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The Wheel Of Time: Tropes S To Z
  • Safety In Indifference: Over the course of the series Rand al'Thor tries to cut himself from all feelings as an attempt to become hard enough to meet his destiny. He gets better.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Perrin, as a Wolfbrother, has a sharper sense of smell, sight and hearing than normal humans, and puts them to good use. There are also type of people called 'sniffers', who function in this capacity for borderland lords; they have an odd innate talent that allows them to "smell" the presence of violence and death.
    • In Fires of Heaven, Gareth Bryne mentions a member of his family, who supposedly could track a falcon's shadow over running water. Said family member never shows up, but Gareth himself counts, as he tracked Siuan, Min, Leane, and Logain over a hefty portion of the continent. And the only reason he caught up to them at all is because the ladies asked for directions once. Siuan was appropriately dumbfounded at hearing this.
  • The Scottish Trope: Sure, saying the Dark One's true name supposedly attracts his attention, but that's just superstition. That really bad stuff happens almost immediately following such incidents is just a coincidence. Not even the Forsaken/Chosen dare to do so, because you can't be too careful when you're working for the Lord of Darkness.
  • Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: The only chance the forces of Light have to survive The Last Battle is to put aside their differences and customs and fight together.
  • Screw You, Elves!:- Rand's character development for at least the first five or six books is basically him losing his patience with the Aes Sedai trying to tell him what to do. The same holds for the other main characters as well to a greater or lesser extent.
    • That's...somewhat of an exaggeration, but not untrue. The Aes Sedai, however, never lose their authority and ability to inspire awe and respect completely and eventually builds it back again.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: The Dark One had a whole army of channelers under his command. The thirteen most powerful of them, called the Forsaken, were at the Bore when Lews Therin and his Hundred Companions sealed the Dark One's prison. The Forsaken were sealed as well and was freed only when the seal against the Dark One's prison weakened enough to allow it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dark One sealed behind the fabric of reality, best accessible from inside Shayol Ghul. The seal on the can has been slowly decaying for centuries, causing the events of the series.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Darkfriends
  • Self-Deprecation: one of the ter'angreal is a small statue of a smiling bearded man that Jordan admitted on his blog is a self-insert. It turns out to have thousands and thousands of books recorded in it, almost certainly a little dig at Jordan's reputation for writing Doorstoppers.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Mat's Accidental Marriage.
    • The series is full of prophecies and visions, and while it's possible that none of them are truly self-fulfilling (Mat's marriage ceremony wasn't finished until he had proven himself to her), a great many prophecies help push themselves along. The Stone of Tear was besieged more than once precisely because of the prophecy that only the Dragon could bring it down, and knowledge of that prophecy was why Rand went there. But even if the prophecy had never been made the Dragon Reborn would probably want to go to the Heart of the Stone anyway, because that's where Callandor was kept.
    • Mat receiving the holes in his memory filled was an example of this—he was given them by the Foxes, but would never have gotten them if the Snakes hadn't told him to go to Rhuidean, which fulfilled them calling him a 'son of battles'. But in Towers of Midnight we also see the Finn literally make one of their prophecies come true: Mat 'giving up half the light of the world to save the world' is enforced through them demanding of him a price for Moiraine's release, a price he had already guessed thanks to knowing Rand (and therefore the world) couldn't succeed without her. So he agrees...and they take his eye.
  • Serpent of Immortality: The Dragon is a person who is reincarnated once an Age to deal with the Dark One. The motif of immortality is clearly in use, especially as the Dragon emblem looks decidedly snakelike, and the series makes varied use of the Ouroboros symbol for the Wheel of Time itself.
  • Sexless Marriage: Mat and Tuon's, they find each other a bit too strange to get intimate, although their POVs have shown they're attracted to each other. Subverted as of the last book, when they do it in the garden of the Tarasin Palace, in front of her soldiers and bodyguards. And she's pregnant.
  • Sharing a Body: Rand al'Thor and Lews Therin although Rand eventually accepts that they are and always were two different versions of the same soul, leading to a Split Personality Merge. Also, Luc and Isam, and possibly Mordeth/Fain though that seems more of a straight-up merge and by A Memory of Light there isn't much Mordeth or Fain left in there.
  • Shirtless Scene: Rand training with a sword at the end of the first book, and the beginning of the second book. Maybe a few more.
    • Perrin gets one in book thirteen.
  • Shmuck Bait: Mat treats Verin's letter like this. Unusually for this trope, he resists all temptation to open it. Double-subverted when it turns out to contain vitally important information that she couldn't pass along any other way.
  • Shock and Awe: Another channeling power.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Lanfear's minion was a bit dim about what Lanfear's primary characterization is.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are exempt from many classes during their novitiate in the White Tower.
  • Shout-Out: The Mountains of Dhoom and the Mountains of Mist are references to Middle-earth.
    • Let's not forget the inn in which Rand stays in Book 2: "'The Nine Rings' had been one of his favorite adventure stories when he was a boy; he supposed it still was."
    • Shayol Ghul shares a lot thematically with Orodruin. And in both cases the protagonist has to enter the mountain in order to overcome the Big Bad.
    • "Galad" is Sindarin for "light." Galad Damodred, as of the beginning of Knife of Dreams, commands the Children of the Light.
      • Building on the LOTR shout-outs, Galad's name may be a reference to Gil-Galad the Elven king. Gil-Galad, being an Elf and a mighty warrior, would have possessed beauty and graceful movement. Traits young Galad is renowned for having in the Wheel of Time.
      • Also possible reference to Galahad from Arthurian legend. In the Once and Future King, several knights claimed Galahad "Wasn't human" because he would ride up, save them or perform some heroic deed, then ride off without bothering with important things such as minor courtesy. Also, with the other veiled names in the series, this one fits right in.
    • There's a lot of references to Norse Mythology, which are most noticeable near the end of the series as the characters near the peaks of their power. The most obvious is perhaps Rand al'Thor, a tall, red-haired man with a tendency to drop lightning bolts on people and a magic weapon only he can pick up. And the one closest to the Norse origins is Mat, who, with his wide-brimmed black hat, a spear rumoured to never miss its target, and only one eye, is the spitting image of a young Odin. Although his personality is a lot more like Loki. And most recently, from Towers of Midnight, Perrin forges the Power-wrought hammer Mah'alleinir, a clear reference to Mjollnir, though it doesn't share any of that weapon's mythical traits.
