Jump to content



Aes Sedai : Why I Wish to Throttle All of Them


Recommended Posts

I keep waiting for someone to give the Aes sedai the "just because you have strength in the power does not automatically give you a brain" speech.  Well we still have one book to go.  One thing I tend to forget, though, is Aes Sedai have very difficult training.  That doesn't always come across in the books but we know this as sort of background information.  It takes discipline and determination over a span of years to become members of the White Tower so they do have some right to be arrogant. 


But they do assume no one else knows anything and that is unfortunate for everyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to keep in mind is that in the AoL before the DO was released they lived in what seemed to be a near utopian society. Given that I can see the Aes Sedai of that time being serviants. After the breaking their mission changed, protect the remaining population from the shadow and to prepair the world for the last battle and the rebirth of the Dragon. In effect they went from serviants to semi-saviours. In a way at least, and over thousands of years that goes to your head a bit I would think.


The trouble with this is that in almost every way they have bungled the job.


Take your statement "prepart the world for the last battle".  Was that done when Rand came along, were all the nations united toward this cause?  Was the WT cleansed of Shadow and ready for this themselves?    No, on both accounts, so they failed miserable on that one.


OK then lets try another one "protect the remaining population from the shadow".  Nope, again they Failed to hold back the Blight, they failed to protect Maliker, they failed to even try to protect the average person from Shadar Logoth - a twisted cesspool of (not Shadow but still) evil.  They left it completely unguarded and apparently did not even place "wards" to keep people out.  What about the Ways?  did they have someone working on a way to clean up that mess?  No, just leave it and hopefully no one will wander in.


OK, what about healing?    Surely that small task is within their capacity in every major city of the land, provide an AS to help those sick and injured.    No, all you average people have to handle it your self, drink some herbs or something and don't bother us.





Now lets go a little farther.    In my view, after the Breaking, as the sole remaining functional magic users it was the AS responsibility to:


1.  Handle men who could channel.  The solution that they found during the Breaking is certianally reasonable and understandable - IN AN EMERGENCY!    But for them to continue using this same method for 3000 years borders on criminal!    Finding and genteling men is effectively a death sentance - but beyond that it is an extreme waste of resources!    For 3000 years they knew that the best accomplishments of the AoL were done by both sides of the Power.    Well, Gee Golly I wounder why we have not accomplished much in 3000 years - Gee there MUST be a clue here SOMEWHERE!  They had at least two different options - Steadings and FM.  Hell, you can not even get in or out of FM with a sword for crying out loud, surely by adding an AS at every entry/exit and a few wards and tracers/bonds on the men interned there, they could have made it a good place to put the male channelers.  Then they could have even brought them out every now and then to try a new healing weave on them or for some Link to do a specific job.


2.  Cleansing Sadin, as the only effective magic users after the Breaking, I say that it was their primary job to cleanse Sadin.  I think it is pretty telling that 1000+ AS over 3000 years could not find a way to do that and a simple Sheephearder did it in less than 4 years.    Pretty sad reflection on them.


3.  They knew that the DR was coming.    Did they have anything set up to make sure that they did not gentle him on accident?    OOPS!    Gee Golly, HA! HA!  Looks like we blew it.  HA! HA!    Well DO, I guess you can just have the whole world since we just killed the DR.  HA!  HA!  How silly of us ALMIGHTY AS!    Wish everyone was as smart as we are!


4.  OK, Lets say that the DR was not gentled out of hand - what provisions did they make for his training!    NONE!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the A of L, the Aes Sedai (from what little we see) helped people, and they don’t seem to have this massive huge chip on their collective shoulder. Then the whole taint and breaking thing and people get really angry and pretty much hate them. What do they do? They don’t spend 3000 years convincing people that they're there to help, or that they're the best people to govern, or even that they're the best chance at dealing with the shadow. Nor do they even spend those 3000 years showing people that they're benign servants of the light. Instead, they act in such a way that by the time of the story, they're still almost universally despised, with deceitful and dangerous tossed in for good measure – with good reason, and to such a degree that people think they're dark friends. That is not good manipulation, that isn’t even a working strategy. It’s pretty much failure, and an inability to make choices that further their stated goals – i.e. “servants of all.”


Agreed on that they've failed in their purpose, but at the same time, for those 3000 years, they think that they have been solving all of the world's problems as well as gaining power for themselves. Very few Aes Sedai actually realize what the rest of the world thinks about them. The rest of them are just like, "Wow, us Aes Sedai, we're pretty cool, and we're all-powerful to boot, so you people down there should just worship us."


