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  #161  
Old 04-07-2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Garak View Post
As for whether it counts as some kind of revelation on Nynaeve's part, I'm afraid I just don't see it.
*shrug* Reading between the lines is one of the main requirements of RJ's books. Which is why his fans don't like having things like this spelled out in too much detail.

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Those are valid points; so, please allow me to elaborate on my objection to this scene. As I've already stated, Nynaeve displays pettiness, rudeness and complete ineptitude. The fact that she wastes time by fretting about a hat during a crisis proves that she is perhaps the worst candidate for leadership of any kind. However, Nynaeve is set up as a character that we – the readership – are supposed to respect. She is often lauded as a strong empowered woman.
Her personality was shaped by the people of the Two Rivers who, despite her talents, tended to disrespect her because of her apparent age. She's not often inept; she is in fact often the only person who is thinking straight.
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Last edited by Terez; 04-07-2013 at 10:44 AM.
  #162  
Old 04-07-2013, 01:32 PM
fionwe1987 fionwe1987 is offline
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Originally Posted by Garak View Post
Ah, excellent.

Thank you, Terez; I always appreciate a cordial and detailed reply.



I'm afraid I must disagree on both counts. At best, the hat shows us growing tension between Nynaeve and Alise; it says nothing about the general state of affairs between Kin and Aes Sedai. The animosity between those groups had been established in earlier chapters. As for whether it counts as some kind of revelation on Nynaeve's part, I'm afraid I just don't see it. Nynaeve walks around stomping, huffing and puffing but this behaviour is no different than it had been at any point since the Dragon Reborn. I found myself wondering why I once disliked Nynaeve so much. In Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, she was one of my favourite characters: competant, introspective and clever. I asked myself why it was that I once found her so objectionable.

This is why.

Throughout this scene – and many that preceded it – Nynaeve behaves like a complete imbecile on top of being petty, vain and rude. There is no outward sign of any kind of growth on her part and though I appreciate your input, I have to conclude that you're seeing something that simply isn't there.

Which leads me to my next point.



Those are valid points; so, please allow me to elaborate on my objection to this scene. As I've already stated, Nynaeve displays pettiness, rudeness and complete ineptitude. The fact that she wastes time by fretting about a hat during a crisis proves that she is perhaps the worst candidate for leadership of any kind. However, Nynaeve is set up as a character that we – the readership – are supposed to respect. She is often lauded as a strong empowered woman.

Throughout the entire series, all the way up to Gathering Storm, Nynaeve gets her way by sheer force of personality. She badgers and browbeats other people into compliance; she rarely offers a rational explanation for her decisions and when she does, her logic is full of holes. Most people comply with Nynaeve simply to make her shut up. Moreover, her accomplishments are not really her own in any tangible sense. She was made Accepted by fiat, allowed to skip the novice stage simply because Siuan thought that would make her more pliable. She then left the Tower – despite strict prohibitions against doing so – twice, and upon joining the Salidar rebels was made Aes Sedai by fiat. By her best friend no less. The other Aes Sedai are right to question her because Nynaeve has not not really earned any of her promotions. Her leadership skills amount to “Now you stop being foolish and straighten up or so help me I'll box your ears.”

This on its own is not so bad. The problem is that RJ's women can only display authority by standing with fists on their hips or arms folded over their breasts and scolding everyone else into compliance. They are not leaders because of innate competence but instead because of innate stubbornness. Leadership goes to whichever woman speaks the loudest and talks the sternest. Nynaeve is far from the only woman to suffer from this flaw; Alise, Renaile, Zaida, Cadsuane, Sorliea, Tsutsama and various others all behave in the same way. The only exception is Egwene and the only reason RJ gets credit for that is she does show some genuine leadership skills in Knife of Dreams.

The sexism is in the understated assumption that empowerment = stubbornness (or bullying as the case may be) and this scene is just one such example. Time and again, women are shown to be unqualified for positions of authority – Nynaeve, for example – and yet they are allowed to attain and keep those positions of authority by threatening, cajoling and browbeating their detractors into submission. Since there are so few examples genuinely competent female leadership, the series is almost claiming – in a back-handed way – that women should not be in positions of authority in the first place.
Your problem is, you seem to RJ is endorsing this as good leadership. He is not:

