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How Was Elaida Raised to Amrylin Legally?


Chernabog
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We know that she had enough votes to depose Siuan (and most likely Leane since the two need to be deposed seperately I believe) just barely. It's also most likely the Blue Sitters took no part in this, since the Ajah the Amyrlin was raised from is not informed of the vote until afterwards.

 

Now, Elaida probably wanted to get everything done with all in one shot so she probably had the second vote on whether or not to raise her as the Amyrlin. My question is how. It's stated, and well known that all 21 Sitters must reach the Greater Consensus. Elaida is one of those 21 and it's unknown (yet doubtful) if a Sitter can nominate themselves. But if this vote happened immediatley after the deposing vote how did she pull it off with no Blues there? Never mind the fact that only the Sitters that were a guarantee to voter her way were present.

 

Elaida says the following to Siuan during the coup

 

"The Hall convened not an hour ago -enough Sitters to meet our laws-and by unanimous vote, as required, you are no longer Amyrlin. It is done, and we are here to see it enforced"

 

So this could be interpreted as Elaida neglected to tell Siuan she was the new Amyrlin. Or that vote hasn't taken place yet which would still make it hard to meet the laws since all the Blues by now will have fled, or have begun to. Never mind the fact that one Blue Sitter died during this?

 

Thoughts? Comments?

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Wotmania FAQ:

The greater consensus requires that every sister who is present must stand, and that a minimum of eleven Sitters be present; The presence of at least one Sitter from each Ajah is also required, except when the matter before the Hall is the removal of an Amyrlin of Keeper, in which case the Ajah from which she was raised will not be informed of the vote until after it is taken.

 

-A Crown of Swords, Glossary

 

Tor question of the week(wotmania):

Week 20 Question: It seems that Elaida, leading the Sitters who arrest Siuan Sanche, must be a Sitter herself, yet she was just a few months returned from her position in Caemlyn. Was she actually a Sitter and if so when was she raised? Can you also clarify her change of heart on the Black Ajah from warning the three girls about them in The Dragon Reborn to violently denying their existence in later books?

 

Robert Jordan Answers: Elaida wasn't a Sitter when she led the arrest of Siuan, but she had organized it, managed to arrange for a rump Hall of the Tower to vote on deposing Siuan and raising her in Siuan's place. By the time Siuan was arrested, Elaida was the "legal" Amrylin Seat, so of course she was leading the Sitters.

 

As for her change of heart of the Black Ajah, she bounces on whether or not she believes in their existence. When she has convinced herself that they do exist, she is vehement on the subject, but uneasy over Darkfriend sisters, and so manages to convince herself that she was mistaken, whereupon she becomes vehement about their non-existence. But then she becomes uneasy over the possibility that they do exist after all and convinces herself that they really do after all, whereupon…. I have even had a character in the White Tower comment that sometimes Elaida doesn't seem to know from one day to the next whether or not she believes in the Black Ajah.

 

----Corrected version----

 

CORRECTION: Answering these questions, I have always taken the assumption that I knew the books well enough that I did not need to refer to my notes. My answer for the Week 20 Question showed that I was mistaken. I said that Elaida was never a Sitter, but no sooner was that answer posted than my assistant Maria, who also is a fan, came to me with the relevant passage where Elaida is mentioned as a Sitter. I went to my notes, and after a lot of checking, I found the following in a file working out exactly how some points were to be structured and making sure that I had all the details covered. Somehow, I had never incorporated it into the base notes, perhaps because it seemed such a small matter, Elaida having been a Sitter for such a short time and then only as prelude to replacing Siuan and Amyrlin.

 

“Returning to the White Tower, Elaida quickly became convinced that Siuan and Moiraine were engaged in a scheme that involved Rand al’Thor. Indeed, she had suspicions of this before departing Caemlyn for Tar Valon. Moiraine’s presence in Tar Valon had not escaped her, nor that Moiraine had been seen with Rand. If, as seemed the more likely, he was simply a man who could channel who Siuan and Moiraine intended to make use of as a false Dragon, then it was a scheme that was extremely dangerous to the Tower. Revelation of such involvement could easily shatter the Tower’s prestige, and with it the influence that was the primary cornerstone of the Tower’s influence in the world. And if he was indeed the Dragon Reborn, Elaida certainly had no confidence in Siuan’s ability to handle the him, as surely the Dragon Reborn would need to be handled, guided and directed, not to mention controlled. Helped by her long-standing personal animosity toward Siuan and Moiraine, Elaida came to the conclusion that Siuan must be removed for the good of the Tower. This was not something that could be accomplished by an ordinary sister, however the stepping down of a Red Sitter (Amira Moselle) gave her an opening, and she managed to get herself chosen as Amira’s replacement in the Hall of the Tower.

 

In large part this was because of Galina Casban’s support as head of the Red Ajah, Galina having her own reasons to take any chance to pull Siuan down and, of course, favoring anything that would give the Amyrlin Seat to the Red Ajah again after so long. Galina made no attempt to attain the Amyrlin Seat herself because she knew she had little or no chance of being raised. Elaida, who had been so long away from Tar Valon and thus remained out of the political currents of the Tower, not to mention the favorable mention she had received for her guidance of Queen Morgase and Andor, was another matter.

