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Is Swearing Fealty a Subversion of the Three Oaths?


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#21 Torn Shadow

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

Though a large portion of Elaida was likely herself, she was at least somewhat corrupted by Fain, so she isn't quite as bad as she appeared.

#22 Mr Ares

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:13 AM

In new spring half the tower was trying to put morraine on the sun throne for no other reason than to increase the influence of the tower.

Most of the aes sedai are prejudiced against wilders. It seems too me that that sort of [would classism be the correct term] isn't very decent.

The majority of them spend most of the time doing there own stuff instead of being "servants of all". The greens don't have any forts along the borderlands, I can't remember reading about any yellows traveling from village to village offering healing services. Elaida kept the palace gardens green while the rest of andor was left to suffer.

most of the aes sedai treat others as inferior. The amyrlin seat is seen as above kings. Everyone is supposed to do whatever an aes sedai wants.

etc. etc.

There are a few that are okay. But the majority seem to be pampered, "let them eat cake" noblewomen.

If anything, surely you're just proving the point that they exist within a flawed system. It's not always easy to see the flaws from the inside - and not always easy to fix those flaws if you do see them. Yes, many of them are prejudiced against wilders. However, throughout history, a great many people have been prejudiced against other races, seeing them as inferior. Should we take from that that most people throughout history are not decent, or should we take from that decent does not mean perfect? Even decent people can have flaws. They're not monsters, merely people. They have no more need of Oaths than do normal people.

"I have no followers, I have only brothers and sisters, all in the name of cause. People are sheep, you understand me? They can't lead themselves, they need to be led. People buy and sell fear. They worship war, they crave war. But I'm not afraid of their wars, I CREATED WAR! And I think it's time for the masses to wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! And look at this LIE they're living in, man! The world is deteriorating between their toes, and they do nothing about it. They only stand there, they whisper and wonder but never do anything about it! But I've seen it all in my dreams and in my thoughts, and above everything else I understand. This is not the beginning.....it's the end."


#23 MyKillK

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:19 PM

Anyway, the reason I brought this subject up was because it immediately sprung to mind when I recently re-read the chapter in tFoH where Moiraine swears to follow Rand and not try to manipulate him. Instead of simply saying, "I will not guide or manipulate you" she swears one of the strongest oaths possible. Rand is shocked and is certain that under a such a strong oath, he can trust Moiraine now. But if what I think is true, instead it was a clever subversion of Three Oaths that binds Moiraine to nothing.

But, more importantly, I think this subject could have significant consequences for the Aes Sedai sworn to the Asha'man in the Black Tower. They were forced to swear obedience to their Asha'man captors right? They surely think the Aes Sedai are obedient servants bound by their Three Oaths, not realizing that the very oaths they made the AS swear created a giant loophole in the Three Oaths. This opens up the possibility of a very interesting Aes Sedai revolt at the Black Tower...

Edited by MyKillK, 08 February 2012 - 10:21 PM.


#24 MyKillK

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:23 PM


In new spring half the tower was trying to put morraine on the sun throne for no other reason than to increase the influence of the tower.

Most of the aes sedai are prejudiced against wilders. It seems too me that that sort of [would classism be the correct term] isn't very decent.

The majority of them spend most of the time doing there own stuff instead of being "servants of all". The greens don't have any forts along the borderlands, I can't remember reading about any yellows traveling from village to village offering healing services. Elaida kept the palace gardens green while the rest of andor was left to suffer.

most of the aes sedai treat others as inferior. The amyrlin seat is seen as above kings. Everyone is supposed to do whatever an aes sedai wants.

etc. etc.

There are a few that are okay. But the majority seem to be pampered, "let them eat cake" noblewomen.

If anything, surely you're just proving the point that they exist within a flawed system. It's not always easy to see the flaws from the inside - and not always easy to fix those flaws if you do see them. Yes, many of them are prejudiced against wilders. However, throughout history, a great many people have been prejudiced against other races, seeing them as inferior. Should we take from that that most people throughout history are not decent, or should we take from that decent does not mean perfect? Even decent people can have flaws. They're not monsters, merely people. They have no more need of Oaths than do normal people.


