Made of Explodium: The Illuminators make fireworks that can, they claim, catch fire if exposed to air. Considered reliable by the Muggles of the book's world, but Mat Cauthon tried cutting one open to see how it was made and the powder inside did not ignite. Played straight in the second book when loose flame ignites an entire bunker full of Illuminator Guild inventory.
It is assumed that the highly secretive Illuminators spread this rumour around to avoid other people figuring out of what they're made. Or that Mat is just that lucky.
Made a Slave: Several characters are made slaves by the Shaido Aiel. Also, the damane.
Mad Scientist: Aginor, a famous biologist in the Age of Legends who turned to the Shadow to gain more freedom in his genetic experiments, having been banned by the Hall of Servants. He created all of the Shadowspawn.
Mage Tower: The Aes Sedai have their White Tower, and the Asha'man later raise a Black Tower as an echo, though it is never shown in the series.
Magical Accessory: Several angreal or ter'angreal take the form of rings or other wearable accessories.
Magic by Any Other Name: The One Power. Implied in Aviendha's future visions that eventually it will start being called "magic" again.
The "magic" of the Seanchan in the bad future is probably Sufficiently Advanced Technology. Nothing that is definitely a use of the One Power is shown, their magic consists of "hiss-staves" that fire what the character thinks are tiny rocks (rifles), lights that don't need any visible fuel (incandescent bulbs or gas lanterns) and conjuring food from nothing (ration packets). Given the recent rapid advances in technology, those don't seem very implausible and the Aiel, now forced to live a primitive lifestyle, don't know the difference.
The Magic Comes Back: Although magic in terms of channeling has been constant, many Talents and weaves have been lost since the Age of Legends, as well as a number of other abilities not directly related to the Power, and the strength and number of Aes Sedai has been in decline for centuries. As of the time of the books, the White Tower enjoys a huge boom in membership, including some novices who are stronger than any woman currently raised to the shawl; old Talents, like ta'veren sight and foretelling, are reappearing; old weaves are rediscovered (mainly by forcing the information from the Forsaken), and a few new ones possibly invented; and people have appeared who have abilities previously unknown, such as aura seers, wolfbrothers, sniffers...
To elaborate, Myrddraal can sense channelers, but they aren't exactly abundant until the end times come along; the Gholam is a immune to magic, making him incredibly dangerous to channelers; Machin Shin is a sentient storm of sorts trapped inside the Ways, attracted to any channeling like a moth to a flame.
Magic Knight: Rand, Lews Therin, the Asha'man and... well, pretty much every male channeler outside the Forsaken. They all carry swords (save the M'Hael), as instructed by Rand, despite being able to explode heads with a thought.
Justified in that there are half a dozen ways to be rendered unable to channel (exhaustion, being shielded by someone more powerful, being shielded by someone less powerful who takes you by surprise, steddings, forkroot), but a sword is theoretically always useful to someone who knows how to use it.
A few of the female channelers could do this too, if so inclined- Aviendha, for instance.
Magic Music: Ogier with a special gift can sing to enhance and influence the growth of trees. In the Age of Legends, humans did something similar, using special songs to make crops grow. These songs still work, and in the last book Rand sings softly to make it appear that he has Fertile Feet.
Magic Staff: Moiraine uses one in the first book. She claims it's an aid to concentration with no powers of its own, but does a number of uncommonly powerful things with it.
Magic Wand: A number of ter'angreal have the shape of a wand or rod, ranging from the dangerously unreliable Balefire Rod to the more utilitarian- but also dangerous, in its way- the Oath Rod. In a more straight example, there's also at least one rod-shaped angreal.
Magitek: Ter'angreal to a limited extent, then and 'now.' One, looked at in passing, seems to be a portable library.
Rand shows signs of this when he's playing the Game of Houses, at some times making controlled reactions that he purposefully knows will screw with his political-savvy comrades' minds. The Forsaken have signs of this as well.
Marry Them All: After trying and largely failing at It's Not You, It's My Enemies and some considerable angst, Rand begins to resign himself to this with his three love interests in Book 9. However, Rand never actually officially marries any of them, at least before the end of the series.
The Masochism Tango: Faile picks fights with Perrin because that's how all Saldaean relationships are expected to work, and she's insulted if he acts like a doormat. There are many other examples, but that is the most overt.
Masquerading As the Unseen: The Forsaken typically wear a cloak of darkness or similar effect while dealing with their minions, partly for intimidation but also to hide the fact that the minion might recognise whatever prominent figure they're pretending to be. Elayne takes advantage of this in the penultimate book to get information out of one of her captives by pretending to be a displeased mistress. However, her lack of knowledge about certain imminent plans allows the captive to catch on pretty quickly.
Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Perrin tells the wolves that Rand was captured in Lord of Chaos, all of the wolves in his communicative range have a collective Oh Crap! moment. And then unanimously pledge to come to his aid.
Matriarchy: Several, running the full spectrum of the trope.
Medieval Stasis: Justified Trope, boring into the Dark One's prison resulted in the destruction of the technologically advanced world of the Age of Legends. And after he was sealed, Ishamael maintained a campaign of periodic trolloc-rampages every time humanity got some peace and unity that might allow them to progress. Given the cyclic nature of the universe, though, this won't last. In the later books, Rand's academies have made versions of the Steam Engine and other advancements, and a version of gunpowder was invented and used to great effect in battle in book 11. There are also hints that this series takes place long after our Earth, through various legends (Mosk and Merk fighting in the sky with lightning referring to Moscow and America fighting the cold war), an artifact or two, and the fact that time is cyclical; as well as the story Egwene mentioned in Book 1 about the man who flew to the moon and back; everything takes place in "an Age yet to come, an Age long past."
In fact, much of the series seems to be in a Renaissance Stasis. Clocks are common, the clothing and societies are more akin to the Renaissance era than the medieval era, literacy is high, and books are abundant. It's more medieval in rural areas, but still feels like a more advanced world than most fantasy settings.
The one area of society that did degrade was warfare, thanks to the Trolloc Wars and the demise of Artur Hawking's empire. When Mat becomes a general and starts raising new armies, he revives a number of strategies and practices that hadn't been seen in centuries.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Compare the amount of time Rand spends angsting about the women who die with the men. Oh and guess of which there are more.
Merlin and Nimue: Moiraine has this relationship early in the series with Rand. In the later books, Cadsuane takes up the older mentor role in Moiraine's place.
Messianic Archetype: Thus far, Rand has acquired two heron brands on his palms (which look very much like red wounds), a spike through his foot, been stabbed (twice) in his gut and wears a 'crown of swords' which look very much like thorns. Did we mention that his "blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul" will be the only thing that can buy mankind's salvation from the Dark One?
And don't you just love the fact that he didn't become "whole" until he climbed a mountain? While doubting himself? And in extreme pain?
It's also worth mentioning that the prophecy specifically predicted that he would be "born of a maiden". Granted, it's not a literal virgin birth (his mother was a maiden of the spear) but still, pretty suggestive.
Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Rand makes some initial attempts to leave the world a better place after everything is settled, as the world (and his state of mind) increasing goes to hell he gave up and determined to just make it to the Last Battle and defeat the Dark One before his foretold death, whatever the cost. After his epiphany on Dragonmount, he realizes it is right to do all he can to help again.
The first notable instance is the Second Battle of Cairhien in the fifth book, in which Rand uses himself, Egwene, and Aviendha as artillery, raining down destruction on the battlefield from an observation tower, while an army of Aiel warriors handle the ground combat.
The Green Ajah of the White Tower, known as the Battle Ajah, is ostensibly an order of military mages, as they prioritize combat magic and are focused on preparing for the prophesied Last Battle. Their order's head is even called the Captain-General. In practice, they're Mildly Military at best, although as the only order which allows members to bond multiple Warders (magically-enhanced bodyguards), those who do can count as officers and support mages in addition to artillery.
The Seanchan have this baked into their entire military. They systematically test all citizens for magical potential and conscript mages to fight as slave soldiers, bound by a magical leash that compels them to obey. They are mostly used as artillery.
This is built into the structure of the Black Tower, which Rand founds to train male mages to help fight the Last Battle. Combat training, both with the One Power and swords, is prioritized, and the first rank of initiates are called Soldiers.
Mindlink Mates: Not every bond is between romantic partners, but of that subset there is, by the end of the series: Rand and his harem, Nynaeve and Lan, Gareth Bryne and Siuan, and Egwene and Gawyn. Special mention goes to Androl and Pevara, who have a double bond that allows them to transmit concrete thoughts as well as feelings and sensations. Also more generally, many of the Green Aes Sedai who only have one Warder, and most of the married Asha'man. The One Power does have its benefits.
And its drawbacks. As Min, Aviendha, and Birgitte found out shortly after Rand's bonding and while he and Elayne were enjoying themselves, if someone you're bonded to is nearby and having sex with someone else, it feels, as Min says, "like peeking through bedcurtains".
Mind Manipulation: Of all sorts. Compulsion can be used subtly or like a hammer. Bonding also comes with varying to no amounts of mind control, though it depends on the user and the situation: Aes Sedai bonding enables a weave that approaches mind control and the Asha'man's "extra bit" bonding permanently compels absolute obedience.
Mind Rape: Padan Fain and Semirhage are both fond of this tactic. The Aes Sedai rites of passage can also qualify; every woman comes out crying about how she hates all Aes Sedai.
Graendal loves Compulsion as well, using it to keep hundreds of slaves and messing them up in the head so much that any attempt to reverse it would cause death or insanity.
The cour'souvra, or mindtrap, becomes this whenever the owner of it uses it to punish the prisoner.
Rahvin could be considered to do a more literal form of this trope, using Compulsion to create a harem of women. It's mentioned in one chapter that he has at least seven in addition to Morgase.
Mirror Match: More or less literally, when a "bubble of evil" spontaneously causes Rand's reflections to jump out of mirrors and fight him to the death. Eventually he starts wising up to the situation and extinguishes his Flaming Sword, causing his reflections to do the same (to their confusion) and making the fight slightly easier.
Mirror Morality Machine: Anybody that can channel the One Power can be Turned by a circle of thirteen Dreadlords and thirteen Myrddraal. Notably, though, this doesn't directly force them to serve the Shadow. People that were extremely loyal to the Light will be extremely loyal to the Shadow, but the Only in It for the Money types still be just as lukewarm in their new allegiance.
Misery Builds Character: Aes Sedai novices are forbidden from using their powers to do chores, first as a safety measure, but secondly out of a belief that menial labor builds character.
The Mole: "Eyes-and-ears" are a major recurring political element, and Darkfriends are everywhere. Spectacularly turned on its head with a double agent in the twelfth book.
A more specific example would be Egwene's 'ferrets': Aes Sedai sent back to the Tower after the split to infiltrate for information and to further Elaida's downfall.
Moment Killer: Hurin inadvertently interrupts a moment between Selene and Rand in the second book. Since "Selene" is actually Lanfear, this is almost certainly for the best.
Mordor: Place where the Bore in the Dark One's prison is most easily sensed. The Pit of Doom. Shayol Ghul. Really unpleasant place. Walled off from the fringes of civilization by a mountain range and the Blight.
More Dakka: Arrows of Fire one of the weaves Rand learns from Lews Therin.
Mouth of Sauron: Shaidar Haran often serves as the mouthpiece of the Dark One.
Muggle Foster Parents: Rand was found by Tam al'Thor on a battlefield, and Tam decided to take him home to his wife Kari to raise as their son. It turns out that Tam isn't completely a muggle. He is a bladesmaster, and teaches Rand a few techniques that help him survive the first couple of books (but never teaches him how to use a sword).
Multi-Melee Master. Juilin Sandar. As a professional thief-catcher (think private investigator/bounty hunter for hire) he usually needs to take armed opponents alive, so his usual weapons are a sword-breaker and cudgel. However, he still carries a sword which comes out in situations when bringing home the bacon becomes less urgent than surviving the fight ahead.
Multistage Battle: Except for "Lord of Chaos", the first nine books all end with one of these.
"The Eye of the World": Rand more-or-less accidentally Travels from one fight to another.
"The Great Hunt": The manysided battle of Falme rages back and forth all over the town.
"The Dragon Reborn": Rand chases Ishamael through the Stone of Tear.
"The Shadow Rising": Rand chases Asmodean through Rhuidean.
"The Fires of Heaven": Rand chases Rahvin through the Royal Palace in Caemlyn.
"Lord of Chaos": Aversion. The Battle of Dumai's Wells start out at the wells and stays there.
"A Crown of Swords": Rand chases Sammael through Illian and Shadar Logoth.
"The Path of Daggers": Rand and the renegade Asha'man chase each other through the Sun Palace in Cairhien.
"Winter's Heart": Rand's allies and enemies sneak around trying to ambush each other in the forests around Shadar Logoth.
Mundane Solution: Channelers are extremely susceptible to forkroot tea; low amounts greatly interfere with channeling, and ordinary servings can knock them out outright. The tea has much less effect on Muggles.
Mundane Utility: Part of the Training from Hell practiced by the Asha'man, who have to do all their chores with the Power: if you can't channel fire, you eat cold food. Their Aes Sedai counterparts do not permit such flippant uses by their trainees. Regardless, considering the huge scope and flexibility of the Power, it's impossible to avoid mundane uses (like channeling blood/water out of clothes) for long.
Mutant Draft Board: The Seanchan enslave all channelers and periodically test all women under a certain age to root out any others who might show up. Before the collars were developed, their lands had been home to constant warring between rival channelers; they react with horror at the thought of such people roaming free in modern times.
Also, the Aes Sedai, but only in the sense that they crush any attempts to abuse channeling or start rival organizations (they're a little unhappy to discover that the Aiel and Sea Folk each have their own). They actually turn a lot of women down for being too old or failing one test or another, as long as they aren't in danger of killing themselves. When Egwene drops these conditions, membership jumps dramatically.
The emotional reunion between Rand and Tam in the following book, where Rand tearfully embraces and begs for his father's forgiveness, finally shows a side of Rand that has not been seen in a very long time.
When Rand and Nynaeve cleanse saidin of the taint every channeller in the world sense it, as shown by reaction shots in Crossroads of Twilight.
In The Gathering Storm, several channelers get a horrified reaction to a "balescream" when Rand uses Choedan Kal to balefire Greandal's castle.
Mat has a sensation of "dice rolling in his head" when appropriately important moments are imminent, which stops when they happen, but he has no idea what to expect. On one occasion the dice stop when he walks into a room, and he flips out and wonders if one of the Forsaken is going to burst from the fireplace or something. Made hilarious on a second read when you know that 1. the dice stopped because one of the women in the room is his future wife, and 2. Incidentally, one of the other women in the room is one of the Forsaken.
Rural belief has it that the local Wisdoms can sense the weather. Nynave turns out to have this Talent, but with a twist. She can sense storms, but in the later books the storms are not literal, they're bad things that are going to happen. She spends a lot of time saying A Storm Is Coming.
My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: The methods of political games between nations generally goes this way. A standout example would be in Book 14, where Rand, taking the assumption that Seanchan should in fact rule the Westlands due to Artur Hawkwing's empire when talking to Empress Fortuona, also says that, considering he had all of the authority and memories of Lews Therin Telamon, and his rule predates Hawkwing's, his actual ownership should be grandfathered in.
Of course, the Forsaken were given those names in scorn because they turned evil. Ishamael, for example, means "Betrayer of Hope" in the in-story extinct language. His original name was the much less intimidating Elan Morin Tedronai. The exception is Lanfear, who chose her own new name. Her old name was Mierin Eronaile, but she doesn't like being called that.
Even some of the names of the good guys are this, particularly for Rand (no matter how "good" they may sound. The Dragon Reborn, Kinslayer, Shadowkiller...)
National Weapon: The Aiel use short-spears and almost nothing else; this is revealed as a plot point in the backstory, as there is a specific reason no Aiel will touch a sword. They will use knives big enough to be short swords.
Shai'tan nearly gets Rand to give up in despair by forcing him to watch the deaths of his friends in The Last Battle, but Egwene gives a him posthumous pep talk that refreshes his Heroic Resolve.
Moridin brings Alanna to Shayol Ghul and planned to use her warder bond with Rand as a trump card. Alanna removes the bond just before dying. Moridin also manages to swipe Callandor from Rand and begins channeling...except that he didn't know it required two female channelers to control it, thus falling for Rand's Batman Gambit and leading to his death.
Demandred utterly wrecks the forces of Light and comes within one final push of winning The Last Battle, but wastes time waiting for Rand to come out and challenge him. Then he gets into a swordfight with Lan and ends up dying before issuing his final orders, thus leaving the forces of the Shadow unorganized and making them easier to defeat. Then the Horn of Valere is sounded, thus giving the armies of the Light the reinforcements and momentum needed to turn the battle.
Moghedien uses her typical strategy of lurking and manipulating others, this time by posing as one of the servants in the Seanchan command post. However, Mat quickly figures out that there's a spy in his immediate proximity. He and Tuon fake a falling out to separate the Seanchan command, thus letting him lead the forces without being compromised while she tries to figure out who the spy is. Thanks to Min's viewings and quick thinking, Moghedien's cover is quickly blown, forcing her to escape and ditch her only strategy. Then she tries to rally the remaining forces of the Shadow by posing as Demandred...until she nearly gets blasted by Talmanes's teleporting cannons. She survives the Last Battle, planning to regain power...until she's captured by the Seanchan.
Lanfear tasks Slayer with assassinating Rand in the cave at Shayol Ghul. Slayer would have easily pulled it off had Perrin not mastered Tel'aran'riod and stopped him. She also helps Perrin multiple times in Tel'aran'rhiod in an attempt to gain his trust. In the climax of the Last Battle, it's revealed that she's had Perrin under Compulsion the entire time and intends to use him to kill Moiraine and wrest Callandor out of Rand's control while he's vulnerable, thus putting her in the position of having Shai'tan and the others at her mercy. However, she didn't consider than Perrin's Undying Loyalty for Faile and his mastery over Tel'aran'rhiod - two of his most enduring qualities late in the series - would give him the power to resist the Compulsion...and break her neck.
Shaisam AKA Padan Fain sweeps over Shayol Ghul and uses its Hate Plague to kill indiscriminately and revive the victims as its own army. Its goal is to consume Rand's soul, which is apparently the strongest in the world. He gets within sight of the cave where Rand is fighting, only for Mat to stop him. Since Mat had contracted and was Healed from the same Hate Plague several books ago, he's completely immune to its effects. Had he not been there, Shaisam would have likely killed everyone.
M'Hael, AKA Taim had the Dark One's Seals in his possession; without breaking them, Rand has no way of permanently defeating Shai'tan. However, he ends up holding the Idiot Ball just long enough for Androl to pickpocket the Seals. He also uses balefire to great effect, but relies on it so much that Egwene is able to come up with a counter spell and kill him off in an epic Beam-O-War.
Aravine manipulates Faile into leading the Horn of Valere convoy through a Gateway and deep into enemy territory at Shayol Ghul. Without the Horn being sounded, the forces of Light wouldn't survive the Last Battle. However, she didn't count on Faile being able to catch up to her on an old farm horse like Bela. And no one counted on Olver - not Mat - being the Hornsounder.
A relatively minor one, but Mellar returns, equipped with a copy of the fox medallion to make him invulnerable to Elayne's spells. He and his men successfully capture Elayne and Birgitte, and Mellar personally stabs and beheads Birgitte while taunting the queen. He and his men come very close to performing a lethal C-section on Elayne in order to steal her unborn children and spread the rumor that she had been killed in combat, thus affecting the armies' morale. However, Olver sounds the Horn of Valere, thus allowing Birgitte to revive just in time to kill Mellar.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nynaeve's attempts to get herself and Elayne out of the menagerie and safely to Salidar cause Samara to explode in riots and countless people to be injured or killed, because she made the mistake of asking both Galad and Masema to help them find a boat, resulting in the Whitecloaks and the Prophet's Dragonsworn battling over it.
"The Strike at Shayol Ghul," a short story by Robert Jordan, describes the efforts to seal the Bore and end the War Against the Shadow at the end of the Age of Legends. Apparently, the original plan of sealing involved twenty thousand soldiers to provide security and a circle of seven female and six male Aes Sedai, who would Travel to Shayol Ghul and implant the seals at focus points, but that was opposed by another member of the Hall of Servants, Latra Posae Decume, for being to risky. The women Aes Sedai favored Decume and the men favored Lews Therin, and communication devolved so much that eventually neither group was speaking to the other, and Lews Therin eventually took himself and the Hundred Companions and a private force to seal the Bore without petitioning the Hall at all. This led to the Taint on saidin and the eventual Breaking of the World... all because neither group would compromise. This ties back to the central theme of trust of the series.
Before Verin went to Tar Valon to betray the Black Ajah to Egwene, an action which she knew would probably require her death, she gave Mat a sealed letter, asking him to obey it if he were to open it, or to wait a certain period of time for her to return and reclaim it. She counted on Mat's powerful curiosity to make him open it within a few days, but underestimated his extreme distrust of Aes Sedai. By the time Olver opens it, the Trolloc army using the waygates to bypass Andor's defenses and take the capital has already arrived, nearly costing the Light to lose at Tarmon Gaidon
Moghedien's freakout in Ebou Dar directly causes Nynaeve to break free of her mental block.
While the villainous bit might be questionable, from the Aes Sedai point of view the Seanchan performed one of these. By ordering a raid on Tar Valon in order to capture as many Marth'Damane as possible, Empress Tuon accidentally resolved a power struggle. This is because during the raid one of the Aes Sedai taken captive was Elaida, the only viable candidate for the Amyrlin Seat, by virtue of being incumbent, besides Egwene.
The Eelfinn gave Mat his ashandarei when they returned him to Rhuidean. This turned out to bethe actual means by which he was released from the Tower of Ghenjei, and is what he then uses to escape when he, Thom, and Noal rescue Moiraine. Mockingly lampshaded by Mat himself.
And, strangely enough, Lan in the early books. In The Dragon Reborn Perrin exasperatedly points out to both of them that he does have a name other than "blacksmith".
Noble Savage: The Aiel...to an extent. By the time of the Shaido defection and after, this characterization is pretty much dropped.
No-One Could Survive That: Subverted or, depending on your point of view, played straight. When Rand finally traps Sammael between balefire and Mashadar, he doesn't manage to see what happened and supposes his target was killed. He was.
No Guy Wants an Amazon: Cited as a reason why Aes Sedai don't marry (the occasional Green aside). Maidens of the Spear, listed above, also seldom marry, though this is more due to the fact that they are obligated to give up the spear if they get married.
Later lampshaded in that a character states that this is bunk... Aiel Wise Women marry on a regular basis, the real problem with Aes Sedai is that they can't lie. "Was it good for you too, honey?" "..."
It also stems from cultural differences. Wise Ones have no stigma about marriage, a good chunk of them can't channel, and Wise Ones aren't prone to flashy displays of the Power, so they don't flaunt the fact that they could handle their husbands like kittens if they felt like it. Aes Sedai, those that aren't man-hating Red Ajah or simply not interested, have a serious ice queen mentality instilled in them for years and do tend to flaunt the Power to emphasize their arguments, so any man who hooked up with an Aes Sedai would have to deal with the fact that his wife's insufferably superior attitude was backed up by the power to tie him in knots without even thinking about it too hard.
Another problem is that any Aes Sedai who marries will outlive her husband. And probably her grandchildren, depending on how old she is when she marries — they usually live for 300ish years.
An Aes Sedai would be lucky to be outlived by their great-grandchildren that are not channelers (they would probably see their (lots of )great-great-great-grandchildren born, channelers or not. There is even an Aes Sedai with little victorian-style ivory profiles of her family (grandmother, mother sisterÉ there are three women there). The character mentioned that the ivory pieces are very old and were probably made after the family members died long before (since she specifically described them from memory to an artist).
No, I Am Behind You: A staple of the duels between Perrin and Slayer, due to their ability at shifting from one place to the other immediately when in Tel'aran'rhiod
No Pregger Sex: An implied aversion in book 14, when Rand visits Elayne during the early parts of the last battle, before he goes to Shayol Ghul, and she's around six months pregnant.
The Nondescript: The Grey Men. They actually possess the power of being easily ignored and forgotten; they even tend to have this power in the text itself, as a single line will be slipped in sideways about a man coming through the door, then two paragraphs later someone will notice, "Oh shit, man with a knife's in the room!"
There's also a minor (human) character who has this quality. He looked so... ordinary that he managed to be an extraordinarily effective pickpocket for twenty years before being caught. Drafted in the Lion Throne subplot, currently works as a spy for Andor's chief clerk.
The Nose Knows: Perrin's sure does. He can tell a person's emotional state, down to individual emotions such as jealousy or annoyance, just by paying attention to the scent of a person's body chemistry.
Nostalgia Filter: Galad's main reason for joining the Children of the Light was that he liked what they originally stood for, notwithstanding how far they had fallen since their founding. Hence his willingness to invoke some of their older traditions such as "Trial Beneath the Light."
Not Distracted by the Sexy: Rand to the extreme. When he's put around a bunch of Aiel women with no sense of privacy, his or theirs, he gets over it. When a political chessmaster sends women to try to seduce him, he makes an intimidating speech and scares them away. When Aviendha strips down in front of him, he looks away. When Min, in a sort of inexperienced seduction attempt, begins planting herself in his lap while he's on his throne, he's still perfectly able to rule (though not without some initial internal discomfort). When Lanfear catches him bathing and grabs him, pressing her nakedness into him while talking about how she's going to do him, he doesn't even flinch.
Much progress considering an earlier book revealed he was raised in a community where kissing was a bit of a big deal. This aspect doesn't remain the same during the series. He ends up having three girlfriends and having sex with all of them.
Not in Front of the Kid: The hardened soldiers of the borderlands have a great deal of respect for Aes Sedai, and really try to watch their language. This causes some of them a great deal of difficulty.
Not So Different: The Red and Green Ajahs. Both have very strong feelings about men (though opposing). Both are dedicated to battle whilst the other Ajahs are more about politics or learning. Both are usually characterised by their arrogant, hot-tempered and not-so-pleasant members. And both of their purposes have a direct link to the fight against the Dark One.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Even if the good guys win the Last Battle, the war will change everything. The Seanchan have reconquered about a third of the Westlands. Their practice of enslaving channelers will either lead to a brutal war between them and the locals. But on the other hand, the protagonists hope that the revelation that sul'dam are all potential damane will upend the Seanchan's own practice of slavery. In addition, long-forgotten uses of the One Power like gateways and many others are returning and getting disseminated. Some completely new things have been discovered as well, including new ways to heal with the One Power, steam engines, and the idea of using gunpowder as a weapon.
Invoked in-universe: Aviendha was the first person to take the test of a Wise One since Rand revealed the Aiel's history, and she inadvertently changed the ceremony: in addition to seeing her people's past, she saw the future of her people, and it's a veryBad Future. In the last book, however, this Bad Future has probably been averted by the fact that the Aiel were included in the Dragon's Peace as warrantors of the Peace itself, with the power to immediately summon the other people of Randland if the peace is broken (hence, having the strength to resist the Seanchan in case of war).The visions showed what would happen if the Aiel were not included in the Dragon's Peace.
And simply put, The Dragon Reborn is a man who can channel. He will go insane and perpetrate World Sundering, unless (by some mercy) he manages to not survive the Last Battle. Winning will be better than losing, but not by much. Or so it's believed prior to Winter's Heart... and even after that, by many who simply deny the results of the events of that book.
No Warping Zone: The thirteenth book introduces the "dreamspike" artifact, which blocks the creation of gateways within a large radius of its position, including ones inbound from outside the area of effect. In the Dream World, it visibly manifests as a spherical, semipermeable barrier of similar effect, except that teleportation is still possible between between two points inside the barrier.
Numerological Motif: Seven Cosmic Keystones, thirteen Forsaken. Thirteen is also the maximum number of participants in a female-only circle; such a circle has guaranteed success in cutting off a channeler from the source, regardless of individual strengths. Thirteen Black Ajah working through thirteen Fades can forcibly turn a channeler to the dark side. The thirteenth repository contains the secret histories of the White Tower (including the law forbidding telling most sisters about them).
Obfuscating Stupidity: Verin, above all others. Eleven books of unusual behavior (including chapters from her own POV) and we didn't find out until the twelfth that she was a Black Ajah double agent who had dedicated her entire life to uncovering the members, workings, and secrets of the Black Ajah. Cue the Crowning Moment of Awesome when she fatally poisonsherself in order to betray the Black Ajah to Egwene, who subsequently purges the Black from the ranks of Aes Sedai once and for all.
A lot of people assume this is the case with Perrin. In reality, he tends to be rather straightforward since he isn't used to being a Lord so he more or less makes it up as he goes along. Far from being stupid, he just figures out what he need to do and heads straight for it surprising people assuming he's up to something sneaky.
The first book reveals that his seeming slowness is actually a pronounced habit of always thinking before he acts; since, being The Big Guy, he learned at an early age that he can easily hurt someone if he acts rashly.
High Lord Weiramon being revealed as a darkfriend gives fuel to the common fan theory that some of his bumbling was actually sabotage in disguise.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The way that Sanderson had to condense the final conclusion to a legendary Kudzu Plot into A Memory Of Light caused a few of these, sadly. The epic speech from Loial to the Ogier Stump that convinced the Ogier to rise up and fight in the Last Battle is one; many people also felt that the conversation between Tuon and Artur Hawkwing was another.
Oh Crap!: Be'lal and Asmodean, along with several others.
It's tough to tell with a book, but Mat's reaction at the Tower of Ghenjei, when he realized he got the EELFINN to not chase him and try to kill him, but forgot to mention the AELFINN absolutely had to be this
Semirhage also got one just before she died
The gholam has a very satisfying one right before it is dropped off a skimming platform
Moghedien undoubtedly gets one after Nynaeve figures out her identity and taunts her about it: "You knew Birgitte was not dead. You knew who Faolain is. And you knew who Siuan is, that she used to be the Amyrlin Seat. I've never mentioned that in Tel'aran'rhiod. Never. I'll see you very shortly. In Salidar."
Oh My Gods!: 'By the Light', or, more commonly, just 'Light.' Darkfriends get to swear by the Great Lord of the Dark and such. Starting in the Sanderson books the phrase 'Darkness within!' gets used.
Older Than They Look: Aes Sedai have a characteristic "ageless" face, which it later emerges is not due to their channelling (although that is responsible for their long life) but an effect of the Oath Rod. Channelers who have not sworn on the Oath Rod simply age far more slowly as well as living longer than Aes Sedai and look middle-aged while being multiple centuries old.
This is also sort of inverted in that the prequel New Spring reveals that several prominent Aes Sedai whom the reader might have assumed to be older, such as Moiraine, Siuan and Sheriam, are actually only in their forties during the main story.
Once an Episode: Every book starts with a paragraph that is some variation on the following:
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend Fades to Myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in [insert place name here]. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
(Which is why it used to be the page quote.)
A variation is also the very last paragraph of A Memory of Light, making this the Bookends passage as well.
One Steve Limit: Despite Loads and Loads of Characters, there are few or no identical names. There are still some characters with similar sounding names, though. The most prominent example would be Demandred (the name of one of the Chosen/Forsaken) and Damodred (the family name of Galad and his father, Taringail).
Our Dragons Are Different: And how. "The Dragon Reborn" is just the fantasy world's equivalent of "The Chosen One." Beyond that, the only evidence we see of dragons is stereotypical stylized lizards on banners and tatooed on people's arms.
it get mentioned that the flying lizards "resemble the dragon banner" Rand uses.
Notably, in the fourth book we see Rand figuring out what the Prophecies mean about receiving two dragon marks. He didn't even know what a dragon was; he had to connect the dots between the creature on the Dragon banner and the same creature being on the Aiel tattoos.
Ouroboros: Aes Sedai's ring. A variation is seen in the series symbol at the top of the page, combining the Ouroboros with a lemniscate.
Our Werewolves Are Different: 'Wolfbrothers' can communicate telepathically with wolves, developing greatly enhanced senses and golden eyes. They are also prone to acquiring wolf instincts and, in some cases, completely losing touch with their humanity, becoming essentially wolves trapped in human bodies. Just an old legend, of course.
Outside-Context Villain: The Sharans in the last book; the protagonists know nothing whatsoever about them, and the reader has only the tiniest inkling of what they're like (mostly small bits of foreshadowing). They just suddenly appear and start dealing massive damage to the armies of the Light.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Many characters, but special mention must go to Perrin and Mat. Both are ta'veren, but in the face of who and what Rand is, their importance is relatively ignored by everyone... Except the force of the Shadow, who are gunning after those two almost as hard as they're going after Rand. Its not until later on that their importance is recognized by the forces of the Light.
Papa Wolf: Tam al'Thor certainly invokes this trope in Gathering Storm, furiously confronting and demanding to know what Cadsuane has done to Rand to make him react so violently.
Pater Familicide: Lews Therin Telamon, "the one called Dragon," stepped over the edge of sanity in spectacular fashion: by killing everyone he ever loved, everyone who ever loved him, everyone who shared even a drop of his blood. This is why he is known in legend as "Kinslayer."
People of Hair Color: Applies to most of the main continent: the Borderlands, Andor, Cairhien, Tar Valon, Far Madding, Mayene, Ghealdan, Amadicia, northern Altara, Tuatha'an, Aiel. Exceptions being Seanchan, Sea Folk, Shara, Arad Doman, Tarabon, southern Altara, Tear, Illian.
Perception Filter: The Grey Men, supreme assassins and masters of fading into the background even right next to you, the latter explained as a consequence of losing their souls.
Perpetual Storm: The Dark One's center of power, the mountain Shayol Ghul, is covered with perpetual stormclouds, complete with lightnings that strike upward from the ground, to signify its status as an Eldritch Location.
Characters are fond of saying A Storm Is Coming, and in the penultimate book, this literally happens, a layer of silver-and-black clouds that cover the entire planet, though actual precipitation is sparse.
As of Towers of Midnight, Rand may not even need angreal or sa'angreal anymore, except to fulfill various prophecies when they pop... as they always do.
The Philosopher: Ishamael, who in his saner moments constantly broods over the endless cycle of the Dark One trying to break free, in a Genre Savvy way. Not that any of the other Forsaken believe him. Rand also becomes this in Books 13 and 14.
Please Put Some Clothes On: Aviendha deliberately changes clothes and strips herself in Rand's presence to freak him out. Eventually, Rand runs out of patience with this and pointedly looks her up and down, whereupon she remembers her modesty and quickly dresses herself.
Pre-Climax Climax: Happens a few times in the final book. Explicitly invoked by Aviendha when she's talking to Elayne about going to Rand. Also implied to occur later with Elayne herself when Rand visits her command HQ.
Polyamory: Rand's relationships with Min, Aviendha, and Elayne certainly count. This custom is not entirely unheard of with the Aiel, who are his ancestors, so it's not surprising. It is not uncommon in Aiel society for one person to marry two other people who are already de facto married (although there don't appear to be any other examples in the text of one person marrying three different people).
Implied to happen at least occasionally with members of the Green Ajah.
Poor Communication Kills: Especially (but not exclusively) between the genders. It is one of Jordan's many pet topics that men and women allegedly cannot communicate and can never learn it.
