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The White Tower And Oaths of Fealty

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Yes, except it's not just two. She extorted those oaths from 8 AS, I think (Niasu, Beonin and the Salidar Six).

The Salidar Six? Are those Sheriam and the rest?

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Yes. BTW apparently I was wrong. Beonin is one of the Six (Sheriam, Anaiya, Myrelle, Beonin, Morvrin and Carlinya), and Nisao Dachen is the only other AS to swear to Egwene, so that makes it 7 AS (plus two pseudo-sisters).

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I see why you could make a parallel between Egwene action and Elaida's mad ideas , demanding an oath of fealty on a few semi-rogue agent of an already rogue group and imposing total and unshakable obedience to one ruler for the rest of your life sure is similar ...

 

The fact of the matter is that Egwene oath of fealty is not so much about controlling the few Aes Sedai who actually swore as to imposing her authority . At the time she is little more than a puppet on the eyes of almost every single Aes'Sedai who care about it , so she need to make it clear she was the Amyrlin Seat not a little accepted way over her head , and so she stood over 6 AS ,to my account , with an oath of fealty some freely given other "forcibly " given . For Nicolas and her friend you don't seem to realize that they where blackmailing the Amyrlin Seat , of a rogue faction maybe but still , and one of the heroes of the story , imagine they had their way with her ? Before going any further , we should perhaps clarify the difference between an oath of fealty and imposing total obedience to one individual .

First and foremost fealty is allegiance it is not obedience , it is not domination , it don't even mean you are forced to obey the every whim of the person you swear your allegiance to .It is loyalty , it express a bound between two , in the more formal way it is the expression of an "open" hierarchy . It is a contract between two people , a vassal swear to bring troops to is lord ,sometimes taxes , follow the law of it's lord , there are compromise of course , and in return the lord grant it's protection , sometime money and favors to the vassal . But most importantly this contract can be revoked anytime the vassal wants , assuming he want's it , you are completely free to act in the boundary of your oath witch depend on the actual force of the two protagonist . Allegiance may sometime be be mixed up for total domination but it is not , you get as much as you give from the bargain that is an oath of fealty .

What Elaida wanted was to put a rule into each Aes'Sedai that breath :" you will obey in every way possible the Amyrlin seat " there is no choice , no freedom , and almost no room inside that "oath" , there is only obedience . Why she wanted this is either power hunger or envy to end the rebellion , Egwene did not want power she wanted support , even a forced support , and she wanted to reunite the tower . Context is important , the situation seems similar but there is huge differences .

 

Egwene didn't demand absolute obedience of the poor little sisters , she did not compel them either , she just exerted her authority , it is really not that much of a big deal.

To respond to the Op Allegiance to the Amyrlin is Allegiance to the White Tower so there is no contradiction , even if the oath are less then customary , when sister swore fealty to Rand this was in direct contradiction with their Allegiance with the White tower , as the WT wanted rand in their custody at the time . Of course the major flaw is that the Aes'Sedai don't truly recognized the role of Rand in the war against the shadow .

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For Nicolas and her friend you don't seem to realize that they where blackmailing the Amyrlin Seat

Nicola and Ariana were never AS, and neither swore fealty to Egwene. As to the difference between what Egwene and Elaida had in mind, it's not as pronounced as you make it. In fact, the Binder seems to be the only difference. Elaida talked of "obedience to the White Tower" and "obey the Amyrlin", whereas Theodrin and Faolain swore "Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I [...] swear fealty to you, Egwene al'Vere, to faithfully serve and obey on pain of my life and honor" and Nisao and Myrelle swore using different words, but just as powerful an oath (meaning, obedience was part of their oath as well). We're left to assume that the five remaining did the same.

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I think this is one of Egwene's earlier mistakes, back when she didn't approve of the Oaths, before Siuan had finished persuading her of the value of Aes Sedai culture. Egwene has always been arrogant, but there are different kinds of arrogance. Her old form was more personal. Her new form is partisan, being arrogant in the name of the White Tower.

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No, Egwene basically asked for total obedience and the fact that the AS have sworn the 3 oaths, meaning they cannot lie, means she has gotten it. She even tells Myrelle to listen to whatever Siuan tells her to do, and she does it.

