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The Guardians balance the Servants


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Okay, seems everyone (except me) agrees that guardians and servants are Asha'man and Aes sedai... But then what does this mean for the time after the last battle which this prophecy refers to and how does it relate to the Seanchan?

 

The prophecy says the 'The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance out the servants." So are the Asha'man and Aes Sedai still fighting after the last battle? Instead of being able to focus on the Seanchan perhaps the White Tower focuses on the Asha'man...

 

First off it's "guardians balance the servants" there is no out. The most likely scenario is they join together. Not sure why you would get fighting out if that.

Oh strange, my bad... I swear when I looked it up I read balance out. Well then... oops.

I still think there is an implication of fighting, simply because the prophecy is about the world being 'not yet done with battle.' If they joined they wouldn't Balance each other, they would double each other or strengthen each other. 'The future teeters on the edge of a blade' - invoking the balance metaphor again, this time in a clear negative 'it could go one way, Or the other' kind of way.

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Okay, seems everyone (except me) agrees that guardians and servants are Asha'man and Aes sedai... But then what does this mean for the time after the last battle which this prophecy refers to and how does it relate to the Seanchan?

 

The prophecy says the 'The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance out the servants." So are the Asha'man and Aes Sedai still fighting after the last battle? Instead of being able to focus on the Seanchan perhaps the White Tower focuses on the Asha'man...

 

First off it's "guardians balance the servants" there is no out. The most likely scenario is they join together. Not sure why you would get fighting out if that.

Oh strange, my bad... I swear when I looked it up I read balance out. Well then... oops.

I still think there is an implication of fighting, simply because the prophecy is about the world being 'not yet done with battle.' If they joined they wouldn't Balance each other, they would double each other or strengthen each other. 'The future teeters on the edge of a blade' - invoking the balance metaphor again, this time in a clear negative 'it could go one way, Or the other' kind of way.

 

The world is not done with battle becaus the land is still divided by the "return". That indicates the Seanchan to me.

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They could be balancing the Seanchan captured Aes Sedai (if the tower falls to Fortuona while Egwene is arguing with Rand, they could have a decent number of fresh Aes Sedai "recruits"). Add to that the vision Avi had where all Aes Sedai were dead or captured, and the Black Tower held out the longest... I think it COULD be supporting the idea that Avi's vision comes true? Or maybe mostly true, with the nations uniting against Seanchan and the Guardians balancing the power inequality.

 

 

Or maybe they join forces, but the balance is more internal, ie: The Aes Sedai are largely incompetent with regards to battle, but they are very good at manipulating and governing, or being politicians, whereas the Asha'man have no experience at politicking, and they don't have the respect of rulers anyways, but they are very good at making war. working together they would create balance. Black and white, diplomacy and action, et cetera. The Asha'man could fix the Aes Sedai impotence that has been becoming more and more apparent to the world. And, if all goes well, they won't be harnessed by those pesky oaths.

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Has anyone noticed that in that Foretelling that guardians and servants are NOT capatalised? Which brings me to throw this in from left field:

 

The land divided by the Return...

 

Perhaps the "guardians" are the remaining Aes Sedai and Ashaman after the Last Battle, fighting against the Damane, who can easily be classified as "servants" (if not slaves).

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: The Aes Sedai are largely incompetent with regards to battle,

 

This is quite simply not true. You can not judge them based on a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken controlled, Fain influenced WT. Each Ajah had been an armed encampment untp itself leading up to that battle. We see AS do quite well a number of times throughout the series from Cads leading a defense at the Cleansing routing the Forsaken, to Dumais Wells, to Kiruna beng described as a "Queen of Battles". They don't have the same skills as Ashaman or Damane but to say they are incompetent is false. The AS have already gone through the ringer in this series, they have redemption coming with the Pevara/BT and at TG.

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The world is not done with battle becaus the land is still divided by the "return". That indicates the Seanchan to me.

