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flupo42
06-01-2011, 10:03 AM
I am reading The Towers of Midnight, and am finding it really hard to see Elayne as a sympathetic character in her role as Queen. From the way I understood the plot:

Rand captures military control of Caemlyn from one of the Forsaken. He does not have the loyalty of the population and pretty much maintains some semblance of peace and control by sheer force - threat of his armies and channelers. He has declared that as soon as Elayne shows up there, control is to be hers - which makes sense since at least this way he is showing his intention to be a de-facto regent instead of outright usurper.
Elayne comes back and faces a choice - she can take control of Caemlyn and accept assistance of Rand's influence in establishing said control, or she can publicly reject him and start a succession war. In my eyes it is basically a choice between taking a hit on her pride vs. beginning her reign by inciting civil war in her country. She chooses war, in which thousands of people get killed, and everyone just looks on and encourages her.
I just cannot get past this choice - this supposedly great queen intentionally butchered thousands simply so that she could start off with a reputation she desired - and while I could see her making this mistake as a character established in past books as willful, stubborn and prideful, what bugs me most is that no one at all calls her out on it.

There is some mention on how if she were to appear as being given the throne by Rand instead of taking it by right then she would be less respected, which to me sounds like bullshit for 2 reasons. first being that Rand is still in a way giving her Caemlyn since anyone with a brain can plainly see that between the Black Tower and his sizable army he steamroll her and the horse she rode in on with one order if he so chose. And second, if she turned out to be a competent queen, in the long run, she would repair whatever damage to her reputation but without a civil war.

She also several times bashes soldiers who fought on the other side of that war even though everyone understands that if a noble with an armed escort rides into a village and demands able bodied peasants to join his army, it is not like they have much of a choice at that point. After oath of allegiance is taken basically at sword point, they don't even really have the choice of going over to other side as that would make them deserters. And that's not even mentioning all the disinformation via incorrect rumors flowing around that would make the choice of whom to support in the war iffy for those few who had the option to choose in the first place.

The battle for Caemlyn is described as a heroic endeavor for Elayne and her forces while in fact she is butchering people whom she was supposed to be protecting what are forced to fight in a war she herself started.

Why does anyone see her as a positive character after that choice when she committed such an evil act for no other reason then pride?
Have I perhaps missed some important justification here, or is this just one of those gray morality things that others view in lighter shades then I?

Davian93
06-01-2011, 11:00 AM
Accepting Andor from Rand would have started a far worse war as there's nothing Andorans hate more than foreign interference in their affairs. She needed to be seen as independent from Rand. She even explains this several times. She never would have won any of those Houses to her banner had she done it with Rand's help. It would have turned into Cairhien where there is no standing army and all the other Houses are constantly jockeying for position and trying to kill her.

David Selig
06-01-2011, 11:09 AM
Elayne comes back and faces a choice - she can take control of Caemlyn and accept assistance of Rand's influence in establishing said control, or she can publicly reject him and start a succession war. In my eyes it is basically a choice between taking a hit on her pride vs. beginning her reign by inciting civil war in her country. She chooses war, in which thousands of people get killed, and everyone just looks on and encourages her.

That's wrong. It's shown quie a few times in the books that if Elayne had accepted help from Rand's forces, there would've been a much bigger civil war and all Andoran Houses would've turned against her, and the commoners too.

A few quotes for proof:

PoD, Ch. 28

"You’ve come to accept the throne from the Dragon Reborn, then?”

“I claim the throne by my own right, Dyelin, with my own hand. The Lion Throne is no bauble to be accepted from a man.” Dyelin nodded, as at self-evident truth. Which it was, to any Andoran. “How do you stand, Dyelin? With Trakand, or against? I have heard your name often on my way here.”

“Since you claim the throne by your own right, with.”

PoD, Ch. 20

“Oh, it’s true, my lady, so it is; Elayne’s alive,” a gnarled old carpenter told her in Forel Market. He was bald as a leather egg, his fingers twisted with age, but the work standing among the shavings and sawdust that littered his shop looked as fine as any Elayne had seen. She was the only person in the shop besides him. From the look of the village, half the residents had left. “The Dragon Reborn is having her brought to Caemlyn so he can put the Rose Crown on her head himself,” he allowed. “The news is all over. ’Tisn’t right, if you ask me. He’s one of them black-eyed Aielmen, I hear. We ought to march on Caemlyn and drive him and all them Aiel back where they come from. Then Elayne can claim the throne her own self.

