Age of Legends
Year of Birth:
Unknown, Age of Legends
Sun colored/Red Gold
Kamarile Maradim Nindar, Lady Basene, Maisia, Hessalam
Delusions of Graendal
Actions During the Story (Spoilers)
Character Summaries (Spoilers)
Graendal is one of the thirteen Forsaken, or “Chosen” (as those who serve the Great Lord prefer to be called). In any other company but Lanfear’s, Graendal would be accounted a stunningly beautiful woman, often described as “lush” and “ripe”. She has sun-colored hair that falls to her shoulders and blue eyes. Graendal often chooses to dress in a manner that emphasizes her ample body, leaving little to the imagination.
Before turning to the Shadow, Graendal was a noted ascetic, living a spare and simple life, who immersed herself in Healing diseases of the mind. Within 10 years after the Drilling of the Bore, Graendal abandoned this life of absentia completely, embracing indulgence, and seeming to revel in excess, beauty, and sensual pleasures.
Graendal is perceived as being indulgent, and wasteful. She is extremely adept at Compulsion, which she flaunts openly through her collection of “pets”, who have been Compulsed to serve her absolutely, leaving little in their minds beyond adoration. In choosing her pets, Graendal demands only the “most exquisite”, requiring them to be both physically beautiful, and to hold positions of power or influence. Friends of the Dark will never number amongst her servants or pets, as Graendal believes them to be too easily swayed, and does not trust them.
Through her surface-level presentation of devoting herself to her own comforts and pleasures, Graendal’s sharp mind, and subtlety is often overlooked. She has always been very good at hiding things in plain sight, and never takes a step without being sure of her footing.
Actions During the Story
Actions Before the Story
During the Age of Legends, Graendal was a noted ascetic, who not only lead a spare and simple life but preached that others should as well. She was a Healer of minds, immersing herself in curing those with mental illness, and was renowned and adored throughout the world. Those who knew Graendal on a more personal level, however, saw how harshly she judged those who did not live up to her expectations of the simple life.
As Graendal came to realize that humanity would never live up to her ascetic expectations, she abandoned her principles of abstention completely. She was the second Chosen to swear herself to the Dark One.
Graendal is sealed in the Bore, and is not present during the events of New Spring.
Actions Between the Books
Graendal is sealed in the Bore, and is not present during the events in between New Spring and Eye of the World.
Eye of the World
Graendal is sealed in the Bore, and is not present during the events of the Eye of the World.
The Great Hunt
Graendal is not in the Great Hunt.
The Dragon Reborn
Graendal is not in the Dragon Reborn.
The Shadow Rising
Graendal is not in the Shadow Rising, although she is briefly referenced by Lanfear in the final chapter, when Lanfear cautions Rand to learn well and quickly from Asmodean, to avoid being added to Graendal’s collection of “handsome young men”.
Fires of Heaven
We first see Graendal through Rahvin’s perspective. In the prologue, “The First Sparks Fall”, Lanfear, Graendal, and Sammael, attend the Royal Palace of Andor, where Rahvin has established his base of power. Graendal appears through a gateway, the background of which shows, “...nearly nude acrobats and attendants wearing less. Oddly, a lean old man in a wrinkled coat sat disconsolately among the performers.” Two servants accompany Graendal, and it is at this time we learn that “Physical beauty was not enough for Graendal’s servants; they had to have power or position as well”. Rahvin believes Graendal to be wasteful, and lacking finesse.
The Chosen begin discussing Rand al’Thor, and questioning whether or not he is Lews Therin Telamon reborn. Sitting on the back of her male servant, Graendal comments on the history of Lanfear’s relationship with Lews Therin, expressing mild surprise that Lanfear has not tried to climb into his bed if Rand al’Thor is indeed the Dragon reborn. After discussing Asmodean throwing in his lot with al’Thor, and exchanging a few more barbed insults, Lanfear proposes an alliance between the four present Chosen. She believes that one of the Chosen who is not present, likely Moghedian or Demandred, is trying to control Rand. When Graendal inquires why Lanfear does not believe it could be herself, Sammael, or Rahvin, Lanfear notes that: “...you three choose to carve out niches for yourself and secure your power while the rest slash at each other. And other reasons.”
In reflecting on those “other reasons” Rahvin considers that what Lanfear has said is true. Turning his thoughts to Graendal, we learn:
Graendal too, followed conquest, though her methods did not involve soldiers; for all her concern with her toys, she took one solid step at a time. Openly to be sure, as the Chosen reckoned such things, but never stretching too far at any step.
After the prologue, we do not see Graendal for the remainder of The Fires of Heaven.
Lord of Chaos
In Chapter 6, “Threads Woven of Shadow”, Sammael visits Graendal in Arad Doman, at the niche she has carved out for herself. We learn this is the second time he has visited Graendal since she established herself in Arad Doman. Sammael arrives on a dais, below which is an extravagant pit where Graendal presents her entertainment to amuse those who stand on the dais. The heat of the sun does not touch this room, as Graendal has cast a net to keep the temperature perfectly cool. Shortly after taking in the sights of Graendal’s pets frolicking in the three pools below the dais, Sammael detects Graendal’s approach through the scent of her sweet perfume.
Graendal joins Sammael at the railing of the dais, wearing a thin blue Domani gown, and bedecked in her typical array of jewelry, which includes a ring on every finger, various bracelets on each wrist, and a wide collar of sapphires around her neck. Sammael suspects it took her hours to get ready.
