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[Dylan F. Alexander, Elizabeth Cornwell, Michael Werle, P. Korda, John S. Hamby, Leigh Butler]
"The key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer." [LOC: 19, Matters of Toh, 312]
Well, they found the bowl. "The one who is no longer" is still a mystery. So we should be saying, "the key to finding the one who is no longer is to find the bowl."
Considering the whole Bowl plotline in ACOS, if we look for one single person who was key to finding the Bowl, a likely candidate is Setalle Anan, the innkeeper of The Wandering Woman. El and Ny's meeting with her set off the chain of events that led to finding the Bowl. (Anan introduced them to the Kin, who they got Mat to spy on, and when Mat followed one of them, she led him to the six-storied building where the Kin's stash of *angreal was.)
Here is what the Kin say about Anan:
1. [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 393]: Reanne is apologizing to Anan: "The Anan woman and Reanne Corly entered the sitting room, and Nynaeve blinked in surprise. From the exchange, she had expected someone younger than Setalle Anan, but Reanne had hair more gray....Why would the older woman humble herself so to the younger, and why would the younger allow it, however halfheartedly?"
From this, we see that Anan is no ordinary innkeeper. The Kin kiss up to AS, but they're pretty arrogant to everybody else. Yet, they defer to Anan. True, she has something on them (knowing they are non-Tower channelers), but that's not enough to treat her as some sort of superior. Note that Reanne has even less apparent reason to defer to Anan than it first appears to Ny, since Reanne is actually around 400 years old, and Anan is, to all appearances, 50 or 60ish, and the Kin defer to one another on the basis of age [TPOD: 1, To Keep the Bargain, 58].
2. In [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 395] Setalle eyes the newly arrived Garenia who looks to be in her early twenties and sees a strong resemblance to Zarya Alkaese. Then Setalle says that when she last saw Zarya, she was younger than Garenia is now. (Setalle clearly assumes Garenia is as old as she looks; not as old as we later know Garenia to be.) Garenia places herself seventy years in the past with: '"Setalle!" Garenia exclaimed as soon as the innkeeper was gone. "That was Setalle Anan? How did she-? Light of Heaven! Even after seventy years, the Tower would-"' Garenia is upset. After all someone came awfully close to identifying her as Zarya Alkaese.
3. [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 404]: Garenia is carrying on: '"What of this Setalle Anan, then? Those girls know about the Circle. The Anan woman must have told them, though how she knows....She's an innkeeper, and she must be taught to guard her tongue!" Berowin gasped, wide-eyed with shock, and dropped into a chair so hard she nearly bounced. "Remember who she is, Garenia," Reanne said sharply. "If Setalle had betrayed us, we would be crawling to Tar Valon, begging forgiveness the whole way....She has kept the few secrets she knows from gratitude, and I doubt that has faded. She would have died in her first childbirth if the Kin had not helped her. What she knows comes from careless tongues...and the owners of those tongues were punished more than twenty years ago." Still, she wished there was some way she could bring herself to ask Setalle to be more circumspect.'
So, at the same time, Anan is regarded as an innkeeper who must be taught to guard her tongue, who knows few secrets, and also somebody who they don't dare offend, even to ask to be more circumspect. From the "crawling to Tar Valon" remark, we have evidence that Anan has the ability to betray the Kin to Tar Valon, or at least the Kin perceive her as having that ability. In this passage, it's possible that Reanne is reminding Garenia that Setalle is a former Aes Sedai. Garenia no doubt has heard of the former sister making a new life for herself, but only by her new name. Garenia seems to want to know who Setalle was before she took the name Setalle.
Elayne believes Anan has some connection with the White Tower:
After Anan tells Ny and El that they can't be AS because Elayne is too young-looking, Elayne thinks: "Slowed. Slowing. How did an innkeeper in Ebou Dar know those words? Maybe Setalle Anan had gone to the Tower as a girl, though she would not have remained long, since she clearly could not channel. Elayne would have known even if her ability had been as small as her own mother's." [ACOS: 22, Small Sacrifices, 383]
Elayne talking to Ny: "I think she went to the Tower once; she knows things she couldn't, otherwise." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 390]
This is very likely. What evidence is there?
1. A burned out or stilled AS would fit the "One who is no longer" description-- "no longer Aes Sedai." If Anan is an ex-Aes Sedai, she's probably burned out, because novices are required to learn the names of officially stilled women, and Elayne doesn't recognize hers. Furthermore, it is clear that the AS are not keeping tabs on Anan, and we know that AS tend to avoid Sisters who are severed accidentally. AS who are stilled for some crime, on the other hand, are often kept around the Tower to serve as examples.
2. The Kin kiss up to her to an extent not seen except around real AS, although not quite that bad.
3. Anan's attitude and behavior:
4. Anan is not native to Ebou Dar. "Her hazel eyes had never been born in Ebou Dar." Note that this is far from conclusive; after all, Ebou Dar is a pretty cosmopolitan city. It's mentioned here because it is brought up quite a bit.
