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Seanchan Ogier


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I’m working my way through the final few books of the series, my second read through, and a question occurred to me. I haven’t reread the series enough to know off hand, but is it mentioned that seanchan ogier have steddings and the same longing for them as the ones in randland? It struck me this time around when reading that ogier within the seanchan structure seem very different than what we know about their core nature in randland. The ogier we see within seanchan culture are engaged and prevalent in society, at least within the military, and come across to me as stoic soldiers. I don’t notice any portrayal of what I perceive as the distinctive, characteristic traits that seem to define the culture in my perception in randland. Patient, wise,  soft yet strong, peaceful, thoughtful and somewhat separate from human tendencies and the affairs of human society. Additionally they have a true affinity and need to be in a stedding, or at least go back for periodic reboots. Is seanchan culture so different that ogier there seem to be almost a fundamentally different species, or am I missing/forgetting something ?

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I can't recall if it was said directly by RJ or how it was info, but we know that the Ogier on the Seanchan lands did not experience the longing, as there were apparently more stedding and they had access to them. They seem to have a very different history post-breaking than the mainland Ogier, including some how going from peaceful singers to guards/policemen to the Empire. 

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Pretty sure ALL the Gardeners are also property of the Empire. It's unclear, to me at the very least, if this implies all Seanchan Ogier are as well, or only those Ogier who are selected/volunteer?

It's interesting to consider how this came about. Steddings would have been a safe haven for both sides during the Consolidation, and even before. People might have went there to be free of OP subjugation. As well as those running from the A'dam later on. I'm curious how the Empire convinced the Ogier to submit.

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I think this was one of the loose ends that would have picked up in the sequels. 

 

But I'm pretty sure it is very specifically stated that unique amongst the Deathwatch, the Gardeners are not property. 

 

The Ogier are very poorly explained at any point. Do the Seanchan have the Book of Translation? If they are not from the third or second age why are there steddings? How can they be linked to something that is essentially foreign? 

 

I don't know if the companion sheds much light on them. I think perhaps they were meant to remain opaque to the reader. 

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When you think about it, the Ogier willingly supporting an empire that enslaves people seems against Ogier way and culture, as we have seen in Randland, so I am really curious to how the Ogier developed culturally in the Seanchan continent and how they came to support joining the Deathwatch, and whatever other roles they have in the Empire.  Perhaps they didn't experience the Longing, but I have a feeling the Breaking changed them in other significant ways. 

 

Maybe it was a forced choice. But either way, when you dig deep, there's got to be some fundamental differences in their values. 

Edited by Storeebooq
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I feel like the Ogier in Seanchan are a thematic parallel to the Aiel on this side of the Aryth. Both were a group explicitly devoted to peace and the tending and growing of things; they even worked together on it in the AoL. It's a central part of the story how the Aiel's dedication to peace was tested, tortured, and only maintained by a portion of a portion, with the remainder becoming the single most warlike people on the continent. I don't think it's unreasonable to posit some kind of similar situation!

 

As mentioned about the only thing we know is the access to stedding is a little more consistent. Let's speculate wildly! This could they're denser over there and that the Ogier were able to find them more easily. Post-breaking happens, there's chaos. The Ogier, wanting to recreate some kind of AoL agriculture within, have to militarize to defend the stedding--those unreliable, hasty humans want access to the food and safety from channelers, and they have to be kept out. Luthair appears; he offers them a deal. Protection, access to the stedding, long-term stability, freedom for worrying about channelers everywhere, freedom to grow and cultivate and nurture. All they need to do is provide soldiers. The broader culture of Seanchan Ogier expands their cultural drive to "Garden" by cultivating human society to remove the "weeds."

 

Maybe it's more like the Aiel--the Gardeners are a radical sect who decided to throw in with the Crystal Throne while the elders harrumphed about how violence was wrong, but much like the Travelers can go through the waste unharmed the Gardeners can return to the stedding without being bothered, acting as a parallel society.

 

Either way, you have a group of Ogier trained heavily in combat dedicated directly to the defense of the Seanchan monarchy, and they create the conditions to allow the rest of the Ogier to do what they want--chill in steddings, sing to trees, debate scholarship, etc. This checks every box of our Randland Ogier--the elders in the stedding are able to be patient, wise, separated from humans exactly because of the Empire and the provision of the Gardeners.

 

Could be completely wrong! Seems to line up with the little we know, though.

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23 hours ago, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

I think this was one of the loose ends that would have picked up in the sequels. 

 

But I'm pretty sure it is very specifically stated that unique amongst the Deathwatch, the Gardeners are not property. 

 

The Ogier are very poorly explained at any point. Do the Seanchan have the Book of Translation? If they are not from the third or second age why are there steddings? How can they be linked to something that is essentially foreign? 