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No, Egwene basically asked for total obedience and the fact that the AS have sworn the 3 oaths, meaning they cannot lie, means she has gotten it. She even tells Myrelle to listen to whatever Siuan tells her to do, and she does it.

 

Except in a different thread you said...

 

thisguy, on 26 August 2012 - 11:07 AM, said:

 

It should be implicit at this point that AS will not lie or use the power as a weapon except against DF but they still do.

 

You know as well as I do there are ways to spin that oath. They can easily get around "total obedience" if they put there mind to it. Again however "total obedience" is what the little tower tried to do to Egwene in making her a puppet Amyrlin. In this instance with her trying to establish herself and get out from under the yoke turnabout is most certainly fair play. As we see from the books she has moved on from needing such a tactic now that she is established.

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Suttree, you're partially right. We actually see examples of that -- Beonin for one. She was able to do what she did, but a short argument with Egwene again rendered her unable to resist (and she took some fairly substantial risks because of that).

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Suttree, you're partially right. We actually see examples of that -- Beonin for one. She was able to do what she did, but a short argument with Egwene again rendered her unable to resist (and she took some fairly substantial risks because of that).

Total obedience wouldn't allow that , there would be no need of an argument between the two of them , there would be no resistance . Total obedience mean's no more free will , it is compulsion , you cannot ask for it .

Egwene made them realize , in the current war against Elaida , the chief was not the little Tower , it was not every sister for themselves , She was in command , she demanded allegiance not total obedience .

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But isn't that too naive? Galina certainly took an Oath of total obedience (on a Binder, no less), and still she conspired to get away. There are ways around even the most strict oaths.

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But isn't that too naive? Galina certainly took an Oath of total obedience (on a Binder, no less), and still she conspired to get away. There are ways around even the most strict oaths.

That is my point , I am not sure you are responding to my comment , But Nicolas did run away from her oaths , the only restricting quality of an oath is the value you put on your word .

Egwene could have been overstepping her authority but she did not , the allegiance she demanded was her due as the Amyrlin .

There is a huge gap between what she did , what Rand did and what Elaida wanted to do .

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Again, Nicola isn't AS (so she can falsely swear if she chooses to), and she never swore fealty to Egwene. Beonin, on the other hand, had to convince herself that the oath no longer stood (she swore to the Amyrlin, as she saw things, and Egwene was no longer Amyrlin), and once things were presented another way to her, she was immediately bounded by it again. That's not that far away from what the Binder would've done.

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Again, Nicola isn't AS (so she can falsely swear if she chooses to), and she never swore fealty to Egwene. Beonin, on the other hand, had to convince herself that the oath no longer stood (she swore to the Amyrlin, as she saw things, and Egwene was no longer Amyrlin), and once things were presented another way to her, she was immediately bounded by it again. That's not that far away from what the Binder would've done.

 

Binder oaths don't work retroactively. The oaths she took on the rod do not compel her to keep the oaths she takes without the rod. All it does is prevent her from making any oaths that she does not mean at the time she says them. If Beonin was compelled (not magically, lol) to honor her oath of fealty to Egwene, it would have to be because she felt she was morally obligated to, not because the rod forced her to.

 

Though there may be more to this story, I don't remember all the details with Beonin. But unless she swore on the rod to serve the Amyrlin, then she's not compelled to forever honor a promise made to the Amyrlin.

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She swore fealty and obedience to the Amyrlin while Bonded to say the truth, meaning that she meant every word, and therefore owe Egwene fealty. But only as long as she believes her oaths to be in effect. The Binder doesn't work retroactively, but is highly dependent upon perception. So, Beonin's believing that Egwene is still in a position to deserve that fealty is what made her obey.

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She swore fealty and obedience to the Amyrlin while Bonded to say the truth, meaning that she meant every word, and therefore owe Egwene fealty. But only as long as she believes her oaths to be in effect. The Binder doesn't work retroactively, but is highly dependent upon perception. So, Beonin's believing that Egwene is still in a position to deserve that fealty is what made her obey.

You are right , , what make her obey is the recognition that Egwene whether in the stool or a novice dress is the Amyrlin . And you are also right in normal time that would not be acceptable , after rereading both passage I find myself more open to your point .

