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Enigma
10-06-2011, 11:17 AM
When exposed as a member of the Black Ajah Sheriam is told by Egwene of Verin's part in the affair and Sheriam seems to know that Verin was a member of the Black Ajah. How did she know this?

Early on we were introduced to the Heart system and Alviarin is very proud of the fact that she is one of very very few who knows the identity of every member of the BA. So how come Sheriam know that Verin was BA. Did they share a Heart? That seems a might beg coincidence. Was Sheriam No 2 to Alviarin to be privy to this information.

I know that Sheriam was high up in the power structure of the Tower and rebels first as Mistress of Novices and then as Keeper but that does not mean she was high up among the BA. What do the rest of you think.

Zombie Sammael
10-06-2011, 11:26 AM
When exposed as a member of the Black Ajah Sheriam is told by Egwene of Verin's part in the affair and Sheriam seems to know that Verin was a member of the Black Ajah. How did she know this?

Early on we were introduced to the Heart system and Alviarin is very proud of the fact that she is one of very very few who knows the identity of every member of the BA. So how come Sheriam know that Verin was BA. Did they share a Heart? That seems a might beg coincidence. Was Sheriam No 2 to Alviarin to be privy to this information.

I know that Sheriam was high up in the power structure of the Tower and rebels first as Mistress of Novices and then as Keeper but that does not mean she was high up among the BA. What do the rest of you think.

The fact that Halima was beating Sheriam for information rather speaks against the idea that she is particularly highly ranked. By comparison, Mesaana did treat Alviarhin rather poorly, but on the other hand, Shaidar Haran marked her as "his"; other successful Darkfriends such as Daved Hanlon have been treated much better. Sheriam always seemed somehow an unwilling black to me; someone who'd got in over her head without realising what swearing to the Shadow would entail. Obviously, she's key to the Tower split and keeping the Aes Sedai weakened throughout that period, and proves quite effective at it, but other than that - admittedly a fairly major task - she doesn't appear to have been much of an agent for the BA. Some evidence, such as Alviarhin as Elaida's Keeper and Galina Casban as head of the Red Ajah, does point to high-ranking Black sisters also taking high ranking positions, but given the general structure of the Darkfriend subculture, this probably isn't necessarily the case. Sheriam was a pawn, one square away from becoming a queen when she was taken.

fdsaf3
10-06-2011, 11:55 AM
When I read the book, I assumed Sheriam suspected Verin all along but didn't have proof until Egwene told her. Them sharing a Heart would be too much of a concidence, in my opinion.

I wonder if all Black sisters are in the same hierarchy. In TDR, Liandrin and her posse report directly to Moghedien. I wonder if other Black sisters report to various Chosen in a similar way.

I could be way off base. This is just pure speculation on my part.

Also, I wouldn't take a Black sister being beaten as proof of standing in the Black Ajah. It seems to me that the Chosen (of which Halima belonged, after all) are so condescending towards the "so-called Aes Sedai" of the current Age that all Black sisters are equally low in standing. Beatings for sisters are similar to disciniplining a pet or animal, meant to instruct or discipline.

Zombie Sammael
10-06-2011, 12:32 PM
I wonder if all Black sisters are in the same hierarchy. In TDR, Liandrin and her posse report directly to Moghedien. I wonder if other Black sisters report to various Chosen in a similar way.

I could be way off base. This is just pure speculation on my part.

Also, I wouldn't take a Black sister being beaten as proof of standing in the Black Ajah. It seems to me that the Chosen (of which Halima belonged, after all) are so condescending towards the "so-called Aes Sedai" of the current Age that all Black sisters are equally low in standing. Beatings for sisters are similar to disciniplining a pet or animal, meant to instruct or discipline.

There's no way the Chosen have anything like individual micro-management of the BA, other than that Mesaana appears to have taken control of those black sisters in the Tower at the time of the split. The reason is because (obviously) the BA was founded and operated long before all of the Chosen escaped. I think any Chosen can call upon the BA, and there is some circumstantial evidence that they may have agreement not to interfere with one another's use of BA or Darkfriends, spoken or otherwise. It seems the Chosen get their instructions from the Great Lord, and he might well have arranged this personally prior to Moridin's resurrection (heh, Death's resurrection).

