2.7: Absurd Trivia and Generalities

This subsection contains information on and discussion of matters which don't really fit anywhere else.

2.7.1: How does one sniff, anyway? What about snorting?

[Erica Sadun, John Novak]

Erica explains to us about sniffing:

In Jordan's Wheel of Time universe, women sniff and men (and Siuan Sanche) snort. While a sniff, read "inhale", can express disdain, the outward snuff/hmph is more popular an expression. For correct sniffing posture, turn your head towards the left shoulder, but not quite. A sixty degree angle is ideal. The posture indicates that one is removing ones nose from an offensive area. A single sniff will suffice and may be augmented with a very modest synchronized shrugging motion. Follow up with a look at the offender and an optional lift of both eyebrows. These steps comprise the "sniff". The snuff or hmph is produced by a small vocalization at the back of the throat, enunciated through the nose and usually is modified by a slight raising of the chin. This is distinct from the "snort" which is a guttural, pig-like sound caused by inhalation through the nose. The mouth must be opened slightly to enable this effect unlike the sniff and the snuff. (Go ahead. Try it with your mouth closed). The [snort] when written, should occupy its own line, be followed by a blank line and then the text following it should be limited to sixty character lines.

Novak gives us a manly perspective on snorting:

[Sniffing] is distinct from the *snort* sound, characteristic of male derision. The *snort* is a sharp inhalation of air through the nose, so powerful that it causes the back of the throat to constrict and produce a rough, audible sound. It is not unlike the sound produced before prodigious expectoration. The mouth should not open during this gesture, but a one-sided sneer is a recommended option. The *snort* when written should occupy its own line, be followed by one line of whitespace, and followed by text formatted to sixty characters or less. (Really, if you open your mouth during a *snort* you just look stoopid.)

2.7.2: How tall is everyone?

Heights given in English feet:

Info from a post-LOC book signing [reported by Erica Sadun]

  • Rand: 6'5" to 6'6"
  • Perrin: 6'2"
  • Mat: 5'11"
  • Aviendha: 5'8" to 5'9"
  • Elayne 5'6"
  • Nynaeve: 5'4"
  • Egwene: 5'2"
  • Moiraine: 5'0" to 5'2"

Info from another post-LOC book signing [reported by Greg Gruber]

  • Rand: 6'6"
  • Moiraine: 5'3"
  • Egwene: 5'5"
  • Nynaeve: 5'5"
  • Aviendha: 5'10"

Info from yet another book signing [December 2000, reported by Bruce Garner]

  • Rand: 6'5 or 6'6" and 235 lbs
  • Perrin: 6'1.5" and around 235 to 240 lbs
  • Mat: 6' and 180 lbs

2.7.3: How old is everyone?

[Steven Cooper, Courtenay Footman, John Hamby, Sean Hillyard, Pam Korda, John Novak, Katrina Werpetinski]

