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GonzoTheGreat
12-03-2012, 07:02 AM
Some things based broadly on the Tinkers in TEOTW:

Would Tinker fashion have any significance?
In a lot of the books people remark how wild the colors of the Tinker clothing and their wagons are. We know that at least some other colors (Moridin's red and black) do have quite a bit of importance, even if we do not fully understand why, yet. This suggests that the Tinker colors may be important too. Or they could be a red (with green stripes and purple dots, presumably) herring.

Then there's the Tinker Prophecy:
"As it was, so shall it be, if we but remember, seek, and find."
Is that a real prophecy or just something that gives that appearance?

GonzoTheGreat
12-03-2012, 07:29 AM
Oh yeah, I sort of forgot the other bit I'd also wanted to include in this.

Perrin regularly thought back on this time with the Tinkers, even though he always decided that the Way of the Leaf was not for him. Elyas seemed to have the same attitude, though he didn't really speak about it. But how about Egwene? I can't really remember her thinking back to that time in any of the other books at all. Which, for a girl who wants to learn everything, seems a bit strange. At the least she could have stolen their recipes.

eht slat meit
12-03-2012, 10:03 AM
I doubt there's too much significance to read into the clothing they wear; I suspect that their clothes have more to do with their apparent real-world corollaries. Their clothing, in general is loud and garish to others, particularly the aesthetically muted farmer folks. Taking a quick look at images of "gypsy" clothing on a google image search, there's a similar theme. Purples, bright reds, wild mixes of color, things like that.

Dom
12-03-2012, 01:32 PM
I think it symbolizes in part their version of the Way of the Leaf:

They see it as accepting whatever comes. Other people would carefully match the colours for specific effects or seeking to symbolize something specific or stand for something specific (Ajah colours, House colours, uniforms etc.), the Tinkers do the strangest matches as if they chose they clothes randomly. It's not just odd colours, they also use patterns from everywhere (eg: a red coat with bright blue embroidery in a tairen pattern, a bright green coat with a borderlander motif etc.), sometimes matching clothes with two patterns.

RJ folded this into references to Gypsy culture (but not very accurate, a great deal of them rather wear black/dark colours). They also are mean to evoke the Flower Power movement, IMO.

Another impression RJ might have wished to give with their colours is one of confusion. The Tinkers are truly "lost ones". They seek something that's not really what they think they seek, they used to be highly regarded and revered inspirational figures for everybody, living in society, but now they've isolated themselves and avoid cities and towns, hiding often in woods. They're also all about dancing and singing and seeking happiness now. They use to live a life of service, their proper clothes were drab and of humble natural tones (the sort of colours obtained from natural dyes, and for the main cloth not even died at all) very close to the cadin'sor the Aiel still wear, and those were their work clothes. They don't work much now (though when they do, they do it well), mending pots to earn enough to buy supplies like clothes and food in winter, otherwise they travel aimlessly, live of what they find in forest etc.

It's not black and white, RJ was fairly ambivalent about pacifism in the series, but the specific brand of the Tinkers in a world faced with the Shadow he seems to have found rather misguided. Brave in its own way, but also misguided.

Dom
12-03-2012, 01:40 PM
Then there's the Tinker Prophecy:

As it was, so shall it be, if we but remember, seek, and find."

Is that a real prophecy or just something that gives that appearance?

It's less reminescent of a Prophecy than reminescent of the Seanchan oaths (RJ seems fond of oaths in three parts for some reason). It sounds more like a credo.

Tollingtoy
12-03-2012, 04:08 PM
But how about Egwene? I can't really remember her thinking back to that time in any of the other books at all. Which, for a girl who wants to learn everything, seems a bit strange. At the least she could have stolen their recipes.

Egwene reflects on her time with the Tinkers, dancing and Aram in TGS 38 while going to one of their camps in TAR. I always wondered why she was able to see the fire in this dream, since you usually can't see something that transient in the dream world.

Crispin's Crispian
12-03-2012, 04:21 PM
It's not black and white, RJ was fairly ambivalent about pacifism in the series, but the specific brand of the Tinkers in a world faced with the Shadow he seems to have found rather misguided. Brave in its own way, but also misguided.

I see what you did there.

Just throwing out one thought that came to mind after reading this paragraph--the colors represent the fragmentation of light as a metaphor for the Tuatha'an's status as a broken people. This is pretty much what you were saying, Dom: clashing colors = chaos and entropy.

