May 24 2011 2:19pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 6

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanHey, kids. Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 5 of Knife of Dreams, in which, well. You’ll see.

Please note that this post contains discussion of a sensitive and controversial topic which tends to get people riled up and emotional. Therefore I ask that everyone exercise their usual respect and restraint in the comments discussing it. As always, constructive debate yay; ad hominem attacks and trollery, nay.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 5: Something… Strange

What Happens
Faile serves Sevanna wine in her tent, and hopes that pretending to be tamed does not turn into actually being tamed; she frets that she will not escape in time to keep Perrin from getting himself killed trying to rescue her. Sevanna asks Therava how long she intends to continue beating Galina, and Therava tells her that as long as the bruises on Galina’s face last, the rest of her will be bruised as well. Faile tries not to look at Galina, who is naked and weeping on the floor, all of her hair singed off, and worries that the Aes Sedai might truly be broken now, and might blurt all her secrets to Therava regardless of whether Faile manages to get the rod from Therava’s tent. She further frets about the number of gai’shain who have sworn loyalty to her, and the increasing difficulty of keeping it all secret. Therava and Sevanna have meanwhile begun arguing about whether to move on or stay in Malden, and Therava taunts Sevanna about her mad plan to marry Rand al’Thor, even still.

[Therava:] “There is much feeling against staying here. Many of the sept chiefs press the red disc on their nar’baha every morning. I advise you to heed the Wise Ones.”

Nar’baha. That would mean “box of fools” or something very near. But what could this be? Bain and Chiad were still teaching her about Aiel ways, when they could find time, and they had never mentioned any such thing.

[…] “We remain here,” Sevanna said angrily, flinging her goblet to the carpets in a spray of wine. “I speak for the clan chief, and I have spoken!”

“You have spoken,” Therava agreed calmly. “Bendhuin, sept chief of the Green Salts, has received permission to go to Rhuidean. He left five days ago with twenty of his algai’d’siswai and four Wise Ones to stand witness.”

Faile has to leave the tent before she can hear more, and tells herself the struggle between Therava and Sevanna is not her concern. She heads to the gai’shain portion of the camp, and runs into the Wise One Meira on the way, who makes a comment about wondering if some “drunken fool had pulled [her] into a tent.”

“No one accosted me, Wise One,” Faile said quickly. Several had in the last few weeks, some drunk and some not, but Rolan always appeared in the nick of time. Twice the big Mera’din had had to fight to save her, and once he had killed the other man. She had expected nine kinds of uproar and trouble, but the Wise Ones judged it a fair fight, and Rolan said her name had never been mentioned. For all that Bain and Chiad insisted it went against all custom, assault was a constant danger for gai’shain women here. She was sure that Alliandre had been assaulted once, before she and Maighdin also acquired Mera’din shadows. Rolan denied having asked them to help her people. He said they were just bored and looking for something to do.

Meira commands her to report on Sevanna’s activities, which Faile dutifully does (preening and lounging, mostly), until she is interrupted:

[…] everything in front of her eyes rippled. She rippled! It was not imagination. Meira’s blue eyes widened as far as they could go; she had felt it, too. Again everything rippled, including herself, harder than before. In shock, Faile stood up straight and let go of her robe. A third time the world rippled, harder still, and as it passed through her, she felt as if she might blow away in a breeze, or simply dissipate in a mist.

Panting, Faile asks Meira what it was, but Meira doesn’t know, and hurries on her way. Everyone in the camp is upset, touching themselves to make sure they are still there. Faile goes to her tent to find Alliandre, who had been beaten for not pleasing Sevanna enough the day before and is deep in a black depression. Faile tries to cheer her, reassuring her that the ripples change nothing about their plans, until Aravine summons her to meet with Alvon and his son Theril, who are famous among the gai’shain for having run away three times and almost making it each time. Theril, it turns out, has managed to steal the rod from Therava’s tent, and he gives it to Faile, who quickly hides it up her sleeve.

It felt like glass, and was distinctly cool to the touch, cooler than the morning air. Perhaps it was an angreal or a ter’angreal. That would explain why Galina wanted it, if not why she had not taken it herself. Hand buried in her sleeve, Faile gripped the rod hard. Galina was no longer a threat. Now she was salvation.

She promises Alvon and Theril that even if she cannot take them with her in the initial escape, she will come back for them no matter what. Alvon scoffs, replying that he already knew Faile would not abandon them. Faile then sees that Rolan is standing there listening, and hurriedly sends the others away. Rolan comes up to her and tells her to be careful with her dangerous plan, as he might not be here to protect her much longer; the Mera’din are thinking of returning to the Three-Fold Land, as the Shaido have begun to sicken them. Faile pretends not to know what he is talking about with “dangerous plans”; Rolan starts putting flowers in her hair, and informs her that she plans to escape. She asks if he will tell on her, and he says no.

“Jhoradin thinks he will take Lacile Aldorwin back to the Three-fold Land with him even if she is a treekiller. He believes he may convince her to make a bridal wreath to lay at his feet.” Lacile had found her own protector by climbing into the blankets of the Mera’din who had made her gai’shain, and Arrela had done the same with one of the Maidens who had captured her, but Faile doubted that Jhoradin would attain his wish. Both women were focused on escape like arrows aimed at a target. “And now that I think on it, I may take you with me if we go.”

Faile tells him she loves her husband, but Rolan counters that whatever is done while in gai’shain white doesn’t count, and he intends to let her go afterwards, if they leave. Faile stares in shock, and begins punching him for letting her think he wouldn’t have helped her escape; he grins and tells her a man cannot seem “too eager.” Faile begins to laugh and cry at the same time, caught between trusting to Galina’s plan, or relying on Rolan, who might not even leave, and would continue trying to seduce her in the meantime. Later, she hides the rod and is glad she did, as Therava proceeds to turn the camp upside down looking for it.

All Faile could do was think about her hiding place inside the town and pray. Hope and danger, and no way to untangle them.

It doesn’t count. It doesn’t count. YOU GUYS, IT DOESN’T COUNT.


*wipes tears* Oh my God, that is hilarious. That is horrible. It’s both. It’s hilarious and horrible. It’s hilarrible. It’s horrablious.

Seriously, are we in Vegas now? What happens in gai’shain white stays in gai’shain white? WTF, over?

Okay, okay, fine, I get it, whatever, but I’m sorry, that’s just so… heh. Gai’shain sex doesn’t count? Well, now it all makes sense! No kinks in Aiel culture, nosiree. Hahaha.

I’m glad this is amusing me, really, because it helps distract me from what fills most of the rest of this chapter, which is that as the Shaido degenerate culturally, life in Malden is becoming more and more like… well, like real life. Which is disturbing on more levels than just the obvious.

I’m… really kind of conflicted here on how I feel about this development, and I’ve been trying for literally hours to figure out how to express what I’m having a problem with here without either sounding too dismissive or overly… something about the whole thing. I’m still not sure I succeeded, but it’s already two o’clock in the morning and this thing has got to get posted, so here’s my best shot.

See, here’s the thing, and it’s kind of crazy I feel the need to state this up front, but anyway: I would be wildly, deliriously happy to live in a world where there was no rape. I would be thrilled beyond description to live in a world where women could live free of that constant, oppressive undercurrent of faint (or not so faint) threat, that nagging worry that infuriatingly and unavoidably borders almost every aspect of women’s lives, and informs so many decisions it should have absolutely nothing to do with, and yet does.

(Anyone who feels the impulse to argue this point, consider this: approximately one out of every six women in the United States will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Fear of rape isn’t paranoia, it’s playing the fucking odds.)

A world without that endless, draining, low-grade fear would be, and this is the understatement of the geological age, totally fucking awesome. And for the most part, up until this point this is more or less exactly the world Robert Jordan created in WOT.

Think about that for a moment.

It follows logically, you see: in a world where women are the dominant gender, rape of women as a commonplace crime—which is all about dominance and power, and targeting the weak, and rarely if ever actually about sex—would not exist. It can’t, not without making your entire worldbuilding thesis a big lie. And Jordan obviously realized this.

So sure, in Randland you might get robbed, or swindled, or murdered, or cooked in a Trolloc cookpot, or, you know, wiped out of existence in a fiery world-ending apocalypse—but raped, no. Not as an ordinary thing, the way it is in the real world. (And that last might be the single most depressing sentence I’ve ever typed, but that doesn’t make it any less true.)

Before this point, the only mention of rape in WOT as a common practice that I can recall is in reference to Myrddraal, various Forsaken, and Fain—which only proves the point. Basically, in Jordan’s world you had to be more or less literally a monster to even consider the notion.

Until this chapter. Well, until this storyline, but especially highlighted in this chapter.

And it’s awful. For the obvious reasons, for one, but also because it throws into sharp relief the fundamental problem that’s been there all along, which is that Jordan’s supposition of a mostly rape-free world is, sadly, completely unrealistic.

And that fucking sucks, not to put too fine a point on it.

Because again, in the end it’s about power. Yes, sure, in Randland any female channeler is automatically the most powerful person in the room (until the Asha’man showed up, anyway), and thus more than able to live free of fear of all but the most extraordinary assault, but it’s really never been adequately explained why that immunity washes over onto the 95% of women in Randland who can’t channel.

The problem is that Jordan, to all appearances, made the decision to have certain things simply not exist in Randland, without really addressing any of the logistical issues involved with making them disappear. The most glaring omission (often pointed out by fans) is the total lack of any organized religious institutions, but this one in my opinion runs a close second.

And I’ve always been extremely divided on how I feel about this in my own mind. On the one hand, I love it, and want to compare it to the kind of deliberate artistic statement characterized by practices like color-blind casting: don’t like the world the way it is? Pretend it isn’t that way, until it really isn’t. Perception as a projection of a wished-for reality, or something. If life isn’t fair, let art be, right?

So the idealist in me thinks it’s great. The cynical part of me, on the other hand, is forced to observe that rape, or the threat of it, is an evil so endemic and pervasive in women’s lives that it must be considered one of the single greatest factors preventing gender equality in the world today, and that perhaps achieving fictional gender parity by simply disappearing the issue, without even attempting to provide a rationale for how such a thing would be accomplished, is, well, maybe a little bit cheap.

Either way, though, it seems like the better artistic choice would have been to stick with the decision once made, and not call attention to it so sharply by having events go this way in Malden, where every single patriarchal stereotype in existence, practically, seems to be all of a sudden rearing its head, in total blithe disregard of what went before, and by extension casting all that went before it into doubt. Which, as I might have already mentioned, really fucking sucks.

Have I also mentioned that I really bloody loathe this storyline?

Okay, I really was going to lighten things up after all that with a nice Mat chapter, but unfortunately I am about to die and it’s just not going to happen. However, if you all promise to play nice in the comments, I’ll promise in return to get you three, count ‘em THREE whole chapters of Mat for next week. How about them apples, eh? I thought you’d like that! So be excellent in commentage, people, and I will see you next Tuesday!

1. Flamingwombat
What no comments yet? Thank you Leigh
2. Paulie
Woohoo...new post...now to read it!
3. Cork
"Yes, sure, in Randland any female channeler is automatically the most
powerful person in the room (until the Asha’man showed up, anyway), and thus more than able to live free of fear of all but the most
extraordinary assault, but it’s really never been adequately explained
why that immunity washes over onto the 95% of women in Randland who can’t channel."

Because wilders don't look any different from non-channeling women?
4. LittleLady
In ACOS Ch 35, Min has a vision about Daved Hanlon and tells Caraline Damodred about it. She thinks to herself,

"How to explain what she did know about Hanlon now, that his hands would be red with more rapes and murders before he died?"

That seems to imply that he has done these things before and will obviously be doing these things again. I think I also remember a reference to "cornering a woman in a barn," which at the time I found an amusing phrase in one of the past books (I'm up to ACOS in my own re-read).

So I think (and could be way off, of course) that rape did exist in the WOT world prior to KoD, just probably not that often, and probably because of the reasons Leigh has outlined.

I was also thinking that most people outside of the cities don't seem to recognize the ageless face, so perhaps that keeps women from being attacked as often, for fear any random woman in nice dress could be Aes Sedai. But I guess cutpurses tend to attack everyone all the time in WOT's rougher cities, so never mind!
5. jelsel
hi Leigh,

thnx for the re-read and your vehement comments ;)

you point out though that's it's not the artistic choice for the "realistic" world to pop in this late in the series.

Looking from an other angle though, phrasing your earlier comment how the rape is done by villains/monsters/Fain, it actually emphasizes the point of the Shaido becoming the bad guys....

there's two cents ;)
6. Tzwolf
If it didn't exist before this, what do you call what happened to Morgase? Just because something isn't mentioned in polite society does not mean that it does not exist.
7. wcarter4
I don't think its fair to say that rape doesn't exist in the WoT world. Rather, it's just not something focused on as there are bigger, more pressing matters at hand for the characters who get the most screen time.

Going by the 'rape isn't sex it's power, control, and humiliation definition used in the above recap there are many instances of rape or attempted rape in Randland:

EVERY damane ever, including Egwene
Mat was raped literally and figuratively
Moraine had to deal with a corrupt innkeeper in New Spring that tryied to give her drugged wine (ostensibly to sell her to brigands for just such a purpose)
There is the Galina/Thereva thing
And of course there is Faile now.

One has to remember that the characters whose POV we get are lenses that filter what we see about the world. The duopotamian culture probably doesn't have many instances of rape. Neither I would imagine, is it something the average Aes Sedai or noble would worry about though we do get the impression that the noblemen go "wenching" for "commoner's daughters in Mat's angered POV during a card game in the Stone.

In other words, rape happens in this world. It's just something that RJ and Sanderson don't focus much on in part because they are men and don't live in fear of it, and in part because it truly is a disgusting, depraved act and probably don't feel it needs much screen time.
8. RanchoUnicorno
The trouble that I'm seeing with your assertion of a woman rape-free world is that it presumes that we have been party to the troubles of the 95%. As you so accurately point out, a Channeler would make an unlikely target for a crime of power. When nearly every woman you focus on is able to Channel, rape is unlikely to show up.

Examples of those who we encoutner on a regular basis that might be threatened because of a lack of Channeling ability are:
- Perin, who doesn't seem like someone who could be threatened easily
- Mat, who you point out was assaulted
- Tuon, who you can't get within a half mile of without being killed
- Faile, who is threatened when in a position of weakness
- Morgase, who was raped both when in and out of power
- any of the non WO Aiel, where a rapist will probably get a spear shoved where the sun don't shine for their troubles

I'm sure there are others, but the focus of these books are on those in a position of power and who are generally the forces of good, who can Channel or are protected by those who can Channel. Those who would commit rape are punished by authorial indictment as evil or inappropriate (at least, in the case of Queen whatsherface) - even here, Jordan imputes that the Shaido have degenerated from People of the Dragon to meriting the title Shaido Dogs.

I'd keep rambling, but I should get some work done today.
9. Mystery Reader
Well, horrible and hilarious summarizes the entire synopsis, plot, quotes, names, and world building. Ugh, this is exactly why I don't read more of this genre - not only the unPC weirdness, but the freaky names, mock-Medieval alt planet worlds, "different for the sake of being different" details - UGH.
"Jhoradin thinks he will take Lacile Aldorwin back to the Three-fold Land with him even if she is a treekiller ." WTF?
Tolkein it is not.
10. 1-Bar
Yeah I remember this being a 'wait....what....?' moment the first time I read it through. "...in Jordan’s world you had to be more or less literally a monster to even consider the notion." I think this may answer the question as to why he did it though. He wanted to show just how far the Shaido had fallen and this illustrates the point completely.
11. ftbleighjkjk
2 in the morning, Leigh? Way to put it off til the last minute. Still, I get it; you were probably blowing through the final chapters of Storm of Swords; that shit's hard to put down, yeah? Where the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Red Wedding SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER - man. I don't blame you one bit.
Srsly though, I love your posts, I love the gender politics and the way you force me (not like, rape force) to reconsider the male privilege I take for granted daily. It's good stuff.
Having said that though, 1 chapter for this entire week? And from the PLOD? I wish one of two things: that you took this re-read just a little more seriously (srsly), or that I led the sort of life where these posts weren't something I seriously (srsly) look forward to each week. See you on Friday.
Daniel Smith
12. Smittyphi
I pretty much agree with wcarter4. Because Jordan/Sanderson don't talk about it much, it's hard not to think it doesn't go on. Mat/Tylin is too much of a grey area to include it either way as that discussion has been played out already.

