Hello, everyone. Welcome back to "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. This will be part one of a two-part discussion of the Seanchan. For today, we'll look at the supposed discussion between Artur Hawkwing and Tuon. But first:
SPOILER WARNING. This will include content from A Memory of Light. Please DO NOT read this if you have not completed the book.
This subject is very interesting to me because it was the center of the outrigger novels Robert Jordan had planned for Mat and Tuon. Robert Jordan had talked about writing the continuation of the story with Mat and Tuon's return to Seanchan after the Last Battle. Naturally, Mat's place as Prince of the Ravens would bring about a change in some of the politics. But when we see Mat tell Artur Hawkwing to speak with Tuon, it made me wonder what other changes are in store for the Empire. Here's the quote from A Memory of Light:
Chapter 43, "A Field of Glass"
"Hawkwing, would you do me a favor?”
“Ask it, Hornblower.”
“Do you know the Seanchan?”
“I am … familiar with them.”
“I think their Empress would like very much to make your acquaintance,” Mat said, galloping away. “If you could go to speak with her, I’d appreciate it. And if you do, kindly tell her I sent you.”
The conversation between the High King and the Empress takes place off-stage, so to speak, so we are left with only a few tidbits from interviews with Brandon Sanderson about what actually happened. Here's one:
Cherry Raven: Was wondering why the ending there was no conversation between Hawking and Tuon.
Brandon Sanderson: You're assuming because it wasn't shown on screen, it didn't happen...
Brent Holmes: What happened in the conversation between Tuon and Arthur Hawkwing?!?!
Brandon Sanderson: It was interesting, I'll tell you that much.
Melissa Houghton: Did Hawkwing talk with Tuon?
Brandon Sanderson: Yes.
Nick: How do you think Fortuona reacted to speaking with Hawking?
Brandon Sanderson: With great consternation.
Brandon's comment about "great consternation" led me to the assumption that Hawkwing had some not-nice comments about the way the Seanchan Empire had evolved. Since Hawkwing spends most of his time in Tel'aran'rhiod, it seems likely that he would understand the Shadow had played a hand in his dislike of Aes Sedai, and come to realize the error of his ways. He would then be able to pass on advice to Tuon about Aes Sedai not being all that bad. However, my idea was struck down.
This past weekend was the Phoenix ComiCon, and I was lucky enough to actually be on a Wheel of Time panel with Brandon Sanderson. Since this topic was in my head for the blog, I asked him about the interaction between Hawkwing and Tuon, implying that Hawkwing had learned from his past mistakes.
(I recorded the audio of our discussion, so this is verbatim what Brandon said to me, minus the few ums.)
One of questions I have is, you had alluded that Artur Hawkwing goes to talk to Tuon, but it does happen off-screen. So is there anything you can tell us about that, and also a little about what happens in Tel'aran'rhiod, when the heroes know their past mistakes, so Artur Hawkwing realizes he made a mistake with the Aes Sedai?
Okay, there's a couple questions here. First one, on what happens between Artur Hawkwing and Tuon. Keep in mind that, yes, Artur Hawkwing was under some dark influence during his career, but he also, even without that, would not have been very fond of Aes Sedai. He's not the type that would have been very fond. And, I think he and Tuon would get along swimmingly. Despite him probably having some tough advice for her and things like that, I think that he would be very proud of the Seanchan as a nation. Maybe not completely proud of everything they've done, but the fact that somebody kept his legacy and was that strong with it, I think he would think they are completely awesome for what they've done. And maybe they would have had some words about other things.
I think they would get along, but there would be words. I specifically didn't write that because I knew that that would have been something that would have been for the outriggers. That whole conflict, Tuon versus what is right with the damane and things like this was something Robert Jordan was specifically planning to deal with in that trilogy and I just felt it was best not to try it, to wrap it up here.
And the second question was how much do the heroes know of the world at large while they're in there. From the things you can infer from the books, they do know some. They don't know everything, but they do know some things.
I really thought that Artur Hawkwing would have been a driving force in the Seanchan's release of the damane. But Brandon dashed all my hopes of that. Which leads me to believe Hawkwing disapproved of other things the Empire is doing. Brandon implied that Hawkwing wouldn't have minded collared Aes Sedai, but there were other things to have "words" about. Most likely da'covale and slavery.
Another interview I found says this:
Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
I also asked if we would ever get to hear the conversation between Hawkwing and Tuon, and he said that it did happen and would have had a great impact on future novels were they to be written.
Since this "great impact" doesn't come from releasing Aes Sedai, it must be an upheaval of the Seanchan's hierarchy system. However, even if Hawkwing's advice doesn't change Tuon's mind about leashed Aes Sedai, there are several other people who could intercede on their behalf. We'll save that part of the discussion for next week.
That's all I've got on this subject, since once again my initial theory was wrong. Next time I want to speculate about the treaty between the White Tower and the Seanchan. Share your own thoughts about the conversation between Hawkwing and Tuon in the comments below. Thanks for reading!