Didn't Egwene go through this whole argument with herself? At first she didn't like having to Swear the Three Oaths, but in the end she decided it was a vital element of what being an Aes Sedai was.

#25 Suttree

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:23 PM

But, more importantly, I think this subject could have significant consequences for the Aes Sedai sworn to the Asha'man in the Black Tower. They were forced to swear obedience to their Asha'man captors right? They surely think the Aes Sedai are obedient servants bound by their Three Oaths, not realizing that the very oaths they made the AS swear created a giant loophole in the Three Oaths. This opens up the possibility of a very interesting Aes Sedai revolt at the Black Tower...


IIRC the AS didn't swear anything to the Ashaman. We do know however that the "extra bit" in the Ashaman bond is used to compel them to obedience.

BTW I do not feel there is any such loophole. As for Moiraine at that point she was desperate and sincere in helping Rand. There is nothing to really suggest otherwise...

Edited by Suttree, 08 February 2012 - 10:31 PM.

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#26 Mr Ares

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:31 AM

Anyway, the reason I brought this subject up was because it immediately sprung to mind when I recently re-read the chapter in tFoH where Moiraine swears to follow Rand and not try to manipulate him. Instead of simply saying, "I will not guide or manipulate you" she swears one of the strongest oaths possible. Rand is shocked and is certain that under a such a strong oath, he can trust Moiraine now. But if what I think is true, instead it was a clever subversion of Three Oaths that binds Moiraine to nothing.

An AS who swears an oath of obedience (or any oath, outside of those sworn on an oath rod) is at least as bound to them as anyone else would be. Conceivably more so, if breaking that oath was in turn a violation of the 3 Oaths. I hardly think it's a loophole - anyone with any sense of honour or honesty will think twice at the very least before breaking such a strong oath - and going back on your word when you've given your word so strongly could destroy any trust you've built up. Moiraine has no easy out for giving such a strong oath.




In new spring half the tower was trying to put morraine on the sun throne for no other reason than to increase the influence of the tower.

Most of the aes sedai are prejudiced against wilders. It seems too me that that sort of [would classism be the correct term] isn't very decent.

The majority of them spend most of the time doing there own stuff instead of being "servants of all". The greens don't have any forts along the borderlands, I can't remember reading about any yellows traveling from village to village offering healing services. Elaida kept the palace gardens green while the rest of andor was left to suffer.

most of the aes sedai treat others as inferior. The amyrlin seat is seen as above kings. Everyone is supposed to do whatever an aes sedai wants.

etc. etc.

There are a few that are okay. But the majority seem to be pampered, "let them eat cake" noblewomen.

If anything, surely you're just proving the point that they exist within a flawed system. It's not always easy to see the flaws from the inside - and not always easy to fix those flaws if you do see them. Yes, many of them are prejudiced against wilders. However, throughout history, a great many people have been prejudiced against other races, seeing them as inferior. Should we take from that that most people throughout history are not decent, or should we take from that decent does not mean perfect? Even decent people can have flaws. They're not monsters, merely people. They have no more need of Oaths than do normal people.


Didn't Egwene go through this whole argument with herself? At first she didn't like having to Swear the Three Oaths, but in the end she decided it was a vital element of what being an Aes Sedai was.

