2.2: The Rest of the Characters

This subsection contains information on and discussion of questions relating to characters who are not Rand, Mat, or Perrin.

2.2.1: Can Thom channel?

[Arthur Bernard Byrne, Pam Korda, Leigh Butler]

Here are the reasons why some people think Thom can channel: 1) The mysterious blue flash in Whitebridge/random burns after the Fade fight in TEOTW. 2) His comment that he "could have done something" for Owyn. 3) In [TFOH: 9, A Signal, 145] Nynaeve says "she could not channel any more than Thom". This is taken to be "ironic foreshadowing." 4) The White Ajah hypothesis that channeling has a genetic link, and that Thom has at least one relative who can channel (Owyn).

Objections: 1) The blue flash is something that occurs when Fadeblade meets OP-forged blade. This would imply that Thom's daggers were OP-made, which seems kind of strange (see section 2.3.4), but doesn't indicate anything about his ability to channel. As for the fires, it seems likely that there was some sort of riot after the fight, which is why people didn't want to talk about it. 2) The "something" comment is just wishful thinking. 3) If Thom was a channeler, he would have to have the "spark inborn," since until recently, nobody was teaching men to channel. Thus, he'd have started channeling at about 20, a la Rand. Even if he had a block, like Ny, he would have channeled quite a bit in the 30 or so years since then, more than enough for him to be showing signs of madness and the rotting disease.

As for number four, it's true that we have seen evidence that channeling is an inherited trait. Elayne is related to both Morgase (who can channel even if only a tiny bit) and Moiraine, through Taringail (Thom is not Elayne's father; see section 2.5.4). Adeleas and Vandene are sisters. In TPOD, we meet three Windfinders who are all related; Caire and Tebreille are sisters, and Talaan is Caire's daughter [TPOD: 5, The Breaking Storm, 120]. However, this makes Thom's chances of being a channeler only slightly better, since we can come up with ten times as many examples of non-channelers related to channelers. Galad, Luc, Tigraine, and Janduin are all related to Rand, and none of them can/could channel. Aviendha has a sister who cannot channel, while Mat has a sister (Bode) who can. Elayne's brother Gawyn cannot channel, Egwene's parents cannot channel, and so forth and so on.

In any case, nothing that we have seen of Thom's thoughts or actions gives any indication of him being able to channel.

From a signing in Seattle, Edward "potato" Liu tells us:


Now, regarding Thom, RJ said a man will not go mad or get sick if he never channeled. Thus, he agreed that a male channeler who could be taught to channel (as opposed to having the inborn ability) and has never channeled would not die from the taint. BUT, when I asked him if he ever intended to make people think that Thom could channel, he said no. I brought up the hereditary point (i.e. Owyn) but he said just because your parents have a particular gene doesn't mean you'll receive that particular gene. Also he made a point that Owyn was his nephew so therefore not necessarily very similar gene-wise. When I pressed him again on it, he said (I'm quoting) "There is no way in hell Thom can channel." All he offered for explanations is that Thom is a "mysterious man."

Enough said.

2.2.2: What was up with Gawyn during the Tower Coup?

It's been suggested that he was involuntarily bonded to a Black or to a Forsaken. His eyes were glazed and he was not necessarily in control of himself [TSR: 47, The Truth of a Viewing, 539-541]. Alviarin says with some confidence that "Gawyn will be brought under control". [TFOH: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall, 17]

OTOH, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that he was in full control of his faculties during the coup. By that time, he had developed a good and solid hatred for SS, due to Elayne and Egwene's mysterious disappearance. Furthermore, in his POV scenes in LOC and ACOS, he never thinks anything that would give the idea that he's bonded to anything. Plus, he agrees to be Eg's Warder; he couldn't do that if he was already bonded. (Since he'd trained with the Warders, it's not reasonable to think that he wouldn't know a Warder bond when he felt one.)

From his behavior in LOC, it seems pretty apparent that he acted under his own will during the coup, motivated by grief and anxiety over Elayne and Egwene. He develops a similar fierce hatred for Rand due to the rumors that Rand killed Morgase.

2.2.3: Who was the old geezer on the barrel watching Carridin's Place in Ebou Dar?


Quite a few mysterious characters were introduced in ACOS. One of these was the old man watching Carridin's palace in Ebou Dar. What do we know about him?

  • He's old, and quite worse-for-wear: "A scrawny, white-haired fellow lounging nearby in the shade. Mat looked at him questioningly, and he grinned, showing gaps in his teeth. His stooped shoulders and sad weathered face did not fit his fine gray coat. Despite a bit of lace at his neck, he was the very picture of hard times." [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 282]
  • He can't remember parts of his past: "His head felt... peculiar... sometimes. Most often when he thought of what he could not remember." [ACOS: 17, The Triumph of Logic, 318]
  • He's got a lot of knowledge about local DF activity--he knows about "Carridin's pretty little killer," and about the two BA in town. [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]
  • He used to be a fighter of some kind, and he's still proficient with knives: "His hands no longer possessed the strength or flexibility for swordwork, but the two long knives he had carried for well over thirty years had surprised more than one swordsman." [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]
  • He's working on some kind of deadline: "He did not have much time left, but it was all he did have." [ACOS: 17: The Triumph of Logic, 319]

In [WH: 16, An Unexpected Encounter, 355-356], Mat meets Noal Charin, whose description rings a few bells: "...a stoop-shouldered, white haired old man with a large hooked nose planted in the middle of a sad face... He was sliding a very long dagger into a sheath beneath his coat... he laughed mirthlessly, showing gaps in his teeth." Mat thinks that his (weathered) face looks familiar, but cannot place him, and notes that his hands look like they've healed wrong after being broken.

