Mar 15 2011 2:17pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 10

New Spring by Robert JordanBuenos dias, my little huevos rancheros! Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 19 and 20 of New Spring, in which everyone is incredibly mature and reasonable. And dry. NOT

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the rather soggy post!

Before we start, don’t forget that there will no longer be a WOT Re-read post on Fridays; instead starting this Friday I will be posting my Read of A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. You can read all about it here.



Chapter 19: Pond Water

What Happens
Moiraine leaves her packhorse behind and rides out. She finds three men waiting at the gates when she arrives; one older and a “hard-faced” younger man who she thinks might be Malkieri, and a third Arafellin, who is the same man she saw leaving the inn earlier. When the gates open, Moiraine follows the men at a fair distance. She pauses at a village to get food and ask about Avene Sahera, the next name on her list, but has no luck. She leaves and catches back up to the men, debating with herself about the best way to approach them; she has no fear that she can’t handle them if they turn out to be Darkfriends, but doing so would draw far more attention to herself than she wants. In the afternoon, the three men suddenly stop and then split up: the Arafellin and the older man continue on the road, while the younger Malkieri turns into the woods. Moiraine frowns, but decides to follow the latter, who she thinks is no woodsman, judging by the messiness of the trail he left. She finds him sitting cross-legged by a pond, staring at nothing. Moiraine decides to sneak up on him and unnerve him a bit by snatching his sword with Air before asking questions.

He moved faster than thought. No one so large could move so fast, yet her grasp closed on the scabbard, and he uncoiled, whirling, one hand clutching the scabbard between hers, the other seizing the front of her dress. Before she could think to channel, she was flying through the air. She had just time to see the pond coming up at her, just time to shout something, she did not know what, and then she struck the surface flat, driving all the wind out of her, struck with a great splash and sank. The water was freezing. Saidar fled in her shock.

She flounders to her feet, furious, and finds him staring in puzzlement at where she had been standing, before coming over to offer her a hand.

“Unwise to try separating a man from his sword,” he said, and after a glance at the colored slashes on her dress added, “my Lady.” Hardly an apology. His startlingly blue eyes did not quite meet hers. If he was hiding mirth…!

Muttering under her breath, she splashed awkwardly to where she could take his outstretched hand in both of hers. And heaved with all of her might. Ignoring icy water tickling down your ribs was not easy, and if she was wet, so would he be, and without any need to use the One…

He straightened, raised his arm, and she came out of the water dangling from his hand. In consternation she stared at him until her feet touched the ground and he backed away.

He starts a fire and drapes blankets around it so she can dry off in privacy; although Moiraine dries herself with the Power, of course, she stays behind the curtains until the other two men reappear. Moiraine is puzzled when their comments make clear that they had known she was following them. Then the Arafellin makes a comment about having never seen a Cairhienin “in her skin,” and Moiraine peeks out to see that the younger Malkieri (who the others had called Lan) is in front of her shelter with his sword out.

“You remember the sight of the Thousand Lakes, Ryne,” Lan said coldly. “Does a woman need protection from your eyes?”

Moiraine thinks Ryne might challenge Lan, but the older man (Bukama) distracts them by proposing a game called “sevens,” which seems to involve testing who can almost slit the other’s throat with his sword faster. Moiraine tries to remember what she knows about Malkieri, and recalls something about “distressed women,” and decides to stay with them to see what she can learn. She comes out and tells them she claims the right of “a woman alone,” and asks for “the shelter of their swords” until she reaches Chachin. Then she gives each of them a silver coin and promises more once they reach Chachin. To her surprise, this seems to anger Ryne, though Lan shows no expression; Bukama formally pledges “her life above his,” but also will not quite meet her eyes. She tries to draw the men out over dinner, but only Ryne talks at all freely, and he says nothing of consequence.

When she finally inquired why he was going to Chachin, his face turned sad.

“Every man has to die somewhere,” he said softly, and went off to make up his blankets. A very odd answer. Worthy of an Aes Sedai.

When they turn in for the night, Moiraine weaves wards of Spirit over each man so that she is alerted each time they change watches. When Lan takes over from Bukama, the older man says something Moiraine doesn’t catch, but Lan replies, “I'd sooner trust an Aes Sedai, Bukama. Go to sleep.” This infuriates Moiraine again, and she channels to create a funnel of water to crash down on Lan, waking the whole camp. She expects to see him down on the ground, but to her surprise he’s on his feet, sword out. Ryne exclaims, asking if it is Shadowspawn, and Moiraine barks a sharp denial.

With an effort she gave her voice every bit of cool Aes Sedai serenity she could muster. “It is unwise to show anything except respect to an Aes Sedai, Master Lan.”

“Aes Sedai?” Ryne whispered. Despite the dim light, the awe on his face was clear. Or maybe it was fear.

No one else says anything, and Lan makes no attempt to dry himself or even move from the muddy spot he is currently in, with a glance at her that has no trace of humility in it. Moiraine makes her Spirit wards again, trying to figure out why none of them had even asked why she was following them. As she drifts off, she hopes that Ryne doesn’t turn out to be a Darkfriend, and thinks that he’s really rather pretty and charming.

Ha ha ha ha!

Oh, Moiraine. You really do not come off too well here, do you?

I mean, it’s obvious all through NS that Moiraine’s got some maturing to do, but this chapter really highlights how very young and inexperienced she is in many ways. Especially, I would guess, when it comes to men.

Granted, I think Malkieri ways and Cairhienin ways are different enough from each other that she would have made some blunders anyway, but given Moiraine’s cloistering in the Tower for most of her adult life so far, men must probably seem almost like an alien species to her—and a species that she’s quite predispositioned to severely underestimate, to boot.

I mean, she concluded Lan was a lousy woodsman, instead of considering the possibility that he knew exactly what he was doing and leading her on. Oh, honey. No.

And I’m sorry, the bit where she tries to pull Lan into the pond and he just lifts her right out is hilarious. Also, impressive. I know Moiraine’s supposed to be tiny and all, but damn—factoring in the weight of a soaking-wet dress and the drag of the water and the angle, that right there is a feat of serious muscle power, you guys.

I vaguely recall when I read this the first time that I was indignant on Moiraine’s behalf when Lan threw her in the pond, but I really don’t know why, because this time around my sympathy is pretty much all with Lan. All things considered, tossing someone into a pond for trying to steal your weapon (and one of your most prized possessions) is really a quite restrained reaction. Especially considering we later find out Lan is more than halfway convinced at this point that Moiraine might be an assassin, or at least a spy.

Oh, and it turns out Ryne is our maybe-Darkfriend from the inn. And Moiraine is attracted to him. WHAT.

I seriously didn’t remember that part. Which is something I seem to be saying a lot.


Chapter 20: Breakfast in Manala

What Happens
The strange little woman tells them the next morning that they may call her “Lady Alys,” and Lan doubts the name as much as he doubts the Great Serpent ring she produced, especially since she tells them she must not be known as Aes Sedai. He’s met a sister before who had not yet acquired the ageless look, but he’s never encountered a sister who was anything but serene even in anger, and he’d seen her face when the water stopped.

Childish glee at playing a prank, and childish disappointment that it had not worked as she wished. Aes Sedai were many things, and convoluted enough with it to make other women seem simple, but they were never childish.

Lan supposes Edeyn could have set “Alys” to watch him, perhaps thinking him foolish enough to not regard a woman to be as much of a threat as a man. Even though Bukama doesn’t trust her either, he is upset with Lan that he did not offer the same pledge to her the night before as Bukama had; Lan tells him to let it go, but Bukama ignores him, claiming that it is disrespectful to her and shameful to Lan. Lan does not want anything tying him more to an Aes Sedai; if she really is one, she might be hunting for a Warder. Ryne flirts with her when he offers to saddle her horse, and she smiles warmly in response and seems to be flirting back. Lan shakes his head.

He understood what drew Ryne. The woman's face was beautiful, and however childishly she behaved, the slim body inside that blue silk belonged to no child. But Ryne was right; he had seen a Cairhienin in her skin, more than one. And they had all tried to mesh him in a scheme, or two, or three. Over one particularly memorable ten days in the south of Cairhien, he had almost been killed six times and nearly married twice. An Aes Sedai, if she really was one, and a Cairhienin? There could be no worse combination.

They ride on, but when they reach the village of Manala, Alys insists on stopping for some food. Bel Tine is in full swing in the village, but in contrast to the merriment there are six Trolloc heads on spikes by the road, freshly killed. Alys makes a comment about the courage it must take to face them with only a sword, and Lan asks in surprise whether she has faced Trollocs before. She answers yes, but looks irked at having admitted it, and refuses to divulge any more details. They pick an inn, where the innkeeper assumes they are all Alys’s retainers; this doesn’t bother Ryne, but Bukama scowls, and Lan decides to have a quiet word with Alys when he gets a chance about what is and is not insulting. They eat at a separate table from Alys and argue about her; Ryne is convinced she is Aes Sedai, and doesn’t think they should pry, but Bukama thinks if she is Aes Sedai it’s more important than ever that they find out what she wants. Lan thinks she is a wilder placed on him by Edeyn, even though the coincidence is a little much; but then again there had been the six assassins, and he couldn’t think who else might have sent them. Then they realize Alys is gone from the common room; Ryne suggests leaving before she gets back, but Lan replies that he will honor Bukama’s pledge (“Better if you honor your own,” Bukama grumbles), and Lan and Ryne go out to try and track her down.

He did not want Alys meeting someone behind his back, perhaps arranging some surprise for later in the day. Just because the woman had not tried to kill him did not mean Edeyn wanted him alive.

They find her asking a villager about someone named Averne Sahera, who points her to where some folk of that name live. The villager leaves, and without turning around, Alys asks him coldly whether she should show him how eavesdropping is punished in the White Tower.

He very nearly blinked. First she managed to leave the common without him hearing, and now she heard him when he was trying to be quiet. Remarkable. Perhaps she was Aes Sedai. Which meant she might be looking at Ryne for a Warder.

“I think not,” he told the back of her head. “We have business in Chachin that cannot wait. Perhaps your search will go more quickly if we help you find this Avene Sahera.”

She turned very quickly and peered up at him, straining for height. He thought she might be up on her toes. No, she was no Aes Sedai, despite the icy look of command on her face. He had seen shorter Aes Sedai dominate rooms full of men who had no idea who they were, and without any straining.

She replies coldly that it would be better for him to forget that name, and orders him off to be waiting for her when she’s ready to leave—if Malkieri keep their word as she’s heard they do. Lan thinks she has a tongue “like a knife,” and he and Ryne go back to the inn. Bukama brightens at their report, opining that perhaps all she wants is protection until she finds this Sahera woman, but Lan points out that that doesn’t explain why she followed them all the day before. He adds that he can’t believe it was because she was afraid to approach them, as he thinks she frightens about as easily as Bukama does. Bukama has no answer for that.

Part of the reason prequels are fun is getting to see how the relationships between characters that are well-established in the series proper first develop and grow. This is a lot of that here, with Lan slowly finding things to respect about Moiraine even as she continues to alternately puzzle and irritate him.

The funny thing is that in many ways Moiraine has no idea how insulting she’s being, given her ignorance of Malkieri culture—which, in her defense, some of the customs of which are pretty un-obvious (and overly touchy, too) if you ask me. Though of course in other ways she’s deliberately being as annoying as possible, though she probably wouldn’t phrase it that way herself.

Though, wow, Lan’s description of her expression as “childish glee” when she dumped the pond on him makes it seem even worse than it did from her perspective. Which is to be expected, I suppose.  And really, Moiraine, half-drowning a man in icy water for saying something mean about Aes Sedai, when he didn’t even know that’s what you were, was just, well, childish.

Although, Lan’s reaction, refusing to move from the mud puddle or dry himself off and all sort of not-glaring at her, actually rather highlights his own brand of immature petulance, too. I mean, come on, giving yourself pneumonia just to be all Didn’t Feel It, Don’t Care, Neener is really pretty childish too.

What a pair, y’all. Sheesh.

(Also, I was going to say something critical to the effect that this fondness for pranks seems out of character for the Moiraine we know twenty years later, but then I stopped and considered what I was doing fifteen or twenty years ago, and very wisely decided to keep my mouth shut.)

I just had a “duh” moment here re: the six guys who tried to kill Lan in Canluum, when Lan was musing about them in this chapter. Even with all Ryne’s pointed commentary back then about Lan having “the Dark One’s own luck,” I still assumed for some reason that Ryne was also right about the assassins having been sent by Edeyn. When of course we’re in the middle of open season on unusually lucky men, even if our heroes don’t know that yet. Duh, Leigh.

Oh, and I have to quote this part again, because it is awesome:

Over one particularly memorable ten days in the south of Cairhien, he had almost been killed six times and nearly married twice. An Aes Sedai, if she really was one, and a Cairhienin? There could be no worse combination.


And also: ooh, burn.

And also also: I would pay to see a short story of Lan’s adventures in Cairhien. Seriously. I wants me the skinny on that, y’all.

But that’s all the skinny we have in stock at the moment, so we out! Have a lovely week, and I’ll see you (on this blog, anyway) next Tuesday!

lake sidey
1. lakesidey
Yay! Lan is awesome! And has a thousand lakes! (We haz something in common!)

Heidi Byrd
2. sweetlilflower
I agree that it is awesome to see how their relationship grows. It always makes me laugh to piture this scene in my head.
Daniel Smith
3. Smittyphi
Contrary to you Leigh, I thought that Lan was taking his own medicine as to learn from it about sleeping in the mudpit from the lake being dumped on him. That was my first reaction although YMMV.

Great recap
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
Although we get snippets of other info in NS, the best part for me is the development of the Lan/Moraine relationship, which as we know endures for 20 years. It is fun to see Mo being childish, and yet trying to be so powerful and ASish.....and not doing it well. ;-) Do love Moraine!
It makes her even more lovable in the main series, to me. It humanizes her.

Thanks Leigh...see you on Friday on channel GRRM....
Richard Chapling
5. Chappers
And so we learn that ponds are fickle allies, and quick to anger...

And also also: I would pay to see a short story of Lan’s adventures in Cairhien. Seriously. I wants me the skinny on that, y’all.

My thoughts exactly. I wonder if there's anything about it in the notes...

I can't help but compare Moiraine and Nynaeve's lack of AS serenity, although they are quite different, and Nynaeve clearly doesn't want to give hers up... whereas Moiraine's acting like the child she was a couple of months ago. That Aes Sedai system's not great...

*edit* gak, return of the random spacing...
Evan Langlinais
6. Skwid
I think I see some traces of Moiraine's prankish ways left in her adult character, still. I'm thinking of the Fish Tickling scene in particular, here, but I think she displays the wry sense of humor that I would expect from the maturation of a prankster on several occasions.
Captain Hammer
7. Randalator
Yeah, not much to comment save for a half-annoyed half-ammused "Tsk, kids...".

So instead I give you/us this from Brandons twitter account:

Wow. TDR 27 has a cool little foreshadowing for the end of AMOL that I'd never noticed before.

Let the wild mass guessing begin, epileptic trees are optional...
Sorcha O
8. sushisushi
Ha, what is the story with Bukama and his over-elaborate oath-swearing? Is this supposed to be another weird hangover of Malkieri manners, because otherwise you could start thinking he was trying to get himself killed or something…

Lan's method of pulling Moiraine out of the pond remains totally hilarious and a complete rufflement of her precious dignity. I suspect scene like this are why the AS have a severe tendency to corral fresh sisters in the Tower for a couple of years, until they calm down a bit.
Rob Munnelly
9. RobMRobM
@7. We discussed that a post or two ago. It's Egwene's first TAR walk, so it could be the use of need, could be having her meet up with Lanfear in disguise, could be having her encounter Perrin, etc.
Rich Bennett
10. Neuralnet
the meeting between Lan and Moraine is why I ended up buying this book even though I already had the short story... so hilarious and MOA at the same time.
11. mazza313
hi leigh - as always, great recap. i must admit that i am more than a little bummed that you will also be recapping grrm (and not doing biweekly WoT jams anymore), but of course we all do what we gotta do. see you next tuesday!
Chris Chaplain
12. chaplainchris1
"in which everyone is incredibly mature and reasonable."

13. hmm
Moraine has faced Trollocs before at this point? When? what am I missing here?
14. Fullmoon
Hey Leigh,
I had this urge to reread WOT... a desperate wish. I don't have the time for it, so I started googling (is that a verb?) for synopsis of the chapters and books.
And Viola! I found you last month and have been deligently reading every post. Yesterday, I finished NS Part 9 and couldn't find the part 10. Hunted around for quite a while, before I realized the dates were current and I wasn't reading a post from last year! Yippe! I'm disappointed to hear that you will be doing one post a week- I hope we will reach the end of all published books before the new one comes.

And the rest of you out there- your comments were as entertaining and informative as Leigh's was! :D
Mitchell Swan
15. mcswan
Ok, I completely missed something here. When was Moiraine's first fracas with Trollocs?
Richard Chapling
16. Chappers
@13, hmm & 15. mcswan
I assumed she meant that time in the Oval Ring test in Chapter 9. Whether that actually counts is up for debate...
Daniel Hanley
17. Kythorian
@13, 15: I believe that Moiraine is speaking of when she faced Trollocs in her Aes Sedai test. That was always my understanding of this, anyway.

This section was a lot of fun though. I agree that the best part of this book are the interactions between Lan and Moiraine, and how their relationship begins to develop. Also, its fun to see Moiraine not being all super self-controlled like she is later.

Anyway, thanks for the great recap, as always. I look forward to what you do with GRRM on friday.
Daniel Goss
18. Beren
re: Trollocs

I believe she is referring to her testing, where she faced many things including trollocs. She may not technically have encountered 'real' trollocs in the real world, but the testing seems to feel real enough that she has no trouble answering truthfully that she has, indeed, faced them.
Edit for: Wow, scooped twice.
Marcus W
19. toryx
I know a lot of people like getting to know Moiraine here and seeing another human side of her, but frankly, this is part of why I've never bothered to read the novel. She irritated me too much in the novella, just as she irritated me in the series and I had no real interest in knowing anything else about her.

I think the reason is that I'd been on the wrong end of vicious little twits just like her far too many times back in the day. Now that I'm a lot older, she doesn't bother me nearly as much. Still, I'm glad I get to read the summary rather than the book.

Anyway, I'm thrilled about the first Game of Thrones post this Friday and can't wait to read it. I'm going to be starting up my re-read today.
Ivan S.
20. Mediokrates
Thanks Leigh,

I don't have much to say about these chapters, as I think their main purpose is to show us the infamous pond incident. We also get a little irony in the POVs. Lan thinking Moiraine is eyeing Ryne as a warder, when we learn later that Moiraine had pretty much decided it would be Lan after the pond. Ryne is the best bet for a DF at this point, as he was seen in the company of an AS. That being the case Ryne is just a little too in awe of her. I think he's trying to make it look like he doesn't know any AS.

@ 8 sushisushi
I think the Malkieri are supposed to exemplify the idea of uber-chivalry. We get this from some of Lan's POVs in other chapters: not speaking to a woman until spoken to first, not meeting their eyes, protecting women, their honour, and their chastity, and Lan accepting Moiraine's punishments (pranks) without complaint as Malkieri custom demands that another woman determine when he has suffered enough.

That's pretty much it for these chapters. I would like to touch on a subject I brought up in the last post's comments.

In the last re-read commentary, I alluded to the idea of AS having children to increase their numbers, and added the idea that all male off-spring be gentled at a certain age to preclude the existence of mad-male-channelers. I believe that this idea was summarily shot down, on the basis of opinion without referring to any “facts” in the published works; the assumption being that there would be nothing to “sever” prior to a male “sparking.”

To illustrate my point further, I was going to write this long treatise on the nature of the ability to channel, based on the Seanchan testing methods for damane and sul’dam by means of the a’dam, and the ensuing implications. This would have illustrated that indeed, something does exist prior to sparking. And if a thing exists, it can be destroyed.

However, anticipating the argument that Saidar is not like Saidin, I have chosen to forgo the analysis of Seanchan testing and its implications on the nature of channeling Saidar. The argument for Saidin is much more concise and less open to interpretation. It clearly indicates that the existence of a potential far predates initial manifestation.

When Rand is in the rings of Rhuidean as his ancestor Coumin (TSR, The Dedicated), it is clearly stated that Coumin was tested at the age of 10 in the AOL.

“He did not regret the fact that the Aes Sedai had passed him over at ten, saying he lacked the spark.”

This statement implies that for males (we assume nothing about females) there is only one test in their life-time. As the FS show no surprise at the fact that the OP can be learned, we can safely assume that the AS of the AOL knew about both learners and sparkers. It can also be safely assumed that this test is inclusive.

Obviously, something must exist that the AS are testing for. This is called the “spark.” This spark (AOL) seems to reference the “inherent” ability to channel, rather than the “inevitable” ability to channel (TA spark). The latter being a subset of the former.

The fact that males undergo only one test in their life-time, at the young age of ten, means that the AOL AS knew that the existence of the “spark” would either exist or not. Although I have no references, my interpretation is that this spark would be inherent from birth, not something that would appear sometime before they turned 11, and never after. In fact, this testing reminds me of both Greek Sparta and Star Wars’ Jedi; where young boys with the ability are first raised by their families but at a certain age must leave to join the barracks where they will be trained.

Perhaps it would be too dangerous for them to be taught to channel, to themselves or others before this age. That being the case, there would be no reason to know whether any given boy could channel before that age, as those with the inevitable ability would still be years away from manifesting. It would therefore be safe to leave the question unanswered for 10 years, though I’m sure some parents took it upon themselves to learn earlier.

So basically my point is this… if the AOL tested boys at 10, proving they had the spark (AOL spark=inherent) at that age, then that same spark could be snuffed out before any inevitable manifestation (TA spark=inevitable) occurred. Having the spark severed before first touching the OP, would avoid the death-wish of gentled men, which is specifically linked to loosing their connection with the OP.
Thomas Keith
21. insectoid
Yay, a new post! Thanks Leigh.

Da Pond Scene: Freakin' hilarious, IMO. Especially when Lan remains rock-steady when Moiraine tries to pull him in, and just stands there when she dumps the pond on him.


A great pity if he turned out to be a Darkfriend.

Oh, Moiraine, you have NO IDEA. And you're flirting with him? Eeesh.

Yes, Moiraine is acting rather childish here. Won't make a very convincing Aes Sedai that way...

Looking forward to Part 1 of your AGoT Read on Friday.

22. alreadymadwithmo&lan
Over one particularly memorable ten days in the south of Cairhien, he had almost been killed six times and nearly married twice. An Aes Sedai, if she really was one,and a Cairhienin? There could be no worse combination.

That really cracked me up. Heheheh.

Mediokrates @20
The problem is testing for the spark in a male requires the male side of the Power. That's the side modern day Aes Sedai aren't able to touch.
In fact the primary means they use to track male channelers is by testing for residues of saidin weaves. Obviously men can't leave residues without channeling saidin first. Hence targeting the lucky instead of indiscriminately testing everyone.
23. Katocrossesthecourtyard
Mediokrates, that's an interesting idea . I am, however, reminded of the parable of the mice wanting to put a bell on the local cat; nice idea in theory, not so much in practice. ;-)

The AS of the current age do not know of the AS testing practices of the AOL; we don't even know how much Rand remembers of what he saw, other then generalities.

Also, you would have to convince AS to have a child that if a boy she gets to watch grow up for 10 years & if he has the spark have him gentled. Gentled/stilled OP users don't last, according to everything current AS know - Leane's, Suian's, & Logain's survival being extremely atypical and not common knowledge; not to mention Setalle Anan. No one is that devoted to any cause, not even the AS to the WT.

