The Wheel of Time

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Wheel Of Time Logo 2122.jpg

"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. 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."


An epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan, currently consisting of thirteen books, a prequel (New Spring), and a series guide entitled "The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time," a First-Person Shooter and an RPG.

Jordan died of amyloidosis in the middle of writing the twelfth book, A Memory of Light, which he had promised absolutely would wrap the series, even "if it's 20,000 pages long, Tor has to invent a new binding system, or it comes with its own library cart." His wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, chose up-and-coming fantasy author Brandon Sanderson (see Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker, and The Stormlight Archive ) to complete the series based on copious notes left behind. After working on the Kudzu Plot, though, Sanderson himself announced that the last book had grown to an additional three volumes to be released over at least the next three years, each of which is to be at least 250,000 words.

In order, the series is as follows:

  • Prequel: New Spring (expanded from a novella)
  1. The Eye of the World
  2. The Great Hunt
  3. The Dragon Reborn
  4. The Shadow Rising
  5. The Fires of Heaven
  6. Lord of Chaos
  7. A Crown of Swords
  8. The Path of Daggers
  9. Winter's Heart
  10. Crossroads of Twilight
  11. Knife of Dreams
  12. The Gathering Storm
  13. Towers of Midnight
  14. A Memory of Light (January 8, 2013)

Links: (Spoilers Galore!)

In the beginning, the Creator made the universe, which consisted of: the Wheel of Time, which spins the tapestry of the ages with the lives of men and women as its threads; the One Power, which drives the Wheel and is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar respectively; and a prison for The Dark One, so that he (The Dark One) could not influence creation. Then the Creator walked away and just let the whole thing spin. And since then ages have come and gone...

Thousands of years ago, in the utopian Age of Legends, Aes Sedai scientists attempted to find and access a source of magic that could be channeled by both genders. Good news: they found it. Bad news: 'It' was the embodiment of pure evil, and the attempt to dig a hole to it just broke open its prison.

Long story short, Hilarity Ensues, if by "hilarity" we mean "death, war and blood." Lews Therin Telamon, "the one called Dragon", managed to successfully re-seal The Dark One's prison (and trap its powerful generals known as the Forsaken) with a makeshift cork, but not before the Big Bad tainted the male half of the One Power. All male Aes Sedai quickly went insane, as would all male channelers thereafter, and brought civilization crashing down by each committing a World Sundering or three. Eventually, mankind rebuilt itself, but never regained its former glory.

Three thousand years later, Mat, Perrin, and Rand were just ordinary boys living in a small village... Until a mysterious woman called Moiraine showed up. Shortly after that the village was attacked by (to them) mythical monsters. According to Moiraine, the three were "ta'veren" (which is Old Tongue for "main characters") and the Dark One itself was after them. Possibly, one of them might be The Chosen One, "The Dragon Reborn", the Reincarnation of Lews Therin Telamon who would lead the forces of good against the rise of evil.

The seven seals on the Dark One's prison are starting to weaken, and the "Last Battle" is approaching... but you knew that.

Known for its sprawling plot, Loads and Loads of Characters, intricate magic system and... interesting character development, due primarily to Robert Jordan's intense adherence to the Mars and Venus Gender Contrast.

Now with character sheet. No Re Cap page yet, but we don't need one either: Big Name Fan Leigh Butler is doing a Re-read of the series under the aegis of

The Wheel of Time is the Trope Namer for:

Tropes used in The Wheel of Time include:


  • Abdicate the Throne: Queen Morgase, in favor of her daughter Elayne.
  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Found in pretty much every culture, but no more so than in Altara, where wives carry knives to slice up their husbands when they get out of line.
  • Academy of Evil: Mesaana's Schools.
  • Accidental Marriage: Mat.
  • Achey Scars: Rand's side wounds, which never fully heal. They were caused by a tainted weapons, so the presence of something really corrupted tends to set it off.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • Nynaeve's use of all Five Powers when Healing, in spite of the fact that all Tower-trained Aes Sedai are certain it shouldn't work and should be very dangerous. Little do they (or even Nynaeve) know that in the Age of Legends Nynaeve's method was preferred as it doesn't use the target's own life force as a fuel source. She manages to do things like cure madness and reverse stilling.
    • Regardless of the inherent potential of the world, Egwene is still a channeler, used to magic having its own strengths, and treating, say...balefire as something completely unstoppable. Perrin, however, is under no such misconceptions, and his feat of deflecting balefire launched at him by a Black Aes Sedai in the World of Dreams catches Egwene (and likely the attacker) totally off-guard.
    • Perrin's newest hammer, forged with the help of the One Power. At the time, it had been centuries, maybe millennia since such an event, and the 'help' provided by the Asha'man almost screams this trope.
  • Action Girl: Birgitte Silverbow. And the entire Maidens of the Spear warrior society (Aviendha, Bain, Chiad, Liah, and all the other unnamed ones). And Min, Faile, and the female members of Cha Faile. And most Altaran women. And that legendary Andoran queen who won a battle by grabbing her standard from the standard bearer and charging her horse out into the midst of the enemy. And almost every Borderlander woman. And everyone without a penis wool head, Etc., etc., etc.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Tinkers.
  • Addictive Magic: The One Power, and the True Power which is even more addictive.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • In The Shadow Rising, the women of the Two Rivers instruct Faile on how their marriages work, with sweet words, so she can coexist with Perrin. From Lord of Chaos to Towers of Midnight, Faile ignores all this and is constantly angry with her husband for not going with Saldaean customs, which he has never heard of and she has never explained to him. And Berelain.
    • In Knife of Dreams, Elayne almost gets herself killed by the Black Ajah when she goes to confront them, and does get Vandene and Sareitha killed. But in Towers of Midnight she has learned nothing it seems, since she confronts the captured Black Ajah in disguise as a 'Chosen' while wearing her copy of Mat's medallion, and once again is almost killed, as well as almost loses the medallion and all its copies to the Shadow. She is so confident in her Contractual Immortality bestowed on her by Min's viewing that she forgets that the people around her are not similarly protected.
  • A God Am I: The Choedan Kal allow a person to do this. Lanfear wants to, and encourages Rand to do the same.
  • Agony Beam: Channeling techiques to cause pain, mostly used (and invented) by Semirhage.
  • Anachronic Order: In the second book, the Supergirls' chapters take place a few months after the rest. In book 13, Perrin's chapters occur about a week prior to the other characters'.
  • Alien Geometry: Finnland. Walking down a corridor, then turning around and walking back, may lead to a completely different room to the one the walker started in.
  • All Myths Are True: The time of the Last Battle is approaching, and all sorts of forgotten legends are crawling out of the woodwork, though rarely exactly as the legends described. Since time is depicted as cyclical, it is implied that many of our real-world myths were spawned by events in the books, and/or real-world events inspired the books' legends.
  • All There in the Manual: The Guide has a lot of background information about the world and its history, including some fuller descriptions of events mentioned in the books.
  • All Trolls Are Different:
    • Ogier. They love knowledge and learning and have erogenous zones in their ears.
    • And Trollocs who are suppose to be the source of the troll myths in "our" age.
  • All Witches Have Cats: or at least, all cats have a fondness for women who can channel. Dogs, on the other hand, violently dislike them; this seems to work the other way around for male channelers.
  • All Women Are Vain: In keeping with the general Mars and Venus Gender Contrast of the series. Granted, some women are more inclined to it than others, but this always bears out as a cultural thing, where some societies encourage or discourage such behavior. A great deal is made of female hypocrisy as the characters look down on women who blatantly play up to male desire, but ultimately they all do it, deliberately embracing it after circumstance or jealousy drives them to it initially. This is seen as the natural and correct state of the world, as women who don't cater to male attention are even more underhanded and often outright villainous.
  • Exclusively Evil: Trollocs, Myrddraal, Dragkhar, and Gholams.
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • Aiel Maidens of the Spear. They're pretty much one of the fiercest societies among their entire Proud Warrior Race.
    • Also Elayne's all female bodyguard.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Angreal and sa'angreal.
  • And Man Grew Proud: One of the main themes of the series.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Graendal uses bird vision.
  • Another Dimension:
    • Where the Snakes and Foxes live.
    • Also Tel'aran'rhiod, the Portal Stones worlds, the skimming place, the ways, etc
  • Anti-Magic: The stedding, and Far Madding. Mat's amulet (and Elayne's copies of it) have this effect on a personal basis.
    • However, there are ways around this. Mat's amulet won't protect him against objects affected by the source (such as a rock thrown by saidar), and Far Madding's is circumvented by ter'angreal that allows the user to store some of the Source within it. The latter method might work within a stedding as well, but it hasn't been tested.
  • Apocalypse How: The Breaking, in which thousands of insane male channelers reshaped the face of the planet and wiped out what little civilization had survived the War of Power, was a Type 1, pushing towards Type 2. If the Dark One is set free, it's a full blown Type Z.
  • Apron Matron: A few of the female innkeepers.
  • Arcadia: The Age of Legends is seen as the golden age by every other age that isn't it. We also hear about a LOT of places that have lost their former splendor.
  • Artifact of Doom: A tainted dagger that corrupts its carrier with extreme hate and paranoia.
  • Artificial Human: The positively vicious superhuman immortal "gholam"
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: With the exception of special appointments, Aes Sedai determine relative authority entirely by their power levels, which female channelers can instantly determine in each others' presences. Useful in emergencies for reducing confusion over the chain of command, but if your Power is weak, you're stuck kissing everyone's asses (even the newest Aes Sedai) for the rest of your very long life. Nynaeve highlights how unfair it is in book 12 in a conversation with just such an Aes Sedai. This system baffles the other organizations of channelers, which mainly use seniority and ranking systems. This makes a lot of sense, once you read the supplementary material and realize that the White Tower was basically formed by the strongest living channelers by force immediately after the Breaking, with command over the Hall being overturned several times.
  • Author Existence Failure: As mentioned above. Damn it.
  • Back from the Dead: The Dark One can give the dead—if not Deader Than Dead—new bodies, but it requires abducting villagers for soul extraction. There is also a time limit, measured in fractions of a second, which is why balefire's time-damaging properties kill people Deader Than Dead.
  • Badass: Quite a few examples. All the major protagonists take level in it over time, not to mention the ones that started that way.
    • Notable examples include Lan Mandragoran, who basically declares war on the entire Blight, and Rand Al'Thor, which is justified considering his status as the Chosen One.
  • Badass Boast: Many. Possibly the best example is used by an entire race, the Aiel:

Till shade is gone, till water is gone
Into the Shadow with teeth bared
Screaming defiance with the last breath
To spit in Sightblinder's eye on the last day.

    • In addition, even though it's an inanimate object, the inscription on the side of the Horn of Valere is pretty badass.

