Rand al'Thor

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Rand al'Thor, also known as the Dragon Reborn, is the fictional main character and protagonist of The Wheel of Time, a series of fantasy novels by Robert Jordan.

Rand al'Thor has many other titles within the series:

  • among Wetlanders: The Dragon Reborn, Lord of the Morning, Prince of the Dawn, True Defender of the Light
  • among the Aiel: He Who Comes with the Dawn, Car'a'carn (Chief of Chiefs)
  • among the Atha'an Miere (Sea Folk): Coramoor (The Chosen One)
  • among wolves: Shadowkiller

Description[edit]

Rand is depicted as having gray or blue (interchanging) eyes and reddish hair and is good looking. He is about 6'5" or 6'6" (196–197 cm) (as described by Robert Jordan) with a physique said to be typical of the Aiel. As a result of events at the end of the Knife of Dreams, Rand has lost his left hand just below the wrist. In his side he has two wounds that will not heal; a round wound from Ishamael received in the sky over Toman Head, with a slash overtop it from Padan Fain's tainted dagger received in the foothills of the Spine of the World near Cairhien.

History[edit]

Birth[edit]

His birth was heralded by Gitara Moroso, Aes Sedai and Keeper of the Chronicles, who died from the sheer force of Foretelling his birth. Her Foretelling of his birth was: "He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! He is coming! He is coming! Light help us! Light help the world! He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun!"

Rand was born on the last day of the Blood Snow in 978 NE, on the slopes of Dragonmount as prophesied. He was born to Tigraine Mantear, the former Daughter-Heir of Andor who had fled to the Aiel Waste to become a Maiden of the Spear, a woman warrior of the Aiel people. She had been convinced to flee by Gitara Moroso, who said the world would be doomed if she did not. Tigraine, who renamed herself Shaiel, died shortly after giving birth. Galad, the son she left behind, is Rand's older half brother. His father was Janduin, an Aiel clan chief (the youngest in memory), who led the Shaarad, Reyn, Nakai and Taardad clans to kill King Laman Damodred of Cairhien for his sin. When he heard Shaiel had died, he relinquished his leadership and went off to the Great Blight to fight Trollocs. Janduin was later killed by his brother in law, Luc, who looked so much like Tigraine that Janduin would not lift a hand against him. Rand was found by Tam al'Thor, an Andoran man who had joined the Illianer army and fought at the Blood Snow. He and his new wife, Kari al'Thor, took Rand back to Tam's home village, Emond's Field.

Ta'veren[edit]

It is revealed by Moiraine that Rand (like his friends Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara) is Ta'veren - a person around whom the Pattern is woven. It is frequently shown that strangely improbable events happen around the three of them, and especially so when more than one is gathered.[1] Rand is an even stronger Ta'veren than Artur Hawkwing (widely regarded as the strongest Ta'veren in recorded history) and signs of this manifest wherever he stays - freakish deaths and laughably improbable accidents are common around wherever he happens to be, but are usually balanced by unexpected good fortune of equal magnitude.

Winternight[edit]

On Winternight, 998 NE, Trollocs attacked Emond's Field. Rand, his two friends (Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon), his childhood sweetheart Egwene al'Vere and the gleeman Thom Merrilin were led out of Emond's Field by Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred and her Warder, al'Lan Mandragoran (the group is eventually joined by Emonds Field's Wisdom, Nynaeve al'Meara). Lan began teaching Rand the sword; he has since achieved a blademaster's level of skill, though not officially recognized; while he did defeat the Seanchan Blademaster High Lord Turak in single combat, he was not formally awarded his blade and has not been authoritatively referred to as a Blademaster since. Along with Loial the Ogier and Nynaeve al'Meara, Moiraine led them to the Eye of the World in the Blight. Rand was exposed to the Eye's well of pure, uncorrupted saidin and engaged in conflict with the Forsaken Aginor. Aginor was reduced to ash by drawing upon an excessive amount of the One Power, and Rand himself discovered, to his terror, that he was himself able to channel saidin. It is revealed to the reader that Rand is the Dragon Reborn following these events, which ended the first book. He did not believe this when told, but after the Horn of Valere was stolen, Rand, Mat, Perrin and Loial accompanied Lord Ingtar and the Shienarians to reclaim it. At the Battle of Falme, Rand and Ba'alzamon fought in the sky. Rand stabbed Ba'alzamon in the heart, but was severely and forever wounded himself by a blow struck by Ba'alzamon, melting off the majority of his Aes Sedai forged sword made with the Power in the War of the Shadow. He was proclaimed Dragon Reborn after his victory.