It's pretty obvious that Noal is the geezer on the barrel; the similarities between each description are too striking for them not to be the same person. So the real question is, who is Noal Charin?

An overly-complete list of possibilities:


  1. Jain Farstrider - By far the most popular (and likely) candidate; see section 2.4.4, the Jain section.
  2. Graendal's Old Man - In [TFOH: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall, 26], when Graendal Gates in to the Forsaken tea party, a "rumpled old man" can be seen in the room whence she came. Perhaps Noal was spying on Carridin (Sammael's flunky, at that point) for Graendal. His memory trouble could be explained by Graendal's usual use of un-subtle Compulsion. This, of course, doesn't preclude him from being Jain Farstrider as well. This possibility is further strengthened by Noal's claim that he has been to Shara; in an elaborate attempt to hoodwink Sammael, Graendal tells him about going to Shara to acquire her newest pets [LOC: 6, Threads Woven of Shadow, 136]. Coincidence? (On the other hand, Ituralde's POV in COT's Prologue makes it far more likely that Graendal's Old Man is Alsalam, the King of Arad Doman.)
  3. It's unlikely, but Noal could be somebody associated with Carridin's late family-- he might just be some old family retainer or even a relative who escaped the Myrddraal and came looking for Carridin to exact vengeance for what he had done to the family. How he found out that Carridin is responsible is another question. (Maybe he looked for the only surviving family member.) However, Noal doesn't appear to be in a very vengeful mood, and there are far more interesting and non-random people for him to be.
  4. Geofram Bornhald - If Geofram survived the battle at Falme, he could certainly have sustained such injuries to make him be in as bad a shape as the old man in question. Furthermore, he'd have reason to be paying attention to Carridin, considering the way their relationship stood when they parted in TGH. OTOH, the old man seems to have been unable to handle a sword for 30 years. Bornhald doesn't fit that description, nor does the physical description we get of him in [TEOTW: 30, Children of Shadow, 374] match Noal's description: gray-haired, rather than white, grandfatherly, and with "a kindly face, bluff and dignified." Furthermore, what we see of Noal's personality is nothing like Bornhald's character.
  5. Old Cully - One of the local DFs is a murderous old beggar named Old Cully, and it's been suggested that this Old Cully and the barrel man are one and the same. This is not possible. Carridin knows Old Cully by sight, yet when he sees the barrel man in [ACOS: 15, Insects, 286] standing next to Mat, he doesn't recognize him. Another reason why the barrel man can't be Old Cully: Carridin describes Old Cully as having one eye and no teeth [ACOS: 15, Insects, 284]. But when Mat sees Noal in [ACOS: 14, White Plumes, 282]: "...he grinned, showing gaps in his teeth". There is no mention of him missing an eye, either.
  6. Elyas Machera - Also not possible, unless he's capable of being in both Ghealdan with Perrin and in Ebou Dar with Mat at the same time.

2.2.4: What's the deal with Setalle Anan? Is she "the one who is no longer"? --Revised

[ revised by James Luckman]

The short answer is, she is a woman who used to be Aes Sedai.

"You were Aes Sedai, once,'' he said quietly, and her hand froze.

She recovered herself so quickly that he might have imagined it. She was stately Setalle Anan, the innkeeper from Ebou Dar with the big golden hoops in her ears and the marriage knife dangling hilt-down into her round cleavage, about as far from an Aes Sedai as could be. "The sisters think I'm lying about never having been to the Tower. They think I was a servant there as a young woman and listened where I shouldn't have."

"They haven't seen you looking at this." He bounced the foxhead once on his hand before tucking it
safely back under his shirt. She pretended not to care, and he pretended not to know she was pretending.

Her lips twitched into a brief, rueful smile, as if she knew what he was thinking. "The sisters would see it if they could let themselves," she said, as simply as if she were discussing the chances of rain, "but Aes Sedai expect that when . . . certain things . . . happen, the woman will go away decently and die soon after. I went away, but Jasfer found me half starved and sick on the streets of Ebou Dar and took me to his mother." She chuckled, just a woman telling how she met her husband. "He used to take in stray kittens, too. Now, you know some of my secrets, and I know some of yours. Shall we keep them to ourselves?"

[KoD; 9, A Short Path]

Is She the One Who is No Longer?

"The key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer." [LOC: 19, Matters of Toh, 312]

Well, they found the bowl. "The one who is no longer" is still a mystery. So we should be saying, "the key to finding the one who is no longer is to find the bowl."

Aside from the clean logic of a woman who used to be Aes Sedai being someone 'who is no longer', there is the fact that if we look for one single person who was key to finding the Bowl of the Winds the most likely candidate is Setalle Anan, the innkeeper of The Wandering Woman. El and Ny's meeting with her set off the chain of events that led to finding the Bowl. (Anan introduced them to the Kin, who they got Mat to spy on, and when Mat followed one of them, she led him to the six-storied building where the Kin's stash of *angreal was.)