"In the last, lorn fight
'gainst the fall of long night,
the mountains stand guard
and the dead shall be ward
for the grave is no bar to my call."

    • Rand gets the single most impressive one:

"Do you believe that I could kill you? Right here, right now, without using a sword or the Power? Do you believe that if I simply willed it, the Pattern would bend around me and stop your heart? By...coincidence?"

    • Lan's speech in Towers of Midnight is this crossed with Rousing Speech:

"I am al'Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, Defender of the Wall of First Fires, Bearer of the Sword of the Thousand Lakes! I was once named Aan'allein, but I reject that title as I am alone no more. Fear me, Shadow! Fear me and know. I have returned for what is mine. I may be a king without a land. But I am still a king!"

  • Badass in Distress: Rand when captured by Galina and her cohorts.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Asha'man, male channelers made Badass by virtue of Training from Hell, and wearing black coats as their uniforms. Even the meekest among them could make Your Head Asplode as easily as he could eviscerate you with his sword.
  • Badass Normal: Borderlanders are for the most part normal, every day humans. Who regularly battle all manner of nasty creatures that come pouring out of the Blight, and they tend to win. And then there's the Aiel, who lived for generations in a desert the trollocs call "The Dying Ground" solely because of them.
  • Bad Boss: Lanfear. There are some things you really shouldn't tell her. In fact it's hard to find a powerful bad guy who isn't like this—consider Padan Fain and his Mind Rape.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Ebou Dar is full of these. Often with ironically ostentatious names better suited to high class establishments.
  • Bad Future: What Aviendha sees in her vision, in Towers of Midnight.
    • Actually, that future sounds pretty good for most of the muggles. It's just awful for channelers and Aiel...which happens to describe basically all of the protagonists.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Trollocs fit a Exclusively Evil stereotype of a barbarian horde, while the Aiel dip into the more Proud Warrior Race Guy variety at times.
  • Battle Ballgown: Nynaeve, in a moment of weakness, dons one in Tel'aran'rhiod.
  • Battle Harem: Rand is in a relationship with three women, all of whom agree to share him: Min is a Ladette and a Knife Nut, Aviendha is a Proud Warrior Race Girl who used to be a member of an Amazon Brigade and grew from being an Action Girl to one of the strongest female channelers, and finally, Elayne is a Badass Princess who is also an extremely strong channeler.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Rand's main plotline. Crowns come and go, but his battle with his own inner turmoil is the real challenge. While this seems overdone at times, it's pretty well justified: not only is he supposedly destined to save the world, cause massive chaos of his own, and die in the process, but his style of magic used to drive any male who uses it dangerously insane and he is the reincarnation of a man who killed his own family. That's a lot of stress on someone who never knew his biological parents. Mostly this just takes the form of Enemy Within as stated below, but there are enough symbolic dreams, metaphorical prophesies and really crazy moments for occasional signs of this trope too.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Lanfear, Galad, and Berelain are frequently described in this way. And the latter two will probably have ridiculously adorable babies. Less mentioned is that Rahvin was said to be as handsome as Lanfear was beautiful.
  • Because Destiny Says So: For lack of anything better to do, the Dragon uses the Prophecies of the Dragon to plan his schedule. The only reason this keeps working out is because Rand is an ultra-powerful ta'veren who completely screws the laws of probability anywhere in the surrounding area; without that influence, Rand's entire business plan for the Messiah job probably goes out the window.
  • Beginner's Luck: Mat and Rand in particular, though to be fair, they are ta'veren (thereby justifying... well, anything) and drawing on others' memories.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rand and Aviendha, Perrin and Faile, Gaul and Chiad, Gawyn and Egwene, and probably more.
  • Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, call Lanfear by her birth name.
  • Big Bad: The Dark One. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (it's Shai'tan, by the way). The reality-warping personification of pure evil spanning all worlds, imprisoned by the Creator in Shayol Ghul "at the moment of creation", whatever that means. Real bad attitude, legions of grotesque monsters, swarms of secret minions at every level of society, speaks in ALL CAPS and makes you feel it. He seeks nothing less than the complete unmaking of the fabric of reality.
  • Big Good: The Dragon Reborn, supposedly, due to being the one that stops the Dark One from escaping his prison and destroying the world. Of course, this doesn't always turn out to be the case, especially with the added caveat of the taint on saidin. However, if Rand wasn't the biggest force for good in the world before The Towers of Midnight, he is now.
  • Bi the Way: Siuan. Moiraine. Shalon. Ailil might be, if she also likes men.
  • Black and White Insanity: Whitecloaks all tend to develop this.
  • Black Comedy Rape - Mat's deeply disturbing relationship with Tylin. Like how she undresses him at knifepoint, for starters... Oh, she doesn't force him to undress by pointing a knife at him, oh no, she uses the knife to undress him and have her way with him, Squicked out yet?
  • Black Magic: The True Power, which comes from the Dark One
  • Blessed with Suck: Male channelers to the extreme. Likewise female channelers born amongst the Seanchan, though that's more of a culturally enforced suck.
    • Ta'averen would be another example; they do gain a lot of power and influence just for existing, but at a heavy price.
    • Sharan channelers are also heavily repressed, and are segregated from the rest of Sharan society in seperate villages that they aren't allowed to leave without permission. Male channelers are kept as breeding stock and executed when they start channeling to avoid the Madness. Well, till you work out that they take care of the otherwise completely isolated rulers of their country who determine this permission, said rulers sometimes die ahead of their appointed seven-year-span by the "will of the Pattern", and people outside would probably assume that any channeler outside would have permission because permission is an internal matter.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Elayne, Min, and Aviendha, respectively.(However, note that Elayne's hair contains quite a bit of red)
  • Blow You Away: One of the main powers of channelers, via the element of Air.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Aelfinn and Eelfinn, who "are not evil the way the Shadow is evil, yet they are so different from humankind they might as well be." They are roughly analogous to The Fair Folk with their riddles and bargains, so it fits.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car'a'carn. And they are not happy when he runs off to battle without them.
  • Born Lucky: Mat. All ta'veren get this in bouts, but Mat seems to have the greatest luck by far and is very aware of it. Being a gambler, he frequently exploits this heavily. Money ceases to be an object after the first few books, assassins are evaded by slipping or bending over at the last second, and anything (or even anyone) that Mat acquires through chance or random selection will turn out to be extremely important—whether he wants it or not.
    • In fact, it's this trope that Mat relies on almost completely during his foray into the Tower of Ghenjei in Towers of Midnight. And it isn't just there, once Mat realizes he has it he abuses it for all he's worth. One example is losing track of Tuon and Selucia, instead of doing a search of where they were he spins himself around at random, gets bumped into and goes right into the store he ends up facing. It works!
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: All three Two Rivers heroes are well-trained in the use of their longbows as well as their melee weapons. Oddly enough Rand, the only one of the three to actually use a sword, is the only one to cease using bows entirely.
  • Brainwashed: "Compulsion," expertly used by the Quirky Miniboss Squad but inexpertly rediscovered by a number of ethically challenged Aes Sedai. The Warder bond even includes it as an optional "feature."
  • Brain Bleach: Shadowspawn breed.
  • Break the Haughty: What happens to many Aiel when the learn the truth of why they don't use swords.
    • Happens to the bad guys too, namely a few of the Forsaken. Let's see. We have: Graendal is "punished" by Shaidar Haran. Semirhage is humiliated by Cadsuane via spanking and later killed by Rand with the True Power. Moghedien was collared by Nynaeve and Egwene until she was let go by Aran'gar. Then, after being freed from that bondage, Shaidar Haran bonded her with a mindtrap and gave it to Moridin. Lanfear's reincarnated form of Cyndane is similarly given over to Moridin's cour'souvra. Messana was punished by Shaidar Haran for abusing Alviarin even though she had been completely faithful to the Dark One. Her haughtiness was broken completely (along with her mind) by Egwene.
  • Breast Plate: Justified via Obfuscating Stupidity: Elayne's personal bodyguards wear such armor precisely to make people think they're all show and no bite.
  • Buffy-Speak: When Verin shows Mat a picture of him that she got off a Darkfriend who was looking for him and asks him how he thinks she got it, he replies that he'd figured she "saidared it".
  • Butt Monkey: Morgase seems to exist for the sole purpose of being repeatedly humiliated.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Maidens of the Spear to Rand.
    • The Queen's Bodyguard in Andor is a borderline case: almost all of them are foreign, but it's not a requirement and they are from several different countries.
  • Can Not Tell a Lie: Aes Sedai are unable to lie after they take their oaths, which in practice leads them to become experts in twisting the truth. This in turn completely subverts the reason for taking the oath against lying, as people trust them even less, so great is their reputation for manipulating the truth.
    • Well, not entirely, because most know that if they say something right out it's true. Unless they're Black Ajah, of course...
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Almost all of the Forsaken became villains in the first place for the simple reason of showing them, showing them all! They all happily committed atrocities from having their relatives butchered by monsters to annihilating entire cities out of spite, they demand grovelling worship from their minions, and their idea of a pleasant hobby generally consists of torture sessions or depraved orgies. (Oddly, the most sadistic one of the lot also enjoys sewing.) Justified in series as the Dark One wanting easily-controlled minions.
    • The "show them all" part is not shared by all Forsaken. Only Meesana and Semirhage explicitely state that this was their motive. And many went over simply because they were jealous of the champion of Light Lews Therin Telamon.
      • Asmodean, formerly a bard, states he became a Forsaken for the music an eternal life would give him the chance to compose
  • Cataclysm Backstory - The Pyrrhic victory of the original War crippled both sides and brought the end of the Age of Legends' civilization. See also And Man Grew Proud. Interestingly—and to Moridin's great irritation—several weaves have since been developed that were unknown in the Age of Legends—such as the Warder bond and linking someone against their will—or even thought impossible, like reversing gentling/stilling!
  • The Cavalry: Two of them in the same battle, actually. One of them is led by Faile, as if it wasn't awesome enough already.
  • Character Tics: When agitated, Nynaeve tugs her braid. She gets agitated a lot.
    • She and various other female characters also spend an inordinate amount of time sniffing.
    • She and Siuan (and most of the men, to boot) tend to snort, as well. Sniffing and snorting, oh dear.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: The list of Chekhov's stuff below is too short, even when it's abbreviated. To give you a hint, Min mentions that when she looks at Mat she sees an eye on a scale in the first book. A few books later, in Tear, Mat learns that he will lose half the light of the world to save the world. MANY books later, he finally loses an eye. This series is absolutely full of things like that. It's Chekhov's Porn Collection.
  • Chekhov's Army: Every seemingly minor side character who receives a name is Chekhov's Gunman. Every. Last. One. Even the imaginary ones.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mat's dagger from Shadar Logoth
    • The 13-13 trick first mentioned in book 2 MUST SURELY be one. Even if it STILL hasn't happened yet. Actually, Brandon Sanderson confirmed that it is. He even used the phrase "gun on the wall" in reference to the Trope Namer
  • Chekhov's Skill: The sword technique "Heron Wading in the Rushes" - The Parody renames it "Ending the Book."
  • Chess Motifs
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Mat. "He'll steal a kiss from you, and whatever more you're willing to give, but he would never hurt you."
  • The Chosen One: The Dragon (Reborn). Prophesied to save the world, but also destroy it. Or something. Most laymen just conclude he's pure evil.
    • It's also a brutal deconstruction. It's not just the taint that's making him insane, it's the knowledge that all of existence rests on his shoulders, while foolish people are fighting their savior at every turn. That much stress would drive anyone mad.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The entirety of the Dark One's forces. Minions are encouraged to scheme against each other to get ahead so that they are easier to control/predict. The Forsaken—each able to command all the lesser minions—set themselves up in separate kingdoms and spend the entire series scheming over the position of number one, even after the Dark One appoints someone. No trust or cooperation, only temporary truces arising from their schemes. Even when Rand is cleansing saidin and Number One orders everyone to stop him, the effort is completely uncoordinated, with each Forsaken attacking independently (or just pretending to go attack and then watching from a safe distance).
  • Church Militant: The Children of the Light, a.k.a Whitecloaks. Think "Spanish Inquisition" on a bad day. They believe that Aes Sedai are evil witches, and anyone who disagrees with them (the Whitecloaks, that is) must be a servant of the Dark One. Extremely militant.
    • This is somewhat deconstructed with Galad leading them. Not ALL the the Whitecloacks are completely like this, and Towers of Midnight indicates their general attitude might be changing.
  • City of Canals: Illian and Ebou Dar.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Tel'aran'rhiod operates on this principle as dreamers or pretty much anyone with access to it can shape based on what they believe is possible. Since physics and other laws of reality are little more than handy suggestions, fights in this world are based on knowledge of this fact and willpower. This leads to an awesome moment where Perrin manages to show Egwene up by catching Balefire, which she thought was impossible. For her, it was because she was working off the belief that Balefire could not be stopped like it would be in the real world. Perrin was able to catch it because he has a thorough understanding of the power of belief and it's effects in the World of Dreams and probably had no idea what he was trying to catch.
  • Cleavage Window: Ebou Dari's current fashion - used to frame the marriage knife.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lanfear. Sort of.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rand ponders on how to defeat someone that you know can outsmart you. His answer is "You make them think that you are sitting down across the table from them, ready to play their game. Then you punch them in the face as hard as you can." This translates to sending an emissary to speak with the enemy in question, then when the emissary is sent back (brainwashed) to him he just nukes her entire fortress with magic, rendering her and all her servants deader than dead.
  • Common Tongue: Played ridiculously straight. Some terms are put into the Old Tongue.
    • Actually, the Old Tongue is more of an in-universe Latin. It's a dead language, only known by scholars and (theoretically) the nobility as a status symbol, but no one actually SPEAKS the Old Tongue as a language anymore and hasn't for a very long time, they just use words from it here and there out of tradition or for poetic reasons.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Justified. They are simply part of how destiny works in this setting, although tons of coincidences happen that aren't plot-significant.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: The reason Egwene and her faction doesn't have a detailed list of every single decision Elaida is considering.
  • Cool Old Guy: Thom and Noal.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The crude man-made seal over the hole in the Dark One's extradimensional prison is tied to seven artifacts made of the literally indestructible heartstone. Yet, somehow, they've become very rickety...
  • Costume Porn: Understatement.
  • Covers Always Lie: The infamously terrible first-edition American covers, in which (among other things) no character looks the same from book to book. Jordan himself was disappointed that he was unable to have more communication with the cover artist, in order to correct the many issues.
    • The cover of The Great Hunt portrayed the half-human, half-animal Trollocs as black people.
    • Several covers have portrayed the Dragkhar as some sort of bizarre gargoyle creature when it actually looks just like a human with wings.
    • The official series guidebook lampshades this. Contained within is a gallery of the cover art available when the guide was published. They are listed as "Narrative Paintings of Questionable Authenticity".
      • The art in the guidebook may be worse than the novels' cover art in terms of technical artistry, but in terms of accurately depicting scenes or characters from the novel, it almost couldn't be worse. Almost every book's cover art gets the mood wrong of the scene it depicts, or gets key details in it wrong, or depicts a minor, unimportant scene from the book when there were much more interesting options to choose from, or all of the above.
  • Crapsack World: Your Mileage May Vary but... In the Westlands, many nations have descended into rioting and civil war. The stable ones are often ruled by corrupt nobles who constantly scheme against each other and casually kill anyone who opposes them. Andor is an exception, but it is quickly becoming a Vestigial Empire with retreating borders. Outside the Westlands? You have the Aiel Waste, which is nearly inhospitable due to the lack of water and harsh weather. Across the sea is the Land of the Madmen, the only inhabitable continent in the southern hemisphere, which is a hellish Death World of constantly erupting volcanoes and rogue channellers of both sexes. The other main continent and the lands east of the Aiel waste are ruled by Seanchan and Shara, both nations larger than the entire Westlands combined. Both have horrible elements---the Seanchan practice slavery, make all female channelers into damane and are currently undergoing a massive civil war. Shara is even worse, banning all contact inside or outside the nation except for a few walled-off trading villages, having even more widespread slavery than the Seanchan and killing all male channelers as soon as they manifest their abilities. Nowhere is safe.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Happens every now and then; most of the time it's the Aiel culture that gets compared to the Western, but we also see comparison between Western/Seanchan cultures, Western/Ogier cultures, and different cultures within the big "Western" block.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Age of Legends. Literally so on the crystal spires part, at least.
  • Culture Clash: This is a huge factor in the world at large, and the source of endless tension... and humor.

