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Poll: Who Is The Jailer In World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

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Who is the Jailer in World of Warcraft Shadowlands? Now that we know Shadowlands is the next expansion the most fun part begins: speculation. The Jailer’s appearance has also been leaked which has caused a lot of drama. We learned at BlizzCon that the Jailer is a new lore character. Which means he’s never appeared in the game, a novel, or a comic. By the way, this article is pure speculation and will contain a lot of my own opinion.

So, what is a Jailer? Well, a jailer is a person who’s in charge of prisoners. They keep them from escaping from their jail cells. The term ‘Jailer’ has come up before. Most notably during the end of Wrath of the Lich King when Bolvar asks Tirion to place the Helm of Domination on his head. Bolvar said he was going to become the jailer of the damned. So it’s possible that the Lich King could share the Jailer’s powers. But, the Jailer we’re concerned with isn’t Bolvar, Arthas, Bwonsamdi or any known lore figure associated with death.

Our concerns are with the shadowy figure in chains who appeared in the features trailer. Honestly, my first thought was Arthas as the figure appeared to have long hair. Now Blizzard is saying that the Jailer isn’t a character we know. So Arthas is automatically knocked out of the running. I’ve wondered before if the Shadowlands are influenced by time though. So could it be a character we knew from the past, or maybe someone we’ll meet in the future? Could the Jailer be a character from an alternate reality? We do have alternate realities with Draenor so it’s a fun thought.

Who do you believe the Jailer is? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Who Is The Jailer In World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

World of Warcraft Cosmology Chart

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Before we talk about the Jailer let’s take a look at this cosmology chart. In the World of Warcraft Chronicles, this chart is like the rules of the Warcraft universe. On the chart, we discover how powerful elements like light and arcane relate to each other. We’re going to focus on the right side of the chart. The circles of disorder and death are connected. Crumbled buildings at the top segue into broken bones at the bottom. Underneath Death is Shadow. So it looks like disorder leads to death which then leads us to darkness (shadow).

Disorder is connected to Fel. The Fel is a type of substance used by the Burning Legion. Kil’jaeden is a dread lord from the Burning Legion who created the first Lich King. He did this by trapping an orc named Ner’zhul inside of the Helm of Domination. The helm wasn’t crafted by Kil’jaeden because the helm comes from the Shadowlands. So the Lich King is a creation of Fel and Deathlike influences. It’s like disorder and death are clashing to create one entity. The Lich King controls the Scourge which is considered the army of the damned. There are also chains in Icecrown Citadel’s design which is reminiscent of the chains on the Jailer. The Jailer is wearing what appears to be a crown. It’s similar to the design on Icecrown, and to the helm the Lich King wears.

World of Warcraft Cosmology Chart Continued

What this tells us is that disorder is an important part of death. Death is something that is apart of the natural order of existence. Disorder can also lead to a tremendous loss of life. Without disorder, death may cease to function. Existence relies on both life and death to thrive. Without death than life doesn’t flourish. Dead things can provide fertilizer for plants to grow.

Naturally, the order is on the left side of the chart. The order is tied to the arcane. What’s unique about this though, is that order is closer to darkness (shadow) than disorder. Order makes me think of judgment. So maybe the Arbiter could fall into the order category. Regardless, the chart is a great jumping-off point for where we’re headed.

Let’s Examine Chaos From Each Expansion

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The Jailer is working with Sylvanas. She wants to avoid truly dying because she fears the darkness waiting for her. Sylvanas met the Jailer in Wrath when she fell off of Icecrown and died. The Val’kyr are the ones who returned Sylvanas to undeath. Blizzard has stated that Death is broken. Sylvanas’s death and resurrection could’ve messed with the way death functions. Which may have caused souls not to be sent to the Arbiter. The Arbiter is the being who casts judgment on a soul when they enter the Shadowlands.

Now we don’t know what caused death to break. Sylvanas’s death isn’t the only time death could’ve been broken. WoW has had three Lich Kings, but maybe that power was never meant to be tossed around like a ball. Frostmourne was a powerful blade with connections to the Shadowlands. So it’s shattering could’ve affected the way death functioned.

We are meeting the being who forged Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination. Maybe the Nathrezim and Kil’jaeden journeyed to the Shadowlands to create Frostmourne and the Helm. They could’ve worked with the forger. We were always told that Kil’jaeden created the Lich King when he trapped Ner’zhul in the helm. So maybe this explains the lore.

