%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Do not uncomment them without expanding them to explain how the trope applies. A character name on its own is not context. "In spades" and like phrases are WordCruft, not context.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Elaida, despite becoming something of a HateSink, is a divisive character. Was she a WellIntentionedExtremist doing what she felt had to be done to save the world, [[UnwittingPawn undermined]] by the Black Ajah and DrivenToVillainy in the process? Or was she always an [[ItsAllAboutMe egotistical madwoman]] who leapt at the chance to take over as Amyrlin, sealing her fate through her own follies?
* AntiClimaxBoss:
** After five books worth of build-up, Sammael gets eaten by Mashadar after a short, not particularly spectacular fight with Rand. When questioned about this, [[WordOfGod Jordan]] said that he felt Sammael was a "louse" who didn't deserve a dramatic death, so this trope can be safely said to have been [[InvokedTrope invoked]]. It also doesn't help that you'd swear Sammael wasn't actually killed with a quite striking case of NeverFoundTheBody, until Jordan had to step in and clarify that "Sammael is toast."
** [[spoiler: Padan Fain/Mordeth/Shaisam, thanks to running straight into Mat, who is immune to his powers from previous exposure]].
** Moghedien is an invoked example, exemplifying that for all the all the [[TheDreaded horrific myths]] surrounding them, the Forsaken are ultimately just people, and fallible as all people are. Sure, she's quite formidable when she's the one holding the cards and she [[spoiler:survives the entire series,]] but almost every time she gets her hands dirty it ends [[HumiliationConga very badly]] for her.
* ArcFatigue: Sets in around the eighth book and doesn't let up until the eleventh. In particular, Elayne vying for the Lion Throne and Perrin's conflict with the Shaido remnants are generally acknowledged as having dragged on for too long. Even before then, the Aes Sedai civil war arc begins in the fifth book and isn't resolved until the [[spoiler:''thirteenth''.]]
* AuthorsSavingThrow:
** The last four books feature a drastic acceleration in the plot, after the four books preceding them were widely criticized for moving too slowly. Jordan himself admitted ''Crossroads of Twilight'', which is pretty much universally considered the worst book in the series, was a failed experiment. Of course, the rapid increase in plot developments after that book may have had something to do with Jordan's diagnosis with a rare (and eventually fatal) blood disorder as well. In any case, by ''Knife of Dreams'' and especially by ''The Gathering Storm'' (which, unlike the two volumes that followed it, had more of its prose written by Jordan than by Sanderson), the pace of the plot ramps up massively.
** "The Fires of Heaven" features Thom and a minor character acting like they've never met before, when they actually have. In the next book, Thom explains that he figured she was acting like she didn't know him for her own reasons, so he played along. Though funnily enough, several fans have said that given the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, they never would have noticed the mistake if Jordan himself hadn't pointed it out.
%%* AwesomeEgo: Demandred.
* BadassDecay: [[spoiler:Moiraine, who despite facing down four Forsaken and defeating two before her apparent demise, is largely removed from the martial side of battling the Shadow after her return and plays a more advisory role.]]
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Egwene is probably the most divisive character in the fandom. The fact that she is considered by many to be a MarySue, coupled with a lack of introspection means you either love her or hate her.
* BrokenBase: Mat in the books co-written by Brandon Sanderson is either hilarious or acting totally out of character, depending on who you ask. Big points of contention: The "character sheets" in ''The Gathering Storm'' and the [[spoiler:letter to Elayne]] in ''Towers of Midnight.''
* TheChrisCarterEffect: Fans believed Robert Jordan's promise that Book 12 would be the final book of the series. The list of people who believed it would succeed in ''wrapping up'' the series was... rather smaller.
