He gets quite a few early on. In the The Great Hunt, his standing up to the Amyrlin Seat is but a hint of what is to come
"No, Mother. I can channel, the Light help me, but I am not Raolin Darksbane, nor Guaire Amalasin, nor Yurian Stonebow. You can gentle me, or kill me, or let me go, but I will not be a tame false Dragon on a Tar Valon leash."
In the same book, the way he kills Turak: after his attempts to use "proper" swordfighting techniques barely help him stay alive, he switches to Attack! Attack! Attack!, just whaling at Turak with no thought at all to any skill, which catches him so off guard that Rand is able to get a fatal hit in.
Rand going toe to toe with Ba'alzamon, beating the crap out of him with the Dragon's banner in the background in the sky above Falme, and providing the mother of all pre asskicking one liners.
I will never serve you, Father of Lies. In a thousand lives I never have. I know that/ I'm sure of it. Come. It is time to die.
Rand scaling the Stone of Tear and finally killing Ishamael (who he fought the previous two books) with Callandor.
In the beginning of the fourth book, when an army of The Usual Adversaries invade the Stone of Tear, Rand uses Callandor to create a tiny cyclone that was the equivalent of “all the thunderstorms in the world compressed to the size of a trolloc's head” which blasts every one of the buggers to ash. Rand surmises that he could use this method to kill every shadowspawn in the world, though it would kill him - and it was a How Do I Shot Web? moment anyway.
Rand's plan in the fourth book. The first five books all end with massive, climactic battles between Rand and the Forsaken, but the fourth book is the first one in which Rand plans on it. And what a plan it was: he would recruit a Proud Warrior Race in possession of a bunch of Lost Technology to his cause, which would force Asmodean, a Forsaken spying on Rand, to reveal himself, who Rand would then psychically cut off from the Dark One. This would force Asmodean to actually cut himself off from the Dark One as well, because the Forsaken are so known for their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that no one would think something else than it was Asmodeans plan. So Rand gains a much-needed mentor by coercing someone into a Heel-Face Turn using angreal and sa'angreal as bait.
Mazrim Taim gets a great line after the Battle of Dumai Wells:
"Kneel before the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt."
Taim is also given control of Rand's plan to find and train male channelers, then uses that control to train about a 100 men to be loyal to him and not Rand. Only Logain's arrival prevents Taim from pretty much controlling the Asha'man.
Rand had a great moment that prompted the Taim line above, where he finally, finally, had had enough of kowtowing to insufferably arrogant Aes Sedai without question and (completely justifiably) lost it with them. Even though it caused problems among his allies who seem to think he has to obey Aes Sedai no matter what and no matter how contradictory they are it was well worth it. After telling the rebel Aes Sedai representatives they belong with the ones he now holds prisoner they try to talk him down with haughty arrogance, using the phrase "you forget who we are" and he responds thusly:
"I forget nothing, Aes Sedai. I said six could come, but I count nine. I said you would be on an equal footing with the Tower emissaries, and for bringing nine, you will be. They are on their knees, Aes Sedai. Kneel!".
It was made all the more awesome when they did kneel.
It was almost certainly intentionally horrific. It has all the framework of a Big Damn HeroesMoment Of Awesome rescue scene, and yet it is also written in a way to be horribly, violently disturbing to the point that Perrin still feels uncomfortable thinking about it seven books later. Who said that it could not be both?
Dumai's Wells (and more specifically the lead-up to it) could be something of a CMoA for the wolves. Wolves do not like Aes Sedai. They take pains to avoid them at all costs. But Perrin's request brought them, willing to sacrifice their lives in a battle where they were almost bound to be slain in massive numbers. And the way he said it:
Half Tail (asking why Perrin seeks the Aes Sedai): Why?
Perrin: They have caged Shadowkiller.
Half Tail (amidst almost overwhelming shock and horror from other wolves): ...we come.
Rand's return to Cairhien after Dumai Wells.
"Whatever can be done," Rand said softly, "can be undone."
When Rand unleashes Callandor on the Seanchan, making it rain lightning. Of course he promptly starts accidentaly killing his own men and losing control, but it was still awesome.
One that seems to come more for Rand himself, rather than simply from his powers (although it is debatable). After he's been bonded by Alanna, one of the other Aes Sedai asks her why she hasn't used the bond to compel him to action, implying that not only is it possible for Aes Sedai to do that to their Warders, but that it's usually relatively simple. She responds by asking if the other Aes Sedai has ever lifted an oak tree out of the ground with her bare hands. Rand's personality is just too strong to be compelled.
