Aug 31 2010 1:38pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Winter’s Heart, Part 14

It’s been one week since you looked at me, Wheel of Time Re-read, but how can I help it if I think you’re funny when you’re mad?

Today’s entry covers Chapters 20 and 21 of Winter’s Heart, in which I would tell you that frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn, but unfortunately I can’t, because I do. At Length. Because I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve, in case you haven’t noticed.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, in which you can find links to news, reviews, and all manner of information regarding the newest release, The Gathering Storm, and for WOT-related stuff in general.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 12, The Gathering Storm. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

Can’t understand what I mean? Well, you soon will, once you click!

Chapter 20: Questions of Treason

What Happens
Bethamin climbs to the damane kennels in the Tarasin Palace to do the inspection, carefully ignoring Renna, who is with her. Bethamin thinks that once Renna had been expected to climb very high in the ranks of sul’dam, but now she was never even allowed to be complete with a damane anymore—either her or Seta, both of whom had been taken into Suroth’s service after Falme. Everyone bullies Renna around now, and Bethamin is careful to do the same so as not to stand out.

Her own secrets were buried as deeply as she could bury them, and she held silent about the secrets no one knew she was aware of, but she wanted to fix in everyone’s mind that Bethamin Zeami was the image of the perfect sul’dam. Absolute perfection was what she strove for, in herself and in the damane she trained.

She goes about her inspection, and does not mark down the former Sea Folk damane for their sullen expressions as some would, thinking that their resistance was already fading and they did not even realize it yet; they no longer demand their jewelry back, and they answer to their new names, even if reluctantly. Bethamin visits Tessi, and immediately notes that the Illianer damane seems pliant and almost cheerful, in marked contrast to her earlier demeanor.

She was suspicious of any damane who had called herself Aes Sedai. History fascinated her, and she had even read translations from the myriad of languages that had existed before the Consolidation began. Those ancient rulers reveled in their murderous, capricious rule, and delighted in setting down how they came to power and how they crushed neighboring states and undermined other rulers. Most had died by assassination, often at the hands of their own heirs or followers. She knew very well what Aes Sedai were like.

She decides Tessi is planning an escape attempt, and writes down a recommendation that her training be redoubled, and punishments and rewards be made random, though Bethamin thinks that she dislikes breaking a damane’s spirit that way. She orders Renna off, who goes meekly, and heads out, intending to go to her inn and get money for shopping. As she walks she thinks about Renna and Seta, and once again wishes she had never gone upstairs that day in Falme.

If only she had not wondered how Tuli was doing, the damane who had the marvelous skill with metals. But she had looked into Tuli’s kennel. And she had seen Renna and Seta frantically trying to remove a’dam from each other’s necks, shrieking with the pain, wavering on their knees from the nausea, and still fumbling at the collars. Vomit stained the fronts of their dresses. In their frenzy they had not noticed her backing away, horror-stricken.

Bethamin thinks of how sometimes she thinks she can almost see the damane’s weaves, and how she can always sense the presence of a damane and feel how strong she is. Everyone said that was just from long experience, but seeing Renna and Seta revealed as marath’damane made Bethamin realize that if it got out and a new testing was devised, Bethamin herself would be collared. She has figured out that it must have been Alwhin who found Renna and Seta and reported them to Suroth, and Suroth had kept it quiet to protect the Empire, though Bethamin thinks killing them would have been a more effective solution.

Alwhin had done her duty, and been honored by becoming Suroth’s Voice. Suroth had done her duty as well, however distasteful. There was no new testing. Her own flight had been for nothing. And if she had remained, she would not have ended up in Tanchico, a nightmare she wanted to forget even more than she did Falme.

She reaches her inn, where the innkeeper scolds her for entertaining men, telling her a “pretty, yellow-haired man” had been asking for her. She is uneasy about this, wondering if the man had come because of “her inquiries” and wondering if she had not been discreet enough. She goes upstairs to her room to find a blond man in it, going through her things; she is about to attack him when he holds up a plaque engraved with the tower and raven, identifying him as a Seeker for Truth, and she instantly goes quiet. He asks why she has been making inquiries about a ship captain named Egeanin Sarna; Bethamin lies that they were friends, and she was trying to find out if Egeanin had survived Falme. He informs her that Egeanin lives, and is now of the Blood, and is currently in Ebou Dar. He instructs her to renew their friendship, and report to him everything Egeanin says and does.

Bethamin clamped her jaws to keep from laughing hysterically. He was after Egeanin, not her. The Light be praised! The Light be praised in all its infinite mercy! She had only wanted to know if the woman still lived, if she had to take precautions. Egeanin had freed her once, yet in the ten years Bethamin had known her before that, she had been a model of duty. It had always seemed possible she would repent that one aberration no matter the cost to herself, but, wonder of wonders, she had not.

But then Bethamin realizes it will not be good for her if Egeanin is taken in, either, and tries timidly to object to the idea, citing the difficulties of renewing the friendship now that Egeanin is of the Blood. To her surprise, the Seeker explains that the real target of his investigation is Suroth, who he believes is consorting in secret with Aes Sedai, and engineered Lord Turak’s death in Falme with the aid of Aes Sedai, Egeanin, and Bayle Domon in order to take over the Hailene. Terrified, Bethamin knows at least part of his chain of reasoning is incorrect (his belief that Egeanin was murdering sul’dam in Tanchico to cover her clandestine meetings with Aes Sedai, for one), but only dares to suggest that perhaps he already has enough evidence to charge Suroth with Turak’s murder. The Seeker, though, dismisses that as insignificant.

“The Aes Sedai of these lands seek power in the Empire, a return to the days of chaos and murder when no man could close his eyes at night knowing he would wake, and they are aided by a venomous worm of treachery boring from within. Suroth may not even be that worm’s head. For the Empire’s sake, I dare not take her until I can kill the whole worm. Egeanin is a thread I can follow to the worm, and you are a thread to Egeanin. So you will renew your friendship with her, whatever it takes. Do you understand me?”

“I understand, and I will obey.” Her voice shook, but what else could she say? The Light save her, what else could she say?


*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Well, okay, it is a plot, at least that Seeker thinks so, but I am referring to having my face REPEATEDLY rubbed in how disgusting this whole damane thing is. Yes, I know I have been going on about this at length and everyone is probably sick of hearing about it, but seriously—SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS—tell me you can’t read a line like this:

Tessi would never be decked in ribbons and entered in the competitions for the prettiest damane, though.

—and not throw up a little in your mouth. I double dog dare you.

I need a shower. And a cookie. And possibly some type of fearsome weapon with which to smite people with righteous wrath. I could use a good righteous smiting right about now, is what I’m saying.

Well, I could always use that, but right now especially. Sheesh.

I don’t know how many of you have had the headsplittingly bizarre experience of reading (or watching) Gone with the Wind, but I am kind of having acid flashbacks to it right now. I’m thinking specifically of the part where Mitchell makes an impassioned speech in the narrative mourning the collapse of the Southern plantation system, and about how the slaves in Atlanta loved their masters, and vice versa, and it was all so affectionate and stuff, and how terrible it was that no one understood that, O Woe!

This is where you will have to picture me just kind of blinking in disbelief, and then doing a full body shudder. Values dissonance? You THINK?


Of course, that’s pretty much the effect Jordan was going for, I’m guessing, so, uh, yay, and all, I guess, but… ow.

MOVING ON, that Seeker needs to lay off the tin foil, you guys. “Conspiracy nut” is not even in it, though I guess that’s fairly appropriate for WOT’s version of Big Brother. It is fairly hilarious how with all his rampant Lone Gunmen theorizing (yes, I’m aware that rather puts him on the other side, I guess he’s more like The Smoking Man, but anyway) he manages to juuuust miss all the real Bad Shit going down in Suroth’s vicinity. This is not terribly surprising, of course, given the WOT rule about everyone having just enough information to be completely wrong about everything, in a way that will cause maximal FUBARness all around. Yay!

(“Maximal” is actually a word? OH COME ON. I thought I was being funny!)

Still, it’s a very pretty web of lies he’s managed to come up with, I must say. Unfortunately I’m mainly only interested in it to the extent that it gets us to the next part. So, uh, here’s the next part!


Chapter 21: A Matter of Property

What Happens
Egeanin lays on her bed and mostly ignores Bayle’s often-repeated rant about how he could have escaped the Seanchan if she’d only let him try, and considers her unexpected rise in rank to Captain of the Green.

She doubted she would be given command of one greatship, however, much less a squadron. Suroth claimed to accept her story, but if so, why had she been left sitting at Cantorin? Why, when orders finally came, were they to report here and not to a ship?

Egeanin thinks of the possibility that Suroth might suspect her, but thinks that the Seeker from Tanchico can’t have anything concrete on her, otherwise she’d be under arrest already, and perhaps if she is careful from here on out nothing more will come of it. Turning her attention back to Bayle, she reflects ruefully that he refuses to take his position as property seriously; she’d even had to apologize for having him beaten once. In answer to his rant, she explains once again that her claim that they were bringing the bracelets-and-collar as a gift to the Empress was the only thing that saved them when they were overtaken at sea, and if Bayle hadn’t made such a fuss she wouldn’t have ended up having to spend a small fortune to buy him. Sullenly Bayle opines that they still could have dropped the thing over the side.

“[…] Bayle, you have already admitted there is no harm in Suroth having that collar and bracelets. They can’t be put on him unless someone gets close enough, and I’ve heard nothing that suggests anyone has or will.” She refrained from adding that it would not matter if someone did. Bayle was not really familiar with even the versions of the Prophecies they had on this side of the World Sea, but he was adamant that none mentioned the necessity of the Dragon Reborn kneeling to the Crystal Throne. It might prove necessary for him to be fitted with this male a’dam, but Bayle would never see it.

She tries to distract him by asking about local festivals, and to her shock, he mentions casually that Wise Women in Ebou Dar can marry people, adding that she would have to free him first to do it, of course. Breathlessly, she tells him that she cannot free him unless she can ensure he is provided for as a free man—in his case, buying him a ship—and she does not have her promised estates yet. He hugs her, which she allows even though it’s not technically proper, and reassures her that it will all work out. Egeanin thinks that she had long since decided to marry him, but hadn’t known how to go about it, and then he had been sold as property.

[…] freeing a so’jhin, casting him off from the rights and privileges Bayle sneered at, was the height of cruelty. No, she was lying by avoidance again, and worse, lying to herself. She wanted wholeheartedly to marry the man Bayle Domon. She was bitterly unsure she could bring herself to marry manumitted property.

They are interrupted by a knock on the door, which proves to be Bethamin, the sul’dam Egeanin had freed in Tanchico. Trying to stay calm, she asks what Bethamin wants; in a state of near panic, Bethamin explains about the Seeker, and his demands that Bethamin spy on Egeanin for him. Egeanin thinks this explains her strange orders, and knows why Bethamin is coming clean to her, as it is the only way to save herself. Egeanin lies to Bethamin that her only crime was freeing Bethamin, and as Egeanin is not a sul’dam, the worst punishment for that would be a reprimand. Bethamin starts laughing hysterically until Egeanin slaps her, then tells her that Egeanin freeing Bethamin in Tanchico is the only thing he doesn’t know about.

And she began to describe a fantastical web of treason connecting Egeanin and Bayle and Suroth and maybe even Tuon herself with Aes Sedai, and marath’damane, and damane who had been Aes Sedai.

Bethamin’s voice began to grow panicky as she darted from one incredible charge to another, and before long, Egeanin began sipping brandy. Just sips. She was calm. She was in command of herself. She was… This was beyond shoal waters. She was riding close on a lee shore, and Soulblinder himself rode that gale, coming to steal her eyes.

Bayle is similarly aghast (which Egeanin is guiltily relieved to see), and Egeanin thinks that surely the whole thing is nonsense, and cannot believe such things of the two young Aes Sedai she had befriended in Tanchico, who were too “soft-hearted” even to kill the Seeker. Then Bethamin tells her about Renna and Seta, and the proof they constitute that Suroth knows sul’dam can channel. Egeanin is forced to consider that maybe there is a conspiracy after all.

The Empire depended on sul’dam; its strength was built on them. The news that sul’dam were women who could learn to channel might shatter the Empire to its core. It had surely shaken her. Maybe shattered her. She herself had not freed Bethamin out of duty. So many things had changed in Tanchico. She no longer believed that any woman who could channel deserved to be collared. Criminals, certainly, and maybe those who refused oaths to the Crystal Throne, and… She did not know. Once, her life had been made up of rock-solid certainties, like guiding stars that never failed. She wanted her old life back. She wanted a few certainties.

Bethamin nervously suggests killing the Seeker; Egeanin tells her she’ll think about it, and in the meantime orders Bethamin to keep quiet and come to see her every day until they decide what to do, and ushers her out. When she is gone, Egeanin hurls her cup into the fireplace, and Bayle declares he can kill this Seeker; Egeanin tells him not to be foolish, and goes to the desk to begin writing out an order of manumission for him, telling him to depart on the first available ship. To her surprise, Bayle takes the paper from her and burns it; she attempts to force him to obey, but he tells her what they need is a crew, and he can find them one. He tells her he recognized the young man in the kitchens; his name is Mat Cauthon, and he’s evidently come up in the world since the last time Bayle’s seen him.

“The first time I did see him, he did be in a farmer’s coat, escaping Trollocs in a place even Trollocs be afraid of. The last time, half the town of Whitebridge did be burning, close enough to, and a Myrddraal did be trying to kill him and his friends. I did no see for myself, but anything else be more than I can believe. Any man who can survive Trollocs and Myrddraal do be useful, I think. Especially now.”

Egeanin still doesn’t quite believe in Trollocs and Myrddraal, but Bayle also adds that Cauthon had then been in the company of one Thom Merrilin. Egeanin remembers Thom from Tanchico, and knows him to be a clever and dangerous old man. She begs Bayle to reassure her that there is no conspiracy; Bayle answers that Aes Sedai “do plot the way fish swim,” but he doesn’t think Suroth would conspire with them even if they would with her. He adds that in any case, he has no intention of letting the Seeker or anyone else harm her, conspiracy or not; Egeanin thinks that she has no intention of letting it happen either. She thanks him, and tells him to find this Master Cauthon and Thom if he can.

Man, I was much more sanguine about this Sad Bracelets thing when I thought they were just a MacGuffin. Now I am all AAAAGH NOOOO about it, which is darn hard on the metaphorical vocal cords, let me tell you.

Also, I like Egeanin normally (I’d better, since now that she has her own icon it means she has offically Arrived, in WOT terms) but right now I kind of want to smack her for much the same reason, with her smug “oh, they couldn’t possibly ever use the thing!” What did I say, people? Does NO ONE know the rule about tempting fate? Stop making me link to TV Tropes, dammit! Some of us have work to do!

(Not to mention her caveat at the end about how it maybe wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did get used on Rand, which I’m going to nobly forgive her for in light of how Seanchan prophecy is made of epic retconned Fail. She Knows Not What She Says, Y’all.)

Oh, and also, more fun with People As Chattel—because we haven’t had nearly enough of that!—though I do give Egeanin much more of a bye with the knowledge that she only bought Domon in order to keep him from being bought by anyone else, which is a detail I had honestly forgotten until I reread this chapter just now. As a silver lining it’s a tad tarnished, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

And of course she gets major points for trying to free him, too, however weird her reasons were for thinking she was doing him a disservice by it. There’s a whole essay in here somewhere about people’s mind-boggling ability to hold two (to me) completely contradictory beliefs at the same time, and yet not find that odd. That a person can be a person (and a lover), and yet somehow standing him on a block and naming a price for him somehow magically makes him not a person—or less a person—at the same time, for instance. Or the idea that leaving Domon poor is somehow worse than letting him be able to say he isn’t a thing you can buy, which, wow.

I don’t know, it just blows my mind, especially when you think that Mitchell and her ilk evidently think that way all the time, and it somehow made sense to them to think that way; that a person could be a human being in every way that should matter, except there’s a piece of paper or a cash transaction or a man on television or whatever that says they aren’t, and that wins, somehow, over a heart and eyes and tears and pain and the unmistakable presence of a soul, whatever you think a soul might be.

