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Characters: The Wheel Of Time Taveren
The last three Ta'veren of the Third Age in which the The Wheel of Time
books take place.
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"He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slopes 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!"
A farm boy from a village so remote that they didn't even know they were technically part of a kingdom, Rand had no idea he was adopted until one fateful Winternight when Trollocs
attacked his home town. Thereafter he was told by the story's Obi-Wan
that The Dark One
was trying to find him (or perhaps one of his two friends, Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara), and was convinced to flee. This was just the first step in Rand's journey into discovering that he is a male channeler, The Dragon Reborn
, and fated by the Wheel of Time to lead the fight against Shai'tan...
- The Anti-Nihilist: His salvation and transformation on Dragonmount at the end of Book 12 the result of realizing that the Wheel continues to turn and put people through the same trials so that they can have second chances to fix their mistakes. Contrast the Nae'blis, who had a slightly different epiphany about the Wheel, but came to the opposite conclusion.
- Amazon Chaser: To a degree, in that the first official member of his Battle Harem was a member of an Amazon Brigade of Aiel who he chased through a gateway before One Thing Led to Another.
- Badass: By Book 13, Rand is the single most powerful being in the world. He is the strongest channeler, arguably the most skilled channeler as well- along with controlling roughly half the continent the story takes place on. Add to this the fact that he cleansed the Taint from saidin (giving the Light its only true victory in 3,000 years) and carried enough power to unmake reality itself.
- In Book 13, Rand goes out on the battlefield against enough Trollocs, Fades, Dragkhar, to overrun the Borderlands in a few days, even if every Borderlander goes to fight against them. Alone. Not only does he completely curb-stomp every single one of them, but the sheer amount of power he used drove every Darkfriend within a few miles radius completely insane.
- Batman Gambit: How he wins and survives the Last Battle. He knows that Callandor - the Amplifier Artifact he needs for the fight - is flawed in that it has no buffer to prevent its wielder from burning himself out from using too much power. Also, it can only be triggered by a male channeler, but two female channelers are needed to direct its powers safely. He also knows Moridin would try to steal it if given the opportunity...so he does just that. As soon as Moridin nabs the sword, Rand, Moraine, and Nynaeve link their magic with him and use the combined spell to grab Shai'tan and seal it away. Thanks to his Psychic Link with Moridin, he is able to switch bodies, give Moridin the death he'd been seeking, and leaves his life as the Dragon Reborn behind.
- Brought Down to Badass: Perhaps. After he survives the final battle by a "Freaky Friday" Flip, he is no longer able to channel the One Power or the True Power and (as with both Perrin and Mat) he is no longer ta'veren. Unlike most channelers who are burned out, however, he does not seem to suffer from any withdrawal effects. However, moments after verifying that he can no longer channel, Rand imagines his pipe being lit, and it is. There is no explanation given, and what exactly it means is left intentionally ambiguous.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: And it's sending a bazillion shadowspawn to say hello.
- Celibate Hero: For the first five books or so in the series (and even for a while after, to a lesser extent), Rand is one of these. It seems to largely stem from the fact that he considers himself in a (non-sexual) relationship first with Egwene and then with Elayne. Sort of. Still, he has a LOT of opportunities that he turns down, he's extremely uncomfortable with the idea of being sexually attracted to someone (as seen best in his reaction to his recurring Two-Person Pool Party Erotic Dream), and he's explicitly the last of the three Two Rivers boys to get laid. The explanation is probably that he's confused and playing it safe; It's Not You, It's My Enemies also comes into play.
- Changeling Fantasy: Along the down-to-earth family, fantastic lineage line. Rand has the blood of the Andoran royal line combined with that of a chief of one of the better Proud Warrior Race examples you're likely to find... but more often than not, it's the rockheaded stubbornness he learned from the Two Rivers people he grew up around that saves him.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: With Egwene. She breaks it in Book 4 after realizing she doesn't love him anymore.
- The Chosen One: Who chose him? Everyone! He's The Dragon Reborn for the Westlands and Seanchan Empire; he's He Who Comes With The Dawn for the Aiel; he's The Coramoor for the Sea Folk. The only side that hasn't "Chosen" him by Book 13 is the Shadow, and they still recognize him for what he is.
- Even the wolves have a name for him: Shadowkiller. Still, it's less a mention of a Chosen One than it is a Red Baron.
- Inversion: The Sharans also have a chosen one called Dragonkiller, that is to say the one who will kill Rand.
- Cool Crown: The Crown of Swords, formerly known as the Laurel Crown of Illian. It is so called because there are not only laurel leaves of gold, but also small swords hidden amongst them to remind the wearer of the importance of their rule.
- The Dead Have Names: Well, initially female dead do, anyway. As he is progressively Driven to Madness, he begins a Madness Mantra internally that includes every female character who his interaction led to the death of, including those he himself killed and those he assumes to be dead, but really aren't. Lews Therin adds his own dead to the list sometimes, though Rand initially objects. When the two have a Split Personality Merge, the list expands to both genders. In the climax of Book 14, however, he lets go of this when Egwene reminds him that he isn't the only hero in the world, and so he "lets [the dead helping him] be heroes" rather than just mourning their sacrifices.
- Despair Event Horizon: Oh boy howdy does Rand ever blow straight through this and out the other side in The Gathering Storm. The instigator is a combination of being forced to kill Semirhage and Elza, seeing that Ebou Dar is doing well without his rule, and his feeling of the endless repetition of the Wheel of Time itself causing endless conflict. He gets better, with help from Lews Therin of all people.
- Note the parallels and how time repeats itself. When the Kinslayer went insane, he killed his family (hence the epithet). Rand realizes he's hit his Darkest Hour when he almost does the same.
