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Ishara
07-01-2011, 10:03 PM
To recap the concept:

First, pop over here (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5669) for the main thread, to see our list of upcoming characters.

Id like discussions to link back to any existing theories, threads and ideas, but lets try and integrate them into new theories, thoughts and ideas okay? This is less to do with whether we like characters we are Theorylanders, and we are not vapid. If you want to be a Theorylander, practice thinking critically and objectively. Dont worry, well help!

(And remember: a new character of the week does preclude continuing discussion on past topics!)

This week, we'll be discussing: Tam al'Thor

He's an interesting character, no matter how you slice it. He lead a full and interesting life before the books even started, which we could all speculate on. He is the widower of a mysterious woman who died so long ago, few remember her. He is the adopted father of the Dragon Reborn, which can be no easy thing. He seems as comfortable in the presence of lords and formality as he is on the farm with Bela.

So what to discuss? Tam's role in the past? His role in Rand's redemption? What he said to Min, and whether he knows he has two other daughter-in-laws, and is about to be a grand-father twice over? His absolute comfort at calling out Cadsuane as a bully and his seeming comfort with Aes Sedai?

There was once the possibility of an outrigger written about the mysterious life of Tam al'Thor prior to EotW, but sadly that doesn't seem to be on the table any longer. We may never know why he left the Two Rivers and came to be the Second in Command of the Companions of Illian. We may never know who he killed to become a blademaster, where the power-wrought blade came from (whether he even knew it was a power-wrought blade). We may never know how and where he met Kari.

How did Tam come back to the Two Rivers and seemed to slot himself back into a life there when there are no other al'Thors in the village or surrounding areas, when everyone else seems to be inter-related or have many cousins. Why not Tam?

We're entering into the land of speculation with a lot of these ideas, and that's absolutely to b encouraged, but it would be nice if you based the speculation on one small kernel of fact. Makes it easier to debate!

Terez
07-01-2011, 11:11 PM
I am totally in love with the way that RJ wove Tam into the Lews Therin phenomenon over the entire course of the series. That's just fantastic. I preached a lot pre-TGS about how Rand's early reactions to the idea that Tam was not his father (beginning on Winternight) were very similar to the reactions he had to Lews Therin's memories. Angst, denial, and chanting, reaffirmation of his identity, etc. I don't know if Brandon reads (or did read) any of the crap I post here but he mentioned that on his re-read, how the Tam thing is foreshadowing of Lews Therin, and I was really pleased. Rand's idea of 'becoming' the Dragon Reborn was tied up in the concept that the Dragon and the farmboy were two mutually exclusive entities, and while he obviously didn't hold himself to that as religiously as he sometimes pretended to himself, it was always a factor, and Rand voiced the fact when he made the comment in TGS about how the Dragon Reborn can't have a father. His self-exile from the Two Rivers is along those lines too, and it's not that his logic is unsound, exactly - he is right to fear that his presence will bring unwanted attention to the Two Rivers beyond what his having been raised there would bring - but that self-exile has been a really huge part of what has shaped Rand's personality over the last several books, and it's just awesome (and at the same time, rather horrible) that his father was the one to open his eyes to the truth that Lews Therin was not the bad guy after all. Obviously, in many ways that's only a small part of what happened on Dragonmount, and a small part of Tam's importance, but the thematic tie-in is just nicely done.

sandoz12
07-02-2011, 01:25 AM
I am totally in love with the way that RJ wove Tam into the Lews Therin phenomenon over the entire course of the series. That's just fantastic. I preached a lot pre-TGS about how Rand's early reactions to the idea that Tam was not his father (beginning on Winternight) were very similar to the reactions he had to Lews Therin's memories. Angst, denial, and chanting, reaffirmation of his identity, etc. I don't know if Brandon reads (or did read) any of the crap I post here but he mentioned that on his re-read, how the Tam thing is foreshadowing of Lews Therin, and I was really pleased. Rand's idea of 'becoming' the Dragon Reborn was tied up in the concept that the Dragon and the farmboy were two mutually exclusive entities, and while he obviously didn't hold himself to that as religiously as he sometimes pretended to himself, it was always a factor, and Rand voiced the fact when he made the comment in TGS about how the Dragon Reborn can't have a father. His self-exile from the Two Rivers is along those lines too, and it's not that his logic is unsound, exactly - he is right to fear that his presence will bring unwanted attention to the Two Rivers beyond what his having been raised there would bring - but that self-exile has been a really huge part of what has shaped Rand's personality over the last several books, and it's just awesome (and at the same time, rather horrible) that his father was the one to open his eyes to the truth that Lews Therin was not the bad guy after all. Obviously, in many ways that's only a small part of what happened on Dragonmount, and a small part of Tam's importance, but the thematic tie-in is just nicely done.

That is pretty cool. Reading it now that makes perfect sense and yet the comparison had never occurred to me before. Sometimes I despair at how shallow my reading can be.

The Unreasoner
07-02-2011, 01:50 AM
Ignorance is bliss. And madness is ecstasy. Can you imagine how dull life would be if we found all of the gems the first time? It is the thrill of discovery that keeps us alive. Just don't take it too far, it's like drugs. You can start seeing diamonds in broken glass.

Edited to add:
Terez said it all, and articulated it better than I could. Insightful and supported by thematic elements.

looqas
07-02-2011, 03:11 AM
To me Tam comes over as a person who is content at his slot and the life style he chose after coming to Two Rivers. He's written that he really is one of the pillars of life at Two Rivers.

Somehow I would have liked to see him a bit more like fish out of his water later in the books. His dealing with AS and such. Currently everything is way too comfortable.

He is an excellent support staff for Perrin and the boys. Seemingly no ambitions of his own or even desires. Odd that. Considering that Rand is his boy and we don't see even a desire to see Rand live through. I would like for realism sake to see a little more fatalism at play.

I speculate thta Tam is actually very much in loss how to think and react about Rand so most of the interactions are rather shallow and on safe ground.

Sertii
07-02-2011, 03:35 PM
Tam feels really awkward around Rand, which is perfectly understandable and real. However, its obvious he cares about him deeply.
In addition, there are a lot of things we dont know about him, and we can only speculate to his level of badassery (wich I assume is quite high).

