Under utilization of the Power?

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time Discussion - Books 1-14' started by Sera Volare, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. Sera Volare

    Sera Volare

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    So this is something I have given a lot of thought. I have always felt, throughout every read of the books, that the Aes Sedai (and Ashaman) really under utilize the Power in a lot of ways. Examples.

    1. Armoring themselves/others. I don't think that wrapping a breastplate or helmet in Air (or w/e) in order to make it impenetrable would count as "making a weapon for one man to kill another". And if the breastplate was just coated in weaves, it theoretically wouldn't hinder movement, just make the armor itself stronger.

    2. As a weapon (obvs when approprite w/in the Three Oaths). Specifically, I always felt like they used the most labor-intensive, difficult methodologies. I've always thought it would just be easier to create a Power razor in mid-air and scythe off a bunch of Shadowspawn heads like a laser beam. Obviously I can't really ever know, but it seems like that would be easier than blowing up the ground or creating giant fire walls. Or, to do more of a hail of arrows type thing. Really just spitballing, but it seems like there must be an easier way.

    3. Protecting camps/ buildings. I keep picturing a Power-wielder just putting up a dome of Air (or w/e) around their campsite or house, with holes in the top (a la Dumai's Wells) for air and smoke. Then if a ravening horde of Shadowspawn or some bandits show up, they just bounce off like bugs on a windshield, and the Aes Sedai can lower it enough to rain fire and ruin their day.

    Are these types of things at all possible? Would they just be too easy and interfere with the plot too much? Am I totally wrong here? I just can't help but think that maybe the Power-wielders make their own lives way more difficult.

    Anyway, let me know what you think! :bubble
     
  2. Sorcha Al'Verdan

    Sorcha Al'Verdan Aes Sedai

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    I think that what largely happened is that Aes Sedai learned weaves from others and didn't really experiment / innovate. Thus, knowledge was gradually lost. That being said, throughout the series we saw many changes in how the power was wielded, and it's safe to say that eventually someone would have probably thought of those things.
     
  3. Elania al'Manir

    Elania al'Manir Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    My guess is that they strayed away from re-inforcing armor because of two reasons. One, it would be too similar to making weapons and could be seen as a "slippery slope". Two, few women have talents with Earth in the first place.

    I think you have a point about how it's used as a weapon, and Sorcha has the answer. There was no innovation. We see a lot more of that on the Asha'man side, honestly. Partly from Lews Therin and his deathgates, fingers of fire (or whatever they're called), etc. Also from Androl's creative uses of gateways. For the men, basically everything is new and they can only get their knowledge from a couple of people so they'd have to innovate. The Aes Sedai structure, however, is much more strict and established and doesn't leave a lot of room for experimentation. You're not even supposed to experiment until you've reached full Aes Sedai, and that normally takes years or decades. By that point it's been pretty beaten into you how dangerous the Power is, and so I'd guess a lot of women just leave it be.

    And protecting camps would be useful, but depending on the size, it might be difficult to sustain without a large circle of channelers, and/or a rotation so that they don't get exhausted.
     
  4. Sorcha Al'Verdan

    Sorcha Al'Verdan Aes Sedai

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    Moiraine was able to set wards for their camp against shadowspawn, so I imagine it would only be a matter of scale and settings, not that they'd need to continuously maintain them. It would be useful to continuously maintain them in order to see if enemy channelers are trying to spin through them, but in the end they could essentially just assume that and save their strength, as they would be automatically aware if the wards were breached.
     
  5. Leala al'Dareis

    Leala al'Dareis First Seasoner Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah

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    Maintaining wards and weaves is a lot less strenuous when weaves are tied off. Then, a channeler only needs to be connected to the One Power to maintain the weave.

    As for shielding someone's armor, I could see how that could be useful with one's own Warder, but again, I think the weaves stagnated. :look Aes Sedai only thought of weaves they were taught for thousands of years, and when new ones came about, it was a *big deal.*
     
  6. Sera Volare

    Sera Volare

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    I hadn't really factored in the stagnation effect of the White Tower being a little ..... cautious (understatement of the age?). I can imagine Warders wondering about whether they could have been protected using the Power, instead of getting filled with arrows or something.

    Androl's use of gateways is a big part of what got me thinking. If the series had continued (which may have been overkill, frankly) I would have liked to see a lot more innovation in that vein. Instead of having wagons and pack horses and worrying about carrying supplies - just put supplies in a safe place, lock it up (ward the heck out of it) and then open gateways to retrieve it whenever you want!

    I guess it ends up being on of the little frustrations of the series that you build up with multiple re-reads. :rofl
     
  7. Wil Cambrae

    Wil Cambrae Sparkle Chief Gaidin

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    There's also some talk about this when the characters go into the Waste for the Eye of the World. How the use of strong wards would attract predators and those who can sense the One Power. Sometimes when you're trying to be stealthy, it's better to redirect things than to bar the path.
     
  8. Sera Volare

    Sera Volare

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    True! I don't know if you have ever read the Dresden files, but there is a scene where a magic wielder is defending themselves from some beasties and baddies who also wield magic, and they surrounded themselves with a sphere shaped shield and basically were saying "yeah, cool, come at me bro, I'm just going to sit here and be okay" and that scene kind of inspired this train of thought.

    And if you haven't read the Dresden files, you absolutely should.
     
  9. Wil Cambrae

    Wil Cambrae Sparkle Chief Gaidin

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    Hehe, I had a friend suggest it a few years ago and I chugged through the series in a few months, and I just finished a reread a few weeks ago.

    but don't create a shield like that when someone is throwing homemade napalm around :nono
     
  10. Elglas Comarin

    Elglas Comarin

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    I think a common theme among the best fantasy series is a lack of reliance on magic. (oh the irony!) Take Superman for example. It's hard to write a compelling plot when you can super power / magic your way out of nearly every situation (hence the introduction of kryptonite) or in Tolkien's works, where magic is outright rare, and pretty much limited to the Valinor, and the race of elves in decline among the last alliance)

    A great deal of WoT is spent on explaining the limitations of the one power, be it line of sight weaving, the limitations around traveling / skimming, linking, and combat tactics. While all this lends its self to some awesome battle scenes (Dumai's Wells comes to mind) in order to make a world feel immersive, you have to ground it in things relatable to reality, like the heavy reliance on conventional medieval weaponry, the mechanics of crossbow reloading, or even the scale of distances between cities.