Yes the boys wouldn't be insane yet, possibly, but there would still be something 'missing' that would never heal. That might drive more than a few of them into the arms of darkfriends. Or their mothers hiding them away before the testing.

@22alreadymadwithmo&lan, nice point. Didn't even think of that. ;-)

@21insectoid, her childishness now gives her admonishments to Egwene about controlling herself a lot more weight. Definitely a "I've been there, I know" kind of way.

Birgit F
24. birgit
Although, Lan’s reaction, refusing to move from the mud puddle or dry himself off and all sort of not-glaring at her, actually rather highlights his own brand of immature petulance, too.

Lan explains his reasons in the next chapter:

That first night he had sat in the wet to let her know he would accept what she had done. If they were to travel together, better to end it with honors even, as she must see it.
Ivan S.
25. Mediokrates
@ 22. alreadymadwithmo&lan
Sorry, you've missed the entire point which was to prove that ALL males at a certain age, say 10-16, could be "gentled," without adversely affecting any of them. No need for Saidin, which I am aware is the side modern AS cannot touch.
We know that attempting to gentle a non-channeler has no ill-effects; but gentling a channeler, someone who has already touched the power causes them to wish to die.

My solution is to gentle all males, or atleast all male children of AS. Do it at an early age, before initial manifestation, so that they have never touched the power.

Make it a coming of age ritual, not something to be feared, but something to be anticipated. Edit: "Like circumcision:)"
No more mad-male channelers.
Call it a saidin innoculation.
lake sidey
26. lakesidey
@22 alreadymad: Good point. Though, as I mentioned in a previous thread, it is perfectly possible that the AS just don't know how to do it (their healing and delving is fairly basic, and they assume that they already know the best possible solutions; none of them (and for that matter none of the AS in the AoL, who also probably never tried too hard as it was "known" to be impossible) had been able to identify what Nynaeve and Damer spotted).

Quite possibly Saidin is not needed, since Nynaeve notices the cut in Logain first; in fact, cross-healing seems to work better (Nynaeve-Logain, Damer-several AS) than same-sex healing of stilling/gentling. I wonder, will we get to see Damer healing a guy (to know whether he will also be weaker)?

Of course, since saidin is now clean, it is no longer necessary....which
is kind of a pity since Nynaeve's uber-delving would be a great tool
for this I'm sure.

@Leigh and several commenters: We get a Lan POV shortly which explains why he chose to sit there in the mud rather than moving. It isn't immature petulance. (OK, maybe just a wee bit of that also). More like trying to give her the satisfaction of a clear win so that honours would be even, and the next few days of forced companionship would be less painful (alas, it didn't work out that way!) (Ah, I see Birgit beat me to it!)

Oh, and I loved that line "Every man has to die somewhere," he said softly.

Edit @25 Mediokrates: I agree that it could be done, quite possibly without Saidin. But until now they just didn't have the (wo)manpower. And the know-how. We're talking a HUGE number of people here - millions - and the WT was down to less than a thousand, several of whom were hopeless at healing.

Of course, now we have some great healers who might work out the required weaves (Nynaeve, several of the Kin) and much more (wo)manpower - the wise ones, the kin, the windfinders, the 1000+ new novices) but since Saidin has been cleansed, it's a moot point anyway sigh!

27. up2stuff

I had a similar idea that I posted over on the TOM thread a week or so ago. I suggested a similar process be performed on Avi's quadruplets to avert the visions she had of them at Rhuidean. You should check it out. It is waaaay down in the 800's. I will find the link later.

FWIW, I agree with your view that a boy wouldnt miss what he never had and gentling them BEFORE they touched Saidin should not show any negative effects. I dont think that men need to do it, or even would these days. Women have always done it AFTER a man has channeled until now. We don't know that it hasn't ever occurred to them to try it pre-emptively before. In theory it was a good idea.

I suspect that it was never really reasoned on before and talking about it probably resulted in persecution because until now, ANYTHING to do with Saidin would be tainted and a Dragon Fang would be put on a door. Hell, throughout half of Rand Land, every backwater village distrusted sisters almost as much, let alone someone talking about Male channelers.

Who would want to acknowledge the possiblity of their son being the DR and channelinig the One Power? Keep it hush, hush. Bigger cities probably would not be as mistrustful and more open to the idea, but again, the source is clean. Plus, it can be healed. It's like a Cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's Moo. (Friends reference, Sorry)

For the record, I DO think there is some merrit to a "Breeding" program to increase the gene pool of channelers. Maybe a new ajah could be the "nursurey" ajah or something ;)

I have a VERY foggy reccolection though of a comparison of the AS numbers with the number of channeling Wise Ones, and Windfinders. It seems that there was speculation that dwindling AS was more due to sucky recruiting practices, than a need for gene therapy. Just look at the Kin and the SAS success in recruiting. Seems if they had been more actively seeking recruits, numbers would be better rather than the "let them come to us" attitude. I think the WO's and WF's are more aggressive in their searching.

Anyway, check out my theory on the TOM thread.
john mullen
28. johntheirishmongol
How fun! L&M finally getting together and driving each other crazy, when they are both single-mindedly doing the same thing in their own ways. I did feel bad for Lan for the next couple of chapters, since what Moiraine does to him is way over the top.

It is cute to see Moiraine flirting and being young. I suppose she must have had time to flirt with Thom at some point but it was all off-camera.

One thing about RJ is these books are very PG, a little violence and any sex is kept implied.
Ivan S.
29. Mediokrates
@ 26 lakesidey
I'm not sure why you are referring to healing weaves. I'm talking about severing.
True, 3000 years into the TA, there are less than a 1000 AS. But the tower was built to accommodate closer to 4000 channelers. The theory being that 3000 years of gentling every male who can channel has culled the ability out of mankind.
If the AS of the TA had started this coming of age ritual right away, (while they still had the knowledge of the AOL) then they wouldn't have culled the ability out of themselves. It's really no different than the Seanchan practice of annual testing for every female, infact, it requires less resources. 13 sisters visit every village, town, and city and perform a "blessing of the light," ritual on all boys at a particular age (since most AS saw male channelers as abandonned by the light). They do this once a year. Since they only perform the ritual once in the boy's lifetime, not multiple times like in Seanchan, it is less resource intensive.
In addition, all females could be tested at the same time. This way you wouldn't have thousands of untested learners wandering around (like Egwene has found). It would be more like the Aiel, who find every girl with the spark (AOL definition).
They probably would have had to build a 2nd WT just to house all their numbers.
With 4000-8000 AS, this could easily be accomplished. If the Seafolk, the Aiel, the Sharans, and the Seanchan (basically every other culture other than mainland Randland) can do it, why can't the AS identify every potential female channeler. And perform your ritual "blessing" on 10 year old boys while you're doing it.
Who says you even have to tell them (the ordinary folk), what the true purpose of the ritual is? Like I said, its just a blessing (like baptism, or confirmation).

27. up2stuff

I was thinking a similar thing, about a nursery ajah, or something. I'm reminded of the warriors of Ginaz in the Dune series. They are obligated to produce 2 or 3 children, in order to ensure the continuation of their genes. They have nothing to do with them, most of the time, not even knowing their names. All the children are raised by wetnurses and teachers in a communal setting.
The AS could have tried this.

True, I believe that the dwindling of AS numbers is not necessarily due solely to culling mankind, but also to their "recruiting" practices.

Of course this was all part of my argument on how AS are so very incompetent.
30. MatFarshaw
29. Mediokrates
There´s one big problem with your idea - the result would have been, no Dragon Reborn, no Wheel of Time, no Reread ...
j p
31. sps49
Why does Ryne get mad at Moiraine's offer of silver for escort to Chachin? She's already there, so it isn't that; maybe he suspects the coin will track him?
Stefan Mitev
32. Bergmaniac
IIRC, a woman offering to pay for protection is really insulting according to Malkieri's customs (and probably other Borderlands too), so that's why Ryne got angry. It basically implies the men are nto honarable enough to protect the woman for free as their duty demands according to custom.

I got to say I am really not fond of these chapters, though the worst is yet to come in the next one. Moiraine is really childish and petty throughout the whole trip to Chachin and it really gets tiresome.
33. Halibulu
What I find most of note (and which Leigh skipped over in the summary) is that Ryne was besting Lan at Sevens. So here we have the man who is to become the world's greatest swordsman and is fresh off of defeating 6 opponents not being as quick to the draw as Ryne.
Also, how big of a pig was Ryne for planning to go peep in on Moiraine naked. Forget about having just forgotten Malkieri customs of respect to women. That's indicative of some serious character flaws and that it took Lan sword in hand to stop him.
"Every man has to die somewhere" said with a look of sadness. No musings from ANYone on this? I take it to mean he is sad he must kill Lan, or else because he must kill the king of Kandor's son, and most likely also has to do with him not expecting to live past that mission.
Mikey Bennett
34. EvilMonkey
MatFarshaw @30

If I recall, there were at least a few AS during the breaking that fortold of Rand's coming. Thus the purpose of making Callandor, the Stone and the Eye of the World. They saw that far into the future, they knew that the fate of the world would be on his shoulders, and they knew he would channel Saidin. Your thought that if they did the early age severing there would be no Wheel of Time got me thinking, maybe they did think of it back then, but knowing in advance what the consequences of the world would be they decided against it. Basically, the blessing of the Light idea would have spelled victory for the Dark, literally years before the Last Battle could take place.

Also, about Moraine's immaturity;
I had a thought about it, thought it was stupid, and erased it. So there.
Hugh Arai
35. HArai
EvilMonkey@34: You have to respect those far sighted Aes Sedai. Even with the devastation of the Breaking (and the failure of the Dragon) still going on, they had enough faith in those people doing the Foretelling that they still set up the world for the coming of the Dragon Reborn.
36. CorDarei

Isn't one explanation of all the channelers being found because the pattern is spitting them out to help in TG?
Heidi Byrd
37. sweetlilflower
I think it is interesting to read about Moiraine standing on her tip toes for more height. There is a scene in tEotW where Rand says he felt too tall around her, as if she were the proper height and everyone else should slouch to accomodate her. It is an interesting example of Moiraine growing into her power and authority.
38. Katiya
However, just as a general note, if we accept the cosmology of the series, one thing it has proven time and time again that "the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." So, even if this "blessing" was performed before Rand was born, you'd find that all thirteen sisters that were supposed to go to his village got sick all at the same time. Or that Rand happened to always be out of town when they came. Or hell, even that the magnetic waves in the atmosphere shielded his ability, or something...whatever, the Pattern would find a way to get what it needed. So even if it protected all OTHER potential male channelers, the Pattern would always find a way to create Rand if it needed him.
Claire de Trafford
39. Booksnhorses
Seriously, after years of training (and I appreciate that new sisters aren't usually released upon the world), is this level of childish behaviour the best that the WT can do?
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
I suspect that these and the upcoming chapters had a lot to do with why I didn't really enjoy NS; it's one thing to watch someone make a fool of someone else who deserves it, but quite another to watch someone go along making a fool of themselves and not even realize it. Moiraine, being Cairhienin and all, thinks she knows all about the world and how different people have different customs, and she's pretty much okay as long as she's dealing with Cairhien, Andor, Tear, and generally anything south-ish. Sadly, it doesn't occur to her that Borderland customs are significantly different than those of the more southern nations, and she keeps making herself look either stupid or insulting (depending on your point of view).

Add to that her assumption that being both Cairhienin and Aes Sedai makes her infallible and invincible, when in reality she's terribly inexperienced and immature... I just don't enjoy reading it. Like Leigh, I can look back at myself and remember what kind of foolishness I committed at that age. It's bad enough remembering (and cringing at) my own folly; I don't enjoy cringing at someone else's as well! Her behavior in these chapters alone proves that Cadsuane's estimate was justified; it's only luck (and the Pattern, a.k.a. Robert Jordan) that the men were these particular men and she didn't end with a knife in the back for her trouble. Other than that, I really don't have much to say about these chapters.

up2stuff @27 - I think the WO's and WF's are more aggressive in their searching. Very, very true, and I think it's the big difference. In neither society do channeling men live "normal" lives, so that can't be it. While it's true that Windfinders and Wise Ones (channeling or no) have children and thus remain part of the gene pool, I think the more important facet is that they are involved in the daily life of their respective societies. As a natural part of that, every girl comes in contact with channelers on a regular basis, and virtually every girl is tested at some point. They simply don't miss very many.

While the White Tower has it's good points (really, it does!) one of the drawbacks is that with such a centralized training and organizational structure, many areas are completely out of touch with channelers for years, even decades, at a time. There's a huge continent with one central location for all channelers, so even though 2/3 of the sisters may be out of the Tower at any one time, there are still large percentages of girls who never see an Aes Sedai during the years when they would most readily enter a novitiate.

On the other hand, given that Aes Sedai don't have children, it's probably just as well they haven't found every girl, or they really would have eliminated the gene. Since so many girls (especially those who could be taught) are missed, the gene is passed on. As a result, there are still plenty out there, as witness the results when Egwene throws open the novice book; nearly a thousand women join them, and that's only along their path of march. Just imagine how many more women are out there in the areas too far away to hear about it or reach them.

ClairedeT @39 - Don't forget that most women spend more time as both novice and Accepted than Moiraine did. It's faintly possible that with the added years of training, age and experience, coupled with the fact that most of them remain in the Tower and practice being AS before they go out into the world, Moiraine's behavior is more the exception than the rule. We don't have a lot of info on how long various sisters spent as novice/Accepted, but we know that Moiraine & Siuan held the recent record of 6 years total for the shortest time, and Elin has the recent record of 20 years total for the longest. Most are somewhere in between, so if the average girl comes to the Tower around 16 or 17 and spend 12 years as novice/Accepted, they would be in their late 20s when they reach the shawl. Under normal circumstances, they would then spend at least a year or two learning the ropes as full sisters; presumably by 30 or so they'd have a little more clue...
Hugh Arai
41. HArai
ClairedeT@39: Since the Aes Sedai test is nothing more or less than the ability to channel a rote set of weaves with a poker face, yes that's the best the WT can do. What each Aes Sedai makes of herself afterwards is another story.
Roger Powell
42. forkroot
Wetlandernw - Another thought about Moiraine's rapid ascension: One wonders if the Cairhenien throne had not come open whether Moiraine might have spent a bit more time as an Accepted (just for seasoning). Given the plans that some in the Tower had for her though, I can see how she was given the chance to test as soon as it was clear she could pass.

An objection to the above would be "What about Siuan"? But if Siuan was clearly at the same level as Moiraine, then anyone with an agenda for Moiraine would cover their tracks by giving Siuan the same chance.

(Yes it really is me! ::waves at all my buds::)
Mikey Bennett
43. EvilMonkey

Sure the pattern would have found a way to produce Rand the Dragon Reborn. But what about his followers? He recognized he'd need help, which is why he formed what became the Black Tower in the first place. In a world where he's the only Team Light Male Channeller (because don't think for a second that Team Dark wouldn't go recruiting) how devistating would it be if all his channelling help came from female AS? Considering what a dog's dinner they've made of many things in Randland, I think Team Light would be in some serious trouble.
Stefan Mitev
44. Bergmaniac
Forkroot @42 "Another thought about Moiraine's rapid ascension: One wonders if the Cairhenien throne had not come open whether Moiraine might have spent a bit more time as an Accepted (just for seasoning). Given the plans that some in the Tower had for her though, I can see how she was given the chance to test as soon as it was clear she could pass."

I highly doubt it. Merean announced that Moiraine was close to being tested for the shawl before Laman and his brothers died, and that meant Moiraine was going to be tested within a month. Before Laman and his brothers died, Moiraine's chances for the Sun Throne were really slim, so there was no need to rush her training.
Tricia Irish
45. Tektonica
Moraine being a young, foolish, arrogant Newbie AS provides us with a great counterpoint to her cool, smooth professionalism in the main series. It's nice to see that one of our heros didn't spring from the Tower in perfection.

Although these chapters can make me squirm, as Moraine makes a bit of a fool of herself, I like the character arc they create for her. I also like seeing the shaky beginnings of her life-long relationship with Lan.

If not for the developments in Cairhen, Moraine probably wouldn't have bolted the Tower so quickly after being raised, and would've matured a bit before she set out into the world. She has led a very sheltered life, from palace to Tower. I like her moxie for taking on her mission to find the Dragon Reborn in the school of Real Life with all it's unknowns and dangers.

I certainly don't begrudge Cadsuane for wanting to take her in hand and protect/educate her, but I also like that Moraine doesn't trust any other AS at this point, especially after Siuan's revelations about the deaths of so many of Tarna's searchers, and that she strikes out on her own, for better or worse. School of Hard Knocks, fwiw.

I think it says much about RJ's view of the importance of Moraine and Lan that they should get their own prequel too. Hint for the last battle?
Rob Munnelly
46. RobMRobM
Tek at 45. Recall, prophecy says Moiraine is going to save the world (i.e., the one applicable to Mat - lose an eye, save the world; he saved Moiraine, QED).

Fork at 42. Howdy. What is this, old home week?

Medio - while I appreciate the creative thought that went into your theory/proposal, Mat F has identified the fatal flaw.

Generally - I enjoyed these chapters, albeit with a grimace for Moiraine's various faux pas (or fox passes, as the cogniscenti like to say).

Ivan S.
47. Mediokrates
Re: Severing all males

Who says that the Dragon had to be reborn as a male? Why couldn't LTT have been reborn as a woman?

"The body bends to the soul, but the mind bends to the body."

I don't recall the prophecies actually mentioning Saidin, is all I'm saying. Kind of a big assumption, that you're the same gender everytime you're spun out by the wheel.

As for the pattern... No program is perfect... I'm sure there would be some boys who got missed. There might even be countries like Tear or Amadicia which refused the ritual. Anyway, the TR being as remote as it is, could have been missed, and voila, Rand al'Thor raised without being severed. And as for the pattern and Rand's male cronies, Nynaeve comes along and figures out how to undo the blessing... and once again, voila, the BT arises.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the WT, and all the women they put out. I don't have the references, but I believe they are numerous and scattered. From what I recall, something like 90% of all novices & accepted don't attain the shawl. If my numbers are right, then there should be something like 9000 women around Randland who can channel. Even more because, without the oaths, these women would have the life-spans of AOL channelers. Which I believe is maybe twice that of AS. So maybe anywhere between 13000-18000 female channelers.
I'm surprised that it took so long in the series for us to come across a non-WT channeler in mainland Randland, actually using the power. An Ebou Dari kinswoman I believe.
I know some of you are gonna say that the WT disapproves of them using the power, and puts the fear of the Light into them. Come on, everything we know about the OP, says once you've started, you can't stop short of being burnt out or severed. Once again, AS selective reasoning.
With that number of women, you'd think we'd come across one or two women heating tea at an inn with the OP. Or maybe like in Ebou Dar, they'd be respected people of the community. You couldn't hide that many channelers, despite being scattered. Sooner or later, people would slip up and reveal themselves. Honestly, channelers would probably have a better rep for it.
Egwene obviously has the right idea, of tying all female channelers to the WT. It's actually kinda stupid that this never occurred to any of the wise Amyrlin's over the last 2000 years. Of course, this is just another way RJ is showing us what a great Amyrlin Egwene is and will be. Unfortunately, it asks us to accept that this monolith of power and wisdom, which just keeps fu@%ing things up could remain so dominant.
I'm alittle annoyed with the WT if you can tell. Things just never add up:
1. Spy networks everywhere, yet huge secret societies using the power manage to hide their true nature from them.
2. The White Ajah, who is dedicated to logic seems to spend all of its time discussing math. Yet, in 3000 years they've barely reached a renaissance understanding. Come on, mathematicians who live 300 years, who go no where in their studies, over the course of thousands of years.
3. 3000 years to discover a tea can incapacitate a channeler.

Obviously the AS are completely fooled by their own propaganda. I'm sure its possible this could happen, I just don't think its probable.

Another thing which has bugged me on and off regarding the AS. This whole split in the WT. They keep going on about how the WT will be irrevocably broken if it ever comes to AS killing AS. Well, first off, didn't that already happen, when Siuan was stilled. I seem to recall it being said all the Blues were either dead or runaway. How does an AS use the power as a weapon against another AS? Neither can threaten the other with the OP, so unless they're pulling belt knives how does this happen? Aside from BA sisters that is. And wouldn't that mean that any AS using the OP to attack another AS has revealed herself as BA?
Please, someone tell me.
Ivan S.
48. Mediokrates
I know someone's gonna say... All an AS has to do is have her warder attack another AS' warder or the AS herself. If attacking another AS' warder, the 2nd AS attacks the 1st AS' warder, defending her warder (allowed by the oaths) thereby allowing the 1st AS to attack the 2nd AS (who is now defending her warder as well). If having the warder attack another AS, once the 2nd AS uses the OP against the warder, the 1st AS is now free to use the OP as a weapon on the 2nd AS.
This could work, except... all it takes is for one AS to use a shield or some other not-nearly life-threatening use of the OP to protect her warder or herself. Once that happens, stalemate.
James Hogan
49. Sonofthunder
Mediokrates @47, per interview database(
https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dcjspjqg_65hcgdp7gw&revision=_latest&pli=1#femaledragon2), a soul never changes gender.

Afraid that the spam filter won't like my link, so leaving it unlinked. Just copy/paste.
Jonathan Levy
50. JonathanLevy
20. Mediokrates
As the FS show no surprise at the fact that the OP can be learned, we can safely assume that the AS of the AOL knew about both learners and sparkers. It can also be safely assumed that this test is inclusive.
Objection, your honor! :)

1) How do we know that the Forsaken ever learned that the OP can be learned? Maybe they don't know? It's not like this is something which comes up in casual conversation, or something they would bother to ask about.

2) How do we know that in the AOL they bothered to test for sparkless people who could learn? Maybe all they were interested in was people who had the spark? I think we know that sparkers on average tend to be stronger than learners - if so, perhaps they didn't bother with learners at all.

I know I'm not addressing your main point - just nitpicking.

33. Halibulu
"Every man has to die somewhere" said with a look of sadness. No musings from ANYone on this?
I was wondering the same thing. It's very strange, isn't it? But I don't think he's been given a specific mission yet. I'd imagine it played out like this:
- Years ago, Ryne becomes a darkfriend, thinking he's just dabbling in evil with no consequences.
- In Canluum, he is identified (maybe a Myrddraal helped?) and pressed into service with Merean for the first time. He can't get out of it. He realizes that he's neck-deep in trouble. He does not expect to survive.

37. sweetlilflower
Nice detail!

45. Tektonica
Moraine being a young, foolish, arrogant Newbie AS provides us with a great counterpoint to her cool, smooth professionalism in the main series. It's nice to see that one of our heros didn't spring from the Tower in perfection.
Absolutely. If she hadn't been so annoying, we'd be complaining that it's not realistic.

46. RobMRobM
Tek at 45. Recall, prophecy says Moiraine is going to save the world (i.e., the one applicable to Mat - lose an eye, save the world; he saved Moiraine, QED).
We know one of Mat's answers implied that Moiraine is necessary to save the world. However, we also have a viewing by Min, whose precise nature we do not know - apart from the fact that Moiraine is necessary for Rand to triumph. But it may be that her viewing is much more detailed than that. It's going to be interesting when Min finds out Moiraine is alive!
lake sidey
51. lakesidey
@29 Mediokrates: "I'm not sure why you are referring to healing weaves." Only because, to identify the 'something' which would need to be cut, one would have to use Delving (or something equivalent), wouldn't you agree? And that is very much related to healing. But it was a very basic weave up until Nynaeve came along - she fine-tuned it to be able to detect (and hence cure) the 'cut' in stilling and later refined it still further to be able to see (and hence cure) madness. Both things which even AOL AS were unable to do.

