What's with all the braid-pulling?

Discussion in 'Robert Jordan' started by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Apr 15, 2004.

  1.  
    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    I'd like to find out what other members think about the depiction of women in the WoT novels.

    Granted, Jordan has redressed the genders inequities present in a lot of classic fantasy by populating his story with a number of powerful, important and formidable female characters. In fact, the sexes seem to be equal in 'WoTland', although women do seem rather more domineering than in our world.

    Which brings me to the point of this topic. Anyone who has read the books will know instantly what I am referring - Nynaeve's constant irritability. Every woman in the books seems to be perpetually sniffing and cursing at the men around them and at each other. Those long chapters on Elayne and Nynaeve travelling together, constantly bickering, criticising each other's clothes - it just seems dreary to me after a while.

    Furthermore, it struck me that all women are certainly not like this. While it is true that both men and women like to deprecate the opposite sex in 'girl' or 'man' talk with members of the same sex, the women of WoT seem to have made it a national sport.

    I was particularly disgusted with Nynaeve's attitude towards Mat. Sure, he's a rogue, a flirt and a gambler, but he does what has to be done, even when he may prefer not to, down to saving Nynaeve herself on at least one occasion.

    Leaving that aside, how realistic is this depcition of women anyhow? It seems to me that women in our male-dominated world may need to put on a rather formidable air to achieve things, but would this be needed in a really equal society?


    Damn it, do women really crib and bicker and squabble and pull their braids all the time!!??
     
  2.  
    dwndrgn

    dwndrgn Fierce Vowelless One Staff Member

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    Well, I wouldn't know about all women but I've never pulled on my braid. As you said, women and men do have different discussions when they are among their own gender. And yes, if the other ladies will pardon my speaking out on this, we do complain and bicker about men. Now we don't do this exclusively, but it is part of our nature to complain about men when we get together. I couldn't tell you why, but something a friend said to me once may come close: "If we didn't complain about anything, we wouldn't have anything to talk about." As always, this is a generalization, and we do speak well of men too - just like in marketing, the complaint gets a higher notice than the praise. So while we praise men probably as often as we complain about them, the complaints seem to get more notice and air time.

    As far as The Wheel of Time ladies, it never seemed to me that they complained too much - basically it is the nature of the story itself to pit men and women against each other.

    I also feel that Nynaeve is hard on Matt because she realizes the potential that he has and also feels somewhat responsible for his actions and thus wants him to live up to that potential and takes it out on him when he doesn't. She has a motherly feeling for him that makes her want to 'improve' him if you will.

    Maybe because I'm a woman, this bickering and complaining doesn't effect my thoughts about the men in the story. I don't know, perhaps some other lady on the board could shed more light on it for you. All I know is that men don't listen :D.
     
  3.  
    erickad71

    erickad71 truth shall set you free

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    I have to agree with dwndrgn on that.;)

    I think that's just the way Nynaeve is. She was given authority at a young age. Then when she decides to learn to be an Aes Sedai she is put in the position of having to take orders from women she doesn't like. It's bound to grate a little :) . She has the type of personality where she has to take it out on others, she can't seem to help it. Personally, she is one of my favorite characters. Faile and Aviendha are my other fav's.
     
  4.  
    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    I've always been rather fond of Aviendha too, especially when she stood up for Mat and made the other girls apologise to him! No prizes for guessing who my favourite male character in WoT is! :p

    Well, I guess you've both answered my question. The characters do make sense to you, and it's probably more a guy thing that I get a bit put off?
     
  5.  
    erickad71

    erickad71 truth shall set you free

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    I'm rather fond of Mat myself.;)

    I like the main core of characters and how they have grown through all the books. They do make sense to me, so maybe it is a guy thing.:)
     
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    Hypes

    Hypes Emperor!

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    I really have no problem with his portrayal of women (they do get on my nerves occasionally, though). However, I find that the majority of their plotlines are mindnumbingly dull and they take up far too much space in his books. The main character is Rand, but I haven't seen the fellow since two books ago!
     
  7.  
    erickad71

    erickad71 truth shall set you free

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    Hypes, have you read the new "prequel" yet? I haven't, I'm too impatient for the next book to come out. If you have, did you like it?
     
  8.  
    PenDragon

    PenDragon ...has left the building

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    Ahh Knivesout I laughed out loud when I saw the title of this thread. I've only read the first three books, but after book one I had reservations about some of Jordan's recuring techniques of charactarisation. They stick out like a sore thumb and aren't very subtle, which is a shame because I think in other areas Jordan is very strong.

    The braid pulling if I remeber right suddenly starts in the second book and nearly everytime Nynaeve is mentioned it is accompained by the braid pulling.

    The whole attitude to men bit also sticks out, to me it feels a bit like a fantasy cliche the plain village woman with common sense and a sharp tongue for foolish men. I believed it when we first met the characters in the village, but three novels later and I'd expect some character growth.

    It's like the Rand/Perrin "I bet he'd know how to talk to women" stuff. It worked the first time when they were simple village lads, but they still think that three books in.

    Twee is the word that springs to mind and off target. I get a sense of the attitudes he's trying to create, but think he has been very heavy handed.

    Still I did enjoy the story and the world, just some of these characterisation techniques stick out so much it breaks the fictive dream and takes me out of the story. That's it I've think I've put my finger on what bothers me. His technique is showing.
     