      • Rand shares many similarities with Tyr, Norse god of War and Justice, in particular the loss of his hand. Perrin has many similarities with Perun, a slavic god similar to Thor, wielding a hammer and defending the common people, but also carrying an axe, a bow and commanding wolves. In the Christianized versions of his myth, he is named St Elias (also the name of a supporting character with similar abilities).
      • In connection to the Tyr reference (Tolkien was a fan and scholar of Norse Mythology), one handed, red haired, conflicted Anti-Hero who has to fight the supreme evil of the world because of an oath/prophecy and is of a disinherited noble family? Hello Maedhros Feanorion!
      • Building on Mat's similarities to Odin, the inscription on his spear has two ravens, and a poem that makes reference to "thought" and "memory," the names of Odin's ravens. Mat also jokes that he was hanged for a lack of knowledge, which the Eelfinn gave him (if not exactly knowledge he wanted). Similarly, Odin hanged himself on the World Tree Yggdrasil to acquire knowledge.
    • He also includes references to his hometown, Charleston. The ogier, for example, are named for Ogier Street downtown.
    • In A Memory of Light, chapter 23 is called At the Edge of Time, after the Blind Guardian album which featured two songs about the book series.
  • Shrug of God: Jordan's stock answer to many things was 'RAFO' - Read And Find Out.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Lan knows how to handle Nynaeve. He's probably the only male who manages to keep her in check.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The Trope Namer. Female Aes Sedai in general, and Moiraine in particular, are often described in these terms.
  • Simple Yet Opulent: How the borderlands like their decorations.
  • Single Precept Religion: The Whitecloaks. Their beliefs and rites seem to go as far as: the Light is good, Whitecloaks are good, the Dark is bad, Darkfriends are bad, Whitecloaks can't be Darkfriends, disobeying a Whitecloak makes you a Darkfriend. Their founding principles were more complex, but over time they've been somewhat... distilled.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Mat and Uno, among other characters. Granted, the profanities in this series are almost always Unusual Euphemisms. Elayne is a female example.
  • Situational Sexuality: Fairly common among initiates in the White Tower, where girls are isolated from men (and the world altogether) and would have problems anyway due to their powers and extended lifespan. Treated as a very private matter and not looked down upon, most (though not all) of these relationships dissolve upon completing the long training process. For instance, Moiraine and Siuan were in such a relationship during their training days, distanced themselves somewhat after becoming Aes Sedai, and eventually gained male love interests. All of the all-female organizations have some mention of this.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Seems to be the norm in Saldaea. Faile and Perrin are a good example.
  • Slavery Is A Special Kind Of Evil:
    • This is the Seanchan's hat. Protagonists who will make all sorts of other compromises in the fight against the local God of Evil will still balk at allying with them because of their practice of enslaving magic-users in the most dehumanizing way possible.
    • The Aiel have a custom in which those who are ritualistically captured in battle (a process much more difficult, and therefore considered more honorable, than simply killing them) voluntarily submit to a year and a day of servitude. They are not property and their service cannot be bought or sold (although it can apparently be "donated" in some way to Wise Ones, female clan elders), and non-Aiel cannot be captured in this way as they do not follow the Aiel's strict Code Of Honor. When a renegade Aiel faction begins capturing non-Aiel and refusing to let them go after their year and a day is up— treating them as slaves, in other words— it is considered a major Moral Event Horizon by the rest of the Aiel.
  • Slut Shaming: Inverted. Most of the shame applies to Mat, who gets a lot of flak for groping so many serving girls.
  • Smug Snake: Lots and lots of scheming nobles and other ruling classes among most civilizations fit this, but Elaida really, really, really, really takes the cake for sheer incompetence while being extraordinarily vindictive and arrogant at the same time, alienating most of the Tower with her plots and failures.
  • So Proud of You: The tearful reunion between Rand al'Thor and his adoptive father in Towers of Midnight certainly invokes this trope.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Forsaken (with the exception of Ishamael and Lanfear, who are pretty continuous presences) are generally confronted in this sort of pattern, with later Forsaken being much more formidable than those faced early in the series. Justified because the more skilled Forsaken tended to last longer, quietly building up their power while letting their more overtly ambitious compatriots get blasted. The reincarnated Forsaken, of course, break the pattern.
    • The first two faced are Aginor and Balthamel, who suffered from Age Without Youth and neither was particularly skilled as a warrior even on the top of their game (Aginor was a Mad Scientist rather than a fighter, and Balthamel was a lazy, bad-tempered letch who was Unskilled, but Strong), and they go down pretty easily.
    • Next comes the Weak, but Skilled Be'lal, who is a serious threat in one book but gets Killed Off for Real at the end of it.
    • Rahvin and Moghedien are up next; the former is pretty solidly at the middle of the pack (though he arguably comes closer to defeating the good guys than anyone, thanks to a well-timed trap), and the latter is sneaky, but tends to fall apart when faced directly. Both are main threats over several books. note 
    • Sammael is the most visible villain for a good chunk in the middle of the series- he's one of the Shadow's top generals and is in control of a very powerful nation, in addition to being a very powerful channeler. It takes several books to ultimately bring him down though he's ultimately an Anti-Climax Boss.
    • Up next we have Semirhage and Mesaana, the former being The Dreaded and a sadistic Torture Technician who takes Rand's arm and forces him to betray his vow to never kill a woman, and the latter has been manipulating the White tower behind the scenes the whole time and is basically the "slow and steady wins the race" of the Forsaken.
    • Finally, at the Last Battle the Shadow's forces are lead by Demandred and Graendal, who between them are the greatest warrior and most cunning manipulator of the Forsaken and utterly wreck the Light's forces before being brought down with great difficulty and at much cost.
  • Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: The Eye of the World does this. It starts off in the sleepy farming country of the Two Rivers, progressing to various grand cities, then we go to the harsh, icy pine forests of Shienar and then to the plagued jungle that is The Blight.
