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Characters: The Wheel Of Time The Shadow And Darkfriends
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The Guy in Charge
The Dark One, Shai'tan
The ultimate evil, equal and opposite of the Creator
, imprisoned by him at the beginning of time. Partially released during the War of Power and resealed by mortals, his ultimate goal is complete freedom and the annihilation of reality. Not really male, but "he" is the pronoun that is mostly used for convenience's sake because it's less awkward than "it". The Dark One's true name is Shai'tan, which is rarely used because it is believed (to all indications, correctly) to bring the Dark One's attention- and attendant misfortune- down on the speaker.
- The Anti-God: The cosmic oppositional force to the Creator. So far as we know, they're the only two gods in the setting.
- As Long as There Is Evil: Actually, as long as there is the Dark One, evil will return and remain. As revealed in Book 14, the Dark One is the very concept of evil itself. He can be killed, and it would remove evil itself from the world... along with human capacity for choice and change.
- Bad Boss: Like the personification of evil would be anything else. Lampshaded by Rand, who points out during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech that the Dark One has no capacity to inspire loyalty except through fear and promises of power.
- Big Bad: Not only the ultimate villain of the series, but is stated to be the direct or indirect source of all evil as a concept.
- Bold Inflation: Words said directly by the Dark One are always in all capital letters.
- The Chessmaster: Being a god, the Dark One plans in the extreme long-term and the Forsaken don't always know what their boss is scheming up. Though as Rand learns, it's incapable of actually learning from its plans when they fail.
- Dark Is Evil: He is "the Shadow" opposed to "the Light". As seen at the Bore, he is described, or at least his prison is, as a blackness so deep that "black" doesn't even cover it.
- The Dark Side: He is the source of the "True Power", an even more addictive and painful version of the One Power that grants even more abilities, such as Flight, but also causes the users to eventually be Driven to Madness.
- Despair Gambit: This is how he tries to destroy Rand in Book 14. While physically torturing him doesn't work, having many people he cares about be brutally murdered while he is Forced to Watch from outside of the Wheel of Time nearly does, and almost leads to him giving up. Unfortunately, the Dark One did not count on a Heroic Second Wind due to Egwene's intervention.
- Eldritch Abomination: Defined, as nearly as anyone can make out, as a Sentient Cosmic Force with incomprehensible but maleficent intentions, which exists outside of nature as we know it. When Rand gets a look at it in book 14, he cannot comprehend its true nature.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: And that's why he'll always make the same mistakes over and over again.
- Evil Counterpart: The equal and opposite to the Creator.
- God of Evil: The ultimate source and personification of evil as an abstract concept.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When Rand finally pulls him into the Pattern and nearly kills him, then seals him away, he uses the One Power, but coated with the True Power, the Dark One's own essence, making it impossible for the Dark One to effectively fight back due to the sheer amount of it.
- I Control My Minions Through...: Fear and promises of power. As Rand points out in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, those are actually poor ways of instilling real, long-term loyalty.
- I Have Many Names: Or at least many epithets. Father of Lies, Sightblinder, Leafblighter, Lord of the Grave, Grassburner...
- Inherent in the System: In Book 14, Rand and the Dark One face off by weaving the Pattern itself, creating possible worlds to show to each other. Rand attempts to create a world without his influence, but finds that, without the possibility of choosing wrong, the goodness of the world is banal. The Dark One is a fundamental part of the universe, and while he can be killed, it would also remove humanity's capacity for choice and change, seeing as those inherently mean conflict of some sort.
- It's All About Me: The true core of the Dark One's personality seems to be selfishness. Word of God is that this is the single common character trait shared by all of his followers. The second potential reality he shows Rand (and implies is most likely what he'd create) isn't too terrible to live in compared to, say, the Blight, but every human has had their empathy surgically removed to be just like him. He sums it up thusly: THERE IS ONLY ME.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Shai'tan. That's not even getting into his titles, mentioned above...
- No Biological Sex: Due to having no body. Though most characters just use male pronouns, it's not really accurate, and Rand ends up just settling on "it" during their duel.
- Not So Different: In Book 14, Rand's world without the Dark One causes it to invoke this.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Though during his confrontation with Rand, a void is only one of the possibilities he shows if he wins- the other two are both dystopias, one more blatant than the other. Rand thinks that the peace of nonexistence isn't something he'd really be capable of giving in the end.
- Reality Warper: If freed, the Dark One can reshape the world in any way it wants. Imprisoned, it can only do this inside Shayol Ghul, though as the series progresses and the Seals weaken it gains the ability to create localized, small-scale reality warps termed "Bubbles of Evil".
- Satanic Archetype: His true name certainly invokes this, and is in fact the Arabic spelling of Satan. Ironically, the Dragon of the Age of Legends, Lews Therin Telamon, is an expy of the same Biblical Bad Guy. The Dark One himself, also ironically, is not an expy of the Biblical Satan despite the similar name. Rather than a Fallen Angel who tried and failed to take over Heaven, the Dark One is explicitly a cosmic force on par with- and fundamentally opposed to- the Creator, making him closer to the Zoroastrian Ahriman and an example of The Anti-God.
- The Scottish Trope: His followers don't say his name out of reverence, his enemies don't out of fear. Only three characters have named the dark one aloud at any point thus far in the story:
- Rand spoke it twice. The first time, fifteen seconds later, an invasion of Trollocs happened, and the second time he suffered Power Incontinence so bad it wiped out a good chunk of his own army.
- Mat accidentally let it slip at the end of Book 3, but for some reason nothing appeared to happen, at least at first. Then again, the Dark One had just suffered a serious defeat, and Mat is Born Lucky.
- Unless you consider the Bubble of Evil at the beginning of Book 4 to be the consequence.
- Ishamael on the other hand uses the name regularly: apparently being the Dark One's favorite human gives you certain privileges in that area.
- In Book 14, however, Rand uses his name liberally in their encounter. Justified in that, considering Rand is in his domain, the Dark One does not need to be alerted to where he is except while Rand is entering the Pit of Doom.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The weakening of the can is a main plot element, though technically it's outside the can, trying to break innote .
- Sentient Cosmic Force: During their mental duel, Rand at one point percieves him as a force as vast as the universe, which is implied to be his true nature, or as close to it as humans can perceive.
- The Social Darwinist: "MY CHOSEN ARE ALWAYS THE STRONGEST." The Dark One has a distinct "survival of the fittest" attitude towards how it manages its minions, the Forsaken in particular. How much it actually believes in this ideology - and how much is just it finding amusement from watching its followers battle among themselves for power - is probably impossible to say.
- The Devil Is a Loser: See Villainous Breakdown. When events turned against it, we start to see what the Dark One really is like stripped of advantage, power, and minions- a blindly horrible thing that can't even be properly called a person. Rand calls it pitiful before sealing it away.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both delivers one to, and is on the receiving end of one from, Rand.
- Ultimate Evil: Shai'tan is presented as a being far too abstract for human minds to grasp, and when fighting Rand he just takes the shape of a shadowy void, rather than something comprehensible to humans. Furthermore, he is revealed to not just be an evil being, but to be the incarnation of the concept of evil in and of itself in that world, and killing him would lead to the destruction of evil in the Pattern.
- Villainous Breakdown: During Rand's Heroic Second Wind in Book 14, Shai'tan's rantings become less about breaking him down, and more about reasserting its own position as superior. When it is yanked through the Bore with the One Power and the True Power, Rand ends up holding it with such force that it is struggling against his power, instead of vice versa. In the end, just before putting it back to a new can, Rand even calls it a "horrible, pitiful mite", a far cry from The Anti-God.
- Void Between the Worlds: This is how it is defined in Book 14, as a force, rather than a being.
- Worthy Opponent: As shown in Book 14, it seems to view Rand this way, or rather the Dragon as a whole. It calls him "Adversary" in their battle.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: When Rand finally confronts the Dark One directly, he can only perceive him in his mind's eye as a featureless, endless void of nothingness, essentially anti-creation.
The Forsaken / The Chosen
In the previous War Of Power, Lews Therin lead the forces of light supported by a team of lieutenants and trusted advisers. Many died, but many also went rogue and joined with The Shadow and The Dark One. These best-and-brightest were called "The Chosen" by the servants of the Shadow, "The Forsaken" by everyone else. There were originally about thirty Forsaken with various talents, ranging from military generals to doctors, scientists, artists, philosophers and so on. The thirteen
most powerful Forsaken were sealed inside Shayol Ghul at the moment when Lews Therin placed the seven Seals on The Dark One, but with the Seals wearing down, they are starting to break free...
The Forsaken are a Quirky Miniboss Squad
composed of Names to Run Away From Really Fast
— literally, since most of them took a Meaningful Rename
after they turned to the Shadow. They are just one step below The Dragon
("Nae'blis") to the Big Bad
himself; most of them are of the Card-Carrying Villain
variety, and they often fight amongst themselves over who is going to be
Nae'blis. (This level of Divided We Fall
is implied to be one of the main reasons The Shadow hasn't won yet, though it's also something the Dark One is implied to actively look for in lieutenants: it prefers pure evil villains over stabler but less selfish minions.) They are here in the story's "present day" with all their knowledge from the Age Of Legends intact, and the one thing everyone agrees on, both Light and Shadow, is that it's likely to be a Curb-Stomp Battle
once they start taking the fight to today's backwards yokels.
The Forsaken in general provide examples of:
- The Archmage: All of them were above-average channelers by Age of Legends standards, which puts most of them at a truly epic stature compared to Third Age channelers (and with the egos to match). In particular, Ishamael (who wasn't the most powerful male channeler ever only because he was neck-and-neck with Lews Therin for the position), Lanfear (who was the most powerful female channeler ever), Aginor, and Demandred were noted for this.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Essentially how their hierarchy works; which Forsaken are currently the highest depends on who is most powerful, ruthless, and generally successful. Even before Moridin became Nae'blis, however, Word of God has said that the top ranks of the Forsaken were always filled by Ishamael, Lanfear, Demandred, and to a lesser extent Graendal, Sammael, and Semirhage.
- Berserk Button: Most of them have at least one, usually related to their Freudian Excuse or Start of Darkness. As a group, they tend to get rather upset if they're called "Forsaken"- it's "the Chosen", thank you very much.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Semirhage is the most obvious, though most of them have shades of this. Ishamael was one as Ba'alzamon, but is much less so as Moridin, who's a more philosophically-inclined kind of villain.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Dark One seeks out selfishness in his followers.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: Play this role to the Shadowspawn, despite being human.
- The Dragon: The official position Nae'blis, held by the leader of the Forsaken and the right hand of the Dark One. They all want it, but only Moridin gets it.
- The Dreaded: The group became the benchmark by which evil was judged in the setting for millennia.
- Dream Walker: All of them have at least some skill in this area, seeing as they used tel'aran'rhiod for their meetings. Lanfear, Ishamael, and Moghedien are particularly good at it.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger: In the last book, they get one new member- M'Hael, aka Mazrim Taim.
- Evil Sorcerer: All of them. You don't get to be a Forsaken unless you can channel, and you wouldn't want to unless you were evil.
- Fallen Hero: Demandred, Sammael, Graendal, and for a certain value of "hero" (at least, someone who was greatly respected), Ishamael.