 

Once Elaida had a chair in the Hall, it was a relatively simple matter to identify the Sitters who seemed most likely to stand for deposing Siuan, since a number of Sitters were uneasy at best about what Siuan was up to. Her support in the Hall had eroded sufficiently by The Great Hunt that she had opposition to her journey to Shienar. As a Sitter, Elaida was able to call a sitting of the Hall while making sure that only the Sitters she wanted to attend actually received notification. Elaida is a forceful and effective speaker, and her arguments to this bare quorum in favor of deposing Siuan were also her campaign for being raised to the Amyrlin Seat herself, so the vote to depose Siuan was followed immediately by the vote to make Elaida the new Amyrlin. She did not expect the violent reaction that would come from this. She had not had access to the secret histories for very long at this point, so her view was that of most sisters. The Tower had always acceded to the will of the Hall however sisters might grumble. Like many others, she was blind-sided by what she thought she knew.”

 

So there it is. I offer my apologies for giving an erroneous answer. From now on, I’ll be sure to check my notes.

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It's still not answering why it's legal.

 

You don't need every Ajah present for the removal of a Amyrlin. But you do need every Ajah present at the very least to raise an Amyrlin. The Greater Consensus is rather clear on the matter that every Ajah must be represented, and raising an Amyrlin requires the Greater Consensus to be met. Not the Lesser, which seemed to have been used by Elaida. So either RJ screwed that up or it was intentional.

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It's still not answering why it's legal.

It's their law. Why? I don't know.

 

But you do need every Ajah present at the very least to raise an Amyrlin.

I don't think so. Obviously the Sitters themselves (and the AS remaining in the WT) thought it had some backing in their law. They should know.

 

The Greater Consensus is rather clear on the matter that every Ajah must be represented, and raising an Amyrlin requires the Greater Consensus to be met. Not the Lesser, which seemed to have been used by Elaida. So either RJ screwed that up or it was intentional.

Do you have any quotes to back that up? Anyway, this wasn't an ordinary raising of an Amyrlin. A "Blue" Amyrlin had just been stripped of her title.

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Quote

But you do need every Ajah present at the very least to raise an Amyrlin.

 

I don't think so. Obviously the Sitters themselves (and the AS remaining in the WT) thought it had some backing in their law. They should know.

 

Indeed, even in Salidar they never question that Elaida broke the law--they think what she did was disgraceful, but they never speak of her breaking the law. And one would think they would.

 

That being said I do see why there is confusion--perhaps there is some prescript in the law about replacing Amyrlin who are deposed.

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Quote

But you do need every Ajah present at the very least to raise an Amyrlin.

 

I don't think so. Obviously the Sitters themselves (and the AS remaining in the WT) thought it had some backing in their law. They should know.

 

Indeed, even in Salidar they never question that Elaida broke the law--they think what she did was disgraceful, but they never speak of her breaking the law. And one would think they would.

 

That being said I do see why there is confusion--perhaps there is some prescript in the law about replacing Amyrlin who are deposed.

 

My guess is once the Hall has the ability to vote with the Greater Consensus, they can continue, and there is probably some odd legal mumbojumbo involved, kinda like with The Law of War.

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This is all going to be fairly hard to sort out, given that I expect we're not going to get a passage explaining the requirements to raise an Amyrlin beyond what we already have, but if there was anything about requiring each Ajah to have the opportunity to stand for an Amyrlin, that can be handwaved by saying "they had the opportunity, the call was put out to the Hall of the Tower, and they chose not to respond. The Hall sat in their absence, and the Lesser Consensus (or perhaps they could twist it into Greater Consensus of Sitters present) stood for the Amyrlin."

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If each Ajah is required to stand for the Amyrlin, then Egwene isn't legally the Amyrlin either.  The Reds never had an opportunity to stand for her.

 

Would Siuan still be legally Amyrlin in that case?

 

No she got deposed legally.

So if we interpret what we know of the law the tower lacks a legal Amyrlin.

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Someone on page 1 asked if I had a quote to back up my info. Yes I do, in Crown of Swords under Hall of the Tower the two Consensus' are explained in the Glossary. Also, just because this isn't an ordinary deposing of an Amyrlin doesn't mean they can just skirt the law, especially since the Amyrlin is supposed to be of all Ajahs and of none so the Blue's refusing to raise a Red just because one of their own was pulled down is a stretch.

 

Part of me wonders if RJ did this on purpose and it will come into effect later on in Egwene and the Rebel Aes Sedai plot. Or there's a better chance he just did a couple of missteps and forgot his own law, which isn't doubtful since he doesn't give names to some Aes Sedai mentioned, or Ajahs to some Aes Sedai lucky enough to get names.  ;)

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Can somebody refresh my memory where it states that the Greater Consensus is required to raise an Amrylin? It has been a few years since I read LoC but I remember it saying that all Sitters present must stand, not that the Greater Consensus is required.

