May 10 2011 2:57pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Knife of Dreams, Part 4

Knife of Dreams by Robert JordanLike sands through the hourglass, THESE are the Re-reads of our Wheel of Time! Organ suspense chord!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 1 and 2 of Knife of Dreams, in which All Is Revealed—except for all the things I actually wanted to know, of course. Crap.

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 post!

Chapter 1: When Last Sounds

What Happens
Wheel, Ages, legend, myth, wind. The wind blows down from Dragonmount, wreaking havoc in the Rebel camp outside Tar Valon and waking Siuan Sanche for the second time in Bryne’s tent. She is exhausted, but after the terrible news from the harbors she now has hope again, and forces herself to get up. Bryne is not there, and she briefly wonders if he ran off at the news of Egwene’s capture, but then feels guilty at even entertaining the thought. She changes and heads out, briefly distracted to see that Bryne had blacked his own boots, which infuriates her.

The bloody man insisted she work off her debt, then sneaked in behind her back – or worse, under her nose while she slept – and blacked his own bloody boots! Gareth bloody Bryne treated her like a maidservant, never so much as tried to kiss her…!

She jerked upright, her mouth going taut as a mooring rope. Now where had that thought come from? No matter what Egwene claimed, she was not in love with Gareth bloody Bryne! She was not! She had too much work in front of her to get caught in that kind of foolishness.

She channels to take all the blacking off, and marches out of the tent, where she collars a soldier and orders him to get her a “mild” horse. He brings her his wife’s mount, and Siuan is not at all convinced of the horse’s “mildness” when she gallops it awkwardly to the Aes Sedai part of camp, in a rush to get to certain parties before they did something precipitate. She embraces saidar once there, inverting the weaves so no one can tell; she feels bad, but reminds herself that two Aes Sedai had been murdered in the camp so far. She heads to Myrelle’s tent, where she finds Myrelle, Sheriam, Morvrin, and Carlinya; their dismissive attitude to Siuan shows immediately that they thought it was all over. Siuan informs them that Egwene and Leane are alive, and prisoners inside the Tower, and that they had mostly succeeded in blocking the harbors. Sheriam instantly proposes they stage a rescue, and Myrelle agrees, but Siuan tells them no; Egwene has ordered there by no rescue involving sisters under any circumstances. Myrelle demands to know why.

“She is guarded, Myrelle. By sisters. And they won't give her up easily. If we try a rescue, Aes Sedai will die at the hands of Aes Sedai, sure as silverpike spawn in the reeds. It's happened once, but it must not happen again, or all hope dies of reuniting the Tower peacefully. We cannot allow it to happen again. So there is to be no rescue.”

Sheriam is skeptical of the chance of peaceful reintegration anyway, and Morvrin points out that even if Egwene isn’t to be tried, she will certainly be broken. They are interrupted by Lelaine, and Sheriam spills the news about Egwene to her in a way that makes Siuan want to box her ears. Lelaine only purses her lips, and commands Siuan to walk with her. Siuan is forced to obey, and outside the tent Lelaine tells her that what she’s seen has confirmed what she wrested out of Faolain, which explains to Siuan why Faolain has been in hiding recently.

“You and your friends have been very faithful to Egwene, Siuan. Can you be as faithful to me?”

[…] Siuan stopped dead, drawing herself up. Lelaine halted, too, clearly waiting for her to speak. Even with her face half in shadow that was clear. Siuan had to steel herself to confront this woman. Some instincts were buried in the bone for Aes Sedai. “I'm faithful to you as a Sitter for my Ajah, but Egwene al'Vere is the Amyrlin Seat.”

At Lelaine’s behest, Siuan relates again what Egwene had told her in her dreams, though not about the fact that someone in the Rebel camp must have betrayed her, and that Egwene has called for the Hall to convene that evening inside the Hall of the Tower, but in Tel’aran’rhiod. Lelaine finds that priceless, and muses on the rest with interest, but Siuan notes she has not said whether she will show for the meeting, and asks her point-blank if she intends to go. After a pause, Lelaine replies that of course she will, as will all the Hall. Siuan then asks why Lelaine had asked whether she would be faithful, then. Lelaine replies that she is faithful to the Amyrlin Seat—but if Egwene is stilled, or dies, Lelaine expects Siuan and her friends to make sure she takes the stole in Egwene’s place.

Siuan felt as though her stomach had turned to ice. No Blue would have been behind the first betrayal, but one Blue, at least, had reason to betray Egwene now.

This week on As The Tower Turns, we all yell at Siuan to just kiss the man already, sheesh. Among other things.

(And wow, that’s off the air now, isn’t it? Crazy!)

And… yeah. I never really liked soap operas. Which isn’t to say that’s what this is, exactly, except to the extent that it’s a big giant snarly tangle of complications that I am having trouble finding the patience to wait through its untangling. But at least, unlike most soap operas, I’m actually going to get to see the untangling finally happen. Eventually. Sigh.

But in the meantime I’m a trifle bored by this, especially because I already know how it will happen, mostly. True, I know what will happen for many of the other storylines, too, but this is the one that’s making me impatient. Probably because I’m all, “who cares what the rebels are doing, let’s get back to Egweeeeeeene!”

But it appears from the comments to the last entry that I was mistaken about how much Egwene features in KOD (which is to say, hardly at all), so I guess I’m kind of screwed on that one. I’m a little bit sulky about that.

Ironically, I was constrained to almost completely leave out the one part of this chapter that I did find somewhat entertaining, which was Siuan’s Amazing Adventures in Equestrianism (or the total lack thereof). Which is our lesson in the truth that “entertaining” and “relevant to the plot” are not always BFFs. More’s the pity.

Sheriam: I keep having this impulse to call foul on Sheriam’s Suddenly Chaos-Promoting behavior starting in KOD. Like her pushing for Egwene’s rescue, here, and the way she clued in Lelaine. I dunno, I find it… incongruous or something, even though I know that we were given clues about her shadiness all the way back to TDR, what with the 13x13 info and the Gray Man in her bed and all, and of course the beatings she’s been getting from (it turns out) Halima. So, yeah, fine, I know my objection has no real basis, but… enh.

It still feels like it’s out of nowhere to me that we find out she’s Black Ajah, later, instead of just flighty. This is possibly because I was originally quite convinced that the business in TDR and even the beatings later on were total misdirection. Plus I’m still sort of annoyed about how that “golden halo” viewing turned out. Oh well.

Lelaine: God bless, woman. Nothing like a bred-in-the-bone politician to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about humanity. Always looking out for number one, eh? No, really, you’re adorable.

*rolls eyes*


Chapter 2: The Dark One’s Touch

What Happens
Beonin wakes and breakfasts, grimacing at the slightly spoiled taste of the food, and sends her Warder Tervail to get their horses. She gathers her things, thinking of how she had been taught to always seize the opportunity to better herself, and waits outside the tent for Tervail. She is joined by Ashmanaille (Gray) and Phaedrine (Brown); the former makes a comment about how the group riding off (Varilin, Takima, Saroiya, Faiselle, and Magla) to the negotiations with Elaida’s people hardly look like they are together at all. Beonin replies that perhaps last night’s news has affected them. Phaedrine goes on that she and Ashmanaille were hoping to get Beonin’s input on the murders in camp, as she has had some experience in investigating such matters. Beonin replies that the murders were pre-meditated, and not random, and the only connection she can see between the two victims is that both were Blue Ajah.

“So I ask myself, what connection has the Blue Ajah with a man who can channel? The answer comes back, Moiraine Damodred and Rand al'Thor. And Kairen, she also had contact with him, yes?”

Phaedrine's frown deepened to near a scowl. “You cannot be suggesting he is the killer.” Really, she was getting much too far above herself.

“No,” Beonin said coolly. “I am saying you must follow the connection. Which leads to the Asha'man. Men who can channel. Men who can channel, who know how to Travel. Men who have some reason to fear Aes Sedai, perhaps particular Aes Sedai more than others. A connection is not the proof,” she admitted reluctantly, “but it is suggestive, yes?”

Ashmanaille is unconvinced; she thinks a male wilder among the workmen is more likely, and Phaedrine agrees. Ashmanaille comments, though, that an Asha’man would be who they would need to find a man who channels in the camp regardless. Beonin points out that that is unlikely to happen, internally thankful that the proposition to ally with the Black Tower seems destined to fall apart, and tells them again: find the connection between Anaiya and Kairen, and find the killer. She then mounts her horse and heads with Tervail to the Traveling Ground, where she weaves a gateway to a garden outside the Tower. She is reassuring Tervail that all is well when she sees the ghost of a sister she knows died long ago.

“What is it?” Tervail spun, his sword coming up, to stare in the direction she had been looking. “What frightened you?”

“The Dark One, he is touching the world,” she said softly. It was impossible! Impossible, but she was not given to delusions or fancies. She had seen what she had seen. Her shiver had nothing to with standing ankle-deep in snow. Silently, she prayed. May the Light illumine me all of my days, and may I shelter in the Creator's hand in the sure and certain hope of salvation and rebirth.

Beonin weaves Illusion to hide her face and her ability to channel. Tervail tries to talk her out of finding Elaida, offering to kill her himself, but Beonin refuses, and insists that he wait for her in an inn in the city. He leaves reluctantly.

Elaida sits in her study and listens to Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar rant about his treatment since the Tower kidnapped him. The former king of Illian looks rather the worse for wear, and Elaida is thankful that he hadn’t arrived until after she had dealt with Alviarin. She cuts off Mattin’s complaints to inform him that the Dragon Reborn had taken Illian and the Laurel Crown only days after she’d had Mattin spirited out, and if he had still been there Rand al’Thor would surely have executed him. Mattin is not much mollified, but then she tells him that she might also be able to get that throne back for him. Mattin is doubtful, but beginning to hold hope at her words.

