WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR A MEMORY OF LIGHT and RIVER OF SOULS
In the world of The Wheel of Time, the most well-known prophecies are the Prophecies of the Dragon. Two versions are known: the Karaethon Cycle of the mainland and the Essanik Cycle of the Seanchan. The Sharans also had prophecies, of which we know a limited amount.
From a TOR Question of the Week about the Horn of Valere we learned that the Prophecies are a compilation, made before the end of the Second Age, of Foretellings:
Robert Jordan Answers: The Horn of Valere was known in the Age of Legends, though it was an artifact of an earlier age, but it was never used in the Age of Legends... It was later recovered and sealed up with the Dragon Banner because along with the Foretellings that made up the Prophecies of the Dragon was one saying that it must be.Foretellings will come true unless the Pattern is broken, and conversely, the prophecies must be fulfilled or the Pattern will break (Brandon Sanderson on The Gathering Storm book tour).
The Karaethon Cycle would be over 300 pages if Jordan had ever written it out:
No, I've never thought of writing out the complete Prophecies of the Dragon. As already stated in a previous book, they would comprise a volume of some 300 to 400 pages.As the Prophecies are in the Old Tongue, and in High Chant to boot, they are very difficult to decipher, and chancy to follow; one can get into as much trouble trying to do what they say will happen as trying to go against them, if not more. Here we look at the few scraps that have been given in the books, and try to work out what they mean. First those of the Karaethon Cycle are detailed, then those of the Essanik Cycle and the Sharan prophecies. Finally there is a discussion on possible real world parallels of the prophecies.
Robert Jordan interview, 1996
The Eye of the World
"...the prophecies say the Dragon Reborn will bring a new Breaking to the world..."Rand did not do much large-scale breaking physically – mainly Rhuidean and Shadar Logoth - but he certainly caused a lot of upheaval. Mind you, he nearly destroyed the world completely at the end of The Gathering Storm. He was born to fight the Dark One who did break up reality until he was sealed away.
-The Eye of the World, Glossary
"One of the Prophecies says that the Stone of Tear will never fall until the People of the Dragon come to the Stone. Another says the Stone will never fall till the Sword that Cannot Be Touched is wielded by the Dragon's hand."This prophecy has been fulfilled; the Stone fell when the People of the Dragon, the Aiel, came, and it did not fall until Rand claimed Callandor.
-The Eye of the World, Choices
The Great Hunt
And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered, and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide... Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow...and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation.What men made that were shattered are the cuendillar discs (which incidentally were made by both men and women, see Seals article) that were focal points for their weaves sealing the Dark One and the Forsaken in the Bore. The Forsaken were released as the Seals weakened and the Dark One touched the world again. In Knife of Dreams, we see the effects of the Shadow on the Pattern, it is full of flux, as Graendal says, and reality itself is distorting as the Dark One touches the world more, thanks to the Seals breaking. The nations have been torn apart. The wailing at his rebirth is literally true in that he was born during the Battle of the Nations of the Aiel War, but also since Rand declared himself things went steadily downhill. "His blood shall give us the Light" links to the "Twice dawns the day" prophecy, which also mentions his blood being shed at Shayol Ghul – where he went to fight the Dark Oe and seal him away.
-The Great Hunt, Opening prophecy
”For he shall come like the breaking dawn, and shatter the world again with his coming, and make it anew.”This relates to Rands’ and Lews Therin’s titles - Lord of the Morning and Prince of the Dawn. The Aiel refer to Rand as ‘He Who Comes With The Dawn’ because he returned from Rhuidean at dawn. Rand was also born at dawn on Dragonmount.
-The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar
The Dragon Reborn heralds the end of one age and the dawn of a new age, hence the association with the breaking dawn and also shattering the world. Rand did a very fair job of breaking and changing the world. With his treaty he hopes to make the next Age a more peaceful and prosperous one.
”The Karaethon Cycle, the Prophecies of the Dragon, says that the Dragon will be reborn on the slopes of Dragonmount.”Fulfilled. Rand was born on the slopes of Dragonmount.
-The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn
”He will be of the ancient blood, and raised by the old blood.”The ancient blood would be the Aiel, who are descended from the Dai’shain of the Age of Legends – Rand’s father was Janduin, a clan chief. Rand’s mother was Andoran royalty and probably wouldn’t qualify as being of ancient blood. Rand was raised in the Two Rivers, where the old blood is very strong, by Tam and Kari al’Thor.
-The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn
”When the winds of Tarmon Gai’don scour the earth, he will face the Shadow and bring forth Light again in the world.”This prophecy was fulfilled in A Memory of Light.
-The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn
Five ride forth, and four return. Above the watchers shall he proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire...This refers to the events at Falme; Rand, Mat, Perrin, Hurin and Ingtar went into Falme, but Ingtar did not come back. Rand fought with Ba’alzamon in the sky above Falme, and proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn soon after.
-The Great Hunt, Watchers
Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live, and twice to die,This refers to all the markings Rand has received. He got the first heron branded on his palm in the If world, setting his path to Cairhien and onwards to Falme; the second fighting Ba’alzamon in Falme, after which he proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn. The two Dragons he received in Rhuidean, the first for the history of the Aiel, the remembrance lost; the second for the price he must pay, his sacrifice on the rocks of Shayol Ghul. This prophecy also states again that he will live and die, as does the "twice dawns the day" prophecy.
Once the heron to set his path. Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon for remembrance lost. Twice the Dragon for the price he must pay.
-The Great Hunt, Discord
Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.Rand’s blood is necessary to save the world. It ties to the opening prophecy, above, and also to Min’s viewing of black rock wet with blood around Rand. Rand’s side wound inflicted by Ishamael broke open upon entry to Shayol Ghul and bled on the rocks there.
Once for mourning, once for birth. Red on black, the Dragon's blood stai
ns the rock of Shayol Ghul.
In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow.
- The Great Hunt, Discord
The “once for mourning” refers to the high death toll of the Last Battle and Rand’s bodily death, and the “once for birth” is the birth of the new Age and Rand’s transmigration into Moridin’s body. "Twice dawns the day" was from the eclipse, which due to the time warp around Shayol Ghul lasted most of Rand’s battle with Moridin and the Dark One, even while days elapsed elsewhere. This would link to the welcoming ceremony when Siuan Sanche comes to Fal Dara.
"Against what do we guard?" "The shadow at noon."An eclipse would be a shadow at noon. A full eclipse, is seven minutes long at maximum.
-The Great Hunt, The Welcome
The Stone of Tear can never fall till Callandor is wielded by the Dragon Reborn.This prophecy has been fulfilled; the Stone fell when the People of the Dragon, the Aiel, came, and it did not fall until Rand claimed Callandor.
-The Great Hunt, Discord
"It is said," the one-eyed man said carefully, "that when the Dragon is Reborn, he will break all oaths, shatter all ties."Since Rand declared himself, many people have broken their oaths or ties: soldiers and channellers that were pledged to others have pledged themselves to Rand, some against their rulers’ wishes: Shienarans, Saldaeans, Tairens, Illianers, Cairhienin, Asha’man, Aes Sedai. Others are revealed as Darkfriends and so shown to be faithless to whatever ties they were thought to have. People also left their homes, marriages and jobs to wander aimlessly. The breaking of oaths and ties is general and wide-spread; many lands have been rent by this. It is encouraged (if not caused) by the Shadow as part of the chaos.
