Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year With Four Articles Updated

By Linda

Four articles were updated this week. Three feature Mat Cauthon:

  • The Fool and the Joker in The Wheel of Time

  • Redressing the Balance and the Boundaries; Wheel of Time Tricksters

  • and the very large

  • Mat essay of the Main Character Parallels series.

  • The fourth updated article is Character Ages.

    New material is marked in bold.

    I wish all readers a very happy and prosperous 2014!

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    Min Outfit 1

    By Linda

    Back in June, I blogged about the quarter scale costumes I made of Nynaeve's and Egwene's outfits that they wore when the girls went to Toman Head with Liandrin. Now it's time to look at Min:

    Min had kept her breeches and baggy man's shirt under a boy's brown cloak and coat, with an old, wide-brimmed hat pulled down over her short hair. "One of us has to be the servant," she had said, laughing. "Women dressed the way you are always have at least one. You'll wish you had my breeches if we have to run." She was burdened with four sets of saddlebags bulging with warm clothes,for it would surely be winter before they returned.

    The Great Hunt, Flight From the White Tower

    Compared to the other girls, Min's outfit is quite a contrast. For one thing, it is a boy's outfit, at a time when clothing was markedly different between genders. Clothing also varied strongly according to social status. Min's clothing reflects her true social status, as a stable hand from a small remote town, but not her gender. Nynaeve's and Egwene's clothing reflects the status they will gain, but is currently above their station.

    First up is Min's shift and shirt, which are made of linen, and her grey wool stockings. The fabric is thick rathern than fine or luxurious. The fit of Min's shirt is deliberately loose, as described in the text, and is laced closed.

    Next, her wool breeches and brown leather boots. Min's breeches are closed with a drawstring. They are held up with a brown leather belt, which also holds her belt knife and pouch. She has another knife strapped to her forearm.

    Over these she wears a brown wool coat with deep pockets and plain metal buttons. The coat is lined with green linen. On her head is a floppy brown hat.

    Each girl had a hooded wool cloak for cold or wet weather. Min's was plain brown.

    It was her task to carry the four saddlebags since she was masquerading as a servant. I made one to scale and filled it with clothing, as can be seen in the photo below. It is quite bulky; I think that Min would have struggled to carry four fully filled saddlebags.

    Min's clothes are plain and strictly utilitarian; they have no decoration. On the other hand, they are reasonable quality and not the poorest sort.

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Five Articles Updated

    By Linda

    Five articles were updated this week. Four are about the nations:

  • The Mainland Rulers

  • The Noble Houses of Andor

  • The Noble Houses of Cairhien

  • The Nobles of Tear

  • and the fifth is about A Memory of Light Inns.

    New material is marked in bold. Other articles in the Nations series are:

  • The Age of Legends and

  • The Military Forces of the Westlands.

  • The complete series of articles on the Wheel of Time Inns are here.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Military Forces in the Westlands Article Updated

    By Linda

    Over the past couple of weeks I have completely rewritten The Military Forces in the Westlands article to include battles in A Memory of Light as well as discussion of the armies prior to that engagement. It includes a discussion of the Shadow as well as the Light.

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Character Names Parallels Series Updated

    By Linda

    Over the last week or so I've updated the Character Names and their parallels series with information from A Memory of Light.

    Each letter below has a link to the article of character first names with that initial letter.

  • A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U to Z

  • I have previously updated articles on the Names associated with the Shadow and Character Names Derived from Readers' Names, so all the articles about the names of characters have now been updated.

    New material is in bold.

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Two Articles Updated

    By Linda

    Two articles were updated this week with info from A Memory of Light and book signings.

    Names of the Shadow had a heap of new information added, which is one reason why it has been a while since I posted an update.

    The Tao of the Pattern article, which looks at taoism in The Wheel of Time was extensively reworked.

    This week I also discovered that the mindtrap was derived from African voodoo.
    New material is marked in bold.

    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders Article Updated

    By Linda

    This week the Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders article was updated with info from A Memory of Light and book signings. There is a lot of new material (marked in bold) since gunpowder weapons played an important part in the Last Battle.

    Real Life in the form of searching for paid employment continues to slow me down.

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Two Articles Updated

    By Linda

    Two articles were updated this week with info from A Memory of Light and book signings. One looks to the previous Age and the other towards the Fourth Age: very much on Rand's past and his legacy.

    In the last book Rand reassesses the causes of conflict in The Age of Legends.

    The new information in Inventions From Rand's Academies is about the steamwagons and Herid Fel's legacy.

    The article I'm working on currently, Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders, is undergoing an extensive rework, and Real Life is also slowing me down.

    New material is marked in bold.

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Four Articles Updated, Including Tuon's Parallels

    By Linda

    Four articles were updated this week. Three are articles on the Aes Sedai:

    The Aes Sedai History: New Era article has a lot of new material discussing the actions of Egwene and the Aes Sedai as a whole in the Last Battle. (The Aes Sedai History from the Breaking to the Hundred Years War did not need updating.)

    Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Administration and Aes Sedai Laws and Customs: Society were also updated. This completes the updates for the Aes Sedai series of articles.

    The fourth article updated is the essay on Tuon's parallels. A Memory of Light provided quite a few expansions of her themes and motivations.

    As usual, new material is marked in bold.

    In Other News...

    By Linda

    In many ways this blog exists because I have a 3/4 quarter hour train commute to work. Or did. Last week, due to continued downturn in the mining industry, my position was made redundant. I'm not alone; there are others in the same position as me both within the company, and nationwide - worldwide, in fact.

    I intend to continue writing, not just updates for A Memory of Light, but new articles and also restart the read-though halted late last year. Right now I don't have much spare time at all. I have to refocus my career, and find another position, perhaps - probably? - in another industry. Although I have a very stable work history, I have changed industries before. Anyway, the updates take time, as you might have noticed, and they might be further apart as my professional life takes precedence.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Arthurian Myth Essays Updated

    By Linda

    It's been a while - three weeks or so - since I posted any updates, but that's because I've been working hard at researching and editing the two essays on the Arthurian influences in the Wheel of Time beautifully written by my good friend MJJ Sedai back in Wotmania days. I've added a lot of new material, and made a few deletions of outdated speculation and together the essays now total 30,000 words. Hence the slight delay. The essays are more balanced, just as the series is more balanced, with the increased on-screen parts played by the Forsaken in A Memory of Light. The villians feature as much as the heroes do.

    The first essay is Matter of Britain: Arthurian Myth Parallels and the second Matter of Britain 2: An Arthurian Who's Who. I believe they are better read in that order, but it is not essential to do so.

    As usual, new material is marked in bold.

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Still Working On Updates

    By Linda

    I'm working on updating the two articles of Arthurian themes originally written by MJJ Sedai, and there is a lot of new material to add along with revisions. Hence the long gap between posts.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    Four Articles Updated, Including Horn of Valere

    By Linda

    Another long gap betwen updates due to the amount of new info from A Memory of Light and interviews added to the articles. Most of my time has been spent with an extensive rewrite of the Horn of Valere article. Not surprising, given the prophecies surrounding this instrument.

    A couple of creatures articles were also updated: Darkhounds
    and also Nym and Green Man.

    The fourth article updated is an old favourite of mine, Herbs and Other Medicines. There are a couple of new entries plus expansions of other entries.

    As usual, new material is marked in bold.

    Tuesday, August 6, 2013

    New Read-through Post: River of Souls Short Story

    By Linda

    As usual, a larger gap between posts means I have been working on a larger or more complicated post. I have written a read-through of River of Souls, a single POV Wheel of Time short story written by Brandon Sanderson that was published last month. Since not everyone would have read it, and it contains spoilers, I have posted it here, off the front page of the blog. Three reference library articles were also updated for this read-through and are linked in the post. (If I said which ones that also would be a spoiler.)

    My read-through is slightly longer than the actual story. But then River of Souls was short – terse, even, by Wheel of Time standards - but engrossing.

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Who Is A Darkfriend? Updated

    By Linda

    The last of the articles in The Shadow series to be updated is Who is a Darkfriend?. I have added a lot of new info from A Memory of Light and interviews marked in bold. Despite the Shadow's final push, only one new non-channelling Darkfriend was revealed. Perhaps some others were able to remain unexposed or even avoid having to fulfill their oaths.

    The other articles in The Shadow series are:

    The Black Ajah,
    The Shadow's Influence On The Black Tower and
    The Forsaken and Their Deeds and Plans.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Forsaken and their Deeds and Plans Updated

    By Linda

    Continuing the updates of the Shadow series, I have added a lot of new info from A Memory of Light, River of Souls and interviews to the Forsaken and Their Deeds and Plans article. As with The Black Ajah and The Shadow's Influence On The Black Tower articles updated last week, there is quite a lot of new material (marked in bold) on the activities and status of each of the Forsaken.

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    The Shadow's Influence on the Black Tower Article Updated

    By Linda

    The second article in the Shadow series to be updated with the new info from A Memory of Light and interviews is The Shadow's Influence On The Black Tower article. As with The Black Ajah article updated earlier this week, there is quite a lot of new material from A Memory of Light (marked in bold) on the activities and status of the Darkfriend Asha'man both voluntary and Turned.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Black Ajah Article Updated

    By Linda

    The first article in the Shadow series to be updated with the new info from A Memory of Light and interviews is The Black Ajah article. There is quite a lot of new material (marked in bold) on the activities and status of those Black sisters named in A Memory of Light. This includes Turned sisters.

    Apart from Turned sisters there were no new Black Ajah revealed or named in A Memory of Light.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    River of Souls Read-through

    By Linda

    River of Souls is a short story published in the Unfettered anthology produced by Shaun Speakman of Grim Oaks Press. It is about 4200 words long, and explains some of Demandred’s story line which was not fitted into A Memory of Light (or earlier books).

