What is the Black Ahjah in The Wheel of Time? Explained

by Drew Kopp
Image: Amazon

The latest episode of The Wheel of Time‘s second season, “Damane,” was an hour-long epic that spotlighted the series’ ever-growing cast of villains. While the sea-faring, slave-powered empire of Seanchan was given the most focus throughout the episode, a shocking revelation involving Kate Fleetwood’s Liandrin Guirale has all but confirmed the existence of another threat: the Black Ajah. For those unfamiliar with the series of novels the show is adapting, here’s everything you need to know about Wheel of Time‘s Black Ajah.

Who Are The Black Ajah?

Image: Amazon

In the unnamed world that Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time books are set in, few organizations are more important to the overarching story than the Aes Sedai, an order of all-female magic-users, or Channelers, who have served and protected the people of the Westlands for millennia. The ranks of the Aes Sedair are divided into seven different color-themed sects known as Ajahs: Red, Green, Grey, Brown, Yellow, Blue, and White. Each Ajah is dedicated to performing one specific function, ranging from collecting and studying ancient lore (Brown) to capturing, imprisoning, or even executing rogue channelers (Red).

However, a secret eight Ajah exists in the form of the Black Ajah, whose members are the antithesis of everything the order strives to be. While the rest of the Aes Sedai dedicate themselves to serving and preserving all that is good, the Black Ajah have instead sworn allegiance to the Dark One, the living embodiment of evil within the Wheel of Time‘s universe. In this capacity, they work tirelessly alongside the Dark One’s Forsaken champions and monstrous Trolloc hordes to bring about the end of the world.

Why is the Black Ajah so Dangerous?

Image: Amazon

The Black Ajah is one of the most dangerous factions in the Wheel of Time universe because each member can channel the One Power maliciously. Unlike the other members of the Aes Sedai, who swear a trio of magical oaths that restrict their ability to use channeling to harm others, members of the Black Ajah have no such limitations and can wield the more destructive aspects of channeling with impunity.

Related: All Wheel of Time Books in Order

However, the Black Ajah’s unchecked use of channeling pales compared to their greatest strength: their secrecy. Most people in the Westlands don’t believe that members of the Aes Sedai could turn their back on the Light, and the Aes Sedai officially dismiss rumors of the organization’s existence as myths. This has allowed the Black Ajah to operate unseen for hundreds of years to the point where its members have risen to high-ranking positions within the Aes Sedai and the various nations of the Westlands.

Who Among the Aes Sedai are Black Ajah?

While Liandrin does not confirm that she is a member of the Black Ajah when she betrays and captures Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne, her book counterpart is one of the highest-ranking members of the malignant order. The fact that she can break the Three Oaths and takes orders directly from Ishamael, the leader of the Forsaken and the Dark One’s de-facto second-in-command, is another major hint of her allegiance since the Black Ajah’s members have no limits on their channeling and serve as the Forsaken’s eyes and ears.

If Liandrin’s betrayal proves that the Black Ajah has made it into the Wheel of Time, we have already met several other members of the Aes Sedai who secretly serve it in the books. The most prominent of them is Sheriam, the kindly Master of Novices. While there have been no hints that the elder Aes Sedai is disloyal, her decision to cover up Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne‘s abduction could be an early hint towards her true colors

- This article was updated on September 20th, 2023

About The Author

Drew Kopp has been a writer at Attack of the Fanboy for three months and has covered Baldur's Gate 3, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Ahsoka. He has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and loves writing about indie games and celebrity gossip. When he isn't writing, he can be found reading fantasy books or rocking out as Bard in Dungeons & Dragons.