Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan
El-eye-dah do Ah-vrinee Aye-Royhand
Year of Birth:
Actions During the Story (Spoilers)
Character Summaries (Spoilers)
Elaida is most often described as a handsome woman with dark eyes and dark hair to her shoulders. Some considered her beautiful until they realized her severe expression was permanent. She is about 5’6” (168 cm) tall, and nearly always wore rich red silk gowns and red cloaks. Elaida has the ageless look of an Aes Sedai who has worn the Shawl for more than a few years.
Elaida is a harsh and controlling woman with a severe outlook on the world. Her world view often leads her to believe that she is the only person who is capable of leading and she nearly always underestimates other capable individuals or considers them unworthy rivals. While she is highly intelligent and motivated to succeed, Elaida possesses little empathy and always holds those around her to a personal standard that most could not possibly meet. Even as a newly raised Sister, Elaida was noted for being too hard and allowed her anger to drive her decisions, a critique she did not enjoy hearing. Fundamentally Elaida believes everyone has a duty to live up to their potential but sees this through her own lens and cannot accept a point of view outside of her own.
Actions During the Story
Actions Before the Story
Elaida was born into a minor noble house in northern Murandy in 950 NE and went to the Tower in 967 NE around the age of sixteen or seventeen. She was a remarkably fast learner, setting records for both Novice and Accepted training. Passing her Accepted test in 970 NE after only three years, and earning the Shawl in 973 NE after only three years as an Accepted. No one was surprised when she chose the Red Ajah.
She entered the Tower within weeks of Meidani Eschede and the two women became pillow friends until Elaida became Accepted and broke off the relationship in 970 NE. Elaida earned a lifelong enmity from Meidani by pushing her beyond her limits with the intention of seeing her advance more quickly. In 972 NE Siuan Sanche and Moiraine Damodred entered the Tower as Novices and Elaida took special note of their ability and also pushed the two women exceptionally hard as she believed women with their potential owed it to the Tower to excel. Each woman matched Elaida’s training time, which Elaida expected but was not necessarily pleased to see.
During her years as an Accepted, Elaida discovered her erratic Talent of Foretelling, making her the first woman in the Tower since Gitara Moroso to possess the gift. She kept at least one of her Foretellings from those years to herself, that the Andoran royal line would be the key to winning the Last Battle, this Foretelling became a driving force in Elaida’s life. When Queen Mordrellen of House Mantear died after her heir Tigraine vanished, Elaida identified Morgase Trakand as the most likely successor and attached herself to the future Queen of Andor. Elaida spent most of her time after 974 NE in Caemlyn as the advisor to Queen Morgase but along with most Aes Sedai was called back to the Tower at the end of the Aiel War in 978 NE to defend Tar Valon should the Aiel attempt to invade the city.
Elaida is recalled to Tar Valon in 978 NE as the Battle of the Shining Walls after spending the last several years in Caemlyn serving as the Aes Sedai advisor to Queen Morgase. Moiraine and Siuan have each tied Elaida’s record of three years as a Novice and seem to be on track to matching her record of three years as an Accepted as well. Both women consider Elaida a detestable woman from her treatment of them before she had left for Caemlyn. She had made their first year as novices a misery by setting standards for them that no one could have possibly met. She had gained the Shawl in their second year as Novices and had been even worse until she left the Tower in 974 NE.
Moiraine is dismayed when she sees Elaida arriving alongside Mielyn Arganya of the White Ajah. Elaida notices this disappointment and tells Moiraine that she has been busy since her return, just ahead of the Aiel, but she would soon call on both Moiraine and Siuan. Mielyn tells Elaida she pays the two women too much attention, Moiraine notes with surprise that Elaida defers to Meilyn, something she had never seen Elaida do except for the Amyrlin or a Sitter since achieving the Shawl.
While Moiraine and Siuan practice the Hundred Weaves necessary for their Test for the Shawl, they are aided by several friends, Ellid Abarim, Sheriam Bayanar and Myrelle Beringari. Elaida interrupts their practice and takes a personal hand, beating the two Accepted with flows of Air and crushing their concentration, telling them they must weave faster and not let themselves be distracted. This goes on for several nights before Ellid, Sheriam and Myrelle go to the Mistress of Novices Merean Redhill, of the Blue Ajah, and she stops Elaida, claiming her actions were very close to helping the two Accepted cheat. Elaida was not given a penance as she did not use the power to punish or coerce the Accepted, but being called to account by the Mistress of Novices was enough to solidify a lifelong animosity between Elaida, Siuan and Moiraine. Elaida went on to represent the Red Ajah during Moiraine’s Test for the Shawl and pushed boundaries of the testing much harder than was usual for the test, so much so that both Anaiya of the Blue and Yuan of the Yellow clearly disapproved of Elaida’s methods. Siuan also passes her test and the two women decide to attempt one final prank before being Raised the following morning. They are caught and punished as they try to place mice in Elaida’s bed. Moiraine realizes that without Elaida’s training she might well have failed the test.
After being Raised and choosing the Blue Ajah Moiraine and Siuan are taught many customs and weaves that are secret to the Ajah, and are told how the hierarchy works for Aes Sedai, learning that strength in the power determines rank between Sisters. This fact informs them as to why Elaida deferred to Meilyn, who is stronger than Elaida. Both Moiraine and Siuan have the same potential as Elaida, but neither has reached their full strength at this point and still need to be careful in interactions with the woman until they are truly equal. Elaida returned to Caemlyn without seeing the new Sisters again.
Actions Between the Books
Elaida returns to Caemlyn after the Aiel War and resumes her role as Aes Sedai advisor to Queen Morgase. Elaida was aware of the male channeler pogrom, called the “Vileness'' in these years, and while she wholeheartedly supported the actions, she was not heavily personally involved. An instance where she was most likely involved was the extra-judicious gentelling of her political rival Thom Merrilin’s nephew, Owyn. These actions create a conflict that ultimately leads to Morgase ordering the arrest and execution of Thom in 985 NE. She continued to hold a deep enmity for both Moiraine and Siuan and felt Siuan’s ascension to the Amyrlin Seat was something that should have been given to Elaida, but despite this Elaida and Siuan worked successfully together to force Morgase and Gareth Bryne of Andor to obey their will in a matter involving a lord in Murandy who they believed could have unified the kingdom. Elaida remained advisor to Morgase until the start of the main series in 998 NE, despite the growing unhappiness with Aes Sedai influence in Andor.
Eye of the World
Elaida is first named by Almen Bunt who gives Rand al’Thor and Mat Cauthon a ride in his wagon outside of the town of Carysford along the Caemlyn Road. Bunt tells the young men that he is not among those who believe Elaida is the true power behind Queen Morgase. There is a growing anti-Aes Sedai sentiment in Andor that has brought rioting and protests to the streets of Caemlyn. Rand and Mat consider going to Elaida for help reaching Tar Valon if they cannot find Moiraine in Caemlyn.
Per Thom’s final instructions in Whitebridge, Rand and Mat go to the Queen’s Blessing when they arrive in Caemlyn. Innkeeper Basel Gill greets the boys and tells them to be wary if mentioning their relationship with Thom as Elaida was a political enemy of Thom’s before his exile, likely playing a role in the Queen’s decision.
