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How to solve a problem like Aes Sedai?


How do you think the Aes Sedai should be treated?  

32 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you think the Aes Sedai should be treated?

    • Respect and reverence. They know best and might is right.
      0
    • Distrust and wariness. Can't ignore them but have to do as they say.
      13
    • Tairen style. No Channeling but no active punishment for their plotting and interference.
      11
    • Seanchen style. Too dangerous to go unchained.
      7
    • Whitecloak's know best. They're witches and a force for evil. They must be killed.
      1


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I've just finished my first read through of the WoT series. One of my favourite aspects of the books was that although there is a clear light/dark, good/evil split there is still plenty of shades in between that provide some very interesting ambiguity.

 

The one area that causes the most dissonance for me is the Aes sedai. Despite clearly standing against the shadow (Black Ajah excepted) they are absolutely despicable in the way they behave. Supremely confident and arrogant in their ignorance they seem a bane upon the world. Manipulating and interfering with their imperious nature they are to a lady repulsive and detestable. Even ones i had initial sympathy for such as Egwene and Moiraine have scant morality and believe utterly that the world should dance to their tune. They treat men at best with condescenscion but more commonly as untermencshen. the reaction to the stilling after Dumai Wells shows this best. No sympathy for the appalling kidnap and torture of Rand but so distressed at the thought of losing their fix of Saidar they empty their stomachs.

 

The Seanchan's treatment and abuse of Egwene at the time seemed horrible but how many people have died or will die as a result of her supreme self assuredness? How many have to suffer so she can have what she wants? After the Aes Sedai POV's in the latter books and seeing how they think and behave to one and other (let alone the outside world) i've slowly come to agree with Tuon that the world is safer with them chained.

 

This isn't a thing against strong women or even women channeling (Aviendha is my favourite character) i just believe the damage they cause is enough to overcome any moral objections to the idea of enslaving them.

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How does it go...

 

"The guardians will balance the servants"...

 

The fact that men can now channel safely will take them down a notch, especially because they won't be the be all and end all in the world.

 

Aiel have the best system with channelers, maybe they can influence more than just Egwene...

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I voted for the Seanchan way.

 

It is harsh, I will admit - but far better than having to dance to the strings of arrogant, pretentious Aes Sedai who feel a massive sense of entitlement.

 

Yes, there are good Aes Sedai...But as a whole, this is probably the best way.

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I voted distrust and wariness, because it's the alternative that best describes my view. Though I would hope most of them are worth more trust than distrust, at least most of the time...

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I had not yet voted.

 

An actual leash to me is not the answer.

Making them Warders (like Ashaman have done) to me is better than the adam.

Directing them to fealty (like Verin and others did) to me is also better than the adam.

 

Since Aes Sedia are to be servants (by definition), I would say let them serve or have them serve; but in non-Dark tasks.

 

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Mmm. I'm not sure the fealty thing works as it allows as much wriggle room as the no lying oath does (as Beonin and Eliza show).

 

Warders may be the answer but I think it remains to be seen how much that nueters them. What will Toveine do in the next book..? I think there's still a twist to come in that plot.

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How about a completely different approach, bonding them, the leash, and legal restrictions are de facto the same thing, compulsion, so instead of behaving like an Aes Sedai and trying to force them into something, how about changing the way they are trained and taught to view the world.

 

First thing to go, the oaths, my opinion is that the oaths have done more damage than anything else – since they force the Aes Sedai to be deceitful and sly, spending all their time dancing around the truth. The Aes Sedai rely entirely on those oaths to support their reputation, and don’t try behave like trustworthy or decent adults in order to get along in the world. If everyone knew an Aes Sedai could lie, could do violence, they’d have to actually be decent people to get any kind of respect or cooperation. Would people then be terrified of them? Not if they were helping people and the light like, say, someone called a "servant of all" should be doing anyway. Oaths or no oaths, if the tower was providing aid to farmers and hospitals for the sick, as well as education and advice no one would be running, screaming, from them.

