She is a beautiful, tall, pale woman with long black hair to her shoulders, and has large, dark eyes. She wears the Diadem of the First, a golden hawk in flight. She is noted by virtually everyone who encounters her as being exceptionally voluptuous both in appearance and action. She knows she is sensous and sexy, and makes full use of it.
Born in 974 NE, her mother died when she was nine. She loved her father desperately, partly because her mother had been cold, partly because he returned her affection. She became High Seat of House Paeron and First of Mayene in 984 NE at age ten, and had a regent/guardian until turning sixteen in 990 NE. Her younger brothers and sister were all Seconds of Mayene.
At age sixteen, she banished her guardian; he was dour and strict and incompatible with her own personality. She brought him back to watch over the Seconds when she left Mayene, as she knew he was honest, would do his duty no matter what (he had known she would exile him), and that he supported her and would keep her rule safe.
She often behaves in a spoiled, petulant manner; yet she is also a pragmatist. She had to be, in order for small and relatively weak Mayene to survive next to large and powerful neighbors like Tear. She believed in learning as much as possible about the people she had to deal with.
Berelain claims to be a descendant and heir of Artur Hawkwing, through his grandson Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera. In Mayene it is claimed that Tyrn evaded the assassination attempt that killed his mother and was raised in secrecy in Mayene for his own safety. The Firsts of Mayene claim an unbroken line of succession from Tyrn and his daughter Miselle, and through him to Hawkwing. This claim is not taken seriously outside of Mayene.
She was a 'guest' within the Stone of Tear since before the winter. Lan mentions she announced she would submit to the will of the High Lords the day after she had said "she would see Mayene and all its ships burn before one Tairen country lord set foot in the country". This is taken by Lan as evidence of Rand's ta'veren effects in Tear.
Berelain brings a note to Moiraine the day after Rand al'Thor takes Callandor. The note claims possession of "Lews Therin" but leaves him in the care of Moiraine. It is signed "Lanfear". Berelain also suggests to Rhuarc that she will dine with him, as he is the apparent leader of the Aiel occupying the Stone. 
Following the fall of the Stone of Tear, Berelain tries to seduce Rand in his chambers in an effort to obtain political influence, but is rebuffed. During her attempted seduction, a bubble of evil causes Rand's reflections to come out of a mirror and try to kill him. Berelain was terrified by the experience, and she never tried to seduce Rand again. When Matrim Cauthon tries to charm her she ignores him, implying she views him as being too much like herself. Instead she turns her attentions on Perrin Aybara, though with no better apparent effect. But this doesn't stop her advances and she sparks a fierce rivalry with Faile Bashere, with Berelain claiming it will "amuse" her to take Perrin away from Faile.
Later, 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, Berelain renews her pursuit of Perrin. Her flirtation causes tension between Perrin and Faile, who is now his wife. During this time she neglects her duties in Cairhien until she receives a stern reminder from Rhuarc, who treats her as a daughter. When Rand is captured by the White Tower Aes Sedai she uncovers evidence linking Colavaere Saighan to both Lord Maringil and Meilan Mendiana's murders as part of Colavaere's plot for Sun Throne. Though she cannot use this evidence without Rand, she informs Perrin and sends soldiers to Rand's aid. 
While Rand is missing, Colavaere is crowned Queen. As queen, Colavaere takes Berelain's Aes Sedai adviser Annoura Larisen for her own and relegates Berelain from steward of Cairhien to one of her ladies in waiting. Colavaere also makes Faile a lady in waiting and sets the two romantic rivals at each others' throats for her own amusement. When Rand returns to Cairhien, Berelain publicly denounces Colavaere's crimes, which Colavaere corroborates under Rand's ta'veren influence. Despite her many services to him, Rand does not reinstate Berelain as steward after Colavaere's fall, but instead tries to send her back to Mayene. She instead accompanies Perrin into Ghealdan to track down Masema Dagar.
Perrin sends her to meet with Queen Alliandre Maritha Kigarin. She brings Alliandre back to camp and helps Faile pressure her into keeping her oath of fealty to Perrin by staying with the army. While out hunting with Faile and Alliandre, the group is attacked by the Shaido Aiel. All of the group are captured except Berelain, who manages to escape and send word to Perrin.
