[ Contents | Administrivia | The Shadow | Non-Dark | Sources | Prophecy | Publishing ]

PLEASE NOTE: This version of the FAQ is now outdated; go directly to the current version or see the Welcome Page for more information. (November 2010)

Chapter Icon

1.2.3: Who is Moridin? Why do we think that he is the Watcher and the Wanderer?

Why are we sure that Moridin is Ishamael returned from the grave?

[John Novak]

Evidence from ACOS:

It is fairly obvious from multiple references that Moridin is a reincarnated Forsaken. He makes many references to the Age of Legends as though he were there. He has personal knowledge of the other Forsaken. His sobriquet translates to 'Death.'

Aginor and Balthamel, though reincarnated, are accounted for as Osan'gar and Aran'gar respectively. Be'lal and Rahvin were balefired, and as such are beyond the Dark One's ability to restore. Asmodean, in Robert Jordan's own words, is roadkill. Sammael, though apparently dead, did not die until well after the introduction of Moridin in the narrative. No other male Forsaken have been killed in action. (And from [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 81], we know that Moridin is and was male, since he remarks that he would be able to use an angreal tuned to saidin.)

The Toxic Twins (Aginor and Balthamel) were recycled, and all they did to merit it was getting killed at the Eye of the World. Ishy kept the faith alive for 3000+ years, AND kept the other Forsaken somewhat in line before he died. Surely, that merits some consideration in the "bring back from the dead" competition; Ishy was overdue for a reappearance. Ishamael had been a particularly loyal servant of the Dark One, as well as the most effective. If any of the thirteen would deserve reincarnation, it would be Ishamael, for he seemed not only to serve the Dark One, but to serve him faithfully. It is likely that Ishamael knew that the Dark One's plans were not for conquest but for total destruction, and still he served. (In the AOL, he "called for the complete destruction of the old order-- indeed, the complete destruction of everything" [Guide: 5, The Dark One and the Male Forsaken, 51].)

Moridin uses the True Power to the exclusion of the One Power. In fact, he uses it for "routine" things for which the OP would be fine: like picking up chess pieces, balefire, and Traveling. The True Power, according to Moghedien, is used only extremely rarely, even by the Forsaken. Of the original Forsaken, Ishamael is the only one who we've seen use the TP.

Both Moridin and Ishamael display strange visual effects about their eyes. Moridin has the saa, while Ishamael had those odd bursts of flame. It has been speculated that the flames are an advanced version of the saa, or that the flames were a method to disguise the saa.

Evidence from TPOD:

The Prologue of TPOD is particularly revealing.

Objections to the Moridin/Ishamael theory from before TPOD included the suggestion that Ishamael did not work well behind the scenes and that Ishamael might be expected to exert more influence on the remaining Forsaken. However, since we now know the general shape of Ishamael's activities during his rare periods of activity (as hinted at throughout the series and almost spelled out in the Guide) as well as his care in creating a cell structure for the Black Ajah, it is clear that Ishamael excels at behind the scenes manipulations.

Furthermore, in TPOD, it becomes clear that Moridin is indeed exerting more direct control over the remaining Forsaken. In ACOS, he takes direct control of Moghedien through one mindtrap, and is known to control another. In TPOD, it is revealed that 'Cyndane' (Lanfear reincarnated) is the other mindtrap victim.

It is also clear that Moridin and Shaidar Haran are cooperating. In [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 417], it is Shaidar Haran who delivers Moghedien to Moridin, and Moridin who controls her mindtrap. In [TPOD: 12, New Alliances], it is Moghedien and Cyndane (both under Moridin's control) who visit Graendal to tell her to accept Moridin as Nae'blis. Shaidar Haran later appears to convince her.

So we have three Forsaken under Moridin's control, which alone is significant. Extrapolating this pattern, we also note that when Aginor and Balthamel return as Osan'gar and Aran'gar in LOC, it is Shaidar Haran who first greets them. It is not at all unlikely that they also encountered Moridin offstage sometime thereafter. If true, this would place five Forsaken directly under his control.

Evidence from WH:

By WH, Moridin appears to have most or all of the remaining Forsaken leashed. Though Mesaana and Semirhage were not present at the Coffee Hour, it's clear that Mesaana, at least, has seen Cyndane. Moridin also expected Mesaana to be present, all of which implies that Mesaana was "gathered in" much the same way Graendal and, we presume, Demandred and the 'gars were. (Mesaana's encounter with Shaidar Haran in COT confirms this.)