When Rand goes into the city to explore and possibly catch a glimpse of captured false Dragon Logain Ablar, he stumbles into the royal palace and encounters Elayne and Gawyn Trakand. The children of Queen Morgase are quickly fascinated by Rand, but their older half-sibling Galad Damodred soon comes with guardsman-lieutenant Martin Tallanvor as they are escorted through the gardens Elayne and Gawyn inform Rand that they are still in bloom due to Elaida’s use of the One Power, the Aes Sedai has also warded the palace to keep out vermin such as rats. Elayne finds it selfish to maintain a flower garden in the palace when common people may be suffering from food shortage. Eventually the group is brought into the presence of Morgase, who is being attended by Elaida as well as Captain-General Gareth Bryne.
Elaida is first seen sitting behind the queen knitting and Rand’s initial impression is relief that he had not attempted to come to her for help. Elaida appears to be a very stern woman, and Rand is immediately on edge in her presence and after hearing her address Elayne, placing an unbelievable expectation on the young Daughter-Hier. Even without knowing what her Ajah affiliation is, Rand senses this woman is no friend. Elaida notes that Rand speaks like he is from western Andor, but that he does not have the coloring or build of people from the Two Rivers. Elaida demands to know where Rand is staying and when he arrived in Caemlyn and he tells her he is staying at the Crown and Lion and inn he recalled seeing while looking for the Queen’s Blessing. Elaida then speaks a Foretelling: “This I Foretell," Elaida replied, "and swear under the Light that I can say no clearer. From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken to its blackest, and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands. This I Foretell."
Despite what Elaida has read in the Pattern, Gareth Bryne does not believe there is cause to take action beyond imprisoning Rand for a few days until Elayne is safely on her way to Tar Valon. Elaida wishes to keep Rand in the cells for several weeks to allow her to investigate him more closely, but ultimately Morgase decides to free the young man as he has committed no true crime and with her realm in upheaval she has no wish to be seen imprisoning innocent men on weak charges. When he returns to the Queen’s Blessing he relates the story to Basel Gill and his new Ogier friend, Loial son of Arent son of Halan. Moiraine arrives with Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve and Lan and is alarmed when she hears Elaida has been involved. The group flee Caemlyn through a Waygate in the city just before Elaida is able to locate Rand at the Queen’s Blessing.
The Great Hunt
Siuan informs Moiraine that Elaida has traveled from Caemlyn to Tar Valon with Elayne and despite being the Queen’s advisor the Red Sister insisted on making the journey. The Red Ajah had gained much influence for bringing Elayne to the Tower as the girl has more potential than any woman in the last 1,000 years. Moiraine informs Siuan that Egwene matches Elayne and Nynaeve surpasses both young women. Siuan also informs Moiraine that Elaida also sent six pigeons informing the Hall and the Amyrlin that Moiraine is meddling with a young man who is ta’veren and dangerous. Elaida had tracked the man to the Queen’s Blessing in Caemlyn only to discover Moiraine had spirited away with him. The news has stirred trouble for Siuan and Moiraine and the Hall of the Tower has considered placing a penance for Moiraine and nearly stopped the Amyrlin from bringing representatives of the Blue to Fal Dara.
Throughout the book Elaida’s interest in Rand is noted by Elayne, Egwene, Nynaeve, Gawyn and Galad. She appears in the White Tower after Egwene and Nynaeve arrive and have befriended the Trakand siblings. Min Farshaw is also in the Tower at Moiraine’s request. Elaida corners the women, threatening Elayne with dire punishment for not treating an Aes Sedai with the respect due by a Novice. Elaida then takes Min and presses her for information on Moiraine’s activities.
The Dragon Reborn
After Elayne appears to have vanished from the White Tower Queen Morgase, who had traveled to Tar Valon, refuses to allow Elaida to return to Caemlyn and breaks a thousand year custom of the Queen of Andor having an Aes Sedai advisor. Upon their return to the Tower Elaida is furious, but in order to keep Elayne from being associated with Liandrin and the others in her group, Elaida is aware that the Black Ajah exists and she actively works toward keeping Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne under her “protection” to avoid the women being associated with such a stigma. Elaida goes on to question the women about their actions and why they had run away from the Tower, and when she is told a tale about helping Mat she shifts the subject to Rand. Sheriam enters the room and Elaida leaves.
Elaida has demanded to be the representative of the Red Ajah during Egwene’s test for the Accepted and mocks Alanna Mosvani when the Green Sister notes a resonance from the ter’angreal that she has never heard mentioned before. Elaida looms large in Egwene’s subconscious as her fears are brought forward for her to face in the ter’angreal. During Egwene’s final trip through the rings she encounters Elaida as her foremost opposition and the leader of the Red Ajah’s Sitters. Elaida strips the stole of the Amyrlin off of Egwene’s shoulders and has her imprisoned for aiding Rand. Egwene is told by her Keeper of the Chronicles, Beldeine of the Green Ajah that the Black Ajah and that Elaida had promised to restore her ability in exchange for helping take down Egwene. Egwene eventually has to leave Rand behind to his fate at the hands of the Black Ajah led by Elaida, returning to the real world just as the ter’angreal has begun to wildly fluctuate due to the resonance Alanna detected earlier returning at a massively stronger rate. Elaida tells Egwene after her testing that she does not believe that Egwene, no matter her potential, will ever truly be a part of the White Tower and that she is more of a wilder by nature. Egwene thinks if Elaida is not Black Ajah then she is the next thing to it. Egwene later tells her thoughts to Nynaeve and Elayne and Elayne is doubtful that Elaida is Black, merely an unlikable woman.
Elaida continues to keep a close eye on the three Accepted as they serve their penances for running away, as did several other Aes Sedai including Alanna, Anaiya Carel of the Blue and the Mistress of Novices Sheriam.
Thom Merillin, who is in Tar Valon performing as a gleeman, tells Mat that he has seen Elaida in the streets and that the woman would certainly have Thom brought into custody if she knew he was in the city.
The Shadow Rising
Elaida remains in Tar Valon, even more enraged that Elayne has once again vanished, this time seemingly at the order of Siuan Sanche who has passed a rumor that along with Egwene and Nynaeve, Elayne has been sent to a farm to serve a more strict penance for running away. Elaida does not believe this tale as it has gone through enough people to be an indirect lie. As she keeps an eye on Siuan’s activities she sees Novice Sahra Covenry take a young woman to the Amyrlin. Elaida notes that the first thing she had ever Foretold, while still and Accepted, was that the royal line of Andor would be the key to defeating the Dark One in the Last Battle, she had never publicly shared this knowledge but it is what drove her to attach herself to Morgase during the Andoran War of Succession. The current rift with Andor was the root of Elaida’s anger and she believed Siuan and Moiraine, who she still remembered as being close friends, were behind events that had led to the division with Morgase. Just as Elaida begins to wonder if Rand could be a male channeler her thoughts are interrupted by White Sister Alviarin Friedhen who hears her talking to herself. Elaida talks to the woman and tells her about her suspicions, which Alviarin notes are merely suspicions, for now.
During this time Elaida manages to have herself raised to Sitter for the Red Ajah and has taken a leadership role in the Hall, making Siuan nervous. When Siuan informs the Hall that a man has drawn Callandor they unanimously vote that he must be the Dragon Reborn and must be guided by the White Tower. Unfortunately for Siuan, Elaida has also been working behind the scenes with many women to prove that Siuan had colluded with this man prior to announcing him to the Hall and the Red Sitter has orchestrated a vote to have Siuan removed as Amyrlin and Elaida Raised. Along with Alviarin, Joline Maza of the Green, Danelle of the Brown Shemerin of the Yellow Elaida takes Siuan and Leane into custody, killing Siuan’s Warder Alric in the process. Elaida has both women stilled and put to the question and imprisoned in the cells deep beneath the Tower. This action sparks a rebellion led by Sheriam and other prominent Blues who attempt to break Siuan and Leane free before they are stilled but ultimately fail and flee the Tower with around one third of the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon joining the cause. Min with help from Mistress of the Kitchens Laras and Gawyn Trakand find and sneak the Siuan, Leane and Logain Ablar the former false Dragon out of Tar Valon before Elaida can have them all executed.
