You shall feel my wrath as never before!
~ The Shadow Lord in his true form before attacking Leif and all his allies.

The Shadow Lord (real name: Malverlain) is the main antagonist of the book series, Deltora Quest, and its anime TV show adaptation of the same name. He is also often called the "Lord of Shadows", "The Enemy", and "The Master".

He is the evil and treacherous ruler of the Shadowlands beyond the Barrier Mountains, north of Deltora and the supreme leader of the Shadow Army and he is shown to be a very manipulative and powerful sorcerer. He resides in the Shadowlands and made attempts to rule Deltora throughout the series. He is shown to be a very clever and brilliant planner and creates many plans to foil even those who appear to defeat him at first.

His most loyal servants are the seven Ak-Baba, huge, monstrous, vulture-like birds that are very strong, and lives 1,000 years.

He is (in short) a megalomaniac, being convinced that all creatures should obey him. The Shadow Lord apparently goes by a policy that if he cannot have something, he will simply destroy it, evident by deciding to just destroy Deltora with the Grey Tide when the Four Sisters failed.

He is also very sadistic and prejudicial, deriving pleasure from tormenting Lief mentally.

The Shadow Lord cares nothing about his subordinates, viewing them as simple pawns. An exception to this may be the Ak-Baba, if for their strength and loyalty if no other reason.


The Shadow Lord is a very powerful dark sorcerer, who rules beyond the Barrier Mountains to the north of Deltora, in the Shadowlands, which were formerly the land of Pirra. He is cold, cruel, brutal, violent, ruthless, murderous, and traitorous, so he hates everything good and beautiful. He is jealous of the people of Deltora, and the king, because his plans to take over the land have failed again and again.

His strength has grown over the thousand years while he has been in the Shadowlands, and his hatred upon the Royal Family of Deltora has as well.

The Shadow Lord was once a human being, with dark skin and a long black beard but over the years of his life anger and hatred compleatly consumed his physical body. He had a large cloak, reffered to his cloak of shadows in Tales of Deltora, and a magic staff made of a wooden branch, curled up on top, just like the one of the Maia Gandalf in the film adaptations of the works by J.R.R. Tolkien.

While the Shadow Lord is never explicitly seen in the books, the anime depicts the Shadow Lord as a satanic monster made out of pure darkness, with glowing red eyes, and a deep, sinister voice.


Early Life

Malverlain was born to Chieftain Peregrine and the Fellan Alenan (shortened to Alena), in Nerra, Dorne. Malverlain saw his older brother, Annoltis as his rival and his younger brother, Eldannen as nothing. He studied and read many books and was trained in sorcery. When Annoltis was about at the age of 16, Alena died and was put to rest in Dann's Mirror, in the Fell Zone. Soon after, Peregrine passed away in his sleep and, knowing that Annoltis would be the favorite to become Chieftain, challenged his older brother. He believed it was his right to become Chieftain and that Annoltis had stolen the throne from him. Using magic, Malverlain attacked Annoltis and Eldannen sided against him. After a long battle, Malverlain was defeated by his 2 brothers, for together they were almost invincible, and they decided his fate.

Banishment from Dorne



In secrecy, Annoltis and Eldannen (shortened to Olt and Dann) took Malverlain down to the shore underneath the Fortress. There, standing shoulder to shoulder, they held the banishment spell, pointing out to sea. Sick with rage and bitterness, Malverlain, now known as "Malverlain", and soon the Shadow Lord, conjured up a boat with a grey sail marked with red and headed out to sea. The power of the banishment spell sped him on his way and as he cursed his two brothers, he vowed he would return and take vengeance. He turned and sailed west, for he knew that other islands lay that way, including the Land of Dragons.

The Four Sisters

In his search, he came upon a beautiful island that was home to four sisters: Flora, Viva, Aqua, and Terra. They were all beautiful singers, but the Shadow Lord, hating beautiful things, imprisoned each on a separate corner of the island. However, the sisters still sang to one another and the Shadow Lord still was not rid of the singing. Enraged, he killed the sisters one by one.

However, their singing had soothed and sealed a great beast in the center of the land; by killing them and silencing their singing, the Shadow Lord had enraged and released the beast. Angered, it rose, smashing the mountains, and cracking the rock that the island rested on, so it began to sink. The Shadow Lord, not yet powerful enough to face the beast, fled out in the Silver Sea, conjuring up a small wooden boat with a grey sail, marked with red.

Arrival at Deltora

One day, he washed ashore on Deltora, then known as the Land of Dragons. He landed on the northwest side, in the territory of the Emerald. He immediately decided that this was the land that he wanted to rule. However, he was soon attacked and burned by an Emerald Dragon and fled to the mountain range, now known as the Barrier Mountains, separating Deltora and Pirra. He hid there for many years, gathering followers in many bandits and killers also living in the mountains.