Quote:
Whatever Nynaeve had to say to the Sea Folk, it did not take long. She stalked away from them twitching at her skirts furiously. Approaching Elayne, she frowned equally at Aviendha and at the edge of the cliff. Usually she denied her poor head for heights, but she kept them between herself and the drop. "I have to talk to you," she muttered, guiding Elayne a little distance along the hilltop. And farther from the edge. A little way, but far enough from anyone to avoid being overheard. She drew several deep breaths before beginning, in a low voice, and she did not look at Elayne.
"I... I've been behaving like a fool. It's that bloody man's fault! When he's not right in front of me, I can hardly think of anything else, and when he is, I can hardly think at all! You . . . you have to tell me when I ... when I'm acting the fool. I depend on you, Elayne." Her voice stayed low, but her tone became almost a wail. "I can't afford to lose my wits in a man, not now."
Elayne was so shocked, she could not speak for a moment. Nynaeve, admitting she had been a fool? She almost looked to see whether the sun had turned green! "It isn't Lan's fault, and you know it, Nynaeve," she said at last. She pushed away memories of her own recent thoughts about Rand. This was not the same. And the opportunity was a gift of the Light. Tomorrow, Nynaeve would likely try to box her ears if she said Nynaeve was being foolish. "Take hold of yourself, Nynaeve. Stop behaving like a giddy girl." Definitely not thoughts of Rand! She had not been mooning over him that badly! "You're an Aes Sedai, and you are supposed to be leading us. Lead! And think!"
Folding her hands at her waist, Nynaeve actually hung her head. "I'll try," she mumbled. "I will, truly. You don't know what it's like, though. I. ... I'm sorry."
Elayne nearly swallowed her tongue. Nynaeve, apologizing on top of the other? Nynaeve, abashed? Maybe she was ill.
It did not last, of course., Abruptly frowning at the angreal, Nynaeve cleared her throat. "You gave one to Aviendha, did you?" she said briskly. "Well, I suppose she's all right. A pity we have to let the Sea Folk use one. I'll wager they try to hang on to it! Well, just let them try! Which one is mine?"
With a sigh, Elayne handed her the bracelet-and-rings, and she stalked away, fumbling the piece of jewelry onto her left hand and calling loudly for everyone to take their places. Sometimes, it was difficult to tell Nynaeve leading from Nynaeve bullying. As long as she did lead, though.
  #163  
Old 04-07-2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Garak View Post
Ah, excellent.

Thank you, Terez; I always appreciate a cordial and detailed reply.



I'm afraid I must disagree on both counts. At best, the hat shows us growing tension between Nynaeve and Alise; it says nothing about the general state of affairs between Kin and Aes Sedai. The animosity between those groups had been established in earlier chapters. As for whether it counts as some kind of revelation on Nynaeve's part, I'm afraid I just don't see it. Nynaeve walks around stomping, huffing and puffing but this behaviour is no different than it had been at any point since the Dragon Reborn. I found myself wondering why I once disliked Nynaeve so much. In Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, she was one of my favourite characters: competant, introspective and clever. I asked myself why it was that I once found her so objectionable.

This is why.

Throughout this scene – and many that preceded it – Nynaeve behaves like a complete imbecile on top of being petty, vain and rude. There is no outward sign of any kind of growth on her part and though I appreciate your input, I have to conclude that you're seeing something that simply isn't there.

Which leads me to my next point.



Those are valid points; so, please allow me to elaborate on my objection to this scene. As I've already stated, Nynaeve displays pettiness, rudeness and complete ineptitude. The fact that she wastes time by fretting about a hat during a crisis proves that she is perhaps the worst candidate for leadership of any kind. However, Nynaeve is set up as a character that we – the readership – are supposed to respect. She is often lauded as a strong empowered woman.

Throughout the entire series, all the way up to Gathering Storm, Nynaeve gets her way by sheer force of personality. She badgers and browbeats other people into compliance; she rarely offers a rational explanation for her decisions and when she does, her logic is full of holes. Most people comply with Nynaeve simply to make her shut up. Moreover, her accomplishments are not really her own in any tangible sense. She was made Accepted by fiat, allowed to skip the novice stage simply because Siuan thought that would make her more pliable. She then left the Tower – despite strict prohibitions against doing so – twice, and upon joining the Salidar rebels was made Aes Sedai by fiat. By her best friend no less. The other Aes Sedai are right to question her because Nynaeve has not not really earned any of her promotions. Her leadership skills amount to “Now you stop being foolish and straighten up or so help me I'll box your ears.”