    Demandred has been in Shara for two years. Since he was not released early from the Bore, and the series commenced on Winternight March 998 NE, the events of River of Souls occurred after the Cleansing of saidin, which was in March 1000 NE. There is mention of dead trees, which occurred as drought took hold, but not of Wrongness, unless Shendla’s comment that every Sharan can feel that the Dragon has come refers to this, so perhaps the story is set before the Pattern loosened in Knife of Dreams.

    Rhuarc told Rand in Lord of Chaos, The Wheel of a Life in November 999 NE that he had received reports of fighting in Shara and how the Sharans expected Rand to break the world. This news would have taken some time to travel west to the Aiel. The fighting may have been due to Graendal’s abduction of the Sharan monarchs (for her meeting with Sammael in late October 999), or due to Demandred’s slave revolt and social revolution (apparently commenced after the Dark One commanded him in September 999 NE to sow chaos), or both.

    The story starts with Demandred, aka Bao, wrapped in the Oneness. The Oneness is valued and seen as the sign of an adept – someone all together – but, like anything, it has its bad side. Distancing is supposed to be a way of removing oneself from troubles or from being dependent or overly attached, but it could also make the practitioner unfeeling and disconnected. Some of the best exponents of the Oneness (e.g. Lan and Rand) had trouble expressing their feelings, so putting aside your emotions can have negative consequences. I guess Mintel would have said it is neither good nor evil, except that he thought very highly of the Oneness as a sign of enlightenment. It was no longer so in Demandred’s case.

    Demandred always wanted to be number one (and the symbolism of One in the series is written about here) so much so that he became unscrupulous about it. His usage of the Oneness is negative, symbolized by his compressing his feelings to a black point:

    Bao took all of his feelings - all of his thoughts, all that he was -and pressed them into a single point of darkness in his mind. That darkness consumed the emotion. He felt nothing.

    River of Souls

    It mirrors the nothingness of the Pit of Doom which sucked all into it:

    Nynaeve clutched the stalagmite deep within the Pit of Doom, holding herself from being pulled by the winds into that nothingness in front of her. …It pulled with a powerful force, drawing all that was nearby into it. She feared that if she let go, she would be yanked in. Already, it had stolen her shawl, making it vanish. If that nothingness pulled her in, her life would end. Perhaps her soul as well.

    A Memory of Light, Unchangeable Things

    Demandred does express emotions, just not appropriately: none or little where he should feel in abundance, and obsessively where he should let them die away. As Graendal observed:

    Demandred never smiled, never seemed to enjoy anything. Though he was one of the foremost generals among the Chosen, warfare had never seemed to bring him joy. Once she had heard him say that he would laugh the day he could snap the neck of Lews Therin. And only then. He was a fool to bear that grudge…
    Yes, he was a cold one.
    Perhaps Graendal underestimated him. He very well might be the most powerful of the three [allied Forsaken], more dangerous than Semirhage. She was emotionless and controlled, true, but sometimes emotion was appropriate. It could drive a man like Demandred to actions that a more coolheaded person couldn't even contemplate.

    The Gathering Storm, Prologue

    And he did become irrational over Rand in A Memory of Light.

    When Demandred gained Sakarnen he laughed because with it he had a reasonable chance of killing Rand, and a good one once Rand destroyed the male Choedan Kal.

    Fairly early into Demandred’s time in Shara, Mintel adopted him. Perhaps the Forsaken attracted Mintel’s attention when he began the slave revolt. (Only Shendla followed Demandred from the beginning.) With his frequent meditation, usage of the Oneness, and sanctity of person, Mintel is like a Buddhist monk. The Great Servant that Mintel and Demandred referred to is most likely the Buddha.

    In A Memory of Light Moghedien didn’t interrupt Mintel’s meditation, but she did cut off his speech and then killed him. By Sharan belief this was a bad omen - and omens are reliable in The Wheel of Time world - so no wonder Moghedien was soon fired upon by dragons and then collared by a sul’dam.

    Mintel went through the “City of Dreams” to reach Demandred quickly. Demandred feared he could have lost his soul doing that. The City of Dreams is probably Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams, which if you enter physically causes you to lose part of your humanity. A less likely possibility is the Ways, with the Black Wind the risk. The title City of Dreams is Macau, fitting the Chinese theme of Shara. It is also the name of a charity which helps at-risk youth to brighter futures. Other characters who enter Tel’aran’rhiod physically use channeling or their dual nature. Perhaps this shows Mintel’s power/prowess that he doesn’t need either.

    The kingdom trees are mulberry trees and the mention of the Inner Land is an allusion to Inner Mongolia in China. The Sharans’ complex measurements of distance, weight and time are perhaps a reference to those of India. The Sharan name for outsiders, Ulikar, is very similar to the Russian place name Ulika. Due to their long history of contention, the Russians are outsiders to the Chinese. Plus Russia is west of “Chinese” Shara, indicating someone from the westlands.

    At some time in Shara Demandred was branded on his hand:

    The back of his hand had been scarred with a terrible burn in the shape of a circle, with three sinuous hooked knives stabbing out from the center toward the perimeter, their tips turning until they blended with the line outside.

