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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Yes, they are. It is called releasing a Warder, and an Aes Sedai who is very old or injured so badly that she knows she is going to die will, if she has the strength, release him so he doesn't suffer from her death. This does require the two of them to be together, and a little more time that laying on the bond. If they are physically apart, or she doesn't have enough time or strength remaining, touch on him.
It has also been used to get rid of a Warder who proved to be unsuitable in some way, such as a man who is discovered to be a thief or who takes reckless chances, a fighter of duels who won't stop without the bond being used to force him. No sister is going to want a Warder who will risk getting himself killed, with all the attendant results to her, for no very good reason.
Although use of the bond in that way (controlling) was not unknown in the past, it came to be regarded as a form of Compulsion to use it so except in the slightest forms. Besides, using the bond to control a Warder all the time is a lot of work. An Aes Sedai wants somebody who can watch her back and keep it safe, not somebody she has to work on all the time. (Which is one of the reasons Aes Sedai stopped bonding men against their will. Not ethical concerns or ethical growth, I'm afraid; it was just not very practical really.) Better simply to release the fellow who can't measure up and find another who will.
By the by, releasing a Warder except for cause (the Aes Sedai's imminent death, his own unsuitability) or because he has asked for release is something that JUST IS NOT DONE! It would gain the sister considerable opprobrium from other sisters. A sister certainly would be looked at askance if she released a Warder who was dying, for example, just to avoid the effects on her of his death. When an Aes Sedai bonds a Warder, she is expected to buy in for the full ride. For that matter, releasing him for unsuitability is considered to reflect on the sister's judgment. She should have known better about him from the start.
Almost nothing is known about the organization of Aes Sedai during the Age of Legends, but it is generally accepted that ajah played an important part, though apparently they were nothing like the present-day Ajah. In the surviving twenty-three consecutive pages of a dictionary from circa 50 AB, ajah, in the Old Tongue, is defined as “an informal and temporary group of people gathered together for a common purpose or goal, or by a common set of beliefs.” In thirty-one pages all in the same hand, located in the Royal Library in Cairhien, which appear to be random survivors of a larger manuscript reliably dated from the same period, the organization of Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends, or perhaps their manner of functioning, is described as “a vast sea of ajah (note: word deliberately left untranslated), all constantly shrinking, growing, dividing, combining, melting away only to be reborn in some new guise and begin the process once more.” In the first centuries after the Breaking, the nature of ajah or Ajah changed. We cannot be sure exactly when the change occurred, but another dictionary (circa 200 AB; 219 surviving random pages) defines Ajah as “a sisterhood of Aes Sedai,” and no lowercase form is listed.
How does the Black Ajah recruit new members?
Very carefully. You have to understand that EVERY Ajah recruits carefully and subtly. Generally, after all those years as novice and Accepted, your teachers know your character and personality VERY well, and you are guided to the Ajah where you fit. The Black Ajah watches too. And recruitment is a one-shot offer: they offer, and you can accept or die. There are a lot of ways to die that wouldn't lead to any suspicion; for instance, it's pretty easy to kill yourself experimenting with the One Power. Who would think that such a death wasn't accidental?
One thing they do, for instance, is watch new Aes Sedai. Sometimes women get past the final tests and then discover that they don't have anywhere near as much power and freedom as they thought they would have.
What were the female Aes Sedai doing during the Breaking? Surely they could have got together in circles of six or thirteen or whatever, cut off one man from the Source, and gone onto the next.
Several things. Partly, you have to find the men before you can do anything. Partly, by the time they realized what was going on, it was too late. The massive geological upheavals were only a part (and not the most important part) of the Breaking. There was also the cumulative social collapse, breakdown of transportation systems, etc.. Imagine a city like Seattle that suddenly loses ALL contact with the outside world. Also, the women were (after a point) trying to preserve what they could, not fight the men directly. Finally, in order to make someone stop doing something, you have to be able to threaten them. What can you threaten a madman with, that he will listen to you and stop?
What about Mazrim Taim? Isn't his withstanding of the madness for fifteen years something exceptional? [Short segue from there to Taim=Demandred?]
[Anyone got a hint as to where those references are??]
[One of the other people at the signing mentioned the 'bonds' that Moiraine tied to Rand, Perrin, and Mat early in The Eye of the World. Those were directional, and I speculated that maybe they were related, in a very small way, to the Warder bond.]
[Evidently they stayed with the army, which stayed outside the city.]
