The Aiel (pronounced "eye-EEL") are a race that live in a Thirsty Desert
, the "Aiel Waste," beyond the Spine of the World, separating the "Europe" of the main story from the "Asia" of Shara. Every single one of them is a Proud Warrior Race Guy
. Ever since The Breaking of the World
they have scratched out an existence in the Three-Fold Land (as they call it), waging constant wars amongst themselves for scarce resources which has forged them into a highly efficient fighting force, much a like a similar desert-dwelling people
. They follow a complex set of rules and social mores, ji'e'toh
("Honor and Duty", or perhaps "Honor and Obligation"), that can be confusing to outsiders
. The history of their people is a dark and shameful secret
. Those aspiring to be Clan Chiefs or Wise Ones must travel to their abandoned holy city of Rhuidean in order to learn this history. Only about one in three return, the rest suffer from Go Mad from the Revelation
The Aiel are divided into twelve clans, ruled by the clan chiefs, which form a semi-feudal heirarchy and further subdivide into "septs" and "holdings" (individual settlements). Aiel warriors also become members of one of the twelve warrior societies, such as "Far Dareis Mai" (the Maidens of the Spear
), "Aethan Dor" (Red Shields
) and more. While this can create conflicting loyalties, it also keeps the lines of diplomacy open at all times, because Aiel from the same society won't fight each other even if their clans are at war. Additionally, ji'e'toh
includes Fictional Geneva Conventions
, which an Aiel would rather die than break. Their prophecy speaks of a Car'a'carn
, a chief of chiefs, He Who Comes With The Dawn, who will arise to lead them, but who will also destroy them.
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A Maiden of the Spear from the Nine Valleys sept of the Tardaad Aiel, Aviendha crosses into the "wetlands" in Book 3 along with a bunch of other Aiel in search of "He Who Comes With The Dawn
." She becomes friends with Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne and eventually joins forces with them. Later it is revealed that she too can channel, being roughly on par in power with Egwene and Elayne, with whom she eventually becomes BFF. When Elayne needs to go have her own campaign separate from Rand, she has Aviendha promise to watch out for him and make sure Rand stays loyal. The Aiel elders also assign her to be Rand's local guide, teaching him the customs and ways of his people. This causes a lot of conflict for Aviendha, because (according to one of Min's viewings) three women are fated fall in love with Rand, and Aviendha is one of them...
- Action Girl: Due to her membership in the...
- Amazon Brigade: Maidens of the Spear have to give up membership in that society to wed or if they plan to raise children. They can have as much sex as they want, but the resultant children are given up for adoption if the mother wants to stay in the society.
- Blood Sisters: With Elayne, eventually.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Book 14, she loses several toes in her battle with Hessalam/Graendal. She wins, but loses most of her ability to fight anymore.
- The Chief's Daughter: Subverted. She's Rhuarc's niece, but because the Aiel are a meritocracy, this has no special privilege associated with it (Truth in Television for many of the Native American tribes the Aiel were based on). Still ends up with the hero, though.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Aviendha is told by the Wise Ones to deploy this on Rand so that she can spy on him. Rand is Genre Savvy enough to see through it.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Goes in both directions for her and Rand, who is also a redhead.
- Honor Before Reason: She is a member of the Proud Warrior Race. Ironically, she eventually breaks her word to Elayne about Rand.
- Intimate Healing: At one point, to escape her own Unrequited Love, Aviendha teleports her way into a blizzard. Rand has to resort to that whole "sharing body warmth while naked" thing. One Thing Led to Another, and one Sexy Discretion Shot later...
- Magic Knight: A Maiden of the Spear who learns to use the One Power and trains to become a Wise One.
- Mindlink Mates: With Rand via Warder bond.
- Power Levels: Again, on tied with Egwene and Elayne. Remember that this puts her in second place on the Character Tiers.
- Pregnant Badass: Heavily implied by Min's viewing of her as having Rand's quadruplets and the fact that Rand has sex with her not long before the Last Battle begins, meaning that the entire time that Aviendha was defending Rand and his group at Shayol Ghul, she was pregnant.
- Red-Headed Hero
- Secret Keeper: She, Min, Elayne, Alivia, and Cadsuane are the only ones who know Rand survived The Last Battle.
- Someone to Remember Him By: It's heavily implied that the sex she and Rand have in Book 14 is what results in her having his quadruplets. Subverted in that Rand isn't actually dead.
- Stealth Expert: Though it's likely her skill is similar to that of other Maidens of the Spear, she at one point in Book 14 slips through an entire encampment of most of the Andoran military, into Elayne's tent through the front, and sits down about five feet away from her so as "not to cause a fuss", without anyone in the camp even realizing she was there in the first place until Elayne notices her. Hilariously, she doesn't even realize why this is incredibly weird, and Elayne is just happy that none of her enemies are that stealthy.
- Strangled by the Red String: Saw this happen when she saw her possible futures in Rhuidean, and wasn't happy about it because she felt that he belonged to Elayne and had promised to make sure he didn't stray.