Rand cleansing the Taint from Saidin. Let's list all the reasons this is a Moment Of Awesome, shall we?
Rand is using both halves of the Source in such quantities that if he loses concentration for a single moment, he will melt the planet
By doing this, Rand gives the Light its only real victory in 3,000 years.
All this mentioned here? Happened two years after the series starts, when Rand is just a farmboy who thinks sinking a ferry is utterly epic.
Rand has undone the freaking Dark One's counterstroke to his sealing. Perhaps Tarmon Gai'don won't be so one-sided after all. Not to mention saving the Asha'man from death, insanity or gentling.
It was a moment so awesome the entire next book consisted of nothing but different characters' reactions to it. It was a terrible book, but still.
Rand's moment on the mountain that leads him to reclaim his humanity and merge with the memory of the man who was known as Lews Therin Telamon. I am here indeed.
Not to mention he destroys the male Choedan Kal, deciding it was too much power for him to handle. A very poignant decision, considering he was about to use it to destroy the world, then decided against it.
Earlier on, Rand finally telling Cadsuane to piss off after the incident with Semirhage was a crowning moment to her haters. Even if it did make things worse overall.
In Towers of Midnight, Rand walking into the White Tower by himself, with more than twenty six Aes Sedai tailing him but too afraid to do anything, then telling Egwene that the seals must be broken.
In the same book Rand destroying over 100,000 shadowspawn by himself in order to rescue Rodel Ituralde.
Also in the same book, the whole series of apologies, reparations, and fence-mending he performs after healing his mind with just about everyone he ever hurt, attacked, defied, or rejected, culminating in hugging his father and crying, then introducing him to Min. Huge Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as well.
Special note also to how he made it up to Arad Doman for abandoning them before, by going back to Bandar Eban and this time using his almost holy ta'veren effect to restore hope, galvanize the people, bring order out of chaos, turn the food healthy again, and pass it out to everyone. Followed up by his discovering, through Cadsuane, that King Alsalam was alive and didn't die in Natrin's Barrow after all, so that he could be reunited with Ituralde.
While it's overshadowed by some of his other actions from the same book, Rand's gentle admonishment of Cadsuane's treatment towards him and the pointed reminder that he is the only still living Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends who never fell from the Light, and the only current male Aes Sedai period, was an incredible moment considering how he's constantly treated.
Really, it was the suggestion that she find some new insults since the old ones were wearing thin and the thought that she might call him Rand Sedai that did it.
"I show you respect. Perhaps it would be appropriate for you to return it. If you wish, you may call me Rand Sedai. 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."
In A Memory of Light, Rand reseals the Dark One by using Callandor's flaw to hijack Moridin's power when Moridin is using it.
Just that? It's absolute cheese, but cheese is there to be awesome:Everything he says and does when confronting the Dark One is this, but especially his absolutely epic Shut Up, Hannibal!/Reason You Suck Speech just before the gloves come off fully.
Mat defeating two Warder-trained swordsmen at the same time (at least one of whom later gets his ownCrowning Moment Of Awesome) with just a quarterstaff - while still severely weakened from a drastic Healing session several days earlier. He had taken the quarterstaff to use as a crutch.
There's some sort of reverse Worf Effect going on in that scene; Galad and Gawyn become some of the best swordsmen in the series after that. WMG: Mat's awesome rubbed off on them.
Mat wages a guerrilla war against the Seanchan Empire, an army that was only previously defeated by untouchable legendary warriors, and a war of attrition by the main good guy army. Mat obliterates several companies of Seanchan, causing several of them to believe they where fighting spirits since the few men who Mat lost where taken and buried elsewhere.
And he does such a good job at it that his Love Interest, now understanding his true worth and stature, agrees to marry him. (Of course, Mat had been trying to avoid that, so...)
I would say Mat's crowning moment of awesome was in The Dragon Reborn when Mat was pinned against the rail of a bridge, bad guy trying to kill him had a knife to his throat, and so he counts on his own semi-magical luck by pulling both him and the bad guy off the side of the bridge, they roll over each other in the air like a coin flipping, and because of his luck, Mat lands on top of the bad guy and is fine. Bad guy lands with his dagger in his own throat. That was really the moment when it became clear that Mat's luck was good for more then just dice.
