Here's the list from Wikipedia at the time it was excised: Much of this can be reintegrated here, with sources where appropriate, though a lot of it is self-evident for our purposes (not having an OR policy). -- nae'blis 15:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
References and similarities
To ancient places
Perhaps the most obvious borrowing is the Aes Sedai symbol, which is a modified Yin-Yang symbol, solid white on one side, black on the other. The name Aes Sedai is suggestive of the Irish Aes Sidhe, or Aes Dana, despite Ireland's lack of proximity to East Asia. Other references of similar effect include the game of stones played by several of the characters, which is very much like Go. Another is the saying of the Borderlands: Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather. This is an oft-quoted part of the code of the Samurai.
There are also similarities to various martial arts, especially with respect to sword-fighting techniques. In the books, the swordmasters practice and use specific moves that are representative of the behavior of animals and natural phenomena. Each of the moves has a stylized name which is very similar to many East Asian combat styles and traditions (for example: kung fu and samurai). Finally, perhaps most tellingly, the Sword Masters' swords are very similar to a katana. Mat Cauthon's weapon, a sword-tipped pole named an "Ashandarei", is also very similar to the naginata of Ancient Japan.
The city of the Stone of Tear is similar to the Phoenician city of Tyre (in present-day Lebanon). Tear's position as an impregnable fortress and trade center echo the importance of Tyre, until it was conquered by Alexander the Great.
When creating names in the series, Jordan used names and words of foreign languages, religions, mythologies, such as Shai'tan, similar to the Arabic language name for Satan. The names of Trolloc clans (Dha'vol, Kho'bol, etc), is likewise reminsicent of devil, kobold, etc.
To other literature
Jordan includes several references to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, such as an inn named "The Nine Rings" (chapter 21, The Great Hunt) and "The Nine Horse Hitch" (chapter 11, The Fires of Heaven), hinting at the rings that enslaved the Nine Riders who sought the One Ring at the Prancing Pony inn. A minor character, Karldin Manfor, uses the pseudonym "Underhill" (prologue, CoT), which is Frodo's traveling name in The Fellowship of the Ring. Perrin's name can be seen as an amalgam of the names of Merry and Pippin, two of Frodo's Hobbit companions. Also, Andor is a reference to Númenor in Tolkien's works; the original name of Númenor was Andor, meaning "Land of Gift" in Sindarin. North of Kandor on Randland's world map lie the Mountains of Dhoom, a reference to Tolkien's Mount Doom. And the book The Eye of the World starts out in the town Emond's Field, near the Mountains of Mist, a reference to the Misty Mountains.
Indeed the structure of The Eye of the World can be seen as roughly analogous to the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, up until the point where the group of traveling companions gets separated. Both start in an isolated and agrarian village (Emond's Field/Hobbiton) at a time of celebration (Beltine/Birthday Party). The presence of evil in the village (Trollocs/One Ring) causes a group of young men to leave the village. They first travel to a small town where they are attacked at an inn, then escaping in through the countryside to some ancient ruins (Shadar Logoth/Amon Sûl), where they are again attacked. At times they are accompanied by an experienced fighter skilled in tracking and the ways of the wild, as well as a wise magic user. Obviously there are many details that are different between the two stories, but the basic structure is strikingly similar until about halfway through The Eye of the World. Robert Jordan has in fact stated that he consciously intended the early chapters of The Eye of the World to evoke the Shire of Middle-earth in Tolkien's work.[verify]
The Aes Sedai have some similarities with the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood of the Dune series; both are orders of women with special powers, both seek to influence politics and powerful individuals, and both are sometimes referred to by other characters as "witches" (however Jordan modeled the Aes Sedai after nuns, and Herbert modeled the Bene Gesserit after the Jesuit Order). The Dragon Reborn, like the wikipedia:Kwisatz Haderach, is a male with powers normally reserved for the women of those organizations. Men could and still channel, though because of the taint on the saidin, they are often "gentled" before the talent blooms and they begin to go mad. The Aiel bear many similarities to the Fremen of "Dune", the most obvious being the environment that shaped them into the most formidable warriors in the known world. The Aiel Wise Ones are similar to the Fremen Reverend Mothers in that they serve the same function as Aes Sedai or Bene Gesserits, but forsake the connection to the sisterhood.
