tells Zerah to come with her; Zerah obeys without question a Sitter of her own Ajah. Seaine leads Zerah down into an unused and forgotten area of the Tower, trying to calm her own nervousness, until they reach the abandoned storeroom where Pevara is waiting for them. Impatiently, Pevara shields Zerah and tells her they want to know if she is a Darkfriend.

Amazement and outrage shattered Zerah’s calm. Most would have taken that for sufficient denial without her snapped “I don’t have to take that from you! You Reds have been setting up false Dragons for years! If you ask me, there’s no need to look further than the Red quarters to find Black sisters!”

Pevara stiffens in fury, but Seaine steps in and entreats Zerah to sit, which she reluctantly does, and Pevara pulls out the Oath Rod, which Seaine had filched from the treasury (with considerable unease). Pevara tells Zerah that they want to make sure she is not lying, so she will swear an oath on this. Zerah contemptuously replies that she will reswear all three Oaths and tell them, and then demand an apology, but Pevara counters to Zerah’s horror that the oath she will swear is to obey her and Seaine absolutely.

“That way, we can tell you to answer truthfully and know you will, and if you give the wrong answer, we can know you’ll be obedient and helpful in helping us hunt down your Black sisters. The Rod can be used to free you of the oath, if you give the right answer.”

Zerah exclaims that she’s never heard of anyone being released from an Oath, but Seaine answers that logically the Black Ajah must be able to lie, so they must have removed at least the first Oath from their members. She adds that she and Pevara tested it, and it works; she does not mention how painful the process had been, nor that she and Pevara have no intention of freeing Zerah from her Oath to obey no matter what she answers. Zerah is appalled that they freed themselves from the First Oath; Pevara irritably answers that they retook it, and proves it by retaking all three Oaths again on the Rod, and declaring she is not a Darkfriend. She hands the Rod to Seaine, who does the same.

Claiming that Pevara had a beard or that the streets of Tar Valon were paved with cheese had been strangely exhilarating for a time—even Pevara had giggled—but hardly worth the discomfort now.

She gives the Rod to Zerah, who looks sick, but swears to obey them absolutely. She immediately demands to be asked about the Black Ajah, and when Pevara asks, shouts that she is not Black Ajah and demands they free her from the oath. Seaine is upset, as she had been sure she had caught Zerah in a lie; she and Pevara ask why, then, Zerah had claimed to come from the north when she’d had plant detritus on her saddle that could only have come from the south. Zerah bursts out against her will that she came from Salidar, to make sure all the sisters in the Tower knew about Logain and the Reds. Incensed, Pevara demands that she admit the lie.

If Zerah’s eyes had been wide before, they bulged now. The Rod dropped from her hands to roll across the tabletop, and she clutched her throat. A choking sound came from her suddenly gaping mouth. Pevara stared at her in shock, but suddenly Seaine understood.

“Light’s mercy,” she breathed. “You do not have to lie, Zerah.” Zerah’s legs thrashed beneath the table as if she were trying to rise and could not get her feet under her. “Tell her, Pevara. She believes it’s true! You’ve commanded her to speak the truth and to lie. Don’t look at me that way! She believes!” A bluish tinge appeared on Zerah’s lips. Her eyelids fluttered. Seaine gathered calm with both hands. “Pevara, you gave the order so apparently you must release her, or she will suffocate right in front of us.”

“She’s a rebel.” Pevara’s mutter invested that word with all the scorn it could hold. But then she sighed. “She hasn’t been tried, yet. You don’t have to… lie… girl.” Zerah toppled forward and lay with her cheek pressed against the tabletop, gulping air between whimpers.

Seaine is worried, now, thinking that they had not considered the possibility of conflicting oaths; if the Black sisters replaced the old Oaths with new ones, they would have to be very careful not to do something that would cause any Black sister they caught to drop dead. She considers perhaps first forcing a renunciation of all oaths, despite how painful that would be. Pevara is still furious at Zerah, but Seaine points out how useful it would be to have the assistance of one they know is not a Darkfriend, and since she is a rebel, they need not be “overly concerned” about using her, uneasily dismissing thoughts of Compulsion. She asks Zerah how many sisters the rebels sent to the Tower, and Zerah is forced to answer “ten”. Pevara makes her name them, and Seaine notes that her own sense of disgust at the rebels is clearly much less than Pevara’s. Seaine tells Zerah to bring one of the named sisters, Bernaile, to Seaine’s rooms this afternoon, wording it carefully so that Zerah cannot warn Bernaile in any way beforehand; Pevara kicks her out with added instructions to clean herself up first; Zerah has to tear her hands away from her hair to open the door. She leaves, and Seaine and Pevara have a brief argument about whether to leave some of the rebel moles “active” or not, when suddenly four Sitters barge in, one each from the remaining Ajahs: Saerin (Brown), Talene (Green), Yukiri (Gray), and Doesine (Yellow); Seaine barely hides the Oath Rod in time. Saerin remarks on the strangeness of the two of them together, and Pevara returns that she could say the same of them, while Seaine searches her mind for some connection between the four to explain it. Talene steps forward:

“Yukiri noticed you two sneaking about together, and we want to know why.” Her surprisingly deep voice held heat despite the ice that seemed to coat her face. “Did the heads of your Ajahs set you a secret task? In public, the Ajahs’ heads snarl at one another worse than anyone else, but they’ve been sneaking off into corners to talk, it seems. Whatever they’re scheming, the Hall has a right to know.”

Yukiri adds that she saw them “sniffing about”, but they could have been pillow friends for all she knew, so she held her tongue until Talene started “yelping” about secrets. Pevara retorts that she has no obligation to tell the Hall anything about what the head of her Ajah does, but in any case what they are doing has nothing to do with their Ajahs. Doesine curses sourly that she knew this was a waste of time, but Saerin suddenly darts forward to yank the Oath Rod out from where Seaine was hiding it. Yukiri finds this amusing, Doesine wants to know if they’re raising “new bloody sisters”, and Talene is still on the Ajah Heads, but then Saerin shuts them all up thoughtfully, then suddenly channels Spirit into the Rod.

“Under the Light, I will speak no word that is not true. I am not a Darkfriend.”

In the silence that followed, a mouse sneezing would have sounded loud.

“Am I right?” Saerin said, releasing the Power.

Seaine and Pevara each again take the Oath against lying, and repeat that they are not Black Ajah. Talene says this is ridiculous, there is no Black Ajah, but Yukiri takes it and does the same, and so does Doesine, who offers the Rod to Talene.

The golden-haired woman started back as from a poisonous snake. “Even to ask this is a slander. Worse than slander!” Something feral moved in her eyes. An irrational thought, perhaps, but that was what Seaine saw. “Now move out of my way,” Talene demanded with all the authority of a Sitter in her voice. “I am leaving!”

“I think not,” Pevara said quietly, and Yukiri nodded slowly in agreement. Saerin did not stroke her knife hilt; she gripped it till her knuckles went white.

Toveine Gazal’s horse flounders through the snow in Andor, four other Reds and twenty of the Guard behind her; she curses, but promises herself that she will go down in history as the woman who destroyed this “Black Tower”. She thinks that what had been done twenty years ago had been “necessary and right”, but she had been the one birched and exiled for twenty years, while Elaida had slipped through the cracks and “danced” her way to the Amyrlin Seat, and she is not going to waste her chance now. Suddenly a tall man in a black coat rides out of the trees and announces that if they surrender peacefully no one will be hurt. Toveine realizes she is shielded, but does not panic, telling the sisters with her to take him.

Abruptly she realized that nothing was happening and took her eyes from the fellow to frown at Jenare. The woman’s pale, square face seemed absolutely bloodless. “Toveine,” she said unsteadily, “I also am shielded.”

“I am shielded, too,” Lemai breathed in disbelief, and the others chimed in, increasingly frantic. All shielded.

More black coated men emerge from the trees, at least fifteen, but Toveine thinks that surely not all of them could channel, and it is a bluff. She whispers to the sisters to scatter until the men lose the shield, then turn back to help the Guard, then shouts to the Guard to attack. They do, and she and the others gallop off in random directions; she hears the tall man roar to take them alive, by order of the Dragon Reborn. At the name Toveine finally feels fear, and realizes that though she is out of sight, the shield has not faded. Then something invisible snatches her out of her saddle, leaving her hanging in midair; she knows it must be saidin and tries not to scream, imagining she can feel the taint touching her. The tall man pulls up before her and settles her sitting sideways in front of his saddle, shouting for others to join him. She thinks that he is a very big man, not at all like the “pretty boys” Toveine liked, and it comes home to her that she is a prisoner of a man who can channel. She begins shrieking and struggling; the man fights to control his horse, and pleads with her to calm down.

“Light! My apologies, sister, but this is how we learn to do it.” And then he kissed her.

She had only a heartbeat to realize his lips were touching hers, then sight vanished, and warmth flooded through her. More than warmth. She was melted honey inside, bubbling honey, rushing toward the boil. She was a harpstring, vibrating faster and faster, vibrating to invisibility and faster still. She was a thin crystal vase, quivering on the brink of shattering. The harpstring broke; the vase shattered.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

She stares at him, dazed, and he sighs that he could have done without the “extra bit”, but supposes it’s necessary, as she is “hardly a wife”. He tells her to be calm, and to not try to escape or touch the Source without permission. He asks her name, and Toveine answers immediately, and wonders why. Another black-coated man (much more to Toveine’s taste) gallops up.

“Light, Logain!” the pretty boy exclaimed. “Did you take a second one? The M’Hael won’t like that! I don’t think he likes us taking any! Maybe it won’t matter, though, you two being so close and all.”

“Close, Vinchova?” Logain said wryly. “If the M’Hael had his way, I’d be hoeing turnips with the new boys. Or buried under the field,” he added in a mutter she did not think he meant to be heard.

Hearing his name, Toveine tries to figure out why she’s not freaking out or trying to kill him, and demands to know what he did to her. He explains, and she weeps on his chest, vowing to make Elaida pay for this—if Logain ever lets her.

Commentary
Oh, man, this thing.

Hokay. My initial reaction to this chapter, as I recall, was that both major events in it were Made of Awesome, even while giving me an uneasy twinge of… twinginess. Something.

Today, my reaction is the same, except now my twinginess has blossomed into this terrible pain in all the ethics diodes down my left side. Ow. Ow ow ow.

Yes, it is really great that the Black Ajah Hunters have found their first prey, and yes it is really great that Toveine’s attack was defused with no loss of life, but—Ow. Ow ow ow.

The chapter title, by the way, is referring just as much to what was done to Zerah as what was done to Toveine, because functionally it was the exact same thing, and was even done for the same kinds of reasons. And both acts are extremely ethically questionable, to say the least. If ever there were a case of the ends justifying the means…

I debated for a while on which one I thought was skeevier, and I have to say that the win goes to Seaine and Pevara, at least initially. At least Logain was under no illusions that Toveine was anything but his enemy, whereas Seaine and Pevara planned to do this to Zerah no matter what she was, and only in retrospect used the excuse that she was a rebel to justify it. Um, yuck?

It was a close call, though, what with the description of Toveine’s bonding being basically a description of a frickin’ orgasm. I mean, really? And the scale of skeeviness will definitely tilt back to Logain if “Wife” bonds can’t be released. I have no reason to suppose they can’t, since Warder bonds can, but there is the question of whether any of the Asha’man have worked out how to actually do it yet.

And on further reflection, I’m just… I’m just very divided in my mind about how I feel about the whole bonding thing here. I am obviously not nearly as outraged as I was about Alanna bonding Rand, but that was a different set of circumstances. Basically Alanna had no justification whatsoever for what she did to Rand (in my opinion), whereas Toveine was, in modern parlance, an enemy combatant, and from that point of view what Logain did was certainly a lot more humane than some of the things he could have done. Like killing her, for one. I suppose there is also the slightly unflattering-to-me observation that I like Rand a hell of a lot more than I like Toveine, as well, and am therefore more inclined to be jealous of his well-being than hers.

That said, however, it does not change the fact that this scene with Toveine and Logain makes me deeply uncomfortable. There’s a whole bucketload of vaguely sexual submission/dominance subtext swirling around it that I can’t seem to get a grip on enough to talk coherently about at the moment, but is definitely there. Which is not necessarily a problem on the face of it—except when you add in the non-consensual nature of what happened. Let’s just say, adding sexual overtones to an act that takes away the free will of the opposite party is…

Well, you know what that is. I trust I need not explicate my feelings on that score.

And yet, there is a question of Logain’s intent as well, and for some reason I have throughout the series always been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, and that is still true here. But just because he has the character not to take advantage of the situation doesn’t mean anyone else… agh.

And the dilemma only gets worse later, when we meet up with Toveine again. So I think I will wait till that later to get into it. Hopefully I’ll have better organized my thoughts then, because I’m not having a whole lot of luck doing it right now.

So, in conclusion, Ow. But hey, at least nobody died!

Other notes:

Logain’s ever-so-brief exchange with Vinchova here once again makes me extremely irritated that we are so shut out from an interior view of the goings-on at the Black Tower for all this time. I suspect that’s going to change in ToM, though. At least I hope so.

I think I’ve pointed it out before, but if you are as utterly confuzled by the whole “vileness of twenty years ago” thing that Toveine thinks about here as I was, the FAQ article is a very good explanation of it all. This is one of these very deep scattered-clue background things in WOT I never even tried to fathom in my initial reading, and have therefore always been grateful to find there were fans far more observant (and obsessive) than I to clear them up for me. Sloth FTW!

Pillow friends: I’m pretty sure I sailed right by this statement of Yukiri’s the first time around without even noticing it, but it sure as hell jumps out at me now. I also recall being uncertain for a while whether the term really meant what I thought it did, later on when it starts coming up more (at least until it was made screamingly obvious what it meant). This is partly because back then I had a much stronger heteronormative bias in my reading perspective than I do now, but it’s also because I was just plain startled to have an acknowledgement of homosexuality (if that’s even what it was) suddenly crop up out of nowhere after nine(ish) books of pretending gay people didn’t exist. (I had also missed the Galina thing too, first time. Not that that helps, except in an empirical sense. Ugh.)

Also, if I recall correctly waaaay back somewhere in TDR or TSR or thereabouts someone referred to Elayne and Egwene as “pillow friends” (or they called themselves that, I can’t remember), and this further baffled me, since I was pretty sure even Jordan would have managed to convey the notion that their relationship had been sexual if that had ever been the case. Which, by the way, I’m positive it was not.

I would simply suppose that the term could be used to mean either a platonic or sexual relationship, as certainly there is no lack of similarly confusing phrases surrounding relationships in general (consider the ambiguous parallel etymology of the word “girlfriend”, for instance—when used by a woman, anyway), but this is undermined somewhat by the later books pretty clearly confining the term to mean two women in a sexual relationship. So, I guess Jordan changed his mind about what it meant? Or, I hallucinated that it was used earlier than this chapter, one of the two.

Either way, it’s completely obvious (now) that what Yukiri is suggesting here is a sexual relationship, and also that the “skulking around” part of it was in reference to the fact that Pevara and Seaine are from two different Ajahs (inter-Ajah relations being so strained at this point), as opposed to being clandestine about having sex with another woman per se. Clearly, then, there was no stigma attached to the notion; this was also evidenced by the lack of reaction from anyone in the room at the suggestion, including Seaine and Pevara.

I’ve sort of said my piece on this before, and I’ll address it in more detail later on, but for now I’ll just restate my general reaction, which is that my only problem with the entire notion is that to my knowledge we never see any corresponding phenomenon (a) among the general non-segregated population, or (b) in any situation involving men at all, segregated or otherwise. Both of which, as I’ve said before, have several unpleasant subtextual implications, however progressive the “pillow friends” concept may seem on the surface. Not to mention being bloody unlikely from a purely statistical standpoint, but anyway.


So basically this was one big splodge of sexual subtext up in here, eh? Ye gods and little fishes. Well, there you go. Be nice in commentage, peoples, and have a lovely weekend!

238 comments
Tricia Irish
2. Tektonica
Wow...decided to post just to say I got here early! Since I'm lurking.....
Chris Milligan
3. Cmilliga
Thanks again Leigh! Keep up the great work!
Bonnie Andrews
4. misfortuona
YAY New post, now to go read.

Mis-gabbly party's getting huge.
Kevin Smith
5. TimBurtonfan
Woo hoo love the posts!

Love being top ten too. :)

Now to read...
a a-p
6. lostinshadow
yippee a new post and just one more day before I'm sipping margaritas on the beach!!

yeah so I've been trying to clear off my workload to enjoy the holiday so I've fallen completely behind.

And now to try and catch up on the last few rereads!
j p
7. sps49
I am glad that the Black Ajah is finally beng recognized as existing by head-in-the-ssand Aes Sedai.

Poor Zerah. Did her 4th Oath ever get removed?
Lsana
8. Lsana
Just a quick question: do we know for sure that Warder bonds can be released? We've seen a lot about passing them, but I can't remember a bond being released or a first-oath-obeying sister saying unambiguously that it can.
Karen Fox
9. thepupxpert
Well at least I am in the Top 10 - on to reading the post now!
Marcus W
10. toryx
I have to admit, I really enjoy Elaida chapters. Oh, I think she deserves everything she is likely getting but it's just so much fun to read how flaming wrong she is and how often she gets it shoved into her face. Even if she still doesn't see it.

I don't know, there's just a wicked part of me that takes a certain delight in all of Elaida's POVs.

As far as the sexual context of the next chapter goes...well, I'm inclined to not go there. It is disturbing, I agree. It also disturbs me now than it did the first time I read it. I've always been fairly amused, however, by just how sexual this series is. Channeling alone, male or female, always struck me as a euphemism for an orgasm. So it really makes a logical sort of sense that the pattern continues in other uses.

Pevara kind of annoys me in her rigid refusal to accept that there are other perspectives other than her own, but by and large I enjoyed the scenes with her and the others in the BA hunt. It's also extraordinarily satisfying for a BA to actually be caught.

All told, these are pretty enjoyable chapters for an otherwise not so enjoyable book.
Lsana
11. jpbdeutschland
We totally do see lesbians in the general population, that was the crux of that whole thing about Shalon din Togara and Ailil Riatin in Winter's Heart -- the two were having an affair, which gave Cadsuane leverage over Shalon since breaking marriage oaths is A Big Deal amongst Sea Folk.
Thomas Keith
12. insectoid
Thanks for all the birthday wishes, everyone! Mostly get to chill out until 4, and then go to a Padres game. Isn't that fun? :) I'll pop onto gabbly when I'm able.

Great post as always, Leigh.

Ch. 25
Elaida: I almost feel sorry for her. Almost. But you're probably right; if Alviarin weren't pulling the strings, Elaida would likely screw things up anyway.

Alviarin: GRR INSECT SMASH. Awesomely evil.

Mesaana: Doesn't actually know all and see all! ;)

Ch. 26
Seaine and Pevara: Are still Awesome.

Zerah: Hm, crossing streams, conflicting oaths...

Saerin: Pretty intuitive, huh? I thought the tidbit about her being first trained by the Daughters of Silence was interesting.

Talene: Is so busted.

Logain: Seems he and Taim aren't seeing eye-to-eye. Gosh, what a surprise!

The bonding: Is a lot better than the alternatives (stilling, or death).

Love the Hitchhiker's reference!
James Jones
13. jamesedjones
Wanted to wait for Blind, but oh well. Happy B-Day, Insectoid.

Loved the BA reveal, and Saerin's reaction with the knife. Loved it even more than the BT wiping up the AS mission like brushing away crumbs. lol
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Nice to read these chapters after the march of doom through Illian and Altera over the past few weeks. Breath of fresh air to get back to more interesting plotlines.

Wow - never picked up on the Alviarin order that gives Ajah heads the power to sanction non-Ajah personnel in their territories. Critical piece in poisoning inter-Ajah relations. Whoever thought of it (Alvi or Messi) is brilliant.

Really like the "Extra Bit" chapter, both parts. Cleverly plotted and I agree the paralellism of the issues is striking. Also pretty clear that Saerin is a walking MOA whenever she appears in WoT, but especially after TGS.
Maiane Bakroeva
15. Isilel
I always wondered what the deal was with a Keeper (or Sitters for that matter) being able to wander off for weeks/months. Isn't the Keeper supposed to be, among other things, the Amyrlin's secretary? Who does the work? Also, the Amyrlin can't enter the Hall without a Keeper to announce her. I know the situation isn't normal, but why is nobody wondering?
Also, it was fricking stupid of Mesaana to send Alviarin on lengthy missions, when she has the whole of the BA for that.
And what could take that long for somebody who can Travel? We still don't know.

BTW, is Elaida magically constrained by her promises to Alvi? It certainly seems so to me. If so, she could have a way to resist the Seanchan, if only she'd think about it. Just swear to yourself that you won't cooperate with them ever and you are set...

The BA hunters storyline is one of the highlights of these books (7-11) for me. It is refreshing to see regular folks without main character bonus doing a constructive thing on their own. It is good to see how monumental and dangerous the task is too and that Siuan and other Amyrlins weren't just incapable morons for failing there.
OTOH, the fact that the Oath Rod is guarded so laxly isn't to their credit.
Didn't notice that they didn't intend to free Zerah before the knew that she was a rebel - shady. I understand that they couldn't afford for her to talk, but surely an oath to keep silence on the matter should have been sufficient?
Also, after all the extra oaths the BA hunters swore, will they start to drop dead soon?

Toveine - at the time when I first read it, I didn't find it too objectionable, even though the potential for abuse is clearly enormous. For that matter, it is enormous with wives too - who did they test the "extra-bit" on, hm? And if an Ashaman applies it to a wife or a girlfriend or to somebody who "becomes" that subsequently, who will ever know?
Of course, it is yet another instance of women in captivity and yet another example of how they suck compared to men, but meh.
The fact that even after the Cleansing those AS still weren't released and still were under constant Compulsion is definitely very problematic for me, though.
BTW, what happened to the guards?

The interesting thing here is that Taim knew that they were coming (one of Alvi's trips perhaps?) and that he gave his sanction for the operation. Did he expect there to be blood and tried to set Logain up for Rand's anger? Or expected Rand to be angry at Compulsion? Or what?
It just seems strange that he would have let such a perfect opportunity to get some channeling slaves for himself and his cohorts slide.

And yes, I'd have definitly loved more inside looks of the BT instead of that... other stuff we have coming ;). Sorry, Wetlandernw! I says it how I feels it!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Insectoid!
Barry T
16. blindillusion
JEJ – Meh, it’s cool. Work and all that. Keeping you Civs safe in a rapidly deteriorating world.

Anyway, just a few things:

- I don’t know if it has been mentioned before, but is all of this re-swearing of the same Oaths pretty much tacking on more Oaths? Err, in other words, have these people now shortened their lives ever more? If so, that is just freaking crazy man. Not to mention completely stupid. Gah. Someone destroy the Oath Rod, after ditching Oaths already taken, before these silly children Swear themselves to death.

- Also, does anyone else find it extremely satisfying (and amusing) that Talene pretty much created her own demise?

- Anyone who can sit there and think that an ongoing cold war between your underlings is (a) indicative of how awesome a leader you are, and (b) funny, is someone who shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of a bingo game, much less the most powerful autonomous organization in All The Land. Good grief.

Too true. Sadly, I’ve seen it more than a few times in both of the branches of service I’ve served in. To the Power Hungry of the world…Get Bent!

And, well, that’s about it for now.

MIB (somewhat) FTW!!
Rob Munnelly
17. RobMRobM
On the subject of Elaida, I should note Linda's excellent article from earlier this week at 13th Dep that Suroth in CoT was essentially Elaida/West in her inability to make any correct judgments about anything. Should be deeply amusing for all you Elaida fans out there.
Birgit
18. birgit
Also, if I recall correctly waaaay back somewhere in TDR or TSR or thereabouts someone referred to Elayne and Egwene as “pillow friends” (or they called themselves that, I can’t remember), and this further baffled me, since I was pretty sure even Jordan would have managed to convey the notion that their relationship had been sexual if that had ever been the case. Which, by the way, I’m positive it was not.

Maybe you confused it with first-sisters:

"You are first-sisters?" Bain seemed to be taking in all three of them.
Egwene thought they must mean sisters as it was used for Aes Sedai, and said "Yes," just as Elayne said "No."
Chiad and Bain exchanged a very quick look that suggested they were talking to women who might not be completely whole in their minds.
"First-sister," Elayne told Egwene as if she were lecturing, "means women who have the same mother. Second-sister means their mothers are sisters."

TDR 38

Just a quick question: do we know for sure that Warder bonds can be released?

Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects.

http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/?p=30
Sean Arthur
19. wsean
Ah, the BA Hunters. Best part of this book.
Lsana
20. Kazmatt
In such a richly described world spanning millions of words I would expect some explicit dealings with male homosexuality. C'mon, we know the significance of the color of a gemstone on the hilt of a knife worn upsidedown by a woman from Ebou Dar and we still haven't seen a gay male?

(which, if homosexuality is taken as a matter of course in WOT as Jordan said, who wears the marriage knife for a gay couple in Altara?)

I'm not saying I want Lan & Moiraine to go all Will & Grace, all I'm asking for is a gay innkeeper/cook relationship scene. Think how perfectly that would fit in Mat's storyline!
Lsana
21. Gentleman Farmer
My impression of the Logain version of bonding was that it seemed pretty humane compared to, for example, Dumai's Wells and the exploding ring of earth and fire.

Hard to say whether standard warder bonding is better or worse. The Logain version seems to have pretty continuous, active compulsion, but we don't know what effect, if any, his death will have on the bonds.

I was curious though, on this re-read, who taught Logain, considering his reference to how we learn to do it. Presumably the asha'man aren't constantly compelling their wives. The wife bond we saw in... CoS(?) just sort of let them know that the other spouse was alright.