-The Great Hunt, What Was Meant To Be
The Dragon Reborn
"And his paths shall be many, and who shall know his name, for he shall be born among us many times, in many guises, as he has been and ever will be, time without end. His coming shall be like the sharp edge of the plough, turning our lives in furrows from out of the places where we lie in our silence. The breaker of bonds; the forger of chains. The maker of futures; the unshaper of destiny.”The Dragon has taken this role regularly though the cycles of Ages and will so long as there is a Dark One trying to destroy the world. In the Portal Stone in The Great Hunt, Rand saw the many paths his life might have taken. His role as the Dragon, and a strongly ta’veren one at that, is to move people out of their comfort zones to do what they are supposed to do in the fight against the Shadow. Rand has broken bonds between people, but he has also made links between people and nations that were never there before – ended blood feuds, linking male and female channellers (the first link being made to save him), new political alliances, etc. Moiraine may be referring to the "forger of chains" in her comment below about chains.
-The Dragon Reborn, Opening prophecy
After the death of his body and rebirth into Moridn’s body - another guise - he will need a new name to go with his new path.
”The blood of the Dragon Reborn on the rocks of Shayol Ghul will free mankind from the Shadow.”Fulfilled. Rand bled from his side wound at Shayol Ghul while fighting the Dark One and bodily died after sealing him away.
-The Dragon Reborn, Nightmares Walking
"He has yet to break the nations, or shatter the world.... What does it mean that he shall 'slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf'? What does it mean that he shall bind the nine moons to serve him? There are others. What 'wound of madness and cutting of hope' has he healed? What chains has he broken, and who put into chains?”Rand did break nations and shatter the world, if not in the literal sense of the Breaking. The reference to the "sword of peace" and "leaf" is talking about Rand revealing the history of the Aiel, how they were once sworn to non-violence and followed the Way of the Leaf; when he broadcast this publicly, it definitely started to destroy them. The "binding the nine moons" refers to Rand and Mat persuading the Seanchan Empress to sign his treaty and to contribute to the Last Battle. The "wound of madness and cutting of hope" refers to the taint Rand destroyed at the end of Winter’s Heart, providing hope for male channellers that they can find a role in society. Rand’s own wound of madness and lack of hope was healed in his epiphany on Dragonmount. Rand has broken many chains – all the countries bound under the Shadow, Asmodean’s links to the Dark One, maybe even the damane he set on the path to freedom by sending them to Elayne – and he has also put many into chains, like the Aes Sedai sworn to him and, again, Asmodean ("chain the Shadowsworn to his will").
- The Dragon Reborn, The Hunt Begins
"On the slopes of Dragonmount shall he be born, born of a maiden wedded to no man."Rand was born on Dragonmount, and his mother was Shaiel (Tigraine), a Maiden of the Spear (Maidens are referred to as "wedded to the spear", not to a man.) Technically, of course, she was married to Taringail Damodred, but prophecy probably isn't interested in these minor details. "Born of a maiden who was married and had a child, but ran away and joined a club that forbids you to marry" doesn't have that ring.
-The Dragon Reborn, Threads in the Pattern
The Shadow Rising
The Shadow shall rise across the world, and darken every land, even to the smallest corner, and there shall be neither light nor safety. And he who shall be born of the Dawn, born of the Maiden, according to Prophecy, he shall stretch forth his hands to catch the Shadow, and the world shall scream in the pain of salvation. All Glory be to the Creator, and to the Light, and to he who shall be born again. May the Light save us from him.Rand was born at dawn on Dragonmount of a Maiden (of the Spear). The Shadow did spread all over the world, including Shara and Seanchan. While the world needs the Dragon Reborn, and thanks the Creator for providing him, he brought chaos and became very dark, damaging the Land and nearly destroying the world.
-The Shadow Rising, Opening Prophecy
"His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man's salvation."Rand’s blood was shed on the rocks of Shayol Ghul as he contended with the Dark One. In that sense it was necessary for the defeat the Dark One. The "sacrifice" was the death of Rand’s tainted body and of his identity. “Washing away the Shadow” implies his blood, or his sacrifice, cleansed or purified, but it was perhaps in a symbolic sense. (This doesn’t make it less potent in any way. Rand’s previous victories over the Shadow bringing Light where there was Darkness were incomplete without the redness of his blood, as explained in the Alchemical Symbolism article).
-The Shadow Rising, Reflection
"Power of the Shadow made human flesh,The "power of the Shadow" in human form is most likely the Forsaken as they have recently woken from their long sleep in the Bore. Rand has fought with a sword in Tel'aran'rhiod (the world of dreams) and in mist in the sky at Falme and in mist-shrouded Rhuidean. "Chaining the Shadowsworn to his will" is his forcing of Asmodean to teach him, and probably connects, as mentioned earlier, to the "putting into chains" prophecy. The city is Rhuidean, the spears are the Aiel, and Rand breaks the spears by revealing the truth of their past; that truth long hidden in the glass columns ter’angreal at Rhuidean.
wakened to turmoil, strife and ruin.
The Reborn One, marked and bleeding,
dances the sword in dreams and mist,
chains the Shadowsworn to his will,
from the city, lost and forsaken,
leads the spears to war once more,
breaks the spears and makes them see,
truth long hidden in the ancient dream."
-The Shadow Rising, Doorways
"Into the heart he thrusts his sword,Fulfilled. In a deliberate attempt to fulfil this part of the Karaethon Cycle, Rand thrust Callandor into the Heart of the Stone in Tear, to hold the hearts of the Tairen nobility until he returned again – to remind them he would return. He also Warded it against both men and women to keep hands from grasping it. Jahar Narishma, sent by Rand, removed the sword from the Stone (with some difficulty because someone had added to the ward hoping to trap Rand when he came for it), and went on to follow Rand in wielding it at the Cleansing with Elza Penfell and Merise. It seems to tie in with a dream Egwene had of a dark young man holding a brightly glowing object. While Jahar is in fact a few years older than Egwene, he looks younger than he is which would explain her description. And Callandor glows pretty brightly. As for following after Rand, Narishma is the only Asha'man that Rand taught the balefire weave to and told him when and why to use it - to destroy the Forsaken.
Into the heart, to hold their hearts.
Who draws it out shall follow after,
What hand can grasp that fearful blade?"
-The Shadow Rising, Into the Heart
The Fires of Heaven
"With his coming are the dread fires born again. The hills burn, and the land turns sere. The tides of men run out, and the hours dwindle. The wall is pierced, and the veil of parting raised. Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death."The references to sere lands, burnt hills, and fire undoubtedly refer to the unnaturally long summer and drought that plagued the world of Wheel of Time before it was fixed by Elayne, Nynaeve, the Kin and the Windfinders using the Bowl of Winds in The Path of Daggers. (Though in my view, with such a drought there should have been much more wildfire.) There is little time left until the Last Days. This line actually sounds a lot like a line of Shakespeare’s. The references to walls and veils are probably talking about the hole in the Dark One’s prison and also to the dead now appearing in the world of the living. The storms beyond the horizon are many: the plots brewing, the Seanchan and then the Sharans invading, and also, more literally, the Dark One’s sinister clouds which moved in during The Gathering Storm. The “fires of heaven” is a reference to balefire, as this features strongly in the book, and of course to the title. The remainder means that Rand cannot save the world without damaging it, and perhaps he cannot save it without a lot of people dying, including Rand’s own body.
