Elmindreda "Min" Farshaw
is one of the main characters of The Wheel of Time
fantasy series by Robert Jordan
She is slender, a little taller than Moiraine (who Jordan
has said to be about 5'2"), and has short hair that she has recently grown longer. She has large, dark eyes. She likes to wear mens coats and breeches, and over the series, her clothes get tighter and she recently discovered embroidery (all to impress Rand).
Min grew up in Baerlon
, under the patronage of a father who did not curb her tomboyish
tendencies, and (after he died), by a trio of aunts who failed miserably at making a "proper woman" out of her. Her personality is encapsulated by her name: "Elmindreda" is a character in a book who fawns and sighs over men, which is why Min likes to go by the shortened version.
She met Rand al'Thor
at Baerlon, around the same time Nynaeve al'Meara
first caught up with and was caught up by the group, and managed to unnerve Rand thoroughly: not only was she a very attractive woman whose hair is cut short like a boy's and wears men's clothing, but she also has oracular visions. Min is privy to flashes of visual insight she calls "viewings"—for instance, whenever she sees Rand, Mat Cauthon
or Perrin Aybara
, she sees him surrounded by a vast, trackless darkness, while countless thousands of fireflies dart in and out, trying to fill the void; when two or more of them stand near each other, the fireflies get stronger. The symbolism of this viewing is relatively obvious, but most of them are much harder for her to decode in the beginning.
- Why does Mat evoke a banner with a red eagle? (The Red Eagle is the emblem of Manetheren.)
- Why does Perrin have both a hawk and a falcon stooping on his shoulder? (Berelain, represented by the hawk, and Faile Bashere, represented by the falcon, both seek to capture his regard.)
- Why is Rand pouring water on sand? (This has two possible interpretations: it is said that the Car'a'carn will spill the blood of the Aiel as water on sand; and, in The Shadow Rising, Rand makes a far more literal fulfillment by channeling to create rain at Al'cair Dal, the first rainfall in the Aiel Waste in recorded history.)
- Whose heavy golden ring floats above Nynaeve's hand? (Lan Mandragoran, who eventually marries Nynaeve, owns a heavy golden ring signifying his office as the current king of Malkier.)
- Why is a white flame connected with Egwene? (The white flame is the Flame of Tar Valon and the sigil of the Amyrlin Seat, which Egwene is named by the rebel Aes Sedai.)
Whether or not Min is able to interpret her viewings, she insists that they always come true. (It should be pointed out the viewings above had all been explained by the end of Lord of Chaos; there are more whose meanings are as yet unclear.)
Viewings are always thicker around those who can channel, or are connected with channelers. However, Min's ability itself has nothing to do with the One Power; Aes Sedai have tested that theory extensively, which contributes to Min's general dislike for the organization.
It should also be pointed out that, according to series author Robert Jordan, Min's viewings always regard the future. With this in mind, viewings like Lan Mandragoran's (who "has seven ruined towers around his head, and a babe in a cradle holding a sword..."), which at first glance seem to be connected to his past, become far more unclear. On the other hand, it can be argued that this and other viewings were simply victims of a retcon of Min's abilities.
Because of her ability to view things Min has been very helpful to:
1. Aes Sedai (Siuan Sanche and Leane both are aware of Min's gift. In fact they convince the Salidar Hall to send Min over to the Rand in the embassy that is sent to Rand in Camelyn).
2. Aiel Wise Ones, who are very strict and private in their dealings with people who are not Aiel. The only people they seem to respect from wetlanders are Egwene al'Vere (she was an apprentice to Amys, Bair and Melaine), Min Farshaw, Moiraine Damodred and Lan). The respect Min receives is due to the viewing she has and shares with Melaine about having twin baby girls with Bael.
3. Rand - She is able to tell him if she can see anything about the various nobles and rulers who meet with him. She also is able to tell him about the Aes Sedai who have sworn to him. It was Min who warns Rand that the Aes Sedai will harm him before his abduction by the Tar Valon Embassy led by Coiren. She tells him that he will need Perrin's help if he is to stay alive, which he does need at Dumai Wells.
Falme, and the Truth of a Viewing
After the Eye of the World
, Moiraine Sedai
summoned Min to the White Tower
for safekeeping, something the free-spirited Min did not appreciate at all. She went with Egwene, Elayne
and Nynaeve to Falme, and stayed with Rand and the Shienarans that winter, while the novices travelled back to the Tower with Mat; but when Rand disappeared one morning, heading for Tear, Moiraine remanded Min to the Tower as well. Min arrived just in time for the coup against the Amyrlin Siuan Sanche
, and she later helped Siuan, Leane
, and now-gentled former False Dragon Logain Ablar
to escape to Salidar
, where she was reacquainted with Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve. Min later was sent to Caemlyn with the Salidar embassy to meet Rand; she has been at his side ever since. The reason for this was not immediately obvious to anyone but her.
Love at First Sight
One vision Min had upon first meeting Rand was one that she was able to interpret quickly, although she did not tell him of it at the time: that she would fall in love with the Dragon Reborn
. And not just her; two other women would love him as well. The face of one of the other women she later recognized: a friend she had made in the White Tower, a novice named Elayne Trakand. The two agreed to share him later, a decision made easier by their strong friendship. The other she did not recognize; it turned out to be the Aiel
, who ironically had promised to Elayne to keep anyone from getting their hands on Rand. Struggle against it though she might, Min did fall in love with Rand, becoming the second of his women to become his lover (after Aviendha), and she now plays an important role in his life: she is one of the few people in the world who can get him to smile, and certainly the only one he keeps nearby (Elayne and Aviendha being busy in Caemlyn, and Aviendha later goes to Arad Doman). He has tried to send her
away, citing the danger in staying near him (for instance, a rogue Asha'man
attack aimed at him summarily melted a quarter of the Sun Palace in Cairhien), but she has steadfastly refused. She also reports any viewings she has that might help him... if only she knew what most of them meant.
Recently Min, Elayne and Aviendha have jointly Bonded to Rand as Warders and Aes Sedai do, something previously unheard of (and necessarily done in secret). It was at that time she also revealed that Elayne would become pregnant with twins and that Rand would be the father, and that Aviendha would later have his quadruplets (Min couldn't see if she herself would have any children with Rand, however). It was also revealed at that time that she is incapable of masking the emotions she senses from Rand through the bond. She was also present when Rand and Nynaeve were using the Choedan Kal to cleanse saidin of the Taint.