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Luckers

The First Oath

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Ok, so we have seen that the first oath is malleable. People can swear "If you dont do this ill use your guts for a belt" or whatever and not have to do it. Oaths of fealty dont constitute total control such as with Rand, oaths of fealty can be abandoned when the situation changes such as with Beonin.

 

Yet despite this in general the First Oath must hold without some very interesting mental logic. So here is my question how did Elaida get out of her agreement to 'do as she is told'.

 

That fairly black and white to me. She told Alviarin that she would do as she is told. It was a blanket statement that doesn't have any contextual clauses or wriggle room. So how is it that she can now disobey Alviarin. Oh, sure, she had political manuevrability over Alviarin now, but surely isn't all that it required is for alviarin to tell her not to use it. She agreed to do what she is told.

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Did Elaida explicitly state, "I will do as I am told."?

 

Could it have been, "I will do as I am told." with her strongly implying and believing "only while you have the upper hand."?

 

As you pointed out, oaths are entirely subjective.

 

If someone swore "I will never speak a lie.", and they also beleived a lie is a poem, then they could lie (as we know the word) all they want, but could not lie (recite poetry).

 

So in the same way, I don't think "I will do as I am told" was taken literally by Elaida to mean, forever. She also doesn't obey everyone who gives her a command, only Alviaran.

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I think, saying "I will do as I am told," you do not say you will always do so. For now, you will do it. If the situation changes, it is no longer necessary do so. So to put it shortly, at the moment she means to do so, but she doesn't mean she will do so always.

 

In her mind she could mean that to mean she will do so while she needs to worry about Alviarin's actions against her. As that is why she said it.

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I agree. "I will do as I am told" only states that she will do as she is told at that moment. There is nothing in that statement to indicate for how long she will continue to do it. It's like saying "I will stand on my head". If I do it and stop once I get light headed and pass out, I havn't told I lie as I have in fact stood on my head. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to pass out now...

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Yes, there were no time constraints involved. She didn't say "I'll do as I'm told for the rest of my life". If an Aes Sedai says "I'm going to my room" it doesn't mean she can never go anywhere else.

 

Interestingly, I've wondered about the internal enforcement of the first Oath, and the only thing it can possibly boil down to is this:

 

You're only breaking it if you THINK you're breaking it.

 

In other words, you can lie, if you think your listener knows you're lying. Thats what sarcasm is. Elaida knows in her mind that Alviarin knows that Elaida won't stay down if she can get a clear upper hand. So this "I'll do as I'm told" slips through the same rationalization that sarcasm does, since she knows that Alviarin knows that she doesn't mean it willingly.

 

I hope that made sense ...

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It did, though that particular instance still bugs me.

 

Ok, additional question, whats with moiraine telling Rand Aes Sedai can't lie in what they write. The oath specifically states 'i will speak no word that is not true'. That doesn't even require any sort of mental twisting that get around. Writting is not speaking.

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Frankly, because all the Oaths depend on the mental enforcement of each individual, I think you'll find great variations from person to person. Moiraine is probably more constrained than many other Aes Sedai, because of her innate, even subconscious devotion to truth. To the reality of truth, and not just its appearance. She's barely even deceptive with the boys, certainly much less so than several other Aes Sedai we've seen.

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At the same time she's not exactly forthcoming with information. I admit, it was certainly better for the story that she wasn't. Telling three boys, "Oh and the DO wants you since one of you is the Dragon Reborn" could certainly cause a problem.

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Right. She chooses shutting up as her method of deception, because her mind won't allow her to rationalize some of the things she might have had to say to actively decieve them. Cadsuane does the same thing by simply ignoring any question she doesn't want to answer. Verin on the other hand seems to have a very .... flexible .... mind. It makes her interesting, because we're pretty sure she's not Dark, but she pushes all the Oaths about as far as they can go.

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All oaths have a certain degree of flexibility as we've seen it . . . Recall Nynaeve's first encounter with Siuan. If I remember correctly, Siuan made a sword of air, which seemed to be in direct violation of the oath to never make a weapon for one man to kill another. But when we look at it, she only made it to prove a point, not for someone to kill another.

 

Which of course leads into the idea that the Aes Sedai can make whatever weapons they want for women warders, since they aren't men . . .

 

Anywho, Elaida had a lot of room, and probably a lot of practice of wriggling out of the truth. She said 'I'll do as I'm told', but never said 'I won't do anything I'm not told'

 

It's all a matter of looking for loopholes.

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Personally, I would not be surprised if we find out later that Verin "reasoned" her way into removing an oath or two.

 

We at least know that she vehemently opposes using the OP as a weapon against men, or at least in a way that would poorly color their views of Aes Sedai based on her reactions to Egwene in the beginning of TDR.

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I think its good how the Aes Sedai have learned to bend the rule about lying without breaking it. For example, my names dave, but i could go up to anyone and say "You can call me Andy." I wouldnt be lying, im just saying you are able to call me Andy, yet people would think its my name. Moiraine does it. Cant wait til she comes back

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And then there's the catch that if an Aes Sedai is told a lie and she believes it is true, she could repeat it as truth,, as long as she felt it was still truth.

Like when Morgase "dies" alot of people go round saying that "the queen is dead" when she is actually still alive. So technically that is a lie and couldn't have been said... well i think i explained that good enough.

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