[Side note: I think I know the reference Jordan was talking about, but I'm not sure I believe it. Remember when Logain was talking to those Altaran nobles, mentioning all the Reds that had secretly supported him, apparently under Elaida's direction. Mentioning this at Siuan's instigation, we all thought. What if Logain was actually telling the truth? Siuan Sanche will be the most surprised woman in the world. I sort of hope I'm wrong on this one. Can anyone else come up with another reference in LoC that might explain this? One mentioning Reds in Caemlyn around the time of Logain's capture?] [Note 2: If Jordan was planning this all the way back in The Eye of the World—I am in awe. Pure stricken awe at the plotting consistency.]
Got to ask two questions at signing part:
Who killed Alric?
One of the Aes Sedai's Warders did, not a sister.
About Aes Sedai and their oaths:
"Rand is in control, one way or the other—depending on exact oaths, who was Black Ajah, and how willing they are to hold to those oaths."
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. On the subject of the first Oath ("to speak no word that is untrue"), Jordan said that Aes Sedai can say something they believe to be true or something they don't mean literally. As an example of the latter, an Aes Sedai can employ hyperbole and say something like, "I'm going to tie your ears over your head," when she means to do no such thing.
My Comment: I should also point out that at least two of the women who beat Rand are people we know to belong to the Black Ajah. On page 683hb (in Lord of Chaos), it is said that only Galina, Erian, and Katerine beat Rand more than once. We know that Galina and Katerine are Black Ajah, so they aren't bound by the Oaths anyway. Erian is the Aes Sedai whose two Warders Rand killed, so maybe she found some way to justify her punishment of Rand under the Three Oaths. I don't know who else beat Rand (i.e., who beat him only once); the book may say, but I can't find a quote.
I was impressed with Jordan's casual reply, as if this were common knowledge—that all Aes Sedai, and for that matter, most women have knowledge of a special herb that serves as an incredibly efficient contraceptive. This herb is just general women's lore, passed to women by Wisdoms and such.
He followed up with two other points : 1) Aes Sedai are personally discouraged from having children because they know they will outlive them, and 2) it's clearly not a popular idea because the White Ajah had suggested having children with men who can channel in order to undo "culling", but this suggestion was not particularly well received.
How is it possible for Aes Sedai who have taken the Three Oaths to become damane and use the One Power as a weapon?
They can't use the One Power as a weapon, not in any conventional sense. This presents some problems for the Seanchan, but then, damane are used for more than just weapons. And from the Seanchan point of view, at worst, an Aes Sedai who has been collared is one less marath'damane running around loose and doing the horrible things that their history tells them such women inevitably do. Remember, Seanchan history records a time under Aes Sedai rule, when no one could go to sleep at night with the certainty they would wake in the morning and Aes Sedai took whatever they wanted and killed anyone who crossed or opposed them. To the Seanchan, just removing these horrors from the board is a win.
Why have we not seen any Malkieri Aes Sedai?
Who says you haven't? I have not given a nationality for every sister I have shown.
The third question was why he had made the Aes Sedai so subservient to almost every other group of characters in the book (i.e. the Aiel, the Sea Folk, etc.) and he replied that the Aes Sedai were being forced to be subservient according to the circumstances and couldn't really help it.
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.
Does this mean that the Black Ajah has also at least three oaths sworn on the Oath Rod?
Yeah, they do. Just not the same ones. [laughter]
Of course. Does this imply that the Oath Rod is definitely not one of the Nine Rods of Dominion?
Oh yes, definitely. No. I don't think it was. No, the Oath Rods are not the Nine Rods of Dominion, no. There were a fair number of binders available around the world.
Were they numbered?
Yes, they were numbered.
Because we've seen two so far and they had numbers on them . . .
Yeah, they were numbered.
"The biggest single political power in their world is the great city of Tar Valon, home to the White Tower, which is the headquarters of the Aes Sedai, women who can tap into the power that drives the universe and turns the Wheel of Time, the One Power."
Men are not able to manipulate the power like women can, the dual nature of the power is often too much for them. "Men can't do that safely. A man who channels the One Power, which has a male half, saidin, and a female half, saidar, will eventually go mad and die," Jordan explained. "Only until he dies, he's a madman who can do horrific things with the Power. The fly in the buttermilk is this. Prophecy says that a boychild will be born who is humanity's only chance to win the Last Battle, when the Dark One breaks free of the prison where he was confined by the Creator at the moment of creation. And that boychild will be able to channel the One Power."
If I can remember correctly, I asked, "When a Warder's bond is passed is the original bond still intact or is it broken?"
