- For the novel, see Lord Foul's Bane.
Lord Foul is the most commonly used name for the ancient enemy of the Land, given to him by the Council of Lords. He is also called 'The Despiser', the 'Gray Slayer' (his name in The Plains), 'Fangthane the Render' by the Ramen and 'a-Jeroth of the Seven Hells' by The Clave. According to Roger Covenant, he also called himself 'a-Jeroth' during the time he served on Kevin's council. He is described as "the wicked son or brother of the Creator's heart" and is the source of all evil in the Land. He is a being of pure spirit, although capable of taking on human form, and is apparently immortal: he cannot be killed, but his power can be reduced to near insignificance. On occasions when this has happened he has always been able to restore and regenerate his power. His desire to bring suffering to the earth and the Land in particular is manifested by his extremely well orchestrated and even cautious long term plans throughout the chronicles.
It is believed that when the Creator made the earth, he unknowingly released Despite upon it, and did not realize his error until it was too late.
In actuality despite the people of the Land's beliefs Lord Foul seems to have existed for as long as the Creator and is his anti--thesis as he marred one of the Creator's creations which became known as The Wounded Rainbow and somehow became trapped in the Land when the Creator sealed the wound on the Rainbow which also trapped the Creators children on the Land creating the stars.
Era of the Old Lords
During the time of Kevin Landwaster he worked his way into his Council and received gifts of Orcrest and Lomillialor from Kevin. Ultimately he was discovered and so war broke out between him and the Lords. His power was too much and Kevin's army began to falter and so he met him in the heart of Mount Thunder where he invoked the Ritual of Desecration in the hopes of destroying Lord Foul, not realizing that invoking the ritual was Foul's plan all along.
Era of the New Lords
Drool Rockworm, the Cavewight who has found the lost Staff of Law, is guided (manipulated) by Foul." Foul reproaches Drool for his arrogance and transports Covenant to Foul's demesne. Addressing Covenant as "groveler", Foul taunts him with a prophecy that he (Foul) will destroy the Land within 49 years; however, if Drool isn't stopped, this doom will come to pass much sooner. He tells Covenant to deliver this message to the rulers of the Land, the Council of Lords at Revelstone, so that they can make preparations to combat Drool Rockworm and recover the Staff of Law.
Lord Foul has assembled a massive army, with which he now threatens the people of The Land. For forty years, the Lords have dedicated themselves to the study of Kevin's Lore, training new students at the school at the tree city of Revelwood. Only Mhorham remains from Lords of the council during the quest for the Staff of Law, but seven new Lords have taken their seats, having mastered both the magical and martial arts. The horse-tending Ramen have been enlisted to patrol the frontier near Foul's dominions. The Warward, the army of Revelstone, is full of battle-ready volunteers and is led by Hile Troy, who came to the Land from Covenant's world. An attempt was even made to attack Lord Foul directly, via a commando raid on his lair at the Land's eastern edge; although the raid, led by Lord Mhoram, failed, valuable knowledge was gained about Foul's forces.
The commander of Foul's army is one of three brothers of the race of Giants, a people previously thought incorruptible. With the aid of the powerful Illearth Stone, Foul's non-corporeal servants, the Ravers, have possessed the three brothers, now renamed Kinslaughterer, Fleshharrower and Satansfist. In shame and despair, the other Giants offer no resistance as Kinslaughterer murders them all in their home city. Thus, the Lords have lost their strongest and bravest ally in the fight against evil.
Covenant, Elena and their two Bloodguard protectors journey through the remote mountain region on the western frontier of the Land to the hiding place of the Ward. Elena gains the power, but foolishly uses it to summon the long dead High Lord Kevin from his grave, and send him against Lord Foul. This act breaks the Law of Death, the barrier preventing the souls of the dead from interfering in the world of the living. Kevin's spirit is easily defeated and then enslaved by Foul wielding the Illearth Stone, and commanded to destroy Elena. The two High Lords engage in a battle of magic, in which Elena and her Bloodguard are defeated and killed, and the Staff of Law lost again. Covenant is able to save himself and his Bloodguard by using the power of his white gold ring, again without understanding how.
Lord Foul is preparing for his final assault on the people of the Land. Foul has enslaved the tormented spirit of former High Lord Elena, who now wields the Staff of Law in the service of evil. The Lords have lost their most loyal defenders, the semi-immortal Bloodguard, and the Land has been cast into a perpetual winter. Furthermore, Lord Foul has rebuilt his army, which, under the command of the third Giant-raver Satansfist, now besieges the Lords' mountain-fortress of Revelstone. Covenant and Foamfollower journey to Ridjeck Thome, the very heart of Lord Foul's dominion, where they succeed in defeating Foul; this act also repairs much of the havoc caused by Elena's breaking of the Law of Death. Covenant, who has finally gained full comprehension of and control over the power of the wild magic, uses it to destroy the Illearth Stone: in the final cataclysm Foamfollower is killed and so, seemingly, is Covenant.
However, his consciousness remains, and while in a state somewhere between being and non-existence, he is spoken to in the darkness by the voice of the old beggar from the beginning of the first book, who is in fact the Creator of the Land. The Creator thanks Covenant for saving his creation and asks him what reward he might accept. Excitedly, Covenant asks the Creator to save Foamfollower, but the Creator regretfully tells Covenant that even he cannot undo something which has already occurred: otherwise the Arch of Time, the fundamental structure underlying the Land's universe, will be destroyed. The Creator explains that this restriction, in fact, is what prevented him from dealing with Foul directly: he had to act through a proxy, Covenant, and even after causing Covenant to be transported to the Land, the Creator did not interfere with Covenant's freedom of will in any way. The decision to "save or damn" the Land was Covenant's own.
