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Local Authors => Brandon Sanderson => Topic started by: Jason R. Peters on June 11, 2011, 05:36:26 PM

Title: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 11, 2011, 05:36:26 PM
Books 1 through 4 are phenomenal, I enjoy them every reading, and I've lost count.

Books 12-13 were superb, even jaw-dropping at particular moments in a series I thought held no more surprises.

Even books 10-11 were decent.

But what the hell happened to books 7-9, and to a lesser degree, 5 & 6 also?

Each time one of these books came out, I devoured it, just thankful there was more of the series to read. But in my current pre-AMOL read of the whole series, these books are sticking in my throat like dry bread. It feels like a heavy obligation to choke them down, yet when I read books 12-13, though they were thankfully sparser and easier to follow, there were still characters I could not remember from before. Why is person X with person Y again? I had no idea.

At the time, I figured Jordan was just dragging the series out to profiteer. But when it was revealed that there was a clear outline and notes for AMOL for Sanderson, I thought maybe Jordan did have a larger vision.

Books 1-4 are hard-hitting and transformative for the characters. After that, the series just becomes a soap opera. Is it just me?

I mean, in book 7, Jordan felt is necessary to explain who Lan was to the reader. Same for Wise Ones. By book eight, I'm finding the political implications of every syllable's inflection and every eyebrow twitch of Cha Faile named characters tedious at best.

I'm mid-book-8, and finding it hard to continue. Particularly since I know that by book 12, things haven't changed much. Morgase is still in Perrin's camp; I thought that came much later, but here it is in book 8. Along with every hint that "Maighdin" is actually Morgase. Yet these hints do not play out until Chapter 26 of Towers of Midnight, four 1000-page books later. It becomes hard to remember what else happened in the interim (oh the Shaido were at war with them... again...) and I have the sinking feelings it's because almost nothing happened.

The "Maighdin" thing is just an example. The continually looming threat of the Shaido, the Seanchan, and the White Tower divide are all things that are present in books 7-11, but not resolved until Sanderson took up the mantle.

It isn't just the length without progression that chafes. The plot also seems self-contradictory in these books.

Rand chases Perrin away in a big fight so that nobody will think Perrin is connected to the Dragon Reborn...just as Perrin is sent to act as Rand's emissary to The Prophet. Well, is he an enemy or an emissary? Which does their plan intend?

Dashiva, whom I never even realized was a Forsaken until I devoured some WOT FAQs and wikis, attacks Rand in Path of Daggers. But when Rand is at the edge of death in the end of Crown of Swords, Dashiva is quite helpful in making sure Rand survives. Non sequitur.




Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Tasslehoof on June 11, 2011, 08:32:16 PM
I'm reading the series right now too, and I totally know what you mean.  Although, I only think its book 8 and 9 that are awful.  Winter's Heart is just BRUTAL.  Yeah sure its "cute" how much Perrin plans to rescue Faile, but really?  He couldn't have just done it?  It takes an entire book for him to get through it, and it seems completely unnecessary in the grander scheme of things.  We clearly already know Perrin loves Faile.  Ugh.

I'm currently on the 7th, and dragging it out because I really enjoy this one, and I know that Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart are horrendously boring.  I've reread the series a couple times now, and I couldn't tell you what even happens in the 8th one that's important.  I thought 5 and 6 were still quite good, he gets most of the Aiel behind him in 5, and develops the Aviendha love story.  In the 6th one, he develops his hate for Aes Sedai because of being caught and put into a box by them.  And he also develops a better understanding of Lews Therin in the 6th one.  Both of those (and the 7th one where he cleanses Saidin) are all vital.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on June 11, 2011, 09:33:35 PM
I suggest reading the awful books' summaries in Encyclopedia WOT, or other sites with god summaries, and skipping to the better books to read in full.  It is telling how few lines there are for each chapter for books 8-10.  Then, go back and read the few chapters that are crucial, maybe, in those books.  Skip all the Matt/Tuon scenes and everything with Elayne and politics and EVERYTHING having to do with Perrin.  Should be more enjoyable.  Or just listen to them, if your library can get the recorded books.  Makes it much easier to get through.  Thankful that the later books are worth it all.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Tasslehoof on June 12, 2011, 03:16:45 AM
I look forward to Matt scenes.  I think the reason I hate Perrin's in the 8th/9th is because he struggles with the "axe or hammer" mentality for way too long.  I just got so tired of hearing his thoughts about it, just pick one ffs. :/
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 12, 2011, 04:42:11 AM
That and I just find Faile to be the most bossy, angry, moody, ridiculous woman. I don't see one thing to like about her.

