Can a person be reborn with a different gender, talents, species and nationality?

For example can a male Aes Sedai from Manetheren be reborn as a female ogier in the Seanchan Empire?

  • 4
    well, Birgette is always a women, and The dragon seems to always be a man. when the dark one catches your soul hes able to gender and race swap you, birgette has been different races as well from what it sounds like, at least her local has been different i assume shed have different racial traits depending on where she was born. nothing from human to ogier though, and the power seems tied to your rebirth as well.
    – Himarm
    Dec 12, 2016 at 16:07
  • 1
    I'd be grateful if i get comments along with the downvote - curious why it was DV-ed and how the Q can be improved.
    – user68762
    Dec 12, 2016 at 19:25

3 Answers 3


Cross-species reincarnation can occur:

INTERVIEW: Dec 9th, 2002 Wotmania and Dragonmount Q&A
How does the idea of souls apply to constructs such as Nym and Trollocs? Could either of them be reborn?

ROBERT JORDAN: To whoever put this one forward, this is one of the best questions I've ever gotten! Nym and Trollocs both have souls, and either could be reborn, but since Nym were a pure construct (i.e. each of them was individually made, like hand-crafting) a Nym would not be reborn as a Nym. You might say that a Nym's soul was borrowed temporarily from the supply of souls awaiting rebirth. A Trolloc, however, bears a twisted, or corrupted soul, and would be reborn as a Trolloc. Though frankly, a Trolloc's soul is such a pitiful thing, it hardly seems worth calling a soul.

You could almost relate this to The Dark One stealing the souls of his Chosen Ones and putting them in new bodies, including those with different genders.

Abilities can transfer with the soul, but only if that ability actually exists in the Age the person is reborn in:

INTERVIEW: Jan 25th, 2005 TOR Questions of the Week Part II (Verbatim)
If a wolfbrother is reborn in another Age, will he be a wolfbrother again? In other words, is being a wolfbrother a trait related to the soul? Can women be wolfbrothers?

ROBERT JORDAN: Women certainly can be wolfbrothers, though the term would be wolfsisters. A wolfbrother or wolfsister reborn in another age would only be a wolfbrother or wolfsister again if that were possible in that Age. The ability to speak with wolves doesn't exist in every Age. In the "current" Age, it is a fairly new thing, appearing not too long ago. There are tales of it, sometimes just vague stories of people who supposedly "can talk to animals," without necessarily mentioning wolves, but remember that Elyas's ability was taken, at least by some Aes Sedai, as a sign that he was linked to the Shadow.

There's been some guesswork by Brandon Sanderson that Talents the same way as Wolfpeople.

As far as use of The One Power:

RJ (Sep '05): I don't think I have said if you are born with the spark you would have the have the spark again. I have said if you were born with the ability to channel, to learn or with the spark, you will, when your soul is born again, you will have the ability again, whether with the spark or without. And neither burning out or stilling affects that except in this lifetime, your current lifetime.

But also:

RJ (Oct '05): For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the "present day" sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.

Which indicates that the soul could inhabit a physical body that doesn't allow the full use of the soul's abilities.

And being ta'verin is not linked to the soul:

RJ (Jul '02): You might say that ta’veren-ness ebbs and flows. For one thing, remember that even for someone like Rand, the effects are really occasional, not continuous. Even when he is causing dozens of coincidences in a particular place, many more events pass off quite normally. For another thing, no one is born ta’veren. Rand, Mat, and Perrin only became ta’veren just before Moiraine appeared. You become ta’veren according to the needs of the Wheel. Like the Heroes linked to the Wheel, who are spun out as needed to try to keep the weaving of the Pattern straight, a man or woman becomes ta’veren because the Wheel has “decided” to use them as an influence on the Pattern. And, no, the Wheel isn’t sentient. Think more of a fuzzy logic device that uses feedback to correct what it is doing in order to do it in the most efficient way.

This is also confirmed in the final book

When the boys lose their ta'veren status

And in RJ's blog:

The Wheel creates ta'veren at need, making someone who is already alive one. You aren't born ta'veren. Can you imagine being around a ta'veren who is teething?

Others have mentioned gender already, but I'll add that RJ indicated that Mat & Birgitte are good examples. If you recall, Birgitte Silverbow is always a woman, and Mat's memories are always of men (but they weren't memories of his own past lives, so take what you will from that), but he did mention elsewhere:

...so the soul of the Dragon Reborn is always going to be male, just as Birgitte's soul is always born as a woman, just as Ameresu's soul is always born as a woman. There are divisions here, and they are not interchangeable.

Something important to note is that RJ's answers sometimes changed. There's inconsistencies between how balefire affects the soul, for instance. Originally, balefire ended your reincarnation cycle, as we understood it. But, later comments from Jordan state that instead it only prevents Shai'tan from transmogrifying the soul into a new body, and it must be reborn through the Wheel instead. There's also that comment about Mat above. So, there's still room for personal interpretation in this cosmology.

At one point, Sanderson even brought this up in an interview:

BRANDON SANDERSON: Here's the thing. There are three million+ words of notes, and RJ changed his mind about a lot of things as he wrote, explored, and made decisions. (He talked about this being his process. He saw the Wheel of Time as an organic thing.) So any time I speak on an issue like this, there's the chance that Maria (his assistant) will come to me and say "Actually, Brandon, he changed his mind on that. Look here for the revision." Half the time, it's something he mentioned in passing to her, Harriet, or Alan and isn't even written down.


In the Wheel of Time, gender is in the soul. Brigitte and the other Heroes of the Horn are always reborn with the same gender as before. Halima/Aran'gar is a different sex than before when s/he was Balthamel, but his/her soul as Halima/Aran'gar is still male. Take this quote that explains it:

All of her [Halima's] mannerisms had changed since she became a woman, but not the core of what had been placed into that female body. Demandred hardly scorned fleshy pleasures, but one day her cravings would be the death of her. As they already had been once.

(Demandred on Halima, Winter's Heart Chapter 13)

And another quote, from Halima's POV about Graendal (Knife of Dreams Chapter 3):

She had always fancied Graendal. She no longer really remembered having been a man. In her memories, she wore the body she did now, which did make for a few oddities, yet that body's influence had not changed everything. Her appetites had not altered, only broadened.

As for the other things you mentioned, I cannot find explicit references to this in the books, but we can speculate; it is probably the same. The Dark One, when he regenerates people, takes their soul--including memories, gender identity, interests, feelings, etc.--and stuffs it into a new body.

Having said that, here's something RJ said in an interview:


The question is, with Rand and Lews Therin, do they have one soul or two souls in the body?


They have one soul with two personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I have cobbled together.

This seems to be about only Lews Therin and the Heroes of the Horn. In other words, what I said up there seems to be true only about those regenerated artificially, i.e. by the Dark One. Other regenerations, ones made to happen by the Pattern, are different, based on what RJ said.


Since gender is apparently tied to the soul, my guess would be that women are always women, and men are always men, so I would think that they same would apply to the human/Ogier, especially since the Ogier are actually aliens. Take Aran'gar (Halima) for instance... originally a man, but reincarnated as a woman. She still chanels saidin though, meaning she has a male soul. This is not the only case as she is only woman seen channeling saidin with the exception of Semirhage, and the only way she was able to do it was through Rand when he was wearing the a'dam

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