Aes Sedai Lives Shortened by Oath Rod

Posted by Ashen Shugar on 21.01.01 00:00

The Oath Rod of the Aes Sedai has several functions, it would appear to me. For one, it obviously binds them to the Three Oaths. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate. Second, in time it gives them the ageless look associated with Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedai themselves do not recognize the third effect, that the Oath Rod is shortening their lives.

The Kin do not use the Oath Rod they possess. They most likely do this because they do not want to gain the ageless look of Aes Sedai. At the same time, though, they are living longer.

Here is an interesting thought... What if the Oath Rod was initially instituted by the Black Ajah? That would be an excellent way to diminish the number of Aes Sedai, as well as limiting their power in the world.

wotmania says: This is an good theory, one with interesting implications. The idea that the Oath Rod was instituted by the Black Ajah would put an interesting twist on things. Will Egwene be the Amyrlin who discontinues the use of the Oath Rod? That would allow the Aes Sedai to live longer and rise in power. More importantly, it would make them earn respect and trust. This would put things more in line with the Age of Legends, as that Age comes again.



Posted by Arien on 29.03.01 00:00
Correct me if I'm wrong, which I very well could be, but I thought that the ageless appearance of the Aes Sedai had to do with the use of the One Power. At least that is what I was lead to believe throughout the books. While Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne were pretending to be Aes Sedai in The Shadow Rising and The Fires of Heaven, I remember several people (Rand, Mat) thinking that Egwene was starting to resemble Moiraine in that way. Egwene had not used the Oath Rod, so it would have to be a result of channeling. But then again, maybe the boys were just trippin'.

In the name of love,


nobody said it was easy/nobody said it would be this hard

Binder Rod

Posted by Call_me_Tim on 30.05.01 08:42
The Black Ajah didn't initiate use of the Oath Rod. It's original purpose was to bind someone in the form of a sentence, a judgement of law. Semirhage was the renowned healer, called upon world wide to save people from the brink of death. When the Aes Sedai learned of her 'extracurricular' activities while healing, the 'extra bit', as I think she says it to herself, they offer her two choices; stilling or binding. She considers these both unacceptable choices, so turns to the Dark Side.

My guess is, after seeing enough channelers who became bound as punishment by the Rod, and the ageless look it gave them, Aes Sedai pride being what it is and all, they crafted the Three Oaths to have a reason for using the Rod and gaining "The Look".

Certainly, the side effects of being bound by the Rod include the ageless look and a shortening of the inherently long life channelers potentially enjoy. Mesaana was well over three hundred years old at the point of the Breaking, and was considered just into her middle years.

Elayne has it all but figured out, but there's a new problem. Siuan now has Egwene convinced that the Oath Rod is what makes Aes Sedai what they are. Perhaps some time with the Kin, some elder Windfinders, and other aged channelers who aren't bound to the Rod will help change Egwene's mind back.


Call me Tim

Ageless Appearance = Prolonged use of the one power

Posted by Stevo746 on 30.06.01 02:47
It is mentioned, in book 5, when Nynaeve and Elayne meet the Whitecloaks while using their guise as dye traders, that they didn't yet have the ageless appearance associated with the prolonged use of the OP. It's not because of the Oath Rod.

None of the female forsaken has the ageless look

Posted by Bengan on 03.08.01 09:01
There are more women than Aes Sedai that has channeled for a long time, the Kin, the Wise Ones, the Windfinders, the Damanes and the Forsaken... no one has the ageless look, except the Aes Sedai

The only difference is that Aes Sedais use their Oath Rod...

Also, in the Age of Legends, criminals were "bound" somehow to not commit crime. Now, why wouldnt they just bind everyone to that?
Maybe because they knew that binding someone to an oath (using one of the Oath Rods) would shorten their lives, and distort their faces in a way that everyone would recognize a criminal?

I believe that the Oath Rod that the Aes Sedai have only works on women who can channel, but since there was nine rods, most likely some of them could be used to bind "commoners"


Posted by Gandalv the Gray on 18.08.01 17:41
My thoughts exactly. Period.

Gandalv the Gray

Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends
Faithful servant of the Creator
Bringer-back of Moiraine
Decapitator of Myrddraal and their Kin

Semirhage has said as much

Posted by ps on 01.09.01 11:46

Here's a quote

(LoC: Threads Woven of Shadow):

"... to be bound and never to know her pleasures again, and with that binding be able to see the end of life approach ..."

