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1.1.9: Why do we think that Anath is Semirhage in disguise?

[Leigh Butler, Tim Mixdorf]

In WH we meet Tuon's Soe'feia, or Truthspeaker, Anath. Other than having Pure Evil written all over her, what makes us think that Anath must be the long-absent Semirhage surfacing at last?

Well, probably because point for point the two women's descriptions are a spot-on match. Let's consider the points:

1. Physical traits.

Anath: "A slender woman, she would have been tall even for a man. Her charcoal-dark face was beautiful, but her large black eyes seemed to pierce like awls" [WH: 14, What A Veil Hides, 326].

Semirhage: "...unblinking dark eyes in a smooth dark face...Semirhage stood taller than most men, though so perfectly proportioned that you did not realize it until she stood over you, looking down" [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 56].

2. Fashion sense.

Anath: Described in Chapter 14 as wearing "unrelieved black silk". She's wearing black again when Mat meets Tuon for the first time [WH: 17, Pink Ribbons, 367]. It's pretty safe to assume it's her costume of choice.

Semirhage: From the same page of LOC as above, Graendal thinks, "Not even Demandred dared suggest to Semirhage's face that she wore black so often because Lanfear wore white."

3. Other telltale traits.

4. Sadism.

Easily the defining personality trait of both characters - not just the fact that they both enjoy giving pain, but the disturbingly solicitous manner in which the torture is administered. Tuon thinks of how Anath showed "an odd sort of tenderness" in dispensing a penance that left Tuon crying for days; the same exact phrase could be used to describe Semirhage's behavior during her torture of Cabriana Mecandes [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 139-141].

5. The "willful charge" comment.

Semirhage thinks to herself in LOC: "She did not like having to hurry. And to be called away from her charge; the girl was willful and obdurate, the circumstances difficult." [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 141].

Fits Anath's situation to a tee. Tuon is certainly plenty stubborn.

6. Location.

During the Forsaken Coffee Hour, Demandred thinks, "he wished Semirhage or Mesaana were present...But it was difficult for Semirhage to attend these meetings" [WH: 13, Wonderful News, 313].

Being confined on a ship with a bunch of damane wandering about would probably make it very difficult indeed for Semi, as Anath, to Travel anywhere, even using inverted weaves.

7. Standard Forsaken M.O.

Anath was unexpectedly named to the position of Tuon's Soe'feia by the Empress after the untimely death of her predecessor Neferi from a fall down stairs less than two years before WH, despite the fact that Neferi already had a replacement trained for such circumstances. It's safe to say that if anyone has control over Tuon, the second most powerful noble in the Seanchan Empire, it's her Truthspeaker.

How convenient.

In other words, this chain of events has a very familiar ring after reading about Be'lal in Tear, Rahvin in Andor, Sammael in Illian, Graendal in Arad Doman, Mesaana in the White Tower, Aran'gar in Salidar, and even Osan'gar (and possibly Demandred) in the Black Tower, not to mention what Ishy was running around doing in the centuries he was only partly bound (see section 1.1.8). Most of the Forsaken since being freed have busied themselves acquiring power, not by being the power, but by being the power behind the power.

And it's absurd to think that the FS would inveigle their way into all these nations' ruling councils and ignore the Seanchan, who are currently the only military force in Randland, other than Egwene's army, that can put up a decent fight against Rand's Asha'man. (Note that while Demandred had been possibly linked to the Seanchan by Sammael [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 135], his involvement with the Black Tower and his arrangement with Semi, as described in the Forsaken Coffee Hour section, precludes his involvement with the Seanchan.)

In sum, the similarities and the situation are so perfect that it makes no sense for Anath not to be Semirhage.

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