I'm sure it goes on, I'm just happy that it doesn't get dwelt on in th books as I don't like to read about it extesively in my fantasy books.
Kat Blom
13. pro_star
wcarter4@7 is right. IIRC (sorry, I've been doing my own re-read of ASOIAF right now...got direwolves in the brain) there has also Siuan comments on assaults I'm sure...and I think some comments from other characters on "lucky to get away with only your purse stolen"...but...I can't back that up. Sleep madness + haven't read WoT in a while = ZOMBIEKAT!
14. Megaduck
I suppose the knowlage that any woman you meet might be able to rip you in half by blinking might have something to do with it. On the other hand I'm pretty sure Aes Sedai are really that common. Counting the tower and the Kin there are probably around 5,000 odd woman who can channel with any degree of reliability, on a continent the size of europe.

I suppose it could be because the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and the wheel wills no rape.
15. desertpaladin
Maybe its just me, but my take on all this isn't that Jordan was necessarily trying to focus on the issue of rape at all. It certainly is mentioned and whatnot, but you mentioned that so far in our experience of Randland that only monsters have been shown to rape so far. Now we have the Shaido doing something similar.

To me it has less to do with the act of rape, and more to show the consequence of a strictly honor based society that has given up their honor. When you set a code of conduct for yourself and then infringe upon it, in even a slight way, it becomes all the easier to take another step past that moral line, and then another, and then another.

To me Jordan is showing us how slippery that slope is and giving us that view of things. So far we've only seen the monsters, now we get to see the people as they willingly choose to become monsters. That isn't something we always see in fiction, and I think its fairly interesting to look at.
Jericho Ambrose
16. JerichoAmbrose
To me, it seems that sexual assault did exist in the Randland before this, but because we can only see the world through the eyes of the main characters, it hasn't been something that was an issue for these specific women till this point:

Egwene and Nynaeve grew up in a small town where, if Rand is any indicator, the thought process for the men in the town is they would rather take a dagger than to let harm come to a woman they knew. When they leave they can channel so they gained that protective ability

Elayne was the heir of the throne, who we also knew could channel and was surrounded by what are described as incredibly trustworthy guards, at least until Morgase is compelled by "Gaebril" to send them all away.

Faile had a similar upbringing as Elayne (minus being able to channel) being the heir apparent before she left.

I'm not saying it wasn't present for others though:
Morgase was forced into Valda's bed in Crown of Swords. And I definitely wasn't under any illusions that she did that truly in a consenting manner.

You also sort of forgot what happened to Mat. He is relentlessly pursued by Queen Tylin. If the genders had been reversed the things she did to him would be considered torture. Denying him food, groping him when she manages to get him alone, and I'm sure there are other parts I have left out. While he eventually responds to her advances, the extremity of her forcing herself on him always sort of bothered me.

I think that threat was likely present for most other women in the world of Robert Jordan, but I think we have been lucky(?) to have women where that threat maybe didn't loom over their heads as it might for other women.
Marcus W
17. toryx
Rape is such a hot button topic that I'm reluctant to go anywhere near it. So I'm only going to address it a little and slightly at that.

I never saw Randland as a world without rape and I don't see it that way now after reading this post. Others have mentioned the appearance of it within the books already so I don't even need to go there.

I suspect, however, that there's certainly some truth in that it happens less frequently. Whereas in this country we do have the 1 in 6 statistic I'd imagine that before Aiel War, the statistics would be much more favorable. And in that sense, the reality of that danger might be less present in the character's minds.

Anyway...it's kind of interesting that this particular chapter just popped up now with the recent events in the real world. But that just means I can't really talk about it because my passion already runs hot enough about the topic as it is.

And a reminder to all my fellow posters: Don't feed the trolls. Just ignore them and they'll fade away.
Andrew Foss
18. alfoss1540
New Spring discusses the institutional rape of young boys by their carnecieras in Malkier.

Also in New Spring, when Moiraine left the innkeeper drugged and passed out - and all our discussions were that she would probably be raped - and that the Innkeepper was likely going to hold moiraine as a sex slave of some sort.

Rape was there, but not necessarily talked about.

Also to be considered (as the discussion about lack of religion) I found life in the small towns (i.e. Two Rivers) to be a little unrealistically chaste and clean where no identifiable moral structure would be present. There is Light and there is dark. But what about the shades of gray? Repentence?
j p
19. sps49
Looking forward to triple Mat next week! (hands over ears today na na na na....)

EDIT: for alfoss1540 @18-

Small towns (in the country, not suburbs) are very like the Two Rivers, probably because there are few enough people that everyone seems to know everyone else's business. And the TR as presented has a strong female presence running things, too. Getting a little "gray" with your paramour will probably lead to marriage.
20. Mystery Reader
So questioning the quality of writing is trollish? This stuff is laughable. OK, whatever.
Mark Lawrence
21. incurablyGeek
What about the triple ripple? I've forgotten what that was associated with.
Eric Hughes
22. CireNaes
So I'm going to throw something out there that wasn't addressed in the post. The regularly mentioned systemic alcoholism/drunkenness and how this looks to be the primary factor of the now widely sexually unsafe environment. I wonder if RJ was trying to make a point or two about that.

And no, I'm not trying to make a blanket statement here that all drinking is evil or that all rapists are drunkards (this was even mentioned in the quote), but the new cultural acceptance of alcohol abuse certainly seems to be driving down Leigh's randomly generated WoT 95% transference safety ratio.

Now to brace for impact...

Edit: For spelling and clarification.
Jon Morse
23. jonfmorse
Aiel society makes my head hurt.

Here's the thing: we have to accept one of two things as true. Either the Mera'din really are "good guy" Aiel that just simply refused (or could not bring themselves to) follow Rand, or they're depraved as well, just less so than the Shaido.

If the latter is true, then why attempt to elicit sympathy for the "tragic sacrifice" of Rolan and his buddies? I mean, they're still bad guys, just bad guys who were willing to help Faile and company for their own selfish reasons. If the former is true, however... if the Mera'din are still following core Aiel ways and we're meant to take their actions and views as standard... then the rape of gai'shain is commonplace in Aiel culture and has been since before Rand showed up. We just haven't been told about it until this point.

Even if that's true, it's still confusing, given we're talking about a society where it's considered a major social gaffe for a male to ask a female to marry him. (Hell, it may be a major social gaffe for a male to make the first move, although admittedly the interaction between Gaul and Chiad has been pretty unclear in that regard.) The respect shown to Aiel women by their menfolk throughout the series has been pretty much universal and almost creepy in its consistence... until we reach Malden. So even though what I'm talking about in this paragraph has only been depicted in interactions among non-gai'shain Aiel, I still have a hard time believing that just because someone's gone into indentured servitude for a year to meet toh that a non-depraved Aiel would ever think it was okay to have his way with a gai'shain. And unless I'm forgetting something, we've certainly seen no indication that the gai'shain among the Aiel following Rand have ever been subjected to this. (If I AM forgetting something like this, then this entire comment has pretty much been a waste of bandwidth, I guess, but what the heck.)

But if I'm not forgetting anything, then either Rolan and company are scumbags too, or Jordan didn't intend for them to be but dropped the ball on his own society-building. Or, I guess, there's a third option: the Aiel, as we know, have completely screwed up senses of humor. Is Rolan just yanking Faile's chain?
24. Paulie
I have no idea how to edit a previous post...so, here is a new one.

There is rape in other parts of the story (reference the treatment of Morgase while in White Cloak captivity). Not being female, I have no idea how prevasive the threat or implied threat of rape is for women. I honestly didn't think it played that big of a factor.

I think the treatment of the Gai'shain in Malden is done to emphasise just how far the Shaido have fallen from their cultural norm. It would be unthinkable to harm a Gai'shain in normal Aiel society. Just like taking non-Ji'e'toh (sp?) followers as Gai'shain or keeping them longer than the year and a day.

Jordan really doesn't mince in convincing us who are the "bad" guys and who are the "good" guys.
25. Wayner
Firstly, I forget which book it was I read this, or even who said or thought it, but I'm sure it was an Aiel. Simply put, Aiel view raping a gai'shain as abhorrent as raping a child. This leads us to believe that raping a gai'shain is not at all commonplace.

Truth to tell, I haven't even really thought of how rape fits into the world. Frankly, I don't care. But if I had to make a guess on how I would land when congently thinking about it, I would say that rape does exist, but doesn't really enter the foreground because it's not an integral part of the plot. And rightly so, it's a truly abominable crime. No need to dwell on it.

As to why make this part of the Shaido society now? Naturally since the whole theme with the Shaido has been a downward spiral of degeneration from how Aiel should be. Why not add widespread crime too?

And Mystery Reader: Yes, you're a troll. The fact that you hung around after writing your purposely inflammatory comment proves it. You obviously have no idea what's going on in the books. Making fun of names and holding up Tolkien's works as the proof that Jordan's naming conventions are silly? Are you serious? Or just a kid? If anything, Tolkien's naming conventions are much sillier. And you never wrote anything of substance about "quality of writing" as you put it. How shallow of a mind do you have that you need to poke fun at something so trivial just to put it down? But perhaps it's really only your problem. Maybe you should actually read some of it before judging hmm?
Noneo Yourbusiness
26. Longtimefan
This chapter is an interesting study in assault and desperation. Not that interesting in this usage means anything more than how the chapter is constructed.

We are shown the assault that Therava heaps on Galina as is per their unpleasant relationship of power of a Wise One over an Aes Sedai (and what ever else the reader infers). Considering the back story that all Wise Ones know about the relationship between the Aiel and the Aes Sedai with the serving and the fearing and the waiting in dread to be destroyed it is possible that Therava is resisting the truth of the glass columns by making an Aes Sedai so much less.

In her observation Faile fears that Galina may become desperate enough to betray the plan of escape. She could even be correct if it had been any other character other than Galina who apparently has the whole "Go Team Black, the Great Lord will protect me eventually" mentality to fall back on in these times of constant abuse.

The less obvious assault and desperation is the thrice struck wave that the Dark One may have had a hand in setting out onto the pattern or that may just be a "bubble of evil" It shakes everyone in the camp to their bones, literally. That assault leaves them desperate but in an unfocused way; momentary unease with a need for information they cannot have but eventually forgotten. It is an event that cannot be anticipated, stopped or undone. One must move on from it as Galina must move on through her punishments to survive for the Great Lord to save her.

As for the much more uncomfortable assault and desperation which Faile must recognize so the reader can comprehend the current events.
This is not the first example which is a person on person example nor is it the second which is a general indiscriminate event example, it is both very personal to the character and also a general indiscriminate event that is threatening every non Aiel female gai'shain in the camp. (a considerable number of people). The underlying threat of assault has show certain people making different choices by finding "protectors" with whom they share a somewhat mutual physical relationship but it is questionable since it is chosen out of duress. Maybe not pressures by the protector but by the situation the gai’shain now find themselves in.

And as to the situation... I realized something that I had never thought about before. The Shaido men have no strong male leader to look up to or pattern their behavior upon.

Sevanna, in her infinite wisdom, pursued riches and power so completely that she forgot something important. Sept Chiefs need a Clan Chief to lead them. Not to order them or control them or hold them so she can use them but to actually lead them (in a way. of course they are fictional but it is a theory and I am going with it)

There are two kinds of warrior with the Shaido in Malden. The full septs and the brotherless. One group is waiting for a true Clan Chief to be chosen and the other is stuck in a no man's land of being permitted to hang around but not being accepted fully while hanging around.

This in no way justifies any behavior in which one person assaults another person but if you have a large number of bored, directionless and ignored people in a group they are going to lash out. Generally upon the weaker people among them.

The questionable hero/awkward dude/captor position Rolan takes on only looks "decent" because he may be using the pressure of captivity to work Faile into his arms but he is being so gentlemanly about it compared to the more rapey fellows who are nameless and nebulous in the structure of the story.

It is a chapter about assault and desperation. That however is a terrible title so we get the title "Something...strange." which is misleading at best. :)

So in short, (too late) Dear Sevanna, thanks for having no good role model for the men to look up to. It is not like warriors in a warrior society are important or any thing. Just keep clattering those bracelets and necklaces with your beringed fingers because bling is what leadership is all about.

Edit: Changed "female gai'shain" to "non Aiel female gai'shain" because I think that it is also only the "wetlander" gai'shain that are being assaulted. There are quite a few since most of the gai'shain have been collected since Cairhiren and the other wetland areas since. I do not know if the books specify how many gai'shain are Aiel. I know there are more wetlander ones than Aiel and there are many more than there is work to be done.
27. dubsub
If Randland really is as female-dominated as RJ wants us to believe, then in a degenerate version of society, it seems more likely that men will become victimized. I'd expect to see more acts of violence and rape committed by powerful Maidens or other women on helpless gai'shain.
I think it's a little strange that RJ decided to focus instead on women being victimized and I agree that it somewhat breaks his world-building. Then again, with his history of writing female spanking, I guess I'm not too surprised.
28. Paulie
@25 Wayner - You give the Troll too much credit. He's just throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks. Like most negativity...the less attention you give it...the less it matters.

PSA: Don't feed the trolls. :)
29. Gentleman Farmer
Another example of rape existing elsewhere in the society (albeit obliquely) is Siuan's frequent references when she has been stilled to the more dangerous situation she was once in, as a young girl armed with only a fish knife, facing six men in Tear.

She draws strength from that memory, though not explaining how she got away, but since it was shortly thereafter that she was packed off to Tar Valon, one assumes her abilities manifested at that time.

And that might be the source of protection (to the extent there is one) for the other 95% of women... that potential rapists just can't know if the target might be someone who could all of a sudden blossom into an Aes Sedai. I think Mat is fond of the expression that all women are Aes Sedai... perhaps this thought is more firmly in the minds of men in Randland.

Notwithstanding that though, I don't think the reason for female dominance in Randland is due to the lack of the threat of rape.

Recall Asmodean's assertion in regards to the One Power that some women have arms as strong as men, but the vast majority do not. The same was true for the One Power, and in about the same proportions. Logically then, if physical attributes account for the threat of rape and if that accounts for gender inequity in our society (a principle I don't accept, but following Leigh's argument above) then the similar inequity of the One Power strength should have led to a male dominated, unequal society in the Age of Legends, and a constant threat of assault to women in the AoL.

I don't get the sense that was Jordan's vision of the AoL at all however, and I agree with the commenters above that he's attempting to show the breakdown of Shaido society, the loss of morality that follows the loss of honour and loss of a sense of direction.

The message I see, in the Shaido and Randland generally, is trying that as the leaders behave, so do the people follow. Countries with leaders who behave with honour and justice, tend to be filled with good and just people. Countries with leaders who have abandoned their sense of honour tend to degenerate.

As Leigh noted, the mention of rape seems markedly absent, most particularly during the Aiel War and the events of New Spring, where there is no indication that the camp followers are raped, or that a woman might hesitate to come forward because she'd have no idea who the father was (compare, e.g. to ASOIAF and the treatment of camp followers). If we ask why, Jordan's response would probably be something about good leaders and good discipline. Mat's army would never engage in such behaviour. Nor Gareth Bryne's, nor Rodel Ituralde's, nor the Aiel under Janduin.

Witness any of the cities and countries ruled by the Forsaken, and how they change once they have a righteous leader.

Illian ruled by Sammael generates brigands and thugs, Caemlyn under Gaebril attracts the same. Aside from Forsaken, Tar Valon under Elaida shows the effects of a corrupt ruler.

