I have read the entire series and am about a third of the way through rereading. I have also read through The Karaethon Cycle a couple times now, and I actually do not think all reasonable interpretations indicate beyond a shadow of doubt that Rand must die. Yet he himself never even questions if that's what the prophecies decree, so I wonder if I'm missing or misinterpreting something obvious?

Below are the references I see to death--however indirect--in the WOT Wikia version of the prophecies. I exclude kinship references to blood, and of course all emphasis is mine. For each fragment I'll walk through why I do not think it mandates Rand's death.

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.

I have the same interpretation of many of the references to blood, so I'll just say it here. Rand could easily be gravely wounded in Tarmon Gai'don, bleed all over the rocks of Shayol Ghul, then receive a healing weave and walk away like nothing ever happened. Okay, it's not strictly likely, but I just don't see the blood references as iron clad mandate.

Twice and twice shall he be marked,
twice to live, and twice to die.
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.

Working backwards, the bit about price seems ominous, but there are many prices that can be paid. Who knows, maybe he burns himself out in the last battle and can no longer channel. Besides, it seems like that must be some sort of reference to Rhuidean, based on the pattern of the three proceeding lines.

And how does one man die twice anyway? The non-sensical nature of the letter of this message does not lend itself to a firm interpretation of this fragment, even in the Wheel of Time where rebirth is plausible.

Lews Therin and Rand are certainly two incarnations of the same man, so it's reasonable to read their two lives into this reference. But unless Lews Therin was "marked" at some point, this interpretation leaves something to be desired.

Perhaps a more reasonable interpretation is that both times he gets marked, he thinks he kills Ba'alzamon. Not that that really makes sense either.

With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps this fragment refers to:

Rand's "body swap" with Moridin

Anyway, if this were a prophecy about me I would not be convinced. None of the above interpretations are really satisfying. Besides, even if he has to die it doesn't say it will be before, during, or long after the Last Battle.

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.

This section does contain some descriptions of specific events, but it also doesn't specify who must die. No salvation without destruction clearly refers to the seals. Maybe the salvation reference ties this inextricably to the end of the prophecy?

The Seals that hold back the night shall weaken,
and in the heart of winter shall winter’s heart be born,
amid the wailings of lamentation and the gnashing of teeth,
for winter’s heart shall ride a black horse, and the name of it is Death.

This section really doesn't seem to have anything to do with Rand.

Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.
Red on black, the Dragon’s blood stains the rock of Shayol Ghul.
In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow.

His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul,
washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.

Blood. Sacrifice. I don't know, I just think I would grasp at any possible straws to believe I might survive. Does Rand just want to believe he can die at the end? That's not his attitude early in the series, even if it explains why he would eventually accept it.

  • 1
    +1 for a very well-researched question as far as the Karaethon Cycle is concerned (even though you forgot the other prophecy which makes for a one-line answer :-) )
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 13, 2016 at 8:01
  • Okay, so I did phrase my question as very specific to @Randal'Thor but...don't other characters share this interpretation? How can that be explained? I can't think of any concrete examples so I'm not sure if I'm off base. Maybe a couple more re-readings and I'll finally remember these pesky details. Jul 13, 2016 at 12:57
  • 1
    I don't think anyone else says he must die, except 1) some of Min's viewings suggest it and 2) the bad guys, of course. His friends seem to assume or at least hope that if he wins the Last Battle he'll survive. (This comment is written in the third person for ease of reading.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


Even though everyone interprets it that way, if you read it literally it never says that Rand will die, only that his blood will be on the rocks. it only says that blood will be drawn.

  • 1
    Can you elaborate on this a bit?
    – Adamant
    Nov 23, 2016 at 5:29

Rand was told in what amounts to personal prophecy that "To live, you must die."

When he asked the Aelfinn how he could survive The Last Battle

He's told this fairly early on in the series, in The Shadow Rising, although it's not revealed to us for two more books, in The Lord of Chaos.

With that knowledge, plus the bloody nature of the prophecies of the Dragon, it was very natural for him to assume that he was going to die.

  • He still harbors some hope in Fires of Heaven though... Jul 14, 2016 at 0:10

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