 

Next thing, turn them out of the damn Tower, and point out that helping with the sheep and healing farm wives will bring them trust, gratitude, and familiarity, and then point out if they’d been doing that for the last three thousand years maybe everyone wouldn’t hate them so much. After all isn’t that what they’re supposed to be doing? Families would also help, kids and husbands and ties to communities other than the damn tower. It's hard to see yourself as aloof and mysterious, if you live in a community with your family, extended family, friends, and your dog spot.

 

In any event, they’re in for a succession of shocks to their collective ego, living in a world where there are just as many men channeling as Aes Sedai, in fact, in the books they’re already finding out what that means for their arrogance.

 

“...Kneel and swear to the Lord Dragon, or you will be Knelt……...”

 

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How does it go...

 

"The guardians will balance the servants"...

 

The fact that men can now channel safely will take them down a notch, especially because they won't be the be all and end all in the world.

 

Aiel have the best system with channelers, maybe they can influence more than just Egwene...

 

I agree here. Aes Sedai before the Black Tower and the Cleansing were just a bunch of half taught stuck up women sitting in their tower telling everyone what to do. Now that there's male channelers out there and in numbers (not to mention a bit stronger overall) they'll be humbled.

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It will be interesting to see how the wise ones deal with males being able to channel safely...they have ruled their roosts for a long time and may not be eager to share their positions of honor.

 

Male and female Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends had a very long time to achieve their "balance of power"...with TG looming on the horizon, I don't see the Randland channelers reaching that plateau.

 

There can be little arguement that the female Aes Sedai in Randland have seen the peak of their power and influence.  The Seanchan and the male channelers will see to that.  The split of the White Tower didn't help, either.

 

Just an opinion.

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I just believe the damage they cause is enough to overcome any moral objections to the idea of enslaving them.
I voted for the Seanchan way. As a whole, this is probably the best way.
You're really putting forward a justification for enslaving people and turning them into animals? Because some of them are a bit too arrogant and manipulative? Wow. "It's for the best." I'm sure plenty of slaveowners justified their actions in the past with the same excuse. I'm sure plenty of people thought it was for the best to enslave those Africans. That makes it OK? After being indoctrinated for years that AS know best, they understandably pick up these attitudes. But you think the best way to deal with them is not to try and dissuade them, not to reason with them, but to turn them into pets? Into property? To dehumanise them? How many people will die as a result of Egwene's supreme self-assuredness? Surely fewer than would without it. Without her, the rebels are left without a unifying figurehead. They cannot proceed, or they get absorbed back into the Tower, under Elaida. And Elaida rules the Tower for TG. That couldn't turn out to be a disaster. No way at all. Egwene is needed to heal the wounds of the Tower, to make them whole and to lead them to victory in the Last Battle, and Rand's side.
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Stop building straw men! RW African slavery has nothing to do with this and you diminish it by comparison. That was purely about economic gain rather than nuetralising a powerful and destructive force. A more accurate real world example would be NK and Iran being the only countries in the world with nukes.

You don't reason with Aes Sedai! They've repeatedly shown they will not be rationalised with and temporary aquiesence is just that: temporary, and like with Joline, Teslyn or Toviene just something they'll go through until they can regain the upper hand. They dehumanise themselves by the way they set themselves apart from the rest of humanity in their White (Ivory) Tower and how they behave towards it. As far as i'm concerned it's chaining them or killing them! (of course there's still progress to come in the series so the situation may be very different by the end of AMOL)

 

A whole tower under Egwene or the same number as damane under the seanchen. Considering the seanchen Damane make better fighters i go for option 2!

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You're really putting forward a justification for enslaving people and turning them into animals? Because some of them are a bit too arrogant and manipulative?

 

Not some - the vast majority of Aes Sedai work only for their own ends, often disregarding any other sides. They coerce and outright bully rulers and nations into doing their bidding

 

"It's for the best." I'm sure plenty of slaveowners justified their actions in the past with the same excuse. I'm sure plenty of people thought it was for the best to enslave those Africans.