Enigma
07-02-2011, 04:44 PM
We don't really see a lot from Tam and a pov from him would be great. One thing that I wondered about was his attitude to military action. He seems to have no problem with it which is a bit surprising. Why you might wonder?

Well Tam was a blademaster and Second Captain of the Companions which is pretty high up in one of the few elite military formations that were knocking around before TEotW but after the battle of Tar Valon and finding Rand he walks away from it to settle in the Two Rivers.

At the time he was too young to be retirement age but he leaves the life. Having an wife and child does not really explain that decision. As Second Captain he is not some front line pikeman who might be killed at any moment, Most of the time he should be safe behind the lines unless he wants to put himself in harms way. His rank would have given him status in society, a reasonable income but he leaves it all behind.

It always seemed to me that such was the slaughter he witnessed in the Blood Snows he got sick of fighting and decided to go to somewhere as far away from wars as he could find.

Granted 20 odd years is a long time but you would have thought that someone who had been effected by death in battle enought to leave a promising career would at least expressed some regret or such at having to pick up a sword again.

Sertii
07-02-2011, 06:27 PM
Granted 20 odd years is a long time but you would have thought that someone who had been effected by death in battle enought to leave a promising career would at least expressed some regret or such at having to pick up a sword again.

Tam is a pragmatist. He realizes the importance of his task, and he does not complain. I think it makes perfect sense

Davian93
07-02-2011, 07:04 PM
Tam's a pretty smart fella...odds are he HAD to know or at least suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn. There is no doubt he was familiar with the Dragon prophecies and he had to be aware of where he found Rand. It'd be great to get a POV from him but I dont feel that we ever will.

Marie Curie 7
07-02-2011, 08:24 PM
Tam's a pretty smart fella...odds are he HAD to know or at least suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn. There is no doubt he was familiar with the Dragon prophecies and he had to be aware of where he found Rand. It'd be great to get a POV from him but I dont feel that we ever will.

Well, RJ said that Tam didn't have the slightest idea that Rand was the Dragon Reborn when he was raising him.

DragonCon 5 September 2005 - Tamyrlin reporting

Q: The relationship between Rand and his adopted Father, I enjoyed it very much in the first book. And I wondered if it was a deliberate choice to keep them separated over most of the series so far?
RJ: Yes, a deliberate choice, yes.

Q: Before it became public knowledge that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, did Tam al'Thor know or suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn or could channel?
RJ: No, Tam had no inkling of this.



Balticon XXX April 1996 - Bill Garrett reporting

Jordan said that Tam has all the clues he needs to figure out that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Whether or not Tam will admit it to himself is another matter. Jordan said that Tam merely finding Rand as a baby on the slopes of Dragonmount wasn't enough of a clue -- even if Tam were familiar with that prophecy then, few people think about those things or expect them to happen literally to them -- but that, plus the fact that Rand has disappeared off with Aes Sedai who say he's important, and the fact that the world is going crazy, should give Tam enough information to make the conclusion.

Davian93
07-02-2011, 08:27 PM
Stupid quotes.

Its surprising though that Tam would be so totally oblivious that a baby he found on Dragonmount might be somewhat special...considering all the talk at the time that the Aiel war might be the precursor of the Last Battle anyway (as noted by Lan in New Spring). Tam, as a highly ranked military commander, should have some inkling of such talk.

Stupid quotes.

Res_Ipsa
07-02-2011, 09:31 PM
Stupid quotes.

Its surprising though that Tam would be so totally oblivious that a baby he found on Dragonmount might be somewhat special...considering all the talk at the time that the Aiel war might be the precursor of the Last Battle anyway (as noted by Lan in New Spring). Tam, as a highly ranked military commander, should have some inkling of such talk.

Stupid quotes.

I agree with your incredulity but it would center around how well the Karaethon Cycle was known in the Two Rivers as well as his own personal knowledge. Then again to paraphrase the books it is one thing to know prophecy will happen and quite another to see it come to pass. Granted that is referenced as to why the Aiel do not seem exuberant at Rand's coming but it could easily translate to this purpose.

The Unreasoner
07-02-2011, 11:13 PM
Stupid quotes.

I'm with you there, the bane of many a good idea.
Also in the Ravens prologue, Tam displays an unusually high degree of familiarity with the truth of the Dragon's history.

Toss the dice
07-03-2011, 12:16 AM
I don't think it's surprising at all that Tam had no inkling there was something special about Rand.

No matter how obvious something is that there COULD be something special going on, real people tend to automatically dismiss such things because "it would never happen to me" or "it would never happen in my time. This is the Dragon Reborn we're talking about, the culmination and END of an entire Age. What's more, he found Rand in the middle of a bloody warzone. He was exhausted, bloody, and sick of the fighting. He finds a baby on a mountain slope where one of hundreds of thousands of people fighting in the general vicinity gave birth to it. He had a fond thought that Kari would love an adopted child since they couldn't have any of their own and that was all she wrote. It's pretty damn easy to naysay when you not only have hindsight but the near-omniscience of being a READER.

Him going back to the Two Rivers isn't strange, just unexplained. A wife and an infant are good enough reason alone to move somewhere else, for a number of reasons. He also grew up in the Two Rivers, which is another fabulous reason. Add to all of that the very reason he found Rand in the first place (that he was tired and sick of the fighting), and it almost seems like a no-brainer. Staying in Illian as a high officer is still a military (fighting) profession, and I highly doubt his officer status had any bearing towards him likely to spend his career "in the office."

The Illianer Companions were known as an elite military unit, sent to where the fighting was hottest. He had had plenty of "hot action" while he was an officer before, why wouldn't he continue to have it if he had decided to stay?

Oatman
07-03-2011, 05:05 AM
For a while now I've had the idea that Tam and Morgase met at some point during Tam's time in the Illianer army. This is based soley on Morgase claiming to have heard Two Rivers speach before, few people ever leaving the Two Rivers, and Tam likely being the only one to attain enough rank to possibly address a queen. I'm not sure if there is anything which would invalidate this, but I also don't think it has or will be confirmed.

GonzoTheGreat
07-03-2011, 06:16 AM
They may have met briefly, but if so then probably not in such a way that they would remember each other.
It seems more likely that she met some other TR person, though. Tam almost certainly wasn't the only one ever to leave, even if he may have been one of the few who returned again.

