Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Vision of Tarmon Gai'don?

By Linda

In September last year Sydney had a fairly severe dust storm in the night. We awoke to a lurid red light which lasted a few hours. The two photos are taken from my house about an hour after sunrise, when the light should have been bright and clear and the sky blue. The pale blobs are the flash hitting the dust in the air.

While it looks rather apocalyptic, bushfires are worse than this - blacker and with vast heat and noise as well. And much more danger.

Still, it gives an idea of what the Blight could look like around Thakan’dar say, or the deep northeastern blight Graendal described, with its rust-coloured light, as Tarmon Gai’don approaches. Not that we have sweltering heat in early spring. Well, not usually!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Article Released: Character Names Parallels - F

By Linda

The article on possible sources for character names starting with F has been published in the Reference Library. Two important characters are Faile and Fortuona.

Early next week I shall start the read-through of A Crown of Swords.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Article Released: Character Names Parallels - E

By Linda

The article on possible sources for character names starting with E has been published in the Reference Library.

The Arthurian origins of Egwene's and Elayne's names is well known, but Elyas' name is also that of an Arthurian character.

Elaida's name is linked to an Irish legend - one which explains the coded message that Galina sent to Elaida when she captured Rand - and Eamon Valda's name to rather more recent Irish history.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wheel Of Time Embroidery Collection #2 - Rand's Coat Sleeve Embroidery 1

By Linda

This post is part of a series on the Costume of The Wheel of Time world. A previous post was on embroidered Tairen Mazes and included a panel from one of Mat’s sleeves.

Now I’ve turned to embroidering samples from Rand’s coats in materials and colours consistent with what would have been available in Jordan’s world.

Moiraine had several coats made for Rand in Shienar including this one:

After a moment, he chose the black coat, to suit his mood. Silver herons stood on the high collar, and silver rapids ran down his sleeves, water battered to froth against jagged rocks.

- The Great Hunt, On the Scent

The heron (shown right, click to enlarge) is in thick silver thread sewn down (couched) onto black silk fabric with fine thread. Such thread consists of thin strips of silver wrapped around a core of silk (these days usually all synthetic). It is not drawn in and out of the fabric because it would damage the fabric and strip the silver from the thread. There would have been one heron on each side of the standing collar.

I sewed two designs for the sleeve panel. In the first (shown left, click to enlarge) the water was two strands of silver couched onto the black silk with fine silver thread. The water contours would continue around the bottom of the sleeve, encircling the cuff. Two strands of thick silver thread outlined the rocks and then one strand of silver thread in seeding stitch gave them texture.

Rand's coats are usually embroidered in metallic rather than in coloured silk threads. Such metalwork embroidery was common on the coats of nobility in Europe and even more so in China. Gold was the usual metal used, and in fact Rand has many more coats embroidered with gold than with silver.

In the second sleeve panel I emphasised the water frothing over the rocks. A detail is shown right; the fall of water is actually longer, but this is the limit of my scanner.

The curling pattern of the churned water is a traditional Chinese goldwork pattern, appropriate since the heron and the waterfall (and the dragon!) are motifs in Oriental embroidery. At the base of the sleeve the water pattern would continue around the cuff. The water was sewn in two strands of fine silver thread couched down with a strand of grey thread.

The rocks were couched with two strands of thick silver twist thread and filled in with two strand of thin silver thread.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Article Released: Character Names Parallels - D

By Linda

After over two months, I have only one published article left to update for The Gathering Storm, but it's a big job and I have decided to post some new material for a while instead. Today I've returned to the series on possible sources for the character names starting with D, such as Damer Flinn, Davram and Deira Bashere, King Darlin.