Examination of Chaos Continued

We also have to examine each expansion since Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve dealt with dragon aspects, the Sha, alternate timelines, the Burning Legion, and soon death again. At some point, any of those forces could’ve upset the balance between the physical world and the spiritual. Who Is The Jailer In World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

Chaos From The Cataclysm

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For example, in Cataclysm we dealt with the Dragon Aspects. The Dragon Aspects were granted their powers by the Pantheon. The Titans wanted the aspects to protect Azeroth. Each Dragonflight had its unique power. The blue Dragonflight was arcane, the green Dragonflight had power over the natural world and sleep, the red Dragonflight protected life, the bronze Dragonflight defended time, and the black Dragonflight protected the Earth.

When Cataclysm concluded the Dragon Aspects gave up their powers. The Dragon Aspects don’t influence other worlds because their job was to protect Azeroth. But the power they held was cosmic as it was a gift from the Titans. The absence of these powers may have upset the balance. Time, life, and sleep are the powers that could’ve caused the most chaos. Death is a natural state and affects all life. As time passes death draws near. Sleep is sometimes used as a euphemism for death. Some fans have speculated that Mueh’zala who’s referred to as the Lord of Sleep is the Jailer. Again, this doesn’t work because Blizzard said it’s a character we’ve never met.

Cataclysm Continued

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Now the Emerald Dream is connected to the Shadowlands by the new zone Ardenweald. Ardenweald is said to be the mirror of the Emerald Dream. So while the dream is bright and sunny, then Ardenweald is dark and mysterious. The Emerald Dream was protected by the green Dragonflight. Yesera, the Dreamer, was the leader of the flight. Besides Ysera giving up her powers in Cataclysm we’ve also had other problems crop up over time. The dream was besieged by the Nightmare. The Nightmare is a corrupting force that taints the dream and traps dreamers within its clutches. During Legion, Yesera was killed and Elune made her a celestial in the sky.

So if the Emerald Dream is supposed to be a positive mirror to Ardenweald, but it’s had a lot of chaos this could’ve upset the balance. But you might be wondering who is the Jailer in World of Warcraft Shadowlands, and how does examining chaos from each expansion answer that question? All will be revealed.

Chaos From the Mists

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Mists of Pandaria took us to the gorgeous land of Pandaria. We were introduced to the Pandaren, and also to the Sha. The Sha are dark beings created from negative emotions. Sha was spawned from the Old God Y’shaarj after he was killed by the titan Aman’thul. Pandaren kept the Sha in order by preserving peace and harmony. The conflict brought to the continent by the Horde and Alliance made the Sha go out of wack. Again, it’s another example of the spiritual and physical planes going out of sync.

Chaos From The Past

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Warlords of Draenor took us to the past. We visited an alternate timeline where the Dark Portal wasn’t open yet. Time is linked to death because all living things die. So far we haven’t heard what the repercussions of our jaunt through time will be. Journeying to the past may have prevented some characters from dying. Could this be what’s causing death to be broken? Messing with time always has consequences, and it might answer who is the Jailer in World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

Chaos From The Legion


On the Broken Isles, we faced the Burning Legion. Legion is when we discovered Sylvanas made a deal with Helya. Helya is the ruler of Helheim. Helheim is like the Underworld. This is where Vrykul who doesn’t ascend to the Halls of Valor go. We also journeyed to the world of Argus. Over the course of the expansion, we lost King Varian Wrynn, Vol’jin, and Tirion Fordring. Legion was the expansion where Vol’jin was told by a mysterious force to make Sylvanas the new warchief.

Now, this is the only time where the Mueh’zala theory could make sense. Only a loa could’ve told Vol’jin to make Sylvanas warchief. Who else could speak to Vol’jin and tell him that? The problem with the theory is Blizzard is saying we’ve never met this character. Technically we’ve never seen Mueh’zala in the game. So maybe it is Mueh’zala and Blizzard just wants to get us off the trail. Death was already broken by Legion. So it’ll be fascinating to discover why.

