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The Wheel of Time TV Show 5: Eye of the Fandom [BOOK SPOILERS]

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Maybe not the best title, but it's early in the morning here. I'm open to suggestions.

A new interview with Rafe Judkins.

@fionwe1987

You'll like this passage:

"The channeling is so integral to the world of The Wheel of Time,” Judkins says. “The author made a system that makes sense. It works; it has rules, and you have to follow them. So we’ve been really careful on the show to make sure that we’re holding to all of those same rules.”

Edited by IFR

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In the wake of our discussion, I actually started listening to 'The New Spring'. Never did that before, so I thought: 'Perhaps that prequel is pretty good'.

But it isn't. It just reminded me and reinforced what I thought isn't good.

Jordan's pacing is very slow, long paragraphs are completely descriptive while characters rarely have meaningful interactions or dialogues. We are told that the game of houses is very subtle, but this is not actually depicted. And I think that's also a major flaw in the main series.

Also, for a prequel the book completely fails to introduce concepts and figures, e.g. nobody not knowing the main series understands what the various Ajahs are and why the Red and the Blue Ajah don't get along. Siuan, Moiraine and Tam sort of come alive as characters, but the others are pretty vapid.

I even remember why the word 'infantile' is glued to Robert Jordan in my mind - because of the weirdo infantilism of the Aes Sedai. The spanking, the weirdo abuse, the capriciousness and stupidity of the women who are supposed to (subtly) rule the world. The moment where I nearly dropped the entire thing was when Moiraine, after becoming a full Aes Sedai, was suddenly told she had to defer to all her sisters whose magical mojo was stronger. It is completely unrealistic that this would be something that had to be said explicitly and wouldn't be something that was clear from the start when you join this organization and start to spend time within the system.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In the wake of our discussion, I actually started listening to 'The New Spring'. Never did that before, so I thought: 'Perhaps that prequel is pretty good'.

But it isn't. It just reminded me and reinforced what I thought isn't good.

Jordan's pacing is very slow, long paragraphs are completely descriptive while characters rarely have meaningful interactions or dialogues. We are told that the game of houses is very subtle, but this is not actually depicted. And I think that's also a major flaw in the main series.

Also, for a prequel the book completely fails to introduce concepts and figures, e.g. nobody not knowing the main series understands what the various Ajahs are and why the Red and the Blue Ajah don't get along. Siuan, Moiraine and Tam sort of come alive as characters, but the others are pretty vapid.

I even remember why the word 'infantile' is glued to Robert Jordan in my mind - because of the weirdo infantilism of the Aes Sedai. The spanking, the weirdo abuse, the capriciousness and stupidity of the women who are supposed to (subtly) rule the world. The moment where I nearly dropped the entire thing was when Moiraine, after becoming a full Aes Sedai, was suddenly told she had to defer to all her sisters whose magical mojo was stronger. It is completely unrealistic that this would be something that had to be said explicitly and wouldn't be something that was clear from the start when you join this organization and start to spend time within the system.

It's true that the books never fully give a good perspective of how one becomes a well rounded Aes Sedai. The students (novices, Accepted) must take classes, most of which revolve around learning One Power weaves, so Harry Potter like, and a few classes seem to teach general stuff about the world like history and literature. We don't see a gradual progression from woman who knows little about the world to woman who can run circles around monarchs and nobles. Moiraine is only so capable because of her upbringing prior to her Aes Sedai life.

The Game of Houses is depicted better in later books, though with the unfortunate side effect of making the story even more bloated at times.

Also, I think you mean Lan, not Tam. Tam's not in the book.

Edited by Corvinus85

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3 hours ago, IFR said:

Maybe not the best title, but it's early in the morning here. I'm open to suggestions.

A new interview with Rafe Judkins.

@fionwe1987

You'll like this passage:

"The channeling is so integral to the world of The Wheel of Time,” Judkins says. “The author made a system that makes sense. It works; it has rules, and you have to follow them. So we’ve been really careful on the show to make sure that we’re holding to all of those same rules.”

Yes I saw that. Let's see what they interpret the rules to be, though. Some of the rules are stupid, and also hard to show on screen, so I'm fine with those all being tossed. I just don't want the fact that the "magic" isn't hand-wavy "mysterious" nonsense that allows anything at all to be  possible to be preserved, more than anything.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, for a prequel the book completely fails to introduce concepts and figures, e.g. nobody not knowing the main series understands what the various Ajahs are and why the Red and the Blue Ajah don't get along. Siuan, Moiraine and Tam sort of come alive as characters, but the others are pretty vapid.