“Regaining your crown will require planning, and time,” she told him, since at the moment she had no idea of how it could be accomplished. She certainly intended to find a way, however. Kidnapping the King of Illian had been meant to demonstrate her power, but restoring him to a stolen throne would demonstrate it even further. She would rebuild the full glory of the White Tower at its highest, the days when thrones trembled if the Amyrlin Seat frowned.

Elaida then more-or-less politely kicks Mattin out, and sends for Tarna. Tarna reports that only shallow-drafted boats can enter Southharbor, but some progress is being made with ferry-barges. Elaida doesn’t want open fighting with the rebels, and knows that therefore repairs on the harbors will have to wait. Tarna also reports that the dead are walking in the streets of the city, which chills Elaida.

Elaida projected serenity, but it was a charade. What would come, would come. And she still had secured no hold on the al'Thor boy. To think she had once had him right under her hand! If only she had known then. Curse Alviarin and that triply cursed proclamation calling anathema on anyone who approached him save through the Tower. She would have recalled it, except that would seem weakness, and in any case, the damage had been done beyond simple mending. Still, soon she would have Elayne back in hand, and the Royal House of Andor was the key to winning Tarmon Gai'don. That, she had Foretold long ago.

She is also shocked by a report that there are rats in the Tower, and orders Tarna to check the wards. They are interrupted by an Accepted, who tells Elaida that there is a woman waiting to petition her. Elaida is pleased that someone is finally beginning to bring petitions to her again, and grants the audience. A woman comes in, and promptly reveals herself to be Beonin. Tarna goes to shield her, but Elaida only remarks that she is surprised Beonin would dare to show her face. Beonin replies that she had done the best she could to slow and/or disperse the rebels, as Elaida had ordered.

“If I may say, Mother, it was the most excellent decision not to try Egwene. For one thing, she has the genius for discovering new weaves, even better than Elayne Trakand or Nynaeve al'Meara. For another, before they raised her, Lelaine and Romanda struggled with one another to be named Amyrlin. With Egwene alive, they will struggle again, but neither can succeed, yes? Me, I think very soon now sisters will begin following behind me.”

Elaida demands to know how Beonin knew that she wasn’t putting Egwene on trial, and Beonin explains to her about Tel'aran'rhiod. Elaida is stunned by this revelation, and Tarna quickly recalls Egwene’s warning to Silviana about the Seanchan, but Elaida still dismisses it. She asks if Egwene could be given enough forkroot to keep her out of Tel'aran'rhiod, but Tarna thinks that much would make her useless for anything. Annoyed, Elaida demands to know if Beonin learned anything useful, and Beonin shows them the Traveling weave, then Skimming. Elaida orders that she will not show these weaves to anyone else without permission; Tarna explains (to Elaida’s displeasure) that some of the Ajahs within the Tower oppose Elaida almost as strongly as the rebels do. Shocked, Beonin asks what has been going on in the Tower, but Elaida ignores the question in favor of making Beonin swear an oath not to teach the weaves to anyone without Elaida’s permission. Then Beonin gives Elaida the information about the ten “ferrets” sent by the rebels to sow dissension in the Tower. Elaida sits bolt upright at the last name, and orders them all watched, but not arrested.

“That may be difficult as matters stand, Mother.”

Elaida slapped the table with her free hand, a sharp crack. “I didn't ask whether it would be difficult. I said do it! And inform Meidani that I invite her to dinner this evening.” The woman had been persistent in trying to resume a friendship that had ended many years before. Now she knew why.

She sends Tarna out, and tells Beonin to teach her everything.

Elaida: still a moron. Total lack of news at eleven.

But—a moron who now knows how to Travel. GODDAMMIT, BEONIN. I shake my fist at you from the Suffa-laden future! Also, your murder investigation skills suck! So there!

At least knowledge of the Dream World is mostly not useful to Elaida without any dream ter’angreal, but that Traveling thing is going to seriously come back and bite us in the ass later. Grrr.

This chapter confused me on first reading, and in fact I think it still does, a little. Obviously one of the main purposes was to reveal that Beonin (a) is not a Darkfriend but (b) is a traitorous weasel. Well, from our admittedly biased point of view, anyway.

So, okay, I got that. However, I after reading it I was all, yeah, but DID she also betray Egwene re: her capture, or not? It seems like she didn’t from what she says to Elaida, but nothing in this chapter (as far as I can tell, anyway) specifically refutes the possibility, either.

In fact (and I think I’ve mentioned this before) I can’t recall that we ever get flat-out told who was behind the betrayal. Did we? I’ve been sitting here thinking about it, and now I’m kind of annoyed. I hope this is a plot-relevant issue for AMoL, here, because otherwise it seems like there is no reason to withhold this bit of knowledge.

Oh, and hi, Sudden King Cameo! Seriously, I think Mattin’s abrupt lack of deadness here is one of the most random things that happens in this book. Possibly in the series. Though I did notice that it was actually hinted at a couple of books earlier, so at least it isn’t really as utterly out of left field as it seemed like on first reading, but even so, the rationale Elaida thinks to herself on why she’d had Mattin kidnapped even before Rand took Illian seems a wee bit… thin. Almost ret-con-like.

Not to mention, why are we reintroducing him, again? Are we planning to make Rand give his crown back? Because, I gotta say that seems kind of shitty. The Illianers offered him the throne freely, after all. It’s not like he’s a usurper or anything. And, there’s all the prophetically-enhanced Crown of Thorns Swords Jesus symbolism. That seems kinda important, you know? Not the kind of thing you should be all, “Oh, okay, here, I was just borrowing it.”

Also, Mattin seems a tiny bit douche-y. Though I guess if I’d been rolled in a rug and tossed in a ship for, what, months? against my will, I’d probably not be putting the best parts of my personality on display either. But considering he spent a significant amount of time hanging out with Sammael before that, I’m thinking maybe “no” on the re-kinging.

But, well. Since Rand is probably going to be Mostly Dead for three days in a little bit, I suppose it’s necessary to have someone on standby to step in. I still think it sucks, though.

And that’s about what I got for this one, kids. Tune In Next Week to see what happens! Dramatic montage of future events! And… commercial!

Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
King Cameo - LOL. Was wondering about that myself. Well, someone will have to rule Illian after Rand buys the farm in AMOL. I don't remember - what did Eg do with him in ToM? Is he mentioned at all? Will she be taking him to the Fields of ___ and convincing him to oppose Rand's plan to break the seals? Hmmm. Good questions.

Siuan is endlessly amusing. Lelaine and Beonin - not so much.

Philip Crowley
2. dragonbane79
On someone betraying Egwene - from what I recall I assumed that no one actually betrayed her, she just got caught by people guarding the harbour entrances because she was channelling in the middle of the river in plain sight of any Aes Sedai...
Marcus W
3. toryx
Ah, Elaida. I must confess that I always rather enjoyed her chapters, if only because I knew that such complete incompetence would eventually be rewarded. As it eventually was.

I always figured that Beonin was the one who betrayed Egwene one way or another but I could be wrong. Honestly, it's not something I ever cared about all that much.
4. pwl
So, okay, I got that. However, I after reading it I was all, yeah, but DID she also betray Egwene re: her capture, or not? It seems like she didn’t from what she says to Elaida, but nothing in this chapter (as far as I can tell, anyway) specifically refutes the possibility, either.

It's not refuted here. However, to the best of my recollection later on, Beonin tries to tell Egwene she "betrayed nothing", but cannot finish the sentence because she betrayed the ferrets. The interplay makes it pretty clear she did not betray Egwene's harbor chain plan.
I still think the most obvious party to do so was Nicola, who simply didn't expect Egwene to be the one caught. But that might have been contradicted somewhere that I missed.
5. CorDarei
@ 2, I thought she was channeling inverted weaves, and the only reason they got caught was noise from the boat...
Birgit F
6. birgit
It is important that Elaida kidnapped kings to explain why the Domani king reapears later and isn't Graendal's pet after all.
"Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear that I will teach the weaves I learned among the rebels to no one without the permission of the Amyrlin Seat."
Beonin doesn't specify which Amyrlin. Is she already regretting going back to Elaida?
7. dank
Also, don't be hatin' on Beonin's sleuthing skillz. Her advice in this chapter leads them to the Cabriana connection, and they were very close to finding out Halima.
8. FellKnight
The Mattin ret-con was presumably put here so that RJ/BWS could foreshadow the finding of Alsalam in the Caralain Grass in ToM.

Sorcha O
9. sushisushi
Siuan is totally hilarious here, particularly her decades-old Issue with Horses. This sequence is on a par with her tying up her horse with a humongous boat knot on arriving in Salidar, because you Just Can't Trust Bloody Horses. Although, there seems to be a certain similarity with her attitude to Gareth Bryne, in that there's a whole lot of grumbling, but if she just relaxed about it a bit, she'd be flying. Although if she sorted out her Issues With Horses as well as her Issues With Gareth Bryne got sorted out, we'd loose a lot of the comedy. I suspect the horses just don't care to put in the effort, like Bryne does…

Sheriam, Sheriam, Sheriam. Rereading her behaviour once you know she's Black really gives her character a different slant, much more towards the sinister than the flighty.

As for Beonin and the Betrayal of Egwene, it's pretty clear later on that she didn't betray the plan with the harbor chains, although she did spill pretty much everything else, once she decided that she wasn't constrained to follow Egwene any more. It's funny, because she was always one of the Salidar Six, but I seem to remember her always being the one who was concerned with doing things properly and making sure the proprieties were observed, which I had always put down to being Gray Ajah. She was originally in charge of the talks with the tower, before the five Ajah plants took over, which is kind of uncomfortable when you realise she was actually a Tower mole. No wonder the lot of them never made any progress...

dragonbane79@2 Egwene channelled for about all of maybe ten seconds in the middle of the river and there was a group of 5 Aes Sedai in situ in the harbour in the middle of the night, waiting to catch her, with another group in Southharbour waiting for Leane. That's pre-arranged, not just someone spotting someone in a boat and going out to investigate.