And right there that seems like the tragedy of the whole of human history, more or less.

Yeah. So… that got weighty.

And again, all this massive inconsistency is something that Jordan is pointing out deliberately; Egeanin herself acknowledges the incongruity of her newfound belief that channelers do not need to be collared with, well, almost everything else she believes. And I do give her credit for that, and sympathize with the ethical migraine she has as a result. Fundamental-truths-rejiggering is never a fun process for anyone that has to go through it. I’m just glad someone is doing it.

And… yeah. So, all that, and conspiracies, cloak and dagger, awkward inter-cultural snugglies—and Mat! Yay! I love it when a ridiculously labyrinthine plot comes together. Begins to come together. Whatever.

Just in time for us to abandon it and go somewhere else. Curse you, multiple plotlines! Well, but hey, cool stuff coming up, so it’s all good.

And I’m stopping here, and it’ll be at least three days till I say I’m sorry! Actually I probably won’t ever say I’m sorry. MWHAHAHA—*cough* Yes. Friday! Bye!

1. Joruus
Bryan Cogswell
2. shmoo
Key to being first - or near enough

1) follow the twitter feed - for some reason it appears before it does on the site
2) somehow skip reading the wonderfulness that is a recap and post down here... this however is borderline vile behavior and might result in a darkfriend recuiting party showing up on your doorstep.
3. The_Naga
Merci Leigh pour ce nouveau Post !
Un fan Français qui suis la re-lecture de La Roue du Temps depuis le début
Matthew B
4. MatthewB
It's kind of sad to see such a banal thing as "First" take root in a site like this. Ostensibly, this place for intellectual discussion and appreciation of books, not some middle-school popularity contest.

I'm discouraged even by my own post to complain about it.
j p
5. sps49
Ha at the Seeker's epileptic tree! But Bethamin does not seem to be a strong or good person at all.

I would hate to live in this DDR-like Seanchan, bleh. Stasi Listeners and Seekers? None of whom abuse their powers? But the trains run on time streets of Ebou Dar are safer, so OK.

Beslan has it right, even if he is alone. If the Return has to be quashing rebellions everywhere, they will be more likely to fail than if everyone helps them out of fear.

Domon thinkin there is no harm in Suroth having the bracelets? Ha!
James Jones
6. jamesedjones
4 mrburack

Yes. But unfortunately, the recent upswing in criticism of this practice is likely seen an encouragement to some.
James Jones
7. jamesedjones
Love the BNL reference at the top. And I love even more when RJ points out that some of the awesomeness of our favorites is evident in their current appearance or circumstances, but soooooo much more is under the surface. Icebergs! I tell ya.
8. Shard
It amuses me to see the Seeker and that Deathwatch guard come so close and yet be SO far off on what they think is going on in Randland.
Sean Banawnie
9. Seanie
Leigh, I think what importance the Seanchan attach to stability and knowing ones place, where one fits in is a key to understanding their mindset. To them it is a disservice to take away their place and put them in chaos . To them security and stability is far more valuable than freedom. It runs throughout their storyline big and small. Just my two coppers.
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
@7. Yeah. Wonder is Leigh is frantic, tantric or (like Snickers) guaranteed to satisfy.
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Note that Egeanin's difficulties with Seanchan beliefs re so'jihn as property vs. one she loves is an early highlight of the similar mental contortions upcoming with Tuon with respect to Seanchan beliefs and how they affect worthy Randlanders (meaning Mat). Very nice foreshadowing by RJ of the need for Seanchanians to re-think longstanding beliefs.

Not much else to say with these chapters. Just moving the plot along. Guess I just don't give a damn....

12. Rand Al'Todd
IF I recall correctly, we don't get an on-screen scene, but can't you just see Suroth's plot-o-meter go offscale when she learned that Suldam can channel. Instant leap to DotNM is a Suldam and trains damane, then to how to time exposing Tuon for maximum impact to assure Suroth's postion as Empress of the East.

The Seeker is seeking evidence of a conspiracy and just has no clue how right he really is.

Too bad Mat did such a good job of keeping Tuon out of the palace until AFTER the reunion with her gardening crew. Poor Suroth.

(And I still say that Mat "freeing" Tuon is still to come - I think she will feel the other end of the leash, but the scene may have been intended for the outrigger series. So we may never see the resolution of the plot thread that is causing this round of Leigh's headdesking.)
Tricia Irish
13. Tektonica
Thanks Leigh! I must say, I'm with you all the way in the "ethical migraine" department that this whole Seanchan/slavery issue is. Ug. Very hard to read without hurting my book.

In light of Isilel's insights on the last thread about AOL darkfriend AS fleeing to Seanchan at the breaking, this quote took on much more meaning for me:

She was suspicious of any damane who had called herself Aes Sedai. History fascinated her, and she had even read translations from the myriad of languages that had existed before the Consolidation began. Those ancient rulers reveled in their murderous, capricious rule, and delighted in setting down how they came to power and how they crushed neighboring states and undermined other rulers. Most had died by assassination, often at the hands of their own heirs or followers. She knew very well what Aes Sedai were like.

That the Seanchan histories are rife with tales of Evil, power-mad, warlike AS makes sense, if the original influx of AS from the Breaking were DFs. Future generations might well have killed off the DF Aes Sedai, but the damage had been done and the Collar was then in use. I do wonder if we'll ever get any confirmation of this. It certainly makes sense that there would be Darkfriend Aes Sedai back in the AOL, as there were Forsaken...they had to have minions.

Oh, and poor Tessi. A little too much happiness gave her away. Not her usual cranky self!

The Seeker gives me the heebie jeebies. I'm so glad Bethamin came clean with Egeanin immediately....and they are going to bring Mat into it. Yay.

I'm also glad that Bethamin, Renna and Seta all know that sul'dame can learn to channel. The cracks are beginning! Does Egeanin know? Don't think so. I do be liking Bayle Doman too... in spite of being an object.
Mo -
14. Astus

Great entry, as always. I still find it funny the insistence that the Seanchan have (or rather, had!) that Shadowspawn are made up. Kinda like if someone came and told me that trolls are for real.
It makes it funny and creepy when they do finally meet up.
Lynn McDonald
15. meal6225
Leigh I fear for your local dental workers if you really had a fearsome weapon for righteous wrath.......
We would try to bail (Bayle!) you out of jail (Tower of Ghenji)!
I remember groaning a little during this book when with every chapter it seemed more NEW story lines/plot kept being introduced while the existing ones languished......
Patience grasshopper...November comes......
Daniel Goss
16. Beren
Hey, if it makes someone's day to be the first one to put "first" on a blog's comments, then I say let 'em have their little moment in the sun.

As far as resistance vs. compliance to an overwhelming power . . . I actually think he has it right later when he capitulates. For the average Joe Al'Blow, resistance is his only option for bringing about change, and it takes a whole bunch of Al'Blows gumming up the works for a massive machine like the Seanchan Empire to notice. Beslan, however, has a much higher position in the machine (or could if he would just open his eyes and see it) and thus, if he wants to bring about some real change, has the opportunity and responsibility to work from within the system. Joe can't be in the presence of the High Blood without having to avert his eyes and accept anything that's said unless he wants to be whipped/killed/sold/covered in taffy and fed to the Sarlaac. Beslan, on the other hand, has the unique position of being able to say things like "You know, maybe this whole damane thing isn't the greatest idea ever" and have an actual audience.
*edit for GAAAAH the editor hates me
17. MasterAlThor
Hopefully those rug burns don't hurt too much Leigh. Yeah I know all about that.

And on with the comments,

So in the last posts comments section someone (curse my memory) pointed out that Mat was basically waiting around until everything fell into place. Well it is starting to fall into place. Just a few more items on the grocery list...err yeah. So anyway, just a few more things to do and it's off to see the wizard for our Hero. Or Professor Marvel. Or whoever Luca is calling himself these days.

19. Hrothgordo
I really liked Bayle when he first showed up in EotW.

Egeanin had possibilities from the beginning and I enjoyed watching her with the SGs. Heck for most of the story arc I found her to be the bravest among them as she was all too aware of the various dangers she was risking.

Starting at this book however I loathed them.

First and foremost because I appreciete competence. You are on a boat. You have Evil Jewelry of Doom that you know that Black Ajah and possibly the Forsaken are after. Extend arm over railing. Release.

How hard is that?

Failure to do so results in you being The Suck. The fact that you follow it up by treating one of our heros like crap for 3 books (while failing to be the perfect bridge between the cultural divide of Mat and Tuon) and I simply cannot come to grips with you being on the pages I am reading.

As to the series of slavery items, yes we get it. It’s bad, Leigh.

Yes, Jordan is into the concept of absolutes of good and evil but he does love that humans are not wired that way. Even in the real word, people that can work in absolutes tend to be nutjobs who screw everything up.

Unlike many forms of slavery in our world at least the Seanchan reasoning is at least somewhat rational.

On the reasons for instituting slavery, stopping walking weapons-of-mass-destruction (and thereby making your populace feel safe) is a little bit more reasonable then doing so to make textiles more cheaply or building a really big tombstone for your king.

Still wrong, but from a governance standpoint it’s not the absolute worst option.

To me it’s like the debate on the Founding Fathers of the US. Pretty much all of them were slave-owners but most of them were at least open to the fact that they were wrong. Sure Jefferson may have been a coward about confronting it (and at least technically a rapist), but Franklin was able to change his world view enough to actively began schooling people.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
@18. On second thought, you're correct. I'd say Leigh is at least two and very possibly all three. She does live in NY these days. R
21. cluegoo
this is what i love about these books (not the slavery) but seemingly unrelated charecters finding each other time and again also for the record Domon was one of my favourite charecter's on my first read through not so much now though and finally holy smoke it's 4 am here in aus i need to go to bed
Birgit F
22. birgit
"Aes Sedai do plot the way fish swim. They could scheme with Suroth, but the question do be, could she scheme with them? I did see her look at damane, like they did be mangy dogs with fleas and catching diseases. Could she even talk to an Aes Sedai?"

Suroth did plot with Liandrin, although neither of them liked working together. And of course the Forsaken are channlers, too. How does Suroth feel about that?
Jason Deshaies
23. darxbane
While the Seanchan population may believe collaring the Damane is safer then letting them roam free, they unkowingly condone an even more dangerous situation. The people who control the damane have absolute power over their abilities, and hide behind the false sense of security this arrangement creates. It's like someone getting shot and everybody blames the gun.
Lucas Vollmer
24. aspeo
I can't really find much to say right now about these chapters.

I like the Seeker right now if only because he is trying to bring down Suroth.

Egeanin and Domon are an interesting couple, and I too missed the fact that she bought him so no one else could. I also liked that they both want to marry each other, even though it seems to be uncustomary. That's kind of romantic :)
Wolf Bro Joe
25. Wolf Bro Joe
Leigh's re-reads: Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy!
26. MasterAlThor

I disagree with your assesment of Jefferson. I do understand what you are trying to say.

Normally I would get worked up over this, but I can't find it in myself to do that today. I think that it is quite the lark to have a people (not race) that basically have a segment of women as slaves pets and others as slaves. As a matter of fact slavery to the Seanchan is an equal opportunity employer.

I can't even think of anything snarky to say about it. Bleh. I quit, I going back to sleep. Wake me when it's Friday.

James Jones
27. jamesedjones
23 darxbane
It's like someone getting shot and everybody blames the gun.

Absolutely. "Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people."
diane heath
28. jadelollipop
@13 Re:
I'm also glad that Bethamin, Renna and Seta all know that sul'dame can
learn to channel. The cracks are beginning! Does Egeanin know? Don't
think so. I do be liking Bayle Doman too... in spite of being an

Yes Egeanin knows. She learned in Tanchico. It is why Bethamin was looking for her. Plus Bethamin explained about Renna and Seta when she visited --coming clean about the Seeker
Egeanin POV
The Empire depended on sul’dam; its strength was built on them. The news that sul’dam
were women who could learn to channel might shatter the Empire to its
core. It had surely shaken her. Maybe shattered her. She herself had not
freed Bethamin out of duty. So many things had changed in Tanchico. She
no longer believed that any woman who could channel deserved to be
29. Hrothgordo

A fair amount of the security that any government provides is based solely on the perception of security. So I generally agree that the Seanchan are indeed under a false sense of security.

And if I hadn’t made it clear, I find all of the concepts to be truly heinous by my moral code of conduct.

But I can understand how someone could conceive of the practice and justify it to themselves. I kind of put it like this. Nazi Germany had some REALLY crappy tenets and concepts with genocide being the big ugly thing in the room. But suddenly stating that the country of Germany is inherently evil is a bit overboard and fails to recognize, at the very least, the ability to brew a really good beer.

As to your assumption that sul’dam are a major risk, I also have to disagree.

Despite many american’s fanatical belief in the Right to Bear Arms, many countries operate perfectly well using the precept of gun control.

In Seanchan, a damane is the gun. As Leigh points out, it’s a walking, talking “gun” with a soul. But it’s still a gun.

A sul’dam is hand picked and trained to be loyal to the Empire. A sul’dam receives a higher social status from the Empire from their service. And the Empire has ownership of the damane which gives you actual physical power.

The risk of sul’dam using that power against the Empire is minimal. Because the Empire strictly restricts the movement of damane.

Even if a sul’dam tried to rebel they are surrounded by other sul’dam who would probably stop them. To effectively try to take control a sul’dam would have to convince numerous other sul’dam to rebel with them.
Julian Augustus
30. Alisonwonderland
Leigh @Commentary:
Bethamin clamped her jaws to keep from laughing hysterically. He was after Egeanin, not her. The Light be praised! The Light be praised in all its infinite mercy!

This reminds me of an old cold war joke (hope this doesn't date me too much!) that goes something like this:

An Englishman, an American, and a Russian are having a drink and discussing the meaning of happiness. The Englishman goes first: "happiness is when you come home from work and your wife brings you your warm slippers and a drink and you sit by the fire and read the paper while she brings you your supper."

The American says: "nah, I can do better than that. Happiness is when you can lie on the beach with a gorgeous blond on one side of you and a gorgeous brunette on the other side, and both are only interested in keeping you happy."

And the Russian snorts: "you guys don't know what true happiness means. Happiness is when the secret police knock on your door at 3 am, and the officer puts his hand on your shoulder and says, 'Ivan Ivanovitch, you are under arrest for treason', and you can smile and say, 'sorry, Ivan Ivanovitch is next door!'"
Joseph Armao
31. joeyesq
Heheh... I remember years ago posting on the newsgroup that I can't read Bayle Domon dialogue without picturing him as the Sea Captain from the Simpsons. This still holds true today.
Torie Atkinson
34. Torie
@ All

Anyone else trying to pull a "FIRST!!" will have their comments replaced with fail macros of my choosing.

If they're lucky.

j p
35. sps49
Yay Torie and the rest of the dotcom staff!

Re: US 2nd amendment-
I'm not fanatical about the Bill of Rights, until someone tries to take any from me. Whether bit by bit, or all at once.
Sean Arthur
36. wsean
Love Domon's perspective on Mat, here. Little does he know just how far up Mat's come!
37. Paulw
History fascinated her, and she had even read translations from the myriad of languages that had existed before the Consolidation began. Those ancient rulers reveled in their murderous, capricious rule, and delighted in setting down how they came to power and how they crushed neighboring states and undermined other rulers.

I'm surprised people take this at face value. It seems rather likely that much like them doctoring the Karetheon Cycle (kneeling before the Crystal Throne is not in the original Randland version, per Domon) they also falsified stories by the "evil people" they replaced showing how they are all total monsters and praise be to the Empire for freeing people from them.
Maiane Bakroeva
38. Isilel
Wrote a really long post, but it got eaten. Argh! Anyway, damane were used against the Empire during the many rebellions that they tend to have. Sul'dam don't have the status to use damane for their own goals, but generals/ high nobles certainly do. So, yes, the safety is illusory. Also, during the War of Hundred Years, they smashed the civilization pretty good without the use of OP, yet nobody suggests making all warlike men into slaves...
Kate Collura
39. dreamwalker
Seems like I never get here in time to get into the conversation, but I'm glad I did this time. These chapters may not have been the most exciting but the discussion is interesting.

