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What is the deal with the Egwene-hate?


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#1 Misheru

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:33 PM

I have to say, Im baffled. I was not at all aware of the Eg-hate before I started lurking around in fandoms a couple of months ago. No, I haven't read the "I hate Egwene, she sucks!", because I was hoping maybe someone could explain without all the flaming and hating ('cause that just annoys me).

Most of the other characters people hate, I can see why, but I cannot fathom Egwene. She's a bit obnoxius when she's with the Aiel, and I don't agree with how she treats Gawyn in the latest books, but elsewise... Explain please?

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#2 TheLagomorph

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:59 PM

Maybe Elan Tedronai and randsc can have a discussion about this? ;-)
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#3 BrainFireBob

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:09 PM

She assumes the right to judgement while not applying it to herself.

She takes Nynaeve and Elayne to task for loose cannon behavior- which she then indulges in herself (Tower chain, for instance). Yes, you can argue that she had extenuating circumstances- incidentally, so can they. Effectively, she assumes her own competence rates her to judge the competence of others when she disagrees with them. It's a realistic trait that makes many of us gnash our teeth.

Take her judgemental attitude towards Rand in Cairhien, her horror at his cold-blooded manipulative actions and harsh decisions. Contrast that with her own cold-blooded manipulative actions and harsh decisions in both Salidar and the Tower.

If she ever had a scene where she reflected on how "she'd judged Rand too harshly, she hadn't understood what leadership means", than many would probably forgive. Instead, her stance toward him in particular has not shifted one jot- she made her decision on him, even though she wasn't qualified to assess at the time, and just assumes she must have been because she's qualified now.

Make sense?

#4 Elan Tedronai

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

I have to say, Im baffled. I was not at all aware of the Eg-hate before I started lurking around in fandoms a couple of months ago. No, I haven't read the "I hate Egwene, she sucks!", because I was hoping maybe someone could explain without all the flaming and hating ('cause that just annoys me).

Most of the other characters people hate, I can see why, but I cannot fathom Egwene. She's a bit obnoxius when she's with the Aiel, and I don't agree with how she treats Gawyn in the latest books, but elsewise... Explain please?



this topic has been beaten to death many a time

Edited by Elan Tedronai, 07 March 2012 - 02:19 PM.


#5 Misheru

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

BrainFireBob: I def see your point, and I agree with most, but I guess I just don't understand how it has become such a huge thing. Personally I feel like there is other characters with bigger flaws that are worse, but it seems like it is Egwene everyone has decided to hate on a massive scale.

I am not trying to take a stance on either side, I am just curious about the phenomenom. For me personally Im quite neutral to her; never felt much one way or the other.

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#6 Sloth

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

Nynaeve is my favorite character fighting for the light.. so it really annoyed me when Egwene was acting all self righteous and insulted Nynaeve for being "so reckless" in T'A'R when she herself had basically almost got sucked into Gawyn's dream among several other near death experiences that was a direct result of her hypocrisy and arrogance. Oh.. and every other instance of her belittling Nynaeve after realizing that she could.

I wouldn't mind her ego if she were punished more severely (or at all) for her blatant contradictions and flat out arrogance.

Still, she's just a minor annoyance and I loved the role she played throughout tGS and the book that preceded that. She's not even one of my least favorite characters.

Edited by Sloth, 07 March 2012 - 05:09 PM.


#7 Suttree

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:26 PM

Nynaeve is my favorite character fighting for the light.. so it really annoyed me when Egwene was acting all self righteous and insulted Nynaeve for being "so reckless" in T'A'R when she herself had basically almost got sucked into Gawyn's dream among several other near death experiences that was a direct result of her hypocrisy and arrogance. Oh.. and every other instance of her belittling Nynaeve after realizing that she could.