Even Arad Doman is a pretty good example. When Rand was touched by the Shadow, there was some kind of might makes right martial law. When Rand recovers, so do the people. This was the lesson I think Rand had to learn at the end of The Gathering Storm, that much as he might dislike the Seanchan, when they act righteously, justice follows and people can live well. Looking at his cities he couldn't say the same, and came to the realization he may have been acting more like one of the Forsaken than how a good leader needs to act.

Here, Sevanna and Therava are corrupt and their society falls apart. I think that's the message to be gleaned from this chapter. The absence of rape in Randland, I think can be attributed to generally good rulers, or at least not evil and corrupt rulers (which may be its own version of utopia, but I think fits with the tone of this series, again, in contrast to ASOIAF, where the morality of leaders or common folk doesn't necessarily mean life gets better).
30. midnightblooms
Rape existed in Randland before now. What about Morgase? Valda was a darkfriend, but he was most definitely a man. Rahvin was also a man, albeit a powerful and evil one. What about Graendal? I gently point out that men can be raped, too. It is primarily a crime against women, but not solely. Compulsion is a form of rape. One could argue that mindtraps are, as well.

I think viewpoints up to now have been skewed when it comes to rape for the reasons Leigh mentioned in the post -- no one messes around with female channelers -- and the major characters have been in the presence of Aes Sedai almost constantly or are channelers themselves. Also, most women walk around armed in Randland, even those who can channel. Also, the superboys are opposed to harming women and wouldn't allow it among their armies or followers. Rape probably isn't common, but I think it just hasn't been observed as opposed to being absent entirely.

The breakdown and corruption among the Shaido and Mera’din is shocking as contrast to Aiel behavior and beliefs up to this point and I think done to show how far the Shaido have fallen from Aiel culture.
31. iansagefire
ditto to most of the comments above about randland not being a "rape-free" zone. one point i would like to add is at various times throughout the series, the bonding of men against their will is likened to the rape of a woman. while there weren't any graphic examples, this obviously points to there being rape in this culture. if it is as rampant as it was in our own medieval/renaissance era is unclear, and probably not as prevalent, but it exists outside your foresaken/myrddraal/fain/major bad dude setting.
32. Drewd
This is dangerous ground, but I'm going to dive in. First, let me say that rape is horrible. It's disgusting. The suffering endured by rape victims is enormous. I can't be any more emphatic that this.

What I want to talk about though is the perception of rape in our culture, specifically the risk of being raped. I see the "1 in 6" statistic get trotted out quite frequently, usually to prove that rape is, if not ubiquitous, than at least quite prevalent in our society. I have heard this statistic from many of my female friends to justify why they feel scared to ride the subway, be alone, or other activities. While I can certainly empathize with those fears, I also think that the use of the "1 in 6" statistic is a fallacy because it fails to clearly define what constitutes rape.

The overwhelming number of rapes involve a person who is known to the victim. Furthermore, over two thirds of rapes occur in the home (less than 4% occur "outdoors"). Indeed, the statistics show that most rape is an accompaniment to domestic violence. Adjusting further for socio-economic status, the chances of my white, educated, upper-middle class female friends being raped becomes much smaller. And the chances of any of them having a strange man grab them in a dark alley is even smaller.

There is another, related, issue with many of the rape statistics paraded around college campuses. These statistics tend to conflate regret with rape, something which both artificially inflates the fear of rape for young women and also insults those who have actually been raped.

Again, I must reiterate that rape is a terrible crime, something I view as on par with murder. It is a hideous and disgusting act, and the victims of rape deserve every once of sympathy they get. We must, however, be careful in both how we define rape and how we apply that definition.

As a postscript, last I checked approximately 10% of rape victims are men. Given that Jordan gets a tremendous amount of criticism for failing to include the LGBT community (which liberal estimates put at around 10%), shouldn't we also be concerned about the portrayal of men as victims of rape?
33. dubsub
"These statistics tend to conflate regret with rape"
Also, I believe the "1 in 6" statistic is for sexual assault, not rape. Females worry a lot about this because they are held responsible for preventing assault and blamed for it when it happens.

And re: male rape, have you not seen all the criticism about Matt and Tylin?
Michael McCarthy
34. KilMichaelMcC
I had always taken the increased incidences of rape as deliberately indicative of the Dark One's ever-growing touch on the world. In fact, I seem to recall dialouge to that effect at some point, with someone mentioning how there had been more murders and rapes seen recently. Malden was just the only point at which it became an important plot element.
Ryan Reich
35. ryanreich
The apparent absence of rape in these books is probably due more to the lack of focus on low fantasy content (the kind of realistic unpleasantness that characterizes Martin, for example) than to a feature of the WoT world itself. LittleLady @4 already pointed out that Daved Hanlon seems to have commited it quite often, so it's something Jordan did consider.

It's been said already that "rape is about power", so there are a few reasons we might not hear about it: first, the main characters are all very powerful in many ways. Second, women as a whole in the world are either powerful or protected by powerful female-based institutions: we have the Aes Sedai, which are both, or any number of female merchants and mercenaries, Women's Circles and queens. A lot of ideas which we consider to be feminist (and thus, implicitly, abnormal) are standard, which means there is no casual social acceptance of misogyny that can push people who might go either way into it. The ones who need no convincing are then revealed as aberrations and their crimes are probably not overlooked because those in power are also women.

Hanlon is certainly one of those who needs no convincing, but his crimes are tied up in the war. Obviously with greater opportunity for violence there is more forcible rape (which I would like to contrast with what normally happens with gai'shain, as that usually would not involve the same kind of coersion). We've had other hints of this kind of behavior: for example, way back in the first books, Siuan talks about how she sparked: she had been cornered by some boys in the Maule, and it's not said what they intended but there's no question. The Maule is a violent neighborhood, and the rulers of Tear didn't consider its residents to be human anyway, so it's free of law and order. Moiraine's scare in New Spring is another case of this: it took place in a shady inn in a shady part of town. I don't recall if anything similar is mentioned regarding the Foregate in Cairhien, but that's where I'd look for it.

As you (Leigh) noted already, the emergence of this kind of environment among the Shaido reflects the degeneration of their society. I'd like to point out that this degeneration comes from the top, the female institution among the Aiel: the Wise Ones. It's Sevanna who promotes the adoption of "wetlander ways" (which are of course a perversion) and begins degrading gai'shain, and thus the institution of gai'shain. She strips them of the personal dignity that Aiel gai'shain all have, and so saps the meaning of "it doesn't count" because what didn't count were consensual relations, the point being that one could have an adulterous affair while gai'shain without guilt. The point could not have been that sex with gai'shain was never rape, until Sevanna made the wetlander gai'shain into animals incapable of issuing or withholding consent. Basically, under the new regime, sex with gai'shain would be statutory rape, while under the old regime, yes could mean yes because no could mean no.

Based on these examples, if rape truly is a rarer occurrance in WoT, it's because there is greater order in its cities than in our world, which may actually have been the case. There are allusions (perhaps memories from Semirhage or Graendal, or from the Guide?) to the world of the AoL being actually unnaturally placid because the Dark One was sealed, with rape being very rare; up until recently, the Dark One was sealed just as much in the Third Age as then (@34 just said this also as I was writing). This of course is no different than the author simply ignoring the problem, since it is artificial, but the existence of such an excuse means that the author did consider the source of the problem.

As in any sexually-related topic in these books, it is reasonable to be annoyed that Jordan took so long to introduce it and then do so in such a bizarre way. Notice that he never touches the issue of male-male rape (a topic which is getting mentioned surprisingly often in the comments at the Rothfuss reread at the moment) even though it would surely happen in the same slums and wars that I was talking about above (@32 just said this as I was writing). However, I think that Jordan handled this subject better than you are giving him credit for.

@11: You should edit your post, because it is impolite in more than one way: first, Martin's books are off-topic here and giving "non-spoiler" spoilers is rude to Leigh. Yes, even the context-free name of that event is a spoiler. Second, accusing Leigh of not taking the reread seriously is rude to her simply on the grounds that she has kept it going with detailed analyses for twelve books and three years, which she did not do simply to entertain us with a certain minimum amount of ground covered each week.
Valentin M
36. ValMar
Thanks for the post Leigh.

I have to agree what the posters pointing out that rape IS present in the series before Malden. But why Leigh might be under the impression that it wasn't can be explained by a number of factors:
- hasn't been encountered by POV characters, much.
- rape is less prevalent in WOT than in RL, for reasons already stated.
- RJ style of writing for WOT. He writes subtly and not very graphically. He skirts around some issues or approaches them in a subtle fassion- e.g. "a woman being lucky to escape only with a purse stolen".
- and following from just above, the situation in Malden is much more graphic by contrast with the rest of the series.
37. PoppaG
What was that ripple in this chapter anyway? Bubble 'o evil?
38. Wayner
@27 dubsub: I believe the female domination theme only goes as far as the "strong" females. The general run of population (farmers, crafters, and the like) follow a generally patriarchal society. With the man being the one who is looked at to be the strong one.

However, I do believe that in this world the females are treated more or less as equals to men and with a great deal more respect than we do in today's real society. Perhaps this is a result of 3,000 years of strong female influence.

But there are hints that it wasn't quite this way back before the War of Power. Probably not as bad as how things were in America in the early 20th century. But still, women having less power than men in a society where a good part of the population can wield the Power? It had to have an effect on women's assumed role in society. And that being to put them in a lesser role than men. One could argue that in a very fundamental way, this led to the Breaking itself. The hubris of man that led Lews Therin to seal the Bore with only men. One has to think: If women were treated as equals back then, would the Breaking have occurred at all?

And the result after the Breaking: After all was calm(er), women held all the power, literally. But they were forced by the general populace to take the 3 Oaths. Which diminished them somewhat. Until 3,000 years later, you're left with a relatively few squabbling wenches. Yes, I said wenches. Because that's what Aes Sedai have become. At least until Egwene came along.
39. Wayner
@PoppaG: I'm not sure what it was, I'm actually re-reading the book and now almost finished. But I do not believe this to be a bubble of evil. Because if you recall, the same happens all over the world, not just one isolated location. One thing I do know, is it sets a moment in time where you know what time it is in relation to other story lines.

I seem to remember that it was explained somewhat later on, perhaps the next book or within the few pages I have left to read.
Anthony Pero
40. anthonypero
GentlemanFarmer @29 said:

Recall Asmodean's assertion in regards to the One Power that some women have arms as strong as men, but the vast majority do not. The same was true for the One Power, and in about the same proportions. Logically then, if physical attributes account for the threat of rape and if that accounts for gender inequity in our society (a principle I don't accept, but following Leigh's argument above) then the similar inequity of the One Power strength should have led to a male dominated, unequal society in the Age of Legends, and a constant threat of assault to women in the AoL.

Circles. Women could link, men could not link without a woman. There were no forced circles, either. This lead to Gender-Power equality in the AOL
41. midnightblooms
Here's the thing: we have to accept one of two things as true. Either the Mera'din really are "good guy" Aiel that just simply refused (or could not bring themselves to) follow Rand, or they're depraved as well, just less so than the Shaido. (quoting jonfmorse's comment above)

I think Jordan deliberately smudged the line here. The Mera'din aren't good or bad. They abandoned their way of life and now have to figure out where they fit. Some retain more of their honor and traditions than others.

Aiel discipline relies on peer pressure from clan members and Wise Ones. Once freed from that discipline, the Mera’din answer to no one but themselves. Whose to stop them from doing as they want? MAny of them would be struggling with self-loathing. They've abandoned all honor, a big deal to any Aiel. It's no surprise the Mera'din slip further and further away from Aiel culture until they leave it behind entirely. Following it would be too painful and mostly pointless in their minds.

Rolan isn't a bad person. He is definitely working for his own interests, and right now those interests and Faile's are parallel -- survival in and escape from the Shaido camp. We don't know what he would do once Perrin showed up. He might have followed Faile back to Perrin's camp. He might have fought Perrin for his claim to Faile as gai'shain. He might have respected her choice and gone his own way. Jordan made a fascinating character here in Rolan and kept him fascinating by eliminating him before we could learn if he was good or bad. And sometimes that the way life is.
42. ftbleighjkjk
@35 - I edit nothing. I am moderated because my truth is too pure and my humor too eloquent.
Valentin M
43. ValMar
On an unrelated point, in London we have quiet an American presence recently. After the "Obama" apetizer we get the "Sanderson" main meal. Ash cloud permitting, Brandon is coming in London on the 4th June.

So, anyone here also going? Also any questions you want asked? I think it's Way of the Kings tour but I believe it's normal practice to mix the author's works.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
44. tnh
Hello again, ftbleighjkjk @11. Good to see you.

Have you noticed, on the menu buttons of the comment input box, an orange letter "A" with four little colored blips toward its SE corner? After you've typed spoiler text, HIGHLIGHT the pertinent text. PULL DOWN THE COLOR MENU from the "A" button. SELECT WHITE (the rightmost color on the bottom row). All will then be well.

Cheers --
Anthony Pero
45. anthonypero
The central issue that Leigh brought up was in regards to RJs world-building, not really rape itself. Is the fact that RJ didn't mention (or rarely referenced) rape prior to this scene a lack of worldbuilding on his part?

I really don't think so. RJs a man, he doesn't think about rape the same way a woman author might, nor can he really be expected to. There's no reason for him to mention it until it becomes a necessary plot device. GRRM depicts rape to make his world more brutal. The brutality of his world is a necessary part of the plot, and of the character development of Arya, Daenarys and various other characters. It is also meant to depict an exceptionally difficult world for women, partly to make Cersi's character into something that seems possible, and even maybe a little sympathetic. None of this is necessary in tWot.

Add to the fact that this series was conceived in the 80s, when, quite frankly, the genre would not have tolerated GRRMs world.

So, the real question is not is there rape in the world of the Wheel of Time? It should be obvious that there is based on Morgase's plotline, and the fact that Faile of all characters, is not just shocked, shocked at such treatment. Her blase mention of it in passing should be enough to convince us that she at least, was aware that such things could happen. The real question to me is this:

Is it plausible that in a world where rape exists, that it would be mentioned so rarely as it has been up til now?

It most certainly is. If I didn't have media at my disposal, even in MY world, where, as Leigh quoted 1 in 6 women will suffer some kind of sexual assault, I might go three or four years without the word rape coming up in a conversation. As a man, I'd probably never think about it, in my own head. So, why should we expect RJs characters to discuss it or think about it? Do women think about rape? I'm asking. I would theorize that it might nag at the back of their minds, that there is an awareness of rape, and the danger, but do women actively think about it, in a way that makes sense to dictate in a third-person limited inner dialogue?

If not, why would we EVER expect a rape to occur, or be mentioned, or even be on the radar in a book when it wasn't a plot point?
Anthony Pero
46. anthonypero
Wayner @ 38:

One could argue that in a very fundamental way, this led to the Breaking itself. The hubris of man that led Lews Therin to seal the Bore with only men. One has to think: If women were treated as equals back then, would the Breaking have occurred at all?

Woah! Hold on a sec there. Lews Therin had no intention of going it alone. He asked the Aes Sedai women to help. They said no.

Secondly, why do you assume that women were not equal to men in the AoL? You never explain this.
47. ftbleighjkjk
@ 44 TNH: Wow, I haven't seen you since the Fandom Menace GRRM rant (you were very kind, btw). Spoiler: It was his sled/they threw the ring in the fire/everyone dies in Westeros/Darth Vader built C-3P0 (wtf?).
Ah, I get it now. Thank-you.
48. hari coplin
Have to disagree. I don't believe in any of this "changes by the author." You just have to learn to walk before you learn to run. The lives of the common folk weren't much touched upon early on, yet one could read often enough that regardless of else, common women rarely travelled alone without some sort of protetion, the ones we read about simply did so regardless the risks.

Have been reading the posts, but not commenting much, but frankly the issue is the same as with Moiraine's blue ajah secret weaves in New Spring. Of course they were in the books all along, and of course we didn't read of them: Moiraine was not about to be so careless as to reveal them. There are any number of time in the eye of the World alone where she obviously used the one akin to compulsion: "Her presence was such that he could not hold back", "'did she think a few words of comfort could help as to a child' and then he fell asleep", all sorts of things where no one would know whether such was used or not.

