Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Character Names: S

By Linda

Saerin Asnobar: Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. There are quite a few place names similar to Saerin. Sanobar is a personal name.

Saine Tarasind: Mesaana see Names of the Shadow article.

Salya: is a legendary figure, the daughter of Lenn, who walked among the stars. Salya is a figure in Hindu mythology, one of the greatest warriors of his age. The name, with its space associations, also refers to the Salyut space station and/or Sally Ride. There were nine Russian Salyut space stations launched from 1971‒1982. Sally Ride (1951‒) (see photo right) was the first US woman in space. The Wheel of Time legendary character is a combination of all these.

Samitsu Tamagowa: Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah. Samitsu is a surname and Tamagawa is a place in Japan.

Saml Hake: Andoran Darkfriend see Names of the Shadow article.

Sammael: Forsaken see Names of the Shadow article.

Samon: Be'lal see Names of the Shadow article.

Sarainya Vostovan: The Kin. Saranya is a goddess of the clouds in Hinduism. Sarayna is a place in Russia. Vostova is a surname.

Sarin Hoigan: Nisao's Warder. Sarin is a nerve gas, a weapon of mass destruction. Some Warders have names associated with weaponry or war. Hogan is a surname.

Seaine Herimon: Aes Sedai of the White Ajah. Seaine is similar to the personal name Sean. Seane is a place in South Africa and Herriman is in the US.

Sedore Dajenna: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article.

Selene: Lanfear see Names of the Shadow article.

Selucia: Seanchan. Seleucia is an ancient city on the Tigris River. There are also other real-world towns named Seleucia.

Seleucus I Nicator (see photo right) founded the Seleucid Kingdom (ranging from Thrace in Europe to the border of India, and lasting from 312‒64 BC) out of the remains of Alexander the Great's Macedonian empire. Three other kings of the empire were named Seleucus.

The Seleucians were an ancient Gnostic sect with a dualistic philosophy. One of their tenets was that:

Christ did not sit at the right hand of the Father in Heaven... By hell they understood this present world, while Resurrection they explained as being merely the procreation over death with the expectation of a glorious immortality.

- Catholic Encyclopedia

Selucia cringed at Rand’s display (Rand being a parallel of Christ, see Rand essay) when he met Fortuona in the garden. It remains to be seen if Seleucia's views are heretical from a mainland point of view (more likely, since she and Tuon seem to be in accord) or a Seanchan point of view. Although the world was a hell during the Last Battle.

Semirhage: Forsaken see Names of the Shadow article.

Setalle Anan: Altaran. Setal is in Poland. Anan is a place in Japan, Philippines, US and France. Anan ben David (fl 8th century) was a Persian Jew who:

founded the Ananites, a heretical and antirabbinical order from which the still-existing Karaite sect developed.

In 770 Anan wrote the definitive code of his order, the Sefer ha-mitzwot (Book of Precepts). Its unifying principle is its rejection of much of the Talmud and of the rabbinate, which based its authority on the Talmud. Only the Bible is held to be valid, but it is interpreted with an unusual mixture of freedom and literalism.

After Anan's death, his followers settled in Jerusalem. Eventually his sect developed into the order known as Karaism, which also was ascetically oriented and rejected Talmudic authority.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

After Setalle Anan’s long sojourn outside the Tower, during which she married, raised a family and ran her own business, some of her views are no longer typical of Aes Sedai. It is most unlikely that her channelling ability will be restored, but she would probably no longer be at home in the Tower even if it were.

Sevanna: Aiel. Sevanna is similar to savanna, grassland, and to real-world place names.

Shaidar Haran: see Names of the Shadow article.

Shaitan: see Names of the Shadow article.

Shalon din Togara Morning Tide: Sea Folk. Shalon is a personal name and a surname. Togara is a surname.

Sharina Melloy: Novice. Sharina is a personal name. Melloy is a surname.

Shein Chunla: Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah and Amyrlin Seat. Sheine is similar to the personal names Shane or Sean but there are a couple of historic figures named Shein.