- Determinator: Suffers from 2 separate wounds that will never heal and give him constant pain. These were made by very nasty things and are competing with one another for the opportunity to kill him- oh, and did we mention that any time he overexerts himself they tear open and he nearly bleeds out? Then he lost a hand. Beyond this, there is the massive psychological trauma of discovering what he is and what he must do to succeed. Rand's reaction to all this? Push harder. It gets to the point where other Two Rivers people, who are themselves known for being Determinators, think his will is incredible.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted. Rand's goal near the end of the series is to not seal the Dark One away again, but to kill him completely. However, as he learns during his duel and fully acknowledges when he has the Dark One in his grasp, fully capable of destroying him forever, that would just make his situation that much worse. So, instead, he seals the Bore completely.
- Driven to Madness: By both the taint of saidin and, as stated by Tam in Book 12, the insane pressures of the world around him. He gets better in Book 13 due to what is implied to be the reintegration of his split personality, but some, such as recent Amyrlin Seat Egwene al'Vere, find this hard to believe.
- Enemy Within: Rand's personal expression of madness is that he hears the voice of his previous incarnation, Lews Therin Telamon, in his head. LTT appears to be an actual personality and has gotten into conversations with Rand, and at one point took control of Rand's ability to channel and showed off some fancy spells.
- Interestingly, according to Semirhage, Lews Therin in Rand's head is real, where the voices that most channelers hear are not. This is not a good thing, as it only serves to highlight how far Rand's descent into madness has gone. However, this is one of the Forsaken we're talking about, so take it with a grain of salt.
- As of the end of "The Gathering Storm", Rand has had a Split Personality Merge and has stopped hearing voices. Instead, he remembers everything from his past life and no longer talks about Rand al'Thor and Lews Therin as though they were two different people.
- Faking the Dead: As of the end of Book 14, "his" funeral pyre was actually Moridin's, who died as a result of Rand's wounds due to their synchronization and a soul swap. He's free to live out his life in the Fourth Age, unable to channel, but seemingly able to use some other kind of magic, in Moridin's body, with his survival only known to his lovers...and Cadsuane and Alivia.
- Farm Boy: He starts out the series as a shepherd in a small rural town before answering the Call to Adventure. Lan initially calls him "sheepherder" frequently to lampdshade his inexperience in the ways of battle.
- Fiery Redhead: Increasingly over the course of the series due to his Sanity Slippage. However, he calms down significantly in Books 13 and 14. To begin with, he was rather mild mannered, though not to the extent of Perrin.
- Fights Like a Normal: For the first fifth of the series, he sticks to fighting with a sword, since he's not sure exactly what's going to happen when he tries to channel.
- Fisher King: Particularly apparent in Towers of Midnight, where the sky brightens and unspoiled food is found because he is in the vicinity, but goes bad again once he leaves.
- Subversion: in A Memory of Light we learn that he makes plants grow by quietly singing a song that makes plants grow.
- Good Is Not Nice: Well, to start with, even if Rand wins, the world's still gonna be a shambles. He started out nice enough, but in Randland, it really does suck to be the Chosen One.
- Gray Eyes: Sometimes appearing as blue eyes in the right lighting.
- Heroic BSOD: An epic version over the course of the series, especially in The Gathering Storm.
- Honor Before Reason: A lot of the time.
- How Do I Shot Web?: All the channelers experience this to a large degree, but Rand especially: despite being the reincarnation of the most powerful magician ever, he still does half of everything by instinct, sometimes learning from himself by Mega Manning a spell he didn't know existed until he saw himself cast it; and sometimes he can't even touch the Power at all. He finally manages to Take A Level In Badass during the fifth book, when he gets a teacher, Asmodean himself.
- Hurting Hero: He's a Destructive Savior. He's the Dragon Reborn in a world where the Dragon's Fang is a symbol for evil. He's fully aware that his magic is tainted and will drive him mad. Fain sends Trollocs to ravage his hometown just to hurt him. People who should really be on his side lock him in a box, taking him out only to beat him. Semirhage nearly forces him to kill his lover.
- Going along with the Destructive Savior motif, Rand is kind of a Lucifer figure, in certain respects. In much the same way that Rand al'Thor sounds vaguely reminiscent of Arthur, Lews Therin Telamon (AKA The Dragon, Rand's last incarnation) sounds like Lucifer. Add to this that one of Lews Therin's apellations was Lord of the Morning ("Lucifer" = "morning star"), that Rand himself is known as He Who Comes with the Dawn among the Aiel, and the manner in which the Dragon is regarded in Rand's era, and there you go. Not a 100% match, obviously, but still, it's there.
- Idiot Ball: Very often, though he's not alone in this. He seems to have become a Dumbass No More with his moment on Dragonmount, however.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Does this to two of his love interests (it only works temporarily, and even then only because they both have other things going on), but can't bear to do it to the third. This is also the reason he never drops by to visit his village or his father.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: This could easily be the name of the series, the theme is so prominent.
Jasin Natael: “I would not take your place for all the world, not with the fate that accompanies it. Death or madness, or both. ‘His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul... ’ That is what The Karaethon Cycle, the Prophecies of the Dragon, says, is it not? That you must die to save fools who will heave a sigh of relief at your death. No, I would not accept that for all your power and more.”
- Jerkass Façade - Is annoyingly fond of assuming these in order to protect his loved ones, particularly in the older books but spread throughout.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Stops himself just in time at the end of The Gathering Storm, holding enough power to crack the world like an egg and then deciding not to do it. Another example of a Just in Time aversion would be him realizing he was going to balefire Tam in rage, and deciding to run away instead.
- Katanas Are Just Better: His Weapon of Choice; even the Flaming Sword that he generates out of magic is fashioned on one.
- Cool, but Inefficient: the whole Flaming Sword thing. The most powerful channeler ever to live, and this is what he does with it? Invoked by Lanfear in one of her (many) attempts to get him to come to the dark side.