My feelings on Sheriam's standing in the BA is just that I don't get the impression she could be high up; she doesn't seem the type. Her thoughts about speaking to sisters in the Hall after her beating certainly indicate a level of regret, though the scene was written to leave her BA status open. On the other hand, she operated as Mistress of Novices for apparently around 20 years, if she was indeed MON when Morgase went to the Tower - surely a great potential recruitment spot for Black Accepted - and it's surely no coincidence that the Keepers of both the TAS and RAS were both Black. So that does suggest she might well have been a highly ranked DF.

Terez
10-06-2011, 12:39 PM
Sheriam was Mistress of Novices for 10 years, under Siuan. There's an error concerning Morgase that has been corrected in subsequent editions.

Zombie Sammael
10-06-2011, 12:57 PM
Sheriam was Mistress of Novices for 10 years, under Siuan. There's an error concerning Morgase that has been corrected in subsequent editions.

Thank you for clarifying that. I don't think it particularly changes the point; despite the impression readers might get of her - depending on when she turned - Sheriam was a phenomenally successful agent for the Black Ajah. Her use of her position as MON might well account to some extent for the large numbers of black sisters presently in the Tower, and it is presumably no coincidence that both she and Alviarin were Keepers. She might even be one of the few who know the names of every Black sister - but her few viewpoints give the impression of a woman in over her head. It's difficult to reconcile "power hungry Darkfriend" with "I wish I had never spoken to a sister in the Hall", even after a beating. Clearly, there were two sides to Sheriam Bayanar.

Terez
10-06-2011, 03:32 PM
Thank you for clarifying that. I don't think it particularly changes the point
No one said that it did. I didn't even read the rest of the post.

fdsaf3
10-06-2011, 03:32 PM
I think I caught myself in a mistake, actually. In Dragon Reborn, Liandrin and the other Black sisters report directly to Be'Lal, only to get snapped up by Moghedien in Fires of Heaven. Oops.

Have you read the same books I have? Because in the Wheel of Time books I've read, the Chosen plot and squabble among themselves far more than they acted on the instructions of the Dark One. Moreover, your posts have way too many uses of the words "seems" and "apparently". This belies your attempt to conclusively prove whatever it is you think you are proving. My point was simply that all Chosen think of current Age Aes Sedai as being contemptible, half-trained children. A beating from a Chosen, as I said before, isn't anything to be remarked upon.

Oh well. Chalk this up to another time when someone here jumped right into excessive nitpicking (and incorrectly, might I add) for the sake of arguing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this kind of response deters discussion.

Back to lurking, I guess.

Zombie Sammael
10-06-2011, 03:39 PM
No one said that it did. I didn't even read the rest of the post.

No, but you did give me an opportunity to clarify my own thoughts which is what it did. I was genuinely thanking you; my copies have the old line about Sheriam and I hadn't realised it had been changed.

Zombie Sammael
10-06-2011, 03:47 PM
I think I caught myself in a mistake, actually. In Dragon Reborn, Liandrin and the other Black sisters report directly to Be'Lal, only to get snapped up by Moghedien in Fires of Heaven. Oops.

Have you read the same books I have? Because in the Wheel of Time books I've read, the Chosen plot and squabble among themselves far more than they acted on the instructions of the Dark One. Moreover, your posts have way too many uses of the words "seems" and "apparently". This belies your attempt to conclusively prove whatever it is you think you are proving. My point was simply that all Chosen think of current Age Aes Sedai as being contemptible, half-trained children. A beating from a Chosen, as I said before, isn't anything to be remarked upon.

Oh well. Chalk this up to another time when someone here jumped right into excessive nitpicking (and incorrectly, might I add) for the sake of arguing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this kind of response deters discussion.

Back to lurking, I guess.