Fires of Heaven
Elaida, now Amyrlin Seat after deposing and stilling Siuan, has named Alviarin as her Keeper of Chronicles. She is still forced to maintain an advisory council, including her co-conspirators in the coup. Dannelle, Joline and Shemerin have been joined by Teslyn Baradon and Javindhra Doraille both Sitters for the Red Ajah as well as Evanellein Dorne Sitter for the Grey and Andaya Forae of the Grey Ajah. The group decides to send Memara of the Red to Saldaea to reign in Queen Tenobia si Bashere Kazadi and her uncle Davram Bashere. They discuss and dismiss several rumors out of Tarabon and in the other borderland nations. Elaida begins to assert her authority and commands Joline to come up with a penance for herself due to her lack of progress in tracking down Siuan and Leane after their escape. She also asks Javindhra if she should consider stepping down from her position as Sitter since she has shown little progress in recalling the Aes Sedai who have fled the Tower after the coup. She then points to the picture of Rand from Falme and informs the women present that they must be able to stop the man who is responsible for the chaos across the continent. She sends the Sisters out of her study with only Alviarin staying back. A young Accepted knocks on the door and informs Elaida that Padan Fain has arrived. Elaida sends the girl to the new Mistress of Novices, Silviana Brehon of the Red Ajah, and when Fain enters she dismisses Alviarin from her presence, leaving the woman curious about this man’s identity. Elaida meets with Fain as the man claims to have intimate knowledge of Rand. Before Fain flees the Tower he has brushed Elaida with his ability to increase paranoia and other negative emotions. He is caught stealing the Shadar Logoth dagger from a storeroom in the Tower and kills an Accepted named Verine. He encounters Alviarin and learns that she is a member of the Black Ajah, she allows him to escape and covers up Verine’s death.
News of the new Amyrlin spreads quickly to Caemlyn and as far as Amador where Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall and Liandrin of the Black Ajah is informed of the overthrow of Siuan Sanche and the Raising of Elaida. Queen Morgase, now under the control of the Forsaken Rhavin is made aware that Elaida is now Amyrlin and begins to push some of the compulsion out of her mind as she fights to remember the significance of Elaida and the Aes Sedai to Andor. Egwene informs Nynaeve and Elayne that Elaida has become Amyrlin after finding a letter in tel’aran’rhiod that was signed by the new Amyrlin. The women also discover that a group of Aes Sedai have formed a rebellion and are in hiding. Egwene also informs Moiraine of the news and that Elaida has issued an arrest warrant for the Blue.
Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne continue to spy on Elaida through reading her papers in tel’aran’rhiod, finding memos outlining her plans to find the rebels as well as to punish the Yellow agent Ronda Macura who had used forkroot on Nynaeve and Elayne in Amadicia.
Siuan, Min, Leane and Logain eventually find the rebel camp in Salidar and go to the leadership, known as the Salidar Six, Sheriam, Anaiya, Myrelle, Carlynia Sorevin of the White, Morvrin Thakanos of the Brown and Beonin Marne of the Grey and tell the women a fabricated story of the Red Ajah setting Logain up to be a false Dragon. Due to their belief that Siuan and Leane are still bound by the Oaths they accept the information as fact. Siuan and Leane each have valuable contacts within the Aes Sedai eyes-and-ears network and are allowed to stay on with the rebels to act as information masters. Gareth Bryne arrives chasing the women and the Aes Sedai decide to bring him on as a general to lead an army against Elaida’s Tower.
Nynaeve and Elayne arrive in Salidar and join the rebels, bringing with them three ter’angreal which give the Aes Sedai access to tel’aran’rhiod and the ability to spy on Elaida’s study directly.
Elaida has sent a letter to Rand in Cairhien, delivered by Moiarine. The letter reads: “ There can be no denial that you are the one prophesied, yet many will try to destroy you for what else you are. For the sake of the world, this can not be allowed. Two nations have bent knee to you, and the savage Aiel as well, but the power of thrones is as dust beside the One Power. The White Tower will shelter and protect you against those who refuse to see what must be. The White Tower will see that you live to see Tarmon Gai'don. None else can do this. An escort of Aes Sedai will come to bring you to Tar Valon with the honor and respect you deserve. This I pledge to you.”
A second letter, from Alviarin is much different in tone: “With respect, I humbly beg to make myself known to the great Lord Dragon Reborn, whom the Light blesses as savior of the world.
All the world must stand in awe of you, who has conquered Cairhien in one day as you did Tear. Yet be wary, I beseech you, for your splendor will inspire jealousy even in those not toiled in the Shadow. Even here in the White Tower are the blind who cannot see your true radiance, which will illumine us all. Yet know that some rejoice in your coming, and will delight to serve your glory. We are not those who would steal your luster for ourselves, but rather those who would kneel to bask in your brilliance. You shall save the world, according to the Prophecies, and the world shall be yours.
To my shame, I must beg you to let no one see these words, and to destroy them when once read. I stand, naked of your protection, among some who would usurp your power, and I cannot know who around you is as faithful as I. I am told that Moiraine Damodred may be with you. She may serve you devotedly, obeying your words as law, as I will, yet I cannot know, for I remember her as a secretive woman, much given to plotting, as Cairhienin are. Yet even if you believe she is your creature, as I do, I beg you to keep this missive secret, even from her. My life lies beneath your fingers, my Lord Dragon Reborn, and I am your servant. Alviarin Freidhen“
Moiraine warns Rand not to be taken in by Alviarin’s letter and he informs Aviendha, Egwene and Moiraine that he is not a fool, but he also realizes that for either of these letters to have come to him the White Tower clearly has spies placed near him.
Lord of Chaos
Elaida has sent an embassy to Rand in Cairhien, led by Coiren Saeldain of the Grey Ajah, but with a secret agenda led by Galina Casban, Highest of the Red Ajah. Gawyn Trakand and his band of “Younglings” is with the group as they travel to Cairhien and Galina has been ordered by Elaida to see to his and his men’s death if possible. Both Galina and Katerin Alruddin of the Red Ajah are revealed as agents of the Black Ajah on this journey.
The Salidar rebels continue to spy on Elaida’s correspondence to learn her plans. They have learned that Alviarin has countermanded several of Elaida’s orders without repercussions and that Elaida has been pressing King Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar of Illian, Queen Tylin Quintara Mitsobar of Altara, Queen Alliandre Maritha Kigarin of Ghealdan and King Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a'Naloy of Murandy about something presumably regarding Rand, but they are unsure of what. They also discover that Elaida has plans to build herself a palace on the ground of the White Tower and that she has announced the demotion of Shemerin to one of the Accepted and that Shemerin has run away. Elaida was also displeased with Rand’s announcement of an amnesty on men who could channel and she was considering issuing a decree that any Aes Sedai who did not return to the Tower upon her order where to be declared traitors. They also discover that Elaida has indeed sent an embassy to Rand in Cairhien. Nynaeve also notes the poor condition of the city of Tar Valon, something that must be extreme in the waking world for it to reflect in tel’aran’rhiod.
