Welcome back to "WoT If?". As we look deeper into A Memory of Light, there are several foreshadowed events that need further examination. The topic of this week's scrutiny is Moiraine and how "important" she was during the final showdown.
SPOILER WARNING. This will include content from A Memory of Light. Please DO NOT read this if you have not completed the book.
Moiraine. Everyone was so happy for her return. She was the embodiment of Aes Sedai for most readers, and her influence over Rand was what helped him become the Dragon Reborn in strength. Early on, we had some hints that she was coming back, that she really wasn't dead. Min thinks:
A Crown of Swords
Chapter 35, "Into the Woods"
What good to tell him he would almost certainly fail without a woman who was dead and gone?
Moiraine was the only viewing of hers that had ever failed.
This lets us know, pretty early on, that Moiraine might be coming back. We know Min's viewings are never wrong, so even though she doubts, we can read between the lines. But this also brings up the point that Moiraine will do something that will help Rand win. We see more of this when Mat actually rescues the Aes Sedai.
Towers of Midnight
Chapter 54, "The Light of the World"
"I'd have to give up half the light of the world to save the world. Bloody snakes."
"To save the world?" Thom asked, looking down at Moiraine's peaceful face, her body wrapped in the patchwork cloak. He had left his pack on the floor.
"She has something yet to do," Mat said. The pain was receding somewhat. "We need her, Thom. Burn me, but it's probably something to do with Rand. Anyway, this had to happen."
This is quite obvious. Moiraine will "save the world." Or is that what's really being said? Moiraine's return would save the world, not necessarily Moiraine herself. Let's look at what Moiraine does which might constitute as saving the world.
1. Make Rand remember laughing and crying (The Gathering Storm, Chapter 50, "Veins of Gold").
I thought for sure that Moiraine's return would be what caused Rand to come back from the edge of madness and destruction. Since Cadsuane did it, Moiraine's sudden appearance didn't add anything to Rand's state of mind. He was surprised to see her, but it did nothing for his well-being.
2. Tells Egwene she must break the seals (Chapter 6, "A Knack").
This was an important part of the Last Battle. If the seals weren't broken, Rand couldn't re-seal the Dark One. However, it wasn't Egwene who broke them. Logain did. And he would have done so even without Moiraine's insistence. As far as we know, the Asha'man knew of Rand's plan to have the seals broken. Moiraine's words wouldn't have swayed Logain in the least.
3. Help Rand by linking with him, Nynaeve, and Callandor (Chapter 23, "At the Edge of Time").
This was supposed to be one of the key moments during the Last Battle. Rand thought long and hard about who could be trusted enough to link with him at this fight. Moiraine's aid might have been considered saving the world, except that she didn't do anything of any real use. Aviendha—Rand's original pick—could have easily substituted in with no outward change in the event. And if Moiraine was given the prophecy of saving the world, Nynaeve would need a similar prophecy because she helped just as much—if not more—than Moiraine.
Since Moiraine didn't really add much to Tarmon Gai'don, let's see who was a better fit for "savior of the world."
Perrin: He killed Lanfear, who had him under compulsion, and kept her from killing Nynaeve, Moiraine, and Rand right before the deed was done (Chapter 48, "Light and Shadow").
Moridin: He used Callandor and unwillingly gave Rand the True Power to use as a buffer (Chapter 47, "Watching the Flow Writhe").
Nynaeve: She gave Alanna andilay, which kept her lucid enough to release Rand's bond. The same argument could be made for Alanna, too, that she saved the world by releasing Rand's bond (Chapter 46, "To Awaken").
Egwene: She forced Rand to let go of all the guilt and all the names on his list of dead women (Chapter 38, "The Place That Was Not").
Tam: He reminded Rand that he could use one-handed sword techniques, which kept him alive as he dueled Moridin (Chapter 15, "Your Neck in a Cord").
And finally, the only way it could be Moiraine who saved the world: Thom.
Since Moiraine was rescued and bonded/married Thom, he was there to protect the entrance to Shayol Ghul: "Someone will need to guard the entry into the cave, my wife" (Chapter 23, "At the Edge of Time"). If Moiraine had not survived, Thom would not have been present to dispatch all the Darkfriends who tried to enter under different disguises. If Aviendha had been the other woman, there wouldn't have been a Warder to guard their backs. So, with that logic, Moiraine might have been the savior, but only because she fell in love with Thom Merrilin.
That's all I've got to say on this particular issue. Let me know what you think. For next week, I'd like to look at the Horn of Valere and who else—besides the Heroes—might be bound to it. Thanks for reading.