- The Kid with the Leash: The Dark One briefly comes into the Pattern... because Rand drags him out to kill him, but then changes his mind and metaphysically choke-slams him back into his prison.
- Kissing Cousins: He becomes worried at one point that he might be related to Elayne, and it turns out that they are, albeit very distantly.
- However, both he and Elayne do share a mutual half-brother, Galad, who is Rand's maternal and Elayne's paternal half-brother. Rand knows this by Book 5, but it's unclear if Elayne ever learns it during the series proper. Galad definitely doesn't until he and Gawyn learn it in Book 14.
- Kneel Before Zod: To the Salidar Aes Sedai at the end of Book Six following the Battle of Dumai's Wells.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Not counting Min (who's implied to be on birth control) and assuming that Aviendha does indeed get pregnant with her quadruplets after the sex scene in book 14 as many readers assume, Rand produces an incredible six children in just three total sexual encounters with Elayne and Aviendha. A mild example, however; although Rand certainly didn't intend to knock Elayne up, he is not at all unhappy when he learns he's going to be a father. Though as far as we know he's unaware of another four on the way...
- Major Injury Underreaction: When he loses his hand in the fight with Semirhage, his biggest concern is that he's going to have to re-learn sword fighting all over again, as he used to fight with both hands on the sword, and using only one hand is a completely different fighting style.
- Marry Them All: After trying and largely failing at It's Not You, It's My Enemies and some considerable angst, Rand begins to resign himself to this with his three love interests in Book 9. However, Rand never technically marries any of them, at least before the end of the series, and the four of them are essentially the only major characters to end the series unmarried.
- Master Of All: Rand definitely counts, combining world-class swordsmanship, ta'veren status, dreamwalking, and THE most powerful magical ability in the world.
- Master Swordsman: You technically become a "blademaster" if you kill one in combat, which Rand does at the end of Book 2, but there was some luck involved; later, he actually earns the title. According to Word of God, he is one of the best swordsmen in the series.
- Messianic Archetype: Thus far, He has acquired two wounds on his palms, a spike through his foot, been stabbed in his belly (well, twice, but still) and wears a crown of "swords" which look like thorns. Did we mention that his "blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" will be the only thing that can buy mankind's salvation from the Dark One? And don't you just love the fact that he didn't become "whole" until he climbed a mountain? While doubting himself? And in extreme pain? All of this points to him beeing a Crystal Dragon Jesus.
- Mindlink Mates: With Min, Aviendha, and Elayne, via Warder bond.
- My Greatest Failure: Moiraine's Heroic Sacrifice hit him particularly hard.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified, his Lews Therin personality keeps digging up memories of how to channel from his previous life, so he Suddenly Always Knew That.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: When he's put around a bunch of Aiel women with no sense of privacy, his or theirs, he gets over it. When a political chessmaster sends women to try to seduce him, he makes an intimidating speech and scares them away. When Aviendha strips down in front of him, he looks away. When Min, in a sort of inexperienced seduction attempt, begins planting herself in his lap while he's on his throne, he's still perfectly able to rule (though not without some initial internal discomfort). When Lanfear catches him bathing and grabs him, pressing her nakedness into him while talking about how she's going to do him, he doesn't even flinch.
- Much progress considering an earlier book revealed he was raised in a community where kissing was a bit of a big deal.
- Parental Abandonment: His mother died when he was very young, leaving his father to raise him on his own. In reality neither Tam nor Kari are his parents; his father was an Aiel and his mother was daughter-heir to the throne of Andor before running away to become a Maiden of the Spear. She died on Dragonmount shortly after his birth (thus setting the series in motion) and his father went to the Blight to fight and die to the Shadow after hearing of her death.
- Death by Childbirth: Shaiel, a member of the local Amazon Brigade, during the aftermath of a battle.
- Disappeared Dad: His father, Janduin, could not get over the loss of his beloved, and went north as a Death Seeker. He found it.
- As of A Memory Of Light we can only hope that he found it, as we learn that many of the deathseekers were turned to the shadow
- Happily Adopted: Meanwhile, this little baby on the mountain, not even named, was found by a survivor of said battle, Tam al'Thor, who took him in and brought him home to his wife, Kari.
- Missing Mom: ...who also died.
- Good Parents: And despite the early loss of Kari, Rand is the first to admit that Tam gave him a good upbringing and after seeing Tam's heartwarming interactions and fierce protectiveness of his son in the latest books, it's very clear why Rand loves his father so much.
- Past-Life Memories: As Lews Therin Telamon. After he works out his issues in The Gathering Storm, these become less flashbacks and glimpses and more just memories he has. He describes them in A Memory of Light as a "clearly-remembered dream".
- One-Man Army: In Towers of Midnight he takes on an army of one hundred thousand Shadowspawn in one battle, and wins, using Arrows of Fire, Deathgates, and what is essentially Power Of The Storm for over an hour straight. See above: Badass.
- Person of Mass Destruction: All channelers are to a degree, but Rand stands out due to his sheer strength.
- Physical God: In the end of his battle with the Dark One, he uses so much of the One Power and the True Power that the Big Bad is deemed an insignificant pest by comparison, screaming in futility, and he more allows it to live rather than having difficulty killing it.
- This is also one fairly common interpretation of the very mysterious incident with Rand's "impossible pipe" at the end of the series' epilogue.
- Power Levels: Rand, being The Chosen One, is one of the most powerful channelers in the series. Other channelers describe him as being off the charts in every dimension. And he becomes even more powerful after coming down from Dragonmount in Towers of Midnight. The aforementioned One-Man Army entry has him splitting his flows thousands of times, so much that the Asha'man with him couldn't count them all. In fact, only The Nae'blis equals him, and he primarily uses the True Power rather than the One Power.
- Power Trio: The Kirk, The Hero
- Rags to Royalty: From sheepherder in the Two Rivers to ruler of much of the Westlands and the Aiel Waste in about two years.
