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She is described as beautiful, with large brown eyes and long dark hair. Like all adult women in her home village of Emond's Field, she initially wore her hair in a long braid, but as soon as she began to consider herself an Aes Sedai, she adopted Moiraine's loose style. She's very short, around 5' or 5'1".
Egwene is frequently described as wanting to learn everything, as fast as possible; she often chafes against the restrictions her teachers put on her, even those set for her own safety. While the other characters resist power and responsibility, Egwene seeks them out. Moiraine Damodred has made note of Egwene's social intuition; while she may not understand the private or secret machinations going on around her, she is often (at least) aware that they are happening—a strong contrast to the other Two Rivers characters in the series, who tend to take everything around them at face value. She is occasionally portrayed as being so sure of herself that it sometimes comes off as arrogant. She is, like many of the main characters, highly intuitive with the One Power, having personally re-discovered the weaves for Gateways and the creation of cuendillar. She falls in love with Gawyn, brother of Elayne Trakand, and takes him as her Warder.
The youngest of five daughters, Egwene grew up in Emond's Field alongside Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara and Nynaeve al'Meara. Though friends with all of them, she was particularly close to Rand, whom (it was assumed by all and sundry) she would marry when they both came of age. She was also apprentice Wisdom to Nynaeve.
Her life changed during Winternight. When Trollocs invaded the Two Rivers region, Rand, Mat and Perrin were spirited away by Moiraine Damodred, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, apparently for their own protection. Egwene went with them, although Moiraine and Lan did not want her to at first. Moiraine eventually agreed, however; she had discovered that Egwene had the spark and could learn to channel. It was then Moiraine's intent to bring her to Tar Valon to train. When Nynaeve chased after them, Moiraine decided to include her as well. Egwene rode Bela, Rand and Tam's trusty mare.
On the journey to Shienar and the Eye of the World, Egwene and Perrin were separated from the rest of the party. She was present when Perrin met Elyas Machera and learned of his Wolfbrother heritage, and she is one of very few characters who knows the truth of his golden eyes and occasional bouts of wolfish behavior. At his request, she has kept this secret.
After the events at the Eye of the World, Egwene and Nynaeve were brought to Tar Valon where, along with Min Farshaw (previously introduced to them by Moiraine at Baerlon), they met Elayne Trakand. Over the course of their training they were tricked into following Liandrin Sedai, a Red sister who turned out to be Black. She led them through the Ways and into Falme, where Egwene was given to the Seanchan to become a damane. Nynaeve and Elayne (who had avoided capture) managed to break her out, and Egwene's strength in the One Power was drastically heightened by the rigors of her damane duties, but to this day she cannot stand the idea of being collared again.
Verin Sedai brought them back to the Tower after the events at Falme. Egwene was discovered to be a Dreamer, one who could easily enter Tel'aran'rhiod, the World of Dreams, while sleeping. Besides exploring this new facet of her life, Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve were charged with a secret task: to hunt the Black Ajah. While they were away, Liandrin and twelve other Black sisters had fled the Tower after stealing many ter'angreal and killing a number of sisters and other Tower personnel. The three girls set out for Tear to find them, and were in the Stone of Tear when Rand al'Thor drew Callandor and proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn.
After the Stone of Tear, Egwene parted ways with Elayne and Nynaeve and chose to follow Rand to the Waste, so she could learn from the Aiel Wise Ones how to be a Dreamer. Although Aes Sedai know much more about saidar than the Wise Ones, the Wise Ones are more knowledgeable concerning Tel'aran'rhiod (The Aes Sedai hadn't had a 'Dreamer' for almost five hundred years, while the Aiel had four at the time). Becoming an informal apprentice to Amys, Melaine and Bair, the three Dreamwalkers in question, she also took to heart ji'e'toh, the honor code of the Aiel. So devoted was Egwene to this code that, upon being summoned away by the White Tower, she confessed her sins and falsehoods to the Wise Ones for no more reason than that honor required her to. While the Wise Ones extracted her penance in a largely corporeal fashion, they have since come to view Egwene as a sort of honorary Aiel, saying that she has "too much honor" to be among Aes Sedai, whom they consider largely untrustworthy.
After the Tar Valon-Salidar split, she was chosen by the Hall of the Salidar Tower-in-Exile to become their Amyrlin Seat, in opposition of Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan, who sat in the White Tower. Elaida has Foretold that the White Tower will be reunited under the Amyrlin Seat, stronger than ever. Although she believes the Foretelling refers to herself, it is becoming quite clear that the Tower will meet this prophecy under Egwene's reign. Nisao of the Yellow Ajah states that Egwene will "become one of the great Amyrlins" and that "She will be the longest sitting Amyrlin in history...None will ever live long enough to top her unless she chooses to step down early"
The Salidar Hall cited her as a fresh face who had not been involved in the Breaking of the Tower, and strong in the One Power. In reality, certain members of the Hall wanted mostly to use her as a puppet. Egwene took former Amyrlin Siuan Sanche as her advisor and has been slowly breaking the Salidar Hall of the idea that she can be controlled, especially when she taught them Travelling, a Talent she had rediscovered without any guidance or assistance whatsoever aside from a remark of Moghedien's (of which the other Sisters are unaware). Egwene's strong personality and persistent intelligence have allowed her to deftly manipulate the Hall into giving her war-time authority. Although only 18 at the time, she has proven herself to be as clever an Amyrlin as there ever was.
