Perrin Aybara, also kown as Perrin Goldeneyes and Young Bull, is one of the main protagonists in the series.
He is a strong ta'veren, a wolfbrother, and has exceptional skills in manipulating Tel'aran'rhiod. He is married to Faile Bashere. He held (unofficially) the title of Lord of the Two Rivers and later (officially) Lord Steward of the Dragon in the Two Rivers.
Appearance and Personality
Perrin is tall (6' 1½" or 187 cm) and heavily built with muscular shoulders and strong arms. He is 235-245 lbs or 106.6-111.1 kg in weight. He has thick and curly brown hair and, from the beginning of The Shadow Rising, a curly beard. His eyes are a startling yellow color that glitters "like burnished gold" and glint in the dark like the eyes of a wolf. Before becoming a Wolfbrother, they were a dark brown.
Perrin has a gentle demeanor and is slow to anger. Due to his naturally great strength, he learned while he was still a young boy to restrain himself so as not to inadvertently harm others. This restraint extends to his mindset as well. He takes great care before speaking, making sure his thoughts are well-formed and complete before opening his mouth, saying only what needs to be said and no more. This carefulness, combined with his bear-like stature, often gives others the impression that he is somewhat slow of wit. His cautious manner of thinking, however, has become an asset as he tends to think out things very logically and completely, rather than act impulsively. This habit also has also proved useful as a military commander.
Although he rarely does so, his physical strength and animalistic wolfbrother impulses make his anger a terrible thing to behold. This internal struggle is Perrin's central theme as a character.
History and Family
Perrin is the eldest of four children born to Con and Joslyn Aybara and born in 978 NE within a week of Rand al'Thor. His sisters were Adora Aybara and Deselle Aybara and his brother was Paetram Aybara. His family were farmers and lived on a sprawling family farm more than half a day beyond Emond’s Field. The remaining nine members of his extended family who lived there were his father's brother, Eward Aybara, Eward's wife Magde Aybara, their three children, an unmarried great-aunt Ealsin, a widowed Aunt Neain, who had been married to his Uncle Carlin, and her two children. He has at least two distant living relatives, Jaim Aybara and Bili Adarra, who did not live on the family farm.
At the age of twelve, he was apprenticed as a blacksmith to Haral Luhhan in Emond's Field, after which he had only seen his family on feastdays, the distance being too great for casual travel. He was a shy child.
She called herself "Mandarb" which means "blade" in the Old Tongue. This was a source of amusement to Perrin as it was also the name of Lan's horse. The girl, revealing her true name to be Zarine Bashere, then adopted the name "Faile", which means "falcon". It is this name by which the readers will know Perrin's soon-to-be lover and later wife. Perrin is also immediately reminded of the viewing which Min had of him regarding a falcon and a hawk.
Perrin and Faile become increasingly close on the journey to and while staying in Tear. Against his wishes, she follows him to the Two Rivers. She supports him when he learns of the death of his family and pushes him to become the leader that the Two Rivers needs. They are married by the Women's Circle in Emond's Field in exchange for Faile protecting herself by leaving before the Battle of Emond's Field. Faile leaves, but returns with reinforcements from Deven Ride and Watch Hill.
In Caemlyn, Perrin first meets his inlaws Davram Bashere and Deira Bashere, who are understandably hesitant to approve of a man that seemingly stole away their underage daughter and married into a very wealthy and politically connected Saldaean family. Davram, at least, soon sees what his daughter does in Perrin and knows that Faile's fierce independence is more to blame than anything else for their haste. Faile's kidnapping by the Shaido in Amadicia begins period of frustration and self-reflection for Perrin where the lengths he will go to in order to resue her reveal a darker side to his character. After the Last Battle, Perrin is set to become the prince consort of Saldaea, as Faile became heir apparent to the Broken Crown via the deaths of Queen Tenobia and both her parents.