Birth of the Ak-Baba

One day, on a snowy peak, he found what he thought at the time was a dragon egg. He was very pleased with his discovery, thinking that he could raise his own army of dragons to conquer Deltora. When he brought it to his cave and the egg hatched, however, he realized that this was not a dragon; it was a kind of bird. Though disappointed, he soon realized that this bird could be useful in its own way, and he presumably found 6 more eggs, resulting in what would eventually become his loyal group of Ak-Baba.

The Shadowlands

Later, when he was more powerful, the Shadow Lord went to Pirra. He tricked the Pirrans into splitting both their people and, more importantly, the Pirran Pipe, into three parts. Without the Pirran Pipe, the land of Pirra lost its power and the Pirrans fled to the underground ocean below Deltora. The Shadow Lord ruled the now-vacant Pirra, which became the Shadowlands.

The Battle for Deltora

He then attempted to take over Deltora. However, a blacksmith, Adin, during the Battle for Deltora, united the tribes of Deltora with the Belt of Deltora and drove the Shadow Lord's armies back to the Shadowlands. It became the custom for the heir of Deltora to always wear the Belt of Deltora; however, the royal family's advisors were slowly replaced with the Shadow Lord's servants, and it became the custom to wear the Belt of Deltora only on the day that the heir became king or queen. Eventually, the Shadow Lord succeeded in stealing the gems of the Belt of Deltora and scattering them throughout the land, and with the help of his Ak-Baka he killed all but seven of Deltora's dragons.

The Stolen Gems

Later, Lief and his companions collected the 7 gems from the most feared places in the Land, the Forests of Silence, The Lake of Tears, Hira, The Shifting Sands, Dread Mountian, The Maze of the Beast and The Valley of the Lost. He then expelled the Shadow Lord from Deltora when he rearranged the Belt so the first letters of each Gem spelt out "Deltora" and put the belt on, as he was the last in Adin's Line.

The Pirran Pipe

After that Lief and his friends set off on a quest for the Pirrian Pipe. Once they got all 3 pieces of it they went into the Shadowlands and played it there sending the Shadow Lord in exile and freeing all his slaves.

The Four Sisters

Lief then learned of the Four Sisters in Deltora and awoke dragons to strike them down one by one. The Shadow Lord had a plan with the sisters. If they would not be destroyed, they would starve Deltora's people, but if they were, the Beast, a giant mass of Gray Slime, in the center of the land (Hira) would rise up and cover Deltora in a Hardening Gray Slime. Lief silenced the sisters and the beast rose. However with the help of Deltora's last Dragons, Veritas, Hopian, Fortuna, Fidelis, Forta, Honoura and Joyeau, they destroyed the beast. And so the Shadow Lord's plans were ended and he was no more, but to this day, Lief still does not remove the Belt.

Attack on Dorne

After his failure in Deltora, the Shadow Lord set his sights back to his homeland of Dorne. It sent a spy to advise the Chieftain there to attack the Fellan, for the Fellan protected the island from the Shadow Lord. Luckily for the people of Dorne, 5 heroes from Weld exposed the Shadow Lord's plan.

In an alternate future where the Shadow Lord succeeded, it discovered the Skimmers and bred them to be able to survive in daylight. This way it could use them to attack Deltora.

TV appearance

While the Shadow Lord appears human in the books, as in the illustration drawn and painted by Marc McBride in Tales of Deltora (in the three series he is, however, mentioned repeatedly, and during the last battle in Return to Del, he appears, but floating in the air, surrounded by dark red clouds), the anime series Deltora Quest depicts him as a massive, demonic entity with glowing red eyes, and a body made out of darkness.

In the final episode, he believed that he killed Lief and Jasmine by trapping them under a pile of rubble to prevent Lief from using the belt. But once Lief activated it, he transformed into a glowing mystical giant and took on the Shadow Lord head on. As a final act, Lief's avatar drew forth a mystical sword and used it to slice through the Shadow Lord's head, killing him and ending his reign of terror.



  • The Shadow Lord's true name was only revealed in the new edition of Tales of Deltora, and in The Three Doors series.
  • His true name "Malverlain" is based on the word "manevolent".
  • So far there is no visible method to destroy him permanently.
  • Because Rosalyn is from Deltora the Shadow Lord has Deltoran blood in him. He even has ancestors from the city of Del, the capital of Deltora.
  • The Shadow Lord is the main antagonist throughout all 3 Deltora Quest series.
  • The Shadow Lord's most loyal servants are the 7 Ak-Baba.
  • The Shadow Lord's staff in the Deltora Quest book series resembles the staff of Maia Gandalf in film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.