The Betrayer finger seems to be pointed generally in Nicola's direction, given that she had defected maybe three or four days beforehand, but that would assume that she managed to ferret out the secret plan. If you want to go down the Black Ajah route, there is Sheriam, Moria and Delana to choose from. Delana smells most like it, though, considering that Halima killed the first choice Kairen the night beforehand. That backfired like crazy on them, though, given that Egwene replaced her, not Bode as expected, getting Egwene out from under Halima's dodgy massage thumb and ultimately broke the deadlock between the two AS factions.
Vincent Lane
10. Aegnor
I seem to remember that the timeline doesn't match up for it to have been Nicola that did the betraying. I think Sheriam told Mesaana, who then got it to Elaida as a way of sowing chaos. Not sure though.


No, Egwene's weaves weren't inverted at all, otherwise she wouldn't have been caught most likely. Leane did invert her weaves, however, and was captured only when a warder noticed her boat (since it took a LOT longer for her to turn her harbor chain.
Kimani Rogers
11. KiManiak
Thanks, as always, Leigh,

Were these 2 chapters soap-operaesque? I don’t think any more so than previous Salidar or Tower Aes Sedai focused chapters. Actually, I’d argue Rand’s love quadrangle; Egwene & Gawyn; Alviarin vs. Elaida; Elaida vs. common sense; Mat , the 3 AS and the 3 sul’dam in Luca’s circus; and many others are a little more soap-operaish. As far as the untangling is concerned, yeah there is a “knot” here that could be untangled. But isn’t that how Jordan wrote most of this series? Nothing was ever too straight forward (hey, it took Rand & Elayne til book 9 to hook up, even though she put the moves on him way back in book 4).

I didn’t find the Sheriam reveal to be too out of left field, either, in retrospect. Like Leigh said, we were given hints way back in TGH or TDR. I actually think that reading the books, knowing who was Black Ajah from TGS, we’re able to see the foundation that RJ laid down for his big reveal. The only one that doesn’t always make sense, was Moria, since she strongly supported that the AS bond the Ashaman a few books ago. I think Leigh may just have to except that RJ meant for Sheriam to be BA all along.

Funny how Beonin’s thinking paralleled Romanda’s thinking (and ultimate deduction) re: the saidin wielding killer. I wouldn’t say her murder investigation skills sucked; she was on the right track, but lacked some pretty important information (you know, that it’s possible a woman could channel saidin). Many of the AS are incredibly smart, capable women. It’s a shame they let their egos and their selfishness get in the way. Of course, that can be said of a lot of people, both fictional and real. But the AS seem to suffer from it significantly more than others in WoT.

Anyway, Elaida and Beonin. Yes, we can and should blame Beonin for screwing things up royally by teaching Elaida how to Travel. Elaida? Everyone knew that was gonna turn around to bite our heroes in the buttocks.

And yeah, there is nothing in this chapter to sufficiently either prove or disprove that Beonin was Egwene’s traitor. But I think that later on, when Egwene confronts Beonin while doing chores, we get a stronger nudge that Beonin didn’t betray her. And no, we have still not been told, straight up, who was the traitor. I still lean towards one of the SAS BA or Halima passing that word on to someone in the Tower to help maintain a stalemate between the Tower and the Rebels.

For Mattin’s introduction, maybe this really was RJ setting up Verin to pass the letter to Rand (via some AS; I forget who) in ToM which many speculate told Rand that Mattin was captured by the Tower and the Arad Domani king Alsalam was probably kidnapped by the Tower as well. But, who knows…
Kimani Rogers
12. KiManiak
And I see I should’ve read the comments before my post@11, as pwl@4, birgit@6, dank@7, Fellknight@8 and sushi@9 already stated some of my points in their posts. So, I’ll just drop a, “like they said” and leave it there.

RobM2 @1 – As I recall, Egwene didn’t feel comfortable bringing Mattin to a place where he might confront Rand. It’s been awhile since I’ve read that section, though, so I could be wrong.

sushisushi@9 – Ha. I like your comparison of Siuan's attitude/approach with horses and her attitude/approach to Gareth Bryne. I guess they are pretty similar; she should stop fighting it, let go and enjoy the ride! :-) But, that’s not really Siuan’s style...

EDIT: Whoops! I meant Siuan's attitude/approach, not Elaida! I was thinking of horses and stubborn and I typed Elaida instead of Siuan.
13. Kadere
Beonin flat out says later in the book that she didn't betray Egwene and she only told Elaida about channeling and what not because she'd convienced herself that Egwene was no longer Amyrlin so her oath to Egwene no longer counted. Egwene then refutes saying she IS still Amyrlin and it's clear Beonin's Oaths are still in place. We have no idea who betrayed Egwene as of yet.
Stefan Mitev
15. Bergmaniac
So Elaida was informed that Egwene can enter TAR and communicate with the rebel leaders yet did nothing to prevent her gathering info and reporting back to them about the situation. And if she had a bit of common sense, she'd have realised that unless she changed the way Egwene is guarded, Egwene could've arranged for an escape really easy - just point out through TAR in which room she was sleeping, and the rebels open a Gateway (I don't recall if she was guarded during the night, but at most there were 2 guards, which would've been easily overwhelmed by the rebels), and she would've been free to go.So Elaida's plan to break her made no sense.

I am surprised the Tower hasn'd included horseriding in the circulum of the novices, Aes Sedai riding clumsily and looking ridiculou, not calm and regal is is a bad PR move. ;)
16. gadget
As for who betrayed Egwene, I think the main suspects are the Rebel Sitters sent by the Ajah Heads to 'bring the rebels along' and the BA /Forsaken. Each would have had their own motives to maintain the stalemate. None of them knew they would have been betraying Egwene herself by their actions, as that was a last minute decision.
Marcus W
17. toryx
Yeah, now that everyone and their brother has pointed it out, it really wasn't Beonin who warned the Tower to be on the lookout. I remember that now but I guess I really didn't care that much who did it so I forgot all about that.

Now I'm starting to get curious though. I wonder if that really was a black sister revelation?

Elaida really dropped the ball on the whole Tel'aran'rhiod. I wonder if it's just that she didn't really believe it? Or maybe she thought that Egwene was so cowed that the silly little girl wouldn't be of any use to the rebels. More likely, she probably thought that none of the rebels were really that interested in Egwene in the first place. Rescuing her probably never even occurred to Elaida.
Sam Mickel
18. Samadai
Thinking about it for a moment, it does seem like something one of the sitters (who joined the rebels to get them to go back to the tower) would have done. They don't want the harbor chains blocked, as it would be another setback in their "negotiations". It also is unlikely that it is one of the black sisters that betrayed the plan, as Mesaana didn't know about it( not that that is any kind of proof).
19. alreadymadwithmurders
You gotta admit, Leigh, Beonin was right about the murders given the limited information at hand. Whatever connection bet. the two would point to the motive and thus to the killer. Men who could channel and Travel. Not her fault she couldn't narrow it down further. Ashmanaille pointed out it would take an Asha'man to solve the murders, and that happens later in this book.

Bergmaniac @13
I don't think any amount of horseriding lessons would improve Siuan's attitude about horses. She just isn't written that way. Same goes for the SeaFolk.
20. s'rEDIT
Leigh, thank you again! You gave me the best laugh I've had for quite awhile with the reference to

abrupt lack of deadness

I don't know why, but that tickled my funnybone almost to cackling aloud while at work . . . I avoided discovery by swallowing hard and coughing instead, but it was a near thing!
S Diller
21. CuenDiller
I always just assumed the betrayer was Nicola and never questioned it. Now I guess I might be wrong...huh.

So if Elaida is told here by Beonin that Egwene can communicate via dreams, you think she would have at least tried to have done something. Then again it's Elaida, so maybe not.
22. Karcher
"Still, soon she would have Elayne back in hand, and the Royal House of Andor was the key to winning Tarmon Gai'don. That, she had Foretold long ago."

I find this hilarious - that if Elaida had any intelligence whatsoever, she totally had the info needed to track down Rand before Moiraine got to him. She just needed to consider the possibility that House Mantear could have been the relevent royal line of Andor (and may well have been when she made the foretelling?), do a bit of follow up work on Tigraine, consider the possibility that the key to winning the last battle could be the Dragon Reborn (should be obvious) and presto. Yes that would probably be easier said than done, but its as least as much as Moiraine had to go off.

But instead she just complacently stuffed around in Caemlyn for years.
Hugh Arai
23. HArai
Regarding Elaida not understanding the implications of Tel’aran’rhiod and Egwene being a Dreamer: She's already proven that she's the character with the least accurate grip on the implications of Foretelling in the entire series, it's no surprise she totally botches this as well. In addition, she's so egocentric that I'm sure part of the reason she dismisses Egwene's warnings is that she didn't Foretell anything regarding the Seanchan at all.
Stefan Mitev
24. Bergmaniac
How was Elaida supposed to find what happened to Tigraine? The only one who knew what happened to her was Gitara Moroso and she kept it a secret.