If it was Taim, then who did he mean for it to be used against?

So I wonder who developed this technique, who was doing the teaching, and what they were trying to achieve, if it wasn't originally intended as a way to capture the invading Aes Sedai.

Could it be as simple as one of those "tricks" that sparkers teach themselves and one of the Asha'man was a sparker coming in?
Vincent Lane
22. Aegnor
Leigh,

"Not to mention being bloody unlikely from a purely statistical standpoint, but anyway."

Actually, as I've said before, that is not true at all. We don't know all that many male characters well enough to know their sexual orientation. And when you look at the percentages of the general population which are homosexual (as determined by numerous studies) it is not unlikely at all that we would not have knowingly ran into one.

As an example, I know of exactly zero gay people where I work (with about a thousand people). Now it is very statistically unlikely that none of them are gay. But I don't know very many of my co-workers well enough to know something as personal as that, and those I do know well enough...aren't gay.

Now someone could tell me that I was lying that I didn't know any gay people at work, as it was "statistically unlikely" for that to be the case. But that isn't true. The number of people that I know well enough to know that type of personal information is relatively small.

Such is the case in this book. We don't know enough characters well enough in this series, to say that not running into any gay males would be unlikely. For example, in this chapter we know Logain isn't, but what do we know about Vinchova? For all we know he could be. For all we know we could have ran into multiple gay characters, we just don't know enough about them to know that type of information.
Matthew Smith
23. blocksmith
After a couple weeks hiatus due to 1) RL and 2) continued "spam notification" issues, I am venturing a return.

I enjoyed these chapters. Primarily because we got some insight into Elaida's struggles with Alvairin, as Leigh pointed out, the first BA is outed by the hunters, and Logain comes back and reveals the effects of male channelers bonding female channelers being substantially different from the reverse.

All good stuff. Relative to the moral implications of the Zerah and Toveine coercions...I agree. Better than the alternatives, highly ethically/morally questionable, and we haven't heard the last of it.
Tess Laird
26. thewindrose
I have to admit this makes me laugh everytime I read it. So here is Seaine getting all worked up thinking herself into circles:
Seaine shook her head in wonder. They had not considered the possibility of conflicting oaths. What if the Black Ajah did not merely remove the Oath against lying, but replaced it with one of their own? What if they replaced all Three with their own oaths? She and Pevera would need to go very carefully if they did find a Black sister, or they might have her fall dead before they knew what the conflict was.

Then bam, Saerin pops in with this:
"Under the Light, I will speak no word that is not true. I am not a Darkfriend."

For all of you who are concerned about the 'extra' oaths I would say this, if it is the same oath they are taking - ie I will not lie, I don't think that would count as an additional oath if you say it again on the rod. I think it would only count if you said someting like I will not lie when I wear red, I will not lie when I wear blue. Anyways, that is how I always thought of it, not that every time you use the binder and say the same thing you have created a new binding(how could that be for the same oath?)

And we are back with the continuing drama queen that is Elaida. So sweet it would be if she ever found out how badly she interpreted her Fortellings.

tempest™
Ron Garrison
27. Man-0-Manetheran
"The Extra Bit" - good catch relating the title to little extra piece of Compulsion used in both situations! And tho' Logain's bonding of Toveine may be questionable, as a combatant, he could have done worse. Given what the AS did to him, it's a wonder he didn't still her!

edit: spelling!
Ron Garrison
28. Man-0-Manetheran
Hurricane Elaida
bingo game
she’ll be on the Seanchan front, and there’ll be a damane named Suffa in the ranks
Priceless!

I did both these posts as one, and was flagged as spam both times. Somebody needs to take the 'bot out to the woodshed!
Marcus W
29. toryx
thewindrose @ 26:
And we are back with the continuing drama queen that is Elaida. So sweet it would be if she ever found out how badly she interpreted her Fortellings.

I have to admit, while I do not like the idea of how Rand might "know anger," it'd almost be worth it if it did happen and we got a POV scene with Elaida hearing about it. Oh, sweet satisfaction would be mine.

Man-O @ 27:
And tho' Logain's bonding of Toveine may be questionable, as a combantant, he could have done worse.

Since Logain isn't really a bad dude, I agree. However, there are a number of fates that are far worse than death, and if Logain had forced Toveine to sleep with him, I think it could be argued that she would have preferred death. Hell, imagine if this was a trick one of the nastier Forsaken learned?
Ron Garrison
30. Man-0-Manetheran
Although Toveine likes young pretty boys, I can't imagine Logain being that much of a daddy that she would prefer death. LoL
James Hogan
32. Sonofthunder
I have to confess to not being as big a lover of the BA-hunters plot as the rest of you. I think it's mostly because I just can never remember any of their names.

And even though Toveine and her girls sort of deserve their punishment as POWs, I do almost feel sorry for her here. Getting bonded by Logain, of all people! And this seems to be Compulsion-Lite, no? Not the kind of compulsion where they lose their mind and will, but more along the lines of utter obedience. Similar to the Oath Galina takes to Sevanna/Therava. I think it's a fitting restraining tool for the captured Ais Sedai. I just hope Logain is holding his men responsible for their treatment of the prisoners.
Luke M
33. lmelior
Mesaana = Danelle.

Just wanted to spoil that for everyone. I think Leigh and most of the then-commenters were in agreement on that one back when we discussed it during tSR.
Karen Fox
34. thepupxpert
I think this is my favorite hardback book cover. Rand's black gelding, the AS symbol, his looks, seem right on. Can't say the same for most of the other book covers, though.
James Hogan
35. Sonofthunder
This is also my fav book cover(even though the fact that Rand looks like Messala from Ben-Hur always distracts me).
Kurt Lorey
36. Shimrod
If it makes anyone feel more sympathetic towards Elaida, remember her time with Mordeth/Fain. That had to have skewed her towards his evil in some way. Still, it is her own fault for being where she is.

Regarding Logain (et al) bonding Sisters, none seem to have taken advantage of the methodology used in the bonding. If a Sister has a sexual relationship with an Ash'aman, it's because she wants to.
Noneo Yourbusiness
37. Longtimefan
@22 Aengor.

I apologize if I misspelled your handle but I am traveling and my iPhone is not so good for the scrolling up and down these long post pages.

I am not here to call you a liar. I went to a high school of 3,000 and was the only person with an admitted homosexual interest. Many years later others came out. I did not know many of them during the school years. Oddly, as open as I thought I was there were still people who thought my best friend was my girlfriend. We never held hands or hugged we just spent a lot of time together.

However in the scope of the world I knew there were people interested in homosexual relationships. Stories about them whispered begrudingly or mocked loudly. In an intolorant world they exisited.

If such relationships are taken as a matter of course in this fictional world they should bemore apparent.

There have been several festivals and tavern dances at which everyone danced or froliced with or chased someone of the opposite gender. The characters whose point of veiw describe these scenes do not omit the heterosexual matter of course behavior so why would they omit any homosexual public displays of affection?

Because they are not there.

That only happens in cultures where it is not acceptable.

No one says Domani merchants get the best of men except for the ones who don't care for women.

The books are fun to read and the writing has an engaging quality but these books were not written to build a world where both heterosexual and homosexual behaviors are seen as ordinary and socially accepted.
Lsana
38. alreadymadwithprisoners
Interesting you should use the term orgasm considering the apparent "enhancement" the Bond adds to the act.

And Shimrod @36 is correct. Any sexual relations between Asha'man and bonded sisters so far that we know were initiated by the sisters. Following Gabrielle's example.
Hugh Arai
39. HArai
Isilel@15:

The fact that even after the Cleansing those AS still weren't released and still were under constant Compulsion is definitely very problematic for me, though.


What precisely about the Cleansing changes Toveine's AS from enemy combatants being restrained as PoWs?
Jennifer B
40. JennB
Seaine and Saerin, I can never keep their names straight. It makes their scenes together a little annoying because I am always having to go back to figure out who is who.

Aegnor@22 and Longtimefan@37
I think you're both right. (And no, I can't explain how I agree with both sides of an arguement, but I do it all the time.) In addition, there were gay servents in the tower. I think it was in New Spring. It was remarked on how all the male servents were dismissed from the tower, even the ones who were not interested in women.
Michael McCarthy
41. KilMichaelMcC
Also, if I recall correctly waaaay back somewhere in TDR or TSR or thereabouts someone referred to Elayne and Egwene as “pillow friends” (or they called themselves that, I can’t remember


I am certain you are misremembering, and that this never happened. Perhaps you are confusing it with the reference in New Spring to Moiraine and Suian having been pillow friends?
Derek Hughes
42. kinslayor01
I believe that when Egwene and Elaine are talking through the whole in the wall separating their rooms(after they get back from Falme) there is a reference to the holes being common among novices, especially "pillow friends". This may be what you were remembering. I don't have my books so I can't confirm, so I could be the one misremembering.
Vincent Lane
43. Aegnor
Longtimefan,

If the studies done are correct, you would expect about 60-90 homosexuals to be at your highschool. And you prove my point in your post, you were open about your homosexuality, and yet many people in your highschool who knew you, didn't know it.

With the relatively small number of characters that we know indepth enough that we might know that type of information, it is not at all unlikely that we wouldn't have run into one that was a gay male.

Statistically speaking, it is fairly likely we have met a gay character, but we don't know them well enough to know that type of personal information.
john mullen
44. johntheirishmongol
Actually a couple of good chapters here. Elaida is her usual pain in the ass and dumb as a rock but Alviaran is fun to have around. It was nice to see that every woman in the chapterhouse wasn't a total idiot, and that someone was doing something productive.

I do agree that ethically theres an issue with forcefully making someone a warder, but it was certainly better than killing them. I beleive there was something later about how Logain made sure that the women they took were treated well. If I remember correctly, it was the women's idea to bed him to see if he would be more pliable.
Lsana
45. Lurking Canadian
This is my chance to ask the question I've never figured out. Is the "extra bit" (compulsion) in the Ashaman bond something they added deliberately when bonding Aes Sedai, an unexpected side effect of using the same bond on Aes Sedai that they were used to using on non-channelers, or something they always add to all their bonds, so they can compel their wives into obedience?

On first reading, I just thought it was one of those "saidin and saidar are different" things: men automatically compel female channeler warders; women can't compel male channeler warders; fish can't teach birds to fly; that sort of thing.

But it seems that whereas Alanna can't compel Rand, Merise can control Narishma, so my theory doesn't work. What's the consensus on this?
Bonnie Andrews
46. misfortuona
Lurking – Good day eh!
I'm not sure about a consensus, and I'm certainly not a guru, but I'll give this a try mostly because nobody else seems to be around. :)
First of all I don't think we can compare the bond between Rand and Alanna to anyone else. He's sort of a special case. Uber powerful, and Ta’veran as well. Plus he's sort of pretty much compelled by the pattern itself.
As for Merise and Narishma. I think that coupling is more a matter of experience vs youth. My guess is that over time the bonds there will sort of even out, like with the male adam. In time both sides will be able to sense the other, but no one will actually command.

One other thing that I believe plays a part is ability in with the OP. Chances are a strong person, like Logain, will hold the upper hand for longer.

Mis-wow I actually said something WOT related.
Ron Garrison
47. Man-0-Manetheran
The GLOSSARY

For many years, I skipped reading the glossary at the end of each book. At a skim, it was pretty much “yeah, I got that.” At some point I discovered that the glossary also contained some “extra bits” of information that weren’t always explicit in the text. For instance, in aPoD’s glossary you will find two things relative to these two chapters.

Asha’man:
“...a fair number of men at the Black Tower are married, and they use a version of the Warder bond to create a link with their wives. This same bond, altered to compel obedience, has recently been used to bond captured Aes Sedai as well.”
We’ve all pretty much figured it out, but here RJ explicitly termed the extra bit, compulsion.

Daughters of Silence, the:
”The Daughters consisted of two Accepted who had been put out of the Tower and twenty-three women they had gathered and trained. All were carried back to Tar Valon and punished, and the twenty-three were enrolled in the novice book. Only one of those managed to reach the shawl.”
From Chapter 26, “Saerin had been trained first by the Daughters of Silence, the only one of that lot to reach the shawl.”

Nothing Earth shattering, but my point is just that if you are a Glossary-skipper, you might want to read that extra bit on the re-reads.
Noneo Yourbusiness
48. Longtimefan
Aegnor @ 43

actually if the studies done are correct there should have been 250 to 300 people interested in same sex relationships at my high school.

and I will agree that i prove your point in an intolerant world.

In a world where such things are a matter of course they should be part of any observation of events where people meet to flirt and carouse and take an interest in eachother. Those events have happened several times in the course of these books and yet not one obsevation of any public displays of affection in such an open environment which is alledgedly unfazed by such things.

when I notice people on the street or at a festival being interested in eachother I do not ignore anyone who is not in the kind of relationship I would want to be in.

As an observer I notice all of them.

Every mention of any same sex interest is usually made in a covert way or in the narrative of someone hiding the relationship.

There are heterosexual affairs that people try to hide in the books as well. That is understandable.

I find it rather simple for such a complex world to be so heterocentric and in that it is a minor flaw but not unexpected.

The majority of the audience lives in the world where such things are not taken as a matter of course and when trying to sell a book to the broadest market possible some simple stereotypes make it palpable for an audience expecting certain things.

Even I expect it. I do not find it realistic but I do expect it.

what I find insulting is the backpeadling to say that it is a world where such things are not in the story becuase they are just so everyday when clearly they are not.

If they were they would be there.

Be limited but own up to the limitation.
Leigh Butler
49. leighdb
Aegnor @43:

I'm afraid Longtimefan has the right of it here. The only reason homosexuality has been invisible in American culture is because until very recently, it had to be. Homosexuals were there, but no one saw them.

We've already seen in just the last two decades how large a difference it's made to have the stigma on homosexuality even partially lifted, how quickly the gay community stopped being invisible and started appearing in the stories we tell ourselves: on television, in books, movies, etc. And that's even with a not insignificant portion of the population still being dicks about the whole business.

So there is simply no reason, logically, if there is no stigma on homosexuality in Randland, why we *never* see them in the general population. Rand and Co. have spent nine books at this point systematically tromping around to every single major city on the map, and most of the minor ones to boot, and yet in all that time we've never once come across the cabinetmaker and his husband, or the two old biddy lesbians who run the local inn.

Fiction, unlike real life, has no obligation to include statistical anomalies; in fact if you're trying to build a world and show it to your readers, the only allowable anomalies should be the ones that are significant to the plot.

This anomaly - a total lack of gay people in non-segregated communities - is clearly not relevant to the plot at all, so why is it there? This is the issue I'm raising.
Lsana
50. Roxinos
@8:Lsana:

Warder bonds can be released, yes. It was officially stated by Jordan a few times, and a quick source would be his blog on Dragonmount.com.

"Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects. I’m pretty certain I have said that publicly, by the way."

http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/?p=30
Theresa Gray
51. Terez27
Hey Leigh,

This is the first usage of the term 'pillow friends' in the series, unless there was something that was changed in later editions? I don't have any early editions of the first few books, so I'm not sure. Perhaps you retroactively imagined it because of Moiraine and Siuan in New Spring?

Of course, there was the bit with Galina in book 6, but the term 'pillow friends' was not used until here.

Ailil and Shalon (from book 9) were already mentioned, and also the male clerks in the Tower whom Sierin Vayu dismissed (even those who had no liking for women at all), but RJ tends to favor the lesbians. I think this goes along with his insistence that there be 'no male nudity' in the movies based on WoT (that actually because a book tour mantra at one point, as I'm sure you remember). He was a heterosexual male, and he found the idea of lesbians to be attractive, apparently. It's not all that surprising. And yes, it's at least a little sexist, but I believe him when he says he has no problem with gay men, from a moral standpoint; he just feels uncomfortable writing about them. And of course, it doesn't help that his 'pure' lesbians are bitches almost without exception.

Also, he confirmed on his blog that being pillow friends involves getting hot and sweaty under the sheets.

I might also add that the idea of sister-wives in the Aiel culture is probably a little sexist as well; for a counter, there are the Aes Sedai that have multiple Warders, especially the Greens that might be 'married' to all of them, but I don't think it's really comparable when sister-wives are an accepted part of Aiel culture, but the multiple Warders only come about because of individual women with the Power to disregard and/or transcend public opinion.
Lsana
52. Jelsel
Thnx for the post Leigh!!!

ah, the old -where are all the male-gay ppl discussion- i'd like to comment on as well ;)

now i don't want to sound like some gay-basher (yes i know several gay guys, great ppl) but i don't really have a need to read about gay-relations in this series just because they would be there in our "real" world. If it's not helping the plot in someway, it doesn't really add something, in my humble opinion. The pillowfriends ususally do have some meaning to the story as in making this or that action/relation a bit more clear (plus in a ivory tower filled with superior women, maybe the chances for developing such are a bit higher, who knows).

Also force-bonding;

while people comment how morally wrong it would be and toveine/zarah can be forced this way to do some nasty stuff, in my opinion that doesn't really matter.

Both are effectively imprisoned and the same things can happen to prisoners as well, they'll have to happen with physical force instead of just saying the word, but the principal is the same..

just my penny ;)
Lsana
53. Mndrew
Pillow fiends, what I originally got from it:
For most - Lamda Tau Gamma (Lesbian 'till Graduation) or what happens in the tower stays in the tower.
For the rest - real live actual homosexuals.
Or to put it in terms of the writers generation - things that happen in summer camp, don't always change your life permanently. ;)
Heidi Byrd
54. sweetlilflower
@sps49

In TGS, Egwene argues with the BA hunters that what they are doing is Compulsion and they eventually release the 10 "ferrets" from the 4th Oath
diane heath
55. jadelollipop
Re: Elayne and Egwene as pillow friends. No they are not if pillow friends is indeed a sexual relationship.
I was surprised this came up the first time (back when discussing Galina IIRC) because my understanding of pillowfriend was based on the post Falme comment about the hole in the wall....I just figured it was 2 girls talking together at bedtime. I tend to overlook the obvious at the best of times anyway :)
I would not expect to know of any gay characters in WOT unless the fact that they were gay was a necessity to the plot. Rand is going to have 3 wives
than good thing he is heterosexual. Would everyone be happier if Rand had come across Dobraine and Weiramon together instead of Shalon and Ailil ?? Would a bigger uproar or lesser one be the result of
Cadsuane blackmailing them...
Captain Hammer
56. Randalator
Leigh

Also, if I recall correctly waaaay back somewhere in TDR or TSR or thereabouts someone referred to Elayne and Egwene as “pillow friends” (or they called themselves that, I can’t remember), and this further baffled me, since I was pretty sure even Jordan would have managed to convey the notion that their relationship had been sexual if that had ever been the case. Which, by the way, I’m positive it was not.

I would simply suppose that the term could be used to mean either a platonic or sexual relationship, as certainly there is no lack of similarly confusing phrases surrounding relationships in general (consider the ambiguous parallel etymology of the word “girlfriend”, for instance—when used by a woman, anyway), but this is undermined somewhat by the later books pretty clearly confining the term to mean two women in a sexual relationship. So, I guess Jordan changed his mind about what it meant?


If they were referred to as pillow friends (I, too, seem to faintly remember such a scene and I'm positive they didn't call themselves that) that doesn't mean that they actually were supposed to be OR that RJ changed his mind about certain pillows. It's simply a misinterpretation of their relationship.

The two girls are practically joined at the hip, always hanging out together, hugging, practicing behind closed doors, etc. For pillow-friend-accustomed Novices their behaviour would scream "pillow friends". Who could know that they were really, actually and honestly just practicing and not ruffling the bedsheets?

To add some spice, they spent a lot of time with Nynaeve, too and now I have a lot of naughty pictures in my head that I won't be able to get rid of for hours...
Maiane Bakroeva
57. Isilel
HArai @39:

What precisely about the Cleansing changes Toveine's AS from enemy combatants being restrained as PoWs?

Because after the Cleansing they ceased to be the enemy? I mean, they have zero reason to try to hurt Ashaman once saidin is cleansed. A simple parole that would have prevented them from returning to Elaida would have sufficed at that stage. There is no justification to hold them as slaves anymore and in fact, it is pretty immoral.

Also, Logain thankfully has enough integrity to understand that what was done to him was necessary and even, in his case as a false DR possibly just, and not to seek revenge.

BTW, it is not very plausible that seemingly nobody among the Ashaman has taken the advantage of an ability to compel any woman into complete obedience despite having enough interest in the concept to research and test(!) the "extra bit".

Speaking of Elaida - I love to hate her, but... I'd like her to redeem herself a little now that she is a captive of Seanchan. She has been an increasingly flatter character as Ms. Hubris McHubris and while it was fun, I'd like her to show some multi-dimensionality and shine under duress.

Ditto those awful Shaido WOs. Give us some payback for all our pain, ladies, and show the Seanchan that the a'dam can be escaped from! I bet that they'd be much more amenable to a compromise re: channelers then.

Another thing - the fact that those rather capable and likeable BA hunters somehow thought that making Elaida an Amyrlin ever could be a good idea... boggles my mind. I hope that they are honorable enough to apologize to Siuan at some point.
Tricia Irish
58. Tektonica
I agree in principle that when the taint is removed the captive AS could and should be released. However, we are given so little information about the real relationships/goings on at the BT it's hard to get a take on the Asha'man bond with the AS...other than Logain. (I always thought the "extra bit" was the orgasm at the end of the bonding...oops. Missed the compulsion thing completely the first time through.)

It would be ideal if the captive AS were returned to Elaida with the good news that they could "feel the absence" of the taint, thus forcing the WT into a complete reconsideration of men channeling and how they should be trained and integrated into the AS society. LOL. Not going to happen. Well, maybe with Egwene, but obviously, it didn't with Elaida. (Not that she would've listened.)

I'm more concerned for the AS that were sent by the Tower to bond Asha'man as Warders and were allowed to pick from Taim's cronies. They are all no doubt DF Asha'man and could do some real damage to their AS.

It is frustrating that we've gotten so little info/povs from the BT. That would've been a more interesting book than the Shaido/Perrin/Faile plod, IMHO. The Logain/Taim conflict would've been yummy and helped set the stage for the coming battle there.

On Alviarin: I know there are lots of you that love her as a great dastardly villian, but I find her so one dimensional. She has effective schemes, but I'd like to know more about how she became the evilness that she is, to appreciate her more. Sigh. Another thing I'll never know.

I, too am constantly confused by the BA hunter plotline and all the names. I hope this reread helps me like it more. My eyes kind of glaze over when who said what to whom starts happening.....
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
Re: the extra Oaths - everyone in the Tower was released from all Oaths and then resworn on the Oath Rod in TGS, weren't they? That would release Zerah et al in any case.

Re: lack of gay men - when an author builds a world, he has to write in every significant thing about it. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for other little tidbits that aren't significant. If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them just so some segment of the readers can feel better about his world being "realistic" in that regard? Make whatever reality-based assumptions you need for your enjoyment and move on. If you really feel a need for gay characters, go read Mercedes Lackey or Vonda McIntyre. Robert Jordan didn't feel it necessary to the story he was telling.

Re: the extra bit and the Asha'man bond, I had the impression that it was almost an accidental discovery by one of the men, trying to figure out a way to keep in touch with his wife while he was out and about. I must admit that I'd missed the bit where "the compulsion aspect was added later" for bonding AS. (I obviously need to get back in the habit of reading the Glossary like I did with the first few books!) The next question is, can it be used to Compel obedience in all manner of things, or just the things Logain specifically says to Toveine here? "Don't try to escape, don't attack anyone in a black coat, and don't touch the Source unless I give you permission." I assumed those were the standard instructions they had worked out, although Toveine obviously finds herself answering questions she might not normally have answered, and she clearly thinks she'll never be able to "make Elaida pay for this" without Logain's permission. Maybe because she's thinking in terms of OP switchings, or maybe because she thinks she can't do anything, or maybe because she really can't... Thoughts?

Oh, and I don't think it at all a "given" that the AS should have been released after the Cleansing. Yes, the men know that it's clean, but there's no way to thoroughly prove it to the AS, unless they had been in a circle with a man and felt saidin before and after the Cleansing. Without that, the bonded AS would have no reason to see the Asha'man as any less dangerous than before. It's not like once it was Cleansed, the whole world knew what had happened and everyone was happy in the knowledge, after all.
Ron Garrison
60. Man-0-Manetheran
Wetlandernw@59: "The next question is, can it be used to Compel obedience in all manner of things, or just the things Logain specifically says to Toveine here?"

I think the way it was stated in the Glossary: "This same bond, altered to compel obedience, has recently been used to bond captured Aes Sedai as well.” says that it requires obedience. Therefore, "all manner of things" seems most likely except for when it bumps up against the 3 Oaths, perhaps.
Mo -
61. Astus
The incompetency of Elaida continues to blow my mind. It stretches belief at times and makes it seem as if she was made so incompetent so Egwene could come gallivanting to the rescue later on. I know we've seen this of many Aes Sedai (not as pronounced but still) but you'd think the tests they go through somewhat 'enlighten' them. There are RL equivalents to this but those dudes don't go through things such as the Arches and whatnot.
Gah, I dunno. It just frustrates me.
Alice Arneson
62. Wetlandernw
Man-O-Manetheran @60 - Yeah, that's where I was going too. Now the obvious question is what happens when the Asha'man-bond-compelled-obedience DOES bump up against one of the Oaths? Or what if a Black sister were ordered to give away some Black secret? Would she do a Zerah and suffocate? I wonder if we'll see it. Maybe that's why Taim's crew hasn't bonded any AS - they'd have to be sure the AS was also a DF?

Astus - yeah, but it's pretty realistic, too. There are real people who are just as blind in certain areas and yet reach high-level positions before it becomes apparent that they've been promoted way past their abilities.
Lsana
63. Demira
Alviarin's is a very rare POV we get from darkfriends, I think. It would be interesting to know what she has been up to while gone. I'm torn with wanting her caught and not. I have enjoyed seeing her fear of discovery grow. So maybe not yet is winning. Plus she wants to know who Mesaana is too so maybe during her POV we will find out.

