4.5: The Karaethon Cycle

From The Eye of the World

[TEOTW: 13, Choices, 158-159]

Thom in conversation:

One of the Prophecies says that the Stone of Tear will never fall until the People of the Dragon come to the Stone. Another says the Stone will never fall till the Sword that Cannot Be Touched is wielded by the Dragon's hand.

This has been fulfilled. The People of the Dragon are the Aiel, who attacked the Stone of Tear the night Rand broke in and took Callandor.

From The Great Hunt

[TGH: Header Prophecy]

And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered, and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the DO shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide...

Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow...and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation.

This is pretty general stuff. Great upheavals will come to the world when the time for the Last Battle nears, yadda yadda. This is all obviously happening right now; Rand is "breaking the world" figuratively, by causing all sorts of social unrest. "His blood shall give us the Light (at the Last Battle)" is reminiscent of Min's viewing of "black rocks, wet with blood," and of the "Twice dawns the day" prophecy, below.

[TGH: 22, Watchers, 275]

Vandene talking to Moiraine:

Five ride forth, and four return. Above the watchers shall he proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire...

This has been fulfilled; it refers to the events at Falme at the end of TGH. The five who rode forth were Ingtar, Hurin, Rand, Mat, and Perrin. Rand proclaimed himself the DR after the battle at Falme, where he and Ish fought in the sky.

[TGH: 26, Discord, 325-6], [TSR: 9, Decisions, 126]

Thom to Rand:

Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live, and twice to die,
Once the heron to set his path. Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon for remembrance lost. Twice the Dragon for the price he must pay.

The Dragon will be marked in four ways, with two herons and two dragons. He got the first heron in the Portal Stone world. The second heron was received at Falme, when he named himself the Dragon Reborn. The two dragons were received at Rhuidean; the "remembrance lost" refers to the lost history of the Aiel. The significance of the second dragon, ("the price he must pay") has not yet been revealed.

[TGH: 26, Discord, 326]

Thom to Rand:

Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.
Red on black, the Dragon's blood stains the rock of Shayol Ghul.
In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow.

"Twice dawns the day" may indicate that there will be an eclipse when Rand's blood is shed. Compare this to the Greeting from the the Amyrlin ceremony when Siuan Sanche arrives in Fal Dara in [TGH: 2, The Welcome,17]: "Against what do we guard?" "The shadow at noon." The second line may indicate that Rand will die and be resurrected, or maybe just that he will die, and the world will be reborn. The fragment ends with yet another reference to Rand's blood being necessary to defeat the DO.

From The Dragon Reborn

[TDR: Header Prophecy]

And his paths shall be many, and who shall know his name, for he shall be born among us many times, in many guises, as he has been and ever will be, time without end. His coming shall be like the sharp edge of the plow, turning our lives in furrows from out of the places where we lie in our silence. The breaker of bonds; the forger of chains. The maker of futures; the unshaper of destiny.

Again, pretty general stuff. Rand is breaking bonds, etc.

[TDR: 6, The Hunt Begins, 57]

Moiraine in conversation, listing bits of the Karaethon Cycle:

He has yet to break the nations, or shatter the world.... What does it mean that he shall 'slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf'? What does it mean that he shall bind the nine moons to serve him? There are others. What 'wound of madness and cutting of hope' has he healed? What chains has he broken, and who put into chains?

The breaking of nations is well underway. The bit about slaying his people with the sword of peace, etc, refers to the Aiel--by revealing the peaceful past of the Aiel, he changed them forever, and set them on the road to the destruction from which only a 'remnant of a remnant' will survive. "Nine Moons" is a reference to Tuon, and so this indicates that she or the Seanchan in general will eventually come under Rand's control. I don't know what the "wound of madness" is, although it may refer to the Taint, which Rand cleansed at the end of WH. The breaking of chains could refer to many things, e.g. the chains binding people to the Shadow (Ingtar, Asmo, Tear, Andor). It's also been suggested that this refers to the possibility of Rand freeing the Seanchan damane and other slaves. Rand has put people in figurative chains, as well--Asmodean, the Dragonsworn AS, all the nations he is conquering.

[TDR: 41, Threads in the Pattern, 373]

On the slopes of Dragonmount shall he be born, born of a maiden wedded to no man.

Shaiel, a.k.a. Tigraine, a.k.a. Rand's birth mum, was a Maiden of the Spear, who do not wed. (Technically, maybe she was wedded to Taringail, but I guess running off into the Aiel Waste counted as a divorce.)

