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Why is Egwenes arc so monstrously long?


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She has spent an ungodly number of books to become head of the Aes Sedai. She spent whole books with her army just drifting towards Tar Valon and around Salidar. Then she spent a few more besieging the place. Then more when she is captured. Then she finally gets to do something and fight the filthy Seanchan. To be fair to Brian Sanderson he does at least try to present a real threat to Egwene in these chapters with Messana and the Seanchan. Yet he spends WAY too many chapters devoted to this and Egwenes relationship with Gawyn. At least he tries to use a few invented threats to kill time rather than complete filler like in the previous novels where Egwene literally does nothing. Egwene is never a puppet, she gets her army very quick, she gets the Aes Sedai under her thumb, she can travel, she has the forces to attack; why devote so much time to her ending up being captured? But in books 12 and 13 she has, I swear, nearly as many chapters as Rand. People complained about Perrin and Elayne's story but my god they are brief compared to this monster.  

 

To be blunt, her arc is not that important and does not need that much material. Nothing is happening and the outcome isn't that important compared to Rand. I would dearly have liked if RJ had had a strong and powerful female character like Daenerys out of Ice and Fire. But,  Egwene is not that and far more time could have been put into fleshing out other female characters like Aviendha and Nynaeve than more of Egwene doing nothing. Its not as if Egwene is a weak or flawed character, she is basically strong from the beginning and yet it takes her an eternity to get her sole objective done; even though she faces no significant threat or hurdle the whole way worth mentioning. But its not important because what is at stake is if a few hundred female channelers will join Rands forces. Rand, in  the space of just a few books, largely offscreen with Taim, recruits a similar number of male channelers. At the same time, we see that Aes Sedai are not as powerful, influential or important as they had seemed. They are enslaved by Seanchan who have large numbers of channelers. The kin are as large as the whole order. So Egwenes prize or goal diminishes in importance and relevance throughout the whole series. Who cares if this small number of weak and pathetic channelers joins up?  

 

Its as if the authors felt they wanted to push that Egwene is the main female character and so needs as much material as Rand even though what she does and the relationships she has are no more important or require more material than any other female character. Ultimately she is a supporting character and yet is given a hideously disproportionate amount of chapters dedicated to a storyline where nothing happens for whole books. 

Edited by False Dragon1991
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I think my problem with Egwene's arc is the same one I had with Dany's from ASOIAF (I quit that series on book 3 because I couldn't stand reading about her any longer)

 

Granted this is a problem that might be unique to me so forgive me.

 

Neither has a real antagonist. Not one who's at all competent anyway. Egwene is just too good at what she does and always seems to be on top of the situation. Compare to Mat who's in VERY real danger with the Gholam prowling around or Rand who always struggles fighting off the forsaken. Elayne's arc is criticized but I really enjoy it because there's a strong darkfriend presence in Caemlyn who are messing things up, not to mention that she has to contend with Rahvin's poisonous legacy that could take decades to clean up. Perrin has the Shaido, who we KNOW are incredibly skilled and dangerous and the story treats them as such. Egwene has the Sitters who act as direct antagonists but she's so much better than them that I can't feel ANY satisfaction from seeing her win. It's too one sided. Especially galling given her lack of experience. Balthamel has helped a bit though.

 

I can't enjoy a character's achievments unless she's faced off against an adversary who's in any way worthwhile. The sitters are treated as more of a frustrating nuisance than a real danger to her rule.

Edited by EmperorAllspice
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Danys arc is only four books long. Egwenes spends twice that just becoming Amyrilin. Not an apt comparison and Danys arc has moved several times. Book 1-Dothraki Book 2-Qaarth Book 3-Free Slaves Book 4-Rule Mereen Book 5-Dothraki and en route to Westeros. Dany is at least presented with episodic goals or obstacles to keep her busy. Its filler, Martin doesn't fool me on this and I know reaching Westeros is her ultimate goal but one (like Egwene being Amyrilin) Martin refuses to do until very late in the series. But all Egwene does is directly work her way towards this goal. Danys problems are with herself. Daenerys is her biggest enemy and this is most apparent in ADWD where she wrestles with her conscience. Her real enemies are in Westeros.