  9.  
    Loial

    Loial New Member

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    simple it a nervous tick we all have them, hell i revert back at times and stroke my nose it a comfort thing and i do it when i need deep thought or just sometimes when i'm troubled.

    she was elevated at a young age to wisdom and needs the safety of a blanket at times, the braid pulling is a security device, and i'm sure if you looked deep at yourself, you'd find one that you use.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2005
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    rune

    rune rune

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    I am trawling through Wheel of Time and finding the women to be uninspiring. There sniping at the men folks is just a pain and makes them seem less somehow.

    Perhaps Jordan doesnt know how to right a good female character
     
  11.  
    hodor

    hodor Erikson is GOD > period

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    I personally think there are alot of things Jordan doesn't know how to do correctly.
     
  12.  
    Esioul

    Esioul The weird one

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    I certainly don't pull my braid. Actually, that is physically impossible as I don't have much more hair than Servalan. I haven't read the book in question, but the representation of women in fantasy books often annoys me. They are either soppy, brisk or foul-tempered. In real life women are far more complex than that. Yes, we do whine sometimes, but then, so do men.
     
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    Tsujigiri

    Tsujigiri Waiting at the Crossroads

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    I have to say that I find the female characters fairly anooying, apart from Moiraine and a couple of the older characters, so I have to wonder if he has written this to reflect their young attitudes and the stress they would feel due to the culture shock they must be experiencing.

    I don't know about anyone else but several of the male characters are also annoying, especially Rand. He radiates drama queen teenage boy to much I want to repeatedly slap him until he stops :D

    The whole "I have to save the world and only I can do it, I'm responsible for everyone and I must stand alone" is so delightfully immature and well written that I have to suspect that Jordan is doing the same with the owmen characters.

    Of course it could be that he's just a crap writer when it comes to female characters, but maybe he is actually evincing just the resonse that he was hoping to.

    If as a writer I could make everyone argue about such characterisation I'd be quite pleased, and as for character growth, I know a young woman who at the age of 23 still chews her hair and sucks her thumb when worried. These habits stay with us for a long time poeple.

    Food for thought I hope :)
     
  14.  
    rune

    rune rune

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    I am finding the first book Wheel of Time rather annoying. It's very much an over indulgence on Jordan's part and his characters are so unrealistic at times too :confused:
     
  15.  
    PenDragon

    PenDragon ...has left the building

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    This is true Tsujigiri, but Jordan has made these character/writers 'Ticks' a shortcut to characterisation. To me it almost feels like he has decided what 'Tick' each character has and then cut and paste them into the story everytime the character appears. I've really enjoyed the first three books, but these bits stick out and bring me out of the story when I'm reading. Still like you said it's good that it gets discussions like this going.

    I don't think that's the case, personally I just think he's been very heavy handed with some of the craft elements of his characterisation. Still one of the best fantasy series I've read in a long time mind you, the mood, atmosphere and quality of the prose in general is very good.
     
  16.  
    Tsujigiri

    Tsujigiri Waiting at the Crossroads

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    Yes, I must admit everytime one of his characters does soemthing irritating I tend to come out of the story. Last time I came out of the story I never went back....
     
  17.  
    Heidi

    Heidi New Member

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    Did you happen to miss him cleansing Saidin? I think we have to learn more about Perrin and Mat before the Last Battle comes. They both have to be there, and somehow Moiraine has to come back, along with many other other small things. If the book were about Rand,it would be called the Dragon Reborn series, not the Wheel of Time series. And Mat is my favorite male character as well. But Egwene is my fav female char.
     
  18.  
    mojo12

    mojo12 New Member

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    I agree with PenDragon regarding the fact that "his technique is showing."
    I have also begun to have some reservations regarding Jordan's personal viewpoint of women.
    i.e. Women are stronger than men and wield the true power, but all the "girls" are weak whiny hangers on that can't stop infighting long enough to get the job done.
    And the constant abuse that the Aes Sedai, Wise Women and Windfinders take such demented pleasure in inflicting on each other (depending who is on top, and yes, that IS an intentional double entendre). To say nothing of the Seanchan version!
    Well it's all kind of wierd, isn't it? It's like he goes out of his way to point out that no matter how diverse their particular cultures may be; women and their relationships to each other are always the same!
    Well, no; he DOES let the Warrior woman, the Amrlyn Seat, the Queen and the seer SHARE Rand, doesn't he?
    Does anyone know a bunch of beautiful "type A personality" women that are willing to "share" a man cheerfully? (If so I'd like to meet them :D)
    S*I*G*H
    It is a Fantasy, I guess.
    Of course in the newest book Rand gets a "new" Mommy figure to slap him around because he's A VERY BAD BOY!!!
    Now Apologize!
    I'm going to stand here with my arms crossed beneath my breasts until you do!!!!:cool:
     
  19.  
    osms123

    osms123 osms123

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    MOJO 12 that was funny but honestly ya'll are thinkin about how often the "ticks" show. Honestly if you observe someone they would do something EVERY time that s/he gets nervous or angry. Nynaeve is ALWAYS angry about something so she will always pull her hair. About the other charecters i think Jordan has a frequent habit of catching his charecters at a "worse" mood so they will always be showing their "ticks".
     
  20.  
    Shoegaze99

    Shoegaze99 New Member

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    Robert Jordan isn't chronicling history, he's making up a story. He's not "catching" anybody at anything. These people are fiction. He decides what will and will not reach the page. That reader continues to get the same kind of moments with the same kind of reactions and the same kind of descriptions again and again is attributable to only one person: Robert Jordan. Quite frankly, if he's incapable of imparting old information in a new way, that speaks volumes about his ability as a writer.
     

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