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The Darth Bane series is a trilogy of books by Drew Karpyshyn set during the period of the New Sith Wars (roughly 1,000 years before the events of The Phantom Menace). It chronicles the life of Dessel, a cortosis ore miner that joins the Sith's army as a soldier and eventually becomes the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Bane, the founder of the Order of the Sith Lords that eventually spawned Emperor Palpatine. The first book Darth Bane: Path of Destruction was followed by Darth Bane: Rule of Two, where Bane begins training his apprentice Darth Zannah, and the series concluded in Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil, which was released on December 8, 2009.

The books are unusual in Star Wars Legends in that they are from the perspective of a character aligned to the Sith. Even more unusual, no attempt is made to portray the actions of Darth Bane as heroic or noblenote . Instead, Bane slowly descends ever deeper into corruption and eventually becomes as evil as one would expect the Dark Lord of the Sith to be.

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Related to the Darth Bane books is an older comic book series entitled Jedi vs. Sith, which is set around the same time as the last part of Path of Destruction and explains how Zannah and her cousins (Darovit and Hardin) arrived on Ruusan during the final battle between the Jedi and the Sith. Although Bane is technically the Big Bad in this series, his appearances are sporadic. The story focuses mainly on Tomcat (Darovit) and Bug (Hardin) and is arguably closer in tone to The Lord of the Rings than Star Wars. Elements of the series are incorporated into the Bane books in Broad Strokes.

The series as a whole was decanonized with the rest of Star Wars Legends in 2014, but the Darth Bane and Darth Zannah characters and Broad Strokes of the plot were restored to canon by Star Wars Helmet Collection #2 in 2016.

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Compare with Darth Plagueis, another Star Wars novel that has two Sith Lords as the main protagonists and also serves as an origin story for both characters.


The books contain the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Bane's father was, to put it bluntly, an utter bastard.
  • Academy of Adventure: The Korriban Academy, with a side-order of Academy of Evil.
  • Accidental Murder: The whole plot of "Dynasty of Evil" begins when miners on Doab try to kidnap a prince, and kill him by mistake.
  • The Ace:
    • General Kiel Charny in Jedi vs. Sith.
    • Sirak is the star student of the Korriban Academy, an unstoppable swordsman, and naturally gifted in the dark side.
  • Achilles' Heel: A Chekhov's Weakness variant. In Rule of Two, Bane's orbalisks are unable to fully protect him from the combined electrical current of five force pikes. Later, Bane takes the full force of his own powerful force lightning attack when Master Worror traps himself and Bane in a force bubble, causing enough damage to nearly kill Bane.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The second half of the first book coincides with the events of the earlier Jedi vs Sith comic book series.
    • Similarly, the first bit of Rule of Two is mostly a retelling of the short story Bane of the Sith.
  • Affably Evil: The Huntress/Darth Cognus. Despite feeding on the misery of others, she's never unnecessarily cruel, and she even accepts Set Harth's proposal to stop fighting and go their separate ways.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sort of... Zannah takes up a relationship with a terrorist she's manipulating, which is noted to be partly motivated by the fact being a Sith Lord in training doesn't provide a teenage girl with an abundance of warmth and affection. Not that she wants those things either, since she is fully on the side of Sith. And that means she's far more "bad" than her lover could ever be.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Zannah manages to slice off one of Bane's arms with her Force Tendrils in their last fight. After it ends, it's the only thing left of him.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The Thought Bomb only destroys your body. Your consciousness is trapped within an unholy vortex to suffer eternal torment, as demonstrated when Bane discovers the aftermath of the bomb's detonation: he listens to the cries of the Jedi/Sith spirits and finds they're not even human cries, just bestial shrieks of anguish.
    • The first time we see Zannah use her Sith sorcery on someone, it utterly shatters Cyndra's mind, leaving her a catatonic shell, but Zannah notes there's just the tiniest bit of her mind left in there, aware of what's happened to her.
  • Animesque: The Jedi vs. Sith comic series.
  • The Antichrist: Bane extensively researches the Sith'ari prophecy that is the Sith's equivalent to the Chosen One. Since he believes the Force is there for him to command, instead of vice versa, he discounts the prophecy, but if the Sith'ari does exist it's probably Bane himself. This was later confirmed by the Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. Even though his plan takes one thousand years to pull off.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Young Dessel's abusive father Hurst blamed him for most of his problems, calling Dessel "the bane of my existence". So when he later joined the Sith and was given the chance to reinvent himself, Dessel took the name of Bane.
  • Ascended Extra: Johun started off as a name in a sourcebook for the Dark Forces Saga. In Rule of Two, he's one of the main characters.
  • Assassin Outclassin':
    • Bane does this - barely - against Kas'im, who's been sent to either bring him back to the Brotherhood or kill him if he refuses. Outclassed by his former mentor's lightsaber skills, Bane ends up dropping most of the temple they're in on him.
    • In Rule of Two, Darth Zannah meets a nobleman named Hetton offering all the Sith knowledge he's amassed in exchange for being made her apprentice. She sends him to kill her master Bane as a test, and he brings several Sith Assassins with him. Surprise and numbers don't help them.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: In Rule of Two, Bane's Clingy Costume of orbalisks provides him with a nigh-indestructible suit of armor that lets him shrug off most lightsaber strikes. He plays this to his advantage with a hyper-aggressive variant of Form V: Djem So relying on sheer brute force to overcome opponents.
  • Attack Reflector: A dying Jedi Master nearly kills Bane in Rule of Two by trapping himself inside a Force bubble with the Sith Lord, just as Bane fires a volley of Force Lightning at another Jedi. The lightning ricochets off the inside of the bubble, frying them both.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Double-bladed lightsabers, as Blademaster Kas'im explains. Despite the weapon's infamous reputation and supposed power, there are several big flaws and weaknesses to it: The two sides limit the user's movement, restricting them mostly to swings, while the elongated hilt presents an easy target for opponents. In addition, specialized training and greater stamina are also required, making it far more difficult to learn than traditional blade. The double-blade's real advantage is not its greater attack power, but how little most Jedi or Sith know about it, preventing them from using these weaknesses.
    • Kas'im holds this to be even more true about Dual Wielding, outright refusing to teach it to any of his students and declaring it to be a useless form that only an idiot would use. Except this is a lie; Kas'im himself chose dual wielding as his true fighting style, with his double-bladed lightsaber splitting into two regular ones. He refused to teach the technique to anyone so that any student who might betray him would not only know nothing about how to fight a dual-wielder, they would focus all their preparation on the completely different strengths and weaknesses of fighting against a double-bladed lightsaber.
    • The light-whip Githany favors is even more so. In practical terms it has all the usual drawbacks of taking a whip to a swordfight. Its only real advantage is that its uselessness has made it so obscure that most opponents have never even heard of it as a concept and won't know how to counter it.
    • The Orbalisks form an impenetrable armor from their shells as they spread across Bane's body, as well as secreting rage inducing fluids making him even stronger. Without the proper precautions however they would inevitably kill him, or drive him mad with their hunger.
  • Badass and Child Duo: A rare villainous example. Bane and Rain have this dynamic pre-timeskip in Rule of Two.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • It's implied that much of Bane's knowledge of the Force comes entirely from his diligent study of Old Sith lore. It's especially impressive when you realize that Bane was a miner with little-to-no formal education and no training in the Force whatsoever until he was in his mid-twenties.
    • Zannah also qualifies, as her specialty in the Force is sorcery, which requires intensive study in the Force. Her only education was also through her study of the Force under Bane.
  • Badass Normal: Kelad'dan goes toe-to-toe with Johun - a Jedi - and nearly comes out on top.
  • Bastard Understudy: During most of the trilogy, Zannah is acting as Darth Bane's apprentice.
  • Beard of Evil: Kaan has a goatee and is evil like any Sith.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • As sergeant of the Gloom Walkers, Dessel led by example, saved his squadmates lives on many occasions, and actually mutinied against their commanding officer to prevent them from being led into a suicide mission. Sadly, the deeper he delves into the dark side, the more detached he gets from this camaraderie; by the time he meets one of his old friends again many years later, Bane doesn't care in the least for her (in fact, he only vaguely recalls her) and was ready to kill her despite the fact that she had just saved his life.