Was She Burned Out or Stilled?

Anan is most probably a burn out--her attitudes do not match that of a criminal; she is not furtive or secretive, displays no shame (and at times seems disdainful of the other Aes Sedai) none of which matches a woman who was severed due to a crime. Indeed whilst she would prefer the Aes Sedai not know who she was, she doesn't go largely out of the way to ensure that they do not. That seems more discomfort than shame at work.

In addition it is clear that the AS are not keeping tabs on Anan, and we know that AS tend to avoid Sisters who are severed accidentally. AS who are stilled for some crime, on the other hand, are often kept around the Tower to serve as examples.

A Kin Timeline

In [ACOS: 24, The Kin, 404]:

"Remember who she is, Garenia," Reanne said sharply. "If Setalle had betrayed us, we would be crawling to Tar Valon, begging forgiveness the whole way....She has kept the few secrets she knows from gratitude, and I doubt that has faded. She would have died in her first childbirth if the Kin had not helped her. What she knows comes from careless tongues...and the owners of those tongues were punished more than twenty years ago."

Which provides us with a lower limit. Setalle had been severed prior to twenty years ago.

Then we have the Garenia evidence: When Anan meets Garenia, she says: "Your name is Garenia? You look very much like someone I met once. Zarya Alkaese." [ACOS: 23, Next Door to a Weaver, 395]

Garenia puts her off by saying that Zarya Alkaese was her great-aunt, but we find out in [TPOD: 28, Crimsonthorn, 542] that Garenia is Zarya Alkaese herself, and ran away from the Tower seventy years ago. This provides us with an upper limit--Setalle was still at the Tower seventy years ago. So the timeline established is that Setalle was severed some time between twenty and seventy years ago.

Could she be Martine Janata?

Vandene mentions Martine to Elayne whilst warning her of the dangers of studying ter'angreal.

"She was the last sister to really make a business of studying ter'angreal... She did it for forty years, almost from the time she reached the shawl.... Then one day, Martine's maid found her unconscious on the floor of her sitting room. Burned out.... That was more than twenty-five years ago.... She vanished once she was well enough to slip out of the Tower." [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 75-76]

The timing makes this possible, as explained by John Hamby:

1. The timing of her burning out leaves five years for her to wander, meet her husband and get pregnant in order to fit the kin's statements of when Setalle gave birth to her first child.

2. Martine Janata was raised to the shawl over sixty-five years ago, placing her in training at the same time as Zarya Alkaese.

Also it is a bit too pat that we get the story of one such sister that provides us with a chronology that fits the criteria to be Setalle Anan--burn outs are rare. Two such with such perfect timing seems unlikely.

Vandene makes clear Martine's fascination with ter'angreal--she studied them for forty years despire the dangers. In KoD we witness Setalle around ter'angreal.

"Joline must have tried to stop you. and Teslyn and Edesina as well, but whatever they did failed. I think that means you possess a ter'angreal that can disrupt flows of the Power. I've heard of such things-Cadsuane Melaidhrin supposedly had one, or so rumor said- but I've never seen the like. I would very much like to. I won't try to take it away from you, but I would appreciate seeing it."

[KoD; 7, A Cold Medallion]

"Could I see it? Just to see?"

There was no doubt what she meant. He hesitated, then fished in the neck of his shirt for the leather cord that held the medallion. He could not have said why. He had refused Joline and Edesina even a glimpse. It was a fine piece of work, a silver foxhead nearly as big as his palm. Only one eye showed, and enoughdaylight remained to see, if you looked close, that the pupil was half shaded to form the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai. Her hand trembled slightly as she traced a finger around that eye. She had said she only wanted to see it. but he allowed the touching. She breathed out a long sigh.

[KoD; 9, A Short Path]

Setalle shows a similar fascination to Mat's ter'angreal that one could see prompting a woman to study something so dangerous for upwards of forty years.


From the simple description of Setalle as one who is no longer Aes Sedai, combined with the role she played in finding the bowl, it seems certain that Setalle is the fulfilment of the Wise One's dream. From there the timelines in play combined with the similar fascination displayed by both woman towards ter'angreal make it very likely that Setalle is also Martine Janata.

2.2.5: Where is Gaidal Cain now?

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Jeff Dougan]

In [TFOH: 14, Meetings, 194], Birgitte tells Nynaeve that Gaidal Cain hadn't been around in T'A'R for some time, and that she suspects that he's been "spun out." Since we never see him in T'A'R after that point, it is reasonable to suppose that that is the case. Min's viewing of Birgitte in WH seems to confirm this idea: "Strangely, some [images] were connected to an ugly man who was older than she, and others to an ugly man who was much younger, yet somehow Min knew they were the same man" [WH: 12, A Lily in Winter, 297].

So, of course, speculation has been rife as to where and who he is. Some suggestions are (in order of ascending age):

  • somebody's unborn kid (e.g., Faile, Aviendha, Elayne)
  • a baby
  • Mat's lil' buddy Olver
  • pulled out of Tel'aran'rhiod bodily and an adult.
  • Mat
  • Uno

Well, Aviendha's not pregnant (see section 2.5.6), and there is zero evidence that Faile is, either. Elayne is preggers as of WH, but it's quite a stretch to suppose that one of her children is Gaidal when he disappeared four books earlier (not to mention supposing that any kid with Rand and Elayne for parents could end up Gaidal-ugly).