It always bugs me to see how ignorant the AS in the tower are about happenings in the world. And to discredit the true information they get is hilarious. Oops! It just occurred to me that sounds familiar, like Congress maybe. Like Velina says "It is simple logic". Pah!

I find it difficult to beleive that Mesaana is masquerading as an AS. All the AS are known to each other. Even Semhirage had to torture an Aes Sedai and her warder so Halima could masquerade as a friend of Cabrianna. AS saw through that.

Elaida, she is the one I love to hate! The only good thing about her is her fortellings. I think it funny how even she is misinterpreting them. At least we get to chew over the fact that SOMEthing is going to happen at the BT, even though we are STILL waiting for it.

I think this is one of the more awesome moments when a couple of minor characters, Pevara,Seaine and Co., find a darkfriend. I must say I was disappointed that more didn't come of it, but this was a surprise I did not see coming. First my stomach twisted when Pevara and Seaine get caught, then they manage to catch a darkfriend 10 seconds later. Very satisfying!

And Toveine, I wish so much I knew of what naughtiness you committed 20 years ago! Apparently some few AS know and RJ has enjoyed planting these little tidbits every now and again. Was it to do with the death of the Amyrlin at that time?. How Moiraine and Lan discovered the BA in Arafel? The Aeil war? What? What? Sigh*
Sara H
64. LadyBelaine
Demira @63

"And Toveine, I wish so much I knew of what naughtiness you committed 20 years ago! Apparently some few AS know and RJ has enjoyed planting these little tidbits every now and again. Was it to do with the death of the Amyrlin at that time?. How Moiraine and Lan discovered the BA in Arafel? The Aeil war? What? What? Sigh* "

Ah, the Vileness. Do yourself a favor read that FAQ article.

http://linuxmafia.com/jordan/2_nondark/2.4_yore/2.4.11_vileness.html

Rich Boye whipped that out on rasfwrj many moons ago *before* New Spring was published, and my mind, it was blown.
Tess Laird
65. thewindrose
Demira - I think the vileness of 20 yers ago(Cadsuane) thoughts, and Toveines actions that sent her to Mistress Doweel's farm are one and the same.
The Red and the Black(secretly ofcourse(!)) were sent out to gentle and hang every man they could find that could channel. The correct procedure is to bring the men back to Tar Valon and gentle them and let them live out their lives afterwards(short as they will be after getting gentled).

So the three Red Sitters twenty years ago were exiled - Toveine, Tsutama and Lirene, and Elaida has brought them back now. At that time, Elaida was involved with the Red(and Black) orders, but she was concidered small fish as opposed to the Sitters and so excaped any punishment.

A funny note is that Toveine does end up sending a note back to the Tower(to the Red Ajah now headed by Tsutama) blaming Elaida for what happened to the fifty sisters who ended up at the Black Tower. Tsutama decides to send Reds to the Black Tower to bond Asha'man. Taim seems to be expecting them in a way. Does anyone want to speculate on Tsutama'a real allgience?

Also, how many of the sisters in Elaida's study are Black? Velina is in Verin's book, and there is suspision that Shevan is Mesaana.

tempest™
Brandon Wood
66. brad21088
I've already said that I think RJ really dropped the ball on same-sex relationships but I'd like to add one more thing: I'd be fine with the lack of same-sex relationships if RJ was similarly silent on unnecessarily mentioning opposite-sex relationships. But he's not. No one blinks an eye when a minor character is mentioned as having an opposite-sex partner, even if the relationship really has no bearing on anything at all. It's the same in the real world, where people think I'm flaunting MY sexuality if I hold my boyfriend's hand in public, but it's no big deal if a man and woman walk down the street hand-in-hand, or talk about their engagement to everyone at work, or, worst of all, tell everyone they're trying to get pregnant. Those dirty heterosexuals are publicly announcing that they're having sex with each other without condoms, and doing it regularly! Now, obviously I'm joking about the last part and there's nothing wrong with telling people about your opposite-sex partner. Just, don't cringe or think I'm flaunting my sexuality when I do the very same things that you do. Anyway, how this all relates to WoT is that if the world really didn't have any biases against homosexuality, then we would have seen more of it by now. RJ mentioned minor characters with opposite-sex partners even though his mentioning those characters had no bearing whatsoever on the plot; why not do the same with characters in same-sex relationships?
Lsana
67. Subbak
Isilel@57: All the BA hunters did not take part in Elaida's election. IIRC, Pevara did and Seaine did not (it's mentioned that she was even the one who proposed Siuan for Amyrlin). We don't know about the others.

Anyway, I can't see how people find Pevara awesome. In my opinion she ranks with Romanda and the likes in the category "has been useful to the Light, but sooooooo annoying".

Speaking of First Oath, Seaine thinks of "Claiming that Pevara had a beard or that the streets of Tar Valon were paved with cheese" as something the First Oath wouldn't let her do. This is coherent with Ryma Galfrey/Pura being unable to say that a black scarf is white, even under a'dam constraint.
However, IIRC Jordan once stated that the First Oath leaves room for stating false facts the person you are speaking to knows for false (sarcasm, for example). Also, in TGS, Cadsuane (who we must assume is bond by First Oath) states to an inkeeper that she "hadn't noticed" the Aiel in the city, obviously being sarcastic.
I don't know what to think of it...
Myra U
68. Interested By-stander
@Brad21088: Agree, agree, agree! Even in a novel, a prejudice comes across. Same-sex relationships, especially sexually-based, seem to still be a big hang-up with a lot of people. Good grief! what people do privately is just that -- private. If you write about them in the context of a culture that frowns on them, or even penalizes them with extreme prejudice, then, please, PLEASE, do it equally to both sides of the coin. I think RJ probably never thought this was going to be a problem in his books -- those who write have the right, of course, to make the characters how they want them. But, this isn't consistent in these books, and it creates a dissonance. I agree that it only is a "BIG DEAL" when it's a major character, too, which also creates it's own dissonance in the plot. Too bad, but the stories are still awesome and readable. It's just that this discrepancy (or whatever you want to call it) jars us when we read it and creates questions that never (at least until now) get answered. I also agree that it's okay for heteros to discuss every sexual aspect of their relationship but let one comment slip out by a same-sex partner related to their sexual happenings and everyone gets embarrassed or disappears so fast it makes your head spin. Too sad! so bad!
Andrew Belmont
69. rosetintdworld
Brad@66: Thank you. It always baffles me when (heterosexual) people on this board claim that dealing with homosexuality would be out-of-place in The Wheel of Time because sexuality is largely irrelevant to the books. This is absurd. Sexuality--not sex, not obscenity, but heterosexual sexuality--is rampant in these books. Posters who claim otherwise clearly skim right past certain paragraphs in Mat Cauthon's sections, where magnificent bosoms heave and serve him as wondrous pillows (sometimes three or four times in a chapter) or in Min's POV, when Rand's perfectly round buttocks in just so alluring in those trousers that she must go on about it for a page. I could go on, but I don't really have time, because practically every POV character in the series takes some time to notice someone they find physically attractive and discuss which physical characteristics get them so aroused.

I would guess that it's hard for heterosexual readers to notice such references, or really take into account how frequent they are, because they are so used to these ways of thinking in their daily life. Which is fine.

What is not fine is claiming that to include homosexuality in the books would be to automatically render them uncomfortable or obscene. Those who do claim this seem to feel, I would guess, that a gay character by default would be more overtly sexual in their thinking than the generally PG straight POVs that we are used to. Either that, or they feel that male homosexuality immediately renders the books R material. Frankly, I don't want to get into how I feel about either viewpoint. I'm sure you can imagine.

Wetlander@59: The Wheel of Time is a work of world and character building. It includes numerous chapters in order to flesh out characters and cultures whose fights are peripheral to Rand's central battle against the Dark One. Many people hate it for this reason; I find it engrossing.

In any case, I agree with you that it is inappropriate to criticize an author's world-building because we wish he had made some aspects of his universe differently. What is appropriate to criticize, and what is a large thrust of most criticism of speculative fiction I've read, is whether or not the world-building is internally consistent. Usually Robert Jordan's is. He was a master. Occasionally, I don't think it is internally consistent at all.

This is a world with no religious or societal taboos against male homosexuality (per Jordan's own words). Not having a single male character out of a casts of thousands voice or contemplate same sex attraction stretches the limits of consistency. The mere POSSIBILITY of male homosexuality's existence being mentioned only twice in 10,000 pages of internal POVs (of characters who think quite extensively on all kinds of subjects, social, sexual, and otherwise,) is not consistent with Jordan's words on the subject. At all.

Do I really, really care about any of this--to the point that I now hate the series? Of course not. Do I think discussing the many ways Jordan built a world of such beautiful complexity, AND also debating the ways his world-building may have slipped, is fun? Indeed I do.
Julian Augustus
70. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander @59:
Re: lack of gay men - when an author builds a world, he has to write in every significant thing about it. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for other little tidbits that aren't significant. If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them just so some segment of the readers can feel better about his world being "realistic" in that regard? Make whatever reality-based assumptions you need for your enjoyment and move on. If you really feel a need for gay characters, go read Mercedes Lackey or Vonda McIntyre. Robert Jordan didn't feel it necessary to the story he was telling.

Perfect illustration of the comment I made to you the other day; I was thinking of writing something similar when I read your post. Complete agreement. I think you said all that needs to be said on the subject.
Tricia Irish
71. Tektonica
Wind@65: ::waves::

A funny note is that Toveine (BA) does end up sending a note back to the Tower (to the Red Ajah now headed by Tsutama) blaming Elaida for what happened to the fifty sisters who ended up at the Black Tower.Tsutama decides to send Reds to the Black Tower to bond Asha'man. Taim seems to be expecting them in a way. Does anyone want to speculate on Tsutama'a real allgience?

oooh ooooh good get!! I've never made that connection before...I tell you I need an "Atlas" to keep all the players straight in the White Tower. Thank you!
Valentin M
72. ValMar
Pretty much all female/female relationships in the story have some plot relevance.
The problem for the Sea Folk WF wasn't that she was sleeping with another woman. It was that she was cheating on her husband.

Still, given the scope of the story the could've been more of a mention. Perhaps Mat's servants? IIRC one, maybe Tairien, noble wasn't interested in women. Maybe a couple of other nobles' interests couild've been underlined- are they courting or plotting, for example.

It would've saved us this discussion.
Theresa Gray
73. Terez27
thewindrose@65 - I would be more inclined to question Javindhra's allegiance. She might well be one of the ones that Verin missed.

Subbak@67 - Seaine is the only Sitter who was not summoned to Elaida's election that did not also flee the Tower.

re: the Vileness - One important tidbit that is not mentioned in the FAQ article is that the names that Siuan gave to Logain are surely the same names that Moiraine promised Thom in TSR. We heard him mention Katerine, Barasine, Javindhra, and a touch of Elaida. Katerine is Black for sure, Barasine is not. Javindhra might be!
Lsana
74. alreadymadwithtsutama
thewindrose @65
The bonding of Asha'man as Warders by Red sisters was first proposed by Tarna Feir upon arriving at Tar Valon from Salidar. This was way back in CoT, Ch22 As she was shortly appointed as Keeper of the Chronicles to Elaida, she asked a Sitter, Pevara to put forward the proposal to the Highest. Upon confirmation from Toveine that saidin was clean, Tsutama gave the go ahead and the first three went. With Tsutama and the second batch to follow shortly after.
I don't see anything suspicious about it. Frankly, I thought it was a MoA that a Red, and not just a Red but the Red, the Highest of them, adjusted so quickly to the revelations on Toveine's letter. The other Sitters were made aware of the letter and their reaction for the most part was disbelief.
Needless to say it'd be a damn shame if Tsutama turned out bad.
Jennifer B
75. JennB
jadelollipop@55
Dobraine could do so much better than Weiramon.

re extra bits in the glossary
I haven't looked at the glossaries since probably TDR. Perhaps I should take a look at the "newer" volumes' glossaries.
diane heath
76. jadelollipop
JennB @ 75 I am sure Dobraine could do better but I blanked out on names of males in Carhien at the time.
Except for Fedwin Morr and his attempt to wall Min in for protection. And the bad Ashaman that attacked Rand.
Lsana
77. MarciaJ
Wetlandernw @59

Re: lack of gay men - when an author builds a world, he has to write in every significant thing about it. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for other little tidbits that aren't significant. If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them just so some segment of the readers can feel better about his world being "realistic" in that regard? Make whatever reality-based assumptions you need for your enjoyment and move on. If you really feel a need for gay characters, go read Mercedes Lackey or Vonda McIntyre. Robert Jordan didn't feel it necessary to the story he was telling.

I understand and agree with you on a literary level to a certain point. But I have to be honest and say that my visceral reaction to your comment, If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them just so some segment of the readers can feel better about his world being "realistic" in that regard?, was “Ouch! Nice way to marginalize and dismiss a whole segment of the readership! But as others above have pointed out, RJ has all sorts of characters, peripheral and otherwise, thinking and commenting on those “other little tidbits” that aren’t particularly significant, but add to his world building nonetheless. Why not make it more clear, for instance, that one of Mat’s serving men, or both perhaps, are gay? Just as RJ makes clear that other such peripheral but still very interesting characters (a testament again to his world building there) are straight?

And I’ve always meant to read Mercedes Lackey - definitely on my to-read list – and thanks for the rec for Vonda McIntyre; have to check her out. But really, why can’t RJ give me something there too?

Given what I know of him as an author from his books and what I’ve read about him as a man, if he were still with us to read all our comments here, I sincerely think he would take our concerns seriously – whether or not it would ultimately have any influence on his writing or not. It’s his story to share with us after all, not the other way around. But as the WoT series went on, RJ did indeed include more overtly rather than subtexually queer elements in his world, however minor. I think he derserves recs for that.

Getting someone to stop and seriously reflect, to really and truly try to put their feet into someone else’s shoes, even if they aren’t ultimately successful in doing that, is very much half the battle, and deserves at the least a nod of approval.
Theresa Gray
78. Terez27
alreadymad@74 - I think that thewindrose's main suspicion was the fact that Taim did not seem to be all that surprised that they had come. And of course, there is the fact that they have not returned.

MarciaJ@77

But really, why can’t RJ give me something there too?


Because he's dead?

I would also like to see more representation of homosexual relationships in mainstream fiction (including mainstream sff) but I recognize that RJ was part of the old guard when it comes to such things. I can't change it, so it doesn't bother me. One thing that did bother me, when I was reading RJ interviews and such, is that he said that his approach to fanfiction is more or less 'out of sight, out of mind'; he doesn't go out of his way to look for it and do anything about it. But he did say that he would do something about WoT slashfic if he heard of it. But again, I can't change the mold of his mind on the subject - there are too many people in my family that are indoctrinated in the Old South way of looking at things, and I have to admit that RJ is far more liberal on the issue than most who were raised in the South - and also, there's enough slashfic out there (horribly-written, of course) to indicate that no one is doing anything about it and probably no one ever has.
Tess Laird
79. thewindrose
alreadymadwithtsutama-
I would say that Tarna should get props, I don't think she is darkfriend. But I think Tsutama is even more deserving of another look at with what you bring up -
Tsutama gave the go ahead and the first three went. With Tsutama and the second batch to follow shortly after.

Following up to see how Taim is doing with his first three? Perhaps. My thought on the first (actually six) Reds that went is this: we finally get to see the 13/13 trick happen. Brandon has said that
Q: Have any characters we’ve seen been converted to the Shadow via the 13 Myrddraal/13 channelers method? Has this method been used at the Black Tower?
A: RAFO (wow the first question and I got RAFO’d). But he did go on to say that this is a ‘gun on the mantle’, which refers to an old saying that ‘when you put a gun on the mantle in the first act, it needs to be used by the third’.

From this I speculate that poor Pevara and Co(Pevara, Desala, Javindhra, Jezrail, Melare and Tarna) are 13/13'd when we see them next. Also I don't remember a follow up 'bond by' being mentioned by Tsutama:)

tempest™
Lsana
80. MarciaJ
Ok Terez, I'll bite and amend:

"But really, why couldn't or didn't RJ give me something there too?"

Gotcha and concur on everything else as well.
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
First off - I must give mad props to Samadai and Forkroot, I was rooting around in Terez's database on Theoryland and came across this:
TheWindRose: Are there any Forsaken around Elayne?


Brandon: So many people are trying to figure out where Demandred is, I am not sure I can answer that.


Forkroot and Samadai: No, not Demandred; we were talking Cyndane or Moghedien. For example, some postulate that Sylvase is Cyndane.


Brandon: No, Sylvase is not a Forsaken and was never intended to be.

It was such a good loony theory too! Oh well, Thanks for the chuckle. And thank you so much for asking!!!!

Terez, what are your arguements for Javindhra being a baddie. I will try to match you with Tsutama:)

tempest™
Ron Garrison
82. Man-0-Manetheran
"Creative Writing 101" - One of the best bits of advice to beginning writers is to "write what you know."

As far as I'm concerned, I would rather have no gay male characters than to have them poorly written. I sure as heck don't want xx% gay characters in a fictional novel just so that it displays parity with real life. That's nonsense.
Thomas Keith
83. insectoid
I thought I heard Bela whimpering. ;)

Man-0 @82: I totally agree! That's one reason why it's called Fantasy!

InsectoidoftheGotaNewComputerCaseSeptoftheGabblyAiel™.
Andrew Belmont
84. rosetintdworld
MoM@82: Well, sure. And if "what you know" is psychotic, sadistic lesbians who uniformly believe in misandry, then I guess that's what you write about. But I would then suggest that you get out more. :)

If there are no gay male characters, AND the lesbians are poorly written...is that doubly nonsensical? Or does the nonsense cancel out?

As for parity with "real life," the last thing I'll say is that from where I stand, it honors a fantasy series to talk about how convincingly it builds a world you can believe in, even if it isn't real. In the case of Jordan, I try to highlight where the worldbuilding may have erred because the errors are significant in how rare they are. It's a good enough world that it is worth the time to examine more closely.

As I see it, claiming that it's "just fiction" or "just fantasy" or "the author's right to do what he pleases" to wave away any inconsistencies is a little insulting to the effort Jordan has put into making his world complete.
Hugh Arai
85. HArai
rosetintdworld@84:
As I see it, claiming that it's "just fiction" or "just fantasy" or "the author's right to do what he pleases" to wave away any inconsistencies is a little insulting to the effort Jordan has put into making his world complete.

I don't think it's "waving away inconsistencies" to point out that if the author doesn't consider something important to the story he wants to tell, it's not going to be a priority to go into his world. Jordan made the choice that all the major POV characters are heterosexual. Given that, it's not a surprise that the sexuality shown in the stories is virtually all heterosexual. Mat noticing women's charms plays a role in establishing his character: he's happy to dally with any willing woman that catches his eye. Min noticing Rand's butt establishes she has some physical attraction to him, she's not just a Pattern puppet.If he'd chosen for Rand, Mat or Perrin to be gay, I'm sure there would have been lots of male gay sexuality in the story, but he didn't.

You may wonder why Jordan chose to make all the major characters heterosexual, or wish he'd chosen differently, but given the fact that he made that choice, it's not "inconsistent" that he didn't spend time expanding upon male gay relationships: they're just not a significant part of his story.
Andrew Belmont
86. rosetintdworld
Harai@85: Please re-read what I wrote above, @69. You claim that "I may wonder why Jordan chose to make all the major characters heterosexual." But I don't wonder that at all. I can't fault Jordan for not expanding on gay male relationships. The major characters we have (and that Jordan has so carefully developed,) aren't gay. Fine. The main characters and their relationships have nothing to do with what bothers me.

What I wonder about is why, when Jordan has explicitly and repeatedly declared in interviews that male homosexuality is not frowned upon in his world, within the text this is only once reflected. And only then in a passing thought about an ambiguous group of clerks who "may not like women in that way." (Even the wording is ambiguous!)

The disconnect may seem "insignificant" to you (and evidently to quite a few people here.)

But I think the mark of totally successful worldbuilding is that no detail is insignificant. If homosexuality is frowned upon, the reader should be able to see why. If it is accepted, same.



Robert Jordan has said, extratextually, that gay men do exist in Randland, that they are accepted, and that nobody cares. And yet, given the details of his world, I can't see how or why this could be true. The lesbians are all Forsaken or Black Ajah--and particularly heinous ones to boot. And the men apparently lay so low that in a world where, again per Jordan, everybody accepts homosexuality, nobody thinks about the POSSIBILITY of it.

As I've said, it's the lack of acknowledgment of this possibility that bothers me. If Jordan's text matched his words on the subject, then at least once, say, Elayne would smile at a man who didn't smile back, and think: "Not falling for me?! He must be..." We never get that sort of acknowledgment, not even with the ellipsis.

If The Wheel of Time were a 400 page novel that adheres strictly to its main plot and didn't bother to expand upon its world's social framework in painstaking, 5000-page detail, then I wouldn't expect such questions to come up. But, of course, this is The Wheel of Time. Claiming that Robert Jordan didn't have room to fit in details about Randland culture... Yeah, I don't buy it.
Lsana
87. alreadymadwithmoretsutama
thewindrose @79
That's strange, I was pretty sure, she intended to lead by example on this, but now I can't find the relevant text. In any case, many Reds would resist and she may well have to lead by example.
Lsana
88. Jonathan Levy
Alisonwonderland@70
Wetlander@59

I'm another one who agrees completely. It is very frustrating for me to see these threads devolve into an examination of the author's moral credentials, as supposedly revealed by the percentage of homosexual characters in his works not matching the percentage in our world. This is not a moral failing on RJ's part. It is not a virtue to expose it. The subject is not central to the story. I wish we could drop it.

Before retreating to my bunker to hide from the PC police, let me give an analogy to clarify my point.

In WoT, there are no cripples. Sorry, wheelchair-bound characters. Sorry, persons with a disability. Sorry, differently-abled characters. No Down's syndrome, no Autists. No stutteres, no epileptics. No blind people, no deaf-mutes. Or perhaps a few, but not nearly the percentage you would expect in a pre-modern society. In any case, the male/female ratio of these characters is horribly skewed.

This is obviously a terrible moral failure on RJ's part, thereby marginalizing and dismissing a whole segment of the readership. I am launching a moral crusade to correct this. From now on, we must have a 50-post discussion on this topic each time walking or riding a horse is mentioned in the text.

Only an Ableist could object.
Maiane Bakroeva
89. Isilel
Wetlandernw @59:

If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them

And WoT is a series known for not wasting a single word beyond what's important to the story, right ;)? Seriously, is the information that Seonid "doesn't like men as men" in any way "important to the story"? Or the many pairing ups of tertiary characters that we are constantly bombarded with?

OTOH, there are also a lot of somewhat inexplicable details that could be explained by mentions of male homosexuality. Like, why did Moiraine have 3(!) childless uncles in a world with AS Healing? Maybe why Dobraine had less ambitions for the throne than most other nobles (no kids to leave it to, nor expectation of any?)? Generally, why there are so many middle-aged and older male nobles in the books who are single and childless. Etc.

Generally, it is IMHO just another area where RJ's old-fashioned sensibilities shone through. Like how even in WoT (a setting of supposed gender equality) a man having tons of meaningless affairs is cool while for the woman it is the opposite.
And how all the SGs are virgins and all the TR boys are matched with virgins, even when in doesn't really make sense (like in cases of Tuon, Aviendha and possibly Min).

Personally, I'd have preferred it if RJ just left homosexuality out of WoT completely instead of introducing it half-way with women only. It is just like with all the female nudity and spanking and feels faintly embarrassing. IMHO, YMMV.

Now, about something completely different: I think that Toveine reminiscences about the hardships of her exile somewhat in this chapter and it always made me wonder - why would a farmer agree to supervise an AS on a penance and think that being hard on said AS could ever be a good idea? IIRC, Toveine destroyed the farm when she was forgiven and the other 2 probably did the same.

When punishment on a farm was looming for Moiraine in TGH, it was suggested that it is normally overseen by the Ajah of the miscreant, but other Ajahs could step in too, which made vastly more sense, IMHO.
Wesley Parish
90. Aladdin_Sane
Having read the Mesaana FAQ, I think we can all agree that Alviarin is Mesaana ... who else would fit the requirement to have everybody up-in-arms ... every time it's discussed???
Dorothy Johnston
91. CloudMist
Can we please go back to asking who killed Asmodean?
Bonnie Andrews
92. misfortuona
Jonathan Levy @88
Well played Sir, though probably falling on deaf ears.

CloudMist@91
There is no longer a debate. We know who killed him.
ME!

Mis-Happy Father's Day Everyone
Bridget Sullivan
93. Ellid
Isilel sez @ 89

"Generally, it is IMHO just another area where RJ's old-fashioned sensibilities shone through. Like how even in WoT (a setting of supposed gender equality) a man having tons of meaningless affairs is cool while for the woman it is the opposite. "

This. A thousand times this!

The hell with meaningless affairs - how about meaningful affairs? - Berelain is supposedly this chic, sophisticated femme fatale who uses sex as a political tool, yet lo, we learn she's only had a handful of lovers.


"And how all the SGs are virgins and all the TR boys are matched with virgins, even when in doesn't really make sense (like in cases of Tuon, Aviendha and possibly Min)."

Min, especially, being older than the rest, living in a town full of men, working and boarding in an inn. Yeah, just rang false to me. Ditto for Aveindha, since she was evidently a gung-ho Maiden, who as we see are not all shy about their sexuality and have a culture that has a mechanism to deal with unwanted children. Was she saving herself for the Car'a'carn?

