August 11, 2019•512 words
When Things Fall Apart
Egwene completes the Accepted's Trials, facing her fears. Verin Sedai gives Egwene a ter-angreal to assist her in her efforts of becoming a Dreamer. It seems that the ter-angreal Dreaming ring caused some interference with the Accepted's Trials ter-angreal, nearly melting it into the floor with Egwene lost inside. Alanna Sedai noticed the interference initially, and ignored it, allowing the Trials to continue; where the initial interference resonated to near-catastrophic magnitude.
"Child, I should have stopped this when I had the chance, when I first noticed that - reverberation. It came back. That is what happened. It came back a thousandfold. Ten thousand. The ter-angreal almost seemed to be trying to shut off the flow from saidar - or melt itself through the floor. You have my apologies, though words are not enough. Not for what almost happened to you. I say this, and by the First Oath you know it is true. To show my feelings, I will ask the Mother to let me share you time in the kitchens. And, yes, your visit to Sheriam, too. Had I done as I should, you would not have been in danger of your life, and I will atone for it."
Alanna Sedai, The Dragon Reborn, p. 216
"I never heard of such a thing," the Amyrlin barked. "The owner doesn't muck out with the bilge boys even if he has run the boat on a mudflat." She glanced at Egwene, and worry tightened her eyes. And anger. "I share your concern, Alanna. Whatever this child has done, it did not deserve that. Very well. If it will assuage your feelings, you may visit Sheriam. But it is to be strictly between you two. I'll not have Aes Sedai held up to ridicule, even inside the Tower.
The Amrylin Seat, The Dragon Reborn, p. 218
Guilt following a failure is a natural set of feelings. Perhaps Alanna seeks to atone via a way that matches the "normal" punishments novices and Accepted face inside the Tower. Still, as a leader, it's unacceptable - even if the Amyrlin tacitly condones it. More appropriate, Alanna should have stepped forward to promise Egwene that she would determine what went wrong inside the ter-angreal - a task that the Amyrlin had to assign when Alanna didn't think of it on her own. When things go wrong, there's always an urge to immediately rush to do something. For leaders, that urge needs to get transformed into trusting your people to already be taking the immediate actions. Leaders need to be thinking ahead, communicating, keeping teams focused on taking the immediate actions and removing barriers to follow-on stabilizing actions. Blame can be assigned well after.