It's the old wisdom, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.
Eric Hughes
49. CireNaes

The overwhelming number of rapes involve a person who is known to the victim. Furthermore, over two thirds of rapes occur in the home (less than 4% occur "outdoors"). Indeed, the statistics show that most rape is an accompaniment to domestic violence. Adjusting further for socio-economic status, the chances of my white, educated, upper-middle class female friends being raped becomes much smaller. And the chances of any of them having a strange man grab them in a dark alley is even smaller.

I would challenge the latter half of your statistical parade by pointing to the first part where abuse is primarily linked within the home and among trusted relationships/family. Socio-economic status either highlights sexual assualt or aids in the cover up. I would be blown away if there was as large a gap as you are implying (less sexual abuse among afluent or middle class areas than among the poor). Due to the shame issue involved with all of this, firm numbers can only be hoped for, not taken for granted. And by hoped for I believe that the 1 in 6 ratio is an understatement.
Valentin M
50. ValMar
@ 48

I agree. I even posted as much on the tread about the "Blue weave". There is so much an author can show. In a series of such proportions new things will pop out occasionally or old ones, just hinted at before, may be further explained.
Rich Bennett
51. Neuralnet
Actually I was more surprised by the remark that whatever happened in gai'shain white during the year doesnt count than by the appearance of rape in the WoT world. That seemed so out of character for the Aiel's code of honor etc.
52. Wayner
Woah! Hold on a sec there. Lews Therin had no intention of going it alone. He asked the Aes Sedai women to help. They said no.

That may be true. I seem to recall the same thing. But can you cite this for me? I re-read the section I thought held the answer (Rand going through the glass columns in Rhuidean). I'd like to re-read it. But in either case, he still did it and thought he could succeed. It's a point that Rand thinks about a few times in the last few books while mulling over how to seal it for good. It was necessary for Lews Therin to do what he did, I will concede that point. But he still had pride enough that he and his Hundred Companions could still seal it.

Secondly, why do you assume that women were not equal to men in the AoL? You never explain this.

All this was only theorizing, idle speculation. Sorry I didn't make that very clear. My theory was that if females in the AoL didn't have the same power as men, that they'd have a less dominant role than males.
53. Hawkido
While doing my own reread I thought I had found Demandred, but then the clensingkinda shoots that down as he doesn't recognize Flinn. But read the description, it is a clever red herring. and way too much detail for there to be nothing about Moad.
But it is a neat match, check out the description of Moad the blademaster of Harine in Winter's Heart given by Shalon as they go through the Traveling gateway to Far Madding.
Somehow he is skilled on a horse and Shalon wonders how, as Sea Folk are never far enough from their ships to need a horse.
He is associated to a powerful leader. Shalon could almost swear Harine is bedding him but knows she would not take a lover of lesser rank than her, and as she is the highest rank of the sea folk that would be impossible.
His expressions are curious and oddly timed. The fact that he only voices two or three phrases, why even note his expressions? If he were only there for the peace bonded sword debate then why include such details about him as the noted expressions do not add weight or importance to the incidents that promted the reaction.
54. Drewd

Here's a link to a study that has the sort of methodology I was criticizing in my first post:
I very much agree that rape, and sexual assault in general, is underreported (especially when the victim is male). But females are held liable for sexual assault when they are the victim? In what jurisdiction? I will say that the evidence demonstrates that the biggest reason rape is not reported is that the victim fears reprisal. This, however, does not go to criminal liability (and in fact makes a good deal of sense in light of the evidence showing that most sexual assaults are from a domestic partner). Additionally, because a victim of rape is often repeatedly raped (again, most often by the offending domestic partner), that victim may only report being raped once, whereas the actual number of incidences is much higher. It is my opinion that this aspect of rape is the one most often overlooked, but in some ways most tragic.

As for the point on Matt and the rape of men, I don’t want to go too far down this path (it was, after all merely an aside) but it seemed to me that the discussion with Matt usually centers on whether his experience even qualifies as rape. Here, there is no question that what we’re talking about is rape. So I’m not too sure that it fits. In the interest of remaining focused on one issue though, I’ll happily concede or shelve this point.


Here's a link to a paper on risk factors in rape, noting that non-white populations tend to have more risk factors that white populations:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8500286 Although there are many more studies that look at rape across different demographics, I'm feeling a bit too lazy to go dig up each and every one of them.

My point is perhaps best classified as a variation on the "there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics" theme. Anytime we hear a subject that is as complicated as rape boiled down to a "1 in 6" bottom line, we should be suspicious. This is especially true, although much more difficult, when the statistic fits our preconceived notions. And we should be even more suspicious when the statistics fit the agenda of the group promoting them. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And any group or institution predicated on a grievance (however justified) has an incentive to enlarge the grievance as much as possible.

Again, this is NOT to say that rape is not real. Indeed, the application of the principles elucidated above is more difficult in this context because we all agree that rape is a terrible wrong. It is far easier to identify confirmation bias in groups/institutions that have less noble aims than reducing the instances of rape. But just because the cause is right does not mean we can abandon healthy skepticism about the claims the cause makes.
55. Wayner
@53: What are you talking about, Hawkido?
John Massey
56. subwoofer
Rape? Wha? I don't know about anybody else, but was I the only one floored by the fact that someone else was attracted to Faile? And it was another big, luggish type person... er, no offense Perrin, but I always thought wolves were supposed to have sharp eyes, and the good sense not to put its paw in a trap.

@11 letters of the alphebet-ftbl... interesting comment, but I do agree about the one chapter thing. To coin a phrase- "whiskey, tango, foxtrot, over" one post a week AND one chapter a week?! We be slippin' Leigh. Seriously.

Gaishan honor... hmmmm.... from what I understand, these folks were supposed to serve as they were taken in battle by being touched with a weapon in their hands. They keep the white on to remind themselves of humility. I dunno, my wetlander mindset has me questioning the legit way that it is okay... mind you Aiel have funny views of modesty and so on... re. sweat tents and the Shaido seem to have abandoned their concepts of honor. Meh. WhaddaIknow?

I wonder how the Aiel concept of ji'e'toh works with being drunk all the time?

john mullen
57. johntheirishmongol
I won't get into the rape thing, since it seems to have been thoroughly covered. I do wonder though, if sex as a gai'shan doesn't count, what hapens to the little bastards that would be the logical outcome of such liaisons? Nothing was mentioned before about anything like that.

I am joyfully awaiting the next 3 chapters.
58. Wayner
If the mother is a Maiden, then the answer is simple. That would be handled in the typical Maiden fashion. What of a regular female mother? I'd assume that all life is precious in the Waste and the child would not be abandoned. The clan takes care of its own.
William Fettes
59. Wolfmage
Interesting topic. I think I agree with Leigh that RJ elides rape and the darker aspects of the human condition heavily in the books. Oh, I acknowledge rape exists in WoT and several posters above have provided valid examples of it. However, I think it’s still fair to say that rape mostly exists on the periphery in WoT, and it is certainly not something that is portrayed as part and parcel of domestic life for many women, or a commonplace danger for women in terms of travel, war or encounters with strangers. On my reading, it is somewhat implied that the Chachin innkeeper, Nedare Satarov, was involved in some kind of sexual slavery racket -- but given that requires some licence to fill in the blanks (and was not something picked up by Leigh and many others) it can hardly count against this evasion. Indeed, the books give a strong impression that rape is only half-way common amongst Dark Friend perpetrators and victims. In that sense, there is an almost allegorical statement going on here, especially if you accept the predations of the Shaido camp as a comment about their abandonment of Aiel culture.

That's fine, but I have to be honest that I’m not entirely satisfied with that approach. For me, when the books move beyond the framework of deliberate omission and allegory to a grittier form of realism, we start to see the seams of the dominant approach exposed and straining. Then, when the text subsequently retreats to the safer territory of the dominant approach, we can't help but see a question begging about how arbitrary that surface safety was.

Having said that, there are no easy answers to these issues. I personally prefer a more challenging and realistic path, but I don’t want boundless sexual violence either. Would it be better if it was elided entirely? I don't know. Probably not. Martin goes the opposite way, and in terms of his depiction of ubiquitious rape, broom handles and other lingering perversities, at least according to my taste, and I think he sometimes goes too far.

It's also important to acknowledge that we know RJ set out to create a world where gender power was explicitly reversed, and so dwelling on rape would tend to subvert that purpose. So, I think some leeway must be given to the that purpose as it was a part of the original conception of the series afterall.
Jay Dauro
60. J.Dauro
Wayner @ 52

From the The Strike at Shayol Ghul

Support for the use of the great sa'angreal and opposition to attempting to implant the seals centered around a woman named Latra Posae Decume. Apparently a speaker of considerable force and persuasion, she gathered a large bloc around her, but what assured her victory was an agreement she reached with every female Aes Sedai of significant strength on the side of the Light. (In the manuscript, this agreement is called "the Fateful Concord," though it was doubtful that this was the name it was generally known.) Lews Therin's plan was too rash, too dangerous, and no woman who agreed to the Concord would take part in it. As precise placement of the seals was widely thought to require a circle, that apparently killed the plan, since men cannot create a circle, but can only be brought into one created by women. Work on the sa'angreal, in the form of two huge statues, was rushed forward.


With Latra Posae's opposition continuing in the face of these events, and the female Aes Sedai holding to their pledge and thus making use of a circle impossible (the lines of division had hardened to a point where many female Aes Sedai refused to speak to male Aes Sedai, and the reverse as well), Lews Therin resolved to carry out his plan without the approval of, or even approaching, the Hall. Plainly it was going to be impossible to hold the huge sa'angreal long enough for the access ter'angreal to be smuggled out. In Lews Therin's view, there was no longer any choice.

You can find the whole thing at http://library.tarvalon.net/index.php?title=The_Strike_at_Shayol_Ghul
Jon Morse
61. jonfmorse
@41 (midnightblooms): Oh, nice rebuttal! You make a point I hadn't even seen for some reason (other than suggesting the idea that Rolan was "just kidding!", perhaps, but that came from a different direction). In fact, it wasn't until after a few more comments came in that I realized that most of what I was bitching about wasn't the acts of the Mera'din at all, or at least not to our certain knowledge.

At the same time, though, we're presented with the claim that the Mera'din -- or some subset of them, anyway -- are about to fly the coop because the degradation of the Shaido disgusts them so much. But if Rolan or any of his buddies really were expecting to coerce Faile or any of her retainers into going with them, then obviously they've succumbed to something as well. Booze, despair, lack of leadership, lack of peer pressure (interesting note there; does peer pressure even work when your peers make you sick to your stomach?), whatever the case. I'd have to say that the very fact that they're willing to take non-Aiel as gai'shain in the first place is telling here.

@45: Anthony, I'm not sure what you meant by "the genre would not have tolerated GRRM's world". Have you read the Wild Cards series? It was pretty popular in its day, and it was just as grimy and uncomfortable as ASoIaF.

@56 (subwoofer): Imagine one of those times when you had a really, really drunk friend tearfully apologize to you for something while reminding you "I LOVE YOU MAN". Apply to Aiel. Snicker to self.
Kimani Rogers
62. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh.

I appreciate the post and your opinion/ perspective. You are never shy about sharing those, and they often lead to some pretty cool discussions (even when they are topics that this group may have discussed ad nauseam).

As for RJ demonstrating (via the treatment of the female gaishain in Malden) that rape does occur in his universe, I admit that I didn’t find it shocking. His world has slavery, sexism, classism, racism, etc. Reading that rape exists in Randland didn’t reach out and grab me to the extent that it did (and apparently still does) for Leigh. I had assumed that rape did exist; it had just happened off screen and/or wasn’t relevant to the storyline (excluding that whole thing with Mat and Tylin, but I don’t think we want to reopen that pandora’s box just yet anymore than the others who’ve kinda sidestepped it). I think that sexual assault seems to happen a number of times in the various inns/taverns with the serving women (pinching/grabbing someone's ass or fondling is a form of sexual assault, to my understanding). It's just not dwelt upon that much. And there are most likely other occurrences of sexual assault in WoT that I’m forgetting and that others have no doubt already mentioned in previous comments.

By the way Leigh, nice incentive for us to play nice; since you’re offering 3 Mat chapters for next week, I’ll try really hard to do my part.

So many comments already! Well done, Leigh! You gave us good fodder to discuss. Let’s see…

Littlelady@4, TZwolf@6, wcarter4@7, Jerico@16 and others – thanks for the examples of previous mentions of rape/sexual assault in the story. Like I said, I don’t think RJ was trying to show us that rape didn’t exist in Randland; just that it didn’t really play a major role in the story (by directly impacting a secondary/tertiary character) he was telling until now.

Ranchounicorno@8 – good point about demonstrating the chances of the non-channeling main and secondary characters being exposed to rape. For the most part, these books do focus on those in/with power (or Power) and how they interact with the world. If we were following a non-channeling woman who wasn’t a noble, a hero of legend, a bodyguard, a former AS, etc, we may get a different perspective about the propensity of sexual assaults in Randland and her concern about being subjected to them.

CireNaes@22 – I think you make a decent point, and would run a little further with it and state (as others have done) that RJ was trying to show the breakdown of the various morals of the once honorable Aiel culture. Examples included making non-Aiel gai’shain indefinitely, the assault of those gai’shain (sexual and “normal” assault), rampant alcoholism, etc.

Drewd@32 – You made some good points that expanded the discussion, whether folks agreed with your citations or not. I’m glad you dived in.

Wayner@38 – re: Lews Therin and the hubris of men – As no doubt others have stated by now (anthonypero@46 was first, I see), to my understanding men and women were seen as pretty much equals during the AoL (or at least, we have no basis to believe that women were treated significantly worse, or better, than men). The women AS chose to withhold their support from LTT; he was actively seeking it and was turned away to the point where the women all agreed to join together in opposition to his plan. Which apparently was a good thing, as either RJ or BWS stated that if men & women both tried to seal the Bore using LTT’s plan, both halves of the One Power would have been tainted.

anthonypero@45 – re: your “real question” (plausible that rape was mentioned this rarely) – I think this is the point (which others have also essentially brought up). RJ’s story didn’t have a situation where the existence and prevalence of rape/sexual assault needed to be highlighted or mentioned in any more detail than Morgase or Siuan mentioned their actual experience or close call, respectively. As for the RL exposure to rape, I agree that (without the aid of the 24hr media cycle) for a man you could go years without the realities of rape directly or indirectly impacting your family, friends etc.

Wayner@52 – Robert Jordan wrote a short story titled “The Strike at Shayol Ghul” which details this in more detail. …And I see that J.Dauro quoted it and gave the link.

Hawkido@53 – nice theory, re: Demandred. I will have to doublecheck, but I remember getting the impression that Harine's Swordmaster, Moad, had been with Harine for awhile, and had not just recently joined Harine’s “staff.” Also, Demandred gives the impression (in KoD or TGS, I forget which) that he has a vast number of troops ready for the Last Battle and I think it would be hard to have gathered those troops from the Sea Folk. Maybe Shalon notices those little things about Moad because in RJ's mind that's what a POV from an Athan Miere would notice.
63. dubsub
@ 54 Drewd
Not sure the study you linked to shows that regret is conflated with accusations of assault, but it's not really relevant to argue.
Just wanted to clarify that when I said assault victims (female or male) are "held liable", I didn't mean legally liable. But when it happens, people come out asking "Why were you there?" or "Why were you doing that?". An accusation also hurts the reputation of the victim, particularly if the victim is male (and I'd say that's a huge factor in underreporting).

Good point regarding Matt. I can definitely come forward as someone who believes that male rape is possible and thinks that Jordan should have covered that issue when depicting a degenerated society.

Also, good lord, that article on risk factors was depressing. But when you see the factors that make someone vulnerable -- homelessness, mental illness, etc., they all speak to a lack of power. It seems all the more likely that male gai'shain would have been victims.