 

Yes you're right. Egwene has no serious threat or challenge. Elaida is incompetant to the point of being laughable. Nobody makes a move on her because its all part of the Forsakens plans. So why they didn't just speed this part of the story up is beyond me. Egwene does not need any personal character development. She is in charge from the get go. Although I think Elayne suffers from this as well. 

Edited by False Dragon1991
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She has spent an ungodly number of books to become head of the Aes Sedai. She spent whole books with her army just drifting towards Tar Valon and around Salidar. Then she spent a few more besieging the place. Then more when she is captured. Then she finally gets to do something and fight the filthy Seanchan. To be fair to Brian Sanderson he does at least try to present a real threat to Egwene in these chapters with Messana and the Seanchan. Yet he spends WAY too many chapters devoted to this and Egwenes relationship with Gawyn. At least he tries to use a few invented threats to kill time rather than complete filler like in the previous novels where Egwene literally does nothing. Egwene is never a puppet, she gets her army very quick, she gets the Aes Sedai under her thumb, she can travel, she has the forces to attack; why devote so much time to her ending up being captured? But in books 12 and 13 she has, I swear, nearly as many chapters as Rand. People complained about Perrin and Elayne's story but my god they are brief compared to this monster.  

 

To be blunt, her arc is not that important and does not need that much material. Nothing is happening and the outcome isn't that important compared to Rand. I would dearly have liked if RJ had had a strong and powerful female character like Daenerys out of Ice and Fire. But,  Egwene is not that and far more time could have been put into fleshing out other female characters like Aviendha and Nynaeve than more of Egwene doing nothing. Its not as if Egwene is a weak or flawed character, she is basically strong from the beginning and yet it takes her an eternity to get her sole objective done; even though she faces no significant threat or hurdle the whole way worth mentioning. But its not important because what is at stake is if a few hundred female channelers will join Rands forces. Rand, in  the space of just a few books, largely offscreen with Taim, recruits a similar number of male channelers. At the same time, we see that Aes Sedai are not as powerful, influential or important as they had seemed. They are enslaved by Seanchan who have large numbers of channelers. The kin are as large as the whole order. So Egwenes prize or goal diminishes in importance and relevance throughout the whole series. Who cares if this small number of weak and pathetic channelers joins up?  

 

Its as if the authors felt they wanted to push that Egwene is the main female character and so needs as much material as Rand even though what she does and the relationships she has are no more important or require more material than any other female character. Ultimately she is a supporting character and yet is given a hideously disproportionate amount of chapters dedicated to a storyline where nothing happens for whole books.

 

Have you read the final book? If not, I really don't see how you can make any comment on her significance or her role as the main female protagonist.

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Danys arc is only four books long. Egwenes spends twice that just becoming Amyrilin. Not an apt comparison and Danys arc has moved several times. Book 1-Dothraki Book 2-Qaarth Book 3-Free Slaves Book 4-Rule Mereen Book 5-Dothraki and en route to Westeros. Dany is at least presented with episodic goals or obstacles to keep her busy. Its filler, Martin doesn't fool me on this and I know reaching Westeros is her ultimate goal but one (like Egwene being Amyrilin) Martin refuses to do until very late in the series. But all Egwene does is directly work her way towards this goal.

 

Yes you're right. Egwene has no serious threat or challenge. Elaida is incompetant to the point of being laughable. Nobody makes a move on her because its all part of the Forsakens plans. So why they didn't just speed this part of the story up is beyond me. Egwene does not need any personal character development. She is in charge from the get go. Although I think Elayne suffers from this as well. 

I honestly get the feeling that Elayne is more troubled by the political climate of Caemlyn than Egwene ever was with the Aes Sedai. And I find the lack of a real threat with Egwene worse than with Elayne because the Aes Sedai are all MEANT to be good at the game of houses. They are the unrivaled mistresses of the thing and Egwene curbstomps em without much hassle.

 

and random note. I found Dany's parts dragged MUCH longer than anything involving Egwene. Even though the part I despise about Dany only lasts one book. I still couldn't force myself through it.

