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"Jailer" redirects here. For the boss encounter in the Sepulcher of the First Ones, see the Jailer (tactics). For the demon race of the same name, see jailer (demon).
NeutralZovaal the Jailer
Image of Zovaal the Jailer
Title The Banished One,[1][2][3][4]
the dark one[5]
Formerly:
The Arbiter[6]
Gender Male
Race Eternal One (Humanoid)
Level ??
Reaction Alliance Horde
Affiliation(s) Mawsworn
Occupation Jailer of Torghast, master of the Maw, and leader of the Mawsworn
Former occupation(s) Arbiter of the Shadowlands
Location Zereth Mortis (lore)
Status Deceased (lore)
Killable (Shadowlands)

“Your efforts are meaningless, mortals. The pattern is flawed. Reality must be remade. I will see it done. Death comes for the soul of your world.”

— Zovaal[7]

Zovaal,[8] better known as the Jailer or the Banished One, was an Eternal One who ruled over the Maw in the Shadowlands. Ruling from the Sanctum of Domination in Torghast, Tower of the Damned, he wielded powerful Domination magic and was the singular and absolute master of the Maw: the realm continually altered and changed itself to his whims,[9] and he observed all actions of note within his domain through his magical eye.[10] The damned souls who arrived in the realm were tortured and twisted by the Jailer until they willingly served him for eternity as his Mawsworn soldiers.[11]

Ages ago, Zovaal was known as the Arbiter, responsible for judging the souls that entered the afterlife. However, he later tried to upset the balance of the cosmos in the belief that the First Ones' creation was flawed and unable to stand against a coming threat that he had foreseen.[12] He tried to claim the sigils of his fellow Eternal Ones, intending to use them to reach the Sepulcher in the First Ones' realm of Zereth Mortis, whose secrets would allow him to unmake reality and replace it with one in which all would serve him. As punishment for trying to steal their sigils,[13] his counterparts stripped him of his power, used the newly-created magic of Domination to imprison him in the Maw, and created a new Arbiter to replace him.

During his ages of imprisonment, the Jailer learned to harness the Domination used to bind him and continued scheming and working with various allies in both the Shadowlands and the world of the living, such as the nathrezim, all with the unchanged goal of reaching the Sepulcher.[14] He set his sights on the mortal world of Azeroth and intended to use the power of its world-soul in the rewriting of reality.[12] He imprisoned one of his brothers, the Primus, and used him to create the Helm of Domination and Frostmourne—instruments that the nathrezim then gave to the Lich King, an entity whom Zovaal intended to use as a herald that would allow him to reach Azeroth. However, this purpose was rejected by all three mortals who came to bear the title of Lich King.

The Jailer later instead allied with Sylvanas Windrunner, who believed that his end goal was to tear down the unfair system of the afterlife and replace it with one that was just. Not long thereafter, a gambit by the Jailer and his nathrezim succeeded in rendering the Arbiter dormant.[15] All souls who entered the Shadowlands instead began pouring into the Maw, empowering the Jailer while the rest of the Shadowlands grew isolated and withered from a lack of anima. Zovaal's allies—including the Forsworn in Bastion, Kel'Thuzad in Maldraxxus, Mueh'zala in Ardenweald, and Sire Denathrius in Revendreth—took advantage of the drought to sow chaos among the most important afterlives and the covenants that ruled them in order to prevent them from unifying against the Jailer.[16] On Azeroth, Sylvanas destroyed the Helm of Domination, opening a rift between the mortal world and the Shadowlands, and brought several leaders of Azeroth into the Jailer's hands; he used the power of Domination to turn one, King Anduin Wrynn, into his unwilling champion.

Although adventurers of Azeroth—dubbed Maw Walkers—entered the Shadowlands and helped strengthen and reunite the covenants, they were unable to stop the Jailer from obtaining the sigils of the other Eternal Ones. With Sylvanas' aid, he attacked Oribos itself, the home of the Arbiter, and claimed the final sigil—his own—from her. Sylvanas turned against him upon realizing his true motives, but he discarded her and used the sigils to escape with Anduin through a portal to Zereth Mortis. The Maw Walkers pursued him and, after freeing Anduin and building up a resistance to his Domination magic, managed to confront and destroy Zovaal in the heart of the Sepulcher of the First Ones before he could complete his plan of harnessing Azeroth's life force to unmake existence.

Zovaal is the main antagonist and final boss of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.[17][18][19]

Biography

Ancient times

Binding of the Banished One

“You preserve that which is doomed. A cosmos divided will not survive what is to come.”

— Zovaal to the Primus[12]

The Crypts of the Eternal, the place where the Arbiter was created.

The Jailer was an evil older than reality itself.[20] Along with his fellow Eternal Ones, Zovaal was created by the First Ones in their realm of Zereth Mortis[21] and given life in the Crypts of the Eternal.[22][23] He was given the position of Arbiter, responsible for judging mortal souls entering the Shadowlands and assigning them to appropriate afterlives,[6] and he and each of his siblings were granted sigils symbolizing their covenants' purpose.[13] The First Ones forbade the Eternal Ones from returning to Zereth Mortis.[24]

Zovaal during his trial.