Another example of RJ's old-timey sensibilities showing through? Graendel loves male and female beauty and is this wicked, decadent hedonist and we are clearly meant to think that she uses all of her "pretties" for sex (men and women). However, her closest male FS counterpart, Rahvin, well, clearly he only has a harem of women... not attractive men that he uses for sex.

The fact that RJ went out of his way to start showing us little bits and pieces of female homosexuality when it adds virtually nothing to the saga, but then doesn't reciprocate on the opposite side is telling about his personality. It doesn't make him evil or anything, but it does show that he finds lesbians and bisexual women titillating.

I'd wager that he'd never show the initiation ceremonies of say, The Younglings, which involve then stripping down and spanking each other (despite the fact that many college fraternities actually do this today... let's not talk about the string and brick technique, okay?), or any type of those military hazing rituals found in elite military service units today... which can seem pretty gay.

Last point - I am baffled by people who think that we can or even, we should, discuss this huge written work and not discuss the authorial choices made in it at the same time - by necessity, when you analyze a written work, the actual work and the author and his habits are one and the same!

edit - spelling, closing a few parentheses here and there
Bridget Sullivan
94. Ellid
Jonathan Levy@88

"Before retreating to my bunker to hide from the PC police, let me give an analogy to clarify my point.

In WoT, there are no cripples. Sorry, wheelchair-bound characters. Sorry, persons with a disability. Sorry, differently-abled characters. No Down's syndrome, no Autists. No stutteres, no epileptics. No blind people, no deaf-mutes. Or perhaps a few, but not nearly the percentage you would expect in a pre-modern society. In any case, the male/female ratio of these characters is horribly skewed.
"

That's not really a useful analogy. A better example would be suppose RJ showed us only blind people... and lots of blind people (added to the story to add salaciousness) ... but no deaf people?

Here's a even better example - what if showed us only women who are lame and/or crippled and inserted them into the story where it was a tad gratuitous ... but no men who are lame and/or cripple? Would that strike you as slightly comment worthy? What that flag to your attention anything in particular about the author?
diane heath
95. jadelollipop
Re: Mesaana. I know she is in the Tower but I am now reading COT and am in the true Perrin/Faile plot of doom...Masuri was described with bronze,russet colors in her clothing (she is Brown Ajah) and she too is one AS who taps her lip while thinking. (see when she examines signs of DarkHounds.) She mentions that she has run across 7 packs of DarkHounds over the years (which surprises Elyas as unusual)....
I know she is one who sweared oath to Rand but wouldn't it be funny if it was her....:)
Lsana
96. Subbak
jadelollipop@95: Hum... Unlikely. If she was always travelling around to see Alviahrin, someone would notice I guess.

I'm sad that no one has any idea re: my concern @67...
Tess Laird
97. thewindrose
To all Fathers's out there - Happy Father's Day!!

Isilel, I always thought the exiled AS had to give their word that they would not leave until released? Otherwise, why wouldn't they leave that exile? Or, it could be that if they leave, and the Amyrlin Seat finds out about it, they have a massive search party, and then birch and still the offeneding sister. (The second one is more likely I suppose.) I would imagine that sisters are sent to check up on the offending AS every now and then. (Like what Moiraine was thinking of and you mentioned.)

tempest™
diane heath
98. jadelollipop
Re:Cadsuane --I don't know what to think about her.
IIRC Moraine thought she could be Black Ajah. Verin seems to think Cadsuane is actually wanting to help Rand (she decided not to add potion to her tea)
I don't think she is Black Ajah. Rand thought she was Red because of her experience with gentling men who channel.
I probably overlooked a lot of clues based on the First Oath because AS are known for twisting truth into a "blacksmith puzzle"...
I have not done a lot of mystery solving or deep thinking re: WOT as I get involved in the story itself.
Yes it is doubtful that Masuri is Mesaana but it would be amusing. I can't find the quote about the five AS who are in Rand's hand. Something about they are loyal to you and will keep oath in own way
Is Masuri with that group or one of the ones captured and kept by AS at Dumai's Wells?? No info on 13th depository except name of her warder...fact that she has a warder more against her being Forsaken than other....
Valentin M
99. ValMar
I thought it was an established fact that Cadsuane is not BA.

PS. Indeed, it is notable how many aristocratic old boys without offspring are there. In RL at least they would give it a good go with a few wives before waving the white flag.
OTOH Bryne is one of such oldies.
Douglas Miller
100. douglas
Subbak @ 67

My interpretation of the First Oath restriction is that it prevents any statement where both the literal and intended meanings are known to be false by the speaker. Sarcasm is allowed because the intended meaning is true. Stating blatantly obvious falsehoods is not, even though the listener obviously knows the truth, because there is no intended irony to alter the statement's meaning.
Hugh Arai
102. HArai
Subbak@67,96: It's clear the Oaths operate based on the current knowledge,beliefs,and intentions of the Aes Sedai. In Pura's case, the command was probably something like "tell me you believe this scarf is white". There's no way around that one. If the command was "tell me something silly" she might have managed it. "The sun rises in the west,the Tower is made of cheese and that scarf is white".
Tricia Irish
103. Tektonica
Thought I'd lighten things up a bit, since Sub is MIA......

From the Atari synopsis of A Crown of Swords:

Alviarin: I use my intelligence to do evil.
Elaida: I use my stupidity to do evil. We’re a team!


From the Atari synopsis of Path of Daggers:

Lady Riatin: We are pillow friends.
Random Windfinder: Yes, we are. Lady Riatin: Any idea what "pillow friends" are, or what plot function we serve?
Random Windfinder: No.
Lady Riatin: Then it’s best we hide in this room.


www.ataricommunity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=386600

And a Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there!
Andrew Belmont
104. rosetintdworld
Tektonica@103: I had completely forgotten about that gem with "Random Windfinder." LOL! I re-read those every few months and they always seem fresh. Thanks for lightening things up.
Hugh Arai
105. HArai
ValMar@99: I think that currently evidence is strong that Cadsuane is not BA, but it hasn't reached the status of a proven fact.

Regarding Bryne: He was in love with Morgase and not willing to settle. Also a situation that happened in RL.

rosetintedworld@86:

What I wonder about is why, when Jordan has explicitly and repeatedly declared in interviews that male homosexuality is not frowned upon in his world, within the text this is only once reflected. And only then in a passing thought about an ambiguous group of clerks who "may not like women in that way." (Even the wording is ambiguous!)


Let me try one more time then. In these interviews, did anyone ask him if he intended to use his story to show the societal effects of the total acceptance of homosexuality, the way he clearly intended to show the effects of various combinations of male/female equality? Did RJ ever make the claim that his text explicitly shows acceptance of male homosexuality? If he did, then I agree he did it poorly. If not, then I submit the idea that he wrote his text without considering the issue one way or another and then gave his interview answers after the fact going by how the world was in his head, not in the text.
Andrew Belmont
106. rosetintdworld
Also Ellid@93, I was going to write up an analysis of your post, but then I realized I was just excerpting huge chunks of it and writing. "This." "This." Heh. I am in complete agreement.

And thanks for reminding me that the plot of Wheel of Time demands one scene of communal female nudity per book, with some often eyebrowing raising descriptions--"'I have given suck,' Amys said, cupping round breasts that looked as if she had done nothing of the kind." (Really?!)--but men, nah. It was particularly telling to me that Mo and Avi need to strip to go to Rhuidean, but Rand and Perrin just need to put away their knives (snicker), or that WO business always takes place in a sweat tent, but clan chief business never, ever, ever does. I think RJ actually had a stock joke for the road tours where he quipped that the last thing he'd ever inflict on the readership was male nudity. Heh.

I kind of find that funny, personally, but it is an example of where personal prejudices can lead an author to not always follow through with the worldbuilding choices he's made.
Valentin M
107. ValMar
HArai@105

Probably it hasn't been established as a fact that Cads isn't BA, but to say that there is "strong evidence" against her being BA is a big understatement, IMHO.

As for Bryne, yes he definitely isn't gay. We know his history and why things are the way they are with him.
Some of the other old boys, childless and unattached, may be so because they never had enough interest in women in order to do their duty and continue their line.
I believe that this was the point that was made, by Isilel I think. I think that it has merit.
diane heath
108. jadelollipop
It seems that the ? of male homosexuality missing is based on there only being one mention in passing (the clerks who left the Tower in New Spring). Someone (don't recall who) mentioned a request for Elayne smiling at some guy and when he did not respond thinking he must be... well in COT a similar thought occurs to Faile. She is at Malden and Nadric picks her up to carry her into an alley "for an hour or two". Rolan rescues her. She is nervous but not really afraid of Rolan because when he took her gaishan he "could have been looking at a fence post then. PERHAPS HE DID NOT LIKE WOMEN IN THAT WAY"
Now I don't recall Rolan being gay but the idea that he could be did occur to Faile.

edit to add that the comment re: Elayne was @86
Lsana
109. Jonathan Levy
misfortuona@92
There is no longer a debate. We know who killed him.
ME!


Wait - YOU'RE Bela???


Also, thanks for the moral support :)
Lsana
110. Jonathan Levy
Ellid@94

Here's a even better example - what if showed us only women who are lame and/or crippled and inserted them into the story where it was a tad gratuitous ... but no men who are lame and/or cripple? Would that strike you as slightly comment worthy? What that flag to your attention anything in particular about the author?


A fair question. I will try to give an honest answer.

First, I accept these examples as good analogies (the blind-people analogy which I did not quote was less suitable). So let me see - what would I think if someone pointed out, say, that all 4 stutterers in WoT were women? Or that all 3 blacksmiths were left-handed, but nobody else? I think I would find that to be precisely "slightly comment worthy", as you phrased it.

If someone brought it up, I would think "Hm, that's interesting".

If it sparked an exchange 3-4 posts long, I might read it idly, and not think it out of place.

If it sparked a 20-post discussion, each post covering 4 pages, I would speculate that some people were allowing their Devotion to a particular Cause to overly affect the way they were interpreting the books.

If the same debate was sparked EACH AND EVERY TIME stuttering was mentioned, even if it had NO relevance to the plot, I would be utterly dismayed.

I might even recall a particular quote of Winston Churchill's: "A Fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". Now most people here seem to me to be quite reasonable and entirely able to change their minds when it is warranted. Nobody here is a fanatic. But why must we always return to the same subject?


(This post is post #2 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read. Join our cause! Post this footer at the end of your comment!)
Tricia Irish
111. Tektonica
Does anyone know if there are anymore entries at the Atari site past Crossroads of Twilight? I can't find any, but I'm not the most patient or experienced net surfer. They sure are funny! I may be forced to quote them on the endless slog through the Plot of Doom and the Long March to the Throne, sigh.


Jonathan: A worthy cause. Not that these subjects shouldn't be brought up, nothing here is verboten, but one discussion is plenty.

(This post is post #2 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read. Join our cause! Post this footer at the end of your comment!)
Andrew Belmont
112. rosetintdworld
jade@108: *smacks forehead* I stand very corrected. In fact, now I'm wondering if my hypothetical re: Elayne was inspired by some vague, vague memory of the Faile moment. Heh. I just re-read that, actually, and it made me chuckle.

So--I don't think it changes my larger structural qualms about worldbuilding, or my general angle those angry lesbians may me pretty uncomfortable and have turned more than one friend of mine right off the series. But it is a second mention, and exactly the sort of "general possibility" that I was looking for.

I'm getting the sense from people who have been around much longer than me that there are some larger theories we're not going to come to an agreement on, though, and not knowing the sorts of conversations that have gone on before me, I'm happy to end this one here.

(Not that I would encourage Leigh to do the same. There are several chapters coming up in KoD that I'm sure she'll LOVE with regards to lesbianism, and I eagerly await what her wit has to add to those plots.)

Tektonica@111: IIRC, there's a New Spring. No KOD though. Isam may have been part of what Terez calls the Second Great Exodus, for all I know. I would be thrilled to be corrected, though.
Captain Hammer
113. Randalator
Jonathan Levy @110

Nobody here is a fanatic.

I am. *casting evil looks of evil*
Hugh Arai
114. HArai
Jonathan Levy @110

Nobody here is a fanatic.

I would not say such things if I were you. Bela is not as forgiving as I am...
Thomas Keith
115. insectoid
HArai @114:
Bela is not as forgiving as I am...
Return of the Jedi FTW! ;)

Bzzz™.
Lsana
117. Jonathan Levy
Reuben: Hello everyone, and welcome to the show. Tonight we will be interviewing a special guest, Professor Simon Worcester about his upcoming book.

Levy: Professor Simon is the author of the 654-page bestseller "Farriers and Blacksmiths, no Barbers - Oh My!", an incisive analysis on the lack of Barbers in WoT, which shocked the world in proving that the root cause was Robert Jordan's being bald and having a beard.

Reuben: In one picture on google images.

Levy: Yes.

Reuben: Professor Simon, welcome to the show.

Simon: Thank you very much. I would just like to point out that that image is one of the top 9 returned in a standard google images search for 'Robert Jordan'.

Reuben: Yes, of course. So, Professor, could you give us a sneak preview of your latest book?

Simon: Certainly, Reuben. The title of my book is "Onanism in WoT: A Loveless relationship", and it is an in-depth investigation of one of the most underdiscussed subjects in the Wheel of Time.

Levy: A fascinating subject.

Simon: In fact, the WoT FAQ does not even contain an entry on this topic.

Reuben: Remarkable.

Levy: What aspect of the topic do you feel has been insufficiently investigated in the past?

Simon: Well, the most glaring aspect was the shocking deviation of the frequency of acts of Onanism in WoT, as opposed to the frequency in the real world.

Reuben: And what was that frequency? Or would that be giving away too much?

Simon: No, No, on the contrary, the statistic is on the inside flap of the book, and I'll tell it to you right here. It's Zero.

Reuben: Zero?

Levy: Zero?

Simon: Zero. Over 12 books, tens of thousands of pages, thousands of characters, hundreds of PoVs, there is not one single depiction of an act of Onanism...

Reuben: Shocking!

Levy: Shocking!

Simon: ... nor even a recollection of a past act, or thoughts of a future one.

Reuben: The implications are staggering. Are you suggesting that this is an expression of the author's Anti-Onanism-ism?

Levy: Now hold on Reuben, you're jumping to conclusions again. I want to ask about the statistical validity of such an analysis. How can this value, averaged over many different fictional cultures, be compared with the expected value from our society? It's Apples and Oranges.

Reuben: But the number is Zero. Surely -

Simon: No No, it's quite all right. The methodological difficulties are very real. In order to overcome these, I focused my research on the three main characters -

Levy: Rand, Mat, and Perrin

Simon: - yes, yes - who are, as you know male teenaged boys, inexperienced sexually, and they were surveyed from the start of the series until each of them, uh, um,

Reuben: Gets laid.

Simon: Yes, uh, gets laid. Now the Onanism rates of male teenaged virgins is well established in sociological studies, so I was able to calculate the precise number of acts of Onanism which we should have been portrayed.

Levy: Fascinating!

Reuben: Yes, absolutely fascinating.

Levy: What was the expected number?

Simon: 1,753.

Reuben: ...

Levy: Wow.

Reuben: Wow indeed.

Levy: So you're saying that 1,753 times the author deliberately chose to expunge the description of a perfectly natural act from his work.

Simon: Uh, that is one explanation, yes.

Reuben: This is a shocking insight into the mind of one of the most successful authors of our times.

Levy: Shocking.

Simon: Shocking.

Reuben: I mean, I'm not an Onanist myself...

Levy: Of course not.

Simon: Of course not.

Reuben: ... not that there's anything wrong with that...

Levy: Of course not.

Simon: Of course not.

Reuben: ... but if I was, I think it would be incredibly painful for me to read the work. I mean, the lack of Onanism must be glaring to an Onanist.

Simon: Glaring!

Levy: Glaring.

Reuben: How could Robert Jordan choose to deliberately marginalize such a large part of his readership?

Levy: Yes, indeed?

Simon: Well, it's a difficult question. In some cases the plot is cleverly contrived to avoid the possibility of Onanism - for example in tEotW, from the moment after Rand meets Egwene with her hair in braids, he is always in the company of other men, thus precluding the possibility of wandering off into the woods for a quick wank.

Reuben: How very subtle.

Levy: Jordan was the master of subtlety.

Simon: But in other occasions, no attempt at all is made to smooth over the glaring absence of Onanism, for example, when the Tinker girls dance in front of Perrin every night. That sequence was enough for at least a dozen instances of Onanism.

Reuben: I'll never read that passage in the same way again.

Levy: Quite.

Reuben: So your conclusion in your book is that Robert Jordan is, in fact, a closet Anti-Onanist?

Simon: That is, in fact, precisely NOT my conclusion.

Levy: But it's inescapable - isn't it?

Simon: That theory is based on the assumption that the acts of Onanism did in fact occur, but that they were deliberately suppressed by the author. But in my book I have proved that the acts did NOT, in fact, occur.

Reuben: Remarkable.

Levy: But all that teenage testosterone had to go somewhere, didn't it?

Simon: Well you see, we must remember that our three ta'veren live in a rural environment, and one of the features of a rural environment is the abundance of livestock of various types, such as sheep, cows, etc...

Reuben: I'm not sure I like where this is going.

Levy: Neither do I.

Simon: ...now sheep in general are not only exactly the right height, but they are also very passive creatures, and used to humans in general. Also, it is explicitly recorded that one of the boys...

Reuben: I think he's actually going to say it.

Levy: Oh God, he's going to say it.

Simon: Rand, I believe, was often left - alone - in charge of a herd of sheep, and the other two boys, being such good friends of his...

Levy: He's going to say it.

Reuben: He's going to say it!

Simon: ...would certainly not have been debarred from access to the livestock. Therefore, the inescapable conclusion...

Reuben: Don't say it!

Levy: Don't say it!

Simon: ...is that the utter lack of Onanism in WoT is because...

Reuben: DON'T SAY IT!

Levy: DON'T SAY IT!

Simon: ...uh, the boys were constantly using sheep to, uh...

Reuben: DON'T SAY IT!!!

Levy: DON'T SAY IT!!!

Simon: ...relieve their, um, urges.

Reuben: ...

Levy: He said it.

Simon: You? No - ! (dies)

(pause)

Reuben: We'd like to thank you all for joining us on our show today...

Levy: (...how did Bela get in here?)

Reuben: ...please tune in next week for another fascinating interview...

Levy: (...and what happened to the body??)

Reuben: ... this time, with Dr. Joshua Brimstone, on his latest thesis...

Levy: (...and why was she wearing pink ribbons???)

Reuben: ... "Dominatrixophobia, and the lack of female-on-male spanking in WoT".



(This post is post #4 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read. Join our cause! Post this footer at the end of your comment!)
Alice Arneson
118. Wetlandernw
First, a couple of thoughts about past chapters that I was unable to post at the time, followed by some very tedious responses to other posts herein...

Okay, please tell me someone has already noticed and commented on the fact that Gareth Bryne, commander of the rebel army, rides a horse named Traveller. Admittedly a "big-nosed bay" rather than iron-grey with black points, but still. Hah!!

Unrelated, I noticed in Chapter 22 that as the assigned eight Dedicated make gateways, Rand notices one in particular: "One of them looked familiar, a grizzled fellow whose pointed Tairen beard appeared odd on his wrinkled countryman's face." Anyone know who this is? Someone with a "generic face"? Someone with a resemblance to a person he knows? Someone he vaguely recognizes from LTT's memories? Someone who is related to a friend from back home? Someone he knew slightly from back home who came to the Black Tower and decided to grow a Tairen-style beard? Off the top of my head, I don't recall this guy showing up again. Anyone else?

Now the tedium:

MarciaJ @77 - “Ouch! Nice way to marginalize and dismiss a whole segment of the readership. (Incidentally, Marcia, you forgot to close your quotes.) Frankly, my reaction to this is, "Yeah, so?" For some reason, popular opinion in recent years leans heavily toward the idea that every author ought to include homosexuality in their writing, specifically male homosexuality. There's also been a strong tendency to assume that anyone writing for adults ought to include sex scenes, preferably explicit. That attitude seriously "marginalizes and dismisses a whole segment of the readership" who would prefer not to have to read some stranger's sex fantasies, thankyouverymuch. There are many readers who prefer not to have their fantasy books filled with either explicit sex scenes or overt homosexuality, but nobody seems to mind "marginalizing and dismissing" them, because they are obviously too old-fashioned and prudish to be worth considering.

There are several authors who I personally no longer bother to read for those very reasons - Lackey and McIntyre among them, along with choosing not to even get started with George R. R. Martin. I have been in the awkward situation of having young-teen nieces and nephews who really enjoy a good fantasy for all the right reasons - storytelling, language craftsmanship, plot, characters, etc. - to whom I could not in good conscience recommend certain books because of the level of gratuitous sex. The same still stands true with many of my friends, some of whom won't even read WoT because of the sexual content. (And no, they aren't "from that generation" - they just have even higher standards than I, in certain areas, regarding what they'll put into their minds.) In some cases, the sex scenes or the overt homosexuality are there because the author wants to make a statement on the subject and so made it an integral part of the story; okay, that's their privilege, and I can refrain from reading it if I want. (IMO, Lackey and McIntyre fall into that category, the latter even more than the former - or maybe she's just clumsier or more obvious about it.) The ones that really irritate me are the ones that take a reasonably good story, and even reasonably good storytelling, and paste irrelevant sex scenes or gay characters onto it for the (apparently) sole purpose of proving that they can write "adult" books. Those are the ones I truly want to throw across the room in disgust. Those are the ones I discard (or return to the library) without finishing.

So, yeah, I don't mind that RJ didn't make a bigger deal of pointing out homosexuality in his world. I don't mind that he always "cut to the fireplace" in his sex scenes. I find it rather refreshing that he could be perfectly frank about people enjoying their sex life without the need to fill in the details. And I find it really silly that people can get so worked up about him not making a bigger deal out of their pet real-life issue. He treated it as much as he wanted or felt necessary. If a particular reader doesn't feel that their personal issues are adequately addressed, well, I don't really care. It's a good story, well told, with well-developed plots and characters, and written with great skill. Why complain about the perceived lack of this particular aspect, when there are many other real-life issues he also didn't deal with overtly? It wasn't his big agenda, so... so what?

HArai @85 - Well said!! Also @105. Yup.

Alisonwonderalnd @70 - Thanks! But of course, when someone else argues with me, I have to say more. :)

rosetintdworld @86 - The lesbians are all Forsaken or Black Ajah--and particularly heinous ones to boot. Huh? Where did you get that idea? Yeah, some of them are Black Ajah, though I hadn't noticed that any of the Forsaken are homosexual. Bi, maybe. In any case, lesbian relationships are referenced several times without either partner being Forsaken, Black or heinous.

Jonathan Levy @88 - Yeah, I should drop it, but there are a few statements that I just can't NOT respond to... And LOL!!!! Love your analogy!!! (Sorry about all the exclamation points - it totally cracked me up!!) And @117 - Ouch! My sides hurt.

@several - So "old-fashioned sensibilities" are a major failing in a writer? (Even the wording of that has an insulting ring these days - any ideal you don't like from anywhere in the past several centuries can be termed "old-fashioned" and therefore, by implication, completely irrelevant to today. Bah! But that's a whole 'nother rant.) Having moral values which are reflected in his writing is a fault? Just the other day, people were making charges of hypocrisy against people who were acting in accordance with their beliefs instead of ours, so... I guess this is at least consistent? If an author actually believes that there's a certain value to virginity, meaning to marriage, validity in chivalry, absolute good and absolute evil, he's called "wrong" to write things from his own perspective instead of what's politically correct. Would it not be hypocrisy to disown his values in his writing? Why is it wrong to write your "heroic" characters with some form of your own values? Why is does it lessen an author to leave out things he's not particularly comfortable or familiar with? Sure, he could have spent a few paragraphs talking about Moiraine's gay uncles instead of Elayne's dresses or the Ogier buildings in Tar Valon. He didn't. Maybe he had more fun writing descriptions of architecture and clothing than gay men. So? Yeah, my mileage varies.

Perhaps he'd have been better off ignoring the readers who complained about the lack of homosexuality, and the changing definitions of political correctness. Then that "segment of the readership" could complain about the lack of any of it, instead of complaining that it's unbalanced. Whatever.
Lsana
119. Jonathan Levy
Wetlandernw@118

Perhaps he'd have been better off ignoring the readers who complained about the lack of homosexuality, and the changing definitions of political correctness.

If wishes were horses...


(This post is post #5 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read. Join our cause! Post this footer at the end of your comment!)
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
JL @117: ::blinks:: Oh man, that is all kinds of wrong... LOL! ;D

Bzzz™.
Maiane Bakroeva
121. Isilel
Wetlandernw @118:

Isn't that Tairen fellow Kisman - one of the Dark Ashaman who will be soon trying to ice Rand?

If an author actually believes that there's a certain value to virginity

Well, you wouldn't know that he did looking at characters like Mat, Lan or Thom. Or even Rand, who'd like to be chaste, but is forced to have a harem by fate (dun-dun!).
Or do you mean that RJ believed that there was value in double morals?

Moreover, most of WoT societies just don't prize it in any way as neither religion nor practical considerations (they have infallible contraception) make it something to aspire to. Nor is there any reason to apply different standards to men and women.
In this situation, yea it is hypocritical to have all these virgins in prominent roles and without exception "rewarding" the main guys with the same. IMHO, YMMV.
Theresa Gray
122. Terez27
@wetlandernw - It has nothing to do with any moral values on RJ's part. As was mentioned, it's only important for the women to be virgins, apparently. RJ went out of his way to emphasize that each of the women paired with the three boys is a virgin. So, Rand and Perrin were too, but not Mat. It's implied that the women wouldn't have been good enough otherwise, but there's no such stigma attached to the men. As for the angry lesbians...the only true lesbians that we know of are Elaida and Galina (at least, so far as I can recall); all of the ones are at all likable are bisexual, which reinforces the stereotype of the man-hating lesbian in the real world.