Indeed it does, no doubt about that - I've already referred to the seanchan several times in my posts. But how do the guardians 'balance' the servants, things are balanced when they are on opposite sides. If the guardians strengthened the servants or doubled or emboldened or whatever then the interpretation would be clear. Also, if it was But instead of And, it would be clear that the balance was seanchan vs aes sedai/ashaman... instead it seems to imply an opposition to me.

 

And yes, Tommy, I happen to think this prophecy supports the idea that Avi's vision comes true. I like the concept of internal balance, but I think the 'and' in the prophecy gives a sense that the second half of the sentence echoes the sentiments of the first. So the land is divided by the return, and the guardians and servants are divided - but balance each other. This could come true by them fighting after the last battle, or by most aes sedai being captured while Egwene is at the FoM as you mentioned.

Anyway, it's just an option, I like to have multiple ways of reading things.

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Indeed it does, no doubt about that - I've already referred to the seanchan several times in my posts. But how do the guardians 'balance' the servants, things are balanced when they are on opposite sides.

 

Exactly, just like Saidin and Saidar. They have been apart for far too long because of the taint, we know they will grow very close working together at TG and moving forward they will balance one another once again. As things should be following RJ's major theme in the series.

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: The Aes Sedai are largely incompetent with regards to battle,

 

This is quite simply not true. You can not judge them based on a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken controlled, Fain influenced WT. Each Ajah had been an armed encampment untp itself leading up to that battle. We see AS do quite well a number of times throughout the series from Cads leading a defense at the Cleansing routing the Forsaken, to Dumais Wells, to Kiruna beng described as a "Queen of Battles". They don't have the same skills as Ashaman or Damane but to say they are incompetent is false. The AS have already gone through the ringer in this series, they have redemption coming with the Pevara/BT and at TG.

 

I disagree. A few competent characters does not negate the fact that the Aes Sedai are "largely incompetent" at the whole battle thing. Actually, the mere fact that a few competent women have become legends due to not being incompetent shows that they aren't the standard. They have spent a thousand years avoiding battle except in extreme cases, and when they are forced to fight they mostly throw fireballs at people. I mean, really, you have access to the most powerful force in existence and the best you can do is throw balls of fire? Seriously? Hell, your own references to the Asha'man and Damane are significant. They turn the very earth and air around their enemies into death, and then you see Aes Sedai running around, tossing little balls of fire at occasional baddies.

 

The Aes Sedai ARE very good at bullying those weaker in the Power or Powerless, however.

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: The Aes Sedai are largely incompetent with regards to battle,

 

This is quite simply not true. You can not judge them based on a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken controlled, Fain influenced WT. Each Ajah had been an armed encampment untp itself leading up to that battle. We see AS do quite well a number of times throughout the series from Cads leading a defense at the Cleansing routing the Forsaken, to Dumais Wells, to Kiruna beng described as a "Queen of Battles". They don't have the same skills as Ashaman or Damane but to say they are incompetent is false. The AS have already gone through the ringer in this series, they have redemption coming with the Pevara/BT and at TG.

 

I disagree. A few competent characters does not negate the fact that the Aes Sedai are "largely incompetent" at the whole battle thing. Actually, the mere fact that a few competent women have become legends due to not being incompetent shows that they aren't the standard. They have spent a thousand years avoiding battle except in extreme cases, and when they are forced to fight they mostly throw fireballs at people. I mean, really, you have access to the most powerful force in existence and the best you can do is throw balls of fire? Seriously? Hell, your own references to the Asha'man and Damane are significant. They turn the very earth and air around their enemies into death, and then you see Aes Sedai running around, tossing little balls of fire at occasional baddies.

 

The Aes Sedai ARE very good at bullying those weaker in the Power or Powerless, however.