However, at some point, Zovaal came to believe that the designs of the First Ones were flawed[25] and that the divided cosmos they had created would not be able to survive an unknown threat that he foresaw coming in the future.[12] He believed that the Eternal Ones' sigils were keys to forbidden knowledge locked within Zereth Mortis' Sepulcher of the First Ones[6][13] that he could use to destroy the reality he saw as flawed[12] and replace it with a new, united reality where all would serve him.[25] When his siblings rebuked his heresy, he tried to claim their sigils by force.[13]

Zovaal was so powerful that it required all of the Pantheon of Death to unite in order to defeat him,[26] but in the end, the Primus of Maldraxxus led them to victory.[13] The pantheon placed Zovaal on trial[27] in Oribos: Kyrestia the Firstborne pronounced him guilty of betraying his duty as Arbiter, and the Winter Queen declared that he had threatened the entire cycle of Life and Death, whereas Sire Denathrius ambiguously told Zovaal that he could have chosen another way and that they could've accomplished great things together. When the Primus asked him for the reason for his betrayal, Zovaal replied that the Eternal Ones were merely preserving a cosmos that was doomed.[12]

As punishment for his treachery, the Eternal Ones decided to banish Zovaal to the inescapable Maw, where he would forevermore be its Jailer.[8] They stripped him of his anima and his sigil—leaving a gaping hole at the center of his chest—and used them to create a new Arbiter to judge souls in his place.[6] In order to lock Zovaal away within his prison, the Primus created an entirely new system of magic, the language of Domination, and used its runes to brand the sentence of the Eternal Ones onto his brother's flesh.[6][28][29] The magic within the Heart of the Forest in Ardenweald was used to keep the Maw inescapable and ensure that Zovaal would remain bound forever.[3] With these measures, the Pantheon of Death believed Zovaal's confinement to be "absolute and irrevocable".[26]

Reign in the Maw

Zovaal imprisoned within the Maw.

The Primus hoped that eons of imprisonment might cause Zovaal to repent for his sins, but instead they only caused him to grow more malevolent.[30] Over the ages, the Jailer found a way to weaponize the power of Domination and use it against his enemies,[28][29][30] and he never gave up his goal of reclaiming the power that had been "stolen" from him and seeing his schemes through to their end.[6] Unbeknownst to the other Eternal Ones, Zovaal did not act alone in his original betrayal;[8] he had a group of like-minded allies who continued acting on his behalf after his imprisonment and have influenced various events on the mortal plane throughout history.[31]

One of them was his fellow Eternal One Denathrius, ruler of Revendreth, who willingly gave his sigil to the Jailer at some point.[13][32][33] Denathrius also created a race of master spies, the nathrezim, to infiltrate the other cosmic forces and spread the influence of Death.[34] Many nathrezim ended up pretending to serve the Burning Legion[35] and, as part of a "gambit" by the Jailer, used Death magic to corrupt the titan world-soul of the planet Argus and turn him into "a maul with which to crush the Arbiter": if he was ever killed, Argus' soul would travel to Oribos and render the new Arbiter dormant.[15]

The Eye of the Jailer.

Another ally of the Jailer was the loa Mueh'zala,[36] who made a pact with the titanic keeper Odyn, claiming one of his eyes in exchange for giving him the ability to gaze into the Shadowlands.[37] This led to Odyn creating the Val'kyr as an imitation of the Shadowlands' kyrian.[38] Mueh'zala gave Odyn's eye to the Jailer, who twisted it into the Eye of the Jailer, an instrument allowing him to see all that transpires within the Maw and possibly other realms as well.[39] At some point, Mueh'zala also brought the first Val'kyr Helya to the Jailer's side.[36]

At one point, the souls of four wicked giants—Bahmethra, Hrestimorak, Nilganihmaht, and Salaranga—were damned to the Maw. The Jailer was pleased by the long list of crimes they'd committed in life, bound their souls in armor, and elevated them to become his chosen torturers. However, the four secretly set out to usurp him by building an army of their own. The Eye of the Jailer discovered their plot, and when the giants attacked, the Jailer defeated them one by one. Instead of simply destroying their souls, he claimed a hand from each and condemned their broken souls to the river Gorgoa forever. He then asked his chronicler Varithoman to make a record of the giants' crimes and how they had been punished, as a reminder to others that it is folly to defy the Banished One.[40]

Over time, the tale of the Jailer's imprisonment became a legend passed down only in whispers among denizens of the Shadowlands.[28] He became known as a "bogeyman" figure,[41] and the mere mention of his name was said to hold dark power. Even the attendants' detailed records in Oribos contained only oblique references to the events surrounding his banishment.[28] In fact, for most of the Shadowlands' known history, there was very little evidence to show that the Jailer even existed, let alone what he looked like or what his purpose was beyond overseeing the souls condemned to the Maw,[26] since nothing that entered the realm could escape and tell the tale.[41] The attendants of Oribos were unaware that the Jailer had once been the Arbiter and incorrectly believed that the artificial Arbiter that they served was the original one created by the First Ones themselves. However, there are still some very ancient and worn records that reference a time when the Arbiter was "not quite so benevolent",[42] implying that they're remnants from the time when Zovaal was the Arbiter. It was said among the attendants that the Jailer was filled with hatred for the Arbiter, and Tal-Inara believed that if he struck her down, it would mean the end of everything the First Ones made.[43]

The vessels of Domination

The Jailer with a vision of the Helm of Domination.