"...If an Aiel woman must kill a man every day, how are there any men left among you?"
Aviendha did her best not to stare. How could the woman believe such nonsense?

    • Somewhat ironically, there are the Forsaken, which have been kept in stasis for three thousand years and awaken into a time in which not only the culture they knew has been destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again several times over, but the very world itself is beyond recognition. They are known to remark on how different things are from the Age of Legends, but they all seem to adapt remarkably well to the world in which they find themselves.
  • Cultured Badass: Any number of Aes Sedai and fighting nobility. Of note is Lan, who quotes poetry at the end of the first book to describe the neverending fight against evil.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Rand, Mat, Perrin aren't particularly thrilled to discover that they're Ta'veren and consequently at the top of The Dark One's hit list at first. Mat in particular gets over this pretty quick when he realizes his power is luck, and damn good luck at that. The other two get over rather swiftly when they realize that being Ta'veren means the Pattern is looking out for them.


  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique - Balefire, a forgotten (but not for long) weave dropped by both parties during the War of Power after overuse nearly unmade reality -- mutually assured destruction, in other words. It takes the form of a beam of light that destroys anything... both now and retroactively. This weaponized Rewrite spell trips off any number of time tropes:
    • Deader Than Dead - Because the Dark One does not have the power to step outside of time, it is unable to resurrect those of its followers who are killed by balefire (to its great frustration) "...unless the amount of balefire is very small."
    • No Ontological Inertia - anything balefired is not only destroyed now, but—depending on the power of the balefire—for some time into the past as well. (A beam taller than a man undid his actions for half an hour or more.)
    • 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.)
    • 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 Continuity Snarl. Note that balefire does not actually rewrite the Pattern, it just instantly changes reality as though flipping channels on a TV. Character A revived above was actually dead, only to get better with absolutely no explanation.
    • Death Ray - Manifests as a beam of "liquid light" which dissolves anything it hits.
  • The Dead Have Names - Rand keeps a name of women who have died in his service or because of him, reciting it as a Madness Mantra as his sanity slips. Interestingly, the two who top the list, and who pain him the most, are actually alive.
  • Deadly Decadent Court - Quite a few, and the heroes end up navigating them with varying degrees of skill. Among them: Cairhien and the Seanchan.
  • Death Seeker - The stated fate of any Warder who outlives his Aes Sedai. Lan takes this trope and runs with it.
    • Also, any male channeler among the Aiel, who will generally take it as a sign that they should go to the Blight and challenge the Dark One. If Towers of Midnight is any indication, ho-o-oly shit, does that backfire...
  • Departure Means Death - Following the "Breaking of the World", the Ogier find themselves incapable of being away from their Stedding for any extended period of time, with death resulting if they remain away for too long.
  • Despair Event Horizon - Rand crosses this near the end of The Gathering Storm, and is almost Driven to Suicide before Epiphany Therapy kicks in.
  • Despair Gambit - This seems to be the Dark One's main plan with regard to Rand.
  • Destructive Saviour - Lews Therin.
  • Determinator - Rand. In another use of the trope, the Aiel take an oath to be Determinators.
    • The extinct nation of Manetheren fits this trope perfectly, refusing to give up even in the face of impossible odds multiple times.
  • Distracted by the Sexy - A popular tactic for people trying to spy on or control Rand. The Wise Ones of the Aiel try it with Aviendha, Berelain tries it in Tear, Kadere tries it with Isendre in the waste, and Colavaere tries it with a string of young women in Cairhien. It never works.
  • Does Not Like Men - Several female characters seem to have aspects of it, but among the protagonists their attitudes mostly boil down to affectionate mockery. The Red Ajah rather notoriously attracts women of this variety, although there have been a handful of exceptions—in fact, Red Ajah Aes Sedai who don't harbor a hatred toward men are often given that trait as an indication that their goals are the same (or at least compatible with) those of the protagonists, while many (though not all) of the misandrist variety are actually Black Ajah.
  • Does Not Like Women - Does Not Like Men is far more prominent, but there are plenty of male characters who have aspects of this trope, Mat arguably being the strongest case. Though he does like the ladies in some ways.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom - The Pit of Doom, as well as the Mountains of Dhoom.
  • Doorstoppers - The books themselves. As if to underscore the point, Tor's paperbacks are rather shoddy, and start to disintegrate after ten or fifteen readings. Robert Jordan joked that "once the series is finished, I plan to release a boxed set of the series. On wheels." If he had lived to finish the series and kept his promise to end the series with A Memory Of Light being the twelfth book no matter how long it was, it could have been a Doorstopper even by Doorstopper standards. Jordan used to joke that it would be one book, even if Tor was forced to invent a new way of binding books to do it. Turns out that was an accurate assessment.
  • The Dragon - Shaidar Haran and/or Nae'blis for the Dark One.
  • Dragons Up the Yin-Yang:
    • Rand becomes known as the Dragon Reborn, uses a dragon banner, and gets magical dragon tattoos on his forearms. Interestingly, we never hear any legends about actual dragons.
    • A modified yin-yang, without the circle of the opposing color at the centers of each side, is the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. The white, female portion points up and is called the Flame of Tar Valon by itself. The black, male side points down and is the Dragon's Fang by itself. The gender association is reversed from the actual taijitu, most likely to support the taint of the male half.
  • Dramatic Irony - All the time, in almost every. Single. Chapter.
    • Played for laughs in early books, such as how at various times, each of the three male main protagonists would each find themselves in a socially awkward situation and wish one of the other two were there, because they know how to talk to women better.
    • During the fourth through sixth books, different protagonists each captured one of the Forsaken so they could learn long-lost methods of using the One Power. They both tried to keep it a secret, and both worried about someone finding out long after the respective Forsaken were out of the picture, never knowing that someone else had done the same thing and therefore wouldn't be in any position to criticize.
    • During a succession crisis caused by the heir's disappearance, Elaida had a vision that the ruling house of Andor would be key to winning The Last Battle. This led her to ingratiate herself to the new queen as an adviser as soon as the succession's outcome was clear, and try to keep her powerful daughter Elayne on a short leash. It never occurred to Elaida to wonder about Tigraine, the heir that had disappeared.
  • Dream Land - World of Dreams, Tel'aran'rhiod. It can even be entered physically, not just mentally, but doing that just about horrifies the Aiel dreamwalkers for supposedly fragmenting the soul. The whole World has its own set of fairly complex rules that govern what is and isn't possible. Most pertinently, though, Your Mind Makes It Real.
    • Rand's dreams in The Eye of the World were similar. In retrospect, Ba'alzamon was probably pulling him into the World of Dreams.
    • Dream Within a Dream - Thanks to the World of Dreams. At one point, Egwene is forcibly yanked awake by her dreamwalker teacher who admonishes her for breaking a rule and then turns into a monster. Egwene wakes up a second time to the exact same setting, but this time she's really awake.
      • Another time, Egwene is forcibly yanked into someone else's dream. Thankfully, this is only possible when the yanker has a major thing for the yankee (the incident becomes a Meet Cute), or else this would be a darn good way to assassinate dreamwalkers.
        • It's stated in the same book that this occurs, that strong feelings on either end of the spectrum by either party can cause the person to be yanked into the dreamer's dream. So if the Forsaken that had such knowledge of the world between worlds hated any of the main characters enough, and those main characters didn't know how to ward their dreams through the various means that they do, then yes it would be a good way to kill off the dreamwalkers and anyone else that happened to be dreaming.
  • Drop a Bridge On Them: Arguably, what Graendal does to Aran'gar and Delana at the start of book thirteen.
    • Also with the death of Masema, aka The Prophet, a villain who's been causing trouble for several books. We're denied a direct confrontation as part of a cliff hanger, only to have him suddenly and unceremoniously offed in the prologue of the next book.
    • What Mat does to Couladin in book 5.
  • Duel to the Death
    • In one regrettable instance, we don't learn about it until after the fact.
  • Dug Too Deep - The Bore which released the Dark One during the Age of Legends. Definitely too deep in this case, seeing as how they managed to drill through the fabric of reality itself.
  • Earth All Along - It's implied in the books and confirmed by Word of God that the First Age, which took place before the Age of Legends, was our present day world. The references to the giants "Mosk and Merk" who fought with spears of fire that reached around the world was the US and Russia and the story of "Lenn" who rode to the moon in the belly of an eagle was a reference to John Glenn. While visiting a museum with First-Age artifacts, the characters find a skeleton of a giraffe and a frieze of other extinct animals, as well as a Mercedes-Benz logo.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower - In Towers of Midnight, Rand's presence actively negates the Dark One's touch around him. It is almost impossible for other characters to act against his wishes due to the ta'veren effect. He's about as powerful as an army of channelers. Darkfriends are unable to meet Rand's eyes, and massive displays of his power literally drive them insane. All this will still probably be barely enough to prevent the world falling apart.
  • The Empire - The Seanchan Empire, whose chief weapons include magical slavery, secret police, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Empress, and nice coleopteroid helmets.
    • Shara is also an Empire, though the secretive nature of its people makes it difficult to guess how well it fits this trope.
  • The End of the World as We Know It - The entire series is building up to it... And the major players, especially Rand, seem dead set on causing it regardless. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. The War of Power and subsequent Breaking of the World wiped out civilization and nearly mankind altogether, the Trolloc Wars nearly depopulated all lands west of the Spine of the World, and the War of the Hundred Years destroyed Artur Hawkwing's Empire.
  • Enemy Within - Encroaching madness caused by the taint on saidin, and the VOICES in MY HEAD that will NOT SHUT UP! WHY WILL THE DEAD NOT BE SILENT?!
  • Even Evil Has Standards - "I dare the truth, Elaida," Egwene said quietly. "You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Black Ajah swear an oath that they "will keep the secrets of the Shadow until their dying hour". This backfires drastically (As Verin discovered, there Aint No Rule saying you can't poison yourself in order to share the identities of all the Black Ajah agents you've spent years uncovering.) and Egwene notes that it probably should've been caught earlier except none of the Black Ajah would've understood that someone might be willing to do this.
  • Evil Chancellor - After the split of the White Tower, the official second-in-commands of the Tar Valon as well as the Rebel Aes Sedai, Keepers of the Chronicles Alviarin and Sheriam, are both Darkfriends, and each raised their Amyrlin - an unstable fool and a child who had only just joined the tower, respectively - to weaken the Aes Sedai and manipulate them as their puppets. However, both fail spectacularly in their own way and end up losing all of their influence long before they are discovered.
    • Mordeth/Fain also was an evil chancellor to several leaders. Most notably Elaida and Pedron Niall
  • Evil Feels Good: The effect that THE DARK ONE'S VOICE AND PRESENCE appears to have on humans, oftentimes likened to an ecstatic state by the Chosen Forsaken. Go Light! As of book thirteen this is also revealed to be the case for anyone who channels the True Power.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Trollocs have an extremely morbid and cruel sense of humor. Myrddraal do not have a sense of humor. And Shaidar Haran has an extremly cruel sense of humor.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: The reason why, historically, the Dragons become... stressed.
  • Evil Sorcerer
  • Evil Versus Evil - The Dark One and his forces are in conflict with Shadar Logoth, an ancient evil that was formed when Followers of the Light decided to fight the Shadow by adopting its policies of harshness and cruelty. This becomes a major plot point in Winter's Heart when Rand cleanses the Dark One's taint on saidin by funneling it into Shardar Logoth, which causes a spectacular black Sphere of Destruction.
  • Eviler Than Thou - Mordeth/Fain, who destroyed a kingdom by making it fight the Dark One with the Dark One's methods two thousand years ago, and is now on a one-man rampage to try and kill the hero before the Dark One's minions can "steal" his kill.
  • Exponential Plot Delay: To the point that you could go for an entire book without seeing one of the three male leads. The pace has since picked up since the Robert Jordan died(though given that there was only supposed to be one book left, that may be coincidence).
  • Expressive Ears - All Ogier have these, as well as expressive eyebrows.
  • Eyeless Face - Myrddraal, the Shadowspawn with the implied affinity for rape.
  • Eyes of Gold - Perrin is a Wolfbrother, a human with special wolf-related abilities. One of the marks of a Wolfbrother is golden eyes.