Elayne heard a great deal about Rand, rumors ranging from him swearing fealty to Elaida to him being the King of Illian, of all things. In Andor, he was blamed for everything bad that happened for the last two or three years, including stillbirths and broken legs, infestations of grasshoppers, two-headed calves, and three-legged chickens. And even people who thought her mother had ruined the country and an end to the reign of House Trakand was good riddance still believed Rand al’Thor an invader. The Dragon Reborn was supposed to fight the Dark One at Shayol Ghul, and he should be driven out of Andor.

Also when Elayne first arrived at Caemlyn and brought down the Dragon banners and send the Aiel away from the city, she didn't plan on a civil war, at that point her opposition was divided or in captivity, the initial plan was to convince the High Seats peacefully.

She also several times bashes soldiers who fought on the other side of that war even though everyone understands that if a noble with an armed escort rides into a village and demands able bodied peasants to join his army, it is not like they have much of a choice at that point. After oath of allegiance is taken basically at sword point, they don't even really have the choice of going over to other side as that would make them deserters. And that's not even mentioning all the disinformation via incorrect rumors flowing around that would make the choice of whom to support in the war iffy for those few who had the option to choose in the first place.
A quote would be nice, because I don't remember anything like that at all.

flupo42
06-01-2011, 11:43 AM
Your quotes establish the sentiment that the Dragon was not liked and that the noble houses would not rush to unite under her... initially.
But from the way Rand's available forces are listed, I just can't see how it could ever go beyond grumbling if Aiel remained in Andor and Black Tower was still considered "in play". I mean sure people might not jump to obey her, but it would be suicidal to start rebellion against Elayne's rule if she had alliance with the dragon to draw on for reinforcements.

Seems to me that even if every noble in the country decided to get stupidly stubborn over the issue of how Elayne got her throne, the only options they would have is lots and lots of grumbling, hoping that at some point Rand withdraws military support from Andor - unlikely considering he based his black tower in it.

And again, given time, a competent monarch should be able to secure loyalty of the country. Surely the handicap of disgruntled political factions that can be quietly erased in time, is a better choice then a civil war?

I do concede your point that she might not have planned on civil war - it just seemed to me such an obvious consequence of Dragon's forces withdrawal from Andor.

For the the "She also several times bashes soldiers who fought on the other side of that war" - as I don't have access the the book right now, withdrawing the comment until I do.

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2011, 11:49 AM
That's wrong. It's shown quie a few times in the books that if Elayne had accepted help from Rand's forces, there would've been a much bigger civil war and all Andoran Houses would've turned against her, and the commoners too.All right, consider this scenario:

Elayne rides into Caemlyn, formally and openly issues a thanks to the DR for killing the Forsaken who had taken control, thanks him for maintaining law and order during her absence, and then assumes the position of ruling (though not yet crowned) queen). She stresses that she is going to prepare Andor for the Last Battle, which is very near at hand.
A noble house rebels. Elayne pronounces them Darkfriends who have turned against the Light, and has the leaders of that House executed.
If things do not quiet down at that point, she asks Rand for help against this Shadow infestation.

How's that gonna get worse than what happened now?

Of course, we know that Elayne disapproves of fighting against the Shadow. That, after all, was why she threatened to have Perrin and his supporters hanged: they dared raise an army to fight Trollocs. But that is about the only snag I can find in my scenario.
The whole "Andorans would rather die than accept that someone helped them against the DO" idea is bonkers.

nameless
06-01-2011, 11:51 AM
I think you're underestimating how much people hate having foreign soldiers interfere in internal national affairs. Bringing Hessian soldiers into the mix was part of what made the British lose the American revolution.

flupo42
06-01-2011, 12:13 PM
Gonzo's scenario is a bit too heavy handed for my liking, but still seems preferable to the civil war that occurred. Overall, precision strikes by ashaman against any leader/noble daring open rebellion should have been less costly to Andor then the war. Right now I am reading the part in Towers of Midnight (spoiler ahead) where Elayne is asked to release prisoner nobles because their houses don't have 2 sticks left to bang together to pay any kind of ransom. Considering the size of the rebellion it should tell you the losses in resources that the country sustained as the result of her going independent.

Also Gonzo's point about Elayne's attitude toward Two Rivers and Perrin reminds me of a point I should have added to the initial post - she undermined Rand politically - the guy who is trying to save the world and needs every bit of resources and support he can get. And she goes out of her way to publicly humiliate him - trading the stability of his effort to save the world for perceived stability of her effort to rule her country. And it is not like she is in any way ignorant about what hangs in the balance or the likely political results of a ruler publicly kicking The Dragon Reborn out of her country in a world where his is desperate to create an alliance of countries in time for armageddon.

