A Day in the Life of an Accepted

This article contains spoilers for New Spring.

 

 

When Egwene and Nynaeve first arrive in Tar Valon, Sheriam tells Nynaeve in no uncertain terms that the first few weeks as an Accepted are harder than anything experienced by novices, a practice intended “To catch the few who might have slipped through novice training when they should not have” (TGH, Ch. 18). Throughout most of the series, Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve spend very little actual time in the White Tower, and are hardly ordinary Accepted once they attain the ring. Even the time spent by Elayne and Nynaeve as Accepted in Salidar is unusual, given the circumstances. It was the release of New Spring, published after ten books in the main timeline, which finally allowed us a closer look at what it is to be Accepted. So what do typical days usually look like for an Accepted of the White Tower?

 

Moiraine practicing for her Aes Sedai test with Elaida. New Spring Graphic Novel, by Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon, Mike Miller, and Harvey Tolibao.

In many ways, Accepted are not nearly as constrained as novices are, expected to be able to think for themselves and to question things around them. Aside from caring for their own laundry and rooms, Accepted are generally not expected to do chores unless they are being punished. While they are occasionally assigned duties such as helping to sort out petitioners or assisting an Aes Sedai with another task, the majority of their time is given over to teaching novice classes and to their own studies. While Accepted occasionally attend larger lectures, much of their learning takes place through private lessons with Aes Sedai or is self-guided. Topics of study range from laws and customs of the White Tower itself, to various authors and philosophers, to different historical eras. In addition to such studies, which are long and difficult, Accepted must also learn and practice the One Hundred weaves for use in the test for Aes Sedai.

 

Of course, one must not forget that there is a lighter side to being an Accepted as well. In large part due to the stress of near-constant study, Accepted frequently like to play pranks on other Accepted and even on Aes Sedai. As Moiraine puts it, “Some relief was needed, or you would crack like an egg dropped on stone” (NS, Ch. 3). While some Accepted—such as Moiraine, Siuan, Myrelle, Pevara, and Seaine—are particularly known for pulling pranks, it is a practice that most Accepted engage in from time to time.

 

One of the other difficult things about being Accepted appears to be the way it effects relationships. As novice and Accepted training is demanding, close bonds are often formed. However, new Accepted are often expected to cut off ties with friends who are novices, and new Aes Sedai are expected to do the same with friends who are Accepted; thus, an Accepted will see a halt to many friendships over her years of study. Upon her successful completion of the test for the Shawl, Moiraine feels “a touch of sadness at the sudden withdrawal” in the faces of Sheriam and Myrelle, for “A gulf had opened between them” (NS, Ch. 10). It is a far cry from the scenes in which Myrelle helps tend to Moiraine and Siuan in the aftermath of Elaida’s “lessons” on the One Hundred weaves, an abrupt transition from the camaraderie of pranks and shared experiences to a relationship dictated by hierarchy. Sometimes, these friendships are easily resumed; Moiraine and Siuan, for instance, resume their relationship with Sheriam once Sheriam is also raised to the Shawl. Other relationships are more difficult to take up again, hindered by time or by the customs of one’s chosen Ajah. Elaida and Meidani, who were pillowfriends as novices, see an end to their relationship when Elaida attains the ring (CoT, Prologue). Similarly, Pevara and Seaine, close friends during their time as trainees in the Tower, are driven apart by custom once they attain the shawl. Their relationship does not resume for decades because of the Red Ajah’s propensity to avoid friendships outside of the Ajah (ACoS, Ch. 32).

 

If you’d like to know more about Accepted, check out TarValon.Net’s Library article!
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Minor Key: Pevara Tazanovni

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

 

“You’re so certain we will win?” Androl asked.
“Of course we will win. It’s not a question, Androl. We can’t afford to make it one.”

–Androl and Pevara, A Memory of Light, Chapter 4

 

 

Trapped in the Black Tower with enemies on all sides, Pevara staunchly refuses to yield. She insists not only on hope, but on resolve: Taim, his Dreadlords, and the Dark One must not be given the latitude of despair. In many ways, her tenacious pragmatism, here and throughout the series, finds its echo in Rand’s most important realization as the Last Battle approaches its climax—that the Shadow “cannot win unless we give up” (AMoL, Ch. 39). The determination and persistence in Pevara’s words to Androl are frequently indicative of her character.

 

Pevara Tazanovni is one of the few Aes Sedai characters whose past is not entirely shrouded in mystery. Born in Kandor more than one hundred and fifty years before the events of the first book, her early years in the White Tower were marked by terrible tragedy. While Pevara was a novice, her family was betrayed and massacred by friends who turned out to be Darkfriends; in Crossroads of Twilight, Pevara recalls learning the details of how her twelve year old brother had died “With a knife in his hand, standing over their father’s dead body and trying to keep the mob from their mother” (Ch. 23). It was this event that eventually lead Pevara to choose the Red Ajah, for she believed that “a Red hunting men who could channel had the best chance of finding Darkfriends” (ACoS, Ch. 32).

