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View Full Version : Robert Jordan's overarching theme? (spoilers)


Southpaw2012
02-02-2013, 03:43 PM
what do you guys take away from the ending of AMoL as being RJ's overarching theme of this series? Of course, one of the themes of A Memory of Light alone was about letting go. There has also always been the theme of sacrifice. What have you guys taken away after reading the ending?

Rand al'Fain
02-02-2013, 03:48 PM
It felt like Rand's story was done, but it was leading up to another story for, say, Mat and Tuon.

The Unreasoner
02-02-2013, 03:51 PM
It seems to be something like 'conflict makes life worth living'.

I keep thinking about Rand's thoughts on saidin when it was still tainted, and his 5 word line that Terez used to have in her sig.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-02-2013, 07:46 PM
Death is as light as a feathet, duty is heavier than a mountain


We all have things, hard things, to do. Wevhavevto make a choice to honor our duties even if we struggle to decide. Death will come regardless, there is no decision to make THERE


Sadness is really starting to set in now. It's over. We all must wake from the dream.

Dom
02-02-2013, 07:57 PM
I think the series is too vast, too layered, has too many central protagonists to have a single overarching theme, unless you want to reduce it to the basics, like the nature of Good and Evil.

It has several important themes. All those mentioned above are important ones.

Another is vast quest for Knowledge, in all it senses including enlightenment. But "knowledge" is an umbrella for a whole lot of related sub-themes and motifs developed through the series, one of those being "what do you do when you must act without having all the answers" which was a central theme for Rand and for Moraine, notably.

MuKen
02-02-2013, 10:40 PM
Well, RJ has been sitting on his ending revelation for close to two decades, so it must be pretty central to the message he wants to get across. Thus, I'd say the "main theme" would have to be that which is most related to Rand deciding that he should not kill the DO. Something like the importance of balance, or "Everything is defined by its counterpart" or something along those lines.

Rand al'Fain
02-03-2013, 12:15 AM
Well, RJ has been sitting on his ending revelation for close to two decades, so it must be pretty central to the message he wants to get across. Thus, I'd say the "main theme" would have to be that which is most related to Rand deciding that he should not kill the DO. Something like the importance of balance, or "Everything is defined by its counterpart" or something along those lines.

Basically, the whole yin and yang concept. Evil is balanced by good, winter by summer, hate by love, despair with hope. Yin and Yang also happens to be the Aes Sedai symbol (ancient, that is), Saiden and Saider, One Power and the True Power. Death and life. It's about balance and finding it.

GonzoTheGreat
02-03-2013, 05:02 AM
"It is not about achieving a perfect solution, it is about living."

Rand's attempt at remaking the Pattern failed because of that: he tried to impose perfection, which required that others were not allowed to live their own lives.

maacaroni
02-03-2013, 05:49 PM
Balance. Agreed.

The obvious balance of saidin/saidar. Men/women. The fact that they mystified and infuriated and complemented and improved each other. The guardians balance the servants.

But then the greater balance of True Power/One Power. Good and evil. Which allowed volition and choice.

Also, it was about duty. Death is lighter than a feather etc

Rand and Lan are the obvious ones. The same can be said of any of the light side characters. Verin, Gaul, Wil Al'Sheen, Juilin Sandar. Egwene, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve.

They chose to be heroes, they chose to fight. Even Mat.

The last theme was the legends become myths part. That these actions became eventually become lost in time until it happens again. The story of Manetheren is recreated at the last battle. As do myths of our past: Olivier and the Horn, The Knights of the Round Table, the Story of gods like Odin/Woden or Thor or even Baldur (Baldhere) Slavic gods like Perun. Native American stories like the Trickster. Arthur and the sword in the stone, the fisher king, Guinevere and the fire. Celtic myth and the children of Danu (Tuatha de danaan) and the fairies (Aes Sidhe). Even modern stories like Tolkien and Dickens (RJ's favourite author). Modern allusions like Nazis and the Asha'man; Cairhien and the Sun King; Merk and Mosk

I could carry on forever on that subject.

There's other things too, but those three overarch all

Frenzy
02-03-2013, 06:51 PM
Politics can be annoying and bog you down, but you really need to play the game to get what you want out of some people.

Davian93
02-03-2013, 08:49 PM
Unlike most, I absolutely loved the open ending and the short epilogue. I loved that Rand just rides into the metaphorical sunset. It was a very GGK type ending.

Duty is heavier than a mountain, death is lighter than a feather.

The more I've read the ending, the more I liked it.

Also, the overwhelming theme of the book/books is twofold: Balance and the power of hope.