- Five-Bad Band: Not initially- for one, there are far too many of them, and for another they're really terrible at working together- but the final group of survivors who lead the Shadow at the Last Battle do fall here.
- Humanoid Abomination: Subverted. The people of the present Age consider them to be this, but they're actually just very powerful, very evil humans.
- It's All About Me: According to Jordan, selfishness is the one common trait among them — it's the one mindset the Dark One truly understands since it's the way he himself conceptualizes the universe.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: A running theme is just how pathetic a lot of them really are when you strip away their mystique.
- Meaningful Rename: All of them; most were given to them by others, but Lanfear chose her own. We know the meaning of several, but not all, of their names. When reincarnated into new bodies, several of them get new new names.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Most of their names are evocative of demons or monsters from real world mythology. They also qualify as these in-universe, meaning rather nasty things in the Old Tongue. This does not tend to hold true for some of the new bodies of dead Chosen.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Actually more like Big Fish In A Tiny Pond. At the beginning, the heroes live in constant fear of the Forsaken because they know that they (the heroes) would be hopelessly outclassed in a fight. Near the end, even after those heroes have all taken levels in Badass, the Forsaken continue to present a credible threat: the Final Battle, which involves something like 25 good-guy narrators, revolves around taking down just two of them.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Multiple Forsaken have this attitude toward Rand. Of course, the Dark One will reward whoever manages to take him out (as long as they do it according to the rules; he frequently doesn't want Rand killed), but It's Personal for several. Demandred, Sammael, and Be'lal all want revenge and can't agree to work together for it. Lanfear just wants her ex back (and is happy to use Mind Control to get him); obviously this isn't compatible with the goals of the previous three, or with Graendal's mind control. (Graendal would be happy to use it on him, though she's not as into it as the others.) Ishamael wants Rand to serve the Dark One at any cost, though he'll kill him if need be. Finally, all of them are opposed to Padan Fain getting to do the deed.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Though they rarely work together unless forced to.
- Recurring Boss: Unless their boss is unhappy with them, or their opponent uses balefire to do the deed, killing them once is rarely enough.
- Shrouded in Myth: They're a dysfunctional- though very dangerous- group of powerful humans. Legends about them grew over the milennia that practically elevated them to lesser Gods of Evil in their own right.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: All of them were trapped in the Dark One's prison by Lews Therin at the end of the War of Power (except for Ishamael, who wasn't quite imprisoned and was able to act in the world for certain periods of time before being forced back into dormancy). For the most part they were in perfect stasis, except for Ishamael and Aginor and Balthamel (who were close enough to reality to be both conscious and subject to the passage of time).
- The Starscream: All of them except Demandred scheme to take over Moridin's position. Lanfear takes it a step further, plotting against the Dark One himself.
- You Have Failed Me: The Dark One doesn't take failure lightly, and tends to send his Dragon out to take care of failures amongst the Chosen. Select examples include Lanfear/Cyndane, Moghedien, and Sammael. He also punishes Graendal for plotting against other Chosen and leading to their deaths and other failures, but does so more directly, and sometimes punishes those he brings Back from the Dead with their new bodies. The exception, said Dragon, is acknowledged as not getting any real retribution for failure, but it is also noted that the Dark One isn't exactly one to work fairly and equally. Ends up being played straight on the latter in Book 14, with his punishment having been his resurrection.
Ishamael / "Ba'alzamon" / Moridin / Elan Morin Tedronai:
A famous philosopher and writer in the Age of Legends and one of Lews Therin's closest friends. He is the most powerful of the Forsaken and their leader. Incredibly intelligent, he has profound insight into the nature of the Wheel of Time and the struggle between the Dark One and the Dragon. He is unique among the Forsaken as being the only member of the group who didn't join for the promise of power, immortality or revenge, but because his logic concluded that the Dark One must inevitably win against the Dragon, and therefore the only path was to join him and rule for a time. All of the other Forsaken believe him to be insane, though some of Ishamael's statements which are taken to be mad are in fact simply esoteric beyond what the other Forsaken are willing or capable of understanding (the brief talk on Chaos Theory at one of their meetings while burning a rat alive).
He was only partially sealed in Shayol Ghul and has been manipulating and influencing the Pattern for eons by the time of the main series. He is responsible for both the Trolloc Wars and the fall of Artur Hawkwing.
- A God Am I: Occasionally, he thinks that he is The Dark One himself, or an aspect thereof. It's not clear if he's wrong, either. At the very least, Word of God has confirmed that he and the Dark One are on the same page about most things. Book 14 reveals that they were not about this one. Hence Moridin's Fate Worse Than Death.
- The Antichrist: Sees himself as this, representing The Dark One as a counterpart to The Dragon, who is the Messianic Archetype for The Pattern. He's right.
- Arch-Enemy: The only one of the Forsaken equal in power to Lews Therin / Rand and the one who has most went out of his way to make their respective lives Hell; took responsibility for Lews Therin killing his family, and at the very least showed up to rub his face in it, even giving him a moment of sanity just so he could comprehend what he had just done.
- Armchair Military: The Guide notes that during the War of Power, his official rank was Chief Captain-General of the Shadow- despite the fact that he had no military experience and is never recorded to have actually lead troops in person. As Moridin, he largely dispenses with even that, leaving the running of the military side of things almost exclusively to Demandred while preparing for his personal confrontation with Rand.
- Ax-Crazy: The other Forsaken agree he's nuts. Moridin was saner... until he started using the True Power exclusively for many menial tasks, making him get progressively toward his former insanity once more. In the final battle against Rand, the saa turn his eyes completely black, signifying that this insanity became complete and irreversible.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: The True Power, which is like the One Power but can perform weaves impossible with the latter and derives from The Dark One, and is much more dangerous and addictive.
- Black Eyes of Evil: The True Power causes saa, flecks of blackness, to flit across the eyes of habitual users, with more the more they use it. This ultimately culminates in completely black eyes, signifying their turn to completely, irreversibly Ax-Crazy in the current body. Ishamael is heavily implied to have full saa in the first 3 books, with the thousands of years with them causing their current state. Moridin develops it over the course of his life due to using the True Power exclusively, culminating in him getting full saa immediately before his battle with Rand at the Pit of Doom commences.
- Cessation of Existence: His ultimate goal, due to his status as a Straw Nihilist.
- Character Death: In the end of Book 14... in Rand's body, which is burned on a funeral pyre.
- The Chessmaster: Bonus points for being an actual master of this universe's version of chess.
- Death by Irony: In Book 2, Ishamael gave Rand a Wound That Will Not Heal that remained with him for the rest of the series. After a "Freaky Friday" Flip imposed by Rand in the last book, Moridin dies of the very wound he himself inflicted years prior.
- Death Seeker: The last book confirms he wants to die- and take reality with him- because he can't bear the idea of existence any longer. When Rand asks why the Dark One never punished him for impersonating him, Moridin tells him that his punishment was to be brought back to life.
- Despair Event Horizon: It is implied by Rand's comments to Moridin in the World of Dreams that it was Elan Morin reaching the same conclusion as Rand did on Dragonmount at the end of The Gathering Storm that led him to become a Straw Nihilist in the first place—he just didn't have an Epiphany Therapy to bring him back from the brink. This, coupled with Graendal's thoughts on Elan Morin once having been good like herself, may suggest Moridin could possibly be brought back to the Light (particularly with Nynaeve's ability to heal insanity), but since unlike Rand he has no one to love or protect, the chances of this are very slim. It doesn't happen- he dies in Rand's body.
- Disc One Final Boss: In the first three books, everyone thought he actually was the Dark One (Moiraine figured out his true identity after his death), and that when Rand killed him it was all over. Boy were they wrong...
- Recurring Boss: One reason for this is that Rand kills him more than once until Ba'alzamon finally stays dead, though he comes back with a wildly different personality, as Moridin.
- The Dragon: Moridin was officially named Nae'blis.
- The Dreaded: The Forsaken are this in general, but for millennia men thought he was The Dark One himself thanks to misinterpreting his title Ba'alzamon (that, and he thinks he is too). Though even without it, knowing he's the most powerful of the Forsaken and is equal to The Dragon tends to be sufficient.
- Dream Walker: Haunts Rand's dreams for much of the first three books and again in the last three. In addition, Word of God indicates that at least one of the Forsaken is a Dreamer, and most fan speculation has Ishamael pegged for the role.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Doesn't see the point of fighting against the, in his view, unavoidable victory of the Dark One. He understand feelings like compassion and empathy perfectly well, but pays them no heed on his way to unmaking creation itself. And he tends to forget that others aren't as fatalistic as himself, thus acting vastly different than him.
- Evil Counterpart: To Rand. Sees himself as this to The Dragon in general, believing that he serves as The Dragon to The Dark One in the same way Rand is The Dragon to the Creator, that they both reincarnate and battle for eternity.
- Evil Genius: In terms of raw brainpower, he's probably the smartest of the Forsaken by a fair margin, though the fact that this manifests mostly through metaphysical ponderings and obsessing with esoterica means that others beat in in more practical areas of intelligence (Graendal for personal manipulation and Demandred for military strategy).
- Fallen Hero: Not quite hero, but he was a highly respected intellectual back in the day. He was called "The Betrayer of Hope" by the public when he publicly announced for the Shadow, signalling how far he had fallen in their eyes.
- Fate Worse Than Death: To his mind, being reincarnated.
- Foil: To Rand.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: In their final battle, Rand does this to him intentionally. As a result of this, Moridin dies of Rand's Wounds That Will Not Heal (the first of which he himself inflicted in the first place), and Rand is free to live out his life, unable to channel, in Moridin's body, to see the Fourth Age.
- Friendly Enemy: As Moridin, he and Rand have a number of downright civil, almost pleasant conversations, despite being fully aware that their respective positions as Nae'blis and Dragon make them eternal enemies. He even goes so far as to protect Rand from Mashadar, since he knows of his importance to the Last Battle, which he considers imperative and inevitable. Rand after merging with his memories of Lews Therin always refers to him as "Elan", rather than any of his chosen names or even "Elan Morin", which Word of God says could indicate insult or close familiarity- and in this context likely means both. See Go-Karting with Bowser below.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom/Throat Light: As Ba'alzamon due to the True Power.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: After achieving synchronization with Rand in Book 8 by accident, they have several meetings in the resident Dream Land where they do not actually attack each other, but rather have conversations. That said, they show that they are distinctly opposed to one another, and that they will eventually fight. In Books 13 and 14, these conversations get to the point of them calling each other by their Age of Legends names.
- Hannibal Lecture: Every time he opens his mouth.
- Kneel Before Zod: His Ba'alzamon persona is obsessed with making Rand submit:
Ishamael: "Kneel! Kneel, and acknowledge me your master! In the end, you will. You will be my creature, or you will die."
- The Man Behind the Man: Ishamael was not fully imprisoned, and, calling himself Ba'alzamon, was able to influence events unopposed for a couple of millennia. For instance, he started a world war.
- It's implied he operated and was strongest in 1000 year cycles, and influenced both the Trolloc War and Hundred Year War.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ishamael means "Betrayer of Hope" and Moridin means "Death" in the Old Tongue. Ba'alzamon means "Heart of the Dark" in Trolloc.
- Not So Different: He and Rand both teetered on the edge of despair, nihism, and omnicidal mania. The difference is that Rand managed to pull himself back, while Ishy just dug himself in deeper.