In any event, riding roughshod over people isn’t a good strategy for anyone, no matter how powerful you are if you want, or think you’re going to need to lead those people into battle, and especially if you are trying to help people, which of course they aren’t. One gets the feeling they don’t care at all about anyone without a title or the ability to channel, because of course those people aren’t important, or “superior.”


At the same time, the Aes Sedai are all kinda in denial about the fact that their gonna have to fight in the last battle, they try to live in their own little world as much as possible. They do look down on most people, but not to the point of considering them to be worthless. The attitude started out as "there's something more important that I need to be doing right now," then it gradually evolved into "you're not important enough for me to help." Still, they are far from worthless to them, they are just going to have to sort out their problems for themselves.


Good points, Darth Andrea, though I personally was referring to Aes Sedai in general and not just currently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the difference her is that most people think of the Aes Sedai as wise.  Almost all knowing and certainly all powerful.  They fear more than respect the White Tower.  I was kind of in awe myself when I started the series; right up until I actually got a glimpse of the goings on in the White Tower it's self.  The Aes Sedai are a bunch of whining idiots who coundn't grab their respective arses with both hands and a map. 


After seeing them as they really are it kind of grates on my nerves when they bully and manipulate others.  They can't even keep their own house in order, let alone manage kingdoms.  I remember how in awe I was of Eladia, right up until I saw what an idiot she was.  Elayne and the other two going after those dark sisters in Camelyn.  And lets not forget teh bumbling idiot, Galina.  Constant in fighting, backstabbing, and mistrust among themselves and they still go around bullying others who do not have the power.  Their facade of power is just that, a facade.


I think when this is seen it lowers the readers opinion of the Sisters in general, by design.  That is the reason for the readers displeasure of their actions.  A force of good which is actually antagonistic in the plot of the story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I just started reading the series about a month, month and a half ago and I am on A Crown of Swords. I seriously can't stand Aes Sedai. I agree with all the reason mentioned in the first post but also I can't stand the way Aes Sedai treat those who are stilled. I mean come on, these are people who are supposed to be sisters but when Siuan and Leanne got stilled no one even bothered to comfort them. Stilling is supposed to be a process which ends in making you wish you were dead. Also when Rand stilled the three Aes Sedai at Dumai's Wells not one sister was bothering to comfort them. I'm not saying they didn't deserve it cause I was cheering when it happened. Btw, how dare Galina get away I was hoping to see her stilled most of all. At least Erian got what she deserved although I can't really fault her for beating Rand since he did kill two of her Warders. The other reason is much the same as the first post. They walk around strutting like their all the shit. They probably think themselves one step below the creator just because they can touch the true source. The Amrylin is the one who makes rulers and lords snap to attention but somehow all the other Aes Sedai seem to think they should do it for them too.


The other reason I hate them is that they don't truly seem to care about the world. They stay holed up inside their White Tower and choose to live outside of the world instead of within it. They show no emotion for anyone save other sisters and their warders and at times not even that. Far as I'm concerned most all the Aes Sedai should just pack up and leave and find an island or something far enough away that Tarmon Gai'don won't affect them and just stay there. Let the ones who are truly enthusiastic about saving the world do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is an old post I wrote on the Aes Sedai. Dunno if you'll find it interesting but I thought I'd throw it out there.


The Aes Sedai are one of the most complex groups in the story. They have a lot of problems, problems that are made worse by their refusal to consider them. This is an attempt to look at them in their full nature. I'll start with them as close i can to the beginning of their nature and proceed from there. I will finish with a summary of their current situation.


Aes Sedai Recruitment


Their problems begin with the methods they use to recruit and train new girls. They restrict their training to young girls who have sought them out (with the exception of the odd wilder). They do this because the younger a novice the easier they are molded, and because those that seek them out have a stronger will, and thus are more likely to be effective Aes Sedai.


Excluding the blindness in that--the girls who never considered that they could channel, like Egwene and Nynaeve, yet nevertheless have made very strong, very capable Aes Sedai--there is a more insidious threat. That is that they were too successful.


By waiting on young, impressionable girls who are already wowed by the idea of Aes Sedai, and then proceeding to seclude them from the world for upwards of twenty years they result in Aes Sedai that are more concerned with trying to be what they think Aes Sedai should be, rather than simply being Aes Sedai. The title has come to mean more than the women that wear it, which means ultimately that said women are not worthy of the title.


