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Why did Saerin not tell Egwene that Elaida was taken?


Charlz Fel
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In TGS, Chapter 43 "Sealed to the Flame," we learn that Egwene fetched the Oath Rod from Saerin early in the morning after the Seanchan attack:

Egwene ran her fingers along the smooth, tightly woven pouch she wore tied to her belt.  Inside was a long, thin item, retrieved secretly from the White Tower this morning.

Egwene looked down at the Oath Rod, which she'd fetched early in the morning from Saerin.

It is also clear that Egwene did not learn from Saerin that Elaida had been captured by the Seanchan: A few paragraphs after the first quote above, she thinks,

There was no way she could return to the White Tower as a novice now.... Besides, Elaida would certainly have her executed this time.

Thus, one of two things happened: Either Egwene fetched the Oath Rod from Saerin before Saerin learned of Elaida's capture, or Saerin failed to mention this important fact to Egwene.  I find both of these scenarios implausible.  The scene in which Saerin learns of Elaida's capture begins

Saerin finally let herself sit.  The gathering room that was her center of operations had also become a room for separating and Healing the wounded.  Yellow and Brown sisters moved down the lines of soldiers, servants, and other sisters, focusing on the worst cases first.  There were a frightful number of dead, including over twenty Aes Sedai so far.  But the Seanchan had withdrawn, as Saerin had predicted.  Thank the Light for that.

This does not sound like Saerin has left her "center of operations" since the battle began, an impression that is reinforced, at least in my interpretation, in subsequent paragraphs.

 

On the other hand, Saerin's reaction to the news of Elaida's capture shows how important she thinks it is:

Light intercede! Saerin thought.  She can't be saying what I think she is.  Can she?

I find it implausible that, given an opportunity to speak with Egwene, Saerin would refrain from blurting out the news that Elaida was captured as quickly as possible.

 

There are a few other problems with "fetching the Oath Rod from Saerin."  For instance: Where did Egwene open the gateway?  How did she contact Saerin, in such a fashion as to avoid notice by others?  How did Saerin find the time to go off alone with her to get the Oath Rod?  Etc.  While it is certainly true that fetching the Oath Rod on screen would not go very well with the narrative structure, I also have a sense that Sanderson was deliberately brushing over these sorts of details because he was not really sure how to resolve them.

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Egwene doesn't seem the type to be knicking the Oath Rod from Saerin without telling her - she's pretty strict about that stuff being Amyrlin and living as if she's Oath-bound etc.

 

So it stands to reason that Saerin would have <i>some</i> contact with her, right? Especially seeing the Oath Rod was taken off-premises to the 'rebels', no less.

 

Perhaps this is how it played out: Egwene tells Saerin of her plan to take the Oath Rod to rebel camp for the purposes of digging out DFs. Saerin lets her, obviously. Black Ajah finds out (insert grand theory here) and the remainders flee the Tower - explaining how the after-Seanchan census accounted for them but them not being present at the re-swearing.

 

Charlz, you should be renamed Sherlock! lol

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Egwene doesn't seem the type to be knicking the Oath Rod from Saerin without telling her - she's pretty strict about that stuff being Amyrlin and living as if she's Oath-bound etc.

 

There is no Oath against it, and it wouldn't be knicking anyway--she is Amyrlin, and has the right to retrieve and use the Oath Rod (or any ter'angreal) whenever she wishes. They don't belong to Sitters, and even if a Sitter had it in her possesion at the time Egwene took it then it still wasn't stealing.

 

 

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You're right, Luckers.

 

Though what I was trying to say (perhaps badly expressed) was that Egwene is more likely to be upfront with Saerin about the Oath Rod's whereabouts than to have taken it without Saerin knowing. Otherwise Saerin could have flipped out that it was stolen by the BA, or the Seanchan, or... who knows?

 

I guess it's all just semantics. We're never likely to find out and it's all just casting aspersions on Egwene's actions based on our interpretation of her character.

