Gaidal Cain

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Author: Kyria d'Oreyn



Gaidal Cain is a legendary swordsman, a Hero of the Horn and the subject of many stories. He is shorter than Birgitte, dark-skinned, stocky and muscled with broad shoulders and a harsh voice. He always carries two long-hilted swords on his back (TSR, Ch. 52).

He is said to be as handsome as Birgitte is beautiful (Glossary), while in fact, he is the ugliest man Nynaeve has ever seen, "his face wide and flat, his heavy nose too big, and his mouth a gash, far too broad" (TSR, Ch. 52).

Birgitte and Gaidal are lovers. Throughout the Ages they have almost always been linked; they usually end up as lovers or wed. Most of the time, he is reborn well before Birgitte and she hates him when they first meet in the flesh (TSR, Ch. 52). She thinks of him as having too much courage, so she must caution him (TFoH, Ch. 36). The majority of their lives end tragically, but occasionally they have grown old together (ToM, Ch. 22). Unless he has been recently reborn, he is never far from her. When she doesn’t see him in a while, she assumes the Wheel has spun him out again and is both expectant and concerned (TFoH, Ch. 14). After Birgitte is ripped from the Pattern, Gaidal is lost to her "as surely as if he were dead" and she is afraid she will lose the memory of him, too (CoT, Ch. 11; KoD, Ch. 17). Birgitte often thinks of him sadly (KoD, Ch. 32) and drinks too much to dull the pain of losing him (KoD, Ch. 35).


  • He appears alongside the other Heroes when Mat uses the Horn of Valere to call them forth in order to fight the Seanchan (TGH, Ch. 47).
  • When Nynaeve talks to Birgitte in Tel'aran'rhiod, Gaidal appears to tell Birgitte that she violates the prescripts. He asks her whether she has forgotten what Moghedien promised her, because he knows Moghedien will know Birgitte when she sees her in the World of Dreams. He then stands aside and hones his swords, ignoring Nynaeve. When Birgitte is done, she walks over to Cain, whispering something in his ear that makes him laugh as they vanish (TSR, Ch. 52).
  • Birgitte hasn’t seen him in a while and assumes he has been spun out again (TFoH, Ch. 14). She is afraid he will be roaming the world, searching for something he cannot find and feeling incomplete (TFoH, Ch. 36).


  • Thom recites stories from The Great Hunt of the Horn. "Gaidal Cain's Sword" is one of them (TEotW, Ch. 17).
  • Thom is upset when Seaghan, the owner of a performing hall in Cairhien, takes on actors who pretend to be Rogosh Eagle-eye, Blaes and Gaidal Cain. Thom says his own stories are so full of life that he makes his audience believe they themselves are Cain (TGH, Ch. 26).
  • He is a good rider, as he can guide a horse with his knees (TGH, Ch. 47).
  • Egwene reads "The Flame, the Blade and the Heart" which she borrowed from Aviendha. It features a collection of love stories about Birgitte and Gaidal Cain, among others (TFoH, Ch. 24). Romanda owns it too and likes the story of Birgitte and Gaidal (KoD, Ch. 23).
  • Gaidal hates dancing in every life. One night, however, he danced every dance with Birgitte to keep any other man away from her because she was wearing a dress that showed a lot of her cleavage (TFoH, Ch. 34).
  • When Birgitte is recovering from being ripped out of the Pattern, she weeps and murmurs in her sleep, telling Gaidal to wait for her. When she wakes, she wonders what Gaidal might think of her when she finds him, now that he is an infant and she old enough to be his mother (TFoH, Ch. 36).
  • Nynaeve thinks Gaidal is probably glad to be away from Birgitte when the other women angers her again (TFoH, Ch. 47).
  • Moghedien asks Birgitte whether she enjoys the flesh without Gaidal (TFoH, Ch. 54).
  • Hearing the story of Mat rescuing Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene from the Stone of Tear, Birgitte doesn't know whether she would have done something similar for anyone short of Gaidal (ACoS, Ch. 21).
  • He is said to be invincible "when his feet were on his native soil" (Glossary).


"'Perhaps I cannot sit by while evil fights,' Birgitte said quietly. 'Or perhaps I simply hunger for the flesh again. It has been long since we were born last. The Shadow rises again, Gaidal. It rises here. We must fight it. That is the reason we were bound to the Wheel.'
'When the Horn calls us, we will fight. When the Wheel weaves us, we will fight. Not until then!' He glowered at her."
(Birgitte and Gaidal; The Shadow Rising, Chapter 52)

"'I remember wearing a gown that could have been twin to that, once. It was only to attract attention so Gaidal could sneak by — the guards’ eyes bulged like frogs’ — but it was fun. Especially when I wore it dancing with him later. He always hates dancing, but he was so intent on keeping any other man from getting close that he danced every dance.' Birgitte laughed fondly. 'I won fifty gold solids from him that night at spin, because he stared so much, he never looked at his tiles. Men are peculiar. It was not as if he had never seen me — '” (Birgitte on Gaidal and the dress Clarine made for Nynaeve, before Nynaeve interrupts her; The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 34)

"I am here as I am, and I remember. All is changed. Gaidal is out there, somewhere, an infant, or even a young boy. But even if I find him, what will he think of a woman more than old enough to be his mother?" (Birgitte; The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 36)