This on its own is not so bad. The problem is that RJ's women can only display authority by standing with fists on their hips or arms folded over their breasts and scolding everyone else into compliance. They are not leaders because of innate competence but instead because of innate stubbornness. Leadership goes to whichever woman speaks the loudest and talks the sternest. Nynaeve is far from the only woman to suffer from this flaw; Alise, Renaile, Zaida, Cadsuane, Sorliea, Tsutsama and various others all behave in the same way. The only exception is Egwene and the only reason RJ gets credit for that is she does show some genuine leadership skills in Knife of Dreams.

The sexism is in the understated assumption that empowerment = stubbornness (or bullying as the case may be) and this scene is just one such example. Time and again, women are shown to be unqualified for positions of authority – Nynaeve, for example – and yet they are allowed to attain and keep those positions of authority by threatening, cajoling and browbeating their detractors into submission. Since there are so few examples genuinely competent female leadership, the series is almost claiming – in a back-handed way – that women should not be in positions of authority in the first place.
Your problem is, you seem to RJ is endorsing this as good leadership. He is not:

Quote:
Whatever Nynaeve had to say to the Sea Folk, it did not take long. She stalked away from them twitching at her skirts furiously. Approaching Elayne, she frowned equally at Aviendha and at the edge of the cliff. Usually she denied her poor head for heights, but she kept them between herself and the drop. "I have to talk to you," she muttered, guiding Elayne a little distance along the hilltop. And farther from the edge. A little way, but far enough from anyone to avoid being overheard. She drew several deep breaths before beginning, in a low voice, and she did not look at Elayne.
"I... I've been behaving like a fool. It's that bloody man's fault! When he's not right in front of me, I can hardly think of anything else, and when he is, I can hardly think at all! You . . . you have to tell me when I ... when I'm acting the fool. I depend on you, Elayne." Her voice stayed low, but her tone became almost a wail. "I can't afford to lose my wits in a man, not now."
Elayne was so shocked, she could not speak for a moment. Nynaeve, admitting she had been a fool? She almost looked to see whether the sun had turned green! "It isn't Lan's fault, and you know it, Nynaeve," she said at last. She pushed away memories of her own recent thoughts about Rand. This was not the same. And the opportunity was a gift of the Light. Tomorrow, Nynaeve would likely try to box her ears if she said Nynaeve was being foolish. "Take hold of yourself, Nynaeve. Stop behaving like a giddy girl." Definitely not thoughts of Rand! She had not been mooning over him that badly! "You're an Aes Sedai, and you are supposed to be leading us. Lead! And think!"
Folding her hands at her waist, Nynaeve actually hung her head. "I'll try," she mumbled. "I will, truly. You don't know what it's like, though. I. ... I'm sorry."
Elayne nearly swallowed her tongue. Nynaeve, apologizing on top of the other? Nynaeve, abashed? Maybe she was ill.
It did not last, of course., Abruptly frowning at the angreal, Nynaeve cleared her throat. "You gave one to Aviendha, did you?" she said briskly. "Well, I suppose she's all right. A pity we have to let the Sea Folk use one. I'll wager they try to hang on to it! Well, just let them try! Which one is mine?"
With a sigh, Elayne handed her the bracelet-and-rings, and she stalked away, fumbling the piece of jewelry onto her left hand and calling loudly for everyone to take their places. Sometimes, it was difficult to tell Nynaeve leading from Nynaeve bullying. As long as she did lead, though.
I can only conclude you don't read the books closely, and just see what you want to see.
  #164  
Old 04-07-2013, 03:00 PM
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Oh I agree that RJ is aware of the fact that he's portraying Nynaeve as bully. I just don't think that helps his case.

You're right, he's definitely saying that "This is not an example of good leadership." So, what does that tell you when he says that about all of his females and none of his males? (Except Rand)

I'd also say that this counts as reading between the lines.
  #165  
Old 04-07-2013, 04:33 PM
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Oh I agree that RJ is aware of the fact that he's portraying Nynaeve as bully. I just don't think that helps his case.
It certainly doesn't help yours, though. Again, you've failed to make a true distinction between the men and women of the series; the men are every bit as stubborn. Nynaeve's particular personality has an explanation, which you don't like—fine—but her personality is incredibly realistic, and her it doesn't disqualify her from leadership. Leaders who are both competent and pleasant are few and far between.
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  #166  
Old 04-07-2013, 05:03 PM
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Oh I agree that RJ is aware of the fact that he's portraying Nynaeve as bully. I just don't think that helps his case.
What is his "case" exactly?

