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The Guy in Charge

    Dark One 


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 (to all indications, correctly) believed 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, and because it doesn't understand humans beyond their basest impulses, it depends on the knowledge and cunning of its followers a lot more than it lets on.
  • 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.
    • It can be defined even plainer: a sentient idea of evil.
  • 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.
    • Somewhat subverted, it is heavily implied that the Creator has made many universes, each with its own Dark One. Should one break free and destroy that universe, the Creator just moves on. Meaning that the Creator also made each Dark One, and is wholly on a much higher level than all of them.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: The center of the Dark One's power in the world is the Pit of Doom, the lake of fire at the heart of Shayol Ghul. Subverted in the last book when the Dark One's rising power extinguishes the flames, leaving only emptiness in the Pit of Doom.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What will actually happen to the world if Dark One wins as Rand implies after learning its plans.
  • 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.
  • Made of Evil: Or, in light of revelations in AMOL, it might be better put the other way around — the Dark One isn't made of evil, evil is made of the Dark One.
  • Meaningful Name: "Shaitan" is arabic for "Satan".
  • 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 that are quite accurately 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, and during the actual confrontation Rand has his full and undivided attention regardless of what he calls him.
  • 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 perceives 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.

Friends Of The Dark

    In General 

The "Friends of the Dark" or "Darkfriends", as they are commonly known, are the rank and file servants and worshippers of the Dark One, present from the Age of Legends down to the current Age. In the present, they are a nebulous but invisible force that have agents at every level of society and in almost every field — the Black Ajah of the Aes Sedai are in many ways just a specific group of Darkfriends — lured by promises of immortality and power. In practice, most Darkfriends in the current Age operated more as kind of international secret society / cult / crime syndicate, and few believed that the Dark One would be returning in their lifetimes or that they would be called upon to serve him... until the Forsaken Ishamael summoned them in numbers proclaiming that the time to serve the Dark had come...

  • The Conspiracy: The Friends of the Dark have survived for millennia working on behalf of the Dark One and accumulating personal power and influence through treachery, deceit and murder, all over the world.
  • Incredibly Inconvenient Deity: Your average Darkfriend was quite happy to join the cause of the Shadow for the very simple reason that they either doubted the Dark One existed or, at the very least, did not believe that He would show up anywhere in their lifetime. Their collective reaction ranges from ecstatic fanaticism to abject horror that they will have to actually do something to help bring about The End of the World as We Know It rather than simply use their connections to make an easy life for themselves, or have their fantasies of being specially chosen by the Dark One himself tested and shattered as they are exposed as disposable pawns who have to prove their worth or suffer death.
  • Properly Paranoid: The heroes and many supporting characters, as well as many non-Dark aligned villains, often suspect each other or different random people of secretly belonging to the Dark... and in many cases they are dead right. One of the most potent weapons the Shadow has is the paranoia that brews as a result — the forces of the Light don't co-operate nearly as well as they should with the Apocalypse looming largely because they are convinced that everyone else is secretly working for the Shadow, and of course the Shadow itself is happy to play on that for its own ends.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: One of the dangers posed by the Darkfriends is that they are omnipresent, and several minor or supporting characters turn out to be Friends of the Dark in disguise. On numerous occasions the heroes meet a random farmer, traveller, merchant, aristocrat or whoever on their quest and have to fend off assassination attempts from an enemy agent.


The Forsaken

    The Forsaken / The Chosen 

In the previous War Of Power, Lews Therin led the forces of light supported by a team of lieutenants and trusted advisers. Many died, but others became Fallen Heroes 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. Why they were all there when Lews Therin placed the seals is not known (although the Guide posits that they were attending a critical council/meeting with the Dark One). There they have remained... and 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 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, Demandred, and Rahvin 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 one of them was officially designated Nae'blis, 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 and in their world's mythology, despite being human themselves.
  • 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.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Though they'll all obey the Dark One when directly commanded (it would be rather suicidal not to, after all), in terms of their day-to-day lives they're generally much more concerned with satisfying their personal ambitions/revenge/whatever than they are with actually serving the Shadow's cause. Ishamael is the chief exception to this.
  • 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.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the last book, they get one new member — M'Hael, aka Mazrim Taim.
  • Evil Former Friend: A disproportionate number of them (including Ishamael, Lanfear, Demandred, Sammael, and Be'lal) were in Lews Therin Telamon's social circle before turning to the Shadow.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Forsaken who weren't just assholes looking for a cheap way out of problems they'd brought on themselves almost universally sold their souls to the cosmic embodiment of evil for the most spiteful, small-minded reasons imaginable.
  • 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.
  • The Heavy: The group as a whole play this role; though the Dark One is the ultimate villain, being both a Sealed Evil in a Can as well as more of a force than a person it is usually kept at arms length from the narrative while they take a more central role. Exactly which Forsaken is most prominent varies depending on what part of the series you look at.
  • 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. All of them (except Asmodean, which means musician), are also Names to Run Away from Really Fast. 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 (except Asmodean, whose name means "musician"). This does not tend to hold true for some of the new bodies of dead Chosen.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: 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; it's actually a really big moment when one of them (the strongest good-guy female there is) discovers that she is actually able to match one of the weaker Forsaken blow-for-blow. But even at the end, after those heroes have all taken numerous levels in Badass, the Forsaken continue to present a credible threat: the Final Battle, which involves the vast majority of the Light's strongest channelers and like twenty-five narrators, revolves around taking down just three of them. And it takes four Heroic Sacrifices to do it.
  • Offstage Villainy: The heinous deeds that inspired their status as The Dreaded took place over three thousand years before the series begins. This is particularly obvious with Asmodean, Demandred, and Mesaana, who come across as three of the least evil Forsaken largely because their worst atrocitiesnote  occurred in the backstory and are never directly relevant to their present-day role.
  • 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 and wait for the next cycle to turn him. Finally, all of them are opposed to Padan Fain getting to do the deed, because, screw Padan Fain.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Though they rarely work together unless forced to.
  • Red Baron: They're known by their Old Tongue epithets far more than by their actual given names, both in the series and on this page. We have the meanings of a few of them — Betrayer of Hope (Ishamael), Daughter of the Night (Lanfear), Destroyer of Hope (Sammael), and the Spider (Moghediennote ). We also have "Lady of Pain" (Semirhage) and "Netweaver" (Be'lal), but it's unclear if these are the literal meanings of their names or additional epithets. The WOT Companion reveals that one of Be'lal's nicknames, "the Envious", is in fact one of the translations for his name (or more directly, "desire to have"). Semirhage, meanwhile, means "the promise of pain" or one who embodies it.
  • 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 millennia 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 Klingon Promotion their way to being Nae'blis, once the office is finally awarded. Lanfear takes it a step further, plotting against the Dark One himself.
  • Stupid Evil: Encouraged by their master. The Dark One needs them to retain their free will to use them with full effectiveness, but that carries the risk of one of them having a change of heart. So, without exception, its recruits are chosen for their willingness to be evil regardless of utility, and with only one exception, none of them ever do.
  • 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, because all he wants is to permanently die.


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.