  • Soul Jar: Reserved for evil minions who really screwed up. Not much you can do when the Dark Lord's poking at your soul in a can.
  • Spell My Name with an S: There are some examples of differing spelling in the books. Notably, one of the Heroes of the Horn can be known as Oscar or Otarin, and, in Brandon Sanderson's books, the Great Captains are simply known as "great captains", with no special capitalizations.
  • Sphere of Destruction: One city gets erased in a black, spherical void late in the series, through very unique circumstances.
  • Split Personality: a likely explanation for Lews Therin's voice in Rand's head.
  • Split Personality Merge: at the very end of The Gathering Storm.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Rand occasionally creates a sword made of fire, though this is a rather inefficient use of the One Power.
  • Spring Is Late: Several times.
  • Springtime for Hitler: The rebel Aes Sedai intended to make a show of defiance before rejoining the tower, and elected Egwene as their leader so she could absorb the brunt of the punishment for rebelling... until she masterfully manipulates them into openly declaring war on the tower.
  • Spy Speak
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Three female prisoners are being taken to trial and all are held firmly by the arm. This probably isn't the only time this happens.
  • The Starscream: Several. Lanfear is the best example; she wants to defeat the Dark One, take his place, and rule the universe with her lover. Other Forsaken are just waiting for the chance to stab in the back the one placed in charge of them by the Dark One. Padan Fain was a loyal servant of the Dark One until traumatic experiences gave him both a grudge and some unusual powers, and now he's equally willing to stab Darkfriends and heroes as he finds them. See Chronic Backstabbing Disorder above. Liandrin is also a prominent example of how not to be one, since even when shown how truly insignificant her powers were, she continued to try supplanting Moghedien so as to curry favor with the other Forsaken. This didn't work out well for her at all, and as of the most recent book she still hasn't gotten free of the punishment Moghedien gave her—which short of being stilled is the worst Fate Worse than Death a channeler can suffer.
    • All the Forsaken wish to supplant Ishamael as Nae'blis (The Dragon of the Dark One). The Dark One offered the position to all of them in Lord of Chaos to encourage the competition. The only exception is Demandred, who cares nothing for rule in any degree except in how it helps him to achieve his primary goal: defeating the Dragon.
  • Start X to Stop X: In the twelfth book, its revealed that in order to keep the Dark One sealed away, they first need to break the seals on the prison, so they can remake the seals even stronger.
  • Stealth Pun: A throwaway reference to "the ter'angreal used to produce the cloth for Warder cloaks" strongly implies that said cloth is produced by weaving with the One Power.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: One explanation for Mat's feelings about Tylin, though complicated by the fact that he's probably genuinely attracted to her as well.
  • Storming the Castle: In particular, Rand builds much of his empire through use of this trope. And what's left is generally snatched up by the Seanchan, who are fond of a bit of castle-storming of their own.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Four times in A Memory of Light during the duel between Rand and the Dark One outside of the Pattern. These are them mentioned in order of appearance.
    • Villain World: Nynaeve, Egwene, Logain, and Cadsuane have all been Turned to the Shadow and named Chosen. The Blight has extended to at least the Two Rivers, if not the entire world. Elayne, Min, and Aviendha have been taken to Shayol Ghul to be submitted to endless Cold-Blooded Torture. Anyone who can channel is immediately Turned to the Shadow to avoid hope rising amongst the masses. The Chosen each control a portion of the world, and fight each other in a Forever War. Seanchan was completely destroyed down to the last human being there.
    • Crapsaccharine World: In this world, the people remember that the Last Battle was won. However, there is no law, and Moral Sociopathy is the new normal, with Might Makes Right being the primary way of showing authority, and acts such as murder or theft meaning absolutely nothing to those who cause them except concepts of extreme social Darwinism.
    • The Evils of Free Will: Shown by Rand himself, this is a world where the Dark One no longer exists at all. However, as he realizes, without the Dark One and the very concept of evil, there is no conflict. And without conflict, there is no choice whatsoever, meaning no innovation or change of any sort. People in this world seem hollow, "pure" versions of themselves, in an entire world of Perfect Pacifist People for whom the very idea of war is alien, and are nothing like how they would normally be. The Dark One lampshades that this is no better than Turning to the Shadow.
    • Cessation of Existence: A "compromise" that the Dark One proposes to Rand, in which the entire world simply ceases to exist. If Rand were to surrender, he would destroy the world, but agree not to remake it In Their Own Image. He even agrees that it was the same exact promise he made to Moridin/Ishamael, if he managed to succeed. Unfortunately, Rand knows that he will never do this, as, being a being of pure evil, he can't be trusted to follow his word.
      • And more importantly, defying this nihilistic compromise (where he had been about to destroy the world himself) was what allowed Rand to completely merge with his Lew Therin persona at the end of The Gathering Storm and renew his will to save the world. He wasn't about to give in now, at the very end.
  • Strange Secret Entrance: The Eye of The World can only be found once by any person, with a single exception. It moves, but always within a specific, very dangerous region.
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: Skimming, and also using the Ways.
  • Sugar Bowl: During the final battle, Rand explores a (potential) reality completely free of the Dark One. It Tastes Like Diabetes, and humans lack the capacity for choice and change.
  • Suicide by Cop: In The Great Hunt, Ingtar's implied fate. Otherwise it seems he was planning on Sheathing the Sword on his own.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: The Tuatha'an.
  • Summoning Artifact: The Horn Of Valere summons the Heroes of the Ages.
  • Summon to Hand: Perrin does this on occasion with his special hammer, Mahalleinir, while in the World of Dreams, tying into the series' connection with Norse Mythology. He tries it in the waking world before he remembers it doesn't work there.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: A mark of Wolfbrothers.
  • Supernaturally Marked Grave: Dragonmount is an epic one. The Green Man gets an everlasting tree to mark his grave in the first book. And in the last book, Egwene created a massive pillar of crystal upon dying.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Channelers can always tell if someone of the same gender is channeling nearby, and how strongly, but need to see the flows of Power in order to determine the nature of the weave used. Weaves can be concealed by 'inverting' them, a method rediscovered partway through the series. Also, those holding the True Power can only be sensed by those who use it.
