Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Character Names: F

By Linda

Faile Bashere: Saldaean. Faile probably alludes to faille, a soft ribbed fabric of silk or rayon (see right). It is slightly stiff and this makes it wrinkle-free and much harder-wearing than other evening fabrics. It is ironic that a tough woman like Faile, who is trying to shed her Zarine image, selects the name of a soft, slinky evening fabric, even if it is one more durable than most luxury fabrics. Faile herself is one of the tougher nobles in the series.

Fail is another possible allusion; it means ‘destiny’ in Gaelic. The Stone Lia Fail is said to have been brought to Ireland in antiquity by the semi-divine race known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. Looked at one way, Faile was destined to be Perrin’s falcon; at another, Perrin was destined to be a noble and a ruler by marrying Faile, despite his wishes to remain a commoner craftsman in the country. Bashere or Basheer is an Arabic surname and is discussed more fully under Davram Bashere. For more information on Faile's real-world parallels, see Faile and Berelain essay.

Faiselle: Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah and Rebel Sitter of Lelaine’s faction. Faiselle is similar to Faisal, the name of two Kings of Iraq and one of Saudi Arabia. Faiselle has close parallels with Faisal I of Iraq, Arab statesman and king of Iraq from 1921‒1933. Faisal was the son of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, amir and grand sharif of Mecca. When World War I provided an opportunity for rebellion for the many Arab leaders who had come to resent Ottoman rule, Faisal travelled to Damascus in 1915 to reach an understanding with the secret Arab nationalist societies there about the terms under which they would support an Arab revolt led by Husayn. Faisal had an ability to meet with diverse groups previously unknown to him and to win their support.

When in the following year the Arab revolt was declared, Faisal played an important part in the military campaigns against the Ottomans. An Arab military force occupied Damascus in September 1918, and Faisal was declared king of Syria in accord with his understanding that Arab support for British military ambitions would be rewarded by British support for the creation of an Arab state consisting of most of Syria. When Faisal went to Paris in 1919 to participate in the peace conference, however, he became clearly aware of French determination to establish a sphere of influence in Lebanon and Syria. Realizing that he would have to make concessions, he negotiated the agreement accepting French military occupation of Lebanon and the Syrian coastal regions as far north as Alexandretta (modern Iskenderun, Tur.). In January 1920 he returned to Damascus, where he was unable to calm the violent resentment aroused by the news of French pretensions. Most Arab leaders did not understand the futility of resisting French military power and the consequent pressures under which he had laboured in Paris. When France soon found reason to invade Faisal's kingdom and occupy Damascus (July 1920), Faisal himself was forced into exile, eventually going to London at the invitation of the British government.

Meanwhile, Britain had established a sphere of influence in Iraq. To ease resistance to British rule, Britain decided in March 1921 to sponsor Faisal as king of an Iraqi government with which Britain would conclude a treaty providing for eventual independence. Faisal accepted the plan and was enthusiastically welcomed in Iraq, where he was crowned in August 1921… From his position of influence, he negotiated with Britain a series of treaties culminating in 1930 with a treaty that enabled Iraq to achieve complete independence and membership in the League of Nations by 1932.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Faiselle was a Sitter in the Tower under Siuan who was sent by her Ajah Head to join the rebellion against Elaida and work toward repairing the split. She suggested negotiating with the White Tower, a parallel with Faisal being involved in the rebellion against Ottoman rule and then being involved in negotiations with the French, but refused to countenance negotiations with the Black Tower. With the Tower reunited and recovering from the Seanchan invasion (equivalent to the French invasion), Faiselle resumed her position as a Sitter in the Tower Hall and tried to increase the Hall’s power at Egwene’s expense. She saw through Egwene’s ruse to let the Tower run the war and organise the military forces while leaving her to negotiate with monarchs (and therefore Rand), but not until too late.

