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Davian93
01-07-2013, 10:27 AM
(NOTE FROM TAMYRLIN: This thread comes from a private forum I made available a few days before the release to those I knew had read the book. There are no spoiler tags, and a discussion of the entirety of A Memory of Light may follow. So expect full spoilers.)

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None of this will be in-depth theorizing but rather just some initial thoughts/impressions at the spoiler level.

Well, here goes, I was disappointed by good chunks of the book but overall happy with it as a conclusion. I can only dream of what it would have been like had RJ finished it. So, here's a list of things that pissed me off in no particular order:

1. BS's extreme need for "Wow, wouldn't it be cool if this character did this?!?" tendencies when writing. This obsession of his has been pretty obvious since he took over the series and it went to new heights in aMoL. Examples: Every single Talmanes POV in aMoL, all of the damn gateway applications that suddenly show up, etc etc.

2. The Rand/Mat oneupsmanship conversation made me want to claw my eyes out.

3. The entire Androl/Pevara subplot...hated it. I dont care, I simply do not give a damn about them. If you wanted to do that subplot, give me Logain POVs. Also, the "IM/text message" conversations between them via their new found telepathy was brutal. Go back and read them...they read like a text from a 15 year old girl. I hated the double bond and I hated this stupid plotline.

4. Mat killing Fain like that. I wanted something more for Fain...oh well.

5. Too many loose strings on things even from the most recent books...what happened with Verin's notes to Egwene for example?

6. Far, far, far too much "I've been lurking on the fansites so I want to answer the most annoying theories" mentality by Brandon. Really Brandon? Rand thought Demandred was Roedran?!? We know that from all the POVs where Rand ponders it...oh wait, we dont. So stupid. There were so many examples of that mentality and I hated it. Try writing the book like you arent aware of all the theories. Maybe this is why authors shouldn't lurk on fansites, eh?


Okay, vented and got that out.

Things that annoyed me/disappointed me but didnt piss me off like the above:

1. Really wanted to see Nynaeve heal death...oh well.
2. More Fain would have been nice.
3. Please just let people die, what was up with the "Oh and fade to black" and next scene he/she is still alive...we only saw that with Galad, Lan, Faile off the top of my head. Just kill some people or dont kill them...stop doing the fake cliffhangers.


Things I enjoyed:

1. Egwene literally died in a fire...like we all wanted...granted it was the fire of ODing on the OP and beating Taim but I thought it was great ending for her.

2. Gawyn being gutted by Demandred...granted it would have been funnier had he made some great pronouncement about being a great Blademaster to Demandred and then tripped on his boots and impaled himself before the dual started but I'll take this ending instead.

3. Epilogue was superbly written...just wish it was slightly longer.


Thoughts?

Dom
01-07-2013, 11:10 AM
2. Gawyn being gutted by Demandred...granted it would have been funnier had he made some great pronouncement about being a great Blademaster to Demandred and then tripped on his boots and impaled himself before the dual started but I'll take this ending instead.

That was massively satisfying. I laughed so hard when Gawyn ran to fight Demandred I felt lightheaded by the time he died.

By the time Silviana openly called him an idiot, I was laughing to tears.

I liked how it paralleled the "Mat beats up Gawyn then Galad" scene.

Of course it felt all wrong and mean to rejoice so much at a character's death - and to laugh hard at his mea culpa as he died in front of Galad, but this turned into my favorite of all Jordan's "ironic punishments", just above Suffa's.

And here I thought Brandon seemed to have a higher opinion of him than RJ, and was pissed off Egwene didn't do the unexpected and got us rid of him. I don't dislike Egwene (my Egwene bashing is 80% humor), but I didn't mind at all having her pay some price for her bad judgment with Gawyn.

Isabel
01-07-2013, 11:20 AM
I cant say i was sad either when gawyn died:) yay!

Dom
01-07-2013, 11:28 AM
It was all there in the more satiristic version of "Sir Gauvin and the Green Knight", and it was again foreshadowed by making Gawyn's sigil a boar... an animal known for stupidly reckless suicidal attacks when cornered, but for some reason I had much fears it wouldn't go the way of stupid recklessness in the end. I misread too much sympathy for Gawyn in the way Brandon had written him in TGS/TOM (Terez pointed me out to the quotes about his real opinions of the character only after I read the death scene).

Davian93
01-07-2013, 11:33 AM
I cant say i was sad either when gawyn died:) yay!

It was tragic...very tragic to see that nice young man gutted like a fish.

Egwene's "I can fight though his death" bravado was also quite funny.

Terez
01-07-2013, 11:36 AM
None of this will be in-depth theorizing but rather just some initial thoughts/impressions at the spoiler level.
You just had to have your own special impressions thread, eh? :)

The Rand/Mat oneupsmanship conversation made me want to claw my eyes out.
This has been a fairly universal reaction to that scene so far.

Mat killing Fain like that. I wanted something more for Fain...oh well.
Probably my favorite scene in the book. Though the Loial POV was a close contender...

Please just let people die, what was up with the "Oh and fade to black" and next scene he/she is still alive...we only saw that with Galad, Lan, Faile off the top of my head. Just kill some people or dont kill them...stop doing the fake cliffhangers.
Also Siuan and Bryne who appeared to die and showed up later (and then died for real), and that's quite aside from the fake Darkfriends.

Egwene literally died in a fire...like we all wanted...granted it was the fire of ODing on the OP and beating Taim but I thought it was great ending for her.
Not too surprising. The reason why I always put 'Egwene should die in a fire' for a poll option was because of her Guinevere thing. And because it seemed to represent some people's feelings rather well...

Davian93
01-07-2013, 11:46 AM
Of course I had to have my own thread...duh.

Probably my favorite scene in the book. Though the Loial POV was a close contender...

I kinda always thought that Fain would be a massive Red Herring but even I expected him to do something a bit more than get his a$$ kicked by Mat so easily.

Also Siuan and Bryne who appeared to die and showed up later (and then died for real), and that's quite aside from the fake Darkfriends.

Yeah, I didnt care for the fake darkfriends either...it would have been more interesting had they actually turned to the Shadow as the result of Graendal's influence rather than just basic compulsion...something along the lines of how Semi broke people in the AoL.

This has been a fairly universal reaction to that scene so far.

It read like a really really bad, juvenile thread on Dragonmount (no offense to DMers...) I half expected Rand and Mat to start arguing over who they would cast in the WoT movie.

Dom
01-07-2013, 12:06 PM
It read like a really really bad, juvenile thread on Dragonmount (no offense to DMers...) I half expected Rand and Mat to start arguing over who they would cast in the WoT movie.

LOL. Too true.

The whole way Brandon approached the "Mat breaks under all the mounting pressure and turns back into his early self then runs away to hide under Mom's skirts" was atrocious.

It's all the more painful discovering only in AMOL it's that RJ had in mind, and realizing the scope of Brandon's mishandling of this arc.

Admittedly, reading that in an outline sounds properly challenging, frightening even, to imagine how to make it work on the page. Probably only Jordan who knew his Mat from hair to toe-nails could have done it convincingly, but it's Brandon's real big failure on the project, IMO.

The "Taiko" Mat is more bearable, but it's got more to do with the scenes than being truer or better written than the rest of the Mat stuff.

Oh well... we had Ghenjei.

