Essay for Raising to Accepted: Kyla

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Author: Kyla Sterling

What Was - You will write an essay explaining which of the lost Talents from the Age of Legends would best suit three mid-main, non-Aes Sedai (non-channelers) female characters from the books in your opinion

The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

Although many of Jordan's strongest female characters are Aes Sedai, with all the power that entails, he does make use of several non-channeling women. Some of these women, I feel, would benefit from being able to use lost Talents from the Age of Legends.

Sevanna, for example, with her lust for power, would benefit from the use of Compulsion. Although a few Aes Sedai in the books use Compulsion of some sort (e.g. Verin's put-together interrogation technique and Moiraine's insurance that Lan would reach Myrelle), the Forsaken scoff at this as but a weak echo of what Compulsion was really like. Sevanna could use this Talent on the other Shaido Wise Ones as they begin to question her authority as clan chief.

Another non-channeler who could stand to use a "lost Talent" is Birgitte. Since Birgitte the entity was bound to the Horn of Valere in Tel'aran'rhiod and has since lost that ability, I believe that Dreaming could be of use to her as she helps Elayne and the others to fight against the Shadow. Now I know that Dreaming has become a common tool in the books, but until Egwene al'Vere, the White Tower had not had a Dreamer in over four hundred years and had believed the Talent lost (TWoRJTWoT, 213). While some other Aes Sedai have since entered the World of Dreams, they must use ter'angreal, and Aiel Dreamwalkers are something the Tower is still wary of. Birgitte's knowledge of the Unseen World and its workings could prove invaluable

Finally, I think that Aludra, everyone's favorite Illuminator, could benefit from the Talent known only as "Spinning Earthfire." I believe this Talent to be what was employed by the Asha'man at the battle of Dumai's Wells, but it has as yet been unrediscovered by female channelers. Theories abound that Mat will discover gunpowder before the series ends, and Egwene's dreams and his association with Aludra point to this. Egwene sees Mat "with a woman who seemed to be tossing fireworks around" (TDR 423). Surely the lost Talent mentioned above would be a useful tool for any Illuminator, especially one that seems to be interested in making weapons (this is my theory on why she wants a bellfounder).

If non-channelers were able to use those Talents lost long ago, I think that these three women would benefit the most from their use. They all have reasons for their use, and two of the three would likely benefit the side of the Light in Tar'mon Gai'don.

What Is - You will write an essay about how the Game of the Houses, while openly accepted and played, is also a factor in at least three other Nations in the books. Explain the similarities and how it affects the nation and culture in general.

The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

The Game of Houses, Daes Dae'mar, an inextricable part of Cairhienin culture, is not exclusive to that nation alone. Far from it, in fact. Most nations outside the Borderlands, and indeed several individuals, play the Great Game.

The first and perhaps most obvious use of Daes Dae'mar is in Andor, especially during Successions. In normal times, the great Houses ally with one another for benefit, and the minor Houses ally with great Houses hoping that some of the rewards will trickle down to them. During upheavals, like Successions or the unrest early in the series involving Andor's connection to Tar Valon, the larger Houses often stand against each other, only joining together when it is clear that neither will win alone. The minor Houses often become pawns, and their worth lies only in how many each side has allied to them.

Tar Valon and the White Tower also play the Great Game, though Aes Sedai often seem to play the Game of Nations rather than the Game of Houses. In fact, some say that it was Aes Sedai who invented the Game (TWoRJTWoT, 213). Tar Valon, with Aes Sedai advisors in most nations, knows more of the inner workings of any one nation than any other, and often uses this when dealing with one or another ruler. Tar Valon has also, in some cases, stood behind a candidate for rulership, albeit not always openly. Moiraine, at that time newly raised to the Blue Ajah, might become the Tower's candidate for the Sun Throne of Cairhien.

Finally, Seanchan is a player at the Great Game, though it has little outward appearance. Seanchan would have the rest of the world believe that their infrastructure and hierarchy is set in stone, but it is made clear that beneath the surface, everyone down to the common soldiers is jockeying for a higher position. Being raised to the Blood is something that every common man strives for, and the Blood try to be raised to the High Blood, and the High Blood to outdo each other for the favor of the Empress. Even the children of the Empress play the Game among themselves, as Tuon mentions having survived some assassination attempts and losing siblings to others. Egeanin talked of working her way up the ranks until she was the Hand of the Empress at Sea and was amazed to be raised to the Blood and Captain of the Green almost a decade before she should have been "eligible" (WH 483).

The Great Game is widely played and seldom understood, but after Cairhien, these three nations come the closest to playing it the best.

What Will Be - What are you looking forward to most about becoming an Accepted?

The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

What I look forward to most about becoming one of the Accepted is similar to what I wanted most from novicehood...friendship.

When I became a novice, I was looking forward to meeting people I had not talked to as a citizen, and I did so. I made many friends, including two near-sisters, neither of whom I had ever had any association with before joining the Tower.

Now, I have many close friends in the Tower. Many are Senior Members, spread out over all the Ajahs. I have made good acquaintances with Blues, Browns, Grays, Greens, Reds, Whites and Yellows. I have been friends with many novices who are now Accepted of the Blues, Greens, and Reds. I am still very close friends with many of the novices I came in with and who came in after me, and even members of the city who are not yet a part of the Tower.

As an Accepted, I am looking forward to taking the next step and becoming a small part of an Ajah. While I hope to remain friends with those girls who I separate from as we split in seven different directions, I am eagerly anticipating finding a group of women with whom I have much in common, with whom I can talk to about anything at any time and who I can truly come to believe are my Ajah Sisters by the time I am ready to be Raised to the Shawl.

I very much hope that being Accepted will not cause me to lose the friendships I have among the novices, but I also hope that being Accepted will allow me to make new friendships and strengthen existing ones.