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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Gotta lose the oaths


ErikTheBald
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In only one society in the westlands, are channelers suspect.

 

Amongst the Aiel, they are afforded deep respect as we;; as a high societal rank.  Wise Ones can go anywhere and do just about anything (at least until recently but for the past three thousand years, give or take) without fear.  Of course, the Clan chiefs talk about meddling, but in a more fond tone, mainly because they are married to them and would expect a wife to meddle, only on a bigger scale.  but in any case, they listen to them and generally heed their advice.

 

Amongst the Sea Folk, the Windfinders also are entitled, though in their case they rise and fall many times.

 

In Ebou Dar, it is not widely known by the populace that the red-belted Wise Women can channel, they are treated with a higher degree of respect than the nobility.  Wise Women in the Rahad are offered assistance, Nobility in the Rahad wind up naked and dead in the harbor.  In this case is probably from the countless healings necessary from the incessant knife fighting and dueling.  Always nice to know you haven't offended the woman healing a belly wound.

 

Channelers in these societies live far longer than Aes Sedai.  A Windfinder will rise and fall "many times" as their wavemistress dies so it's apparent they are living many times longer than non-channelers in that society. 

 

Sorilea tell of a wise one that was over 300 years old (yet looked as young as Amys or Melaine.) when she died, not of natural causes or old age, but snakebite.

 

Only the Aes Sedai, for all their vaunted oaths, are considered deceptive and manipulative beyond the fold and to be mistrusted on sight.

 

So, Suian is wrong, they need to lose the oaths.  Or use something other than the oath rod.  Maybe Elayne can cook up something that binds but does not restrict life span.

 

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I don't think the oath rod is the reason for the mistrust. In fact Aes Sedai try to use it to convince people that they can be trusted.

 

The reason AS aren't trusted is because after the breaking there was a deep fear of channelers and people generally believed that the OP shouldn't be messed with anymore.

 

I think the reason why wise ones, windfinders and wise woman are more trusted is because they are a part of society. Aes Sedai hold themselves aloof from the world and isolated themselves in their tower. Also they think that because they have power they have the right to meddle in everyone else's affair.

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Erik, Egwene actually brings these very same points up with Siuan, with much of the same reasoning.

 

There are other threads around (don't have a link atm), that raise the possibility the Oath Rod was originally used on Criminals. The oaths they (assumedly) took would prevent them from repeating their crimes, and the 'ageless' look would signal them out to others as an offender. Kind of like a polite version of a giant "I'm a criminal" sign they have to permanently carry around with them.

 

Crazy has a good point about being a part of society. All the (non White Tower) channelers are an important part of their local communities and societies. Aes Sedai stick their noses in and generally boss people around more often than not. Refering to everybody as 'child' probably isn't doing them any favours either :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think you are wrong.

 

The oath rod is what protected the Aes Sedai from the common people.  Without it, they would have become the warlike aes sedai in Seanchan.  And you know what happened to those aes sedai.

 

As to the wise ones, windfinders, and the red belts, all of them were deathly afraid of the Aes Sedai coming down on them.  That's why they kept their one power a secret and rarely used them.

 

What would had happened, if the Aes Sedai didn't use the oath rods?  They would have turned on each other and carved out their own little aes sedai kingdoms.  And eventually the people would rise up and eliminate them.  Look at the Elaida's White Tower, give it a few more years, and they would be killing each other off.

 

With the Aes Sedai gone or powerless, the windfinders, wise ones, and the red belts would feel embolden to use their one power.  Wise ones would participate in clan wars, and for some, they'll make themselves clan chiefs.  The windfinders would use their one power to burn their rival's ships.  And then, their own people would fear the channelers and eventually turn against them.

 

The oath rods held together the White Tower Aes Sedai.  And because they are so strong and powerful, the other channelers fear to use their one power and draw the attention of the Aes Sedai.

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The oath rod is what protected the Aes Sedai from the common people.
Except they didn't. They existed without carving out their own kingdoms for a fair while before they had the Oaths. They even chose the Oaths themselves, and they are the ones who administer them. If they wanted to, they could remove the Oaths. Hell, they might do it without telling anyone and it wouldn't be noticed for years, if they were careful. maybe even decades.

