Member Spotlight – Jahily al’Karee

 
Member Spotlights are supposed to shed new light on a member for the author and the audience, right? Well, I’ve known Jahily since I was a Citizen in Tar Valon, and I’ve been residing in her Pocket since I was a novice! She’s been the Editor of the Tar Valon Times since April 2, so you know it’s not an April Fool’s joke. She aspired to the Gray Ajah on June 12, along with her first-brother, Bryden von Brazilius, another staff member of the Tar Valon Times!

When I was just starting out here, she was encouraging and kind, and now that I’m serving as her first mate, she’s still that awesome person. I sat down with her and asked her some questions, and here is what she shared with me:

 

Leala: Tell us a little about yourself in real life (if comfortable sharing) – where you live, what you do, family/partner/pets/etc.? Photos you’d like to share?

 

Jahily: I am a native of the state of Texas, and currently live in the Central part of the state. My husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary back in June; and we are the proud parents of one teenage son, and one lab/shepherd fur child. 

 

  

 

I work in the non-profit world, in the area of office management, logistics/operations/event planning, team and volunteer coordination, etc. I love being in roles where I can support others, and meet people’s needs. 
 
Leala: Do you have any other hobbies/interests other than WoT? Share a “fun fact” about yourself.

 

Jahily: My main hobbies currently involve my son’s activities. He is a Boy Scout, and has been playing baseball for several years. 

Fun fact – I did pick up a new hobby over the past year, thanks to nudging from a certain first-brother — role-playing games. For some reason it’s not something I ever got into, but Brynden started a D&D campaign last fall and encouraged me to try. Turns out, I really enjoy it! 

 

Leala: What brought you to TarValon.net? What made you want to stay and get more involved?

 

Jahily: When my son was 3-4 years old, I was out of work for a period of about a year. I loved having the mom time with him at that age! I also caught up on a lot of reading. A friend recommended WoT so I started reading. And reading.

I was a few books into the series, and had questions. Plus I wanted to see if there was any sort of online discussion group. Enter TarValon.Net. I did find book discussion, and a whole lot more! 

I started getting to know people slowly – I’m one of those people who struggle with just jumping right into conversation threads on the boards. And then, I tried a Mafia game, and loved it. I got a chance to know people in a fun setting. Then I joined the Tower, started writing for the TVT, made some great friends, had the opportunity to serve in several roles onsite that I really enjoyed. 
 

Leala: How did you decide Gray Ajah was right for you? (what do you like about it, what makes you Gray? Or, like others on the boards have said, did the Gray Ajah choose you instead?)

 

Jahily: Gray really resonates with me, because of who I am and how I think, feel, and process. I am a peacemaker, I try to see things from all sides and perspectives. I am a caretaker – lending support with a “listening ear” or shoulder to cry on. (Or vent to!) I am fiercely loyal and protective of my family, my friends – including my “friends-like-family.” 

My break as a Resident Citizen really helped me take a step back to figure out what I was looking for in a group. Spending time in Gray made it all click, and I knew it was home. 
 
Leala: What led you to apply for the Editor of the Tar Valon Times? What are your goals for your tenure? What are some fun stories you can share about your tenure so far?

 

Jahily: Because Aleita is an amazing boss!!  

Part of my university degree is in journalism, which is what drew me to do some staff writing for the TVT initially. The Assistant Editor position came up right as I was transitioning out of the Mayor’s office. Knowing I would have a great boss and team, made that decision easy. When Aleita was promoted to Director, the move to Editor was a natural step. And I am thankful that Leala came off of her leave when she did, and decided to take the Assistant position!  
 
Leala:  Dawww, I am too!  I’m having a blast!
 
Jahily: While I did not come up with the concept, running the Takeovers has seriously been one of my favorite things to do. Seeing what our different groups come up with as content to represent them — either as a group, or highlighting a talent of one of their members — has been so interesting! I said this in my Takeover article for Accepted/Soldiers that it has been a funny coincidence that I have hit three months personally in this series. (Aleita published the schedule almost a year ago.) 

Really though, what makes the TVT great is the creativity of the team. Each person is so talented, and work hard every month — whether reviews of existing media, or original content — it’s all just SO good! I am in awe of them, and happy to fix their commas and punctuation. If you’re not reading our TarValon.Net blog, you should!  
 
Leala:  It really is a great part of TarValon.Net!  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? (About you personally; you on-site; the Gray Ajah – individually or as a group; about the Tower; etc.)