It goes far beyond this. Most of the plot would be resolved almost instantly if Rand would talk just once to his boyhood friends and compare notes about what's going on. Instead, all three of the principles steadfastly avoid one another, apparently because they don't want to be bothersome. Putzes.
One of the major themes across the books. You can want to help and serve goodness and fight evil all you like, but unless you're willing to trust other people and treat them like allies instead of victims, enemies, hindrances, and the distressed in need of salvation (whether they like it or not), you might as well be actively serving evil and destruction for all the good you actually end up doing. On the few occasions when the characters, major or otherwise, do actually talk honestly to one another, it tends to pay off in spades. Honestly, it isn't a bad message, but it does suffer from Author Tract and too much time taken to get to the "payoff" bits for this lesson. Shockingly, this mostly goes away as of book 12. As soon as Sanderson takes over as author, people start talking to each other, and TONS of long-dangling plots start to make real progress.
The world at large is filled with cross-cultural miscommunication. Aiel (Shaido and non-Shaido), Andorans (Andorans proper and Two Rivers folk), Tairens and Illianers, Taraboners and Domani, Andorans and Cairhienin, Tairens and Mayeners... even with a common language, it's a wonder anyone knows what anyone says ever.
It should be noted that Jordan intended there to be only one more book (which got split into thirds) which would tie up most of the major plot threads, and that while Sanderson has had to write much of the dialogue and narrative, all the major plot points were outlined and mapped out in great detail for him. So clearly Jordan intended the characters to start communicating properly and get plots resolved at this point. The fandom can be forgiven for believing this is all Sanderson's doing, though, thanks to Jordan's previoustrackrecord.
Portal Cut: 'Travelling' can kill whoever is unlucky enough to be where the exit portal is opened as the edge is sharper than a razor.
One character, who otherwise sucks at using saidin, has a gift with Travelling, and manages to weaponize the portal cut to great effect.
Posthumous Character: Many, as you'd expect in a series with Loads and Loads of Characters and Reincarnation, but Gitara Moroso stands out. She gave at least two or three Foretellings that set the stage for the whole series. Gitara is probably in the top three most important characters born in the three thousand years before the story starts.
Power High: The One Power is so addictive that most channelers who lose the ability to channel die of despair within a year or two. The True Power, the Power supplied by the Dark One to his favoured minions, is even more addictive.
Power Levels: Nothing so obtuse as a numerical system is employed, but there is a strict pecking order of which characters are stronger in the Power than others. This is not explicitly laid out in the series, except when one character meets another and remarks how much stronger they are. The difference goes a long way to determining who has the advantage in a duel. There's also an established pecking order for swordsmen, which becomes important in the last book when Demandred fights the top tier in ascending order except for Rand, the one he really wanted to fight.
Power Perversion Potential: You name it. The Warder bonding process mentioned above is just scratching the surface, granting each person a constant view of the other's physical and mental state and also varying levels of mind control. And then there's Compulsion — more simply, mind control — which at least two bad guys use freely and recreationally. And then there's the a'dams, which are used to keep magic-users enslaved and can induce any desired sensation at all, pain or pleasure.
The potential of the Warder bond is mentioned explicitly in the books, with several characters noting how wonderful it is to feel their significant others' love for them through their empathic bond. And how exhilarating it is to feel the lust...
Power Strain Blackout: Physical exhaustion is the main symptom of overchanneling, even to the point of unconsciousness.
Power Trio: In typical Fantasy fashion, the three boys even each wielded a sword, a bow, and an axe as they left their hometown.
The main female characters also form their own across a few books though like the boys they eventually get split up.
Print Long-Runners: The first book came out in 1990. That's fourteen books in twenty-two years (fifteen if you count the prequel).
Promotion, Not Punishment: When Egwene is formally raised Amyrlin – for the second time – her first act is to call Silviana before her. Everyone thinks that it is to personally punish her for the punishment beatings she administered to Egwene during her capture. Egwene chides the others for thinking that of her, and instead commends Silviana for doing her duty – and later speaking out against Elaida further mistreatment of her – and makes her her Keeper. This goes a long way towards healing the rifts both between the Tower and rebel Aes Sedai, and the Red and other Ahjas.
Prophecies Are Always Right: This series is one of the few in speculative fiction in which prophecy is extremely nebulous, and following it to the letter is sometimes not the right thing to do at all. All prophecies are eventually proven accurate, but most cannot be correctly interpreted until after they are fulfilled. Attempts to force them into a particular interpretation can backfire. Horribly.
Prophecy Pileup: Rand al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn who must follow the (fragmented) Prophecies of the Dragon. He is also the Dragon Reborn to the Seanchan who follow a different version of the prophecy, the Car’a’carn who will lead and destroy and save the Aiel people, and the Coramoor to the Sea Folk. In addition, his actions (and even his birth) tie in to various Aes Sedai Foretellings and he manages to fulfil other prophecies such as the ‘end of the time of illusions’ for people on Tremalking.
Prophecy Twist: Many. See above. Nearly every prophecy (and there are quite a few) gets interpreted in several different ways before it comes to pass, meaning that it's always a twist for someone.
One of the prophecies of the Dragon mentions him wearing "A Crown of Swords". Readers generally took this to mean his reign would be a militaristic, brutal dictatorship, but by the end of the book it is revealed that the prophecy was literal - a country in which the traditional crown has small, ceremonial swords on it.
Elaida's prophecy that "The black tower will be rent in fire, and sisters shall walk inside its walls. The Dragon shall face the Amyrlin Seat, and he shall know her anger." Well, sisters have walked inside the Black Tower's walls - as prisoners. The "rent in fire" bit may be caused by infighting amongst the Asha'man, instead of Elaida's strike force. And the Amyrlin referred to in the last part is not named after all: she turns out to be Egwene, the legitimate Amyrlin, and not Elaida In fact, Elaida has an excellent track record of misinterpreting her own prophecies. Every prophecy she makes is an example of this, really.
