Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan
From Tar Valon Library
Author: Praesmed Phoenix
eh-LY-da doh AHV-rih nee ah ROY-han
"Elaida was a handsome woman rather than beautiful, and the sternness on her face added maturity to her ageless Aes Sedai features. She did not look old, yet Egwene could never imagine her looking young." (TGH, Ch. 17)
Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan has always had an exacting personality, something that her appointment to the Amyrlin Seat has only accentuated. Elaida loves flowers, in particular red roses, and has always made it a priority to surround herself with them, even during droughts. She also enjoys knitting, and often occupies her time with the activity. She has a special loathing for rats, perhaps because they can be spies for the Dark One. Her composure is often compared to unveiled steel, as Rand muses that, "He had sometimes thought of Moiraine as steel covered with velvet; with Elaida the velvet was only an illusion" (TEotW, Ch. 40). Egwene notes, "She had always thought of Moiraine as strong, steel under silk, but Elaida dispensed with the silk" This passage needs a reference.
Elaida has no interest in novices, but the novices know of her and her reputation (TGH, Ch. 1).
Strengths and Talents
Elaida is one of the strongest Aes Sedai in the Tower (prior to the arrival of Egwene and company) and according to Verin, is one of the few living Aes Sedai who could wield the Choedan Kal This passage needs a reference.
"From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken to its blackest, and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands. Pain and division come to the whole world, and this man (Rand) stands at the heart of it." (The Eye of the World, Chapter 40)
"The White Tower will be whole again, except for remnants cast out and scorned, whole and stronger than ever. Rand al'Thor will face the Amyrlin Seat and know her anger. The Black Tower will be rent in blood and fire, and sisters will walk its grounds." (A Crown of Swords, Prologue)
Upon her initial meeting with Rand, she believes that he may be a Darkfriend, and she finds his heron-mark sword and appearance to be quite remarkable for someone from Emond's Field (TEotW, Ch. 40). She is one of the first to declare him ta'veren, and "more dangerous than any man since Artur Hawkwing" (TGH, Ch. 4). Above all, she sees Rand as a threat to Andor and seeks to eliminate him (TSR, Ch. 1). Upon learning that he has taken the Stone of Tear and wielded Callandor, Elaida begrudgingly admits that he is indeed the Dragon Reborn (TFoH, Prologue). In her initial overtures toward the Dragon Reborn, she sends Rand a letter offering him an escort to the White Tower (TFoH, Ch. 51). Especially after her embassy captures and shields him, and he escapes from it, there is certainly no love lost between Rand and Elaida.
After Foretelling that Andor would be pivotal in the Last Battle, Elaida attached herself to the soon-to-be-Queen Morgase as her Aes Sedai advisor. She has watched over and had a vested interest in Elayne since birth, in particular after discovering her potential as a channeler. Unfortunately, Morgase severed all ties with the Tower (and Elaida with it) after Elayne disappeared.
Despite the fact that Alviarin is her Keeper of the Chronicles, there is no love lost between the two characters even during Elaida's first days as Amyrlin, as Alviarin consistently does not show the proper respect for Elaida. Elaida often finds the White Sister's cool composure to be maddening when the two lock horns. Her choice of Alviarin as Keeper was purely a political one, as she could not have gained the necessary support from the White without Alviarin's help (TFoH, Prologue).
Elaida is totally unaware of Padan Fain's status as doubly Dark, and attempts to use him to learn more about Rand and perhaps to capture him. Fain, of course, is using her to get his dagger back (TFoH, Prologue).
Elaida is one of the Aes Sedai involved with Egwene's testing for the ring, and after having demanded to be part of it she is very critical of Egwene's character. We later learn that Elaida despises Egwene because she is a wilder and will never consider Egwene a true Aes Sedai (TDR, Ch. 23). It is Elaida who pours the first two chalices over Egwene. In Egwene's ter'angreal vision of the future, Elaida denounces Rand to the Hall of the Tower, claiming that he is a false Dragon, and Egwene refuses to sentence him (TDR, Ch. 22).
Elaida, believing Siuan to be a threat to the integrity of the Tower (and having never really liked her much, anyway), is the ringleader in deposing her and ascending to the Amyrlin Seat (TSR, Ch. 47). Elaida once worked with Siuan to bring "Morgase to heel" (TFoH, Ch. 27) but ultimately feels slighted that her efforts to control Caemlyn may have cost her the Amyrlin Seat, something about which she envies Siuan intensely.
- Elaida was an Accepted when Siuan and Moiraine were novices, and then an Aes Sedai while the two were Accepted, and is one of the few (if not the only) people in the tower who remember their childhood friendship (TSR, Ch. 1).
- All that is known of Elaida's childhood is that, according to Joline Sedai, "Elaida had been petted too much as a novice, made over too much for her strength and the remarkable speed of her learning" (ACoS, Ch. 17).
- Meidani and Elaida were pillow friends but the relationship ended when Elaida gained the ring, out of propriety (CoT, Prologue).