- The Philosopher: Seems Genre Savvy to the endless repetition of the Wheel of Time.
- Straw Nihilist: The philosophical outlook he ultimately arrived at, which led him to ally with the Dark One in the first place. Ironically Rand is the Nietzschean Superman who has managed to accept Eternal Recurrance while Ishamael's failure at this led to his downfall.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Nearly all the Forsaken and every Darkfriend believes that the Shadow is trying to Take Over the World, or will at least remake it after destroying it with its followers in positions of power and glory. Ishamael is the only one who believes (or, perhaps, realizes) that Shai'tan seeks to destroy everything for its own sake, and actually signed up for that express purpose, finding Eternal Recurrence to be unbearable, though since he believes he really is The Dark One he also is out for the taste of ultimate power that Shai'tan will enjoy once it breaks free of its prison and destoys The Wheel of Time that binds it. Ishy's... complicated. Turns out he no longer believes that he's the Dark One and very much wants the world- and his own life- to be over.
- Power Levels: Again, Jordan is fairly vague with this, but it's stated multiple times that Ishamael was comparable in power to Lews Therin during the Age of Legends, and is probably the single strongest channeler of either gender in the modern world other than Rand. In the first three books, his complete insanity seems to have gotten in the way of his power, but now...
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: As Moridin. He also applies this to Cyndane and Moheigden.
- Red Right Hand: As Ba'alzamon, he had flaming pits for eyes and a mouth (confirmed by Word of God to be a side-effect of overusing the True Power). As Moridin, he shows an earlier stage of this, the saa, which take the form of tiny black dots that drift across his eyes.
- Redemption Rejection: In Memory of Light, Rand offers him one last chance to turn back to the Light. But because the Dark One has promised to give him the one thing he wants above all- oblivion- if freed, Moridin refuses.
- Took a Level in Badass: Of sorts. He always stood at the top of the pack of the Forsaken in terms of power, intellect, and loyalty to the Dark One, but as Ba'alzamon he was too nuts to make effective use of his skills, to the point that Rand and co. were able to best him thrice. As Moridin, though hardly sane, he's regained enough presence of mind to be far more dangerous and get himself officially named as The Dragon (a position he only held unofficially before).
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a minor one when Rand takes control of his dreamshard and manipulates it as a message to the Dark One in Book 14. Technically, he's been doing this for quite a long time due to his insanity, but this is one of the few times his confidence cracks.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: By way of the True Power. Moridin is just as strong, but develops his madness over the course of his new life, though not nearly to the same point as Ishamael.
- Worthy Opponent: Believes himself one to the Dragon Reborn. In Book 14, however, Rand makes it absolutely clear that he views Moridin as nothing more than a distraction, and tells him to tell the Dark One that he is coming for him instead.
Aginor/ Osan'gar/Corlan Dashiva/Ishar Morrad Chuain:
Formerly known as Ishar Morrad Chuain, he was a famous biologist, but his lack of ethics got his license revoked so he turned to the Shadow for more... creative freedom
. He created most of the Shadowspawn that still terrorize the world an Age later.
Asmodean / Jasin Natael / Joar Addam Nessosin:
A famed musician and composer of the Age of Legends and the least violent of all the Forsaken. He is neither a schemer nor a general, and the only reason he turned to the Shadow was so that he could gain immortality and have enough time to learn every song ever written. However he is
still a ruthless jerk, and stilled his own mother
among other terrible crimes. He favors Lanfear as an ally and is the weakest of the male Forsaken (still bounds ahead of most men in the current age). His death is one of the single most famous mysteries in the series, fans arguing for years over who killed him.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: He's definitely the nicest of the Forsaken, and the most accommodating. And as compliments go, that's not one.
- Evil Is Petty: In the previous Age, while Governor of his assigned domains in the service of the Dark One, he didn't really get up to many atrocities (compared to the rest, that is); however, he did order every single musician, artist and any professional creative talent he could get his hands on to be maimed- they lived, but they could no longer perform their craft. He particularly focused on those who had slighted him, were rivals, or had suggested he would never amount to anything.
- Famous Last Words: "You? No!"
- Heel-Face Turn: Forced on him by Lanfear, who threatened to arrange for his death unless he taught Rand to channel.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Decided to genuinely turn back to the Light, according to Word of God. Then Graendal killed him, and the Dark One, knowing of the betrayal, refused to resurrect him.
- Master Swordsman: Stated by Demandred during the final book, according to some interpretations. Demandred is trying to come up with anyone who might have survived from the Second Age and thus be his near-equal as a swordsman. He names, then immediately dismisses, Asmodean.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Asmodean" derives from "Asmodeus", a recurring demon lord in Judeo-Christian lore.
- Punch Clock Villain: Was lured to The Shadow because immortality would give him the chance to... listen to more music? He wished to be immortal so that he could spend eternity perfecting his musical talent and become the greatest musician who ever lived. A bit petty, yes, but considering he was a Child Prodigy who became something of a White-Dwarf Starlet after he grew up, it's a bit more understandable—akin to wanting to live forever so you can read every book in existence, or so you have the time to find cures for all diseases. Despite being a musical prodigy, he never quite achieved the success and fame that everyone had expected him to (relatively speaking- he was still famous and succesful), and he believed that if he lived forever he would eventually achieve it, achieve the recognition. Its not clear if this means he was an Attention Whore or The Woobie, in the sense that he felt he had let people down and just applied Insane Troll Logic to make up for it. Probably a bit of both.
- Rand himself noted how foolish the Face-Heel Turn actually was when he learned of its reasons, albeit in narration.
- Quizzical Tilt: A habitual gesture of his he uses often when looking at others.
- Redemption Equals Death: Or rather his redemption was punished by death.
- Villain Team-Up: He and Lanfear formed one. It didn't end well for him.
- It is also very likely, based on him having knowledge of her no one else did, and that all the Forsaken whose locations he knew were the same ones she knew of, that he had formed one with Graendal prior to Lanfear finding him "hiding in a hole". If so, it didn't end well for him either, since this acts as another motive for her killing him—to keep him from giving away where she was, and to throw off suspicions of her loyalty since he had seemingly turned traitor.
Balthamel / Aran'gar/ Halima Saranov / Eval Ramman:
, he was a historian in the Age of Legends famous for his study of primitive and extinct cultures, but is better remembered as a gambling, womanizing, jack ass. He had major anger management issues that eventually led him to the Shadow in order to dodge a Restraining Bolt
against using the power for violence. He ran an intelligence network unmatched by any of the other Chosen except for Moghedien. His most remembered evil deed was raising and organizing breeding camps for humans to be fed to the Trolloc armies. He is resurrected in a female body part way into the series
- Age Without Youth: He and Aginor were sealed the "closest" to Randland, for lack of a better term, of all the Forsaken. That's why, while all the other Forsaken still have their youthful good looks, the two of them were exposed to the ravages of time.
- Body Horror: Aginor was left a withered old man. Balthamel lost most of his head to rot.
- The Voiceless: No tongue, see?
- Nothing Is Scarier: Perceived this way by Rand in comparison to Aginor. Aginor is so withered he looks like an ancient corpse. What does Balthamel feel he has to hide behind a mask?
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Not so much ideologically (he doesn't really seem to have had an ideology, unless extreme selfishness counts) but note the bit about death camps in the description...
- The Casanova: A notorious lech.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The Green Man kills him in the first book by using his power to control plants to cause hundreds of mushrooms, weeds, and other plants that feed on rot to eat his decayed body into nothing in an instant.
- Deader Than Dead: As of book 13, courtesy of Graendal, by way of Rand.
- Depraved Bisexual: As Aran'gar.
- Evil Counterpart: Of a sort to Mat, being remembered in history primarily for being The Gambler and a womanizer, but being decidedly on the other side of the conflict.
- The Gambler: One of the things he was known for.
- Gender Bender: Balthamel was a man, but was reincarnated as a woman by The Dark One. However, Aran'gar still channels saidin.
- Mask Power: As Balthamel he wore a mask that looked like a face in agony.
- Expressive Mask: When he's torturing the Green Man, Rand sees it grinning wider.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: By Word of God, his sexual preference was "expanded" when he was turned into a woman.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: An aran'gar is a dagger dipped in slow poison.
- Outside-Context Villain: A minor example. As Aran'gar, she is the only woman with the ability to channel saidin. One of the few people that encounters her and realizes this has a bit of an Oh, Crap moment, and distinctly thinks that her channeling saidin is impossible. Not "possible, just really bloody difficult," not "only made possible through gaming the rules of reality like a pro," but completely impossible.
- Unskilled, but Strong: The Guide and other sources refer to him as having great strength in the Power, but he generally comes off as being a lazy hedonist without a whole lot of real skill in any particular area.
Be'lal / High Lord Samon / Duram Laddel Cham:
A general of the Shadow, and Master Swordsman
. He was one of Lews Therin's closest friends before jealousy led him to turn to the Shadow. The first Forsaken to actually be killed off Deader Than Dead.
- Amoral Attorney: According to the Guide, he was a lawyer in the Age of Legends.
- The Chessmaster: Played up as this in both the Guide and the information Loial has on him, but in the end he seems woefully inept when it comes to both fighting Rand and underestimating Moiraine.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Went to the Shadow because he envied Lews Therin Telamon. Also envied Lanfear and Ishamael.
- Master Swordsman: Reinvented swordfighting as a martial art with Lews Therin (before his defection).
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Belial" is a demon in traditional Christian demonology.
- Red Baron: The Netweaver. It's unclear if that was the literal meaning of his Forsaken name, or simply an additional title.
- Weak, but Skilled: A deadly warrior, skilled general, and crafty politician- but he doesn't seem to have been very impressive with the Power, by Forsaken standards, hence his envy of the higher-ranked Forsaken and desire for Callandor.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Introduced late in Book 3. Balefired a couple pages later by Moiraine, which leaves the victim Deader Than Dead.
- Worthy Opponent: Treats Rand this way, in honor of their once having been friends, allowing him to take Callandor if he dared and challenging him to a sword fight rather than just killing or blasting him off the cuff. However, this is ultimately subverted, as only Rand can draw Callandor initially, meaning that once Rand does so, he is free to take it from him if he manages to kill him, leaving him with an incredibly powerful sa'angreal.
Demandred / Barid Bel Medar/ Bao the Wyld:
"Almost" would be the word to describe Barid Bel Medar's life. Born a day after Lews Therin Telamon, he is almost as handsome, close to Lews Therin in power, and almost as skilled. If not for Lews Therin, he would have been the most acclaimed man of his age. But in the War Demandred discovered something he was far better at: war. If not for the sealing of the Bore, the Shadow would have triumphed beneath his command. (Of course, his success as a general was part of why
the forces of the Light attempted such an Alpha Strike
, so you win some you lose some.)
Since being released from the Bore, Demandred has been up to... things. Things the audience was not made privy to. He was first introduced "on-screen" in the sixth book, but his actual plans and activities were deliberately kept secret until The Reveal
in the final novel. With that much build-up, fans were hoping for him to make an impact. He did.
