From watching the Wheel of Time TV show, I got a pretty confused interpretation of who and what the children of the light/whitecloaks are and what they do (as you can see in this question).

There's a scene in episode 2 where the heroes encounter a contingent of whitecloaks and Moiraine Sedai hides her ring and pretends to be a commoner so they won't detain her. But from the answers it's clear that in the book for various reasons Aes Sedai are pretty obvious to anyone who knows anything about them, and they can't really hide their identity from anyone who cares (and if they could, it would lead to this kind of fridge logic).

So... What's up with that scene? Did it happen in the books? If not, is it based on something more plausible that did?

  • 1
    They couldn't "detain" her even if they tried. The point was the mission was top secret. Even in the White Tower only Siuan knew (at least in the books).
    – Mithoron
    Nov 22 at 21:44
  • 1
    @Mithoron It might be true that Moraine could have defeated them, and they certainly don't have any official authority, but that's beside the point. In the show, we know that this Questioner has killed 7 Aes Sedai already. So it seems odd that they would let her slip past, and also odd that he failed to notice Moraine was Aes Sedai.
    – Harabeck
    Nov 22 at 22:50
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    @Harabeck In the books faces of Aes Sedai are like botoxed, that's not the case in the show.
    – Mithoron
    Nov 22 at 23:16

Moraine’s life's mission is to find the chosen one, known as the Dragon Reborn, and deliver him or her to a final battle with the Dark One. But this mission wasn’t quite so simple.

We learn later in the prequel novel New Spring that Moraine has taken this mission after refusing the direction of the Aes Sedai Amyrlin, Sierin, to remain, essentially forever in duty at Tar Valon — a fate Moraine considered to be worse than death. Moiraine literally has to run away to escape being imprisoned by her usefulness to the Tower. This has brought her the ire of the leadership.

In this regard, Moraine isn’t just keeping her Aes Sedai status on the downlow from just the Whitecloaks. She also has interest to keep her own identity a secret from the prying eyes of the world as well, because it may have consequences should her whereabouts make it back to the

White Tower while she does not yet have a Dragon Reborn in hand to excuse her behavior.

However, within the Wheel of Time novels, at this point in Eye of the World, we hadn’t yet been treated to the events of New Spring, and the issue primarily driving Moraine’s behavior is the fact that around Baerlon, Moiraine and Lan are known under pseudonyms, and folks are on edge because of the presence of Whitecloaks; this was the first foreshadowing of the dangerous relationship the Whitecloaks have with the Aes Sedai.

Additionally as @Amarth noted, the most obvious party Moraine tries to avoid detection from is Dark Friends though, since there are trollocs out searching for them.

This interaction is not anything that is precisely adapted from the novels. The first meaningful novel interaction between Moraine and Whitecloaks is when the group attempts to leave Baerlon, and in vivid manifestation with

Morraine appearing to growing tall to threaten the Whitecloaks — growing so tall she can simply step over the walls.

so as such, this scene in the show may be intended as a subtler composite manifestation of magic than what exactly occurs in the novels.

  • 1
    But how does Moraine escape detection?
    – Harabeck
    Nov 22 at 22:47
  • I didn't read the spoilers so it's hard for me to respond to this answer, but I still don't feel like the question is answered, "Is there a scene in the books where a band of whitecloaks including one who knows anything about Aes Sedai encounters the heroes and suspects Moraine of being an Aes Sedai, but she successfully pretends to be a commoner despite his prying?" and "If so, how?"
    – dspyz
    Nov 22 at 22:47
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    Yeah, I'm not clear on why the spoilers matter. She didn't hide her status as Aes Sedai in Two Rivers, so she's apparently not hiding from "the prying eyes of the world as well".
    – Harabeck
    Nov 22 at 22:53
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    @SillybutTrue I think OP should be more clear about this "why they didn't recognise her" bit. In the books faces of Aes Sedai were clearly recognisable, but that's not the case in the show.
    – Mithoron
    Nov 22 at 23:32
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    Good answer. The most obvious party she tries to avoid detection from is Dark Friends though, since there are trollocs out searching for them.
    – Amarth
    Nov 23 at 18:27

While the books describe Aes Sedai as having distinctive faces, this does not apply to the show.

Rafe Judkins (the showrunner) has confirmed that Aes Sedai agelessness is not included in the Wheel of Time TV adaptation due to the budget required.

"VFX that require you to touch every frame that a character appears on screen are not great uses of money. So don't expect to see CGI faces for all Aes Sedai."

So unlike the books, in the show it appears that Whitecloaks will not be able to identify an Aes Sedai by appearance alone. This is also supported by Moiraine giving her ring to Lan to hide. She would not bother with this if she believed that the Whitecloaks would be able to immediately recognize her as an Aes Sedai without the ring.

This is distinctly different from the books and this scene would not be possible since Whitecloaks would immediately recognize the 'ageless look'. Instead, when Aes Sedai attempt to hide who they are in the books, they generally travel around with hooded cloaks that hide their faces from those who would recognize agelessness as an Aes Sedai trait.

  • The novel Aes Sedai agelessness is not clearly explained though, and evolves through the books. When Perrin observes Moiraine in Chapter 3 of The Great Hunt, he can’t “put any age at all to her, with her face too smooth for many years and her dark eyes too wise for youth.” It was not a given that this was somehow specific to Aes Sedai, and in fact we eventually learn it’s not, exactly. From Shadow Rising Ch 23: “ Amys’s youthfully smooth features beneath that white hair leaped out at her for what they were, something very close to Aes Sedai agelessness.” Nov 24 at 1:49
  • “Something very close…” but never detailed or explained. We know that use of the One Power slows aging and gives long life, and it appears to be that the stronger the channeler, the longer they live, at least roughly speaking. Hence, Amys has the same youthful look and white hair that Gitara has… almost. There is something different about the look of the Aes Sedai that has not been made entirely clear by the narrative, and seemingly is not entirely clear even to those who observe it. Nov 24 at 1:51
  • And in The Shadow Rising Ch 25, Rand’s visions of ancient Aes Sedai clearly shows they look old: “Women with hair so white it almost seemed transparent. Ageless faces with skin that looked as if the wind might tear it. He had heard the years did not touch Aes Sedai. How old must these two be?” Nov 24 at 1:54
  • @SillybutTrue, Aes Sedai agelessness is clearly explained. Two Rivers folk don't identify Aes Sedai by appearance (because they've never seen one), but those that have seen an Aes Sedai can identify them by agelessness. It is also heavily implied (and confirmed by RJ theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=183) that the Oath Rod gives this agelessness. Thus why ancient Aes Sedai look old, and Amys has "something very close" but not agelessness.
    – kuhl
    Nov 24 at 13:45
  • We’ll have to agree to disagree. WoT text explicitly contradicts RJ’s answer there, in Crossroads of Twilight Ch. 30 Egwene states to Romanda that the Oath Rod is the cause of agelessness. In your source, RJ states that it is more precisely the Three Oaths: “and the result of having three of the Oaths, is the ageless appearance. One would not produce agelessness, but even one would shorten life, and three of them put a cap on Aes Sedai’s lives.” So, clearly Aes Sedai agelessness is not clearly explained; or if it is, it is explained not in precise terms as RJ might have intended. Nov 24 at 14:25

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