The Dragon Preborn
On the slopes of Dragonmount shall he be born, son of a maiden bound to no man...
I recently read (though I can’t remember where) a definition of the term False Dragon as ‘A Dragon born before the Pattern was ready. A Dragon Preborn.’ I’m pretty sure that whoever wrote this was joking, but it got me to thinking...
Rand al’Thor is the reborn soul of Lews Therin Telamon. Sure, we all know that. But has Lews Therin’s soul ever been reborn before - when the Pattern was not ready for the Dragon’s rebirth? The prophecies are very specific: the Dragon is born on the slopes of Dragonmount, the son of a maiden (of the spear) and he will draw Callandor from the Stone of Tear and fight the Dark One.
If you read my essay The How and Why of Channeling, you will see that I base my theory of strength in the Power entirely on genetics. In this viewpoint, any person’s strength is determined by the body and not the soul. (Aran’gar is a different case; that’s the half of the One Power channeled determined, not the strength. Excluding the Dark One’s interference, a soul would naturally be born into a body of the same gender as itself.)
Then suppose Lews Therin has been reborn before - but not on Dragonmount, or not the son of a Maiden, or into the body of a man who cannot channel, or doesn’t have the spark, or is weaker than the Dragon needs to be. If this man has the memories of the Dragon in his mind, then he might, understandably, believe himself the Dragon Reborn. And it would be true. But the Pattern would not yet be ready for the Dragon’s rebirth, and if such a ‘Dragon Preborn’ proclaimed himself, he would be defeated and go down in history as a False Dragon.
In The Great Hunt, Artur Hawkwing, called by the Horn, says to Rand “I have fought by your side times without number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more.” Unless this is grossly exaggerated, which I doubt, many of these times must have been in Hawkwing’s previous incarnations as a Hero of the Horn. But what if some of them were not? One of Hawkwing’s greatest battles was against the False Dragon Guaire Amalasan.
Another of the famous False Dragons was Raolin Darksbane. Darksbane implies that he fought the Shadow - in fact, that he was a leader in the fight. A False Dragon is more usually known for causing war and chaos across the land than for standing against the Shadow. Some - for example the Emonds Fielders - believed that a Dragon, false or real, was the next thing to the Dark One. But if Raolin Darksbane was the reincarnation of Lews Therin Telamon and had his memories, those memories would surely include those of the long war against the Dark in the Age of Legends.
Obviously, not every powerful False Dragon is really a Dragon Preborn. Logain Ablar and Mazrim Taim cannot possibly be, since Lews Therin’s soul has most definitely been reborn as Rand al’Thor, and this time the Pattern was ready for it. But who’s to say that none of them were? In which case, the Dragon has indeed been reborn - over and over again.