    • While "benevolence" doesn't really enter into it anymore, Bane is a stern and merciless taskmaster, but he doesn't hesitate to praise Zannah when she manages to impress him.
  • The Berserker: While wearing his orbalisk armor, Bane fights with a reckless abandon, employing pure brute force with no thought to defense, as the parasites grant him Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • Big Bad: Darth Bane himself.
  • Big Good: Lord Hoth in Path of Destruction.
  • The Big Guy:
    • Bane reportedly stood 2 meters tall. For perspective, that's Vader's height in-suit.
    • Sarro Xaj from Rule of Two is even bigger than Bane.
  • Body Horror: At the end of Rule of Two, we get a loving description of what Bane's body looks like after a decade of orbalisks being stuck to it. It's not pretty (granted, this is after several of the orbalisks were suddenly killed by deflected Force lightning).
  • Boring, but Practical: Ironically, given above-mentioned exposition about the weaknesses of double-bladed sabers, Darth Bane teaches Darth Zannah to use one, along with the Stone Wall Form III Soresu—a style mostly associated with the Jedi (its most famous master was Obi-wan Kenobi). His argument is that, being a small woman, she lacks the physical strength to use more aggressive forms effectively (such as his own Form V Djem So variant), so her best bet if she gets in a saber duel is to wear her opponent out by defending until they make a mistake she can exploit.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: The Sith among the Brotherhood of Darkness are not truly as united as they seem, with its leader Lord Kaan using his powers to project an aura of charisma and persuasion to keep the leadership in line.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Rain. All she had left in the world was a cute fuzzy alien friend, and it got shot. Her reaction? Killing the Jedi that shot her friend, then deciding to ditch her nickname of "Rain" and use her real name of Zannah to become Bane's apprentice.
  • Broad Strokes: The events of Jedi vs. Sith and Bane of the Sith are incorporated into the story and slightly altered.
  • The Brute: Bane is 2 meters tall and has the strength - both physically and with the Force - to match.
  • The Bus Came Back: Lucia, a junior Sith trooper in Path of Destruction, returns in Dynasty of Evil.
  • Cain and Abel: Zannah and Darovit are a cousins variant. Zannah is the Cain, using the Force to shatter Abel's mind and leave him as a patsy for the Jedi to kill.
  • Call-Back: The story contains a lot of references to the Knights of the Old Republic duology, which shouldn't be a surprise considering that Karpyshyn was a senior writer at BioWare for KOTOR (the second game was made by Obsidian Entertainment). He also included some Call Forwards to this book in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
    • In Path of Destruction, Bane develops the Rule of Two as a fundamentalist interpretation of something he finds in Darth Revan's holocron. He also visits the (previously unnamed) Rakata homeworld Lehon and the Sith Academy on Korriban.
    • One of the Jedi strike team that tries to assassinate him and Zannah in Rule of Two is an Echani Jedi Weapon Master—basically an expy of the Handmaiden from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Zig-Zagged. In Rule of Two, young Zannah is confronted by her cousin Darovit, who tries to threaten Bane with a stolen lightsaber. Not want Bane to kill her cousin Darovit and unwilling to kill him herself, Zannah uses the Force to disintegrate Darovit's right hand. A decade later, she spares his life again, not because she cares about him, but out of pragmatism. She uses her Sith sorcery to drive him mad and leaves him to be found by the Jedi, who assume him to be Bane.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Path of Destruction replaces Jedi vs. Sith and Rule of Two replaces Bane of the Sith in official continuity.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • Bane allows Caleb to live after forcing him to save his life, since he may need his help again one day.
    • Zannah does this a few times. Hesitating to kill Bane when the opportunity arise out of fear that she hasn't learned everything she can from him. Subverted in one case as she tells him that if he could not kill the assassins she inadvertently sent after him he didn't deserve to live.
  • The Cassandra: Johun Othone is convinced the Sith are still out there after Kaan and his followers die, but since he's a padawan at the time, no one listens to him.
  • Cassandra Truth: Bane lets a pair of scavengers still on Ruusan go free, knowing they'll claim a Sith attacked them, but won't be believed by the Jedi on account of being former Sith troopers. He's right, though they're not helped by their failure to get their stories straight afterward.
  • Character Tics: After narrowly surviving the destruction of his orbalisk armor, Bane develops a tremor in his left hand and he tends to open and close the hand repeatedly to keep it under control.
  • Charm Person: Lord Kaan uses his charisma (and possibly some minor Mind Control) to keep the other Sith from fighting each other.
  • The Chessmaster: It's shown that Bane has a network of spies and long reaching plans to take control of the Galaxy.
  • Child Mage: Even at the age of 10, Zannah is strong enough in the Force to disintegrate her cousin's hand.
  • Clark Kenting: A Justified example. In "Rule of Two", Zannah infiltrates the Jedi temple on Coruscant by disguising herself as Jedi Padawan Nalia Adollu. Her only alteration to her appearance is dying her blond hair black. Justified because it's established that Zannah and Nalia look very similar, it's been five years since anyone on Coruscant has seen Nalia, and Zannah uses the Force to mask her connection to the Dark Side.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Invoked by Zannah, who tells her lover Kel that if she ever finds her with another woman, she'll cut the woman's heart out. Downplayed, because Zannah is neither clingy nor jealous enough to do it, but she is cruel enough.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Bane. "Honor is for the living. Dead is dead"
    • Gerd, a fellow miner that was friends with Bane's father that has always hated him. Knowing that he wouldn't stand a chance against Bane - who was younger, taller and stronger - in a straight fight, Gerd decided to pick a fight with Bane after the latter spent six hours working, and even forced Bane into a wrestling match on the floor, where Bane's taller stature wouldn't help him. Luckily for Bane, though, he unknowingly had access to the Force that allowed him to predict Gerd's attacks and turn the fight in his favor.
  • Combat Tentacles: Zannah summons tentacles made of pure Dark Side energy in her final duel against Darth Bane.
  • Commander Contrarian: Kopecz was often the first voice of dissent against Kaan, stirring the other Sith against him on issues such as the prolonged battle for control of Ruusan. However, Kaan was always able to sway Kopecz into siding with him.
  • Company Town: What we see of the planet Apotros, a cortosis mining colony, is this. Pretty much everything you buy comes from the company, and they've made it so that you will essentially always be in debt to them. Even the cantina has a limit on the sabaac pot so that the entirety of someone's debt can't be paid off in one lucky night.
  • Continuity Nod: The Temple of the Rakata on Lehon, the Korriban Academy (both from Knights of the Old Republic), and Bane's curved lightsaber hilt that resembles Count Dooku's are just a few.
    • In Rule of Two, Bane goes to visit the late Freedon Nadd's tomb, noting it's still busted up from when Exar Kun came through several thousand years before.
    • The site of Lord Kaan's thought bomb detonation on Ruusan was first featured prominently as the Valley of the Jedi in Jedi Knight and subsequent games in the Dark Forces Saga.
    • In her infiltration of the Jedi Temple, Zanah sees statues of the Lost Twenty (Jedi Masters who left the Order). Since it's a prequel, they're not at twenty yet. When she comes through, it's merely the Lost Twelve.
    • In Dynasty of Evil, Bane momentarily thinks on how his own holocron still has him in his orbalisk armor, despite him having long discarded it, as was shown in the Legacy comics. Bane kept it that way because the armor's distinctive appearance helps shield him while he's alive, since it obscures his face.
  • Creepy Child: Hoo boy. Young Zannah already showed signs of this before she met Bane, but her time with him only made her more of one. After only a few days with him, she went from impulsively killing a Jedi in a fit of rage and feeling guilty afterwards to killing four people for their ship, two of them in cold blood.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Double-fold for Zannah:
    • The only lightsaber style she mastered is the defensive Soresu. This means that, while she can protect herself from almost any opponent, she herself can't go on the offensive until the opponent tires out and/or makes a mistake- and if that doesn't happen she's in a risk of tiring out herself.