The Creator then tells Covenant that he has a choice: either he can remain in the Land in full health, or he can be returned to life in his own world, where he otherwise would have died from an allergic reaction to the anti-venom treatment applied to his unconscious body. Covenant, still unwilling to fully accept the Land, chooses the latter and awakes in his hospital bed, weakened from his physical trauma, still afflicted with his disease, but happy to be alive, and secure in the knowledge that he had not failed the Land.
Era of the Sunbane
After Covenant is stabbed in the chest by one of Foul's dupes in the "real" world, he loses consciousness and hears a familiar voice: Lord Foul's. Taunting Covenant that there is "more despair bound up for you than your petty mortal heart can bear", Foul vows that he will have his final revenge on Covenant and the Land. Covenant and Linden soon learn that Lord Foul has fundamentally altered his methods. Instead of relying on armies and warfare to goad Covenant, the Despiser has devised an attack on the natural Law which gives the Land its beauty and health.The overt form of this attack is the Sunbane, a malefic corona around the sun which produces extravagant surges of fertility, rain, drought, and pestilence in mad succession.So great is the Sunbane’s power and destructiveness that it has come to dominate all life in the Land. Yet the Sunbane is not what it appears to be. And its organic virulence serves primarily to mask Lord Foul’s deeper manipulations.He has spent centuries corrupting the Council of Lords. That group now rules over the Land as the Clave; and it is led by a Raver, one of the Despiser’s most ancient and potent servants. The Clave extracts blood from the people of the Land to feed the Banefire, an enormous blaze which purportedly hinders the Sunbane, but which actually increases it. However, the hidden purpose of the Clave and the Banefire is to inspire from Covenant an excessive exertion of wild magic. And toward that end, another Raver afflicts Covenant with a venom intended to cripple his control over his power. When the venom has done its work, Covenant will be unable to defend the Land without unleashing so much force that he destroys the Arch. As for Linden Avery, Lord Foul intends to use her loathing of death against her. She alone is gifted or cursed with the health-sense which once informed and guided all the people of the Land by enabling them to perceive physical and emotional health directly. For that reason, she is uniquely vulnerable to the malevolence of the Sunbane, as well as to the insatiable malice of the Ravers. The manifest evil into which she has been plunged threatens the core of her identity. Linden’s health-sense accentuates her potential as a healer. However, it also gives her the capacity to possess other people; to reach so deeply into them that she can control their actions. By this means, Lord Foul intends to cripple her morally: he seeks to transform her into a woman who will possess Covenant in order to misuse his power. Thus she will give the Despiser what he wants even if Covenant does not. And if those ploys fail, Lord Foul has other stratagems in place to achieve his ends.At last, Starfare’s Gem reaches the Isle of the One Tree, where one of the Haruchai, Brinn, contrives to replace the Tree’s Guardian. But when Covenant, Linden, and their companions approach their goal, theylearn that they have been misled by the Despiser—and by the Elohim. Covenant’s attempt to obtain wood for a new Staff of Law begins to rouse the Worm of the World’s End. Once awakened, the Worm will accomplish Lord Foul’s release from Time. At Mount Thunder, Covenant gives the white gold ring willingly to the Despiser, an action which was foretold by Lord Foul upon Covenant's initial return to the Land; Linden Avery refrains from preventing him from this action, despite her ability to do so. The Despiser then kills Covenant, and attempts to destroy the Arch of Time with the wild magic. However, Covenant's spirit blocks his assault: in a manner similar to the cleansing experience with the Banefire, the power of wild magic causes Covenant pain but does not harm him, and in fact makes him more powerful with each attack. (Covenant later explains, "Foul did the one thing I couldn't: he burned the venom away.") Covenant's ability to interfere in this manner is revealed as a consequence of the breaking of the Law of Life and a fulfillment of Lord Mhoram's prophecy ("You are the white gold"). Unable to comprehend this, Lord Foul continues to attack Covenant's spirit until he vanishes, drained of all his power. Linden Avery then takes the white gold ring, and uses it to bond Vain with Findail. Linden thus creates a new Staff of Law, combining the rigidness and structure of the ur-viles' lore with the pure and free Earthpower of the Elohim. Then, combining the new Staff with the power of the wild magic, she heals the Land of the Sunbane.
Era of the Masters
Linden finds herself once again translated to the Land, where Lord Foul's disembodied voice informs her that he has gained possession of her son. As before, several thousand years have passed in the Land, and everything that Linden knew has changed. The Land has been healed, restored ot its former loveliness and potency. Now, however it is ruled by Masters, Haruchai who have dedicated themselves to the suppression of all magical knowledge and power. Their task is simplified by an eerie smog called Kevin's Dirt, which blinds the people of the Land to the wealth of Earthpower all around them.
Yet the Land is threatened by perils which the Masters cannot defeat. Caesures disruptions of time- wreak havoc appearing and dissappearing randomly as Joan releases insane blasts of wild magic. In addition one of the Elohim has visited the Land, warning of dangers which include various monsters and an unnamed halfhand. The new Staff of Law that Linden created has been lost.