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The Life and Times of An Aes Sedai


Luckers
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This thread puts into words what we were all thinking. I love it!

 

Also, yellow ajah hospitals, green ajah blight stations, brown and white ajah universities, blue ajah adventurers, red ajah male channelling look out stations, and gray ajah administrative offices sounds like a good story on their own.

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Ya, it's the Green and Yellow Ajahs which I have the most trouble reconciling their stated missions with their lack of presence anywhere but the Tower.

 

A Green sister who's not up around the Blight nine years out of every decade doesn't seem to be doing what she says she's around to do. Especially after the fall of Malkier, the fact that there were no Aes Sedai up in Shienar to help them out when the exact same thing was about to happen there is somewhat inane. Their purpose in life is to use the Power to fight Shadowspawn, but they seem to ignore the obvious Step One of "Go to where the Shadowspawn are" in order to do this.

 

As for the Yellow Ajah, crossing the continent seems to be a fairly arduous process which takes a long time and those difficulties would be multiplied significantly for a sick person, so making the trek up to the Tower for Healing isn't really an option for most. Why are they not in other places where they could spend their time doing what they say they want to spend their time on?

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Just to clarify a few things. Let me preface this by saying the WT as an institution has failed in recent times. However contrary to some of what has been stated we know the Yellow's use their eyes and ears network to search out and send sisters to heal out breaks of disease etc. and per BS Green's do have a presence on the blight and spend time patrolling it with their warders.

 

Also for people that seem to think the majority of AS spend all their time in the WT, think of every Sisters room we have seen described. They all have items gained from years spent adventuring around the world. Even the most unlikely of sisters.

 

TGS

Meidani's quarters were surprisingly comfortable and homey. Egwene had always viewed the Grays as similar to the Whites, lacking passion, perfect diplomats who didn't have time for personal emotions or frivolities.

 

These rooms, however, hinted at a woman who loved to travel. Maps hung within delicate frames, centered on the walls like prized pieces of art. A pair of Aiel spears hung on either side of one map; another was a map of the Sea Folk islands. While many might have opted for the porcelain keepsakes that were so commonly associated with the Sea Folk, Meidani had a small collection of earrings and painted shells, carefully framed and displayed, along with a small plaque beneath listing dates of collection.

 

The sitting room was like a museum dedicated to one person's journeys. An Altaran marriage knife, set with four twinkling rubies, hung beside a small Cairhienin banner and a Shienar sword. Each had a small plaque explaining its significance. The marriage knife, for instance, had been presented to Meidani for her help in settling a dispute between two houses over the death of a particularly important landowner. His wife had given her the knife as a token of thanks.

 

Who would have thought that the cowering woman of the dinner a few weeks back would have such a proud collection? The rug itself was labeled, the gift of a trader who had purchased it on the closed docks of Shara, then bestowed it on Meidani in thanks for Healing his daughter. It was of strange design, woven from what seemed to be tiny, dyed reeds, with tufts of an exotic gray fur trimming the edges. The pattern depicted exotic creatures with long necks.

 

Meidani herself sat on a curious chair made from woven wicker boughs, crafted to look like a growing thicket of branches that just happened to take the shape of a chair. It would have been horribly out of place in any other room in the Tower, but it fit within these quarters, where each item was different, none of them related yet somehow all connected with the common theme of gifts received during travels.

Edited by Suttree
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Just to clarify a few things. Let me preface this by saying the WT as an institution has failed in recent times. However contrary to some of what has been stated we know the Yellow's use their eyes and ears network to search out and send sisters to heal out breaks of disease etc. and per BS Green's do have a presence on the blight and spend time patrolling it with their warders.

 

 

Well, for a group that has a presence on the Blight and spends time patrolling it with their Warders, they don't ever seem to be around anywhere that they might be needed. As for the Yellows, that's a monstrously inefficient way to deal with outbreaks of diseases. They'd be better off having pretty much any other plan.

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Well, for a group that has a presence on the Blight and spends time patrolling it with their Warders, they don't ever seem to be around anywhere that they might be needed.

 

With their numbers and pre travelling how could they be expected to? The blight border is huge, not sure what system could have been more effective. In EotW Agelmar states...