Not the best choice of words, I admit, but I was nervous. A problem that would repeat itself, unfortunately, the following day.
After the Breaking, men were viewed as destroyers. Also, almost all the male leadership of the world were Aes Sedai who were now dead. Add to that the dominant political force in the world for three thousand years being the all female White Tower. It's a natural consequence for women to be more dominant than not in the rest of the world.
A side note—he brought up the story thread where he introduced a misogynist (Agni Neres, the boat captain on the trip from Samara to Salidar). Instead of being angered by his attitudes, Elayne and Nynaeve are puzzled and can't understand him at all.
No the...well, I am not going to say where they are for the tests for Accepted, that might be a RAFO, probably not, but it might be.
For the test for Aes Sedai, they are in effect inside what you might call an uber-virtual reality device where what happens is entirely controlled in this case by the sisters controlling the device, but it is a virtual reality that is so terrific that it is reality for you. You die, you are dead. No game over, start again. You are dead.
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.
For Gyrehead, Foretelling is not related to strength. The weakest possible channeler could Foretell as strongly as Elaida or Nicola, or perhaps even more so, depending entirely on the strength of his or her Talent for Foretelling.
The three Red Sitters were sent into exile in 985 NE under Marith Jaen.
Yes, Morgase has slowed, and that is exactly why there is so much emphasis on her looking only ten years older than Perrin when she has children the ages of Elayne and Gawyn.
Regarding the percentage of women who could test for the shawl, it would be 62.5% of the bellcurve. I'll leave the maths to you for an idle moment. The question doesn't really apply to men, since the Black Tower accepts anyone who can learn to channel, but if the White Tower limits were applied, it would be roughly 65.4% of the bellcurve. Although, considering the effectiveness question, they should probably set it at the same 62.5%. Again, the maths are all yours. Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels. Remember to integrate this with what I've said elsewhere about effectiveness, though.
Anyway, I gave him the book, told him I was liking it so far, and asked him how he keeps track of all the random Aes Sedai? I was just kinda making polite chit-chat, and hadn't planned a question.
So he launched into what sounded like a stock response about keeping a computer file of all the "initiates of the White Tower" with detailed descriptions, etc, and he finished with saying that it's a really big file, 2.5 megs. Without really thinking about it, I said "Wow, so how am I supposed to keep track of all that without that file?"
The store manager standing behind RJ gave a little nervous laugh, and Harriet, jumps in and said "you're just supposed to be dazzled."
"OK," I respond, and gave a kinda questioning look to RJ.
"Read, read" he answers.
"Sure. Thanks for signing your book."
From a mechanical standpoint, RJ explained that the bonds themselves are very different weaves, but that is more because of the differences in the situations. It is very unlikely that a Warder would ever try and kill their Aes Sedai, but that is not the case for an Asha'man and his bonded Aes Sedai. The Asha'man bond requires obedience of the Aes Sedai because the Asha'man would be in danger of her if she did not obey his every command. The Warder bond is different in that the Aes Sedai can bend her Warder to her will, but only with some effort on her part.
RJ quoted from his own book how Logain stated that the Asha'man bond could be easily modified so that the obedience requirement was removed, and here is the important part and I will quote from memory, "but that has not happened, thus far."
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: Characters
I'll get onto the additional characters ASAP.
Here are my comments on the new images.
The Aiel is very good except for the boots, which still need to look more like Apache moccasins. That is how they are described in the main sequence books, a soft, laced boots. The coat is much better. As a note, remember that the Aiel average about 6'2" for a man, about the same as the Masai. There are plenty of them as tall as Lan and Bukama, and a few taller. An Aiel man who is 5'10" tall would be considered short by himself and by other Aiel.
The eagle-beak Trolloc is very good. It was a small thing, but the devil is in the details, and Trollocs just don't get ornamentation on their weapons. Plain—so to speak, despite all the hooks, etc—functional, and not a lot of effort into making them look good. They aren't exactly crude—crudely made weapons just don't usually function as well as well-made ones—but they are never fancy.
Cadsuane. This is not so good. She looks too old and too thin, almost gaunt. Her dress is way too frilly for Cadsuane, and it shows way too much cleavage. Her garments are silk, but cut simply. When she has lace, it's just a touch, perhaps at the neck and cuffs, but she more likely doesn't have any lace at all. She's a woman who does a lot of traveling, and she wants clothes that are easy to care for and can be tended by a poorly trained maid at some country inn. The cross-lacing is off. Dresses in this world almost always button up the back. And Cadsuane is more likely to have a high neckline than not. She makes no efforts to appear in the highest or latest fashion, nor does she try to impress other women with her clothes or jewelry, or to attract men; she's too busy for such foolishness, as she sees it. She is quite impressive enough being who she is, thank you very much. The hair ornaments also appear to be attached to one another, which they aren't. Each one of the ten ornaments hangs from its own individual hairpin. The bun should be right on top of her head, not toward the back.