 

I'm sure, too. But the enslavement of Africans has nothing to do with the chaining of Aes Sedai - similarities are only superficial.

 

After being indoctrinated for years that AS know best, they understandably pick up these attitudes. But you think the best way to deal with them is not to try and dissuade them, not to reason with them, but to turn them into pets? Into property? To dehumanise them?

 

Like I said, Aes Sedai arrogance is incredible - I really do doubt any amount of arguing or reasoning can dissuade them and their vast amount of self-righteousness. As for turning them into pets? While I endorse the Seanchan method, that harshness of captivity is something I could do without. I am not looking to break the Aes Sedai.

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a little off topic but about male channelers: will the Aiel men still walk up to the Blight when they realise that they can use the Power?

i keep wondering if that is just how they get rid off them before they go nuts or if there's something more to it

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Ok, I am brand new to this forum so first of all, hi everyone! This may not be the best note to start on. I've been reading the books for years and I peruse the forums often, to feed my addiction between now and MoL. This topic forced me to join.

 

I just have to say that I agree 100% with Mr. Ares, and frankly I'm a little disgusted that anyone in this day and age would be for slavery of any race, even a theorectical one. Aes Sedai are born with their power, they do not choose it. They are initiated into the tower at a young age and only know what they are taught by other Aes Sedai. While they are arrogant and manipulative, I think the vast majority of them believe that they serve the greater good. Their problem is that they think they know exactly what the best road is, and they weild their power to force the nations down that road. However, they do so with good intentions, and I don't think there is any evidence in the books either way to say they have caused more deaths or saved more lives in the course of history.

 

The way to curb power is to refuse to accept it, not to enslave it. With the three oaths, Aes Sedai cannot harm other people with the power except in self-defense, so if people chose not to obey them, the people would be in no danger from the one power. Therefor Aes Sedai are not truly "dangerous" in the sense that a predator is dangerous and needs to be confined. And as for their arrogance, a certain amount of arrogance is inherent in power. What is to stop those who chain Aes Sedai from becoming just as arrogant? And where do you draw the line? The Suldam channel; would you chain all women capable of channeling or just Aes Sedai in particular? Do you think Suldam are any less devious and arrogant than Aes Sedai?

 

If you are going to enslave all the characters in WoT who are arrogant, better not stop with the Aes Sedai. How about the Whitecloaks, all of the nobles (including Tuon), Rand, the Sea Folk, I'm sure the list could go on. If arrogance and political power were grounds for slavery, Americans and Europeans as a whole would be enslaved by the developing world.

 

I feel pretty strongly about this so sorry if I am coming across to strong.

 

a little off topic but about male channelers: will the Aiel men still walk up to the Blight when they realise that they can use the Power?

i keep wondering if that is just how they get rid off them before they go nuts or if there's something more to it

I've been wondering about that too--and what happens to them up there? Does the Dark One collect them, or do they die in a blaze of glory? I forget, didn't Rand's father go to the blight? Maybe they will meet on opposite sides in TG.

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For the most part, believing, or giving lip service to “serving the greater good,” doesn’t mean you actually serve it. What exactly have they been doing to “serve the greater good.” They’re all talk no substance with a few exceptions tossed in. Anyway, since they’re already in for a fall, I don’t think anyone need do anything.

 

The pushy, self righteous, tantrum throwing, toddler-woman pattern that, runs throughout the later books is hardly confined to the tower. The biggest offenders by far are the windfinders, so if we’re going to go about chaining people up, let’s start with them!!!

 

I wonder if the forsaken can come up with an a’dam for irritating, irrational, unfounded conceit?

 

Better yet, I wonder if Logain can come up with a ter’angreal that forces reasonable behavior from anyone who comes in contact with it. Sort of like a reverse Mordeth.

 

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For the most part, believing, or giving lip service to “serving the greater good,” doesn’t mean you actually serve it. What exactly have they been doing to “serve the greater good.”

Exactly. Even with Tramon Gaiden on the horizon most of them seem intent on their own squabbles rather than the future of the world. As for the saviour of the world rather than let him unite nations they want him under their control and actively work to undermine him. they srerve themselves first anything else seems to be an unintended consequence.

