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Mythalogical Inspirations for The Wheel of Time


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#1 jenniferl

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 06:39 AM

Discuss.

#2 ServantOElohim

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 03:23 PM

Such as

Artur Tanreal - King Arthur
Rand Al'Thor - Messiah Figure

and in the legends told by Thom

Mer and Mosc - America and Moscow
Matereas and the Ind - Mother Teresa and the people of India
Elsbet Queen of All - Queen Elizabeth

I have often thought of Mat being inspired by Loki

What others have we seen or maybe your ideas are better on the few I have named.

#3 Leopoled Boothe

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 04:43 PM

Artur Tanreal - King Arthur
Rand Al'Thor - Messiah Figure


All true thought I think both are meant to be the inspiration for King Arthur. King Arthur gets his name and personality from Artur Tanreal Paendrg. However, the pulling of a sword from the stone to prove his right as ruler and having and advisor by the name of Merrilin (Merlin) are from Rand. Since both conquered many nations it is easy to see how both legends could get confused and intertwined over several ages.

and in the legends told by Thom

Mer and Mosc - America and Moscow
Matereas and the Ind - Mother Teresa and the people of India
Elsbet Queen of All - Queen Elizabeth


Very good, but don't forget Lem how rode to the Moon in the belly of a giant eagle = John Glen, even though John Glen never wen't to the moon I supose they are confusing him with Neil Armstrong. Obviously the bit about the belly of a giant eagle come from the fact that the first ship to fly to the moon was called "The Eagle." Then there's Anla the wise counselor and her sister who = Anne Landers and Dear Abby.

I have often thought of Mat being inspired by
Loki


Mat does have alot in common with Loki in the earlier books, but later he begins to have more in common with Odin. For example Odin had a horn (the horn of Valere), he hunge from The Tree of Life in exchange for untimate knowlge (Mat's Memories) and had two pet ravens named Thought and Memory. Mat's spear blade has two ravens and is inscribed with the poem, Thought is the arrow of time, Memory never fades. I can't remember what the relationship between Odin and Loki was in Nosrse legend (I'm wanting to say they were brothers) but apparently the Legends of Loki and Odin are suposed to have come from two sides of Mat's personality.

Some other Aurtherian influnces:

Egwene al'Vere = Guinivere. Both were exceptionally young rulers one being a queen and the other Amyrlyn Seat, however other than this and their names they have little else in common.

Lan = Lanclot. Both are very honerable and nearly undefeatable warriors. Lanclot joined Arthur because Arthur was the first man to defeat him in combat. This could be an allusion to the fact that Lan came to respect Rand because he was an exceptionally good student or swordsmanship.

Thom Merrilin = Merlin. Unlike Merlin Thom does not use magic but he is able to awe audinces with his slight of hand, which in a world where magic doesn't exist (b/c the One Power isn't exactly magic) that's the next best thing. Merlin acted as Arthur's advisor until he drew the Sword from the Stone and then left Arthur's side. Similarly, Thom helped Rand with The Game of Houses in Tear just after he drew Callendor from The Stone but shortly thereafter left the Nyneave and Elayne.

Galad = Sir Galahad. Both are extremely moral and concened with doing what is right. Galahad was known as "The Pure" and as such was associated with the color white. Galad is Whitecloak and therefore wears white. He is also specuated to be the White Knight in Min's vision about Bereline.

Gawyn = Sir Gawyn, I guess. Honestly, I see little else in common between the two besides the name. Sir Gawyn is most recognized for his Role in "Sir Gawyn and the Green Knight" which may imply that Gawyn will have some dealings with a Nym. Sir Gawyn is also know for becoming Arthur's new champion after he and Laclot were estranged after Lanclot's afair with Guinivere. Sir Gawyn confronted Sir Laclot several times and was beaten severely each time until he was finally killed in their last confrontation. However, I doubt this will have any relevance as I see no reason for Gawyn to challenge
Lan.