    River of Souls
    It is the triple yin-yang symbol, the sam-taeguk symbolizing heaven, earth and humanity (see illustration right), but a particularly aggressive form of it.

    A western version is the triskele, see illustrations below. The photo on the left actually depicts three blades.

    The branding may be a relic from his slave days, or perhaps was a souvenir from gaining the rod section of Sakarnen. Demandred looks at it when Mintel speaks of the difference between men’s aims and what they receive, and of fate and the Pattern, but this would be an appropriate reaction for either possibility.

    Shendla’s comment that Bao does not laugh because his duty is too heavy recalls Lan, who will defeat Bao. Both men were reluctant to take responsibility for their people – the people had to press them to – though for different reasons, and were gibed at for not laughing:

    "I want to see you smile, Lan!" Andere shouted, clinging to his horse's saddle. "Show more emotion than a stone, for once! Surely this deserves it!"

    Lan looked at the battle he'd never thought to win, seeing a last stand instead become a promising fight, and couldn't help himself. He didn't just smile, he laughed.

    A Memory of Light, A Knack

    "No smile?" Torn asked, inspecting Bao's face. "Not a hint of one?"
    "Lord Bao does not laugh, Torn," Shendla said, a possessive hand on Bao's shoulder. "His duty is too heavy."
    "Oh, I know, I know," Torn said. "That doesn't mean I can't try. Someday I will break that mask of yours, my friend. Someday!"

    River of Souls

    which makes Demandred’s laugh at gaining Sakarnen and smile at the end of River of Souls all the more significant. With Sakarnen he believed he could now defeat Rand, he had the means to “snap the neck of Lews Therin”, especially if these events occurred after Rand’s epiphany in June 1000 NE, where he destroyed the male Choedan Kal. Ironically, by the Last Battle, Demandred’s obsession with proving himself the better man impelled him to want to kill Rand without Sakarnen.

    Demandred, like Rand, was gone for three days on his quest. Both men had an epiphany involving their sa’angreal: Demandred gained one, but Rand destroyed one. Demandred believed his eyes showed only death and coldness, though Shendla disagreed, and Rand’s eyes certainly held coldness and death, even fairly early in the series:

    [Rand] did not understand why those coming before him began to sweat and lick their lips as they knelt and stammered the words of fealty. But then, he could not see the cold light burning in his own eyes.

    The Fires of Heaven, Other Battles, Other Weapons

    Demandred is honest with Mintel and Shendla, and like Lanfear, nearly came back to decency in the face of the “beloved”. Both Lanfear and Demandred were nothing to Rand, but they fervently believed they were and obsessed over him, and then justified their evil actions as being “caused” by his lack of regard for them.

    So why did Shendla follow Demandred from the start? She said he wouldn’t want to know because it would weigh on him, and he agreed. If it was because she was infatuated with him, he probably would not feel pressured, merely flattered – or take it as his due. She appears to be a scholar of the Sharan Prophecies, and has some sensitivity to the Pattern:

    ”The Dragon has come, Bao. Every man and woman in this land can feel it. He will try to destroy the world, and only you can stop him. There is a reason you have done what you did. The Tapestry... shall I call it by your word? The Pattern? It has brought you.”

    River of Souls

    I suspect she is also a dreamer, one who cannot channel. Either way, she recognised his place in the Pattern almost immediately.

    Demandred surprised himself by following the rules of the prophecy. Perhaps subconsciously he was afraid that if he didn’t do the quest perfectly he won’t succeed. Or he needed to believe in the role himself to be convincing to others, and to prove himself.

    The chasm that Demandred descended is called Abyrward. The name is a combination of abyss, wyr(m) (worm, an alternate name for dragon) and ward; the abyss guarding the dragon, or more correctly, stopping most people from happening upon the dragon. The river at the bottom is Angarai’la, River of Souls – the souls of those who failed to kill the guardian in the cave? The name refers to Shangri-La but with connotations of anger. Shangri-La is a legendary Buddhist hidden valley or Oriental utopia. The River of Souls and Hearttomb are a dystopia and utopia combined since they house a monster and a benevolent being. Shangri-La is sometimes used to describe a lifelong quest or something elusive that is searched for obsessively. The Holy Grail, San Greal, also represents a lifelong quest and was an Arthurian Shangri-La. Demandred spent two years hunting for Sakarnen, but it was a means to an end, since his ultimate Shangri-La was Rand’s death.

    Another allusion for the sacred river, considering the Sharans’ parallels to the westward-invading destructive Mongol hordes of Genghis and Kublai Khan, can be seen in Coleridge’s poem:

    In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea…
    But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
    Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
    A savage place! as holy and enchanted
    As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover! …
    It flung up momently the sacred river.
    Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
    Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
    Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
    And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
    And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
    Ancestral voices prophesying war!

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Kahn, or A Vision In A Dream

    Demandred didn’t have a pleasure dome like Kublai Khan did at his summer palace in Shangdu (Xanadu), but an un-described tent. However the area had vegetation that was far healthier than elsewhere in Shara. The river Angaralai’la runs within a chasm that is rugged and wild before entering the cavern of the Hearttomb. We don’t know where the river ultimately ends up. It is sacred to the Wyld since only he is allowed to drink its waters. Angaralai’la means River of Souls in the Old Tongue, and Demandred heard whispering in its flow:

    The babbling noises it made accompanied him down the long decline, always his companion. At times, its noises sounded like whispers. Perhaps that was where it had earned its name.

