Thus Spake The Creator

The White Tower

Q: How did the White Tower form after the Breaking? 
A: Aes Sedai slowly got together. 

Q: how did the ajais originate? 
A: Simply because I needed an organization for the power structure, and it seemed to me that a collective organization was something women were more likely to come up with, rather than something strictly hierarchal. 

Q: How do you explain the longevity of the Kin? 
A: Read and find out! :) The clues are there. 

Q: One of the Forsaken once said of the current Aes Sedai, "They bind themselves like criminals." Was the Forsaken reffering to the Oath Rod?
A: Read and find out! (He twirls his moustache miniacally.) 

Q: The initaition rituals for raising an Accepted to Aes Sedai seem to be based upon some sort of real-life ceremonies. Where did you get the idea for the three passes through the ter'angreal? 
A: Trinities and threes and multiples of three or seven turn up again and again in mythologies and legends throughout the world and in ceremonies throughout the world. that part is hardly original. It's something that speaks to us on some deeper level. It's so prevelant, it must. It's all pervasive. 

Q: Hi, Mr. Jordan, thanks for doing this. I've read the new book (and enjoyed it). I found it very surprising that the Red Ajah would have the largest membership. Could you expand on why that's so? The numbers of male channelers have been dwindling prior to the events of the story, and Aes Sedai from other Ajahs seem to be willing to help capture men. Do the Reds have another role in the Tower, or is there some other reason for their numbers?
A: Some facets of being Aes Sedai are being carried out by all Aes Sedai. That is, a Blue sister might dig out an old manuscript and old knowledge. A Brown sister might take on a man who can channel. And a Red sister might engage in political manipulation. But the fact is, to the world at large, one of the primary functions of Aes Sedai is to protect the world from men who can channel. That means that a fair number of young women who go to the White Tower go thinking that this will be one of their major functions as Aes Sedai. So the Red Ajah and the Green Ajah are the two largest.

Q: Would making all Aes Sedai reswear the 3 oaths on an oath rod, and then asking them, reveal if they are Black Ajah? (It should...) 
A: There are certain difficulties with this. It might answer the question but how many sisters do you think will meekly submit to being asked to do such a thing? Being asked to do it is in effect an accusation.

Q: So far all that is known about the final test before becoming Aes Sedai is that it involves channeling under extreme pressure. Would you be willing to give a little more detail? And if not, will we find out more later in the books or perhaps the Guide? 
A: There will be more specific information about testing for Aes Sedai in the books themselves. For that reason, I really don't want to tell you anything here because it might spoil some surprises. At the very least, it might make you get to that point and say "gee, I know this stuff! He's getting boring!" 

Q: Have any Aes Sedai ever been refused admittance to any Ajah? 
A: No. 

Q: What do members of the White Ajah actually do on a day-to-day basis? 
A: Think. Study philosphy. 

Q: What are the actual requirements for being raised to the shawl? 
A: RAFO 

Q: Is the innkeeper an ex-Aes Sedai? 
A: RAFO 

Q: Can an Accepted be raised to AS and not choose an Ajah? What happens if they are raised ask for acceptance and are refused. 
A: This never happens. They are chosen in advance and vetted. 

Q: What are the requirements for being raised from accepted to AS 
A: Ability to channel under extreme stress. 

Q: How are the Ajah's funded? 
A: Too complex to answer. Joint funding and contributions from ajahs to full tower. 

Q: Is Moiraine's E&E network independent of the Blue or does it overlap. How do they report - i.e. does Moraine have someone who collects messages for her? 
A: All E&E networks overlap a little, but hers was pretty independent.

Q: Mr. Jordan, In The Great Hunt it was mentioned that a Aes Sedai with gray hair was very old indeed. How old does a Aes Sedai typically have to be for her hair to start turning gray?
A: It varies. But usually they would expect to have grey hair by oh, 200 years of age. Some grey hair at least. Just like anyone else, some have grey hair at 150, or even 100, but that would be considered prematurely grey for an Aes Sedai.

Q: What is the average term of office for the average Amrlyn, assuming she isn't deposed.
A: If you check the list of Amryln in the illustrated guide, which covers about 1000 years prior to the story, you'll find that there's quite a wide variation -- up to 50 or 60 years for some, and for others, perhaps 20. In large part, it depends how old she was when she was chosen Amryln. That is, given that she wasn't deposed.

Q: Hi, Mr, Jordan, I have been an avid reader of your books since I first read The Eye of the World about a year ago. I was wondering how did you choose the colors for the ajahs, ie. why are some colors such as orange left out and gray is in. Thanx for answering my question.
A: I stuck with what you might call basic colors, and orange is not a basic color.

