It's a well established theory that Rand will have to die and come back to life before the end of the Last Battle. There are many clues in support of this theory and I believe in it fully so I won't bother presenting arguments for it.
The interesting question for me is how exactly Rand is going to die (and come back to life). The idea I'll present occurred to me recently when I was writing up my impressions on Chapter 1 of AMOL.
There are a number of prophecies, viewings, dreams and foretellings related to Rand's death and the trick is to come up with a theory that will satisfy them all.
My theory is pretty far out there, it's far from being fully formed and definitely doesn't explain all of them but I want to record it anyway.
The first prophecy to consider is the often forgotten Dark Prophecy from TGH. There is some argument about whether or not it's an actual prophecy but I believe that it is because some of its elements are clearly prophetic and occurred exactly as described in the prophecy after it was written.
It would also be extremely weird to include it in the book and put a bunch of cryptic stuff in it ( particularly in the last stanza) that we still don't know how to interpret if it meant nothing at all.
So I'll treat it as the real deal. We'll be only interested in the first stanza here so I'll skip the rest.
Daughter of the Night, she walks again.
The ancient war, she yet fights.
Her new lover she seeks, who shall serve her and die, yet serve still.
Who shall stand against her coming?
--TGH, ch 7
Daughter of the Night is Lanfear because that's the meaning of her name in the OT. Her new lover can only be Rand. She ain't interested in anybody else. This much is clear but what's with Rand serving her before and after his death?! How can this possibly come about?
Next, the second Dark Prophecy from TOM
Lo, it shall come upon the world that the prison of the Greatest One shall grow weak, like the limbs of those who crafted it. Once again, His glorious cloak shall smother the Pattern of all things, and the Great Lord shall stretch forth His hand to claim what is His. The rebellious nations shall be laid barren, their children caused to weep. There shall be none but Him, and those who have turned their eyes to His majesty.
In that day, when the One-Eyed Fool travels the halls of mourning, and the First Among Vermin lifts his hand to bring freedom to Him who will Destroy, the last days of the Fallen Blacksmith's pride shall come. Yea, and the Broken Wolf, the one whom Death has known, shall fall and be consumed by the Midnight Towers. And his destruction shall bring fear and sorrow to the hearts of men, and shall shake their very will itself.
And then, shall the Lord of the Evening come. And He shall take our eyes, for our souls shall bow before Him, and He shall take our skin, for our flesh shall serve Him, and He shall take our lips, for only Him will we praise. And the Lord of the Evening shall face the Broken Champion, and shall spill his blood and bring us the Darkness so beautiful. Let the screams begin, O followers of the Shadow. Beg for your destruction!
This one is long and complicated and I'm far from certain on most of it so I will only concentrate on the bolded part here. The question of who the Broken Wolf is has been subject of a lot of fierce debates and while I'm not sure on it, the best theory I've seen is the one by terez that it means Rand. Death has known him both literally and figuratively (Moridn knows him and Moridin's name means death in the OT) and Rand's death will definitely "bring fear and sorrow to the hearts of men, and shall shake their very will itself". Nobody else really qualifies for these two togther. Now let me say again that I don't have anything close to a full interpretation of this prophecy. My biggest problems are with the timeline sequence but I have a very deep suspicion that this is related to the following comment by BS
How much time does A Memory of Light cover?
It depends on which part of the world you are in. You will understand that when you read A Memory of Light.
This suggests that there will be some shenanigans with time in AMOL and I strongly suspect that until we understand what that's about it will be impossible to correctly interpret the full second Dark Prophecy. So I won't even try for now.
Next, there are several reasons to believe that Rand's death will be a willing sacrifice. It fits with the messianic parallels for his character. He's done something like that before (fight with Ishy in TGH). He knows it has to happen because of the Aelfinn answer "To live you must die" and he has accepted it.
Elaida drops the following line referring to Rand in tFOH, prologue
Or do any of you believe he will go willingly to his prophesied death to save the world
It's not quite clear what exactly has been prophesied apart from Rand' dying but in any case this follows a very typical foreshadowing pattern in WOT when someone mentions a future event as a very unlikely joke.
Next, Min's viewing of Alivia that she will "help him die" (WH, ch 25). This is perhaps the most important clue. It doesn't say that Alivia will kill him, but that she will help him die which is a different thing.
Why would that be necessary? The simplest reason might be that Rand finally completely succumbs to the madness. Judging by what's happening to Androl, even the cleansing of saidin didn't stop the worsening of the madness on those who channeled tainted saidin (I don't understand why though) so whatever balance he achieved during VoG might break. Nynaeve can't Heal Rand's madness the way she did for the other Asha'man so most likely he'll have to die to get rid of it.
Many other reasons are possible. In particular, there are a number of clues suggesting that Rand might fall under the control of the Shadow. The first is the the first Dark prophecy that's mentioned earlier. The second Dark Prophecy says that the Broken Wolf will be consumed by the Midnight Towers (the Forsaken) which is a rather interesting way to put it and IMO points in this direction too.