    • Similarly, she only developed her sorcery-related Force abilities which, as powerful as they are, take immense concentration to use. This leaves her unable to perform them while defending herself in a lightsaber duel and conversely unable to defend herself while using them.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Lucia, at the end of "Dynasty of Evil". Zannah uses the Force to smash her body against several walls. Her head gets pancaked in, a pretty gory death for Star Wars.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Bane is on the receiving end of one when first dueling Sirak. He returns the favor later on.
    • Bane vs the eight mercenaries near the beginning of Rule of Two.
    • Zannah vs Paak in Rule of Two. She spends the entire fight toying with him, and he still doesn't stand a chance.
    • Once the initial surprise of Set Harth's attack passes, Zannah quickly takes him down with some sorcery.
  • The Dandy: Lord Farfalla, who is initially treated as a bit of a joke by the Sith.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Githany in Path of Destruction.
    • Darth Zannah, Bane's apprentice.
    • The Huntress in Dynasty of Evil.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Subverted in that the Brotherhood of Darkness does this spiel with Bane. Bane disagreed.
  • The Dark Side: Obviously.
  • David vs. Goliath: Darth Zannah vs Sarro Xaj.
  • Dawn of an Era: The Ruusan Reformation, which starts in Rule of Two, is the beginning of a thousand years of relative peace for the Republic, and massive reforms in the Jedi Order.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The orbalisk-armor Bane wore for ten years. The parasites provided him Nigh-Invulnerability upped by a Healing Factor strong enough to instantly heal lightsaber-cuts, and increased both his physical and Force powers to monstrous levels. However at the same time they were constantly poisoning him, feeding on his Dark Side energies, and caused him to flew into Unstoppable Rages, that completely clouded his mind and judgement. Even when he finally gets rid of them, their dying act leaves his body with damage that lasts the rest of his life.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bug in the comics.
  • Death by Childbirth: Part of why Bane's father hated him.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The books show the Republic in all its corrupt and evil glory plus the perspective of the Sith. At the end of the day, you realize that the Jedi Knights are entirely right that there's something fundamentally wrong with the Sith.
  • Demythification: In an odd in universe example, these books to an extent do this with respect to the earlier comic books. In Path of Destruction, Bane even comments that the feats claimed by the ancient Sith are likely more myth than fact.
  • Dented Iron: By Dynasty of Evil, a combination of age, traumatic injury, and a lifetime of using the corruptive power of The Dark Side has done a great deal of damage to Bane. While still a force to be reckoned with, he's not what he once was.
  • Determinator: Nothing stops Bane when he sets his mind to it.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In Path of Destruction, Sirak serves as Bane's main rival during his training on Korriban, but is killed before the students are sent to join the fight on Ruusan.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When she found out a woman had slept with her boyfriend, she put her in a permanent coma, with what little was left of her mind forced to suffer nightmares for the rest of her life. Never mind that she'd been using the boyfriend for one of Bane's schemes, which ended with him dying.
  • Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: Nope. Zannah killing Bordon and Irtanna is treated seriously.
  • Downer Ending: The Jedi destroy the Sith but only at the cost of their army's greatest leader and ninety-nine other Jedi. And Bane, who no one even knows exists, is left alone to found the order that will nearly destroy them. The end of the second novel is even worse. Unless you're Rooting for the Empire, in which case The Chessmaster wins pretty thoroughly.
  • The Dragon:
    • Darth Zannah is Darth Bane's.
    • Hetton briefly becomes Zannah's.
    • Set Harth also briefly becomes Zannah's.
    • Darth Cognus starts as Bane's but ends up becoming Zannah's.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Bane builds the entire Rule of Two around this concept. Naturally, the series concludes with Zannah fulfilling this trope with the knowledge Cognus will one day do the same thing, if she proves herself worthy to usurp her power and right to the title of Dark Lord of the Sith.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: One of the Huntress' special skills is having incredibly accurate visions of the future in her dreams.
  • Duel to the Death: Bane and Zannah's climactic fight in "Dynasty of Evil".
  • Due to the Dead: In the decade between "Rule of Two" and "Dynasty of Evil", the Jedi made a monument to Caleb and the five Jedi killed by Bane and Zannah.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • As this series predates the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic by several years, no mention is made of Vitiate's Sith Empire, despite their coming even closer to conquest of the Galaxy than Bane's idol Revan did, and being in the more recent past than Revan.
    • The establishment of Tython in Rule of Two also mentions the Jedi precursors mentions the Ashla and Boga, not Bogan, as later fiction will call it.
  • Elite Mooks: Umbaran Shadow Assassins, who use the Force to hide themselves from view before striking. But they're still no match for Bane.
  • Enfant Terrible: Young Zannah takes some time to fully embrace her role as Bane's apprentice, but once she does, she becomes a cold-blooded killer.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: As he gets older and starts feeling his age, Bane fears that Zannah is just waiting for him to grow weak and helpless so she can take the title of Sith master with ease. The reality is that Zannah is biding her time because she's worried that Bane is just faking his declining health (knowing that he's exactly the kind of cunning opponent who'd do something like that) and wants to make sure she's capable of beating him before trying her luck.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Downplayed. Hurst's abuse was partly responsible for Bane's inner strength, but he resolves to never abuse Zannah. He doesn't care about her (or anyone else) as a person, but knows she'll learn more if she respects him instead of fearing and/or hating him. He instead takes a stern-but-fair stance towards her, with great results.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While Bane can understand how Jedi tend to think, by the time of Dynasty of Evil he's so far into the Dark Side that when Lucia, an old army comrade from his days in the Sith footsoldiers, frees him from imprisonment he's baffled by her given reasons, and figures she's either a dribbling idiot or trying to get something from him. The notion she is legitimately trying to free him out of hideously misplaced loyalty to her former squadmate just doesn't click.
  • Evil Counterpart: Bane is kind of the anti-Luke Skywalker: both of their mothers died in child-birth. Bane's father was an Abusive Parent, and he was partially responsible for Bane growing up to be a sociopath. Luke's father didn't even know of his existence, and during their first meeting cut off Luke's hand in a duel, and tried to tempt him to join The Dark Side. Both Bane and Luke are immensely powerful in the Force. Both have brought around the destruction of the Sith Order of their time. As Bane rebuilt the Sith in accordance with his vision, so did Luke rebuild the Jedi Order. As if trying to lampshade this, when Bane made an appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he was voiced by Mark Hamill.
  • Evil Is Old Fashioned: The Brotherhood considers Bane a throwback to the Sith's pointless and destructive past, largely because of his uncompromising preference for the rule of the strong as per tradition.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • A Jedi makes the distinction between a Sith and a Dark Jedi. A Sith wants to take over the Galaxy, kill all the Jedi and crush all their enemies. A Dark Jedi is much less grandiose, generally concerned with wild hedonism. Shortly thereafter, we get a look at Set Harth, who is exactly that, and while he does last a long time, never becomes some galaxy-shaking threat like a proper Sith.
    • Zannah used her Sith sorcery to utterly destroy Cyndra's mind. Zannah had a chance to stop, which would have allowed Cyndra to eventually recover, but instead she kept pushing until whatever remained of Cyndra's mind was begging for death. Why did she keep pushing? Because Cyndra was a romantic rival.
  • Evil Mentor: Qordis and Kas'im, and later Bane himself.
  • Evil Orphan: Zannah's parents are dead, and she's Darth Bane's apprentice.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Happens frequently during Bane's Sith training in Path of Destruction.
    • The climax of Dynasty of Evil sees Darth Zannah finally challenge Darth Bane for the mantle of Master.
  • Exact Words:
    • Bane's fencing teacher calls him out on being inferior as a swordsman, so Bane admits that he'll never win the battle using a lightsaber. Bane pushes out the supports of a stone temple and crushes the man instead.
    • While trying to torture a confession out of Bane, Serra demands he tell her who killed her father. Bane is drugged to the gills, so he just says it wasn't him. He's not lying, because even if he wasn't drugged he'd still see no reason to do so. He legitimately didn't do it, it was Zannah, but Serra's too angry to think of asking who did.
