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View Full Version : Aes Sedai, the Ajahs, the failure


Landro
11-15-2011, 04:55 AM
Although the Aes Sedai think very highly of themselves, the majority of them are just failures. The Forsaken are right to dismiss them like they do.
Let's have a look at the Ajahs:

Blue - The Blues are all about causes. Really? Siuan and Moiraine could have done the same they did if they had picked any other Ajah. The whole reason for the Blue Ajah seems weak at best.

Brown - The Browns are all about knowledge. They're quite good at gathering knowledge and hiding it away but sharing it? Rand might well be the first Aes Sedai since the breaking to actively promote the sharing of knowledge and what have the Browns do in the last 3000 years?

Green - The battle Ajah. I have yet to hear reports of the Greens actually helping out where it counts. How many Greens were there at Tarwin's Gap? None! Adelorna herself has learned the hard way that the Green Ajah is just a joke when it comes to battle.

Grey - Negotiation. With the intimidating might of the White Tower behind you, mediation becomes a lot easier. Still, they aren't doing something that can't be done by non-channelers.

Red - Finding and gentling Male channelers. They have been somewhat good at this but when Cadsuane is said to have captured more male channelers than any four Reds, you get a pretty good picture about their effectiveness. They also suffered the highest percentage of Black Ajah infiltration. The Cleansing of the male half of the source makes them almost obsolete. To top it off, they weren't the ones to discover a weave to detect a man's channeling.

Yellow - Healing. Can anybody remember mentions of Yellow sisters travelling the land and Healing everybody who needs it? The best they've done is heal when a battle was near but other Ajahs have done the same. In recent books some major discoveries have been made in Healing techniques but they all came from an Accepted and a Kinswoman. The Yellows were content to keep doing what they did without ever looking for better ways.

White - Logic. Even more useless than the Blue. No wonder they're the smallest of the Ajahs.


So what Ajahs would the Tower really need?

- A renewed Yellow Ajah whose members would go out into the world and look for people in need of healing.

- An Ajah that would concentrate on finding Novices and training Novices and Accepted.

- An Ajah that would police channelers, hunt for people abusing the OP and destroy Shadow Spawn. (Might be a merger of Green and Red Ajah)

- A renewed Brown Ajah that would not just gather, but also share knowledge.

- An Ajah that concentrates on the study and creation of Ter'Angreal, Angreal and Sa'Angreal.

Ideally, those Ajahs, should include both men and women working together.

GonzoTheGreat
11-15-2011, 05:48 AM
Green - The battle Ajah. I have yet to hear reports of the Greens actually helping out where it counts.Alanna in the Two Rivers campaign. Which, admittedly, is a bit of an exception.

yks 6nnetu hing
11-15-2011, 06:01 AM
*technically* the Reds are dedicated to ensuring that another Breaking never happens. The way they've decided to do that is focusing on (eliminating) the male Channelers.

The cleansing of the Saidin will make them - to the contrary of what you said - even more important as they'll be focusing on the male channelers. I see a future potential there as Reds will become THE Ajah that's most cooperating with the male channelers, working Saidin and Saidar together. Which, by the way is already started with the Reds bonded by the Asha'man

also, there's quite some poetic justice in that.

GonzoTheGreat
11-15-2011, 06:20 AM
Wouldn't poetry belong to the White Ajah, though? :confused:

Figbiscuit
11-15-2011, 08:11 AM
Wouldn't poetry belong to the White Ajah, though? :confused:

Why?

Oden
11-15-2011, 08:34 AM
The Ajah for making objects of the Power and the Brown Ajah should work together. One is about practical knowledge and the other is theoretical knowledge. They would, surely, accomplish more with the help of each other.

The "police" should also uphold international laws (and make them). An extension of mediating Greys?

If it goes as I want, then they would return to the system in the AoL. I always hope for a return to "the good old days". The best from the past should be integrate with the way of the present.

WinespringBrother
11-15-2011, 09:14 AM
The Aes Sedai have mostly been failures so far, but there is nothing to say that can't change for the last book (see Mistborn for an example of this). And if you think of the Ajahs as college majors, they make sense - political science (blue and gray), library science, military science (red and green), philosophy, and medicine. Not to mention that their successes, while few, have been outstanding (Moiraine, Siuan, Nynaeve, Egwene, Cadsuane). And their core mission of gathering resources and knowledge to prepare the world and the Dragon Reborn for the Last Battle has mainly succeeded. If not for the White Tower, who knows how things would have turned out?

GonzoTheGreat
11-15-2011, 10:15 AM
Why?Because poetry is (all right, should be) logical.

GonzoTheGreat
11-15-2011, 10:19 AM
Not to mention that their successes, while few, have been outstanding (Moiraine, Siuan, Nynaeve, Egwene, Cadsuane).Nynaeve is mostly a wilder.
Egwene ... let's not go there, shall we? :p
Cadsuane learned most of her really useful lessons from a wilder, not in the Tower.

That leaves Moiraine and Siuan.
The former has been educated in the Tower, true, but she's mostly ignored it thereafter.
And the main accomplishment of the latter is keeping the WT from interfering in the affairs of the world by keeping it entirely focused on infighting. That accomplishment would've been a lot more impressive if it had been done on purpose.

jana
11-15-2011, 11:38 AM
it wasn't named White Tower for nothing.

Brita
11-15-2011, 12:06 PM
- A renewed Yellow Ajah whose members would go out into the world and look for people in need of healing.


I would add researching improved healing techniques (a clinical trials program ;) )

padfoot89
11-16-2011, 01:30 AM
Brown - The Browns are all about knowledge. They're quite good at gathering knowledge and hiding it away but sharing it? Rand might well be the first Aes Sedai since the breaking to actively promote the sharing of knowledge and what have the Browns do in the last 3000 years?

Exactly what knowledge should they have been sharing ? I would assume that anyone going to the White Tower would be able to gain access to it.


Yellow - Healing. Can anybody remember mentions of Yellow sisters travelling the land and Healing everybody who needs it? The best they've done is heal when a battle was near but other Ajahs have done the same. In recent books some major discoveries have been made in Healing techniques but they all came from an Accepted and a Kinswoman. The Yellows were content to keep doing what they did without ever looking for better ways.

To be fair, without Travelling they can't really help people who are far away. Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I remember, the Yellow sisters are the only ones who'd help anyone (Healing-wise) if they needed it.

GonzoTheGreat
11-16-2011, 03:13 AM
To be fair, without Travelling they can't really help people who are far away. Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I remember, the Yellow sisters are the only ones who'd help anyone (Healing-wise) if they needed it.Moiraine did it too, and she's Blue. Verin did it too, and she's Brown(ish). Alanna did it, and she's Green.
The only Yellow we've seen do this that I can remember is Nynaeve.

Rand al'Fain
11-16-2011, 11:36 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Aes Sedai during Rand's time, and for centuries prior at least, have not lived up to their namesake (certain individuals exempt of course), Servants to All. They only serve themselves and the White Tower (Eggy started out as an individual, but became a part of the problem as I see it, and to quite an extreme degree going off of POVs from the last couple of books).

Landro
11-16-2011, 01:54 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Aes Sedai during Rand's time, and for centuries prior at least, have not lived up to their namesake (certain individuals exempt of course), Servants to All. They only serve themselves and the White Tower (Eggy started out as an individual, but became a part of the problem as I see it, and to quite an extreme degree going off of POVs from the last couple of books).

Nynaeve's test for the shawl is a good example of where the AS go wrong

Rand al'Fain
11-16-2011, 05:48 PM
Nynaeve's test for the shawl is a good example of where the AS go wrong
Definitly. It's one thing to remain calm under pressure, but, like what Nynaeve thought, it's like they're being serene to be serene. It's ridiculous.

Kimon
11-16-2011, 08:25 PM
Moiraine did it too, and she's Blue. Verin did it too, and she's Brown(ish). Alanna did it, and she's Green.
The only Yellow we've seen do this that I can remember is Nynaeve.

We have a rather small sample size of yellows (at least of non-black yellows) out and about in the world, but Samitsu did save Dobraine, and of course she helped keep Rand alive long enough for Damer to save him. One might have wished that the yellows had set up free clinics in the major cities of the world, as that would have seemed a natural inclination for their ajah. That also would have greatly helped in maintaining better PR for the White Tower if they had had the foresight to actually bother to visibly help society through the use of their abilities.

frenchie
11-16-2011, 08:42 PM
You mean free healing clinics, like Elayne wants to do with the Kin?

balefired
11-16-2011, 11:23 PM
Exactly what knowledge should they have been sharing ? I would assume that anyone going to the White Tower would be able to gain access to it.



To be fair, without Travelling they can't really help people who are far away. Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I remember, the Yellow sisters are the only ones who'd help anyone (Healing-wise) if they needed it.

Responding to the part in bold.

