A large continent/empire to the west of the Westlands, across the Aryth Ocean.
The Westlands refers to the western portion of the main continent. The Westlands extend from the mountain range known as The Spine of the World (sometimes the Dragonwall) in the east to the Aryth Ocean (which no inhabitant of the Westlands has crossed in centuries) in the west, and from the Great Blight in the north to the Sea of Storms in the south.
Although no scale appeared on the maps in the books themselves, a scale did appear on the world map in the guidebook accompanying the series. The scale on this map suggests that the distance from the edge of the continent on the west to The Spine of the World in the east is approximately 3,000 miles. This concurs broadly with the designers who worked on The Wheel of Time roleplaying game, who suggested a scale of 1" = 400 miles on the colour endpaper maps in the hardback editions of the books. By their calculations Randland therefore measures roughly 3,500 miles from the west coast to the Spine of the World.
A reliable way of measuring the maps emerged in the prequel novel New Spring, which gave the straight-line distance from Tar Valon to the sea south of Tear as 400 leagues (1,600 miles).
The Borderlands are the four northern kingdoms that border the Blight itself. For three thousand years the nations bordering the Blight have guarded the Westlands against Shadowspawn from the Blight. The culture of the Borderlands is the most martial of all of the Westlands, and many of the best soldiers hail from the Borderlands. Borderlanders often refer to the other countries of the Westlands as "the Southlands" and their inhabitants as "Southlanders", and some show contempt for Southland culture, viewing Southlanders as feeble and ill-disciplined, with a weakness for pomp and ceremony, and prone to division and faction (e.g., playing the infamous Daes Dae'mar). Because of the Borderlands' close proximity to the Great Blight and Shayol Ghul, Aes Sedai are highly respected, even revered; a stark contrast with the cool reception they typically receive in other lands.
One of the Borderland nations, Arafel is located between Kandor on the west and Shienar on the east. The capital of Arafel is the city of Shol Arbela. The current ruler is King Paitar Nachiman; his sister Kiruna is an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah.
As with all the Borderlands, Arafel is a martial nation. Arafellin men tend to wear two curved swords on their backs, one hilt protruding above each shoulder. Both genders wear their hair in long braids, with bells on the end. Sometimes they will also wear bells on their coat sleeves or dangling from the tops of their boots, as decoration.
The nation of Kandor lies between Saldaea and Arafel. Its capital is Chachin, lying near the northern border, just south of the Plain of Lances. The current ruler of Kandor is Queen Ethenielle. Kandori are famous merchants, and are said to have strange ideas about debts and repayment. Kandori men are noted for wearing pearl earrings and forked beards. Kandori merchants wear chains across their chests.
Saldaea is the westernmost of the four Borderlands countries and is larger than Shienar and Arafel combined. Maradon is the capital, and Saldaea is ruled by Queen Tenobia.
Shienar is the easternmost of the Borderlands countries; the capital is Fal Moran. The ruler of Shienar is Easar Togita. Shienaran men are noted for wearing their hair in topknots.
Altara is a country located between Illian and Amadicia. The river Eldar forms its western border. The nation is not united and often some nobles have more power than the King or Queen. Its capital, a port, is Ebou Dar, located in the south. The banner of Altara is two golden leopards on a field checked four-by-four in red and blue.
Amadicia is a landlocked nation in the southwest of the main continent, stretching from the southern end of the Mountains of Mist to the northern edge of the Shadow Coast (an uninhabited region). It is best known as the home of the Children of the Light, a highly militaristic religious order that claims to serve the Light and oppose the Dark One "wherever he is found". Because of the Children's hatred and distrust for those who can wield the One Power, Aes Sedai are forbidden to enter Amadicia. Amadicia was in theory a monarchy, most recently reigned over by King Ailron, but the Children were the real ruling power in Amadicia until the coming of the Seanchan. The capital of Amadicia is Amador.