    River of Souls

    Kubla Khan heard ancestral voices, voices of the dead, in the noise of the River Alph, that prophesied war. Once he attained Sakarnen, Demandred intended to take it and the Sharan forces to the Last Battle. He was killed there, and Shendla wailed over his corpse for the loss of her demon lover Demandred. Note that a few names of the Forsaken have demonic parallels (see Names of the Shadow). For further details of Demandred’s Mongol parallels see here.

    Jordan and Sanderson reverse engineered Angaralai’la as a combination of Coleridge’s Xanadu and Shangri La, both being legendary places.

    The sacred cavern of the Hearttomb contained a jumara and a nym, a monster as nasty as Aginor could make, and a force of fertility and nature as positive as the Light’s technologists could make.

    The Nym had withered away in the Light-less Shadowspawn-inhabited cavern. It appears to have no body and existed as a foliate head:

    Here, upon a natural stone dais, he found the plants grown together into what seemed a kind of face or head.
    "So I was right," he said, kneeling beside the face. "I thought the Nym had all died."
    "I... am not of the Nym..." the face said softly, eyes closed. "Not any longer. Have you come to give me rest, traveler?"

    River of Souls

    In the real world foliate heads occur in sacred architecture and are a representation of the Green Man, a nature spirit or Nature itself (see updated Nym parallels article). Someshta the Nym guarding the Eye of the World was called the Green Man.

    The presence of the Nym may have influenced the growth of green, plant-like protruberances by the jumara. Or maybe the jumara camouflaged itself by creating similar growths to that emanating from the Nym.

    Demandred killed a jumara, called a “worm” in the Third Age according to Sammael (Lord of Chaos, To Understand A Message), in single combat to attain the sa’angreal Sakarnen and become the prophesied Wyld, saviour of the Sharans. Since worm is an alternative name for a dragon, Demandred, unbeknownst to him, already was the Dragonslayer prior to bringing the Sharans to fight at the Last Battle and trying to kill Rand there. In a neat reversal of typical dragon features, Demandred used:

    weaves to lift chunks of rock up into the air, then burned them molten in the blink of an eye and sprayed the jumara's maw with melted rock.

    River of Souls

    The jumara’s mouth burned as it swallowed fiery rock, rather than breathed fire out. Another link with the jumara and Rand is that Demandred had always hated jumara (River of Souls) and also the Dragon. He cursed Aginor with burning and Dashiva had indeed been burnt at the cleansing before these events.

    As the fight with the jumara showed, Demandred has real skill but misapplied it.

    Angor’lot, the True Destiny, is the sa’angreal Sakarnen. Sa’angreal are an allusion to the San Greal, the Holy Grail which featured in Arthurian myth and Sakarnen even has a cup component. Such hallowed objects are guarded from the unworthy. Sakarnen was disassembled and hidden, with one part at least guarded, because of the danger it posed. The Choedan Kal were also hidden - within landforms - and their functional keys stored in Warded Rhuidean, and Callandor was protected by Wards attuned to the Dragon Reborn. There is a strong Arthurian theme in Demandred’s story line as well as East Asian/Mongol. (Two other themes are Ancient Rome and Beowulf, but more of these below). The name Angor’lot is similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which is the world’s largest religious monument. It fits with the Buddhist/East Asia theme of Shara and the Taoism and religious awe of the One Power. More simply, the name sounds like “anger (a) lot”, and both its users, Demandred and Taim, had a lot of anger toward Rand especially.

    Demandred’s alias Bao is an east Asian personal name (see updated Demandred essay), but as Bao the Wyld he is a parallel of the hero of Anglo-Saxon legendary hero Beowulf, and also the brutal ancient Chinese general Bai Qi of the “wild beast” state of Ch’in/Qin.

    Brandon Sanderson confirmed in a tweet that Beowulf, the hero of Scandinavian legend and Anglo-Saxon literature is the main parallel for Demandred’s alias Bao the Wyld:

    Both [words of the name] are a reference to Beowulf, and I meant the Wyld to mean "predator" or, in more common tongue, he who will kill the dragon.

    The monster Grendel terrorized the hall of Hrothgar, King of the Danes for years, killing Hrothgar’s warriors one by one until the heroic Beowulf arrived. He fought Grendel unarmed so that he would not have an unfair advantage over the beastand ripped Grendel’s arm off. Grendel crawled off to his lair to die. Grendel’s vengeful mother attacked, and Beowulf drove her off and killed her with a sword, then found Grendel’s corpse and cut off the head as a trophy.

    Beowulf eventually became King of Geatland, and ruled for over 50 years until a slave’s theft of a golden cup from a treasure mound roused it to attack the Geats. Beowulf fought the beast and killed it, but was mortally wounded in the fight.

