Children of the Light (The Wheel of Time)

In the fictional world of Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time, the Children of the Light, disparagingly called Whitecloaks for their characteristic white cloaks, are a military organization based in Amador, the capital city of Amadicia with the stated goal of rooting out Darkfriends. Detractors of the Children of the Light regard their methods as extreme and also question whether those the Children accuse of being Darkfriends are actually guilty. The Children are often at odds with the protagonists of the series. They are represented by a Sunburst icon on the heart of their white cloaks.

Contents

Doctrine

The Children of the Light believe in the destruction of Darkfriends, in all echelons of society and in every land. They believe that all Aes Sedai are Darkfriends, and therefore do not believe in the existence of the Black Ajah, as they believe that all channelers (whether they be men or women) are Darkfriends. They consider the Three Oaths to be a lie perpetuated by the White Tower. Since politically, Amadicia is largely under the Children's control, there are laws in that land that prohibit channeling or Aes Sedai training on penalty of death; even Queen Morgase of Andor was subject to hatred and suspicion for having been trained in the White Tower, although she was only able to channel very weakly.

Methods

The Children are known for being exceedingly zealous (with a few exceptions), and when traveling in large numbers across the continent any who the Children believe are Darkfriends are hanged on the spot. Often, suspected Darkfriends are handed to the Hand of Light (most often referred to as Questioners), and members of this organization torture the suspects until they either are killed or admit (often fabricated) crimes. The Children's methods when it comes to anything related to the Dark One tend to be much more widespread, forsaking the survival of large numbers of people for the death of a few Darkfriends.

History

Founding and development

The Children of the Light were founded by Lothair Mantelar in FY 1021, during the War of the Hundred Years. Founded just to preach against Darkfriends, during these violent times the Children of the Light became increasingly militaristic, eventually evolving into the organization in its modern form. The Children were successful in taking over the political structure of Amadicia.

Recent events

Some forty years before the start of the series, the Children of the Light became engaged in a quasi-war against Illian that lasted nearly twenty years. These skirmishes were known to the Children as the Troubles, but are generally called the Whitecloak War by other nations. It ended in a stalemate, with no conclusive victory for either side.

Up until recently, the Children of the Light were led by Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall. Niall was assassinated in the prologue of A Crown of Swords. Eamon Valda then became Lord Captain Commander. Later in the novel the Seanchan wrest Amadicia from the control of the Whitecloaks. Finally, during the prologue to Knife of Dreams, Eamon Valda was killed in a duel with Galad Damodred, who then became the Lord Captain Commander. There are about seven thousand well trained regular cavalry men and ten Lord Captains loyal to Galad. The Children were originally housed in Amador, capital of Amadicia, but they lost their base, the Fortress of the Light, to the Seanchan invasion, They are currently in northwestern Altara and moving north towards western Andor.

A few thousand Children, including Asunawa and the rest of the Hand of the Light, remain with the Seanchan.

Organization

The Children of the Light are led by the Lord Captain Commander who is elected by the Council of Anointed, the Lord Captain Commander has absolute control over the Children of the Light.

The Hand of the Light

The Hand is an organization within the Children. They regard themselves as mostly separate from the military part of the Children. They are disparagingly known as the "Questioners". They are the people to whom accused Darkfriends are turned over to be tortured. They are led by the High Inquisitor (currently Rhadam Asunawa), and are often at odds with the Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall, who believes their techniques are extreme and not always in the right. The High Inquisitor's power base within the Children seems to protect him from reprisal by even the Lord Captain Commander. Likewise, the Lord Captain Commander's power base protects him from the Hand. They are represented by the same sunburst icon on their cloaks as the rest of the Children, but with a red shepherd's crook behind it. Asunawa wears only the crook, as a symbol of supposed equality with the Lord Captain Commander, but it is unknown whether or not this is typical of High Inquisitors or exclusive to Asunawa.

Real-world references

The Children of the Light bear resemblances to medieval religious knightly orders such as the Knights Templar or, more obviously, the Teutonic Order.[citation needed]

The methods of the Children of the Light, specifically the Questioners--an order within the Children, resemble those of the Inquisition.[citation needed]


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