Sammael reflects on his first meeting with Graendal when she accepted his initial pledges to the Great Lord of the Dark. He recalls that, at that meeting,
...every trace of the abstemious benefactor was gone, as if [Graendal] had deliberately become the opposite of everything she had been before. On the surface her total fixation was her own pleasure, nearly obscuring a desire to pull down everyone who had a particle of power. And that in turn almost hid her own thirst for power, very seldom exercised openly.
Sammael believes he knows her better than any of the other Chosen, but even he does not know all the layers to her.
As they talk, Graendal casually introduces her most recent pet acquisitions to Sammael, Chiape, and Shaofan, being the Sh’boan of Shara (current ruler, who would have ruled for 7 years before dying by the “will of the Pattern”), and the soon-to-have-been Sh’boatan (who, after Chiape’s death, would have ruled for 7 years, before also dying by the “will of the Pattern”) respectively. This is a cycle that has existed unbroken for nearly 3,000 years. While her demeanor suggests that she is simply pleased with the beauty they offer, in actuality Graendal completely destabilized the Sharan empire. Sammael finds himself wondering if Graendal snatched pets from so far away solely to divert his attention by making him think she has an interest there.
Graendal insists that the king of Arad Doman, Alsalam, is not one of her pets, as he is not up to her standard. Sammael cautions Graendal that one day she will slip, and her pets will be recognized, and she gaily replies that no one will ever see anything but what she wants them to see. She channels and Sammael watches as Graendal transforms her image into that of an old woman Domani woman slowly losing her battle against illness.
We learn that of the Chosen, only Sammael is aware that Graendal has established herself in Arad Doman, and that having this information makes him wary of her (rather than trusting). As Graendal chose a palace in close proximity to the Mountains of Mist, significant steps have to be taken to keep the turmoil at bay, including using much more delicate Compulsion than anyone likely thinks her capable of. Sammael suspects she might be the best user of Compulsion who has ever lived.
Eventually, Sammael asks Graendal about Rand al’Thor (and where he may be hiding Asmodean) and contemplates the whereabouts of Moghedien and Lanfear. Graendal notes that “So many of us have died confronting him [Rand]. Aginor and Balthamel. Ishamael, Be’lal and Rahvin. Asmodean and Lanfear, whatever you choose to believe”. Throughout their conversation, Graendal deliberately winds Sammael up by calling Rand “Lews Therin”, and whispering under her breath comments that could only be heard if Sammael were holding the Power (which he was). We see various emotions across Graendal’s face, and it is difficult to know what she is actually feeling, as opposed to what she wants Sammael to believe she feels.
From this conversation, Sammael and Graendal finally get to the purpose of Sammael’s visit: hearing about recent developments in the alliance between Graendal, Demandred, Mesaana, and Semirhage. Graendal reveals that Demandred is aware that she meets with Sammael. Moving on from the conversation with Demandred, Graendal once again directs Sammael’s attention to the recently acquired Sharans, who are playing their peculiar harps. Sammael leaves shortly thereafter, slicing one of Graendal’s pets in half when opening his gateway back to Illian.
After Sammael’s exit, the reader becomes privy to Graendal’s point of view. Her thoughts return to Chiape and Shaofan, reflecting that it took so much effort to procure them, solely for these few minutes with Sammael. We learn that it is Graendal’s plan to use Sammael to eliminate Rand, rather than doing it herself, which will allow her to remain in the Great Lord’s good graces. We also learn that Graendal recently discovered that Mesaana has been hiding herself in the White Tower. While thinking about the impenetrable alliance that Demandred, Mesaana, and Semirhage have had since before the War of Power, Lord Ituralde arrives, and Graendal assumes the illusion of the Lady Basene to meet with him.
Graendal’s parting thought is that only she knows that Nae’blis was all but promised to her on her last visit to Shayol Ghul.
We next see Graendal as she arrives in Illian wearing a streith gown that turned dead black upon her arrival (reflecting her shock) before she is able to control herself and return it to a blue mist. Graendal is both surprised and envious at “Lord Brend’s” apartments in Illian, as they are bedecked in artifacts from the Age of Legends. Graendal learns that Sammael opened a stasis box, and ponders what else he might have found. She states that she also found a stasis box, but it only contained the streith she was wearing, and useless rubbish. Graendal feels that it is time for small confidences, as Sammael had invited her to his apartments and let her see the contents therein.
This time around, Sammael gets the better of Graendal. He tells her that Lews Therin has agreed to a truce, to which Graendal admits she is surprised, given that Sammael had killed a few of Rand’s “pet” maidens. She notes that killing women makes a difference to Rand. Graendal stifles her contempt when Sammael waves her opinion off and thinks to herself that to make people do as you wish, you had to truly understand them. Graendal attempts to rile Sammael again by calling Rand “Lews Therin”, and fails. She wonders when Sammael was able to leash his temper. As she continues to be unable to get a rise out of Sammael and finds her own temper increasing, Graendal deduces that the only explanation is that Sammael has found a way to stand until the last.
Sammael, seeing Graendal uncertain, again presses her on the whereabouts of the other Chosen. Graendal states that Asmodean and Lanfear are dead, and she is sure Moghedien must be, too. With respect to the others, Graendal simply says that she has told Sammael what she knows.
Turning her mind to the possible explanations for Sammael’s surety, Graendal reasons that Sammael must have been promised Nae’blis. As Sammael knows where she is located, she contemplates fleeing Arad Doman, and establishing herself elsewhere. Sammael presses Graendal for more information, and she admits that she knows Mesaana is in the White Tower. Sammael then orders Graendal to find Semirhage and Demandred, and feelings of anger, fear, and shame ripple through Graendal as she accepts this order.
