Minor Key: Annoura Larisen

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

 

 

“It should not concern you, Berelain,” she said, rising. “All are taught it, you see. Do not channel if you are too tired. There can be complications. I needed a gateway back to the palace, though. To bring him to safety, to restore…”

 

Annoura collapsed from her stool. Berelain dropped to her side, propping up her head. Only then did she realize that it wasn’t the braids that had made Annoura look so different. The face was wrong, too. Changed. No longer ageless, but instead youthful.

 

—Annoura and Berelain, A Memory of Light, Chapter 37

 

From her first appearance in A Crown of Swords, revealing herself unexpectedly as advisor to Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron of Mayene, Annoura is something of an exception amongst the Aes Sedai in Rand’s orbit. One of the few sisters not to choose sides during the White Tower split, she is also exempted by Rand from swearing fealty to him due to her connection to Berelain. Given that Annoura’s loyalty appears to be strongly tied to the First of Mayene, it thus comes as a surprise to learn in Winter’s Heart that she has been meeting Masema behind Berelain’s back, a decision that causes a rift to open between the two women. Set amidst the backdrop of Tarmon Gai’don, surrounded by climactic moments that have enormous consequences for all of Randland, Annoura’s actions within A Memory of Light tell a heartbreaking tale of one woman’s quest to repay a broken trust.

 

Having left her native Tarabon for the White Tower around the age of sixteen, Annoura Larisen was raised to the shawl approximately 125 years prior to the main events of the series. An Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, she served as Berelain’s Aes Sedai advisor in secret to avoid provoking the nearby nation of Tear. Recognizable by her Taraboner accent and braids and her sometimes “almost diffident” manner (CoT, Ch. 8), Annoura is a character who prompted numerous theories when Perrin first caught her and Masuri sneaking into Masema’s camp.

 

Knowing how much Galad has come to mean to Berelain, Annoura attempts to make amends for her actions by recovering him from the battlefield of Tarmon Gai’don after Demandred nearly kills him. Doing so, however, requires her to draw more of the One Power than she can safely handle. She knows the risks and proceeds anyway, resulting in her own lost ability to channel. It is well established that an Aes Sedai will sacrifice anything for the good of the White Tower: we hear, for instance, of Mashera Donavelle, who “bore seven children for a man she loathed,” of Isebaille Tobanyi, who “delivered the brothers she loved to their enemies and the throne of Arad Doman with them,” and of Jestian Redhill, who did something so terrible that Faile cannot even bring herself to speak of it (ACoS, Ch. 6). Annoura’s sacrifice—to willingly risk a fate that Berelain recognizes is “considered to be worse than death”—is instead an intensely personal gesture made only to benefit an estranged “confidante” and “friend” (AMoL, Ch. 37). It is a reminder that even while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, with major plot arcs converging and coming to a close, there are smaller but no less meaningful stories at every turn in The Wheel of Time.

 


 

Minor Key is a series that covers characters who, while not amongst the main cast, make an impression on the story and the readers. Is there a character you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

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TarValon.Net Library Resources: The Gray Ajah

 

Now that it’s February, TarValon.Net’s social media accounts are about to start featuring the Gray Ajah. If you’re looking for information on the Gray Ajah at TarValon.Net or in the series (or if you want to get a head start on studying for Trivia Thursday), check out some of these pages in our Library!

 

 

The Gray Ajah at TarValon.Net

 

The Gray Ajah Headquarters is a great place to start if you want to know what the Gray Ajah is all about at TarValon.Net. Among other things, you’ll find lists of all Gray Aes Sedai, Aspirants, and Gaidin.

 

Have you ever wondered what’s up with the Gray Ajah and pies? This history of Pieings should answer your questions. If you’re interested in learning about some of the Gray Ajah’s other traditions, be sure to check out this page on Guesting & Traditions.

 

And if you’re looking

For something to read today,

Here’s some Grayt haikus!

 

 

The Gray Ajah in The Wheel of Time

 

TarValon.Net’s Library has a comprehensive character list of every Gray Aes Sedai ever mentioned throughout the series, complete with links to longer articles one each. From more major characters like Annoura Larisen to very minor characters like Nisaine a’Cowel, our character summaries are a great refresher. If you’re interested in the Ajah as a whole, our article on the Gray Ajah is the place to look.

 

The Gray Ajah in the series is primarily concerned with mediation and establishing treaties, which means Gray sisters are exceptionally well-versed in the laws of all countries. If you’re interested in a particle nation’s laws, check out our article on that nation. You can find a list here. And if you’re interested in White Tower Law, we have an article for that as well.

 

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Jennifer Cheon Garcia to Play Leane Sharif

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.