Terez
01-07-2013, 12:17 PM
I kinda always thought that Fain would be a massive Red Herring but even I expected him to do something a bit more than get his a$$ kicked by Mat so easily.
I'm glad he didn't. I didn't expect him to play a huge role—my best guess was a distraction via Shaidar Haran, another dud—so any small disappointment I might have had was vanquished the minute Mat fell off his horse. RJ has a bad habit of skipping perfect opportunities like that so I was elated that he used Mat's immunity to off Fain.

I didnt care for the fake darkfriends either...it would have been more interesting had they actually turned to the Shadow...
Or if one of them (aside from redshirt Aravine...were there any others?) was actually a Darkfriend. Though I would have been pissed if any of the fake ones were. Especially Bashere.

...no offense to DMers...
We say that a lot, don't we?

I half expected Rand and Mat to start arguing over who they would cast in the WoT movie.
I half expected one of them to break out a ruler.

Dom
01-07-2013, 12:36 PM
I loved the end of the SL arc too.

Nitpick: I would have thrown a reference to Nynaeve into it, Mat using "medical" thinking/metaphor without it going "Nynaeve always said that once you caught..." felt a bit.. unpolished, but that's a detail. One the whole I really liked it, really liked it turned out true that Mordeth/Fain aimed to recreate Mashadar/SL somewhere (I had an old loony theory it's what was happening in So Habor, and a new Shadar Logoth and its "unnatural creatures" would emerge from there for TG)

Davian93
01-07-2013, 12:38 PM
I loved the end of the SL arc too.

Nitpick: I would have thrown a reference to Nynaeve into it, Mat using "medical" thinking/metaphor without it going "Nynaeve always said that once you caught..." felt a bit.. unpolished, but that's a detail. One the whole I really liked it, really liked it turned out true that Mordeth/Fain aimed to recreate Mashadar/SL somewhere (I had an old loony theory it's what was happening in So Habor, and a new Shadar Logoth and its "unnatural creatures" would emerge from there for TG)

Something was off with it...maybe that was it. Like a lot of things in the final couple books, I think the idea/conception was fine but the execution was lacking.

Dom
01-07-2013, 12:38 PM
I half expected one of them to break out a ruler.

For a second reading it, I truly feared one of them would boast about how many women he slept with...

Terez
01-07-2013, 12:40 PM
I thought the execution of Fain's death was fine. Like Dom said, there was a small missed opportunity there, but it was a small one. Another small missed opportunity would have been a cut from the dagger itself, though I suppose you could say Mashadar is more impressive.

As for the belt notches...that was certainly expected, but it would have been bad form considering Mat's previous thoughts on sister-wives. :)

Davian93
01-07-2013, 12:49 PM
I thought the execution of Fain's death was fine. Like Dom said, there was a small missed opportunity there, but it was a small one. Another small missed opportunity would have been a cut from the dagger itself, though I suppose you could say Mashadar is more impressive.

As for the belt notches...that was certainly expected, but it would have been bad form considering Mat's previous thoughts on sister-wives. :)

Yeah, maybe had Fain stabbed Mat instead only to see it not work...maybe that would have worked. I just wanted something more from Fain.

Dom
01-07-2013, 01:06 PM
I thought the execution of Fain's death was fine. Like Dom said, there was a small missed opportunity there, but it was a small one. Another small missed opportunity would have been a cut from the dagger itself, though I suppose you could say Mashadar is more impressive.

The dagger thing would have been cool, but I sort of liked Mashadar better.

As for the belt notches...that was certainly expected, but it would have been bad form considering Mat's previous thoughts on sister-wives. :)

LOL. They should have started with that. Then Tuon would have slapped Mat unconscious, ending the scene and our misery.

The only redeeming quality of that scene was its nature as "payback" for the time Mat caught Min and Rand at it, but even that wasn't well exploited.

The "colour swirls" were not really well exploited by Brandon on the whole, but part of that is a result of dividing the book.

At this point I wonder if RJ didn't introduce that in the late game as a device to help him with the asynchronous timelines. They would have been practical early in AMOL (RJ's one-book version), to help us figure out when everyone is in time.

Brandon couldn't use them much in fear of spoiling things, but I still found he didn't properly got rid of them at Merrilor. I expected a little more would be made of the fact once Perrin and Rand were together they ended, and that for Mat it didn't.

I'm not happy with the lack of frustration from everyone that Mat wasn't at Merrilor. The whole effect of Mat's cowardly/immature flight was mishandled. It's as if Brandon was much too afraid to make us frustrated/angry with Mat.

I remember how Linda was a bit frustrated by the young ones not seeing Mat's ambiguity and darkness by the end of KOD, and still finding "cool" whatever he did. In hindsight, the Mat at the end of KOD was the warning RJ gave us before his "regression" that Linda had spotted in that, but Brandon really messed it up. It was what the whole "Dark's One's own luck" thing was all always about... this dark, costly, lethal side to his luck. Necessary, but disturbing. The irony is that we won't see much criticism of Mat when he would well deserve it, it will all get blamed on Brandon! Mat's plans, their costly and disturbing nature, were not apparent enough to my taste either. Egwene had a disturbing dream about those.. Mat playing pins on the Green, tons of people dying as from his game.

I'm not satisfied with how he handled Mat's mind-dices either. That was another thing that petered out and built up to nothing interesting. I kept expecting the near continuous dicing/throw/dicing/throw/dicing/throw moment to come during the battle, alluding to "Mat's dicing with the DO".

Davian93
01-07-2013, 01:19 PM
I think we all pretty much agree that BS simply couldn't write Mat correctly.

Also, Mat is awesome and everything he does has a reason.

fionwe1987
01-09-2013, 12:40 AM
I was very glad Gawyn died too! It was weird though, the way Brandon built him up as this swordsman extraordinaire in tGS and ToM. In fact, RJ did it too. And him not being one with the sword and using the Flame and the Void was just weird. We know Bryne taught it to both him and Galad how to use this. In the end, while his death was fitting, the plot holes are irritating.

And the death served its true purpose anyway: to give Egwene a reason to go all out, to give her an Eldrene and Lews Therin moment wrapped in one.

As for Fain, I liked the ending, but found the name change and hints at exposition about his powers to be frustrating so late in the game. How about some hints before hand, eh?

As for Mat, apart from his weirdly done return to cowardly-Mat, I did find myself missing RJ's eye for battle when we were in Mat PoVs in the LB. Brandon couldn't quite do it, and that reduced the chaotic nature of the battle for me, a little.

Res_Ipsa
01-09-2013, 01:51 AM
Gawyn fails and then dies, Galad fails and then loses an arm and finally Lan succeeds. I don't know, by the time Lan showed up I could just imagine Demandred being like "oh come on, what is even the point of having an army if everyone and their brother/scary uncle can get up here."

The Sharans were basically the Easterlings. Too much new info on that to make that subplot worth it.

Graendal's subplot was the truly standpoint badass forsaken moment of the series. The great captain's voices were off though.

I agree, Fain's death was anti-climatic. I wonder if he was to have a larger role and RJ just did not develop the plot line? I had completely forgotten about him until the mist formed in the valley.

The battles and tactics were pretty rough, apparently terrain and movement was not a substantial hindrance to our heroes.

Matt's bootycall was . . . weird. So was Rand's.

Holy crap the death of so many minor character. Beyond Egwene, no one major died . . . why? Oh, I liked it when Rand called her a brat.

Rand's battle with the DO fell prey to your typical fantasy's ability to fully explain how they kill the baddy. I get the TP and both halves of the OP being used in the same way that the taint was cleansed (minus the TP) but much of the dialogue was off and why was the DO not the enemy and never had been?

