Far Madding

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Author: Atarah al'Norahn

History

Over the course of time, the name of the city has been changed several times. After the Breaking of the World, the city was known by the name of Aren Mador, and stood as the capital of the nation of Essenia (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10). At some point after the Trolloc Wars, during the time of Yurian Stonebow, the the name Fel Moreina came into being (WH, Ch. 22). At some time in the past, it was also known as Aren Deshar, at which time it was the enclave of the Incaster People (ToM, Ch. 51). Finally, after the War of the Hundred Years, the city came to be known as Far Madding, the capitol of Maredo (WH, Ch. 22). After the fall of Maredo, when Far Madding became the city-state that it is today, this name was not changed.

Geography

Based on maps, Far Madding is situated to the north of the Plains of Maredo, Illian, and Tear, south of Andor, and east of Murandy. To the West is Haddon Mirk, and beyond that, the Spine of the World.

The city of Far Madding lies on an island, and the only ways in are through one of three gates: The Caemlyn Gate, the Illian Gate, and the Tear Gate. According to the map of Far Madding in Winter's Heart, the Caemlyn Gate is located at the northernmost point of the city and opens onto the Ajalon Bridge, with Glancor at the other end. The Illian Gate is located at the southwestern point of the city and opens onto the Ikane Bridge and, beyond, Daigan. The Tear Gate opens onto the Goim Bridge, with the village of South Bridge at its foot. The Gold Road runs from Illian to Far Madding (TPoD, Ch. 21).

Layout of the City

In the centre of the city is the Counsels' Plaza and the Hall of the Counsels (Far Madding Map; WH, Ch. 22).

In the eastern portion of the city is an area named the Heights, where a number of palaces, including the Barsalla palace, are located (Far Madding Map; WH, Ch. 24; WH, Ch. 32).

In the southern part of the city is the Lakeman's Quarter, and in the southeastern part, the Mustering Grounds; although these are marked on the map in Winter's Heart, they are not otherwise mentioned or described in the books.

The Strangers' Markets

There are three markets, called the Stranger's Markets, where foreigners to the city are permitted to trade, (WH, Ch. 22). These are the Amhara Market (WH, Ch. 22), the Avharin Market (WH, Ch. 32), and the Nethvin Market (WH, Ch. 25). Each one is named after a revered female leader and contains a statue of that leader.

The Amhara Market

The Amhara Market is named after Savion Amhara, a former First Counsel of Far Madding, and contains a statue of her, standing on a pedestal, that points warningly in the direction of the Tear Gate. The statue stands two spans tall, holding a sword with its point at her feet, and is carved to wear fur-trimmed robes, chains of office, and the diadem of the First Counsel (WH, Ch. 22).

The Amhara Market is a huge square that looks nothing like a market, as it does not contain either market stalls or visible merchandise. It is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).

The Avharin Market

The Avharin Market is named after Einion Avharin and contains a statue of her that points in the direction of the Caemlyn Gate (WH, Ch. 23).

The Avharin Market is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).

There is an inn named the Golden Wheel that is located just off the Avharin Market (WH, Ch. 32).

The Nethvin Market

The Nethvin Market is named after a historical leader of Far Madding. Because there is a statue of Savion Amhara pointing towards the Tear Gate in the Amhara Market and a statue of Einion Avharin pointing towards the Caemlyn Gate in the Avharin Market, it can be assumed that a statue of Nethvin points towards the Illian Gate.

The Nethvin Market is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).

An inn named The Counsels' Head is located within sight of the Market (WH, Ch. 25).

Buildings and Streets

The Hall of the Counsels

The Hall of the Counsels is a great palace in the Counsels' Plaza, which is located in the centre of the city. It is round in shape with a dome on top. The building itself is white, and the dome is blue. The bottom level of the building has arched gates of bronze and huge carvings in the white stone. Some of the carvings, "more than twice life-size," are of Counsels. Between each carving of a Counsel there are carvings of trade goods, stacks of ingots, cons, and gemstones. There are also carvings of other people driving wagons and making trade goods. Around the two topmost levels of the Hall, there are fluted columns. Two sets of white stairs, one on each side, lead up to the second level (WH, Ch. 24).