David Selig
06-01-2011, 12:14 PM
But from the way Rand's available forces are listed, I just can't see how it could ever go beyond grumbling if Aiel remained in Andor and Black Tower was still considered "in play". I mean sure people might not jump to obey her, but it would be suicidal to start rebellion against Elayne's rule if she had alliance with the dragon to draw on for reinforcements.

Seems to me that even if every noble in the country decided to get stupidly stubborn over the issue of how Elayne got her throne, the only options they would have is lots and lots of grumbling, hoping that at some point Rand withdraws military support from Andor - unlikely considering he based his black tower in it.
In LoC some of thehighest ranked Andoran nobles (Dyelin, Ellorien, etc) declared straight out to Rand that if he doesn't leave soon and left them to choose their Queen on their own even though he had all those thousands of Aiel and the Asha'man were already gathering in numbers. The way RJ wrote it it's clear they would've done far more than grumbling if Elayne had used Rand forces for help. There were plenty of rebels in Cairhien and Tear despite knowing that Rand has vastly superior number of troops.

Granted, I find the Andoran attitude illogical and the whole thing feels a bit forced to give Elayne a plotline of her own. But the way RJ wrote it, her actions were justifiable. There's a reason why no character has called out Elayne for her actions in regards to the struggle for the Throne.

Rand al'Fain
06-01-2011, 12:25 PM
All right, consider this scenario:

Elayne rides into Caemlyn, formally and openly issues a thanks to the DR for killing the Forsaken who had taken control, thanks him for maintaining law and order during her absence, and then assumes the position of ruling (though not yet crowned) queen). She stresses that she is going to prepare Andor for the Last Battle, which is very near at hand.
A noble house rebels. Elayne pronounces them Darkfriends who have turned against the Light, and has the leaders of that House executed.
If things do not quiet down at that point, she asks Rand for help against this Shadow infestation.

How's that gonna get worse than what happened now?She would be declared a tyrant and most, if not all of the other Great Houses would ally against her. She would not be able to hold Caemlyn against such a force by herself. Besides which, even Rand admitted that he had no right to "give" Elayne the Lion Throne.

Besides, most of the intelligent nobles are out there fighting the DO and his forces.

Terez
06-01-2011, 01:02 PM
Granted, I find the Andoran attitude illogical and the whole thing feels a bit forced to give Elayne a plotline of her own.
I don't think it was all that forced, but I think the main reason for the plotline was to develop the upcoming Battle of Caemlyn.

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2011, 03:38 PM
She would be declared a tyrant and most, if not all of the other Great Houses would ally against her.Are they truly that ignorant of history?
They know that their tradition, the whole basis for why only some of the Houses can claim the throne, comes from the Hundred Years War. Which was a war that lasted over a hundred years, and only at the end of that did Andor have something like the stability it needs in order to survive the Last Battle.

Deliberately destroying any possibility that Andor could survive, merely to keep a Dragon supported ruler from the throne, would not be all that different from openly swearing to the Shadow.

I do not see how someone like Dyelin could have justified taking the field against the Dragon Reborn without formally abandoning the Light. She might not have liked the situation, she might have made things very difficult for Elayne after the LB was over, but she would not have added Trollocs and Fades to her army in order to pull Elayne down.

sandoz12
06-02-2011, 01:07 AM
I don't think Elayne was at all evil. She has her own and Andor's interests at heart but I see nothing wrong with that. Had she just accepted the Rose Crown the way she accepted the rule of Cairhien she wouldn't have the same level of support behind her both for fighting the last battle and for after the last battle (as we have seen in her viewpoints she is already planning for after the last battle - I don't see this as selfish but in keeping with the duty of a ruler of a nation).

Also as Terez pointed out this whole storyline has provided foreshadowing for the battle of Caemlyn and will allow us to both understand the battle of Caemlyn and appreciate its importance in a way we couldn't have without the plotline we saw in her gaining the throne.

Perhaps Elayne has made mistakes (and I am not overly sure about that) but if so they were done out of ignorance rather than evil.

sandoz12
06-02-2011, 01:12 AM
One thing I will quickly add though is that I found ToM to be the least flattering book to Elayne. I always liked her and never understood the hate she gets from the general fandom. ToM was the first book where I begin to not like her (perhaps BS didn't adequately convey the deeper reasons behind her thinking in the way RJ did - assuming of course that he did write her passages which he may well not have) or more probably it was just a difference in the way I interpreted her.

