Wheel of Time’s Dragon Reborn prophecy is about the reincarnation of the man who “broke the world” — but who was he, and was he really a villain?
The Dragon Reborn prophecy at the heart of Wheel of Time raises questions about the identity of the original Dragon – the so-called man who “broke the world.” Just like Robert Jordan’s books, Amazon’s eight-episode show centers around the search for the Dragon Reborn, a person that Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) believes is the key to beating the Dark One. Prior to discovering the identity of Wheel of Time‘s Dragon Reborn, protecting the possible candidates for his reincarnation is Moiraine and Lan’s primary goal in Wheel of Time season 1.
According to the lore of Wheel of Time, the Dragon Reborn can be male or female. From episode 1 onward, it’s suggested that his spirit now resides in either Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowksi), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) or Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robbins). By the end of Wheel of Time season 1, the Dragon Reborn is confirmed to be Rand. In the books, the coming of the Dragon Reborn was prophesied for centuries, with people all over the world awaiting his birth, as it was widely believed that he was the only person who could save the world once the Dark One was freed from imprisonment. However, it was also said that his mastery and strength in Wheel of Time‘s fabled One Power would doom the world once the Dark One fell. For these reasons, the Dragon Reborn was certainly a figure to be feared in the Wheel of Time saga.
The importance of the Dragon Reborn mystery to Wheel of Time makes the identity of the original Dragon incredibly significant. The fact that he “broke the world” suggests that he was a villain, but his history is a bit more complicated than that. The prologue of the first book, The Eye of the World, introduced the original Dragon and dove deep into a pivotal moment in his life. It was revealed that the original dragon in Wheel of Time was Lews Therin Telamon, an incredibly powerful male member of Wheel of Time‘s Aes Sedai order and the greatest enemy of the Dark One. Apparently, he became a celebrated hero after he and his army saved humanity from the Dark One, but fell from grace when he developed what the books call “Madness.”
The Dark One corrupted Saidin, which is the half of the True Source that men have to tap into in order to use the One Power. Because of this, men who use the One Power are fated to go insane. That’s ultimately what happened to Lews Therin and his followers, who brought death and destruction everywhere by causing a wide-reaching, catastrophic event referred to as the Breaking of the World. When he recovered from the Madness, he realized what he had done. Overcome with grief, he killed himself through a massive release of the One Power, and in doing so created a volcanic mountain known as Dragonmount.
To the characters in Wheel of Time’s world, it’s easy to see why the Dragon would be thought of as an evil and insane mass murderer, even though that’s not really an accurate description of his character. Since not everyone knew his entire story, the human side of Lews Therin and the idea that he was a victim of the Dark One’s scheming often went overlooked. This is especially significant when considering the fact that Rand, the new Dragon Reborn, also experiences a moment of the “Madness” when channeling the One Power in Wheel of Time‘s finale. This ultimately leads him to leave Moiraine, instructing her to tell everyone that he’s dead to avoid hurting anyone as Lews Therin did before him. Looking forward into Wheel of Time season 2, it will be interesting to see whether Rand returns, and how the Original Dragon’s story continues to develop.
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