- Riches to Rags: In the end, he is in Moridin's body, using a bunch of coins and riding a stolen horse bareback in clothes Alivia gave him for when he woke up, going, in the words of the book, "from Dragon Reborn to horsethief". Considering what the stress of rule did to him, as well as the fact that he just had wanted to go Walking the Earth to see the world as a normal person, he's more relieved and amused than upset. Though the coins Alivia left for him are worth a substantial amount.
- Readings Are Off the Scale
- Red-Headed Hero: The very first sign that he's different from the other members of his Power Trio is that his tall frame, red hair, and light eyes mark him out from the dark-haired, dark-eyed Two Rivers folk.
- Red Right Hand: Heroic example as he has his hand exploded by a fireball from Semhirage.
- Refusal of the Call: He tried; He tried so hard. The downside of being ta'veren is that the Pattern will drag you kicking and screaming to your destiny, which he eventually resigned to.
- Reincarnation: The only one shown up front as both individuals from two different Ages. Others are either an Implied Trope or the result of applications of The Dark Side.
- Reverse Arm-Fold: This becomes his default posture after he loses a hand.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Rand hears a rumour that one of the Forsaken killed Elayne's mother, he does not take it well. He eventually blasts Rahvin with what is probably the most powerful balefire blast we've seen so far. Well, until he finds Graendal's hideout in Book 12...
- The Stoic: He turns himself into one as the series progresses. He has been so Off the Rails successful that now he's a Jerk Ass, to the ire of both fandom and other characters. He gets better, but not before he gets significantly worse...
- Took a Level in Badass: Starts the first book as a farmboy who barely knows how to wield a sword and can only channel in the most random of circumstances. By the end of the fourth he is a blademaster, has taken control of one of the strongest nations on the continent, and carries around a magical object that would allow him to melt said continent, and is beginning to control his gift of being one of the two most powerful channelers in the world (Ishammael is said to be as stong as him...). And by the culmination of his power near the end of the series, he is able to use so much of The Force and The Dark Side simultaneously that he can render The Anti-God an insignificant pest in his grasp. He's come a ways from herding sheep.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Progressively as the books go on, as per his Sanity Slippage via saidin's taint, due to him wanting to become "harder" to face Tarmon Gaidon. It gets to the point where he openly tells people that he doesn't "want their help", he rather "needs to use them". It comes to a head in The Gathering Storm, where he has a Heel Realization and a bout of Epiphany Therapy at the conclusion.
- Tranquil Fury: In The Gathering Storm, after killing Semirhage, Rand spends the rest of the book in this. The rest of the characters find it incredibly disturbing, and he even manages to glare down Cadsuane.
- Walking the Earth: This is Rand's immediate plan after resealing the Dark One, in Moridin's body. The series ends on the next page, however, and Word of God is firm that there will never be any definitive guide to what comes next, so what exactly happens to Rand in the years ahead is up the reader to decide.
- Unskilled, but Strong: To a diminishing extent as the series progresses. At first Rand is exceptionally powerful but doesn't really know how to channel and operates mostly by instinct. However, even later in the series when he's learned the finer points, it is noted that there are some areas of channeling that he is still poor at, especially more delicate operations like Healing and Compulsion.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: All male channelers are condemned to go mad by their ability to channel. He cleanses the taint from saidin in Book 9, and solves his own madness in Book 12.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Ta'veren cause probability to go all out of whack. Contrived Coincidence is an invoked power for them, and Heads Tails Edge is pretty normal as well. Rand has it even worse than the others; he alters probability so strongly that just sitting in a populated area for more than a few minutes starts causing unbelievable coincidences across an area of miles. In fact, he can't stay in one place for very long because of it.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: All that stuff in the What the Hell, Hero? entry and elsewhere about all the horrible things Rand has done? Over the course of the series he has received two wounds from Artifacts of Doom, lacerations that have not healed in years and as far as we know never will. He has some degree of memory of his previous life, a figure reviled worldwide for killing his own family and causing Apocalypse How. Plus dozens of implanted memories from ancestors given as a sort of magical history lesson, and himself in alternate realities, all of which had rough lives in war-torn worlds. Rand developed severe claustrophobia from being locked in a box for weeks, and after that he was imprisoned in another jail cell which happened to be pretty small. Later, his hand was blown off by a fireball, and he might be going blind. All this happened to a guy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's killed thousands himself (mostly in battles, but not entirely), and endangered the lives of the world, is not only prophesied to cause much more damage than he already has, but also to die in the rapidly approaching final battle... and considering what he's been through, can you blame him?
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He has extreme difficulty harming a woman or even having anything bad happen to them, which can get in the way of reason, sometimes. he does kill a woman once, however, during Book 3, by decapitation with a flaming power-wrought sword. This causes him lasting guilt for several books on.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: Two that overlap. He has an evil staff stabbed into his side, with Fain's Shadar Logoth dagger slashed over that. The two are from two separate versions of evil influences, and are competing for the opportunity to finally kill him.
- You Are The Translated Foreign Word:
- Car'a'carn - Old Tongue for the Aiel "chief of chiefs".
- Coramoor - Sea Folk title for the Dragon Reborn.
- Ta'veren - "A person around whom the Wheel of Time weaves all surrounding life-threads, perhaps ALL life-threads, to form a Web of Destiny." Essentially a Main Character in practice, this leads to Winds of Destiny, Change, with different results depending on the person.
- You Can't Fight Fate: because you were spun into the Pattern for a purpose. "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills," is how Moiraine puts it. It works both ways, though: if you don't fight the Pattern, you will find it giving you what you need. The Wheel helps its ta'veren.
Suddenly she saw [Mat] in a new light. A buffoon? No. A lion stuffed into a horse-stall might look like a peculiar joke, but a lion on the high plains was something very different. He was loose on the high plains, now. She felt a chill. What sort of a man had she entangled herself with?