A common thing I have noticed in fandom is people projecting their own tastes, prejudices onto characters resulting in a totally unfair, and over the top, appraisal of that character and I know that I could fall into this trap as easily as anyone else.

The Unreasoner
06-02-2011, 02:29 AM
We certainly do project. I may be unique in thinking that the battle of caemlyn is more for the secondary characters. Perhaps Elayne's storyline was to put this in perspective, but for all but 10% of it I doubt it. But I like Elayne, so I'll cope. It's Bryne I hate, and fain and moghedien. Egwene I have nothing but disgust for.

But you come across as an Egwene apologist. Me, I'll do that for Asmodeon and Morridin.

Tovere and Logain are beyond awesome, and anyone hating Ituralde can go himself.

sandoz12
06-02-2011, 03:05 AM
I have never thought of myself as an Egwene apologist as I don't really like her. I just think the hatred and bile a lot people lay into her is excessive. And I find it really depressing on Dragonmount how so many threads that aren't even based on Egwene just end up as an Egwene bashing thread. I'm finding Theoryland a much pleasanter abode:)

But I guess with that people can call me an Egwene apologist. I know I have been called much worse before:D

On DM one guy got really angry with me and insisted that I wasn't a real fan and that I should donate all my books to the local library simply because I mentioned how I would have liked on of the three ta'veren to die at some point.

The Unreasoner
06-02-2011, 04:13 AM
I didn't realize they were savages over there. Although you will in all likelihood get your wish with rand, just don't count on it being permanent.

Zombie Sammael
06-02-2011, 04:17 AM
I have never thought of myself as an Egwene apologist as I don't really like her. I just think the hatred and bile a lot people lay into her is excessive. And I find it really depressing on Dragonmount how so many threads that aren't even based on Egwene just end up as an Egwene bashing thread. I'm finding Theoryland a much pleasanter abode:)

But I guess with that people can call me an Egwene apologist. I know I have been called much worse before:D

On DM one guy got really angry with me and insisted that I wasn't a real fan and that I should donate all my books to the local library simply because I mentioned how I would have liked on of the three ta'veren to die at some point.

I like Egwene too, and I don't think of myself as an Egwene apologist, because I don't particularly think there's anything to apologise for.

David Selig
06-02-2011, 04:31 AM
On DM one guy got really angry with me and insisted that I wasn't a real fan and that I should donate all my books to the local library simply because I mentioned how I would have liked on of the three ta'veren to die at some point.
ROFL.

So I probably have to burn my books, since I've wished for Perrin's death a hundred times. :p

sandoz12
06-02-2011, 04:47 AM
ROFL.

So I probably have to burn my books, since I've wished for Perrin's death a hundred times. :p
lol ... yep you will. Cause this guy gets to decide who are real fans and who aren't. And if you aren't a real fan then you shouldn't get to keep your books:)

Let me guess you got a little shall we say frustrated at the whole 'Woe is me, they have taken Faile. I will do anything for Faile. Anything!" saga?

I found that probably the most frustrating storyline in the whole series although I acknowledge it served useful purposes in the development of Perrin as a leader plus his temporary alliance with the Seanchan which I have a feeling will lead to future benefits at some point. For example if Rand negotiates with Tuon, he will have Mat (her husband on his side) plus Perrin (who one of her generals will speak highly of) to help enable them to trust each other.

The most needless storyline to me was the wondergirls circus sideshow on the way to Salidar. Though one commentator did point out to me that that arc showed Nynaeve's character development which was true and wasn't something I had previously considered.

All of which prove that even the story-lines that annoy us the most all serve a useful purpose. Though I am sure some of them could have been abridged slightly.

sandoz12
06-02-2011, 04:53 AM
I didn't realize they were savages over there. Although you will in all likelihood get your wish with rand, just don't count on it being permanent.
Most of the people are quite good over there but there are a few who are idiotic. People over here seem to be of a much higher calibre. But maybe I just haven't hung around here long enough:D

Yeah - I expect Rand to die but as you say I don't think it will be permanent. What I had said to rile him so much was that it would have added a lot of shock to the series if Perrin or Mat had died earlier plus this would have led to more excitement reading future books because you would be left feeling that your favourite character could die any minute. It would also hopefully have added to the feeling that the dark one could actually win.

While my heart yearns for the light to win. My head would kind of like the dark one to win almost just to spite my heart as if to say "You didn't see that coming after all these years. Fool." I reckon an epic closing sentence would be ' ... I win again.'