  • 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.
  • The Archmage: One of the strongest channelers ever to live, and quite possibly the most experienced and knowledgeable. In addition to the One Power, he's also skilled with the True Power and Dreamwalking (as an actual Dreamer) and collects ter'angreal, with likely only the White Tower itself rivaling his stock of powerful Second Age artifacts.
  • 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, or at least had a better lid on his insanity, though his constant use of the True Power gradually ate away at his stability.
  • Badass in Charge: As Nae'blis.
  • 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.
  • Beyond the Impossible: He enjoys applying this to his Dreamshards, which contain sights such as burning oceans and endless seas with stone flooring.
  • Big Bad: Within the Forsaken's group dynamic, anyway, though not the biggest bad story-wise. He's the most powerful of the Forsaken and as Nae'blis has overall command of the Shadow's forces, though he himself is The Dragon to the Dark One.
  • Breaking Speech: At times, he seems to talk almost exclusively in these.
  • 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 three 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.
  • Came Back Strong: As part of his resurrection as Moridin the Nae'blis, he is rid of the damage of 3 millenia of touching the True Power and is granted near unlimited access to it, he's significantly more sane, he's given a fresh body at its physical prime, and the Dark One gifts him direct control over two of the other Forsaken as well.
  • 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, along with numerous other strategy games. At one point he uses a game of sha'rah as a metaphor for the eternal war between the Light and the Shadow.
  • Cool Sword: He seizes Callandor in the final book, and imbues it with the True Power, causing it to glow a brilliant crimson.
  • 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, suggests that Moridin has the potential to return to the Light though having no one to love mixed with a genuine death wish meant he never actually realized it.
  • Devil Complex: For millennia, humanity believed that he, or at least his Ba'alzamon persona, was the Dark One, and while how much he bought into it himself is unclear, he certainly did nothing to correct the misconception. He drops the act as Moridin, in part because the Dark One, not amused, resurrected him without his madness.
  • 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: As Ishamael, he was the most powerful and consistently most favored of the Forsaken. As Moridin, he 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: A master of Tel'aran'rhiod manipulation, he 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 confirmed by Rand after re-integrating Lews Therin's memories that Moridin is in fact a Dreamwalker due to his ability to create little pockets of dreamlike pseudo-reality called Dreamshards.
  • Enemy Mine: Moridin and Rand have a brief one against Sammael and Mashadar, as Moridin both wants Rand alive and wants to punish Sammael for falsely claiming to be Nae'blis. Mashadar just wanted to eat both of them.
  • Enlightened Antagonist: Subverted. Moridin plainly considers himself to be this, believing that his great insight into the metaphysics of the Wheel and the Pattern places him on a level above not only ordinary people but also the other Forsaken; however it's made plain that his commitment to his nihilistic worldview blinds him to important truths about existence. In the end, as even the Dark One says, HIS EYES ARE SMALL.
  • 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 he.
  • 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. This is made particularly obvious as Moridin, who even looks a bit like Rand.
  • 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 him in more practical areas of intelligence note .
  • 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.
    Rand watched that fire for a time, thinking. One might have thought that they were old friends, enjoying the warmth of a winter hearth. Except that the flames gave no heat, and Rand would someday kill this man. Or die at his hands.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: As Ba'alzamon due to extensive use of 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the Last Battle, he stabs himself in the hand so Rand will feel the pain through their link and drop Callandor, allowing Moridin to claim it. Before he can use it, Rand, Nynaeve and Moiraine take control of him through the flaw and use him to completely reseal the Bore.
  • Karma Houdini: Chosen who fail in the Great Lord's service are usually punished in some manner, but Ishamael gets away with losing to Rand in the third book and is even made Nae'blis after returning. Moghedien, who suffers at length for her own failure, is furious about this. It turns out that being brought back was Ishamael's punishment, as what Elan wants more than anything is to stay dead.
  • Kneel Before Zod: His Ba'alzamon persona is obsessed with making Rand submit. Moridin is too, he's just more subtle about it. Ultimately, almost everything he does in-series — from his first appearance restoring Lews Therin's sanity so that he'll realize he killed his family to his final conversations with Rand before the Last Battle — is about trying to force the Dragon to recognize the power of Shai'tan and the inevitability of the Shadow's victory.
    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 that he was spun out of the Dark One's prison for 40 years at a time in 1000 year cycles, and that it has happened three times. The first time it happened he apparently woke up right in the middle of the Trolloc Wars, where he took command of the Trolloc forces and used them to nearly destroy civilization, but was spun back into the prison just before he could finish the job. The second time it happened, he caused the breakup of King Artur Hawkwing's empire and started a bloody war of succession called the War of the Hundred Years. The third time, he devoted his efforts to hunting down and turning Rand al'Thor to the Shadow before he could become a threat.
  • 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.
  • No Immortal Inertia: After his first death, his body rots into nothingness almost immediately. Apparently, it made quite a stink.
  • Not So Similar: He and Rand both teetered on the edge of despair, nihilism, and omnicidal mania when faced with the Eternal Recurrence of the Pattern. The difference is that Rand managed to pull himself back by realizing it gave people new chances to do better, while he just dug himself in deeper out of feeling the only reprieve is the end of everything.
  • 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 Recurrence 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. As Ba'alzamon, it's unclear how much he really wanted the world to end versus believing that as the Dark One's avatar he'd have the power to remake reality to his liking but Moridin is very much a straight example.
  • Pride: Very obvious as Ba'alzamon and more subtle, but still present, as Moridin. His unshakable belief that his understanding of prophecy, his place in it, and the metaphysics of the Pattern is right is one of the central facets of his character and Rand triggers his final Villainous Breakdown simply by dismissing him as irrelevant.
  • 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. Eventually, they turn his eyes completely black.
  • 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.
  • Save the Villain: Rand carries his dying body out of Shayol Ghul. He dies of his own wounds anyway, but not in the way you might think.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: And he wants to take reality itself with him, so long as he doesn't have to come back.
  • Synchronization: After their balefire streams connect in A Crown of Swords, Moridin becomes increasingly linked with Rand, to the point of sharing each other's pain and, on occasion, thoughts. This likely also enabled their body swap.
  • Taking You with Me: Tries this with Rand at the end of the final book by wielding a True Power-influenced Callandor, but in doing so leaves himself open to the weapon's Fatal Flaw.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: He's the proud owner of a very extensive book of Dark Prophecies which he uses as a guide for his plotting. He shows it to Graendal in Towers of Midnight.
  • 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).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: A slight level, which makes him even more of a wild card to his peers. By the final book, he's noted to have more or less stopped taking pleasure in the suffering he might once have enjoyed, having grown solemn and spending most of his time alone in thought.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Rescue: He saves Rand from falling to his death in Shadar Logoth at the climax of A Crown of Swords, fights Mashadar with him, and gives him some earnest advice on how to defeat Sammael.
  • Weapon of Choice: Ishy's not a great fighter compared to some of the other Forsaken, preferring the True Power as a weapon, but when he does mix it up, he uses either a sword or a quarterstaff.
  • Wicked Cultured: A well-educated, well-dressed, well-spoken man whose interests include philosophy, strategy games — and trying to destroy the world.
  • 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.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: He's the final obstacle between Rand and the Dark One, and invokes a variation of this.


Aginor/Osan'gar/Corlan Dashiva/Ishar Morrad Chuain
Click here to see him as Osan'gar 

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.

  • Age Without Youth: Not quite as bad as Balthamel, but being caught within the Dark One's prison but close enough to reality to still experience the passage of time left him looking more like a dessicated corpse than a living man, as his picture illustrates nicely.
  • All There in the Manual: Him being second-strongest of the male Forsaken in the Power is alluded to in the booksnote  but only directly confirmed in the Guide and Word of God. Similarly, his role as the creator of the Shadowspawn is mentioned offhand at various points in the series, but it's supplemental materials where most of the info on his work and importance comes from.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Per Word of God he's one of the strongest of the Forsaken in the One Power after Ishamael and Rahvin, but he's focused on making monsters using Mad Science. This made him key in the War of Power, but in the Third Age he doesn't have the Magitek he needs for this purpose and as such he is one of the least effective Forsaken.
  • Evil Old Folks: Physically, at least. How old he actually was in comparison to the other Forsaken is never stated.
  • Mad Scientist: He turned to the Shadow because, hey, when your boss is an omnicidal force of utter evil, nobody bothers you about ethics in your research.
  • Maker of Monsters: He's a skilled and entirely amoral geneticist and personally responsible for the creation of the Shadow's monstrous Mooks. He created the trollocs, for instance, by performing Mengele-esque experiments on his fellow human beings by the thousandfold in order to create ideal soldiers, although his general removal from combat meant he had little idea what made an ideal soldier beyond strength and aggressiveness — consequently, trollocs are little beyond savage, undisciplined killers. Alluded to by the name he was given as a Forsaken, which means "slicer of the living".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: An osan'gar is a dagger dipped in slow poison.
  • Obliviously Evil: To an extent. Word of God has said that Aginor is the kind of guy who would create a plague capable of driving the human race to extinction without ever pausing to wonder if he should or if it might have negative consequences. He generally seems to have been less "Capital E Evil" than completely amoral and heedless of consequence.
  • Reincarnation: Aginor is killed off after a five-page fight scene in the first book, but the Dark One eventually manages to stick his soul into someone else's body. The same happens with Balthamel, Ishamael, and Lanfear. He then goes into hiding, spending several books as an unimportant secondary character, managing to accomplish little of importance... and then he teleports onto the wrong hilltop at the wrong time and gets glassed again. Poor bugger.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He has a small role at the end of Eye of the World and is then killed off. He comes back from the dead and dies again several books later after having accomplished nothing of much significance. But because of his role creating the Shadowspawn, he probably inflicted more suffering on the world than any other Forsaken.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: He's second-strongest of the male Forsaken, but he's neither a fighter nor a general. Even his choice of cover identity isn't great; a number of savvy fans noticed that something was up with the man, though (in fairness) few thought there would be a freaking Forsaken Hidden in Plain Sight. He claims to have encountered Lews Therin in the Hall of the Servants and "met him stroke for stroke", but it's possible that he's boasting; even if true, a one-on-one duel with the Power is not a battlefield.
  • With Catlike Tread: Attempts to sneak up on Rand and Nynaeve and steal the Choedan Kal while they're cleansing saidin.
    ... he began to skulk from tree to tree in what he imagined was a stealthy manner. It was toward the key that he skulked.
  • You Have Failed Me: A subtle example. The Dark One simply doesn't reincarnate him after his second death. Part of this might just be because Aginor's talents simply aren't that useful in the Third Age, since Forsaken who failed much more decisively still get revived repeatedly.


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 before giving her over to the Myrddraal for sport, among other terrible crimes. He favors Lanfear as an ally and is among the weakest of the male Forsaken (which means he's 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.