-The Fires Of Heaven, Opening prophecy
"Or do any of you believe he [Rand] will go willingly to his prophesied death to save the world?"Elaida believes it is explicitly stated in the Karaethon Cycle that Rand will die. And that this is necessary to save the world. Or perhaps not – this could be a conclusion Elaida drew from parts of the prophecies – and she isn’t exactly great shakes at interpreting prophecy accurately. As it happened Rand did die in body and identity, but not soul.
-The Fires Of Heaven: Prologue, The First Sparks Fall
Lord of Chaos
"The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign. The seas rage, and stormclouds gather unseen. Beyond the horizon, hidden fires swell, and serpents nestle in the bosom. What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up. Order burns to clear his path.”The unstained Tower is the White Tower; the forgotten sign is the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai, Rand’s sign under which he conquered. The Aes Sedai from both halves of the broken Tower bent knee to Rand – under the threat of Mazrim Taim’s very memorable line. The Seanchan and Sea Folk have fought each other at sea. The storm clouds gathering unseen are perhaps the forces of the Shadow in the Blight and in Shara. In The Gathering Storm, the Dark One’s clouds finally moved over the Land. The hidden fires over the horizon is perhaps a reference to the Seanchan and also to Shara. The "serpents in the bosom" could refer to the traitors and Darkfriends surrounding Rand, or if connected to the first part of the sentence, then perhaps to the Darkfriends who led the Seanchan – Suroth and Semirhage/Anath. As for exalting and casting down, an obvious example is the Aes Sedai who lost much prestige until the Last Battle as opposed to the Asha’man gaining power, or maybe all the nobles and rulers who lost power. Order burning to clear Rand's path links to Herid Fel's idea that it is necessary to clear rubble before one can build.
-Lord Of Chaos, Closing prophecy
A Crown of Swords
"There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow, for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone, in pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield. He calls upon the mountains to kneel, and the seas to give way, and the very skies to bow. Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears, and the soul of fire, love."This seems to link with something that happened in The Eye of the World - Rand has a confused dream based on all the things that a farmer is telling him of Andor, while riding in the farmer’s cart, and he dreams of Thom saying:
-A Crown Of Swords, Opening prophecy
"The Queen is wed to the land…but the Dragon…the Dragon is one with the land, and the land is one with the Dragon."One could question where Rand heard this before, as it is almost a direct quote from the Karaethon Cycle which he does not know at this point, unless he heard it from Thon during their travels or it is unconscious knowledge from Lews Therin…but the basic point remains – the health of the land is tied to the Dragon Reborn. In The Gathering Storm we saw the ‘proof’ of Rand’s link to the Land, the darker he became, the more corrupt from the Dark One’s taint and the True Power, the sicker the Land and everything in it became. This also ties in with the Fisher King piece of the game sha’rah. The Fisher is a memory of the Dragon, and his wounds symbolise the wounds the Land suffers. He cannot be Healed of them until the Land is Healed. Just like Rand…
-The Eye of the World, The Last Village
The rest of the prophecy seems to indicate that Rand was too proud (like we didn’t know) and that his pride caused difficulties: "he calls upon the very skies to bow." In his pride he insisted on doing everything himself and taking responsibility for everyone who died fighting the Shadow. Rand had to stop making himself harder; "pray that the heart of stone remembers tears" and love, just as Cadsuane vowed to teach him. He finally remembered love on top of Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm – and just in time too. He was about to destroy the world. As the place where the Dragon died, was born and reborn, Dragonmount is closely linked with him, and like the Dragon, the volcano has a core of stone and “fire’ (magma).
In A Memory of Light Moiraine applied sections of this passage to the rulers at the Field of Merrilor meeting (see below).
”As the plough breaks the earth shall he break the lives of men and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes. The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice and he shall wear a crown of swords.”This is another prophecy that describes the chaos and destruction of the war with the Shadow. The war is total, and everything is changing, often violently. The ‘trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps’ refers to the amount of battles that occur wherever Rand goes (or soon after he leaves). Almoth Plain, Shienar, Tear, Cairhien, Caemlyn, Dumai’s Wells, Illian, Altara…the list goes on.
-A Crown of Swords, As The Plough Breaks The Earth
The ‘ravens feed at his voice’ may have two meanings. Since fighting and death occurs everywhere Rand goes, ravens and similar scavengers feed on the dead just as frequently.
Ravens could also refer to the Shadow itself, since the raven is a bird linked to the Shadow. The Shadow was quite successful in determining Rand’s plans and derailing them, and also in anticipating and manoeuvring Rand. You could say that they feed at his voice. Rand attracts Darkfriends, some of them in high places, and probably has played into the Shadow’s hands as often as outwitted them.
The ‘crown of swords’ is the new name for the Laurel Crown of Illian, which Rand wore.
"The Prophecies said he would bind together the people of every land--"The north shall he tie to the east, and the west shall be bound to the south."At first, Rand interpreted this to mean that he will bind all of the main continent together under him, but in fact he united the north and the east, e.g, Cairhien, Andor, Tear, and the Borderlands, and the Seanchan united the rest of the continent. While it says he shall bind the east and north, it simply says the west "shall be bound" to the south. Nothing about him doing it. So he actually split the lands rather than united them – just as in the Aiel Dreamwalkers’ dream of Rand cutting the wetlands in two with a sword (Lord of Chaos, Matters of Toh) (see Aiel Prophecy). And in Knife of Dreams, the penny dropped and Rand sought an alliance with the Seanchan so that the two halves could be united for the Last Battle but was not successful. In A Memory of Light he succeeded in getting the Seanchan Empress to sign his peace treaty. The treaty doesn’t unite the Lands as one; it aims to stop them from fighting each other while keeping national borders as they are.
-A Crown Of Swords, Ta'veren
"Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm, wearer of a crown of swords, spinner-out of fate. Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time, may learn the truth too late."Rand doesn’t turn the Wheel, neither he nor anybody else should think he does.
-A Crown Of Swords, Closing prophecy
Lightning has been used often enough as a weapon. The Dark One is associated with storms; the Sea Folk call him the Father of Storms and his dark clouds that covered the sky in The Gathering Storm attempted to loose lethal storms at the Last Battle. As master of lightning, Rand has killed quite a few Forsaken and he does ride the edge of the Dark One’s storm while he fights the Shadow. Rand was wearing the Crown of Swords regularly for a while. "Spinner-out of fate" is apt for someone who is the strongest ta'veren in thousands of years.
"The seals that hold back night shall weakenThe seals that hold back night are obviously the Seven Seals that hold back the Dark One, and they weakened to the point of breaking. Rand referred to himself as winter’s heart when he was making himself cold and hard and this certainly was not a good thing. It could be that Rand (winter’s heart) riding Moridin (death) refers to Moridin playing both sides of the board and manipulating Rand into carrying out the Shadow’s plans.
And in the heart of winter shall winter's heart be born
Amid the wailing of lamentations and the gnashing of teeth,
For winter's heart shall ride a black horse,
And the name of it is Death."
-Winter’s Heart, Opening prophecy
An interesting point to note is that in this prophecy Death rides a black horse, whereas in western mythology he most definitely rides a pale horse – as in the biblical Death of Revelations. But then, Moridin’s colours are black and red. The joke is that since Moridin has manipulated Rand into riding to his wishes (and still is) then he is a dark horse indeed for Rand to ride.