What is really dumb here is that Elaida completely ignores Galad, Gawyn and all men of House Mantear and concentrates only on Elayne. Her extreme sexism didn't allow other possibilities, I guess.
Hugh Arai
25. HArai
Bergmanic@24: Not just sexism: Elayne's ability to channel makes her the only one in the family that could possibly be of any importance to Elaida's way of thinking.
Kimani Rogers
26. KiManiak
Bergmaniac25 - re: ignoring the men of Trakand and Mantear -

That's a really good point. Not only did she ignore or show little interest in them, but she actively plots to eliminate one of them. What if her Foretelling were about Gawyn? Telling Galina to get rid of him and his Younglings would have been a huge gaffe, then. But, its not like Elaida considers or allows for multiple possibilities.
Andrew Foss
27. alfoss1540
I'm about tired of the Siuan horse ineptitude. Remember that she road from Tar Valon all the way the the Borderlands in New Spring in pursuit of Moiraine. A month of travel does not necessarily make a fine horseman, but I would think you would at least have competence. Its cute, but I have trouble believing it.
28. Narg
the murders were pre-meditated, and not random

Not true! Narg smart, Narg hungry, Narg see lunch - Narg starving, like!
Narg get back to lunch. Please? Pretty please, with intestines on top?
Maiane Bakroeva
29. Isilel
I remember that the Siuan chapter was appropriately ominous at the time and I like Siuan as a character, so I mostly enjoyed it. Yet again Siuan got to keep the pieces together when everything was about to go pear-shaped.
Too bad that the ostensible threat of Lelaine was another red herring. Also, it was disingenious to make Lelaine the First Selector retroactively - if she was that at the time, then we should have seen it at this point. We are in Siuan's POV, after all, and she should know. It should have made it even more difficult to stand up to Lelaine too.

Oh, and the one thing I hated? Was the disappointing psychological folding of Siuan into the OP-strength hierarchy. Until then I was sure that Siuan would spear-head the long-overdue abolition of it... and her instinctive deference really comes out of the blue, IMHO.
We better not see the same with Moiraine! It would be completely OoC and utterly terrible.

Bergmaniac @15:

I am surprised the Tower hasn'd included horseriding in the circulum of the novices,

One of the many wholly implausible lapses of WT curriculum indeed and continuation of the theme of women, even otherwise intelligent ones, having no common sense in WoT.

Speaking of which - how unbelievable is it that the the campful of AS is unable to effectively defend itself against a rogue male channeler once they know that one is on the prowl? I mean, how on earth did they manage not to get obliterated by some crafty False Dragon et.al. if that's the best they can do?
Testing for residues of saidin was introduced in CoT - if the AS had wits nature gave a turnip they would have been constantly making sweeps through the camp for it. Or invented/used some wards ditto. How on earth were these women able to find any male channelers at all thoughout the ages, if they are so incompetent?

Also, they feel safe in their tents?! WTF? Are the tents warded (then why not mention it?) or are they all completely bonkers?

Elaida - wasn't it a bit OoC for her _not_ to birch Egwene? I mean, it could only help to break Egs, right? Also, would have enhanced the martyrdom aspect...
30. Looking Glass
Isilel: at this point, I don't think Elaida, or actually anyone else in the tower, has yet understood there's anything in Egwene to break. As of this chapter, the whole tower is still operating under the assumption that she's a silly girl who foolishly let the grown-ups set her up as a sacrificial figurehead because she's just that obedient and pliable. That is, the fact that Egwene is rebel Amyrlin makes it appear more likely that she'll be a pushover. Which, hilariously ironic though it may be to those of us with an Egwene's-eye view of things, is not an unreasonable conclusion, given the Tower's much more limited perspective. Indeed, it's a completely accurate inference about what the Salidar hall intended when they elevated her.

In short, though: Elaida isn't pissed at Egwene's defiance yet, simply because it hasn't dawned on her that Egwene might actually be defiant.
Stefan Mitev
31. Bergmaniac
Of course, if Elaida has bothered to ask Beonin about it, she'd have been told that Egwene was hardly a pushover and had already established her control over the Rebel Hall thanks to the War Law. But I guess this is too much to ask of Elaida...
32. alreadymadwithhorses
Looking Glass @30
Good point on Elaida and Egwene. It doesn't really sink in until the time Eg plays waitress for Elaida's dinner date.

As for the horseriding:
It's apparently a given that everybody learns to ride a horse at some point. Much like riding a bike. Unfortunately it also is apparently a given in Jordan's universe that no amount of experience or practice will endear horses to boatlovers.

On Lelaine:
It's kinda strange to think of her as First Selector. She didn't even know who the Blue spymaster was before Siuan got there. And no matter how much of a secret it is, you'd think the Ajah head would know who the spymaster is.
I'm of the opinion the original First Selector died during the fighting in the Tower. Probably targeted directly by Danelle's goons. And Lelaine or Anaiya took over once in Salidar.
Marcus W
33. toryx
The ironic thing about Elaida and her prophecy about the importance of Andor is that she's not entirely wrong. I imagine if Elayne had died at any time (no matter how much I kind of always wanted her to) the ramifications on Rand would be so great that he'd fail. Much as I hate to admit it, Rand needs Elayne every bit as much as he does Min and Aviendha. So she kind of is key, even if not in the way Elaida imagines her to be.

I have to say, though, that I'm SO disappointed we never got to see Elaida's response to the discovery that Elayne is pregnant (never mind Rand's involvement in that). That would have been priceless.

Honestly, the more I think of it the more I'm disappointed that Elaida's been captured by the Seanchan. It removes her from the story so completely that I can't cackle with glee at her stupid obstinancy, not to mention deprieving me of several scenes of revelation. I'll never get the chance to see her get schooled by Egwene or Rand, and presumably she'll never realize just how wrong she was about absolutely everything. There would have been no sweeter revenge than to have Elaida become fully aware of the consequences of her decisions. Getting captured by the Seachan ruins all of that. Damn it.
Daniel Smith
34. Smittyphi
Maybe Suffa can be taken to TG and watch Rand win. Her reaction would be priceless.

Yay for another post! Being sick on Tuesday and missing the intial post makes me feel a day behind :-(
Maiane Bakroeva
35. Isilel
Looking Glass @30:

at this point, I don't think Elaida, or actually anyone else in the tower, has yet understood there's anything in Egwene to break.

Well, I'd think that it would have been pretty obvious to her captors. And leaving aside that, Egwene stood up to Elaida during her Accepted test, didn't she? And she was closely connected to the DR too and had a history of running away and next being seen around him. Reasons enough to punish her thoroughly, IMHO or at least to question her face-to-face.

Alreadymad @32:

But even if Lelaine only took over after Anaya's murder, her being the First Selector still should have come up either in their conversation (they were alone) or at least in Siuan's POV when she thought about the power the personal and political power gap between them.

Also - if OP power is given such weight, how on earth are less powerful AS chosen to be Ajah leaders and Sitters? I mean, Lelaine is of proper age, very powerful and politically minded - so why would she let Anaya snap away the prize?

Toryx @33:

I am sure that we will see Elaida's reactions to stuff and you won't be disappointed. She won't remain Suffa for long, I bet.
Marcus W
36. toryx
Isilel @ 35:

I think Elaida was a lot more...stable...in the earlier books than she was by the time Egwene was captured. At this point, Elaida is such a megalomaniac who only perceives the world the way she wants to view it, her grasp of reality is definitely nowhere near as firm.

This in itself is actually pretty traditional amongst Aes Sedai in general. Elaida is just the worst of them. Even when told that Egwene is a Dreamwalker by a supposedly reliable source, I don't think they can allow themselves to believe that it's as great a danger as it is simply because young Accepteds and Novices are simply no threat to them.

Aes Sedai are the champions of self-delusion and Elaida is their queen.

Anyway, I suppose it's possible Elaida will pop up again in AMoL but I have a hard time believing there'll be much time for me to get the satisfaction I'm looking for. We'll just have to RAFO.
Hugh Arai
37. HArai
Isilel@35: Less OP powerful AS become Ajah Sitters and leaders for the same reason Egwene became Amyrlin Seat. People like Lelaine prefer to use puppets instead of direct control to avoid actually taking responsibility. That appears to be how most of the Ajahs do business. The only alternate appears to be the Reds who pick the strongest, craziest maniac they can find. :)

Toryx@36: Personally I'll be satisfied if Suffa dies in some meaningless Seanchan skirmish with Trollocs or Asha'man. For someone whose self-serving megalomania and desire to be "the greatest ever" has caused so much damage to die as an insignificant footnote would be simple justice I think.
38. alreadymadwithasranking
HArai @37
While One Power standing works as a quick way of determining hierarchy among ad hoc groups, we know that determining other positions are not so cut and dried. Aes Sedai still observe the forms of the democratic process. And if one Aes Sedai is elected to hold a certain position, then she will be given the authority required to perform her duties. Enough authority to even override stronger sisters.
This is detailed in a POV of Merana when she was leading the Salidar embassy to Rand al'Thor. Had the White Tower remained whole, then her position as lead delegate would have been secure until an understanding with Rand was reached. As it was though, since the White Tower was broken and clear lines of hierarchy not present, stronger sisters were able to challenge her authority once it became clear that Rand would not come to an agreement with them any time soon.
39. fleadog
Elaida's meglomania and her slip into idiocy can be tied into Fain's visit. Fain also pushed Pedron Niall who was a great battlefield commander (and supposably very smart) into blind denial of Rand. In light of this, Elaida's change from clever and determined into obstinant stupidity makes sense.
Stefan Mitev
40. Bergmaniac
Another example of Elaida's idiocy - even though she's obsessed with getting Elayne under her control due to the infamous Foretelling, she didn't even consider using the fact that she got Egwene (who was obviously Elayne's best friend while they were Novices and Elaida certainly knew it) as a captive to help with that. She could at least tried to used this as a leverage on Elayne instead of relying on her stupid plan which Duhara later presented to Elayne.

Of course, given that Elaida's plan was to kill Gawyn instead of using him to get Elayne under her control, that's not really a surprise. ;)
William Fettes
41. Wolfmage

We've discussed this many times here, and it's still open to debate IMO. Obviously the taint has some role to play, but there's a couple of reasons that it's not entirely satisfactory by itself.