  • Back from the Dead: He, Mat, and Aviendha accompany Rand to attack Forsaken-controlled Caemlyn in The Fires of Heaven, but are killed by Rahvin; Rand's Balefire rewinds time and brings them back. He and Mat are both quite disconcerted over this ordeal and neither wants to dwell on it.
  • The Bard: In his backstory, as well as his cover story as Natael. He formally becomes the Dragon Reborn's bard as a convenient way to keep him around without suspicion. His Forsaken name even means "musician", showing just how important music was to him and how his life revolved around it.
  • Category Traitor: The Shadow perceives him as this and attempts to have him killed.
  • Child Prodigy: He became an accomplished musician at a very young age, and went on to be famous and successful. Just not as famous and successful as a number of critics, and in fact he himself, thought he should have been.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Downplayed. After losing to Rand, he's forced by Lanfear to betray the Shadow and join Rand's side, and loses his immortality as well as much of his power. He takes this in his stride and decides to earnestly help Rand destroy the Shadow, and wants to cling on to his mortal life for as long as he can.
  • 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 who had ever slighted him, been his rivals, or otherwise suggested he would never amount to anything to be maimed — they lived, and there wasn't even torture involved, but they could no longer perform their craft.
  • Evil Mentor: To Rand, in that he's evil and a tutor in the Power. It isn't that simple, however; Rand is fully aware of his evilness, but is happy to keep him around so long as he stays loyal.
    Asmodean: No burning nets woven about my tent tonight? Do you finally begin to trust me?
    Rand: I trust you like a brother. Until the day you betray me. You have a parole for what you've done, in return for your teaching, and a better bargain than you deserve, but the day you turn against me, I will tear it up and bury it with you.
  • Famous Last Words: "You? No!"
  • Foil: To Moghedien, who finds herself forced into a similar situation in Book 5, with a very different outcome.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Forced on him by Lanfear, who threatened to arrange for his death unless he taught Rand to channel.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Joined the Shadow in exchange for eternal life in which to refine his musical talents. Bound his soul to a God of Evil. Mutilated every artist or critic who'd ever slighted him. Stilled his own mother then gave her to the Myddraaal as a plaything.
  • 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.
  • 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, Asmodeannote .
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Asmodean" derives from "Asmodeus", a recurring demon lord in Judeo-Christian lore. Note that this is not an example In-Universe; there, his name simply means "musician".
  • Never Found the Body: This incorrectly leads Rand to believe that Asmodean betrayed him.
  • Odd Name Out: His name is the only one of the Forsaken's that was not chosen to invoke dread; it simply means "musician", his initial profession and further indicates how he was relatively the Token Good Teammate of the bunch.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Subverted. When Rand is near-death after a Shadowspawn attack, the last thing he sees before blacking out is Asmodean invoking the Power. He wakes up later and learns that Asmo tried to Heal him, despite lacking facility in that technique.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: A Child Prodigy who never quite lived up to his reputation, he joined the Shadow because he loved music too much to spend only one lifetime on it, and was noted for being a relatively benign administrator of conquered territories — except to rival artists. The fact his Forsaken name simply means "musician" shows just how much his talent meant to him.
    • 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.
  • Redemption Demotion: He loses a lot of his power after switching sides, along with his immortality.
  • Silent Snarker: He tends to use his music to get his snark across when speaking would be improper.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Becomes this for Rand after he gets captured.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Inverted. He attempts a genuine Heel–Face Turn (after being forced to train Rand by Lanfear) in part because, as he openly admits, the Dark One does not take betrayals or failure well, leaving him with little choice but to throw his lot in with the Light.
  • 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.
  • We Are as Mayflies: This actually gives him a more positive outlook on life; he had never considered that he might lose his immortality, and decides to cling on the precious little time mortals enjoy with everything he's got.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Downplayed. He was still a famous and successful musician... but not as successful as everyone expected him to grow up to be when he was a Child Prodigy, including himself. Part of his willingness to join with the Shadow for immortality was a desire to learn every song ever written, and eventually actually become the supreme musical talent he'd always wanted to be.


Balthamel / Aran'gar/ Halima Saranov / Eval Ramman
Click here to see him as Aran'gar 

The anti-Mat, 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 jackass. 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 partway 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 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: His Forsaken name means "essence of youth", reflecting how he joined the Shadow solely for immortality. Now look at Age Without Youth above...
  • 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.
  • Expressive Mask: When he's torturing the Green Man, Rand sees it grinning wider.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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?
  • Outside-Context Problem: 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.
  • The Voiceless: He has no tongue, and so never speaks.


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. As per Word of God, he turned out to be the weakest of the male Forsaken (but still ranked eighth overall). 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.
  • Big "NO!": The last thing he ever utters before being vaporized by balefire.
  • 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. His desire for Callandor seems to have gotten in the way of his thinking things through.
  • Deader Than Dead: Courtesy of Moiraine's balefire.
  • Driven by Envy: He was nicknamed "The Envious" because of it, in fact. Distinct from Demandred and Sammael, who specifically envied Lews Therin, Be'lal seems to have envied the powerful and successful in general (a group which, admittedly, did include Lews Therin).
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Went to the Shadow because he envied Lews Therin Telamon. Also envied Lanfear and Ishamael for their favor.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction when he realizes all too late that Moiraine is going to use balefire on him.
  • Red Baron: The Netweaver. It's unclear if that was the literal meaning of his Forsaken name, or simply an additional title. It's a title. The Companion reveals his name actually means "the Envious", another title listed above.
  • Weak, but Skilled: A deadly warrior, skilled general, and crafty politician — but was the weakest of the male Forsaken in terms of his raw power, 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 did... things. He was first introduced "on-screen" in the sixth book, but his actual plans and activities were deliberately kept Behind the Black until The Reveal in the final novel. With that much build-up, fans were hoping for him to make an impact. He did.

