Moiraine Damodred (pronounced: mwah-RAIN DAHM-oh-drehd; /mwaˈɹɛːɪn ˈdɑː.moʊˌdɹɛd/) was born in the year 956 NE in Cairhien, the youngest daughter of Dalresin Damodred, a scholar, and his second wife whose name is unknown. She also goes by the name "Alys."
Moiraine has become a legend among the Aes Sedai, possibly a legend even greater than Cadsuane Melaidhrin, because of her extraordinary achievements; she avoided being put on the Sun Throne as the Queen of Cairhien for years, she tracked down and became the trusted advisor of the Dragon Reborn, and most significantly: no other Aes Sedai in history has faced, let alone survived an encounter with a Forsaken. Moiraine has faced not one, but four, and beaten two of them, earning her a remarkable status as one of the greatest sisters in Tower history, rivaling even the Tower's early legends of the Age.
When she arrives in Emond's Field she is described as having dark hair, hanging in ringlets. She looks the same age as Nynaeve, but with large, dark eyes that belong to a much older woman. This is the first mention of the ageless look. She is relatively short, standing at 5'2", and has a melodious voice. She wears a sky-blue velvet cloak with vines and flowers along the edges in thick silver embroidery, a golden woven belt and a dark blue dress slashed with cream. She wears her Great Serpent ring on the second finger of her left hand, though she has been known to change the finger. Moiraine also wears the traditional Cairhienien kesiera, hers being a small sparkling blue stone held by a fine golden chain.
Despite being unable to lie due to the Three Oaths, Moiraine will sometimes introduce herself as Mistress Alys. This is possible due to the usual Aes Sedai phrasing that makes liberal use of possibilities such as "You may call me Mistress Alys."
Moiraine is notable as a channeler in several ways aside from being born with the ability. Firstly, she is what once was considered strong in the One Power for an Aes Sedai. Among those in the White Tower before the White Tower Schism, only three other active Aes Sedai equaled her in strength. Those women were Siuan Sanche, who was Amyrlin Seat, Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan, advisor to Morgase the Queen of Andor, and future Amyrlin, and Lelaine Akashi, a prominent Sitter. Only one other in retirement, Cadsuane Melaidhrin, surpassed her in strength. Romanda Cassin, who was also retired, equaled her in strength.
Moiraine's original strength level in the Power was 13(1), but it has been dramatically reduced to 66(54) after her imprisonment by the Finn.
Among Moiraine's known Talents are Cloud Dancing and Healing. Her Talent was particularly strong in the latter.  She was strong enough to Travel, but disappeared before she could ever learn how. She also has the ability to use Balefire, apparently cobbled together from information in old books. Before coming to the White Tower, she developed a trick using the One Power to eavesdrop, using her kesiera as a focus point, something which she still uses. Her high strength also causes Verin to cite her as one of the few living women with the strength to use the Choedan Kal.
Despite being able to create an earthquake and a wall of fire strong enough to destroy hundreds of Trollocs and halt three Myrddraal, Moiraine states that she is not at her strongest when working with Earth and Fire. She was surprised that she was able to hold Aginor as long as she did, knowing that Aginor in the AoL was close behind Lews Therin and Ishamael in power. It should be noted that, at the time, she was making ample use of one of the White Tower's angreal.
After being rescued from the Finn her strength is so reduced that she wouldn't have had the chance to test for Accepted.
Despite her strength being so reduced by the Finn, she also gained there an angreal that is so strong to be considered almost a sa'angreal: when she uses it she is stronger than her original strength.
She is the youngest daughter of Dalresin Damodred, a scholar and brother to King Laman Damodred of Cairhien and High Seat of House Damodred, making her minor royalty and in line for the throne of Cairhien until the reign of Galldrian Riatin. The name of her mother, the second wife of Dalresin, is unknown. Like her father, she was also a scholar. She has two elder sisters called Anvaere and Innloine.
Moiraine was also the youngest half-sister of Taringail Damodred, and spent much of her childhood in the Sun Palace. She is the aunt of Galad Damodred, Gawyn Trakand, and Queen Elayne Trakand, and has other unnamed nieces and nephews from her sister Innloine.
She shares no blood connection with Rand al'Thor.
At the White Tower
At sixteen, she discovered that she possessed the spark to channel the One Power and left for the White Tower to become an Aes Sedai. In truth, very little is known about her life before her arrival at the White Tower, although it is known that Moiraine was glad to divorce herself as much as she could from the blackened name of House Damodred. However before she left for the White Tower, a grand dance was thrown in her honor.