So Perrin went from being awesome (circa book 3) to:

1. mooning over a woman I can't stand (and screwing up even in the ways I can figure her out)
2. brooding over the axe/hammer thing and now
3. unable to figure out Balwer's or Maighdan's identity for FIVE STRAIGHT BOOKS
4. running from the wolves
5. Don't call me Lord/take the banners down

I used to love Perrin and now he just repeats himself book after book.

Matt/Tuon was the first interesting thing that happened in a LONG time. Almost the only thing I enjoyed about the final books authored by RJ.

And yes, books 5/6 sure have redeeming qualities. But I always remembered how the "major point" of book 6 was Rand in the box, yet on this reread I discovered 95% of the book is done before he's even captured. Not how I remembered it, but how I remember it certainly highlights the important portion: Rand captured.

I actually did some WOT-encyclopedia perusing already because there were things I couldn't figure out or remember (or maybe just keep in my head long enough) from RJ's prose. Some characters go so long without scenes (because there are so damn many) and then they even change NAMES so I have no idea who Cyndane/Selene/Lanfear/Mierin/Keille and Dashiva/Osan'gar/Aginor/Ishar are unless I have my concordance handy.

Not to mention by the middle books the characters you THOUGHT were dead, thus simplifying the plot, are not dead, they are all back. So all of Rand's careful maneuvering and epic battles in the original books...

...didn't matter.

Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Tasslehoof on June 12, 2011, 05:51:43 AM
THANK YOU!  I reread the 6th one last week, and said to my friend who also read the series "Wasn't book 6 ALL about Rand being captured?"  I swear when I originally read it, he was in a box for like 400 pages, but its really only like 60.

Perrin running from wolves/being a lord irks me too, its very irritating.  Also, its not so much that I don't like Faile, its that I hate how he always "smells how jealous she is".  Its such a bitchy move, it bothers me everytime they bother to talk about it.  Perrin will be sitting in on a meeting with Rand and the Wise Ones, and all Perrin can think about is how his wife smells jealous.  Jesus man, get your act together.

Yeah, I also thought it was a little much that, unless they were killed with Balefire, every Forsaken could return to life, as a different person.  And I was pretty confident Lanfear was done for, but apparently not.  I felt she had a very fitting end, but now she's back getting tortured by Moridin.  It just gets old.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Morsker on June 12, 2011, 06:59:40 PM
These are popular complaints I've seen in the fandom since the books were first released, especially that Perrin and Elayne's plotlines were too far of a diversion from the real story. Brandon even analyzed this, and thinks it's due to an overabundance of characters, which leads to entire books where no one's plotline progresses very far (what WoT did), or entire books where some characters never appear (what ASoIaF did). There's no way anyone knows to solve the problem with writing style alone; it's unavoidable if there are this many characters.

I think it would've been a blessing to kill off Perrin and Elayne before the consumed so many pages.† :D Perrin was awesome up to book 4, and Elayne was fine as a supporting character to Nynaeve before she ran off on her own. The only shame is that they lived longer than that!
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Tasslehoof on June 12, 2011, 07:50:53 PM
I think the only reason they couldn't be killed off is because of how important Perrin will be for the Last Battle.  At least thats what it sounds like from all the Prophecies/Foretellings.  Min's predictions kind of prevent Elayne and Perrin from dying too :/
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Peter Ahlstrom on June 13, 2011, 05:22:49 PM
I really don't mind the books. (Though I suppose that could be seen as damning praise.) This morning I finished listening to the Crossroads of Twilight audiobook on my morning commute, and it did a fine job of what I intended it to do: give me the Wheel of Time story in 20-minute chunks twice per day. I'll start on Knife of Dreams on my way home. I don't really think of these books as complete books (because really, they aren't) but just as parts of the overarching story. There are some parts in there I really really like, such as Pevara and her group, and the Mat and Tuon chapters.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 13, 2011, 11:58:07 PM
Moving to audiobooks is how I made the middle ones tolerable during my last readthrough, which was around the time book 10 was released. I could get through them much faster by doubling up my reading efforts, making the books faster-per-day if not faster-per-sentence.