Is Olver Gaidal reborn?

No, he's not.

The theory that Olver, the little boy Mat takes under his wing in LOC, is the reincarnation of Gaidal Cain was very popular for a long time, despite the problems with it. There were facts supporting the argument: Olver didn't like Birgitte when he first met her, but they have grown very affectionate towards each other, for instance. Also, Olver is very ugly. These are both "trademarks" of the Birgitte-Gaidal relationship, as described in [TSR: 52, Need, 598].

However, in spite of the similarities, there was also a big problem with the idea of Olver being Gaidal Cain. Olver is now about ten years old [WH: 18, An Offer, 375]. Gaidal was last seen in T'A'R at the end of TSR. That was, presumably, before GC was spun out. Thus, only a year or less had passed between GC's "spinning out" and Olver's appearance as a grown boy. That appearance by Gaidal is not the only one he makes during Olver's lifetime. He appears numerous times in T'A'R, as well as appearing with the other Heroes at Falme. This is a big discrepancy.

Many explanations were proposed to explain this, but none of them were really consistent with the other information we have about the Heroes of the Horn and T'A'R. And anyway, RJ made the question moot at a post-COT signing in Dayton, OH [report by Tim Kington]:

Q: Is Olver Gaidal Cain?
RJ: No. I didn't really think that this would last as long as it has. The timing is wrong. He has another reason for being there besides being a red herring, though.

Q: He's too old.
RJ: Yes. Time in T'A'R and the real world run at different rates, but it never runs backwards. You may spend an hour in T'A'R, and a day has passed when you get back, or you may spend a day, and an hour has passed when you get back, but you'll never go in on Tuesday and come back on Monday.

Q: Is the difference in time constant?
RJ: No. It's fairly random. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes the same as real time.

Q: It's different for different people, then?
RJ: Yes. Unless they're together in T'A'R. Then the same amount of time passes for them obviously.

The last three answers put paid to the most commonly proposed idea to explain the timing problem, the "Time Runs Differently" theory. This was based on a comment Birgitte makes in [TFOH: 14, Meetings, 194], where she tells Nynaeve that time runs differently for the Heroes in T'A'R than it does for living people in the real world: "Time [in T'A'R] is not like time in the waking world. I met you here last ten days gone, as it seems to me, and Elayne only a day before. What was it for you?" Ny: "Four days and three..." Birgitte: "The flow of time here can shift in larger ways, too. It might be months before I am born again, or days. Here, for me. In the waking world it could be years yet before my birth."

People used this idea that "time runs differently" to sweep the timing problem under the rug, but even before RJ's confirmation, there was no indication that time ever runs backwards in T'A'R, as it would have had to do in order for Gaidal to have been reborn as Olver.

People have still tried to defend the idea by bringing up the quote by Birgitte in [TFOH: 36, A New Name, 407]: "Gaidal is out there, somewhere, an infant, or even a young boy." The "young boy" bit is taken to mean that Birgitte thinks that time CAN run backwards, and that a nine-year-old could be GC. In addition, in [TPOD: 1, To Keep the Bargain, 47] Aviendha comments that "Birgitte worried about [Olver] even more than [Aviendha], but Birgitte's breast held a strangely soft heart for small boys, especially ugly ones." This has been taken to imply that Birgitte is looking for GC, and continues to believe that GC could be a small boy.

However, this is still inconsistent with the fact that, in every other instance, time increases monotonically for Birgitte and everyone else in T'A'R. The first "small boy" comment can be explained by the fact that the pace of time does vary in T'A'R, and thus, that Birgitte, upon awaking in the real world, had no idea how much time has passed (in the waking world) since Gaidal was spun out. For all she knew, it could have been several years. However, by the beginning of TPOD, she must have learned how much time had passed in the real world. So, why is she looking at ugly children? She mourns her loss of Gaidal. It's not very incredible to think that she has a soft heart for that which reminds her of him. Furthermore, she may be deluding herself out of hope that Gaidal isn't quite so young as logic says he must be.


So who is Gaidal, then?

RJ's assertion that Olver is not Gaidal and the reason why (the timing discrepancy) means that by the same logic, any other possible candidates as old or older than Olver are also automatically eliminated. Thus, neither Mat nor Uno (the next two most popular characters suggested) can be Gaidal.

One suggestion is that perhaps Gaidal has not been spun out, after all. Daniel Bartlett explains, "What if he wasn't [spun out]? Moggy promised Birgitte to 'weep alone for as long as the Wheel turns'. What if she delivered on that promise and GC isn't around simply because Moggy got him? Would this explain everything, and Birgitte's looking out for all those little boys simply be wishful thinking?" A variation on this idea is that Moggy didn't kill him, but pulled him out of T'A'R as an adult the same way she did to Birgitte.

