A Warder (known as Gaidin [/ˈgaɪ.din/] in the Old Tongue) is a person, traditionally male, who is bonded by an Aes Sedai through the use of saidar to become her bodyguard and protector. Warders are easily recognized by their distinctive Color-shifting cloak, made of fancloth, when they choose to wear it.
The Warder bond was invented after the Breaking, and has distinct benefits for both parties. The Warder gains greater stamina and physical prowess, a greater capacity to resist evil, the ability to sense shadowspawn at a distance, and greater resistance to injury (totally aside from the proximity of his Aes Sedai, who is probably able to Heal his wounds using the Power). The Aes Sedai, for her part, gains a bodyguard, confidant and ally-in-schemes who is intrinsically linked to her and can be compelled, to a certain extent, through the bond. Both parties are able to sense the other's general location, physical well-being and, to some extent, emotional state. When an Aes Sedai dies, her Warder rarely survives. He completely loses the will to live and will almost always die attempting to avenge his Aes Sedai. A Warder's death is nearly as terrible for his Aes Sedai, creating so much emotional turmoil for her that often Aes Sedai take many years to bond another.
Most Aes Sedai bond one Warder, but the Green Ajah allows the bonding of multiple Warders and the Red Ajah, until recently, did not bond Warders at all; in addition Browns and Whites often do not bother with Warders unless it is necessary for their research. Aes Sedai sometimes marry their Warders, but this practice is most common among the Greens. After the cleansing of saidin obviated the universal gentling of male channelers, the Red Ajah repurposed itself for instead working with them, and it was decreed that Red sisters could bond Warders, but only from among such men.
An Aes Sedai who already has a Warder is capable of bonding another, though only the Green Ajah have been known to actually do this; done this way, the Warder bonds are separate, and the the two warders do not have the same awareness of each other as each does of his Aes Sedai. In a unique case, channelers Elayne Trakand and Aviendha of the Nine Valleys sept of the Tardaad Aiel bonded Rand al'Thor such that Elayne, Aviendha, and the nonchanneler Elmindreda Farshaw all held Rand's bond; the four entered into this arrangement because all three women were in love with Rand and he with them. Another feature unique to this bond is that Rand had already been bonded (involuntarily) by Alanna Mosvani; the placing of the new bond caused Alanna to lose consciousness for three days, but the bonds were otherwise independent of each other and created no connection between Alanna and the other women. It is possible for an Aes Sedai to relinquish her Warder bond and pass it to another Aes Sedai, such as when Moiraine Damodred passed her bond with Lan Mandragoran to Myrelle Berengari. Finally, Warder bonds can be dissolved unilaterally by the Aes Sedai at any time.
Whether by custom or law, all Warders have historically been male. Only three women are known to have been bonded as Warders to female channelers; Elayne Trakand bonded Birgitte Silverbow to save her from death after being ripped from Tel'aran'rhiod inflicted injuries beyond the aid of standard Healing. Egwene briefly bonded Leilwin after the death of her warder Gawyn, giving Leilwin a chance to prove her repentance for supporting the Seanchan enslavement of female channelers (Egwene released this bond before her death). Nicola bonded Areina, though this is only revealed in the Wheel of Time Companion.
Elayne discovered unusual effects of a long-term Warder bond with a woman; their mutual emotional awareness was greater, creating a risk of runaway feedback effects, and their menstrual cycles became synchronized.
As of the later books in the series, Asha'man have discovered their own form of the Warder bond using saidin and have begun bonding women as Warders. In the beginning, married men bonded their wives, primarily for the benefit of being able to "touch base" with her through the bond, but Asha'man later bonded a small number of captured Aes Sedai, much to the consternation of the White Tower. This form of the Warder bond enables the Asha'man to compel a woman with a greater degree of control than that enabled by the saidar bond, while in contrast male channelers are highly resistant to even that lesser degree of influence. Five Asha'man (Damer Flinn, Jahar Narishma, Karldin Manfor, Eben Hopwil, and Naeff) have been bonded (consensually) as Warders by Aes Sedai. In Knife of Dreams, Mazrim Taim grants permission to Red Ajah sisters to bond his Asha'man. Additionally, Rand al'Thor grants forty-seven of the Salidar Aes Sedai to bond any Soldier or Dedicated they wish (to balance the fifty-one sisters bonded by Asha'man). In a unique case, the Aes Sedai Pevara Tazanovni and the Asha'man Androl Genhald bonded each other. This double bond caused the mutual emotional awareness of the Warder bond to advance into a form of telepathy; though not quite able to communicate in words, they were able to transmit concepts to each other's minds.
List of Warders
- The Wheel of Time Companion, Warder