Mikhail Borisovich Shein (d. 1634) was a Russian national hero who was paradoxically executed for treason. In 1607, he was sent to govern Smolensk and commanded the Russians for 20 months of its siege by the Poles. When the Poles, led by a traitor, stormed the fortress, Shein put up a fierce resistance but finally surrendered. The Poles then tortured him in an effort to discover the location of valuables in the city, and imprisoned him for 8 years in Warsaw.

Shein was allowed to return to Moscow in 1619 and when war broke out with the Poles again, led the Russian army to besiege and retake Smolensk. The siege was almost successful when a small Polish force fought the Russians back from the walls and captured their supplies. The Russian forces became completely demoralised due to disease and lack of food, and Shein was forced to surrender. The Russian leadership could not believe they had lost and accused Shein of high treason and executed him.

Shein’s great grandson Aleksei Semyonovich Shein (1662‒1700), was a Russian statesman and the first Russian Generalissimus. Shein was a military commander in Tobolsk, Kursk, the Crimean campaigns and the Azov campaigns. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian land forces in 1696 and was granted the title of Generalissimus by Tsar Peter I for his military achievements. In 1698, he suppressed the Streltsy Uprising but fell into his disgrace with the Tsar for not having disclosed Streltsys' ties with Sophia Alekseyevna (Peter I's older sister who was regent early in his reign) and lost his position.

Shein Chunla likewise was successful but fatally infuriated other Aes Sedai leaders. She began as a strong Amyrlin, firmly in charge of the Tower and the Hall, but alienated most of the sisters in the Tower with her autocratic manner until the Hall tired of her. The Hall besieged Shein by forcing penances on her and made her their puppet until the Aes Sedai mutinied over the Tower's poor leadership and Shein and the Hall were pulled down (Knife of Dreams, Honey in the Tea). Shein was deposed and exiled for life and fifty-one years later, after four attempted restorations, the sisters guarding her smothered her in her sleep with a pillow (The Path of Daggers, Stronger than Written Law). The official records say that Shein died in the Tower of natural causes. So, a strong Amyrlin was disgraced, deposed, exiled and executed. The true history of her end is not disclosed to rank and file Aes Sedai.

Chunla is a surname. It may also refer to Chenla, an early Khmer kingdom from the mid 6th century to the 8th century AD.

Shemerin: Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah. Samaritans call themselves Shamerin, meaning 'observant ones' or 'keepers of the truth'. The Good Samaritan of the New Testament who aided an injured man would be an ideal for the Yellow Ajah. Shemerin could not bring herself to ignore an Amyrlin's command and so was disgraced and ran away.

Shendla: Sharan. The similar Shenda is a personal name, and Shendli is a place in India. Chendla is a surname and a personal name.
Sheriam Bayanar: Black Ajah see Names of the Shadow article

Shiaine Avarhin: Darkfriend see Names of the Shadow article.

Shivan the Hunter: Hero of the Horn and sister to Calian (a parallel of the dark mother Kali, see Character Names C article). Shivan is a personal name derived from Shiva, one of the Hindu trio of great gods. He is the Destroyer (of evil), but is also a regenerator.

Shiva is depicted as white, with a blue throat (where he holds the poison thrown up at the churning of the cosmic ocean, which would otherwise destroy humanity—something like the Dark One's taint?), matted hair and three eyes and wearing a necklace of skulls and a serpent around his neck. The hero Shivan with his black mask seems tame in comparison, although as a Hero of the Horn he destroys evil.

Sierin Vayu: Aes Sedai of the Grey Ajah and Amyrlin Seat. Sierin is a personal name and a surname. Vayu is the fierce Hindu god of wind (see right). He is portrayed as a destructive god who has strong, even violent, desires, which he doesn't try to repress. Sierin was a hard woman who attributed such feelings to all men, which is why she dismissed all male clerks from the White Tower for inappropriate behaviour when she gained the stole (New Spring, Changes).

Vayu was incited by the sage Narad, to break off the top of Mount Meru. He blew continuously at the mountain for a year, but Garuda shielded it with his great wings. Eventually Garuda tired and left his post and Narad immediately urged Vayu to try harder. Vayu blew the top off Mount Meru into the sea, where it became Sri Lanka. Siuan's note that the Black Ajah had murdered Tamra (and other sisters) may have incited Sierin to investigate the possibility of Black sisters. Chesmal Emry, for one, was convinced that Sierin was about to order her arrest and incited Red sisters to kill Sierin (Winter's Heart, A Plan Succeeds) by claiming that Sierin was about to expose their illegal gentling of men, or perhaps even blame them for the many sisters' deaths after the Aiel War. Had Sierin successfully found a Black sister or two, it surely would have blown the top off the mountain.

Silviana Brehon: Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah. Silviana is a personal name. A brehon was a judge in ancient Ireland, although more of an arbitrator, umpire, and expounder of the law, than a judge in the modern sense (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Brehon Laws were a civil rather than a criminal code, and governed everyday life and politics in Ireland until the Normans invaded in 1171. The laws were concerned with the payment of compensation for harm done and the regulation of property, inheritance and contracts; there was no state-administered punishment for crime in early medieval Ireland. It was a strongly hierarchical and tribal society, with rules of kinship within the clan determining status and therefore rights and obligations. Solidarity within the clan was also an important characteristic.

The Mistress of Novices is like an Irish brehon: Silviana as novice mistress metes out punishment for civil infringements: minor misdemeanours of novices and Accepted, penances of Aes Sedai and violations of Aes Sedai hierarchies. Criminal law is dispensed by the Hall of the Tower. The Aes Sedai are strongly hierarchical and tribal just like early Ireland. Their society is based on Ajahs (clan or tribe) and on strength in saidar.

Silvie: Lanfear see Names of the Shadow article.

Siuan Sanche: Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah and Amyrlin Seat. There are place names similar to Siuan: Siwan in India and Suian in China. Siuan is pronounced swan (RJ on his blog, see RJ's Blog Posts Pre Knife of Dreams article) so Siuan, with her nautical sayings and fishing background, is linked with swan symbolism (see Animal Symbolism essay). The swan is associated with divine virgins and with love. In Ancient Greece, the swan was the bird of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Siuan is in love for the first time in her life.

After being stilled, Siuan became very pretty—an ugly duckling who turned into a swan. Transformation is a persistent theme in swan myths: people and gods transforming into swans and swans transforming into people. In Teutonic mythology, swan maidens were maidens in swans' plumage who could fly. They were linked with Valkyries, mistresses of fate who chose the warriors destined to die in battle.

Every swan maiden was not necessarily a Valkyrie, but a Valkyrie always had the power to turn herself into a swan maiden. These strange and gracious creatures delighted in haunting the lakes and pools of lonely forests. They could, when it pleased them to do so, cast their plumage aside and appear in human form. But if a man succeeded in stealing their plumage they could never escape from him and were forced to obey his will.

- Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology

Siuan too was transformed: from an Amyrlin strong in saidar, the most powerful woman in the world, choosing the fate of women and men; to a pretty non-channeller refugee sworn to serve her love Gareth Bryne; and then to an Aes Sedai weak in saidar and unbound by the Oaths, but bound by her oath to Bryne.

Sanche is a surname similar to Sanchez and Sancho, and may refer to Sancho Panza, the mule-riding squire of Don Quixote in the novel of that name. He is Quixote's common and clever servant. Throughout their adventures in the novel, Sancho continually makes earthy comments and quotes. Siuan is hopeless on a horse and is known for her commonner fish folk sayings and earthy language. When she was young, she dreamed of adventures such as Don Quixote's. She is very clever and now serves Egwene.

For information on Siuan’s Arthurian parallels see Arthurian Who's Who essay).

Someshta: Nym. Somesta/Sumusta is a place in Egypt. The name may commemorate Michael Somes (1917‒1994), the great English dancer, and assistant director of the Royal Ballet. We see Someshta dancing in the fields during the seed singing in the Age of Legends in The Shadow Rising.