Rand Al'Todd @ 12
I never actually thought about Suroth keeping the secret about sul'dam as potential channelers for the purpose of using it against Tuon, but that is a great point! I always wondered about that a bit but assumed it was just for the purpose of protecting the empire or because she just doesn't care about Seanchan ideology, being a Darkfriend.

Which brings me to birgit @ 22:
I think the fact that Suroth is a Darkfriend means she's probably not thinking the Chosen need to be leased. Guess you have to pick your ultimate loyalty and in this case the DO wins ;)

Hrothgordo @ 19
I totally agree with you about being beyond annoyed with Egeanin and Doman for not tossing those bracelets. Like, really? I guess events in TGS dictated that they had to fail on their ridiculously easy task, but come on.

On another point though, I think the defense of Seanchan slavery as having a more reasonable basis than other historical examples falls apart when you look beyond the damane to the non-channelers they keep as property who are not in their minds dangerous to society. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if RJ was deliberate in not limiting Seanchan slavery to channelers. The point is it takes a certain mindset of a society to view any people as less than human for any reason. While their practices may have started from a perceived need to control channelers, they obviously have adopted the larger mindset that it is right to see some people as property. Anyway, I know you weren't defending the morals, just the logic, but I think the logic fails as well for these reasons.
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Yay Torie!
Anyone else trying to pull a "FIRST!!" will have their comments replaced with fail macros of my choosing.

Might I suggest going "one better" and removing such posts completely (like you do with spam)?
Torie Atkinson
41. Torie
Of course you can suggest it. :) But I like to set an example.

I used to be able to re-arrange the numbering order so that I could shift comments that said "FIRST!!" to, say, spot 11. That was fun. Alas, the upgrade required sacrifices...
42. Hrothgordo
True, my “defense” if it can be called that is only aimed at the damane system.

And you are right that my perception is that the damane system did start them on a slippery slope of viewing people as property.

But my overall point was that you can come to some level of understanding of the Seanchan. They are not intrinsically evil.

Jordan (and BS) have both made a point of many of the redeeming qualities of the Seanchan culture. And that throwing out an entire culture for one “sin” may not be the best idea

In this book we have already seen that the Seanchan make a point of showing that their laws are applied equally to themselves and the people they conquer (the head’s on a pike). Historically this is highly unusual and shows a relatively moralistic view.

In TGS Rand sees the peace and safety which are given to the people under the Empire’s protection. It is built on the suffering of the minority, but isn’t the whole concept of Rand’s existence a nod to the martyr that suffers for the good of the whole?
43. Winterking
freeing a so’jhin, casting him off from the rights and privileges Bayle sneered at, was the height of cruelty.
The interesting thing about this is that, for some enslaved/"property" individuals/groups, in some historical cultures, it would be accurate. Take for example the slaves of high-ranking Roman nobles/emperors, palace eunuchs (not strictly slaves, but speaking as a castratable individual, I'm no more eager to be a eunuch than a slave), the Mamluks--people who are socially quite constrained, but because of their position and access, are in fact quite powerful. The slaves of a wealthy Roman household would have had much better quality of life than the poor freemen in the streets; the Mamluks, originally a slave army, soon became the power behind the Egyptian throne; the servants in an aristocratic household had access undreamed of by the courtiers outside. Of course, the vast majority of slaves/constrained persons in those societies had an absolutely miserable life, brutal and short. But those would not have been the equivalents of so'jihn.

So, in a way, Egeanin's right. Or at least, she's not totally wrong. Bayle's life as so'jihn would be easier, filled with more ease and less hardship, than his life were she to manumit him without funds. Her culture, at least her level of it, discounts the importance, the pride, the self-respect of being a free man.
Joseph Armao
44. joeyesq
Anyone else trying to pull a "FIRST!!" will have their comments replaced with fail macros of my choosing.

Personally I like this. It reminds of a SNL sketch from back in the day when Rudy Giuliani hosted. The jist of it was that part of NYC's new initiative to combat graffiti would be to have an artist in the employ of the city write the word "sucks" underneath the offending graffiti artist's name in his own handwriting.
Daniel Goss
45. Beren
I think the thing that the author was trying to drive home with this is the juxtaposition of the Seanchan view of 'freedom' versus that of the Westlands. It appears, from these statements as well as others, that in Seanchan freeing a slave was not an act of mercy (you have earned your freedom with these acts) or love (I love you, so I must set you free.) Rather, it is a cruel act (I no longer want you around) or a demeaning one (I don't find you to be worth what it takes to keep you here.) In that case, Egeanin's reluctance is fully justified. It would be like the CEO of a company publicly firing his well-paid, fully health-insured, 401K-holding, company-stock-owning secretary. Then proposing.
Kate Collura
46. dreamwalker
Hrothgordo @42
Yes, I definitely see your point about all Seanchan not being inherently evil. I think that is another thing that RJ did very well. He created a society founded on concepts that can certainly be considered evil, but he also created individuals within that society who have depth and cannot be written off just because they are a part of that society and support it in one way or another. To show the rare character like Egeanin who begins to question the basic principles her society is founded on points out how most people never do question things they have been exposed to and told is right by people they trust for their entire lives. It points out how extremely hard it is to do this. To question your entire society or belief system will likely rip your life apart. RJ shows us this when Egeanin's only choice is to remove herself from that society and lose everything she had. Definitely powerful stuff!
Rob Munnelly
47. RobMRobM
@46. Agreed and once again it foreshadows what Tuon/Fortuona will be facing in ToM.
Thomas Keith
48. insectoid
Great post, Leigh!

I don't have much to say about these chapters, other than: a) EURGH about the sul'dam/damane; b) to note that Egeanin and Domon seem to genuinly like each other, and only the strictures of Seanchan culture are holding them back; and c) seriously, WHAT THE HELL, with letting the Domination Band fall into the Shadow's Seanchan hands!? (Aaarrrgggh.)

mrburack @4: I totally agree—when will these people grow up?

RobM² @10: I like that Snickers analogy!

Torie @34: ::buzzes happily::

Torie @41: Aww, too bad—that's hilarious! ;)

Valentin M
49. ValMar
Simply put, the Seanchan aren't evil but human. This is the sad fact.
It can be argued that they are evil if one compares them with the cultures in WOT which we know well and the concept of slavery is absent. Or the huge scale warfare, and following destruction and population displacement occuring in Seanchan and not in Randland.
In RL both slavery and large scale conquests and the inevitable consequences were common. People tend to be rather proud of this (the fire and death upon foreigners, not slavery). For instance, I'm yet to meet an English person who deems his ancestors evil for their actions re: e.g. Ireland, Slavery, the Black Prince.
50. alreadymadwithpropaganda
jamesedjones @27
Bullets are just extensions of the guns as tools. People kill people.

Paulw @37
I'm with you there. I have a pet theory myself that pre-Consolidation Seandar was closer to the AoL model for Aes Sedai organization. With guilds setup in most towns or cities. Only without centralised leadership as in the Westlands. Seanchan have consistently showed a willingness to use propaganda.
F Shelley
51. FSS
Fifty First!

@50 - I still think Pre-Consolidation Seanchan was flat-out Shadow-infested. "Aes Sedai" in open power struggles for rule, "The Armies of the Night", Ravens as a symbol of authority, an "Aes Sedai" able to make a Ter'Angreal that forces someone into a Circle and can give them pain (a la the Black Ajah).

My guess is that present day Seanchan was behind enemy (Shadow) lines at the end of the War of Power.
52. fleadog
The Seanchan (positive and negative societal traits) are an extension of Artur Hawkwing. It is the trade-off between freedom and safety.

As Elyas says:
"Artur Hawkwing brough peace and justice, but he did it with fire and sword. A child could walk with a bag of gold ... but the High King's justice was as hard as that rock there for anyone who challenged his power."

We see the same antipathy and admiration for Hawkwing from Elyas and Mat that RJ explores for the Seanchan. The Tuatha'an are safe, Tanchico is secure, but you better not fight, and God help you if you can channel.
Valentin M
53. ValMar
Propaganda is difficult to resist even for societies with plenty of media and info. Many people in Eastern Europe still think Communism is great, despite what was done to them. Many muslims are convinced that 9/11 was jewish plot, and 20% of Americans believe their president is muslim!
Thomas Keith
54. insectoid
Am I the only one who is amused that the new comment box interprets comment tags like alreadymad@50 as email addresses? ;)

edited to add: But not in Google Chrome. There's a lot of things about it that don't work right in Chrome. :|

Roger Powell
55. forkroot

In that case, Egeanin's reluctance is fully justified. It would be like the CEO of a company publicly firing his well-paid, fully health-insured, 401K-holding, company-stock-owning secretary. Then proposing.

Well, unless there's a pre-nup, I would guess that she would do just fine financially too.
I know firsthand of a cute story in that vein. I used to work at a company that had a head of HR for our region and an assistant. They were friendly to one another, since they worked together, but it was 100% professional.

Then we had corporate cutbacks and he was told to lay her off, which he did. The next day he called her at home and asked her out. They've been happily married for almost 14 years now.
56. alreadymadwithbuyingdomon
Anybody else noticed that Egeanin ended up paying more for Domon than she intended to? Apparently she had to go into a bidding war for him.
Tess Laird
57. thewindrose
Since a lot of you all have covered the slavery angle, I thought I would examine some of the thoughts and actions of Bethamin.
For a change, instead of seeking extra assignments, she would spend them(hours) buying souvenirs. Perhaps one of those knives the local women wore at their necks, if she could find one without the gems they seemed to like on the hilt.{...}She tried to find out whether the woman might like some small gift when she went shopping, but the woman actually seemed offended when she suggested a knife with more colorful gems.

Ouch! She spends time reading up on history(reading translations from a myriad! of languages that had existed before the Consolidation began) but doesn't try to learn anything about the people she is spending time with now. I put the myraid of languages because I thought people went from the Old Tongue to what they speak now? Curious!

And this is funny too:
The Deathwatch Guards tramped on, dedicated heart and soul to the Empress and Empire, and Bethamin went in the opposite direction. Appropriately, since she was dedicated heart and soul to preserving her own freedom.

Kurt Lorey
58. Shimrod
Today is "Torie Rocks!" Day.

Moderators Rule.
Ron Garrison
59. Man-0-Manetheran
RobM@11: Frankly my dear, I see your GWTW reference.
Torie! Yeah!
Guns don’t kill people. They just make it easier for people to kill people.
60. Freelancer
::bows to Torie:: We are not worthy. And thank you!

So, everyone knows what everyone else is up to finally. Cool. And, they're all completely wrong. Except that sometimes they are so close to right, for all the wrong reasons, that you laugh your head off. Seanchan intel specialists like the Seekers and Banner General Karede of the Deathwatch Guards, they are terrific analysts of the sparse information they acquire. Suroth was indeed conspiring with Aes Sedai. But not via the pathways of information the Seeker used. Hah! As for Karede, nobody else in the entire story (with the exception of Moiraine) has caught Thom in his play of the Great Game. But to conclude that this spy-master is also a military general in the employ of the White Tower, that's too rich for consumption!

Torie rocks today, but Jordan rocks forever, with these labrynthine plot twists which make you go "buh...wuh?".
61. DevilsAdvocate
Regarding the Seanchan and slavery: On the one hand, sucks to be a slave. On the other hand, it's only in the last few hundred years (of multiple thousands of years of history) that slavery is viewed as objectively wrong.

A few thoughts:
- Difficult issue to discuss in the West where race is such a large factor in our perceptions of slavery.
- This assumes a humanist/deistic viewpoint that we all posses unalienable rights, such as freedom of the individual, freedom of religion, speech, etc. Again, this is a recent development in human history and thought. Just because an idea is recent does not mean it is correct
- Many times in human history, slavery was caused by things like financial need (individuals selling themselves into slavery to provide for their family or pay off a debt) or punishment (POWs or criminals).

As for the Seanchan (and I am hardly a WOT expert, just a fan, so please rebut with specific examples if they exist), I believe that with the exception of damane, many or most of the slaves owe their status to some offense against the empire (i.e. POW) and not to their race. Damane are the exception and owe their "sub-human" status to their ability to channel, something that is not their fault.

So, two points to sum up:
1. The enslavement of damane, probably wrong; enslavement of criminals, POWs, et al, probably not wrong. Even in the "Enlightened West", prisoners in jail work and get paid very little. Is that not slavery? The horror!
2. I'm not sure that we have inalienable rights like freedom of speech, religion, or that we're all entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Sure, those things are great, but I can't see that we intrinsically deserve them. Conclusion of that: slavery not necessarily wrong.

By the way, first time poster who just wanted to stir the waters...
John Massey
62. subwoofer
Huzzah Torie!!!

Let that be an object lesson to folks that don't go grey and didn't get my "power of edit" comment. Go forth and sin no more.

Slavery... dicey topic. It is my impression that in the Empire, everyone is subject to the Empress and then to the Blood. Wasn't there a bit in tGH where everyone kills themselves when their master dies. Creepy.

The idea that by leashing the strongest people, we are protecting society at large is explored in Marvel with the idea of registering and controlling mutants crap this link thing is really not working... ahhhhhhhh. This is really a slippery slope as the line between personal freedom and the safety of society is blurred. Homeland Security anyone?

Bullet control...

Seeker- interesting concept. It is amazing how people with power can leap to the wrong conclusions and put people's lives in the balance.

Have we seen that chapter icon before? Wait, never mind, it is the Seafolk one... darn it.

Egeanin- interesting character. It takes strength and self awareness to do what she does. Unfortunately, parts of Egeanin's culture are so ingrained into her we have to suffer through her learning to leave her past behind as she travels with Tuon. I have to second what Hrothgordo says in that regard. Life would have been less painful for Mat had Egeanin given over and stopped with the "Shipless" business... But then we may have not been treated to the conversations between Setalle and Tuon.

John Massey
63. subwoofer

don't poke the bear.

Julian Augustus
64. Alisonwonderland
Valmar @49:

I'm curious, what actions of The Black Prince made you put him in such company? As far as I know, Edward Plantagenet was not given that name because of evil actions, but because he always wore black armor. By all accounts he was a kind and just man who would have made a good king if he hadn't died prematurely. But maybe I'm misinformed.
Julian Augustus
65. Alisonwonderland
Valmar @49:

I'm curious, what actions of The Black Prince made you put him in such company? As far as I know, Edward Plantagenet was not given that name because of evil actions, but because he always wore black armor. By all accounts he was a kind and just man who would have made a good king if he hadn't died prematurely. But maybe I'm misinformed.
Barry T
66. blindillusion

Very Cool.

Leigh. Excellent job as always. Were I not so tired (as evidenced (does that word ever look like it's spelled right) by the picture) I would try to comment.

(Oh come on...who doesn't giggle chuckle at lolcats?)
Birgit F
67. birgit
Have we seen that chapter icon before? Wait, never mind, it is the Seafolk one... darn it.

The Seafolk have a different icon (gulls). This is Egeanin's new seal. It wouldn't make sense to use it before she was raised to her new rank.

The neatly stacked sheets of fine paper bore her newly granted sigil, a sword and a fouled anchor.
Jonathan Levy
68. JonathanLevy
Breathlessly, she tells him that she cannot free him unless she can ensure he is provided for as a free man—in his case, buying him a ship—and she does not have her promised estates yet.

There's an interesting parallel here with Deutoronomy 15:13-18:
And when thou lettest go free from thee, thou shalt not let him go empty; thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy threshing-floor, and out of thy winepress; of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee; therefore I command thee this thing to-day. ... It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou lettest him go free from thee; for to the double of the hire of a hireling hath he served thee six years; and the LORD thy God will bless thee in all that thou doest.