Ishara
07-03-2011, 12:28 PM
I wonder how long he was gone for? Why did he leave?

If you equate it with our boys, imagine if Rand had taken off, lived the high life for a few years, been a soldier, got married and come back. Mat and Perrin (not to mention the whole village) would not have reacted in a chill sort of way. I could see it being the talk of the town for years. I bet Marin knows way more than she's talking...

Marie Curie 7
07-03-2011, 04:12 PM
For a while now I've had the idea that Tam and Morgase met at some point during Tam's time in the Illianer army. This is based soley on Morgase claiming to have heard Two Rivers speach before, few people ever leaving the Two Rivers, and Tam likely being the only one to attain enough rank to possibly address a queen. I'm not sure if there is anything which would invalidate this, but I also don't think it has or will be confirmed.

The idea's been around for a while. Brandon was asked questions related to it, but he RAFOd them.

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Powell's Books, Portland, OR 19 November 2009 - Samadai reporting

RobMRobM: Will we find out where Morgase learned the Two Rivers speech?
Brandon: RAFO

RobMRobM: Will Tam end up with a wife?
Brandon: RAFO

RobMRobM: Was Kari al'Thor related to Morgase?
Brandon: RAFO

Davian93
07-03-2011, 05:25 PM
I'm with you there, the bane of many a good idea.
Also in the Ravens prologue, Tam displays an unusually high degree of familiarity with the truth of the Dragon's history.

That's exactly what I was thinking about with my comment...he was way too familiar with the prophecies to not at least think about the fact that he found a baby on Dragonmount.



As to Marin knowing more...clearly Tam originally left due to an unrequited love affair with Marin. Bran won her heart and Tam had nothing else so he fled the Two Rivers in a huff. That's why Marin goes out of her way to not set Tam up with other women and also never crosses the line with mothering Rand despite the odd expression of apparently wanting to.

Res_Ipsa
07-03-2011, 09:38 PM
As to Marin knowing more...clearly Tam originally left due to an unrequited love affair with Marin. Bran won her heart and Tam had nothing else so he fled the Two Rivers in a huff. That's why Marin goes out of her way to not set Tam up with other women and also never crosses the line with mothering Rand despite the odd expression of apparently wanting to.

Watching too many day time soaps ehh Dav?+

Ishara
07-04-2011, 09:36 AM
Just had a very intesring thought, thanks to yks!

We'll need to timeline this out:

TITLE: Great Hunt
CHAPTER: 8 - The Dragon Reborn
"Tam al'Thor left the Two Rivers as a boy, Mother. He joined the army of Illian, and served in the Whitecloak War and the last two wars with Tear. In time he rose to be a blademaster and the Second Captain of the Companions. After the Aiel War, Tam al'Thor returned to the Two Rivers with a wife from Caemlyn and an infant boy. It would have saved much, had I known this earlier, but I know it now."

When did he stop in Caemlyn and meet/ marry Kari al'Thor? On his way to Illian? I'm not sure I see noble and pragmatic Tam marrying on a foot soldier's wages. Maybe Andoran Kari was in Illian? But, if so, why?

Working backwards, from Seven Spokes (http://www.sevenspokes.com/chronology/3rd-ne.html):

Kari dies: 983 NE

Rand's Birth: 978 NE

Aiel War: 976 NE

Taer War: 970 NE

Whitecloak War: 957 NE

Joined Illian Army: Circa 955 NE

Left Two Rivers: Circa 955 NE

Suddenly the implications of Kari being from Caemlyn are even juicier. We know that he didn't meet and marry her on the way home from the war, and we don't know why they didn't settle in Caemlyn if that's where she was from...

But, all told Tam was away from home for over 23 years. That's a DAMN long time.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-05-2011, 01:51 AM
Rand was 18 when he left Two Rivers, right? so let's assume Tam was about 18-20 when he left, which would mean that he was about 40 when he found Rand on Dragonmount - which would make him almost 60 now. In the books he doesn't seem quite that old, maybe in his mid-50's but then that would have to mean that he left Two Rivers even earlier - when he was say 15-16-17?

from Tam's fever-dreams it sounds like he and Kari had been together rather a long time "you always wanted children" sort of implies that. But when might they have met? Most of Tam's wars took place to the South of Caemlyn, but the last - Aiel War to the North. There's 6 years between the Taer War and the Aiel War, maybe Tam thought to call it quits after the Taer War and make his way back home... made it as far as Caemlyn, met Kari and stayed for a while. And then the Aiel War happened?

GonzoTheGreat
07-05-2011, 04:16 AM
Or he might have met Kari when he was going out into the world, and hooked up with her seriously when he got a sufficiently well paying job to afford a wife.

Zombie Sammael
07-05-2011, 04:32 AM
Or he might have met Kari when he was going out into the world, and hooked up with her seriously when he got a sufficiently well paying job to afford a wife.

...I don't think it quite works like that in the world of WOT, Gonzo. I think Kari would be quite capable of finding work to afford herself before, after, or whilst married to Tam.

Besides, four years is a long enough period for Tam saying "you always wanted children" to make sense. If she's consistently been saying she wants kids for four years since he met her, and may have mentioned she's wanted them for a while, there's incongruity whatsoever there.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-05-2011, 05:02 AM
...I don't think it quite works like that in the world of WOT, Gonzo. I think Kari would be quite capable of finding work to afford herself before, after, or whilst married to Tam.

Besides, four years is a long enough period for Tam saying "you always wanted children" to make sense. If she's consistently been saying she wants kids for four years since he met her, and may have mentioned she's wanted them for a while, there's incongruity whatsoever there.

Quite. I mainly meant that it didn't sound as if Tam had met Kari right before the battle as one of the camp followers or something. It sounded as if they'd been together several years, for sure.

GonzoTheGreat
07-05-2011, 05:15 AM
Obviously. What with all the retreats and such, anyone who tried following a camp would get eaten by hungry Aiel.

