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Bowl Of The Winds Bargain

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This has been bothering me for years, probably more than anything else in the series. How did this happen? I understand that the Atha'an Miere are supposed to be great bargainers but suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

 

Why did they have to give up anything? They should have been bargaining for how much the Atha'an Miere could offer for finding their long lost bowl of the winds for them. At the very least they could have just told them about it and they would have looked for it on their own without a bargain. It is not like they would not change the weather back if they found it themselves.

 

How to the Atha'an Miere turn this around and make such ridiculous demands and why do Elayne and Nyneave feel they need to give anything up. Especially since Elayne is otherwise portrayed as a cunning planner/negotiator.

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Yeah, that's a really implausible moment for me too. Especially considering that Elayne and Nynaeve didn't know that the Sea Folk were the only ones with enough knowledge to use the Bowl successfully.

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Elayne and Nynaeve did know they couldn't use the Bowl without the help of the Windfinders. Elayne had seen their weather working first hand (and learned some too) and figured it would be essential to fixing the weather. Not just any group of channelers could achieve the affects they needed.

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The trouble that I have is that the Sea Folk thought it appropriate to require concessions from anyone in order to fight the Dark One on their own turf, control of the weather. It makes them seem ridiculously parochial and self-interested. The Third Age Aes Sedai are in many ways a hopeless bunch, but no one would ever need to bargain with them to fight the Dark One. When I read those sections I am always just waiting for Nynaeve or Elayne to humiliate them over the fact that they needed to be paid to prevent the Dark One from winning and frustrated that the wonder girls never do show them up for their idiocy and narrow horizons.

Edited by Pygmalion79

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How about we just agree that anything involving the wonder sisters is dumb. There's a reason thier incessant bumbling is generally considered the worst part of the series (comparable only with the 4 books worth of Faile's captivity).

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short term self interest getting in the way of fighting the dark one is a theme throught the story. The sea folk are a bunch a jerks for acting the way they did but they are not much different from the nobles of Tear Cairien or Andor also the white tower factional fighting was short sighted self interest.

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This actually bugs me too, and every time I re-read the series it bugs me even more. I know the Sea Folk are meant to be great bargainers but it seems like they would have done it just to get their hands on the bowl, throw perhaps that they could enter the tower for lessons and I think they would be getting more then they could hope for. 

 

I realize it adds some tension and story, but unrealistically. Yes it's fiction in the first place but you know what I mean :) 

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I guess that the Seafolk were convincing enough in their position of refusing to help without getting something out of it that Nynaeve and Elayne believed them and gave them whatever they wanted.  I have a hard time blaming Elayne and Nynaeve too much for the bargain because neither of them has any experience negotiating/trading/bargaining and they are both very young women dealing with women with many years more experience than them.  Nynaeve and Elayne are trying to do the right thing - they know they need to use the Bowl of the Winds to save the world from the Dark One's control of the weather, they know they need help to use the Bowl of the Winds, and they are led to believe by the Seafolk negotiators that the Atha'an Miere couldn't care less about the weather and will only help them use the Bowl if it benefits them specifically in some way.  Based on the obnoxious behaviour of the Windfinders throughout most of the series, I have no problem believing they were very convincing in this.

 

Additionally, we see how quickly Merilille is subdued by the Windfinders and Sail Mistresses.  This is an experienced Cairhienin Grey Sister - i.e. one of the best negotiators in the world and probably well versed in the cunning required to play daes dae'mar and she cannot hold her own with them.  Elayne is an eighteen year old princess and Nynaeve a twenty four year old village healer who is going through somewhat of an internal crisis in her ability (or lack thereof) to lead.  They really didn't stand a chance.

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 Well, Nynaeve had been basically the leader of a sizeable village for years and has had to deal the mayor and the Village Council and with problems within the women circle, so she should've been experienced in negotiating. And Elayne was trained for Queen her whole life, and obviously negotiating is an important skill to have. Obviously they aren't supposed to be top experts on this like the Sea Folk leader, but still being so completely outmanoeuvred was very implausible to me. Especially considering that one of the Sea Folk gave away how precious the Bowl was for them before the negotiations started and that Elayne and Nynaeve had no idea only the Sea Folk had the knowledge to operate it successfully.