Chaos From Azeroth

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The Horde and Alliance conflict has concluded for now. But as we saw in Mists of Pandaria the wars between the Horde and Alliance have upset Azeroth’s balance. Our negative emotions have the power to destroy the world. Ever since the second war, the Horde and Alliance kept going back and forth on whether we were enemies or allies. Honestly, this conflict has brought about a negative spirit Azeroth. That feeling was made physical during MoP with the Sha. Each time our blades clash it leads to ruin. Sylvanas and the Jailer were hoping to bring about as much death as possible. Fanning the old flames of hatred were the perfect way to achieve this goal.

Although the Horde and Alliance have reached a truce there are still conflicts on the horizon. Tyrande is angry with Sylvanas and the Horde for destroying her home. The Burning of Teldrassil caused thousands of innocent Night Elves to lose their lives. King Anduin Wrynn is so focused on having peace that he’s not understanding how Tyrande feels. But, Tyrande is certainly on a path of darkness which of course only brings more chaos. Now that Tyrande is the Night Warrior we may have connections to Ardenweald. I wonder if the Night Warrior borrows inspiration from Nyx the Goddess of the Night in Greek myth. Elune is the Moon Goddess and Night Elves worship her. They are also staunch protectors of the Emerald Dream. The Battle for Azeroth might be over, but the after-effects of the conflict are not. We’re going to feel the repercussions for years to come.

Azeroth Continued

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N’Zoth is going to be defeated in the next patch. But the only Old God who’s died so far is Y’shaarj and he was killed by a titan. So Old Gods may not be destroyed. They are a creation of the Void Lords who sent them out in the Great Dark Beyond to corrupt a World Soul. Old Gods are like manifestations of chaos themselves. There’s a possibility that the chaos which is leftover from the faction conflict and the Old Gods has spilled into the spiritual plane and caused a bigger rift.

The Black Empire existed thousands of years ago, and it’s one of the earliest records of chaos from Azeroth’s history. The titans created the worlds but they also created chaos too. Sargeras is the fallen titan. He created the Burning Legion and then set out to end creation. Sargeras is probably not as chained to that throne as we’re led to believe. Fel and death blend together on the World of Warcraft Chronicles chart. So although we’ve stopped Sargeras and the Burning Legion, for now, the demons are still out there. Disorder and death will clash again soon which will lead to shadow.

Who Is The Jailer In World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

Could The Jailer And The Arbiter Be Connected?

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Who is the Jailer in World of Warcraft Shadowlands? Let’s discuss the Arbiter for a moment. She’s a powerful being who casts judgment on souls. The Arbiter resides in the city of Oribos. In Greek Mythology the Underworld had three judges. Their job was to judge the deeds of the deceased and to make the laws for the Underworld. So the judges provided order. They weren’t beings of light or darkness, because they were neutral. That neutrality is what makes the judges so interesting.

Now the Arbiter is probably loosely based on the three judges of the Underworld. She may not create the laws for the Shadowlands, but it’s believed the Arbiter existed long before the titans. This means that the Shadowlands (the realm of death) most likely exists outside of the rules of time. World of Warcraft could have an infinite amount of realms we’ve never visited. Each of these realms would contribute to the existence of life and death, and they would also influence the natural order of the physical and spiritual worlds.

World of Warcraft doesn’t have a central God figure. Most of the races in the game have their own beliefs. We know that the titans created the worlds. So if the Arbiter precedes the titans she’s either an angelic being or a titan herself. This makes me wonder who created her and who created the Jailer? Well, in Greek mythology the Jailer of the Underworld is Tartarus. Tartarus is both a place and a person. They are the first entity to exist. Tartarus is where the light and cosmos are born. They were one of the entities born of the void of chaos.

The Jailer And The Arbiter Continued

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The void of chaos is a term from Greek myth. It’s referring to the original state of the universe before the separation of heaven and Earth. In Greek myth, the primordial deities were born of the void of chaos. The primordial deities gave birth to the titans. The titans Cronus and Rhea gave birth to Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, and Demeter. They overthrew the titans causing a warring of the Gods with Zeus as the victor.

Now I’m not implying that we’re going to have another war but this is World of Warcraft. A war between the Shadowlands and the Pantheon would be interesting, but it’d only make sense if the Arbiter and the Jailer were born from the void of chaos. What if the Arbiter and the Jailer are the same entity but they’ve been split into two? The Jailer would be disorder while the Arbiter is order. They may be two halves of the same coin. The  Great Dark Beyond could literally hinge on their existence. Maybe they’re the yin-and-yang of the cosmos. Which would make the Shadowlands an important player in a game of never-ending chess game, and we’re just the pieces on the board.