Egwene was still only an Accepted before her raising to the Amyrlin Seat, never having been raised to Aes Sedai and, as a result of that, never having been part of an Ajah. She was raised Aes Sedai by her ascension to the Amyrlin, the law stating that the Amyrlin is Aes Sedai.
She has raised an army with the help of Gareth Bryne, the brilliant general who used to be in the service of Queen Morgase of Andor (mother of Elayne Trakand and, nominally, ruler of the Two Rivers). Egwene is leading the sisters and army to war against Elaida.
During her time in Salidar, her Keeper was Sheriam Bayanar of the Blue, but she has been mainly advised by Siuan Sanche. Unfortunately, she was unknowingly at the mercy of Halima Saranov, also known as Aran'gar. This Forsaken, a man's soul reincarnated in a woman's body and thus employing saidin, has been orchestrating a subtle Power-wrought mental and psychological attack on Egwene for several months, afflicting her with headaches that only Halima's massages could "cure." She became one of Egwene's most trusted attendants, but has since fled Salidar.
Egwene was camped outside Tar Valon, her army besieging the city. Tar Valon is entirely on an island in the midst of the River Erinin, and may thus be supplied by water, with secure harbors at either end of the island. This makes a successful siege by an army with no naval support almost impossible. To breach the Shining Walls, Egwene, along with Leane Sharif, turned the harbor chains and posts from iron into fused cuendillar, forcing Tar Valon to either slowly starve or breach its walls. During this exercise, though, she was betrayed, captured, and taken into custody in the White Tower.
In the White Tower, she has - at least in the eyes of the sisters in the Tower - been reduced to a novice. She notices that many among the Tower are at each other's throats and plans to exploit that from within, viewing herself as an agent rather than a prisoner. Her refusal to treat the Tower Aes Sedai with the deference and courtesy expected of a novice leads to repeated corporal punishment, which she takes in stride. She speaks to Siuan via her Dreams and reports to her that no one is to plan a rescue and calls the Salidar Hall to order when last call sounds.
As Egwene is forced to be a captive novice among Elaida's group she does her best to cause disturbance among the White Tower Aes Sedai and still remain the Amyrlin she is meant to be. Her method of doing so is very simple: she speaks the truth and is often punished for it. She then uses the Aiel code of ethics (ji'e'toh) she learned during her time there by accepting the nearly constant punishments (another Aiel teaching of accepting pain) and continuing to show the unbending dignity befitting the Amyrlin, patiently watching the seeds she plants grow. This plan has brought respect from the novices and Accepted, as well as the captive former king of Illian, and has even forced many sisters nominally loyal to Elaida to view her in a new light.
The Gathering Storm
During her first visit to serve Elaida, Egwene overhears Elaida's discussion with Meidani regarding the addition of a fourth oath forcing obedience to the Amyrlin. Outraged by such a thing, Egwene spills soup and, while Elaida screams for servants, asks Meidani to send for her. Afterwards, while being beaten, she comes to a tacit understanding with Silviana. Silviana does her duty, whilst Egwene, despite whatever punishments she receives, will try to hold the Tower together, realizing that Elaida would unseat herself gradually.
Meidani introduced her to the Black Ajah hunters, and Egwene has a discussion with them, ending with Egwene charging the Black Ajah hunters to shift focus, to mend the rift between the Towers, like she had encouraged sitters from the various ajahs to do.
However, during her second meeting, she and Elaida have a verbal war with each other, which Elaida, upon realizes she is losing, tries to back off. Egwene insults her, and Elaida denounces her as a darkfriend, throwing her in a tiny cell, denying her execution. During this time, Egwene has several visits with Siuan in Tel'aran'rhiod. She finally is released after Silviana is thrown in the cells in her place after Silviana denounces Egwene's treatment and Elaida in the hall. Egwene sends Saerin, who has gained a new respect for her, to prevent Silviana's execution, whilst she returns to her rooms, and meets Verin.
Verin reveals to her that she swore Oaths to the Dark One and joined the Black Ajah, but that it was partially in an effort to study them and gather information to defeat them. She gives Egwene a long list of known Black Ajah members she has uncovered and informs her that the Forsaken Mesaana is also stationed in the Tower. Verin then dies from self-inflicted poison, freeing herself from her oath to the Dark One, but redeeming herself in Egwene's eyes.
