Why are (book) Aes Sedai so dang horrible?

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time Discussion - Books 1-8' started by Dakota t'Liesinger Hoskins, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. Dakota t'Liesinger Hoskins

    Dakota t'Liesinger Hoskins Citizen

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    This is a rant post, not intended as an insult to the series of the writing of such, but to the characters themselves. Spoilers for at least book 7 are present here.

    So I'm on another read of WOT, I mostly listen during my ride to and from work with the lovely Michael Kramer and also Kate Reading. I'm in the early stages of Crown of Swords, and holy Light

    The Aes Sedai are HORRIBLE. The absurd amount of entitlement is just... unbearable. The freshest example to come to mind is Kiruna trying to maneuver Rand while he has her with an oath of fealty and as a prisoner in all but name.

    This man has numerous nations behind him, legions of men and women tearing other nations down in his name, the allegiance and respect of at least half (might be wrong here) of all the Aiel, and has managed a ridiculous amount of achievement in disciplines ranging from political intrigue to battle strategy to battling ancient deity-like creatures with centuries of knowledge.

    Aes Sedai: "But you don't know what you're doing and I know better!!"

    This isn't a dig at the writing, because they are still written brilliantly (infuriatingly consistent, RJ is), and having read the series in completion as well as the World of WOT, I understand their roots and how they've devolved from their ancient raison d'etre, but blood and ashes for very long-lived people (some of whom dedicate their lives to ancient knowledge and other scholarly endeavors), so so many of them are about as dumb as a box of rocks.
     
  2. Brian Mandragon

    Brian Mandragon Soldier

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    You may have occasion to deal with people in charge such as school principals or other positions where a person is able to tell others what to do.Yet in the grand scheme of things they don't really have that much power and their salary is not that great. Their position and upward ability maybe very limited but they often have little worry and being fired unless they do something really stupid. Some of these people use their authority over others to push people around. Now consider judges who have a lot more authority and and deal with a lot of people who just deserve to be punished. It makes it hard to consider each case fairly and not let your frustration out on everyone that goes before you.

    Being Aes Sedai is much like being a judge and you are giving a lot of authority but like being a school teach in that you have to watch what you do if you are not on top of the power chain.But instead of retiring in your old age and making way for someone else you live long enough to become very jaded.

    The Aes Sedai power structure is also in a state of slow decline and have lost support of many of the people even if they people fear them enough not to admit it. To make things worse their biggest enemy is gain strength even inside the tower accelerating the decline. How much faith would you put in a teenager to save the world when they have not experienced much of the world so far and the cost of mistakes is so high. This is made worse by the fact that so many leaders who should have learned enough about the world to know better are too self involved to think about how their actions affect the world as a whole. Rand's hold the on situation was always a heartbeat from total collapse which was partially Rand's fault but mostly the fail of the leaders of the nations.

    Being a third party looking in it is easy to see how had the Aes Sedai had handled things better and supported Rand rather than try to manipulate him at every turn things could have gone a lot better. But in this story everyone for the young two rivers people to the oldest Aes Sedai have to learn the fast and the hard way that change is needed to survive. In the end of the story much has changed but it still makes one wonder if the lessoned learned will be remember for long.
     
  3. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe Forum Moderator

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    Yes, I often wonder how on earth some of these Aes Sedai managed to pass the test :shifty

    Most Sisters are wholly confident that they, and they alone, know what is the right thing to do. A good example is Moiraine. She is shown time and time again that her assumptions and plans are wrong. Yet she keeps being sure of what Rand needs to be doing. I wonder how long she would have had them waiting up in the mountains in tDR, if Rand had not simply gone without her?

    And yes, Kiruna and Bera are excellent examples of how Aes Sedai views themselves as practically royals :tug Luckily, that is one case where the Wise Ones have actually done some good, in taking the Aes Sedais down a few pegs...
     
  4. Dakota t'Liesinger Hoskins

    Dakota t'Liesinger Hoskins Citizen

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    AMoL (FINAL BOOK) SPOILERS FOLLOWING THIS THREAD:

    Sorry for the late response, life has been crazy recently. But regarding the quote above, I agree with everything except for this part. I think Rand made a great job of holding lands and hearts firmly in his grip, because he made many, many mistakes as his paranoia and madness (as well as trauma suffered while doing his duty) hardened him into an unfeeling shell of who he once was (and yet became), and though there were consequences for the missteps, he still managed to succeed in the end. Take my opinion with a grain of salt though, I am definitely a Rand fanboy lol

    Aduivas Sedai, I also wondered precisely this! How did these women who are so easily provoked by (what they consider to be) insolence pass the testing for the shawl?! It's absurd how decades (if not centuries) of practiced serenity melt away at a youth being... well, a youth. Again, not a jab at RJ, as I think part of that was meant to illustrate the decline in power/prominence/control that the White Tower held, as Brian stated. It just... Grrr....

    On the other hand, it's incredibly gratifying to see Rand (and Taim for that matter) force them into submissiveness, as it was definitely a long time coming in many cases.
     
  5. Brian Mandragon

    Brian Mandragon Soldier

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    I agree Rand did very well consider the situation he was put in, his tenuous hold was more about how the the people he was trying to unite not being able to put their petty squabbles aside to deal with the bigger problem. This was also made much worse by the various dark friends doing their best to screw things up.
     
  6. Toral Delvar

    Toral Delvar Archivist Gaidin

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    I think one of the themes of the series is people acting on poor on incorrect information. In this case, the Aes Sedai generally think they have better information than everyone else, and so they know better about what should be done. This is certainly encouraged at the White Tower