Andor is the strongest single country in the Westlands (the southwestern section of the Eastern continent). After the death of the High King Artur Hawkwing, Ishara, the first Queen of Andor, persuaded Souran Maravaile (one of Hawkwing's generals who later became her husband) to lift his siege of Tar Valon and instead establish a country. Ishara believed in holding on to a relatively small section of Hawkwing's vast but crumbling empire, instead of fighting for the whole. The capital of Andor is Caemlyn.
Arad Doman is a coastal nation in the north-west of the main continent, lying between the Aryth Ocean on the west and the Mountains of Mist in the east. To the south lies Almoth Plain. To the north is an unclaimed region between Arad Doman and Saldaea.
The capital city of Arad Doman is Bandar Eban, a port city at the mouth of the river Dhagon and a major center of trade. Katar (in the disputed Almoth region) is an important mining city in the Mountains of Mist whose nobles are powerful enough that they have to be occasionally reminded that they are subject to Arad Doman.
Cairhien is located in the east central part of The Westlands, on the east it borders with the Spine of the World. The sign of Cairhien is a golden sun rising on a field of deep blue. The capital of Cairhien is a city of the same name.
Cairhien, like many of the current nations, became sovereign at the end of the War of the Hundred Years. For four hundred years after, it enjoyed a period of unprecedented wealth. This was due primarily to the Aiel, who granted Cairhienen the exclusive right to cross the Aiel Waste and trade for silk in Shara. This prosperity ended when Laman Damodred cut down Avendoraldera, a cutting from the Tree of Life and a gift from the Aiel, and unknowingly sparked the Aiel War. During this war the city of Cairhien was burned and partially destroyed, and as of the rise of the Dragon Reborn, its famous "topless towers" had not yet been totally rebuilt.
Cairhien is currently under the hand of Elayne Trakand. She laid claim to the land in Towers of Midnight, after claiming the Lion Throne of Andor.
Ghealdan is a relatively minor country, known for its production of alum. The capital is the city of Jehannah. The current ruler is Queen Alliandre, but she rules in name only as the country is a battleground between several armies.
The homeland of the False Dragon Logain Ablar, Ghealdan suffered a great deal from Logain's depredations. Logain was eventually captured by Aes Sedai and taken to Tar Valon to be gentled. Before Ghealdan could recover, however, Masema Dagar, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the Dragon, recruited an army of Dragonsworn who terrorized the southern parts of Ghealdan and destabilised the government. The present Queen, Alliandre, is the fourth monarch in six months; her two immediate predecessors ended their reigns after being defeated by Masema's followers, one by suspected suicide, the other by abdication. Alliandre thought it appropriate to come to an accommodation with Masema. Ghealdan was further thrown into confusion by the arrival of the Shaido Aiel, Perrin Aybara as representative of the Dragon, and most recently Seanchan forces.
Recently, Ghealdan has been placed under the protection of Perrin Aybara, Lord of the Two Rivers.
Illian is a powerful merchant nation north of the Sea of Storms, with a capital city of the same name. It is a center of commerce specializing in fishing, shipping, shipbuilding and smuggling. Political deadlock often leaves residents free to pursue their mercantile ambitions without official interference. Illian has a thousand-year rivalry with its eastern neighbor, Tear.
Murandy is a landlocked nation in the south of the main continent, bordered on the north by Andor, the north-west by Ghealdan, the south-west by Altara, and the south by Illian. To the east, across the River Cary, are the Hills of Kintara, which are part of no nation. The capital city is Lugard, and the present ruler is King Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a'Naloy.
The people of Murandy, much like the people of Altara, do not really consider themselves the residents of a nation, owing allegiance instead to a town or to a local lord. As a result, King Roedran has very little effective power, especially outside Lugard. The constant squabbling between noble families and their followers also provides ample opportunities for interference by powerful neighbouring nations, especially Andor. Murandians are, however, capable of overcoming their differences if they face invasion by their neighbours. Murandians are widely regarded as uncouth and undisciplined.