  • Eye Scream - Mat's prophecy of "giving up half the light of the world" turns out to mean having his left eye ripped out...
  • Face Your Fears: The White Tower test to become Accepted requires going through a ter'angreal that makes you do this three times.
  • Failure Is the Only Option - The cycle of ages (the top theme in the series) cannot be broken except by the Dark One's victory; at best the good guys can only reseal the Dark One until the next Age of Legends, where he will break free again and so forth. Considering all the crap the Dragon has to go through, he certainly got the raw deal, there; Rand nearly unmakes reality himself out of despair over this. Rand somehow plans to fight fate and kill the Dark One, as remote a possibility as that seems.
    • However it is strongly implied that even if the bad guys do win, the cycle of ages will just repeat anyways (and that they have won many times before).
    • Ishamael claims that the Dark One has killed or turned the Light's champion before, but this time, for unknown reasons, it's for keeps. Though he might be lying.
    • You might want to consider your source: Ishamael is a nutjob.
  • Fair Folk - Aes Sedai derives from the aes sídhe of Irish folklore. And like fairies Aes Sedai have magic powers, and though they Can Not Tell a Lie have a reputation for being deceptive.
    • The Aelfinn/Eelfinn also draw strongly from the Seelie/Unseelie Fair Folk.
  • Faking the Dead - Graendal, not that it does her much good in the end.
  • Fan-Speak - RAFO, meaning "Read and Find Out!" the answer often affectionately given to fans asking cryptic questions of the author. In fact, there's even a fan site named after that.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: Aes Sedai always have "Sedai" fixed onto the ends of their names after being raised to the shawl, since "Aes Sedai" roughly translates to "Servants Of All" the honorific most likely translate to "Moiraine The Servant" or something similar.
  • Fantastic Nuke - many and varied. Entire cities were wiped out in the War of Power by balefire, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Rand manages to wipe out most of a 15,000 man Seanchan army with fire and lightning in The Path of Daggers but nearly loses his mind in the attempt. In Winter's Heart, Shadar Logoth gets destroyed when Rand and Nynaeve channel the taint on Saidin into it, cleansing it of the Dark One's touch. Manethren's capital city was annihilated when its queen Eldrene destroyed the Trolloc army with a sa'angreal but destroyed herself and everything around her in the process. Rand also pulls one off, when in Book 13 he single-handedly obliterated a hundred thousand Shadowspawn or more, almost triggering a showdown with the Dark One right then from the display of power. Unmaking a weave caused an explosion so spectacular that a magic-wielding empire and the Dark One's Dragon both crap their pants upon witnessing it.
  • Fantasy Contraception: In book nine, we learn that there's a sort of tea (heartleaf) that apparently acts as a fairly reliable contraceptive. Slightly subverted in that we learn this right as Elayne gets a little too distracted to remember to take it. However, while the resulting pregnancy is unplanned, she doesn't seem to mind much.
    • Actually played sort of straight at the same time, as the character who mentions the tea, Min, does so while saying that Elayne "should" be taking it. Considering the fact she and Rand have been very, very busy for some time and she isn't pregnant yet (at least, that we know of), there is a strong implication that she is taking it.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture - Lots of them. Andor is essentially a landlocked version of Britain, having a "Lion Throne" and ruled by a queen. Cairhien and Illian bear similarities to France (Cairhien has the Sun Throne). Arad Doman resembles Saudi Arabia and other Middle-Eastern nations. The Aiel are based off the Zulu (spears, tactics), Irish (appearence), and Bedouin tribes(desert dwellers) with a dash of Native American and Japanese and a strong hint of Fremen.
    • There is a book about the Zulu titled Wash the Spears.
    • The Da'shain Aiel of the Age of Legends show some similarities to many religious sects, like Amish or Quaker or countless other: both are hereditary pacifist groups distinguished by a particular hair or beard style and by their plain and practical clothing.
  • Fantasy World Map - The Europe-esque continent which the story revolves around. "The Westlands" is one other term that's thrown around; a third is "the wetlands", which is what the (desert-dwelling) Aiel use to refer to the same area.
  • Farm Boy - Rand is the only one who lived and works on a farm—Mat is more a layabout (his father is a horse trader rather than a farmer) and Perrin's more of a blacksmith from a farming village (though his family does own a farm). They all get called this however, especially early on.
    • Rand is specifically a "sheepherder," ie a shepherd. Lan, in particular, is fond of calling him this.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow - The Aes Sedai do this all the time.
  • Fate Worse Than Death - Getting gentled. Stilled. Severed. Cut off from the Power, that is: channelers are evidently as good as addicted to its wholesomeness. Liandrin, for being too stupid * and* treacherous, isn't even mentally allowed to be Driven to Suicide (really, she got brainwashed that way), as she's not only forced into servitude but cut off from the Power—though not severed, giving her eternal false hope—indefinitely
    • Don't forget becoming a damane. Even if some of them do grow to like it.
    • Do not ever, ever let Semirhage get her hands on you. Many of the prisoners taken by the Shadow during the War of Power killed themselves rather than face her. And by "killed themselves," we mean they opened their wrists with their teeth. Or their fingernails.
    • The ultimate fate of Mesaana after her Battle in the Center of the Mind with Egwene turns into a veritable Mind Rape; she is left a drooling vegetable, trapped in her own mind, unable to speak for the rest of her life, needing to be cared for by others.
    • Also for Galina, who's apparently final fate involves being a totally broken slave, body and mind, to a sadistic possible Psycho Lesbian for the rest of her unnaturally long life. Of course, if anyone deserved it...
    • And again, the Gholam, dropped into a lightless void, forever to fall, unable to die...
  • Faustian Rebellion - Lanfear insists she's willing and able to overthrow her master Satan (and then God, incidentally) and reign over all creation, if her boyfriend will just play along with her plan for a little while and pledge his allegiance to her dark master--temporarily, of course. Much later, it becomes apparent she meant every word. And might have been right.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief - Arguably, Perrin, Rand and Mat respectively. Rand was a Magic Knight for a while, but his permament injuries have gradually weakened him back to being Squishy Wizard.
    • By the latest book, he's less affected by them.
  • Fictionary - The Old Tongue, a big Punctuation Shaker, and an example of the more fragmentary style. One character develops a bad habit of speaking this language without meaning to.
  • The Final Temptation - When Nynaeve goes through the Aes Sedai's admission test, she finds herself in an illusion where she's in a happy marriage with Lan.
  • First Episode Spoiler - Rand is the Dragon Reborn. That is the last line of the first book (those exact words, in fact), but the progression towards that revelation is relatively subtle until the last chapter. It is very difficult to discuss any books after the first without mentioning that fact.
  • First Girl Wins - Played semi-straight with Rand, in that Min is the First Girl he runs into who isn't the victim of his Childhood Marriage Promise; twisted in that she's the last one he realizes he's attracted to; twisted again when someone else seduces him first. Inverted with Mat and Tuon (Last Girl Wins, in this case). Played fully straight with Perrin and Faile, Lan and Nynaeve, Moiraine and Thom, and, well, just about everybody else in the series.
  • Fisher King - As early as book one, Rand is having dreams of Thom saying that 'the Dragon is one with the land, and the land is one with the Dragon'. While there doesn't seem to be a specific link, the increasing ruin in the world (endless drought --> overly harsh winter --> disease, vermin, and decay --> famine due to poor harvests) does parallel Rand's increasing insanity. But this becomes most obvious in books twelve and thirteen. In The Gathering Storm, after Rand is forced to almost kill Min by Semirhage and then draws on the True Power, he ends up with a dark aura/"warp in the air". End result, everything becomes even more ruined, dead, and horrific wherever he goes, and he no longer has any positive ta'veren effects around him, only the negative. But after his moment on Dragonmount at the end of the book, we find out in Towers of Midnight that he's gone the opposite direction, bringing life, vitality, and goodness with him, bringing the sun through the endless storm clouds and restoring the land and food, and even specifically undoing the ruin he caused in Bandar Eban through the positive results of his Winds of Destiny Change and the force of his charisma.
  • Fixing the Game - Mat is occasionally accused of cheating because of his luck. He's so lucky that when he encounters weighted dice, he still wins.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting - At least seven. Especially bad in the later books, see Seasonal Rot in the YMMV page.
  • Functional Magic - The One Power, which has a myriad of complex rules governing its usage.
    • Device Magic - In the form of ter'angreal; see Lost Technology.
    • Elemental Powers - The Five Powers are Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Spirit. Men tend to be better at dealing with Earth and Fire, and women Water and Air.
    • Elemental Baggage - Water and Fire spells draw from existing materials.
    • The Force - The One Power is not only Mana, it's the force that turns the Wheel of Time.
    • Gender-Restricted Ability - There are a great variety of differences between male and female channelers of the One Power, the first being that women draw from the female half saidar, and men draw from its opposite saidin. Women can weave more flows, but men can draw larger quantities of Power. Women create Gateways by making two areas 'similar', whereas men 'forcefully' bore holes into the fabric of space. Female channelers who begin to manipulate the One Power can be seen to glow, but only by other female channelers; men instead feel a tingling feeling when a woman is channeling. In the case of men channeling, a man able to channel get a strong feeling of menace from another man channeling, but women cannot detect a man channeling at all, other than the effects. Even the way you channel is different: women must "surrender to" saidar, while men must "overmaster" saidin, and if you try it the other gender's way, you get very dead very quickly. If saidar is tai chi, saidin is shaolin kung fu (or Krav Maga). Or more specifically, Yin and Yang.
      • Subverted in one case. Linking is a gender-restricted ability itself; only saidar channelers can link together "circles" of casters, whose power adds together, but the maximum number is determined by how many men are included (13 women can link alone, at least one man and 27 can, up to six men and 72 women...with technically no limit on the number of men). However, only one person actually channels in a circle, and in dual-gender circles, that person has to know how to direct both saidar and saidin.
    • Geometric Magic - All magic is pattern-based, involving the "weaving" of "threads," "strands" or "flows" of the various elements into intricate patterns. (This imagery is an extension of the idea that the Wheel of Time is a spinning wheel or loom.)
    • Inherent Gift - There are a variety of extremely rare abilities that people can be born with, such as naturally accessing the World of Dreams, talking to wolves, ways of seeing the future, and sensing ta'veren—but despite what some characters believe, these have no connection with the One Power. Many others do however: innate Talents that allow sometimes-subconscious use of the One Power in specific areas that others might find extremely difficult or outright impossible: Healing, predicting the weather, Foretelling, finding ores, comprehension/reconstruction of Lost Technology, etc. And of course there is a difference between people who can learn to channel and people who have The Gift, and will begin to do it whether they are trained or not.
    • Magic A Is Magic A - One of the reasons this series is so popular with physicists, chemists and other science-y types is that Power operates on clearly defined rules that (for the most part) don't get broken. When the mains inevitably gain massive amounts of power and ability, it doesn't feel like an Ass Pull so much as simply rediscovering talents lost to the ages. There are also a variety of special rules associated with certain weaves: most forms of Healing consume the body's energy, and the Healee is often ravenous for days afterwards; alternately, Traveling (directly to the location) and Skimming (via hyperspace) both create portals for fast transportation, but require strong familiarity with the departure point and destination, respectively.
    • Superpower Meltdown - a major risk with channeling, though we've never seen anyone have one. Every channeler has a certain "strength," corresponding to how much of the Power they can draw safely. Go further than that and they might De-Power themselves. Or render themselves brain-dead. Or kill themselves. Or disintegrate themselves in a Pillar of Light that results in a volcano and a brand-new mountain, called "Dragonmount" because that's where The Dragon killed himself. But only if you're The Chosen One. More likely to happen to people who have The Gift but no training. The series does a good job of making The One Power sound dangerous, but all the horror stories lose their bite when we know the main characters won't be running afoul of them any time soon.
  • Forging Scene - In The Dragon Reborn, Perrin takes a break from chasing Rand to go work in a forge for a while. Some people consider it one of Perrin's most defining moments.
    • He gets another in Towers of Midnight, one that is arguably THE defining moment, since it creates a Power-wrought hammer MJOLNIR to fulfill the Karaethon Cycle's "when the Wolf King takes up the hammer", via the discovery that one of the Asha'man has the Talent to make Power-wrought weapons.
  • From a Certain Point of View - The Aes Sedai are notorious for these.


