A deposition refers to the either legal or seemingly legal removal of a high office or regent. Most commonly within the series, it refers to the deposition and stilling of an Amyrlin Seat, one of the most severe punishments of Tower law. Thus far there have only been three deposed Amyrlin Seats.
To depose an Amyrlin Seat, a sister, not necessarily a Sitter in the Hall of the Tower, must bring forth strong and trustworthy evidence of an Amyrlin's failure to handle multiple situations, political insanity or incompetence. Such a vast political decision would normally require a greater consensus, therefore the most recently deposed Amyrlin's prosecutor and successor stretched the law to its extremes by merely inviting eleven Sitters to the meeting.
There are only three officially deposed Amyrlin Seats in Tower history, marked as damned by the Hall, stilled and set to do chores for the rest of their lives, or in some cases, even worse.
The following Amyrlins were deposed:
- Tetsuan, raised from the Red Ajah, served during the Trolloc Wars, was deposed and stilled in ca 1200 AB for having let her jealousy and pride almost destroy the White Tower and all of the Westlands with it. During the Trolloc Wars, one nation's banners, the red eagle of Manetheren were always where the fighting was thickest, but around 1200 AB they were forced to pull back after the fall of several other nations. Promised that help would arrive in three days, King Aemon al Caar al Thorin valiantly held the fort. However Tetsuan, jealous of Queen Eldrene ay Ellan ay Carlan's strength in the One Power, betrayed Manetheren, possibly by ordering the promised reinforcements to stay their ground. Tetsuan was found unfit to hold the stole and staff, and was replaced by a sister raised from the Blue Ajah, thereby igniting the two thousand year long animosity between the two Ajahs.
- Bonwhin Meraighdin, raised from the Red Ajah, served from FY 939 to FY 992, was deposed and stilled for having thought herself a supreme ruler to the degree that she could command the man who held the rest of the Westlands in a firm grip, namely Artur Hawkwing. Through her political incompetence, she infuriated Hawkwing to the point where he laid siege to Tar Valon, a siege that lasted 20 years. A Blue sister from Shiota, Deane Aryman, uncovered damning evidence of Bonwhin's multiple political failures, endangering the very existence of the White Tower. She was replaced by the same Deane Aryman, who went on to become one of the greatest Amyrlins of the Third Age and the archetype of all it means to be a Blue sister. Bonwhin was sentenced to muck out the Tower stables until her death, which occurred just four years after her deposition and stilling.
- Siuan Sanche, raised from the Blue Ajah, served from 988 NE to 999 NE, was falsely deposed and stilled for having hidden away her contact with the Dragon Reborn. Her prosecutor and replacement, Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan of the Red Ajah, proved an absolute disaster. Unknown to herself, Elaida had five Black Sitters in the Hall and a Black Keeper of the Chronicles. Despite these obvious obstacles, many of Elaida's failures were results of her political weakness and complete lack of the competence fit for the staff and stole, having considered herself a supreme monarch with full authority in any question or situation.
Secretly deposed Amyrlins
Another case of deposition is the case of Shein Chunla who was raised from the Green Ajah in 578 NE and was deposed in 601 NE in secret. Since the story is far too sensitive, the Tower had it hidden away in the Thirteenth Depository, availalbe only to the Amyrlin Seat, the Keeper of the Chronicles, Sitters and Ajah Heads. It is widely believed that Shein, who ruled during the Third War of Garen's Wall, completely mishandled the situation and caused the war. In fact, Shein's rule began the rule of strong Amyrlin. She tried to run everyone over with an iron hand, not very unlike the actions of Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan several centuries later, a strategy that initially worked, but the Hall tired of her eventually, and began ordering her a penance for every action she took. At the same time, the Ajah Heads and Sitters had catfights over authority, each faction pulling the Tower in different directions. Eventually the sisters themselves organized a mutiny and in one of six mutinies in Tower history, Shein and the entire Hall were put down and sent into exile. Apart from Shein, no other secretly deposed Amyrlins are known.
In the cases of Tetsuan and Bonwhin, not much is known of any reactions to their deposition and stilling except for the increased animosity between the Red and Blue Ajahs. Although unsure between Tetsuan and Bonwhin, there was certainly no Red Amyrlin since Bonwhin until Elaida, further angering the Red Ajah. The conflict was taken to its pinnacle with the deposition of Siuan, which at first seemed illegal and later on was proved illegal. First of all, only eleven Sitters were summoned to the meeting of the Hall to depose Siuan and raise Elaida. Secondly, many sisters considered deposition, stilling and execution, had Elaida's wishes been carried out in time, a punishment far too severe for hiding communication with the Dragon Reborn. Thirdly, killing Siuan's Warder, Alric, was an extreme action. Elaida's coup called on immediate reaction: the Blademaster and Warder in charge of educating new Warders, Hammar, led a huge contingent of Warders to free Siuan from her cells after hearing of her deposition.
Most prominently, however, all Blue sisters, along with sisters from the Green, Gray, Brown, Yellow, and White Ajahs fled the Tower in protest against Siuan's treatment and Elaida's false reign. In the home village of the legendary Deane Aryman, a village in modern Altara called Salidar, they organized a rebellion with their own administration and Amyrlin Seat, recruiting an army and one of the best military minds of the Age, Gareth Bryne, and besieging Tar Valon. The Tower was later reunified by the Salidar Amyrlin, Egwene al'Vere, following her imprisonment in the White Tower and the Seanchan raid on the Tower where Elaida was captured and made damane.
—Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan
It can hardly be doubted that there have been very few Red Amyrlin Seats. Their extremist reigns have proven to be far too dangerous. Since far too little is known of the time After the Breaking and the Free Years, it cannot be proclaimed that there have been only three Red Amyrlins; however, the three that are known have all been women whose pride and ambition nearly destroyed the White Tower. Tetsuan envied Queen Eldrene's strength in the One Power, Bonwhin envied Artur Hawkwing's might and empire, and Elaida envied that Siuan, who was younger even if equally strong with the One Power, was raised Amyrlin and was given the full authority of the White Tower, instead of her. One of the wisest political moves of the incumbent Amyrlin Seat, Egwene al'Vere, was to raise Silviana Brehon of the Red Ajah as her Keeper of the Chronicles, in order to mend the rift between the Red Ajah and the rest of the Tower.