As a note on her character. Cadsuane was born in the city-state of Far Madding, which is an out-and-out matriarchy. Far Madding has no hereditary nobility, but its politicians and wealthy merchants are all women. There are men who are craftsmen, but a wealthy man in Far Madding is one whose wife or mother gives him an over-generous allowance. The only men allowed to carry weapons of the usual sort are the Wall Guard, and then only when on duty. The Street Guard is limited to truncheons, sword-breakers and catchpoles. Men visiting from other places must either leave their weapons at checkpoints coming into the city or have them peace-bonded, with severe punishments for being found with the wires of the peace-bond broken. Very few of the city's men seem to be unhappy with the way things are. Far Madding is a prosperous trade center. The usual form of address by a woman to man whose name she doesn't know, or sometimes to one whose name she does, is "boy." None of this has any bearing on NEW SPRING, but it gives some insight into Cadsuane, because the city shaped her early years. Quite aside from being the most powerful Aes Sedai living at the time of NEW SPRING, Cadsuane is a formidable woman.
Gitara Moroso. I like this very much, though the dress would not be off-the-shoulder. That strapless look isn't used in this world. Most Aes Sedai wouldn't show that much bosom, but Gitara would. And I like the face, too. Very good!
Moiraine. The dress is excellent, though the sleeves are a bit too wide, I think—remember, Accepted's dresses are described as "simply cut"—but the face seems to have shifted again. I've attached the faces that I approved for Moiraine and Siuan. Also, she wouldn't have her hair in a bun. It would be worn loose. Her left hand also seems way too big; it's nearly half the width of her waist.
Ryne. This is very good except that his expression here seems on the sour side. That would be okay at the end, when he is unmasked as a Darkfriend, but the continuous view of Ryne until then is that he is charming and personable. He's much more likely to be smiling, especially if there is a pretty woman around. As a note, the dagger he is holding is too elaborate in the blade shape. I know there are a lot of fancy blade shapes out there today—Gil Hibben has much to answer for—but knives and daggers that are, or were historically, used by actual people had practical reasons for their blade shapes, even the yatagan and the falcata.
Tamra. Overall she looks very good. The only things I don't like are the off-the-shoulder dress, too much cleavage showing for her—her dresses would have high necklines, much like what you show on the Accepted's dress on the Moiraine image, or at least a neckline that showed no cleavage—and her hands both look much too large. The left hand is also oddly shaped.
Bukama. Yes. I like this one much better. Whatever Andrea did to the chin works just fine. And I like the armor. I hope this helps.
Take care, Les. All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: layouts H -18
I agree with most of the Consultants' suggestions. I know these are layouts and thus rough, but in the finals, the women really need to be wearing dresses. Even in the first image, they wouldn't be wandering about in just their shifts, especially since they have come all the way from their rooms in the Blue Ajah quarter down to the Accepted's Quarters. Both would be wearing something fairly plain, in wool most likely, though Moiraine may have silk. Each has a white ribbon of mourning tied to her hair on either side of her face like forelocks, while Moiraine also has long, lace-edged kerchiefs tied around her upper arms so that the ends dangle to her wrists.
Page 15, panel 2 and panel 4. Here Tamra is shown in a coffin. She would be wrapped in a shroud and laid atop a bier of wood. No coffin. A correction for the script. The panel 3 caption should read: "According to Tamra's wishes, her body was to be consumed by fire and her ashes scattered across the grounds of the Tower by the sisters." Fire should not be capped here.
Regarding Sierin Vayu on pages 16 and 17, please heed to the Consultants' comments. She is as they describe, not as drawn.
Page 18, panel 4. You can shift Moiraine's ring to another finger, but in fact, an Aes Sedai can wear her ring on any finger she chooses or not at all.
Take care, Ernst.
All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Monday. November 28, 2005 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: Thematic Consultants
The image of Eadyth is spectacular, although, as noted elsewhere, she must have a Great Serpent ring. As for pages 15, 17 and 18, I haven't seen those, yet.
I have seen pages 12, 13, 14 & 16.
On page 12, Siuan seems to have a Great Serpent ring on her left hand in panel 2, but not in panel 4.