At some point, the Primus noticed that the Jailer's influence was seeping outside of the Maw and left Maldraxxus to investigate the matter.[44] Before leaving, he left behind a warning message in his sanctum telling his fellow Eternal Ones that they had to see to their defenses, that Zovaal must not reach the Sepulcher, and that all would be lost if the Arbiter was not protected.[8] He then traveled to the city of Korthia, entrusted his sigil to the attendants there,[45] and bound it with the magic of memory, which he hoped that not even Zovaal could untangle.[46] Once he arrived in the Maw, the Primus' suspicions proved true: the Jailer, having forged his chains into a weapon, brought about his brother's defeat.[8] In a reversal of the way the Primus had once imprisoned him, the Jailer stripped him of his memories[47] and turned him into a broken prisoner called the Runecarver.[30]

The Jailer extracted countless designs to use for his Mawsworn army from the Runecarver's mind, the most notable of which were the designs for the mourneblade Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination.[48] Zovaal had concluded that the power of the immensely powerful world-soul slumbering within the mortal world of Azeroth would be the key to his plan of eradicating reality[12] and he intended for the blade and the helm—the "vessels of Domination"—to be a way of establishing his influence on the planet[29][49][50] so that he could claim his final prize, "the secret that the First Ones sought to hide."[48] The nathrezim masquerading as members of the Burning Legion bore the vessels of Domination across the veil[28] and used them to imprison the soul of Ner'zhul, the first Lich King.[50] The nathrezim made the Legion—a force of Disorder—believe that the Lich King was solely their instrument and not an instrument of Death, and in this way tricked them into helping to spread the Jailer's influence on the mortal plane.[51][52] The Jailer intended for the Lich King to herald his coming and his reign on Azeroth[49][53][54] and tried to subtly influence Ner'zhul and his successors Arthas Menethil and Bolvar Fordragon from afar, but their wills and choices remained their own[29][55] and they all ultimately defied his will.[49][53][54]

Ner'zhul's soul ultimately ended up in the Maw, where the Jailer informed him of how he had failed in his role as herald and confined him to eternal torture within his stronghold, the Sanctum of Domination.[54] After the defeat of the Lich King Arthas, the two kyrian Devos and Uther cast his soul into the Maw,[56] where the Jailer laid claim to it.[57] During his time as the Lich King, Bolvar could sense the Jailer's presence at the edge of his consciousness and realized that Zovaal was the helm's true master.[58]

A new pact

Sylvanas Windrunner allied with the Jailer after her suicide at Icecrown Citadel.[17] He sent the Nine, a group of Val'kyr, to make a pact with her and allow her to return to the world of the living so that she would be able to claim the Helm of Domination from the "false king" Bolvar.[59] Sylvanas and the Jailer have been working toward a common end ever since. As a result of their pact, Sylvanas gained the ability to wield the Domination magic of the Maw.[41][60]

The beginning of the anima drought: Argus' soul crashing toward Oribos.

At the onset of the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth, Mueh'zala whispered to Vol'jin on his deathbed to convince him to name Sylvanas the new Warchief of the Horde.[36][61] At the end of the invasion, Azeroth's heroes killed the soul of Argus. As the nathrezim had planned,[15] this caused Argus' soul to travel to Oribos and render the Arbiter dormant. In her absence, all souls entering the Shadowlands began funneling into the Maw instead of being sorted to their just afterlives, thereby depriving the other realms of anima and threatening to make the Jailer strong enough to break free from the Maw.[43] In the world of the living, Sylvanas used her position as warchief to plunge Azeroth into the Fourth War, causing mass casualties and thereby feeding the Maw with even more new souls that could be conscripted into the Mawsworn army and causing both her and the Jailer to grow more powerful.[41][60][62][63]

Shadowlands

Shadowlands This section concerns content related to Shadowlands.

“His power rising... his chains broken. The remaking has begun! The hour draws near when the Banished One shall reclaim what is his. Death comes for the soul of this world. Make ready! Feed the lives of the unworthy to the hungering Maw!”

Herald Dalora's sermon to the Cult of the Damned[1]

The Jailer's initial in-game appearance.

The Banished One and his army.

With his bindings broken, the Jailer intended to "reclaim what [was] his".[4][64][53] Prince Renathal believed that if the Jailer escaped, all the realms of Death would fall.[65] Similarly, Lady Moonberry was of the belief that a freed Jailer would plunge all of the realms of the Shadowlands into inescapable, crushing despair.[66] Meanwhile, Sire Denathrius and Herald Dalora believed that the Jailer would bring a torrent of change that would leave Death, and those who shaped its victory, as the only powers remaining.[4][67] In a private conversation with Anduin Wrynn, Sylvanas claimed that the Jailer would shatter the system of Death and forge it anew, with everyone truly having free will.[68] Devos of the Forsworn believed that the Eternal Ones' imprisonment of Zovaal was a "great injustice" and that he "seeks to free us from the prison we have built for ourselves".[69]

After Sylvanas destroyed the Helm of Domination and tore open a rift through the Veil separating the Shadowlands from the world of the living, the Jailer's Mawsworn kyrian kidnapped leaders of Azeroth's Alliance and HordeAnduin Wrynn, Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall, and Baine Bloodhoof—and brought them to the Maw.[70] The Jailer took a special interest in these four prisoners and personally oversaw their torture. According to Thrall, it sometimes felt as if the Jailer was testing them for some unknown purpose.[71] The Jailer specifically wanted Anduin because his plan to obtain the sigils of the other Eternal Ones required a mortal with heroic personal qualities that would allow them to enter the realm of Bastion.[72] The Knights of the Ebon Blade and the heroes of Azeroth soon ventured into the Maw to rescue the leaders and managed to meet up with Jaina, Thrall, and Anduin. The group was joined by Baine after the Jailer declared the tauren chieftain to be unworthy and threw him off a platform.[73] The Azerothians subsequently fought their way to an Eroded Waystone of the First Ones in the hopes of using it to escape the Maw. The Jailer was stunned to see the waystone responding to the presence of Azeroth's champion and sent his Mawsworn army to stop them, but Anduin used the Light to hold off the attackers long enough for the champion to escape. The Jailer declared this to be "interesting", and when Anduin claimed that he had failed, the Jailer calmly responded "No... I have precisely what I need."[64] The Jailer subsequently brought Anduin, Thrall, Jaina, and Baine into Torghast for further torture.[74][75][76]

The Jailer conversing with Sylvanas in Torghast.