Ishara
07-05-2011, 06:59 AM
Rand was 18 when he left Two Rivers, right? so let's assume Tam was about 18-20 when he left, which would mean that he was about 40 when he found Rand on Dragonmount - which would make him almost 60 now. In the books he doesn't seem quite that old, maybe in his mid-50's but then that would have to mean that he left Two Rivers even earlier - when he was say 15-16-17?

from Tam's fever-dreams it sounds like he and Kari had been together rather a long time "you always wanted children" sort of implies that. But when might they have met? Most of Tam's wars took place to the South of Caemlyn, but the last - Aiel War to the North. There's 6 years between the Taer War and the Aiel War, maybe Tam thought to call it quits after the Taer War and make his way back home... made it as far as Caemlyn, met Kari and stayed for a while. And then the Aiel War happened?

I should have formatted that better. The Taer-Illian Wars didn't end until 976, right when the Aiel War started. He was a full-time soldier for basically 22 years. You'd think he'd be a bit more psychologically damaged and regimented, you know? (I'm only half kidding...)

But, I agree. I don't see him taking a camp follower. Just doesn't fit with my image of Tam. But, I do question the assertion that Kari could find work until Tam was able to provide for her. Unless she was a Wisdom or a noblewoman, she was staying at home. Young women in this world do not "work" beyond being chamber maids or inkeeper's daughters. I can see her being the second, but not the first.

Zombie Sammael
07-05-2011, 07:21 AM
But, I do question the assertion that Kari could find work until Tam was able to provide for her. Unless she was a Wisdom or a noblewoman, she was staying at home. Young women in this world do not "work" beyond being chamber maids or inkeeper's daughters. I can see her being the second, but not the first.

Or Illuminators, or Gleemen, or Aes Sedai, or merchants, or soldiers, or....

Oh, wait. You're completely wrong.

David Selig
07-05-2011, 07:36 AM
Of course Kari could've found work, nearly every job is open to women in Randland, and Caemlyn gives her almost unlimited options. She could've been a merchant or an artisan or a clerk or pretty much anything apart from a soldier (and even that is not completely unheard of).

Maybe she was on a business trip to Illian as a merchant when she met Tam, who knows.

maacaroni
07-05-2011, 09:18 AM
I see Tam as the post-adventure character. He, to a lesser degree, did what Rand/Mat/Perrin did a generation before...and came back. He's seen war and death, he's associated with Aes Sedai - his put-down of Cadsuane was one of my highlights of the last book.

I might be worth mentioning again that RJ when initially sketching out WoT envisioned Rand as a character around Tam's age. It was only later that he created 'teen-Rand' and his father.

I know RJ compared himself most to Perrin, but to me, he was most like Tam. A veteran of conflict, quiet, knowledgable and liked the quiet life.

SauceyBlueConfetti
07-05-2011, 12:40 PM
My only musings on Tam, random:

Most of Tam's character traits are clearly set in the first few chapters of EotW.

The ultimate Father Figure...he loves his son unconditionally and not until Rand figures this out can he accept his own demons regarding being the Dragon

The calm voice of reason...he soothes everyone around him. Soldiers, children, adults.

The embodiment of strength in the series...he is the best shot, the smartest man, the calmest voice.

Respect for women and their power...he says something like: that is Wisdom and Women's Circle boy, best stay out of it. He counsels the men of the town (they all listen to him, even Cenn Buie), but clearly believes the women have their own unsurmountable "power". This is a nice stage set for the entire series regarding WOMEN being powerful. Sometimes foolish, yes, but their power and strength are to be respected and don't ya all get that from Mr. Tam??

Zombie Sammael
07-05-2011, 12:46 PM
My only musings on Tam, random:

Most of Tam's character traits are clearly set in the first few chapters of EotW.

The ultimate Father Figure...he loves his son unconditionally and not until Rand figures this out can he accept his own demons regarding being the Dragon

The calm voice of reason...he soothes everyone around him. Soldiers, children, adults.

The embodiment of strength in the series...he is the best shot, the smartest man, the calmest voice.

Respect for women and their power...he says something like: that is Wisdom and Women's Circle boy, best stay out of it. He counsels the men of the town (they all listen to him, even Cenn Buie), but clearly believes the women have their own unsurmountable "power". This is a nice stage set for the entire series regarding WOMEN being powerful. Sometimes foolish, yes, but their power and strength are to be respected and don't ya all get that from Mr. Tam??

Tam does represent a sort of primal and idealised masculinity in the series, an ideal that none of the boys will ever really be able to attain but which they should always strive towards. In a way, he is the archetypal male in the series. It's very refreshing to see a male archetype who has as a part of his character a deep respect for females.

With this in mind, it makes me wonder which character represents the archetypal female in the series? It's probably Moiraine, and I find it very interesting that she is far more active in the books than Tam; it belies the traditional sexist notion that women are passive while men are the active "doers".

Davian93
07-05-2011, 01:46 PM
Tam destroying Cadsuane's legitimacy as a "bully" with a couple of calmly spoken lines was probably the best scene in ToM.

Tam is awesome.

Rand al'Fain
07-05-2011, 04:03 PM
Tam does represent a sort of primal and idealised masculinity in the series, an ideal that none of the boys will ever really be able to attain but which they should always strive towards. In a way, he is the archetypal male in the series. It's very refreshing to see a male archetype who has as a part of his character a deep respect for females.

With this in mind, it makes me wonder which character represents the archetypal female in the series? It's probably Moiraine, and I find it very interesting that she is far more active in the books than Tam; it belies the traditional sexist notion that women are passive while men are the active "doers".

Well Tam had been in the middle of fighting for at least the Aiel War, and easily others for Illian as well. During that time, Moiraine was either holed up in the Cairheinen Palace, or the White Tower. Tam wanted to settle down and live a quiet life. Moiraine ended up being one of 3 people (later 2) that knew that the Dragon had been reborn and that he needed to be found and they really didn't have anyone they could trust (Merlile, who was Siuan's and Moiraine's friend for over 20 years ended up being a Dark Friend).

The Unreasoner
07-05-2011, 04:36 PM
Or Illuminators, or Gleemen, or Aes Sedai, or merchants, or soldiers, or....

Oh, wait. You're completely wrong.

I agree she could have found work, but you may have picked four of the worst examples.

Can't be an Illuminator, she's not born in the guild, not even Taraboner.

Dena was to be the first female gleeman, so twenty years earlier it would be unusual and a hard sell.

