Thursday, February 28, 2002
Sammael said that a binding chair can be used to bind people who cannot channel (A Crown of Swords, Spears). According to The Wheel of Time Companion, he told the truth. None has been seen yet.
Chair of Remorse
The Chair of Remorse is a large rectangular block of hard marbled gray material with a slanted top that moulds itself to anyone sitting on it. On one side is a palm-sized rectangular hole that has tiny notches spaced unevenly around it where the channeller activates the ter’angreal (Winter’s Heart, Prologue).
Aes Sedai use the chair for crime prevention and rehabilitation. Criminals caught in Tar Valon are placed on the Chair of Remorse to experience a series of carefully selected scenarios of the consequences of their crimes. These experiences seem real to the person sitting in the Chair. The toughest criminals are broken by their own guilt after experiencing two such series. On release, they invariably flee the island, and often reform their ways. There is (or was) very little crime in Tar Valon.
This may be nothing like the way the Chair was used in the Age of Legends. Interestingly, Aes Sedai law forbids using the Chair on initiates of the Tower (Aes Sedai and Accepted) and the penalties are stiff: exile and birching, perhaps stilling, for Aes Sedai and unchairing as well for Sitters. This indicates there may have been a good reason for this prohibition that is now long forgotten.
The chair was used for entertainment in the Age of Legends as a virtual reality device. It drew on saidin as well as saidar, and discs with story lines could be inserted into it. The chair had a library of these that the Aes Sedai knew nothing of and had never used (The Wheel of Time Companion). It was not supposed to have scenarios input into it in person, and it is unknown how this became possible—whether it had been modified at some stage in the Age of Legends or just deteriorated.
The Crystal Throne is a great ter’angreal in Seanchan that causes anyone who approaches it to feel immense awe and wonder. It works without channelling (Winter’s Heart booksigning). Only the reigning monarch of Seanchan is allowed to use it (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time). When the Empress speaks from the Crystal Throne, her word is law (Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides). Few people can shake off the awe and the urge to obey they feel when kneeling before the Crystal Throne (The Path of Daggers, A Time For Iron). Perhaps holding the Power makes a channeller resistant, since Semirhage was unaffected by the ter’angreal (Robert Jordan at a Knife of Dreams, booksigning) and even killed the Empress while she sat on the Throne (Knife of Dreams, Prologue).
The Seanchan Prophecies of the Dragon say that the Dragon Reborn must kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai'don, or all is lost (Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides) (see Prophecies of the Dragon article), but he did not: he bowed to her as a courtesy, A Memory of Light, Older, More Weathered.
Red Crystal Chair
A plain-carved chair of red crystal was found in Rhuidean and was taken to Cairhien in Kadere’s wagons (The Fires of Heaven, The Fifth, I Give You). Perhaps this is a binding chair.
Written by Linda, August, 2005 and updated May 2016