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my theory on the oath rod and egwene not knowing about elaida is simple, the oath rod is kept in a storeroom similar to the one the fluted rod was in.  people are not constantly there, and if saerin just whipped in and out quick as a wink no one the wiser, she may even have just opend a gateway reached through and grabbed it then let it close, no need to talk to anyone, or spy further into what was going on, as for the BA running like little scaredy cats.... two possibilities, i think the second one more likely, the first however is that our forsaken friend in the tower now wears a leash and answers to the name of sabir... the second is that she had them flee knowing the tower would soon be whole and well.  remember it was always her plot to have the tower seperate from the rest, i also believe that she is either laras or someone very close to her, because laras instigated the tower division and tried to get egwene out of there a number of times before the seanchan attack as well.

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When Egwene is "rescued" by Siuan & co, she's still only a Novice in the eyes of Saerin and others, more than a Novice, ok, but certainly not the prime candidate for Amyrlin Seat. I find it very unlikely that Saerin would hand the OR over freely. However, we know the OR is not in any storeroom but in Saerin's possession because she uses it for the BA hunt.

 

So common sense tells me that Egwene just went to Saerin's rooms and took it.

 

Besides... I believe we're chasing ghosts here. Egwene just HAD to have the OR at this point, and the little plot twist to make it so isn't that big compared to others (Verin in Trustair ??).

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Au contraire, I see no faulty logic in Searin giving the OR to Egwene but failing to inform her of the Amyrlin having been taken by the Seanchan.

Searin has great respect for Egwene by that time, as a level-headed girl with high potential, that is. She knows Egwene's in a position to make good use of that Oath Rod in the rebel camp to purge the Black sisters from it. Searin took it upon herself to fight the Black, and that goes without a doubt for Blacks everywhere, not just in the Tower. On the other hand, Egwene represents the rebels, and Searin is a loyalist, hence she wouldn't assist Egwene in anything related to the power struggle between TAS and SAS. Informing Egwene that the Tower now lacks its leadership would certainly fall into that category.

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When Egwene is "rescued" by Siuan & co, she's still only a Novice in the eyes of Saerin and others, more than a Novice, ok, but certainly not the prime candidate for Amyrlin Seat. I find it very unlikely that Saerin would hand the OR over freely. However, we know the OR is not in any storeroom but in Saerin's possession because she uses it for the BA hunt.

 

Well no actually she is the Amyrlin, in TGS: Chapter 38, Saerin spoke to Egwene in a hallway whilst being escorted by Barasine & Katerine. 

At the end of the conversation Saerin acknowledges Egwene as Amyrlin by calling her Mother, if she still thought of Egwene as a Novice, she could not have done that....unless shes BA.

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While, when you point it out, it does look fishy, but personally, I think you are looking too much into it, I think that this particular theory was farthest from the point of thta scene, it was about the hunt for BA, Egwene's "rescue". So really, i think it is jsut an oddity that BS or RJ looked over

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Well no actually she is the Amyrlin, in TGS: Chapter 38, Saerin spoke to Egwene in a hallway whilst being escorted by Barasine & Katerine. 

At the end of the conversation Saerin acknowledges Egwene as Amyrlin by calling her Mother, if she still thought of Egwene as a Novice, she could not have done that....unless shes BA.

This didn't sound right, so I went back and checked:

Saerin blinked. "Do you really think you're in control here, child?"

Egwene met her eyes. "Do you want to be?"

"Light, no!"

"Well, then stop standing in my way and get to work! Elaida must be removed, but we can't let the entire Tower collapse around us while it happens. Go to the Hall and see what you can do to stop this!"

Saerin actually nodded in respect before withdrawing down a side corridor.

A nod is just a nod.

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So, we have some advocacy for Saerin not mentioning Elaida to Egwene (even though she knew), as well as a third scenario suggested (Egwene retrieves the Oath Rod from Saerin's rooms without ever speaking to Saerin).

Au contraire, I see no faulty logic in Searin giving the OR to Egwene but failing to inform her of the Amyrlin having been taken by the Seanchan.

Searin has great respect for Egwene by that time, as a level-headed girl with high potential, that is. She knows Egwene's in a position to make good use of that Oath Rod in the rebel camp to purge the Black sisters from it. Searin took it upon herself to fight the Black, and that goes without a doubt for Blacks everywhere, not just in the Tower. On the other hand, Egwene represents the rebels, and Searin is a loyalist, hence she wouldn't assist Egwene in anything related to the power struggle between TAS and SAS. Informing Egwene that the Tower now lacks its leadership would certainly fall into that category.

It's very much in the interests of the loyalists for the rebels to know that Elaida is no longer Amyrlin, since this means successful negotiations have become possible--at least, enough of a possibility to forestall any precipitate action (like assaulting the Tower).  Furthermore, based on recent events that Saerin should know Egwene knows, Elaida's leadership had become wholly ineffective in any case.  But given the Aes Sedai tendency for withholding information unless they are sure they have a good reason to do otherwise, I suppose what you describe is just plausible.

 

Now, for the alternate scenario:

I got that vibe too, unfortunately. I suppose its possible that 'retrieved from Saerin' could mean she took it directly from Saerin's room, without talking to the woman. It was in Saerin's possesion, just not directly.

This scenario has a number of advantages, since it does not require Egwene to somehow contact Saerin without anyone else learning she is in the Tower, and so on.  All she has to do is to Travel to Saerin's rooms (or the BA hunters' headquarters), pick up the Oath Rod, and Travel back.

Objection 1:

You're right, Luckers.

 

Though what I was trying to say (perhaps badly expressed) was that Egwene is more likely to be upfront with Saerin about the Oath Rod's whereabouts than to have taken it without Saerin knowing. Otherwise Saerin could have flipped out that it was stolen by the BA, or the Seanchan, or... who knows?

 

I guess it's all just semantics. We're never likely to find out and it's all just casting aspersions on Egwene's actions based on our interpretation of her character.

Not to mention the fact that wherever the Oath Rod was kept is likely warded against intrusion, leading to additional distress on Saerin's part (how could anyone possibly have taken it?).  However, this difficulty is circumvented by Egwene leaving a note explaining who took the Oath Rod and why.  (Probably a cryptic note so that if it fell into the wrong hands, it would not be comprehensible.)

 

Objection 2: That's not what the text says.

Egwene looked down at the Oath Rod, which she'd fetched early in the morning from Saerin.

Not from Saerin's rooms.  From Saerin.  The two ideas are quite distinct.  They are just close enough that substituting one for the other might not violate the First Oath, but we're looking at Egwene's own thoughts; she's hardly going to play that sort of game with herself.

 

Incidentally, Verin in Trustair is explained by ta'veren (a perfect excuse for unlikely plot twists).  Egwene is not ta'veren.  Furthermore, the "plot twist" in question is not really essential to the plot or the Pattern, hence not an important ta'veren twist; it just makes the book more dramatic (better reading) for Egwene to come within a hair's breadth of ordering an assault on Tar Valon.

 

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Objection 2: That's not what the text says.

 

Quote

Egwene looked down at the Oath Rod, which she'd fetched early in the morning from Saerin.

 

Not from Saerin's rooms.  From Saerin.  The two ideas are quite distinct.  They are just close enough that substituting one for the other might not violate the First Oath, but we're looking at Egwene's own thoughts; she's hardly going to play that sort of game with herself.

 

That's the funny thing. What made me think of this option is my friend Vanessa asked me if I'd gotten back a book I'd lent another girl, Julia, and I replied without thinking "Oh yeah, I grabbed it off her last time I was around." when really I just took it from her room.

 

That it was in her room lends her enough possession of it to explain Egwene's thought.

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Au contraire, I see no faulty logic in Searin giving the OR to Egwene but failing to inform her of the Amyrlin having been taken by the Seanchan.

Searin has great respect for Egwene by that time, as a level-headed girl with high potential, that is. She knows Egwene's in a position to make good use of that Oath Rod in the rebel camp to purge the Black sisters from it. Searin took it upon herself to fight the Black, and that goes without a doubt for Blacks everywhere, not just in the Tower. On the other hand, Egwene represents the rebels, and Searin is a loyalist, hence she wouldn't assist Egwene in anything related to the power struggle between TAS and SAS. Informing Egwene that the Tower now lacks its leadership would certainly fall into that category.

It's very much in the interests of the loyalists for the rebels to know that Elaida is no longer Amyrlin, since this means successful negotiations have become possible--at least, enough of a possibility to forestall any precipitate action (like assaulting the Tower).  Furthermore, based on recent events that Saerin should know Egwene knows, Elaida's leadership had become wholly ineffective in any case.  But given the Aes Sedai tendency for withholding information unless they are sure they have a good reason to do otherwise, I suppose what you describe is just plausible.