Edited by EmperorAllspice
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Um...pick up ADWD. Put it next to the wheel of time from books 6 to 13 and I believe you'll find there isn't that much Dany material by comparison. Dragons is bad. Atrocious. Disgusting and the worst decision Martin made to write that book along with Crows. I despise that book. Mainly because I really like Dany and want the real story of her invading Westeros to start; whilst I don't give two figs about Egwene I know she gonna win. But, it is still only one book. Theres probs more in Gathering Storm and Towers than Dany chapters in Dragons. There aren't even that many from what I remember in Clash and Swords.

 

Yeah, the Aes Sedai really are a joke by book 13 if not long before. 

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Um...pick up ADWD. Put it next to the wheel of time from books 6 to 13 and I believe you'll find there isn't that much Dany material by comparison. Dragons is bad. Atrocious. Disgusting and the worst decision Martin made to write that book along with Crows. I despise that book. Mainly because I really like Dany and want the real story of her invading Westeros to start; whilst I don't give two figs about Egwene I know she gonna win. But, it is still only one book. Theres probs more in Gathering Storm and Towers than Dany chapters in Dragons. There aren't even that many from what I remember in Clash and Swords.

 

Yeah, the Aes Sedai really are a joke by book 13 if not long before. 

It's because she spends all of ASOS effortlessly winning. That's why I compare her arc to Egwene's. Yes I know things go bad in ADWD. But from what I know of Dany right now it seemed pretty suitable.

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Um...pick up ADWD. Put it next to the wheel of time from books 6 to 13 and I believe you'll find there isn't that much Dany material by comparison. Dragons is bad. Atrocious. Disgusting and the worst decision Martin made to write that book along with Crows. I despise that book. Mainly because I really like Dany and want the real story of her invading Westeros to start; whilst I don't give two figs about Egwene I know she gonna win. But, it is still only one book. Theres probs more in Gathering Storm and Towers than Dany chapters in Dragons. There aren't even that many from what I remember in Clash and Swords.

 

Yeah, the Aes Sedai really are a joke by book 13 if not long before. 

It's because she spends all of ASOS effortlessly winning. That's why I compare her arc to Egwene's. Yes I know things go bad in ADWD. But from what I know of Dany right now it seemed pretty suitable.

 

 

Daenerys actually loses in ASOS. If you read to the end that becomes very clear. ADWD even more so as its a continuation of ASOS. 

Edited by False Dragon1991
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Name who she loses to and what they do that's so badass that it crushes Dany. If she loses because SHE messes up then to me that doesn't count. Messing up your own stuff is lame if that's the ONLY way you can lose.

 

Danys aim was to get an army to invade Westeros. Buoyed by her early success she tried freeing the slaves and thought this would work out for her. By Mereen, problems are mounting and she later learns that Astapor is now ruled by a new crop of slavers. She hasn't won, she hasn't changed anything in Astapor and has created a "butcher king". On top of that she has a personal tragedy by being forced to exile Jorah Mormont. This is a tragic scene because Dany can't bring herself to forgive him and yet knows that he does genuinely care about her. She is also shaken by Barristan Selmys partial revelations about her family. She wonders as she looks on the peoples she crucified in Mereen and if harsh justice can be called true justice. She questions, though she doesn't fully voice or accept it, that she might be mad and sees this part of her as a darkness to be quelled. All of this causes her to become indecisive and want to right the wrongs she has created. So, she decides to stay in Mereen. Her goal was to invade Westeros with an army. She has failed in that objective, half of Essos is at war with her and she now has to deal with managing a city half a world away. Dany is her worst enemy here and resolving this personal crisis is a big part of her ADWD story as she continues to face the repercussions of her failure/actions in ASOS. The end of Danys arc in ASOS is filled with melancholy, self doubt and grim despair. It is far from the cries of Mhysa, Mhysa!" for the entire book. This is Dany being brought back down to a harsh and harrowing reality. 

 

 

Yes, the slavers are ants that are in need of a good boot. However its not about them. Her real rivals are in Westeros. Stannis. The Lannisters. The Tyrells. The Starks. These enemies will be a challenge of immense proportion. However Dany needs to sort her personal issues out. These are serious and they are worth considering unlike Egwene who has NO personal issues to sort out. In many ways her arc is closer to Rands, especially about his worries over being a destroyer and wanting to leave something behind; bring something other than death. Dany does not want to do bad by the slaves and accept that she is the Dragon. This is about her personal development into the character who will invade Westeros. I think Martin is taking too long and should not have cut certain battles from ADWD; I will never forget that terrible decision.