(The introduction can be accessed here), and the previous letters:

Character Names A

Character Names B

Character Names C

As well as adding to this series, and the WOT embroidery series, over the coming days, I'll be returning to the read-through, resuming at A Crown of Swords.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: Rand Parallels essay

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on possible parallels used in developing Rand's character has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm. Main additions were Rand's deeds and insights in the new book, and expansion of the King Arthur, Shiva, Christ and symbolism sections.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

JordanCon 2010 - the Wheel of Time fan convention. Irresistible!

by Linda

In a little over three months, JordanCon 2010 will be held at Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Georgia from April 23 to 25. Great news is that Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, and Wilson Grooms will be there, as will two non-Wheel of Time authors: David Wong (John Dies at the End) and Jana G. Oliver (Time Rovers series). There will be discussion on the Wheel of Time of course (copious discussion, I should think), plus a writer’s workshop, forum, games, contests, costuming including weapons, dealer’s hall, Seanchan Ball, and a charity Poker night and silent auction to raise money for amyloidosis.

I’m very much looking forward to it!

The JordanCon team have done a wonderful job organising. If you want to know more, here’s the progress report.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Theory Updated for TGS: Nine Labours of Rand revisited

by Linda

Rand's exploits in The Gathering Storm seem to me to support my theory that Rand is going to perform a series of "impossible things" and so today I created a new, expanded version of The Nine Labours of Rand. (The previous version is still here for comparison.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: Mainland Military Forces

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on the Military Forces of the Westlands has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Society

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Society has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm. Not surprisingly, much of the new information centres around crimes and punishments, but there are other interesting things too, such as the surprisingly early beginning to the custom of bonding Warders.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Administration

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Administration has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm, including the White Tower layout, the Ajahs, and the executive positions of the Aes Sedai. A few inconsistencies with earlier books are detailed below along with a comparison of a ceremony in the two Halls.

Click here to expand the rest of this post

The ritual in Egwene’s raising ceremony in the Tower differed from that described in Salidar, in part because the Hall had already voted to raise her, and in part due to the Seanchan attack the night before, and the impending purging of Darkfriends and reunification with the rebels.

In Salidar, Egwene was draped in the stole by the oldest two Sitters and then the three sponsors kissed the new Amyrlin’s ring before the Sitters did so in order of decreasing Age. In The Gathering Storm only Saerin draped the stole on Egwene, and Egwene’s sponsors were Sitters, and queued in rank with the other Sitters. She wasn’t announced to the Tower either and gave no blessings, but then the night before had been rough. Nor did Egwene announce her Keeper publicly.

While The Gathering Storm is mostly consistent with previous books, I hit a few snags while updating this essay.

The Tower layout was one: the bottom half of the Tower was distinctly described in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time as reserved for communal functions and the Ajahs as housed in the upper levels in pie-shaped wedges, by which I understood that each storey has all seven Ajahs present – which seems fairer and more in tune with the original spirit of unification when the Tower was designed –and not adjacent whole floors for one Ajah as described in The Gathering Storm. The White are on the 3rd and the Yellow were on the 6th (and therefore also in the bottom half of the Tower, which is supposed to be a communal area) and the Brown on the 21st and 22nd levels in The Gathering Storm. When the Browns on the 21st level are swapped with the novices in the east wing, it is described as half the Browns moving (The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts) so they are only on the 21st and 22nd floors, and not in one seventh of the Tower vertically.

Also the Tower levels are linked by ramps in previous books far more often than stairs. No ramps were mentioned in The Gathering Storm except within the Hall.

The youngest Sitter opens each formal session by warning the Hall and any onlookers that any intruder will be bound to face the law as shown in The Path of Daggers, The Law and Crossroads of Twilight Surprises; she does not ward the Hall against eavesdropping.

It is the second youngest Sitter who wards the proceedings of closed sessions against eavesdropping thus Sealing the session to the Hall, not the Flame (The Path of Daggers, The Law and Knife of Dreams Call to a Sitting). Sealed to the Flame is reserved in A Crown of Swords, A Morning of Victory and A Crown of Swords, Sealed to the Flame for private written or verbal communications to and from the Amyrlin by and to one or more Aes Sedai. In The Gathering Storm, A Message in Haste, the rebel Hall session to discuss Elaida gaining Travelling which had calls to be Sealed to the Flame did not even have the Amyrlin present, and nor did she know of this meeting until long afterwards.