Prophecy[edit]

That winter, he camped with Moiraine, Perrin, Min Farshaw, and the Shienarians. Rand did not accept his fate. He journeyed to Tear alone, deciding this quest would end or begin his life. In the Stone of Tear, he took the blade Callandor, the Sword That Cannot Be Touched, and fulfilled a major prophecy, affirming his identity as Dragon Reborn in the minds of many, not least of all his own. He then set out with Mat, Egwene and Moiraine to the Waste, seeking the endorsement of the Aiel as their Car'a'carn, literally a "chief of chiefs". In pursuit of this end, he traveled to Rhuidean, where he learned the true origins of the Aiel. With the help of the female Forsaken Lanfear, he trapped Asmodean while there, and forced the male Forsaken to teach him how to use saidin. After succeeding in being accepted as the Car'a'carn, he led the Aiel out of the Waste and took Cairhien and Caemlyn, killing the male Forsaken Rahvin.

Black Tower[edit]

He was then approached by embassies from Elaida and from the Salidar faction. Elaida's embassy kidnapped and shielded him from the One Power. They forced him into a box and tortured him, causing him to develop severe claustrophobia. He escaped by destroying his captors' shields, and in some cases, stilling them (permanently cutting them off from the Source), at the horrific battle at Dumai's Wells. He has since forced or persuaded many Aes Sedai on both sides to swear fealty to him. He captured Illian with the help of Davram Bashere, and was crowned its king, renaming Illian's Laurel Crown the Crown of Swords. Mazrim Taim, a former false Dragon, has aided Rand by establishing the Black Tower, which trains men to channel, becoming Asha'man. However, it is revealed that Mazrim Taim is a liar and is planning something big, which is slowly revealed through the 10th and 11th books. The Black Tower is Rand's answer to the White Tower. Taim has begun to style himself "the M'Hael", leader of the Tower, although his true intentions have yet to be revealed; it is speculated he is a Darkfriend (this is supported by his using of the phrase, "Let the Lord of Chaos rule," which is a command from the Dark One), although it has been stated by the author that he is not Demandred (a favorite theory among many readers). Some believe he was turned to the shadow by 13 of the Black Ajah, headed by Liandrin Sedai in "The Shadow RisIng".

Lovers[edit]

Rand is bonded as a Warder to his three lovers: Min Farshaw; Elayne Trakand, Queen of Andor; and Aviendha of the Nine Valleys sept of the Taardad Aiel. Elayne is pregnant with his twins who are predicted by Min's fate-reading ability to be a boy and girl. The prediction, while known to the reader is unknown to the characters, as Birgitte, Aviendha, and Min herself have forgotten it due to their excessive drinking that night. Min has also seen that Aviendha will give birth to four of Rand's children at the same time, although she has not told anyone.

Advisors[edit]

He is advised first by Moiraine Demodred and later mostly by Cadsuane Melaidhrin of the Green Ajah, and Sorilea, an Aiel Wise One. They have pledged to teach him "laughter and tears", though in different ways, as Rand has conditioned himself not to feel emotion by reciting the names of all the women who have died directly because of his actions over and over to himself, forcing himself to become harder and harder, or as he puts it, "harder than steel". He believes he must be hard; others think he is becoming cruel and bitter, and Cadsuane and Sorilea believe that in his current state his victory will be as bleak as losing. In The Gathering Storm,[2] Rand banishes Cadsuane from his sight for failing to keep the male a'dam from falling into the wrong hands. The only Aes Sedai that Rand allows near him and trusts, to some extent at least, is Nynaeve, because she "cares for him when he cannot". He also becomes increasingly difficult to advise due to his fixation on not being manipulated.

Changes and Appearances[edit]

Rand has changed a great deal from the boy who left Emond's Field two years ago. He has gone from the stubborn boy who refused to accept he was anything more than a simple sheepherder, to an iron-willed man who sometimes seems to have lost all trace of humanity. Having grown up with the belief that men should protect women, he has memorized the name of every woman who has died for him (at one point spending an entire night among the corpses in the aftermath of a major battle, Dumai's Wells, and then reciting the names to his best friend and right-hand man, Lord Perrin Aybara of the Two Rivers) and often berates himself with the list and the associated guilt. Many of those around him worry about his sanity; others (most notably the aforementioned Cadsuane and Sorilea) worry about his humanity. Also notable, he has developed claustrophobia owing to events in Lord of Chaos, when he was trapped in a box by Aes Sedai sent by Elaida, taken out only to be beaten daily.

