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erin Compelled Alanna

by Macster: 2010-11-09 | 4 out of 10 (1 votes)

Previous Categories: Verin - Motivations and Plans

In Winter's Heart, Chapter 13: Wonderful News, following a very amusing exchange regarding the pillow-friends Lady Ailil and Windfinder Shalon, Jahar Narishma arrives at Cadusane's room in the Sun Palace with the announcement that Alanna has collapsed. Considering the timing of events, I think it is safe to say the Green's incapacitation is due to Elayne, Min, and Aviendha bonding Rand. In any event, when they all arrive at Alanna's room, and Corele attempts to Heal her without success, a very unusual thing happens:

"Sorilea stared at the woman stretched out on the bed with no expression beyond a thinning of her lips. Cadsuane wondered whether she was reevaluating their alliance. Verin was staring at Alanna, too, and she looked absolutely terrified. Cadsuane had not thought anything could frighten Verin that far." (WH, p. 355)

Now while it is true that Verin knows very little of Cadsuane (hence why she felt a need to test her loyalties) and therefore the reverse is probably also true (Cadsuane had gone into retirement, after all), I think we can trust Cadsuane's assessment here. From what I can recall, we have never seen Verin frightened at any other point in the series--not by Fain, Myrddraal, the Dark Prophecy, her other lives in the Mirror Worlds, the Seanchan, the Asha'man, or even when fighting the Forsaken at the Cleansing.

I find it very interesting that Jordan made it a point to have Cadsuane observe this unusual behavior of Verin's. Also of note is that this plot point is never pursued later in the novel. The next time we see Alanna, she has recovered, and during the POV scenes we have from Cadsuane and Verin in Far Madding and at the Cleansing, we never see either woman think about Alanna's condition or its cause, let alone Verin's odd behavior.

It may well be, as some theorists have surmised, that Verin was simply frightened that Alanna's condition meant something fatal had happened to Rand. And while we know she wishes him to live to the Last Battle, she has been assisting him in numerous ways, and even her tenure as a Black Ajah was partially meant to help her learn the Shadow's plans and strategies against him so as to counter them, her reaction to Alanna's collapse and the assumed danger to Rand is still excessive, particularly compared to what we've seen from everyone's favorite Brown in the past. So why, indeed, did Verin become so frightened?

This will take a bit of backtracking and compiling of various points, but if you'll bear with me I think you can follow the bouncing ball.

The first thing to consider is Verin's involvements with, and reactions to, Alanna in the past. Specifically, her behavior around Alanna and Perrin in the Two Rivers, and her actions and thoughts at Culain's Hound when the bonding first took place. In Shadow Rising, Verin goes out of her way to caution Perrin about not trusting Alanna, and she later thinks to herself in Lord of Chaos how Faile had promised that if she were to bond Perrin, the Green wouldn't leave the Two Rivers alive--suggesting that her warning to Perrin was intended to keep this bonding from happening.

"Watch yourself with Alanna, Perrin."

"What?" The Aes Sedai's quick changes of topic were beginning to confuse him. Especially when she started telling him to do what he had already thought of, and thought to keep secret from her. "Why?" Verin's face did not change, but her dark eyes were suddenly bird bright and sharp. "There are many...designs in the White Tower. Not all are malignant, by far, but sometimes it is difficult to say until it is too late. And even the most benevolent often allow for a few threads snapped in the weaving, a few reeds broken and discarded in making a basket. A ta'veren would make a useful reed in any number, of possible plans." Just as suddenly she was looking a little confused by the bustle around her, more at home in a book or her own thouglits than in the real world.

Shadow Rising, CHAPTER: 33 - A New Weave in the Pattern

Verin knew what caused the blushes; Alanna had let her tongue run away with her. They had had Perrin under their eyes for long weeks while testing young women in the Two Rivers, but Alanna had quickly gone silent on the subject of bonding him. The reason was as simple as a heated promise from Faile— delivered well out of Perrin's hearing—that if Alanna did any such thing, she would not leave the Two Rivers alive. Had Faile known more of the bond between Aes Sedai and Gaidin, that threat would not have worked, yet her ignorance if nothing else had stayed Alanna's hand.

Lord of Chaos, CHAPTER: 11 - Lessons and Teachers

This might seem to only be a natural concern for her to have, considering she knows what happens to Aes Sedai who lose their Warders, and she was presumably present at the battle with the Whitecloaks in which Owein died. But it also makes clear the fact that Verin has already been pondering the issue of Alanna and what to do about her grief and bereavement--while not quite as life-threatening as being stilled or burned out, it does tend to put an Aes Sedai out of commission for a while, something they really couldn't afford. And considering she experienced the same ravaging emotions herself when she lost Balinor, it seems only fair Verin would wish to spare another sister this same pain. Keep that in mind.

Next we have the actual bonding of Rand--which takes place after Verin insists they speak in private, as if she knows something unusual will happen. Where before she had been peering at him intently, she has now put on her usual 'distracted' air of 'deep thought'--always a sure sign she is up to something. Already it seems the Brown is prepared for some sort of funny business.

After Rand breaks free of their control and departs for the Palace, and the Two Rivers girls have been sent to their rooms, Verin quite calmly and unhurriedly proceeds to discuss the rebels and Alanna's eyes-and-ears agent before she finally gets around to asking about the reason for the bonding. And when she does, it is in a very clinical, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way--hardly as upset or incredulous as you might think she should be. It seems that Verin is not at all surprised by Alanna's foolhardy action--and while this may be simply because she knew Alanna was yearning for another Warder to replace Owein, I think it may be more than that...

Consider the following:

1. Verin knows the Aes Sedai must have some way of controlling or guiding Rand if he is to survive to the Last Battle and not bring about a second Breaking of the World

2. She also knows that Siuan had been deposed and stilled (and believes her dead), that the White Tower is broken, and Moiraine is dead or missing as well. So, with Rand's guardian gone, an Amyrlin in power who will not look kindly or compromisingly on the Dragon Reborn, and the Tower in turmoil, someone else is going to have to take over and see to it Rand is properly guided. But who?

3. We have Alanna, newly wounded at the loss of her Warder, seeking another...a bond which would allow the Aes Sedai to always know where Rand was, and to have a measure of control over him should he get out of hand. (She had no idea, of course, how strong he was or how saidin could allow him to resist the Warder compulsion.)