@ 59 Wolfmage
Absolutely, I agree with you here. As an author, you can have a world that eliminates certain unpleasant realities, but if you add those back into the world at some point, it tends to make the rest of the world unravel. If there's still the same views about domination or abuse, and if a culture can slip so easily into those habits, then why don't we see more of it?
Sandy Brewer
64. ShaggyBella
A few Randon thoughts:
What about the Seanchan? Suroth was given to the Dreathwatch Guards to "Use" as they see fit until her hair grows out. The salves all wear transparent garb, and "Pose" They are probably available as sex slaves.
Selucia was determined to be Tuon's chaparone at all times, also Satelle Anan was also performing that duty. No leaving Mat & her alone at all.
Grendal had lots of beautiful slaves and she was always on the lookout for more.
In the Two Rivers the unmarried people were not allowed to have any sex, but were punished even if they were engaged.
The tavern singers sang bawdy songs but there did not seem to be any prostitites around.
65. vsthorvs
Rape existed. Multiple characters have been raped. Morgase, Moghedian, and many of the victims of the Darkfriends. RJ was never very explicit about it, but its there. And yes the rapists are usually Darkfriends, but doesn't that go without saying. Rape is evil. This is a world where most of the evil people are Darkfriends. Thus most rapists are Darkfriends, but not all.

I honestly disagree with your assertion that this is a world where gender roles are flipped, or equal. Misogyny and chivalry exist in this world, women are still seen as physically weaker. In fact they are also weaker in the power as well. There are only a few superficial appearances of equality or gender roles being flipped.
66. Jeribai
Leigh, I find it interesting that you feel that Randland is a female-dominated society in general. I will agree that between the Empress, Queen of Andor, Murandy, Ebou Dar, Arad Doman, etc that there are female-dominated cultures ... but I think that's fairly balanced out by Sheinar, Carhien, Tear, Illian, etc. I think the big overarching theme RJ was trying to point out is that the fourth age was one of chivalry. From your re-read of New Spring with Bukama and Lan guarding Moiraine, to Perrin's gentleness with women, to Rand's utter disgust at all the women he's hurt despite trying not to ... there are men all over Randland that simply respect women, as opposed to those men that see them as their superiors such as those in TV.

The thing is, to have the heros be the heros of a world where chivalry is the norm, they have to be almost super-chivalrous to stand out in the culture. I mean, even Mat is respectful of women on a somewhat surface level, even if he doesn't always seem to value them quite as much as they deserve, and he's the scoundrel of the bunch. I would definitely not say that rape is absent in TWOT until now, but I would say, as others have pointed out, that the general morality of the world was better back when the end of the world and the touch of the DO wasn't as apparent. Just something I was thinking about as I read the re-read.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@61jonf- LOL! That would be like Drunky McDrunker from the Bachelorette?! last night. Alcohol rep hammered outta his mind on the first meet. Heh. Camp full o' Aiel blubbering in their er... oosquai? saki? clear drinky stuff that makes you inebriated. What has me scratching my head is that in an army- Mat's, Bryne's or the Children for that matter if there be dissention in the ranks, the odd sarge, bannerman, whatever, would step up and crack a few heads. In the Aiel there seems to be a complete lack of that- don't the septs have a leader or something? IIRC the Maiden struggle between er... Sulin and the other MotS smacking eachother around would indicate that. So what gives amongst the Shaido- beyond the complete abandonment of tradition? Has Sevanna's ditz-on-the-brain been spreading to others?

Edit- er... what LongTimeFan said at a post earlier...

William Fettes
68. Wolfmage
vsthorvs @ 65

"And yes the rapists are usually Darkfriends, but doesn't that go without saying. Rape is evil. This is a world where most of the evil people are Darkfriends. Thus most rapists are Darkfriends, but not all."

That's a bit of a cop out IMO. The overarching conflict of the series may be about the Manchian divide between Light-siders and Dark-siders. But as the series progresses, we certainly see plenty of characters, groups and cultures that are of dubious moral standing without being metaphysically evil. Indeed, the books would be significantly weaker and more shallow if they did not start shading the chasm-like gap between achetypes of good and evil with more qualified flawed creatures like Elaida and the Red Ajah more broadly, misugided types like Gawyn, and the Imperial Seanchan, who have institutionalised great crimes against basic human rights whilst not being metaphysically evil.

Also, it's not the fact that the rape perpetrators are most often Dark Friends that sits uneasy with me, it is the fact that they are the most likely victims as well. I know there are examples of innocent victims like Morgase, but they are mostly the exception; I'm thinking here of Shaidar Haran's predations on Moghedien, Fain's on the Dark Friend woman, and Thevara's attentions on Galina. Moreoever, the allegorical reciprocity extends further than just Dark Friends. It is implied that Toveine may have been a sexual predator on young initiates in the Tower previously, and is a rather nasty customer with nasty intentions for the Black Tower, so when she is then subject to Logain's bond complusion, there is arguably a sense of just desserts that sits there lurking in the background.

Now, some people may like that sense of cosmically enforced comeupance by authorial fiat, but I do not share that feeling. Rape is never an appropriate punishment for anyone, and it's an awful conceit that it mainly happens to bad people who get themselves into the bad situation in the first place.
Jay Dauro
69. J.Dauro
Hawkido @53
As far as Moad being Demondred, Moad appears first in ACOS, and we have been told Demondred's secret identity has not appeared as of three books later.

Robert Jordan - Crossroads of Twilight book tour 16 January 2003, Dayton OH - Michael Martin reporting

Q: Have we yet seen the alter-ego Demandred presents to the Third-Agers on-screen?

A: NO. (I asked twice to make sure.)

midnightblooms @30

Valda is evil, as I find many of the Children to be, but I do not believe he is a darkfriend. By that, I mean he has not sworn to the Dark One, and is not following orders from a Forsaken. (I could be wrong, but I don't think so.)

For that matter I do not view Byar as a darkfriend. He is manipulated by Graendal, but does not follow her knowingly as a Forsaken.

Jeribai @66

From wot.wikia.com

The Third Age of the Wheel of Time began with the chaos and destruction of the Breaking of the World that ended the Age of Legends (the Second Age) and will end with the Last Battle, which will usher in the Fourth Age. The Third Age is the Age in which the Wheel of Time novels take place.
70. AndrewB
Gentleman Farmer @ 29 said that Therava was corrupt.

I disagree. She is sadistic. However, sadistic is not the same as corrupt. True, she was part of the group of Shaido Wise Ones who killed their own in LoC. Her treatment of Galina is not corrupt. Galina was judged to be da'tsang.

As a result of that sentence, Therava had the right (at least under Aiel culture) to treat Galina in the manner she does.

During her stay in Malden, I do not recall Therava ever abandoning the concept of j'tigh (word spelled incorrectly).

Thanks for reading my musings,
71. ryamano
Like others have said, there's rape in WOT world. Morgase suffered it at the hands of Valda and Daved Hanlon did it, according to Min, a lot.

It seems, though, that rape is less prevalent in WOT world than in our world. We don't see it that much and females aren't necessarily all the time afraid of that. But this could tell something about our own culture as well. Back in the times most people lived in farms and villages (200 years ago) rape wasn't that common as well, as most people just met a few people in their entire lives. Rape used to happen in times of war and during pirate or bandid raids.

One other reason we don't see rape as much is because most of our POV are of people who have power or status to protect themselves. If we had a POV of a farmer girl in Arad Doman or Tarabon when those places were in civil war, with Dragonsworn roaming the countryside, we would probably see someone more afraid of being raped (like Morgause was, when she was rescued by Perrin and co).
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
72. tnh
ftbleighjkjk @47: And then they dissected the both of them, paying particular attention to their spleens. ... I'd be part of the conversation more often, but I have to run around doing moderator stuff.
73. Wortmauer
Smittyphi@12: Mat/Tylin is too much of a grey area to include it either way as that discussion has been played out already.
I guess I'm almost kinda sorry to not let it go already, but ... come again? How is that a grey area? What aspect of Tylin's behavior, other than how the author treats the situation as pretty much an Aiel joke on Mat, can possibly suggest that she is not sexually assaulting him? Gross imbalance of power: check. Victim can't press charges, the perpetrator is effectively above the law: check. Threatens him with a weapon: check. Enlists a bunch of people's help in cornering the victim: check. "No doesn't really mean no": check. Humiliates him for her amusement: check. Bystanders who didn't see it happen make fun of the victim and assume it was his own fault: check. (Elayne: "You might try batting your eyelashes.") About the only thing missing was Setalle Anan saying "You shouldn't have worn that miniskirt, Mat, what did you think would happen?"

And, yeah, count me in the wcarter4@7 posse. Randland is chock full of Tairen high lords having their way with farmers' daughters, and even more full of taverns where waitresses spend their whole shift trying to dodge pinching and groping, and apparently nobody thinks anything of it. As far as vocal sexual harassment, the whole city of Lugard is a flaming construction site. Randland even has its share of domestic violence: recall Thom's story about trying to rescue a young woman from her husband the "glowering brute of a bootmaker." These aren't things the main characters really dwell on - for various reasons, none of Our Heroes have to live on that side of the tracks - but people like Siuan and Min remember their rough childhoods.

So, um, moving on. That the Shaido have begun to take advantage of their gai'shain should come as no surprise; they already broke all the rules when they started taking wetlanders (unarmed, at that - didn't we hear that to take someone gai'shain they had to be armed, with at least a kitchen knife?) and talking about not letting them go after 366 days. At times I think the Decline and Fall of the Shaido Aiel was a bit overplayed. And what's with the rampant alcoholism? This isn't like the white man bringing them fire-water - they already had oosquai, and imported brandy from peddlers.

Other random thoughts/questions:

- If Perrin had shown up in Malden and made demands as a blacksmith, or concerning the wife of a blacksmith, what would have happened? Ji'e'toh seems to pretty much treat blacksmiths as a big exception to the entire system. I've never understood why - I assume it's one of those things RJ intended to be mysterious, to emphasize that there are depths to ji'e'toh far beyond any of the explanations we get. But I have to admit, as I read all about how blacksmiths are special in ji'e'toh, I really expected something to come of it, particularly in the PLOD.

- If the Brotherless did go back to the Three-Fold Land, where were they planning to live, and with whom? They've got no clan, no territory, nobody who isn't a warrior, and, not to put too fine a point on it, no women. (Well, a few wetlander gai'shain.) No goats, no blacksmiths, no holds, no Wise Ones, no algode fields. Or were the Mera'din planning to break up and go back to their original clans?

- Why did they miss the Waste so much, anyway? Seems to me there's a lot to be said for real estate where it occasionally rains. It's not like there aren't huge tracts of land, e.g., north of Andor, mostly empty, with all sorts of Lebensraum. I understand the original reason to stay east of the Dragonwall was the belief that the Three-Fold Land was shaping them to fulfill a destiny. But these days? Now you've got the Dragon, sorry, I mean He Who Comes With The Dawn. You've got those legendary Aes Sedai who were allegedly going to destroy you if you weren't careful ... now it turns out they won't, couldn't if they wanted to, have pretty much forgotten all about it, and for gosh sakes, can't even unravel a weave of Saidar. At this point, sticking to the Fatherland from a sense of corporate duty to fulfill a destiny has got to be ringing kinda hollow. What's left to draw them back? It's a good place to milk a gara, I guess, and if you ever need to find segade blossoms....

Guess that's all I have for now.
Tricia Irish
74. Tektonica
There are plenty of subtle rape allusions as mentioned by many above and some not so subtle as well, ie: Mat, Morgase, Moggie. I don't think RJ brought this subject up except to make a plot point, ie: Bad Behavior! Here it is just one part of the slippery slope of depravity that the Shaido have gone down.

Anthonypero@45: Re: Your rape question....
As a man, I'd probably never think about it, in my own head.....but do women actively think about it

I can understand why, as a moral man, you might not ever think about it, but I can assure you that most women have that concern in the back of their minds when making many simple every day decisions, like.... which side of the street should I walk on?, is it too late/dark/deserted to go to a place alone?, are my car doors locked?, is that person following me?, can I travel to that country safely alone?....it's just part of our reality as the "weaker" sex. Weird, huh? I think so.

I hadn't really thought about this, Leigh, until you pointed it out. It's just part of the every day decision making process. Sad. I'm with you....I'd rather live in a world where rape did not exist.


Also to be considered (as the discussion about lack of religion) I found life in the small towns (i.e. Two Rivers) to be a little unrealistically chaste and clean where no identifiable moral structure would be present. There is Light and there is dark. But what about the shades of gray? Repentence?

Imho, I don't think an individual or a society has to have a "religion" per se to be moral and have a code of ethics. Working for the success of ones' society for purely altruistic reasons or for pragmatic survival, would create shared concern and cooperation, with agreed upon laws and behavior.
William Fettes
75. Wolfmage
AndrewB @ 70

“As a result of that sentence, Therava had the right (at least under Aiel culture) to treat Galina in the manner she does.”

This is almost certainly incorrect. Once a da’tsang pronoucement is made by three Wise Ones, the objects of the prouncement are certainly treated harshly, but Therava's abuse goes well beyond that.

For a start, da'stung are forbidden from wearing anything but uncomfortable black robes at all times. Yet Therava dresses Galina up in silks as her personal play-thing. Da'tsang are also meant to be issued useless tasks like shifting sand and water to shame them. That is part of what Galina suffers, but the physical abuse, torture and molestation meted out to Galina are nowhere part of this prescribed shaming as discussed in the books, and they don't match up with what we see of the practice amongst the true Wise Ones. This is yet another example of how the Shaido act outside the bounds of ji’e’toh.
76. wcarter4
On the religion part, RJ did mention in an interview that there is widespread spirituality in Randland but no religion due to a simple lack of a need in faith "The Creator IS; the Dark One IS," -his words though I forget from when. The idea being that since everyone knows there is a higher power, there is simply no need for corporate worship even while prayers and a shared system of beliefs, mores, etc. exist.
That's the logic behind his worldbuilding in that aspect, and it makes sense after a fashion. Whether or not it's a realistic reaction from the population is questionable.
William Fettes
77. Wolfmage
I just don't equate religion with something that is so fundamental to plausible worldbuilding that it's absence is particularly troublesome. Unlike the insatiable human capacity for crime and depravity, which is an non-ideological aspect of the human condition that has never been
sociologically marginalised, religion does depend on ongoing adherence which is only made possible through contingent facts about the historical setting. Whereas you’d need a mighty good explanation for why rape or theft doesn’t exist in your world, you only need a moderately plausible culture capable of suspending disbelief to explain a culture without a dominant religion. That said, a complete absence of non-deterministic and non-materialist spiritual or teleological views would be something different. In contrast, I think that would need some explanation, particularly for the kind of primative pre-modern cultures depicted in most fantasy works.

Personally, I think most writers lack the philosophical and theological background to do any kind of justice to creating new religions. So I actually think it’s better that we often get some kind of generic spirituality, animism, distant polytheistic deities or cosmopolitan mixes rather than a poorly conceived fully-throated religious culture.

I've never felt the lack of religion in Randland, and considering the reality of the Creator and Dark One in WoT cosmology it's kind of an odd observation.
Alice Arneson
78. Wetlandernw
JerichoAmbrose @16 - Just a little nitpick... Faile is not the heir apparent. Faile's father is the heir presumptive, meaning that if Tenobia were to have a child, that child would be in a more direct line to the throne than Bashere. Faile is, until that time, second in line for the throne behind her father.

anthonypero @45 - I'm going with Tektonica @74 on this. The possibility of rape is not something I, personally, spend a lot of time actually thinking about, but it's a nearly-subconscious factor in a lot of every-day decisions. It was a very minor factor when I lived in rural Montana; somewhat more so, but not a lot, when I lived in a college town in Montana; much more so when I moved to the Seattle area - especially when I was a single woman living in the University District. So, yeah, it's there. We all know the possibility, and none of us want to be a statistic.

Wayner @ several - Clearly, you need to go read The Strike at Shayol Ghul.