Logain is now being used to speak with nobles in the area near Salidar, informing them that he had been approached by the Red Ajah, with Javindhra being a prominent voice and Elaida being mentioned on numerous occasions as someone who knew what was happening.
Tarna Feir of the Red Ajah journeys to Salidar to meet with the Hall and issue Elaida’s instructions on their return to Tar Valon. Her appearance so quickly leads Nynaeve and Elayne to suspect there may be secret supporters of Elaida in Salidar. The Hall sends Tarna back to Tar Valon with a message that they need more time to consider her terms, which means they are at least considering reuniting the Tower above the supposed crimes of the Red Ajah.
Egwene, who has also been spying on Elaida, is present in Cairhien with Rand when the embassy from Elaida arrives. She listens from behind a curtain of saidin woven by Rand and learns of the initial intentions of the group. Egwene warns Rand that Nesune was highly intelligent and had an eidetic memory and that she suspected Galina was of the Red. When she later encounters Gawyn in the city she asks him how he can follow Elaida after what she did and learns the man believes Rand killed his mother. She tries to convince him he is wrong, but is unable to do so.
Egwene is called to Salidar by the Hall of the Tower and is Raised to the Amyrlin Seat in defiance to Elaida. Rand sends Mat to Salidar to see if he can gather the support of the rebels. Mat arrives to find Egwene as Amyrlin and tries to convince her to leave with him before Elaida can destroy this rebellion.
Elaida’s embassy in Cairhien has grown tired of waiting on Rand and enact their secret plan to abduct him and take him to Tar Valon to remain in Aes Sedai custody until the Last Battle. Galina of the Red takes command and the group uses several Aes Sedai who are new enough to not yet have the Ageless face to shield and remove Rand from the Sun Palace. They leave Cairhien and journey toward Tar Valon, beating Rand and questioning Min along the way. Eventually the group is attacked by the Shaido Aiel. Perrin has gathered a force of Rand’s loyal followers along with Wise Ones who can channel to rescue Rand. As they approach Dumai’s Wells Perrins forces attempt to break through the Shaido and get to Rand but they are vastly outnumbered. Mazrim Taim suddenly appears with a force of Asha’man who use saidin to drive the Shaido away and capture many Aes Sedai from the embassy.
A Crown of Swords
Elaida has begun to sequester herself in her new quarters near the very top of the White Tower, she enjoys the expansive views of the city of Tar Valon and the countryside on the far side of the River Erinin. Elaida notices that the weather is still quite hot despite the passing of The Feast of Lights when there should be snow on the ground. She assumes, correctly, that this is another sign of the Dark One’s touch on the world and the impending Last Battle. As she looks over the Tower grounds she is pleased to see that her project to build a palace for the Amyrlin is well underway. Large foundations now cover what had once been the Warders’ practice yard along with wooden cranes and stacks of marble and granite. While not pleased that the Ogier had refused the project she continues to press forward using Master Lerman and the use of the One Power to make the structure magnificent; with a spire that would stand ten spans higher than the apex of the White Tower itself.
Twelve days prior Elaida received a message from Galina stating “The ring has been placed in the bull’s nose.” which Elaida knows to mean Galina and her group have captured Rand and are heading to the White Tower with him in custody. Alvianrin enters the study and tells Elaida she has news from the Ajahs. The Keeper immediately dampens Elaida’s good mood and Eliada is convinced the woman holds back most of the information gathered by the various eyes and ears networks. Elaida asks Alviarin if she has news from Teslyn or Joline in Ebou Dar, Alviarin tells Elaida that she has news from Ebou Dar, but through the Gray network not former Sitters. Elayne and Nynaeve have been spotted in the city posing as full Aes Sedai. This conflicts with the news sent by Tarna that the two women were in Salidar with the rebels along with Siuan and Logain who were spreading lies about the Red Ajah. Elaida at first tells Alviarin this must be gossip, but the White Sister produces a drawing of the two women. Elaida fights with her embarrassment over being easily manipulated by Alviarin, but then orders the women taken and brought to Elaida.
Alviarin continues her report and they begin to discuss the Black Tower, including disturbing rumors of thousands of men flocking to Caemlyn, which Elaida refuses to believe. She orders Alviarin to have Toveine Gazal lead a group of fifty Aes Sedai and two hundred of the Tower Guard to the Black Tower and destroy those who had gathered. Elaida is certain there cannot be more than three or four men who can channel. Alviarin informs her she has reliable information from a Green agent claiming at least 400 people, including Mazrim Taim, the former false Dragon, are within. Elaida takes out one of her ivory carvings, a delicately carved fish, and proceeds to tell Alviarin these four hundred are no more than rabble and she is certain Taim must be dead or he would have been heard from by now rather than serving Rand. Alviarin warns Elaida that she is on dangerous ground and references secret information pertaining to the actual numbers of male channelers in the last twenty years. Elaida thinks to herself that her knowledge of these events is more personal than Alviarins and shuts the woman down. Elaida goes on to command the Black Tower to be purged and any man found able to channel will be gentled and executed on the spot, in her vehemence Elaida broke the ivory carving in her hand which she mused must have been at least 500-1000 years old.
Elaida and Alviarin go on to discuss the rebels and Tarna’s report that Egwene has been named Amyrlin. Elaida assumes this is a sign from the true rebel leaders that they wish to come back to the Tower without suffering and being stilled for rebellion. Alviarin notes that Romanda Cassin of the Yellow Ajah has come out of retirement and joined the rebels and that Gareth Bryne has begun raising an army but according to Tarna it is no more than a few thousand men. Suddenly Elaida has a Foretelling:
"The White Tower will be whole again, except for remnants cast out and scorned, whole and stronger than ever. Rand al’Thor will face the Amyrlin Seat and know her anger. The Black Tower will be rent in blood and fire, and sisters will walk its grounds. This I Foretell."
Alviarin leaves the rooms and immediately informs Forsaken Mesaana of her meeting with Elaida.
In the aftermath of Dumai’s Wells Gawyn searches for any surviving or escaped Aes Sedai to take the task of informing Elaida that Rand has escaped and taken Aes Sedai prisoners. Rumors that Rand has sworn fealty to Elaida have begun to spread and the rebels in Salidar continue to plan how to bring her down without an actual siege on Tar Valon.
In Ebou Dar, Teslyn Baradon of the Red and Joline of the Green discuss how they should handle the arrival of Elayne, Nynaeve and Mat. Neither woman is happy that Elaida stripped them of their Seats in the Hall of the Tower and sent them as Ambassadors to an insignificant Queen. They decide to remain silent for the short term. However, one of them has slipped Mat a note warning him that Elayne and Nynaeve are in danger from Elaida.
Elaida is awakened from a pleasant dream by Alviarin who has news from her Cairhien Embassy. Covarla Baldene of the Red Ajah has taken command of the remaining twelve Sisters who she has hidden away in the tiny village of Dorlan outside of Tar Valon. Covarla informs Elaida of the events at Dumai’s Wells. Elaida is shocked that only twelve of the thirty-nine she had sent have returned and immediately worries that this disaster will end her reign as Amyrlin. She sends Corvarla back to Dorlan with instructions to wait for new orders. Alviarin reminds Elaida of their conversation about the Black Tower but when Elaida demands she recall Toveine and her group Alviarin informs her it is too late to get word to Toveine. Alviarin coldly informs Elaida that if this news gets out Elaida will be stilled and executed, but that she would help her keep it quiet as long as Elaida followed her orders and Elaida agrees. Alviarin then sets several plans to divide the Ajah into motion.
