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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.

From Ajahs to Radiant Orders

Now let’s consider possible correlations between Ajahs and the Radiant Orders from the Stormlight Archives. To be honest, I haven’t read this fantasy book series, but I added this category to the survey because there is quite some overlap between the WoT and Cosmere fandoms. I probably won’t be the only one unfamiliar with Radiant Orders here, so I will mostly use this website to get an idea of what they mean for our Ajahs.

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

As I mentioned before, the dominant order in our fandom is Truthwatcher, whose oaths are themed around seeking the ultimate truth and sharing it. Three Ajahs have a higher percentage of Truthwatchers in their group than in the fandom as a whole: Brown, White, and Gray (although the percentage increase is small for the Grays). This order is known as the most academic one of Knights Radiant, primarily attracting scientists, scholars, and thinkers of all types. No wonder then that a third of the Brown Ajah belongs there.

Meanwhile, 17.9% of the Blues decided that they did not know their order and did not have the time to look into the quiz provided in the survey. Maybe they were too busy saving the world. Another hypothesis is that the overlap between the Cosmere fandom and the Blue Ajah may not be as pronounced as with other Ajahs. I have absolutely nothing to verify or disprove this theory, but I am wondering whether this Ajah could contain more people who have discovered the Wheel of Time through the show. As show-viewers first, it would be easier for them to identify as Blues, who had the strongest representation of the first season. They may also not be big fantasy-book readers and thus be unfamiliar with the Stormlight Archives. Who knows.

On another note, the largest Radiant Order of the Blue Ajah is Windrunner, which is oriented toward the protection of the defenseless and tends to attract folks with some “big sibling” energy. That order was also dominant among the Green (and this won’t be the last similarity between those two Ajahs). Meanwhile, their second-largest order was Willshaper, which believes that people should be free to take their own path. This goes from freeing those who are captive to daring people to express themselves as they truly are. Sounds appropriate for our fierce Battle Ajah.

The Yellow Ajah contains 25.6% of Edgedancers, while the White Ajah only contains 6.5% of those. For all other Ajahs, their percentage for this category is around 11/12%, close to the percentage in our fandom as a whole. To quote the description of this order, “too often, the actions of the powerful have terrible effects on the people with no voice, and the Edgedancers consider it their solemn duty to remember that the people are the ones they truly serve”. In other words, Yellows often care about people, while Whites mostly… Don’t. And yes, Edgedancers are also known as the medics of the Stormlight Archives. Quite an expected correlation.

Whites and Grays have some high percentages of Elsecallers among their ranks. This order is themed toward exploring your own potential and reaching it. This makes this order one of the most open and welcoming of all, attracting many different types of people, as the only condition to join is to want to improve oneself.

As you may have noticed, I did not speak of the Red Ajah in this session, and for a good reason: with only 16 members among their ranks, none of the Radiant Orders reached more than 2 Reds in it, not enough data to say much about it.

From Ajahs to Personality Types

I know, I know, I know, there is nothing scientific about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It’s an introspective self-report, and well, who knows how good we are at judging ourselves? But also who cares, we already know there is nothing scientific in this whole article, so let’s keep having some fun.

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

The correlations between the White Ajah and the personality types are the easiest to make. 35.5% of our Whites are INTP, also called Logician, who are known to puzzle over the mysteries of the universe and to hardly ever stop thinking. An additional 25.8% of the White Ajah are INTJ Architects, thoughtful tacticians who apply creativity and rationality to everything they do. That personality type is also very common among the Gray and Red Ajah (well… 4 people over 16 for the Reds), while a bit less present among the Blues and the Yellows compared to the rest of the fandom.

INFP is the most common type among the Brown and Yellow Ajah. Idealistic and empathetic, Mediators feel called to help others, which is a perfect match for our Yellows. Their representation among Browns may surprised though (as proven by a recent poll). INFPs are also described as losing themselves in daydreams, but that feels a bit of a stretch to link them to the Brown Ajah. Funnily, 32.1% of our INFP Browns are Hufflepuff, compared to 18.8% of the non-INFP Browns. Considering that the Yellow Ajah also has a strong correlation with Hufflepuff, maybe some of our INFP Browns would get along well with our Yellows, who knows… (Note that I’m not saying anyone needs to change their Ajah).

The largest personality type among the Blue Ajah is INFJ, which should surprise no one. Advocates are idealists who want to make a lasting impact on the world. They strive to stand up for what is right and are compelled to find a mission for their lives, which sounds very Blue. Their purpose in life may be to help others, which also makes them good Yellows. On this, sorry to be an annoyment again, but 27.9% of our INFJ Browns are Hufflepuffs. Only 16.5% of the non-INF(J/P) are Hufflepuffs. I was not expecting those Brown/Yellow connections when I started this article.

Other types worth a mention: the Blue and Green Ajahs have about 10% of ENFP Campaigners, free spirits who long for meaningful emotional connections with other people. Blues also have 8.4% of ENFJ Protagonists, i.e. the main character type. ISTJ Logisticians are a bit more present in the Brown and White Ajahs than in other groups, which fits for those fact-minded individuals. The Greens have a bit more ENTJ Commanders (“strong-willed leaders”) and ENTP Debater (“the ultimate devil’s advocate”) than the rest of the Ajahs.

8 donuts. The first one is the Assertive/Turbulent distribution among all Ajah. Each other donut is this distribution for a given Ajah.