Of course, having to give a freed slave something to live off of when you release him after 6 years is not quite the same as not freeing him until you have that money.
Valentin M
69. ValMar
Alise @ 64,65
I was referring to Edward's use of the chevauchee. The local peasants probably failed to appreciate his kindness.
John Massey
70. subwoofer
Kitty? grrrrrrrrrr

Soooooo, is it a new chapter icon or not, have we seen
Egeanin in her own chapter before?

@JL- I am not thinking that the Seanchan Empire will be having an Emancipation Proclamation any time soon. Nor do I feel that every damane will be getting 40 acres and a mule.

All pups go to heaven.

Jonathan Levy
71. JonathanLevy

Well of course not now, we have to wait 6 years, no? ;)
James Hogan
72. Sonofthunder
ValMar @69, thanks for the history lesson! Since I'd never heard of a chevauchee before, read up a bit and now feel much more informed. Sounds like typical brutal medieval warfare. Or like Shaido dogs.

As for my thoughts on Egeanin and her horror at setting Domon free...it is indeed quite hard for us to understand this, her coming from such a foreign perspective. All the Seanchan viewpoints have this problem, and this is part of RJ's genius. We're reading this, going, "WHAT?", but as we read we sympathize more and more with the Seanchan, seeing them as people too. Even the sul'dam we get viewpoints from, eventually I see myself feeling for them!! People are people are people. Some do things that are really messed up, true. But I don't feel that RJ is portraying the Seanchan people as barbaric and evil. Their culture, in some ways, yes. But not the people(well, besides the Darkfriends). And that's a very very fine line that he walks. Think of it, in the previous chapter we had Teslyn swearing to Mat to do anything to escape, because she was starting to want to please the Seanchan like a dog...one of the most horrible things we can think of. And the next viewpoint we get is a sul'dam who seems almost too normal...and downright sympathetic, at that! I was hoping along with her that the Seeker wasn't for her! Maybe I just empathize too easily. But this is part of what RJ does best, bouncing us from one viewpoint to a completely contrary one. Always thought-provoking. Always delicious to read and ponder.
john mullen
73. johntheirishmongol
A couple of comments here...It seemed to me to be a rather stretchy plot device to have Bayle not drop the a'dam in the ocean after having promised to do so.

Secondly, I have a feeling that the Seanchean prophesies have probably been written to appeal to the emperor of the time so as not to affect their sensibilities. So that's why they have the Dragon kneeling to the throne rather than the other way around. Perfectly understandable, since I don't think it would make the prophets lives too good if they said it the other way around.
Tricia Irish
74. Tektonica
I used to be furious about Bayle and Egeanin not dropping the Sad necklace and bracelets into the Sea, but in light of the following passage, I think they might have intended to, but circumstances intervened. I can at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

In answer to his rant, she explains once again that her claim that they were bringing the bracelets-and-collar as a gift to the Empress was the only thing that saved them when they were overtaken at sea, and if Bayle hadn’t made such a fuss she wouldn’t have ended up having to spend a small fortune to buy him.

Bayle was obviously upset at the breaking of his promise, having made a fuss, leading to his being property. They could've dropped it immediately, but I seem to remember Elayne specifically asking that they drop it in the deepest part of the ocean. My guess is they were closer to shore, if the Seanchan had boarded and questioned them.
75. BiggMann
DevilsAdvocate @61,

Like the George Carlin bit about hunting for sport being so much fun..."ask the deer"

Not that I've ever been one myself, but ask the slave of or become one before saying slavery is not intrinsically evil. My great-grandmother was born in 1898, and what her parents (who were both former slaves), imparted on her to teach her descendants about freedom not just of choice but the freedom of having a choice to make. My mother was born in 1949, still in the Jim Crow South, and she had stories to tell about the horrors of life even then.

So try it first, hey, maybe you would like it. But if you were just stirring the pot, like you advocates for the devil tend to do...good job! This bear got poked.

I do think RJ missed the boat on this aspect: all of the damane and so'jihn seem to be fine with the practice of slavery. Unless I missed it (and gently correct me if I'm wrong) not one Seanchan wishes for freedom aside from the newly collared damane (who aren't Seanchan-ese). You may be able to say Alivia based on her fighting spirit after she was freed, but her wanting freedom as a damane would've been offscreen. Do you think that somehow is the power of the Crystal Throne?

Am I misunderstanding "the Creator" on this one?

If someone is willing to come work for you as long as you take "care" of their needs (an older parent, stay at home spouse, nanny, Kato Kaelin are a few examples) you're not forcing them to stay. That is the difference in slavery and how I think Egeanin views "purchasing/freeing" Bayle at this point. She's taking care of him, not a better idea, just different.

What if she was in a bidding war with a Seanchan who wants spirited slaves for the "pleasure" of breaking them down? That would be evil. Remember she said herself he became more expensive because he put up such a fuss when they were being boarded.

Let me stop ranting before you all think I'm some bleeding heart liberal.

And Torie, I'm new to posting, not so new to the re-reads, but the "yay, new posts" and trying to be the first to post already got on my nerves.

Also, I found out yesterday one of my co-workers has read all of the books except the last one. I was trying to convince him to read it without spoiling it, but HOW? I can't tell him about Verin, how Egwene rose to power, Rand and Tam meeting, Rand/Min/Semirage, the Egwene/Elaida dinner, etc.
I did tell him that Rand's issues about women getting hurt by his hand ends, one of Egwene's Dreams come true (although I think it was her Accepted test where she was the Amrylin), and Rand finally has a meeting readers have been waiting for. What else can I tell him and how can I put it?

Yeah I seem to remember that too, that they were followed and that the ones who boarded them knew exactly what they were looking for. Has that been explained yet? How did Suroth know? Except that the deepest part of the ocean was right off the coast of Tanchico or something, which is where I think they were.

Peace and a jar of hair grease!
76. Paulw
re pre-Consolidation Seanchan being shadow-run:

How does the connection between their sigil (raven) and the Shadow work when the current rulers of Seanchan are the ones that took over from the chaos before the Consolidation? Surely they wouldn't use the sigil used by those they conquered, especially when as Bethamin noted in this chapter said conquered parties reveled in how evil and cunning they were (and I still think that is meant to be propaganda made up by the post-Consolidation propaganda machine).

I think it's more likely the Ravens, human property, and the Armies of the Night are due to Ishy's twisting and corrupting. Granted he could have ruled or manipulated pre-Consolidation, but if those symbols were used before the Consolidation, it does not make sense that Seanchan post-Consolidation would embrace them.
77. MasterAlThor

I told you guys not to wake me until Friday. Why oh why couldn't you listen?

2. I'm not sure that we have inalienable rights like freedom of speech, religion, or that we're all entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Sure, those things are great, but I can't see that we intrinsically deserve them. Conclusion of that: slavery not necessarily wrong.
Well if you do not live in the good ol US of A then maybe you don't have those things. I believe that we are entitled to life, liberty and the pursity of happiness because we were endowed by our Creator with those. Now we can debate till the sun truns blue about who our Creator is. If you don't believe in God, fine, Mother Nature then. What does it matter other than we were created and that those rights were granted to us. Man can only take away rights and any rights he gives he can take away. Our inalienable rights cannot be taken from us.

Slavery, in any form, is abhorrent. Color has nothing to do with it. Yes in the West, as you put it, it has more to do with color than anything. That has more to do with racisim than anything. The Seanchan by comparision are not racist. Not in the color sense. Luthair was poisoned like his father against the Aes Sedai. If Luthair had taken some Aes Sedai with him, Seanchan may have turned out differently.

As for the non-damane slaves, there is no mistaking that this is the true slavery of the Seanchan. People being bought and sold like my ancestors on an auction block. Da'covale can reach positions of power but so what. At the end of the day they are still owned.

DA, I am not saying that you are advocating a return to slavery. That would be silly. What I am saying is that I disagree with your assesment of our freedoms and rights.

If I have mischaracterized anything let me know so I can clear that up.

78. MasterAlThor
One more thing,

I haven't seen this mentioned by my other posters. Everyone is worried about the Seanchan losing there power base if the secret about the Sul'dam is revealed. How does that free the da'covale? Why would they seek their own freedom? BiggMann pointed out that none of the damane or the so'jhin want to be freed. So why would freeing of the damane cause the the others to be freed?

Just a thought.


This is what you get for rousing the Dragon.
James Hogan
79. Sonofthunder
MAT, you're right - I don't think I've even seen mention of the da'covale issue being discussed in RL. Has it?? It seems that everyone(Egwene, Rand, etc) is concerned only about the damane situation. This is obviously something to be concerned about, but it doesn't seem like anyone's worried about the da'covale. I remember Rand's horror over their suicides in TGH, but I guess at the moment more people are worried about TG. So the damane are the big issue.

But as you rightly pointed out, the loss of the sul'dam/damane distinction will only do to lose the Seanchan their biggest weapons - it probably won't affect their penchant for general slavery at all. :( Just think of the novel that could have been written about Mat and Tuon over in Seandar. "I'm no bloody lord, and you certainly aren't any bloody side of meat! Now get your eyes off the flaming ground!"
Rob Munnelly
80. RobMRobM
MAT @78 "This is what you get for rousing the Dragon."
Have you been reading GRRM again? Direct quote.

I disagree with BiggMann's contention that all damane are happy. Alivia is certainly a counterexample. Those not treated well by their "masters" would be others. The fact we haven't seen them on screen doesn't mean they are not out there. But beyond that, they are treated as an elite military force with associated inculcation of values over a lengthy training period, so not clear that their opinion of their service reflects what their opinion would be in the absence of what likely amounts to brainwashing. The fear of being collared expressed by Bethamin alone is sufficient to make clear that being a damane is not a happy thing for many Seanchan. That almost certainly will be subject to change if Seanchan folk join with Randlanders on a longterm basis in the final two books.

Ditto re the da'covele, or more so. Agree that there hasn't been much focus on them, except for some mishegas with Morgase watching Thera dance and Liadrin taking grief from Suroth, but that is another Seanchan cultural quirk that will need to go by the boards if they are staying here. Tuon/Fortuona has some decisions to make coming up.

Justin Vickers
81. ScoundrelTheToy
Re 78: The potential freeing of damane probably won't have any impact on da'covale.

The best theory to the issue of 'da'covale' is that Mat will recieve raven tatoo's in the TOG as per Egwene's dream. Raven tatoo's of course mean you're the property of the Empire (a slave) and this idea will clash with Tuon the same way it clashed with Egeanin owning Domon. We've also already seen evidence and/or foreshadowing of it in TGS when Tuon thinks it would be a shame for Mat to shave his head and be raised to the High Blood and be 'proper', but she doesn't understand why or can't explain to herself why she thinks this. Of course, some of this was probably planned to be addressed in the outrigger novels Jordan had planned for Mat & Tuon.

I guess this idea of ownership was resolved for Egeanin when she decided to give in and marry Domon? This is one of the main themes of Egeanin as is evidenced by Egeanin's reaction to Mat's response about 'sometimes the strangest people marry' and he didn't understand her reaction of course, but for her that hit close to home.
82. MasterAlThor

Sssshhhhhh. You weren't supposed to see that.

Yes we haven't seen any of the da'covale that want to be freed. I don't argue that. What I do say is that freedom of the damane doesn't equate freedom for the da'covale.

Look at our own history and what it took to end slavery. Nothing less will have to happen for the Seanchan. And the slaves don't even want or fight for their freedom.

Again we have not been exposed to that, but you would think that one of them would talk about the fissures that should be going on if the slaves want freedom.


Hey Samadai, I guess I got worked up about this finally.
Birgit F
83. birgit
A new name was a useful tool with the most difficult cases, creating a break with what was done and gone, and they answered to theirs, however reluctantly. Reluctance would fade, along with scowls, and eventually they would hardly remember they ever had other names. It was a familiar pattern, and unfailing as sunrise. Some accepted immediately, and some went into shock at learning what they were. Always there were a handful who gave ground grudgingly over months, while with others, one day it was shrieked protests that a terrible mistake had been made, that they could never have failed the tests, and the next day came acceptance and calm. The details differed on this side of the ocean, but here or in the Empire, the end result remained the same.

Not all Seanchan damane accept their role immediately, many have to be broken before they do.
Noneo Yourbusiness
84. Longtimefan
Oh DevilsAdvocate @ 61
2. I'm not sure that we have inalienable rights like freedom of speech, religion, or that we're all entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Sure, those things are great, but I can't see that we intrinsically deserve them. Conclusion of that: slavery not necessarily wrong.

What makes this difficult for me is that your inital statement is partially true but your conclusion is not supported by the idea.

As much as people love having "rights" and lefts and somewhat near the centers it is a very sad and difficult truth that a society choses to grant "rights" whether the people feel they are inalienable, absolute or otherwise intrinsictly the privilige of being human.

I am saying this as a person who has been in a governmentally unrecognized relationship for the past 10 years with someone I care about but I do not run around demanding my "human rights". I ask for social and legal consideration.

As a society, both local and federal, people grant eachother "rights" through laws, codes and amendments.

I live in Portland where there is a lot of talk on the street about "human right" this and "people deserve" that but in the end the opinion of one or six or a dozen people means very little in a Democratic society if 20 people do not agree. (unless those people do not vote)

People do not have rights. They have opportunites granted to them by the societies in which they live. Some societies chose to give generously and some are rather stingy or claim to be "misunderstood".

What Americans have as "rights" are really fantastic gifts from the government (of the people) to the people. It is very nice to want to grant these gifts to others but thinking a wave of the wand can make it so does not take into account the complexity of the society that already exists and the economic and physical support that must be developed to sustain such wonderful "rights".

A society grants opportunities. Sometimes those opportunites are great, sometimes they offer the opportunity to own slaves.

On the buying side it is "great", on the being sold side....not so much.

Slavery is not a choice. It has no freedom and in that alone it is wrong. Economically stable and remarkably efficient sure, and owners can try to mitigate their guilt by "being nice" with treats and praise but in the end it is wrong all the same.


As for less Bleah things I am going back to the last chapter and wondering how one makes Gilded Fish. Apparently it is quite delicious and now I think I would like to try some.

This series needs more recipies. People eat things all the time in the stories but no one ever makes the food. Sure we can learn how to make a simple knife, wash silk or buy a horse but not one recipie.

Maybe there will be a cookbook adendum in the new WoT encyclopedia. :)
Tess Laird
85. thewindrose
Actually, Longtimefan - Elayne knows how to cook. She cooked for Thom and Julian when it was Elayne and Nynaeve's time to travel with the circus.
So maybe after TG, Elayne will not only make 'angrel, be one of the Dragons loves, but will write a cookbook as well!
This leads to the question I am sure everyone is wondering:) - When will Rand, Egwene and Perrin travel with the circus?

86. Hrothgordo
Okay, back into the can of worms I go.

I remarked a long time ago in another re-read post on the subject. My statement was based on the matter of degrees that really separate the damane concept from what many govenerments routinely do to ensure some level of control.

At that time I described some well-intentioned scientist trying to develop a low cost energy source. He has no political agenda, but simply wants to help mankind. Once he starts enriching uranium in his basement though, trust me the US government is going to actively take over the situation. Because having enriched uranium floating around is simply too great a risk.

Now on to specifics from other posters:

First, in regards to damane being “happy”. That’s a no. But it doesn’t mean they are actively trying to escape.

The native Seanchan damane are culturally conditioned from an early age and many would probably be predisposed to accepting their fate. Add the behavorial conditioning and in some cases full on torturing into submission and you will have a pretty cowed population. Pavlov . . .it's what's for dinner.

For a recent view look at the woman they saved a year or so ago. She had been kidnapped at age 11, and she was with her captor for 8 or 10 years even having two children.

That scumbag kidnapped, raped and impregnated her and she actually had many actual opportunities to escape. But so ingrained was her conditioning that she wasn’t able to do it.

No as to da’covale and so’jihn, their systems would eventually collapse once the damane structure is gone.