 

Avoiding battle? The Green and their warders have been up patrolling the blight for thousands of years. In the Trolloc wars if not for AS the world is already over. Once linked we see them route the Seanchan with novices against those very damane you are highlighting. So nah its obvious your biased by how you word the end of your statement. Further to discount the cleansing where if it was their knowledge and plan that routed the forsaken is laughable. If you are going to hold to your opinion that they are "incompetent" I have to ask you provide in text examples. Lastly not sure why you confuse battle as only being skill at exploding things with the "OP", there is obviously far more that goes into war and your average Green has a Generals knowledge of tactics and strategy. Either way we shall see huh. If they are as bad as you claim they will be largely routed at TG correct?

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: The Aes Sedai are largely incompetent with regards to battle,

 

This is quite simply not true. You can not judge them based on a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken controlled, Fain influenced WT. Each Ajah had been an armed encampment untp itself leading up to that battle. We see AS do quite well a number of times throughout the series from Cads leading a defense at the Cleansing routing the Forsaken, to Dumais Wells, to Kiruna beng described as a "Queen of Battles". They don't have the same skills as Ashaman or Damane but to say they are incompetent is false. The AS have already gone through the ringer in this series, they have redemption coming with the Pevara/BT and at TG.

 

I disagree. A few competent characters does not negate the fact that the Aes Sedai are "largely incompetent" at the whole battle thing. Actually, the mere fact that a few competent women have become legends due to not being incompetent shows that they aren't the standard. They have spent a thousand years avoiding battle except in extreme cases, and when they are forced to fight they mostly throw fireballs at people. I mean, really, you have access to the most powerful force in existence and the best you can do is throw balls of fire? Seriously? Hell, your own references to the Asha'man and Damane are significant. They turn the very earth and air around their enemies into death, and then you see Aes Sedai running around, tossing little balls of fire at occasional baddies.

 

The Aes Sedai ARE very good at bullying those weaker in the Power or Powerless, however.

 

Avoiding battle? The Green and their warders have been up patrolling the blight for thousands of years. In the Trolloc wars if not for AS the world is already over. Once linked we see them route the Seanchan with novices against those very damane you are highlighting. So nah its obvious your biased by how you word the end of your statement. If you are going to hold to your opinion that they are "incompetent" I have to ask you provide in text examples. Either way we shall see huh. If they are as bad as you claim they will be largely routed at TG correct?

 

The Trolloc Wars were 1500-2000 years ago (I think), so it's hardly fair to use that as an example of how current AS are good in battle. Assuming you're talking about the Seancan raiding party, then Eg managed to arrange several circles of novices led by experienced AS to defend a position in the Tower. But the Seanchan managed to overpower and capture the head of the Tower Green Ajah (my GS book is out on loan, so I can't provide a quote). Additionally it was Eg that really saved the WT in that battle and she was powered up by the wand, so at that stage was channeling a lot more power than any female channeler is capable of.

 

On balance at TG they'll probbaly do very well, they have experience fighting Shadowspawn - but I'd back either the Ashaman or the Seanchan over them any day, and that's not taking into account the Three Oaths.

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But the Seanchan managed to overpower and capture the head of the Tower Green Ajah (my GS book is out on loan, so I can't provide a quote). Additionally it was Eg that really saved the WT in that battle and she was powered up by the wand, so at that stage was channeling a lot more power than any female channeler is capable of.

 

The point here BFG is how can anyone judge the WT off a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken meddling, Fain influenced AS. Each Ajah was a separate armed encampment, sisters were being assaulted for walking in the wrong area alone. It is pointless to attempt to judge anything from that situation. A far better example is Dumais Wells in which the AS had a very impressive showing. Also it's odd to me that people(not you but other in thread) attempt to pull out individual sisters such as Eggy, Cads, and Kiruna as if they don't count for the AS.

 

The Trolloc Wars were 1500-2000 years ago (I think), so it's hardly fair to use that as an example of how current AS are good in battle.