  • Super Senses: Perrin gains increased senses, as a result of being a Wolfbrother. And channelers gain heightened senses when they are actively embracing/seizing.
  • Super Strength: Warders and gholam seem to have this to some extent.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The whole point of the Aes Sedai / Warder grouping.
  • Sword Fight: Rand and Turak in The Great Hunt.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Rand is in the middle of this. As of book 12: Rand is the half-brother of Galad by the same mother, Tigraine Mantear, although Rand and Luc/Isam are the only characters who actually know this. Galad is the half-brother of Elayne and Gawyn by the same father, Taringail Damodred. (Probably.) Rand is in a relationship with Elayne and as of the latest book, she's pregnant, expecting twins. Gawyn wants to kill Rand in revenge because he believes Rand killed Gawyn's mother Morgase, although she isn't actually dead. Gawyn is in love with Egwene. Egwene is a friend of Elayne's and used to be betrothed to Rand. Morgase is now working for Rand's childhood friend Perrin as a servant. Moiraine Damodred, Rand's Obi-Wan, is Taringail's younger half-sister, and so Galad, Gawyn, and Elayne's aunt; her Love Interest, Thom, is one of Morgase's ex-lovers, and another Morgase ex, Gareth Bryne, is, engaged to Moiraine's former lover Siuan. Tigraine's brother, Luc Mantear, is also alive and merged some way or other with Isam Mandragoran, first cousin of Lan Mandragoran, another mentor figure of Rand's and Moiraine's Warder. No characters know anything at all about Luc/Isam being alive or connected except for himself.
  • Tautological Templar: the Children of the Light.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Aiel, who swore an oath to never touch a sword. Doesn't stop them from using spears, nor from becoming a militant warrior culture. (This is the cause of the Go Mad from the Revelation mentioned above: the Aiel found out that they had obeyed only the letter of the law, not the spirit.)
  • Teleport Interdiction: The thirteenth book presents 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 both inside the barrier.
  • Teleport Spam: Battles between really high-powered channelers are often this, with both sides launching an attack and Traveling out as fast as possible. Battles in the World of Dreams are essentially always Teleport Spam.
  • Temporal Paradox - During the War of Power, whole cities were wiped out with rampant balefire, and the Pattern nearly unraveled while trying to compensate for the resulting Plot Holes and Continuity Snarls.
  • Terrain Sculpting: During the Breaking of the World, all male Aes Sedai went mad and caused total upheaval, creating mountain ranges, dredging seas and creating new ones on top of existing countries. It's suggested that the shape of all the world's landmasses has been radically changed.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: In the first book when Perrin is captured by Whitecloaks, Lan scares the crap out of him while coming to the rescue. Rand is on a larger scale, what with all the prophecies saying he's going to destroy the world while saving it, but also has a few specific instances where his channeling scares people worse than whatever threat he's using it to save them from.
  • Theme Naming: Rand's surname might be a reference to Thor of Norse mythology. He's even got the right hair color...
    • King Arthur: Most of the characters and much of the underlying skeleton of the story are adapted from share names with Arthurian myth: Egwene al'Vere (Guinevere); Morgase (Morgawse); Gawyn Trakand (Gawaine); Galad Trakand (Gallahad); Elayne (Elaine of Carbonnek); Nynaeve (Nineve); Rand al'Thor (Arthur); The Sword-In-The-Stone Callandor (Caliburn); Jeraal Mordeth (Mordred); Thom Merrilin (Merlin); and many, many others. Sa'angreal = "Sangreal" = The Holy Grail, just as another data point. And of course who can forget the historic backstory character Artur Hawkwing Pendraeg, who united the known world in a single kingdom of justice and fairness a thousand years ago, and is now numbered among the greatest heroes of history who are prophesied to be recalled to life at a time of great need. A more complete list of references can be found here.
    • There's also the Forsaken, who are all named after demons and dark gods from various mythologies.
    • The series' universe has something of a recursive chronology, where each Age will eventually be repeated after all of its events have faded beyond legend. Furthermore, our current world is strongly implied to be the first Age. Which means that the reason those characters seem familiar is because they are the reincarnated gods and heroes of our age.
    • The implication seems to be that our world is the Age opposite the one taking place in the books: our misremembered present is their legends (like the reference to the Cold War) while their misremembered present is our legends (see above).
  • There Are No Coincidences: Where ta'veren are concerned, coincidences happen all the time, with the Pattern working to help them. However, they all work toward some purpose or another... though the actual effect they work toward is unknown almost always until it has already happened.
  • This Was His True Form: When someone dies while using Mask of Mirrors, the weave falls apart and shows the true identity of the user.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality - This is pretty much what it means to be ta'veren.
  • Third Eye: Moiraine's forehead jewel serves as this symbolically, especially since she can use it as a Crystal Ball.
  • The Three Trials: The Test to become an Accepted of the White Tower consists of stepping into three silver doorways, within each of which the woman will be presented with some scenario that tempts her to stay and not return.
  • Three Wishes: Mat unknowingly gets them during his visit to the Eelfinn in "The Shadow Rising." His third wish is enough of a "reset button" to get him back to his former location, but he still has a bunch of other people's memories and a medallion that stops magic. Towers of Midnight reveals that his third wish was actually a spear that allows him to cut his way out of the Tower of Ghenjei, and not them taking him outside.
    • Towers of Midnight also reveals that Moiraine and Lanfear each got Three Wishes as well, though not what they wished for.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: There are thirteen Forsaken. There used to be more, but thirteen were sealed away for 3000 years. Thirteen Myrddraal and thirteen Dreadlords working together can also force a channeler into the Dark One's thrall.
  • This Is Reality: Rand reminds himself several times that he isn't some hero in a story. At other points, he wonders why "real life" isn't more like the stories portray it.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Elayne is saved during an assassination attempt by a guardsman throwing his sword. This is revealed to be a set-up. The guardsman is a Darkfriend who arranged the assassination so he could save Elayne and gain her trust.
    • Double-subverted with Mat's ashandarei (a polearm). He explicitly notes that it's not balanced for throwing, so he's not surprised when he misses the Gholam, but he's grateful that the spear still trips it up, allowing Talmanes to escape.
