3 Trivial Pursuits

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Thus the Creator (Robert Jordan) speaks:

"There are elements from Norse, Chinese, Japanese, and American Indian mythologies, to name just a few. I think it adds resonance to the story, although I've taken great care not to follow the older material in any slavish way. Occasionally, I will add in details here or there, and then discover that I have done something that is absolutely authentic to the myth I was working from." [From Waldenbooks 'zine Hailing Frequencies, issue #4, courtesy of Edmund Wong]

3.1 Arthur and the Holy Grail

Moiraine Morgaine/Morgan De Fay
Morgase Morgause
Tigraine Ygrainne
Egwene Guinevere
Artur Arthur
Callandor Sword in stone
Galad Galahad  or  Mordred
Gawyn Gawain
Green Man Green Knight or Green Man (worshiped by Celts)
Sa'angreal San Greal (Holy Grail) or Sang Real (Holy Blood).
Wound in side Fisher King (via Bible)
Nynaeve Nyvian/Vivian/Nemesis of Merlin
Perrin Parcival
Merrilin Merlin
Lan Lancelot
Damodred Mordred
Elayne ?Elaine? (Lancelot's Wife)
Luthair Paendrag Uther Pendragon (Now Artur's son vs. hisFather)
Tar Valon Avalon

Elyas, Aram, and Demandred's names are all similar to names of Arthurian knights, but I do not remember the actual names.

Min's vision of Rand's funeral bier:
in the Arthur legend (or at least the version I've read) Arthur is severely wounded and on his deathbed and Bedivere witnesses his being taken away on a funeral boat and ferried to Avalon to await the time when he is needed again. the only others on the ship are three women:

  1. Arthur's half-sister Morgan Le Fay (the sorceress)
  2. The Queen of North Galys
  3. The Queen of the Waste Land.
It is doubtful that RJ means for Rand's women to mirror Arthur exactly. It is probable that the women will be Elayne, Min, and Aviendha.

And, of course, the fabulous Sword in the Stone

3.2 Trolloc Tribes

[TEotW: Glossary, 798, entry "Trollocs", 668]

3.3 Future Earth

Survey says: Is Jordan's world under the Wheel our future earth? Yes: 52, No: 28

[TEotW: 4, 51, The Gleeman, 43]

John Glenn: "Tell us about Lenn," Egwene called. "How he flew to the moon in the belly of an eagle made of fire. Tell about his daughter Salya walking among the stars." (Eagle has landed.../Lenn may be a merger of LEM (lunar module) and Glenn)
Salya: Salyut (Russian for star) OR Sally Ride
Moscow, ICBMS: Mosk the Giant, with his Lance of Fire that could reach around the world.
America: Merk the other giant.
Queen Elizabeth: Alsbet, queen of all. (Remains of British Empire/Commonwealth?)
Mother Theresa: Materese the Healer, Mother of the Wondrous Ind
Anne Landers: Anla, the wise counselor?

[TSR: 24, 396, Rhuidean, 277]

Gautama Buddha: Ghoetam under the tree of life

[TSR: 11, 209, What Lies Hidden, 146-7]

In Tanchico Museum at the Panarch's Palace:

  1. Stylized Three-Pointed Triangle (reeking of greed & pride) Mercedes Benz logo
  2. Skeletons of Giraffe and Elephant

[TGH: 49, 678, What Was Meant To Be, 574]

Loial is reading 'To Sail Beyond the Sunset'

[TGH: 47, 660, The Grave Is No Bar to My Call, 559]

"Michael instead of Mikel. Patrick instead of Paedrig. Oscar instead of Otarin." St. Michael and St. Patrick? I don't know of a St. Oscar....

[TEotW: 24, 357, Flight Down the Arinelle, 300]

Bayle Domon (yes him again) mentions a "mountain hollowed into a bowl, and in its center, a silver spike a hundred spans high, and any who comes within a mile of it, dies." This could possibly be a big radio telescope, or maybe the Age of Legends equivalent.

3.4 Christian parallels

(Compare) the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve clans of the Aiel. In fact, Jordan mentions that there is (maybe) a thirteenth clan. This clan is credited with building Rhuidean - the holy place (temple if you will) of the Aiel. The Israelites also had a people charged with taking care of the Ark of the Covenant as well as the religious ceremonies within the temple (especially within the Holy of Holies) and those people were the Levites. A tribe not counted among the twelve, so in effect a thirteenth tribe also.

Craig Levin points out that the Levites are counted in the 12 Tribes. It's just that Joseph's descendants split into 2 tribes later on, and the Levites don't get land, it is our job theoretically to care for the Lord's Temple and other altars across Israel. Which is even better, since there was the Jenn/other Aiel split, and the Jenns' job was to take care of Rhuidean/the temple.

