Rand: What Must Be
I suppose this is a good time to take stock of how far Rand has developed in the first three books. Character-wise, he is indeed wiser and a lot less naïve, but understandably a lot less trusting, and perhaps less kind, as well. The psychological assault on Rand: sleep derivation, threats and assassination attempts have taken their toll. Of necessity he has started to harden himself, but it is nothing compared to what he will be like at the end of book 6 or book 11.
Having met quite a few more women than he would have in the Two Rivers, and having been forced to make a drastic career change, Rand no longer wants to marry Egwene, nor she him.
His channelling developed little until Tear. It was always instinctive; perhaps only luck, perhaps leaked knowledge already being ‘provided’ by Lews Therin. Rand doesn’t know, and nor do we. But we can suspect. A duel with his archenemy Ishamael may well have aroused Lews Therin from wherever he slumbered in Rand’s psyche; early in the next book, The Shadow Rising Lews Therin ‘speaks’ openly when Rand is confronted with Lanfear.
It is interesting or indicative that Rand’s first act of channelling was to Heal or protect and not destroy. RJ was careful to have Rand channel a fair bit before providing him with a teacher. He would not want Rand to seem too dependent on a Forsaken. In 2007 I wrote an article for Wotmania which charted the onset of Rand's Channelling and it is now released here in the Reference Library.