Also re: "every other culture does it" you're absolutely right, but we should also consider that every other culture you mentioned is (a) a single unified culture and (b) respects and listens to their female channelers. The continent where the AS cast their net on the other hand is a bunch of small cultures, most of whom are suspicious of (if not actively antipathetic towards) AS - often with good reason. Also, what Wetlander said very nicely up there @40

@27 up2stuff: "Nursery ajah" eh? I like the idea. Well, soon the last battle will be done, the battle ajah will have to find a new reason for existence (and unlike the reds, who will also need a new raison d'etre, they like men) I think I know who is going to be the nursery ajah. Starting with Egwene and Gawyn (oh my goodness their kids will be so annoying!)

@40 Wetlander: I don't think Elin has the record for longest wait to become AS. She was just the oldest accepted present in the tower when Nynaeve and co came along. I suspect that dubious distinction might belong to Daigian. (I could be wrong)

@45 Tek: In fact, they were probably going to get one more prequel.... the one where they finally locate the 2R as the home of the Dragon v2.0

_waves at forkroot@42_

Stefan Mitev
52. Bergmaniac
"How do we know that in the AOL they bothered to test for sparkless people who could learn?"
The Guide confirms it. It wasn't mandatory, but nearly everyone took the test, often a few times.
The relevant passage:

"It was considered a great honor to be chosen to train and serve as an Aes Sedai. But only the two or three percent of the population that had that ability to learn to channel could join the elite ranks of the "servants of all." To find these gifted people, Aes Sedai regularly tested young people, looking for the spark that meant they might become Aes Sedai.

The testing was not mandatory, though few passed up the oppor­tunity, and it required no special preparation or study. As with every­thing that dealt with the Power and its separate halves, the male and female abilities functioned differently and manifested themselves at different ages.

In general, women displayed the ability to channel, or to learn, at a far younger age then their male counterparts. For a woman, this abil­ity appeared at any age from puberty, or approximately twelve or thir­teen, to twenty-one. If she was tested at twenty-one and the spark was still not there, it never would be. A man usually did not manifest train-ability until at least the age of sixteen, but he retained the potential to show the inborn ability to channel until his mid-twenties. In both cases, the ability to learn—as opposed to the inborn spark—would lie dormant until discovered at whatever age. Though relatively few peo­ple tested after their early or mid-twenties, some did test successfully at much later ages. These were inevitably people who either had not test­ed at all when younger or who had given up after a failure or two.

Because the ability to learn could appear at any time during an almost ten-year period, candidates were encouraged to test more than once, though few did. For those who had the inborn ability to chan­nel, the choice to avoid retesting would not change anything. They would channel eventually without the test. However, those who had the ability to learn, but did not have the inborn talent, might never be aware of that fact if they stopped testing before trainability manifest­ed itself. For such a person to succeed as a channeler, the spark of abil­ity had to be drawn out and carefully honed by Aes Sedai instructors."
Ivan S.
53. Mediokrates
@ 50. Jonathan Levy
1. I think its a safe assumption that the FS know about learners, after all look where Sem is hidden. Hello, the WT. Osan'gar in the BT, as well.
2. As for AOL AS, we get all sorts of "amazement" from the FS during evil-meetings regarding the "primitives" of the TA coming up with new weaves, like the warder-bond. But never once, does anyone mention how they missed all those potential channelers who could learn it in the AOL, and weren't born with the spark (TA usage). "Imagine that evil guys & gals, it can be learned. Who woulda thunk?"
As to your implication... if males are tested at 10, you're assuming a spark (AOL usage) only exists for sparkers (TA usage) and not learners. So then you're implying that the potential to use the OP for learners is not something inherent, but must appear sometime after their 10th bday. Possible, but certainly not probable.

@ 51. lakesidey
The entire point is there is NO NEED to test anyone. You don't go around testing boys to see if they have the spark (AOL usage), and then give only them the "blessing of the light." You give the blessing to EVERY male, when they reach a certain age. To put it bluntly... Gentle EACH & EVERY male in ALL of Randland when they reach 10-16. No need for testing. It's just a ritual. An innoculation for a type of chicken-pox that only affects boys. You don't test them to see if they have a genetic pre-disposition to be susceptible to it, just give blanket shots.
Then the pattern sets up events, so that Rand is out of his village when the AS come to give the innoculation. And voila, uninnoculated Dragon Reborn. Or maybe he was born in Tear, where they don't do the blessing. Or maybe he was born a female, because the Dragon doesn't have to be a male. As for using Callandor, Nynaeve finds a way to reverse the blessing and uninnoculates a couple male friends for Randette. They pull Saidin through Callandor, but because it's flawed, Randette controls the weave. Or whatever....

Edit: I think the Reds were interested in trying to gentle Elyas, because of the whole wolf-talking thing. I recall that its mentioned somewhere about the Reds maybe being interested in gentling someone, and it being revealed that that attempt would cause no harm, other than the rough handling by the Reds. So I don't think the Reds actually test anyone, they just bring anyone in for gentling who they think is using the OP. Anyway, that brings up the whole running with the wolves thing, which is a cool concept. I wonder when this happens, and what sort of catastrophe brings mankind down to the point where we're running through the woods with wolves.
Ivan S.
54. Mediokrates
@ 52. Bergmaniac
Thanks for giving us the guide's explanation. Helps a lot! However, it does contradict the main story line. I'm talking about Rand's AOL ancestor, Coumin, whom I referenced previously.
If according to the guide, males do not show the "spark" until 16 at earliest, then why was Coumin "passed over" at 10?
These kind of inconsistencies happen all the time in "epic" stories.
Ryan R
55. CorDarei
Mediokrates @53/54,

I see you conveniently left out the part where it said a soul can't be reborn of a different gender. Also, as far as the "age of 10" thing goes. it could be they had a different method of counting age. And Semirhage wasn't hiding in the WT...
Ivan S.
56. Mediokrates
@ 55. CorDarei
Not conveniently...
I'm aware of no such reference. However, like I said, I don't have the guide. Is it in the main story line? Please enlighten.
Sorry my bad not Sem, but Mesaana, same diff. FS in the WT.
lake sidey
57. lakesidey
@53 Mediokrates: (a) You wouldn't be allowed to do your blessing in some countries (like Tear), even in present time (and probably many more in the immediate post-breaking era - people weren't exactly Pro-AS at that point). (b) Again, look at the numbers we are talking about? The population runs into millions (probably even more, in the days before the Trolloc Wars). Without Travelling, it takes months to go from one end of the place to the other. Unless the WT has nothing else to do but full time blessing (and not even then, actually) it doesn't sound feasible to me without the active cooperation of the multitudes, coming to some central location voluntarily.

I also think you should read what Sonofthunder@49 said, re dragonesses...

Anyway, this is hopefully my last post on this topic. We can agree to disagree....and I need to get back to some work I have been neglecting!

Ivan S.
58. Mediokrates
I concede the point of a dragoness. If RJ says it, then the Creator has spoken.
However, if the RC church can baptise every child, then the AS can bless every male. I know its a moo point; however, 39 AS to each country, in 3 teams, could easily get to each village, town, and city and perform their blessings with tons of time to do other things like interfere in politics. Tons of AS left to spare.
And the whole thing about places where AS couldn't perform a blessing, like Tear or Amadicia, or the Waste, was my point on how a male dragon reborn could still exist.
Ryan R
59. CorDarei
Re: Coumin...

i just re-read the parts of the chapter 26 that talked about Coumin, and nothing talked about testing young males at the age of 10. I also read the other parts of the AOL before the breaking, and didn't see anything about testing males... Could you quote the specific passage?

Ivan S.
60. Mediokrates
Re Coumin:
TSR, Ch 26 The Dedicated. ppbk 17th pr, page 433, line 3.
hdcvr, 1st pr p303 line 25.

"He did not regret the fact that the Aes Sedai had passed him over at ten, saying he lacked the spark. To have been trained as Aes Sedai would have been wondrous, but surely no more so than this moment."

Coumin is watching Someshta, the Ogier, and the Aiel sing to the crops.
Ivan S.
61. Mediokrates
Anyway, my whole point was initially how the AS (and ONLY the AS) could have children, without worrying about having a bunch of mad-male channelers as children. All according to the "mad" plans that ajah had about increasing the channeling stock. Including all of Randland in the thought experiment, was purley mental masturbation. Aaahhhhhhhh!
Ryan R
62. CorDarei
thanks for the post. it's amazing what you miss when you've reread it so many times. I think i read that part 3 times before i posted the request asking for info on it.
Ivan S.
63. Mediokrates
I think that's both a compliment and flaw with RJ's writing. He gets so indepth in detail, that it's hard not to start skipping lines, especially when you want things to get moving, or have already read the book.
I think RJ himself was even aware of this, b/c everytime I start skipping lines, I find that a gray man has suddenly appeared, and have to go back to see where the character didn't notice him showing up.
Valentin M
64. ValMar
Mediokrates re: AS performing blessings

I think it's logistically unfeasable. And we can't compare it with Church baptising. Those performing the AS "blessings" are of very limited numbers- a couple of thousand at most, fewer than 1 000 currently.
The Church never had this issue. I guess it is almost impossible for a 21 century westerner to imagine the impact Church had in the Middle ages on the everyday life of people. The massive infrastructure and the numbers of the clergy compared to overall population.
Every village had a resident person on hand to perform "blessings"- i.e. a priest for baptisings.

I suppose the WT could've created similar structure. If so, can you imagine what the Shadow could have done with such a network? Imagine 1 in 5 clergy and their auxiliary personel being members of a global child abuse network. The Light then really would be in trouble and we would've needed a wheelbarrow for the WOT books.
Ivan S.
65. Mediokrates
For simplicity's sake, I will concede the unlikelihood of blessing all of Randland; however, my initial argument that this would have been a perfect way for the WT to increase their own internal channeling stock still stands. Like I said, use it as a coming of age ritual or an initiation into service of the WT. Then all male children of AS are tied to the WT, either as clerks, guards, or breeders (I just thought of Dune... how the Reverend Mothers have studs to practice their seduction skills... and for fun:) Of course this would require a Pink Ajah, the Nursing Ajah. Or do the communal thing I mentioned.

Anyway... I'm really interested in what people have to say about the issue of AS killing AS, I mentioned in post # 47 & 48.
Valentin M
66. ValMar
Mediokrates @ 65

And indeed I fully concede that the current situation and what led to it are bad and some sort of action, like in the lines of what you suggested, could've helped.
But whenever I think/read of solutions for the WT I always come unstuck with the BA. It is unavoidable problem to all reform. I can't help being a product of a society being suffocated by "sate security" and organised crime (usually one and the same). Operating under the surface and taking orders from outside, besides looking after themselves. Just like the BA in the WT.
Also, there are the vested interests. Like individual AS not sharing waves to keep their power unique.
Sam Mickel
67. Samadai
ValMar @ 66
you said "Like individual AS not sharing waves to keep their power unique."

I also think it is quite rude to not share waves, it leads to a lot of hurt feelings. :P
lake sidey
68. lakesidey
waves at 67 Samadai

(goes back to work)

Sam Mickel
69. Samadai
Waves at lakesidey

(goes back to pretending to work)
Captain Hammer
70. Randalator
Halibulu @33

Also, how big of a pig was Ryne for planning to go peep in on Moiraine naked. Forget about having just forgotten Malkieri customs of respect to women. That's indicative of some serious character flaws and that it took Lan sword in hand to stop him.

Or maybe, if Shienaran bathing customs are any indication, Borderlanders don't consider a bath complete unless it involves a good eyeful of boobage and Lan was just being a hypocrite (or jealous that he didn't think of it first).
Ivan S.
71. Mediokrates
@ 66. ValMar
I always thought the first oath should have been: "I swear under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I have never nor shall I ever serve the Dark One."
I believe that oath would prevent them from unswearing the oaths, with the intention of becoming BA. In fact, should an AS be turned in the 13x13 method, this oath might even kill her. It might even go a long way with all the bumpkins who think AS are DF.

Anyway, still curious about how AS could manage to kill AS with the OP (BA excluded), as Egwene fears. It's certainly implied that this occurs when Siuan is deposed in TSR: The Truth of a Viewing.
Theresa Sumrall
72. smaller
Hey, Leigh: the link you're using to the Re-Read index does not display posts after NS Part 6. That page is not being updated with links to posts made after February 2011.
Birgit F
73. birgit
They keep going on about how the WT will be irrevocably broken if it ever comes to AS killing AS. Well, first off, didn't that already happen, when Siuan was stilled. I seem to recall it being said all the Blues were either dead or runaway. How does an AS use the power as a weapon against another AS? Neither can threaten the other with the OP, so unless they're pulling belt knives how does this happen?

Both sides have ordinary soldiers. Once the soldiers have started the fighting, the AS can feel in danger and fight back.
Valentin M
74. ValMar
Samadai @ 67

lol. Maybe accidentaly you've discovered the real reason for the animosity between the Ajahs in the WT. Anyway, of course I meant "Waves". Or is it "Weaves". Darn, now I'm confused.

Mediokrates @ 71

Birgit, as often, helpfully provides the answer. Probably once Warders got in the mix violence spiraled.
Lucas Vollmer
75. aspeo
I have finally have time to post! Woot!

As far as seeing Moraine acting all noobie, I really enjoy it. It really shows how much she has learned and grown between NS and tEotW. I can definitely see why Cadsuane was pretty harsh with her, and can see why she said she should still be in the tower. I would bet that its pretty rare for a newly minted AS to be out of the tower on their own. If they did go out, they almost certainly would be in some kind of group of sisters that had real world experience.
Just like a new employee in my lab isn't allowed to do or touch much of anything unless they are being supervised directly. They are allowed to do more on their own as they show the competence to do things without being watched. This is kind of how I envision the WT doing things with new sisters under normal circumstances.

If Moraine had felt that she could have stayed in the WT for a while, she almost certainly would have been put to some use in the Blue Ajah, just like Siuan was. She would also have had more time to get used to AS customs and the strength hierarchy. Also, if she had been able to travel with other sisters for a while, it might have helped her learn to keep her composure and serenity better.

Hmm... I just had a thought. Maybe the reason why the AS test stresses having to complete it in a serene and unhurried manner is to start instilling the stereotypical AS behavior into the Accepted. It's possible that this is another lesson that is told to the new AS when they are accepted into their new Ajahs.
-end tanget-

As for the whole testing age thing. I think that the part quoted by Birgit said that male sparkers couldn't be taught until they were about 16. This doesn't mean that they couldn't be found before then, just that they couldn't be taught until then. This could be why Coumin was tested at the age of 10, and was found to not have the spark. He could have been tested again later on, but apparently chose not to.
Of course, it could just be a slip up by RJ, but I like my idea better :)
Roger Powell
76. forkroot

Fork at 42. Howdy. What is this, old home week?

Actually that was two weeks ago, when I put the "old folks" in a home. (eww, sounds crass). Actually, this is a good thing -- regular readers may remember that my mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease. My parents are now in an outstanding assited living situation that will ease the burden on her caregiver (my Dad).

Back to matters WOT ...

Both sides have ordinary soldiers. Once the soldiers have started the fighting, the AS can feel in danger and fight back.

I'm not buying into this. The AS could feel in danger from the soldiers and blast them, but it seems a stretch that this would give license to blasting the rival AS giving orders to the soldiers.
Wait... I've got it ... If the rival AS attacks her Warder, then it seems our AS could blast away at her rival.

And... I see I've been scooped by Valmar. Feels like I'm getting back into the flow of the re-read :-)
Ivan S.
77. Mediokrates
@ Brigit 73, Valmar 74, & Forkroot 76

Please read my post # 48:

I know someone's gonna say... All an AS has to do is have her warder attack another AS' warder or the AS herself. If attacking another AS' warder, the 2nd AS attacks the 1st AS' warder, defending her warder (allowed by the oaths) thereby allowing the 1st AS to attack the 2nd AS (who is now defending her warder as well). If having the warder attack another AS, once the 2nd AS uses the OP against the warder, the 1st AS is now free to use the OP as a weapon on the 2nd AS.
This could work, except... all it takes is for one AS to use a shield or some other not-nearly life-threatening use of the OP to protect her warder or herself. Once that happens, stalemate.
Ivan S.
78. Mediokrates
The exact wording of the oath is:

"Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister."

Can an AS really be threatened by a Warder? They may be ubersamurais, but AS can weave shields of air around themselves that no conventional weapon can penetrate, levitate guys into the air, wrap people up in air etc, etc...

I hardly think Warder A attacking Warder B gives AS B the oathal-leeway to use the OP as a weapon on Warder A. Hardly the "last extreme". She could put a shield around Warder B, wrap Warder A up etc etc...
Roger Powell
79. forkroot
Mediokrates - Good point about the "last extreme" part of the oath. OTOH, we've seen that the oaths only bind against what a particular AS perceives. Witness the various times (Dumai's Wells, Mat vs the Seanchan, etc.) that an AS had to decide when she "felt threatened" - and how that varied from AS to AS.

Similarly, at the Farm, the oaths did not prevent AS from blasting raken (and their riders) from the sky, because the AS mistook them for shadowspawn.

My point is this: In the heat of a confrontation, all an AS needs is the belief that she or her warder are in mortal danger. Perhaps the belief is irrational, but as soon as she fires a weave, then everybody else believes (rationally) that they are in danger and the channeling melee begins.
Valentin M
80. ValMar
Your argument is logical but in the heat of the conflict it may not hold. What about AS shielding another AS and then a soldier or warder killing her? Or two Warders fighting, the AS of one of them ties the other with Air and her own Warder in the heat of the moment can't stop mid-stroke and kills him.
It was confusing and violent situation. Plus with at least 1 in 5 being BA, and with dozens of DF warders... At the least they were less likely to show restraint in the confusiion. And when there was a confrontation in some corridor without witnesses- outright murderous.
Also, didn't the BA sneak in extra DFs masquarading as builders who contributed to the killings?

Looks like I got a bit scooped by forkroot :)
Jay Dauro
81. J.Dauro
And maybe I missed something, but do we have any evidence that gentling works before the spark manifests? If we are looking at gentling cutting something (that Nyneave was able to detect and mend), could it take that connection being made before the spark shows? And teaching helps someone who is close to completing the bridge finish it. (OK, loose analogy.)

Then attempting to gentle them before the connection is made would do nothing. And so we would have to gentle repeatedly to ensure they do not channel, at least until they approach 25.
Ivan S.
82. Mediokrates

You're making my point, but arguing against me.
In post 47 I asked:

How does an AS use the power as a weapon against another AS? Neither can threaten the other with the OP, so unless they're pulling belt knives how does this happen? Aside from BA sisters that is. And wouldn't that mean that any AS using the OP to attack another AS has revealed herself as BA?

So aside from BA, how does this happen? By the way, wasn't it Danelle (Mesaana) who brought in the soldiers (never proven or even implied they are DF) disguised as builders?

@ forkroot 79,
I was just thinking about Dumai's Wells. The quote of the oath I used was from NS, M &S's raising ceremony. However, when Perrin confront's Kiruna about entering the battle (ACOS-The Butcher's Yard), she mentions nothing about "last extreme," being part of the oath.

Last extreme seems without interpretation to me. It is the last option. You can't run away, you can't use non-lethal weaves, or you are completely over-whelmed. It is the only option left if you want to live.

However in ACOS, Kiruna gives the impression that all an AS has to do is to put herself in danger in order to use OP as a weapon. The other examples you give would confirm that.

After all, Moiraine will shortly use the power to wrap up the would-be assassin Caniedrin. And when the consequence is he gets his chest ventilated, she feels this comes very close to the definition of having used the OP as a weapon.

Is the "last extreme," wording used in NS an error? I can't recall what the wording is like when Nynaeve is raised, or if we see another raising ceremony. Either way, like I said, "last extreme," seems to demand that they try every other option before using the OP as a weapon.
Ivan S.
83. Mediokrates
@ 81. J.Dauro

I don't know. I think we're dead-locked. The books imply that the spark would be present by age 10 in males; however, the guide implies the spark might not appear until they're in their mid-20's.
Benjamin Moldovan
84. benpmoldovan
Some interesting questions/comments tweeted to Brandon, hasn’t had time to reply yet.

1 Was Rand ever able to enter TAR other than physically, or by being drawn there by Ishy, or the part in TGS where he went to Ishy’s TAR place himself? Has being in TAR physically harmed him, or is being the DR protection against it?

2 Interesting idea how the Seanchan getting travelling could actually work out for good: non-broken AS could wait till night, make a gateway to TV, quickly spring through, and allow the gateway to sever the a’dam. Would the a’dam being severed prevent the ill effects of moving? Would it harm the one collared?

3 Another interesting question: what would happen if damane put each other’s bracelets on? Would that prevent the ill effects of moving? Would it harm them? (Of course they’d have to be in the same place at the same time.)

Of course, saying them getting travelling would be good is a poor choice of words. A better way of putting it would be that a crappy situation could be ameliorated somewhat, and the Seanchans’ gains reversed somewhat.

Ben M
Ivan S.
85. Mediokrates
@ 84. benpmoldovan

Hi Ben, interesting questions.

1. I wish we knew why entering TAR physically is bad, and why. Though I like the theory this is how Rand will live again.

2. I don't think a severed a'dam would harm to damane; however, how could she channel the gateway without a sul'dam on the bracelet... or why would the sul'dam collapse the gateway before going thru herself?
If a sul'dam had a damane create a skimming gateway, and collapsed the gateway after the damane went thru, but not herself, would the skimming platform remain or would the damane fall into darkness. I think the former, since it is the damane channeling.

3. I can think of no reason why this wouldn't work. Maybe they do it, when they put "heart-friend" damane in double kennels so they can move around and get it on. Otherwise, getting it on would be difficult when both are anchored to a peg on the wall.

Don Barkauskas
86. bad_platypus
benpmoldovan @84:

Your second point wouldn't work; when Egwene was in Seanchen custody, she tried probing the collar with the smallest flow she could manage and still could barely control the nauseau induced by the collar. It's unlikely that a damane could channel enough to make a gateway and remain conscious. And, as Mediokrates @85 says, if a sul'dam was there it's unlikely the damane could make it happen.
Valentin M
87. ValMar

Probably I am not discussing directly what you are. My mistake. What I was writing directly about was the AS deaths in the WT coup. Connected with that, perhaps if one AS has her Warder killed or badly wounded by another Warder (as in the example I gave @ 80) she may go berserk and strike lethally at the AS whose Warder killed hers. This is a bit thin as a scenario I admit.

We've seen channelers face each other in a not particularly lethal manner- generally trying to shield, incapacitate each other. When the situation got out of hand in the WT coup this sort of Power clashes might have escalated. More likely, it was DFs (like the builders and BA Warders) and BA without witnesses that did the killing.

As for "How AS uses the OP as a weapon against another AS"? Well, it depends what is meant by "the OP as a weapon". I think what AS tend to do is overpower one another- that is Shield and bind with Air. In the very rare occasions when an outright struggle occurs. That's why I keep coming back to the Coup, since there is no other occasion I can think of right now when AS face each other with the OP. And it's off-screen.
If any gurus know better?
John Massey
88. subwoofer
Well then- attempted to post yesterday, but Stubby the bearer of bad news told me about "scheduled maintenance". At which point I decided to sidetrack my plot for taking over the world with a side plot of beating the snot out of the TOR tech doofs. Why do "upgrades" always make things worse? Why do folks always need to reinvent the wheel? Does anyone remember the K.I.S.S. rule? Keep It Simple S#*th%@d! Gah!

Anyways, Mo and Lan, cool beans. Methinks Lan's honor or more to the point Malkieri customs are baffling and touchy. I get the feeling if I sneeze into my left elbow instead of my right, I will be doing a great offense to one of the leather braid clan. I think Lan and Co were offended because they gave Moiraine their word then she goes about and gives them money. I think that is an insult somehow.

