Within the realm of “The Wheel of Time,” the Aes Sedai find themselves wielding immense power while continually navigating a perilous existence. Their formidable abilities and wealth of knowledge place them squarely at the center of numerous conflicts. The resolute defense mounted by Moiraine, portrayed by Rosamund Pike, as she confronts the Trolloc onslaught in the Two Rivers through the utilization of the One Power, vividly underscores the coveted presence of Aes Sedai in such dire circumstances. This society of women possesses a unique prowess to vanquish adversaries, and when united in sufficient numbers, they become an indomitable force. Even the dreaded Fades prove powerless against the might of the One Power.
Nonetheless, the Aes Sedai are pursued relentlessly due to their formidable capabilities. The Whitecloaks, for instance, relentlessly pursue Aes Sedai, making it their mission to apprehend and eliminate them. Despite their danger, these individuals are, fundamentally, men who can be overcome through the formidable application of the One Power. The men who can channel, however, emerge as a notable threat. In the case of Logain, portrayed by Álvaro Morte, a fierce struggle ensues during his attempted gentling, resulting in significant casualties among the Aes Sedai and their associates who endeavor to secure his release.
Yet, none of these adversaries possess the capacity to dismantle the entire Aes Sedai society ensconced within Tar Valon. Furthermore, they scarcely present a substantial challenge to the most potent channelers within the White Tower. Nevertheless, the specter of danger shadows every Aes Sedai, even within the confines of their own sanctuary, as the secretive machinations of the Black Ajah threaten them from within. Comprising Aes Sedai who have betrayed their kin and now serve the Dark One’s cause, the Black Ajah occupies a perilous position, capable of sowing discord and havoc from the very heart of the White Tower.
What Does the Black Ajah Mean in ‘The Wheel of Time’?
Aes Sedai divide their roles based on Ajahs, each represented by a color. Accepted individuals select an Ajah aligned with their abilities, such as healing or combat. Once they attain full Aes Sedai status, they proudly display their chosen Ajah’s color and answer to its leaders for life, unless they’re stilled. The Amyrlin Seat, the Aes Sedai leader, is the sole exception without an Ajah initially, though she does have one before assuming her role. Aes Sedai can belong to the Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, White, Brown, or Gray Ajahs. However, there’s an unofficial, concealed option within the White Tower: the Black Ajah. Aes Sedai who forsake the Tower’s principles to align with the Dark One become part of the Black Ajah, often concealing their true affiliation by pretending to be in another Ajah.
While Aes Sedai from the White Tower employ their powers to safeguard the world, the Black Ajah actively work against their fellow Aes Sedai. Upon becoming Aes Sedai, every woman swears the Three Oaths, preventing them from lying, creating weapons, or using the One Power as a weapon against humans. However, those in the Black Ajah renounce these oaths, granting them unrestrained capabilities. Many within the White Tower dismiss the existence of these secretive adversaries, finding the notion of betrayal by a fellow sister inconceivable. They are in for a startling revelation.
Who in ‘The Wheel of Time’ Belongs to the Black Ajah?
The Black Ajah essentially consists of Aes Sedai who are aligned with the Dark One and, as a result, aim to conceal their true identities. However, one member, Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood), has openly revealed her allegiance. Operating discreetly, she poses as a Red sister, though her true intentions become evident when she attacks Nynaeve (Zoë Robins), Egwene (Madeleine Madden), and Elayne (Ceara Coveney) in Season 2, “Daughter of the Night.” Liandrin also aids the Dark One by manipulating Mat (Dónal Finn), keeping him separated from his friends, and making promises to Min (Kae Alexander) before arranging a meeting with Ishamael (Fares Fares), the most formidable Forsaken.
While no other Black Ajah member has disclosed their identity, it remains challenging to discern who may have aligned with the Dark One, particularly since the Black Ajah possesses the ability to violate the Three Oaths binding the Aes Sedai. The opening scene of Season 2 depicts a gathering between Ishamael and Darkfriends, with one individual wearing an Aes Sedai serpent ring. While this could potentially be Liandrin, insufficient information is available to confirm this. Nevertheless, it seems improbable that Liandrin operates alone. The Dark One extends an enticing offer of even greater power to Aes Sedai, rendering it a tempting proposition. With numerous Aes Sedai in existence, the possibility of others turning to the Black Ajah remains a looming question mark.
What Constitutes the Threat of the Black Ajah to the Aes Sedai in ‘The Wheel of Time’?
In “The Wheel of Time,” various threats exist, but few truly endanger a powerful channeler or the entire White Tower. However, the enigmatic Black Ajah does. Concealing their identities, they possess deep knowledge of the White Tower’s secrets, continually expanding their grasp. Fortunately, the division of responsibilities among the Ajahs prevents any single sister from acquiring a complete understanding. Yet, the denial of their existence hinders official precautions to safeguard the White Tower. Undeniably, the Black Ajah stirs trouble in Robert Jordan’s novels.
Operating within the ranks of Aes Sedai, these individuals manipulate loyal sisters while covertly undermining their peers, jeopardizing the organization’s stability. Beyond the conspicuous threat posed by figures like Liandrin, subtler agents may lurk within the White Tower. The presence of even one Black Ajah member raises questions about trust. With an unknown number of Darkfriends inside the White Tower, Ishamael and the Dark One gain access to previously inaccessible information. The existence of the Black Ajah places our heroes in a more precarious situation, as their potential allies diminish. The true extent of this danger remains shrouded, with few adequately prepared to confront this insidious problem.
Catch new episodes of “The Wheel of Time” Season 2, streaming every Friday on Prime Video.