Mistress of Novices

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Author: Myriam Drendi

This article is about the role of Mistress of Novices in the Wheel of time series. A position with the same name used to exist at TarValon.Net, if you wish to read that article see Mistress of Novices.

Currently at TarValon.Net there is another position corresponding to the Mistress of Novices, you can read more about it here Mistress of Novices and Recruits.

Jobs and Duties

The Mistress of Novices in the White Tower is in charge of all the novices and Accepted. She acts as both confidant and disciplinarian (NS, Ch. 5). When a novice or Accepted finds that they have broken the rules, they are usually told by an Aes Sedai to report to the Mistress of Novices, who hands out punishment. Punishment ranges from a lecture to a severe switching, and extra chores are usually involved (TGH, Ch. 24). However, she is also there if a new novice finds Tower life too difficult, and needs some comforting (NS, Ch. 5). The Mistress of Novices is generally kinder to novices who come to her for problems than Accepted, as it is expected that Accepted will know better (TDR, Ch. 13; TFoH, Ch. 15; LoC, Prologue).

It is the Mistress of Novices who determines when a novice or Accepted is ready to be tested, or if the novice will be put out of the Tower for good (NS, Ch. 3; CoT, Ch. 17). The Mistress of Novices is also present for both of these testings (NS, Ch. 9; TGH, Ch. 23}; TDR, Ch. 22). She has the final say for all novices and Accepted, and can even go against the Amyrlin Seat when it comes to her charges (NS, Ch. 5).

The Mistress of Novices' Study

Every Mistress of Novices has a different personality, and different taste from the previous one, so the study varies slightly in appearance over time. In general, however, the study today would still be recognizeable to a woman who was a novice one or two hundred years ago (NS, Ch. 5).

The study itself is located near the novices’ quarters, and only one level below the Amyrlin’s study. The hallway leading up to it is wide, with red and green floor tiles and blue runners. The door is plain, sandwiched between two bright wall hangings. Most of the study is plain as well. The walls are paneled in dark wood, and most of the furniture is sturdy and unadorned. A narrow tea-table sits beside the door, slightly carved with a strange pattern on the legs. A mirror with faded fragments of gilding on its frame sits on a wall. Against the opposite wall is a narrow cabinet where the strap, switch, and slipper are kept. A desk or writing table is located in the room, which is where the Mistress of Novices does most of her work. A stool is placed in front of the table for any novice or Accepted to sit on when they’re called into the study (NS, Ch. 5).

Even though it is known by all what takes place inside the study, no one ever makes reference to it. What happens in the study, stays in the study (NS, Ch. 5).

Recent Mistresses of Novices