A troublemaker with a penchant for jokes, women, wine and gambling, Mat was stolen away on Winternight at the same time Rand was. Figuring he was just being swept along on an adventure, Mat had no idea that he too was a ta'veren
, almost as important to the Light as Rand is. While he can't channel, Mat has developed an impressive array of Bad Ass
powers and has become a Four-Star Badass
. He also has more Crowning Moment of Funny
to his name than the whole rest of the cast combined.
- Accidental Marriage: Also a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, but this quote from Book 13 says it best.
Moiraine: You accidentally married the Seanchan Emperess?
- Acquired Poison Immunity: Of a sort, as revealed in Book 14, to the evils of Shadar Logoth.
- And This Is for...: during the final showdown with the gholam.
- Animal Motifs: Is associated both with foxes, to show he is The Trickster, and ravens, to show he is clever and dangerous. (Both also have mythological significance)
- Badass: Gains multiple levels as the series goes on, both in physical skill and strategizing.
- Badass In Charge: Of the forces of the Light in The Last Battle, after the Great Captains are taken out.
- Badass Longcoat
- Badass Normal: Well, for varying values of "normal." Mat has luck, an Anti-Magic artifact and his Eelfinn memories. That doesn't seem like much next to the One-Man Army we call Rand, but part of the fun Robert Jordan has in the series is Playing With the idea of Power Levels without actually marking them up: Mat is just as dangerous as Rand, in his own way, and is certainly a better tactician.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mat blows his Three Wishes this way. He thought he was going to get three true answers, and made his wishes in a frustrated rant. Fortunately for him, his wishes were actually pretty good ones even if he made them without realizing it.
- Because Destiny Says So, Mat will have to: 1) give up half the light of the world to save the world; 2) come Back from the Dead; and 3) marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons. How they played out:
- Back from the Dead: Happened in Book 5, when he is lightning'd to death by Rahvin but gets better when Rand kills Rahvin with balefire, a spell which causes in-universe Rewrites. However, since his death technically didn't exist, he assumes it was his near-death in Rhuidean immediately after making his Three Wishes in Book 4. Nevertheless, his death was real enough for the Pattern to break his bond with the Horn of Valere, allowing Olver to use it in Book 14.
- Arranged Marriage: He said his vows in Book 9, she in 11. (Don't ask.)
- Light of the world: Book 13. Rather than winning a battle or sacrificing others, he allows the Eelfinn to rip out his eye, permanently removing half the "light" of the world and dooming half of his vision to eternal darkness. He gets an eyepatch for it in Book 14.
- Blade on a Stick: His Weapon of Choice is some sort of curve-bladed spear, called an "ashandarei," which he uses as a quarterstaff. Prior to this he subscribed to the Archer Archetype and Simple Staff schools of thought. He also has a ton of knives, primarily for throwing.
- The spear turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun that can open portals between the Finn's world and Randland.
- Blasé Boast: When he wants to impress a woman.
- Born Lucky: Especially as he comes into his power as a ta'veren. He practically can't go for a walk without tripping over a Chekhov's Gun.
- If that wasn't enough to clue you in, consider the name of his wife: Fortuona (Fortune). Mat is married to Lady Luck.
- Butt Monkey: His "luck" has more to do with random events favoring him when he desperately needs it than with being fortunate or happy (he is still the luckiest man pertaining fortune, the other facet is just stronger still). If you were to hear described everything that happens to him in the series without luck being mentioned, you wouldn't think he was lucky at all. Almost as soon as the adventure starts, he catches a Hate Plague that nearly kills him on four separate occasions before he's finally cured of it. Then he risks his life to save three young female channelers who use the One Power to treat him terribly when he rescues them. Then he gets hanged and left for dead (possibly even dies) before Rand resuscitates him. As a result of the hanging he gets saddled with thousands of years' worth of unwanted memories of battle, which cause him to become the general of his own army when it's the last thing in the world he wants. Then he has to kill in self-defense a woman he's slept with when she tries to kill him. Then he has to look after two of the three same female channelers from last time, and ends up getting raped by a queen for it. (Others in-universe think this is very funny.) Then he gets caught in the middle of an invasion that leaves him seriously injured and forced to spend more "quality time" with his rapist. Then he is stalked by an invincible killer, accidentally gets married, and loses an eye. And, in general, since this is a World of Badass, his own Bad Ass qualities are usually unnoticed and unappreciated by his fellow main characters.
- Additionally, while both he and Perrin get one book off, Perrin's absence is for his honeymoon, while Mat's is because he was hit with a collapsing building.
- The Casanova and Chivalrous Pervert: He's as flirtatious and perverted as they come, but he'd never even dream of forcing himself on a woman, and never continues to pursue one who gives him a firm "no". Interestingly, though, he holds his Sexless Marriage sacred and refuses to seduce other women anymore. He's not above some flirting and dancing, though, which are just good manners in his opinion. He is still on the lookout for nice looking women, but only for his friends.
- As of Book 14, the Sexless Marriage isn't so Sexless anymore, Tuon's even pregnant with his child(ren).
- Catch Phrase: "It's time to toss the dice." Sometimes said in the Old Tongue. This becomes the Band of the Red Hand's motto.
- The Charmer: Though he thinks he stops this behavior once he is married. His idea of good manners is lecherous flirting though.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Not quite so hidden anymore, but enough that Tuon thinks the quote at the top of these entries.
- Cunning Like a Fox: He is referred to in prophecies as "The Fox that makes the Ravens fly" (ravens being the symbol of the Seanchan Empire, from whence his destined wife comes from). His foxhead medallion is a visual representation.
- Curbstomp Battle: Thanks to his Hate Plague immunity, he effortlessly takes down Padan Fain near the end of The Last Battle.