As for Lan and Ryne playing Sevens, yup the other guy won, but when the chips were down, Lan came out ahead. I heart Bukima, old codger stands by his leige, even at the cost of a long term booty call.

Moiraine loosing her cool. Being all emotional, fresh outta channeling school. No serene facade, heh. Interesting that Lan notes all o dis and later on... say in about 20 years he comes across a very strong channeler, well versed in woodscraft and full of spirit. Think she is pretty too. Kinda a Moiraine 2.0. We'll call her... Nynaeve.

John Massey
89. subwoofer
Incidentally, what about the idea of doing 3 chapters per post instead of 2? Hows about it O Grand Poohbah Leigh? We'll give you the loyal Water Buffalo salute:D

Don Barkauskas
90. bad_platypus
Mediokrates @20 et seq.:

I actually agree with a lot of your reasoning, but your "proof" has one fatal flaw: You assume that someone can be severed (to use the AoL gender-neutral term) before s/he starts actually channeling. It's not an unreasonable assumption, but the opposite assumption is just as (if not more) reasonable.

As an analogy, consider bacterial meningitis. Treatment for this disease is antibiotics, but these have no effect in curing or preventing the disease unless the patient is already infected. On the other hand, a vaccine for this exists, which prevents catching it in the first place. In other words, different methods are used depending on whether the patient already has the disease.

Now, if a "channeling vaccine" can be developed (or severing works prior to actual channeling), then the rest of your argument works nicely. That (IMO) is a big if, however.
Andrew Foss
91. alfoss1540
Mediokrates@20 - regarding gentling at age 10 - the same theory was used in the 17-18's to justify creating castrato - they would never really miss what they never really had - who were beloved for their beautiful voices.

Now I do not believe it would be beyond the Reds to find this a wonderful and effective practice (both gentling and castrating). But it kind of makes you squirm to think about it.

Read Ann Rice's Cry to Heaven for a way too graphic illustration of castrato.
Hugh Arai
92. HArai
Mediokrates@82: I need to confirm but I'm pretty sure the exact wording of the Oaths sworn differs a few times when people recite them during the series.

However, I think the key issue is that they depend on the personal interpretation of the Aes Sedai at that precise moment. For example, Elaida doesn't have any trouble beating Egwene severely with the OP for calling her a lousy Amyrlin. Either beating the snot out of someone (I IRC she was bloody and losing consciousness) isn't "using the OP as a weapon" to Elaida or someone calling her a lousy Amyrlin makes them a DF/Shadowspawn. Or both, Elaida's like that :) . In any event, if you can twist the Oaths like that, you can see how enraged or terrified Aes Sedai could start a OP fight and once it starts people are realistically at risk of their lives, opening it up even further.
Ivan S.
93. Mediokrates
@ 90. bad_platypus

IMHO it depends on which source is correct. If TSR-The Dedicated is the correct interpretation, then I believe pre-emptive severing would work; however, if the guide as provided by bergmaniac is correct, then I don't think it would.

@ 87 Valmar

I generally agree with you. However, we learned from Alanna in TDR, that an AS cannot use the OP for vengeance. That's why she can't go take care of the WCs who killed her warder. So I don't believe they could go berserk and kill the AS whose warder killed theirs. The oath shouldn't allow it.

I agree that the coup is the only real example we have to work with to deduce the truth. I agree that it is most likely that the AS deaths were probably caused by BA or warders/soldiers. Otherwise, I think it was an error on RJ's part, though I understand he was adamant that he didn't make mistakes.

I ask this question, b/c it was something that weighed so heavily on Egwene when laying siege to TV. She was sure the WT would be split forever if AS killed AS. So I was curious how this could be. And if so, why the WT wasn't split forever when AS died during the coup.

I think it all depends on the "last extreme" issue. In TPOD-The Extra Bit, Pevara uses the words "last defense." However, as I said before Kiruna's explanation to Perrin in ACOS mentions only defense, nothing about "last." So from examples in the text, the 3rd oath is not uniform. This would seem to imply that some AS have sworn the "last extreme," others the "last defense," and possibly even others "in defense." There could be a world of difference between those variations.

Edit: @ 92. HArai

Well I think the Elaida incident is a great example of errors in the storyline. The oathrod, which is a BINDER shouldn't allow them to do it. It shouldn't matter how mad or upset or crazy a Bound person is.
The oaths do not allow AS to use the OP as a weapon on DF, just SS.
94. Shadow_Jak
Two Aes Sedai walk into a bar with their Warders.
One Warder says to the other, "Hey did you hear the one about the farmer's daughter?"
"Hey, watch your mouth about farmer's daughters! My Aes Sedai's dad was a farmer!"
"Watch my mouth? Hey are you talking to me punk?"
"Yeah, I'm talking to you!"
"Hey, well you AND your farmer's daughter can just go clean fish!"
"Clean fish! Why you... I'll plow a field with your Salswan nose!"
"Hey, You take that back!"

At which point swords come out and they start swinging.

Aes Sedai # 1, in fear of her Warders life, binds the other Warder with Air. Unable to defend himself, he takes a greivous wound to his pinkie.

Aes Sedai # 2, Fearing for the loss of my than a pinkie, slices the weave, freeing her Warder and Binds the other Warder in Air. He too takes a greivous wound to his great toe.

Aes Sedai # 1, slices that weave, and attempts to shield Aes Sedai #2, but being fairly evenly matched, with both Aes Sedai holding as much Saidar as they can stand, neither can shield the other.

They continue to bind the other's warder, and slice the weaves binding their own warder, only to have their weaves sliced in turn. Each time the bound warder loses another body part.

Finally, in desperation...
Alice Arneson
95. Wetlandernw
forkroot @42 - Hey, long time no see! Welcome home. And @76 - That's got to be a relief. It's hard to deal with aging parents sometimes, especially when you can't be there to look after things all the time. It's good to have places where they can be comfortable in their own space and still have professional assistance only moments away when they need it.

lakesidey @51 - I suspect that dubious distinction might belong to Daigian. You're quite correct. I'd forgotten that "She had been longer a novice, and Accepted, than anyone in living memory..." Unfortunately for me, it doesn't tell us just how long that was, so I'm stuck with Elin for any kind of numbers to work with. :)

@ several re: AS killing AS - As far as I know, it hasn't necessarily happened. The killing of AS may have all been done by mundane means, and much of it may even have been accidental. All we know is that some sisters died, and we've been told many times that a knife in the dark or an arrow in the back will kill an AS as well as anyone else. As near as I can tell, the majority of the fighting was actually between armed men, starting with Danelle's "masons" attempting to take the Tower, and finishing with Gawyn's "Younglings" fighting the Blue and Green Warders who were planning to rescue Siuan before she could be stilled. I don't recall any actual retelling of the OP being used as a weapon, though it's possible that I just don't remember it and can't find it. And while Warders were not likely to be eager to kill AS, those "masons" of Danelle's sound like they didn't mind who they killed. My money is on them, especially if she directly told them to target the Blues. (Not that we know she did, but it's quite possible.)

Mediokrates @93 - Well I think the Elaida incident is a great example of errors in the storyline. The oathrod, which is a BINDER shouldn't allow them to do it. It shouldn't matter how mad or upset or crazy a Bound person is.The oaths do not allow AS to use the OP as a weapon on DF, just SS.

A couple of problems with this. One, several times we do see the Oath including Darkfriends as well as Shadowspawn. Two, many people here have very different assumptions as to what qualifies as a weapon. Most of the Aes Sedai think of "weapon" as "with intent to kill" whereas many readers think of "weapon" as "anything used to inflict pain." The Aes Sedai clearly have no problem using the One Power as a means to inflict pain for punishment or discipline; they do it all the time. "The Elaida incident" as you call it is exactly that: she's beating Egwene as a matter of punishing a novice for getting out of line. Her perception is simply so twisted by her anger that she doesn't realize she's approaching the point of "beating to death" - and as long as she doesn't recognize that, she can continue the beating. Elaida violated Tower Law by using the OP to punish an initiate, but she didn't break the Oath.
Ivan S.
96. Mediokrates
@ 95. Wetlandernw

I think you are addressing points not the question.

The question was how can AS kill AS, without being BA? Since this is what Egwene fears so much right up to the end of the siege of TV.

I fully concede that there is no proof AS killed AS in the coup. In fact the only times I recall AS killing anyone (other than FS) before the Seanchan attack, it turns out they are BA. In fact, at Dumai's Wells, the WT AS didn't kill any of the AS Perrin brought with him, despite the fact that they were launching balls of fire into a mass of people, and didn't know other AS were in its midst. As far as I understand, the only AS to die at DW, died from "mundane" weapons.

As far as my statement re: Elaida being an error or inconsistency, I will retract half of it. It was not necessarily an inconsistency with the oaths (though it should be). However, it was an inconsistency. Your own words prove this:

"The Aes Sedai clearly have no problem using the One Power as a means to inflict pain for punishment or discipline; they do it all the time. "

"Elaida violated Tower Law by using the OP to punish an initiate, but she didn't break the Oath. "

But that's a point, not the argument...

I think 94. Shadow_Jak touches the argument. Liked your scenario!
I acknowledge when I posed the question in post #47 & 48 that most people would assume warders would be involved in AS killing each other. However, there are defensive weaves, such as the shield which Moiraine will use in the next couple chapters which would make Shadow_Jak's scenario a stalemate. Read Moiraine's reaction's to what happens when she binds Caniedrin.

I think the solution to the question lies in the inconsistency of the 3rd oath. We've seen that in NS Moiraine uses the words "in the last extreme in defending". However, in TPOD, Pevara uses the words "in the last defense." And in WH-Snow, Talene's oath uses the words "in defense."
I would say that is a huge inconsistency. Rather than THE 3 OATHS, its more like 3 SIMILAR BUT NOT EQUAL OATHS.
It depends on which oath you've sworn. I would say that the first 2 require the AS to use all other options before resorting to using the OP as a weapon, like running away. The last, however, requires no such thing. I believe that Kiruna swore this oath. This way she could throw herself into the battle at Dumai's Wells, allowing herself to be put in danger, and using the OP as a weapon without exploring alternate options. Otherwise, it is a blatent violation of the 3rd oath. She could easily order her warder to not enter the fray, and refuse to do so herself. Jumping into a battle when you can walk away un-noticed is hardly "last defense" or "last extreme in defending."

Wetlandernw - I can find no quote of the 3rd oath which includes DF. Can you provide a reference? The closest thing I can find is Alanna in TSR-Assurances, when she tells Perrin that b/c the WCs aren't DF she can't use the OP against them except in defense.

I'm not sure what that represents: 1. an error by RJ 2. another version of the 3rd oath (by far the most lenient, although we don't actually see a quote of it), or 3. a lie.

I would like to now comment on how crappy the oath-rod is. What good is it if the bound person gets to use their own special definition of words. Although I fully agree AS see weapon as "with deadly intent," that is nowhere near ANY actual definition of the word. It's also pretty useless when the bound person's state of mind can overcome it. By that logic, any extreme emotion which clouds judgement should overcome any of the oaths.
As well, are we going to start seeing AS helping Perrin make power-wrought weapons? After all, they aren't making them, they're only heating the metal.
I just find the argument weak, when an AS can't even speak a little white lie without thought. Everyone does it all the time, not even realizing what they're saying until the words come out. Moiraine can't do this in NS-Entering Home, when she's shown her rooms.
Its a crappy binder that requires you to realize you're about to break the oath before it stops you.
Hugh Arai
97. HArai
Mediokrates@96: I would think it would be beyond the ability of anyone to create a binder that functions in absolutes. Just as one example, if the AS were actually bound to only speak the truth instead of not being able to speak what they know is a lie, an AS would be able to determine the actual truth of anything just by seeing if she can say it or not. Actually, why think small? You could foretell just by seeing if you could voice your predictions. It would be a very very different world and story if such a binder existed.
Jonathan Levy
98. JonathanLevy
53. Mediokrates
1. I think its a safe assumption that the FS know about learners, after all look where (Mesaana) is hidden. Hello, the WT. Osan'gar in the BT, as well.
The Foresaken may be hidden amongst the Aes Sedai, but they hold them in contempt as weak, ignorant, and barely half-trained. This is not an attitude conducive to learning about them. Also, this particular question is solved as far as the Forsaken are concerned, so it's not likely to come up in casual conversation (since all parties believe that everyone knows the answer).

The Forsaken are not likely to explicitly ask about it, any more than a Major League Baseball player who is forced to chaperone a little-league game is going to ask one of the children if he knows a new method of tying his shoelaces. He already knows how to tie shoelaces, what's a little kid going to know, and what does it matter anyway?

Of course, this doesn't prove that they don't know.

63. Mediokrates
... everytime I start skipping lines, I find that a gray man has suddenly appeared, and have to go back to see where the character didn't notice him showing up.
That happened to me so many times! The grey men who came for Perrin in TDR, and the one who snuck into the Stone in TSR, and the one which Taim killed. I think it's part of Jordan's genius.

It's not limited to grey men either - in the scene where Birgitte beats Luca at archery, Thom and Juilin arrange some bets beforehand and make a lot of money - and it's all done so subtly that I have no idea how many times I missed it before I got it. It's all from Elayne's POV and she doesn't understand what's going on until the very end. And the whole point of that is just to tell us readers that Thom and Juilin know perfectly well who Birgitte is even if they're not saying anything.

47. Mediokrates
71. Mediokrates
74. ValMar
I think that there won't be any difficulty in getting Aes Sedai to kill Aes Sedai using the OP because the perception of danger is very subjective. For example:

Aes Sedai A: I will cleverly use weave 73 from the Test to scare my enemies away without using the OP as a weapon.

Aes Sedai B: Oh no! I'm being attacked by fireballs! Obviously the enemy Aes Sedai can't be trying to kill me deliberately, but maybe she didn't see me and thinks her weave will harm no-one! (channels Balefire)

In war this happens all the time. It is very easy to misjudge danger - on both sides. Things look very different when a split second can mean the difference between life and death, as opposed to when you are sitting in front of a computer screen talking about a series of books.

Another example - there's a scene in a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis (13 days?) where a navy destroyer enforcing the blockade fires (harmless) starburst shells across the bow of a merchant ship in order to deter them - and almost triggers WWIII, because the Soviet nuclear submarine in the vicinity thinks that the ship is being attacked. If I recall correctly.

I don't think delicate toe-and-pinky escalations with Warders will be necessary.
Ivan S.
99. Mediokrates
@ 97. HArai

Re: Learners
I think Bergmaniac settled the issue about AOL channelers (inc. the FS) knowing about learners by referencing the Big White Wot Bible. I can't think of anywhere in the main story line, that the question comes up.

Re: Detailed & Subtle Writing Style.
Yeah, this happens to me probably once a chapter. Like I said, I think its a flaw as well as a tribute. A flaw, in that some writers have such an engrossing style of writing, you follow each and every word (admittedly those writers are few and far between). A tribute, b/c I think RJ recognizes his limitations or those of the reader and pops in these little nuggets to help pull you back in.

Re: AS using OP as a weapon & Oaths
I'm still not satisfied that there is 1 clear answer here. In ACOS-Lightenings, the WT AS respond to the threat of 40000(edit) Aiel by erecting a barrier. It is not until the Shaido wiseones undo the barrier and begin attacking them with the OP, that the AS begin using the OP as a weapon. Until that point, their use is entirely defensive. I'm sure even 30 AS can feel threatened by that many Aiel. So why not just start killing them? Why erect a barrier and wait? Remember, they are enveloped on all sides, facing 100x(edit) their number.
In LOC - Dumai's Wells - Kiruna et al. do not begin using the OP as a weapon, until the Shaido wiseones begin using the OP against Perrin's forces first. Remember Kiruna et al. were amongst these forces, and therefore in just as much danger of an OP fireball. They couldn't stay on the hilltop and use the OP.
KOD has a few examples of battles with AS present.
1. A Plain Wooden Box - Mat and the Band ambush twice their number of Seanchan at night. The only mentioned use of the OP is as a starburst. Even though thousands of Seanchan are only about 150 paces away, the OP is not used as a weapon.
2. In The Last Knot, Annoura announces that she now "feels" in danger and is ready to use the OP as a weapon. However, this is only after the Shaido wiseones first begin using the OP as a weapon. EDIT: Additionally, the first response of Perrin's channelers to this OP threat is to block it (it's unclear whether this is due to the wiseones or the AS), but the damane under Perrin's command attack first and defend second. It's only when the AS are now in danger of being hit with an arrow (another twenty paces) and the OP, that the AS actually start.
3. In Prince of Ravens, Mat et al. are facing close to 100000 Seanchan & allies, with their backs to a river and swamp. Even though arrows are falling among the Band, Joline does not "feel" in danger. It was not until the Seanchan were entering melee distance and enveloping Mat's hedgehog formation that the AS could begin using the OP as a weapon. Remember, they had nowhere to run, with their rear to the river & swamp, and enemy soldiers infront of them and on their flanks.

So yes, it would appear from these examples that AS must "feel" in danger rather than "be" in danger in order to use the OP as a weapon. However, it would appear that this "feeling" may not be as subjective as some would have us think.

From these particular examples, it would seem that in order to "feel" in danger, an AS must have no where to run or be already under attack by the OP. So from this, I must conclude that for an AS to use the OP as a weapon against another AS (warders aside), she must first be attacked with the OP. Paradox.
If there are any other examples of AS using the OP as a weapon against people, please tell me, and we can see whether they contradict this conclusion. (oh yeah, the Seanchan attack on the WT, but I think that follows the same pattern)
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Yeah, the issue is confusing. But for Dumai Wells IMO the barrier was mainly tactical decission. From what we've seen from regular AS, the WT AS had no chance stopping both the Ailel warriors and WOs.
Ivan S.
101. Mediokrates

Yes I agree, of course it was tactical. It was obviously a physical shield and even possibly a shield against the OP. So I concede that they might not be able to direct the OP through the shield against the Aiel. However, when the Aiel first attacked, it took the form of a wall (ACOS , hdcvr, 1pr. p 31). Yet still the AS did not use the OP as a weapon, while their enemies were held at bay - which would have been the correct strategic decision. When arrows came over that wall, they still did not respond by throwing fireballs back over the wall... they created a defensive dome. Admittedly, this may have taken the option of fireballs out of the equation; but there was still the option of lightning from the sky. So why?
102. Mike123
One flaw that I think we all make in this series is assuming that ones genetic make up determines if one can channel. I am starting to rethink this and forego this assumption. Basing instead on what the creator has attempted to instill that the Wheel weaves as the wheel wills. I am now under the impression and thought that it is not a genetic mechanism but a willing of the wheel mechanism.
Keep in mind that RJ has said a few times that what someone believes to be true in the story doesn't actually make it true. It's only their perspective and view point, and not necessarily factual, is the way i inturpret what he means.
The point I am trying to make is that the characters are attempting to use what they know...breeding sheep and possibly even cross pollenation of crops to produce the desired characteristics. They then attempt to apply this same knowledge with channeling. I theorize that this would not be the case regardless of the practicality, but more so because of the will of the wheel. The wheel spins out what is needed for its own purpose.
When channelers are not needed for it's purpose, there are fewer, and possibly none in the future. When the wheel wills there to be channelers, again for its purpose, there will be.
I am rereading TEOTW and throughout this entire book (less in other books I think) it is mentioned about the wheel producing what is needed when it is needed. Lan and Moraine first have this conversation when they are escaping from the Two Rivers to explain why Egwene and Thom should and must join them.
Just an opinion, enjoy.
Mikey Bennett
103. EvilMonkey
The Big Book of Bad Art says that channelling is a genetic trait. So saith the Creator, so it's true. Channelling Strength, however, may in fact be dictated by the will of the Pattern. Or it could just be that the Pattern picks those who will already have the predisposition for great strength and put them in place. We know why Eggy and Nynaeve are so strong, they are a part of a bloodline undiluted since the Trolloc Wars. Elaine has channeling on both sides of her family tree, Morgase's cousin giving birth to the most powerful channeler in Randland. House Damodred has Moraine, a channeller with decent strength herself. She was predisposed to be powerful too. We are not aware of Avi's geneology, but it isn't a coincidence that Rand fell in love with a woman who is A) Beautiful, B) Strong in the Power and C) Comes from a culture where sharing a man is a rare but totally acceptable practice. Or rather it the Will of the Pattern masquerading as coincidence. The Pattern is one hell of a matchmaker, even if it did give us Perrin and Faile.
Julian Augustus
104. Alisonwonderland
Jonathan Levy @50:

Couldn't resist:
However, we also have a viewing by Min, whose precise nature we do not know -

What do you mean we don't know Min's precise nature? She is a girl who loves the DRagon and helped keep him from going over the deep end, sees visions from which she forecasts future events,... oh, you mean it is the viewing whose precise nature we don't know, why didn't you say so?
Ivan S.
105. Mediokrates
@ 102. Mike123
Good point! I've been admitting that possibility to myself for alittle while now. I think there's loads of evidence to support both arguments . Both are equally plausible.

But if the Big White WOT Bible says its genetic, then the Creator has spoken.

Re: Oaths & Intent & Perspective
I was just rereading the cleansing of saidin and the battle of TV to see if any new insights on using the OP as a weapon could be found. I didn't see anything. However, I did read the bit where Egwene outs Sheriam as BA before the rebel Hall.
Egwene: "Do you serve the Dark One?"
Sheriam: "No!"
Egwene: "Have you been released from your oaths?"
Sheriam: "No!"
Egwene: "Do you have red hair?"
Sheriam: "Of course not, I never - " She froze.
And thank you for that trick as well, Verin, Egwene thought with a mental sigh.

The tent grew very, very still

Egwene then demands Sheriam reswear the oaths, at which point Sheriam admits she is BA (TGS-Sealed to the Flame, p. 680).

Surely, the implication here is that AS cannot answer a question falsely, even if they believed they were answering another question. That Sheriam is able to answer a question she believed was asked, rather than the one actually asked, is enough for all the other AS present to realize that something is wrong.

I'm just spitballing here but, I think the key is sensory & intellectual awareness vs conscious awareness. In Sheriam's case here, Sheriam intellectually knows what question she was asked (Egwene did not have to repeat it, so her ears (senses) did register the correct words), she was just not immediately conscious that it was not a question she had anticipated, and it took a second for her conscious awareness to catch up to her senses.

In the Farm scenario with Merilille attacking the Raken, she had no intellectual knowledge, honestly believing it to be SS. Having never seen a Raken, she had no sensory knowledge of them. But had she known about Raken, one could have swooped right over her head, surprising her... but the instant her eyes & brain registered the object as a Raken, she would not be able to OP it unless endangered, despite the fact that she would still need a fraction of a second to consciously become aware of the fact.

This is why AS can tell a lie they believe to be true. B/c they lack the intellectual awareness.

This would indicate to me that the oaths work based on your intellectual or sensory awareness and not your conscious awareness. So if true, this would refute any arguments about using the OP as a weapon, by not being consciously aware that you are ie. Elaida beating Egwene almost to death. Elaida intellectually knows she is beating Egwene severely. She intellectually knows she is using the OP to do this. She intellectually knows Egwene is not SS. Just b/c she is so enraged she is not consciously aware of these facts should mean nothing.
And that's why I think this incident is flawed.
In this regard, Rand's beating by Erian et al., or any use of the OP to torture is also flawed (unless the AS was BA). They know he isn't SS, or an immediate threat, yet use the OP to torture him & Min. Its use as such is obviously as a weapon. No amount of crazy emotions should change this fact (the Erian is so emotional b/c her warders died argument) as evidenced by Alanna in TSR-Assurances.
Julian Augustus
106. Alisonwonderland
Lakesidey @51:
But it was a very basic weave up until Nynaeve came along - she fine-tuned it to be able to detect (and hence cure) the 'cut' in stilling and later refined it still further to be able to see (and hence cure) madness. Both things which even AOL AS were unable to do.

