Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Egwene/the Aes Sedai


Luckers
 Share

Recommended Posts

Ok, since everyone has played (relatively) nice since the other Egwene thread got locked, I decided to honour a request by Leyrann for a new one.

 

I'm not going to lie though, this thread will be held to higher standards than your average thread, so play nice. Anything remotely close to personal attacks will be deleted--and that goes either way, to those who hate Egwene or the Aes Sedai and those protecting them. Swearing will not be tolerated, and try for something a little more constructive and specific than 'omg she's such a douche!' 'no she's not!' 'yes she is!'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 737
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Wow... Been a while since I posted...

Anyway... I'm not really one for these types of threads as they do usually, as Luckers said, turn into almighty flame wars between certain members, but in saying that, here's what I think.

 

Egwene in the start was always a hard character for me to "like", and as the series went on her storyline and character went up and down depending on the situation she was in.

 

I don't like how she became "holier than thou" after a little time in the WT and with the WO's, but that was Egwene, she takes on personality traits of those around her and incorperates them into her own personality. It's not so unimaginable, we as humans do it all the time to some degree or another, but at times she went too far.

 

Her time in Salidar has seemed to do some good for her, she has finally seen that the "old ways" of the WT, the bickering and sniping behind one anothers backs, does nothing but cause problems, so she set to change it by making decisions and "tricking" the other AS into giving her power over reclaiming the Tower, however changes other changes in "protocol" and "tradition" will take a lot longer to happen, thats just the way things are.

 

Her captivity by Elaida(sp) did her some good, she saw the error of some of her decisions and did all she could to change them in herself, and also it brought out her inner strength and determination to endure.

The only thing I found bad, IMO, is that it also made her even more "holier than thou".

 

Since the raid on the WT by the Seanchan she has been even more up and down in her character, one chapter I'll like her, the next I'll be wanting to throttle her, but then hey... I'm just part of the audiance, not the author.

 

So really, I don't find Egwene to be the best character in the book, far from it, but IMO she doesn't deserve all the hate she seems to get... She's just a character in a story who's caught wanting to be something and trying to do it, but most of the time either tries too hard or goes about things in the wrong way.

 

A.

Edited by Aliriel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Luckers.

 

What is the thing I wonder most about, is why everyone says she is arrogant. The way I read it, it looks like she listens to other people, more than most Aes Sedai.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Egwene isn't nearly as bad as people make her out to be, especially if you consider her intentions throughout the series. Early on, when she was first on her way to the White Tower, she considered it worth doing what she could to help Rand, especially because he was needed for the Last Battle. She worked that logic out on her own pretty quick, and when she was presented with the necessity for her and her friends to hunt Black Ajah, she knew how horrific something like that could carry out, and still went on the hunt anyways. She even thinks about how being Amyrlin can help her make it so she can help Rand when she's presented the opportunity in Salidar. So we see that early on she had really good intentions, especially considering Rand and the chances of the Light winning in Tarmon Gai'don.

 

I think some of the problems started to begin to surface somewhat after she became Amyrlin. Her agenda grew, she began to consider the end justifying the means a little too much, made a couple errors in judgement. One of the things to understand about Egwene though is that for the role she meant to play, she had to be a certain type of individual. A very bold individual, who was willing to take great risks and willing to face awful odds to achieve what she meant to achieve. Being that type of person carried flaws as well as strengths though, and it's understandable that you're not always going to come out on top when you're facing the likes of the Black Ajah, Forsaken, and Elaida.

 

As for Aes Sedai in general, I'm actually much less forgiving of their bad traits. They are the perfect players of Daes Dae'mar, which is another way of saying they're a bunch of scheming, power hungry, divisive sort of people. They are the most dogmatic institution by far in the WoT (with the Whitecloaks a distant second), and the one most likely to consider unbelievable things to get what it wanted. But they're also the most powerful institution in the land, and without them the fight against the shadow would be near impossible to win. The point with them in the series I think, is that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that after being the only truly powerful institution in the land, someone had to shake things up. It's plain to see that perceptions and behaviors of Aes Sedai are going to change after Tarmon Gai'don.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to ask two questions:

 

1) What is the importance of the character Egwene al'Vere to the Randland / TG story?