Thom stashing the bodies of the BA behind him was . . . interesting? The tone seemed off but it was also like . . . damn.

Cadsuane's last scene . . . dumb.

I loved the book, but now with the inevitable feelings that arise from this 13-14 year journey of mine I can't help but think what it could have been like had RJ lived. Still, that is a disservice to his memory and this great series and thanks to BS for taking on this daunting task.

I just finished the book btw so my thoughts are incomplete and unorganized . . . and it is late.

Oh and this dude: http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=4689 did an interesting job of predicting the end. While it does not match up perfectly, it is eerily close in how the real epilogue feels.

Karistina
01-09-2013, 11:41 AM
I agree, Fain's death was anti-climatic. I wonder if he was to have a larger role and RJ just did not develop the plot line? I had completely forgotten about him until the mist formed in the valley.
I was around page 700 when I was like, "Um, why haven't we seen Fain yet?" It felt like he was just forgotten.

Ozymandias
01-09-2013, 11:41 AM
I'm not happy with the lack of frustration from everyone that Mat wasn't at Merrilor. The whole effect of Mat's cowardly/immature flight was mishandled. It's as if Brandon was much too afraid to make us frustrated/angry with Mat.


I was absolutely shocked that Mat wasn't put in charge of the combined armies. At this point, just about every major player is aware that he's one of, if not the best, general in the world (Demandred excepted). Elayne is at least somewhat aware, as is Egwene. Bashere and Lan are both aware, and so is Rand. And more importantly, for a fight in which you are explicitly devolving responsibility onto sub-commanders for each battlefield anyway, he's one of the top few guys in the Seanchan faction, which is the explicitly acknowledged difficulty with the whole plan/Peace of the Dragon/agreement thing anyway!

And moreover, on that note, we hear about how unbelievably outraged people like Darlin and Gregorin are that their "sovereignty" is being violated, but then basically immediately acquiesce to Elayne? BS does an alright job of pointing out, internally at least, that Gregorin has no real standing in the argument (especially given that RAND IS HIS KING!), but Darlin says that he's only siding with Egwene because he believes that Rand allows him to be King because he is unafraid to speak contradictory plans against Rand's will. That is a far cry from rejecting a pretty reasonable peace provision maintaining the status quo. This seemed like too manufactured of a controversy: impossible to believe everyone would have a problem with the Dragon Reborn commanding their armies (also pointed out in-text) and then be happy with an actual, non-legendary figure, monarch take control.

Jokeslayer
01-09-2013, 12:59 PM
Rand's battle with the DO fell prey to your typical fantasy's ability to fully explain how they kill the baddy. I get the TP and both halves of the OP being used in the same way that the taint was cleansed (minus the TP) but much of the dialogue was off and why was the DO not the enemy and never had been?


Being able to be evil is a part of being human. A world without the DO, a world without evil, is just as unchanging as one without good. The fight isn't between good and evil, it's between having a choice and not having one. The DO is part of the world.

As for Gawyn, I didn't like him but I don't feel like his decision to try to kill Demandred was that bad. He had a decent chance and nobody else was doing anything.

Ozymandias
01-09-2013, 02:51 PM
Being able to be evil is a part of being human. A world without the DO, a world without evil, is just as unchanging as one without good. The fight isn't between good and evil, it's between having a choice and not having one. The DO is part of the world.

This has always seemed silly to me. Why should the choice to be evil make someone a better person? Because you can personally triumph over darker urges? That argument always rings hollow. The Dark One, as the "personification" of evil, should not be equated with petty greed or various human faults in the first place.

And even if not, who cares? A world in which no one hurts or hungers sounds pretty good to me. I'll gladly take that, in return for not giving someone the option to random start shooting my kids at school one day...

Dom
01-09-2013, 03:00 PM
I was absolutely shocked that Mat wasn't put in charge of the combined armies.

That was the point, I guess. Mat has fled, forcing Elayne to play his role that she had been trained yet wasn't optimal to play, while he played dice and courted his wife in Ebou Dar.

I'm not surprised by this, I'd been saying for years RJ solidly tied Mat and Elayne and was building up with something with that, had this strong "Eldrene and Aemon" vibe going on. These two were built as Queen and her most reluctant "shining knight" since TDR... and in the end he failed her, then returned and redeemed himself. The whole "Severed Hand, not hers" viewing was a big clue.

In the end, Mat fled, and Elayne had to take his place.

But let's say that Brandon's execution was very lacking. Mat's regression wasn't built up to well at all (it was never convincing - instead of changing, he convinced everyone he simply had Mat completely off), and in the end the whole shock that his flight forced a pregnant woman who should have been in bed to take the battlefield in his place, even in charge of his Band of Heroes was badly mishandled. The whole "it should have been Mat, but Mat has finally failed us as every TR character had predicted would happen one day - and we can't wait for him" angle wasn't exploited.

I really disliked how the shock of Mat's flight wasn't at all felt among the friends/allies who were counting on him. No one even asked Moiraine were he was, why he wasn't with her! He obviously went back to Caemlyn and saw the city in flames and all, as he got Pips in Ebou Dar.

Mat finally did what they all feared he would one day do: scamper when they most needed him, and his friends all took it in stride. They were not so forgiving of Mat's tendencies earlier.. yet always hopeful he'd surprise them, had grown up, and by the end thinking that he did. They should all have been appalled he's left them and ran to Ebou Dar, then say "Mat will be Mat" and anger aside be forced to do without him. Talmanes too should have been appalled: Mat has abandonned the Band that idolized him, that formed for him. That too was pushed under the rug completely.

Brandon really "chickened out" - didn't have the balls to challenge us and our deep sympathies for Mat He all did it in "minor mode", with subtle allusions, for instance Talmanes thinking he's not the genius Mat is, and Mat would not be pleased he lost so many men" - hints the need for Mat was felt, but no follow up, no pay off when Mat didn't show up etc. He didn't dare do what it called for, and pull the rug under the readers for real, make us appalled, angry at what Mat did. Through the Mat POVs RJ would have made us understand.. be angry/disappointed yet totally understanding what happened with Mat, keeping our sympathies for him and hoping he'd turn himself around and came back to do his duty. Brandon turned the whole arc into some kind of farce.

fionwe1987
01-09-2013, 03:37 PM
This has always seemed silly to me. Why should the choice to be evil make someone a better person? Because you can personally triumph over darker urges? That argument always rings hollow. The Dark One, as the "personification" of evil, should not be equated with petty greed or various human faults in the first place.

And even if not, who cares? A world in which no one hurts or hungers sounds pretty good to me. I'll gladly take that, in return for not giving someone the option to random start shooting my kids at school one day...

Its not that the choice of evil makes you a better person. Its that there is no concept of better person without there being choice. As to your second paragraph... you can still have it. Lobotomize people left and right, and you'll have no one picking up a gun to shoot kids. But you won't have a guy pick up a gun to save someone he loves either. How is that an ideal to hope for?

Jokeslayer
01-09-2013, 04:10 PM
This has always seemed silly to me. Why should the choice to be evil make someone a better person? Because you can personally triumph over darker urges? That argument always rings hollow. The Dark One, as the "personification" of evil, should not be equated with petty greed or various human faults in the first place.

And even if not, who cares? A world in which no one hurts or hungers sounds pretty good to me. I'll gladly take that, in return for not giving someone the option to random start shooting my kids at school one day...

I don't think I said it makes them a better person. It makes them a person with a choice. Which, again, is the point. The essence of the DO's victory is that nobody has a choice any more about which side they follow.