Graendal / Heartseeker / Hessalam / Lady Basene / Kamarile Maradim Nindar:
One of the Shadow's most dangerous and competent servants. Graendal was born Kamarile Nindar (a middle name is a sign of accomplishment in the Age of Legend) and she was a famous psychologist for nearly four hundred years, able to heal mental afflictions even use of the One Power could not cure. She was also a distinct ascetic, living an unadorned life free of physical and mental pleasures. Of course, she also imposed these same impossible standards on the rest of the world and felt that anyone that couldn't hold to them was morally inferior. Eventually she snapped from the realization the world would never live up to her expectations, and was in general not a good place. She did a completely moral 180, creating the alter ego of "Graendal" that was the pure opposite of everything Nindar had been: lusty, indulgent, selfish, and vain.
She has a better understanding of the human mind than any living person, and is an expert at Compulsion
, capable of reducing even iron willed badasses into groveling slaves with ease. According to Lews Therin it is impossible to outthink her.
- Bad Powers, Bad People/Good Powers, Bad People: She appears on both tropes, which note that she is very good at Mind Control because of her background in psychology as an analyst and therapist.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: See her backstory listed above. From an ascetic allied with the Light to The Hedonist allied with the Shadow.
- Break the Haughty: Likes being served by brainwashed 'pets' who were once powerful people. Also happens to her at the hands of Shaidar Haran.
- The Chessmaster: Even among the Forsaken, she's probably the best. She miscalculated the Dark One's patience, though.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Has no qualms to backstab her fellow Forsaken like Asmodean and Aran'gar. Incidentally, while she is on the lookout to backstab everyone around her, those two killings serve very specific purposes. Any of the other Forsaken would have done the same in her position.
- Depraved Bisexual/Head-Tiltingly Kinky: She flirts with Aran'gar as well as several male Forsaken. When it's other Forsaken who think she's depraved, you know she's out there.
- Enemy Mine: At one point, she asks Rand for a "stay out of my way and I'll stay out of yours" alliance while he fought the other Forsaken. Rand refuses, but she pretends that he said yes as part of yet another game.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Averted. She can understand good like Moridin, but unlike him she isn't a fatalist who does not understand why Rand would feel burdened by his regret for killing thousands of people in order to kill an enemy. Since Evil Cannot Comprehend Good is the predominant flaw of The Shadow, this is part of what makes her a great asset.
- Faith Heel Turn: She was (in)famous for her ascetic lifestyle and high moral standards before turning to the Shadow, but though she was popular with the masses for this, in private those who knew her greatly disliked her because she always judged them by her ridiculously high and rigid standards, being a Holier Than Thou Narcissist. She pledged to the Dark One after she realized that nobody could meet her standards, and went to the opposite extreme as a purposely immoral hedonist out of spite.
- Fate Worse Than Death: At the hands of Shaidar Haran for one too many failures (and schemes against the other Chosen). The last of which is putting her soul into the body of an extremely ugly old crone as well as her Meaningful Rename below. Then again at the Last Battle, she gets zapped with her own Compulsion so hard it erases her personality almost totally.
- The Hedonist: Post-Start of Darkness, and today.
- Jerkass: Pushes Mesaana's Berserk Button in Lord of Chaos, and taunts Lanfear about Lews Therin in Fires of Heaven, for no real reason.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Gets zapped with her own Compulsion and will probably spend the rest of her life mindlessly worshipping Aviendha. Irony is beautiful.
- Manipulative Bitch: Made Sammael think she was manipulating him one way when she was really manipulating him in another way. Tricked Moridin into believing her greatest defeat was Just as Planned. In the backstory she apparently used psychology to outthink and manipulate everyone.
- Meaningful Name: The name Graendal bears a remarkable resemblance to "Grendel" (of Beowulf fame).
- Meaningful Rename: As part of her punishment for her failures she is renamed 'Hessalam' which means 'Without Forgivness' in the Old Tongue.
- Mind Control: The best of the Forsaken at Compulsion and uses it in various degrees for almost everything. Her execution of Compulsion tends to but anything but subtle, however. The beautiful men and women in her collection are functionally little more than zombies.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Her name sounds extremely similar to "Grendel".
- The Perfectionist: Pre-Start of Darkness.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: She presents the image of a vapid hedonist, but while she certainly enjoys her creature comforts, she's far more savvy than her demeanor suggests. Of course, everyone who knows her well is fully aware of it.
- The Social Expert: Thanks to her background as a therapist, she's extremely skilled at reading people and accurately predicting their behavior and interactions.
- Start of Darkness: Her POV in Towers of Midnight shows she and several of the other Forsaken had these happen to them long ago. She then uses Semirhage as a counter example of someone who was always utterly evil.
- There Are No Psychologists: It's been pointed out that she is the only actual psychologist in the series, possibly the world. Which is ironic considering one of her tasks is to destroy Rand's mental state.
- Psycho Psychologist: She is a sadist and a Manipulative Bitch who uses her knowledge of psychology in the service of Evil and to torment her enemies and innocent people. So a textbook case here.
- Villain Teamup: She, Lanfear, Sammael and Rahvin attempt one. When Lanfear and Rahvin die she remains with Sammael until his death. Then she organizes another one with Aran'gar.
- It is also very likely, based on him having knowledge of her no one else did, and that all the Forsaken whose locations he knew were the same ones she knew of, that she had formed one with Asmodean prior to Lanfear finding him "hiding in a hole". If so, this acts as another motive for her killing him—to keep him from giving away where she was, and to throw off suspicions of her loyalty since he had seemingly turned traitor.
Lanfear / Moonhunter / Selene / Cyndane / Mierin Eronaile:
Lews Therin's ex-girlfriend, and the most powerful woman to ever channel. Ever. She became obsessed with winning him back by any means necessary, and one such experiment (meant to earn her glory that she was sure would bring Lews Therin back to her, despite him being married) is what originally freed the Dark One. She's skilled at scheming, lying, and manipulating to get what she wants, and she only wants one thing: Lews Therin back, even eons later. The Dark One does not truly trust her because of this, but she is kept around because there is no one
that knows him better.
She is also the only Forsaken to stand trial in front of the Hall of the Servants for her crimes, where she proudly declared herself to be a servant of the Shadow. And then blasted her way free.
- Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil: Usually polite and charming, even to her enemies, unless you mash one of her several Berserk Buttons, in which case she'll show a rather different side of herself.
- Alas, Poor Villain: If her death scene doesn't bring tears, then her confrontation with Rand in the dreamshard likely will. Not that this changes her evil one whit.
- Ambition Is Evil: And her ambitions are big.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: One of the most prominent Forsaken at least in her original body and as powerful as an ordinary human channeler can be.
- Ax-Crazy: Definitely has it in her, though she (usually) does a decent job of keeping a lid on it.
- Back from the Dead: Moridin had to kill her to free her from the Finn. The Dark One brought her back as Cyndane, but the two of them also punished her for her failure and her treachery.
- Batman Gambit: In A Memory Of Light she reveals that she wants to save the Dark One when he is helpless against Rand, saving the Dark One when nobody else can. This shines a new light on her proposal to attack the Dark One with Rand, as this could be just her first plan to get into that position.
- Berserk Button: Calling her by her birth name, Mierin Eronaile, to her face. She doesn't seem to mind when Rand does it, though. Also don't romance Rand, or remind her that she lost Lews Therin to Ilyena.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: To Rand.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Don't call her Mierin, her birth name, unless you are Lews Therin Telamon or his reincarnation. Just don't do it.
- The Dreaded: In the Age of Legends, she was the most feared of all the governors of the Shadow, because her hobby was to drive people mad in their dreams via Tel'an'rhiod. Her territories had the highest suicide rates by far as a result.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She has very dark hair and eyes, is pale and fair in complexion, and always wears white. Her color scheme as Cyndane is quite a bit different, though.
- Faustian Rebellion: Her master plan.
- Generation Xerox: Lanfear seems to have dismissed any of the complications arising from the half-sided Reincarnation Romance she wants to start with Rand. He's fallen for a blonde, like he always does (Ilyena Sunhair was Lews Therin's wife).
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Lanfear is the bad-guy character most willing to help Rand, or at least not hurt him. This is partially due to Unrequited Love, and partially because she is constantly trying to talk him into a Face-Heel Turn. Particularly, she wants to join forces with him — the two strongest channelers alive — defeat both The Creator and The Dark One, and set themselves up as God Emperors. As of Memory of Light, she even does this with Perrin in the World of Dreams, although it is subverted since she uses him to get into a position where she can save the Dark One, and nobody else.
- Green-Eyed Monster: If she so much as gets a hint of Rand being attracted to another woman, bad things happen.
- If I Can't Have You: She does not take Rand telling her he would never love one of the Forsaken very well.
- I Have Many Names: Lanfear, Selene, Mierin, Else Grinwell, Cyndane, The Daughter of the Night, and several others are all the same person. Else Grinwell is not Lanfear, since Else first appeared in The Eye of the World prior to the release of any Forsaken (except Ishamael). However, Lanfear did impersonate Else to start the Idiot Ball rolling for Egwene, Min, Nynaeve, and Elayne.
- Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Evil: A major component of her personality (though she was always a little bit unstable, which is why Lews Therin dumped her in the first place).
- Manipulative Bastard: Especially to Rand but does a good job on Perrin in the last book too.
- Master of Illusion: She has a habit of adopting different forms as disguises. She usually appears as a beautiful, twenty-something woman with dark hair in a white dress, though she also takes less attractive forms at times, usually with the same Woman in White motif. Her actual true form, as she reveals to Rand in Book 4, is that of a slightly older version of her usual form, only more mature, perhaps 30-ish, and more beautiful.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Her dating philosophy around Rand. Whether or not this was also around Ilyena is unknown.
- Mystical White Hair: Attains this as Cyndane, courtesy of the very much supernatural reincarnation by the Dark One.
- Neck Snap: Her ultimate fate, courtesy of Perrin.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The research team she led was responsible for breaking the seal on the Dark One's prison during the Age of Legends, thus starting the War of Power.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Amongst other things, Rand would almost certainly gone insane if she hadn't arranged for Asmodean to teach him to use the One Power properly. This was intentional on her part, but only because she wanted him to rule the world with her. This doesn't happen.
- Pet the Dog: Her emotional response when Lews Therin Telamon talks to her through Rand and calls her "Mierin." It is the only time she is addressed by her birth name that doesn't send her into a rage. She also has similar emotional responses when Rand confronts her in his dreamshard, and when discussing with Perrin her fall to the Shadow and what her existence has truly been like. In the end even Rand feels sorry for her.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Of Lews Therin, and trying to seduce him now that he's Rand al'Thor. (In her defense, there are moments when she does seem to genuinely love him.)
- Power Levels: The strongest female channeler alive (until Moirane tackles her through that doorway, at least, whereupon she becomes weaker but still stronger than most other Forsaken). Yes, that does mean "stronger than Nynaeve".
- Pride: Her major Fatal Flaw, along with Greed, and the reason she cannot come back to the Light.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The contrast of her pale skin and dark hair is mentioned a lot.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Cyndane takes up Moridin's colors once she is mindtrapped to him. She is also far less nice, going so far as to, in Book 14, order Slayer to kill Rand.
