— The Dark One
More than a Myrddraal
He is first introduced in the prologue of The Dragon Reborn where he confronts Bors and orders him to kill Rand al'Thor. He promises that failure will result in a family member of Carridin's being murdered every month until Rand has been killed or until Carridin is the last living family member. At this point, if he has still not succeeded, Carridin would be the next and last one to die. At this point Shaidar Haran was not identified by name, instead being described as a "very tall Myrddraal". It was later stated by Robert Jordan that this was not Shaidar Haran, but "Shaidar Haran 0.5."
He is later met by Demandred outside Shayol Ghul. Demandred is immediately struck by the lack of respect and deference the Myrddraal seems to give him. He also takes note of the fact that the roof of stone spikes leading down to the Pit of Doom clears Shaidar Haran's head by at least a hand, but brush Demandred's own, signifying how important the Myrddraal is. When they reach the Pit of Doom Demandred tells the Halfman to leave. Shaidar Haran ignores Demandred and watches carefully while he is communicating with the Dark One. He is also present when both Osan'gar and Aran'gar are resurrected. After choking Aran'gar for attempting to assault him, he reveals to the pair that only he and the Dark One know they are alive and sends them back into the world. He also reveals on this occasion his ability to temporarily sever channelers from the True Source.
When Moghedien arrives at Shayol Ghul after being held in captivity in Salidar, he accompanies her to the Pit of Doom. He then creates a cour'souvra to control Moghedien and gives it to Moridin after torturing her for a short period.
When Moghedien and Cyndane fail to convince Graendal that Moridin is Nae'blis, Shaidar Haran arrives in Arad Doman to confirm the order, having guessed that she would not believe her two compatriots. He is pleased with Graendal's deference towards him and delivers to her orders from Moridin.
Later, when Mesaana is about to punish Alviarin Freidhen in the White Tower, Shaidar Haran intercedes (presumably incidentally as he was present in the tower for another reason) and forces Mesaana to spare her. When Mesaana challenges his decision, he burns off her clothing and binds her with black fire in preparation for punishing her for failing to participate in the Battle near Shadar Logoth. He then marks Alviarin in such a way as to prevent Mesaana from harming her, and charges her with uncovering the Aes Sedai who are hunting the Black Ajah before proceeding with Mesaana's punishment.
After Semirhage is captured by Aes Sedai serving Rand al'Thor, he appears to her in her cell. He informs her that the Dark One is greatly displeased at her recent actions; injuring Rand, blowing her cover and getting herself captured. He dissipates the shield on her, incapacitates her three Aes Sedai guards, and gives her a Domination Band. He then tells her that she has but one more chance to capture Rand, and implies that her failure will not be tolerated again. Some time later, he pays a visit to Graendal. He blames the defeat of Mesaana on her due to the dreamspike being her responsibility, and punishes her for her failure.
Tarmon Gai'don and Disposal
When Rand al'Thor reached the Pit of Doom during the time of Tarmon Gai'don, a husk that seems to have been the body formerly known as Shaidar Haran was found, collapsed and motionless. Discussing it with Moridin, he found out that it had been a vessel, but was no longer necessary, as the Dark One had begun to manifest at the Pit of Doom anyway. What became of this husk after Tarmon Gai'don is unknown, but it was likely disposed of.
Shaidar Haran's standing with the Dark One is noted by the Forsaken on many instances: Demandred notices that the spikes on the ceiling of the tunnel to the Pit of Doom clear Shaidar Haran's head by a hand or two, and Semirhage is told that obeying Haran is obeying the Great Lord, but disobeying him is tantamount to disobeying the Great Lord. We also learn that Shaidar Haran is able to smell the difference between saidar and saidin. The fear that Myrddraal stimulate in ordinary people with a glance appears to be present in Shaidar Haran, but in an augmented form; his gaze strikes the same fear in the Forsaken that normal Myrddraal strike in most people. In addition to this, he also appears to wield some unusual form of black energy, which may or may not be connected to the True Power. He has used it on occasion to create orbs of colored light, and to create black fire. He has used this fire to destroy a length of spear out of frustration and to bind Mesaana in preparation for her aforementioned punishment. During his encounter with Mesaana, he also demonstrated the ability to change his size. It has also been implied that he has the ability to incapacitate people (or at least Aes Sedai) at will by an unknown mechanism and can nullify wards of the One Power. His most unusual power however, is his ability to sever a channeler from the True Source at will. The sensation felt by the channeler is described as being so total that it is essentially the same as a true severing (stilled/gentled). Unlike a severing however, this effect is temporary and ends upon Shaidar Haran willing it so. As of yet, there is no mechanistic explanation for this ability. It has been implied on at least two occasions that Shaidar Haran may not actually be a Myrddraal by other characters. Once when Alviarin witnessed his punishment of Mesaana and thought that he was "the Great Lord, clothed in the skin of a Myrddraal", and again when he rescued Semirhage "she did not think this thing was truly a Myrddraal". Alviarin's interpretation was, however, tempered by a great deal of terror and ignorance. On this same occasion however, he referred to the Black Ajah as "his creatures."
Ultimately however, Shaidar Haran appears to have been acting as something of an incubator for bringing an infinitesimal portion of the Dark One's own essence into the Pattern. During Rand's assault on Shayol Ghul, it is implied by Moridin that Shaidar Haran had served as a vessel for a patch of what appeared to be absolute nothingness that was seen hovering behind a Myrddraal's corpse. Touching this nothingness evidently allowed one's consciousness to interact directly with the Dark One, drawing the individual into a realm outside the Pattern where it could be directly viewed in a metaphysical sense.[verify]
- Shaidar Haran is known to many fans of the series as the "Super Fade".
- There is some speculation that Shaidar Haran is an avatar of the Dark One himself. Evidence for this comes from, among other things, the fact that he is limited in where he can go and begins to feel weak when away from Shayol Ghul too long.
- There is also evidence that could show that Shaidar Haran is merely a powerful Myrddraal, as he states that there must be a way to break the bond to Shayol Ghul. This could also be taken as Shaidar Haran wanting to break the bond as to allow himself a longer period away from Shayol Ghul.
- It is also interesting to note that despite his incredible powers and his recently revealed ability to incapacitate the Dark One's enemies, he has never attacked either Rand or any of his major allies himself; even with standing death warrants by at least Moridin if not the Dark One himself, on Perrin and Mat. The reason for his lack of direct involvement has yet to be explained.
- Shaidar Haran's powers are largely limited to being used on people who have sworn to the shadow. Those who have not forsaken the Light are not subject to a great deal of what he can do, or perhaps him at all. That's why he doesn't directly go after Rand and his major allies - he can only go after Darkfriends.