Might have asked you this before but Nynaeve's bullying never bothered you at all? Not to mention much of the humor around her character is based on her acting in a hypocritical fashion. Does it not just hit as hard because it is played to comedic effect?
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#8 Randommer

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:26 PM

Agreed; her treatment of Nynaeve was what got to me. It was just so annoyingly realistic that I really do think a lot of people tend to interchange Egwene in their heads with every self-righteous annoyance they ever met. Or maybe that's just me :happy:

Edited by Randommer, 07 March 2012 - 06:27 PM.


#9 Galium

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

Her view that "The White Tower is more important than anyone or anything ever created or known to mankind" has gotten rather annoying. I completely agreed with what Nynaeve said after she did the 100 weave test in ToM. To paraphrase, it was something like "Aes Sedai try to act like we know what's best for the world and that we need to be a part of what's happening while we separate ourselves from it at the same time." Not a very good paraphrase, but oh well, I don't have my book.

Coincidentally, Nynaeve was easily my least favorite character until she and Lan got married. It's like she changed after that, whether or not her marriage was the reason or just happened at the same moment I'm not too sure on, but she has easily become one of my favorite, if not my favorite, characters of the last 3-4 books.

#10 chongjasmine

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:33 PM

I cannot understand all the hate people have towards Egwene, too. She is my favourite character, so I kind of do not understand what makes her so hateful in the eyes of others, while I like her so much.

#11 Sloth

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:24 PM


Nynaeve is my favorite character fighting for the light.. so it really annoyed me when Egwene was acting all self righteous and insulted Nynaeve for being "so reckless" in T'A'R when she herself had basically almost got sucked into Gawyn's dream among several other near death experiences that was a direct result of her hypocrisy and arrogance. Oh.. and every other instance of her belittling Nynaeve after realizing that she could.


Might have asked you this before but Nynaeve's bullying never bothered you at all? Not to mention much of the humor around her character is based on her acting in a hypocritical fashion. Does it not just hit as hard because it is played to comedic effect?


I don't see Nynaeve as the bullying type. She has a strong personality and the ability to change, which is why most fans give her the benefit of the doubt. Still, I fell in love with her character since she was first introduced and I couldn't have been happier when it was revealed that she was one of the strongest channeler born in this age. I've never had a problem with her.

Egwene, on the other hand, is just arrogant. One example is the fact that she would take any opportunity she could to put Nynaeve down after that instance I had mentioned earlier. And I bring this up because you seem to be placing Nynaeve on the same level as Egwene.

#12 Thrasymachus

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:36 PM

Egwene has roughly three phases to the development of her character. The transition points between these phases are roughly, her imprisonment by the Seanchan and her ascension to the Amryllin Seat of the rebels. In the first phase, she's probably the most relate-able female character in the main cast. She's much less domineering, arrogant and hypocritical than Nynaeve, or even Moiraine. Sure, she's a bit annoying and makes silly assumptions at times, but she's a teenage girl, and she acts and thinks like one, so you give her some slack. This phase of Egwene's personality and development is marked by a driven curiosity and openness to learning about her self and her abilities with the Power. Her driving motivations are to better herself, become Aes Sedai, and help Rand win the Last Battle, if she can.

This phase ends with her betrayal by Liandrin to the Seanchan. Faced with the reality of the enemies of the Westlands, both Shadow and Seanchan, her motivations change from being proactive and altruistic to more reactive and defensive, she has to develop her potential to fight and beat the Seanchan, the Forsaken, and the Black Ajah. She also becomes more reckless and more arrogant in her abilities. Her tendency to criticize Rand based on incomplete information or false assumptions, present in her first phase, intensifies during the second. In a way, her personality begins to mirror Rand's, in that she pushes herself harder and harder, but becomes less and less sympathetic to realities her friends and comrades face. This is her most hypocritical and irritating phase. She accomplishes little more than learning to Dreamwalk, while her friends are out finding and fighting the Black Ajah, Nyn fighting Moghedien to a standstill, then capturing her, while on the run from the Seanchan posing as circus performers.