- Redemption Rejection: In the dreamshard, Rand offered to protect her from Moridin and the Dark One if she would unguardedly let him into her mind, then come back to the Light to help them win. She actually visibly and painfully struggles and almost, almost agrees before finally rejecting the offer thanks to her Pride. Considering her plan turned out to be to use whoever took her in (Rand or Perrin) to put herself in a position to save the Dark One and reign supreme, the genuineness and worthiness of this moment can be questioned, but she clearly was tempted to agree, and we will never know what would have happened if she had.
- Reincarnation Romance: Well, sort of. She is in love with Rand, who is the reincarnation of her dead lover, but wasn't reincarnated herself, and the romance is rather one-sided. She later gets reincarnated herself, however, as Cyndane. While Lanfear in a dream seems to still love Rand, Cyndane is very much a Woman Scorned.
- Replacement Goldfish: In the final book, starts hanging around Perrin in the World of Dreams, nominating him her new partner-in-crime-to-be in replacement of Lews Therin Telamon due to his total mastery of the World of Dreams. This leads to her own death when, in one last moment of Dramatic Irony, Perrin reveals that he Would Hit a Girl.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At the end of The Fires of Heaven, when she hears a rumor that Rand slept with another woman.
- Romantic Runner-Up: To Ilyena (and to Elayne, in her own mind at least. The thought that a Forsaken might be gunning for her doesn't seem to have crossed Elayne's mind yet).
- The Starscream: Has expressed interest in overthrowing the Dark One and the Creator using the Choeden Kal. As Cyndane she lost this quality but in A Memory of Light, she tried to extort the Dark One by arranging so that she would be the only one that could save it from Rand. Unfortunately for her, Perrrin intervened.
- That Man Is Dead: Played straight with regards to her old name as Mierin, to the point where she had chosen the name Lanfear herself. Averted when it comes to Cyndane. Despite her name being changed by the Dark One as punishment, it's plain that in her heart, she'll always be Lanfear in this life, and goes by that identity for most of A Memory of Light.
- Tragic Villain: It isn't clear how much of what she says to Rand and Perrin about her past is true (the theme of what really happened being changed or forgotten by history as it becomes legend applies yet again) and how much her simply trying to play for sympathy (Is there more to her story we don't know? Was her conversion to evil as clear-cut and easy as we've been told it was? We may never know). But there's certainly some gray ambiguity, and when placing that against her heartfelt pleas to Rand and how clearly heartbroken she is when Rand finally tells her he feels absolutely nothing for her, good or bad, it's hard not to feel sorry for her, especially when she came so close to coming back to the Light. Rand does feel pity for her, and Perrin even actually does cry over her as she lies dead in his arms, by his own hands.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: As Mierin, she was the lover of Lews Therin Telamon. As the villainous Lanfear, she's got her eye on his reincarnation, Rand.
- Villain Teamup: First she pretends to form one with Asmodean only to betray him. Then she, Graendel, Sammael and Rahvin attempt one to defeat Rand.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: In A Memory of Light she takes advantage of tel'aran'rhiod's properties to get her original appearance back, rather than that of Cyndane.
- We Can Rule Together: She makes this offer to Rand as an alternative to Tar'mon Gai'don and the long line of crappy stuff waiting for him down the road. He's not interested.
- Wild Card: If Ishamael is the most loyal to the Dark One of all the Forsaken, Lanfear is probably the least; though definitely evil, in the end the only side she's really on is her own, and she'll happily work with or against anyone to get what she wants. This ends up getting her Killed Off for Real.
- Woman in White: The mystery of it, but the dangerous aspects of the Woman in Black are clearly present.
- Woman Scorned: Especially Cyndane, who actively wants Rand dead by Book 14.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Explicitly described as such by everybody she meets.
- Yandere: Have we mentioned she's interested in Rand?
Mesaana / Danelle / Saine Tarasind:
"The Shadow Aymrlin", she is a teacher, organizer, and researcher from the Age Of Legends. She got turned down for a field study and was relegated to an educator's role
, so she turned to the Shadow
. As far as Forsaken go, she's pretty okay for a person, though she still conditioned legions of children into an army of little monsters that were capable of murder
. She is among the most dangerous because of her refusal to scheme and plot against and with the other Forsaken (though she does form a non-aggression pact with Semirhage and Demandred) and instead focuses on the "down and dirty" aspects of winning this war. Up until her Fate Worse Than Death she is by far the most successful of all the Forsaken in doing this, causing a schism in the White Tower that nearly destroyed it and murdering countless Aes Sedai
- Boring but Practical: According to records on the War of Power she acted as an organizer for the Shadow who reluctantly maintained order and provided a degree of unity to the other Darkfriend channelers.
- Which remained true even during the books' time frame. With her skilled use and coordination of the Black Ajah, she very nearly made it so that the White Tower was not a factor in the Last Battle. In general, she's one of the least flashy, but most effective, Forsaken.
- Child Soldiers: Mesaana educated children to act like this. Even in the present day Mesaana's Children are remembered and feared.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In Crossroads of Twilight she is punished severely (heavily implied to be rape), and the reason boils down to being that she didn't come when the Dark One called her. This despite the fact that she was by far the most successful of the Forsaken at sowing discord and chaos. It's pretty apparent that we're supposed to feel appalled on her behalf.
- Dramatic Irony: Despite joining the Shadow for being relegated to a teaching job instead of research she is the only Forsaken to willingly teach others.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Amyrlin Seat, as explicitly noted in The Gathering Storm. She is the leader of the Shadow's Ajah and teaches channeling and administration for the Black Ajah. She is even deliberately called "the Shadow's Amyrlin".
- Fate Worse Than Death: Battle in the Center of the Mind meets Mind Rape equals And I Must Scream. May count as Disproportionate Retribution, since we never really see her do anything that evil, but then again she did cause the Tower coup (which killed a lot of innocent Aes Sedai and Warders), and it's pretty clear that she would have done the same to Egwene if she could.
- In-Series Nickname: "The Shadow's Amyrlin".
- The Man Behind the Man: She was secretly manipulating Alviarin, who was in turn manipulating Elaida. She may also have been manipulating Galina and Katerine, and was certainly the one pulling the strings on Liandrin and her coven.
- The Mole: Is somewhere in the White Tower running the Black Ajah. Her sole identifying feature is that she once wore a dress with a brown hem. Revealed to be Danelle.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In Towers of Midnight she uses her knowledge of Tel'aran'rhiod to create a new basement level, lures Egwene there with no chance of rescue and captures her using an a'dam, and if Egwene hadn't had a Eureka Moment allowing her to surmount her fear and escape she would have been compelled into being Mesaana's puppet.
- In general, as noted under Boring but Practical, she's not as spectacularly powerful or evil as many of her compatriots, but her calm, methodical approach to scheming tends to get some of the best results in the long run.
- Only Sane Man: Along with Demandred, one of the most practical and goal-oriented Forsaken. She's probably one of the better adjusted of the lot as well, though that's faint praise.
- The Resenter: For being relegated to a teaching position instead of getting to be a cutting-edge researcher at the Collam Daan. According to records on the War of Power her anger is second only to Demandred's, though unlike Demandred, her resentment is generally directed at everyone she feels looks down on her or doesn't recognize her abilities, rather than overwhelmingly directed at a specific person.
- Sadist Teacher: Ran schools that trained child soldiers for the Shadow. In the White Tower, she treats her Black Ajah minions like students as well, including how she disciplines them.
- Villain Team-Up: She, Semirhage and Demandred have an alliance to eliminate their mutual rivals and not betray each other until they are the last of the Forsaken remaining. They never trust each other, but they still have probably the stablest and most effective alliance out of all the Forsaken.
Moghedien / Marigan / Lillen Moiral:
"The Spider" Moghedien was originally an investment advisor named Lillen Moiral. Often looked down on even when she was part of the Light, she cultivated a massive network of spies and assasins for the Shadow, using an image as a meek and little woman to lead many agents of the Light to their deaths. She escaped after being revealed as a traitor and killing thousands to engineer a distraction. She favors moving and striking "softly from the Shadows". She is a master of the World of Dreams, making up for her lack-luster strength in the One Power.
- The Chessmaster: An infamous manipulator.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: She was a shady "investment adviser" before going to the Shadow.
- Compelling Voice: A big fan of Compulsion.
- Dirty Coward: Though she lords it over those weaker than her, she tends to duck and run any time she's faced with an opponent who could actually do her harm.
- Fate Worse Than Death: First, for her multiple failures, she is mindtrapped by Moridin, relegated to his slave. After the Last Battle, she is the last living Forsaken who is mentally herself... and is turned to a damane by a Seanchan sul'dam who misinterprets the Dragon's Peace (while still not breaking it. The Seanchan says they only can't take Aes Sedai but they were not to take any allies of Rand's, which excludes Moghedien).
- Good Powers, Bad People: Moghedien is the undisputed master of Tel'aran'rhiod. (Don't tell that to Lanfear, who claims it as her domain. Moghedien is even better at manipulating it, but can't match Lanfear in the physical world and is a Dirty Coward, so...)
- Humiliation Conga: The books are less than kind to Moghedien. In her first appearance in The Shadow Rising, she gets defeated by Nynaeve. In Fires of Heaven she spends most of the book a menacing villain, but gets defeated by Nynaeve again and captured by her this time, spending most of Lord of Chaos as her prisoner. In A Crown of Swords, after she's freed she gets chewed out by the Dark One, mindtrapped and tortured by Shaidar Haran, and then handed over to Moridin, who makes her spend the next several books as a glorified errand girl. In A Memory of Light she gets her groove back, successfully spying on the Seanchan army for most of the Last Battle, but is ultimately captured by a sul'dam and turned into a damane, where she'll likely live out the rest of her natural life as a pet channeler - and channelers live a very long time.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Her ultimate fate at the end of the series, where she is captured by an a'dam. Only this time, she is captured by the Seanchan.
- The Mole: During the War, she was the only one of The Forsaken who did not publicly announce her allegiance in some manner after turning to the Shadow, meaning that she was still "officially" on the side of the Light even when actually on the side of the Shadow. Thus, she was an invaluable servant, destroying the forces of the Light from the inside with nobody the wiser, but was in a bit of a quandry once she was found out.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Her name is the Old Tongue name for a very stealthy spider with a very potent poison (that kills within seconds).
- Power Levels: Moghedien is explicitly described as being equal in The Power to Nynaeve.
- Recurring Boss/The Rival: To Nynaeve until Book 8, where she tries to murder her by blowing up her boat with balefire without being seen. After that, she has no idea that Nynaeve is still alive.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Don't hold your breath for Nynaeve getting that third showdown with her that she thinks about after the balefire attack. Moghedien never even finds out it failed.
- Sole Survivor: The only surviving Forsaken. The only two who didn't die in body (Mesaana and Hessalam) are still irrevocably broken, by brain-death and Mind Rape. Moridin technically lived, but it's actually due to a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Rand, who is alive in his body.
Rahvin / Lord Gaebril / Ared Mosinel:
A diplomat and megalomaniac, his specialty was pushing regions into non-violent surrender to the Shadow.
- The Casanova: Like Balthamel, a major lech.
- Deader Than Dead: Balefire's time-bending properties (it actually kills you, chronologically speaking, some time (usually few seconds or less) before it hits you) mean that Forsaken killed by it can't be revived (the window the Dark One has to revive them is measured in fractions of a second). Rahvin got hit hard enough to rewrite fifteen minutes and over a chapter of events.