 

"Kandor, Arafel, Saldaea - the Trollocs raided them all straight through the winter. Nothing like that has happened since the Trolloc Wars."

 

So in other words a winter of heavy raiding has been close to unheard of since the Trolloc Wars yet despite that we still have Greens and their Warders up patrolling.

 

Interview: 2010

Twitter 2009-2010 (WoT) (Verbatim)

Terez (11 August 2010)

Are there actually Warders and Aes Sedai guarding the Blight at all times? Or is that another TEOTWism?

Brandon Sanderson (11 August 2010)

Well, there are Aes Sedai and Warders staying with most Borderlander monarchs.

BRANDON SANDERSON

I would say that yes, they are up there guarding. There are a disproportionate number, it seems, at times.

BRANDON SANDERSON

Morgase had one Aes Sedai, as did Berelain, to give advice. Borderlanders often have more.

 

We also know the borderland rulers have a number of AS advisers. I feel like the whole thing from EotW with only Moir present was an early bookism more than anything else. I mean if the situation was so dire why not send word that you need help? Of course now that travelling is back they could set up some sort of station system that could be much more highly effective.

Edited by Suttree
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Yet, you'll notice that whenever the Borderlanders tend to need them, they're not around. Malkier fell without any Aes Sedai helping out. Shienar had time to mobilize the entire country while their top general was of the opinion that one Aes Sedai was worth a thousand men and yet there wasn't a single Green close enough to do anything to help out. When Maradon was under attack, the only Aes Sedai in the area were the ones that Rand brought. That doesn't sound like a group that's doing a lot to help.

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Yet, you'll notice that whenever the Borderlanders tend to need them, they're not around. Malkier fell without any Aes Sedai helping out.

 

This was a surprise DF plot that essentially came out of nowhere. We know they tried to get there but didn't arrive in time. The country destroyed itself from within, I always wonder why AS get more blame for this than Cowin Gemallan.

 

 

Shienar had time to mobilize the entire country while their top general was of the opinion that one Aes Sedai was worth a thousand men and yet there wasn't a single Green close enough to do anything to help out.

 

They most certainly did not have time to mobilize the whole country...

 

tEotW

There was no time to gather aid from Shienar or Arafel

 

The AS were either elsewhere along the blight or with the King in Shienar. This is the problem with trying to stop "raids" pre travelling. How do Greens with heir limited numbers be everywhere at once? All your examples do is back up my point.

Edited by Suttree
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Well, for a group that didn't have time to mobilize the country, they certainly managed to get a fairly substantial army mobilized. If the Green Ajah had had any Sisters along the same quarter of the Blight that the Shinerians had soldiers, they probably could have made it there in the same amount of time that those soldiers did.

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Well, for a group that didn't have time to mobilize the country, they certainly managed to get a fairly substantial army mobilized. If the Green Ajah had had any Sisters along the same quarter of the Blight that the Shinerians had soldiers, they probably could have made it there in the same amount of time that those soldiers did.

 

The army is what they had locally. Per the author Greens are up there guarding. Per the text we have a valid reason of why they would have been elsewhere.

 

tEoTW

"Kandor, Arafel, Saldaea - the Trollocs raided them all straight through the winter. Nothing like that has happened since the Trolloc Wars."

 

The blight is seeing it's heaviest raid action since the Trolloc Wars and the Greens have low numbers. They are simply spread too thin pre-travelling to be everywhere.

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The army is not only what they had locally, but they'd already stripped out the border forts of all but the old men so that the soldiers could get to Tarwin's Gap. If Aes Sedai had been in those border posts along the Eastern quarter of the Blight, as one might expect of a group that's involved in guarding the Blight, they could have arrived in the same time that the soldiers did. Yet, by all accounts, there wasn't a single Aes Sedai with the entire Shinerian army, which had travelled to the Gap from across the entire country of Shienar and didn't run into any Aes Sedai who could lend a hand fighting against those Shadowspan whom they've apparently devoted their lives to fighting against.

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The army is not only what they had locally, but they'd already stripped out the border forts of all but the old men so that the soldiers could get to Tarwin's Gap. If Aes Sedai had been in those border posts along the Eastern quarter of the Blight, as one might expect of a group that's involved in guarding the Blight, they could have arrived in the same time that the soldiers did. Yet, by all accounts, there wasn't a single Aes Sedai with the entire Shinerian army, which had travelled to the Gap from across the entire country of Shienar and didn't run into any Aes Sedai who could lend a hand fighting against those Shadowspan whom they've apparently devoted their lives to fighting against.

