Age of Legends
Year of Birth:
At least 200-300 years prior to the drilling of the Bore
Tel Janin Aellinsar, Lord Brend, Caddar
Actions During the Story (Spoilers)
Character Summaries (Spoilers)
Sammael had golden blond hair, blue eyes, and a neatly trimmed squared-off beard. He was slightly above average in height, standing about 6’ (183 cm) tall with a solid, compact build that gave him the presence of a much larger man. His most distinguishing feature is a long facial scar running from his hairline into his beard as though a red-hot poker had been dragged across his face; this was given to him by Lews Therin Telamon during the War of Power.
Sammael is a brusque man with a cold demeanor nearly completely void of a sense of humor. Sammael was ruthless and commanding. He had somewhat of a complex regarding his height because he believed people had a subconscious view of height equating to the worth of a man. He chose to keep the scar as a reminder rather than having it healed, a constant symbol of his hatred of Lews Therin. Sammael has a militaristic mindset, rarely taking a diplomatic path ahead of the fighting. He was tenacious and possessive and would almost never give up something he felt he owned.
Actions During the Story
Actions Before the Story
Tel Janin Aellinsar was a leading Aes Sedai general for the forces of the Light during the War of Power and before the Collapse was a world-famous sportsman, being a champion in a bloodless sword fighting sport, possibly akin to fencing. Sammael, bitter at being passed over as the supreme leader for the Light as he believed himself to be a better general than Lews Therin, and eventually coming to believe the Dark One would win turned to the Shadow in the fourth year of the War. He was taken to swear to the Dark One by Graendal and would eventually earn the scornful name Sammael, Destroyer of Hope. Within a very short time, Sammael had become one of the top generals for the forces of the Shadow and one of the top-level Forsaken, with only the likes of Ishamael, Lanfear, Semirhage, Graendal, and Demandred consistently competing for the title of Nae’blis.
Once a friend of Lews Therin, Sammael became one of his most implacable enemies until he was sealed in the Bore during the Strike on Shayol Ghul.
Sammael does not appear in the book and is still sealed in the Bore
Actions Between the Books
Sammael does not appear in the book and is still sealed in the Bore
Eye of the World
Sammael does not appear in the book and is still sealed in the Bore but is likely released during the events leading up to Moiraine taking the Two Rivers group into the Eye of the World or very soon after.
The Great Hunt
Sammael does not appear in the book. However, it is likely that during this time Sammael is working toward attaining power in Illian.
The Dragon Reborn
Sammael has taken control of the nation of Illian by posing as Lord Brend to lead the Council of Nine. Moiraine learns of his presence in the city and he sends a pack of Darkhounds after the group, who narrowly escape and make their way to Tear. Loial informs Moiraine that along with Be’lal Sammael was a leader in the Light until he turned to the Shadow.
The Shadow Rising
Moiraine has informed Rand that Sammael is in Illian and tries to get Rand to use the forces of Tear to invade Illian to destroy Sammael and gain himself power and time before the rest of the Forsaken come for him, she suspects others have followed the same path and have begun taking over governments. Lanfear warns Rand that Sammael would want Callandor now that it was free. Nynaeve tells Bayle Domon not to return to Illian as Sammael rules the city now.
Fires of Heaven
Sammael’s first on-screen appearance in the series is in the Prologue: The First Sparks Fall, he is seen conspiring with Lanfear, Graendal, and Rhavin to lure Rand into a confrontation where the four Forsaken intend to join forces and defeat him. Sammael mocks Graendal for her heavy use of Compulsion. Lanfear tells the others that Asmodean has defected to help Rand, which surprises Sammael who believed Asmodean too much a coward to join a lost cause. Sammael believes himself to be stronger than either of the female Forsaken but is weary as they could link if hostility breaks out. When Graendal mocks Lanfear and the two women suddenly seem on the brink of a fight Sammael prepares to destroy them both, but Rhavin distracts him and the moment passes and both women suddenly realize what he had been about to do. Despite their obvious distrust for the others the four continue to plot together. Birgitte tells Nynaeve that she has seen each of these Forsaken in tel’aran’rhiod communicating and spying on the others.