5. We know that the AS are fond of forcibly matching up burned out women with brand-new spouses, in the hopes that a husband and family will give her something to live for beyond the OP.
6. The Garenia evidence: When Anan meets Garenia, she says, "Your name is Garenia? You look very much like someone I met once. Zarya Alkaese." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 395]. Garenia puts her off by saying that Zarya Alkaese was her great-aunt, but we find out in [TPOD: 28, Crimsonthorn, 542] that Garenia is Zarya Alkaese herself, and ran away from the Tower seventy years ago. Setalle Anan has only "a touch of gray in her hair." [ACOS: 22, Small Sacrifices, 381], so if she were a normal person, she couldn't possibly be ninety or more years old. Thus, we must conclude that Anan must have channeled at some point in her past, because she "slowed" at some point-- there is no way she looks the hundred years old or so she that would be if she met Zarya when she was "younger than you [Garenia] are now." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 395]. (Garenia looks "no older than Nynaeve." )
If we put together the fact that Anan met Garenia when she was still Zarya (i.e. before she ran away from the Tower), Garenia's fears that Anan could turn her in [ACOS: 23, Next door to a Weaver, 395], Elayne's analysis that Anan must have studied at the Tower for at least a little time, and the fact that Anan currently has zero channeling ability, we can put together the following picture:
Anan was at the Tower seventy years ago when Garenia/Zarya was a novice. If Anan was only a failed Novice or Accepted, as Elayne supposes, then Garenia would not fear that she'd turn her in, and Reanne would not be so deferential to her, so Anan must have been Aes Sedai. Something happened to burn her out, and she completely lost the ability to channel. She moved to Ebou Dar and got married. This must have been 20 years ago or more, since Anan has grown children.
It has been suggested that Anan is Martine Janata, the AS Vandene mentions when she warns Elayne about the dangers of fooling around with ter'angreal.
"She was the last sister to really make a business of studying ter'angreal... She did it for forty years, almost from the time she reached the shawl.... Then one day, Martine's maid found her unconscious on the floor of her sitting room. Burned out.... That was more than twenty-five years ago.... She vanished once she was well enough to slip out of the Tower." [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 75-76]The timing makes this possible, as explained by John Hamby:
More significant is her exchange with Joline in the same chapter, dressing her down and calling her "Green" (Joline's Ajah), and Joline's reaction: "'Have we met somewhere before? Sometimes, when I cannot see your face, your voice sounds familiar'" [ibid., 556].
The sul'dam test
Setalle also seemed to think that she has a better chance than the average woman to be a sul'dam (however wrong she turned out to be). Pam observes, "Setalle's certainty, mistaken though it was, about the a'dam is further evidence that she's that burned-out Aes Sedai who used to study ter'angreal, Martine Janata. If she had some understanding of how ter'angreal work, she could have reasoned out what the a'dam does (creates a kind of one-way link), and thus she could have ideas about the type of person required to be a sul'dam."
The fact that she failed the sul'dam test is interesting, but it's not certain what it signifies. Joline's reaction to the test with Setalle (pain, convulsions) is the same as every other time we've seen a collared damane try to move with a non-channeler wearing the bracelet (or with no one wearing the bracelet). This would seem to suggest that Setalle is a "normal" - that she can't channel and never could. The mass of hints in ACOS, TPOD, and WH that she used to be an Aes Sedai, though, contradicts that conclusion. A more fitting proposal is that burnt out channelers wearing the bracelet have the same effect on the collared damane as non-channelers do.
The only other incident we have to compare this to is when a then-stilled Siuan and Leane tried on Moghedien's bracelet in Salidar [LOC: Prologue, The First Message, 18-19]. Moggy had no ill reaction. It's been suggested that when compared to the Joline/Setalle incident in WH, this indicates that there is a difference between stilled channelers and burnt out channelers, and that it might further indicate that a burnt out channeler like Setalle could not be Healed like Siuan and Leane were.
However, we cannot say this for sure, because the comparison is flawed. First, Moggy did not try to move while Siuan and Leane were wearing the bracelet; nothing happened to Joline with Setalle wearing the bracelet until she tried to move. Secondly, the a'dam that held Moggy was not a Seanchan a'dam, but a copy made by Elayne, one that had significant alterations from the original design. The most obvious is that there was no leash connecting collar and bracelet, but more important is that Elayne's version apparently allowed Moggy much more freedom of movement than is allowed with a Seanchan a'dam. There are frequent references in LOC to Elayne, Nynaeve, and later Egwene carrying the bracelet around in a pouch or hanging it on a peg, rather than wearing it, while at the same time Moggy is off doing chores. If Moggy had been wearing a Seanchan a'dam when Siuan and Leane tried on the bracelet, we might have seen quite a different reaction (if Moggy had tried to move, that is).
The only other thing worth noting is that while Siuan and Leane couldn't touch the Source through Moggy or make her feel physical sensations, they did experience Mog's emotions. There is no indication in WH whether Setalle feels anything similar with Joline, but since the scene was from Mat's POV, that doesn't prove much one way or the other.
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