Either way you cut it, RJ treated the issue with a great deal of chauvinism. And no one is insisting that he should have included homosexuality in his books. He chose to include it all on his own, and he gave the impression on his blog that he intended to portray homosexuality as being normal in his world, but he didn't do a very good job of portraying that. Instead, he portrayed the typical male fantasy of rampant lesbianism among women (not to mention rampant nudity). WoT is far from innocent when it comes to sex.
Lsana
123. Megaduck
Terez27 @122
"RJ went out of his way to emphasize that each of the women paired with the three boys is a virgin. "

What about Min? She is portrayed several times as being experienced with sex.

I will also point out that all three boys are emphasized as Virgins as well.
Tricia Irish
124. Tektonica
JonathanLevy@117:

ROFLOL. Absolultely hysterical! Well done. Nice way to start Monday with coffee coming out of my nose. It should at least quell the *twitching* until tomorrow.
Thanks!
Lsana
125. Lasty
@Jonathan Levy

Your analogies are bad, and you should feel bad.

@everyone else

The argument is not and never has been that RJ/any other author must include homosexuality and is a bad person if they don't, but that a lot of people think it's odd/annoying to include homosexuality but only in regard to one gender. Especially in a work like WoT where there is so much depth to the world building.

That there are no gay men in WoT certainly doesn't hinder my enjoyment of the series, but that doesn't mean that I haven't noticed it and found it worth commenting on.

@Megaduck

"What about Min? She is portrayed several times as being experienced with sex."

Min tells Rand that he's the only man she's slept with.
Rob Munnelly
126. RobMRobM
@123 - Min has a PoV where she said she had opportunties but did not exercise them prior to Rand. R
Lsana
127. commenter
When reading the discussion about homosexuality in WoT I would like to make a few points:

- Most arguments are based on a premise that I find objectionable. The premise is that homosexuality as we know it today exists in WoT. In a fantasy world it is not a given that human psykology/sexuality would work in the same way as in the real world. The mind-trick to avoid sweating, wolf-brotherhoodness, crime-sniffing or channeling are just a few examples of psykological effects that we don't see in real life.

- Whether you believe in a religion or in evolution or in both, sexuality comes with a purpose: make babies and create a stable loving setting for the babies to grow up in. Homosexual actions would in this context be an anomaly that can be explained with genetics, psykology or by the social setting. I still think there is some doubts about the genetic explanation. Myny psykologists attribute this anomaly to childhood experiences. There are also societies (e.g. the ancient greek) that encourages homosexual actions.

- A way to explain the absence of homosexuality in most places in WoT would be if there exists an underlying psykological order of sexual preference for everybody: 1. Go for opposite sex. 2. If opposite sex not available (due to social or other circumstances) stay away from sex. 3. If a significant gain could be won by having a homosexual relationship (reduced stress or increased friendship) then go for it.

- If this premise would be part of Robert Jordans world building it must not neccessarily be spelled out by any of the characters. But it probably should have been since it causes confusion.

- I think Robert Jordan screwed up when he started introducing homosexuality in his books. Since he had gone so long without it he might as well have skipped it altogether and told us that it doesn't exist in his world.
James Hogan
128. Sonofthunder
Wetlandernw@118,

Firstly, that was quite a long post. Well done. Secondly, thanks for saying(in far more eloquent words than I could) my thoughts on the current issues under discussion. I'm quite discriminatory in the books I read(due to personal convictions) and I am quite pleased when I find a series I can read and enjoy as much as I have enjoyed WoT, in part because good series are so hard to find. I can by no means speak for everyone, but as for me, I'm quite glad that RJ only teases the edges of the explicit rather than dipping full in. Again Wetlander, thanks for saying all that so I didn't have to. ;)

EDIT due to grammar fail.
Rob Munnelly
129. RobMRobM
Wet @118.

Not sure the point you are making re Traveller. Assume it's commentary that Traveller is the same name as the horse of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's, or are you saying something else? Not sure it's been commented on here on the re-read but I'm aware of it through other sources.

Re George RR - again, find the Dunk and Egg novellas in Silverberg's Legends I and II collections and in Dozois/Martin's Warriors collection. All the good George RR with minimal sex and excess. Then you can have something to refer to the YAs in your family. I did - I read the Hedge Knight out loud to my 10 year old daughter and she loved it. Dunk in particular shares many of your "old fashioned" values and, knowing you through your writing over the past year-plus, you'd find the character a delight. Egg is a treat as well for many of the same reasons.

Re homosexuality in WoT. Have to agree with the others. I'm fine with the fade to black level of sexuality in WoT and will be counting on it when my daughter starts reading the series this summer. I'm also fine with him incorporating same sex relationships in the story - I'm a tolerant guy when the story is good, what can I say? But to have numerous instances of lesbianism and no described instances of male homosexuality is odd and offputting. It's like the good samaritan doctrine in tort law: you're not obliged to help an injured person but if you decide to dive in you are held to a standard of care. RJ didn't have to dive in but he did - he just didn't do a good job with it IMO.

Rob
Lsana
130. Jonathan Levy
insectoid@120
Tektonica@124

Thank you, thank you. I just meant it as a humble example of the scintillating insights we might be missing by endlessly expounding on the homosexual-imbalance debate instead of expanding our horizons to other, less represented -isms.

Lasty@125

Sorry officer, no I swear those analogies aren't mine, I have no idea how they got into my car, I just borrowed them from someone I met today - Ellid@94 - you can scroll up and check for yourself, I had no idea it was illegal to possess them for personal use please don't book me for a thought-crime.


(This post is post #6 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read. Join our cause! Post this footer at the end of your comment!)
Bridget Sullivan
131. Ellid
Wetlanderw@18

"@several - So "old-fashioned sensibilities" are a major failing in a writer? (Even the wording of that has an insulting ring these days - any ideal you don't like from anywhere in the past several centuries can be termed "old-fashioned" and therefore, by implication, completely irrelevant to today. Bah! But that's a whole 'nother rant.) Having moral values which are reflected in his writing is a fault?"

Wow, I do enjoy a good straw man early in the morning.

No one said that it is a major failing as a writer. That's a weak, artificially extended version of several comments here, purposefully made so weak for the purposes of addressing rhetorically.

It is a an odd habit, though. A fillip on the part of Mr. Jordan if you will. It might even be a weakness in his over all story construction (depending on your view), but a *major* failing? I can't see anyone saying that?


But, but... but the whole bit about having *moral values*? Here you have gone completely off the rails.

What *moral values* are reflected in including lesbianism, both situational and behavioral, and lots of episodes with all female sado-masochism, but (largely) ignoring male homosexuality? What moral values are inculpated in having Mat engage in numerous acts of pre-marital sex, but making sure that all of Rand's three partners are virgo intacto (even when it makes no sense characterwise?) What moral values are represented when Rand sequentially deflowers three young women, outside the bounds of marriage, and that's just fine since - suppose it was Elayne who slept with each of the three ta'veren? Would that be so palatable? What if Egwene gve it up to both Galad and Gawyn? Can you picture RJ ever writing that!?!?

Old timey sensibilities does not equate "moral values." It can also (and does, somewhat, in this saga) indicate sexism and chauvinism.
Tess Laird
132. thewindrose
Jonathan Levy@117-
I had to read this one on my phone away from my coworkers - LOL!!

tempest™
Ron Garrison
133. Man-0-Manetheran
Jonathan Levy@117: Hilarious, and just like real TV. Though I must protest that you left out any reference to most news anchor's favorite adjective: "chilling." Was this intentional? Do you have an anti-chilling bias? Entertainment Tonight wants to know!

Wetlandernw@118: "a grizzled fellow whose pointed Tairen beard appeared odd" - Could it be.......Demandred? DUN!
Tricia Irish
134. Tektonica
I'm doing my own reread and am in The Fires of Heaven, Ch. 44, The Lesser Sadness. I discovered one little sentence I'd obviously passed right by in previous rereads, which I though was pretty nifty, although more relevant to the previous chapter' discussions of the Rand/LTT personality debate. (Anything to change the topic here!)

This chapter is right after the battle for Cairhein where Rand so exhausts himself that he slips into being LTT. (That in itself is telling!) The next day he awakens and is thinking to himself that he knows things, and the real names of the Forsaken, which no one has ever told him. Then:

Perhaps there was no real reason to hide what was going on inside his head-maybe it was only an attempt to deny reality to himself.

I took this to be a brief realization that he had lived before as another person, that he was both Rand al'Thor and LTT. For a few moments the night before and here in the tent in the morning, there was no separation. The wall, the construct was down.
Lsana
135. Looking Glass
Wow, Toveine’s attack on the tower was really botched. While it is pretty funny that the underestimated Asha’man numbers by orders of magnitude, I think it’s more important just how badly the sisters were ambushed. Logain and his team knew they were coming and disabled all the sisters before they knew he was there. At that point, it’s not even really important that all the men could channel; the same number of men with crossbows could've stopped the sisters just as effectively, albeit with more mess.

This sort of thing is why we have warders, people.
--

blindillusion@16: Even if the re-swearing is shortening their lives, they don’t really have any way of knowing it; unlike the Supergirls, they don’t know other channelers to contrast their lifespans against. And at least some of the BA hunters unswore the first set before re-swearing, so they’ve still only got three.
--

Isilel@57: Actually, there was a pretty reasonable case for raising Elaida, if you accept the premise that Siuan needed to be deposed. She’d been an (apparently effective) advisor to a major monarch, and was known and respected inside and outside the tower. She was a Red, in a period with an increasing number of false Dragons, and the Amyrlin secretly backing a man who could channel. She was the only one who’d been perceptive enough to notice Siuan’s mini-conspiracy (Elaida! Perceptive?!), and she had effectively worked across Ajah boundaries to oppose it*. Objectively, she looked like a pretty good choice at the time.



Obviously, she went rather off the rails later. We don’t know how much was Fain, how much was a natural megalomania, how much was having the most stressful job in the world (or second, after Rand), etc; she did turn out to be grossly incompetent. But I can see how she might’ve looked like a decent choice beforehand.
-

An effective one-dimensional villain is still better than an ineffective one-dimensional villain. This message is particularly, though not exclusively, addressed to any spare Forsaken in the audience.
--

Isilel@89, Ellid@93: I think the virginity thing is more an indicator of growing up/coming of age for the primary cast, male and female alike. Mat possibly nonwithstanding, but even in his case we only see him having sex after his, er, upgrade at Rhuidean, no? Rand and Perrin are both virgins before their encounters with True Love.

…no, I’m not counting Lan or Thom as part of the primary cast. Besides, they’re part of the previous, already grown-up generation. Like, say, Morgase, who was also just fine with having lovers, until one turned up super-evil.
--

WetlanderNW@118: The Tairen is presumably this guy, whom we’ve seen in passing before and will see again. RJ with the details for the win.
--

(This post would’ve been post #7 in the Great Moral Crusade to combat Ableism in the WoT re-read, but I decided to wait and see how our mainest of main characters, er, handles it.)
Lsana
136. Jonathan Levy
thewindrose@132

Glad you enjoyed it :)

Man-0-Manetheran@133

You seem to have used the word 'chilling' twice in your post without a similar use of the word 'heating'. In the real world, they are used with the same frequency (std deviation of 2.5%). This stunning evidence of bias will now be discussed for the next 10 years.
Birgit
137. birgit
Is Masuri with that group or one of the ones captured and kept by AS at Dumai's Wells??

She is one of the Salidar embassy that swears fealty at Dumai's Wells.
http://encyclopaedia-wot.org/characters/m/masuri.html
Heidi Byrd
138. sweetlilflower
Are we spending so much time discussing the occurance of homosexuality b/c of the other post on tor.com? The one titled, "Queering SFF"? Perhaps if people feel so strongly about this issue they should go visit that blog? It is quite an interesting read.
Personally, I don't care what someone's sexual orientation is. It really makes absolutely no difference to me whom anyone wants to cuddle. It is not, or at least should not be, the defining characteristic of ANYONE, fictional or real. Perhaps RJ felt the same way and so he just didn't make it that explicit?
Tess Laird
139. thewindrose
OK, I did want to see what others thought of who was in Elaida's study when Alviarin shows up. The Black Ajah list as found at the Thirteenth Depository.

So we have Velina(white), Duhara(red), and Sedore(yellow) who are all on Verin's list! And Shevan wears a dress of dark golden silk.(Close to the color of bronze?)

tempest™
Marcus W
140. toryx
Tektonica @ 134:

That chapter is the reason I initially came to believe that LTT was a construct, lo those many many years ago.
Noneo Yourbusiness
141. Longtimefan
Something different and just an observation on the two chapters.

I remember reading "An Unwelcome Return" and realizing that Elaida was unpleasant but one of her failings were not causing the animosity in the tower but taking advantage of it. Mesaana via Alviarin is issuing orders to be signed or not by Elaida. In the chapter Alviarin notes that the rides with the proclimation had been sent before she had Elaida sign anything.

How many other "decrees" had Elaida sent out that would cause tension amongst sisters in the tower that she would not have if not for Alviarin forcing or forging the signature.

Elaida may have been a tyrranical Amyriln on her own but the Sitters and the Ajahs would have been more effective at negotiating with her and mitigating her plans from disasterous to merely bad.

Elaida did not want to set the sisters against eachother. When they were against eachother she was foolish enough to try to exploit the problem instead of trying to fix it.

That may have something to do with her decision excise the Blue Ajah and that division in the tower is her fault. Without Forsaken interference that may have been reconciled. All other antagonistic actions such as praising some sisters and searching the rooms of other sisters to plant suspicion and resentment were actions Mesaana planted through Alviarin.

The change in Elida's situation is now her actions as Suffa are directed by someone she knows is controling her instead of someone she thinks is playing a game she might win.

On reading the Extra Bit I was so glad the Black Ajah hunters found their first Black sister that I really thought the pacing in the novels was going to pick up. Well that did not pan out but it was an exciting moment.

I also felt the tension in this scene was very well written. Saerin and Seaine was not the easiest name separation though.
James Hogan
142. Sonofthunder
Tek@134, wow. I totally don't remember that quote at all...and it is indeed quite revealing. I think I need to read those chapters again when I get home.
Lsana
143. alreadymadwithonanism
Jonathan Levy@117
Very incisive. Adds an entirely meaning to Rand acquiring a new horse every few books, not to mention running one into the ground...

Tektonica @134
Indeed it seems as if it is only during times of stress that Rand insists he is not that man. When relaxed or in the heat of battle, everything just seems to flow...
Alice Arneson
144. Wetlandernw
Isilel - Kisman is Tairen, but he's younger than Rand, so the "grizzled" and "wrinkled countryman's face" don't quite fit. Oops - here's what I should have done last night: I just went and looked in the Encyclopaedia WoT, found the list of Asha'man and started through the list. Turns out he's (probably) Donalo Sandomere; he was at the Farm when Rand addressed them there, and at Dumai's Wells. That would be why Rand recognized him, if only vaguely; he shows up several times later, with Logain and then with Rand. Okay, I'm happy. Thanks for starting me with Kisman - I might never have gotten around to thinking about looking at the Encyclopaedia, the way my brain is (not) functioning these days! (Just back from vacation, adjusting to home, housework and... rain. Yup, I'm back in the wetlands. *sigh* Maybe we'll have summer sometime soon... At least we don't have tornadoes here.)

I wasn't necessarily accusing RJ of placing a high value on virginity per se; that particular rant was only loosely about RJ/WoT and more generally about "political correctness" as applied to fiction, though I obviously didn't make that clear. I have to ask, though, (and this is for Many@many): if virginity is such a valueless commodity, why does everyone seem to consider it a "reward" when a man (virginal or not) ends up with a virgin woman? If virginity is so worthless, why aren't you all complaining that the main guys get stuck with sexually inexperienced women, instead of complaining that it's sexist to write women as virgins but not men?

Terez - I'm not going to debate the validity of stereotypes, either in real life or in WoT. (Most stereotypes exist for a reason, however, even if the reason isn't 100% - or even 75% -valid across the board.) This discussion has gotten even more dull than the attempts to "prove" the LTT-is-a-psychotic-construct position, when we all know there is, intentionally, no actual proof. :O WoT is far from innocent when it comes to sex. Who on earth said it was?? Not me - remember, I said I have several friends who won't read it for just that reason. I read it anyway, because I find RJ's portrayals (hetero- or homo-, consensual or non) sufficiently restrained that they don't interfere (much) with my reading.

Sonofthunder @128 - Yeah, it was long. (A bit like this one, in fact.) Probably should have included a Wall-o-Text warning as well as the Tedium warning. In general, though, you can take "Wetlandernw" as a wall-of-text warning. :) Thanks for the confirmation! I know I'm not the only one, but it's nice to hear it. FWIW, I liken it a bit to the concept that while I know my married friends have a great and fulfilling sex life, I have no desire to peek in their windows to watch. (EEEWWWWW, in fact.) Just like I don't want anyone peeking in my windows. I like reading characters who clearly enjoy themselves with one another, without being forced to "peek in their windows" when I read a book.

RobMRobM - Yeah, "the general of the rebel army" riding a horse named Traveller referred to General Lee. I'd never thought about the name of Bryne's horse before, but that's probably because I only recently read some stuff in which Lee's horse figured prominently and it was more in the forefront of my mind. I just didn't recall ever reading any comments about it, here or elsewhere, so thought I'd mention it. The best part was that it started me thinking about a few parallels between Bryne and Lee, which was great fun. Brave and loyal men of great integrity, and fine generals as well. About GRRM - after the discussion here, I tend to think of him primarily in the context of SoIaF, which... you know. I haven't gotten around to checking out his other stuff. I should probably be more specific, shouldn't I? :}

Ellid - Not sure how long you've been on this discussion... This particular thread is quite mild in the debate. We've had some that came very close to flame-war status, in which, yes, people claimed "major fail" against RJ for his portrayal of homosexuality in WoT - for not having enough, for being imbalanced, for writing it all wrong, and several other things. Some also claim that he "blew it" by not being more explicit in his sex scenes, and more on that line. And that's all I'm going to say.

Man-o-Manetheran - You caught my first thought exactly!! After my above-mentioned search, I've concluded he's not Demandred, but when I read it the other day that was what popped into my head. *sigh* It was a great idea, while it lasted... Of course, there's no absolute proof that the guy is Sandomere, but the same description is used for Sandomere later, so Occam says... it's probably him.
Lsana
145. Hrothgordo
Although I think Leigh started a bit of this debate on homosexuality it definitely got out of hand.

For me the reasons for much of this is actually quite related to the story elements. First, because all of the homosexual relationships that we see involve channellers.

Part of the theme is the imbalance between the sexes. A female channeler has no equal with which to partner and in many ways is cloistered in their society. In such an environment the percentage of homosexual relationships would increase well beyond the norm of “true” homosexuals in the population.

There’s a reason why prisons, all boy/girl schools and the Catholic clergy have a reputation is all I’m saying.

As to Galina, I don’t think the point is that she is lesbian, but more that she is an a-hole. It’s kind of like how we talk about pedophiles. The term defines them, the gender of their victims is pretty much irrelevant.

Now we all have known that scumbag guy who got off on targeting the most naive girl at a party simply because he wanted to obliterate that purity. In lesbian groups this often is the one who gets off on “converting” straight girls for a night. Both cases are borederline (or sometimes way over the “border” date-rapists). That’s Galina.

(Thereva’s whole plotline is just karma coming to bite Galina in the butt. And I think partially to show just how much the Shaido are the “Jerry Springer” rejects of the Aiel.)



Now in regards to those who believe Jordan has a misogynistic or even heavy biased male oppression slant . . . I think you are all certifiable.

Barring actual combat situations, Jordan’s world is defined with the balance of power towards women. We have ZERO hereditary kingships where only the male heir can ascend . . . compare that to Andor. You have one place where the ruler is always a king, except he is elected by a council of all women.

And can we come up with any areas similar to Ebou Dar or Far Madding, where the women are subjagated. No.

Oh but what about the Aiel and their polygamy?

Jordan certainly patterned the basic system off of the only valid argument used for the practice in our world. And that is in a population where women dramtically outnumber men the practice is logistically correct for reproduction. Since the majroity of men and only a portion of women are all warriors that population skew is unavoidable.

Personally I think Jordan took that and still was able to push the power into the women’s hands. Not only because of the women proposing, but also because the only enforced polygamy we see is with clan chiefs. Honestly, the implication for them is hey your really good at that spear thing but I think you need a Wise One to handle the political stuff and another woman to run the day to day, else you will just screw it up.
T C
146. Freelancer
I know this is far after the fact, but I've been gone all weekend and this is the one that demanded my attention:
Generally, it is IMHO just another area where RJ's old-fashioned sensibilities shone through.
I absolutely agree with this statement. James Rigney Jr's sensibilities are represented in the story he told. A truer thing cannot be mentioned in this thread. Oh, but it's such a terrible shame, when he should have had the insight, the fortitude, the nerve to rise above those arcane sensibilities and make the story represent some other set of sensibilities. ::eyeroll::

Here's to old-fashioned, and to being who you are, not who everyone wants you to be. I venture that not a one of us would be continuing our interest in the WoT story if he had done it otherwise.


jadelollipop@108

There is a great difference between saying that a man "doesn't like women in that way", and concluding that he therefore must like men in that way. There are people who simply have no romantic inclinations at all.


Tektonica@111

I recall an event, whether presented via facebook or website I cannot say, where a fan acquainted with "Isam" had Brandon sign a printed blowup of a page of 8-bit WoT art, and that Brandon encouraged that he continue the effort. Perhaps the message will get through, and we'll all have something more to enjoy from the pixilated piper of 8-bit WoT.


Ellid@132

Actually, Wetlandernw@188 is responding to Isilel@89, (the same quote I reference at the front of this comment), who was precisely saying that Jordan's "old-fashioned sensibilities" were a failing as a writer on his part. So Wetlandernw's response is by no means a straw man, but a rebuttal.
Marcus W
147. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 144:

I have to ask, though, (and this is for Many@many): if virginity is such a valueless commodity, why does everyone seem to consider it a "reward" when a man (virginal or not) ends up with a virgin woman?

Do people say that still? Maybe it's a regional thing. I haven't met any man in the last 20+ years who appeared to consider it a reward to have sex with a virgin. Sure it happened in High School, but that was just teenage ego stroking. By the early twenties, most people I knew considered that a bad thing.

If virginity is so worthless, why aren't you all complaining that the main guys get stuck with sexually inexperienced women, instead of complaining that it's sexist to write women as virgins but not men?

Now that you mention it...
Lsana
148. Jonathan Levy
alreadymadwithonanism@143

I hadn't thought of that! It also fits well with Rand being taller than everyone else in the Two Rivers...
Lsana
149. Jonathan Levy
Freelancer@146

Oh, but it's such a terrible shame, when he should have had the insight, the fortitude, the nerve to rise above those arcane sensibilities and make the story represent some other set of sensibilities. ::eyeroll::

Here's to old-fashioned, and to being who you are, not who everyone wants you to be. I venture that not a one of us would be continuing our interest in the WoT story if he had done it otherwise.


Hear Hear!
Julian Augustus
150. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander @ 118:
I'll go one step further, with respect to your statement:
For some reason, popular opinion in recent years leans heavily toward the idea that every author ought to include homosexuality in their writing, specifically male homosexuality.

In my view, it is not so much popular opinion as a minority opinion expressed loudly and often to promote an agenda.
Marcus W
151. toryx
Alisonwonderland @ 150:

In my view, it is not so much popular opinion as a minority opinion expressed loudly and often to promote an agenda.

An agenda? Oh yeah, that desire that some people have to read books or watch movies that contain characters they can relate to.

As a white, heterosexual male I can't begin to understand what the big deal is.
Ron Garrison
152. Man-0-Manetheran
Jonathan Levy@148: "stunts your growth" reference FTW!

OK, I'll admit my anti-heating bias. Can we just not discuss it?
Rob Munnelly
153. RobMRobM
Wet - take a look at Linda's 13th dep character name parallel essays to see the paralells between Gareth Brynne and Robert E. Lee - the horse name in common is far from the only connection, as I recall.

Re Dunk and Egg - their activities are in the ASOIF world, but 70-100 years before. Both are discussed as historical figures in the principal series. You need to read the novellas now even if you stay far away from the main series.

On a separate note, HBO just ran the first teaser trailer for A Game of Thrones. Only 15 seconds long, all atmospherics and quick camera cuts, leading to Sean Bean's voice as Ned Stark with the Stark family motto - "Winter is Coming." Can't wait. I started re-reading the series over the weekend.

Rob
Barry T
154. blindillusion
Nothing better than a strong, healthy Sense of Entitlement.

Yay World of Today. =|
Marcus W
155. toryx
RobM @ 153:

Yeah, the teaser trailer was a nice start. It's going to be a real shame when the series start and I don't have HBO. They won't be able to release the DVDs fast enough for me.

I was thinking of re-reading the series myself, but I'm waiting for the next book to be finished. But I'll probably re-read GoT before watching the show.
Rob Munnelly
156. RobMRobM
Wet - surprisingly, not mentioned in 13th Dep - so I had to search and found the following from Leigh's commentary re TFOH 11:

Bryne’s also one of my favorite possible real-world references, because it was one of the ones that I never noticed until another WOT fan pointed it out. From the WOTFAQ:

Gareth Bryne: Goetz Von Berlichingen writes, “ Gareth Bryne’s horse is named Traveler. Robert E. Lee’s favourite horse during the War between the States was Traveler. Bryne is considered the greatest general of the age, Robert E. Lee received similiar accolades. Bryne’s habit of examining the ground over which he is riding is also similiar to one attributed by some contemporary writers to Lee.”