Demandred certainly seems to think Moridin is Ishamael:

"'The Great Lord is sure you are all faithful,' Moridin announced, striding in as though he were the Great Lord himself. He had often seemed to believe he was, and the boy's face he wore now had not changed that." [13, Wonderful News, 316]

Who played at being Ba'alzamon for the first three books? That's right, Ishy did.

Moridin also likes to torture rats. Who else liked to kill rats? That's right, Ishy did. [Billy Todd]

Demandred also wonders about how to make sure Moridin doesn't get a new body the next time around.

The Watcher and the Wanderer

[Pam Korda, Paul Khangure]

In addition to Moridin's overt appearance in ACOS, there were two other appearances by mysterious men of the Dark persuasion in that book. First, we met the Watcher, i.e. the guy watching Graendal and Sammael in [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 356]. Then, we met Moridin in [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 417]. Finally, there is the "wanderer" that Rand met in Shadar Logoth during his fight with Sammael in [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 656]. Even before TPOD, it was reasonable to assume that all three were the same person. After all, how many mysterious True Power channelers do we need? Given that neither the "Watcher" nor the "Wanderer" appear as distinct individuals in TPOD, we have even more reason to believe that both are Moridin, who is Ishamael. Let us consider the specific bits of evidence.

The Watcher

We meet the Watcher in [ACOS, 20, Patterns within Patterns, 356-358]:

  1. Obviously a Forsaken from the AOL. He knows about AOL technology - callboxes, Mask of Mirrors and fancloth, knows the Forsaken by name and appearance. He definitely knew Sammael, as opposed to knowing of him. Just a guy from the AOL is not enough; he has to be someone who interacted and got to know Sammael's strengths and weaknesses. Notice there was no fear of interfering with not just two of the Forsaken, but with a potential battle between them! Furthermore, he uses the phrase "so-called Aiel" which we have no reason to expect anybody except a relic from the AOL to use; the Forsaken are the only AOL relics in action, except Birgitte and "LTT."

  2. Senses saidin being held by Sammael, skin prickles when Graendal channels. This indicates that he has the ability to channel saidin.

  3. He uses the TP. Note that he does so even though he can use the OP. This indicates that he probably uses it more than your average Forsaken--he could have Traveled with the OP, but he used the TP instead. Note that by the time he left, Sam had left the vicinity, so there was no chance of him being detected.

  4. He has eyebrows and eyes (i.e. he is not Shaidar Haran).

  5. He has "expertise in many areas Sammael scorned. In some he favored, too."

  6. He doesn't seem to have the same attitude as the "normal" Forsaken towards Nae'blis-ness. In [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 358], Sammael mentions (lies) to Graendal that he "will be Nae'blis." Graendal then stops arguing with Sam and follows him through his gateway. We then have: "The watcher smiled crookedly behind his fancloth skulker's mask. Nae'blis. That explained what had brought Graendal to heel, what had stayed her from killing Sammael. Even she would be blinded by that." It seems as if the Watcher is NOT blinded by the "Nae'blis" carrot, unlike the "normal" Forsaken.

  7. Obviously, he has an interest in what Sammael and Graendal are up to, since he is spying on them.

What can we conclude from these observations? From 1 and 2, we can conclude that the Watcher is Moridin/Ishamael, Osan'gar/Aginor, or Demandred.

Aran'gar/Balthamel is out, because she thinks of herself as "she," as indicated in [TPOD: 16, Unexpected Absences, 332-333]. The relative lack of interest in Sammael's supposed Nae'blis-hood rules Demandred out. (Recall Demandred's reaction to "WOULD YOU BE NAE'BLIS?" in the LOC Prologue.) Osan'gar/Aginor/Dashiva is pretty much ruled out as well. Not only is he depicted as a terrible skulker (and a total wuss to boot) in WH, he thinks to himself about how "He had never been a soldier, not really. His talents, his genius, lay elsewhere" [WH: 35, With The Choedan Kal, 645]. This plus the description of Aginor's activities during the AOL (Shayol Ghul's resident Mad Scientist) is in direct conflict with the Watcher's thoughts about having "expertise in some [areas] Sammael favored." Aginor's only apparent realm of expertise seems to have been biology, which Sam wasn't really into.

