Wielders of the One Power. Since the Time of Madness, all surviving Aes Sedai are women. Widely distrusted and feared, even hated, they are blamed by many for the Breaking of the World, and are generally thought to meddle in the affairs of nations. At the same time, few rulers will be without an Aes Sedai adviser, even in lands where the existence of such a connection must be kept secret.

The primary reason that all Aes Sedai are female is that as soon as a male is discovered wielding the One Power, he is immediately, well, mentally castrated I suppose, cut off permanently from the One Power. This drives most of them into a deep, suicidal depression, and they seldom survive long.

The reasoning behind all this is that the male side of the One Power, Saidin, was tainted by the Dark One. Any man who wields Saidin will eventually go mad and destroy just about everything and everyone around him.
For information about the Aes Sedai, read the Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan. Aes Sedai are similar to modern day programmers.

As a starting point, the One Power is like processing power. There are a few ways that saidin and saidar could be viewed, but Mac and Intel map most strongly.

The Ajahs are similar to different types of coders:
  • Blue: Programmers with a cause. Examples include Richard Stallman and David LaMacchia. Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah believe in their causes, although perhaps not as strongly as RMS believes in his.
  • Red: Crackers. Crackers are looked down on by other programmers, and often avoid them, creating their own separate society. This is very similar to the attitude of the Reds, who discourage friendship outside the Ajah.
  • Brown: Academics and professors. The Brown Ajah of programming includes (most) computer scientists, and some mathematicians and scientists. Their goal is knowledge, and from my experience, many of them have the "lost-in-thought" appearance that characterizes the Brown Ajah. Donald Knuth would be a member of the Brown Ajah.
  • White: Many programmers view programming as an exercise in pure logic. These are largely corporate programmers who work with things of great structure such as databases. See "code grinders".
  • Green: OS/processor/editor fanatics. The Green Ajah is the battle Ajah, and many OS and processor advocates certainly act like there is a war on. See the Jargon File on "holy wars", or ask me about why Emacs is the best editor :-)
  • Grey: System Administrators mediate between users, solve disputes, and forge agreements between PHBs and average users. This Ajah maps more weakly than those above.
  • Yellow: Troubleshooters, tech support. While Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah heal people, their programmer equivalents heal computers.
  • Black: Microsoft programmers ;-)


Self-taught programmers are respected by the community of programmers, but looked down upon by the corporate world ("suits"). The corporate world (the establishment) is equvalent to the White Tower, if slightly more fragmented. Compare Jordan's description of when a "wilder" first channels with the "larval stage", as defined in the Jargon File.

This analogy doesn't fit perfectly, since Unix and C aren't that evil, but the addictiveness is. See "C Programmer's Disease". The marks of a C programmer (especially a C programmer on Unix ("unixisms") are as distinctive as saa. See also: "Worse Is Better".

Angreal and sa'angreal are like extra processors/computers, coprocessors, more RAM, etc. The relation should be obvious to a programmer; All of the computer components listed let you do more, process more data, and do more things at a time. Angreal and sa'angreal let Aes Sedai channel more weaves simultaneously, and do more with them.

Normal weaves of the One Power don't require user interaction. Some are like one-use programs, some hang around running (like daemons), some hang around until triggered, then do something (like httpd).

There's probably a bunch more stuff that I'm missing ... I guess I could probably think of 13 Forsaken: Bill Gates, Kevin Mitnick, James Gosling, ....
Perhaps a subjective remark, but one that will be accompanied with factual information.

The Aes Sedai symbol resembles a lot to the Yin-Yang symbol of Taoism, but without the colour alternating dots. Coincidentally, one of the concepts that the Yin Yang represents is the unity between male and female, where the female represents Yin (the black part) and the male represents Yang (the white part). The White part of the Aes Sedai symbol represents Saidar (the female Aes Sedai part), while the black part is the Saidin, the male Aes Sedai part that is tainted by the Dark One.

Aes Sedai is pronounced EYEZ seh-DEYE, but I'm sure anybody who has read the Wheel of Time series will know that from the back of the book, where there is a glossary teaching you how to pronounce the words.

Aes Sedai greatly resemble the Bene Gesserit.
They both: please point out any additional similarities or correct mistakes.

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