The adventurers, now called Maw Walkers, eventually breached the Seat of the Primus and discovered the Primus' warning. When Sylvanas informed the Jailer of this, he declared that while it was unfortunate, it was of little consequence and the nuisance would be dealt with.[76] Not long after, Sire Denathrius revealed himself to be in league with the Jailer and channeled his immense amounts of hoarded anima into the Maw.[4] Prince Renathal stated that the Jailer would surely use this power to shatter his bonds.[65] The remaining Eternal Ones and covenant leaders subsequently decreed that each mortal had to choose a covenant so that the realms could regain their strength and once again stand together against the darkness.[77] With the guidance of Bolvar—who used the shards of the Helm of Domination to peer into the tower—the Maw Walkers repeatedly ventured into Torghast to rescue their captured allies and take Baine, Jaina, and Thrall to the safety of Oribos. However, Bolvar's repeated gazing into the tower eventually allowed the Jailer to gaze back,[78] and the heroes could not find any sign of Anduin, who had been taken deeper into the Torghast than the others.[79] In a private conversation with Sylvanas, the Jailer proclaimed that they had to begin preparation of their new "weapon". Sylvanas convinced the Jailer to leave Anduin to her, arguing that bringing him around into believing in their cause would yield superior results.[78]

Arthas' soul in the hand of the Jailer.

However, as time passed and Sylvanas failed to convince Anduin, the Jailer decided that a more "direct approach" was necessary.[80] Having learned from his previous failures with the Lich King, the Jailer decided to use Domination to control Anduin directly.[29] He had Anduin's sword Shalamayne transformed into a mourneblade, Kingsmourne,[80] and inserted what was left of Arthas Menethil's soul into the blade to serve as the source of Anduin's Domination.[81] At the same time, Sire Denathrius was defeated and captured and Sylvanas asked the Jailer how they should recover him. The Jailer simply replied that every soul had its purpose and that Denathrius had fulfilled his. He then declared that it was time to forge their next weapon and that they'd come too far to falter. While Sylvanas took the completed Kingsmourne to Anduin and tried one last time to convince him to join them willingly,[80] the Jailer struck at Bolvar in Oribos through the Helm of Domination in an attempt to seize control of his mind.[82] However, Jaina and the Maw Walker were able to sever the connection.[53]

Chains of Domination

“You and all the rest will bear witness to my victory.”

— The Jailer to the Primus[30]

The Jailer and his two champions looking out at Korthia.

The Jailer's shadow looming behind his champion, Anduin Wrynn.

In the hopes of uncovering secrets of the First Ones and the key to fulfill his vision for the Shadowlands, the Jailer pulled a fragment of the long-lost realm of Korthia into the Maw from where it had been hidden in the In-Between,[83] specifically in search of the Vault of Secrets[84] and its most precious treasure: the sigil of the Primus.[45]

After failing to convince Anduin, Sylvanas forcibly Dominated him,[85] equipping him with Kingsmourne and a suit of armor covered in Domination runes that allowed the Jailer to control his actions.[29] The Jailer sent his new vessel to Elysian Hold in Bastion to obtain the sigil of Kyrestia, the Archon of the kyrian. Kyrestia recognized the Jailer's presence in Anduin and demanded that the former release the king from his grasp. In response, the Jailer's voice spoke through Anduin to proclaim that "He is bound to me, just as you once sought to bind your own brother". Anduin then stabbed the Archon through the chest with Kingsmourne to extract her sigil before returning with it to Torghast. The Jailer commented that three keys now remained before "they" would see that "Death was never meant to be chained".[86]

The Jailer's next target was the sigil of the Winter Queen. He sent his Mawsworn—led by Sylvanas herself—to invade Ardenweald, and the four covenants rushed to defend it. During the battle, Tyrande Whisperwind confronted Sylvanas and revealed that she had killed the latter's champion, Nathanos Blightcaller. Sylvanas was surprised by this, and Tyrande mockingly told her that the Jailer was intentionally keeping secrets from her. The covenants ultimately pushed the Mawsworn out of Ardenweald,[87] but Anduin managed to breach the Heart of the Forest and steal the Winter Queen's sigil.[88] Meanwhile, the Jailer's forces assaulted Oribos to claim yet another sigil, that of the Arbiter, but the covenants and the Knights of the Ebon Blade managed to hold off the attackers.[89] Unwilling to wait for the Jailer to make his next move, the Maw Walkers led the covenant forces in storming into the Maw and Korthia[90] in order to stop the Jailer from shattering the barrier around the Maw and invading the rest of the Shadowlands.[6] Notably, the Maw Walkers worked with Odyn's Val'kyr to defeat the Eye of the Jailer and force it to leave the Maw for the safety of Torghast.[91] Meanwhile, in his search for the Sepulcher, the Jailer pulled a fragment of Zereth Mortis—the land of the First Ones— containing "Sepulcher access cyphers" into his seat of power, the Sanctum of Domination atop Torghast.[92] He also had his nathrezim minions capture Korthia's fatescribe, Roh-Kalo,[93] and bring him to the Sanctum in order to tear knowledge from his mind.[94]

The Primus battling the Jailer in Torghast.