SamJ
12-03-2012, 04:49 PM
I see what you did there.

Just throwing out one thought that came to mind after reading this paragraph--the colors represent the fragmentation of light as a metaphor for the Tuatha'an's status as a broken people. This is pretty much what you were saying, Dom: clashing colors = chaos and entropy.

You could say that clashing colours represent joy and fun. Like the way Tinkers seem to dance when they move. Also, they are bold - linked to their courage.

Cortar
12-03-2012, 05:30 PM
I think tinkers were based in part off of science and engineering students. From my observations, I have seen many guys wear such things as: blue shirt + green pants + orange shoes.

Similar, but more neon, colors appear in frat/sorority, groups.

It seems that tinkers borrow from both groups, the devil may care lifestyle and the party all the time attitude from the frats. and the non-inclusiveness, shying away from danger, etc lifestyle of the engineering/science students.

Obviously this means that the LB will be won by Toga wearing tinkers using their engineering skills to build something that will seal the bore.

GonzoTheGreat
12-04-2012, 03:03 AM
Obviously this means that the LB will be won by Toga wearing tinkers using their engineering skills to build something that will seal the bore.
They will cover up the DO with a giant fig leaf.

Dom
12-04-2012, 01:57 PM
They will cover up the DO with a giant fig leaf.

Right after they discover oosquay!

Dom
12-04-2012, 02:44 PM
I see what you did there.

Just throwing out one thought that came to mind after reading this paragraph--the colors represent the fragmentation of light as a metaphor for the Tuatha'an's status as a broken people. This is pretty much what you were saying, Dom: clashing colors = chaos and entropy.

It's a mix of that, what SamJ said, and other points I brought up IMO. It reflects the different facets of what they are, the good and the less good.

We'll be on more solid ground with this when we see the role/fate of the Tinkers as RJ intended it in AMOL.

Their arc is very similar to the Aiel's. They are what they need to be. The Tinkers are a memory of light, in a way. Their part of the mission is to keep the Way alive for the time when this impetus of peace/symbol of peace will be needed again. It's no coincidence RJ placed them with the group that needs to be tapped on the shoulder and told "The Shadow's gone now, peace dude" the most. Well, them and the Aiel need it (but I suspect before the end the Aes Sedai/Asha'man will too), but one Da'shain group has been wiped out (Amayar, the SF are getting folded into the global group of Westlands channellers, like the Aiel channellers too), those of Seanchan have turned into an odd and not too relevant version of the Aiel (Ajimbura's tribes/people are the Seanchan da'shain... they are both warriors and in service to the powerful.. but not terribly important for now. Maybe RJ had something in mind for them in the outriggers) and the Aiel have turned into the warriors they need to be for the LB, for their sacrifice.

So basically Aiel and Tinkers are now on the sides whose conflict runs the chance of being the big threat to peace that would end up engulfing the whole world post TG. WT vs. Seanchan, Aiel vs. Seanchan and tricking the nations into joining the conflict too, then an alliance between Seanchan of all provenance and Shara. World war. It's the role of the Tinkers/Aiel to prevent this. Aviendha's children aren't meant to lead the Aiel - at least not in the way they do in her vision.

What the Tinkers' quest is, in the end, is a quest for peace. They call it the Song, but what they seek ultimately to bring the world back to peace with the Song (which is a twisted belief based on having lost memories of what they truly were, it's the Aiel who can tell them about that). They just don't really understand what it's all about, or that it will come only when the Shadow is defeated and couldn't happen before. I don't think they really have "prophecies" - they have the strength of their belief (an expression all over the place in TDR, in connection to the Tinkers Leya). In TDR, it's strongly implied Moiraine had a whole network in place among the Tinkers, btw. Her contact was Leya, who I believe was probably something like a WO (wife of a Seeker) and Leya had tons of contacts gathering information for Moiraine among the other caravans. I don't know what to make of that, except in the early series RJ often used Moiraine as a surrogate for what Egwene/Nynaeve would become. She was the AS very attuned to the Pattern and who knew things about Dreams/TAR and wanted to help, but she's no match Egwene.. more like a precusor. She had Nynaeve's talent for Healing, and her sense for sensing trouble, and her dedication and sense of sacrifice.. but again not quite... more like a precursor/stand in until Nynaeve was ready. And Moiraine was the AS who had both Tinkers/Aiel connections, but again she's a precursor for Egwene.

