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A Tale of Seven Ajahs

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Ajahs, Radiant Orders, Hogwarts Houses, and MBTI: how do they all correlate?

This article contains a very minor spoiler for New Spring and no spoiler for the Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime.

The Randland map overlapped with vertical lines of 0 and 1. On the left, the "Data? WoT Data?" logo, a wheel with the slogan on its borders. On the right, the title, "A Tale of Seven Ajahs"

People sometimes assume that, had I lived during the Third Age of the Wheel of Time with an ounce of the One Power, I would have picked Brown or White Ajah. While wrong, this assumption is understandable: I do collect and analyze some Wheel of Time data for fun, which sounds like a very Brown thing to say. Me being Ravenclaw did not help my case, as this Hogwarts House in Harry Potter tends to value learning, something that seems correlated with the Brown Ajah. I obviously tried to protest, commenting that my MBTI personality type, the INFJ advocate, is defined by a desire to do the right thing and by the causes we are willing to fight for, which clearly would fit the Blue Ajah more.

After quite more debates on Twitter, only one conclusion could be reached: a very serious study of the subject was needed.

And that’s how the Wheel of Time Ajah Survey came to life! The premise is simple: finding out correlations requires a lot of data. Like. A lot. So I shared that survey across Twitter, Facebook, Discord, and Reddit, made some prayer circles in the hope that it’ll help generate some sort of interest for the topic, and waited.

The survey focused on four types of classifications:

  • Ajahs are groups of Aes Sedai, an organization of channelers in the Wheel of Time. There are 7 different Ajahs, all dedicated to a particular task and represented by a specific color.

  • The Knights Radiant are groups of magic users in The Stormlight Archive. 10 Orders of Knights exist, each having their oaths and upholding different ideals.

  • In Harry Potter, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry divides its students into four Houses, based on various qualities.

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is a self-report inventory designed to identify a person's personality type, strengths, and preferences. The test uses five aspects, based on how we interact with our surroundings (Introvert I / Extravert E), process information (Observant S / Intuitive N), cope with emotions (Thinking T / Feeling F), approach our decision-making process (Judging J / Prospecting P) or how confident we are in our abilities (Assertive A / Turbulent T). The first four letters then define a personality type.

As of March 13 of 2022, 1077 people contributed to this study, which is very pleasing. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill it out: this article could not have been written without you all.

Now comes the time for the analysis, or how to make sense of a lot of numbers without being too overwhelmed by the task. Oh boy.

Bonus: if you manage to go through that long analysis, there is a fun dashboard to play with at the end of the article.

On the fandom itself

Before diving into correlations between the different classifications mentioned above, let’s take a quick look at the composition of our fandom.

Overall, slightly more than 60% of our respondents fall into two Ajahs, with 35% in the Brown Ajah and 25% in the Blue Ajah. The four Ajahs that follow come very close to each other, with slightly more Yellows than Whites and Greens and slightly less Grays than all of those three. The Red Ajah comes last, with only 16 people in this group (or 1.5% of the respondents), even below the group that did not know their Ajah.

This distribution isn’t too surprising. Browns are the academics of the Wheel of Time, fascinated by the preservation of knowledge: the group of people willing to read a 15 books series (and then to debate about its meanings online for sometimes decades) could skew towards the Brown Ajah. Meanwhile, the Blues got a lot of good representation in both the books and the TV show, through characters like Moiraine Damodred or Siuan Sanche, which may make it easier for people to identify with this Ajah. At the other end of the spectrum, the Red Ajah, “dedicated to preventing the wrong and dangerous use of the One Power”, suffers from its representation in both books and TV shows. Its purpose is often summarized as “they hate men and hunt men channelers”. IMO, this is an overly simplified description of what this Ajah could be: some great later-books Reds would justify a rehabilitation of this Ajah in our fandom.

The MBTI classification is, honestly, just a big callout of all the shy introverts of our fandom. 77% of the respondents had a type in I (for introverted), 19% has a type in E (for extroverted) and 4% didn’t know their MBTI type. If you feel like you are spending your time online in fandoms because being social with real people is hard, well, you probably aren’t the only one here. Unsurprisingly also, 82% of the participants had a type in N (for intuitive) and 14% had a type in S (for observant). This N/S distinction determines how we see the world: observant individuals are highly practical and down-to-earth, while intuitive individuals are very imaginative and curious. We’re not fantasy readers/viewers for nothing. Between those two types, we end up with 65% of our fandom being intuitive introverts. Added to this, 54.5% of our group are Turbulent, i.e. self-conscious and sensitive to stress individuals, compared to 31.3% of assertive folks, the self-assured group, the 14.2% remaining not knowing their A/T trait. Here’s an idea for the next fan convention: have a bunch of assertive folks to teach our turbulent selves how to believe in ourselves.

The Hogwart Houses distribution gives us a lot of Ravenclaw (46.2%), quite some amount of Hufflepuff (21.1%), and similar amounts of Gryffindor and Slytherin (14.6% versus 14%). This tracks with Ravenclaw being viewed as a nerdy house. Not much to say here.