First, Elaida clearly had many character flaws prior to her run-in with Fain. We know this because we see what she is like in New Spring, as well as her reputation for being a dick amongst other Aes Sedai and acquaintances like Thom. Indeed, Fain himself recognises her inherent cruelty and brittleness prior to doing anything during his audience. So, it's an open question how much these flaws would have came to the fore without any influence (Elaida’s personality is likely inherently unsuitable for absolute power), and how much Fain's taint may have depended on her own inner tendencies to work.

Obviously Fain's taint has some effect, but exactly how much can we really assume about that effect? Remember, later on Fain thinks to himself that after brushing her with his taint that Elaida would never be able to trust Rand which underscores that the locus of his attentions was primarily Elaida's views about Rand. Given the sordid history of Shadar Logoth and Fain's association with Mordeth, it's not unreasonable to assume the taint had a generally corrosive impact on her ability to trust. But that’s still an assumption about how his powers work. Many people have remarked on her cartoon-levels of villainy and incompetence as the series progresses, but we need to be careful about simply assuming the taint is solely responsible. It's still a case of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc = After It Therefore Because of It - which is a logical fallacy.

Also, if I can add a cheeky meta-textual comment here, many characters before Elaida have been diminished in some way to pave the way for Egwene's majesty as the Amyrlin of the world, including Nynaeve and Siuan. So, I wouldn't say RJ or BS were above simply accentuating Elaida's inherent flaws to help boost Egwene's plotline, as many and better characters have been sacrificed on that alter.
John Massey
42. subwoofer
Gotta chime in after fleadog and the wolf, heh.

Ahem- Siuan and horses... thankfully they haven't invented the boot for horses or I am sure Siuan woulda used one. What was she thinking- the horse can untie knots with teeth? As for riding- no surprises there, boot a horse in the ribs, negative results follow.


*rubs eyes*

Funny that, I thought I saw folks predicting a comeback for her and defending her. Must be seeing things...

She's a Dreamer, or at least a Foreteller and knows about stuff like that and she shrugs it off? Bricks... shy... load? Sack.... hammers? Yeeee. And then some genius shows her how to Travel... gonna be feeling the repercussions from that one for awhile. Somebody shoulda been taking aim when the Aes Sedai were carted off- better dead then left to their fates- for Elaida, just better off dead.

43. Shadow_Jak

Oh, and hi, Sudden King Cameo! Seriously, I think Mattin’s abrupt lack of deadness here is one of the most random things that happens in this book. Possibly in the series.

Gotta agree with s-rEDIT. Splendid turn phrase!

This, and your Crown of Thorns Swords reference got me to thinking....
Maybe we need a King around to "wash his hands" of the whole thing when Rand is betrayed and crucified, or whatever.

Which led me to more random thoughts... Maybe the only way to really seal the bore is from the inside? Might easily take 3 days to find ones way from that tomb.

Which led me to think of the SEALS used in "the strike at shayol ghul abbottabad". Go Navy!
(edit some of those darn spaces away)
Hugh Arai
44. HArai
alreadymad@38: You're welcome to blame it on the White Tower being broken, Merana does. Of course, it would be a rare AS that would admit she was at fault. I'm more inclined to blame Merana for having no spine and the other sisters for following the all important strength in the OP. There are several other instances where the "incumbent" AS get over taken by stronger newcomers. Witness virtually anytime Nynaeve and Elayne go anywhere. Witness anytime Cadsuane is breathing. Tower political decrees or the Salidar versions of the same are given polite acknowledgement inside the Tower gates, but outside in the real world? How many versions of "yeah, yeah, I'll do penance later" do we see? Cadsuane isn't the only one that ignores the "powers that be", she's just distinctive for being the one that flat out says so to anyone within earshot.
William Fettes
45. Wolfmage
How many times were there really clear lines of authority placed over those characters which might gainsay such ingrained deference to power? Yes, Cadsuane takes over an embassy but only after it has clearly fallen apart. Nynaeva and Elayne are blocked in Ebou Dar until they force the others to classify then as real sisters, then their ascendency becomes inevitable, even if Egwene didn't give them charge of the mission. Merana certainly shares some blame for allow Verin to undermine her position, but the split is undeniably important in how it muddies the lines of authority.
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
The $64K question... who betrayed Egwene. No, for those who are unsure, we have not been told clearly. Some insist that it's one, some another, but there's no proof. (A lot of people point to Nicola, but there's really no solid evidence.) All we know is that something was definitely betrayed, because the WT had AS waiting at both harbors, and expecting to catch someone. Egwene only channeled for a second or two, and her boat was right up against the rocks when she did it. Leane had her weaves prepared & inverted, as well as her channeling ability hidden, before she was anywhere near the harbor, and was only caught because a slight noise from the boat gave away her presence to someone who was expecting to find something.

However, the fact that Egwene would be one of those caught was not part of the betrayal, nor were the details of what would be done, apparently. Given that the TAS had to ask Egwene what she'd done, it sounds a lot like they knew someone would be there doing something damaging, but neither who nor what. With such limited detail, it's even possible that a servant or soldier overheard just enough to report that little to someone higher up, who got word to the right people, etc. It's the kind of thing that "eyes and ears" pass along, so it could have been almost anyone giving and receiving the intel.

But I think I'll be a little bummed if that's all it was. Not really very exciting or significant, if someone spoke where they could be overheard and it resulted in Egwene's capture. :) The "grand betrayal" would be a lot more dramatic, as would "identifying the traitor" in some fashion. A bit pedestrian to find out that it was just some Red or Yellow eyes-and-ears type who happened to catch a juicy tidbit...
Hugh Arai
47. HArai
Wolfmage@45: The Ebou Dar is a perfect example of the disregard of appointments by the Hall or Amyrlin. If it really mattered that Egwene gave Elayne and Nynaeve charge of the mission, then the other AS should have shut up and toed the line to start with. But no... Elayne had to bluntly put OP strength on the table, claim precedence, and then they fall in line. Then after it's been settled by OP strength, they talk up "of course we'll do what you say, the Amyrlin put you in charge...".

Any grant of authority that falls apart as soon as the situation becomes urgent or complicated has no real validity. Ditto for any grant of authority that has to be backed by personal dominance.
48. alreadymadwithasauthority
HArai @47
Ebou Dar was hardly an ideal case. Elayne and Nynaeve were both on a mission for Egwene. The others, unfortunately were under the perception that their authority stemmed from the Hall and not a puppet Amyrlin. Hence, once in Ebou Dar, the sisters involved, Elayne and Nynaeve included, were forced to determine among themselves which mission had priority. After Elayne put her foot down and upheld the Amyrlin's authority and therefore their mission's precedence, the rest were forced to accept her arguments and therefore her leadership.

Aes Sedai in general require a lot of justification before accepting another's authority. If no official mandate is clear, they fall back upon the old lines of One Power strength. Quick and simple. Ebou Dar unfortunately was in a gray area. If it was just a matter of strength in the Power, Nynaeve and Elayne would have been in charge from the get go. But since they were considered to be on an inferior mission from an Amyrlin without any real authority of her own, the other sisters ignored that particular rule of precedence. Instead taking their mission as the legitimate one, they considered their authority as more valid.

In putting her foot down, Elayne used as argument not her own strength but their own obligations to obey the Amyrlin on pain of treason. In doing so, she therefore upheld the validity of her own mission, having been sent by the Amyrlin and by implication her authority over them. Your quote said it all. They recognized the Amyrlin's authority and the mission she entrusted to Elayne. Not Elayne's own personal strength.

Such politicking would have been less likely had the Tower not split and the Amyrlin's authority secure. It would have been clear right from the start of the trip which mission would take precedence. Whether searching for the Bowl or the Kin was more important or whether they were just to simply stay out of each other's way, neither group subject to the other's authority.
Birgit F
49. birgit
I like your comparison of Siuan's attitude/approach with horses and her attitude/approach to Gareth Bryne. I guess they are pretty similar; she should stop fighting it, let go and enjoy the ride!

She should remember how to control saidar like Moiraine with Rand. She actually can ride when she is distracted.

Elaida never gets her own Foretellings right, why should she pay attention to Eg's Dream?
Suffa can still react to what is happening. Tuon might bring her damane along when she meets Mat (and Rand) again. What will Eg do if Tuon shows up at the Fields of Merillor with Suffa?

The problem in Ebou Dar was that the AS didn't consider El and Ny as real AS. AS don't take orders from Accepted.
Maiane Bakroeva
50. Isilel
Wolfmage @41:

many characters before Elaida have been diminished in some way to pave the way for Egwene's majesty as the Amyrlin of the world, including Nynaeve and Siuan.

Oh, please, she is just following in Rand's et al. footsteps there. It is to enhance his majesty that the AS were intially bludgeoned with the stupid stick in book 6 (and Moiraine got a touch or 3 of it since TSR) and given the cretinistic OP strength precedence system (of which there was no sign in the previous 5 volumes, not even in AS POVs), to explain it.
Elaida is just one victim, even if the most flamboyant, of said stupidization.
Pedron Niall didn't really become completely incapable and delusional after contact with Fain - but then he wasn't an AS.

Yes, it is a deplorable technic that started subtly with Perrin versus Tam al'Tor and Rand versus Moiraine in TSR and deplorably bloomed to unholy flower since book 6.
But there is no reason to single Egwene out, when the superboys profited as much or even more from it.

And yes, IMHO the books would have been much better without it.

AMW @38:

And if one Aes Sedai is elected to hold a certain position, then she will be given the authority required to perform her duties.

Sure, that's what the books say, but how can it really work? If the sisters are socialized to see weaker AS as inferior in every way, why would they elect them? Why would the Amyrlin entrust them with responsibilities if their judgement and competence are inherently suspect? Etc.

And how can people who are only used to being shoved around and dismissed suddenly become decent leaders when put in charge? With no experience of leadership and with the knowledge that they'll go right back to the bottom of the pile once their assignment ends? With every stronger sister whose toes they trod on in the service of duty being able to take petty revenge on them?