After she leaves, Sammael reflects on how deftly he was able to manipulate her.
We do not see Graendal for the remainder of Lord of Chaos.
A Crown of Swords
Graendal first appears roughly two days after Dumai’s Wells. Sevanna and the Wise Ones are sitting in a small clearing. Using the callbox, Sevanna summons the Wetlander who gave it to her, whom she knows as Caddar but is in fact Sammael. Initially, Sevanna only hears Caddar’s voice in the air saying that he will come to her, but eventually Sammael arrives in the clearing, arguing with a woman. The woman is Graendal, who has woven the Mask of Mirrors to make her dark of both hair and eye, matching Sammael’s Illusion. Someryn tells Sevanna that the woman is “very strong” in the Power, and that she has woven a barrier preventing the Wise Ones from listening to her conversation with “Caddar”. Sevanna surmises that this woman must be Aes Sedai, though she did not have the face.
Caddar introduces Graendal as “Maisia” (which was a name one might have given a pet in the Age of Legends). During their conversation with the Shaido Wise Ones, Sammael directs Graendal to “play with the callbox for them” and Graendal, tight eyed, complies, to “prove” to the Shaido that the callbox can control a woman who channels. Throughout this demonstration, Graendal’s anger is obvious. Sevanna asks how Sammael and Graendal were able to arrive so quickly, and Sammael tells her that Sevanna can use the “traveling boxes” to take the Shaido to richer lands.
Through the point of view of the “watcher” (who we later learn is Moridin), we see Graendal and Sammael leave the Shaido. The watcher easily tracks Graendal’s red dress, and it is interesting that the watcher immediately deduces who Graendal is, even while she maintains the Mask of Mirrors. The watcher listens to their conversation, beginning with Sammel saying that “of course” he had to have Graendal with him.
Sammael admits to Graendal that he didn’t arrange Rand’s kidnapping, but that Mesaana had a hand in it, as did Demandred and Semirhage possibly. Sammael suggests that perhaps Graendal ought to reconsider what the Great Lord means about leaving Rand unharmed. The watcher notes that the only men Graendal never flirted with are those of the Chosen who stood above her for a time and that she never accepts being the lesser of a pair.
Graendal appears to have lost control of her emotions, letting heat enter her tone during hers and Sammael’s conversation. She asks Sammael what his game is, and tells him she will not teach the Shaido Wise Ones Compulsion. She asks if he has a binder hidden away with his other toys, indicating that she is at least partially ignorant of the tools Sammael has available to him. Sammael opens his gateway and tells Graendal that Maisia will do as he wishes, and be satisfied with what he gives her.
Hearing this, Graendal lets her Illusion fade, and flatly tells Sammael that if he calls her Maisia again, she will kill him. The watcher notes that she means this, and prepares for the possibility that if she acts on her words, one of the two of them would die. In response, Sammael simply says, “Remember who will be Nae’blis, Graendal”, before leaving through his gateway. Graendal spins her own gateway but allows it to dissolve before stepping through Sammael’s to join him.
The watcher reflects that the threat of “Nae’blis” is what had brought Graendal to heel, and what had stayed her from killing Sammael.
Graendal and Sammael again appear at the Shaido camp, seemingly from nowhere. Sammael gives Sevanna an Oath Rod and tells her it only came into his possession the day before. Sammael and Graendal enter the tent with the Shaido Wise Ones, and Graendal lounges beside Sevanna who notes that Graendal seems to be even more beautiful and bosomous than the last time Sevanna had seen her.
Sevanna thinks that with the Oath Rod she could free “Maisia” from Cadder, but this sentiment is quickly retracted after staring into Graendal’s cold black eyes.
In the tent, Sammael gives Sevanna a sack of traveling boxes - what he calls nar’baha (which translates to “fool’s box” in the Old Tongue). Sammael tells the Shaido Wise Ones that the Aes Sedai bonded to Rand have taught the other Aiel Wise Ones to Travel over short distances and that all four Clans could be there today. Sammael then “teaches” the Wise Ones how to use the nar’baha, while Graendal studies them over her tea.
After Sammael channels gateways, and spreads the Shaido in all directions, we return to Graendal and Sammael, through Graendal’s point of view. She watches the gateway close on the last of the Jumai Shaido, and tells Sammael that one of these days he will be too smart for his own good. She dropped her Mask of Mirrors when the gateway closed but notes that Sammael continues to hold on to his illusion, which gives him added height. Sammael tells Graendal that he sent some of the Shaido ahead of Rand’s army, and scattered the rest from Illian to Ghealdan.
Graendal is startled to learn that Sammael did not know he had sent every Wise One who could channel with Sevanna. She contemplates abandoning Sammael and throwing herself at Demandred’s mercy, and Sammael appears to pick up on her thoughts. He lets Graendal know that she is tied to him, and she will rise or fall with him. Graendal thinks to herself that she will not be pulled down if Sammael fails, before stepping through her gateway, and back to her palace in Arad Doman.
We do not see Graendal for the remainder of A Crown of Swords.
Path of Daggers
We return to Graendal’s point of view in Chapter 12, “New Alliances”. The chapter opens with Graendal looking around at Sammael’s possessions that she removed from Illian after his death. Graendal is in her palace in Arad Doman, forging a letter to Rodel Ituralde, which she seals with Alsalam’s sigil. She directs Nazran (a close cousin of Alsalam) to deliver the letter to Ituralde with the message that a Gray Man had killed the original carrier. She believes the contents of that forged letter when delivered to Ituralde will continue to create chaos, and serve her own ends nicely.