One particularly version was Elaida's prophecy that the royal house of Andor would be key to winning the Last Battle. This led her to serve as advisor to the ruler and keep the Daughter-Heir on the short leash. However, the woman who was heir to the throne when Elaida made that prophecy vanished without a trace, and only Rand and the reader knows what happened to her: she went to the Aiel Waste and, years later, gave birth to the Chosen One. Elaida and Elayne would both have had much easier lives if Elaida had known about that... It gets better. Why did the woman who was heir to the throne vanish? Because Gitara's prophecy told her to get out of Dodge.
A few in A Memory of Light.In the Prophecies of the Shadow, Graendal thinks she reads that Perrin will die and signal the despair of mankind. However, Hopper is "the Broken Wolf", and Demandred is the one whose death causes despair to mankind... to the Sharans under his command, and not mankind as a whole. On another front, we have Rand's death. He does bleed on Shayol Ghul from his side wounds when they open up due to surrounding corruption, but while his body dies, he invokes a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Moridin, taking Moridin's body while his own dies with Moridin, which is subsequently burned on a funeral pyre.
A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: The three ta'veren, especially the Dragon Reborn. Also, Egwene al'Vere. There are other more minor examples, but many of them don't really fit into the realm of "protagonist".
Psychic Link: The Warder bond allows Aes Sedai and Warder to sense each other's emotions, direction, and approximate distance. Inevitably shades over into Mindlink Mates when lovers do this; in fact, some male channelers bond their wives for no other reason. (Deconstructed when Rand, subjected to one, starts getting it on...)
Pevara bonds Androl without his permission, who then returns the favor. This double-bond gives them a far deeper connection, to the point that they have a rough idea of what the other person is thinking. They can even communicate telepathically if the thoughts are simple enough.
Psychic Powers: Mindspeech: Wolves communicate by telepathy with Wolfbrothers, though Wolfbrothers are not telepathic between each other.
Punctuation Shaker: Every word in the Old Tongue seems to have at least one apostrophe, often several. Some words are justified because the Old Tongue is a synthetic language, where smaller words are stuck together into larger ones; for instance, Al'cair'rahienallen, the full name of the city of Cairhein, means "Hill of the Golden Dawn". Other words are... not.
Pure Energy: The titular artifact in The Eye of the World is an ancient well of saidin concentrated into liquid form. Definitely not something you want to fall into. Liquefied evil Pure Energy appears again in Book 9 during the Cleansing of saidin.
Well (pun intended), the Eye is actually a reservoire of untainted saidin. Pure energy indeed.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Myrddraal tend to enjoy raping human women; the results of such unions rarely survive, and thankfully usually the mothers don't either. Using this as a punishment is considered so awful that even Moghedien received sympathy from the readers after undergoing this courtesy of Shaidar Haran. This happened to Graendal (herself a purveyor of Mind Rape via Compulsion) at the end of book thirteen and to Mesaana (who created horrible schools of corrupted children and intended to break Egwene's mind in the World of Dreams) following her failure to appear at the Cleansing, and also to Moghedien (who tortured Nynaeve and tore Birgitte from the World of Dreams so she may never find soulmate Gaidal Cain), which has also elicited some sympathy. Even villains don't deserve such a fate, it seems.
Part of the reason Rahvin and Graendal are so reviled is their tendency to use Compulsion to create sex slaves. Rahvin is explicitly mentioned to have done this to at least eight women in the series, and Graendal is implied to have done it to hundreds. Eamon Valda's abuse and probable rape of Morgase is also part of the reason he is such a repulsive character and ultimately what leads to his death.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Lanfear to the point where even Loial, an Ogier, has trouble keeping his eyes off her. Also Moiraine and Berelain.
Reality Warper: The One Power pretty much does this. The Dark One has an even stronger reality warper.
As of A Memory of Light, post-Last Battle Rand doesn't even need the Power to do this.
Really 700 Years Old: Channellers enjoy a drastically extended lifespan, perhaps influenced by power and usage. The oldest living Aes Sedai—and a powerful one at that—is approximately 300 years old. The oldest living channeler met in the series is about 500. Channellers do not degrade as they age either, their minds and bodies stay strong up until death.
Reincarnation: The Dragon Reborn is the latest reincarnation of the Dragon, who last went insane and incinerated himself a few thousand years ago after resealing the Dark One. Any other humans who become famous heroes also get stuck in a cycle of reincarnation (appearing together if they were together originally) and hang out in the World of Dreams in the meantime. The second book centers around the Horn of Valere, an artifact that can summon all heroes not currently incarnated. The Dark One, being as it is a dark god, can do this to his followers. Actually, every person will eventually be reincarnated by the Pattern after death.
Reincarnation Romance: Gaidal Cain and Birgitte Silverbow are a straight example. Birgitte's ripped-from-the-pattern reincarnation might cause problems for that though.
In Mo L Brigitte's last talk with Elayne she says she's about to be born again. Since she is usually somewhat younger than Gaidal, and she knows he was born again a few books ago, it looks like it's going to work out fine.
Restraining Bolt: The Oath Rod, which enforces the Three Oaths. The end result is Aes Sedai are notorious experts at spin but have their lifespans halved - the Oath Rod originally being used on criminals in the Age of Legends as both punishment and control. Also, a'dam collars, which prevents collared channelers from using their power or engaging in violent actions without permission, among other things.
The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: One of the reasons for the Seanchans' rapid conquests is that they provide order and safety in places like Tarabon, where people are sick and tired of the fighting between the Crown and the rebels and the Dragonsworn and the other rebels and the bandits and the invading neighbors and the Darkfriends.
Riddle for the Ages: A few, especially the mysterious old Aiel woman who appears once in each of the last two books and knows things she shouldn't.
Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Aes Sedai are supposedly united in a single cause, but spend so much time scheming against each other that it almost never happens. Darkfriends have it worse, often directly opposing each other without knowing that they are supposed to be on the same side.
Ripple Effect-Proof Memory - Even if a thing's actions are undone by balefire, everyone's memories remain the same. (Up to and including reviving Character A by balefiring his murderer. Character A does not have memories of having been killed or dead, but Characters B through Etc remember seeing his corpse.) Lampshaded by Moridin in book 12.