Moridin = Mordred. Mordred was a one time Knight of the Round Table and ally to Arthur until he betrayed Arthur. While Rand and Moridin were never allies LTT and Ishamael were and like Mordred Ishamael betrayed LTT. In Arthurian Legend Mordred was Arthur's illigitimate son. While Rand and Moridin certainly do not have any kind of Father/Son relationship, perhaps this supoded familial relatiship comes from the two having switched bodies as many fans predict will happen.

Morgase = Morgase. In Aurtherian Legend Morgase was a powerfull sorscerous and one time lover of Merlin. Much like Thom Merrilin and WOT's Morgase the two parted and very rocky terms. Morgase is not a powerfull sorserous but she did study in the White Tower.

Camelyn = Camelot

Tar Valon = Avalon[/i]

#4 Leopoled Boothe

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 08:09 PM

Perrin is most likely meant to be the origin of the Keltic god or earth and metal, Perun who is often considered to be an analog of the Norse god Thor.
Perrin is a black smith and so he like Perun is associated with metals. Perun's weapons were an axe, as hammer and an arrow all of which Perrin is skilled with. Most importantly, Perun could talk to wolves and sometimes asked them to do battle for him (in contrast to Thor whose ememy was Fenir the giant wolf). It should also be noted that in christanized versions of Perun's myths he is called St. Elias, thus Elyas Machura is likley RJ's reference to the christianized versions.

#5 pha7e

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 12:26 AM

Actually, I think it's Lenn not Lem. Although if I'm wrong and it is Lem, it could be a reference to the Lunar Excursion Model or Lem as its referred to, which actually did land on the moon.

#6 Luckers

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 03:41 AM

I've always seen alot of Vedic philosophy in various concepts that establish the world. For instance the nature of Rand's soul is very like to the concept of the boddhisatva, the idea of the Wheel puts me in mind of Kalpas. The religious makeup of the land fits much more tightly with eastern religions also--the lack of organised dogmatic religions (except the Brahmanic faiths) and so forth.

On the level of the basis for characters i too see strong elements of more western cultural mythology, most of which has already been touched on, but conceptually the philosophical makeup of the story is much more eastern.

#7 PrinceOfRavens

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 05:43 AM

avalon... wasnt there a rhyme of

Let the lord of chaos rule

Great Avalaon, Fourth age

i dont know the rhyme... but might tar valong me great avalon?:P

#8 Naudran Grimnir

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 06:05 AM

Regarding the Rand, Mat & Perrin and their Norse "connections".

Rand = Tyr
Mat = Odin
Perrin = Thor

Rand
Tyr lost his hand when he put his hand in Fenrir's mouth. He made a deal with Fenrir (while Fenrir was being bound) and Fenrir "betrayed" him and bit of his hand. This can be seen as a similarity when Rand lost his hand to Semi.

Mat
Just as Leopoled Boothe said. This also leads to more proof that Mat will lose his eye. Odin lost his eye (or rather gave it up) to receive more knowledge

Perrin
Except fot the hammer that Perrin now wears, I don't really know of other connections... although I know RJ has confirmed this.

Those are but a few influences regarding the 3 main male characters. There are quite a few other influences as well...

#9 Lady Saravhem

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:07 PM

I also thought the story of Len was john Glen especially after it then said his daughter Sallah(?) walked in space wasn't Sally Ride the first woman to walk in space.

There are twelve Aiel Tribes and twelve tribes of Isreal.

And Rand is a messianic hero. People who know he is the savior of the World plot against him, same as the Pharisees did to Christ, except Rand can be extremely violent.

The iron and music being used against the snakes and foxes I think comes from a legend I once read about Iron being the only thing that can harm faery folk, and the ringing of a bell basically stuns them for awhile.

Did you notice when Egwene went to the museam in Tanchio in the World of Dreams she found something that to me must have been a Mercedes hood ornament--it was made of a strange metal, extremely old three-pointed star feelings of pride and vanity radiated out from it--sounds like it must have been something like that.