Aes Sedai need to be able to channel, a tiny proportion of people.

Female Merchants are actually quite common (as are bankers, innkeepers, clerks, store owners, seamstresses...)

Female soldiers at this point are rare outside of seanchan and the waste.

Zombie Sammael
07-05-2011, 04:42 PM
I agree she could have found work, but you may have picked four of the worst examples.

Can't be an Illuminator, she's not born in the guild, not even Taraboner.

Dena was to be the first female gleeman, so twenty years earlier it would be unusual and a hard sell.

Aes Sedai need to be able to channel, a tiny proportion of people.

Female Merchants are actually quite common (as are bankers, innkeepers, clerks, store owners, seamstresses...)

Female soldiers at this point are rare outside of seanchan and the waste.

I was attacking the general assertion "women don't work in Randland" rather than giving specific occupations for Kari al'Thor, and I did this by citing examples from the series. But she could have been a merchant, or a blacksmith, or a weaver, or any one of a number of professions so long as she had the right skills.

The Unreasoner
07-05-2011, 05:08 PM
I was attacking the general assertion "women don't work in Randland" rather than giving specific occupations for Kari al'Thor, and I did this by citing examples from the series. But she could have been a merchant, or a blacksmith, or a weaver, or any one of a number of professions so long as she had the right skills.

oh no i agree, i just found it funny.

Zombie Sammael
07-05-2011, 05:28 PM
oh no i agree, i just found it funny.

Oh, okay. One day I'll figure out your sense of humour.

The Unreasoner
07-05-2011, 05:45 PM
The irony that someone is arguing my point in a way that compels me to contradict them is funny. to me.

Zombie Sammael
07-06-2011, 06:42 AM
The irony that someone is arguing my point in a way that compels me to contradict them is funny. to me.

By that point I'd done a Theoryland and drifted on to another topic completely.:p

Ishara
07-06-2011, 03:07 PM
I agree she could have found work, but you may have picked four of the worst examples.

Can't be an Illuminator, she's not born in the guild, not even Taraboner.

Dena was to be the first female gleeman, so twenty years earlier it would be unusual and a hard sell.

Aes Sedai need to be able to channel, a tiny proportion of people.

Female Merchants are actually quite common (as are bankers, innkeepers, clerks, store owners, seamstresses...)

Female soldiers at this point are rare outside of seanchan and the waste.

Ah, but I didn't say women couldn't find work - we've clearly seen lots of women work in Randland, as the professions highlighted above. But they're ALL (with the exception of maybe some of Elayne's guards) older, married women. Not young, single women. Even to be in a trade, you have to born into or apprenticed to the trade, and aren't considered adept enough until you age.

I stand by my assertion that Kari was working while waiting for Tam. Unless of course, she was the daughter of an innkeeper, merchant, tradesperson, etc.

Charlz Guybon
08-16-2011, 01:35 AM
To recap the concept:

First, pop over here (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5669) for the main thread, to see our list of upcoming characters.



There was once the possibility of an outrigger written about the mysterious life of Tam al'Thor prior to EotW, but sadly that doesn't seem to be on the table any longer. We may never know why he left the Two Rivers and came to be the Second in Command of the Companions of Illian. We may never know who he killed to become a blademaster, where the power-wrought blade came from (whether he even knew it was a power-wrought blade). We may never know how and where he met Kari.

Tam fought in the Whitecloak War.

Quoting from Encylopedia Wot since I don't have my books on me.

TGH,Ch8 - Tam al'Thor fought for Illian in the Whitecloak War.

LoC,Ch9 - At the Battle of Soremaine, the Whitecloaks captured Mattin Stepaneos and held him for ransom. They would have routed the Illianer army if not for the valor of the Illianer Companions.

I think Tam was somehow involved in saving the day here, rallying the troops as a young noncom/officer and perhaps killing the enemy commander (a blademaster?).

I think it was for this that he got his power-wrought blade. All the other power-wrought blades we've seen belonged to Kings. Lan's sword was the royal sword of Malkier, the sword Aviendha gave Rand was the royal sword of Cairhien, the Sword of Kirukan is the royal sword of Kandor, and Justice belonged to Hawkwing himself. These blades are literally priceless. I think Tam had to have been gifted his by the King of Illian, and saving the army from destruction at the hands of the Whitecloaks seems to be the only thing he could have done to deserve it.

Ishara
08-16-2011, 07:50 AM
LOL - We all know that Tam fought in the Whitecloak Wars - sorry of that wasn't clear in the OP. What we don't know is how he ended up in Illian. Why not fight for Andor (aside from the fact that theey weren't warring about like Tear and Illian at the time)?

Also, I have difficulty with your assertion that he was gifted the sword as a reward. We know that they only way a blademaster gets a heron-marked sword is by defeating another blademaster. We also know that Tam said to Rand (and he's not a liar) that he paid entirely too much for it. Could have been in coin, but I think not.

Also, the enemy commander was Pedron Niall, so that option's out.

Also, even though yes, it was a power-wrought blade, it wasn't "special" beyond that. It was no scabbarded Justice or decorated like Laman's sword. It was just another blade that had made its way down through the ages.

It was easier for the Royal blades to pass through history and be remembered as special as they came through Royal lines (or lines of families that became Royal over time). That doesn't mean that other power-wrought blades weren't hidden in attics or basements over the years.

WinespringBrother
08-16-2011, 09:31 AM
The Gathering Storm CH: 47 - The One He Lost
"I'm afraid I lost your sword," Rand found himself saying. It felt foolish. "That's all right," Tam said. "I don't know that I ever deserved the thing anyway." "Were you really a blademaster?" Tam nodded. "I suppose. I killed a man who was one, did it in front of witnesses, but I've never forgiven myself for it. Though it needed doing." "The ones that need to be done often seem the ones that we least like to have to do." "That's the truth if I've ever heard it," Tam said, sighing softly, leaning on the balcony railing. Lit windows were beginning to shine in the darkness below. "It's so strange. My boy, the Dragon Reborn. All of those stories I heard when traveling the world, I'm part of them." "Think how it feels for me," Rand said. Tam chuckled. "Yes. Yes, I suppose you understand exactly what I mean, don't you? Funny, isn't it?" "Funny?" Rand shook his head. "No. Not, that. My life isn't my own. I'm a puppet for the Pattern and the prophecies, made to dance for the world before having my strings cut." Tam frowned. "That's not true, son. Er, my Lord." "I can't see it any other way."