 

The way to curb power is to refuse to accept it, not to enslave it. With the three oaths, Aes Sedai cannot harm other people with the power except in self-defense, so if people chose not to obey them, the people would be in no danger from the one power.

As a weapon yes. But they seem to have a very loose definition of what that means. I for one would call switching someone with the OP, tying them using air, putting them to the question or any of the other bits of torture they commit using the OP as using it as a weapon. It's not like they're bound not to murder (ask Siuan's warder) and they don't seem to be beyond manipulating the situation to make themselves feel threatened enough to channel.

Hypothetical Situation: Aes Sedai marches into throne room tying up the guards on the way and uses forc choke on the King which causes one guardsman to try and kill her suddenly she's making free with the fireballs. Not that that is very Aes Sedai like. if the king isn't doing what they like they'll just kidnap him and bring him to Tar Valon or talk to his rivals (Colavere, Elenia, Arymilla) and tell them they have tower support giving them the confidence to rebel.

 

However, they do so with good intentions, and I don't think there is any evidence in the books either way to say they have caused more deaths or saved more lives in the course of history.

I thought they were largely responsible for destroying Hawkwing's empire.

 

The Suldam channel; would you chain all women capable of channeling or just Aes Sedai in particular? Do you think Suldam are any less devious and arrogant than Aes Sedai?

The Suldam don't channel. They are capable of it but it took a lot of pushing to get Bethamin or Seta to admit that to themselves.

The windfinders are like the Aiel in that they defer to non channelers rather than use their powers to bludgeon those weaker than them. Anyway the worst of the Atha'an Miere group was Zaida (iirc) who was a non channeler and she was firmly in charge.

i'd have said apprenticeships with Aiel and the Windfinders would help but look at Egwene post Aiel or Merilille (?, the former ambassador to Tylin) who decamped with a windfinder apprentice because, once again, she knew best.

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That was purely about economic gain rather than nuetralising a powerful and destructive force.
Some people didn't see it that way - they saw it in terms of it being God's will to enslave them.
A more accurate real world example would be NK and Iran being the only countries in the world with nukes.
Not really. Unless you're suggesting it would be alright to enslave all the North Koreans and Iranians. And why not use the USA and USSR as a real world example, considering that did happen, while Iran and NK didn't? Yes, Americans are Aes Sedai, and therefore the same treatment holds. All Americans should be turned into slaves, pets, animals. That is what you're saying.

You don't reason with Aes Sedai!
You don't. I might. Give an example of someone trying to rationalise with an Aes Sedai and losing due to the AS being irrational. In fact, as it's so common, give me 10.
As far as i'm concerned it's chaining them or killing them!
Apply that to Cadsuane. She needs to be in a position of power in order to get Rand to listen. If she is not in a position to get him t listen to her advice, she cannot advise him. Without her, he continues on the path he was walking. Further isolation. Further temper tantrums. Further loss of control. And the Light's victory is darker than the Shadow's. If she is chained, she doesn't have that power, nor if she is dead. She needs to be in aposition to make Rand listen to her, or the world is screwed. Advisor, not slave.

 

A whole tower under Egwene or the same number as damane under the seanchen. Considering the seanchen Damane make better fighters I go for option 2!
Again, you consent to a bunch of people being enslaved and forced to fight for you. A slave army, for an insane dictator. I think that is exactly the sort of thing Cadsuane worried about.

 

Not some - the vast majority of Aes Sedai work only for their own ends, often disregarding any other sides. They coerce and outright bully rulers and nations into doing their bidding
So does Rand. So do others. Should they be enslaved as well?

 

I'm sure, too. But the enslavement of Africans has nothing to do with the chaining of Aes Sedai - similarities are only superficial.
Both involve you enslaving a population. For the best. Similar enough.

 

As for turning them into pets? While I endorse the Seanchan method, that harshness of captivity is something I could do without. I am not looking to break the Aes Sedai.
Not looking to break them? That is the Seanchan method. What good are these slaves if they don't work for you? Why should they work for you, when you enslave them? So, you break them. If you are not prepared to do so, why chain them when they will be no use to you chained?

