Essay for Raising to Aes Sedai: Jennithel
Author: Jennithel al'Stregas
Essay submitted for raising to Aes Sedai.
If the Wheel of Time took place in our modern day world, then media headlines would certainly cast Egwene al'Vere as "Hometown Girl Makes Good". Though she has not yet been raised to the shawl, Egwene has managed to become the Amyrlin Seat for those Aes Sedai making their stand against Elaida in Salidar. Egwene is the WoT character I most admire because I too am a simple small town girl who aspires to bigger things. Egwene uses determination, quiet strength, and a inner quest for knowledge to propel her to the heights she has reached.
Egwene stands by her friends determinedly as they leave the Two Rivers with Moiraine. She knows that the trip may be perilous alongside an Aes Sedai, which she had never had any sort of contact with before, but she stands by her friends. She shows the same determination in her quest to help Rand to defeat the Dark One when it is discovered Rand is the Dragon Reborn. She is steadfast to her friends Nynaeve and Elayne through their journeys together and even after she obtains the seven-striped shawl of Amyrlin Seat.
Egwene's quiet strength is what helps her to be a more than adequate leader to women who dominate her with age and knowledge. She gets advice when she needs it from Siuan in order to make better use of her position as Amyrlin. She uses ploys against ploys as older Aes Sedai try to set her up as a puppet for their own whims. She doesn't flaunt her strength, but neither does she let others take advantage of her. An example of this would be her punishment of novices from the Two Rivers so that their former relationship with her will not make them assume they can dominate or require things from her in her position of power.
From the beginning of the tale, Egwene wants to learn as much as she can as fast as she can. In this aspect, I relate to her most personally. Gaining knowledge is an essential step in improving yourself. She's never satisfied with the ways things are, because she knows that it can be done better. She wants to pursue knowledge to every end, knowing that to be better informed is to make better decisions. I identify most with Egwene's character because she starts out from humble beginnings and quietly but strongly earns her place as a leader of strong willed individuals.
Of all the characters in the Wheel of Time series, the one who keeps me guessing and most intrigued is Cadsuane Melaidhrin. Noted as one of the oldest of the living Aes Sedai, she surely knows more than she tells or even hints at in the books. It seems to me that her involvement in the story is crucial, and if comparing to other tales, she would be a Gandalf or a Merlin type of advisor. But you don't know what course she's going to advise or instruct until the very end. I admire her for her knowledge, her calm in the middle of seeming chaos, and for the way she handles things thrown her way.
Like anyone with a large amount of experience, she seems to humor the characters of the WoT. Her attitude is one of 'I've already been there and done that, so let's see what you can make of it.' She is there to offer her help if requested, but like a good teacher, she lets the experience dominate the learning of her pupils. And in this story, everyone she encounters seems to be her pupil. I'm a teacher myself, so I admire her ability to let people see things clear for themselves. You are not teaching if you jump in and do everything for someone, and I believe Cadsuane would agree with me. The best learning occurs when you let people figure things out on their own, then point out how they can better use that knowledge to their advantage.
Sometimes I feel that Cadsuane is also in the WoT world to stand up for us older readers. She's the voice of our opinions when the younger characters in the book are doing things that we'd love to shout at the book and advise them against. I feel that she has tricks up her sleeve still to be revealed. I believe she's going to pack a big punch in the series when some more of her knowledge is revealed. She's just another reason why I keep reading.