Patterns of Symbols
Certain themes are consistently tied to certain characters. There is a continual rain of variations of particular images and themes for each character throughout the series. They are repeating Patterns if you like, some minor, some major. This is a by no means exhaustive list. I’m sure readers can suggest more.
Strangling his neck
The Underworld: 'Finns, Mordeth and the gholam
The issues of sexual harassment
As an example, let's explore the strangling motif around Mat. A Trolloc with a catchpole nearly strangled Mat near Shadar Logoth. None of the others were attacked in this fashion. It is a Foreshadowing of when Mat was hung by the 'Finns. And all these are meant to show that Mat's character is based on Odin/Woden (see Mat essay for all Mat's parallels).
The foolery and jokery motifs around Mat is discussed in the Fool and Joker essay.
Fireworks are explored in the Mat and Bellfounders essay. The concept of using gunpowder didn't come from nowhere, it was carefully prepared with Foreshadowing and the use of the motifs.
The evil spirit Mordeth behaved like a ghost at first and touched Mat the most. He's an Underworld figure all right. The gholam too has an almost ghost-like ability to squeeze through small spaces.
As an example of what doesn't happen around Mat, he hasn't much to do with Ogier and the Stedding. He's experienced them because he was part of the group, but they have little impact on him. Ogier and Stedding are more to do with Perrin and also Rand.
Stedding and Ogier
Moderation and moderating
Some of these are obvious, because they are used a great deal, and others less so. Long before we knew Perrin had to make a choice between the axe and the hammer, they both featured from the beginning of the book and gradually reached a crescendo by Knife of Dreams. It will be interesting to see why Perrin has to choose the hammer for the Last Battle. It is the weapon of Thor, the Norse God Perrin strongly resembles.
Rand also has had a fair bit to do with Ogier and Stedding, but with him they are more associated with loss (of sensing the Source - and that means diminishing his life). Perrin is much more positive - the Stedding are an ideal for him that he wishes he (and everyone) could live up to.
Number One/All alone
Prince in Disguise
The Rand parallels essay shows how these symbols fit Rand.
The colour red is an interesting motif. A big deal was made about Rand choosing the red cloth to bind his sword in Caemlyn, and from The Great Hunt on he often wears red coats. And the Red Ajah caught him and abused him. There is also the red blood often on his hand from the unhealing wound in his side. All these things symbolise the blood, red on black rock, that Rand will shed in Shayol Ghul to Heal the Land.
Why are clouds and wind associated with Rand? Because he is a dragon, and in Chinese mythology the dragon is associated with fertility and rain, and in Western mythology, with more violent weather - storms, flood and drought. Rand appears to be quite good at working weather - he made it rain in the Aiel Waste. The clouds and wind are to do with Rand having to Heal the Land and the violence required for him to survive to do so.
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