What does this add up to? Obviously, that Verin might have put Alanna up to the bonding, or at least that she had no objections to it (morally or otherwise) after Alanna came up with the plan herself. Note that when she asks for Alanna's motives, she doesn't say "How could you do such a thing?" but "What were you at?" (LoC, p. 289) Not exactly a condemnation of what most Aes Sedai consider to be a reprehensible act (bonding a man against his will). Once again, she seems more like a scholar exploring for the sake of posterity, more interested in motivation than the act itself.

But why would she be asking Alanna about this, if she had either been the one to suggest bonding Rand in the first place, or had suspected Alanna might do so because of losing Owein? She knew about the possibility in the Two Rivers, hence her warning to Perrin. And because of her own experiences as well as those of many other Aes Sedai, she surely knew the likely reason for Alanna's action. And she did not seem at all surprised. So what, precisely, was she attempting to learn?

I believe the knowledge she was digging for is implied by a typically ironic Jordan comment on page 290: "Well, Verin thought dryly, I have broken a few customs in my time." The most obvious thing this quote could be in reference to, as of The Gathering Storm, is being Black Ajah, but it could also refer to her appropriation of ter'angreal, her withholding of Corianin's notes, whatever she did in Far Madding to get exiled, and of course...her Compulsion weave.

As we learned in the Prologue to Path of Daggers, the weave which Verin has reconstructed from the bits and pieces former wilders have taught her has a number of telltale features which we can look for to detect its presence in someone: a) the target must be emotionally vulnerable and trust is absolutely essential; b) the target must find reasons within themselves to obey; and c) after the weave has been completed and the commands given, the subject has no memory of the session. (PoD, pps. 31 and 32)

Does Alanna fit all of these criteria? Yes--a) she is certainly emotionally vulnerable, either because of Owein's death, her yearning to have another Warder, or learning of the Tower coup and rebellion, and while Verin warns Perrin not to trust Alanna, she in turn seems to trust Verin implicitly; b) fairly obvious--Alanna wants to have another Warder, and bonding Rand in particular so as to tie him to the Tower is something the Aes Sedai greatly want.

As for c), when Verin casually asks Alanna for the reasons behind the bonding, she seems unusually vague in her reply, as if she is not quite sure herself why she did it. She seems surprised Verin asked, and while this might indicate them having discussed the matter before or it being 'intuitively obvious' why she did it, she also hesitates before speaking, and only refers to the political manipulations Aes Sedai are prone to, not the pain and sadness in her heart which we (and Verin) knew were there.

To play Dark One's advocate, Verin could, after all, have pointed out that between his defeat of Luc and the Trollocs, his choice of the hammer, and the power he is gaining in the Two Rivers with Faile's help, Perrin doesn't need any bonding or helping, and similarly Mat is tied to the Horn of Valere. So Rand is the only one left in need of guidance. Or she could turn around and say with some influence over Perrin and Mat, why bother bonding Rand?

However...if, in fact, Verin compelled Alanna to bond him, this would explain both her curious tone when questioning the Green and why she did it in the first place--because she was checking to see if Alanna had properly forgotten their session together, and was genuinely curious as to what reason(s) she had used to justify the commands in her own mind.

What makes this an even more attractive idea is that you don't even have to ascribe sinister (read: manipulative) motives to the Compulsion. Or at least, not only manipulative motives. For if we assume that Verin had been considering the problem of Alanna ever since Owein died in the Two Rivers, and factor in her previous experience in losing a Warder, I could very easily see Verin acting out of compassion...Compelling Alanna while they were alone in that barn the Emond's Fielders gave them, giving her the overwhelming need to find Rand and make him her Warder. This would not only neatly solve the dilemma of how to guide/control the Dragon Reborn, it would prevent Alanna from bonding Perrin and give her a reason to go on living, a means to get over her grief sooner. I like the idea of Verin being able to be practical and warmly mothering at the same time.

Of course, she could also have Compelled Alanna at any point prior to meeting Rand in Caemlyn, but not only would that have required her to get the Green alone away from the girls, but also there wouldn’t be the distraction of battles and Shadowspawn to keep Ihvon occupied. Then again, it's been shown to us before that Warders don't have as clear a connection and insight into brushes their Aes Sedai have with the Power as we might think.

Jordan has said before that if an Aes Sedai becomes Black Ajah, her Warder would 'sense something was wrong' but wouldn't know exactly what--unlike Aes Sedai, who are trained religiously in identifying and detecting weaves, a Warder would have no way to recognize things such as his Aes Sedai being turned Dark with the 13 Fades + 13 BA trick, or the unswearing of the Three Oaths and reswearing of the Dark Trinity...or the Compulsion weave. The most he could feel would be Alanna's concern and confusion, perhaps her lassitude of mind--which is hardly an indication of imminent danger or attack, and which would all fade as soon as the weave settles in and she forgets.

True, Verin started in PoD with the captured Aes Sedai who had no Warders, but this may have been for convenience’s sake, or because she wanted to get them out of the way first to build up her confidence and make sure she’d be ready for the longer, and more delicate, procedure of Compelling an Aes Sedai with a Warder when the Wise Ones could walk in at any moment. And it's probably less risky to do this with one Aes Sedai with a Warder than with a whole flock of them.