I use words like "seems" and "apparently" where there's more than one possible interpretation for the evidence I am using. I try to acknowledge the existence of points of view other than my own rather than aggressively push all of my points (at least on the WOT board), and this is an attempt at doing that, not weasel out of giving evidence for my thoughts. I also wasn't attempting to "prove" anything in this thread, just give some thoughts on Sheriam; the OP asked where Sheriam stood in the BA, and my original thought that she was just a pawn dwindled when I gave it some thought. All I did was make that process public. Sorry if that's some sort of problem for you.

In any case it is an observable fact that the Chosen don't f*** with each other at least with regards to the BA. You said it yourself; Liandrin's 13 didn't get "snapped up" by Moghedien until after Be'lal was out of the picture. It is also true that the Chosen plot and squabble amongst one another, but it at least looks like (on purely circumstantial evidence) they were given at very least their initial instructions about where to go and what to do by the DO or at least some coordinating agency. That might have been Ishamael, even though he wasn't publicly known as nae'blis at that point, but the fact that they all ended up in geographically separate areas that seem to have been picked for strategic reasons at least indicates it might have happened.

I don't know where you got the idea that I was spoiling for a fight. Did you read my posts or just assume? I was merely posting my thoughts about Sheriam and doing some analysis based on the books. I think it's probably this sort of unnecessary backbiting that discourages discussion rather than a few fairly innocuous bits of character analysis.

Tomp
10-06-2011, 04:58 PM
I get the feeling that some of the BA has been subject to the 13X13. Sheriam might be one of them.

Terez
10-06-2011, 05:02 PM
The effects of 13-13 are rather obvious. You can't miss it. That's why they didn't start doing it before now, presumably. And why the dreamspike was necessary.

Enigma
10-06-2011, 05:24 PM
I seem to remember a pov from Sheriam where she thought that she only really joined the BA to get ahead in Tower politics. The impression I had was that she was a lukewarm darkfriend who never expected the last battle to happen in her lifetime but then the forsaken broke free and it was too late to back out. She did not strike me as particularly high ranking.

That was why I raised the question of who she knew of Verin's BA membership. For those who say that she accomplished a lot for the Shadow she may have helped but Alriarin had a lot to do with the tower split guided by Mesaana taking an active hand herself. At best Sheriam helped keep the rebellion going in the early days.

As Mistress of Novices she would have been useful in recruiting new BA members but she can't just ask every novice/accepted if they would like eternal life and would be prepared to do terrible things to get it. RJ said that in interviews the BA were careful in recruitment as once an offer was made if the candidate refused she had to be killed. Sheriam would certainly be useful in the recruitment drive as she would spend a lot of time around the novices and accepted and would have a feeling for what they were like.

On the issue of the forsaken not messing with each other's BA minions I don't buy that. When we see Liandrin's covern in TSR they postulate disention among the forsaken from conflicting orders they have received.

Added to this was when Masaana first recruited Alviarin to be her No 1 minion she was very focused on Alviarin serving only her and none of the other forsaken.

Terez
10-06-2011, 05:26 PM
Also, I just looked, and EWoT lists the Sheriam/Morgase thing as an uncorrected error. I always assumed that one had been fixed. Probably it hasn't been fixed because there's no good way to fix it. Merean was Mistress at the time, and she's dead. Though I suppose it could be fixed in a way that makes it seem as though they were simply friends as novices.

GonzoTheGreat
10-07-2011, 04:00 AM
Moghedien cut her off sharply. "You serve whichever of the Chosen chooses to snap you up. Whoever sends you orders from the White Tower, she takes her own from one of us now, and very likely grovels on her belly when she does. You will serve me, Liandrin. Be sure of it."That seems to sum up the attitude of the Chosen towards the BA and other DF: a natural resource to be used and discarded when convenient, but not worthy of squabbling about amongst themselves.

WinespringBrother
10-07-2011, 09:21 AM
When exposed as a member of the Black Ajah Sheriam is told by Egwene of Verin's part in the affair and Sheriam seems to know that Verin was a member of the Black Ajah. How did she know this?