* CompleteMonster: [[TheDragon Ishamael]] (aka Elan Morin Tedronai, Ba'alzamon and [[spoiler:Moridin]]) is a scholar and philosopher who determined that [[UltimateEvil The Dark One]] was destined to triumph over good at the end of time. With that in mind, he signed on with The Dark One's forces, setting himself up as TheAntichrist and EvilCounterpart to his [[WeUsedToBeFriends former friend]], Lews Therin, whom he eventually [[DrivenToSuicide drove to suicide]]. Sealed in Shayol Ghul, Ishamael managed to free his spirit, and eventually his body. He makes the life of Lews Therin's reincarnation a living hell while in his Ba'alzamon identity, tormenting him with nightmares and doing everything in his power to make him miserable, while sending his troops to lay waste to the world. Following his apparent death, he is resurrected in a new identity ([[spoiler:Moridin]]), and takes over leadership of The Dark One's armies, [[BadBoss brutally punishing]] the rest of The Forsaken when they [[YouHaveFailedMe fail]]. Unlike the rest of [[QuirkyMinibossSquad The Forsaken]], who think they will rule the world when the war is over, [[StrawNihilist Ishamael]] believes that The Dark One is an OmnicidalManiac, and is cool with that. In fact, it's why he agreed to work for him in the first place--he's a DeathSeeker and looks forward to TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, viewing it as the chance for a murder/suicide on a cosmic scale. Driven by [[AGodAMi delusions of godhood]], and the occasional belief that he ''is'' The Dark One, even the [[EvenEvilHasStandards other Forsaken]] give [[AxeCrazy Ishamael]] a wide berth.
* CrazyAwesome: Padan Fain's fans tend to see him as this. He merrily skips over the MoralEventHorizon and hosts an evil force all of its own, waging a thoroughly insane war against the heroes and the Shadow alike -- partly for [[{{Revenge}} revenge]], but mostly ForTheEvulz.
* DamselScrappy: Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are popular choices. Especially Elayne and Nynaeve, because they spend a lot of time getting into trouble and are positively ''bitchy'' to the people who pull them out, particularly Mat. Having said that, other characters eventually call them out on it, so one could argue that their irritating behavior was intentional.
** The key reason why Egwene is such a BaseBreakingCharacter depends on how much the reader might notice how much this applies to her. Because Elayne and Nynaeve spend so much time together, while Egwene separated from them early in Book 4, it's often forgotten that she was just as much trapped as they were before Mat rescued them in Book 3, and that she treated Mat just as badly as they did if not moreso (early in Book 4, there's a scene between Mat and Egwene told through her POV showing us just how much she despises him). Unlike Elayne and Nynaeve, Egwene has never apologized for it nor been made to see that she needs to.
** In Book 2, Nynaeve took charge of rescuing Egwene from being a [[FateWorseThanDeath damane.]] While Egwene was grateful at the time, she quickly forgot or never realized how important Nynaeve was to that rescue and spent the next several books rebelling against Nynaeve's authority, often for no good reason. In Book 5, she used ''Tel'aran'rhiod'' to [[KickTheDog pull a nasty, mean-spirited trick on Nynaeve]] (which greatly contributed the BreakTheHaughty storyline Nynaeve went through in Book 5) [[MoralDissonance solely to cover up Egwene's own misdeeds.]] Like the Mat example above, Egwene has never apologized to Nynaeve for this, nor been made to see that she needs to.
%%** Faile even more so.
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy:
** As Rand descended into insanity, it became increasingly hard to root for him. The people who tried to manipulate him into turning out for the better however, were not much better on their own. This gets better in the last 3 books, first for the latter, then for the former.
** While the villains are often irredeemable monsters, it can be hard to find enjoyment is seeing them get comeuppance as it often comes in the form of a FateWorseThanDeath, with them typically getting enslaved, tortured, raped and/or {{Mind Rape}}d.
* DracoInLeatherPants: Most of the series' villains are [[CompleteMonster vile]] and/or inhuman enough to avoid getting this, but the "Big Three" Forsaken- Ishamael/Moridin, Lanfear, and Demandred- ''do'' get a certain amount of it (being just about the only Forsaken to make it through the series with their badass-cred intact helps, as does all three being fairly nuanced in their motivations), as do the Seanchan as a whole.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Bela. Really ''is'' a horse, but fascinates the fandom anyway.
** Jain Farstrider also has quite a following. [[HesJustHiding JAIN LIVES!!!]] [[http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Noal_Charin Really.]] [[spoiler:Well, not anymore...]]
** Demandred probably appears in person less than any of the other major Forsaken [[spoiler: at least until ''A Memory of Light'']], but it certainly doesn't stop him from being one of the most popular in the fandom.
** Asmodean is killed off relatively early, but is fondly remembered and commonly ranks high on fans' favourite Forsaken lists.
** And Narg. [[YouNoTakeCandle Narg smart.]] Narg dead now... ''[[ThanatosGambit just as planned.]]'' Also, according to [[TrollingCreator Word of God]] Narg was the one [[RiddleForTheAges who killed Asmodean]]! [[spoiler: Not really.]]