 

Why would you think there are enough Greens(not just in the borderlands but in total within the WT)to have even one stationed in every borderfort?

 

The army was local(the rest was with the king in Fal Moran) and whatever borderforts(in fact the only time "borderfort" is mentioned is in the Malkier story) where in the area. I have backed all this up with quotes and proof from the text. The author says they are up there guarding, we see this in their numbers from the tPoD prologue, and we have a valid reason in text for them to be spread thin. Not sure what youre point is here? We know for fact they are there so either it was an "early bookism" or they were fighting elsewhere due to the winter of heavy raiding across the entire blight border.

Edited by Suttree
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Why would you think there are enough Greens(not just in the borderlands but in total within the WT)to have even one stationed in every borderfort?

The Green Ajah is the second largest Ajah. The Red Ajah which was the largest had 200 members, so let's put the Green at 150-170. They should be able to station a group at every borderfort.

 

BRANDON SANDERSON (11 August 2010)

Well, there are Aes Sedai and Warders staying with most Borderlander monarchs.

BRANDON SANDERSON

I would say that yes, they are up there guarding. There are a disproportionate number, it seems, at times.

BRANDON SANDERSON

Morgase had one Aes Sedai, as did Berelain, to give advice. Borderlanders often have more.

I have to wonder if Brandon was simply thinking of the thirteen Aes Sedai with the Borderlander army, which weren't actually advisors. Ethenielle's POV in TPoD states that each Borderlander ruler originally only had one Aes Sedai advisor. After the Tower split, Ethenielle's and Easar's advisors returned to the WT, and Tenobia ditched hers. Only Paitar's advisor stuck around. So there was one original AS advisor, and twelve AS showed up later and decided to tag along with the army. They weren't there from the beginning.

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New Spring, Practice:

..., but only four hundred and twenty-three were in residence at the moment, with perhaps twice as many more scattered across the nations.

 

Much later the Tower split, and that could be seen as a source for their lack of focus. Their dwindling numbers were something they probably should have done more about, but then there's the Whitecloak attitude against channelers (them being darkfriends). Breaking of the world, and all that ...

 

New Spring, Practice:

Centuries passed before the simple struggle for survival gave way to building cities and nations once more.

 

History for them means a look at the worst a channeler can accomplish. How would people have reacted to active recruitment missions during a time when they weren't facing the DO in the Last Battle?

Edited by Nightstrike
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I love this thread. Lukers got a ton of wonderful info and insite into the White Tower. Reading The wheele of time i got to a point where i started to realize the contradictions in what the white tower aies sedai were said to be and what they really were. I almost felt like RJ's world was unraveling with contradictions. I began to reconcile it when reading TGS seeing how infultrated the tower was by the black adja & they caused the decay, but reading this thread and pondering the subject i realize that RJ seems to have created the white tower based on many historical institutions taken down by there own hubris. Now i think that the Hubris is what caused the dacay and alowed the black adja to run amuck

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New Spring, Practice:

..., but only four hundred and twenty-three were in residence at the moment, with perhaps twice as many more scattered across the nations.

 

Much later the Tower split, and that could be seen as a source for their lack of focus. Their dwindling numbers were something they probably should have done more about, but then there's the Whitecloak attitude against channelers (them being darkfriends). Breaking of the world, and all that ...

Also from New Spring (Lan's POV):

 

Once you might have gone a year without seeing an Aes Sedai even in the Borderlands, but the sisters seemed to be everywhere since their old Amyrlin Seat died. Maybe it was those tales of a man channeling; they would not let him run free long, if he existed.
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Also from New Spring (Lan's POV):

 

Once you might have gone a year without seeing an Aes Sedai even in the Borderlands, but the sisters seemed to be everywhere since their old Amyrlin Seat died. Maybe it was those tales of a man channeling; they would not let him run free long, if he existed.