Any more evidence? Yes, a very telling quote from Path of Daggers after she Compels Beldeine:

"With the final words, Verin pulled the other two threads of Spirit, and the tangle collapsed...fall[ing] inward on itself... Those faintly glowing threads sank into her, vanished.... Soon only the most careful Delving would tell that anything had been done, and not even that would identify the weave." (p. 31)

Then, taking us back to our starting point, we have the scene where Corele examines Alanna:

"Alanna was lying on the bed, her eyes closed, with her Warder, Ihvon, kneeling beside it chafing her wrists. 'She seems afraid to wake,' the tall, slender man said. 'There's nothing wrong with her that I can tell, but she seems afraid.' Corele brushed him aside so she could cup Alanna's face in her hands. The glow of saidar surrounded the Yellow, and the weave of Healing settled on Alanna, but the slim Green did not even twitch." (WH, p. 355)

Aside from proving that indeed, Warders cannot sense residues or any portions of a weave on their Aes Sedai (since Ihvon felt there was 'nothing wrong' with Alanna), it has been shown on several occasions that before an Aes Sedai Heals someone, especially if they are a Yellow, they often Delve the person to determine the extent of the injury, what precisely is wrong, and how to fix it. A prime example, involving Samitsu this time, takes place in A Crown of Swords when Rand is Healed by Flinn following Fain's attack: "[She] darted past Narishma so quickly he had no chance to intervene. 'What did you do?' she demanded, laying fingers on Rand's forehead. Whatever she found with the Power, her eyebrows climbed halfway to her hair..." (CoS, p. 737)

In this same chapter, Cadsuane says Samitsu is the best at Healing there is in the White Tower. Prior to this, Corele had been identified as the second-best Healer, and Merise has some Talent for it as well--and she speaks of also trying to Heal Alanna, before Corele and Cadsuane arrive. So if two out of the three best Aes Sedai Healers were working on Alanna, and almost certainly Delved her beforehand, there is certainly a very good chance one of them might have noticed the aftereffects of Verin's Compulsion weave.

Verin may have tested it herself, and believes no one to be better at Delving than she is, but she could be wrong or overconfident, or another Healer (especially one as strong as Corele or Merise) could get lucky. And even if they could not initially identify the weave, they may be suspicious enough to do a more careful Delving later, or have Samitsu, the strongest Healer of all and who may have seen something like this before, do so.

Yes, the chance that anyone could learn anything, especially so long after the Compulsion was placed, is slim at best. But Aes Sedai are often paranoid, and if anyone could in fact detect and identify the weave, there would be nasty repercussions. I don’t know if a weave can resonate as having a particular channeler's 'signature', but quite obviously Verin would not want anyone to know what she did--in the Prologue of Path of Daggers she contemplated the penalty for using such a forbidden weave: "Should any sister learn of this, stilling was a very real possibility" (PoD, p. 28).

Not to mention, if sisters were to learn that not only did Alanna bond Rand against his will (several say it is akin to rape), but Alanna herself had also been Compelled to do it, they might very well demand that the bond be dissolved. Considering how key that is in locating Rand and helping to surround him with powerful Aes Sedai, that would be a disaster. Verin's stilling goes without saying as a Bad Thing.

So that is my theory as to why Verin was so frightened--because she had compelled Alanna into bonding Rand, and was afraid of the chance one of the sisters Healing her might discover this through her Delving, leading to her stilling and the unraveling of her plans. Luckily for her, Alanna recovered just fine with no one the wiser, hence why this subject was never approached again.

One further point: even if I'm wrong about Verin compelling Alanna to bond Rand, it is still likely she compelled her to do something:

"For the first time since Alanna had begun to let her emotions over Owein creep to the surface, Verin was glad she had held them in long enough to become so volatile. In her raveled condition, Alanna was bound to be more amenable to guidance, and Verin knew exactly how some of those questions had to be answered. She did not think Alanna would like some of those answers. Best not to let her learn them until it was too late to change them." (LoC, p, 291)

This quote, coming only a page after her thought about breaking customs, seems like foreshadowing to me. Exactly what kind of 'guidance' was she planning to use on Alanna? And the fact she 'knew' how the questions 'had' to be answered, that the answers would not be learned (forgotten?) and would remain unchangeable, is certainly suspicious. So if Verin Compelled her in some other manner, also related to Rand, then this, too, could have been discovered by a Healer's Delving.

And to bring us to the present: it is very likely that the letter Verin gave Alanna in Towers of Midnight either told her about the Shadowspawn attack in Arafel, or perhaps to go to the White Tower and fetch the Horn of Valere--once she knew Alanna could be trusted, and she herself could soon be dead, she might have told her where she and Siuan had hidden it, particularly since Alanna had always shown a strong interest in Mat, is a Green so would very much wish to be at the forefront of the Last Battle, and Rand could follow the bond to her and Mat when the Horn is blown. But for all we know, there could have been some sort of implanted command in Alanna's mind thanks to the Compulsion, one which was triggered by a special keyword or phrase written in the letter. Since it is otherwise odd that Alanna left no note behind explaining why she fled...

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Tamyrlin: 2011-01-12

Macster, thanks for filling this missing spot in the Theory Database. It's a concept that has been oft discussed over the years, but I like some twists you've spun regarding why and how. You may not have known, but I started a faction on this same subject years ago. The faction creed states: "We believe Verin used compulsion on Alanna which resulted in Alanna bonding Rand." I took the same stance you allude to at the end of your theory. I believe that Verin used compulsion on Alanna and that Verin compulsion was responsible for Alanna doing such a terrible thing. Although, for a moment I wondered, after finding out that Verin was Black Ajah, whether or not Verin had been directed to bond Rand or have him bonded. But, Verin's thoughts afterward about the incident really make me call into question that she directly compelled Alanna to bond Rand. "Had Faile known more of the bond between Aes Sedai and Gaidin, that threat would not have worked, yet her ignorance if nothing else had stayed Alanna's hand. Very likely it had been frustration over that, plus the frayed state of her nerves, that had led to what she did with Rand. Not only bonding him, but doing so without his permission." Now, I'm more interested in how this bonding will affect Rand in AMoL and how Alanna left that room and where she was going.


Lorcin: 2011-01-14

Yes but the real question is why didn't she bond him herself?? She would have had much more control and greater insight into what he would do next thus allowing her to predict his next move and prevent him from accidently ruining her plans. Also his insight into Mat could have prevented the Battle in Andor.


BigBadWolfbrother: 2011-01-14

"Yes but the real question is why didn't she bond him herself??"

Pretty sure Verin didn't bond Rand herself because she was pretty sure she would die before the Last Battle...and we ALL know the undesired effects the deat of an Aes Sedai has upon her Warder.


Fie: 2011-01-15

*imagining DO´s dance of joy learning that one of his black sisters has bound the DR*


Davian93: 2011-01-18

@ Lorcin: Verin's number one priority has always been to study the Dragon. Its far easier and smarter to do so from a distance where she can keep perspective rather than through a bond. Its basic research methodology basically.