Rebirth/Reborn notion of the Savior.(Although this savior is going to do major damage before defeating the evil one). The blood of the lamb versus Rand's blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul.Wound in the side a la the Cross. Sea Folk saying Aes Sedai would wash Dragon's feet with their hair

Masema = Saul/Paul: Anti-Rand to rabidly pro-Rand. Also, Masema = John the Baptist - the "voice crying out in the wilderness" proclaiming the coming of the savior and all that.

Seven Seals = Seven Seals of Solomon? (revelation)

"Peace be on you always," Elyas replied, "and on all the People." He hesitated, then added, "I will find the song, or another will find the song, but the song will be sung, this year or in a year to come. As it once was so shall it be again, world without end."..."Peace be on you," Elyas said. "And on you," Raen said sadly. [TEotW: 27, 412, Shelter from the Storm, 346]
The former reminds me of the Catholic (maybe Christian in general - I'm not sure) prayer called the Glory Be. It goes: "Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." The latter quotes are reminiscent of the closing of a Catholic Mass, where the priest pronounces "Peace be with you" and the people respond "And also with you." - J.Vessey

At Easter mass this past spring, I saw an adult baptized for the first time in the Catholic faith. They get the person to kneel, pour water over their head, and say something like "Now you are sealed". I don't recall the exact words, but "sealed" was in it for sure and I recall thinking Jordan must be Catholic. Sounds a lot like becoming Accepted to me. - Judy G.

In [TGH: 26, 387, Discord, 326] we have the prophecy: "twice dawns the day when his blood is shed. once for mourning, once for rebirth." This is very similar to the darkening of the sun when Christ is crucified: from [Luke 23, verse 44-5]: "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst." - Pam Korda

Zach Simpson:

[Matthew 10:34-36 (TEV)] "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers......a man's worst enemies will be the members of his own family." cf: TFOH tailer prophecy: "And what was once did come again--in fire and in storm splitting all in twain. For his peace...was the peace...of the sword."

3.5 Random Names

Ba'alzamon : Ba'al or Baelzebub
Sammael : Either a member of Lucifer's host, or another name for Lucifer himself.
Graendal : Grendal from Beowulf
Rahvin : Raven harbinger of evil (Native American Loki figure?)
Lanfear : French l'enfer--name for hell.
Shai... : (well you KNOW who this is) : Satan [Will Baird notes:Shai... is the Muslim name for Satan literally.]
Be'la :l Belial, Biblical demon, Old Testament
Asmodean : Asmodeous, Biblical demon, Old Testament
Tarmon Gai'don : Armageddon, Book of Apocalypse
Paaren Disen : Paradise, Biblical Genesis
Wild Hunt : Wild Hunt, of Christian or Celtic legend
Bel Tine : Beltane, a Druidic holiday
Shayol Ghul : Sheol, Hebrew for hell; Ghul->Gol or Gul, Arabic for Demon.
Semirhage : Legendary Assyrian queen Semiramis, noted for her depravity (see Herodotus) [thanks Tony Z!]
LTT/Lord of The Morning : Lucifer--the morning star
Myrddraal : ?Murder All?
Lothair Mantelar : (Founder of Children of Light)= ?MARTIN LUTHER?
Aginor : "Recently, a friend of mine had to read the _Iliad_. (Homer's story of the Trojan War) In Book 21, a character named Agenor attacks Hektor, and is defeated. Not much is said about him (Agenor) other than that he is "blameless and powerful", and knew that Hektor was stronger than he was. He attacked anyway, figuring that while Hektor was much more combat-capable, Agenor had the gods on his side, not to mention the fact that even the powerful make mistakes. In a few minutes, Hektor defeats Agenor, and Apollo surrounds the loser "in a thick mist", and transports him back to Troy. Some interesting parallels between this an TEotW's final battle: Both Aginors knew that his opponent was more powerful Both were full of pride Both attacked anyway." - Mike O'Malley
Birgitte : Brigit, Celtic goddess of fire and something else...
Ishamael : Ishmael: In Genesis, Abraham's eldest son (to an Egyptian serving girl Hagar) was called Ishmael. Apparently Abraham's wife took a disliking to young Ishmael and pressured Big Ab into exiling Ish and Hagar into the desert. There is a quote about "every hand raised against him" some-where but I can't remember it.
Mesaana : Possibly from Messalina, the notorious third wife of Tiberius Cladius Drusus Nero Germanicus, Emperor of Rome.
Selene : Selena, a Roman goddess of the moon.