  • Tightrope Walking: When joining Valan Luca's traveling circus in The Shadow Rising, Elayne trains herself to become a tightrope walker.
  • Time Crash: Excessive use of balefire would cause the world to dissolve like fog as the Pattern unraveled from the Ret Gone effect of balefire.
    • The actual effect seems to be more like reality cracking and falling into oblivion, but the point stands.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A ton of characters, usually in high ranking positions.
    • Some of the NPCs too. There are people living in Randland who are trying to kill Rand because if there's no Dragon Reborn, there's no Last Battle! What could be simpler!
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Mat, twice: once after losing the tainted dagger (gaining reality-warping luck), and once after going to Rhuidean (gaining a Named Weapon of Choice and crazy strategy skills).
      • Hell, this is all Mat does, throughout the entire series. Luck is a great way to gain levels.
    • Rand takes at least three separate levels, once in The Great Hunt after learning how to use his sword properly, again in The Dragon Reborn when he pulls out the Sword in the Stone which just happens to be a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and the third time in The Shadow Rising after besting Asmodean and really cranking up his knowledge and use of The Power. By Lord Of Chaos he can kill 2 warders with his bare hands in the time it takes to magically restrain him. In Towers of Midnight he takes another level just in time to fix most of the mistakes he made over the last 7 books
    • Perrin: it's much more gradual, but over the course of the fourth book he really starts to stand out on his own.
      • Also gains a serious Level by forging his Weapon of Choice in book 13
      • Also masters Tel'aran'rhiod to the point of blocking balefire with his bare hands.
      • Takes one last level in A Memory of Light by mastering the technique of teleporting between dimensions without needing a Gateway or any other kind of weave. It allows him to finally kill Slayer and give Rand the cover he needs.
    • Egwene: during the fifth book, as she takes the Aiel code of honor to heart, thus setting up several Moments Of Awesome in the 11th and 12th books. Interestingly, it's not really a combat-application level, but more of a moral-rectitude one, the kind Rosa Parks took when she sat down on a bus and said, "No: ''you'' move."
    • What Olver was doing during his time in the Band. We'll have to wait to see how it worked out for him.
      • As of A Memory of Light: He has impressive tenacity, but he is about as much warrior as you can expect a pre-teen to be. Let's call that half a level.
  • To the Pain: In Book 5, the thief-catcher Juilin tries to get information out of a group of prisoners, so he describes to his companions in explicit detail, within earshot of the prisoners, what items he will need for the torture: "Some rope to tie her, some rags to gag her until she is ready to talk, some cooking oil and salt... She will talk." Later, after the interrogation, he revealed that he didn't know what he would have actually done with the oil and salt. Also, figs and mice would be involved...somehow.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: In Book 12, Mat and his group enter a village which has a standing order that visitors are forbidden entry after sunset. The reason being anyone killed within the bounds of the village after dark becomes trapped there, cursed to wake each day alive and well with no memory of the previous night. Which is a mercy, since nightfall turns all the villagers into mindless homicidal maniacs.
  • Trading Card Game: One exists. It is, fittingly, incredibly complicated to play and takes a very long time to finish one game (two hours). Involves an inordinate ammount of Xanatos Speed Chess and some Fridge Logic with some of the cards.
  • Training from Hell: In order to increase their numbers as fast as possible, the Asha'man force their trainees to use their powers constantly, for everything from common chores to extremely dangerous attacks. And that's when they're not busy training to be blademasters. This naturally incurs heavy losses to death, burnout, and insanity. It works, though.
    • The Aes Sedai training regimen is a prolonged version developed for a very different purpose. The White Tower is as much a School For Scheming as it is a Wizarding School; its purpose is to ensure that students come out as women of immense mental fortitude as well as skill with the One Power, without breaking them in the process.
    • The Asha'man training method actually makes more sense when you consider that male channelers are characterized as periodically leaping forward in strength following heavy use of the power such as battles. The whole thing works with the differing characteristics of saidar and saidin; with saidar you go with the flow and let your strength advance steadily and with saidin you have to take it firmly in hand and master it.
  • Translation Convention: Explanation for why modern tongue does not resemble the Old Tongue.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Queen Morgase. Oh, Queen Morgase. Particularly in Book 7.
    • Also Galina, but she deserved it.
    • Moghedien may also qualify; she deserved it as well.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Channelers with the spark sometimes start channeling this way.
  • Trilogy Creep: It was originally planned to be six books, so it would technically be 'Hexalogy Creep'. (Rumors have said 'trilogy,' but that's madness.) Also, since it's been said for the last five years or so it was going to be twelve books until Brandon Sanderson confirmed the last book is going to be split in two three, it's now also guilty of 'Dodecalogy Creep' as well.
    • Let's be fair, though. Sanderson is attempting to write a novel equal in word-count to the last four entries of the Harry Potter series. Such a tome would be less a Doorstopper and more The Great Wall of China.
    • The first three books makes a pretty good standalone trilogy as the origin of a Chosen One, where he collects his main allies, beats a Starter Villain, and the most difficult and important part, finally accepts his destiny. Same for the first six, by the end of which the Obi Wan is gone and everyone has come into their power and made a mark on the world. One could read the first three or six novels, stop, and leave the actual Last Battle to the imagination or fanfic. Given the pace of the writing, though, getting from the Two Rivers to the Last Battle in six books would never have been remotely possible.
  • Tsundere: A few. Not as many as is assumed, though.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Gaidal Cain and Birgitte Silverbow, Lan and Nynaeve. Ugly ten-year-old Olver already tries to charm beautiful well-endowed women (and it works), so he'll probably end up with a hot wife too once he grows up.
  • Uncoffee: The Seanchan drink "kaf".