 

Jahily: Douglas Adams is a long-time favorite author of mine. I recently ran back across this quote, which I think sums up a lot of things pretty well: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
 
Leala: I can definitely relate to that quote.  Speaking of, I sadly couldn’t visit you in Texas before I moved away from Louisiana. But, Texas is a big state! Could you share a few facts about the city where you live? (Obviously, you don’t have to share identifying information, if you don’t feel comfortable with it.) 

 

Leala: I have a ridiculous amount of state pride as a Texan – 8th generation native on my dad’s side. Mostly in fun, but I really do love it. Texas is so diverse, from the flat, tumbleweed areas west where I grew up, to the beautiful Hill Country where I live now. We have mountains, beaches, big cities, and small towns. 

Hmm, interesting fact – the state capitol building in Austin is taller than the US capitol building. One of my first jobs after college was working at the capitol as a legislative aide to a state representative during an active session. Now THAT was interesting! 

 

Leala: I’m open about being a fan of the Aiel, and I know that you identify with the Tuatha’an. What about them is special to you?

 

Jahily: I love music and singing, so the Tinkers were one of the groups I was drawn to when I read the series. When I demoted, I decided as part of my “reset and regroup” time that I wanted to change things up, find something that was more “me.” The avatar I use now is titled The Way of the Leaf – Tinker.

 

Leala:  That’s a wonderful sentiment.  Thank you for this interview, and thank you for being an amazing boss too!  And you’re not a bad Pocket Landlord either.

No Comments

The Shadow Knows – Part 7

 
The Shadow Knows is an ongoing series about things Dark as seen by a mysterious, Friend of the Night. As such, they are written from a certain point of view and cannot be taken as the absolute truth. These articles are intended to be entertaining, and at times might contradict accepted canon. Viewer discretion is advised.
 
Part 7: Chasing the Dragon
 
Lews Therin Telamon, also called The Dragon. He was First among the Servants and the Commander in Chief of the Armies of the Light during the War of Power. He also masterminded the spear tip assault that sealed the Bore. He was a lightning rod; he was loved and respected worldwide but also reviled for hubris. Then again, is it really hubris if you can back it up? He was without a doubt a brilliant general, and perhaps the most powerful channeler of his time. He was by any measure a titan and dominated any field or room he deigned to grace with his presence. Yet, some of his closest friends found him so toxic that they turned their coats rather than continue to have to deal with him.
 
Many people like to compare themselves with Lews Therin. This is especially true amongst the Chosen, with Demandred perhaps making the best claim to that dubious honor. Demandred was born the day after Lews Therin, he was almost as strong in the power, and almost as capable of a commander as the Dragon. It is an interesting argument. The idea that someone could be that good at so many divergent things. The problem here is, absolutely no one was anywhere close to Lews Therin. I mean that, absolutely no one. Not Demandred. Not Ishamael. No one.
 
How can I be so absolutely certain about this? Well, that is a simple matter to deduce. People who are close to one another in skill level or power naturally compete very closely with one another. This simply isn’t the case. If for example Demandred was only a sliver less than the Dragon, he should have beaten him more often. The best example of this occurs when Blademasters duel one another. There is certainly a range of talent, practice, and age that goes into determining which duelist is the most successful. That being said, I would expect those win rates somewhere around 60/40.
 
There isn’t anyone amongst the Sworn who could claim anywhere near that success rate when facing Lews Therin on a one-to-one basis. Ishamael did “humble him in the Hall of Servants” but he got away with it only because the Dragon let him leave. Demandred did see a certain amount of military success but only because he had Sammael, and Be’lal to guard his flanks. Think about that for a moment. It took the three greatest generals amongst the Chosen, and a minimum of a four to one advantage in numbers to push his army to anywhere near the breaking point.
 
It is important to note that to even manage that, they had some very specific advantages. All three of them were once close friends and confidants of the Dragon. He and Be’lal took swords from a sport to the battlefield. Demandred was his strong right hand, and all four of them had to reinvent the very concept of war out of whole cloth. Collectively they literally wrote the book and it was very much a collaborative effort. They knew how one another thought and each other’s war-fighting abilities intimately. The three Chosen had all of those advantages and they still could not bring the War of Power to a decisive conclusion before the Dragon put an end to it his way at Shayol Ghul.
 
There are those who like to point out that prior to Lews Therin’s great gamble, the Light had not retaken any territory in the last year of the War at all. Therefore, the Light was destined to lose had things been allowed to run their course. True enough, they were definitely on the back foot. But that argument only works at face value. The enemy was capable of coming to the aid of neighboring provinces had they wanted to do so. The fact of the matter is that there wasn’t anything within their reach that they actually wanted.
 
