You’re a few books into Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic fantasy series and then you realize… the characters in this series tug their hair braids a lot. More than seems particularly natural. And they smooth their skirts quite a bit and…oh goodness the sniffing, the endless sniffing! What is going on here?!?
Lots of authors have idiosyncratic phrases and character actions that get repeated in their work, either consciously or subconsciously. In a multi-volume epic like The Wheel of Time those idiosyncrasies over time become charming; an indication of authenticity, an in-joke that you share between yourself, the author, and the fiction.
Reddit user Nadyin recently conducted a simple condition phrase search through all 15 books of The Wheel of Time to see just how often Jordan used his idiosyncrasies. And what Nadyin found was a whole lotta skirt-smoothing.
|Book||tugs||braids tugged||smooths||skirts smoothed|
|The Eye of the World||39||1||53||1|
|The Great Hunt||18||0||80||1|
|The Dragon Reborn||45||20||69||3|
|The Shadow Rising||41||6||106||5|
|The Fires of Heaven||24||3||83||12|
|Lord of Chaos||30||11||101||16|
|A Crown of Swords||29||1||80||23|
|The Path of Daggers||19||2||85||13|
|Crossroads of Twilight||36||1||107||16|
|Knife of Dreams||23||5||88||12|
|The Gathering Storm||19||6||37||1|
|Towers of Midnight||17||2||19||0|
|A Memory of Light||23||0||23||1|
Braid-tugging also experienced quite a spike during the events of The Dragon Reborn. But then again, hunting the Black Ajah with no training or support seems like a stressful enough ordeal to warrant such braid-tugging on Nynaeve’s part.
We’re curious how prevalent sniffing is throughout the series. And how often Mat’s head-dice are remarked upon. The answers may appear as Nadyin’s Reddit thread continues to roll out.