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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Authority of White Cloaks and Aes Sedai


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Hi,

I'm a new first time reader of WOT. Finished book one and am 5 chapters into book two. I'm trying to keep track of all the players and who is on whom's side. One thing that I don't understand is where the white cloaks get their authority from. Are they sanctioned by a king/queen? Are they self appointed police of the world and simply bullies that go around en masse (might makes right)? Are they law?

 

And the Aes Sedai, where do they get their authority? It seems like some people think them good and others evil. It seems like the queen respected their them? Do they have any official authority in the kingdom/world? Or are they they a religion that some like and some don't?

 

Bonus noob question. Why don't the white cloaks and Aes Sedai like each other?

 

Thank you in advance. 😄

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Hi Joey, 

 

Welcome to Dragonmount.  The Wheel of Time is an incredible series that has many devoted fans, many of which you may meet here.

 

The Whitecloaks havve no real authority, at best it is nostalgic authority from  people remembering 1000 years before during the time of Artur Hawkwing.  You''ll learn about Hawkwing later in book two I believe (I haven't reread in a while, can't remember where you get his story right now).  Other than that, it is merely a might makes right situation.  

The Aes Sedai do have a recognized authority in most countries, but not all.  You'll learn more about that as you get further into the series.  Hawkwing hated Aes Sedai, so also the Whitecloaks hate them.  They (whitecloaks) consider Aes Sedai as darkfriends.

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Whitecloaks have authority in Amadicia, but elsewhere it's pretty much entirely a "might makes right" situation.  Other rulers often tolerate them because they tend to keep their activities out in the more remote villages, where the Guards or army have a harder time projecting force.  

 

Aes Sedai have authority because they can channel the One Power, and another reason that it would be a bit of a spoiler to tell you about.  They have legitimate rule over Tar Valon and surrounding lands. 

 

There isn't really anything like religion in Randland, because with direct access to the Power of creation itself, there's not much room for competing speculations regarding the metaphysical/theological nature of the world.  There are such things as prayer, and a common belief in the Creator, but no organized worship of Him, and no clergy, ritual or sacraments associated with that belief.  Indeed, the universal understanding of the Creator is basically deist.  The Creator created the Wheel and the Pattern, and then went on his merry way to let things play out as they will.

 

Whitecloaks hate Aes Sedai because they wield the One Power, the force of Creation that turns the Wheel, which they believe no human is worthy of manipulating, and which they believes endows the wielder with such power that arrogance and a temptation to fall under the sway of the Shadow are inevitable.  As evidence, they point to The Breaking, where men who could channel were tainted by the Dark One and wreaked havoc on the world.  And they're not above suspecting that women helped.

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As a follow up: I'm on Chapter 5 of book two (The Great Hunt).  Possible Spoiler ahead.

 

In it there's a company of 2000 whitecloaks marching through Tarabon. When Bornhald asks a Questioner why this is, he replies "There are towns and villages across Almoth Plain with none in authority above a mayor or a Town Council. It is past time they were brought to the Light."

 

Since they don't have real authority, this sounds to me like a band of militia going around passing judgement and carrying out severe punishment on whomever they want. Here's what I don't get. There's no one to stop them because they are doing this in remote villages. But if the queen finds out that this group is doing such things, then wouldn't they be branded terrorists, bandits, enemies of the state? Furthermore, their presence wouldn't be tolerated in the queen's city, right?

 

I guess my mind is frustrated trying to rationalize how this band (with high numbers) of well armed (and therefore well funded) bullies seems to have free reign everywhere, even in the city, when they brazenly usurp authority and execute their own justice. Am I looking to deep into it? Should I just accept it that we need bad guys here to move the plot along and just let it go?

 

 

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Almoth Plain is a region that falls outside the control, and internationally accepted borders, of any nation.  Tarabon and Arad Doman have been fighting over it for the last thousand years or so, but nobody has managed to maintain control of it for very long.  Amadicia, the home turf of the Whitecloaks, shares a border with Tarabon, and as a major military organization, has a not insignificant influence on Tarabon's internal politics.  Not to be too spoilery about it, but this won't be the last time the Whitecloaks abuse their relationship with Tarabon.  Tarabon lets the Whitecloaks get away with it, largely because trying to stop them would risk another Whitecloak War, the last one happening between Amadicia and Altara, Illian and Murandy, which was narrowly fought to a draw. 

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In the Wheel of Time game, the Children of the Light has one or more fortresses on the Blight border. The fact that they never have indicates they don’t really want to fight evil. Many Children are bullies, sadists join the Questioners.

The Aes Sedai, Servants to All used to be the governing body prior to the breaking. After the Breaking they lost power and gained the enmity of many people. They rule in Tar Valon, the city they established sometime after the Breaking. Technically outside of Tar Valon and the surrounding villages, they have no authority (just don’t say it to their faces). Each individual Aes Sedai wields her power outside of Tar Valon differently, trickery is common this the refrain not to trust an Aes Sedai.

The Children claim to serve the Light and their ideas while not expressed as a religion, is very much a religion.

Everyone believes in the religion of the world. They seek to remain in the Light, not taint their soul with evil actions and certainly don’t want to promise to join the Dark One. The reward for being good is rebirth/reincarnation.

Like Catholicism is one religion with two gods, for those who believe the devil can win, this religion believes similarly kind of. The only unique characteristic is that a minority of people join the same religion but fight for the other side. I am not aware of any anticatholics, Satanists and other devil worshippers are not sincere believers, they are primarily atheists who like to dress up and think it is all a game, but they also do evil things. 

Edited by Jsbrads2
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You notice most of the places they are causing trouble in are nations with weak governments.  You don't see them in places like Tear, Illian or the Borderlands.  Andor is a strong nation but is under chaos, so the queen can limit how many come in town and such but can't really keep them out of Andor.  RJ said he made the Whitecloaks after groups like the Nazi's.  People who assume they know how you should live and such and anyone who doesn't think or act like they want them to are deemed evil.  They can do extremely dark things but somehow can justify it as it's ok since they walk in the light.

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  • 1 month later...

I only recently started reading this series of books. It's just that for a long time I couldn't get my hand on it. I had to read books like Macbeth and write essays about them. It's good that you can find help at https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/macbeth/ as it's actually quite difficult to write such complex works. Finally, I can devote my time to the WOT series.

Edited by BaileyYates
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While there is no official religion in the Wheel of Time, the Children of the Light and the Aes Sedai provide rather different takes on what human relations to the One Power should be, and that his theological significance for people. There are people who sympathize with the Children more than Aes Sedai, even if most governments formally recognize the Aes Sedai as a near religious institution in authority. And if you think about it, both Children and Aes Sedai tend to be bullies in their own way, using their respective power (or threat of it) to get their way.

 

The Children are tolerated in most nations, probably because of the sympathy people have for them. They have to be careful not to overstep their authority, at least not without risking war. The Almoth Plain was pretty much stateless. The only governments were the local towns.

Edited by Agitel
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The Whitecloaks are basicly bullies, they cause trouble in places that can't stop them. You never really hear about them in places like Tear.   They recently had fought a war with Illian so they wouldn't be welcome there either.  So most rulers have to tolerate them, you see them stiring up unrest in places which means rulers won't say much in order to keep their thrones.  Some people like them becuase their dislike for Aes Sedai but most stay quiet simply out of fear of a dragon fang appearing on their door.

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Friends have long advised the book WOT. It's a very exciting story and a very intense storyline, as they think. Judging by the description from users, I once again make sure that you need to read it.

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