PDA

View Full Version : Yet another semantics game


Hugoye
11-23-2011, 08:56 PM
Question about the "twice dawns the day" prophecy. For the purposes of this question I'll assume that it's a single day [that has two dawns] (although obviously the definite article in the prophecy proves nothing, from an elementary grammatical standpoint, about one day/two days since DA's may act as class signifiers)

All the foreshadowing of the merge, the balefiring of Rand, etc., all make sense to me but my question is this: does the day have to dawn twice for any specific reason (i.e. is there a second chance required at something)? Or is the twice-dawning-day just a sign of TG (like food spoilage, dead walking, and so on)?

Terez
11-23-2011, 09:33 PM
Question about the "twice dawns the day" prophecy. For the purposes of this question I'll assume that it's a single day [that has two dawns] (although obviously the definite article in the prophecy proves nothing, from an elementary grammatical standpoint, about one day/two days since DA's may act as class signifiers)

All the foreshadowing of the merge, the balefiring of Rand, etc., all make sense to me but my question is this: does the day have to dawn twice for any specific reason (i.e. is there a second chance required at something)?Not strictly, though the 'once for mourning, once for birth' could be various degrees of literal. From a literary perspective, it would be nice if there were an actual reason. Makes it less gimmicky. Like, 'hey, I threw a random paradoxical prophecy about the Main Event in book 2 which won't be explained or even mentioned again until book 14, at which time you will discover I was only talking about someone traveling across the world by gateway'. (See sig.)

eht slat meit
11-25-2011, 11:28 AM
All the foreshadowing of the merge, the balefiring of Rand, etc., all make sense to me but my question is this: does the day have to dawn twice for any specific reason (i.e. is there a second chance required at something)? Or is the twice-dawning-day just a sign of TG (like food spoilage, dead walking, and so on)?

To my understanding based on the wording of the prophecy, the Twice-Dawning Day is an effect of his blood being shed.

Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.

Whether it's literal, metaphorical or otherwise, is a matter of theory, but the reason(s) for the blood-shed is made clear at least twice, once in the following matched prophecy, once in the 'Finns answer to Rand, telling him that to die, he must live.

His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul,
washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for manís salvation.

Terez
11-25-2011, 05:48 PM
To my understanding based on the wording of the prophecy, the Twice-Dawning Day is an effect of his blood being shed.And how, exactly, does the prophecy imply that?

Zombie Sammael
11-25-2011, 06:04 PM
And how, exactly, does the prophecy imply that?

It actually does on a certain reading. The normal one is that the day Rand's blood is shed will dawn twice. However, on another reading, the "when" could be causative; when his blood is shed, the day will dawn twice. I honestly hadn't considered this prospect before eht slat meit mentioned it, but it's certainly interesting. In a way, it lends a little bit of weight to some of the ideas in your balefire theory, Terez.

Terez
11-25-2011, 06:39 PM
'When' does not imply causation, only coincidence.

eht slat meit
11-25-2011, 11:32 PM
'When' does not imply causation, only coincidence.

To answer your question and address this point simultaneously, I will point out that you are absolutely correct... with the qualifier of "necessarily" between not and imply. By definition the word does not imply causation, but by context it does.

The reason I add that qualifier is because I see the prophecy being taken piecemeal where it is intended as a four-sentence verse.

Note the second sentence, the one that explains why this effect is occuring:

Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.

The day dawning twice is not -just- a coincidence. In fact, it can't be taken as a sign, because as you say... time-wise it's coinciding with the shedding of his blood.

I emphasized that connection of 'when' because of the fact that it should not be taken piecemeal... it is part of a greater whole. This isn't an event of stars falling to earth, of pink fireworks exploding from saidin or just a random event that coincides with the shedding of blood. The twice dawning day is happening once for mourning and once for birth.

Terez
11-26-2011, 01:30 AM
To answer your question and address this point simultaneously, I will point out that you are absolutely correct... with the qualifier of "necessarily" between not and imply. By definition the word does not imply causation, but by context it does.Actually, it doesn't.

The day dawning twice is not -just- a coincidence. In fact, it can't be taken as a sign, because as you say... time-wise it's coinciding with the shedding of his blood.
Only in a very loose sense - as in, on the same day.