Maybe its a misplaced feel of safety I have here but I wouldn't have dared say that on DM - they probably would have suggested burning me at the stake as a heretic.

ChubbyAiel
06-02-2011, 05:52 AM
I mean sure people might not jump to obey her, but it would be suicidal to start rebellion against Elayne's rule if she had alliance with the dragon to draw on for reinforcements.

For a start, you shouldn't underestimate people's sense of pride and how they can't live with the shame of foreign occupation. Our history is full of uprisings that were sort of a stupid idea and turned out to be suicidal.

And again, given time, a competent monarch should be able to secure loyalty of the country. Surely the handicap of disgruntled political factions that can be quietly erased in time, is a better choice then a civil war?

A Medieval-type monarchy is quite different from a modern concept of government. We often have snippets from Elayne and Morgase about how a ruler has to be firm. If she gets off on the wrong foot there will always be rivals for whom no amount of time will erase the belief that Elayne could never have become queen on her own. Any sense of hereditary entitlement was massively undermined by the fact many people saw Gabrel/Rahvin's rise as a result of Morgase's weakness. Elayne doesn't live in a world where you convince people to elect you, she lives in a world where you convince people that you are a strong leader who deserves to rule absolutely in your own right, and that convincing stretches to using physical force. If she couldn't establish herself on those terms, she would have to "re-establish" herself on those terms eventually. To avoid "re-establishing" in open civil war she would probably have to rule like a tyrant and curtail whatever freedoms people might have in Andor, and the upshot of that would probably be civil war anyway...

I do not see how someone like Dyelin could have justified taking the field against the Dragon Reborn without formally abandoning the Light.

Almost everyone in Randland sees The Dragon as a fallible human being. He's meant to fight the Dark One but that doesn't give him a carte blanche to do whatever he likes in the mean time. Opposing his political plans for your country, with which you disagree for whatever reason, is a far cry from "abandoning the Light". Denouncing someone as a Darkfriend because they disagree with the Dragon is the sort of thing McCarthy would have done if he lived in Randland - which leads us to...:

A noble house rebels. Elayne pronounces them Darkfriends who have turned against the Light, and has the leaders of that House executed. If things do not quiet down at that point, she asks Rand for help against this Shadow infestation.

If she did that we'd all be decrying her for using Whitecloak tactics to put everyone in their place, and you'd be saying she'd learnt from Egwene about how to get what she wants at any cost. It seems she can't win! Institutional suspicion of your neighbours didn't work out too well at Aridhol, did it? And they believed that embracing evil methods for internal security was worth the sacrifice. If it were a choice between Elayne or Gonzo sitting on the Lion Throne I'd definintely choose Elayne. :)

GonzoTheGreat
06-02-2011, 06:18 AM
For a start, you shouldn't underestimate people's sense of pride and how they can't live with the shame of foreign occupation.An idea which might possibly be a bit more believable if Elayne had shown even the slightest hint of considering it valid when she decided to impose her (foreign, to them) rule on the Two Rivers.

To avoid "re-establishing" in open civil war she would probably have to rule like a tyrant and curtail whatever freedoms people might have in Andor, and the upshot of that would probably be civil war anyway...Eventually, perhaps. Then again, Elayne knew very well that the LB was only months, or a year or two at most, away. So she had to choose between weakening her country in preparation for it, or making it more difficult (perhaps impossible) for herself to maintain her rule afterwards if the LB was won.
Elayne chose the security of her rule over the survival of the world (which, it so happens, also includes Andor). That's selfish, not something a good monarch should actually do. Admittedly, it is what most monarchs would do.

Almost everyone in Randland sees The Dragon as a fallible human being. He's meant to fight the Dark One but that doesn't give him a carte blanche to do whatever he likes in the mean time. Opposing his political plans for your country, with which you disagree for whatever reason, is a far cry from "abandoning the Light". Denouncing someone as a Darkfriend because they disagree with the Dragon is the sort of thing McCarthy would have done if he lived in Randland ...And McCarthy might actually have had a point if the Soviet armies were already marching into the NATO country, as the Shadow forces were at that time already attacking places in Randland. He might even have had a point if he had had absolute certainty that the Soviets were indeed planning to launch a nuclear war to destroy the whole world.

As it was, he was in a very different situation from that in which Rand finds himself. The latter is actually correct about the danger, instead of using it merely as a pretext for a power grab.