This is one of the good things that arose out of Rand's dark dark period. Remember in tGS he ordered Nynaeve to unravel Graendal's compulsion on the kid who had been sent to poison Ladywhatshername, the kid who revealed Graendal's location.

Nynaeve now has, through performing that unravelling, acquired the ability to manipulate the mind that may be the equal of Graendal's in some respects. And it has given her the knowledge and the confidence to attempt something that, prior to this experience, had been thought impossible. It hadn't even occurred to anybody that the taint madness could be cured. Nynaeve's newfound skill has already paid huge dividends in the curing of Naeff. I expect she'll cure most of the surviving light-side Ashaman after the upcoming civil war in the BT.
Ryan R
107. CorDarei
Quote Medio
"In this regard, Rand's beating by Erian et al., or any use of the OP to torture is also flawed (unless the AS was BA). They know he isn't SS, or an immediate threat, yet use the OP to torture him & Min."
" whatever you said about Egwene's beating"

That's where it comes into perception of the reader. To you, using something to torture or beat someone is a weapon. In my perception, the OP isn't a weapon when beating or torturing someone. Would you call a switch a weapon (beating)? Or water (water boarding)? Perhaps you would, but it can be rationalized both ways. And from previous examples of using the OP, AS differ in their rationalization of use.
Benjamin Moldovan
108. benpmoldovan
Alison@ 106: That brings up an interesting possiblity. I wonder if Nyneave could reverse the 13x13 trick? Of course, you'd have to have a living, subdued channeler to even attempt it, and be aware that that was what was done to said channeler. All that is by no means a given.

The 13x13 trick is, IIRC, a twisting of the SOUL. Who knows if such a thing could even be undone like the madness.
Alex Johns
109. almuric
I get the tor.com email newsletter. Just got the latest one. I've got a question: Who writes it? Are they completely divorced from reality? Here's how it starts: "
Our Wheel of Time reread is rounding the final corner,..."

We've got 4.5 books to go by my count. At two chapters a week, 40 chapters a book, that's like almost two years. Rounding the final corner? Considering the first post was January 2009 it would be more accurate to say we're just over half-way.

I'm not complaining, mind you. I love the re-read and I love Leigh; that phrase just really seemed out of place to me.

Oh, and @108 benpmoldovan:
13x13 cannot be reversed. That was spelled out pretty clearly at some point.
Valentin M
111. ValMar
Mediokrates @ 101

I think the WT AS with the Dome on didn't find themselves in sufficient danger and/or were saving their strenght. As for the definition of Danger- it appears there are as many definitions as there are AS. There was a debate here on it in the post for Dumai Wells, IIRC.
I know that the case at Dumai Wells is not key to the overall point that you are making but wanted to answer it since I had an easy answer available :)
lake sidey
112. lakesidey
109 Almuric: But stilling/gentling also cannot be reversed. That has also been spelled out very clearly at more than one point. (Like Galileo might have whispered - "but....it moves!")

And then Nynaeve had to go and ruin it...and that damn...err... Flinn...

Ivan S.
114. Mediokrates
@ 107. CorDarei
Please elaborate. How does that work?

Weapons can only be used to kill.
The OP was not used to kill.
Therefore, the OP is not a weapon.

This argument is valid, but not sound. The premise is faulty. It is possible for weapons to be used in ways which do not kill. A baseball bat can break your knee. A gun can fire rubber bullets. Is tear gas not a weapon?

What we need is a better premise. So I've searched for definitions of weapon on google, and here are a few from the first page result:

1. an instrument or device of any kind used to injure or kill, as in fighting or hunting
2. any organ or part of an organism used for attacking or defending (yourdictionary.com)
3.any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat, fighting, or war, as a sword, rifle, or cannon.
4. anything used against an opponent, adversary, or victim (dictionary.reference.com)
5. An instrument of combat; something to fight with - used or designed to injure or kill
6. An instrument of attack or defense in combat, as a gun, missile, or sword.

Through syllogism, I arrive at a new premise:
All weapons are instruments.
All weapons can be used to injure or kill.
Therefore, all weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.

The argument:

All weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.
The OP is an instrument
The OP was used to injure.
Therefore, the OP is a weapon.

Not completely inclusive, but both valid and sound.

. Any definition or rationalization used by an AS to deny that they would be using the OP as a weapon to beat or torture a person, when not defending her life, would therefore be unsound. We have established that weapons can come in lethal and non-lethal varieties. The only requirement of a weapon is that it is an instrument that can be used to injure or kill. Remember, AS all took classes in logic as novices, so they are not so blind to logic as you would have us think.

@ 109. almuric

I know what you mean; however when you think about it...
15 books divided by 4=3.75
4 piles of 3.75 books grouped by order of publication.
4 piles arranged to form a 4 sided shape.
1st pile=books 1-3.75; 2nd pile=books 3.76-7.5 3rd pile=books 7.51-11.25; 4th pile=books 11.26-15.
So apparently, we've already rounded the 3rd pile(corner) and are on the straightaway to the finish line. Sorry:)

@ 108. benpmoldovan

Interesting idea. Hmmmm. Where's Herid Fel.

@ 109. almuric
Haven't you learned yet, Nynaeve performs impossible tasks everyday before breakfast.
Ivan S.
115. Mediokrates
@107. CorDarei
Please elaborate. How does that work?

Weapons can only be used to kill.
The OP was not used to kill.
Therefore, the OP is not a weapon.

This argument is valid, but not sound. The premise is faulty. It is possible for weapons to be used in ways which do not kill. A baseball bat can break your knee. A gun can fire rubber bullets. Is tear gas not a weapon?

What we need is a better premise. So I've searched for definitions of weapon on google, and here are a few from the first page result:

1. an instrument or device of any kind used to injure or kill, as in fighting or hunting
2. any organ or part of an organism used for attacking or defending (yourdictionary.com)
3.any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat, fighting, or war, as a sword, rifle, or cannon.
4. anything used against an opponent, adversary, or victim (dictionary.reference.com)
5. An instrument of combat; something to fight with - used or designed to injure or kill
6. An instrument of attack or defense in combat, as a gun, missile, or sword.

Through syllogism, I arrive at a new premise:
All weapons are instruments.
All weapons can be used to injure or kill.
Therefore, all weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.

The argument:

All weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.
The OP is an instrument
The OP was used to injure.
Therefore, the OP is a weapon.

Not completely inclusive, but both valid and sound.

. Any definition or rationalization used by an AS to deny that they would be using the OP as a weapon to beat or torture a person, when not defending her life, would therefore be unsound. We have established that weapons can come in lethal and non-lethal varieties. The only requirement of a weapon is that it is an instrument that can be used to injure or kill. Remember, AS all took classes in logic as novices, so they are not so blind to logic as you would have us think.

@ 109. almuric
Haven't you learned yet, Nynaeve performs impossible tasks everyday before breakfast.
Kat Blom
116. pro_star
almuric@109 - pretty sure they said the same thing about once someone was stilled or gentled as well...

...or madness...

but look what Nynaeve has done. Who knows what is truly possible anymore?
Ryan R
117. CorDarei
Again, it's the reader's perception you're talking about Medio, not the character's. I think you'd make a good White Ajah
Roger Powell
118. forkroot

The Big Book of Bad Art says that channelling is a genetic trait. So saith the Creator, so it's true.

Whoa!! The Creator stated that the BBoBA is presented as if it were written by in-story protagonists. Which means that statements in it have the same validity as statements by (possibly misinformed) characters in the rest of the canon.

13x13 cannot be reversed. That was spelled out pretty clearly at some point.
I don't think so - I know that RJ pointed out that someone who had been 13x13'd would not want it reversed -- but that's a different matter.
119. Mike123
in response to post 103...The Big Book of Bad Art says that channelling is a genetic trait.

I have the book and will most likely research this statement tonight, but keep in mine that (according to Wiki and yes I know, take it with a grain of salt) "the information in the guide is broadly canonical, the book is deliberately written with vague, biased or even downright false (or guessed) information in places, as Patterson (the author of the book) felt this would reflect a key theme of the series (the mutability of knowledge across time and distance)."
Ivan S.
120. Mediokrates
@ 119. Mike123

ahhh, the Dune - Encyclopedia approach. very interesting.
if that's the case, story-line trumps guide
lake sidey
121. lakesidey
The only clear case in-story I can remember seeing a woman channeler's children onscreen is Talaan and her...ancestresses? Four generations of powerful saidar wi(e)lders. But there are brief mentions of novices in the rebel tower coming to compain because their daughters are stronger than them in the power. And Avi's vision of her channeling kids. And Moragase (borderline channeler, I know, but still) and Elayne. I would take that as significant story-line backup evidence that channeling has at least a strong genetic component. You don't have to be a channeler's kid....but it helps.

Hmmm, Bode is going to be a strong channeler but Mat thinks he can't channel. Maybe he can learn, just wasn't born with the spark (after all "lucky-ness" seems to be a potential indicator of male channelers... according to the BA in NS anyway!). Poor guy, if so....

Captain Hammer
122. Randalator
Mike123 @119

while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also.
(RJ on his blog)

lakesidey @121

The "lucky-ness" is supposed to be a reference to unconscious channeling. Like a beam slamming into the Trolloc that is about to kill you sending it flying over board or a lightning strike just when a bunch of baddies are about to break into the room you are trapped in. But unconscious channeling is an exclusive feature of the deluxe "sparker" edition channeler. The standard "learner" edition by definition comes without the unconscious mojo upgrade...
Jay Dauro
123. J.Dauro
Mediokrates @120

Not really. Story line often presents what the character believes. And that is also not canon.

BTW, we have one instance of a child of a male channeler being able to channel. Grady in TOM.

We have also seen that persons strong in the "old blood" appear to be stronger channelers. So we have some evidence for a genetic basis. But with the idea of the "pattern", this could all be what it needs, with no causuality.
Thomas Keith
124. insectoid
Well, I do declare that the code monkeys have gotten some of the kinks out of the site redesign, especially speed-wise—site is much snappier now, and no more long delays. :D

edit: Still haven't fixed the staying-logged-in problem, though.

Sub @89: Perhaps someone ::coughcoughrobmcough:: should put it in the form of a petition? ;)

Lots of good discussion going on here re: the Oaths. I'd add my 2¢, but my brain is fuzzy and my sinuses congested, so it probably wouldn't sound right...

Shadow_Jak @94: LOL!! Love it.

Mediokrates @115: Nice analysis! I agree with CorDarei that you'd make a good White.

Alice Arneson
125. Wetlandernw
Mediokrates @96 - The Great Hunt, Chapter 23: "When you are raised to full sisterhood, you will take your final vows holding that ter'angreal. To speak no word that is not true. To make no weapon for one man to kill another. Never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending your own life, that of your Warder, or that of another sister."

The Dragon Reborn, Prologue: "They prated of their Three Oaths: to speak no word that was not true, to make no weapon for one man to kill another, to use the One Power as a weapon only against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn."

The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 2: "Not to use the Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn or Darkfriends, or in defense of their own lives, that was another of the Oaths..."

As far as your definition of "weapon" - have your own definition by all means, but don't assume that your definition applies everywhere. (Or that the definitions of all the online dictionaries in the world are applicable to the WoT.) Take what the author has given and accept it. In this world, "weapon" does not include a switch, rod, paddle or shoe with which to administer discipline or punishment. You may not like it, but that's how he wrote it. Not sure why you connect the Aes Sedai with helping Perrin make power-wrought weapons; they clearly stayed out of that. All the Power was supplied by the Asha'man and the Wise Ones.

almuric @109 - I think Megan Messinger writes the newsletter, though I'm not 100% sure on that. In any case, I'm guessing she's thinking in terms of the original intent of the reread, which was to get through Knife of Dreams (before AMoL came out in October 2009). We're all assuming that Leigh is planning to continue the reread through TGS and ToM, but that wasn't the original plan. I'm not actually sure what Leigh's planning, come to think of it.

@several - Forget the BBoBA, RJ said in his blog that channeling is genetic, and that the removal of channeling men from the gene pool has had a definite effect. He also said (in a TOR Question of the Week) that "It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so."
Birgit F
126. birgit
I collected some quotes from RJ about the present discussion:

Balticon XXX April 1996 - Pam Korda reporting
The Oaths: They are quite subjective, if an Aes Sedai believes she is not lying, then the Oath doesn't stop her. So, that is what was going on in the torturing part of Lord of Chaos. It depends on the psychology of the individual. It's like spanking a naughty child. Some people regard that as child abuse; some people regard it as reasonable punishment.
Balticon XXX April 1996 - Bill Garrett reporting

The Aes Sedai who beat Rand in Lord of Chaos did not necessarily violate the Three Oaths. Jordan explained that the Three Oaths are bound by literal intent and perception. He said that the Aes Sedai could have considered the beatings a just punishment rather than the use of a weapon. He also suggested that not everything that harms you need be considered a weapon. I think he gave the example of a whip used lightly not considered a weapon, versus a whip used to flay skin being considered a weapon.

A Crown of Swords book tour 9 October 1996, Dunwoody, GA - Erica Sadun reporting

Q: Is channeling ability strictly, or partly genetically based?

RJ: Partially. Worked it a bit with some friends but just left it mostly hanging.

DragonCon 4 September 2005 - Emma reporting

Question: Previously you have made it known that an individual who is severed will retain the ability to channel in his or her subsequent life, which connects the ability to channel with the soul. How does burning out affect ones ability to channel in the next life? Specifically, will an individual born with the spark but who burns out during his or her life have the inborn spark in a subsequent life?
Jordan: I don't think I have said if you are born with the spark you would have the have the spark again. I have said if you were born with the ability to channel, to learn or with the spark, you will, when your soul is born again, you will have the ability again, whether with the spark or without. And neither burning out or severing affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime.

Knife of Dreams book tour 27 October 2005, Half Moon Bay - Chris reporting

There were a few questions about his series, one that I asked was: if channeling was genetic, did the Forsaken need bodies that were genetically compatible for them to be able to use the power?

His answer was that channeling is not just a recessive or dominant gene, rather both genetic and in the soul.

Knife of Dreams tour San Jose, CA 28 October 2005 - Frenzy reporting

Frenzy: Can a person who hasn't actively channeled yet be severed or stilled?
RJ: (paraphrased) "No, you have to have something to take away something, so a person has to have an active connection to the Source to be able to have it cut."

TOR Questions of the Week, February 2005-July 2005

Week 15 Question: When a channeler is forcibly turned to the Dark, is his/her former personality lost to eternity? Are they in a permanent state of mindless Compulsion? Furthermore, can a channeler forcibly turned to the Dark return to the Light unaided?

Robert Jordan Answers: They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so.

RJ's blog 2 October 2005 "ONE MORE TIME"

- For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the “present day” sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Sandy, UT 5 December 2009 - kavorca reporting

Ability to Channel/Souls. I think this has all been reported, but he stated definitively that the ability to channel is tied to soul. He stated definitively that the spark was not tied to the soul but could be affected by a specific body (i.e., if you had the spark in one life, you could be reborn and just have the ability to learn.) He stated with 85% probability that strength in the Power was not tied to soul, meaning that if you were an uber-channeler in one body, you could be weak in the Power in your next body.

Australia Interview - August 1999

Q: Back on Mat again. Could you comment on whether or not he may be able to channel?

RJ: Nope. Not a chance. Can't do it. He can get anyone in the world to dance with him just about but he can't channel worth a darn note.

Q: He's still young enough for it not to show up, right?

RJ: No he's not going to be . . . He can't channel. But if you approach him the right way he will come to your birthday party on a Harley.

Elaida beating Egwene almost to death. Elaida intellectually knows she is beating Egwene severely. She intellectually knows she is using the OP to do this. She intellectually knows Egwene is not SS.
She calls Eg a Darkfriend just before her attack gets out of hand:

"You name me Darkfriend?" Elaida screamed. "You are the Darkfriend. You and those rebels outside, who seek to distract me from doing what must be done."
A blast of woven Air slammed Egwene against the wall again

TGS ch. 16
127. Mike123
Thanks to all for the info about RJ's blogs that indicate his intent was for channeling to be tied to genetics in some fashion.
Valentin M
128. ValMar
Thanks for all the quotes!

The one about the returning from 13x13 is particularly interesting to me. It gives me hope for Tarna and the others. The key word being "unaided". From what we saw in the latest book it's blatantly obvious that the turned person wouldn't come back unaided, so that's ok. So the answer by RJ wasn't "it's impossible". Just "very unlikely without help".
Sounds to me that RJ has left the door well open for a Fix, by Nyn probably. After all, she specialises in "impossible" jobs. "Unlikely" should be easy for her.
129. Mike123
I would also like to make a point in regards to turning someone back from being 13x13ed.

Notice the question and answer from RJ.
"Week 15 Question: When a channeler is forcibly turned to the Dark, is his/her former personality lost to eternity? Are they in a permanent state of mindless Compulsion? Furthermore, can a channeler forcibly turned to the Dark return to the Light unaided?

Robert Jordan Answers: They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so."

RJ was asked if it was possible, and he dodged the question by answering they are unlikely to have the desire. While I am no language expert, or personality expert, I do have common sense most of the times and I think this was a subtle way for RJ to provide an answer by not answering the real question. I suspect, that he had planned for 13x13 to be reversible and we may see it in the last book and simply did not want to give it away. Only time will tell though.
130. Mike123
Ok so a thought just occurred to me and I wanted someone else's thoughts on it. When trying to determine what is canon and what is not, is it acceptable to say that blogs and interviews are canon? Keep in mind RJ often says that what one believes to be true is not always the truth. Can we apply, or should we apply this to anything the creator says? Can he be trusted to give us unbiased truth, or is it the truth as he sees it, or his perspective. And yes, I know he is the creator, so this may all just be a rabbit trail to oblivion; however, I am curious what others may think on this subject.

Ivan S.
131. Mediokrates
@ 125. Wetlandernw & @130. Mike123

Thanks for hunting down those quotes!

Regarding stories that contain mysteries which the author wishes the reader to be ABLE to figure out on their own, I can't say it any better than the author of the Sherlock & Watson fanfic:

To keep it simple, I had Holmes restrain himself to examining such evidence as was actually provided within the books (those available around the year 2000), without depending on any statements Jordan had allegedly made on the subject in face-to-face talks with fans at conventions and book signing sessions and so forth. A proper murder mystery should be susceptible to solution based solely on the clues written in the book or books in question, without needing hints provided in other forums by the author.

With that in mind, I base my opinions solely on material found within the published series. An author can say whatever they want in other forums to "fix" errors in their plot or writing.

Regarding your quotes (great finds BTW), I do have some issues with them, as to their validity in refuting my argument.
1.TGH - This is Sheriam speaking, a now known BA. Her words cannot necessarily be trusted, and should be even more suspect than those of a normal AS.
2. TDR - This is a WC thinking about the 3 oaths. WC are hardly experts on the subject.
3. TFOH - This is Rand's understanding of the oaths. Rand is also not an expert.
4. None of these examples is an actual quotation of the oaths, at best in Sheriam's case, it is a paraphrase.
5. So far, none of the examples of the 3rd oath actually being taken that we've discussed, mention DF. This is the supreme evidence, as it includes both quotation and context. (If the 3rd oath is supposed to include DF, then these are errors on RJ's part. Otherwise we are back to the 3 SIMILAR BUT NOT EQUAL OATHS issue.)

As far as my definition of weapon, I believe it is the conventional one. If RJ wanted the definition of weapon in Randland to have another meaning, then RJ should have specifically defined it within the books. To do otherwise, presupposes a conventional definition. If anyone can find any text within the books confirming this supposed Randland definition of weapon, then I will certainly concede the point. If not, then it is an error.
As for mentioning AS & Perrin making weapons, you had implied that it is "intent & perception" which was the key to the oaths (post #95). By not "intending" to kill Egwene, this allowed Elaida to use the OP to beat her.
So I took your argument and ran with it, applying it to the 2nd oath: "Under the Light and by my hope of Salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another."

As of TOM, we know that PW weapons are not made with the OP. They are made from metal heated by the OP. By your argument, an AS should have no problem doing this. Unless Randland has a special definition of the verb "to make," I see no reason why not. Her intent would be only to heat the metal, not make a weapon.

Following this train of thought further... even if the OP was needed to actually make a PW weapon, then an AS could do this with the intent of giving the weapon to a woman. The 2nd oath says nothing about making a weapon for a woman to kill a man, or another woman. Or how about a weapon requiring 2 men to use it. Could an AS make a weapon for 2 men to kill another?
Let me be clear... there is a difference between what an author actually writes and what an author intends to write. RJ may have intended to write:
1. OP was both genetic & soul-based.
2. Severing requires first touching the OP.
3. The definition of weapon is special in Randland.
4. Lack of intent defeats the 3 oaths.
However, from the text of the books, I don't believe he actually wrote this.
Ivan S.
132. Mediokrates
@ 125. Wetlandernw

If intent really is the key to the oaths, then why is the Hall so stunned by Sheriam's answer to Egwene's questions, which I quoted in Post #105?
Obviously, Sheriam didn't intend to deny she had red-hair. Her intent is obviously to deny she is a DF, a BA, and a traitor. So why is this event significant to proving she is BA?
EDIT: "You are part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor. Take her away!"
Ryan R
133. CorDarei

Now you're just being bull headed. Not everyone thinks the way you do. This isn't burger king y'know ;)
Rob Munnelly
134. RobMRobM
@130 - Keep in mind that RJ has been known, on occasion, to be incorrect in his ex cathedra comments. My biggest example is that RJ stated somewhere that Mat's old tongue knowledge came just from the adventurers to the Tower of Ghenjie -- forgetting that when Mat made it to Finnland the first time (without the gift from his second visit), he had enough knowledge of the old tongue to converse without the need of interpreters. So, good question re what should be considered canon. Books, yes. Confirmed, multiple statements of same point, yes. The occasional other statement - maybe.

Alice Arneson
135. Wetlandernw
Mediokrates @several - I'm not saying intent is the key to the Oaths; it's a combination of basic perceptions, intent, understanding, conscious and subconscious awareness and several other things. I find the insistence that "this is the conventional definition, therefore that is an error" to be laughable, frankly. To insist that a 21st-century "conventional definition" is universal and must be applicable to a fantasy story where the definition is clearly different, is to refuse the fantasy altogether. You insist that an author write fantasy by your rules, or insist that your rules are the only way to interpret what is written, and anything that doesn't work with your rules is then, by definition, an error. Why not just create your own fantasy world where everything goes by your rules, if that's what you want?

To get a different understanding of "weapon" you'd only have to go back in our history a hundred years or so, when the "conventional definition" would not call a switch, rod, paddle, strap, whip or slipper a "weapon" when used to mete out discipline or correctional punishment. (Frankly, many would not consider a gun or a rope to be a weapon, if used to administer a legal death sentence.) The point is, as birgit quoted, within the WoT world beating is not looked at the same way as it is in 21st-century America (or wherever you're from), so the tool used need not be considered a weapon at all.

If you use an axe to cut wood, is it a weapon? What about if you use an axe in battle? The purpose, and the perception of the purpose, makes the difference. When you chop wood for your fireplace, it's a tool; when you chop your way through someone's gate and then chop their heads open, it's a weapon. The OP, used with intent to kill or maim, is a weapon. The OP, used with intent to cause pain by way of punishment (e.g. Elaida, Erian), is not a weapon by the in-world definition.