The following morning Elaida goes to the apartments of Seaine Herimon, Sitter for the White Ajah and the only Sitter who remained in the Tower who was not involved in deposing Siuan, in fact Seaine had first recommended Siaun for the Amyrlin Seat more than ten years prior. Elaida tells Seaine that she wishes this conversation to be Sealed to the Flame and then sets Seaine to investigating possible treason in the White Tower. Seaine takes this as an order to start an investigation into the Black Ajah and once Elaida has left Seaine goes to the Red quarters and speaks to her long ago friend Pevara Tazanovni, Sitter for the Red and brings her into the investigation.
Path of Daggers
Elaida has sent Aes Sedai loyal to her to several rulers in the westlands, miscalculating badly with her choice of Memara of the Red Ajah to attempt to bully Queen Tenobia.
Verin, who is using a weak form of Compulsion on the captive Aes Sedai, hopes to learn what Elaida had planned for Rand if he had been successfully carried to Tar Valon and into the Tower’s custody. She learns only scraps from the women, but manages to implant a need to find a reason to swear fealty to The Dragon Reborn into each of them.
In Ebou Dar Teslyn admits that she and Joline have conflicting agendas around delivering Elayne, Nynaeve and Mat to Elaida. She was the person who slipped Mat the warning note and had gone so far as to dose Joline with forkroot to keep her out of the way while the others left the city, leading Nyaeve and Elayne to consider the idea that a Red seemed ready to turn on Elaida. Captured Black Ajah Sister, Ispan Shefar formerly of the Blue Ajah, claims her actions have been on the orders of the true Amyrlin Seat, but her assertion is so outrageous as to be ignored as a blatant lie.
Egwene addresses a group of Andoran and Murandian nobles and proclaims the intentions of the rebel Aes Sedai is to remove the usurper Elaida from the Amyrlin Seat and restore order under the true Amyrlin Egwene. She later goes to the Hall of the Tower and puts forth a resolution for the declaration of war against Elaida. The lesser consensus stands for this and the rebels officially proclaim they are at war with Elaida personally, a decision that gives Egwene, as the Amyrlin, personal control over the prosecution of the war. The Law of War stating: “the Amyrlin shall direct and prosecute the war by decree with the advice of the Hall of the Tower, but the Hall shall carry out her decrees with all possible speed and for the sake of unity they shall and must approve any decree of the Amyrlin Seat regarding prosecution of the war with the greater consensus.” Needless to say the Hall was less happy with what they discovered after they had given Egwene such power.
Elaida is in the White Tower meeting with a group of six Sitters, fingering an age-dark ivory carving of a strange bird with a beak as long as its body. Elaida believes she has begun to consolidate her control over the Hall. Elaida was confident that at least Duhara Basaheen, Sitter for the Red, was under her influence and was certain the rest of this group would be soon. Velina Behar of the White, Shevan Garadin of the Brown, Rubinde Acedone of the Green, Sedore Dajenna of the Yellow and Andaya Forae of the Gray are reporting and debating the influence of the Seanchan in the south and west of the continent and arguing over the veracity of the reports of damane and the a’dam. Elaida has taken a bullying approach to the Sitters and has removed two women from the Hall as well as handed penances to several others involving both mortification of the flesh at the hands of Mistress of Novices Silviana Brehon as well as mortification of the soul in the form of labor such as washing dishes or raking garden paths. The six women begin to leave only to encounter Keeper of the Chronicles Alviarin, who has returned from an unknown trip. Alviarin takes the folder of decrees from Sedore and allows the six women to exit, leaving her alone with Elaida.
Alviarin causally goes through the decrees and becomes angry that Elaida has begun to exert some control during her two week absence from the Tower. The Keeper goes so far as to slap Elaida across the face. Alviarin tells Elaida that she would save the Tower from Elaida’s blunders, but would not allow her to create more when Alviarin’s back was turned. Elaida comforts herself with the knowledge that she has Seaine searching for proof of Alviarin’s treasonous acts and with the confidence of her Foretelling revealing a united Tower and the destruction of the Black Tower. Alviarin then hands Elaida her pen and tells her to sign a single document which reads: “The world now knows that Rand al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn. The world knows that he is a man who can touch the One Power. Such men have lain within the authority of the White Tower since time immemorial. The Dragon Reborn is granted the protection of the Tower, but whosoever attempts to approach him save through the White Tower lies attainted of treason against the Light, and anathema is pronounced against them now and forever. The world may rest easily knowing that the White Tower will safely guide the Dragon Reborn to the Last Battle and the inevitable triumph.”
Elaida realizes that this proclamation is far worse than others Alviarin has forced her to sign, such as huge increases to the size of the Tower Guard, attempts to force the Ajah to publicly reveal who lead each Ajah, giving each Ajah final authority over any sister in its quarters no matter which Ajah she belonged. Alviarin makes Elaida say her catechism out loud “I will sign what you tell me to sign, and nothing else. I am obedient to your will.”. After Elaida signs the document Alviarin tells her she must stay in her quarters until Alviarin returns, but gives no hint as to how long that might be. She then glides out of the room leaving Elaida furious. Silviana then enters and tells Elaida that Alviarin had sent for her and said it was a matter of a private penance for the Amyrlin. Silviana spanks Elaida for half an hour and leaves Elaida weeping on her bed.
Seaine, who has misconstrued Elaida’s command has begun working with Pevara to hunt the Black Ajah. The two women have identified what they believe to be a lie from White Sister Zerah Dacan who is in reality one of the secret ferrets sent to the Tower by the Salidar Six to spread the rumor regarding the Red Ajah involvement with Logain, setting the man up as a false Dragon to gain more prestige for the Ajah when he was eventually captured.
The two women force Zerah to reveal the rest of the ferrets in the Tower and plan to bring these ten women into their hunt once they have ensured none are Black Ajah, through use of the Oath Rod. They are interrupted by a group of Sitters, Yukiri Haruna of the Gray, Saerin Asnobar of the Brown, Doesine Alwhin of the Yellow and Taline Minely of the Green. When the truth comes out the women discover Taline is secretly a member of the Black Ajah.
Toveine Gazal, former Sitter from the Red who has been recalled from her fifteen year penance for supporting the male channeler pogrom known as “The Vileness'' has been placed in command of an expedition to the Black Tower that Elaida now knows is doomed to failure. Toveine along with fifty Aes Sedai are traveling in small groups throughout Andor but are captured and Bonded by a group of Asha’man led by the now Healed Logain. Toveine is furious with Elaida for escaping punishment for her role in the pogrom and for achieving the title of Amyrlin, which Toveine once dreamed of for herself. Toveine vows to make Elaida pay for her situation but is aware that she could do nothing without Logain’s permission as he held her Bond and had a tight compulsion on her.
Erian Boroleos, Elza Penfell and Beldeine Nyram of the Green Ajah Nesune Bihara of the Brown and Sarene Nemdahl of the White Ajah become the first of Aes Sedai from Elaida’s embassy that beg to be allowed to swear fealty to Rand as the Dragon Reborn. Each woman submitted to being beaten from sunup to sundown and then presented their reasons for swearing to him. Erian admits to Rand that they had been wrong in their treatment of him and that she has realized that the Aes Sedai must help the Dragon Reborn fight the Last Battle. Beldeine telling Rand that the Green is the Battle Ajah and that she wishes to fight in the Last Battle, Sarene, ever logical, says that with the change in circumstances she would rather serve Rand than be executed or held prisoner for life. Elza declares that has realized the Dragon Reborn must be present at the Last Battle and it is her duty to see him there. Nesune simply stated that she wished to study Rand and could not do that while da’tsang.