  • Always Second Best: To Lews Therin, to the point where trying to prove himself better than Lews Therin is his Freudian Excuse.
  • Arch-Enemy: Considers himself, rather than Ishamael, to be Lews Therin/Rand's. Amusingly, they never actually face each other.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In River of Souls, Demandred must undertake a taxing physical quest in order to prove himself as the Wyld.
  • Badass in Charge: He's the Shadow's general during the Final Battle, and rules the Sharan nation.
  • Benevolent Boss: The only Forsaken who is actually shown to have some degree of care for those under his commandnote . Taim is actually somewhat appalled that Demandred "coddles" his human troops and tries to preserve their lives. In "River of Souls", Demandred is shown to think to himself that while his followers may be his tools for revenge, there's no reason that means he should go out of his way to treat them poorly. Since his minions show a level of almost rabid dedication to him that no other Forsaken can claim, it's pretty clear that this leadership strategy works out for him.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell him he's second best. Ever. And especially don't talk about how awesome / superior Lews Therin or Rand al'Thor are / is.
  • Bling of War: His new suit of armour for the Last Battle is described as intricate and beautiful.
  • Can't Catch Up: Deconstructed. Being a hero who was perennially unable to catch up to Lews Therin is what drove Demandred mad in the first place, turning him into a villain whose central goal in life was to seek Lews Therin's destruction.
  • The Chosen One: He's not the Dragon Reborn, but even he is stunned at how flawlessly he fits the Sharans' own prophecies of their foretold Wyld. By the end of it, he fully accepts it.
    • Per Word of God, this is because the prophecies of the Wyld were about Demandred. He just never realized it and thought he was stealing a position that belonged to Rand.
  • Climax Boss: His defeat at Lan's hands comes at the end of the longest, bloodiest, and most action-packed chapter in the entire series, aptly named The Last Battle. Of all the Forsaken, it's not a stretch to say Demandred did the most damage and required the most effort, sacrifice, and cunning to take down.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Zigzagged. He's willing to engage in personal duels and makes sure that none of his troops interfere; however, he's also willing to use the One Power in a sword fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He's a One-Man Army during the Last Battle, laying waste to swathes of enemies, and a large part of Mat's plan hinges on keeping him busy strategically. He also kills Gawyn with minimal effort, defeats Galad with only a little more, chases off Logain after a brief clash, and dominates Taim when Demandred grows tired of his snideness. It's not until Lan comes along that he deals with a real challenge.
  • Dark Messiah: To the Sharans. He seems to legitimately buy into it, too, if only because it means he's better than the Dragon.
  • Death by Irony: He's easily the strongest channeler and greatest strategist the evil side has at the battlefields of the Last Battle, but he's eventually killed by Lan, a man whose greatest skill is swordsmanship and the willingness to tank a mortal blow just to kill his opponent.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Once Lan gets up from his Heroic Sacrifice, this is what he does, completely demoralizing the Shadow's armies.
  • The Dragon: He's the greatest warrior and general of the Forsaken and has direct command on the battlefield.
  • The Dreaded: Cements himself as this during the Last Battle; not only is he now a One-Man Army and Nigh Invulnerable, he completely dominates almost everyone who confronts him personally with his swordsmanship skills. He's also the toughest enemy general Mat has ever faced on the battlefield. Even Logain refers to Demandred as a monster after an ill-fated showdown with him, and Elayne fears that he's surpassed Rand.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The guy determined to prove himself the greatest man who ever lived wouldn't understand that Lan would be willing to die in order to kill him.
  • Evil Counterpart: As the Wyld, he fashions himself as the Evil Counterpart to the Dragon. Unfortunately for him (but fitting the general theme of his life), Rand already has a better Evil Counterpart in Moridin. And, as the Shadow's greatest general, Demandred is ultimately Mat's Evil Counterpart.
    • He's also a minor one for Logain. Both men were the Number Two to the Dragon among male channelers in their respective Ages. Except Demandred turned evil. It's partly why Logain's the only channeler Demandred fights one-on-one in the Last Battle.
  • Evil Overlord: In Shara.
  • Fallen Hero: Originally a friend of Lews Therin and a commander for the Light; turned to the Shadow after Lews Therin was named the Light's commander over him and Barid Bel's resentment boiled over into outright homicidal loathing.
  • Four-Star Badass: The greatest general and greatest warrior of the Shadow. As noted in Book 14, this is the one thing he was better than Lews Therin at.
  • Frontline General: He defies this in Winter's Heart, but after completely overpowering himself in A Memory of Light, is happy to take an active part in the battlefield.
  • Genius Bruiser
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Is extremely envious of Lews Therin. He even seems offended when Rand doesn't show up for their showdown in AMOL.
    "Lews Therin can hate me or rail against me, but he should not ignore me."
  • Hero Killer: Demandred+ Sharans+ sa'angreal+ really big circle= bad news for the heroes. Seriously, in the Last Battle he nearly routes the White Tower forces, kills Gawyn, nearly kills Galad, humiliates Taim rather than put up with him, sends Logain running with his tail between his legs, and when he's finally killed by Lan, nearly takes him with him. He's probably one of the Forsaken who most lives up to the hype.
  • Hidden Depths: Two years among the Sharans stirred emotions within him — compassion, mirth, and even affection — that he had long thought himself incapable of. He finds himself earnestly wanting to protect these people who raised him up as their saviour.
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the high-water point of his victories on the Field of Merrilor, Demandred realizes that he has everything he ever wanted — the respect of all Shara, the power to defeat all his enemies, the love of a beautiful woman (something he hadn't dreamed of in ages), and yes, the chance to be a hero by turning on the Dark One and kicking the Shadowspawn army's collective ass. Everything, that is, except Lews Therin dead at his feet. Nah, that's more important. That sums up Demandred's Fatal Flaw right there; he could have been one of the greatest heroes of all time, if only he'd been able to let his hate go.
  • I Have Many Names: In addition to "Barid Bel Medar" and "Demandred", he also has three Sharan names — Bao the Wyld, He Who Is Owned Only By The Land, and the dragonslayer. Maybe four, if "Bao" and "the Wyld" are counted separately (as both are used individually at various points).
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Makes this clear in River of Souls, but even he comes to wonder if it's true.
    Demandred: I do not have friends. And I certainly did not come here to find them.
  • It's Personal: No one on the side of the Shadow hates anything more than he hates Lews Therin, or now Rand al'Thor. Given what utter hateful bastards the Shadow has working for it... that's a lot of hate. This is his undoing in A Memory of Light, since he wastes the most powerful Channeling circle and Amplifier Artifact in the world posturing and demanding that Rand come out and fight.
  • Irrational Hatred: The other Forsaken note that he hated Lews Therin far more than Sammael ever did, despite having far less direct cause.
  • I Shall Taunt You: He continuously taunts Lews Therin throughout the Last Battle, hoping to draw him out, and announces his defeat of both Gawyn and Galad to demoralize the enemy.
  • Keystone Army: His death doesn't completely dissolve the Shadow's forces, but does turn the tide of the Last Battle.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: In certain respects, he's one of the less evil Forsaken, being mostly focused on his vengeance on Lews Therin for one-upping him all his life (and to a lesser extent on anyone else who's slighted him) but if he doesn't feel you've slighted him or you're not standing between him and Lews Therin, he probably won't go out of his way to harm you (but he'll kill you dead if you did do those things, mind). Around his Sharans, he shows something of a Noble Demon streak, due to partially Becoming the Mask while acting as their hero and genuinely buying into the idea that he was the world's savior, and he generally seems to at least remember being the good man he once was, something most of the other Forsaken can't really say. In the end, though, none of it is enough to overcome his hate for the Dragon and sway him from the Shadow.
  • Light Is Not Good: Wears white and silver Sharan armor while leading the Shadow's forces at the Last Battle.
  • Magic Knight: An expert in both physical and channeling-based combat.
  • Master Swordsman: Almost certainly the best swordsman in the franchise. How do we know? He outfights Lan.
  • Mighty Whitey: Demandred apparently figures in Sharan prophecies as the hero of the Last Battle. He is a white man from a more advanced society who has taken over another society. The way the Sharans treat him has hints of the way this trope played out in old adventure fiction. Considering that this is evil's top general in probably the most repressive regime on the planet, the association does neither Demandred nor Shara any favors.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • "Demandred" is a contraction of "demon" and "dread".
    • Per Word of God, "Bao the Wyld" is intended to be evocative of Beowulf, leading into...
    • "The dragonslayer" is a pretty badass title in any 'verse, but especially in this one, since rather than a large, pyrokinetic reptile, "the Dragon" here is The Chosen One — meaning he's calling himself "the Messiahslayer".
    • Demandred means "one who twists the blade" according to the Companion, a reference to both his swordfighting skill and his having betrayed Lews Therin, thus "twisting the knife."
  • Narcissist: He is the Doctor Doom of the Wheel Of Time-verse. His motivation boils down to that he cannot stand the fact that he is only the second greatest all-round badass who ever walked the face of the Earth.
  • Not So Different: Invoked. He admits that he's killed to get where he is, but believes that he's far from the only one with blood on his hands.
    Demandred: And has your Dragon not murdered? Has your sister never killed to keep, dare I say seize, her throne?
    Gawyn: That's different.
    Demandred: So everyone always says.
  • Off with His Head!: Decapitated by Lan in Book 14.
  • One-Man Army: During the Last Battle.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Initially, he didn't care who killed Rand, so long as he got to confirm it; from the climax of Winter's Heart on, though, he becomes increasingly fixated on doing the deed himself.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Demandred was awesome at everything he did. Unfortunately for him, Lews Therin was slightly more awesome at all those same things.
  • Perpetual Frowner: He never smiles and he never laughs; he claims he will the day he kills Lews Therin. However, in River of Souls, he's so overcome with joy after fulfilling the Sharan prophecies that he does both.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He qualifies normally, but takes it Up to Eleven during Tarmon Gai'Don, where he completely overpowers himself and lays waste to the forces of Light.
  • Pet the Dog: A retroactive example. Moghedien mentions shortly after his death that there was an elderly Sharan monk whom Demandred treated with kindness.
  • The Resenter: Building up slowly but steadily over the years, until he finally snapped and joined the Shadow.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge / Evil Is Petty / Disproportionate Retribution: One of the first things he did as general of the Shadow was feed cities to Trollocs; specifically, he went after cities he felt slighted him while he was on the side of the Light. For that matter, his whole Start of Darkness was triggered by a petty grudge that got too far out of hand.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: He and Lews Therin both courted Ilyena. She chose Lews Therin.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: He crashes the Last Battle with an army, a battalion of linked channelers, and the world's most powerful Amplifier Artifact; then struts around demanding a duel from Rand, who is thousands of miles away from the front lines. The thought that his hated arch-nemesis simply had better things to do than deal with him never occurs to him, to the net effect that he gets his head lopped off by someone else before Rand even learns that Demandred is looking for him.
  • Shadow Archetype: As the Guide puts it, "almost" is the story of his life in relation to Lews Therin. He was born shortly after him, almost as old; he was very good looking except for his hooked-nose, almost as handsome; he was almost as strong in the One Power; he was almost as best-selling an author; he was almost as brilliant as general, he almost got the girl, etc., etc. His Face–Heel Turn was explicitly prompted when Lews Therin was chosen as the top general of the Light over him, as his Berserk Button is being told he is second to Lews in anything. Now he's transferred that rivalry to Rand. Being slightly inferior to the most badass man on the planet means that you are still incredibly badass yourself, which makes him a very, very dangerous enemy.
  • The Starscream: Defied. He knows full well that the other Forsaken want to be Nae'blis and expect him to as well, but while he resents taking orders from Moridin he has no interest in pursuing the position until after he's dealt with Rand/Lews Therin. The fact that the Dark One itself dangled the job in front of him if he succeeds may also play into this.
  • The Strategist: The best general on the side of the Shadow, and the only one of the Forsaken whose Secret Identity is still intact as we enter the final book.
  • The Stoic: He doesn't let himself feel anything but hate, or show any expression.
  • Tin Tyrant: Partially. At the Last Battle, he wears a heavy, often-described suit of armor described as resembling coins, but unlike many examples of this trope he's not The Faceless, as he often wears his "fearsome" helmet with the visor up, or, as he tends to hang back from the main action, off altogether.
  • Tragic Villain: Word of God calls him the most tragic of the Forsaken, a great man who let a rivalry define his life and was destroyed by it. Rand seems to share the opinion.
  • Undying Loyalty: Inspires this in his troops, even without swearing them to the Shadow.
  • Unholy Matrimony: A Memory of Light reveals that he's involved with Shendla, a Sharan woman who he considers to be every bit as ruthless and driven as he is. The little we see of their relationship seems remarkably genuine and stable.
  • Villain Ball: Yes, he utterly wrecks most of the forces of the Light, but he'd have been far more effective if he didn't waste so much time bellowing and waiting for Rand to come out and challenge him. Rand was nowhere near the battlefield; had Demandred concentrated on blasting the forces of Light and commanding his armies, the Last Battle would have ended far sooner, and not with a good-guys victory. But then, never being able to let his hate go is his Fatal Flaw.
  • Villainous Breakdown: By A Memory of Light, his hate for the Dragon has clearly sent him off his rocker to the point that he spends much of the Last Battle bellowing for Rand — who isn't even on the battlefield — to come face him. Since he's wielding a sa'angreal comparable to Callandor, linked to and in control of the largest circle possible, and still in full possession of his military acumen — you can't deny the man can multitask — this doesn't hamper him much.
  • Villain Episode: He's the main character of the short story "River of Souls", a series of cut scenes from A Memory of Light that give a window into exactly what he was doing during the series.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Whatever else the man is, his countrymen clearly love him.
  • Villain Has a Point: Gawyn chides him for using the Power to fling rocks at him during their one-on-one duel, but Demandred points out that he's under no obligation to play fair with an assassin who tried to stick a knife in his throat.
  • Villain Team-Up: He, Mesaana and Semirhage 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.
    • For once, though, this plan seems to have worked: all three are among the most successful Forsaken and Demandred himself never suffered any setbacks or compromises throughout the series until Book 14, and is the only member of the Forsaken who can claim that.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: During the Last Battle, Mat fears that Demandred, now a Nigh Invulnerable Person of Mass Destruction obliterating swathes of the heroes' armies within a maximum circle and wielding a scepter ''sa'angreal'', will simply take a Gateway to the middle of his command tent and slaughter everyone. A justified example, however: Demandred fears that Rand will spring an ambush on him if he makes so bold a move.
  • World's Strongest Man: Contends with Rand for the title in the final book.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted three times in the Last Battle: Demandred compliments Gawyn, Galad, and Logain each in turn, yet curb stomps all three. He ultimately finds an equal in Lan as a swordsman and Mat as a general, however.