The problem with these ideas is Min's vision in WH of Birgitte being linked to an ugly, younger man who is also an ugly, older man. That can only be referring to the current incarnation of Gaidal Cain as a youngster, and also clearly indicates that Gaidal is alive. Additionally, it seems unlikely that Moggy could have done anything to Gaidal anyway, since Gaidal was not only already gone from T'A'R when Moggy and Birgitte had their showdown, but it's explained that Birgitte was only vulnerable to Moggy because she "violated the precepts," as Gaidal Cain put it, by helping Ny and El. Gaidal did not show any inclination to put himself in a similar situation - he disapproved of Birgitte involving herself in the affairs of the living [TSR: 52, Need, 598-599].


Thus we are left to conclude that Gaidal is currently a random infant or toddler out there somewhere, and that he is unlikely to be able to play a role in Tarmon Gai'don. Which naturally has led people to wonder WHY, if the Wheel spins out the Heroes when they are needed, did events fall out this way?

Therese Wikström offers, "Because he'd be needed after the Last Battle? Remember: 'The great battle done, but the world not done with battle.'"

2.2.6: How do we know that Moiraine is not dead? --Updated

[Pam Korda, Leigh Butler, Timothy Itnyre, Jennifer Liang]

In [LOC: Glossary, entry "Moiraine", 710], it says "She vanished into a ter'angreal in Cairhien while battling Lanfear, apparently killing both herself and the Forsaken." That "apparently" definitely left the question open.

WH tells us that Lanfear was "held" by the Snakes and the Foxes, either before or during her transformation into Cyndane. Though becoming Cyndane could have involved Lanfear's death at some later point (see section 1.2.4), the "held" statement indicates that Lanfear could not have died immediately after falling through the twisted door with Moiraine in TFOH. In other words, the act of falling through the door was not an automatically fatal experience (though it doesn't preclude the possibility that Moiraine died later).

One piece of evidence which points to her possible death is the breaking of her bond with Lan. However, we know from [TPOD: Prologue, Deceptive Appearances, 28] that "being stilled snapped [an AS's bond to her Warder] as surely as death. One of Irgain's two apparently had fallen over dead from the shock, and the other had died trying to kill thousands of Aiel without making any effort to escape." (Irgain is one of the AS stilled when Rand escaped from the box in LOC; Flinn Healed her of stilling in WH.) This quote shows that stilling an AS has the same effect on her Warder as her death. Thus, Lan's reaction only indicates that his bond was "snapped," by death, stilling, or something else.

Besides stilling, the breaking of Lan's bond could conceivably have been caused by the shutting off of the Red Door into Finnland. When Moiraine chastises Rand and Mat for using the Tear doorway in [TSR: 15, Into the Doorway, 178-9], she says, "One of you would have been bad enough, but two ta'veren at once - you might have torn the connection entirely and been trapped there." If one substitutes "channeling combatants" for "ta'veren," one has a description of what happened when Moiraine and Lanfear went through the door. The "tearing" of the connection between the two universes may have torn the connection between Moiraine and Lan, as well.

Of course, the above is either circumstantial evidence of or conjecture about Moiraine's survival. The real evidence that convinces us Moiraine is alive is the various visions that imply that she will return.

These are: Egwene's vision [TFOH: 15, What Can Be Learned in Dreams, 214] of Thom pulling Moiraine's blue jewel out of a fire, and Min's comment in [ACOS: 35, Into the Woods, 543] that Rand would fail without "a woman who was dead and gone," which almost certainly refers to Moiraine, and her comment in [ACOS: 35, Into the Woods, 546] that "Moiraine was the only viewing of hers that had ever failed." She must have had one or more viewings about Moiraine that were not fulfilled, and since WE know that Min is never wrong, then Moiraine will almost certainly return at some point.

There is further confirmation of her survivial when Mat reads her letter to Thom  which states plainly "I am not dead." [KOD 10: A Village in Shiota].  Moiraine claims her foreknowledge comes from a secret source, most likely the rings in Rhuidean.  Whatever Moiraine saw in those rings, it made her believe there was a chance she'd survive. Enough, anyways, that she'd write out a detailed list of instructions for how to retrieve her and make arrangements for it to be delivered to her rescuers. Mat and Thom certainly believe that she's alive, if their conversations on the matter are any indication. [TGS 27: the Tipsy Gelding]

Furthermore, she has a "small shred of hope" before attacking Lanfear, so there IS hope for her future. This "small shred" is probably a glimpse that Moiraine got of her future from a source other than the Rhuidean rings, either from the Red Door in Tear, or more likely, from a vision of Min's (probably the one that predicted Moiraine's marriage to Thom - see section 2.5.3).

Several people, though, have wondered why, if Moiraine had a prophecy or a Min vision indicating she will survive the battle with Lanfear, did she behave as if her death were a fait accompli, and make arrangements accordingly?

The answer is, she's human, and humans have doubt, especially when it comes to our own mortality.

The Rings of Rhuidean showed Moiraine a lot of stuff, and then nothing after the scene at the docks. All the WOs said that the rings show a person's entire life (or possible lives). In between going through the rings and the showdown at the docks, Moiraine had firsthand experience of the predictive power of the rings. So, she had no reason to believe that she wouldn't end when the events she saw in the rings did.

If Min did have a vision involving Moiraine and Thom, that probably would not have been enough to completely convince Moiraine. Min's talent isn't thoroughly understood, even by Min. She sees lots of things she can't interpret. Given the later, highly convincing, evidence from the Rhuidean Rings that she was going to die, it's reasonable to suppose that Moiraine wouldn't have thought that Min's vision, whatever it was, had not meant what Min thought it did, or that it was false. After all, it wasn't like Moiraine was able to check back with Min after her trip to Rhuidean. And note that not even Min herself is convinced that her visions are infallible.

