—An Ogier blessing.
Ogier (pronounced: OH-gehr; /ˈoʊːgʲɛɹ/) 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 understood to be a skill they acquired during the Breaking, and is of lesser importance than 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.
See also the List of Ogier mentioned (or active) in the storyline.
Ogier men stand about eight 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. Due to their size and inhuman facial features, the uneducated often mistake them for Trollocs, which they find mildly offensive.
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, as they tend not to leave their stedding. 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. However, despite their typically slow, gentle nature, they are capable of becoming terrifyingly powerful and brutal warriors if needed, and even non-warriors can carve apart Trollocs with ease.
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).
They also seem to have served as feared warriors during the Trolloc Wars, so fierce they were not considered to be safe, though only warrior Ogier of Seanchan also known as Gardeners, seem to have maintained this reputation.
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 again at Tarmon Gai'don.
According to The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, the average population of a stedding is thought to be somewhere more than six thousand Ogier, noting this number is not thought to be very accurate because Ogier do not keep records of such things. There are currently forty-one populated steddings in the Westlands, which would imply a population in excess of 250,000 Ogier. The The Wheel of Time Companion, however, cites "slightly less than 500,000" in the Westlands, making an average of around twelve thousand Ogier in each stedding.
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 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.