The capital city of Lugard is located in central Murandy, and at a major crossroads. Trade always flourishes there, regardless of whatever political upheaval may be engulfing the city or nation; it is this trade which keeps the city alive. Lugard is one of the few cities in the world which have more inns and stables than houses and shops. The city was once surrounded by a tall stone wall, which has fallen into disrepair. The many thieves who call Lugard home consider any foreigner a fair mark, and the unpaved roads and alleys are dangerous to travel alone.
Murandy plays only a minor role in world politics. The lack of an effective ruler makes it difficult for Murandy to defend itself, much less to make its presence felt in the rest of the land.
The nation of Tarabon was formed after the demise of Artur Hawkwing's empire, and the founders set a pattern that continues to modern times: joint rule by a male King and a female Panarch, with clear division of responsibility and authority. Tarabon fell into civil war after the events at Falme, and was eventually occupied by the Seanchan. The last Panarch, Amathera, was deposed and enslaved by the Seanchan, and the fate of the King is unknown. Tarabon is presently under Seanchan military government. The Seanchan in Tarabon were heavily attacked during the events in Knife of Dreams, as Rodel Ituralde leads over 20,000 men in a series of raids and skirmishes across the country.
Its capital, Tanchico, is located on the coast of the Aryth Ocean, about five miles up the River Andahar. The city is built on and around three prominent peninsulas.
Taraboners believe that they have some of the most ancient lineage of all nations, and refer to themselves as the "Tree of Man". They wear veils that cover all of the face but their eyes.
Tear is one of the richest nations in the land. This comes in part from controlling the greatest port on the Sea of Storms, at the mouth of the River Erinin. A great deal of Tear's wealth comes from the oil produced on the country's numerous olive farms. This is supplemented by lucrative trade in grain, fish and spices.
The region of the Two Rivers is located in the west of Andor, between the Taren River (Tarendrelle) to the north and east and the White River (the local name for the Manetherendrelle) to the south. The Mountains of Mist lie to its west. The only access is via a ferry across the Taren at the town of Taren Ferry. It is known for the quality of its wool, tabac, and channelers. It is also the home of the longbow, though that was less well-known to outsiders.
It was officially a district of Andor, but had not seen a tax collector or Queen's Guard in generations. Villages and towns in the area were effectively autonomous, each being governed by a mayor and council, and a wise-woman known as the Wisdom. Later, it was established as a nation under an agreement between Lord Perrin Aybara and Elayne, Queen of Andor. It experienced rapid growth due to the influx of refugees from Tarabon, Arad Doman and Toman's Head.
The nation of Andor does not include much land on the west bank of River Erinin. Cairhien holds most of both banks to the north (except the very north where Andor controls a small portion of both banks). The southern half of Andor's eastern border is some miles inland, thus in this area the Erinin actually falls outside national boundaries. The city of Aringill is located here on the west bank, the small and unwalled town of Maerone is located on the east bank, and several villages are located nearby.
Aringill is a fairly new city, having been either unoccupied or no larger than a small town as recently as 800 NE.
Since the Breaking of the World, the anchorage on Toman Head has been a coveted port location. It has not been confirmed, but supposedly there has been a city where Falme now stands since soon after the Breaking.
The first country Falme belonged to was Safer, ruled by King Eawynd. In 209 AB, Safer joined the Compact of the Ten Nations. At that time, the city where Falme now stands was called Miereallen. Safer survived the Trolloc Wars, but in a greatly weakened condition. Eventually the country collapsed, though the city struggled on.
The next country to control the city was Darmovan. It is likely that the residents of Falme participated significantly in the famous "People’s Uprising" that squashed a rebellion against High King Artur Hawkwing (exact date unknown, but some time between FY 963 and 986).
After the War of the Hundred Years, the nation of Almoth came into being. It controlled most of the Almoth Plain, as well as Toman Head and thus Falme. All that is known at this point is that the country simply faded away sometime before 600 NE.
In the books, the first Seanchan army ("Forerunners") landed in Falme on Toman Head, but was driven back into the sea by an army of Whitecloaks, and an army of dead heroes called back by the Horn of Valere.
