Author Topic: A brief treatise on why Elayne Trakand is unfit to rule Andor (spoilers)  (Read 2868 times)

Jason R. Peters

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Throughout the series, and specifically when she believes her mother dead, Elayne takes for granted that she will assume the throne of Andor.

Yet when Rhavin conquered Andor from within, Elayne was not present to fight the threat. Rand was.

When Andor faced anarchy and poverty after Morgase and Rhavin were both gone, Elayne did not govern for the benefit of her people. Rand did.

These prior two points can potentially be laid to the fact that Elayne-as-Accepted did not possess freedom to return to Andor. However, it's pretty clear that Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne pretty much do whatever they wish and go wherever they want after book 3.

But even if that argument did hold water...

The minute Elayne was declared Aes Sedai by Egwene, she did not return to Andor. She went the complete opposite direction, to Ebou Dar.

When Elayne reached Caemlyn, she did not publicly denounce the rumors of Rand killing Morgase.

In fact, so grateful was she for Rand's help in defeating the Forsaken ruling Andor, and keeping Andor from the civil war that tore other nations apart that she took down all of his banners.

Of course, one could claim that Elayne was ignorant of these events, but had she behaved like an heir should and returned to Caemlyn at the first hint of trouble, she would know all of it.

Instead, she shows up johnny-come-lately to assume the throne, taking advantage of Rand's goodwill towards her without so much as a thank you. She doesn't even acknowledge that if the Dragon Reborn WANTED, he COULD conquer Andor which is extremely weak at this point, and only Rand's goodwill keeps the Aiel, other armies, and Asha'man from treating Andor like a rebellious nation which hasn't acknowledged the Dragon Reborn.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 11:55:24 PM by Jason R. Peters »

Tasslehoof

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Yeah, I dislike Elayne because everyone preaches her abilities as a leader, but she basically abandons her country in its time of need.  I realize that finding the Bowl of Winds is important, maybe more important than keeping a strong nation whole, but other people were available to locate it.  Nynavene could have easily done it with the help of Mat, and the other Aes Sedai.

She has always bothered me, and I take Mat's stance on it, nobles are bad news and royalty is the worst of them.
Now why'd you have to go and push that button?!

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Stormblessed

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How can you know that the Aes Sedai they sent isn't a Black Ajah? The only one's they know that are 100% not are more busy than they are. Combine this with Elayne believing that her country is being ruled strongly by her mother (she knows nothing of what is really happening), her strong ties of friendship (she is probably unused to having proper friends, and cherishes their presence) and her teenage rebellious nature, I'm not surprised she ran away. She's young and wants to have some fun, without thinking of the consequences. But her journey has shaped her, i think, into a better ruler.

As for her not acknowledging Rand, she's in love with him. Acknowledging him would make her feel weaker in the relationship. She is definitely the commanding one in that relationship :p
"You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me!
 -- Darkeyed Soldier

Tasslehoof

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She knew before she left Salidar that her mother was dead (or isn't currently ruling Caemlyn since Rand asked her to come rule Andor for him).
Now why'd you have to go and push that button?!

- Famous Words of Doom.

Stormblessed

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She knew before she left Salidar that her mother was dead (or isn't currently ruling Caemlyn since Rand asked her to come rule Andor for him).

Ah yes, quite true. The scope of this series makes me forget when exactly stuff happened, and in what order. However considering the Dark One's touch on the world, the drought which was literally killing everyone, and the importance of the quest, I can still see why Elayne went on it. Andor was no longer in the hands of the forsaken, and she could trust Rand to be better than Rhavin. And if she did not get the bowl, her kingdom would suffer, and her ruling Andor would not change that. Once again, without anyone to trust, why not go herself. It's the best thing to do. And of course, she is still young, and probably wants a bit more adventure before calming down, but just because she is a bit selfish, does that make her a bad ruler? She would still be better than most.
"You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me!
 -- Darkeyed Soldier

happyman

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Ugh.  Not this.

I hate threads aimed at specific characters.  I hate threads second-guessing situations that took a lot less time in the fictional world.  I hate the shear volume of nitpicking that takes place.  Please kill this thread before it grows any more malignant.
Nature hates being reified.