In truth, Moiraine was a wilder - her ability to channel manifested itself before she turned sixteen, and outside Aes Sedai guidance. She wisely kept this a secret until she could tell King Laman's Aes Sedai advisor; said advisor taught her for a short time before sending her to Tar Valon. All this was kept secret so Moiraine could avoid the stigma of being a wilder. Moiraine had already taught herself her eavesdropping trick, among others.
As a Novice she became close friends -- pillow friends, in fact -- with a young woman named Siuan Sanche. Unusually, they arrived at the White Tower on the same day. They became pillow friends for comfort and to ease their libidos, despite neither being lesbian. Both were quick learners, passing all rituals on their first attempt, although Moiraine had the benefit of a classical education in the Old Tongue and knew much of the politics and history of the world before she arrived at the Tower, whereas Siuan did not. Nevertheless, credit must be given to Moiraine in her skill in the One Power.
Siuan always took the lead between them, which surprised Moiraine at first, until she realized Siuan had been born to lead.
She and Siuan become Accepted after three years and Aes Sedai after a further three years. In the history of the White Tower, only one other woman had become Aes Sedai in such a short time: Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan. This may have been one of the many sources of animosity that would emerge between the two women over the years to come. Interestingly, Elaida had always kept an eye on both Moiraine and Siuan, pushing both of them to live up to her extremely high standards and not allowing a single slip.
Both Moiraine and Siuan were Accepted in 978 NE, during the Battle of the Blood Snow. On this day, the Aiel War came right up to the banks of the River Erinin outside Tar Valon itself, where her uncle Laman had retreated with the remainder of his Cairhien forces. During the battle, the two attended the Amyrlin Seat, Tamra Ospenya, and her Keeper of the Chronicles, Gitara Moroso. That day Moroso foretold that at that very moment the Dragon had been reborn on the slopes of Dragonmount not far away, and immediately fell down dead.
Moiraine and Siuan made a pact soon after: they would find the Dragon and guide him, knowing that he was the only one who could save the world from the Dark One, but that others would fear him and try to hinder him--if not kill him outright. The Dragon Reborn, though necessary, was not the most celebrated of saviors; he was prophesied to save the world, and yet break it. At an unspecified time prior to the events of 998 NE she visits the Green Man at the Eye.
Moiraine and Siuan were raised to Aes Sedai soon after Gitara's Foretelling; very unusually, also on the same day. The night before their raising, they tried to play a last prank on Elaida by sneaking mice into her bed. Elaida caught them and made sure they were punished severely.
It was around this time that several Sitters began insinuating that Moiraine should take the throne of Cairhien. This made her uncomfortable, and added to her motivation to escape the Tower (the main reason being to search for the Dragon Reborn).
At an unspecified time during her decade long search for the Dragon Reborn, she acquired an angreal, having been given permission from the Hall of the Tower, possibly through pressure on Siuan's part, as implied during their conversation in Fal Dara.
Quest for the Dragon
Nineteen years of searching later, Moiraine was an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah; traveling in the Borderlands, she had picked up a Warder, al'Lan Mandragoran, last king of Malkier. The two of them journeyed to the town of Emond's Field in the Two Rivers region of Andor, as Moiraine had narrowed her search to three boys in the area. Her suspicions were confirmed when, on Winternight, Trollocs invaded the Two Rivers region. After the attack, she and Lan persuaded the three boys -- Rand al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara -- plus Thomdril Merrilin, Egwene al'Vere and later Nynaeve al'Meara, to leave Emond's Field and head for the safety of the White Tower. But the Shadow had picked up their scent, and their plans were derailed. Their journey ultimately took them to Shienar and the Eye of the World, where Rand channeled consciously for the first time. Soon after, Moiraine knew she'd found the Dragon Reborn.
Guide and advisor
She sent word immediately to Siuan, who by this time was Amyrlin Seat, and the two of them, with the unexpected help of Verin Mathwin, confronted Rand with his destiny. Moiraine left Rand, with a small group to recover the Horn of Valere only to find him again after the Battle of Falme. After that Moiraine left Rand's side as little as possible. The only time she left his side again was during the events leading up to the fall of the Stone of Tear, when Rand snuck away to see if he could draw the sword Callandor and fulfill an important prophecy concerning the Dragon Reborn, or see if he was only a False Dragon. Despite his success, Rand resented what he saw as interference and manipulation on Moiraine's part; though she seemed to be trying to help him, Aes Sedai are used to getting what they want, and keeping their plans to themselves. Finally, after Rand's journey to Rhuidean in the Aiel Waste, the two managed to form a sort of compromise, with Rand agreeing to listen if Moiraine agreed to merely advise.