On page 13, Moiraine doesn't seem to be wearing a Great Serpent ring.
For the others, they are fine.
All my best, Jim
For David, Warders don't slow. They age at a natural pace, but they do maintain vitality and vigor beyond the levels associated with most ordinary men. That said, I recently saw a photograph of a man in his seventies who had an absolutely ripped six-pack. In fact, from the neck down, if you were told you were looking at somebody in his 20s or 30s, you'd just think he was in incredible shape. And he wasn't bonded to anyone. Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects. I'm pretty certain I have said that publicly, by the way.
As an aside, I saw somewhere that I supposedly said that Sharina Melloy will not grow younger. If I did, then I misspoke. Sharina will not grow young, but she will grow younger in appearance, as will any other older women who begin to channel. For Sharina, by way of example, she will "regress" into apparent middle age, but no younger.
Stated that the Ajah Heads in the White Tower conspired to send Sitters to Salidar who would speed up reconciliation, but not draw suspicion due to being supporters of Elaida previously. They chose young Sitters in the Tower as placeholders. However some of the Sitters who left the Tower went of their own accord.
The Ajah Heads for the reunited Ajahs will likely be the ones who led their Ajahs before the split. Will be determined quietly and is Ajah business only.
Moiraine words the Third Oath, "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." (New Spring 11) This ...wording of the Oath is supported by the reswearing of the Oaths by Pevara and Seaine (The Path of Daggers 26), and the BWB (24), among other sources.
Egwene words the Oath, "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." (The Gathering Storm 43) The 'Darkfriend clause' is supported by Sheriam (The Great Hunt 23), Alanna (The Shadow Rising 31), Niall (The Dragon Reborn Prologue), Rand (The Fires of Heaven 2, 41), and also implications by Moiraine (New Srping 2) and the BWB (14).
RAFO, or error? And, if error, which is the correct wording?
The above MAFO on Souls, Channeling and Talents [this can be found in the MAFO thread stuck at the top of The Gathering Storm Forum].
Beyond the MAFO, I was going to ask for a clarification on this. Firstly I would point out a curiosity—in KoD:23, Call to a Sitting, Tiana notes that many of the women who are strong in Nynaeve's method of Healing used to be village Wise Women. She wonders why that should make any difference, and indeed it does seem to imply that their life experience in some way affected their degree of Talent. How would this work out under the understanding of Talent as a soul-ability? Does life experience change the strength of the Talent, whilst soul-ability decides if you have it? Or should we make a distinction between Talents which are Skills—like Healing, or that Shielding Talent Berowin of the Kin has—and Talents which are Abilities—like Foretelling, Wolfbrothering or Dreaming?
Okay, let's look at this. Why did these women choose to be village Wise Women? Maybe they haven't sparked, but the Talent is there. They may not understand it, but they feel that they should be healing the sick. So, instead of life experience affecting the Talent, I think that it's more that the Talent affects the life experience.
Also, Aes Sedai have been taught that Healing is done one way, and that way is the only proper way. It's sort of like the gesture limitation; if an Aes Sedai learns to make weaves using gestures, she'll have a really hard time making the weave without making the gesture. I think that the former Wise Women are more open to learning the new way, and that gives them another advantage at it.
From the BBoBA: "These oaths were not always required, but various events before and since the Breaking caused them to be necessary. The Second Oath was the first adopted after the War of the Shadow."
And according to Sheriam, "Once, Aes Sedai were not required to swear oaths. It was known what Aes Sedai were and what they stood for, and there was no need for more. Many of us wish it were so still. But the Wheel turns, and the times change. That we swear these oaths, that we are known to be bound, allows the nations to deal with us without fearing that we will throw up our own power, the One Power, against them. Between the Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years we made these choices, and because of them the White Tower still stands, and we can still do what we can against the Shadow."
So we have the Second Oath was adopted first, and the other two added between the Trolloc Wars and the War of a Hundred Years (if we believe Sheriam, anyway, and I can see no reason for a lie on this one).
Okay, this one has me all confused. Can you expand this and explain? I should note that we have asked for a correction to one section in this chapter (I'll include it a bit later). Somehow I'm also missing where Merana says that every sister knows when each one arrived (I do see the bit about knowing how long each was novice and Accepted). Here's the change we asked for (it hasn't been made in the mmp I'm holding; I don't know if it was elsewhere):
At present reads: Alanna had been six years a novice, Merana only five, but more importantly, Merana had been Aes Sedai ten years the day the midwife laid Alanna at her mother's breast. Should read: Alanna had been six years a novice, Merana only five, but more importantly, Merana had been Aes Sedai above thirty years the day the midwife laid Alanna at her mother's breast.