In Korthia, a Maw Walker, the attendant leader Tal-Galan, and the Primus' apprentice Heirmir recovered the sigil of the Primus from the Vault of Secrets before the Mawsworn had a chance to.[46] Hoping to untangle the magic binding it, Heirmir and the Maw Walker brought it to the Runecarver in Torghast, causing all of his memories to be restored and transforming him back into the Primus. The Jailer immediately noticed this and arrived to the Runecarver's Oubliette with a Mawsworn army. While Heirmir and the hero battled the minions, Zovaal and the Primus fought by launching beams of energy at each other. As the battle progressed, the Jailer stunned Heirmir and the Maw Walker and summoned Anduin. The Primus reminded his brother that his sigil would be lost forever if he was struck down, but he wasn't expecting Anduin to be carrying a mourneblade. Anduin used Kingsmourne to sever the sigil from the Primus' body and launch it into the Jailer's waiting hand. Having now obtained all but one of the sigils he needed, Zovaal teleported himself and his minions away,[30] allowing the Primus and his allies to leave Torghast alive. The Primus considered Zovaal to be a fool for letting them live and believed that his desire to have them bend to his will would be his undoing. He subsequently stated that the mortals had to face Zovaal in the Sanctum of Domination. As a contingency, each of the covenants also had to forge new sigils so that they could pursue Zovaal in case the assault failed.[95]

The Jailer attacking the Arbiter in the Crucible.

The Arbiter's essence entering Zovaal's chest.

The triumphant Zovaal before the portal to Zereth Mortis.

The Maw Walkers and their allies—Bolvar, Thrall, and Jaina—later assaulted the Sanctum, fought through the Jailer's minions, and confronted Sylvanas at the Pinnacle of Domination at the top of the tower. She stalled them long enough for the Jailer to enact his plan: not to break out of the Maw, but instead to expand its boundaries around Oribos. He latched onto the city with his chains and ascended to the Arbiter's chamber, the Crucible, where he began breaking through her defenses. Sylvanas and Anduin kept the heroes occupied long enough for Zovaal to destroy the Arbiter's shield and merge with her[96] by absorbing her essence. The orb-shaped sigil entered and filled the hole in his chest, causing him to gain a full set of armor. The victorious Jailer immediately opened a large portal[25] to Zereth Mortis[6] before using Domination to incapacitate Thrall, Bolvar, and Jaina. Sylvanas told Zovaal that they now had everything they needed, but he replied that he had endured "the makers' flawed design" for too long and revealed his true goal: not to break the system of Death and give everyone free will as Sylvanas had believed, but to forge a new reality where all would be forced to serve him.[25]

Remembering similar statements by Arthas and the Lich King, Sylvanas fired a black arrow at the Jailer—which he caught without even laying an eye on her—and told him that she would never serve, thereby effectively turning against him. After a brief silence, the Jailer replied that it was a "pity" that she was "still chained by mortality". However, as payment for helping him regain what had been stolen from him, he gave Sylvanas the fragment of her soul that had been severed by Frostmourne many years prior, causing her to fall unconscious. With Sylvanas no longer of any use to him, the Jailer unchained the Maw Walkers' allies and left Sylvanas' fate in their hands before telling Anduin to accompany him and bear witness to the end of reality. The two left through the portal, which closed behind them.[25]

Sylvanas remained unconscious as the lost part of her soul was forced to endlessly relive the crimes the rest of her soul had committed over the years, which the Jailer believed would surely destroy her.[85] Back in Korthia, the Primus warned that if Zovaal succeeded in finding the knowledge he sought in the Sepulcher, all would be undone. However, by this time, the four covenants had managed to recreate their sigils. The Primus could use these to forge a key to follow the Jailer to his destination, but he first had to find something to replace the Arbiter's sigil.[6]

Eternity's End

“Death claims the soul of your world. Now bear witness, mortals, to eternity's end.”

— The Jailer in the Sepulcher of the First Ones[12]

The Jailer opening the way to the Sepulcher.

By returning to the forbidden realm of Zereth Mortis, Zovaal defied the most sacred laws of his First One creators.[24] His Mawsworn quickly spread across the realm like a plague in search of a way into the Sepulcher.[97] The Mawsworn initially laid siege to the Enlightened village of Haven, but the Jailer personally arrived to call off the attack since he believed that the place was of no consequence.[98][99] While the Maw Walkers and their allies arrived to Zereth Mortis, the Mawsworn used Domination to take control of automa, the realm's caretakers, and destroy the obelisks protecting the Forge of Afterlives.[100][101] Meanwhile, nathrezim led by Mal'Ganis infiltrated the covenants to disrupt their efforts. When a Maw Walker confronted Mal'Ganis, he revealed that this had merely been to stall for time and let Zovaal and his "champion" reach the Forge of Afterlives.[102] At the Jailer's command, Anduin dominated Dausegne, the automa protecting the Forge. The Jailer then arrived in person and forced Dausegne to disable the Forge, allowing him to use it to transport himself, Anduin, and Dausegne directly to the Sepulcher[103] and seal the way behind them.[104]

The Jailer in the Heart of Eternity.