Based on Verin's mentality, it makes perfect sense. Also, she probably didn't want Rand to have any chance of figuring out she was Black and its hard to hide anything with a Bond in place.


wotfreak222: 2011-01-19

There has never been any real disagreement in whether or not Verin compelled Alanna. The question has always been with *what* she was compelled to do. Personally, I have trouble believing that Verin compelled her to bond Rand. Verin had no way of knowing that Rand was going to conquer Caemlyn when he did ~ it was by pure chance (or perhaps tavere'en twisting) that led Rand to the inn where they were staying. In other words, there was no way for Verin herself to know or influence the situation in any way that would lead to the bonding. She was simply along for the ride.

However, where is Alanna now? We know that Verin left her a letter ~ it was there that the compulsion came into play. A series of instructions, or maybe just a one word instruction that triggered a dormant compulsion in Alanna. She went north somewhere ~ nobody really knows. My theory on this is that she Travelled to Tar Valon, to aid in the retrieval of the Horn of Valere. She will not retrieve the Horn, rather she will be an agent-in-waiting for when Mat comes to retrieve it, aiding him in whatever way she can. Verin could not very well trust that Alanna might not fall into the Shadow's hands at some point, and thus reveal the location of the Horn. Even if she was compelled to never reveal the location, we know that compulsion can be removed and the information that is supposed to be hidden extracted. Verin could not risk that the Shadow would get the Horn, even if they couldn't use it. In this way, she sets Mat up to have some assistance in what will probably be hostile territory, and puts some extra protection in place for the Horn. Verin's planning always seems to be two or three steps ahead of the game ~ even thought she left instructions for Mat to seal the Waygate in Caemlyn (or destroy it), she was planning on his victory and set up his next battle for him. Mat himself gives some foreshadowing of this, when he sends a message back to Tar Valon with Joline for the Amyrlin, stating that he is coming for what is his, and they better not get in his way (paraphrasing here).

Oh, and Verrin didn't bond Rand herself simply because Alanna beat her to it...she would have, if she'd had the chance herself. The bond can be released if the Aes Sedai chooses ~ she could have released Rand from the bond prior to her death, thus saving him from what happens when a Warder's Aes Sedai dies and the bond is snapped. Aes Sedai don't do this normally because of custom as strong as law, not because they can't.


ChubbyAiel: 2011-01-20


So are you saying that Alanna has been sent to Tar Valon but she doesn't know why? That she was compelled to go there and compelled to aid Mat when he arrives, but as yet she doesn't know why? And hence couldn't betray them if she's captured en route?

That seems a bit elaborate to me. I would think she would want to help Mat retrieve the Horn if Verin explained the matter to her either in person or in a letter. As for her falling into the hands of the Shadow and revealing the location of the Horn, there must be a fair number of Aes Sedai who know this as well and who might reveal it to the Shadow if they were caught and tortured - would one more person with this knowledge really make a difference? It could be that the Shadow already know but couldn't or wouldn't take advantage of this knowledge: the Horn was effectvely in their control when Mesaana was pulling the strings, and now the Black Ajah has been broken by Egwene, and the Tower secured.

All in all, I can't really imagine a scenario where compulsion would be necessary to get Alanna to help Mat, unless Verin had reason to believe Alanna was a Darkfriend (I'm not seriously entertaining that, though).


wotfreak222: 2011-01-22


There is nobody in the Tower right now who knows the exact location of the Horn. Only Verin and Siuan had knew it was in the Tower ~ and from all indications, Verin is the only one who knew it's exact location. Since Verin couldn't be there to ensure it was given to Mat to be used at the Last Battle, it is not illogical to assume that Verin would make arrangements for it's protection should she end up having to kill herself to help Egwene. This is entirely within Verin's character ~ she plans 5 or 6 steps ahead of everyone else and comes off looking like a freakin' genius in the process.

Proof that likely nobody knows that the Horn is in the Tower lies in Verin's return to the Tower with it....when she showed the Horn to Siuan, nobody else was in the room. Siuan had asked Leanne to leave by that point. Siuan instructed Verrin to hide it somewhere where only the two of them would know. The fact that Verrin was Black Ajah, and would likely know at some point about the plot to depose Siuan, you can extrapolate the fact that Verrin either moved it or outright lied to Siuan about the location and now nobody knows where it is.


Shar-a al-Aman Rie: 2011-01-27

Mat Probably won't need help finding the Horn - other than the fact that you can't just go walking around the tower if your aren't of it - He will probably be able to feel it's direction relative to himself, similar to the sense the Shadow's Dagger had/has over Cauthon and Fain respectively. Who know's. *shrugs* I can't wait for AMoL. I don't ever want the story to end.


Waxer: 2011-02-01

There is a theory somewhere that Laris knows where it is.


wotfreak222: 2011-02-03

@ waxer:
Yes, I've seen that theory as well....I don't buy it. Again, why would Verrin trust anybody with the Horn's location? True, she would be in a unique position to know if Larras was a Darkfriend or not, but who can truly know what a person is capable of? And again, she could compel Larras to only reveal what she knows to Egwene or Mat, but again, compulsion can be broken and the information extracted anyways. No, my belief has always been that Verrin alone knew where the Horn was, and she lied to everone else about it. Larras is a red herring if there ever was one ~ at this point Mat is on his own when it comes to finding the Horn, however he has Aes Sedai in the Tower that will help him should he require their help.


mooseknuckles: 2011-02-08

I have to disagree. There is no way Verin could have known Rand was coming to their inn or when he would drop by. Verin' form of compulsion takes a little time. The way hers works isn't like Graendal or Moghedian where they just slam a person with a weave and they are compelled. I admire the time and effort put into this but I have to disagree. There could be more reasons for Alanna to bond Rand. Not only does it give the WT a string on him, but Alanna could have also seen this as a chance to nab the most powerful Warder in the world and probably control him. I really don't think Verin had anything to do with it. And with Verin being an older Aes Sedai and the things she's seen and done covers her reaction to the bonding for me just fine. Good theory. Well thought out. But I'm just not seeing it this way at all.


Eharoni Prince: 2011-02-09

I like this theory, it's not just well thought out and supported by evidence but it also satisfies the speculation of Verin's role in AMoL. Cannot wait until AMoL is released, there are so many loose threads that I'm dying to see come together!