Mike123 - IMO, when RJ put something in writing himself (blog, email, etc.), or when something was transcribed from a recording, it should be accepted as true about his world. When the quotation is "he said something like this" going from the questioner's memory, it's a little less authoritative but should be considered. I'm not one of those who insist that if it wasn't included in the books in so many words, it doesn't count. What's the point of asking the author questions about his books if you won't accept the answers as valid? As far as "what they believe to be true" - it's completely applicable to anything presented by a character or an in-world "historian" but it's rank foolishness to apply it to the author. The whole thing comes from his imagination; by definition it can't be "untrue" of his world. Of course an author can be inconsistent, or can retcon when he chooses, but RJ did as little of that as humanly possible. (Just ask Maria.) So when he says "it works this way" it's silly to refuse it; he was perfectly capable of giving Aes Sedai answers if he wanted to hedge his bets, didn't have it all worked out yet, or just didn't want to tell yet.

CorDarei @133 - Ain't that the truth!!

RobM @134 - Except that you have to consider the context, and the question he was answering. In the context of the comment you're referencing (if I've got the right one in mind) the questioner was focused on the idea of Mat being somebody-or-other-reborn, and RJ was trying to get them to realize that the memories (you know, the distinct memories of this and that, which he has later, as opposed to the near-hallucination kind of thing when he was being Healed from the SL Dagger) were from the 'Finn rather than being anything like Rand's LTT memories. So yeah, if you drag a comment kicking and screaming out of context, you'll get the wrong answer. If you read the whole thing and see what he was trying to answer, it looks a whole lot different.
Ivan S.
136. Mediokrates
@Wetlandernw et al.

Re: Randland's definition of weapon

I realized that I have the series in ebook format, except for TGS. So started doing a word search. I searched TEOTW to COT, and found that infact there is no such thing as a special definition for weapon, that narrows it meaning, as you have argued. In fact, some of the ways it is used indicate that Randlanders have a very broad definition of the word.

TEOTW - Leavetakings.

Lan: "Anything can be a weapon, if the man or woman who holds it has the nerve and will to make it so."

TDR - Nightmares Walking

"Moiraine was out in the night as well, dancing her own dance among the Trollocs. Her only apparent weapon was a switch..."

TPOD - A Goatpen

Perrin first meets Morgase/Maighdin:

"She still carried the stout stick she had been using for a weapon ."

COT - Glimmer of the Pattern

Ituralde thinks to himself:

"Words could be deadlier weapons than swords. "

COT - Traps

Faile thinks to herself:

"Her brain was the only real weapon she possessed..."

Embers Falling on Dry Grass:

Egwene thinks to herself while encountering Silviana, the WT MON:

"Patience was one of the few weapons left to her, at present. "

There are a few more references, but those are the best. None come anywhere near implying a narrower definition. In fact, the second example explicity indicates that Randlanders consider a switch a weapon.

Re: Oaths,

Please refer to the glossary of LOC & ACOS. No mention of DF in 3rd oath, which uses the phrase "the last extreme in defense," phrasing.
Ivan S.
137. Mediokrates
@ 133. CorDarei

As I understand it, RJ had a copy of this author's theory, which he had marked as completely correct in its reasoning.

I tend to try to prove my theories with evidence from the books. And should my theory not fit what is written, alter the theory so that it does. As I understand it, that's how theory building works.
Otherwise, it's just opinion based on no facts.
I tend not to hold to a theory, just because I like it
If the book says one thing, and then contradicts itself, I take note.

Ex. Are we saying that every AS has sworn the same oaths? But we have definitive examples that the wording of the oaths is different throughout the series. This is a fact. This either means 1 of 2 things:
1. RJ made a mistake
2. This is intentional. The 3 Oaths are actually 3 Similar But Not Equal Oaths. (This could demonstrate the how small differences have large repercussions). The implications of which have not been explored at all.
Can you think of any other reasons for this inconsistency?
Please share them.

I'm not being bull-headed. In fact I've been quite the opposite. I think I've demonstrated clearly that I am willing to concede a point, or alter a theory based on what evidence other posters provide.

However, I believe that a good portion of the of those arguments are based on opinion with little or no solid fact (quoting in context).

I do tend to ask a writer to be consistent. If he intends to give an everyday word a new or limited meaning, and does so once, then I think its fairly reasonable for the reader to expect the same treatment in other cases. So if the word "gentle" requires a special definition, and the author takes the time to explicitly explain it, then the same should be done for other words with new or different meanings. ex. channel, travel, skim, weapon.

As for Wetlandernw, it would appear I've hit a button. Like I said, I try to work with facts that are written down within the text. Can you deny there is a difference between intending to write something and actually writing something? As they say in philosophy... reality precedes potentiality.

If a poster makes an argument, or states a theory that I am not convinced of, of course I am going to challenge it. It's nothing personal FGS.
If I find something in the text which contradicts that argument or theory, then perhaps your theory needs to change. If I fail to do so, then your argument has merit. If I find evidence to support it without contradiction, then it is sound, and I will adopt it.

If you don't agree with me... fine...
But attacking me will not change my mind, and certainly not my theories.
Attack my theories and my proofs. Prove me wrong, and my theories will change.
Maiane Bakroeva
138. Isilel
Sorry, I won't hunt attributions now, but I agree with folks who are less than satisfied with Moiraine's idiocy in this chapter. I mean, sure, she is a noob as an AS and it should have been shown in _some_ way.
But this just doesn't make sense.
She blows her cover, which, she knows could be highly dangerous for her quest and indeed her life, and doesn't even have an "OMG, what have I done!" realization, like she did when spouting her plans to Cadsuane?
Not to mention that as an accomplished prankster as well as somebody who came of age at the court of Cahirien, she really should have been able to do something less... blunt and "in your face" in revenge.

Moiraine has been a star pupil academically as well as OP-wise and yet can't avoid giving offence at every step, although customs of different peoples is something that WT _does_ teach and are clearly important for a competent AS to know?

I also have to say that I dislike how in WoT women in their twenties constantly make fools of themselves out in the world and need somebody to watch over them, while boys of 14+, not even the Superboys, do A-OK. I mean, Lan rode into the Blight before he was 16 and nobody said that he needed "seasoning" or whatever, while Moiraine, even after a difficult and life-threatening test apparently can't be let out on her own? Bleh.

Alisonwonderland @109:

It hadn't even occurred to anybody that the taint madness could be cured.

Well, it seems per Elayne in TGH that they taught in the WT that the AS _did_ try to find a cure for the taint for a few centuries after the Breaking, before concluding that it was impossible. Whether they didn't hit on Nynaeve's method or whether it could only be so effective after saidin itself has been cleansed is anybody's guess.


I really don't see how the genetic component of channeling isn't demonstrated in the books themselves.
There are several "family clusters" of channelers, like Elayne with her mother and paternal aunt, that Windfinder clan with several generations of channelers, the Namelle sisters, then mothers and daughters among the novices after Egwene's admission reform, etc. All the evidence is there, IMHO.
If anything, it is RJ's insistence that gentling of male channelers would have had such large an effect that doesn't make sense because even with the taint sparker men had much better chances of leaving offspring than sparker women in Randland, because they show much later. Not to mention WT recruitement removing incomparably more _women_ from the breeding pool.
Also the channeling men are just killed or commit suicide in the other cultures, so why should gentling make a difference?
Ryan R
139. CorDarei

You quoted it yourself:
Lan: "Anything can be a weapon, if the man or woman who holds it has the nerve and will to make it so."

With that said, just because it CAN be made a weapon, doesn't make it one. Your singularity thought process is why i'm calling you bullheaded, not because I think you're being obtuse, and it wasn't meant as an insult. Yes, RJ described a "switch" as being a weapon, but with Lan's definition, a needle could be a weapon. Plus, it wasn't the switch that was the real weapon, but the One Power being used in conjuction with the switch.

EDIT: i just reread your quote, it says "only apparent weapon" was a switch... so do you still think it means the weapon is the switch?
Sorcha O
140. sushisushi
J.Dauro @123 Also, on the male side, we have Emarin who shows up at the Black Tower having met Rand, but is really Lord Algarin of the small manor in Tear. His brother had been gentled by Cadsuane and she helped him survive for ten years afterwards.

I have nothing else to add, as I'm definitely not White Ajah enough to contribute to the philosophical discussion. I'll stick to supplying occasional nuggest of information :)
141. Mike123
Isilel, just to be clear, I was the one questioning whether channeling was really genetic or just the characters perception because of what they knew to be true, like the world being flat in ancient days. Mediokrates, if I understood him correctly and followed the chain of entries correctly, was trying to convey that he agreed that there was no solid evidence contained in the books, but that there were posts and blogs by RJ about his intent.

I tend to agree with Mediokrates on this point and probably always will. I'll try to explain why... As it was said by Wetlandernw, "IMO, when RJ put something in writing himself (blog, email, etc.), or when something was transcribed from a recording, it should be accepted as true about his world."

I truly want to believe this, I really do, but I have some reservations. Not trying to be argumentative, but to help explain...RJ has said over and over again in different ways that what one believes to be true is not necessarily the truth. I believe that he was speaking more in general to how our real life operates and not just how randland operates, but that is beside the point. I believe and yes, I admit, I may be reading way too much into this, that he was trying hard to clue us in to how he operates not just as a writer, but also when being interviewed. As such, and no amount of arguing will sway me as this is just my opinion and gut feeling, we should take everything RJ has said with a grain of salt when not expressly defined in the books.

Now I recognize the danger of this line of thought, but I also recognize how much FUN, if true, RJ had when writing blogs and giving interviews. Yes, I think he was that thoughful and that smart.

I will also concede that there is no way to prove and perhaps no real way to disprove this line of thought due to his passing, but it was fun to present it to you all.

Thanks for reading,

Hugh Arai
142. HArai
I also have to say that I dislike how in WoT women in their twenties constantly make fools of themselves out in the world and need somebody to watch over them, while boys of 14+, not even the Superboys, do A-OK. I mean, Lan rode into the Blight before he was 16 and nobody said that he needed "seasoning" or whatever, while Moiraine, even after a difficult and life-threatening test apparently can't be let out on her own? Bleh.

Strange. It must have been some other Isilel who's been mentioning every mistake Rand and Perrin make in these threads? :)
Mat was of course brilliant in getting infected by the dagger?
I forget your opinion of Gawyn to be honest, but it's not like the majority of people on this thread think he's been "doing A-OK".
Who are these boys in their twenties that never make mistakes?

Regarding Lan and the Blight, he was raised from the cradle to fight in the Blight. Why do you think he's so obsessed with it? Sorry but you're just going to have to accept him being competent there. "The Uncrowned King who has Vowed to Avenge his Lost Nation and Doesn't know which End of the Sword to Hold" isn't really a WoT type character. The fact that he's basically incapable of dealing with Edeyn or Moiraine counts as "doing A-OK" though?
Stefan Mitev
143. Bergmaniac
Asmodean's mother was a channeller, another example that channelling most probably has a genetic component. And in the visions, Avi and Rand's kids.

The fact that the Kin's Rule didn't allow children and very few Aes Sedai ever had children, certainly has had much bigger effect through the years on the decline in the number of channelles than the gentling of male sparkers IMO. The vast majority of all Tower trained channellers never have kids, since IIRC the Kin recruits most of those who don't achieve the shawl. Just getting the Kin out of hiding and no longer needing to have a rule against having children should have a big effect in increasing the number of channellers.
Ivan S.
144. Mediokrates
@ Isilel

Great points about Moiraine. I never considered she was out of character, I just chalked it up to inexperience. I too assume AS take lessons in cultural customs.

Did Lan go alone into the Blight? I never caught on to that. I always interpreted that Bukama had gone with him.

RE: Genetics

I've altered my theory a little here. So here goes. First, I read somewhere that genetics determined only strength in OP (not sure where, but definitely not in the books). I can certainly believe that ability to channel is based on the soul. Every character that we've seen reborn in a 2nd body who could channel the first time, can channel in their new body: LTT, Lanfear, Aran'gar, Osan'gar, Moridin. The other reborn Birgitte, could not in either.
It does appear that channeling has a correlation with bloodlines, but it looks fairly weak. As for genetics determining strength. Well Vandene and Adeleas were very similar, but Morgase and Elayne are polar opposites. So... I don't know what to think yet.
Ohh yeah, I just wanted to say that I am very impressed by your understanding of evolutionary genetics. I completely missed the whole males manifest later, so have a greater chance to reproduce fact.

@ 139. CorDarei
I'm sorry you misread my words. I'll try to be more clear:)
I'm not aware that "I" claimed the switch was a weapon.
I did provide a quote that Perrin considered it a weapon.
It was part of a post providing examples from the books, proving that Randlanders do not use the word weapon as implying a lethal instrument. Rather it would appear from the Randlanders' use of it, their definition is closer to "an instrument used to provide any advantage over someone."
This was to provide evidence against the theory that the loophole in the 3rd oath is based on a "special definition" of the word particular to Randland, which we are never explicity informed of.
Is that crystal?
No offense intended but, you give apologies while providing back-handed insults. I have a remarkable thought process. It is "singularity"
in function, in that I retain much of what I read (get it? singularity=black hole).

What? I said no offense intended!
Ivan S.
145. Mediokrates
@ 143. Bergmaniac
Good points all!
Didn't Padra hold the OP perpetually, and claim she had never known life without it. That would seem to imply she had been like that even as a child (maybe even as a baby).
How does that square with the idea that the spark (AOL usage) appears later in life, rather than is something one is born with? Is Padra just a freak of nature?
I think this touches Leigh's point about information and communication. The AS "believe" it is their efforts gentling men, which is culling mankind. They don't know the true nature of the Kin. If they had, then perhaps their conclusion would have been different. But I agree, the factor of the AS & the Kin not having children had a greater degree of influence on the declining number of channelers than AS gentling practices.
Ryan R
146. CorDarei
See, the difference between what I did, and what you did, is intent. You were malicious about it while I was not intending to be.

Whether or not "you claimed" the switch was a weapon, you are agreeing to it being a weapon. I am not, and apparently a few others do not as well. Just because a device is used to "provide any advantage over someone" does not make it a weapon. Is money a weapon? I'm sure someone can use it to take advantage of a person. What about water, while in the desert? Does that count as a weapon when you hold it back from someone drinking?

There lies the difference. People interpret things differently; that is why you notice Aes Sedai behave differently on the definitions you're putting to weapons (and other uses of the Power). Whether or not the books define it as one way, you're agreeing to that definition. Not everyone agrees with your interpretation of it.

Also, when everybody under the sun (and RJ) has in fact said the players in the book see the truth as they see it, and that it may not necessarily be the correct truth.
147. sweetlilflower

Do you posit that once something has been used as a weapon is must always be considered as a weapon forever? What if I used a frying pan to bash in the head of a robber? Would the frying pan then always and forever no matter how else I used it be a weapon?
Heidi Byrd
148. sweetlilflower
As to the disclusion (is that a word?) of darkfriend from the Oath, purhaps the AS feel that if they find a DF their lives are automatically in extreme and urgent peril?
Chris R
149. up2stuff
I think I may have a loop hole for Medio in the 3 Equal Oathes thing. Wet quoted several instances of the Oaths from different perspectives. You are right in that every one of those examples is from a different source (I think).

What about instances in which a sister was actually holding the oath rod, channeling, and being bound? There might be half a dozen on-screen instances of this. Are THEY all the same, starting with Moiraine swearing in New Spring, all the way up until Egwene in TGS? If they are, I think all other "discrepancies" can be legitimately shrugged off.

At that point, everything else could be chalked up to paraphrasing, an outsider's perception, OR just plain good old fashion AS muckin up the waters. This is just a theory that I cannot verify, because I no longer have hard copies of the books, and would have to listen to the entire series on audio. I will rely on others to research that.
Ivan S.
150. Mediokrates
@ 146. CorDarei
Please read my words...
I NEVER stated, nor implied through denotation nor connotation that the switch was a weapon.
I never even agreed that it was a weapon.
I provided a quote which indicated a Randlander saw it as a weapon.
All I did was provide a quote, amongst a list of quotes, with the common elements being that the quotes derived from the WOT series, contained the word weapon, and that the use of the word weapon did not imply a lethal instrument.

Nor did I claim the personal belief that I thought an instrument used to gain advantage is a weapon. I provided what I saw as a common element to the use of the word in the context of each quote.

And yes, if you can find a way to club a person with money, water, air, rocks, or spirit to cause physical harm, then my personal opinion is that you have just used that instrument as a weapon.

Be careful... don't mistake the oath as saying: vow not to use a weapon...
The vow is not to use the OP as a weapon. The theory which I was challenging stating that a weapon can only be used to kill, not harm.

As I said, attacking me changes nothing. Attack my theories, and provide evidence to back it up, and then you will.

Why so serious?

@ 147. sweetlilflower

I don't see how that can be logically assumed. No. I am not positing that theory. Are you?

@ 148. sweetlilflower

Perhaps... but then why not WC as well. They want them dead just as much.
stefan warsink
151. grubber
this may just be me, and I have not looked at the other comments to see if this was already mentioned, but the index-page for the reread only shows the first 6 posts for new spring..
I just found out because I normally follow the link through facebook..
maybe some small error?

stoked to follow 2 leigh-reads, btw! especially nice because I just started Fire and Ice myself..
Ryan R
152. CorDarei
heh, so you're quoting stuff to support your theory, but you don't agree with it.

Ivan S.
153. Mediokrates
@ 149. up2stuff

I have found only 2 instances of the 3rd oath actually being taken on the oath rod. I would love it if someone found some others, and told us where to find them.
Moiraine here in NS and Pevara in TPOD. Where Moiraine says: "or in the last extreme in defending my life..." Pevara says: "or in the last defense of my life."

This is my main argument... "in the last extreme of defending my life," and "in the last defense of my life," seem closed to interpretation.

The only other examples I have found which come close are in the glossary, or are someone else's understanding of the oaths (not being AS). There are a few instances in which an AS paraphrases the 3rd oath. Alanna in TSR says WC are safe from her except in self-defense b/c they are not DF. (That statement had me considering Alanna as a BA). Kiruna explains the oath to Perrin after Dumai's Wells and says she can only use the OP as a weapon "in defense," of herself, which is certainly open to interpretation.

I wonder whether AS can leave essential elements out (EDIT: or add inaccurate ones) while paraphrasing?

I believe there are examples of it being explained that DF are included in the oath, however, as I've pointed out, this is not supported by the examples so far found in the text.
Some of the glossaries have an entry on the oaths. I can't find one that includes DF.

@ 152. CorDarei
my theory that Randlanders don't have a special definition of what a weapon is, requiring it to be lethal? That one?
You've got something all right...
Ryan R
154. CorDarei
no, you're theory on incosnsitency of the OP being used as a weapon.
Ivan S.
155. Mediokrates
By all means, please explain how I don't agree with my own theory.
Alice Arneson
156. Wetlandernw
Q: The wording of the Third Oath: RAFO, or error? (Egwene et al. say 'except against Darkfriends and Shadowspawn', while Moiraine et al. only mention Shadowspawn) And, if error, which is the correct wording?
A: Brandon said he had to make sure he got the wording right for the Oaths, so he went back and copied it word for word from the previous books. Maria was the one that changed it saying RJ decided that Darkfriends should have always been included in the Oaths.

This explains why in the glossaries, some books say "Darkfriends or Shadowspawn" and some only say "Shadowspawn." In some books, at least, the earlier printings only refer to one, while in the later printings it's been corrected to include both. This may also affect other parts of various books, if they corrected it in later printings.

Mediokrates @136 - You prove my point: the tool is only a weapon if the user considers it so. In every single one of your quotations, the person was thinking in terms of a battle, whether physical or political; in that context, whatever you use to fight with is a weapon. For someone thinking in terms of corporal punishment, the same tool is not a weapon because they're not using it to fight. Due to that perception, using the OP to switch (or beat, or bludgeon) someone does not conflict with the Oath. It's imperfect, of course; that's why Elaida, who thinks she's the ultimate authority and anyone who disobeys her should be punished, can beat someone half to death with the OP. She doesn't see it as a fight, she sees it as punishment: therefore, it's not a weapon: therefore, it doesn't run up against the Oath.

ditto @153 - Ask and you shall receive:
Egwene wove Spirit into the Rod, then spoke in a clear voice. "I vow that I will speak no word that is not true." She felt the oath fall over her like a physical thing, her skin growing tighter, prickling. It was easy to ignore; the pain was nothing compared with what she had been through. "I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another. I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends and Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or of another sister."
Don Barkauskas
157. bad_platypus
Would someone pleae hunt down the quote that definitively states that "Darkfriend" was not originally part of the Oath but was retconned in when RJ decided it should have been there all along? That way, we can at least put that part of the discussion to rest. (I'd do it, but I'm already running late for a scholarship dinner honoring my wife.)

EDIT: Heh, should have known Wetlandernw would beat me to it. :-)
Roger Powell
160. forkroot

I believe and yes, I admit, I may be reading way too much into this, that he was trying hard to clue us in to how he operates not just as a writer, but also when being interviewed. As such, and no amount of arguing will sway me as this is just my opinion and gut feeling, we should take everything RJ has said with a grain of salt when not expressly defined in the books.

OK, but when your epistemology differs from the cultural norm (speaking of this reread community of course), be prepared for more than the usual amount of discord.
Over time, any little community develops certain shared values, assumptions and so forth. For better or worse, the normative assumption in this group has been that statements from R.J. are to be considered canon along with Omni POV statements in the books.
(I actually thought Wetlandernw@135 did a good job of articulating how we should take quotes from RJ and why.)

For the past two years, this WOT epistemology has been unchallenged in this group. Doesn't make it "right" or "wrong", but it's been a good
basis for shared discussion, and a lot of "settled WOT truth" is based
on it.

I'm afraid that the burden of getting most of us to alter our
epistemology would fall squarely on your (and perhaps Mediokrates')
shoulders. Until then, assertions about WOT that contradict statements from RJ will probably get a steady diet of citations in response.
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
Hmmm - A little bit of explanation here about what I meant by Omni POV statements.

There are very few straight Omni POV parts in WOT (although, curiously, it starts with Omni POV)

What I am referring to is character's stated observations as Omni POV.
After all, WOT is written in the 3rd person.

So even if the text is written from Nynaeve's POV, if the text states that a tree falls down, we should believe the the tree fell down. (In context of course! If this is in the Accepton, then the "truth" is limited to that.) If it states that Nynaeve believes something, then it is true that she believes it, but what she believes may or may not be true.

Same idea restated:
If Rand hears Moiraine say "blah, blah", "blah, blah" is not necessarily true (even if Moiraine is not lying and believes it true) - but the objective fact that Moiraine made that statement is true.
Thomas Keith
162. insectoid
grubber @151: It has been mentioned here, and my mom brought it to my attention the other day. Feel free to bring it to the attention of The Powers That Be here at Tor, and maybe they can fix it for us.

CorDarei, Medio: You two could benefit from a referee mediator... Any Gray Ajah here who want to volunteer? :)

Stefan Mitev
163. Bergmaniac
There's a an new WoT Reread Index with links to all posts, totally up to date, the link to it is in Leigh's posts. The old index is no longer updated.
Rob Munnelly
164. RobMRobM
Wet @135. Here is what I viewed as both an old tongue and old memories RJ screw up, in full context.

"Q: Are all of Mat's memories from his past lives?RJ: No, Mat's "old" memories are not from his past lives at all.
The "sickness" he got from the Shadar Logoth dagger resulted in holes
in his memory. He found whole stretches of his life that seemed to be
missing. When he passed through the "doorframe" ter'angreal in Rhuidean, one of the things he said - not knowing that the rules here were different than in the other ter'angreal
he had used - was that he wanted the holes in his memory filled up,
meaning that he wanted to recover his own memories. In this place,
however, it was not a matter of asking questions and receiving answers,
but of striking bargains for what you want. What he received for that
particular demand was memories gathered by the people on that side of
the ter'angreal, memories from many men, all long dead, from many
cultures. And since not everyone passing by has the nerve to journey
through a ter'angreal to some other world, the memories he received were those of adventurers and soldiers and men of daring." (Emphasis in bold added by me.)