Quote:
You're right, he's definitely saying that "This is not an example of good leadership." So, what does that tell you when he says that about all of his females and none of his males? (Except Rand)
So you found Perrin, who resists leadership and takes its responsibilities reluctantly, and then promptly ignores them when his wife is kidnapped, as a good leader? Or Mat, who always shirks responsibility, and to the end tries to avoid his duties? How about Lan, who runs away from what he has to do fo so long?

There are plenty of men and women in the series who're poor leaders to start with. They all grow into more, of course, but it isn't restricted to women at all. And there are plenty of women who're good leaders, from Siuan to Cadsuane to Birgette to Moiraine. Not to mention Egwene, and Elayne, the characters with whom this is most explored.

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I'd also say that this counts as reading between the lines.
No, no it doesn't. Not when it involves selectively ignoring aspects of the book.
  #167  
Old 04-07-2013, 05:15 PM
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It certainly doesn't help yours, though. Again, you've failed to make a true distinction between the men and women of the series; the men are every bit as stubborn
Yes, that's a fair point - and one of the things that took some getting used to - but the men at least are given leadership positions after they display competence. Once again, except Rand.

Take Perrin for example. He successfully organized the defense of the Two Rivers and that was how he became a Lord. One of the later PoD chapters even shows him making the rounds of his camp, checking on the horses, confiscating Jori Congar's brandy, making sure men attend to small wounds. At one point, Jori Congar even says "Nothing gets past Lord Perrin!"

Or Mat.

Mat became leader of the Band of the Red Hand after he saved them from a gruesome death at the hands of the Shaido. Now,keep in mind that I don't like mid-series Mat any mroe than I liked mid-series Nynaevee. But I will at least acknowledge that the author has justified his authority. Has he done so with Nynaeve?

Nynaeve's personality is horrid because every single one of these characters is horrid. (except Perrin). That's just how characters were written at this point in the series: haughty, self-obsessed and blind to their failings. They didn't start that way - I liked Nynaeve just fine in Eye of the World - but they degenerated.
  #168  
Old 04-07-2013, 05:32 PM
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What is his "case" exactly?
So you found Perrin, who resists leadership and takes its responsibilities reluctantly, and then promptly ignores them when his wife is kidnapped, as a good leader?
In the beginning? Yes. His reluctance to take on a leadership role was a sign of intelligence. Most of the good leaders didn't want to be in charge in the first place.

There is some merit to your argument regarding Perrn's obsession with Faile. But to me, that's more of a pacing problem than it is a problem with Perrin's character.

Ask yourself a question.

What responsibilities did Perrin ignore?

By the time Faile was captured, Masema was well in hand and that was his only purpose for being in the southlands. I suppose you could claim that it was his responsibility to return to Rand - and he should have sent a messenger by gateway - but there were other prisoners besides Faile. You might say that he was responsibile for their well-being, that it was his job to get them out.

The problem with the Perrin/Faile story is that it's just too padded. Endless chapters about nothing. So, it starts to feel to the reader that Perrin has gone completely off the rails. And he has, in terms of narrative focus. But making the rescue of his wife his number one priority is not ignoring his responsibilities. If RJ had wrapped the story up in a single book - as he should have - it would have seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing for Perrin to do.

As for Mat.

What responsbilities has he shirked? He went to Salidar at Rand's request. He got roped into a wild goose chase for the Bowl of Winds and he was ultimiately responsible for the success of that mission. What exactly did he shirk?

Keep in mind, I think Mat is a real piece of work. Every time he talks about wanting to get away from Rand, I want to punch him. Except, as often as he talks about it, he keeps coming back doesn't he?

Lan?

Lan was never a leader until the very last book and he seemed to do a fine job of it. I'm not sure you can count that though since I'm talking about the RJ books not the Brandon books.

Last edited by Garak; 04-07-2013 at 05:40 PM.
  #169  
Old 04-07-2013, 06:03 PM
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Yes, that's a fair point - and one of the things that took some getting used to - but the men at least are given leadership positions after they display competence. Once again, except Rand.
See, when you make arguments like this, you make it difficult to give civil replies. Nynaeve was given a leadership position before the story began. What little we know about it suggests rather explicitly that she was given that position for her competence, which was so remarkable that her youth was no detriment to her eligibility for a job that is typically associated with older women. And again, her personality developed as Wisdom of a village where the people used her for what she was good at but had to be forced to take her seriously. She had to develop stubbornness just to get by in the Two Rivers.

