From Tar Valon Library
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
There is a saying that the Wheel of Time turns around Tar Valon, and Tar Valon turns around the Tower, and the second part, at least, is very true (TSR, Ch. 1). The White Tower rises above every other building in Tar Valon, and can be seen for miles in every direction. Despite the White Tower's importance, however, few people go nearer than a hundred paces unless they have business with the Tower (NS, Ch. 13).
The White Tower is a thick, bone-white tower that rises about a hundred spans into the air. The roof is flat topped with a waist-high railing. The Tower is so huge that never since it was built has it been fully occupied (NS, Ch. 4; TWoRJTWoT).
- Main article: Formation of the White Tower
In the year 47 AB, it was decided to build a new city as then center of their power, though the building did not begin until the year 98 AB. The name "White Tower" had been used for almost thirty years before the construction work started. The Aes Sedai employed the Ogier stone-masons and gave them free rein on many of the buildings in Tar Valon, because they "recognized the brilliance of the largely organic forms the Ogier created;" the White Tower is the only known construction to be designed by Aes Sedai.
The bottom half of the Tower is occupied by the main Hall of the Tower and all other common rooms (TWoRJTWoT). The communal areas of the Tower are done in all the colors of the Ajahs, though in the private Ajah quarters, some colors may be missing altogether. The Ajah quarters, which are located in the top half of the Tower, are seven pie-shaped sections that contain living quarters for the Aes Sedai. There is room in the White Tower for three thousand Aes Sedai (NS, Ch. 3; TWoRJTWoT).
The Accepted's quarters are located on stone-railed galleries in a hollow well. In the middle of the well is a small garden that is located three levels below; it is only a handful of evergreen bushes. There are two Accepted galleries that can hold nearly two hundred Accepted, as well as two for the novices, which can hold nearly four hundred. The novice and Accepted quarters are located in a palace-like structure attached to the back of the main tower (NS, Ch. 3; TWoRJTWoT).
Some of the sections of the White Tower have been moved, as The Pattern has begun to fray (This passage needs a reference).
The Tower Library
The White Tower contains the greatest library in the known world. While it is considered a part of the White Tower, it is actually in a separate building behind the Tower (CoT, Ch. 21; TWoRJTWoT). It is only partially open to outsiders and is rumored to have as many secret rooms as it does public ones (TDR, Ch. 26; TWoRJTWoT). The library is divided into twelve different depositories, each for a different subject. The ninth depository, which is the smallest, is dedicated to arithmetic. The depositories are long, oval rooms with flattened domes for ceilings. They are filled with rows of wooden shelves, with narrow walkways four paces from the ground and tall ladders on wheels (CoT, Ch. 21).
There are many specific areas of the White Tower. These include
- Ajah Rooms
- Novice quarters
- Accepted quarters
- The Kitchens
- The Oval Lecture hall
- The Traitor's Court
- The Hall of the Tower