  • Eye Scream: When Zannah uses her Sith sorcery on Cyndra, the latter claws her own eyes out.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Before becoming the Sith Lord Darth Zannah, Rain was a young girl aspiring to become a Jedi. After her fuzzy alien friend had died during the Seventh Battle of Ruusan, she would soon turn to the Dark Side after killing two Jedi which she mistakes for being responsible for the death of Laa.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Zannah is much more physically pleasing than her master, avoding the usual pitfall of Evil Makes You Ugly, but no less a monster.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • Kaan is yet another Jedi turned bad.
    • Githany was a Jedi before becoming a Sith.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • The Sith and Jedi caught in the Thought Bomb's radius are reduced to fragments of their consciousness, and are trapped in that state forever in caverns under the Valley of the Jedi. At least until Kyle Katarn, the prophesied "knight that never was", swings by and frees their spirits during his fight with Jerec. But that's a different series and a good few years later. Some of the Sith spirits hang around even then. Also what happens to Bane when he fails to possess Zannah.
    • One of Zannah's abilities as a Sith sorceress is Mind Rape so powerful it's considered this. The first time we see her use it on someone, it utterly shatters Cyndra's mind, leaving her a catatonic shell. Zannah notes there's just the tiniest bit of her mind left in there, aware of what's happened to her.
      Zannah: She's not dead. Though whatever's left of her mind surely begs for death.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Unlike the more stone-faced Bane, Zannah can put up a good front of civility and friendliness, but beneath that, she's thoroughly sadistic and wholeheartedly devoted to her master's vision of Sith domination of the galaxy.
  • Feeling Their Age: Although barely middle-aged by Dynasty of Evil, Bane's lifelong use of The Dark Side has done a number on his health, to the point that he worries that Zannah is just waiting for him to decay to the point where she can kill him with ease instead of proving her superiority over him at his best.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: In "Rule of Two", the Army of Light is disbanded following their defeat of Kaan's Brotherhood of Darkness.
  • Femme Fatale: Zannah is described as very attractive, and she's perfectly aware of it, using her beauty on numerous occasions to get information from unsuspecting males she encounters.
  • Fingore: During their fight, Bane bites Gerd's thumb off.
  • Foil: Johun and Zannah, in Rule of Two. Both are young students just coming into their power when the story begins, but where Johun becomes a capable Jedi, Zannah goes further and further into evil. Just to show they're not so different, the story has a scene where both use the Force to nudge the minds of those around them for their own goals.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Bane will live long enough to create his Sith Order and Zannah will succeed him as the next Dark Lord of the Sith, and the Jedi will know nothing of it because by the time of the movies, they mostly think that the Sith died with Bane.
  • Forever War: When the story begins, the war between the Jedi-led Republic and the Sith forces have been going on for four hundred years, and the regular folk of the Republic are getting just a wee bit sick of it. Chancellor Valorum even points out the Jedi's Knight Templar attitude is not helping them in this regard. They swear to fight only until the Sith have been eliminated, which is all well and good... except seconds later Johun demonstrates the problem by saying they always need to be on the lookout for the Dark Side.
  • Freudian Excuse: Darth Bane was abused as a child by his father and grew up on an armpit of a planet. Bizarrely, while it's easy to see how this shaped him into a monster, he makes no attempt to justify his actions with it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Dessel and his apprentice Rain. The former from a corporate slave on a backwater planet to a master swordsman, practitioner of the Force and Dark Lord of the Sith. The latter a scared child caught up in a war to a Sith Lord and master sorceress.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Before Rule of Two, Zannah's kills are accidental. Before the time skip, the fully-embraced Sith in training commits premeditated murder and never looks back.
  • Gaia's Lament: Doab, a small planet in the Outer Rim, which has been stripped-mined to pieces, with massive kilometer wide gashes in its surface visible from orbit. There's not much life left on the planet.
  • Genius Bruiser: Unlike most other Sith at the Academy on Korriban, Bane spent a great deal of his time reading and studying the histories and philosophies of past Sith Lords, and by the end of his life was an expert on these subjects. He was capable of formulating incredibly complex and long-term plans, manipulating others easily, without even using the Force, and he accumulated an immense wealth of both money and information by using his facade as a trader,. He also happens to be a master lightsaber duelist, and an immensely powerful user of The Dark Side.
  • Genocide from the Inside: Bane orchestrates the deaths of everyone except himself and Zannah so he can create the Rule of Two.
  • Ghost Planet:
    • Ambria may appear beautiful from a distance, but its looks are deceiving. Centuries before the events of the books, the filed rituals of a powerful Sith sorceress inadvertently unleashed a cataclysmic wave of Dark Side energy across the planet's surface. The sorceress was destroyed, along with most other life on Ambria. It is now inhabited only by a handful of settlers, with plots of fertile ground few and far between. The Jedi attempted to cleanse Ambria of the Dark Side's taint, but the damages was permanent. They only succeeded in concentrating and confiding the Dark Side to a single lake.
    • Tython, once the home of the first people to figure out the Force. By the time Bane pays it a visit, there doesn't seem to be anyone living there. Note the words "anyone" and "living". There's a castle filled with an old Sith Lord's monstrous experiments...
  • Grand Theft Me: When Bane starts looking for immortality, he finds it in the Essence Transfer ritual created by Darth Anneddu. Which would allow him to change bodies over time.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Bane is this for the entire Skywalker Saga. The Rule of Two that he put into place would govern the Sith all the way to Sidious's death, and in fact Sidious's conquest of the Galaxy and creation of the Galactic Empire was ultimately the culmination of his plan.
  • Harmful to Minors: Poor Rain. Ironically, she suffers more from the actions of the Jedi (recruited to fight a war, one cousin dead, the killing of her friend) than from Bane. Bane is a stern taskmaster intent on turning her into the perfect evil apprentice, but he never abuses her.
  • He Knows Too Much: Standard operating procedure for Bane and Zannah. Anyone who learns too much about them has to die, so they can never reveal the Sith live.
  • Hero Antagonist: The entire Jedi Order largely plays this role.
  • The Hero Dies: Johun Othone is the closest thing Rule of Two has to a hero, and he dies at the climax in the Duel on Tython.
  • The Hero's Journey: Interestingly Bane goes through something of a dark version of this in a parallel of Luke's journey.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bane goes through one of these after he kills a fellow apprentice in a practice duel, and the full truth of the dark side becomes clear to him. Later he gets destroyed in a duel with Sirak, which just sends him further downhill.
  • Hero-Worshipper: In his time at the Sith Academy, Bane comes to idolize Darth Revan, finding him to be the ideal Sith Lord despite his eventual redemption. It's finding Revan's Sith holocron and his example in taking on a single apprentice that inspires Bane to create the Rule of Two.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: When Zannah infiltrates the Jedi temple in "Rule of Two", the only change she makes to her appearance is dying her blond hair black. This, along with a Sith spell that simultaneously hides her Dark Side connection and projects a false Light Side aura, allows her to impersonate a Jedi Padawan who looks very similar to her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Sirak gets the tables turned on him after Bane learns his style's weaknesses. Without any experience against a real opponent or the stamina to fight a prolonged battle Bane mops the floor with him.
    • This happens to Bane when his lightning is turned against him, killing the orbalisks that made up his armor and releasing lethal toxins into his body which nearly kills him.
  • Horned Humanoid: The Huntress/Darth Cognus. It comes with being an Iktotchi.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Darovit remained convinced that Zannah, who talked openly about how she was a Sith and had killed people and was planning on staying a Sith, could be talked around to redemption. In any other Star Wars story, he might've succeeded. To be fair, he wasn't exactly wrong about her still caring about him, Darovit just overestimated how much.
    • Lucia sees the Jedi as smug know-it-alls (well, in fairness...) and the Sith as being not so bad as all that. Of course, she's used to Kaan's type of Sith, since she worked for them, not Darth Bane's type of Sith, and especially Bane himself. It gets her and several other people killed, and it allows the Sith to live to plot another day.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bane (confirmed as 2 meters tall) and Zannah (in the neighborhood of 1.65 meters).
  • Hypocrite: Subverted. Zannah derides him as one when he starts looking for a means of immortality, but she eventually catches on to the truth, that Bane doesn't want to be truly immortal, just to extend his life long enough to see his vision through.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed:
    • Bane does well against Kas'im until he separates his double-sided saber and comes at him with two swords. Something he never taught Bane how to fight.