As Terez pointed out on Theoryland, the bolded statement and rest of quote ignore that his Aemon memory during the healing scene in TDR occurred pre-Finns. Thus, these old memories can't be from the Finn adventurer lives - must be from Mat's "old" memories. QED - sometimes RJ statements have to be taken with a grain of salt.

I guess I'm just not getting the distinction you made in @135 between "memories' of Rand as LTT and Mat's "near-hallucination kind of thing." Mat plainly didn't invent this memory- and he plainly did not invent his use of the Old Tongue. Both had to come from somewhere and they didn't come from the Finnland folk. If not Mat's past lives, then where/what???

Ivan S.
167. Mediokrates
@ 156. Wetlandernw

Awesome find! Can you tell me where it is? I did a word search for "i vow," and "oath rod" through all the books except for NS and TGS (don't have ecopies yet), and didn't find that.

This is what I meant by the difference between what an author actually writes vs intends to write.

To make a change which can have huge repercussions to such a fundamental part of the storyline more than implies that an error was made. RJ obviously realized this, otherwise why want to change it.

Do we have a timeframe on when this change occurred? It must have been sometime after WH.

As for our points re: weapon... I was only trying to disprove your assertion that weapon in Randland implies lethal usage. I don't believe your point was weapon implies usage in battle; therefore, I disagree that I have proven your point.

However, as definitions go, I think I could agree with that one. Let's see:

"I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon (in battle) except against {Darkfriends and} Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or of another sister."

That seems much better... So then weapon becomes "an instrument of battle," rather than an "instrument of lethality." The distinction may be small, but one of the motifs of the story is the butterfly effect.

I think I can live with that.

Sorry, having problems posting.
Ivan S.
168. Mediokrates
@ RobMRobM & forkroot

I agree. An author's words must be taken with a grain of salt. They may intend to explain an element of the story in a certain way, as beyond question. However the POV used to insert this explanation can lead to serious questions as to its validity.
Typically, the OMNI POV, or the GOD POV is interpreted as omniscient and unbiased. This POV style is unaffected by the characters, and is typically used to introduce information characters could have no conceivable way of knowing.
In contrast, the 1st & 3rd Person POV styles are limited and subject to bias. Any information revealed within these styles is open to interpretation, and usually needs confirmation from other POV's to strengthen its validity.
Having said that, I always took the explanation of Mat's TEOTW battle cry at face value, as described by Thom & Moiraine. The Old Blood sings, and in Mat it's a choir.
Stefan Mitev
169. Bergmaniac
Egwene swearing the Three Oaths quote in Wetlandernw's post @156 is from TGS, Ch. 43 - "Sealed to the Flame".
Ivan S.
170. Mediokrates
Thanks for the source citation Berg!

I'm really curious when RJ implemented this change. Anyone have a link of errata & corregenda by printing. I had one for TEOTW, but can't find it now?

BTW, I said this must've occured after WH, but the last actual scene of the 3rd oath being taken was in TPOD. WH contains a summary of the 3 oaths resworn by Talene, from Seain's POV.

"Never to use the One Power as a weapon, except in defense of her life, or that of her Warder or another sister."
171. AndrewB
To all discussing the interpretation/meaning of the word "weapon" & who how that impacts Aes Sedai (non Blacks) who swore on the Oath Rod:

IMO, I think we have begun to beat a dead horse here (Not Bela, fortunately).

I think it is time to move to another discuss another topic. People have made well reasoned points on all the side. There should be something else to discuss (unfortuantely, I cannot think of any at this exact moment).

But hey, if you want to continue this topic, I will continue to enjoy this topic.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Hugh Arai
172. HArai
Wetlandernw@156: Nice argument about Elaida beating Egwene. I have to admit I've always thought she got around it by convincing herself Egwene was a Darkfriend. Not sure if you've swayed me but I can see how that would work.

@Mediokrates: I'm afraid I've lost track of what you're actually arguing. We know from many instances of the First Oath in action that the loopholes are frequently based on what that particular sister believes to be true. Are you trying to argue that instances of sisters working around the other Oaths are all errors by RJ instead of personal interpretation loopholes as well? If so, you'll have to do better at proving the Aes Sedai didn't creatively or emotionally interpret the Oath than "this seems closed to interpretation". All that indicates is that your own interpretation is closed.
Hugh Arai
173. HArai
@AndrewB: Well as for other topics other people have brought up:

I do have an example for people wondering why Ryne would be offended by Moiraine offering to pay him. Say you start a new project at work, and you're going to be working with a coworker. Consider if you would be offended if that coworker said "Hi. I don't know you, but we're going to be working together till the end of the project. How about I give you $500 and you don't slack off, mess up or steal credit for my work till after the project's over?". It's implying you won't do what a decent person would do for free unless you're paid.

As for the people complaining about Moiraine's mistakes given that she's been trained by the Tower: Do you really think an institution that judges leadership fitness by strength in the Power is going to have much in the way of real insight to give toward handling non-channelers?
174. AndrewB
Sweetlilflower @ 37:

I could not agree with you more. I always admired (as much as one can admire a fictional character) the way that Moiraine dominated a room where she was the smallest by far. Some of this dominance probably is due to how others react when near an Aes Sedai.

However, I believe that most of the dominance is due to Moiraine's personality. WoT contains example of numerous Aes Sedai who do not display an air of authority. Verin, Anaiya, and Daigin come to mind. I acknowledge that with Verin and Daigin, their deference may have been intentional: Verin, absent-mindedness; Daigin, her position as the weakest Aes Sedai. Nevertheless, I cannot recall an instance where any of their presence provides an air of authority for reasons other than their status as an Aes Sedai.

Moiraine has the attitude of an effective nobleman/women or military leader. What Elayne refers to in ACoS as the voice of command. I will refer to it as the "air of command" as I am describing an entire persona/attitude of command -- not just a vocal inflection as Elayne described.

The air of command is something that not every Aes Sedai possesses. Too often, Aes Sedai rely on their status as Aes Sedai to get what they want. These Aes Sedai are guilty of confusing power and/or authority with respect. Throughout the series, Nynaeve is a perfect example. She constantly belittles those she thinks are beneath her. Sometimes the belittling is do to gender reasons [i.e. her belief that generally men are incapable of thinking for themselves]; most of the time it is becasue she is Aes Sedai (or those she belittles think she is Aes Sedai).

I wonder how Moiraine came to learn the air of command. It is not because she was born as a noble. Some nobles never learn the air of command. It is also not from her novice and/or accepted training The language that Leigh quoted, and Sweetlilflower referrenced, in NS indicates that Moiraine did not posses the air of command. For everyone's convenience, I have quoted it below.
"She turned very quickly and peered up at him, straining for height. He thought she might be up on her toes. No, she was no Aes Sedai, despite the icy look of command on her face. He had seen shorter Aes Sedai dominate rooms full of men who had no idea who they were, and without any straining."

I believe she learned it over time. I would love a Moiraine POV where she thinks about the lessons and/or experiences that lead her to possess the air of command. I think it is unlikely that she had an epiphany the same way that Egwene did in TFoH (See Chapter 15 during Egwene's conversation with Moiraine). While I admit that I do not have the air of command (unfortunately), I do not think it can be obtained by one moment of clarity. The air of command strikes me as something that must be harnessed and developed over time.

The point of this convoluted post is that I admire Moiraine's use of the air of command. It did not seem to me that she used this air of command as a whip. Rather, she embodies the air of command; it is a part of her. In much the same way as an elegant woman or a dapper man where his/her outfit. I believe that her embodiment of the air of command help makes her a remarkable character (and one of my favorites, to boot).

Thanks for reading my musings.
Andrew B
Theresa Gray
175. Terez27
@Mediokrates (nice name) - As Maria said, the Oaths were always intended to include Darkfriends, so it's not as if there was a point at which RJ decided to change his mind. The Third Oath is quoted three times in the first three books. Sheriam and Niall both mention the Darkfriend clause, while Verin does not. It's the same for the rest of the series, so it's clear enough that RJ sometimes just forgot to include it.

@tor people - I like the new stuff. The slightly-wider threads do make a difference I think. Less scrolling.
176. OldWoman

I don't think tht Nynaeve is belittling people because she is an Aes Sedai, I think she is someone who thinks that attitude is what it takes to teach, a sort of tough love, and that it harkens back to her position as a Wisdom. She adopted an attitude to overcome her youth so people would accept her in that position. Now it is a part of her personality.
She is prematurely curmudgeonly.
John Massey
177. subwoofer
Well, I've suggested this before, but how's about plan "B"?- The Hall and the Amyrlin draft a constitution type document spelling out with very specific language what it means to be AS and what they will not to- re the three Oaths- I like to think of them at the three Oats- always leaves me looking around for more. Anyways, going through Novice and Accepted involves committing this to memory and reciting it at will. Then they take an oath to uphold this and follow it to the letter. One oath, less stretching, life shortening feeling and it can cover all this stuff we are hashing out.

Edit- Quaker Oats has this really good Banana Nut flavor out for their instant oats line. Really good and makes me want to get rid of the other flavors I have..... er, just sharing is all... I was speaking of Oats...

Ivan S.
178. Mediokrates
@ 172. HArai

I think I've lost track too. I agree, if the oath includes DF, then Wet's interpretation that Elaida has convinced herself that Egwene is a DF would certainly allow the beating.
My only problem with THIS interpretation, is that I don't recall Elaida saying or doing anything that would indicate she actually believes this. Would Elaida allow Egwene as a DF to continue her training as a novice? I recall that Elaida didn't want to waste Egwene's potential, and despite Egwene's role in the rebellion, meant to see her become AS. Would even Elaida want a DF as an AS? Would Elaida allow a DF to attend to her? Or did Elaida come to believe Egwene was a DF only during their confrontation? Was Egwene's impudence enough to convince Elaida she was a DF?

Re: Insult & Coins,
Without looking it up, I believe that Lan's POV implies that paying a Malkieri (maybe other borderlanders) to do what they consider their sworn duty is an insult. Maybe something along the lines of... if your honour won't hold you to your duty, then perhaps some coin will (almost like they're mercenaries).

Re: closed to interpretation.
Please provide another interpretation to the phrasing used in the 3rd oath: "or in the last extreme of defending," or "in the last defense."
It seemed closed to interpretation because no one had cared to challenge it. I'm very interested in what anyone has to say

@ 174. AndrewB
I agree mostly. From what we've seen so far in the books, Moiraine has one of the most dominating commanding presences of all AS. Perhaps this is from her upbringing, perhaps this is from being near the top of the AS totem pole. Perhaps it's a combination of both. The intended result being that Moiraine is perceived as larger than life.

& @ 176. OldWoman
I agree with OW. As for Nynaeve... well she was trained to be the wisdom of EF, and that position carried enormous authority. In addition, the issue of her young age possibly made her insecure about her position. Her defense mech. was to stomp out any resistance. And it worked very well for her, so it has become a conditioned behavior. OW makes a keen observing re: her curmudgeoning personality: after all nearly right after she is first introduced in TEOTW her tendency to beat people with her stick/switch is discussed.

@ 175. Terez27
My point was that none of the books within the series provide an actually quote of the 3rd oath, which includes DF. The examples you are referring to are paraphrases of the oath, not actual examples of the oath. There is a difference. Until TGS, we only see 2 examples of the oath being spoken on the oath rod: they are in NS, and in TPOD. As Wet has shown, it is not until TGS that we see an example of the oath being taken with DF included.
Now Maria may claim that its inclusion was always intended, and if this is the case, then later printings of those books will prove this by including DF. You believe that RJ forgot to include it, and in the face of TGS, I tend to agree; however, I later made the point that a written piece of work is what it actually says, not what the author intended to say. This is one of the inconsistencies of the oaths I was exploring.

@ 177. subwoofer
Interesting idea. I wonder whether after TG all the SS and DF will be dead. If so, will the AS need to exempt them from the oaths.
I'm not sure whether multiple bindings (oaths) have a cumulative effect.
179. AndrewB
Subwoofer @ 177.

If the United State's current political/judicail mindset is any indication, then your solution will still leave holes big enough for a truck to drive through. The Constituion was written in 1789, plus slightly more than 2 dozen amendments in the time since. Yet much thought and discussion goes on to determine the meaning of the document.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Birgit F
180. birgit
I'm not sure whether multiple bindings (oaths) have a cumulative effect.

Budapest Q&A - April 2003
Q: Is it true that the Three Oaths is why Aes Sedai I thought it might be because, when you try to avoid the Three Oaths, you get a lot of dangerous situation ...
RJ: No . . . now you have to be careful with this, because this is a kind of spoiler for people that haven’t read far enough, but the Oath Rod is what was in the Age of Legends called a binder. It was used on criminals. If you committed a violent act, or some sort of criminal act, with a binder, someone who could channel could be constrained from ever doing that again, and the result of having three of the Oaths, is the ageless appearance. One would not produce agelessness, but even one would shorten life, and three of them put a cap on Aes Sedai’s lives, on how long they could live.

Hugh Arai
181. HArai
Mediocrates@178: Actually, I believe the "DF interpretation" was mine, wetlandernw was proposing the "corporal punishment interpretation". As for why I argue the "DF interpretation":

"I dare the truth, Elaida" Egwene said quietly. "You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarassed to associate with you".

Elaida screeched, weaving in a flash of Power, slamming Egwene back against the wall, toppling the pitcher of wine from her hands. *snip bit of description*

"You name me Darkfriend?" Elaida screamed. " You are the Darkfriend. You and those rebels outside, who seek to distract me from doing what must be done."

A blast of woven Air slammed Egwene against the wall again, and she dropped to the ground, hitting shards of the broken pitcher that sliced open her arms.
*beating intensifies from there*

Re: closed to interpretation - Well my favorite is Annoura in KoD at the battle of Malden. Masuri does something similar, but Annoura actually talks about it:

"Well, I for one feel in danger," Annoura said firmly, drawing her arm back. Edarra looked at her levelly. After a moment, the Aes Sedai lowered her arm. Her beaded braids clicked together as she twisted her head away from the Wise One's stare. Her scent was one of strong unease. "Perhaps I can wait a little longer" she muttered.

Now, think about this a second. It starts off with her convinced she's in enough danger that she's raising her arm to throw a fireball. She says so. So unless she's Black that's her saying "this satisfies the Oath". Then Edarra gives her the fish-eye, and she says she can wait.

If the Oath is as tightly bound to "or in the last extreme of defending," or "in the last defense" as you argue, there's no way Annoura could have believed the Oath satisfied and then wait. If you can wait, it's not the last defense or last extreme of defending. And as I mentioned, Masuri does almost exactly the same, she just doesn't say it out loud.

So from this example I conclude one of two things:
1) Annoura and likely Masuri are Black, and the Oath doesn't actually bind them. Or
2) This Oath is also open to interpretation, and when a given Aes Sedai pulls the trigger is based on their personal view of the situation with personal bravery, cultural expectations, battle knowledge, and apparently even other people's opinions factoring in. I go with this, since I don't recall anyone proving Annoura and Masuri are Black.

Annoura thinks last defense means right as she becomes a possible target. Kiruna thinks she has to ride into the middle of a battle. The key is what that particular Aes Sedai believes. That makes the Oaths weaker than some people think, but I think that's part of the "should the AS swear the Oaths" debate RJ intended.
Hugh Arai
182. HArai
Is it just me or do these comment boxes add in exaggerated amounts of whitespace when you post?
Heidi Byrd
183. sweetlilflower
Mediokrates does not accept anything RJ said outside of the books as canon.

Could you please restate your premises and main argument? I don't really want to scroll through 100+ posts, and you did say you were interested in hearing others' opinions.
Alice Arneson
184. Wetlandernw
Mediokrates @178 - Hold it a minute. I have never said that Elaida justified herself by claiming Egwene was a Darkfriend. (Someone else said that, not me.) I said that Elaida's Oath did not stop her use of the OP to beat Egwene because she didn't think of it as a weapon, since she was administering punishment rather than fighting.

Re: the rest, though, Elaida directly accuses Egwene of being a Darkfriend in that scene. Earlier, she wanted Egwene made a novice rather than giving her the standard consequence of claiming to be Amyrlin, but that's been overwhelmed by her hatred of Egwene. She's watched Egwene take everything dished out to her with dignity, watched her gain the respect of others, and mostly watched her refuse to grovel before Elaida herself, and she can't stand it. At this point, the drive to make Egwene kneel, acknowledge Elaida and become a dutiful novice is driven out by a desire to shut her up, force her down and destroy her. Any "conviction" that Egwene is a DF is mostly due to Elaida's loss of control at this point. I don't know that she's actually convinced herself of it; she's just so mad that she'll say anything.
Hugh Arai
185. HArai
wetlandernw@184: Yeah, the someone else was me. Elaida's still bound by the first Oath though. She says it straight out, so she has to believe it or she would have choked on it. That's why I go with this, rather than yours.
Sydo Zandstra
186. Fiddler

I agree. An author's words must be taken with a grain of salt.

How dare you doubt the sayings of the holy creator! You will be burned out of the pattern for this!

Honestly, I agree with you. :D
Alice Arneson
187. Wetlandernw
HArai @181 - And.... you just said all that. Oh well.

same @182 - As near as I can tell, the comment box adds a space before and after every quote, every time you preview your comment and when you post. It's really quite annoying, especially when you edit as much as I do before posting!
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
HArai @185 - Let's see how many more comments can get in here before I post to make my comments obsolete before I even say them...

My point is that it doesn't really matter whether Elaida honestly thinks Egwene is a DF or not. She's definitely one of those people who considers spanking, beating, birching, and generally causing pain to be a valid way of interacting, and she doesn't consider it a fight. In many cases we've seen, and especially in this case, she's administering punishment. Since a tool used for punishment is not a weapon (by my understanding of their understanding), she's free to use the OP as a switch (or a whole forest-worth of switches) to punish someone who deserves her wrath. The fact that she's breaking Tower law by using it on an initiate of the Tower is, at this point, meaningless to her.

"Elaida!" Ferane yelled, standing. "You violate Tower law! You cannot use the Power to punish an initiate!"

"I am Tower law!" Elaida raved.

Since the Oaths don't require obedience to Tower law* but only to the specific Oaths, she is able to break the law in a way she would be completely unable to break the Oath. At most, IMO, she might use the DF accusation as a handy means to try to set aside Ferane's objection later.

*Incidentally, it's probably a good thing they haven't done a general Oath to "obey the laws of the White Tower." Given the way laws tend to get made without considering the full ramifications of other laws, 3000 years worth of accumulated legislation would inevitably result in situations where two laws conflict in an unforeseen manner, killing off a distressing number of Aes Sedai. Browns would be in the worst danger since they would be most aware of nearly-forgotten laws; after while no one would dare to go back and read the old records for fear of learning about a law that they would be physically unable to keep. What a thought.
Hugh Arai
189. HArai
Wetlandernw@188: I don't really dispute your argument, and in fact I think that's the best explanation for things like Erian's actions towards Rand. I guess I'm just on the flip side: even though your explanation is sufficient for Elaida's beating of Egwene, it's also sort of irrelevant since (by the first Oath) Elaida honestly believes Egwene is a DF which removes any protection to Egwene from the Third Oath as well. She could have killed her outright with the OP without breaking the Oaths. Tower Law is another story.

As for the "obey the laws of the White Tower", I'm of the more cynical opinion any deaths would be deserved, since to my mind the Oaths are all being used to approximate being people of character and wisdom without the effort of actually trying.
Alice Arneson
190. Wetlandernw
RobM @164 - Sorry I didn't respond to this earlier. IMO, the "full context" of that Q&A includes the fact that it was set in a time frame when a lot of people were trying to figure out the mechanics of Mat's memories. There was a lot of speculation, including things like the 'Finn having given Mat full (and somewhat overwhelming) access to the memories of his past lives. (That theory didn't exactly fit with the implied overlap in some of the memories, but that was pretty subtle, and it certainly offered a plausible rationale for his memories of dying.) My understanding of that and similar Q&A comments around the same time was that RJ was addressing the speculation about all the Finn-memories, and didn't think to exclude the few "old blood" memories that were Mat's before he went through the looking glass ter'angreal. It might have been helpful for us if he'd specifically distinguished between the two, but in my experience people tend to address the aspects of a question currently under discussion and don't necessarily drag in every possible exclusion.

Still, by all means consider it an error if you like. I think the error is in over-application of a quotation to a more general question than it was intended to cover. However, since we don't always have historical context for every quotation, we have to live with what we've got and try to be intelligent in our application. In that situation, we now know that Mat remembered dying because the Finn have some means of "seeing through your eyes" once you've been there, if you didn't make your bargain to eliminate that possibility. IMO, RJ was trying to steer people away from the notion that the memories were all Mat's past lives without giving away the true significance, since it was still upcoming in the books and would have certain... ramifications... on Mat's upcoming decisions and actions.

HArai @189 - You're quite correct; either explanation would work. It's almost certain that Erian's actions (and varioius others) are due to the "punishment vs. battle" interpretation, but for Elaida vs. Egwene, it could go either way.

"Obey all the laws of the White Tower" - Well, there's certainly a case to be made for personal integrity rather than compelled conformity. Unfortunately, in general people will be happier knowing that a person with (what is perceived to be) nearly unlimited power is completely unable to use that power in certain ways, rather than trusting to that person's integrity to simply not do so. As has been seen (and discussed ad nauseum) it's been circumvented to the point of absurdity, but I still think the orignal intent was valid if somewhat misguided.
Hugh Arai
191. HArai
Wetlandernw@190: I agree the original intent was good, though I think it was naive. I find the faith modern Aes Sedai like Siuan and Egwene have in it to be pretty disturbing though. It seems like they're still counting on the Oaths to be their propaganda, rather than having spent the last 200o years actually trying to be truthful and "safe" to non DF/shadowspawn.
You're correct that it's been discussed before though so I'll stop filling this thread for now :)
192. LoghainsBrother
Sorry for coming so late in the thread, but I just wanted to mention:

While we do get to see the childish sides of Moraine and Lan here, I think it mostly demonstrates their abilities to think outside the box and keep their free spirits.

@Leigh: Even though things that you did 15 or 20 years ago might embarrass you today, it's quite obvious that you've grown and matured, but haven't lost that childishness. (In a good way).

Same can be said about Moraine in the series proper.
Reading this chapter always makes think about the time she switched Rand with the power in TFOH (and made him think Egwene did it), shortly before (or was it after?) he accepted her as his advisor.

This spirit (and her story importance, of course) is what ultimately made her succeed in her quest.
Ivan S.
193. Mediokrates
Sorry Wet,
Didn't mean to confuse you and Harai:) Kinda trying to have a couple conversations at once.
I had to go back and read that chapter again. Reading even forward a bit, Egwene is of the opinion that Elaida either didn't realize how far she had gone, or that Elaida really does believe she is a DF.
What really caught my attention this time, was how Elaida threatened to use the OP against the green sitter (i forget her name) who tried to come to Egwene's aid.

@ HArai
Re: Annoura & Malden
In post #99 i mentioned this scene. I also included every battle scene I could find with an AS in it. I actually discovered that in everyone in which an AS ended up using the power, someone else was already using the OP against them. If you read the Annoura incident, the Shaido wiseones were already engaging by the time that Annoura made this announcement. I concluded that using the OP as a weapon against someone else first doing so, did not conflict with the "last extreme" wording of the oath.