 

2) Are her displayed characteristics necessary / essential / irrelevant / damaging to that importance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to ask two questions:

 

1) What is the importance of the character Egwene al'Vere to the Randland / TG story?

 

2) Are her displayed characteristics necessary / essential / irrelevant / damaging to that importance?

 

I think we'll have to wait for the answer to 1) to become apparent in AMoL. Honestly, Egwene's role since about halfway through the series has mostly been related to mending the rifts in the White Tower- in fact, one might say its been almost exclusively related to this. Its only in the last book that we see Egwene starting to drift back into the TG focus, if you will, by trying to persuade other world leaders to join her in uniting against Rand's plan to break the seals. She's not been as directly involved with the bubbles of evil and other such things as some of the other characters, but she has taken out one of the remaining Forsaken. If the WT proves to be an important, pivotal force in TG, then obviously it lends Egwene's storyline more importance than if the AS don't really do very much. Saying that, there's always after the battle.

 

I think her stubborness has been played on by Rand/ LTT in ToM- we see Rand admitting that he counted on Egwene uniting the nations at the FoM, and I personally feel that Rand's knowledge of Egwene means he knew how to rub her up the wrong way and set her up against him :P

 

I've related my dislike of Egwene and extensive reasoning for that in many threads now, suffice it to say she's one of my least favourite characters and if anyone's got a burning desire to find out why, PM me and I'll try and find a link to one of my old posts :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

most of her white tower dealing and with aes sedai is I wont say good but what is best, she is a good leader, but her personal dealings (Gawyn) and her foreign policy are not good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Egwene, and through her the White Tower, are not broken at Merrilor the future will be a dark one irregardless of the outcome of Tarmon Gaidon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Ariliel, in the sense that she goes up and down. At the beginning up until say... Her time as Damane, I didn't really care much for her. From then until her capture in the Stone, I liked her. From the Stone to the Aiel, didn't care. From the Aiel to the Rebel AS, I liked her. IN fact, all the way up from there until her rise to official Amyrlin in the WT, I liked her. I just currently don't like her. But I'm still convinced there's some compulsion from Halima going on behind the scenes, that Nyn will diagnose at the Field, or w/v.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Egwene, and through her the White Tower, are not broken at Merrilor the future will be a dark one irregardless of the outcome of Tarmon Gaidon.

 

Why should the future be dark if she is not broken?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Egwene, and through her the White Tower, are not broken at Merrilor the future will be a dark one irregardless of the outcome of Tarmon Gaidon.

 

Note, this sort of comment is precisely what I was talking about when I spoke of not simply saying 'Egwene is a douche'.

 

I agree with Ariliel, in the sense that she goes up and down. At the beginning up until say... Her time as Damane, I didn't really care much for her. From then until her capture in the Stone, I liked her. From the Stone to the Aiel, didn't care. From the Aiel to the Rebel AS, I liked her. IN fact, all the way up from there until her rise to official Amyrlin in the WT, I liked her. I just currently don't like her

 

That's my thing too, and I think it's Brandon's fault. TGS and TofM are litered with the compromisation of one character to uplift another. Consider Joline and Mat's little spat in tGS... Joline, who has lived over a hundred years in a world with horses, is suddenly an idiot about horse travel so Mat can set her down. Cadsuane, Merise and Flinn suffer this to Rand, Adelorna and countless other Aes Sedai suffer this to Egwene, and then when Egwene and Rand meet Rand is the higher character and so Egwene becomes the idiot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what i don't like about Egwene is very complex.

just like a friend who makes decisions u agree with and decisions u detest.

her goal is to unify everything, but not under what Rand wants, But under what she feels is right.

and as a leader she has the right to do that, but not with the Dragon. u know all ties and bonds are broken...etc etc.

she does listen more than any other aes sedai that i can remember. But, it doesn't mean that she will take that into account into her decisions,

as we can clearly see when she goes Over Rands head to the kings of his conquered territories.

she is not power hungry by any means. she wants the job done. in her way.

she is looking at things as black and white right now. and we all know that is always bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find Egwene to be one of the more complex figures in the story, and this might be why there's so much discord surrounding her.