They’re definitely cousins. Whether they would consider it a form of Compulsion...to them, Compulsion is complete evil, so they will not view it at all like that...
Yeah, I thought that might be part of what Verin used to cobble together her own Compulsion weave.
Yeah. They’re definitely cousins.
This question came out of a thread I started on Theoryland, which in turn came out of a response Brandon made to someone on Twitter. I thought that Nynaeve remembering she could channel at all in her Accepted test might be related to her ability to resist Compulsion as she did with Moghedien (which, as we know from Rahvin, is a fairly rare ability possessed by only the most strong-willed, such as Morgase). Egwene's Accepted test is a whole different ballgame because of her Dreaming talent and the interference with the stone ring ter'angreal that Verin had just given her.
Do you know what the original use for the testing ter'angreal was?
The notes do. I don’t have it off the top of my head.
Well, we don't really know no one did. If they did, they didn't share it, sure. You know, not all channelers are Aes Sedai, and even Aes Sedai don't always share things.
Yeah, they keep a lot back.
The Blue Ajah, you know, has all its little secret weaves, and I'm sure all the other Ajahs do as well. And two, there's always the whole thing that, 'the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills', and sometimes the Wheel weaves out what it needs, and with the Last Battle coming, it needs all the help it can get…so the really talented people, the really ta'veren people, they come out again. That's for most of them. For Healing, maybe there's a different answer. Aes Sedai…they know how to Heal people, and that's the way they do it, and they don't need to know anything better! I mean, it's just Aes Sedai being Aes Sedai. They think they know what they're doing, so they don't look for a better way to do it.
And if they have discovered a better way to do it, they're probably not sharing it with other people, because every Aes Sedai is looking for an advantage over the others.
Oh, okay. So then that sort of partially answers the next half of my question, which is: How did some of these weaves get lost in the first place?
Oh, my favorite rant. All the Aes Sedai woke up one morning with amnesia. How did I Travel? I can't remember.
Well, part of it…I mean, I was reading, of all things, the Big White Book, and you know, the Breaking lasted a really long time, and things were really breaking. I mean, you might know how to Travel, but you didn't know if where you were trying to go was still there. You know, it might be in the middle of the ocean now, or on top of a mountain, so people probably weren't Traveling as much...and Aes Sedai were being killed right and left. There were all these crazy men, channelers wiping out entire cities, and the Aes Sedai women were trying to stop them, and sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes not…so, things really went to hell in a handbasket. Fast. And, you know, if a woman knew how to channel and she couldn't find anyone else who had the strength to channel, she couldn't really teach anybody to channel.
To Travel, is what I meant to say.
Yeah, there was a time of course when the White Tower wasn't there. You know, the White Tower was a recent innovation in the grand scheme of things, and so the Aes Sedai after the Breaking were everywhere, so there wasn't that institutional memory in all things at that point, and things were lost.
So the Hall of the Servants, then, basically was a much looser organization than the somewhat hierarchical White Tower…
…than we have now.
So we have a sort of central storing place for knowledge, or anything like that.
Yeah, think of what would happen to us if there was a horrible disaster that wiped out the internet. We would lose all of our knowledge except for, you know, the stuff that we still have in books. But you know, a good portion of our knowledge and communication that is electronic now would be gone.
But this podcast would remain in people's hearts. [laughter]
Well, you got me on that one, Maria, because if my computer was suddenly taken away and there were no others to replace it, I think I would probably have the equivalent of amnesia. It's my plastic brain, and I really need it. [laughter]
I've always thought that the lost talents were related to strength, because the modern Aes Sedai are weaker than the Age of Legends Aes Sedai, and a lot of these rediscovered weaves require a certain level of strength that just doesn't exist in those Aes Sedai.
Right, and also talent, because to do this Healing, you have to have a certain Talent for Healing. To make cuendillar...Janya couldn't make cuendillar worth a darn, and…she didn't have that Talent, so if somebody knew it, but there was nobody they could teach it to, it's gone!
Well, the thing is though…leading up to that comment: remember in—I believe it was Crossroads, but it might have been Knife of Dreams—when Sorilea (soar-ih-LAY-uh)—I have no idea if this is how it's pronounced...
She taught Cadsuane how to Travel, even though she couldn't make the weave work herself. So just because you don't have the strength to make the weave finish doesn't mean you can't form the weave anyway.