This (combined with the point i will raise next) is the source of most of the modern Aes Sedai's childish behaviour. Comments such as 'there is truth that would burn any mind but an Aes Sedai's' and 'Thrones have fallen messing in the plans of the tower' are thrown around so often not as simple methods of persuasion, but because the Aes Sedai themselves are overawed by their own image. Their constant attempts to control every situation they are in stems not because they think themselves capable, but because they feel that as Aes Sedai they should be.


They are, for lack of a better phrase, victims of their own PR regiment.


The Oaths


Instigated initially to placate the fear of the general populace, they present a number of issues themselves. There is of course the obvious issues--the life-shortening effects the Oaths have on their lives. Also there are the effectiveness issues... the oath against using the power as a weapon, for instance, makes sense when dealing with non-channelers. For all that non-channelers might take out an individual Aes Sedai, any major attack could easily be held off by purely defensive methods, or at the worse, by the opening of the oaths to protect ones life (im speaking on the large scale by the way, with many Aes Sedai involved).


However, that does not continue through into dealing with enemies that have their own channelers. Such an oath only makes sense when you are the stronger force, not when you must deal with peers. And as we have seen with the emergence of the Asha'men, not to mention the Wise Ones, Windfinders and damane, the Aes Sedai are not the stronger force.


The same applies to the oath against the making of weapons for one man to kill another. They put that oath in at the memory of the terrible damage done during the Age of Legends--yet did not pause to consider that that damage was done in fighting a terrible enemy. Had the Light not equipped itself then something far worse would have come from it. It was pure luck that none of the Forsaken had expertise in making weapons. If they had the Light would have been doomed at Tarmon Gai'don.


But those are the obvious effects. What of the less obvious effects? Let's start with the original intentions of the Oaths--that they placate the fear of the masses. Certainly they have done so to a degree. Aes Sedai are trusted in a sense, and when they speak openly their words are taken as fact. But to go along with that are the constant iterance of phrases such as 'the truth an Aes Sedai speaks is not the truth you hear?"


It seems counter-productive to me to make people know you can't hurt them by swearing oaths not to... it presents the image that without such oaths Aes Sedai would be lying, murdering, weapon-mongers. Yes they are stopped from doing such things, yet it is still their nature.


And what of the effects on themselves. How long can a person who can't lie say something without coming to believe it to be true? Even when they know that they've manipulated the truth into a lie. Consider all the things Aes Sedai simply accepted as fact; should such intelligent, well-educated women such as they have been so simply accepting of the idea that the kin numbered a few dozen, that they gave up after a time and wandered off and stopped channeling?


It's a combination of the fact that all Aes Sedai are wowed by their own image, and that since they can't tell a lie, they obviously must speak the truth. Oh, they are intellectually aware of the holes in that, but after a time what was opinion becomes fact simply by that weight. Its an epidemic of their entire culture.


And one final point on the oaths before i move on. What of the ethical implications? The three oaths address negative aspects of human nature. Lying, violence and creating instruments to do violence. Noble things to want to avoid doing; yet nonetheless at times these things are necessary. As such how does one decide when to employ them?


The answer is simple--employ them when they are necessary. The Aes Sedai, however, due to the fact that they are power-bound against such things, do not reguard it so. For them, it has become a situation of 'what is not forbidden is allowed'. Look at them. Look how easily they lie by omission, or misrepresentation. An honest actual understanding of the concept and value of truth is completely missing from them, and that is contemptible.


The Decline in Their Numbers


They suggest that they have culled the ability from mankind by gentling every man they find, but we know this to be inaccurate. From RJ we know that roughly one percent of the modern population have the ability to channel which means there are several hundred thousand channelers in the Westlands alone. Logically it doesn't make sense either--most men don't spark until their mid twenties, which means they likely would already have families. All men who don't have the spark remain in the general genetic pool, as do the vast majority of female channelers.


The ability has indeed declined since the Age of Legends--from 3% to 1% likely as a result of a lack of interbreeding between male and female channelers. We know that in Shara were they specifically breed male and female channelers the numbers have remained higher. That being said, even with that decline, and the decline in the human populace of the westlands since the War of a Hundred Years there is still more than enough female channelers of a strength to gain the shawl--indeed, if all were found and trained they would exceed the Tower at its height by nearly tenfold.


So what are the causes for the decline?


The first is obvious. The introduction of the oaths halved the Aes Sedai's lifespan, which in turn halved the number of Aes Sedai that should be alive. Even so, without the oaths there would only be 2,000 Aes Sedai, still nothing near the 6,000 that the Aes Sedai numbered at their height.