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 grovelling slaves with ease. According to Lews Therin it is impossible to outthink her.

  • Bad Powers, Bad People: The things she can do with Mind Control are absolutely nightmarish, and she very much enjoys doing them.
  • Beauty Is Bad: She's one of the most beautiful Forsaken and easily one of the worst.
  • 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 miscalculates 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, though.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Her perverse habits and hedonist nature belie her competency. She's one of the most dangerous and lucid Forsaken, and along with Demandred, she completely wrecks the forces of Light for most of the Last Battle.
  • Depraved Bisexual: She flirts with Aran'gar as well as several male Forsaken and keeps a mixed-gender harem of mindless slaves.
  • 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.
  • The Evil Genius: She's extremely intelligent and relies on her cunning and mastery of mental manipulation to sabotage the Light's forces.
  • 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.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Albeit not by her own choice.
  • 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.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: She is very likely the most skilled psychiatrist in the world. Unfortunately, she's also the last person anyone would want within striking distance of their mind.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: When it's other Forsaken who think she's depraved, you know she's out there.
  • 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, and can't help but increase the bust size of her current alias when dealing with the haughty (and well-endowed) Sevanna of the Shaido Aiel.
  • Karmic Transformation: As Rand notes, the Dark One might indeed have a sense of humour. She, who had once prided herself on her near-unrivalled beauty, is stuck in the form of a truly hideous old hag throughout A Memory of Light.
  • Lady of Black Magic: A cunning, powerful channeler. Unlike most her talents lie not in Elemental Powers but in her mastery of Compulsion to sabotage the forces of the Light.
  • 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 Bastard: 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). And the Companion reveals it means "vessel of pleasure" in the Old Tongue.
  • Meaningful Rename: As part of her punishment for her failures she is renamed 'Hessalam' which means 'Without Forgiveness' 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 be 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".
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: She's seemingly killed off by Rand in The Gathering Storm, but Towers of Midnight shows the event from her point of view and details her spectacular escape.
  • 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. At one point she reflects that she deliberately cultivates predictable habits so that when she's unpredictable it catches everyone else by surprise.
  • The Perfectionist: Pre-Start of Darkness.
  • 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.
  • The Social Expert: Thanks to her background as a therapist, she's extremely skilled at reading people and accurately predicting their behavior and interactions.
  • The Starscream: Though she doesn't plot against the Dark One directly, she's one of the Forsaken most determined to be named Nae'blis, and to off Moridin once he gets the job. She expresses particularly intense feelings in this regard after becoming Hessalam.
  • Start of Darkness: Her point of view in Towers of Midnight shows she and several of the other Forsaken had these happen to them long agonote . 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.
  • 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.
  • Wicked Cultured: In spite of being a depraved hedonist, she has rather refined and high-class tastes.
  • Would Hurt a Child: According to Rand, she murdered children during the War of Power after enslaving their parents.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: When Rand decides to simply destroy her, her base, and all of her minions from afar with a colossal amount of Balefire, it looks as if her fate is sealed, but through some very quick thinking Graendal is able to see through the plan and not only escape with her life moments before the guillotine falls, but kill off another rival in doing so.


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.

  • 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 with saidar as a 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.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Explicitly characterized as the most beautiful woman in the entire series and one of the most dangerous agents of the Dark One. When she's not plotting to betray him, anyway.
  • 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.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Lanfear has stabbed pretty much everyone she's ever worked with or for in the back at least once. In A Memory of Light, she manages to backstab Slayer, Perrin, and the Dark One with the same scheme!
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Holy crap. She hated Ilyena Sunhair for "taking" Lews Therin away from her and was so obsessed with getting him back that she was part of the experiment that freed the Dark One himself. Her obsession leads her to aggressively pursue Lews Therin's reincarnation, Rand, thousands of years later over much of the series. She will also react with murderous rage at the very idea of another woman courting Rand. Because Elayne has similar hair to Ilyena she's the target of Lanfear's wrath in particular.
  • Consummate Liar: Asmodean describes her as a woman who could lie to the Dark One himself. He's right.
  • Control Freak: At one point, she inserts herself into Rand's Erotic Dream to tell him that he isn't allowed to have sexual dreams of any woman but her.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": She absolutely hates her birth name, and nearly killed Asmodean for saying it once.
  • 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'aran'rhiod. Her territories had the highest suicide rates by far as a result. Even in the Third Age, she's regarded as the most powerful of the Forsaken after Ishamael.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: 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.
  • Fat Bastard: One of her disguises is an ugly, overweight peddler with as bad a temper as ever. She attributes the effectiveness of it to no one expecting the World's Most Beautiful Woman to make herself look like one of the ugliest.
    "Do you think I could stand to be fat, ugly Keille?" She ran hands over her rounded slimness for emphasis. "... My pride is strong enough to support a little fat, when it must."
  • Faustian Rebellion: Her master plan.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Green-Eyed Monster: If she so much as gets a hint of Rand being attracted to another woman, bad things happen.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: To the point that even the other Forsaken comment on how dangerous and unpredictable Lanfear's anger points are.
  • 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, Cyndane, Moonhunter, The Daughter of the Night, Keille Shaogi and several others are all the same person. She also impersonates Else Grinwell to start the Idiot Ball rolling for Egwene, Min, Nynaeve, and Elayne.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: She's not without her sympathetic traits, but ultimately rejects every opportunity for redemption and is one of the final threats during Tarmon Gai'don.
  • Lady of Black Magic: The strongest female channeler alive, noted to be as powerful as a woman could be in the One Power, with the ambition and scheming to match.
  • Light Is Not Good: Normally wears white and silver, and her actions and channeling often carry a moonlight motif.
  • 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 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.
  • Meaningful Rename: As the only Forsaken who changed her own name after turning to the Shadow (as opposed to adopting the names the forces of the Light gave them). It means "daughter of the night", referencing both her abilities in the World of Dreams and her moon-and-stars motif.
  • 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!: 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, and this doesn't happen. She also unwittingly helps the Light by teaching Rand how to use the portal stones, and teaching Perrin more about the World of Dreams.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Charn, the Da'shain Aiel in her service before the War of the Shadow, remembered her fondly for supporting his marriage (even though it meant leaving her service), and insisted to everyone that she wasn't always evil. This isn't the case once she became Lanfear, who is very much a Bad Boss.
  • 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.)
  • 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, Perrin 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.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In The Shadow Rising she sneaks up on Rand and shields him from the One Power before he knows she's there, then considers just opening a gateway to Shayol Ghul and having him forcibly converted to the Dark One. Thankfully, she decides not to, because she wants him to come back to her willingly. If she'd been as willing to resort to Mind Control as she became in the next book, she'd have won the war for the Shadow in one stroke.
    • Her final plan in A Memory of Light also comes very close to success, only stopped by Perrin breaking free of her Compulsion at the last minute.
  • 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.
  • Wife Husbandry: Rare female example, although she narrowly missed out from putting it into practice. She laments that things would been much easier had she been released from Shayol Ghul a few years earlier and thus free to find and raise her beloved future partner as her own.
  • 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 Scorned: Especially Cyndane, who actively wants Rand dead by Book 14.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Explicitly described as such by everybody she meets.
  • World's Strongest Woman: The strongest female channeler alive (until Moirane tackles her through that doorway, at least, whereupon she becomes weaker but is still the most powerful of the female Forsaken). Yes, that does mean "stronger than Nynaeve".
  • Yandere: Have we mentioned she's interested in Rand?