Hawkido @53 - Interesting theory. Would take more looking to endorse, but hey, the more the merrier until AMoL comes out and we finally get to RAFO!

johntheirishmongol @57 - Heartleaf tea.

vsthorvs @65 - Misogyny and chivalry exist in this world, women are still seen as physically weaker. Okay, now that cracked me up. RJ was writing in a world where men and women were physically much the same as in RL; did you expect him to somehow put all the women in his world on massive steroids so they could be as physically strong as men, on the average? He didn't try to change the physical attributes of the genders, merely to reorient the cultural structures that, in our history, have often led to women being considered inferior beings. In his world, the fact that a woman is (on average) physically weaker than a man (on average) doesn't make her inferior; it just makes her an equal being with different strengths.

Wortmauer @73 - Did you have to? Smittyphi's point was that Mat/Tylin has been debated ad nauseum and not everyone agrees even now; in any case, it's not entirely relevant to the subject at hand, as others have said. And everyone has been so generous about not dragging the argument out for another go-round. Please?

Re: the Brotherless, one would assume they would go back to their clans. There are still large numbers of Aiel in the Waste, maintaining the holds, fields, livestock, etc. It's quite probable that they all have family there, even. What's to prevent them going home and staying there until the whole thing is done with? As for missing the Waste - it's home, and has been for thousands of years. Why not? It's not like they're familiar with the geography of Randland and would know that the Caralain Grass is open for homesteading.

Wolfmage @75 - and yet, Verin hands over to the Wise Ones a list of what would most shame the AS they have named da'tsang, including (what the AS would consider) public nudity. The point of da'tsang treatment is to make them know their shame in their very bones; the treatment has to be adjusted for the culture. For any Aiel, being given purposeless tasks is the ultimate in shame, but wetlanders don't see it that way; therefore, the Wise Ones look for other means. Certainly they would still not be allowed to do meaningful work, but the whole point is SHAME. If shaving her head and making her go around naked are what will most shame her, then that's what they'd do.

Incidentally, I agree that Therava's beatings go beyond any reasonable interpretation, but more than shame, this is about punishing Galina for her perceived disobedience.
William Fettes
79. Wolfmage
Wetlandernw @ 78

Yep, good post I accept that. I agree da'tsung is fundamentally about experiencing shame at the deepest levels. So, a judicious Wise One can reasonably adapt that shaming to the perspective of the recipient.

However, as you say, that still doesn't mean Therava was acting within the dicates of ji'e'toh. We can reasonably say the silk dresses contravened the strict prescription around black robes, (most probably for her own sexual gratification), and that many of the punishments were manifestly excessive, and that the binding rod has no precedent in Aiel culture.
Anthony Pero
80. anthonypero
Wayner @ 52:

Read the Strike at Shayol Ghul:

As far as women having "less" power than men in the AoL, please see my comments @40. It has to do with Circles, and women being able to form them.
Anthony Pero
81. anthonypero
jonfmorse @ 61

Wild Cards is Science Fiction, perhaps comic-book style superhero, not Epic Fantasy. While there is some crossover in readership, it is small, and they are most assuredly separate genres. The most popular epic fantasies of the 80s, when RJ began writing the WoT, were the Shannara series and David Eddings Belgariad series, along with a slew of other Tolkien knock offs. Edgy, gritty, "low fantasy" was nowhere on the radar.
Anthony Pero
82. anthonypero
@ALL RE: Moab;

Is he the Sea Folk at the DF Social in the GH Prolouge?
Anthony Pero
83. anthonypero
@Wetlandernw and @Tektonica:

Ok, but that still doesn't answer my question. Do you think about it on a conscious level that would surface in a third person limited POV? And is it often enough that it is ridiculous that we haven't seen a PoV with some character thinking about the likelihood and dnager of her being raped? I guess that was the point I was trying to get at. It seems plausible to me that our PoV females don't think about this consciously enough to mandate RJ including it in a POV thought parade.
Stefan Mitev
84. Bergmaniac
Good job, Leigh, you managed to create a lively discussion out of such a boring chapter. ;)

It's pretty clearly stated as early as TSR that some of the Tairen High Lords (who were not Darkfriends, IIRC) were raping lowborn women and considered it well within their rights and quite normal. So I don't think what we see here is that big of a change from Jordan.

Didn't Jordan said himself that he wasn't trying to create a female dominated societies (except a few isolated cases, like Far Madding)? Yes, Andor has only Queens, but its societal structrure is pretty equal overall - men can get all jobs they want, the High Seats of the noble Houses can be either men or women, and usually the second most powerful in the realm and commander of the armies is a man - the First Prince of the Sword.

Sure, the Aes Sedai are on top of the social pyramid in general (before the Asha'man came on the scene at least), but they are a tiny minority which doesn't make the Randland societies in general female dominated IMO. Note that Westland armies are almost exclusevily made up of men, which provides balance for the Aes Sedai's influence. The all male Whitecloacks also serve in such a role.

As already said, the vast majority of the female PoVs in the series are from people who have no reason to seriously fear rape - the Supergirls and Moiraine with their channelling abilities, Min who almost always had Rand or Aes Sedai around to protect her, etc. The two who doesn't fit this pattern are Faile and Morgase, and we know what almost happened to the first and really happened to the second. Siuan in Lugard also seem cautious of the possibility of rape IIRC.
Roger Powell
85. forkroot

The most popular epic fantasies of the 80s, when RJ began writing the WoT, were the Shannara series and David Eddings Belgariad series, along with a slew of other Tolkien knock offs. Edgy, gritty, "low fantasy" was nowhere on the radar.

"Low fantasy" no, but you are forgetting Donaldson's Covenant books, which were certainly as popular as Eddings (Brooks' popularity was up at a whole 'nother level, despite the lower quality of his work.)
Thmoas Covenant was certainly the 80's standard-bearer for the "anti-hero" and the series begins with a rape. Much of the first trilogy is influenced heavily by the consequences of that action.
Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
anthonypero @83 - Oops. Forgot that part of the question. No, it's not likely something that would surface in a POV unless I were seriously considering the risks of going into a dangerous area alone; even then, the word "rape" would probably not be conscious. It would more likely be on the order of "dangerous for a lone woman" including all the implications of robbery, assault, rape, murder, and all that sort of thing. So I agree with your point: it's completely plausible that, even with awareness of the existence of rape, it would not have consciously entered any character PoV until this point, with the obvious exception of Morgase.
Simon Southey-Davis
87. Glyph
Wortmauer @73: I'd say you've pinpointed most of the reasons for the Brotherless falling into a deep cultural depression, right there in your last paragraph. The Shaido, others have pointed out, have it even worse in that their clan system has also been degraded by the lack of male role models (and let's face it, Couladin was never the best there in the first place) and the corruption of Sevanna / Therava's leadership.

And so the whole thing spirals down as the Aiel - those who cannot fashion a new sense of meaning for their lives, or at least come to terms with the immediate situation around the Last Battle - find their whole way of life and cultural foundation dismantled around them. If the Brotherless are 'merely' caught in a mass depression, I'd say the collapse of leadership among the Shaido has pushed the latter over the brink into moral breakdown and self-destructive behaviour.

As above, so below.
88. Mike123
Post 26
I really enjoyed reading your post and I think you may have stumbled upon huge similarities in RandLand and in RealLife. I want to first state that rape is horrible and I have not been able to discover when it first happened in recording history so I am going to assume it has always been around (This may or may not be important.)
The 26th post, made a corrolation between not having a male leader and having a materialistic female leader to the widespread of rape. I see this clearly as a scene right out of real life. I would be curious if a study has been done on the effect of fatherless children left to be raised with materialistic moms on the amount of rape that takes place. I am wondering if there truly is a correlation.
For the record, I am not saying single moms are materialistic or bad in any way. I am wondering if overly materialistc moms in general cause their children to grow up in a way to be more suseptible to what causes someone to rape another person. I also am not assuming I know what causes a person to rape another one, as I am sure there are many causes, or maybe only a few... I admit I just dont know.
Tricia Irish
89. Tektonica

Sorry, I wasn't addressing the "in story" povs....I just gave you my RL experience. In RL it is mostly a subconscious thing, but a constant. For instance, an electrician just came to work at my house. I was expecting him. Immediately, part of me is assessing whether the guy is creepy or safe, and not just in a "is this a nice person" kind of way. I assess in an "Am I safe with this guy around" kind of way. As I said, it's constant.

I don't get the feeling in WoT that that happens with the super girls, or most women. Certainly not as something they would comment on in a POV, unless it was relevant to the perps character, or lack thereof. I think here, with the Shaido, it was relevant to show character deterioration and maybe shades of gray with the Meradin.
Anthony Pero
90. anthonypero
Thank you for the frank answers. I hope no one was offended by the frank nature of my questions. The female perspective is not a world I dwell in easily, or, possibly (probably :) intelligently.

As a man, I have difficulty comprehending what some of you feel, not only because I'm a man, but because the thought of forcing myself in that way on someone is so... incomprehensible. Of course, the key phrase is "in that way". I'm sure there are other things I do to assert power that I am unconscious of. I'm sure there are things we all do to assert power that we are unconcsious of.

Actually, one argument in favor of those who view RJs lack of discussion regarding this improbable is the pages and pages and pages of dialogue and inner monologue we had regarding the Way of the Leaf. Surely some character would have referenced this as an argument against the Way of the Leaf by now?
91. dubsub
Wetlandernw @78
Agree with you and Tektonica. I don't think "Am I going to get raped?" necessarily, but I do think "Is this safe for me to be doing?" or "Is this guy safe to be around?" (subtext adds "...as a woman") fairly common.
Also, I'm from Seattle and I used to live in the University District as well. I worked a midnight shift for a few months, then found a slightly better job as a waitress. You can bet it came up in my mind fairly often then. My family also worried about me in a way that I don't think they would have for a boy.

Glyph @87
I'm sure this parallel has been drawn many times, but I always saw the Shaido's situation (and the Aiel bleakness) as analagous to that of the Native American plains tribes after being forced onto reservations. The entire purpose of their existence, even the very ways by which honor may be gained has vanished.
There's only so much strong leadership can do, but to have leaders like Couladin, and then Sevanna must have been devastating.
92. walkerhound
To move a way for the whole rape angle for a bit.

“If the Brotherless did go back to the Three-Fold Land, where were they planning to live, and with whom? They've got no clan, no territory, nobody who isn't a warrior, and, not to put too fine a point on it, no women. (Well, a few wetlander gai'shain.) No goats, no blacksmiths, no holds, no Wise Ones, no algode fields. Or were the Mera'din planning to break up and go back to their original clans?”
I find this a pretty interesting question, in the brotherless were we witnessing the start of a new ail warrior society (if not of a hole new ail clan)? If so in what would this have told us about the formation of other societies (why are they brothers to the eagle? How did there shield’s get read? Act act). I’m deaing to hear what happened to the other brotherless that escaped Malden or were scattered with the other shido, or for that matter what of the ail that left the shido to join there society’s that followed Rand?

“ “We remain here,” Sevanna said angrily, flinging her goblet to the carpets in a spray of wine. “I speak for the clan chief, and I have spoken!”
“You have spoken,” Therava agreed calmly. “Bendhuin, sept chief of the Green Salts, has received permission to go to Rhuidean. He left five days ago with twenty of his algai’d’siswaiand four Wise Ones to stand witness.”
If I’m not vary much mistacken this is Sevanna being put on notic heer that her good times as defacto clan chief aren’t necesarly going to last foreaver just ‘cuse she has a “great plan that will totally work ya’ll”. So the question is we going to be seeing Bendhuin agine and what changes with the shido when they agine have a proper (i.e. not pathetically evil with a wildly incorrect assessment of their own intelligence/capability’s) clan chief?
John Massey
93. subwoofer
@AnthonyP- er... who's this "Frank" person you're talking about? ;)

This "weaker sex" thing. Yet to see it. I don't think there's a woman out there worth her salt that can't brow beat a man, any man into doing what she wants albeit against the guy's better sense. Heck, my wife brow beats me on a daily basis- its a "either we can discuss/argue about this and I'll get my way, or we could skip the discussion and I could just get my way" type deal. Sometimes its tough being a guy.


As for rape... I kinda danced around it, but I hate disco so I just want to point out one thing... there be baddies in this book. It has been hinted at on several occassions when describing various lairs of said baddies. I can't get around the scantily clad folks in "awkward positions" ( like the back seat of a Volkswagon) doing stuff. Heck in the last book one of the Forsaken was known for their lust/urges/ carnal nature and was letting it rule their lives. I think rape goes hand in glove with being a baddie. Doesn't whatshisnuts, er... Hanlon? muse about having his way with certain women? One of them being an AS that has limits placed on her?

I dunno... its icky but there it is, baddies do bad things.

John Massey
94. subwoofer
Oh yeah, @Paulie- if you wanna edit comments, you have to go grey.

As for the Brotherless- I'm thinking... hmmmmmm. (deep thought)

I'm still a bit sketchy when it comes to Avi's trip to Rhuidean etc... but could the Brotherless be what goes back to the Waste? Every other Aiel putzes around in the wetlands? That would be a shame. Yes the Waste is harsh. Yes the Waste is tough. But it is the Aiel's home, it is the Aiel way of life and they have found a way to not only survive but to thrive in the heat. Why fix what isn't broke?

95. Wortmauer
RanchoUnicorno@8: Jordan imputes that the Shaido have degenerated from People of the Dragon to meriting the title Shaido Dogs.
Reminds me ... I wonder what the Stone Dogs think of that pejorative for the Shaido.

Oh, and speaking of the People of the Dragon, why do the Aiel always go out of their way to remind people that the Dragon is a "wetlander prophecy" any time he is mentioned, and that they have HWCWTD instead? You'd think they could be a little less uptight about the distinction. That, or drop the title. "Oh, we used to think we were the People of the Dragon, but then it occurred to us that the Dragon is a wetlander prophecy. We can't have that, obviously! Now we are the People Who Formerly Said Dragon."
96. JasonD
This is going to make a lot of people very angry, but I am going to say it anyway: Men have to deal with rape too. Men can be raped, and men can be raped by women. You do not have to be able to penetrate someone to be able to commit rape. Just ask Mat when he was being held by Tylin.

I would not be so cold-hearted as to downplay the effect that rape has on a female psyche, but having the fear of rape be the driving force behind every single action, or non-action, is a dangerous psychosis.

The ideal of gender equality will never be because such a thing is impossible. Men and women are just designed differently, and they need to be to continue the species as a whole. "Equal" does not mean the same thing as "balanced," and that is what we should strive for. Night and Day are only equal 2 times a year, but they balance each other out. When talking about the 5 elements of Channeling, only spirit is evenly distributed bewteen the genders. Men are inherently better with Earth and Fire, women with Air and Water (which I always found interesting, because in several New Age systems Fire and Air are considered Masculine elements and Earth and Water are the Feminine ones, but that's for another time...)

Rape is very rarely ever about sex, it's about domination and control. With so many nations in Randland ruled by Queens, Kings with Aes Sedai advisors, villages and towns with Women's Circles, and an entire political entity without a single male voice in the White Tower, if any rapes were committed, it would be more likely that the perpetrator would be a woman (see Tylin again).

I do not doubt the statistic that Leigh mentions, that 1 in 6 women will be the victim of attempted or completed sexual assault, but that statistic should not be twisted to mean that 1 in 6 men on the planet are active or potential rapists.
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
JasonD @96 - Not sure why you started your comments with "this is going to make a lot of people very angry" - you didn't say anything that hasn't already been said in previous discussions many times, without anyone getting all that angry, much less "a lot of people."
98. JasonD
@97: Previous discussions I have had on this topic have gotten heated by some of the comments I made in my post, so I thought a disclaimer was warranted. It is absolutely not my goal to be inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory, and I'm very glad that I am being well-received.
99. dubsub
JasonD @96
Precisely. I completely agree with your main point there.
(Anything else probably fodder for a totally unrelated sociology or gender discussion, like the social construction of who needs to fear crime the most and why)

In a society where women have more control and sometimes feel inherently superior to men, I'd expect to see more instances of male rape, or at least fear of the possibility. It'd be an interesting, albeit depressing, addition to the gender-role-switching that Jordan likes to do in WoT. It's possible Jordan didn't feel comfortable with the idea, or maybe was worried about how readers would perceive the characters afterwards, since people are notoriously unforgiving of male victims.