Egwene's "Tinker episode" in TGS was tied to her decision to stop dividing the Tower to remove Elaida. We already see their "peacemaking" theme in play there.

Dom
12-04-2012, 03:23 PM
Obviously this means that the LB will be won by Toga wearing tinkers using their engineering skills to build something that will seal the bore.

There's something to that, but it's hard to tell if it's because the neo-Da'shain have to be involved in the closing of the Bore (if they are, it will be tied to Egwene and TAR), or if the leaf is a symbol "holding Peace" once peace is possible again, after the Bore is removed.

The Ways are symbolic of the Bore and its drilling and closing... and they're also "the Ways of the Leaves", a dark journey between on point in the Pattern of Ages to which the Leaf of Avendesora is the key (the peace of the AOL) to another point in the Pattern where the Leaf is again the key. In between in a dark journey of madness, in the lair of a dark spirit wishing to eat the souls of everything, where light and anything alive gets corrupted, decays. One of the clearest scenes with this symbolism is in EOTW, when the main cast gather after entering the Ways, and there's only their little lanterns as points of light lost in the darkness of the Ways is described as attempting to swallow, and only by grouping can they really have some light. That scene is beautiful and a companion to Min's viewings of the "fireflies"/points of lights in darkness for "the group". And the more people join the group becoming "followers" of the main cast, the more the Light grows when Min views some of the main cast together.

The opening of a Waygate starts by removing the symbol of peace from its pattern of leaves/trees outside. I think it symbolizes what happened from drilling of the Bore, not necessarily is a hint that Da'shain had anything to do with the Drilling. Thus it could mean the closing of a Waygate doesn't involve the Way/Singing either, but that its removal from the Pattern allows the Leaf of Avendesora to return to its proper place in the Pattern, because if you don't put it back, the pattern wither and dies.

Anyway... that sort of analysis is always much sounder when we can do it in hindsight. That sort of symbolism is all over the place in WOT, but RJ was clever at keeping the symbolism ambiguous until things played out and it all becomes clear.

I've had long discussions with a friend over symbolism in WOT. RJ managed to mislead us often enough. In some cases we noticed something was wrong and twice already we were just on the edge of something big and missed it because we concluded "prfftt. RJ got it all wrong. It completely twisted this or that symbolism" only to realize it's because things had not yet played out as they should (specifically that happened to us with the axe/hammer symbolism. We had come to the conclusion there was something wrong.. that the hammer was meant to forge but it made no sense because Perrin needed a weapon and that it made little difference he had thrown away a weapon which he could have used as a tool to build (cut wood) for a tool which he could use as a weapon. We gave up on it commenting he had really muddled things up and it wasn't that great, but that's because that hammer was meant to make his LB weapon and its making would resurrect OP wrought weapons... ). It's a great tool for analysis of some themes in hinsight, but it's not all that reliable for theorizing because RJ made sure to use symbols/icons that have tons of different angles of symbolism and finding which one will apply is fairly difficult. We never puzzled out Perrin didn't have his real final hammer, the one that would be his weapon, and the one he couldn't make with an axe. Master Luhhan had made his first one, suitable for his path as apprentice (in the larger sense) to initiate/master, but the Hammer of Light/Hammer of a King he had to make himself and had been given the tool for... he just had to remember who he was and where he came from, and connects it all with who he was now, and who he now had accepted to be to play his purpose.

We see the same path for the characters. For instance we can tell by analysis of the themes/symbolism that Egwene hasn't reached the final stage of progression yet. She's progressed enough and she too remembered who she was and understood who she is, but she doesn't yet understand how much being Amyrlin has to do with being an Innkeeper... that an inn is a public place, a common room where you want a big flame/fire to warm you in the corner, and fulfilling meal, fun, exchanges and warm beds to rest in safety, where your horses are safe, but no one wants an Innkeeper who tells his guests what to do all the time. For now Egwene still sees her role more as the Mayor of the village than as the Innkeeper, but in part that's OK, but she needs to be more the leader of the women's circle and less the Mayor. The Mayor (and "owner", the one "one with the Land") is Rand. Then she'll inherit the Inn, and must remember at the Inn she needs to keep some order and direction among the staff, but most of all be an agreeable and providing host, a job of service, not direction. She has to make sure the staff acts properly, don't abuse the clients, and do their job properly. But the customers are kings... the WT needs to be an Inn, not a palace.