Egwene commands the rebels to pursue the war on Elaida and has a circle of thirteen Sisters open a massive gateway from Murandy to just outside of Tar Valon where she moves her forces to lay siege to the city.
Elaida never actually makes an appearance in the book, however she is central to several plot lines and is discussed by many others due to her actions in previous books.
The Black Ajah Hunters learn that Talene believes Elaida is Black Ajah. Talene believes this because the Supreme Council knows every detail that comes from Elaida’s reports, even secret ones and knows every word spoken to Elaida and the decisions she will make before they are public knowledge. Seaine begins to question if she understood what Elaida had asked her to do when she came to her, and the other Aes Sedai, Saerin, Yukiri, Doesine and Pevara do not believe Talene’s testimony is enough to prove Elaida is a darkfriend. The Hunters decide to keep their investigation quiet and put Seaine into a form of protective custody as they fear for her life if Elaida is of the Black.
Toveine Gazal, now Bonded to Logain and being held in the Black Tower along with fifty other Aes Sedai sent by Elaida to destroy the Asha’man there, blames Elaida for giving her poor information. Toveine is angered that the other Sisters including fellow Red Sisters, Lemai Ambrey and Jenare Balmaen and Desandre Alraed of the Yellow Ajah openly hold Toveine accountable for their capture. Toveine witnesses a young noblewoman being escorted through the town and when she hears the name Lady Elayne she correctly surmises this is Elayne Trakand a woman Elaida very much wishes to take custody of, something Toveine decides to deny Elaida if she can. She is then joined outside of Logain’s house by Gabrelle Brawley of the Brown Ajah, and also Bonded to Logain, who informs that Logain has destroyed Toveine’s writing desk which included Elaida’s order to gentle and hang every man they found on the spot, ignoring the required trial in Tar Valon. Gabrelle recommends to Toveine that they renounce the authority over Elaida’s expedition and submit themselves to the strongest two Sisters within the group, Lemai and Desandre and accept their leadership in an effort to survive their situation. Toveine agrees and they decide to present a plan to Desandre and Lemai in order to convince them to take over.
Elayne learns of the Proclamation made by Elaida offering protection and guidance to the Dragon Reborn and anathema on anyone approaching him save through the Tower. Elayne is shocked by the announcement and wonders why Elaida would have issued such an outrageous letter. She believes Elaida to be arrogant, wrong-headed, blind to any view expect her own, but she was far from stupid. Rand and Egwene each also consider the proclamation and ponder the implications behind it.
The Black Ajah hunters have now recruited all ten ferrets from Salidar and have learned that Meidani Eschede was once the pillow friend of Elaida. They intend to use the relationship to learn the truth about Elaida possibly being a member of the Black Ajah.
Elaida has sent orders and a new leader, Narenwin Barda of the Yellow Ajah to the Aes Sedai in Dorlan and Gawyn to harass the rebel forces that have suddenly appeared outside of Tar Valon. Katerine and Tarna each go through the village on their way back into Tar Valon but refuse to accept the command of Narenwin or Covarla as both women had been given their orders by Elaida before the two Red Sisters came into the village.
Alviarin returns from her investigation of Tremalking after the events of the Cleansing only to find that Elaida has had her removed from the position of Keeper of the Chronicles. The arrival of the rebels has helped Elaida shift the blame for Dumai’s Wells and the Black Tower to Galina and Toveine and with Alviarin’s disappearance for a month allowed Elaida the time to have the Hall agree to replace her. However, Elaida is less than pleased that a group of Sitters is insisting on opening negotiations with the rebels. Alviarin notes that Black Sister Talene looks to Yukiri and Doesine before giving her response and finds this behavior odd. Elaida gives her permission, but lays out terms that are impossible to achieve, the disbanding of the Blue Ajah and personal penance served under Elaida for any Sister who joined the rebellion. Alviarin goes to Mesaana but before the Forsaken can punish the woman Shaidar Haran appears and marks Alviarin and goes on to punish Mesaana for not joining the fight at the Cleansing.
Elaida has named Tarna as her new Keeper, but the woman is less than enthusiastic about being placed in the role. Tarna then brings an idea to Pevara that the Red Ajah should Bond Asha’man as a way to learn to control them before they go mad and destroy the world again.
Crossroads of Twilight
The leadership of the Red Ajah meet to discuss Elaida and the idea Tarna has put forward. Tsutama Rath, newly raised as Highest, has received letters from Shashalle Anderly and Toveine laying out their situations in Cairhien and the Black Tower respectively. Tsutsama then Charges Tarna, Javindrha and Pevara with gathering a group of Reds that might be amenable to men to bond Asha’man Warders. They decide to keep this knowledge from Elaida despite her being raised from the Red.
Seaine has come to the realization that Elaida had not in fact ordered her to investigate the Black but was more specifically asking her to find evidence of Alviarin committing treason by countermanding Elaida’s orders. The Black hunters are now even more nervous that they will be discovered and killed as this could mean Elaida is Black herself.
Egwene is brought into the Tower after being captured at Southharbor and Katerine tells her Elaida will likely have her stilled and executed. However Elaida has other plans for Egwene and decides to make her a Novice and give her doses of forkroot tea regularly to keep her strength suppressed. She orders Egwene to have regular visits to the Mistress of Novices, Silviana as well. Egwene calls the rebel Hall to meet in tel’aran’rhiod inside the Tower and explains her situation as well as what she has witnessed inside the Tower. The Ajah openly feuding and the city poorly managed have given Egwene hope that she can pull Elaida down from inside the Tower.
Beonin Travels inside the Tower and goes to meet with Elaida, revealing that she had been Elaida’s mole all along. She teaches Elaida the new weaves discovered by Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve through their interrogations of Moghedien and informs Elaida of the ferrets and their mission. She also tells Elaida and Tarna that Egwene is a powerful Dreamwalker and Tarna wonders if the Dream Egwene told to Silviana regarding the Seanchan attack can be true. Elaida dismisses the Seanchan as too far away to do them harm. King Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar of Illian, who was apparently kidnapped under Elaida’s orders two days before Rand took the city, also arrived in Tar Valon just prior to the arrival of the rebel siege. Beonin becomes disillusioned with Elaida qui ckly and accepts that her oath to Egwene still holds. Egwene tells her to warn the ferrets that she has betrayed them.
Egwene spends many hours with Tower Aes Sedai and always brings up the subject of Elaida’s various failures and her division of the Tower. She gains surprising insight from several women and continues to refuse to bow to anyone.
Elaida has sent Duhara to Caemlyn to act as Elayne’s advisor but the woman is rejected by Elayne. Elayne refused to even host the Red Sister in the palace and told Duhara that she does not accept Elaida as Amyrlin.
Knife of Dreams
After more than nine days in captivity, Egwene is called to attend Elaida during her evening dinner. Silviana has begun to worry that Egwene is being punished too much and has not been eating enough herself and orders the other woman to ensure she eats and notes Egwene will return to the Mistress of Novices study after she is done serving Elaida.