Also, Jordan's use of intimate voice, extremely close 3rd-person makes the audiobook more fun to listen to (for me) than the prose to read, particularly with the talents of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. They bring the characters to life.

I think Jordan's close voice is part of the reason books 1-3 are so charming with just 3-4 viewpoints, and it just gets out of hand with so many.

Some of these chapters in book 8, I like what HAPPENS but I am having a lot of trouble reading paragraph after paragraph to get to the meaningful bit. I think if Jordan had adapted his style to match more characters, this could have gone much faster. Rand's and Mat's chapters could stay as detailed as they were before, but for some of the political maneuvering (Aes Sedai rebels, Forsaken, Shaido, Perrin, various royal families) a few scant paragraphs going straight to the bombshell cliffhanger would've made these books FLY by comparison.

I'm sure that's not what Jordan wanted to do, and if he started doing it as early as, say book 5, his fans who loved the in-depth character thoughts would likely have rebelled. So this all just theorizing ex post facto to improve my own fiction.

In book four, Jordan was my hero, and in book sevenI wanted to strangle him. I can't think of another author I've had such a love/hate relationship with.

When I read that Sanderson was going to attempt to emulate Jordan's style as much as possible (pre book 12), I thought:

NOOOOOOO! Write them in YOUR style!

But in the end, he had to cater to the fans, so can't fault that, and in the end his style is a hybrid any, which can't be avoided.

It is telling that of my fantasy-reading co-workers, only one made it past book 7. And I think she, like me, was reading them as they were released. The idea of reading 7 more books with as many characters is just exhausting to would-be-new-fans.

Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on June 16, 2011, 03:07:59 AM
Yeah, it's true that the Matt/Tuon progression was better than much of the other stuff going on, and I wanted so much to enjoy it.  Matt finding himself linked to, and then learning to love, what was something like an alien being.  A skinny, dark-skinned oddity, one of the most powerful humans in that world, and Matt, most everyone's favorite character, slowly falling in love.  It could have been delicious.

Unfortunately, their chemistry just didn't ever work for me.  Maybe it's because RJ didn't develop Tuon enough.  I think this is an excellent example of leaving a character entirely too mysterious/inscrutable and sacrificing likeability.  I'm still hoping for a satisfying payoff there.   But I'm still not sure the cultural differences can be realistically overcome.  It's a little like a Jew falling for Mengele's daughter, y'know?

However, I've always been very tolerant of Gawyn and Egwene, really enjoying their relationship arc, and thrilled with the most recent payoff there.  So, go figure.  I also love Cadsuane and feel that her perspective has been justified.  I think almost everyone began to see hope for Faile's return from obnoxiousness during her little adventure with the Shaido.

I remember reading that RJ called one of the books (CoT?) a failed experiment, referring to the timeline backtracking.  I didn't mind Winter's Heart because it was so much better than the book that preceded it.  That and New Spring were a huge WHEW for me.  And Kramer/Reading's pronunciation in the audio books really improves about then.  They must  have discovered the online audio resources or something.  Maybe a clinic with Team Jordan?  Something happened.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 16, 2011, 08:35:21 PM
Cadsuane's perspective paid enormous dividents recently. I applaud Jordan's vision for that, but in the thick of books 6-8 I can't help wondering if this character is just Moiraine v.2.0.

Similarly, I applaud Jordan's foreshadowing the events at the Tower of Ghenjai in book thirteen as early as Baerlon in Eye of the World.

But in both cases, I can't help noting that it wasn't until Brandon Sanderson took over the series that we got to see the arc complete. I grew very jaded with Jordan during those middle volumes, and I still can't help wonder if he dragged it out just to profiteer.

But while Rand's decisions seem to matter a great deal in book 2, I can't say that Egwene's decisions matter on a chapter-by-chapter level whatsoever in book 8. Do they matter on a series-long scale? Of course. But reading chapter after chapter of her political maneuriving (with a relatively simple, if satisfying payoff in the end) is incredibly tedious.



Like you, I remember Winter's Heart as being the first of an improved quality
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: EndOfDiscOne on June 25, 2011, 12:06:51 AM
<I>Even books 10-11 were decent.</i>

I think you mean 11 is decent.  10 is considered the worst in the series so much that's it's more fact than opinion.

