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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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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.
Verin: Considerably older than anyone expects. (I presume he was talking about the characters, not the fans, considering that our guesses range up to 3000 years old.) He also said that Age of Legends lifespans are not known in modern Randland. (Thus, I presume that Verin is NOT 300 years old.) He said something about "the effects of the Oath Rod," I don't know whether this was with reference to aging, or effects on something totally unrelated.
Well, that's that.
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.
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.
That’s a MAFO. Type that one out. That’s a MAFO.
No. What is now the second oath (To make no weapon with which one man may kill another) was the first one that the Aes Sedai adopted. “It grew from an impulse within the Aes Sedai themselves coming from tales passed down regarding the War of the Shadow. The other two oaths certainly grew out of the suspicion of ordinary people towards these Aes Sedai.” (That’s a quote from the notes, btw). Sometimes things happen without an agent of the Dark One’s involvement, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
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?
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).
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.)
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.
What about Cadsuane being summoned to become Amyrlin?
Cadsuane was going to give up the three Oaths, and go live forever. Cadsuane's fate was not my idea.