From Tar Valon Library
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
“Accepted” is the term given to women who have reached the second part of their journey to become Aes Sedai. They are women who have passed the Accepted Test and stand a step above novices but still far below the Aes Sedai. Most women spend between five and ten years at this level (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24), though some have completed it in as little as three (NS, Ch. 2).
Accepted wear white dresses with seven bands in the color of each Ajah at the bottom and the cuffs. In order, the colors go with brown at the edge, followed by gray, white, red, yellow, green and blue (http://www.tarvalon.net/news.asp?article=320). They also wear the Great Serpent ring on the third finger of the right hand (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24). Accepted are discouraged from wearing much jewelry (LoC, Prologue).
Although Accepted are given more leeway than novices and are trusted to be able to manage without someone looking over their shoulders, the first few weeks of Accepted training are worse, by far, than anything that the novices must undergo (TGH, Ch. 18; Ch. 24; TDR, Ch. 13). These first few weeks are used to “catch the few who might have slipped through novice training when they should not have” (TGH, Ch. 18).
Although Accepted are not as closely watched as novices are, there are still things that they are not allowed to do and places they are not allowed to go (TDR, Ch. 14).
Although Accepted are a step above novices, they are still expected to obey the Aes Sedai (TGH, Ch. 38). The rules concerning an Accepted’s interaction with Aes Sedai is somewhat less strict, however. Accepted may address an Aes Sedai without being spoken to first and are not required to use a sister’s title when speaking to her (TGH, Ch. 38).
An Accepted is supposed to act with a certain measure of dignity in preparation for becoming Aes Sedai (NS, Ch. 3; Ch. 5). They cannot, however, be punished for not thinking as an Aes Sedai would think (TFoH, Ch. 5). Accepted often try to practice Aes Sedai-like behavior as part of their preparation, but because Aes Sedai and Warders will not let an Accepted get away with “playing at Aes Sedai” (LoC, Ch. 30), the only ones they can safely practice on are novices (NS, Ch. 2). That novices are required to obey an Accepted almost as quickly as they would an Aes Sedai certainly helps (TDR, Ch. 13).
An Accepted is expected to question things, since they are now trusted to know what questions to ask and when to ask them (TGH, Ch. 12).
Accepted are not permitted by be childish (TDR, Ch. 13), arrogant (NS, Ch. 3) or defiant (LoC, Ch. 13), and Moiraine thinks to herself that “the Tower [is] rather short on forgiveness for Accepted” (NS, Ch. 6). This is because they are expected to know better. Since they are no longer novices, they are also expected to learn how to protect themselves rather than having the Mistress of Novices do it for them (TDR, Ch. 23). They are expected to not complain, and unlike novices, will not get off gently if they do (NS, Ch. 7; Ch. 8).
When an Accepted commits a transgression, she can be called to the Mistress of Novices for punishment. An Accepted usually has to commit a greater transgression than a novice would in order to be so punished. Usually the punishment is worse, since Accepted are supposed to know better (TDR, Ch. 13; TFoH, Ch. 15; LoC, Prologue).
Just as with novices, one of the worst crimes an Accepted can commit is to run away from the Tower. Although Accepted are occasionally permitted to leave the White Tower without an Aes Sedai escort (NS, Ch. 23), and are, on very rare occasions, permitted to leave the city (NS, Ch. 3), to set foot on the bridges that lead from Tar Valon without permission is considered akin to running away. This is more rare than it is for novices, but still happens on occasion. Most of the Accepted who attempt to run away do so because they either despair of ever reaching the shawl or flinch at what lies ahead of them (NS, Ch. 4; Ch. 6; LoC, Ch. 8; Ch. 48).
An Accepted is not allowed to bond a Warder no matter what the circumstances are. If she does, she will be punished severely. This happened once during the Trolloc Wars when an Accepted named Barashelle, who was to take the test for Aes Sedai the very next day, bonded a Warder because she was afraid that another woman would bond him first. When it was discovered, she was not allowed to test for Aes Sedai. She was forced to pass the Warder’s bond to a sister and had to work in the kitchens for three years; when she was finally raised to Aes Sedai, the Amyrlin herself chose Barashelle’s Warder (TFoH, Ch. 35; TFoH, Ch. 36).