I'm not saying I agree with it, though.

Ozymandias
01-09-2013, 04:26 PM
Its not that the choice of evil makes you a better person. Its that there is no concept of better person without there being choice. As to your second paragraph... you can still have it. Lobotomize people left and right, and you'll have no one picking up a gun to shoot kids. But you won't have a guy pick up a gun to save someone he loves either. How is that an ideal to hope for?

Not at all the same. I don't see the absence as evil as removing choice from one's life, or from making someone a mindless zombie. It just means you can't choose evil. A lobotomized person is missing a piece of themselves, a cognitive ability. A person who cannot conceive of doing an evil deed because there is no evil is not the same.

I don't think I said it makes them a better person. It makes them a person with a choice. Which, again, is the point. The essence of the DO's victory is that nobody has a choice any more about which side they follow.

I'm not saying I agree with it, though.

Fair enough, but again, its a bad point, a cop out point, as far as I'm concerned. I understand, in-story, why this was the right choice, but it is an incredibly lazy and stupid narrative choice for the authors, and I don't solely blame BS for this.

I understand the metaphysical point that choice is what makes us human, that wrong choices exist and our ability to deny them is what makes some people better than others, but there is an in-story justification for why this was the wrong choice. In the AoL, society functioned without evil. Not that it did not exist, but it was ruthlessly extirpated through use of binding rods. Essentially, the world without evil is the AoL, but without Semirhage's sadism even appearing.

Terez
01-09-2013, 04:42 PM
In other words, good/evil was somehow conflated with free will. It probably makes more sense to religious people.

Jalyn
01-09-2013, 04:42 PM
Not at all the same. I don't see the absence as evil as removing choice from one's life, or from making someone a mindless zombie. It just means you can't choose evil. A lobotomized person is missing a piece of themselves, a cognitive ability. A person who cannot conceive of doing an evil deed because there is no evil is not the same.



Fair enough, but again, its a bad point, a cop out point, as far as I'm concerned. I understand, in-story, why this was the right choice, but it is an incredibly lazy and stupid narrative choice for the authors, and I don't solely blame BS for this.

I understand the metaphysical point that choice is what makes us human, that wrong choices exist and our ability to deny them is what makes some people better than others, but there is an in-story justification for why this was the wrong choice. In the AoL, society functioned without evil. Not that it did not exist, but it was ruthlessly extirpated through use of binding rods. Essentially, the world without evil is the AoL, but without Semirhage's sadism even appearing.

No, the fact that they needed binding rods shows that every person was capable of making the choicce.

And you may think that it is lame or easy as you wish, but it's also something that a lot of very intelligent philosophers have spent a lot of time considering over the years.

Jokeslayer
01-09-2013, 04:48 PM
Fair enough, but again, its a bad point, a cop out point, as far as I'm concerned. I understand, in-story, why this was the right choice, but it is an incredibly lazy and stupid narrative choice for the authors, and I don't solely blame BS for this.

I understand the metaphysical point that choice is what makes us human, that wrong choices exist and our ability to deny them is what makes some people better than others, but there is an in-story justification for why this was the wrong choice. In the AoL, society functioned without evil. Not that it did not exist, but it was ruthlessly extirpated through use of binding rods. Essentially, the world without evil is the AoL, but without Semirhage's sadism even appearing.

I might be wrong, but weren't binding rods only used on repeat offenders? They still had the choice to commit that first crime.

I didn't like it that much either, and I felt like the first time I read it the scene came off as Rand whining because Elayne and Aviendha were acting differently.

KyleLitke
01-09-2013, 11:30 PM
1. BS's extreme need for "Wow, wouldn't it be cool if this character did this?!?" tendencies when writing. This obsession of his has been pretty obvious since he took over the series and it went to new heights in aMoL. Examples: Every single Talmanes POV in aMoL, all of the damn gateway applications that suddenly show up, etc etc.

I'm not sure it's ALL BS though. The truth is, we have rarely gotten the chance to see channelers cut loose like this. If Brandon had written Dumai's Wells, would you complain about Brandon trying to show off cool weaves when the Asha'man blew up the Aiel? I'm not saying there's no truth to this, but I'm not sure there would have been none of this if RJ had written the book.

2. The Rand/Mat oneupsmanship conversation made me want to claw my eyes out.

I certainly didn't hate it as much as you, but it was off.

3. The entire Androl/Pevara subplot...hated it. I dont care, I simply do not give a damn about them. If you wanted to do that subplot, give me Logain POVs. Also, the "IM/text message" conversations between them via their new found telepathy was brutal. Go back and read them...they read like a text from a 15 year old girl. I hated the double bond and I hated this stupid plotline.

I was fine with it. Partly because I did care about what was going on at the Black Tower.

4. Mat killing Fain like that. I wanted something more for Fain...oh well.

Yeah, this one I agree with. I felt like Fain had been built up as a much bigger deal, with implications that he's essentially sidestepped whatever his purpose was, that he's unique to this specific age and this specific time as opposed to the normal repeats of the Wheel, and then he was brought up enough times in the book before that when I got to the end, I was wondering why in the world we hadn't seen him yet. Then he just kind of showed up, did some Mashadar stuff, and died. Not saying this wasn't the plan all along or anything, I just expected and wanted more there, but as you said...oh well.

6. Far, far, far too much "I've been lurking on the fansites so I want to answer the most annoying theories" mentality by Brandon. Really Brandon? Rand thought Demandred was Roedran?!? We know that from all the POVs where Rand ponders it...oh wait, we dont. So stupid. There were so many examples of that mentality and I hated it. Try writing the book like you arent aware of all the theories. Maybe this is why authors shouldn't lurk on fansites, eh?

See, this one I disagree with. Not saying it didn't happen at all, but I think there's a big overreaction. Roedran for example. Clearly not a major character by any stretch of the imagination, but the mere fact that entering the final book, there was only one nation that wasn't really under Seanchan or Rand control (not counting Shara which Rand probably didn't even think of) and one Forsaken unaccounted for, I don't find it odd even a little that, at that point, Rand would have been suspecting Roedran. When it wasn't him, Rand was visibly surprised not because Brandon wrote it like Rand thought it was him all along...he was visibly surprised because Roedran and Murandy was the LAST OPTION (again, this is assuming Shara had not even occurred to Rand) without assuming Demandred was hanging out working underneath another Forsaken or hanging around in one of the already conquered Nations doing nothing of interest. Rand or Tuon had control of every other Nation, Murandy was the only remaining army outside Shara or the Land of Madmen that wasn't under the control of one of those two. It absolutely made sense to me why Rand would come to that conclusion, and why it might have taken him until right before then to think it (it wasn't until shortly before that he went to the Borderlanders and got them to work with him).


1. Really wanted to see Nynaeve heal death...oh well.
2. More Fain would have been nice.
3. Please just let people die, what was up with the "Oh and fade to black" and next scene he/she is still alive...we only saw that with Galad, Lan, Faile off the top of my head. Just kill some people or dont kill them...stop doing the fake cliffhangers.

1. I really did expect that. I'm actually glad they didn't because I think if you heal death it's a slippery slope (does death from anything short of old age no longer exist? What happens when they figure out how to heal the general wear and tear of aging that eventually causes death?), but I did expect it because the books mentioned SO MANY TIMES that death couldn't be healed, as if it was a "wink wink, anything but death can totally be healed".

