Nov 28, 2021


I came back to work this week feeling quite refreshed. Having a break last week was good.

This week we launched single-page notifications. There are now a couple of pages on GOV.UK you can sign up to receive emails about: previously, you could only sign up to broad topics, but we believe that there’s a distinct user-group who would use this. We’ll be keeping an eye on how it performs in analytics, and gradually roll it out to more pages.


This week I read:


I started watching the new Wheel of Time TV series this week. It’s… ok. I’m not convinced by some of the changes they’ve made; none of the characters look like how I imagined them; the acting of channeling the One Power looks kind of silly; and some of the made-up words from the book have been given very weird pronunciations which don’t sound much like real words to me (but that’s always a risk with fantasy).

One bit which particularly stood out to me though was the use of the One Power as a weapon. In the second episode, when Moiraine uses the Power to sink a boat, the ferryman dies because he swims after it and gets caught up on the whirlpool. Egwene says that she thought Aes Sedai couldn’t use the Power to kill, and Moiraine explains that they can’t: they swear a magical oath which prevents them from doing so. What happened there was that she used the Power to sink the boat, and after she had started that going the ferryman swam into it himself. She didn’t kill him, she just summoned a whirlpool which he chose to swim into.

That’s fair enough. The actual wording of the oath from the books is:

Never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme defense of her life, the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai.

But then in episode four, some troops attack the Aes Sedai camp. A volley of arrows is fired, and an Aes Sedai uses the One Power to hold the arrows still in the air. When the enemy troops charge, she uses the Power again to fling the arrows at the troops, many of whom fall to the ground dead or injured.

But that doesn’t fit the oath at all! Let’s look at the exceptions:

This just felt like sloppy writing. In the books, the oaths were a big deal. There’s a whole subplot around evil Aes Sedai finding a way to break out of the restraint of the oaths, so that they can do things like use the Power as a weapon. But in the show, being a little afraid is apparently enough to let an Aes Sedai kill people with the Power.