Inside the Hall of the Counsels' is an indoor stableyard with a high ceiling. The corridors in the building have blue tiles, bright tapestries, and gilded lamps (WH, Ch. 24).

Within the dome itself, surrounded by arched doorways and a balcony with four sets of stairs leading up to it, is the Guardian (WH, Ch. 24).

Ruling Body

Far Madding is ruled by the Counsels, who are thirteen women. One of these women is known as the First Counsel and is considered a kind of "first among equals." According to Sarene, when Maredo still stood, the First Counsels advised the Queens of that nation; now that Maredo no longer stands and Far Madding is its own city state, however, "most First Counsels have considered themselves the natural heirs of Maredo's rulers" (WH, Ch. 24).

The Counsels wear sleeveless robes of blue silk, which have have been embroidered in gold, over their dresses; the robes trail on the floor behind them as they walk. They also wear red oval pendants rimmed in gold that hang from necklaces of golden links, and narrow diadems of gold that sport the same red oval. For all of the Counsels but the First Counsel, the ovals are made of enamel. For the First Counsel, they are of rubies, and her diadem is also covered in sapphires and moonstones. All of the women wear their hair on top of their heads (WH, Ch. 24).

The named Counsels in the series are:

The People

Far Maddinger Character List

In the city of Far Madding, women hold the authority and men are expected to obey them. The only men of any real means are those who are either provided for by their wives, or the widowers of wealthy women (WH, Ch. 22), as men are barred from trade and banking (WH, Ch. 32). At inns, there are special "Women's Rooms," which are separate parlors that are sometimes more luxurious than the common rooms for men (WH, Ch. 22). Women will strap their husbands if they act out of order, and at the Counsel's Head inn, the innkeeper, Mistress Keene, makes sure to provide straps in all of her rooms (WH, Ch. 33).

The people of Far Madding more often than not have dark hair and eyes (WH, Ch. 22. The women wear their hair long and piled on their heads in tight rolls or large buns (WH, Ch. 24; WH, Ch. 32). They generally wear dresses with high collars, embroidered with flowers and birds (WH, Ch. 22). The men also wear their hair longer, sometimes to the waist, and held back with a tie or a clip. The men tend to wear dull colours but with brighter embroidery on the chest and the shoulders (WH, Ch. 22).

Many Aiel who fled the Waste when Rand revealed their history have ended up in Far Madding (WH, Ch. 22).

Defenses

In the city of Far Madding, the civic order is strictly maintained.

Private arms are not allowed to be used within the city. When entering at one of the gates, foreigners must register at the gate-forts, and must either 1) agree to store their weapons there, or 2) have them wrapped with a "peace-bond," which consists of intricately wrapped wires that are sealed with wax and leaden discs. Fines and floggings may be applied if the wires and seals are found to be broken (WH, Ch. 23), and a foreigner carrying a sword always attracts the attention of the guards (WH, Ch. 22). Foreigners are considered to be troublemakers and hotheads. Even the City Guards themselves go armed only at the gates, and must leave their weapons behind when they go off duty.

The guards wear armor of large, square scales with a golden hand on their left shoulders, and helmets with barred faceplates. Officers are marked by yellow plumes on their helmets. Street guards appear to typically patrol in groups of three (WH, Ch. 22).

The Guardians

Main article: The Guardians

The Guardians are a ter'angreal that detect and prevent channeling from occurring within the city.

Other Facts

  • A golden hand appears to have some meaning within Far Madding, perhaps as a symbol of the city. Guards wear it on their left shoulders (WH, Ch. 22 an there is a golden hand and a golden sword on the doors of the sedan chairs at the Hall of the Counsels (WH, Ch. 24).