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Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time, #6)
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Lord of Chaos > Jun Week 3: Ch 24 - 40 Spoiler Discussion

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message 1: by Jade (Bedtime Bookworm) (last edited Jun 30, 2018 07:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jade (Bedtime Bookworm) (bedtimebookworm) | 124 comments Mod
Remember these are spoilery discussions - so stay away unless you've finished this section! Also, please keep spoilers to the things we know in this section of the book.

What are your thoughts on this section of Lord of Chaos?

Need a reminder? Here are the chapter summaries.

My thoughts: So many things happened in this section! Egwene getting raised is probably my favorite, it was such a shock to me on my first read through. Although Nynaeve accidentally discovering how to heal Stilling for both men and woman was pretty awesome too.

Happy reading!

Antennenwels | 17 comments I'm only partly done with this section, but there's something I would like to hear your opinion about. It's a minor complaint I have about the series so far, so in a way I also could have mentioned this in a different section...but what is it with relationships in the wheel of time? I was, once again, surprised by a romance and deep confessions of love that seemed to come out of nowhere, at least on one side. I'm talking about Egwene and Gawyn. It was obvious in earlier books that he was all over heels for her, but on Egwene's side... I didn't get the sense of her being madly in love, as she suddenly seems to be after sharing a dream with him and then meeting him again. And this didn't happen for the first time, I also was pretty surprised by Nynaeve and Lan falling for each other back in the first book after having hardly talked to each other (and if it was mainly arguing). It seems to me all this character fall in love out of nowhere, they hardly speak to each other and seem to share very little with each other and from one moment to the next, they are desperately in love, talking of marriage etc. It seems to me instead of showing us developing relationships (and in a way something similar can be said about friendships in the series), the author just tells us "these characters are now in love" and we have to accept it. How do you see this?

Scott Flicker | 107 comments I thought there were hints of it in earlier books. Anyways how does it take for real people to fall in love? Seconds, days, weeks, years... how does one go from knowing to liking to love? And what is love itself? These are all mysteries of the human heart. And this series has the free will (heart) vs the wheel (fate, predestination) aspect.

Antennenwels | 17 comments Yes...I guess you could see it that way. Maybe I'm just too pragmatic. I believe in attraction at first sight, or that people can admire another person....but for them to fall in love, in my opinion, they need to know each other, otherwise they fall in love with an idea of a person, but not a real person). But as you say, given the role of the pattern in the Wheel of time universe, it might have more to do with fate - I think this is very obvious when it comes to Rand's love interests. It seems Elayne, Min and Aviendha fall for him almost instantly. It did feel more naturally for me with Aviendha and Min, because they at least had a decent amount of interaction with him before they came to that realisation, compared to Elayne, who again seemed to fall in love without actually knowing him, but with Rand being a Ta'veren I can more easily accept it.
I don't want to be too critical, and luckily the romantic subplots are only a small aspect of the series,but in a certain way it seems like a lost opportunity to me. I usually very much enjoy romantic subplots in epic fantasy, but here...they rather tend to annoy me. Instead of making the story feel more real and grounded to me, they distract me because they seem so unrealistic. I guess it goes together with a more general issue I have occasionally with some of the female characters, but I'll save that for a later post (still hoping that it might change in future books). I'll just say that this, to me, is one of the few book series where it is very obvious that they were written by a man, when looking at both the depth and variety of female characters compared to their male counterparts.

Jade (Bedtime Bookworm) (bedtimebookworm) | 124 comments Mod
I'm with you Antennenwels, the romantic relationships in the series is a bit of a weak point for me as well. I think the lack of development of these relationships has a little to do with when the book series was written, at least that's my impression based on what i've heard about relationships in older fantasies but I don't have much personal experience reading things older than WoT. Still, i think Jordan writes women better than a lot of men writing women in fantasy from the 80s.

For me its mostly the relationship development that is lacking but I feel the women characters (at least main ones) are fairly complex, although they could always be more complex. I think its interesting because Jordan was definitely a bit ahead of his time when it comes to the feminism in the books. Women have a lot of power in this world and there's a lot of scenes where women take agency over their own decisions and such. But those relationship sure do come out of nowhere! But yes, I just have accepted them haha.

message 6: by Donald (last edited Jul 02, 2018 08:09AM) (new) - added it

Donald Trail | 34 comments Antennenwels wrote: "I'm only partly done with this section, but there's something I would like to hear your opinion about. It's a minor complaint I have about the series so far, so in a way I also could have mentioned..."

