—An Ogier blessing.
Ogier (pronounced: OH-gehr) are a race of non-human creatures who have an intense love of knowledge and peace. Also known as Alantin, or Tree brothers by the Aiel, they are great architects and stonemasons, responsible for many of the most impressive structures and cities of the world. Ogier stonework is known for its organic nature, often appearing to have been grown like plants. However, it is considered to be a skill they picked up during the Breaking, and unimportant compared to their first love, forestry. They love the trees of their stedding, and grew groves near the cities they built to remind them of their home. Even their written language resembles growing leaves and vines. This encyclopedia contains a List of Ogier mentioned or active in the storyline.
Ogier men stand about ten feet tall ("half again as tall as a man"). The women are only slightly shorter, and softer in feature. They have broad noses, wide mouths, long tufted ears, and eyes the size of teacups. Ogier ears are a secondary erogenous zone, and thus are not talked about in polite company.
Ogier are very long lived compared to humans: Loial, the young Ogier scholar who has been traveling with Rand al'Thor, is considered by his elders to be the impetuous and irresponsible equivalent of a human teenager, despite being over ninety years old.
While the Ogier still visit the older cities to maintain their ancient stonework, the more remote areas have relegated them to myth and legend. Ogier-scale beds and rooms, once common, are now rare indeed. Not many now know what they look like. Even in Caemlyn, the capital city of Andor, the sight of an Ogier could result in a riot, and the assault of the Ogier as a Trolloc. Only in Tar Valon, Tear, Cairhien, and Illian is the sight of an Ogier relatively common, due to Ogier stonemasons, and even at those great cities, it is something to be remarked upon.
However, to those who know them, they are known as a slow, thoughtful people whom it is very hard to hate. Even the Aiel maintain them as water-friends, and are among the few who trade with the stedding often.
Ogier from the mainland are a peaceful and reclusive race who rarely leave their stedding; whose society emphasizes rationality and slow, thorough debate; they deplore haste and abhor violence. However, when roused to anger they make unflinching, steadfast warriors; the common saying, "To anger the Ogier and bring mountains down on your head", suggests the difficulty of provoking an Ogier - and also the danger, though the meaning has changed over the years.
The strong martial tradition of the Ogier has faded over the years. During the Age of Legends and the War of the Shadow, they were known to be fierce warriors (and also appear to have acted as a police force), with Lews Therin Telamon elected as their head.
During that age, the Ogier used their skill at Treesinging (with the aid of the Da'shain Aiel and the Nym) to help in the growth of crops, leading to them being known as tia avende alentin; in the Old Tongue, "Brother to the Trees", or simply Treebrother).
The Ogier refuse to take any part in the wars of humans, and avoided the later War of the Hundred Years. However, they are 'concerned' with the Shadow and whenever the Shadow threatens the world the Ogier will march to face it, as they did in the War of the Shadow and the Trolloc Wars and may do again at Tarmon Gai'don.
The Ogier of the lands of the east have been tied to the stedding since the Breaking of the World. Even during the Age of Legends they were tied to the stedding, in ways no longer understood. Due to the chaos of the Breaking, they could no longer could find the stedding nor stay very long in any they could find.
The Ogier also live in the Seanchan Empire far across the Aryth Ocean; very little is known of Seanchan society or how the Ogier function within it, except that a division of the Seanchan Empress's Deathwatch Guards is composed solely of (free) Ogier, known as Gardeners, who carry huge axes and apparently do not have the same reservations against violence as Ogier in the mainland. Seanchan Ogier also do not suffer from the Longing, because the concentration of stedding in Seanchan was much higher than in the land where Artur Hawkwing was born. This allowed them to stave off the Longing, though the effects on their culture and mindset is unknown.
- See main article the Ways
The Ogier aided the male Aes Sedai during the Breaking, by allowing them refuge in the stedding, though all eventually left due to the agony of disconnection from the Power. This may have prolonged the Breaking, or allowed the vestiges of civilization to survive it; scholars are divided on this issue.
The grateful male Aes Sedai, calling upon their knowledge of other worlds and the Portal Stone, grew a strange network of portals called the Ways. They left the Ogier with a ter'angreal called the Talisman of Growing, which could build new Waygates for the network and repair damaged Waygates. Waygates stand just outside every stedding, and every Ogier grove in any Ogier-designed city, and allow rapid transit to other Waygates, shortening journeys that would normally take months to mere days. However, in recent centuries, around the time of the War of the Hundred Years, Machin Shin, the Black Wind, appeared within the Ways; this hungry, irrational presence devours anyone or anything it encounters. It may be a result of the taint on saidin, or a remnant of the War of Power; or it may be something more sinister.
Furthermore, the Ways themselves are deteriorating: well-maintained stone paths and beautiful gardens which soothed Ogier minds, which once spiraled majestically into warmth and light of sorts; they now crumble into bottomless darkness and pitted, bare stone. Finally, as some of the northern stedding have been consumed by the Great Blight, the Shadow's forces now have access to the Ways, and they are sometimes used to quickly move troops across vast distances, although the presence of Machin Shin and various traps laid by the male Aes Sedai makes this a risky maneuver.
As events in the world march toward Tarmon Gai'don, the Ogier have convened a Great Stump to consider what to do; some have suggested opening the "Book of Translation", which may be a ter'angreal or other device that will bodily transport the Ogier race to another, more peaceful world; this must happen, they say, in order for the Fourth Age to commence properly. At the same time, the Great Stump must consider the timing - they must help win Tarmon Gai'don, or else they are doomed regardless of how far they flee.
According to this new evidence, the Ogier may then be originally from another planet or reality.