From The Shadow Rising

[TSR: 3, Reflection, 71]

His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man's salvation.

Yet another reference to blood on the rocks.

[TSR: 6, Doorways, 93]

Power of the Shadow made human flesh,
wakened to turmoil, strife and ruin.
The Reborn One, marked and bleeding,
dances the sword in dreams and mist,
chains the Shadowsworn to his will,
from the city, lost and forsaken,
leads the spears to war once more,
breaks the spears and makes them see,
truth long hidden in the ancient dream.

The "Power of the Shadow made human flesh" could refer to any number of things--the Forsaken, Fain, Slayer, or the Bubble of Evil at the start of TSR. "Dances the sword in dreams and mist" could be a reference to the mirror incident in the Stone in TSR. Rand has chained the Shadowsworn, in the person of Asmodean. He leads the Aiel spears to war, and has also revealed the truth of Aiel history, which has resulted in many Aiel breaking their spears and running off bonkers.

[TSR: 21, Into the Heart, 244]

Into the heart he thrusts his sword,
into the heart, to hold their hearts.
Who draws it out shall follow after,
What hand can grasp that fearful blade?

Rand stuck the Sword Which is Not (Callandor) into the floor of the Heart of the Stone, partly as a reminder to the lords of Tear that he was the ruler of their country. The last two lines seem to indicate that somebody other than Rand will remove Callandor from the Stone. Indeed, this happened; Narishma fetched it for Rand in TPOD. Since he also used the Sword That Ain't in the Battle of Shadar Logoth in WH, Narishma may have a larger part to play wrt Callandor and "following after".

From The Fires of Heaven

[TFOH: Header Prophecy]

With his coming are the dread fires born again. The hills burn, and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.

The drying and burning are surely a reference to the drought and hot weather which was going on in Randland until the Bowl of the Winds was used. The piercing of the wall, and the raising of the veil may refer to the DO breaking loose, or alternately that the dead are now walking in Randland. That phrase calls to mind a phrase from the Bible. This is discussed more thoroughly in Section 3.

From Lord of Chaos

[LOC: Trailer Prophecy]

The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign. The seas rage, and stormclouds gather unseen. Beyond the horizon, hidden fires swell, and serpents nestle in the bosom. What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up. Order burns to clear his path.

The first sentence is fulfilled: the Tower is broken, and some AS have knelt and sworn fealty to Rand (whose sign is the "forgotten" ancient AS symbol). The second sentence indicates that all is not well. Something is rotten in Randland. People are not what they seem. The serpents in the bosom could be Taim and Halima, among others. The last sentence indicates the uncertain nature of the world. It could be referring to the AS and male channelers specifically, but there is more casting down and raising up than that going on.

From A Crown of Swords

[ACOS: Header Prophecy]

There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow, for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone, in pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield. He calls upon the mountains to kneel, and the seas to give way, and the very skies to bow. Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears, and the soul of fire, love.

(From a much-disputed translation of The Prophecies of the Dragon by the poet Kyera Termendal, of Shiota, believed to have been published between FY700 and FY800)

This is a clear reference to Rand's increasing self-isolation, hubris, etc., as well as Cadsuane's determination to teach Rand laughter and tears. Also note the 'Dragon is one with the land' stuff matches the Fisher King legend/reference (see section 3.06).

[ACOS: 34, Ta'veren, p533]

Rand's thoughts:

The Prophecies said he would bind together the people of every land--"The north shall he tie to the east, and the west shall be bound to the south."

Rand's interpretation: all the world will follow him. Alternative interpretation: Rand will hold the north and east; the Seanchan will hold the west and south. This seems more likely, at least for the present. It also agrees with Nicola's Foretelling ("the land divided by the return").

[ACOS: Trailer Prophecy]

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm, wearer of a crown of swords, spinner-out of fate. Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time, may learn the truth too late.

(From a fragmentary translation of The Prophecies of the Dragon, attributed to Lord Mangore Kiramin, Sword-bard of Aramaelle and Warder to Caraighan Maconar, into what was then called the vulgar tongue (circa 300 AB))

Similar in tone and meaning to the ACOS header prophecy, indicating that Rand's pride may cause some big trouble.

From Winter's Heart

[WH: Header Prophecy]

The seals that hold back night shall weaken
And in the heart of winter shall winter's heart be born
Amid the wailing of lamentations and the gnashing of teeth,
For winter's heart shall ride a black horse,
And the name of it is Death.