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Nynaeve's personality is horrid because every single one of these characters is horrid. (except Perrin).
So why ever do you read WoT?
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  #170  
Old 04-07-2013, 06:21 PM
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Leadership goes to whichever woman speaks the loudest and talks the sternest. Nynaeve is far from the only woman to suffer from this flaw; Alise, Renaile, Zaida, Cadsuane, Sorliea, Tsutsama and various others all behave in the same way.
If you seriously think that is true when it comes to people like Alise, Sorilea and Cadsuane you really haven't being paying attention. Take Cadsuane for example. Here leadership comes from a lifetime of experience and accomplishments. We see her use a variety of methods(of which bullying is just one) to get results based on the situation. For instance here we see her recognizing that Samitsu can lack confidence and needs to be built up.

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"I expect you to watch her, Samitsu. No more than that. I want to know what one of these Dragonsworn sisters does when neither I nor the Wise Ones are looking over their shoulders and holding a switch. You've always been very observant." Patience was not always her strongest trait, but sometimes it was required with Samitsu. The Yellow was observant, and intelligent, and strong willed most of the time, not to mention the best alive at Healing -- At least until the appearance of Damer Flinn -- but she could suffer the most astonishing collapses in confidence. The stick never worked with Samitsu, but pats on the back did, and it was ridiculous not to use what worked. As Cadsuane reminded her how intelligent she was, how skilled at Healing – that was always nec*essary, with Samitsu; she could go into a depression over failing to Heal a dead man – how clever, the Arafellin sister began to draw up her composure. And her self-assurance. “You can be assured Sashalle won’t change her stockings with*out I know it,” she said crisply.
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Last edited by suttree; 04-07-2013 at 06:35 PM.
  #171  
Old 04-07-2013, 06:33 PM
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In the beginning? Yes. His reluctance to take on a leadership role was a sign of intelligence. Most of the good leaders didn't want to be in charge in the first place.
That's a corny little idea that a lot of fantasy authors subscribe to, but that doesn't make this true. The best leaders in reality are not those who were reluctant to do it, but those who, once they get the job, took their responsibilities very seriously, and refuse to let the "unfairness" of it all stand in the way of doing their best.

And the best leaders in the books are like that. Rand, Egwene, Nynaeve, Siuan, etc. These people didn't shirk their responsibilities once they were made leaders. Instead they tried to use the opportunity they were given to make something happen.

Quote:
There is some merit to your argument regarding Perrn's obsession with Faile. But to me, that's more of a pacing problem than it is a problem with Perrin's character.
I'm sorry, that a bullsh!t argument. The pacing issues might have stretched out the story, but the core story was what was always intended.

Quote:
Ask yourself a question.

What responsibilities did Perrin ignore?
All of them when Faile was captured. He didn't do the tasks he was supposed to. He didn't check on his men, he didn't work to keep the camp in good order, he refused to do what he was supposed to do with Masema. Heck, he even refused to do his duty to Aram, a man he was responsible for, a guy who'd taken him on as liege. Perrin turned a bling eye to him, pushing him into Masema's path, and you know the end result. Same with Berelain, who he let spread rumors about him, to the detriment of the respect his soldiers held him in. How is that not atrocious leadership?

Quote:
By the time Faile was captured, Masema was well in hand and that was his only purpose for being in the southlands.
Having someone "well in hand" means they can corrupt your closes allies now? Well, by those ridiculous standards, you're right, Perrin is a great leader.
Quote:
I suppose you could claim that it was his responsibility to return to Rand - and he should have sent a messenger by gateway - but there were other prisoners besides Faile. You might say that he was responsibile for their well-being, that it was his job to get them out.
Except if he'd taken Masema to Rand and demanded help in getting Faile back, he'd have got it done quicker. But he didn't go because he didn't want to depend on Rand for this...
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The problem with the Perrin/Faile story is that it's just too padded. Endless chapters about nothing. So, it starts to feel to the reader that Perrin has gone completely off the rails. And he has, in terms of narrative focus. But making the rescue of his wife his number one priority is not ignoring his responsibilities. If RJ had wrapped the story up in a single book - as he should have - it would have seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing for Perrin to do.
No, it wouldn't have. Because even then, Perrin would have been thinking that the end of the world did not matter as much as Faile did.

