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Egwene, Lying to World Leaders


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Long time lurker, first time poster. I felt enraged after doing a re-read of ToM, particulary chapter 27, which led me to the creation of a Dragonmount account. I've never liked

Egwene as a character, but I never really disliked her, until I read her blatant lies to the leaders of Tear and Illan, and her justifications.

 

If you provide the gateways you have

promised, I will bring some troops to this meeting place, along with the loyal High

Lords and Ladies. Be warned, however, that the Seanchan presence to my west continues

to weigh heavily upon my mind. The bulk of my armies must remain behind.

High Lord Darlin Sisnera,

 

Here Darlin agrees to send a delegation to the FoM, but due to the close proximity of the Seanchan he is reluctant to send all his men.

 

But leaving behind the bulk of his army? That would not do. Egwene

inked her pen.

King Darlin. Your concern for your kingdom is well measured, as is your loyalty

to the man you follow.

I know that the Seanchan are a danger to Tear, but let us not forget that the

Dark One, not the Seanchan, is our primary concern during these worst of days. Perhaps

it is easy to think yourself safe from the Trollocs when so distant from the battle

lines, but how will you feel once the cushions of Andor and Cairhien have fallen? You

are separated from the Seanchan by hundreds of miles.

Andor is considered a cushion nation now? If anything, Andor is the most cushioned nation as Illian, Ghealdan, and Murandy hold the Seanchan at bay, Carhienen the Aiel at bay, and the Borderlands the Shadow at bay. Furthermore, how is this logical? The shadow is a greater threat to Tear when it is seperated by thousands of miles, wheareas the Seanchan are considered a lessar threat when they are only hundreds of miles away?

 

Egwene paused. Tar Valon had been separated from the Seanchan by

hundreds of miles, and had nearly been destroyed. He was right to be

afraid, and he was a good king for considering it. But she needed his army

at the Field of Merrilor. Perhaps she could offer a way for h im to both be

safe and help with Rand.

lllian holds for now, she wrote. And gives you a buffer between the Seanchan

and yourself. I will provide you with gateways and a promise. If the Seanchan move

against Tear, I will give you gateways so you can return immediately and defend

your nation.

She hesitated. Chances were good that the Seanchan had Traveling

now. Nobody was safe from them, no matter how far or close they might

be. If they decided to strike for Tear, even giving Darlin gateways back

might not be enough to help.

She felt a shiver, remembering her own time with the Seanchan, captive

as a damane. She loathed them with a hatred that sometimes worried

her. But Darlin's support was essential to her plans. She gritted her teeth

and continued writing.

The Dragon Reborn must see our full forces marshaled to oppose his brash intentions.

If he sees this as halfhearted, we will never dissuade him from his course.

Please come with all of your troops.

Essentially, she wants Tear left defenceless, and an attempt to persuade Rand not to break the seals. This is the same fallacy the borderlanders engage in when they meet with Rand. How does bringing thousands of troops help your cause? When the Borderlanders did it, they basically opened up their nations to invasion. Moreover, she knows that she is putting Tear at risk by asking Darlin to bring all his men. Not only that, but she chooses not to inform him that the Seanchan have learnt travelling. The worst part is the claim that Illian is there as a buffer state for Tear, this may be true, but all legitimacy of that claim goes out the window when she later asks Illian to bring all their troops as well.

 

One problem at a time. Gregorin, the steward in Illian, was very hesitant

to support her cause—he seemed more intimidated by Rand than

Darlin was, and the Seanchan were not a distant concern for him. They

were practically pounding on his city gates.

She wrote Gregorin a firm letter, giving a promise like the one she'd

given Darlin.

Because not agreeing with Egwene means that you are intimidated or Ta'varened by Rand? Furthermore, Illian is the nation most at risk by the Seanchan, they are still fighting a war down there, yet Egwene wants Gregorin to send all his troops to the FoM as well? She is essentially submitting two nations to the Seanchan to achieve what she wants. AND she does not provide an entirety of details that would allow these two leaders to make an informed decision. She misleads Darlin on the strenght of the Illian buffer knowing that she would ask Illian to do the same, and she does not inform them of the Seanchan knowing travelling.

 

Obliquely, she realized what she was doing. She was using Rand's

proclamation as a beacon by which to gather and tie the monarchs to the

White Tower. They would come to support her arguments against breaking

the seals. But in the end, they would serve humankind in the Last

Battle.

Is this what this is really about? Tying more nations to the White Tower? To support the White Tower is to serve humankind? Egwene shows that she is willing to sacrifice individual nations to the Seanchan if it helps her achieve her goals. By telling these leaders to do something, but without providing full disclosure of details. She takes away the free will of these nations to effectively decide what is best for them.