@ Both
I'm not sure what to think about Elaida and the oath. Her statement seemed similar to: "I'm not an ass... you're and ass." I can't resolve the 1st oath allowing someone being so mad, they can say things they don't believe are true. I do agree with Harai in that it makes a great excuse for Elaida, and it got me wondering whether we'll get a POV of Elaida as a damane, being made to lie, or use the OP as a weapon. I don't think she's a DF, b/c I think some of the POVs suggest she finds the idea of their existence as blasphemous or some such. I'm starting to wonder if she is sworn on the oathrod. Maybe she came across Pevara's trick with the rod already. I must admint, I haven't always paid the closest attention to her POVs, I hate her so much. I'd have to read them again and look for nuances.

Harai: "since to my mind the Oaths are all being used to approximate being people of character and wisdom without the effort of actually trying."

Couldn't have said it better.

Without oaths, the Kin & Wiseones are respected within their community, as women of wisdom, fairness, & integrity. Perhaps the AS should train under them.
John Massey
194. subwoofer
@Andrew- well, the current oaths have loopholes big enough that a cow can stroll through so it is little different. Point is, with one oath, the AS will live longer. And as someone else asked and was answered, yes multiple oaths shorten AS lifespan- hence Egwene's retire to the Kin idea and everyone being floored that the one Kin Alise? was 600+ years old. Anyways, that was all hashed out on a previous thread. Having a constitution would mean they could get into more detail about what they are swearing to without the limits of one oath per thingy. And AS seem fairly smart, maybe they could make the language specific... mind you, they are fairly smart, they could find ways to wriggle outta said language. Meh... just an idea to avoid the shorter lifespans resulting from Oathing.

As to the rest- it all comes down to the intent of the person. Egwene did not hold a rod but she kept to Oaths in her heart even when it did her harm and when it would be easy to lie her way out of a situation. If you are a person of character like the good ol' days where your word was your bond.... kinda a Malkieri thing... then you live by that code... if there is a lot of grey area in your life, well welcome to politics or law.

Hugh Arai
195. HArai
Mediokrates@193: Read that section again carefully. I think you'll see the Wise Ones with Perrin are clearly blocking all the Shaido OP attacks well clear of target. If OP use is sufficient to count as a clear "last extreme" here, that's an interesting interpretation. Sort of like Lan declaring it's the last extreme because the guys with swords are on the other side of the castle wall :)

However, if you're correct and the other side (futilely!) using the OP satisfies the Oath here, then surely some Reds trying to shield(or still) a Blue during the Tower Coup would satisfy the Oath as well. The outnumbered Blue might then retaliate with something lethal and it all goes downhill from there...
lake sidey
196. lakesidey
@194 Subwoofer: It's Aloisia Nemosni, nearly six hundred years old, you're thinking of. Alise is a lot younger than Reanne and co (which is why she cannot officially be the leader of the kin even though she is best suited to it according to Elayne)

@195 HArai: No way! Lan would not consider it to be the last extreme until he's, say, three days dead ;) "You surrender when you're dead..." (Insert "stupid men, always thinking with the hair on their chests" comment here)

A thought on the other matters: not being able to use the One Power as a weapon is not the same as not being able to use it to harm. And AS have no oath against killing in general (in fact, certain deposed Amyrlins in the past have been smothered in their beds by....uh...pillow enemies, I suppose we'd have to call them?)

So I'm an AS and the oath prevents me from randomly calling down lightning on someone who offends me. But no one else is around to see. What's to prevent me from picking up a rock with the power and dropping it on someone (note, Adeleas/Vandene do this to Mat)? Or a hundred rocks, with sharp edges? There might be plenty of holes in the oath here, we cannot know without a few AS to experiment on!

Captain Hammer
197. Randalator
lakesidey @196

Keep in mind, though, that the Mat incident didn't involve the intention to hurt or kill. Or stones for that matter...it was horse droppings.

Judging from Egwene's thoughts on attacking the supply ships on the Erinin, the oaths should prevent the Aes Sedai from any attacks with the Power that involve a realistic chance of death for those attacked...
Ivan S.
198. Mediokrates
@ 195. HArai
I admit, that example gave me some fits. I find the "last extreme," or "last defense" phrasing quite difficult to resolve with their actual use of it. Do you think there's any difference in saying "last option?"
Perhaps there is.
Giving the AS the benefit of the doubt, I could only interpret those scenes this way... All it takes is to miss one deadly weave and you're toast. So while an AS may be blocking all the deadly weaves directed at her, there's nothing to say she will continue to block all the deadly weaves directed at her.
Additionally, Perrin notes just how close the Shaido arrows are coming before his AS started using the OP as a weapon. Perhaps the combination of OP and mundane weapons would have been enough to overwhelm a defense, and an offense was then required to save their lives. I wonder what the wiseone "look" meant that was directly at Annoura when she offered to use the OP as a weapon earlier. Was she saying, "you're not in danger yet! remember your oath?"
My conclusion in that post, was regarding using the OP as a weapon against another AS (or channeler). Almost all the examples I can think of an AS using the OP as a weapon against a channeler, involve the channeler using the OP as a weapon first: Malden and 2 POVs from Dumai's Wells... the WT AS, and Rand's AS.
The other 2 battles have AS facing non-channelers. They either do not use the OP offensively, or have to wait until arrows begin falling among their party. I'm not sure this would actually satisfy "last (extreme) in defense)" as they could create a shield around themselves and walk away. But they are certainly in danger.
As for using the OP to kill another AS trying to shield them, I'm not certain about this. I tend to disagree. In the Moiraine-Merean conflict, it is not until after Merean begins using potentially deadly weaves that Moiraine "never considers the loop-hole."
@ 196. lakesidey & Randalator.
I see your point lakesidey, but I have to side with Randalator. Rolling Rings of Earth is a clear use of OP as a weapon. However, its the flying bits of earth actually doing the harm, not a weave directly touching a person. Verrin says so in TDR (but she is BA, so it is possible this is a lie).
Rob Munnelly
199. RobMRobM
Wet @190- Appreciate your context discussion. It still comes back to the same point for me, though. We can't always take authorial statements at face value. Some we can - if RJ says that Taim is not Demandred, we need to accept that and not carp. Some, such as the one I discussed above, we can't.

RJ has not said much about Mat's fascinating (to me) Manetheren memories. At minimum, Mat has the strongest case of Old Tongue ever seen but that seems insufficient to describe (1) his reliving as Aemon the centuries old battle in TDR or (2) his ability to speak Old Tongue in Finnland without an interpreter. Really interesting mystery stuff and some words of clarification from the creator would have been appreciated. Instead, RJ either doesn't address it (as far as I could see) and on the one time he mentions the subject he mistakenly attributes it exclusively to old memories implanted during the second trip to Finnland - an obvious error.

I see RJ as if papal infallibility doctrine applies. He (like the Pope) is not infallible as a general matter...but when he says he is infallible on a particular point (or speaks on it enough for his intentions to be perfectly clear, irrespective of potentially confusing context), then he (like the Pope) should be considered infallible by those "in the faith."

Ivan S.
200. Mediokrates
@ 195. HArai
The exceptions to what I mentioned above re using the OP as a weapon against channelers concern Moiraine vs FS. I can't think of any others.
In TEOTW, Moiraine apparently tries to use the OP against Aginor before he uses it against her. However it must be noted that he has already assaulted Lan.
In TDR, Moiraine uses balefire against Be'lal just before he can use the OP against her.
In TFOH, Moiraine never uses the OP against Lanfear despite Lan being almost killed. Is this b/c she's trying to fulfil the vision? I think so.
Now it could be argued that she was under no constriction of the oaths, if you accept the "DF was always supposed to be included in the oath," idea. The FS are certainly DF. Uber-DF.
Putting that debate aside, it could be argued that she could use the OP as a weapon now that her warder has been attacked. However the Be'lal example does not fit this requirement.
If considering the "last extreme" issue, then facing a FS about to use the OP against you, it might be reasonable to strike first to save your life.

EDIT: @ 197 Randalator... I would tend to agree with you re Egwene and the ships on the Erinin. This statement almost swayed me to the "lethal" usage interpretation of the 3rd oath. Almost I say, because I then realized Egwene had not sworn that oath on the rod as of that time. While hers is an educated interpretation, it is not a first hand expert opinion. END EDIT

I'm not sure how I feel about using the OP to "shield" or "still" as a weapon. Or using harmful or deadly weaves to defend against such. In one sense yes, in another no. I'll have to consider it more.
Stefan Mitev
201. Bergmaniac
Brandon Sanderson confirmed on Twitter that there's a gay male character in ToM. Quoting the transcript:

"Brandon: I will say that there IS a gay male in TofM, placed there on my part as I felt similar to you on this issue.

Brandon: I was going to tell you who it was, but figuring this out is the sort of thing you guys love, isn't it?

Brandon: Yes. I won't say if it's a new character or one I made a decision on, since there weren't notes either way."

There's a lot more of that in the full transcript on the Dragonmount forums, including Brandon basically agreeing with the often raised objections that there's way more female nudity in WoT than male.

Leigh got mentioned by Brandon towards the end. ;)

Here's the link to the transcript, done by Terez:
a a-p
202. lostinshadow
Finally caught back up! RL not cooperating with my love for WoT (or general love for reading for that matter) these days (weeks, months...grrrr)

All this debate on the oaths, meaning of weapon, a sister's perception of what is danger, a weapon...is giving me horrible flashbacks to law school, particularly our discussions on the merits of applying objective vs subjective criteria in determining whether a crime had been committed. Of course in the way of all common law systems this becomes a very convoluted argument with no winners - essentially each seminal case swings the vote one way or the other without deciding anything... and then there are these cases by the higher appeal courts where the word smithing is beyond amazing and at the end of the 200 page decision you may not remeber (or understand) what legal point has been definitevly (until the next case anyway) been established but you know one thing... a good common law judge can prove convincingly and beyond much doubt that all cats and dogs and all dogs are cats.

so that is my roundabout way of saying that the oaths are much like the laws of common law systems - vague and open to interpretation... appearing very clear and instinctual at one level and thus providing a great deal of flexibility but at the same time often lacking uniform implementation and consistent predictability.

Regarding NS - can't decide if I like Moiraine's childish, inexperienced making a fool of herself self... at one level it's nice to see she wasn't close to perfect straight out of the womb so to speak and gives hope that our SGs will calm down and become responsible adults as some point but at the same time, like others have mentioned I'm not sure this is consistent with her character as we know it.

also, her behaviour, particularly in these chapters seems to be an annoying mesh of Elayne and Egwene and thus robs Moiraine of some of her individuality - it's as if there's a blueprint to the impulsive oh oh girl junior AS and they all have to fit the bill.

Right enough ramblings for now
Theresa Gray
203. Terez27
@Mediokrates - Seeing as how we don't get many opportunities to see the Oaths actually being sworn, I'd say that's a hair not worth splitting.

@everyone else - Been having a lovely debate w/Brandon about gender and sexuality, and I figured I'd bring it up since we were talking smack about you guys. ;) Best viewed in the Women and Men category of the database. (Edit: I see now it's been posted already, but my link is better - Luckers didn't copy over links for some reason, and also I made some additions after he posted it.)
a a-p
204. lostinshadow
interesting link Terez...I'm one of those who just likes to follow the plot and not worry too much about political agendas but for me this is what really stood out on that discussion

I have a new goal: to get Terez and Leigh Butler to do a feminist review of Newcomb's 5th Sorceress for Tor.com. How can I make this happen?"

Gerd K
205. Kah-thurak
Time again for a Jonathan Levy talkshow spoof isnt it?
Ivan S.
206. Mediokrates
@ 196. lakesidey

While we may not have an AS to experiment with, I occured to me the Seanchan do. I wonder what they would say on the subject.

@ 203. Terez27

How many opportunities does it take to split a hair worth while?:)

Re: Genders

It'll take some time to read that entire link... One thing did catch my eye near the end however...

Reports from signings (paraphrased)

He also said he tried to create a world without sexism or organized religion.

IMO, RJ was not successful at creating a world without sexism. In fact, my opinion is that this world is replete with it. Just because men & women are equally sexist doesn't mean they've cancelled each other out.
a a-p
207. lostinshadow

on my more optimistic and willing to wear rose tinted glasses days I like to think of RJ's experiment with WoT as an attempt to show that lack of communication, closely followed by misunderstandings leads to conflicts between sexes even if there is no inherent sexism.

on the other hand, on my more morose days, I would agree with you that it is hard to view Randland as free of sexism - it seems- as you say- more that both genders are equally sexist.
Mikey Bennett
208. EvilMonkey
About Wise Ones and the Kin getting respect W/O oaths:

Believe me when I tell ya I am just as much disapointed in the AS as most of you on here. And while many feel the oaths are unnecessary and point to other channelling groups as an example, I have to say that no other channelling group is designed specifically for worldwide access and influence. the WO are a homogenous group, a part of a society that is paramilitary in nature. Same to a lesser extent with Windfinders. The Kin are not homogenous, yet their rules and laws deal specifically with other channelers of their group. They are not tryin to change anything, not trying to garner influence with nations, their entire purpose is to stay low. Most of the people they help are unaware that they can even channel. The oaths are the price AS pay for being open channellers in the world, a group with influence over nations. They are imperfect, no one can dispute that. But until the world loses their fear of channelling and mistrust of channellers (neva happen) then they need some way to be able to move in the world without everybody trying to burn the witches.
Ivan S.
209. Mediokrates
@ 208. EvilMonkey
I'm forced to disagree with the heart of your statement, while I agree with your opinion of the AS.
We are led to believe that the 3 oaths did not always exist. The implication is that for the first 1000 years of the TA, only the 2nd oath was sworn (on the oath rod?). Admittedly this is Lan's understanding - TGH - Ch 1.
In TGH - Ch 23, Sheriam (admittedly a BA, but she is speaking in front of 3 other unnamed AS), explains that the oaths were adopted between the Trolloc Wars & War of a Hundred Years.
The first 1000 years of the TA are portrayed as a silver age, the greatest time of peace & prosperity during the TA. During this time, AS were bound by only 1 oath (and maybe not even on the rod), yet were rulers in their own right and apparently well respected.
I think the point that people are trying to make is that the AS are not people of honour or integrity. They demand respect rather than try to earn it.
They spy, manipulate, and equivocate. The wiseones on the other hand, despise liars, openly admit to trying to influence peoples actions, and have taboos against spying. The wiseones have held positions of great authority openly for 3000 years, b/c they have demonstrated that they deserve to be in charge through fairness & wisdom. Later day TA AS on the otherhand seem to demand positions of authority without demonstrating any of these traits.
To put it another way IMO, the wiseones believe they exist to serve clan & sept; whereas, the later day TA AS (Servants) believe that normal people exist to be led.
Ivan S.
210. Mediokrates
I would rather trust to the word of an honourable person who has never lied to me; than trust the word of someone sworn not to lie but had the reputation of being sneaky, underhanded, and deceptive.

I think Harai 189 hit the nail on the head as to why people distrust & dislike AS so much.
lake sidey
211. lakesidey
About the WO v/s the AS:

The Wise Ones are selected on the basis of their fainess and wosdom (and honesty and integrity). The AS are selected on the basis of....umm....who can make little balls of light float in the air? Maybe that has something to do with why the Wise Ones are respected?

(I'm still to figure why the Windfinders are respected - but then they don't rule their society, and without them the Sea Folk would not have nearly so awesome a reputation as sailors so...)

James Whitehead
212. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@209Mediokrates, the WO do seem to be living up to the AOL AS title of 'servants of all.' Or at least as far as the Aiel are concerned. ;-)

I think the oaths don't work mainly because of the first oath, "To speak no word that is not true." It's almost cliche how many people in WOT 'know' that AS can "Spin the truth like a top." It seems to be pretty much conventional wisdom. People then wonder how inviolate are the second two oaths if the first can be bent into a pretzel.

I'm not saying that that first oath shouldn't have wiggle room; the idea of spending 200 - 400 years being completely truth is horrifying - not to mentioned that the AS would never get anything done.

Also, I don't think most people are as paranoid about AS as say, the Whitecloaks; who know its only a matter of time before the AS do use that One Power. The average person is, at best, wary of AS simply because they do use the OP & that has been linked to the Breaking and even though the female AS had nothing to do with that they get damned by association, if you will.

@211lakesidey, don't forget that the WOs, Kin, & Windfinders are far more directly involved with their people. The WOs go so far as to be a leader, along with the chief, of the clan & even marry. The Windfinders, as you mentioned, are crucial for their people's continued success.

The AS, by contrast, are far more aloof, mostly, and are involved in grand causes & plans, which are good in their own right; especially when you consider what Team Dark would've done over the last 3,000 years w/o the AS to counter them as they could.

Still, grand causes & plans don't endear you to the majority of people. Particularly if you end up on the receiving end of an AS's plans (e.g. Gareth Byrne & Suian Sanche). ;-)

Valentin M
213. ValMar
lakesidey @ 211

Probably you meant fayness ;)
Andrew Foss
214. alfoss1540
@190 Wet

My understanding of that and similar Q&A comments around the same time was that RJ was addressing the speculation about all the Finn-memories, and didn't think to exclude the few "old blood" memories that were Mat's before he went through the looking glass ter'angreal.

I haven't read those Q&A's. It was my understanding that Mat's past life memories may have also been as a result of a) Traveling with Rand from Cairhien to Toman Head, 2) Blowing the Horn of Valere, 3) Holding the Shadar Logath knife for so long in addition to whatever the Finn did to him. Were these also at play in that discussion, or am I completely loopy.
Ivan S.
215. Mediokrates
Good points Lake & Kato

Though I'm not sure just how much the AS have done to stop Team Dark.
Sure... they fought in the TW, but the DO probably had no intention of winning the TW (else no DR). Now that I think about it, the AS didn't have a very good track record there... but that's another discussion.

After that, what have they done?
OK, so they found a few DF here and there... but then they let the BA remain hidden, spinning its plans, simply by refusing to even admit the possibility of its existence.
DF are found among all races, nations, and station; except among AS. Now that's Pride.
Hugh Arai
216. HArai
Mediokrates@200: Don't forget in all three of those instances, the FS in question was about to kill or capture Rand. If anything actually should count as "the last extreme" that would be it :)

Re: the Oaths: the sad thing for me is seeing a woman of integrity like Siuan convincing another woman of integrity, Egwene, that it's the Oathsthat make the difference.
Ivan S.
217. Mediokrates
@ 214. alfoss1540
IMO those possibilities were not presented as viable causes of Mat's PLMs.
a. Apparently everyone present saw alternate lives of themselves, not other lives experienced by their souls. Explained by Verin. Mat is also concerned with making sure Rand knows he would never betray him.
2. I can find no evidence that blowing the horn affected his memory.
3. The SL dagger is the best bet. In TEOTW we already have proof of it affecting his memory after Moiraine healed him. After he is healed of the taint, his loss of memory is even greater. So these holes in his memory existed b/c of the dagger, giving the Finn somewhere to put his new memories.
As for Mat's PLM... It is theorized in TEOTW that Mat is descended from Aemon, and because of his singing blood, Mat speaks old tongue.
When he is healed of the taint, Verin and the Amyrlin chalk his old tongue rants up to his singing blood. The vision Mat has when he walks up, is presumably Aemon's stand at the Taren.
So whatever RJ's intent, the Finn couldn't have planted it. As Mat was spouting Manetheren's battle cry before he found the dagger, blew the horn, or travelled the lines of what might have been.. they are unlikely causes.

@ 216. HArai
True, but the 3rd oath doesn't say "or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister, or the dragon reborn."
Hugh Arai
218. HArai
Mediokrates@217: You don't think preventing the inevitable victory of the Dark One and the destruction of the Wheel of Time counts as defending her life, Lan's, and those of the other Aes Sedai? It should... :)
Ivan S.
219. Mediokrates
Killing the DR doesn't destroy the WOT, turning the DR does. I think.
So no
Alice Arneson
220. Wetlandernw
Ah, but it doesn't matter what you think - it matters what Moiraine thinks. And if she thinks the death of the DR would inevitably lead to the destruction of everything (including her life, Lan's and all other AS), it would fit within the Oath for her. It doesn't have to be true for her to believe it and therefore be able to act on it.
Ivan S.
221. Mediokrates
Ah, Wet, but it does matter what I think, b/c that's what the question was.

As for Moiraine, don't you recall her threatening to snip Rand's thread from the pattern rather than let the DO get his hands on him?
How can she think killing the DR will lead to the destruction of everything, if she's willing to do that?
Ivan S.
222. Mediokrates
TEOTW - Ch 13 - Choices
Moiraine to Rand, Perrin, and Mat:

"Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself."
Rob Munnelly
223. RobMRobM
Crickets are chirping, waiting for the post.
James Whitehead
224. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@RobMrobM223, as long as it's just crickets then I'm OK. Any of those whippoorwills start calling, I'm outa here... ;-)
Kimani Rogers
225. KiManiak
Yes, anxiously awaiting a new post. This once a week pace is going to be interesting...
Hugh Arai
226. HArai
Crickets are ok, it's the neighing of little ghostly dead Bela's being flogged that creeps you out. Or maybe that's just me? :)
227. Fredweena

(sorry couldn't resist)
230. Wortmauer
A month-late hit, I know ... but logic errors really bother me, especially when enshrouded in 50-cent words like syllogism:
Mediokrates@115: Through syllogism, I arrive at a new premise:
All weapons are instruments.
All weapons can be used to injure or kill.
Therefore, all weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.

The argument:

All weapons are instruments which can be used to injure or kill.
The OP is an instrument
The OP was used to injure.
Therefore, the OP is a weapon.
Sorry, you fail logic. I probably wouldn't be so picky as to point it out, except that you seem so convinced that the logic is so unassailable that it ends the whole line of argument.

To show the error, I've done a couple of substitutions:

All pianos are instruments.
All pianos can be used to make noise or crush a pedestrian.
Therefore, all pianos are instruments which can be used to make noise or crush a pedestrian.

Best I can tell, that syllogism is sound. The next one, not so much:

All pianos are instruments which can be used to make noise or crush a pedestrian.
A guitar is an instrument.
A guitar was used to make noise.
Therefore, a guitar is a piano.

I don't remember the name of the fallacy here, but it's assuming that a statement follows from its converse: If all weapons are instruments that can injure, then any instrument that can injure is a weapon. Pianos dropped onto sidewalks notwithstanding.
Alice Arneson
231. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @230 - ROFL! Well played, my friend!

The affirmation of the consequent? Confirmation bias error? (I'm just borrowing terms from my husband without knowing much about it, but I like the sounds.) In any case, you make quite clear what the fallacy is, whether any of us can name it or not. Loved it.
232. Wortmauer
Wetlandernw: Indeed, Uncle Google agrees, affirming the consequent. Though the way the logic was originally phrased, it may be better to call it the fallacy of the undistributed middle, which seems to be basically equivalent.

Actually I'm just glad my month-late post was even read (and even gladder it was appreciated). I might also note that I've never dropped a piano onto a pedestrian without their consent. I did take one through the Ways once, using a forklift.
Alice Arneson
233. Wetlandernw
Ouch! Coffee out through the nose!

I actually check my "conversations" list regularly, so I see when someone has posted on any of the old threads and I usually go back and read it. I don't always comment, of course, but I do read and enjoy. And comment when it's a gooder. :)

By the way, did the piano survive the trip?
234. Wortmauer
By the way, did the piano survive the trip?
Yes and no. It seemed fine afterward, all the keys still worked and everything, but ... I dunno. Something was lost. Try as I might, everything sounded like MIDI files. Like the piano had no soul.
Alice Arneson
235. Wetlandernw

Okay, I'll be giggling off and on all night now... :) But just try and explain the joke to a 7-year-old who wants to know what's so funny.

Extremely well played. :)
Hugh Arai
236. HArai
Scream the strings... string the screams...

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