2. Agreed.

3. I would have been annoyed BEFORE this book, but I actually was fine with it here. We had actual significant and major characters dying. If they did that in past books I would have just assumed they weren't really dead and been annoyed. As it was, I assumed Faile was alive, but I really thought Lan had died at first, and I was unsure about Galad.

Things I enjoyed:

1. Egwene literally died in a fire...like we all wanted...granted it was the fire of ODing on the OP and beating Taim but I thought it was great ending for her.

I never hated Egwene nearly as much as any, but I thought it was fine.

2. Gawyn being gutted by Demandred...granted it would have been funnier had he made some great pronouncement about being a great Blademaster to Demandred and then tripped on his boots and impaled himself before the dual started but I'll take this ending instead.

Gawyn, however, is a character I never particularly liked. I thought his hatred of Rand was cartoonish for silly reasons (Everyone who would know says Rand didn't kill Morgase, but I HEARD THIS RUMOR ONE TIME!! RARRR!). So yeah, I was totally cool with him dying.

3. Epilogue was superbly written...just wish it was slightly longer.

Agreed, and agreed.

Ozymandias
01-10-2013, 09:13 AM
No, the fact that they needed binding rods shows that every person was capable of making the choicce.

Yeah, whats your point here? They were allowed to make a choice once. They weren't allowed to make it twice. Having your physical ability to make an evil choice removed, after a sort of one-strike-and-you're-out policy, means that the option does not exist, not truly.

The choice existed, sure. But only up until the point that someone actually exercised that option, and then it was taken away. Not much of a choice at all, eh? You have the choice to be evil, but only if you never exercise that option.

Terez summed it up better than I did. It was a lazy and insulting narrative choice and I, for one, was extremely disappointed.

And you may think that it is lame or easy as you wish, but it's also something that a lot of very intelligent philosophers have spent a lot of time considering over the years.

Are you kidding? This is epic fantasy, not the real world. As it happens, there is not ultimate source of evil than can be slain in the real world, either. So lets just agree that this was a foolish straw man and move on.

Jalyn
01-10-2013, 11:03 AM
Yeah, whats your point here? They were allowed to make a choice once. They weren't allowed to make it twice. Having your physical ability to make an evil choice removed, after a sort of one-strike-and-you're-out policy, means that the option does not exist, not truly.

The choice existed, sure. But only up until the point that someone actually exercised that option, and then it was taken away. Not much of a choice at all, eh? You have the choice to be evil, but only if you never exercise that option.

But you are still allowed the space in your head to make those choices. Even more importantly, after you're bound, you can still WANT to make those choices. If you actually posit that without the DO, these thoughts and choices are not possible (and if you want to pick apart the ending, I'd do it there - what a simplistic view of humankind) then removing it/him would result in exactly the world that Rand inadvertently creates in his little alternate world wars with the DO.

OK. Let me try this - you are living in a torturous environment and you have two basic options, try to survive or kill yourself. You can make the choice to live as many times as you want, but you can only make the choice to die once. Does this make it LESS of a choice or one that you don't truly have at all? Does the fact that you have this choice change the situation than if you didn't have this choice, even if it is one that you wouldn't make?

Are you kidding? This is epic fantasy, not the real world. As it happens, there is not ultimate source of evil than can be slain in the real world, either. So lets just agree that this was a foolish straw man and move on.

Epic fantasy draws on things and ideas from the real world. The ending of WoT used a combination of early Christian sects that believed that the devil was as strong as god (I almost said Creator!) and was responsible for all of the evil in the world and the far more standard answer to the Problem of Evil which says that God allows evil because we need to have it. Human evil is allowed because of Free Will but also for the same reason that natural evil is allowed - because without understanding bad and being able to make bad choices, it is not possible to understand or BE good.

Imagine a world where there was no night and everything in the world gave off a uniform glow so that every inch of the world was lit exactly the same at all times. In this world, where there is no such thing as darkness, there would also be no concept of light. I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with a real world example here and that’s kind of the point, whatever there is that there isn’t an opposite of – I can’t conceive of it so I can’t use it as an example.

You can like or dislike the ending as you wish, I'm personally not in love with the idea that every wrong choice a person makes is because of the influence of a supernatural being, but it answers the question that is never asked explicitly, but is implied by the very existence of a DO - if the creator isn't evil, why did he allow the DO access to the pattern in the first place? The answer to this question is the core of the world’s cosmology. For instance, if the answer ended up at "the pattern is the prison of the DO so the creator doesn't have to deal with him" you end up with an extremely different cosmology. The pattern, and the people contained within, is nothing more than bars on a prison - they don't matter, only that the DO isn't free. The suffering that they feel is a byproduct of the fact that the Creator doesn't give a damn about their suffering, only their function. Personally, I'd love to read that story - but it wouldn't have been right for Wheel of Time. If the answer is instead “whoops, the creator made a mistake and missed that the DO jumped into the world before he capped it off and now he can’t get him out without destroying the creation” we end up with a completely different world. (One that I quite enjoyed reading when Donaldson set it up.) The DO used to be one of the creatures that helped the creator set up the world but he was really proud and rebelled, fleeing into creation and never understanding that all of his machinations are really part of the creator’s plan for the world. (Er, I should really actually read the Silmarillion, because I’m pretty sure that missed a TON of Sauron’s back story.) The point, however, is that these answers to “why is there a DO, a Lord Foul, a Sauron” change the WORLD that was created. If either Donaldson or Tolkein had decided that the answer to this was “we need him” then they would have to change just about everything in their respective worlds. Neither of their answers would work properly in WoT either. Since the concept of Ta’verne was first brought up we’ve been hearing the concept of “balance” in the pattern – it’s always been true that the DO was necessary, it’s just that Rand just figured that out.

It's not even really a question of having real life religious beliefs; in the WoT there IS a creator and a DO, so the problem of evil is a real thing in the WoT universe - whether it is in this world or not.

Cortar
01-13-2013, 06:55 PM
In other words, good/evil was somehow conflated with free will. It probably makes more sense to religious people.

The argument is that without free will, if you cannot make any decisions, then actions can't be "good" or "evil." They just are. Thats not too hard to understand.

Terez
01-13-2013, 07:05 PM
The reality is that without 'good' and 'evil' beings, we still have choice. That's not too hard to understand.

Davian93
01-13-2013, 07:07 PM
The reality is that without 'good' and 'evil' beings, we still have choice. That's not too hard to understand.

I believe the problem becomes that the choice doesnt matter at that point.

No light without darkness, etc etc.

Terez
01-13-2013, 07:13 PM
How does the choice not matter? The balance is in good choices and bad choices...and there can be evil without purely evil god-beings.

probe907
01-13-2013, 07:38 PM
I agree with the points... Though I resigned myself to the Androl arc once I realized Androl was in there for good. That allowed me to enjoy Androl, to an extent. I had also really hoped for a Logain arc instead of the Androl one. Too bad.
The lack of Fain annoyed me too, as did the tiny epilogue. I had wanted 50-100 pages of denouement. Not quite as much as in the LotR, but enough to bring down the tension from the Last Battle and to close off the series.
As for Fain, if his role in the LB was that tiny, he should have been offed at the Cleansing. A one-page PoV in WH's epilogue or CoT's prologue would have sufficed: "Fain clutches his abdomen and collapses and dies, crying 'Oh noes! They nuked Shadar Logoth, the source of my power! Bastards! Arghhh...'"