- Handsome Lech: And he knows it.
- Hero Killer: When Rand stages his attack in Book 5, Rahvin instantly kills Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean! If Rand hadn't later killed Rahvin with balefire the story would've forever lost 2 of its most important characters then and there, while depriving Asmodean of his more mysterious death that would beguile and aggravate readers for the next decade and a half.
- Mind Control/Mind Rape: His favorite means of manipulating others. His skill with Compulsion is said to be second only to Graendal's, and the number he does on Morgase in particular is rather horrific. He finds the whole thing amusing... and arousing.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Rahvin" resembles "raven" (an ill omen in-universe, as such birds can be made to spy for the Dark One) and Ravan/Ravana, a powerful demon from Hindu Mythology known for, among other things, abducting beautiful human women.
- Near Villain Victory: His relatively early Deader Than Dead death has obscured the possibility that he may have come closer to completely defeating Rand than any other Forsaken. He'd gained the upper hand on Rand in Tel'aran'rhiod, transforming Rand into a non-sentient creature. If Nyneave hadn't arrived for her Big Damn Heroes moment, Rahvin would've won.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: See Mind Control and Mind Rape above. It's mentioned at one point that he has a harem of at least seven women that he's placed under Compulsion in addition to Morgase.
- The Rival: Not to Lews Therin (unlike Demandred, Be'lal, and Sammael), but to Be'lal (and, to a lesser extent, Sammael). While he trusts none of his fellow Forsaken in the Villain Team-Up, he explicitly decides to have Elayne killed when he learns she is going to Tear, simply to keep Be'lal from gaining an advantage over him. He also has arguments with him in the World of Dreams which are most likely over Callandor.
- Villain Team-Up: He, Graendal, Lanfear and Sammael attempt one to defeat Rand.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: While he lasts from book three to book five (though only appearing in two of those), he is only given one POV scene and is otherwise left to plot and scheme in the shadows. In fact he is an in-universe version of this, since it's stated in the Guide he is the Forsaken about whom the least is known—no one in fact knows what he did or who he was before he joined the Shadow, other than his name.
Sammael / Lord Brend / Tel Janin Aellinsar:
One of the chief generals for the Shadow, he was friends with Lews Therin Telamon, although it is not certain how deep this friendship ran; more likely he considered himself a rival to Lews Therin. He turned to the Shadow relatively late in the game, but still won major victories for them. He was scarred in battle by Lews, a scar he refused to let be healed, swearing he would do so only after killing him.
- Beard of Evil: Has a short, square beard, as depicted in his picture.
- Benevolent Boss: Double Subverted. He cared a great deal about the men under his command as a general- the way a sportman cares for his equipment, at least-, but in the Age of Legends at least this came at the direct expense of the civilians under his rule, as it meant rations and medicine were always directed more towards the military than the civilian or even forced labour sectors. Thus, masses of people starved to death or died from illness under his rule. He pulls the same thing on Illian while ruling it; the Council of Nine are happy to hand the city over to Rand after Sammael dies at least in part because "Lord Brend" had been pulling food and supplies away from the civilian population to make sure everything went to the army.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Probably the most blatant Forsaken when it came to wanting to be Nae'blis and setting himself up as an Evil Overlord. He didn't make it past the halfway point of the series.
- Blatant Lies: Tells Graendal he has a truce with Rand Al'Thor and that he has been appointed Nae'blis. The Dark One responds by sending Moridin to kill him.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: His hair and beard are blond, and for a good chunk of the books he's one of the most visible Forsaken.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: This was the theory on him for a long time, because, in the narration, Robert Jordan has him trapped between a Fog of Doom on one side and Rand throwing balefire down the other... but has Rand let up at the last second, thinking, "No One Could Survive That." He didn't survive that, but Rand Never Found the Body, so "He's Just Hiding" became Fanon. It was only after RJ Jossed the idea himself that everyone calmed down. "Sammael is toast."
- Fallen Hero: Like Demandred and Be'lal, he was a commander for the Light before turning to the Shadow.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He was extremely jealous of Lews Therin's military victories... and his height.
- Killed Off for Real: Courtesy of Mashadar, which prevented the Dark One from reincarnating himnote .
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His name means "Destroyer of Hope".
- The Napoleon: Hated the fact that he was so short, though in reality he was only slightly under average height- he just happens to be contrasted with tall guys like Lews Therin, Rand, Ishamael, and Demandred.
- Red Herring: In Books 12 and 13, someone is impersonating him to commandeer a bunch of Shadowspawn. If not for the Word of God above, this might have just resurrected (no pun intended) those old Chekhov M.I.A. theories. In a way, they're true, since Sammael did still come back to serve a purpose—it just isn't actually him. In all likelihood, it was really Demandred, though some fans have speculated Fain.
- The Resenter: Though Demandred puts him to shame in this department.
- Rival Turned Evil: To Lews Therin (who seems to have had a habit of attracting these).
- Scars Are Forever: Played with. Sammael chooses to keep the scar until he can kill Lews Therin/Rand. It was stated that after the death, Sammael would ask for one of the other Forsaken to remove it.
- Smug Snake: He was good, but his arrogance and ambition exceeeded his skill. In particular, though a skilled battlefield commander (Rand, through Lews Therin, recalls a number of notable victories he won for the Shadow), he doesn't seem to have had much of a grasp of subtlety, and wasted enough time during his final confrontation with Rand being ironic and theatrical that he didn't notice Mashadar until it was too late.
- The Strategist: One of the Shadow's best generals, though Demandred was better.
- Villain Team-Up: He, Lanfear, Graendal and Rahvin attempt one to defeat Rand. When Lanfear and Rahvin die he remains with Graendal until his death.
Semirhage / Anath / Nemene Damendar Boann:
Sadistic and evil to the core, Semirhage required no corrupting. A world-renowned Healer in the Age of Legends, she was the Token Evil Teammate
for the Light until the Hall of the Servants found out that she was torturing her patients as "payment" for Healing (as she wanted to sate her sadistic needs). They gave her an ultimatum: take a Restraining Bolt
against her "pleasures" or be severed from the One Power forever. She said Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
and joined the Shadow, where she became one of their most valued assets.
She is the
most feared of all the Forsaken, and even her fellows are more than a bit scared of her. Prisoners have committed suicide rather than be tortured by her.
- Break the Haughty: Cadsuane eventually realizes the key to breaking her isn't pain, but public humiliation... such as being forced to kneel and eat off the floor like a dirty beggar.
- Deader Than Dead: Rand balefires her.
- Depraved Bisexual: She gets a sexual kick out of torture, regardless of who the victim is.
- The Dreaded: During the War of Power, captives often committed suicide- even by biting their own wrists- when they learned they were being taken to her, to the point that her minions had to take special precautions against it for all prisoners. At one point she was captured, but she freaked out the guards so much that they actually smuggled her out and set her free. She was an incredibly sadistic torturer and Mad Scientist, who enjoyed discovering new ways to make people suffer, and she has turned the Sadistic Choice into an art form.
- Flaw Exploitation: Knows Rand Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Is a girl. See where this is going?
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: She tries to force a dominated Rand to kill Min. This results in Rand reaching out for the True Power for the first time...
- Fate Worse Than Death: Being captured by her due to her status as a Torture Technician.
- Good Powers, Bad People: She was a world-renowned Healer, possibly the best in the world, back in the Age of Legends, but also a sadist even before she joined the Dark One. This makes her really good at...
- Mind Rape: One of the many services she offers.
- Narcissist: In the Age of Legends, she tortured those she healed as payment for, essentially, making her waste her time and occasionally killed those she thought did not deserve to live. Her Face-Heel Turn (for lack of a better word) came about because the Aes Sedai dared, dared, to tell her off for this and value her victims more tha her. She is a Sadist because of her raging God complex and thus, in her mind, she thinks every single one of her victims deserve it- for the crime of being inferior.
- Scary Black Woman: A much straighter example than Tuon. If you've read the rest of the entry, you don't have to ask why. (She even gets the "larger and more intimidating" part, since she's well above average height, at least in the Third Age.)
- The Sociopath: As mused by Graendal, she is one of the few Forsaken to have had no Start of Darkness- she joined the Shadow because the good guys fired her for being a Token Evil Teammate. Mostly because she was already an infamous...
- Torture Technician: At one point (post-Age of Legends) she kills a man by over-stimulating his pleasure centers. She also succeeded in keeping a man alive for hours after replacing all the blood in his body with tar.
- Token Minority: We don't really know what Ishamael and Balthamel originally looked like, but Semirhage is the only black Forsaken that we know of.
- Villain Team-Up: She, Mesaana and Demandred have an alliance to eliminate their mutual rivals and not betray each other until they are the last of the Forsaken remaining. They never trust each other.
Other Major Agents of the Shadow
The Myrddraal are mutant Trollocs
which resemble pale humans with smooth skin where their eyes should be. Commonly used as commanders of the Dark One's armies, they are much more intelligent than their brethren and possess great fighting skills as well as minor magic, but are much weaker than the average channeler. Shaidar Haran, the most powerful of the Myrddraal, is a different story entirely, a fearsome creature that can command the loyalty and fear of even the Forsaken. Its true nature is the subject of much debate, but it is unarguably one of, if not the, most powerful weapon in the Dark One's arsenal- and might be something more...
- Achilles' Heel: Because he's tied so closely to the Dark One, Haran will begin to lose power if he stays away from Shayol Ghul for too long and must return to be "refreshed".
- Anti-Magic: Can put a block so powerful on the One Power that it acts as a temporary severing.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Some of the Forsaken have tried defying it. The results... weren't pretty. Though Haran is apparently much less powerful against those not sworn to the Shadow.
- Bad Boss: While Moridin is usually the one handing the Forsaken their orders, Shaidar is the one who punishes them when they screw up.
- Creepy Monotone: Like all Myrdraal, his voice is flat and dead, compared to bone crumbling.
- The Dragon: Subverted. It looks as though it and the Nae'blis are on nearly equal terms, but Shaidar Haran is a vessel for the Dark One, not a true minion.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In The Dragon Reborn, darkfriend Jaichim Carridin is confronted and threatened by an unusually expressive (but normal-sized and unnamed) Myrddraal. Word of God has confirmed that this was an earlier version of Shaidar Haran, who doesn't make his official debut until Lord of Chaos, three books later.
- Enigmatic Minion: Except for his power and tendency to show up and punish the Forsaken, very little is revealed about this guy. He's a much weaker copy of the Dark One in a myrddraal body.
- Fan Nickname: 'Fade' is common in-universe slang for a Myrddraal. Therefore Haran is 'Superfade'.
- Fighting a Shadow: According to Word of God, he's not truly the Dark One, but is a vessel for a "shadow" of him. He's a Myrddraal body possessed by a much weaker, independent section of the Dark One that has to return to Shayol Ghul every so often to get "recharged".
- Full-Name Basis: In the books themselves, he's always referred to as "Shaidar Haran". Since it means "Hand of the Shadow", it's probably as much a title as a name.
- Killed Off for Real: Well, the Myrddraal body is, anyway. The piece of the Dark One that lived inside him apparently rejoined the greater whole.
- Large And In Charge: Ordinary Myrddraal are human-sized. Haran is almost half again as big.
- Mouth of Sauron: As the Dark One's avatar, his primary function is to be its mouthpiece among its minions.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His means "Hand of the Shadow".