After Nazran departs, Graendal picks up a plain golden banded ring only big enough to fit on her little finger, which we learn is an angreal attuned to women that she found amongst Sammael’s possessions. She had managed to find it, and remove it, even with Rand and the Asha’man walking in and out of Sammael’s apartments.
Moghedien and a short woman with long silver hair and blue eyes step out of a gateway into Graendal’s apartments. The other woman is introduced as Cyndane, which means “Last Chance” in the Old Tongue. Graendal is surprised to learn that Cyndane is stronger in the Power than she is, and attempts to dismiss Cyndane by speaking only to Moghedien. Cyndane quickly lets Graendal know that she has made a mistake and that it is Cyndane who is in charge, not Moghedien, as Moghedien has found herself in bad odor with Moridin. Graendal asks who this man is who calls himself Death, to which Cyndane advises that Moridin is Nae’blis, and the Great Lord has decided it is time for Graendal to serve the Nae’blis as well.
Graendal is understandably surprised, as she’s never heard of Moridin, and he is now the Great Lord’s Regent on Earth. She states that she will serve the Great Lord and no other, provoking Moghedien to plunge the room into darkness. Graendal acts immediately, spinning webs of Compulsion on both Moghedien and Cyndane. Graendal asks Moghedien what she hoped to gain by this, and Moghedien responds by begging Graendal to serve the Nae’blis. Almost immediately thereafter, the One Power vanishes from Graendal, and Shaidar Haran appears. Shadar Haran tells Graendal that he is the voice of the Great Lord of the Dark.
Noting that both Moghedien and Cyndane flung themselves to the ground upon Shaidar Haran’s appearance, Graendal smoothly kneels to the ground before the Myrddraal. She would rather bend willingly than be bent. She receives orders from Shaidar Haran, which include going to see Moridin, and manages to keep the letter that she wrote to Ituralde to herself. Moridin may be Nae’blis today, but Graendal is always preparing for tomorrow.
We do not see Graendal for the remainder of Path of Daggers.
Graendal’s first appearance is in Chapter 13, “Wonderful News”. It is a meeting of the Chosen and, as Graendal arrived first, she picked the setting. In addition to Graendal, Demandred, Osan’gar (formerly Aginor, now disguised as Corlan Dashiva), Aran’gar (formerly Balthamel, now disguised as Halima), Demandred, Moghedien, Cyndane (Lanfear), and Moridin are all present. Semirhage and Mesaana are both absent.
Dressed in her streith gown, Graendal cautions Aran’gar, Osan’gar, Demandred, and Moridin to be more careful of Rand. Aran’gar then proceeds to flirt outrageously with Graendal, who either acts uncomfortable or actually is uncomfortable. We are seeing Graendal from Demandred’s perspective, so it is difficult to know whether the changes of color to her streith gown are accidental or deliberate. Demandred notes that the only that Graendal is wearing is a simple gold ring on her little finger, which strikes him as odd - simple is never associated with Graendal.
Graendal clarifies her earlier comment, indicating that if Rand successfully cleanses the taint, those who channel saidin may no longer need the Great Lord’s protection to keep them sane, which may cause the Great Lord to question their loyalty. Her remarks cause a reaction in each of the saidin channellers, which was likely her intent.
Moridin arrives, with Moghedien and Cyndane in tow. We learn that only Moridin has the ability to channel the True Power now, which previously all the Chosen had access. Cyndane tells the Chosen that Rand has both Choedan Kal access keys in his possession, which causes Graendal to drop her wine glass and start screaming at Demandred for foolishly hoping to blunder into Rand. Demandred considers Graendal’s response to be a bit too flamboyant and suspects that this announcement did not come as a surprise to her.
Moridin (the Nae’blis) orders the Chosen to go to Rand when he channels using the Choedan Kal and either capture him or kill him. Graendal looks oddly thoughtful after assenting to this directive.
Graendal next appears in the final chapter, “With the Choedan Kal”. Verin, linked with Kumira and Shalon, notices a woman wearing gems and a dress that shifted from every color - including transparent! - making her way towards Rand. Verin tries to use a shield to capture Graendal, but is shocked to have her weave deflected; Graendal was already holding the power, though the light of saidar did not shine around her. After Verin’s shield fails, Graendal spins around, and attacks Verin’s circle, putting Verin on the immediate defensive in a fight for her life.
We do not see the rest of this battle, though we learn that Kumira died during this confrontation. It is presumed that Graendal escaped as there were no casualties amongst the Forsaken, aside from Osan’gar (aka Corlan Dashiva).
Graendal is not in Crossroads of Twilight. The Reader can presume that she is hiding out at her niche in Arad Doman.
Crossroads of Twilight
After a book long hiatus, we catch up with Graendal in Chapter 3, “At the Gardens”. The Chosen are meeting in Tel’aran’rhiod after being summoned there by Moridin, as seen through Aran’gar’s perspective. We learn that Osan’gar has missed every meeting since the failure at Shadar Logoth. Demandred, Mesaana, and Semirhage are huddled in a corner of the room talking - Graendal, the only other human present, stands in the opposite corner watching the trio.
Aran’gar approaches Graendal, and we learn that Graendal once again arrived first, and picked the aesthetic of the venue (the Ansaline Gardens). Aran’gar proposes an alliance with Graendal. As a front to discussing their alliance, Aran’gar flirts outrageously with Graendal, musing that even as Balthamel, he had always fancied her.
The other Chosen approach Aran’gar and Graendal, and they begin discussing Egwene’s disappearance from the rebel Aes Sedai camp. Aran’gar continues to flirt with Graendal and begins caressing her hair, before yanking it sharply when Mesaana refuses to tell Aran’gar Egwene’s location. Moridin arrives shortly thereafter, along with Moghedien and Cyndane.