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 and that Elayne and Nynaeve had no idea only the Sea Folk had the knowledge to operate it successfully.

 

Elayne had a pretty clear idea of how much more advanced there skills where in that area.

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 Well, Nynaeve had been basically the leader of a sizeable village for years and has had to deal the mayor and the Village Council and with problems within the women circle, so she should've been experienced in negotiating. And Elayne was trained for Queen her whole life, and obviously negotiating is an important skill to have. Obviously they aren't supposed to be top experts on this like the Sea Folk leader, but still being so completely outmanoeuvred was very implausible to me. Especially considering that one of the Sea Folk gave away how precious the Bowl was for them before the negotiations started and that Elayne and Nynaeve had no idea only the Sea Folk had the knowledge to operate it successfully.

Nynaeve doesn't negotiate with the Village Council or Women's Circle.  She loses her temper with them and bullies them into doing what she wants, a method which would not prove effective with the Sea Folk.  R.e. Elayne, she probably has a slightly better chance, but being taught to rule and taught to be a trader are very different things.  Andoran's are fairly straight forward and not particularly expert at Daes Dae'mar.  Elayne will have a reasonable grasp of trade, but she is only eighteen and has spent some of that time at the White Tower learning about things other then ruling.  Elayne will have been learning about many things as well as trading, and I doubt the Andorans have much experience with the Sea Folk given they are a land locked nation.

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I think a big part of the problem is the cultural disconnect, especially in the role of advisors/teachers or anything like that.

 

A big part of it was that Elayne and co thought the advisor/teacher was a honoured position, whereas obviously the sea folk thought it was a low ranking or terrible rank.

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I think a big part of the problem is the cultural disconnect, especially in the role of advisors/teachers or anything like that.

 

A big part of it was that Elayne and co thought the advisor/teacher was a honoured position, whereas obviously the sea folk thought it was a low ranking or terrible rank.

 

Which, let's be honest, isn't a very realistic outlook. What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

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I think a big part of the problem is the cultural disconnect, especially in the role of advisors/teachers or anything like that.

 

A big part of it was that Elayne and co thought the advisor/teacher was a honoured position, whereas obviously the sea folk thought it was a low ranking or terrible rank.

 

Which, let's be honest, isn't a very realistic outlook. What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

 

true, but I think the girls thought the advisor roles to be much more positive and honoured like their roles as advisors on land. Which if it where the same would have totally changed the value of the deal.

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I think a big part of the problem is the cultural disconnect, especially in the role of advisors/teachers or anything like that.

 

A big part of it was that Elayne and co thought the advisor/teacher was a honoured position, whereas obviously the sea folk thought it was a low ranking or terrible rank.

 

Which, let's be honest, isn't a very realistic outlook. What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

 

 

I always took the Sea Folk's position on the Aes Sedai teachers as a defense mechanism more than anything else. I mean, really, if you and your people had managed to avoid WT entanglements for pretty much ever and you got the opportunity to learn from them, knowing how they always march in and take over and turn everyone into obedient lapdogs (be it from bullying or manipulation), would you want to take any chances that your entire race ends up being controlled by the WT? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd want to make sure the "teachers" knew their place and that they would not be taking over or manipulating my people at all, and would want to go out of my way to make them fear us instead of the other way around. Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud. The scene where they abused Nynaeve irritated me to no end, and I find most of the Sea Folk detestable, but I can't blame them for wanting to get the upper hand with the AS...otherwise, they would've ended up obeying the AS and jumping when the bloody women clapped. 

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What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

 

 

I always took the Sea Folk's position on the Aes Sedai teachers as a defense mechanism more than anything else. I mean, really, if you and your people had managed to avoid WT entanglements for pretty much ever and you got the opportunity to learn from them, knowing how they always march in and take over and turn everyone into obedient lapdogs (be it from bullying or manipulation), would you want to take any chances that your entire race ends up being controlled by the WT? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd want to make sure the "teachers" knew their place and that they would not be taking over or manipulating my people at all, and would want to go out of my way to make them fear us instead of the other way around. Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud. The scene where they abused Nynaeve irritated me to no end, and I find most of the Sea Folk detestable, but I can't blame them for wanting to get the upper hand with the AS...otherwise, they would've ended up obeying the AS and jumping when the bloody women clapped. 