Mesaana / Danelle / Saine Tarasind

"The Shadow Amyrlin", 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.

  • Benevolent Boss: Well, by comparison. She usually only punishes her minions when they actually screw up, and will reward them when they succeed. In particular, she's one of the few Forsaken willing to teach new weaves to her followers. However, Alviarin at least finds her attitude extremely patronizing.
  • Berserk Button: As Egwene determines in Towers of Midnight, she was an extremely skilled planner and organizer who hated that those very skills commonly relegated her to a background role.
  • 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. Underscored even more by the meaning of her Forsaken name "teacher of lessons", though this can also refer to how she would "teach them all" after she was spurned by the Collam Daan.
  • Evil Counterpart: To the Amyrlin Seat, as explicitly noted in Towers of Midnight. 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".
  • Evil Is Petty: Went over to the side of unlimited evil essentially because she got denied a grant.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Battle in the Center of the Mind (against Egwene) 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.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From a lacklustre academic to one of the most infamous agents of the Shadow.
  • 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. She even treats Egwene the same way when they have their showdown.
  • 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 of 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.

  • Arch-Enemy: To Nynaeve.
  • Break the Haughty: Averted, despite going through a lot. She puts on a very docile act after she's captured in Tel'aran'rhiod, but none of the protagonists buy it and her internal narration is as haughty as ever. She's then punished by Moridin and suffers having her essence ripped out and forced into an item that can be crushed any time Nae'blis chooses, but she recovers in time and still plans to put herself on top.
  • 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.
  • Cowardly Lion: She prefers to hide in the shadows, is frequently frightened off and terrified when things don't go her way, is incredibly easily spooked, and many characters point out her habit of straight up running away when things look bleak, but she's nevertheless a cunning and haughty manipulator as well as a powerful channeller by Third Age standards.
  • Dark Chick: She's an excellent spy who gathers a lot of very useful intelligence, but is relatively weak in combat and tends to collapse when confronted directly.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: She disguises herself as Demandred after his death in order to keep the Shadow's forces rallied.
  • Demoted to Extra: One of the most prominent Forsaken in Books 4-7, after getting mindtrapped she's mostly reduced to running errands in the background though she has a decently sized role in A Memory of Light.
  • The Determinator: Surprisingly.
  • 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. She prefers keeping to the shadows and pulling strings from afar; things tend to go badly for her when she steps out of her comfort zone. However, after surviving the cleansing of saidin, she claims that she'll never fear anything again, and during the Last Battle was evidently willing to put herself in more danger than she'd normally risk.
  • The Dragon: She defers to Demandred during Tarmon Gai'don and helps their cause by spying and sowing dissension among their enemies.
  • Dragon Their Feet: She outlives Demandred and, against her nature, decides to openly take over as general of the Shadow's forces for a short time. She's also the last Forsaken standing at the end of the series... or at the least the last one who remains herself.
  • Dramatic Stutter: She's shown to stutter when particularly scared or surprised.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A twisted example. She'd kill a child, but claims that she wouldn't Mind Control one.
  • Evil Is Petty: She goes out of her way to try to murder Nynaeve with Balefire in A Crown of Swords, despite having to reveal herself in public and possibly compromise her mission in doing so. She also can't help but laugh at seeing Graendal's hideous new form.
  • 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).
  • Foil: To Asmodean. Both are weakened and made to tutor channellers of the Third Age (Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene for Moggy; Rand for Asmodean), but while Asmodean deals with his lot in life and begins making a turn for the better, Moghedien is thoroughly hateful toward her captors and seizes the first chance she gets to flee.
  • Friendly Fire: Of a sort. Trapped by an a'dam, Moghedien's power is drawn upon by Nynaeve to attack her fellow Forsaken Rahvin.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She started out as an investment advisor and was overlooked as harmless and unimportant, so she built up a huge intelligence network for the Shadow right under the Aes Sedai's noses. Fast-forward and she's remembered as one of the Shadow's most dreaded, insidious, and quietly effective agents.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal: Towards Nynaeve, whom she loathes with a passion for not only getting the better of her in Tanchico, but enslaving her with an a'dam for a time.
  • Kick the Dog: The first thing she does after assuming control of the Shadow's forces during the Last Battle is send off a raid of Trollocs to slaughter the women, children, and elderly refugees in order to divert the enemy forces who will no doubt not stand for this.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Her life philosophy seems to be built around this.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Her ultimate fate at the end of the series, where she is captured by an a'dam for the second time. 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. She plays the role again during the Last Battle, infiltrating the Seanchan command center disguised as a servant and feeding Demandred intel on their every move.
  • 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).
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: She inadvertently helps the good guys nearly every time she attacks them directly instead of focusing on spying and subversion. Even her attempt to massacre the wounded and infirm at the Last Battle while posing as Demandred helps the Light by triggering the crucial last step in Logain's Character Development.
  • No-Sell: Her reaction to Liandrin's failed attempts to Compel her is first to mock her for trying and then to saddle her with a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Oh, Crap!: She has two moments of this during Tarmon Gai'Don. First when Talmanes fires a dragon on her forces, which she only narrowly survives; and second when she feels the clink of an a'dam around her neck.
  • Pet the Dog: In the guise of Marigan, she adopts two orphaned children from the streets and takes them with her to join the rebel Aes Sedai camp; the kids are frantically worried over their "mother" when she's dosed with forkroot by Nynaeve. The kids are otherwise broken and distant, but Moghedien insists that she found them that way and her story is, at the very least, corroborated by Yellow sisters who inspect the boys, and even Elayne admits that she's probably telling the truth. She continues to care for them during her stay in Salidar and after about two months they're noted to be on the mend.
  • Power Levels: Moghedien is explicitly described as being equal in The Power to Nynaeve. However, her channeling abilities are dead last amongst the Forsaken.
  • Recurring Boss/The Rival: To Nynaeve until Book 7, 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.
  • Smug Snake: Being the weakest Forsaken (well, outside of the World of Dreams, that is) doesn't stop her from being incredibly arrogant in her dealings with Third Agers.
  • Sneaky Spider: Of the Dark One's most dreaded servants, Moghedien (literally, "Spider") is infamous for being an insidious and devastatingly effective Spymaster, Chessmaster, and Dream Weaver. She got her Nom de Guerre from a type of tiny spider whose venom kills within seconds.
    Birgitte: She hides and takes no risks. She attacks only where she sees weakness, and moves only in shadows.
  • 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.
  • Soul Jar: Moridin mindtraps her, and wears her essence as a necklace. However, he eventually grows bored of it and gives it to Moghedien herself, who while grateful is quite unnerved at his change in demeanor.
  • Sympathetic Po V: Subverted. She undergoes a harrowing ordeal at Shayol Ghul when Moridin entraps her mind, but she admits that she's taken innocent people here herself to suffer the same thing.
  • Tempting Fate: She's quite beside herself with glee after surviving the Last Battle, even with the Dark One sealed and her armies dispersed. She consoles herself with the knowledge that the world is still her oyster: will all the power and knowledge she has, as well as with the other Forsaken all dead, she can Take Over the World herself. Her reveries are quickly ended by a Seanchan sul'dam who takes her captive in the same manner Nynaeve once did.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: She was widely looked down upon while she was ostensibly serving the Light (and to be fair, she was a Double Agent), but she doesn't get on with any of the other Chosen either.
  • Vain Sorceress: She finds one of the most detestable things about keeping up her Marigan persona the fact that her guise looks so damn ugly.


Rahvin / Lord Gaebril / Ared Mosinel

A diplomat and megalomaniac, his specialty was pushing regions into non-violent surrender to the Shadow.

  • Ambiguously Brown: Described as "dark". Exactly what ethnicity in or out of universe he most resembles is uncertain.
  • 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.
  • Spear Counterpart: He's basically the male version of Graendal, from the hedonistic tendencies to the Manipulative Bastard style of operating to the love of compelling people to adore him.
  • Villain Team-Up: He, Graendal, Lanfear and Sammael attempt one to defeat Rand.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: While he lasts from Book 3 to Book 5 (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. Also reflected by the obscure and unexplained meaning for his Forsaken name given in the Companion: "promise of freedom" — freedom from what? The Dark One? Mortality? Morality (see his love of Mind Control plus being a Handsome Lech)? The supposed perfections of utopia? We will never know.