Perrin also forms close relationships with several other important characters, notably his mentor Elyas Machera, the obsessive and ultimately destructive Aram, Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron and others. Each one is a very different type of bond, although the latter was a source of anxiety for most of the books due to the rivalry between Faile and Berelain (the hawk in Min's viewing). After the kidnap of Faile, Perrin senses that Berelain is no longer interested in attemptiong to steal him from Faile and the relationship matures into one of respect.
For a detailed account of the events concerning Perrin, see Perrin Aybara/Chronology.
- Main article: Wolfbrother
Perrin's defining characteristic is that of being a wolfbrother.
Perrin first meets Elyas Machera and begins to sense the wolves a few days before he makes a full transformation to wolfbrother and gains the distinctive wolf-like yellow eyes. It seems likely that the triggering event is the first contact with wolves and their acceptance of him among them.
The name given to Perrin by the wolves is Young Bull. Note that this name is assigned by the wolves, not chosen by Perrin himself, and reflects his "true essence". An interpretation of his name could be one of great strength and a degree of caution about the world.
Being a wolfbrother gives him a host of special abilities. These include:
- Psychic communication: With more than one wolf or wolfbrother over a large distance.
- Psychic location: He can tell how far away wolves and other wolfbrothers are.
- Better vision: This includes both being able to see farther in normal conditions and being able to see in the dark.
- Augmented sense of smell: Not only is his sense of smell extremely sensitive, but he can smell things that would not logically have an origin such as human emotions and other states such as distrust or madness.
- Connection with Tel'Aran'Rhiod: The abilty to enter the Dreamworld in his sleep and in the flesh. The latter seems to require channeling in other humans.
- Prophetic Dreams: Distinct from the Dreamwalking ability, he also has abilities similar to a Dreamer in that he has dreams that predict the future. It is not clear whether this is strongly connected with the wolfbrother ability and something which all wolfbrothers (and possibly wolves) possess, or something more unique to Perrin.
For a list and examination of Perrin's Wolf dreams, see the relevant page.
The Axe and the Hammer
Perrin is associated with these two objects throughout the series, and they are central Perrin's choice between being a man of peace or a man of violence. The axe was made in 996 NE by Haral Luhhan after being commissioned by a wool-buyer's guard who subsequently refused to pay for it. It was described as "no common woodsman's tool" with a "broad half-moon blade on one side of the head and a curved spike on the other". It is described as around four or five pounds in weight, although this is very heavy for the average one-handed battle axe. See weights and measures for more discussion on this.
Luhhan had given it to Perrin some time in the past when he had caught Perrin practicing with the weapon and thought Perrin may as well have it than it sitting around useless. Mat makes fun of Perrin for this, but Perrin suggests that it is useful to have some practice with a weapon. Little did they know that it would be needed in the future. Perrin takes it with him when he leaves the Two Rivers and it draws eyes from the Tuatha'an when he encounters them, starting a long-standing deep unease about the weapon. Even before this, he had thought of the axe as being "wicked". Elyas Machera, a man wise in the philosophy of weaponry, has this to say to Perrin:
Perrin first kills men with the axe when he and Egwene encounter the Children of the Light somewhere east of Shadar Logoth. Previously, he had doubted that he could ever attain the calmness of the Void that Rand and Lan talked about when wielding the sword and he is conscious that his play practice was nothing like having to wield it for real.
The hammer was given to Perrin by blacksmith Dermid Ajala in gratitude for some work done by Perrin shortly after he arrived in Tear. It is described as being ten pounds in weight, but again there may be some discrepancy in terms of units. It is a one-handed hammer with shaft the same length and thickness as that of the axe.
To Perrin, the hammer represented the opposite of the axe. The axe was only made for violence and brought disparaging or fearful looks, whereas the hammer was something that could be used to create and brought the respect of a tradesman. Despite this, Perrin finds with reluctance that the Pattern needs him to use the axe more than the hammer; in the Two Rivers, at Dumai's Wells and against the Shaido. In his mind, although the axe is less than half the weight, it weighs "ten times heavier" on his conscience. His internal struggle is also reflected in Tel'aran'rhiod where the hammer flickers back to the axe before he becomes experienced at controlling his thoughts.