- Their First Time: Also Rand's first time, to the fandom's knowledge, in Book 5.
- Tsundere: At first anyway. More so than the rest of the female characters.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She and Birgitte give Elayne and Nynaeve an epic chewing out for being Ungrateful Bastards to Mat after he risked his life to rescue them.
The Clan Chief of the Taardad Aiel and one of Rand's closest supporters. As is not unusual among the Aiel, he has two wives, Amys and Lian. He journeyed into the Westlands along with Aviendha in search of He Who Comes With The Dawn. Rhuarc is there when Rand first takes Callandor from the Stone of Tear and reveals that the Aiel are actually the fabled People of the Dragon.
- Badass: As a matter of course, being Aiel.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Late in the Last Battle, Graendal, then known as Hessalam, uses her Compulsion on him, making him into one of her personal bodyguards among Aiel.
- Honor Before Reason
- Killed Off for Real: Graendal uses Compulsion to make him one of her personal bodyguard. Aviendha offs him later, to her horror.
- The Lancer: Sort of. Definitely Rand's staunchest supporter among the Aiel, his loyalty is without question.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- The Stoic: Even more so than Lan, if you can believe it. It helps that unlike Lan, he gets no POV sections.
"In my day, girls jumped when a Wise One said jump, and continued jumping until they were told to stop. As I am still alive, it is still my day. Need I make myself clearer?"
A Wise One from the Jarra sept. Sorilea is barely able to channel, but is one of the oldest and most revered Wise Ones. She has a formidable and forceful personality and can be quite frightening.
- Cool Old Lady: The Aiel regard her as one.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: As a Wise One, she's an expert in dishing these out. For instance, forced an apprentice to search through a giant pile of sand for one specific red grain of sand as punishment for speaking out of turn.
- Establishing Character Moment: See quote above.
- Iron Lady
- Never Mess with Granny: Aes Sedai give muggles nightmares. Cadsuane gives Aes Sedai nightmares. Sorelia gives Cadsuane nightmares.
- Really 700 Years Old: She's one of the oldest of the Wise Ones.
- Screw Destiny: her attitude towards the visions Aviendha had in the Way-Forward Ter'angreal. This is smarter than it sounds: she points out that they need to act as though the future can be changed, regardless of whether that's true. She then gives the advice that Aviendha change one of her children's names and never speak the old one aloud.
- Weak, but Skilled: She can barely conjure a candle flame yet is the unoffical leader of the Wise Ones.
Leader of the Stone Dog society in Tear from the Imran sept of the Shaarad Aiel, Gaul acts as an important, but tertiary ally to the forces of the Dragon, mostly helping Perrin initially because he freed him from a cage early in the story
- Badass: As an Aiel, it's practically mandatory. He even holds off a group of Turned Samma N'Sei Aiel by himself in Book 14, using skills he only recently learned to use in Tel'aran'rhiod.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: He shows himself to be very good at unarmed combat early on.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He initially follows Perrin because he helped him escape a cage. He ends up continuing to follow him due to his status as The Leader and traits thereof.
- Blade on a Stick: As an Aiel, this is his preferred weapon.
- Determinator: Emphasized especially in Book 14, where he survives in Tel'aran'rhiod for a very long time by himself when Perrin is forced to leave him to recuperate from a fight with Slayer.
- Red-Headed Hero: As an Aiel, since most of them are.
Clan chief from the Domai Sept of the Shaido Aiel, Couladin is proclaimed the Cara'carn
by the Shaido, leading to opposition between them and the rest of the Aiel.
A Jumai Aiel of the Shaido clan, one of the main non-darkfriend antagonists to Rand. She opposed recognition of Rand as Car'a'carn and supported her husband, Couladin, in his bid for power. Once he is defeated in battle she takes on the role as leader of the Shaido. She wages a war of pillage and plunder across the Westlands, taking many people prisoner as gai'shain
, including Faile, which launches Perrin into his Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Black Widow: Her husbands don't last long. Neither will Rand if she has her way.
- Blondes are Evil: Not a very nice person. So much so that her own people only follow her because of Honor Before Reason.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Like all Aiel, is tanned by the sun of the Three-Fold Land.
- Distracted by the Luxury: Falls into this trap as she gains more wealth from raiding the country side.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Has a penchant for elaborate jewels acquired by conquest.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Although she is called a Wise One and is acting clan chief, she has never been to Rhuidean, unlike other Wise Ones in the Shaido, who know that Rand's revelation of the Aiel history is perfectly true.
- Put on a Bus: After her defeat at Malden, she is taken away by the Seanchan as a trophy.
- The Vamp: Only married her first husband because he was a clan chief. Hooked up with his successor after he died. Determined to capture Rand, rape him to get some heirs to secure her rule, then murder him.
A Wise One of the Shaido Aiel, she serves as the brains of Sevanna's Shaido following the death of Couladin.