In effect there would be not so many differences between the oath of Elaida and the oath of Egwene , both would compel you to obey the Amyrlin in a fashion . But while the first would simply bound the Aes'Sedai to total obedience for no other reason than the binder ; the second through the three oath would be morally obliged to obey , if not she would become an oathbreaker and that is not possible , yet all of those are choices each made willingly .

Yes Egwene put them in situation where they had in fact little choice, either face punishment or swear fealty .

But with Egwene oath the gain something , namely the protection of the Amyrlin , yes the three oath bound them to honor the word but they could always have choose not to take it . And as you said it yourself Aes'Sedai do work around their oath Beonin and Meidaini certainly work around their's , so all those oath gIve Egwene is the authority they allowed her to have , and in fact all Egwene demandewas loyalty she didn't demand obedience , they gave that of their own .

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She swore fealty and obedience to the Amyrlin while Bonded to say the truth, meaning that she meant every word, and therefore owe Egwene fealty. But only as long as she believes her oaths to be in effect. The Binder doesn't work retroactively, but is highly dependent upon perception. So, Beonin's believing that Egwene is still in a position to deserve that fealty is what made her obey.

 

If she didn't swear the oath of fealty on the Oath Rod, then she's not bound by the Oath Rod to that oath of fealty. Not unless she swore on the Oath Rod to follow whatever oaths she makes. The Oath to speak "no word that's not true" does NOT force you to keep oaths or have effects on you if you break an oath. It just means you can only swear to oaths that you mean when you say it.

 

Maybe it'd help if I read the passage myself to refresh my mind of any nuances I'm missing particular to this situation. What chapter?

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in fact all Egwene demande was loyalty she didn't demand obedience , they gave that of their own .

No, Egwene actually did demand obedience. I can count numerous examples, but the one I've already mentioned suffices. She ordered Beonin to perform certain tasks in the Tower that involved a personal risk (of being punished by Elaida, very likely harshly), and demanded obedience (she called the risk 'a penance').

Also, note that Meidani's working around her Oath is actually one more example to the similarity between the oath Egwene extorted out of 7 sisters and an Oath of obedience made on the Binder (Meidani was Binder-bound to serve the BA-hunters).

 

However, I do agree that Egwene's motives are much more respectable than Elaida's, and her need greater. It's just that the final result differs very slightly, so it's very odd she assumed that tone of total conviction when indicting Elaida.

 

EDIT:

It just means you can only swear to oaths that you mean when you say it.

 

Maybe it'd help if I read the passage myself to refresh my mind of any nuances I'm missing particular to this situation. What chapter?

You're right, it only forces you to mean the oath of fealty. Only, an oath of fealty and obedience you meant, and swore by your hopes of rebirth and salvation, is its own constraint. The chapters you're looking for are ACoS11: An Oath, ACoS12: A Morning of Victory and TGS2: The Nature of Pain

Edited by yoniy0

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in fact all Egwene demande was loyalty she didn't demand obedience , they gave that of their own .

No, Egwene actually did demand obedience. I can count numerous examples, but the one I've already mentioned suffices. She ordered Beonin to perform certain tasks in the Tower that involved a personal risk (of being punished by Elaida, very likely harshly), and demanded obedience (she called the risk 'a penance').

Also, note that Meidani's working around her Oath is actually one more example to the similarity between the oath Egwene extorted out of 7 sisters and an Oath of obedience made on the Binder (Meidani was Binder-bound to serve the BA-hunters).

 

However, I do agree that Egwene's motives are much more respectable than Elaida's, and her need greater. It's just that the final result differs very slightly, so it's very odd she assumed that tone of total conviction when indicting Elaida.

 

EDIT:

It just means you can only swear to oaths that you mean when you say it.

 

Maybe it'd help if I read the passage myself to refresh my mind of any nuances I'm missing particular to this situation. What chapter?

You're right, it only forces you to mean the oath of fealty. Only, an oath of fealty and obedience you meant, and swore by your hopes of rebirth and salvation, is its own constraint. The chapters you're looking for are ACoS11: An Oath, ACoS12: A Morning of Victory and TGS2: The Nature of Pain

I would have to disagree with you on that point , I just reread the passage what she ask of them is an oath of fealty , witch demand allegiance so a bit of obedience by extension but no necessarily as we have seen with Rand's Aes Sedai .