 

Consider how she starts out. When they leave the Two Rivers, she's this wide-eyed, naive girl, who feels like she's going on an adventure out into the world. After spending time with Moiraine, she decides she wants to be an Aes Sedai, and this is reinforced in that Moiraine considers her potential vast. This bright-eyed naivete persists through her time as she first begins training in the tower. Only, she gets disappointed by the slow training in the Tower. She's eager to learn, eager to test her potential.

 

Then her naivete gets crushed, as she, and her new best friend Elayne are deceived by none other than an Aes Sedai, and betrayed to the Seanchan, where her whole outlook on life is destroyed. She's collared and treated like an animal on a leash. When she's freed, she swears never to be caged again. She returns to the tower, and her reason for training has changed from one of simply just learning and being the best she can, to persuing a personal cause, self-control and self-defense.

 

Then it happens again, but she doesn't realize it for a long time. She's betrayed again, and this time by the Amyrlin. She, along with Elayne and Nynaeve are sent off to hunt Black Ajah. This is a betrayal, because in their extreme lack of training, how could three girls possible hunt down fully trained, dark Aes Sedai? It was a betrayal of their trust. Egwene doesn't actually persue the Black Ajah, as she's taken to train with the Wise Ones, but it's a new life lesson taught by a ruthless Amyrlin: use whatever tools are at your disposal.

 

With the Wise Ones, she gains new skills and ability, and a renewed sense of self-worth and self-possession. Unlike the Aes Sedai's praise of her strength and potential, the Wise Ones call her a child and ready to kill herself at any mis-step (in TAR). This is humbling, rather than inflating her ego. But the lessons of the Aes Sedai persisted in her. She believed in her own ability as being greater than it was, took risks behind the Wise Ones backs that she should not have been taking, and lied to the Wise Ones, as any Aes Sedai would bend the truth if it suited them. Nevertheless, with the Wise Ones she'd found a new sense of self-determination.

 

She returns to the Aes Sedai, once again to be used. This time they want to set her up as a puppet. But she's done with being used. She determines that she will not be used, that we will that this responsibility that they're thrusting on her and make it her own. And she takes the training of the Amyrlin who had sent her on a reckless mission against the Black Ajah to accomplish it. The lesson stuck well: use whatever tools you have at your disposal.

 

Later, she discovers she's once again been betrayed: Sheriam her Keeper is Black Ajah.

 

And again, she's betrayed in the siege of the WT, and she's captured for it.

 

Here she's mentally, emotionally, and physically abused and abased daily. This by the people she had once looked up to, and has now sword to care for as their Mother.

 

But, because of her training with the WOs, she does not lose her sense of self, or her sense of position. She asserts her authority as Amyrlin against all expectation of success. In this, and in the assault by the Seanchan on the WT, she finally proves her worth in the sight of the Tower Aes Sedai, and is able to reunite a broken Tower.

 

I think Egwene's story is fantastic. It's one of abuse from the ones she'd put her trust in from the beginning of the story: Aes Sedai, yet arising from that abuse a greater person, and yet continually devoted to that institution to the point of giving every scrap of herself to seeing it restored to its former glory.