Contrast that to Nynaeve. In KoD, she has come to the realization that Lan feels the need to go do his duty in the blight. This conflicts with her own duty to Rand, and her desire to have Lan near her so she can protect him. Does she ignore everything and say "only Lan matters"? Heck, she could have gone with him to the Borderlands and helped him launch an assault on the Blight, and she could have made a perfectly rational case for doing that. Instead, she worked to enable his sacrifice and make it less meaningless, then went back to her duty knowing that it may well be the last time she sees Lan. That is the standard Perrin should have aspired to, and he fails miserably in comparison.

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As for Mat.

What responsbilities has he shirked?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This has GOT to be the most absurd question someone who has read WoT can ask.

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He went to Salidar at Rand's request. He got roped into a wild goose chase for the Bowl of Winds and he was ultimiately responsible for the success of that mission. What exactly did he shirk?
Ummm... that's ignoring a lot of stuff that happened to force him to make those choices. He was running away from Rand and his responsibilities in tFoH, when, entirely by accident, he got thrown into situations that caused him to save Cairheinin and Tairen soldiers, which led to them taking hom on as leader and refusing to let him go on his way. He was stuck in the role of leader, and so he accepted Rand's task for him, screaming and kicking all the way.
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Keep in mind, I think Mat is a real piece of work. Every time he talks about wanting to get away from Rand, I want to punch him. Except, as often as he talks about it, he keeps coming back doesn't he?
So? How exactly is this an endorsement for him compared to Nynaeve, who went to the White Tower, which she hated, to protect Egwene? How does this make Mat better than the Nynaeve who, when she realized the Seanchan had attacked Ebou Dar, immediately wanted to run to rescue him, no complaints, no whining, despite knowing that she ran the very real risk of being captured and made a slave for life?

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Lan?

Lan was never a leader until the very last book and he seemed to do a fine job of it. I'm not sure you can count that though since I'm talking about the RJ books not the Brandon books.
Lan was supposed to be leading. He didn't. He was forced to be one curtesy of Nynaeve's brilliant scheme. He did a fine job of it because Nynaeve enabled him to do it. Left to himself, he'd have run off to the Blight alone, serving no purpose and wasting his talents. It takes an extraordinarily blind reading of the series to say its down to Brandon that Lan did a good job.
  #172  
Old 04-07-2013, 07:16 PM
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If you seriously think that is true when it comes to people like Alise, Sorilea and Cadsuane you really haven't being paying attention.
Cadsuane, Alise, Elaida...same thing. Sometimes I wonder why people can't find anything better to do when they're bored than trolling Theoryland.
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  #173  
Old 04-08-2013, 04:52 AM
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Ummm... that's ignoring a lot of stuff that happened to force him to make those choices. He was running away from Rand and his responsibilities in tFoH, when, entirely by accident, he got thrown into situations that caused him to save Cairheinin and Tairen soldiers, which led to them taking hom on as leader and refusing to let him go on his way. He was stuck in the role of leader, and so he accepted Rand's task for him, screaming and kicking all the way.
But Rand hadn't given him such a task before Mat collected the Band. Rand was very clear about that: he did not make any demands on Mat at all. As far as he was concerned, Mat could make his own decisions, and Rand was fine with that.

The only one who actually might have had cause for making claims on Mat's time at that point was Melindhra, and ditching her was indeed somewhat tacky. But then, she hadn't asked Mat's permission for her to join Rand's bodyguard either, so she was doing the same thing Mat did: make decisions without consulting the other.

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So? How exactly is this an endorsement for him compared to Nynaeve, who went to the White Tower, which she hated, to protect Egwene? How does this make Mat better than the Nynaeve who, when she realized the Seanchan had attacked Ebou Dar, immediately wanted to run to rescue him, no complaints, no whining, despite knowing that she ran the very real risk of being captured and made a slave for life?
Neither Mat nor Nynaeve were really happy with what they had to do, but they both did what was right.

Nynaeve's leadership was often expressed in the form of teaching, which then led to her students learning how to act independently, even ignoring Nynaeve when the situation called for it. She didn't really like that, but she never changed this approach to life. She did not only teach this to the Kin and to some former damane and sul'dam, she also taught Rand, Mat and Perrin in this way. And Egwene, for that matter, though I think that one was a mistake.
Mat's leadership was more of a military nature, which meant that his pupils had to keep obeying him even when they had learned enough to act independently. Thus Talmanes, who had started out as a somewhat competent nobleman with a small number of followers, ended up as a very good captain in his own rights while still serving as Mat's second in command.
  #174  
Old 04-09-2013, 03:01 PM
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See, when you make arguments like this, you make it difficult to give civil replies. Nynaeve was given a leadership position before the story began. What little we know about it suggests rather explicitly that she was given that position for her competence, which was so remarkable that her youth was no detriment to her eligibility for a job that is typically associated with older women. And again, her personality developed as Wisdom of a village where the people used her for what she was good at but had to be forced to take her seriously. She had to develop stubbornness just to get by in the Two Rivers.