This isn't meant to be a book you read before the main series, though. It's meant to give you some hints about some long running political currents in the Tower, and give you some more background on Malkier. Definitely not a thing to be ready before book 8, by when, if you don't understand why the Reds and the Blue get along, you definitely shouldn't be in this book. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I even remember why the word 'infantile' is glued to Robert Jordan in my mind - because of the weirdo infantilism of the Aes Sedai. The spanking, the weirdo abuse, the capriciousness and stupidity of the women who are supposed to (subtly) rule the world. The moment where I nearly dropped the entire thing was when Moiraine, after becoming a full Aes Sedai, was suddenly told she had to defer to all her sisters whose magical mojo was stronger. It is completely unrealistic that this would be something that had to be said explicitly and wouldn't be something that was clear from the start when you join this organization and start to spend time within the system.

I'm not sure why you think the exact heirarchy within the Aes Sedai sisterhood would be something they'd share with the students. We get a pretty good explanation in the books for why not: they don't want students who are stronger to lord it over the others. Also, most Novices cannot sense the ability to channel in others, for a while, and even when they do, getting a sense of how strong they are isn't easily achieved early in your training. This is all rather clear in the main books.

Of course, the flaw in their system is that they do want full Aes Sedai to defer to someone stronger than them. But the stupidity and costs of that system, and the contrast to other organizations of channelers that don't have such a hierarchy, are made pretty clear in the books, so it isn't like you're supposed to think this is a good thing. 

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1 minute ago, fionwe1987 said:

Yes I saw that. Let's see what they interpret the rules to be, though. Some of the rules are stupid, and also hard to show on screen, so I'm fine with those all being tossed. I just don't want the fact that the "magic" isn't hand-wavy "mysterious" nonsense that allows anything at all to be  possible to be preserved, more than anything.

 

This isn't meant to be a book you read before the main series, though. It's meant to give you some hints about some long running political currents in the Tower, and give you some more background on Malkier. Definitely not a thing to be ready before book 8, by when, if you don't understand why the Reds and the Blue get along, you definitely shouldn't be in this book. 

I'm not sure why you think the exact heirarchy within the Aes Sedai sisterhood would be something they'd share with the students. We get a pretty good explanation in the books for why not: they don't want students who are stronger to lord it over the others. Also, most Novices cannot sense the ability to channel in others, for a while, and even when they do, getting a sense of how strong they are isn't easily achieved early in your training. This is all rather clear in the main books.

Of course, the flaw in their system is that they do want full Aes Sedai to defer to someone stronger than them. But the stupidity and costs of that system, and the contrast to other organizations of channelers that don't have such a hierarchy, are made pretty clear in the books, so it isn't like you're supposed to think this is a good thing. 

I just want to say thank you. I literally didn't know where to begin, myself.

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I was almost 100% certain that RJ himself said after the release of the New Spring novella that it could serve as a new entry point to the series...

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18 minutes ago, Rhom said:

I was almost 100% certain that RJ himself said after the release of the New Spring novella that it could serve as a new entry point to the series...

Hmm that would be incredibly weird, if so. It takes away all the suspense, and it exposes stuff like the Black Ajah way too early for that to make sense. 

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I'm sure that was the authorial intent, and maybe the original shorter version from Legends was, but I'd agree the version that is sold as a standalone is not a good entry point. The tension and story really only stand up when taken into relation with the rest of the series. The story is how Moiraine set out of her quest to find the Dragon Reborn, and how she and Lan met. The plot of Edyen trying to make Lan a king in more than name was pretty bland. As was the of Moiraine's that brought her within Lan's story. The part that's good is the Post-Aiel War and seeing the scene where Rand's birth caused the prophecy, as witnessed by M and Siuan.  

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1 minute ago, fionwe1987 said:

Hmm that would be incredibly weird, if so. It takes away all the suspense, and it exposes stuff like the Black Ajah way too early for that to make sense. 

I agree... but they did weirder things along the way.  :dunno: 

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2 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

It's true that the books never fully give a good perspective of how one becomes a well rounded Aes Sedai. The students (novices, Accepted) must take classes, most of which revolve around learning One Power weaves, so Harry Potter like, and a few classes seem to teach general stuff about the world like history and literature. We don't see a gradual progression from woman who knows little about the world to woman who can run circles around monarchs and nobles. Moiraine is only so capable because of her upbringing prior to her Aes Sedai life.

It just feels to me as if the entire system is flawed. The way it is presented isn't very realistic and the way it is depicted the people involved appear stupid.

A reasonable system wouldn't consist of women who like to humiliate, abuse or torture each other.