- Deadpan Snarker: He is far and away the snarkiest character in the series.
- Deconfirmed Bachelor: It was a prophecy and poor choice of words that got him married.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Played for Laughs. Mat gets "pursued" later in the series by a Mrs. Robinson who won't take no for an answer. He learns to live with it.
- Black Comedy Rape: Elayne jokes about how he's getting a taste of his own medicine, although she does apologize.
- Eye Scream: In Towers of Midnight, the Eel'finn rip one of his eyes out as their price to release Moiraine.
- Four-Star Badass: First and foremost with the Band of the Red Hand, and then later with the Seanchen and eventually the combined forces of the Light in Tarmon Gaidon.
- Friend to All Children: When he was infected with the Hate Plague in Books 1, the only people he relaxed around were children. He ends up rescuing Olver later.
- Genetic Memory: While all three boys have this to a fair extent, Mat has more moments with it than the other two, being subconsciously fluent in the Old Tongue.
- In the first book he shouts Manetheren's war cry, meaning that this effect predates the Hate Plague and the Eelfinn filling his head with stolen memories.
- Genre Savvy: He becomes increasingly so after gaining the memories and super luck. He ends up figuring out how to navigate and escape the Tower of Ghenjei, quickly realizes that something's wrong with Gareth Bryne in The Last Battle, and that there's a spy hiding in plain sight in the Seanchan command post.
- Genre Blind: Exhibits some of this in the first book, particularly in Shadar Logoth. This leads straight to his being infected by a...
- Hate Plague: In Books 1 and 2, which made him a major Jerk Ass. The two together soured a lot of the fandom on him.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: With a dash of Selective Obliviousness—repeatedly Mat keeps insisting he wants to protect Olver from harmful influences and would like to know who among the Band is corrupting him with swearing and The Casanova/ Chivalrous Pervert tendencies. But it should be fairly clear to the reader that said person is... Mat himself.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: He just wants to drink and gamble and chase girls. The Pattern keeps forcing him to deal with Aes Sedai, nobles, and people trying to kill him.
- Unlike many examples, instead of wanting to be normal, Mat continually insists that he is normal, and is just an ordinary guy caught up in Aes Sedai business and Rand's destiny. Despite the fact that he has supernatural luck, an Anti-Magic medallion, the memories of history's greatest generals, helped invent cannons, is one of the best non-magical fighter in the series, is married to the most powerful woman in the world, and is a ta'veren. You sometimes get a sense that he knows he's lying to himself.
- After he gets married, he continually insists that just because his wife is a noble, it does NOT make him a noble. Cue several characters telling him "Yes, it does."
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Constantly talks about how he isn't a hero, in spite of performing many a heroic deed in the process. This is told best in Book 14.
Rand's thoughts: It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero.
- Instant Expert: After picking up an Artifact of Doom and being cured of its Hate Plague, Mat wakes up with "holes" in his memory. Later, they are filled (and/or over-filled) with hundreds of people's memories, all of whom are soldiers. With so many leaders to draw on, he can step into the role of The Strategist with ease.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: after he gets healed of the Hate Plague (and actually becomes a narrator), he starts showing his true colors. (Not coincidentally, the fandom's opinion of him improved markedly.)
The Amyrlin gave an exasperated sigh. “You remind me of my uncle Huan. No one could ever pin him down. He liked to gamble, too, and he’d much rather have fun than work. He died pulling children out of a burning house. He wouldn’t stop going back as long as there was one left inside. Are you like him, Mat? Will you be there when the flames are high?”
- Lady Killer In Love/Last Girl Wins: Tuon.
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: The "price" given by the Finn the second time he visits them is a hanging, resulting in a nasty scar. However, the fact that he is revived by CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable) shows that it might have been a case of Not Quite Dead.
- Meaningful Rename: In Book 14, Tuon renames him" Knotai" ("Bringer of Destruction to the Enemies of the Empire"). However, only the Seanchan call him that.
- Morality Chain: For Tuon. Had he not been present at the negotiations between Egwene and Tuon in Book 14, things would not have ended well for either woman.
- Nice Hat: Picks a black, wide brimmed one up on his journey through the Aiel Wastes. He keeps it throughout the rest of the series and invokes this trope by name.
Mat: When Thom puts this all into song, he better remember my hat. It really is a nice hat.
- No Sell: Since he was previously infected and cured of his Hate Plague, he's completely immune to it. That lets him effortlessly slaughter the otherwise unstoppable Padan Fain in The Last Battle.
- Papa Wolf/Parental Substitute: Acts it to Olver. Others realize it, but he doesn't.
- Power of Trust: Part of how he prevents Tuon's assassination early on in A Memory of Light, and gets Egwene's approval to take command of the forces of the Light in The Last Battle.
- Power Trio: The McCoy side of it, with shades of Fragile Speedster, Plucky Comic Relief and The Smart Guy.
- Professional Gambler: One of his most constant traits, which eventually translates into his strategy for The Last Battle.
- Red Herring: Since Book 2, it was assumed that Mat was the Hornsounder of the Horn of Valere, to blow it in the Last Battle. However, it appears that his temporary death from Rahvin held in that regard, as Olver ends up being the Hornsounder at the Last Battle instead.
- Rule of Symbolism: Mat is frequently characterized as having things in common with Odin.
- Odin once sacrificed an eye and hanged himself from a Tree of Knowledge for wisdom. Mat does the latter in Book 4, and the former (half the light of the world) in Book 13, getting an eyepatch for it in Book 14.
- Odin is also the Four-Star Badass of the Norse Pantheon, and has a magic Blade on a Stick. Mat is often seen as The Strategist due to his Ghost Memory of combat from the Eelfinn, and his ashanderei is his Weapon of Choice since acquiring it in Book 4. As shown in Book 13, the "magic" aspect is also in check, as the ashanderei is also a way out of the Tower of Ghenjei.
