Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Aes Sedai in The Wheel of Time
With an Amazon Prime series based on The Wheel of Time releasing, now's the perfect time to revisit one of literature's most epic fantasy series. Throughout the 14-novel series, women called Aes Sedai wield the One Power to wield saidar (basically magic), and they're able to heal, teleport, and attack with spells known as weaves.
Aes Sedai are also distinguished by their Three Oaths, magical bindings that prevent them from lying, using magic as a weapon (except in defense), and creating weapons to kill with. This helps them prove their good intentions to common folk (though many are still skeptical), and throughout the books, we see dozens of Aes Sedai "witches"—which reign supreme? These are the ten strongest women in TWoT! Spoilers ahead.
Aes Sedai Ajah List
When an Accepted successfully passes the test to become Aes Sedai, she chooses a certain faction (or "Ajah) to join, a bit like Hogwarts' houses. Here's a quick summary of each:
- Blue: Advocates for moral causes
- Green: The "battle Ajah," supporters of bonding multiple Warders (male guardians) and preparing for the Last Battle
- Red: Hunters of male channelers (to still them before the taint on their magic drives them insane)
- White: Explorers of truth, logic, and philosophy
- Brown: Scholars most at home in libraries
- Yellow: Emphasize healing
- Gray: Diplomats who often travel to foreign kingdoms to serve as advisers
- Black: Aes Sedai who have betrayed the Light and secretly serve the Dark One
10. Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan
Official Strength (out of 72; the lower, the stronger): 13
Elaida plays an interesting role in the series. While not actually a Darkfriend, her misguided interpretation of her own Foretelling leads her to overestimate her importance in the Last Battle. This causes her to scheme against Aes Sedai leader (called the Amyrlin Seat) Siuan Sanche. Following Siuan's downfall, Eladia replaces her as Amyrlin, but her controversial rise and poor management break the White Tower into two factions.
Still, despite her poor choices, Elaida is undoubtedly strong in the One Power, with the gift of Foretelling to boot.
9. Moiraine Damodred
The first Aes Sedai we meet and one of the most prominent in the series, Moiraine takes it upon herself to prepare the young villagers for their upcoming destinies. Mysterious and manipulative but ultimately well-intentioned, Moiraine guides and trains Rand for his fate as the Dragon Reborn, the prophesied savior of the world.
Moiraine's power is already impressive at 13, and she supplements it with angreal, portable artifacts that strengthen their wielders; with one's assistance, Moiraine has battled (and even defeated) several of the Forsaken.
8. Kerene Nagashi
Kerene doesn't play a huge role in the series, as she was murdered by the Black Ajah prior to its start. Still, she's enormously powerful and reputed to be a strong contender for the Amyrlin Seat.
By the way, 11 is also how strong the main character Aviendha is, though she doesn't appear in this list since she's technically an Aiel Wise One, not an Aes Sedai.
7. Meilyn Arganya
Meilyn also lacks screentime, having died a few decades prior to the first book (End of the World). Sadly, her immense strength wasn't enough to protect her from the Black Ajah, who killed her to disrupt her search for the Dragon Reborn.
6. Mabriam en Shereed
Mabriam's an Aes Sedai from centuries ago, but her names persists for both her incredible strength and great feats. She was actually the queen of a nation (Aramelle), and she was instrumental in banding the nations of her day together against the Shadow's forces.
But speaking of queen/Aes Sedai mixes . . .
5. Elayne Trakand
Elayne plays a pivotal role in the series as she grows from princess of Andor and channeling novice to queen and full Aes Sedai. Her incredible abilities and political acumen prove instrumental to Rand's campaign, and she has the rare skill of duplicating ter'angreal (artifacts of the One Power).
4. Egwene al'Vere
One of the many characters Moiraine finds at Emond's Field in the first book, Egwene could be considered the heroine of the series. Passionate and eager to learn, she balances a strict moral code with empathy and knowledge. She's also been trained by Aiel Wise Ones, and her abilities lead her to become the youngest Amyrlin of all time. She's also a Dreamer, letting her see images of potential futures.
Egwene never actually picked an Ajah due to being raised to Amyrlin first, but despite her insistence towards green, many fans think she exhibits more blue traits.
3. Cadsuane Melaidhrin
The oldest living Aes Sedai and very near to the strongest, Cadsuane is sharp-tongued but dedicated to guiding and protecting Rand, especially after Moiraine's disappearance.
Her already-formidable strength is bolstered by her angreal and sheer experience, as she knows a tremendous amount of weaves, rivaling the Forsaken in knowledge.
2. Caraighan Maconar
Caraighan lived many centuries ago and is considered the embodiment of the greens. She's known for stifling many riots, maintaining the peace, and helping normalize the usage of multiple Warders. She's the strongest Aes Sedai in White Tower history, at least until . . .
1. Nynaeve al'Meara
Another main character from Emond's Field, Nynaeve is a gifted healer even before her saidar training. While many Aes Sedai are considered cool and aloof, Nynaeve is vehemently passionate about her beliefs. She can be stern and controlling, but she has everyone's best interests at heart.
Although specializing as a medic, Nynaeve is more than capable of fighting when necessary, having beaten Forsaken even without the assistance of angreal.
Forsaken and Male Channelers
Today, we examined the franchise's strongest official Aes Sedai, but don't forget about other powerful channelers. These include the Dark One's Forsaken champions, male channelers like Rand, Aiel Wise Ones, and Seanchan damane.
Time will tell how Amazon's series tackles these elements, but for now, vote for your favorite Aes Sedai and I'll see you at our next Wheel of Time countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill