more Thom: He's been spending his time marrying the Empress of the Seanchan. Moiraine: You did what? Mat: It was an accident. Moiraine: You accidentally married the Seanchan Empress? Mat: They've got some odd customs.
Nynaeve's use of all Five Powers when Healing, in spite of the fact that all Tower-trained Aes Sedai are certain it shouldn't work and should be very dangerous. Little do they (or even Nynaeve) know that in the Age of Legends Nynaeve's method was preferred as it doesn't use the target's own life force as a fuel source. She manages to do things like cure taint madness and reverse stilling.
Aviendha manages to make a Gateway without meaning to, because she's so panicked over Rand seeing her naked that she can think of nothing but getting away. Unfortunately, she then can't remember how she'd done it.
Regardless of the inherent potential of the world, Egwene is still a channeler, used to magic having its own strengths, and treating, say...balefire as something completely unstoppable. Perrin, however, is under no such misconceptions, and his feat of deflecting balefire launched at him by a Black Aes Sedai in the World of Dreams catches Egwene (and likely the attacker) off-guard.
Speaking of Balefire, Nynaeve used it on a Myrddraal before she even knew what it was.
Pevara Sedai, while linked in a circle with Androl, opens a gateway... which is impossible, since she is not in control of the circle. Then again, she was "mixed" with Androl... who has a talent for gateways that is referred to as impossible.
Speaking of Androl, his talent with gateways is so impossible he can forcibly open gateways inside a dreamspike... a ter'angreal designed specifically to prevent this, and which no other channeler has managed to overcome. He didn't know this, of course, he merely knew something was blocking gateways.
Action Girl: Birgitte Silverbow. And the Maidens of the Spear warrior society (Aviendha, Bain, Chiad, Liah, and all the other unnamed ones). And Min, Faile, and the female members of Cha Faile. And most Altaran women. And that legendary Andoran queen who won a battle by grabbing her standard from the standard bearer and charging her horse out into the midst of the enemy. And almost every Borderlander woman. And everyone without a penis wool head, Etc., etc., etc.
In The Shadow Rising, the women of the Two Rivers instruct Faile on how their marriages work, with sweet words, so she can coexist with Perrin. From Lord of Chaos to Towers of Midnight, Faile ignores all this and is constantly angry with her husband for not going with Saldaean customs, which he has never heard of and she has never explained to him. And Berelain.
In Knife of Dreams, Elayne almost gets herself killed by the Black Ajah when she goes to confront them, and does get Vandene and Sareitha killed. But in Towers of Midnight she has learned nothing it seems, since she confronts the captured Black Ajah in disguise as a 'Chosen' while wearing her copy of Mat's medallion, and once again is almost killed, as well as almost loses the medallion and all its copies to the Shadow. She is so confident in her Contractual Immortality bestowed on her by Min's viewing that she forgets that the people around her are not similarly protected.
Agony Beam: Channeling techiques to cause pain, mostly used by Semirhage.
Alas, Poor Villain: Asmodean and Lanfear, most obviously, although the former arguably wasn't a villain anymore at the time of his death. Ishamael could be considered an inversion of this trope: his resurrection could be considered a case of a villain's fate being pitiable, since he was a pretty blatant Death Seeker (indeed, the Dark One used it as punishment for Ishamael's insubordination). We don't find this out until well after his resurrection, however.
Alien Geometry: Finnland. Walking down a corridor, then turning around and walking back, may lead to a completely different room to the one the walker started in.
All Beer Is Ale: The favored alcoholic beverages seem to be wine, wine punch, and brandy. While it's not a prominent drink of choice, whenever beer is mentioned, it is ale.
All Deaths Final: Except for the Dark One, who can reincarnate his Chosen into preexisting bodies. This is the only hard rule of magic that isn't broken throughout the series.
All Myths Are True: The time of the Last Battle is approaching, and all sorts of forgotten legends are crawling out of the woodwork, though rarely exactly as the legends described. Since time is depicted as cyclical, it is implied that many of our real-world myths were spawned by events in the books, and/or real-world events inspired the books' legends.
All There in the Manual: The Guide has a lot of background information about the world and its history, including some fuller descriptions of events mentioned in the books.
Ogier. They love knowledge and learning and have erogenous zones in their ears.
And Trollocs, a more bestial version.
All Witches Have Cats: or at least, all cats have a fondness for women who can channel. Dogs, on the other hand, violently dislike them; this seems to work the other way around for male channelers.
All Women Are Vain: In keeping with the general Mars and Venus Gender Contrast of the series. Granted, some women are more inclined to it than others, but this always bears out as a cultural thing, where some societies encourage or discourage such behavior. A great deal is made of female hypocrisy as the characters look down on women who blatantly play up to male desire, but ultimately they all do it, deliberately embracing it after circumstance or jealousy drives them to it initially. This is seen as the natural and correct state of the world, as women who don't cater to male attention are even more underhanded and often outright villainous.
Aiel Maidens of the Spear. They're one of the fiercest societies among their Proud Warrior Race.
Also Elayne's all female bodyguard.
Ambiguous Ending: Of a sort. While the events of the actual series are tied up more or less neatly in the end, Word of God is firm that the subsequent fates of any character or the world in general after the final page will never be elaborated on. What happens to everyone after Rand rides off into the sunset is left up the reader.
Anachronic Order: In the second book, the Supergirls' chapters take place a few months after the rest. In book 13, Perrin's chapters occur about a week prior to the other characters'.
And Man Grew Proud: Two Aes Sedai (one of whom happened to be named Mierin, a.k.a. Lanfear) believing they had found a power source that both sexes could use, as opposed to the One Power, resulted in the War of the Shadow as they were really drilling into the Dark One's prison.
And the Adventure Continues: A couple of plots are left deliberately loose in the end, but most significantly, Rand is still alive, and it seems the Pattern is not done with him yet.
Rand:IT IS BEYOND YOU. YOU BREAK US, AND STILL WE FIGHT! WHY? HAVEN'T YOU KILLED US? HAVEN'T YOU RUINED US? HERE IS YOUR FLAW, SHAI'TAN—LORD OF THE DARK, LORD OF ENVY! LORD OF NOTHING! HERE IS WHY YOU FAIL! IT WAS NOT ABOUT ME. IT'S NEVER BEEN ABOUT ME! It was about a woman, torn and beaten down, cast from her throne and made a puppet—a woman who had crawled when she had to. That woman still fought. It was about a man that love repeatedly forsook, a man who found relevance in a world that others would have let pass them by. A man who remembered stories, and who took fool boys under his wing when the smarter move would have been to keep on walking. That man still fought. It was about a woman with a secret, a hope for the future. A woman who had hunted the truth before others could. A woman who had given her life, then had it returned. That woman still fought. It was about a man whose family was taken from him, but who stood tall in his sorrow and protected those he could. It was about a woman who refused to believe that she could not help, could not Heal those who had been harmed. It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero. It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shone with the Light for all who watched. Including Rand. It was about them all. Rand:That man you have tried to kill many times, that one who lost his kingdom, that one from whom you took everything... that man, that man still fights!
Also Tel'aran'rhiod, the Portal Stones worlds, the skimming place, the ways, etc
Anti-Magic: The stedding, and Far Madding. Mat's amulet (and Elayne's copies of it) have this effect on a personal basis.
However, there are ways around this. Mat's amulet won't protect him against objects affected by the source (such as a rock thrown by saidar), and Far Madding's is circumvented by ter'angreal that allows the user to store some of the Source within it. The latter method might work within a stedding as well, but it hasn't been tested.
Anyone Can Die: Quite a lot of recurring characters get taken out over the course of the last book, which makes sense for The End of the World as We Know It. However, the number of central protagonists from Book 1 who bite it is a lot smaller (and every character introduced in Book 1 becomes a narrator at some point).
Apocalypse How: The Breaking, in which thousands of insane male channelers reshaped the face of the planet and wiped out what little civilization had survived the War of Power, was a Type 1, pushing towards Type 2. If the Dark One is set free, it's a full-blown Type Z.
Artistic License – Medicine: Herbalism is suspiciously effective in this setting, with a possible cure for everything, though for all we know this is justified by genetic engineering during the Age of Legends.
In an apparently intentional case, when Elayne becomes pregnant, her servants and friends all corroborate on a diet that is little better than starvation, with tiny portions and careful avoidance of anything strong in flavor. Eventually she gets a real midwife, who is livid about this arrangement and sets her up to start eating for two.
Asskicking Equals Authority: With the exception of special appointments, Aes Sedai determine relative authority by their power levels, which female channelers can instantly determine in each others' presences. Useful in emergencies for reducing confusion over the chain of command, but if your Power is weak, you're stuck kissing everyone's asses (even the newest Aes Sedai) for the rest of your very long life. Nynaeve highlights how unfair it is in book 12 in a conversation with just such an Aes Sedai. This system baffles the other organizations of channelers, which mainly use seniority and ranking systems. This makes a lot of sense, once you read the supplementary material and realize that the White Tower was formed by the strongest living channelers by force immediately after the Breaking, with command over the Hall being overturned several times.
Babies Ever After: Well, more like Pregnancy Ever After. No children have been born yet, but both Elayne and Tuon are pregnant at the conclusion of the series (Elayne quite far along), and, if she isn't already, Aviendha will be very soon. As the futures of the characters after the ending will never be revealed, per Word of God, it's left up to the reader to decide if this trope is in effect for the other surviving couples, most prominently Perrin and Faile, Nynaeve and Lan, and Rand and Min.
Back from the Dead: The Dark One can give the dead—if not Deader Than Dead—new bodies, but it requires abducting villagers for soul extraction. There is also a time limit, measured in fractions of a second, which is why balefire's time-damaging properties kill people Deader Than Dead. So far resurrected we have Ishamael, Aginor, Balthamel, and Lanfear. And in the final book, Graendal.
Badass Army: Aside from the Aiel, the Borderlanders (particularly the Malkieri), and the Asha'man, there's the Heroes of the Horn, both when first summoned in The Great Hunt and again at the Last Battle. Including the huge, white-furred spectral army of dead wolves who face off against the Darkhounds of the Wild Hunt.
Perrin on the trolloc invasion into the Two Rivers:
"A Warder once told me Trollocs called the Aiel Waste ' the Dying Ground.' I mean to make them give that name to the Two Rivers."
Mazrim Taim, the leader of Rand's Ashaman, gets one in after a massive victory over the female channelers who have been in charge of the world and convinced of their own superiority for 3000 years:
"Kneel and swear to the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt."
Rand gets the single most impressive one:
"Do you believe that I could kill you? Right here, right now, without using a sword or the Power? Do you believe that if I simply willed it, the Pattern would bend around me and stop your heart? By...coincidence?"
Lan's speech in Towers of Midnight is this crossed with Rousing Speech:
"I am al'Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, Defender of the Wall of First Fires, Bearer of the Sword of the Thousand Lakes! I was once named Aan'allein, but I reject that title as I am alone no more. Fear me, Shadow! Fear me and know. I have returned for what is mine. I may be a king without a land. But I am still a king!"
Badass Normal: Borderlanders are for the most part normal, every day humans. Who regularly battle all manner of nasty creatures that come pouring out of the Blight, and they tend to win. And then there's the Aiel, who lived for generations in a desert the trollocs call "The Dying Ground" solely because of them.
Bad Future: What Aviendha sees in her vision, in Towers of Midnight.
Actually, that future sounds pretty good for most of the muggles. It's just awful for channelers and Aiel... which happens to describe all of the protagonists.
Not necessarily. You must remember that the Raven Empire is descended from the Seanchan and the massive social stratification that exists in that culture. It's not just channelers who are enslaved.
In AMOL we briefly see three more two shown to Rand by the Dark One, the third inadvertently created by Rand himself. The first is a blatant After the End dystopia where the Blight has expanded to cover the whole world and everything is ruled by the Forsaken. The second looks normal at first, but is a world where the Dark One won the Last Battle, tricked humanity into thinking they'd won, and then removed everyone's consciences, creating a world where humans are Always Chaotic Evil. Finally, Rand tries to counterbalance this by creating a vision of a world without evil- which, it turns out, also has no free will.
Balance Of Good And Evil: The Pattern operates on this. In theory, the turning from the Age of Legends to the Third Age being a World Sundering of the worst kind will mean that the turning from the Third Age to the Fourth Age will be a golden age of peace, for one example. Also, ta'veren cause effects that can be good or bad, but increase the amount of both, simply enhancing the chances of both of those things happening over neither of them. By Books 13 and 14, Rand notes that his Fertile Feet effect is due to the Dark One giving more than enough on the "bad" end of things, so he works as an agent of the Creator for the Pattern to give balance through good only.
Beam-O-War: When Egwene instinctively discovers and uses the "Flame of Tar Valon" in A Memory of Light, she fires this anti-Balefire weave directly at Taim/M'Hael's balefire weave, initiating this. As she pours more and more of the Power into it, she overcomes him, crystallizing him completely along with the field around them and the nearby Sharan channelers. And, as she kills herself with it, she herself became a pillar of crystal with Vora's sa'angreal inside of it.
The Beautiful Elite: Lanfear, Galad, and Berelain are frequently described in this way. And the latter two will probably have ridiculously adorable babies. Less mentioned is that Rahvin was said to be as handsome as Lanfear was beautiful.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: When a number of main characters are temporarily killed at the climax of book 6, Aviendha looks untouched despite being killed by a massive lightning strike; meanwhile, Mat is reduced to Smoldering Shoes and Rhuarc is burnt almost beyond recognition. There are exceptions, but typically, women placed in perilous situations, though approximately as likely to die as anyone else, tend not to be disfigured in the process. A major aversion is when Aviendha loses some toes in Tarmon Gai'don.
Because Destiny Says So: For lack of anything better to do, the Dragon uses the Prophecies of the Dragon to plan his schedule. The only reason this keeps working out is because Rand is an ultra-powerful ta'veren who completely screws the laws of probability anywhere in the surrounding area; without that influence, Rand's business plan for the Messiah job probably goes out the window.
Beginner's Luck: Mat and Rand in particular, though to be fair, they are ta'veren (thereby justifying... well, anything) and drawing on others' memories.
Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, call Lanfear by her birth name, or tell Lanfear that Rand slept with another woman.
For Rand, hurting his friends is a quick way to get a balefire breakfast. Especially if one forces him to do it himself, Semirhage. Or seems to have killed his girlfriend's mom, Rahvin.
Mentioning Perrin is this for Child Byar (and Dain Bornhald), and mentioning Rand is this for Padan Fain.
Beta Couple: Towers of Midnight develops a few. Egwene and Gawyn, Morgase and Tallanvor, Moiraine and Thom, and Berelain and Galad are well on their way to joining the ranks. Granted, many of these were foreshadowed beforehand, but it still reads like the characters getting in their moment of happiness before the Last Battle hits.
Big Bad: The Dark One. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (it's Shai'tan, by the way). The reality-warping personification of pure evil spanning all worlds, imprisoned by the Creator in Shayol Ghul "at the moment of creation", whatever that means. Real bad attitude, legions of grotesque monsters, swarms of secret minions at every level of society, speaks in ALL CAPS and makes you feel it. He seeks nothing less than the complete unmaking of the fabric of reality.
Big Bad Wannabe: There are several villains in the series with plans, ambitions, and general egos that well exceed their ability to pull them off, though that doesn't mean they don't make a lot of trouble first. Examples would be Sammael, Elaida and Padan Fain/Mordeth/Shaisam.
Big Good: The Dragon Reborn, supposedly, due to being the one that stops the Dark One from escaping his prison and destroying the world. This doesn't always turn out to be the case, especially with the added caveat of the taint on saidin.However, if Rand wasn't the biggest force for good in the world before The Towers of Midnight, he is now.
Bilingual Bonus: Maybe tying into the mythological background (or precursing to) Norse Mythology, but the title of Aan'allein, the man who is nation, certainly sounds like "One, alone" in certain German dialects.
Bi the Way: Siuan. Moiraine. Shalon. Ailil might be, if she also likes men.
Many women trained in the Tower become this out of necessity, as they are not allowed romance with men and live in a Tower full of women from their mid-teens. Those like Siuan and Moiraine return to their heterosexual nature once they have their freedom again, others such as Galina were never interested in men to begin with.
Two examples jump out of nowhere in A Memory of Light, with a character casually remarking of a lord that he "prefers men." The same happens with one of the Black Tower members. This is treated as no stranger than "he prefers blondes," and earns one of Jordan's trademark "men don't notice anything" snide remarks from an Aes Sedai.
Black Comedy Rape - Mat's deeply disturbing relationship with Tylin. Like how she undresses him at knifepoint, for starters... Oh, she doesn't force him to undress by pointing a knife at him, oh no, she uses the knife to undress him and have her way with him, Squicked out yet?
Blessed with Suck: Male channelers to the extreme. Likewise female channelers born amongst the Seanchan, though that's more of a culturally enforced suck.
Ta'averen would be another example; they do gain a lot of power and influence just for existing, but at a heavy price.
If it's unclear what the price is, it's the exact same thing as the benefit: important stuff and coincidences relevant to the plot always happen to you. Whether that ends well or poorly is sort of up to the user, and Mat is really the only one that exploits the phenomenon adeptly by realizing that a stupid plan that hinges on a roll of the dice will work for him REALIABLY so long as he figures out exactly how much he twists the odds.
Sharan channelers are also heavily repressed, and are segregated from the rest of Sharan society in seperate villages that they aren't allowed to leave without permission. Male channelers are kept as breeding stock and executed when they start channeling to avoid the Madness. Until you work out that they take care of the otherwise completely isolated rulers of their country who determine this permission, said rulers sometimes die ahead of their appointed seven-year-span by the "will of the Pattern", and people outside would probably assume that any channeler outside would have permission because permission is an internal matter.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Aelfinn and Eelfinn, who "are not evil the way the Shadow is evil, yet they are so different from humankind they might as well be." They are roughly analogous to The Fair Folk with their riddles and bargains, so it fits.
Bodyguarding a Badass: Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car'a'carn. And they are not happy when he runs off to battle without them.
Bookends: Every book begins with variations on a set description about a wind rising in some place, how it is not the beginning of the Wheel of Time, but it is a beginning. It's not hard to guess how the last book ends.
Born Lucky: Mat. All ta'veren get this in bouts, but Mat seems to have the greatest luck by far and is very aware of it. Being a gambler, he frequently exploits this heavily. Money ceases to be an object after the first few books, assassins are evaded by slipping or bending over at the last second, and anything (or even anyone) that Mat acquires through chance or random selection will turn out to be extremely important — whether he wants it or not.
In fact, it's this trope that Mat relies on almost completely during his foray into the Tower of Ghenjei in Towers of Midnight. And it isn't just there, once Mat realizes he has it he abuses it for all he's worth. One example is losing track of Tuon and Selucia, instead of doing a search of where they were he spins himself around at random, gets bumped into and goes right into the store he ends up facing. It works!
It's also how he just happens to find the tavern Thom is performing in in Tar Valon in The Dragon Reborn, and how he discovers first Comar and then Mother Guenna (who can lead him to Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene) in Tear.
Bow and Sword, in Accord: All three Two Rivers heroes are well-trained in the use of their longbows as well as their melee weapons. Oddly enough Rand, the only one of the three to actually use a sword, is the only one to cease using bows. Though, it would be hard to use a bow with only one hand...
Brainwashed: "Compulsion," expertly used by the Quirky Miniboss Squad but inexpertly rediscovered by a number of ethically challenged Aes Sedai. The Warder bond even includes it as an optional "feature."
Brainwashed and Crazy: Turning someone to the Shadow does this to them, twisting their personality into one that serves the Dark One with no hope of changing.
Brainwashing for the Greater Good: As Rand learns in Book 14, killing the Dark One would lead to this for everyone in the world. The shadow behind the eyes of those who were altered is the same as that which comes to those who are Turned. Shai'tan himself lampshades the lack of a difference.
Break the Haughty: What happens to many Aiel when the learn the truth of why they don't use swords. And then there's poor Morgase.
Happens to the bad guys too, namely a few of the Forsaken. Let's see. We have: Graendal is raped and killed as punishment by Shaidar Haran, then reincarnated as the ugliest woman who's ever lived, before ending up in a state of permanant compulsion. Semirhage is humiliated by Cadsuane via spanking. Moghedien was collared by Nynaeve and Egwene until she was freed by Aran'gar only to be raped by Shaidar Haran and placed in a mindtrap given Moridin. She ends up collared again, this time by the Seanchan. Lanfear's reincarnated form of Cyndane is similarly given over to Moridin's cour'souvra. Mesaana was raped by Shaidar Haran as punishment for ignoring the Dark One's order to fight in the battle at Shadar Logoth; her haughtiness was broken completely (along with her mind) by Egwene. Liandrin, Elaida and Sevanna become slaves to the Seanchan.
Near the end of the series this is at least attempted by nearly every political figure or Aes Sedai at some point or another. All of Elayne's political enemies suffer this, this occurs every time a leader is stripped of title and cast out, the Kin, White Tower, Ex Seanchan, Rebels, Sea Folk, and Wise Ones all do this to each other's group in their dodechaedron leadership struggle, Rand does this to Cadsuane in The Gathering Storm, this arguably happens to Aviendha during her flash forward in Towers of Midnight, the list goes on and on and on...
The Queen's Bodyguard in Andor is a borderline case: almost all of them are foreign, but it's not a requirement and they are from several different countries.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Seanchan ride s'redit (elephants) and are known to enjoy a good cup of kaf (coffee). The Aiel are growing zemai instead of corn, algode instead of cotton and t'mat for tomato, and are drinking oosquai instead of whiskey. While these smeerps (and the Seanchan ones, too) are at least partially justified, being unknown outside the Aiel Waste, this is not so with tabac (this smeerp tends to get lost in translation, anyway). However, one suspects that Jordan was actually playing on linguistic drift here. Zemai is an anagram of maize. Algode is nearly algodon, Spanish for cotton, t'mat ought to be self explanatory, and tabac is an archaic word for tobacco. Beyond all these examples, the word "slave" is never mentioned (except in The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time). They have da'covale in Seanchan, gai'shain (not exactly slaves if not captured by Shaido Aiel) in the Waste, and people "sold like animals" in Shara.
Can Not Tell A Lie: Aes Sedai are unable to lie after they take their oaths, which in practice leads them to become experts in twisting the truth. This in turn completely subverts the reason for taking the oath against lying, as people trust them even less, so great is their reputation for manipulating the truth.
Well, not entirely, because most know that if they say something right out it's true. Unless they're Black Ajah...
Which loops back in on itself as Aes Sedai are infamous for making it seem like they're saying something outright only for people to realize the truth they thought they heard was not the truth that the Aes Sedai was telling. Needless to say, Aes Sedai might as well not have taken the oath in the first place for all the good it does them.
Card-Carrying Villain: All of the Forsaken happily committed atrocities from having their relatives butchered by monsters to annihilating cities out of spite, they demand grovelling worship from their minions, their idea of a pleasant hobby generally consists of torture sessions or depraved orgies, and some of them became villains in the first place for the simple reason of showing them, showing them all!. (Oddly, the most sadistic one of the lot also enjoys sewing.) Justified in series as the Dark One wanting easily-controlled minions.
Cataclysm Backstory - The Pyrrhic victory of the original War crippled both sides and brought the end of the Age of Legends' civilization. See also And Man Grew Proud. Interestingly—and to Moridin's great irritation—several weaves have since been developed that were unknown in the Age of Legends—such as the Warder bond and linking someone against their will—or even thought impossible, like reversing gentling/stilling!
Cats Are Magic: Though they don't show any special powers, cats are shown to have an affinity for Aes Sedai, and vice versa- several sisters have the traits of Crazy Cat Ladies. It's unknown if they feel the same about male channellers. See also Evil-Detecting Dog.
Preemptive Cavalry: in Towers of Midnight the Whitecloaks see Perrin suddenly appear on a hill about to charge down and slaughter them. All hope seems lost and the Whitecloaks prepare for a final stand when a whole army of Shadowspawn appear. The Whitecloaks feel like they're about to get crushed between both forces when Perrin's army charges in and saves most of them, finally convincing them that he was their ally after all.
Men's armor and women's armor didn't actually look much different, which [Mat] found a shame. Mat had asked a Seanchan armorer if certain areas of the female breastplate shouldn't be emphasized, so to speak, and the armorer had looked at him like he was a half-wit.
Character Tics: When agitated, Nynaeve tugs her braid. She gets agitated a lot.
She and various other female characters also spend an inordinate amount of time sniffing.
She and Siuan (and most of the men, to boot) tend to snort, as well. Sniffing and snorting, oh dear.
Aside from the sniffing, Elayne looks down her nose at people when she's trying to coerce them.
When Mat gets very good or very bad news, he'll subconsciously hum a bit of some song that is relevant to his situation.
Lews Therin hums and thumbs his earlobe while admiring a woman.
Chekhov's Armoury: The list of Chekhov's stuff below is too short, even when it's abbreviated. To give you a hint, Min mentions that when she looks at Mat she sees an eye on a scale in the first book. A few books later, in Tear, Mat learns that he will lose half the light of the world to save the world. MANY books later, he finally loses an eye. This series is absolutely full of things like that. It's Chekhov's Porn Collection.
Chekhov's Boomerang: The Bowl of the Winds is used to keep the otherwise lethal weather of Shayol Gul at bay during the Final Battle.
Also, the sword technique known as Sheathing the Sword, accepting a blow from an enemy in order to strike him down, is taught and used in book 2, then used again in book 14 by Lan himself against Demandred.
Aviendha's ability to unravel her own weaves is used once on a gateway in Ebou Dar, with comments that it is very dangerous to attempt. Elayne is forced to attempt it later in the same book, causing a massive explosion. After that, no one tries again until, of course, the last book, where Aviendha unravels a gateway in a deliberate effort to cause an explosion and take out Graendal; the explosion is less massive but manages to cause Graendal's Compulsion weave to backfire.
Chekhov's Gun: Mat's dagger from Shadar Logoth. Also his ashanderai, the true purpose and powers of which aren't revealed until near the end of Book 13.
The 13-13 trick first mentioned in book 2 MUST SURELY be one. Even if it STILL hasn't happened yet. Actually, Brandon Sanderson confirmed that it is. He even used the phrase "gun on the wall" in reference to the Trope Namer
As of Book 14 (the final book) the gun is finally off the wall: Taim was using it to take over the Black Tower
Another first mentioned in The Shadow Rising: one of the "two more powerful sa'angreal" than Callandor that "a man can use" (the other being the Choedan Kal). It finally appears as a scepter Demandred possesses which he passes to Taim, and which Logain, darkened by the attempts to Turn him, must resist claiming.
Shara. The country on the other side of the Aiel Waste. Mentioned as early as Book 1 but, as of Book 14, never interacted with directly. Hmm.
Chivalrous Pervert: Mat. "He'll steal a kiss from you, and whatever more you're willing to give, but he would never hurt you."
The Chosen One: The Dragon (Reborn). Prophesied to save the world, but also destroy it. Or something. Most laymen just conclude he's pure evil.
It's also a brutal deconstruction. It's not just the taint that's making him insane, it's the knowledge that all of existence rests on his shoulders, while foolish people are fighting their savior at every turn. That much stress would drive anyone mad.
Eased somewhat as he cleansed the taint, so his madness won't get any worse, but doesn't heal either. Thankfully, after his epiphany on Dragonmount he has an unexplained protection from its effects.
And then Nynaeve, after having cured the madness of other male channelers, checks him out to discover he's bat shit crazy, but he's apparently so crazy he looped back around to sane.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Dark One's forces. Minions are encouraged to scheme against each other to get ahead so that they are easier to control/predict. The Forsaken—each able to command all the lesser minions—set themselves up in separate kingdoms and spend the series scheming over the position of number one, even after the Dark One appoints someone. No trust or cooperation, only temporary truces arising from their schemes. Even when Rand is cleansing saidin and Number One orders everyone to stop him, the effort is completely uncoordinated, with each Forsaken attacking independently (or just pretending to go attack and then watching from a safe distance).
Church Militant: The Children of the Light, a.k.a Whitecloaks. Think "Spanish Inquisition" on a bad day. They believe that Aes Sedai are evil witches, and anyone who disagrees with them (the Whitecloaks, that is) must be a servant of the Dark One. Extremely militant.
This is somewhat deconstructed with Galad leading them. Not ALL the the Whitecloacks are completely like this, and Towers of Midnight indicates their general attitude might be changing.
Cincinnatus: By Word of God, Lady Dyelin is this, having stepped up to hold Andor together after Morgase's disappearance and presumed death, Rahvin's fall, and Rand leaving Caemlyn for Cairhien and Illian. She cedes authority back to Elayne when the latter appears to claim the crown, and although she had a number of House Seats willing to back her as queen, she put all her efforts into helping Elayne win the Succession and rather harshly and awesomely castigated those nobles by refusing to take the throne. Elayne notes that Dyelin could have become queen with relative ease, but decided Elayne was better for the job.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Tel'aran'rhiod operates on this principle as dreamers or anyone with access to it can shape based on what they believe is possible. Since physics and other laws of reality are little more than handy suggestions, fights in this world are based on knowledge of this fact and willpower. This leads to an awesome moment where Perrin manages to show Egwene up by catching Balefire, which she thought was impossible. For her, it was because she was working off the belief that Balefire could not be stopped like it would be in the real world. Perrin was able to catch it because he has a thorough understanding of the power of belief and its effects in the World of Dreams and probably had no idea what he was trying to catch.
Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Combined with a little Pair the Spares. At the end of the series, virtually every important character who is alive is in a serious relationship with another important character, and most are married. The only real romantic subplot left unresolved is the Gaul/Chiad/Bain situation.
Furthermore, couples die together; the major deaths in the Last Battle are Egwene and Gawyn , and Siuan and Gareth, both of which were pairs of newlyweds.
Cleavage Window: Ebou Dari's current fashion - used to frame the marriage knife.
Cleopatra Nose: Faile has a large nose, which Perrin finds unattractive until he falls in love with her. Saldaeans - Faile's race - usually have 'bold' noses and are subsequently described often as looking like eagles, hawks, etc.
Coitus Uninterruptus: The empress wants some sugar? The empress gettin' some sugar. Right there in the open-air garden. The bodyguards do try to make themselves a bit more unobtrusive.
Collapsing Lair: In Book 14, Shayol Ghul caves in after the Dark One is re-sealed.
Combat Pragmatist: Rand ponders on how to defeat someone that you know can outsmart you. His answer is "You make them think that you are sitting down across the table from them, ready to play their game. Then you punch them in the face as hard as you can." This translates to sending an emissary to speak with the enemy simply to ascertain that she is there, then just nuking her fortress with magic, rendering her and all her servants deader than dead.
Common Tongue: Played ridiculously straight. Some terms are put into the Old Tongue.
Actually, the Old Tongue is more of an in-universe Latin. It's a dead language, only known by scholars and (theoretically) the nobility as a status symbol, but no one actually SPEAKS the Old Tongue as a language anymore and hasn't for a very long time, they just use words from it here and there out of tradition or for poetic reasons.
During the Final Battle, Mat sends a written order to Galad. Part of it suggests that if Galad should encounter any Trollocs wielding quarterstaffs, he should let someone else handle it, as Mat knows Galad has trouble with those types. It looks like Mat is just trolling the man with a Call Back to Mat's defeating both Galad and Gawyn with a quarterstaff in The Dragon Reborn. However, the word "quarterstaff" is part of the cipher that authenticates the order.
Contrived Coincidence: Justified. They are simply part of how destiny works in this setting, although tons of coincidences happen that aren't plot-significant.
Conveniently Interrupted Document: The reason Egwene and her faction doesn't have a detailed list of every single decision Elaida is considering. Egwene and the Salidar Aes Sedai had easy access to the World of Dreams, in which it's possible to visit a close analogue of the real world undisturbed. They would like to use this to spy on things in Elaida's office. However, the ephemeral, nearly Unstuck in Time nature of dreams means that if something is only in a certain place briefly in the real world, it can spontaneously appear or vanish in the World of Dreams while you're handling it. So the Salidar Aes Sedai got lots of fragments of what was going on in the tower, but very little complete data.
Cosmic Keystone: The crude man-made seal over the hole in the Dark One's extradimensional prison is tied to seven artifacts made of the indestructible heartstone. Yet, somehow, they've become very rickety...
Cosmic Retcon - anything balefired is not only destroyed now, but—depending on the power of the balefire—for some time into the past as well. (A beam taller than a man undid his actions for half an hour or more.)
Costume Porn: Understatement. There are pages and pages of descriptions of choosing dresses, dressing in dresses, showing off dresses for others, discussing the merits of cloth and styles of dresses, then they're folded up, put in saddlebags, and never seen again. (Generally, the saddlebags are lost shortly afterward)
Country of Hats: You can tell a Taraboner because they wear their hair in numerous braids and talk like Yoda. You can tell a Tairen because of their dark skin and constant use of fishing metaphors. You can tell a Cairheinin by their pale skin, generally short height, and how closely everyone (even commoners) pays attention to the Game of Houses. You can tell an Illianer because the men wear Abe Lincoln beards and they all speak like pirates. The first time we meet someone from some country, the way they behave and/or dress defines how their people also behaves or dresses.
Covers Always Lie: All of the Darrell K. Sweet covers. If it could be drawn inaccurately, Sweet did so. Perrin was drawn blonde, despite the series stating that no one from the Two Rivers was blonde, and in fact Rand had never seen a blonde person until he left. Despite Rand's tall height being a plot point about his past, all the covers show him as the same height as everyone else (some even make him look shorter), plus Rand just looks different on every cover (early covers made him look a child, later ones made him look like he was in his 30's, when in fact he starts off at about 20 and ages about two years over the course of the series). Probably the crowning blow was the way the Trollocs were drawn on the cover of The Great Hunt. In the novels, they are clearly beast-men, with heads of animals. He decided to draw them as dark-skinned men wearing horned helmets.
Several covers have portrayed the Dragkhar as some sort of bizarre gargoyle creature when it actually looks just like a human with wings.
The official series guidebook lampshades this. Contained within is a gallery of the cover art available when the guide was published. They are listed as "Narrative Paintings of Questionable Authenticity".
The art in the guidebook may be worse than the novels' cover art in terms of technical artistry, but in terms of accurately depicting scenes or characters from the novel, it almost couldn't be worse. Almost every book's cover art gets the mood wrong of the scene it depicts, or gets key details in it wrong, or depicts a minor, unimportant scene from the book when there were much more interesting options to choose from, or all of the above.
Crapsack World: In the Westlands, many nations have descended into rioting and civil war. The stable ones are often ruled by corrupt nobles who constantly scheme against each other and casually kill anyone who opposes them. Andor is an exception, but it is quickly becoming a Vestigial Empire with retreating borders. Outside the Westlands? You have the Aiel Waste, which is nearly inhospitable due to the lack of water and harsh weather. Across the sea is the Land of the Madmen, the only inhabitable continent in the southern hemisphere, which is a hellish Death World of constantly erupting volcanoes and rogue channellers of both sexes. The other main continent and the lands east of the Aiel waste are ruled by Seanchan and Shara, both nations larger than the Westlands combined. Both have horrible elements—-the Seanchan practice slavery, make all female channelers into damane and are currently undergoing a massive civil war. Shara is even worse, banning all contact inside or outside the nation except for a few walled-off trading villages, having even more widespread slavery than the Seanchan and killing all male channelers as soon as they manifest their abilities. Nowhere is safe.
With all that said, the setting could also be considered A World Half Full since the Wheel is implied to have spun through the Ages countless times already without the Pattern breaking, and Rand is ultimately successful in preventing another Breaking. While there is a lot of death and the characters certainly have to Earn Your Happy Ending, the ending of the series implies that with enough willpower, good may continue to prevail.
Crazy Cultural Comparison: Happens every now and then; most of the time it's the Aiel culture that gets compared to the Western, but we also see comparison between Western/Seanchan cultures, Western/Ogier cultures, and different cultures within the big "Western" block.
Carrion eaters such as ravens and rats are used as spies for the Dark One because of their connection with death. At one point early in the series a huge flock of them is shown patrolling a forest, swarming and completely stripping the flesh from anything that breaks from the cover of the trees.
Ravens are a symbol of the imperial family of the Seanchan, who are a particularly ruthless society of slave holders that serve as one of the principal antagonists of the series. The imperial family is ruthless not only to slaves but with each other, as they are constantly conspiring against each other and assassinating each other.
The association of ravens with evil is subverted with Mat Cauthon, a hero that is loosely based on Odin and acquires a ring with ravens on it late in the series. He also has a Blade on a Stick with an inscription referencing "Thought" and "Memory", the names of Odin's two ravens. In the 11th book he even becomes the Seanchan Prince of Ravens through marriage to the Seanchan Empress.
A Memory of Light blows a few holes in this, however. Aviendha tells Rand/Lews Therin that he comes from an Age with wonders she couldn't comprehend. He responds by telling her that yes, it was nice, but the world government was ignoring problems that made the flaws of their "utopia" apparent and that war would have erupted in a generation or so if the Bore hadn't caused a different problem.
Crapsaccharine World: In Book 14, Rand realizes that if he kills Shai'tan, evil itself will be destroyed... And people will be left hollow in their goodness. So he re-seals the Bore instead of trying.
Culture Clash: This is a huge factor in the world at large, and the source of endless tension... and humor.
"... If an Aiel woman must kill a man every day, how are there any men left among you?"
Aviendha did her best not to stare. How could the woman believe such nonsense?
Somewhat ironically, there are the Forsaken, which have been kept in stasis for three thousand years and awaken into a time in which not only the culture they knew has been destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again several times over, but the very world itself is beyond recognition. They are known to remark on how different things are from the Age of Legends, but they all seem to adapt remarkably well to the world in which they find themselves.
Cultured Badass: Any number of Aes Sedai and fighting nobility. Lan quotes poetry at the end of the first book to describe the neverending fight against evil.
Cursed with Awesome: Rand, Mat, Perrin aren't particularly thrilled to discover that they're Ta'veren and consequently at the top of The Dark One's hit list at first. Mat in particular gets over this pretty quick when he realizes his power is luck, and damn good luck at that. The other two get over rather swiftly when they realize that being Ta'veren means the Pattern is looking out for them.
Cut Short: Averted - Enough notes were found that the series could complete.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique - Balefire, a forgotten (until recently) weave dropped by both parties during the War of Power after overuse nearly caused a Time Crash. It takes the form of a beam of light that destroys anything... both now and retroactively. This weaponized Cosmic Retcon spell trips off any number of time tropes.
The rings used by the Bloodknives, special Seanchan assassins. They place a limited Perception Filter on the wearer, but "poison the blood" so that the user eventually dies.
Darkest Hour: Unsurprisingly, a big one happens in A Memory of Light during the Last Battle: Rand is nearly broken and defeated after weathering all the terrible visions of the future woven for him by the Dark One (and one of his own making). Perrin is stuck sleeping in Mayene after nearly being killed by Slayer, struggling to heal in time to save the day. Mat is stuck in the middle of a losing battle, about to be utterly overwhelmed by the Shadow. Gawyn is dead, Galad nearly dies and does lose his arm, and Logain hasn't been able to defeat Demandred either. Egwene is dead, although she did take Taim with her. Elayne has been made to appear dead by Mellar and is actually about to be raped and killed while her babies are stolen by Darkfriends. Rhuarc is under Compulsion. Bryne, Siuan, Hurin, Bashere and his wife, and so many more are dead. Olver is trapped in a cleft with the Horn of Valere, about to be killed by Trollocs. And Lan is riding to his death against Demandred. And then what happens? Lan kills and beheads Demandred; Rand, inspired by Egwene's spirit, stands up to the Dark One with an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! speech; Olver blows the Horn and turns out to be the new Hornsounder, summoning the Heroes (and calling Birgitte in time to kill Mellar and save Elayne); and the Seanchan return (after Min exposed Moghedien) to crush the Shadow's army. There's still a number of key battles after this and lots more resolution to play out, but from that point onward it's a rout against the Shadow. And it is awesome.
Death Seeker - The stated fate of any Warder who outlives his Aes Sedai. Lan takes this trope and runs with it.
Also, any male channeler among the Aiel, who will generally take it as a sign that they should go to the Blight and challenge the Dark One. Ho-o-oly shit, does that backfire...
Sea Folk males are given the choice to jump overboard or be put ashore on the Land of Madmen - most choose the former.
Most channellers who are severed from the Power lose the will to live and try to commit suicide as soon as possible, unless they can find something they can be obsessed with as much as the Power.
Revealed near the end of the series that Ishamael has been a Death Seeker for a long time, and his resurrection by the Dark One was his punishment for Ishamael's impersonation of the Dark One amongst other things.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Pevara, after bonding with Androl in a A Memory of Light. She even lampshades it later when another group of Aes Sedai shows up at the Black Tower to recruit the remaining Asha'man.
Departure Means Death - Following the "Breaking of the World", the Ogier find themselves incapable of being away from their Stedding for any extended period of time, with death resulting if they remain away for too long.
The extinct nation of Manetheren fits this trope perfectly, refusing to give up even in the face of impossible odds multiple times.
Special mention must go to Rodel Ituralde, who, like the other 5 Great Captains, had Compulsion placed upon him during the last battle. Unlike the other 3 surviving Captains, Rodel managed to resist, and recognize its effects on his own, without even once betraying the forces of the light. He held out so long, that he STILL hadn't succumbed to it when he was forcibly removed by wolves. He did it all through pure force of will. He knows the right move, damnit, and he isn't going to listen to some voice in his head telling him different, no matter how loud it gets or that it takes away his ability to speak.
Disintegrator Ray - Balefire manifests as a beam of "liquid light" which dissolves anything it hits.
The Magic by Any Other Name is performed by weaving "threads" of the Elemental Powers. The normal way to cancel someone else's weave is to cut it, but a stealthier option is to unweave it. This is very much a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, since if you screw it up, the threads will resettle into a random pattern (such as a thermonuclear explosion.) This is much easier if the opposing channeler is the same gender since channelers cannot see weaves used by the other gender.
Balefire, while not specifically against magic, has the effect of retroactively countering a person's effects on the universe, including spells, at sufficient power.
Distracted by the Sexy - A popular tactic for people trying to spy on or control Rand. The Wise Ones of the Aiel try it with Aviendha, Berelain tries it in Tear, Kadere tries it with Isendre in the waste, and Colavaere tries it with a string of young women in Cairhien. It never works.
Except when Lanfear appears to Rand as Selene, he is utterly besotted up until the moment she reveals her true self.
Does Not Like Men - Several female characters seem to have aspects of it, but among the protagonists their attitudes mostly boil down to affectionate mockery. The Red Ajah rather notoriously attracts women of this variety, although there have been a handful of exceptions — in fact, Red Ajah Aes Sedai who don't harbor a hatred toward men are often given that trait as an indication that their goals are the same (or at least compatible with) those of the protagonists, while many (though not all) of the misandrist variety are actually Black Ajah.
Doomed Hometown - At first seems to set this up, then averts it. Rand, for his part, is Genre Savvy enough that he very specifically acts like he doesn't care about the Two Rivers at all to avoid invoking this. Padan Fain tries to invoke it to set up a trap.
Doorstoppers: The books themselves. As if to underscore the point, Tor's paperbacks are rather shoddy, and start to disintegrate after ten or fifteen readings. Robert Jordan joked that "once the series is finished, I plan to release a boxed set of the series. On wheels." If he had lived to finish the series and kept his promise to end the series with A Memory Of Light being the twelfth book no matter how long it was, it could have been a Doorstopper even by Doorstopper standards. Jordan used to joke that it would be one book, even if Tor was forced to invent a new way of binding books to do it. Turns out that was an accurate assessment.
A soldier in Iraq had a copy of The Eye of the World in his bags, stopped a bullet.
To give you another idea of how long the series is, according to That Other Wiki, the total running time for all the audiobook versions of the series is 461 hours and 25 minutes, or almost 20 days! If you attempted an uninterrupted marathon, you'd starve to death.
Do You Want to Copulate?: Tuon propositions Matt in a rather business-like manner to consummate their marriage... in her garden, in full view of her bodyguards.
Aviendha also does this the second time she's with Rand, abruptly ordering him to "bed" her after they make out for a while. When he teases her, she gets embarrassed and admits she doesn't really know how else to go about it.
Rand becomes known as the Dragon Reborn, uses a dragon banner, and gets magical dragon tattoos on his forearms. Interestingly, we never hear any legends about actual dragons, and the word is not commonly used to refer to anything else than the prophetized messiah. Most people have no idea what a dragon is or what it looks like and discover it when they see the Dragon Banner.
They are mentioned, but even in the Age of Legends they only had very faint records, and only knew them as fierce and powerful creatures covered in scales, hence Lews Therin being called the Dragon. Only that they did exist, but it was from a previous turning of the wheel and several ages had past between, further distorting their history. By modern times they're even less known.
A modified yin-yang, without the circle of the opposing colour at the centers of each side, is the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. The white, female portion points up and is now called the Flame of Tar Valon by itself. The black, male side points down and is known in modern times as the Dragon's Fang by itself. The gender association is reversed from the actual taijitu, most likely to support the taint of the male half.
The familiar dots are missing in order to illustrate the current disunity between male and female channelers, to outline that only by working together can harmony be achieved.
Played for laughs in early books, such as how at various times, each of the three male main protagonists would each find themselves in a socially awkward situation and wish one of the other two were there, because they know how to talk to women better.
During the fourth through sixth books, different protagonists each captured one of the Forsaken so they could learn long-lost methods of using the One Power. They both tried to keep it a secret, and both worried about someone finding out long after the respective Forsaken were out of the picture, never knowing that someone else had done the same thing and therefore wouldn't be in any position to criticize.
During a succession crisis caused by the heir's disappearance, Elaida had a vision that the ruling house of Andor would be key to winning The Last Battle. This led her to ingratiate herself to the new queen as an adviser as soon as the succession's outcome was clear, and try to keep her powerful daughter Elayne on a short leash. It never occurred to Elaida to wonder about Tigraine, the heir that had disappeared.
Elaida has a foretelling shortly after she usurps the Amyrlin Seat. She sees that the White Tower will be whole again that Rand will face the anger of the Amyrlin. She egotistically assumes it can only mean her when in fact all she does is further break both the White Tower and Rand which unintentionally sets up the challenges that provide Egwene with the strength and opportunity to overthrow her and make herself the best Amyrlin ever.
Faile originally joined up with the heroes by claiming to be a Hunter for the Horn of Valere. Guess who's put in charge of delivering the Horn to the Final Battle? She even lampshades the irony when she picks it up at Tar Valon.
Dream Land - World of Dreams, Tel'aran'rhiod. It can even be entered physically, not just mentally, but doing that horrifies the Aiel dreamwalkers for supposedly fragmenting the soul. The whole World has its own set of fairly complex rules that govern what is and isn't possible. Most pertinently, though, Your Mind Makes It Real.
Rand's dreams in The Eye of the World were similar; Ba'alzamon was probably pulling him into the World of Dreams.
The Wolf Dream that, well, of which wolves dream and where their souls go after death, is actually Tel'aran'rhiod as well. This enables Perrin to run around in it.
Dream Within a Dream - Thanks to the World of Dreams. At one point, Egwene is forcibly yanked awake by her dreamwalker teacher who admonishes her for breaking a rule and then turns into a monster. Egwene wakes up a second time to the exact same setting, but this time she's really awake.
Aran'gar and Delana at the start of book thirteen.
What Mat does to Couladin in book 5.
The death of Masema, aka The Prophet, a villain who's been causing trouble for several books. We're denied a direct confrontation as part of a cliff hanger, only to have him suddenly and unceremoniously offed in the prologue of the next book.
Padan Fain. Dear Creator, Padan Fain. Books 1-13 slowly transform him into a terrifying villain with a lot of power, not a shred of morals, and a potential candidate for the biggest bad of the series, to the point where he could threaten the Dark One itself. Book 14? Doesn't appear AT ALL until there's roughly 50 pages left in the book, and is IMMEDIATELY killed by Mat not 2 pages later without accomplishing a damn thing.
In one regrettable instance, we don't learn about it until after the fact.
Dug Too Deep - The Bore which released the Dark One during the Age of Legends. Definitely too deep in this case, seeing as how they managed to drill through the fabric of reality itself.
Dying Moment of Awesome - Egwene discovers a very powerful weave, powerful enough to stop balefire, and promptly uses it to make herself go nova, turning herself and all the dreadlords at the last battle into crystal
Early Installment Weirdness: The first books are more adventure-oriented, with a tighter cast who spends most of their time traveling from place to place pursuing singular goals. Later on, the setting widens, becomes more political, introduces Loads and Loads of Characters, and the rediscovery of Traveling makes journeys largely trivial. Moreover, the magic system isn't really codified until the third book and after, with channelers giving extremely vague descriptions of what they're doing, and Moiraine in particular pulls a lot of tricks that don't reappear later, or are claimed to be extremely rare or difficult.
Earth All Along: It's implied in the books and confirmed by Robert Jordan that the First Age, which took place before the Age of Legends, was our present day world.
The references to the giants "Mosk and Merk" who fought with spears of fire that reached around the world was the US and Russia.
The story of "Lenn" who rode to the moon in the belly of an eagle was a reference to John Glenn, merged with LEM (lunar module). Similarly, Salya is a corruption of Sally Ride.
While visiting a museum with First-Age artifacts, the characters find a skeleton of a giraffe and a frieze of other extinct animals, as well as a Mercedes-Benz logo.
Elsbet, queen of the world probably represents Queen Elizabeth I.
Materese the Healer, Mother of the Wondrous Ind, as Mother Theresa.
Ghoetam under the tree of life is Gautama Buddha.
Elective Monarchy: It's mentioned in The Eye of the World that the kings of Malkier were chosen by the Great Lords, and indeed one candidate losing by just two votes helped lead to its downfall, since he then tried to take over by force.
As well, when the succession of the throne is unclear, the crown goes to whichever of the most powerful noble houses can get the backing of the other houses. This has led to at least a few succession crises when the houses were in a deadlock.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: In Towers of Midnight, Rand's presence actively negates the Dark One's touch around him due to the Light using him as a conduit to preserve balance, the Dark One causing all of the evil coincidences he would normally create as well. It is almost impossible for other characters to act against his wishes at certain times due to the ta'veren effect. He's about as powerful as an army of channelers. Massive displays of his power drive Darkfriends insane. It's still barely enough to keep the world from falling apart, even with help. In A Memory of Light, meanwhile, he ultimately uses the One Power in its purest form of Light itself to seal away the Dark One once more.
Egwene's discovery of The Flame of Tar'Valon, a weave that directly counters Balefire, just in time to stop Taim's rampage during the Last Battle
And Perrin also learns How to shift between the waking world and the dream world, allowing him to utterly crush Slayer.
The Empire: The Seanchan Empire, whose chief weapons include magical slavery, secret police, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Empress, and nice coleopteroid helmets (and surprise).
Shara is also an Empire, though the secretive nature of its people makes it difficult to guess how well it fits this trope.
Endless Winter: Played straight in the first book, then inverted. The Dark One uses his influence to make it eternal summer in order to burn out the world and kill the plants with heat. To counter this, the main characters seek and eventually find an object that controls the weather and use it to start winter. In order to balance things, they have to make the winter much harsher and longer than usual. Famine becomes a major problem.
Played fairly straight in the first installment in the series, where it's not the dead of winter, but spring/the growing season doesn't truly come until Rand defeats the The Dark One in psychic combat and lessens his influence on the world.
The End of the World as We Know It: The series is building up to it... And the major players, especially Rand, seem dead set on causing it regardless. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. The War of Power and subsequent Breaking of the World wiped out civilization and nearly mankind altogether, the Trolloc Wars nearly depopulated all lands west of the Spine of the World, and the War of the Hundred Years destroyed Artur Hawkwing's Empire.
Enemy Within: Encroaching madness caused by the taint on saidin, and the VOICES in MY HEAD that will NOT SHUT UP! WHY WILL THE DEAD NOT BE SILENT?!
Erotic Dream: A few. Due to the nature of dreams in the series, these can be much more real than usual...as Egwene finds out when she tries spying on Gawyn's dream at one point.
Rand has a recurring version involving himself going skinny dipping in a secluded area of the Two Rivers with one (or more) of Elayne, Aviendha, and Min. As he is still in Celibate Hero mode at this point, these dreams are mostly a source of confusion and angst. Especially once Lanfear decides to invite herself...
In The Gathering Storm: I dare the truth, Elaida. You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you. In A Memory of Light: (to Fortuona, Empress of the Seanchan) Then I will speak with you directly as well. For the Amyrlin judges many trials. She must be able to speak to murderers and rapists in order to pass sentence upon them. I think that you would be at home in their company, though I suspect they would find you nauseating.
Evil Chancellor - After the split of the White Tower, the official second-in-commands of the Tar Valon as well as the Rebel Aes Sedai, Keepers of the Chronicles Alviarin and Sheriam, are both Darkfriends, and each raised their Amyrlin - an unstable fool and a child who had only just joined the tower, respectively - to weaken the Aes Sedai and manipulate them as their puppets. However, both fail spectacularly in their own way and end up losing all of their influence long before they are discovered.
Fain also was an evil chancellor to several leaders. Like Elaida and Pedron Niall, as well as Toram Riatin. He has a penchant for advising rulers due to his merge with Mordeth, who was advisor to King Balwen Mayel of Aridhol and encouraged the king to employ methods of the Shadow to fight the Shadow, therefore giving 'accidentally evil' council.
There's also Rahvin, who posed as Lord Gaebril and manipulated Queen Morgase via Compulsion.
Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs and wolves alike are sensitive to shadowspawn, and will usually take great risks to kill them. Moreover, they can also sense women who can channel, and are extremely wary of such. See also Cats Are Magic.
Evil Feels Good: The effect that THE DARK ONE'S VOICE AND PRESENCE appears to have on humans, oftentimes likened to an ecstatic state by the Chosen Forsaken. Go Light! As of book thirteen this is also revealed to be the case for anyone who channels the True Power.
Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Trollocs have an extremely morbid and cruel sense of humor. Myrddraal do not have a sense of humor, yet Shaidar Haran has an extremly cruel one.
Evil Is Petty: Some of the forsaken joined the shadow for the promise of wealth, power, or long life, but others... did not have so high a reason. Asmodean wanted to be the greatest musician, Mesaana was refused professorship at a university and told to think about becoming a teacher, and Sammael, Demandred, and Be'lal even though they already had great power and prestige, turned to the shadow because they weren't as powerful or well known as Lews Therein.
Evil Sorcerer: The Forsaken. To an extent (of lesser importance), the Black Ajah (which doesn't exist...).
Evil Versus Evil - The Dark One and his forces are in conflict with Shadar Logoth, an ancient evil that was formed when Followers of the Light decided to fight the Shadow by adopting its policies of harshness and cruelty. This becomes a major plot point in Winter's Heart when Rand cleanses the Dark One's taint on saidin by funneling it into Shadar Logoth, which causes a spectacular black Sphere of Destruction.
Exact Words: How the Aes Sedai get around The First Oath. Because of this, they have gained a reputation for twisting the truth. It is said that an Aes Sedai will always tell you the truth, but not necessarily the truth you hear in the words.
At the end of AMOL when Nynaeve is questioning Aviendha about her apparent lack of concern over Rand's death, she says; "He that was wounded has woken from the dream, It is as all must do. His death was achieved in greatness, and he will be celebrated in greatness." While it may apppear on the surface that she is talking about Rand, she is actually talking about Moridin. He was wounded by being shunted into Rand's dying body and while his death is a great achievement, he will be still be celebrated because everyone believes he is Rand.
Exotic Extended Marriage: The Aiel, who sometimes practice two-wife polygyny, have these. In addition to the man marrying each woman, they must be sisters. If they aren't already by blood, they become so via a magical rebirthing ceremony.
Also potentially the future for Rand, Elayne, Aviendha, and Min. During the bonding scene in book 9, the three women all mention their desire to marry Rand, though it doesn't come up again. Whether they eventually go through with some sort of marriage(s) in the future, or are content to remain more informally polyamorous, is left ambiguous at the end of the series.
Exponential Plot Delay: To the point that you could go for a book without seeing one of the three male leads. The pace has since picked up since the Robert Jordan died(though given that there was only supposed to be one book left, that may be coincidence).
Exploited Immunity: The night Mat first discovers he's Born Lucky, he's attacked by a gang of assassins, and in a reckless move hurls himself off a bridge along with one of them, trusting his luck to save him. The assassin breaks his fall and he waltzes off unharmed.
Rand and some of the male Forsaken use tel'aran'rhiod – the World of Dreams - for this, taking the risk of entering in the flesh rather than just as a dream. During his battles with Ishmael/Ba'alzamon and Rahvin this allows it to act as a Phantom Zone, protecting the real world from the destruction of their weaves.
The Ways are a Portal Network linking all of the major ancient cities. They consist of a half-world full of an artificially grown maze of bridges; travelling on these allows you to compress a journey of weeks into days. Since the Breaking, these have become corrupted and unstable; used by Trollocks and haunted by the Black Wind.
Unlike Travelling, Skimming works in this way. The gateways lead to the Void Between the Worlds which you travel through on a magically created platform. After an arbitrary period of time – measured in minutes or sometimes hours – the platform stops and another gateway forms, leading to your destination.
In an unintentional example in The Great Hunt Rand, Loial and Hurin get separated from the rest of their group, Rand's saidin accidentally activating a nearby pillar stone and sending them to a mostly empty alternate reality. Thanks to Hurin's supernatural ability to smell violence they are able to continue following their quarry's path in the 'real' world; they eventually manage to find and control another pillar stone, returning to their reality several days ahead of their quarry and the rest of their group.
The Eyes Have It: The bubble of evil in The Shadow Rising has Mat fighting playing cards which seem to come to life, including an Amyrlin Seat with a dagger.
Eye Scream: Mat's prophecy of "giving up half the light of the world" turns out to mean having his left eye ripped out.
In a more minor example, the Aiel who goes into Rhuidean before Rand is so unable to deal with with what he sees there that he ends up ripping out his own eyes.
Face Your Fears: The White Tower test to become Accepted requires going through a ter'angreal that makes you do this three times.
Failure Is the Only Option - The cycle of ages (the top theme in the series) cannot be broken except by the Dark One's victory; at best the good guys can only reseal the Dark One until the next Age of Legends, where he will break free again and so forth. Considering all the crap the Dragon has to go through, he certainly got the raw deal, there; Rand nearly unmakes reality himself out of despair over this. Rand somehow plans to fight fate and kill the Dark One, as remote a possibility as that seems. However, it is strongly implied that even if the bad guys do win, the cycle of ages will just repeat anyways (and that they have won many times before).
Ishamael claims that the Dark One has killed or turned the Light's champion before, but this time, for unknown reasons, it's for keeps. Though he might be lying.
Word of God specifically says he was lying. At one of the last conventions Robert Jordan was able to attend, someone brought that up as a question at a Q&A panel and his response was "And you believed him?"
Fair Folk - Aes Sedai derives from the aes sídhe of Irish folklore. And like fairies Aes Sedai have magic powers, and though they Cannot Tell a Lie have a reputation for being deceptive.
The Aelfinn/Eelfinn also draw strongly from the Seelie/Unseelie Fair Folk.
Rand in the last book, by means of a body swap with Moridin.
Famed In-Story: Lots, of whom the only one alive at the time of the series is Jain Farstrider. Being one of these seems to be the primary qualification for becoming one of the Heroes of the Horn.
Fan Speak - RAFO, meaning "Read and Find Out!" the answer often affectionately given to fans asking cryptic questions of the author. In fact, there's even a fan site named after that.
Fantastic Honorifics: Aes Sedai always have "Sedai" fixed onto the ends of their names after being raised to the shawl, since "Aes Sedai" roughly translates to "Servants Of All" the honorific most likely translate to "Moiraine The Servant" or something similar.
Fantastic Nuke: Many and varied. Cities were wiped out in the War of Power by balefire, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Rand manages to wipe out most of a 15,000 man Seanchan army with fire and lightning in The Path of Daggers but nearly loses his mind in the attempt. In Winter's Heart, Shadar Logoth gets destroyed when Rand and Nynaeve channel the taint on Saidin into it, cleansing it of the Dark One's touch. Manetheren's capital city was annihilated when its queen Eldrene destroyed the Trolloc army with a sa'angreal but destroyed herself and everything around her in the process. Rand also pulls one off, when in Book 13 he single-handedly obliterated a hundred thousand Shadowspawn or more, almost triggering a showdown with the Dark One right then from the display of power. Unmaking a weave caused an explosion so spectacular that a magic-wielding empire and the Dark One's Dragon both crap their pants upon witnessing it.
Fantasy Contraception: In book nine, we learn that there's a sort of tea (heartleaf) that apparently acts as a fairly reliable contraceptive. Slightly subverted in that we learn this right as Elayne gets a little too distracted to remember to take it. However, while the resulting pregnancy is unplanned, she doesn't seem to mind much.
Actually played sort of straight at the same time, as the character who mentions the tea, Min, does so while saying that Elayne "should" be taking it. Considering the fact she and Rand have been very, very busy for some time and she isn't pregnant yet (at least, that we know of), there is a strong implication that she is taking it.
Fantasy Counterpart Appliance - In the Age of Legends, they had Magitek counterparts for almost everything. Curious, since they seemed to have the technical know-how to make mechanical versions if they had been so inclined.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Lots of them. Andor is essentially a landlocked version of England, having a "Lion Throne" and ruled by a queen. Cairhien and Mayene bear similarities to France (Cairhien has the Sun Throne; Mayener names are reminiscent of French). Arad Doman resembles Arabic countries and Iran. The Aiel are based off the Zulu (spears, tactics), Irish (appearence), and Bedouin tribes(desert dwellers) with a dash of Native American and Japanese and a strong hint of Fremen. Also, Altara is like Italy; Amadicians are like Puritans; Illian like to Greek Mediterranean; Malkier is like Tibet and Nepal; Saldaea and Arafel have influences from Middle Eastern culture and areas around the Black Sea; Seanchan is a mixture of empires (Chinese, Byzantium, Japanese, Persian, Ottoman); Shienar has a mix of Japan and feudal Medieval Europe (knights, chivalry and castles); Tarabon is like to Arabic cultures; Tear like Spain. And those are just the countries that exist in the series' present.
There is a book about the Zulu titled Wash the Spears.
The Da'shain Aiel of the Age of Legends show some similarities to many religious sects, like Amish or Quaker or countless other: both are hereditary pacifist groups distinguished by a particular hair or beard style and by their plain and practical clothing.
Fantasy World Map - The Europe-esque continent which the story revolves around. "The Westlands" is one other term that's thrown around; a third is "the wetlands", which is what the (desert-dwelling) Aiel use to refer to the same area. Also, the Seanchan continent relates to the Americas.
Farm Boy: Rand is the only one who lived and works on a farm— Mat is more a layabout (his father is a horse trader rather than a farmer) and Perrin's more of a blacksmith from a farming village (though his family does own a farm). They all get called this however, especially early on.
Rand is specifically a "sheepherder," ie a shepherd. Lan, in particular, is fond of calling him this.
Getting gentled/stilled/severed. Cut off from the Power, that is: channelers are evidently as good as addicted to its wholesomeness.
Liandrin, for being too stupid and treacherous, isn't even mentally allowed to be Driven to Suicide (really, she got brainwashed that way), as she's not only forced into servitude but cut off from the Power—though not severed, giving her eternal false hope—indefinitely.
Do not ever, ever let Semirhage get her hands on you. Many of the prisoners taken by the Shadow during the War of Power killed themselves rather than face her. And by "killed themselves," we mean they opened their wrists with their teeth. Or their fingernails.
Also for Galina, who's apparently final fate involves being a broken slave, body and mind, to a sadistic Psycho Lesbian for the rest of her unnaturally long life.
And again, the gholam, dropped into a lightless void... Except that being a construct, it's uncertain in what way it feels the experience. According to Word of God, it died shortly after the fall.
Also Moghedien and Graendal in the last book: collared by the Seanchan and locked into (possibly permanent) Compulsion by an exploding gateway, respectively.
Faustian Rebellion: Lanfear insists she's willing and able to overthrow her master Shai'tan (and then Creator, incidentally) and reign over all creation, if her boyfriend will just play along with her plan for a little while and pledge his allegiance to her dark master—temporarily. Much later, it becomes apparent she meant every word. And might have been right.
Fictionary: The Old Tongue, a big Punctuation Shaker, and an example of the more fragmentary style. One character develops a bad habit of speaking this language without meaning to.
It is at least fairly regular. No one ever translates what Sei'cair means, because we've already seen the Seia Doon, the "Black Eyes," amongst the Aiel; Al'cair'rahienallen, "the Hill of the Golden Dawn" (today shortened to Cairhein); and Al'cair Dal, "the Golden Bowl." The fact that the speaker uses the term to address Lord Perrin Goldeneyes is almost unnecessary.
Final Battle: Tarmon Gai'don. The actual chapter called "The Last Battle" is 202 pages long, which outstrips some novels, and isn't even the entire battle, which lasts another hundred pages.
Tarmon Gai'don is properly a war, with several major battles and a number of minor ones over several weeks. The first strokes fall in book 13, and continue through the last chapter of the next book.
The Final Temptation: When Nynaeve goes through the Aes Sedai's admission test, she finds herself in an illusion where she's in a happy marriage with Lan.
The same thing happens to Moiraine in New Spring, with her father begging her to go to her dying mother.
In book 14, The Dark One offers Rand a "compromise" in which all reality is unmade. Rand considers it. Eventually it's noted that, surprise, the Dark One was lying.
First Episode Spoiler: Rand is the Dragon Reborn. That is the last line of the first book (those exact words, in fact), but the progression towards that revelation is relatively subtle until the last chapter. It is very difficult to discuss any books after the first without mentioning that fact. Also, Padan Fain being a Darkfriend.
First Girl Wins: Played semi-straight with Rand, in that Min is the First Girl he runs into who isn't the victim of his Childhood Marriage Promise; twisted in that she's the last one he realizes he's attracted to; twisted again when someone else seduces him first; twisted even further in that the First Girl he is attracted to besides Egwene is the only one with whom he doesn't do anything because she turns out to be his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend from his previous life and one of the Forsaken. Inverted with Mat and Tuon (Last Girl Wins, in this case). Played fully straight with Perrin and Faile, Lan and Nynaeve, Moiraine and Thom, Siuan and Gareth, and, well, everybody else in the series.
Fisher King: As early as book one, Rand is having dreams of Thom saying that 'the Dragon is one with the land, and the land is one with the Dragon'. While there doesn't seem to be a specific link, the increasing ruin in the world (endless drought —> overly harsh winter —> disease, vermin, and decay —> famine due to poor harvests) does parallel Rand's increasing insanity. But this becomes most obvious in books twelve and thirteen. In The Gathering Storm, after Rand is forced to almost kill Min by Semirhage and then draws on the True Power, he ends up with a dark aura/"warp in the air". End result, everything becomes even more ruined, dead, and horrific wherever he goes, and he no longer has any positive ta'veren effects around him, only the negative. But after his moment on Dragonmount at the end of the book, we find out in Towers of Midnightthat he's gone the opposite direction, bringing life, vitality, and goodness with him, bringing the sun through the endless storm clouds and restoring the land and food, and specifically undoing the ruin he caused in Bandar Eban through the positive results of his Winds of Destiny, Change and the force of his charisma.
Fixing The Game - Mat is occasionally accused of cheating because of his luck. He's so lucky that when he encounters weighted dice, he still wins.
Flaming Sword: Rand's primary early use of the Power, especially when not having a weapon handy, was to make a "sword carved of fire".
Foregone Conclusion: The first paragraph of the first chapter of every book makes it perfectly clear that this story takes place in both an age long past and an age yet to come, and even the title of the series implies that time is cyclical.
In The Dragon Reborn, Perrin takes a break from chasing Rand to go work in a forge for a while. Some people consider it one of Perrin's most defining moments.
He gets another in Towers of Midnight, one that is arguably THE defining moment, since it creates Mah'alleinir, a Power-wrought hammer that is Mjolnir to fulfill the Karaethon Cycle's "when the Wolf King takes up the hammer", via the discovery that one of the Asha'man has the Talent to make Power-wrought weapons.
Forgotten Phlebotinum: After the second book, the Horn of Valere is locked away in Tar Valon, and carefully ignored, though it could be used at any time to gain a strong upper hand against the Dark, with only a mild increase in danger for the one wielding it. Even after the Last Battle begins, no one seems to be in a hurry to deploy it to the field.
Frontline General: Played with: it's repeatedly stated that this is a bad idea, because the general makes of himself a target and if he's killed, his command is going to collapse. However, by dint of bad luck Mat keeps finding himself in the midst of the enemy force, especially if he was trying to lead his army in a retreat at the time (though, thanks to good luck, he then turns those debacles into crushing victories), and other generals have had times when they stay in or near the front lines because of a need to keep communication lines short or just because they just need every man they have.
Full-Name Basis: The Aiel always call outsiders by their full first and last names. In their culture, using a shortened nickname is a sign of great intimacy, usually between lovers, so using only "half" a stranger's name makes them feel weird. Further justified by the fact that instead of last names, the Aiel have a list of affiliations, and so they are unfamiliar with the concept of last names.
Functional Magic: The One Power, which has a myriad of complex rules governing its usage.
Soul Power: Spirit uses this. Use of Spirit also leads to attacks on the power to channel in and of itself. Channeling is even explicitly mentioned to be connected to the soul of the individual explaining why Lanfear's second body as Cyndane is weaker in it after having her ability drained by the Finn.
The Force: The One Power is not only mana, it's the force that turns the Wheel of Time.
Gender-Restricted Ability: There are a great variety of differences between male and female channelers of the One Power, the first being that women draw from the female half saidar, and men draw from its opposite saidin. Women can weave more flows, but men can draw larger quantities of Power. Women create Gateways by making two areas 'similar', whereas men 'forcefully' bore holes into the fabric of space. Female channelers who begin to manipulate the One Power can be seen to glow, but only by other female channelers; men instead feel a tingling feeling when a woman is channeling. In the case of men channeling, a man able to channel get a strong feeling of menace from another man channeling, but women cannot detect a man channeling at all, other than the effects. Even the way you channel is different: women must "surrender to" saidar, while men must "grasp" saidin, and if you try it the other gender's way, you get very dead very quickly. If saidar is tai chi, saidin is shaolin kung fu (or Krav Maga). Or more specifically, Yin and Yang.
Subverted in one case. Linking is a gender-restricted ability itself; only saidar channelers can link together "circles" of casters, whose power adds together, but the maximum number is determined by how many men are included (13 women can link alone, at least one man and 27 can, up to six men and 72 women...with technically no limit on the number of men). However, only one person actually channels in a circle, and in dual-gender circles, that person has to know how to direct both saidar and saidin.
Geometric Magic: All magic is pattern-based, involving the "weaving" of "threads," "strands" or "flows" of the various elements into intricate patterns. (This imagery is an extension of the idea that the Wheel of Time is a spinning wheel or loom.)
Inherent Gift: There are a variety of extremely rare abilities that people can be born with, such as naturally accessing the World of Dreams, talking to wolves, ways of seeing the future, and sensing ta'veren— but despite what some characters believe, these have no connection with the One Power. Many others do however: innate Talents that allow sometimes-subconscious use of the One Power in specific areas that others might find extremely difficult or outright impossible: Healing, predicting the weather, Foretelling, finding ores, comprehension/reconstruction of Lost Technology, etc. And there is a difference between people who can learn to channel and people who have The Gift, and will begin to do it whether they are trained or not.
Magic A Is Magic A: One of the reasons this series is so popular with physicists, chemists and other science-y types is that Power operates on clearly defined rules that (for the most part) don't get broken. When the mains inevitably gain massive amounts of power and ability, it doesn't feel like an Ass Pull so much as simply rediscovering talents lost to the ages. There are also a variety of special rules associated with certain weaves: most forms of Healing consume the body's energy, and the Healee is often ravenous for days afterwards; alternately, Traveling (directly to the location) and Skimming (via hyperspace) both create portals for fast transportation, but require strong familiarity with the departure point and destination, respectively.
Superpower Meltdown: A major risk with channeling, though it's rarely shown. Every channeler has a certain "strength," corresponding to how much of the Power they can draw safely. Go further than that and they might sever themselves. Or render themselves brain-dead. Or kill themselves. Or disintegrate themselves in a Pillar of Light that results in a volcano and a brand-new mountain, called "Dragonmount" because that's where The Dragon killed himself, if there's enough strength. More likely to happen to people who have The Gift but no training. The series does a good job of making The One Power sound dangerous. Lews Therin Telamon, Aginor's first body, and eventually Egwene al'Vere fall victim to this.