So, she arranges her affairs in the expectation that she's going to croak. However, there is still something which makes her think that she just might somehow survive. It's not enough for her to tell anybody, but it's enough to give her a little bit of hope.

Which raises another question: If she didn't die, then why didn't the Rings show anything post-Foxland?

Possibly the rings don't work across dimensions. Remember, they work by showing many possible futures for the person who goes into them-- the possible results of future decisions, etc. If the Rings can't see what Moiraine does/is going to do while she's in Finnland, they can't extrapolate to any later point, after she returns. Another possibility is that the rings are somehow linked to the viewer's channeling ability, and thus couldn't see past a point where she is severed (assuming Moiraine was stilled when she fell through the doorway, of course).


A Loony Theory Debunked

In [WH: 14, What A Veil Hides, 324] we are introduced to Tuon's damane, one of whom is a former Aes Sedai, now called Mylen. She is described as tiny (shorter than Tuon) and pale in coloring, and "half-dead with shock and fear" when Tuon bought her.

An awful lot of people immediately leaped to the conclusion that Mylen was Moiraine, based on this description. This idea, though, is completely false.

From [WH: 19, Three Women, 403]:


Teslyn, to Mat: "'The others do be...changed.' Teslyn's mouth tightened. 'Guisin and Mylen - I did know her as Sheraine Caminelle, but she do answer only to Mylen, now - those two would betray us.'"

Teslyn knows who Mylen is (i.e. not Moiraine), and there's no reason in the world to suppose she's mistaken.

2.2.7: Verin - Black, Brown, or Purple? --Updated

"I don't trust you," Egwene found herself blurting. "I don't think I ever have."

"Very wise," Verin said, sipping her tea. It was not a scent Egwene recognized. "I am, after all, a member of the Black Ajah."

-- [TGS 39: A Visit from Verin Sedai]

With that, a thousand theories died a painful, screaming death. However, as it always is with the Wheel of Time, it's not quite that simple.

Verin goes on to reveal that she became Black Ajah after her investigation into them brought her too close. She had no choice but to swear to the Dark One or die. Rationalizing it as a chance "...to study the beast from within it's heart, to see really what makes the blood flow. To discover where all the little veins and vessels go." she manages to discover the identity of nearly every Black sister and provides Egwene with evidence of Mesaana's infiltration of the Tower. Many of Verin Mathwin's oddness can now be explained, at least partially, by her status as a Darkfriend. As the Light's first, and probably only, double agent in the series, we can afford to spend some time examining a few of these.

   1.  VERINISM: In TGH, Verin tells the boys that Moiraine sent her to look after them: [TGH: 14, Wolfbrother, 195] "Moiraine Sedai sent me, Lord Ingtar," Verin announced with a satisfied smile. "She thought you might need me." Moiraine later says that she did NOT send Verin: [TGH: 49, What was Meant To Be, 572] "I did not send Verin." Moiraine frowned. "She did that on her own." It is pretty obvious that Moiraine is not BA, so that implies that Verin lied, and hence must be BA.

      EXPLANATION: With her new Oaths, Verin is able to lie at will. Like most Black sisters, she probably did not unless necessary, due to the risk of discovery.

   2. VERINISM: Verin does not give Corianin's notes to Egwene along with the dream ring [TDR: 21, A World of Dreams, 187]. Maybe she wanted Egwene to get killed, or caught by some Forsaken?

    EXPLANATION: "The Amyrlin commanded that I give you information to hunt the Black sisters who fled the Tower, so I had to comply, even though the leadership of the Black was frustrated by the order. I wasn't supposed to give you the dreaming ter'angreal, you know. But I've always had a feeling about you."

From this quote, we can infer that Verin gave Egwene the ter'angreal, but not the notes in her attempt to serve two masters. By giving Egwene the ability to access the World of Dreams, the Light gains an important advantage, one the Shadow has been using with impunity. But without the notes, success is not assured and Verin can't be accused of helping Egwene too much. Verin can always lie to the Black Ajah and claim that she gave it to her in the hopes the Wonder Girls would injure themselves with it. Which, for anyone familiar with tel'aran'rhiod, is a likely outcome for anyone accessing it without training.

   3. VERINISM: Her suspicious behavior in the Two Rivers: a) Misleads Perrin as to why she and Alanna are there [TSR: 31, Assurances, 345-346]. b) Tells Perrin not to trust Alanna, perhaps laying a false trail? [TSR: 33, A New Weave in the Pattern, 373]. c) She also knows Luc is the missing Lord Luc, Tigraine's brother who disappeared in the Blight. She knows he is mentioned in the Dark Prophecy, yet she does not warn anyone about him, or tell them who he is?

      EXPLANATION: a) and b) are typical Aes Sedai behavior. Furthermore, since Alanna had recently lost a Warder, Verin may have been worried that she would try to bond Perrin, as she later did to Rand. A new possibility, raised by her actions in TGS, is that she was investigating Alanna as a possible Black sister at that time and hadn't cleared her. As for c) it's probable that she knows about Luc's true nature, but is prevented from revealing it by her orders from the Black Ajah or a Forsaken.

