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Anyone else disappointed by how few weaves we see Aes Sedai capable of?

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In the first book we see Moiraine creating false tracks and tokens that she can follow. Since then we have seen Aes Sedai capable of healing flesh wounds and breaking the link between Mat and the dagger from Shadar Logoth. There is also Severing and tearing apart weaves. But considering how many books there have been, is anyone else disappointed by how few abilities the Aes Sedai have demonstrated? What exactly can modern Aes Sedai do?

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I think that was at least partly intentional on RJ's part to show AS as not knowing nearly as much as they think they do or how they are perceived by outsiders. Their views on what is allowed to be studied, what is capable with the OP and even how to weave things are often either wrong or very narrow. My impression was the overall story arc concerning modern AS as a whole was largely one of cracking a facade of mystique surrounding them. Moiraine was also basically the most talented/powerful AS alive other than perhaps Cadsuane prior to the Supergirls arrival on the scene. I can buy she knew a few more weaves than most other sisters.

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There is no narrative reason to showcase everything that the Aes Sedai can do. Moiraine is probably less likely to know a weave compared to an average sister, as they've been in the tower studying, whereas she's been out in the world doing things.

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yeah, i agree with both replies.

 

1. Most of the stuff they can do is small things, that would not have any real narative value, like the individual 100 weaves, things that make light, sound, possibly taste and smells. Just your everyday weaves and little tricks that would be pretty boring to actually use.

 

2. The Aes Sedai now know relatively little in the way of weapons, as they are not allowed to hurt non-DF's. We have seen a lot of shadowspawn and DF's in these books, true, but since Hawkwing there hasnt really been much in the way of shadowspawn/DF activity, so sisters now would have no reason to learn them. (we see their lack with the Damane owning them in every way)

 

3. As mentioned, the Aes Sedai are a fallen organization. They are probably at their lowest since the years after the breaking. RJ has been quite clear in showing that the Aes Sedai are incompetent and riddled with flaws compared to the AoL, and even the Trolloc Wars. This is, in part, why we dont really see much in the way of awesome channeling.

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While the modern Aes Sedai can't do anything that comes close to what they could do during the AoL, I've always had the impression that they know a lot more than we've seen. There are the Ajah secret weaves, for instance, that we haven't been shown all of, yet. And I'm certain there are a fairly large amount of neat little weaves that just haven't had a narrative value to show so far in the series. But, you know, every now and then, something new is revealed, so I'm certainly not disappointed in what we have been shown.

 

In the greater scheme of things, it seems they can do as much as most magic users in various fantasy books.

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As others said, this is intentional, it is part of what shows the faults of AS and their ways, how theirs secretive nature leads to hoarding information instead of sharing it, which in turn leads to stagnation of general knowledge.

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Didn't they play around with weather(maybe?) & tides/currents in order to get to fal dara, at teh beginning of TGH? Doing a re-read, just passed the part where Siuan laments how much flooding they've caused.

 

What've we got: tracking, stealth, destruction, eavesdropping, illusion, healing, warder bonding, shielding from the source, severing, exorcism(mat's dagger), foretelling, keepings(?) on plants and crops, enhancing of endurance, wards(various), shielding from assault(Cads), balefire(Moiraine)...

 

I think there's alot of things that we see Aes Sedai capable of - I think the disappointment in this case must come from an outside expectation of what you might want to believe an Aes Sedai is capable of, and the reality of which they live in, which still accounts for alot of abilities as it stands.

 

That being said we know how that the ability of the white towers aes sedai has been on the decline. Pre-Supergirls the strongest was Moiraine & Siuan, then you have to go a few hundred years back to find Cadsuane. On top of that you've got the BA running around, trolloc wars decimating your ranks, ishamael nudging hawkwing in the direction of die aes sedai, die.

 

Modern Aes Sedai are capable of a great many things. They can't however control the amount of potential each new novice brings to the table, and that lack of ability can severely hamper the longevity of weaves 'sticking around' so to speak.