Back in Oribos, Uther the Lightbringer helped Sylvanas awaken from her coma.[85] She joined forces with the Maw Walkers and their allies and told them that they had no chance of defeating Zovaal without a way to resist his Domination, and that freeing Anduin might be the key.[105] After opening the way into the Sepulcher and fighting through its defenders, the Maw Walkers confronted Anduin at Domination's Grasp and helped gradually restore his willpower, but the Jailer refused to release his grasp on the king. He whispered to him to fulfill his "final purpose"—annihilation—while Kingsmourne seemingly began draining his soul, but Anduin mustered the will to split Kingsmourne in half, freeing himself from the Jailer as well as releasing the fading remnant of Arthas' soul. However, Zovaal himself was already on the cusp of victory, having reached the Sepulcher's final chamber—Heart of Eternity—and putting Domination in place to prevent anyone from following him.[57]

The Jailer drawing Azeroth's power into the Shadowlands.

The heroes brought Anduin out of the Sepulcher, but he didn't know how to counteract the Jailer's power.[106] With the guidance of the Primus, the Maw Walkers and their allies instead used the language of the First Ones and the resistance that Anduin and other past victims of Domination had built up to reforge the remnants of the Helm of Domination into a new object of power: the Crown of Wills. The Crown allowed the heroes to become resistant to Domination, which Bolvar and the Primus believed would be the key to finally defeating Zovaal.[107] The Maw Walkers returned to the Sepulcher, defeated the Jailer's dreadlord minions and a constellar he had Dominated, and confronted him in the Heart of Eternity just as he put his final plan into action: he activated the Forge of Souls below Icecrown to draw the life force of the soul of Azeroth into the Sepulcher so that it could power the Machine of Origination, which he could then use to unmake all of existence.[12]

All that remains of the Jailer: Zovaal's lifeless vessel.

However, with their resistance to Domination, the Maw Walkers were able to protect Azeroth from the Jailer's attacks, prevent him from configuring the Machine, and ultimately defeat him. As he fell to his knees, he watched in disbelief as both his armor and his body gradually dissolved. In his final moments, Zovaal repeated what he had told the other Eternal Ones during his original betrayal eons earlier: "A cosmos divided will not survive what is to come." The last of his power then faded from him, leaving only a lifeless vessel behind. With the death of Zovaal, Azeroth was saved and the rift Sylvanas had created in the sky over Icecrown closed.[12]

Following his death, Bolvar remarked that the doubts Zovaal had sowed within each of his enemies lived on.[108]

Quotes

Shadowlands intro
Main article: By and Down the River#Notes
Main article: Stand as One#Notes
Maldraxxus storyline
Main article: A Glimpse into Darkness#Notes
Torghast questline
Main article: Rule 1: Have an Escape Plan#Notes
Main article: Eye of the Jailer (mechanic)#Mechanics
Main article: Torment Chamber: Thrall#Notes
Main article: The Highlord's Vision#Notes
Main article: A Mourneblade Born#Notes
Main article: The Jailer's Grasp#Notes
Chains of Domination campaign
Main article: The First Move#Notes
Main article: Untangling the Sigil#Notes
Sanctum of Domination
Main article: The Tarragrue (tactics)#Quotes
Main article: Sylvanas Windrunner (tactics)#Quotes
Zereth Mortis campaign
Main article: Defending Haven#Notes
Main article: Fighting for the Forge#Notes
Sepulcher of the First Ones
Main article: Immortal Hearth#Quotes
Main article: Anduin Wrynn (tactics)#Cinematic
Main article: The Jailer (tactics)#Quotes

Notes and trivia

Allegedly leaked concept art of the Jailer

  • Following the initial announcement of Shadowlands, some fans speculated that the Jailer was someone that players had met before (such as Arthas, Argus or Helya), but it was quickly confirmed that he was intended to be a new character.[41][17] Steve Danuser has described him as an important part of the Warcraft cosmology.[17]
  • Ion Hazzikostas has described the Jailer as a "titan-level"[18] or "titan plus plus level" antagonist.[19]
    • Hazzikostas also described him as one of the "lords of death" in the BlizzCon 2019 What's Next panel.[109]
  • Five large pillars can be seen floating around the Crucible in Oribos. Four are used by the covenant leaders during N [60] The Looming Dark, but the fifth—which is located directly opposite of the Arbiter and has a noticeably damaged appearance—remains unoccupied. This fifth pillar apparently belonged to Zovaal before his banishment, as shown by the covenant leaders directing their gazes at it while discussing him in N [60] Voices of the Eternal and by him standing on it during his attack on the Arbiter in Sylvanas' boss encounter.
  • Zovaal's appearance went through "very many" iterations during development.[110] He was first officially shown in the Shadowlands reveal trailer at BlizzCon 2019, in which only a dark silhouette of his body is seen. In late November 2019, an alleged piece of concept art of the Jailer where his design matches the one in the trailer was shared by the YouTuber Pyromancer, who had been sent an image of the concept after it was posted on Twitter.[111] The Jailer's in-game model, however, looks drastically different from both of these depictions, notably lacking the hair and more elaborate armor he was originally depicted with. When asked about this in April 2020, Ion Hazzikostas stated that the difference in design between the original trailer and his in-game model was not because of any story reasons but simply because Blizzard had not finalized his design by the time the trailer was released at BlizzCon.[112]
  • Within the Sanctum of Domination, Kel'Thuzad claims that he was forced to "pretend to serve false masters" when he was actually working to architect Azeroth's end all the while,[113] implying that he was working for the Jailer all along. Ta'lora notes that it is plausible that the Jailer was able to peer into the mortal plane and came to see Kel'Thuzad as a means to spread his influence on Azeroth back when he was still a living necromancer.[114] This was later proven false when it was revealed that Denathrius recruited Kel'Thuzad to Zovaal's side after his defeat during the War against the Lich King.[115]
  • His weapon was the  [Gavel of the First Arbiter], which can be looted on his body.
  • Zovaal's Vault has a chance to drop  [Zovaal's Dark Carafe].
  • The Jailer is voiced by Edward Bosco.