    Most of Demandred’s parallels with the Beowulf legend related to the Age of Legends or events in A Memory of Light and are described in more detail here. (Graendal also has some parallels as can be seen by her name).

    After devoting two years to tracking down and winning Sakarnen, to gain an advantage over Rand, Demandred decided not to use it against the Dragon, because it would not prove him the better man. He was a former slave who killed the dragon-like jumara guarding the golden cup of Sakarnen. It was a close fight and he thought it nearly killed him. For this deed, he was acclaimed Dragonslayer by the Sharans and was regarded as their savior and king.

    Demandred’s months as a slave culminating in him leading a slave revolt and ultimately a revolution reminded me of Spartacus, one of the leaders of a major slave uprising against the Ancient Roman Republic. Being a skilled gladiator (since he survived the arena), an excellent military commander and a threat to the Roman republic, Spartacus matches Demandred well. The enemies of Ancient Rome are one of the three strands used to develop the Forsaken (the other two being gods and goddesses and the Nazis, see here for full article). Spartacus and his fellow rebel slaves had no intention of ending slavery but acted for their own ends, and so did Demandred; he was there to find Sakarnen, and urged that slaves should be freed as a way to fulfill the Dark One’s command to spread chaos:

    Two years ago he had started on this course when he had decided to impersonate a slave among the Sharans. After that had come the revolution, which he had led almost by accident…
    "You break us free of fate's chains. You did not know the prophecies when you first came - you have said so yourself - but you fulfilled them anyway."
    "By accident."
    "Releasing the enslaved, declaring all men free? That was an accident?"
    "I did it to create chaos!" he said, turning.

    River of Souls

    I‘ve written more about this parallel here in the updated Demandred essay. I smiled when Moghedien impersonated Demandred after he was killed in A Memory of Light, because she had been a slave to the a’dam - and ended one, too - so her impersonation of him is really apt.

    Did he appoint new nobility, perhaps after the original nobles were killed in the revolution and Graendal stole the monarchs? Or did he treat the original nobility harshly? In A Memory of Light, The Wyld, they were depressed, starved-looking and lacking in confidence.

    The result of the slave revolution was that the male channeller concubines were freed of their fate. This parallels Rand’s pressure on the Sea Folk after the cleansing of saidin to stop killing their male channellers (The Gathering Storm, . Demandred taught the Freed how to channel, probably the way his protege Taim taught the Asha’man. At the Last Battle they seemed reasonably competent and would have needed some months to reach this level.

    It is interesting that, of all the Forsaken, Demandred was the one who got most caught up in the society he infiltrated.

    In the balance:

    "All men want something," Mintel said. "All men receive something. Not all men understand the nature of what they have received. You came to us for one purpose, but it was not the purpose that the Grand Tapestry planned for you. That is not uncommon."

    River of Souls

    Demandred came for Sakarnen, “freed” Sharans and gained their united forces. He did not kill Rand, but accidentally “helped” convince him not to kill the Dark One. Just as he accidentally fulfilled the other Sharan prophecies.

    Sharans, or Mintel at least, were not concerned with good or evil but with fate, the Pattern. Demandred freed many of them: a “good” outcome from an evil purpose. Yet they killed a lot of people and their channellers were all but wiped out. On the other hand, the channellers were either feared or hated because of the power they misused or the threat they posed.

    Good and evil are necessary in the Pattern, as Moiraine said:

    “The Creator is good, Perrin. The Father of Lies is evil. The Pattern of Age, the Age Lace itself, is neither. The Pattern is what is. The Wheel of Time weaves all lives into the Pattern, all actions. A pattern that is all one color is no pattern. For the Pattern of an Age, good and ill are the warp and the woof.”

    The Dragon Reborn, Within the Weave

    Mintel also followed this philosophy, but unlike him, Moiraine wouldn’t let Darkfriends live. Judging by his non-action in A Memory of Light, Mintel thought some outcomes would be worth the crimes. Mintel believed the Sharans were fated to help Demandred ‘save’ the Land from the Dragon. This was by making Rand see the nobility of the Light’s fighters as they battled the Shadowspawn, Darkfriends and Sharans and realize that he should not kill the Dark One.

    The Sharan prophecies run in parallel to the Karaethon Cycle (see updated Prophecies of the Dragon article) so it’s not surprising that Demandred thought that they were all about Rand. Instead, Demandred mirrored Rand. He is right when he says that he and Rand are alike; they are similar enough to share a common parallel in Genghis and Kublai Khan. But of course, Rand is true and Demandred is wrong. Not false, wrong. As he has been since he joined the Shadow.

    Number Symbolism Updated

    By Linda

    The Number Symbolism article has been updated for A Memory of Light, and booksigning info. There is quite a lot of new material (marked in bold), especially for numbers 1,2, 3 and 0, although most numbers have some updates. New numbers added include 17, 27 and 600. I'm now working on updating the Shadow series of articles.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Nynaeve Outfit 2

    By Linda

    Recently I sewed an example of the outfit Egwene wore when the girls went to Toman Head with Liandrin. In this post, it is the turn of Nynaeve's outfit. She wore:

    her best dress that had a skirt divided for riding, and cloaks of fine wool rich with embroidery…
    "This would do better for a turn in some lord's park than a ride to Toman Head," Nynaeve had said dryly as Egwene helped her with the buttons of a gray silk with thread-of-gold work and pearled flowers across the bosom and down the sleeves, "but it may allow us to leave unnoticed."