(from The Karaethon Cycle: The Prophecies of the Dragon)

First line is self-explanatory; the rest is fairly ominous, since Rand refers to himself as having "winter's heart" more than once. For example: "He was too weak for what had to be done. He needed to drink in winter, till he made winter's heart seem Sunday noon" [WH: 25, Bonds, 483]. (Recall that "Sunday" in Randland is an annual holiday, taking place at the height of summer.)

[WH: 14, What a Veil Hides, 328-329]

Tuon speaking: "'I must find a way to make contact with the Dragon Reborn as soon as possible. He must kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai'don, or all is lost.' The Prophecies of the Dragon said so, clearly."

Moiraine might be surprised to hear that, since as noted above, in [TDR: 6, The Hunt Begins, 57], Moiraine mentions that one of the Prophecies of the Dragon is that the Dragon Reborn "shall bind the nine moons to serve him", which implies the exact opposite of what the Seanchan version evidently says. The question is, which version is correct?

The Seanchan version of the Prophecies was actually mentioned prior to WH; Captain-General Kennar Miraj, the (now-deceased) commander of the Seanchan forces that confronted Rand in TPOD, reflected on them: "The Prophecies of the Dragon had been known in Seanchan even before Luthair Paendrag began the Consolidation. In corrupted form, it was said, much different from the pure version Luthair Paendrag brought. Miraj had seen several volumes of The Karaethon Cycle printed in these lands, and they were corrupted too - not one mentioned him serving the Crystal Throne! - but the Prophecies held men's minds and hearts still" [TPOD: 24, A Time for Iron, 461].

So apparently at least some of the Seanchan suspect that their version is not the correct one. Miraj's opinions about the Randland versions notwithstanding, it seems more likely overall that the Seanchan version is the only one altered from the original, whether accidentally or purposefully. (Purposefully, perhaps, because the Seanchan version obviously mentions the Crystal Throne by name, and as far as we know no one in Randland proper has ever heard of it; so why would it appear in a Randland-based prophecy? [Sarah Coit])

It's also possible, of course, that both versions are correct. Prophecies, as we've seen, rarely turn out to mean exactly what anyone thinks they do. For all we know Rand could kneel before the Throne right before he blows it up, or something. Another interesting idea is that "binding the nine moons to serve him" could refer to the Sad Bracelets and the struggle for control between the man and the woman/women holding him in them that Moggy talks about; perhaps Tuon could make Rand kneel to the Crystal Throne because of the Sad Bracelets, but would end up being controlled by Rand.


From Crossroads of Twilight

[COT: Header Prophecy]

And it shall come to pass, in the days when the Dark Hunt rides, when the right hand falters and the left hand strays, that mankind shall come to the Crossroads of Twilight and all that is, all that was, and all that will be shall balance on the point of a sword, while the winds of the Shadow grow.

(From The Prophecies of the Dragon, translation believed done by Jain Charin, known as Jain Farstrider, shortly before his disappearance)

The Dark Hunt refers to Darkhounds, of course, maybe specifically to the large fifty-plus pack currently on the move in COT. The right and left hand could just be symbolic hoohah - everyone on Rand's side kind of floundering around, etc. - but it's been suggested that it could refer specifically to Mat and Perrin, who do seem to be doing some faltering and straying, respectively. (Osan'gar and Aran'gar got their names from left-hand and right-hand daggers, the only other such reference in the series, but it's pretty clear that the "hands" in question belong to the Light, so the 'gars don't really fit.) Crossroads: a turning point, a choice to be made; an in-between place, a place of danger, especially in twilight (in between day and night, light turning to darkness). The rest, self-explanatory.

[COT: 28, A Cluster of Rosebuds, 616]

Noal in conversation:

Fortune rides like the sun on high
with the fox that makes the ravens fly
Luck his soul, the lightning his eye
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.

Something of a landmark, since it's the first time we learn that the Prophecies of the Dragon talk about anyone specifically other than Rand. Obviously, this refers to Mat - fortune, luck, him as the fox, making the Seanchan - the ravens - fly (freeing the Windfinders and the chaos that followed, as well as being a description of his ring), snatching the Daughter of the Nine Moons, etc. The "lightning his eye" line could mean a couple of things - a reference to gunpowder, perhaps, or just his quickness with a knife (good hand-eye coordination, you know). Possibly related in some way to the other prophecies concerning Mat's eye.

(So, does Perrin get a mention?)