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Re: it always amuses me how much people on this forum hate her Cannoli Send a noteboard - 02/05/2017 12:51:13 PM

Disagree. Egwene is certainly not warm and fuzzy, but she's no worse than any of the others. You guys just make excuses for them. What difference that Tuon and Elayne are nobles?


Because they have legit obligations and duties, regarding which they have no choice. The best you can say about Egwene is that she has good intentions about fulfilling the duties that come with the power she seeks out for herself. Elayne & Tuon never had a choice about power, they were born clutching the proverbial wolf by the ears. Egwene went out of her way to find a wolf to grab. And she didn't seem to care who it bit as long as she personally kept her hold on it.
Why is that an excuse but Egwene being effectively chosen by the pattern to yank the AS back into the game for the Last Battle is over looked?

Because she was an advocate and defender of the group whose natural instincts took them out of the game in the first place. If you are going to beg the question of personal responsibility by invoking the Pattern, she is a scourge. God might have sent the Assyrians to punish the Chosen People, but that does not make the Assyrians good or excuse their conduct. It simply shows how supernatural forces can turn bad people and powers to good ends.
Almost every single grip about her comes down to her "selfishly abandoning her friends to go learn" ... what choice did she have?

IDK who is making those gripes, because most of us dislike her betraying her friends for power. Egwene is never interested in learning that can't bring her power. Look at her interruptions of Moiraine at Chaendar, or in Mother Guenna's house, or the moment Elyas tells her she can't learn to talk with wolves. No sympathy for Perrin's learning potential, no interest in Nynaeve or Moiraine broadening their respective knowledge bases, and never mind what was REALLY going on, which was that both older women were taking the measure of their hostesses and establishing their bona fides, demonstrating that just because they were foreigners, did not make them ignorant suckers.

Her very first prospect of the behavior you cite, is when, after manuvering to be matched up to Rand, and thereby cutting him off from other, perhaps better-suited, spouses, she plans to ditch that for power, telling him that she wants to move somewhere else to get a job as Wisdom. There is NO justification there regarding knowledge or duty, only rank. Nynaeve has an amazing reputation at that point, there could not be any better person to learn from, as far as anyone knows. If Egwene stayed, all she would be able to do is help her community and tend the illnesses and ailments of her friends and neighbors, but not be able to take the rank and honors of being Wisdom, because it was a job for life, and Nynaeve was only 24. That was why Rand laughed at her being the apprentice, because he knew she would not put up with being a mere apprentice with no authority or power for her whole life. Rand knows Egwene better than anyone does, and he knows Egwene would never fight for her country if she didn't have a good chance to be promoted to general, that she would never study law without a clear path to the Supreme Court or enter public service without a very good opportunity to be elected President.

The difference between Nynaeve and Egwene, is that Nynaeve is driven by compassion and caring for others, while Egwene is driven by ambition and desire for power. If it wasn't an apocalyptic age, Nynaeve would have been perfectly happy advising farmers on the weather and tending injuries and delivering babies. Egwene, on the other hand, could not have been happy doing anything other than what she spent the books seeking. And she would not have done nearly as well, what with ta'veren associations forging opportunities that would never have otherwise existed for her. She might have become a better person, though, if she had been forced to learn patience and to serve with genuine humility, instead of as a stepping stone to the next level of power.

The difference between the two women is that Nynaeve refused to give a promise to the Wise Ones she could not keep, and they could not enforce, for which Egwene mocked her in front of outsiders, while Egwene gave the same promise and abandoned it the very second it became an inconvenience... and Nynaeve & Elayne STILL outstripped her accomplishments in Tel'Aran'Rhoid. Sure, Egwene could hold her clothing steady, and she thought to teleport when they were still relying on non-existent leg muscles, but she didn't catch Slayer either, and she certainly didn't save as many lives as her friends, or obtain the sorts of critical information they did. In Nynaeve's ignorant fumblings in the world of Dreams, she impressed a Hero. Egwene inspired Amys to pity her ignorance and offer to teach her.

What were Egwene's choices other than to go off and learn in response (note that I certainly never criticized that choice)? How about learning on her own, the way her friends did, through trial and error, and not terrorize friends to conceal her lies, and giggle about it afterwards.


How are her choices more selfish than Elayne insisting on coming along to Falme and Tear despite her very real knowledge of the ramifications of her disappearing would have on the geopolitical landscape of the entire continent.

That was a ta'veren thing, plainly drawing Elayne and Min to where Rand needed his people to be. The point is, Elayne and Min chose Rand, who the author of the books described as "the indispensible man". Egwene almost never does. Egwene makes those choices against or in spite of Rand.
Tuon allows herself to indulge in staying with Mat despite the fact that she is clearly aware of what the Seanchan are doing to find her ... her whimsy could have easily seen thousands out to the question or executed.