    The Great Hunt, Flight From the White Tower

    I made Nynaeve’s dress out of grey silk dupion lined with grey chiffon and embroidered it with thin gold thread in fly and single chain stitches and pearly seed beads. The dress has pearl buttons on the sleeves and down the back (see photo of the front and back below).

    She has black boots lined with red and a gold belt holding her belt knife and pouch. Below is the front and back view of Nynaeve in her dress:

    Under this Nynaeve wears a short white silk shift with silk lace trim, a white linen petticoat with divided skirts trimmed with linen lace and grey wool stockings (see photos below).

    I embroidered Nynaeve’s dark blue wool cape with brambles in French knot, satin stich, split back stitch, whipped chain and single chain stitches with wool thread, since Nynaeve identified with thorn bushes in her Accepted test, and lined it with blue linen. It is closed with an oval goldtone brooch, see photos front and back below.

    The two photos below show front and back view of Nynaeve wearing her cape.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Nynaeve's Wool Shawl

    By Linda

    A few months ago, a Theorylander friend of mine (Lupusdeusest) remarked that most Aes Sedai shawls were described as having vines embroidered on them, but all the ones she had seen had been decorated with flowers and she wished someone would make one with vines. It so happened that I had bought the materials to make a Yellow Ajah woollen shawl for Nynaeve (her ‘everyday’ Aes Sedai shawl), including the woollen threads for embroidered grape vines. I decided it would be my next WOT embroidery project.

    It is made of medium weight yellow wool, all the trimmings are also wool: the flame of Tar Valon stitched in white split back stitch, nestled among the vines in brown whipped chain, vine leaves in green split back and satin stiches, and the grapes in purple French knots. The fringe is hand-knotted in yellow yarn. Since it is unlined, I had to keep the back of the work extra tidy!

    Here is a close up of the shawl:

    And here it is on Nynaeve.

    Nynaeve's previous costume is here.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Foretellings and Aeffinn Answers Updated

    By Linda

    The article on Foretellings has been updated for A Memory of Light, and booksigning info. There is a fair bit of new material, mainly for the Gitara Moroso and Nicola's Foretellings, and it is marked in bold. The Aelfinn's Answers were also updated. Over the weekend minor updates were also made to Perrin's Dreams, and Fate, Free Will and Divining the Pattern, and this completes the updates of the prophecies series of articles. Not yet decided which section I will start next.

    The full list of prophecies articles are given below:

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    New Article on Omens

    By Linda

    I have posted a new article on Omens in the series, whether Seanchan, Westlands or Aiel. In a way, it ties in with Min's Viewings, which were updated last week.

    Warning: it contains spoilers for A Memory of Light.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Min's Viewings Updated

    By Linda

    The article on Min's Viewings has been updated for A Memory of Light, and booksigning info.

    There is a lot of new material and it is marked in bold. The article also refers to a new article on Omens that I am currently writing.

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    Egwene Outfit 2

    By Linda

    It seems to be a week for Egwene, since here is a description of Egwene’s second outfit.

    Once in Falme, Egwne’s previous clothes were burned and she was dressed as a damane in grey. Regarded as not really human, the clothes of a damane are plain, drab and serviceable. Egwene wears dark grey boiled wool shift and petticoat and grey wool jersey stockings and medium grey leather shoes (see photo below).

    Her dress of dark grey wool with the neckline cut fairly high and the bodice is lined with hard-wearing black linen. She doesn’t need a belt because she has no possessions to carry. I made her a’dam from two different sized silver earrings and a silver necklace.

    Such a contrast to her previous outfit, which is here.

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Egwene's Dreams Updated

    By Linda

    The article on Egwene's Dreams has been updated for A Memory of Light, and booksigning info.

    Not all her dreams were fulfilled. New material is in bold.

    Saturday, May 25, 2013

    Egwene Outfit 1

    By Linda

    In The Great Hunt, the four girls left the White Tower with Liandrin to “save Rand”. Three of the girls - Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve – wore their best silk dresses divided for riding, trying to counter their youth with the status of their clothes. The fourth, Min, was dressed as a boy servant. I have created the outfits they wore in quarter scale for four Tonner dolls and over the next few costume posts I’ll be showing them.

    The Wheel of Time riding dresses are different to real world riding dresses. They are able to be worn riding astride, but are not culottes or trousers. In A Memory of Light, Friendly Fire, Min distinguishes between a riding dress and wide culottes as not the same thing:

    Min couldn't tell if those were skirts that had been divided for riding, or if it was a pair of trousers with very enveloping legs.

    They are not a two piece ensemble of skirt and bodice either, Elayne was able to alter dresses into a riding dress with “a little needlework” while in a boat. And the wearer can presumably go to the toilet while wearing a riding dress without much ado.