Unfortunately, their cooperation was short-lived. Just before setting out for the city of Caemlyn to confront the Forsaken Rahvin, Moiraine took Rand, Mat, Egwene, Aviendha, and Lan to the docks of Cairhien. While at Rhuidean, Moiraine had entered a ter'angreal that showed her hundreds of possible futures; furthermore, she knew that if she wasn't present at the docks that day, Lanfear, a Forsaken who was obsessed with him, might take control over Rand. When Rand refused to kill Lanfear, even in his own defense, Moiraine took matters into her own hands. The twisted redstone doorframe from Rhuidean was present nearby, and Moiraine shoved Lanfear through it by tackling her, and thus joined her inside, ending the assault but presumably also both their lives: neither she nor Lanfear re-emerged from the doorway, which immediately caught on fire and began to melt. Lan also reported that he could not feel her through the Warder bond any longer; everyone believed her dead. Because she had altered her bond so that Lan would belong to another Aes Sedai instead of trying to avenge her (prior to her visions beyond the doorway, and possibly because of Nynaeve), Lan left immediately, if not happily, to seek out Myrelle Berengari. 
One of Egwene al'Vere's Dreamed visions linked Thom Merrilin to Moiraine -- she saw him drawing Moiraine's kesiera from a fire. A certain amount of romantic tension between Thom and Moiraine had gone unresolved as of yet. Also, an important viewing of Min Farshaw's alarmingly suggests that without Moiraine's help, Rand is doomed to failure. She also promised to meet Thom again and provide him with information on who Gentled his nephew, and she sounded certain they would meet again. While some have pointed to Moiraine's mentioning she knew who she would marry to Elayne Trakand, Egwene and Nynaeve as further evidence of the link between Thom and herself, this statement occurred prior to her entering the ter'angreal to Sindhol.,
Letter to Thom
While crossing Altara, Thom finally showed Mat the letter he had received from Moiraine saying she was not in fact dead, but she could only be brought back in a specific way. Thom, Mat, and one other would need to go to the Tower of Ghenjei, to access the realm of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. Even then, their mission might not be successful. Moiraine wrote that to be successful, they will need to remember what they know of the game Snakes and Foxes. What is known about the game, aside from the manner of game play, is that it begins with player saying, "Courage to strengthen, fire to blind, music to dazzle, iron to bind" while drawing a triangle with a wavy line through it in the air and that it is necessary to cheat to win. According to Birgitte, drawing the symbol on the Tower of Ghenjei will open a doorway to the dimension of the Eelfinn and/or Aelfinn. From Mat's trips through the ter'angreals, we know that the Aelfinn and Eelfin ask whether visitors have brought fire, iron, or musical instruments because they are prohibited by the "agreement."
Mat, Thom, and Noal Charin traveled to the Tower of Ghenjei in order to rescue Moiraine. Using the method learned from Birgitte, they created an opening into the tower and entered. They enter the land of of the Eelfinn and the Aelfinn armed with torches and Aludra's strikers (fire), spear and shortswords (iron), and flutes and a harp (implements of music). They find themselves in a labyrinthine tower with strange halls and doors, but using Mat's luck they randomly find their way to the Chamber of Bonds where they find a barely conscious Moiraine. Moiraine is trapped and suspended in mist. Thom frees Moiraine, and Mat is forced to bargain with the Eelfinn to leave with Moiraine and receive unbarred passage out of the world. Realizing the meaning of the Aelfinn's predictions, he gives up half the light of the world in order to save the world, which means giving up his left eye in order to save Moiraine. Following the bargain they make their way through the tower, however the safe passage out becomes a wild chase as the Aelfinn were not part of the bargain. Noal, revealing himself as Jain Farstrider, sacrifices himself in order to buy time for the others to get away. Mat and Thom decide to attempt escaping using the Aelfinn's red archway to escape, but when they reach its location, they discover that it had been destroyed. As the Aelfinn close in on them, Mat remembers that the request he was granted by the Eelfinn of a way out had given him his ashandarei. Realizing that the spear is a way out, he uses it to draw the same symbol that they had used to enter on the wall, allowing for an escape through a new exit out of the tower.
Once finally free from the Finn, Moiraine reveal that the Eelfinn and Aelfinn have decreased her ability to channel because they have been using her to feed off of the One Power, or the ability to channel. She does however possess a bracelet angreal that allows her to be even stronger than she was before. When she went through the ter'angreal, the ancient treaty held for both her and Lanfear, and she was granted three demands. One of her demands was getting that angreal, but what her other two demands were she has not revealed to anyone yet.
Thom, Mat and Moiraine settle down to rest a short walk from the tower. After some discussion of events that have occurred during her captivity she asks Thom to marry her, fufilling a viewing Min had of her stating, without details, that she would marry Thom. He accepts and decides upon becoming Moiraine's Warder as well.