 

That was referenced because they are the inheritors of the knowledge when the military arts were said to be at their peak. Greens like Rashima Kerenmosa were the single largest factor in saving the world at that time and successfully integrating channelers into the banners with the main armies. That info past down will serve the world very well at TG. Battle after all is far more than exploding things with the power after all. Recall mat was impressed by Joline's knowledge and there is nothing to indicate she is outside the norm. Battle is a combination of strategy and OP use no matter what Tommy's skewed perspective may be.

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Dumai Wells AS had a good showing against WO , who had ZERO experience in using the OP and random Aiel who could not channel.Once the AM came into the picture,they easily overpowered the AS. It is consistent theme and something which makes sense. The AS do not know much about fighting others who can use the OP against them. The last time they faced such opponents was in the Trolloc war against dreadlords but that was 1000 years back. In the last 1000 years, all the experience they have in fighting other uses of the OP is capturing the random man or false dragon who can channel. But these people are largely self taught and are alone so easy to capture.

 

So it makes sense that when they face experienced users of the OP,Damen,AM etc they wilt quickly.

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Dumai Wells AS had a good showing against WO , who had ZERO experience in using the OP and random Aiel who could not channel.Once the AM came into the picture,they easily overpowered the AS.

 

Weren't the AS just about already down do to Rand at that point or am I misremembering?

 

Regardless guess we will see come TG if the the initial assertion that they are "incompetent" at battle is actually true.

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Well Rand was taking them down one by one but the AM finished the job off quickly and also massacred the Shaido to boot.

 

I would not call them incompetent at battle. I would call them incompetent against other channelers in battle and understandably so. It also explains why they keep throwing fireballs at enemies.A fireball is terrifying to someone who cannot channel but when you can literally make someone explode in return, a fireball becomes a pretty weak weave.

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But how do the guardians 'balance' the servants, things are balanced when they are on opposite sides.

That is absolutely not true. Two different things can be balanced when they're on opposite sides. But there's such a thing as internal balance. The Aes Sedai (the servants) are fundamentally in imbalance because they only have users of saidar. The addition of the guardians will balance that out.

 

Dumai Wells AS had a good showing against WO , who had ZERO experience in using the OP and random Aiel who could not channel.Once the AM came into the picture,they easily overpowered the AS. It is consistent theme and something which makes sense. The AS do not know much about fighting others who can use the OP against them. The last time they faced such opponents was in the Trolloc war against dreadlords but that was 1000 years back. In the last 1000 years, all the experience they have in fighting other uses of the OP is capturing the random man or false dragon who can channel. But these people are largely self taught and are alone so easy to capture.

 

So it makes sense that when they face experienced users of the OP,Damen,AM etc they wilt quickly.

The Aes Sedai fight False Dragons remember? They're none of them clueless about fighting other channelers. Even if the number of male channelers has reduced of late, there's no denying that the knowledge on how to fight them is very very present in the Tower. And while False Dragons may be fewer in number of late, the Aes Sedai have long lifespans, and all of them learn how to deal with these kinds of threats.

 

And in Dumai's Wells, the Aes Sedai were holding out against both the Wise Ones and the Asha'man (though for a very short time). Their perimeter was breached because they were being knocked off from the inside by Rand.

 

In anything other than a surprise attack, the Aes Sedai have a humungous advantage because of their circles. They're the best at using circles to maximum advantage, and as we've seen, circles trump individual channelers every time, even if the opponents are Foresaken, or even if the opponents have equal numbers. And wherever circles were formed in the WT raid, they drubbed the Seanchan. The heave losses came among sleep-confused AS who didn't link and therefore became easy meat.

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But how do the guardians 'balance' the servants, things are balanced when they are on opposite sides.

That is absolutely not true. Two different things can be balanced when they're on opposite sides. But there's such a thing as internal balance. The Aes Sedai (the servants) are fundamentally in imbalance because they only have users of saidar. The addition of the guardians will balance that out.

