Berelain makes her first appearance at the end of The Dragon Reborn when she demands the appearance of Rand al'Thor to join her at supper after he proclaims himself the Dragon Reborn. At the beginning of The Shadow Rising, she again tries to seduce Rand al'Thor (probably in an effort to obtain political influence) with disastrous results, and then Perrin Aybara with no apparent effect, since Perrin's heart by that time belongs to Faile Bashere. Berelain believes that it will "amuse" her to take Perrin away from Faile.
Later in the series, Rand places Berelain in a position of stewardship over the city of Cairhien after it is ravaged by the Shaido Aiel. Upon re-encountering Perrin in Lord of Chaos, Berelain renews her attempts at seducing Perrin, which results in a comedy of errors between them and Faile, now Perrin's wife. Faile's subsequent kidnapping by the Shaido left Perrin wide open to Berelain's machinations, which might have had something to do with Perrin's resolve to rescue her back with all speed.
A viewing by Min Farshaw indicates that Berelain will fall in love with a man in white; another is that Berelain will fall in love with the most beautiful man alive, which brings to mind Galad Damodred. Another possible interpretation is that Berelain will fall in love with a gai'shain Aiel.
Berelain is described as a "beautiful and willful young woman, and a skilled ruler," with shoulder-length dark hair and a penchant for scandalously-revealing clothing. Many female characters (such as Egwene al'Vere and Faile) dislike Berelain, mainly for her flirtatious manner and lack of modesty. However, she is a top-notch ruler, highly intelligent and unquestionably devoted to her duties; Mayene's continued independence from Tear, despite that country's constant attempts to annex it, are due in no small part to her efforts. Even Faile, who despises Berelain on principle, admits that under different circumstances they might be friends.