The first quote was from before Moiraine became Aes Sedai, and your quote was after Moiraine gained the shawl and "the old" amyrlin died. There's a couple of Aes Sedai whose quarters we get to see in New Spring, and it's pointed out to us that they have plenty of stuff from a life spent in various places.

 

There's also this (NS, The Itch):

They were Kerene's family, long since passed into the grave along with her nieces and nephews, and their children, and their children's children and more. That was the pain borne by Aes Sedai. Families died and everything you knew vanished.
That, with the Whitecloak attitude, the fact that souls are reborn, the fact that Aes Sedai seldom marries (or have children), and the years and years of demanding training, can give some reasons why there's not much recruitment. There's an Accepted that died in New Spring as well. Ellid, I think ... Sheriam ran away once, and I think there's a mentioning of someone who let slip that she had something like it planned. It doesn't seem far fetched that people would have reacted in such a way under those circumstances. Edited by Nightstrike
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Also from New Spring (Lan's POV):

 

Once you might have gone a year without seeing an Aes Sedai even in the Borderlands, but the sisters seemed to be everywhere since their old Amyrlin Seat died. Maybe it was those tales of a man channeling; they would not let him run free long, if he existed.

The first quote was from before Moiraine became Aes Sedai, and your quote was after Moiraine gained the shawl and "the old" amyrlin died. There's a couple of Aes Sedai whose quarters we get to see in New Spring, and it's pointed out to us that they have plenty of stuff from a life spent in various places.

I don't doubt that Aes Sedai travel, or even that they do useful things when they travel. But if Lan, who spent a great deal of time near and in the Blight, thinks you can sometimes go a whole year without seeing Aes Sedai in the Borderlands, then that puts a hole in the theory that Greens put any significant effort into guarding the Blight.

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Also from New Spring (Lan's POV):

 

Once you might have gone a year without seeing an Aes Sedai even in the Borderlands, but the sisters seemed to be everywhere since their old Amyrlin Seat died. Maybe it was those tales of a man channeling; they would not let him run free long, if he existed.

The first quote was from before Moiraine became Aes Sedai, and your quote was after Moiraine gained the shawl and "the old" amyrlin died. There's a couple of Aes Sedai whose quarters we get to see in New Spring, and it's pointed out to us that they have plenty of stuff from a life spent in various places.

I don't doubt that Aes Sedai travel, or even that they do useful things when they travel. But if Lan, who spent a great deal of time near and in the Blight, thinks you can sometimes go a whole year without seeing Aes Sedai in the Borderlands, then that puts a hole in the theory that Greens put any significant effort into guarding the Blight.

 

Can it be called a theory if the author says it's so?

 

In addition we know they are up there from the text in EotW(thanks Terez!) A few of multiple samples.

 

Chapter 45: "Looking like the base of a lantern, it was what Lan said Warders used in the Blight, where the wood could be dangerous to burn."

 

Chapter 46: Agelmar went on grimly.

"Kandor, Arafel, Saldaea – the Trollocs raided them all straight through the winter. Nothing like that has happened since the Trolloc Wars; the raids have never been so fierce, or so large, or pressed home so hard. Every king and council is sure a great thrust is coming out of the Blight, and every one of the Borderlands believes it is coming at them. None of their scouts, and none of the Warders, report Trolloc massing above their borders, as we have here, but they believe, and each is afraid to send fighting men elsewhere. People whisper that the world is ending, that the Dark one is loose again. Shienar will ride to Tarwin's Gap alone, and we will be outnumbered at least ten to one. At least. It may be the last Ingathering of the Lances."

Edited by Suttree
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Luckers, I find myself agreeing with everything in your post. I think that most of the female Aes Sedai's problems stem from their incompleteness. They are, after all, only half of the legendary Hall of the Servants. When Rand cleansed saidin, every reason they had for remaining an entity separate from male Aes Sedai was dissolved.

 

I think that in A Memory of Light, the White Tower will merge with the true Black Tower (guided by Rand) and become once again the legendary Hall of the Servants. Rand is, after all, the only male Aes Sedai to have survived the Breaking without going over to the Shadow. That knowledge of the Hall of the Servants in the Age of Legends is so important to resolving the issues facing both towers.

 

We read all the way back in the first books that Rand would conquer under the united sign of the Aes Sedai :aessedai:, the Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang united into one. I think that means more than just a symbol on a banner. I think it means the united Hall of the Servants. Egwene as the leader of the women, Logain as the leader of the men; perhaps both united as two Firsts Among Servants. Or maybe another will rise up to be First Among Servants.

 

And in Towers of Midnight, Rand's message to Logain was that he wasn't a weapon. That he was just a man. That implies to me that the key to uniting the towers (and perhaps even the defeat of the Dark One) may be found in the Way of the Leaf. After all, the Jenn Aiel (the true dedicated) were servants of the Aes Sedai, and they followed the Way of the Leaf.

 

Great discussion and I'm looking forward to hearing what everybody else thinks. :cool:

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Luckers, I find myself agreeing with everything in your post. I think that most of the female Aes Sedai's problems stem from their incompleteness. They are, after all, only half of the legendary Hall of the Servants. When Rand cleansed saidin, every reason they had for remaining an entity separate from male Aes Sedai was dissolved.

 

I think that in A Memory of Light, the White Tower will merge with the true Black Tower (guided by Rand) and become once again the legendary Hall of the Servants. Rand is, after all, the only male Aes Sedai to have survived the Breaking without going over to the Shadow. That knowledge of the Hall of the Servants in the Age of Legends is so important to resolving the issues facing both towers.

 

We read all the way back in the first books that Rand would conquer under the united sign of the Aes Sedai :aessedai:, the Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang united into one. I think that means more than just a symbol on a banner. I think it means the united Hall of the Servants. Egwene as the leader of the women, Logain as the leader of the men; perhaps both united as two Firsts Among Servants. Or maybe another will rise up to be First Among Servants.

 

And in Towers of Midnight, Rand's message to Logain was that he wasn't a weapon. That he was just a man. That implies to me that the key to uniting the towers (and perhaps even the defeat of the Dark One) may be found in the Way of the Leaf. After all, the Jenn Aiel (the true dedicated) were servants of the Aes Sedai, and they followed the Way of the Leaf.

 

Great discussion and I'm looking forward to hearing what everybody else thinks. :cool:

Firstly, Rand can hardly be considered to have survived the Breaking - LTT died. Secondly, I think the idea of the Black and White Towers merging comes across as rather naive. Generations of mistrust of male channelers likely won't disappear overnight. Further, neither side has any particular reason, nor any desire, to unify into one body. It is far more likely that the two organisations will remain separate, and simply learn to work together. Thirdly, I don't think they should bring back the Hall of the Servants - they can call it that if they want, but they will not bring back the AOL. I think they need to move forward, not simply try to bring back past glories. There is no need for the WT to try to imitate what came before. Lastly, I would say that a stagnant organisation that doesn't innovate and suppresses change can still be so whether it is exclusively male, exclusively female, or mixed. I don't think making them "complete" is something which will solve their problems, nor was it a cause of those problems to begin with.
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We read all the way back in the first books that Rand would conquer under the united sign of the Aes Sedai :aessedai:, the Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang united into one. I think that means more than just a symbol on a banner. I think it means the united Hall of the Servants. Egwene as the leader of the women, Logain as the leader of the men; perhaps both united as two Firsts Among Servants. Or maybe another will rise up to be First Among Servants.

 

 

I think it was towards the end of ToM that Egenen was in T'A'R and saw the old aes sedai symbol (white and black) hanging in her office...she looked again and it wavered then was gone.

 

I took that to mean that a reunification was at least possible, if not emminent.

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We read all the way back in the first books that Rand would conquer under the united sign of the Aes Sedai :aessedai:, the Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang united into one. I think that means more than just a symbol on a banner. I think it means the united Hall of the Servants. Egwene as the leader of the women, Logain as the leader of the men; perhaps both united as two Firsts Among Servants. Or maybe another will rise up to be First Among Servants.

 

 

I think it was towards the end of ToM that Egenen was in T'A'R and saw the old aes sedai symbol (white and black) hanging in her office...she looked again and it wavered then was gone.

 

I took that to mean that a reunification was at least possible, if not emminent.

 

Actually what she saw wasn't quite the old Aes Sedai symbol. What she saw was the Flame of Tar Valon, and beneath it, the Dragon's Fang.

Edited by Master Ablar
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