This brings up a point that I and I am sure many others have brought up. The Tower structure as it is is set up only to gain and preserve power, starting with individual Aes Sedai, then Ajah, and finally the WTs influence as a whole over the rest of Randland.

If they really wanted to serve as they should, they should have regional guild halls with the WT being the head and delegating local responsibility to regional halls. They could set up hospitals, schools, libraries, rally points, and be able to more effectively recruit.

Not only would this make them more effective as an organization, it would likely help the AS with their main concern, gaining power. With more interaction with the general populace they would become far more trusted, rather than being an aloof and mysterious cloister.

Landro
11-17-2011, 01:35 AM
You mean free healing clinics, like Elayne wants to do with the Kin?

You mean what the Kin already did in Ebou Dar?

GonzoTheGreat
11-17-2011, 04:06 AM
Definitly. It's one thing to remain calm under pressure, but, like what Nynaeve thought, it's like they're being serene to be serene. It's ridiculous.
That's not the worst part of it, by far. A lot more serious is that they are taught to put the interests of the Tower, any interest of the Tower at all, over the well being of anyone not involved in the Tower.

You mean free healing clinics, like Elayne wants to do with the Kin?
You mean what the Kin already did in Ebou Dar?
Wilders. :rolleyes:

Landro
11-17-2011, 05:53 AM
Wilders. :rolleyes:

Most Kinswomen are Tower rejects or Runaways. Not quite Wilders.

Heinz
11-17-2011, 03:29 PM
I don't have quotes and such handy on me, but I am quite certain we've had this discussion before. Certainly, others have thought about what the White Tower could have been, but wasn't, for the last 3000 years. I tried to do a search for the topic, but I apparently had either too broad of keywords, or too narrow.

The gist of it is, there is the influence of Ishamael and the Black Ajah to consider, who weren't having Darkfriend tea party socials waiting for the Day of Return all these years either.

If the Light is benefited by a world which is prepared - remembers the War of the Shadow because the Browns and White philosophers have kept that knowledge fresh in the schools/universities they teach around Randland (and beyond?), held together by Greys which use practiced patience and wisdom while leaving behind arrogance and contempt for non-channelers, propsperous because Yellows keep sickness and injury to a minmum while discovering new cures and better dietary practices (not all health research has to be with the Power itself), lawful and orderly because Reds saw keeping people in general from lawlessness as part to be avoided from another Breaking (investigative talents need not be isolated to only men who could channel), militarily prepared because Greens were at the front lines with the Blight and were heavily involved in any incursions by the Shadow, and focused on their goals as a relatively unified people and ultimately The Last Battle by the Blues - a world which is prepared for all of these because an extroverted White Tower has helped shape the world to be a force against the Great Lord on the Day of Return, then it would be in the Shadow's best interest to do everything they can to make the Tower introverted, and the world un-prepared.

Mission accomplished.

Eltheriond
11-17-2011, 11:48 PM
I think you have summed it up very neatly, Heinz. There has obviously been a large amount of influence by Ishamael and the Black Ajah in shaping Tower policy, so it doesn't take much of a stretch to see that the introverted nature of the tower (and by extension, the fear that the common people have of channelers in general) is entirely Ishamael's doing.

Rand al'Fain
11-18-2011, 01:13 AM
I think you have summed it up very neatly, Heinz. There has obviously been a large amount of influence by Ishamael and the Black Ajah in shaping Tower policy, so it doesn't take much of a stretch to see that the introverted nature of the tower (and by extension, the fear that the common people have of channelers in general) is entirely Ishamael's doing.
I wouldn't put it solely on Ishamael, as in 3000 years, the non-Black Ajah Aes Sedai, outside of a handful here and there, have done nothing to help dispel the unease that most non-channelers feel towards channelers in general.

eht slat meit
11-18-2011, 01:30 AM
It is my understanding that the name "Aes Sedai" (servants to all) once reflected a genuine attitude, and the various Ajahs represented that outlook. The Reds to save the world from being shattered further by madmen, the Green to fight against the remaining influence of the Shadow after the war's end, the Yellow to heal, and so on. They had huge potential in this... basic hospitals, lightlords (ladies, to be precise), mediators, heraldesses, librarians and generally restoring the faith in the greater power of channelers are purposes that immediately come to mind.

By influencing Hawkwing to place a bounty the heads of Aes Sedai, Ishamael effectively and semi-permanently cut the White Tower off from the rest of the world, preventing them from acting in all but the most subtle and manipulative of fashions. The Black Ajah was able to take advantage of a then-cloistered Tower to pervert their high-minded goals even further.

Cadsuane is a fine example of what the Reds might have been for male channelers if they hadn't been corrupted.

Enigma
11-18-2011, 04:28 AM
We are all quick to find shortcomings with the Aes Sedai but lets consider what the world could be like without the White Tower.

My first example is the Isle of Madmen. We don't know a lot about the place its only referred to in the guide but is an example of what happened when there was no social order and no way to contain mad male challeners. Apparantly its not a nice place to live, in fact its only one step above S G in the world league of more desirable places to live in.

Example two is pre consolidation Seanchan. Leave aside slavery and damane etc pre consolidation Seanchan was a patch work of kingdoms rules by female chanellers. The guide and several Seanchan characters have said that it was a constant shifting patchwork of alliances with backstabbing and murder a way of life. From the sounds of it this is better that the Land of Madmen but still not a place one would like to live. Part of the reason Hawkwing's armies were probably so successful was that the conquored people found out that their living conditions improved under the foreigners.

The White Tower has prevented both from happening. They had contained male channelers and regulated female channelers.

A quick summary Ajah by Ajah -

Red - pretty successful, no male channelers last more that a few years even if they are very powerful.

Green - their battle skills might not be what they were but it seems clear that the light survived the Trollock wars because they were there with every army countering the dreadlords. Granted they don't do much in the borderlands but looking at it coldly do you want your 200 or so members scattered all throught out the borderlands putting out raids but unable to consentrate their forces if a serious puch comes from the Shadow or safely behind the lines ready to act as a heavy reserve to counterattack any major offensive that breaks throught the borderland lines.

Grey - We don't know how many border disputes and petty wars they have stopped or prevented. Some AS have commented on the treaties they have negotiated so they must have done some. Maybe they have not united the land but given the fractious nature of humanity thats asking a lot. Even now with the end of the world around the corner people still oppose Rand.

Brown - I agree they have been a bit of a failure but then again Verin was Brown sort of and her single contribution counts for a lot. Plus the Browns have kept a lot of the knowledge of the past alive and that is worth something.

Yellow - Yeh they suck

White - Even more so that the Yellows

Blue - Again we don't know enought of what causes they have championed. 3,000 years is a long time and by all accounts the blue sisters have been out and about dealing with smaller issues. We are told they have a lot of influence so again the fact that the world is in the state its in might be their fault but equally the fact that its not worse could also be to their credit.

GonzoTheGreat
11-18-2011, 06:24 AM
Then again, if you compare them to examples 3, 4 and 5 (the Aiel, the Sea Folk and the Sharans), then the White Tower hasn't done all that well.
Green - their battle skills might not be what they were but it seems clear that the light survived the Trollock wars because they were there with every army countering the dreadlords. Granted they don't do much in the borderlands but looking at it coldly do you want your 200 or so members scattered all throught out the borderlands putting out raids but unable to consentrate their forces if a serious puch comes from the Shadow or safely behind the lines ready to act as a heavy reserve to counterattack any major offensive that breaks throught the borderland lines.I think that I would want one or two dozen at the border, perhaps doing tours of the border towers with heavy military escorts. Those can then get hands on actual combat experience, instead of merely reading about it in a book. Give every Green such a duty on a rotating basis, and they wouldn't have to spent more than one year in twenty on it. The others could then be held in reserve, or, if they felt like it, go as "surprise squads" on unscheduled tours.

The Greys could get the southern monarchs to send some units (a few hundred men each, or so) to the north, to function as part of those military escorts. That would give a lot of people first hand knowledge of the existence of Trollocs, it would enhance the unity of Randland (because everyone knew who the common enemy really was), and it would increase the influence of the WT, which organised this all.

balefired
11-18-2011, 09:06 AM
Green - their battle skills might not be what they were but it seems clear that the light survived the Trollock wars because they were there with every army countering the dreadlords. Granted they don't do much in the borderlands but looking at it coldly do you want your 200 or so members scattered all throught out the borderlands putting out raids but unable to consentrate their forces if a serious puch comes from the Shadow or safely behind the lines ready to act as a heavy reserve to counterattack any major offensive that breaks throught the borderland lines.


I think a more practicable approach would not leave the AS scattered. Just have them stationed at large population centers in the borderlands ready to react to any major attacks. Also, it should not be the sole responsibility of the Greens, EVERY ajah should be required to send rotations to guard the blight border.