Can you possibly conceive of Aliva being willing to “own” another person? Or to watch someone being owned? I think we can bet that the Empire would be burned to the ground if slavery continued in any form.
Roger Powell
87. forkroot

Unless I missed it (and gently correct me if I'm wrong) not one Seanchan wishes for freedom aside from the newly collared damane (who aren't Seanchan-ese).
Welcome to the re-read chats! Happy to provide the requested gentle correction: In TGH, Chapter 45, Nynaeve frees a damane who immediately turns around and punches her sul'dam in the face.
88. Laotsekung
@ 5, and well as a commentary anyway. I like that Jordan never shied away from acknowledging that unjust systems function thanks to the banality of people's reaction to them. Evil is render not 'cool' but banal, and in many respects is just that. Most people don't do bad things because they are bad, they do them for pathetic reasons. The Changling, by, I think, Marlowe, I always thought was a good example of this, though I'm sure there's way better.

Thanks for the re-read Leigh - always a joy to read.

Anyways, that's my penny's worth!

89. chaplainchris1
@forkroot 87 -

playing devil's advocate (kinda almost literally), that was pretty early on in the occupation of Falme, and I always read that as being a newly collared damane from Randland, rather than a Seanchan native.
John Massey
90. subwoofer
Well, I see I wasn't very clear about not poking the bear... I have corrected that.*sigh*

@JL-:: headsmack:: what was I thinking?:)

@BiggMann- well, IIRC, tGS was a mighty big book. Smack your co-worker upside the head one time and tell them that there is more to follow unless they read the book. What in the hell would possess a person to plow through at least 11 books of 700+ pages and then just say- " hey, I'm good. I don't want to know how it ends." - Smack them at least once for me, and again for posterity. Geeze!

Frankly I always understood that in RJ's world Seanchan was America. Europe was Randland, and the slavery element was a reflection of how America had slaves to grow the American economy and industry. I don't think RJ wrote about it to condon it, quite the opposite in fact. Remember, back in the day in the good ol' USA folks were quite peaceful, law abiding, church going and all, then went home and told their slaves what to do. In their mind's eye, everything was wavy gravy. The slaves went along, because any uprising was put down with... death, severe beatings, floggings etc. Fear was the ruling element because slaves do not have rights. Didn't Morgase see some queen who had no channeling ability do all sorts of strange dances because her will had been broken? People don't treat each other that way. Not in my world. I feel that RJ was going to squash that at the end of the day, and part of Rand's "making the world a better place after he breaks it", was to fix what is wrong with Seanchan.

Sandy Brewer
91. ShaggyBella
There was even slavery A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Episode 1 - Anakin & his Mom were slaves and quite a bit of the movie dealt with it. The Jedi didn't seem too upset, but just accepted it, earning the boy's freedom with a wager.
Just thought I would throw another "culture" into the fray.
John Massey
92. subwoofer
@Shaggy, good point. Did the Jedi take a non- interference stance? Like the prime directive or whatever? At some point it does revolve around sovreignty. I may not agree with a given culture's way of doing things but I cannot enforce my belief system on them. It is up to that culture to find the way.

The States did come around. They did not have another country invade them and force them to change their ways. Granted, the did have a civil war.


And dang, I miss the spell check with firefox!- Irienee, Toree- help! Eye kant spill meye wai owt off a paipr baig.

Noneo Yourbusiness
93. Longtimefan
@85 thewindrose,

that is an interesting point.

I do not think it will happen because the series is rushing to a halt but it would be interesting to see Perrin travel with Luca's show becauase of how very different they are character wise.

Rand and Egwene are too busy at this point in the story. Their traveling days are over.
94. Isilel
Just wanted to pointed out that the fact that in our world slavery wasn't considered wrong until recently has no bearing on the WoT world.
Slavery was unknown in AoL - there is no historical tradition of it in WoT, unlike in the RL. It was only after opening the Bore that DFs began to own other people in various ways. Thus in WoT, slavery can be safely attributed to Evil influence with a capital E.
It is not a coincidence that half the world was held by the Shadow before the Breaking and half by the Light and that in half of the world at the end of the 3rd Age slavery is unknown, while in the other it is widely practiced. IMHO, YMMV.
95. CaitieCat
Anyone else intrigued by the number of people who seem to feel slavery really, really needs advocates?

As Arsenio said, "Things that make you go 'Hmmm.'"
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
CaitieCat @95 - I don't see it so much "advocating for slavery" as "advocating for cultural differences." No one would really say that slavery is a good thing, although there are certain arguments that it isn't necessarily always a horrible thing. The thing is, the Seanchan culture as a whole is very foreign to most of us; that in and of itself doesn't make it a bad culture. And from their historical perspective, many of its peculiarities are both reasonable and logical.

The fact that their "historical record" might have been tampered with, or that their ancestors may have been in Shadow territory, or whatever, doesn't detract from the fact that given the information they have, the culture has gone in certain understandable directions. To someone who has grown up in that culture, and whose parents, grandparents, etc. have grown up in it as well, anything else would seem bizarre. They don't have much "back in the good old days before they started..." storytelling available. Back in the days before they collared the female channelers, there was OP warfare going on anywhere and everywhere. (And no matter what anyone says, one woman wielding the OP can do a whole lot more damage than any one man, one squad, or even any one army.)

The point is, from a normal Seanchan perspective, their society is perfectly acceptable and normal, and it's the Randlanders that are strange and illogical. I would argue that even the presence of Seekers and Listeners is something that your average Joe Seanchan doesn't really worry about much, other than to avoid giving them any cause to notice him. Sort of like we don't worry about many of the intrusions into our lives - we post all sorts of info on facebook or twitter (for example), and if we ever think about the CIA looking at it, it's only to think that we've got nothing for them to notice.
Maiane Bakroeva
97. Isilel
Wetlandernw @96:

one woman wielding the OP can do a whole lot more damage than any one man, one squad, or even any one army.

Couldn't disagree more. From what we have seen, most channelers can be overcome by a a few dozens of soldiers and a talented general with an army at his disposal can be as dangerous and destructive as one of the strongest channelers with a sa'angreal. Compare and contrast Rand and Ituralde versus Seanchan. Also, again, The War of the Hundred Years.

Nor is it understandable why Seanchan would have slavery of normals, when they felt threatened by channelers.

I would argue that even the presence of Seekers and Listeners is something that your average Joe Seanchan doesn't really worry about much

On the contrary, I would argue that it is something that every Seanchan has to be aware of at all times and that they know very well that there are some thoughts that they can never ever afford to voice.
While it is true that we have only seen POVs of officers or equivalent, like Egeanin and various sul'dam, it is an ongoing concern for them - just as it was during Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe. "Simple" people ignored such precautions at their peril and could find themselves in camps very easily. See "One Day of Ivan Denisovitch" by Solzhenitsyn.

Finally, cultures can have evil aspects and practices, IMHO, and it is warranted to call them such.
Thomas Keith
98. insectoid
Free @60: Isn't it fun when authors throw us a curveball?

Sub @92: Between Firefox and Chrome, we're missing quite a few things. But you still manage to be hilarious. :)

Also: I agree that poking bears is a Bad Idea. ;)

Irene: ::waves:: I've been doing a little experiment with copy-and-pasted text into the new text box with different browsers, and this is what I have found:

• In Chrome, carriage returns get converted to single br tags (which don't work), along with an obnoxious number of div tags around the rest of the text that appear to serve no purpose. (Incidentally, I tried putting my own break tags in the pre-copied text, but they don't do anything either.)
• In Firefox, the same carriage returns are converted to double br tags (which also do not work), with no trace of div tags at all.
• In IE8, CRs are converted to either br tags or paragraph (p) tags, neither of which work any better than with the other browsers.

Aside from that... bbCode is translated just fine (though I haven't tried anything fancy like links or images yet). My apologies for my Wall-o-Analysis, but I had to get it off my chest.

Is it time to twitch yet?

Jonathan Levy
99. JonathanLevy
johntheirishmongol @73
If I'm not mistaken, the prophecies of the Dragon are compilations of foretellings after the breaking. If so, it's quite reasonable that a Damane in Seanchean would foretell something involving the Crystal Throne, whereas an Aes Sedai in Randland would foretell something about the unstained tower breaks, and bends knee to the forgotten sign. I don't think we should be too hasty in assuming that the Seanchean prophecies are forgeries just because they don't match what we know. It's quite possible that Rand will both kneel before the Crystal Throne and Bind the nine moons.

Paulw @ 76 (with whom I agree) and others
re pre-Consolidation Seanchan being shadow-run:

I'll grant you that Seanchan culture has all sorts of nasty aspects which it would be tempting to assign to the Dark One's influence. However, there is the matter of chronology which poses some problems.

The War of Power lasted about 10 years (this is from the guide: "During the resulting ten-year struggle, all the forgotten facets of war were rediscovered, in many cases twisted by the Dark"). This means that during the war, the Seanchan territories were occupied for at most 10 years. In fact, they were probably occupied for less - The strike on Shayol Ghul states that the Choedan Kal ter'angreal were created on the opposite side of the world from the sa'angreal (this has to be Seanchan), and the territories where they were being built were overrun near the end of the war, triggering Lews Therin's decision to act.
After the Breaking started, the Forsaken were trapped in Shayol Ghul, and the armies of the dark started fighting amongst themselves:
Deprived of their highest levels of leadership and with the loss of the Dark One’s influence, the remaining Shadowsworn fell into struggles for power. Of course the war continued, complete with armies of Trollocs and Myrddraal, but increasingly those armies turned against one another as often as against the forces of the Light. These divided forces were much more easily dealt with than the earlier Shadow armies, but they still were strong enough to prey on a civilization increasingly ravaged by the growing population of mad Aes Sedai

In addition, there's another quote worth noting from the guide:
Seanchan also shares the Blight, though it is less dangerous there, as Trollocs and Myrddraal were completely wiped out in this part of the world during the millennium after the Breaking

So we must now ask: How much time and power did the forces of the Shadow have to sufficiently affect Seanchan culture so as to leave imprints like slavery and Ravens after 3,000 years?

1) They had at most 10 years of direct occupation.
2) They presumably maintained some power during the breaking, but -
3) Over a period of 1,000 years they were opposed by a Civilization of the Light strong enough to wipe out all Trollocs and Myrddraal.
4) Another 1,000 years passed.
5) Arthur Hawkwing's armies arrived, and conquered the continent.
6) Another 1,000 years passed.

So to take the example of the sigil of the Raven - if this was used by the Darkfriends in stage (1), it had to be in continuous use during (2), and then, while the shadowspawn were wiped out in stage (3), the sigil had to pass to the conquerors somehow, survive another 1,000 years in stage (4), a period of internecine warfare (we learn this from Bethamin, I believe), and then be conquered by Hawkwing's armies, and be transfered to them.

It seems a bit far-fetched. Conquerors usually don't adopt the sigils of the defeated, and here it would have had to have happened twice. It's not impossible, of course, and it has happened in our world occasionally, but there are other equally likely explanations.

Ravens - the Tower of the Ravens might simply have gotten its name from Ravens feeding on corpses of executed prisoners. BTW, If you search for "Tower of Ravens" in Google Maps, it brings you to the tower of London.

Slavery - As others have pointed out, slavery is the default state of ancient civilizations. It is more necessary to explain the lack of slavery than its presence. Randland maintained a certain degree of cohesion after the breaking (Compact of 10 nations). If Seanchan didn't, that might be a sufficient explanation.

Alternately, Slavery can arise directly from an invasion, such as that of Hawkwing's armies. A real-world parallel for this would be the Spartans and the Helots. Of course, there are many real-world counter-examples (e.g. 1066).

I think other examples apart from the Ravens and Slavery were mentioned, and ought to be addressed, but I've forgotten them. Anyway, this post is getting too long, I'd better cut it short.
Birgit F
100. birgit
3) Over a period of 1,000 years they were opposed by a Civilization of the Light strong enough to wipe out all Trollocs and Myrddraal.

They could have wiped out each other in their fights among themselves.
Chris Chaplain
101. chaplainchris1
@ various - evil is evil, whether it is committed by one person or a group. This does not mean that evil practices like slavery cannot have developed in a logical and predictable fashion. It does not mean that all aspects of a society are evil, just because some aspects are, and that other aspects of that society are not good and admirable. Nor does it mean that the people of that society are more evil than the people of other societies.

Nevertheless, however admirable a society, or individuals thereof, may be in some respects, when it practices evils like slavery that should be called out and confronted.

And cultural sensitivity be damned, in that case. Slavery is, in and of itself, an imposition on the liberty and worth of others. As such, slavers forfeit some rights of liberty themselves, even as other criminals do. Seanchan culture does many wonderful things, but its acceptance of slavery is a great evil. Worse, Seanchan culture in general has no concept of cultural sensitivity - no concept that other ways of doing things may be right. Tuon has begun to move on this, in a small way, but she's yet to question slavery, despite ample reason to do so. And in general, the culture believes itself justified in whatever it does, and that it has a manifest destiny which justifies subjugating all individuals and cultures and imposing its beliefs on them.

In that case, the culture forfeits its right to determine its own path, because the path it has chosen brutalizes its own people and all other people they encounter.

I find it interesting that basically all Seanchan who've discovered that sul'dam can be held by a'dam have concealed that knowledge. They maintain that all marath'damane must be leashed - LEASHED - for the safety of everyone around them. Yet neither Suroth the Darkfriend, nor Bethamin the perfect sul'dam, nor Egeanin and Tuon, who are basically good and decent people, have publicized their knowledge. (Tuon's an interesting case - she claims that having the capacity to do evil doesn't make her evil, because she doesn't choose to be. Yet she denies others the opportunity to choose. THEY must be collared. Yes, I know her sophistry is based on the fact that she's not learned to channel, and it is channelers who must be leashed. But the Seanchan snatch up any woman who fails their tests. How would Tuon react if fed forkroot tea, I wonder?)

For the good of the Empire, supposedly, these people keep quiet. But I thought all marath'damane had to be leashed for the good of the Empire? Oh, but wait, there's this other tidbit - the power of the Empire is built on damane. And that's the real source of enslaving damane - it keeps the powerful in power. It gives the powerful a monopoly that no one can stand against, and makes sure (among other things) that no abolitionist movement could possibly gain ground, because those in power whose power is built on slavery would crush it.

And yes, some Seanchan slaves have power and privilege derived from their ownership by the powerful. But note that Egeanin at this point can hardly stomach the thought of marrying property, even former, freed property. This squeamishness, to me, demonstrates that for all their rationalizations and sophistry, any citizen of Seanchan has the capacity to recognize the fundamental wrong of slavery. For all the talk of the privilege of a soj'hin, no slave has the dignity or worth or *value* of a non-slave. The Seanchan do not view them as people, and supposedly nothing is wrong with this.

Yet most telling of all is that, for all slavery is supposedly fine, every Seanchan we've met reacts with horror to the idea of personally becoming a slave. It's only perfectly fine as long as it doesn't affect me. If it does affect me, it's horrific.

This is evil. So there! Phaw! Aren't there any darn cookies in this bunker??!??
Lucas Vollmer
102. aspeo
Ok this is all just theorizing and musing about Seanchan based on what I have been reading in the comments, so if you are not interested feel free to skip down because its fairly long.

When Luthair led Hawkwings armies to Seanchan, he might have been under the influence of Ishy who could have convinced him to take up a new sigil. Luthair might have been told that the raven was a powerful symbol from the time of the breaking that the people would see as a symbol of strength and fear. This way it wouldn't be taking things from a conquered cultures, but a powerful symbol from their past. It would be kind of like an army invading Italy in the 14th or 15th century and taking up the Roman eagle standard. Even though the society would be different than during the age of the Roman empire, the people (especially the more educated leaders) would probably remember this symbol of power that used to rule the known world. At the very least I think that it would bring some superstitious thoughts to the people that were seeing it and trying to fight the invading army. I think that if something like this had happened in Seanchan, then Luthair probably set up a lot of the current raven symbolism and naming that we see in the books, but YMMV.

As for the blight being less severe in Seanchan, I see this as mostly having to do with geography. Seanchan is a lot farther from Shayol Ghul than Randland, and so I would imagine that its influence is less there as well. I agree with Birgit@100 in thinking that the trollocs and myrdraals probably did as much to kill each other off as much as the light side humans did. Without a strong leader to force them into cohesion their natural violent tendancies probably led them to turn on each other.