If she did that we'd all be decrying her for using Whitecloak tactics to put everyone in their place, and you'd be saying she'd learnt from Egwene about how to get what she wants at any cost.We might not be doing that if she actually had her priorities right.
Look at Maradon, where a commander actually did what I suggest was necessary: denounce the idiot who refused to prepare for the LB, lock him up and take command himself. We haven't been denouncing captain Yoeli for using Whitecloak tactics, have we?
He did what needed to be done. Elayne did what was politically useful for her, if Rand wins despite her actions.

It seems she can't win! Institutional suspicion of your neighbours didn't work out too well at Aridhol, did it? And they believed that embracing evil methods for internal security was worth the sacrifice. If it were a choice between Elayne or Gonzo sitting on the Lion Throne I'd definintely choose Elayne. :)Elayne is prettier, and I'm too tall for that throne anyway, so you do have some justification.

However, I do think that if it had been a question of Elayne or Nynaeve, then the second would have been better. A lot better.

The Unreasoner
06-02-2011, 06:57 AM
The reality is she didn't do a great deal of harm, and likely needed the unquestioned loyalty in order to properly mobilize. In the end, she is just a queen, and mobilization is all she is expected to do. Inane assertions of her authority can be forgiven, as she has little else to do. If she were charged with sealing the Dark One, or leading the world in these darkest of times (Rand and Egwene), I'd be more than a little pissed at petty power plays.

ChubbyAiel
06-02-2011, 07:02 AM
An idea which might possibly be a bit more believable if Elayne had shown even the slightest hint of considering it valid when she decided to impose her (foreign, to them) rule on the Two Rivers.

I'm talking about whether the Andorans would have accepted the Aiel armies, their leader the Dragon Reborn, and his puppet monarch, Elayne. Elayne's view of the Two Rivers isn't relevant. Even the average Andoran's view of the Two Rivers isn't important: during the Second World War British people were horrified at the prospect of being invaded by a foreign power that would subjugate them despite the fact that the British had subjugated India, swathes of Africa and the Middle East and parts of south-east Asia. Infringing on the Two Rivers' sense of autonomy has no bearing on the Andorans' sense autonomy. Powerful countries and their inhabitants tend to be hypocritical in that regard.

Eventually, perhaps. Then again, Elayne knew very well that the LB was only months, or a year or two at most, away. So she had to choose between weakening her country in preparation for it, or making it more difficult (perhaps impossible) for herself to maintain her rule afterwards if the LB was won.
Elayne chose the security of her rule over the survival of the world (which, it so happens, also includes Andor). That's selfish, not something a good monarch should actually do. Admittedly, it is what most monarchs would do.

And how many times do the main characters think about the world that will exist after the Last Battle? Rand thinks about it. Elayne thinks about it. Elayne believes she is the best possible queen that Andor could have. She thinks that by doing what she is doing now Andor will be much stronger for it in the long run. If she deferred the conflict she knows is coming she would be abandoning Andor to the post-Battle chaos, when it would be far harder to stabilise things. If she acts now, Andor will be strong when and if countries around her begin to collapse, and therefore the country will be better able to survive. That's what she must believe and so she is acting in what she believes to be the country's best interests.

And McCarthy might actually have had a point if the Soviet armies were already marching into the NATO country, as the Shadow forces were at that time already attacking places in Randland. He might even have had a point if he had had absolute certainty that the Soviets were indeed planning to launch a nuclear war to destroy the whole world.

What are you saying? That if the Soviets were planning to invade, McCarthy would have been somehow right to accuse people who weren't Soviets? Coz that's what he did, you know.

As it was, he was in a very different situation from that in which Rand finds himself. The latter is actually correct about the danger, instead of using it merely as a pretext for a power grab.

But the people who might oppose Rand and Elayne don't know he is right, and they believe it is a pretext for a power grab. That misjudgement on their part might make them naive or even wilfully ignorant but it doesn't make them Darkfriends.

Look at Maradon, where a commander actually did what I suggest was necessary: denounce the idiot who refused to prepare for the LB, lock him up and take command himself. We haven't been denouncing captain Yoeli for using Whitecloak tactics, have we?

I'll have to reread that bit, but didn't the commander genuinely believe that his superior was siding with the Shadow? That's very different from suggesting that Elayne should knowingly falsely accuse someone. She knows rebellion would be a political matter, so she would be lying.