  • Undead Author: Invoked pretty amusingly (though it's played for drama) in The Towers of Midnight. Mat's preparing to infiltrate the Tower of Ghenjei, and Birgitte (who has memories of numerous past lives) tries to dissuade him by relating her own attempt to enter it many centuries earlier. She gets to the point in her narrative where she's trapped in the tower's maze with no provisions and all her instruments for holding off the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn depleted. Mat asks, “So how did you get out?” and Birgitte replies, “I didn't. That was the end of that story.” The amusing part is that despite this, Birgitte still expected the story of her tragic demise to get out (through Aes Sedai or others asking the Finn about her fate) and is disappointed that Mat didn't recognize it because no one knows the story. It's later implied, when Mat describes to Thom the main points of the story and its ending without using any names and it sounds familiar to him, that someone did find out about it somehow. But overall the story is only able to be told because the Undead Author could do so herself thanks to the Horn of Valere and her memories of previous lives.
  • The Untwist: In-Universe, Aviendha sees the past of the Aiel and is rather underwhelmed by how their history was laid out, expecting epic decisions when everything was a natural progression. This is because she had already heard about this from Rand.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Besides Oh My Gods!, several swear words are substituted to be more PG: "God damn you" = "Light burn you," "hell" = "Shayol Ghul" or "Pit of Doom," and the expletive so horrifying its equivalent can only be guessed at — "Mother's milk in a cup." Other profanities in the series include "bloody" and "flaming". Given the setting, most of these make sense as profanities.
    • "Blood and ashes!" "Sheep swallop and buttered onions!"
    • When Birgitte senses (through the Warder bond) that Elayne's having sex with Rand, she threatens to drag her out and "kick her tickle-heart around the palace".
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: This would seem to be the Pattern's reason for having Rand raised as a farmboy in the Two Rivers, rather than with the Aiel who were his people. At the same time it arranged for his mother to become a Maiden of the Spear precisely so that he could have the great warrior blood of the Aiel, while being raised in the Two Rivers not only gave him common sense and a hero's morality but also the legendary stubbornness and warrior blood of the descendants of Manetheren. It is all these things, as well as having people like Tam, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, and Egwene around him, that allowed him to avoid Lews Therin's mistakes and thus keep from being pushed over the Despair Event Horizon into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds/Put Them All Out of My Misery mindset, or just plain becoming He Who Fights Monsters. Rand even specifically states to Min that the reason the Dark One didn't claim him was because "I was raised better this time".
  • The Usual Adversaries: Trollocs.
  • Villain Episode: "River of Souls" is a short story centered around Demandred's POV.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind:
    • Trollocs, Myrddraal et al never got any less dangerous; you still see them slaughtering Muggles and various armies throughout the books. The protagonists, meanwhile, are all several orders of magnitude more Badass than they started out as, with Rand's Power Level in particular making him a literal One-Man Army.
    • Forsaken now seem to have been just a distraction for the good guys, while the real evil was preparing on various fronts. Well, a good chunk of the Forsaken, that is. Mesaana, Graendal, Moridin, and Lanfear all present substantial challenges to the heroes in the last couple of books, and Demandred apparently spent his time in Shara either building up his armies or level-grinding, and when he shows up at the Last Battle he's if anything more formidable than he was in the Age of Legends.
  • Villainous BSOD: Semirhage gets one in The Gathering Storm when Rand uses the True Power while she has him collared with a device that renders him unable to use Saidin.
  • Walking Wasteland:
    • Padan Fain is one of extreme proportions. In fact, he's so much this trope that he's capable of corrupting the Dark One's own servants even more than they already are.
    • Rand temporarily becomes one of these as he gets ever closer to his Despair Event Horizon. After he recovers, he reverts back to something like Fertile Feet.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Thom. Rand has to be one to make his way with Mat to Caemlyn in the first book as they are split off from the rest of the party.
  • War Is Hell: Rand feels The Chains of Commanding rather early in the series, and the theme becomes increasingly prevalent toward the Last Battle.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Callandor, a very powerful male sa'angreal. With it, even an average channeler can wipe whole cities off the map. And even that has nothing on the Choedan Kal, which can allow a mortal to challenge a god if they want to. Just using them causes every Power-sensitive person on the planet to flip out in varying degrees.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Humans compared to the Ogier.
  • We Are Everywhere: Darkfriends, otherwise normal people who have sworn service to the Shadow, are spread throughout the world, infesting every level of authority. Whether doing the Great Lord's personal work, or just doing the best they can to spread chaos, mistrust and fear, they could be anybody... even lifelong acquaitances/friends of the main characters.
  • We Are Struggling Together: A big theme of the series.
    • On the one hand, there's the Mars and Venus Gender Contrast that is one of the big underpinnings since all the greatest feats of the Age of Legends were performed by male and female channelers working together, and this will also be required to win the Last Battle...but thanks to the taint and the Breaking, there is fear, distrust, disgust, and outright hate between the two genders of Aes Sedai (with an entire Ajah built around hunting down the men and gentling them that tends to be filled with man-haters).
    • On top of this there is the divisions between the Ajahs, the Tower split that is engineered by the Shadow, the Game of Houses, the enmities between the various nations (Andor vs. Cairhien, Tear vs. Illian, Arad Doman vs. Tarabon, the constant scheming between the nobles of Murandy and Altara), the Whitecloaks vs. the Aes Sedai, the Aiel vs. everybody else, the Seanchan vs. everybody else), and the disagreements between the various factions supporting Rand. Overcoming all of this and getting everyone unified is a big issue in Rand's mind for the Light to win, let alone for an enduring peace afterward.
    • Some of this is even cleverly and diabolically induced by the Shadow—aside from the Tower split, the Seanchan's return (and mere existence) was engineered by Ishamael, the Aiel split over Rand is made possible by Asmodean marking Couladin with the dragon tattoos, a great deal of the Black Tower is Turned thanks to Taim, the Shaido are scattered by Sammael, and in the last book Graendal uses Mind Manipulation in the World of Dreams to turn the four Great Captains into Manchurian Agents, thus splitting and demoralizing the Light's forces.
    • On the other hand, the Shadow itself is struggling together too what with the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Evil Versus Evil, It's All About Me mentality of the Forsaken. And then when you throw Fain/Mordeth and Aridhol into the mix...
  • We Can Rule Together: Multiple times by different minions of the Dark One, usually on their master's behalf... but not always.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The nicer Whitecloaks tend to be this. The worse ones tend to be swaggering bullies who just don't care.