Early on we were introduced to the Heart system and Alviarin is very proud of the fact that she is one of very very few who knows the identity of every member of the BA. So how come Sheriam know that Verin was BA. Did they share a Heart? That seems a might beg coincidence. Was Sheriam No 2 to Alviarin to be privy to this information.

I know that Sheriam was high up in the power structure of the Tower and rebels first as Mistress of Novices and then as Keeper but that does not mean she was high up among the BA. What do the rest of you think.

Sheriam may or may not have known Verin was Black Ajah before Egwene apprehended her, though she did imply it by not acting surprised. And when she said "Never expected it of her, I'll say.", maybe she meant that she never expected Verin to be a darkfriend. And the quote does say that Sheriam was high ranking, so that could be a source of her knowledge of other Black Ajah members. So, there are several possible explanations.

The Gathering Storm CH 43 - Sealed to the Flame
She trailed off as Egwene held out the Oath Rod. "Prove it, Sheriam. The woman who came to me in the Tower gave me your name as a leader among the Black Ajah." Sheriam met Egwene's eyes. "Ah, then," the woman said softly, eyes mournful. "Who was it, now, who came to you?" "Verin Mathwin." "Well, well," Sheriam said, settling back on her chair. "Never expected it of her, I'll say. How did she get past the oaths to the Great Lord?" "She drank poison," Egwene said, heart twisting. "Very clever." The flame-haired woman nodded. "I could never bring myself to do such a thing. Never indeed..." Egwene wove bonds of Air and wrapped Sheriam in them, then tied off the weaves. She turned back to an incredulous group of women, white-faced. Some terrified. "The world marches to the Last Battle," Egwene said sternly. "Did you expect that our enemies would leave us alone?"

SamJ
10-07-2011, 03:58 PM
And when she said "Never expected it of her, I'll say.", maybe she meant that she never expected Verin to be a darkfriend.

That's how I read it first time, but thinking again, this reminds me of Verin's comments along the lines that she would need a very special sort of forgiveness.

On a related note, can anyone work out the odds with the heart system that Verin and Sheriam would be within each other's chain?

GonzoTheGreat
10-08-2011, 03:26 AM
On a related note, can anyone work out the odds with the heart system that Verin and Sheriam would be within each other's chain?That simply depends on how high up Sheriam was.

If she was in the central hearth, then the odds are one in three (as three chains go from there). If she was in the level below that, then the odds are one in 9. And so forth.

The Unreasoner
10-09-2011, 01:23 PM
I always thought Tallanvor was onto something when he wondered what 'talks with Sheriam' meant. Probably some Daes Daemar thing. It will probably be left to heads wiser than I to discover the true nature and intent of the comment.

Enigma
10-09-2011, 05:43 PM
I always thought Tallanvor was onto something when he wondered what 'talks with Sheriam' meant. Probably some Daes Daemar thing. It will probably be left to heads wiser than I to discover the true nature and intent of the comment.

Leaving aside the error in who was mistress of novices at the time Morgase was in the Tower I took the comment to be a way Morgage was unconsciously trying to tell those close to her something was wrong but they did not have enought background info to pick up on it.

Morgage spoke of pleasant talks with Sheriam thought it should be the Mistress of Novices. The trick is novices don't have nice talks with the Mistress of Novices once they are welcomed to the Tower. Being called/sent to the Mistress of Novises invovles receiving punishment either in extra labour or being beaten.

The Unreasoner
10-09-2011, 07:04 PM
It may be just an error. But if it's not, then Tallanvor was onto something. He thinks that Morgase was occasionally trying to tell him something, covertly. I don't know if Elayne and Morgase set up some kind of code for secure communication beforehand. If they had not, Elayne might assume something was very wrong. Which was the case. Especially since the comment is one that anyone close to the Tower would be able to easily refute, so hardly a good choice for a coded message.

