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  #1  
Old 02-28-2012, 01:22 AM
clint8 clint8 is offline
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Thumbs up New Fan with Question: Degree of miraculous nature of Survival of Characters

Hello WoT fans. I'm just starting the WoT series. I'm enjoying it, but there is one aspect about Jordan's writing that has troubled me slightly, although I'm not sure how much of it is due to my lack of understanding.

I'm am curious to hear your opinion as to how strongly, or how often Jordan's plots involve an incredible or unbelievable way in which the main characters manage to survive.

I'm not referring to surprising or clever actions that work, despite the slim odds. I'm talking about ways characters survive that don't seem to make much sense.

Here are a few minor examples.
(1) In the beginning chapters, why doesn't the fade just kill Rand/Mat/Perrin since he is much more powerful than them?

Perhaps you'll let me know that the fade doesn't want to kill them, and that it just wants to capture them. However, this stance would contradict somewhat the attack of the trollocs at Rand's house, who seemed to try to kill them. (Now that I think about it, I suppose it is possible that they never intended to kill, despite Narg's quick attack at Rand)

(2) Was Mat and Perrin's escape of the Trollocs unexplained? We learn that the fade and trollocs were focused on them. Somehow they managed to destroy the houses without killing/capturing them?

(3) There seemed to be a lot of fear regarding the draghkar when the party left Emonds Field. But it seemed to be quite a weakling, managing to grip Rand harmlessly for a few seconds before they got away.

(4) The fade didn't kill Rand at the Stag and Lion. (Although I wouldn't be surprised to discover a reason later on for the fade to stop his knife mid swing)

(5) This is the hardest one to believe. The group confronts a "fist" of trollocs, which I imagine to be a hundred or so. Rand, Mat and Perrin manage to ride through them, killing some, while hoards of trollocs surround and outnumber them, and they don't manage to accomplish much. (Again, maybe they only intended to capture them, which would make the situation a little more believable)

Let me know what you think! Thanks for your help.

Clint

Last edited by clint8; 02-28-2012 at 01:30 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:02 AM
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This is explained in a few different ways before the book is over with. There is one device in particular that might come across as a bit too convenient, but similarly, it becomes clearer as the series goes on that this isn't really the case. You'll soon meet a character named Loial, and he explains this device, and you'll learn more and more about how it works as the books go on. There are other factors going into the particular cases you mentioned, but I don't want to get too far into spoiler territory, and the first one I mentioned is the more important. These are things we could discuss in full once you are done with the first book, though we'd still have to be vague about certain future points.

I will tell you this, though. Draghkar are pretty weak and useless if they can't get your attention well enough to hypnotize you. Trollocs are lazy, and reluctant to risk their own lives unless they are bound directly by a Myrddraal (which has disadvantages). But again, that doesn't explain everything.
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2012, 10:09 AM
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I'll take a stab at answering, not referencing any plot points further than you do (since I'm not sure how far into tEotW you've read).

Quote:
(1) In the beginning chapters, why doesn't the fade just kill Rand/Mat/Perrin since he is much more powerful than them?
Answering would be a spoiler. There is a reason.

Quote:
(2) Was Mat and Perrin's escape of the Trollocs unexplained? We learn that the fade and trollocs were focused on them. Somehow they managed to destroy the houses without killing/capturing them?
Perrin wasn't at his house, he was at the forge. Mat likely wasn't at his house either; the Fade/Trollocs knew where they lived, but didn't know that during Winternight, people tended to go from house to house visiting and doing neighborly things. This resulted in enough time for the Moiraine and Lan to get things under control before the boys were found/harmed.

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(3) There seemed to be a lot of fear regarding the draghkar when the party left Emonds Field.
For this one, what Terez said. Also note that all that Thom and the Emond's Fielders know of Shadowspawn is secondhand, such as Rand expecting Fades to be 20 foot tall monstrosities. Their level of fear does not provide an accurate indicator of how difficult something will be for a talented Aes Sedai and Warder to handle.

Quote:
(4) The fade didn't kill Rand at the Stag and Lion. (Although I wouldn't be surprised to discover a reason later on for the fade to stop his knife mid swing)
This would seem to be related to (1). Also, the fade could hear Lan on his way, and he's demonstrated the ability to at least fight a Fade to a draw.

(5) is also likely related to (1) and (4) as to why they weren't killed. Note that the Trollocs are swinging at them with catchpoles, not generally with spears or swords. And still, the only reason they got off scot-free is that Lan killed the Fade, resulting in all the linked Trollocs dying (at least, so I seem to remember).
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:51 AM
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They did attack the forge too. Just saying. Mistress Luhhan beat them off with an iron skillet, if I recall.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
They did attack the forge too. Just saying.
Agree, they attacked the whole village. But the question appeared to me to be "they were paying special attention to Mat and Perrin's houses, so why didn't they die?" I thought noting that they weren't in fact at those houses was a helpful tidbit :-).
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:01 AM
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The forge and the Cauthon house were the only places in Emond's field that were attacked. Other places were just torched.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:47 PM
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Thank you all for the very quick response. You're help will allow me to enjoy reading the books much more.