 

Dumai Wells AS had a good showing against WO , who had ZERO experience in using the OP and random Aiel who could not channel.Once the AM came into the picture,they easily overpowered the AS. It is consistent theme and something which makes sense. The AS do not know much about fighting others who can use the OP against them. The last time they faced such opponents was in the Trolloc war against dreadlords but that was 1000 years back. In the last 1000 years, all the experience they have in fighting other uses of the OP is capturing the random man or false dragon who can channel. But these people are largely self taught and are alone so easy to capture.

 

So it makes sense that when they face experienced users of the OP,Damen,AM etc they wilt quickly.

The Aes Sedai fight False Dragons remember? They're none of them clueless about fighting other channelers. Even if the number of male channelers has reduced of late, there's no denying that the knowledge on how to fight them is very very present in the Tower. And while False Dragons may be fewer in number of late, the Aes Sedai have long lifespans, and all of them learn how to deal with these kinds of threats.

 

And in Dumai's Wells, the Aes Sedai were holding out against both the Wise Ones and the Asha'man (though for a very short time). Their perimeter was breached because they were being knocked off from the inside by Rand.

 

In anything other than a surprise attack, the Aes Sedai have a humungous advantage because of their circles. They're the best at using circles to maximum advantage, and as we've seen, circles trump individual channelers every time, even if the opponents are Foresaken, or even if the opponents have equal numbers. And wherever circles were formed in the WT raid, they drubbed the Seanchan. The heave losses came among sleep-confused AS who didn't link and therefore became easy meat.

 

Come on Fionwe you know the cleansing doesn't count because that was Cadsuane who organized it. Apparently nothing good she does ever reflects on AS(those people somehow ignore how she learned battle tactics in the first place). :wink:

 

Very well said post btw even if I might quibble about a point here and there concerning linking.

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But the Seanchan managed to overpower and capture the head of the Tower Green Ajah (my GS book is out on loan, so I can't provide a quote). Additionally it was Eg that really saved the WT in that battle and she was powered up by the wand, so at that stage was channeling a lot more power than any female channeler is capable of.

 

The point here BFG is how can anyone judge the WT off a sneak attack against a split, BA riddled, Forsaken meddling, Fain influenced AS. Each Ajah was a separate armed encampment, sisters were being assaulted for walking in the wrong area alone. It is pointless to attempt to judge anything from that situation. A far better example is Dumais Wells in which the AS had a very impressive showing. Also it's odd to me that people(not you but other in thread) attempt to pull out individual sisters such as Eggy, Cads, and Kiruna as if they don't count for the AS.

 

The Trolloc Wars were 1500-2000 years ago (I think), so it's hardly fair to use that as an example of how current AS are good in battle.

 

That was referenced because they are the inheritors of the knowledge when the military arts were said to be at their peak. Greens like Rashima Kerenmosa were the single largest factor in saving the world at that time and successfully integrating channelers into the banners with the main armies. That info past down will serve the world very well at TG. Battle after all is far more than exploding things with the power after all. Recall mat was impressed by Joline's knowledge and there is nothing to indicate she is outside the norm. Battle is a combination of strategy and OP use no matter what Tommy's skewed perspective may be.

 

Fair points, and I agree they'll do well at TG. I'd also rate them against the WO, and if they were led by e.g. Cads then against either the Seanchan or the Ashaman. But average channeler vs. average channeler I'd rank them Ashaman, Damane, AS, WO. Due to a combination of power, reason for becoming a channler and experience. Of course their are exceptions - in a prolongued battle, I think the AS probably gain advantages - they know healing weaves, can temporarily remove the effects of tiredness - although the Seanchan have that by now (they certainly have healing, and their are bits of PoD where they talk about damane sharing weaves). I don't think they're incompetent, it's just that the Ashaman and Seanchan now have much more experience in full scale Power war - The battle in Amador is more experience than the AS have. And you're right, the raid isn't a fair example of what the AS are capable of, but the nature of the books mean that we don't have many examples of what an average AS can do, although Jolines a cool example I'd forgotten, thanks.