On top of our four-letters personality types, a fifth trait differentiates people in another category. Assertive individuals are self-assured and resistant to stress, while turbulent people struggle with stress, more easily self-conscious of their abilities. Does it surprise anyone that the Green and Red Ajahs are the assertive folks of our community, while the Browns and Yellows have the largest proportion of turbulent people?

We could keep going for hours

The truth is… I have only shown you a small part of the picture so far. In all the previous sections, I changed the Ajah color and looked at how this would affect other categories like the Hogwarts House or the Radiant Order. Instead, I could vary other parameters, such as the personality type, and see how this affects the Ajah, Radiant Order, or House distribution. I could also play around with multiple parameters: for example, I could limit my data to the Brown Ajah and see how changing the Hogwarts House would affect the MBTI distribution. With five different categories and so many options for each, this could go on, and on, and on.

Instead, I will take a look at a few remaining charts, which mostly should confirm what we have learned before, just for the sake of illustrating that different paths can be taken to reach similar conclusions.

5 donuts. The first one is the Ajah distribution among the whole fandom. The four remaining are the Ajah distribution among each Hogwarts House.

The chart above looks at the Ajah distribution among different Hogwarts Houses. Again, we can find several strong positive correlations between Houses and Ajahs. 44.8% of our Ravenclaws are Browns compared to 35.4% of our respondents; 18.1% of our Hufflepuffs are Yellows while this Ajah only makes up 10.9% of the fandom; Gryffindor contains way larger percentages of Blues and Greens than any other Houses; Slytherin is the only House where there are more Reds than people who don’t know their Ajah. The positive correlation between Whites and Ravenclaw or Slytherin still appears, as is the positive correlation between Grays and Slytherin.

Negative correlations are also evident: despite their matching color themes, Ravenclaw isn’t a House favored by Blues, nor is Gryffindor for the Red Ajah. Both Slytherin and Gryffindor have strong negative correlations with the Brown Ajah. Meanwhile, the distribution of Whites among Hufflepuff and Gryffindor is lower than in the rest of the fandom.

5 donuts. The first one is the Ajah distribution among the whole fandom. The four remaining are the Ajah distribution among Assertive folks and Turbulent folks.

I don’t want to draw the Ajah distribution for all Radiant Orders or personality types, as most elements of those categories wouldn’t even have enough data to provide valuable information. However, we can look at how Turbulent or Assertive our different Ajahs are. Again, Browns and Yellows appear more turbulent than the fandom as a whole, while Blues, Greens, Whites, and Reds seem more assertive.

5 donuts. The first one is the Assertive/Turbulent distribution among the whole fandom. The four remaining are the A/T distribution among each Hogwarts House.

Last chart for the ride, but we could also look at how two non-Ajah-related categories correlate with each other. In the chart above is drawn the turbulence and assertiveness of the various Hogwarts Houses. Hufflepuffs are more turbulent compared to the rest of the fandom, while Gryffindors and Slytherins are more assertive. Meanwhile, there isn’t much difference between the Ravenclaw and the whole fandom graphs.

Where it comes to an end

Are you a Ravenclaw Truthwatcher who now wonders whether you should have chosen Brown instead of another Ajah? Or a Hufflepuff INFP, suddenly hesitating between Yellow and Brown?

Well, do not worry anymore! Nothing in this article means you should reconsider your Ajah. While some correlations exist, being of a certain House, Order, personality type, or even a combination of those does not mean someone needs to be of a certain Ajah.

Over the 1077 answers I got for this survey, 659 of them had a unique selection of Ajah/House/Order/MBTI/Assertiveness. That’s right, 61% of our respondents have a combination that isn’t shared by anyone else among the 1077 folks who got to help with this analysis. Mathematically, this makes a lot of sense: 7 Ajahs, 4 Houses, 10 Radiant Orders, 16 personality types, and 2 A/T traits give us 8960 different combinations possible. Taking into account the additional “I don’t know” answer increases this number to 22440, and this option was used at least once by 30.7% of the fandom. With only 1077 answers, we are far from being able to assert that any of those selections is “incorrect”, if that would even make any sense considering we are talking about fantasy-related classifications and non-scientific personality types.

In total, 804 different combinations were used in this survey. Only 17 of those appeared at least 5 times. The most used one was Brown/Ravenclaw/Truthwatcher/INFP/Turbulent, which showed up 17 times in the data. In fact, any combination with more than 6 people in it was from the Brown Ajah. INFP/Turbulent was the most common personality type/trait association with 144 people, while Ravenclaw/Truthwatcher was the most common House/Order group with 163 people.

IN(FP/TP/FJ/TJ)/Turbulent/Ravenclaw/Truthwatcher were the most used combinations when discarding the Ajah. In particular, the INFJ/Turbulent/Ravenclaw/Truthwatcher group, to which I belong, had 21 folks: 11 Browns, 5 Blues, 2 Grays, 2 Whites, and 2 who did not know their Ajah. If I can look at this majority of Browns and still decide that I will stick to the Blue Ajah, then you can sleep peacefully no matter what you may have learned through this article!

Note: if you didn’t get the chance to answer the survey or would like to modify your answer on it, you can still do that here! This won’t automatically update the dashboard, sadly, but I can come back to it every once in a while to, hum, refresh the data.

Camille, also known as RationalNerd on Twitter, is a regular contributor to Every few weeks, their “Data? WoT Data?” column sheds some light on various numbers of the Wheel.


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