Speaking of that luck, near the end of The Dragon Reborn, Mat learns that Elayne and co are in danger, and decides to go after them. His one-liner of choice? "That evil dude in charge doesn't know it, but he and I have a wager on, and I -" <rolls five sixes, just to drive the point home> "- always win." Badass.
Even better: He rolled five sixes on dice that were weighted to roll three sixes and two fives every time.
The end of the second book, where Mat blows the Horn, and Rand battles Ba'alzamon and Sheathes the Sword.
In Towers of Midnight...
Mat versus the Gholam. It really is one of those fights that has to be read to really understand how awesome it is. Seriously, an internet poll had it listed as one of the best fight scenes in literature. Ever. He caught a thrown knife with his bare hands.
"I hope you can't die, because I'm going to enjoy the thought of you falling through the blackness forever, you misbegotten son of a goat's droppings." Mat spit over the side, sending a bit of bloody spittle down, plummeting after the gholam.
The entire Moiraine rescue sequence. It doesn't disappoint, even after 15 years of waiting.
Including his exit line from the Tower: "Looks like the game can be won after all...have a grand bloody day."
In fact, his awesomeness here actually causes Olver to win Snakes and Foxes without cheating.
Mat driving a bargain with Atha'an Miere, even more awesome coming in the aftermath of the Queen Tylin episode
You listen to me, you bilge stone." All right; maybe he could not hold it. "Nynaeve and Elayne need you, or I'd leave you for the gholam to crack your bones and the Black Ajah to pick over what's left. Well, as far as you're concerned, I'm the Master of the Blades, and my blades are bare." What that meant exactly, he had no idea, except for having once heard, ' 'When the blades are bare, even the Mistress of the Ships bows to the Master of the Blades." "This is the bargain between you and me. You go where Nynaeve and Elayne want, and in return, I won't tie the lot of you across horses like packsaddles and haul you there!"
"It is agreed, under the Light!" she growled. Her eyes nearly started out of her head. Her mouth worked, confusion and disbelief suddenly chasing one another across her face.
He gets a minor one when he comes up with a battleplan to use against Couladin and the Shaido from studying the maps to match the best generals Rand has in moments. One of the earliest indications about how awesome Mat will become.
Mat rolls a one. On two six-sided dice.
Mat surviving his owe mini zombie apocalypse in the Gathering Storm and brings back everyone he went in with, even rescuing one of his men when he fell out of the saddle. No wonder any of his men would die for him any day with a smile on their face.
A Memory of Light:
Mat has Grady use the people of Hinderstap to fight the Shadowspawn. How does he deal with unstoppable killing machines? Turn them into his own undead army, of course!
Mat finally kills Padan Fain, and gets to live as a bonus.
After the Great Captains' exposure to Compulsion is uncovered square in the middle of the Last Battle, every tactic, every fallback plan, every contingency they've devised is suspect because it might have been conceived under mind control and play right into the enemy's hands. After this, supreme command of the Light's forces falls to Mat pretty much by default and he comes up with a winning grand strategy almost from scratch!
The Battle of Dumai's Wells, where he, Aram and Loial fight their way through an army to reach Rand. (Imagine the three of them going back-to-back if you will).
Getting his whole home village to beat the opposing army armed with only bows is pretty damn awesome too.
That same battle also served as Faile's crowning moment. Perrin sends her off, not wanting her to fall in the Last Stand. Instead of getting out of Two Rivers like he intended, she rallies up Watch Hill and turns up as the Big Damn Hero leading The Cavalry. On that note, it's also a crowning moment for Watch Hill and especially Deven Ride, the latter organising their cavalry all alone. She said she'd leave, she didn't promise to stay gone.
And the aftermath of said battle too. Perrin promised the Whitecloaks that if they helped save the village, he would willingly go with him. After the battle is over, the Whitecloaks try to hold him to that promise. Perrin tells them that yes, he would go with them. IF they helped. And asks where the Hell they were during the battle. After several people point out that they were in the village square, as pretty as schoolgirls, Perrin tells them to get the Hell out of his town.
This is so awesome that Perrin takes a vacation for the entire next book, and most of the next, on his honeymoon.
After many, many chapters of Perrin refusing to accept his destiny, he finally gets his act together in Towers of Midnight.
Whilst fighting in the World of Dreams, Perrin blocks Balefire with his bare hands.
