In the Wheel of Time series, especially the last few books we hear a lot about the relationship between Birgitte and Gaidal Cain. We also know very little about Olver other than that his family are dead (father killed by Aiel if I remember correctly), and that he is a rather ugly and short boy.

Birgitte makes reference to Gaidal being reborn at some stage before she was thrown out of Tel'aran'rhiod, though she doesn't know exactly how long in normal world time. From memory, she also says that Gaidal was short, and not exactly a pretty man...

Taking all this into account, is there any evidence that Olver is in fact Gaidal Cain?

1 Answer 1


No, he isn't.

This has been confirmed and explained by Robert Jordan himself, see point 23 in this interview report from Theoryland:

Is Olver Gaidal Cain?

RJ: No. I didn't really think that this would last as long as it has. The timing is wrong. He has another reason for being there besides being a red herring, though.

He's too old.

RJ: Yes. Time in Tel'aran'rhiod and the real world run at different rates, but it never runs backwards. You may spend an hour in Tel'aran'rhiod, and a day has passed when you get back, or you may spend a day, and an hour has passed when you get back, but you'll never go in on Tuesday and come back on Monday.

Is the difference in time constant?

RJ: No. It's fairly random. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes the same as real time.

It's different for different people, then?

RJ: Yes. Unless they're together in Tel'aran'rhiod. Then the same amount of time passes for them obviously.

So what specifically does RJ mean by "The timing is wrong"? Well, one of the first times Elayne meets Birgitte in Tel'aran'rhiod, Gaidal was also there (and disapproved of Birgitte speaking to Elayne); so he must have been reborn after that time, both in Tel'aran'rhiod and in the waking world. But Olver is much more than a year old, so he must have born years before even the start of the WoT series. Thus, Olver cannot be Gaidal Cain. QED.

  • Well I suppose I can't get a clearer answer than a flat out 'No' from the man himself. It does make me think that Brandon Sanderson may not have gotten that memo though as her never mentions Gaidal Cain after the second horn blowing which would have made sense considering how often he is talked about in the story previously and that he was specifically mentioned in regard to the first horn blowing (by Mat). Thanks for your answer... I guess being Al'thor himself you should know :p
    – Theyna
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 0:51
  • Ah, you beat me to the answer. I'm the one who asked RJ that question :)
    – TimK
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 11:40
  • 1
    @TimK Really? Wow, we're flirting with fame on this site ;-) It's a great theory and I wish it had turned out to be true, but ah well, you can't have everything. WoT is brilliant enough as it is!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 11:47
  • 2
    I'm not sure @Theyna noticed this, so: the whole "timing" thing is about the fact that the first (or maybe second?) time Elayne met Brigitte in Tel'aran'rhiod, Gaidal was present (refused to speak with Elayne, remember?), and Olver must have been alive for years by that time.
    – Law29
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 0:05
  • @Law29 Thanks; I should probably have mentioned this. Now edited in.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 0:28

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