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In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the Aes Sedai are divided into seven Ajahs: the Blue, the Brown, the Green, the Grey, the Red, the White, and the Yellow (plus the Black Ajah, which is secret and threaded insidiously through all of the others).

Warning: spoilers from books 4+ follow.

I think few would dispute that the Red Ajah is portrayed as "the bad Ajah", the worst of them all (not counting the Black, of course). Various things throughout the series support this:

  • By its very nature, gentling men who can channel, the Red Ajah presents a serious threat to the main protagonist of the series.
  • Several prominent Blacks are officially Reds, such as Galina Casban (head of both the Red Ajah and the Black Ajah, if I recall correctly) and Katerine Alruddin.
  • Elaida. 'Nuff said.
  • After the splitting of the Tower, the entire Red Ajah sides with Elaida - not a single one in Salidar.

The closest we get to a protagonist among the Red, unless there's someone I'm forgetting, is Pevara, and she isn't really much of a Red, even having spoken in favour of Warders. By contrast, there are more "good" characters, people we can sympathise with, in every other Ajah.

Can it be said that the Blue is portrayed as "the good Ajah" in the same way as the Red is portrayed as "the bad Ajah"?

Points in favour:

  • The very first Aes Sedai we meet, and the only one we know for a long time, is of the Blue. In this sense, the Blue Ajah provides our introduction to Aes Sedai, a base point to identify with and from which to judge the rest.
  • After the splitting of the Tower, the entire Blue Ajah goes to Salidar - not a single one with Elaida.
  • There aren't many prominent Blacks who are officially Blues. There are two Blues among the thirteen Blacks who leave the Tower in book 2/3, but they're probably the two most minor characters among those thirteen.

What other evidence is there in favour of, or against, this reading of the text?

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    I am not sure that there are "good" or "bad" ajah, one of my favorite aes Sedai (silvianna) have been red. Despite my hatred towards her (and there is a lot of hatred), Egwene did a nice job of not treating the reds like the "syltherinth" of the group. – Matrim Cauthon Mar 9 '17 at 0:30
  • @Matrim Egwene did, yes. But from the point of view of an out-of-universe reader, the Red is definitely portrayed as less likeable than the other Ajahs. There are fewer relatable characters in the Red, and more antagonists. Anyway, regardless of the Red, this question is about whether the Blue is portrayed as the 'good' Ajah, and "no, because ..." is a perfectly acceptable response. – Rand al'Thor Mar 9 '17 at 0:34
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No, There is no evidence

Firstly, here is a list of statistics from the WoT wiki about the numbers of Black Ajah

Red: forty-eight (making at least 24% of all Red sisters actually Black, best guess is that they hunted the future Dragon)

Green: thirty-eight (21%)

Gray: thirty-two (22%)

Brown: twenty-eight (21,5%)

Yellow: twenty-one (17,5%)

Blue: twenty-two (23% best guess is that they have the greater and more efficient eyes-and-ears system)

White: seventeen (17,5%)

They have less then some, more than others. While this does not incriminate them, it is not good enough either way.

In terms of the events of Salidar, that was politically motivated. Their democratically elected ruler who was supported by the Blue was just kicked out and stilled (the worst thing you can do to an Aes Sedai). The wiki says the rebels were the ones who sided with Siuan. Of course the Blue sided with Siuan!

As I mentioned in my comment to Rand (the user, not the deadly wizard), RJ does a good job of not having "good" or "bad" groups like in Harry Potter. We knew Slytherin was evil, they outright told us Slytherin was evil. The Black Ajah are pretty well spread out between the 6 (with the exception of Red), unlike the Death Eaters who all came from Slytherin.

*Note I purposely avoid talking about specific people. Just as Elaida's horribleness should not curse the Red, Moiraine's greatness should not redeem the whole Blue.

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I would say that though the Blue Ajah are more consistently "good" than other Ajahs, but the WoT balances prominence between the Blue and Green Ajahs:

  • Of the major Aes Sedai (of whom I count six: Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeveh, Moiraine, Siuan and Cadsuane) three are Green or identify as Green: Elayne Egwene, and Cadsuane. Moiraine and Siuan are Blue. Nynaeve is Yellow. This point is particularly open to quibbling, though. Even if we drop Cadsuane and Siuan, the numbers still favour Green.
  • Siuan and her predecessor as the Amyrlin Seat were Blue, but Egwene and her successor Cadsuane are Green. Green is rising.
  • The Green Ajah are the ones who have always most prepared for war against the Dark One and his minions. Their head is called the Captain-General, after all.
  • The Greens have always embraced (snicker) men. They have the most Warders, and most have multiple Warders. Of course, the quality of a single Lan towers above quantity of many others.

Lastly, the WoT Wikia says the Green Ajah is the largest behind the Red. Not sure what to make of that, though.

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    Your first bullet is a good point, and could be expanded on. But I don't really see how the rest are relevant? Just because Green is coming to prominence, focus on fighting the Dark One, and have lots of Warders, doesn't make them any more the "good guys". My question is about the portrayed 'goodness'/relatability of the Ajahs, not about their in-universe prominence. – Rand al'Thor Mar 9 '17 at 0:45
  • @Randal'Thor you mention protagonists. They're, by definition, prominent. – muru Mar 9 '17 at 0:50
  • Prominent in the story, not in-universe. So your first bullet point is great, because it's about the major characters in the story, but your second isn't so relevant, because it's about who gets the Amyrlin Seat regardless of their significance in the story. – Rand al'Thor Mar 9 '17 at 0:53
  • @Randal'Thor I disagree, since I think they became Amyrlin Seats because of their prominence in the story. If Cadsuane had still been hiding somewhere in Ghealdan (or wherever), she wouldn't be Amyrlin. – muru Mar 9 '17 at 0:58

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