We grew up on Disney shows and Jane Austen novels. That is generally what we expect from story containing romance. However, I've never seen a Disney romance occur in real life... and the Jane Austen stuff is rare. Most people in their teens fall in love exactly as Elayne and Rand do. They meet each other and both being good looking people are instantly attracted. That feels like love to them because they are teens and it's their first time.

Egwene like most young girls in a small town grow up dreaming to marry a prince. You can tell from early on in the story that being a farmwife with Rand isn't something she really wants. She wants fun and adventure... one of the reasons she flirts so heavily with Aram to forget what she assumes is the death of her friends. I think Egwene is really looking for a guy that won't get in the way of her ambitions, and Gawyn is a handsome prince trained from birth to follow a strong female lead. After getting caught in his dream... I think this is essentially her first experience like that... and began to fall in love.

Nyneave and Lan... if you go back and read the first book you can tell from the very start that Nyneave really likes Lan... and that he likes her back. It's not very obvious at first glance because with all honesty it's not the type of romance we are used to reading. The characters are in a way showing the opposite of how they feel.

I also want to point out that a lot of people absolutely hate Egwene as a character. It has always been my belief that she represents the modern career woman, which is why she is such a lightning rod for hatred. She displays all of the great qualities and failings common among women in this group. This is just my opinion though... Jordan never talked about this as far as I know.

So, I don't really fault Jordan for attempting realism vs. hollywood style romance. I think where he kind of fails is with the Sister Wives style relationship for Rand. There is a shocking lack of jealousy or insecurity so far... maybe it will change later.

message 7: by Antennenwels (last edited Jul 02, 2018 02:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Antennenwels | 17 comments It is really fascinating to see how differently you see it. I probably would have said that the way people fall in love in the wheel of time is very disney or hollywood like and not at all a reflecting of how it happens in the real world.

And yes, looking at Rand and Elayne I agree with you, teenage hormones might have played a part there. However Nynave and Lan.. they definitely don't have the excuse of young age (on his side even less than on her). I stay with my opinion, that Lan and Nynave can't really know each other in a meaningful way, they did not have nearly enough time with each other. Was there ever a scene where they talked with each other alone, before she proposed to him? I guess we have to assume, that there happened a lot more off-page so to speak, but it just doesn't feel believable to me.

Concerning the characters...I actually like Egwene a lot. The most unlikable female character (on the light side) to me is Nynaeve by far, though I still think she is a rather well developed character. Nynave always wants to have the upper hand, she values no opinion as highly as her own and is infuriated whenever she's proven wrong by someone. This extends also to the people she considers her friends...seriously, the way Nynave thinks about Elayne and Egwene sometimes...that can hardly be called friendship any longer. And equally it makes me question her "love" for Lan, it feels to me more as if she wants to possess him, control him. Not at all a relationship among equals that respect each other...but then I don't think Nynaeve ever respected anyone apart from herself so far. Part of me believes her obsession with Lan stems only from wanting something that belonged to Moraine... and hating Moirane was another favourite of her through large parts of the series so far.
But as I said above, just because I don't particularly like Nynaeve as a person, I still think she's an intriguing character. And I have to admit, I'm very much looking forward to her meeting Lan again and to see how this develops and whether maybe she will begin to respect him (and vice versa).

My issue with the female characters is rather that many of them seem to share this sense of entitlement over men and are therefore rather similar. Siuan, Elaida, Lanfear, Aviendha (at times) most of the Aes Sedai, just to name a few, they all are about control and want to be in charge of everything. They all are extremely competitive at all times, even among friends and lovers. I just would love to see more friendships and or romantic relationships with people that actually value and respect each other (and each other's opinion).
I guess it is a consequence of the one Power having been only usable by woman for such a long time, which created a power disbalance between the sexes.
Still, it would have been nice too for once have a woman that doesn't think she knows everything best, which is probably why I liked Min a lot, she seemed the only woman not trying to control everyone around her. And similarly, while Egwene shares the belief in woman superiority at most times, she is mainly driven by her desire for knowledge and I therefore liked her a lot better.

PS: All of this by the way doesn't mean I don't enjoy the series, on the contrary I'm enjoying it a lot!
PPS: Sorry for the overlong comment.

Edit: I might have been a bit too early with my harsh criticism of certain characters. Just read the next few chapters and both Nynaeve and Siuan redeemed themselves quite a bit. ;)

Antennenwels | 17 comments Sorry for the double post. But, I wanted to mention something that's more related to this section of the book.

Wow, Egwene as the new Amyrlin seat! I didn't expect that, at least not so early! I think the Aes Sedai that hoped now to have an easily manipulable puppet at their hands, will be surprised/disappointed.