  • Garden of Evil - The Blight, a slowly-expanding rain forest that spans the northern side of the main continent, where every plant and 'animal' is poisonous, extremely deadly, and out to get you. Thanks a lot, Aginor. Its expansion ceases to become an issue after the first book. Beyond it lies Mordor.
    • Even in the twelfth book it's an issue, they just don't obsess over it as much. Rand spent a whole chapter going up there and seeing just how far it's expanded.
  • Gender Bender - More than one character speculates that the Dark One must have a sense of humor after he reincarnates the infamous, womanizing Balthamel as a woman. Although extremely upset at first, she soon gets used to the change and becomes a manipulative Vamp (and in private, a Depraved Bisexual). It helps that Balthamel's new body is a particularly alluring one. Like Bender Bending Rodriguez says, men are so much better at being women. That she still channels the male half of the Source gives her a huge element of surprise...
    • not that it helped her in the end, as in the Towers of Midnight prologue she became the third character in the series to die TWICE.
  • Genetic Memory - Mostly early in the series, particularly with Mat, who curses at the Aes Sedai in the Old Tongue during his intensive Healing session. Not to be confused with the soldier/general memories that get crammed in his head later, which are Eelfinn-related. The chivalrous Genetic Memory of Manetheren is also suspected to be a contributing factor to his and Rand's Wouldn't Hit a Girl tendencies.
  • Genius Bruiser - Rand. In addition to being the most powerful channeler ever born, a blademaster, and a superhuman Warder, he also demonstrates great skill in the Game of Houses and outplotting his enemies. When he isn't putting Honor Before Reason in really stupid ways, that is. In the second book, he's suddenly thrown into the Deadly Decadent Court of Cairhienin politics and, despite being from a quiet farming background, manages to outmaneuver the nobles long enough for help to arrive. Solid.
    • Mat is an even better example of this than Rand. After two minutes of studying the map, he comes up with the same battle plan as half a dozen veterans working together. When his back is to the wall, he kills the leader of the other side's army in single combat. The genius part comes from the training and experience that comes with memories from other men given to him in a mystical deal, and the bruiser part comes from practice with a quarterstaff as a sport.
  • Genre Savvy - Justified in-universe; see other mentions of ta'veren on this page. More than once, Aes Sedai who want to find certain characters who happen to be ta'veren do it by listening for rumors of really weird stuff going on, the kind of coincidences that happen around them all the time because they are Main Characters. In The Gathering Storm, the reverse happens: an Aes Sedai experiences a succession of extremely unlikely events, and realizes it means destiny must be pushing her towards a ta'veren.
  • Gentle Giants - The Ogier. Well, the Randland ones, anyway. The Seanchan variety are called "Gardeners"... of the 'pruning a few limbs' variety.
    • Even Randland Ogier qualify in a way. After spending a lot of time with Loial Perrin thinks to himself that the old saying "To anger the Ogier and pull the mountains down on your head", taken by everybody to mean "doing the impossible", once had a different meaning: "'Anger the Ogier, and you pull the mountains down on your head.' Difficult to do, but deadly if accomplished."
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! - All over the place. Expect the mains to give and recieve at least a couple of these per book. For example, Rand gets an epic one from Sulin in Lord of Chaos after he leaves his bodyguards behind when teleporting:

“The great and powerful Car’a’carn gave his honor to Far Dareis Mai to carry,” she all but hissed in a low whisper. “If the mighty Car’a’carn dies in ambush while the Maidens protect him, Far Dareis Mai has no honor left. If the all-conquering Car’a’carn does not care, perhaps Enaila is right. Perhaps the omnipotent Car’a’carn is a willful boy who should be held by the hand lest he run over a cliff because he will not look.” -Ch. 19, "Matters of Toh," Lord Of Chaos

  • Girlish Pigtails - One of the Wise Ones threatens to do this to Egwene if she doesn't stop acting so childishly(!).
    • Threatened?
  • Giving Up on Logic: Mat quickly does this in Towers of Midnight when he, Thom, and Noal journey to the world of the Eelfinn and Aelfinn.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix—happens a lot in the World of Dreams, but they are only rarely serious enough for visitors to notice. There is a good chance that the average reader will miss glitches.
  • God - Entirely off-page. Anti-God, Dualism-style, is the Big Bad. It's implied in some ways that the Creator's powers are greater, since he was able to imprison the Dark One, but for whatever reason he's apparently unable to directly affect the world in ways the Dark One can.
  • God-Emperor - It is implied that Lanfear's plan was to overthrow the Dark One and set herself and Rand up as God Emperors using the unlimited power of the Choedan Kal.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation - The test for becoming an Aiel chief involves passing through a ter'angreal that causes them to relive key moments in the culture's history. Aiel place such emphasis on honor that the shameful truth of their origins—they betrayed the oath they lived by—hits hard. Rand enters at the same time as a real Aiel, and by the end the other man is clawing out his own eyes. (Rand has a rather unfair advantage here, since he wasn't raised as an Aiel.) Rand later reveals the truth to everyone, and hordes begin to defect from the old warrior lifestyle every day, either vanishing altogether, joining a rogue tribe, or returning to the pacifism which their culture started with.
  • Good Is Not Nice - Cadsuane, the Aes Sedai in general, the Aiel, and Logain. Rand is also a prime example and says so himself. The latter ultimately subverts this later.
  • Good Hurts Evil - Rand, after coming to terms with his existence in The Gathering Storm, appears to glow slightly from within and apparently has the power to passively negate the rotting and corrupting influence of the Dark One.
    • And nor can any Darkfriends meet his eyes without visible difficulty. When he actually uses the Power and goes all-out, he sent a couple insane at the Light that he emanates.
  • Good Parents: Many of the characters come from genuinely loving families.
    • Rand specifically attributes his better qualities and ability to work through his Heroic BSOD to the good upbringing and parenting of his adoptive father, Tam. And although she died when he was very young, Rand's memories of his adoptive mother, Kari, are just as positive.
  • Gossip Evolution - Used frequently. Several books end like this, with an omniscient narrator describing gossip versions of the main event of the book. The narrator mentions several contradictory versions of the big epic battle but one important, portentous detail that all the different rumors agree on. Something similar happens in-story several times as well, where side characters hear twisted versions of events of the story as rumors, sometimes even things the characters they are talking to were present for. The rumors are usually wrong on important details, and the viewpoint characters are usually happy to know that their role in the real events remains obscure.
  • Green-Eyed Monster - If Perrin so much as looks at Berelain, Faile practically turns green.
  • Green Lantern Ring - The One Power has enough potential uses to quallify it for this, considering that it helps drive time and existence itself.
  • Grew a Spine:
    • Nynaeve is infuriated that the Kin are helplessly deferential to the Aes Sedai despite being technically independent and in many ways more learned. She endeavours considerably to get them to collectively "grow some backbone" and stand up for themselves, and they gradually do... to her, which is not remotely what she intended.
    • Rand, initially over the course of the first book when he stands up to the Amyrlin Seat at the start of the second.
  • Grim Up North - See Garden of Evil, above.
  • Hannibal Lecture - Nynaeve delivers one to the Aes Sedai at the conclusion of her test in Book 13, when they were about to fail her for losing her calm and stopping to help children when she was supposed to let them die.
  • Happily Adopted: Rand genuinely loves his adopted father and gets over his "is-he-or-isn't-he-my-father" angst regarding Tam al'Thor relatively quickly, concluding that Tam is his father no matter what their blood relation is or isn't.
    • In the most recent book, he even attributes the fact that he's able to successfully pass through his Heroic BSOD to the good upbringing Tam gave him.

Rand: "My father is Tam al'Thor. He found me, raised me, loved me. I wish I could have known you, Janduin, but Tam is my father."

  • Happily Married: To many readers, Perrin and Faile & Lan and Nynaeve are a bizarre variant of The Masochism Tango. In-universe, the couples are insistent that they're this trope. To be fair, there are instances of undisputed affection, especially from book 12 and onward.
    • Rand's adoptive parents, Tam and Kari al'Thor, certainly counted as this prior to Kari's death. So much so that even fifteen years later, Tam still hasn't remarried, instead devoting all of his time to raising their son and tending the family farm.
  • Heads or Tails: Mat, and sometimes Rand, use this method to make decisions. Since they both have luck-bending reality powers, this has extra significance.
  • Heads-Tails-Edge - Happens around Rand all the time, due to his transient ta'veren effect. In Rhuidean, this prevents Mat from using his luck to make an important decision.
    • In book 13, Mat rolls two six-sided dice and gets a one: one of the dice landed on its corner.
  • Harmony Versus Discipline - women must use Harmony to channel saidar, men must use Discipline to channel saidin. While both can acheive pretty much identical results, trying to use the method of the opposite sex is disastrous and potentially fatal.
  • Henpecked Husband - Just about every married man, to some degree. Ebou Dari wives wear knives to slice up or murder their husbands when they misbehave, and Saldaean couples tend to resolve their differences through shouting matches. The latter's a subversion, since it's supposed to prove that the husband isn't henpecked, and is also taking his wife seriously.
  • Heroic Sacrifice - In the second book, Ingtar doing his last stand vs the Seanchan army, to let the others escape. The sacrifice of Verin in the twelfth book is much quieter but no less heroic.
    • Arguably the most significant sacrifice is Moiraine. Recent books however reveal that she's Not Quite Dead, though her 'sacrifice' did take out Lanfear for quite a while.
      • Book thirteen has another, fittingly enough connected to undoing the previous one: Noal Charin.
  • He Who Fights Monsters - Mordeth. Rand, too: as his sanity starts slipping, he becomes increasingly determined to harden himself in order to do what must be done; characters around him in turn become increasingly terrified of what he is becoming and what might happen if he fought the Dark One in such a state.
    • Subverted with Rand at the end of book 12 when he learns to laugh again.
  • Hide Your Lesbians - Quite a few minor female characters are "pillow friends". One pair even get blackmailed for it. See Situational Sexuality.
    • Not always. Some of the "pillow friends" are strictly platonic relationships. They've just grown incredibly close to survive the brutal Aes Sedai training.
    • Word of God says the term "pillow friends" as used in the series is always a euphemism for lesbian relationships. As a euphemism, it would defeat the purpose to say, every time it's used, "Yes, this means lesbians."
  • The High Queen - Queen Morgase.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight - See Doorstopper above. One of the principal reasons for splitting A Memory Of Light into three volumes was that as one book it would be literally unprintable. This is funny, because as quoted at the top of the page, Robert Jordan had said there would be one more book even if Tor had to invent a new binding format. Turns out they literally would have to invent a new binding format - and wouldn't you know it, they don't want to, so three books it is.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum - Rand never takes full advantage of his Asha'man forces, each man a walking weapon of mass destruction. He could easily wipe out the Seanchan before they ever knew what hit them—with surprise attacks if nothing else, as male channeling cannot be directly detected by females and techniques that don't cause huge explosions are always an option. The parody says it best:

Bashere: There are reports of a huge Seanchan army with hundreds of damane advancing towards Illian. You command over a million soldiers, and hundreds of Asha'man.
Rand: I will take 5,000 soldiers and eight Asha'man.
Bashere: It should work. With your mediocre planning and surrounding yourself with those who hate you, once again, you should just barely avoid complete disaster.