So why ever do you read WoT?
Do you mean to say that my opinions make you angry, Terez? I'm honestly not sure what to make of that. If anything I've said has upset you, please accept my apologies as that was not my intention.

Why did I read WOT to begin with?

Because the first book was very good and the second was decent. The third was all right and the fourth nothing short of excellent.

The fifth book was mostly enjoyable. The sixth was all right. The seventh was a bit of a misstep but I think every author is allowed to have one or two of those. The eighth, ninth and tenth books were awful and the eleventh better by comparison. (Though, overall, I'd probably put it at about the same level of quality as the sixth).

I dislike PoD through CoT and I honestly believe that those books created many of the problems that fans see in the final three volumes. But WOT wasn't always bad. Not the best fantasy series that I've ever read but – if you were to take the first five books alone – nowhere near the worst. My favourite book in this series is actually Gathering Storm. Just about every scene in that book is a gem. Following that, it's hard to say. Shadow Rising maybe? Or Memory of Light?

See the thing about Gathering Storm is that large chunks of it are actually Robert Jordan's writing. And that goes to show that he can be a truly astounding author if he has someone to rein him in. He seems to need something to balance him out, someone who says “Okay, let's tone down the description a bit, focus more on what's happening.” Brandon provided some fresh air by lightening up the characters and adding a bit of zip to the dialogue.

But I believe the term that best describes the ACoS – CoT era is “protection from editors.” No one ever told RJ no. As a result, things got out of hand with too many characters, too much description and not enough narrative movement. The improvements to his work in KoD and TGS show that even when his health was waning, he was still capable of putting together a good story if he had someone to provide him with focus.

I'm very much reminded of the issues that Gene Roddenberry experienced in his final years producing television. Roddenberry was famous for a very narrow definition of what Star Trek could be and for an almost tyrannical insistence that nothing should ever deviate from his vision. The result was the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation – a season that is famous for poor characterization, laughable plotlines and attempts to be so “unsexist” and “unracist” that the writing staff almost looks as bad as some of the worst members of the Klan.

Eventually Paramount brought in a new writing staff and usurped some of Gene's creative control. The result was the third, fourth and fifth seasons of TNG. To this day, many fans and critics consider those seasons to be sterling examples of science-fiction television. It wasn't that Gene had nothing to offer; it was that he needed someone to provide him with perspective, to remind him that sometimes a writer is too close to his own creation.

RJ needed someone to balance him out. To remind him that you can't just slash and burn through the tropes of the fantasy genre because many of those tropes exist for a reason. Subverting a few of them in key places adds some flavour to your work but outright ignoring them often makes the story look like a disjointed mess.

Last edited by Garak; 04-09-2013 at 03:07 PM.
  #175  
Old 04-10-2013, 01:26 PM
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Do you mean to say that my opinions make you angry, Terez?
What I mean to say is that your arguments often seem to deliberately sidestep the truth; if not that, then they are the arguments of someone who doesn't actually remember what happened in the books, in which case, why are you arguing at all? But whether it's sidestepping (trolling) or ignorance, it's angering not to me, but as a general rule. You haven't made me angry yet, but you've gotten some pretty uniform reactions from diverse Theorylanders. I get that you want to defend Brandon, and knowing Brandonfans in general I'm assuming this whole argument is personal for you, because it certainly hasn't been very substantive. I don't think that's because you're a person who is incapable of making substantive arguments; I think it's because you're a bit out of your depth when it comes to WoT.

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I'm honestly not sure what to make of that. If anything I've said has upset you, please accept my apologies as that was not my intention.
I don't expect apologies; I'm not personally offended. We all have our tastes, but I don't stalk Brandonforums looking for people who hate WoT or think Brandon's WoT books are the best out of all of them; I can't imagine any reason for wanting to do such a thing. I have, however, had substantive discussions about WoT on forums of books that I enjoy, and I would suggest that you do the same, not just for the happiness of the forum, but for your own happiness. I get that Brandonfans want to defend Brandon from his detractors, but Brandon himself has said that it doesn't really help; if you just ignore us, eventually we'll get tired of talking about it.

