She is stocky with a square face and speaks with a gruff voice. She has her dark hair in a bun and has large eyes.
She is physically very strong; she reminds people of a strict aunt, the one who would not stand for any nonsense, but who views her nieces and nephews as a raw material to be whipped into shape as human beings.
Strength and Abilities
Being chosen for the role of Mistress of Novices and later as Keeper of the Chronicles means that Silviana is also a high ranking and influential sister and a strong channeller by Aes Sedai standards. Thus she has the strength needed to use the travel weaves proficiently.
This is confirmed by "The Wheel of Time Companion" where her level of strength is described as 15(3).
Silviana is 151 years old. She was born in the year 849 NE in Amadicia and went to the Tower in 867 NE. After spending twelve years as novice and eleven as Accepted she was raised to the shawl in the year 890 NE.
Despite her great potential strength she had great difficulty in learning when she arrived in the Tower, spending in white more years than it was needed. Her teachers thought this was the result of her innate stubbornness and too much pride.
Silviana learned well from her mistakes and now she is strict to apply the lesson to others, becoming one of the best Mistress of Novices in ages; after being punished by her a girl very rarely repeats the same error again. However, she also uses rewards to motivate her charges, leading novices and Accepted to fear her punishments and be very grateful for her small rewards. This led to her having fewer discipline problems, faster learning and higher retention among her charges. Silviana was nowhere near as popular as Sheriam, her predecessor, but by most benchmarks was more successful. Silviana was careful not to play favorites, and to make each punishment one to remember - something which she felt her immediate predecessors did not do, making her despise them. She was tougher on Accepted than she was on novices, and in fact gave consideration for age and lack of experience.
Raised to Mistress of Novices
In addition to disciplining novices and Accepted, Silviana is repeatedly called upon to administer Elaida's "penances" on other sisters, including the former Keeper of the Chronicles Alviarin Freidhen. For this reason, she has two or three visits a week from sisters seeking a private penance. She, however, believes that private penances are ridiculous; penances should be public and punishments private. She believes that anything that takes her attention away from the novices and Accepted is a needless disruption. She is even sent by Alviarin to administer a penance of the flesh on Elaida.
After Egwene is captured by the Tower and reduced to a novice, she spends half her days in Silviana's study receiving punishment, so often that she requires Healing. Silviana is impressed by Egwene's sturdiness.
Raised to Keeper of the Chronicles
After Elaida abuses the One Power to punish Egwene, Silviana stands before the entire Hall of the Tower to denounce Elaida and demand justice. She is nearly stilled and executed for the offense, but is instead kept imprisoned. During the ceremony in which Egewene is raised to the Amyrlin Seat of the White Tower, Egwene demands she be brought from the cells. Yukiri objects to doling out justice during the ceremony.
Egwene rounds on them, calling them a disgrace and mocking them for thinking she would exact vengeance on the only other woman in the room who had stood up to Elaida. Instead, she raises Silviana to Keeper of the Chronicles for her strength of character and as an attempt at unity. Egwene is immediately pleased at how efficient and effective Silviana is at being Keeper, though notes that she will have to work on Silviana's Red distrust towards men.
Later on, Silviana guides Egwene to where she can see over Dragonmount. There Egwene sees a brilliant ray of light shining through the dark storm clouds onto Dragonmount. She asks Silviana to write this day down as something profound has occurred.
Silviana wakes Egwene up to inform her that Rand al'Thor has come to the White Tower. She then goes with Egwene when he meets in the Hall. Rand informs Egwene that he intends to break all the seals on the Dark One's prison and that he needs her help this time. After the meeting Egwene is shocked and intends to gather a huge delegation to confront Rand and oppose his plans. Silviana allows Gawyn Trakand to see Egwene when he comes to her with information on the assassinated Aes Sedai, though she and Gawyn have a mutual dislike.
She brings news to Egwene that watchtowers along the Borderlands have gone silent and that the Last Battle is on-hand. She also informs Egwene that the Sitters are holding a secret meeting without her. Both Silviana and Egwene arrive late. During the meeting a proposal that would allow only Egwene to deal with the monarchy of the world, which includes Rand as he is King of Illian, while the Hall would take over prosecution of the war and deal with Gareth Bryne's army is accepted. In that same meeting, new rules and procedures in the Hall, which include temporarily replacing a Sitter when she is absent from the Hall and that no meeting of the Hall can commence without all Sitters and the Amyrlin Seat being present is also accepted. Silviana informs Egwene that there has still been no word from Gawyn. Egwene asks her to send another message asking for his return to the White Tower.
To the Last Battle
Since the assassination attempt, Silviana works with Gawyn to make sure Egwene Travels to another location when she goes to sleep at night. On their way to the Field of Merrilor, Egwene uses her as a distraction to keep Gregorin den Lushenos away from Darlin Sisnera. Silviana is one of the five that Egwene selects to join her in the signing of the Dragon's Peace. She goes to the Kandori war-front that is led by Gareth Bryne. Silviana informs Egwene about Elayne Sedai's request for a Healing station to be set-up for the wounded. Egwene decides on Mayene. She is with Egwene when she demands that Bryne actively include the Aes Sedai in his war-plans.
Silviana fought at the Kandori front and at the Field of Merrilor as Egwene's right hand and kept almost as close watch over her as her Warder. The Aes Seadi are decimating thousands of Trollocs when a huge gateway splits the air and brings hundreds of Sharan channelers onto the battlefield. The Aes Sedai camp is completely routed in the attack. At least her loyalty to Egwene was doubtlessly as strong as that of a Warder; when Gawyn was dying, Silviana, a Red sister, offered herself to take the bond to shield Egwene from the pain. Egwene, however, refused, something Silviana later commented harshly on as she urged Egwene to consider the importance of her, as Amyrlin, being at her best. Though never stated, it is likely that she was devastated by Egwene's death.