Faisal II was the last king of Iraq. He inherited the throne at age 4 (see photo right: credited to w:ar:مستخدم:Jalal naimi and now copyright free on wikimedia) and was removed from Iraq to Britain when the Prime Minister seized power. In 1953, he was enthroned in Baghdad and worked to modernise the country, but his rule was undermined by his uncle ‘Abd al-Ilah, and he was overthrown and killed during a coup led by General ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1958 (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Faiselle was a Sitter who left the White Tower when Elaida ousted Siuan and joined the rebel Hall. Those Sitters elected in Salidar for the rebel Hall were mostly too young. This parallel shows the degree of undermining of Aes Sedai leadership that occurred and the way the new Sitters were regarded as dispensable.

Faisal was king of Saudi Arabia from 1964‒1975 after his brother King Sa’ud was deposed by religious leaders, senior members of the ruling family, and the Council of Ministers. He was shot to death by his nephew Prince Faisal and was succeeded by his half brother Crown Prince Khalid (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

The latter two parallels show that the conflict within the White Tower (rebels and Black Ajah) and Seanchan raid took a high toll of Aes Sedai lives.

Falion Bhoda: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article

Faolain Orande: Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. Faolain may allude to Sean O’ Faolain (1900‒91) the Irish writer who rebelled against the restrictions of Irish life. Faolain is finding the restrictions of the Aes Sedai hierarchy difficult. Orande is similar to Orand, a place in Azerbaijan.

Fearil: Elza’s Warder and Darkfriend see Names of the Shadow article

Fedwin Morr: Asha'man. Fedwin is probably derived from Edwin. Morr is a surname.

Fera: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article

Fergin: Shen an Calhar. Fergin may be derived from the personal name Fergus or Ferguson. Fergus was a minor character in Arthurian myth; a ploughboy who was inspired to become a knight after seeing Arthur and his knights. After some adventures, he married Galiene, Lady of Lothian. Fergin was inspired to join Mat’s army.

Floran Gelb: Sailor. Floran may refer to Florian, Roman emperor from June to September 276 AD. The half-brother of the emperor Tacitus, he seized power on the death of his brother, but was killed by his own soldiers or suicided when he lost support of the army. Floran Gelb is greedy and self-important.

Gelb means ‘yellow’ in German. Floran Gelb proved himself a coward (yellow) as well as lazy when Trollocs tried to board Domon’s ship in The Eye of the World. He tried to incite a mutiny on Domon’s boat but failed to gain support.

Fortuona: The Seanchan Empress. Tuon is dead but her name is within Fortuona, which refers to Fortuna, the Roman goddess of luck, fortune and fate. She was much propitiated because she was fickle, bringing bad luck as often as good. Tyche is the ancient Greek equivalent of Fortuna and she was said to be a daughter of Hermes (a parallel of Mat, see Mat essay) and Aphrodite (a parallel of Tuon, see Tuon essay), or considered as one of the Oceanids, daughters of the sea and river deities Oceanus and Tethys. Both Tyche and Fortuna were depicted with a cornucopia (of plenty), ship's rudder (to steer fate with), ball (its rolling is hard to control), wheel (the inevitable change of luck as depicted on the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card, discussed more fully in the Tuon essay), and sometimes a scourge (see drawing, right.)

Tuon has strong links with sea goddesses, having travelled the ocean with the Return to change the fortunes and fate of the mainland. The Return has brought prosperity or at least stability to some, but has brought others down and changed the lives of all. Mat acknowledges that the Return can’t be undone or even easily controlled (Crossroads of Twilight, Time to be Gone).

While Tuon criticises others for being superstitious, she is even more so herself, as much as any desperate devotee of the goddess of luck, constantly using omens as a guide because she believes they are visions of fate shown by the Pattern (The Gathering Storm, Gambits) and, wonderful irony, having her fortune told.

Fortuna is the personification of luck, so lucky Mat is now married to ‘luck’. Note that she literally didn’t become Lady Luck until she first became his wife.

Chance, or fortune, was believed by the Romans to be linked to strength of character; a person’s flaws, especially if that person were very important, would bring calamitous misfortune. Likewise, Rand is one with the Land and when corrupted by the Dark One’s taint and using the True Power (same thing) brought darkness and evil events to the Land. It was this aura of darkness around Rand which spurred Tuon to resist Rand’s will and to refuse to make a treaty with him (The Gathering Storm, A Halo of Darkness).