  • Aram: "about" same age as Perrin [TEOTW: 25, The Traveling People, 311].
  • Aviendha: almost twenty in [TPOD: 1, To Keep the Bargain, 50], which occurs early in 1000 NE, so she was born in 979-980 NE.
  • Berelain: at most a year older than Rand [TSR: 2, Whirlpools in the Pattern, 57]
  • Cadsuane: "Thought to have been born around 705 NE." [ACOS: Glossary, 671]
  • Elayne is eighteen in [LOC: 48, Leaning on the Knife, 602]. This is at the turning of the century, placing her date of birth close to Egwene's in mid to late 981.
  • Egwene is two years younger than Rand [TEOTW: 3, The Peddler, 35], so she was born mid-981. She's also listed as eighteen in [ACOS: 8, The Figurehead, 157].
  • Ewin Finngar: born 984 NE [TEOTW: 2, Strangers, 19]
  • Faile: Of an age with Ewin Finngar [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 35]
  • Galad was born prior to 972 NE [TEOTW: Glossary, 668] (probably a year at most since he is described as an infant when Tigraine left).
  • Gawyn: 22 or 23 in 999 NE [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 40], he is listed as being a few years past twenty. The earliest he could have been born is 975 NE which would make him 25--a little older than a 'few years.'
  • Isam: was a child when Malkier fell, so he is a few years older than Lan, say b. 945-950 NE.
  • Lan: b. 953 NE [LOC: Glossary, 709]
  • Logain: born 972 NE [ACOS: Glossary, 676]
  • Loial: born 908 NE [TEOTW: 36, Web of the Pattern, 461]
  • Mat is the same age as Rand, b.978 NE [TEOTW: 8, A Place of Safety, 94].
  • Min: 'almost' Nynaeve's age [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 28]
  • Moiraine: b. 956 NE [LOC: Glossary, 710]
  • Nynaeve is twenty-six at the end of 999 NE, so she was born 973 NE [LOC: 48, Leaning on the Knife, 602]. She looks to be a few years younger, due to slowing.
  • Perrin is the same age as Rand, b.978 NE [TEOTW: 8, A Place of Safety, 94].
  • Rand was born in 978 NE [TGH: 8, The Dragon Reborn, 109].
  • Siuan Sanche: She was raised Amyrlin at age 30 [LOC: 35, In the Hall of the Sitters, 471], in 988 NE [Guide: 24, The White Tower, 216]. Thus she was born in 958 NE.
  • Taim: looks at least 15 years older than Rand, so thus looks about 35 [LOC: 2, A New Arrival, 76]. Note that, due to slowing, he is probably older than that. (At a post-TPOD signing in New York [20 October, 1998, report by Ryan R.], RJ said that a man with the spark wouldn't slow until 25, usually closer to thirty. Thus, if Rand's assessment of Taim's apparent age is accurate, the only way Taim could be the age he looks is if he started channeling at an unusually late age.)

2.7.4: Is there religion in Randland?

[Erica Sadun]


"By the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear to serve you in whatever way you require for as long as you require, or may the Creator's face turn from me forever and darkness consume my soul." [TFOH: 1, Fanning The Sparks, 39]

The answer is yes, but not much. It is pretty secular. It may be closer to many pagan religions or in some cases to Judaism rather than Christianity. However, like Christianity, there is a dualism between the Light (goodness) and the Creator (God) who are often spoken of separately and together. Like Judaism, burials are as simple as possible to encourage return to the earth [TGH: 10, The Hunt Begins, 151]. Like the religions of old merry England, the maypole is a fertility ritual [TEOTW: 1, An Empty Road, 8-9]. Like Catholicism, children are taught catechism [TEOTW: 1, An Empty Road, 12]. Wisdoms act as priestesses, in some respects. Like Judaism, marriage is a public announcement to the community [TSR: 53, The Price of a Departure, 618].

This does not even begin to touch on the religious aspects of the Aes Sedai. They have novices (like nuns), they are considered to be "servants of all" and the rituals of acceptance and joining the sisterhood are rigid with many religious overtones. They are expected to serve the Light and the will of the Creator when they join the Aes Sedai. They are almost Buddhist in certain ways: in particular the view of the time serpent, the wheel of time and the age lace. The Children of Light are another quasi-religious organization, in this case a religious organization in turmoil with inappropriate goals and methods. Finally, we have the Tinkers, a religious cult more or less who follow the early Christian/Calvinist 'Way of the Leaf', a cross between pacifism and acceptance of fate [TEOTW: 27, Shelter from the Storm, 346]. -- Erica

OTOH, in Randland, the Creator is. The DO is. No one disbelieves in their existence; they are there. They are far more concrete and present in everyday life than our God(s) is/are in our lives. If you cross the Blight to Shayol Ghul, you will find a mountain with a hole in its side and evil leaking out. Thus, many of the rituals and other trappings of organized religion are unnecessary in Randland. Just because we don't see worship going on very often doesn't mean it's not being done. Scratch a Randlander, and you'll find a quite religious person 9 times out of 10, would be my guess. There just isn't quite the need to formalize it the way we do, except on occasions which, by their nature, are already formal... i.e. funerals, weddings, harvest, etc. Just my humble opinion. -Jocelyn

Randlanders pray to the Creator for favors, such as relief from the drought. [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 36]

RJ's take on it, from a Compuserve chat, July 1996:


This is a world where what might be called the proofs of religion are self-evident all the time. It seemed to me there was no necessity for the trappings of religion which by and large are to reinforce us in our faith.. and to convince others... if your beliefs are made concrete and manifest around you at any given time there is not the need for that.