Also 5 is my favorite in the series, and 6 is my third favorite.  6 probably has more important plot developments than any book in the series, except maybe the last couple.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on June 26, 2011, 01:38:01 AM
I think books 8 and 10 are considered the real stinkers.  (Path of Daggers and Crossroads of Twilight.)  Books 9 and 11 are disliked by many, but 6 and 7 had their molasses-slow spots.  My favorite was 4, The Shadow Rising.  Can't beat Rhuidean.  I also have to agree with Brandon's posts that the climax of the first book was not the greatest.  Seemed tacked-on because it was, I guess. 
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 29, 2011, 02:00:35 AM
<I>Even books 10-11 were decent.</i>

I think you mean 11 is decent.† 10 is considered the worst in the series so much that's it's more fact than opinion.

I was prepared to disagree with you (out of hopeful optimism that a horrific book wasn't still ahead of me), but I caught wind of the Amazon.com reviews of book ten. OUCH.

The top-rated five-star review is actually a tongue-in-cheek criticism.

I'm 93% through book 9. Crud.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Loud_G on June 29, 2011, 03:22:01 PM
Book Ten is the worst of the bunch, but I only ever found it annoying when I read it the first time and still had to wait for book 11. On subsequent read throughs it is much more paletable because I know that Book 11 is waiting for me at the end.

It was a failed experiment yes. But the passages are still interesting by themselves. The main complaint about book 10 is there is no overarching plot or progression. The entire book is in response to events at the end of Book 9. Which while an interesting idea, in practice didn't pan out too well in written format.

But I don't have any problem reading it anymore because I don't consider them individual books anymore. It is all part of one story. One HUGE book if you will. :)
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 29, 2011, 03:38:00 PM
That's encouraging because...I just finished Book 9.

And the end of Book 9 really makes me want to turn the page.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: andygal on June 29, 2011, 07:42:28 PM
the end of book 9 is epic in several senses.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: happyman on June 29, 2011, 08:15:38 PM
<I>Even books 10-11 were decent.</i>

I think you mean 11 is decent.† 10 is considered the worst in the series so much that's it's more fact than opinion.

I was prepared to disagree with you (out of hopeful optimism that a horrific book wasn't still ahead of me), but I caught wind of the Amazon.com reviews of book ten. OUCH.

The top-rated five-star review is actually a tongue-in-cheek criticism.

I'm 93% through book 9. Crud.

Amen.  I've just begun reading Book 10.  The Prologue has me bored to tears.  A couple of interesting viewpoints would have been a way better choice than that smorgasbord.  Glimmers of the Pattern is trying to tell a story of 100 different people at once, and as a result, you fail to care about any.  Book 9 was better than both 8 and what book 10 is shaping up to be, as was book 11, IIRC.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on June 30, 2011, 12:43:44 PM
Amen.† I've just begun reading Book 10.† The Prologue has me bored to tears.† A couple of interesting viewpoints would have been a way better choice than that smorgasbord.† Glimmers of the Pattern is trying to tell a story of 100 different people at once, and as a result, you fail to care about any.†

Just started the prologue myself...made it to Gawyn's perspective.

I'm finding it more interesting after having read books 12-13 and I actually know who Rodel Ituralde is. (In fact, I did a double-take to see him mentioned as early as book 5.) I know why he matters. It made me interested in his plotline. Furthermore, Graendal's politics in Book 9 affect him, too. It feels like plot progression this time.

But the first time I read it, my reaction was:† "Uchthk. Another character to care about? I'm exhausted."

This corroborates my theory that Jordan's style works far better for rereading than just reading. There's too much you don't know or can't connect. Knowing that Corlan Dashiva was Forsaken made every chapter with Rand's private four Asha'aman more interesting.

I gave dad-in-law books 1-3 last Christmas, and I was surprised it wasn't obvious who "Selene" was in book 2. I also inquired whether he realized Rand had "channeling sickness" when he and Mat are on the road together, explaining that Jordan's infodump from Moiraine to Nynaeve is intended as a hint to what Rand is really going through. None of this is obvious on a first read, even the most blatant of double identities.

By book ten when Lanfear has had no less than six identities, it gets a little hard to keep up with.

Other plot threads are similar...Gawyn's has payoff in books 12-13, but in I remember being annoyed by most of his appearances everywhere else. The Borderlander armies and their meeting with Egwene makes a lot more sense when you consider the conclusion of that thread when Rand meets them, and it also gives more meaning to the times they are repeatedly mentioned (starting with rumors of Tenobia disappearing). But when any of these points are first mentioned, the reader wonders why he he should care.