 

It's almost like back in the day when the Edmonton Oilers were so ridiculously good, but now-days they're straight awful. They're still great hockey players, but things outside of their control find them in crappy situations.

Edited by Mat's Spare Hat

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I'm disappointed in the Aes Sedai, but I'm more disappointed in what we've seen the forsaken do. Hardly anything, really. Also, does anyone else think they should have an Ajah devoted entirely to developing new weaves? Or at least branches of each Ajah. Really, what do Aes Sedai spend their time on in the tower? Politics and pillow friends? dry.gif

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hmm yes, when Elayne and Nynaeve teach weaves they have taken from Moghedien, they mention that some sisters seem to be suspiciously good at learning them, as if they already knew them. So clearly, aes sedai figure out one or two secret weaves (most commonly eavesdropping) and keep that a secret instead of sharing their knowledge.

 

Child B is right, they should have a section devoted to OP research! Maybe with access to sea folk and Wise Ones (like their pregnancy weaves and first sister bonds) this will inspire new research.

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Keep in mind that innovation with the OP can and does lead to accidents that can cause death, burning out, or other nasty surprises. It doesn't really strike me as odd that an organization that is essentially conservative in their view of the world (they want everything to remain in the glory days of the Aes Sedai) wouldn't actively seek out innovation. Especially since doing so can get you killed or worse, burnt out.

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Keep in mind that innovation with the OP can and does lead to accidents that can cause death, burning out, or other nasty surprises. It doesn't really strike me as odd that an organization that is essentially conservative in their view of the world (they want everything to remain in the glory days of the Aes Sedai) wouldn't actively seek out innovation. Especially since doing so can get you killed or worse, burnt out.

Considering they supposedly have Ajah's to study and innovate ,it's still a failure on their part though.One of the many, to be sure.

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I think what we are overlooking here is that the Third Age isnt devoted to scientific research or development. Randland is still, 2000 years after the Trolloc Wars basicly in Dark Ages Europe level technology. Maybe a little higher in places, but still not anywhere it should be after 2000 years of a healthy development cycle. A cycle, that one could be argued that was intenionaly or UNintentionaly stifled by the one single power to stand the whole 3000 years since the Breaking, the White Tower. Lets look at everything we've seen the Grey Aes Sedai do, they've all been aimed at maintaining the status que, keeping things calm and stable and what do we have? A land where Man is not the master, a land where Man is in constant retreat and each nation is, as the centuries pass, less powerful than they were both economicly and militarily. The Tower exists as a political force, after all, having been built to provide one of the very first places of shelter and saftey after the diaspora surrounding the Breaking finaly settled down.

 

The Browns exist to maintain old knowlege, but very few of them actualy go out to seek new knowege, the one with Cadsuane who does this is shocked how many uncataloged spieces of plans and animals there were just in betweeen Tar valon and Cairhien, an area that should have been very populated. Even the Greens, who laughingly refer to themselves as the "Battle Ajah" provide little more than basic combat skills for all thier vaunted battle readyness; when are they allowed to practice? Their vows keep that in check. Individualy, the ajahs are either unsuited for experimentation with the power, and as a whole the political structure of the the tower precludes open sharing of information, as that would be lossing a political "edge" with the other ajahs.

 

The other thing that counts against experimentation with the power is again back in its founding and related to the Breaking. All the real Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends are dead, all that remain who know how to us the power were young girls barely begining their training when the War for Power ended and the Breaking began. A lot of that knowlege was never passed on, and most of what was kept was the 101 level training. And what is drilled into the supergirls' heads when they first get to the tower to begin their training? No unsupervised channeling, and no experimentation, it'll kill the unexperienced.

Basicly, it comes down to the Tower not being a place for research, but as a seat of political power.

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I think what we are overlooking here is that the Third Age isnt devoted to scientific research or development. Randland is still, 2000 years after the Trolloc Wars basicly in Dark Ages Europe level technology. Maybe a little higher in places, but still not anywhere it should be after 2000 years of a healthy development cycle.