The dead heros coming back to fight in the last battle sound a lot Norse legends of Valhalla(Hall of Slain Heros or Valient Dead) and Aragnorok(Last Battle). I think there is even some legend about a special horn in Norse Mythology too, but it's been so lnog since I read it that I can't recall the details.

The Maidens of the Spear are a lot like the Amazons as anyone can tell.

I am outta here.

#10 Luckers

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 10:15 PM

I disagree with the christ connection very emphatically. The only parallels between them are that they were both 'in theory' figures prophesized about, that came to be leaders, and that theme is repeated countless times in mythology and religious history. Even the wounds Rand suffers are much more closely paralleled by the Monkey King, or the Great Jade Emperor. The ascetisim practised by Mahavira strongly echoes many of the physical and emotional deprivations that Rand takes on.

But far stronger then the parallels are the differences. Jesus was a spiritual leader who came to aid his people in their own personal growth. He was a healer and a philosophical revolutionary. Rand is a military leader. He doesn't care about the individual wellbeing of his people, much less their spiritual health. His purpose is seeing to the physical survival of the human race in general. He has no need pay attention to the thoughts of others beyond their use as tools in the war.

I get the inclination amongst western culture to see Jesus in any vaguelly Messianic figure... but really... they are inherently dichotomized.

#11 Lady Saravhem

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:04 PM

I disagree Rand does care about his people, and has from the start the only problem is he has got so wrapped up in the how that he has forgot the why. And the type of people he must deal with makes it hard for him to remember the important things. He has been betrayed and back stabbed so many times that he as become a hard cold man, but deep down he cares for the people and always has. That is what Cadsuane and Soriela are trying to make him realize. that he is human and has to make this sacrifice and make it willing. He is not just a military leader. And does have a few Christ-like attributes.

1 born of a woman married to no man.

2 people searching to desrtoy him right after his birth, and the killing of all male children who where born in the same area and same time frame as he.

3 people won't believe who he is even though he fulfills all the prophecies.

4 the people who belive who is still want to do away with him because he infringes on their own power.

5 wounded on both hands, side, and head from the crown of swords(thorns?)

6 must die and spill blood to save mankind, although his savior may seem mostly physical it can be considered spiritual too because what would happen to souls if the DO won the day and remade time in his image.

7 and it appears that he may die only to live again.

But the thing is he must find it in himself to go to his death willing not grudgingly, and he will because if he does not go to battle the DO with his whole heart excepting what he must do and with love, then he does not have a chance. That is what he has to relearn. He has to bust out of that hard shell he has enveloped himself in and become more like the farmboy he was in the beginning or all hope is lost.

#12 Thor

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:27 PM

Ishy never "betrayed" LTT though, there were never any hint that the two of them were ever allies or even friends during the AoL.

#13 RobertAlexWillis

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:52 PM

born of a woman married to no man.


Um ... Mary was married when Jesus was born, she was just a virgin. Tigraine was not a virgin, and was not married.

people searching to desrtoy him right after his birth, and the killing of all male children who where born in the same area and same time frame as he.


I assume you're referring to the Red Ajah "foulness" which was of a much, MUCH more limited scope and intent than Herod's order.

people won't believe who he is even though he fulfills all the prophecies.


A much larger proportion of the world believes that Rand al'Thor is the Dragon than even heard the name Jesus during his lifetime.

the people who belive who is still want to do away with him because he infringes on their own power.


Thats so vague, it applies to any heroic/revolutionary figure.

wounded on both hands, side, and head from the crown of swords(thorns?)


I can buy that.

must die and spill blood to save mankind, although his savior may seem mostly physical it can be considered spiritual too because what would happen to souls if the DO won the day and remade time in his image.


Ehhhh ... sort of yeah, but again, Christ isn't the only one who has a story like that.

and it appears that he may die only to live again.


A physical death and resurrection would be a solid hit for Christ imagery. The idea appears, but is not really prevalent in other religions.

In short ... there are a few parallels that can be drawn, but in principle I have to agree with Luckers, western society is ingrained from top to bottom with Christian symbology, and anytime any vaguely sacrificial/heroic figure appears in literature, the masses shout "Look, its Jesus!"

