In the Wheel of Time there are many references to the dagger that Mat takes from Shadar Logoth corrupting people and turning them against even their closest companions.

There are too many references to mention, but the two main people the dagger taints is Mat and Padan Fain. Mat thankfully is freed from his connection to the dagger, and Padan Fain's whole story line involves the dagger and being tainted and therefore influencing people near him (a la the Whitecloaks in The Shadow Rising, and a few more people).

Because there is such a fear of touching the dagger, or even being near someone who holds it for too long, I was wondering why the Horn of Valere was never tainted in the same way. It is locked in the same box as the dagger for just as long as Fain had it or even longer, but yet when Mat blows the Horn to summon the great heroes of the Pattern there is no mention of them being affected.

When summoned after Mat blows the Horn Artur Hawkwing says:

"We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."

And it is revealed that the heroes of the Horn would never follow the Dark, only the Light.

Was this always the case? Or were there plans for the heroes of the Pattern to be tainted by the dagger in the same way that Mat and Padan Fain were? Or are the heroes and the Horn always resistant to the corruption of the dagger?

  • 1
    There's no indication it could influence inanimate objects.
    – Mithoron
    Aug 19, 2020 at 21:02
  • @Mithoron if you can provide proof via book quotes or word of God I would be happy to accept that as an answer
    – fez
    Aug 19, 2020 at 21:17
  • @fez It is rather difficult to prove that the books do not have any references to the the dagger influencing inanimate objects.
    – Dima
    Aug 20, 2020 at 13:57
  • @Dima I am aware of that. It is incredibly hard to prove a negative in this instance. What I'm looking for, in the best case scenario, is some note from RJ that would hint at an idea that the Heroes were tainted for some reason because of their time spent in close proximity to the dagger, and then scrapped for some reason. It just seems weird that so much is spent explaining that the dagger taints everything near it, and yet the Horn is fine after quite a bit of time
    – fez
    Aug 22, 2020 at 17:46
  • 1
    The heroes themselves weren't near the dagger ever though. They lived in Tel'Aran'Rihood (probably spelled wrong). The blowing of the horn summoned them, but they themselves were not in the box with the dagger. Even if the horn itself had become corrupt, it would not have affected the heroes who were in, for all intents and puproses, a parallel universe.
    – Daishozen
    Sep 1, 2020 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


The dagger carries the taint, but is not the source of it. The whole city of Shadar Logoth was cursed, specifics are vague. Everything within it was cursed. The creature called Mordeth is supposedly the person who was once behind the curse, nowadays supposedly some manner of ghost used by the curse. Related to the other creature/fog called Mashadar which might be the curse itself... there's not many details or specifics given. The wiki gives a good summary of it all: https://wot.fandom.com/wiki/Mashadar

To be given an object by Mordeth was supposedly especially bad (according to Moiraine), compared to picking up some random object. But the dagger only tainted the one who carried it (Mat).

Padain Fain was prior to Shadar Logoth a darkfriend, but one with special abilities granted to him by Ba'alzamon, which allowed him to track the three ta'veren Rand, Mat and Perrin. When he entered Shadar Logoth, the creature Mordeth supposedly merged with him, giving him all manner of additional strange powers. He becomes an anomaly from there, no longer controlled by the Shadow but influenced by it.

So Fain was already severely tainted to a much greater degree and had obtained his powers before he even got hold of the dagger. It is Fain himself who is responsible for corrupting those around him, not the dagger as such. The dagger seems important to him because it is part of the curse and the city, just like Mordeth himself.

The Horn of Valere was never important to Fain, he only used it as bait to force the ta'veren to follow him. When this happened he was also still likely taking orders from Ba'alzamon at some extent, so he leads them to Toman Head.

As for the Horn itself getting tainted, there's no indication of that in the books. The Heroes wouldn't be affected by it anyway since they aren't waiting "inside the Horn" but summoned by the horn

from tel'aran'rhiod, where heroes go when they die.

There are however indications that there are similar "villains" re-born to serve the Dark One, even though they aren't bound to some Horn.

Ishamael being the one example we know of for certain. But a lot of the other Forsaken are indeed reborn throughout the books, through the Dark One's powers.

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