Perhaps you can come up with some reason why the shedding of his blood would cause the day to dawn twice. Until then, it's just a pointless semantic debate.

eht slat meit
11-26-2011, 01:41 AM
Actually, it doesn't.

I don't understand where your point of dispute comes in. To my understanding, the context is this: "Twice dawns the day" is a subordinate (dependent) clause, dependent on "His blood is shed" for meaning, and is made so by the use of the subordinate conjunction "when." That dependency is what suggests the causation of one upon the other, and the second fragmented sentence modifies the first to solidify that dependency. It doesn't seem to make any sort of linguistic sense for a day to dawn for no other purpose than mourning or birth, it needs the shedding of blood.

Perhaps you can tell me where my understanding of the grammar rules governing this verse is wrong? Telling me I'm wrong without an explanation doesn't help enlighten me as to my failing.

Perhaps you can come up with some reason why the shedding of his blood would cause the day to dawn twice. Until then, it's just a pointless semantic debate.

I can, as a matter of fact, and already presented it as a theory. It boils down to this:

Placed in the same context as the twice-dawning day... that of metaphor... the blood of the Dragon causes two non-literal days to dawn. A world without a Dragon (mourning) and a new world, free of shadow, for a time (birth).

I understand that you view this prophecy, and possibly the entire Cycle as literal; I view them as light metaphor.

Zombie Sammael
11-26-2011, 04:13 AM
'When' does not imply causation, only coincidence.

It seems to depend on which you think will happen first: the day dawning twice, or the blood being shed. Certainly, as eht slat meit said, each part of the passage appears to be dependent on the rest of it.

The Unreasoner
11-26-2011, 04:57 AM
Does it say that the blood will be shed twice?
Maybe you guys can re-open one of Terez's old threads on this, instead of doing it here.

Not sure where all the hate for semantics is coming from.

Zombie Sammael
11-26-2011, 05:32 AM
Does it say that the blood will be shed twice?
Maybe you guys can re-open one of Terez's old threads on this, instead of doing it here.

Not sure where all the hate for semantics is coming from.

Normally a semantic argument indicates you're arguing meaninglessly over the definition of a single word, rather than discussing the issue at hand. With prophecy, however, the semantics very often are the issue at hand, but some people will still try to dismiss them for the usual reasons.

Terez
11-26-2011, 05:46 AM
It's a semantics game. Playing games with the words, to see what sort of ridiculous meanings we can derive from them. I suppose it's fun if you're really bored.

Zombie Sammael
11-26-2011, 06:00 AM
It's a semantics game. Playing games with the words, to see what sort of ridiculous meanings we can derive from them. I suppose it's fun if you're really bored.

It's not a "game" any more than any other discussion of WOT plot issues is. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the prophecies are written in the way they are for a reason. That includes language and metaphor. So we shouldn't take them all literally, and we certainly shouldn't dismiss linguistic analysis as a tool for deciphering them.

I mean, for the past 20 years we've all been playing the game "guess the plot".

GonzoTheGreat
11-26-2011, 06:02 AM
It would not be semantics only if, for instance, that second dawn does not happen at all if Rand's blood isn't spilled.

So, this brings the following (slightly wacky) scenario for the Great Fight:
-Rand and Moridin fight. Rand batters Moridin to the side, leaving him hardly alive at all.
-Rand walks on, to face the DO.
-Rand loses, and is possessed.
-Nynaeve heals Moridin, Alivia uses Compulsion on him, Moridin wanders into the Pit of Doom (his access key still works) and stabs Rand in the back, thus forcing the DO out of the body again.
-Nynaeve then balefires Moridin, causing a new dawn, in which the DO is safely locked away again.

In this scenario, the second dawn would not have come if (when) Rand's blood hadn't been shed, as in that case the DO would've had a body with which to walk around, and he could have broken the Wheel of Time.
Plus, as extra special bonus, Alivia helps Rand die, by setting the Compulsion on Moridin to kill Rand.

Tomp
11-26-2011, 07:35 AM
How about: The second dawning is the dawning of a new age.

eht slat meit
11-26-2011, 10:19 AM
It's a semantics game. Playing games with the words, to see what sort of ridiculous meanings we can derive from them. I suppose it's fun if you're really bored.

Short form: -Please-, don't lump this discussion into the category of semantic gamesmanship of an inferior debate forum; language has a profound effect on the meaning of the written word and is not simply being used to score cheap points here.