It's not 2000 years in. The breakup of Hawkwing's empire is about 900 years ago. Everytime that the Randlanders get organised, the Dark interrupts them. It's been a case of 2 steps forward, 5 steps back, with the first steps being the fall, and then the breaking.

 

This world is supposed to be barely hanging on to civilisation at this point. Nations have been failing or losing their power and influence. Andor abandoned the Two Rivers generations ago. The Almoth Plains are no longer a nation, and the neighbours weren't strong enough to claim the land. Cairhien was ravaged by Aiel and was barely being held together. Malkier was taken by the Blight a generation ago, and the rest of the Borderlanders were slowly failing.

 

Blaming the Aes Sedai is weak, given that they've been facing weaker recruits and slowing of numbers, and the inherent brain drain that that causes. They're in the same place as the rest of Randland, with politics, infighting and fractured ambition. Tear is the same, Cairhien is the same, Andor wasn't far off with 2 Successions/civil wars in 2 generations.

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Blaming the Aes Sedai is weak, given that they've been facing weaker recruits and slowing of numbers, and the inherent brain drain that that causes. They're in the same place as the rest of Randland, with politics, infighting and fractured ambition. Tear is the same, Cairhien is the same, Andor wasn't far off with 2 Successions/civil wars in 2 generations.

 

As far as the topic of this thread, the Aes Sedai shoulder most of the blame. They fracture themselves, don't marry, thus cutting out a major gene boost for channelers. I wouldn't be surprised if a higher than average number of Asha'man and Aes Sedai recruits come from Asha'man with families. Culling numbers doesn't give the AS the numbers to branch out in other studies of the OP. You can't risk the dwindling number of channelers on testing which may cull the numbers even more.

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They ..., don't marry, thus cutting out a major gene boost for channelers. I wouldn't be surprised if a higher than average number of Asha'man and Aes Sedai recruits come from Asha'man with families.

Unless someone can show me an author quote otherwise, this is speculation. Especially it is only speculation among the AS themselves. If it isn't fact, then you can't hold it against them. Also, note that the populations of Wise Ones that can channel and Windfinders are not significantly higher than the AS.

 

If we accept that it is true (and yes, I believe that it is likely), then the major blame for the dwindling numbers of channelers is the taint on Saidin, not the AS not marrying. Only the Ayyad have access to breeding male channelers, and we have no data on their numbers or strength. The Dark One is still the largest cause of the dwindling.

 

You can't risk the dwindling number of channelers on testing which may cull the numbers even more.

Even if the AS knew that channeling was a function of genetics, they'd still need to ensure a certain standard. They don't kill failed novices and accepted either. The Kin outnumber the AS, and carry far more burden for breeding future channelers than the AS in the Tower.

 

Also, you failed to show how the AS are worse than the norm. Everyone is failing, everyone is letting the world down. All nations and all institutions. Until the Dragon came along they were busier squabbling among each other than focusing on the larger goal of the survival and future prosperity of mankind in Randland. As it is in real life, but under greater pressures.

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They ..., don't marry, thus cutting out a major gene boost for channelers. I wouldn't be surprised if a higher than average number of Asha'man and Aes Sedai recruits come from Asha'man with families.

Unless someone can show me an author quote otherwise, this is speculation. Especially it is only speculation among the AS themselves. If it isn't fact, then you can't hold it against them. Also, note that the populations of Wise Ones that can channel and Windfinders are not significantly higher than the AS.

 

If we accept that it is true (and yes, I believe that it is likely), then the major blame for the dwindling numbers of channelers is the taint on Saidin, not the AS not marrying. Only the Ayyad have access to breeding male channelers, and we have no data on their numbers or strength. The Dark One is still the largest cause of the dwindling.

 

Yes the Dark One is the biggest cause so I should say that out of the issues that they can control, they can still have children and children coming from Aes Sedai have a greater chance of becoming channelers as technically, Randland is Earth in a different turning of the wheel.

