Member Spotlight: Tazren Talamar

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Tazren Talamar, Dai M'Hael aspirant, shares his experience at TarValon.Net, in particular his love of the Current Events forum.

This month's interviewee, Tazren Talamar, is a 24-year-old from Sweden with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. He decided to become a member of the site after some persistent convincing from several of his friends. "I joined because a few friends of mine kept nagging me about it. Tallan and Ylva started it, and then Zimone Sedai finally nagged me into it."

But although he joined in 2010, he had known about The Wheel of Time for quite a while before then. "When I was 14," he told me, "a friend at school talked about them a lot. I got the first few books for Christmas, and then all of a sudden, three months later, I had finished everything up to Winter's Heart (and was eagerly awaiting Crossroads of Twilight)." Like many of us, he grew up waiting impatiently for the next installment in the series.

When asked about his favourite book in the series, he gave a typical answer for someone who enjoys the different aspects of The Wheel of Time series. "That's tough... I really like The Eye of the World, because it's so nostalgic. New Spring is great, because of all the information we get about life in the White Tower. Winter's Heart has one of the most epic scenes (the one at the end) ... The overall best book is probably Lord of Chaos or The Fire of Heaven." I'd have a hard time picking just one book too!

My question about his favourite character, however, resulted in an interesting (and controversial, for some...) response. "There are several characters I like," he told me. "But just to be controversial, one of my favourite characters is Cadsuane. I know a lot of people hate her and think she's a mean old bully, but I think she's just misunderstood. Sure, I definitely don't agree with every decision she's made, but I still believe she's got good intentions. She's also one of the most reasonable Aes Sedai, since she basically throws all of those silly customs out of the window, and judges people based on their skills and competence instead of strength in the One Power, and she also treats people accordingly. I know I am a minority in being on 'Team Cadsuane', but I'm proud of it! Go Cadsuane! (I was actually going to make a 'Team Cadsuane' signature image, but I'm abysmal at grahpics so I've never gotten around to it)." Perhaps one of our readers could help him out in that area?

I asked him a few more questions about the site and the Tower, starting with the choice of his Tower name. For some people, it is a very personal and careful choice, but Tazren admits that his choice was "pretty random. I wanted a name where both first and last name started with a T, and I had used a similar first name for a character in Dragon Age: Origins once ... so I just tweaked it slightly, and then came of with the last name too."

When I asked about his time in the Tower, he gave me some very concise and clear answers. Interestingly, when he first joined, he had no impressions at all about where he could end up. "When I first joined, I didn't actually think about companies at all," he admitted. "It took quite some time before I actually started looking through them." But when the time came for him to begin guesting, he went through the companies quickly. "I felt immediately at home in DM. I really liked SDS as well, but when it comes down to it, I feel more like a DM than an SDS. I was pretty set on DM from the start, since they're the 'brains', so to speak, as mentioned in the description of the company. When I read WoT, I always associate myself strongly with the Brown and Gray Ajahs, and DM feels like the closest equivalent to those. And the people were nice, of course." That's definitely a plus!

Tazren aspired to Dai M'hael in January of 2012 and is looking toward the future. As he told me, "I look forward to being fully a part of a company and really belong there. Practically I would probably like having the possibility to mentor junior members and write recommendations for new members applying for tower entrance." I'm sure Junior Members would appreciate the help.

I inquired as to Tazren's favourite part about the Tower, and his answer was unequivocal. "Current Events. It's seriously the best discussion forum for serious topics I've ever been a part of. I really love how people from different cultures with fundamentally different views can discuss things rationally and in a constructive manner. I've learnt a lot about how things work in other places, from that. Aside from the nice people, it's the thing about that made me stay." I further asked him how he felt about those people who avoid Current Events at all cost. "Well, I guess I can't do much about people who detest it. Not everyone will like the kind of discussions that we have there, and I don't really care about that ... I guess that, if people really hate it, there isn't much to do? I mean, it's kind of obvious what's going on there, and if that's not your cup of tea ... that's how it is. The most important thing is, I think, that people don't really mean what they say to be personal insults, even if it's harsh criticism of people's views." Well said, and something that I always keep in mind when I read through the topics in that part of the site.

Aside from being very involved in Current Events, Tazren has written for the Tar Valon Times and is currently a chat op. When I asked him about his position, he was also very clear. "I consider myself to be a pretty calm and rational person, and I have an easy time being constructive and objective, and those are skills that I've always seen as important for moderating things. And I hang out on IRC pretty much all day, everyday, so I figured I could just pitch in and help."

Finally, I asked Tazren if he had attended any Real Life Functions. "Actually, I have! Just this weekend [July 7th-8th]. It was a local event in Oslo, where I met several of our Norwegian members, and Loira from Sweden. It was a lot of fun meeting people from the site IRL (people I didn't already know before I joined), so that was great. I'll definitely be going to more of those. I was planning on going to Europarty this summer, but I'll have too much other stuff to do around that time." It's a shame, as I would have enjoyed meeting him there. Oh well, maybe next year.

And that concludes my interview with Tazren. I'd like to thank him again for being such a great sport and letting me interview him - he was a great sport!

Be sure to check the September Tar Valon Times to see who we'll be featuring in that issue.