A hoard of darkfriends and shadowspawn shouting Sammael and the Golden Bees attack Rand and the Aiel encampment but Sammael himself was not among the force. Asmodean tells Rand that this is out of character for Sammael without a grand prize to be had from throwing so many men away. He has also told Rand that Sammael is unlikely to directly confront Rand unless he is certain of victory. Asmodean believes the attack was a ruse by another of the Forsaken looking to bait Rand into attacking Sammael in Illian.
In tel’aran’rhiod Nynaeve spies on Lanfear, Graendal, Rhavin, and Sammael who continue to meet, but Sammael has become warier of the plan as it is exposing him directly to Rand and he does not trust the other Forsaken especially if one of the women is guiding the link. However, their plan has begun to take root and Rand is increasingly considering destroying Sammael for the ongoing raids and attacks on his group. As Rand is besieging the Shaido position on Cairhien he is attacked by Sammael several times but remains focused on defeating the Shaido. Rand, now having clear memories from Lews Therin surprises Asmodean when he tells him of when Sammael had been named Destroyer of Hope after he betrayed the forces of the Light bringing a great victory to the Shadow. After defeating the Shaido Rand begins to consider his plans to destroy Sammael but is still hesitant until he can bring Cairhien under complete control. The plot set by the Forsaken is still in motion, however, news of Morgase’s death at Rahvin’s hands sets Rand on a path to gain revenge for Elayne instead of going after Sammael.
Lanfear further complicates the plot when she finds out that Rand had sex with Aviendha and becomes unstable, attacking Rand directly and being pushed through the red-stone doorway ter’angreal along with Moiraine. Rand then attacks an unprepared Rahvin and destroys him with balefire leaving only Graendal and Sammael in the alliance.
Lord of Chaos
Sammael does not attend the meeting of Forsaken called by Demandred. Graendal telling the others he does not trust them, and she doesn’t believe he trusts anyone (including himself) anymore. He is marshaling his armies in Illian and searching for items of the Power that might be of use. Demandred tells the others his instructions from the Dark One, let the Lord of Chaos rule, but insists they keep the information from Sammael who chose not to join their meeting.
Rand continues to have Lews Therin’s memories, recalling Sammael and Demandred hating him no matter how many honors he gave them. Rand begins to formulate plans on destroying the remaining Forsaken, including Sammael in Illian. Scouting Illian and setting up a massive army supposedly being led by Mat to hold Sammael’s attention, but this plan is a ruse designed to distract Sammael while the true attack comes from an unexpected place.
Meanwhile, Sammael continues to plot with Graendal, going to her palace in Arad Doman where she tells him what she had learned from Demandred. Sammael recalls meeting her only when he turned to the Shadow, but she had been world-famous in the Age of Legends, she had been the one to accept his initial pledges to the Dark One and accompanied him to the Shayol Ghul to make his obeisance. By this time, she had already undergone her own massive transformation, but Sammael believed she had more layers than the others suspected and was cautious of the woman he once thought of as his mistress. But he also believed he now had the upper hand between them. However, Graendal continues to bait Sammael in her classic manipulative style and continues to tell Sammael what she wants him to know. She tells him she believes Moghedien and Asmodean are both dead along with Lanfear and Rahvin. Graendal tells Sammael to recall that they had been winning the War of Power despite their infighting, at least until Lews Therin caught them by surprise, but that they fall quickly in this new Age because they have not adapted to the new circumstances and urges Sammael to stand with the remaining Forsaken so they will all survive. She goes on to show Sammael her latest human acquisitions, the Sh’botay, Shaofan, and the Sh’boan, Chaipe the rulers of Shara who she has captured, throwing the mysterious country into chaos. Sammael leaves after telling Graendal he would not abandon Illian. Graendal thinks to herself that Sammael will be easily manipulated into trying to kill Rand and that he would then take the blame for going against the Dark One’s orders.
Semirhage believes Graendal and Sammael are plotting either separately or together but believes the pair are unpredictable. When a bubble of evil hits Salidar the Aes Sedai there believe it could have been an attack from Sammael, even when Nynaeve and Elayne try to explain.
Sammael sends an emissary to Rand proposing a truce until the other Forsaken are destroyed. Rand refuses and the emissary dies, spasming and sweating blood and collapsing into convulsions and bleeding out on the floor in front of Rand. Graendal then goes to Sammael’s lair where she covets many of the items he has found and confides she had found mostly useless items. Sammael asks her about various shadowspawn, and she grows uncomfortable as she had a near-fatal experience with a Gholam in the past. Sammael informs Graendal that he and Rand have created a truce telling her that the manner of the emissary’s death was the answer he was looking for. Graendal becomes nervous that Sammael is not falling into her typical ploys and believes that he has in fact secured a truce with Rand and believes he has been promised the title of Nae’blis. Sammael gained the upper hand in their partnership and got more information out of Graendal, including that Mesaana was in the White Tower.