Aes Sedai also show some minor similarities to robots in Isaac Asimov's Robot Series, in that the Three Oaths protect ordinary people from their otherwise overwhelming power, similar to the Three Laws of Robotics in Asimov's series.
In Crossroads of Twilight (Chapter 16) the similarities between the mountain/tower combinations of WoT and LoTR are detailed: "People who lived in the region were accustomed to Dragonmount dominating the sky, much as they were accustomed to the White Tower looming above the city walls and visible for miles." (p.481). The Lord of the Rings also features as mountain/tower combination with Mount Doom (a.k.a. Orodruin) and Isengard, (as well as with Mount Doom and Sauron's Tower in Peter Jackson's movie trilogy).
To myth and legend
The series also borrows from various myths and legends, most notably Arthurian legend, Irish mythology, Hindu and Norse mythic cycles, and even Christian imagery (the Dragon Reborn, principal hero of the piece, has over the course of the story received wounds similar to stigmata). Noticeably, many of the borrowed names are nearly the same as Arthurian legend:
- Artur Paendrag — Arthur Pendragon
- Egwene al'Vere — Gwynevere
- Elayne — Elaine
- Galad — Galahad
- Gawyn — Gawain
- Mordeth — Mordred
- Morgase — Morgause
- Tigraine — Igraine
- Nynaeve — Nyneve (the Lady of the Lake)
- Moiraine — Morgan le Fay which is Morien in Welsh.22.214.171.124 20:30, December 17, 2017 (UTC)
- Tar Valon - Avalon
- Thom Merrilin - Merlin
- Caemlyn - Camelot or Camlann
- Bel Tine - Beltane, the Gaelic spring holiday
Shai'tan is a modification of Shaitan, the Jinn thrown out of paradise for refusing to bow to Adam in the Islamic tradition. It may also refer to ha'satan in the book of Job from the Juedo-Christian Bible. Ha'satan, used as both a noun and verb in Job, means "the adversary" in Hebrew. Shayol Ghul, the gateway to Shai'tan's prison, is borrowed from Sheol, the abode of the dead in the Hebrew Bible.
Sa'angreal is clearly borrowed from Sangreal, the Holy Grail, while al'Thor proving that he is the Dragon Reborn by pulling the sword (Callandor) out of the Stone (of Tear) is highly reminiscent of Arthurian legend.
Tarmon Gai'don, the term used throughout the books to refer to the Last Battle or culminative struggle between good and evil, is clearly borrowed from Armageddon, the Biblical term for the location of the last great battle at the end of time.
The three central ta'veren of the story also draw from religious mythology. Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, is confirmed by author Robert Jordan as sharing traits with the Norse god Tyr, Mat Cauthon is clearly based on Odin, and Perrin Aybara draws inspiration from the Slavic god Perun. The three also embody aspects of the Hindu "Creator-Preserver-Destroyer" trimurti.
There are also several indications that the central character, Rand al'Thor, is patterned after Jesus Christ. He has several stigmata (namely, marks in his hands/wrists and a spear wound in his side). Prophecy says he will give his life to save the world. And he will fight in the final battle, Tarmon Gai'don. There is also reference to his rebirth (to live, he must die), another parallel with Christ. He also wears the Crown of Swords, which can be a direct reference to the crown of thorns christ wore.
The Hindu gods Shiva and Kali are referenced in the series: "Shivan the Hunter, behind his black mask. He was said to herald the end of Ages, the destruction of what had been and the birth of what was to be, him and his sister Calian, called the Chooser, who rode red-masked at his side." — Chapter 21 of A Crown of Swords. The Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu is also referenced in the same passage: "Amarasu, riding out of the sun with a sword of fire", and again in Knife of Dreams, Chapter 24: "Amaresu herself, carrying the Sword of the Sun into battle."
Rand is in love with three women, Elayne (who can channel), Aviendha (who can channel), and Min (who sees auras around people, sometimes foretelling the future). In Arthurian legend, when Arthur was wounded by Mordred, three witches came and bore him away to the Avalon.