Finally, it is interesting to note that as the books have progressed, he has become less involved in the narrative, though he remains the central character. Book 3, The Dragon Reborn,[3] (in which Rand is ironically the titular character) was in fact told almost exclusively from the points of view of Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, and Egwene al'Vere, despite the fact that it is undoubtedly about Rand (all three parties eventually follow him to Tear and are present when he pulls the sword Callandor from the Stone and proclaims himself the Dragon Reborn), and the following books have continued in following the adventures of other characters besides Rand, to such a degree at times that in the tenth book, Crossroads of Twilight,[4] Rand only appears in two chapters and the epilogue.

Over the course of the series, in accordance with the Prophecies of the Dragon Reborn, Rand has had both of his palms branded with herons, has acquired metallic Dragon tattoos on both of his arms, and has lost his left hand below the wrist.

The most dramatic changes to his personality occurred in The Gathering Storm. After an encounter with Semirhage, a dark aura is even observed by many of his followers out of the corner of their eyes, and his ta'veren twisting of the Pattern favors bad luck exclusively (food spoils, random deaths occur, etc.). However, after Towers of Midnight, and the end of The Gathering Storm, people start to see a lightness around him that has replaced the darkness. His ta'veren twisting of the Pattern begins to favor good luck exclusively (food not spoiling, trees growing, clouds and storms breaking, etc.).

Another change throughout the series is how Rand is able to channel saidin. In The Eye of the World, Moiraine theorized that Rand channeled unknowingly to save his friends throughout the novel. Rand's first experience with channeling that he recognizes as such comes when he battles two Forsaken (and Ishamael, subsequently) at the actual Eye of the World at that book's conclusion. From then until the cleansing of saidin, Rand experiences great discomfort from drawing on the One Power, including feeling disgusted by the taint, and describing the One Power as sickening to hold, yet blissful to use. Over the course of the series, his symptoms worsen, leading to physical dizziness and nausea when he seizes saidin, as well as beginning to hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. These problems persist even after cleansing the taint. However, after Rand comes to terms with Lews Therin and himself, it seems that these problems disappear.

The Gathering Storm[edit]

In The Gathering Storm, Rand becomes even more void of emotion than ever before. He reveals that he understands that what he is doing to himself will end up killing him, but that he only needs to reach the Last Battle, he doesn't need to survive it.

In a fit of rage upon discovering he is being manipulated by Cadsuane, through his father Tam al'Thor, he very nearly unleashes the One Power on Tam. Realizing what he is doing, he flees to the tip of Dragonmount and proceeds to think about what he's doing to himself and what it means for the world. He questions the meaning of his life and why humanity is doomed to be rewoven into the Pattern, trapped for the endless turning of the Wheel of Time.

He comes very close to using the Choedan Kal to destroy the Wheel and end the reweaving of the Pattern, in order to prevent recurrent pain and suffering that will be repeated with each of the revolutions of the Wheel of Time. The voice of Lews Therin suddenly speaks in a sane manner, helping Rand to realize that Pattern repeats are in fact blessing, as they receive a chance to undo their wrongs and to love again (simultaneously Rand realizes that Ilyena will be reborn as well). Upon this realization Rand comes to terms with himself, and finally laughs, dispersing the unnatural clouds that have been in the sky throughout the book, shining a tiny glimmer of hope on his fate at Tarmon Gai'don. It is strongly implied that he will never hear Lews Therin's voice again, as he accepts him as part of himself, and the two are completely united - this may be the fulfillment of Min's vision that saw Rand merging with another man.

Towers of Midnight[edit]

It is demonstrated that the events of The Gathering Storm have changed Rand completely.[5] It is hinted that Rand now possesses all the memories and skills of his previous reincarnation, Lews Therin; When called a boy by Cadsuane, he mentions that he is older than 400 years, and therefore should receive some respect from her, and half-seriously suggests to her to address him as Rand Sedai, as "I am, so far as I know, the only male Aes Sedai still alive who was properly raised but who never turned to the Shadow". His currently achieved peace of mind is physically manifested as clouds dispersing wherever he appears, crops being healed, and people suddenly feeling sense of purpose and hope. The might and purity of his aura is further demonstrated when he appears beside two high-ranked darkfriends - one commits suicide, and the other blinds himself with a stylus, unable to endure "this horrible light".