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Because the first book was very good and the second was decent. The third was all right and the fourth nothing short of excellent.
Ah, Brandon's favorite book. It's mine too; I was involved in a MySpace battle years ago for best WoT book and I championed TSR. (The last holdout was LOC.) Good times. Comparing WoT books is hard to do, though. Some thought the first three were the best and it started to slow down with TSR. Some people stopped reading (or at least rereading) the series then. Some thought LOC was like half a book, and stopped reading the series then. Some dropped off with ACOS, TPOD, WH, and COT. There are a lot of conversations about when it went off the rails and how and why. I think you might enjoy those conversations a little more in places that don't say "hardcore fan freaks of the wheel of time" at the top of the page.

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I dislike PoD through CoT and I honestly believe that those books created many of the problems that fans see in the final three volumes.
I think RJ's death caused most of those problems. Not all, but most.
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  #176  
Old 04-11-2013, 04:31 AM
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I think RJ's death caused most of those problems. Not all, but most.
Yeah, overall, it would have been better if he hadn't died.
  #177  
Old 04-11-2013, 06:14 AM
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Lan?

Lan was never a leader until the very last book and he seemed to do a fine job of it. I'm not sure you can count that though since I'm talking about the RJ books not the Brandon books.
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  #178  
Old 04-11-2013, 06:17 AM
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Ah, Brandon's favorite book. It's mine too; I was involved in a MySpace battle years ago for best WoT book and I championed TSR. (The last holdout was LOC.) Good times. Comparing WoT books is hard to do, though. Some thought the first three were the best and it started to slow down with TSR. Some people stopped reading (or at least rereading) the series then. Some thought LOC was like half a book, and stopped reading the series then. Some dropped off with ACOS, TPOD, WH, and COT. There are a lot of conversations about when it went off the rails and how and why. I think you might enjoy those conversations a little more in places that don't say "hardcore fan freaks of the wheel of time" at the top of the page.
tFoH is the best book in the series. I have tried to convince others of this but I will accept that tSR is a close second. But only because of T.
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  #179  
Old 04-11-2013, 02:02 PM
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What I mean to say is that your arguments often seem to deliberately sidestep the truth; if not that, then they are the arguments of someone who doesn't actually remember what happened in the books, in which case, why are you arguing at all? But whether it's sidestepping (trolling) or ignorance, it's angering not to me, but as a general rule. You haven't made me angry yet, but you've gotten some pretty uniform reactions from diverse Theorylanders. I get that you want to defend Brandon, and knowing Brandonfans in general I'm assuming this whole argument is personal for you, because it certainly hasn't been very substantive. I don't think that's because you're a person who is incapable of making substantive arguments; I think it's because you're a bit out of your depth when it comes to WoT.
I think, Terez, that you should be very hesitant to make the assumption that anyone whose views differ from yours must be either disingenuous or ill-informed. For instance, it's very possible that I might read the same words you have and find an entirely different meaning in them. You see significance in the fact that Nynaeve is indebted to Alise for the return of her hat and I do not. This does not make you wrong. I see a pattern in the way that female authority figures are portrayed and you do not. This does. not make me wrong. Nor does it make either of us right. Not in a universal "this is the only possible answer" sense. It is hubris to believe that anyone who reads the same passage you have must come to the same conclusions about it that you have. Or else they read it wrong.


This also goes for Suttree, by the way, who has told me several times now that I am not carefully reading the text. Just because you draw a conclusion from something that you read does not mean your conclusion is correct. The human mind is an interesting thing and there is a wealth of psychological research that demonstrates that humans are very good at seeing patterns in what is actually nothing more than random background noise.

I see a pattern in the portrayal of certain female characters. That does not mean the pattern actually exists. The fact that you do not see the same pattern is not proof that you just aren't looking hard enough. And likewise for me. My interpretations of Cadsuane need not agree with yours and that fact alone is not proof that I'm not reading carefully enough.

I typed this on a smart phone, by the way, so if there are typos, please bear with me.
  #180  
Old 04-11-2013, 02:24 PM
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This also goes for Suttree, by the way, who has told me several times now that I am not carefully reading the text.
You aren't. What has become clear is you have a very surface level understanding of the work. Again as I said in my intial post, people read fantasy for different reason and the WoT is perfectly enjoyable on that level.

Also it does mean you are wrong when you try to support your opinion with facts that are either incomplete or flat out incorrect as you have done in this thread.

As Harlan Ellison said:
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