The Last Battle
Moiraine appears at the Field of Merrilor when Rand and the leaders of the nations are meeting to discuss the Dragon's Peace. She enters the tent just as Rand has lost his patience and was leaving. She convinces Rand to stay and continue negotiations, and reminds the leaders of several prophesies regarding the Dragon Reborn. Her appearance saves the talks and gives the impetus to everyone to sign the agreement. Moiraine is with Rand when he Travels to Lan's camp in Shienar. She tries to convince Rand to not go out and join the battle, as he must save himself for his confrontation with the Dark One. Rand feels he must help his people and goes anyway. Rand is not gone long before he stumbles back through the gateway. The Dreadlords are on look-out for him and tried to shield him with a full circle. Moiraine chides him against attacking like this again. She is with Rand, when he stands just outside Shayol Ghul, testing whether the Dull dagger works.
Moiraine and Rand have a moment to catch up before he launches his attack on Shayol Ghul. She tries to probe what his plan is against the Dark One. Rand tells her that he wishes to make peace with the Seanchan first, as Mat is with the Empress now. He also reveals that he wishes to actually kill the Dark One, due to him not being apart of the Pattern. Moiraine does not believe it cannot be done. He tells her he has more wisdom over his accrued lifetime counting Lews Therin's life, but she brushes it off knowing he only has the memories. Moiraine also has knowledge of Mat having other men's memories. She then commands him to make him some tea, which Rand moves off to comply with, before realizing what she just did to him. Moiraine wonders if Rand has finally the right balance of self-effacement and pride to succeed. She then enjoys the tea that always taste nicer when made by Rand. Moiraine councils Rand to stop delaying his attack on Shayol Ghul and that he should not try to go to the Black Tower, as it is a trap for him.
Moiraine accompanies Rand to Shayol Ghul, along with Nynaeve and Thom, in order to assist Rand with a power circle. Thom decides to wait at the entrance and they kiss each other goodbye. As the group enter the pit, Moiraine is shocked when they hear the Creator speak to Rand. They encounter Moridin, who has come to confront and defeat Rand. She and Nynaeve link to provide their power to Rand who draws upon it to wield Callandor against Moridin. She and Nynaeve are caught up in a maelstrom that prevents them from most movement and are held in place until Rand is at the point of defeating the Dark One. When he drops Callandor during his duel with Moridin, Moridin picks up the sword to use it against Rand, but she and Nynaeve use their link to control the power of the Sword, pulling the energy through Moridin, thereby also using the True Power. Once the Dark One's bore is resealed, she and Nynaeve escape the cave and she collapses into Thom's waiting arms. She mourns Rand at his funeral.
Etymology and parallels
The name Moiraine might be connected to the Moirae, who "controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death." This is consistent with the series' main philosophy, and may also reflect the fact that Moiraine has dedicated her life to Rand from the moment of his birth, and based on Min's viewings, will presumably continue to do so until his death. The word 'Moira' is also Greek for 'fate', which is rather fitting considering her role in the series.
One might possibly parallel a connection of the character Moiraine to the character Merlin from the Arthurian legend. Merlin is Arthur's trusted advisor and helps him after he pulls the sword from the stone. Merlin meets his end in one version by being trapped in an Invisible tower. Nimue, from the Arthurian legend, also called Nynaeve in one version, hates Merlin but steeled herself so she could learn from Merlin.
Another likely influence on the naming and character development of Moiraine comes from the Slavic goddess Marzanna. From the wikipedia page, "Marzanna (in Polish), Morė (in Lithuanian) or Morena (in Czech, Slovak, Russian) or also Mara, Maržena, Morana, Moréna, Mora or Marmora is [...] associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of nature. She is associated with death, winter and nightmares." The theme of death and rebirth is a vital part of Moiraine's character arc throughout the Wheel of Time series. In the first book, she is especially insistent on Rand, Perrin and Mat informing her of any nightmares they might be having. She is of the Blue Ajah, and described frequently as giving "cool" looks or having a "cool" or "cold" demeanor, all of which subtly allude to winter.
- "Live with what you cannot change."
- "You learn nothing if you put someone's back up to start."
- "The wheel weaves as the wheel wills."
In the television series
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 35
- Lord of Chaos, Glossary
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 3
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 50
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 52
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 18
- New Spring, Chapter 6
- New Spring, Chapter 2
- NS 2
- New Spring, Chapter 14
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 5
- New Spring, Epilogue
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 2
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 7
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 10
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 53
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 49
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 52
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 15
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 17
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 6
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 15
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 10
- New Spring, Chapter 4