Edited by TamTam Rapley
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She's a politician. I'm not sure I truly see a problem here, or at least, I don't see anything unbelievable or dislikable. The idea of breaking the seals must, to any "Randlander", sound completely ridiculous and dangerous, particularly when a man with a reputation as a brash, hotheaded, moody, eccentric person who brings war and tears apart nations and is known to have been touched by the madness inducing Taint walks in and declares that he's going to do it and then leaves without offering any explanation. Destroying the seals runs counter to all the knowledge they've had. She just had a Dream/prophecy about Rand breaking a fragile crystal structure and then not knowing what to do after he does it. This is something she believes is greater than any individual conflict between nations, she believes it puts the entire world at risk.

 

I do think Sanderson could have done a better job with rationalizing Egwene's position, and I agree that Egwene has many unlikable traits, but sometimes I feel like people's dislike of her character lead to prejudiced opinions about anything she does.

 

I mean, if this upsets you so much about Egwene, I'm not sure how you could ever possible vote or like any sort of politician. Even most people don't give full disclosure of details in everyday affairs.

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Andor is a cushion for Tear in terms of the Trolloc danger - it's much closer to the Blight. And the Shadow is more of a threat for Tear since the Seanchan are just conquerors, the Trollocs want to kill and eat everyone.

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Obliquely, she realized what she was doing. She was using Rand's

proclamation as a beacon by which to gather and tie the monarchs to the

White Tower. They would come to support her arguments against breaking

the seals. But in the end, they would serve humankind in the Last

Battle.

 

I don't see any issue either. Andor has the largest army in Randland and is a cushion for Tear. The quote above shows what her true intentions are. Even if her faith is misguided in placing everything on the WT's shoulders, it still highlights her focus and that is serving humankind in the Last Battle.

Edited by Suttree
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Guest PiotrekS

The problem I have with this scene is that Egwene effortlessly uses the laguage of strategy and geopolitics. She does not consult with anyone on her letters to the world monarchs. Seriously? At least this we have not seen her ever learn, but apparently she has no problem at all with "cushions", armies, strategy and language of diplomacy/geopolitics. And she was surprised that Rand spoke like an educated man! At least he had LTT...

 

btw. Andor's army is not the strongest in Randland, at least it seems so to me. Both the Aiel and the Seanchan have stronger forces in the field in Randland. But yes, Andor definitely shields Tear from conventional trolloc invasion from the Blight.

 

Egwene's proposition is dangerous for Tear nonetheless because she fails to tell Darlin that the Seanchan have Traveling and the army has to be in place before any invasion to make any impact. Otherwise they will have to retake their country and not defend it. I don't blame Eggy very much though, because she is right - TG is most important and some risks have to be taken. Whether she is the one to direct the world's efforts is another question. I personally don't think so, both because of the blunders and the lost authority of the institution she leads, and because of her own expertise and experience, which realistically should not be enough to deal with such a complex task.

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Of course she fails to tell Darlin they have travelling - they didn't have travelling till the very end of The Towers of Midnight. And Egwene still doesn't know they do have it - just that they have Elaida, and Elaida for all her faults was known by Egwene to not be black. She was a meglomaniac, and a fool (hell, if she wasn't a fool, she'd have killed Egwene the instant she had hands on her), but she was still Aes Sedai and would not have given the Seanchan travelling willingly.

 

There's also a lot of time that is not covered in detail, and as Armyrlin, Egwene has access to all manner of advisers. It doesn't need to be written "And thus she consulted xxxxxx to gain advice on such a letter". It's likely that any letter to a monarch she writes would in any case go to her keeper, who would suggest changes if she felt it would help.

Edited by The Mistress of Baal
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The strongest will in the world will crumble to the A'Dam. It wouldn't take long for the Sul'dam to have wrangled everything elaida knew.

Elaida was taken in TGS I think its safe to say by the time Egwene wrote to the monarchs, it would be a reasonable assumption that the Seanchan had travelling.

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She is a full fledged Aes Sedai, in ways of thinking, acting and manupulating people to do what she thinks is best. Nothing new here.

 

Yep. Just like she spent 5 minutes with the Aiel and was, like, super uber Aiel-like, now shes spent 5 minutes being Aes Sedai and is more Aes Sedai than any of them.

 

Maybe if she spent 5 minutes with Rand she could teach him a few things about the Age of Legends.

Edited by Drekka Mort
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Guest PiotrekS

She is a full fledged Aes Sedai, in ways of thinking, acting and manupulating people to do what she thinks is best. Nothing new here.

 

Yep. Just like she spent 5 minutes with the Aiel and was, like, super uber Aiel-like, now shes spent 5 minutes being Aes Sedai and is more Aes Sedai than any of them.