- Reality Warper: Of a minor sort. He can do whatever he wants to those sworn to the Shadow, usually to punish them for failure, but Word of God indicates it only works on those sworn to the Shadow, hence why he stays away from the front lines.note
- Red Herring: Many readers thought he was being saved up for a final showdown with Rand, or at the very least he would be involved in the Last Battle. But instead it seems he existed merely to allow the Dark One to travel outside his prison so as to corral Forsaken/direct the Black Ajah and Dreadlords, and that once he was close enough to breaking free, he disposed of it and re-absorbed his power from it.
- Slasher Smile: Unlike ordinary Myrddraal - who never smile and rarely show emotion - Haran has been known to wear a deeply unnerving grin on occasion. Even the Forsaken think his smiles are disturbing.
- The Unfought: When Rand, Moiraine, and Nynaeve arrive at the Pit of Doom, they find Haran already dead, with Moridin standing over him. Apparently he was more of an accessory to the Dark One than an actual individual, primarily useful as a physical presence in the world, and his death allowed the "full" Dark One to manifest in its true form as the void.
- Villain Teleportation: Having a myrddraal body, he's able to teleport between shadows. He often uses this ability to pop up unexpectedly when the Forsaken think they're out of their master's direct oversight.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Of a sort. When he has his only cameo in A Memory of Light, Book 14, in Shayol Ghul, he is dead, and described as nothing more than a husk. Moridin reveals that he used to be a vessel for the Dark One, but is no longer necessary.
Padan Fain/ Mordeth/ Ordeith/ Jeraal Mordeth/ Shaisam
Originally a Darkfriend sent to spy on the Two Rivers, Fain was forcibly recruited by Ishamael and some Myrddraal to aid in the hunt for Rand. The resulting proceedings filled him with hate for both sides, and a chance encounter in the haunted city of Shadar Logoth left him merged with the spirit of the infamous Evil Chancellor
Mordeth. Now he pursues revenge against both the Dragon and the Dark One, and he may well have the power to accomplish it.
- Achilles' Heel: By the time of Book 14, Shaisam, as the entity calls itself, considers Fain to be this, being a mortal physical body. It's right, since, upon Mat stabbing it, "together they died".
- Artifact of Doom: That cursed knife Mat had for a while is now back in his possession.
- Ax-Crazy: Progressively (as the result of an imperfect merger of two evil but very different individuals plus two evil but very different supernatural forces) to the point that Word of God specified that if he was any more insane, he probably couldn't function at all. Shaisam seems saner, though that doesn't necessarily mean sane. It's more that there's hardly any humanity left in him by that point, so human definitions of sanity no longer really apply.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Had ambitions of killing Rand, eating his soul, and taking over Shayol Ghul, effectively replacing the Dark One as Big Bad in the process but was killed before he was able to realize them.
- Breakout Character: Literally in the case of Mordeth, who only appears in one chapter before merging with Fain to become even worse.
- The Corrupter: Using his Artifact of Doom, he can either cause very bad wounds or corrupt people with paranoia and fear.
- Emotion Bomb: Myrddraal can make ordinary people feel fear with a look. Fain can make Myrddraal feel fear.
- Evil Chancellor: As Mordeth. He's weaseled his way into this role a couple of times as Fain, too, for Elaida's White Tower, Toram Riatin's rebellion, and the Children of the Light (he wasn't as lucky with the Seanchan).
- Evil Sorcerer: He's not a channeler, but he certainly wields some form of really nasty magic that comes from Mordeth's side. Where he got his powers is never explicitly elaborated on, and Mordeth/Fain is the only character to use this kind of power.
- Evil Versus Evil: He's willing to capitalize on his former role as a Darkfriend to get what he wants, but at this point he has no love for either side. Per Word of God, his goal number one is to kill Rand, but goal number two is to kill the Dark One. You can see why neither side likes him much.
- Fallen Hero / Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Mordeth started out genuinely wanting to save the world from the Shadow, only to gradually become corrupted by the forces and methods he utilized until he was no better than the Dark One himself. The original Padan Fain personality is not an example, though, since he started out just wanting to save his own skin.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: After he dies, his flesh melts from his bones, and the taint of the Shadar Logoth dagger turns his body completely black before melting into him.
- Finger Poke of Doom: In one book, during his POV, a Darkfriend child brings him news on Rand, and just hearing the news drives him into a rage. He just touches the boy, and the child collapses in severe agony. Fain's inner monologue shows that he doesn't know (or care) if the kid is going to live or die. In the same section, Fain explicitly muses that he needs to touch someone to use his powers on them, though in later books this limitation goes away as he gains the ability to summon Mashadar and extend his power through it.
- Fog of Doom: He is followed around by Mashadar following the cleansing of saidin. By the time of Book 14, he is just Mashadar using Fain as a convenient vessel.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Good God. From a darkfriend peddler to a deadly, manipulative sorcerer to an Eldritch Abomination.
- Grand Theft Me: What Mordeth tried to do to him. The result was more like an even fusion of the worst aspects of both.
- Hate Plague: Those who spend too long in his company become corrupted themselves; most obviously, he does it to the Whitecloaks under his command in The Shadow Rising, but his brief association with Elaida apparently accelerated her breakdown as well.
- Hoist by His Own Petard/Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He's killed with his own dagger this way by Mat, who is immune to his Hate Plague.
- Humanoid Abomination: Book 13's prologue point-of-view section refers to him as "the creature that had once been Padan Fain". Even as early as The Great Hunt, Hurin's ability to "sniff" evil pegs him as "worse" than a Myrddraal.
- I Have Many Names: Changing his alias every few books, he racks up a fair number.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's so hard to talk about him without revealing both his evil and his powers that its sometimes hard to remember he was introduced as an ordinary peddler and only later revealed as a villain.
- Living Bodysuit: By the time of Book 14, "Shaisam", as the creature calls itself, is essentially Mashadar without the limit of needing to stay within a single city, though it is looking forward to finding one to achieve immortality again. Fain is conscious within, or at least has some degree of awareness, but it is clear that Mashadar is really calling the shots.
- The Man Behind the Man: As Mordeth, he was the man behind the last king of Aridhol. Word of God also indicates that there is some specific dark power driving Mordeth (and by extension, Fain and Mashadar) though it's never specified if this power is Mashadar or if Mashadar itself is merely another manifestation of it.
- Manipulative Bastard: His primary method of causing trouble.
- Meaningful Rename: The combined Fain/Mordeth creature eventually rechristens himself "Shaisam", though this name seems to include Mashadar as well.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Mordeth" sounds like "Morgoth" and "More Death". It also sounds like Mordred, King Arthur's traitorous son.
- Theme Naming: Taking the King Arthur naming scheme of several characters and places, he sounds similar to Mordred, the killer of Arthur, in comparison to the sound of Rand al'Thor and his name.
- He has a habit of taking ominous names. Ordeith is the Old Tongue word for wormwood, which is lampshaded in-universe by someone who somehow still doesn't get the hint. In the last book, Shaisam roughly translates to shadow-destroyer.
- The Necromancer: His expanded abilities in the last two books has granted him the power to create zombified Shadowspawn that are stronger and fiercer than the originals.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: His speech tends to veer back and forth between the lower-class accent of Fain and the more cultured, sophisticated one of Mordeth. This happens largely unconsciously, and creepily, it'll occasionally happen in the middle of a sentence.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Mordeth is introduced as a being who's not quite alive and not quite dead, neither fully spirit nor fully flesh, and trapped within Shadar Logoth until he could find a new body to jack. That would be when he met Fain, and the rest is history.
- Punch Clock Villain: As Fain, initially, he was your standard rank-and-file Darkfriend who joined up for the power and stayed joined because the alternative was to become Trolloc-food. After merging with Mordeth, he drops the "punch clock" and just becomes straight-up evil.
- Red Herring: He's not really all that important at the Last Battle.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against... everybody, honestly, but Rand is on top of his list, and the Dark One is a close second.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Granted the ability to find Rand, Mat, and Perrin wherever they are. The painfulness of the process where he acquired this ability is the main reason he hates both the Dark One and the heroes.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Mordeth was a sealed evil in a city until he merged with Fain, allowing him to escape.
- Split Personality: To an extent. He's unified in thought and purpose, but does have two sets of mannerisms he'll switch between and sometimes can't remember if his name is Fain or Mordeth (not that he really cares anymore, admittedly).
- That Man Is Dead: By the time of Book 13, he is known as "the creature that had once been Padan Fain" in the narration. By Book 14, he goes by Shaisam and only grudgingly acknowledges that he was once Fain.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He'll happily gut other villains who get between him and Rand.
- The Starscream: Is shaping up to be this due to his insanity. Quite a promotion from the Punch Clock Villain he started out as.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Twice. First, he is so corrupted by the Dark One that Mordeth can't perform an effective Grand Theft Me on him, resulting in them merging into a single "Ordeith/Jeraal Mordeth". Later, Machin Shin approaches him in the Ways, but recognises Fain as a kindred spirit.
- Word of God explicitly invokes this. When asked what would happen if Fain got tossed into the Pit of Doom, Brandon Sanderson responded that the Dark One would spit him out because he tastes bad.
- Wild Card: To the point that both sides have assassins actively trying to kill him throughout the series. Most of them end up dead, the lucky ones just never find him, or get killed by Fain without using his Artifact of Doom.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Starts out as your average corrupt-but-sane Darkfriend. The more powers he gets, the more off his rocker he goes, until by the most recent books he's potentially one of the most powerful beings in the world and is completely freakin' nuts.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Per Word of God this was one of the original Mordeth's powers, and therefore presumably also one of Fain's, though he hasn't shown it explicitly. Shaisam's goal is to take in Rand's.
Once two different men — Lord Luc, brother of Tigraine and blood-uncle to Rand, and Isam, cousin to Lan—who had a destined encounter in the Blight; Luc was there because he'd been sent by a Foretelling made by Gitara Moroso (the same one
who foretold Rand's birth and
sent Tigraine off to the Waste to become a Maiden of the Spear), while Isam was there because he grew up there after his mother colluded with the Darkfriend Cowin Fairheart to betray Malkier to the Shadow. Now they have somehow become one entity and act as Chief Assassin of the Dark.
Artificial beings created by Aginor during the War of Power, the Shadowspawn are notable for being Always Chaotic Evil
and forming the bulk of the Dark One's forces. There are many different kinds of Shadowspawn, but the most notable are discussed below.
Trollocs (including Narg)
Brutish, bloodthirsty beast-men, the Trollocs are the most commonly encountered Shadowspawn and are the standard Mooks
for the Shadow. Though inhumanly large, strong, and aggressive, they're not very good soldiers and need someone or something else in command in order to be at all effective.
- Always Chaotic Evil: They're exceptionally aggressive, bloodthirsty animals; though they have their own language (and some speak the human language as well), your average Trolloc isn't interested in much but fighting and killing and their intelligence is generally subhuman.
- Dumb Muscle: It's about all they're good for.
- I'm a Humanitarian/To Serve Man: Trollocs will eat anything with meat on it, and that includes humans and their own dead. They'll usually eat their captives, and Darkfriends are sometimes threatened with being fed to them to ensure obedience.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: All Trollocs look like large, overmuscled humans with animal features mixed in, but what animal they resemble varies a great deal from Trolloc to Trolloc.