* EpilepticTrees: In the fandom these are known as "Loony Theories." This is ''not'' a derogative term, however -- some of them have turned out to be dead accurate. A whole new crop has grown since the conclusion of the series, in part due to the official ShrugOfGod regarding anything that happens after the final page. There are two major mysteries that the ending left unresolved that have spawned all sorts of fan theories. [[spoiler: The first is the nature of Nakomi, the mysterious Aiel woman who visited Aviendha during her trip to Rhuidean. Was that a message from The Creator? A forsaken? Verin? Some random Wise One? The second is what the hell was up with Rand's magically lighting pipe at the very end of the epilogue. Did someone channel it for him? Is it a ter'angreal? Does Rand have some sort of new power, and if so, what?]] The fact that we'll never know has only fueled the theory fires.
* EvilIsCool: Deconstructed with the Forsaken; their mystique is impressive, but strip it away and what you're left with is a bunch of strikingly dysfunctional people with way too much power.
* EvilIsSexy: Very few of the Forsaken are described as physically ugly (the primary exceptions being Aginor and Balthamel, who suffered from AgeWithoutYouth) but Ishamael (both in his original body and as Moridin), Demandred, Lanfear, Graendal, Rahvin, and Aran'gar in particular are all explicitly noted to be attractive. Lanfear in particular is noted by many characters of both genders to be the most beautiful woman they've ever seen.
* FridgeBrilliance: Elayne's inheritance of the Sun Throne and the Lion Throne unites the kingdoms of Andor and Cairhien, and creates the largest and most powerful kingdom in the Westlands. A perfect counterbalance to the Seanchan in the future.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: An out-of-universe example; in Jordan's dust jacket biographies, it always said he intended to keep writing [[AuthorExistenceFailure "until they nail shut his coffin"]]. Robert Jordan [[{{Determinator}} continued to say this]] after he found out that he was terminally ill.
* GrowingTheBeard: The first novel can be read as a fine standalone adventure, but it's often said that its first few sequels (particularly ''The Dragon Reborn'') are what really got fans of the series hooked.
* HesJustHiding: [[spoiler:Moiraine]] got this in spades. [[spoiler:The belief was vindicated.]]
* HilariousInHindsight:
** See {{Doorstopper}} on the main page. One of the principal reasons for splitting ''A Memory Of Light'' into three volumes was that as one book it would be literally unprintable. This is funny, because as quoted at the top of the page, Robert Jordan had said there would be one more book even if Tor had to invent a new binding format. Turns out they literally ''would'' have to invent a new binding format - and wouldn't you know it, they don't want to, so three books it is.
** Later, when Brandon was working on his own high fantasy series, ''The Stormlight Archive'', he quipped that if Book 2, ''Words of Radiance'' was a single page longer, the publishing company would be literally unable to publish it.
%%* IdiotPlot:
* InferredHolocaust: With the Dark One's influence causing massive food spoilage throughout the continent, if not the world, to the point that channelers are routinely needed just to heal food poisoning, it's likely that a significant portion of the population, if not the majority, die of starvation before the end of the Last Battle. And that's leaving out the countries actually invaded by Trollocs.
* ItWasHisSled: Seriously, did anyone ''not'' figure out that Rand was the Dragon by the end of the first book? With the benefit of hindsight, many things that happen to Rand are clearly the symptoms of a wilder channeling, but with so much other crazy or horrific things going on (YourMindMakesItReal, {{Farm Boy}}s receiving an unwelcome CallToAdventure, the ArtifactOfDoom, [[WeAreEverywhere Darkfriends everywhere]]), this reader didn't notice their significance until a reread. Lan is a plausible [[TheLordOfTheRings Aragorn]], which is a different kind of ChosenOne and would have made this a very different kind of series.
* JerkassWoobie: Rand in the second half of the series, as the weight of being TheChosenOne hardens his heart and his actions become much more ruthless, ambiguous, and grey, accompanied by him developing a colder disposition and a willingness to commit indefensible acts for the sake of [[IDidWhatIHadToDo doing what has to be done]]. ''Many'' characters worry for where this will take him, and even his oldest and closest friends begin arguing that he's [[MoralEventHorizon crossing lines]]. [[spoiler:This reaches a climax in ''The Gathering Storm'', when after an introspective reckoning on Dragonmount, Rand comes to terms with his destiny and resolves to make things right before his death.]]
%%** Lanfear fits this, and [[spoiler:Ishamael, of all people, has shades of it in the final books.]]
* LesYay: Loads of it between Elayne and Aviendha.