If I'm to take on that responsibility , then you must have an obligation too. I must be able to trust you utterly , and I can only see one way to do that [...] you must swear fealty "

Then we have the Aes'Sedai including formally their obedience on their oath but she did not demand it , I don't have the wording for the next one and I will look for them . Well that don't discard the possibility she implied she wanted obedience but she did not expressly demand she wanted them to obey her every whim .

I agree with you about the slim difference's and Agitel worded my concern much more efficiently than I did on that point .

I agree with you the final result differ slightly , both would obey with pretty much the same restriction , in fact it is the difference between tyrannic law and democratic law .

Under tyranny you obey because a higher power constrict you into obedience with force or fear , under democratic law you choose to be part of a community and decide with that community the law you will obey . In the end you obey , you shackle yourself , but in one you are free and in the other you are a slave .

With the three oath those Aes'Sedai Are bound to mean the oath they take and so make a covenant with Egwene , and they obey her order , but eventually the covenant can be broken , of course it was not because neither party wanted it to be broken . If Meidaini didn't recognize in Egwene the Amyrlin she wanted in power she could have rejected her authority .

Yet it is a very perilous road to take and not nearly as clean as It looks like .

Egwene reaction to Elaida proposal is understandable , by then she had learned the importance of the sanctity of the three oath ,more so she understand that putting a fouth oath in place one about obedience would defile this sanctity , making Aes'Sedai nothing more than the puppet of a despot .

 

When she order them , she is the Amyrlin giving command to her Aes'Sedai , this as to do with the oath of fealty yes but this as to do also with the rebellion against Elaida .

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I see why you could make a parallel between Egwene action and Elaida's mad ideas , demanding an oath of fealty on a few semi-rogue agent of an already rogue group and imposing total and unshakable obedience to one ruler for the rest of your life sure is similar ...

 

The fact of the matter is that Egwene oath of fealty is not so much about controlling the few Aes Sedai who actually swore as to imposing her authority . At the time she is little more than a puppet on the eyes of almost every single Aes'Sedai who care about it , so she need to make it clear she was the Amyrlin Seat not a little accepted way over her head , and so she stood over 6 AS ,to my account , with an oath of fealty some freely given other "forcibly " given . For Nicolas and her friend you don't seem to realize that they where blackmailing the Amyrlin Seat , of a rogue faction maybe but still , and one of the heroes of the story , imagine they had their way with her ? Before going any further , we should perhaps clarify the difference between an oath of fealty and imposing total obedience to one individual .

First and foremost fealty is allegiance it is not obedience , it is not domination , it don't even mean you are forced to obey the every whim of the person you swear your allegiance to .It is loyalty , it express a bound between two , in the more formal way it is the expression of an "open" hierarchy . It is a contract between two people , a vassal swear to bring troops to is lord ,sometimes taxes , follow the law of it's lord , there are compromise of course , and in return the lord grant it's protection , sometime money and favors to the vassal . But most importantly this contract can be revoked anytime the vassal wants , assuming he want's it , you are completely free to act in the boundary of your oath witch depend on the actual force of the two protagonist . Allegiance may sometime be be mixed up for total domination but it is not , you get as much as you give from the bargain that is an oath of fealty .

What Elaida wanted was to put a rule into each Aes'Sedai that breath :" you will obey in every way possible the Amyrlin seat " there is no choice , no freedom , and almost no room inside that "oath" , there is only obedience . Why she wanted this is either power hunger or envy to end the rebellion , Egwene did not want power she wanted support , even a forced support , and she wanted to reunite the tower . Context is important , the situation seems similar but there is huge differences .

 

Egwene didn't demand absolute obedience of the poor little sisters , she did not compel them either , she just exerted her authority , it is really not that much of a big deal.

To respond to the Op Allegiance to the Amyrlin is Allegiance to the White Tower so there is no contradiction , even if the oath are less then customary , when sister swore fealty to Rand this was in direct contradiction with their Allegiance with the White tower , as the WT wanted rand in their custody at the time . Of course the major flaw is that the Aes'Sedai don't truly recognized the role of Rand in the war against the shadow .