The latest phase begins with ascension to the Amryllin Seat of the rebels. Here, she is forced to be a leader and navigate complex political waters. She shows abilities in scheming and manipulation she never showed before, aided, of course, by Suian. But it is remarkable how quickly she takes command, and how effectively she manages to command the rebels. If anything, this ascension separates her further from her friends. And even here, she manages to jump to false conclusions about Rand, and though she manages to refrain from insulting him in public too often, she still blames him for things he could not control, or opposes him without bothering to try to understand his reasons first. Nonetheless, her more annoying qualities are now on the wane, tempered somewhat by the burdens of leadership and overshadowed by her general awesomeness in beating back the Seanchan invasion, reuniting the Tower, and defeating Mesaana.

Nyn's three phases, however, are of a different sort of progression. She starts out domineering and arrogant, hypocritical to a fault, difficult to like, and not really at all funny. Then she joins the Tower and has to deal with the fact that she's ain't all that and a slice of bread. She takes a long time to get over her block, all the while doing remarkable things even with it still in effect, while coming to terms with her imperfections. She makes conscious, difficult decisions to stop being domineering and insulting, and often succeeds. Still, she fails often and those failures are among the sources of comedy for the series. Finally, she marries Lan, overcomes her block, and regains her self-confidence, now no longer arrogance. She still has a bit of a temper and is more than willing to throw insults, but now she also displays her softer side, and explicitly acts for the greater good as she sees it.

tl;dr Eggy starts alright, gets terrible, then turns out to be a bit better than her terrible phase, but still not as endearing as her first phase. Nyn starts out terrible, gets interesting, then turns out to be a whole lot better of a person than she was in either phase.

#13 From the Isle of Madmen

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:26 AM

I agree with Thras's approach to understanding Egwene in terms of her character's function in the plot as well as her development within that same plot.

In terms of character function, I felt that Egwene's development was being developed alongside Rand's - he started using saidin almost in the same couple of chapters Egwene started receiving proper training from Moiraine, both innocent - and it has culminated to the Field where both will face one another, both having their dire, most important epiphanies yet (Rand on top of Dragonmount, Egwene when she became essentially the White Tower embodiment). I find it hard to hate any character when you think about what the author means to portray with that character/'s reaction(s) in different scenes; however, it makes me at least realize that these different phases and the ups-and-downs in those phases are coordinated rather well with the other characters involved.

#14 Misheru

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:47 AM

Wow guys, this is great! I understand much more now. Fine, I don't get the intensity of the hate, but I can see why people don't like her. Me, I tend to focus on the best sides in everyone, so I usually miss a lot of why people don't like characters, unless they are ment to be hated. The eternal optimist I am!

I have never really thought of Egwene as Rand's opposite, but d'uh, when you said it, it became screamingly obvious! I feel stupid now :P

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#15 macaroni

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:33 AM

I think the whole 'tying Perrin up while balefire was flying around in TAR' was a lowpoint for Egwene. :unsure:

That said, she is the daughter of the most important man in Emond's Field (before Moiraine turned their lives upside down). She was to become a wise woman, a position of isolation and decision-making. She was then whisked away to become a she-wizard. She was then betrayed, captured and tortured. Twice (Falme and Tear). After all that she is foisted as a puppet ruler of a less-than-powerful Aes Sedai faction via Black Ajah politics and then, through machinations, talent, help and sheer luck becomes their leader.

I think she is a true leader and the paragon of Aes Sedai virtues. And that means she is occasionally arrogant, aloof and a know-it-all.

Remember, no ones says she has to be correct all the time! Who in the series IS right all the time? It's one of the overarching themes of the series, pomposity and poor communication. It is deliberate.

#16 randsc

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:22 AM


Nynaeve is my favorite character fighting for the light.. so it really annoyed me when Egwene was acting all self righteous and insulted Nynaeve for being "so reckless" in T'A'R when she herself had basically almost got sucked into Gawyn's dream among several other near death experiences that was a direct result of her hypocrisy and arrogance. Oh.. and every other instance of her belittling Nynaeve after realizing that she could.