    • Bane does this again with Zannah. She figures he's holding something back in their training, for the eventual showdown between them. She's right.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: When Bane and Zannah have their final showdown in Dynasty of Evil, the Huntress chooses not to interfere and states that she will serve the victor.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After killing a fellow student in the Brotherhood of Darkness, Bane had a conscience crisis, being unable to justify it besides it had been out of rage. He also realizes that he murdered his father with the Force without knowing it and feels haunted by this realization. This only lasted for a while, of course, and Bane returned into being the ruthless Sith he was before.
  • I Have Many Names: Born as Dessel, Bane takes the name "Bane" upon joining the Brotherhood of Darkness, extending it to "Darth Bane" after being inspired by Darth Revan. As the Dark Lord of the Sith, Bane uses a number of aliases, including "Lord Eddels" and "Sepp Omek" to gain wealth and power for his long-term plans.
  • I Know What You Fear: See Mind Rape.
  • Immortality Immorality: Of the body snatching evil spirit variety.
  • Immortality Seeker: Bane becomes this by Dynasty of Evil, as his body is slowly breaking down and he fears that Zannah will prove to be an unworthy successor by refusing to challenge him for the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith. He thus needs time to find and train a suitable replacement, which he can only get by finding a way to extend his life.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Sort of. Zannah disguises herself as Jedi Padawan Nalia Adollu to infiltrate the Jedi temple on Coruscant.
  • Impersonation Gambit: A villainous variant. Darth Zannah disguised herself as Jedi Padawan Nalia Adollu to infiltrate the Jedi temple on Coruscant so she can access the Jedi Archives.
  • Implausible Deniability: The two scavengers who survive their encounter with Darth Bane don't help their case with the Republic forces by claiming they, two armed and armored folk, were just humble farmers minding their own business when Bane came a'calling. Nor does the fact they don't get their stories straight.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Bane has no friends, which turns out to be Fridge Brilliance when you look back on the series and realize it. He does have comrades-in-arms once he joins the Sith army, but comes to realize that at the end of the day, the only one he can truly rely on is himself.
  • The Infiltration: In "Rule of Two", Zannah infiltrates the Jedi temple on Coruscant.
  • Innocence Lost: Zannah lost hers when she killed the Jedi who killed her friend Laa.
  • I See Dead People: After the Mind Bomb, Bane starts seeing visions of Kaan and Qordis until he explores Freedon Nadd's tomb. It's never made specifically clear if they're actual ghosts, or just the result of his mind turning against him.
  • I Owe You My Life: Lucia, to Serra, in "Dynasty of Evil", though she takes it to dangerous and obsessive levels.
  • Irony:
    • Despite his mastery of mind tricks, Kaan himself was weak willed and preached Rule by the Strong to hide his own weakness.
    • Chancellor Valorum states that the Ruusan Reformations would bring and end to the Republic's decay and usher in a new age of prosperity and peace. One thousand years, several individuals would say that the Republic's stagnation has been going for thousand years, and the Sith would use the Reformations to turn the Republic into the Galactic Empire.
    • Bane is disdainful of petty sadism, preaches that there should only be two Sith at any given time, and feels that the Apprentice must overthrow the Master in the Duel to the Death rather than through trickery or deceit, to prove that the next Master is stronger than the last. Flash forward a thousand years, and Palpatine- the Sith who brings all of Bane's plans and ambitions to fruition- is the exact opposite of all of this, a sadistic psychopath with a warped sense of humour, who trains an apprentice Darth Maul while still serving under Plagueis, whom he murders by getting him drunk and torturing him to death with Force Lightning while he starts to sleep, partly out of fear that he might be slightly stronger than he is.
  • Jedi Mind Trick:
    • Unsurprisingly for a fallen Jedi, Kaan was very good at using mind tricks to keep his subordinates under his control. Only Bane and Kopecz were strong-willed enough to resist it.
    • Johun, a Jedi, uses a mild version to nudge Irtanna and Bordon to let them take him down to Ruusan. It doesn't manipulate their minds, just nudges them towards accepting his words. He still feels massively guilty about it.
  • Jerkass: Downplayed. Bane is a cold, cruel social Darwinist who, by his own admission, doesn't feel things like pity, gratitude, or remorse, and who inflicts pain and suffering on others without hesitation, but he rarely goes out of his way to Kick the Dog unnecessarily, and is too disciplined and pragmatic to indulge in petty acts of malignance.
  • Karma Houdini: Set Harth gets away at the end of "Dynasty of Evil" with Andeddu's holocron, and the secrets of immortality. Zannah figures there's not much point going after him, and other works establish he does manage to last a good long while, transferring his essence to other bodies.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: The Bane novels end with [[spoiler: Zannah killing Bane and becoming the next Dark Lord (or Lady) of the Sith, but the way they work means she will one day be supplanted by her own apprentice, who will be killed by her apprentice in turn, and so on.
  • Kid Sidekick: A villainous version. Zannah is this to Bane in the first half of Rule of Two.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Dessel/Bane murdering his father through the Force definitely qualifies since he was an abusive bastard towards him after his wife had died during childbirth.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jedi Master Hoth.
  • Knight Templar: Subverted- though they do not get as much focus as the Sith and Bane himself, the Jedi in this series aren't stoic or rigid as the future Jedi will be- the Padawan Johun is told that it is fine to grieve, for one, General Hoth is far more angry and hot-headed than the Jedi of the Clone Wars ever are, and they haven't yet started only taking recruits in the form of babies, having no issue taking in Johun and several others after the age of ten or older.
    • This is also shown in that the Chancellor of the second book is the first non-Jedi Chancellor in four hundred years, showing they were much more liked in this time.
  • Knockout Ambush: In Dynasty of Evil, the Huntress is hired to capture Bane alive.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • Bane concedes during his last sparring session with Kas'im, seeing that he cannot win and that it is only a matter of time before he exhausts himself, making it a waste of time to continue. Kas'im acknowledges this as a sign of just how far Bane has come as a swordsman.
    • When Bane fights Kas'im later on he is again forced to acknowledge that he cannot best him in a duel, and decides to bury him under a mountain of stonework instead.
    • Also Set Harth vs Cognus. Set shows himself to be a quick foe as he keeps ahead of Cognus's blades and Cognus is just as quick and dangerous as they do a game of hide and attack. They eventually decide to part ways on Sets' suggestion, with Cognus letting Harth take off in a ship rather than waste more time fighting.
    • After his daughter was threatened by Bane the first time around, Caleb has her run off into the galaxy and change her name. On hearing this, Zannah immediately forgets looking for her, since trying to find one person in a galaxy with millions of worlds and no idea where to look would be impossible.
  • The Lancer:
    • Pernicar is Lord Hoth's in Path of Destruction.
    • Johun is Valenthyne's in Rule of Two.
  • Lancer vs. Dragon: Johun and Zannah never actually fight one-on-one, but they do briefly fight when Johun and Sarro Xaj team up on her during the climactic fight in Rule of Two. It ends when Johun goes to help the Jedi fighting Bane. Later, Zannah is the one who kills him.
  • Large and in Charge: He was two meters tall, and very muscular in build.
  • Laser Blade: It is Star Wars, after all.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In Path of Destruction, Qordis begs Darth Bane to engage him lightsaber combat instead of just killing him, saying that there is more honor in death by combat. Bane tells him that "Honor is for the living. Dead is dead" and kills him.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Darth Bane. He's a 2 meter-tall muscular man, but he's also fast enough to avoid being a Mighty Glacier.
    • Sarro Xaj in Rule of Two is even bigger than Bane and fast enough to snatch a fly out of the air.
  • Little Miss Badass: Young Zannah is a villainous version in Rule of Two.
  • Logical Weakness: Invoked by Kas'im, who refuses to teach his students to Dual Wield lightsabers, dismissing it as Awesome, but Impractical. The truth is that Kas'im himself is a master of this, and he wants to have an advantage over his students in case he ever has to fight any of them to the death.
  • Long Game: So long in fact that Bane was fully aware it could not be obtained in his life time, hence the Rule of Two he established.
  • Made of Iron: Bane.