The last, and overwhelmingly most likely, possibility is Moridin. This is indicated by the Watcher's use of the TP in a circumstance where the OP would have sufficed. Given the general attitude of the Forsaken towards the TP, it is unlikely that there are TWO such TP addicts around, and that Osan'gar is one of them. Unlike Moggy, Osan'gar didn't even consider using the True Power when he found himself shielded by Shaidar Haran. The fact that the Watcher was keeping tabs on Sammael and Graendal connect him to both the Wanderer (who interfered with Sammael and Rand's fight in SL-- something he could have only done if he knew what Sammy had been up to) and Moridin. We know Moridin was watching Sammael, because he thinks about how foolish Sam's plans are in [TPOD: 2, Unweaving, 81-82], and his minions Moggy and Cyndane seem to know about Graendal's connection with Sam when they visit her in [TPOD: 12, New Alliances, 262-268]. Thus, everything points to the Watcher being Moridin.

The Wanderer

We see the Wanderer in [ACOS: 41, A Crown of Swords, 656-659]:

  1. Description: Big fellow. Has a deep voice. Little older than Rand. Black coat, black hair. Rand doesn't recognize him.

  2. He's most likely not a Third Age person. Knows Sammael, including how Sammael thinks. He clearly knows Sam fairly well, and thus is probably from the AOL. Furthermore, he has "never been afraid of Aes Sedai." Everybody in Randland proper (i.e. not Seanchan, not Aiel, and not Sea Folk) grows up hearing stories of Aes Sedai like those the Emond's Fielders did. Such stories engender some sort of awe in the listener, yet this guy acts like AS are no problem, and has never thought otherwise. This comment is easily understandable if he's from the AOL-- back then, he WAS an Aes Sedai, and modern AS are but "untrained children" to him.

  3. He uses the TP instead of the OP (balefire, and disappears without Rand sensing saidin or saidar). This is a situation where using the TP instead of the OP could be dangerous-- it might make Rand suspicious-- and yet the Wanderer uses it. This is evidence that the Wanderer is a TP addict.

  4. Even apart from his TP use, he is clearly a Minion of Darkness. He calls Rand a fool, he doesn't "care to see [Rand] die today," he doesn't "intend to carry [Rand] on [his] shoulders, or kill Sammael." He's clearly only helping Rand because it coincides with some plan of his, not because he particularly cares about Rand's well-being. He certainly doesn't like Rand; when he falls down after the crossed-streams BF incident, Rand offers him a hand, but the Wanderer refuses "with a grimace."

  5. [From the RJ aol.com chat, 27 June 1996]: "Question: There is a mystery man who helps Rand in the last chapter of ACOS...is this a new character, or have we seen him elsewhere. RJ: Well, we've certainly seen him earlier in CROWN OF SWORDS."

Given that the Wanderer must be a Forsaken (#2, #3, #4), we are left with only two suspects - Demandred and Moridin. (Osan'gar is not even an outside possibility, since he is Dashiva, and Rand would have instantly recognized him.) The physical description (#1) does not match Demandred (who is not young). In fact, the description matches Moridin quite well. From [ACOS: 25, Mindtrap, 417-418]:

"The speaker was a tall, broad-shouldered young man in black boots and breeches, and a flowing white shirt unlaced at the top, who watched her with startlingly blue eyes ..." He has a deep voice. He has a strong chin, else he'd be worthy of Graendal's collection. He looks to be just a little older than Rand, "Not many years past twenty."

The Wanderer's size, hair color, age, voice, and fashion sense all match with Moridin's, as does his TP addiction. The attention to and interference with Sammael's plans also agree with what we know Moridin (and the Watcher) have been up to. RJ's remark that the Wanderer is somebody we saw earlier in ACOS certainly works if he is Moridin. Furthermore, his remarks to Rand, which indicate that he regards Rand as a tool or a piece in a game, bring to mind Ishamael's comments to Rand in the first three books, and also Moridin's analysis of the sha'rah game in [TPOD: Prologue, Deceptive Appearances, 42-44]. All of this indicates that the Wanderer is Moridin.

[ Previous Section | Previous | Section Contents | Next | Next Section ]

[ Contents | Administrivia | The Shadow | Non-Dark | Sources | Prophecy | Publishing ]

Illustrations © 1989-2000 by Tor Books.

The Wheel of Time FAQ. Copyright 2004 by Leigh Butler, Pamela Korda and Erica Sadun. HTML implementation by Leigh Butler. This site maintained by Pam Korda (pam@linuxmafia.com). Comments and questions regarding the content itself should be directed to Leigh Butler (leighdb@pacbell.net).