A Crown of Swords
Sammael appears in Ebou Dar to prod Jaichim Carridin into faster action to find the cache of items of the Power he believes are in the city and learns that Mat is in the city. This surprises him but he keeps Carridin on his original task rather than have him hunt down Mat. Sammael threatens Carridin and warns him that only Sammael’s protection is keeping the darkfriend alive and his time is running out.
Sammael, in the guise of Caddar, meets with Sevanna and brings Graendal in the guise of Maisia with him. Together they learn that the Shaido had failed to capture Rand from Elaida’s embassy at Dumai’s Wells and Sammael decides to use the Shaido to sow chaos as well as become a larger distraction to Rand, promising Sevanna a way to escape Kinslayers Dagger. As they leave the Shaido, Moridin observes the pair and is surprised to see that Sammael has gotten the upper hand with Graendal but suspects the woman might yet attempt to kill him.
Sammael returns to the Shaido with what he promised Sevanna, a way to control channelers, an Oath Rod as well as a way for the Shaido to move away from Rand. He brings Maisia and the two help thousands of Shaido leap through holes in the air produced by what Caddar calls nar’baha, Graendal later telling him he is foolish for naming the devices “fool boxes” without knowing if any of the Shaido might have picked up on the old tongue reference. Shaidar Haran looks over the remains of the Shaido encampment and considers Sammael’s motives.
Near Illian Rand has set up an invasion including a force of Asha’man who are being regularly attacked by a male of immense strength who they presume is Sammael. Rand informs the group that they will help him kill the Forsaken. Rand has considered what he knows of Sammael from both Asmodean and Lews Therin’s memories and devises a way to trigger a network of wards he is certain Sammael has laid throughout the city. Rand lures Sammael into battle, but the Forsaken refuses to fight within the city and takes the fighting to the ruins of Shadar Logoth. Following the residues of Sammael’s gateway, Rand finds himself in a trap laid by Sammael with Trollocs and darkfriends brought into the abandoned city via the Ways. Soon Mashadar, the deadly fog of Shadar Logoth, begins to come out making the city even more deadly. Rand finds the lost Maiden Liah in the ruins, having survived for weeks on her own, but driven to madness. Rand also encounters a wanderer who saves his life but informs him he will not kill Sammael for him and advises Rand to start thinking like Sammael if he intended to survive this trap. The two men use balefire to drive Mashadar off, but their streams touched causing them both to have blurred vision and hear a bell-like gong in their heads. The wanderer leaves Shadar Logoth after admitting he did not know what had happened with their balefire. Rand misses an opportunity to kill Sammael and is forced to use balefire to kill Liah when she is being consumed by Mashadar, burning her thread from the pattern so it would not be consumed by the creature and destroyed for all time. However, it appears that Sammael had also been consumed by Mashadar and Rand decides to return to Illian.
Path of Daggers
Sammael is presumed dead and only appears in the thoughts of others throughout the book. Graendal goes so far as to remove objects from Sammael’s personal lair in Illian, finding a weak angreal attuned to a woman but little else of use. When Moghedien and Cyndane come to Graendal she acknowledges that she suspects he is dead when asked and admits to having been in contact with him leading to the events at Shadar Logoth but keeps the greater part of their scheming to herself, even when Shaidar Haran appears and forces her to submit to Moridin as Nae’Blis.
Sammael is dead and is never mentioned in the book
Sammael is dead and is never mentioned in the book
Crossroads of Twilight
Sammael is dead, which Aran’gar suspects from their thoughts during the Forsaken meeting at the Ansaline Gardens in tel’aran’rhiod. Moridin tells the group he believes Sammael has resurfaced. Either Sammael or one of the other Chosen impersonating him gave orders to Myrddraal to take thousands of Trollocs into the Ways, which were obeyed. Even though this ploy sounded like something Sammael would do, both Demandred and Graendal voice doubts to this being truly Sammael as the man was incapable of staying behind the scenes for such a long period.