Or it could have just been a joke, from mother to daughter, on 'spirit'. Or Morgase could have been pillow-friends with Sheriam (does that fit the timeline?), and was letting her daughter know (in a not so subtle way) that it's perfectly normal to experiment.

Zombie Sammael
10-10-2011, 03:50 AM
Morgase spoke of pleasant talks with Sheriam thought it should be the Mistress of Novices. The trick is novices don't have nice talks with the Mistress of Novices once they are welcomed to the Tower. Being called/sent to the Mistress of Novises invovles receiving punishment either in extra labour or being beaten.

I believe it's always been established that the MON also acted as a sort of guidance counsellor who you could go and speak to if you were struggling or had problems. I don't think her role is purely to dole out discipline; she's more like the headmistress of the AS school.

Enigma
10-10-2011, 06:41 AM
Being a shoulder to cry on is part of the role of Mistress of Novices thought it is rarely refered to. Other AS also help. When Verin first told Siuan & Moiraine that she knew all about Rand there is a pov from Moiraine about not wanting Verin to force her to act against her especially when she used to have sweets or some such left out for them when they were still novices.

Given the way Morgase put emphasis on the meetings it has to mean something and it seemed to me that what she was trying to say was don't believe everything (Rahvin inspired) she was saying. She did this by saying something along the lines of "I used to have a wonderful time in prison" or some such. If you know what prisons are like its the sort of statement that would make one wonder about who has made the statement.

Rand al'Fain
10-10-2011, 03:47 PM
Or Morgase could have been pillow-friends with Sheriam (does that fit the timeline?), and was letting her daughter know (in a not so subtle way) that it's perfectly normal to experiment.
The whole "pillow friends" stage really seems to be for novices and occasionally Accpeted, unless you're Elaida. Could be wrong, but that is what is heavily implied. And Sheriam was a Novice/Accepted at the sametime as Siuam and Moiraine.

Zombie Sammael
10-10-2011, 04:04 PM
The whole "pillow friends" stage really seems to be for novices and occasionally Accpeted, unless you're Elaida. Could be wrong, but that is what is heavily implied. And Sheriam was a Novice/Accepted at the sametime as Siuam and Moiraine.

Given that the odd Aes Sedai and noblewoman have run off with their pillow friends, I don't think it's quite that straightforward. I think Aes Sedai tend to find pursuits other than romance/sex once they're raised to the shawl, and that's why it's observed more often among the young'ins. The usual effects of age probably don't apply to slowed channelers, but when you have the sweetness and light of Saidar, you probably don't feel much need for physical pleasure.

JOS
10-10-2011, 08:56 PM
Given that the odd Aes Sedai and noblewoman have run off with their pillow friends, I don't think it's quite that straightforward. I think Aes Sedai tend to find pursuits other than romance/sex once they're raised to the shawl, and that's why it's observed more often among the young'ins. The usual effects of age probably don't apply to slowed channelers, but when you have the sweetness and light of Saidar, you probably don't feel much need for physical pleasure.

Seriously? Have you seen how the Aes Sedai act? they must all be sexually repressed!

SamJ
10-11-2011, 03:27 AM
That simply depends on how high up Sheriam was.

If she was in the central hearth, then the odds are one in three (as three chains go from there). If she was in the level below that, then the odds are one in 9. And so forth.

Thanks! I wasn't sure anyone knew more than 3 other BA members - but it makes sense that the high Council would know more. Thinking about it, if the Council were making 'policy' decisions they would cotton on to various BA members not in their chain if they were observant enough to see who was carrying out orders. For example, the whole council would know Chesmal was BA (presuming she was not on the Council herself), once she made the announcement about the Amrylin's death.

Toss the dice
10-15-2011, 12:43 PM
My opinion regarding Sheriam being beaten is that it had nothing to do with her standing in the Black Ajah and everything to do with her standing with the Salidar Aes Sedai. She was the Keeper, had considerable influence and more importantly, access and privileges others did not. I've never believed she was anything more than a "regular" BA sister, but she would have been a very useful tool to the Shadow in the Tower conflict.