Warning: Spoilers for The Wheel of Time season 2, episode 5
- The Wheel of Time introduces the Black Ajah, a secret faction within the Aes Sedai, who serve the Dark One and operate in the shadows.
- Liandrin, portrayed by Kate Fleetwood, is confirmed to be a member of the Black Ajah and is under the command of Ishamael, a member of the Forsaken.
- Black Sisters like Liandrin can break the Three Oaths that bind regular Aes Sedai, as they have sworn the Black Oaths instead. This allows them to go against the rules without consequence.
The Wheel of Time has revealed the existence of the Black Ajah, a mysterious organization in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books. The disappearances of Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne in have provoked the interest of Meera Syal’s Verin Mathwin, whose actions threaten to expose a hidden threat within the White Tower. Mentioned by name in The Wheel of Time season 2, episode 5, titled “Damane,” the Black Ajah are an extremely formidable group of villains in the source material.
Events in season 2 have proven that villains in The Wheel of Time are hardly in short supply. In addition to dealing with Darkfriends, Fades, and Trollocs, the main characters are also having to contend with the Forsaken, a powerful team of ancient channelers loyal to the Dark One. Through a new storyline centered on Verin, The Wheel of Time is laying the groundwork for the Black Ajah to be new adversaries for the main Wheel of Time characters. And, based on what Verin has surmised and what happens in the books, at least one Black Ajah member is already on the show.
The Black Ajah Are A Secret, Rogue Branch Of The Aes Sedai
In Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books, the Aes Sedai are divided up into seven colors: Blue, Brown, Red, White, Green, and Yellow, and Gray. Unofficially though, there’s an eighth faction of the Aes Sedai within the White Tower that call themselves the Black Ajah. The Black Ajah are Aes Sedai who became Darkfriends at some point in their lives. Having sworn their allegiance to the Dark One, members of the Black Ajah don’t openly oppose the Amyrlin Seat and instead seek to sow dissent and operate in the shadows. As for where they get their orders from, the Black Ajah functions as an arm of the Forsaken.
Because of their secretive nature, Black Sisters wear the colors of whatever official Aes Sedai faction they formally belong to in the books. In Wheel of Time lore, the Black Ajah have found so much success in keeping a low profile that the Aes Sedai in the White Tower aren’t sure that they even exist. This was evident during “Damane” when one of Verin’s friends expressed bewilderment when she realized that the Black Ajah might actually be real.
Liandrin Is A Member Of The Black Ajah
As the show has already heavily implied, Kate Fleetwood’s Liandrin – like her book counterpart – is a member of the Black Ajah. After betraying the three girls, she acknowledged her servitude to the Dark One to Nynaeve. Though she has yet to directly mention her status as a Black Ajah, two details confirm her association with them, one of which being her partnership with Ishamael. Liandrin working for a member of the Forsaken is consistent with the books, considering that’s who gives them their orders. As a Black Sister, Liandrin is expected to do as Ishamael says since he’s essentially the Dark One’s second-in-command. Another detail that confirms Liandrin’s Black Ajah membership is her ability to attack the girls.
The Black Ajah Can Break The Three Oaths
As Nynaeve noted, Liandrin using the One Power against her, Elayne, and Egwene is a violation of the Three Oaths. That’s because Black Sisters have sworn the Black Oaths, which effectively releases them of the vows they made when becoming Aes Sedai. As for what the Black Oaths have bound them to do, the books establish that Black Sisters must guard their secrets, obey orders handed down from the Dark One, and make the necessary preparations for his return. Those who swear the Black Oaths are free to quietly go against the Three Oaths. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to break them.
Other Wheel Of Time Characters Who Might Be Black Ajah
Aside from Liandrin, The Wheel of Time show has at least two more characters with possible Black Ajah connections. The most likely candidate is none other than Sheriam, the Master of Novices. In the books, Sheriam of the Blue Ajah is eventually revealed to be a Black Sister. The TV version of the character could be one as well, especially since she’s already under suspicion. She seemed to lie about Queen Morgase’s soldiers taking Elayne, Nynaeve, and Egwene with them, which is a sign that she’s with the Black Ajah and covering for Liandrin. However, her link to them remains unconfirmed for the time being.
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There’s also Joiya Byer, the Gray Sister who appeared briefly in an earlier season 2 episode. In the books, she too is a Black. In the books, there are numerous Black Sisters within the ranks of the Aes Sedai, thus giving the series the justification to reveal multiple traitors as the fight with the Dark One progresses. Many known members haven’t been used yet, including their villainous leader, Alviarin Freidhen. Unless she’s replaced with another character, the White-turned-Black Sister should appear sometime in the near future as the new Black Ajah storyline heats up in The Wheel of Time season 2 and beyond.
The Wheel of Time releases new episodes on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.