 

It is Pevara’s unrelenting hatred of Darkfriends that brings Seaine Herimon to her door for aid, even despite a long-estranged friendship. Believing that Elaida has set her the task of hunting the Black Ajah, Pevara is the only person Seaine implicitly trusts. Where so many sisters refuse to confess even the potential for Aes Sedai corruptibility, Pevara needs no convincing of the Black Ajah’s existence. She commits herself without hesitation to Seaine’s cause, as if it is a matter of course. For Pevara, it is; her nature is to continually forge ahead with what must be done, no matter the cost—even when frustration makes her want to “bite holes through bricks” (KoD, Prologue).

 

It is particularly indicative of Pevara’s character, however, that she pledges to assist Seaine even before learning why her erstwhile friend has come to her. Pevara insists from the start that “Short of a promise to stand in the Hall without knowing what for, whatever help I can give is yours” (ACoS, Ch. 32). Flouting not only the recent fragmentation of inter-Ajah relationships within the White Tower, but also her own Ajah’s longstanding precedent for discouraging relationships outside the Red, Pevara’s determination to resume her friendship with Seaine is worthy of note.

 

Pevara and Seaine’s relationship has several important juxtapositions within the series. The most obvious, perhaps, lies in the similarity their friendship as novices and Accepted holds to that of Siuan and Moiraine, rife as it was with pranks and exchanged confidences. But their relationship is also an interesting inverse, almost chiasmic in nature, of another famous Red/White pairing in the books: Elaida and Alviarin. Bitter at having been forced to name a White Keeper, and intent on charging Alviarin with treason, Elaida tasks another White with gathering evidence in absolute secrecy. Seaine, having misunderstood Elaida’s command as a mandate to hunt the Black Ajah, in turn approaches another Red for aid—not with fear or suspicion, but in remembered affection and trust.​

 

“Androl and Pevara,” by AdamMasterman on DeviantArt.​

By the final book of the series, Pevara finds herself fighting the Shadow in a different Tower, with a very different cohort. While trust might not be so easy here, it does come. It is a trust born not only of necessity, but also of growing empathy, fondness, and familiarity. Like virtually every other Aes Sedai charged with bonding Asha’man as Warders, Pevara’s initial goal in entering the Black Tower is to contain and control its inhabitants. What is significant about Pevara’s relationship with her Asha’man allies is the way in which it transforms over time: Pevara comes to see them not as tools to be used or as dangerous weapons to be blunted, but as partners to work alongside. With Androl in particular, this is perhaps aided by the nature of the double bond, which ensures that their relationship is not attended by the type of hierarchy that bonds often entail.

 

Ultimately, Pevara’s relationship with Androl is not only of critical use in the short term of the Last Battle; it also presents one of the most viable ways forward for the Red Ajah in the future. Her pointed comment after defeating two of Taim’s Asha’man—“What do you think the Red Ajah does with its time, Androl? Sit around and complain about men? We train to fight other channelers” (AMoL, Ch. 3)—is momentous because it is one of the only characterizations of the Red Ajah we see that is not centered on gentling men who can channel. It also poses the possibility that the Red Ajah might continue to protect the world against rogue channelers—male and female—in the coming Age. The tactical advantages offered by a collaboration between male and female channelers are immeasurable. Although it is perhaps in some ways untraditional and unconventional in terms of the Red Ajah’s former mandate, as Pevara herself says to Tarna: “I’ve been called worse than unconventional” (CoT, Ch. 22).

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On This Day in Randland: Feast of Lights and First Day

 

 

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.

 

 

Marking the final day of one year and the inaugural day of the next, the Feast of Lights is a two-day celebration that signals festivity, charity, and renewal. The first day of the Feast of Lights takes place on the 28th of Danu, which is simultaneously the shortest and the last day of the year in Randland; it roughly corresponds to the 22nd of December, near to our own Winter Solstice. The second day, also called First Day by some as it marks the 1st Taisham and the beginning of a new year, is “considered a time for charitable giving” (Companion).

 

Although The Wheel of Time Companion and The World of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’ list a number of holidays, feast days, and festivals that we never get a chance to experience during the series, the Feast of Lights is one that we do get a glimpse of—not just once, but twice, in two different cities. In New Spring, Moiraine describes how “every window in Tar Valon shone brightly from twilight till dawn” with candles and lamps, even unused rooms in the White Tower, while “processions of citizens carr[ied] lamps through the night-cloaked streets” and attended “merry gatherings that frequently lasted until sunrise in even the poorest homes” (NS, Ch. 14). We see the Feast of Lights again in Lord of Chaos, where Perrin is surprised that the Cairhienin “celebrated in ways [he] could never have imagined” with dancing and music and abandon, all in complete counterpoint to their usual reservation (LoC, Ch. 53).