Tasslehoof

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I just got a "Rand wants me to go right now, so he can put me on the throne, but I don't want to be put there by someone else so I'm going to take my time getting there" vibe.

And you don't have to read threads you don't like.  I don't read any of the threads that are like "When is Brandon done ughhhh", because he'll be done when he's done. 
Now why'd you have to go and push that button?!

- Famous Words of Doom.

Jason R. Peters

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Ugh.  Not this.

I hate threads aimed at specific characters.  I hate threads second-guessing situations that took a lot less time in the fictional world.  I hate the shear volume of nitpicking that takes place.  Please kill this thread before it grows any more malignant.

While I'm sorry that you are displeased by the nature of this thread, "nitpicking" is one of my favorite activities in fiction. I do it with my family, I do it with my in-laws, I do it with my wife. We analyze, see what could be better, see what was awesome, see what we agree or disagree on.

It's why I come to forums like these.

As to threads "aimed at a specific character", I personally prefer that kind to an alternative post which might read something like this:

"A lengthy treatise analyzing the actions of every character in a series with over 500 characters."

At least keeping the topic specific helps people such as yourself avoid reading threads they don't like...but agin, sorry you were displeased.

Tasslehoof

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Yeah, not sure why you bother to come to a forum dedicated to nitpicking if you don't like it.  And not reading the threads you don't like is swell too :)
Now why'd you have to go and push that button?!

- Famous Words of Doom.

Jason R. Peters

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I also forgot to mention:

I believe that knowing why I like or dislike a character (and knowing whether others agree) helps me as a writer, too. Not just "hey I didn't like that character", but the reasons behind.

Nitpicking for its own sake is just fun, but I'm literally trying to make a career out of it, too.

happyman

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I should probably clarify my position:

Most threads I have seen on subjects like this (usually on other message boards) tend to have the following properties:

(1)  Accentuating the negative.  They exaggerate the vices of the character of interest, the virtues of the main characters competition and fail to take into account human frailty or the issue of whether anybody else would have done better or if there were any mitigating circumstances.

(2) The opposition tends to flip it around, defending their favorite character from every possible attack.

(3) These two positions continue to grow in strength as people commit themselves to their respective "sides" until the whole thing is a tedious, emotional mess, all to no purpose whatsoever.

Most of the fan threads of this sort become useless quite quickly.  On Theoryland, they have an entire thread whose purpose is to absorb any other threads which turn into Egwene-bashing, just so you know what you're getting into when you click on it.  It starts going in circles in short order.  Occasionally, you'll get somebody hating on Gawyn (more reasonable, IMO, but the threads are quite useless and devoid of information) or some other random character.

If you have an actual purpose for this criticism beyond "I don't like her!", well, I'll withhold judgement.  But you can see why I'm dismayed to see this kind of thing popping up here.
Nature hates being reified.

Jason R. Peters

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On the contrary, in most ways I really like Elayne as a character. I do not find her fit to rule based on her actions. I actually thought my post was extremely specific in that regard, and not merely amorphous disapproval on general principle.

happyman

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On the contrary, in most ways I really like Elayne as a character. I do not find her fit to rule based on her actions. I actually thought my post was extremely specific in that regard, and not merely amorphous disapproval on general principle.

In that case, back to your critique.  No harm, no foul.
Nature hates being reified.

luminos

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I agree with respect to fitness to rule, but disagree about the reasons.  Elayne's availability to Andor during the various events of the book are somewhat trifling compared to her real disqualifications.  Those being that she has not demonstrated any great skill in administration, social grace, or other things a queen would be expected to do.  There is absolutely no reason to favor her as a leader except because of her bloodline and her connection to the dragon reborn.  Who isn't particularly fit to rule either.

Of course, part of the story could be seen as "these people aren't fit to lead, but they have to do it anyways, so what happens?"  Their struggles are fun to read about in that light.

Stormblessed

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Queens don't need to administer. The scribes and advisers do that. They run the country, make reports and ensure the queen is happy with the way they rule. The Queen has the power as she dictates the law, and can choose the advisers to run the country as she likes.

As for social grace...maybe it is because we see Elayne behind the scenes and in her head, so we get her being herself more often, rather than her outward appearance as a stately Queen, but I do agree that she does lack grace. Her stubbornness gets in the way.
"You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me!
 -- Darkeyed Soldier