The second reason is more insidious. Following Hawkwings attack the anger and fear the general populace felt for the Aes Sedai increased massively. This disfavour amongst the people continued, spouting misinformation where it went. We see the formation of the Children of the Light in this time, and the increased belief that Aes Sedai are darkfriend who broke the world for the Dark One (and it is increased, we know the people of the past had a much greater degree of knowledge about the nature of Aes Sedai and their intentions for the world, even when these people didn't trust Aes Sedai).


This change in the social perception of the Aes Sedai probably has alot to do with the way Aes Sedai currently hold themselves aloof from the general populace, which in turn likely spread the misinformation. As this increasingly bad opinion spread, naturally less girls sought the Tower. Effectively, the Tower continued on under its old method of letting girls approach, and when they didn't in as great a numbers the Tower concluded that the ability must be declining, when in fact it was simply that the girls desire to approach the Tower that declined. That, combined with the general decline in the westland population resulted in the marked decline witnessed in the Tower.


What is the Future for Aes Sedai


I think it's bright. The sudden influx of so many novices including mature women means that sooner or later their will be Aes Sedai who arn't indoctrinated with the idea of being Aes Sedai. Fresh thought will finally be introduced. And it is the perfect time for it. The Aes Sedai have suffered blows recently, and have been forced to change their thoughts on certain matters--the obvious example being the Asha'men. That means that they are in a state of flux, the perfect mentality for new thought to be introduced.


Add to that the ability to Travel and I suspect much more prodigious recruitment will begin.


Effectively, they're kind of wankers, but they're on their way out of that, and they have all the tools they need to achieve it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

As much as you hate Aes Sedai, they have helped to hold the world together and keep the prophecies remembered. The problem is that they lock themselves up in their little ivory tower and lose track of the world. They spend time among themselves, and negative attitudes build unchecked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless Egwene manages to turn them around(which I think she will), Ive felt the WT has done more harm than good so far. Its funny how they chastise Rand, while they sit around doing absolutely nothing but fighting amongst themselves(and are pretty much a breeding ground for BA). Hopefully, she organizes the troops and sends help where its needed (Lan, BT,Rand).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried starting a post about it a while ago. here are THE ONLY true AS in my opinion:


Moriene, Verin , and I'm afraid to say it but that's about it...oh, that nameless AS from Rand's Aeil viewing from Rhudian(sp) that laughs when asked where is it safe. Don't ask why, just always liked that one.


Any other candidates?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so after reading the whole thread, i have concluded that most females like the aes sedai and the males dont. i being a male, would prefer to throttle all of them, i dont think i could ever stand being around them, they give everyone who is not one of them an inferiority complex. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have often found a lot of the Aes Sedai's attitudes toward others to be annoying too. And you're right, they certainly don't act respectful to others most of the time. Would be nice to see some of them put into there place.


To be fair, if I lived for hundreds and hundreds of years when everyone around me died in a few decades, had knowledge that few could imagine and wielded almost God-like power... well, I'd find it awfully easy to look down my nose at most people - especially if I had convinced myself that I had their best interests at heart and they were just too foolish to realize it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reason Aes Sedai are the way they are is because of perspective. People are short-sighted. Just look at Rand's dealings with the nobles. They're more focused on jockeying for power and prestige; they don't care about the fact that Tarmon Gai'don is near.


The Aes Sedai have been doing this for centuries. They know that current actions have a large impact on the future and since they're going to be there in the future (due to their long lifespans), they should control the present to have a favorable outcome as no one else is willing to do that..


Their channeling does not give them authority over the Westlands, it is their lack of short-sightedness.


However, just like a kingdom, a bad ruler affects the nation for the worse. Elaida is far from being the most competent to lead and the fact that they've had almost no stability at the highest level (three Amyrlins in less than 50 years I believe), also has an effect.


If you're going to judge the Aes Sedai, look at their overall track record. They saved humanity during the Trolloc Wars and War of a Hundred Years. However, I admit they are struggling currently but look what they are facing:


1). The savior of mankind is conquering nations left and right (and may be insane).

2). Their institution is split in three.

3). The Forsaken are active (one is in the Tower itself; another with the rebels).

4). Rulers are not acting the part (ex. the Borderlander rulers are leaving their post).

5). Hundreds of thousands of would-be conquerors come across the sea and use channelers in battle

6). The emergence of three other independent and strong groups of channelers, who answer to no one but themselves (Asha'man, Wise Ones, Windfinders).

