In the Wheel of Time, naming the Dark One by his real name, Shai'tan, is considered dangerous because it draws his attention to you. Likewise for darkfriends; it is considered blasphemy so they don't say it either. If this is so, how does everybody know the name, because nobody wants to say it?

A few characters in the series do say it out loud, but how did they get to know it?

It seems very improbable that everyone knows the name but only one in a thousand or more will ever say it out loud.

  • When I saw the link to this (from Kate's tweet), I thought this would be tagged harry-potter.
    – sbi
    Aug 12, 2011 at 20:04
  • 1
    @sbi when I @-ed the author (surviving author) of the series? Aug 13, 2011 at 0:58
  • @Kate: Since I don't know WoT, I don't know its author, and thus I don't know the name. So I just glossed over the @-ed name. :-x
    – sbi
    Aug 13, 2011 at 23:12

4 Answers 4


There's always the Cenn Buies and the Coplins and the Congars, and other like-minded people repeating it quietly when the Wisdom can't hear...

I can very well picture Matt and Rand playing at 'tell the Dark One's name' when they were mischievious kids.

Anyway, it's just my view of the Wheel of Time, not anything official :)


I must admit that I'm not familiar with the series, but it seems like knowledge of the Dark One's name could easily be passed on in written form instead of spoken words.

  • Although I picked jv42's answer because it's a simple explanation, I like this one because there seem to be a lot of books and stories in the series and the characters always seem to be reading. It's possible that a few books have the name printed in them.
    – Anthony
    Aug 14, 2011 at 23:24
  • "The Travels of Jain Farstrider" seems to be quite common.
    – Toby
    Aug 16, 2011 at 18:28
  • @b_jonas: Hmm, I didn't even notice the weirdness with the time stamps. It must have been a merge, but I don't remember.
    – gnovice
    Sep 19, 2016 at 2:31

A few characters in the series do say it out loud, but how did they get to know it?

From other people who said it out loud, of course. How do children in the real world learn curses and swear words that they're not supposed to hear? People say them, despite the belief that they're not supposed to.


Regardless of whether or not they actually speak the name aloud, there are bound to be hundreds of volumes containing the name in all the great libraries, and it would seem to follow that the Aes Sedai, the Brown Ajah in particular, wouldn't allow that knowledge to become lost. Especially considering how seriously they take their prophecies, and I'm sure his true name is probably in a few of those too.

  • 1
    I don't know about that. So much knowledge was lost during the breaking, and the trolloc wars. Aug 17, 2011 at 18:40
  • 1
    And still, two farmers and a blacksmith know it.
    – Anthony
    Aug 18, 2011 at 4:17

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