Far Madding is a city-state in the east central part of the Westlands. It lies at the north end of the Plains of Maredo near the borders of Andor, Illian, and Tear. There is a Waygate nearby.
Far Madding lies on an island in the center of a lake. There are three gates and three bridges connecting the city to the mainland. The Caemlyn Gate leads to the Ajalon Bridge and the village of Glancor. The Illian Gate leads to the Ikane Bridge and the village of Daigan. The Tear Gate leads to the Goim Bridge and the village of South Bridge.
There are three Strangers' Markets in Far Madding where foreigners are allowed to trade. They are the Amhara Market, the Avharin Market and the Nethvin Market. They are named after the three most revered women in Far Madding history. At the center of the city is the Counsels' Plaza and the Hall of the Counsels.
Far Madding is noteworthy for its restrictive policy on carrying weapons. Foreigners are obliged to either surrender their weapons at a bridge guard-house on arrival, or (for a small fee) have sheathed weapons "peace-bound", i.e., held in the sheath by a wire net. The peace-bonds are inspected on leaving the city, and tampering attracts a hefty punishment. Within the city itself, there are considerable numbers of street guards employed to keep the peace.
In the time after the Breaking, the city was known as Aren Mador and was the capital of Essenia. After the Trolloc Wars, the city was known as Fel Moreina. After the War of the Hundred Years, Far Madding was the capital of Maredo until it dissolved. Far Madding is now an independent city-state and a major center of commerce.
In the Hall of the Counsels there is a ter'angreal known as the guardian. This ter'angreal simulates the effects of an Ogier Stedding, rendering it impossible for channellers to sense or touch the True Source, unless they are in possession of so-called "wells." These wells are able to store small amounts of the One Power, and can be used within the boundaries of the ter'angreal. However, Rand al'Thor says it's possible to channel the True Power (the source of power controlled by the Dark One), claiming that the guardian "Blocks the One Power... the One Power only." The area of influence is far greater for men than for women. The ter'angreal will also pinpoint the location of anyone channelling in the vicinity.
Far Madding is unusual among the states of Randland, in that the society is matriarchal in nature. All merchants are women, and men are the ones cared for with allowances or money willed to them. The system of government is also unusual; Far Madding, like Tear, is an oligarchy rather than a monarchy. The city is ruled by thirteen Counsels, giving their name to the Plaza and Hall described previously; the First Counsel is a "first among equals".
Katar is a sizable mining town situated in the Mountains of Mist to the southeast of Arad Doman. While technically independent, there is evidence in the books that it is under the "protection" of Arad Doman.
Mayene is a small but wealthy city-state, historically dominated by its powerful neighbor Tear. The ruler of Mayene is called the First; currently this is Berelain sur Paendrag Tanreall, who, like all of her family, claims to be a direct descendant of the famous king Artur Paendrag Tanreall (Artur Hawkwing). Similarly, Mayene's sign is a golden hawk, Artur Hawkwing's sign.
The First's primary duty is to keep Mayene independent from Tear, which claims Mayene as a province. Mayene's independence despite these designs relies on the Mayeners' knowledge of the location of the secret oilfish shoals, the oil of which is highly valued and competes with similar products from Tear, Illian, and Tarabon.
Another tool the Mayener rulers once used to assist them in maintaining Mayene's autonomy was a ter'angreal doorway which took them to the land of the Aelfinn. Anyone may enter this doorway once in their life; on the other side, they are allowed to ask any three questions, and will receive three true answers. These answers were a great aid to the Firsts in maintaining Mayene's independence, but one young First, who had already stepped through the doorway in his lifetime, eventually bargained it away to Tear. Despite this loss, the Mayeners are intent on remaining apart from the High Lords of Tear; this wish led Berelain to ally Mayene with the Dragon Reborn, the first ruler to do so freely.
Dragonmount is a massive volcanic mountain formed during the Breaking of the World after Lews Therin Telamon was confronted by Elan Morin Tedronai (Ishamael). Lews Therin drew enough of the One Power that "[t]he air turned to fire, the fire to light liquified", a lightning bolt struck from a clear sky to the point where Lews Therin was standing, bored into the earth and created a volcano, and split the river Erinin in two, creating an island that is now the home of Tar Valon. The mountain became known as Dragonmount, where the Dragon would be Reborn according to prophecy, and its summit, which often smokes like a volcano, is high enough to cast a shadow over Tar Valon at certain times of day.
The Drowned Lands are a wide expanse of wetlands separating the city-state of Mayene from the remainder of the Westlands.
An expansive forest located between Tear and Cairhein. It served as a hiding place for a nameless false Dragon who was caught and executed by the Tairens before anyone could learn who he was, and later for the rebellions against Rand al'Thor in Cairhein and Tear. The forest itself was described as being so thick that it would be easy to lose an army within it.
The Spine of the World, also known as the Dragonwall, is a mountain range that separates the Aiel Waste from the Westland Countries. The only known crossings are near Tarwin's Gap in Shienar and the Jangai Pass in northern Cairhein.
Located a short distance northeast of Baerlon is Shadar Logoth. It was previously named Aridhol and was a great city during the time of the Trolloc Wars. The city became corrupted and became as evil as the Shadow's forces (and as much of an enemy of the Shadow as the forces of the Light). The city is avoided and is dangerous to all who enter due to the presence of Mashadar.
Stedding are the homelands of the Ogier. Various stedding are spread all across the world and are places of natural beauty and power. They are shielded from the One Power in some way that prevents any person from channeling or wielding the One Power within a stedding, and a person who can channel cannot even sense the True Source while in a stedding. Wielding the One Power, while outside the stedding, will produce no results within the stedding. Shadowspawn such as Trollocs and Myrddraal will not willingly enter a stedding without being driven or under the greatest need.
The Shadow Coast is a largely uninhabited area in the south-west of the Westlands, known to be the home of two Ogier stedding, while Windbiter's Finger is an archipelago extending out into the Aryth Ocean in a perfectly straight line. It is unknown as to why the Shadow Coast is named so; whether for connections to the Shadow or otherwise has gone unspecified.
World's End dominates the far western edge of Saldaea, a sheer cliff face overlooking the Aryth Ocean near the Great Blight. The landward side is known to be the planting grounds for Saldaean ice peppers.
The arid lands north of the Blight and the Mountains of Dhoom leading to Shayol Ghul, and seen only in the dreams of Rand, Perrin and Mat when they were pulled into Tel'aran'rhiod by Ba'alzamon, and again when Moridin holds council with the rest of the Forsaken.
The Blight is the area in the northern reaches of the main continent and the northern reaches of Seanchan, though no Shadowspawn live on the Seanchan continent. The Blight's size is also connected with the power the Dark One can exert on the physical world from his prison, with the Blight growing steadily in the latter parts of the series due to the breaking of the "Great Seals".
It is a nightmarish land as all life there is corrupted by the nearby influence of the Dark One. Almost everything in the Great Blight deals death in some way. All the vegetation is toxic and home to insects that can cause a hideously painful demise. There are even remnants of twisted species created by Aginor—particularly one species, the Worms, which are apparently the larval stages of "jumara", unable to mature. Worms are able to kill Myrddraal with ease, and were even able to deal one of the Forsaken a nasty (if non-fatal) surprise.
Going into the Blight seems to be a traditional way to die heroically. Aiel men who discover they can channel go into the Blight to "hunt the Dark One."
A high mountain range spanning from World's End in Saldaea to Tarwin's Gap in Shienar and beyond, separating the Great Blight in the south from the Blasted Lands and Shayol Ghul in the north. Very few venture into the Mountains of Dhoom except in the greatest of needs, for it is said that there are creatures living in the high passes that are feared even by those living in the Great Blight.
The Pit of Doom is located in The Blight in the valley of Thakan'dar, under Shayol'Ghul and is the site of the Dark One's prison. A tunnel leads down to the fiery Pit of Doom where the barrier between the real world and the Dark One's prison is thinnest.
