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mellojoe

(NS) Did the Amrylin lie?

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I'm reading New Spring while waiting for Towers to come out. A weird line caught my eye right at the very beginning. Moiraine and Siuan are attending the Amrylin and the Keeper (Tamra and Gitara) when Gitara has the Foretelling that the Dragon has been Reborn. Then she keels over and dies. Tamra swears them to secrecy.

 

"You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?"

 

I bolded the part that makes no sense. How could Tamra speak a bald-faced lie like that? Surly, that must be a mistake. Maybe there is supposed to be some sort of "(You will tell everyone only that) Gitara died without speaking." That way, she is simply giving instructions and not actually lying.

 

What gives?

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Yeah I think it is something like that. She was thinking 'everybody shall believe that'. She gives instruction to Moiraine and Siuan, that that is what the sister must believe.

 

She can't be Black Ajah. She was put to the Question by members of the Black Ajah, which would be stupid if she was one of them

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I believe that there is an implied "this is what you shall say" in front of that. Aes Sedai cannot say something they do not believe, but they CAN give instructions to say something contrary to the truth so long as they are thinking of it as an order rather than as fact.

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I always assumed it was a mistake . . . otherwise it would be very easy to get past the first oath about lying by doing some minor mental gymnastics.

 

You must believe I'm not Black Ajah! I'm not Black Ajah! ta da!

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RJ said there must actually be intent to deceive, and that the Oaths leave room for even sarcasm because the speaker assumes that the listener will know she is being sarcastic. So, an Aes Sedai can say that the sky is green if she likes, unless she's saying it to a blind person. Tamra knew that Siuan and Moiraine knew the truth, and that they would understand her words as instructions rather than an intent to make them believe something they knew to be false.

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RJ said there must actually be intent to deceive, and that the Oaths leave room for even sarcasm because the speaker assumes that the listener will know she is being sarcastic. So, an Aes Sedai can say that the sky is green if she likes, unless she's saying it to a blind person. Tamra knew that Siuan and Moiraine knew the truth, and that they would understand her words as instructions rather than an intent to make them believe something they knew to be false.

 

I'm familiar with the quote you're referencing, however, I hadn't read it since reading tGS (and particularly chapter 39). It's interesting that Verin would have been able to make her "that dress you are wearing is green" comment even if she was bound by the regular Aes Sedai oaths.

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In that passage Tamra is telling Suian and Moiraine how to respond to questions, she was not telling them that something they witnessed didn't happen. It's possible to tell someone else to lie without doing so yourself.

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