Moridin speculates that Sammael appears to have resurfaced, which prompts Graendal to comment that could hardly be possible, and that he must be dead. Sammael, or someone disguised as him, had sent thousands of trollocs and a hundred Myrddraal into the Ways. Moridin cautions the Chosen that “No one is allowed to go adventuring on their own any longer”, and pointedly tells Mesaana “As you learned to your sorrow”. Graendal and Aran’gar exchange looks after this comment.
The conversation shifts to the signs that the Time of the Return is near and Moridin directs the Chosen to find the seals. Cyndane fixates on finding “Lews Therin”, and is rebuked by Moridin, which gives Aran’gar pause over Cyndane’s identity: Graendal had said that Cyndane was not Lanfear, that she was weaker in the One Power than Lanfear had been, but Cyndane’s reaction and use of the name “Lews Therin” makes Aran’gar reconsider Graendal’s assessment.
Moridin suggests that if the Chosen want to kill someone, to kill Perrin and Mat. Graendal laughs mirthlessly and muses that finding ta’veren had never been easy, and with the whole Pattern now in flux, it’s harder than ever.
This is Graendal’s only appearance in Knife of Dreams.
Knife of Dreams
Graendal first appears in the Prologue, “What the Storm Means”. She is lounging in one of her rooms, musing on her pets and the furnishings of the stonework room. A gateway suddenly opens without warning, and Graendal knows who has summoned her even before the messenger tells her - only Moridin knows where to find her, now that Sammael is dead.
It is clear through Graendal’s thoughts that she has deduced Moridin is Ishamael. Noting that Graendal did not have a choice but to answer the Nae’blis’ summons, she walks through the gateway into a black stone building. She focuses on the furnishings of the room, which are limited to hard chairs of the deepest black wood, and reflects that Moridin has been lacking in imagination lately; in addition to his dull decorations that are only black and red, he was focused only on killing “those fool boys” from the village of Rand al’Thor, without recognizing Rand as the real threat. Graendal did not like to think that the most obvious answer to the reason Moridin had not simply killed Rand and been done with it, is that none of the Chosen had proven strong enough to defeat him.
Graendal recognizes that she has traveled to the deep northeastern Blight and that Moridin seemed to have located a fortress. She has not been to this area in some time and wonders what Moridin was doing this deep within the Blight. Demandred and Mesaana enter through a doorway together, cutting Graendal’s speculation short. Graendal notes that Demandred and Mesaana seem to have anticipated this meeting, but not her attendance at it. Graendal is frustrated by her inability to uncover Demandred’s plans - she is confident that she knows the plans of every one of the other seven remaining Chosen, with the exception of him. Graendal’s thoughts turn to Mesaana, who she considers to be a second-rate Chosen, who had never managed the grand achievements of Semirhage, Demandred, or Moridin.
As her thoughts turned to Moridin, he enters, and Graendal admires this new body of his, thinking that he was almost too pretty to be one of her pets. Before Moridin can say anything, Mesaana steps forward and says they need to rescue Semirhage, which was the reason she and Demandred had called this meeting. Moridin replies by stating Semirhage deserves her imprisonment for trying to capture Rand. Greandal is shocked: she had only just learned that Semirhage was impersonating a Seanchan, and now she has been captured by Rand.
Moridin forbids Mesaana and Demandred from sending Semirhage aid, and Graendal watches Demandred’s reaction, reflecting that he may be the most powerful in his alliance with Semirhage and Mesaana. Graendal also catches a hint of pain in Moridin’s expression as he looks down at his left hand.
Moridin requests the Chosen to tell him of their preparations. Mesaana promises to deliver a broken White Tower to the Great Lord, and Demandred states that his rule is secure, and he gathers for war. From this, Greandal gleans that he apparently holds a throne, and has armies, and theorizes that he may be in charge of the Borderlanders marching east. Moridin then dismisses Demandred and Mesaana, and tells Graendal that he let her listen to their plans as a reward. He then directs Graendal to find ways of preventing Rand from making peace in Arad Doman.
As she is leaving, Moridin further directs that Rand “...must know pain of heart. He must know frustration, and he must know anguish. Bring these to him. And you will be rewarded”. Graendal returns to her stronghold in the hills of Arad Doman to plot.
Throughout the book, we see how some of Graendal’s plots of disrupting the peace in Arad Doman unfold. While in Bandar Eban, Rand tries to unite the Merchant’s Council but is unable to do so, as council members keep dying. Nynaeve discovers an apprentice named Kerb has poisoned the merchant, Milisair Chadmar, as well as a messenger from the king. Rand gives Nynaeve instructions on how to remove the weave of Compulsion, and through Kerb they learn that Graendal is located at Natrin’s Barrow.
Rand decides to move against Graendal in Chapter 37, “A Force of Light”. Min is surprised that Rand is attacking Graendal so quickly; he had spent months maneuvering Sammael before striking at Illian, whereas it had been barely a single day since Kerb had told them where Graendal was located. Rand tells Min that Natrin’s Barrow is exactly the sort of location that Graendal would choose for her center of power:
It’s a jewel - a forgotten fortress of beauty and power, ancient and regal. Close enough to Bandar Eban for her to have a hand in ruling Arad Doman, but far enough away to be defensible and secluded. I made a mistake in my searches for her - I assumed she’d want a beautiful manor with gardens and grounds. I should have realized; it isn’t just beauty that she collects, but prestige. A magnificent fortress for kings fits her just as much as an elegant manor house. Particularly since this one is more palace than fort now.