Shayol Ghul is a mountain beyond the Blight in the north of the known world. It is the place in the physical world to which the Dark One's prison is closest. The Dark One can exert far greater control over the mountain and the surrounding area than other places in the physical world, and his high-ranking followers such as the Chosen travel there to commune with him. Below the mountain lies the fog-shrouded valley called Thakan'dar, site of the forge where the swords of Myrddraal are created.
The Aiel Waste is a vast, arid land to the east of the Westlands, separated from the latter by the mountain range known as the Spine of the World, or the Dragonwall, to the west, the chasms and precipices of Shara to the east, the Blight in the north, and the Sea of Storms in the south. These four borders, and the hot, dry terrain keep the Waste an isolated land, as does the Aiel's harsh treatment of foreigners. Blistering temperatures ravage the land by day and glacial ones freeze it at night. It is a land of mountains and valleys dotted by numerous rock formations, including many spires. It has almost no vegetation and what there is, is small and virtually useless. Not many animals live in the Waste, but the ones that do are usually as treacherous as the land itself.
Despite the daunting environment, the Aiel people make the Waste their home. The majority of Aiel live in and among the rock formations. These holds, as they are called, are approximately the size of villages. The Aiel have their own name for the Waste, the Three-Fold Land: First, because it is a shaping stone to make them; second, it exists as a testing ground to prove their worth; third, it serves as a punishment for their sins against the Aes Sedai. The Aiel have absolute control of the land and only allow peddlers, gleemen and Tinkers to enter it.
During the Trolloc wars, the Trollocs gave it the name Djevik K'Shar, or "The Dying Ground," due to the immense ferocity and fighting prowess of the Aiel.
The land bordered by mountains to the west (the Aiel Waste is on the far side of them), and to the north by the Great Blight.
The Sharans, much like the Aiel, are secretive of their ways among outsiders. But the people of Shara take this a step further than their neighbors to the west. Outsiders are only allowed to enter several specially designated trading towns. These towns are surrounded by high walls, with no view of the outside world. Outsiders who attempt to ascend the wall, or leave the trading towns, are killed immediately. Seafarers who land on the Sharan shore, by choice or not, are similarly executed.
Jain Farstrider indicated in his writings that lying to outsiders actually seemed to be a part of Sharan culture. Folk trading with the Sharans have learned to check their purchases, as Sharans obviously believe they need not tell outsiders the truth about the goods they are purchasing. Trading with the Sharans is a dangerous business, though one that is extremely profitable. For the most part, the Sea Folk and Aiel conduct all trade with the Sharans. The Aiel permitted the Cairhienin to trade with the Sharans in return for an ancient debt, until King Laman cut down the Avendoraldera, a shoot of the Tree of Life, to make his throne, leading to his execution by the Aiel and the declaring of Cairhienin anathema.
Like everywhere else, there are those in Shara who can channel the One Power. These people are known as the Ayyad. They live in towns separate from the rest of the Sharan people; other Sharans intruding in these towns are killed. Male Ayyad are not killed immediately. Instead, they serve as breeding stock for female Ayyad. These males are kept in ignorance of the outside world, and are killed as soon as they reach the age of 21 or show signs of channeling.
The Sharans are ruled by a monarch, called Sh’boan if female and Sh’botay if male. The Sharan monarch dies every seven years, which the Sharan people simply accept as the "will of the Pattern." At this point, the monarch's widow(er) remarries and becomes monarch; the new spouse will be widowed in an additional seven years and reign in turn. Unknown to most, the monarchs are actually killed by the Ayyad, who are the true power in Shara.
Aspects of Shara seem to be based upon the lands of East Asia, such as their intentional isolation from the other lands as well as the presence of treaty ports and a "silk road".
Little is known about this separate, island continent, except that, apparently, all channelers there are insane, and civilization did not survive the Breaking. It is directly south and well below the equator from the main continent, near the Southern Icecap.