Another problem is the statement that Elaida disbanded the Blue in order to reach eleven Sitters for the raising of an Amyrlin:

That left eleven Sitters. Not enough to raise an Amyrlin by the old laws of the Tower—but those had been revised with Elaida's disbanding of the Blue. Fewer Sitters meant fewer women needed to raise an Amyrlin, and now only eleven were required.

Elaida was raised with the votes of eleven Sitters; she could hardly have revised this law before she was elected Amyrlin.

The minimum number for the greater consensus of the Hall was stated in the A Crown of Swords glossary as eleven:

The greater consensus requires that every sister who is present must stand, and that a minimum of eleven Sitters be present; the presence of at least one Sitter from each Ajah is also required, except when the matter before the Hall is the removal of an Amyrlin or Keeper, in which case the Ajah from which she was raised will not be informed of the vote until after it is taken.

-A Crown of Swords, Glossary

without any qualification that these were new rules. Elaida disbanded the Blue because (apart from hatred and revenge) she would otherwise not have at least one representative from all Ajahs present necessary for any vote requiring the greater consensus.

The rebels didn’t worry about that. Egwene thought it was more important that the Ajahs all reunite than it was to achieve an official and ‘legal’ greater consensus, and revenge, by disbanding one of the Ajahs.

Thanks to the Tower Hall, Egwene still hasn't been raised Amyrlin with the greater consensus because no Red Sitters took part in the vote. (She was already elected Amyrlin by the Blues). Will this be a loophole in the future?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: Saidar Strength Ranking

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on Saidar Strength Ranking has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm, as has Aes Sedai Attitudes to Male Channellers: The Unbeliever.

There were a few new weaker channellers added, but also some reconsideration of the upper levels after new information was given by Sanderson on The Gathering Storm, book tour.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: The Black Ajah

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on The Black Ajah has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm, including a compilation of the deeds, status and location of all known Black sisters, discussion of how and why the Blacks join up and their leadership, and some analysis of Black Ajah numbers.

Click here to expand the rest of this post

Thanks to Verin, we know a lot more about the Black Ajah than we did.

Sixteen or seventeen new names were added to the list of Black sisters, some quite a surprise, others not at all surprising, and some previously unknown sisters.

Verin identified 203 Aes Sedai (The Gathering Storm, A Visit From Verin Sedai). She missed three Black sisters among the rebel Aes Sedai according to Egwene (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands), and three in the White Tower, plus maybe Evanellein and a couple more (The Gathering Storm, Bathed in Light). She may also have missed a few among the third of Aes Sedai outside these two groups. In total there were probably about 215 to 220 Black sisters, which would be 22-3% of the Aes Sedai, there being fewer than one thousand Aes Sedai.

The breakdown by Ajah of the two hundred or so Black Sisters that Verin identified is: 48 Red, 38 Green, 30 Grey, 28 Brown, 21 Yellow (perhaps slightly less than would be expected), 21 Blue and 17 White. Verin identified 48 Black sisters from the Red Ajah, representing about 24% of the 203 Black sisters she identified, which is about 25% higher than would be expected, considering that Reds represent about 19% of the total Aes Sedai population.

It’s easy to see how influential the Black Ajah is among the Aes Sedai: with over a fifth to a quarter of Aes Sedai membership in any one Ajah, they represent a sizeable voting block, being effectively the largest Ajah, since they are often instructed on how to cast their vote, such as for Ajah leaders. In Elaida's Hall there were at least 5 Black Sitters, enough to kill any vote the Black Ajah didn't want to succeed and to stand a good chance of getting any vote they did want through. The rebel Hall had at least 2 Black Sitters, perhaps more, since 6 Sitters (including Lyrelle, Naorisa Cambral (Delana's replacement) and probably Salita) were at the Black Tower at the time they were all tested.

After all the executions, the Black Ajah population has decreased to less than 160.