While Faile is in captivity, Berelain at first tries to offer a truce to Perrin in regards to her advances, but his reaction infuriates her. She then allows rumors to be spread that he is succumbing to her advances around the camp, causing Perrin's own men and even previously devout Aram to lose respect for him. Despite this, she still serves as Perrin's political and strategic ally. She is instrumental in discovering Masema's collusion with the Seanchan, and offers to use her gold and jewels to ransom the Shaido's prisoners, including Faile. She accompanies Perrin to So Habor, where they collect grain for their troops. When they return to their camp she witnesses an interrogation in which Perrin cleaves a Shaido prisoner's hand off in his desperation to get information on Faile.
Plan to rescue Faile
Berelain is present when Galina Casban is brought before Perrin and questioned. Galina asks to be slapped so she can claim she was beaten by brigands, with which Berelain complies. She later goes with Perrin when he makes his deal with the Seanchan.
She is present at the meeting with Perrin and Tylee Khirgan, who informs Perrin of a rebellious group of Whitecloaks moving north not too far from camp, when the Pattern ripples. While traveling back through Ghealdan after the Battle of Malden she is with Perrin when they find land that appears to have been affected by the Blight. Later she attends a meeting with Perrin to decide where the army should now go. A decision is made to send a scouting force to Cairhien to start looking for Rand.
Faile confronts Berelain about the rumors of her bedding Perrin while Faile was captive. At first Faile issues a challenge but on further discussion they decide to be seen around camp as friends to help dissuade the rumors; they decide that Berelain cannot simply publicly denounce the rumors as it would not be convincing enough.
Meeting the man in White
Berelain is present during the second parley between Perrin and Galadedrid Damodred, and the pair are immediately attracted to each other. She is walking through the camp when a bubble of evil erupts causing all the weapons to attack their owners. Faile rescues her when she throws dirt onto the dagger that is attacking her, causing it to become inanimate again. Faile saving Berelain's life seems to have finally quelled all rumors of Perrin's alleged infidelity with her. Berelain keeps asking Perrin if she can negotiate with Galad and blushes when she sees him at Perrin's trial.
Berelain is present when Perrin creates Mah'alleinir and then declares to his followers his acceptance at becoming their Lord and leader. Perrin then gives the command for his army to Travel back to where the Whitecloaks have set up their camp. Berelain is concerned that Perrin is planning to ambush the Whitecloaks and Faile reassures her that Perrin is not like that. Berelain admits that she has finally given up on Perrin and set her sights on Galad, hence her concern for the Whitecloaks.
Perrin sends her, Alliandre, and Faile to the back of his army when his force starts attacking the Trollocs which were about to ambush the Whitecloaks. This helps alleviate her fears on Perrin attacking the Whitecloaks. After the battle, the three ladies help cut bandages to the injured. Berelain admits to Faile the reason she tried to seduce Perrin was so she had a tie to the Dragon Reborn through one of his good friends. She attends Morgase and Martyn Tallanvor's wedding with Galad. She Travels with Perrin and the rest of his huge force to the Field of Merrilor to prepare for the Last Battle. While there she signs the Dragon's Peace as ruler of Mayene.
As the Last Battle commences, she returns to Mayene to oversee a Healing center stationed there. She is there when an injured Galad is brought by Annoura. She is also reponsible for sending Galad's ter'angreal to Lan, helping Lan defeat Demandred.
A viewing by Min Farshaw indicates that she will fall in love with a man in white. This, combined with a viewing of two most beautiful people falling in love, seems to indicate that she will marry Galad Damodred.
Berelain could be a reference to the name Elaine, which was the name of several different women in Arthurian legend—particularly Elaine of Astolat, who died of unrequited love for Lancelot. Her surname, Paendrag, derives from the name of Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father.
Berelain could also be based upon Eva Perón, the famous Argentinian woman who became a hero to her people, and came from humble upbringings (akin to how Berelain is leader of the smallest of nations).
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 53
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 56
- Later, Berelain was apparently rebuffed and given a 'talk' by Rhuarc. — TSR 14
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 2
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 13
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 14
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 14
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 53
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 54
- A Crown of Swords, Chapter 27
- The Path of Daggers, Chapter 30
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 5
- Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 6
- Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 8
- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 50