Sarevok
11-18-2011, 09:39 AM
It is my understanding that the name "Aes Sedai" (servants to all) once reflected a genuine attitude, and the various Ajahs represented that outlook.

Actually, the name "Aes Sedai" predates the concept of Ajahs as used since the Breaking.

fdsaf3
11-18-2011, 09:59 AM
I would love to get inside RJ's head for a bit and figure out why he created the White Ajah. I mean, it makes sense from a theoretical perspective: if you get hundreds of women who are essentially the power brokers of the civilized world together in one place, they're going to fragment. Personally, I think the analogy of thinking of the White Tower as a college or prep school is apt. You can see some similarities between Ajahs and college majors (as has been pointed out in this thread, for example). I might postulate that RJ's inclusion of the White Ajah is because of his own mathematics and physics bent. Because of how logically he was trained to see the world due to his education, it made sense to him that a group of Aes Sedai would specialize in the quest for truth based on mathematical, axiomatic logic. I wonder if the White Ajah would have been poets and artists if RJ had been an English major instead.

All kidding aside (and if you read what I just wrote and interpreted 100% seriousness, go read it again), I've often wondered why Aes Sedai weren't explicitly said to be out and about in the world doing more stuff. A vague memory of a memory is telling me I once read or heard that most Greens were along the Blight helping to defend against raids, but that could be totally wrong.

I agree with Balefired: the White Tower should have a regular army of channelers and soldiers defending the Borderlands. There's no excuse for not having that set up.

I guess I've always viewed the Aes Sedai power structure as someone trying desperately to hold a fragile and rapidly crumbling structure together and having limited success. Until very recently, Aes Sedai (along with everyone else) could only immediately impact the events they could physically and geographically get to. Travelling has opened up their ability to run around and put out fires, so you'd think they would be more effective now than before. I think part of all this is a sense of complacency as well. 3000 years of protecting the world from male channelers and Shadowspawn, along with guiding political and social change, is a long time to develop an inflated sense of self-importance.

My apologies if this is scatterbrained. I really should stop posting at work. The problem is that if I don't, then I rarely take the time to respond at home. So it's a tradeoff between almost incoherent posts like this and no posts at all. Hm.

GonzoTheGreat
11-18-2011, 11:24 AM
One reason for the White Ajah (which does not make all that much sense in and off itself, I'll admit) is pointing out how things got frozen out and codified after the Breaking. There were then a couple of groups of AS left, who, after a lot of arguing, managed to come together and form a working collaboration. One of those groups were healers, or more likely: were led by someone who was a healer, and they became the core of the Yellow Ajah. Another group was led by someone with a philosophical bend, and they became the White Ajah. Yet other groups left in disgust during the negotiations, and then returned later on again, to be allowed to join one of the existing Ajahs. If one of those hadn't ran off at the wrong moment, there would now have been 8 Ajahs.

Lupusdeusest
11-19-2011, 06:57 PM
Modern mathematicians (and, for that matter. physicists) often find themselves categorised separately to the more applied fields of the other sciences. I've always considered this akin to the divide between Brown and White. Without the logic wrangling of mathematicians (even accidental ones), many developments would not go forwards. I can't say anything unbiased wrt physicists.
Sorry if this is me pointing out the obvious yet again.

thefistsofheaven
11-19-2011, 11:01 PM
well, AS is an idea from the AoL. and ajahs are after the breaking. the WT has not set up stations through out the world is b/c of the general des-trust of them since the breaking. as for WT having an army to fight in the borderlands? honestly... they were forced to create the 3 oaths b4 ppl and kings starts to half trust them... if they had an army... also, the WT don't have means to make money (the book talked about it so i will not here)... how are they to support an army...
Red - done a good job killing men who can channel. but that turn their general view on men sour, which lead to no warders and the black sisters infestation...
Blue - we really only have Suian and Moraine to look at otherwise we have no idea what other causes they are fighting for.
White - higher reasoning is logical to have, since they are channelers, who are using a power that normal ppl cannot understand, leading to exploration on other topics like math/science/philosophy
Brown - keeps the world's most extensive library. i agree that they suck at sharing knowledge, but really... it's mention many times in the books that there are so many hidden corners in the library that many secrets are hidden... what the only thing they need is the Dewey Decimal Classification system in their library.
Yellow - an arrow kills an AS as quick as anyone else... with the unease the world has on the WT, like the children of the light around, no wonder yellows don't go out to heal ppl. i would like to also point out that ppl do travel to the WT to get healing. it's the yellow that do this.
Grey - many ppl already said that there are unknown # of wars they have already stopped.
Green - well with the 3 oaths setting in... they can't practice their fighting skills with each other now can they??? it's like u are asking an army of soldiers to only fight when they are in a battle and not practice at all outside of war. oh yea and also, the archers cannot even fire first until they feel endangered... no wonder they suck at fighting.

Weird Harold
11-20-2011, 03:50 AM
well, AS is an idea from the AoL. and ajahs are after the breaking.

Ajahs, with a small A, were known during the AOL, and were even found in the AOL sense for the first thousand years of the White Tower's version of AS. It was only as the Tower began to ossify that the current Ajah Structure -- with a captial A -- solidified.

White - higher reasoning is logical to have, since they are channelers, who are using a power that normal ppl cannot understand, leading to exploration on other topics like math/science/philosophy

Whites do NOT study Mathematics, or Science; they are strictly concerned with what they call Logic. It isn't what any student of Boolean Alegebra would recognise as Logic, but any Debate Club nerd would recognise in a heartbeat.

thefistsofheaven
11-20-2011, 09:20 AM
Ajahs, with a small A, were known during the AOL, and were even found in the AOL sense for the first thousand years of the White Tower's version of AS. It was only as the Tower began to ossify that the current Ajah Structure -- with a captial A -- solidified.

Whites do NOT study Mathematics, or Science; they are strictly concerned with what they call Logic. It isn't what any student of Boolean Alegebra would recognise as Logic, but any Debate Club nerd would recognise in a heartbeat.

The AoL was a peaceful time. there might be ajahs, but def not the same ones as they have today. the red, green and grey wouldn't exist in the AoL. and a lot of ppl are mostly doing research during that time.

during one of Egwene's visit for Leane, there were 3 whites who were arguing about existence and possibility of things happening along with the discussion of higher dimensions if that's not math and science what is?

GonzoTheGreat
11-20-2011, 09:56 AM
during one of Egwene's visit for Leane, there were 3 whites who were arguing about existence and possibility of things happening along with the discussion of higher dimensions if that's not math and science what is?That's philosophy. It would've been science if they had gone and actually tested their ideas. But AS are not too hot on that; possibly because earlier tests showed that their ideas were generally wrong.

thefistsofheaven
11-20-2011, 03:27 PM
That's philosophy. It would've been science if they had gone and actually tested their ideas. But AS are not too hot on that; possibly because earlier tests showed that their ideas were generally wrong.

well, that's actually theoretical mathematics and quantum physics, though some part would be consider philosophy. and i believe white's prob one of the ajah that existed in the AoL. they did tests back then, inside those pockets outside of time, mentioned in the books. and other experiments like drilling into the bore.

Weiramon
11-20-2011, 04:44 PM
I wouldn't put it solely on Ishamael, as in 3000 years, the non-Black Ajah Aes Sedai, outside of a handful here and there, have done nothing to help dispel the unease that most non-channelers feel towards channelers in general.

Burn my soul, next you will say that power corrupts or some such nonsense. If an institution of absolute power begins to abuse its power, it is clear who bears the blame for such a turn of events - the weak and disempowered, who failed to behave as they should.

Weird Harold
11-20-2011, 07:23 PM
That's philosophy. It would've been science if they had gone and actually tested their ideas. But AS are not too hot on that; possibly because earlier tests showed that their ideas were generally wrong.

the passage in question:

Three White sisters she knew in passing were guarding Leaner Nagora, a lean woman with pale hair worn in a roll on her nape who sat very straight to make up for her lack of stature; Norine, lovely with her large liquid eyes but often as vague as any Brown; and Miyasi, tall and plump with iron-gray hair, a stern woman who brooked no nonsense and saw nonsense everywhere. Nagora, surrounded by the light of saidar, held the shield on Leane, but they were arguing over some point of logic that Egwene could not make out from the little she heard. She could not even tell whether there were two sides to the argument, or three. There were no raised voices, no shaken fists, and their faces remained smooth Aes Sedai masks, but the coldness in their voices left no doubt that had they not been Aes Sedai, they would have been shouting if not trading blows. She might as well not have existed for all the attention they paid her entrance.

Watching the three from the edge of her eye. she moved as close to the iron latticework as she could and gripped it with both hands to steady herself. Light, she was tired! "I saw Beonin today," she said softly. "She's here in the Tower. She claimed her oath to me no longer held because I was no longer the Amyrlin Seat."

Leane gasped and stepped near enough that she was brushing the iron bars. "She betrayed us?"