Even if that commander didn't really believe it, just because he got away with something that was wrong doesn't mean Elayne should try. I'll mention Aridhol again: there is a case where the end did not justify the means. Using evil methods "to do what has to be done" is a slippery slope, where small acts of evil lead to larger ones. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I would have thought that Aridhol's demise and the rampant fervour of the Whitecloaks were RJ's explicit rejection of the sort of methods you suggest, and the danger they represent.

David Selig
06-02-2011, 07:19 AM
All right, consider this scenario:

Elayne rides into Caemlyn, formally and openly issues a thanks to the DR for killing the Forsaken who had taken control, thanks him for maintaining law and order during her absence, and then assumes the position of ruling (though not yet crowned) queen). She stresses that she is going to prepare Andor for the Last Battle, which is very near at hand.
A noble house rebels. Elayne pronounces them Darkfriends who have turned against the Light, and has the leaders of that House executed.
If things do not quiet down at that point, she asks Rand for help against this Shadow infestation.

How's that gonna get worse than what happened now?

First of all, most High Seats were not sitting in Caemlyn available for arrest and execution. They were all around Andor, and those most likely to turn against Elayne if she was seen as being given the Lion Throne by the Dragon Reborn, had already gathered big armies (Luan, Ellorien, Abelle, etc). Since Elayne had no army to speak of at this point, her only options in attempting such course were seek hep from Rand or use the One Power as a weapon, both highly problematic. The most likely result would've been a much bigger war with far more Andoran casualties.

Let's not overlook that the Andoran Succession War, as it happened, ended up with minimum casualties and it was noted right at the start that both sides intended it so.
CoT Prologue

In fact, despite the siege, both sides would go to great effort to avoid pitched battle. It was a war, but of maneuver and skirmishes unless someone blundered, and the winner would be whoever gained an unassailable position or forced the other into one that could not be defended.

The way things are presented in the books, it's clear to me Andor would've been more weakened if Elayne had accepted Rand's forces for help. But even if you disagree with this, Elayne's offer to give Dyelin the support of House Trakand in order to resolve the Succession crisis more quickly makes it obvious that she was thinking mostly about the good of Andor, not her personal power.

GonzoTheGreat
06-02-2011, 07:47 AM
Part of my position comes from a misreading of the following:
"I refuse still," Dyelin answered in a strong voice, then turned to Rand. "I will wait and consider, my Lord Dragon. When I see Elayne alive and crowned, and you leave Andor, I will send my retainers to follow you whether anyone else in Andor does the same. But if time passes and you still reign here, or if your Aiel savages do here what I’ve heard they did in Cairhien and Tear" – she scowled at the Maidens and Red Shields, and the gai’shaintoo, as if she saw them looting and burning – "or you loose here those... men you gather with your amnesty, then I will come against you, whether anyone else in Andor does the same."
"And I will ride beside you," Luan said firmly.
"And I," Ellorien said, echoed by Abelle.I had always assumed this meant that Luan and Ellorien would also support Rand in Tarmon Gai'don. But Dyelin is the only one who actually promised that. The others merely say they will fight against Rand if he does not produce Elayne fast enough for their liking.

So I admit that I have overestimated the intelligence of (most) Andorans.

Davian93
06-02-2011, 09:23 AM
Never underestimate the power of a good person doing what they think is right. Those High Seats would have felt they were doing the right thing by opposing Elayne had she used foreign help. They never would have backed down in that scenario. Elayne was able to quickly unify not one nation but two nations under her banner. Andor is the most powerful nation in Randland and its 100% hers along with Cairhien (likely the 2nd most powerful nation or at the very least on the level of Saldaea, Tear & Illian in that 2nd tier). She did a fantastic job of building that coalition and even welding Perrin's alliance under her umbrella all in a few months. To call her a bad queen is a ridiculous statement filled with innacuracies. Its not about just winning the Last Battle, its about winning the Peace afterward too.

Zombie Sammael
06-02-2011, 09:40 AM
Never underestimate the power of a good person doing what they think is right. Those High Seats would have felt they were doing the right thing by opposing Elayne had she used foreign help. They never would have backed down in that scenario. Elayne was able to quickly unify not one nation but two nations under her banner. Andor is the most powerful nation in Randland and its 100% hers along with Cairhien (likely the 2nd most powerful nation or at the very least on the level of Saldaea, Tear & Illian in that 2nd tier). She did a fantastic job of building that coalition and even welding Perrin's alliance under her umbrella all in a few months. To call her a bad queen is a ridiculous statement filled with innacuracies. Its not about just winning the Last Battle, its about winning the Peace afterward too.