The invasion of the Seanchan could be correlated to the invasion of the Saxons to the English continent, putting them at war with the Celtic tribes there, one of which may have been led by King Arthur. Alternately, the Seanchan could refer to Asiatic peoples - this is supported by the idea that the Seanchan shave portions of their head, have a deeply entrenched honor system and bureaucracy, and that they have tilted eyes. The Asiatic view is supported by their armor, dress, and imperial system. Alternate allegoric analyses draw connections to the Roman Empire. Many conclude the Seanchan were derived from a variety of real world sources.
The Wheel of Time also draws from Norse legend with the similarities between the female half of the One Power (Saidar). According to Nordic mythology, there existed a magic-like power named saiđr, which was wielded by unsavory females. These women, regarded as outsiders (similar to the Aes Sedai) were not considered normal components of society. Furthermore, the dichotomy between wolves and "Shadow Brothers" can be traced to the Nordic legends, as they held lore of both the Wolf and the Varg, which were considered two sides of the same essence. The Varg was the incarnation of the evil tendencies of the wolf. It could be considered that Perrin's descent into his feral connection with wolves is mirrored in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which the character Enkidu is a primal character who clothes himself in animal skins, and whose death prompts Gilgamesh to do the same.
In Knife of Dreams, Perrin calls on two Two Rivers men to show off their archery abilities. One of them is called Tell, probably inspired by William Tell. In addition, the founder of the Whitecloaks is Lothair Mantelar, likely inspired by Martin Luther.
In Towers of Midnight, Perrin forges a hammer which he names Mah'alleinir which is probably a reference to Mjolnir the hammer of Thor.
Robert Jordan himself once said: "The characters in the books are the source of many of our myths and legends, and we are the source of many of theirs. You can look two ways along a wheel." [America Online chat, June 28, 1996]
To Jungian Archetypes
A number of Wheel of Time Characters fulfill the basic archetypes laid out by Carl Jung. In most cases different characters fulfill the same archetype, and one character can represent multiple concepts at the same time. Below are some of the most obvious examples.
- Rand al'Thor - the Übermensch ("Superman", the Omnipotent), the hero
- Matrim Cauthon - the Trickster
- Thom Merrilin - the senex ('Wise Old Man')
- Aran'gar (Balthamel) - the anima
- Egwene al'Vere - the 'Great Mother'
To our world
A number of references occur in The Eye of the World, Chapter 4:
- Queen Elizabeth: "Alsbet, queen of all" (changed to Elsbet in later editions)
- Ann Landers: "The Thousand Tales of Anla, the Wise Counselor"
- Mother Theresa: "Materese the Healer"
- John Glenn, The Eagle, Sally Ride or Salyut: "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."
And several more in The Shadow Rising:
- Mercedes Benz hood ornament: "A silvery thing in another cabinet, like a three-pointed star inside a circle, was made of no substance she knew; it was softer than metal, scratched and gouged, yet even older than any of the ancient bones. From ten paces she could sense pride and vanity." (Chapter 11, What lies hidden, p. 147)
- Moscow, America, ICBMs, superpowers: "Did Mosk and Merk really fight with spears of fire, and were they even giants?" (Chapter 20, Winds Rising)
- Gautama Buddha: "Ghoetam under the tree of life" (Chapter 24, Rhuidean, p. 277)
The intended impression is that the world in which the series is set might be our own world at some — probably later — point on The Wheel of Time. A list of more real-world inspirations can be found in The Wheel of Time FAQ, section 3.
Did Jordan Ever...
...explicity SAY it? These references could all be just tongue-in-cheek coincidences, deliberately placed there as allusions. Jachra 06:41, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
- Some of them are pretty obvious. But it's just semantics IMO; you could call them "real-world allusions" etc. if you really want... --Gherald 18:14, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Is it just me, or do myrddraal seem like the ringwraiths? I mean, big, black swords that can kill just by touching you, always dressed in black cloaks... Howabout 20:47, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I thought they were based on Dementor's because of the eyeless thing and looking at them is looking at fear.
---Harry Potter was written years after the start of the Wheel of Time (started writing in the 80's and published in 1990). So, no, they most DEFINITELY aren't created after Dementors.
I always seen them as more like a Slender man; big pale man dressed in black. The idea of them have been around for sometime (you could say the start of man) the before the start of the writing process of tEotW; but the name of 'Slender man' is a new thing though
I think these might be references, but I don't especially think the characters match their name sakes. 126.96.36.199 03:28, February 18, 2017 (UTC)
One that struck me from the beginning: