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Ageless

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SnakeWheel

An Examination of the Look of Agelessness

By Burr


This is a large group of quotes that may or may not shed light on the Ageless look of Aes Sedai.

First, I take a look at the 'ageless' description from the six books.

Then I show it's possible beginning just after the Breaking.

Then I compare it to the look of other channelers (including Black Ajah and even Verin).

And finally I compare it to those who have been stilled with one example of a newly-healed Aes Sedai.

This all started as a proof that it is the Oath Rod which causes the ageless look, but I leave that conclusion to the reader. The first section is a bit repetitious, so you can skip a bit to get to the meat of the post if you think you already know what it is to be 'ageless.' Enjoy.


I. AGELESS AES SEDAI LOOK:

TEotW, paperback p 26, "Strangers"

Rand describing Moiraine:
"When he had heard she called Nynaeve child, he had pictured her as old, but she was not. At least, he could not put any age to her at all. At first he thought she was as young as Nynaeve, but the longer he looked the more he thought she was older than that. There was a maturity about her large, dark eyes, a hint of knowing that no one could have gotten so young."

TGH, paperback p 19, "The Welcome"

Rand describing the Aes Sedai arriving at Fal Dara:
"Fourteen Aes Sedai. Tall and short, slender and plump, dark and fair, hair cut short or long, hanging loose down their backs or braided, their clothes were as different as the warders' were, in as many cuts and colors as there were women. Yet they, too, had a sameness, one that was only obvious when they stood together like this. To a woman they seemed ageless. From this distance he would have called them all young, but closer he knew they would be like Moiraine. Young-seeming yet not, smooth-skinned but with faces too mature for youth, eyes too knowing."

TDR, paperback p 55, "News from the Plain"

Perrin describing Moiraine:
"She was a slender, dark-haired woman no taller than his shoulder, and pretty, with the ageless quality of all Aes Sedai who had worked with the One Power for a time. He could not put any age at all to her, with her face too smooth for many years and her dark eyes too wise for youth."

TSR, hardcover p 16, "Seeds of Shadow"

Min describing three Aes Sedai in the White Tower:
"Away from the White Tower, away from Tar Valon, they might simply have thought the Aes Sedai three women whose ages they could not guess, three women in the flush of their prime, yet with more maturity than their smooth cheeks suggested. In the Tower, though, there was no question. A woman who had worked very long with the One Power was not touched by time in the same way as other women."

TFoH, hardcover p 64, "Rhuidean"

Rand describing Moiraine and Egwene:
"A small, pretty woman, with or without those Aes Sedai features he could never put an age to.... She usually seemed to own a foot more height than she actually had, and her eyes were all confidence and command. The other woman was taller, though still short of his shoulder, and young, not ageless. Egwene, whom he had grown up with."

LoC, hardcover pp 25-26, "Prologue: The First Message"

Elayne describing Janya and Anaiya:
"Unlike most Brown sisters, often absentminded beyond their books and studies, Janya Sedai was quite neat, every short dark hair tidy around the ageless face that marked Aed Sedai who had worked long with the Power.... "You are making great strides, Elayne," Anaiya said calmly. The bluff-faced woman was always calm. "Motherly" was the word to describe her, and comforting usually, though Aes Sedai features made putting an age to her impossible."

II. AES SEDAI AROUND THE BREAKING

TSR, hardcover p 300, "The Dedicated"

At the breaking, Jorin, a 63 year old Aiel (Dai'shain?) who considers himself young (without gray hair) describes Solinda, his Aes Sedai:
"His greatfather had served her as a young man, but she looked younger than he; she was Aes Sedai."
I put Solinda's age at at least 113 at this point. She was at least 25 when Jorin's greatfather served her, and then if he's a young great- father, that would put another 25 years on her before Jorin is born. 25 + 35 + 63 = 113. (N.B. There is no mention of ageless.)

TSR, hardcover pp 284-285, "The Road to the Spear"

4 greatfathers and 2 fathers later, we get the description of the Aes Sedai at Rhuidean:
"... It was hard not to stare at the Aes Sedai as the bearers lowered their ornately carved chairs to the ground. Women with hair so white it almost seemed transparent. Ageless faces with skin that looked as if the wind might tear it. He had heard the years did not touch Aes Sedai."
I put this at 250 years after Jorin's "young" description... 10 generations... is this enough time for the Oath Rod to be used??


III. THE APPEARANCE OF OTHER CHANNELERS

WISE ONES

TSR, hardcover p 262, "Beyond the Stone"

A description of Melaine from Egwene's point of view, before she knows that Melaine can channel.
"The last of the four, a handsome woman with golden-red hair, no more than ten or fifteen years older than Egwene, hesitated."

TSR, hardcover p 259, "Beyond the Stone"

Egwene looking at Amys:
"Again she was struck by the contrast between Amys's sun- darkened features and her snowy hair; the Wise One just did not look old enough."

TSR, hardcover p 262, "Beyond the Stone"

Egwene recognizing the channelers in the group of Wise Ones:
"They could channel, at least, two of them could. Suddenly Amys's youthfully smooth features beneath that white hair leaped out at her for what they were, something very close to Aes Sedai agelessness."

TFoH, hardcover p 99, "Among the Wise Ones"

Egwene takes another look at Amys and Melaine at the beginning of TFoH:
"Bair was talking to Melaine, whose green-eyed beauty and red gold hair made a sharp contrast to the older woman's leathery face and long white tresses. Amys was white-haired, too... but she did not look old. She and Melaine could both channel -- not many Wise Ones could -- and she had something of the look of the Aes Sedai agelessness about her."

DAMANE AND SUL'DAM

TGH, paperback p 425, "Seanchan"

Bayle Domon's first description of the sul'dam and damane:
"To his surprise, Egeanin had herself rowed to the dock with her damane. There was another woman wearing the bracelet this time, with the red panels and forked lightning on her dress, but the damane was the same sad-faced woman who never looked up unless the other spoke to her."

TGH, paperback p 565, "Damane"

Egwene sees Renna, her new sul'dam:
"With long, dark hair and big brown eyes, she was pretty, and perhaps as much as ten years older than Nynaeve."

TGH, paperback p 572, "Damane"

"One of the other sul'dam snorted loudly; she was linked to a pretty dark-haired woman in her middle years who kept her eyes on her hands."

WINDFINDERS

TSR, hardcover p 217, "The Wavedancer"

Elayne aboard the Wavedancer:
"The older woman, with gray touches in her black hair and fine wrinkles at the corners of her large brown eyes, inclined her head just as formally...."I am Coine din Jubai Wild Winds, Sailmistress of Wavedancer. This is Jurin din Jubai White Wing, my sister of the blood and Windfinder of Wavedancer.... It was a surprise that the two were sisters. Elayne could see the resemblance, but Jurin looked much younger."

TSR, hardcover p 234 "Winds Rising"

Jurin tells Elayne:
"I have daughters older than you, I think."

VERIN SEDAI

TSR, hardcover p 346, "Assurances"

Perrin sees Verin in the Two Rivers:
"He recognized the Aes Sedai. Verin Mathin, plump and square- faced, gray streaking her brown hair despite her smooth-cheeked Aes Sedai agelessness, was Brown Ajah..."

TGH, paperback p 409, "A New Thread in the Pattern"

Urien (Aiel in mountain pass) says to Verin:
"But you have the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived. The years do not touch the Wise Ones in the same way as other women, or as they touch men."
This is the only quote I found where Wise Ones are compared to Aes Sedai without a "something close to" etc. clause. It is also the only one by a non-channeler.

BLACK AJAH

TSR, hardcover p 84, "Questioners"

Elayne looks at Joiya after she has been captured and shielded:
"She was a handsome woman with something motherly about her face despite its ageless smoothness, something comforting."

The only other description I could find was from Rand at the beginning of TGH of Liandrin when she walked in on him in the dungeons of Fal Dara... It described her as about fifteen years older than himself... I didn't like it because it was just a glance as he was erasing Fain's message about Toman Head, so I didn't include it.

STILLED AES SEDAI (black ajah and otherwise)

TSR, hardcover p 84, "Questioners"

Elayne looks at Amico after Aviendha points out she looks different:
"Amico looked young, perhaps younger than her years, but it was not quite the agelessness of Aes Sedai who had worked years with the One Power. "You have sharp eyes, Aviendha, but I don't know if this has anything to do with stilling. It must, though, I suppose. I don't know what else could cause it.""

TSR, hardcover p 535, "The Truth of a Viewing"

Min looking upon Suian and Leane in their rescue from the Tower:
"The faces looked right -- almost right -- and untouched by whatever had been done to them [torture], so she should be certain. But the agelessness that marked Aes Sedai seemed to have melted away; she would have had no hesitation at all in thinking these women were just six or seven years older than herself at most, and not Aes Sedai at all."

TFoH, hardcover p 32, "Fanning the Sparks"

Min looking upon Siuan before the trial for barn-burning:
"Siuan rolled onto her side and propped herself on an elbow. She was a sturdy woman, short of beautiful though beyond handsome, and looked no more than a few years older than Min, but those sharp blue eyes had a commaning presence that did not belong on a young woman awaiting trial in a backcountry shed."

LoC, hardcover p 556, "The Color of Trust"

After Suian has been healed by Nynaeve, Mat sees her:
"He gave her a shallow bow and walked quickly to where a pretty blue-eyed young woman was tapping her foot to the music. She had a sweet mouth, just right for kissing, and he bloody well wanted to enjoy himself."

And there you have it. The "Ageless Anthology" to date. This is likely to be a work in progress, so if you can find more good quotes, just stick them on the end, insert them where appropriate, or let them fester in the Pit of Doom. I don't think this is likely to change anybody's mind from what they already believe, but perhaps we can now all discuss this subject with the same material. I still would like to believe that the Oath Rod is the cause of the ageless look. I believe that it is different from simply the 'youthful' look of other channelers. Does the a'dam screw it all up for the Seanchan One Power wielders? Does the Black Ajah have a way around the Oaths without breaking the link to the Oath Rod? Do Cho^H^H^HForsaken fit into this equation at all (I left them out of this so far). You decide for yourself... I've just tried to provide the groundwork for consistent theories.

Peace,

Burr Gaidin.


Last Modified 5/10/95