PS: I love it that Egwene now also unlocked fast travel. Seemed kind of unfair that only Rand could use it. ;) And I'm sure it will be very useful moving forward.

message 9: by Donald (new) - added it

Donald Trail | 34 comments Antennenwels wrote: "It is really fascinating to see how differently you see it. I probably would have said that the way people fall in love in the wheel of time is very disney or hollywood like and not at all a reflec..."

I understand exactly how you feel, because back in 1995 when I first read these books my thoughts mirrored your own. Nyneave drove me nuts. The relationships seemed odd and came out of nowhere... and lasted despite ridiculous amounts of time apart.

However, on my second reading which started in 2018... so nearly 24 years later, I am catching details that I previously missed. My understanding of human nature is much better and my life experience makes characters like Nyneave much more interesting.

Now that I'm older and reading for the second time I'm picking up on things I missed during my first read way back when. When reading Eye of The World, I made a note each time I read Nyneave and Lan flirting. It was actually quite frequently, I just missed it as a kid because I didn't really view it as flirting. Then again I didn't realize how emotionally repressed both characters are... and how tragic their back stories.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nyneave lost her mother very young to an illness. She was raised by her father... who wanted a boy and always made her aware of it, not realizing it might hurt her. She then lost her father to an illness during puberty. She became apprentice for a time and then the youngest Wisdom in history. Because of her youth she is often dismissed and has to fight hard to gain the respect of the town she serves. Her desire to heal is likely due to losing her parents to illness and being orphaned early in life. This is also a reason she uses her sharp tongue and temper to keep people away, because she is used to losing the people she loves and doesn't want to get hurt.

Ok, so with those character aspects firmly in mind then you start to see how her relationship with Lan develops. She isn't a POV character in EOTW, so some things you simply don't see. However, one of the key turning points is when Lan finds that she had tracked them from Emmonds Field to Baerlon. She begins to explain how she tracked them and is very defensive, because it's not something women are supposed to know how to do and would be looked down upon. However, Lan compliments her abilities, she blushes and looks away not really knowing how to react. That show of respect is what really started the romance. It should also be noted that Lan pushes people away by being unemotional. Nynaeve pushes them away with her temper. These are both defense mechanisms.

Someone over at Dragonmount put together a list of all the major points where Lan and Nynaeve start to fall in love:

Nynaeve is suspicious of the wine Lan brings her but is angered when he suggests she is afraid (TEotW, Ch. 16)
Nynaeve blushes when Lan praises her tracking skills, something she never does (TEotW, Ch. 16)
When Lan goes to check on the Trollocs, Egwene worries he is being reckless, but Nynaeve is confident he wouldn’t be seen (TEotW, Ch. 18)
Nynaeve is worried when Lan is away (TEotW, Ch. 19)
She is pleased that Lan didn’t realise she was watching them (TEotW, Ch. 21)
She does not like the look from Lan when he learns she can channel (TEotW, Ch. 21)
She thinks Lan is mocking her by obviously omitting the word “Sedai” (TEotW, Ch. 21)
When Lan goes to fetch her horse, she expects him to fail and looks forward to the feeling of satisfaction. She only feels a tiny blow when he manages it
Nynaeve thinks Lan would be useful if she could get rid of Moiraine (TEotW, Ch. 28)
She finds Lan more infuriating than Moiraine even though he rarely speaks, a dozen words a day if that (TEotW, Ch. 28)
She expect Lan to comment on how easily he snuck up on her (TEotW, Ch. 37)
She is confident Lan could walk into a Whitecloak camp to free Perrin (TEotW, Ch. 37)
She is annoyed when she doesn't hear him leave (TEotW, Ch. 37)
She tells herself she is not in competition with Lan, but doesn't fully believe it (TEotW, Ch. 37
When cutting the horse lines, she imagines Lan looking at her if she doesn't do all of them, and even though she thinks he would understand and accept,doesn't like the idea he might think less of her (TEotW, Ch. 37)
When Lan grabs her, she stares at him (TEotW, Ch. 38)
Nynaeve doesn't ask about Lan but listens intently to his story (TEotW, Ch. 47)
Nynaeve tells Lan she should have known he was a king (TEotW, Ch. 48)
Nynaeve virtually tells Lan she wants to marry him. He tells her how much he feels, but that he has his war to fight (TEotW, Ch. 48)

Jade (Bedtime Bookworm) (bedtimebookworm) | 124 comments Mod
Wow Donald, thanks for sharing that list of Nynaeve/Lan moments - I can't believe that's all the TEotW. Even as many times as I've read the first book, I didn't realize there was that much build up to the romance. Granted many of them are small thing. I think the reason it seems to happen quickly is that we don't get a POV from Nynaeve like you mentioned.

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