Crossroads of Twilight
“And it shall come to pass, in the days when the Dark Hunt rides, when the right hand falters and the left hand strays, that mankind shall come to the Crossroads of Twilight, and all that is, all that was, and all that will be shall balance on the point of a sword, while the winds of the Shadow grow.”Perrin saw tracks of a very large pack of Darkhounds (the Dark Hunt) running after someone at this time. While they don’t have the Dark One with them, they were running with the Dark One’s purpose.
- Crossroads of Twilight, Opening Prophecy
The ‘right hand falters and the left hand strays’ probably refers to Mat and Perrin, Rand’s ta’veren supporters. There is some debate as to which represents the right hand, and which the left. Both were mired in problems for quite some time – Perrin trying to free Faile from the Shaido and Mat trying to escape the Seanchan. This suited the Shadow very well. As Min’s viewings show, when the three ta’veren are separated, the war with the Shadow is in the Shadow’s favour.
It has also been theorised that the left and right hands refer to Osan’gar and Aran’gar (left and right hand daggers). Osan’gar is dead and Arangar’s charge (Egwene) was taken to the White Tower. To describe Osan’gar as having faltered is a rather large understatement, although Aran’gar had to flee the rebel Aes Sedai when she was exposed (Knife of Dreams, Call to a Sitting), and after allying with Graendal for a while, was balefired.
By Book 10, the Wheel of Time world had indeed come to the Crossroads of Twilight, and the world and time hangs in the balance, since if the Shadow wins this finely-poised battle, the Dark One will be freed and will kill time and remake the world in his image. The prophecy is a reminder that the Shadow is very strong and has at least an even chance of winning, and also a reminder of what is at stake if it does win.
In A Memory of Light the Dark Hunt was out in force, and Mat and Perrin appeared to falter or stray until almost the Last Moment, Mat returning to Fortuona and deliberately ‘losing’ the Last Battle and then pretending to succumb to Shaisam, and Perrin battling to beat Slayer and overcome Lanfear’s Compulsion.
Fortune rides like the sun on highNoal was the first to realise that this part of the Prophecies refers to Mat. Perrin and Mat, Rand’s supporting ta’veren, have been included in the Prophecies in obscure metaphors so that they would not be targets of those who would like to manipulate (even with good intentions) or destroy the Pattern.
With the fox that makes the ravens fly.
Luck his soul, lightning his eye,
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.
- Crossroads of Twilight, A Cluster of Rosebuds
Tuon took the name of Fortuona (Fortuna of mythology, see Tuon essay) when she became Empress and she has already ridden with her consort Mat, ‘the fox that makes the ravens fly’. He has a fox-head medallion and a signet ring that shows nine moons and a fox startling two ravens. Mat is extremely lucky and has risen high due to his good fortune and to Tuon marrying him. A fortune-telling damane also named Mat as ‘the fox that makes the ravens fly’ (see Foretellings article). ‘Lightning his eye’ refers to Mat inventing gunpowder weapons.
The raven is a symbol of the imperial family of Seanchan, and by kidnapping the daughter of the nine moons (‘snatched the moons from out of the sky’) and freeing the Windfinder damane, he certainly stirred the Seanchan into flying after them. He also pressed for the Seanchan to make aerial reconnaissance and troop deployments in the Last Battle and to rush back into battle after pretending to pull out.
Knife of Dreams
“When the Wolf King carries the hammer, thus are the final days known. When the fox marries the raven, and the trumpets of battle are blown.”So we’ve gone beyond the Crossroads of Twilight now, and are definitely in the last days before the Last Battle. Or the last days of the world, if the Light loses.
- Knife of Dreams, A Deal
Perrin is the Wolf King. Much earlier, Faile asked him if she could name him as king of the wolves to her mother, and then she said “Sleep, my Wolf King” (The Shadow Rising, Among the Tuatha’an). In Crossroads of Twilight, Perrin finally made his choice between the axe and the hammer – an important one as Egwene realised (see Egwene's Dreams article). Verin had twigged to this long ago in The Shadow Rising, Goldeneyes, when she asked Perrin when he was going to give up his axe for the hammer.
Mat is the fox and he has married Empress Tuon (now Fortuona) the raven, the Imperial family sigil being two ravens. The trumpets of battle have barely let up since the series began, but they are more clamorous than ever.
"The Prophecies say I have to bind the nine moons to me. I only understood what that meant a few days ago. As soon as Bashere returns, I'll know when and where I'm to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. The only question now is how do I bind her, and she'll have to answer that."Moiraine first mentioned this prophecy in The Dragon Reborn, The Hunt Begins. The nine moons are the Seanchan, a fact Moiraine didn’t know, and nor did Rand until Knife of Dreams. Rand tried to make this prophecy happen, by proposing an alliance with Tuon, but not on her terms as he originally intended. He tried to command it instead, and failed. His second attempt aimed to get the Seanchan to sign his treaty of peace and also contribute to the Last Battle and was successful.
- Knife of Dreams, News for the Dragon
The Gathering Storm
Egwene challenged Elaida on how she expected the Prophecies of the Dragon to be fulfilled if she had confined Rand:
Elaida's face was turning red, but she calmed herself with some effort. "I would have kept him secure, and well shielded, here in the Tower until it was time for the Last Battle. That would have prevented him from causing the suffering and chaos he's created in many nations. It was worth the risk of angering him."It is a good point. Elaida acted out of fear and tried to prevent the Prophecies happening, instead of aiming to help Rand fulfil them and control the damage that way. Most of the Prophecies Egwene quotes are ones we’ve seen before and seen them fulfilled too. (That’s how we know the extent of Elaida’s error.) New information is that Rand will be unfettered, and not restrained as Elaida tried to achieve, and that he will bring chaos – “the chaos of his passing”. ‘Passing’ refers to his time, his advent, as much as his bodily death.
" 'As the plow breaks the earth shall he break the lives of men, and all that was shall be consumed in the fire of his eyes,' " Egwene said. " 'The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice, and he shall wear a crown of swords.' " Elaida frowned, taken aback.
"The Karaethon Cycle, Elaida," Egwene said. "When you had Rand locked away to be kept 'secure,' had he yet taken Illian? Had he yet worn what he was to name the Crown of Swords?"
“And how did you expect him to fulfill the prophecies if he was hidden away in the White Tower?" Egwene said. "How was he to cause war, as the prophecies say he must? How was he to break the nations and bind them to him? How could he 'slay his people with the sword of peace' or 'bind the nine moons to serve him' if he was locked away? Do the prophecies say that he will be 'unfettered'? Do they not speak of the 'chaos of his passing?' How can anything pass at all if he is kept in chains?"
- The Gathering Storm, In the White Tower
As well as what the Prophecies say, Rand wonders about what isn’t in the Prophecies. Such as the Choedan Kal:
Taking the Sword That Cannot Be Touched was one of the first major prophecies that he had fulfilled.Callandor magnified the taint, an indication it is a True Power sa’angreal, and it has no buffer to prevent a person over-drawing the either One or True Power. Unless the user is linked with two women, one of them leading the circle, to provide stability as Cadsuane informed Rand:
But was his taking of Callandor a meaningless sign, or was it a step? Everyone knew the prophecy, but few asked the question that should have been inevitable. Why? Why did Rand have to take up the sword? Was it to be used in the Last Battle?
The sword was inferior as a sa'angreal, and he doubted that it was intended to be used simply as a sword.
Why did the prophecies not speak of the Choedan Kal? He had used those to cleanse the taint. The access key gave Rand power well beyond what Callandor could provide, and that power came with no strings.
The statuette was freedom, but Callandor was just another box. Yet talk of the Choedan Kal and their keys was absent from the prophecies.
Rand found that frustrating, for the prophecies were—in a way—the grandest and most stifling box of them all. He was trapped inside of them. Eventually, they would suffocate him.
I told them . . . Lews Therin whispered.
Told them what? Rand demanded.
That the plan would not work, Lews Therin said, voice very soft. That brute force would not contain him.
They called my plan brash, but these weapons they created, they were too dangerous. Too frightening. No man should hold such Power. . .
Rand struggled with the thoughts, the voice, the memories. He couldn't recall much at all of Lews Therin's plan to Seal the Dark One's prison. The Choedan Kal—had they been built for that purpose?
Was that the answer? Had Lews Therin made the wrong choice? Why, then, was there no mention of them in the prophecies?
- The Gathering Storm, The One He Lost
"It is flawed," she replied curtly, "lacking the buffer that makes other sa'angreal safe to use. And it apparently magnifies the taint, inducing wildness of the mind. So long as a man is using it, anyway. The only safe way for you to use The Sword That Is Not a Sword, the only way to use it without the risk of killing yourself, or trying to do the Light alone knows what insanity, is linked with two women, and one of them guiding the flows."Yet Deindre Foretold at the end of the Age of Legends that Callandor was essential and later set in the Stone for the Dragon. The so-called unlimited freedom and power of the Choedan Kal actually made Rand just as out-of-control as when he used Callandor in Tear to try and bring a dead girl to life. Both induced feelings of self-aggrandisement when he used them; it’s just that the Choedan Kal took a little longer to do so. Unlimited Power is not a good thing; constraints are necessary. Force is not always the answer as Lews Therin says. Being human, expressing the best of human traits and accepting the limits of humanity, is perhaps what is needed.
- The Path of Daggers, The Bargain
Rand correctly concluded that the Choedan Kal were too corrupting and that they weren’t in the Prophecies because they weren’t the answer to defeating the Dark One, and destroyed the male Choedan Kal.
Min leaned back on her cushioned bench and reopened her current book, a work by Sajius that was simply titled Commentary on the Dragon. One line in it teased at her, a sentence mostly ignored by those who had written commentary. He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one…Min and Rand discovered the extra features of Callandor:
But what of this line? A blade of light almost certainly meant Callandor. But what of the "three shall be one"? Some few scholars claimed that "the three" were three great cities—Tear, Illian and Caemlyn. Or, if one happened to be a scholar from Cairhien, then they were said to be Tear, Illian and Cairhien. The problem was that Rand had united far more than three cities.
- The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary
"I said," Min repeated, "that a passage is wrong. I'm reading commentary on the Karaethon Cycle. Sajius claims that this line about the three becoming one speaks of the unification of three kingdoms beneath the Dragon's banner. But I think he's wrong."
"And why," Cadsuane said, "is it that you think you know more than a respected scholar of the prophecies?"
"Because," Min said, bristling, "the theory doesn't make sense. Rand only really holds one crown. There might have been a good argument here if he hadn't given away Tear to Darlin. But the theory doesn't hold any longer. I think the passage refers to some way he has to use Callandor. "
"I see," Cadsuane said, turning yet another page in her own book. "That is a very unconventional interpretation." Beldeine smiled thinly, turning back to her embroidery. "Of course," Cadsuane added, "you are quite right."
Min looked up.
"It was that very passage that led me to investigate Callandor," Cadsuane continued. "Through a great deal of searching I discovered that the sword could only be used properly in a circle of three. That is likely the ultimate meaning of the passage."
"But that would imply that Rand had to use Callandor in a circle sometime," Min said, looking at the passage again. He'd never done so, as far as she knew.
"It would," Cadsuane said…
So ... Rand was to use Callandor as part of a circle, then? The three becoming one? But for what reason and with whom? If he was to fight the Dark One, then it didn't make sense for him to be in a circle with someone else in control, did it?
"Cadsuane," she said. "This is still wrong. There's more here. Something we haven't discovered."
"About Callandor?" the woman asked.
"I suspect so as well," Cadsuane replied. How odd to hear her being frank! "But I haven't been able to determine what.”
- The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary
The sword's final secret lay bare to him now. It was a trap, and a clever one, for this weapon was a sa'angreal not for just the One Power, but for the True Power as well.Once the two women took control of Moridin while he held the True Power, Rand could combine the three powers as one to safely seal away the Dark One.
A Memory of Light, A Silence Like Screaming
Why was Rand to need a weapon with such flaws? Why did the prophecies mention it so? A sa'angreal for the True Power. Why would he ever need such a thing?
The answer was so simple.
"Now!" Rand yelled.
Nynaeve and Moiraine channeled together, exploiting the flaw in Callandor as Moridin tried to bring it to bear against Rand. Wind whipped in the tunnel. The ground quivered, and Moridin yelled, eyes going wide.
They took control of him. Callandor was flawed. Any man using it could be forced to link with women, to be placed in their control. A trap . . . and one he used on Moridin.
A Memory of Light, Watching the Flow Writhe
Towers of Midnight
Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.Min was thinking about this line when Rand returned and rightly thought it important. This is probably what she was referring to when she told Rand “there’s a phrase in the Karaethon Cycle” that leads her to think Callandor has more flaws and opens Rand to attack. The maw of the infinite void would be the nothingness of the Dark One in the Pit of Doom at the Last Moment:
- Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light
Rand clashed with Moridin, sword against sword, standing before the darkness that was the essence of the Dark One. The cold expanse was somehow both infinite and empty.Moridin was the one who was seized while using Callandor and brought into a circle. The Dark One was also seized by Rand leading the ring of four and sealed away:
A Memory of Light, The Way of the Predator
With a bellow—three Powers coursing through him, blood streaming down his side—the Dragon Reborn raised a hand of power and seized the Dark One through the Bore, like a man reaching through water to grab the prize at the river's bottom.
The Dark One tried to pull back, but Rand’s claw was gloved by the True Power.
A Memory of Light, Watching the Flow Writhe
"Have you ever wondered why Callandor is so often called a 'fearful blade' or 'the blade of ruin' in the prophecies?"
"It's such a powerful sa'angreal," he said. "Maybe it's because of the destruction it can cause?"
"Maybe," she said.
"You think it's something else."
"There's a phrase," Min said, "in the Jendai Prophecy. I wish we knew more of them. Anyway, it says 'and the Blade will bind him by twain.'"
"Two women," Rand said. "I need to be in a circle with two women to control it." She grimaced.
"What?" Rand said. "You might as well be out with it, Min. I need to know."
"There's another phrase, from the Karaethon Cycle. Anyway, I think that Callandor might be flawed beyond that. I think it might . . . Rand, I think it might make you weak, open you to attack, if you use it."
"Perhaps that's how I'll be killed, then."
- Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light
The expression in the Jendai Prophecy “bind him by two (twain)” did not mean that Rand would be bound by two women in a circle, but that Moridin would be forcibly brought into the circle by the two women.
The terms “blade of ruin”, “fearful blade” are a link with the Dolorous Stroke of Arthurian legend. In the Age of Legends the Dark One’s counterstroke that tainted saidin was a Dolorous Stroke (see The Age of Legends essay). This time the True Power prevented the Dark One from tainting the One Power.