 

I won't deny she has her faults, but I think these have come with the harsh experiences of her life. Lessons from betrayal and from a ruthless Amyrlin, yet tempered by the honor of the Aeil, and the simple generosity of her upbringing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what i don't like about Egwene is very complex.

just like a friend who makes decisions u agree with and decisions u detest.

her goal is to unify everything, but not under what Rand wants, But under what she feels is right.

and as a leader she has the right to do that, but not with the Dragon. u know all ties and bonds are broken...etc etc.

she does listen more than any other aes sedai that i can remember. But, it doesn't mean that she will take that into account into her decisions,

as we can clearly see when she goes Over Rands head to the kings of his conquered territories.

she is not power hungry by any means. she wants the job done. in her way.

she is looking at things as black and white right now. and we all know that is always bad.

 

Rand can make mistakes, so I don't see why she should automatically differ to him just because he's the Dragon Reborn. RJ said that the Champion of the Light in other incarnations has gone to the shadow (Ishy was not lying about that part even if he was pretending that he was also there):

 

RJ: Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once--you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.

 

Going over to the shadow is obviously not going to help the light win. It then follows that there are other 'mistakes' (that one being the biggest) that the CoL could make. Therefore, Egwene is not necessarily wrong to question his decisions.

 

Interestingly, given what RJ said at the end of that quote, we know that even with the CoL having switched sides, the Light side still managed to force a 'draw'. Which means there have been forces in the past that could stand up to the CoL (or CoS in those cases).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mind Egwene. There have been times I've even greatly enjoyed her chapters, mostly in The Gathering Storm. Her confrontation with Elaida and her secret interractions with Sitters and sisters in the Tower, especially with Silviana, were very well-handled and exciting. She has been a bland character at times, and I do not admire her rash behavior in her meeting with Rand in the White Tower, but it isn't as illogical as some have claimed. Afterall, breaking the seals would allow the Dark One to extend his influence onto the world, so it is logical that she would be afraid and reluctant to break those shields. Does she have flaws? Yes, of course. The fact that she is outpacing ever Aes Sedai after only a few months of Tower training and six months among the Wise Ones is illogical, even if Aes Sedai are most definitely flawed. She is a bit too much of a perfect little angel, but she has made some interesting contributions to the books.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My main problem with Egwene is her total lack of self-reflection, particularly in the later books. Anytime Rand does something stupid or makes a mistake or does something hypocritical, either he himself or someone near him tells him what a foolish idiot he is. This never happens for Egwene, who is always absolutely sure of her own righteousness and expects others to support her unconditionally, even her closest friends. You can argue that she needs to appear like a strong Amyrlin, but demanding her friends submit to her even in private is a bit much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tell me one mistake Egwene made in ACoS or later, except CoT (this one not because I can't look it up in that case). I'd also like to know the chapter in which she made the mistake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She never acknowledges that Suian, Brynne and Gawyn were right to come for her because she was unprotected and there were assassins running around. Her total dismissal of what Nyneave says as her being too close to a Taveren. I wont say Merrilor since Rand manipulated it that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They didn't knew there were assassins. Yes, I know, Bryne killed one. But they didn't knew there were more. And she wasn't unprotected. She has shot down something like 30 to'raken. And you are ta'veren, or you are not. She is not. And I am not sure if Merrilor is a mistake... I have read a very convincing theory about the seals. I now think it'd be better not to break them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My main problem with Egwene is her total lack of self-reflection, particularly in the later books. Anytime Rand does something stupid or makes a mistake or does something hypocritical, either he himself or someone near him tells him what a foolish idiot he is. This never happens for Egwene, who is always absolutely sure of her own righteousness and expects others to support her unconditionally, even her closest friends. You can argue that she needs to appear like a strong Amyrlin, but demanding her friends submit to her even in private is a bit much.

 

Almost the entire chap 14 of TOM suggests you are completely wrong. Here's a snippet with a few highlighted parts:

 

Two Wise Ones sat on the floor at the center of the room, amid a forest of columns. Above their light brown skirts and white blouses, their faces were distinctly different. Bair's was wrinkled with age, like leather left to cure in the sun. For all her occasional sternness, smile lines wove from her eyes and mouth.