I still think that the AS in Seanchan were probably at least tainted by the shadow based on their warring and the readiness of the AS (Deain) who made the a'dam just to curry favor and gain power with Luthair. If I follow my theory above about the invading Hawkwing army taking up the sigil of the raven (which I suppose I should :P) then something in the past had to give the raven its power and symbolism. If some of the defeated shadow channelers fled there after the war, they may have caused a lot of fighting and chaos under a banner of the raven until the lightside fighters were able to stop them. This could be the source of the possible legends that were told to Luthair, and the reason for using a symbol of dread to the people of that continent.
All of this fighting to stop these dreadlords could have led to becoming suspicious of fellow channelers. There was no way to know if they were on the side of the shadow, and this could have caused pre-emptive attacks that devolved into constant fighting and warring with each other until Luthair invaded and conquered them all. This could almost be reminiscent of Shadar Logoth where the people were on the side of the light, but in the course of the fight against the shadow they began using tactics of the shadow eventually bringing themselves to ruin. Obviously Seanchan didn't swing that far over, but there may have been similarities.

So that's pretty much my musing and I know there is very little to back it up, but I think it's plausible so hopefully no one will jump on me too hard for it :)
103. Paulw
They could have wiped out each other in their fights among themselves.

We've been told explicitly that they were wiped out by people who imported Seanchan beasties like the grolm from the portal worlds, haven't we?
104. BiggMann
forkroot @87,

I was under the impression that she was a newly collared damane, but maybe that was something my imagination added to the story. But thank you, I do remember that scene.

birgit @83,

That's why I made the distinction that the newly collared still wished for freedom.

RobMRobM @80,

I never said they were any of the slaves were happy, just that they seem to have just accepted their station in Seanchan society. But some have been completely brainwashed and are proud to be good damane or so'jihn, but that still doesn't make them happy either, just content.

Can you imagine that there is a difference between a first generation slave (damane), and one born into the institution (so'jihn), and their thoughts about/of freedom? I think so. Someone that had it once would recognize what they're missing. Random thought.

Also, I never thought on this before, but Rand can be more than reasonably sure that none of the damane or sul'dam are darkfriends, since the link produced by the a'dam may give them away. Unless of course both the damane and the sul'dam are darkfriends (unlikely). There is a powerful army he can trust.

JLevy @99,

Rand may have a fit of nausea from the OP and just be standing in front of the Crystal Throne, fall to one knee (fulfiling their prophecy), causing an Ashaman assassin to miss him with something short of balefire and destroys the Crystal Throne. The event somehow binds the two together.

Also, I see your quote, but I would've sworn that the War of Power lasted a little over 100 years. Maybe not. Besides there must have been a period of build-up time before war actually was declared. The Seanchan areas may have been one of those in "darkness" for years before the war started.

Much Love,
Jay Dauro
105. J.Dauro
As I remember Suroth thinks at one time about finding a darkfriend sul'dam for Liandrin. So apparently this does happen although it may not be common.
Tricia Irish
106. Tektonica
Chaplainchris@101: Bravo. Well said and indisputable. Thank you for taking the time to voice your view so clearly.
107. DevilsAdvocate
Ok... so a follow up to my original posting... I won't specifically reply to anyone's comment, though this is motivated by them.

Though I probably sounded like a cultural relativist, I'm not really. I believe in absolute truth and objective morality. Thanks to chaplainchris1@101! Just cause your culture does it, wrong is wrong. Holding people against their will is wrong.

Now you're probably asking... "then how does DevilsAdvocate say slavery is not necessarily (in the philosophical, technical sense) wrong?"

A couple of reasons (I like numbered lists of my thoughts):

1. I don't believe in inalienable rights, such as outlined in the American Bill of Rights or perhaps the United Nation's list of human rights, so slavery is not wrong because it encroaches on someone's freedom. For the same reason, I can't say that a government is wrong for not allowing free speech. Maybe it's not optimal and doesn't lead to happier people, but I don't think it's wrong, per se.

2. However, I do think that abuse of other humans is absolutely wrong (I won't argue why here). Therefore, the torture or physical abuse of damane or other Seanchan slaves is wrong and morally reprehensible. Period.


I can't see that slavery is wrong in two narrowly defined categories:

A) Prisoners of War and Criminals who are not tortured and abused (cf. Abu Ghraib). Examples: Suroth and Domon. I can hear cheering for Suroth and boos for Domon, but let's be realistic: he was fleeing the Seanchan and acting fishy.

B) As a voluntary "business" transaction. There is historical precedent in our world (and I think there are vague references in Randland for the Seanchan, but my memory could be completely making it up) for selling oneself into slavery to cover a massive debt or to care for family. If this is done amicably and the slave is treated with respect and dignity, why is this wrong? Feels a lot like the mortgage from my bank or my student loans...

All that to say: Seanchan slavery = bad.
108. up2stuff
Seems unlikely that a damane would be a DF unless she was one BEFORE she was leashed like Liandrin. A Damane cant move around b/c the adam wont let her, can't channel b/c the adam wont let her, and seems to alert Sul'dams to any kind of sneaky thoughts/emotions. Kind of an Event Log of the Damane.

The DO could probably delete any "records" of time gaps where the Damane was off the leash at a DF Social, but they could not likely follow any of their instructions so why bother.

A Sul'dam could possibly be a DF, as they would not face those restrictions on movement and have access to Saidar one way or another, but even that would be cumbersome.

Also, if I remember, there are lots more Sul'dams...Suldam? (What's the plural) than Damane and they have to get them on rotation or sign them in and out or something.

Course, maybe they are just not approached for assignments needing that or are told, "Your mission Mr. Phelps, and you BETTER freakin' accept, is to (fill in the blank) by any means necessary" whether they can Channel or not.

I GUESS the Suldam could take a Damane, go to a 13 x 13 DF party and get her Damane "customized".
Tricia Irish
109. Tektonica
General question re: Tor.com

Even though I always check the "keep me logged in" square on the log in tab on the main page, it now kicks me out in a few minutes of idleness, or sleep. It used to keep me logged in until I shut down. I have to sign in repeatedly all day now. Ug.

Is anyone else having this problem or is it my computer?
Hugh Arai
110. HArai
Couldn't disagree more. From what we have seen, most channelers can be overcome by a a few dozens of soldiers and a talented general with an army at his disposal can be as dangerous and destructive as one of the strongest channelers with a sa'angreal. Compare and contrast Rand and Ituralde versus Seanchan. Also, again, The War of the Hundred Years.

What we've seen is a sample of channelers limited by either binding Oaths or personal integrity and hampered by a lack of knowledge.
Eldrene burned a stone city out of existence as a side effect of destroying the armies that defeated Aemon. Lews Therin created the world's biggest mountain as a side effect of committing suicide. One of the Hundred companions turned a city to a sheet of glass after falling to the Taint.

Rand came very close to balefiring Ebou Dar. He didn't because he stopped himself, not because he couldn't have done it. There's no indication that any general or conventional army in the War of the Hundred Years could act on that scale. Ituralde is a master general who inflicted quite a bit of damage, but he was already at the end of his rope when he accepted Rand's offer. He couldn't stand against channelers except by trickery and he was running out of tricks.

Nor is it understandable why Seanchan would have slavery of normals, when they felt threatened by channelers.

What's so hard to understand? Once you allow one group of people to be singled out and enslaved, every other group is at risk of the same thing.
111. alreadymadwiththejedi
subwoofer @92
Probably more to do with priorities. The plight of slaves was not really that big of an issue compared to their responsibilities to Naboo and its queen. And these slaves weren't particularly abused to begin with. At the end of the day a Jedi or two can only do so much.

up2stuff @108
What's the point getting a DF damane? They don't have free will.
Karen Jacobs
112. KJacobs
Tek @ 109: Yes - I've been having the same problem, but I thought it was just me :)
Tricia Irish
113. Tektonica
KJacobs@112: Thanks! I was beginning to take it personally.


Let us stay logged in!
James Jones
114. jamesedjones
108 up2stuff
I GUESS the Suldam could take a Damane, go to a 13 x 13 DF party and get her Damane "customized".

ROFL. Your new 13x13 upgrade is ready. Please stop by our office at 101 Shayol Ghul Rd during normal business hours to complete your transaction. Also, you have been selected to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. Your feedback is appreciated. Now, do it or be thrown to the Fades. Have a nice day!
Lucas Vollmer
115. aspeo
I don't know if it matters, but I use firefox as my browser and pretty much always stay logged in.
Tricia Irish
116. Tektonica
Thanks Aspeo@115. I'll try firefox. Safari has always been fine until this past week or so. Something with this new post box, I suspect. ummmmmm.......it happened about that same time.....
Daniel Goss
117. Beren
Shayol Ghul Customer Service
re: Recent upgrade.

To whom it may concern,
I would like to register a complaint. I recently brought in my damane to have her brought into FOTD compliance. However, I have not noticed any significant increase in performance since getting her back. She still loves puppies, and cries when I strangle them in front of her. She absolutely refuses to learn how to adopt a proper evil-lackey attitude. Furthermore, when I casually mentioned my praises for the GLOTD she became distraught and had to be . . . lets call it 'sedated.' I respectfully ask whether the upgrade was actually performed, and if it was you should probably examine your methods. I am extremely dissatisfied, and await your response with a resolution to this matter.

Merisia, DerSul'Dam
118. Shayol Ghul Customer Svc
re. Recent upgrade
Thank you for writing to us. This email is to acknowledge receipt of your communication. A customer service representative will reply to you within the current turn of the Wheel. In the meantime, we suggest that you turn off your damane, wait 5 minutes and then re-boot her. You should experience an immediate increase in performance. YMMV.

Let the Lord of Chaos Rule!
Shayol Ghul Customer Service
Daniel Goss
119. Beren
Shayol Ghul Customer Service
re: reboot

Per your instructions, I deactivated my damane for five minutes, then attempted to reboot. Unsurprisingly, I am now unable to get any response from my damane at all. While this is certainly preferable to the incessant whining, crying and attempting to escape, the unit was certainly very valuable and has now been rendered completely useless. I would like to request an immediate replacement as compensation for this truly terrible customer service.

Your very annoyed customer,
Merisia, DerSulDam
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
Tek @109/116: Interesting... What OS and browser are you using? ::keeps reading:: Safari? Hmm... I use Google Chrome under Windows and have never had that particular problem. Maybe the new Tordot doesn't like Macs? (Incidentally, I did a little experiment (see comment 98) and didn't try it in Safari—I'll have to do that.)

JEJ @114, Beren @117, et al: BAHAHAhahaha... ::falls out of chair laughing:: Ow.

Irene Gallo
121. Irene
tektonica -- not only is it not just you, it drives us all mad. It's been a glitch sice day-one and it's a pain in the butt. I'll bring it up on the fix-list. We're starting to make a lot of changes on the site - it's a good time to re-double efforts on a few left-over issues.
Thomas Keith
122. insectoid
(Copy-and-paste experiment, cont'd)

• In Safari, pasted text behaves just like in Google Chrome (see comment 98). Haven't used Safari long enough to see the login timeout bug for myself, though. ::waves at Irene::

Irene Gallo
123. Irene
Watch out, Insectoid, we may ask you to QA the next round of upgrades, ;-)

(All points copied and sent to the developer.)
Irene Gallo
124. Irene
Watch out, Insectoid, we may ask you to QA the next round of upgrades, ;-)

(All points copied and sent to the developer.)
Melissa Shumake
125. cherie_2137
thanks so much for the barenaked ladies reference. aside from that the re-read posts always make me smile, this one made me smile more than normal. =)
126. alreadymadwithdoubleposts
Irene @123, 124
Looks like a double post bug.
Tess Laird
127. thewindrose
Like the customer service bit going on!
Have any of you checked out the "secret" on BwS's web site? I was thinking it was going to be like a line or two, however it looks to be quite long.
Longtimefan - Whoops I forgot Aviendha on the list of main characters that haven't been with the circus;) See the wild Aiel woman as she makes Valan and Latelle gai'shain.
Watch the huge blacksmith talk to wolves. Rand will be part of the carnies - his game will be - is LTT real or not:) Egwene will just take charge of the circus, and be the best evar!

128. Shayol Ghul customer svc
Re: re-boot
We have processed your request and have determined you are eligible for a new model. Please e-mail us your physical address. We will have our customer service manager stop by there personally with your new model. For expediency sake please have some blood and saliva(your own) ready when He gets there.
Do not worry about his appearance, he is a good man.
Thomas Keith
129. insectoid
Irene @123/124: Oooh... I'd better be careful. :) Thanks!

Daniel Goss
130. Beren
Shayol Ghul Customer Service Supervisor
Re: What have you done?

I need to file a complaint against the rep that was handling my case previously. I made a perfectly reasonable request for something that should be my due as a card-carrying FOTD, and now I have no damane, no name, a silver necklace I'd just as soon do without, and some maniac keeps touching my soul! What are you people, evil? Your repair tech was so unkempt that I accidentally channeled when he opened the door! The next think I know, he's dragging me down this mountain path and scraping pieces off of my tongue, suddenly I was back home with a sul'dam fitting me for a collar! If this is how you treat your loyal customers, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask to be let out of my contract. And cour'souvra. And collar. Please. Please please please please please let this nightmare end, I swear I won't tell anyone anything about the botched endarkening, just let me out. I can channel now! I bet I'd make a valuable addition to the Dreadlords! For the love of the dark, just let me go, please!!

Suki, the Good Damane
Seandar kennels (I think)
Roger Powell
131. forkroot
Beren@130 (and earlier)
STOP IT! You are going to get me in trouble - I'm supposed to be working here, and people keep looking at me when I burst out laughing.
Tricia Irish
132. Tektonica
Irene@121: Thank you so much for attempting to squash this bug, problem. There's currently no way to do a quickie check in. Safari used to be just aces.

Insectoid: I do appreciate your diligent testing on my and other Mac users behalf!

Beren: You are a riot! Thanks for the entertainment.
Karen Fox
133. thepupxpert
Tek@ 109 - that happened to me a couple of times but not for a few weeks now. {edit to correct Tek's name!} and also I use IE8.
From: the office of Nae'blis

To: the office of the DarkOnes avatar

RE: Cour'souvra

Dear Shaidar Haran,

I was absolutely thrilled when you handed me Lanfear, er Cyndane. As you know she had been a real pain. I was also happy to add the Spider to my collection. They are both fine specimens of subservience and love it when I stroke their Cour'souvra's. However, this latest edition leaves something to be desired. I have no problem being in charge, but when you leave me drek like this to work with, I find it hard to end time. As Nae'blis I think that the CEO would like you to find better qualified candidates for the Cour'souvra.


Moridin, formerly Ishmael, Ba'alzamon, Betrayer of Hope.
Bonnie Andrews
135. misfortuona
As if the AWWW inspiring puppies, and kittens, and bears (Oh My) weren't enough. Now thanks to Beren, and friends in red, I'm incapable of continuing to work due to the fact that I can no longer stand.
Thank you

Mis-rolling on the floor

**Waves to Tek. Thanks for the visit this morning Sister**
136. Barid Bel Medar
From: ?Encrypted?
To: Elan Morin
Re: Overuse of Nae'blis Privileges


I've had enough. Your yanking the title of Nae'blis away from me was one thing(First Lews Therin steals my titles, now you? Thanks pal). Then you received custody of Crazy-in-Love and Spider, respectively. I'll let you have those, since I wouldn't want to have to babysit them anyways. Graendal is - er, was - more my style. But now my inbox is spammed with SG service requests. Enough is enough. Do your own light-cursed work and stop forwarding to me. Every email you send, better chance someone will hack it and discover my current location. Which is NOT in Shara(thanks for that misinformation campaign, by the way). Anyways, ONE MORE EMAIL from the tech department and I may just do the Dragon's job for him. And I'll do better than one stinking mountain.

Gotta run - the Shadow calls.

Go Dark,

137. MasterAlThor
I can't believe what I am reading here. Please tell me I am just misunderstanding some of you guys position. I will adress each of the comments I am refering to.