 

You can't risk the dwindling number of channelers on testing which may cull the numbers even more.

Even if the AS knew that channeling was a function of genetics, they'd still need to ensure a certain standard. They don't kill failed novices and accepted either. The Kin outnumber the AS, and carry far more burden for breeding future channelers than the AS in the Tower.

 

Also, you failed to show how the AS are worse than the norm. Everyone is failing, everyone is letting the world down. All nations and all institutions. Until the Dragon came along they were busier squabbling among each other than focusing on the larger goal of the survival and future prosperity of mankind in Randland. As it is in real life, but under greater pressures.

 

I'm not saying the AS are WORSE than the norm, they are on par with everyone else with their unwillingness to try to change and increase their numbers. Comparing Andor and Tar Valon, each has a Forsaken screw with them, threwing things into Forsaken controlled Chaos. Once each Forsaken was taken out, change was made. Tar Valon changed or is changing faster than Andor

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Yes the Dark One is the biggest cause so I should say that out of the issues that they can control, they can still have children and children coming from Aes Sedai have a greater chance of becoming channelers as technically, Randland is Earth in a different turning of the wheel.

It's not proven, from their point of view, that their children are more likely to be channelers than any other child. You can't hold them to a standard that they don't know about.

I'm not saying the AS are WORSE than the norm

I thought you were. I think that the AS could have done more, given their stewardship position, so I'm in agreement with your statement.

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The Aes Sedai do deserve at least part of the blame for stiffling the march of progress in Randland (the rest of the blame going to Ishy, but moving on...). They set up an Ivory Tower, excuse me, a White Tower, though I'm sure the allusion is lost on no one. The very name implies exclusion, isolation, an elevation of the members of the secret grand high mucky-muck society of channelers who now call themselves Aes Sedai above the rest of the moras of mere mortals (thats good illiteration there, kids, take notes :biggrin: ). The Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends didnt do that, they were part of the world, they lived among the rest of the populace and worked regular jobs and married and had children, the Hall of the Servents was a governing body, but (at least before the War of the Shadow broke out) they simply handled issues directly regarding channlers, they werent the political powerhouse Tar Valon had become soon after its founding.

 

The current AS seal themselves off from the world and simply take in those who come to them for training. They seem to bask in a cultivated environment of fear from the lesser mortals, to include even the ruling, presumably educated class. Is there any wonder why their numbers are dwindling? I doubt the AS are culling the ability to channel to any great extent, to point to the numbers of trainable aprentices the Tower in Exil manages to pick up just in the scoop from Altara to the boarders of Andor. After all, Egwene comes from a non-channling line, and Morgase can only channel a smidge more than nothing at all, and it's patently obvious the number of men who can be tought that rand picks up for his Black Tower have certainly had little impact from 3000 years of Red Ajah stilling every male channler they could find.

 

Actualy, it's a good point Carnivean made: Randland is a society realing from crisis to crisis and barely hanging on to it's own civilisation. Thats true, and it's probably a valid reaction to all those earth-shattering events to just seek a kind of level ground, so to speek. In such a culture, stability, status quo and normalacy might become an ideal far more than progress in either technology or society, or even the OP.

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Unless someone can show me an author quote otherwise, this is speculation. Especially it is only speculation among the AS themselves. If it isn't fact, then you can't hold it against them. Also, note that the populations of Wise Ones that can channel and Windfinders are not significantly higher than the AS.

Untrue...

 

 

The Shaido alone had 450-500 odd channelers.

 

The White Tower had a max of around 1000 Aes Sedai. (less now after TOM)

 

Thats HALF of the Tower, in one clan.

 

I don't recall any numbers for the windfinders, but your assesment of the Wise Ones numbers is not right.

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A small percentage of scenes show any type of channeling (saidar, saidin, True Power).

Many pages may be required to show all weaves of any of those 3.

Edited by mb

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