- Speaking of the ashanderei, one of the (in this case untrue) rumours about Mat noted in book 13 is that his weapon supposedly never misses, which was an aspect of Odin's spear.
- Odin has two ravens named Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory) who he sends out and brings back to learn about the world. Mat's Blade on a Stick has an inscription that includes both the terms "Thought" and "Memory", and his title among the Seanchan is Prince of the Ravens, his sigil being a pair of ravens.
- Odin had the gift of poetic inspiration, while Mat had, even before Book 4's levels in badass, the ability to subconsciously speak in the Old Tongue.
- Odin had magical abilities in a society where the magic was female. Mat is supernaturally Born Lucky, is ta'veren, and has the foxhead medallion in a world where the only legal magic for a long time is through the use of saidar.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Mat's Accidental Marriage to Tuon.
- Shrouded in Myth: By his own men, oddly enough. They think such things as that his Nice Hat gives him magical powers.
- The Strategist: From Book 5 and onwards. It's taken to the logical extreme when Mat takes control of the armies of the Light in A Memory of Light
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Book 3, when he recovers from his Hate Plague and directly beats two extremely promising swordfighters at the same time in a friendly bout.
- Book 4, when Mat gets the Three Wishes and much of his signature equipment (foxhead Anti-Magic medallion, Weapon of Choice, Instant Expert memories). However, he doesn't get to show off that level until Book 5.
- The Trickster: One of his defining traits, so much so that the forces of Light can't figure what he's planning during The Final Battle until it's already happened.
- True Love Is Exceptional: Lampshaded in one book. His destined love is a noble, can learn to channel, and is boyishly slim. His usual type is the exact opposite of that, since he hates nobles, dislikes anything to do with the One Power, and likes his women plump and busty.
- Unluckily Lucky: He uses the fact that he was Born Lucky to get through battle after battle safely. However, the same luck (or fate) keeps getting him in battle after battle...
- Upper-Class Twit: How Mat looks upon every noble alive. This becomes Hypocritical Humor when he marries Tuon, accidentally becoming a noble, even though he denies this.
Mat: I'm no lord. I've more respect for myself than that.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Again, Mat is a ta'veren. This is par for the course for him. Unlike Rand and Perrin, though, he normally gets good contrived coincidences, whereas theirs can go either way. His is being Born Lucky.
- Worthy Opponent: Demandred considers him as this when they lead the opposing armies in The Last Battle. Mat's centuries-worth of warfare tactics and Anti-Magic make him the only one who can lead the forces of Light effectively.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Intentionally, anyway. He has an Accidental Murder of an Aiel lover who turns out to be The Mole, but feels bad about it. In a later book, he makes a nearly fatal mistake in hesitating to kill another woman, with Tuon coming to the rescue and commenting on his oddly endearing "weakness". Mat's not as bad about this as Rand, but he's still pretty bad.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Mat tries to Screw Destiny on a regular basis, for instance by determinedly saddling his horse in Book 5 and deciding he will not participate in a major battle Rand is trying to win. He ends the day the opposite of "not participating": by merely stopping to warn some troops that they are about to walk into an ambush, he ends the day in command of that squad, enlarged it into a personal army, killed the enemy general in single combat, and become by popular acclaim the hero of the day. (In comparison, Rand spends his time playing artillery from a tower, which gets knocked over by bad-guy lightning, and accomplishes nothing.)
- Again in A Memory of Light, when he had intentionally gone to the other side of the continent from Shayol Ghul (Ebou Dar, the Seanchan stronghold). Cue Rand showing up and thanking Mat for leading him to Tuon.
If he was the leader, it was time to start leading.
An apprentice blacksmith and son of farmers, careful with his strength, Perrin is the quiet one. He thinks, he's careful, he's spare with words. He is also, like his childhood friends Rand and Mat, a ta'veren
, and uniquely talented in his own right. He is the closest to the Farm Boy
archetype of the Power Trio
, being close with his parents and mustering most of his followers and resources from their hometown of The Two Rivers.
- Adorkable: He remains completely oblivious when all the young Tinker women make advances on him in tEotW.
- Always Save the Girl: When Faile is in danger, rescuing her becomes more important than anything. This is very important during the Last Battle, when Perrin has to choose between helping save her or Rand, and when his love for Faile is what snaps him out of Lanfear's Compulsion.
- An Axe to Grind: A half-moon axe, until he throws it away after chopping off a man's hand with it before the Battle of Malden.
- Battle Couple: With Faile.
- Becoming the Mask: Perrin hates that axe and wants to get rid of it. His personal Obi-Wan tells him to throw it away only when he's started to like using it.
- The Blacksmith: Which aids in the selection of his other Weapon of Choice...
- Busman's Vocabulary: A variant in that he looks at almost any problem in terms of blacksmithing. This is Played for Laughs in Book 14.
- Dream Weaver: In Tel'aran'rhiod, he is essentially a Dreamer, which means being able to manipulate dreams through the power of belief or disbelief. By the end of Book 14, he is the most powerful known Dreamer in the world, with Slayer dead and the Aiel wise ones refusing to enter Tel'aran'rhiod in the flesh.
- Teleporters and Transporters: As he develops his skills there, he eventually learns how to shift, as he calls it, to various locations around the world, usually in order to follow a scent. By the end of Book 14, he also learns how to transfer himself to "the wolf dream", as he calls it, in the flesh with whoever he is holding on to, and then back again, allowing him to also do this in the waking world.
- Teleport Spam: Once he gets the hang of the shifting, he adopts this into his fighting style in the World of Dreams.
- Drop the Hammer: Robert Jordan milks this symbolism — axe vs hammer, creation vs destruction, Perrin the man vs Lord Goldeneyes the leader — for all it's worth. After going through several hammers, he ends up constructing Mah'alleinir, a Power-wrought hammer that is warm to the touch, but burns Shadowspawn it hits. This is implied to be his final Weapon of Choice.
