Who is the Jailer in WoW Shadowlands?
The short and unhelpful answer to the question Who is the Jailer is that guy up there at the head of the post — Game Director Ion Hazzikostas confirmed on his live interview with Zoltan.tv that the folks at Wowhead had successfully datamined the fella’s model, and that up above is it. He’s an interesting looking fellow — I can’t help but notice that he’s got a gigantic void on his chest right where a heart might be, which is in keeping with the dastardly fellow who runs the Maw and is apparently behind everything that’s going on in Shadowlands.
We’ve heard bits and pieces about the Jailer before. So, let’s go over what we know — and what we don’t know — about the Jailer himself and what he’s up to.
Master of the Maw
The Jailer is the master of the Maw, the realm of the Shadowlands where — at least, back when things were working properly in the afterlife — the most unredeemable of the dead ended up imprisoned in Torghast. However, ever since Sylvanas’ deal with the Val’kyr in the short story Edge of Night, she’s basically been working with the Jailer in an attempt to break the machinery of death, and feed more and more souls directly to the Maw. This bypasses all the other realms in the Shadowlands and starves them of Anima, or the essence that souls bring when they die which essentially powers everything in the afterlife. The Jailer seems to have tired of his seemingly eternal role as warden of the most corrupt souls in death, and now he’s moved on to just trying to grab hold of all the Anima and souls in a naked power grab.
It’s not clear why Sylvanas is on board with this — perhaps she sees the Jailer as a way to smash the very Shadowlands themselves the way she crushed the Helm of Domination and end death itself. It’s also not clear if the Jailer intends to rule over all the other Shadowlands, destroy them, or perhaps has an even more sinister goal in mind. We know from his recent interview with Zoltan.tv that Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas says that there is a connection between the Pantheon, the Titans that came to Azeroth, and the Pantheon of Death we see in the Shadowlands. This could mean that the Arbiter, the Jailer, Sire Denathrius, the Archon, the Winter Queen and other figures we meet in the Shadowlands are somehow part of this ‘Pantheon of Death’.
He’s the one behind Sylvanas’ actions
What we know about the Jailer now is, everything Sylvanas has done since she died atop Icecrown Citadel in Edge of Night has ultimately been for his benefit. He wanted her to be Warchief. He likely told her how to gain Helya’s assistance and the lantern she used on Eyir, since it’s because of the Jailer himself that Odyn made the deal where he traded his eye for the ability to look into the Shadowlands and create Val’kyr, a twisted form of the Kyrian. The Jailer has been behind a lot of the machinations of major players — the Forge of Domination where the Helm of Domination was made is in the Jailer’s domain, for example.
We also know that the Jailer is the one primarily benefiting from the Arbiter’s recent troubles, and the anima drought that’s besetting all the other realms in the Shadowlands is not affecting him or the Maw. Indeed, it’s the opposite — he’s only grown stronger as pretty much all the anima is flowing past the Arbiter and directly into the Maw, where the Jailer uses it to forge weapons and create soldiers for his unknown purpose.
He’s the end-boss of the entire expansion
So what we know about the Jailer is that he looks like a Batman villain fell into the Brundlefly machine with Thanos. He’s been up to no good for a very long time. He’s somehow messed up death so that everybody ends up in the Maw instead of just the bad people. He’s gained in power as Sylvanas has been killing people and sending their souls to him directly. It’s because of him that the other realms of the Shadowlands are all falling apart due to the Anima drought. Sylvanas works for him, he runs Torghast, and he’s out to conquer death itself.
Worse, he’s apparently a Titan plus plus threat, according to Ion in a recent interview. Confirming that we’ll be spending the entire expansion getting ourselves ready to even have a chance at beating the Jailer, we’ll have to grow the power of our chosen Covenant faction, work to discover exactly what the Jailer’s plan for us and the entire Shadowlands even is before we can think about taking him on. It’s kind of terrifying to think about someone actually being described as ‘Titan plus plus’ in terms of their power level, and it leads me to wonder what we’ll be facing after this expansion if this is what we’re going to be fighting next. It definitely makes sense that we’re going to know going in that the Jailer is the end boss — we went into Wrath of the Lich King knowing that, because it just makes sense, and it makes sense here as well.
Furthermore, we know that during the Shadowlands pre-patch event, the Jailer is referred to as the Banished One, and one of his agents — Herald Dalora, a Forsworn Kyrian serving the Maw — makes direct references to the Jailer as having broken his chains and seeking the very soul of Azeroth itself. It implies that this world is the Jailer’s ultimate aim and that he may well have been banished from it, or some other world in our cosmos, at some unimaginably distant period of time.
We also know it’s up to us to stop him, after he’s already been stealing all the souls throughout the Shadowlands for years and using them to power himself up. As we saw in the Shadowlands cinematic, just a small portion of this power was enough for Sylvanas to take out the Lich King and smash his hat to rend the veil between life and death, and alter reality as we know it.
No pressure, right? Let’s all get our big adventurer pants on, because the Jailer is no joke, and we’re potentially about to fight the most powerful entity we’ve ever encountered.
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