"The inherent impossibility of dissimulated structures is a given," Nagora said firmly. Her voice was an icy hammer. "A given."

"She denies it, and I believe her." Egwene whispered. "But she admitted betraying the ferrets. Elaida is only having them watched for the moment, but I told Beonin to warn them, and she said she would. She said she had already warned Meidani and Jennet, but why would she betray them and then tell them about it? And she said she would like to see Elaida pulled down. Why would she flee to Elaida if she still wants her brought down? She as much as admitted no one else has abandoned our cause. I'm missing something, and I'm too tired to see what it is." A yawn that she barely managed to cover with a hand cracked her jaw.

"Dissimulated structures are implied by four of the five axioms of sixth-order rationality," Miyasi said just as firmly. "Strongly implied."

"So-called sixth-order rationality has been discarded as an aberration by anyone with intellect," Norine put in. a touch sharply. "But dissimulated structures are fundamental to any possibility of understanding what is happening right here in the Tower every day. Reality itself is shifting, changing day by day.'
Leane glanced at the Whites. "Some always thought Elaida had spies among us. If Beonin was one, her oath to you would have held her until she could convince herself you were no longer Amyrlin. But if her reception here wasn't what she expected, it might have changed her loyalties. Beonin was always ambitious. If she didn't get her due as she sees matters…" She spread her hands. "Beonin always expected her due and perhaps a little more."

"Logic is always applicable to the real world," Miyasi said dismis-sively, "but only a novice would think the real world can be applied to logic. Ideals must be first principles. Not the mundane world." Nagora snapped her mouth shut with a dark look, as if she felt words had been snatched right off her tongue.

Coloring faintly, Norine rose and glided away from the benches toward Egwene. The other two followed her with their eyes, and she seemed to feel their gazes, shifting her shawl uncomfortably first one way than another. "Child, you look exhausted. Go to your bed now."

Egwene wanted nothing more than her bed. but she had a question to be answered first. Only she had to be careful. The three Whites were all paying attention now. "Leane, do the sisters who visit you still ask the same questions?"

...

It looks to mee that they are arguing the logoc of logoc rather than any real "science."

GonzoTheGreat
11-21-2011, 04:03 AM
"Belief and order give strength."
They may be having some problems with order, but their belief in their own magnificence should give them oodles of strength.

Enigma
11-21-2011, 09:51 AM
RJ seems to have set up the WT to show the faults that can come from ivory towered intellectuals. They are so cut off from the world that they can't see past their own issues to what is important.

I have argued previously that some of the Ajahs' have done their jobs reasonably well and with some others we don't know enought about history to be certain. That got me to thinking. Did the average AS have a bigger invovlement in the world after the breaking and before the current times.

I don't have the quotes but Elaida when she got the top job pulled out a clock that had been in storage and apparantly dated back to when no king or queen held their throne without AS approval. Likewise the guide said that a lot of AS served as governors for Hawkwing before Ishamael whispered into his ear and he fired the lot for being too loyal to the WT and not as loyal to him.

If the AS were Governors they would have had to be on the ground in various regional cities, I can't seem them all governing from Tar Valon. Likewise if the monarchs had to stay in the WT's good graces that suggests that AS at least checked up on them to make sure they kept to the party line.

I wonder if the WT's involvement in the world has been falling back since Hawkwing. The did not turn all the land against them but he did make them a lot more unpolular and they found themselves unwanted. Added to the fall of numbers and they pull back to Tar Valon and gradually have less involvement in the world which is turn cuts into their popularity even more.

Landro
11-22-2011, 04:07 AM
......


AS vow "To speak no word that is not true.". This gives them room to write lies. If another believed those lies to be true, she could speak them as truth while still bound.

WinespringBrother
11-22-2011, 08:09 PM
AS vow "To speak no word that is not true.". This gives them room to write lies. If another believed those lies to be true, she could speak them as truth while still bound.

Aes Sedai cannot write lies any more than they can speak them, per Robert Jordan in a Q&A.

Landro
11-23-2011, 02:31 AM
Aes Sedai cannot write lies any more than they can speak them, per Robert Jordan in a Q&A.

Blacks can still do that. They just have to be careful not to get caught in a lie. And lying by omission or obfuscation is still possible for all sisters,

WinespringBrother
11-23-2011, 08:06 AM
Blacks can still do that. They just have to be careful not to get caught in a lie. And lying by omission or obfuscation is still possible for all sisters,

The below statement is just as true for members of the Black Ajah as for Aes Sedai as a whole.

Aes Sedai cannot write lies any more than they can speak them, per Robert Jordan in a Q&A.

Landro
11-24-2011, 02:25 AM
The below statement is just as true for members of the Black Ajah as for Aes Sedai as a whole.

Verin lied in tGH when she told Ingtar and co that Moiraine sent her. That's proof enough for me that BA can lie when it suits them. They just have to be careful not to get caught in one.

WinespringBrother
11-24-2011, 09:56 AM
Verin lied in tGH when she told Ingtar and co that Moiraine sent her. That's proof enough for me that BA can lie when it suits them. They just have to be careful not to get caught in one.

I have neither argued or implied that black ajah sisters cannot lie. So, let me put this to you another way:

Black Ajah sisters can lie both in speech and in writing (as can other sisters that have been freed from the Oaths by other methods such as stilling, oath rod experimentation, etc...). Sisters that are still oathbound by the first oath can neither lie in speech, nor in writing.

knightofround
11-28-2011, 04:51 AM
Yeah it's sad we'll never know what RJ intended with the Yellow and White Ajahs.

We've seen prominent sisters from the Blue, Grey, Green, Red, and Brown Ajahs. But nobody from the Yellow or White has significantly done anything pertinent to their ajah.

Blue and Grey handle politics. I always got the impression that the Blues and Greys had a relationship similar to the CIA and State Department. The Blues gather intelligence and work behind the scenes, the Greys are the public face of the Tower. So they both basically do the same thing, manipulation, they just go about it in different ways.

Green and Red handle war. Reds take on male channelers and Greens take on Shadowspawn. We know throughout all WoT there's always skirmishes along the Blight. So it's not a stretch of the imagination that many Greens are stationed there. Both Greens and Reds have been fairly successful in both their causes. Again, a case of doing the same thing -- killing stuff -- just doing it in different ways.

Browns seem kinda obvious. WoT has no university system except for the WT. The Brown Ajah are the only historians we know of in Randland. We've seen librarians as minor characters, but never a true professional academic. They serve a valuable purpose in bringing to the WT vast amounts of knowledge to assist all the other Ajahs in their tasks. They are the academic "white tower" of the White Tower, if you will.

Yellows are wishy-washy. I always felt it ridiculous that there was an Ajah just for a single talent. In theory, in a world without medicine magical healers should wield great power and influence. What king wouldn't ransom their nation in order to be cured of some fatal disease? But we don't see that. In fact, we don't see disease at all in Randland. And we've never seen a yellow travel outside of the White Tower. The only "yellows" we've seen actually healing people en masse are the Kin's healers. I have a difficult time believing that's there's a line of sisters at the WT just loitering around waiting to heal anyone who asks. Aes Sedai are way too high-n-mighty for that.

The only significant yellows we've seen are Romanda and Samitsu. And even they just politik just like a Blue/Grey, they just do it in a different color dress.

I don't understand Whites are all. I think maybe RJ intended them to balance Browns with regards to knowledge. Browns = natural knowledge, Whites = unnatural/theoretical knowledge.

But if that's the case, then why the hell aren't the White Ajah concerning themselves with stuff like the DO, the Blight, the Bore, Waygates, inventing new weaves, stuff like that? In WoT they have been portrayed solely as mathematicians and philosophers. And yet, we haven't seen ANY math OR philosophy at all in Randland. We have Fel (and now to lesser extent Min) but that's it. So what the heck have the White been doing all this time?

The inventors at Rand's "Academies" are what the White Ajah should have been imo. An Ajah that champions math and science in addition to the OP. Leave the bookish stuff to the Browns and take on a practical role.

Zombie Sammael
11-28-2011, 05:56 AM
Yeah it's sad we'll never know what RJ intended with the Yellow and White Ajahs.

We've seen prominent sisters from the Blue, Grey, Green, Red, and Brown Ajahs. But nobody from the Yellow or White has significantly done anything pertinent to their ajah.

Blue and Grey handle politics. I always got the impression that the Blues and Greys had a relationship similar to the CIA and State Department. The Blues gather intelligence and work behind the scenes, the Greys are the public face of the Tower. So they both basically do the same thing, manipulation, they just go about it in different ways.

Green and Red handle war. Reds take on male channelers and Greens take on Shadowspawn. We know throughout all WoT there's always skirmishes along the Blight. So it's not a stretch of the imagination that many Greens are stationed there. Both Greens and Reds have been fairly successful in both their causes. Again, a case of doing the same thing -- killing stuff -- just doing it in different ways.