 

I forget, didn't Rand's father go to the blight? Maybe they will meet on opposite sides in TG.
He went, but not as a channeler. He just went there to fight, and Slayer killed him. There were witnesses.

 

Hypothetical Situation: Aes Sedai marches into throne room tying up the guards on the way and uses forc choke on the King which causes one guardsman to try and kill her suddenly she's making free with the fireballs. Not that that is very Aes Sedai like.
You're right, that is not Aes Sedai like. They tend to be more subtle than that.

 

I thought they were largely responsible for destroying Hawkwing's empire.
That was Ishamael.

 

The windfinders are like the Aiel in that they defer to non channelers rather than use their powers to bludgeon those weaker than them.
The Aiel defer to non-channelers? The Wise Ones don't do much deferring to anyone, save other WO, and just about everyone defers to Sorilea, who is a channeler. Chain the WO too, then. They are arrogant, and self-serving, just as much as the AS.
i'd have said apprenticeships with Aiel and the Windfinders would help but look at Egwene post Aiel or Merilille (?, the former ambassador to Tylin) who decamped with a windfinder apprentice because, once again, she knew best.
Of course. Nothing to do with Merilille not liking being a teacher to the Windfinders (given their behaviour, who can blame her?), nothing to do with Talaan actually asking to go to the Tower for training, everything to do with her knowing best. And let's look at Egwene. A strong, confident leader, working to unify the Tower again, remove its isolation, have Sisters who are trusted for who they are, not because of the Three Oaths, having people believe what they say, rather than look for how they are being deceived, to win TG, in short, exactly the sort of person who should be in her position. They couldn't ask for better.
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Not really. Unless you're suggesting it would be alright to enslave all the North Koreans and Iranians. And why not use the USA and USSR as a real world example, considering that did happen, while Iran and NK didn't? Yes, Americans are Aes Sedai, and therefore the same treatment holds. All Americans should be turned into slaves, pets, animals. That is what you're saying.

No it's what you're saying. A weak analogy off the back of a straw man defence. Poor show!

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Not really. Unless you're suggesting it would be alright to enslave all the North Koreans and Iranians. And why not use the USA and USSR as a real world example, considering that did happen, while Iran and NK didn't? Yes, Americans are Aes Sedai, and therefore the same treatment holds. All Americans should be turned into slaves, pets, animals. That is what you're saying.

No it's what you're saying. A weak analogy off the back of a straw man defence. Poor show!

 

They dehumanise themselves by the way they set themselves apart from the rest of humanity in their White (Ivory) Tower and how they behave towards it. As far as i'm concerned it's chaining them or killing them!

 

Reiver, I think you are mistaking an attempt to put your argument about the Aes Sedai being chained in a RW context, in order to show you that he believes it is ethically flawed, for a "straw man defense." A straw man argument would be if your argument was, for example, channeling should be banned in Randland" and he responded by saying, "Banning Channeling is like enslaving Aes Sedai because it takes away their rights!" However, your argument is that Aes Sedai should be enslaved. Mr. Ares is merely drawing parallels between RW slavery and fantasy world slavery, not saying that slavery is something worse than what it is.

 

Thanks for the clarification about Rand's father.

 

I wonder if the forsaken can come up with an a’dam for irritating, irrational, unfounded conceit?

 

If they did, they'd need to use it on themselves first.

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No it's a straw man argument because he's putting up an argument aside from the original statement and arguing that rather than the issue. The real world analogy of ripping millions of innocent people from their homes to become slaves in a distant land is massively different from the shackling of a dangerous and occasionally malevolent group which numbers less than a thousand. The purpose of of his argument was to hysterically attach it to an emotive subject and distort the original question. As far as i'm concerned that's straw manning.

 

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

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Aes Sedai are born with their power, they do not choose it.

 

This is the problem. They are born with such an advantage over the rest of the human race, by pure chance, yet they act as if it's a God-given right that they have that power. It's pathetic.