 

Three major events are noted to have occurred within Randland on or around the Feast of Lights—and all of them, significantly, have to do with False Dragons or with the Dragon Reborn himself. Late in the year 336 AB, some three hundred years after the end of the Breaking, the False Dragon Raolin Darksbane was killed shortly before the Feast of Lights; his death was supposedly in time to make that year’s festival “‘the most joyous for the world in many years” (Companion). Over a thousand years later, in the year FY 351, the False Dragon Davian is said to have “declared himself on the second day of the Feast of Lights, the first day of the year FY 351, and was allegedly killed on the first day of the Feast of Lights, the last day of FY 351” (Companion). Both deaths speak to ideas of renewal: a world free from the conquests of Raolin Darksbane at a time of year when light and the length of day would shortly begin to increase, and a year-long reign of war and terror by Davian that began on the shortest day of the year and ended, as with Darksbane, on a day that signals new life and hope.

 

Finally, in the closing days of 999 NE, approximately eighteen hundred years after the fall of Davian, Rand is captured by Elaida’s embassy in Cairhien; it is during the Feast of Lights that Perrin sets out in search of him. One week later, on the 8th of Taisham, Rand is freed and the Aes Sedai swear fealty to him. Although this event does not gesture towards renewal in the same way as the events surrounding Raolin Darksbane and Davian, it certainly marks a new beginning to the relationship between the White Tower and the Dragon Reborn—one that changes the world in many ways.

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Wheel of Time Casting: Alanna Mosvani, Ihvon, Maksim

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.

 

In the few days since Rafe Judkins’s December 18, 2019 announcement that #WoTWednesday has been disbanded so that information can be released at a more accelerated pace, we’ve not only received a behind-the-scenes photo of Josha Stradowski, Madeleine Madden, and several members of the make-up crew—we’ve also received three more castings.

 
On December 23, 2019, Deadline announced that Priyanka Bose will play Alanna Mosvani while Taylor Napier and Emmanuel Imani will play her Warders, Maksim and Ihvon. The information has since been confirmed by Amazon and Rafe. According to Deadline, all three “are set to recur” in the series.

 

 

 

 

Since Alanna doesn’t appear until The Great Hunt, and then only briefly as part of Siuan’s delegation to and from Fal Dara, this triple casting raises numerous questions. Here are a few preliminary thoughts on the casting.

 

  • While we meet both Alanna and Ihvon in The Wheel of Time book series, we never do properly meet her second Warder, who is killed by Whitecloaks before Perrin, Faile, and company reach the Two Rivers. Additionally, Maksim has either been renamed or is a new character entirely, as Alanna’s second Warder is named Owein in the books.

 

  • Will Alanna, Ihvon, and Maksim appear only briefly in the first season and recur later in the series—or will their roles be significantly expanded? Given Alanna’s forced bonding of Rand in Lord of Chaos, is her role potentially being increased in the early series to pave the way for this plot point—an event akin to rape that plays a huge part in making Rand distrust Aes Sedai even more than he did from the start?

 

  • Given how Deadline describes the relationship between Alanna, Ihvon, and Maksim—that “The three of them have a complicated relationship built on love, sex and respect that welds them into a fearsome force in battle”—will their relationship be portrayed as polyamorous? Rafe has already stated, in regards to Rand’s relationship with Elayne, Aviendha, and Min, that he is much more interested in polyamory than polygamy.”

 

What are your thoughts on this new casting information?

 

 


 

Official #WoTWednesdays might be over, but we’ll still be featuring content on the upcoming television show most Wednesdays.

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TarValon.Net Library Resources: Citizens

 

 

This December, our social media accounts have been featuring TarValon.Net’s Citizens. If you’d like to know more about what it means to be a Citizen of TarValon.Net and how to become one, check out some of the resources below! And of course, if you want to know more about various cities and citizens in The Wheel of Time, our Library has you covered.

 

 

Citizens at TarValon.Net

 

TarValon.Net’s Membership Manual contains tons of valuable information and is a great first stop if you’re looking for information on how to become a Citizen.

 

Check out the Citizen Merits page and the Citizen Contributors and Attendees page to see some of the ways in which various Citizens have been involved at TarValon.Net. If you’re looking to become involved on the site, then this edition of Citizens’ Corner, written by former Mayor Zandera Sommers, will give you some ideas!

 

 

Cities and Citizens in The Wheel of Time

 

If you’re looking for information on various cities in The Wheel of Time, TarValon.Net’s Library has articles on every city, town, and village in the series—from the city states of Far Madding, Mayene, and Tar Valon, to capital cities such as Caemlyn and Chachin, to tiny villages like So Tehar and Abila. Check out this comprehensive list of Cities, Towns, and Villages for more.

 

TarValon.Net’s Library also contains a series of handy character lists that divide characters by nationality—so if you’re looking to learn more about citizens of a particular Randland nation, you can find links to each list here.

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