Rand summons the foppish Lord Ramshalan to help him with the puzzle on how to outthink an enemy who is smarter than him. He asks Lord Ramshalan how he can “kill a foe who is more clever than myself, a foe who is impossible to surprise, yet who is also unwilling to confront me?” Ramshalan answers by saying that he would make an alliance with this person. Rand proceeds to send Lord Ramshalan through a gateway to Natrin’s Barrow as an emissary to the purported minor Domani family residing there. After sending Ramshalan on his way, Rand asks Nynaeve how she would beat Graendal as, “She won’t be goaded into fighting me, like Rahvin or Sammael were. She won’t be easily trapped either. Graendal understands people better than anyone. Twisted she may be, be she is crafty, and should not be underestimated”.
Rand proceeds to travels through the still open gateway with Min, Nynaeve, and 20 Maidens. Outside of Natrin’s Barrow, Rand tells Nynaeve that Graendal will compel Ramshalan, rather than kill him. Eventually, a disheveled Ramshalan is brought to Rand, and Nynaeve confirms that he is under heavy Compulsion. Rand channels through the Choedan Kal access key, and balefires Natrin’s Barrow.
After destroying Natrin’s Barrow, the Compulsion on Ramshalan is gone, which confirms to Rand that Graendal is dead.
The Gathering Storm
The Prologue takes us to Natrin’s Barrow, immediately before Rand arrived to balefire it. Graendal is sipping wine, while Aran’gar lounges on a chaise trying to provoke her by making passive-aggressive comments. We learn that Graendal considers life to be about feeling. “Touches on your skin, both passionate and icy. Anything other than the normal, the average, the lukewarm.” During her conversation with Aran’gar, we learn that Nae’Blis has given her the ability to channel a trickle of the True Power. Graendal embraces the use of the True Power while the other Chosen, like Aran’gar, lust for it while simultaneously fearing it.
When Delana enters the room, she and Aran’gar begin to “exchange affections” on the chaise. Graendal reflects that while she enjoys pleasures herself, “she made certain that people thought she was far more self-indulgent than she was”. Mid-thought, an alarm went off in her ears, and she leaves the room to see what has triggered the weave. It is, of course, Lord Piqor Ramshalan, who Rand had sent as an emissary to Natrin’s Barrow in The Gathering Storm. Graendal contemplates fleeing immediately and opens a gateway to act on this instinct, but the instructions of Moridin echo in her head: He must know pain, he must know frustration, he must know anguish. Bring these to him. You will be rewarded.
Aran’gar enters, and Graendal composes herself. She tells the other Chosen that Rand has found her, and requests that Aran’gar fetch Delana, who knows how to passably weave Compulsion. After Aran’gar leaves, Graendal weaves the True Power, and crafts a complex weave of spirit on a dove’s mind, which gives her a shadowed version of what the bird sees. It is in this moment that we learn why and how the Dark One uses ravens and rats for his favored eyes: the weave worked better on those animals than it did on others, for reasons only Aginor possibly understood.
When Aran’gar returns, Graendal directs Delana to weave as intricate and complex a weave of Compulsion as she can make it. While Delana weaves, Graendal ponders how Rand could have found her, and deduces that Nynaeve had learned to undermine and read Graendal’s weaves. After Delana is done, Graendal directs Aran’gar to also lay a convoluted weave of Compulsion on Ramshalan’s mind to further confuse Rand. Graendal’s thoughts return to Rand, worrying that while Lews Therin could have perhaps tracked her to Natrin’s Barrow, she had never expected Rand to be able to do the same.
Aran’gar finishes the Compulsion weaves, and Graendal orders Ramshalan to go. She follows Ramshalan back to Rand, Nynaeve, and Min, using the dove’s eyes. Through the dove, Graendal sees that Rand has brought the Choedan Kal access key with him, and snaps into action. She weaves a gateway, then forms two shields and slams them into Delana and Aran’gar. Graendal dives through her gateway, located only a short distance away. She watches as Natrin’s Barrow is balefired. While furious at the loss of her stronghold, Graendal also notes that she is the safest she has been since escaping the Dark One’s prison: Rand thinks she’s dead. She limps off, planning her next move.
We next catch up with Graendal in Chapter 5, “Writings”. Graendal is in her most secret of hiding places on an island in the Aryth Ocean that nobody ever cared about, but she still anticipated the arrival of the messenger, who summons her to Moridin’s palace on the Blight. After stepping through the gateway, Moridin tells Graendal that she should know he summoned her after Aran’gar’s death, and that, “One might think you are making a habit of this sort of thing, Graendal.”, to which she responds:
“I live to serve, Nae’Blis,” she said. Confidence! She had to seem confident.
He hesitated, just briefly. Good. “Surely you do not imply that Aran’gar had turned traitor.”
“What?” Graendal said. “No, of course not.”
“Then how is it you did a service?”
Graendal realizes Moridin does not know why Graendal killed Aran’gar, and bluffs her way through an explanation, suggesting that she did this intentionally and that she practically had to lead Rand by the hand to Natrin’s Barrow. As we are in Graendal’s point of view, we read her thoughts as she reflects on taking those first few steps toward the Shadow, and recalls that she had felt that “foolish pain” of taking actions that tear at you, rip the soul, and lash the heart raw and bleeding, as Rand had done by balefiring Natrin’s Barrow.