Longtimefan your up first.

What Americans have as "rights" are really fantastic gifts from the government (of the people) to the people.

You are a reasonably educated person. I have read several of your post and found that you have an keen intellect. How in the great blue heavens can you say that these are gifts from the government? The Bill of Rights are a list of things that the government cannot do to its citizens. Our founding documents were based of the laws of Moses in Dueteronomy. These are God given rights that all men have. Just cause some powdered wig wrote them down on a piece of parchment doesnt make them gifts from the government.

Maybe I am not understanding your point here. Could you explain it again, slowly, just for me. I may be that stupid.


And from their historical perspective, many of its peculiarities are both reasonable and logical.

Ok I had to go back and read yours twice and once more just to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. You do realize that when slavery was the norm that just about everyone thought it was both reasonable and logical. I won't bore you with the history lesson as I am sure that you know it.

It wasn't only the US that had slaves it was all of the British colonies. The Brits just beat us to the punch. Even then it did not lead to equality. But that is not what we are talking about here.


Very good


You are a complex person my friend.

1. I don't believe in inalienable rights, such as outlined in the American Bill of Rights or perhaps the United Nation's list of human rights, so slavery is not wrong because it encroaches on someone's freedom. For the same reason, I can't say that a government is wrong for not allowing free speech. Maybe it's not optimal and doesn't lead to happier people, but I don't think it's wrong, per se.

2 However, I do think that abuse of other humans is absolutely wrong (I won't argue why here). Therefore, the torture or physical abuse of damane or other Seanchan slaves is wrong and morally reprehensible. Period.

Therefore...I can't see that slavery is wrong in two narrowly defined categories:

A. Prisoners of War and Criminals who are not tortured and abused (cf. Abu Ghraib). Examples: Suroth and Domon. I can hear cheering for Suroth and boos for Domon, but let's be realistic: he was fleeing the Seanchan and acting fishy.

B. As a voluntary "business" transaction. There is historical precedent in our world (and I think there are vague references in Randland for the Seanchan, but my memory could be completely making it up) for selling oneself into slavery to cover a massive debt or to care for family. If this is done amicably and the slave is treated with respect and dignity, why is this wrong? Feels a lot like the mortgage from my bank or my student loans...

You have two thoughts here that don't go together...and I don't mean like a peanutbutter and chocolate thing. You say on one hand that the abuse of humans is wrong yet you also say that slavery is acceptable in certain conditions. I think you have indentured servitude and slavery mixed up.

If you are an indentured servant, you probably have a debt to pay and could not pay it at the time the debt came due. So you are indebtted to the person you owe. Slavery is the outright owning of another human being.

Owning another human is an abuse. It robs them of their ability to make their own decision for their own benefit.

Ok so you don't believe in inalienable rights. Is that because you don't believe in a Creator or Mother Nature? Or do you not live in the United States or other similar countries that recognized that it's populace needs to be treated with some respect?

Governments that make the people fear them are essentially tyrranical. You want examples? China, N. Korea, Iran....go as the average N. Korean how he feels about his government granted freedoms.

Our government used to fear the people, which is how our founders intended it to be. We (US citizens) take that for granted.


One more thing. You don't need the Federal Government to reconize your relationship. You just need the State of Oregon to recognize it. Since that is where you live. If you were to move to another state, then you would need that state to recognize it.

Yes it would be easier for the Fed to make a Federal Law. But technically the Fed doesnt' have the power to regulate that. So, that is why you just need your state to recognize it.

TO: Barid Bel Medar

FROM: Nae'blis office

RE: overuse of your miniscule abilities

Demandred, I know that the Vacuole you live in with your toy soldier army that has never lost has lent you a sense of superiority, but keep in mind we only keep you around cause you make the Dark One laugh. Try not to take this the wrong way, but if I ever decide to join team light I will leave you in charge as Nae'blis.

Yours sincerely,

P.S. If you ever make it up for the office party, bring your chicken suit
Chris Chaplain
139. chaplainchris1
Beren/Shayol Ghul -

ow. My sides hurt. Thanks - I really needed a laugh today, and that was about 20 minutes of continuous laughing.

(I'm...pleased?...to see my initial instinct validated, though. My first thought on seeing the initial complaint was "really? You're sending a complaint to Shayol Ghul? Have you even *met* the GLOTD Dark One?")
Chris Chaplain
140. chaplainchris1
I can't help it..."what are you people, evil?" ...I can't breathe. Literally, I'm coughing from all the ROTFLALALALALAL....

Edit to add: STOP IT 136! Crazy-in-love? In-box spammed by SGCS? Go Dark? Heh heh heh heh heh *snicker, snort, cough, rotf some more*

Oh, there's the capslock button. Anyway, have to get back to work. This wheel ain't gonna break itself.



Daniel Goss
143. Beren
To whoever is(are?) doing the reds (I did the Dark One but none of the others) I applaud you. Really, really funny stuff. I was getting odd looks from my co-workers and I was having a difficult time talking to my customers.

To those who read mine and enjoyed them and replied: Thank you! :) I was laughing as I wrote them, and I'm always happy to help lighten the mood in here.
Sam Mickel
144. Samadai
Beren, I was the second customer service rep , thedarkones office and the creator.
thank you for giving me some good material to work with
Tricia Irish
145. Tektonica
Beren, Second Service Rep, DarkOne's office, and Creator, etal:

Thank you for a most entertaining afternoon! A touch of comic relief from our serious discussion!

Very very funny.....and I know who you are!

Edit: ah, you beat me! Very good you guys!!
Kate Collura
146. dreamwalker
Wow! Glad I checked back in - DARK ONE, CREATOR, customer service, et al - hilarious! Thanks for the entertainment.


Also, chaplainchris1@101 - Great post, well said!

And since there were a few more mentions of how the Seanchan system of leashing channelers has (or did have initially) some logic to it, I'll just add one more logic fail I see with this arrangement. Those who can channel are so dangerous that they cannot be trusted to decide for themselves when/if to use the power as a weapon, BUT we can trust these other people (sul'dam) to decide when the power should be used as a weapon? Given that sul'dam have the power to torture damane into doing what they want, they basically have full control over a weapon that is no less destructive just because it is leashed. They have basically just handed power to destroy from one group of people to another group of people with no greater morals or any other quality that makes them more suitable for the responsibility.

Now that that's off my chest, what's next in the DO's inbox? :D
Thomas Keith
147. insectoid
Beren, Samadai, etc.: You guys are a riot. My family thinks I'm going nuts. xD

It's beginning to resemble some of those old mega-threads... Fortunately, I have a working Sideways-o-Meter in the bunker! ;)

148. whatkj
I've always thought that RJ was thinking of the Orient when he made Seanchan -- major bureaucracy (ancient China was famous for this and can't think of any other ancient civilization in the same league for amount of paperwork), numbering of the officials (First Hand, Second, etc) and lots of exotic beasts unknown to Randland (even the myths of oriental dragons are different from western dragons -- protectors vs the eaters of maidens).
Sandy Brewer
149. ShaggyBella
Thanks for the chuckles today.
I just preordered the Gathering Storm for Kindle available 9-28-10. I am experimenting with the the PC versions of Sony eReader and Kindle for PC. For me the eReader is a little harder to navigate. One page does not quite fit my screen, and I have to use the mouse for the last 4 lines, where it is too easy to skip to the next page. Neither program lets you copy text, only highlight it. But downloaded books are lighter and easier to store. does anyone else use the eBooks. Also the covers are awsome!
James Hogan
150. Sonofthunder
Alright, so if we're 'fessing up...I was Demandred. Good stuff, y'all!!!
151. Moiraine Aes Sedai
TO: The Creator
RE: Information Leaks

Sir, can you please inform All Parties that we need a wall-to-wall lock-down on email traffic immediately. As I am sure you are aware, I am currently in the world of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. Presently, I am quickly coming to the conclusion that these creatures are planning a hostile take over of the Pattern. They are hacking all email traffic. They have placed tracking devices in all angreal, sa'angreal and ter'angreal, along with various other items, leaving their world. Also, they seem to have hidden cameras among key personnel, namely Rand al'Thor and Matrim Cauthon.

This is a crafty corporation. While they offer honey with their “gifts” and “answers”, the hook seems to be complete observation. That being said, they seem take physical pleasure from the information they gather, but I can think of no reason to gather all this data than complete occupation of what I'll call (in 'Netspeak, since you never thought to give it a name) Randland.

I know you have a hands-off approach to business relations. But the A&E are anything but hands-off. I'm starting to get nervous. Please, send my concerns to all.

Your's in the Light,


P.S. Happy to say, Lanfear was forced to leave her ter'angreal behind when she foolishly wished herself away from this world. Though I did hear the A&E muttering about the loss of the dramedy....

What's one more among friends.
Noneo Yourbusiness
152. Longtimefan
not to be a party pooper but this is not a comedy email from Team Dark. Skip away!

@ 137 MasterAlThor,

I apologize for not being clear. I was not saying that the government, or any government invented the opportunities that the people under their dominion enjoy. They chose to enforce them or not enforce them.

It is what a group choses to recognize or not recognize that makes a society able to enjoy their "rights".

The State of Oregon did chose to recognize relationships between consenting adults without regard to gender. Within 3 weeks it was contested because it was made by elected officials for their constiuency not by popular vote.

Guess what. The people voted and by a narrow margin decided that 10 percent of the population did not need to be recognized in the same way that the rest were.

Generally the behavior on both sides was not the most rational.

On a more historical note, in 1923 the State of Oregon barred Asian immigrants from becoming citizens or owning land. They had previously been able to take the pledge of citizenship and buy land even as non citizens before this but anti-alien sentiments rose in the population and the voters changed the rights that are inalienable.

In 1949 the State of Oregon decided the pratice violated the 14th amendment and repealed the restrictions.

So for 26 years there were no "rights" for certain people based on what society chose to give them. They were still people. They still had "God given rights" but there were people enforcing a different code keeping those rights from them.

Society offers opportunites. It is hoped for that those opportunites allow people to excersice their freedoms without taking away from other people. This is not always possible.

I do not know if this is getting any clearer or if I am just making less sense.

Basically people are awesome and when they try to control eachother over certain things it makes more work for everyone.

I still am against slavery, also killing sprees and forced sexual attentions but who isn't?

This is not an open question. If someone has an answer please refrain from commenting. There are certain things the internet can make people aware of on their own.

Geez I am a drag. :(

I hope someone funny comes along and makes with the wacky!
153. up2stuff
alreadymad @ 111,
that was the point of what I was saying to J.Duaro @ 105.
Ron Garrison
154. Man-0-Manetheran
Beren: First Customer Service reply here. ::raises hand::
I could not help myself. You set it up perfectly. Thanks.
Who knew how it would all grow into major belly laughs. Thanks to all who kept the ball in the air.

Tai'Shar Manetheren
Heidi Byrd
155. sweetlilflower
Y'all are just too funny! Exactly what I needed after standing in line for almost 4 hours, with my two-year old son, to pick up my Dragon*Con badge. Interestingly enough, this will be his 4th *Con, if you count in utero.

On the slavery issue, it is wrong for one very good reason. All of my fellow Pratchett fans will recognize Granny Weatherwax in the following sentence: The root of all sin comes from treating a person as an object. Can't remember which book that is from, but it has always stuck with me. A person is a person, not a thing. That is a bottom line axiom of existence. All other rights, priviledges, and freedoms are based on this tenent, it is not the other way around.

Well, I'm off to bed b/c for the next three days I get to channel my inner geek :) and I need to be well-rested.
Joseph Blaidd
156. SteelBlaidd
Carpe Jugulum

Longtimefan has a good point. Rights only exist insofar as the government is willing ot enforce them.

Thanks for all the good wishes.
Alice Arneson
157. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @137 - Not sure how I can clarify that any more. As you quoted, I said that from their historical perspective, many of the Seanchan culture's peculiarities are both reasonable and logical. That doesn't say that I think they are right in the context of absolute good and evil, only that the development of the culture followed lines that fit with human nature and the (limited) information available to the people who eventually became the Seanchan Empire we all know and love. (Or not.) I won't get into the theological discussions, nor the American history situation. Nor any RL situations, since none of them are actually parallel to the Seanchan history. I'm only saying that if you can climb inside their heads and consider the information they had to work with, their cultural development makes a certain amount of sense. Nothing to do with Good and Evil or Right and Wrong, just that it's understandable.

Isilel @97 - I stand by my statement that one woman wielding the OP can do far more damage than any one (non-channeling) man or squad; a particularly malevolent army of sufficient size could probably just about match that one woman for destructive potential.

Consider: one man, armed with sword, quarterstaff, axe, bow, knives (and a suitable aide to help carry the weapons he's not using at the moment) can still only do damage to one or two other men at one time. Maybe three or four, or even five, if he's really good, but the more opponents he faces, the greater his risk of being injured and subsequently killed. In terms of causing damage to the countryside and the peasantry, he might do some burning of homes or villages if the conditions were right, but he can only reach so far. At most, a fire arrow could spread flames a few hundred yards away.

A band of (non-channeling) men, armed as you like, can still only move as fast as their horses can carry them, with an additional range of a few hundred yards if they have bows and know how to use them. Left on their own, they could wreak havoc, but we're talking about warfare. In general, they can only take on a force roughly equal to themselves. In addition, if this group of men is larger than a few dozen, they will require supplies and their speed will be limited by their supply train. The countryside and peasantry might suffer some damage due to livestock killed or taken, crops trampled or taken, or (if they were vicious about it) burned just to be obnoxious.

Now consider a channeling woman. In this case, "what we have seen" of the Aes Sedai of the White Tower is not a relevant limitation. Consider a woman who knows what warfare is about, has enough retainers to give her some mundane protection (keep anyone from sneaking up close enough to stick a knife in her), knows multiple effective ways to cause damage with the OP, and has no compunction about killing. Even Moiraine, with only Lan and three inexperienced farmboys to help, managed to fight off a bunch of Trollocs. My hypothetical channeler could not only throw fireballs and make the earth roll a bit. She could send sheets of fire, drop the earth out from under the opposing troops, make deathgates and on and on. HArai gave a few good examples.

Pit two of these women against each other, and they could cause massive havoc in the countryside without being particularly vicious about it (i.e. not intentionally cruel to the peasantry). By the time you rip up the earth, burn everything between you and her, slash lightning all over the place and throw in a little gale-force wind just for the fun of it, you've got something near scorched earth just between the two.

I'm not talking about the things Egwene and Aviendha can think up on their own, or what Moiraine has learned in 20 years of searching for the DR and picking up oddments in the process, or even things Rand can pull out of his LTT-memories without understanding. I'm talking about women who have spent years training for warfare, who don't really care about the "little people" who might get in the way. One really strong woman who doesn't care how many soldiers she kills if she can just kill off the other channeler could cause devastation far beyond the range of a bow, and could kill large numbers of men at one time rather than being limited (like the typical soldier) to one man at a time. Combine that with the fact that neither the soldiers nor the peasantry have any real defense against the OP, and you have a situation where the ones wielding the OP would be far more feared and distrusted than the relatively simple soldiers with their swords and bows.

On another subject, I have never lived in a country where suddenly all the things you used to think were forbidden and you had to be careful not to say things that could be construed as treason; this is a fact for which I am profoundly grateful. However, we are not talking about a sudden change for Joe Seanchan; he's grown up with Listeners and Seekers for generations, and he's used to the things you can and can't say or do. Sure, if he gets strange ideas and is careless where he speaks, he'll look over his shoulder to see who's listening. Generally, though, he wouldn't be in the habit of saying or even thinking things that would get him in trouble, because he has never seen any value in such things.

For the Ebou Dari, this is a sudden, new, and very strange thing, and they'd all be looking over their shoulders all the time, because half the time they don't even know what things are right or wrong to say. For those of the Blood, yes, it would require constant vigilance; for those newly raised to the Blood, like Egeanin, it would be particularly important to be careful because they would be quite aware that what has been given can just as easily be taken away.