Despite the Dragon’s public image, he could be utterly ruthless when it suited him. For example, midway through the war, the Light’s strategic vision changed radically. In the beginning their goal was the protection of civilians and their liberation should they be captured by our armies. That changed to focusing on our outright destruction and civilians became a secondary concern at best. You see, liberation came at a terrible price. Even if the area did not merit specific attention by one of the Chosen, they all quickly became living nightmares.
 
As I mentioned in an earlier episode, the Age of Legends enjoyed a vastly inflated population due to their mastery of the weather and food production / distribution. As a result, cities were large, sprawling affairs. This proved to be a great boon where logistics were concerned. All those people made it easy for Trollocs to fill their cookpots. It also meant that there were a higher number of people with skills useful to the war effort. These were immediately relocated behind the lines. The rest were left to starve. In time the most vicious would become Friends of the Night and bolster our conventional armies. I won’t even get into what the Myrddraal were want to do when they were not on duty.
 
Captured cities were nothing short of hellscapes. Ultimately The Lord of the Morning left tens of millions of innocent people to death and worse because it wasn’t worth the resources it would take to save them. To his way of thinking they could always deal with the collateral damage after the primary threat had been removed. Until then, civilians were a distraction.
 
The closest thing he had to an actual rival was Ishamael. The Betrayer of Hope is a complicated individual, one that I will cover more completely in the future. He clings to the belief that he and Lews Therin have always opposed one another through the Ages. This is not true. Shadow Souled do not get reincarnated in the same way that the champions of the Light do. Ishamael, regardless of the name he uses or the body he takes, has always only had this one life. He is also not Ta’veren. Lews Therin on the hand is the most powerful Ta’veren the world has ever seen.
 
Ishamael was only able to compete at all because he had nearly unlimited access to the True Power, and at times the direct intervention of the Great Lord. Even with all of that, he still lost far more than he ever won. Ishamael is a capable if uninspired commander. But he had none of the flair and genius that the Dragon enjoyed. As a result, he never beat Lews Therin in the field. On those occasions where the two of them dueled with the Power, Ishamael also failed to defeat his nemesis. More recently, he faced the Dragon Reborn at Falme and outright died as a result.
 
Not bad for an unschooled farm boy. The Betrayer of Hope had every possible advantage and he still wasn’t able to put Rand al’ Thor down. This is not to say that there are not any ways to deal with the Dragon Reborn. They are mostly asymmetrical in nature because direct assaults are almost certainly bound to fail. But that is a discussion for another time. In the end, obsessing about the Dragon or his most recent incarnation is a waste of time and energy. If most of the Chosen focused more on the mission and less on Lews Therin, we would have already won.
 
Next, Part 8: Hungry like the Wolf.

No Comments

Domani “New Spring” Fashion

 
This post contains spoilers for New Spring.
 
The fashion of Arad Doman focused predominantly on that of the women. The only clear depiction of male attire is that of Basram during the Aiel War, which is definitely military, rather than civilian. “The hood of his cloak slid back, revealing his conical steel helmet…vertical bars of his faceguard” (p. 2). He is described as wearing gloves and being armed with a horsebow.
 
Most people of Arad Doman were of a copper complexion and slim. “Copper-skinned Domani women in fancifully worked cloaks – doubtless merchants; most Domani women seen abroad were” (p. 64). Tamore Alkohima was a highly praised seamstress in Tar Valon. She was “fair-skinned for a Domani” (p. 190). Leane Sharif, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, was “willowy and as tall as most men” (p. 162). Jeaine Caide, a “slim, copper-skinned Domani” was Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah (p. 158). However, there are always exceptions. At the Blue Rose Inn, there was a “plump copper-skinned woman wearing a much thicker dress than Domani women usually did” (p. 225).
 
The Domani fashion for women was generally “clinging and little short of sheer” (p. 304). Three women at the Evening Star Inn wore “bright Domani dresses” and “tall chain-necklaces of gold that covered their entire necks” (p. 316). Tamore Alkohima wore a “pale green dress, elegant and simple at the same time” which “spoke well of her talents, though it did cling in an alarming manner, molding her in a way that left no doubts of exactly what lay beneath the silk” (p. 190). Duhara Basaheen was the Keeper raised from the Red Ajah. “Her dark dress was so slashed with scarlet it might as well have been scarlet” (p. 206).
 
Male military fashion of Arad Doman included conical helmets with vertical bars across the faceguard. Women’s fashion generally included sheer and clinging gowns as well as embroidered cloaks and tall necklaces.