The worst punishment an Accepted can be given is to be sent to work on a farm, forbidden to channel the One Power until she has learned her lesson. This punishment is usually given as a last chance (NS, Ch. 7).
Accepted are expected to do what is needed for the Tower, just as Aes Sedai and novices are (CoT, Ch. 30).
Duties and Chores
Although an Accepted’s time is largely her own to conduct her studies as she wishes (TDR, Ch. 14), there are still some duties and chores that they are required to do.
Accepted are supposed to teach novice classes. In addition, they are sometimes expected to supervise novices, who are not allowed to channel if an Accepted or an Aes Sedai is not present (NS, Ch. 8; TGH, Ch. 18).
The only chores Accepted have to do, unless they are doing chores as punishment, are those that are required to keep themselves and their rooms tidy (NS, Ch. 3). They must also serve and clear away their own plates at meal times (NS, Ch. 13). They are not allowed to use the One Power to do these chores (NS, Ch. 6).
Although most of an Accepted’s time is spent studying and teaching novices, an Accepted who appears to be doing nothing can be claimed by an Aes Sedai to help copy out notes or to do other things (LoC, Ch. 8).
When petitions are taken, Accepted help to sort out the petitioners (TSR, Ch. 1).
Accepted are largely allowed to choose their own studies. They are given no more guidance than they ask for (TGH, Ch. 23; TDR, Ch. 14). Although they usually study on their own, there are sometimes lectures that they can attend and they sometimes take private classes with Aes Sedai (NS, Ch. 3).
When both the teacher and the student are Accepted, the teacher has the status of Aes Sedai for the duration of the lesson (TFoH, Ch. 50).
Topics that Accepted study include the following:
- Women who know herbs and cures (NS, Ch. 5)
- Common laws of different nations (NS, Ch. 23)
- The nations that succeeded Artur Hawkwing’s empire and failed to survive (TFoH, Ch. 26)
- Linking with the One Power (TFoH, Ch. 33)
Fun and Pranks
Because of the amount of the time that must be spent in study, Accepted often like to play pranks in order to lighten their days. Most Accepted play their pranks on other Accepted, but some are aimed at Aes Sedai as well. Although most pranks are harmless and won’t earn the Accepted a trip to the Mistress of Novices, some, such as ones that require sneaking out of the Tower, will. However, Accepted have been known to get away with this, because an Aes Sedai asking an Accepted whether she played the prank is “simply not done” if it cannot be proven (NS, Ch. 3).
Pranks that have been played by characters when they were Accepted include:
- Moiraine and Siuan once sneak out of the Tower at night to buy trout, which they then proceed to put in one of the Tower fountains (NS, Ch. 3).
- The night before they become Aes Sedai, Moiraine and Siuan try to put six mice in Elaida’s bed; they are caught and punished (NS, Ch. 10; Ch. 17).
- While either novices or Accepted, Siuan and Leane set a bucket of near-freezing water so that it douses an Aes Sedai who had them switched (TFoH, Ch. 26).
- While either novices or Accepted, Pevara and Seaine dust Serancha’s shift with powdered itchcloak (ACoS, Ch. 32).
Accepted like to gossip when they are in their quarters (NS, Ch. 2). Aside from gossiping about Aes Sedai and other Accepted, the Accepted also enjoy discussing Warders (NS, Ch. 8) and discussing which Ajah they would like to join (NS, Ch. 11).
Accepted are occasionally allowed out of the Tower to visit the city of Tar Valon. Many go to common rooms during this time (NS, Ch. 23).
Among the Accepted, the closest friendships are usually between those who are either very alike or very different (NS, Ch. 2). Friends among the Accepted often help each other practice for the Aes Sedai test; it is said that true friends “would do the worst they could think of, short of actual harm, to help you prepare” (NS, Ch. 3).
