So, something I was thinking about earlier when rereading some parts of the Last Battle (so spoilers).
When Rand’s doing his mental list about people who go against the Shadow ‘a hero who will say with every breath he’s not a hero’ etcetera, one of the people he includes is Morgase. Which is interesting for a few reasons. For one, she’s the only person he includes who didn’t start out in the Two Rivers (narrative introduction wise, since everyone else is either a Two Rivers native or was in the Two Rivers for some reason at the start of the series). Two, it means Rand looked into what happened to Morgase in the time between her ‘death’ and reappearance in Caemlyn. And three, he felt what happened to her was more important to include in his list of people than Lan.
That was something that always struck me; when Rand’s doing that mental rattle off of people going against the Shadow, Lan isn’t included. Nothing about a king who fights an unwinnable battle, nothing about that hints to Lan. Instead he references Morgase, Thom, Moiraine, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat and Egwene. Lan’s the only character who’s from the very start of the series that isn’t included and Morgase the only character who appears later that is. That always struck me as weird, but then I had a thought earlier today.
Morgase is the one character we know of who explicitly went through hell at the hands of one of the Forsaken and someone who served the Light (Valda). Yes, Valda was a rapist and in general an awful person, but he wasn’t a Darkfriend. He was basically the perfect example of a person who excuses their actions as being ‘righteous’ no matter what because they serve the Light.
In some ways, Morgase needed to be thought of more than Lan when Rand’s making that list, because she didn’t break even though no one would have blamed her after all that happened to her. Rahvin’s actions didn’t break her and she even managed to escape him. Valda’s actions scarred her, but again, she didn’t break (she even had the foresight to abdicate so that she couldn’t be used against Elayne and Andor). The imprisonment and enslavement by the Shaido didn’t break her.
Instead she kept on getting up; she was able to open her heart to love again. She was able to return to Andor and act as an advisor and an asset to Elayne. She was able to remain Morgase even in the worst of situations. Lan was in many ways raised to not break if something similar happened to him, but Morgase wasn’t. Morgase wasn’t but she still remained unbroken.