Might have asked you this before but Nynaeve's bullying never bothered you at all? Not to mention much of the humor around her character is based on her acting in a hypocritical fashion. Does it not just hit as hard because it is played to comedic effect?


Of course it doesn't hit as hard because it is played for comedic effect. Nynaeve's flaws and hypocricy are very in-your-face, whereas it is not entirely clear that Jordan was aware of just how much of a Mary-Sue Egwene is.

For the OP, just read the first 2-3 pages of any of the past threads. That's usually how long it takes the discussion to come apart.

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#17 spoke

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:10 AM

Her view that "The White Tower is more important than anyone or anything ever created or known to mankind" has gotten rather annoying. I completely agreed with what Nynaeve said after she did the 100 weave test in ToM. To paraphrase, it was something like "Aes Sedai try to act like we know what's best for the world and that we need to be a part of what's happening while we separate ourselves from it at the same time." Not a very good paraphrase, but oh well, I don't have my book.

Coincidentally, Nynaeve was easily my least favorite character until she and Lan got married. It's like she changed after that, whether or not her marriage was the reason or just happened at the same moment I'm not too sure on, but she has easily become one of my favorite, if not my favorite, characters of the last 3-4 books.


I don't think that it was her marriage that changed her so much, as the removal of her block. Previously she had to force herself to get angry to get past her block. It was a coping mechanism that both was effective and annoying. Once she no longer had to get angry to channel, the real Nynaeve was allowed to show. People tend to do what works for themselves, getting angry with the block worked to channel, but made her very hypocritical and annoyingly funny. With the block gone, it no longer works for her so she doesn't act that way anymore.

#18 Thrasymachus

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:42 AM

I don't hate Egwene, in fact, I rather like her. Yes, she was rather annoying during her second phase, and up till she became Amryllin, she just didn't contribute very much. But she has gotten a lot better. I did dislike Nynaeve at first, and Mat as well, but both of them have been developed into very likable, even admirable people. The way I look at it is that if you take away Egwene's position and political power, she's just another woman who thinks she knows best, with very little in the way of evidence or reason to support her positions. In fact, her whole identity is now wrapped up tightly in being the Amryllin. Without that position, she wouldn't be the same person, and the qualities that help her excel in that position would be a hindrance and annoyance if she didn't have it. If you take away Nynaeve's position, which is much less important as she's just another Aes Sedai, you don't change very much about the character, if anything at all. Nynaeve's identity is not wrapped up in becoming or being Aes Sedai, but instead is focused on being a servant of all in the literal sense.

Gawyn, on the other hand, is an idiot jerk who does nothing to really redeem his flaws. Killing three Bloodknives is an impressive display of swordsmanship, but doesn't make up for the fact that he's three times (at least) a traitor, unreliable, and entirely self-centered. And it doesn't help my opinion of Egwene much that she's in love with the idiot.

Edited by Thrasymachus, 08 March 2012 - 10:45 AM.


#19 Tyzack

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:56 AM

Personally, my favourite Ewgene phase was her fiery "I want to learn everything and be the best at everything" phase (TSR->LoC). I thought that she "weakened" (ie got annoying) during her politicing with the salidar AS, and really enjoyed her when she was able to use her most powerful asset - force of character - in TGS and ToM.

Yes, she is sometimes tunnel visioned (i won't say short sighted), but she means well. She could do with some "humbling" from her friends, but I have a feeling she will get that in spades at Mellinor.

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#20 Arath Faringal

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:13 AM

I think one of the biggest problems with Egwene is that she has come to embody every negative trait of the White Tower. She has a double dose of Aes Sedai arrogance, and a complete inability to relate to others.

The difference between Egwene and Nynaeve is that Nynaeve is fully aware of her own shortcomings andy hypocrisies, and struggles to correct them (usually). Egwene can't or won't ... she seems to thrive off of them.
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