The name of Bryne’s horse is actually mentioned in this chapter as well, which is what reminded me of this entry. In addition to what Goetz mentions, there is an even more obvious parallel between Bryne and Lee, which is of course that they both are in command of a Rebel army. The difference being, of course, that these are Rebels we want to win.
Rob Munnelly
157. RobMRobM
toryx - time to make friends with someone who subscribes to HBO....
Noneo Yourbusiness
158. Longtimefan
I have been thinking on this over the weekend and in reading the posts that followed what I wrote on Friday I would like to clarify my position.

It is complicated and probably clumsy, I will try not to ramble but I probably will.

What is bothering me is not that there are no same sex relationships in the story. What bothers me is the lie.

It is a lie to say that these fictional people in this fictional world have some enlightened stance that people today still have not come to.

It is intended to be a series about the duality of good and evil and the balance of men and women working together. It is simple and heterocentric. There is nothing wrong with being limited if you are honest about it.


Wetlander @ 59 wrote this

"Re: lack of gay men - when an author builds a world, he has to write in every significant thing about it. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for other little tidbits that aren't significant. If gay men aren't particularly important to the story being told, why waste words writing about them just so some segment of the readers can feel better about his world being "realistic" in that regard? Make whatever reality-based assumptions you need for your enjoyment and move on.

Robert Jordan didn't feel it necessary to the story he was telling."

While I am not a reality based assumption and while it is delightfully offensive to be lumped in to a catagory that is just a little tidbit that is not significant, there is a valid if limited point. Non male/female relationships are not only unnecessary to the story he was telling they are antithetical to the key point that men and women must work together.

This heterocentric "truth" is the backbone of why this story was written.

To then say that the fictional world and its people have no issues with same sex relationships is a "lie".

Jordan wrote as an old testament god whose hand directs every action and holds every heart. He weaves the pattern and Jordan weaves as Jordan wills.

This does not make him a bad person or a bad writer. I am not saying that and I will not say that.

The problem is that the point was not held for what ever reason. Maybe a fear of being labeld as "unrealistic" or "homophobic" or whatever poor assesment or judgement against his writing skill or character some random person in this modern world would have leveled against him that while it may be untrue would color opinions later expressed about the work or the author. Much like the comments on the board in both directions.

So he took the "nice" road and said that sure there were people in same sex relationships and they just have not occured in the story and no one makes a big deal out of it. It just happens.

Except that it does not. It cannot. It is not possible in a world where men and women depending on each other and working together is essential for "good" to triumph over "evil".

It would have been more honest to just say that there are no homosexual people in the world of WOT.

This would have seemed a touch "unrealistic" to some and "perfect" to others but even people who do not want same sex relationships to exist know that they are part of this current Earth and some of its peoples social behaviors.

But what does that matter to a "fantasy" world where people have access to magical forces and strange creatures live and peaches are poison.

Well, it matters a bit because this "fantasy" world is strongly hinted at as being a far distant Earth and at some point the Earth we live on has been and will come again because of the cyclical nature of the "Wheel".

These are characters that are drawn well to engage the reader. They cause strong debates over why they take one action instead of the other. They remind people of friends and family members. They sometimes present qualities people wish they had.

The cultures they live in and the myths they tell eachother are based on interpretations of the world people currently experience and stories they have been told most of their lives. There is a connection that builds and defines and encourages ideas in the mind of the reader.

The idea that this fictional world is more socially evolved than our own similar but different world in the acceptance of same sex relationships is "nice". It lets the few readers who may be concerned about the treatment of those relationships feel that the future may be better for lack of persecution.

It is even "nicer" for the people who do not want same sex relationships to exist because it lets them think that even when everyone is not worked up over such things that it still does not happen.

The lie allows for limited people to think their limitations are justified.

If the truth of the story could just admit that it had a limitation it may make the story read a little less realisticly to some people but it would hold the integrity of its convictions as limited as they might be.

In trying to assuage the questions people raised about a subject not intended to be in the book the inclusion of "socially appropriate" same sex relationships. (female, occasional, shameful, unpleasant characters) the author weakend the story and did not improve the "realism".

It is a flaw both in its inclusion and in its exclusion and there is nothing that can be done to fix it.

However my main reason it bothers me and the reason I belive it keeps being beaten into the ground is that it is a lie to say it is accepted in the fictional culture and that saying that encourages people with a negative veiw of same sex relationships to feel justified in those beliefs because the more enlightend fictional people are not plauged with fags falling out of the sky and running around in rainbow festooned parades the way our intolerant times have been. In fact the more tolerant society does not have any at all.

That in itself is a fantasy.

PS. I know this may not make sense to many people but I really do love WetlanderNW. Plutonically, ofcourse.

There may be several subjects upon which we will never agree but she is smart and precise and polite and honest. I am completly serious when I say those are qualities I really admire.

We may not agree but she says what she believes and I do appreciate that even if it makes the world just a bit more difficult to live in.
Lsana
159. Jonathan Levy
Man-0-Manetheran@152

OK, I'll admit my anti-heating bias. Can we just not discuss it?


Hey, if it was just up to me, I'd let you off the hook... but... (transforms) ... you don't know the power of the dark side. I MUST obey my master!


(You have just been served 30 words of your heating bias punishment. 9,970 words are still pending. Thank you for your cooperation.)
Lsana
160. interlocutor
@ various Re: Homosexuality.
When I look at the series through the eyes of people who are displeased with RJ's statements about homosexuality being "accepted and normal" in Randland, I cannot help but firmly agree with them that the text does not support RJ’s claims. Randland is a hetero-normative place, where homosexuality is treated by every culture like the Cairheinen treat all sexuality; not for public consumption, something shameful to discuss or show openly. This makes the ready dismissals of their opinions troubling and concerning to me. At the very least they seem like excuses made on behalf of a personal level of discomfort with homosexuality in general. RJ could have said “I write what I know, and Male homosexuality is not something I felt entirely comfortable with”. He didn’t, and what he did say was hypocritical. It doesn’t ruin the series to say that RJ seemed to be trying to sell his world as more ‘progressive’ in terms of acceptance of non standard human sexuality than it was actually written to be.
Tricia Irish
161. Tektonica
I can honestly say that until reading these threads, the sexuality of WOT barely registered with me. I flew over references to "pillow friends", did not contemplate the "singleness" of some of the male characters, noted the oblique sexual encounters of our heros with relief that we didn't have to "peek in the window", as Wetlander states.

I was reading character and plot. I do not judge a person or a character on their sexuality. It may be important to them, naturally, but it's not to me. It doesn't add or detract from who they are. It's personal and private. I've spent a fair amount of time around people of all sexual persuasions in my life, and it's become such a non-issue for me, I barely notice it.

Please, let's remember, this is RJ's world, and I for one, like it and accept it. It is what it is.....let's move on!

Longtimefan@158: I appreciate your viewpoint too, and thanks for expressing it. You are as polite and considerate as any here. Thank you.
James Jones
162. jamesedjones
158 Longtimefan
While I am not a reality based assumption and while it is delightfully offensive to be lumped in to a catagory that is just a little tidbit that is not significant, there is a valid if limited point.
As serious as you are about this, it still made me laugh. We're all just photons emitted from someone's computer screen. I mean, you're just assuming that I'm a real person sending a message to my friends and associates on tor.com. Same for my assumption in my reality. :D

"Cogito ergo es. I think, therefore you is!" -R.Williams The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Lsana
163. Hrothgordo
Where is homosexuality discriminated against even remotely in this series?

In the Tower a servant boy was basically shipped off the island when thought to be with a novice romantically. Yet "pillow friends" is barely blinked at and used almost universally to establish that two novices are close to one another.

In regards to the Windfinder blackmail, to me it is very obvious that her fear is not that she will be "outed" as a lesbian but that she is married. The Sea Folk take breaking bargains very seriously so breaking a marriage vow probably has some pretty nasty repurcussions.

And as I stated in a previous post, Galina (and Thereva) is not really a lesbian. She is a monster, a creature who gets off exploiting others. This relates to her whole persona, and being an Aes Sedai meant her sexual exploitation essentially was forced to occur on women.

To quote Shawshank:

Andy: I don't suppose it would help if I explained to him that I wasn't homosexual.
Red: Neither is he. You have to be human first.



In regards to the lack of male homosexuality there could be a small case for Jordan missing the statistical probability of their being a gay man.

But in a story that is all about re-establishing the balance between men and women having the lead characters be heterosexual does not seem crazy.
T C
164. Freelancer
Jonathan Levy@136

2.5% as a standard deviation is in itself an anomaly. Obviously you are employing either flawed sampling techniques, or else an outmoded method of establishing the median. While this doesn't point directly to an eggregious prejudice on your part, it certainly suggests laziness.
Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
toryx @147, right here on this very thread a couple of someones (or someone several times, I'm not going back to look) specifically mentioned RJ rewarding his heroes with virgin women. Not my words - theirs. Speaking for myself, I think it's great when people go their whole lives with a single partner, for a lot of reasons that don't have anything to do with WoT. But for all the whingeing about sexism, there are very few who seem to think it would be more of a real reward for the heroes to end up with an "experienced" woman than a virgin. (Okay, except for the people who like Berelain and hate Faile, and that has a lot more to do with personality than sexual experience.)

Alisonwonderland @150 - You are so very right!! It's made to sound like popular opinion, but it's actually more of an aggressive minority.

RobM @153 - I'm sure for anyone who takes the time to study the history, there are a LOT of parallels - I saw quite a few just on a few minutes thought.
Noneo Yourbusiness
166. Longtimefan
@ 162 Jamesedjones

I am glad you laughed even if it was at something not intended to be that light.

Your observation is great.

(electron waves "hi")
Lsana
167. Hawkido
rosetintdworld @ 69

I can respect your views on the omission of a more concrete example of homosexuallity in WOT, I always thought that one tarien lord was gay...

The only reason people go around using God's name in vain is because he said not to...

Perhaps the absense of religon in RandLand removed the taboo and thus the impetus to explore, at least beyond what the gay community explains as genetic (not gay, so how can I know if this is true)...

Red Button experiment:"Don't press the Red Button" sign... gotta press the button to see what happens...

However I don't want the formula changed nor the story re-written... Last thing i want is a chorus line of "What-What In the Butt" in the last two boooks.

Peace and Happiness to you all.
Noneo Yourbusiness
168. Longtimefan
@ Alisonwonderland 150

Wetlander @ 118:
I'll go one step further, with respect to your statement:

For some reason, popular opinion in recent years leans heavily toward the idea that every author ought to include homosexuality in their writing, specifically male homosexuality.

In my view, it is not so much popular opinion as a minority opinion expressed loudly and often to promote an agenda.

Apparently you needed a vacation from reality because "you went there."

Shockingly there is a "homosexual agenda". It is to be in a relationship with someone they care about.

That is it.

There is also a heterosexual agenda. It is expressed loudly and often and without regard to anyone's personal needs.

The heterosexual agenda is to produce more people.

That is it. The relationship aspect of it is irrelevant as long as a child is produced.

How could I say something like that?

Baby showers, sperm banks and divorce.

People in heterosexual relationships are given a greater social regard when they have children.
So much so that people who want more social status take measures outside of the relationship to gain that child.
Medical facilities have been developed to focus on every aspect of harvesting, combining and maintaining either parents genetic reproductive materials to force a child where nature is not providing any.
Should that fail or even if it is not explored that which no man should bring asunder is crumpled up and tossed away in a divorce for many reasons including inability to concive.

Reproduction is the point of heterosexual behavior.

Relationship is the point of homosexual behavior.

they are not mutually exclusive nor is one better than the other.

People who make dissmisive or degrogatory remarks about same sex relationships because they do not believe in them, do not approve of them or do not have one feel no affect from the ideas they encourage.

Perhaps my comments seem a bit serious or agressive but I have to live with the consequences of thier actions.

There was a time when women were not allowed to vote and it did not bother the men who said women who were interested in voting were insignificant and a minority to be ignored.
Roger Powell
169. forkroot
longtimefan@158
I commend you on this and earlier posts in this thread for being thought-provoking, however:
PS. I know this may not make sense to many people but I really do love WetlanderNW. Plutonically, of course.
Gack! I think you meant platonically. Otherwise I am forced to choose between a former planet ::scratches head:: or a Disney canine (I so don't want to go there.)
Vincent Lane
170. Aegnor
Longtimefan@48,

"actually if the studies done are correct there should have been 250 to 300 people interested in same sex relationships at my high school."

Depends on how you define that, and whether you include those who may have thought about it or experimented, but still consider themselves hetero. Every study I've seen puts the number of homosexuals at 2-3%, but if more recent studies have come to a different conclusion I'd be happy to take that into account.

"and I will agree that i prove your point in an intolerant world."

How so? Did you hide your orientation? If not, then intolerance should have played no part. My point was that even in a situation where there was no concealment, it isn't something that a mere acquaintance would necessarily know. Even more so in a formal environment.

Leigh@49,

"I'm afraid Longtimefan has the right of it here. The only reason homosexuality has been invisible in American culture is because until very recently, it had to be. Homosexuals were there, but no one saw them."

That has nothing whatsoever to do with my point. In a general sense, you are right. Using a standard of "how many gay people do I know" would not be a good way to go about it, because it is bound to be lower than reality due to the social stigma attached to it, and the desire to hide it by some.

But what my point was centered on, was that Longtimefan had said that he was very open about his homosexuality, and yet many people he knew in highschool didn't know he was gay.

"Fiction, unlike real life, has no obligation to include statistical anomalies; in fact if you're trying to build a world and show it to your readers, the only allowable anomalies should be the ones that are significant to the plot.

This anomaly - a total lack of gay people in non-segregated communities - is clearly not relevant to the plot at all, so why is it there? This is the issue I'm raising."

This actually goes towards proving my point. Homosexuality is a statistical anomaly. Now please don't take any offense to that statement, I mean that in the sense that it is statistically unusual, in the same sense that genius is a statistical anomaly (about 2% have Mensa level IQ). I intend no negative connotation with that phrase. So a statistical anomaly such as that, wouldn't necessarily be mentioned, unless it was important to the plot. On an individual level, homosexuality would be a statistical anomaly, it is only when you get to dealing with larger numbers of people, that the opposite is true, and not having any homosexuals would be a statistical anomaly.

The thing about the books is that we obviously aren't looking at a question such as someone's sexual orientation, across a large group of people. A tavern scene with a tavern that may have 30 people or so, and where one of them may be gay for all we know, but from the character's point of view its just a couple of guys sitting at a table.

The only scene that I can think of where it might be slightly odd it wasn't mentioned, is the festival thing that took place in Cairhien, where there were a lot of public displays of affection going on in the streets, but I can't remember the details of that scene and whether the description was wide scale enough for it to be odd or not.

As far as individual characters, we just don't know enough characters well enough to know that type of information for it to be statistically significant in one way or another. For all we know Master Norry could be gay and goes back to his husband at night.
Noneo Yourbusiness
171. Longtimefan
@ 170 Aegnor

"How so? Did you hide your orientation? If not, then intolerance should have played no part. My point was that even in a situation where there was no concealment, it isn't something that a mere acquaintance would necessarily know. Even more so in a formal environment."

Intolerance played a huge part. I was the only one out of thousands. I may not have let the common attitude keep me from telling people I knew but there was not one other person I could date.

More people in my school would have known without knowing me by observing any hand holding or flirting. That was not available.

The subconcious intolerance made people assume that any girl I spent a lot of time with must be my "girlfriend".

People assume heterosexuality first because it is common but also because there is a small voice that says it would be insulting to assume they are homosexual.

I am not "insulted" when people assume that I am heterosexual (and yes they still do) but it does mean that they are not going to introduce me to any one I may be interested in emotionally (and some still try).

If there was no intolerance people would not assume and would not be insulted if someone did assume inccorectly.
Roger Powell
172. forkroot
forkroot@169
or a Disney canine (I so don't want to go there.)
Apparently you have to keep an eye on those Disney canines. The following was overheard from a divorce lawyer's office not too far from Disneyland:

Voice #1 Hmmmm... well Mr. Mouse, er.. may I call you Mickey? Anyway... I've reviewed the relevant statutes and apparently insanity is not lawful grounds for divorce.

(squeaky) Voice #2 I didn't say Minnie was insane. I said she was "F--king Goofy!"
Lsana
173. vin4444
I haven't been able to read all of the comments, but I don't see why an author needs to include anything we feel is necessary or fair. It's their book so they will write it how they want to. If they want to add homosexuality, that's their choice. If not, that's their choice as well. This could go for any situation. They shouldn't be forced to write about something if they don't feel the need/desire and if it won't have anything to contribute to the plot.
Lsana
174. alreadymadwithrandshorses
Jonathan Levy @148
Indeed. Herding sheep might have worked when he was younger, but as he got taller....
No wonder Bela is still alive and well in this story. Having spent time as Rand's horse, it can't be a coincidence that she has quite the staying power.


forkroot @172
I wasn't even aware they ever tied the knot. I guess you can't blame Minney. If the whole idea of a heterosexual marriage was to procreate, then what have Mickey and Minney been doing all this time? Goofy on the other hand, happens to be a single dad. So he's definitely not shooting blanks.

Now that you all went and brought up the virginity thing:
Practically all of the 20 something main protagonists are going to end up with virgins. Except Galad who seems destined to end up with Berelain. Who is, admittedly not. Now with Galad always doing the right thing, I don't see him carrying on without getting hitched first. So chances are, he still is. Thoughts anyone?
Roger Powell
175. forkroot
alreadymad.*@174
Now that you all went and brought up the virginity thing:
Practically all of the 20 something main protagonists are going to end up with virgins. Except Galad who seems destined to end up with Berelain. Who is, admittedly not. Now with Galad always doing the right thing, I don't see him carrying on without getting hitched first. So chances are, he still is. Thoughts anyone?
Um yeah ... I'll just promote Berelain to one of the 20-something main protagonists and point out that she ended up with a virgin too!
T C
176. Freelancer
forkroot@169

Or he meant that his affection for Wetlandernw was radioactive.

Actually, as with many great ideas of an earlier, grander time, the thoughts of Platonic love have devolved into more prurient and carnal constructs than either Plato, or those who first used the term Platonic Love, ever intended. Plato's references to non-romantic love of others was always meant as a meditative vehicle for considering the supernal, the sublime, the spiritual. Just as many great pieces of music are meant to direct thoughts to the divine, so the appreciation of a beautiful person, in form or personality, was to Plato a path to consideration of the Creator.
Eric Hughes
177. CireNaes
I am about to make a large wall of text and for that reason I will warn you now that if you are past the whole LTT is real/construct debate then feel free to skip the whole thing. If the topic still rages on within you much like a persistent hemorrhoid, then read on...

To start with I wanted to explore what we actually know about the theology of RJ's world and then synthesizing this theology with the unique soul that was and still is the Dragon. We know that certain predispositions of this soul are not subject to change (e.g., will not turn to the DO, but can be manipulated into destructive despair, which is the DO’s ultimate desire). The Dragon’s soul is now in possession of a new body that was named Rand. Rand uses his brain to store current memories now and that brain should have a mostly if not all clean conscious memory recall slate (but we know that it doesn’t). This whole assembly powers Rand’s complete cognitive process while in his current bodily incarnation.

We also know that souls outside of their bodies have the ability to think and utilize stored memories from all previous lives, but that is presumably an added perk of TAR (or perhaps even the Horn of Valere; keeping this theory strictly on human beings that become essential to the preservation of the Pattern). I do not think it can be viably proven to be something that the soul is inherently capable of outside TAR for any real length of time. As previously stated, in WoT we also have a system where a person’s soul posses a certain kind of nature. This nature will subsequently be nurtured in bodily form to develop to some extent a distinct and new personality with each new birth. The memories of past lives no longer take an active role in the development the new person and are placed in deep storage. Although it appears that they can seep through in extremely stressful situations.

Rand has a problem though. He not only recalls how to do things that only a past life would know how to do, but he also has complete sets of memories attached to perceived respective emotions at the very least or is struggling with a separate intelligence vying for control of the soul's agenda at the most.

This anomaly is interesting in that it is either a necessary element for the Dragon to do the job (pattern induced), or a flaw (possibly taint/TAR in the flesh induced as has been mentioned by one or two over the course of the reread). It is hardly your typical recall ability as exhibited by other reborn constructs to minor extents in stressful situations (Egwene and Mat during the Trolloc attack while running with Moiraine from the Two Rivers shouting the Old Tongue or Nynaeve ‘remembering’ the weave for balefire). But again, what I am primarily concerned with is Rand’s unique soul situation, attached to a new body, interacting with another complete set of memories and what the implications are in regards to the definition of personhood as we have in the WoT system.

Rand’s body has begun to assimilate his past memories. I propose that those memories are likely stored deep in his brain, just like everyone else outside of TAR, but he is experiencing much more bleed over than is typical (the result of which we the readers can only speculate about). In effect, I am saying that all WoT souls require storage devices and their ability to reason and assimilate said memories whereby they form new persons is impacted by the nature of the device (TAR versus body). Rand’s (and LTT’s) soul has predisposed Dragonesk elements to it that is powering the current Dragon incarnation with Rand’s memories that he has accumulated as he has grown up being front and center and easily available to inform the nurture/soul portion of the newly reborn Dragon construct. The interactions between the two make up the person Rand as we know him. I hope I haven't lost anyone here as I'm repeating this in different ways to make myself as clear as mud.

However, the whole person known as Rand is now experiencing encounters with a whole new past life. This past life (LTT) comes forward or bleeds through if you prefer as events trigger him. The first problem that this results in for the Rand construct manifests itself as fear of a new identity so Rand resorts to running in the first few books. This isn’t really the big problem though as the Rand construct moves on to accept the title of Dragon that the past LTT construct was and his current soul still is. However, Rand must now wrestle with the implications of moral culpability for a past construct’s actions, a part of which is currently residing in the Rand construct (the soul). I could be analyzing myself into a wet paper sack here, but I think this is solid so far.

Now, this real problem is fully revealed in TGS. As more memories are brought to Rand’s attention his soul/nature (the integral component in the current reborn person that is Rand) is shaken with the core dilemma of forgiveness for his past faults that are primarily of the pride/arrogance flavor, which resulted in the slaughter of those he held most dear and to which Rand’s memories add on the history of the Breaking. This reality will have unpleasant consequences if it is not properly pondered in a way that achieves the goal of his soul (we now know the desired goal is definitely forgiveness thanks to ToM). I will be using ‘him’ not ‘it’ to refer to the Dragon’s soul and I apologize if this is confusing, but RJ stated that the Dragon’s soul would always be male in essence. The situation is further complicated in that the old LTT construct that is gaining more ground as the stress increases is entirely nurtured with madness. This is compounded and finds a companion in the damage the taint is doing to the Rand construct. Furthermore, there is bleed through in the connection with Ishydin, which weakens the nature of the Dragon himself (his soul).

This struggle of forgiveness in a world of mercury based reason will deeply influence the subconscious of the current Rand construct causing all kinds of problems (e.g., the list, the need to be hard as steel) and will also “empower” the old emerging LTT construct as more memories become readily available via increased stress levels and form a more complete old construct. Fortunately the LTT construct shares the same goal (e.g., Ilyena forgive me…), but unfortunately he is entirely unreliable when it comes to reasoning out how that goal is to be realized. So this growing old LTT construct will now seek to exert more and more influence in the nurture role on the same soul during certain occasions that Rand experiences that resonate with the soul’s past failures and cause the construct to rise up and unreliably seek to resolve the goal of forgiveness by seizing control of all or part of Rand (some classic examples being thoughts like, Break it! Kill the Asha’man! I’m the Lord of the Morning!!! And WWE wrestling matches for saidin).

The Dragon’s soul is going to have a hard time differentiating between which set of memories should inform (nurture) what is turning into an entirely new construct in a way that meets the needs of all parties involved. This makes acceptance between the two constructs to form a new and improved Dragon for practical and formulative reasons a real doozy and fraught with quite a bit of danger.

Herein we have the cerebral anomaly (steeped in a flavor of mind/body dualism with a reincarnation bent) where on one side we have the current next chance going down the wrong path for various reasons Rand amalgamation versus the no forgiveness/oblivion crazy LTT amalgamation and the Dragon’s soul/nature powering and seeking to come to grips with both. Survival, success, and sanity depends on forming a new amalgamation with a healthy worldview. Talk about some complicated soul searching. This entire mixture has to formulate a consciously holistic new person based on all memories involved that operates with the understanding that he always has a second chance providing he doesn’t go off the deep end and balefire the whole Pattern. Should the rapidly evolving merger show too much prejudice towards certain aspects of either construct then disaster results. Fortunately we know that a new person has emerged from Dragonmount with a better perspective that comes to terms with his Creator’s design, his purpose as the Dragon, and that he has a do over safety net if he jacks it all up providing he can forgive himself for doing the best he can as a fallible and limited man.

So what does this all mean in regards to the real/construct debate? Well, in this process I have come to believe that for all intents and purposes, Rand and LTT are both real. They meet the definition of personhood in every sense of the WoT word. Both looking to inform the same soul in different ways for the same reason/goal. But neither are able to accomplish that goal without what the other can offer. Integration occurred when both persons upgraded (perhaps surrendered is the better word) to form the proper mixture of old and new.

I'm not expecting a response to this and perhaps that is best (although this is likely already making Terez27 itch) as all views have been expressed rather thoroughly. I just hope that I have in some way edified the realies out there.
Alice Arneson
178. Wetlandernw
RobM @156 - Well, as politically incorrect as it is to say so, I rather wish the other "Rebels" had won as well. But that's not a discussion to be had in this forum!