3.6 Dragon Legends

by Randy Cerveny

Taken from Man, Myth and Magic (volume 5, pages 693-4):

"The most striking of these is that the dragon in China is not, as in the West, a representative or symbol of the powers of evil. On the contrary, according to the old Chinese Book of Rites, the dragon as the chief of all scaly animals is one of the four benevolent spiritual animals. This reflects the general principle stated by Jung that 'every psychological extreme secretly contains its own opposite,' which is expressed in Chinese thought through the classical doctrine of Yang and Yin.

That this principle underlies the dragon's transformation into a beneficent being is confirmed by Wang Fu's statement that the dragon's scales number 117, of which 81 are imbued with Yang and 36 with Yin, because the dragon is partly a preserver and partly a destroyer. Yang is also the male element and, as its representative, the dragon also became at an early period a symbol of the Emperor, and appeared on the Chinese flag. During the Manchu dynasty, the dragon was held in especial esteem, and everything used by the Emperor was described in terms of it: there was the dragon throne, dragon bed and so on."

"Although Chinese dragons appeared at favorable moments to presage periods of prosperity, and had been known to emit foam which had supernatural powers of fertilization, they could also, when offended or disturbed, cause a drought by gathering up all the water of a district in baskets, or they could eclipse the sun. To propitiate them, the Chinese flew dragon kites, especially at the mumming parade in the New Year."

3.7 Norse Mythology

Contributions from Greg Wheatley, Chad Orzel, Jonathan Vessey, Erica Sadun, Pam Korda

  1. Mat & Odin: Has anybody failed to notice that Mat is being set up as Odin, complete with wide brimmed hat, a spear with ravens drawn on it which are named "Thought" and "Memory", coincidentally enough the names of Odin's ravens and will in the future almost certainly lose an eye? Also, it seems to me there was a Norse myth involving Odin agreeing to be hung from Yggsdril (or some other unpronounceable Norse thing like that [Yggdrasil - Helmut]) in order to gain wisdom or power or both (he really went in for this self-sacrifice thing...)- a definite parallel to Mat being hung from the Tree o' Life in Rhuidean.
  2. Midgard Serpent: wound around the roots of above tree, often envisioned as a symbol of eternity--a large serpent swallowing its own tail. Sound like any famous Aes Sedai jewelry we know?
  3. Heimdall's Horn: Heimdall's job was to guard the Rainbow bridge into Asgard against the Giants. During the Last Battle (Ragnarok), he was to blow the horn to signal the arrayed gods and _dead heroes_ that it was time to fight. cf. Horn of Valere. Granted, there are differences - the Heroes are bound to the Horn and not to a specific cause,and they live in T'A'R rather than the afterlife as such (where they'd fight all day, cutting each other to pieces, then get healed at day's end. Always got a kick out of that - sounds like a real heavenly afterlife to me), but the concept of dead heroes waiting around for the final battle stays the same
  4. Bad guy under the mountain: Here is the origin of the archetypal Evil Dude Imprisoned in a Mountain. Loki, the Norse "Evil God," was chained up in a cave after he killed the god Baldur.The legend was that he would escape or be freed just before Ragnarok.
  5. Perrin = Thor?? Is it just coincidence that Perrin is impressively muscled and has a big hammer, just like a certain Norse god of thunder?
  6. Missing hand: If Rand is going to lose a hand, then we have the following. Losing a hand correspond to Tew/Chew. Tew's arm was snarfled off by the monstrous wolf Fenri (Perrin?) whom he attempted to chain. Tew turns out to be the god of strife and that is what Rand is bringing into the world.

3.8 Steddings & China

The Ogiers seem to have named their steddings after places in China:

Shangtai: Shanghai, or Taishan (one of the sacred mountains) backwards.
Cantonine: Canton (But "Canton" is not really "Canton" - it's "Guangzhou".)
Taijing: Beijing, or some combination of any number of places whose names start with Tai (Taishan -- see above -- Taiyuan, etc.) and any number of capitols/ former capitols (Beijing, Nanjing ...) (Above two stedding mentioned in [TGH: 36, 520, Among the Elders, 439]
Tsofu: ??? An unfortunate tasteless high protein food?

3.9 Miscellaneous additional references

Birgitte in Conversation:

Maerion: Maid Marion
Mathena: Athena/Artemis
Zheres: Teiresias? Orion?
Actually, it was the goddess Artemis who turned the hunter into a stag so he would be killed by his dogs, after he saw her bathing. Athena was also surprised by Teiresias while bathing, but she blinded him and gave him the gift of second sight in return.

Birgitte's silver bow

seems straight out of Greek Mythology. Artemis had a silver bow, to match her brother Apollo's golden one.

Sammael = Napoleon?

Sammael is described as a great militarist. He is short. His symbol is the golden bee, same as Napoleon.

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