Then, there is his link with Moridin. They are going to finish merging eventually (being consumend by the Midnight Towers might again be relevant). It's not clear what the result will look like (a new Luc/Isam?) but Min's viewing suggests that nothing good will come out of it.
I saw you and another man. I couldn't make out either face, but I knew one was you. You touched, and seemed to merge into one another, and....one of you dies, and one doesn't.
-aCoS, ch 33
When Rand hears of this viewing he jumps on it like a duck on a beetle and decides that it means that he'll merge with LTT and LTT will be the one to die. But Rand was misinterpreting a lot of viewings at the time and his exaggerated reaction to this one strongly leads me to believe that he is wrong on both counts. The second man in the viewing is Moridin and Rand will be the one to die, not Moridin.
There is also a sinister comment by BS that there "will be consequences of Rand's use of TP". According to LTT, TP means "death and betrayal" (tGS, ch 22).
Next, there is an interesting foreshadowing in tPD, prologue when Moridin is playing sha'rah against himself.
The Fisher held his attention, baiting him. Several pieces had varying moves, but only the Fisher’s attributes altered according to where it stood; on a white square, weak in attack yet agile and far-ranging in escape; on black, strong in attack but slow and vulnerable. When masters played, the Fisher changed sides many times before the end. The green-and-red goal-row that surrounded the playing surface could be threatened by any piece, but only the Fisher could move onto it. Not that he was safe, even there; the Fisher was never safe. When the Fisher was yours, you tried to move him to a square of your color behind your opponent’s end of the board. That was victory, the easiest way, but not the only one. When your opponent held the Fisher, you attempted to leave him no choice for the Fisher but to move onto your color. Anywhere at all along the goal-row would do; holding the Fisher could be more dangerous than not. Of course, there was a third path to victory in sha’rah, if you took it before letting yourself be trapped. The game always degenerated in a bloody melee, then, victory coming only with complete annihilation of your enemy. He had tried that, once, in desperation, but the attempt had failed. Painfully.
The Fisher (and Fisher King) is an obvious parallel to Rand. He already changed sides twice (light->almost to shadow->light) but the foreshadowing speaks of changing sides many times. The last part also suggests that the Shadow really really doesn't want to go the brute force confrontation route and will do anything they can to avoid it and win by other means. They are obviously still trying. Cyndane's appearance in Rand's dream at the end of TOM is a clear sign of that. Also, the foreshadowing suggests that there are three ways to win, not two. The Shadow tried the first one and it didn't work. The third one is the brute force method which they don't like so they should be currently going for what's behind door number two.
Basically, I believe that they will succeed in capturing Rand and turning him to the shadow against his will in some way. Not literally, like via 13x13 but in some other fashion. How exactly I don't really know. Could be because of merging with Moridin which results in Rand loosing control of his body or something of that sort. Could be that Rand's use of TP will give Shaidar Haran some power over Rand. SH definitely has powers over those sworn to the shadow. He can prevent them from channeling for example. Could be some trap laid by Cyndane. Could be a mindtrap as terez suggested recently. That involves the use of blood. Rand's blood is supposed to be spilled to bring the Shadow and this sounds like a good plan to do it. Could be something else altogether that I can't think of.
Here is one possibility how it may come about. There is a good reason to believe that Rand will have to go to Shayol Ghul twice
with the first trip depicted on the AMOL cover which shows Rand, Moirane and Nynaeve going down to the Pit of Doom.
So what would Rand be doing at Shayol Ghul on his first trip there? We can assume with reasonable certainty that he is going to break the seals there. That's his firm intention and the line of the second dark prophecy "and the First Among Verminlifts his hand to bring freedom to Him who will Destroy" supports this too, provided that the First Among Vermin means Rand, of course. But this can't be all he wants to do at SG. He can break the seals anywhere, no need to go to Shayol Ghul for that. The seals are very brittle now and are easily breakable.
As I said, Rand's plan A seems to be to go to SG, break the seals and kill the DO. I believe that's what he'll try to do. He'll succeed in the former but not the latter. The attempt to kill the DO should exhaust Rand quite a bit. It should be a much harder affair than Maradon and he was very tired after that. This should then make him vulnerable and then there will be counterstrike by one of the Dark Siders which should eventually lead to Rand's death. He even hinted that something like that might happen after the Maradon fight.
Rand shook his head. "I am not to fight this war, Bashere. Today's battle exhausted me beyond what I should have allowed. If my enemies were to come upon me now, I'd be finished.--ToM, ch 32
Futhermore, as was pointed out by Durinax this may tie in with another prophecy and another viewing of Min.
Min reads the following prophecy while thinking about Callndor and its flaws
Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.
--TOM, ch 32
In the same scene she also mentions that Callandor is often called the "blade of ruin" in the prophecies.
In ToM, ch 51 she has another viewing of Rand
She glanced at him, and a viewing sprang to life above him. A glowing sword, Callandor; being gripped in a black hand. She gasped."What did you see?" Rand asked softly.
"Callandor, held in a fist. The hand looks to be made of onyx."