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.
  • 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."
  • Evil Overlord: "Lord Brend" made no real pretensions of being anything but the military dictator of Illian.
  • 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.
  • The Heavy: For Books 4-7, the last two in particular, he is Rand's most visible and powerful opponent as the de facto ruler of Illian.
  • 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 or Taim, 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. In-universe, Moridin reflects that Sammael was just never as clever as he thought he was.
  • The Strategist: One of the Shadow's best generals, though Demandred was better.
  • Villainous Underdog: He gradually develops into this, since he doesn't noticeably expand his power base from his first appearance in The Dragon Reborn while Rand improves his position by leaps and bounds in each book. By the time of The Crown of Swords, he's the ruler of a single western kingdom, faced with an enemy who's in control of an Aiel army larger than the one which, in living memory, defeated all the western kingdoms at once. Oh, and a second army of male channelers. Oh, and two western kingdoms. At that point, you almost kind of have to admire the guy for stubbornly standing his ground instead of abandoning Illian and going into hiding like Graendal urges him to do.
  • 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, or being spanked on the behind like a child in front of an audience.
  • 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. And her Forsaken name means "the promise of pain itself", or one who embodies it.
  • Evil Wears Black: Semirhage's usual outfits are of unrelieved black. Don't imply that this fashion choice is in response to the fact that Lanfear always wears white.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Knows Rand Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Is a girl. See where this is going?
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: She tries to force a dominated Rand to kill Min, since it's the most torturous thing she can imagine doing to him. This results in Rand reaching out for the True Power for the first time, and in her eating balefire.
  • 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 than 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.
  • Power Stereotype Flip: Semirhage's gift for Healing Hands is one of the strongest in millennia. Unfortunately, she's a vicious Sadist and also the most infamous Torture Technician in millennia.
  • Red Baron: The Lady of Pain.
  • Sadist: The rest of her entry should explain why.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Semirhage loves pain, and knows more about it than anyone, making actually breaking her with it all but impossible. Fortunately, Cadsuane determines that her ego is rather more fragile than her body.
  • 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.
  • 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.


M'Hael / Mazrim Taim

Other Major Agents of the Shadow

    Shaidar Haran 

Shaidar Haran

The Myrddraal are mutant Trollocs that 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 

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 after he burgled it from the White Tower. In anyone else's hands, the knife merely spreads The Corruption and will kill anyone exposed for too long, but for Fain, who draws his powers from the same source as the blade, it serves as a potent Amplifier Artifact.
  • 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.
  • The Corrupter: Using his Artifact of Doom, he can either cause very bad wounds or corrupt people with paranoia and fear. Of course, he can also corrupt people the old-fashioned way using Mordeth's skills as a Manipulative Bastard.
  • Eldritch Abomination: By the time of Book 14, he has become a new Mashadar using Fain as a vessel.
  • 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 vs. Evil: The merged personality of Fain and Mordeth is utterly evil, but also despises the Dark One and the Shadow (and the feeling is mutual). He also hates Rand and wants to kill him, and will happily take out Shadow agents he thinks might steal his kill. His arrival at Thankan'dar briefly turns the Last Battle from a straightforward good-vs.-evil struggle into a nasty melee a trois between the Light, the Shadow and Shaisam and his undead Shadowpspawn.
  • Fallen Hero: 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 and became progressively worse from there.
  • 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 less a possession and more like an even fusion of the worst aspects of both due to the Dark One's pre-existing modifications of Fain complicating matters.
  • 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.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: This was Mordeth's undoing, believing that the best way to destroy the Shadow was to use the Shadow's own methods against it. Word of God notes that in this way, Mordeth's evil and the Dark One's are opposites — while the Dark One's brand of evil is born of selfishness, Mordeth's is born of good intentions corrupted.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: 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. By the later books, he's less a person than he is a collection of dark powers contained in a human body and only barely that by A Memory of Light.
  • I Have Many Names: Changing his alias every few books, he racks up a fair number.
  • I'm Melting!: After he's killed, his body dissolves.
  • Immune to Fate: In A Crown of Swords, Min cannot see any visions around Padan Fain, even though most normal people (i.e. non-channelers) always have at least a few. This implies he is somehow "outside the Pattern" and therefore this trope, and by Word of God he is something unique that has never happened before; at the very least he is unpredictable. By the end though it seems he isn't truly immune, since even if no one can guess what he will do, he is very easily eliminated by use of his own Artifact of Doom and its powers, suggesting the Pattern still had ways (through ta'veren Mat) to remove him and keep him from ruining everything.
  • 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 in the books if this power is Mashadar or if Mashadar itself is merely another manifestation of it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: His primary method of causing trouble. Mordeth was so skilled at this he was able to become the power behind the throne of Aridhol and ultimately lead to the city's undoing, and Fain inherits his skill at finding and exploiting people's worst impulses.
  • Meaningful Rename: The combined Fain/Mordeth creature eventually rechristens himself "Shaisam", though this name seems to include Mashadar as well, which has also become attached to Fain.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Being brutally used and abused by Ishamael and those Myddraal in The Eye of the World broke his loyalty to the Shadow; unfortunately, instead of leading to a Heel–Face Turn it just filled him with hate for absolutely everyone.
  • 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, as he was bound within Shadar Logoth's limits until he merged with Fain, allowing him to escape.
  • Split Personality: Downplayed. He's unified in thought and purpose - there's not two voices in his head, and he never holds conversations with himself - 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: He started out serving the Dark One, but after merging with Mordeth he starts actively working against the Shadow and poaching its minions while pursuing his own ambitions and revenge and ends up becoming a being with designs on replacing the Dark One entirely. Quite a promotion from the Punch-Clock Villain he started out as.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Many times over the course of the series. He started a random Punch-Clock Villain, got turned into "the Dark One's Hound" by Ishamael to track Rand, got partially possessed by Mordeth and absorbed his memories and powers, further enhanced said powers by taking his dagger back and was in the process of taking another level as Shaisam when he finally got killed off.
  • 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: After splitting with the Shadow in The Great Hunt he becomes a faction unto himself, moving through the background of the series' various conflicts and stirring chaos as he goes. It gets 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.
  • The Worf Effect: Invokes this in the prologue of Towers of Midnight by killing a jumara.
  • 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 so we don't have a clear idea of the mechanics. Shaisam's goal is to take in Rand's.



Once upon a time, 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.

  • Arch-Enemy: To Perrin, partly due to opposing him in the Two Rivers but mostly due to his wolf-killing.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Twice over! Though his Luc persona is much more nasty, it seems. A Memory of Light shines a bit more light on this: Isam is generally the more ruthless personality, but is also more clinical and detached in his violence. Luc, by contrast, is generally less ruthless but takes defeat much more personally and is more spiteful to those who've successfully opposed him, like Perrin.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Despite being unable to channel, he can travel physically into Tel'Aran'Rhiod.
  • Dream Weaver: He can enter Tel'Aran'Rhiod (in the flesh); make use of its morphability to fast travel, change things around him, and summon weapons; and stepping in and out of it is how he changes from one persona to the other.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Describes his interactions with the wolves. The way he acts toward Perrin, as well as the notion of killing Aes Sedai, puts him very close to crossing into Hunting the Most Dangerous Game territory. A Memory of Light confirms that he considers wolves and humans to be the greatest hunters in the world, which is why he hunts them.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Or at least wolves, though no animal seems to particularly like him. And with good reason.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Luc and Isam were Badass Normals. Becoming Slayer granted them great power over the World of Dreams.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Perrin, and though it's not really emphasized, to Lan as well.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: What he specializes in, particularly how he killed Amico and Joiya.
  • Freudian Excuse: Isam was raised in a town in the Blight inhabited by Darkfriends and run by Myrddraal and forcibly-turned Aiel. It's honestly remarkable that he's as well-adjusted as he is.
  • Fusion Dance: It is still left unexplained exactly how the Shadow accomplished this gestalt, but the end result is a Switcher situation, where he is Luc in the real world and Isam in Tel'Aran'Rhiod. Since "one did die and one did live" during their Blight confrontation, it's implied the one who died was Isam and the one who lived was Luc, but this has yet to be confirmed and may not even be true. It's revealed he was Isam when he killed the two Black Ajah, and though that may have been done in the World of Dreams because dying there kills you in the real world too, it seems difficult to believe nailing tongues to a door would carry over. And the Trollocs in the Two Rivers called him Isam.
    • Made even more confusing because we have no real reason to think Luc was a bad guy before the combining; he braved the incredibly dangerous Garden of Evil Blight at the mysterious command of Gitara without any real personal benefit, for instance. Isam was apparently a sort of evil counterpart of Lan already. But now they're both one weirdly combined Jerkass.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Whether human or wolven.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The in-universe example would be for Perrin in Towers of Midnight when he kills Hopper.
  • The Münchausen: Much of his behavior in the Two Rivers in The Shadow Rising seems to fit this trope, as it isn't clear how much of his bragging about his warrior skills and his knowledge of tactics is real. (Though Isam for certain is a good warrior, and as a noble and former First Prince of the Sword Luc probably is too.) Eventually it's revealed he really can do some of what he says. The trope is still subverted however, since a great deal of his seemingly ignorant and useless activity either conceals more nefarious doings, works at cross-purposes to Perrin, or even gets Emond's Field in greater danger from the Shadowspawn and Whitecloaks alike — he has the skills, but is downplaying them so as to cause trouble.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Because he acts like a preening, self-absorbed, but somewhat helpful and mostly harmless lord, no one but Perrin suspects he could be a villain, at least at first.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody but Perrin (and Verin) knows who he really is, and Perrin refers to him solely by the name the wolves give him. Even Moridin just calls him "the man with two souls".
  • Professional Killer: His job under the Shadow, though he also indulges for his own pleasure (and to create Darkhounds).
  • Punch-Clock Villain: In some ways, Isam seems like this, at least in how he treats Perrin.
    Slayer, as Isam: Luc hates you, you know. Hates you deeply.
    Perrin: And you don't?
    Slayer: No more than the wolf hates the stag.
  • Raised by Orcs: He was raised by Darkfriends and Shadowspawn. As a result, Isam. Returning to the Town terrifies him even as an adult.
  • Reality Warper: In the World of Dreams, to an even greater extent than the dream wolves.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: One passage involves Slayer blissfully thinking about how Isam (not Luc) had killed the Black Ajah Joiya Byir and Amico Nagoyin in the Stone of Tear. He also seems to very much enjoy taunting Perrin about the wolves he has killed in the World of Dreams.
  • Synchronization: Whatever happens to Isam in the World of Dreams happens to Luc in the real world, as seen when Perrin shot him with an arrow. Normally this is nothing special as Your Mind Makes It Real for anyone who suffers injuries in Tel'aran'rhiod, but Luc/Isam's case is, as we've established, rather unique since it involves two different people who are somehow linked. Perhaps it's wholly consistent with the established rule since there can only exist one of them at any given time, but the precise details are rather muddy. Even Isam doesn't fully understand how it works, only that the Dark One managed to make it happen.
  • Teleport Spam: When fighting Perrin and the wolves in Towers of Midnight. And when fighting Perrin in A Memory of Light both within the World of Dreams itself, and back and forth between it and the real world.
  • This Cannot Be!: His reaction to Perrin being able to follow him between worlds in Book 14.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He completely panics once he realizes Perrin can follow him between worlds. Cue his death.
  • Villainous Fashion Sense: Though considering the fact his outfits correspond with either Andoran or Borderlander nobility, this would also be a dead giveaway as to his identityif anyone who had seen him knew who Luc or Isam was, or had described him to someone who knew they were related to Rand and Lan. (Which at this point is just Rand and Lady Dyelin for Luc, Lan and possibly Moiraine for Isam.)
  • Your Head Asplode: Via hammer to the face from Perrin on the slopes of Shayol Ghul.


