The Wheel of Time‘s second season is well underway. If you’re not familiar with the books, you may have some questions about the characters, the Aes Sedai, or the world. As Moiraine indicated a few times in season one, the Dragon Reborn sits at the heart of the story. She and Lan searched for the prophesied figure, as has the Dark One and his forces, for years and found the Dragon Reborn in Rand al’Thor. If you’re curious to learn more about who (and what) The Wheel of Time’s Dragon Reborn is without plot spoilers for the books beyond the TV series, here’s a guide.

What Is the Dragon Reborn?

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Reincarnation exists in the world of The Wheel of Time. The Wheel turns and spins out a person’s soul and puts that soul in another body. Some key figures have multiple reincarnations within the same Age, but the Dragon comes back only once during an Age. The previous dragon, Lews Therin Telamon, lived during the Age of Legends (the Second Age). He caused the Breaking of the World but also helped seal the Dark One and his powerful followers into prisons. The Dragon Reborn is a reincarnation of Lews Therin, and as such, can channel the One Power—maybe a male channeler like Lews Therin. However, men who can channel have been rare since the Breaking, because the Dark One tainted the male half of the One Power, a.k.a. saidin. Men who channel eventually go mad.

The Dragon Reborn is not an actual dragon. In fact, The Wheel of Time books don’t include your traditional fire-breathing dragons from fantasy. It’s more like a mythical idea of a dragon. Lews Therin’s banner depicted what could be a dragon, though. It’s described as a sinuous figure like a serpent with red and gold scales along its body and legs, and clawed feet.

We should also note The Dragon Reborn is the name of the third book in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series.

Why Is the Dragon Reborn So Important to The Wheel of Time?

The Dragon Reborn will confront the Dark One and the Shadow at the Last Battle in the current age, the Third Age. This person will either save the world or destroy it. Some worry the figure will bring about another Breaking. That’s quite a risk, but without the Dragon Reborn, the world stands no chance at all against the Dark One.

So of course the Aes Sedai want to identify this figure and do what they can to help him or her prepare for the Last Battle, a.k.a. Tarmon Gai’don. Some say the Aes Sedai truly want to control this person to serve their own means. Many groups have that same goal.

Prophecies About the Dragon Reborn

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Many prophecies discuss the Dragon Reborn and how to identify him or her. In the TV series, Moiraine references one of her Aes Sedai sisters who saw the Dragon Reborn’s birth. That’s how Moiraine knows approximately how old the Dragon Reborn is. Season two of The Wheel of Time showed Gitara Moroso’s Foretelling of the Dragon’s return. Twenty years ago, Moiraine and Siuan stood as the only witnesses of Gitara’s Foretelling. Gitara saw Rand’s birth, happening as she had the Foretelling on the slopes of Dragonmount. Moiraine and Siuan kept the Foretelling secret and made a plan: Moiraine to find the Dragon and teach and protect him, Siuan to rise through the White Tower’s rank and prepare the Aes Sedai to support the Dragon.

The TV series also mentions prophecies connected to Falme and that the Dragon will reveal himself to the world there. “Above the Watchers shall the Dragon be proclaimed, bannered cross the sky in fire.” This prophecy comes true in the season two finale, albeit with the help of Moiraine.

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In the books, we know more details about the Dragon Reborn was born. Many scholars and characters in The Wheel of Time books reference “The Karaethon Cycle: The Prophecies of the Dragon.” The collection of prophecies details signs of the Dragon Reborn’s arrival.

Darkfriends have their own prophecies, too. The Dark One and his followers have their eye on the Dragon Reborn, hoping to turn the figure to their side.

False Dragons

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Not all men who have the ability to channel have the potential to be the Dragon Reborn. For example, we met Logain Ablar in the TV series; the Aes Sedai captured and caged him. A male channeler, he proclaimed himself as the Dragon Reborn, but he didn’t fit the prophecies. He’s what’s known as a False Dragon. Aes Sedai, usually the Red Ajah, hunt False Dragons with the purpose of gentling them—taking away their ability to channel.

Aes Sedai must feel certain a man is a False Dragon before they gentle him, however. They don’t want to risk gentling the Dragon Reborn and thus stopping him from being able to fight the Dark One. As you can imagine, it’s not always black and white

Who Is the Dragon Reborn?

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The book series pretty much makes the Dragon Reborn’s identity known in the first book, though it doesn’t really cement it until books two and three. But The Wheel of Time TV series obfuscated who the Dragon Reborn was until the end of season one. Then, during the finale, the series unveiled Rand al’Thor as the Dragon Reborn. Rand discovered the truth at the Eye of the World where he encountered who he believed to be the Dark One.

As the Dragon Reborn, Rand carries a heavy burden. He will save the world from the Dark One or break it. As a male channeler, history says he will lose his mind because of that channeling—channeling he definitely needs to do in order to stop the Dark One. With Moiraine losing her connection to the Source, Rand has lost a mentor. He advised Moiraine to tell the others he died at the Eye. Rand must learn to become the Dragon Reborn, though, or the world is lost.

When Siuan, the Amyrlin Seat, learns Moiraine failed in her duty, she references the White Tower’s law about the Dragon Reborn—the law Siuan and Moiraine have been ignoring to this point. Aes Sedai are supposed to cage the Dragon Reborn and keep him shielded and under control. Then, they will pull him out like a weapon at the Last Battle to fight the Dark One.

Rand has escaped the Aes Sedai for now, but this interaction likely did not do much to build trust between him and the White Tower.

Originally published on November 22, 2021.