* LoveToHate: Most of the Forsaken, particularly Moghedien, who despite being an easily spooked DirtyCoward is one of the most enduring and [[{{Determinator}} driven]] villains in the series.
* MagnificentBastard:
** Mesaana engineered the tower schism, setting up two Black Ajah Keepers and playing the two sides of the single greatest Light-side organization against each other for months. The single most successful indirect ploy by the Shadow in the entire series.
** Rahvin's plot in Andor wasn't that bad either.
** Ishamael took the greatest empire the world had ever seen and destroyed it utterly within the span of a few decades with pure ManipulativeBastard-dom (and probably Compulsion), laying the seeds of the Seanchan Empire in the process and cementing MedievalStasis making it harder for the Light to fight back. He is also the founder of the Black Ajah, was behind the Trolloc Wars without anyone ever finding out, and is the only Darkfriend in the entire series who so much as considers that the Dark One might actually be lying when he claims that he'll recreate the world after destroying it and let his loyal followers rule in his stead, even if he is AxCrazy enough to be okay with that. In addition, he is the only character who can say TheScottishTrope and get away with it.
** In AMOL [[spoiler: Hessalam!Graendal engineers a near complete and total rout of three of the four Last Battle fronts by using light compulsion to make the four great generals slip up which enables her to indirectly kill half of the collective army of light before Mat steps in to fix everything. Mat even remarks that it takes a bloody genius general to make it seem to everyone like an army is easily winning yet to be just one step from total annihilation.]]
** [[spoiler: Egwene, who when imprisoned by Elaida, by sheer force of will managed to get not only her torturer on her side, but eventually nearly all the Tower]].
* MemeticBadass: Bela is the Dark One! Bela is the Creator! Bela killed Asmodean!
* MoralEventHorizon: [[spoiler:Rand]] comes dangerously close to this after spending the last two to three books walking nearer the edge, almost going off the edge when [[spoiler:he almost kills Tam, his father, after learning that Cadsuane had brought him to Rand]].
%%** All Forsaken have crossed it.
* NeverLiveItDown: One of Nynaeve's biggest motivations for joining the White Tower was to put herself in a position to get revenge on Moiraine for plucking the Two Rivers' folk out of their village. This is, on several levels, absolutely ridiculous: in helping the protagonists escape from the Two Rivers, Moiraine not only saved all of their lives, but also diverted the Shadowspawn trying to kill them all away from their hometown. Nynaeve eventually realizes how stupid this is [[spoiler:and even becomes close friends with Moiraine in the final book]] but her detractors are still quick to point this out.
* {{Padding}}: It would be easier to list the stuff in this series that ''isn't'' padding. For instance, late in the plot, Elayne has to spend some time jockeying for the Lion Throne. This was generally felt to take way too long. It doesn't get particularly bad until book seven. But after that, hoo boy. Books seven through ten are full of it (although at least ''Winter's Heart'' moves the plot forward in a very significant way). By ''Knife of Dreams'' Jordan appears to have realised he was taking way too long to resolve plot issues and began taking steps to correct this.
* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap:
** Mat spends most of the first two books either whining or dying from the cursed dagger he stole, being an idiot at the time. However, after being cured of the taint and recovering, he Takes a Level in Badass, gains reality-warping super-luck, and has a CrowningMomentOfAwesome ''on the first walk he takes after getting out of a sickbed.''
** Egwene after ''The Gathering Storm'', especially her behavior against Elaida and [[spoiler:the raid on the White Tower]].
** Gawyn defeating three elite assassins on his own despite the fact that he could barely see them in ''Towers of Midnight'' helped him, too, not to mention his turn against Elaida.
** Or even Faile after ''Towers of Midnight''. She might not be anyone's favorite character, but nine books and the events of Malden have [[CharacterDevelopment left their mark]]. It helps that at the beginning of ''Towers of Midnight'' she admits to not liking who she was in the first couple of books and takes it down a notch. She still maintains a fiery attitude, but seems to handle it better than simply hitting the thing that annoys her i.e. Perrin.
* ReplacementScrappy: For some, Cadsuane, who becomes Rand's foremost Aes Sedai advisor after [[spoiler:Moiraine's "death."]]
* TheScrappy: Several female characters, primarily the manipulative, anger-equals-love Faile and hypocritical, ungrateful Egwene. Mat was one of these too, until he TookALevelInBadass around book 3.
%%** Also, ''Crossroads of Twilight'' can be considered the Scrappy book of the series.