And doesn't doesn't even realize it, utterly shocking Egwene. This is like if someone from our world casually caught a nuke. Perrin Aybara: Telarian'rhod Badass.
And this is after he goes into an epic training montage of defeating Nightmares with the power of disbelief in order to fight the guy who is killing his wolf friends. Just ONE nightmare nearly killed 6 Aes Sedai.
Getting the Children of the Light to stand down, go on trial for what he did way back in book 1 so he can finally get closure, and abiding by Morgase's decision no matter what. Not only does he convince Galad he is trustworthy, he manages to convince Bornhald he didn't kill his father. He then proceeds to save the Whitecloaks from the Trolloc trap, prompting Galad to declare his (very light) sentence on the spot and Bornhald of all people to kill that asshole Byar when he still tried to kill Perrin as a Darkfriend.
Forging the Power-Wrought hammer. Which, by the way, considering the Legend Fades to Myth undertones of the series and some of the Norse mythological influences, could be considered to be Mjolnir by implication.
Perrin destroying the dreamspike at the end of an epic battle with Slayer. How does he do it? He finds out it can only be accomplished by throwing the dreamspike into the lava of Dragonmount. However, Slayer steals the dreamspike so Perrin tackles him into a nightmare and rides it out until he can grab the dreamspike and chuck it in nightmare lava.
Both battles with Slayer in this book are extended Crowning Moments of Awesome of Perrin. The details of the dream battles are incredible.
Loial: "None will pass while I live, Perrin. Not Myrddraal or the Dark One himself."
Anger the Ogier, and bring the mountain down on your head...
Oh, and there was that time in The Shadow Rising when shadowspawn did attack the Stone of Tear...prompting Loial to grab as many women and children as he could find, stick them in a large room, and defend the room against Trollocs and Myrddraal the entire nightsingle-handed, finally earning his Badass Bookworm label.
His Offscreen Moment of Awesome in The Shadow Rising, permanently sealing the Manetheren Waygate and then outracing thousands of Trollocs for four days, all while carrying the wounded Gaul.
In Memory of Light, Loial convinces the Ogier to go to war and fight on the side of the light.
All the Ogier in in the final battle, they show the trollocs what it's like to fight against someone who is just as strong if not stronger than you for the first time.
Aside from that, Loial sings so hard about life that plants grow on Trolloc weapons, shocking them into dropping them.
Nynaeve's entire character concept is pretty Bad Ass to begin with. She's a specialist in Healing who can't channel unless she's enraged. In other words, she's a Berserker Healer. But her Crowning Moment Of Awesome came when she faced down a Forsaken—in her mind, at this point, an undefeatable evil god—and realized that the two of them were equal in power. Nynaeve fights her to a standstill in a magical duel, and then wins by grabbing a nearby piece of Lost Technology and decking her.
And then there's her defeat of the same Forsaken later in Tel'aran'rhiod, when while locked in the a'dam, Moghedien's disguise is identified and Nynaeve proceeds to taunt her about it:
Nynaeve: "You knew Birgitte was not dead. You knew who Faolain is. And you knew who Siuan is, that she used to be the Amyrlin Seat. I've never mentioned that in Tel'aran'rhiod. Never. I'll see you very shortly. In Salidar."
No easy sleep for the Forsaken, indeed!
She Healed Stilling. This is something that even the Age of Legends Aes Sedai didn't know how to do.
She has now also healed Madness, at least the variety caused by the Taint formerly on Saidin. It doesn't seem entirely clear whether she could heal any form of madness, or just the Taint madness.
One of the great ones for me is when Nynaeve heals Logain. When I read it I can just see the pure shock on Nynaeve's face, and the extreme pride she has at her own accomplishment.
Nynaeve: Go get Sheriam. Tell her I've healed Logain.
It was more of a Oh my god moment, actually. Still awesome, though.
Nynaeve's Gondor Calls for Aid scene in the otherwise unremarkable 11th book was worth considering a Moment Of Awesome. This chapter is told from the point of view of a middle-class merchant in a tavern. An Aes Sedai walks in and calmly announces that she needs to borrow all his messenger pigeons to tell everyone that the heir to his nation's throne (her husband) is leading what's left of his people into battle in the Garden of Evil. The reader can tell that she plans to unify the entire country one last time both to give her husband a chance to survive and to create a significant diversion for when Rand starts The Last Battle. She politely declines the merchant's offer of wine because she wants to send out a bunch of similar messages and then return to a city a few thousand miles away before night. We spend so much time following around the superpowered main characters; it was great to get a reminder that to the normal people in Randland they are, indeed, awesome.
In Towers of Midnight, when Nynaeve finally calls out Aes Sedai for Moral Dissonancesuccessfully, pointing out that there was no goddamn reason not to aid the illusory people during her Aes Sedai testing, that the fact that she didn't buckle under pressure or lose her head was proof enough that she deserved the title of Aes Sedai, and that the "failed" lesson of putting the White Tower ahead of any other considerations was a fucking terrible tradition that went against their whole purpose. The fact that they finally agreed cemented the moment...and led to a simultaneous Awesome/Heartwarming moment when Nynaeve later forced Myrelle to finally give her Lan's warder bond.
In AMOL, keeping Alanna alive long enough that she can wake up, and thus release Rand from her bond before her death can send him into Warder rage.
Egwene becoming Amyrlin by convincing both of the opposing factions within the Tower-in-exile that she's a naive little girl they could easily manipulate.
No. The real Moment Of Awesome for Egwene as Amyrlin is getting the lesser consensus to declare war on Elaida. She then asks for the Greater consensus. When several sitters refuse, she reveals a law that means the HAVE to vote the way she wants in regard to the war.
In Towers of Midnight, she's still a step (or three) ahead of the Tower. The Sitters call a secret meeting, to discuss ways to limit Egwene's power. Egwene expected and had Novices/Accepted ready to notify her when it happened, so she strolled in, calmly took a seat, and told them to proceed. Of particular discussion is the above mentioned craftiness with the law regarding war. Egwene calmly discussed their options, stating that there'd be little for her to do if the Tower took over direct handling of the war. The Sitters suggest she handles all matters dealing with the Kings and Queens of the world. Moments *after* the Sitters agree to this arrangement (including 2 Sitters walking in and Standing for the proposal after being told "it's an important one") one of the Sitters realizes that they just handed the task of dealing with the Dragon Reborn to Egwene, as he has the Laurel Crown. One of the Sitters starts to comment that she doesn't think Egwene planned it, then takes one look at Egwene and realizes they were all played AGAIN.
And then Egwene convinces (not forces) them to stand for an agreement that ends all secret meetings of the Hall.
The above two don't count. Siuan and Leane were the ones who manipulated the entire Little Tower into raising up Egwene, keeping up a constant act of being enemies to help their efforts. And wasn't Siuan the one who told Egwene about that law? It was a good moment, but Siuan's the one carrying the day here.
Egwene getting kidnapped in Crossroads of Twilight was not one of her better moments. Her measly couple of chapters in Knife of Dreams, where she starts subverting the White Tower from within, even under punishments severe enough that she has to be Healed after each session, rather makes up for it.
In the new novel, The Gathering Storm, Egwene has officially become the most awesome character ever. Not just for the many chapters where she continues her policy of bringing down Elaida from within the Tower, not just for the fact she convinces so many sisters to side with her (and prompting every Ajah but the Red to either claim she would have made a good member or wistfully wish she would join them), not even for how she finally unified the Aes Sedai or the fact she held off the Seanchan almost single-handedly while drugged on forkroot by using a circle of novices she linked to for Power and the most powerful sa'angreal in the entire Tower. She became awesome for her many incredible speeches, most notably the one where she debated and utterly PWNED Elaida herself. The final paragraph of this (made while standing bleeding and bruised from a terrible Power-flogging) is most definitely cheer-worthy:
Egwene: "I wish I weren't needed here, Elaida...I wish that the Tower had a grand Amyrlin in you. I wish I could step down and accept your rule. I wish you deserved it. I would willingly accept execution, if it would mean leaving a competent Amyrlin. The White Tower is more important than I am. Can you say the same?"
A second on Egwene's awesomeness. She not only accomplishes things that would make the ta'veren stare in disbelief, but I found it impossible to read her truly epic stand against the Seanchan raid without music (subject, of course, to personal taste).
And finally, the speeches Egwene gives after being made Amyrlin of the united Tower. Between telling off the people that just chose her as their leader and telling off the people that had supported her for some time - and being wholly correct - and doing so in a way those she tells are forced to acknowledge she is correct - this moment is, at the very least, equal to Rand doing similar at Dumai's Wells.