    • The fact that Asha'man are incredibly unstable warriors to begin with, and extended use of saidin only worsens that condition, is a completely reasonable and justifiable reason for Rand to hold them back. The last thing you want, in any operation, is for your most powerful weapon to suddenly start gibbering at nothing and popping off his allies heads. After the Cleansing, though, perhaps not so much.
    • By this point, it's starting to look like Tarmon Gai'don could come any day now. In short, Rand holds reserves because he potentially has much, MUCH bigger things to worry about than the Seanchan.
    • There's also the fact that most of them really aren't that loyal to him, though he might not realize the extent.
    • Finally, really justified in that every time forces not aligned with the Dark One blow the crap out of each other, that's fewer non-bad guys to fight at Tarmon Gaidon. Rand doesn't always use his brain, but he tries.
    • There is also the tiny fact that the Seanchan have thousands of damane, and a major battle between channelling characters is about as destructive to the landscape as a small nuclear bomb. You can't take cities with the One Power, you erase them from history. There is already one example of one woman channeller who caused the greatest city in known history to melt into molten stone simply by drawing far to much power into herself in a dramatic revenge moment.
  • Holier Than Thou - The Children of the Light, and many Aes Sedai.
  • Honor Before Reason - Rand at the very least, and a lot of other characters as well.
    • It's pretty much the whole idea behind ji'e'toh.
  • Hopeless War - The War of Power for the forces of the Light, the Trolloc Wars until Maighande.
    • The Aiel War was also pretty hopeless for the non-Aiel. The combined might of every nation between the Mountains of Mist and the Spine of the World, the Aes Sedai AND the Whitecloaks was only able to "win" because King Laman died in the final battle, which was all the Aiel really wanted. Not to mention that only a fraction of the Aiel actually went to fight the war.
  • Horse of a Different Color - The Seanchan use every conceivable type of these.
  • How Do I Shot Web? - Remarkably, instead of everyone becoming instant channeling masters, it takes a good three or four (or seven) books for the main characters to get a real grasp on channeling, with a lot of spectacular failures in the interim.
  • Human Popsicle - 'Stasis-boxes' are alluded to contain living things, including Shadowspawn like the gholam. The Quirky Miniboss Squad's shared Sealed Evil in a Can status qualifies them as well, lasting three thousand years none the worse for wear, save for a few who were too close to the edge of the stasis field and experienced horrific aging.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place - Two different varieties.
  • Hypocritical Humor - Here and there, and Nynaeve takes the cake, especially in book 5. Example:

What she did not quite understand was why she liked Areina best. It was her opinion, putting this and that together, that nearly all of Areina’s troubles came from having too free a tongue, telling people exactly what she thought. [...] Nynaeve thought a few days of herself for example would do Areina worlds of good. -Ch. 49 "To Boannda," The Fires of Heaven

    • Also Mat complaining about Olver's behaviour with women
  • I Am Who? - Rand searches for the identity of his birth parents. They're Tigraine, an Andoran noblewomen turned Maiden of the Spear, and an Aiel clan chief, Janduin.
  • If I Can't Have You - Lanfear says this to Rand al'Thor when he tells her that there isn't a chance in hell he'll ever love a Forsaken.
  • I Know You Know I Know - Rand knows that the Wise Ones must know that he knows that they're trying to spy on him with Aviendha.
    • Also pretty much the definition of the Game of Houses
  • I Know Your True Name - Moridin uses his "mindtraps" to gain absolute dominance over Moghedian and Cyndane, turning them into his personal slaves as long as he holds the objects tied to their souls.
  • I Like Those Odds: Birgitte tells Mat that the odds of getting back from the Tower of Ghenjei are one in a thousand. Mat responds by taking out "two dozen" coins and predicting that when he throws them every single one will land heads up (1/16777216 chance if there were exactly 24). They do, and Mat remarks that "One in a thousand is good odds, for me."
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm X - Mat. Often when he gets into trouble, he is quick to remind the reader that he is "no bloody hero!"
  • I Need a Freaking Drink - Considering that Birgitte, Min and Aviendha can all feel what Elayne does when she's knocking boots with Rand. It's entirely justified that these three decide that there isn't enough booze in Camelyn to deal with this but figure it's worth trying.
    • Mat's reaction when he finds out Birgitte's true identity. Her agreeing with him is the start of their friendship.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device—The Portal Stones
  • Intimate Healing - After chasing someone into a blizzard, Rand has to do the "naked body warmth" variety. The person being a woman, One Thing Leads To Another, and this particular woman had teleported herself into a blizzard precisely to avoid that.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: At one point Thom notes that Mat is given everything he needs even if he doesn't realize what he needs it for at the time. It's quickly attributed to his unbelievably good luck as a Ta'veren.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Rand takes this approach toward not only his love interests, but his father and hometown as well. The possibility of his enemies discovering his attachment to any of them is one of his greatest fears, so Rand purposely distances himself in order to protect them.


  • Jackass Genie - The Eelfinn.
  • Jossed - The theory (with plenty of arguments) that Demandred is masquerading as Taim ("Taimandred"). Even the two pieces of evidence in Winter's Heart that contradicted this were not wholly believed until Jordan finally settled the matter personally. Some still believe he changed it out of spite.
  • Kangaroo Court - In Book 4, Siuan is on the receiving end of one of these courts, led by Elaida. Although all of the Sitters were handpicked by Elaida in order to get Siuan deposed, stilled, and executed, the rebel Sitters insist on claiming that what was done was legal, as Elaida had the bare minimum of Sitters required. Later, we find that some of those Sitters were Black Ajah, which invalidated the whole proceeding.
  • Katanas Are Just Better - The original blademaster's sword Rand gets from his father is similar in design, as the officially-licensed collectible replica demonstrates. Taking it even further, Mat gets a Blade on a Stick called an ashandarei, a possible Expy of the Japanese naginata (though it also resembles a European glaive).
    • A more likely comparison is the Chinese Guan do. The description of the Ashanderei more closely matches this weapon, with the wider blade, naginata have a long slender curved blade, the guan do a fatter more broadsword like blade. And it is associated with several famous Chinese generals and more than one God of War.
    • The ashandarei is pretty much a Polish war scythe.
  • Kidanova - Olver.
    • With some Kavorka Kid mixed in. Olver is noted as being quite ugly, and unlikely to ever grow out of it.
  • Kissing Cousins - Zigzagged with Rand al'Thor and Elayne. Rand finds out that his mother was Tigraine and becomes worried that he is related to Elayne, since both Tigraine and Elayne's mother Morgase were noblewomen in Andor. He traces his family back, and is horrified to learn that Tigraine and Morgase were cousins which leaves him Squicked out. However, it turns out that Morgase and Tigraine were not actually closely related, and "cousins" is just a term for other noblewomen in Andor who descend from the same general bloodline, and Rand and Elayne are not really closely enough in blood to make a difference. However, while her family line is too distant from his to really make a difference, Tigraine and Morgase both descend from the same long-dead queen many generations back, meaning that Elayne really is Rand's cousin, albeit a very distant one. Also, they have a mutual half-brother, Galad, who is the son of Rand's mother and Elayne's father.
  • Kiss Kiss Slap - Rand's relationship with his three girlfriends. Other relationships in the series gravitate between this and Slap Slap Kiss.
  • Klingon Promotion - One of the two ways to become a Blademaster is by defeating an extant Blademaster in fair, one-on-one combat. Rand and Galad become Blademasters in this way.
  • Knife Nut - Mat carries enough knives to impress the Aiel. Faile carries so many knives that Perrin worries about stabbing himself by accident if he hugs her. Min packs more knives then might be necessary too.
    • And of course, we can't forget Thom, who was not only performing fancy knife tricks, but using them to kill enemies with contemptuous ease, right from the first book.
  • Knight in Sour Armor - Gawyn, Perrin, Talmanes, for that matter almost every noble/general who isn't a darkfriend or meglomaniac.
  • Kudzu Plot - And how! Of course, leading to Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Ladykiller in Love - Mat, not that he'll admit it.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail - It's hard to tell if this is being followed and we're just not seeing it, or if Jordan crumpled it up, stomped it a couple times, and threw it into the fire.
  • Laser Blade - Rand's primary early use of the power is to make a lightsab-- ahem, "sword carved from fire."
  • Lean and Mean - Lampshaded. Never trust a skinny innkeeper.
  • Lego Genetics - The Trollocs are created from "human and animal genetic stock." But hey, A Wizard Did It with SCIENCE.
  • Live Action Adaptation - HBO is in negotiations to do a series.
  • Living Crashpad: With Born Lucky Mat Cauthon, it is far better than even odds that he will end up on top in such a fall. He once killed an attacker by intentionally throwing himself off the roof while grabbing with them. He landed on top and the other person died in the impact.
  • Living Legend: Many, if not most, of the characters. The Ta'veren characters qualify just because they can tell fate to go fudge itself. Those who can't have the force and thus have decades of experience and... fate on their side. Then there's those who have decades of experience and ability on their side... Basically, he only people who don't qualify are the people Jordan doesn't see fit to mention.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters - Over 1900 as of Book 12: The Gathering Storm.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • Loophole Abuse: Aes Sedai take this trope and not only run with it but they manage to take the family farm, get elected as Mayor and take over the Women's Circle. The main reason that people don't trust Aes Sedai is that they'll make a promise or statement they have no intention of keeping and just find ways around it, they are very good at this. This bites the Black Ajah in the ass when Verin exploits a very obvious loophole in their secrecy clause by posioning herself to pass on the identites of all the Black Ajah she's been able to uncover.
  • Lord Error-Prone - Weiramon. He may or may not be displaying Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • It's hard to believe anyone could be quite as dumb, complacent and arrogant as he seems, especially in a Deadly Decadent Court like he comes from, but on the other hand he's been around for at least half the series and still has yet to reveal any hidden depths, so...

Weiramon: Excellent plan, my liege. Shall I charge at the opposing army?
Rand: No. That’s a corn field.