Sanderson's writing was bearable, but filled with a variety of serious problems: He obviously enjoys comic-book action too much, and so we kept getting endless derivative graphic battles coupled with juvenile humor. He lacks ability in controlling climaxes and often delivers a climax too quickly and fails to tie it off. He is too prone to fanpandering and breaking the 4th wall, as we discussed in another thread. Though I can forgive his various lore errors, his adoption of various side characters, some of his plot holes, and his tendency to write major characters in a way different from Jordan's - that kind of stuff was inevitable given the change of authors.

probe907
01-13-2013, 07:45 PM
How does the choice not matter? The balance is in good choices and bad choices...and there can be evil without purely evil god-beings. I saw that argument made in other places, and it does ring true. Randland would still have had slavery and war after the Last Battle, thanks to the Seanchan. There can be murderers who are not Darkfriends. So evil and free will can do just fine without the DO. In Christian theology, God allows the Devil to mess around for God's own unknown purposes. God can kill the Devil at any moment, but doesn't - perhaps because existence in Hell is a punishment more just and more terrible than sheer destruction? Humans must meet the test, resist the temptations of the Devil, and so on, but they can not kill the Devil, though they can exorcise (in effect, send back to Hell) demons with the help of the Holy Spirit. In Randland, however, Rand could have killed the DO, and the Creator is described as the DO's equal and opposite rather than superior, and so the scenario is different, more Manichean/ Zoroastrian/ Gnostic/ Dualistic/ etc.

Terez
01-13-2013, 08:03 PM
So Rand kills the Dark One, and the Creator goes on to tend his new flowers. Life is relatively mundane and there's no need to, for example, add new heroes to the Horn or SPEAK to the Dragon at random times to let him know you exist. Everything's basically on autopilot. The Wheel turns...

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 01:29 AM
I get you're argument Terez, and on a real world, metaphysical level I agree with it. A being with infinite power has the ability to define concepts such as "choice" and "free will" any way it wants to. To define it as a choice between good and evil is only one of a myriad of such ways such a being could make. Here's the thing though. Applying that to WoT and Rand specifically, you have to understand something about him in relationship to the universe he's operating under. He, himself, isn't the Creator, and therefore, he can only play by the rules the Creator set out. He can't break them himself. So if the Creator in WoT defined free will as a choice between good and evil, then it makes perfectly logical sense that if you remove evil from the equation, it wouldn't balance out and such a world would be off in the way Rand's might have been world was.

Accepting that argument doesn't mean you have to accept it any other context (and certainly not as applied to real life). You just have to be able to do so in the context of the story. And in the story, IMHO, given the information set out before him and the rules he had to play by, he made the correct decision.

professorskar
01-14-2013, 02:36 AM
I was also disappointed at the handling of Fain (excuse me, I mean "Shazam!"). I've always had a soft spot for Fain ever since he crucified a Fade in TGH and I thought to myself "Ok, this guy's for real." I liked the fact that in this world with a definite Light side as well as the Shadow, there was this third force of evil that hated both and just seemed like a real wild card. I also always assumed he'd have some major impact near the end, in part because of his Gollum parallel (although later on Harriet or BS said he wouldn't have a Gollum-like ending, so I think his Gollum connection was only limited to EotW, which Jordan said he wrote specifically in a more LotR-ish style), but more than that, I figured he'd be important due to the Shadow-negating effect of the Shadar Logoth power, as seen in the Cleansing. In fact, I had always figured that power would be used in a similar way to how Rand used the True Power in the actual ending. I thought Rand would somehow draw Fain's power and use it to push away the touch of the Dark One so he could seal the Bore with the One Power. Instead he used the TP as a "glove" to accomplish this same task. Either way, as I said, I had a soft spot for Fain and thought he deserved a more epic conclusion than the afterthought death scene he got. Shazam!

I'm not going to touch the problem of evil debate going on because it's late and I don't feel like writing THAT much, but the concept of binders always kind of creeped me out. It reminded me of the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange.

Cortar
01-14-2013, 03:07 AM
So Rand kills the Dark One, and the Creator goes on to tend his new flowers. Life is relatively mundane and there's no need to, for example, add new heroes to the Horn or SPEAK to the Dragon at random times to let him know you exist. Everything's basically on autopilot. The Wheel turns...

The reality is that without 'good' and 'evil' beings, we still have choice. That's not too hard to understand.

Yes and in reality we can't channel and walk through dreams.

The biggest theme of this book is that of Yin-Yang. Everything must be balanced. To kill the DO in this universe would be "evil" in the sense that without its opposing force, then the Light would be wrong. Just like in Rand's world he created.

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 03:52 AM
Mat did what he needed to do. If he hadn't gone to Ebou Dar, to take control of the Seanchan armies, then those armies would have struck at Tar Valon, as Fortuona had been planning to do.

I'm not sure that the "world without Dark One" really did show how the Wheel would have been if there had never been a DO. Instead, it showed the best attempt that Rand (one single human, no matter how talented) could manage. Basically a souped up version of Perrin's "Hopper come back to life in the Dream", which was also less than satisfactory when viewed from close up.

Terez
01-14-2013, 05:36 AM
Yes and in reality we can't channel and walk through dreams.
So? None of that has to do with the concept of free will.

Terez
01-14-2013, 06:19 AM
I get you're argument Terez, and on a real world, metaphysical level I agree with it. A being with infinite power has the ability to define concepts such as "choice" and "free will" any way it wants to. To define it as a choice between good and evil is only one of a myriad of such ways such a being could make. Here's the thing though. Applying that to WoT and Rand specifically, you have to understand something about him in relationship to the universe he's operating under. He, himself, isn't the Creator, and therefore, he can only play by the rules the Creator set out. He can't break them himself. So if the Creator in WoT defined free will as a choice between good and evil, then it makes perfectly logical sense that if you remove evil from the equation, it wouldn't balance out and such a world would be off in the way Rand's might have been world was.

Accepting that argument doesn't mean you have to accept it any other context (and certainly not as applied to real life). You just have to be able to do so in the context of the story. And in the story, IMHO, given the information set out before him and the rules he had to play by, he made the correct decision.
I understand why it works in a fantasy setting; it's not too difficult a concept to grasp. What I don't understand is why it had to be the centerpiece of Rand's confrontation with the Dark One. I'm just thankful it had nothing to do with actually sealing the Bore.

Davian93
01-14-2013, 06:58 AM
He obviously enjoys comic-book action too much, and so we kept getting endless derivative graphic battles coupled with juvenile humor.

WoT under RJ:

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120815200035/batman/images/0/03/Batman-the-joker.jpg

WoT under BS:

http://ramp.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/batman1966.jpg

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 07:09 AM
All are Draghkar, aren't they? So there's basically no difference.

KyleLitke
01-14-2013, 09:39 AM
I'm not sure that removing the Dark One would really remove choice or whatever, but it would be a pretty drastic change to the Wheel.

ShadowbaneX
01-14-2013, 10:02 AM
It wouldn't remove choice, and in a way, Rand succeeds: everything is good. People are cared for, things are shared, weapons are looked upon the same way the modern generation views 8 tracks, everything is perfect...and with that there's no fight, there's no drive.

If everything is perfect, there's no evolution. This is why Elayne seems off. She's a monarch and a smart one. She's used to being in difficult situations and finding solutions. If there are no problems to solve, if everything is perfect, then she gets dull, complacent. She's no longer the leopard that RJ loves, she's now just a house cat.

Free Will? Good vs Evil? I don't think these come in to it. If there's nothing to oppose humanity, there's nothing to push it to new heights of creativity, problem solving and evolution.

