Wheel of Time (Culture)

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Nations and Nationalities

The Westlands

Main article: Nations of the New Era

Although the lands of the Westlands, from the Aiel Waste to the Aryth Ocean are diverse with many nations, there are some aspects that are common throughout. Nobility rule in each land, which were formed in the War of the Hundred Years. Most nations have a strong sense of self identity, with Murandy and Altara being the exceptions, in which people more often associate themselves with the local Lord or lady than the king or Queen

There is little if any formal education, though literacy rates are high and many people are able to read and typically parents teach children or send them to locals known to be knowledgeable. Sometimes a village might hire a sort of schoolmaster, but usually the parents between them have enough knowledge to teach most subjects to the extent necessary (November 22 2005).

Other Cultures

The Aiel
Main article: Aiel

The Aiel are a people who inhabit the area of the Dragonwall known as the Aiel Waste. They have no nobility and are ruled by Clan chiefs, one for each of the twelve clans, with Sept Chiefs under them and Wise Ones and Roofmistresses alongside. The leaders of each of the Warrior Societies also have great influence.

The Sea Folk
Main article: Sea Folk

The Atha'an Miere, or Seafolk, are a group of people whose ancestors fled to the sea to escape the chaos of the Breaking and who now live almost exclusively at sea, spending little time on land. Those who do spend time on land, such as the governors of the various Sea Folk Islands will return to sea to give birth, even if this is on a small row boat (TSR, Ch. 19). In both the Aryth Ocean and the Sea of Storms, there are many Islands under the control of the Sea Folk, the Sea Folk Isles. Porcelain from them is highly thought of, though in fact, this so called "Sea Folk porcelain" is made by the islands inhabitants, the Amayar. They have a strict hierarchy and each knows their place and would not step beyond it.

Seanchan
Main article: Seanchan

The Seanchan empire has a complex class structure. At the top is the nobility, the Blood, divided into the High blood and the Low Blood (WH, Ch. 21). Originally, these were descendants of the nobles that accompanied Luthair, but it is possible for commoners to have their name added to the Blood and to become nobility, or for nobles to be adopted into the Imperial family (TPoD, Ch. 24). The Imperial family rank above both of these. Under the blood, are commoners with slaves, da'covale, typically occupying the lowest rung of the ladder. So'jhin are da'covale, but do not fit entirely within the structure, as the so'jhin of the blood are considered of higher rank than commoners, and so'jhin of the high blood, or imperial family are often considered of higher rank than the low blood. Seanchan people do not meet the eyes of those of higher rank than them, and if the difference is great, they will not even look directly into their eyes.

The Tua'athon
Main article: Tuatha'an

The Tuatha'an, commonly called the Tinkers or the Traveling people, are a group of itinerant wanders, living in wagons, small houses on wheels, tall wooden boxes laquered and painted in bright colours, reds and blues and yellows and greens among other hues. They follow a pacifist way of life, moving from place to place, avoiding anything larger than a small village, never staying long in any one place, seeking the song, which they believe will bring back the lost days of peace. They have the origins in the Dai'shan Aiel during the Age of Legends

Military

Main article: Military Force

Most standing national armies are small, a few thousand men at most and are only increased when needed, This is done though intermediaries, who use their own money to recruit and promote men in their own ranks (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 26). Outside of the Westlands however, other national groups have much larger organised forces

Other Groups

In addition to the national groups, there are several other groups, that either span across multiple nations, or are a distinct and separate subset of one nation.

Aes Sedai
Main article: Aes Sedai

Aes Sedai are women who can channel and have been trained in the White Tower of Tar Valon. They have passed the tests for earning both the ring and the shawl and are bound by the Three Oaths. Each Aes Sedai belongs to one of the seven Ajahs (more information below), with the exception of the Amyrlin Seat.

Children of the Light
Main article: Children of the Light

A military organisation, formed during the chaos of the War of the Hundred Years, dedicated to seeking out and exposing Darkfriends.

The Ogier
Main article: Ogier

The Ogier are the only natural, non-human sentient people known. They originally came from another world, via a device or method called the "Book of Translation" which they are considering opening again so that they may leave (KoD, Ch. 19). Ogier have no particular country or region of their own and live in secluded woodland homes called stedding. The exact properties of stedding are unknown but generally they are made up of trees and groves. There is a restful feeling inside the stedding, the air is different somehow and all seems fresh and more peaceful.

The Illuminators
Main article: Illuminators

The Illuminators were a guild that made fireworks, a secret they guarded closely. At the start of the series, there were two chapter houses, one in Cairhien and the original in Tanchico. The Cairhien house burned down while Rand was escaping Trollocs (TGH, Ch. 27) and the Tanchico house was destroyed by the Seanchan when the Illuminators there refused them entrance and the members made da'covale (KoD, Ch. 8).

Darkfriends
Main article: Darkfriends

Darkfriends are people who believe they can gain from the Dark One's freedom. They seek power and immortality in the world the Dark One will remake and generally fear the Dark One and their other masters (TGH, Prologue).

Dragonsworn
Main article: Dragonsworn

Dragonsworn is the general name given to those who have sworn themselves to Rand al'Thor, whether or not he has recognised them, or even if they think of themselves by that term.

The Prophet's Mobs
Main article: Masema Dagar

These are people who follow Masema as the Prophet of the Dragon who believe the rebirth of the Dragon means that all bonds have been broken and that those who oppose them are Darkfriends. The mobs were crushed in the attack on Malden and presumably dispersed completely once he was killed.

Miscellaneous

Calendars

Main article: Farede Calendar
Main article: Feasts and Festivals

Weights and Measures

Main article: Measurement

Food

Main article: Food

Costume and Dress

Main article: Costume and Dress

Music and Literature