Amys' face was silky smooth, an effect of being able to channel. Her face was not ageless, but she could have been Aes Sedai for the emotion she showed.

The two had their shawls at their waists, their blouses unlaced. Egwene sat before them but left herself wearing wetlander clothing. Amys raised an eyebrow; was she thinking that Egwene should have changed? Or did she appreciate that Egwene did not imitate something she was not? It was difficult to tell.

"The battle within the White Tower is over," Egwene said.

"The woman Elaida a'Roihan?" Amys asked.

"Taken by the Seanchan," Egwene said. "I have been accepted as Amyr-lin by those who followed her. My position is far from secure—at times, I feel balanced atop a stone that sits balanced atop another stone. But the White Tower is again whole."

Amys clicked her tongue softly. She raised her hand and a striped stole—an Amyrlin's stole—appeared in it. "I suppose you should be wearing this, then."

Egwene let out a soft, slow breath. It was remarkable to her, sometimes, how much stock she put in the opinions of these women. She took the stole, putting it around her shoulders.

Sorilea will dislike this news," Bair said, shaking her head. "She still had a hope that you would leave those fools in the White Tower and return

to us."

"Please take care," Egwene said, summoning herself a cup of tea. "I am not only one of those fools, my friend, but I am their leader. Queen of the fools, you might say."

Bair hesitated. "I have toh."

"Not for speaking the truth," Egwene assured her. "Many of them are fools, but are we not all fools at some point? You did not abandon me to my failures when you found me walking Tel'aran'rbiod. In like manner \ cannot abandon those of the White Tower."

So yeah...

 

And then as for "she expects others to follow her unconditionally". That might be because that's exactly the advice Nynaeve gave her when Egwene (Realizing she needed help) asked for it:

 

"It was a matter of not letting them forget my station. They couldn't be allowed to continue to think of me as a young girl. Establish your authority quickly. Be firm with the women in the Tower, Egwene, because they'll begin by seeing how far they can push you. And once you've let them push you a handspan, it's harder than winter molasses to get back what you've lost."

"All right," Egwene said.

"And don't come up with idle work for them to do," Nynaeve said. They passed out of the Hall of the Tower, strolling through the hallways. "Get them used to you giving orders, but make those orders good ones. Make sure they don't bypass you. I'd guess that it might be easy for them to start looking to the Sitters or the Ajah heads instead of you; women in Emond's Field started going to the Women's Circle instead of me.

"If you discover that the Sitters are making decisions that should have come before the entire Hall, you have to make a big fuss about it. Trust me. They'll grouse that you're making too much noise over small things, but they'll think twice about doing something important without your attention."

Egwene nodded. It was good advice, though—of course—it came colored by Nynaeve's view of the world.

 

Then of course right after that comes the part I think you're referring too where she convinces Nynaeve to kiss the ring and call her "mother" and such. Though you totally left out the whole part where Nynaeve is reminded how terrible it was for her when she became wisdom and didn't get the same respect from the Women's circle that raised her. She admits she'd do it for another Amyrlin, and she admits Egwene would be best for the job, and concludes herself (given Egwene's guidance) that she SHOULD be doing it:

 

"And? Would you have done it for another Amyrlin?"

"Not happily."

"But you'd have done it."

"Yes."

"And do you honestly think there is another who would do a better job than I?"

Nynaeve hesitated, then shook her head.

Then why is it so bitter for you to serve the Amyrlin? Not me, Nynaeve, but the station."

Nynaeve's face looked as if she'd drunk something very bitter. "This will • . . not be easy for me."

I ve never known you to avoid a task because it was difficult, Nynaeve." "The station. All right. I'll try." Then you might begin by calling me Mother." Egwene held up a finger

to cut off Nynaeve's objection. "To remind yourself, Nynaeve. It needn't be permanent, at least not in private. But you must begin thinking of me as I Amyrlin."