Browns seem kinda obvious. WoT has no university system except for the WT. The Brown Ajah are the only historians we know of in Randland. We've seen librarians as minor characters, but never a true professional academic. They serve a valuable purpose in bringing to the WT vast amounts of knowledge to assist all the other Ajahs in their tasks. They are the academic "white tower" of the White Tower, if you will.

Yellows are wishy-washy. I always felt it ridiculous that there was an Ajah just for a single talent. In theory, in a world without medicine magical healers should wield great power and influence. What king wouldn't ransom their nation in order to be cured of some fatal disease? But we don't see that. In fact, we don't see disease at all in Randland. And we've never seen a yellow travel outside of the White Tower. The only "yellows" we've seen actually healing people en masse are the Kin's healers. I have a difficult time believing that's there's a line of sisters at the WT just loitering around waiting to heal anyone who asks. Aes Sedai are way too high-n-mighty for that.

The only significant yellows we've seen are Romanda and Samitsu. And even they just politik just like a Blue/Grey, they just do it in a different color dress.

I don't understand Whites are all. I think maybe RJ intended them to balance Browns with regards to knowledge. Browns = natural knowledge, Whites = unnatural/theoretical knowledge.

But if that's the case, then why the hell aren't the White Ajah concerning themselves with stuff like the DO, the Blight, the Bore, Waygates, inventing new weaves, stuff like that? In WoT they have been portrayed solely as mathematicians and philosophers. And yet, we haven't seen ANY math OR philosophy at all in Randland. We have Fel (and now to lesser extent Min) but that's it. So what the heck have the White been doing all this time?

The inventors at Rand's "Academies" are what the White Ajah should have been imo. An Ajah that champions math and science in addition to the OP. Leave the bookish stuff to the Browns and take on a practical role.

You do know that Nynaeve al'Meara - one of the most important main characters in the series, who wields influence over the Dragon Reborn and the King of Malkier, and is a close confidante of the Amyrlin Seat herself, who has spent more time healing and discovering new methods of healing than any member of the Kin - is an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, right?

Weird Harold
11-28-2011, 03:22 PM
The inventors at Rand's "Academies" are what the White Ajah should have been imo. An Ajah that champions math and science in addition to the OP. Leave the bookish stuff to the Browns and take on a practical role.

If Alviarin is typical of Whites, they aren't interested in "arithmetic" -- theyn haven't shown any inclination to champion "science" either.

The Tower Library was divided into twelve depositories, at least insofar as the world knew, and the Ninth was the smallest, given over to texts on various forms of arithmetic, yet it was still a large chamber, a long oval with a flattened dome for a ceiling, filled with row on row of tall wooden shelves, each surrounded by a nar*row walkway four paces above the seven-colored floor tiles. Tall ladders stood alongside the shelves, on wheels so they could be moved easily, both on the floor and on the walkways, and mirrored brass stand-lamps with bases so heavy that each took three or four men to move. Fire was a constant concern in the Library. The stand-lamps all burned brightly, ready to light the way for any sis*ter who wanted to find a book or boxed manuscript, but a shelved handcart holding three large leather-cased volumes to be replaced was still in the middle of one aisle exactly where she remembered it from the last time she walked through. She did not understand why there was any need for different forms of arithmetic or why so many books had been written on them, and for all the Tower prided itself on having the greatest collection of books in the world, covering every possible topic, it seemed that most Aes Sedai agreed with her. She had never seen another sister in the Ninth Depository, the reason she used it for her entryway. At the wide arched doors, standing invitingly open, she listened until she was satisfied that the corridor beyond was empty before slipping out. Anyone would have thought it strange that she had developed an interest for the books in there.

knightofround
11-28-2011, 10:55 PM
You do know that Nynaeve al'Meara - one of the most important main characters in the series, who wields influence over the Dragon Reborn and the King of Malkier, and is a close confidante of the Amyrlin Seat herself, who has spent more time healing and discovering new methods of healing than any member of the Kin - is an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, right?

I was just talking about the Ajahs, obviously excluding the supergirls. (none of which are particularly representative of the Ajahs they chose) And I consider Alviarin more Black than White. It's too bad we have so few other examples of the White in WoT.

I always thought Nynaeve behaves more like a Green who has an amazing talent with healing. She doesn't sit idle and heal in the background like other yellows. She attacks Forsaken, protects the Dragon Reborn, and binds probably the most powerful warder in Randland.

All of which kinda begs the question, why have a yellow at all?

knightofround
11-28-2011, 10:59 PM
If Alviarin is typical of Whites, they aren't interested in "arithmetic" -- theyn haven't shown any inclination to champion "science" either.

I absolutely agree. Thats why I said, the White Ajah *should have* been a math/science orientated Ajah. Instead of what they are now.

Zombie Sammael
11-29-2011, 04:21 AM
I was just talking about the Ajahs, obviously excluding the supergirls. (none of which are particularly representative of the Ajahs they chose) And I consider Alviarin more Black than White. It's too bad we have so few other examples of the White in WoT.

I always thought Nynaeve behaves more like a Green who has an amazing talent with healing. She doesn't sit idle and heal in the background like other yellows. She attacks Forsaken, protects the Dragon Reborn, and binds probably the most powerful warder in Randland.

All of which kinda begs the question, why have a yellow at all?

I completely disagree. Nynaeve is entirely and perfectly a Yellow. Her primary goal and motive is healing. She will defend herself if attacked, and she works towards the same aim as the rest of the main cast, but she's doing so from a unique perspective; she sees the DO as a wound or sickness, and his defeat as a healing. Nynaeve is what every Yellow should aspire to be; if anything, it's not that she fails to represent the Ajah properly, more that the Ajah fails to measure up to her.

fdsaf3
11-29-2011, 03:01 PM
All of which kinda begs the question, why have a yellow at all?

My guess is that the Ajahs were formed around key Talents. Since Healing is a prevalent Talent, and arguably the most important in terms of social good, it seems natural that the Yellow Ajah was created.

This actually gives rise to a question I have been pondering. There has not been, to my knowledge, a sister who was unable to use the One Power to fight. Some sisters might not be able to fight as well (don't know battle weaves, their Talents aren't battle talents, etc.), but still, I don't remember an Aes Sedai being useless in a fight. Some sisters, like Elayne, are unable to Heal even a bruise.

My point is that it would seem that being a Yellow is purely based on One Power aptitude for Healing and not a general mindset. But then again, perhaps pacifism is not a requirement for true Healers.

Something to think about, I suppose.

fionwe1987
12-03-2011, 04:27 PM
I think people look at the general disorganization and powerlessness of the Aes Sedai in the past two hundred years and completely ignore their staggering achievements in the past. Let's look at some of them:

1) Setting up Tar Valon: Given the chaos of the Breaking, setting up the world's first new City (and hence, first center of civilization) is no small achievement. We have no idea how important a role the Bank at Tar Valon played in helping other nations establish themselves, for example, but it clearly did. We also know the setting up of Tar Valon was important enough that Birgette and Gaidal were involved.

2) Forming the compact of Ten Nations: We're told, in the guide, that before the Trolloc Wars came, the Compact had sufficiently advanced civilization that glimmers of return to the AoL could be seen. We know for a fact that the Compact was a result of Aes Sedai work, and you can bet your ass the Aes Sedai were involved in bringing the world to that point of development. We also know the Aes Sedai actually did do research at this point, because for three hundred years, they worked to figure out a way to get around the taint. That they failed doesn't take away from the effort.

We have a very loose knowledge of this time, but its staggering that so much progress was made in just a thousand years after the Breaking. The Blues, with their administrative capabilities, probably played a large part in setting up Tar Valon. The Grey's played a huge role in setting up the Compact of Ten Nations. The Green's probably did a lot to make the lands south of the Blight a distinctly Shadow-free area. The Reds must have had the greatest amount of activity ever, given how many male channelers there would have been. The Browns consolidated a ton of knowledge, as did the Whites, and who knows what the Yellows did?

Then came the Trolloc Wars, where the Aes Sedai were definitely at the forefront. The Greens were with every army (and we can assume Yellows were too), and by the end of the War, a Green Amyrlin was a field general who led the greatest battle against the Shadow since the Breaking and won, dying a heroic death.

Then we have a mysterious thousand years where the Aes Sedai did enough to bring the world back from the brink of the Trolloc Wars, but we know nothing else.

Then came Hawkwing, and the Aes Sedai governors. The threat of a unified continent with the Aes Sedai being regular advisers and governors was enough to make Ishamael scramble.

Post Hawkwing's death, the Aes Sedai, especially Deane Aryman, were singlehandedly responsible for stopping the Hundred Years war, and actually came close to creating something like a second Compact before the Shadow intervened.