 

On Monday, January 28, fans received confirmation from Jennifer Cheon Garcia that she will be playing the role of Leane Sharif in Amazon Prime’s upcoming adaptation of The Wheel of Time.

 

 

Leane is a fascinating character with a great arc, and I’m interested to see what Jennifer and the showrunners will be doing with her. In many ways, Leane is a study in opposites. She is, of course, very much an insider in terms of White Tower politics—as Keeper of the Chronicles to the Amyrlin Siuan Sanche, Leane serves not only as Siuan’s secretary but also as her advisor and voice. In other ways, however, Leane is on the periphery. Like Siuan, she is unaware of the rebellion fomenting within the Tower, which ultimately culminates in her removal and stilling, and she is also kept unaware of Siuan and Moiraine’s plots surrounding the Dragon Reborn.

 

Leane’s character is one that is necessarily tied to Siuan’s, particularly in the early books. In New Spring, we learn that the two were close friends as Accepted and that while that friendship paused temporarily when Leane was raised to Aes Sedai, they resumed their relationship upon Siuan’s raising. As Keeper, Leane is essentially Siuan’s right hand, and she shares Siuan’s fate when Elaida becomes the Amyrlin Seat. In some ways, this relationship continues following the events in which both Siuan and Leane are stilled, for Leane decides to aid Siuan in her quest to gain revenge on Elaida.

 

Nonetheless, it is here where Leane begins to truly carve out a spot for herself that is separate from Siuan. While the two still work together to guide the Salidar Hall of the Tower and to bring down Elaida, Leane tells Siuan point blank that while revenge on Elaida might be enough to keep Siuan going, she herself needs something more: “I only know I need something in my life to replace—what is gone. You yourself told me that is the only hope of surviving. Revenge falls short, for me. I know your cause is necessary, and perhaps even right, but the Light help me, that is not enough either; I can’t make myself be as involved as you. Maybe I came too late to it. I will stay with you, but it isn’t enough” (TFoH, Ch. 1). In the end, when Nynaeve Heals Leane and Siuan, returning their ability to channel even if at a reduced capacity, Leane diverges from Siuan even more; she decides that the causes that drive the Blue Ajah, and that still have such a hold on Siuan, are no longer what will define her. Instead, she finds her new home amongst the Green Ajah.

 

Leane’s journey is a compelling one; hers is a story of loss, of restoration, and of self-definition and knowledge. What are you most looking forward to seeing from her character in the television show?

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Minor Key: Silviana Brehon

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

 

 

“Child, the Red Ajah is crumbling! Its members are turning against one another, wolves attacking their own pack. If Elaida is allowed to go through with killing one of her own Ajah, whatever support she had from within the ranks will evaporate. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised, when the dust settles, to see that the Ajah has undermined itself to the point that you could simply disband it and be done with them.”
—Saerin to Egwene about Silviana, The Gathering Storm, Chapter 38​

 

 

At two critical points in The Gathering Storm, Silviana’s fate is used to figure a potential turning point for the Red Ajah. Portrayed by one Amyrlin as a traitor and another as a near martyr, Silviana’s fate gestures alternately towards crisis or union, dissolution or renewal.

 

As Mistress of Novices during Elaida’s tenure as Amyrlin Seat, Silviana is known to be fair but exceedingly strict. She takes pride in her own effectiveness at governing her charges, telling Egwene that “I record a third of the punishments in a month that Sheriam did, because I make sure that everyone I punish leaves here wishing above all things never to be sent to me again” (KoD, Prologue). She appears to hold the respect of the Tower at large for her careful attention to duty; even Egwene, who frequently suffers under her discipline while in captivity, concedes that Silviana is “an exemplary Mistress of Novices” (TGS, Ch. 38).

 

As with the rest of the Red Ajah, Silviana initially supports Elaida’s reign, abiding by her commands and sometimes even supporting them. She fully agrees with Elaida’s decision to demote Egwene to the rank of novice, believing that Egwene was raised to Accepted too quickly in the first place, and is resolved to make Egwene see the error in her persistent claims to the Amyrlin Seat. Egwene counts it amongst her most definitive victories when Silviana begins to express resignation over her continued defiance.

 

When Silviana eventually sides with Egwene and publicly declares that Elaida should be stripped of the stole, it provokes an outburst that threatens to devastate an entire Ajah. Elaida insists that Silviana be stilled and executed, subsequently casting the Hall of the Tower into unmitigated chaos. Elaida’s reaction here is one of the most extreme we have seen from her to this point—exacerbated, no doubt, by the fact that this is the first open act of rebellion from a member of her former Ajah. Should the Hall concede to Elaida’s demands, as Saerin tells Egwene, the most likely result would be the fragmentation of the entire Red Ajah—a breaking point for a sisterhood that is already facing a crucial transformation following the founding of the Black Tower and the cleansing of saidin. Other Red sisters show distinct unease at the situation, and Egwene recognizes that the Red Ajah is “collapsing” (TGS, Ch. 38).