It was a prophecy. It was not whimsy, she believed it was her duty and obligation to the Empire. She was following a Foretelling and the omens by which she and the rest of her people made their choices, and it had the beneficial effect of getting her clear of the disaster looming for the Imperial Family. She was out of the reach of Semirhage & Suroth, and incidentally brought a Great Captain to her side for the Last Battle. You can scoff at it as coincidence and the rest, but this was not an impulsive decision or unprecedented, she was following an established set of beliefs and decision-making mechanisms. What I could never understand, unless it was latent racism or something, was why so many reader gave her shit for her superstitions, as a character in a FANTASY NOVEL! In the real world, yeah, fortune telling and omens are stupid. Not in a book where much of what happens is in reaction to magic prophecies.
Faile ran away from home leaving a powerful borderland nation missing the heir to a major house and creating a distraction for one the great generals who is charged with protecting mankind from Trolloc hoards. She completely abandoned a duty which could have led to Saldaea falling to the blight. Comparatively, Egwene did what? Followed her duty to where it took her and did the best she could to own the job she was handed?

She had no duty, except those which were necessary to the exercise of the power she sought for herself, at times in place of people more competent to exercise said duties. Faile's indiscretion was at age 14, as opposed to once her society considered her a legal adult, and it was beforehand anyway. No reader gives Moiraine crap for stuff she did in Cairhien before coming to the Tower, or for her novice pranks, or for Rand and Mat and Perrin wandering off to climb the Sand Hills. I notice a LOT of Egwene defenders leap in with the excuse that she's "just" a teenage girl...but someone who is just a teenage girl has no business jogging the grown-ups' elbows, much less striving for power as a head of state. And maturity has a lot to do with socialization. Egwene was not raised in a society where adolescence is expected to continue to be indulged all the way through college, she has been raised to undertake increasing responsibilities in the collective economic efforts of the village, and with the expectation that her late teens will see her undertaking the beginning of an adult lifestyle. Every single action the readers see her take prior to the release of "Ravens" is after she has been formally competent to undertake adult responsibilities. Faile had still not reached that legal age by the time she met up with her parents again. And unlike Egwene, we see Faile grow up, from her deplorable games from Altara through Tear to the Two Rivers, to her stepping up when they hear about Perrin's family and she is suddenly made aware that the stakes are real. In the context in which Faile grew up, Trolloc raids were like the weather - it just happened and even if people died, you got used to it. Then when she found herself in a place where the tragedies she had grown up taking for granted should not have been happening, she wised up and embraced the role she had been groomed for all her life - wife of a leader, protecting their people from Trollocs and facilitating her husband's leadership. It flipped for Faile, because after her and Perrin's hiatus, she was the one who was right, while Perrin kept embarassing her and making things worse, while fumbling his duties out of ignorance. But to many readers, she was the nay-saying voice taking away her husband's fun, and he was the sympathetic character, so she was bad. Much as with Cadsuane and Rand. Both women were right, and brought valuable insights to the men in question, but were forced to use oblique means to get around the men's lack of receptiveness.

Then too, there is the Rolan issue. Elsewhere on this site, I have expressed my astonishment and disgust at the pulp romance genre, but there is no denying a certain mental flaw in readers which makes that sort of thing possible, and I can only guess that it is at work making creepy Rolan into this sympathetic hero, for whose death people unreasonably blame Faile. I certainly don't blame Egwene for Gawyn's death, even if her own dreams explicitly state that without her, he'd have lived a long life.


Siuan didn't exactly leap to retake the oaths solely because she saw the advantage to her own vengeance in being able to lie.

IDK what your point is here, citing a stupid woman doing a stupid thing.
I'm not saying Egwene was some perfect time woman who made all the right choices, but she was no worse than any of the others and ultimately they were all guided down paths by the Pattern.
The Pattern thing is begging the question. You can just as easily flip it around to strip anyone except possibly the three ta'veren of any responsbility for wrongdoing...or credit for accomplishments. Anyway, that's not how the Pattern works. To the extent that there is any actual guidance or a plan, it is by putting the pieces in place to have the desired effect based on their natures. Egwene did not make the choices she did because the Pattern made her doing, rather, she was in position to make those choices, because the Pattern knew that's what she would do. The same Pattern also excised Egwene once the critical moment had past and there was no further need for a psychotically power-driven solipsistic meglomaniac to scourage the Aes Sedai, so if you are going to fall back on the Pattern as an excuse, you have to accept its ultimate judgment. The Pattern trust Rand to run around free with reality-altering powers during its happily-ever-after time, but it flushes Egwene down the drain along with the Forsaken.
Egwene needed to go to the Waste to learn to Dreamwalk
That's a criticism of Egwene, since no one else needed to do so. Nynaeve never set foot in the Waste, but she defeated and captured the mistress of Tel'Aran'Rhiod on her own ground, impressed a Hero of the Horn and saved the Dragon Reborn from a Forsaken. She did more for Egwene's cause in Tel'Aran'Rhiod than Egwene herself, with her teaching the Salidar council as well as Siuan and Leane. Egwene only beat her Forsaken with massive assistance from the Wise Ones who believed themselves superior to the Forsaken in the Dream, and from Perrin's fortuitous arrival with the dreamspike. After arrogantly assuming Mesaana would flee the Tower in terror of Egwene's arrival, and so fixating on Mesaana that she ignored all warnings of other dangers, and momentarily made Gawyn Trakand not the stupidest person in any given scenario.
We can't help criticizing Egwene, because she can't even do something good without this disastrous context.
and she needed to go to Salidar to unit the AS, which she would not have been able to do without first learning the Dream.

