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In the Wheel of Time Companion it lists the relative power levels of most channelers.

The power system for females is listed as being originally 1-60, with 1 being the strongest. Then, after the Two Rivers gals, Aviendha & Nicola showed up there were another 12 power levels (on top of that), for a total of 72.

To show both of these power levels, female channelers have power levels listed as Y(X), where Y is their level in the 72-base system, and X in the 60-base. This means that Moirraine is listed as 13(1).

However, it then goes on to state that male channelers have an additional 6 levels above what the female channelers have "at the top end", and that the strongest male channeler would be listed as ++1. Comparatively, the strongest female channeler would be 1(+12)

Then, for some characters, such as Elayne, their power is listed as 8(+5).

So, what do the single plus and double-plus ratings mean? Why is the strongest female rated as 1(+12), when typically the second number should be 12 lower than the first?

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  • Can you give an example of how a male channeler's numbers are listed?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 6 '15 at 0:43
  • @randal'thor So far I've only seen ++1 and ++2, so I don't know if there's more.
    – user31178
    Nov 6 '15 at 0:46
13

The confusion in the ranking system is because:

  1. The male and female rankings are written using different notation, and
  2. The female rankings give the appropriate power levels on two different scales.

Strength in saidar

The initial scale describe in the book is implied to be how the Aes Sedai rated themselves internally. This power ranking system had 60 levels, with 1 being the highest. The strongest channelers (e.g. Moraine) were ranked a 1, down to the weakest, rated a 60. Anyone below that was considered too weak to be accepted as a Novice.

The problem arose when the Two Rivers girls showed up; Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve all had strength in saidar that was way past rank 1, and that was before they ran into Windfinders and damane that were even stronger. So, they had to invent a new ranking system, by adding 12 new ranks to the top end, and pushing all the other ranks down. Under this system, Nynaeve is a 3, while Moraine is now a 13.

The Companion lists power rankings for female channels using the notation new system ( old system ), e.g. 1(13). However, for the newly added top-end levels, there is no value in the old system. In this case, the notation is new system ( +levels above old system ).

So, for example, Moraine is at level 1 in the old system, which becomes level 13 in the new system, so she is a 13(1). However, Elayne is a level 8 in the new system, which is 5 levels higher than 1 in the old system, so she is an 8(+5). The top 15 rankings for female channelers would then go like this:

  • 1(+12) e.g. Lanfear, Alivia
  • 2(+11) e.g. Cyndane, Mesaana
  • 3(+10) e.g. Nynaeve
  • 4(+9)
  • 5(+8)
  • 6(+7)
  • 7(+6)
  • 8(+5) e.g. Elayne, Egwene
  • 9(+4)
  • 10(+3)
  • 11(+2)
  • 12(+1)
  • 13(1) e.g. Moraine (pre-Genji), Siuan (pre-stilling)
  • 14(2)
  • 15(3)

Strength in saidin

Overall, men had a stronger upper-level on strength in the One Power than women; that is, the top-level male channelers were stronger than the top-level female channelers. Thus, there are 6 additional levels on top of the 72-point women's scale that men can achieve. These are numbered 1 through 6, but in order to reflect the fact that women could never reach that level, those 6 are notated with a ++. Thus, the comparison between the top 10 men's levels vs. women would be:

  • ++1 e.g. Rand, Moridin, Rahvin
  • ++2 e.g. Demandred, Logain, Aginar, Sammael
  • ++3 e.g. Asmodean
  • ++4 e.g. Be'lal
  • ++5
  • ++6
  • 7 == women's 1
  • 8 == women's 2
  • 9 == women's 3
  • 10 == women's 4

Note that, apart from the Forsaken, most of the men do not have strength levels given for them, though we can infer Rand's because Logain at ++2 is "one step below" him. The Companion explains that it's impossible to know up front how strong a man will eventually become, in general, and that their strength level grows in unpredictable spurts. And, while women tend to reach their full potential in about a decade, men can take much longer. Thus, for most of the Asha'man, who only had a few years at best to channel, there's no way to judge how strong they would eventually get.

3
  • OMG! Thank you. The chart did the trick. I knew I needed a visual.
    – user31178
    Nov 6 '15 at 0:48
  • Why is Nynaeve 3 on the new scale? Shouldnt she be 1, since the Aes sedai who created the new scale did not know how strong Lanfear was? Feb 15 '16 at 11:36
  • There were women stronger than Nynaeve -- e.g. Alivia -- that were known to the Aes Sedai, plus several of them would have confronted the female Forsaken directly during the Last Battle. Remember that female channelers can tell exactly how strong another women is in the power just by looking at them.
    – KutuluMike
    Feb 15 '16 at 12:49
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Since Lanfear was as strong as a woman could be (before her encounter with the Eelfinn), of course she's at the top. And the Aes Sedai had speculated in the earlier books that she was the strongest of the female Forsaken. as for the strength ratings just add 6 to the first number of the Aes Sedai rating. For instance, Nyneave's potential is 4(+9), meaning that on the male scale she has a rating of 10.

3
  • 1
    Can you elaborate on this?
    – Adamant
    Nov 23 '16 at 4:44
  • the weakest man and woman are equivalent but there're xtra levels for men since the strongest man is stronger than the strongest woman. Lanfear is 1(+12) on the women's scale which would make her equal to a 7 on the men's scale. The (+12) means 12 levelsabove what was tops on the old scale. Moiraine is 13(1). She's lvl 13 on the new scale but was a 1 on the old scale. Women are naturally better at weaving so for a male/female fight to be even the man needs to be 6 levels above the woman. A man battling Egwene, lvl 8(+5), needs to be as strong as Alivia to have a fair chance of winning.
    – Harlemme
    Nov 28 '16 at 4:10
  • That's also the reason why the Asha'man don't think they stand much of a chance against a group of Aes that's ready for them (lus their superior training).
    – Harlemme
    Nov 28 '16 at 4:12

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