  • 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.
    • Cutting open fireworks in Real Life can supposedly cause them to ignite as well. It may just be another incident of Mat's walking luck effect.
  • 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 evil and created all the various Shadowspawn.
  • Mage Tower - The Aes Sedai have their White Tower, and the Asha'man later raise a Black Tower as an echo.
  • 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.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet - If you can channel, congratulations! Now, watch out for Myrrdraal, Gholam, Machin Shin...
  • Magic Knight - Rand, Lews Therin, the Asha'man and... well, pretty much every male channeler outside the Forsaken. They almost all seem to carry swords, 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.
    • Physical training most likely helps with the exhaustion that channeling brings about.
  • Magitek - Ter'angreal to a limited extent, then and 'now.' One, looked at in passing, seems to be a portable library.
  • The Man Behind the Man - Forsaken Ishamael, manipulating global events and engineering death and destruction for thousands of years. In the Backstory, anyway.
  • Manipulative Bastard - 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.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang - Mat survives a hanging, which leaves a scar around his neck that he carefully conceals thereafter.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast - one of the central themes of the series.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name - everyone. Really.
  • Medieval Stasis - 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 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."
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender - Compare the amount of time Rand spends angsting about the women who die with the men. Oh and guess which there are more of.
  • 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 through his chest (well, twice, but still) 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 thet he didn't become "whole" until he climbed a mountain? While doubting himself? And in extreme pain?
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep - Although 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 gives up and determines to just make it to the Last Battle and defeat the Dark One before his foretold death, whatever the cost.
  • Mindlink Mates - Not every bond is between romantic partners, but of that subset there is Rand and his harem, 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.
    • Also Nynaeve and Lan as soon as they can. As of The Gathering Storm, Gareth Byrne and Siuan & Egwene and Gawyn
  • Mind Manipulation - Of all sorts. Compulsion can be used subtly or like a hammer. Bonding also comes with varying 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. Holding the One Power makes one resistant to these bond manipulations. Some people are also just naturally resistant.
    • It's also possible to mind control channelers with a circle of 13 dreadlords and 13 Myddraal, according to Sheriam It seems it's being used in Towers of Midnight on Asha'man.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Misery Builds Character - Female trainees 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.
  • Morality Pet: Cadsuane attempts to use Tam al'Thor as one to make Rand remember his humanity. After some tense confrontations, it eventually works.
  • Mordor—Home of the Dark One. Really unpleasant place. Walled off from the fringes of civilization by a mountain range and the Blight.
  • Mouth of Sauron—Shaidar Haran often serves as the mouthpiece of the Dark One.
  • Mrs. Robinson—Queen Tylin. See Black Comedy Rape.
  • 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 Stage Battle—Except for "Lord of Chaos", the first nine books all end with one of these.
  • The Multiverse—It's a Multiverse that pretty much consists of Alternate Universes, 'Worlds That Might Be' that exist but aren't quite real. The Dream Land, Tel'aran'rhiod, connects these to the real world.
  • 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 absolutely no effect on Muggles.
  • Mundane Utility—Part of the Training from Hell practiced by the Asha'man, where all chores have to be done with their powers. 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.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse—Lanfear's dating philosophy.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?—Rand has one when he almost kills his own father during a heated argument in The Gathering Storm. Quite a few of his friends have been telling him in book after book that he's going too far in his actions and losing it, but it doesn't truly sink in until this confrontation.
    • 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.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much—Eventually, we meet some members of the Red Ajah who aren't man-hating psychos and/or secretly Blacks. Not many, though.
  • Named by Democracy—The Black Tower
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast -- Almost every evil character. Note that in universe, the Forsaken are a reversal of the trope. They were so evil that we named our demons and monsters after them! (though they renamed themselves upon becoming Forsaken and time being cyclical... it could work both ways) Highlights:
    • Ishamael = Ishmael + Ismaili
    • Sammael = Samael
    • Rahvin = Ravana + raven / raving / ravening
    • Be'lal = Belial
    • Aginor = Agony
    • Asmodean = Asmodeus
    • Lanfear = l'enfer[1] + fear
    • 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 nothing else; this is revealed as a plot point in the backstory, as there is a specific reason no Aiel will touch a sword.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands -- Averted, and discussed when Rand wonders why he doesn't suddenly know what to do when he gets his powers, like the heroes in stories always do. Then Double Subverted when all the heroes get new powers anyway.
    • Though now Rand seems to know exactly what he needs to do, as of Towers of Midnight.
  • Nice Hat—Mat's is a dashing good hat.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain—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 Sesai 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 be the 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.
  • The Nicknamer—Faile, especially in her first few appearances.
    • 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 an extent. By the time of the Shaido defection and after, this characterization is pretty much dropped.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond—The Forsaken themselves, whose skills have been mostly forgotten.
  • 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 wihout 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.
  • 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 and nigh-unwinnable war for the locals or completely upend the social order in which Aes Sedai, Wise Ones, etc. are respected advisors at the very least. 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.
    • Nothing Is the Same Anymore has also been 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 very Bad Future.
  • "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 someone 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 poisons herself 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.
  • Oblivious Adoption—Rand is eighteen years old before he discovers that farmers Tam and Kari al'Thor are not his birth parents. This revelation doesn't change the fact that Rand still loves them just the same and resolutely refers to them as his real parents, even after uncovering the identities of his royal biological parents.
  • Offered the Crown
  • Oh Crap—Be'lal and Asmodian, 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
  • Oh My Gods -- 'By the Light', or, more commonly, just 'Light.' Satanists Darkfriends get to swear by the Great Lord of the Dark and such.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit—With Loads and Loads of Characters, there are bound to be some with similar sounding names. The most prominent example would be Demandred (the name of one of the Chosen/Forsaken) and Damodred (the family name of the 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.
  • Our Orcs Are Different—Trollocs, which are created from human and animal genetic stock.
  • 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.


  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette—Lanfear falls between this and Raven Hair, Ivory Skin before she is reincarnated.
  • 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.
  • People of Hair Color
  • Perception Filter—The Grey Men, supreme assassins and masters of fading into the background.
  • Perfect Pacifist People—Tinkers.
  • Perpetual Frowner—Bukama from New Spring.
  • Person of Mass Destruction—Anyone who channels the One Power, and especially with an angreal or sa'angreal. Especially when the Choedan Kal, each of which can easily cause the end of the world as we or anything else knows it.
    • 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.
  • Pillars of Moral Character—Lan: "Duty is heavier than a mountain; death is lighter than a feather."
  • Playing with Fire
  • 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.
  • Poisonous Captive—Semirhage. Twice. Actually, The Dark One arguably counts too.
  • 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. Sea Folk and Aiel (Shaido and non-Shaido) and Saldaens and Andorans (Caemlyners and Two Rivers folk) and Tairens and Illianers and Tar Valoners and Domani and Ogier... 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 previous track record.
  • Portal Cut—Teleporting can kill whoever is unlucky enough to be where the exit portal is opened.
  • 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.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child—No, not that kind! Myrddraal blades require a human soul for seasoning, though, and a long-forgotten game played by Darkfriends in the Age of Legends used transformed humans as playing pieces.
  • 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 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 twelve books in twenty years, and it's not done yet.
  • Promoted Fanboy—Brandon Sanderson, who now gets to complete the series.
  • 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.
  • A Protagonist Shall Lead Them—The Dragon Reborn.
  • Proud Merchant Race—The Sea Folk, and arguably the Domani.
  • Proud Scholar Race—The Ogier.
  • Proud Warrior Race—The Aiel and the Borderlanders.
  • Psychic Link—Warder bonds. 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...)
  • Psychic Powers - Mindspeech: Wolves and Wolfbrothers communicate by telepathy.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend - The downside of reincarnation: Your super-powered ex who made a Deal with the Devil and has a millennia-old grudge against you for dumping her.
  • Punctuation Shaker - Every word in the Old Tongue seems to have at least one apostrophe, often several.
  • 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.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad - The thirteen Forsaken.
  • Ravens and Crows - ...and rats. Carrion eaters are spies for the Dark One because of their connection with death.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Lanfear to the point where even Loial, an Ogier, has trouble keeping his eyes off her.
  • Reality Warper - The One Power pretty much does this. The Dark One has an even stronger reality warper.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old - Channelers 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.
  • 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.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Ingtar.
    • And Verin.
  • Reincarnation Romance - Subverted somewhat. Only one of the two people involved actually reincarnated, the other being Lanfear, who spent a few thousand years in stasis instead. It's also completely one-sided; Lanfear be a crazy bitch.
    • Lanfear later reincarnated too, just in a much different way...
    • Gaidal Cain and Birgitte Silverbow are a more straight example. Birgitte's ripped-from-the-pattern reincarnation might cause problems for that though.
  • Restraining Bolt - The Oath Rod, which enforces the Three Oaths. The end result is Aes Sedai are notorious experts at spin. 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.
  • 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.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Dumai Wells sequence.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge - Rand at the end of The Fires of Heaven and also Lanfear when she hears a rumor that Rand has a relationship with Aviendha.
    • Also Rand in Winter's Heart, hunting down the rogue Asha'man who tried to kill him in the previous book.
  • Romantic Runner-Up - Demandred.
  • Running Gag: When one of the male leads is faced with a pretty woman, he almost invariably wishes that one of the other two was there, because 'they were better with girls'.


  • Scarily Competent Tracker - Perrin, as a Wolfbrother, has a sharper sense of smell, sight and hearing then 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can - The Dark One sealed behind the fabric of reality, best accessible from inside Shayol Ghul.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets - The Darkfriends
  • 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 prophesies 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 prophesy was why Rand went there. But even if the prophesy 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.
  • Sharing a Body - Rand al'Thor and Lews Therin. Also, Luc and Isam, and possibly Mordeth/Fain though that seems more of a merge.
  • 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 Verrin'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."
    • "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 use. 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).
      • 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.
  • 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 - Female Aes Sedai in general, and Moiraine in particular, are often described in these terms.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dark One's Dragon). The Dark One offered the position to all of them in Lord of Chaos to encourage the competition.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Tenchi Solution - Rand al'Thor genuinely falls in love with three women, and resorts to this for several books. Eventually he just separates them and sleeps with each one. In a real callback to the trope, his ancestral people do polygamy, so he could just marry all three, but instead he agonizes over his moral predicament for several books; in fact, it's their idea to just "share" him. And after that he's still all like, "It's Not You, It's My Enemies, so keep this on the down-low."
  • 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); Elayne (Elaine of Carbonnek); Nynaeve (Nineve); Rand al'Thor (Arthur); The Sword-In-The-Stone Callandor (Caledfwlch, another name for Excalibur) 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).
  • The Three Faces of Eve - Aviendha (Maiden of the Spear), Elayne (queen mother), Min (reads the future). Guess who that makes Adam?
  • 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.
  • 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 Black Ajah 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.
  • Throat Light
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works - Elanye 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 with no memory of the night's events which is a mercy considering the night drives any said person into a murderous rage.
  • 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.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening - Channelers with the spark typically 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".
  • The Un-Reveal - In universe, Aveindha 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."
    • "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".
  • The Usual Adversaries - Trollocs.


  • Villain Decay - remember when one Myrddraal was a challenge? When beating a Forsaken in a fair fight was unthinkable? Justified in that the characters have learned and grown a great deal in the years since the books started - see How Do I Shot Web? above - but still, it's a little funny that Trollocs and Fades are apparently still considered dangerous in-universe.
    • It's more a case of Villain Forgot to Level Grind. Trollocs, Myrddraal et al never got any less dangerous; you still see them slaughtering Muggles. 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. Padan Fain's power has grown to the point where he can raise the dead, the majority of the Black Tower has probably been infiltrated and/or Mind Controlled by Darkfriends, Caemlyn has apparently been overrun by Trollocs when everyone's back was turned, and there's more weird stuff out there no one understands.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Or at least it HAD nothing on the Choedan Kal.
    • While the god-challenging power of the Choedan Kal gets referenced a lot, there are some hints that it may not measure quite as well as suspected. For one, Lews Therin mentions he always thought trying to brute force the Dark One was a mistake. Another thing was when Rand used the True Power he was able to wield nearly as much power as he did with the Choedan Kal. Considering that's what he could draw with the Bore still partially sealed, it stands to reason that the Dark One himself is far more powerful.
  • We Are as Mayflies - Humans compared to the Ogier.
  • 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.
  • 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.
      • He's back. The fact that Rand hadn't seen him in so long was actually enormously significant.
  • 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 White - Lanfear.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask - Egwene, when she becomes a political-puppet antipope 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 - Remember those Worms mentioned in Nightmare Fuel? What would you think of someone who could kill them? Yeah, as if Padan Fain needed to be even scarier...
  • 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.
  • 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. It's portrayed as one of the primary symptoms of his insanity, which is a side-effect of the fact that the person he's a reincarnation of killed his wife and family, and the trauma from his previous life carried over. 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.
  • 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 Catch Phrase!) 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.
  • You ALL Share My Story
  • You Can't Fight Fate - 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.
    • Manethren'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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  1. hell in French