This article looks at how Aes Sedai (and others) think of male channellers and why Elaida twice refers to Logain as the unbeliever in The Eye of the World, The Web Tightens.
After Elayne was rebuked by Morgase for sneaking a look at Logain and forbidden to go anywhere near him when Elayne accompanies Logain’s procession to the Tower, Elaida told Elayne:
”But my sisters will keep you away from the unbeliever.”and Morgase’s court:
"Today the unbeliever is brought into Caemlyn. In two days he will be taken north to Tar Valon, and with him goes the Daughter-Heir for her training.”Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah tend to have a negative view of men, stemming from their task of finding men who can channel and gentling them before the taint drives them to madness and destruction. In some cases, of course, their negative view of men attracts them to this task. Cadsuane, a Green, tells Rand that some Aes Sedai believe that men who can channel are rejected by the Light, but she does not:
- The Eye of the World, The Web Tightens
"The Light's mercy fades to nothing for a man who can channel. Some see that and believe the Light denies those men. I do not.”and when Moiraine was talking to Loial in Caemlyn, she said that unlike the Reds, the Blues believed that it was right for the Ogier to shelter the male Aes Sedai during the Breaking:
- A Crown of Swords, When the Plow Breaks the Earth
"Some in Tar Valon," Moiraine said quietly, "claim that Ogier sanctuary prolonged the Breaking and made it worse. Others say that if all of those men had been allowed to go mad at once, there would have been nothing left of the world. I am of the Blue Ajah, Loial; unlike the Red Ajah, we hold to the second view.Many Reds would believe that the Light denies male channellers - that they are accursed or tainted - and that the Ogier should not have harboured them. Not only Reds; some Aes Sedai from other Ajahs hold this view. For instance Saroiya, a Sitter among the rebel Aes Sedai, claims that men are tainted:
- The Eye of the World, Remembrance of Dreams
“These so-called Asha’man are tainted!” Saroiya called out with no sign of the vaunted White Ajah reserve. Hands knotted in her shawl, she trembled so hard that the long snowy fringe swayed. “Tainted with the Dark One’s touch!”and she refused to consider allying with them even when assured saidin is clean (Knife of Dreams, Call to a Sitting).
- Crossroads of Twilight, Surprises
Elaida is apparently one of those who go a step further and believe that men who channel (especially those who declare themselves to be the Dragon) are rejecting the Light. Not that all channelling men are Darkfriends, but that they don't believe in the Light. She may make an exception of men who try not to channel, but since they usually fail, she may not either.
Her 'logic' would go like this:
- The Light rejects channelling men. ‘Proof’ of this is that male channellers are cursed to go mad and rot alive.
If a man actively channels, then he doesn't believe in the Light, because if he did believe, he would try not to channel so the Light wouldn't reject him.
This is an extremist view and Jordan later shows that not all Reds hold it. Pevara, Tsutama and Tarna, for instance, do not appear to be extremists. Nor do they regard male channellers as permanently tainted as Saroiya does.
Elaida’s condemnation of Logain was meant to intimidate Elayne more than anything so that she stayed away from him. It was also meant to show Elaida’s likely reaction to the Dragon Reborn. The irony being that the future Dragon Reborn was right in front of her. He’d even already channelled three times at that stage (see Onset of Rand's Channelling article).
Rand was bitterly disappointed that his cleansing of saidin has largely gone unremarked or even been disbelieved:
Men who could channel were always distrusted. Yet they were the only ones who could confirm what Rand said! He'd imagined joy and wonder at the victory, but he should have known better. Though male Aes Sedai had once been as respected as their female counterparts, that had been long ago. The days of Jorlen Corbesan had been lost in time. All people could remember now was the Breaking and the Madness.Even those who were there, such as Harine, are sceptical, or believe it changes nothing. Elza took this line too until Corele said:
- The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood
"Oh, we were both there at Shadar Logoth," Corele said, rolling her eyes. "We saw what you did, Rand. Besides, I can feel the male power through dear Damer here when we link. It has changed. The taint is gone. Right as sunlight, it is, though channeling the male half still feels like wrestling with a summer whirlwind."Verin also thought it would take time to be accepted.
"Yes," Elza said, "but be that as it is, you must realize how difficult it will be for others to believe this, Lord Dragon. During the Time of Madness, it took decades for some people to accept that the male Aes Sedai were doomed to go insane. It will likely take longer for them to overcome their distrust, now that it has been ingrained for so long."
- The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood
Word of the removal of the taint is spreading among Aes Sedai. Egwene’s reaction was more positive than most:
"They claim saidin is cleansed," Siuan said.She thought it feasible and began to plan changes to the Red Ajah’s role:
Egwene raised an eyebrow, but did not object. "Yes," she said, "I suppose that might be a reasonable possibility. We will need further confirmation, of course. But the taint arrived when all seemed won; why should it not leave when all seems to be approaching pure madness?"
"I hadn't considered it that way," Siuan said. "Well, what should we do, Mother?"
"Let the Hall deal with it," Egwene said. "It seems they have matters in hand."
- The Gathering Storm, Clean Shirts
"This will be a difficult time for the Red Ajah, daughter," Egwene said. "Their nature has always been to capture men who can channel, but reports claim that saidin is cleansed."It will be interesting to see what Egwene sees the Red Ajah’s new role as being, and whether they will accept it. And whether they can trust and accept men.
"There will still be rogue channelers, Mother," Silviana said. "And men are not to be trusted."
Someday, we will have to move beyond that last sentiment, Egwene thought. But for now, it is true enough to let stand. "I didn't say that your purpose would vanish, only that it would change. I see great things for the Red Ajah in the future—an expanding of vision, a renewal of duty. I am pleased to have you at my side to help guide
- The Gathering Storm, To Be Forged Again
Mat’s reaction has been the most positive so far:
"I don't know," Mat said, feeling sheepish. "I guess I just think I should feel different, or something. The whole world up and changed on us, didn't it?"He thinks it should make a huge difference. And considering his fear of anything to do with either saidin or saidar, that is quite a turn-around. Far more so than what the Aes Sedai who were actually there at the cleansing have managed.
"You could say that," Verin said, "though I would argue that the cleansing itself is more like a pebble thrown into a pond. The ripples will take some time to reach the shore."
"A pebble?" Mat asked. "A pebble?"
"Well, perhaps more of a boulder."
"A bloody mountain if you ask me," Mat muttered.
- The Gathering Storm, The Death of Tuon
In the meantime, as Rand stresses, men are being needlessly killed, severed or exiled when they are no longer going to go mad.
Written by Linda, December, 2005