Edited by False Dragon1991
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Name who she loses to and what they do that's so badass that it crushes Dany. If she loses because SHE messes up then to me that doesn't count. Messing up your own stuff is lame if that's the ONLY way you can lose.

 

Danys aim was to get an army to invade Westeros. Buoyed by her early success she tried freeing the slaves and thought this would work out for her. By Mereen, problems are mounting and she later learns that Astapor is now ruled by a new crop of slavers. She hasn't won, she hasn't changed anything in Astapor and has created a "butcher king". On top of that she has a personal tragedy by being forced to exile Jorah Mormont. This is a tragic scene because Dany can't bring herself to forgive him and yet knows that he does genuinely care about her. She is also shaken by Barristan Selmys partial revelations about her family. She wonders as she looks on the peoples she crucified in Mereen and if harsh justice can be called true justice. She questions, though she doesn't fully voice or accept it, that she might be mad and sees this part of her as a darkness to be quelled. All of this causes her to become indecisive and want to right the wrongs she has created. So, she decides to stay in Mereen. Her goal was to invade Westeros with an army. She has failed in that objective, half of Essos is at war with her and she now has to deal with managing a city half a world away. Dany is her worst enemy here and resolving this personal crisis is a big part of her ADWD story as she continues to face the repercussions of her failure/actions in ASOS. The end of Danys arc in ASOS is filled with melancholy, self doubt and grim despair. It is far from the cries of Mhysa, Mhysa!" for the entire book. This is Dany being brought back down to a harsh and harrowing reality. 

 

 

Yes, the slavers are ants that are in need of a good boot. However its not about them. Her real rivals are in Westeros. Stannis. The Lannisters. The Tyrells. The Starks. These enemies will be a challenge of immense proportion. However Dany needs to sort her personal issues out. These are serious and they are worth considering unlike Egwene who has NO personal issues to sort out. In many ways her arc is closer to Rands, especially about his worries over being a destroyer and wanting to leave something behind; bring something other than death. Dany does not want to do bad by the slaves and accept that she is the Dragon. This is about her personal development into the character who will invade Westeros. I think Martin is taking too long and should not have cut certain battles from ADWD; I will never forget that terrible decision.

 

Difference. Rand actually has interestin opposition and his enemies score awesome hits on him.

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Have you read Dance with Dragons?

 

But, really? Rand wins all the time and never loses anyone close to him. Hes kinda more or less on the up considering what he is fighting. Dany has lost her child and her husband. Members of her Khallessar have died. Other companions have died or almost died many times as well. They have tried to kill her many times as well (as with Rand) she survives. The point is that her victories in the field do not solve everything overnight for her. The slaves lot does not change in Astapor, Yunkai remains a threat and is bringing in allies to re-enslave her people. It is not looking good for Dany at the end of ASOS. Plus I think after two books of her not doing anything of the kind that we needed to see Dany as a leader of armies and what she is like in this situation. 

Edited by False Dragon1991
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Then you don't care if I tell you how she messes up big time in ADWD? So bad that if you go onto any Ice and Fire forum there are threads and threads of people who cite this to write her off as a terrible Queen and bad for the throne?  I disagree, but theres no smoke without fire.

Edited by False Dragon1991
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Her opposition is Stannis the Mannis. What more could you want in opposition? Also, more rivals are introduced in Crows and Dragons. Both are very intriging and the source of much discussion on Westeros.org; one could well end up with some sympathetic (if duped) allies as well. 

 

You can't blame a character for her arc being boring or too slow. Martin decided to have her reach Westeros so late. He could ( and was planning to) gloss over a lot of this but he wants to drag this out and talk about pre-Dany Westeros for as long as possible.I have never gotten the attitude that "Danys arc is so boring I hate her". I don't hate Egwene, I just think her arc is largely filler and throw-away; responsibility lies with the writer. I mean I can barely read Sandersons Egwene chapters. 