That's how Tam got his sword, though it isn't the only way to obtain one... there is inheritance, in Rand's case, obviously, or gifts, also in Rand's case lol

ETA:

Fires of Heaven CHAPTER: 21 - The Gift of a Blade
"Well, it is very beautiful," he said, as tactfully as he could manage. Only a buffoon would carry something this gaudy. And that ivory hilt would twist in a hand slippery with sweat or blood. "But I cannot let you. . ." He trailed off as he bared a few inches of the blade, out of habit, to examine the edge. Etched into the shining steel stood a heron, symbol of a blademaster. He had carried a sword marked like that once. Suddenly he was ready to bet that this blade was like it, like the raven-marked blade on Mat's spear, metal made with Power that would never break and never need sharpening. Most blademasters' swords were only copies of those. Lan could tell him for certain, but he was sure already in his own mind.

ETA 2: Sorry I misread your post Ishara. If you mean the only way to 'earn' a heron mark blade ... you can also be judged to be a blademaster by 5 other blademasters.

ETA 3:
Knife of Dreams CHAPTER: PROLOGUE - Embers Falling on Dry Grass
Valda had not gained that heron-mark sword by favoritism. Five blademasters had sat in judgment of his skills and voted unanimously to grant him the title. The vote always had to be unanimous. The only other way was to kill the bearer of a heron-mark blade in fair combat, one on one. Valda had been younger then than Galad was now.

Ishara
08-16-2011, 09:32 AM
Absolutely - but to be a blademaster and to have a heron-marked sword are not one and the same thing.

WinespringBrother
08-16-2011, 09:38 AM
Absolutely - but to be a blademaster and to have a heron-marked sword are not one and the same thing.

See my ETA's for clarification on my comments ...

Davian93
08-16-2011, 09:42 AM
He could very well have killed a Blademaster in battle (as we know he did) and still be rewarded one by the Illian King.

Perhaps he wouldn't have had time to pick up the heron blade as it was in the heat of combat and the King gave him one after the fact?

Charlz Guybon
08-16-2011, 09:44 AM
Also, I have difficulty with your assertion that he was gifted the sword as a reward. We know that they only way a blademaster gets a heron-marked sword is by defeating another blademaster. We also know that Tam said to Rand (and he's not a liar) that he paid entirely too much for it. Could have been in coin, but I think not.

Also, the enemy commander was Pedron Niall, so that option's out.

Also, even though yes, it was a power-wrought blade, it wasn't "special" beyond that. It was no scabbarded Justice or decorated like Laman's sword. It was just another blade that had made its way down through the ages.

It was easier for the Royal blades to pass through history and be remembered as special as they came through Royal lines (or lines of families that became Royal over time). That doesn't mean that other power-wrought blades weren't hidden in attics or basements over the years.

I didn't mean Niall, I meant the Lord Captain of a Legion. Given that it was a major battle there would likely have been several on the field. Beating the one leading the attack could throw the whitecloaks into disarray long enough for the army of Illian to retreat.

That's not the only way, you can be named a blademaster if 5 other masters unanimously agree that you've demonstrated the skill.

I agree he didn't buy the sword. I suppose he could have taken it from a White cloak blademaster, but how would a Whitecloak, even a Lord Captain get his hands on one? Maybe from a Tairen High Lord in a war with Tear? But we don't know the names of any of those battles and what the Companions did IIRC. Either way, taking it by force or being rewarded it would necessitate a high price in blood from his men.

Not special? It's power-wrought, and was etched with the heron. That makes it more special than Lan's sword, his doesn't even have the heron, it was a plain soldiers sword from the war of power. There might be power-wrought blades lost in attics or in ruins but we haven't seen them. The only ones we've seen aside from Tam's belonged to royalty.

Ishara
08-16-2011, 12:15 PM
I didn't mean Niall, I meant the Lord Captain of a Legion. Given that it was a major battle there would likely have been several on the field. Beating the one leading the attack could throw the whitecloaks into disarray long enough for the army of Illian to retreat.

Not special? It's power-wrought, and was etched with the heron. That makes it more special than Lan's sword, his doesn't even have the heron, it was a plain soldiers sword from the war of power. There might be power-wrought blades lost in attics or in ruins but we haven't seen them. The only ones we've seen aside from Tam's belonged to royalty.

A. If Tam had killed a Lord Captain in battle I would think that the name a'-Thor would have meant something to Niall when he first heard of Rand. That's not something a man like that forgets. Not to mention the fact that the Whiteloaks have been known to label highs pirited boys who pull pranks as Darkfriends. For sure they'd name Tam one as well.

B. Now, now. You know what I meant by saying it wasn't special. Clearly it being power-wrought is significant. But I don't agree that only Royals have heron-marked blades. I also don't think that the etching makes it more special than a blade like Lan's, which has itsown significance.

C. I acknowledge that you can become a blademaster by a unanimous vote of five other blademasters, but we know that's not how Tam beacome one, so the point is moot, no?

WinespringBrother
08-16-2011, 01:36 PM
It's hard to imagine that mild-mannered Tam as the same person that goes around killing people in a calculated manner (for whatever reason) which is the implication I get from the story he told Rand (quoted above). And his description is worded similarly to this (Rand speaking of Rochaid):

Winter's Heart CH: 22 - Out of Thin Air
"I wasn't angry with him." Shaking his head, he began shov ing clothes into the hamper again. "He just needed killing, that's all. And why would I be afraid?"

Davian93
08-16-2011, 01:40 PM
How is it that Tam has zero extended family in the Two Rivers (a region known for large extensive clan style families)? How odd is it that he's the sole surviving Al'Thor AND he left the Two Rivers to be, for all intents and purposes, a soldier of fortune in the Illianer army.

Did his parents die young? Did he have no cousins or siblings?

SauceyBlueConfetti
08-16-2011, 02:25 PM
That, sadly, will never be answered. As the history of Tam was to be one of the outriggers from RJ, I think it is

intuitively obvious {weg}

that his backstory is intentionally left mysterious.