 

But how do the guardians 'balance' the servants, things are balanced when they are on opposite sides.

That is absolutely not true. Two different things can be balanced when they're on opposite sides. But there's such a thing as internal balance. The Aes Sedai (the servants) are fundamentally in imbalance because they only have users of saidar. The addition of the guardians will balance that out.

 

Dumai Wells AS had a good showing against WO , who had ZERO experience in using the OP and random Aiel who could not channel.Once the AM came into the picture,they easily overpowered the AS. It is consistent theme and something which makes sense. The AS do not know much about fighting others who can use the OP against them. The last time they faced such opponents was in the Trolloc war against dreadlords but that was 1000 years back. In the last 1000 years, all the experience they have in fighting other uses of the OP is capturing the random man or false dragon who can channel. But these people are largely self taught and are alone so easy to capture.

 

So it makes sense that when they face experienced users of the OP,Damen,AM etc they wilt quickly.

The Aes Sedai fight False Dragons remember? They're none of them clueless about fighting other channelers. Even if the number of male channelers has reduced of late, there's no denying that the knowledge on how to fight them is very very present in the Tower. And while False Dragons may be fewer in number of late, the Aes Sedai have long lifespans, and all of them learn how to deal with these kinds of threats.

 

And in Dumai's Wells, the Aes Sedai were holding out against both the Wise Ones and the Asha'man (though for a very short time). Their perimeter was breached because they were being knocked off from the inside by Rand.

 

In anything other than a surprise attack, the Aes Sedai have a humungous advantage because of their circles. They're the best at using circles to maximum advantage, and as we've seen, circles trump individual channelers every time, even if the opponents are Foresaken, or even if the opponents have equal numbers. And wherever circles were formed in the WT raid, they drubbed the Seanchan. The heave losses came among sleep-confused AS who didn't link and therefore became easy meat.

 

Come on Fionwe you know the cleansing doesn't count because that was Cadsuane who organized it. Apparently nothing good she does ever reflects on AS(those people somehow ignore how she learned battle tactics in the first place). :wink:

 

Very well said post btw.

 

I thought Cads gained her battle skills through training by a wilder - but I can't point to a quote for that, I think I read it on here somewhere?

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I thought Cads gained her battle skills through training by a wilder - but I can't point to a quote for that, I think I read it on here somewhere?

 

She learned the lesson of "what must be endured can be endured"...

 

"[Nynaeve] had not been put through the lessons that what must be endured, could be endured. In truth, Cadsuane sympathized with her. Somewhat. It was a lesson not everyone could learn in the Tower. She herself, full of pride in her new shawl and her own strength, had been taught by a near toothless wilder at a farm in the heart of the Black Hills." [WH: 34, The Hummingbird's Secret, 624]

 

Her knowledge of battle and military tactics came from the Greens. Having said that she may have learned some unconventional weaves from Norla but there is nothing to say they were related to fighting.

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The Aes Sedai fight False Dragons remember? They're none of them clueless about fighting other channelers. Even if the number of male channelers has reduced of late, there's no denying that the knowledge on how to fight them is very very present in the Tower. And while False Dragons may be fewer in number of late, the Aes Sedai have long lifespans, and all of them learn how to deal with these kinds of threats.

 

It's not like every Aes Sedai does this either. It's probably mostly reds considering that's their job. Also they're only fighting one channeller when facing a False Dragon. That's hardly experience equivalent to the likes of the Damona Campaign. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the Aes Sedai don't know how to handle themselves, but I don't think they've had any experience lately on how to fight an enemy army that as an equal number of channellers.