Pillow-friends are common among Accepted (KoD, Ch. 25).
Accepted are not supposed to be friends with novices, partly because the Accepted might be accused of favoritism if the novice is in one of her classes (TGH, Ch. 38; CoT, Prologue). Novices generally tend to look up to the Accepted (NS, Ch. 2). However, sometimes novices are disgruntled with Accepted when they are made to do extra work (TGH, Ch. 38).
Accepted are not supposed to be friends with Aes Sedai (NS, Ch. 10). Accepted generally don’t know individual Aes Sedai particularly well (NS, Ch. 14). Pevara thinks to herself that too “All too frequently, Accepted took any bite in a Sitter’s tone as an opinion on their fitness for the shawl, as if Sitters had no other concerns” (CoT, Ch. 22).
The Accepted quarters are located in a palace-like structure that is attached to the back of the main part of the White Tower (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 9).
In the Accepted quarters, there are over two hundred rooms occupying stone-railed galleries, arranged around two hollow wells with a garden at the bottom. One of the wells has been closed for many years (NS, Ch. 3).
The garden at the bottom of the well that is currently in use is comprised of a handful of evergreen bushes (NS, Ch. 3).
The rooms in the Accepted quarters are all the same. They are slightly wider at the back than they are at the door, and have plain, dark-paneled walls. The furnishings within each room, however, differ somewhat. The rooms seem like rooms in a palace in comparison to the rooms that novices stay in (NS, Ch. 3).
Unlike the novice quarters, men are not forbidden from entering the Accepted quarters (TDR, Ch. 16).
The Accepted eat in a dining hall that is located on the lowest level of the White Tower. It has white walls, white-tiled floors and tables that can seat two or three people (NS, Ch. 6).
- At some point in time, every Accepted tries to figure out how the Aes Sedai manage not to feel temperature (NS, Ch. 2).
- Accepted are given more leeway in their reading material; where “Hearts of Flame” is considered to be an inappropriate book for a novice, it is popular among the Accepted. By the time a woman becomes Accepted, she knows that she will outlive any man she marries, as well as any children she has (NS, Ch. 2).
- While male servants often turn a blind eye to what Accepted do, female servants keep a close watch on them (NS, Ch. 3).
- Accepted are not allowed to have clocks in their room, yet they are not permitted to be late. They must develop a good sense of time (NS, Ch. 3).
- Few Accepted have horses; most cannot afford one and there are few opportunities to ride outside of the Tower grounds (NS, Ch. 4).
- Accepted only go to the dining hall of the Aes Sedai by rare invitation (NS, Ch. 13).
- Where Aes Sedai can choose what they want to eat, Accepted must eat whatever the kitchen prepares. They eat on heavy, glazed pottery (NS, Ch. 13).
- There are some weaves that are not trusted to Accepted, such as the Warder bond (NS, Ch. 14).
- According to Vandene, the Amyrlin Seat will need every Aes Sedai, Accepted and novice when the Dragon Reborn must be faced (TGH, Ch. 22).
- Out of the forty novices in the Tower, only seven or eight will become Accepted (TGH, Ch. 24).
- When Verin gives Egwene the dream ter'angreal ring, she warns her to keep it hidden, because no novice or Accepted should have such a thing (TDR, Ch. 21).
- Many country folk to not really understand the huge difference between Accepted and Aes Sedai (TSR, Ch. 1).
- In the anteroom to the Amyrlin’s study, there are chairs for the Aes Sedai to sit on but novices and Accepted have to stand (TFoH, Ch. 15).
- Before the split, there were fewer than fifty Accepted in the White Tower (LoC, Ch. 3).
- Aes Sedai believe that Accepted do not know enough of the world to know what can and cannot be (LoC, Ch. 7)
- By the time an Accepted is raised to Aes Sedai, she has been guided towards the Ajah that is right for her, whether she knows it or not (LoC, Ch. 30).
- The Accepted use the names of strict Amyrlins to scare novices (CoT, Ch. 18).