It fits with the "one big book" comment above, but now I remember why I was so angry when these books first came out. To wait two-three years only to see a bunch of new characters introduced...yikes.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Lord Terrisman on July 13, 2011, 01:58:38 AM
the end of book 9 is epic in several senses.

That's makes me feel a glimmer of hope.  I'm just reading New Spring in between finishing The Path of Daggers and starting Winter's Heart.  Thank you for the hope.  I, unlike most of you here, actually liked The Path of Daggers.  I thought there was some really great stuff here, though it could definitely have had some stuff cut out.  I agree with all of you guys on perrin and Faile.  I like Perrin in books 1-4, but then he just got so whipped it wasn't even funny.  I would have much preferred more scenes from Maighidin (Morgase) and Tallanvor to portray life in his camp.  I like their PoV much better.  Also Elayne continues to grate on me.  But besides those facts and a few more I still really like The Path of Daggers, especially when there was the battle with the Seanchan I though that was amazing.  I'm looking forwards to reading book9 now.  Though book 10 sounds like it's going to be one of the books that you have to get through.  Kind like how the second half of book 6 was for me.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Jason R. Peters on July 13, 2011, 02:44:30 AM
the end of book 9 is epic in several senses.

That's makes me feel a glimmer of hope.† I'm just reading New Spring in between finishing The Path of Daggers and starting Winter's Heart.† Thank you for the hope.† I, unlike most of you here, actually liked The Path of Daggers.† I thought there was some really great stuff here, though it could definitely have had some stuff cut out.† I agree with all of you guys on perrin and Faile.† I like Perrin in books 1-4, but then he just got so whipped it wasn't even funny.† I would have much preferred more scenes from Maighidin (Morgase) and Tallanvor to portray life in his camp.† I like their PoV much better.† Also Elayne continues to grate on me.† But besides those facts and a few more I still really like The Path of Daggers, especially when there was the battle with the Seanchan I though that was amazing.† I'm looking forwards to reading book9 now.† Though book 10 sounds like it's going to be one of the books that you have to get through.† Kind like how the second half of book 6 was for me.

For me, book 6 was where things began to slow. I found book 7 atrocious, but like you, there was much in book 8 that I enjoyed, including some points you mentioned.

Book 9 was enjoyable, very enjoyable, but too long.

I'm in book 10 now and everyone is right...it's terrible. REALLY terrible.

But if memory serves, Book 11 was significantly better, and in my opinion books 12 & 13 were significantly higher quality than anything else in the series except for books 2 and 4 (which they match, except with a more epic scope).
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Lord Terrisman on July 19, 2011, 06:04:45 PM
I agree with you on book 6...book 7 I feel was OK after you got through the first 300 or so pages (which is just outrageous) and thank you for the hope of book11,12 and 13.  Now I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel when I'm reading CoT.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: old aggie on August 09, 2011, 02:17:36 AM
I totally could not read beyond book 6 - had to force myself to get that far.

From there on, I've used the online synopses - and now Leigh Butler's Re-Read - to get up to speed for Brandon's books.

By book the end of 6, I hated all the characters and wanted them all to die - or maybe grow up, or get counseling, or join a 12-step group, or something.

Really, I'm a Brandon fan, not a WoT fan (hey, you can't like everything), so I fully confess that I'm in the minority in this thread. If Brandon hadn't stepped in, I'd have never read any of these books, so it's better than nothing, eh?

While I'm happy for my many friends who are hard-core WoT fans, I just lost patience with the repetitive incidents of hazing (naked people beating each other with sticks; I wondered a little if it was related to Jordan's time at VMI) and the excessively florid descriptions.

Now I realize that these are things that draw some people in to Jordan's style - if that be the case, more power to you.

I'm just thankful to all the folks (including you TWG readers) who've contributed to the Encyclopedia, etc., because you have saved me a boatload of pain.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Morsker on August 11, 2011, 10:02:37 AM
While I'm happy for my many friends who are hard-core WoT fans, I just lost patience with the repetitive incidents of hazing (naked people beating each other with sticks; I wondered a little if it was related to Jordan's time at VMI) and the excessively florid descriptions.

