A Prelude to Daes Dae'mar

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Author: Yurjan Braevin

Essay submitted for raising to Soldier.


Daes Dae'mar, or the Great Game is one of the hardest things in the Wheel of Time to actually get to understand. In this short work I'll try and make some things clear about the Great Game, but there will also be things mentioned that will only raise more questions. The approach to Daes Dae'mar will be a bit different from usual. Instead of telling about it, and answering questions that many people have, there will also be other questions forcing you to think on the subject rather then getting some instant info on it.

Also known as the Great Game or the Game of Houses, it is the name given to scheming, plots and manipulations for advantage by the noble Houses. Great value is given to subtlety, to aiming at one thing while seeming to aim for another, and to achieving ends with the least visible effort.

This is what the book says about Daes Dae'mar. All noble Houses play the Great Game (except in the Borderlands), but none as much as the Cairhienin who play it even in their sleep. A Cairhienin will always look for some hidden meaning to what you say or do. They read volumes in a single smile.

History of Daes Dae'mar

According to the records Daes Dae'mar was invented by Aes Sedai a long time ago. But was it invented by Aes Sedai, or was it Aes Sedai who gave it a name? Daes Dae'mar is actually something that is inside every human being, some possessing more skill in it then others. An example: When you play soccer with a kid, the kid soon realizes that it can't get the ball because it possess less skill than you do. Some kids will then pretend to have no more interest in the ball, making you lower your concentration on the ball at which point the kid will reach for the ball and try to get it! What is the kid doing? He's playing a form of Daes Dae'mar without anybody ever telling him about it. He tries to manipulate you into lessening your guard on the ball by seeming to aim for something else (to stop getting it). When your guard is down he'll get it with little effort, achieving his goal. This shows kids playing the Game from a very early age.

Effects of Daes Dae'mar

Daes Dae'mar can have dire effects on the world, as is seen in the history of the world. Nations have dissapeared because of it and kings have been toppled from their position. The most famous example of this is the Aiel War, which was triggered by King Laman of Cairhien, who took down Avendoraldera to make a throne for himself unlike any in the world, earnning him the name "treekiller". The sapling was given to Laman by the Aiel as a debt of honor for the time Cairhien gave water to the ancestors of the Aiel before they moved into the Waste. Laman was simply playing Daes Dae'mar in cutting down the tree. The war eventually leaded to the death of Laman and the fall of the House Damodred as rulers of Cairhien.

Another such event of Daes Dae'mar in action may come form an unexpected corner: Aridhol. The once mighty city and powerful ally of ancient Manetheren fell to its own people because nobody trusted anybody anymore. In a place where people strive to reach their own goals over the backs of others it isn't such a strange thing that people started to mistrust others. In the right circumstances this could lead to a thing that happened to Aridhol, which became known as Shadar Logoth after its downfall. Of course, Aridhol got influenced by a person called Mordeth, but where this Mordeth came from is still unknown. In fact did he ever exist or was he imagined to give cause to Aridhol's downfall, perhaps to cover up the dangers of Daes Dae'mar? Maybe this in itself was one of the more brilliant ways of playing Daes Dae'mar? Considering the possibility of the downfall of Aridhol by Daes Dae'mar, could this also happen to Cairhien, in the right circumstances?