Throughout most of books 4 and 5 (ever since Rhuidean), Aviendha sticks as close to Rand as his shadow. He thinks this is because the Wise Ones have set her to spy on him, but

after they sleep together somewhere in Seanchan, he starts to fall in love with her and we realise that she's falling in love with him, and that ever since Rhuidean she'd known she was going to.

So why was she really hanging around him? Maybe going to is the operative word here, and she resented him for this before it actually began to happen - which was when? Unclear since we don't get any of her PoV until book 6. I did always think that her apparent hatred of him might conceal an entirely different feeling... On the other hand, I think we have proof that the Wise Ones did order her to stay close to him. Was this so that she could spy on him for them, or in the hope that they would fall for each other? Or even in the hope that other people would think they were sleeping together (as Isendre did in tFoH), cementing Rand to the Aiel in the eyes of others?

The following passage (tSR, pp. 834-5) seems to have hidden depths of meaning:

[Rand to Wise Ones] "You must know that I know. About her. That you set her to spy on me."

"You do not know as much as you think," Amys said, for all the world like an Aes Sedai with hidden meanings she did not intend to let him see.

Melaine shifted her shawl, eyeing him up and down in a considering manner. He knew a little of Aes Sedai; if she were Aes Sedai, she would be Green Ajah. "I admit," she said, "that at first we thought you would not see beyong a pretty young woman, and you are handsome enough that she should have found your company more amusing than ours. We did not reckon with her tongue. Or other things."

"Then why are you so eager for her to stay with me?" There was more heat in his voice than he wanted. "You can't think I will reveal anything to her now that I don't want you to know."

"Why do you allow her to remain?" Amys asked calmly. "If you refused to accept her, how could we force her on you?"

"At least this way I know who the spy is." Having Aviendha under his eye had to be better than wondering which of the Aiel were watching him. Without her, he would probably suspect that every casual comment from Rhuarc was an attempt to pry. Of course, there was no way to say it was not. Rhuarc was married to one of these women. Suddenly he was glad he had not confided more in the clan chief. And sad that he had thought of it. Why had he ever believed the Aiel would be simpler than Tairen lords? "I'm satisfied to leave her right where she is."

"Then we are all satisfied," Bair said.

He eyed the leathery-faced woman leerily. There had been a note of something in her voice, as if she knew more than he did. "She will not find out what you want."

"What we want?" Melaine snapped; her long hair swung as she tossed her head. "The prophecy says 'a remnant of a remnant shall be saved.' What we want, Rand al'Thor, is to save as many of our people as we can. Whatever your blood, and your face, you have no feeling for us. I will make you know our blood for yours if I have to lay the-"

What 'other things'? 'Lay the' what?

Thanks in advance for any answers!

1 Answer 1


Lay the bridal wreath at his feet.

Aviendha and the Wise Ones both want the same thing, but for different reasons and in different ways.

Aviendha wants to end up with Rand, up to and including marriage, because she's drawn to him and because the rings told her so. But to be drawn to someone like that is against her character; she's a strong independent Maiden of the Spear, and she can't give just give in that easily. And to be pushed into it by the Wise Ones pushes every rebellious button she has. So not only is she hiding her feelings from herself, she's hiding her feelings and the facts from the Wise Ones as a necessary act of independence.

The Wise Ones want Aviendha with Rand, up to and including marriage, because they feel it's a way to bind him to the Aiel. The People of the Dragon are bound to Rand, but Rand is not yet bound to them. He sees them as tools rather than people and will use them less carefully as a result. They feel that putting Aviendha in his life is likely to make him feel more attached to the Aiel and more understanding of their ways.

  • 1
    Excellent summary! But how much is Aviendha really hiding from the Wise Ones? I'm sure there was something where one of them told another that 'she's achieved even more than we hoped', not to mention Melaine's 'or other things' quoted in my question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 9, 2014 at 14:04
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    She doesn't hide as much as she'd like to, and it does eventually become obvious, but as evidenced by that section where one of them corrected the other's misapprehensions that nothing was happening, she did slow them down a bit.
    – gowenfawr
    Aug 9, 2014 at 14:29
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    Also, note that Aviendha has been charged by the Wise Ones with teaching Rand the ways of the Aiel, which he stubbornly refuses to learn, which adds another layer of conflict for her: she hates that he embarrasses her but can't leave him because that would be admitting failure.
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 9, 2014 at 15:07

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