Longtimefan @158 - It is complicated and probably clumsy, I will try not to ramble but I probably will. Aw, come on. Keep me company here! :) Oh, you did. Thanks! Hey, haven't we had this discussion before? You are quite correct, my friend. There are some subjects on which we'll probably never agree, but that's no reason not to be respectful to one another. You make a good point: a major theme of the story is that men and women need one another and must cooperate in order for the Light to triumph over the Dark. It might indeed be more internally consistent, then, to have only Darkfriends be homosexual. (Wow, can you imagine the reactions to that? Even worse than now, if anyone mentioned as "pillow-friends" would be a red flag shouting "Darkfriend! Darkfriend!") Of course, that would imply that the culture at large understand that connection, which may not be a valid assumption considering some of the other things they seriously don't know about Team Dark. Or, for that matter, things they "know" that are completely wrong. Still, it might have been better story-wise if he'd just taken the line that "Homosexuality has no place in my story, so I'm not writing it in." I'm sure there would have been a number of people who would have had several kinds of fit over that, but most of the thoughtful readers would (I think) have accepted it. Particularly if he'd explained it the way you did. (Again, for the thoughtful readers. The more superficial ones would still go into conflagration mode, but you can't please everyone!)

Unfortunately... Regarding your post @168 - I find this a bit strange:
Reproduction is the point of heterosexual behavior.

Relationship is the point of homosexual behavior.
The implication that no heterosexual behavior is for the purpose of relationship is patently absurd. Although quite obviously homosexual behavior isn't about reproduction, you can't reverse it to state that any behavior leading to reproduction has no relationship value. This and several other statements in the same post are demonstrably incorrect. A large number of heterosexual couples do not have children, some by choice and some not. Certainly in some cases, the inability to have children has caused sufficient stress on the relationship that the marriage ends in divorce, but this is not anywhere close to universally true. But I really don't have time to refute what you just said, and I'm pretty sure that if you read it again, you could refute most of it yourself.

interlocutor @160 RJ could have said “I write what I know, and Male homosexuality is not something I felt entirely comfortable with”. He didn’t, and what he did say was hypocritical. Actually, Terez @51 states that "...I believe him when he says he has no problem with gay men, from a moral standpoint; he just feels uncomfortable writing about them." If you want verification that RJ said it, ask her where she found that statement - she's the Quotemistress par Excellence and has just about every quotation from RJ that's ever been recorded.

forkroot @169 - ROFL!! I knew there was something funky, but my mind read what it was supposed to say... Platonic, Plutonic.... :)
Roger Powell
179. forkroot
Funny anecdote - celebrated my attainment of the double nickel on the same day as Insectoid (I was celebrating one day early - So I am almost, but not quite, 31 years his senior.)

We went to dinner with our close friends - we like to joke that my wife's best friend is my "soul sister", since she (the friend) and I are more like each other in personality.

Anyway, SS and husband produced a wrapped book for my birthday present. It was a hardbound copy of the TEoTW! This was doubly handy as:

#1) My Tor paperback has semi-disintegrated
#2) I've been bugging SS that she would really love WoT and she ought to read it.

So, I unwrapped the present, exclaimed my thanks, and immediately handed it back to SS and told her that she should borrow it and get started on WoT!

My wife and SS's husband both derived immense amusement from the exchange.
Joseph Blaidd
180. SteelBlaidd
I've been following the discussion of the appearance of gay characters in WoT and I had a thought. While the Meta Reason for the preponderance of Female homosexual characters (including all the Schoolgirl Lesbians) may, indeed, be Author Appeal and the unconscious choices of the author overriding his conscious world building, there is character reason male homosexuality is not mentioned as much.

As I thought back over the series I realized that none of the male characters make any reference to homosexuality whatsoever. All of the references are made by women, usually Aes Sedai, generally in a way that indicates that while it is acceptable it is not considered normative. The only groups that we have a high enough concentration of men for the issue to come up are the Black Tower and the various armies, most of which we don't spend time with except as scenery. And when we do it's generally in the heads of the Rand, Mat, and Perrin none of whom spend any time paying attention to or thinking about other peoples intimate relations unless it impacts them directly. Wishing for the skills they attribute to each other or in Mat's case trying to decide how hes going to keep Aviendha and Elayne both in one piece and wishing Rand and Min would get out of his head. But unless someone else brings it up they don't really think about anybodies sex lives but their own, and we don't spend a whole lot of time in any other male's heads.
Theresa Gray
181. Terez27
@everyone

The homosexuality argument has been a long string of straw men for a good while now. The vast majority of people here are not arguing that RJ should represent homosexuals out of any sort of PC sensibility. We are arguing that RJ was not being entirely honest with us, or perhaps simply not very honest with himself, when he gave the impression in interview that he had included homosexuality in his books in the spirit of PC-ish inclusion. From the outside, it's easy enough to see that he included lesbians because he found the idea to be attractive. For those that say, 'oh, well we just haven't seen men concentrated in one area, blah blah...' Again, remember that RJ chose to write it that way. He chose to avoid male homosexuality beyond the occasional passing mention or vague hint. The point is that his inclusion of lesbianism is gratuitous rather than liberal.

@Tek - I love RJ too, and I don't harp on this because I believe that it is a major failing of his work in any way; I continue to argue it because people are missing the point, and many seem to be missing it deliberately in order to superimpose their own world view onto RJ, which I find to be distasteful.

@wetlandernw - The mention of 'reward' is an obvious reference to the Old School chauvinistic viewpoint on female virginity. Men never liked virgins because the sex was better that way; they liked virgins because they were possessive of women, treated them like property, and thought that non-virgin women were 'damaged goods'. Why didn't Rand tell Aviendha that he had never been with anyone before her? Why didn't she ask? All three women made sure to let Rand know that they were 'unsullied'.

I think that most of us would probably agree that monogamous relationships are superior for many reasons, including STDs and the fact that long-term relationships are more rewarding (if both parties are committed to them). That was never the point. Only in a chauvinistic world can female virginity be valued while male virginity is inconsequential.

Also, there was a hint that Min's sexual experience before Rand was with women:

TITLE - The Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 48 - First Claiming

For a time she studied his face. It was only his face she saw; she could never read anyone who was not conscious. "I like older men," she told him. "I like men with education, and wit. I have no interest in farms, or sheep, or shepherds. Especially boy shepherds." With a sigh, she smoothed back the hair from his face; he had silky hair. "But then, you aren't a shepherd, are you? Not anymore. Light, why did the Pattern have to catch me up with you? Why couldn't I have something safe and simple, like being shipwrecked with no food and a dozen hungry Aielmen?"
Roger Powell
182. forkroot
Terez27@181
I don't read it that way. I believe the line "Especially boy shepherds" was emphasizing that he was male and she was reluctantly admitting to the attraction that she had known she would feel.

Given that we later hear that Rand is her "first", it seems unlikely that she had had any previous dalliances with women.
Theresa Gray
183. Terez27
By all means, read it however helps you sleep at night, but she didn't say Rand was her first; she said he was her first man:

TITLE - A Crown of Swords
CHAPTER: 33 - A Bath

"At least it’s 'we,' now, instead of 'I,'" she said grimly. Rising smoothly, she advanced toward him shaking a furious finger. "Do you think I’m a doll, farmboy? Do you think I am too dimwitted to let you know if I didn’t want your touch? Do you think I couldn’t let you know in no uncertain terms?" Her free hand produced a knife from under her coat, gave it a flourish and tucked it back without slowing the torrent. "I remember ripping your shirt off your back because you couldn’t pull it over your head fast enough to suit me. That’s how little I wanted your arms around me! I did with you what I’ve never done with any man - and don’t you think I was never tempted! - and you say it was all you! As if I wasn’t even there!"
Noneo Yourbusiness
184. Longtimefan
Wetlandernw @ 178

I completely acknowledge that the statement seems strange.

It is not my intent to diminish actions two people chose to engage in with each other.

They are only actions and those actions have results.

The ultimate result of heterosexual behavior is children. Weather or not people can have them or choose not to have them the point of the action is to produce children.

If children are not important then it is irrelevant if the two people are the same or the opposite gender.

That action is just for physical intimacy and comfort and validation. When most people repeat this action often enough with the same person they call that a relationship.

People can have relationships with people of the same gender or the opposite gender. Those relationships are equally valid unless reproduction becomes a higher cultural priority.

As reproduction is a higher cultural priority over general relationships the relationships that are encouraged by society are those that lead to children (even if people chose not to have them).

This skews perception of the actions as "good" and "bad" when they are just actions.

There is a whole philosophical foundation that clarifies where I am coming from on this but since I am in the process of writing the book that defines philosophy it is a bit long and complicated to get into. And even if I did there is no guarantee that it would make sense to people who chose not to believe it.

That is one of the philosophical points. People only believe in ideas that benefit their survival. If an idea is true but cannot benefit the person hearing it then it will be dismissed as untrue.

That is the simple version. It misses some key points.

It is a philosophy that acknowledges the point that while I think it makes valid arguments it does not mean that anyone else will see them that way. That in itself being a valid point that some people may not agree with since it could be seen as a flaw in the philosophy.

Then there is the bit where no matter how I phrase a statement it is always interpreted by the receiver as they need to understand it so it will never be what I intended to say.

I have not corrected "plutonic" to "platonic" because it is fun to read the comedic comments. It would spoil the fun if I corrected it.

It is true that I think talking to you in person about things we could agree on it would be great.

I am just always afraid something would come up that we did not agree on and it would spoil everything.

Drat those controversial subjects. They spoil everything. :)
Andrew Belmont
185. rosetintdworld
I know I said I was done. But then Terez had to go and say something really articulate...grr..

Terez@181:

"The vast majority of people here are not arguing that RJ should represent homosexuals out of any sort of PC sensibility. We are arguing that RJ was not being entirely honest with us, or perhaps simply not very honest with himself, when he gave the impression in interview that he had included homosexuality in his books in the spirit of PC-ish inclusion. From the outside, it's easy enough to see that he included lesbians because he found the idea to be attractive."

EXACTLY. Why are you able to express this so much more strongly than I am? *pouts* Thanks.

Again, I find it totally bizarre that people proudly admit they are too prudish to read a description of male same sex attraction, but will defend 10+ scenes of sadomasochist woman-on-woman whipping and breast baring as relevant to the plot. It is the author's prerogative, I'll grant. No one is arguing that Jordan didn't have the right to do exactly as he liked.

But refusing to admit that a work is filled with EXTRANEOUS female-female bond(ag)ing (not to mention worse--please, can't we all just admit we know what happened between Therava and little Lina?), and at the same time claiming that aligning the text with the Jordan's on-the-record explanation of homosexuality would be "outside the scope of the plot..." Very questionable. Your mileage may vary. (And apparently does.)
Theresa Gray
186. Terez27
@rosetintdworld - LOL, thanks. (this on edit - cross-post!)

@wetlandernw again because I missed a few posts:

Terez @51 states that "...I believe him when he says he has no problem with gay men, from a moral standpoint; he just feels uncomfortable writing about them." If you want verification that RJ said it, ask her where she found that statement - she's the Quotemistress par Excellence and has just about every quotation from RJ that's ever been recorded.


I didn't mean to imply that RJ said the latter clause; that was my own interpretation of him not writing about it (along with other clues, like his distaste for male nudity). He didn't even say the first clause, exactly; he just implied it.

Jumping back a few more posts:

alreadymad@174 - I think Galad will probably end up with Egwene after all. :D She is technically a virgin, despite the smutty dreams...
Lsana
187. CFP
"I like older men," she told him. "I like men with education, and wit. I have no interest in farms, or sheep, or shepherds. Especially boy shepherds."

I've been taking the significance of "boy" as a contrast to "older men". As in, "I like older men... I have no interest in younger men (who happen to tend sheep)."
Theresa Gray
188. Terez27
@CFP - Like I said, read it however you want to, but RJ painted her as a lesbian from the beginning, with the short hair and boy's clothes. And he has also painted her in a way that suggests sexual experience, as others have noted previously. If she didn't get it with men, then it seems likely she got it with women, especially considering the quote in question.

@alreadymad again - lol, I just noticed Brandon's new tweet:

A fanmail tonight includes a request for Gawyn to die, and Egwene to hook up w/Galad. At least it's not another begging for Rand + Egwene.
Heidi Byrd
189. sweetlilflower
@longtimefan:
My grandmother got remarried when she was 75 years old, to a man. Do you suppose she was trying to give my an Aunt younger than me? Your argument does not seem to be based on valid premises as there are thousands upon thousands of examples of older people, well past the child-bearing years, getting married. There are also many homosexual couples utilizing those same medical techniques to have children. Every human being is hard-wired to pass on his or her DNA, heck, every living thing on the planet is hard-wired to do so. That's why sex feels good, so people keep doing it and create life outside of themselves. All humans are also wired to seek companionship with other humans. This trait would also be a key to survival. I think you are perhaps the one ignoring unwanted truths to further your own agenda and keep your own beliefs intact.
Alice Arneson
190. Wetlandernw
CireNaes @177 - Nice! Well thought out.

Terez @181 - In the passage you quote, Min says "I like older men. I like men with education, and wit. I have no interest in farms, or sheep, or shepherds. Especially boy shepherds." It makes a lot more sense that she's contrasting "boy" with "older men" just as she is contrasting "men with education and wit" with "farms, or sheep, or shepherds." There's absolutely no indication of interest in or experience with women in anything she says. Unless you're trying hard to see it for your own reasons. Which I guess, if you insist that wearing short hair and breeches (as opposed to long hair and skirts) to work in the stables with the horses somehow defines her as a lesbian, would at least be consistent if not logical. I find it oddly sexist, though, that you can't accept her own reason: that she'd rather work with horses than wait tables. What, any truly feminine girl would rather wait tables, and she must be un-feminine to prefer horses?

rosetintdworld @185 - Again, I find it totally bizarre that people proudly admit they are too prudish to read a description of male same sex attraction, but will defend 10+ scenes of sadomasochist woman-on-woman whipping and breast baring as relevant to the plot. HUH?? What on earth do those two have to do with each other? Not that I've said either of them, but what does saying that you don't like to read one thing have to do with whether something else is relevant to the plot? You're not talking about apples and oranges, even - you're talking about apples and... chickens, or something.

Also: please, can't we all just admit we know what happened between Therava and little Lina? Take out the "all" and admit to your heart's content, but don't include me in it.

Terez @186 - You disappoint me. When you say "I believe him when he says..." you clearly imply that he actually said those words or something very similar. All you'd have had to do is say "I would believe him if he had said..." rather than "I believe him when he says..." Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree with your interpretations noted in your theoryland documents, but there you at least obviously identify yourself as the interpreter. In this case you clearly attributed a statement to him, and then 130 posts later you say "oh, he never actually said that, I just made it up"? I expected better of you.
Eric Hughes
192. CireNaes
Wetlandernw@190

Thanks. Coming from one of the more thorough thinkers on this site that is quite a compliment. It will be interesting to see if my theory holds any water though as the next two books are released and more data are given to yank the readers' chains around one way or the other.
Alice Arneson
193. Wetlandernw
CireNaes @192 - Well, I have to admit that my own opinion consists mainly of "I think that LTT as a real and separate person fits the world-building better" and "I dislike the idea of psychotic constructs in high fantasy." I know there's a lot more to it than that, but I don't really care about the debate enough to put any effort into arguing the point. :) I truly enjoyed your analysis, though, and I think it makes much more sense in the world of WoT than anything else I've read on the subject. So - thanks for doing all the work! It was fun to read.

Edit to add: One of the crazy-making things about the "debate" is the tendency of the proponents to try to prove their side using quotations from the books. Of course, since the exact same passages can be interpreted either way depending on your personal bias, the "debate" goes around and around without ever getting anywhere. I think that's why I found your analysis so refreshing - it draws on the context and overall world-building instead of unprovable textual interpretations.
Theresa Gray
194. Terez27
@wetlander - everyone knows the passages can be interpreted two different ways, but real'ers seem to assume that 'real' is the default position. The quotes demonstrate how wrongheaded that position is. I think that the whole of the evidence can be interpreted only one way, but real'ers have a tendency to ignore the big picture and look at the little details that support the illusion; the 'real' theory makes no sense in relation to the way the plot line was introduced and resolved. But of course, real'ers will stick their fingers in their ears and say LA LA LA I DON'T LIKE THIS DEBATE LA LA LA and ignore the obvious truth. And of course, they always pop up to assert their opinion on the subject when it comes up before going back to pretending not to care about it.

Also, cut the dramatics on the RJ quote. It was a simple misunderstanding, and it's cleared up now.
Lsana
195. Jonathan Levy
164. Freelancer@164

2.5% as a standard deviation is in itself an anomaly. Obviously you are employing either flawed sampling techniques, or else an outmoded method of establishing the median. While this doesn't point directly to an eggregious prejudice on your part, it certainly suggests laziness.


Oh it was definitely laziness in this case, along with a desire to keep the post short. I wanted a mathematical-sounding blurb to sound pretentious, but didn't want to waste 3 lines on a mathematically sound statistical report, and absolutely did not want to bother to actually go and look the real frequencies up. I permitted myself this slackness on one occasion because (as you may have noticed) that particular post was not
entirely serious :)

Laziness FTW!
Lsana
196. Jonathan Levy
alreadymadwithrandshorses@174

No wonder Bela is still alive and well in this story. Having spent time as Rand's horse, it can't be a coincidence that she has quite the staying power.


I'd rather not think about Bela, thank you very much, considering she's been ridden by more people than any other equine character in the series.

Bela. The Berelain of Horses. Slut!
Theresa Gray
197. Terez27
Ah, there's that lovely chauvinist word again. And Berelain is hardly indiscriminate with her sexual partners, so the word doesn't even apply.
Alice Arneson
198. Wetlandernw
Terez - no drama intended. Dead serious. 'night.
Lsana
199. Jonathan Levy
Reuben: Good evening, and welcome to the show. Today we will be interviewing the renowned sociologist Dr. Gettag Rip, who will be discussing his recent work "Ableist Authors, Ableist Editors: A Case Study of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time".

Levy: We must apologize to our listeners who were expecting Dr. Joshua Brimstone, who called in and told us that he had to postpone the interview until he had updated his life insurance policy and got his will notarized.

Reuben: Good evening Dr. Rip.

Rip: Good evening.

Levy: Good evening.

Reuben: Dr. Rip, please tell us about your latest book. I understand it has caused quite a controversy, flying, as it does, in the face of the consensus regarding Jordan's clearly evident Ableist bias.

Rip: Quite so. In my book I have demonstrated that the deliberate marginalization of the differently abled is a result of a superficial, inept, and poorly-executed editing job just prior to publication.

Reuben: A remarkable thesis, if I may say so.

Rip: Thank you.

Levy: What is the scope, if I may ask, of the alterations?

Rip: I have identified 35 unique instances of different-ablisms which were purged from the work...

Levy: Thirty-Five!

Rip: ... including stammering, left-handedness, Tourette's syndrome, Narcolepsy, a Seated Person -

Reuben: What's that, a cripple in a wheelchair?

Rip: ...

Levy: ...

Reuben: ...uh... um... ah....

Rip: ...

Levy: Uh, I understand that apart from the differently-abled expurgations, you also identified several cases of Non-Differently-Abled Marginalized Groups also being excised?

Rip: Uh yes, the editor also crudely erased the Transvestite, the Lesbian, and several explicit male homosexual sex scenes.

Levy: Remarkable.

Reuben: Remarkable.

Levy: But Doctor - not to cast doubt, of course, but still - how can you be sure your reconstructions are accurate?

Rip: A fair question. At first, I had my doubts that such any reconstruction was possible. But once I knew what to look for, the pieces just seemed to fall into place. There are many, many scenes which previously made no sense, but the reversal of a simple one-word change made by the editor makes everything clear.

Levy: Could you provide us with a few examples?

Rip: Gladly. For example, Perrin is a stammerer.

Levy: A stammerer!

Reuben: A stammerer?

Rip: Indeed. The editors replaced all explicit references to his stammer with vague explanations about his "speaking slowly", and "thinking things through", and tried to smooth it over with half-baked proverbs about "hammers swung in haste".

Reuben: A very daring claim, I'm not sure how to react -

Rip: But the traces are all there, for anyone with half a mind to see them. There are even some explicit stutters accidentally left in the text!

Levy: Such as?

Rip: Such as speaking to Min in TRD:6, "Uh... Min, you know I like you. I like you, but... Uh ...", and in tEotW:29 "What... what was that?", and tEotW:30 "Can...? Can you read my mind, too?"

Reuben: Wow.

Levy: I can't believe I never noticed that.

Rip: So many things suddenly make sense. His taciturn nature, the merciless unprovoked teasing from Faile which no sane person would do, etc.

Levy: This is amazing.

Reuben: I'm quite frankly stunned.

Levy: It's so fortunate that we have your genius to reveal to us the hidden secrets of what seemed to be a plain and straightforward work.

Reuben: I'm almost afraid to ask about the other emendations.

Levy: Who is the lefty? That seems safe enough!

Rip: Oh, that's also Perrin.

Levy: Perrin?

Rip: A careful reconstruction of the blacksmithing scene in TDR leaves no other option.

Reuben: Remarkable.

Levy: Remarkable.

Reuben: And the Narcoleptic? What is Narcolepsy anyway?

Rip: Uh, Narcolepsy is a neurological condition in which a person falls asleep uncontrolledly, sometimes in the worst possible time.

Levy: And who would that be? I can't begin to guess.

Rip: Oh, that would be Perrin Aybara.

Reuben: Ah. Also Perrin.

Rip: Yes. It's quite obvious, really. He slept through almost the entirety of Book 5.

Levy: I'm not sure that's a completely convincing -

Rip: Also, he fell asleep with a naked Berelain in his bed.

Levy: ...

Reuben: Yes, well, I see your point. And the cripple in the wheelchair?

Rip: Sorry?

Reuben: Uh Uh I mean the Seated Person?

Rip: Oh, that's also Perrin. He broke his back when battling the whitecloacks to free Gaul from his cage.

Reuben: But he was fighting Trollocs in TSR!

Rip: Are you suggesting that a Seated Person would be Inferior to a Standing Person in fighting Trollocs?

Reuben: Uh, um...no of course not, um... but...

Rip: Dannil and Wil carried him on their shoulders.

Reuben: Uh...

Levy: And the Tourette's?

Rip: Perrin.

Levy: Cereberal Palsy?

Rip: Perrin.

Reuben: Down's syndrome?

Rip: Perrin.

Levy: Conjoined twins?

Rip: Perrin.

Reuben: The Lesbian?

Rip: Perrin.

Levy: Perrin a Lesbian?!

Rip: He is married to a woman, you know. Well, Faile, anyway.

Levy: But he's a man!

Rip: Not after the sex-change operation in LoC, when he was abducted by UFOs. You did read my book before this interview, didn't you?

Levy: Um, of course, but -

Reuben: The male homosexual scenes?

Rip: Perrin, with a younger version of himself who acquired a time-travelling device.

Reuben: I see.

Levy: Yes.

Rip: All of this was explicitly confirmed by Robert Jordan in a chat in Barnes and Noble (dated Nov 11 1997) when he said, and I quote "No. Except for the possible occasional divurgence, except for Rands excursions to Seanchan when he chased after Aviendha"

Levy: ...

Reuben: ...

Levy: Well I'm afraid that's all we've got time for today. Thank you so very much for coming in, and sharing your, uh, remarkable theories with us.

Rip: My pleasure.

Reuben: Tune in next week, when we'll see if Dr. Brimstone has enough courage to show up after all, to discuss Dominatrixophobia -

Levy: - and if he doesn't, we'll send Mistress Merciful to tie him up and drag him in!

Reuben: Ahahaha!

Levy: Ahahaha!

Rip: (Sorry, I didn't get that could you expl - )

Levy: Good night.

Reuben: Good night.
Birgit
200. birgit
I think you meant platonically. Otherwise I am forced to choose between a former planet ::scratches head:: or a Disney canine

You forgot the underworld god both are named for. If underworld god = Dark One, is that an admission of being a Darkfriend? And is Disney's Pluto a darkhound?
Thomas Keith
201. insectoid
Fork @172/179: LOL! By the way, happy belated birthday! We're not out of cake yet. ;)

JL @199: ::snort:: BAHAHAhahaha!! ;D

*twitchety twitchy twitch*

Bzzz™.
Linda Taglieri
202. Linda
@156 Rob: I wish I could have posted this early today, but really busy with work.

The parallel is mentioned in the Aes Sedai NE history article in the Schism section. The rebels with their general Bryne/Lee gathered in the south, the better equipped - ter'angreal, etc - White Tower is in the north. Egwene is like Lincoln trying to unite both sides.

I've got the parallels indexed on the parallels page, but not under each character yet. Still re-working that. It take a lot of time.
Linda Taglieri
203. Linda
@156 Rob: I would like to have replied sooner, but was too busy at work unfortunately. Hopefully you'll see it.

The parallel is mentioned in the Aes Sedai NE history article in the Schism section. The rebels with their general Bryne/R E Lee gathered in the south, the better equipped White Tower is in the north. Egwene is like Lincoln trying to unite both sides.

The parallels are listed on the Parallels Index page, but not yet under individual character. I still have this to do. It takes a great deal of time.
Tricia Irish
204. Tektonica
Terez@181 & 183:

I know we can interpret these sections many ways, to suit ourselves, so here's my take:

I have no interest in farms, or sheep, or shepherds. Especially boy shepherds."

She also said she liked "older" men, with wit, wisdom, etc. So here I took her statement to mean that she didn't want a "kid", a "boy", let alone a "shepherd."

I did with you what I’ve never done with any man.

Would she dare call the Dragon Reborn and her first sexual encounter a "boy?" That would insult him and show her as having taken a kid...and she likes "older" men.

Edit to add: I think I also remember Min explaining her "breeches and short hair" as not only aiding her work in the stables, but also helping to "fend off" unwanted advances when working in a male dominated environment. I'll look for that....