    • The dead nation of Aridhol also qualifies. Adopting the Shadow's methods of harshness and cruelty in the name of the Light, they became just as bad and quite possibly worse than the Dark One's servants.
    • Pretty much all of the series' secondary villains (people who aren't aligned with the Shadow) qualify. The Seanchan, Whitecloaks, Elaida, and the Prophet are mostly well-meaning but deeply misguided people who have evil methods of getting what they want.
  • Wham Line: As expected with a series this long, lots of them. Possibly the most memorable in the entire series comes from Nynaeve: "Tell her I've Healed Logain."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Anyone with less than a photographic memory will be asking this at some point in the books. Guaranteed.
    • Hurin. He returns to Shienar early in the third book, and is never mentioned again. This wouldn't be so odd, if the story weren't filled to the brim with Chekhovians.
    • In Book 14, certain characters appear but then (evidently) just fall through the balefire-caused cracks in reality: Alviarin, Bayle Domon.
      • Alviarin is among the Dreadlords tricked by Pevara and Androl and captured in a stedding. Bayle doesn't show up after Leilwin offers herself to Egwene.
    • Liandrin's and Leilwin's fates are also unmentioned.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Gathering Storm Nynaeve calls Rand out for balefiring an entire castle.
    • He gets a lot of it throughout the series. In A Crown of Swords he gets it from Perrin because he lets the Aiel beat the Aes Sedai who captured him and Min in the previous book, though this turned out to be a staged argument so that Perrin would have an excuse to leave and get the Prophet. At least, it was supposed to be only staged.
    • He also gets it in The Gathering Storm for returning damane to the Seanchan instead of freeing them like he should, nearly balefiring his own father, condemning tens of thousands of people in Arad Doman to starvation and Seanchan invasion, exiling Cadsuane for plotting to control him and he gets a huge What the Hell, Hero? combined with What Have I Done from Lews Therin when he starts channeling the True Power. They might as well have entitled The Gathering Storm as WHAT THE HELL, RAND?!?
      • But fortunately this leads to Rand asking himself what the hell he is doing, so there is hope that he might learn a bit now.
      • Indeed most of Rand's actions in The Gathering Storm are designed to show that the effects on Rand's mind of all the crap he's gone through have not been positive, and the ending makes it clear that he's finally managed to get over at least some of it, and is now somewhat more human. Sanderson saw that the only way to fix Rand was to finish off breaking him, and then fixing him again afterwards. This may be a nod to the seals on the Dark One's prison, which need to be destroyed before he can be resealed properly.
    • Another major What the Hell, Hero? moment is in A Crown Of Swords, when Nynaeve and Elayne get called out for being such jerks to Mat after he crossed an entire continent to save their lives in Book 3 and for leaving him Locked Out of the Loop for the current story arc. They end up being forced to apologize, which is an extremely satisfying moment for a lot of fans. As soon as they apologize and let him help them out, he sets off a chain of events that leads to the MacGuffin they're looking for.
  • Wicked Cultured: Several of the Forsaken, but none moreso than Asmodean, who didn't fall so much as saunter vaguely downward so that he could... play music?
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: The power that comes with being ta'veren.
    • In addition to the big, plot-furthering Coincidences, there are more minor effects of ta'veren-ness. There are frequent scenes (this happens most often when ta'veren travel to a new place, but exactly when and how is apparently random) where highly unlikely but trivial or random events happen around them. Someone walking along the street drops a bucketful of sand and it spills perfectly into some significant symbol, or someone trips over their own feet and breaks their neck, or someone proposes marriage purely as a joke and is amazed to hear the subject accept. In the 12th book, Verin explains that at one point she wanted to go north, requiring only a few hours alone to concentrate on Traveling, but after half a dozen apparently random interruptions she realized the Pattern didn't want her to do that, so instead she began circulating posters and offering rewards for directions to the nearest main character she knows of who happens to be a ta'veren, assuming that the Pattern must be pulling her to him. And it worked!
  • Witch Species: Female witches known as Aes Sedai ('servants of all'), and male witches who, during the series, take on the name Asha'man ('guardians'). (In the Age of Legends, both were called Aes Sedai.) Magic is an inherited trait, though still unpredictable and rare. Male witches are doomed to go insane and die horribly unless they are cut off from the source of magic, and so Aes Sedai have a program of 'gentling' male witches. This, coupled with the fact that Aes Sedai rarely marry, has resulted a drastic weakening of magic in general by the time the series is set, except among isolated places where Aes Sedai rarely recruit. Like the village where the series begins.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The taint on saidin causes inevitable insanity in its users. As time progresses one of the main characters begins to show the effects of this, becoming schizophrenic, moody, and temperamental; halfway through the series, he seems like a completely different person, though he is under a lot of pressure... The Forsaken also have access to the True Power, an extremely addictive, evil flavor of magic that also has serious psychological consequences; most would only consider using it under dire need unless they had a few screws loose to begin with.
  • Wizarding School: The White Tower in Tar Valon. Rand and the Asha'man's so-called "Black Tower" would be more of a Wizarding Boot Camp.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Channeler prolongs lifespan to a few centuries, or even longer provided that the channeler hasn't used the Oath Rod, which drastically reduces lifespan.
  • Woman in Black: Semirhage, purely out of spite for Lanfear. The fact that this is one of the least unflattering things we know about her still doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what a monster she is.
  • Woman in White: Lanfear.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Egwene, when she becomes a political-puppet rebel Amyrlin.
    • And also Elayne; makes sense as she is the Daughter-Heir of Andor.
  • Word of God: Robert Jordan, occasionally putting long arguments to rest... when he didn't point the finger at RAFO. See Jossed.
  • The Worf Effect
    • Padan Fain's increased fear induction among readers mostly relates to defeating increasingly powerful Shadowspawn with limited effort, if any.
    • Gawyn and Galad, both regarded by nearly everyone as Master Swordsmen, get easily defeated by Demandred in A Memory of Light, and also received similar treatment against Mat in Book 4. Though to be fair, the latter was before they had completed their training.
  • The World Tree: There is a Tree of Life in the forbidden city of Rhuidean. In a reference to the Norse god Odin, Mat is hung from this tree as a price for knowledge.