I just think that for those who have spent generations in a situation like this, an appropriate level of caution would be so second nature that it would be almost a non-issue. Most average citizens would have neither cause nor desire to do anything treasonous, so they wouldn't have to be terribly careful other than to make sure their joking isn't in such bad taste as to be misconstrued. For the odd one who has decided something is wrong and would like to change things, the Listeners/Seekers would be a cause for deadly fear. Otherwise, all he has to do is go along like he and his family have done for hundreds of years. My point is that things like the Stalinist regimes were relatively sudden changes, and people had to learn very quickly to guard their speech even in the company of "friends." It's not the same as having grown up in it for so many generations that even your parents don't remember stories of "back when we were free to think differently."

As far as "calling it evil" - by all means do so. I find it much more interesting to move beyond arguing that it's evil to figure out why reasonably good people can so easily live with it and not see a problem. Or, if you like, whether it was reasonable of RJ to write reasonably good people who could live with it and not see a problem. I personally have concluded that the culture he has created in Seanchan is "valid" from the standpoint of "given this history and (dis)information, the culture could understandably have developed in this way."
Valentin M
158. ValMar
Longtimefan @ 152
Thanks for putting us back on planet Earth. Or maybe not. Utopia is nicer and hopefully one day we will get there with all the rights and everybody being respectful to everyone else.
Wetlander @ 157
I agree with your post. Just to add re: the Seekers and Listeners comparisons with behind the Iron Curtain regimes. Whilst comparable, I am certain it was worst for us, than for the Seanchan. There are number of reasons why I believe this. They include the efficiency, raison d'etre of the orgs, the motivation of their personel.

Also, people always had to be careful what they said. A peasant calling the local lord a "bastard", or a shopkeeper wondering outloud whether these Cathars/Bogomils where right. I.e. anything that could compromise the social order was rooted out ruthlessly by the authorities not so long ago.
Tricia Irish
159. Tektonica
Perfect for you....I should've known. LOL.

Wetlander, well said. It's so nice that we can have such civilized discussion about a very volatile and guilt ridden subject. The discussion is certainly topical in today's world, contributes to our understanding of our own views, and others....but it is not RL in the books. The books are fiction, and are logical in the evolution of Seanchan. It still makes my stomach turn.
James Jones
160. jamesedjones
154 Man-0-Manetheran

Re 118: Thank you for the brilliant customer service reply. The suggestion to "re-boot your damane" actually caused me to burst out laughing in the middle of the office. Priceless.
James Jones
161. jamesedjones
The YMMV at the end had the search narrowed down to about 5-6 folks. But, as Tek said, should have known. lol
Abdel Masdoua
162. TheDarkOne
Just finished reading all the " customer service reply thingy" that's been going on, and I gotta say I REALLY was Rolling on the Floor Laughing!
You guys are just non-stop. Made my day!
Alice Arneson
163. Wetlandernw
Tektonica @159 "It still makes my stomach turn." As it should! I've never said it was right, only that it was understandable when you consider human nature.
164. MasterAlThor

Basically people are awesome and when they try to control eachother over certain things it makes more work for everyone.

Amen, and you couldn't have made that any clearer. Good luck with getting your rights.


I agree with you that it makes sense for them. That is what you are saying right? But in terms of good, bad or indifferent, it has to fall under bad. Just because they thought that it was necessary desn't make it the right or best decision. Clearly you can agree with that, right?

Rob Munnelly
165. RobMRobM
MAT - I'll answer for Wet: bad in real life, understandable from Seanchan perspective in context of story. Overall point is that Seanchan are not incapable of humanity or change, as we will see in last two volumes of story.
Alice Arneson
166. Wetlandernw
MasterAlThor @164 - see my comment to Tektonica @163. And yes, RobM @165 is correct.
167. Paulw
I agree with you that it makes sense for them. That is what you are saying right?

It only makes sense if they don't think about it in the least. How is a damane that can blow up a city on a whim any different in principle than a sul'dam that can force a damane to blow up a city at her own whim? In either case it is rule of law and fear of repercussions that stays their hand, not whether they are leashed or not.
168. Freelancer
Governments do not, and cannot, grant rights. This will seem only a semantical argument to some, but it is the truth. Governments can choose to recognize rights, or not; they can grant privileges, or not; but they can neither create, nor eliminate, rights.

The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution to not confer nor bestow rights, they identify them. And they do so by restricting government from attempting to infringe upon those rights.

Every person on Earth has those rights. Wherever you are, you possess the right of free speech. A tyrannical government may choose unjustly to harm you for your expression of free speech, by denying you other liberties or privileges, but in truth they are not revoking the right, only making it painful for you to apply. The final pain threatened is always execution, and the tyrannical government always strains to restrict rights through abuse of this threat. And always, there are people of valor who choose to ignore the threat and apply their rights, who stand as examples to the rest of the world that the right comes not from government.

Any law made by a human government which purports to create or extend a right is a farce, for it is capable of neither. The most benevolent thing a government may do in regards to rights is to stay out of the way. A few exceptionally wise men, under impetus provided by several other exceptionally wise men, chose to do so for the first time in human history, and it remains the best example available anywhere.

They were not perfect men, they were not operating in a perfect time, and so the application of their exceptional efforts fell short of perfection. Yet it remains the best example available anywhere.
169. Samhaine
Some good stuff. I think one thing that is being missed here is that while related, slavery of the common man and the plight of damane are totaly diffrent.

I tend to see the slavery in Seanchan society as a sort of cast reincarnation system. Something to be found in India or Japan. You may suffer from this plight now but your children won't / your reborn soul won't. Not sure there is enough information to be definative here but most of the time you hear about people being "sold" into slavery its for some transgretion. Not saying this makes it right, just how it is setup. Thisis totaly diffrent than the damane situation.

There are a few things that have not been said here right out as well. Once the empire was founded there was no way to put the three oaths into play. Any one who had taken them prior to the launch had the oaths, any born after not so much. This changes things from the norm of Randland. We do see wise ones and windfinders get past this issue but thats in what were really closed cultures for an extended time. Not at all the same as central randland. There is a huge diffrence between rotating Sul'dam and a lose chaneler as well. The proces of selection is slightly diffrent as is the aplication. More Sul'dam then damane makes plots bigger inorder to pull off. as well as a more stringent veting system. They can tell shady Sul'dam aplicants to take a hike. Not so with a damane.

Not saying its a "nice" society but I easly see where it formed a lot of its pratices from. Would it be a better or worse socitety if it just killed all woman it found could channel out of hand soon as they were found. Mainland Randland has been doing that for years with no real outcry. If those men could be "controled and there was a positve use for socitey found for them could you not see a male damane situation crop up in Andor or elsewhere, its more humane than killing them after all...
170. MasterAlThor



On another site I saw someone using your name....i thought it was you but then I continued to read what the person was saying and realized that that couldn't be you.

Just so you know someone is out there impersonationg you.

And well said, that is why you are a guru my friend. I bow to your eloquence.

Karen Fox
171. thepupxpert
ALL - some very laugh out loud stuff and some very somber stuff, this has been a great post. Thanks for the entertainment, I just sat back and tried not to be too obvious with my snickers and snorts at work.
Lucas Vollmer
172. aspeo
I agree with what you said.

As far as my thoughts on slavery go, I obviously don't like it, and consider a terrible thing to happen in our world.

However, when I am reading about in the books I have a hard time getting worked up about it. It's a work of fiction that uses some real world elements from our past history. I hope the story moves to the point where damane are set free, and will gladly root for it when it happens.

It's not like all the characters in the WOT think slavery is ok. Pretty much everyone on randland is against it, especially our main characters (former damane Egwene most especially!!). The only society we see that uses slavery is Seanchan. It is a part of their culture that was given to them by RJ. It seems like they are being set up for a major shift in their worldview as the story is wrapping up. I'm not sure if we will see it, or if it is one of those things that RJ intended to leave unfinished but it does seem to be coming.

--Side Track--
Incidentally what the Aiel do is not really slavery. It's more of an indentured servitude, where the gai'shan pays his/her debt of a year and day. They are then free to leave and go home. It is considered very bad to abuse or mistreat a gai'shan in the Aiel society as well. Also, only Aiel are supposed to be taken as gai'shan and of those only warriors in battle are supposed to be taken. What Sevanna did in taking wetlanders (including non-combatants) is very much an act of slavery because she broke Aiel custom and didn't intend to release any of the wetlander gai'shan. She fully deserves everything the Seanchan might do to her.
--End Side Track--

There are getting to be a growing number of sul'dam that are finding out that they have the ability to learn to channel, and the new empress (Fortuona) of the empire just happens to be a sul'dam who is married to a fairly powerful ta'veren. If you don't think that is going to lead to her learning the truth about sul'dam and damane then I'm not sure anything will ;)
173. BiggMann
Freelancer is Da Mann!

I don't know if this has been discussed before, but do the a'dam cancel out the Three Oaths? Or how effective can an AS be in direct warfare? I understand there are work arounds, such as using the OP to throw a chair to hit Mat when you cannot directly use the OP on him, but do you think you can torture someone into submission such that Oaths somehow become meaningless to the tortured?

I honestly think that the Oaths work in part because the preson bound by them thinks they will/wants them to. What if the person taking the Oath doesn't care about breaking them? Maybe I should change my name to Random Thoughts...

Randomly Thinking,
Karen Fox
174. thepupxpert
BTW I wanted to weight in the "first" thing. The only good thing I can see coming from that is it appears in the "latest comments" box and then I know the post has been put up. There must be a better and more obvious way to determine when the new post goes up, can anyone enlighten me?
James Hogan
175. Sonofthunder
Just going to:
http://www.tor.com/ ,yeah?

Continual F5-ing around lunchtime does it for me.
Birgit F
176. birgit
the new empress (Fortuona) of the empire just happens to be a sul'dam who is married to a fairly powerful ta'veren. If you don't think that is going to lead to her learning the truth about sul'dam and damane then I'm not sure anything will

She already knows.

I don't know if this has been discussed before, but do the a'dam cancel out the Three Oaths?

The Oaths still work for damane, which makes them not very useful in battle.

There must be a better and more obvious way to determine when the new post goes up, can anyone enlighten me?

The post appears in the "latest post" colum above the "latest comments".
James Hogan
177. Sonofthunder
But sadly, my lunchtime is coming to an end and still no post. Sad day.
Lucas Vollmer
178. aspeo
Thank you, somehow I managed to forget about that! I guess I was just stretching to think of how she would bring about the end of leashing channelers in Seanchan.
179. up2stuff
Biggmann @ 174,

there has been frustration with AS damane being given orders that are in conflict with the oaths. Cant strike enemies without being in danger, etc. Cant remember which book, but I think it is in several instances. I seem to even remember there being some facination with what happens when one of the unfortunate women is told to lie, or something like that.

The oath rod will jerk an AS up short if she knows something is not true, whether she cares or not. It is a binding. She can be mistaken if she believes and might seem to lie, but this is semantics. If she knows it is not true, she can't say it.

The work around at Mat is his medallion. AS can't weave air to swat him on the bottom, but can pick up aforementioned chair and throw it at him. Once the chair is in motion, physics takes over, and the medallion does no good.

There has been mention that a Damane who is threatened can defend herself, in compliance with the three oaths. Whether that is the DF's or WC's or someoone charging her, or as speculated before, her own Sul'dam holding the knife to her throat, if she believes the "Fit's gonna hit the Shan", that supposedly will let them do what they must.
Alice Arneson
180. Wetlandernw
BiggMann @173 - No, the a'dam doesn't cancel out the Three Oaths. It makes the captured Aes Sedai useless for certain situations - at least until the sul'dam figure out a way to make the AS damane believe they are in peril of their lives if they don't throw the fireball (or whatever). The Oaths are not breakable; they must be removed or it is physically impossible for the Aes Sedai to do anything she perceives to be against the Oath.

One example (up2stuff) is when Pevara insists that their captured ferret (Zerah?) say that the rumor (about the Red Ajah setting up Logain) they're spreading is a lie. She nearly suffocates because she believes the rumor to be true, but she has just sworn to obey Pevara. She can't say it because of the First Oath, but she must say it because Pevara demands it. The conflicting Oaths nearly killed her before Pevara relented and told her she need not lie.
181. up2stuff
Just noticed that Leigh has posted the next chapter, so no one may look at this, but are the black ajah oaths sworn on an oath rod or something similar?

I know they are freed of the oaths, but why do they not lose the agelessness? Those stilled or burned out revert to their 18 year old looks. At least I think that happens when one is burned out. I'm guessing that Leane and Suiane will slow, or will eventually reaquire the ageless look now that they are resworn on the rod, but Aiel Wise Ones, Windfinders, and Damane dont go ageless, so its an Oath Rod side effect right?

So, why dont the BA sisters suddenly look young or simply slow rather than retain the ageless look we all know and love?
Kate Collura
182. dreamwalker
I'll take a shot at your question (with spoilers for TGS - I know that's unlikely to be an issue now, but just for fair warning), but I think the answer is that we don't really know for sure how the Black Ajah oaths work. We do know that the agless look is the result of swearing on the Oath Rod. We know that Black Ajah retain the ageless look even though they have the oaths to the White Tower removed. We know they swear their own oaths, and we know that Verin believed she might be able to remove her oaths to the Dark One if she could get her hands on the Oath Rod in the White Tower. This would imply strongly that Black Ajah oaths also use a rod that works the same way, but since Verin wasn't sure and didn't get to try, this is still a guess I believe. Hope that helps.
183. Freelancer
up2stuff @181

The ageless look has been confirmed by the author as being due to three oaths being sworn using a Binder. The Black Ajah would not want to expose themselves as darkfriends by losing the ageless look, so they replace the normal three Oaths with a different set:

She would be rescued eventually, of course; she knew that. The Tower would not allow a sister to remain in captivity. Elaida would not allow a Red to be held. surely Alviarin would send rescue. Someone would, anyone, to save her from these monsters, especially from Therava. She would promise anything for that deliverance. She would even keep those promises. She had been broken free of the Three Oaths on joining the Black Ajah, replacing them with a new trinity, but at that moment she truly believed she would keep her word, if it brought rescue. Any promise, to anyone who would free her. Even a man.

Galina's POV doesn't say it absolutely, but it seems clear that the "new trinity" are oaths also sworn on a binder. Verin hoping to find the Oath Rod and avoid suicide, provides the final proof.
Jay Dauro
184. J.Dauro
uptostuff @108

Although I can't say why they would want a darkfriend sul'dam in KOD prologue Suroth does specifically think of them
Except, she enjoyed owning the former Aes Sedai who once had been so haughty with her. Making her a perfect da’covale in every way would be a great pleasure. It was time to have the woman collared, however. Already irritating rumors buzzed of an uncollared marath’damane among her servants. It would be a twelve-day wonder when the sul’dam discovered she was shielded in some way so she could not channel, yet that would help answer the question of why she had not been leashed before. Elbar would need to find some Atha’an Shadar among the sul’dam, though. That was never an easy task—relatively few sul’dam turned to the Great Lord, oddly—and she no longer really trusted any sul’dam, but perhaps Atha’an Shadar could be trusted more than the rest. 

I could see that a Darkfriend sul'dam could force a damane to do what they want. But that could be dangerous, if a non-darkfriend sul'dam has control later.
Ron Garrison
185. Man-0-Manetheran
Several times in the books it has been described that a tightening effect settled over the sister with each oath. Kind of like a One Power Face Lift I imagine.
186. Up2stuff
Man-o-Manetheran @186

Interesting. Wonder what they would have to swear for a Tummy-tuck and Butt implants.
187. Laramas
Ya know, for someone who spends so much time sperging about a series of fantasy books, you're rather quick to dismiss a great piece of literature like Gone with the Wind. Yeah, the lack of development of the slaves' characters in that book is uncomfortable to read by today's standards. But you're ignoring how much time Mitchell spent exposing the hypocrisy of the South in her book. One she spent 13 years researching and writing, I might add.

"Her ilk." Where do you get off?
190. Gabster
To misquote Star Wars, "That's no MacGuffin... that's a Chekov's Gun!"

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment