In Defence of Latra Posae

I’ve noticed a tendency for people who have read the Guide and Strike at Shayol Ghul to cast Latra Posae Decume as the villain, apparently on the basis that if Lews Therin is good Latra Posae must be bad. I’ve also heard several claims that Lews Therin hated Latra, in one case going as far as to theorise that it was LTT, acting through Tel’aran’rhiod, who killed Latra. That’s on the extreme far end of crazy theories. But the whole argument is crazy.

There is not one passage anywhere, in any of Robert Jordan’s work, that says or implies anything stronger than that LTT and Latra ‘opposed’ one another. If there’s anyone out there who can contradict me, please do. And quote the passage.

Remember Strike at Shayol Ghul? There were two main factions with separate ideas on dealing with the Dark One. The first, led by Latra, proposed using the two giant sa’angreal, once they were built, to create a barrier around Shayol Ghul which would hold the Dark One until a more permanent solution was discovered. The other, led by LTT, proposed a direct strike to seal up the Bore with weaves focusing on the seven cuendillar seals. This was, as everyone agreed, a very dangerous plan, and carried the risk of freeing the Dark One completely. THAT was why Latra opposed it. Not because of any enmity for Lews Therin.

After the Strike and during the Breaking, Latra led the fight against the Dark and earned the name Shadar Nor, Cutter of the Shadow. A name for a heroine. Not a villain. If you want someone to vilify, go look in the Dark. The ‘Lews Therin good, Latra Posae bad’ viewpoint is simplistic and immature.

The viewpoint that irritates me even MORE is that of Latra as the prototype of the stereotypical Red sister. Get over it, people. There’s not a scrap of evidence. Yes, Latra opposed LTT, and yes, most of the female Aes Sedai were on her side. It was a dangerous, risky idea, and Jordan shows a tendency to portray women as more cautious than men. Plus, Latra would have had the most support from the people she’d worked with longest, and since men and women are taught separately, that meant women. And a fair number of male Aes Sedai opposed LTT, too, so it wasn’t purely a male-female conflict.

Please note, by the way, that I’m not attacking the Reds. Only the Red stereotype. The next planned essay is ‘In Defence of the Red Ajah’ and I expect plenty of controversy on that one. 

Stay tuned.

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