I think you're tripping. That's like thinking Cuba would have wanted the US to know Fidel was dead, should he have passed away while in office. When someone's your adversary/enemy, you don't show weakness. You just don't. And while we do have indication that Searin came to respect - and even like - Egwene, we have absolutely no indication that she's given up on the struggle with the rebels (no, before you mention it, releasing Meidani from her Oath was basic courtesy, and Tower Law) - in fact, the very last time they've spoken she referred to Egwene as 'child'.

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Au contraire, I see no faulty logic in Searin giving the OR to Egwene but failing to inform her of the Amyrlin having been taken by the Seanchan.

Searin has great respect for Egwene by that time, as a level-headed girl with high potential, that is. She knows Egwene's in a position to make good use of that Oath Rod in the rebel camp to purge the Black sisters from it. Searin took it upon herself to fight the Black, and that goes without a doubt for Blacks everywhere, not just in the Tower. On the other hand, Egwene represents the rebels, and Searin is a loyalist, hence she wouldn't assist Egwene in anything related to the power struggle between TAS and SAS. Informing Egwene that the Tower now lacks its leadership would certainly fall into that category.

It's very much in the interests of the loyalists for the rebels to know that Elaida is no longer Amyrlin, since this means successful negotiations have become possible--at least, enough of a possibility to forestall any precipitate action (like assaulting the Tower).  Furthermore, based on recent events that Saerin should know Egwene knows, Elaida's leadership had become wholly ineffective in any case.  But given the Aes Sedai tendency for withholding information unless they are sure they have a good reason to do otherwise, I suppose what you describe is just plausible.

I think you're tripping. That's like thinking Cuba would have wanted the US to know Fidel was dead, should he have passed away while in office. When someone's your adversary/enemy, you don't show weakness. You just don't. And while we do have indication that Searin came to respect - and even like - Egwene, we have absolutely no indication that she's given up on the struggle with the rebels (no, before you mention it, releasing Meidani from her Oath was basic courtesy, and Tower Law) - in fact, the very last time they've spoken she referred to Egwene as 'child'.

 

I guess it all comes down to whether Saerin imagines that the rebels might assault Tar Valon to take advantage of the already-existing weakness left by the Seanchan.  If so, then she needs to give them every excuse not to, and "Elaida is not Amyrlin any more" is enough excuse to forestall the assault (if there is any reasonable possibility negotiations might succeed, then there is no way the rebels will attack).  On the other hand, Sanderson emphasized that the Tower Aes Sedai were so busy wrangling over a new choice of Amyrlin, they did not even think about the possibility the rebels might attack, even though it's a sort of obvious thing for them to do.

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I think you're fundamentally wrong. If Egwene knew Elaida was taken, she'd only be more determined to attack - the new Amyrlin would have a legitimacy that Elaida didn't have, easily strong enough to threaten Egwene's claim to the title. There's no way she could afford the risk of it not being her that they'll choose. And Searin should expect just that.

Besides, regardless of your opinion in this matter, you can't deny that it's intrinsically political in nature, and has nothing to do with the Black Ajah. Searin has no reason to cooperate with Egwene in this.

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I'va also just had a though, possibly related.

 

Egwene got the Hall to declare war against Elaida. Without Elaida there, they would have no legitimate reason to attack, or to remain divided any longer. Not to mention, Egwene would most definitely be unable to order the Hall directly anymore.

 

Perhaps it was for the best that Saerin did not tell Egwene.

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I think you're fundamentally wrong. If Egwene knew Elaida was taken, she'd only be more determined to attack - the new Amyrlin would have a legitimacy that Elaida didn't have, easily strong enough to threaten Egwene's claim to the title. There's no way she could afford the risk of it not being her that they'll choose. And Searin should expect just that.

Besides, regardless of your opinion in this matter, you can't deny that it's intrinsically political in nature, and has nothing to do with the Black Ajah. Searin has no reason to cooperate with Egwene in this.

On the contrary, Egwene has made it quite clear that she would go so far as to accept execution if it would unite the Tower and leave a competent Amyrlin in charge.  If she had known that Elaida were no longer Amyrlin, she would have held out the hope that whatever new Amyrlin was chosen would be someone she could step down in favor of.