Enigma
08-16-2011, 03:08 PM
If his family died in some sort of tragedy when he was young, it might explain why Tam left the Two Rivers.

As for him being an effective killer in his youth and now being so mild mannered RJ gave an account of his own time in Vietnam that I recall. He said that he was photographed near some dead bodies once. He did not pose with them, it was just a handy place for him to sit and he was so used to death that the bodies meant nothing to him. He went on to say that after he came back to the US he had to change and put the person he was in the war behind him.

That may have been the inspiration for Tam the war veterine who put the killing behind him to settle down.

Ishara
08-16-2011, 06:13 PM
How is it that Tam has zero extended family in the Two Rivers (a region known for large extensive clan style families)? How odd is it that he's the sole surviving Al'Thor AND he left the Two Rivers to be, for all intents and purposes, a soldier of fortune in the Illianer army.

Did his parents die young? Did he have no cousins or siblings?
EXACTLY! See? A mystery!

If his family died in some sort of tragedy when he was young, it might explain why Tam left the Two Rivers.


I sort of feel that it would have been the topic of stories, especially in the Two Rivers. Something everybody knew but didn't really talk about?

Davian93
08-16-2011, 07:29 PM
Maybe they simply got the plague or something...sickness isn't uncommon in this world so it wouldn't even be remarked upon if both parents died when he was a young man and that was the impetus for him leaving.

They do have a sick house after all.

WinespringBrother
08-17-2011, 08:10 AM
Maybe they simply got the plague or something...sickness isn't uncommon in this world so it wouldn't even be remarked upon if both parents died when he was a young man and that was the impetus for him leaving.

They do have a sick house after all.

This makes sense. They hardly talk about Kari, who died of sickness during the youth of the current generation. Also, they may not have had a Wisdom like Nynaeve to save them at the time.

Davian93
08-17-2011, 08:25 AM
What's really interesting to me about Tam is that despite him leaving as a young man and being gone for a long time period, he is still a very respected man in his community and is essentially the 'vice-mayor' to Bran. Even Nynaeve respects his opinion. Usually in such a closed tight society, someone who leaves and then comes back after a long time gone with a foreign wife would be ostracized to some extent. Instead, he's part of the Village Council and arguably the most influential man in the community outside of the Mayor (who relies on his counsel too).

It tells you just how remarkable a man he is that this has occurred.

Ishara
08-17-2011, 08:59 AM
From the OP:
How did Tam come back to the Two Rivers and seemed to slot himself back into a life there when there are no other al'Thors in the village or surrounding areas, when everyone else seems to be inter-related or have many cousins. Why not Tam?


Tam fascinates me. I could buy that his wife dies of illness, and maybe his elderly parents, but everyone? I don't know that anyone else in the Two Rivers is an only child apart from Nynaeve and Rand!

GonzoTheGreat
08-17-2011, 09:07 AM
Tam fascinates me. I could buy that his wife dies of illness, and maybe his elderly parents, but everyone? I don't know that anyone else in the Two Rivers is an only child apart from Nynaeve and Rand!Perrin is. Though only after Fain ate all the rest, admittedly.

Davian93
08-17-2011, 09:07 AM
From the OP:


Tam fascinates me. I could buy that his wife dies of illness, and maybe his elderly parents, but everyone? I don't know that anyone else in the Two Rivers is an only child apart from Nynaeve and Rand!

Clearly, Nynaeve's actual last name is Al'Thor, not Al'Meara. It was changed at birth to protect her and Tam. They are likely related in some form or another. The fact that their entire family was destroyed only strengthens this theory.


~feels the need to add some bulleting and mentions of "capes" to this idea~

Davian93
08-17-2011, 09:08 AM
Perrin is. Though only after Fain ate all the rest, admittedly.

Yeah, but even with them all dead, there are still other Aybaras in the Two Rivers...including that young "cousin" that shows up in TSR.

GonzoTheGreat
08-17-2011, 09:08 AM
Nynaeve will be Valan Luca's co-Dragon, I suspect. Actually, having Kari al-Thor being a former Tinker would also fit in well.

The Unreasoner
08-17-2011, 09:24 AM
I'm not sure it is ever confirmed that there aren't any sackville-al'thors anywhere, there may be second cousins estranged from the bunch. Or perhaps Tam is the one estranged, maybe he was disowned when he went off to find adventure.

Alternatively, the absence of relatives could be real, and a sort of action of the Wheel. Perhaps to make Rand closer to Tam, and more open to his advice. Or to make Rand's initial disconnect with the Two Rivers more bearable.

SauceyBlueConfetti
08-17-2011, 10:52 AM
this is why I need an E-reader, cuz I cannot carry all these books around with me. Our search doesn't have the split From the Two Rivers in it...and I was thinking there are much more Tam references in that book.

I remember Egwene having a previously unmentioned older sister who died (which we see immediately as dying from trying to channel without help) and references to many of the other townsfolk dying in mysterious ways. I HAVE NO IDEA where I put that book and the chapter isn't in our search. BOOOOO.

Anyone have access to that part...I think some Tam enlightenment was included.

sleepinghour
08-17-2011, 11:11 AM
I remember Egwene having a previously unmentioned older sister who died (which we see immediately as dying from trying to channel without help) and references to many of the other townsfolk dying in mysterious ways.
It was mentioned in the YA edition of TEotW that one of Egwene's older sisters lost her husband and baby to breakbone fever. I don't remember any new information about Tam, though.

The Immortal One
10-29-2011, 07:41 AM
What's really interesting to me about Tam is that despite him leaving as a young man and being gone for a long time period, he is still a very respected man in his community and is essentially the 'vice-mayor' to Bran. Even Nynaeve respects his opinion. Usually in such a closed tight society, someone who leaves and then comes back after a long time gone with a foreign wife would be ostracized to some extent. Instead, he's part of the Village Council and arguably the most influential man in the community outside of the Mayor (who relies on his counsel too).

It tells you just how remarkable a man he is that this has occurred.

If you remember (I don't remember the exact words) Rand thinks in the first few chapters how their dining table was big enough for ten or more people, though that many had not been around it since Kari died.

This implies that perhaps some of the influence, and lack of ostracisation, could be due to Kari's personality if she was friendly enough to invite entire families over to their house for dinner regularly.