- Mooks: Their primary role is to be the footsoldiers of the Shadow.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Their name is a mashup of "troll" and "orc", and they generally fill the latter's niche.
- Super Soldier: Arguably subverted, contrary to what they are said to be. Though individually tougher than humans, they're not nearly as smart or disciplined. It's never shown how devastating Berserkers, with enough strength to sever limbs with every attack and enough endurance to take several times the punishment that humans need to take to be taken down, would be in a fight. It is said that they have that strength and endurance, but in the story they go down even faster than humans, and by far most of the wounds the humans take aren't of the cleaved in half variety. Lesser mental capacity and discipline should be easily balanced by their greater numbers and stronger bodies...
- They were designed by Aginor as ideal soldiers... except Aginor had never seen real combat, and actually had no idea what makes for a good soldier.
One of the first Trollocs in the series and the only one given a distinctive name. Despite his early and ignominious death, he still fascinates the fandom on a level surpassed only by Bela, leading to his inclusion in lists where he really doesn't belong. For more information about the fandom's reaction to him, head over to YMMV
Throwbacks to the Trollocs' human heritage, Myrddraal make up less than 5% of the Trolloc population but are by far the most important. More human-looking—and far more intelligent—than their cousins, they generally serve as Elite Mooks
or Mook Lieutenants
. It is their presence that infuses Trollocs with the discipline and coordination necessary to be an effective fighting force.
- Alien Blood: It's acid.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Though unlike Trollocs, Myrddraal are smart enough to know exactly what they're doing. As such, they represent a more cold-blooded, calculated form of evil.
- Black Cloak: The standard Myrddraal "uniform" consists of a Black Cloak worn over formfitting black armor. The cloak always hangs flat, never rippling because of wind or movement.
- Creepy Monotone: Their voices are flat and devoid of inflection, compared to the sound of bone crumbling.
- Elite Mooks / Mook Lieutenant: They're both more formidable than Trollocs and usually found in command over them.
- Emotion Bomb: They can induce fear with a look.
- Evil Weapon: Their swords are forged in the valley of Thakan'dar. Even the slightest scratch will prove fatal. Aes Sedai Healing is explicitly necessary to counter these wounds.
- Eyeless Face: They resemble eerily pale and graceful humans except for the fact that they have only smooth skin where eyes and sockets should be. "The look of the Eyeless is death," as they say in the Borderlands.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The original meaning of this phrase—one of the favorite things Fades enjoy doing to mortals (and, to judge from Shaidar Haran, to use as punishment for female Forsaken) is rape. Whenever a child results from such a union, the mother usually dies in childbirth. Usually. Perhaps mercifully, such children are always stillborn.
- Genius Bruiser: They're noted for their cunning, but they're also deadlier warriors than regular Trollocs and can cut through all but the most badass humans with ease.
- Humanoid Abomination: Aginor never intended to create these things- they just sort of happened as a side-effect of making the Trollocs. They're described as being slightly out of sync with the rest of reality (hence why their cloaks don't ripple in the wind), have freaky powers that the ordinary magic of the setting can't explain, and are essentially the same evil personality replicated over and over again.
- I Have Many Names: Fades, Eyeless, Halfmen, Neverborn...
- Keystone Army: The simplest way for a Myrddraal to keep control of its fist of Trollocs is to bind them to it mentally. But if you kill the Myrddraal, its squad gets knocked over too.
- Magic Knight: Though they're not as powerful as human channelers, Myrddraal have a number of supernatural abilities in addition to their martial prowess.
- Mars Needs Women: They have a strange and disturbing penchant for raping human women. Best not to sepculate on exactly what they get out of it.
- One-Gender Race: They all look male, but are usually referred to as "it" rather than "he" in narration. (This despite their proclivity to rape.) Word of God is somewhat conflicted on the issue- Jordan seems to have considered them to all be male, while his wife and editor Harriet Mc Dougal described them as all neuter (they can't have children anyway, so the distinction is somewhat academic here).
- The Stoic: Myrddraal feel very little emotion, and show next to none apart from extremely cold-blooded sadism (or under extreme circumstances). This is, in fact, a tip-off that Shaidar Haran is not actually a Myrddraal, as he frequently smiles and laughs (though his sense of humor is quite cruel).
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: In the first few books, they're terrifying. Later on, the protagonists can kill them with only slightly more difficulty than Trollocs, though they're still a terrible threat to most people in the setting.
- The Worf Effect: In regards to Fain; the fact that his powers let him kill, torture, and control them is used to emphasize how powerful and evil he is (normally, Myrddraal only back down for Forsaken or the Dark One himself).
The Shadow's flying scouts and assassins, Draghkar are winged, humanoid creatures with the power to consume the souls of their victims. Fortunately they're said to be even less intelligent than Trollocs, but they're still deadly when under the command of a Myrddraal.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Like trollocs, of the animalistic variety.
- Black Eyes of Evil: They have large, glossy, black eyes and are certainly sinister.
- Flight: Thanks to their wings.
- Musical Assassin: They use their song to mesmerize their prey before swooping in for the kill/soul sucking.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Their generally humanoid appearance, mesmeric abilities, and ability to consume souls certainly give off this vibe.
- Winged Humanoid: They resemble somewhat gaunt, ethereal humans with bat-like wings.
- Your Soul Is Mine: They can suck out the souls of their victims. Normally this is fatal, but it takes awhile- and it's said that it's kinder not to be rescued at all from a draghkar than to be rescued too late.
These are standard human Darkfriends who have surrendered their souls to the Shadow. In exchange, they get turned into Ridiculously Average Guys
who can enter without anyone noticing, which serves them well in their role as assassins.
- Beneath Notice: Invoked. Grey Men are typically written into the narration as an Unusually Uninteresting Sight, inviting the reader to overlook them. Double Takes can follow, both In-Universe and out.
- Knife Nut: A knife is the weapon most often associated with a Gray Man assassin.
- Perception Filter: They're next to impossible to see coming; they don't even trip the Spider-Sense radar that Warders get with creatures of the Shadow. The only ways to survive a Grey Man attack are to get lucky (have their initial attempt miss or fail somehow, which reveals their presence), be very quick (they become a lot easier to notice right before they strike, because the "OH GOD HE HAS A KNIFE" mental response overrides their powers), or to have some other way of detecting them - (Perrin, for example, can smell them coming).
- Non-Indicative Name: Yes, women can become Grey Men.
- Ridiculously Average Guy: Their powers make them completely nondescript, so that they're almost impossible to notice until they do something to draw attention to themselves.
- The Soulless: One of their names, anyway.
Formed by twisting the soul of a wolf by another Darkhound, these pony-sized dogs or wolves are Nigh Invulnerable
and have corrosive saliva, making them very deadly assailants.
- Animalistic Abomination: They look similar to wolves, but leave footprints in stone and not softer ground rather than the other way around, their saliva is poisonous or corrosive to the extent that a single drop is deadly, and, if chopped into small pieces, liquify and reform into a Darkhound again unless killed with Balefire (or, in one case, a few arrows to the head).
- Elite Mooks: Ordinary darkhounds are bad enough; then there's the Wild Hunt, which is composed of the worst of their kind.
- Evil Counterpart: To wolves, who call them "Shadowbrothers" with disdain.
- Fear of Thunder: They are afraid of thunderstorms, but this does not stop them once they are on a hunt.
- Hellhound: Seem to fit the type, though they aren't actually from Hell.
- Nigh Invulnerable: If a Darkhound is sliced to pieces, it will simply reform into a full Darkhound after liquifying itself. The only sure-fire way to kill it is with balefire. Perrin's Mah'allenir can also do this.
- Poison Is Corrosive: Subverted. Their saliva is (only) an extremely deadly poison when it touches humans (possibly all living beings) and corrosive upon contact with anything else.
- Savage Wolves: Make that demonic wolves.
- Super-Persistent Predator: They don't give up a trail easily once they have it.
- Super Speed: Faster than and can maintain their speed longer than horses.
- Was Once A Wolf: They're the corrupted and transformed souls of wolves.
Also known as "Worms"
, these Shadowspawn take the form of large worms, but their "cries" can be heard when they travel in Wormpacks. This type of Shadowspawn is only very occasionally seen, seeing as they do not seem to leave the Blight
. Jumara can transform into an even more terrible Shadowspawn that is unknown, but those remaining in the Blight cannot do so, as they have no access to the necessary process or catalyst.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: They're enormous, well, worms. Adults are multipedal, but still insectoid.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Though they are technically like worms, their size makes it hard to qualify them as such.
- Cave Mouth: Demandred even confused the mouth of the Hearttomb for a cave, while it's really a jumara'nai's mouth.
- Combat Tentacles: On the adults.
- The Dreaded: Myrddraal are afraid of jumara, and Lan takes steps to avoid them.
- Feed It with Fire: Unlike gholam, who can No Sell direct channeling, adult jumara grow even stronger from it.
- Made of Iron: The only way to kill a jumara is to cut it into many pieces. Padan Fain, as of Book 13, can subvert this with his dagger.
- Metamorphosis Monster: Jumara can transform into an even more terrible Shadowspawn that is unknown, but those remaining in the Blight cannot do so, as they have no access to the necessary process or catalyst. A fully mature one appears in "River of Souls", in Shara, where it had killed generations of Sharan heroes. Demandred finally killed it, cementing his position as the Sharan Wyld. He himself admits he wouldn't have stood a chance if he hadn't known what it was and how to kill it going in.
- Sand Worm: Very small scale, but they are large worms. Adults fit the type much better.
- Spikes of Villainy: Adults have many spines on their bodies.
- Take Our Word for It: Their more horrible form is only alluded to in the main series, considering they can't turn into one (see above under Metamorphosis). One does appear in "River of Souls", and its every bit as nasty as alluded to, with Demandred thinking that Aginor probably made the critter so horrible just to see if he could. Also, they are said to be afraid of whatever is even further into the Blight, though we don't know what that is aside from the Dark One. Granted, once more of the Blight is seen, there's nothing new at all, or really much of anything. Either Nothing Is Scarier to them, they are afraid of the Town in the Blight, or something used to be there that scared them enough that Genetic Memory of a Primal Fear perhaps did the rest.
An anti-channeling assassin created during the Age of Legends and kept in a stasis box
until the present time in the Third Age. They are completely immune to channeling, which may be why only six were ever made. His behaviors and near indestructibility has made him one of the more notable single Shadowspawn, as well as being, as far as is known, the only one of his kind left.
Giant rock golems that are only found in Thakan'dar, as their name suggests they create the cursed weapons favored by the Myrddraal and other Shadow high-ups, but are also said to be peerless warriors.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: They're extremely lethal warriors which is why the channelers with Rand's force make sure to disable them before they can join the fight at Shayol Ghul.
- Giant Mook: Some of the largest, and most physically powerful, shadowspawn.
- Golem: Giants made of living rock; apparently anything less durable wouldn't be able to survive the process of creating Thakan'dar blades.
- Mighty Glacier: Big, slow, but enormously powerful.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: They use human sacrfices as the final touch to give the weapons they make their particularly lethal properties.
- Ultimate Blacksmith: Of the evil variety; they're the ones who create the Myrddraal's cursed swords.