Also, one of the most boring way to depict a coup in my opinion is have some random character show up and tell folks that somebody died in her sleep. If you characters are there, then involve them in the entire thing to a point. Don't turn them into extras standing around. I mean, the obvious plot there would have been to have the Amyrlin choose Moiraine and Siuan as two of her seekers simply because they witnessed the prophecy. Hell, something like that could also advanced the plot by giving the Amyrlin a pretext/reason to rush them through the trials.

2 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

The Game of Houses is depicted better in later books, though with the unfortunate side effect of making the story even more bloated at times.

From what I get about that it is mainly something that's talked about a lot ... rather than something one actually sees happening.

2 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

Also, I think you mean Lan, not Tam. Tam's not in the book.

Yes, sorry.

2 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

This isn't meant to be a book you read before the main series, though. It's meant to give you some hints about some long running political currents in the Tower, and give you some more background on Malkier. Definitely not a thing to be ready before book 8, by when, if you don't understand why the Reds and the Blue get along, you definitely shouldn't be in this book. 

I didn't realize any spoilers so far, so it is fine enough in that regard. But in any case - a book covering events taking place at the very beginning of the story should introduce things somehow or at least come with a note that you should read other books before opening that one.

2 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

I'm not sure why you think the exact heirarchy within the Aes Sedai sisterhood would be something they'd share with the students. We get a pretty good explanation in the books for why not: they don't want students who are stronger to lord it over the others. Also, most Novices cannot sense the ability to channel in others, for a while, and even when they do, getting a sense of how strong they are isn't easily achieved early in your training. This is all rather clear in the main books.

Not sure why they would want to lord stronger students over weaker ones if that's what happens when you complete your training. If your order is set up in this stupid manner - and you are right that this is actually a big flaw - then you would not think that it is bad that the students treat each other the way 'grown-up' Aes Sedai do. Instead, it would be part of the training to learn how the world really worked.

It also makes no sense that there would effectively be two hierarchies in this institution - an official hierarchy based on offices and the like, and then an informal hierarchy based on magical mojo. Instead, one would assume that offices and the like would be default be filled by the most powerful Aes Sedai in a rather clear order. The most powerful is the Amyrlin by default, the second most powerful the Keeper, and so on and so forth.

It is also weird that people actually have to be told that they have to defer. If it comes down to raw power then those with the power will demand deference and obedience and the weaker ones will submit when forced. This isn't something you establish in polite conversation.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

A reasonable system wouldn't consist of women who like to humiliate, abuse or torture each other.

Yes. And that's the overall theme of the books, with regard to the White Tower. It isn't healthy, and it has grown to be filled with petty rules that encourage cheap politicking. I'm not sure how you feeling exactly how the author wants you to feel is a failure on the author's part. 

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, one of the most boring way to depict a coup in my opinion is have some random character show up and tell folks that somebody died in her sleep. If you characters are there, then involve them in the entire thing to a point. Don't turn them into extras standing around. I mean, the obvious plot there would have been to have the Amyrlin choose Moiraine and Siuan as two of her seekers simply because they witnessed the prophecy. Hell, something like that could also advanced the plot by giving the Amyrlin a pretext/reason to rush them through the trials.

This is plain stupid. It wasn't a coup. It was an assassination. A secret assassination by a shadowy group that does not want it's presence known. If they are so bad at it that Moiraine and Siuan know right away they're behind the coup, you'd have been here accusing the author of filling to write villains who are even remotely competant.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I didn't realize any spoilers so far, so it is fine enough in that regard. But in any case - a book covering events taking place at the very beginning of the story should introduce things somehow or at least come with a note that you should read other books before opening that one.

There's plenty of out-of-order novel series and movies that don't bother with this.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Not sure why they would want to lord stronger students over weaker ones if that's what happens when you complete your training. If your order is set up in this stupid manner - and you are right that this is actually a big flaw - then you would not think that it is bad that the students treat each other the way 'grown-up' Aes Sedai do. Instead, it would be part of the training to learn how the world really worked.

Nope. Because there's the potential strength of a student, and then the actual strength they reach. Moiraine and Siuan will eventually be among the strongest in the Tower. But as Novices and Accepted, they grow steadily but don't reach that level. It takes typically 10 years for this to happen. It makes no sense for students to heirarchize on a system where they don't even have the metric that is used to heirarchize.

This is a rather subtle point made in later books, but one thing that happens is women with strong potential, as well as the intelligence and drive, are allowed to graduate faster in recent times. Earlier, that didn't matter, and you typically spent 5 years as a Novice and 5 as Accepted, at the least. 

The last thing you'd want is a new Novice who's got the potential to be very strong disregarding Accepted who are weaker, when the Accepted is teaching them how to channel safely and not kill themselves/people around them.