By the Dragon came our pain, and by the Dragon was the wound repaired.Moiraine thinks this refers to Rand cleansing the taint from saidin, thus undoing the consequences of Lews Therin's strike on Shayol Ghul.
- Towers of Midnight, A Rabbit For Supper
A Memory of Light
" 'And light shall fail, and dawn shall not come, and still the captive rails.' The captive is the Dark One?"The captive probably is the Dark One who railed and threatened during his duel with Rand while darkness grew ever deeper.
A Memory of Light, Eastward the Wind Blew
Elayne shuffled through the sheets of paper, then stopped on one of them. " 'His blood shall give us the Light . . .' " She rubbed the page with her thumb, as if lost in thought. " 'Wait upon the Light.' Who added this note?"The immense rays of Light that all could see at the end of Rand’s battle with the Dark One were eagerly marked by all, and a sign that the Seals should be broken at that time, and not before, so Rand could access the Bore and repair it.
"That is Doniella Alievin's copy of the Termendal translation of The Karaethon Cycle," Egwene said. "Doniella made her own notes, and they have been the subject of nearly as much discussion among scholars as the Prophecies themselves. She was a Dreamer, you know. The only Amyrlin that we know of to have been one. Before me, anyway."
A Memory of Light, Eastward the Wind Blew
Moiraine applied various verses of the Karaethon Cycle to the situation at Merrilor:
"And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered,'" Moiraine whispered. "'The Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of the Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide.' "which parallels Egwene quoting the Karaethon Cycle to Elaida to show her errors.
The people shuffled their feet. Perrin looked questioningly at Rand.
" 'Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow,' " Moiraine said more loudly. " 'Born once more as he was born before and shall be born again, time without end! The Dragon shall be Reborn, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind!
" 'Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation!' "
"Aes Sedai," Darlin said, "pardon, but that is very ominous."
"At least it shall be a salvation," Moiraine said. "Tell me, Your Majesty. That prophecy commands you to shed tears. Are you to weep because your salvation comes with such pain and worry? Or, instead, are you to weep for your salvation? For the man who will suffer for you? The only one we know for certain will not walk away from this fight?"
She turned to Rand.
"These demands are unfair," Gregorin said. "He requires us to keep our borders as they are!"
"'He shall slay his people with the sword of peace,' " Moiraine said, " 'and destroy them with the leaf.' "
It's The Karaethon Cycle. I've heard these words before.
"The seals, Moiraine," Egwene said. "He's planning to break them. He defies the authority of the Amyrlin Seat."
Moiraine did not look surprised. Perrin suspected she'd been listening outside before entering. It was very like her.
"Oh, Egwene," Moiraine said. "Have you forgotten? 'The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign...' "
" 'There can be no health in us, nor any good thing grow,' " Moiraine quoted, " 'for the land is one with the Dragon Reborn, and he one with the land. Soul of fire, heart of stone.' "
She looked to Gregorin. " 'In pride he conquers, forcing the proud to yield.' "
To the Borderlanders. " 'He calls upon the mountains to kneel...' "
To the Sea Folk. " '...and the seas to give way.' "
To Perrin, then Berelain. " '...and the very skies to bow.' "
To Darlin. " 'Pray that the heart of stone remembers tears ...' "
Then, finally, to Elayne. " ' ...and the soul of fire, love.' You cannot fight this. None of you can. I am sorry. You think he came to this on his own?" She held up the document. "The Pattern is balance. It is not good nor evil, not wisdom nor foolishness. To the Pattern, these things matter not, yet it will find balance. The last Age ended with a Breaking, and so the next one will begin with peace—even if it must be shoved down your throats like medicine given to a screaming babe."
A Memory of Light, A Knack
Just as some Ages ended in fire and others in ice, so the Third Age ends in Sealing and Peace after the Second Age ended in Breaking and Chaos. Balance as Moiraine said. She reminds the rulers of their debt to Rand, who will save them – they should weep tears of gratitude. Rand will curb the warmongering of all people, not just the Aiel. Even the authority of the Amyrlin Seat is less than that of Rand’s. Moiraine describes the southern nations – who have done little fighting against the Shadow – as undeservedly proud, and the Borderlander nations as the mountains (who stand guard against the Blight). The Sea Folk are obviously the seas and Tear the Heart of Stone, but interestingly she links Berelain the hawk and Perrin the dreamwalker to the skies. Elayne is the soul of fire who should remember love – Rand’s love – if anyone does.
In The Gathering Storm we learned that the Seanchan Prophecies of the Dragon have a different name to those of the mainland. That makes sense, since there are important differences between the two – seemingly incompatible differences. According to Brandon Sanderson at the Salt Lake City The Gathering Storm booksigning, the Essanik Cycle is a compilation of damane's foretellings:
The Essanik cycle, they have tried to preserve it as perfectly as they can...It was given by damane in Seanchan, so nobody knows about it on the main continent.Therefore it was created after Luthair Paendrag conquered Seanchan. Yet Miraj thinks that Luthair Paendrag actually brought it with him (see below). Ishamael takes credit for originating the wholesale invasion of other continents by Artur Hawkwing’s offspring: his ‘doom yet to come’ (The Eye of the World, The Stag and Lion), that is, the Return invasion. The expedition also deprived Hawkwing of any heirs, ensuring war and chaos upon Hawkwing’s death. It’s not known if the original Seanchan version of the Prophecies still exists in Seanchan.
"I must find a way to make contact with the Dragon Reborn as soon as possible. He must kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai'don, or all is lost.” The Prophecies of the Dragon said so, clearly.This prophecy seem in direct conflict with the mainland prophecies which say that Rand will bind the nine moons (i.e. the Seanchan; it has the Court of the Nine Moons, of which the Daughter of the Nine Moons is the Highest Daughter) to serve him. Rand bowed to the Empress on one knee as a courtesy (not what Tuon thought the prophecy meant) as he offered her the peace treaty. The prophecy was certainly useful: it was the belief that Rand needed to kneel to her which brought Tuon to parley with Rand; otherwise she would never have gone near him.
-Winter’s Heart, What a Veil Hides
"The Prophecies of the Dragon had been known in Seanchan even before Luthair Paendrag began the Consolidation. In corrupted form, it was said, much different from the pure version Luthair Paendrag brought. Miraj had seen several volumes of The Karaethon Cycle printed in these lands, and they were corrupted too - not one of them mentioned him serving the Crystal Throne! - but the Prophecies held men's minds and hearts still."This confirms that the prophecy of Rand kneeling is not in the Karaethon Cycle nor was it in the original Seanchan Prophecies.
-The Path Of Daggers, A Time for Iron
She [Tylee Kirghan] and Mishima exchanged glances. Light, he hoped there was nothing in the Prophecies about two men with yellow eyes.Perrin tried to reassure Tylee and Mishima that he is not that remarkable, by mentioning there is another man that has yellow eyes (Elyas). From their reaction he wonders if the prophecies have included Elyas…
- Knife of Dreams, A Manufactory
”For one thing, he [the Dragon Reborn] must kneel to the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai'don. The Prophecies are clear on that…”This prophecy was first mentioned by Karede in The Path of Daggers and expounded on by Tuon in Winter’s Heart (see above). All mentions are paraphrasings, and both times Tuon says the Prophecies are clear… Furthermore, Karede tells us that this prophecy is not in the mainland or the pre-Consolidation Karaethon cycle. Rand bowed to Fortuona as a courtesy in A Memory of Light, Older, More Weathered.