Perrin eventually gets rid of the axe after he chops off a Shaido captive's hand. The Aielman had not given in the tortures of Masema's man Hari, but after threating to keep chopping off parts of his and the other Aiel captives' and leaving them as cripples to beg in the streets, they quickly capitulate. Disgusted with the violence he seemed so easily capable of, he throws the axe into a tree and abandons it forever.
This is not the end of his struggle, however, as he now begins to use the hammer as a weapon every bit as deadly as the axe. This is pointed out to him by Hopper. After a great deal of contemplation, Perrin realizes the difference - the axe can only be used for killing while the hammer has the capacity to either kill or create. Finally, Perrin forges the power-wrought hammer Mah'alleinir with Neald and the Wise Ones and leaves his old hammer behind. He feels sorry to leave behind the blacksmith's hammer, but he knows that he is no longer a blacksmith and that now he wields the hammer of a king. He has now become the Wolf King of the prophecy and the Last Battle is nigh.
— Quoted by Tylee Khirgan, Seanchan Banner-General
He is also mentioned in the Prophecies of the Shadow:
— origin unknown
Brandon Sanderson confirmed that everything in this prophecy came true, if not exactly in the way that many people interpreted. The Broken Wolf is Hopper. The latter part is likely scaremongering by the Shadow.
Min has several prophetic visions of Perrin. They are as follows:
- A wolf. (Refers to Perrin being able to talk to wolves)
- A broken crown. (Refers to Perrin's new-found association with the ruling family of Saldaea, as the crown of Saldaea is also known as the broken crown)
- Trees flowering all around him. (May refer to the deaths of his family, and their burial in an orchard)
- An Aielman in a cage. (Refers to Perrin freeing Gaul from the cage)
- A Tuatha'an with a sword. (Refers to Aram the Tinker picking up and using a sword)
- A falcon and hawk on each shoulder, both female. (Refers to Faile (falcon) and Berelain (hawk) showing interest in Perrin)
- Perrin will have to be there twice for Rand, or Rand will die. (First time he saves Rand is when he leads a force to the Battle of Dumai's Wells, second time is during Tarmon Gai'don, when he kills Lanfear as she attempts to kill Rand at the Bore.)
Robert Jordan draws on a number of sources from myth and legend to create the backdrop for Perrin's character.
Perun, Veles, Thor and Zeus
Perrin's name is almost identical to the name of the Slavic bearded war god Perun. Perun's weapons were the axe, hammer and arrow, parallels to Perrin's half-moon axe, blacksmith's hammer and the Two Rivers bow. He was associated with the sound of a bull and bulls were sacrificed to him, paralleling Perrin's wolf name "Young Bull".
In Slavic mythology, he is sometimes seen as the opponent of Veles, a god who could change into a wolf and was known as "Lord of all wolves". The two gods even share the same wife. This may tie into Perrin's internal struggle between his human and animal sides. There is also a connection between Perun and St Elijah/Elias, mirroring the link between Perrin and Elyas in the books. One of Perun's symbols was an eagle, the same as the symbol of Manetheren on the flag flown by the Two Rivers men that follow Perrin.
Perun is often seen as a Slavic incarnation of Thor and Zeus (with whom is associated the eagle, thunder, bull and oak, all also symbols of Perun), but it is the Slavic version which bears the most similarity to Perrin in general. Thor carried the legendary hammer Mjolnir, Perrin's Power-wrought hammer is called Mah'alleinir, athough this name too was adopted in the Perun myths as "molnia". There is also a Baltic incarnation of Perun, Perkūnas, who shares many of the same features.
For details on the parallels for the general phenomenon of the Wolfbrother, see relevant section on the Wolfbrother page.
In the television series
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 2
- The Great Hunt, Chapter 1
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 40
- The Wheel of Time Companion, Perrin Aybara
- The Eye of the World, Ravens
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 10
- The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 50
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 23
- The Eye of the World, Chapter 30
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 41
- Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 27
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 4
- The Shadow Rising, Chapter 42
- Towers of Midnight, Epilogue
- Brandon Sanderson on Twitter, note 45