   4. VERINISM: Only three characters have referred to Perrin's choice of hammer or axe: Ishamael, Lanfear and Verin. This puts Verin in very suspicious company.

      EXPLANATION: Verin is Brown Ajah, and thus is likely to know all sorts of obscure things. Perhaps there is a prophecy involving blacksmiths, hammers, and axes; the appearance in COT of a verse referring to Mat in the Karaethon Cycle lends credence to this idea. We also know there are prophecies only known to the Dark. Verin mentions them when she hands her notes over to Egwene. If Mat and Rand both appear in the Karaethon Cycle, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that all three ta'veren appear in a prophecy of the Shadow. (Also note that the above statement is somewhat false: Egwene also knows about the hammer/axe choice. She dreamed it.)

   5. VERINISM: She was observed in deep conversation with Barthanes, a known Darkfriend, at the party in [TGH: 33, A Message From the Dark, 397]. When Hurin approached them, Verin waved him away. Perhaps they were discussing "business matters?"

      EXPLANATION: Maybe. It is possible they could have been discussing The Evil Plot to Rule the World. But it seems like an awfully public place to do so, and Verin seems unlikely to have revealed her Darkfriend status unless strictly necessary. It's far more likely, that Verin and Barthanes were speaking of something innocuous and she didn't want to be interrupted.

   6. VERINISM: In [TFOH: 53, Fading Words, 638] Moiraine mentions to Rand in her last letter not to trust Alviarin, who is definitely a Darkfriend, and Verin. Additionally, Siuan mentions that Verin never told her about giving Egwene a ter'angreal.

      EXPLANATION: The former is just an exercise in contrasts. Moiraine is saying: "Don't trust ANYBODY. You are rightly suspicious of Alviarin, but you should be equally suspicious of those you think you can trust, like Verin." Then again, if Moiraine did have an inkling that Verin was Black Ajah, she'll have some explaining to do after Mat rescues her. As for the latter, why should she tell Siuan Sanche?

   7. VERINISM: Draghkar Attack on Moiraine [TGH: 22, Watchers, 278-279] was executed at least with Aes Sedai help (the warding on them so they couldn't be sensed). Moiraine seemed to think that pretty much everyone in the Tower had forgotten about these old hermit Aes Sedai. However, we do know one individual old enough to remember them who could have ordered the attack --Verin.

      EXPLANATION: This is totally wimpy speculation, and wouldn't even be here, except that somebody might bring it up again. Liandrin (known BA) could have easily followed Moiraine there, and one of the sisters may be BA (see section 1.4.9).

   8. VERINISM: Verin and the art of Stedding Channeling: in [TGH: 29, Among the Elders, 435], she inspects an Ogier who lost his mind to Machin Shin in the Ways. For all intents and purposes, it looks like she's Delving him with the OP. However, she is in a stedding, where touching the OP is impossible. Even more, nobody thinks this is weird!

      EXPLANATION: At a post-ACOS signing [Vancouver, 24 August, 1996], RJ told Lara Beaton that "we're going to find out something in the next few books about people without souls and characteristics of them. (he started out saying that we're going to find out something significant about Verin, then stopped)." After Perrin's too-long sojourn in the wolf dream in WH, we learn that Aes Sedai are apparently familiar with these characteristics. Berelain, to Perrin: "'You slept like a man already dead. [Annoura] said you almost felt like someone who had lost his soul, cold no matter how many blankets were piled on you. I felt it, as well, when I touched you'" [WH: 5, Flags, 145]. So evidently, anyone who knows what they're looking for can tell when the soul is gone from a body, and Verin's examination of the Ogier in the stedding didn't have to involve channeling at all.

      Verin could also have used a Well, per WH. Though a rather ex post facto solution to the discrepancy (and superfluous, given the above about soulless bodies), we now know that channeling is possible in a stedding. We have no evidence, however, that Verin actually possesses a Well, though if she did it would be interesting to speculate on how that relates to her arrest warrant in Far Madding...

   9. VERINISM: When Rand is fighting Lord Turak at the end of TGH, he is afraid to use saidin, because: "If he touched saidin, and if he could not stop himself channeling, [the damane] would know, Verin had told him. Know and wonder" [TGH: 45, Blademaster, 539, emphasis mine]. What's more, earlier on Verin tells Rand, "'The only way I could help you would be if I channeled the Power, and that would be no help at all if I brought those down on you. Even if they were not close enough to see, one might well feel a woman - or a man, for that matter - channeling, if care was not taken to keep the Power channeled small'" [TGH: 44, Five Will Ride Forth, 523]. So did Verin conveniently forget that female channelers - which would include all damane - cannot detect either saidin or men who can channel it?

      EXPLANATION:Verin has always known that there were ter'angreals that could detect both men and women channeling. She's from Far Madding, after all (as is Cadsuane, who additionally has a portable version of the Far Madding saidin detector). So it's not unreasonable for Verin to suppose that the mysterious Seanchan, who have come up with a way to chain channelers like dogs, could have also come up with a saidin/saidar detector like her native city did. Thus telling Rand that they might be able to sense him channeling was just erring on the side of caution.

2.2.8: Can Tuon channel?