I previously read Sanderson's Mistborn books, and I'm used to his style in that he more frequently settles my concerns by making them concerns of his characters, often letting me know what they are thinking. For example, if Sanderson were to have written the scene of the Fade staring at Rand, he would probably include a line of Rand thinking "Why didn't the fade attack me?" That way, I would be assured that the author won't leave that question hanging, but will answer it later on.

I'll plan on giving Jordan the benefit of the doubt when these questions arise.

Last edited by clint8; 02-28-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clint8 View Post
I'll plan on giving Jordan the benefit of the doubt when these questions arise.
One of the most irritating, yet accurate, responses that Robert Jordan himself always gave to questions was "RAFO". Read and Find Out. Your questions are all good ones...ENJOY!

Don't be afraid to ASK your questions here, but understand you may get answers that will spoil things for you later if you are not clear, immediately-as you did here, that this is your first read-through. Be aware the majority of threads will have spoilers for you as most everyone has read the books many, many times so read on with caution!
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:44 PM
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Oh, and the thought of a brand new fan having all sorts of questions and being new to all this wonderful stuff made me go.....


AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

really, enjoy!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by SauceyBlueConfetti View Post
Oh, and the thought of a brand new fan having all sorts of questions and being new to all this wonderful stuff made me go.....


AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

really, enjoy!!
Also, it made me go: YAY

New questions while reading always make things interesting, because of a new look at it. Of course, we may have to start a new thread to really discuss any implications if we don't want to spoil him.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:17 PM
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All shiny! (I'm squeeing too...)
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clint8 View Post
I previously read Sanderson's Mistborn books, and I'm used to his style in that he more frequently settles my concerns by making them concerns of his characters, often letting me know what they are thinking. For example, if Sanderson were to have written the scene of the Fade staring at Rand, he would probably include a line of Rand thinking "Why didn't the fade attack me?" That way, I would be assured that the author won't leave that question hanging, but will answer it later on.

I'll plan on giving Jordan the benefit of the doubt when these questions arise.
On the one hand, RJ (the way we usually refer to Jordan) liked to give his readers some mental challenges. So he did not always spell things out if he thought they were obvious, even when he could have done so without interfering with the rest of what he wanted to do with the story.

On the other hand, an important feature of the whole story is that the characters never get all the information they need, just as happens in the real world.
For instance, in the beginning of the book, Rand, Mat and Perrin all see a dark and dangerous seeming stranger. They mention that to a number of their elders (and to Egwene), none of whom can figure out what is going on. If they had mentioned it to either Moiraine or Lan, then those would have recognised a description of a Fade, and that would made them aware things were even more urgent than they'd thought. But they did not hear about this, so they were taken by surprise. Still gave a good showing, but they could have done better with advance warning.

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Old 02-29-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
On the other hand, an important feature of the whole story is that the characters never get all the information they need, just as happens in the real world.
You have no idea how often this makes me want to beat a character over the head with Mistress Luhan's fry pan when they with-hold information from another. But yes, that was RJ's intent in the first place.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:53 PM
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You have no idea how often this makes me want to beat a character over the head with Mistress Luhan's fry pan when they with-hold information from another. But yes, that was RJ's intent in the first place.
One of my biggest selling points when recommending to new people is that only YOU THE READER has all the information. And not always even then. It can be frustrating in terms of plot line, but is also brilliant.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SauceyBlueConfetti View Post
Oh, and the thought of a brand new fan having all sorts of questions and being new to all this wonderful stuff made me go.....


AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

really, enjoy!!
It's also a chance to mess with them.

Wait until they find out that Asmodean was inseminated by Bela and Gareth Bryne is Moghegdien in disguise.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:40 PM
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Welcome to the series, Clint8! Hope you enjoy!

Now if I could just get my wife to start reading WoT and start posting here....
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:26 PM
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It's also a chance to mess with them.
Aye, be warned that some will attempt to lead you astray with falsehoods.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:46 PM
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It's also a chance to mess with them.

Wait until they find out that Asmodean was inseminated by Bela and Gareth Bryne is Moghegdien in disguise.
I'm just wondering at what point it is safe to introduce the madness and glory of Felix. Is it a function of books read (knowledge) or a function of time reading (security in knowledge)?
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SauceyBlueConfetti View Post
Oh, and the thought of a brand new fan having all sorts of questions and being new to all this wonderful stuff made me go.....


AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

really, enjoy!!
heh, yes. so nice to have new questions

How far along are you in the series, Clint?
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:57 PM
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Thanks! It's also nice to have good fans eager to help. I'm not far at all. Just finished chapter 20. I'm listening to the books while I drive/walk to school, etc., so my pace won't be too fast. The series is well over 200 hours long. Hopefully I'll be done around when the last book comes out.
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