 

 

Except it isn't only Aes Sedai teachers that are treated this way, it's ANY teacher from outside the Sea Folk.  They treat teachers and instructors so badly that the Sea Folk have to literally offer BAGS of gold just to get people to agree to come on board and instruct for a period of time, regardless of what they're supposed to be there to teach.

Edited by Zhon

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 Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud.

 

Zhon alreadys shot most of the theory down but wanted to address this. We see what happenes in the books when the AS were given "half a chance" and the "channeler exchange" program is implemented. There are safeguards set in place in place precisely so the above doesn't happen.

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 Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud.

 

Zhon alreadys shot most of the theory down but wanted to address this. We see what happenes in the books when the AS were given "half a chance" and the "channeler exchange" program is implemented. There are safeguards set in place in place precisely so the above doesn't happen.

 

 Except this is down to Eg, none of the other AS were happy at the time -

 

From Towers:

 

"It still isn't right to give up, Mother," Yukiri finally said. "With effort, we could bring the Wise Ones and Windfinders under control."

 

Additionally in this case what each of the groups believe is more important than the reality - as their beliefs make it a reality.

 

Prior to Eg all three female channelling groups have kept their strength and numbers hidden because they're all afraid of how the AS will react and based on events so far the Seafolk, in particular, have valid reasons to believe this - the WF sent never return to the ships. 

 

During the same conversation as the above the three groups present all allude to it, both the Aiel and the Seafolk think that the AS will 'spirit away' their channelers if they're discovered.  Even Eg refers to 'allowing' the 'token sacrifices' freedom to return to the ships... 

 

Same conversation in Towers

 

"We need to share what we know with one another," Egwene said. "We three groups—women who can channel—need to form an alliance."

 

"With the White Tower in control, I assume," Shielyn said.

 

...

 

Egwene sniffed. "Token sacrifices sent so we will not become suspicious of your Windfinders. Your women often seclude themselves, or come reluctantly. I would have that practice stop—there is no reason to deny potential Windfinders to your people."

 

...

 

"If we let the Aes Sedai set hooks into our apprentices," Melaine said, "they will not soon be pulled free."

 

...

 

"It could be," Egwene replied. "If we allow Sea Folk channelers to return to you instead of requiring that they stay in the Tower, you will no longer have such a strong need of the Aes Sedai teachers."

 

"This must be a different agreement." Shielyn shook her head. "And it will not be a bargain to make lightly. Aes Sedai are serpents, like those rings you wear."

 

Eg does a great deal to change this during the meeting, but that doesn't alter the reality and perception before the meeting.

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Eg does a great deal to change this during the meeting, but that doesn't alter the reality and perception before the meeting.

 

Some good points there BFG. So are you suggesting that the WF's policy on teachers(as Zhon points out it's all, not just AS) isn't so much cultural? It actually stems from some inherent distrust of AS a need to steer clear of WT entanglements?

Edited by Suttree

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Eg does a great deal to change this during the meeting, but that doesn't alter the reality and perception before the meeting.

Some good points there BFG. So are you suggesting that the WF's policy on teachers(as Zhon points out it's all, not just AS) isn't so much cultural? It actually stems from some inherent distrust of AS a need to steer clear of WT entanglements?

No, I think the seafolk reaction to teachers are nuts. But I don't recall seeing any other teachers on screen to compare how bad the treatment is. We know from the gift of passage that AS are treated differently than other people, because the seafolk are scsred of being discovered.

 

The situation's also a little different because normal teachers can leave but the AS are stuck

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Eg does a great deal to change this during the meeting, but that doesn't alter the reality and perception before the meeting

No, I think the seafolk reaction to teachers are nuts. But I don't recall seeing any other teachers on screen to compare how bad the treatment is. We know from the gift of passage that AS are treated differently than other people, because the seafolk are scsred of being discovered.

 

The situation's also a little different because normal teachers can leave but the AS are stuck

 

 

Exactly. However they treat other teachers, the Seafolk fear and distrust the AS too much to give them an inch and they have very valid reasons for feeling that way. 