 

If Elaida’s attempt to have Silviana stilled and executed for treason ultimately reveals the extent to which the Red Ajah has “undermined itself” since the split in the White Tower, then Egwene’s decision to appoint Silviana to the position of Keeper of the Chronicles is, at least in part, an attempt to bolster the Red. Although Saerin considers it a practical move to allow the Ajah to be disbanded, Egwene insists that “The White Tower needs all of the Ajahs, even the Red, to face what is coming” (TGS, Ch. 38). Egwene’s vehement praise of Silviana in front of the Hall is not just an exoneration of the former Mistress of Novices. It is also an overt act of reinforcement for an Ajah that is in something near to disgrace—particularly coming, as it does, so closely on the heels of the disaster nearly instigated by Elaida. Egwene is intent on using Silviana not only to tie the Red Ajah to herself as Amyrlin, but also to help “guide” the Red Ajah towards an “expanding of vision, a renewal of duty” (TGS, Ch. 46).

 

In the end, it is unknown whether or not Silviana survives the Last Battle—and therefore whether or not she has a direct hand in shaping that “expansion of vision” and “renewal of duty” for the Red Ajah in the Fourth Age. The last we see of her, Silviana is attempting to convince Egwene not to return to the field of battle after Gawyn’s death.

 

For a brief time, however, Silviana’s fate is in many ways tied to the fate of her Ajah itself.

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#WoTWednesday: Recent News, January 22, 2020

Yesterday (January 21, 2020) unexpectedly turned out to be a huge day for news on Amazon Prime’s upcoming adaptation of The Wheel of Time. Although neither the official @WoTonPrime account nor @RafeJudkins officially shared or re-tweeted the news, a number of cast members posted photos of episode scripts on Twitter and Instagram–and while some of those cast members were already known to us, there were some exciting new reveals as well. And not only did we learn the names of several new cast members; those script photos have also revealed some details about the titles, writers, and directors for two episodes. Here’s a roundup of everything we learned yesterday!

 

First of all, the episode titles and directors: it appears that Episode 5 will be titled “Blood Calls Blood,” was written by Celine Song, and will be directed by Salli Richardson Whitfield.  Meanwhile, Episode 6 will be titled “The Flame of Tar Valon.” This means that pretty early on, we’ll be getting into material for The Great Hunt: even if “The Flame of Tar Valon” doesn’t refer to Siuan and instead refers to material from New Spring, “Blood Calls Blood’ is a line from the Dark Prophecy written on the dungeon wall in Fal Dara early in the second book.

 

And now, onto the castings.

 

 

Kate Fleetwood will be playing the role of Liandrin, the Black Aes Sedai posing as a Red sister who leads Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, and Min to the Seanchan in The Great Hunt.  We know that Liandrin will appear no later than episode 5, “Blood Calls Blood,” based on the script she’s holding.

 

 

 

Maria Doyle Kennedy, known for her work on Orphan Black and Outlander, among other credits, will be playing an Aes Sedai. While it has not been revealed which Aes Sedai she will play, many fans are guessing that she will play either Siuan or Elaida.

 

 

 

Jennifer Cheon Garcia will also be playing an Aes Sedai–and although you can’t see it in this screenshot, she posted the news with a blue square icon, indicating that she will likely play a Blue. Siuan and Leane in particular have been suggested by fans as possibilities.

 

 

 

Daryl McCormack will be playing an unknown character and will appear by episode 5, “Blood Calls Blood.” Galad and Gawyn have been suggested as possibilities, but characters like Ingtar should be in the running as well based on the episode.

 

And as nice as it is to receive so much new casting news, it’s also nice to see more from some of those whose castings were announced previously. Madeleine Madden (Egwene al’Vere), Hammed Animashaun (Loial), and Priyanka Bose (Alanna Mosani) all released photos yesterday as well.

 

 

Madeleine Madden is holding the script for episode 6 (although she says it is episode 5 in her tweet, she later corrected herself).

 

 

 

Hammed Animashaun can be seen holding a script that I believe to be for episode 5, “Blood Calls Blood.”

 

 

 

And Priyanka Bose is holding the script for episode 5, “Blood Calls Blood.” She also posted a second photo that is the clearest look we get at the script for the episode.

 

And today, running a little behind, Taylor Napier (who will play one of Alanna’s Warders, Maksim) and Daniel Henney (Lan Mandragoran) joined in as well.

 

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on all of these new revelations? Which casting are you most excited about?

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