Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reference Library Updates after The Gathering Storm: The Black Ajah

By Linda

The essay in the Reference Library on The Black Ajah has now been updated with information from The Gathering Storm, including a compilation of the deeds, status and location of all known Black sisters, discussion of how and why the Blacks join up and their leadership, and some analysis of Black Ajah numbers.

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Thanks to Verin, we know a lot more about the Black Ajah than we did.

Sixteen or seventeen new names were added to the list of Black sisters, some quite a surprise, others not at all surprising, and some previously unknown sisters.

Verin identified 203 Aes Sedai (The Gathering Storm, A Visit From Verin Sedai). She missed three Black sisters among the rebel Aes Sedai according to Egwene (The Gathering Storm, The Tower Stands), and three in the White Tower, plus maybe Evanellein and a couple more (The Gathering Storm, Bathed in Light). She may also have missed a few among the third of Aes Sedai outside these two groups. In total there were probably about 215 to 220 Black sisters, which would be 22-3% of the Aes Sedai, there being fewer than one thousand Aes Sedai.

The breakdown by Ajah of the two hundred or so Black Sisters that Verin identified is: 48 Red, 38 Green, 30 Grey, 28 Brown, 21 Yellow (perhaps slightly less than would be expected), 21 Blue and 17 White. Verin identified 48 Black sisters from the Red Ajah, representing about 24% of the 203 Black sisters she identified, which is about 25% higher than would be expected, considering that Reds represent about 19% of the total Aes Sedai population.

It’s easy to see how influential the Black Ajah is among the Aes Sedai: with over a fifth to a quarter of Aes Sedai membership in any one Ajah, they represent a sizeable voting block, being effectively the largest Ajah, since they are often instructed on how to cast their vote, such as for Ajah leaders. In Elaida's Hall there were at least 5 Black Sitters, enough to kill any vote the Black Ajah didn't want to succeed and to stand a good chance of getting any vote they did want through. The rebel Hall had at least 2 Black Sitters, perhaps more, since 6 Sitters (including Lyrelle, Naorisa Cambral (Delana's replacement) and probably Salita) were at the Black Tower at the time they were all tested.

After all the executions, the Black Ajah population has decreased to less than 160.

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