 

As to the wise ones, windfinders, and the red belts, all of them were deathly afraid of the Aes Sedai coming down on them.
Yes, but that doesn't explain their place in society. They gained that through being trusted, through being a part of society rather than isolating themselves from it as the AS do. The reason the Seanchan AS ended up as they did, and other Channeling groups ended up differently is because of ther choices they made. The Armies of the Night went down one road, the WT another, the Kin another, and so on.

 

Power without restrictions corrupts.
In the Westlands, the only restriction on the power of the WT is the WT.
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According to tGH, Aes Sedai began swearing the Oaths sometime between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years.  So they got around -just fine- without the oaths for a thousand years, as the Trolloc Wars happened around 1,000 AB.

 

The issue is this: the Oaths are a crutch.  They're a political statement.  'See, we're trustworthy!' while the Aes Sedai twist and contort the Oaths for their own reasons.  Honestly, I think the Oaths -should- be abolished.  You'll note that the Oaths came to be sometime around the time that Ishy started mucking with things -- the period around Trolloc Wars and the War of Hundred Years was one of his 'awake' periods, and he's admitted twisting the Tower.

 

The Aes Sedai need to return to being Servants of All -- not taking half measures to try to convince the world they're trustworthy while they try to make the world 'dance to their tune'.  Until this perceptual change occurs, they will be distrusted, regardless of any Oaths.  When this perceptual change occurs, it will stop.

 

You don't see the Windfinders in charge in Seafolk society; you don't see Wise Ones basing their Power on the OP instead of who they are and their talents.  Same thing.  The Aes Sedai have -got- to stop putting themselves forward as superior merely because they can channel.

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The issue is this: the Oaths are a crutch. They're a political statement. 'See, we're trustworthy!' while the Aes Sedai twist and contort the Oaths for their own reasons.
Indeed. And they haven't even worked, as people know that "the truth you hear isn't always the truth you think you hear". They know that AS don't outright lie, but they twist the truth so frequently you can't trust anything they say at face value. It makes it look like the only reason they're not lying is that they can't, whereas with most people you trust that they are not lying even though they can.
Honestly, I think the Oaths -should- be abolished.
I agree, although I don't think it will happen. They'll probably still be Oathbound by the end of the series.

 

The Aes Sedai have -got- to stop putting themselves forward as superior merely because they can channel.
Strictly speaking, they don't. They put themselves forward as superior merely because they are AS. Not all Channelers are AS, so to them Wilders, Kin, Windfinders, Wise Ones and Asha'man are all less important solely because they are not AS. Even Wilders in the Tower are looked down upon.
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The oath rod did protect the Aes Sedai from the people.  I don't know what happened in the first thousand years, but the current Aes Sedai is far weaker than the ancient Aes Sedai.  Without the Oaths, the fear and mistrust would have been too great for the current Aes Sedai.  The Oaths serve to dampen that fear and mistrust.

 

As to the other channelers, would they rise so high if they didn't keep their ability a secret?  We'll never know as no such society exists at the start of the book.  The only ones we know for sure are the channelers in Seanchan - and they fell apart.  So the fact that no society have open channelers in high positions, lend me to believe they couldn't rise so high due to one reason or another.

 

 

I'm sure they'll remove the Oaths, once the people start trusting them like they did in the Age of Legends.

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Windfinders are known to channel in Seafolk.  Same with the Wise Ones -- they channel in front of everyone and no one's like: OMGWTF?!  Basically, the only reason the Aes Sedai took the oaths in the first place is they screwed up so much trying to make 'Kings Dance' that they poisoned the well and made people distrust them.

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I think the Egwene's plan is a solid one and will allow for slow change, and maybe the dropping of the Oaths.

 

She plans to still maintain the need for Aes Sedai to swear on the Oath Rod.  Aes Sedai can for-swear the Oaths and *retire* into the Kin, abiding by their rules and laws and still under the thumb of the Tower.  By being in the Kin and being publically so, they can slowly gain back the trust and respect of the common folk. Perhaps, over time, they can remove the need for the Oath Rod.