In the same book, when Rand comes to visit the White Tower, she's the only Aes Sedai not reduced to a voiceless, thoughtless wreck by the force of his ta'veren.
She is also described as feeling dizzy and tired after he leaves, though, which has been previously shown to be a sign of ta'veren influence. It's not that she was able to resist Rand's influence, it's that Rand's influence allowed her to speak.
Before any of those, there's her revenge on Renna, the Seanchan who made her a damane. The first thing she does after being freed is to smack the bitch with a water pitcher, like she'd tried to do with the collar on, resulting in her not being able to touch it for days. And then she puts the collar on Renna and almost kills her with her mind until Nynaeve stops her.
Her final test to become Accepted, where as the Amyrlin Seat she's captured by the Black Ajah, but quickly breaks out and kicks ass and takes names until she has to go back to the real world.
From the same book, her trip to Tel'aran'rhiod while being held in a dungeon, where she gives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Joiya Byir, and figures out how to make a self-sustaining air binding.
A Memory Of Light:
Egwene reverses Balefire to create a healing flame that she calls "The Flame of Tar Valon". Then she puts everything she has into the flame, killing Taim and undoing the damage to the battlefield, strengthening the Pattern. She dies doing so.
Egwene's spirit appears to Rand to help him gain the strength to defeat the Dark One.
Taking on a Fade in the first book, despite knowing he was outmatched. With Power-wrought daggers. Where exactly he got those, we never learned. If he'd deigned to tell us, it would have been quite a tale...
Thom starts a civil war in Cairhien. How? By killing the men who attacked him and murdered his then-lover, and then assassinating their employer...the friggin' king.
Thom also killed Taringail Damodred after Thom learned that Taringail planned to kill Morgase to become King of Andor.
In the back of the book glossaries, there's an entry explaining what the Game of Houses is. At the end, it refers you to the entry on Thom Merrilin. He is, in fact, so good at it this his name is actually in the dictionary entry for it.
At the climax of Towers of Midnight when he goes with Mat and Noal Charin to rescue Moiraine, it appears they are finished, that there is no way out of the Tower of Ghenjei and the Aelfinn will capture and kill them. What does Thom do? Holding Moiraine in his arms, he sings one last song, "a last melancholy song for a failed rescue", and in the process seems positively Aiel as he rails against the Finn in defiance.
Thom: Oh, how long were the days of a man/when he strode upon a broken land.
He sailed as far as a man could steer/and he never wished to lose his fear.
For the fear of a man is a thing untold/It keeps him safe, and it proves him bold!
Don't let fear make you cease to strive/for that fear it proves you remain alive.
I will walk this broken road/and I will carry a heavy load.
So come at me with your awful lies/I'm a man of truth, and I'll meet your eyes!
Blink-and-you'll-miss-it in The Shadow Rising, Mat walks in on Thom writing some forged letters. A couple chapters later, someone mentions that the everyone involved with those letters (the people who "wrote" them, the people who they were addressed to, and the people who found them) are either dead or in prison, and all of those people were in oppositon to Rand. Thom killed/imprisoned all of Rand's Tairen opposition, and hardly had to lift a finger to do it.
In AMOL, he sits calmly outside the Pit of Doom, defending it from Black Ajah (whom he easily recognizes despite their One Power disguises because he recognizes how they walk and act doesn't match), to the point he has a crevice stuffed full of bodies. And the whole time he just keeps trying to find the right words to write the epic of the Last Battle.
Moiraine, despite being The Obi-Wan and probably one of the weakest channelers in the main cast, has second-highest kill count on Forsaken. Only Rand the Hero of Destiny has more. She beat one by pegging him with a Dangerous Forbidden Technique while he was in the middle of an epic swordfight with Rand, and the other, she TACKLED THROUGH A DIMENSIONAL PORTAL. That's right, Moiraine defeated one of the most powerful female channelers to ever live with her bare hands. Moiraine is, for the record, also a VERY small woman.
Unfortunately however, the above isn't true. As revealed in Towers of Midnight (though implied considerably earlier), the second of her Forsaken kills, Lanfear, did not die when passing through the portal. Moiraine's 'defeat' of Lanfear succeeded in saving Rand's life, but was more of a draw than a victory.