  • Magic Knight: While this is a common attribute for all Jedi and Sith, Zannah deserves special mention for her aptitude in Sith Sorcery and developing many unique force skills.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Bane instructs Darth Zannah in a different form of lightsaber combat than himself, explaining that her smaller size, weaker musculature, and lack of nigh-indestructible orbalisk armor means she can't effectively use his Attack! Attack! Attack! variant of Form V: Djem So. He instead teaches her to use a double-bladed saber and Form III: Soresu, which she initially dislikes because the defensive style is more typically associated with the Jedi.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bane, when he destroys the Brotherhood by playing on Kaan's ego. In the sequel, a hallucination of Kaan pays him back from beyond the grave when he tricks Bane into using a Deadly Upgrade in the form of parasitic orbalisks.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Bane starts becoming one to dozens of plots in Rule of Two.
  • Manly Tears: Lord Hoth weeps after the death of Pernicar.
  • Master Swordsman: Blademaster Kas'im, Jedi Battlemaster Raskta Lsu, and Bane.
  • Mauve Shirt: Cyndra and Paak in Rule of Two. They get less characterization than Kel but more than the three unnamed Red Shirts killed by Johun and Kel.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Darth Bane, of course.
    • Hetton named his ship the Loranda after his mother.
    • Darth Andeddu, who created a method to achieve immortality. Sort of.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: For a Force wielder Bane is an oddity in that he lacks any precognitive abilities whatsoever, not even vague dreams. It's something of a problem for him what with that whole "Grand Plan" thing meaning an ability to see problems coming often puts him on the backfoot, which is why he takes a shine to the Huntress.
  • Mind Rape: This is one of Zannah's most-utilized powers from her tutelage in Sith sorcery.
  • Mirroring Factions: According to Bane, Kaan's Brotherhood and the Jedi. Under Kaan, the Sith worked together for a greater good as equals, fought with some honor, and mostly ignored the precedents set by Darth Revan and other ancient Sith in favor of policies that promote unity and cooperation rather than infighting. Bane, who revered Revan, considers the Brotherhood a perversion of nature, and has little more than contempt for its members.
  • Morality Chain: The death of Rain's bouncer friend turns her from a troubled young girl into a murderous sociopath at a very young age.
  • More Than Mind Control: In order to influence a group of seperatists, Zannah uses the Force on them. It's not quite a mind trick, since that would only last so long, but just nudging emotions they already have to the front.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Very pretty, and fully aware of it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dessel's shock when he realizes he had unknowingly killed his own father with the Force is so severe that he loses his connection to the Force and temporarily falls into a stupor.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Inverted during the climactic fight in Rule of Two. After Johun goes to help Valenthyne and Raska fight Bane, he leaves Sarro Xaj to fight Zannah. Without Johun getting in the way, Sarro is able to fight Zannah without holding back, and he would have beaten her if Bane hadn't robbed the Jedi of their Battle Meditation advantage by targeting Worror.
  • Neck Snap: Overlaps with Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Three Republic soldiers, Sith Lt. Ulabore, Bane's father Hurst, and two Jedi inadvertently caused Bane and Zannah to become Sith Lords.
    • Chancellor Valorun's Ruusan Reformations were meant to put an end to corruption and decay, as well as to usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. What it truly did was speed up the growth of corruption and complacency, and the Sith take full advantage of it. A thousand years later, this would culminate in the Republic's transformation into the Galactic Empire and the destruction of the Jedi Order.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Zannah. Not because of actual niceness, mind (Sith, remember), but simply out of basic pragmatism. People are more likely to help and assist the good looking lady who's tremendously polite to them, and it gets her a network of unnoticed workers she can plug for information at minimal expenditure.
  • No Body Left Behind: Bane's body is destroyed when he tries to take over Zannah's body.
  • No Cure for Evil: The Dark Side of the Force doesn't do healing. It just corrupts and withers. This would be a problem for Bane come Dynasty of Evil, except he doesn't mind, since he feels curing is for the weak.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Neimoidian bartender Groshik smuggles Bane off Apatros after the latter kills a Republic soldier in self-defense, allowing him to join the Sith. He himself suffers no consequences later on, but his act of kindness allows Bane to become a Sith, causing the rest of the galaxy to suffer as a result.
  • No Name Given: Before taking her Sith name, Darth Cognus is only ever known as 'the Huntress'.
  • No OSHA Compliance: A rare instance which is called out and invoked. The planet of Serenno has walkways with fifty foot drops and no guard rails because they're against the damn things for cultural reasons. Sure would be a shame if someone got into a fight on one of those walkways...
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Blademaster Kas'im repeatedly denigrates dual-blade lightsaber combat as a waste of energy when teaching his students. When he duels Bane, it turns out he's actually a master of it, and deliberately did this so his students wouldn't be familiar with dual-wielding if he ever had to battle them for real.
    • When Zannah first meets Set in his home, he seems to be partially drunk and—rather than ask Zannah what the hell she's doing breaking into his residence—asks her if she followed him home from the party out of lust for him, inviting her onto the couch with him. Zannah curses herself for ever thinking that such an idiot could make a suitable apprentice and lets her guard down...at which point Set drops the act and springs into action, nearly slicing her to pieces.
  • Offhand Backhand: During a skirmish in Path of Destruction, a Sith warrior tries to sneak up on Lord Hoth, only for him to trap her in a Force Stasis Field without even turning his head. She is then accidentally killed by one of her fellow Sith.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bane has Kas'im practically defeated, as the former had trained extensively to counter and exploit the flaws in the latter's double-bladed lightsaber style... and then Kas'im splits his blade in two and switches to a dual-wielding style, and Bane instantly realizes exactly why the Blademaster had always dismissed the style as a weak option to his students.
  • Older and Wiser: Johun starts off as a padawan, but after the time skip in Rule of Two he's become a full-fledged knight.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Darth Bane is utterly disdainful of Lord Kaan and everything he represented about the Sith. That said, Darth Bane does acknowledge that of Kaan's many failings, being "weak" was not one of them.
  • Papa Wolf: Caleb the healer. He stands up to a Sith Lord with nothing but sheer willpower (and douses his own arm in boiling water to show his determination) to keep his daughter hidden and safe. It doesn't work, but he still gets points for trying.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Zannah tries to pull one of these on Bane, making him wonder if he should stick with the orbalisks, mainly because she doesn't reckon her chances while he's still got the nigh-invulnerable crab armor on him.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Kas'im and several others use "kriffing" in place of "fucking".
    Kas'im: Of course I kriffing mean Bane!
  • Perception Filter: Zannah uses some Sith powers to make herself seem utterly unremarkable while exploring Serenno.
  • Pet the Dog: A pragmatic example. Hurst's abuse was partly responsible for Bane's inner strength, but he resolves to never abuse Zannah. He doesn't care about her (or anyone else) as a person, but knows she'll learn more if she respects him instead of fearing and/or hating him. He instead takes a stern-but-fair stance towards her, with great results.
  • Playing Both Sides: In Path of Destruction, Githany allies herself with Bane to eliminate Sirak. When Bane defeats Sirak but spares his life, Githany performs a Face–Heel Turn and allies herself with Sirak against Bane, ultimately luring Bane into a trap. She then reveals that she was actually luring Sirak into a trap, and she helps Bane defeat him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Bane and Zannah only escape because the Jedi never have enough of the picture to discover the truth. If Farfalla had told the Jedi Council, or at least left them a message with everything that he knew at that point, then they would have realized that Davorit could not possibly have been the Sith Lord after Zannah uses Sith sorcery to cause him to appear as the Sith Lord. Had Serra also told them what she knew rather than trying to kill Bane herself, they would have also realized Bane's identity and that he was still alive.
  • Power Nullifier: Darth Cognus has an innate talent for disrupting and suppressing other people's ability to use the Force, making Jedi and other Force users easy prey.
  • Praetorian Guard: Johun spends the time skip in Rule of Two serving as Chancellor Valorum's bodyguard.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Bane spares Caleb after the latter heals him in the first book since he might need his abilities again. In general this is common for Bane as well as Zannah and was in fact one of the rules of his Sith order that they be pragmatically evil rather than outright evil. He all but outright states that cruelty and murder are useful tools but it's foolish to engage in them for their own sake. The same goes for pretty much everything: wealth, knowledge, etc. Everything is a means to gain more power, nothing more, and things like greed and sadism are forms of weakness.