Egwene is surprised to see Elaida hosting an Aes Sedai she does not recognize for dinner, the Sister turns out to be Meidani, one of the Salidar ferrets and Egwene realizes the woman is there despite knowing Elaida is aware she is a spy. Egwene watches as Elaida toys with Meidani, having her research punishments for rebellion and speaking of instituting a fourth Oath, one of fealty to the Amyrlin, for all Aes Sedai. Egwene wonders what has happened to Elaida, the woman she had known before had been stern, but not tyrannical as she seemed now. Egwene, unsure of what else to do spills a large bowl of soup to distract Elaida and tells Meidanin to summon her for a lesson. When Egwene returns to Silviana she asks how Eliaida was able to demote an Aes Sedai, Silviana tells her it is because Shemerin accepted the demotion rather than fighting back. Elaida’s Keeper, Tarna, has been sent on a mission byt the Red and Elaida has begun to rely on Katerine more and more in Tarna’s absence.
Egwene continues to foment discord against Elaida as she meets with more Aes Sedai of every Ajah, learning that the key to bringing the tyrant down was to convince the Aes Sedai loyal to her to not accept her methods. She is eventually summoned by Meidani and discovers the Gray has been placed under some form of compulsion, a fourth Oath placed on her by the Black Ajah hunters. Egwene meets with the women and begins to win them to her side regarding the failure of Elaida as Amyrlin. Egwene confronts the women and is told that they had found a member of the Black Ajah who was a Sitter, Talene, which Egwene notes makes her vote to Raise Elaida and the removal of Siuan as Amyrlin illegal.
Egwene is once again summoned to attend Elaida, this time she finds a group of Sitters in attendance as well. Yukiri of the Gray, Doesine of the Yellow, Rubinde of the Green, Shevan of the Brown and Ferane of the White. One woman from each of the Ajah except the Red and the Blue. Elaida attempts to show that Egwene is a harmless Novice and under her control, but Egwene quickly shows she is no such thing. Elaida shifts to badgering the various Sitters, asking Shevan if she has given up on the negotiations with the rebels yet and telling the woman she is foolish to continue them. Elaida also tells Shevan and the others not to worry about the Seanchan as she believes Egwene is exaggerating the danger, likely only trying to spread rumors to help Rand. This challenge forces Egwene to speak up and inform Elaida that she tells no lies, despite not having taken the Oaths. Elaida becomes enraged when Egwene forces her to admit she had spoken about an Oath of fealty for all Aes Sedai. Egwene continues to defy her and eventually Elaida begins to beat Egwene with the One Power. The Sitters present are shocked and angered that Elaida would so blatantly ignore Tower Law prohibiting the use of the One Power against an initiate. Egwene is severely injured and Elaida has her thrown into one of the open cells.
Elaida’s actions have caused quite a stir, leading to a formal censure from the Hall of the Tower and a personal penance to Elaida for “conduct unbecoming of her station”, but she is not removed as Amyrlin, partially because Egwene had been overheard saying she did not wish to see the Red Ajah destroyed. Meanwhile Gawyn has discovered the runaway Shemerin in one of the villages doing laundry for the Aes Sedai army and has her brought before the rebel Sitters Lelaine and Romanda as well as Siuan. They are shocked that an Aes Sedai could have been reduced to such a state and are infuriated at Elaida’s tyranny.
Silviana denounces Elaida in the Hall of the Tower and Elaida has her stripped of her role as Mistress of Novices and imprisoned. Knowing she cannot prove Egwene to be a Darkfriend, Elaida has decided to deflect attention to Silviana and enact punishment on the woman. Elaida gives the role of Mistress of Novices to Katerine and charges the woman with breaking Egwene and has Egwene released from her cell to take ongoing private lessons from Katerine. Despite raising Katerin, Elaida has upset the Red Ajah who have begun to sequester themselves from the Amyrlin. After her release Egwene is paid a visit by Verin Mathwin of the Brown Ajah who reveals she is also Black Ajah and has been working for the last seventy years as a mole within their organization. Much to Egwene’s dismay Elaida does not appear on the list of Aes Sedai Verin has identified as members of the Black Ajah. Verin had taken a very close look at Elaida only to determine that she was somewhat unstable and often as frustrating to the Black as she was to the rest of the Tower.
The Seanchan raid the White Tower and capture several Aes Sedai, including Elaida who is last seen leashed to an a’dam on the back of a to’raken with a sul’dam informing her she has been marath’damane for a very long time and bad habits are to be expected, but not to attempt to touch the One Power again. When Elaida does she is punished and told her new name is Suffa and that she will be a very, very good damane. When her fate is discovered by the Aes Sedai leadership they determine Egwene is the best person for the Amyrlin Seat and the Tower is united once again. Egwene attempts to bring unity between the Ajah by selecting Silviana as her Keeper of the Chronicles, the only woman she believed spoke out against Elaida’s tyranny.
The Gathering Storm
Egwene is now Amyrlin of the unified Tower and is dealing with the aftermath of Elaida’s disastrous rule and the implications of an Amyrlin Seat being captured and made damane by the Seanchan. Most Aes Sedai leadership feel Elaida’s fate is justified and knowing they have no way to secure her return they choose to leave her to her enslavement.
Newly captured and being trained to the a'dam, Elaida is now called Suffa and is taken before Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag, Empress of the Seanchan by der’sul’dam Melitene. Elaida has clearly been tortured regularly and is noted to be remarkably stubborn, even for a former Aes Sedai marath’damane. She begins begging to be released and tells the women she was the Amyrlin Seat and would offer the twenty strongest Aes Sedai in the Tower in exchange for her freedom. Melitene, with leave from the Empress, forces Suffa to demonstrate the weaves for creating gateways for Traveling, thus giving the Seanchan the ability.
Towers of Midnight
Elaida is not present in the book, but is mentioned in reference to the Tower Coup. She is most likely with the Seanchan forces in Ebou Dar and since she is not yet fully trained as a damane it is possible she is left behind when they go to fight the Last Battle.
A Memory of Light
Elaida is extremely strong and skilled by modern Aes Sedai standards, she possesses a strength level of 13 (1) which at the beginning of the main series is only equaled by four living Aes Sedai, Siuan Sanche, Moiraine Damodred and Lelaine Akashi all of the Blue Ajah and Romanda Cassin of the Yellow Ajah. Elaida is surpassed by only Cadsuane Melaidhrin of the Green Ajah at a minimum level 9 (+4) who is presumed dead after the events of New Spring until her re-emergence in A Crown of Swords. Two other deceased Aes Sedai, Meilyn Arganya of the White Ajah at level 10 (+3) and Kerene Nagashi of the Green Ajah at level 11 (+2) stood higher than Elaida until their deaths in New Spring. Elaida is the strongest known member of the Red Ajah and due to her overall training time and age advantage she stands as the highest ranking Aes Sedai in the hierarchy from 979 NE until Cadsuane comes out of her retirement in late 999 NE.
Elaida’s level is far surpassed by women such as Nynaeve level 3 (+10), Egwene and Elayne each at level 8 (+5) as well as several of the new novices who appear later in the series, Sharina Melloy level 2 (+11), Nicola Treehill and Bodewhin Cauthon each at level 9 (+4). However, overall Elaida’s strength in saidar would be considered very high and is quite rare for any woman within the series, with fewer than 30 women that are known to be stronger than her. She is strong enough to create gateways for Traveling and, if Verin’s knowledge is reliable, would have the necessary strength to survive using the Choedan Kal.