Rand has killed 5 (Ishamael, Rahvin, Sammael, Semirhage and Aran'gar), Moiraine has killed one (Be'lal), but GRAENDAL has the second-highest killcount (not counting captures, incapacitations, and defeats that the Forsaken got away from) with two to her name, although she is only truly to blame for one of them, she had "help" from Rand with Aran'gar.
Her return in AMOL, and how she manages to completely shame all the rulers in attendance at Merrilor, prevent a war, convince Rand to back down on leading the armies and breaking the seals, and convince Egwene to break them instead. Bad Ass cred restored.
Galad Damodred, the BishōnenSheltered Aristocrat, gets one when he avenges his step mother Morgase who was raped by Eamon Valda. After killing Valda, he tells the remaining White Cloaks that they will leave Seanchan Custody and join forces with anyone willing to fight the Shadow.
Not to mention that when some of them balk at the idea of fighting alongside Aes Sedai in any sort of alliance, he basically tells them that if they want to fight for the Light against the Shadow at the Last Battle, they'll be fighting alongside Aes Sedai. Period. It had very strong overtones of "shut up and deal with it or get lost" - and it worked.
Although he ends up losing, his fight with Demandred is pretty damn awesome too.
Artur Hawkwing's life was just this, he starts life as the heir to Sashalle, a small kingdom and ends it as ruler of all of the Westlands. He starts his conquest when he defeated, and with the help of Aes Sedai capture Guaire Amalasan, a False Dragon, who had conquered half the Westlands. After that he conquered the rest of the Westland, and named himself High King. He then tries to conquer the land across the Aryth seas by sending his son Luthair, but dies before Luthair can send a message back. The following are implied history because the Aes Sedai deleted it for being too embarrassing. After taking Guaire Amalasan back to Tar Valon, Hawkwing pisses off the Amyrlin Seat by helping them defeat Amalasan's followers and preventing his rescue. In revenge the Amyrlin makes an alliance with Shandalle's neighbors to conquer it by Hawkwing conquers them instead. Hawkwing pissed off now, conquers the rest of the Westland than listening to Ishamael in disguise he besieges the Aes Sedai and forces them to hide behind the White Tower for fear of dying. The siege is lifted when Hawkwing dies, and his best General leaves to create Andor.
And the fact that he (supposedly) set this up is something of a CMoA for Ishamael.
How about the death of Manetheren, where the entire army is attacked by the shadow and upon realizing there is no help coming, the citizens head to their aid, rather than fleeing. Upon realizing that defeat is coming regardless, the queen draws enough power to not only scour the city, but annihilate the opposing army. Not to mention killing her in the process.
Padan Fain proves to the shadow that he's not a mere darkfriend any more. How? By NAILING A MYRDRAAL (To most humans the manifestation of fear) TO A BARN DOOR. While it was alive (the myrdraal, that is, not the door).
Verin risking her soul to gain information on the Black Ajah and then sacrificing her life in order to give this knowledge to Egwene..
Also from 'The Gathering Storm', a small moment compared to most here, when Tam Al'Thor confronts Cadsuane after seeing how the combined pressures of the world and manipulations have all but destroyed Rand, and she still acts in the same insufferable fashion as ever about civility, and he calmly tells them all that 'A bully is a bully, whether she uses the strength of her arms or other means'. A silly thing to love, perhaps, but great all the same.
Made that much better because it worked!
To top it off He did it while suspended and flipped mid air by Cadsuane using the source.
In 'The Gathering Storm', Min finally tells Cadsuane and Nynaeve that there's a difference between 'guide' and 'control'.
Min manages to draw blood from Semirhage not once, but twice.
Lan's army charging Tarwin's Gap, leading an army of twelve thousand borderlanders against more than a hundred thousand trollocs, knowing it'll be his last stand.
This deserves more mention. The book begins with Lan riding to Tarwin's Gap alone, to throw himself at the darkness in a final act of futile defiance. Over the course of the book, every time you peak in on him, more people have joined him, often to his displeasure, until the army you see at the end has built up. A Moment of Awesome for the entire freaking borderland.
While we're on the subject, skip forward to A Memory of Light. A few chapters in, Lan's army is in horrible shape. They begin one last futile charge to do as much damage as possible...and then the gateways bringing reinforcements start opening behind them.
Rodel Ituralde's battle in Saldaea, managing to just barely hold off a titanic shadowspawn invasion force until Rand's forces arrived.