    • And loses one of his eyes in Book 13. A very poetic reading of his "half the light of the world to save the world" prophecy.
  • World Building and World Sundering.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Galad, surprisingly enough, comes to this conclusion, earning a rare bit of praise from his sister and saying one of the most sensible things about men and women in the series:
    Perhaps once I would have hesitated [to kill a woman], but that would have been the wrong choice. Women are as fully capable of being evil as men. Why should one hesitate to kill one, but not the other? The Light does not judge one based on gender, but on the merit of the heart.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Despite the great amount of political power that women wield, and their willingness to beat up on most men they meet, Randland cultures are extremely protective of women.
    • Rand al'Thor is the most prominent example. He refuses to harm a woman even if she's an ancient Forsaken of legendary power using Black Magic to kill everyone he knows and loves. He also goes out of his way to avoid putting women in danger, which upsets his Amazonian bodyguards immensely. In fact, Rand has memorized the name or identifying characteristic of every woman who died because of him or while in his service. He once goes into a Heroic BSOD after a woman who tried to steal his throne and betray him commits suicide, even though he had already prevented her execution. This is a primary symptom of his insanity and a side-effect of the fact that the person he's a reincarnation of killed his wife and family. In The Gathering Storm, he stops following this.
    • Mat Cauthon also develops a case after ordering the death of a woman in Crossroads of Twilight. Luckily for Mat, his betrothed has no such compulsion, and kills a treacherous female assassin for him.
    • This seems more a cultural quirk of the Two Rivers than Randland in general. Characters outside the Two Rivers don't obsess over it as much.
    • In the nation of Altara, women wear knives around their necks to slash up their husbands when angered, and are legally within their rights to kill them on a whim. The husbands are expected to accept this treatment without resistance.
    • Perrin. Until Lanfear pushes him too far.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Rand's side wounds. They were caused by a tainted weapon, so the presence of something really corrupted tends to set it off.
  • X Meets Y: The series (especially the early books) is often described as The Lord of the Rings meets Dune. From The Lord of the Rings we have: The Third Age, the Shire (the Two Rivers), Ents (the Ogier—they even have the same catchphrase!) and Aragorn (Lan, the ranger heir to a fallen kingdom in the north) among others. From Dune we have: the Bene Gesserit (the Aes Sedai), the Fremen (the Aiel) and the sandworms (the worms in the Blight).
  • Yandere: Lanfear.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Vacuoles work this way, if they aren't the inverse. Combining this with "Groundhog Day" Loop and Fate Worse than Death makes for quite the horrific punishment for Moghedien.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: As one comes closer to Shayol Ghul, time distorts more and more, with time for the person inside going at the speed of minutes, while time for someone outside goes at that of hours.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: In the last book, Rand re-seals the Dark One's prison using a combination of Saidar, Saidin, and the True Power.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: For every weave, there is an equal and opposite. This comes into play a lot, with varying degrees of violence. There's also the One Power, the opposite to the True Power.
  • You ALL Share My Story: As per the Chekhov's Army, the effects of ta'veren ensure that pretty much everyone who could possibly have any importance in the story ends up coming back to finish what is necessary. This is played up in the finale, which tries to show that nearly every character's efforts in some way contributed to the ultimate result.
  • You Can't Fight Ta'veren: A major theme, as Rand and crew are railroaded into fighting the Dark One, but taken very personally by Mat, who wants nothing to do with the kind of adventures he ends up involved in. Mat tries to Screw Destiny but eventually, after many painful lessons, resigns himself to the inevitability of his fate and the personal prophecies he has received.
    • There are also Min's viewings, which will come true no matter what is done attempting to prevent them. Sometimes because someone tries to prevent them. A major downer occurs when Min encounters a Cairhenian rebel in the seventh book that she knows will go on to murder and rape dozens of people, knowing she can't do anything to stop him.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Offscreen, Loial gathers the women and children of the Stone of Tear in a room and guards the door against an invasion of Trollocs and Myrddraal.
    • Rand, after Ituralde's defence of Maradon.
    • Loial also has a Let's Get Dangerous moment with Perrin, promising that no one will get to the unconscious Faile while he lives.
    • Manetheren's army marched faster than anyone ever thought possible to meet the Trolloc army camped on its doorstep, managed to hold out longer than anyone ever believed and when they finally fell fought to the last man.
    • The exact details aren't given, but an Amyrlin during the Trolloc Wars died in the decisive battle of the war surrounded by a wall of Trolloc and Myrddraal corpses, as well as nine enemy channelers.
    • During the Last Battle both Mat and Perrin (the latter more so than the former) do this in a more understated way than is usual for the trope. Each defends Rand from an enemy that they are uniquely equipped to face while Rand is otherwise occupied.
      • Gaul probably deserves a more specific mention though; while Mat and Perrin were both very offense oriented, fighting an equal, Gaul fought against much greater odds in a purely defensive battle.
      • Thom performs exactly the same function in the same location for a similar length of time, except he's doing it in the real world while Gaul is doing it in the World of Dreams.
    • Much earlier, Ingtar chooses to hold off a horde of Seanchan soldiers in The Great Hunt in order to let Rand escape with the Horn, as well as to redeem himself for his actions as a Darkfriend.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Injuries and deaths in the World of Dreams (Tel'aran'rhiod) carry over to the real world. Furthermore, if you think about something too long, it may just pop into existence. Someone summons a Death Trap this way at one point. If you concentrate hard enough, it will disappear, but that can be hard with spikes cranking towards your face.
    • Egwene and Perrin use this. He redirects Balefire, she takes off an a'dam
    • This trope is used to magnificent effect in Perrin's battles with Slayer in the aforementioned World of Dreams.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: The novels has several examples, but one of the most noted is the difference between Aiel and 'Wetlanders'. To Aiel, nakedness is not taboo, they use co-ed sweat tents as a fill-in for showers in their desert homeland, Wetlanders find this scandalous. And this trope occurs for both sides, to Aiel displaying affection in public is taboo. Kissing your spouse with others watching would apparently be viewed similar to how a Wetlander might view having sex with them in public.
Tropes M - RLiterature/The Wheel of Time    

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