    • During Rule of Two, Bane starts up counter-plots against plans to destroy the Republic, not because he wants it saved, just that a fractured galaxy is more work.
    • When Bane is injured, Zannah attempts to save his life. The reason for this is because he hadn't fully taught her all of his dark side abilities, yet.
    • Why Zannah is Nice to the Waiter. People are more likely to help someone who's nice to them, giving her a small network of contacts of her own for a minimal cost.
    • Zannah believes in no killing without a good reason. That said, the minute she has a reason... out comes the lightsaber.
  • Professional Killer: Dynasty of Evil introduces the Huntress, a Force-sensitive Iktochi assassin hired by Serra to capture Darth Bane. By the end of the book, she becomes Zannah’s Sith apprentice and takes the name Darth Cognus.
  • Psycho for Hire: Unlike Bane or Zannah, Cognus is already rather psychotic before joining the Sith.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Before becoming a Sith Lord, the Huntress favors a pair of knives as her main weapons.
  • The Quiet One: Sarro Xaj doesn't talk much.
  • Rags to Royalty: Serra goes from being the nondescript daughter of a healer on a backwater planet to the princess of the royal family of Doab by the time she reappears in Dynasty of Evil.
  • Redemption Rejection: Zannah's cousin Darovit offers her more than one chance to turn away from the dark side. She pretends to accept his final offer, then use Sith sorcery to drive him insane and convince the Jedi Order that he is the Sith Lord they've been hunting.
  • Red Shirt: Bordon and Italla, who Johun interacts early on in Rule of Two. They last a while, just long enough for the reader to feel something when they become young Zannah's first kills.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In Rule of Two, Johun Othone is introduced as Lord Hoth's Padawan despite not appearing in Path of Destruction.
  • The Reveal: Path of Destruction is the first piece of Star Wars media to name the Rakata homeworld of Lehon, previously only identified as "Unknown Planet".
  • The Rival: Sirak is this for Bane.
  • Rich Bitch: Serra sort of starts out as this. She got better, only to be killed by Darth Cognus.
  • Rule of Two: Codified by Darth Bane. He created the rule that only two Dark Lords of the Sith could exist in any given time: a master and an apprentice.
    Darth Bane: Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it.
  • Sadist: Unlike the more pragmatic Bane, Zannah clearly enjoys inflicting pain on others.
  • Sanity Slippage: Kaan was driven mad by the Dark Side due to his desperation at his inability to beat the Jedi. This meant he was easily manipulated by Bane to use the Thought Bomb.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Everyone seems to know of every unimportant planet or person in the galaxy, like Onderon or Caleb, and The Republic is still using the same ship classes that were used during the war with Darth Revan's Sith, some 3000 years earlier. This is justified in other canon by having the two designs continually be updated up to the Ruusan Reformations, when the Republic military became essentially obsolete.
  • Secret Test of Character: In Bane's earliest teachings of Zannah, he has her lure a small and Force immune reptilian bird to him, having to befriend the animal and lure it with food, as the species was skittish, eventually bringing it to Bane. Bane promptly snaps its neck with the Force and has her toss it into the stewpot, as it as a lesson that she owes him allegiance more than any other creature.
  • Shout-Out: Lots of them to Knights of the Old Republic and Jedi vs. Sith.
  • A Sinister Clue: Zannah is left-handed - one of the few Star Wars characters (let alone Sith) to be described as such.
  • Slashed Throat: Inflicted on the Jedi Worror by Bane. Since Worror's an Ithorian, he's got four throats, and Bane slashes them all.
  • Slasher Smile: Cognus is very fond of these in Dynasty of Evil.
  • The Sleepless: Path of Destruction states that after Bane started learning and training at the Sith Academy, he found that he needed almost no sleep and instead relied on just an hour or two of daily meditation to keep his body energized and his mind invigorated. After wandering the wastelands of Korriban for two weeks, he did need to sleep, but only for a few hours.
  • Smug Snake: Kaan is really confident in his abilities. Just another reason Bane hates him.
  • The Social Darwinist: Bane and by extension, Zannah. Bane is a firm believer of "survival of the fittest". This is part of the Rule of Two: a Sith Lord remains in charge by proving himself the strongest until his apprentice eventually becomes strong enough to defeat him. Notably, Bane doesn't exclude himself from this belief; while held captive at the mercy of a vengeful enemy, Bane acknowledges that, by his own ideals, if he's not strong enough to save himself, he deserves to die. Likewise, he refuses to find a way to use the Force to heal himself or fix the damage the years do to his body, figuring if it kills him, he deserves it.
  • Start of Darkness: For both Bane (Path of Destruction) and Zannah (the last bit of Path of Destruction and all of Rule of Two).
  • Stealth Expert: One of Zannah's abilities is to use the dark side to conceal her presence.
  • Stern Teacher: To Zannah. While hardly kind or merciful, he wasn't cruel.
  • The Stoic: By the end of Path of Destruction, Bane has evolved into a stone cold killer who rarely lets any emotion shine through (and even when he does, it's usually murderous rage).
  • Stone Wall: Bane trained Zannah in Soresu, a defensive style normally used by Jedi.
    Zannah: Defense will not slay my enemy.
    Bane: You lack the physical strength required for the powerful attacking strikes of Djem So or the other aggressive forms. You must rely on quickness, cunning and, most of all, patience to best your enemies.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: Zannah is capable of using the Sith magic power of "summon fear" as noted under Mind Rape and I Know What You Fear.
  • Support Party Member: Jedi and Sith trained in Battle Meditation are this, including Worror in Rule of Two.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: During the ten-year Time Skip in "Rule of Two", Johun was assigned to Chancellor Valorum, and he spent more time learning politics than practicing with his lightsaber and Force abilities. As a result, when he and the other Jedi face off against Bane and Zannah in the climax, Johun himself is the weakest fighter in the room.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: A variant. Both Bane and Zannah are skilled with their lightsabers and strong in the Force. The difference is that Bane's size and strength allow him to be an aggressive fighter who uses the Force to supplement his lightsaber skills, while Zannah's lean build force her to use her lightsaber defensively and use the Force as her primary method of attack.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Bane lived a truly crappy life until the Sith "rescued" him.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Bane can't defeat his old lightsaber instructor in combat, but he can crush him with a stone temple.
    • When it looks like the Jedi are about to find them and Bane tells Zannah to kill him and escape on her own, she devises a different plan. Using sorcery to drives Darovit mad, deceiving the Jedi into mistaking him for the last sith lord while hiding herself and Bane.
  • Take Up My Sword:
    • Played With regarding Bane's lightsaber, which skips a generation twice. It was originally a gift from Kas'im, who took it from his Master after killing him but never used it himself. After Zannah kills Bane, she gives it to Darth Cognus to use until she creates her own lightsaber.
    • When Bane realizes he is close to death and the Jedi are on the verge of discovering them, he implores Zannah to kill him, take up the mantle of Darth Lord, and escape so the Sith Order will survive. She Takes a Third Option.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • At Darth Bane's suggestion, he and the remaining members of the Brotherhood combined their powers to create a Thought Bomb, which killed both the New Sith and a hundred Jedi, including Lord Hoth, leaving what was left of their consciousness trapped in torment for a thousand years.
    • Johun tries to do this with Kel, knowing he can't beat him in a straight fight. The fall kills Kel, but Johun manages to live, which he ascribes to the Force protecting him.
  • Tattooed Crook: Cognus has four black tattoos shaped like lines that run down from her lower lip. When she smiles, they look like fangs.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Bane is the technician to Sirak's performer, having acquired his skills through discipline and hard work while Sirak is more naturally talented. While Bane loses their first fight, he utterly crushes Sirak after several months of study and training.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Zannah, kind of. In the books she's either ten (Path of Destruction), twenty (Rule of Two) or in her early to mid-thirties (Dynasty of Evil), but Rule of Two throws in some flashbacks of her training at twelve and fourteen.
  • Tempting Fate: Upon learning there are only three life forms (Bane, Zannah, and Darovit) in the building they're approaching, Sarro Xaj disappointedly says, "This might be too easy." None of the five Jedi leave the planet alive.