What you're asking for, basically, is the equivalent of letting rich kids in our world lord it over their professors and TAs during college. Sure, once out, the heirarchy of wealth takes over. But within a learning environment, we work to not let that take over. The Tower has a shit system for it's Aes Sedai (though no shittier than our reliance on wealth), but it's not conducive to learning at all, so it makes sense to keep that system from affective learning, where the cost of failure is actually death, and where the cost can be much steeper if the student does something that killed others around them.

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It also makes no sense that there would effectively be two hierarchies in this institution - an official hierarchy based on offices and the like, and then an informal hierarchy based on magical mojo.

Why the hell not?

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Instead, one would assume that offices and the like would be default be filled by the most powerful Aes Sedai in a rather clear order. The most powerful is the Amyrlin by default, the second most powerful the Keeper, and so on and so forth.

Yes. Because the wealthiest person becomes President in our world, and the second wealthiest is Vice President. Right? I should be eagle to check and see this? No? Then stop throwing up absurd criticisms. 

5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is also weird that people actually have to be told that they have to defer. If it comes down to raw power then those with the power will demand deference and obedience and the weaker ones will submit when forced. This isn't something you establish in polite conversation.

They are only told at the start as a courtesy. And a courtesy that the personal making the rules plain hates, because they hate verbalizing this. Going forward from there, the demand based thing is how it works. The stronger sister can demand penance, or let go with a warning, or not act at all at any breach of this hierarchy. 

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14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Yes. And that's the overall theme of the books, with regard to the White Tower. It isn't healthy, and it has grown to be filled with petty rules that encourage cheap politicking. I'm not sure how you feeling exactly how the author wants you to feel is a failure on the author's part. 

Well, the author does want the Aes Sedai to be a powerful force that commands at least some respect, no? There is nothing wrong with the order having some flaw ... but the way they are depicted they are a bunch of morons.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

This is plain stupid. It wasn't a coup. It was an assassination. A secret assassination by a shadowy group that does not want it's presence known. If they are so bad at it that Moiraine and Siuan know right away they're behind the coup, you'd have been here accusing the author of filling to write villains who are even remotely competant.

Well, the author could have used a third POV to give us a glimpse on what happened behind the scenes if the girls couldn't be those. And my impression is that this was a coup - the Black Ajah killed the Amyrlin and the seekers and they install an Amyrlin that's either a puppet or one that will look the other way/not realize what's going on.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

There's plenty of out-of-order novel series and movies that don't bother with this.

Doesn't mean that's a good thing.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

Nope. Because there's the potential strength of a student, and then the actual strength they reach. Moiraine and Siuan will eventually be among the strongest in the Tower. But as Novices and Accepted, they grow steadily but don't reach that level. It takes typically 10 years for this to happen. It makes no sense for students to heirarchize on a system where they don't even have the metric that is used to heirarchize.

Well, then one could rise and fall in the hierarchy depending how your strength develops.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

The last thing you'd want is a new Novice who's got the potential to be very strong disregarding Accepted who are weaker, when the Accepted is teaching them how to channel safely and not kill themselves/people around them.

Well, while you don't have reached your full potential/haven't learn all the magic words it is clear that you wouldn't disregard somebody who knows more than you and from whom you can learn stuff you want to learn.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

What you're asking for, basically, is the equivalent of letting rich kids in our world lord it over their professors and TAs during college. Sure, once out, the heirarchy of wealth takes over. But within a learning environment, we work to not let that take over. The Tower has a shit system for it's Aes Sedai (though no shittier than our reliance on wealth), but it's not conducive to learning at all, so it makes sense to keep that system from affective learning, where the cost of failure is actually death, and where the cost can be much steeper if the student does something that killed others around them.

Wealth isn't the proper equivalent here. Wealth isn't something that's an inherent part of yourself - unlike magical talent.

14 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

They are only told at the start as a courtesy. And a courtesy that the personal making the rules plain hates, because they hate verbalizing this. Going forward from there, the demand based thing is how it works. The stronger sister can demand penance, or let go with a warning, or not act at all at any breach of this hierarchy. 

Not sure why they would allow this stuff if they actually don't like the system. Surely the Amyrlin could forbid them establish a regime based on magical strength. She could even create an office helping folks who get bullied by sisters who are stronger.

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42 minutes ago, Werthead said:

That painting looks spot on as a cover candidate. I had to check the back of the later books to make sure it wasn't actual WOT artwork.

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2 hours ago, Myrddin said:

I'm sure that was the authorial intent, and maybe the original shorter version from Legends was, but I'd agree the version that is sold as a standalone is not a good entry point.