After this period, we know there was a steady dwindling in Aes Sedai numbers (no doubt largely influenced by the distrust of Aes Sedai Ishameal, through Hawkwing, had sown). With smaller numbers, they could achieve less, and instead concentrated on Tar Valon alone. By the time we come to Siuan's rule, the Aes Sedai are a fractious, mostly ineffective group of women who wield much influence, but are a lot less useful on the world stage than their predecessors were.

So, while it is true that the Ajahs and the Aes Sedai as a whole have steeply declined, it is wrong to assume they were always so. And it is the memory of what they once were, and what they could one day be, that causes such a strong bond to form between an initiate and the Tower. For women like Cadsuane, Siuan and Moiraine, even though their own contributions to the world dwarf that of the Tower, they lived in it too long as students to fully realize its flaws.

For Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne, not only did they get to see the world very soon into their life as WT students, they got to observe other channeling cultures as well. They got to see that while these "wilders" were less skilled in the Power than the Aes Sedai, they were a lot more useful to their people. And so, while they are still loyal to the Tower and want to see it achieve its past glory, they actually think of ways to achieve that, and come up with plans to do so.

So, as the current crop of old-school Aes Sedai die or retire into the Kin, more and more, the Tower will be run by the huge hordes of women Egwene admitted, many of whom had spent a lifetime looking at the world as normal people, and thus will have a more reasonable perspective of how to serve the world. And that's how the Tower will change to what it is meant to be.

suttree
12-12-2011, 10:47 PM
Blue - The Blues are all about causes. Really? Siuan and Moiraine could have done the same they did if they had picked any other Ajah. The whole reason for the Blue Ajah seems weak at best.

Brown - The Browns are all about knowledge. They're quite good at gathering knowledge and hiding it away but sharing it? Rand might well be the first Aes Sedai since the breaking to actively promote the sharing of knowledge and what have the Browns do in the last 3000 years?

Green - The battle Ajah. I have yet to hear reports of the Greens actually helping out where it counts. How many Greens were there at Tarwin's Gap? None! Adelorna herself has learned the hard way that the Green Ajah is just a joke when it comes to battle.

Grey - Negotiation. With the intimidating might of the White Tower behind you, mediation becomes a lot easier. Still, they aren't doing something that can't be done by non-channelers.

Red - Finding and gentling Male channelers. They have been somewhat good at this but when Cadsuane is said to have captured more male channelers than any four Reds, you get a pretty good picture about their effectiveness. They also suffered the highest percentage of Black Ajah infiltration. The Cleansing of the male half of the source makes them almost obsolete. To top it off, they weren't the ones to discover a weave to detect a man's channeling.

Yellow - Healing. Can anybody remember mentions of Yellow sisters travelling the land and Healing everybody who needs it? The best they've done is heal when a battle was near but other Ajahs have done the same. In recent books some major discoveries have been made in Healing techniques but they all came from an Accepted and a Kinswoman. The Yellows were content to keep doing what they did without ever looking for better ways.

White - Logic. Even more useless than the Blue. No wonder they're the smallest of the Ajahs.


To address a few...

Greens: No need to defend their record up to the Trolloc Wars but post we have Cadsuane(cleansing), Alanna(2R), Kiruna(Dumai's Wells), Joline(Mat confirms she know what shes about in KoD) and per BS there are Greens stationed in the borderlands fighting along the blight.

Grey: Numerous treaties that have saved Randland proper throughout the years such as the Grand Alliance and The Compact among other mentions throughout the story of individual Greys that have strong reputations for averting wars etc.

Brown: Somewhat surprised there are few large scale repositories outside the WT but that is more a testament to the state of the world than a comment on the Brown. Moving forward however we do have Min's vision of that Brown who will found a great library.

Yellow: The Yellows use their network of eyes and ears to locate outbreaks of disease and then send sisters out to heal them.

Red: Judging them against Cadsuane is hardly a knock on their respective skills. By all accounts they have been successful in their stated mission.

Whites: Yeah pretty much useless unless they end up helping Min in someway in finding Rand the answers he needs to seal away the DO.

Keep in mind every AS room we see in the WT has mementos from a long life lived adventuring/working outside the WT. Yes the AS as a whole have been in decline, but then that is what RJ is trying to describe, it is a fallen world.

Fin
01-02-2012, 08:17 PM
how can you call yourself aes sedai(servants of all) and in the same sentence claim your loyalty is to the tower not to the land of your birth. not much better than the children of the light if u ask me a miltary group only answerable to themselves aes sedai believe they are better because they are aes sedia not from actually doing anything

Weird Harold
01-02-2012, 10:52 PM
how can you call yourself aes sedai(servants of all) and in the same sentence claim your loyalty is to the tower not to the land of your birth. not much better than the children of the light if u ask me a miltary group only answerable to themselves aes sedai believe they are better because they are aes sedia not from actually doing anything
In order to serve "all" you pretty much have to recant any allegience to a limited group. IOW, if you maintain an identity and allegience as Andoran -- or any other nationality -- you can't deal fairly with Andor's traditional enemies/rivals. Or anyone else, really.

GonzoTheGreat
01-03-2012, 03:18 AM
In order to serve "all" you pretty much have to recant any allegience to a limited group. IOW, if you maintain an identity and allegience as Andoran -- or any other nationality -- you can't deal fairly with Andor's traditional enemies/rivals. Or anyone else, really.
Which would be more believable if the AS were not primarily loyal to a limited group (the Tower), but instead gave their loyalty to the whole world.

Weird Harold
01-03-2012, 06:58 AM
Which would be more believable if the AS were not primarily loyal to a limited group (the Tower), but instead gave their loyalty to the whole world.
It's an imperfect world, Gonzo. :D

I'm sure that the dedication to "serve all" was more accurate when the Tower was first formed, but the renunciation of previous affiliations is still a pre-requisite for even the appearanc of neutrality.

suttree
01-03-2012, 10:36 PM
Which would be more believable if the AS were not primarily loyal to a limited group (the Tower), but instead gave their loyalty to the whole world.

The question for me always comes down to, for what reason are they so loyal to the WT? Is it for personnel power and glory or do they truly believe(no matter how misguided) that they are best suited to lead the world against the Shadow?

If the second is true, which I think is pretty obvious despite general vilification in the fandom then that primary loyalty is perfectly reasonable. As others have noted servant of all has fit better in the past but then this is a fallen world(far from just AS) that RJ is describing. They have been in decline since the Trolloc Wars and that has been exasperated by Ishy and his BA eroding the WT from within. Nevertheless they have still served the world throughout history during it's greatest times of need. Without them there wouldn't be a whole bunch to fight for at TG.

David Selig
01-04-2012, 03:47 AM
The question for me always comes down to, for what reason are they so loyal to the WT?

Indoctrination during training and 1000 gold crowns per year. :cool:

GonzoTheGreat
01-04-2012, 04:44 AM
Without them there wouldn't be a whole bunch to fight for at TG.
An assertion that is somewhat weakened by the existence of the Aiel, the Seanchan, the Sea Folk, and Shara. But yes, if you leave out the majority of humanity, then the remainder may have had some benefit from the help the AS now and then gave.

Zombie Sammael
01-04-2012, 05:18 AM
An assertion that is somewhat weakened by the existence of the Aiel, the Seanchan, the Sea Folk, and Shara. But yes, if you leave out the majority of humanity, then the remainder may have had some benefit from the help the AS now and then gave.

We don't know for sure that the Third Age AS have never had any contact with those groups. In fact, in the case of the Aiel, there's some evidence to the contrary. Admittedly, with regards to the rest, there's either evidence going directly against the notion that they did (Seanchan), or no evidence that they did, but a lot was lost during the Trolloc Wars, and more still during the War of the Hundred Years.

GonzoTheGreat
01-04-2012, 06:58 AM
However, even in the case of the Aiel, AS do not seem to have had anything to do with setting up the Wise One organisation. What they did do they were directly ordered to do by prophecies which they actually sort of understood.

Still, I do think that a lot of the failure is the result of the machinations of Ishamael, so he does deserve a lot of credit for that. Of course, he would've had a far more difficult time of it if AS hadn't been so secretive and clannish.

suttree
01-04-2012, 01:55 PM
An assertion that is somewhat weakened by the existence of the Aiel, the Seanchan, the Sea Folk, and Shara. But yes, if you leave out the majority of humanity, then the remainder may have had some benefit from the help the AS now and then gave.

Say for the sake of argument the AS had not been instrumental in saving Randland proper during the Trolloc Wars. What then for those others you mention?

Lupusdeusest
01-04-2012, 10:17 PM
Say for the sake of argument the AS had not been instrumental in saving Randland proper during the Trolloc Wars. What then for those others you mention?

Aid along the Borderlands - it has been confirmed Greens have always been stationed there.
There was also the failed march to Malkier.
(I hesitate to use this as an example, but some wars have been stopped through Tower manipulations.)
Also - think for example of how Suian first met Gareth, on the field near Murandy. The Tower works subtly (sometimes). No, I do not claim she was fighting there! She was overseeing an attempt to stabilise that nation. We can assume the Tower has done similar things before and has succeeded.

