Is Alanna Mosvani in the Darkest of Ajahs?
I am factually and thematically convinced that Alanna Mosvani has been a member of the Black Ajah the whole damn time.
The Hint We All Overlooked
The first hint Alanna is Black is one we all overlooked the first time we read it because we didn’t have the appropriate context.
When the Amylin and her entourage travel from Fal Dara to Tar Valon in The Great Hunt, there are four people who volunteer to train Egwene and Nynaeve—Verin Mathwin, Alanna Mosvani, Liandrin Guiriale, and Sheriam Bayannar.
We know for a fact that Verin, Liandrin, and Sheriam are Black. Why would Alanna be different? Looking at it a different way, why would anyone volunteer to train a couple wilders?
If you’re not a member of the darkest Ajah, do you have any incentive to train them? Egwene might come to some harm, but as long as someone trains her, she’s going to be fine. You don’t know Rand can channel, let alone that he’s the Dragon Reborn, so all you know is that Egwene and Nynaeve are powerful wilders.
It’s only the members of the Black Ajah who know that there’s anything special about Rand. Verin confirmed he was the Dragon Reborn before leaving Fal Dara and I have to assume that refusing to pass that bit of information along to the Black Ajah would be considered betraying the Dark One.
The Black don’t all know each other, so Verin relayed the information to whoever she reports things to, and it was disseminated to the others on the trip—perhaps all the Black.
This, of course, gives Black Sisters an incentive to volunteer to train Egwene and Nynaeve. Getting information of any sort about powerful channelers who are close to the Dragon Reborn would have to be a priority for anyone on the side of the Dark.
I also think that’s where Verin got the idea that Alanna might be Black, but that means we have to talk about Perrin’s Two Rivers plotline.
The Scouring of the Two Rivers
The thing to remember about the plan to ravage the Two Rivers is that it was designed to lure Rand home.
It didn’t work, of course, which means Rand’s desire not to show he cared about anyone was not just the right strategy, but an effective one.
It’s also important to remember that the Dark One wants to turn the Dragon to the Dark more than kill him. So when Ba’alzamon sends trollocs, fades, Whitecloaks, Padan Fain, and Slayer to the Two Rivers to kill Rand, it was Plan B. Plan A was for Alanna to bond him and use that bond to compel Rand to go to the Dark.
Verin takes a moment to warn Perrin about Alanna, and the timing is important, so let’s look at it.
- It happens shortly after Perrin’s speech at the al’Seen farm that sends everyone to Emond’s Field.
- Verin comments that it’s the first time she’s been able to see ta’veren in action.
- Verin asks if Rand has the sword and Perrin says yes.
- Immediately thereafter, Verin says, “Watch yourself with Alanna, Perrin.
She confirms that Perrin is ta’veren, and that Rand is the Dragon Reborn—erasing any chance that Siuane and Moiraine could be wrong. Immediately thereafter, she warns Perrin. What’s going on?
Verin suspects that Alanna is Black and wants to warn Perrin, but she took an oath never to betray the Black Ajah. There might be some wiggle room for her to say she suspects someone is Black without revealing that the Black Ajah is real, but I rather suspect the Dark One has a broad definition of “betrayal” that eliminates that option.
Bonding the Dragon
Of course, the biggest reason to think Alanna is Black is that she bonded Rand without consent—a crime we’re told is akin to rape.
It is conceivable—though just barely—that Alanna could have thought such a crime was justified. If that were the only way to keep the Dragon Reborn from turning Dark, I think Moiraine or Siuane would have done it. But Alanna isn’t Blue, and Rand wasn’t in danger of going Dark when it happened. I think it’s much more likely that she was ordered to do so by Ba’alzamon.
The thing that clinches the question for me is that Alanna doesn’t release him from the bond. Before the bonding, it’s conceivable that Alanna thought she could use the bond to compel Rand to do things. It didn’t take Alanna long to learn that wasn’t possible.
Alanna had to know bonding Rand would risk pissing him off, so she had to believe there was an upside. Once she knew she couldn’t compel him, and that he was beyond pissed, she should have known that the risk hadn’t paid off.
I can’t really conceive of a scenario where someone not of the Dark would think knowing where Rand is at all times is worth having him extremely angry with you.
The Last Battle
Alanna is present at Shayol Ghul during the Last Battle. She is injured by Moridin and left to die so Rand would be compromised. She is healed by Nynaeve’s herbs enough to regain consciousness, releases Rand, and dies.
But why was she there?
If she hadn’t been of the Black Ajah, she’d have been out fighting with the rest of the Greens. Alanna is the one that told Egwene that “To be a Green means to stand ready.” She even gets a note of pride in her voice in telling how the Greens were the Battle Ajah and spent every battle of the Trolloc Wars countering the Dreadlords.
It would take something incredibly compelling to keep a Green Sister from the Last Battle. I think Verin gave it to her.
One of those infamous letters sealed with red was sent to Alanna, after which Rand feels she has gone to the north. Why?
This is entirely speculation, of course, but I think by that time, Alanna had realized she backed the wrong horse. Whatever it was she thought she’d gain by joining the Dark, she realized she was just a tool for the Dark One to use.
Alanna’s letter, then, reminded her of the “hour of my death” loophole, told her what the Dark One’s plan likely was, and how she could help defeat him.
“It was about them all.”
All means all. I think Robert Jordan wanted a Black Sister helping Rand during the last battle. It only made sense. “All” means all, and without Alanna, the only Black Sister to help would have been Verin, and she died two books earlier.
It’s all speculative, of course, but we’ve been speculating about this series for thirty years or more and I see no reason to stop just because the series ended. I think Alanna’s actions make a lot more sense if her actions are constrained by an Oath we don’t know about. In particular, her not releasing Rand’s bond as soon as she knew it wasn’t working out well has always stuck out to me. If she was ordered to by the Dark One or one of his minions, she couldn’t release him because it would violate the oath not to betray the Dark One.