Elaida also takes it upon herself to interrogate Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne regarding their abduction by Liandrin and company (TGH, Ch. 17). Though Elaida is extremely dislikable, she is not a Darkfriend, as revealed by a passage from her point of view: "The Dark One was sure to break free -- the very thought made Elaida shudder and wrap her shawl around her more tightly" (TSR, Ch. 1). Despite becoming Amyrlin Seat, Elaida is frustrated by her debt to her co-conspirators, and their knowledge of this debt. In an effort to assert her authority, she assigns penances to Sisters, something that is nearly unheard of. Feeling a bit envious of the living quarters of other rulers, Elaida has also commissioned the creation of a palace for the Amyrlin, one that would be taller than the White Tower itself (ACoS, Prologue). Though Elaida's embassy is able to temporarily capture Rand and send word of its success to the White Tower, Rand escapes during the battle of Dumai's Wells. Having heard only of her embassy's success, Elaida arrogantly assembles a force of fifty Aes Sedai to defeat the Black Tower, refusing to believe any rumors about their power, ignoring Alviarin's warnings to the contrary (ACoS, Prologue). After learning of the embassy's rout at Dumai's Wells and realizing that the force sent to the Black Tower is doomed to meet the same fate, Elaida is thoroughly cowed by Alviarin, and follows her directions to sow a bit of disorder in the Tower by seizing angreal from the Green Ajah (ACoS, Ch. 32). Searching for a means through which to dispose of Alviarin, Elaida hits upon the idea of searching the Tower for Black Ajah. She creates a secret committee, headed by Seaine (ACoS, Ch. 32). After a bit of searching, the committee uncovers the ten rebels who returned to Tar Valon through Pevara (TPoD, Ch. 26). Alviarin also has Elaida take private penances for her incompetence. The tables are turned, however, when, through the work of Seaine and company and some political scapegoating, Elaida is able to remove Alviarin as Keeper due to her absence from the Tower. Further, upon her dismissal, Elaida hints that she knows that Alviarin is Black, and sends her fleeing from Tar Valon (CoT, Ch. 21).
- She is annoyed that Tarna does not seem proud to be Keeper (KoD, Ch. 2).
- She expects to have Elayne back in hand shortly (KoD, Ch. 2).
- She instructs Tarna to have the streets cleaned and sewers drained (KoD, Ch. 2).
- She intends to merge the Tower armies with the rebels with Gareth in charge (KoD, Ch. 2).
- Beonin tells her Egwene is a Dreamer and makes many good weaves – one of the reasons she decides to save her (KoD, Ch. 2).
- Beonin teaches Elaida Travelling and Skimming, and Elaida tells her not to teach anyone those weaves (KoD, Ch. 2).
- Beonin betrays the spies; Elaida realizes why Meidani was so keen on renewing friendship and considers it (KoD, Ch. 2).
- She orders that Sitters from Ajahs that fail to send Sisters to the chain tower or from those who go to talks with the rebels should submit to penances (KoD, Ch. 23).
- Elaida orders that Egwene is to attend her and Meidani that night (KoD, Ch. 23).
- Egwene attends Elaida. During the meal, Elaida taunts Meidani (TGS, Ch. 2).
- Elaida considers an fourth oath, of obedience to the Amyrlin Seat (TGS, Ch. 2).
- Elaida dismisses the Seanchan as an invention of Rand (TGS, Ch. 2).
- When Egwene drops the soup, Elaida sends her for punishment (TGS, Ch. 2).
- Elaida has Egwene serve her again, in the company of a group of Sitters (TGS, Ch. 16).
- She and Egwene get into a discussion about her failures and she loses her temper when Egwene claims the Dark one would be ashamed to have her. Whe beats Egwene and orders that it be announced that Egwene is a Darkfriend (TGS, Ch. 16).
- Silviana denounced Elaida and demands her removal. Elaida replaces Silviana as Mistress of Novices, imprisons her, and demands her execution (TGS, Ch. 38).
- Elaida is captured in the Seanchan raid (TGS, Ch. 41).
- The Ajah Heads decide to replace her (TGS, Ch. 43).
- Elaida is brought before Tuon as a marath'damane. She now has the name Suffa and is being trained by Melitene. She offers to give Tuon twenty of the most powerful sisters from the White Tower if she is released, but she is quieted by Melitene. Melitene then has her open a gateway, surprising Tuon with the knowledge of Traveling.(ToM, Ch. 47)
One of the reasons that Elaida's position in the Tower is becoming so precarious is that she really hasn't changed much at all since we first met her as an officious, stubborn, and stern Red. Elaida is extremely arrogant and self-absorbed, which is ultimately her tragic flaw despite her strength in the One Power. She supports ideas only when she conceives of them herself, and she is very set in tradition, believing the White Tower to be effectively invulnerable and ignoring intelligence regarding both the Salidar Aes Sedai and the Black Tower. Her insistence that the Black Tower is a weak entity costs the Tower many sisters, as did her insistence that Rand could be captured and tamed. Further, she unknowingly played directly into the hand of the Black Ajah when Alviarin encouraged her to depose Siuan Sanche.
"Why no oath to obey the Amyrlin? If that simple promise were part of all of us, how much pain and difficulty could we have avoided? Perhaps some revision is in order." (To Meidani; The Gathering Storm, Chapter 2)
"I’d name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you." (Egwene; The Gathering Storm, Chapter 16)