Moridin tells Graendal that he is to leave her without punishment, for now, although he does not seem pleased about it. Graendal thinks that it is both interesting and worrying that the Nae’Blis is now receiving instructions immediately from the Great Lord. Even though his instructions are not to punish Graendal, Moridin tells her that she should not be praised either, as she has bungled her plan, and cost the Shadow a useful tool. Graendal sifts through her different plans, searching for one that will give the Great Lord something he’d long desired. She settles on Perrin Aybara.
Moridin presses Graendal for details, and she reveals that her spies have located his armies, and set plans in motion, just in case. She clarifies that losing Perrin will break Rand. Moridin tells Graendal that Perrin will escape her, then ushers her into a narrow room that is filled with dozens - perhaps hundreds - of objects of power. Moridin hands Graendal a long, spikelike piece of metal, silvery and topped with a large metal head set with golden inlay. He says that he has only found two of these, and that the other is “being put to good use”. Graendal names the object a Dreamspike and is surprised that Moridin has managed to find two. Moridin taps the top of the Dreamspike, and it vanishes, but Graendal confirms that she knows where to find it.
The Nae’Blis cautions Graendal that he knows the key for this Dreamspike, and that it will not be used against him or the other Chosen. He advises Graendal that Perrin can walk the World of Dreams, and says that he will lend her another tool, “the man with two souls” - the reader should recognize this two-souled man as Isam/Slayer.
Graendal licks her lips (which were dry, as this is a place where she cannot regulate her body to the weather) and joins Moridin at the end of the room, where he is flipping through a thick tome wrapped in pale tan skin. We learn that this is a book of Dark prophecy, that is not known to many others, not even the Chosen. Moridin states that the Light must never know of these words; the Shadow knows all of their prophecies, but the Light will never know of the Shadow’s. Graendal reads the passage and learns that in the prophecies of the Shadow, Perrin will die.
Moridin tasks Graendal with bringing him the head of the wolf. Graendal still has her faint ability to touch the True Power, which allows her to see Moridin ripping a hole in the fabric of the Pattern to send her back to her island hideaway.
We see the Dreamspike in use during Perrin’s battle with Slayer in Tel’aran’rhiod, and learn that it puts a barrier both in Tel’aran’rhiod and in reality, though the purple dome can only be seen in the world of dreams.
Following Perrin’s battle with Slayer, we are privy once again to Graendal’s thoughts in Chapter 38, “Wounds”. She is reflecting on her failure to kill Perrin, but commands the servant loaned to her by Moridin to “spring the trap anyway”. Graendal thinks to herself that she still has one tool left to her, one she had positioned so very carefully. She needs a tempest with Perrin at the center of it.
Shortly thereafter, an army of trollocs and Myrddraal arrive by Portal Stone and attack the Whitecloak camp where Perrin is. Unluckily for Graendal, Perrin survives.
We see Grandal again in the Epilogue, “And After”. Graendal is packing up her things, and the reader learns that she has replaced the small gold ring she lost in the attack on Natrin’s Barrow with a carved ivory knife she traded Mesaana for. Graendal is stunned that Perrin escaped, and blames both Isam and “that idiot Whitecloak!” The reader learns that Graendal had relocated to a manor house a few leagues from Ebou Dar, and had begun plotting how to control Tuon.
Shaidar Haran arrives before Graendal can flee. He blames Graendal for Mesaana’s fall, and credits her with the destruction of three Chosen. Shaidar Haran menacingly tells Graendal, “I will not forget you, and you shall not forget that which comes next”. Graendal howls as he reaches for her.
If it was not made clear already in the text, the Glossary of Towers of Midnight confirms that Graendal killed Asmodean.
Towers of Midnight
It is likely that Graendal (now Hessalam) first appears in the Prologue, “By Grace and Banners Fallen”, as the disguised Forsaken who orders Isam to kill Rand al’Thor.
The reader is first officially introduced to Graendal, now Hessalam, in the prologue, when she is the last of 4 Chosen to join a meeting in Moridin’s Dreamshard. Demandred, Moghedien, and Moridin have all arrived before her. Through Moghedien’s perspective, we see Graendal enter through a gateway:
The creature had alarmingly unpleasant features, with a hooked yet bulbous nose and pale eyes that were off-center with one another. She wore a dress that tried to be fine, of yellow silk, but it only served to highlight the woman’s ugliness.
Moghedien quickly deduces that the ugly woman, whose new name means “without forgiveness” in the Old Tongue, is Graendal, through Hessalam’s tone of voice. Moghedien is delighted at Graendal’s fall from grace and wonders what she could have done to earn this punishment.
The reader quickly learns the reason for this meeting, when Moridin introduces Mazrim Taim as the newest Chosen, M’Hael. Hessalam voices her disapproval at this but cuts herself off before seeming to challenge the Great Lord’s decision. The meeting closes with Moridin advising that the last days are upon them, and directs, “If you have plots, bring them to completion. Make your final plays for this… this is the end.”
The next time we see Graendal is in Chapter 14, “Doses of Forkroot”. She is at the Black Tower, and leads the Black Ajah who are Turning the Asha’man and Aes Sedai. She is present when Taim is attempting to Turn Androl, and seems to delight in his bungling. In response to Graendal’s taunting, Taim boasts that he has provided a gift to the Great Lord (being the seals to His prison). Shortly after Taim orders the captive Asha’man killed, the door bursts open, and the Two Rivers channelers attack.
The point of view shifts to Perrin who, with the assistance of Lanfear, finds the Dreamspike that is located around Taim’s headquarters in the Black Tower, and removes it.
We return to Androl’s point of view, and see the impact removing the Dreamspike has, as Androl can once again channel. Androl attacks Taim and his channelers with multiple gateways, and eventually, Hessalam flees through a gateway of her own, followed by Taim and a few others.