"All right, all right. You've pricked me with enough thorns. I already feel as if I've been drinking windsatter's draught all day." She hesitated, then added, "Mother." She almost seemed to choke on the word.

Egwene smiled encouragingly.

"I won't treat you the way women did me after I was first named Wisdom," Nynaeve promised. "Light! Odd to be able to feel as they did Well, they were still fools. I'll do better; you'll see it. Mother."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to expand on DemandredFO's points a bit.

 

The first point about Siuan, Gareth and Gawyn coming for her. I can see why people would agree with Egwene's anger in this case; the three did disobey her instructions to leave her be, and almost ruined all her hard work inside the Tower. However, even so, I believe they were right to do so. Firstly, Egwene vanished right in the middle of T'A'R whilst talking to Siuan. Egwene is too good a Dreamwalker for it to be a mistake, so it must mean someone woke her up. And therefore Siuan is forced to consider the possibility that she is being dragged off to be Stilled and executed. After all, Egwene was a False Amyrlin. Under the circumstances Siuan assumes the worst, that Elaida has ordered her death, and decides to go in and save her life. When the Tower comes under attack from the Seanchan, who could easily collar or kill the weakened Egwene (Since Siuan has no idea what has happened to Egwene and certainly not that she has a San'greal) it becomes even more important to extract her. All Egwene's hard work would count for nothing if she dies, and under that pretext the actions of Siuan, Gareth and Gawyn is much more forgivable.

 

In war, if a superior gives you an order, you do it. If you don't, that's insubordination. Or so the counter-argument to the above goes. But when you are given an order that is clearly insane or likely to result in said superior's death, particularly when said superior is of critical importance to your cause, you really have to take a step back and ask yourself whether it's worth following said order. Remember that Egwene had previously said a rescue would be okay as long as it looked like her life was in genuine danger, which it certainly was by that point. At the end of it all, does Egwene try to understand Siuan's motives and point of view? No. She huffs and puffs about Siuan breaking her trust and such. She never looks at it from Siuan's angle, that her sudden disappearance might have looked like her being awoken for execution, that the battle at the Tower could have easily claimed her life under different circumstances. It's a very simple 'Siuan was wrong! She wasted all my hard work! How could she do this to me?' She has a right to be angry, certainly, but also an obligation to consider Siuan's perspective, even if she didn't approve of it.

 

Her constant dismissal of Gawyn's claims about the Bloodknives are easily her biggest mistake so far. Even when he tries to reason with her and presents the knife itself as evidence that the murders were not committed with the One Power Egwene still insists that it was Messana's doing. Okay, so maybe Messana could have used the knife. But why? Why would Messana, who knows how to hide her strength and invert her weaves resort to a physical weapon to kill the Aes Sedai? It doesn't make any sense. She refuses to even consider Gawyn's arguments, which eventually results in him returning to Caemlyn. And even when she has to call him back, something that she has no actual right to do since he is not her Warder at this point, she still does it in the same self-important and arrogant manner, even getting the man-hating Silviana to write the message instead of doing the right thing and taking five minutes to write it herself. I can't even remember if she apologises to him when he's bleeding to death in her arms afterwards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She doesn't want to listen to Gawyn, because Gawyn disobeyed her, and she wants him not to do that anymore. She wants to teach him to listen. And who says it was Mesaana herself, killing these people? Egwene thinks to herself at some point she expected Grey Men. And she let Silviana write the letter, because Silviana is her Keeper. Things like writing letters in the name of the Amyrlin are the task of the Keeper. Only the letters to the most important people (like the kings and stewards) are written by the Amyrlin herself.

 

And when Siuan saw Egwene in the WT, the attack was over already. In NS, it turns out Siuan sees patterns everywhere. Why doesn't she see that Egwene has used Vora's Sa'angreal to hold of the Seanchan? Why doesn't she make a gateway with the angreal, moves through it, and lets Egwene behind to finish her work? Siuan knew that Egwene was somehow doing very much reuniting the Tower.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...