The majority of the symbolism, and certainly the theology, such as it is, is drawn from other sources.

#14 Jellybelly

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:14 AM

western society is ingrained from top to bottom with Christian symbology

Given exactly that, I do not see it as reasonable to dismiss any Christ connection on the basis that you are fed up with Christian symbology being read into everything.

Some of the points mentioned by Lady Saravhem I agree with, although I think some were phrased incorrectly. Rand's ancestry is better formulated as "born of a Maiden". I find this reminiscent of Christ, in that the word "maiden" or "maid" (derived from Old English mægden) carries an implication of virginity. Of course, there is no actual virginity involved in Rand's conception and birth, but I see RJ intending to show that a little "misunderstanding" could arise as the legends about Rand grow.

Also, when she referred to people searching for him in order to destroy him, I assumed she referred to the Black Ajah killing anyone who exhibited extraordinary luck, as seen in NS. After it became clear that he was born, he certainly was sought after, and Darkfriends would certainly kill him if found as a baby. To me, that seems to fit.

I do of course agree that Christianity does not have a monopoly on tragic saviour figures and that there is more than Christ here. I just do not think it is a good idea to dismiss them out of hand.

#15 TheDiceAgain...

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 08:43 AM

Luckers likes to dismiss the Christ-like paralels out of hand because he happens to not like the Judeo-Christian monopoly on Western religious thought, but we forgive him for that.

Oh and about the Lenn/Lem question, it was Lenn and probably an amalgam of John Glenn and and the Eagle which was the first LEM to land on the moon during Apollo 11. The Salya reference almost definitely refers to Sally Ride, who didn't walk in space but was the first American woman to fly there.

#16 DemandredFO

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 08:51 AM

I agree that there are some similarities between Christ and Rand but Western cultures think of Christ cuz in the West most countries are one form or another of Christianity. However, we think of Christ because he is the biggest Messiah figure for the West but Christianity STOLE alot from Pagan traditions, as they saw them, to make the new religion easier for the masses. In my Modern Belief class the professor described something that sounded like Christianity exactly but wasn't it was an earlier tradition of some form, which I forget the name of now. All history records is that Christ lived and died, historians know nothing else for certain. So while Christ is the Messiah figure that most in the West remember, he is only one in a line of Messiah-types. If I offended anyone by making braod generalizations I apologize.
I agree that Mat is an amalgation of Loki and Odin. Cuz although Mat is more like Odin now, minus the eye-loss which will occur in the next book, he still has Loki in him.

#17 Lady Saravhem

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:49 AM

You could also say rand is like to Horned One of the Celtic/Druidic/Wiccan pantheon of gods and goddess, although he does not die every fall to be reborn each spring. And the druid/celt holiday of beltine is clearly referred to, and I Think a few other are too.

The Norse references Makes me think of Aragnarok a lot, but I can't see Mat as Loki, yes Loki was a trickster but he was also just plan evil, and had a hand in bring about the end of time. A description of one of Min's viewings of Perrin makes me think of Odin. Min saw him with two large birds on his shoulders, Berelain and Faile, I know, but Odin did have two large ravens with him and they gathered info for him. Kind of like what B and F did for Perrin just with out his permission.

If you want to compare Mat to a Mythical prankster how about some one more like Puck of the Faery People.

#18 Luckers

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 07:41 PM

1 born of a woman married to no man.


Mary was a woman who was married, but a virgin. Tigraine was a woman who wasn't married, and wasn't a virgin. Additionally Abrahamic religions arn't the only ones that deal with the concept of the virgin birth, all of Ma Zu's children had no father, including the Yu Huang da di. I'm fairly sure the Monkey King did too, and he much more closely echoes Rand's mission and interactions with the powers that be then Jesus.

In the Kojiki the description of the birth of the kami of fire, from Izanami no Mikioto by Izanagi no Mikioto, her old brother/husband (not the father) as a maiden married to no man, and thus doomed to to Yomi (death) in the sin of her birth. The fire from the fire kami kills her and the fire kami screams in the snow. Sound familiar?

