What is the third wave of the alien invasion? Why does this wave kill more than the first two combined?
Tehanu is the young fire-scarred woman who was once the adopted ward of Ged and Tenar, but comes to adopt a new role in the Saga of Earthsea through The Other Wind.
In the previous book of the same name, we learn that Tehanu was once a child who belonged to a band of gypsies and bandits, who sought to kill her by throwing her into a fire. Instead she is saved and come to live with Ged and Tenar. At the end of that story it is revealed that she has the ability to call and speak with dragons, and calls the oldest dragon then alive Kalessin, to save her adopted family when attacked. Kalessin calls her his daughter and then leaves.
In this current story, Tehanu is sent to the court of King Lebannen by Ged to see if she can understand why the dragons of the West are again rising up and seeking to invade the human lands. Tehanu manages to speak to the dragons and they call each other brother and sister. We later find out that Tehanu is indeed a dragon who has been reborn as a human, and her strange powers and affinities with the magical creatures is in part explained by this.
As a character in the novel, before Tehanu realises just what she really is, she appears as a very shy, fierce young woman with a half-scarred face and a withered arm. She hates being stared at and treated as if she is different, and her previous sufferings seem to have left her traumatised - unable to speak or look another human in the eye. Through the course of the tale of The Other Wind Tehanu realises her strength and gains her confidence, accepting finallyu who and what she is and becoming proud of it.