Unless stated otherwise, all information herein is taken from The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.
The Dark One is the antithesis of the Creator, imprisoned in Shayol Ghul at the moment of creation by the Creator. Though neither male nor female, The Dark One is typically referred to as he and is referred to by many names in the different lands. His true name is Shai'tan (pronounced SHAY-ih-TAN), though this is not used, as to do so calls his attention on a person and brings bad luck (TFoH, Ch. 3). Even Darkfriends will not use it as they consider it blasphemy to do so (TGH, Prologue). His supporters believe that it is his intent to break free and remake the world in his own image. Some of those supporters, known as the Forsaken, are given the ability to use his power source, which they know as the True Power. He is not pleasant and highly distrustful, something of a control freak (Robert Jordan Question of the Week, Week 9).
For most of the Age of Legends, he was unknown, even as a legend, until a research project trying to find a new source of power drilled a hole into the prison. Although he was unable to break free from this, he was able to touch the world and to manipulate and magnify the more negative feelings that did exist, such as envy, resentment, and greed. As a result of this, society began to crumble in a period known as the Collapse. Initially, the cause was unknown, until the philosopher Elan Morin Tedronai, later known as Ishamael was able to explain and call for a new world order. Eventually, those loyal to the Dark One launched a concerted attack to free him. This was not successful, but led to a ten-year war in which society collapsed even further. It ended when Lews Therin Telamon and the Hundred Companions were able to seal the Dark One back in. His counterstroke at this time tainted saidin, sending most of the companions mad and killing the rest. The madness that took over all men who could channel destroyed what was left of society during the period known as the Breaking of the World.
This section contains spoilers relating to Winter's Heart. Please expand to view.
Over time, the seals faded and the Dark One was able to exert more of an influence. To counter this, the Pattern caused the Dragon to be Reborn and the two are prophesied to meet at battle during Tarmon Gai'don. Though still imprisoned, the Dark One has limited knowledge of the world, though often more than his followers expect (LoC, Prologue). Despite being referred to as a he, the Dark One is not human and has no bodily form and his motivations and desires will always remain something of a mystery.
This section contains spoilers relating to Lord of Chaos. Please expand to view.
- Bringer of Gales
- Cassein Hob
- Father of Lies
- Lord of the Grave
- Lord of the Twilight (TGH, Ch. 36)
- Old Grim
- Shepherd of the Night
- Soulbinder (Seanchan)
The Great Lord’s essence forced the Pattern, straining it and leaving it scarred. Even something the Creator had designed to be eternal could be unraveled using the Great Lord’s energies. Whatever the Creator could build, the Great Lord could destroy. (Graendal; Towers of Midnight, Prologue).