Rand is seen throughout the novel as trying to "put out fires". He travels all over helping those he can and gathering nations and armies to use in the Last Battle. His biggest plan is to break the final seals on the Dark One's prison and reseal them using both asha'man and Aes Sedai, something Lews Therin failed to do last time. In this volume, Rand's ability to channel seems to have grown immensely, as seen at his single-handed eradication of a great Shadowspawn army at Maradon. During that encounter he uses innumerable weaves at the same time, although, after the battle he admits that he is tired and could become an easy target to a Forsaken at the moment. Later, he successfully enlists armies of Borderland kings and queens under his banner.

Reincarnation[edit]

Rand al'Thor is special in that he is the only known soul to be woven out by the Wheel of Time for a specific rebirth. Although there are other known cases of rebirth (such as Birgitte Silverbow and Gaidal Cain, and the rest of the legendary heroes), only Rand al'Thor's rebirth has been foreseen. He is the rebirth of Lews Therin Telamon, a male Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends who gained prominence before and during the War of Power as the Dragon, the leader of the Forces of Light against the Shadow during the War of Power. This is why al'Thor is generally known as the Dragon Reborn.

Other evidence is showcased in the prologue to The Eye of the World: Ishamael comments that he and Lews Therin have battled each other since the dawn of mankind countless times, suggesting that the Dragon is a prominent figure every time the War of Power occurs.

Rand hears Lews Therin's voice in his head, something that does not normally occur with reincarnation. In fact, at the end of the 11th novel, Semirhage informs him and those present that Rand is insane, and that his condition is beyond repair and all who have had former lives speaking in their heads have been driven to insanity. However, the Forsaken, including both Semirhage and Ishamael (who was thought to have died) lie habitually so the validity of this statement is uncertain. By the end of The Gathering Storm, Rand seems to come to terms with the voice of Lews Therin, and it is strongly hinted that the voice was simply a result of subconscious rejection of his destiny and inability to come to peace with himself.

Future[edit]

It is supposedly fated for Rand al'Thor to die at Tarmon Gai'don, as one prophecy is "His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul." Nicola, a novice with the gift of foretelling, foretold, "The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade." The lion sword is Elayne, the dedicated spear Aviendha and she who sees beyond Min. He who is dead yet lives is Rand (this is confirmed by a dream Bair and Melaine had of Rand in a boat with three women they could not see and a scale tilting).Great Battle may refer to the Last Battle (Tarmon Gai'don), or a large battle leading up to the final confrontation with the Dark One. The return could be the Seanchan. The guardians refer to the Asha'man (meaning Guardians in the Old Tongue); the servants, to Aes Sedai (Servants of All in the Old Tongue). However, if he dies at Tarmon' Gaidon, he will have a son, daughter and four other children by Elayne and Aviendha. It is unknown if he and Min shall have children together. Although, if Tarmon Gai'don is lost, Min's visions will mean nothing since time itself will die, and all be under the control of the Dark One.

It has also been hinted that Rand will become blind; Perrin saw him through a 'window' in Tel'aran'rhiod with a bandage across his eyes, while looking at him, Tuon thought "He didn't seem blinded yet, so that had yet to happen", and Min saw a white-hot iron as part of a viewing of him, which suggests that he will be tortured and lose his eyes. This may not be so, however, for the quote from The Prophecies of the Dragon after the epilogue in The Gathering Storm quotes that "the blind man shall stand upon his own grave. There, he shall see again." This quote seems to refer to Rand's apparent blindness in his attempts to become "steel" or "cuendillar," and his new enlightened view of life after contemplation on Dragonmount (Lews Therin's grave), and also is the quote that Tuon was referring to.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jordan, Robert (1990), The Eye of the World: Book One of 'The Wheel of Time', New York: Tor Books, ISBN 0-812-50048-2
  2. ^ Jordan, Robert and Sanderson, Brandon (2010), The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time), New York: Tor Books, ISBN 0-765-34153-0
  3. ^ Jordan, Robert (1992), The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, Book 3), New York: Tor Books, ISBN 0-812-51371-1
  4. ^ Jordan, Robert (2003), Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, Book 10), New York: Tor Books, ISBN 0-812-57133-9
  5. ^ Jordan, Robert and Sanderson, Brandon (2011), Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time), New York: Tor Books, ISBN 0-765-36487-5

External links[edit]