 

They jumped through enough loop holes making Egwene Amrylin, I am sure they did not make a mistake in the law. They went through an entire page explaining how an Accepted could be raised because of a loop hole.

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What Eliada did was a coup, plain and simple.  Only her ignorance and arrogance made her sloppy.  She expected her politcal rivals to fall into line because she says so. 

 

So now she has a resistence planning to raise another coup to oust her.

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Tommar: On page 667 I think is what your looking for. It states on the first vote 9 of 18 stood in favor of Egwene. It also states that the first vote was one short of outright rejection and the vote had to be unanimous. After washing their feet, all 18 Sitters did stand for her, thus reaching a unanimous decision.

 

For Egwene, her concern was that she wasn't an actual Aes Sedai yet and Sheriam and co. assured her that nowhere in the law does it state a candidate needs to be full Aes Sedai before being summoned and voted on. Also that she would be full Aes Sedai when she's Amyrlin once they were back in the White Tower and could put the Oath Rod in her hands.

 

Lord of Chaos, chapter 35 is where it indicates the Greater Consensus is needed, since Egwene thinks to herself on how it has to be unanimous, and only the Greater Consensus would require that, since the Lesser only needs two-thirds to vote.

 

To throw something else out there, Seaine and Elaida's talk in CoS Chapter 32 shows that Seaine wasn't present at the vote to raise Elaida Amyrlin. She also, was not present to depose Siuan either which suggests Elaida had the two votes happen one after the other. She could never have gained the Greater Consensus this way with only 11 Sitters to vote to depose and raise. Even Egwene only seemed to need 18 Sitters to become Amyrlin, what with the Reds not exactly fleeing the Tower.

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Tommar: On page 667 I think is what your looking for. It states on the first vote 9 of 18 stood in favor of Egwene. It also states that the first vote was one short of outright rejection and the vote had to be unanimous. After washing their feet, all 18 Sitters did stand for her, thus reaching a unanimous decision.

 

For Egwene, her concern was that she wasn't an actual Aes Sedai yet and Sheriam and co. assured her that nowhere in the law does it state a candidate needs to be full Aes Sedai before being summoned and voted on. Also that she would be full Aes Sedai when she's Amyrlin once they were back in the White Tower and could put the Oath Rod in her hands.

 

Lord of Chaos, chapter 35 is where it indicates the Greater Consensus is needed, since Egwene thinks to herself on how it has to be unanimous, and only the Greater Consensus would require that, since the Lesser only needs two-thirds to vote.

 

 

The sitters/sisters involved in both these cases were stretching the wording of the law to its limits. We Assume that the Greater Consensus is needed but for all we know the wording of the law might be something like " All Sitters must stand unanimous to raise a new Amrylin"

 

The Sitters in both cases were extremely careful to ensure they followed the law to the smallest detail.

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To throw something else out there, Seaine and Elaida's talk in CoS Chapter 32 shows that Seaine wasn't present at the vote to raise Elaida Amyrlin. She also, was not present to depose Siuan either which suggests Elaida had the two votes happen one after the other. She could never have gained the Greater Consensus this way with only 11 Sitters to vote to depose and raise. Even Egwene only seemed to need 18 Sitters to become Amyrlin, what with the Reds not exactly fleeing the Tower.

The greater consensus is not the whole hall agreeing. The greater consensus is all the sisters in that session agreeing. There is a minimum number required before the sitting is considered official. That will be the minimum number that is necessary to get a greater consensus.

 

Several times in the last few books, we see the question of whether the sitting should be formal. They always talked about that there were enough sitters present, not that the whole hall was in attendance.

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Yeah I just noticed my mistake now /facepalm.

 

However, it does show while they had the correct number, bare minimum mind you, they still had one Ajah each unnaccounted for. It's obvious the Rebels never had a Red, and since Elaida states to Seaine that she wasn't present, there wouldn't be any Blues present either since she did the two votes back to back and we know the Blue Ajah wouldn't have been there.

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Judging that only 11 sisters were there to vote and given who rebeled and how many sitters left the ajah breakdown is:

 

red-3 sitters

brown-2 sitters

grey-2 sitters

yellow-2 sitters

white-1 sitter

green-1 sitter

blue-0 sitters

should note the green and white sitters were darkfriends.

 

Now here is what I don't quite get.  So Eliada volenteered/was nominated for Amrlyn right after they voted to depose Suian.  But wouldn't that take her out of the number of elgible voters?  In most open ballot Parlimentry votes were voters can choose only one canidate the canidate in question is removed from the voters, they would oblivously vote for themselves.

 

So, since Elida was being voted on she couldn't cast a vote either way and because she would be force to obstain her seat wouldn't be counted for Greater Consensus, basiclly it would be as though she wasn't at the sitting.

 

So that would have brought the number of sitting sitters (elgible voters) to 10, not enough to hold a formal Hall Sitting.

 

Now I'm confused, because I can't believe Galina would have had another red sister waiting outside the Hall to be handy for a proxy vote.

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