That's true, but...okay. We've got our nameless Aes Sedai after the Breaking, and she's found a little crew of people, and none of them are strong enough to Travel. Well, she's going to show them how to do it anyway and hopefully one day they'll find somebody strong enough but, you know, they never do. So we've got the same thing, and you know, sooner or later it's going to…if you can't actually use it for anything, you're going to put it aside and not pay any attention to it, and it will get lost.
Or, by the time that bunch of people finds someone who is [strong enough], it might have gone through several iterations and they might have the weave just a little bit wrong, so that it doesn't work either.
And—correct me if I'm wrong on this—but I don't think it's possible to write down how to do a weave. I think it's something that you have to learn through demonstration. You can't just write it down, and be like, 'Well, I'll put this on the shelf, and some day a hundred years from now someone will come along and pick it up and figure out how to weave...whatever from this. I feel like you have to be shown how to do a weave.
That is...I mean, that's how they do it. You know, the novices don't run around with heavy books; they run around being taught by actual people. It's my belief that writing might could give clues or something, but you have to be able to show it or work it out on your own.
Of course, I was going to say they could just check on YouTube and find out how, but then, would the One Power weaves even show up on video? [laughter] If they even had that...
Oh, that's a good question!
I actually was just wondering about that; I wonder if any these things—I'm sure that the effects would—but I presume that if most non-channelers can't see weaves that probably there's nothing there for a video to pick up, either...but it's an interesting question.
How to detect channeling: Whip out your camcorder! [laughter]
With a wi-fi finder.
Yeah, okay. I'm going to be good now. That would be too funny. It's a shame Jessi couldn't be with us. She really wanted to be, but she had to work, and couldn't get off. One of her favorite premises is, you know, how drastically the Wheel of Time story would all be changed if they had access to cell phones and texting and the internet and everything.
Oh yeah. There would be no story.
They do though! Elayne has the communication ter'angreal. They have cell phones...ish. They just don't use them! [laughter]
Give 'em time.
I sort of [?] a couple of the guys before one time when we were podcasting and I had to get up in the office; I was working and I had to turn a phone off, and I came back and I said "I just had to disable that callbox ter'angreal." And they said, "Oh, you are such a geek." [laughter]
A 'dork' is what actually they said.
No, you are a geek, because dorks have no social status whereas geeks are more knowledgeable in one or two given fields, and since we are all major WoT nerds—we qualify as nerds, not dorks.
Yeah, we got some cred there anyway.
I don't think the a'dam can. However, if the Aes Sedai believes that the person is a Darkfriend, they can channel against them.
So conditioning their mind right, can do it. (The oaths have a provision for Darkfriends, though some editions left this out.)
Ask him if the manner of the Aiel service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends was just Singing, or if it was also domestic.
As a follow-up you could ask him if female Voices were also used in non-Earthy scenarios, i.e. to enhance saidar in particular?
And ask him if non-Aiel could really have the Voice (assuming the type that enhances channeling) or if Lews Therin was just confused.
Lews Therin was confused about time and place, but what he was saying was possible.
There was more than just singing, but Brandon wasn't willing to go into it. Unsure if that was RAFO or irrelevance.
Brandon said he wasn't willing to talk much about the Voice things. I got the sense it was a subtle RAFO.
Myrelle wasn't inside the grounds. They had been locked out.
This one should have been caught on my filters. Realised it as soon as it came out.
This isn't actually the answer; this is the problem. Why is there a silence when the Rebel embassy can be easily reached by gateway and vice versa? To quote Romanda, "They should have at least sent word. This silence is disturbing." That was the point behind the question—why is there such a big deal made when Nynaeve could reach them without fuss?
Basically the Ajah heads had a small selection pool to start with. Their primary criteria were: a) loyalty to the Ajah Heads, would they do as they were told? b) would they be acceptable to the Aes Sedai in Salidar? c) finally did the Ajah Heads think they could be persuasive?
A comment was made about age, Brandon’s answer was to reiterate the limited nature of the Ajah Heads selection pool, the fact that most of the Aes Sedai Sitters that were sent were young was coincidental. He did go on to mention that the “too young Sitters” was a completely different matter.
He then went on to say which Sitters remain in power after reunification will be dealt with quietly. The most likely default will be who was Sitter/Head before the split.
Padan Fain's power has morphed through time, going one way and then another (Shadar Logoth to the Dark One and back), which is why Moiraine was able to sense him at the end of The Eye of the World, but no Aes Sedai were able to sense him during his time in Tar Valon. He gained much of his power battling the Fade throughout The Great Hunt. Padan Fain is also now a powerhouse in the series.
