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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Verin's "Mistake" - Dragon Reborn - Spoiler warning...


Rab Coplin
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In any field, it is necessary to be proficient at the task at hand to be a leader, but the fact that someone is proficient at the task doesn't make them a good leader.  Leadership is a different skill entirely; strength doesn't equal decision making skills.  Those that recognize this can be successful from a behind the scenes position - Caddy never wanted to be AS.  Why do we not recognize this in choosing our leaders?

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I would well think that the WT would have started the same.  A relatively small group of women - say a few hundred go together.  Assuming that non of them really stood out domineering wise then the one that was strongest with the One Power, would easily have ruled.  She would have thought "Well I'm stronger than all the rest.    If they don't do what I say, I will just "shield" them until I get my way."    Sure the others could have joined together to "beat" her, but she might well have had others that agreed with her.  Whatever the case, it probably became the WT standard after that.

 

The White Tower was formed by an alliance of fourteen of the strongest ajah in the land (though several other smaller ajah were involved too, just not represented in the council that ruled that alliance). By all accounts the formation of that alliance, and the later refinning of the hieracrhy with Elisane as Amyrlin and the leaders of the seven strongest ajah becoming 'close advisers', was done quite politically. The obvious power balance between those eight women was strong enough that it consumed the other great ajahs leaving only the seven. Subsequently i don't see your idea working--one or two might have bullied their way into authority of their individual ajah's, but those ajahs were relatively even in strength--bullying would not have succeeded, and if these women had been bullies to attain power to begin with i hardly see them being deft enough to maintain power when the alliance was formed.

 

Besides, the hierarchy of strength doesn't always predominate within the tower--for their actual officials they use elections. It's just in day to day living that it works--this indicates to me that it formed functionally--as in, it came about because of a specific need for sisters to immediately be able to know who should lead.

 

That suggests it came about in the course of danger, where the chain of command needs to become instantly clear. Possibly a result of hunting down men who can channel--but since that usually involves linking i'd say not. My guess is that it came about during the Trolloc Wars--a three hundred year free for all where Aes Sedai must have frequently found themselves cut off from the propper chains of command, and yet a time in which they would have by nessesity needed to militarize their ranks in terms of authority--who commands when. Strength is the obvious choice in war--who can do the most damage decides who does what, and when.

 

It is also during the Trolloc Wars that we have the first reference of Aes Sedai paying attention to strength (Bonwhin betrays Manetheren becasue of jealousy of Ellisande's strength in the Power). Ultimately though, establishing it through bullying does not fit with the Aes Sedai--oh, they can be bullies with others, but they respect the ideal of Aes Sedaism too much to codify such pettiness as their method of structure. It coming about from war and nessisity, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense.

 

It also explains why they don't mention strength in the power, yet run themselves by it. I'm guessing that before it became nessasary to consider strength during the Trolloc Wars that it was considered immensely rude to try and push your way through strength. Two conflicting concepts over-ridden by nessesity.

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