Inspirations

  • The Jailer can be seen as a composite of various mythological antagonists from various cultures and religions.
    • As both prisoner and ruler of the Maw, the Jailer shares similarities with some Christian depictions of Satan, notably the version depicted in Dante's Inferno given the cold/ice motifs, and his overlording of the Maw, which draws similarities to the popularized conceptualization of hell, and the fact he was banished for seeking forbidden knowledge, similar to the myths of the forbidden fruit.
    • Other Abrahamic Satan motifs can be seen in both the winged Mawsworn (i.e. fallen angels of Christian Satan) and in the aesthetics of the shades in the Maw as spirits seemingly composed of ash and fire (i.e. jinn of Islamic Satan).
    • Given his pulling of Korthia into the Maw (from the Mesopotamian underworld called Kur), and the fact he wasn't always in the Maw, Nergal may have been another source of inspiration.
    • The way the Jailer's created the Lich King (likely inspired by a combination of Warhammaer's Arkhan the Black the Liche King and Tolkien's the Witch-King of Angmar who ruled the Nazgûl) gestures to his being inspired by Sauron. This is further reaffirmed by his armor after regaining his sigil from the arbiter.
    • Zovaal's name may be derived from either or both Bulgarian зова (zova, derivative words meaning to summon/to name), Bulgarian зобам (zobam, to devour), Polish zobaczyć (to see).
    • The revelation that Zovaal was once the Arbiter[6] indicates he was once the judge of all the dead and ruler of the Pantheon of Death, borrowing from themes of Hades (including multiple three-headed dogs guarding the Sanctum of Domination), Pluto (including the blue ghostly horses), the Greek idea that three kings served as the judges of the dead, Moros (who determined the death of mortals), among others.

