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A Wheel of Time Wiki

The Oath Rod.

A binding rod is a type of ter'angreal created in the Age of Legends. Its use is to make oaths binding; that is, it is not possible to knowingly break an oath sworn on a binding rod unless the rod is used again to release the person from it. Binding rods are generally ivory-white and about a foot long with an archaic numeral engraved on it. The binding rod used by the White Tower as the Oath Rod bears the number three, while that used by Sevanna bears the number one hundred and eleven.

Binding rods only work on channelers. Spirit is channeled into its end, and the channeler makes his or her oaths. The binder can also be used to remove oaths previously sworn on it, though this is very painful and few are aware of this ability. Oaths will also be removed when the channeler is severed.

If it happens that two oaths conflict, so that it is not possible to fulfill both, the channeler is rendered unable to breathe and will soon die if the conflict is not removed.

Swearing oaths causes a painful tightening of the skin, which is responsible for the "ageless" look of Aes Sedai. Though Aes Sedai live extended lives, the Oath Rod severely shortens that life extension. Indeed when the Aes Sedai sworn her classical three oaths her remaining lifespan is halved. Conversely each time a channelers is freed from the oath by the binder or severing, his remaining lifespan is restored fully.

Original Use

Binding rods were originally used on channelers who committed criminal acts. Since, during this time, imprisonment was not a common practice, perpetrators of crimes against the law were made to swear on a binding rod - the exact extent of the Oaths are unknown - to ensure that the crime would never be repeated. For any non-channelers, a binding chair was used.

Known Binding Rods

The most commonly known binder is the one in possession of the White Tower, specifically, the Oath Rod. It is used for a newly-raised Aes Sedai to swear the Three Oaths.

Another binder was given to Sevanna of the Shaido Aiel, by Caddar (Sammael), although it was since seized by Therava.[1] It was used to bind Galina Casban to the will of the Sevanna and her allies.

Three more binding rods are shown to be in the possession of Moridin, among other objects of the Power he owns.[2]