- Farm Boy: He gets called this on a regular basis by Faile.
- First Girl Wins: Faile
- Gentle Giant: Characterized like this at the beginning of the series, but it shows up less as he takes on more responsibility for protecting people.
- Henpecked Husband: He dearly loves Faile, and he's very careful not to lose his temper in general. She would actually like it if he was more forceful.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He's just a blacksmith, honest. (He stops doing this as much in later books, realizing that he can't stop people from seeing him as something he's not.)
- He Who Fights Monsters: Is in danger of becoming this when trying to rescue Faile from the Shaido, seeing as he was willing to work with both the Seanchan and Masema to do it. His Heel Realization (and axe-throwing) comes when he uses Cold-Blooded Torture on a prisoner, to the horror of most of his followers and the disturbing glee of Aram.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The huge guy to Faile's tiny girl.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Has this attitude about being a Wolfbrother, at first. Ditto for when he's first made a lord over his protests.
- Love Triangle: Perrin has to endure advances from Berelain, a Femme Fatale queen of a minor country. She and Faile almost get into a Cat Fight at one point.
- The Lancer: Although Perrin has the look of The Big Guy, in many ways he is more of a Lancer to Rand—calm, methodical, and intelligent where Rand is brash and bold while Mat is thoughtless and passionate. With Mat being the general, Perrin acts more as Rand's Number Two, is The Reliable One as opposed to Mat's carefree roguishness, and has a single steady relationship instead of three or being a Handsome Lech. And interestingly, during Rand's Anti-Hero phase, Perrin was the one who most acted as a Morality Chain keeping him from Sliding Down The Slippery Slope...but later, when determined to rescue Faile, it was Perrin who became in danger of being He Who Fights Monsters, willing to do what he had to do by allying with the Seanchan and Masema (and using the latter's methods) to stop the Shaido. By the end of the series he has decided his role is to do the things Rand can't or shouldn't have to do, to be The Cowl to Rand's Cape, and thus let him still be the hero he needs to be. And so he kills Lanfear, a dark but necessary act Rand could never do and which Perrin himself had strong difficulties with in the past.
- The Masochism Tango: In Perrin's marriage with Faile. Though they get better about it.
- Meaningful Name: His Power-wrought hammer is named in the Old Tongue to mean "He Who Soars," after Hopper. It is also named to sound phonetically similar to Mjolnir.
- My Greatest Failure: In the fourth book, Perrin rushes home to protect his family. It doesn't work.
- Neck Snap: He does this to Lanfear, after breaking her Compulsion at the end of the series.
- The Nose Knows: He is able to sniff out individual emotions from people, even.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Perrin is a "wolfbrother" and can communicate telepathically with wolves. He also has "wolf dreams" in which he is a wolf, Young Bull, and has met one wolfbrother who has become Mode Locked in wolf-think, which only increases his fears of Becoming the Mask. Finally, he has the aforementioned Supernatural Gold Eyes, and enhanced senses. Eventually he learns that the risk of Becoming the Mask was never really a threat, and that wolfbrother chose the wolf intentionally, so Perrin strikes a balance with his wolf side.
- Papa Wolf: Punning aside, you want to avoid threatening his wife or his village.
- Power Trio: The Spock, mostly via being The Stoic, the Mighty Glacier, the Sensor Character and The Big Guy.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: As a Wolfbrother, he has a sharper sense of smell, sight and hearing than normal humans, and puts them to good use.
- Sensor Character: Perrin's connection to wolves grants him a sense of sight and smell on par with that of a wolf. He routinely notices people walking up behind him by catching their scent before they make a sound.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Eventually his epiphet, as "Perrin Goldeneyes", and a result of being a Wolfbrother.
- Took a Level in Badass: Perrin is a tagalong character, lacking a solo campaign, until Book 4. Over the course of that novel he returns home, defends his people against not only the milieu's Church Militant but The Usual Adversaries, gets married, and by popular acclaim is elected Lord Perrin Goldeneyes of the Two Rivers. In Book 6 he comes back with an army, ready to take his place on the world stage.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: In Tel'aran'rhiod, he eventually becomes capable of willingly transforming between Perrin Aybara the man and Young Bull the wolf.
- What You Are in the Dark: The final moment of the Last Battle is this for Perrin: allow Lanfear to Compel him so as to kill Moiraine and Nynaeve, make Lews Therin serve her, and save the Dark One thus putting him in Lanfear's debt, or break free of the Compulsion and stop her...by killing her. The Moral Dilemma is played for all the drama and heartache it could be, since Perrin is both a pacifist at heart (and has seen the dangers of violent ways both through his own axe and the fate of Aram) and a chivalric fellow like Mat and Rand. But in the end he chooses the second option...and while the Lesser of Two Evils, Perrin and the author don't let the reader forget it was still an evil option. Nevertheless, Perrin resolves never to let Rand or anyone else know what he did—not because he views himself as having failed morally, but because he feels his actions were questionable and he doesn't want to burden anyone (namely Rand) with such painful tasks and choices.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Ta'veren, remember? His particular variation is to bring things he needs to him, mostly people, subconsciously.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: It's mentioned that because he is so strong, he could very easily hurt people by accident if he didn't keep himself under control. This is responsible for his Gentle Giant nature.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He comes from the same background as Rand and Mat, but it doesn't come up as much. Also occasionally spanks or manhandles Faile when she gets uppity.
- Played amusingly when Galina (a Black Ajah Aes Sedai) needs an excuse to curry sympathy with the Shaido Aiel. She tells Perrin to hit her, which startles him away from ignoring everything else but rescuing Faile. Naturally, he refuses, even though it was Galina's request to be hit. Berelain does it for him.
- Shockingly averted in AMOL when he suddenly snaps Lanfear's neck from behind.