 

And in Dumai's Wells, the Aes Sedai were holding out against both the Wise Ones and the Asha'man (though for a very short time). Their perimeter was breached because they were being knocked off from the inside by Rand.

 

It's really not that clear. The Asha'man show up at the end of Perrin's PoV. Then we switch to Rands. He breaks out, and starts taking down Aes Sedai. How far into the battle were they when Rand broke out? How many Aes Sedai did he take down? How long ago had the Asha'man appeared on the battle? In any, this battle doesn't prove anything one way or another. The Aes Sedai held impressively against the Shaido, but then the WO have barely any experience, and were very far from the front lines unlike the Aes Sedai. As for the Asha'man, they numbered 200. With those numbers they would have broken through regardless of Rand's input, the extent of which is unclear.

 

In anything other than a surprise attack, the Aes Sedai have a humungous advantage because of their circles. They're the best at using circles to maximum advantage, and as we've seen, circles trump individual channelers every time, even if the opponents are Foresaken, or even if the opponents have equal numbers. And wherever circles were formed in the WT raid, they drubbed the Seanchan. The heave losses came among sleep-confused AS who didn't link and therefore became easy meat.

 

Cirles definitely do not trump individual channellers every time. It depends on the situation. Only one person can weave in the circle and that person has to protect everyone. If they have all the enemies in their line of sight like in the WT raid where they were fighting in hallways, then yes circles are a huge advantage. But on a more open battlefield, they can be very vulnerable. Cadsuane put it best: if you see a danger you can't afford to have to point it out to the one leading the circle. This of course depends on the situationt. The Cleansing is not a good example, not because of Cadsuane, although her experience will definitely have helped, but because they were facing an enemy that refused to work together. Their showing was still impressive, but had the Forsaken decided to work together, even without linking, there would have been a different outcome.

 

I thought Cads gained her battle skills through training by a wilder - but I can't point to a quote for that, I think I read it on here somewhere?

 

I don't think she necessarily gained her battle skills thanks to the wilder. They're just due to her huge experience.

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It's not like every Aes Sedai does this either. It's probably mostly reds considering that's their job. Also they're only fighting one channeller when facing a False Dragon. That's hardly experience equivalent to the likes of the Damona Campaign. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the Aes Sedai don't know how to handle themselves, but I don't think they've had any experience lately on how to fight an enemy army that as an equal number of channellers.

I agree they don't have experience dealing with armies of channelers. Only the damane have that, though its unclear to what extent. The damane clearly have fought other armies with damane, but I don't see evidence for them entering one on one duels much either (especially based on the PoD battle between Rand's forces and the Seanchan). Even with the damane, this experience is only true of the older ones who were around for the last parts of the consolidation centuries ago. The others faced nothing like this. In fact, we even have a quote where we're told it had been many centuries since a battle was seen in the Seanchan with a few hundred damane on each side. Need to find that one.

It's really not that clear. The Asha'man show up at the end of Perrin's PoV. Then we switch to Rands. He breaks out, and starts taking down Aes Sedai. How far into the battle were they when Rand broke out? How many Aes Sedai did he take down? How long ago had the Asha'man appeared on the battle? In any, this battle doesn't prove anything one way or another. The Aes Sedai held impressively against the Shaido, but then the WO have barely any experience, and were very far from the front lines unlike the Aes Sedai. As for the Asha'man, they numbered 200. With those numbers they would have broken through regardless of Rand's input, the extent of which is unclear.

From what I remember of Sevanna's PoV, the Asha'man appear before she hears the booming sound from the Aes Sedai camp (the booming sound is Rand escaping from his box).

Cirles definitely do not trump individual channellers every time. It depends on the situation.Only one person can weave in the circle and that person has to protect everyone. If they have all the enemies in their line of sight like in the WT raid where they were fighting in hallways, then yes circles are a huge advantage. But on a more open battlefield, they can be very vulnerable. Cadsuane put it best: if you see a danger you can't afford to have to point it out to the one leading the circle. This of course depends on the situationt. The Cleansing is not a good example, not because of Cadsuane, although her experience will definitely have helped, but because they were facing an enemy that refused to work together. Their showing was still impressive, but had the Forsaken decided to work together, even without linking, there would have been a different outcome.

