The Wheel of Time: What Exactly is Perrin?

Clearly something “wild” is going on with Perrin Aybara in The Wheel of Time, but what is actually known about his special abilities?

Photo: Jan Thijs / Prime Video

This articles contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time.

In season 1 of The Wheel of Time, Moiraine made it clear that there were five possible Dragon Reborn candidates among the young people of Two Rivers, not because they all exhibited use of the One Power, but because the threads of their destiny made them important parts of the Great Pattern weaved by the titular Wheel of Time. Nynaeve and Egwene are learning about their abilities at the White Tower, and Rand is having his own journey of self-discovery… but what about poor Perrin? 

Perrin, like the rest of us, is still unsure what he is exactly, and he is perhaps reluctant to embrace the dangerous animalistic rage that resulted in several deaths in The Wheel of Time season 1; however, puzzled viewers are likely eager to learn more about his inner nature. Yes, those who have read the books are in on the secret, but even for those fans, it has been enticing to watch Perrin’s discovery unfold. So what do we know about Perrin’s powers exactly?

The most obvious manifestation happened when Perrin and Egwene escaped from the White Cloaks, the anti-channeling fanatics that captured them in season 1. Egwene used a small trickle of One Power to unlock her friend’s chains, and Perrin’s eyes glowed as he growled, almost as though he were “hulking out.” Immediately thereafter, wolves attacked the camp, killing many White Cloaks, but leaving Perrin and Egwene alone.

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When a wolf barked at them as they left, Perrin mysteriously told his companion, “He won’t hurt us,” and Egwene replied, “How do you know?” Nothing more was said, but as the wolf ran off, Perrin was clearly proven correct. This leads us to conclude that some sort of connection must exist between him and the wolves, especially since the timing of their attack aligned with the glowing of his eyes. It would seem, therefore, that Perrin has the ability to call upon wolves to aid him when necessary.

But as The Wheel of Time season 2 begins, Perrin exhibits a different power: the ability to see past events that have occurred in a place. In fact, he almost confuses the visions with the present as he and his party pursue the Darkfriends who invaded Fal Dara. What is this second sight, and how does it relate to the wolf connection, if at all? 

One person who clearly knows the answer to that question is Elyas, the tracker that accompanies the group on their journey, looking for signs of Padan Fain’s passing. The fact that the man prefers to sleep under the stars and refers to Perrin’s “pack” indicates he knows something of what Perrin is experiencing, and he notices Perrin’s visions as well. If he shares the same abilities or at least has knowledge of them, his mentorship could prove quite helpful as The Wheel of Time progresses.

The problem is, of course, that when the wolves attack the Seanchan caravan in episode 3 of season 2, we hear further insight from Ishamael, who also seeks to uncover what Perrin really is: “The more wolf you are, the more you’re mine. I’ll be watching your progress with great interest.” Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but that certainly won’t help Perrin feel better about his abilities, whether Elyas helped him escape or not.

Actor Marcus Rutherford shared his feelings about Perrin’s trepidation and Elyas’ role in an interview conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “It’s quite a scary concept to come to terms with, but I think Perrin has started to feel that there’s something within him that’s a bit different that he’s almost too scared to admit it,” he says. “That animalistic rage is something that he’s really scared to even think about again, and Elyas is making him question that as we come into season 2.”

Whether we call Perrin a wolf-talker or some kind of primal, clairvoyant hulk, his journey and that of the others from Two Rivers will become clearer when The Wheel of Time season 2 continues with its fourth episode on Prime Video on September 8, 2023.

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