An exhortation to Tyche says:

"Tykhe, beginning and end for mankind, you sit in Sophia’s seat and give honour to mortal deeds; from you comes more good than evil..."

- Stobaeus, Anthology, Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragment 1019

Tuon follows her family custom and has a Sof’eia (a parallel of Sophia, goddess of wisdom), a truthspeaker, not sitting in her seat, but standing next to it, to ensure that wise and just decisions and judgements are made. Her efforts to restore order should ultimately lead to more good than evil, but Tuon is also avenging Justice and a goddess of war and the underworld as well, so she will be the fickle mistress of fate for many. Those who can channel and stray into her lands, for instance.

Tyche’s spouse was Agathos Daimon ("good spirit"), a parallel of Mat (see Mat essay). Nemesis (“fair distribution”), another daughter of Oceanus and the goddess of divine retribution, was Tyche’s frequent companion, or even the goddess of fortune’s dark side. Nemesis was originally the maiden goddess of proportion, distributing good or bad fortune in due measure to each person as they deserved, but came to represent justice avenging any disturbance to this right proportion, restoring this proper order of things.

In Rome, especially, her cult was very popular, particularly among soldiers, by whom she was worshiped as patroness of the drill ground (Nemesis Campestris).

- Encyclopedia Britannica

Tuon, with her hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many of them utterly dedicated to her, is playing the role of Nemesis, leading the Return to avenge the wrongs done to Artur Hawkwing:

she had come to reclaim what had been stolen from her ancestor.

- Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides

She planned to exact justice and return the mainland to proper order (as she saw it). Tuon’s parallels with justice and order goddesses (see Tuon essay) show her ability to foster a fair and peaceful society, while her links with Nemesis indicate her vengeance on those who would damage that society and escape justice. Nemesis is often regarded as the inexorable exactor of retribution, no less for being postponed; in the Seanchan’s case after a delay of a thousand years.

Artur Hawkwing was badly served by Aes Sedai (servants of all) and, as Luthair discovered, so was the Seanchan mainland; in retribution, all female channellers in Seanchan have been enslaved. It is a lasting irony that Empress Fortuona can learn to channel, and may yet do so—Nemesis hoisted by her own petard. Mat arranged for Hawkwing to speak with Fortuona after the Last Battle, in the hope she would moderate her role as Nemesis to Aes Sedai (all channellers, really) and the mainland rulers.

Christians regarded the capricious and often disastrous changes in fortune as inevitable and part of God’s unknowable plan which should be accepted. Ishamael thought the Seanchan Return to conquer the mainland and collar the Aes Sedai a plot of the Shadow only:

“I whispered again, and the High King sent his armies across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come.”

- The Eye of the World, The Stag and Lion

But it is also a part of the Pattern, having been described occultly in the Prophecies:

”What does it mean that he shall bind the nine moons to serve him?”

- The Dragon Reborn, The Hunt Begins

Fortune rides like the sun on high
With the fox that makes the ravens fly.

- Crossroads of Twilight, A Cluster of Rosebuds

Fortune is Fortuona/Tuon and she has already ridden with her consort Mat, ‘the fox that makes the ravens fly’.

In medieval times Fortuna continued to be feared and propitiated because of her renowned caprices. She was depicted in a variety of ways: literally two-faced with one face smiling, one frowning; or with one face half white, half black, to show her duality; or with a blindfold to emphasise her arbitrary dispositions. And we have seen Tuon in her benign and harsh or grasping aspects, and her sudden decisions based on omens. Justice (a parallel of Tuon, see Tuon essay) also wears a blindfold to symbolise her impartiality.

Is the Return justice as Tuon believes? Or is it the fickle turning of Fortune’s wheel bringing benefits to some and disaster to others? Rand’s words to Fortuona imply the latter, as may Hawkwing’s opinion.

For more information on Fortuona's real-life parallels see Tuon essay.

Furyk Karede: Seanchan. Furyk is a surname—Jim Furyk, the American golfer is an example. Karede is similar to real-world place names.


Written by Linda, May 2005 and updated November 2013

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