Another interesting point about Earth+Water being traditionally female elements. I'd argue that Jordan describes Earth power in a much more masculine way than real-world ideas of the idea. Think earthquakes and explosions of earth vs. nature connectedness and plantlife.
Also, wasn't the Planeteer with the power of Earth a dude? : D

walkerhound @92
Me too. I always found the Aiel to be the most interesting of all the cultures and TSR is my favorite book for this reason. I wish there were more viewpoints from them in the later books. They're at a pivotal moment in their history now.
Jon Morse
100. jonfmorse
Tektonica @74:
Imho, I don't think an individual or a society has to have a "religion" per se to be moral and have a code of ethics.

Indeed, I don't think anyone sane would argue against the assertion that a not insignificant number of atheists and agnostics are far more moral and ethical than many religious adherents.

anthonypero @81:
You know, I started to disclaim the point re: Wild Cards not being high fantasy, but felt it wasn't really relevant. But your assertion that the crossover is small, I question. I managed a comic shop/F&FS bookstore for several years, and the vast majority of my regular book-buying customers did indeed cross over, almost all across the F&SF spectrum. (Okay, the folks who bought Gor books didn't seem to buy much else, except maybe Jack Chalker stuff.) Further, the number of authors who span the spectrum from hard SF to high fantasy is fairly significant, so I don't know that I'd discard the notion of F&SF being a super-genre itself.

And I see forkroot @85 got my back re: Donaldson, so I don't need to expand on that one. Moorcock had his moments, too.
Birgit F
101. birgit
I'm still a bit sketchy when it comes to Avi's trip to Rhuidean etc... but could the Brotherless be what goes back to the Waste? Every other Aiel putzes around in the wetlands?

After the battle at Malden Therava takes the surviving Shaido back to the Waste.

Men are inherently better with Earth and Fire, women with Air and Water (which I always found interesting, because in several New Age systems Fire and Air are considered Masculine elements and Earth and Water are the Feminine ones, but that's for another time...)

The yin-yang symbol is also switched. In China, the dark part is female and the light part is male. Is that from another turning of the Wheel when saidar was tainted?
Maiane Bakroeva
102. Isilel
Not really sure why folks think that WoT world is female-dominated, when in fact, there is a kind of parity between the genders, which feels artificial due to RJ's love of proper "knights" and "ladies".

Anyway, I felt the opposite of Leigh - that for a society where the victim isn't apriori considered responsible for her own rape and forever shamed by it, this crime is way too prevalent.

I mean, if it were, on one hand, considered a serious crime and one as likely to be reported and prosecuted as other crimes, and on the other there would be a small, but existent risk of running against a channeler, with spectacular cautionary results, then few would dare to engage in it.
Yet, from TEoTW on, when we saw the women in that creepy town - Four Kings? living in constant fear of rape, to repeated cautioning of various adventuring female characters about the danger, to Thom's assertion how the life of a gleeman is not fit for a woman, to Siuan's near-rape at 15 and Mat's buddies in Tear fondly reminiscing about their rapes of farmer's daughters, etc. it seems to be very widespread in Randland, strangely. Even before the order breaks down. It is true that in the earlier volumes RJ is more oblique with mentions of it than in the latter ones, but they are quite numerous nevertheless.

Which, of course makes the refusal of the vast majority of Randlandian women to learn self-defense and/or to use proper weapons, even when they travel a lot, as well as their insistance on wearing impractical clothing, all the more unbelievable and ridiculous.

As to gai'shan, we heard often enough how it can lead to marriages, when the time is done. So, courting gai's han seems to be allowed by ji'toh. It is only a small step from that to extramarital affairs, while in white, to not be considered a breach of honor, since this time is not considered part of normal life and identity of an individual anyway.
103. Mike123
Hmmm, if we are going to use the WOT book as an analogy for how each gender views being rape so be it... Men being raped is not as psychological detrimental as woment being raped, according to our WOT examples.
Mat for instance being raped was a minor annoyance to him from the way I read it. Yes he went out of his way to avoid his rapist, but he was more compliant than I would expect a female who was raped and not as emotionally distraught as Morgase.
Morgase on the other hand, was emotionally distraught and was psychologically damaged. Again, I can't really say that Mat was.
If we are only using these two examples then it is easy to assume that Men being raped is quite different then women being raped.

Now in RL, it may be a complety different outcome if a man is raped by another man... I know as a man it would be for me.
As a note: I am not condoning women raping men. I just can't help but feel that it is different on a psychological level. (I've never been raped so I can only assume how I would feel by the way.)
William Fettes
104. Wolfmage
Isilel @ 102

"there would be a small, but existent risk of running against a channeler, with spectacular cautionary results, then few would dare to engage in it."

Yeah, I don't buy that at all. I'll give you Tar Valon certainly,
hubs in close proximity, and perhaps certain upper-class districts of major cities. But otherwise the chances of encountering a wilder who knows how to do anything, or a newly raised Aes Sedai without the ageless face, in any random Randland village is just so vanishingly small that it barely warrants consideration, and certainly wouldn't affect the opportunistic calculus of would-be rapists.

"Mat's buddies in Tear fondly reminiscing about their rapes of farmer's"

I can't tell if you're being facetious or not, but the sons of the High Lords of Tear are just tolerably rich gambling acquaintances for Mat not buddies, which is especially obvious because it's literally spelled out with Mat's prejudice against nobles and through his anger at the comment. And whilst that joke was certainly in poor taste, and does probably indicated some history of unwelcome attention and impropriety, I think it's hyperbolic to suggest earning a few laughs around the table with an off-colour joke somehow indicates a culture of widespread rape of farmers' daughters.
Eric Hughes
105. CireNaes

I applaud your skepticism towards statistics and if my other post came off as harsh I apologize. I'm just curious as to which direction your skepticism lies. For me (again do to the primary issues of shame, self doubt as to anyone believing the claim, and the desire not to "ruin" the rapists life with the accusation of rape) I think sexual abuse is underreported by a substantial margin.


In my discussions with specialists on sexual assualt, the primary factor for men/male children sexually abusing another human being is the presence of domestic violence during their childhood with a strong corollary element of alcohol.

Whereas with women/female children, being sexually abused during childhood is the primary factor to sexually abusing another human being.
Maiane Bakroeva
106. Isilel
Wolfmage @104:

As I pointed out above, the primary deterrence would be reporting of rapes, since there is no culturally ingrained tradition of blaming and shaming the victims.

Still, wilders don't need to know how to channel consiously to react to assaults in a spectacular manner. OP often manifests for sparkers when they are in danger.

And I am in no way blaming Mat, but neither are there any reasons to doubt his card partners from Tear. And IIRC some of them are still with him in the Band of the Red Hand, though I don't remember if the self-confessed rapist is one of them. Somehow, I think not, though.

Mike123 @103:

IMHO, RJ had weird views on certain issues. I certainly don't see Tylin's actions as funny, like he (apparently) did.
He was also careful to disallow even the possibility of boy/men getting raped by other men/male monsters, so...
107. Mike123
On the subject of men being raped, does anyone have any sources around the subject? I want to explore whether they go through the same or similar effects women do. Just curious...

I recall a Law and Order SVU tv episode that explored a man being raped by women, but obviously it was unconclusive as it was just a show.
Any data out there someone could site?
108. wcarter4
@104 Wolfmage

Sorry, but noblemen going "wenching" is exactly and explicity rape. It was historically sanctioned in real life during the medieval era and a few instances afterwards.

Read the the story The Archbishop of Canterburry" for hsitorical references.

Basically noblemen and kings have the power of peerage (the ability to hold civil/criminal court as well as perform marriages) they often called it the King's/Lord's right to take the virginity of the bride before the wedding and the often went to the houses of commoners and had their way with the man's daughters. He could do nothing for two reasons:

1. The noblemen had swords and could and would run him and his family through with impunity if they tried to exist.

And 2. He was the judge, jury, and controlled the executioner so who are you going to report him to?

The Tairen High Lords find it appalling the Rand tries to institute laws that allow a commoner to bring a nobelmen to trial for anything up to and including murder because they thing it is their inherent right as rulers to do whatever they please to commoners including kill them. So why would they possibly think rape was out of bounds?
Daniel Smith
109. Smittyphi
Mike123 post 103 - You can't compare Mat and Morgase as Morgase's situation was vastly different. Morgase managed to get out of compulsion only to fall into Whitecloak hands. She is beaten by Asunawa and raped by Valda AFTER Niall was asassinated.

Mat pledged to keep Elayne safe and stayed there for Elayne. Tylin obeyed him in the end and voluntarily allowed herself to be tied up so Mat could escape.

Regardless of other peoples' opinions regarding Mat/Tylin, you can't compare Mat and Morgase's situation
Chin Bawambi
110. bawambi
Indeed, I don't think anyone sane would argue against the assertion that a not insignificant number of atheists and agnostics are far more moral and ethical than many religious adherents.

I couldn't agree with that statement at all. I have lived in NYC for many years and would posit that there is a much larger percentage of atheists and agnostics here than in most places. The amount of bastards in both population groups is pretty much exactly the same. The amount of deeply spiritual and non-judgemental percentages in both groups is to paraphase WoT "a remnant of a remnant".

King's/Lord's right

That this was actually a practice at all is very debatable to the point of being close to urban legend.

Like the discussion points in general though - now back to my lurking
111. Mike123
Smittyphi @109, I completly agree that their situations were different. But the arguement was being made about the inherit differences of women being raped by a man and men being raped by a woman.

I don't know about many here, but I was distraught over Morgase being raped and found it humorous that Mat was. In hindsight, I am kinda embarassed that I found it funny to be honest. I wonder how many here would down play a man being raped by a woman? Shouldn't it be just as bad as a woman being raped?
112. Sheryl in Ohio
The whole what-happens-in-white-doesn't-count thing, I don't think refers to rape. The Aiel are a pracital people. I think that means if a gai'shain woman wants to do the deed while she is away from her significant other for a year and a day, no one will hold it against her; it won't violate the extensive Aiel code of honor. Obviously, whether she is gai'shain or not, the move should be left to the woman. If an Aiel woman makes a move on her male gai'shain, he has the option to act like it happened in Vegas. That's my take on it. No rape is involved.

The Mera'din are pushing it here (as in the bounds of decency), but then they are with the Shaido afterall.
Jon Morse
113. jonfmorse
bawambi @110: You're responding as if I said "atheists and agnostics are more moral than religious folks", and I never said anything remotely like that. I just said that many atheists and agnostics are more moral and ethical than many religious people, which is pretty much exactly what you said despite claiming to disagree with me.

My point was that "religion" is not necessary to developing morals and ethics. One can believe in the inherent dignity of life without believing in a god. One can believe that theft is wrong without having to believe that god decreed we shall not steal. So on, so forth.
114. Sheryl in Ohio
And they do have a religion. The Wheel is not a philosophy. The Wheel is God and The Wheel weaves as The Wheel wills.
William Fettes
115. Wolfmage
wcarter4 @ 108

Thanks for the history lesson, but I note you haven't actually found a textual reference to support this specific practice of wenching.

What actually happens in that scene is that Mat makes a reductio ad absurdum jibe about the Lords' protest against Rand's proclamation. Mat says something to the effect that it would be a shame if you had to face a Magistrate for having your way with a fisherman's daughter, and the Lords are too oblivious to react to the qualifier 'whatever she wanted'. Most are simply fixated on this radical concept of the rule of law applying to them, and Estean is just so drunk that he only remarks that a farmer's daughter is better than fisherman's because of the smell. So, that's pretty thin evidence to base a determination of widespread rape: the mere omission of protest from some drunken Lordlings, who we know are fixated on their generic erosion of privilege, to the qualifier Mat adds to indicate a lack of consent. As I said, it's reasonable to assume their generic sense of privilege and immunity underscored by RJ here does likely indicate some history of habitual unwelcome attention, but saying anything firmer beyond that is speculation. And for the record, Randland is much closer to the Renaissance period than it is to Medieval times, so Medieval practices are of dubious relevance unless you actually have some supporting material in the text to build a case around.
Stefan Mitev
116. Bergmaniac
Tear's laws and practices before Rand came to power there gave the Lords and even the rich merchants total impunity. See this for example from TDR:
The innkeeper was shaking his head. “Me? Me, denounce a merchant to the Defenders? They would not even look at his dice. He could say one word, and I would be in chains working the channel dredges in the Fingers of the Dragon. He could cut me down where I stood, and the Defenders would say I had earned it. Perhaps he will go away after a while.”

This is just one of the many examples of the complete oppression of the commonners in Tear. The Lords and the rich could get away with absolutely everything.

I think the scene with Mat and the Lordlings was clearly intended to show that some of them considered raping commoner girls as part of their privileges and had done it before. Estean for example is so convinced that's his right that he even missed Mat's blatant and biting sarcasm when he asked them "It would be a shame,” he said quietly, “if
you were tried and judged just for having your way with a fisherman’s
daughter whatever she wanted, or for having some farmer beaten for
splashing mud on your cloak.”

Immediately after that, Estean mentioned that out of the two noble women he's been offered to marry, he'd probably choose Medore because she had "two or three pretty maids", and the implication is quite clear to me.
William Fettes
117. Wolfmage
Again, the point is whether you can really go from the crimes of omission made during this scene, even when combined with the Lordlings' incredible privilege, to specific cases of widespread rape.

For example, what about the Lordlings who simply missed the 'whatever she wanted qualifier'? Estean pretty obviously missed it as he was blind drunk. What about Lordlings who can be said to have often had their way with women -- but with their consent (though perhaps not from the patriachial father)? What about Lordlings whose sexual attentions range from simple carousing and pinching of a bottoms at the lower end, to groping and sexual assault but not rape of commoners at the more insidious end of the scale? These kind of distinctions are completely lost if you simply collapse everything that is hidden here into an aggregate rape category.

Look, I'm certainly not defending the Lordlings or their privilege. I've explicitly acknowledged that some ongoing sexual impropriety is obviously implied. And it really goes without saying that the existence of such absolute immunity is sufficient smoke that it hardly needs a creative imagination to suppose a fire. But I'm simply trying to caution against the notion that you can reach for the rape label so readily for every imagined contact between these Lordlings and commoners that it can properly be regarded as ubiquitious. The scene is suggestive, but not explicit about it - so we've got to acknowledge where the actual evidence ends and where speculation begins.
118. Metal Prophet
Robert Jordan himself said that Randland is a world where there was a successful feminist revolution so far back that no one can even remember it. So, in such a world, rape would be a relatively rare event, largely since society sees women as fully human. In our world, we're still debating this topic, unfortunately and rape is a depressingly frequent occurrence. I think the outbreak of rape and attempted rape amongst the Shaido, as has been pointed out, shows just how far their culture has degenerated.
Hilde Sørensen
119. edlihs

Thanks for the history lesson, but I note you haven't actually found a textual reference to support this specific practice of wenching.

You are right it points to the "law"not being real, but would you deny that some nobles lived as if it was a costom? Adding to Bergmaniac@116s' example:

ToM ch. 15, Use a Pebble: It wasn't the richest section of Tear but it was definitely prosperous. Of course, in Tear, there was really only one division: commoner or noble. Many of the nobles stillc,onsidered commoners completely different-and wholly inferior-creatures.


IMHO, RJ had weird views on certain issues. I certainly don't see Tylin's actions as funny, like he (apparently) did.
and Mike123@111

I don't know about many here, but I was distraught over Morgase being raped and found it humorous that Mat was. In hindsight, I am kinda embarassed that I found it funny to be honest. I wonder how many here would down play a man being raped by a woman? Shouldn't it be just as bad as a woman being raped?

