I said last week that we were going to look at the body-swap occurrence, but I got sidetracked in my research. For this edition of "WoT If?", I want to look at something that's very easy to miss. Something Pevara said in A Memory of Light. But before we start:
SPOILER WARNING. This will include content from A Memory of Light. Please DO NOT read this if you have not completed the book.
We all know Pevara is not Black Ajah. She would have been outed by Androl—who can read her mind—or by Taim and his lackies—who attempted to turn her towards the Shadow. Both of these, I think, are ample proof she is not of the Black. But there is one line in A Memory of Light where Pevara appears to lie. Let's take a look at the passage:
A Memory of Light
Chapter 4, "Advantages to a Bond"
Emarin said… "Pevara Sedai, if you would be so kind as to remove the weaves blocking his ears so that he can start to hear—but only remove them in the most minor way, as if the weave has been tied off and is failing. I want him to overhear what I'm about to say."
Emarin… turned to their captive. "He cannot hear what we say?"
"No," Pevara said.
There are only a few paragraphs of text separating Emarin's request and Pevara's refusal; this happens very quickly. In the first exchange, Emarin clearly states that he wants the prisoner to hear, and Pevara agrees. She knows she has released the weaves a bit; she knows he can hear. How can she—by the Three Oaths—answer "No" to Emarin's question?
The first time I read this, I went into a near panic. It has the sound of a lie to me, and I thought Pevara might really be Black Ajah. However, there are other likely reasons why/how she was able to answer the way she did.
One explanation might be Aes Sedai trickery. The phrase—the way Emarin words it—uses a negative question: cannot. Pevara's answer is also a negative: no. These two negatives, by the laws of the English language, cancel each other out, winding up with a positive: he can hear. However, that's not the way most people speak. If asked the same question, many would reply with, "No, he cannot hear," answering Emarin's intended question (if their captor was capable of listening) rather than the actual phrase of the question.
Wow, that got way too technical. Regardless, it could be a trick of the language Pevara was using to make their captive think she answered differently than she did. It would be an example of the saying, "The truth an Aes Sedai says isn't the truth you think it is."
But there may be another explanation as well. We know Pevara and Seaine took turns releasing themselves from the Oath Rod (shown in The Path of Daggers, Chapter 26, "The Extra Bit"). Every account we see of them releasing themselves, we also see them reswearing. Notice those few key words: every account we see. How many times did they take the Oath Rod? How many times did they have the opportunity to release themselves? What if Pevara was tempted to not reswear?
Egwene, when she reclaimed the Tower, made every sister go through the reswearing process and prove they were not Black Ajah (The Gathering Storm, Epilogue, "Bathed in Light"). However, Pevara and her group heading to the Black Tower left in Knife of Dreams (Epilogue, "Remember the Old Saying"). So, Pevara missed this forced reswearing. For all we know, she may have removed the Oaths at some point and kept them off.
This might seem unlikely, but she was planning on going to the Black Tower to bond Asha'man. Perhaps she felt she needed more protection than what the Oaths offered. The Asha'man could tear an Aes Sedai apart, and the Aes Sedai wouldn't be able to do anything until the Asha'man struck first. They would be in a ton of danger if they still kept to the Oaths.
Plus, people say that if you do something once, it's easier to do the next time. We have three instances in the books where Pevara and Seaine release themselves and reswear. With that way of looking at the situation, what harm could come from a fourth time, or a fifth? Especially if you may need to use the One Power as a weapon against people who aren't Darkfriends.
Again, it's unlikely. Pevara probably used a language trick. We know Aes Sedai aren't forbidden to lead people astray. But still, I think it's curious. The phrase just jumps out at me and I can't help but doubt her. And I'm extra surprised none of the Asha'man called her on it. I think she lied. But I want to know what everyone else thinks. Is it possible that Pevara actually lied or not?
I'll keep it short and sweet this week since some of that consisted of heavy reading. I promise, next week we'll look at the body-swap occurrence and the significance it played. Thanks for reading!