In Chapter 22, “The Wyld”, we catch up with Perrin and Gaul in Tel’aran’rhiod. Perrin learns that one of the Forsaken “Heartseeker” is present in Tel’aran’rhiod, though now she wears a different scent. Perrin tracks Heartseeker to Merrilor, where he finds her rifling through documents in Rodel Ituralde’s tent. He continues to follow her to a place of blackness with pinpricks of light, and overhears her muttering to herself about how she will take Moridin’s place, and that she will have what is due to her.
Perrin sends himself back to the ground and is startled when Heartseeker follows seconds later. At first, she demands to know who he is. Upon recognizing Perrin, Heartseeker screeches that he is to blame for this, and casts balefire at him. Perrin bends the bar of balefire around himself, which catches Heartseeker off guard. Perrin debates using his hammer to attack Heartseeker from behind but catches himself. Instead, he hides and watches as Heartseeker continues to scream and cast various weaves (including balefire) at Perrin, before Perrin fills her mouth with forkroot. Heartseeker spits the forkroot out of her mouth and manages to channel a gateway beside her, escaping into the middle of an enormous army of Trollocs and Fades.
As Heartseeker’s gateway closes, Lanfear appears and tells Perrin he should have killed her. Lanfear confirms that Heartseeker was formerly Graendal, now Hessalam, and that she was in Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh. When Perrin queries what Graendal was doing in Tel’aran’rhiod, Lanfear advises him that she is not certain, but that “[Graendal] always has three or four plots going at the same time. Don’t underestimate her, Perrin. She’s not as skilled here as some others, but she is dangerous. She’s a fighter, unlike Moghedien, who will run from you whenever she can.”
The chapter closes with Lanfear cautioning Perrin to be quick at learning how to move between worlds, so he can stop Graendal. Before she vanishes, Lanfear tells Perrin that the dream he saw Graendal invading belonged to Davram Bashere.
In Chapter 30, “The Way of the Predator”, the wolves alert Perrin that Heartseeker has returned to Tel’aran’rhiod, and Perrin again tracks Graendal to Rodel Ituralde’s tent. He sees open a gateway into the waking world outside of the same tent and watches as she slips inside. He does not follow her.
Communicating with “Long Tooth” (aka Elyas), Perrin deduces that Graendal is bringing down each of the Great Captains. Slayer arrives in the midst of Perrin’s realization and, while chasing after Slayer, Perrin tasks Elyas to wake, and to warn anyone he can that the great captains are being corrupted. “One of the Forsaken controls their minds, and their tactics cannot be trusted!” It is at this point that the reader realizes Graendal has been using Compulsion on each of the Great Captains and is solely responsible for the terrible and self-sabotaging decisions they have been making up to this point. It should also be at this point that the reader recognizes Graendal is GOAT.
After having her plans for the Great Captains unveiled by Perrin (and subsequently thwarted), we next deduce Graendal’s presence in Chapter 34, “A Practiced Grin”. Aviendha is in the thick of the fight outside Shayol Ghul, leading Damer Flinn and three Aes Sedai in a circle. Primarily, Aviendha is focused on fighting the Red-Veiled Aiel, who serve the Shadow. After feeling a shock go through her, Aviendha discovers Graendal standing over the dead bodies of Kiruna and Faeldrin, with her hand on Sarene’s shoulder after Compulsing her. Graendal vanishes with Sarene without the use of the Gateway, and the reader can deduce that she used the True Power to escape.
A Memory of Light
Graendal is one of the strongest female Channelers in the book, with a rating of 3 (+10). She is extremely adept at Compulsion, possibly the best who has ever lived and deliberately masks her subtlety with the weave through her very public display of her pets. Graendal is also highly intelligent and pursues conquest through one solid step at a time.
Graendal has a plain gold banded ring angreal attuned to women, which fits on her pinky finger. She found this angreal amongst Sammael’s possessions in Illian, after his death. She loses it when Rand attacks Natrin’s Barrow. She also has a streith gown, recovered in a stasis box, that shifts to all colors (including transparent) with her mood / what she chooses to display as her mood.
Some argue that Graendal is the most effective of the Chosen. She used Compulsion on Jain Farstrider (who we saw at her palace in the prologue of The Fires of Heaven), sending him to Ebou Dar, where he meets Mat. Acting purely on instinct, she killed Asmodean in the pantry after she opened a gateway in the Caemlyn Palace. Graendal exerted great effort to remove the leader, and future leader, of the Sharan Empire, sending Shara into complete chaos and clearing the way for Demandred to assume control of the nation.
Almost immediately after establishing her niche in Arad Doman, Graendal began spreading chaos across the nation. She captured Alsalam, forged letters in his name to Lord Rodel Ituralde, and removed all of the counsel.
In addition to killing Asmodean, Graendal also removed Aran’gar, tricking Rand into believing that he had killed Graendal. Shaidar Haran also blames Graendal for Mesaana’s destruction, although the reader is more likely to credit Egwene.
During the Last Battle, Graendal almost single-handedly turned the tide of the Battle, when she used Compulsion on each of the 5 Great Captains. These Great Captains were removed from the rest of the Last Battle, leaving Mat as the only general in the field. Graendal positioned herself at Shayol Ghul, and single-handedly took out dozens of Aiel guarding the entrance, including Rhuarc. She was seconds away from using Compulsion on Aviendha, before Aviendha’s weave unraveled, prompting her Compulsion to rebound at her.
In Other Media
No information has been released about casting for Graendal in Amazon's Wheel of Time television adaptation.