 

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I think the Asha'man will eventually play a big part in getting rid of the oaths.  When the Aes Sedai see their male counterparts completely unhindered by oaths, and a much larger lifespan, they'll want to even the playing field.

 

Though knowing the Aes Sedai they'll first try to insist that the Asha'man swear oaths ...

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The Oaths are foolish in their very conception. They are, in effect, treating the symptoms of the problem (distrust for Aes Sedai) rather than treating the problems themselves. From there they are also foolish in the sense that they are only viable so long as no other organisation is capable of equaling the Tower.

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The oath rod did protect the Aes Sedai from the people. I don't know what happened in the first thousand years, but the current Aes Sedai is far weaker than the ancient Aes Sedai. Without the Oaths, the fear and mistrust would have been too great for the current Aes Sedai. The Oaths serve to dampen that fear and mistrust.
That fear and mistrust is something that they are, in a large part, responsible for bringing on themselves. And the Oaths don't really address the root of the problem. People don't trust them, so they take an Oath against lying and spend all their time trying to get round it. So they are trusted a bit, but not completely. A better solution would be to show people that you are trustworthy. That you can be taken at your word.
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  • 1 month later...

I don't remember where, but a while ago I read someone saying that the most ideal Aes Sedai at the moment are Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne. All three are Aes Sedai who have not taken the oaths, yet instead of abusing that freedom, they try to lead their lives as if they have already taken the oaths - while the rest of the Aes Sedai jump at every opportunity to sneak around them.

 

The oaths should be an ideal that every Aes Sedai should strive to live up to. The current Aes Sedai don't do that. As long as they are forced to live by oaths - literally forced - they will never strive really strive to live up to them. So I also agree that the three oaths need to be abolished. During the AoL Aes Sedai were respected without swearing any oaths - they should be able to reach such a status once again.

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I don't remember where, but a while ago I read someone saying that the most ideal Aes Sedai at the moment are Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne. All three are Aes Sedai who have not taken the oaths, yet instead of abusing that freedom, they try to lead their lives as if they have already taken the oaths - while the rest of the Aes Sedai jump at every opportunity to sneak around them.

 

The oaths should be an ideal that every Aes Sedai should strive to live up to. The current Aes Sedai don't do that. As long as they are forced to live by oaths - literally forced - they will never strive really strive to live up to them. So I also agree that the three oaths need to be abolished. During the AoL Aes Sedai were respected without swearing any oaths - they should be able to reach such a status once again.

Absolutely correct. There should be a more age of legend's like system where proveing yourself honourable is the only way to gain power. Bit like ji'e'toh when you think about it...

 

However i'd like to repeat my question, how do we know for certain that the Oaths are what actually shorten the lifespans? Heaps of circumstantial evidence, but nothing conclusive that i've seen (that i remember).

 

Even an old scroll from an AS who studied ter'an'greal would be better than what we have

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http://www.steelypips.org/wotfaq/2_nondark/2.3_one-power/2.3.03_oath-rod.html

 

Look under "Death" a bit down the page.

 

I suppose it doesn't qualify as 100% solid evidence, but there is nothing in the books to suggest another reason. We know for a fact that Aes Sedai have shorter lifespans than other channellers, we know for a fact that they are the only ones who have the ageless look, and as far as we know, the only thing that they do that others don't is swearing the oaths. Since we've seen an Aes Sedai testing and raising in New Spring, there doesn't seem to be anything else they do that would explain the reduced lifespan. And, of course, there's Semirhage's thought that implies the same. I'd say it's much more than circumstantial evidence. It might not be 100% solid, but near enough. For me, anyway. Not that I refuse to accept the possibility of an alternate explanation, but I consider it highly unlikely.

 

Don't know if Jordan has said anything definite about the reduced lifespan.

 

 

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Don't know if Jordan has said anything definite about the reduced lifespan.

 

 

 

Yes he has, it is all in the books.

One thing to keep in mind is a comment RJ made when asked about Asmo, that he felt that he should not have to spell everything out to us, that he expected his readers to be able to figure things out based on the information in the books.

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