It becomes apparent before even the midway point in The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan that the characters of Moiraine and Lan have a variety of names they use in different locations to hide their true identities.

Why do they then use their real names from the get-go in coming to the Two Rivers? Is there a canon explanation for this.

The obvious out-of-universe answer is the author didn't want to change the names of two of the major characters fairly early in the book as Tolkien did with Aragorn -- but is there more to it?

  • 1
    This is something that annoys me with David Eddings too. It's vitally important that Pol, Silk etc hide who they are: until a certain point, then suddenly they are continually referred to by their real names, by everyone. Mar 15, 2012 at 17:20
  • Good question. I doubt there's an answer unless someone thought to ask the late Mr. Jordan this question before he died. You can draw comparisons to other stories where having mentor characters going by assumed names in the beginning worked; for example, The Belgariad and Star Wars. It was the author's choice on how to introduce the characters. Mar 15, 2012 at 18:09
  • @DanielRoseman - He wasn't too consistent about it.. but Eddings did try to address that, two ways. One, they often used nicknames (Pol, Old Wolf, 'Silk', etc), and Two, many people thought them to be legends. (the Tolnedrians, for example, though the names to be titles, not names of actual people. Or Hereditary names, if you prefer.) He wasn't too consistent, tho; much like the specific limits and effect of the Will and the Word.
    – K-H-W
    Mar 16, 2012 at 20:35

3 Answers 3


This is just my guess, but I think they didn't use an alias simply because there was no need for it - the Two Rivers is a fairly isolated region so the chance of someone recognizing them by name was minimal to nonexistant.

Also they hadn't passed there before and didn't indend to pass there in the future. Aliases are useful when you do many appearances/actions/deeds and you don't want them connected with each other (i.e. someone saying 'say isn't this the same guy who also...'). But because they intend to pass through the Two Rivers only once there aren't multiple appearances/actions to be connected.


I think satuon's answer is good, but I'll put in my two cents as well.

Moiraine intended to take the boys away with her. They were going to Tar Valon, where Moiraine is known by her real name. She needed them to trust her, and going by the wrong name would just cause problems later. It was important that Rand, Mat and Perrin knew who she and Lan really were.

You'll notice that they did hide their nature from everyone until it was impossible to keep it a secret anymore.

It's arguable that Moiraine Foretold, in a sence, that Egwene and Thom would be coming too. Thom would have known that Moiraine was Aes Sedai and Lan was a warder the whole time. It's also probable that Moiraine knew that something would happen that would reveal her status as Aes Sedai at some point.

I propose that she saw no point in keeping their names a secret, because everything would have to be revealed later which could cause awkwardness and distrust.

  • The Foretelling is a Talent that Moiraine certainly doesn't have. You might say she 'anticipated' taking everyone though.
    – jv42
    May 9, 2013 at 9:13
  • @jv42 She doesn't have the Foretelling, true. But you can definitely see that she has a certain feel for the way the pattern is woven.
    – Anthony
    May 9, 2013 at 14:02

Another in-universe explanation is that Moiraine, as she said, 'find it difficult to lie'. Twisting the truth only leads you so far. She also says (in New Spring, the novel version at least) that you just can't say 'you may call me Alyse' to every one. Sometimes it sounds very rude, and would raise more questions that saying her real name, especially in parts of the world where it means nothing and nobody expects an Aes Sedai to visit.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.