Several years ago, a woman named Melissa began a fansite dedicated to the Wheel of Time and the idea that anyone wanting to call themselves "Aes Sedai" should be a Servant of All in real life. Now, tarvalon.net has an established scholarship fund and thousands of members all over the world that rack up countless community service hours every year. When 'the Gathering Storm' was released, Brandon Sanderson declared her to have been an Amyrlin Seat in canon.
Jahar Narishma telling off a whole roomful of some of the most powerful Aes Sedai in the Little Tower, and defying his Aes Sedai to do so!
Although they're the bad guys, the Seanchan get one in The Gathering Storm when they attack the White Tower and actually manage to knock the smugness out of it.
Noal, who in truth is Jain Farstrider, not only is he able to kick major ass despite his age but his previous exploits are no joke either. He managed to single-handedly capture a False Dragon, something the Aes Sedai only do in large groups. After that he allegedly decided to go on a walk to Shayol Gul that most people stay the hell away from if they know what's good for them. Then he apparently came back because he got bored and decided he wanted to go chill with Mat.
Somewhat subverted though, as it's heavily implied that Noal had at the very least had to do some very unsavory things to survive, if not outright becoming a Darkfriend (albeit one of many repentant ones throughout the series). His final words in particular smack strongly of Redemption Equals Death.
But he redeems himself from that and has an incredible Back from the Dead moment, when he appears as a Hero of the Horn when it's blown by Olver.
When finally out in the battlefield and tasked with creating a "miracle" to save Elayne's forces from the oncoming Trolloc army, he links up with several other channelers to create a portal the size of a building. He doesn't send reinforcements or supplies through the giant portal; he sends lava.
Gaul goes into the Wolfdream with Perrin, who tells him that it is a dangerous place, but Gaul tells him that if he doesn't want him to come he should kill him, otherwise shut up and let him come.
AMOL: a'Lan Mandragoran, the most badass muggle in the whole freaking world kills Demandred, who's spent the whole Last Battle running around in full Hero Killer mode. And then, a few minutes after everyone figures that he had to resort to a Heroic Sacrifice to take the Forsaken down with him, stands up, battered but alive, and breaks the enemy lines by hefting his severed head in one hand.
AMOL: Demandred and Graendal demonstrate that they, at least, most definitely live up to their reputations. Demandred is a masterful battlefield commander, outmaneuvering the White Tower forces, killing a full third of the Aes Sedai in a single devastating ambush, then matching Mat for days of battle while taking the time to smack Taim down when he gets uppity and personally providing a huge chunk of the Shadow's channeling firepower. Graendal mind-controls the four Great Captains commanding the Light's forces into subconciously losing the fights on purpose. By the time it's discovered, two-thirds of the borderlanders are dead, Elayne's forces are caught from behind by an army of Trollocs they didn't know were there while already fighting another army, and the White Tower is in such bad shape that even with Seanchan reinforcements and Mat in command they're forced to abandon the field. Once she's forced to give that up, she runs around Shayol Ghul performing hit-and-run attacks on mixed circles, at first by herself and then with a growing force of mind-controlled enemy channelers.
Moiraine walks into the negotiations for the Dragon's Peace as they are breaking down, and basically tells everyone to shut up, the Prophecies say they need to sign this. And they do.
Rodel Ituralde resists Compulsion, the highest form of mind control, with sheer willpower, refusing to give the order that will break the back of the defensive forces holding Tha'kandar. Elyas knocked him down, but until then Ituralde did not give in.
Elayne agrees to do a high wire act for Luca's circus, planning to use Air to cheat through it. Just before they open she learns Moghedien is looking for them, so she can't use the Power, but still puts on a spectacular show.
In the last Battle Elayne is captured, unable to channel, the bad guys killed Birgitte and they are getting ready to cut Elaynes Babies out of her while she is conscious. Suddenly the leader has a ghostly arrow through his chest, Birgitte is standing behind them and says: "I am Birgitte Silverbow. The Horn of Valere has sounded, calling all to the Last Battle. The heroes have returned!"
Elayne finally reaching the end of her patience with Merilille and giving her a combination Badass Boast and "The Reason You Suck" Speech that she is a full Aes Sedai, and will not be talked down to by any others. Merilille spends the rest of the scene in a Heroic BSOD.
The use of the Bowl of the Winds after two books of buildup fully lives up to that promise, offering a stunning piece of Scenery Porn that stands as one of the best pieces of writing in the whole series.