Good! Here:

A Crown of Swords book tour 21 June 1996, Charleston - Brian Ritchie reporting
RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

If you feel uncomfortable, you were ment to!
Sheryl in Ohio@114

And they do have a religion. The Wheel is not a philosophy. The Wheel is God and The Wheel weaves as The Wheel wills.

Not the Wheel- the Creater (of the wheel) and his Light.

EDIT: These boxes and quotes... AGAIN
121. s'rEDIT
It is only the author's tone that prevents the Mat + Tylin storyline
from causing as much discomfort as the Shaido disintegration.

Because he writes Mat and his reactions with the same tongue-in-cheek as all of Mat's POVs, throws in silliness such as all-pink outfits, and shows that other characters see the whole thing as amusing, the circumstances feel "lighter." But that is simply a byproduct of the way it is written.

He may have simply been trying to present one of his inimitable role reversals, but the subject is a bit too sensitive and serious for humor to make it palatable for anyone who's actually experienced it . . . no matter the age or gender.
122. Dolphineus
I don't know why I keep coming back to read this, but I do. I love WoT, and I keep hoping I'm going to read about WoT. Instead I keep getting Leigh's rants about sex and rape and how Jordan left this out.

You really know how to take all the fun out of a re-read.

FYI ... 1 in 6 men will be the victim of sexual abuse. Get off your high horse.
Anthony Pero
123. anthonypero
RE: High Lord discussions

This entire discussion hinges on your definition of consent. If someone can't say no, becuase of the trouble it would bring her family, is it still consent? I don't think it is. Therefore, consider this scenario:

High Lord is out visiting his cousin's country estate. Notices a semi-pretty farmer's daughter and decides, 'Yeah, I'd hit that!'. He corners her and tells her what he wants. The girl knows who he is, and doesn't vocally object because it would get her family into all kinds of trouble with her own Lord if she displeases her cousin, so she let's him "have his way" with her. This is not consensual sex, in my book. This is rape.

Any honest reading of Tarian society makes this situation seem widespread.

This entire thread boils down to the definition of consent, honestly.

On another popular note:

I won't speak for men in general, I'll just speak honestly for myself. I find Mat's situation with Tylin hysterical, and I thought RJ pulled it off brilliantly, and very believably. For me. Because I'm a pig. I could totally picture myself in Mat's situation, and responding pretty much exactly like him. Sure, being forced would be disturbing, but not destabling for my psyche. By a woman at least. An attractive woman.

Mat's ultimate response to the situation showed that he at least didn't mind it happening, therefore it wasn't destructive to him. This has been true for some women who have been raped as well, but it's still rape. whether someone secretly wants it or not isn't the issue. Consent is. And forced consent is still forced. It isn't consent.
124. OldWoman
There are many degrees of rape with varying impact on one's self. The worst form includes penetration. It is a stab to the soul, a stealing of one's person, the ultimate violation. Doesn't matter if one is male or female.
Chris R
125. up2stuff
Hi folks. I have been wrapped up in the beginnings of a new job for a month or two now, and have had trouble keeping abreast of the re-read. I have been re-listening to the series on audio during my commute, and as to rape being present in Randland before, there were several comparisons of Warders being bonded against their will as likened to being raped in the Eye of the World and the Great Hunt. Lan was PI-ISSED that Moiraine was transfering his bond without his permission, and I also seem to recall Alanna's involuntarily bonding Rand as something similar. I am sorry for not being able to provide instances, no physical books you understand, but I did just hear it. I seem to recall a statement about it being 400 years since a man was involuntarily bonded or something.

One other example of women having the need and RIGHT to defend themselves against unwanted attentions...The Domani Marriage knife! Not only could a woman defend herself with her knife, but she could even knife a man for being insulting. Maybe the same, maybe not... but that whole society seemed almost psychotic to me. Maybe I misread the whole origin of the knife, but I always kind of saw this society as being VERY hazardous for women. Duels were commonplace, man to man or woman to woman. Or at least it was until this behavior was institutionalized.

I just agree, like many, that it was present, just not really on camera, like other things.

As to Men/Women eqaulity in AOL, I think it was probably pretty balanced. Saidin/Saidar = Yin/Yang = Opposite, yet eqaul sides of a coin, etc, etc.... I remember several statements that all of the most wonderous works in the AOL were accomplished with men and women as equal partners wielding the power. The Stone of Tear was built this way, I think and many other things besides, right?

I also seem to remember a Supergirl reflecting about relative strength and how it seemed unfair that men should be "stronger" because of their affinity to Earth and Fire which are supposed to be stronger than Air and Water (Women's affinities). The other character speaking to her pointed out that what rock could not be worn down by water or wind (much like my wife's effect on my spirit). I keed, I keed...

Not sure that last part had as much to do with discussion as my earlier points, BUT it is something I recalled about equality.
John Massey
126. subwoofer
This is just too easy...
@up2stuff... yes, often I have lamented about the same thing... you know, having trouble keeping a breast... heh.


I thought we agreed on fruit and veggies only, no sticks, stones or furniture...

Ahem, anyways, 'bout them er... rules regarding equality, I have often wondered at the "success" of the Strike at Shayol Ghul. How could men hope to be successful when they cannot combine their power? Rather than drive men crazy I am surprised that the DO just didn't strike them all down... mind you, what he did do had a rather lasting effect. I understand the fear aspect of using the sa'angreal, but how could LTT hope to match the power of the DO. Unless that was not the point of the Strike- it is not a head to head match to see who is stronger/ better.

The alternative plan is very interesting too, although I am not sure to call it an alternative, as it was LTT's original plan. Men and women, working together to "implant" the seven Seals- and I am not entirely sure what "implanting" involves. Anyways it seems to me that this is what Rand is leading up to when he had his visit and conversation with Egwene, I don't think he was baiting her, I think he actually wanted her to look into the archives of the 13D and see if she or someone female, could come to the same conclusions he did... Maybe that is where Min comes in, she shows the Aes Sedai what they cannot see coming from a man.

Just idle speculation at this point.

127. Paulie
Ummm...it's Tuesday...where's my 3 chapters about Mat?!? :)
Kimani Rogers
128. KiManiak
Paulie@127 - You gotta check the main page :-) Or the WoT reread home page, if you prefer.
129. Paulie
KiManiak @ 128 - What, me do research? I thought we were just supposed to comment blindly. :)
Mark Lawrence
130. Taracta
All this commentary about Female rape, what about the Males, or did you forget that Men wear white too? Did you also forget about Mat and the fact that he was RAPED? You see, you cannot have circumstances in which Males were forced to have sex (and has no choice but to) and it not be considered Rape while Females in the same circumstances it is considered Rape. This is especially relevant in a Female dominated society since they have the power, they would be the ones doing most of the Raping which has already been demonstrated in the books. Mat anyone?
131. Useofweapons
To all those who are saying, as Leigh in her post explicitly said, that rape is about power, dominance, and not about sex: this is an extremely wide (and patently false as a consequence) generalisation. Perhaps the reason we see so little rape on-screen in WoT is that, unlike the real world today, but much more like the world as it was when similar governmental, economic, and social systems were in place, rape as a result of frustrated sexual desire was either not so prevalent (as men could vent their desire on brides who were seen as property), or it was simply hidden by dint of being domestic, or from prestige and covers-up.

To say that rape is always about power, and never about sex, is patently untrue. What makes Mat and Tylin uncomfortable for many is that while it is about sex, it is _also_ about power, but the roles are reversed, which IMO for Mat leads to a kind of cognitive dissonance where he cannot believe he is not the hunter -- the kind of cognitive dissonance that is common when exposed to societies with different mores, especially sexual mores, from one's own. It's easy to conflate Mat's initial rejection of the role Tylin forces him into with a rejection of the consummation of that role, but to me that is a false conflation -- and that is what makes that relationship not rape.

IMO (if it needed to be stated)
132. mgd
I think this is actually an excellent example of what happens to a society when the leader become a power-hungry despot. In Aiel society, there are two paths a woman can take to power -- she can take up the spear and later become a Wise One, or she can marry a clan chief. Sevanna twisted the latter option, and used her body to get power. When she talks about staying in the wetlands and adopting some of the customs there, it further proves her lust for power. The rest of the Shaido are split down the middle -- some want to preserve the old ways and others are looking at Sevanna's example as carte blanche do commit whatever atrocities they can get away with.

Now for Mat's being assaulted, c'mon, we know Mat chases after women, and this time he's the one being chased. He's more scandalized that the woman doing the chasing is old enough to be his mother and the fact that Tylin is the one chasing him. For all that he likes to chase after women, he has his own sense of propriety, and an older woman chasing a younger man does not fit into his view of what's proper (similar to an older nobleman chasing after a commoner's daughter).
Melissa Spray
133. meowwl
It seems to me that what has everyone so upset is that this chapter overturns the preconcieved notions that people with power cannot be raped, and that women having the power would prevent it from happening entirely. I have to admit, I thought that it was fairly naive to think it never happened, especially with the several examples of skirt-chasing and other rake-like behaviour, even among the main characters.

Whenever a society breaks down, the rules that govern it break down as well...Including the ones about honor and common decency. It's a slippery slope for the aiel...they break one minor rule, and it sets them apart from the rest of aiel society...and since they're already separated from it, then why should they bother to follow it's rules. Their sense of self-worth is tied to being honorable, so when they let themselves slide down that slope, they feel worthless, useless, helpless. Instead of becoming gaishain, or taking other actions to meet their toh, they seek refuge from themselves in drinking and drugs...And when those don't work anymore, they seeks someone else to blame. The gaishain, particularlly the wetlander gaishain, are all around to remind them of their lost honor. They cannot fight back, they are convenient targets. Only the ones who hold on to some vestige of honor (Like Rolan, he's offering to basically steal Faile from the Shaido to protect her...That he has an ulterior motive, and hopes...and he only hopes...I see no evidence he intends to use force or coersion...to get in her pants notwithstanding.) still protect the gaishain.

The gaishain as a group are protected by the rules in a normal aiel society. They are not only helpless, they are honor bound to stay that way for the full year-and-a-day term. Since they are unable to protect themselves, in normal aiel society, they are protected by the warriors, and the honor of those they serve. The fact that the Shaido mistreat them and keep them longer shows just how deep the rift between them and normal aiel society has become.

I also honestly admit, I thought the only problems Mat had with being pursued was that he went from being the hunter to being the prey. The turnabout was pretty amusing to me!
134. Aliantha
I can't find a post from 4/31/11. KiMainiak @128 said check the WoT "homepage" but I still can't find it? Anyone know???
135. Aliantha
Oops. Post from May 31 is what I am looking for.
136. Jeribai
I'm still waiting for the 5/31 post too guys. I've finally caught up to Leigh's reread, and I was looking forward to the Mat chapters.

On a side note, I find it interesting that the conversation Leigh brought up is all about how rape wasn't prevalent in TWOT, but then it is over time, with the weakening of the seals. Something people fail to notice is that sex in general isn't prevalent; it's hinted at, suggested, and assumed, but very rarely directly stated. I can think of two "sex scenes" that are directly stated, and one is very brief (Rand/Aviendha) and the other is from outsiders' POV (Rand/Elayne). Other than that it's talk of "pillowfriends," Min spending nights in Rand's bed, Mat being kept in bed by Tylin ... even the consumation of Perrin and Faile's marriage wasn't really mentioned aside from saying they went back to the town after the trolloc attack. Really, aside from women being mentioned as pillow friends, I don't think anyone in the series has been mentioned as having sex other than the three ta'veren and Lan/Nynaeve. RJ seemed to have an aversion to bringing sex into the series unless he thought it absolutely warranted and justified. I'm more than ok with that, but I find it being pointed out that he specifically avoided rape kind of missing the point.
Hilde Sørensen
137. edlihs
Aliantha@135 and Jeribai@136
If you still haven't found it:
Kimani Rogers
138. KiManiak
Hey guys.

Yeah, I'm sorry. I see that on the WoT Reread homepage on Tor.com, it is only updated to KoD part 6. Someone (either on KoD part 6 or part 7; I forget) suggested bookmarking Leigh Butler's blog entries as one way to see her most recent posts (and I would assume all of her older posts too, if you were to scroll down).

You can access all of her blog posts via clicking on her name where you see the "Tor.com Bloggers" on Tor.com's homepage. Or you can just click on this link here.

I assume that they will update the WoT reread home page soon.

You can also just cut and paste this into your browser: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/05/the-wheel-of-time-re-read-knife-of-dreams-part-7

Worst case scenario: go on Tor.com's homepage and keep on scrolling down. If you hit bottom and its still not there, go to the previous posts/entries/however-they-label-it, and keep on scrolling down until you see Leigh's May 31 post.

Good luck

EDIT: Hah! I see edlihs beat me to the punch.
Hilde Sørensen
139. edlihs
Your post contained more information, so it isn't waisted! :-)
140. Antiguo
... no, it's not a "pretty fucking awesome" world, to use the phrase.

It never was. Even if it was true and there was never any rape in all its history, it's still an incredible horrible place to live, living in fear of wars, torture, oppression while facing the Damocles sword of ultimate destruction by the emodiment of all Evil, a beign who is deemed unstoppable sooner or later.

Honestly, I prefer living in a world where rape is more likely than being slaughtered by bands of monsters and marauders or even your own guardians or being condemed in an Apocalypse wasteland for ever and ever by the emobiment of Evil while at the command of such monsters that make the likes of Shiro Ishii and Fritz Fische look like cuddling old ladies.

This is for my point of view that, as crimes go, rape is in the middle ground. Sorry if it's offensive, but being sexually forced is less evil than being murdered (you could argue that the person is murdered emotionally, but s/he can still found counsel and get over it, while when you are dead you are dead, it can be monstrous violent and painful and cause incredible amount of grief to the loved ones) and nothing, absolutely nothing compared to Torture.

Maybe is because our society is so desentized from "violence" (which is not) and somehow we accept murder and torture as acceptable villainous acts while sex is more moral disgusting to our psyche (whether you agree with this conscientious or not), but Rape is not the all changing act in the moral battleground that you make it sound in the Wheel of Time Verse.

So people rape, big deal. The world of WOT had shown to be very sexist, xenophobic, violent, brutal with war after war, abuse of power left and right, slaughtering by armies and individual chanellers and where those who protect the world are either amoral assholes or simply egotistic jackass that honestly, it would be like crying for the spoiled milk while the house is burning.

Also, not rape?..... So rape against men doesn't count? Why? Because they are women and men is always earger? Because they are "gorgeous" and "assertive"? Does force to the sexual act is invalid if it's done by vagina to penis instead of the other way? After all, it was hilarious when Mat was forced at knife point by Tylin, since you know, how he could not like it since he was a casanova and it was just Kinky BDSM play, no rape or crime whatsoever, no sir. After all he ended liking it and becoming cuddly with his rapist after being his prisioner

... http://encyclopediadramatica.ch/What

Seriously, this never came to you as wrong? This acts of abuse from power never get yo the WTF moment? What Therava is doing to Galina as unforgivable evil in any moral sense? Or the other acts of power abuse from Women to Women or Women to men that literally sprinkle the books from page to page and the obvious, onscreen psychological and emotinal breakdowns by the characters suffered during this encounters? As long there was no insertion it was all A-okay?

I'm not saying rape is okay, of course not. I'm also not saying that breaking your leg while falling is just a trifling injure, but there are worse things that can happen to you (like being buried alive or be forced to figh to the death) in both the real world and WOT world.

Also being made a gai'shain from the Wethlanders was considered a crime even by other Aiels, since they where forced while the Aiel do it voluntary. This is also why between Aiel is not rape even when there is intercourse and the "white don't count". To save their honor and face they willingly give themselves in this act of submission, men and women. Each party is forced by their own culture and will to this ritual. And yes, there is a difference. In the same way there is a difference of say, putting your hands inside a recipient full of bullet ants to being bited until your soul die pain and madness until they are purple from the venom as a ritual of passage and acceptance in your tribe instead of being a form of torture that leaves a person broken for the rest of their lifes.

Context really do matters in this instances.
141. President Palmer
I'd rather live in a world where women weren't whiney and snively and b*&^%y all the time.

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