I'm a WoT fan, but I agree with you about the "hazing", and I think this issue doesn't get the criticism it deserves in WoT fandom. (Discussion of gender tends to drown out all other issues.) The story glorifies every form of hazing. Somewhere in the background, there's the idea that taking hazing too far "breaks" people and is wrong, but that's only a fig leaf, or disclaimer. There's just a ridiculous amount of hazing in WoT, it never traumatizes anyone, and only makes people stronger.

I noticed a real contrast in Way of Kings, where a minor character was traumatized by abuse, instead of being made stronger. While it's only the most minor part of WoK, and the topic is unpleasant, I'd read so much Wheel of Time that I immediately noticed the contrast. Wheel of Time goes to such lengths to censor every negative consequence of hazing from the narrative that the contrast to any story without the self-imposed censorship is tangible.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: maxonennis on August 11, 2011, 03:42:03 PM
I'm a WoT fan, but I agree with you about the "hazing", and I think this issue doesn't get the criticism it deserves in WoT fandom. (Discussion of gender tends to drown out all other issues.) The story glorifies every form of hazing. Somewhere in the background, there's the idea that taking hazing too far "breaks" people and is wrong, but that's only a fig leaf, or disclaimer. There's just a ridiculous amount of hazing in WoT, it never traumatizes anyone, and only makes people stronger.

As someone who grew up in foster care and have been around a number of different kids who have been abused, Iíve come to the conclusion that those that are traumatized are typically the kids who were passive to begin with. Also, I would recommend you read On Killing by Lt. David Grossman. He has a whole section on the psychology of both the torturer and the one being tortured. More often than not it is the torturer who suffers from long term trauma. Plus, I think it should be added that most of the time in tWoT the hazing isn't done with malicious intent.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on August 11, 2011, 06:20:47 PM
Good points I think, Max and Mors.  Could some of the paragraphs that seemed to drown in small descriptive details have been better utilized describing the internal struggles of non-forsaken hazers and hazees?  Most definitely. We may have seen some regret in one short-lived forsaken and they all were psychologically affected adversely from their evil ways.  Maybe Brandon supplied some of that, I don't remember.  But the consequences of near-torture on the "good guys" is never satisfactorily shown, I agree.  This may have somewhat salvaged the content of some of the worst books.  RJ's military career must have played a part in this.  Did he feel strengthened by the treatment he must have received at The Citadel?  Did he haze others himself?  I'm not sure we'll ever know.  This is not something I think I'd ask his surviving relatives.     

Jordan not only missed a few consequences, he also missed one major motivation.  He never properly showed why the Two Rivers folk are basically good and moral, with a few exceptions, while the rest of Randland suffered from all the problems and evils that we are familiar with in our world.  I never bought the "isolated, homogenous societies are naturally more pure and uncomplicated than more worldly ones," which Mr. Jordan seemed to have assumed.  We were eventually shown that there was something special about Manetheren, but in my mind, this did not fully explain the particular mores of the Three Rivers natives, upon which many of the books' delightful social contrasts hinge.  They are often very delightful.

I think pockets of human goodness exist, but there is always a reason, a belief system or an example set by an unusually special leader, whose motivation is also remarkable.  Unfortunately, these societies do not often survive too many generations.  That "power corrupts" idiom takes hold, eventually.  In almost every case.

Speaking of consequences, does anyone really believe that three women sharing one man ever really works as well as RJ imagined?  I think this was a projection of his own personal fantasy.  It never rang true for me.  Despite all that, I am a fan.  If only all of WoT was as well-explained as the Aiel and the Ogier.   Those were fully-fleshed societies with clear motivations and consequences; for me, anyway. 
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: maxonennis on August 11, 2011, 07:21:05 PM
Speaking of consequences, does anyone really believe that three women sharing one man ever really works as well as RJ imagined?†

*Spoiler Alert*

I think Rand is supposed to in the end, anyway. If that happened they wouldn't all be living in the same house and whatnot. I suppose that was RJ's entire point with Rand. He's going to die, so . . . why not? What could three people do to him that he isn't already going to endure? (Note: I'm not saying I approve.)
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on August 11, 2011, 09:06:11 PM
Speaking of consequences, does anyone really believe that three women sharing one man ever really works as well as RJ imagined?†

*Spoiler Alert*

I think Rand is supposed to in the end, anyway. If that happened they wouldn't all be living in the same house and whatnot. I suppose that was RJ's entire point with Rand. He's going to die, so . . . why not? What could three people do to him that he isn't already going to endure? (Note: I'm not saying I approve.)