The notion that the Three Oaths are what it means to be AS was brought up in the series, and it is a notion Egwene has now suscribed to. It is, however, a foolish and misguided notion. AS existed in the AoL with no Oaths, and for at least part of the Third Age with no Oaths. The Oaths were developed over time. So AS have existed without the Oaths, or with just some of them. Were these people not true AS? And what do the Oaths boil down to - don't lie, don't make weapons, don't kill people. All rules that most people will tend to follow during the course of their day to day lives anyway. Surely not killing people with the OP is the least you should expect? Surely you should be able to trust that the person talking to you is telling the truth, without them needing to swear an Oath making it impossible for them to do otherwise? The one about speaking no word that is not true doesn't even have anything to do with the Power. Most people don't need the Oaths to hold them back from doing the thngs the Oaths forbid - but they are capable of doing them should it be necessary. The AS have insituted a system which indicates they need to be held back, making it impossible to do otherwise. And then they do their level best to hold to the letter of the Oath while ignoring the spirit, at least for one of them. That's not admirable, it's bordering on pathetic. They do themselves a disservice, they give the impression that they are less trustworthy than every other channeling group bar the Chosen, because they consider that the heart of being AS isn't public service, it's being unable to do something that most people wouldn't do anyway.

"I have no followers, I have only brothers and sisters, all in the name of cause. People are sheep, you understand me? They can't lead themselves, they need to be led. People buy and sell fear. They worship war, they crave war. But I'm not afraid of their wars, I CREATED WAR! And I think it's time for the masses to wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! And look at this LIE they're living in, man! The world is deteriorating between their toes, and they do nothing about it. They only stand there, they whisper and wonder but never do anything about it! But I've seen it all in my dreams and in my thoughts, and above everything else I understand. This is not the beginning.....it's the end."


#27 damandred

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:19 PM

I think the oaths were brought in after a time of great trauma and AS felt the need for a grand gesture, to get the people to trust them and maybe so they could trust each other.
I might be wrong but wasn't the oaths introduced after the trolloc war, were they then knew for certain of DF channellers.
All that being said they have now served their purpose and should be scrapped as their more a hindrance to the AS than a help.

#28 MyKillK

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:41 PM


Anyway, the reason I brought this subject up was because it immediately sprung to mind when I recently re-read the chapter in tFoH where Moiraine swears to follow Rand and not try to manipulate him. Instead of simply saying, "I will not guide or manipulate you" she swears one of the strongest oaths possible. Rand is shocked and is certain that under a such a strong oath, he can trust Moiraine now. But if what I think is true, instead it was a clever subversion of Three Oaths that binds Moiraine to nothing.

An AS who swears an oath of obedience (or any oath, outside of those sworn on an oath rod) is at least as bound to them as anyone else would be. Conceivably more so, if breaking that oath was in turn a violation of the 3 Oaths. I hardly think it's a loophole - anyone with any sense of honour or honesty will think twice at the very least before breaking such a strong oath - and going back on your word when you've given your word so strongly could destroy any trust you've built up. Moiraine has no easy out for giving such a strong oath.


Moiraine's easy way out was the fact that she knew what was going to happen with her falling into the Ter'angreal. She saw that in Rhuidean. So she would make any pledge necessary to gain Rand's trust because she knew her time was so short. But she still wanted the freedom to do whatever she wanted and I think that's why she gave an oath instead of simply saying she would obey him. Tricked Rand into thinking she was bound by the Three Oaths when she really wasn't.

Edited by MyKillK, 10 February 2012 - 07:41 PM.


#29 Luckers

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:32 PM

I think the oaths were brought in after a time of great trauma and AS felt the need for a grand gesture, to get the people to trust them and maybe so they could trust each other.
I might be wrong but wasn't the oaths introduced after the trolloc war, were they then knew for certain of DF channellers.
All that being said they have now served their purpose and should be scrapped as their more a hindrance to the AS than a help.


Your right on the reasoning (great trauma is a good way to phrase that I think), but we don't know the timing--mostly because there are [seemingly] conflicting quotes from Jordan, in the series and in person--some of which seem to suggest the Trolloc Wars, some which seem to suggest the War of the Hundred Years. We know the Oaths weren't all introduced as one, and that that first oath sworn was the oath against making weapons for one man to kill another--which was supposedly done in rememberence of the devestation wrought during the War of the Shadow. I'm guessing this one was done before the Trolloc Wars--possibly well before. The Oath against using the Power as a weapon seems to fit the aftermath of the Trolloc Wars, where people had just seen first hand what Aes Sedai could do. And the one against lying seems to fit the post-Hawkwing time when the Aes Sedai were desperately trying to regain the trust of the people.