Lorcin: 2011-03-02

The only way that Verin could have predicted an encounter with Rand was if she went to meet him, this would mean in a throne room with lots of guards.

Under those circumstances it would be impossible to bond with Rand. She would have been killed and even if she got away she would be hunted or the countries would be torn apart because the new new rulers would go against Rand and try to pretend he didn't conquer them and dragonsworn would tear them apart.

Just doesn't seem worth it.


Macster: 2011-03-09

@ Tamyrlin: Thanks a lot! I did do some searching to see if this theory or one like it had been proposed, as well as a faction...apparently I didn't search well enough. I had forgotten/missed that quote from Verin.

However, that does not necessarily disprove my theory. We've already seen Verin be very careful, circumspect, and mysterious in her thoughts--partly Jordan doing his best to keep us from knowing she was Black, partly because her many years of having to work around the First Oath and then hide her true allegiance have made her thoughts naturally like this. In other words, her thinking it was "very likely it had been frustration over that, plus the frayed state of her nerves, that had led to what she did with Rand" could simply have been her justifying to herself what reasons Alanna could have come up with to accept the Compulsion (and Jordan, once again, using tricky writing to keep from revealing her Darkfriend status).

As far as whether the Dark told her to Compel someone into this or not, I suspect it was quite the opposite, that once she had determined Alanna walked in the Light, she made use of her precisely to give the good guys an edge in helping Rand. Her oaths to the Dark One may prevent outright betrayal of him or the BA, but she says herself they can justify scheming against each other for the sake of selfishness and power, and I doubt the Dark Oaths are as specific as "you will not do anything to help the Light"--if the Dark One and the BA High Council don't even consider the possibility a sister could kill herself and then reveal her secrets in the hour of her death, they surely wouldn't think to forbid her to help the Light.

I think Davian93 hit it on the head why she didn't bond him herself, especially the fact he could have sensed she was Black. Another reason, of course, is that she already had a Warder and Browns tend not to take more than one at a time unlike Greens. To play DO's advocate, for something this important she might do it anyway, and she "has broken more than a few customs in her time..." But most importantly of all, at the time of the bonding there was still the danger of the taint. Any woman bonded to Rand would have to deal with both the taint itself and the growing insanity of the man they were bonded to--that could even be another reason Alanna had to be compelled to do it, tie to the Tower and greatest Warder ever or no. Verin would not want to risk that herself, but she is clearly practical and pragmatic enough to risk someone else for the sake of getting a connection to and control over Rand. Yes, she was Black, but we have no indication the Dark One can filter out the taint for women as well as for men (Aran'gar doesn't count since she had a male soul), and even if he could, she couldn't very well ask for the DO's protection if she was trying to hide the bonding from him. For one thing, the minute the DO or the Forsaken knew it had happened, they'd be telling her to make Rand do all sorts of things. Of course the minute anyone tried to control Rand they'd have found out they couldn't, but Verin didn't know that at the time.

As for 6, 12, and 14...the problem with your objections is twofold. First, you're assuming the meeting at Culain's Hound was by chance. But with Verin being Black, there are plenty of chances where another BA, a BA eyes-and-ears, or a rank-and-file Darkfriend could have passed along information to her--she and Alanna were after all taking their sweet time going to Tar Valon with the 2R girls (maybe because she already knew about the coup and was waiting for news to reach them?). Once news reached her that Rand had taken Caemlyn, she'd know that all they'd have to do is wait in the city until he arrived (this arrival again revealed by Darkfriends), then send him a message to come to their inn or just make their presence and identities conspicuous.

Secondly, and more importantly, several people here are assuming that Verin could have Compelled Alanna to go fetch the Horn of Valere/be an aide to Mat, with commands implanted that only took effect when she sent that letter. If her Compelled commands could be made dormant, and delayed for that long, why couldn't the same have been true for a Compulsion to bond Rand? Even if the meeting at Culain's Hound truly was by chance, all Verin would have had to do was Compel Alanna some time while they were in the Two Rivers, then wait until the Pattern or Rand's ta'veren effect caused their paths to cross and boom, the conditions of the Compulsion are filled and she bonds him. This could even add further support for why Verin was concerned about Alanna's interest in Perrin (she didn't want the Compulsion set off prematurely), why she probed Alanna so oddly (making sure that the delay in setting it off didn't leave any traces), and why she was worried about Alanna being Delved (a delayed-reaction Compulsion might have left more to be detected).

Basically, there are too many unknowns and variables to completely discount the fact she could have either found out where Rand was going to be, or set up the Compulsion in advance. After all, if they hadn't encountered Rand, she could always have removed it at any time.

And I happen to agree, if she didn't compel the bonding she certainly compelled Alanna running off like this and it does involve the Horn. While it is possible Mat could sense where the Horn is (or more likely, his luck could allow him to whirl around and walk straight to its hiding place), having Alanna get it for him, IMO, neatly explains why Jordan would have stressed Alanna's interest in Mat for so long, and the fact of her being a Green makes it even more key. Yes, her being a Green makes her very interested in men, and he is a ta'veren, but even so it feels to me like Jordan was hinting at something else here.

Two other interesting points to throw out there: quite clearly no one in the Shadow knew that when the Horn was brought back to the Tower, Verin knew where it was, because if they had they would have just ordered her to produce it for them. Guess they thought Siuan hid it herself, and withheld the knowledge during her questioning by Elaida and Alviarin, and that they could get it from her later after the rebels were defeated/the Tower fell. Second: Slayer clearly only knows the Chosen, not individual Black Ajah, or he would have known who Verin was. She knew him, though. It's just unfortunate she couldn't reveal to Perrin he was Dark...maybe she counted on Perrin figuring it out himself? Anyway, one wonders if he is mentioned in Verin's book she gave to Egwene? She did say it was about ALL of the Shadow's dealings and agents, not just the Black Ajah, and I would think someone who was mentioned prominently in the Dark Prophecy (which she was there to interpret!), whose two halves are related to Rand and Lan respectively, and who has the powers he does, is someone she would have warned Egwene about. If so, said knowledge could get revealed to Perrin and/or Rand at the Fields of Merrilor, if Egwene actually bothers to talk rather than try and bully Rand...