Sorilea: Wise One. Soilea is a surname. Sorilea sounds like a combination of sorrel, a sour herbaceious plant of damp places, and lea, a meadow. Sorrel can only be eaten in modest quantities…

Souran Maravaile: Andoran Noble and Hawkwing's greatest general. Souran is a traditional fisher-dance from Hokkaido, Japan. Maravail is a surname.

Suana Dragand: Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah. Suana is a place in Indonesia and is a common typo/alternate spelling for sauna. Saunas are taken for health benefits: stimulating the circulatory and immune systems, killing bacteria and parasites such as lice, and inducing perspiration and thus cleansing the skin. Dragan is a personal name and a surname.

Sulamein so Bhagad: Historian at the Court of the Sun in the Fourth Age who wrote The Wheel of Time. Sulamein is a personal name and may refer to Suleiman I the Magnificent (1494‒1566), a Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He was a just ruler, a great patron of philosophy and the arts, one of the greatest Islamic poets, and an accomplished goldsmith. Under his leadership, the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith and became a world power. Suleiman is an author and the chief historian at the court.

Bhagad is a surname and may refer to the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit text

of a dialogue between the warrior Prince Arjuna and his friend and charioteer, Krishna, who is also an earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu. The dialogue takes place on the field of battle, just as the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas is about to begin. The two armies stand opposing each other, and, on seeing many of his friends and kinsmen among those lined up on the other side, Prince Arjuna hesitates. He considers whether it would not be better to throw down his arms and allow himself to be slain by the enemy rather than to engage in a just, but cruel, war. He is recalled to his sense of duty as a warrior by Krishna, who points out to him that the higher way is the dispassionate discharge of his duty, performed with faith in God, and without selfish concern for personal triumph or gain.

The Bhagavad Gita goes far beyond the ethical question with which it begins, to consider broadly the nature of God and the means by which man can know him. The greatness of the scripture lies in its description of both the end and the means.

- Encyclopaedia Britannica

As a historian writing about the end of the Third Age, Suleiman is describing the great war between the Shadow and the Light. Theology is important to the outcome of the battle, and there will be former friends and kinsmen on opposing sides. The Dragon is not an avatar, but he is the Champion of a god, and is bent on selflessly performing his duty.

Suroth Sabelle Meldarath: Seanchan Darkfriend see Names of the Shadow article.


Written by Linda, February 2007 and updated November 2013


Terez said...

psssh, Siuan was in love with Moiraine first! :p Duty drove them apart...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another update but I disagree with you about Setalle Anan.

She and Tuon get along quite well. Tuon can learn to channel, Setalle could but was burned out.

When she asked Mat about his Amulet, he let her inspect it and imediately figured out she used to be AS. If Setalle ever learns that she can be healed, she won't refuse.

Aside from being a link between Tuon and the mainland and Tuon and free channelers, she could also be a link between the Kin and the AS. She is one of the few channelers (aside from the WO) who experienced real life; life with a husband and a family as opposed to living isolated from society. This is something both Kin and AS have lost. Neither group has a real connection with regular society and I think Setalle can be vital in putting AS (and Kin) back among society; as a part of society.

Anan is likely also intended as a reference to Kofi Annan, a former Secretary-General of the United Nations. A position in which he mediated between many different cultures and nations.


Val Mickey said...

Isn't there an Anann in Arthurian myth?

Linda said...

Thanks for the comments all.

Terez: LOL

Regarding the name Annan: Kofi Annan gained his position three years after LOC was published. So I think that wasn't what RJ was referring to.

THere isn't an Anann in arthurian myth, but Anann is "the personal name" of the Morrigan. Which I would not have found if you hadn't suggested the Arthur/ SO thanks Val. I'll add it to the article.

Anonymous said...

Before becoming Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Anan was, from March 1993 to February 1994, in charge of the UN Peacekeeping Operations, LoC was released on October 15 1994

It's still possible Setalle's last name is a reference to him, but less likely. Maybe RJ was prophetic :)

I still think RJ invested too much detail in her to have her just fade into the background.


Val Mickey said...

Glad to help! I especially liked the water motif connected to Siuan the Swan.

Isn't the Minotaur somehow connected to the swan? I'll have to check. Thanks.