Knife of Dreams
Graendal thinks that with Sammael dead only Moridin knew her location, she is certain that Rand had killed Sammael in Shadar Logoth. After learning Moridin’s identity Rand wonders why the man helped him destroy Sammael.
The Gathering Storm
Sammael is dead and is never mentioned in the book.
Towers of Midnight
Sammael is dead and is only mentioned in the book in passing.
A Memory of Light
Sammael is one of the most powerful channelers known throughout time, with a Strength level of ++2 only Rand, Moridin/Ishamael, and Rahvin are known to surpass his raw power. As a fully trained Aes Sedai from the Age of Legends Sammael far surpasses the skill level of all modern channelers and shows many abilities with the Power. He seems particularly adept with weaves involved in combat and defensive situations such as warding. He was able to create a network of wards throughout the city of Illian that made the city incredibly difficult to attack by forces of channelers. He was also skilled with Traveling and at least mildly with Compulsion.
Sammael was an exceptionally talented general during the War of Power and showed his tactical brilliance in the way he structured the defenses of Illian and in how he lured Rand into Shadar Logoth. He was skilled enough that he likely would have killed Rand had Moridin not intervened, leading to Sammael being destroyed by Mashadar.
During the Age of Legends Sammael was world renown as a champion in a sport which was a form of bloodless sword fighting, perhaps akin to fencing.
Sammael’s primary possession throughout the series is the kingdom of Illian, one of the more powerful nations in the Westlands. Nearly immediately after his release from the Bore Sammael took control of the country under the guise of Lord Brend, leading the Council of Nine and seemingly placing them and the king, Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, under a mild form of compulsion.
Discovered a stasis box with several items of power including an Oath Rod (or Binder) and a small angreal attuned to women that Graendal later found, the box also contained:
A small music box playing a sound sculpture from the Age of Legends
Several important artworks from the Age of Legends including Ceran Tol’s “Tempo of Infinity”
A zara board, which pointed to a follower of the Dark One had been the original owner of the stasis box
Most importantly Sammael discovered and freed one of the gholam and sent it hunting for channelers and to aid the darkfriend Jaichim Caradin in Ebou Dar to look for the cache of objects rumored to be there. The gholam plays a significant role in Mat Cauthon’s later storyline and its destruction is a fan favorite moment in the series.
Sammael was killed long before the Last Battle, but his impact on the middle part of the series is quite strong. He is one of the main antagonists and was responsible for orchestrating the chaos of the Shaido throughout Altar, Ghealdan and Amadician and in building a massive army in Illian. Sammael was in the process of creating a strong bastion of power for the forces of the Dark One and sowing mass chaos throughout the southern part of the continent when he was killed fighting Rand. The manner of Sammael’s death is also unique, being destroyed by Mashadar seems to have put Sammael’s soul outside the reach of resurrection by the Dark One.
Sammael is likely a reference to the Judaic archangel Samael who is often referred to as the Angel of Death. Similarly, both are a form of a fallen angel and associated with betrayal to the forces of the right and good in the world as well as arrogance. In the Old Tongue his name meant “Destroyer of Hope”, which we can deduce is a compound of the Old Tongue words: samma = destroyer or blinder and mael = hope. Similar to both Ishamael (Betrayer of Hope) and Samma N’Sei (Eye Blinders). Like most of the Forsaken Sammael’s name seems to be descriptive of either his personality or an act he committed, in the days his turning to the shadow in the middle of the War of Power was likely seen as an act that destroyed the hope of many people who counted on high profile generals such as Tel Janin Aellinsar to win the War. Rand through Lews Therin Telamon remembers when he was first named Destroyer of Hope. After he betrayed the Gates of Hevan and carried the Shadow down into the Rorn M'doi and the heart of Satelle. Hope did seem to die that day. Culan Cuhan wept.
Sammael’s death in the series was a fan favorite theory until Robert Jordan announced in an interview that Sammael would not be returning (i.e. “Sammael is toast”) and explained that being consumed by Mashadar placed Sammael’s soul outside of the reach of the Dark One to reincarnate.
In Other Media
No announcement regarding Sammael’s character has been made for the upcoming Wheel of Time TV series being produced by Amazon Studios. It seems unlikely the character would make an appearance within season one given his timeline in the books, although producers could also choose to expand the character or combine his role with another Forsaken to simplify the TV adaptation.