I'm sorry, but these reference are too vague, with too much twisting of the wording to create a connection when there is a pre-existing connection to another mythos that is much stronger.

2 people searching to desrtoy him right after his birth, and the killing of all male children who where born in the same area and same time frame as he.


Again, wide-scale slaughter's like this arn't uncommon... I mean God himself used it as an exclamation point.

3 people won't believe who he is even though he fulfills all the prophecies.


Well, A) Thats not really true is it. The entire Almosth plain capitulated, as did Tear. The Aiel. Even the Aes Sedai came to believe. About the only ones i can think of that didn't are the White Cloaks and the Shaido.

And as for Jesus, he didn't fulfil the prophecies. They were the products of the militinarian movement around the maccabean period, and all dealt with a political leader who would attain the political freedom of the Lower Kingdom after 500 years of being ruled by other nations. Jesus did not, in his overt spirituality, match any of these writtings. I doubt even he really identified too closely with the prophecies himself.

So i dont see any connection between the two there at all... even distantly. The situations are too different.

4 the people who belive who is still want to do away with him because he infringes on their own power.


That could link Rand to any political or religious leader in the history of the world.

5 wounded on both hands, side, and head from the crown of swords(thorns?)


Stigmata like woundings are not uncommon in mythology, and Rands loss of a hand, the eye problems, the nausia all take him out of the realm of being compared to Jesus. Its too much of a twist with too many others matching such mythological woundings.

7 and it appears that he may die only to live again.


Again, resurrection is not an unknown theme.

Given exactly that, I do not see it as reasonable to dismiss any Christ connection on the basis that you are fed up with Christian symbology being read into everything.


And nor would i, if that were my reason. But it is not. The connections between Rand and Jesus can only be found with certain mental wriggling, and other mythological figures fit much closer with no wriggling required.

I do of course agree that Christianity does not have a monopoly on tragic saviour figures and that there is more than Christ here. I just do not think it is a good idea to dismiss them out of hand.


Nor do I, but nor do i think the popularity of that particular mythos should end the discussion.

Luckers likes to dismiss the Christ-like paralels out of hand because he happens to not like the Judeo-Christian monopoly on Western religious thought, but we forgive him for that.


I actually find studying judeo-christian parallels fascinating. But no, i dont see them in Rand.

You could also say rand is like to Horned One of the Celtic/Druidic/Wiccan pantheon of gods and goddess, although he does not die every fall to be reborn each spring. And the druid/celt holiday of beltine is clearly referred to, and I Think a few other are too.


Very true, though I always saw a stronger connection between Perrin in the Horned Hunter. The whole summoning of the Wild Hunt, the Hammer.... Rand puts me in mind of the Holly King and the Oak King. The Winter King and the Summer King... especially with the whole Lews Therin think going on. The cycle of birth and rebirth and the summerbourne.

And the pantheistic understanding of the whole always struck a cord with me, with the Pattern and the Weaving of the Age Lace.

#19 TheDiceAgain...

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 09:46 AM

A description of one of Min's viewings of Perrin makes me think of Odin. Min saw him with two large birds on his shoulders, Berelain and Faile, I know, but Odin did have two large ravens with him and they gathered info for him. Kind of like what B and F did for Perrin just with out his permission.


I really can't the Mat = Loki parallel either, but he is much more Odin like than Perrin. I'd refer you to this Wikipedia article about him:

http://en.wikipedia....Odin_References

(In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I pointed to that particular one because the last point in the parallels section is something that I personally contributed...)

#20 ServantOElohim

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 05:01 PM

I would think that Rand is a compilation of many of the "savior" stories that range all over our current globe. He displays attributes and history as can be found in many different cultural legends today. I see much that is Christ like but also see much that is not, RJ at the end of the audio books (atleast the first 4 or five) has a short interview in which he says he used parts from just about every religeon in his books.

seems like an easy answer to a touchy subject....