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: 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: They were created by Evilutionary Biologist Aginor to be ideal soldiers... except Aginor had never seen real combat and had no idea what actually makes for a good soldier. As such, they're strong, tough, and durable, but dim-witted and undisciplined, so mostly limited to Zerg Rush tactics when not commanded by a Myrddraal.


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.


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, ink-black and capable of pitting metal.
  • 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, so long as the Myrddraal is alive.
  • Creepy Monotone: Their voices are flat and devoid of inflection, compared to the sound of bone crumbling.
  • Elite Mooks: They're more formidable than Trollocs and are dispatched on missions requiring more power, stealth, and finesse.
  • 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 fear," 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 speculate on exactly what they get out of it.
  • Mook Lieutenant: They're often found in command over squads of Trollocs, which is about the only way to make Trollocs into a disciplined fighting force.
  • 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 McDougal 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.
  • Kiss of Death: They're dreaded for their kiss, which is how they use their Soul Eating and Vampiric Draining powers.
  • 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.
  • Soul Eating: 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.
  • Vampiric Draining: Once they finish devouring a victim's soul, they consume their life force.
  • Winged Humanoid: They resemble somewhat gaunt, ethereal humans with bat-like wings.

    Gray Men 

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.
  • Paradox Person: Invoked by the Dark One in their creation. Soul loss usually leaves the victim a drooling Empty Shell, yet Grey Men have intellect but no self, a paradox that creates the Perception Filter around them.
  • 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, and the source of their power. Having their souls devoured by the Dark One within the Eldritch Location of Shayol Ghul lets them survive the experience as this trope — for a loose value of "them" — rather than be left an Empty Shell.


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 some possess powerful regenerative abilities.
  • Elite Mooks: Ordinary darkhounds are bad enough; then there's the Wild Hunt, which is composed of the worst of their kind. Some of them are further upgraded with healing powers.
  • Evil Counterpart: To wolves, who call them "Shadowbrothers" with disdain — and absolute horror.
  • Fear of Thunder: They are afraid of thunderstorms, but this does not stop them once they are on a hunt.
  • Hellhound: They fit the type, though they aren't actually from Hell.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Certain Darkhounds have all the regular Darkhounds' deadliness, plus the power to reform after being mortally injured. The only sure-fire way to kill them is with balefire. Perrin's Power-wrought hammer Mah'allenir can also kill them.
  • 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.
  • Poisonous Person: A drop of their blood or saliva can kill a human on contact, and their bite is "as deadly as a knife through the heart."
  • 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 Man: They're the corrupted and transformed souls of wolves.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: They consume the souls of the wolves they kill.


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.
  • Meaningful Name: The name jumara comes from the old French word for "chimera." Although it itself is not a combination of creatures, the name does evoke the multi-stage forms in its life process.
  • 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 it's 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. Gholam are completely immune to channeling, which may be why only six were ever made. Only one actually appears in the series proper, but his behaviors and near indestructibility has made him one of the more notable single Shadowspawn.

  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Threatens everyone Mat cares about when he confronts him eventually, specifying Olver, Noal, Thom, and Tuon.
  • Achilles' Heel: The foxhead medallion. Gholam do, however, lack one of the notable Achilles Heels of most shadowspawn — the inability to survive passage through a gateway — owing to being a much more advanced creation.
  • And I Must Scream/Disney Villain Death: Invoked by Mat, who declares that he's doomed to fall into the Skimming dimension for all eternity after Mat kicks him off the platform in Towers of Midnight. However, Word of God says that he actually died soon after; even a gholam can't survive the Skimming void for long unprotected.
  • Anti-Magic: Cannot be harmed by weaves directly, or even touched by them. However, it seems that he himself is composed of them, since the weave-destroying medallion can burn him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Seems to be one to Mat, due to the foxhead medallion, which is the only thing he fears; it's personal on Mat's end too, owing to the gholam having killed a number of soldiers under his command, including Nalesean. Eventually, he is even deliberately sent to kill him and those close to him.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Completely bloodless and seemingly boneless, and doesn't seem to react to any wounds not made by his Achilles' Heel.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: No other Shadowspawn has ever been so much trouble for the protagonists as this one.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Though not actually used (he is a Shadowspawn), it is still brought attention to in a conversation with Mat.
    Gholam: A bird must fly. A man must breathe. I must kill.
  • Golem: As per his Meaningful Name, he is a constructed man, albeit far more agile than many of that type.
  • Hero Killer: Kills many members of the Band of the Red Hand, at least. His other kills have been noncombatants. In general, this seems to be what gholam were created to be - assassins for killing channelers and other powerful, high-profile targets.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Ordinarily looks like a bland-looking human. Is actually a monstrously powerful thing and the most advanced, deadly type of Shadowspawn.
  • Implacable Man: No matter how many hits he takes, this guy just keeps coming.
  • Kick the Dog: Killed and drained a tied up Queen Tylin because he needed the blood, even though (or maybe because) she was unable to defend herself.
  • Kryptonite Factor: He's completely immune to channeling and at the least extremely resistant to mundane attack, but even touching Mat's medallion burns him. Apparently Anti-Magic and Anti-Magic don't mix.
  • Last of His Kind: It is unknown if any of the other gholam in stasis are still alive, so he is presumed to be the gholam.
  • Mage Killer: Aside from lacking the Badass Normal component, gholam seem to have been made to be this, being Nigh Invulnerable for most weapons, immune to direct channeling, able to travel through gateways and survive, and able to follow their prey almost anywhere. They were essentially assassins specifically made to kill channelers.
  • Made of Magic: Implied to be composed of weaves, considering the Anti-Magic foxhead medallion can burn one. Especially ironic, considering weaves cannot harm it.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Can only be stalled through indirect uses of the Power, or harmed by the foxhead medallion. Whether or not he can even die is unknown. Word of God confirmed that gholam do die of old age eventually, though they live a very long time, and the one Mat fought didn't last very long falling through the Skimming void.
  • No Name Given: He is only ever known as "the gholam". It's unclear if he even has another name.
  • The Nondescript: The Gholam appears to be a very ordinary man who would be completely unremarkable if you didn't know what he was beforehand.
  • No-Sell: It is revealed in A Memory of Light that gholam were created as immune to the instant death characteristics of entering gateways that is reserved for other Shadowspawn, perhaps explaining how the fate of the one Mat fought - and pushed through a Skimming gateway, which would have been fatal for an ordinary Shadowspawn - worked.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Drinks the blood of his victims in order to fuel his powers, tearing their throats out to do so.
  • Rubber Man: Can avoid nearly every attack and fit into a space "two hand spans wide" by squeezing and turning himself around it. Supposedly has no bones at all.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: He was stuck in a stasis box at some point during the War of Power and remained trapped there for millennia until he was found and released by the Forsaken in the modern day.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The word gholam is always italicized in print.
  • Super Soldier: A much better one than the Trollocs — Aginor appears to have perfected his craft with these things.
  • Super Strength: Far stronger than his frame suggests.
  • This Cannot Be!: His reaction to Mat's copies of the medallion.
    Gholam: How? How!


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 sacrifices 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.


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