The short version from Legends was the first thing I read by Jordan. I think given that it was an anthology with so many authors contributing they shouldn't all have been assuming that all the readers would have read their prior work, and I think I was able to follow it despite not having any previous knowledge of the world. I've never read the expanded version so I don't know whether the additions were more aimed at existing fans.

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Yes, I think the original "New Spring" novella worked as an introduction, a slice of the setting and a focused story, for people who were not familiar with WoT, just as "The Hedge Knight" was an introduction to Westeros. Linda's actually re-read New Spring, the expanded novel, and the additions he made in expanding it were much more about filling in details for the WoT fanatics rather than for newcomers. Linda estimates that the first 2/3rds of the expanded novel is the new stuff, and goes deep into the Tower and Aes Sedai and so on, and the last third is basically the novella.

Edited by Ran

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

It just feels to me as if the entire system is flawed. The way it is presented isn't very realistic and the way it is depicted the people involved appear stupid.

A reasonable system wouldn't consist of women who like to humiliate, abuse or torture each other.

I take it you havent worked in academia or the military.  :P  Humiliation, abuse, and/or torture (and harebrained stupidity) is par for the course in the real world, even at the highest echelons of power and most prestigious universities.   You'd be surprised at how infantile the faculty at a given department in a Ivy League school can act, especially when it comes to basic social skills. Instead of deference to those with the most power, its deference to those with the most citations. 

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, the author does want the Aes Sedai to be a powerful force that commands at least some respect, no? There is nothing wrong with the order having some flaw ... but the way they are depicted they are a bunch of morons.

No, he doesn't. There's a geographic divide in terms of respect for the Aes Sedai. Only the Borderlanders truly respect them, and that's more historical, and based on interaction with those Aes Sedai who care about fighting the Dark One, and less about politics.

The rest of the world ranges from absolute contempt to tolerance to respect blended with fear. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, the author could have used a third POV to give us a glimpse on what happened behind the scenes if the girls couldn't be those.

Why? What rule says this must be done?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And my impression is that this was a coup - the Black Ajah killed the Amyrlin and the seekers and they install an Amyrlin that's either a puppet or one that will look the other way/not realize what's going on.

No, they didn't install a puppet. Since said replacement was also assassinated at their inducement, maybe you can save your criticism for once you know the facts rather than your naive understanding of events based on your admittedly half-baked reading of the series?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, then one could rise and fall in the hierarchy depending how your strength develops.

Which then would push trainees to Force themselves, which is a highly risky, near suicidal process. Above, you didn't want the Aes Sedai to be total morons. Here, you're proposing they create a learning system that will result in most of their initiates dying spectacular deaths that will also have collateral damage, which is about as moronic a system as I can think of. Please make up your mind. Do you want them to be less moronic or Darwin award winning dumdums?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, while you don't have reached your full potential/haven't learn all the magic words it is clear that you wouldn't disregard somebody who knows more than you and from whom you can learn stuff you want to learn.

Why's that clear?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Wealth isn't the proper equivalent here. Wealth isn't something that's an inherent part of yourself - unlike magical talent.

Ok. Height. Or beauty. Or body weight. All of those are much more genetically linked..all of them create unspoken heirarchies in our world. Show me that those hierarchies hold true in every interaction or every political conflict, and then we can criticize RJ for not writing his world that way. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Not sure why they would allow this stuff if they actually don't like the system. Surely the Amyrlin could forbid them establish a regime based on magical strength. She could even create an office helping folks who get bullied by sisters who are stronger.

They dislike talking about the system. And I'm sure plenty of weaker sisters hate it, period, but the system already makes it hard for them to speak up. The stronger ones aren't going to fight it openly, though we do see the more successful of them not overdo it. 

1 hour ago, horangi said:

I take it you havent worked in academia or the military.  :P  Humiliation, abuse, and/or torture (and harebrained stupidity) is par for the course in the real world, even at the highest echelons of power and most prestigious universities.   You'd be surprised at how infantile the faculty at a given department in a Ivy League school can act, especially when it comes to basic social skills. Instead of deference to those with the most power, its deference to those with the most citations. 

Or actual politics. I said in the previous thread that if you see Veep, nothing done in the White Tower comes across as unbelievable. And I've met way too many people who work in politics who say that Veep is depressingly close to the reality of Washington politics. 

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Don't discount the influence of the Black Ajah over the centuries to turn the White Tower into what it became.  It was advantageous to the Shadow to have the Ajahs mistrusting each other, having stupid rules about deferring to those of higher power, etc, in order to make sure the Aes Sedai could be more easily manipulated.

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