  • That Man Is Dead: An unusual variant. Zannah goes by Rain as a child and goes back to using her birth name when she becomes Bane's apprentice.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Bane doesn't believe in them. He believes in the Force guiding people, one way or another.
  • The Team: The five Jedi who fight Bane and Zannah in the climax of Rule of Two.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Bane throws his lightsaber at a bunch of scavengers at one point. Having the Force helps.
  • Time Skip: The first hundred pages of Rule of Two deal with Zannah's Start of Darkness, before skipping ahead ten years to her as a full-fledged Sith apprentice.
  • Token Wizard: Sort of. Zannah is a Sith Sorceress.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Darovit. Sure, he was only 13 when he first encountered Bane, but he should've known better than to threaten a Dark Lord of the Sith.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Bane was already an elite soldier before his Force sensitivity was discovered and he began Sith training. After getting demolished by Sirak, being forgotten by most of the academy, and having his connection to the Force crippled he ends up taking several more. Reading ancient texts in the archives, meeting Githany who repairs his Force connection and tutors him, while receiving private sword lessons from Kas'im.
    • During the ten-year time jump in "Rule of Two", Darovit became a skilled healer.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bane was never nice per say, but he did express genuine care and friendship with Groshik and his squad. Zannah was an adorable little girl with dreams of becoming a Jedi who could use her powers to help people. The Sith lifestyle beats out any redeeming qualities from them.
  • Tragic Villain: Although all his sympathetic traits are swept away by the end of the first book, Bane was a good man forced into a bad situation in the beginning.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Rain, shortly after she uses the Force to murder two Jedi knights who unwittingly killed her alien best friend, is offered a ride off planet by a Republic special forces officer and her two companions. Unfortunately, she needs the ship to herself so she can meet with Bane, so she uses a blaster to kill all three of them and steal it. Bear in mind she did all this at the age of ten.
  • Übermensch:
    • Bane may be one of the few genuine examples in the Star Wars franchise as he doesn't bother trying to justify himself.
    • He also views Darth Revan as this, seeing him as the ideal Sith lord.
  • The Unapologetic: All of the Sith qualify to some extent, but Bane and Zannah especially. Bane is an Übermensch who doesn't bother trying to justify himself, and Zannah is just as ruthless if not more so.
  • The Unfettered: Bane doesn't do morality, or indeed any kind of rule other than the exaltation of strength.
  • Unholy Nuke: The Thought Bomb from Path of Destruction is one such example; using Sith energy, it obliterates all Force-sensitives (and for those close enough, all life-forms) within its radius, including the Sith who used it.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Drew Karpyshyn, the author, discussed this in relation to a fan theory regarding the ending. He had actually intended for the ending to be clear, but to many it wasn't. He noted that in order for the fan theory to work, readers would have to assume that he was being an unreliable narrator at the end of the book, something that he had never done before. "Unfortunately, “twist” endings have become so prevalent recently that I think people assume narrators are unreliable now by default..."
  • Unwanted Assistance: A definite case for Sarro Xaj during the Duel on Tython.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Nothing good came from Kopecz recruiting Bane.
    • Lucia, in "Dynasty of Evil", does this two-fold. First by hiring the Huntress, which takes Serra to Coruscant to apologize to the Jedi, and then later on when she makes the spectacularly stupid decision to let Bane go free, out of a misguided sense of loyalty to an old comrade in-arms.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Rain was a sweet little girl but circumstance molded her into every bit the sociopathic monster it takes to become a Sith.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Inverted. During the ten-year Time Skip in "Rule of Two", Darth Zannah went from a 10 year-old child who was strong in the Force but had very little training to a powerful Sith sorceress capable of using the Force to thoroughly and completely break someone's mind until whatever's left is begging for death. In that same time skip, Johun went from age 19 to 29, but because he was assigned to Chancellor Valorum, he spent more time learning politics than practicing with his lightsaber and Force abilities. As a result, when he and the other Jedi face off against Bane and Zannah in the climax, Johun himself is the weakest fighter in the room. Granted, he and Zannah had never even met before then, much less fought, but if they had, he would have been all but guaranteed victory.
  • A Villain Named Khan: Kaan, but close enough.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sirak suffers one when he realizes he cannot defeat Bane, and is crushed during their second duel.
    • Kaan suffers one when the Jedi's reinforcements arrive on Ruusan, turning the tide in their favor. Leading him to use the Thought Bomb to try and take as many Jedi as he can with his defeated Dark Brotherhood.
  • Villain Protagonist: One of the few examples in the Star Wars EU.
  • Villains Never Lie: When Bane is captured and tortured by Serra, she demands he tell her who killed her father. While drugged too much to give a fully coherent response, Bane does at least answer her questions truthfully in as much as he's able, so when she asks if he killed her father, he says he didn't.
  • Villainous Valor: Many in the Brotherhood of Darkness show this, most notably Kopecz.
  • Visionary Villain: Both Bane and Kaan recognize the Sith's biggest problem is their chronic infighting sabotaging them every time they're close to victory. How they attempt to resolve it drives much of the first book's lot.
    • Kaan unites the Sith under him as the Brotherhood of Darkness by recognising all his rivals - indeed, all Dark Side users in the army - as Dark Lords of the Sith, with himself as first among equals aka. the Rule of the Strong. While this is successful in stopping the constant backstabbing, it still leaves him constantly maneuvering to stay ahead of Qordis and his other enemies, distracting him from the war against the Republic.
    • Bane sees all this and takes the opposite view; that too many Sith Lords dilutes the power of the Dark Side and leaves them all weak. He consequently evolves the Rule of Two to focus its power, wiping out the Brotherhood and abandoning open warfare in favour of working in secret to bring down the Republic in a strategy that he recognizes probably won't play out in his lifetime.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Blademaster Kas'im preaches that a skilled lightsaber duellist can take out someone stronger in the Force, and almost proves it against Bane.
  • Weird Weather: In Path of Destruction, Bane encourages the Sith fighting on Ruusan to summon a Force-powered storm that levels the forest the Republic forces were occupying. The combination of the destruction and the miasma of evil energy also drives the formerly peaceful native "bouncers" insane, turning them from bringers of comfort to feared and pitied psychic scourges.
    Darth Bane: Now look at that map and think like a Sith. Don't just fight in the forests...destroy the forests!
  • Whip It Good: Githany's favorite weapon is a lightwhip.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: In the Jedi vs. Sith Comic Darovit has an extremely idealised view of Jedi and is horrified when they turn out to be as vulnerable as anyone else, which leads to him killing General Charny and briefly joining the Sith.
  • Widow's Weeds: One protocol of the royal family of Doab is that the widowed queen must wear a mourning veil at all times for an entire year after her husband's death, or until it's avenged. Serra hates this, and the minute she gets an opportunity orders Lucia to burn the damn thing.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Lord Kaan is driven mad by the pressures of the war mixed with the temptations of the Thought Bomb.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: After watching her friend be killed in front of her by her rescuer and losing all of her family to a fate worse than death, all at the age of 10, is it any wonder Zannah turned to the dark side?
  • Worthy Opponent: Kopecz, who has the respect of some of the Jedi Masters.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Bane definitely would - and does.
  • Wretched Hive: The ironically-named Paradise space station in Dynasty of Evil is this. It offers illegal goods and serves a clientele that can be best described with a single word: scum.
  • Wrong Assumption: In order for Bane's plan to defeat the Jedi to succeed, he assumed that all of the future Sith would follow the Rule of Two to the letter. However, at least three Sith Lords before this occurred, Darth Tenebrous, Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, ignored parts of the rule for their own benefit: seeking ways to achieve immortality, murdering their master in a dishonorable way, training more than one apprentice at a time or training one behind their master's back. Darth Bane failed to take into account that Sith in general are driven by not just their desire to destroy the Jedi, but also by their passion and lust for power.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: By Dynasty of Evil, Darth Bane’s body has begun to break down from overusing the dark side of the Force. The knowledge of his impending mortality, and his fears that Darth Zannah will simply let him waste away rather than challenge him in his prime as the Rule of Two dictates, spur Bane to become an Immortality Seeker.

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