Before I start: I agree with everything that has been said in this thread in defence of Elayne. I only avoided commenting for the same reason I haven't started a proper "In praise of Egwene" thread; I haven't got to that point in my reread yet and I'm rusty on the details of the books.

That said, what makes you think Andor is one of the most powerful nations in the world? It has coherence, surely, but even in Andor there are regions outside the direct control of the throne. On top of that, its close ties to Tar Valon are likely to cause several of the southern states to see it as a puppet nation to the Aes Sedai. I would have thought that in terms of potential power, the Borderlands are the only nations that could really wield absolute influence, since their role is so vital - but they're also limited in the excercise of their power for that reason. Other than that, I don't think there's really any difference between Andor, Illian, Tear, Arad Doman, or Amadicia in terms of world power, with Cairhien perhaps sitting slightly below those nations and Altara, Ghealdan and Murandy forming the bottom tier.

Davian93
06-02-2011, 09:45 AM
There are several comments throughout the books and from RJ that Andor is the premier nation in Randland. Its by far the largest in size and population, it has its own mineral wealth along with trade wealth, its currency is considered the strongest (Andoran crowns being worth more than any other) etc etc.

Elayne even mentions "barely being able to match the Borderlander army in size if she called all her levies in"...yeah, she can "barely" match the 4 most militarized nations in Randland...just "barely". I dont have time to pull all the quotes now but it is definitely #1 on the power scale.

David Selig
06-02-2011, 10:17 AM
A few quotes on Andor's military strenght compared to the Borderland nations:

KoD, Ch. 17

The map displayed the reasons Arymilla was pressing so hard. For one, to the northeast of Caemlyn, almost off the map, lay the bronze image of a sleeping bear, curled up with its paws over its nose. Two hundred thousand men, near enough, almost as many trained men as all of Andor could field.

Later on it was mentioned that:
"two in three of ours (Andor's soldiers) would be men who can handle a halberd or spear but spend most of their days behind a plow. Every man of theirs (Borderlanders) is a long-serving armsman who would not be surprised to face Trollocs any day of his life."

My impression is that Andor would be at least equal to any other Westland nation militarily (Shienar and Saldaea probably can make up for Andor's superior numbers thanks to the much bigger experience of their troops), and superior economically.

As for Cairhien, currently it's one of the weakest realms in Randland IMO. First the Aiel war, which not only caused all sorts of direct damages, but scared the peasants away from East Cairhien. Then the long and brutal civil war after Galldrian's death, and the famine which it caused. Then the Shaido invasion. They also lost the trade through the Aiel Waste after the Aiel War and that was one of the basis of their economy.

Davian93
06-02-2011, 10:48 AM
If Andor decided to militarize its society on a level comparable to the Borderland Nations, she would more than outweight all of them with no major issues. That's the point you can take out of that. Its population is that much larger than them as to make it possible.

Right now, Andor probably has a militization rate of something like 1-2% whereas the Borderlands are more like 10-15% (basically the US during WWII or North Korea now)

Helloes
06-02-2011, 12:29 PM
Just wanted to re-iterate the point that historically, foreign intervention has always been considered hostile by the natives. It's a logical conclusion, I mean nobody likes a stranger coming into your house and telling you what you can and cannot do - even if it's all sensible requests they are still ordering you about in your own house.

An Andor ruled by a Queen because of foreign troops would be a short lived one, it might outlive the Last Battle but after that? I doubt it would last long.

Was what Elayne did selfish? In some ways yes, but it is the nature of people in power to do everything they can to maintain that power for good or ill. And as far as monarchs go Elayne is probably the best candidate in Randland - both because of her connections to a myriad of important people, her links to the tower, and her general good will. She is insanely altruistic for a noble, and while incredibly stupid about her own personal safety she is genuinely a good ruler - much like her mother pre-Rahvin. You can't say the same for the people opposing her, which they would do whatever way she chose to do it.

mikey
06-05-2011, 06:42 AM
You obliviously think like a child you need to reread some of the later books so you will understand her position she had less of an army than any of the other nobles the minute they thought rand wasn't looking they would have had her killed most likely poisoned because they despise The Dragon Reborn. and that is Rand further more the way she won the crown it gives her the right to call any who stand against her rule as treason but if rand had announced her queen than she wouldn't have had that right!

mikey
06-05-2011, 06:51 AM
did not mean to post again lol

Terez
06-05-2011, 08:00 AM
You obliviously think like a child
Seriously, those are your first words on the forum? Has anyone ever told you that you write like a child? Have you ever heard of punctuation?