Why do we think Tuon can channel? When we first meet her in WH, we learn that she has tested to be a sul'dam, obviously successfully, since she "found as much enjoyment in training damane as in training horses" [WH: 14, What a Veil Hides, 325]. (Ick.)

As we know from numerous scenes from TGH on, sul'dam can channel. The difference between them and the damane is that damane are women like Egwene, who are born with the spark, and will channel whether they try to or not, whereas sul'dam are women who can be taught, but would never touch the Source on their own without instruction. So Tuon can be taught to channel - and thanks to Egeanin's revelations in [COT: 29, Something Flickers, 644], now she knows it, too.

2.2.9 What's Up with Verin's Letters? --New

In The Gathering Storm, Verin gives Mat a letter with precise instructions to either open it ten days after he reaches Caemlyn, or to wait thirty days for her to meet him there. Mat notices that she has more letters in her bag. [TGS 36: The Death of Tuon] Who are they for? What do they say? And why write letters, then ask people to wait to read them?

It's safe to say that at least one letter was probably for Perrin. After all, Verin knew she'd be meeting a ta'varen that wasn't Rand in the village of Trustair, and that leaves very few possibilities. Unfortunately, we can only guess at who the others are intended for.

Several have speculated that Mat's letter includes the location to the Horn of Valere, which he will need at the Last Battle.  Verin was charged by Siuan Sanche with hiding the Horn, presumably somewhere in the White Tower after the events of Falme.

Another intriguing possibility is that ALL of the letters were for Mat, but were dummies.  Verin might be prevented by her Black Oaths from knowingly handing Mat a letter full of information that might betray the Shadow.  So she wrote one letter with the correct instructions, along with several decoys, mixed them together, and then trusted to the ta'veren nature of whoever she was meeting that she would draw the correct one.

As for why Verin asked Mat to wait, it's quite simple. This is her failsafe. She plans to go to the White Tower and either free herself from her Oaths to the Black Ajah, or hand her notes over to someone trustworthy and commit suicide. As Verin says in The Dragon Reborn, "Hope for the best and plan for the worst. That way, all your surprises will be pleasant."  If she's unable to free herself from the Oaths, Verin still has unfinished business. These letters are likely instructions to do things she will be unable to do herself in the event of her death in Tar Valon.

2.2.10 Did Tamra lie to Moiraine and Siuan? --New

"With your permision, Mother," Siuan said in a husky voice, "I'll send Elin to fetch the Keeper's serving woman to do what's needful."

"Stay!" Tamra barked. That iron-hard gaze studied them both. "You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?"

As it's rather obvious to Moiraine and Siuan that Gitara did say something before she died (the prophecy that the Dragon had been reborn at that very moment), many fans have wondered how the Amyrlin was able to say something untrue. Shouldn't the Three Oaths prevent her from lying?

Only if Tamra intended for the Accepted to believe her. The Oaths are triggered by intent, not absolutes. Tamra knows full well that Moiraine and Siuan won't believe her when she says "Gitara died without speaking." She's stating it as part of her directive to them to concel this Foretelling at all costs, even to the point of lying themselves.  Aes Sedai can say something untrue if A) they believe it to be true or B) it's not intended to be believed.

Jordan clarified this himself in a blog entry dated January 21st, 2006:

...the oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm.

Besides, if Tamra was able to lie, that would make her a member of the Black Ajah, the only Aes Sedai we've seen with the ability to lie. And if she was Black Ajah, then there would have been no need for the Black to torture her to obtain information about the Dragon's rebirth.  The current Head of the Black could have just ordered her to reveal the Foretelling and the series would have been much, much shorter.

2.2.11 Is Egwene Ta'veren? --New

 "It will be as you say, Mother. Tell me, are you sure you are not ta'veren too?"

 [TPoD 18: A Peculiar Calling]

Many fans have take this as a hint from Jordan that there is more to Egwene than just being one of Rand's many sidekicks. After all, she does become Amyrlin after a series of events no more unlikely than Perrin becoming the Lord of the Two Rivers, or Mat reviving an ancient army last seen in the Trolloc Wars. Why shouldn't she get part of the ta'veren action?

Unfortunately, despite the many partisans to this theory, Jordan pretty firmly quashed this idea in a blog entry dated January 21, 2006:

For ben, of course women can be ta'veren. None of the major female characters in the books is ta'veren, though. The Wheel doesn't cast ta'veren around indiscriminately. There has to be a specific reason or need. (I tossed in the "major" just to leave you something to argue about.)

Since Egwene is unequivocally a major female character, she is ruled out as ta'veren. The likeliest explanation for why she is able to acheive her improbable success is that Rand (who is the strongest ta'veren ever recorded), or the Pattern, which amounts to the same thing, needs her to be Amyrlin for the Last Battle, or even afterwards to rebuild whatever's left of the world.  There are other unlikely coincidences like Bayle Domon, Aludra, Valan Luca and Egeanin being in a position to help Our Heroes in several books, without ever knowing that they were connected to Rand or each other. These are extreme coincidences, but easily explained by the ta'veren nature of Mat, Perrin and especially Rand. After all, if Rand can cause a dozen weddings to occur in a single village just by passing through, why shouldn't he be able to raise an Amyrlin Seat by sneezing?