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In Lord of Chaos at the end of chapter 19, Matters of Toh, Aviendha is considering the Toh she incurred and the solutions to each. I'm a little confused about her solutions:

One is killing herself, I think for sleeping with Rand in Seanchan, because of the Toh she has towards her near-sister Elayne. The other is to kill Rand, which I can't figure out. She had Toh towards him because she thinks he saved her from Lanfear. Or do I have this backwards? She also has Toh is to Liah who she argues with in the same scene, but it is too small for killing right?

How would this meet her Toh and to who? Herself? Rand?

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  • 1
    In matter's of Aiel Ji'e'toh we wetlanders know less than a six-year old boy... and this one, in particular, is confusingly unclear. In this chapter, I believe the Toh is between Rand and Elayne, however it only gets more confusing when, in Chapter 40, Aviendha confronts Elayne about her Toh toward her and weighs it against that owed Egwene (not Rand).
    – Josh
    Apr 15, 2012 at 23:21
  • Two good answers, but only one can be accepted, I feel I may have my Toh now
    – Joel
    Apr 16, 2012 at 4:23
  • Funny! I was faster, but his was much more well-formed, which is better. Decided not to edit mine cause it would have turned out to be a lot like Bill's except the additional final 'solution' which wasn't part of the question. You chose well. :)
    – Josh
    Apr 16, 2012 at 4:31

2 Answers 2

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I think you have it backwards. Ji'e'toh means, literally, honor and obligation.

Since Rand saved Aviendha's life, that's the obligation she has to him. Killing herself would repay that obligation. Her toh to Elayne is a bit more complicated at this point. By sleeping with Rand in Seanchan, Aviendha feels that she stole him from Elayne. Since repaying toh is a self-inflicted punishment, killing Rand, now her own lover, would meet Aviendha's toh toward Elayne.

Unfortunately, as mentioned in the book:

...but each toh blocked that solution to the other.

So...

If she kills herself to meet her toh to Rand, she dies while she still has an obligation to Elayne. But she's left with her toh to Rand if she kills him to meet her toh to Elayne.

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  • Yes I had the concept somewhat backwards
    – Joel
    Apr 16, 2012 at 4:23
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This chapter suggests the warring Toh are between Rand and Elayne... however it's terribly unclear, and in a later chapter it's inferred the conflicting Toh is different. Presuming the former, I think:

Solution 1:

Killing Rand resolves her Toh to Elayne by taking from herself the thing she thinks she took from Elayne. She loves Rand, and removing him from the picture would cause her to suffer. This obviously conflicts with her Toh to Rand, as well as to Egwene where charged to protect and watch over Rand, and it's not the kind of thing that would make Elayne happy.

Solution 2:

Killing herself resolves her Toh to Rand by returning that which he saved (her life). However this doesn't allow her to repay her Toh with Elayne (at least not directly), and though not mentioned, she's been charged with Egwene to watch over and protect Rand (for Elayne).

Later on, in Chapter 40:

Approaches Elayne with confession of her love for Rand and offers herself to Elayne for the repayment her choosing. In this chapter, she weighs her Toh between that toward Elayne and that toward Egwene (not Rand as previously expressed). While the offer in this chapter would allow Elayne to kill her (solution 2 above, attributed to resolving Toh to Rand, not Elayne), I believe Aviendha has come to this as the final solution as allowing Elayne to kill her (rather than killing herself) permits Elayne to shame/embarass/punish her fulfilling that Toh while at the same time fulfilling (or undoing) the Toh toward Rand as in Solution 2.

... I recall somewhere that Jordan was once asked about this and all he said was to read the book. Wish I had a better answer myself, but I am just a wetlander.

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