No Comments

TVTT Accepted/Soldiers Edition – What I Want from the TV Show

 
There have been many reaction pieces to the trailer for the Amazon Prime adaptation for the Wheel of Time. People have shared their hopes for the show while others have shared their critiques of what the trailer have showed us. These reactions have demonstrated what many of us already know: fans of The Wheel of Time have a great love for the series and a desire to see this adaptation done well. We want to see our favorite scenes played out onscreen, to see the swordfights, the comic interplay between the members of the Women’s Circle and the Village Council of Emond’s Field, and even to feel the fear in Shadar Logoth.
 
Why do we want to experience these events onscreen when we have built them up in our minds and imagined them? Speaking for myself there are a few reasons, the first of which is: I want validation. I want to be able to say, “Yes! That’s how I always pictured it in my head. I’m glad someone else imagined it the same way.” Another reason I want to experience the saga onscreen is because I want more people to like what I like. Some people are more drawn into sights and sounds than they are to the written word; if the sights and sounds of a show or a movie are going to draw someone in more effectively than a book, than get it produced!
 
As for why I want people to be drawn into the series: The Wheel of Time series has been a part of my life since 10th grade, in 1999. I would bring the paperback books to school and read them before class, after class…and during class when I could get away with it. I would let the words paint a picture in my mind and escape whatever I had been going through in my real life. I also remember the excitement that I had when one of my classmates started reading the books; someone else, that wasn’t a family member, was experiencing the world of WoT for themselves. Again, there was that shared experience.
 
And here, at TarValon.Net, we know that the desire to share our individual experiences with the Wheel of Time has brought us together. Sometimes, making one’s way through the series can seem like a slog; including New Spring, there are 15 books in the series, and the books are not thin. Other times, we want to voice dissatisfaction with particular characters with whom we do not empathize. Yet, we also want to share our favorite scenes or to say how our favorite character is clearly better than another.
 
So as we prepare for the coming of the Amazon Prime show, I hope we can all welcome new people into our love for the Wheel of Time. And I also hope that we’ll be able to say, “That scene, I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it really does the books justice.” Most of all, I would like the show to remind us why we fell in love with the series in the first place.

No Comments

Warderball Central: Week 1 Introductions

 
Warderball is back for our 11th season! Follow along as Tar Valon.Net’s finest battle against each other every week in head-to-head fantasy football matchups! We’ve got returning players and some new additions that should make for a great season. We’re going to introduce the teams and we had league commissioner, Braedan Fearghal, weigh in on each team’s potential MVP.
 

Atane’s Accomplices: Atane is a newcomer to the league this year. We can definitely see he is a Chiefs fan with four of his players coming from Kansas City. His best pick looks to be Tyreek Hill. Week 12 should be interesting with four “starters” on a bye that week.
 

Band of the Red Hand: Xander is a league veteran returning to the action. His top pick is Ezekiel Elliot.
 

Barrani Jokers: Rand is back again this year to angrily shake his cane in everyone’s direction. Patrick Mahomes should give his team a definite boost all season.
 

Braedan’s Bombers: League commissioner and our very own expert hopes Davante Adams can keep his team at the top of the league.
 

Brady Is God: New England’s own and world traveler Cursor surprisingly doesn’t have Tom Brady on his team. He does have Dak Prescott who was leading a top ranked offense in Dallas last season before an injury. Hopefully he can pick up we’re he left off.
 

Brotherhood Without Banners: If this is your team, please let us know! With a new QB and their top receiver out for at least six games in New Orleans, Alvin Kamara should rack up the points this season.
 

Daestruction: Aaron Jones should run all over the opposition this season and lead Daegan to victory.
 

Dark One’s Luck: Stefan Diggs led the league in receiving last year. Hopefully he can take the lead again this year for Feros.
 

Esteban Diego De Castile: Esteban is a long time returning player. He’s got Christian McCaffery who will be the star player in Carolina. He should bounce back after being injured for most of last season.
 

Madhar’s Minions: Madhar is back again. He looked to draft some solid running backs to lead his team, but unfortunately drafted Ravens running back JK Dobbins just hours before a season-ending injury in preseason. Luckily he still has Derrick Henry as a number one RB.
 

Qo’noS Targs: Ravens fan Alora has four players from Baltimore on her team. One is dual threat quarterback Lamar Jackson. With their starting running back out for the season, Lamar should rack up points in the air and on the ground.
 

Valyrian Steelers: Dalvin Cook should lead the way for Agoroth’s team this season.
 

We’ll check back in each week to see how these players are doing for their teams. Good luck to everyone and have a great season!

No Comments