 

Oath of fealty Egwene extracted was definitely about obedience, not establishing her authority. Her threats to Lelaine and Romanda after War vote were along that line, but oath was about them obeying what she orders them to do. To help you with numbers it was 2 AS that volunteered (Faolain and Theodrin) and 7 (Nisao and SS) that she blackmailed and there is no “ ” about it. She threatened to expose their cover operation (sending group off sisters to Tower to spread information - most likely fabricated by Siuan, yes, but believed to be true – without informing Hall due to fear of possible moles from either Shadow or Tower, both of which turn out to be correct, I just felt it was necessary to emphasis that) thus subjecting them to purely political reprisal from rival factions eager to bring them down. She may not have gotten total obedience, but those 7 she blackmailed have to do what she says although they demonstratively don’t want to. Just because she didn’t magically compelled them doesn’t mean that she didn’t compelled them at all.

Comparing what Egwene did and what Elaida did and putting it in context would be like this:

Egwene, through illegal means (blackmail), forced prominent members of her organization and her opposition into submission in order to straighten her political position.

Elaida dreamed, fantasized, mused and to my recollection mentioned aloud twice (with Meidani and later during diner with Sitters – diners seems to be unfortunate meals for her) her desire to make amendment of sort to laws of WT and AS giving office she held unprecedented authority, in order to straighten her political position. Without making any actual steps to that goal (again to my recollection).

Or to make this analogy: Elaida can be likened to a president who, faced with hostile Congress thinks “Damn, I really wish that I can pass laws by decree” while Egwene in that situation have her chief of stuff catch leaders of strongest faction in Congress in some wrongdoing, invites them in her office, presents her information and says: “From now on you vote as I say or this is going public”. And the kicker: she does the same sort of things.

As for your claim that allegiance to the Amyrlin is allegiance to the White Tower so there is no contradiction I would say that I most strongly disagree. Head of organization/state is not the same as organization/state. After all Amyrlin is mundanely elected official, not divinely appointed one or hereditary despot as Empress for that matter.

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There's one major difference between Egwene's oath and Elaida's. There is no element of compulsion in Egwene's. If Egwene ordered one of her liege women to lie, they wouldn't start choking because they're compelled to lie but cannot because of the first Oath. They can argue against, and plainly refuse:

 

Anaiya and the others, all but Sheriam, scattered as soon as they reached the first row of tents beyond the wagons. Each would be seeking out the head of her Ajah, ostensibly to report on Egwene's ride to the river with Lord Gareth, and more importantly, to make sure those Ajah heads knew that some of the Sitters were talking about negotiations with Elaida and that Egwene was being firm. It would have been easier if she knew who those women were, but even oaths of fealty did not stretch to revealing that. Myrelle had nearly swallowed her tongue when Egwene suggested it.

 

Compare that to this:

 

"Well," Pevara said. Then again, more grimly, "Well!" Her face was all composure, but the glitter in her dark eyes was far from the mischief Seaine remembered as novice and Accepted. "So you are the source of that . . . rumor. You are going to stand before the Hall and reveal it for the lie it is! Admit the lie, girl!"

If Zerah's eyes had been wide before, they bulged now. The Rod dropped from her hands to roll across the tabletop, and she clutched her throat. A choking sound came from her suddenly gaping mouth. Pevara stared at her in shock, but suddenly Seaine understood.

 

Zerah has no option but to follow the order immediately. Even when no conflicting oaths are involved:

 

"I cannot think they would send only one," she went on. "Zerah, how many of you came to spread this tale?" "Ten," the woman mumbled against the tabletop, then jerked erect, glaring in defiance. "I will not betray my sisters! I won't!" Abruptly she cut off, lips twisting bitterly as she realized she had done just that.

 

Egwene clearly got no such revelation from Myrelle when she asked about the Ajah Heads. Myrelle was able to refuse. Zerah had obeyed before she could even register the import of the order.

 

Same with Rand. He tries ordering the sisters sworn to him to teach Alivia, and they refuse. Rand makes a similar statement as Egwene that the oath of fealty doesn't seem to cover that.