Supposed to what?  Suffer consequences?

It's just that the women of WoT, especially those with power, are not generally any less jealous, petty, ambitious or competitive than real women except in this one case.  Inconsistent much?  I think so. Besides, none of Rand's internal dialogue mentions this reasoning.  At least none that I can remember.  He just seems to be reacting to opportunities of the moment.  Being controlled by women is a consistent theme in Randland, but not the lack of consequence.

Come to think of it, since he's become Min-ogamous, there has been no sharing of him at all.  Except for getting Elayne pregnant, which was a hilarious scene.  That's where there should have been more friction, though.       
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Lord Terrisman on August 11, 2011, 10:03:14 PM
I agree despite the fact that he is "shared" by three women he does seem more drawn to Min.  It almost seems like, he had phases where he  courted Elayne first, then courted Aviendha, but then he found Min and stayed with her.  Of course despite Elayne getting pregnant, it seemes like an almost, semi monogamous relationship.  Almost....
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: maxonennis on August 11, 2011, 11:18:04 PM
Speaking of consequences, does anyone really believe that three women sharing one man ever really works as well as RJ imagined?†

*Spoiler Alert*

I think Rand is supposed to in the end, anyway. If that happened they wouldn't all be living in the same house and whatnot. I suppose that was RJ's entire point with Rand. He's going to die, so . . . why not? What could three people do to him that he isn't already going to endure? (Note: I'm not saying I approve.)

Supposed to what?† Suffer consequences?
 † † †

Typo. I meant to say "I think that Rand will die anyway in the end."
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on August 12, 2011, 01:27:35 AM
Even so (situational ethics and our own preferences aside), Rand may be genetically Aiel, but he's not culturally Aiel at all.  And now he's all "good" and everything.  So, where does the potential for two girls on the side come in?  I can't see Brandon liking that eventuality, no matter what the notes and prophesies/viewings indicate.  Just my observation.  I just don't see Min stepping aside for Avhienda anymore.  We will all have to RAFO, though.  I admit I do have a strong bias toward Min.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: andygal on August 12, 2011, 06:22:50 AM
Brandon intends to write the ending the way RJ wanted it as much as possible. So Brandon's views on polyamorous relationships have nothing to do with anything.

And I like Min too, she's the least irritating of all the major female characters.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on August 12, 2011, 03:38:46 PM
I was blessed to be chosen as a Storm Leader for one of the Gathering Storm signings (Half Moon Bay, CA) and overheard a tired Brandon saying (to all of us) that he did not necessarily "like" every eventual storyline outcome.  I had sort of forgotten that until just now, but the thought still intrigues me.  Harriet was not present at the time.  I now also wonder if some inconsistencies like those mentioned lately on this thread are what may bother Mr. Sanderson, rather than any personal moral objections.  I don't think we'll get any "official" comments on this subject, but forums are for uncomfortable questions and such, are they not? 

After meeting and enjoying Harriet immensely, I believe that Min is based on a young Harriet more than any other WoT woman.  They are both delightful characters.  Brandon is as nice as you've probably heard, too, and very candid in person.  I think that's probably obvious from his friendly twitter/blog/email accessibility.

Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Lord Terrisman on August 12, 2011, 08:32:33 PM
Yeah.  I personally do not agree with the whole polygamous aspect to Rand.  But I feel the same way you guys do if Mr. Sanderson is writing the ending of RJ's series then it should be how RJ planned it and personal preferences should not come into effect.  I'm also a Min fan, I used to like Aviendha, but then she became irritating like Elayne.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: happyman on August 12, 2011, 09:26:38 PM
Speaking of consequences, does anyone really believe that three women sharing one man ever really works as well as RJ imagined?†

*Spoiler Alert*

I think Rand is supposed to in the end, anyway. If that happened they wouldn't all be living in the same house and whatnot. I suppose that was RJ's entire point with Rand. He's going to die, so . . . why not? What could three people do to him that he isn't already going to endure? (Note: I'm not saying I approve.)

Supposed to what?† Suffer consequences?

It's just that the women of WoT, especially those with power, are not generally any less jealous, petty, ambitious or competitive than real women except in this one case.† Inconsistent much?† I think so. Besides, none of Rand's internal dialogue mentions this reasoning.† At least none that I can remember.† He just seems to be reacting to opportunities of the moment.† Being controlled by women is a consistent theme in Randland, but not the lack of consequence.