The DO's universe is hell, but it's self-destructive, eating itself, there can be no growth. Rand's universe is heaven, everyone is provided for, but there is nothing but complacency, and there can be no growth.

The Dark One was not his enemy and he never was.

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 11:47 AM
I understand why it works in a fantasy setting; it's not too difficult a concept to grasp. What I don't understand is why it had to be the centerpiece of Rand's confrontation with the Dark One. I'm just thankful it had nothing to do with actually sealing the Bore.

Are you honestly surprised by it being central to the struggle? RJ was practically beating us over the head with this thematically as far back a tEotW (LTT's choice of suicide, Ishy's recruitment pitch, the ancient symbol being yin/yang, the booming voice above Tarwin's gap speaking of the choosen one doing what he must if he will). Its been a constant central theme throughout the entire series, and I think to ignore it would have to done the ending a true disservice.

Terez
01-14-2013, 11:50 AM
Are you honestly surprised by it being central to the struggle?
Yes...and annoyed, since it was essentially pointless. The themes were always there, but this specific manifestation of them simply wasn't necessary to the conclusion.

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 12:10 PM
Yes...and annoyed, since it was essentially pointless. The themes were always there, but this specific manifestation of them simply wasn't necessary to the conclusion.

The other point is that Sealing the Dark One away from the Pattern is basically the same as killing him, at least for a few centuries. If it's not the same--if killing the Dark One literally removes evil instincts and thoughts from people's heads--it wasn't explained well at all.

I think that's part of the problem, here. I tried to figure out what all the "choice" and "my world your world" stuff had to do with the ending. As I said in the thread I started, there was no clear explanation of how that imaginary Pattern-weaving battle had anything to do with the ending, except that Rand decided to seal instead of kill. I left my interpretation of it over there, but I don't know if that's what they were going for.

Davian93
01-14-2013, 12:11 PM
I'd imagine its more like "killing him for dozens of eons" than centuries given how long it takes for the Wheel to complete a circuit to another 2nd Age again.

GonzoTheGreat
01-14-2013, 12:15 PM
Not everything that Rand saw was the complete truth. So how do we know that what he saw in "his" vision was actually completely trustworthy?

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 12:20 PM
Not everything that Rand saw was the complete truth. So how do we know that what he saw in "his" vision was actually completely trustworthy?

We don't. We only know how it affected his decision.


I'd imagine its more like "killing him for dozens of eons" than centuries given how long it takes for the Wheel to complete a circuit to another 2nd Age again.So...just take away free will for a really long time, instead of forever?

Terez
01-14-2013, 12:20 PM
Not everything that Rand saw was the complete truth. So how do we know that what he saw in "his" vision was actually completely trustworthy?
Because he told us it was.

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 12:44 PM
I think the second vision shown was the most important one as relates to the actual ending. Sealing the DO away doesn't remove his influence from the pattern completely. It merely contains it and restores the balance that was threatened by the Bore.

"YOU THINK YOU CAN ELIMINATE SUFFERING? EVEN IF YOU WIN, YOU WILL NOT. ON THOSE PERFECT STREETS, MEN ARE STILL MURDERED AT NIGHT. CHILDREN GO HUNGRY DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF YOUR MINIONS. THE WEALTHY EXPLOIT AND CORRUPT; THEY MERELY DO SO QUIETLY." aMoL, The Last Battle p.679

professorskar
01-14-2013, 03:39 PM
The other point is that Sealing the Dark One away from the Pattern is basically the same as killing him, at least for a few centuries. If it's not the same--if killing the Dark One literally removes evil instincts and thoughts from people's heads--it wasn't explained well at all.


This is exactly how I felt. I don't see how the free will, good vs evil choice is affected by the Dark One at all. It would only make sense if the Dark One was responsible for all negativity in the world, which I'm pretty sure is not true. While the Dark One is a being of pure evil, I never assumed he was the SOURCE of all evil. I always thought men would still be men, complete with free will and the capacity for evil, without him. While sure, it's impossible for a utopia like the Age of Legends to ever come into being if the Dark One is even remotely free, it doesn't guarantee that such a world will exist even if he's totally sealed. I never assumed the cause of the peace of the Age of Legends was only because the Dark One was still inside his prison. I just figured people had overcome the problems of human society on their own.

I still don't see what the difference is between the Dark One being locked outside the Pattern in a reforged (as opposed to simply sealed) prison, or being dead. Either way he can't touch the world. The only guarantee with him being alive is that he'll have another chance. Maybe that's the point, that society will grow stagnant and it will take a threat as serious as the Dark One to unite humanity when it's necessary and shake up the status quo...there's certainly reason to believe that the AoL wasn't nearly as perfect as it looked on the surface (at least towards the end of that Age, still pre-Bore), so maybe it's necessary that the world be broken on occasion? I dunno...just thinking out loud here.

ShadowbaneX
01-14-2013, 03:47 PM
The other point is that Sealing the Dark One away from the Pattern is basically the same as killing him, at least for a few centuries. If it's not the same--if killing the Dark One literally removes evil instincts and thoughts from people's heads--it wasn't explained well at all.

Again, I don't think it removes evil, the DO claims that even in Rand's perfect world there's still murder & starvation. I think the point is that without evil there's nothing for good to test itself against. With no challenges to fight, there's complacency. Without the challenge, (again to borrow RJ's turn of phrase) you're not hunting leopards you're hunting house cats. That's why Elayne seemed off to him, she'd grown...dull.

metaphor
01-14-2013, 04:43 PM
Again, I don't think it removes evil, the DO claims that even in Rand's perfect world there's still murder & starvation.

That was another world, not the one created by Rand.

I think the point is that without evil there's nothing for good to test itself against. With no challenges to fight, there's complacency. Without the challenge, (again to borrow RJ's turn of phrase) you're not hunting leopards you're hunting house cats. That's why Elayne seemed off to him, she'd grown...dull.

Basically Rand renounced to a world without suffering, strife and violence and where everyone was happy, because the Elayne of that world didn't give him the boner.

That's how I read that scene at least.

professorskar
01-14-2013, 04:50 PM
Aviendha, playing with kids?! Not on my watch, Shai'tan!

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 05:50 PM
Again, I don't think it removes evil, the DO claims that even in Rand's perfect world there's still murder & starvation.

Two different worlds SBX. That was the one I quoted above. It was the world in which the DO was sealed, not destroyed. Rand's perfect world was the one in which the DO was destroyed, thus creating a reality in which his loved ones weren't his loved ones. Just hollow husks of them that did nothing but good things.

To truly understand the nature of the DO's influence on the Pattern, I think you have to compare those two worlds and realize what their difference is. DO imprisoned vs. DO completely gone. When you do compare them and realize that is the only difference, it becomes pretty obvious that even if the DO is sealed, his influence doesn't cease on the Pattern, and that in fact he is the source of human evil. Otherwise, his absence would have no impact on Rand's eutopia world.

While sure, it's impossible for a utopia like the Age of Legends to ever come into being if the Dark One is even remotely free, it doesn't guarantee that such a world will exist even if he's totally sealed. I never assumed the cause of the peace of the Age of Legends was only because the Dark One was still inside his prison. I just figured people had overcome the problems of human society on their own.

But was the AOL a true Eutopia though? If so, why the binding rods or the existence of people like Semirhage and Moghedian (who were committing immoral and unethical acts even prior to the Bore and Collapse)?

Basically Rand renounced to a world without suffering, strife and violence and where everyone was happy, because the Elayne of that world didn't give him the boner.