Vanadis
11-09-2011, 02:29 PM
A thought that hasn't left me since the clue about Tam having his first POV in AMOL, is: Did Tam know what Rand might become?

What I really wonder; Is Tam educated enough (well traveled enough to hear about the prophesy), or is the prophesy of the Dragon known enough in the general population that he would have suspected that the child he found at the Dragonmount slope, could become the Dragon Reborn?

Perhaps its a silly question; not many study the karaethon cycle (as I have understood it), but... well, it made me curious. Could Tam suspected? Was it well known that the Dragon would be born where he died?

*shrugs*

David Selig
11-09-2011, 03:02 PM
I am pretty sure Moiraine remarked in New Spring that while the vast majority of the Prophesies of the Dragon are only known by scholars, the part of them about the Dragon being reborn on Dragonmount is pretty well known among the general population. Given that Tam has travelled a lot and rose to a pretty high position in Illian, there's a good chance he's heard it.

Ishara
11-09-2011, 03:21 PM
I agree - I think he *did* know, and didn't care. He took a risk with a helpless child and raised that child as best as he knew how. Thankfully, the world seems to be reaping the rewards of his risk.

Vanadis
11-09-2011, 03:27 PM
I agree - I think he *did* know, and didn't care. He took a risk with a helpless child and raised that child as best as he knew how. Thankfully, the world seems to be reaping the rewards of his risk.

Ok, so if we presume that Tam knew who this child would become (or at least suspected)do you think that he made some conscious choices in Rands upbringing? Rand says to Min that the big differences between who he is today and who LTT was lays in the way he was taught.

Ishara
11-09-2011, 03:46 PM
Mmmm, perhaps I should qualify my response.

I believe that Tam did know enough about the Karaethon Cycle to know that finding a baby on Dragon Mount was not a random thing.

I do believe that he made a conscious decision to not care about the possibilities, and to raise that baby into a man as best as he knew how, regardless of the consequences. And then he stopped thinking about it.

Tam is a man who mulls overhis decisions, but he doesn't second guess them and he doesn't waste time thinking of what could be or what might be. His job was to raise Rand well - not to worry about whether he was the Drahon Reborn or no - so he didn't.

That's how I see it.

Marie Curie 7
11-09-2011, 08:45 PM
A thought that hasn't left me since the clue about Tam having his first POV in AMOL, is: Did Tam know what Rand might become?

What I really wonder; Is Tam educated enough (well traveled enough to hear about the prophesy), or is the prophesy of the Dragon known enough in the general population that he would have suspected that the child he found at the Dragonmount slope, could become the Dragon Reborn?

Perhaps its a silly question; not many study the karaethon cycle (as I have understood it), but... well, it made me curious. Could Tam suspected? Was it well known that the Dragon would be born where he died?

*shrugs*

RJ said that Tam had no idea that Rand was the Dragon Reborn before the knowledge started spreading after Rand proclaimed himself:

DragonCon 5 September 2005 - Tamyrlin reporting (http://theoryland.yuku.com/topic/9910)

Q: Before it became public knowledge that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, did Tam al'Thor know or suspect that Rand was the Dragon Reborn or could channel?

RJ: No, Tam had no inkling of this.

The Unreasoner
11-10-2011, 04:29 AM
RJ said that Tam had no idea that Rand was the Dragon Reborn before the knowledge started spreading after Rand proclaimed himself:
Then I call PLE ignorance. Tam is educated enough to know the real story of the Dragon, but is ignorant enough that he had no idea what it meant to find a baby on Dragonmount? And it never hit him until Moiraine showed up? It's nice that we will get a PoV in AMoL, I'd like to see how this mind works.

GonzoTheGreat
11-10-2011, 04:51 AM
Some more quotes:
Balticon XXX April 1996 - Bill Garrett reporting (http://linuxmafia.com/~garrett/jordan/balticon.html)

Tam "knows" that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Jordan said that Tam has all the clues he needs to figure out that Rand is the Dragon Reborn. Whether or not Tam will admit it to himself is another matter. Jordan said that Tam merely finding Rand as a baby on the slopes of Dragonmount wasn't enough of a clue -- even if Tam were familiar with that prophecy then, few people think about those things or expect them to happen literally to them -- but that, plus the fact that Rand has disappeared off with Aes Sedai who say he's important, and the fact that the world is going crazy, should give Tam enough information to make the conclusion.


Balticon XXX April 1996 - Pam Korda reporting (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan/browse_thread/thread/27aa5ad3d9907fba/18401e7a13fb5ce0?#18401e7a13fb5ce0)


Tam: He has basically put together all the stuff he's heard, and knows that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, although he hasn't admitted it to himself yet.

tworiverswoman
11-10-2011, 05:01 PM
When dealing with a story that involves prophecies that actually come to pass, you need to remember how people really think and feel in the world of day-to-day living. All the stories are of a "once upon a time" nature, you don't actually see yourself as becoming a living, breathing PART of one.

By the time Tam found the dead woman and her newborn child on the slopes of the mountain, I suspect that the fact that it was "Dragonmount" had simply become a bit of background data, never thought about. He's found a baby who's doomed to die if he doesn't rescue it. So he does. His much-loved wife has always wanted a child (which phrasing implies that she can't have her own), so he takes it home. I'm reasonably certain that the thought that this baby might be "special" flat-out never crossed his mind. Maybe if he'd been chatting with friends about the prophecies the night before he might have had an "I wonder... nah!" thought pass through his mind, but given the circumstances ... no.

As for later, when he's not rushed, well, it might have. But since RJ has clearly said, "No, he had no clue" I think that pretty much is all we need. As for the time after Rand left -- until Falme, there really was no way for Tam to have ANY idea. And Falme is a long way from the Two Rivers. Refugees coming into the Two Rivers would doubtless have brought the rumors and tall tales with them, but RJ loved showing how easily mis-information took on a life of its own, so it's really hard to say when he finally began to have a serious concept of the truth.

I'd guess it was when Aes Sedai arrived in town and began asking about the history of the three boys is when his first uneasy feelings began to arise.

Also, ditto on how awesome the "You're a bully!" scene with Cadsuane came out. Loved it!