At the end of the War of Power, Lews Therin Telamon led the Companions to seal away the Dark One. By luck or design, they caught the entirety of the inner circle of the Forsaken there and sealed them away, too, shattering the forces of the Shadow.

How, then, was Ishamael still able to visit Lews Therin afterwards and grant him the moment of sanity and name him Kinslayer? How was he able to masquerade as the Dark One over the three thousand years between the War of Power and the present day? Is this ever explained?

5 Answers 5


According to wikia, the book The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time (which was not written by Robert Jordan himself, but based on detailed notes he supplied) contains an in-universe theory to explain this:

Aran son of Malan son of Senar (born roughly 50 AB) had a theory based on Ishamael being thrown out and touching the world for specific periods of time. Aran had heard claims that people had encountered him as long as forty years after the sealing of the Bore. Using lost manuscripts, Aran concluded it might have taken some time for Ishamael to be brought into the prison with the remainder of the Forsaken, and might possibly have been "thrown out" in a regular cycle.

  • 1
    I think there was in-universe support for this idea, e.g. thoughts from other Forsaken along the same lines; it also explains how Ishy could be involved in the Seanchan formation, and probably where Taim got his early training from...
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 23:53
  • There was some bit I recall that he was able to touch the world every 300 years or so, and virtually all the major wars in history appear on these 300 year marks Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 23:47
  • He was also Arthur Hawkings main advisor if you want to add that. (he was the one who told Hawking to attack Tar Valon) Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 1:18

I remember reading in the Wheel of Time books that:

Ishamael was only partially caught when Lews Therin and the 100 companions sealed the Bore, which is why he constantly flickers from place to place. All of the other Forsaken where firmly sealed when they were called to the pit to meet with the Dark One.
The Dark One was able to launch a counter stroke at the time of the sealing and taint Saidin, the male half of the one power. The taint drove Lews Therin insane and he kills his own wife and family.
Ishy then pays him a visit, partially heals Lews Therin's insanity, so he can understand that he killed his own family, and then taunts him into killing himself.
So, for the next 3,000 years Ishy creates epic mayhem by impersonating the Dark One, starting the Trolloc Wars, starts the Black Ajah, convinces Artur Hawkwing to wage war against the Aes Sedai and send his sons across the ocean (i.e. Seanchan formation) et al.


I would have to disagree with part of djm's assessment. He said, "Ishy then pays him a visit, partially heals Lews Therin's insanity, so he can understand that he killed his own family, and then taunts him into killing himself." From several mentions in the series, there are only two things that cannot be Healed - death and insanity. Although there were indeed some Aes Sedai who specialized in diseases of the mind, there is no mention of the One Power being used to deal with these issues. If insanity were curable, the 100 Companions might never have gone insane and Break the World.

So, even if insanity were "partially" curable, that should have still been enough to keep the once benign male Aes Sedai from committing mass murder. I would imagine that most of them would choose to die rather than commit mass murder or lose the ability to channel, either one.

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    [Mild Spoilers] Certain kinds of insanity are curable, as discovered late in the series. In particular, the kind induced by Saidin's taint is curable with Saidar.
    – rsegal
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 19:37
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    First of all, my answer was taken directly from the beginning of one of the books. Ishy did partially heal Lews Therin. And in an alternate reality, Egwene was able to keep healing Rand although ultimately he went crazy IIRC. So the taint can be healed with Saidar, but for the longest time it was temporary. The taint also effects people differently. Logain was able to hold off insanity for a long time whereas others went insane quickly.
    – djm
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 3:38
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    It is heavily implied that Ishy used the True Power, not the One Power.
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 16:20

Ishmael used the True Power, the Dark Ones own power to make Lews Therin lucid enough to see what he did. The same power Moridin uses and the same power Rand used to break the Male A'Dam and kill Semihrage

  • Do you have any quotes you could edit in to back this up?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:46

Remember, the Dark One can reincarnate the "Chosen" and according to the recently published WoT Companion, a male channeler of his strength would theoretically live about 800 years, so he'd only be on his 3rd reincarnation when Rand is reborn. Also, the Bore wasn't perfectly sealed, and those closer to the "top" were still affected by time (remember Aginor and Balthamel's appearances at the end of TEotW), and finally, saidin-induced insanity is curable. In ToM, Nyneave heals more than one man who's going mad, and she says that when she Delves them it looks like Compulsion that was woven with the True Power.

  • That's true, but the interesting part of the question was how he was able to visit at all. As you said, given that he could visit, that he could give him that moment of sanity is the less surprising part.
    – rsegal
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 22:26
  • While the Dark One theoretically could reincarnated Ishamael repeatedly over 3000 years, we know for a fact he didn't. The body Ishamael has when Rand is born is the same body he had in the Age of Legends.
    – David H
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 1:58

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