* SeasonalRot: ''Crossroads Of Twilight'', the tenth book of the series, is the worst part of the series if you believe the [[http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/B000FFJRI6/sr=8-1/qid=1187882157/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful/104-1520169-6111945?ie=UTF8&n=283155&qid=1187882157&sr=8-1#customerReviews reviews at Amazon]]. The action consists of the same two days from the point of view of every tenth character we've ever met... that is to say, LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters.
** Some would argue the actual rot began with ''A Crown of Swords'', which is the first book to literally not move the plot forward at all, and was followed by a book that was similarly stagnant. However, ''Winter's Heart'' concluded with a ''major'' game changer, even if it was the only real progress the plot would make until ''Knife of Dreams''. Some readers are more harsh, and will claim the rot started even earlier, with ''The Fires of Heaven'' or even ''The Shadow Rising'', which is the largest novel in the series, and the one where several of the more-hated aspects really came to the fore.
** Things seem to be getting better in the next book (Knife of Dreams), and the 12th and 13th, though, due to streamlining the plot as much as possible on [[TheOtherDarrin Brandon Sanderson]]'s part.
* StrangledByTheRedString:
** Loial's match with Erith. Sweet, but not particularly developed. Like most of the romances in the series, really. Some of the characters are even GenreSavvy enough to realise this is happening to them. Possibly FridgeBrilliance: given how slowly Ogier mature, their relationship is the equivalent of a high school crush. [[{{Squick}} And shotgun wedding.]]
** Depending on your point of view, Mat and Tuon are either this (two people who don't really care about each other dragged together by prophecies they've been told) or start off as this and learn to enjoy it. On Mat's side, at least, he's initially uncomfortable because Tuon is pretty much the exact opposite of his normal taste in women, and grows into it once he gets used to the idea that Tuon is one of the few people in the series who can keep pace with his IndyPloy thinking.
** Mostly avoided by Rand and Elayne, but it really didn't help that she spent considerably less time around him (both chronologically and on screen) than Min and Aviendha did but apparently had just as strong a relationship with him.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Asmodean, for some. Rand having a [[DePower de-powered]] former Forsaken as his TokenEvilTeammate and channelling coach was an interesting angle to take, but Asmodean's arc is cut short on the cusp of a true HeelFaceTurn when he's KilledOffForReal.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: After numerous books of Masema being an evil zealot causing all kinds if misery in Rand's name, just about everyone was eagerly looking forward to his inevitably meeting Rand again and being destroyed to discover that he didn't want any of it, and he'd done nothing but make the world worse. Instead, he's anti-climactically killed at the start of "The Gathering Storm," and by Faile rather than anyone who'd personally been affected by him.
* TrappedByMountainLions:
** Faile's capture by the Shaido. Elayne's political plot in the later books, while arguably important to the plot as a whole, drags on far longer then it should.
** The entire Ebou Dar/Bowl of the Winds plot. It spans three books (admittedly it was a subplot), and does little except solve a relatively minor problem (never-ending summer). Even if it introduces a ton of new characters, none of them particularly add anything.
* UncannyValley: Myrddraal are ''just'' human looking enough to make their inhuman features (particularly the lack of eyes, but also the way they move) exceptionally disturbing.
%%* UnpopularPopularCharacter: Mat, in spades.
* TheUntwist: Several.
** The biggest is that ''everyone'' figured out that Moiraine was going to come back at some point.
** Also, that Mazrim Taim had some kind of ulterior motive in leading the Asha'man. He is perhaps the single most blatant [[TheStarscream Starscream]] in literary history.
* VillainDecay: It's apparent by the fifth book, if not before, that not all of the Forsaken are worthy of the intense dread their reputation has inspired, especially when fate pits them against the heroes' ever-increasing skills and powers (particularly [[WorldsStrongestMan Rand]]). On the other hand, [[spoiler:Demandred, Graendal, and Moridin]] more than live up to the hype and dominate much of the Last Battle.
* WhatMeasureIsANonBadass: Among a cast of badasses, most with one supernatural magic power to invoke or another, and the rest firmly in BadassNormal territory, Min, despite being thrown into death's jaws quite a lot, falls very short. She tries to remedy this by having Thom teach her the art of [[KnifeNut throwing knives]], which she picks up quickly, but she's still little-to-no help (and in one very important case, a dramatic hindrance) against almost all of the enemies she comes up against. Her fans tend to point out that this is somewhat unfair to hold against her, since despite her lack of conventional strength, she's still a very important character.