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#30 Mr Ares

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:09 AM



Anyway, the reason I brought this subject up was because it immediately sprung to mind when I recently re-read the chapter in tFoH where Moiraine swears to follow Rand and not try to manipulate him. Instead of simply saying, "I will not guide or manipulate you" she swears one of the strongest oaths possible. Rand is shocked and is certain that under a such a strong oath, he can trust Moiraine now. But if what I think is true, instead it was a clever subversion of Three Oaths that binds Moiraine to nothing.

An AS who swears an oath of obedience (or any oath, outside of those sworn on an oath rod) is at least as bound to them as anyone else would be. Conceivably more so, if breaking that oath was in turn a violation of the 3 Oaths. I hardly think it's a loophole - anyone with any sense of honour or honesty will think twice at the very least before breaking such a strong oath - and going back on your word when you've given your word so strongly could destroy any trust you've built up. Moiraine has no easy out for giving such a strong oath.


Moiraine's easy way out was the fact that she knew what was going to happen with her falling into the Ter'angreal. She saw that in Rhuidean. So she would make any pledge necessary to gain Rand's trust because she knew her time was so short. But she still wanted the freedom to do whatever she wanted and I think that's why she gave an oath instead of simply saying she would obey him. Tricked Rand into thinking she was bound by the Three Oaths when she really wasn't.

That's not really an easy way out - she's still bound to her oath, after all. By swearing an oath, she is bound by that oath unless she decides to go back on her word. By simply agreeing to do what he says, well, that's easy enough to get out of - just obey for a bit. The mere fact of obeying once fulfills the requirement. Thus she can get out of it.

"I have no followers, I have only brothers and sisters, all in the name of cause. People are sheep, you understand me? They can't lead themselves, they need to be led. People buy and sell fear. They worship war, they crave war. But I'm not afraid of their wars, I CREATED WAR! And I think it's time for the masses to wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! And look at this LIE they're living in, man! The world is deteriorating between their toes, and they do nothing about it. They only stand there, they whisper and wonder but never do anything about it! But I've seen it all in my dreams and in my thoughts, and above everything else I understand. This is not the beginning.....it's the end."


#31 damandred

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:24 AM


I think the oaths were brought in after a time of great trauma and AS felt the need for a grand gesture, to get the people to trust them and maybe so they could trust each other.
I might be wrong but wasn't the oaths introduced after the trolloc war, were they then knew for certain of DF channellers.
All that being said they have now served their purpose and should be scrapped as their more a hindrance to the AS than a help.


Your right on the reasoning (great trauma is a good way to phrase that I think), but we don't know the timing--mostly because there are [seemingly] conflicting quotes from Jordan, in the series and in person--some of which seem to suggest the Trolloc Wars, some which seem to suggest the War of the Hundred Years. We know the Oaths weren't all introduced as one, and that that first oath sworn was the oath against making weapons for one man to kill another--which was supposedly done in rememberence of the devestation wrought during the War of the Shadow. I'm guessing this one was done before the Trolloc Wars--possibly well before. The Oath against using the Power as a weapon seems to fit the aftermath of the Trolloc Wars, where people had just seen first hand what Aes Sedai could do. And the one against lying seems to fit the post-Hawkwing time when the Aes Sedai were desperately trying to regain the trust of the people.


Yeah that's seems to fit, didn't know the oaths were not introduced as one. Thanks for that.

#32 MyKillK

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:52 AM

I think chapter 20 of tFoH, "Jangai Pass", confirmed my theory. Moiraine informed Rand that Elaida had become the Amyrlin Seat, but "oath to obey or no, she would not tell him how she knew that".

Edited by MyKillK, 14 February 2012 - 12:53 AM.