Edited by False Dragon1991
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 Egwene does not need any personal character development. She is in charge from the get go. Although I think Elayne suffers from this as well. 

 

Odd thing to say about someone that goes from an adolescent girl to an adult and having to deal with complex manipulations of herself more than most any one of us in real life.

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Dany doesn't belong to the world of ASOIAF. You could cut her entire storyline and you will lose nothing. 
 
Eg belongs to the world of WOT.
 
EOTW: Eg barely survives
(TGH: Eg barely survives)
TDR: Eg barely survives
FOH: Eg barely survives
 
I am afraid I have to disagree with almost everything you said.
 
Except one sentence:

To be blunt, her arc is not that important and does not need that much material. 
 

 

 

You are quite right, the most important character is Rand. Unfortunately, there is a big problem with him: his arc ends at FOH-LOC. His story (the main story) got an ending - sort of - in these books. As my friends always say: LOC is the real The End. 
 
a, there were contracts (that's why we get three last books instead of one etc. etc.) between Mr Jordan and Tor. He had to deliver the novels (min. 200 000 words, epic fantasy means doorstoppers) at a certain time etc.
 
b, As I said earlier, Mr Jordan had no idea how to finish his series (neither had Mr Sanderson but that's another topic) after LOC.
 
c, When you have a deadline plus you have no ideas at all, you will write filler chapters (Perrin-Faile-Shaido, of course El and Mat have many filler chapters too). Or filler books, see Martin's last 2.5 books.
 
d, Mr Jordan left to us almost nothing(, so Mr Sanderson is responsible everything we see in the last three books). Mr Sanderson even tried to make a main female character from Eg (althought a 
dedicated reader sees that there is no main female c. in WOT, that's why Eg is almost MIA in book 7-9, 11) but he failed. (see the quality thread.)
 
 
It's like HP: JKR could have finished her story in book 4-5-6. But she wrote even another and another and another abysmal book.   
 
Martin's trilogy could have been pure awesomeness. And what have we got now?
 
AGOT 8/10 (sex etc. = minus 2 points), ACOK 7/10, ASOS 6/10, AFFC 0/10, ADWD 0/10 
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Its true that they are filler but at least they're over in the space of a few novels. Egwenes quest to become the Amyrilin lasts an eternity and yeah, Sanderson does especially seem to want to big up her arc; though it is falling really flat to me. Even though she does face several actual real threats and not just yet another kidnapping.

 

When Martin had this down as a trilogy Dany was going to get there in Westeros by book 2. After ASOS his plan was to have a five year gap and that the next book would deal with Danys invasion. Her arc is very important to the story its just that Martin deliberately divorces it from the Westerosi for the moment because A-He wants mystery about how Dany will interact with Westeros B-He doesn't want Dany forming plans and opinions about the likes of Tywin because that would be dead end and detract from her Essosi plot C-He was always under the assumption that Dany would getting to Westeros very soon so there was no reason to rush into that material since it would dominate her mid to late arc. Instead, he ended up putting this event further and further back in his series without trying to change the tone. Indeed he quite abruptly has people in Kings Landing learn everything about Dany at the end of ADWD rather than maintain this sense of mystery; which jsut falls flat coz I wanted an OMFG moment from them One minute they know nothing and the next its like talking about stale bread after building up this mystery for five books. Martin hasn't grasped the fact that a large chunk of readers view Dany staying in Westeros as stalling or filler and not "the real story" in Westeros. He would probably say its more about the journey or some shez like that.

Edited by False Dragon1991
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I think this has partly to do with AMoL being turned into three books instead of one. Brandon decided to devote TGS to Rand/Egwene and ToM to Perrin/Mat. As a result, some storylines were expanded so they would last an entire book and culminate around the same time. I don't think AMoL could have been done as one book, but two would have been enough; turning it into three books required some stretching of the storylines as well as some filler material.