Such a "system" could never work, even to the extent it does (hah!) in the series, IMHO.


I am afraid that the question of who betrayed Egs became supremely irrelevant, particularly since it wasn't aimed at her personally at all, just the SAS getting advantage. Too many possibilities, a plethora of different reasons... and the things have moved on far beyond it.

At least, it immediately resulted in some interesting and important stuff, unlike some other storylines that I can name (cough, cough).
51. alreadymadwithasstrength
Even with obvious disadvantages in channeling ability some sisters do have certain abilities that make them uniquely suited for certain tasks. Aes Sedai are trained to view as many angles as possible so it's not a very long leap to selecting the appropriate people.

An example is the team that was sent to investigate the aftermath of the Cleansing at Shadar Logoth. Everyone and his mother lamented that all those qualified were weaker sisters. Once the mission was defined though nobody else got in the way. The only problems encountered were when they were reporting their findings but up until then, the mission went smoothly enough that nobody mentioned it.

Dragonsworn Aes Sedai exhibit the same tendencies. Merana's authority was tenuous at best under a divided Tower being at a level of strength that was roughly equal to most and less than some. Once everyone had sworn to Rand and Rand had handpicked her to play lead though, nobody else questioned it.
52. Wortmauer
Nynaeve and Elayne's experience in Ebou Dar resulted from the other sisters (a) not seeing them as real Aes Sedai, and (b) not having mission authority from a real Amyrlin. They had to be reminded forcefully of both things before their proper habits kicked back in. Egwene being viewed as a real authority figure is an obvious issue, especially since she only started gaining some authority over the Hall long after the Ebou Dar mission left. But the even bigger problem, to me, that Nynaeve's and Elayne's enshawling was patently ridiculous:

* No Three Oaths. Even without an Oath Rod, the four (with Theodrin and Faolain, recall) really should have been required to swear the Oaths at least as a formality. I mean, geez. If they did have to, I don't recall it. And no juicy ceremony Clad in the Light, either, come to think of it. RJ totally didn't write enough of those, am I right?

* Nynaeve couldn't even channel at will, never mind doing the 100-weave sequence in utter calm. By the time of the Ebou Dar confrontation, I guess she had at least broken her block (but do the other Aes Sedai even know this?), but by then she was a flighty newlywed who had just eloped with someone twice her age, so I'm thinking "utter calm" is still not in it. No wonder the other Aes Sedai had trouble taking her seriously.

* They had precious little Tower education. Elayne had, what, a few months as a novice in the Tower before she decided to go gallivanting around Randland with her pals? Nynaeve didn't even have that. And neither got much education as an Accepted, either. Most of what we hear about is Nynaeve's unsuccessful block-breaking therapy, and Elayne being too busy hunting the Black Ajah to bother going to any classes. Sure, they can channel pretty well, but clearly the Tower has a much wider curriculum than that - Old Tongue, politics, and history seem to be major topics, along with the three R's (though the girls may not have needed the three R's, coming from situations where they were taught at least that much already).

and most importantly

* It was done by fiat as the first act of a new Amyrlin who could really only get away with it because it was her first day on the job. A rare window of opportunity for Egwene where it wasn't politically possible to gainsay her. But clearly nobody's very comfortable with this. Which, by the way (and I know we aren't there in the text yet), Egwene has some nerve to criticise Elaida's demotion of Shemerin. How is that more out of line than raising four Accepted, two of whom are manifestly unqualified to be Aes Sedai and by amazing coincidence are your best buddies? It is even implied that if Shemerin hadn't gone along with her unshawling, other Aes Sedai probably wouldn't have either, underscoring that this really isn't something an Amyrlin is supposed to be able to do.

...Uh, sorry, Egwene's raising of the other Supergirls has just always bothered me, had to get it off my chest sometime.
Don Barkauskas
53. bad_platypus
Isilel @50:
...given the cretinistic OP strength precedence system (of which there was no sign in the previous 5 volumes, not even in AS POVs)...

I don't (completely) disagree with you about the stupidity of the system itself, but I have two questions for you (since it's difficult to prove a negative):

1. Is there any place in the first five books where it would have been unnatural for an Aes Sedai whose PoV we're in not to have thought about the strength hierarchy?
2. If you go back through the first five books, are there examples of Aes Sedai deferring to each other for no obvious reason that we can trace back to their relative strengths? (The opening chapters of tGH would be the obvious place to look.)

(I guess the second point is more for the rest of us to look for.) My point is that BWS has said in some of his comments (on Mistborn, not WoT, but the same principle applies) that in order to hide information for a later reveal, a PoV character has to have a good reason not to think about the information. But that's exactly true in this case: the system becomes so ingrained that Aes Sedai follow it automatically---without consciously thinking about it---and they are actively discouraged from talking about relative strength, which would easily extend to not thinking about it in a PoV. So unless there is a place in the first five books where it's strange that a PoV Aes Sedai wouldn't have thought about the strength hierarchy, or unless there are no examples in those books of deference attributable to the hierarchy, I think it's unfair to complain about that not appearing.
Stefan Mitev
54. Bergmaniac
It's clear from the books that Elayne was definitely considered sufficiently trained and qualified to be raised to full Aes Sedai if the Oath Rod and the testing ter'angreal were available to the Salidar group. In the Prologue of LoC she was told by one of the Salidar AS:

“Nonsense, child. Absolute nonsense. Why, I’ve no doubt that as soon as we are back in the Tower and can test you properly and put the Oath Rod in your hand, you’ll be raised to the shawl as well as the ring. No doubt."

Besides, if it weren't for the Nynaeve's angry outburst (backed up by a haughty speech and lot of chin raising from Elayne) when Sheriam refused to let them go hunt for the Bowl, the two of them would've been raised into the same position Faolain and Theodrin had in Salidar - more than Accepted, less than an Aes Sedai, which again shows that they were considered prepared enough for the shawl if they had been in the Tower.

"The dark, curly-haired woman was like Theodrin, something more than Accepted, but less than Aes Sedai. As Elayne and Nynaeve would have been, if Nynaeve had not behaved liked a stepped-on cat." (LoC, Ch. 13).

Obviously Nynaeve's case is much more problematic due to the block, but when angry, she still could channel as well as any Aes Sedai and that's what counts for being ready for the shawl. All the other subjects in the curriculum don't matter - after all Elaida gained the shawl in record time and she's far from smart.

Elayne's probably had a longer and better education on politics, history, Old Tongue and all that than many newly raised Aes Sedai who didn't have the benefit of being heirs to a throne.
55. alreadymadwiththegirls
Bergmaniac @54
Err .... Elaida's record has been gone since the time of Moiraine and Siuan. One of the reasons, I suspect, that she hated their guts so much. At least Moiraine was a noble and would have been considered extensively educated. Suian on the other hand, came to the Tower not even knowing her 3R's(except possibly where it pertains to fish).

Back to Elayne and Nynaeve, Elayne as Daughter Heir would have been educated in most of the subjects common to the White Tower. Nynaeve's training would have been less certain, but we do know Two Rivers education is no slouch either.
Roger Powell
56. forkroot
Elayne - yeah, very likely that she would have tested for the shawl already in a unified WT. Any reservations about her maturity level (such as have been raised in this forum) would probably take a back seat to the WT desire to have the Daughter-Heir a full AS.

You have to wonder if Nynaeve would have been raised before she was able to beat her "block".
57. AndrewB
Wortmauer @52 said: "How is that more out of line than raising four Accepted, two of whom are manifestly unqualified to be Aes Sedai and by amazing coincidence are your best buddies? It is even implied that if Shemerin hadn't gone along with her unshawling, other Aes Sedai probably wouldn't have either, underscoring that this really isn't something an Amyrlin is supposed to be able to do."

I am a big supporter of Egwene. She, along with Mat, are my two favorite characters. For me, I have loved her character since TFoH. Nevertheless, Wortmauer brings up a valid argument. It would have been nice to have a viewpoint from Egwene as to how distinguishes the two actions. (This is not to say that I would automatically accept Egwene's explanation; I just think it would be illuminating). All I can say is this is another in a long line of examples where Aes Sedai are hypocritical. The hypocracy of individual Sisters is a constant theme throughout the series.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Lon Kelley
58. Mathguy
alfoss1540 @27

Didn't she ride in a carriage? It's chapter 2 of the Great Hunt, but I looked at the re-read and Leigh didn't deign to comment on how the Amyrlin traveled.
59. alreadymadwithypocrisy
forkroot @56
Good point. If the Tower had stayed whole, I doubt Nynaeve would have been allowed to test for the shawl without breaking her block.

AndrewB @57
At least Egwene was honest about her reasons for raising the four. If only in private.

Mathguy @58
She rode in a litter to Shienar in TGH. In New Spring, she rode a horse. I don't have the text right now, but I think Moiraine considered it a sign of her desperation that she rode that far.

In any case, I'd recommend just getting over Siuan and her attitude on horses. I suspect we'll all see it again several times before the end. It's essentially a running gag.
Stefan Mitev
60. Bergmaniac
Shemerin's demotion was a far worse abuse of the Amyrlin powers than Egwene raising Elayne and Nynaeve to full Aes Sedai so I don't think Egwene was hypocritical in this case. The Supergirls were the star pupils, so they would've become Aes Sedai soon anyway. The only problem in Elayn's casee was that there wasn't a way to test her in the usual way at the time, otherwise she was considered ready for the shawl (though I am not sure whether Egwene knew that at the time). And keeping her and the others who were ready, as quasi-Accepted and wasting their skills is both unfair and ineffective.

And Nynaeve deserved an exception for beating a Forsaken and discovering how to Heal stilling as far as I am concerned. Besides, block or not, she was a more effective channeller than anyone in Salidar.