Ciresnae@177: Very interesting and well though out. Frankly, after reading many treatises on this subject, I think we all basically agree, we just call the situation in Rand's head by different names. The difference is so slight in understanding, it almost seems to be a verbage problem.

Fork@172: Happy Birthday to you too! How about a Belated Party in the Bunker? We're always up for a celebration!

JonathanLevy@199: ROFLOL. Keep this show coming, will you! We need it!

Birgit@200: LOL. Good point! I'll never think of Pluto the same way again, and he always seemed so sweet.
Bridget Sullivan
205. Ellid
Freelancer@146

Who calls me slightly to the carpet:

Actually, Wetlandernw@188 is responding to Isilel@89, (the same quote I reference at the front of this comment), who was precisely saying that Jordan's "old-fashioned sensibilities" were a failing as a writer on his part. So Wetlandernw's response is by no means a straw man, but a rebuttal.

I cannot see how you can make that statement when Wetlanderw specifically said in @118 "@several - So "old-fashioned sensibilities" are a major failing in a writer?"

Now, as one of the people who also used the term "old fashioned sensibilities" (which I riffed on as "old-timey sensibilities") - which I did in @93, and since Wetlanderw did not address his comments to Isilel specifically, but rather "everyone," I fail to see how you can say that his(?) response was not made to me as well.

Lastly, "strawman" is an rhetorical technique/informational falacy used in addressed or rebutting an opponents position - to say something "no means a straw man, but a rebuttal" is a statement devoid of any meaning whatsoever; the terms are not mutually exclusive.

(I always tell my students, if you don't what a word means, you shouldn't use it)
Lsana
206. alreadymadwithberelad
Terez27 @188
LOL. Considering how Gawyn seems to be going downhill. It's entirely possible. Myself I'd prefer Galad with Berelain. Mr. Immovable Object, meet Ms. Unstoppable Force.
James Hogan
207. Sonofthunder
JL@199,

Pure awesomeness. Thanks for the chuckles this early morning!!
Rob Munnelly
208. RobMRobM
Terez - As one of the more senior members of this august re-read, with participation dating back to EOTW nearly a year and a half ago, I hope I speak for the group when I say that while I love and respect the many contributions you have made to the re-read since you actively joined some weeks ago, can you please take it down a notch on the tone with which you are advancing your real v. construct arguments? Offer the arguments all you want but you are coming awfully close to insulting those who don't agree with your views.

Hope this is received in the spirit given. Rob
Lsana
209. Jonathan Levy
insectoid@201
Sonofthunder@207
Tektonica@204

Glad you enjoyed it :)
Tess Laird
210. thewindrose
Jonathon Levy - dude, I am at work, please stop with these interviews:) No, please don't! They are hilarious.
I will never think of sheep swallop the same way again. And Perrin..;)

OK, so Min... Yeah, I never got the vibe that she had ever experimented with women. She was written as a tom-boy, and that doesn't mean 'I like females'. I was a tom-boy, and if I had a choice between tending horses or waiting tables - I would definitely tend horses. When she arrives in Caemlyn with the Salidar Embassy, she is crushing on Mahiro Shukosa(Rafela Cindal's warder) - he reads and recites poetry, plays the harp and loves tavern puzzles. Min hated dressing up as Elmindreda, but after that stint, she starts to feminize her clothing - which made a lot of us groan. But I also found it very realistic.

Forkroot - I hope you had a wonderful Birthday!!!

alreadymad@206 - berelad ::funny:: And Batman:)

tempest™
James Jones
211. jamesedjones
194 Terez27
but real'ers seem to assume that 'real' is the default position.
*huff*I don't think real is the default position. I think I'm unique and brilliant for discovering it. :P

PS I'm in a much better mood today (potluck for lunch), and the debate is once again funny as everyone gets worked up over it.
Alice Arneson
212. Wetlandernw
jamesedjones - . I think I'm unique and brilliant for discovering it.

ROFL! So you are, my friend, so you are. Unique and brilliant, anyway, whether the discovery is yours or not. Witty, too. :)
Lsana
213. Jonathan Levy
thewindrose@210

Sheep Swallop goes well with bloody buttered onions, doesn't it?
Tess Laird
214. thewindrose
PS I'm in a much better mood today (potluck for lunch), and the debate is once again funny as everyone gets worked up over it.


I see you Ishy'Mor'Jones:)

tempest™
James Jones
215. jamesedjones
214 thewindrose

Part of the change might be the fact that we can look forward to a new post today. Thankfully, most of us leave the old debates with the old post. ;)

I'll miss Jonathan Levy's interviews, though. Enlightening.

Twitch
James Hogan
216. Sonofthunder
jamesed@215,

Enlightening and disturbing. I'll never look at Bela in the same light again.
Noneo Yourbusiness
217. Longtimefan
@189 sweetlilflower

"I think you are perhaps the one ignoring unwanted truths to further your own agenda and keep your own beliefs intact."

That is always a possiblity. But as I said the philosophy I am working on is a bit much to post here and there are some things I have to work into better coherency.

I do appreciate your point of view as it gives me something to work with.
Chin Bawambi
218. bawambi
@171 longtimefan

Just a point you may want to consider in your philosophic development. Rather than subconcious intolerance I would suggest willful ignorance from acquaintances. The exact opposite has happenned in my experience as a female acquaintance assumed I was homosexual because I was never with anyone in her presence. People assume what they want to in my experience so that the nice little box that is their worldview is never challenged.

@ all

Very glad this forum is the exact opposite of every other place in the internet as it is so far
an oasis of mainly rational discourse.

BawambiofthetwitchingAiel
Alice Arneson
219. Wetlandernw
Longtimefan - FWIW, I'll throw in a couple of personal anecdotes... (Not that you want them, but I'll throw them in anyway. :> Because you're my friend.)

My husband and I were married for 13 wonderful years before we had kids. There was a time when we thought we might not have any, but God was kind and gave us two. Whether we had children or not, though, there is no one on earth I'd rather be with (in any sense) than my husband. That's relationship.

My brother and his wife married because they were deeply in love. After more than 10 years of trying, medical testing proved fairly conclusively that they would never be able to have children. The were disappointed, because they both love (and are great with) children, but it didn't reduce their love for one another in the slightest. They did their greiving over the loss of that particular dream, and moved on - together. They are still deeply in love with one another and very happily married. That's relationship.

My husband's brother was married and divorced three times before my husband and I married. I didn't know him at the time, so I can't give you any of his reasons. Somewhere around 15 years ago, with no desire for children whatsoever, he married again and is still quite happily married. I think there are two major differences - he's much more mature than he was for those first three, and his wife is a calm, contented and competent woman who can be happily married without being "co-dependent" in the neurotic sense. She gives him a North Star to steer by, if you will, and he's a much nicer person to be around these days. That's relationship.

I think your biggest error in the post I labeled "unfortunate" was phrasing your argument as though "relationship" and "reproduction" are mutually exclusive purposes. Some relationships result in reproduction, and some don't. Homosexual relationships, by definition, cannot result in reproduction without extraordinary measures (as mentioned by someone else). Some heterosexual relationships result in reproduction, while others do not. If you're trying to write a reasoned philosophy, you need to make sure you don't manufacture "opposites" which do not, in fact, exist. It weakens your argument to the point of indefensibility.

By all means, you can argue that those in homosexual pairings are there solely for the relationship, though I don't think its entirely true. But you can't (successfully) argue that those in heterosexual pairings are there solely for the purpose of reproduction. If you try it, you'll be completely dismissed by anyone who doesn't already agree with you, and probably by some who do.
Noneo Yourbusiness
220. Longtimefan
@219 Wetlandernw

I completely understand what you are saying. I will think on it.

It is not currently nor was it my intent to state that they are mutually exclusive but without getting really rambly that is not going to be as easily presented.

The most difficult thing I have had to accept is that there will always be people who may not accept the points I am trying to make no matter how I present them. It is not because the point is invalid. It may be because I did not state it well or it may be because it is not a point the person can accept with the other ideas that are so much more valuable to them.

The foundation of every argument is "I am not wrong, I am just not clear."

:)

I like a blanket statement. They are warm and cozy.

I know it is not always the foundation of every argument but seriously if I was to include all the addendums and wherefores and then explain how they also were connected my posts would be so long even I would not read them.

:)

I am going to use smiley faces more often.

I hope it lightens my words so people realize I am not as stern as I may sound.

Bryan Dillon

A digital construct in your world. :)
Eric Hughes
221. CireNaes
Terez27@194

I've typically enjoyed your contributions so far. A deep breathing technique has helped me greatly with my more visceral tendencies. I highly recommend it. It is the most effective way to reengage the prefrontal cortex. This is not a dig, just a suggestion...after a few deep breaths.

Edit: for correct post number.
Heidi Byrd
222. sweetlilflower
@longtimefan
I would be interested in reading your book, when do you expect publication? As long as it does not interfere with my pre-Dragon*Con re-read anyway :)
Do you have any other philosophers that you draw from, or were heavily influenced by? Somehow I can see you liking Spinoza...

:) FTW!
Eric Hughes
223. CireNaes
Tektonica@204

Thanks. And I used to favor the realer view as a gut reaction, then I leaned towards the construct view based on some well thought out arguments. But now that I've taken a step back and done my own thinking about the subject with a thorough look at how RJ built his world's theological system, I've fully reversed my view on the topic rather than just giving more weight to one side or the other.

I used to be of the opinion that this one can't be solved enough for me to feel right about taking a full on view one way or the other. But when you're talking about what exactly makes up a person in WoT and since we know a good portion of the details on how life and death works too, I'm no longer of that opinion.
Vincent Lane
224. Aegnor
Longtimefan@171,

"The subconcious intolerance made people assume that any girl I spent a lot of time with must be my "girlfriend"."

Not really. It is just prior experience creating assumptions. It has absolutely nothing to do with intolerance. Not that there wasn't intolerance at the school (I'm sure there probably was), but that had little to do with their assumptions. When we meet someone, we make hundreds of assumptions. It is the only way we survive, and maintain our sanity, with the limited knowledge that we have about the world around us. When the overwhelming majority of people they come into contact with are straight, they will naturally assume that the person they are meeting is straight, unless other factors lead them to change that assumption. For instance if they were in a gay bar, than the assumption would be turned on its head, and they would likely assume any person they came into contact with was gay (even though they could be wrong in that case too).

And there is nothing wrong with either case. Making assumptions is how we deal with the dearth of information we have about the world around us.
Marcus W
225. toryx
Longtimefan @ 168:

Man, I was really on your side with a lot of things until it came to this:

Reproduction is the point of heterosexual behavior.

Relationship is the point of homosexual behavior.


Look: Part of the problem that occurs in every argument is the tendency for one side (and often both) to make sweeping generalizations. It doesn't work. You can't defend your own perspective by assaulting the other to establish a stereotype or a generalization. Fighting fire with fire only ends in both sides getting burned.

So sure, you have a point. A large portion of western society (and worldwide society) is focused rather heavily on reproduction. It is definitely a huge financial industry these days and we're pretty much socially conditioned from start to follow a basic genetic instinct that is present in every organism on the planet.

And it's not just hetero either. A lot of those organizations that make money off fertilization treatments and alternative methods of reproduction are doing quite well providing sevices to homosexual unions (or even singles) as well. Not as much as they could be, given societal resistance but that doesn't dismiss the existence of the desire to reproduce on all sides.

Then there are heterosexuals like myself and many of my friends who not only do not desire to reproduce, they actively choose to remove the possibility.

I'm just saying; I understand where you're coming from, I get the frustration that you have in a lot of the inequality that still persists in our society but don't go and try to lump the opposing faction in one group. Two wrongs don't make a right and my heterosexuality is not defined by my ability to impregnate a person of my sexual preference.

Before posting: This is probably a moot point since Wetlandernw has already spoken to my point (good points at 219 by the way) but I still think it's valid so I'm posting it, by golly! About 15 minutes before Leigh's new post is likely to appear.
Joseph Blaidd
226. SteelBlaidd
CireNaes @177

Som excelent thopughts if some what convolutedly expresed. In a truly delightful expresion of repeating paterns that debate over the ontological nature of Rand, LTT, and the Dragon( reborn and not) has interesting arralels with the, mutch more serious, 4th and 5th century debates over whether Christ had one nature or two and what that nature was. ( i just finished a facinating and very entertaning book on the subject titled JEsus Wars, Highly recomended).

After my own examintion of the subjhect I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the disagrement is a result of poor terminology. The actualy question is not the REality of LTT but the seperatness. In other words, is the voice in Rands head a distinct entity with seperate Ontological existance or, is it an aspect of the entity otherwise known as Rand Al'Thor. For the record while I belive Rand is realy hearing a real voice in his head(at least as real as you can get when you are a character in a worh of fiction :D ) I also believe LTT to be a part of Rand not a seperate entity.

torix@225
you mean MOOT point.
Marcus W
227. toryx
steelblaidd @ 226:

Damn spellchecker! You're right, thanks. I find it funny, however, that you're correcting my word choice while misspelling my name. ;)
Eric Hughes
228. CireNaes
SteelBlaidd@226

"In other words, is the voice in Rands head a distinct entity with seperate Ontological existance or, is it an aspect of the entity otherwise known as Rand Al'Thor."

Ontology is convoluted, but I agree I could have cleaned up my thought process more. So effectively they are sharing the same soul and body. This forces one back to the definition of the makeup of personhood in WoT, while taking into account the Reincarnation picture. So you have a distinct and real entity that does not have a separate existence outside of the shared soul and body, but can snuff out the other entity he is sharing his soul and body with.

Did you type that on a phone? If so that is an impressive chunk of text, but I think you meant...Some, excellent, thoughts, convoluted expression, expression, patterns, parallels, much, fascinating, entertaining, recommended, examination, subject, disagreement, actually, separateness, separate, existence, believe, really, worth, existence (again), separate (again)...and finally toryx.
Lsana
229. wawwen
I don't really want to jump in this "how RJ portrayed homosexuality in WOT" debate, not because I don't care or I don't have an opinion, but because it reminds me of one blog entry from Neil Gaiman last year about George RR Martin's pace of writing. The blog is called "Entitlement Issues" and was fairly widely read from what I remember. It's easy to google as well.

"George RR Martin is not your bitch"
"George RR Martin is not working for you"

Replace "George RR Martin" with "Robert Jordan" or "Brandon Sanderson" and it's still valid.

The blog itself deals with the creative process and the time involved as an extension of how long it takes to write, but this context applies to more than just time spent writing. You create art based on what you know and what inspires you, generally this is based on your own life experiences. You don't create art to appeal to mass market political correctness.

Artists do not owe us anything. Nothing. You are free to read a different novel, view a different painting, see a different orchestra, listen to a different band.

RJ doesn't owe us a fast paced plot.
RJ doesn't owe us a book a year.
RJ doesn't owe us realistic renaissance through pre-industrial musical development.
RJ doesn't owe us completely realistic homosexual experiences.
RJ doesn't owe us a plausible and factual invention of the cannon and/or firearms.
RJ doesn't owe us non-virgin to non-virgin sexual encounters.

The veneer of plausibility for some elements is enough for his story, and often it's enough. Even the veneer of plausibility is a great deal more than other authors.

Are there things that bother me in the story as not fleshed out and/or unrealistic? Sure. There's a complete lack of higher musical development in randland society, the kind that logically would filter down into tavens so that Mat has music to dance do with women. Thom isn't even close to the image of a Troubadour or Trouvere, even though that is clearly what he is meant to evoke, and is more like a traveling minstrel. There's a complete lack of the kind of musical development in randland that would even allow the development of the harp (even the smaller one Thom carries) much less a flute. Yet here's a guy on the fringes of society (minstrel) that supposedly played (and still does on occasion) to kings and queens (Troubadour/Trouvere).

But does RJ owe me the rest of the story? To show me the development of early patron orchestras and composers in service to nobility? The kind of real musical development that went on in renaissance through pre-industrial western society? Does he owe me an explanation of what stage of development wind instruments (flute) are in?

Am I an expert in music? Sure am. Do I play professional flute? Sure do. But I don't see "Thom plays the flute" and demand to know how what is an essentially traveling minstrel (realm of the poor) is doing playing a wind instrument (realm of the rich) instead of something like a lute or mandolin and singing.

Then I remember. Robert Jordan isn't my bitch. I can't expect to see a full development of western music history unfolding in parallel with the story, no matter how anachronistic Thom and his flute scream at me.

I don't think any of us can say we need to see more or less or more balance of anything in the story. Writing is ART. It's up to the creator of the art to write what they want, not what we want. We end up with boring books if the author is concerned with political correctness and portraying enough of every segment of the population in a good light vs how many in a bad light then he or she is dishonest and not true to themselves. Maybe we end up with a bad book. Maybe RJ tries so hard to be inclusive we have another 20 characters and another 4 books of plodding pace and plotlines we hate.

If you watched that season of LOST where the producers introduced Nikki and Paolo, how completely inserted and unorganic they felt to the story, you'd have an idea of fanservice and how the LOST producers listening to the fanbase and giving them what they want ended up not even being what the fanbase wanted.

I'd like to see more on the musical development in randland. You'd like to see more on homosexual relations. I think we both need to step back from ourselves and realize that just because we're reading the book doesn't mean we're "owed" certain content from the author.

We're not owed anything by the author just because we spend $10 on the book.
Alice Arneson
230. Wetlandernw
Wow!! Well said. I think we all have things we'd like to see (or not see) in a book, but as you say, it's not our right to expect or demand it.

BTW, I loved your example of music; I'm not (by any stretch!) a professional musician, but I do both play and deeply enjoy music. To be honest, I hadn't considered the "plausibility" of Thom - or Rand! - wandering all around Randland with a flute when we really see nothing more than small ensembles of two or three instruments together. But then, it's not the point, is it? :) Again, well said.
Theresa Gray
231. Terez27
wetlander@198 - I'm well aware that you were serious, but that doesn't change the fact that you were being overly dramatic.

Ellid@205 - I'm well aware of the meaning of 'straw man'.

Rob@208 - There are more ways than one to be snide and insulting, and I'm not a fan of those who employ the less honest methods.
T C
232. Freelancer
Terez27,

Ellid was insinuating that it was I who didn't understand what a straw man was, not you. I had thought to respond to this earlier and had become far too busy to get around to it, but since it comes up again...

Isilel@89 said:
Generally, it is IMHO just another area where RJ's old-fashioned sensibilities shone through. Like how even in WoT (a setting of supposed gender equality) a man having tons of meaningless affairs is cool while for the woman it is the opposite.
This statement struck Wetlandernw (and myself) as plainly saying that Jordan's sensibilities were responsible for a weakness in his storytelling. I'm quite sure that is what Isilel meant, and she's within her rights to feel that way. Ellid@93 followed up by agreeing with Isilel, and went on to say:
Another example of RJ's old-timey sensibilities showing through? Graendel loves male and female beauty and is this wicked, decadent hedonist and we are clearly meant to think that she uses all of her "pretties" for sex (men and women). However, her closest male FS counterpart, Rahvin, well, clearly he only has a harem of women... not attractive men that he uses for sex.

The fact that RJ went out of his way to start showing us little bits and pieces of female homosexuality when it adds virtually nothing to the saga, but then doesn't reciprocate on the opposite side is telling about his personality. It doesn't make him evil or anything, but it does show that he finds lesbians and bisexual women titillating.
This seems to me to not only recognize the same intent from Isilel which I describe above but to build upon it with further refined descriptions. She is welcome to correct me if her intent by those words was something else, but it seems clear that she is underlining story aspects which she finds less than desirable, and assigning them as being due to the author's particular sensibilities.

Then, when Wetlandernw@118 asked the question which those previous comments begged:
So "old-fashioned sensibilities" are a major failing in a writer?
She is accused by Ellid of standing up a straw man. The import of the comments by both Isilel and Ellid were indeed that Jordan's old-fashioned sensibilities contributed to a weakness in the storytelling. Now, I am neither commenting on nor judging the merits of those statements, only that Wetlandernw perceived them as they were intended, and asked a straightforward question based on those intentions, not one which falsely assigned a different meaning to the words. That would have been a straw man.
Bridget Sullivan
233. Ellid
Terez27@231,

Freelancer is indeed correct when replying that was accusing Wetlanderw of emplying the straw man fallacy. I apologize if you perceived I was talking to you.

Grrr. I wish we had some sort of threaded comments here.

However, back to you Freelancer -

"She is accused by Ellid of standing up a straw man. The import of the comments by both Isilel and Ellid were indeed that Jordan's old-fashioned sensibilities contributed to a weakness in the storytelling. "

This, I think Isilel and I would agree is failrly correct. However, once again, I don't really see anyone saying it is a failing at all - it is just a habit on the part of the author that is a comment worthy that may impact on someone's enjoyment of the story because it can be perceived as a choice made by the author that calls attention to itself for reasons discussed elsewhere.

However the straw man is this:

When Wetlanderw sez:

"So "old-fashioned sensibilities" are a major failing in a writer?"

No one said that at all. It's a distortion of Isllel's point written in such a way to make it look stupid and thus easily contradicted.

Firstly, not only did Isilel not really say that it was a "failing," but a "major failing?" No one said that.

Secondly, certainly no one said that having "moral values" is a failing, let alone a major one.

Have a good day, people.
James Jones
234. jamesedjones
231 Terez27
Rob@208 - There are more ways than one to be snide and insulting, and I'm not a fan of those who employ the less honest methods.
Nothing less honest about his approach. It's just more diplomatic, and, as such, more appreciated.
Lsana
235. paintedfoot
"... however, it does not change the fact that this scene with Toveine and Logain makes me deeply uncomfortable."

Not a surprise. We've been told throughout the series that bonding a man against his will is equivalent to rape. So having a woman bonded against her will (i.e. raped) having a massive orgasm at the end of the process is... uh ... "deeply uncomfortable" and brings up all kind of even more uncomfortable thoughts about rape fantasies, and unconsensual intercourse that results in some pleasure for the victim etc etc...
All in all Allanna really screwed the pooch by opening the use of forced bonding as a weapon/tactic in this WOT war.

Re Logain:
I appreciate that he understands that while the bonding of prisoner Aes Sedai is necessary, the "happy ending" is a violation.

The compulsion-lite, dom/sub stuff with the wife bond, I can do without. However the "extra bit" is a sweet way to seal the deal for newlyweds. :)

I do like how Jordan made the different combinations of bonds between genders very distinct. If only Rand had thought to bond an Ashaman. Now that would have been interesting. Can a man who can channel who has been bonded as a warder bind another? Probably not. But enquiring minds want to know.
Robert Crawley
236. Alphaleonis
Currently rereading the Old Testament. Homosexuality doesn't fare too well in Moses or Abraham's day. In real life, the Creator balefired two cities for it. In God's Law given by dictation to Moses, it was a capital offense.Today's political correctness is in many areas the Creators incorrectness. Let's not us go poking our fingers in the Creator's eye. Or spit in his face. It's safer to spit in sightblinder's face.
Lsana
237. Nine Quiet Lessons
@Alphaleonis

You could probably stand to go back and re-read the Old Testament a little more closely, then, because your reading comprehension is not up to snuff. The sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, but a failure of charity.

For example: "As I live, says the Lord GOD, your
sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." -Ezekiel 16:46-50.

Also see: "...the Sodomites, overweeningly proud of their numbers and the extent of their wealth, showed themselves insolent to men and impious to the Divinity, insomuch that they no more remembered the benefits that they had received from him, hated foreigners and declined all intercourse with others. Indignant at this conduct, God accordingly resolved to chastise them for their arrogance..." Josephus, Antiquities I: 194-5

The sort of sloppy scholarship evinced in your post makes you look less like someone concerned about God's Law and more like a bigot attempting to cloak your prejudice in religious terms.
Alice Arneson
238. Wetlandernw
Nine Quiet Lessons - So in the New Testament, when homosexual practice gets included in the list with fornication, idolatry, adultery, sodomy, thieft, coveting, drunkenness, reviling and extortion as "unrighteousness," what's that? And when it clearly states that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God? Any thoughts on the "bigotry" of that statement?
Theresa Gray
239. Terez27
That was Peter, was it not? I've seen a lot of people argue that Peter was prejudiced, but Jesus was not.
Alice Arneson
240. Wetlandernw
Actually, it was in a letter from Paul, to whom I've also seen that argument applied. I don't buy it, though; I figure if God is creative enough to give us His written word, He's both creative enough and careful enough to make sure it says what He wants it to say no matter who was holding the pen at the time.

In any case, the context of that list is that those who belong to God will be washed clean of the whole list of sins, so they will inherit the kingdom no matter what they had done in the past. "And such were some of you, but you were washed...."
James Whitehead
241. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
According to John 3:16 all who believe in Jesus shall have life eternal as God loves us all; not just the righteous & the charitable & the good, but all.

'Course this does beg the question as to what happens to all those non-Christians who live a good life when they die. Personally I like CS Lewis' idea in his final Narnia book, The Last Battle. Aslan speaks to a Carolmene soldier who lived a good life & obeyed Tash's, his nations laws, saying that all good he did in Tash's name he actually did in Aslan's (and his father's) name.

Makes sense, to me at least, that one can live as Jesus & God wants us to, per both the Old & New Testaments, but have not heard of Christ. Otherwise those who haven't heard the News kinda get it in the shorts for nothing more than having been born in an inconvenient place.

Also, God gave us free will so we don't have to listen to His message. We are not marionettes for Him to use we are the captains of our own fates. Even Christ's disciples didn't understand everything that he taught them. We're here to live, learn, love, care for one another, and come to an understanding of God as best each of us can. We're not here to judge one another or are we here to say who is good and who is not.

Sorry if the wall o' text above doesn't flow well, it is very hard to discuss something such as this electronically. I do remember the whole issue of our relationship with God being put it as the finite (us) trying to understand the infinite (God), an impossible task (I apologize for no attribution, but I do not remember who said it).

Kato

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