 

I don't know if the companion sheds much light on them. I think perhaps they were meant to remain opaque to the reader. 

Sorry for the double post, I've read speculation (I think even in older threads on this forum) that Ogier are aliens, either from another planet or just from a parallel universe reached via the portal stones. In this theory, the Book of Translation is how they "translate" between realities. There's no channeling where they're from, and the stedding are places they created to be able to keep a connection to the other world, so the dampening effects are a result of the worlds interacting in weird ways.

 

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49 minutes ago, Bugglesley said:

Sorry for the double post, I've read speculation (I think even in older threads on this forum) that Ogier are aliens, either from another planet or just from a parallel universe reached via the portal stones. In this theory, the Book of Translation is how they "translate" between realities. There's no channeling where they're from, and the stedding are places they created to be able to keep a connection to the other world, so the dampening effects are a result of the worlds interacting in weird ways.

 

That is certainly plausible speculation. 

 

Of course, questions such as where do they come from-through in a circular timeline I suppose they cannot come from anywhere but just migrate between different places. There can be no genesis in the Wheel. 

 

Or what powers the book? How are stedding created? Questions to which there is not enough information to even begin to guess at. 

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4 hours ago, Bugglesley said:

Ogier are aliens

I too recall this, and took it to mean the Ogier are not native in their origin, to Randland prime - the world the story takes place in. And I'm most certain the actual Ogier origin is never discussed, hinted at, etc., at least in the main books anyway.

 

On 12/6/2023 at 11:01 AM, HeavyHalfMoonBlade said:

But I'm pretty sure it is very specifically stated that unique amongst the Deathwatch, the Gardeners are not property. 

Entirely possible I was mistaken on this.

 

I'm just happy I was able to contribute a little and generate some discussion.

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9 hours ago, Aan-Alone said:

I'm just happy I was able to contribute a little and generate some discussion.

Absolutely. There is so much to discuss and even when we misremember things (I doubt any of us are infallible) even that can have interesting implications or give a different perspective. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/12/2023 at 11:39 AM, Jsbrads2 said:

Ogier were police in the AoL.

 

I thought the Seanchan Ogier didn’t find the Stedding. And the ruler of Seanchan cared for them until they could live without the Stedding changing them into a harsher personality. Then that family married into the Hawkwing family. 🤷

Yes. The stedding are unique to Randland, because there is no hint of how damane are affected, until they got to the mainland.

 

When a damane entered a stedding, which was abandoned, both the suldam and damane freaked out.

 

I also think the Book Of Translation is unique to Randland as well. Which explains when we hear from Loial's mother when she speaks to Loial that there are Ogier from Seanchan negotiating with The Great Stump, and she is very clear about how all the Stedding leaders present are basically outraged with the Seanchan Ogier and their interactions with humans.

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I remember some info tossed out by Team Jordan, stating Seanchan Ogier never suffered from 'The Longing' because their Stedding were more numerous. I don't think this info came directly from the books, probably notes. I also believe none were ever lost to them, possibly none were ever abandoned...that's pure guess-timation tho.

I think the Suldam and damane freaked, due to the sudden and unexplained loss of access to the OP, and the loss of the OP link between them. I would wager neither of them had ever encountered a Stedding before. I would also wager entering a Seanchan Stedding isn't part of the Imperial training regime.

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On 2/4/2024 at 11:57 AM, wotfan4472 said:

Yes. The stedding are unique to Randland, because there is no hint of how damane are affected, until they got to the mainland.

 

When a damane entered a stedding, which was abandoned, both the suldam and damane freaked out.

 

I also think the Book Of Translation is unique to Randland as well. Which explains when we hear from Loial's mother when she speaks to Loial that there are Ogier from Seanchan negotiating with The Great Stump, and she is very clear about how all the Stedding leaders present are basically outraged with the Seanchan Ogier and their interactions with humans.

I'm with Aan-Alone here--I don't think the reaction of the damane is a sign there are no stedding in Seanchan, just that the damane/sul'dam never go there. Why would they? Given what we know about the Seanchan more generally, it's very easy to assume that the Gardener contract involves numerous laws (probably punishable by a horrible death) against any humans even getting close.

 

You are the Seanchan Empire. Your single greatest strength is that you have a near-monopoly on powerful enslaved channellers. Do you want it to be public knowledge that there are neato places where that strength is completely neutralized? Much better if that land is for the Ogier and them alone.

 

I do agree there's probably only one Book, but I don't think that means it's "unique" to Randland but more that there's only one, and during the Breaking it wound up on that side of the ocean. The Ogier over there are fundamentally the same, they just don't have it.

 

I think the Great Stump being mad at them fits easily in my theory above; the Ogier in Seanchan were in a very different political and social situation and made very different choices, and it's nothing if not human (or close enough) to be livid at a group of people like you who've made different choices.

Edited by Bugglesley
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