    Since they are skirts, they must be open at the crotch, with the inside seams reaching about mid-thigh, or slightly lower. Think of it as a cross between a short skirt and loose culottes. I found by experiment that the skirts needed to be bulky to sit right and to cover the hips adequately while in the saddle and climbing into it. Skirt fabric width of about five times the waist circumference gave the best results. If wished, the opening on each upper thigh can be closed with buttons.

    First up is Egwene. She left the Tower in a gold-embroidered green silk dress divided for riding:

    Each had chosen her best dress that had a skirt divided for riding, and cloaks of fine wool rich with embroidery…
    Now Egwene shifted her cloak and smoothed her own gold-embroidered, green silk dress

    The Great Hunt, Flight From the White Tower

    The fabric would be a strong or dark colour to hide travel dirt. Jordan did not describe the embroidery motif, but in her visit to Tel’aran’rhiod in Tear Egwene dreamed of herself in a dress with birds embroidered across the bosom :

    It was the rolling hills again, as always at first, flowers and butterflies under spring sunshine, soft breezes and birds singing. She wore green silk, this time, with golden birds embroidered over her breasts, and green velvet slippers.

    The Dragon Reborn, A Storm in Tear

    so that is the motif I sewed. Egwene’s dress is lined with olive green China silk (see photos below).

    Under the dress she wears a short white silk shift that reaches the base of her bottom (photo below right), and a natural white linen divided petticoat trimmed with linen lace (photo below left). Linen is hard-wearing and practical for travelling. Her wool jersey stockings are also practical, as are her black lace-up ankle boots. The linen petticoat is not as bulky as her divided skirts; it has a fabric width of 2.5 times her waist and has a button and loop closure.

    Here is the front and back view of Egwene in her full outfit.

    Her wool cloak was described as “heavily embroidered” and is a dark colour so it doesn’t show dirt. I designed it to mirror what Egwene saw each time she arrived in Tel’aran’rhiod in the early books: dreaming herself among spring flowers and butterflies before going on elsewhere. It is made of grey wool with butterflies fluttering above narcissus, hyacinths, grape hyacinths and irises embroidered in yellow, purple, blue and green wool yarns, and is closed with a gold cloak brooch.

    Front and back view of the cloak.

    Egwene in her cloak front and back.

    And finally, Egwene sitting on my work table waiting for her second stocking and Egwene with a 'headache'. Rather amazingly, Frank posed her like that himself, without having read the books. Can't imagine how that happened. ;) From the headache picture you can get some idea of how the skirts would look seated on a horse.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Aiel Prophecy updated

    By Linda

    Today I updated the Aiel Prophecy article with info from A Memory of Light and booksignings and interviews. New material is marked in bold.

    Other news is that I received an unexpected package from TOR this afternoon: it was Brandon Sanderson's new book The Rithmatist. Huge thanks to TOR and Brandon, it was very nice of them indeed. The Rithmatist will be my next book to read.

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Prophecies of the Dragon updated

    By Linda

    Today the Prophecies of the Dragon article was updated with information from A Memory of Light and booksigning information. There is a lot of new information, which is marked in bold.

    We now know of three collections of prophecies. And all the Karaethon Cycle prophecies known so far appear to have been fulfilled.

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Shadowy Prophecy Article Updated

    By Linda

    Now that I have returned from JordanCon and am over the worst of my jetlag, I am back to updating articles with information from A Memory of Light. Today the Shadowy Prophecy was updated. With the fulfilment or not of dark prophecy and omens, there is quite a bit of new material and this new material is in bold.

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    JordanCon Art Show recap

    JordanCon has had an art show since 2012. This year, the artists were Michael Whelan, Paul Bielaczyc, Dim Horizon Sturio, Lisa Burris, Sara Bielaczyc, Ariel Burgess, joe Trimarchi, Edsel Arnold, Joseph O'Hara, Roy Coker, Sara Glassman, Melissa Lindsey, Laura Jones, and myself. The entries - paintings, drawings, photos, pottery, jewellery, and textiles - were of a very high standard as well as variety.

    I put two art quilts in the Jordan Con art show:

    A Sudy in Scarlet is a play on the title of one of Arthur Conan Doyle's books. Scarlet "things" abound in it. Its surface is mainly applique, with small amounts of embroidery.

    Four Faces of a Volcano shows the eruption, lava flow, sulphur vent and congealing pillow lava phases of a volcano. It is heavily embroidered in silk and also has beading.

    The Judges' Choice award went to Edsel Arnold for Selene.

    The People's Choice Award, Best Wheel of Time Art went to Joe O'Hara for The Last Battle and the People's Choice Award, Best Non-Wheel of Time Art went to Paul Bielaczyc for Counter This. All three works were amazing. To my great surprise and honour, Four Faces of a Volcano won People's Choice Award, Best 3D Art.

    Sales of art yielded a donation of over $575 to the Mayo Clinic's Amyloidosis research program.

    Here is the official summary on the JordanCon website.