- Knife of Dreams, Dragons’ Eggs
He must bow before the Crystal Throne before the Last Battle can beginThis prophecy is a paraphrasing of the ‘kneeling to the Crystal Throne’ prophecy, but its wording may be a little closer to that of the actual prophecy. Rand bowed to Fortuona on one knee as he offered her his peace treaty. Among the Seanchan bowing is more formal, either signifying an oath made, as when Egeanin bowed to Elayne, Nynaeve and co in Tanchico after making a vow to them ( The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace); or obeisance of one lower to one higher. Tuon would naturally see bowing and kneeling as the same, since everyone makes obeisance to her, and she would not conceive of anyone merely making a courtesy to one who sat the Crystal Throne. No Seanchan would. The Prophecy indicates that the Dragon Reborn and the throne personified, the Empress, must make a courteous agreement before the Last Battle begins as we saw in A Memory of Light, Older, More Weathered. By her reckoning, the Empress and the Dragon are of equal rank, although his display of restoring the Land showed him as more powerful and holy than her, and therefore Rand’s courtesy extra courtesy actually put her at a disadvantage because she was obligated to him. His prestige was such that his excessive courtesy made her look inferior or overproud.
The Gathering Storm, Gambits
The prophecies clearly showed that the Empress would defeat those who served the Shadow, and then she would send the Dragon Reborn in to duel with Lighteater.It would be nice if Tuon actually quoted passages rather than gave us her interpretation of them. For all we know, she might be as bad at understanding prophecy as Elaida. Events showed the Seanchan that they should fight the Shadow rather than continue to prosecute the Return, as Tylee already publicly suggested.
How much had he fulfilled? He didn't seem blinded yet, so that had yet to happen. The Essanik Cycle said that he would stand on his own grave and weep. Or did that prophecy refer to the dead walking, as they did already?
The Gathering Storm, A Halo of Blackness
“Those who serve the Shadow” could also refer to Darkfriends among the Seanchan, although the Prophecy implies a larger battle, and apparently near Shayol Ghul, since she “would send the Dragon Reborn in…” Rand did duel with the Dark One, but Fortuona did not send him in to do so, he arranged it himself.
Tuon did make a mistake by interpreting the prophecy literally: Rand’s blindness had happened when she made her observation. Rand was spiritually blind, being ‘in darkness’ at the time. Ironically Tuon noticed the darkness herself. Rand does stand on his own grave; well, more correctly, it was the grave of his previous incarnation, since Lews Therin created Dragonmount as he died. I guess Lews Therin’s personalities and memories have blended with Rand’s now, so it pretty much qualifies.
An excerpt of the Prophecy Tuon was referring to is provided at the end of The Gathering Storm:
At the end of time,It is the first actual wording of a prophecy from the Essanik Cycle. “At the end of time” shows we have gone beyond the Last Days and the Last Battle is about to begin and as for “the many become one”: there was finally some unity in the military forces and also imposed by Rand’s peace treaty. In a state of spiritual blindness, Rand went to the top of Dragonmount, the grave of his previous incarnation and while he didn’t literally weep, he certainly agonized over being bound by the Pattern to be born to make sacrifices and painful mistakes, to cause deaths and to fight the Dark One again and again. His pain nearly drove him to destroy the world. The last storm may refer to the lethal storms from the Dark One’s sinister cloud layer that the Windfinders kept at bay, or the tempest that surrounded Rand during the latter part of The Gathering Storm. Rand was about to destroy the land already dying but pulled back at the last.
when the many become one,
the last storm shall gather its angry winds
to destroy a land already dying.
And at its center, the blind man shall stand
upon his own grave.
There he shall see again,
and weep for what has been wrought.
- from The Prophecies of the Dragon, Essanik Cycle. Malhavish's Official Translation, Imperial Record House of Seandar, Fourth Circle of Elevation
- The Gathering Storm, Epilogue
The Fields of Peace were aflame, the Tower of Ravens was broken as prophesied and a murderer openly ruled in Seandar.This is an unclear quotation of prophecy. For one thing, it is not certain if the Fields of Peace being on fire was foretold or not and the same for a murderer ruling in Seandar. It could be that these events are regarded as omens of End Times rather than prophecies. Since the Seanchan follow omens assiduously as indications of the Pattern anyway, it’s kind of academic. The Fields of Peace being aflame is an obvious symbol for large scale war and destruction.
- Towers of Midnight, Prologue
The prophecy of the Tower of Ravens being broken is more interesting. The Tower of Ravens is where the Seekers interrogate or incarcerate the Blood:
The central Imperial prison of Seanchan. It is located in the capital of Seandar and serves as the headquarters for the Seekers for Truth. Members of the Blood are imprisoned, questioned and executed within it.Seekers too can be interrogated there. The Seekers wear a tattoo of the Tower of Ravens, so their headquarters being broken may also symbolise the breaking of their power or of their infiltration by the Shadow.
- Towers of Midnight Glossary
The sul’dam and the other two were a problem she could not solve now, but patience was a necessity for the Blood. Those who lacked it were likely to end in the Tower of Ravens.
- The Shadow Rising, Seeds of Shadow
The identity of the murderer ruling in Seandar is unknown. Since ruthless and violent contention is expected and even encouraged among the Imperial Family, murderers have obviously ruled in Seandar before. However perhaps it is the scale of murders, or the open way the murders took place which make this murderer remarkable and omen-worthy.
When Demandred claimed to have fulfilled the Sharan prophecies:
"Just as the people here awaited him with prophecy, just as they showered him with glory, the people of my land awaited me. I have fulfilled their prophecies. He is false, and I am true.”he thought he was lying. Yet:
A Memory of Light, The Wyld
"The Wyld" was part of Sharan prophecy; Demandred thinks he co-opted the Sharan version of the "dragon prophecies" but it was actually about him all along.Demandred believed that the Sharan prophecies were about Rand, and that he attempted to fulfil them as a fake Rand (just as Taim hinted to Rand in Lord of Chaos that he could have co-opted the Karaethon Cycle prophecies) but actually the prophecies were about Demandred.
Brandson Sanderson, A Memory of Light booksigning
Even when the Sharan leaders realised that Demandred was on the side of evil at least one continued to follow him because he fulfilled their prophecies and offered the potential for preservation if not prosperity:
"Are you worried?" he asked her. "You know now for which side we fight. So far as I know, you have not given yourself to the Shadow."There was one hint of the Sharan prophecies in A Memory of Light:
"I've given myself to you, Wyld."
"And for me you fight beside Trollocs? Halfmen? Creatures from nightmare?"
"You said some would call your actions evil," she said. "But I do not see them as such. Our path is clear. Once you are victorious, you will remake the world, and our people will be preserved." She took his hand, and something stirred within him. It was quickly smothered by his hatred.
"I would cast it all away," he said, looking into her eyes. "Everything for a chance at Lews Therin."
"You have promised to try," she said. "That will be enough. And if you destroy him, you will destroy one world and preserve another. I will follow you. We will follow you."
A Memory of Light, The Last Battle
"How could I fall? You have prophecies, do you not?"Apart from the look the women gave each other, this is nothing revelatory. Demandred fought in the Last Battle, and earlier at the Cleansing, and in Shara. He believed he would be the Dragonslayer by dint of killing Rand at the Last Battle, but actually he was already Dragonslayer because he killed the jumara, which are called worms in the Third Age, as Sammael told Graendal (Lord of Chaos, To Understand A Message) and worm is an alternative name for dragon. From the body language of the women, Demandred was not as invincible as he thought.