7). Hundreds of thousands of the most feared people who could have conquered Tar Valon itself are in the Westlands in force.

8.  Famine and war are rampant along with the unnatural weather, which they have no control over.

9). The failing of wards and the One Power in general.


Kinda makes sense why the Aes Sedai are not really succeeding right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to take away credit from AS but I think "Man with heart" had a lot to do with the Trolloc War victory at the cost of the 10 nation treaty brake, which AS did not stop from happening. By the way, where were the AS when Red Eagle fell? Does any one remember just how much Old Blood in Met liked the AS? What was the quote..."I am no AS meat?" or something like that. I can admit that SOME AS help the world to no end, but as a group of people...i dont think so. they could not even make peace with Hakwing. and what about Aeil war? they should have never backed Laiman(sp) but instead hand him over to the clans and avoid all the blood shed. the fact that it led to the dragon to be reborn is irrelevant; they simply blundered anything important and than depended on the hero of the horn to correct the matter or someone like Farstrider. they could not even make peace with DR, for light sake! what kind of group of morons raises the red to the amyrlin seat when the man that can channel must be accepted. No, they all at fault for that, not just Elaida(sp). anything or anyone that stands up to their authority is simply being ignored or worse. they are nothing more but a dictatorship without a counter power (so black tower is very welcomed indeed) :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dislike for the witches is not simply a function of their attitudes, but rather the stark contrast between their opinions of themselves and the state of the Westlands. AS hubris is understandable given the fact that they were de facto caretakers for this side of the continent, their blindness to the obvious failure of that task however, is not.


Most of the problems have already been mentioned in this thread already, but I think the true scale of the failure of AS leadership comes into focus when you contrast the Westlands with the Empire. Both lands suffered terrible wars about 1000 years ago but only the Seanchen have recovered from that. In a millenium the western kingdoms haven't even had the population growth to claim all the lands within their reach, worse - it seems the demographic collapse is an ongoing problem thorough this period. That can't even be blamed on the Shadowspawn as their presence south of the Blight was so small that Trollocks could be considered mythical. ( And this little fact is symptomatic. How could the AS allow this to happen when TG looms on the horizon ? ) In contrast the Seanchen have prospered enough to be able to sends hundreds of thousands of soldiers and untold numbers of settlers to reconquer the land of Artur Hawkwing. The Westlands are divided into hostile, often dysfunctional, countries. Meanwhile on the other side of the ocean there is unity, rule of law and even some hints of care for the poor.


The White Tower failed to educate the public about the danger of the DO to the point that one of the great captains had no idea about the flaws in the Seal on the Bore. It failed to prepare itself, let alone anyone else, for the Last Battle. It failed to preserve much knowledge about the OP and did not actively try to recreate Lost Talents or even to innovate based on the knowledge they did retain. It allowed itself to be infiltrated by darkfriends to an extreme degree. And it inevitably would have failed in protecting the Westlands from the same fate that Seanchen and Shaara have suffered at the hands of the Forsaken, had the DR only left this responsibility up to the witches.


And yet despite all those failures the AS are ever ready to give themselves a congratulatory pat on the back while lauding their great successes in stopping minor conflicts, their supposed wisdom, knowledge and leadership. They often speak about the good of the White Tower and the good of the world comes almost as an afterthought. That shouldn't really surprise anyone seeing how they hide all past stumbles even from their own. After decades of indoctrination and propaganda it stands to reason the AS will tend to regard their institution with religious reverence. The witches as they are can't be salvaged and the only hope lies in fresh blood overwhelming the traditionalists with numbers.


All in all I wouldn't mind to see every single one of the current AS leashed. That way at least the could be useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very well said, though leashing is a bit to much...i mean indefinite leashing is. But for..oh say, 15 years maybe? That might actually make them a bit smarter.

Another thought, why don't they re-swear the oaths? This should have been instituted from the beginning where every year each AS has to take oaths anew in front of everyone (including regular public). This way there would be not a chance in hell DA would even exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very well said, though leashing is a bit to much...i mean indefinite leashing is. But for..oh say, 15 years maybe? That might actually make them a bit smarter.


Right. Indefinite leashing is too much. But they really need to be shaken up. It's too late to really make a difference though. As a military force they won't rise above mediocrity in time for TG, and they certainly wouldn't know the weave for sealing the DO if it came and whacked them.


As for your other thought, I can't comment on it in this section  ::)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...