Or it could also be read as he renounced that world because him allowing it to come to pass would have raped the mind, soul, and essence of everyone who he knew and cared about.

Crispin's Crispian
01-14-2013, 05:58 PM
The Age of Legends as utopia is just another myth, though, an allusion to the Garden of Eden-type paradise stories at are so common. Of course it was never really as wonderful as all that. People had forgotten war, but there were still criminals and death.

I think the point is that, with the Bore drilled, the Dark One had too much influence on the world. It threw the Pattern out of balance. If he were to kill the DO the balance would skew too far the other way.

That said, I think it just wasn't executed well (and I'm not blaming Brandon). It's a tough concept to sell--that the world needs evil. People have been talking about that one for a long time.

They tried to wrap it up in the free will bundle that is so common, and moderately succeeded. But I'm not sure this was meant to be a philosophical treatise--it was what worked in this world, this time.

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 06:02 PM
I think the point is that, with the Bore drilled, the Dark One had too much influence on the world. It threw the Pattern out of balance. If he were to kill the DO the balance would skew too far the other way.

This.

They tried to wrap it up in the free will bundle that is so common, and moderately succeeded. But I'm not sure this was meant to be a philosophical treatise--it was what worked in this world, this time.

And this. Its an as applied argument to the world created, not one I think that comments on reality. And I didn't really have quite so many problems with the execution. As I pointed out to Terez, RJ has been beating us about the head and shoulders with these concepts since the beginning of the series. This was just a continuation of that.

ShadowbaneX
01-14-2013, 06:24 PM
Basically Rand renounced to a world without suffering, strife and violence and where everyone was happy, because the Elayne of that world didn't give him the boner.

That's how I read that scene at least.

Well, your interpretation is your own, but to me Rand renounced that world because it was a hollow thing. I guess in a way the closest philosophy I can come up that parallels it is Darwinism. In the world Rand created there's nothing to test the people, to make them better.

Even in the Age of Legends, with the Dark One present, there was greatness to be had, wonders created. A 4th Age without the Dark One though it had all the symptoms of a Utopia, but without anything to challenge the people, without having anything to over-come they were...complacent.

I'm thinking here that the DO is exactly that to the Wheel of Time, he is the inherent conflict, the inherent challenge that humanity must keep fighting against in order to improve and evolve.

We can start taking in some parallels from another place renowned for it's philosophy underpinnings. "The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from." Or perhaps "The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art. Flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure."

I think that the argument is that a universe without the Dark One would be similar to these. Sublime, Flawless, Perfect realities which are failures because there's nothing to challenge the populous, nothing to challenge humanity, nothing to allow it to grow. Perhaps this is where we get the Garden analogy coming in to things.

Harrison Bergeron might be another parallel. A world in which everyone is forced to be equal and so the power and beauty that humanity can aspire to is lost.

Tollingtoy
01-14-2013, 06:37 PM
If you understand the Dark One as a force of chaos, not necessarily a force evil, the ending makes a bit more sense.

I always thought the energy from Shadar Logoth, born by the the mistrust and suspicion of it's people was inherently more "evil" than the Dark One was

ShadowbaneX
01-14-2013, 06:50 PM
Not a bad point, but two things, Mat is a force of Chaos, see: the Trickster, so to view the DO has simply chaos doesn't quite fit. Perhaps a little more refined might be: Infinite Chaos is bad, just as Infinite Order is bad. That allows for small cases of chaos, ie Mat, whereas excessive Chaos, Balefire/Lord of Chaos, etc. isn't good.

Sinistrum
01-14-2013, 07:08 PM
I sort of hinted at this in my last post, but I guess I'll outright say it since I know SBX will get the reference. I sort of view "Rand's perfect world'" ending in the same light I view the Synthesis ending in Mass Effect 3. I see some major problems with the consent aspect to it. I think the question a lot of people are failing to ask in analyzing it is, would Elayne have wanted to be like that? I think the strong implication is that no, she wouldn't.

Toss the dice
01-14-2013, 07:39 PM
In other words, good/evil was somehow conflated with free will. It probably makes more sense to religious people.

I chalked it up to "free will" as well.

In my experience, religious people on average are narrow-minded and tend to lack the ability to see the "big picture." I highly doubt they're a top choice for those that can make sense of ANYTHING. (basically I'm calling them blind idiots)

Source: Years and years of being surrounded by fundamentalist Christians, their beliefs, and their stupidity via countless events and discussions.

Alec
01-14-2013, 08:54 PM
I was always under the impression that one of the primary aspects of the whole Mordeth/Shadar Logoth/Fain thing was that it was evil that was not entirely created from the DO, that it was largely due to the evil within humans that is separate from the DO. Did I misread the explanations of Shadar Logoth given earlier in the series?

If not it would seem to invalidate the only reason for not killing the DO.

Morsker
01-14-2013, 11:10 PM
In other words, good/evil was somehow conflated with free will. It probably makes more sense to religious people.
I found the conflation annoying too, but it does fit the WoT setting in several ways. It explains why violent crime increased when the Bore was drilled, even before the war buildup. It also explains how "turning" works. In this universe, apparently there are no evolutionary reasons for altruism (inclusive fitness, whatever). Instead, people have a "conscience" that's a supernatural connection to the Light, and can be taken away.

It gives me the beginning of an explanation for why murdering the entire population of Aridol really creates a supernatural curse that opposes the Taint. Evil is a "substance", or something.

And I got a laugh out of seeing that the Dark One's true version of Hell on Earth was anarcho-capitalist dystopia, like in Snow Crash. I found it funny.

Wolfmage
01-14-2013, 11:35 PM
And I got a laugh out of seeing that the Dark One's true version of Hell on Earth was anarcho-capitalist dystopia, like in Snow Crash. I found it funny.
Yeah that was funny. It reminded me of Amartya Sen's joke about public choice theory:

“Can you direct me to the railway station?” asks the stranger. "Certainly," says the local, pointing in the opposite direction, towards the post office, "and would you post this letter for me on your way?" "Certainly," says the stranger, resolving to open it to see if it contains anything worth stealing.

Presumably these people didn't worry too much about future interactions because the people who didn't go around with protection all died.

professorskar
01-15-2013, 01:35 AM
And I got a laugh out of seeing that the Dark One's true version of Hell on Earth was anarcho-capitalist dystopia, like in Snow Crash. I found it funny.

Terry Goodkind probably thought that was how the series should've ended.

Cortar
01-15-2013, 01:39 AM
In this universe, apparently there are no evolutionary reasons for altruism (inclusive fitness, whatever). Instead, people have a "conscience" that's a supernatural connection to the Light, and can be taken
In a world with nonlinear time evolution wouldnt really fit into it very well...

Tollingtoy
01-15-2013, 04:33 PM
I was always under the impression that one of the primary aspects of the whole Mordeth/Shadar Logoth/Fain thing was that it was evil that was not entirely created from the DO, that it was largely due to the evil within humans that is separate from the DO. Did I misread the explanations of Shadar Logoth given earlier in the series?

If not it would seem to invalidate the only reason for not killing the DO.


That's one of the reason I always saw the DO as an agent of chaos rather than an agent of evil. He's the DARK One, not the EVIL one after all

GonzoTheGreat
01-16-2013, 03:58 AM
Well, he's called the Dark One. It might be relevant to know who came up with that bit of propaganda.

Davian93
01-16-2013, 07:16 AM
Well, he's called the Dark One. It might be relevant to know who came up with that bit of propaganda.

That was all part of the well known Randland saying of "Once you go black, you never go back".