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On the contrary, Egwene has made it quite clear that she would go so far as to accept execution if it would unite the Tower and leave a competent Amyrlin in charge.  If she had known that Elaida were no longer Amyrlin, she would have held out the hope that whatever new Amyrlin was chosen would be someone she could step down in favor of.

Oh come on. Stepping down (assuming that were even possible) for an existing competent Amyrlin isn't the same as allowing a new one to be raised, surely not the same as quietly awaiting execution in case the Hall picks someone with a head on her shoulders. Never mind though, I guess I won't be able to convince you. I think we have very different perceptions on the nature of conflict between people and nations. That's fine; we'll agree to differ on this.

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On the contrary, Egwene has made it quite clear that she would go so far as to accept execution if it would unite the Tower and leave a competent Amyrlin in charge.  If she had known that Elaida were no longer Amyrlin, she would have held out the hope that whatever new Amyrlin was chosen would be someone she could step down in favor of.

Oh come on. Stepping down (assuming that were even possible) for an existing competent Amyrlin isn't the same as allowing a new one to be raised, surely not the same as quietly awaiting execution in case the Hall picks someone with a head on her shoulders. Never mind though, I guess I won't be able to convince you. I think we have very different perceptions on the nature of conflict between people and nations. That's fine; we'll agree to differ on this.

I think it's worth pursuing at least a bit farther.  What we have here is not a conventional conflict between nations.  Neither side wants to defeat the other.  Both sides want, more than almost anything else, for the Tower to be unified.  The key sticking point is whether Elaida as Amyrlin is an acceptable price for this (and perhaps whether the rebels are allowed to return with dignity, which Elaida foolishly forbid).  Egwene has already made it clear that she is willing to accept execution, if that is the price.  And I think, in the amount that they have dragged their feet, the other rebel Aes Sedai have made it clear that they would accept any excuse to wait a bit longer, if there is a possibility of a peaceful resolution.  It was only by the doing of Egwene and Siuan that they came this close.

 

As far as the possibility of Egwene stepping down in favor of another Amyrlin--she can't do that as such, but she can certainly put her own resignation (and, if necessary, execution) on the table for the negotiations between the two Halls (which, if you'll recall, are still going on).  Egwene's own terms for these negotiations, as delivered to Beonin, were

These are the terms I will accept: Elaida is to resign and go into exile.

(CoT, Chapter 16 "The Subject of Negotiations")

She makes no demands that Egwene herself be recognized as Amyrlin.

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Another point I think is relevant.  After Egwene's release, Saerin sent Meidani to keep Egwene informed on how things had gone in the Hall--e.g., that Elaida still held the Amyrlin seat, but only "by a hair," and in part because of Egwene's own insistence that the Red Ajah not be allowed to fall.  Saerin did this, knowing that Egwene was in communication with the rebels.

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In KoD, Chapter 43 "Sealed to the Flame," we learn that Egwene fetched the Oath Rod from Saerin early in the morning after the Seanchan attack:

 

You mean Gathering Storm, not Knife of dreams.

 

Anyway, I was just listening to this chapter on auidobook, and it says:

"Egwene ran her fingers along the smooth tightly woven pouch tied to her belt.

Inside was a long, thin item, retrieved secretly from the White Tower, earlier in the morning."

 

there is no mention of Saerin.

so either I'm at a different spot in that chapter, you misquoted her, or they fixed it for the audiobook.

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In KoD, Chapter 43 "Sealed to the Flame," we learn that Egwene fetched the Oath Rod from Saerin early in the morning after the Seanchan attack:

 

You mean Gathering Storm, not Knife of dreams.

 

Anyway, I was just listening to this chapter on auidobook, and it says:

"Egwene ran her fingers along the smooth tightly woven pouch tied to her belt.

Inside was a long, thin item, retrieved secretly from the White Tower, earlier in the morning."

 

there is no mention of Saerin.

so either I'm at a different spot in that chapter, you misquoted her, or they fixed it for the audiobook.

Sorry about getting the book wrong; I've fixed it.

 

The quotes I give come from two different places in the chapter--the first when Egwene is in her tent, the second when Egwene is in front of the Hall.

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