Let's not forget that the Sitters already set a precedent by raising Egwene even though they had no idea whether she even had the skills necessary for full Aes Sedai. They hadn't see her channel since Book 3, they really didn't know or care what her level of channelling ability was at the time they raised her.

Shemerin, on the other hand, had her life ruined, in total disregard of all customs of the Tower just so Elaida can make an example of her.

I feel a bit weird defending Egwene of all people. ;)
John Massey
61. subwoofer
Y'know, I like what Wortmauer said and makes a very good point- why, even just in ceremony, did Elayne and Ny not swear the Oaths? I think this points to the heart of the matter of the big gender debate... er, excluding Birgitte. If Gareth Bryne says something, people take his word on it, no hocus pocus involved. An Aes Sedai says something, in the back of everyone's head is the mantra "Aes Sedai tell the truth, but not the truth we hear". At some point since the Breaking, Aes Sedai had to have been out and out liars, to the point where they were not trusted unless they swore an oath on a Binder. Skeevy women, I tells ya.

The thing Eggs should be focused on is how to regain the trust of the common folk so as to render this whole Oath debate moot. IMHO an Aes Sedai should be speaking the truth, in their hearts, always, without the need of any rod. If you can't say stuff without all the lies (and I know folks are going to come up with a bunch of "what ifs") what is the point of talking if all you spew is garbage? Galad's honest, and he hasn't done squat on an Oath Rod. Folks believe Perrin- same thing. Bashere- same thing. Rodel- same thing. Swing a cat in Sheinar- same thing. Just sayin'.

William Fettes
62. Wolfmage
Wortmauer @ 52

Good post. Yes, I’ve always felt a tad unsettled about the arbitrariness of Egwene’s act in raising the four to full sisterhood by executive fiat. I mean, even accepting that Elayne at least was ready, and that Nynaeve was close and sufficiently deserving, I must say I really dislike that it goes against long-standing convention and potentially establishes a dangerous precedent.

I can only assume that the authorial intention here is for us not to scrutinise this decision too closely because comparatively little space is given over to voicing objections that cannot be swept aside as obstructionism from the Hall, there is no subsequent reflection on the decision itself, and no real attempt to explore negative ramifications later on. That's a bit of a shame IMHO.
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @60 - Who are you, and what have you done with the real Bergmaniac? ;) A very good point, in fact, and a very good distinction between the two cases. Well said - even if it goes against the grain to defend Egwene.

subwoofer @61 - The thing Eggs should be focused on is how to regain the trust of the common folk so as to render this whole Oath debate moot. Well, at some point that would be nice, but at this point I still think Egwene should be focused on finding means to make sure as much of the world as possible survives Tarmon Gai'don. She's in a position to do a fair amount of good in that regard, and I'd hate to see her distracted by a PR campaign.

More later... gotta run.
William Fettes
64. Wolfmage
Isilel @ 50

I must admit that though the zero sum shift between Tam and Perrin didn’t bother me nearly so much, I agree that it's an example of someone becoming somewhat less in the shadow of another character’s growth. I guess I can get past this more easily because I think Tam retains a great deal of coolness and credibility regardless. Also, the change is somewhat obscured by the more obsequious and deferential attitude of the Two Rivers folk. Moreover, Tam still gets some cool scenes later with Cadsuane which help offset this effect.

I’m not sure I agree about Moiraine vis-a-vis Rand, but I certainly can't dispute that the incompetence of the Aes Sedai was taken so far that it went some way to undermining my stake in the whole White Tower plot.
65. Wortmauer
Bergmaniac@60: Shemerin's demotion was a far worse abuse of the Amyrlin powers than Egwene raising Elayne and Nynaeve to full Aes Sedai so I don't think Egwene was hypocritical in this case. The Supergirls were the star pupils, so they would've become Aes Sedai soon anyway. The only problem in Elayn's casee was that there wasn't a way to test her in the usual way at the time, otherwise she was considered ready for the shawl (though I am not sure whether Egwene knew that at the time).
I don't mind telling you, I don't care for this idea of "well, surely they would have passed the test anyway, may as well just skip it." Siuan didn't think that way back when: "The final tests for the shawl require you to channel while maintaining utter calm under pressure. Extreme pressure. Even I cannot - and would not - set that requirement aside." (TDR 14, The Bite of the Thorns.) One can make a fair point that the test for the shawl is wasteful and cruel in that if you don't pass you might not even survive, but that's really neither here nor there.
And Nynaeve deserved an exception for beating a Forsaken and discovering how to Heal stilling as far as I am concerned.
I'll just have to disagree here. I don't think deeds and discoveries should let you short-circuit these things.
Let's not forget that the Sitters already set a precedent by raising Egwene even though they had no idea whether she even had the skills necessary for full Aes Sedai. They hadn't see her channel since Book 3, they really didn't know or care what her level of channelling ability was at the time they raised her.
Actually I've got a whole other (one-sentence) rant about that one - the SAS being outraged that Elaida had bent Tower Law with politicking in order to get herself raised, then turning around and bending the Tower Law into a veritable pretzel in order to raise Egwene. Grrrr.

Anyway, though, call it splitting hairs if you will, but I see this one differently. The SAS didn't raise Egwene to Aes Sedai. They raised her to Amyrlin, and they did it using the full weight of the Law and their traditions. The only nontraditional part is that, in the process, the Law turned her into an Aes Sedai. The SAS didn't raise her to the shawl - the Law did, by implication.

("Law," "traditions." I'm almost wanting to start using Rabbinic language here. And I'm not even Jewish.)
Shemerin, on the other hand, had her life ruined, in total disregard of all customs of the Tower just so Elaida can make an example of her.
Elaida certainly did lots of things to lots of people that they didn't find pleasant and they didn't deserve, but that's not the question at hand. Besides, no permanent harm done, right? Elaida could re-raise Shemerin to the shawl any day of the week.

And I don't think Egwene's motives were ultimately that great either. I know what she said, but what I really think is that she could see it was going to be lonely at the top. She had two friends she could rely on to tell her whether a dress made her look fat. It was difficult culturally and politically for an Aes Sedai to maintain a friendship with an Accepted - even if you weren't the Amyrlin - so she power-tripped them into the shawl. The other two (Theodrin and Faolain) she was forced to raise as well, or it would have raised even more eyebrows about favoring her friends, since those two were definitely "next in line".
Wolfmage@62: I can only assume that the authorial intention here is for us not to scrutinise this decision too closely because comparatively little space is given over to voicing objections that cannot be swept aside as obstructionism from the Hall, there is no subsequent reflection on the decision itself, and no real attempt to explore negative ramifications later on.
Sadly, I've always been more cynical on this one: the authorial intention is that Elayne's and Nynaeve's character arcs had gone flat, so they needed to become Aes Sedai (plus, Elayne needed to be Aes Sedai in time for her Succession Plot, as such a big deal had been made about how the Tower wouldn't let her go until she was), only there was no plausible way to get them there before the reunification, short of a Deus ex Amyrlin.
Subwoofer@61: why, even just in ceremony, did Elayne and Ny not swear the Oaths?
Hard to remember an exact quote, but it seems like at some point in the SAS, someone opines that swearing the Oaths without the Oath Rod would seem like a mockery. Actually I think that's just an excuse. I think, whether they admit it or not, the SAS know that doing this would simply serve to call attention to uncomfortable questions about the Oaths and the Oath Rod.

For example, start with an assumption that the Aes Sedai are aloof and mysterious, their motives inscrutable, their corporate culture inherently untrustworthy, so you need those Oaths so you can trust them at all. Add the fact that the Oaths are sworn in a ceremony that no outsider ever gets to witness. Also, no outsider will ever be in a position to know firsthand how or even whether the Oath Rod even works as advertised. Now show me the chain of reasoning that leads you to believe the Aes Sedai as a body, when they tell you what Oaths they've all taken and why they literally can't violate them. 'Cause I'm not seeing it. For all Hu Sixpack (or even a highly educated noble) knows, the whole Three Oaths schtick is a massive conspiracy with a really obvious motive.

Be that as it may, I still would have liked to read about the Supergirls taking the Oaths, Elayne in particular:

Elayne: Under the Light, I will speak no word that is not true. (Muttering: Unless I raise my chin.) Under the Light, I will make no ter'angreal with which one man may kill another. Even though I totally could. The other day I figured out how to copy Darth Maul's light saber, and now I'll never get to. Under the Light, I will not use the One Power as a weapon except against bloody weevil-crusted turnip-headed Darkfriends or flaming goat-cuckolding Shadowspawn, or in the last--
Sheriam: Do you have any idea what that those words even mean?
Elayne: (Lifts chin.) I know what I'm talking about, some of those Shadowspawn in the Stone of Tear looked like they--
Sheriam: Once again - more Oath, fewer oaths. "Under the Light, I will not use the...."
Elayne: Under the Light, I will not use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme in defense of Thom Merrilin or Rand al'Thor. (She reddens.) Errr ... in defense of my own life, or that of my Warder or another sister, or if I'm having an adventure, or if a Whitecloak pisses me off....
Sheriam: Enough! Geez. Come to think of it, what we need is an Oath in which you speak no word that you don't actually know.
Carlinya: The First Oath covers that already. Logically, if you don't know a word, you cannot know whether it is true, therefore you cannot speak it.
Sheriam: What if you've forsworn the Oaths, for example, in a ceremony to swear allegiance to the Great--
Carlinya: Wait, are you talking about you or me?
Sheriam: Uh ... neither. Go Light.
Birgit F
66. birgit
I can only assume that the authorial intention here is for us not to scrutinise this decision too closely because comparatively little space is given over to voicing objections that cannot be swept aside as obstructionism from the Hall, there is no subsequent reflection on the decision itself, and no real attempt to explore negative ramifications later on.