It is possible that Rand will be weakened by using Callandor while trying to kill the DO, which will make him vulnerable and allow the DO to strike back and capture Rand (to seize "all that he is") in some fashion. In that case the back hand holding Callador in the viewing could represent Rand being possessed by the DO.
Now, if Rand is turned and has to be killed the deed will likely be done by one of the lightsiders. I also believe this will likely be done by a Mordred parallel from Arthurian myths. Alivia will help but it's clear from Min's vision that her role will be secondary. Perhaps she'll have to shield Rand - she is immensely strong in the OP and that should come into play somewhere. She is also one of the few lightsiders who won't balk at the necessity of doing it if Rand asks for it.
“You’ll have to forgive her,” Alivia said in that irritatingly slow, soft Seanchan accent. “I think it’s just that she takes her oath very seriously. She isn’t used to serving anyone.”
“Aes Sedai keep their word,” Cadsuane replied dryly. The woman made her feel as if her own way of talking were as quick and crisp as a Cairhienin’s! “We must.”
“I think you do. Just so you know, I keep my word, too. I owe him anything he wants of me.”
A fascinating comment, and an opening, but before she could take advantage of it, Elza came out.
--CoT, ch 23
The other Lightsiders who won't hesitate to do it are Moiraine, Galad and Gawyn. All three are Mordred parallels. Moiraine by her first and last name. I described Galad's Mordred parallesbefore. Terez likes Gawyn above all for that and she wrote a lot about it.
Moiraine made the following rather enigmatic promise to Rand, Perrin and Mat way back in tEoTW, ch 13:
"Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself.”
One of the most often repeated lines about Galad is that he will always do what he thinks is right no matter who it hurts. He won't hesitate to do what has to be done either. Gawyn will do anything at all for Egwene and there is a persistent theme of betrayal related to him (see terez's article for more on that). While Egwene is not likely to do it herself (she is a not a Mordred parallel) it's rather striking that in both her Accepted test and in one of Rand's alternate lives he saw when using the Portal stone Rand begs her to kill him (this also agrees with the idea that his death will be willing on his part). Those scenes are almost identical. Gawyn might do it on her behalf though, especially if he thinks it can help her somehow. It is also possible that not one but several of the people I mentioned will be involved.
The first Dark prophecy suggests that Rand will continue to be a prisoner in TAR after his death. The fact that he will be turned before death (and likely the exact manner of turning) should somehow facilitate this. Such things are possible in TAR. Egwene trapped Joiya and Amico in TDR, Moggy trapped Birgitte (when she was a dead HoTH, same as Rand will be) and then Nyn trapped Moggy herself in FOH and lastly, Be'lal trapped Faile using a hedgehog ter'angreal in TDR. Kari Al'Thor seemed to have been Ishy's prisoner in TAR (tEoTW, ch 51) although I'm not really sure about this one. There may be even more examples that I'm just forgetting.
In AMOL, ch 1 we learn of yet one more prophecy.
“The Karaethon Cycle?” Elayne asked, curious. “ ‘And light shall fail, and dawn shall not come, and still the captive rails.’ The captive is the Dark One?”
“I think so,” Egwene said. “The Prophecies are never clear...
Elayne shuffled through the sheets of paper, then stopped on one of them. “ ‘His blood shall give us the Light . . .’ ” She rubbed the page with her thumb, as if lost in thought. “ ‘Wait upon the Light.’ Who added this note?”
The girls think the "captive rails" part refers to the DO but they are not completely sure. This looks very similar to Moridin and Graendal discussing the second Dark Prophecy in TOM. In both cases they are likely misinterpreting. I suspect the "captive" means Rand being held prisoner in TAR by Lanfear.
There will have to be a rescue mission of course which will not be instantaneous, hence "wait upon the light". There are also multiple foreshadowings that Rand will be dead for three days: from master Norry's comment that he won't believe Rand dead till he sat three days with his corpse (WH, ch 9) to jokes about Nynaeve healing a man three days dead (LoC, ch 7). The rescue mission will likely be lead by Egwene and Perrin who are the main actors of the Light in TAR. This will also tie in with Perrin's mythological paralllel's as well as Min's vision about Perrin having to be there for Rand twice (LoC, ch 46). The first time was at Dumai's Wells. I think the rescue mission in TAR will be the second.
Egwene also has either a prophecy or a dream connecting her to saving Rand. Ishy ordered Liandrin to take Nyn and Egwene to the Seanchan because he had some info that they will play a role in saving Rand. He told as much to Rand himself
“They will not save you,” Ba’alzamon said. “Those who might save you will be carried far across the Aryth Ocean. If ever you see them again, they will be collared slaves, and they will destroy you for their new masters.”
--TGH, ch 47
This most likely comes from a dream as it's too detailed for a prophecy and BS hinted that Ishy is a Dreamer.
This is pretty much it for my theory at the moment.
Then there will be Rand's resurrection of course. I really like terez' theory about Nyn pushing him out of TAR the way Moggy pushed out Birgitte but this is a separate story.