Reports from signings

The question about if any Amyrlin has been non-dramatically deposed he answered with "Read and Find Out". He though said that there were information deep inside the White Tower archives only accessible to the Amyrlin, the Keeper and the sitters, apart from the librarians tending them. The mere notion of knowing the existance that such information existed would be considered a crime for other Aes Sedai.

On the choosing a deposing of the Keeper he said that the Amyrlin chooses the Keeper herself, as shown in LoC, but that the deposal of the Keeper requires an unanimous decision from the Hall. The glossary entry on the Keeper in TSR he said was incorrect in this regard.

Red Ajah: Not all of them are rabid man-haters. There are some moderates. However, as a Red, whose primary mission is to stop channelling by males, one must view all men as potential enemies. This makes it hard to have any kind of normal relationship with men, "especially after 20, 30, 50, 100 years of such a mentality." (note the "100 years")

Not all Red Ajah are misandrists. Jordan said that not all members of the Red Ajah are rabid men-haters, but pointed out that they will tend to develop a dislike/distrust for men as part of their job. To be Red Ajah means that your primary mission is to capture and gentle channeling males, so all men become potential enemies. After having this outlook for several decades, it will be hard to have a normal relationship with men. My Comment: Something that I would personally like to add to this discussion is that all Aes Sedai believe in the importance of stopping male channelers, but the Reds are those who consider it more important than anything else they can do with their talents. This will tend to attract women who dislike men.

My second question was whether or not we would get to see the Battle of Tar Valon or if it would happen "off-screen".  He opened his mouth, hesitated a second and shot me down with a "Read And Find Out".  Bastard.

A reader asked when the term "Ajah" came to have the meaning it has in Rand's time.  He said that until at least 500 years after the Tower was founded, it meant a temporary association for a specific purpose, and was a 
lower-case noun.  Its proper-noun sense arose afterwards, supplanting the earlier usage after the Trolloc Wars.

I was at the signing at King of Prussia last night, and asked a question about Randland life that has been bugging me for a while - do Aes Sedai ever have children, and why/why not?  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)its 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.

And the silly trivial 'I-just-want-to-know-without-a-doubt-question' which almost got me more than I had planned.
I asked him whether Delana Mosalaine had been raised to the Hall as Sitter before the Tower split or after. Karl -Johan and Jed probably recall our analysis of the Halls a month ago.
I probably pronounced the name wrong because he just looked at me.  I prompted by saying 'Delana, the Gray Sitter who we know is Black.  Siuan's old friend from novicedom.'
RJ started to say something but was trying to find th right words when I foolishly helped him out by saying 'Delana was raised at Salidar'.  He said yes and laughed.  I tried then to follow up with asking him if she was an important aspect of Siuan's pattern in the young Sitters.  RAFO was the response.

One person asked whether Romanda was the Aes Sedai that Cadsuane referred to as being nearly as old as she was.  Jordan answered in the affirmative.  I was distracted by someone at the time and _thought_ I heard that 
correctly, but wasn't quite sure.  (And I gave the guy who asked the question a really weird look, because the answer didn't seem to make sense-- why was everyone surprised about Cadsuane's being alive, if Romanda was just about as old?  Apparently because Cadsuane is so much more heroic than Romanda.)

Romanda is the Sister who is mentioned in New Spring as being as old as Cadsuane.  (Sorry if that was something many of you already knew to be true.  I had a bet going so was rather pleased with that one)

While he was still signing my books, I decided to sneak in another question: "Do Sarene and Corele have ageless faces?
He didn't seen to recall the names, so I said "at the end of Winter's Heart, the Aes Sedai with Flinn who attack Demandred..."
Uh yeah, uh well, no no. Uh, some of them do, yes, some of them have ageless faces, but not all of them.
"But do the two who were in the circle with Flinn have ageless faces?"
Oh, let's see.. oh, the two who were in the circle with Min??
"Flinn"
Flinn, ah... Just trying to remember which ones I had with which one...
"Sarena and Corele"
Sarene Nemdal does have an ageless face and ehh... I think Masuri .. no Masuri was not....
I'm sorry, I actually forgot who I ...
[And then the silly man who had done the interview interrupted us and talked about the time and that it was getting late. So I thanked Jordan and circled around the line to go stand close to the table where he was signing, see if I could pick up any more interesting tidbits. Well, at least we now know for sure that one of the Aes Sedai had an ageless face, so that Demandred should have seen this if he was as close to them as those opposing Taimandred claim.]

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