 

According to Brandon, RJ had already mapped out Egwene's storyline in TGS, but very little of Rand's storyline in TGS and Perrin's in ToM. So most of Egwene's storyline in TGS would have been the same under RJ, though I suspect he would have spent fewer chapters on it than Brandon did. In KoD, RJ gave Egwene only two POVs, one of which ("Honey in the Tea") was a long chapter where many things happened: Egwene got spanked, spent time impressing Aes Sedai and novices, planting seeds of mistrust against Elaida, etc. Much of what happened in TGS was basically a repeat of that chapter. Whether that time (and the time devoted to her and Gawyn's relationship in ToM) was wasted or not is a discussion better suited for the AMoL spoiler forum, IMO. How certain storylines wrapped up did affect my views on whether the time spent on them was well spent.

 

I agree that Egwene's storyline suffered from a lack of competent opponents (despite the Sitters literally being ten times her age). Even Elaida as we saw her in the early books would have been a significant improvement over the total wreck she turned into in the last books.

Edited by sleepinghour
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How I saw the developments with Egwene weren't that her oppenents were struck dumb.  I saw it as a revelation that the AS were not as composed and flawless as they made themselves out to be.  Sure, we already knew that from the other characters' personal experiences, but here we see up close and personal just how human the AS really are, and how deep the fractures within the WT had gone.  Egwene's competent opponent was the centuries of lies the AS had told themselves, that the WT is infallible, and being almost completely unwilling to accept otherwise, even if it would have meant their downfall if not for Egwene's leadership.

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How I saw the developments with Egwene weren't that her oppenents were struck dumb.  I saw it as a revelation that the AS were not as composed and flawless as they made themselves out to be.  Sure, we already knew that from the other characters' personal experiences, but here we see up close and personal just how human the AS really are, and how deep the fractures within the WT had gone.  Egwene's competent opponent was the centuries of lies the AS had told themselves, that the WT is infallible, and being almost completely unwilling to accept otherwise, even if it would have meant their downfall if not for Egwene's leadership.

 

Exactly.  And that's a point I saw RJ raise in book signings and interviews many times.

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How I saw the developments with Egwene weren't that her oppenents were struck dumb.  I saw it as a revelation that the AS were not as composed and flawless as they made themselves out to be.  Sure, we already knew that from the other characters' personal experiences, but here we see up close and personal just how human the AS really are, and how deep the fractures within the WT had gone.  Egwene's competent opponent was the centuries of lies the AS had told themselves, that the WT is infallible, and being almost completely unwilling to accept otherwise, even if it would have meant their downfall if not for Egwene's leadership.

But that point is made abundantly clear LONG before Egwene becomes Amyrlin. We KNOW Aes Sedai aren't infallable.

 

And it's disgusting that Egwene is infinitely better than EVERY Aes Sedai operating today after learning for, what, a year?

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Disgusting?  Seriously?  Eqwene's potential was recognized in book ONE.  And she's been doing nothing but learning, INTENSELY, since she first learn to embrace the source.  With the natural ability she had, and the drive to always be better, it's no wonder she was able to catch up and surpass most AS, who really just spend their time politicking rather than increasing their knowledge of the OP.  Most of them learn the weaves they need, and make do with those.  What's more, most AS are terrified of trying new things with the power, because it's been ingrained in them that they will burn themselves out or kill everyone around them if they make the slightest error.  Egwene had A) the benefit of a pet forsaken to teach her weaves that no one else livng knew, B) a natural ability to extrapolate from weaves she learned to create new ones, and C) the courage to TRY new weaves and the absence of crusty old AS trying to stop her from doing so.
 

Look at Nyn.  She creates an OBVIOUSLY superior weave for healing, and the gnarled old yellows mostly turned up their noses at it because it wasn't what they had always used.

 

And finally, she is in no way better that EVERY other AS.  She may be smarter than many, and more powerful than many, but not every.  I'm sure all other things being equal, Cadsuane would weave circles around egwene.  Moiraine may not have been as powerful, but I'm guessing she could have taught Eqwene a few new tricks as well.  Also don't forget that Egwene sucked at healing.  So just about every Yellow would have her beat there.

She's good at politics within the tower, but I'm sure many Browns, Whites, and Greys would be better suited for research and international diplomacy.

Most reds could probably teach her a bit about combating male channelers.

 

TL;DR - I think you're more than a little off base :)

Edited by clutzyninja
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