 

They have a gift that should be used to help people who can't channel, not used to manipulate and exact power over the people they should be helping.

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slaves are slaves no matter how u use them.  The africans were used as slaves for econimoc gain, but the channelers were used to fight wars and kill, and for econimic gain.  U can sell a damane, just like people were sold in the United States.  Neither has any choice in the matter. 

 

Yes the Aes Sedai are brats, but they will have to give up the 3 oaths, because the male channelers, Wise ones, damane, and Windfinders have too much of an advantage over them.  Then people will know that they can lie, and they will not think that they have to believe them. 

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Not really. Unless you're suggesting it would be alright to enslave all the North Koreans and Iranians. And why not use the USA and USSR as a real world example, considering that did happen, while Iran and NK didn't? Yes, Americans are Aes Sedai, and therefore the same treatment holds. All Americans should be turned into slaves, pets, animals. That is what you're saying.
No it's what you're saying. A weak analogy off the back of a straw man defence. Poor show!
A strong analogy, and my attempt to make your analogy actually make sense. You say you endorse slavery, but then accuse me of a straw man when I give a real world example of slavery, and say you don't endorse it. So when is slavery alright? Only when done against those who are strong enough to pose a threat to you? So you reduce them to a level where they are no longer a threat? That makes it alright, does it? So how about you explain when it is alright to have slaves and when it isn't, because the point I am putting across, no matter how much you squirm and avoid the issues, is that it is wrong. As for your analogy, you put forward this: "A more accurate real world example would be NK and Iran being the only countries in the world with nukes." How is that in any way like the slaving of the Aes Sedai? That analogy doesn't make sense without further explanation, which you didn't provide. Which is not exactly a strong analogy, really. So, I did my best to interpret it to make sense. Iran and North Korea have nukes. They are powerful and dangerous. Presumably they represent the Seanchan and the Aes Sedai. One of them should be enslaved by the other. As an interpretation of your "analogy", this seemed to make sense, not that I actually agreed with what you were saying. But why Iran and North Korea? Because they are bad places? Is it necessary for it to be those two countries? Not as far as I could see. So I looked, and I saw a police state, expansionist, toplling legitiamte rulers and putting puppets in their place - USSR/Seanchan. And I saw a state with at least some democracy, run from a white building, arrogant, isolated from the world but seeking to rule it, willing to displace rulers who disagree with it to install regimes more favourable to it - USA/WT. Superficial similarities, admittedly, but surely these two countries work even better than Iran/NK, especially given that once upon a time they were the countries with the bomb? Now, I have already established why I thought you were supporting one of your two countries enslaving the other, why I thought that was what you were saying. So I changed the countries to two that made more sense. And the rule held true. You supported one lot of slavery, but not the other. You fail to explain why my analogy is flawed, why you disagree, why it misrepresents your views. What I said you were saying was exactly what it looked like you were saying. If it wasn't, maybe you should have been clearer about what you were saying, rather than just saying, Strawman! Strawman! as if it proved anything.

 

Now, of course, I would like to know why economic slavery is morally repugnant, and not at all the sort of thing you would endorse, O would be slaver and murderer, but the same for political reasons is fine - they were dangerous, he cries, as if that excuses it, they were destructive. Were they? What did they destroy? And the Whitecloaks are powerful and destructive as well. Put them in chains! Where does it end? Rand is powerful, and destructive  from a certain point of view. Should he be chained? Slaves are slaves, and slavery is slavery, and I for one do not endorse it. You are willing to, it seems. But only when it is about dangerous and occasionally malevolent Aes Sedai rather than dangerous and occasionally malevolent Africans. The purpose of my argument was to show that you support a morally reprehensible viewpoint. And I didn't "attach" a highly emotive subject. You yourself brought that subject into play. You brought up the option of slavery. That, no matter how much you try to deny it, is an emotive subject to many. But apparently, as they are only a few women, it is alright. I don't agree with slavery. You agree with this sort, but not that sort. Where's the difference?

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