Toss the dice
01-09-2012, 06:17 PM
At least in recent times, Aes Sedai are basically little more than meddlers, which fits right along with the rest of their continuous ego-trip. Most of the "good" things they've done was through meddling, such as stopping wars, mediating disputes, etc. If they actually wanted to help the world rather than bask in their own Aes Sedai-ness, they would be out in the world in force, doing things similar to what the OP described. A relative handful of independent sisters who for some reason want to do more and help outside the Tower, weren't fully indoctrinated, are "quirky," etc - don't really count. Having a sister or two in the Borderlands (likely in the nation of their birth) to help out doesn't really count either. I surely give credit to thousands of years of Ishamael machinations, but that is in no way an excuse for 99% of Aes Sedai being ignorant, deluded, and selfish morons.

A small, yet fairly important part of why I dislike Egwene so much is because she has become the very worst of the sisters in the above regard. But unlike the other sisters who have been fully indoctrinated in the Tower, Egwene has hardly spent any time there at all. To top that off, she is one of the very few individuals in the entire world to have an excellent background with Rand and the current "fight against the Shadow" situation. Yet, even though she has been privy to all of this information and perspective that the average sister who has remained in the Tower has been completely shielded from, she STILL for some reason cares about nothing but the Tower. "The Tower must be strong! The Tower must be whole!" Why does she care? Furthermore, does she not realize that the Tower is completely insignificant both in regards to the current fight and when you put it up alongside the fate of the world? Apparently not.

"The Tower must be whole!"

suttree
01-09-2012, 10:29 PM
At least in recent times, Aes Sedai are basically little more than meddlers, which fits right along with the rest of their continuous ego-trip. Most of the "good" things they've done was through meddling, such as stopping wars, mediating disputes, etc. If they actually wanted to help the world rather than bask in their own Aes Sedai-ness, they would be out in the world in force, doing things similar to what the OP described. A relative handful of independent sisters who for some reason want to do more and help outside the Tower, weren't fully indoctrinated, are "quirky," etc - don't really count. Having a sister or two in the Borderlands (likely in the nation of their birth) to help out doesn't really count either. I surely give credit to thousands of years of Ishamael machinations, but that is in no way an excuse for 99% of Aes Sedai being ignorant, deluded, and selfish morons.


Sorry mate but BS has confirmed there are AS stationed in the borderlands patrolling the blight. Goes beyond a sister or two. As has been mentioned earlier the other Ajahs are out as well such as the Yellows using their eyes and ears to search out and heal outbreaks of disease. Don't fall into the since it isn't focused on in the story proper, it isn't happening trap. Nearly every sisters room we see has mementos from a long life lived working outside the WT.

They are nowhere near what they should be which goes along with the theme of this being a fallen world. Again it comes down to motivation, they truly believe they are the best ones to lead the fight against the shadow. The fact that they are not is a whole different discussion.

Toss the dice
01-10-2012, 06:51 PM
You can be sorry all you want, because I simply disagree with you, most likely because you were taking me too literally.

As a whole, Aes Sedai hide in the White Tower 99% of the time. The existence of mementos does nothing to disprove this. "More than 1 or 2" Green sisters patrolling the borderlands (as you say) does NOT equal 90%+ of their Ajah, which is what it should be. Same with the rest of the Ajahs.

To me, "in force" means the vast fucking majority.

suttree
01-10-2012, 07:07 PM
You can be sorry all you want, because I simply disagree with you, most likely because you were taking me too literally.

As a whole, Aes Sedai hide in the White Tower 99% of the time. The existence of mementos does nothing to disprove this. "More than 1 or 2" Green sisters patrolling the borderlands (as you say) does NOT equal 90%+ of their Ajah, which is what it should be. Same with the rest of the Ajahs.

To me, "in force" means the vast fucking majority.

Not sure if it reasonable to expect 90%to be out in the world. Just not logistically possible given how much their numbers have dropped. The WT would hold a skeleton crew at best in that scenario. But in actuality we know the percentage of AS to that are out in the world to be much higher than 10%. Or am I taking you to literally again?

As for mementos not being proof I tend to disagree. It is rare that we see a room that doesn't show world travels. Here is just one from someone who was noted as not being very likely to be doing so. It certainly would not be possible to be in the WT 99% and have the following.

TGS Ch.12
Maps hung within delicate frames, centered on the walls like prized pieces of art. A pair of Aiel spears hung on either side of one map; another was a map of the Sea Folk islands. While many might have opted for the porcelain keepsakes that were so commonly associated with the Sea Folk, Meidani had a small collection of earrings and painted shells, carefully framed and displayed, along with a small plaque beneath listing dates of collection.

The sitting room was like a museum dedicated to one person's journeys. An Altaran marriage knife, set with four twinkling rubies, hung beside a small Cairhienin banner and a Shienar sword. Each had a small plaque explaining its significance. The marriage knife, for instance, had been presented to Meidani for her help in settling a dispute between two houses over the death of a particularly important landowner. His wife had given her the knife as a token of thanks.

Who would have thought that the cowering woman of the dinner a few weeks back would have such a proud collection? The rug itself was labeled, the gift of a trader who had purchased it on the closed docks of Shara, then bestowed it on Meidani in thanks for Healing his daughter...

GonzoTheGreat
01-11-2012, 04:19 AM
Let's consider a real world analogy: Pearl Harbor.
Why is it that after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American general staff did not depose the president and then set to quarreling over which of them would succeed him in office? That would have been the AS response, after all, which is supposed to be a very sensible one.

The AS may have been fairly good at day to day ordinary trouble shooting. But when the big event came, the event they had had thousands of years warning of, the event for which they had supposedly been training their entire life, then they failed.

Dajoran
01-11-2012, 05:00 AM
Also during WWII:

I may be playing fast and loose with history here; but British premier Neville Chamberlain was the leader of a Towe-- I mean government which was divided into two parts, and it wasn't until Neville was depos--- I mean he resigned that the tower was unifie... government became unified under Egwene Churchill... I'll let that one stand.

Zombie Sammael
01-11-2012, 05:22 AM
Also during WWII:

I may be playing fast and loose with history here; but British premier Neville Chamberlain was the leader of a Towe-- I mean government which was divided into two parts, and it wasn't until Neville was depos--- I mean he resigned that the tower was unifie... government became unified under Egwene Churchill... I'll let that one stand.

Another WW2 parallel may well be that the allied nations of Europe (the wetlands) are forced to fight a prolonged and difficult campaign until an unexpected attack on a greater imperial power such as the USSR or USA draws them into the conflict (the Seanchan, although Shara could also play such a role, but most likely will not).

suttree
01-11-2012, 12:40 PM
The AS may have been fairly good at day to day ordinary trouble shooting. But when the big event came, the event they had had thousands of years warning of, the event for which they had supposedly been training their entire life, then they failed.

They have fallen far short of what they should be but maybe we should wait til after AMoL to claim they failed? Didn't realize the book has already been closed on their performance.

In addition Cads and Moir are AS to the core. Where would the Rand/the light be without them? You have to take the good with the bad.

In terms of all the divisions and politicking thinks it's fair to say the BA since Ishy founded them has had as much to do with that as anything else. It certainly shifted it into overdrive and then got even worse with a forsaken in place and Fains influence. It's why I don't really understand when people point to the Seanchan attack in judging their prowess. With a divided WT, the BA turning each Ajah against the other, a forsaken, and Fain's influence who would have possibly had a strong showing in those circumstances?

Toss the dice
01-11-2012, 08:32 PM
They have fallen far short of what they should be but maybe we should wait til after AMoL to claim they failed? Didn't realize the book has already been closed on their performance.

In addition Cads and Moir are AS to the core. Where would the Rand/the light be without them? You have to take the good with the bad.

In terms of all the divisions and politicking thinks it's fair to say the BA since Ishy founded them has had as much to do with that as anything else. It certainly shifted it into overdrive and then got even worse with a forsaken in place and Fains influence. It's why I don't really understand when people point to the Seanchan attack in judging their prowess. With a divided WT, the BA turning each Ajah against the other, a forsaken, and Fain's influence who would have possibly had a strong showing in those circumstances?

The Aes Sedai (and so the WT) has done pretty much nothing but fail massively in regards to this culmination of Light vs Shadow. Luckily, it isn't their charge. It's Rand's.

And yes, I would say it is 100% carved in stone that they failed. There is literally nothing they could do to change that, because it already happened. A few standouts don't change this fact, and don't forget the Pattern and ta'veren either.

Besides maybe "good vs evil", I can't really think of a better overall theme of the series. The Aes Sedai have been central to the story, and also central have been their failings, their existence as a 3rd "faction", an obstacle in addition to the Shadow. Basically, they have been the great big question mark, the X factor....the unpredictable obstacle Rand and the good guys have had to deal with due to the fact that 99% of Aes Sedai are morons.