Another Quote

Posted by Luthair Paendrag on 04.09.01 17:01
I'm sorry I don't have the reference before me right now, but I remember distinctly when one of the Forsaken was ranting about the worthlessness of today's "Aes Sedai," the comment was made that "They bind themselves like criminals..."

I assume you all remember that quote, but I was just surprised that it hadn't been brought up here.

As for the Ageless features, well, remeber that whenever they talk about someone "Achieving the ageless look that comes with long use of the Power," that is coming from someone's PoV. Everyone in WoTWorld thinks that Channeling brings about the ageless look. They've thought this for thousands of years. They don't know that the Oath Rod is the reason for it, so when they are thinking about it, they think of the Power as the reason for it. There are plenty of times when the narration from one character's point of view is wrong or mistaken, mostly when one character makes an assumption about what another character is thinking or feeling. There's no surprise that, prior to CoS, the characters would think of the agelessness as an effect of the Power.

I hope this stuff clears some things up without being too painfully obvious... just some points that I thought should be brought up.

here's what i think

Posted by nimvin on 09.10.01 19:11
I believe the oath rod is what causes the ageless look in Aes Sedai and I also believe that the Oath Rod shortens their lifespans. However, hee's a question. When Siuan and Leane are stilled, they look young again, but when the AS (don't remember their names, but it was in PoD and WH) in the Tower free themselves of the Oaths, they don't become younger looking. So I have a dilemma, is it the One Power or is it the fact that they Bind themselves (which I still believe it is even though I have found this contradiction too my theory.)


Aes Sedai Lives Shortened by Oath Rod

Posted by gazgil on 22.10.01 07:13
I agree the oath rod shortens their lifes because of the stress of telling the "truth" all the time. They just get plain tired of skirting around. I believe it is the long use of the power that gives them the ageless look and long life.

Lurker Extraordinaire
mother to siamese cats Monty and Cleo

my thoughts....

Posted by Sigone Sedai on 17.12.01 16:01
My thoughts exactly Luthair Paendrag.

I think that not holding the Oath Rod is why the Forsaken do not have the ageless look, definately not prolonged use of the One Power.

Sigone Sedai

Rods are shorter then they appear

Posted by Melanie Sedai on 19.05.02 20:51
I think the Oath Rod shorten's Aes Sedai lives, all of the other cultures of women who channel, the Wise Ones, the Wind Finders, and especially the Kin, who have not taken the Three Oaths have been known to live much longer then any Aes Sedai, so much so that the Sisters are shocked by the age of some of the Kin. The fact that these women can live so much longer and yet still look only middle aged, shows some proof that it just may be the stress of the Rod that causes Aes Sedai to die sooner.

Just a little note I thought up of,
Melanie Sedai

Black Ajah and the Oath Rod...

Posted by malkieriborn on 10.07.02 17:19
It seems to me that if the Black Ajah originally instituted the use of the Oath Rod-intending to shorten the lives of the non-darkfriend Aes Sedai, there would be one of two consequences. Which consequence would be based on whether, after freeing themselves of the oaths, they swear new oaths using the Oath Rod. Since all darkfriends swear oaths to the shadow, in the Black Ajah's case, the question would be whether or not they swear those darkfriend oaths using the Oath Rod or even if they have a separate set of Black Ajah oaths swarn on said ter'angreal.
A. If after releasing themselves of the oaths, they swear no more on the Oath Rod, do they then not gain the agelessness? If that is the case, they would be flagging themselves as darkfriends when no signs of agelessness appeared.
B. If they do re-swear on the Oath Rod, they would be cutting their own lives short as well. If the Black Ajah did instate use of the Oath Rod to shorten the lives of other Aes Sedai, it seems backwards that they would then suffer the same consequences themselves.

Perhaps the real question is: what about the Oath Rod is it that has an effect on lifespan? Is it being bound by it for a prolonged period of time, or simply using it? Or is it even the Oath Rod itself that has the additional effects of agelessness appearance and shorter life? It seems more palpable that it is a combination of things that has these side effects. The Kin for example do seem to have some of the ageless effects of Aes Sedai (although subtler). Some Aes Sedai (such as Cadsuane) do live to be as old as some of the Kin. It seems to me that there are too many exceptions for there to be one clear cut answer to the question of Oath Rod side effects.
...of course...that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.

