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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Becoming an Accepted/Soldier at TarValon.Net

 

 

As I am contemplating submitting my application to pursue becoming an Accepted here on TarValon.Net, I thought it would be a good idea to ask those who have already obtained that level. As I gained some insight into the perks and expectations of the role, I thought I would share my findings.

 

 

 

Q: What do you like most about being Accepted/Soldier? Any perks?

 

Guesting with the Ajahs and the Companies has been a lot of fun!

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I liked the guesting process the most, and getting familiar with more of the Senior Members. Also, regaining access to the City forums and gaining access to new forums. It really opens up a whole new world of interaction.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

I like access to more places on the forum to be annoying. It is also a perk.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Honestly, the biggest perk about being an Accepted/Soldier is the ability to visit the different Ajahs and Companies. A real chance to explore the Tower.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

The best part is being able to visit each Senior Member group in their space and meet some members that don’t get out into the wild very often. It’s fun getting to better know the vibe of a group. I never understood that until I was guesting.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

You get the opportunity to meet and interact with every group if you want. While you do get to see people all around, there’s a lot of people that post mostly in Ajah/Company specific parts of the boards who you wouldn’t get to know as well otherwise without the guesting process. Plus finding where you fit in is a fun experience.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I like the feeling of more responsibility. Guesting is definitely a perk.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: Is being Accepted/Soldier what you expected it would be when you were a Novice/Recruit? Why or why not?

 

I think it has been. In many ways it is similar [to being a Novice/Recruit], but more is expected of you.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I have read the Membership Manual pretty well and knew what to expect. Although, one thing I didn’t anticipate was how exciting it would be to finally find your home and aspire. How happy I was totally caught me off guard.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

It’s a bit more freedom. As a Novice/Recruit, I lost access to the Olde Warder and Hen and that’s where I posted a lot. I missed that place while I was in the Tower for the requisite amount of time.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, so I can’t really say one way or another.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

It kind of is what I expected. From reading other people’s posts and going through the process with some other people at the same time, it helped clarify the process a lot. Being a Novice/Recruit was different than what I had anticipated, but being Accepted/Soldier was kind of what I expected. It’s fun getting to know everyone in a different way. Particularly since I tend to be Lurky McLurker.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

It’s mostly what I expected.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I feel it is a bit different than I thought–I found guesting a little intimidating, but it was also nice to visit everyone and see what all the Ajahs and Companies are like.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: What advice would you give to a Novice/Recruit who wants to become an Accepted/Soldier? Any warnings, or ways to prepare?

 

You’ll know when you are ready to move on. I’d also recommend taking the practice test in the Junior Member Support thread. I’m only halfway through my guesting process, but I’d recommend going as many places as possible. Not only do you get to know new people, but you might be surprised at where you feel like you may fit in.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I would say to take your time with it when you become an Accepted/Soldier. When you’re guesting, visit in the Ajah/Company for a while to get the gist of what they are really like. If the activity level seems low in the Ajah/Company that you are guesting with, they might just be going through an unusually slow period. Replying to a thread or posting a new thread might be helpful in getting interaction going.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

Have fun with it, get to know Senior Members better. Participate in events and threads as much as you can.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Don’t feel pressured to pick a place to aspire right away. Take your time. After all, it’s going to be your home. Even if it takes you several years.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

Nope! Just take it as it comes. Book canon doesn’t exactly hold true with site membership groups. That’s part of the fun.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

Talk to as many people and get as involved as you want for the best experience.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

Take your time as Novice/Recruit and as Accepted/Soldier to get to know people and enjoy being a Junior Member. Do research in the Library about Ajahs and Companies before guesting there.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: What is the role of an Accepted/Soldier within The Tower? What are your tasks or responsibilities?

 

At this point, I’m getting to know more people in the Tower, but there is more involved. I’m beginning to think of ideas for a community contribution, which will be a part of getting to Senior Membership.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

One of the roles of an Accepted/Soldier is to be a role model for the Novice/Recruits. You can really do this through contributions. Contributions are not only a good way to inspire more Junior Members, but it helps keep the site running. TarValon.Net is such an important site to all of us, and contributing to its success is an important goal.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

To contribute and guest with Companies and Ajahs. Do something to give back to the boards. Sign up to give classes, apply to moderate forums, help edit in the Library, things like that.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Well, we’re expected to get a real feel for the Tower, as well as to start really contributing to the site as a whole.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

I guess it’s to keep interacting with the site, and show that you’re interested. Whether that’s through helping out with a course, writing an article, joining a committee or what have you, it’s being present. Which as a reformed lurker, is quite nice.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

I think the role of Accepted and Soldiers is to find where you fit in and really start to contribute in meaningful ways to the boards and community as a whole.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

An Accepted/Soldier is supposed to be a little more serious than Novices/Recruits, but we still can have a lot of fun. They are expected to take on a little more responsibility–and there are all kinds of ways to do this. I am currently a forum moderator, which was eye-opening.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: Any final words?

 

Honestly–have fun!

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

Patience. Enjoy the journey to gaining the rank of Aes Sedai/Gaidin.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

Don’t be like me and take on too many responsibilities, burning yourself out. Take your time and enjoy yourself.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

You’re no longer a cute little Novice/Recruit, nor do you have the power and authority of an Aes Sedai/Warder. This is the awkward teenage period in the Tower. Prepare yourself.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

I think it’s worth it to move into Novice/Recruit then Accepted/Soldier. It’s fun getting to know people in a different way.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

Have fun. If you feel overwhelmed, just remember we all have at least one thing in common, which is a love for The Wheel of Time, so don’t be afraid to jump into conversations and join in.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I love being Accepted! I loved my time as Novice, too. I think it is great that TarValon.net has a system set up where we can experience these things. I don’t feel impatient to become Aes Sedai because I am enjoying my time in all stages.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 


 

It was wonderful to find such a varied group willing to answer my questions–men and women pursuing the ultimate path of Aes Sedai and Gaidin. Read the Membership Manual to know the expectations, and then enjoy the process. I am definitely looking forward to the chance to guest with the Ajahs and Companies so that I can meet folks and learn about each group. It is during this period of exploration that we will determine where we will eventually call home. As Accepted or Soldier we will be encouraged to become more “mature” and make more contributions to the site and the community. As we are striving to be “servants of all” as Aes Sedai or Gaidin, it is a good time to learn ways to go about this.

 

I want to offer a special thank you to those willing to be interviewed: (Accepted) Ignis al’Caleum, Owena al’Saturni, and Juliya Karisu and (Soldiers) Thaddius al’Guy, Lok Sionn, Dreia Raieese, and Madhar al’Thera. Their insight has made me more confident in my decision to submit my application for Accepted/Soldier. If you choose this path as well, I hope their words have helped you prepare for that portion of your journey.

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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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