Finally, I am mostly unfamiliar with the various Radiant Orders, so I won’t get too deep into the details for that category. Truthwatcher is the preferred order of the fandom, picked by almost 24% of the respondents. According to their wiki, Truthwatchers seek truth and are concerned with knowledge and the proper exploitation of it. Again, considering how much time is spent in this fandom debating on diverse WoT related topics, a skew in the data towards that order makes sense. The lowest represented orders are Bondsmith, which focuses on bringing others together; Dustbringer, which seeks the understanding of powers and the associated responsibility; Skybreaker, which corresponds to peacekeepers and police enforcers; and Stoneward, whose members focus on team dynamics and learning to work with others.

If you are having an existential crisis about our fandom after reading this: you’re welcome.

Five charts representing the whole fandom. 1. Ajah distribution. From largest to smallest, Brown, Blue, Yellow, White, Green, Gray, I don't know, Red. 2. MBTI: top is INFP, INTJ, INFJ, INTP, ENFP, ENFJ, etc. 3. 54.5% Turbulent, 31.3% Assertive, 14.2% I don't know. 4. House: Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin, I don't know. 5. Order: Truthwatcher, I don't know, Edgedancer, Windrunner, Lightweaver, Elsecaller, Willshaper, etc.

Now, as you can see from the graphs above, the fandom is skewed in some categories, which needs to be taken into account when considering correlations. For example, if I was to consider the correlations between a given Ajah and the Hogwarts Houses, I would need to look at the house distribution among this Ajah and compare it to the house distribution among the full set of respondents.

So, let’s define a few things. Given an Ajah A and a House H:

  1. There is a positive correlation between House H and Ajah A if the chance of being in House H while knowing you’re in Ajah A is higher than the chance of being in House H when looking at the full set of data.

  2. There is a negative correlation between House H and Ajah A if the chance of being in House H while knowing you’re in Ajah A is lower than the chance of being in House H when looking at the full set of data.

  3. There is little to no correlation between House H and Ajah A if the chance of being in House H while knowing you’re in Ajah A is equal or close to the chance of being in House H when looking at the full set of data.

Or for those who remember some stats and probabilities, if we consider the percentages in that graph as probabilities of picking someone from an Ajah/House/Order/MBTI type when randomly selecting one respondent to the survey, this gets translated to

  1. Positive correlation: p(H|A) > p(H).

  2. Negative correlation: p(H|A) < p(H).

  3. No correlation: p(H|A) = p(H).

Now, disclaimer, I’m not a statistician and I am completely relying on some old and unused memories of classes. For those who know more on the topic, please be nice, for those who know less, I hope this kind of makes sense.

From Ajahs to Hogwarts Houses

Following those basics about correlations, let’s look at Ajahs and Hogwarts Houses. More specifically, if the Ajah is known, how does the distribution of Hogwarts Houses change? Well, the answer is “it changes a lot”.

8 donuts. The first one is the Hogwarts house repartition among all Ajah. Each other donut is this distribution for a given Ajah.

Ravenclaw values intelligence, learning, wisdom, and wit, and as a result, there is a strong positive correlation between the Brown (“Keepers of the past”) and White (“Pursuers of truth and reason”) Ajahs and Ravenclaw: if I randomly select someone from one of those Ajahs, they will have 12 to 13% more chance of being Ravenclaw than if I pick a random person among the fandom. Meanwhile, there is a strong negative correlation between the Green, Red, and Blue Ajahs and the Ravenclaw House. That correlation is stronger for the Greens, who have 20% less chance of being Ravenclaw than a random respondent, than for the Blues, who have 11% less chance. Note that Ravenclaw is still the main Hogwart House among the Blues, but the correlation is still a negative one. Finally, the Gray and Yellow Ajahs have a slight negative correlation with Ravenclaw: their percentages have decreased a bit, but it’s not as significant as for other Ajahs.

There is only one Ajah with a strong positive correlation with Hufflepuff, and that is the Yellow Ajah, our “Healers of all things living”. Hufflepuff values hard work, patience, justice, and loyalty. Their head of House was the Herbology teacher, which feels kinda funny. Looking at the graphs, I would say that the correlation between Hufflepuff and Brown/Blue/Gray/Red is weak, but that the Green and White Ajahs have a negative correlation with this House, especially the White Ajah.

“Act first, think later” is a common stereotype of the Gryffindor House, which values courage, bravery, nerve, and chivalry. Is it a surprise that the Green (“Warriors standing ready”) and Blue (“Seekers of justice”) Ajahs have a positive correlation with this House? Nope. And if you have any doubts about the Blues… *cough* Moiraine meeting Lan in New Spring *cough*. That Green/Gryffindor is a very strong correlation, by the way, one of the strongest Ajah/House correlations it seems. All of the other Ajahs have either a negative or a strongly negative correlation with Gryffindor.

Finally, the Brown and Yellow Ajahs are the only ones with a negative correlation with Slytherin, which values ambition, cunning, leadership, and resourcefulness. All other Ajahs have at least a slight positive correlation with this House, and the Reds have a strong correlation with it. Side note though: with so few Reds among respondents, it is hard to know whether any correlation regarding them would hold with more data.

Overall, the Gray (“Law-focused diplomats”) Ajah seems to have the smallest correlations with Hogwart Houses. Apart from some positive correlation with Slytherin and negative correlation with Gryffindor, their House distribution looks the closest to the All Ajah House distribution.