Ranger Rob: 2011-03-24

I feel Alanna was always black and subordinate in verins heart. She probably was compelled to bond Rand but not by Verin. Owien I think was killed because he was not a darkfriend some of the black N @ E chased had warders not aware of there shall we say affiliations. Verin has had to walk a hard road it hurts to say this but it reminds me of snape in HP. So that might explain some of verins reaction to it. Alannas behavior after the fact also supports this her constant distress when Rand was away from her is more likley due to being unable to compell him thru the bond or at least stay close to im and punishment is deleviered. This also expains her disapearnce in the last book Rand can now tell shadowsworn by sight she would have to flee this also explains the letters and no struggle.


Macster: 2011-04-05

@Ranger Rob
Interesting theory, and certainly a possible alternative, but I am afraid it doesn't hold up. For one thing, if Alanna were in Verin's heart her name would have been in the book she gave Egwene. And if Alanna was in a different heart, Verin's thorough 70-year-work would not have allowed her to miss anyone if she could help it. Note when she was warning Perrin about Alanna, this was likely during the time she was still investigating the Green. If she had later discovered Alanna was Black, she would never have allowed her to bond Rand, let alone Compelled it. Either way, Egwene says after the purge that Verin only missed a couple Blacks each among the rebels and the Tower. And when she read Verin's book, while we did not get a list of every single Black, Egwene made it a point to search for sisters she knew, sisters she trusted. She certainly knew Alanna--in fact she was initially very suspicious of Alanna, back in TDR, because of how she acted during Egwene's Accepted test, her request for penance from Siuan afterward, and how she kept hanging around the girls while they were working in the kitchen. If Alanna's name had been in Verin's book, Egwene certainly would have mentioned it, if for no other reason than to say "Aha, we were right about her!"

So...nope, I don't think she is Black. I also find it hard to believe that after returning to Tear, Rand wouldn't have used his Darkfriend-sensing powers to check out all his Aes Sedai followers, especially the one who had bonded him against his will. And he may well have been able to sense she was Black through the bond anyway.

On that note, though, I find it interesting that we never get to find out what she felt when Rand did his jaunt to Ebou Dar after almost killing Tam, or when he had his epiphany on Dragonmount. But then I guess we do get it via Min (and after the fact, Elayne), so that is enough for us.


Koraelus: 2011-05-01

Personally, I think that Alanna is Black Ajah. Why else would Verin have followed her to the Two Rivers, when she could have been doing much more important things relative to her goal (i.e., following Rand or what have you).


Macster: 2011-05-03

She went with her to the Two Rivers for a number of reasons I imagine: because the Dark One or Mesaana told her to, because she'd heard of the Whitecloaks there and knew one of the three boys would appear to help out, because Siuan told her to go to follow up on Moiraine finding so much One Power potential there (this last one, BTW, being the actual reason given in the text--and just because Verin could lie doesn't mean she always did, or else she'd have given herself away). Verin was the sort to fulfill many different orders and roles all at the same time.

But to specifically address your objection: whether or not that was why she was in the Two Rivers, it's clear Verin *was* checking Alanna out to see if she was Black. If she had discovered she was, do you really think she would have traveled to Caemlyn, Cairhien, Tear, and everywhere with her, then left Rand to go back to the Tower and reveal the Black Ajah to Egwene--without telling anyone about Alanna? Without putting her in her book? Without warning Rand about her? She made sure Egwene knew about the Blacks who were with Rand, Fera and Elza...why would she have left Alanna out, especially with her being bonded to him??

It is possible, I suppose, that Verin's letter to Alanna revealed their fellow Black Ajah membership and either warned her to get out before Rand discovered her Darkfriend nature or told her of some order from the Dark One which required her leaving. (Perhaps her death is required to make Rand go nuts again and lead to him dying, then living, so Verin is fulfilling prophecies.)

But I think it is more likely to be Occam's Razor. For a long time a lot of us thought Sheriam was not Black, or that if she was she'd been turned with the 13+13 trick, but no...she was just Black, the obvious answer. So the obvious answer here is, Verin didn't warn Rand, or put Alanna's name in her book, because she isn't Black. I don't like Alanna myself but that doesn't mean she has to be Black. As we know, many who aren't Black have done things which hurt Rand and the other heroes. I think Alanna has some other role to play, and the fact Verin compelled Alanna to bond Rand (or to do something, anyway), or that she stood aside and let it happen, is not because they were both Black but because she has some larger role to play in the Pattern which Verin recognized. What that is may be her dying, her doing something in Arafel, her bringing the Horn to Mat, any number of things. But we don't have to go looking for more Black Ajah and Darkfriends hidden under rocks, when we already have plenty of baddies already. Yes, the fact she ran away looks suspicious but I am positive that after his epiphany, Rand would have made sure to check the woman who bonded him against his will. This late in the game I can't see too many more moles revealed, aside from possibly Bashere or Alliandre.

Let me put it this way: if Alanna *is* Black, there'd better be one hell of an explanation for why Verin didn't warn anybody, or didn't figure it out to put in her book.


Hudongqing: 2011-06-27

Hi all, this is my first post here and first post on a WOT forum, though I've read the books a bunch of times over the years. I came here to put forward a theory that I haven't seen, and I'll get to that soon. But first...

I don't know why this idea of Verin compelling Alanna to bond Rand ever got traction. The reason Verin looked terrified when Alanna passed out in WH is because she thought something bad had happened to Rand. What could make an Aes Sedai pass out? One bonded to Rand? Maybe Rand died!!! (Don't forget, Verin isn't a darkfriend, she's a mole in the Black Ajah, she still wants the Light to win the last battle)

Anyway, re-read the part when Alanna bonded Rand and the whole thing so clearly has nothing to do with Verin.

Alanna bonded Rand in Chapter 10 of Lord of Chaos. The very next chapter, Chapter 11 has this discussion between Verin and Alanna. Once you read it I'm sure you'll agree that its plain as day that Verin had no hand in bonding Rand. It was purely Alanna's decision. Alanna wanted to bond Perrin too, and Verin had nothing to do with that!

"What were you at, bonding him like that?" The question should not have caught Alanna by surprise, yet it did. She hesitated, then drew out a chair and sat, arranging her skirts before she answered. "It was the logical thing to do, with him right there in front of us. It should have been done long ago. You could not - or would not." Like most Greens, she was somewhat amused by other Ajahs' insistence that each sister have only one warder. What Greens thought of the Reds having none was better left unsaid. "They all should have been bonded at the first chance. They are too important to run loose, him most of all."

Color blossomed suddenly in her cheeks; it would be a good while yet before she had full control of her emotions again.

Verin knew what caused the blushes; Alanna had let her tongue run away with her. They had had Perrin under their eyes for long weeks while testing young women in the Two Rivers, but Alanna had quickly gone silent on the subject of bonding him. The reason was as simple as a heated promise from Faile— delivered well out of Perrin's hearing—that if Alanna did any such thing, she would not leave the Two Rivers alive. Had Faile known more of the bond between Aes Sedai and Gaidin, that threat would not have worked, yet her ignorance if nothing else had stayed Alanna's hand. Very likely it had been frustration over that, plus the frayed state of her nerves, that had led to what she did with Rand. Not only bonding him, but doing so without his permission. That had not been done in hundreds of years.

Well, Verin thought dryly, I have broken a few customs in my time. "Logical?" she said, smiling to take the sting from her words. "You sound like a White. Well. Now that you have him, what are you going to do with him? Considering the lessons he taught us. I am minded of a fireside tale when I was a girl, about a woman who put saddle and bridle on a lion. She found it a fine and wonderful ride, but then discovered she could never dismount and never sleep." Shivering, Alanna rubbed her arms. 'T still cannot believe he is so strong. If only we had linked sooner. And I tried .... I failed .... He is so strong!" Verin barely kept from shivering herself. They could not have linked sooner, not unless Alanna was suggesting they should have linked before she bonded him."

No comments on the other parts of the theory, but I think we can drop the idea that Verin compelled Alanna to bond Rand.


Macster: 2011-09-25

Clearly you didn't fully read my theory. I addressed the point right at the start re: Rand possibly dying as the reason why Verin looked so frightened. While we've seen countless Warders who lost their Aes Sedai, I can't recall if we have ever seen an Aes Sedai who has lost her Warder right at the moment it happens--after the fact yes (Alanna herself, for one) but not at the moment it happened. Siuan doesn't count because, per RJ, Alric wasn't dead yet when he was seen stabbed and Siuan was distracted by the arrest, then later stilled. So we have no evidence that an Aes Sedai collapsing the way Alanna did is what happens when she loses her Warder. If this is what happens, how come it's never been mentioned before? Why didn't Cadsuane think about the possibility? Why didn't she or Verin ask Alanna about Rand's condition once she awoke? Why, when Alanna met Rand in Far Madding and demanded to know about the bonding (since she made it clear that was the reason for her collapse), did she not say something like "The others thought you had died!"

Basically, you are making assertions that can't be proven--we don't know what happens when Aes Sedai lose their Warders, we don't know what passed between Alanna and the others once she woke up. What we do know is that Verin, being part of the Black, would be more likely to know what plans there are for Rand among the Shadow forces--specifically, from having met Mesaana, she would likely have been warned not to kill Rand because of Moridin/the Dark One's orders, so she'd have no reason to think Rand had just died. For someone that concerned about his life, she is oddly calm and placid when around Rand later, willing to leave him in the company of two Blacks (yes she'd Compelled them but a Forsaken could always undo it), and it seems strange she never pursued the matter with Alanna afterward and we get no mention of it in her thoughts or Cadsuane's, or Alanna's comments. And we are also talking about the woman who was ballsy enough to hoodwink the Black Ajah for 70 years, and who knows from the prophecies that Rand may have to die anyway. Her fear makes more sense if it is something related to her personally--her double-agent nature being in danger of being revealed, her plans going awry, her untimely death with her work left undone, something of that nature.

As for the bonding itself, I addressed that as well, from various angles. The fact Alanna wanted to bond Perrin is irrelevant--first, it's a false analogy, saying that just because one thing Alanna wanted wasn't caused by Verin means nothing she did was caused by Verin. And secondly, Alanna had a clear reason for wanting to do so, the loss of Owein, and her belief that the three boys needed to be controlled. That doesn't preclude Verin from Compelling her later, especially to prevent her from bonding Perrin--and especially if those reasons (the yearning for a new Warder and the need to control Rand) were the reasons Alanna came up with in her own mind to accept the Compulsion. If those reasons alone were enough to make her bond someone, she would indeed have done so as soon as she saw Perrin, the way she did with Rand.

And nothing in the scene where the bonding happens, nor afterward, makes it "plain as day" that it was all Alanna's doing. Not only would the Compulsion have happened before that moment, but the way it works is the Compelled person has to come up with reasons to obey the implanted command. So naturally it would sound when she spoke like it was all Alanna's decision--because she did find reasons within herself to obey, so she believed that it was. There's nothing suggesting she couldn't have been made to believe this prior to that scene.

And I again draw attention to why would Verin feel the need to ask Alanna why she did it, when she knew Alanna had been interested in bonding Perrin, had already lost a Warder, and Rand needed guiding? It couldn't be because she disapproved of the bonding itself, because both her words and thoughts suggest at best a mild disdain for it, not the condemnation it should have received. And she also notes, in the part you quoted, "The question should not have caught Alanna by surprise, yet it did."

This could be interpreted several ways--that the question itself surprised her (because she'd think it was obvious why she did it, to control Rand) but should not have (because she still did a forbidden thing), or that she was surprised to be asked at all (because they had already discussed the matter beforehand, which Verin's thoughts about linking belie--if they had discussed it before then they could easily have linked sooner), or that she was surprised because didn't remember being Compelled and so didn't know why she did it and had to come up with an that is questionable when she didn't go through with bonding Perrin, and never bonded Mat either despite all her interest in him.

In the end, the first two explanations don't cover why Alanna was surprised--even if it was self-evident that Rand needed to be controlled, she still should not have been surprised at being questioned for doing a forbidden thing. And as I said, if they had discussed the matter beforehand it isn't indicated at all in Verin's words or thoughts. But if she was Compelled and then forgot it, her surprise makes perfect sense--since she had come up with a reason in her mind to do what she did, it would seem natural to her that everyone else would accept and approve of it, if they only understood it as she did.


Khestra: 2011-10-02

I'd buy that Verin Compelled Alanna at some point in time during their travels - I'd buy that given her curiosity and studies on the weave, that Verin has Compelled quite a few people.

However I'm just not willing to buy that Verin Compelled Alanna to bond Rand. There's tons of phrasing to suggest *some* sort of Compulsion has passed between them, but nothing that suggests this particular course.

I mean, Alanna was always a might creepy and very Green -- and just lost her warder as well as was unable to bond Perrin as she wanted.

I can totally buy Alanna snapping out of stress and obsession and bonding Rand of her own accord. Verins interest in "why" is mearly Brown categorization of data, and her fear when Alanna collapses is simply worry over Rand -- that Cadsuanne notices is as odd is only because she doesn't know of the bond at that time. It's why she starts to suspect.

Besides -- Verin was in a "tell all" mood with Egwene at the hour of her death...I think that might've been something she'd fess up to.


Macster: 2011-10-25

Well, I already addressed the fact that it seems odd, if Alanna was so upset about losing Owein (that is very likely why she kept disappearing, to go grieve), and wanted Perrin as a Warder so badly, she didn't just go ahead and bond him anyway, whatever Faile or Verin said to the contrary, the instant she met him again. She certainly didn't let what anyone else thought stop her from bonding Rand, and the part with Faile threatening her happened a bit later.

It is likely that her grief, her need to control Rand, her Green obsession, and perhaps having been forced to not bond Perrin (i.e. being kept from doing it once intensified her need, thus making her do it impulsively when she met Rand) are the reasons she did it. But that doesn't preclude the Compulsion from still being involved, since it could have made use of all those emotions and reasons to make her do the bonding. Basically, your reasoning proves the simplest answer may be correct, but that doesn't mean another answer which uses the same criteria is false--particularly when the Compulsion would in fact be making use of these same reasons and emotions in Alanna, so that what could have been sufficient on its own to explain her actions only strengthened the Compulsion.

Regardless though, one thing of note: we know Verin has Compelled a lot of people. Most people agree Verin Compelled Alanna in some way, even if not to bond Rand. Yet she didn't tell Egwene about any of that during her last hour either. I'm not sure if that's because she thought Egwene wouldn't trust her if she knew of the Compulsions (entirely possible), if she was afraid of the knowledge reaching the Black, if she thought listing those she'd Compelled who were Black in her book was enough, or what. But the point is, since she didn't tell Egwene about those things, the fact she never mentioned Compelling Alanna to her really doesn't prove anything one way or the other.


SSW: 2012-10-11

Good work. But, the entirey of the theory depends on whether Verin herself thought that her bonding Rand was the right thing to do, as Verin's form of compulsion is weak and the person it is used on must agree with what Verin wants them to do.

I also have to say, the fact that Verin warned Perrin that Alanna would like to bond him makes me doubt that she used compulsion on Alanna to bond Rand.

It is a possibility, as others have mentioned, that Alanna is BA and part of Verin's heart. That may be why Verin was terrified. Just some thoughts.


Macster: 2013-05-27 after reading AMoL, I am not certain about the ultimate conclusions of my theory. Nothing about Alanna's final appearance and fate, or her last act, tell us one way or the other about her having been Compelled--although the fact she was able to release Rand's bond at all is some fairly good evidence against it. On the other hand, we still don't know how or why Alanna ended up where she did. It's obvious from her having released Rand that she couldn't be Black. Moridin could have kidnapped her with a True Power gateway, but that doesn't explain Verin's letter or how Moridin found Alanna (barring Verin telling him or Mesaana about her).

So, whether or not she was Compelled to bond Rand, perhaps what Compulsion did happen was after all related to Verin being Black. I.e., Moridin was planning even as far back as LoC (he could have been around before CoS) to make Rand go into Warder rage by killing one of his bonded Aes Sedai--the attempts on Elayne's life might fall under this too, but there were a number of times she could have been killed that she wasn't, so perhaps, somehow, he didn't realize Elayne was bonded to Rand. The only Blacks we know for sure were in the Palace to feel the bonding happen was Careane, and not only would it have been hard for her to sense that particular weave, let alone whom it involved, amongst all the channeling going on, but she later died and may not have gotten to pass anything on to him. And even if Lanfear figured out about Elayne (and for that matter, Aviendha) she got stuck in Sindhol and couldn't tell Moridin anything. Perhaps it was Mesaana who ordered Verin, since she too would know about the Warder rage from living in the Tower, and after Egwene cooked her noodle Moridin took over the plan?

In any event, if that is the case, that would explain most of my points: Verin Compelled Alanna to run off to Shayol Ghul or wherever through her letter, which is what led to her being captured and fatally wounded, and possibly still Compelled her to bond Rand, too...and either of these Compulsions could have been detected in Alanna. Even the idea she was frightened because of something possibly happening to Rand fits into this--if she was forced to Compel Alanna into the bonding, she could have feared something happening to Alanna at that moment, thus making Rand go into Warder rage prematurely and causing the Light to lose. This could also be another reason why she was so repentant to Egwene, and convinced it would take a "special sort of redemption" to cleanse her soul.


cantstandnynaeve: 2013-08-21

I think Verin compelled Alana to suit her own ends. Just as she orchestrated her death to cheat the oaths she swore, she compelled Alana to bond Rand. This would allow her to have information without necessarily being directly involved. She was probably forced to disclose this at some point by one of the foresaken. I believe that compulsion ends on the death of the compeller? I think this happened with the people Graendal used a proxy to compel who killed when the palace was balefired. At any rate, that would explain Alana's ability to release the bond.


jimbop79: 2014-11-09

This was alluded to early on, but let me state it explicitly: One of the vows of the Dark Trinity is to obey anyone higher up the chain of command of Darkfriends. Thus, had Verin bonded Rand, or Perrin or Mat for that matter, any high ranking BA member or any Forsaken could have given Verin any order whatsoever and she would have had to follow it. She knew she couldn't risk the Dark One ordering her to kill or compel Rand, because let's face it, she seems pretty capable of getting him to let his guard down.