The women looked at one another. "They say you will fight, Dragonslayer," the woman said.
A Memory of Light, A Smile
The short story River of Souls gives some more information on the Sharan prophecies, although only one direct quote.
Until the advent of the Wyld, Sharan society was static and stratified, although united as one nation with very little warfare. They accepted their fate, even the remarkable pattern of alternating male and female rulers, each one an absolute monarch for seven years (Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow). The Wyld was prophesied to change that:
“You have come to us, as prophecy said. Our lives have been chosen for us up until this moment, this time. From today, fate will no longer be decided. We give our lives to you. It was what we were created to do, since the days of the very first Sh'botay.”Or as Shendla put it:
River of Souls
“It [The Pattern] has brought you, and once you step into that cavern below, we will be freed from fate and be made our own people again."To prove himself as the Wyld Demandred had to descend the chasm to the Hearttomb and defeat the jumara that guarded Angor’lot (the sa’angreal Sakarnen) and return with it in three days.
River of Souls
By prophecy, he was supposed to return from the pit at sunset on the third day.This mirrors Rand returning from Rhuidean at dawn on the seventh day and returning reborn from his epiphany on the third day.
River of Souls
In Demandred’s test:
'He descends alone and dies, returning to us reborn.'Demandred asked himself why he didn’t cheat as he so easily could have, but stuck to making sure he met all the prophecies. He didn’t literally die, although it was a close call; he acquired a new identity – as a saviour - and also some new attitudes, strange ones for a Forsaken, such as:
River of Souls
Strangely, he did care. More and more, he wanted to be the Wyld to this people. They were a means, a tool, but a man could treat his tools well. Too many of Bao's associates would break or cast aside a tool once their interest waned.His fulfilment of the prophecies had previously been accidental as he protested:
River of Souls
You did not know the prophecies when you first came - you have said so yourself - but you fulfilled them anyway."When he went to Shara to find the sa’angreal Sakarnen, he disguised himself as a slave, and started a social revolution in which the male channellers were freed and taught to channel (River of Souls). Overturning the social order in Shara was one of his ways of sowing chaos and “letting the Lord of Chaos rule” as the Dark One commanded in Lord of Chaos, Prologue.
"Releasing the enslaved, declaring all men free? That was an accident?"
"I did it to create chaos!" he said, turning.
River of Souls
The Wyld was prophesied to save the Sharans from the Dragon and break them “free of fate's chains”:
"You have brought us unity," she replied. "You have brought us glory. The Dragon has come, Bao. Every man and woman in this land can feel it. He will try to destroy the world, and only you can stop him.”Likewise order burned to clear Rand's path, and he broke people free from chains and freed people from all ties that bind.
River of Souls
And another quote on the Wyld as saviour:
Mintel cried out, standing, eyes opening. "Hail the Wyld! Hail him and bow! He who shall save us from the Dragon, who shall prevent the death of the land and bring us to glory! Hail Bao! Hail our king!"This mirrors the Asha’man acclaiming Rand:
River of Souls
Dashiva cried out, "All hail Rand al'Thor, King of the World!" Flinn and the other Asha'man took it up.Dashiva (Aginor) probably tried to sow chaos here, or at least damage Rand by overinflating his ego. The Sharans had their prophesied Wyld to ‘save’ them from the Dragon, the Karaethon Cycle offers a prayer to the Light to save the world from the Dragon:
"All hail Rand al'Thor, King of the World!"
"All hail the King of the World!"
That had a good sound to it.
A Crown of Swords, A Crown of Swords
”May the Light save us from him.”Demandred thought he was living a lie by accepting the Sharan belief that he was the saviour of the world in their prophecies. His sole purpose was to obtain Sakarnen so he could overcome and kill Rand. However it didn’t happen that way. He saved the world and prevented the Dragon from destroying it by letting Rand see the nobility of the people as they fought the forces of the Shadow so that he did not kill the Dark One.
The Fires of Heaven, Opening Propehcy.
While all the different visions of the future in the Wheel of Time have a Delphic quality about them, the Prophecies of the Dragon, being the only prophecies compiled into a book, also have parallels with the Sibylline books of Ancient Rome. The Sibylline books were collections of prophecies made by sibyls – oracular priestesses at shrines in Ancient Greece and Rome.
The oldest and most famous of the Sibylline books were acquired by the last Roman King, Tarquinius, from the Cumaean Sibyl. (In Virgil’s Aeneid, the hero Aeneas consulted the Cumaean Sibyl before he travelled to the underworld. ) The books were not used for foreknowledge of important events but to advise on the necessary rituals to alert calamities portended by omens. The Sibylline books being Greek in origin, the result was the spread of Greek religion into Roman state worship. Because the verses were written in Greek, the keepers would always be helped by two Greek translators. Several temples in Ancient Rome were built after consulting the books. When the Sibylline books were destroyed in the burning of the Temple of Jupiter in 83 BC, they were replaced after a few years with another collection of oracular sayings collected from Greece Sicily, and Africa. The temple priests sifted through the sayings and retained those they thought were true. The new Sibylline collection was burned in about AD 405.
The Age of Legends has parallel to Ancient Rome (see Age of Legends article). Lews Therin, who held ultimate power at the end of the Age, could be a parallel of Tarquinius the last King of Ancient Rome. Early in the Third Age, the Stone of Tear was built to house Callandor to follow one of the prophecies and Rand studied the prophecies for guidance, particularly to go to Rhuidean and also the underworld of Shayol Ghul. The Prophecies of the Dragon was written in the Old Tongue, which brought difficulties of translation to interpretation. It is likely that, like the sayings of the Sibylline books, the actual prophecies of the Karaethon Cycle are in no particular order.
It is believed that the Book of Marvels of Phlegon of Tralles (2nd century AD) contains some genuine Sibylline sayings, mainly describing rituals and offerings to the gods, but also reporting the birth of an androgynous person.
Books of marvels and fantastical travelogues of other lands were popular in late antiquity and the Middle Ages (and are still). Jain Farstrider’s books on the marvels he saw on his travels are parallels of travellers’ tales of the Middle Ages. Jain was also an expert on the prophecies, being the first to realize Mat is the fox that makes the ravens fly. The creation of Aran’gar, while not that of a physical androgyne, did mix male and female by combining a male soul with a female body.
The Sibylline Oracles are another, later, compilation believed to be a mix of Jewish and Christian prophecies of future disasters and apocalyptic passages that were compiled in the second to sixth centuries AD. The popularity of the oracles led to imitatory copies being disseminated as a means of spreading Judean and Christian teachings.
This is a parallel of the Seanchan prophecies which exist in pre and post Luthair versions, with some confusion about what is genuine prophecy and what not. Ishamael may have sent altered version of the Karaethon Cycle with Luthair as propaganda, or been involved in the spread of the accepted Seanchan version of the Karaethon Cycle (as against the original version now thought ‘corrupt’ by Seanchan.)
Nostradamus’ book of prophecies first published in 1555 is another possible parallel, being a book of marvels as well as prophecy.
There appear to be no Prophecies of the Dragon remaining to be fulfilled. This seems correct since Rand is no longer the Dragon.
Written by Linda, November 2009 and updated May and July 2013