How the Void of Chaos and the Chaos of Warcraft Led To This

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Maybe all the chaos since the end of Wrath has led to where we are in the story. Earlier in this post, I mentioned several types of chaotic examples from each expansion. Not only has the original void of chaos led to the creation of the Jailer, the Arbiter, and the Shadowlands, but all the recent chaos has caused death to break. The natural order of life and death is now out of sync, and we must journey to the Shadowlands to fix it back.

Wait…Does The Jailer Connect To The Void Lords?

Who is the Jailer in World of Warcraft Shadowlands? Well, if the Jailer and the Arbiter were born from the void of chaos do they connect to the void lords? That’s a great question! Now Shadowlands is supposed to deal with the themes of life and death not light and void. Light and void will come up in another expansion. We’ve certainly gotten a lot of void stories lately though. Between Old Gods, Nazjatar, and void elves it seems like the void is everywhere right now.

The Jailer and the Arbiter are probably not connected to the void lords. All of them were most likely created from the void, but they don’t all serve the same purpose. The void lords will probably be the final boss of World of Warcraft. So far we haven’t encountered any monstrous beings which make me think void lord. There are smaller void lord beings which we’ve fought within the game, but it’s not quite the same. I’d imagine the void lords to be as large and powerful as the titans.

Is The Jailer The Villian In World Of Warcraft Shadowlands

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The Jailer is being set up as the villain of the Shadowlands expansion. We don’t know the Jailer or Sylvanas’s true motives. The Jailer may be just as trapped as his name suggests. If the Jailer and the Arbiter are connected, then maybe the Arbiter is the actual villain. We’re being led to believe that the Arbiter is an impartial being. This means that because the Arbiter is neutral, they don’t have any ill will toward anyway.

We don’t know for sure how the Arbiter and the Jailer came to be though. Even if the are two-halves of a coin that doesn’t explain how they ended up in their roles. Maybe no one assigned them, but both figures appear to be stuck where they are. The Arbiter is in the center of Oribos, and the Jailer has chains on his form. Neither of them could be free. Maybe the Jailer wants to break free and that’s why he’s working with Sylvanas.

So…Who Is The Jailer Again?

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The Jailer and the Arbiter may be the same entity but split. While the Arbiter is order, the Jailer represents disorder. These beings existed before the titans. So the Jailer and the Arbiter were probably created from the void. They aren’t connected to the void lords, but they are the reason life and death exist. Chaos created the Jailer and the Arbiter. The chaos we’ve experienced in every expansion has led to death being broken. At the center of the Shadowlands expansion will be chaos. We’ll need to find a way to calm it or fix it to set things right. There’s also a chance that the Pantheon and the Shadowlands denizens are complete opposites. So we could have a warring of the Gods which is existed within Greek myth, but in World of Warcraft, it’ll mean that life and death will wage war against the other.

How do you feel about my theory? Do you believe the Jailer and the Arbiter are the same beings? What about the role of chaos within the World of Warcraft? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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Before you go, check out what’s the fastest way to level in WoW, the seven most exciting starter zones in World of Warcraft, the World of Warcraft sound artists interviewed by BBC in the Studio, and how to participate in World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary as a new player.

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2 thoughts on “Poll: Who Is The Jailer In World of Warcraft Shadowlands?

  1. Interestingly the Jailer has similarities to titans
    but if he came before them then maybe that’s for the similarities
    so you could be onto something right their however.

    I can’t see how this jailer dude relates to disorder and the arbiter in any significant way their very different from each other especially when he looks so much more like a titan, he looks like a locked away titan maybe of death, if that jailer is not that then I’ll be shocked something before planetary existence???, I guess it makes sense if shadowlands came before it but still, maybe it has a lot to do with that ancient troll tale hmm, considering how deceptive the chronicles is hmmm???.

    1. Hi Dominic,

      Thanks for responding. =) You may be right about the Jailer being connected to the ancient trolls. There is speculation that the Jailer is Mueh’zala which would make him the loa of death. Considering that a voice did speak to Vol’jin maybe it was a loa who told him to make Sylvanas the warchief. Now, the Jailer being a titan of death is also a unique thought. In the past, I’ve seen fans speculate Argus and Azeroth as potential candidates for the titan of death. You’re right that the chronicles have retconned a lot of lore. So it’s hard to know what’s canon sometimes.

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