Who is the Dark One in Amazon's The Wheel of Time series? So far, the epic fantasy tv show has been rather cryptic about its villain. Like many similar characters, he's currently under lock and key, but his influence remains far-reaching and terrifying. So, who or what is the Dark One, and more importantly, how does he differ from other villains of this kind?
Caution! Spoilers below!
Episode 6 of The Wheel of Time ends with all characters apart from Mat speed-traveling to the Eye of the World. Moiraine explains that this is the location of the Dark One's prison. The previous Dragon managed to entrap the Dark One there "at the cost of almost everything." According to the prophesy, whoever of the Two Rivers villagers is the Dragon Reborn will defeat the Dark One or join him.
This, of course, is a very vague prophesy. Quite grim as well, considering that the Dragon may well turn evil. Moiraine, for her part, is willing to take the risk and the Amyrlin Seat backs her up. Both women feel that doing nothing will be more unbearable than taking their chances.
As Moiraine states, unless they attempt to defeat the Dark One while he's in a weakened state, what happened in the Two Rivers will be nothing compared to what would happen to the entire world. Armies of Trollocs and Fades of immeasurable strength would "wash across the land, killing and eating every person they [found]." In short, Dark One's return to full power would irreversibly destroy the world and everything good in it. But who is the Dark One and how is he able to do all that?
From what he can surmise so far, the Dark One seems similar to many other villains from modern fantasy classics. Like Sauron, he appears to be a being that was controlled or weakened at some point in time but is currently rising in power. The key difference is that the Dark One was never truly a person.
Like the Creator - more or less the Wheel universe's deity - the Dark One is a primordial, cosmic source of evil. He's sentient, but not in the same way a human would be. The Dark One is, in fact, said to have been trapped by the Creator in a separate dimension at the beginning of time. That being said, he's still the source of most, if not all evil in The Wheel of Time universe.
For the purposes of the plot we've seen so far, it's important to know that the Dark One is responsible for the taint in the male part of the One Power and the reason why the red ajah of the Aes Sedai hunt male channellers.
While he's currently imprisoned, the Dark One is still capable of influencing the world around him. It's hard to forget the villagers' bad dreams in Episode 2, or that one scene with Rand and the dead bats. If this cosmic force was to regain full power, we can only imagine what it would mean for the world.
Of course, The Wheel of Time is based on a 14-book series. Therefore, while we keep this review of the series' main villain spoiler-free, it's safe to assume that he won't be defeated any time soon. At least, that's what the confirmed Season 2 suggests.