The Cleansing is an excellent example, because it was a case where the danger could have come from any side, but circles were used effectively anyway. The creation of circles to deal with the bubble of evil in Salidar is another. In both cases, danger could come from anywhere. In both cases, the channelers used a major advantage of circles: you can feel what the other circle members feel. Anaiaya just asked her circle members to sing out if they saw anything that needed to be dealt with, and this strategy worked in an environment that is <i>more</i> chaotic than a battle.

 

As for attacks from behind, circles can be arranged to prevent that. Have the "attack" circles of 13 sisters protected from behind by smaller circles (say of 3-4). These will face the opposite direction. Now, anyone can Travel into any location they like, they're still not going to be able to initiate a surprise attack. Will such a unit be very mobile? No. Does it need to be? Also no, since circles have extended ranges of attack compared to individual channelers.

 

The problem with your analysis is that you think circles will be in the thick of battles, among the soldiers. I see no reason for that. As we see with Cadsuane's strategy in WH, what you do is have weaker circles to screen the perimeter, while having a central node point from which you launch powerful attacks, and where you maintain the strongest defense. Lacking Cadsuane's ornaments, you need surprisingly little alteration. If the aim is to defend a location from enemy attack, simply use wards around the area, and attack in the direction they're triggered. If the aim is to attack, open a gateway at a distance beyond the enemies range, then start pounding away using your superior range. As the enemy comes poring around using Gateways, follow the strategy I outlined above where you have smaller circles protecting the larger ones.

 

I repeat again, barring a surprise attack, a circle is always going to trump an equal number of individual channelers.

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Nope, not if the circle is out on the open against individual channelers who will pick them out one after other. If 13 individual channelers face a 13 person circle then most often than not the 13 individual channelers will win if they are working together as they can attack potentially from 13 different places unlike the circle which will have only one output and is not mobile.It is a fat target standing in one place shooting away with a single big bazooka handled by one person who has a single pair of eyes.It does not change if you back up circles as long as you have enough individual channelers to splinter attacks at different parts.And with gateways you can move in and out rapidly out of range.A circle will be left standing getting picked out one after another.

 

The cleansing is hardly a good example as individual forsaken were fighting circles individually. The place a circle is most effective is what happened in the WT where the linked members are hidden behind walls and out of sight.

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I disagree that the circles in Salidar used against the bubble of evil were an effective use of circles. The effect of it was that Sheriam (and the other leaders) used bulldozers where a hammer would have worked instead, and that most people in the circle ended up too tired to mount an effective defence if there had been a second attack. In that case it would have been more effective to allow them to channel on their own, it would have been over faster, less power would have been used, therefore they'd have been less tired. You could substitute that with the defence of the Tower though - another good use of circles.

 

Cadsuane points out the problems with circles in battle situations in the Cairhien camp against Fain.

 

You'd have to modify the cleansing defence more than that - wards won't distinguish between dark friends and non dark friends, the battle there to me sounded a bit more chaotic than trench style warfare - set a ward at a set distance, then the enemy could travel inside, use of inverted weaves to hide the gateway, start attacking... Not saying it couldn't work, but tou'd have to be a bit more careful.

 

 

Circles are undoubtably effective, but they're not going to be effective every time.

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I always thought "the guardians balance the servants" was more political then shear numbers.

 

For the first time in 3000 the AS have a group of people who can challenge them. In tPoD Egwene highlighted the AS belief that the only law that matters to AS is Tower Law. They should be able to do whatever they want however they want and be able to demand what ever they want. They have, as an institution, become bullies.

 

Now the AM can tell the AS to back off and be civil.

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