 

Maybe if she spent 5 minutes with Rand she could teach him a few things about the Age of Legends.

 

Hehe, well said :biggrin:

 

If Egwene knew the Seanchan had at least one sister who knew Traveling, then she knew they had Traveling. She knows the a'dam from personal experience.

Edited by PiotrekS
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She is a full fledged Aes Sedai, in ways of thinking, acting and manupulating people to do what she thinks is best. Nothing new here.

 

Yep. Just like she spent 5 minutes with the Aiel and was, like, super uber Aiel-like, now shes spent 5 minutes being Aes Sedai and is more Aes Sedai than any of them.

 

Maybe if she spent 5 minutes with Rand she could teach him a few things about the Age of Legends.

 

Hehe, well said :biggrin:

 

:biggrin:

 

You know the bit that hurts the most? I think the 100 weaves are going to come in handy in Sealing the Bore. If Egwene shows Rand how to do it... ugh, let us pray it doesnt happen.

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Rewriting this because I clicked "Add Reply" instead of "Post".

 

Egwene's journey from tavernkeep's daughter to Armyrlinn began with Moiraine. Moiraine was perhaps the most selflessly dedicated to duty Aes Sedai we have seen. She is the perfect instrument to wield on an impressionable country girl starting on a road a sense of duty and honour.

 

She went to the White tower, where Siuanne took a special interest in her and used her mercilessly, wielding her against the forsaken and the black ajah. In the course of her accepted days, she gained more experience at battling hostile channellers than almost any other living Aes Sedai. Through Verin she started a journey into T'A'R and that lead her to the waste, where teh Aiel took her under wing and were merciless in their drilling dreaming techniques and leadership skills into her.

 

She came back and was elected to Armyrlin as a "least bad choice" by the rebel AS, and Siuanne was able to become her adviser, confidant and friend - she spent months with Siuanne drilling everything she could into her, and who knew more about manipulating thrones than Siuanne?

 

Once back in the tower, Elaida made a fatal mistake and didn't kill her. Instead she engaged in a course of action that provided Egwene with the opportunity to further strengthen her character, gain more experience in maintaining her composure and holding herself in check than the raising test's preparation and execution could have hoped to do. And it gained her supporters within the tower.

 

The battle with the Seanchan gave her the opportunity to leverage her leadership skills, and battle experience to solidify her position to the point that there was no other potential outcome with Elaida gone than for her to assume the mantle in the tower.

 

Hardly "5 minutes here" and "5 minutes there" but rather a carefully crafted (on RJ's part) journey that made her into a strong armyrlin forged in fire.

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The problem I have with this scene is that Egwene effortlessly uses the laguage of strategy and geopolitics. She does not consult with anyone on her letters to the world monarchs. Seriously? At least this we have not seen her ever learn, but apparently she has no problem at all with "cushions", armies, strategy and language of diplomacy/geopolitics. And she was surprised that Rand spoke like an educated man! At least he had LTT...

I don't see a problem - what Egwene wrote was a pretty basic stuff. She's had several months of Tower education, which includes a lot of politics. There's also a mention that she listened to a lot of Moiraine's lectures to Rand about politics. After that Siuan taught her a lot. And I bet Elayne gave her a few lectures on politics while they were novices, because she couldn't help herself showing off her knowledge. ;)

 

Plus it's WoT, everyone who's a major character learns stuff at ridiculous speed.

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Guest PiotrekS

She is a full fledged Aes Sedai, in ways of thinking, acting and manupulating people to do what she thinks is best. Nothing new here.

 

Yep. Just like she spent 5 minutes with the Aiel and was, like, super uber Aiel-like, now shes spent 5 minutes being Aes Sedai and is more Aes Sedai than any of them.

 

Maybe if she spent 5 minutes with Rand she could teach him a few things about the Age of Legends.

 

Hehe, well said :biggrin:

 

:biggrin:

 

You know the bit that hurts the most? I think the 100 weaves are going to come in handy in Sealing the Bore. If Egwene shows Rand how to do it... ugh, let us pray it doesnt happen.

 

Interesting idea... Probably Egwene would not be able to show it to Rand, luckily.

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Guest PiotrekS

Rewriting this because I clicked "Add Reply" instead of "Post".

 

She went to the White tower, where Siuanne took a special interest in her and used her mercilessly, wielding her against the forsaken and the black ajah. In the course of her accepted days, she gained more experience at battling hostile channellers than almost any other living Aes Sedai.

 

What about Elayne and Nynaeve? I guess they're what you mean by "almost". There are also Moiraine and Cadsuane, not to mention Rand.

 

Hardly "5 minutes here" and "5 minutes there" but rather a carefully crafted (on RJ's part) journey that made her into a strong armyrlin forged in fire.