That's nonsense. She was handpicked long before anyone had any clue about her knowledge of Dreamwalking. The very day Nynaeve and Elayne spill the beans about Tel'Aran'Rhiod, Siuan lets slip that Egwene is the secret candidate for Amyrlin. To the extent that the Dream helped Egwene's rise to power, it is because Nynaeve and Elayne had relationships with Siuan & Leane through their tutelage, and then incurring that debt by Healing them, which in turn meant that Egwene had a superbly experienced and plugged-in advisor all prepped for her when she arrived in Salidar, who knew that Nynaeve would not let her get away with manipulating Egwene, and that Elayne would see what she was up to. Nynaeve broke Siuan to the harness, and as Kadere notes about Isendre, in what is a running theme throughout the series, people rationalize their service when forced into it, to maintain their own illusions of self-determination. MAYBE the aforementioned skill with keeping clothing steady helped Egwene present a good front to the Hall in Tel'Aran'Rhiod, but it isn't given much play in the books. Aside from that tenuous thread tying Siuan to her faction, Dreamwalking had nothing to do with her political success.


Sure she could have been less snide with Nynaeve, but I suspect most of us would have reacted much the same to someone similar to Nynaeve from our own lives.
Doesn't make it right.
Constantly preaching to you about being honest then full on lying to save face time and time again.
Except Nynaeve did neither of those things! Nynaeve isn't constantly preaching to Egwene about being honest - she punished her one time (by Egwene's own admission) back when she was the Wisdom and it was her duty. Nynaeve, meanwhile did NOT lie time and time again. When, in fact, DID she lie to Egwene? The "lie" for which Egwene assaulted her in Tel'Aran'Rhiod was only a lie by Nynaeve's hyperscrupulous standards, and would have passed easily under the Three Oaths. She said "imagine trying to serve forkroot to someone who knows as much as I do". She did NOT lie. Her deception was intended to maintain an illusion of competence in the face of barbarians, who were seeking to strip Nynaeve of a critical tool she was using for important tasks, because to them, she was just like Egwene - a dillettante student who wasn't up to anything critical. Keeping Egwene out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod only spares Nynaeve some PTSD, and maybe keeps her from forgetting the name of Salidar without Egwene's melodramatic overreactions interrupting her reading. Keeping Nynaeve out of Tel'Aran'Rhiod means maybe Egwene never comes to Salidar because the ruling council gets themselves killed without Nynaeve to teach them, that Moghedian runs wild and kills a couple of people who will play critical roles in Tarmon Gaidon while they are still wearing banded dresses and that Rand finds himself confronting Rahvin alone on his first conscious trip to the Dreamworld. Nynaeve HAD to do whatever she could to prevent the Wise Ones from interfering where they had no business anyway. Egwene did not HAVE to respond to the reprimand of teachers she had promised to obey with "I am Aes Sedai!" Which brings us back to the incredible idiocy or moral blindness of you citing HONESTY as a point of comparison between Egwene and Nynaeve. Nynaeve only lied in a situation Siuan herself later admitted was necessary, and thus with the Amyrlin's tacit permission. Egwene had no need to lie to the Aiel (note that Nynaeve did NOT claim to be Aes Sedai when meeting Aviendha and company, she merely admitted to being of the Tower - according to the rules of their silly toh-meeting games, that does not count as deception), and once she dropped her ring into her belt pouch with the Sea Folk, Nynaeve never again claimed to be Aes Sedai until she was one. Unlike Egwene who kept whipping it out among the Aiel well after she should have realized it cut no ice with the Wise Ones or Maidens.
Egwene's reaction to Nynaeve is a fairly common coming of age response for a young person when they first start to see fallibility in a parent or older sibling.
Yes, and it is wrong and stupid. Because most of those young people go on to find out that their parents were generally right. Until popular culture passed out of the hands of adults, into those of overgrown adolescent "creators", no one respected the impulses or passions of youth and early adulthood, or gave it much shrift. But now that every other movie or TV show glamorizes that time of life, people seem to think that citing what CS Lewis called the silliest time of one's life is a definitive argument. And it is one that is used in WoT discussions almost exclusively in defense of Egwene.
Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
*MySmiley*
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