Dragon (Wheel of Time)
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In the fictional Wheel of Time fantasy series by Robert Jordan, the Dragon is the champion of the Light and the Creator against the evil Dark One. Although the Dark One was imprisoned by the Creator at the moment of creation, he continually seeks to break free of his prison. In each Age, the Dragon is reborn to fight the Dark One and keep him locked away from the world. During the events of The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor is the Dragon, and is referred to as The Dragon Reborn.
The Dragon is considered to be the same person reborn in every age, the soul being reborn into a newborn body in keeping with the concept of reincarnation and rebirth which is prevalent in the Wheel of Time series. Although each rebirth is a new person, having the same soul but different life experiences and memories, and thus a unique personality, sometimes the memories and personality of past incarnations "intrude" upon the new person's mind, especially in the case of male Channelers who are succumbing to the taint on saidin and are thus going insane, which manifests as a "voice" in their heads. Every rebirth of the soul of the Dragon is considered the Dragon, and thus "Dragon" is more of an honorary title than a name. The Dragon does not retain his old memories when he is reborn (except for unusual circumstances, as detailed above), so in each age he may go by a different name, form (though he may have similar characteristics, such as height, from the previous Dragon) and different identity. The Wheel of Time series does not discuss all of the Dragons in all of the Ages; however, in the Age of Legends, the Dragon was a powerful Aes Sedai named Lews Therin Telamon, regarded as the most powerful Channeler of his Age. In the current Age (the Third Age), an entire cycle of prophecies, called the Karaethon Cycle or the Prophecies of the Dragon, is devoted to prophecies of the coming of the Dragon of the Third Age.
Prophecies of the Dragon
The Prophecies of the Dragon, also known as the Karaethon Cycle, are a series of Foretellings regarding the rebirth of The Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon. Originally Foretold in the Old Tongue during and immediately after the Breaking of the World, there are a variety of translations. However, most of these are very controversial.
The Prophecies include some rather specific events, such as taking the Stone of Tear and drawing Callandor, and also some circumspect ones, such as being "marked by the heron." The Prophecies can be read in many ways, due to the Old Tongue's ambiguity in meanings.
The Seanchan version of the Karaethon Cycle includes a prophecy that the Dragon will kneel before the Crystal Throne. The mainland Prophecies state that he will bind the Nine Moons. The "Crystal Throne" and the "Nine Moons" are both metonymic references to the Seanchan monarchy.
A man who claims to be the Dragon Reborn who is not truly the Dragon Reborn is called a False Dragon. As Tarmon Gai'don neared in the Third Age, the Pattern required that the Dragon be reborn, and so several abortive "near miss" attempts at the Dragon were born as the Pattern called out for the Dragon to return; each attempt came closer to the time of the birth of the true Dragon Reborn, until he was finally birthed on the slopes of Dragonmount, as prophecy foretold. Seven False Dragons of the Third Age have been discussed so far, many of them actually believing themselves to truly be the Dragon Reborn and doing what they thought was required of them by the Prophecies, but most were either simply after power and used the name of the Dragon in an attempt to acquire it, or were insane; a chronological list follows. Nearly all were men who could channel the One Power; many were captured by the White Tower and Gentled (the ability to channel extinguished in them). All of the False Dragons listed here could channel, unless otherwise noted.
Yurian Stonebow was born in Fel Moreina (current day Far Madding), circa 1300-1308 after the Breaking of the World. When six Aes Sedai tried to capture Stonebow, he killed three and captured the other three single-handed.
The False Dragon Davian declared himself in FY 351; little else is known of him.
Guaire Amalasan was born in Darmovan (current day Arad Doman). He declared himself the Dragon Reborn in FY 939. During the next four years he conquered nearly half of the Westlands in the War of the Second Dragon. One known attempt was made to capture him by six Aes Sedai, resulting in two being stilled and another being captured. During this period of warfare, he is known to have conquered Far Madding despite being unable to channel within the boundaries of the city. In FY 943 he was captured, taken to the White Tower and gentled, despite attempts by his followers to rescue him. Prominent in his defeat was the young king Artur Hawkwing, who went on to establish his own empire.
Gorin Rogad declared himself the Dragon Reborn in 995 NE, despite being unable to channel. He laid siege to Illian, but was captured and burned to death by the Illianers.
Logain Ablar was a False Dragon who proclaimed himself shortly before the events of Winternight in the Two Rivers. He has claimed that he truly thought he was the Dragon, and has since acknowledged Rand al'Thor as the true Dragon Reborn, and become one of his followers and chief lieutenants. He was gentled at Tar Valon, but his ability to channel was restored by Nynaeve al'Meara, in one of the most important discoveries of the Third Age.
Mazrim Taim was a False Dragon who can channel. He is from Saldaea, in the Borderlands. He has acknowledged Rand al'Thor as the true Dragon Reborn, and now claims to serve him as his second-in-command at the Black Tower, training al'Thor's male Channeler army, the Asha'man. He is suspected to be a Darkfriend serving the Dark One, and is thought to be covertly attempting to derail Rand's plans, and has most likely even had people make attempts on Rand's life. Note: It is not actually stated explicitly in the books that Taim is a Darkfriend rather than a very ambitious man, although at the end of the Knife of Dreams it is strongly implied. In A Memory of Light, it was shown that Taim was active recruiting dreadlords (channelers who are serving the Dark One) and was promoted as a Forsaken.
The Dragon Reborn
The Dragon of the Third Age, the current age in which most of the plot of The Wheel of Time series takes place, is Rand al'Thor. Since he is the reincarnation of the earlier Dragon, Rand al'Thor is known as the Dragon Reborn. The title of the third book of the series is also The Dragon Reborn.