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Joining the Shadow


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This is something that has bugged me throughout my current re-read, which is: how exactly do people join the Shadow? Are there separate joining methods for the general public (i.e. to become a Darkfriend) and Aes Sedai (i.e. to join the Black Ajah)?

I previously thought that they would all go to the Pit of Doom or Shadar Logoth, but they don't exactly fit logically - how would the person know who and where to contact?

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This is something that has bugged me throughout my current re-read, which is: how exactly do people join the Shadow? Are there separate joining methods for the general public (i.e. to become a Darkfriend) and Aes Sedai (i.e. to join the Black Ajah)?

I previously thought that they would all go to the Pit of Doom or Shadar Logoth, but they don't exactly fit logically - how would the person know who and where to contact?

https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dcjspjqg_53c74tbncv&revision=_latest

Week 4 Question: How exactly does one become a Darkfriend? How does the recruiting structure for the Black Ajah work? Being Mistress of Novices, was Merean particularly active in recruiting?

 

Robert Jordan Answers: By and large, each cell of Darkfriends recruits people it thinks are likely candidates, though they need to do so very carefully, studying them, sounding them out slowly. Darkfriends are always on the lookout for new members, since they feel very much like an oppressed minority and want to increase their numbers. Once a move to recruit is made, though, either it succeeds or the failed candidate dies.

 

For someone seeking actively to become a Darkfriend, generally one begins by trying to attract the attention of those who already are Darkfriends. One fairly safe way is to let comments drop that indicate that you don't think the Light is all it's cracked up to be, that praying to the Creator seems useless etc. If this comes to the wrong ears, you might be in varying degrees of trouble depending on what country you are in and who it is that overhears, but you are unlikely to get worse than a flogging from the authorities and possibly only a stern warning to watch your talk from somebody in a tavern, perhaps accompanied by a clout on the ear. Although someone might decide to slip a knife into you in some rougher areas of some towns. It's only relatively safe. By the by, claiming not to believe in the Creator is a good way to avoid recruitment by the Darkfriends. After all, if there is no Creator, how can the Dark One be imprisoned, and if he isn't, then why hasn't he taken over and rewarded the faithful? One of the fastest ways to attract attention is to show yourself willing to kill to advance yourself or simply for gain. That doesn't mean that every strongarm who's willing to slit a throat to steal a purse is a Darkfriend. Some of those might well be horrified by the suggestion. This method has its drawbacks, of course, since if you attract the attention of the authorities first, you are very likely to end up with a noose around your neck or a trip to the headsman's block.

 

In the White Tower, Black sisters watch novices and Accepted closely for any indication that they might be leaning toward the Shadow or susceptible to the promises of the Shadow. They also watch other sisters, since people do change. Not every Black sister was recruited on the day she gained the shawl nor soon after. Merean had a fine position for watching novices and Accepted, but many sisters teach. Some do little else, but others take turns at it for various periods, so Merean was not necessarily the primary recruiter during her time as Mistress of Novices, not even among those in her charge.

Edited by Suttree
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Ya pretty much like getting into any criminal organization. It's not so much going to a secret house and saying the password. It's a gradual procession, and probably very natural for some. Watch Donnie Brasco for a fine example.

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Once a move to recruit is made, though, either it succeeds or the failed candidate dies.

Of course, when you read this AFTER TGS, this lines just screams "Verin!". I'm willing to bet he had her in mind when he said that. (or, alternatively, that Brandon based himself off this line when writing the Verin section)

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What has bothered me most about joining the shadow is that there seems to be little benefit for most people for doing so. I kind of understand that the current situation is that DF are having to pay the pipper so to speak because the DO being active again.

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Well, you're part of a secret society, you get priviledges, you likely get to climb higher in the hierarchy, you know things no-one else does... And you get promised extraordinary rewards, even though that's probably just a lie.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes many turn to the "father of lies" for just that reason.

the shadow makes many promises, of wealth, power, revenge, and others.

Most darkfriends however are just treated as cannon fodder by the Chosen who think them to be lowly rabble.

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Yes many turn to the "father of lies" for just that reason.

the shadow makes many promises, of wealth, power, revenge, and others.

Most darkfriends however are just treated as cannon fodder by the Chosen who think them to be lowly rabble.

It is actually hilarious to think an entity of pure evil , witch by the way hate your kind and want nothing less then destroy the verse , will reward your betrayal with eternal life of "wealth, power, revenge".

 

 

Even if he was going to actually reward you , you would rule on land cover by the blight and populated by Myrdraal and Trolloc , whose diet mainly is human flesh .

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I've always felt like becoming a Dark One is probably a lot like working with the Mafia (or borrowing money from them), where the reality of the situation is probably quite different than the initial pitch.

 

I assume the average rank-and-file Darkfriend probably doesn't realize the severity of what they're doing until it's too late. Like someone else mentioned, it's a secret society, and that comes with the benefit of having people "on your side" that can use their influence to benefit you. I understand how cutthroat Darkfriends are, but they still have to work together and collude on some level. Considering a lot of "low level" Darkfriend missions probably are pretty mundane--deliver this message, follow this person, spy on your employer, etc--it might not sound so bad at the beginning. Even roughing up people or committing murder probably just seem like another job you might find in any sort of criminal enterprise. It's why I was actually surprised when (I think it was) Brandon said Darkfriends don't attempt to recruit people who are agnostic or don't believe in the Dark One. You think they'd be easy marks. "Hey, take a few oaths, work faithfully, and you'll be rewarded." Add to this most people had no idea that the Dragon was going to be Reborn any time soon, and probably didn't think they'd have to carry out missions of any great importance.

 

I can only imagine to a lot of lesser dedicated Darkfriends the shock when they wake up with a Myrddraal standing over them ready to give orders that damn well better be obeyed. I think it's probably only at that point you realized what you signed up for.

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I've long suspected that "joining the Shadow" is as simple as naming the Dark One. It's suggested, though I don't recall it ever being proven, that naming him draws unwanted attention, and that this is where the superstition stems from. Talk to him, and he might just talk back, leaving a nice little invisible soot mark on your forehead as a reminder to call him Great Lord in the future?

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