Before Egwene can do much with this new information, the Seanchan raid the Tower in search of marath'damane. Using a sa'angreal and a group of linked novices, she nearly single-handedly defeats the invaders and saves most of the Aes Sedai. She is so exhausted after the fight that she is unable to resist when Siuan, Gawyn and Bryne arrive and take her back to the rebels camp, believing her to be in danger.
Back among the Sisters that are supporting her, Egwene decides that she must now use this window of opportunity to reclaim her Seat in the Tower by force. But first, she swears the three Aes Sedai Oaths on an Oath Rod she bought from the Tower, and then proceeds to expose and execute most of the Black Ajah sisters identified by Verin among the rebels, starting with Sheriam and Moria (some twenty other Black Sisters escape the camp).
When the Salidar army arrives at Tar Valon for the assault that evening, they are met with peaceful emissaries from the Tower who inform Egwene that Elaida was taken in the raid, and that they have chosen Egwene to be their Amyrlin as well. Egwene accepts and is raised, proceeding to free Silviana and chastise the Hall for their incompetence. She then raises Silviana as Keeper, a reward for being the only one in the Tower to resist Elaida openly and because she is of the Red Ajah, thus mending some of the Tower's segregation among the Ajahs.
Egwene then proceeds to reunite the White Tower under her rule, remove the Black Ajah sisters still in the White Tower (most of whom have also escaped) and prepare for the Last Battle.
Towers of Midnight
Egwene continues to heal the Tower. Rand comes to her and explains that he plans on destroying the Seals on the Dark One's Prison and will need her help to Reseal it. This causes her to reach out to the Rulers of the nations in hopes of stopping Rand. She also forms an (uneasy) alliance between Aes Sedai, Wise Ones and the Atha'an Miere in her quest to try to unite all women who can channel. Each group agrees to send two apprentices/novices to be trained under the other. With the help of Verin's book and the confessions of other Black Ajah, Egwene knows that Mesaana is hiding in the White Tower and proceeds to use herself as bait to try to lure her out. Her plans works and while in Tel'aran'rhiod, Egwene manages to "break" the Forsaken's mind, basically killing her. Upon waking, she discovers Gawyn is dying as a result of stopping Seanchan assassins. She bonds him as her Warder.
Love and Power
In their hometown of Emond's Field, the townsfolk widely understood that Egwene and Rand would be married to each other, though they were never formally betrothed. After leaving Emond's Field, however, their romantic interests with each other wane as they each begin to pursue their own interests and destinies. With mutual feelings, Egwene and Rand formally sever their romantic relationship in The Shadow Rising, unbeknownst to Rand allowing at the same time Elayne to court Rand. After going to the White Tower, Egwene becomes enamored of Gawyn Trakand, Elayne's older brother. For a short time in Lord of Chaos, Egwene and Gawyn are able to be with each other in Cairhien, where Egwene tries to find proof for Gawyn that Rand had not killed his mother, Morgase Trakand. At Dumai's Wells, Gawyn vows to Rand that he will see him dead for killing his mother. On the trip back from Dumai's Wells, Gawyn is denied re-entry to Tar Valon. Because of this, he is not in Tar Valon at the time Egwene becomes a prisoner in the White Tower.
Egwene is one of the most powerful channelers discovered by the White Tower in more than a thousand years. Those stronger or equal to her in the One Power, or even near her, make up a short list: Nynaeve al'Meara of the Yellow Ajah; Elayne Trakand of the Green Ajah; Aiel Wise Ones Aviendha, Tamela and Viendre; former damane Alivia; Sharina Melloy (a sixty-seven-year-old grandmother, now a novice); and Sea Folk Windfinder's apprentices Talaan and Metarra, along with several other Aiel Wise Ones. These may be the only women alive other than the Forsaken that have the same general strength in the One Power as Egwene.
She is also the first Aes Sedai that has the Talent of Dreaming since Corianin Nedeal, who died approximately 475 years prior to the events of the series. It is later learned that the Forsaken also have this ability as well as four Aiel Wise Ones. Egwene demonstrates enough skill as a Dreamer to break out of an illusion orchestrated by Moghedien in the World of Dreams. Moghedien is considered, arguably with Lanfear, as the most talented of all in the World of Dreams. On her summons to Salidar, Egwene discovers the ability to travel via the World of Dreams and later adapts that knowledge, combined with tidbits from the captured Moghedien, to rediscover the lost Talents of Travelling and Skimming. Noted as rare for women, she also has exceptional ability with weaving the Power Earth, as well as good strength with Air, Water, Fire and Spirit. She independently rediscovers the ability to create cuendillar and displays extraordinary affinity for this Talent when she uses it to great effect on the harbor chain in Tar Valon in Crossroads of Twilight just before she is captured.
- Jordan, Robert (2005). Knife of Dreams. Tor Books. pp. 97–98.
- Jordan, Robert (2005). New Spring. Tor. pp. 94–99.