There are negative consequences for those who have been raised that way and aren't treated like real AS. El and Ny later manage to make the AS in Ebou Dar accept their authority, but the other two are still not treated like full sisters by the SAS.
Marcus W
67. toryx
One has to wonder, however, if part of the requirements toward being an Aes Sedai (utter calm under pressure, complete control of emotions and actions) is related to them being such egotistical, hypocritical jackasses?

I mean basically speaking, an Aes Sedai sets aside most of her humanity. She doesn't deal with non-AS except as some sort of superior-on-a-pedestal, they have no real relationships with others, sex is a completely twisted powerplay, no children, they don't even age appropriately. I've always thought that part of their biggest problem is their lack of humanity. And part of the training to be an Aes Sedai, especially those tests, is all geared toward teaching a woman to set aside her humanity.

The whole Tower training set-up is one big trap and it's never been any wonder to me that in the process quite a few women end up as Darkfriends.
Rob Munnelly
68. RobMRobM
Wort - Bravo for the Elayne swearing in dialogue. Brilliant. Rob
Stefan Mitev
69. Bergmaniac
The reason the Supergirls (including Egwene) didn't swear the Oaths when raised was that Sheriam told Egwene "without the Oath Rod, it might be taken for a sham. Best to wait." It's not because Egwene wanted to make an exception for them, in fact later on was mentioned that she demanded of them to follow the Three Oaths strictly (which they were supposed to do as Accepted too, BTW) and they did so.

Wortmauer - "I don't care for this idea of "well, surely they would have passed the test anyway, may as well just skip it."

That's not really my point. What I meant is "They are ready as far as the SAS can tell, and the traditional method of testing is not available and won't be soon. Oh, and the Last Battle is coming any day now, so maybe sticking to the letter of the law instead of using common sense is not such a great idea". Using your two strongest channellers, who are also your best connection to the Dragon Reborn, for scrubbing pots and teaching novices, was a complete waste. They could do (and did) much more when given the full Aes Sedai status.

Brilliant Elayne imitation, BTW, really made me laugh.
Chin Bawambi
70. bawambi
("Law," "traditions." I'm almost wanting to start using Rabbinic language here. And I'm not even Jewish.)

To the group in general:
Have we explored the Aes Sedai as a metaphor for the Jewish people before?
71. alreadymadwithgolight
Wortmauer @65
Go Light always cracks me up. LOL.

bawambi @70
Isn't that kinda racist? Profiling a specific ethnic group?
Chin Bawambi
72. bawambi
Just wondering whether it was intended or explored before - not saying I agree or disagree with the premise. Jordan clearly drew from historical/mythogical elements of real world cultures in much of his writing.
Kimani Rogers
73. KiManiak
Re: Egwene’s hypocrisy with elevating Nynaeve and Elayne vs Elaida demoting Shemerin

Cool discussion that I don’t plan to dive too deeply in (unless this turns into a slow weekend), but I will say that I’m leaning more towards saying this is one of Egwene’s actions that I’m less likely to take her to task for. I don’t have a strong opinion about it one way or the other, but I do believe that the motivation was not a selfish “The Tower/I know what is best above all” and more of a (also kind of selfish) “I need help and/or others (including Faolain & Theodrin)who are capable to be raised; especially those that would’ve been given the opportunity if not for the fact that we’re not currently in the Tower” type. Which still isn’t great justification for doing it.

I guess this action of hers just doesn’t bug me as much. She doesn’t benefit out of it as much as others do (although it definitely benefits her as well), so the hypocrisy just seems less selfish and self-rewarding. I guess (my perception) of Egwene’s motivation matters for me in this case.

As far as the newly “raised” Nynaeve, Elayne, Theodrin and Faolain not swearing a “symbolic” 3 Oaths –

I understand that the AS (Sheriam, right?) were against it due to it being perceived as a mockery, but the AS didn’t take any of the rest of the "AS by decree of the Amyrlin" seriously anyway, so I don’t see that the swearing of the Oaths should matter. They allowed the 4 to wear AS type clothes (no longer wearing the Accepted uniform); to wear their rings on whichever finger they chose; to not have to curtsy and/genuflect when ever speaking to an "officially" raised AS (at least for Nynaeve and Elayne until the Altaran delegation got upset at them for talking to the Kin); and other things that symbolically were only allowed of full Aes Sedai. What difference would it make to have them swear the Oaths? From the other Sister’s perspectives, the 4 girls are still not “real” Aes Sedai. If just saying they are Aes Sedai doesn’t matter, then them just saying the Oaths shouldn’t matter either.

Wortmauer@65 – I loved your rendition of Elayne taking the Oath. That was comedy! Especially Sheriam. Go Light!

bawambi@70 & 72 - Explore away, if you'd like. I would assume that -like most topics- some would agree, some would disagree and some wouldn't have a strong opinion one way or the other. But if its a quality, well-thought-out analysis and/or argument, it would probably be considered and discussed here by at least a few folks...
Maiane Bakroeva
74. Isilel
Toryx @67:

One has to wonder, however, if part of the requirements toward being an Aes Sedai (utter calm under pressure, complete control of emotions and actions) is related to them being such egotistical, hypocritical jackasses?

I fail to see how they are any more jackasses or egotistical than other people in power.
Calm and control are also quite important for the channelers who don't want to burn out. Nyn was always quite unique in not really needing them.

Also - the test actually makes it easier to maintain calm and control because of the borderline compulsion that constantly reminds the testee to maintain them and lack of memory of the previous stages of the ordeal.
And once out in the world, it is easier for AS to keep cool in dangerous situations because they "know" that they have already done it in the test. As we have seen with Moiraine in NS.
Just because Nyn's test went completely overboard doesn't mean that others before her didn't profit from it, IMHO.

She doesn't deal with non-AS except as some sort of superior-on-a-pedestal,

Since most AS move in the world incognito, I don't see how it is even possible. They have to interact with people normally to avoid attracting attention to themselves.

they have no real relationships with others,

I thought that some of them had deep friendships with each other and/or their warders? Also, Moiraine, for one, was friends with the Jagads, and other AS seem to have preserved relationships with their families, etc.

sex is a completely twisted powerplay,

Huh? How is it any more twisted than sex throughout human history? After all, power differential between partners, often enormous one, isn't anything new.

no children, they don't even age appropriately.

Granted. But it helps them to maintain long-term perspective and relative neutrality re: conflicting national interests, so there is a positive side to this too.
Roger Powell
75. forkroot

Since most AS move in the world incognito, I don't see how it is even possible. They have to interact with people normally to avoid attracting attention to themselves.
I wonder about that - on the one hand we have numerous references to the "ageless" look making AS instantly recognizable (e.g. Mat was always insisting that Joline et al keep their faces hooded). On the other hand, we start right off with Moiraine being just a "lady" in the Two Rivers with no overt recognition of being AS (granting that the start of TEOW is written from Rand's POV and there well may have been Duopotamians such as Tam that knew right away what Moiraine was.)

Anyway ... the text seems to blow hot and cold on whether mature AS are instantly recognizable (from the face) or not.
76. AndrewB
Forkroot @ 75. I think you implicitly answered your own question. "Simple county folks" in "back water villages" are likely not to recognize an Aes Sedai's face when they see one. On the other hand, people who have venruted out into the world and "sophisticated city folk" are more likely to recognize an Aes Sedai face.

At the beginning of the series, Two Rivers was portrayed as a sleepy section of the world where Two Rivers folk lived all their lives without leaving. I gather that Tam was the exception. The average Two River Joe or Jane would not recognize an Aes Sedai's face.

However, somebody who grew was more worldly instantly knew an Aes Sedai when he/she saw one. See for example the scene in TDR when Faile advises Perrin that she recognized "Lady Alys" for an Aes Sedai once she got a look under her hood or in TSR when Luc first laid eyes on Verin.

Thanks for reading my musings,
77. alreadymadwithagelessness
I was under the impression that that was one of the other, bigger reasons for the Oaths nowadays. Because the ageless look is a consequence of taking the Oaths, it makes them instantly recognizable. Even Cadsuane once complained during her exile about the point of having an ageless instantly recognizable Aes Sedai face if she had to continually cover it up.
78. AndrewB
To Leigh and all others who live along the vicinity of the Mississppi River:

I hope that you and your families do not suffer any personal and property as a result of the flooding of the Mississippi River. It seems all too often in the last past quarter of a century that the areas around the Mississippi River have faced their share of natural disasters (especially the Deep South).

Alice Arneson
80. Wetlandernw
Of course she thought she was right. Most of us do, most of the time. That doesn't keep us from making stupid choices sometimes, though. Beonin can perhaps be given a little leeway for not having actually been in the Tower to see the hash Elaida was making of things, and for simply assuming that once the "Tower-appointed Amyrlin" had captured the "rebel Amyrlin," the best thing would be to give Elaida everything she had. Given the state of the city, however, it might have been somewhat wiser of her to scope things out a little first. IIRC, she was beginning to see that after a day or two back in the Tower, but by then it was too late.
81. up2stuff
andrew @ 76...

Thom also recognized Moraine in mid performance the night before Bel tine as Aes Sedai. At least, that's how I saw it.
Hugh Arai
82. HArai
I agree Beonin thought she was right and that she's hardly alone in that. In my opinion she mostly distinguishes herself as the AS who conclusively demonstrates that having someone swear an Oath comes a distant second to someone with integrity swearing an oath.
William McDaniel
83. willmcd
The main question I've got relating to chapter 2 is how Beonin managed to reconcile betraying the Salidar AS with the oath of loyalty that she took to Egwene (mentioned back in TPoD Ch16). As an Aes Sedai, I'm certain she could twist her actions up into some kind of shape that allowed those two things to co-exist, but I'd like to have at least seen how she did it.

If anyone ever reads this, I'd be intrigued to hear thoughts on this question.

Edit: Beonin explains it herself in Ch24, having convinced herself that the oath held only so long as Egwene was the Amyrlin Seat.

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