Really. Take out any and all text relating to the above fact, and see what is left. I'll tell you what's left: a generic good guys vs evil guys Lord of the Rings story. With Whitecloaks.

suttree
01-11-2012, 09:52 PM
A few standouts don't change this fact, and don't forget the Pattern and ta'veren either.


How do a few standouts not change the fact? Without Gitara, Cads and Moir the light side is in horrific shape, Ta'veren or no.

I do agree with much of what you say but I think the AS are in for some serious redemption come aMoL. It is pretty much guaranteed considering their performance up until now. Just like in the Breaking and Trolloc Wars they will play a pivotal role in making sure the light continues forward.

GonzoTheGreat
01-12-2012, 04:35 AM
The same thing about "a few exceptions" can also be said about the Whitecloaks. Does Galad really balance the butchering of Perrin's family?

Or, to put it in real world terms: Washington and Jefferson had slaves, but they also did a lot of good. Do their good points make slavery all right?

I would say that Moiraine did good despite being AS, not because of it. And I think that Cadsuane could have been a lot more useful to the Light if she hadn't been as impressed by her own exalted status of AS.

Zombie Sammael
01-12-2012, 04:44 AM
The same thing about "a few exceptions" can also be said about the Whitecloaks. Does Galad really balance the butchering of Perrin's family?

Or, to put it in real world terms: Washington and Jefferson had slaves, but they also did a lot of good. Do their good points make slavery all right?

I would say that Moiraine did good despite being AS, not because of it. And I think that Cadsuane could have been a lot more useful to the Light if she hadn't been as impressed by her own exalted status of AS.

If Moiraine hadn't been AS, she wouldn't have heard Gitara's foretelling. If she hadn't heard Gitara's foretelling, her and Siuan wouldn't have come up with their conspiracy. If they hadn't done that, the Black Ajah would have got Rand, or he would never have been found.

Most of the good Moiraine was able to do had to do with finding and protecting Rand.

Therefore, Moiraine could not have done the good she did if she hadn't been AS. The same applies to many prominent AS in the series. The White Tower is a force for good in itself, not an incidental characteristic such as Jefferson owning slaves; in that instance, his failing in conforming to the standards of his time might lower him in the eyes of some, but doesn't entirely mitigate the good he did; he cannot be said to have done that good because he owned slaves.

GonzoTheGreat
01-12-2012, 05:20 AM
The White Tower is a force for good in itself, not an incidental characteristic such as Jefferson owning slaves; in that instance, his failing in conforming to the standards of his time might lower him in the eyes of some, but doesn't entirely mitigate the good he did; he cannot be said to have done that good because he owned slaves.
Why not?
If he hadn't owned slaves, but instead had had to earn his living as a day laborer, then he probably would not have had the time and other resources to get as involved in politics as he could afford now. So his slave owning freed him up to pursue his political goals, and was thus an integral part of what made his achievements possible.

fionwe1987
01-12-2012, 06:56 AM
I think people are being entirely irrational about the Aes Sedai. Have they failed, as an organization, to provide the kind of structural support to WoT society that they've trained themselves to be? Yes. Is part of that because of their own folly and decline in the past half millennium? Yes.

But, look at the most major failings on the part of the Aes Sedai in the past few years and you can quite correctly place the blame on the Tower Coup that the Black Ajah and Mesaana engineered. Let's look at some of them, eh?

1) Handling the Dragon: this was the centerpiece of the Coup, and I don't think anyone needs convincing that the Dark One danced a jig when an irrational, man-hating Red was given the Amyrlin Seat. All of Siuan's plans of educating the Dragon Reborn and uniting the nations behind him (not her) went down the toilet.
Now, the Aes Sedai can be blamed for weakening their political structure with infighting, and allowing so many laws that can be misused. The Foresaken didn't have to begin with a flawless Tower. But nevertheless, you can't deny that with Siuan at the helm, the Aes Sedai-Dragon Reborn relationship would have taken an entirely different turn.

2) The Seanchan: Siuan knew about them, was convinced they used the Power, and would have started taking action the moment she knew that their defeat at Falme was only momentary. Anyone think Siuan's ready acceptance of the Seanchan wasn't one of the factors that Mesaana took into account while deciding to depose her?

3) The Foresaken in the various lands: Again, Siuan knew of this, and was hardly likely to sit idly by allowing them to do as they please. Given that she had a good repute among the rulers, and her ten year experience with them, how much easier would it have been for her to do something about it?

The real flaw of the Aes Sedai is not that they were useless, or incapable of dealing with these issues (though I doubt they would have had a perfect solution for any of these problems). Their real flaw is that they closed their minds, as an organization, to the possibility of Darkfriends within, which allowed the Blacks to manipulate events to their liking. They failed to make themselves an organization where a Darkfriend would find it impossible to survive. A simple yearly reswearing of the Oaths would have done the trick.

GonzoTheGreat
01-12-2012, 07:07 AM
I somewhat disagree with that. It is simply not possible to make any organisation bigger than one person impervious to infiltration.
My biggest gripe against the AS is that they demand respect not based on what they do and are, but based on what they should do and should be.

Zombie Sammael
01-12-2012, 07:21 AM
Why not?
If he hadn't owned slaves, but instead had had to earn his living as a day laborer, then he probably would not have had the time and other resources to get as involved in politics as he could afford now. So his slave owning freed him up to pursue his political goals, and was thus an integral part of what made his achievements possible.

False argument. It's highly doubtful that Jefferson would ever have had to earn his living as a day labourer, whether with slavery being outlawed or otherwise. If slavery had been outlawed, he simply would have had paid labourers. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have been Thomas Jefferson. You can only rejig history so much.

fionwe1987
01-12-2012, 08:28 AM
I somewhat disagree with that. It is simply not possible to make any organisation bigger than one person impervious to infiltration.
True enough. But a few slipping through the cracks is much better than having the Shadow have a fifth of your number converted to their cause.

My biggest gripe against the AS is that they demand respect not based on what they do and are, but based on what they should do and should be.
I think they demand respect more on the basis of what they have done in the past. They're blinded by the great heights the Tower achieved in the past, and fail to acknowledge that their fall from those heights means they need to adopt new strategies.

GonzoTheGreat
01-12-2012, 08:37 AM
They demand respect because they can get away with making that demand. Another question is whether they are worthy of that respect, but that is separate from making the demand.

suttree
01-12-2012, 11:22 AM
The same thing about "a few exceptions" can also be said about the Whitecloaks. Does Galad really balance the butchering of Perrin's family?


Seeing how Galad wasn't actively working with the Whitecloaks at the time Perrin's family was butchered not sure how it's even relevant? As it is the good done by AS that have been instrumental for the light Gitara, Cads, Siuan, Moir etc along with the ones working in the world for good stopping wars, taking down false dragons, negotiating treaties(ie Great Coalition, Ten Nations) outweigh the bad from the incompetent ones by a good margin.

Don't even need to touch the slave ownership argument as it has already been addressed but in regards to respect they demand it because of their past. Fionwe is absolutely right.

Lupusdeusest
01-12-2012, 12:52 PM
That particular incident I'd put down more to Fain's influence on Born. myself. He finds the evil in people.

Zombie Sammael
01-12-2012, 02:51 PM
It's not like every Aes Sedai can be exceptional, or there'd be nothing to be an exception too. The Tower would like to think that every single trained sister is a paragon of virtue working tirelessly for the Light, but that simply can't be the case. There are some who are lazy, or power-hungry, or just not that good at whatever they've picked to do. Some stand out for strange reasons, like the Red who actually loves men and secretly (or openly) desires a warder; every sister is unique. But then there are the Moiraine Damodreds, and Siuan Sanches, and Verin Mathwins, and Cadsuanes, and yes, Nynaeve al'Mearas, and even Alviarhins. They are the ones who are genuinely exceptional. The others don't fail to meet their standard; they exceed the basic standard. But so long as the Tower is able to produce such exceptions even when the basic standard is already high (it may have slipped, but it remains high) then you can't call the Tower as an organisation a failure. It's not only kept the world together, it's saved it, with exceptional women like those.

fionwe1987
01-12-2012, 03:10 PM
Another thing to consider is that even mavericks like Moiraine and Cadsuane, even the real outliers like Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve, end up wanting a strong Tower. Oh there are many individual aspects of it they want to change (and are succeeding in doing so), but the reason they end up being loyal to it in the end (even Nynaeve, who is a great critic of the AS and the Tower) is because they see the potential the Tower offers, they see what it has achieved in the past. They want to improve it and change it, but they do want to be a part of it.

confused at birth
01-12-2012, 04:31 PM
nuclear energy has a lot of potential as well but I would expect the tower will end up more like a nuke than a power station