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The Wheel of Time: What Happened to Nynaeve in the Arches?


The Aes Sedai in The Wheel of Time acknowledge the dangers of entering the Arches, but pushing Nynaeve too fast might have unforeseen consequences.

Nynaeve al'Meara played by Zoë Robins in The Wheel of Time
Nynaeve al’Meara played by Zoë Robins Photo: Jan Thijs / Prime Video

This article contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time.

Let’s face it. The Aes Sedai in The Wheel of Time have made some questionable decisions regarding Nynaeve al’Meara since her arrival at the White Tower. Although it’s possible they are in a rush to get the powerful channeler up to speed before the battle against the Dark One, it seems more likely that Leandrin is simply anxious to bypass the prohibition against her teaching Novices so that she can get her hooks into Nynaeve once she’s an Accepted. But pushing Nynaeve through a dangerous initiation too early may have had dire consequences.

The Silver Arches, as they’re called in The Wheel of Time novels by Robert Jordan, are artifacts known as ter’angreal, objects made out of the One Power itself during a time long ago when Aes Sedai channeling abilities were far greater. Although their original purpose is unknown, they’re now used as a test of will and commitment for those wishing to join the order. It’s an interesting ritual for Nynaeve to undergo considering she’s not all that enthusiastic about becoming an Aes Sedai in the first place.

The rules are simple. One may refuse to be tested up to three times before being asked to leave, but once the ritual has begun, it must be finished. The three arches that must be passed through present the candidates with their greatest fears, but in The Wheel of Time books, it’s also made clear that they show moments from the past, present, and future as well.

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