Great Lord of the Dark
04-07-2014, 07:14 PM
The overarching theme is that only you control your destiny, only you can make good or bad things happen to you, and once you realize this you can change reality around you. Man's destiny is to choose.

GonzoTheGreat
04-08-2014, 03:22 AM
The overarching theme is that only you control your destiny, only you can make good or bad things happen to you, and once you realize this you can change reality around you. Man's destiny is to choose.
Something that may be easier to manage for the son of the heir to the throne of a powerful country than for a damane who had her tongue cut out, perhaps. And I'm not sure how easy it would have been for Padan Fain to choose a different path, either.

Tollingtoy
04-08-2014, 05:01 PM
Something that may be easier to manage for the son of the heir to the throne of a powerful country than for a damane who had her tongue cut out, perhaps. And I'm not sure how easy it would have been for Padan Fain to choose a different path, either.


PF did choose to become a DF

Great Lord of the Dark
04-08-2014, 08:39 PM
Precisely.

GonzoTheGreat
04-09-2014, 03:03 AM
PF did choose to become a DF
Maybe, maybe not. It is possible (though not really canon, I admit) that he became a DF because he stumbled upon a group of them while traveling in the wilderness, and then having the choice "join or die".

A son of royalty could, in such a case, call upon the OP, but Fain did not have that option available. :D

Uno
04-09-2014, 05:41 AM
Something that may be easier to manage for the son of the heir to the throne of a powerful country than for a damane who had her tongue cut out, perhaps. And I'm not sure how easy it would have been for Padan Fain to choose a different path, either.

Technically, someone in the direct line of succession to a throne has relatively little control over his destiny. The path ahead is pretty clear in those cases, but, yes, I'm not sure I agree that this is the main theme when three of the central characters are ta'veren puppets dancing on the strings of the pattern. The damn pattern was always going to make Rand be the Dragon whether he wanted or not.

Great Lord of the Dark
04-10-2014, 08:48 AM
Both Fain and Luc had a choice, accept what is being offered or die, The same for those being turned. They could have chosen to die. It's still a choice, and the fairness of whether you had a chance or resources to make the choice 'fair' doesn't come into it.

Rand al'Fain
04-11-2014, 01:04 AM
Both Fain and Luc had a choice, accept what is being offered or die, The same for those being turned. They could have chosen to die. It's still a choice, and the fairness of whether you had a chance or resources to make the choice 'fair' doesn't come into it.

Actually, by all accounts, the ones that were turned were never given a choice...

Ieyasu
04-14-2014, 09:48 PM
Actually, by all accounts, the ones that were turned were never given a choice...

Wasn't it Lanfear who pointed out they could have chosen to be severed?

Choice was there.

GonzoTheGreat
04-15-2014, 03:38 AM
Wasn't it Lanfear who pointed out they could have chosen to be severed?

Choice was there.
When?

"A person can resist for a short time," she said. "A short time only. The strongest will fail eventually. If you are a man facing women, they will beat you quickly."
"It shouldn't be possible," Perrin said, kneeling. "Nobody should be able to force a man to turn to the Shadow. When all else is taken from us, this choice should remain."
"Oh, they have the choice," Lanfear said, idly nudging one with her foot. "They could have chosen to be gentled. That would have removed the weakness from them, and they could never have been Turned."
The way Lanfear says it suggests to me that they could have chosen to be gentled by the WT when they started learning how to channel, before the attempt to Turn them had started. It does not say that it is possible to choose gentling when that Turning is underway.

If it had been possible to get out of it by choosing gentling, then I suspect that Logain would picked that option. He knew (from actual personal experience) that gentling can be undone.

So Lanfear does not say that it is an option during the actual Turning (just one that would have made the whole possibility moot) and Logain provides circumstantial evidence against the idea that this is an out during the process itself. Which means that it is still legitimate to say that they did not have the choice when it mattered, when the decision was made.

Great Lord of the Dark
04-15-2014, 10:10 PM
That is the quote I was thinking of. It appears to confirm that it is too late for those being Turned, and that the moment of their decision-making was much earlier when they decided to join the Black Tower instead of being gentled.

This is consistent with the theme as I presented it. The choices are not necessarily easy ones or good ones. They may not even be obvious at the time you make them.

The theme of the books is still about choosing your fate. These guys didn't just get rounded up, they chose to join the Black Tower knowing what it might mean for their sanity and their lives.

GonzoTheGreat
04-16-2014, 04:02 AM
So when they chose to join the BT to help fight against the DO rather than letting him win unopposed they actually chose to aid the DO?

Should Rand have chosen gentling in the beginning of TGH?