A similar entry appears in the Wheel of Time Companion. Other information about the character is also included in the Companion, but we did not use it in the TarValon.Net Library.
Author: Sonea Ilandred
The Amyrlin Seat
The Amyrlin Seat is the Aes Sedai charged with leading the White Tower and Tar Valon. It is generally thought that the Amyrlin is one of the most, if not the most powerful ruler within the lands. She sits on a chair called the Amyrlin Seat, having been raised to it from any of the seven Ajahs. A new Amyrlin is normally raised when the previous one dies, as the role is one taken for the rest of that Aes Sedai’s life. Exceptions have occurred when Amyrlins have been deposed, like Siuan Sanche. Elected by all seven Ajahs, it is her role to rule over the Hall and Tar Valon, though it is expected that all decisions are discussed with the Hall prior to being made law (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24).
The Amyrlin and the White Tower
The Amyrlin is deemed to be of no Ajah, wearing a seven striped stole that represents all of the Ajahs. On her raising, she leaves her Ajah behind and becomes the face of the Tower itself (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24). Her relations with the Ajahs, even her own previous Ajah, are often delicate (CoT, Ch. 19). The Keeper of the Chronicles is normally raised from the same Ajah when a new Amyrlin is chosen (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24). The breakdown of the Ajahs from which Amyrlins have been raised is as follows:
(Numbers from TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24).
As the head of the White Tower, the Amyrlin is expected to liaise with the Sitters of the Hall, therefore maintaining the strength of the Tower; because the Amyrlin Seat is seen as only a first among equals in the Hall of the Tower, this balance is very important (CoT, Ch. 19). It has been suggested that the reason Siuan Sanche was deposed was because she failed to maintain the balance. It has also been suggested that her youth was at fault, being the youngest Amyrlin raised at that time (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24).
Since the Breaking of the World, only 3 Amyrlins have been officially stripped of the stole and stilled. Tetsuan was the first; it is rumored that she aided in the betrayal of Manetheren during the Trolloc Wars. Bonwhin Meraighdin was stilled for attempting to manipulate Artur Hawkwing. Tetsuan and Bonwhim were both of the Red Ajah (TGH, Ch. 5; TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24). Siuan Sanche, as mentioned earlier, was the third. However, while these are the only three Amyrlins to have ever been stilled, others have been removed from office and exiled. Shein Chunla, who attempted to rule the Hall with an iron hand but ended up being ruled by the Hall itself, was removed, along with the Hall, by the remainder of the Aes Sedai. Although she supposedly died of natural causes, she was actually sent into exile, where she was smothered in her bed fifty-one years later, when a plot to restore her to the Amyrlin Seat was uncovered. Aside from Shein, five other mutinies have occurred, with the Aes Sedai pulling down incompetent Amyrlins and Halls (KoD, Ch. 24).
Elisane Tishar is stated to have been the first Amyrlin in 98 AB; however, this date is not entirely accurate as it is thought that she ruled in this position for several years before it was recorded. This Amyrlin was in power over 100 years before the White Tower was finished (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 9).
List of Amyrlins
- Main article: List of Amyrlins
The Amyrlin Seat Today
- Year 999 NE: Elaida a'Roihan, raised from the Red Ajah – The White Tower in Tar Valon
- Year 999 NE: Egwene al'Vere, not raised from any Ajah – The White Tower in Exile
The division of the Tower into two factions in 999 NE is the first in the history of the Tower. Both factions believe that they are the rightful Tower and claim the authority to name their own Amyrlin, who should have power over all Aes Sedai. Obviously, this divide has damaged the relations of the Aes Sedai and the foundations of the White Tower itself (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24).