Sure, this is information we all know, and it's not canon as it's not in the books, but it was cool hearing people in the know say it.
Will you write this before or after you finish the WoT prequels?
Infinity of Heaven almost certainly will be written before the prequels, though I might do them between the Infinity books.
You know, the reception of New Spring: the Novel surprised me. Some people were upset or even angry that I wasn't getting on with the main story. I even heard people say there was no reason to read the novel if you had read the novella. (That, by the way, is very wrong. There is stuff in that novel that won't ever be anywhere else, including the test for Aes Sedai and the reasons why certain people have the relationships they do in the books among other things.) Anyway, given the reactions of so many people, I decided to shelve the other two prequels for a while.
That sounds like a question for Maria, I'm afraid. I don't have the notes handy to look into the discrepancy.
Email is probably best, or grabbing her at JordanCon. (Or sending the question with someone you know who is attending.)
Actually, the easiest way is probably to drop me an email through my website and let me forward it on to her.
We know that when the Tower split, about one third of Aes Sedai sided with Elaida, one third sided with the rebels, and one third stood apart. Aside from those who were Black among the ones that stood apart, when the Tower was reunited, did those sisters return to the Tower?
I don't know. I imagine that some returned, but I'm not aware of the disposition of all of them.
What about Cadsuane's contingent of Aes Sedai? We know that she gathered sisters to her, and we see several with her throughout the books. What about the others? And what about those at the Silver Swan? Were they hers?
I don't know about the others. There may be something more definitive in the notes about the ones at the Silver Swan, but I'm not sure.
We know the Aes Sedai don't use a lot of the ter'angreal they have in their possession in the manner in which they are meant to be used. Specifically, what are the correct uses for the ter'angreal used to raise a novice to Accepted and an Accepted to Aes Sedai?
I have no idea.
Will the encyclopedia include only facts, or also speculations?
Everything will be things already known, or else more notes on the characters. And a few other goodies, like the Aes Sedai power scale.
Okay, excellent question; I'll repeat it just for those who might not have been able to hear it. We know that the Aes Sedai are using certain ter'angreal for things other than their original intended purpose, such as the Oath Rod and the ones they use in the raising ceremonies. (to Maria) What were their intended purposes? [laughter]
I don't know. [laughter, applause]
Sorry. Robert Jordan could answer that. Sometimes we can't.
So far as I know, yes. And for the same purpose.
Do other groups start using the Rod too?
Do you think the Aes Sedai are likely to let others manhandle one of their ter'angreal?
Did men start to use the Oath Rod too, or did it continue to be only women?
No men. Neither group would like that. The Asha'man are NOT male Aes Sedai. RJ was clear about this in the notes.
Will the White and Black Towers reunite to form one Aes Sedai again?
RJ was clear to me that the Asha'man were not Aes Sedai, and were not going to become them.
That said, a united male/female Aes Sedai will come again someday.
Do you know about how many Aes Sedai are left after the Last Battle?
Um, Harriet said "many".
Many? (laughs) Yeah...
(laughs, coughs) Boy they lost a lot.
The [offscreen] conversation between Tuon and Hawkwing, can you tell us anything about that?
I can tell you that it did take place, and that Hawkwing is more inclined to agree with what's going on in Seanchan than I think what fans expect him to be. Now, remember that Hawking was not fond of Aes Sedai. Part of that was not his fault, but he was not fond of them. He is not just King Arthur, he is Alexander the Great. King Arthur ruled through justice. Artur Hawkwing ruled through justice and ruthlessness. It will certainly be a conversation filled with emotion and passion, but I don't think everyone expecting Hawkwing to take their side is understanding who Artur Hawkwing is.
Two questions. Short question first. I was looking through the leaflet. Why is Romanda wanted in Far Madding?
I haven't a clue.
Can Cadsuane’s Aes Sedai, Merise, Corele, and Beldeine, use the bond to compel their Asha’man?
Wow. Oh boy. I’m going to have such trouble with her questions. I have trouble with her questions when I’m steeped in the Wheel of Time lore and working on the notes every day, and now that I haven’t even looked at them in like ten months...
Tell her to ask Maria?
But that’s one I should know, is the thing. It’s not a hard question. It’s just one where I’m... I don’t think they can. But, you should really ask Maria. But I don’t think they can. I should know that one, you can tell her I should know that one, but I don’t think they can. I knew it at one point.