Long form: The study of language and its meaning is part of society, from the learning and study of grammar in grade school for the purpose of education to diachronic linguistics as the study of change in language. There are any number of fields that encompass the study of language as if it were archaeology or some other aspect of human development. Study of the Prose Edda and other documents on Norse mythology, for a marginally relevant example, has yielded a great number of theories and insights into the thinking of people long past.

To a limited extent, that's exactly what we're all doing here, examining the language of Robert Jordan and building theories based on our understanding of what he wrote.

Discussion of the meaning of language here is amateurish, of course (including myself, I've no degree in any of those), but that certain does not indicate there is nothing we can learn from studying RJ's use of the language.

The man was a highly skilled writer, talented in putting together language based on an extensive database of imagination created largely by himself, and looking at how he put that together does help understand what he was getting at.

Use of prophecy in fantasy is a special case. If an author says straight out what is going to happen, it takes away any sense of mystery. To avoid this, it is wrapped in varying degrees of metaphor, and some care must be taken for use of the language or the reader feels cheated due to a something making no sense in context of what was written.

Hindsight will be 20/20, as always, and may shed light on why understanding of a given piece of his work was flawed.

Understand that while the theories as to what exactly those metaphors and choice of language means are subjective, but the rules of the language on which they are built are object are not.

eht slat meit
11-26-2011, 10:19 AM
How about: The second dawning is the dawning of a new age.

The Age of Aquarius? ;)

Aulis Vaara
11-26-2011, 09:28 PM
Unless a new piece of magic is introduced in the last book, I think we're just talking about two days here. Rand gets killed, shedding his blood, he gets resurrected a few days later, and goes to Shayol Gul, where is blood is shed once again, staining its rocks as he fights Moridin and the Dark One.

Every detail of the prophecy is present in this scenario. The mourning, the birth, red on black, the blood staining the rock, etc.

Every other scenario depends on either a new magic gimmick which seems a bit too much like Deus Ex Machina to me, and I'd like to think that Robert Jordan was a skilled enough writer to avoid those. It's not entirely impossible, of course. So it's that, or the travelling theory, which applies to too few individuals, in my humble opinion. So unless everybody in the world travels west for one reason or another, you can't really say the day dawned twice. Those farmers who lack the knowledge that the world is round might think that. It just seems too subjective, and there's just no good reason for Rand to travel that far west that early in the morning any more.

Not to mention that the connections to mourning and death would have to be discovered the moment we read it, which makes it a poor foreshadowing :D

Zombie Sammael
11-27-2011, 08:17 AM
Unless a new piece of magic is introduced in the last book, I think we're just talking about two days here. Rand gets killed, shedding his blood, he gets resurrected a few days later, and goes to Shayol Gul, where is blood is shed once again, staining its rocks as he fights Moridin and the Dark One.

Every detail of the prophecy is present in this scenario. The mourning, the birth, red on black, the blood staining the rock, etc.

Every other scenario depends on either a new magic gimmick which seems a bit too much like Deus Ex Machina to me, and I'd like to think that Robert Jordan was a skilled enough writer to avoid those. It's not entirely impossible, of course. So it's that, or the travelling theory, which applies to too few individuals, in my humble opinion. So unless everybody in the world travels west for one reason or another, you can't really say the day dawned twice. Those farmers who lack the knowledge that the world is round might think that. It just seems too subjective, and there's just no good reason for Rand to travel that far west that early in the morning any more.

Not to mention that the connections to mourning and death would have to be discovered the moment we read it, which makes it a poor foreshadowing :D

Of course, that is assuming that the dawn is a literal dawn. "Dawn" in the sense in which most of the prophecies are written could mean the sun being blocked out for some reason, and then light coming again.

Tree Brother
11-28-2011, 04:13 PM
Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.

But what if these are not related in that way.

What if, on the day his blood is shed, Elayne dies, and the children are born.

Of course, that would not work if the three are supposed to bond him after he dies (if that happens when his blood is shed).

Wantanswers
12-13-2011, 03:41 AM
It's a semantics game. Playing games with the words, to see what sort of ridiculous meanings we can derive from them. I suppose it's fun if you're really bored.

I read your twice-dawning day "theory", and you derived a ridiculous meaning of dawn without semantics! On Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn) you can find what dawn is.