 

Rand had tried to make the sisters sworn to him teach the Seanchan woman more about the Power, but to their minds, that had nothing to do with their oaths of fealty. She was safe to herself and seemed safe to others, and they were content to leave matters as they were.

 

It seems that absolute obedience is no part of an oath of fealty, Oath Rod or no. But Elaida's Oath would have meant exactly that.

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the oaths to egwene are no different than the oaths to Rand taken by his AS. There is latitude for the AS to decide how they will follow the oath of fealty but they must follow the one they swore to. The only thing that supersedes the oath of fealty is the three oaths; egwene cannot get her AS to break the three oaths to obey her oath of fealty.

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the oaths to egwene are no different than the oaths to Rand taken by his AS. There is latitude for the AS to decide how they will follow the oath of fealty but they must follow the one they swore to. The only thing that supersedes the oath of fealty is the three oaths; egwene cannot get her AS to break the three oaths to obey her oath of fealty.

 

I agree. The oaths Egwene received are no different from Rand's, and given for the same reason (blackmail). Kiruna and the others could have said "we will not kneel and swear no matter what you do to us" at Dumai's Wells and probably gotten beatings from the Wise Ones as a result. If Sheriam's circle had refused, they would have risked being birched, i.e. stripped naked and flogged in public while the rest of the Tower watches. It's a pretty direct and almost certainly intentional parallel; Rand got nine sworn AS at Dumai's Wells, then Egwene got nine sworn AS shortly afterwards.

 

Beonin gestured and waited until her own Warder, a lean man with a long scar on his face, joined them. She adjusted her shawl several times. “Me, I betrayed nothing,” she said quietly. “I would not have sworn to you except that the Hall, it would have had me birched if it learned the secrets you knew. Perhaps more than once, even. Reason enough to swear, no? I never pretended to love you, yet I maintained that oath until you were captured. But you are no longer Amyrlin, yes? Not as a captive, not when there was no hope of rescuing you, when you refused rescue. And you are a novice once more, so that oath, it has two reasons to hold no longer. The talk of rebellion, it was wild talk. The rebellion is finished. The White Tower, it will soon be whole again, and I will not be sorry to see it so."

[...]

Egwene smiled at her. Not two hours earlier she had managed to smile the moment Silviana’s strap stopped falling. This was much harder. “And who can say what I might squeal? About oaths, perhaps?” The color drained from the other woman’s cheeks, leaving her face bloodless pale. No, she did not want that getting out. “You may have convinced yourself I am no longer Amyrlin, Beonin, but it’s time to start convincing yourself that I still am. You will warn the others, whatever the cost to yourself."

 

I don't blame Egwene for using whatever tools were available to her; it was a smart move to get Sheriam's circle under her thumb, and she needed any advantage she could get. But it is hypocritical of Egwene to condemn Rand for this in Winter's Heart, saying, "I am not trying to Heal the White Tower just so he can chain Aes Sedai like damane." Which is a very telling statement considering Egwene's feelings about damane. Obviously she considers Rand's actions despicable, yet has never reflected on the morality of having done the same thing herself.

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Eggy is like that. She takes whatever view is most beneficial for her to believe at the time, and is fanatical about it. If what is beneficial to her changes, her view changes to whatever is most beneficial, even if it contradicts what she was thought two minutes before, or what she holds others to. Her world is centered around her, and she rarely thinks beyond what can extend her own power (the exception to this is the occasional thought about TG). In this, she represents the majority of AS.

 

This doesn't make her any worse than anyone else, it just makes her seem shallow.

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I agree. The oaths Egwene received are no different from Rand's, and given for the same reason (blackmail). Kiruna and the others could have said "we will not kneel and swear no matter what you do to us" at Dumai's Wells and probably gotten beatings from the Wise Ones as a result. If Sheriam's circle had refused, they would have risked being birched, i.e. stripped naked and flogged in public while the rest of the Tower watches. It's a pretty direct and almost certainly intentional parallel; Rand got nine sworn AS at Dumai's Wells, then Egwene got nine sworn AS shortly afterwards.

 

Isn't it taveren that made the Aes Sedai swear to Rand. Of course there was still some blackmail, at least on Taim's part, though it's still on Rand since he was there and did nothing to stop it.

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