As an Aes Sedai Elaida has extensive training in using the One Power and would be proficient to varying degrees in the standard Aes Sedai weaves and traditional Aes Sedai uses of saidar. Additionally, as a member of the Red Ajah, it would be expected that Elaida has at least some training in combat against other channelers, specifically men. She is not often seen actively channeling, but on occasion uses weaves of Air as whips to punish Novices and Accepted. She also demonstrates the weaves for gateways to the Seanchan. Beonin has taught Elaida the newly discovered weaves gained by Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene through their interrogations of Moghdien. Elaida is also known to have used the One Power for growing roses in the winter and can Heal at least minor injuries such as bruises and welts.
Elaida possesses the rare Talent known as Fortelling, which gives the individual visions of the future with absolute certainty. However, the ability is rarely clear and almost always only accurately interpreted after the fact. Most often the visions come in ways that can be interpreted in many ways and are therefore difficult to translate. Elaida’s Foretelling Talent is considered weak when compared to women such as Gitara and Nicola. Elaida has three known Foretellings, which she is almost always seen as interpreting incorrectly.
Her first known Foretelling involved the royal line of Andor being the key to the Last Battle which led her to attaching herself to Morgase Trakand, however it is likely that this vision was connected to Tigraine being the mother of the Dragon Reborn, Rand.
Elaida also Foretold Rand’s role in events that would send Andor toward the Last Battle, but she did not have the realization that he was the Dragon Reborn until he was already proclaimed.
Lastly, Elaida’s vision of the True Amyrlin was in fact a reference to Egwene and she incorrectly concluded it was speaking of her own future achievements.
Elaida possesses vast political power throughout the series. In the early part of the series she is the Aes Sedai advisor to Queen Morgase, with many Andorans believing she was influential enough to be considered the power behind the throne. While her influence was strong with Morgase, the idea that she is truly running Andor is dispelled when Morgase refuses to allow Elaida to return to Caemlyn after Elayne disappears from the Tower.
Elaida quickly moves into a position of authority within the Red Ajah and secures a Chair in the Hall of the Tower for the Ajah, although there are inconsistencies in the books as to the timing of this event and which Sitter stepped down for Elaida to assume the Chair of a Sitter for the Red.
Elaida eventually stages a coup to depose Siuan Sanche and is Raised to the Amyrlin Seat in 999 NE. As Amyrlin she is effectively the ruler of all Aes Sedai and has a great deal of influence on the nations of the continent. However, due to the ensuing rebellion Elaida does not have the full support of the White Tower and the overall influence she wields is not as powerful as an Amyrlin under normal circumstances might expect. While the Amyrlin Seat is the highest authority in the White Tower she is not an absolute authoritarian ruler, she is subject to the Hall of the Tower and despite having a broad scope of executive powers her edicts must be enacted by the Hall. While she can effectively issue law by proclamation, the Hall can choose to curb her power in a number of ways. Elaida often viewed her role as the Amyrlin Seat as an absolute monarch and on many occasions ruled with an iron fist, or at least attempted to.
Elaida has a collection of small age-dark ivory carvings which she prizes and believes to be between 500-1000 years old. She is often holding one of them and focusing on it as a way to throw off someone she is speaking to, similar to how she uses knitting.
The collection is kept in a large lacquered box lined in gray velvet and includes:
A strange bird with a beak as long as its body
An exquisite cat, sleek and flowing
A woman in elaborate robes with a monkey on her shoulder
A curving fish so delicately carved that it seemed real (she accidentally broke this figurine in a flash of temper)
Elaida is both the first named and the first on-screen appearance by an Aes Sedai outside of Moiraine in the series. Like other early Red Ajah members she is immediately seen as an antagonist and a threat to the main cast; a role she goes on to play for the entire series. Elaida is one of the few characters that remains an ongoing threat and she appears in or is mentioned in every book of the series including the prequel novel New Spring, something seen by very few other characters. Elaida is also an interesting character because she is so rarely actually on screen during the series, but is present as a threat to many of the major plot lines during these events. She’s constantly top of mind for Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve and Rand despite minimal direct interaction and is noted for her many behind-the-scenes actions.
Elaida is last seen in Towers of Midnight, in Ebou Dar as an enslaved damane being trained/broken by the der’sul’dam Melitene. It is unknown if Elaida fought in or survived the Last Battle, but if she survived she would be expected to live for another ~250 years as a channeler bound by the Oath Rod. Should she somehow be released from the Three Oaths it is likely she would live for at least 600-700 years. It is unknown if the damane will see freedom from their enslavement in the near future, but some long term plans to undermine the system have been put into place by Elayne Trakand who has sent sul’dam back to the Seanchan after they had begun to channel. It is possible that Elaida could be freed from her enslavement along with other captive Aes Sedai should the Seanchan system change but her legacy within the White Tower will always be remembered as a failed Amyrlin who played a major role in the near collapse of the Tower.
Elaida is one of the most polarizing characters in the Wheel of Time. While she is clearly a major antagonist throughout the series, she is not actually evil or a darkfriend and her personality clearly becomes darker after her short brush with Padan Fain. After this encounter, Elaida, who is shown as highly intelligent and quite capable early in the series, becomes ineffectual, paranoid and easily manipulated. She even begins to drink heavily. As is the case with many of the female antagonists in the series, Robert Jordan gave Elaida a “fate worse than death” in the form of lifelong enslavement to a harsh master/mistress. While Elaida is a character many fans love to hate and were very happy to see her get her comeuppance after her ongoing menace toward the main characters, this type of punishment is also often criticized within the fandom, especially with a character who was not truly evil or serving the Dark One. Elaida may not have been a nice person or a likeable character, but she was a woman intent on stopping the Dark One at any cost and for many readers was a well-developed character.
Major actions attributed to Elaida throughout the series include:
Instigating the coup leading to the downfall of Siuan Sanche, creating the schism in the Tower with more than 300 Aes Sedai going into open rebellion and more than 300 additional Aes Sedai sitting aside of the conflict, effectively cutting the Tower into three factions.
Abolishing the Blue Ajah within the “loyalist” Tower.
Giving each Ajah direct control of their Ajah quarters, causing chaos when many Sisters are attacked by members of other Ajah.
Kidnapping Mattin Stepaneos of Illian.
Attempting the kidnap of Elayne and Nynaeve.
Attempting the kidnap of Rand leading to the battle of Dumai’s Wells, resulting in the death of three Aes Sedai, the stilling of three Aes Sedai and the capture of twenty-one Aes Sedai, nineteen of which swear fealty to Rand.
Sending fifty-one Aes Sedai and two hundred Tower guards to the Black Tower, resulting in all fifty-one Sisters being force-bonded by Asha’man under Logain’s command. Most of which were force-turned to the Shadow.
Through negligence Elaida was indirectly responsible for the Seanchan raid being successful.
Teaching the Seanchan the weaves to create gateways for Traveling.
In Other Media
No announcement regarding Elaida’s character has been made for the upcoming Wheel of Time TV series being produced by Amazon Studios. However, the character could make an appearance as early as season two given her timeline in the books. Along with many characters who first appear in Caemlyn there is much speculation on if Elaida will be part of the second season or if producers have decided to delay her introduction until a later season. Elaida could also be introduced later in the series as her main role as an antagonist is primarily in Tar Valon. In the eighth episode of season one Moiraine speaks of a more senior Aes Sedai who abused her as a Novice, which is a reference to Elaida's treatment of both Moiraine and Siuan in New Spring.