Oath Rod is actually a binding rod used for punishment

Posted by memsurs on 23.10.02 11:53
To consolidate some of the preceeding comments:

A few quotes from LOC: Threads Woven of Shadow

Demandred's point of view:
" emandred>'Do they bind themselves like criminals?' ... she had not reasoned it out... Few people in their time had ever commited one violent crime, let alone more"

later, Graendal's point of view:
" It would be interesting to discover how he had found out about the binding. She herself would never have learned had Mesaana not made a rare slip while venting her anger...she did not realize how much she had revealed. How long had Mesaana been tucked away inside the White Tower?"

and finally, Semirhage's point of view:
"Hall of Servants had offered her a choice that was no choice: to be bound never to know her pleasures again, and with that binding be able to see the end of her life approach

and I think it was Lanfear that said "They bind themselves like criminals"

From these, we can see that repeated violent criminals were punished with a binding. This binding does shorten their lifespan noticeably. It isn't a big jump to assume that the binding they are talking about is the Oath Rod, so it is the binding of the Oath Rod that shortens their life. I am not convinced yet though, that it is the Oath Rod that gives the Aes Sedai their ageless appearance. If so, I would assume that any of the Forsaken would know immedialtly about the binding just by looking at any Aes Sedai. On the contrary, the impression from Graendal and Demandred is that they assumed the other person didn't know about the binding, which I don't' think they would have assumed if the Agelessness was a distinctive characteristic of the binding.

Its all about the amount of power.

Posted by Jehu Elohim on 26.11.02 12:06

Ok heres my theroy, the oath Rod means nothing in terms of how long women can live while able to touch the sorce.
Look at all the groups of women who can chanel. First the Kin, live the longest, and touch the sorce the least. 2nd, those women from over the Sea in Chains, they only chanel in war time, yes theres always been reblion and war there, but with the amout of women chaneling, each women only chanels verry little. Next we have the wise women,from the "black eyed savages" who chanel not much at all, but more then the others and seem to live along time, yet not as long as the kin. Then theres the women from the White Tower, they chanel all the time, or so it seems, and they have the shortest life of all the women. Cuaduse (pradon my spelling but i do not have the books in front of me) seems to chanel verry little, and is the oldest and seems to have much life left in her. Unlike, (darn i cant rember her name) but the Sisiter whos blood sister was killed, seems to be nearing then end of her life. Of course this is all subjective sincewe do not know to what extend each of these women chanel, but you get the idea.
How ever if we find out that Sea Folk wind finders live along time, well my theory in junk and I am sorry for talking up space on the net. But if dose mention the lenght of life for a Wind Finder and I missed it, please some one let me know.
Jehu Elohim

I agree

Posted by Snarl of the Wolf King on 02.12.02 09:11
i agree with the theory that the Oath Rod shortens the lives of Aei Sedai, but i think that it may be a good idea that they don't live as long as they could. I mean, who would want a horrible person like Eailda running around for a thousand years, pulling strings and making life in general harder for everyone else?

Snarl of the Wolf King

Golden Eyes
Shining in the Night
A Wolf in soul
if not in body
I run with the Pack
I fight with my teeth
I fear none.

Snarl of the Wolf King

As the darkness deepens
Young Bull waits,
the fires of his anger
burning bright in the night
His eyes glowing golden
Ax shimmering with the cold moonlight;
Young Bull crouches
awaiting the Dawn


Posted by readalotawot on 11.11.04 12:19
First off the kin dont use anything associated with the one power out of fear they they thought the agless look was from Aes Sedei near omnipotence,which of course they are not. Now on the Black Ajah they did not exist until the Trolloc Wars,and Aes Sedei had already been swearing on the Outh Rod for a thousand years.

not true

Posted by andy_nintendo on 20.05.05 00:00
Cadsuane's life has definatly not been shortened any by the oath rod.


There are only 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Sammael ans Graendel

Posted by La Mett on 28.12.05 10:58
LoC- pgs 179-180; 182-183

Clear references to the Oathe Rod being used as a binding punishment in the Age of Legends. Semirhage was given this sentence, yet escaped by going to Shayol Ghul.