 

It was still a very, very short amount of "real time". Please notice that in case of Rand and Mat there are certain tools in the narrative which explain their sudden enlightenement in some cases -LTT, "old blood", dagger, ta'veren (that applies to Perrin as well). I don't say it is still absolutely believable. Egwene accomplishes similar feats (at least similar to Perrin, who also rapidly gained power in the 2Rs) without any magical crutches. The progression you have shown in your post ignores one crucial thing - that's true that Egwene had plenty of occasions to develop. But so had other characters! Maybe not necessarily in the same things, but still.If Egwene developed so much in a year or two, then other Aes Sedai should have become much more in their hundreds years of various experiences. In contast, in the books we see Egwene being perfect in everything and dominating over all other Aes Sedai in the overwhelming way.

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I woulnd't include Moiraine, but yes, certainly Cadsuane, Elayne, Nynaeve and Rand. I also wouldn't put it past credit that she's been caught in a pattern ripple spreading out from Rand/Mat/Perin.

 

There is certainly something special about the 4 women around rand - Nynaeve, Elayne, Egwene and Avienda. They reinvent healing, rediscover how to make quendillar and terangreals, rediscover dreaming and rediscover travelling. Not to mention redeveloping tying off weaves amongst a horde of other discoveries. True much of the knowledge they "discovered" was prised out of Mogehdian (sp) but they did amazing leaps with the power on their own.

 

But no, no other AS has been put through the grinding mill that she has. The AS tend to lead, from the impression I've gathered, a fairly slow life. Being long lived has resulted in them taking more and more time to do things. They are rigid, change adverse, have had the black ajah manipulating tower politics - and over the centuries manipulation and being advisors has become vastly more in tune with their way of life than the style of AS that the 4 R women are. They are something new, all of them.

 

Also, they are all far far stronger than has been the norm for AS over the intervening years. The AS have been diminishing and dwindling for centuries. It's only recently, very recently that a resurgence has started - and we have to blame/credit Egwene for that, for challenging established traditions and looking to the strength rather than the purity of the tower.

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Hate on Egwene because she's a quick learner over the course of two years.

 

Love the ta'veren because their plotlines revolves around literal deux ex machina keeping them alive and progressing.

 

It's funny, isn't it?

 

A simplification, but still true.

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Hate on Egwene because she's a quick learner over the course of two years.

 

Love the ta'veren because their plotlines revolves around literal deux ex machina keeping them alive and progressing.

 

It's funny, isn't it?

 

A simplification, but still true.

 

The issue is, those deus ex machina are justified in-universe. The whole taveren thing is clearly a litterary device to justify the main characters going very quickly from bumbling morons (more or less) to outright badass leaders, but it's still a justification. One that Egwene does not have.

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Doesn't she?

 

Cn you not make the case that Rand needs her in place, as the woman she is, and his ta'veren nature has tied strings to her and dangled her like the puppet he always feared becomming himself?

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Keep this on topic. We haven't decided yet if this topic merits another thread beyond the one Luckers opened, but if this evolved into just another discussion about Egwene's competence, we'd have to close it.

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I don't think that it's unusual at all for politicians to lie. I don't think that makes it right for Egwene to do it, but it certainly doesn't make her any worse.

 

It is pretty crappy that she wants the entire armies of each nation. Why can't she understand the nations' needs? I know she thinks that it's all about the Last Battle, but she herself put the White Tower and its problems ahead of TG while the AS were split. The AS are always going on and on about how they will be needed at TG, yet very few of them seem to be half so worried about the Forsaken and the DO as they are about Rand Al'Thor destroying their plans, or making them look bad. Are they even going to be ready for TG, or are they going to show up late, like they did at Malkier?

 

I can see why him breaking the Seals would be cause for alarm, but... the Prophecies say that the Dragon has to win at TG... Has nobody thought about that wording? It doesn't say "the Amyrlin, using the Dragon as a tool" or anybody else. So if he has to be the one to win it, doesn't it follow that it will have to be his master plan that does it in the end?

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Are they even going to be ready for TG, or are they going to show up late, like they did at Malkier?

 

Since traveling has been found I don't see that being much of an issue.

 

I can see why him breaking the Seals would be cause for alarm, but... the Prophecies say that the Dragon has to win at TG... Has nobody thought about that wording? It doesn't say "the Amyrlin, using the Dragon as a tool" or anybody else. So if he has to be the one to win it, doesn't it follow that it will have to be his master plan that does it in the end?

 

This made me laugh seeing as how Rand has told Min he doesn't know how to seal the bore and she needs to find a way for him. So it has to be his master plan?

Edited by Suttree
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