Come to think of it, since he's become Min-ogamous, there has been no sharing of him at all.† Except for getting Elayne pregnant, which was a hilarious scene.† That's where there should have been more friction, though.† † † †

Dunno.  The situation described is possible, but rare.  You are also taking it way to far, as well.  All three have story arcs in which they struggle with the idea before accepting it.  Remember what Avienda suggested she and Elayne do to Min?  Neither to I; RJ censored it, just describing Elayne's shock at the suggestions.  And Rand does have some idea how odd the situation is, but because his main personal motivation was to get out of all their lives and never see any of them again, he never spent much time worrying about how it would work out, because he wasn't trying to make it work.

Also, it's not just Rand, people.  The Aiel have polygamy, openly and with the apparently eager participation of the wives.  That's odder than Rand's situation by a long shot.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: mtbikemom on August 12, 2011, 09:51:35 PM
Thanks, Happy, I had forgotten about that, as usual.  But Rand's girls still act out-of-character afterward, I think.  Only Avhienda should be so groovy about this.

Taking things too far is kind of a tradition on fantasy forums, is it not?

I was thinking a bit more about the subject of hazing today, and since I had posted something about Mr. Rigney's military background being a possible explanation, I feel I must add a bit more.   I'm not sure anymore if the Aiel Wise One training is really hazing, or even if the Aes Sedai initiation rituals are truly cruel.  Rather, they remind me more of American Indian traditions, and here's why:  they are not meant purely for the sake of cruelty or degradation.  Nor are they used to break the spirit, but to actually show the Wise One that she needs to question authority to move on, in the case of Avhienda's testing.  And wasn't that a surprise!  They are meant as a purposeful trial, not humiliation for the sake of shared suffering, which is what hazing seems to be, along with pure sadism at times.  So, because there is no real cruelty involved without a purpose, there should be no emotional/psychological consequences on either side.  Are there any other hazing examples from the book I am forgetting?   
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Morsker on August 13, 2011, 12:20:57 AM
As someone who grew up in foster care and have been around a number of different kids who have been abused, Iíve come to the conclusion that those that are traumatized are typically the kids who were passive to begin with. Also, I would recommend you read On Killing by Lt. David Grossman. He has a whole section on the psychology of both the torturer and the one being tortured. More often than not it is the torturer who suffers from long term trauma. Plus, I think it should be added that most of the time in tWoT the hazing isn't done with malicious intent.

I'll give a partial retraction; Rand's experience in the box results in real trauma. In general, I'm not objecting to views about the reality of abuse; I disagree with the author, but I never expect to agree with all an author's opinions. What's extremist in WoT isn't some opinion, but bias in presentation. There is just so much hazing and abuse, and so much glory and strengthening of people thereby. It deserves notoriety, as an idiosyncracy in WoT that it makes such a theme of this. Old Aggie noticed this, as a new reader. I wonder how many other readers notice it, and how much the observation is lost, due to "gender" consuming more bandwidth.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: Loud_G on August 13, 2011, 08:03:28 PM

I'll be honest, I've read the series many times , and I never once even considered there to be any hazing in the books at all. Even now I can't think of a single scene of true hazing. There are some nasty things that happen to people and there are some difficult tests, but no actual hazing that I can recall.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: happyman on August 15, 2011, 03:21:59 PM

I'll be honest, I've read the series many times , and I never once even considered there to be any hazing in the books at all. Even now I can't think of a single scene of true hazing. There are some nasty things that happen to people and there are some difficult tests, but no actual hazing that I can recall.

Well, Rand's treatment at the hands of the Aes Sedai was true abuse.  And treated by the books as such, with no excuses made for the abusers.
Title: Re: Anyone else have trouble choking down middle WOT books? (spoilers)
Post by: cromptj on August 16, 2011, 10:38:00 AM
I think the problem people have is after reading the first 5/6 books, which have quite a lot going on in a moderately sized cast, the series got overloaded with characters. It really shows in book 10 of which my only memory is closing the book two thirds of the way through and thinking there's 10 hours of my life I'm never getting back. Only around book 11 does some of the cast start getting offloaded which left much more room for something meaningful to happen in the last three books.

Also some of the character do fall into cycles of whining to themselves and constantly agonising over things that wouldn't matter if they bothered to get off their ass and make a decision.