Gallery

Videos

Patch changes

References

 
  1. ^ a b N [50] Secrets in Shadows
  2. ^ N [50] No Place for the Living
  3. ^ a b N [58] The Court of Winter
  4. ^ a b c d N [60] The Master of Lies
  5. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 201
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j N [60] Covenants Renewed
  7. ^ Immortal Hearth#Quotes
  8. ^ a b c d e N [54] The Door to the Unknown
  9. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 187
  10. ^ N [60] Rule 2: Keep a Low Profile
  11. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 175, 190
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sepulcher of the First Ones cinematics
  13. ^ a b c d e f N [60] Voices of the Eternal
  14. ^ World of Warcraft 2021-11-11. Eternity’s End – Developer Preview | World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. YouTube.​ “The Jailer's true goal has never really been to escape the Maw or to gain power. He's been focused on reaching this place called the Sepulcher, to go into this place of power, and to really rewrite the rules of the universe.
  15. ^ a b c N [60] Acquaintances Forgotten
  16. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 143
  17. ^ a b c d Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-02. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: Q&A. Retrieved on 2019-11-03. (MMO-Champion transcript/Wowhead transcript)
  18. ^ a b Jez Corden 2020-07-09. World of Warcraft Shadowlands interview: Customization, progression, balance, and more with Ion Hazzikostas. Windows Central. Archived from the original on 2020-07-14.
  19. ^ a b perculia 2020-07-09. The Final Boss of Shadowlands. Wowhead. Archived from the original on 2020-07-09.
  20. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 204
  21. ^ N [60] Oracle, Heal Thyself
  22. ^ N [60] The Infinite Circle: Saezurah says: Howls of wrath and agony. Where once first breath was drawn, now only pain endures.
  23. ^ N [60] The Order Of Things: Pelagos says: If this is where the Arbiter was made, then which came first? These souls, or... so many questions.
  24. ^ a b N [60] A Hasty Voyage
  25. ^ a b c d e Sanctum of Domination ending cinematic
  26. ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 135
  27. ^  [Binding of the Banished One]
  28. ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 120 - 121
  29. ^ a b c d e f Bellular 2021-02-22. Simply AWESOME! Blizz Devs Hint Spicy New Lore & Major Game Fixes - Torghast V2?! (0:40 - 03:45). YouTube. Retrieved on 2021-03-23.
  30. ^ a b c d e N [60] Untangling the Sigil
  31. ^ The Lost Codex 2019-11-05. BlizzCon 2019 Interview: Steve Danuser & Frank Kowalkowski - Story and Systems (07:20 - 08:50). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-11-23.
  32. ^  [The Unseen Guests Among Us]
  33. ^ N [60] The Meaning of Wrath
  34. ^ N [60] Convoy of the Covenants
  35. ^ N [60] The Nathrezim
  36. ^ a b c Mueh'zala yells: It be Mueh'zala who brought Helya to da Jailer's side... struck a deal for ol' Odyn's eye... and made da Banshee warchief with a whisper!
  37. ^ The Legend of Odyn: The Keeper's Eye
  38. ^ Garth Holden 2020-05-28. A deep dive into Bastion, the Shadowlands realm of selflessness and greater purpose. SA Gamer. Retrieved on 2020-11-23.
  39. ^ Eye of the Jailer#Adventure Guide
  40. ^  [Hands of Defiance: A Chronicle of Woe]
  41. ^ a b c d e Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-26. BlizzCon 2019 | World of Warcraft: What's Next | Full Panel. YouTube.
  42. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 38
  43. ^ a b N [50] Audience with the Arbiter
  44. ^ Garth Holden 2020-09-24. A deep dive into Maldraxxus, the defenders of Death. SA Gamer. Archived from the original on 2020-09-24.
  45. ^ a b N [60] Secrets of the Vault
  46. ^ a b N [60] Into the Vault
  47. ^ N [60] Deep Within
  48. ^ a b  [Clearing the Fog]
  49. ^ a b c The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 197: The Veil between realms wanes. The Helm of Domination was crafted to be our way forward; instead, the one seared by the flames of Life uses it to keep us at bay.
  50. ^ a b Helm of Domination Exclusive Replica. Blizzard Gear Store. Archived from the original on 2021-03-21.​ “Forged according to the Jailer's will, the Helm of Domination was to be the vessel of Death's influence on Azeroth. The nathrezim imprisoned the spirit of the orc chieftain Ner'zhul within the helm, granting him command over a vast army of undead Scourge.
  51. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 20
  52. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 137
  53. ^ a b c d N [60] The Jailer's Grasp
  54. ^ a b c Remnant of Ner'zhul#Adventure Guide
  55. ^ Taelia, Calia, and Jaina dialogue in Oribos: Calia Menethil says: The specter of my brother hangs over all of us like a shroud. His choices were his own, though it does seem his fate was shaped in part by the hand of the Jailer.
  56. ^ Afterlives: Bastion
  57. ^ a b Anduin Raid Finale
  58. ^ N [50] Through the Shattered Sky
  59. ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 178
  60. ^ a b Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
  61. ^ N [60] One Little Whisper
  62. ^ H [50] Most Loyal: Lady Sylvanas Windrunner says: Saurfang's ill-considered challenge may have ended the war prematurely, but it doesn't matter now. / Countless souls have been fed to the hungering darkness.
  63. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 140
  64. ^ a b N [50] Stand as One
  65. ^ a b N [60] The End of the Beginning
  66. ^ N [60] The Endless Forest
  67. ^ N [50] A Message from Above
  68. ^ N [60] The Captive King
  69. ^ Conversation between Devos and Kyrestia at the Seat of the Archon
  70. ^ B [50] Cause for Distraction
  71. ^ N [50] A Moment's Respite
  72. ^ World of Warcraft 2020-02-21. BlizzConline 2021 - World of Warcraft Q&A (02:25). YouTube. Retrieved on 2021-03-23.
  73. ^ N [50] By and Down the River
  74. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment. Shadowlands - Home. Retrieved on 2020-12-27.​ “Once, the Jailer kept only the most dangerous souls in the cosmos confined in this eternal prison. Now, some of Azeroth’s greatest heroes are trapped here, and you’ll need to rescue them from the Jailer’s tower before he expends their very souls.
  75. ^ N [54] Delving Deeper
  76. ^ a b N [55] A Glimpse into Darkness
  77. ^ N [60] The Looming Dark
  78. ^ a b N [60] Torment Chamber: Thrall
  79. ^ N [60] Signs of the Lion
  80. ^ a b c N [60] The Highlord's Vision
  81. ^ Anduin Wrynn (tactics)#Overview: Throughout the encounter, Anduin temporarily manifests the source of his domination. This manifestation is linked to him by Domination's Grasp.
  82. ^ N [60] A Mourneblade Born
  83. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment 2021-02-20. Shape the Fate of the Shadowlands in Chains of Domination. Retrieved on 2021-03-24.
  84. ^ N [60 Daily] Observational Records
  85. ^ a b c N [60] News from Oribos
  86. ^ N [60] The First Move
  87. ^ N [60] The Battle of Ardenweald
  88. ^ N [60] The Heart of Ardenweald
  89. ^ N [60] Report to Oribos
  90. ^ N [60] Charge of the Covenants
  91. ^ N [60] Focusing the Eye
  92. ^ Guardian of the First Ones#Quotes
  93. ^ N [60] Under the Illusion
  94. ^ Fatescribe Roh-Kalo#Quotes
  95. ^ N [60] The Primus Returns
  96. ^ Lore Book: What Lies Ahead
  97. ^ N [60] Long Lost Firim
  98. ^ N [60] Defending Haven
  99. ^ N [60] Destroying the Destructors
  100. ^ N [60] Scour the Sands
  101. ^ N [60] Harmony and Discord
  102. ^ N [60] Doppelganger Duel
  103. ^ N [60] Fighting for the Forge
  104. ^ N [60] Seeking Haven
  105. ^ N [60] The Pilgrimage Ends
  106. ^ N [60] The Broken Crown
  107. ^ N [60] The Crown of Wills
  108. ^ N [60] Penance and Renewal
  109. ^ BlizzCon 2019 | World of Warcraft: What's Next | Full Panel
  110. ^ Matthew McKeown. World of Warcraft - The Jailer Concept - Comments. ArtStation. Retrieved on 2021-08-31.​ “Trolldaeron: I am actually more interested in his earliest concepts. I wonder how many iterations he had. Matthew McKeown: Very many!
  111. ^ Stan 2019-11-27. WoW Shadowlands: The Jailer's Identity Revealed in Early Concept Art. Icy Veins. Retrieved on 2020-07-03.
  112. ^ ZoltanTV 2020-04-28. Interview Ion Hazzikostas SHADOWLANDS (04:00). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-06-27.
  113. ^ Kel'Thuzad (Sanctum of Domination tactics)#Quotes
  114. ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 142
  115. ^ https://gamerant.com/world-of-warcraft-interview-eternitys-end-shadowlands-character-motivations-consequences/

External links

Preceded by:
None (position created)
Position:
Arbiter of the Shadowlands
Succeeded by:
The Arbiter
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