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I think a big part of the problem is the cultural disconnect, especially in the role of advisors/teachers or anything like that.

 

A big part of it was that Elayne and co thought the advisor/teacher was a honoured position, whereas obviously the sea folk thought it was a low ranking or terrible rank.

 

Which, let's be honest, isn't a very realistic outlook. What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

 

 

I always took the Sea Folk's position on the Aes Sedai teachers as a defense mechanism more than anything else. I mean, really, if you and your people had managed to avoid WT entanglements for pretty much ever and you got the opportunity to learn from them, knowing how they always march in and take over and turn everyone into obedient lapdogs (be it from bullying or manipulation), would you want to take any chances that your entire race ends up being controlled by the WT? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd want to make sure the "teachers" knew their place and that they would not be taking over or manipulating my people at all, and would want to go out of my way to make them fear us instead of the other way around. Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud. The scene where they abused Nynaeve irritated me to no end, and I find most of the Sea Folk detestable, but I can't blame them for wanting to get the upper hand with the AS...otherwise, they would've ended up obeying the AS and jumping when the bloody women clapped. 

 

 

The Sea Folk had a very strict hierarchy and ranking in their culture. There was no need of teachers, as there were few students. When a member of the SF comes of age (probably 11 or so) they start working to "earn their pay". At around 15, they are required to become apprenticed (how apprenticeships work is unclear). They learn by seeing and by doing and by discipline for not doing fast enough. The culture disdains academic education because it gets in the way of learning by doing

 

 

 

What kind of culture regards being a teacher as being just short of a deckhand, and actually seems to find it shaming

 

 

I always took the Sea Folk's position on the Aes Sedai teachers as a defense mechanism more than anything else. I mean, really, if you and your people had managed to avoid WT entanglements for pretty much ever and you got the opportunity to learn from them, knowing how they always march in and take over and turn everyone into obedient lapdogs (be it from bullying or manipulation), would you want to take any chances that your entire race ends up being controlled by the WT? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd want to make sure the "teachers" knew their place and that they would not be taking over or manipulating my people at all, and would want to go out of my way to make them fear us instead of the other way around. Additionally, the Sea Folk knew the AS would somehow end up stealing every last channeler from them given half a chance, and wanted to nip that in the bud. The scene where they abused Nynaeve irritated me to no end, and I find most of the Sea Folk detestable, but I can't blame them for wanting to get the upper hand with the AS...otherwise, they would've ended up obeying the AS and jumping when the bloody women clapped. 

 

 

Except it isn't only Aes Sedai teachers that are treated this way, it's ANY teacher from outside the Sea Folk.  They treat teachers and instructors so badly that the Sea Folk have to literally offer BAGS of gold just to get people to agree to come on board and instruct for a period of time, regardless of what they're supposed to be there to teach.

 

On the contrary, it's only channelers - specifically AS - that are treated so poorly. Nynaeve wasn't "abused", the windfinders were merely being very forceful in their teaching, standard practice among the athan meire. Although i think they were a little harsh on her, it wasn't unjustified IMO

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On the contrary, it's only channelers - specifically AS - that are treated so poorly. Nynaeve wasn't "abused", the windfinders were merely being very forceful in their teaching, standard practice among the athan meire. Although i think they were a little harsh on her, it wasn't unjustified IMO

I am fairly certain that somewhere in the books it is stated that any shorebound teacher (of channeling, or anything else) is treated as being equivalent to a deckhand.

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On the contrary, it's only channelers - specifically AS - that are treated so poorly. Nynaeve wasn't "abused", the windfinders were merely being very forceful in their teaching, standard practice among the athan meire. Although i think they were a little harsh on her, it wasn't unjustified IMO

I am fairly certain that somewhere in the books it is stated that any shorebound teacher (of channeling, or anything else) is treated as being equivalent to a deckhand.

 

But they pay them well. They recognize the necessity, but view academics as an inferior way to learn something - you learn by doing and by training and by climbing the ranks. The shorebound are "weak" and have no concept of rank or influence (and the AS system of raw channeling strength as a measure of rank always felt wrong to me, somehow).

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