Micheal Cypher was the First Councilor of Westland. He grew up in Hartland believing Richard Rahl was his brother. Once he grew up, he and his father, George Cypher, never got along, causing them to hardly ever speak.
Early Life Edit
Michael was a few years older than Richard. As a young man, he had no interest in nature or wood life or in Zedd's rambling lectures (as Richard did) preferring instead to spend his time with people of means. Even early on Michael was always busy, rarely taking the time to stop by his father's home for a visit. Still, Richard always believed that Michael really did care about him due to his insistent nagging (which Richard largely ignored). According to Richard, Michael was "always telling everyone what to do, even their father". He could also sometimes be crude in how he did things.
Michael lived in a mansion in Hartland. Michael's house was a massive structure of white stone, set back quite a distance from the road. Slate roofs in a variety of angles and rakes came together in complicated junctures topped with a lead-glass peak that let light into the central hall. The walkway to the house was shaded from the bright afternoon sun by towering white oaks as it passed through sweeping stretches of lawn before coming to formal gardens laid in symmetrical patterns to each side. Flowers in full bloom, raised in greenhouses, were occasionally brought in for special occasions (such as Michael's inauguration as First Councilor). The inside of the house was covered in white marble floors, walls and columns. Michael noted to Richard how he preferred marble since "anyone could make what they wanted from wood". Richard preferred the warmth of wood. Michael had two tapestries on the walls of his home. Richard rather favored them, and had always thought they were a grand extravagance. But Michael's tapestries were to those in Tamarang as a stick drawing in the dirt was to a fine oil painting.
Michael Cypher grew up in the home of his father, George Cypher along with his adopted younger brother, Richard. As children, Michael was a caring individual and he and Richard had a strong relationship. Michael would often help Richard, building forts out of sticks and dirt and playing together. After the death of his mother though, Michael became a harder person to be close to. His ambition became politics and his goals focused on becoming someone important. He spent more and more time with his friends. He would make friends with anyone he thought was important. His father would argue with him for making friends with such arrogant and pompous people.
One time, Michael's father came home from one of his adventures with an old vase that he hoped to sell for one gold piece. Michael said he could get more, and though they argued, his father let him take it to sell. Michael came back with four gold pieces, although his father knew it was not worth that much and that Michael had lied to the people he sold it to about its origins. Michael kept three of the gold coins for himself saying, "that is the value of my friends, George". From then on, Michael always referred to his father as "George". However, Michael used the money to pay off the family debts rather than buying anything for himself.
Eventually, Michael became a councilor of Westland. During this time, he encouraged people to bring their information to him first. Even a farmer with a tale received an ear, and if the tale proved true, a favor. Michael often said that information was the coin of power, and that it was not a coin to be spent frivolously.
First Councilor Edit
Three weeks after the death of his father George Cypher, Michael was appointed as First Councilor of Westland, a position that would make him responsible for everything and everyone within Westland. Becoming First Councilor was everything that Michael had always wanted. Hearing the news of his future appointment however, did not satisfy him. Instead, he became even less tolerant of others, always busy, always snapping orders, and always in a bad mood.
His defection to Darken Rahl was foreshadowed by his acceptance speech, in which he spoke of the need for peace and the dangers of fire (which was the same propaganda that Darken Rahl was spreading throughout the Midlands). Richard originally wrote this off as being mere concern for the people, and understandable as their own mother had died in a fire.
We know that Darken Rahl visited Michael's mansion several times before the Westland Boundary fell because Scarlet told Richard about it
When Chase and Rachel arrived to summon Michael's help for Richard, he gathered an army and set off to "help", but in reality he told Darken Rahl where Richard was, and enabled Richard to be caught by the Mord-Sith Denna.
Michael also gave the third Box of Orden to Darken Rahl after being entrusted with it by Zedd and Kahlan.
Richard discovered Michael's defection when, after having an enemy web cast upon him (which made him appear as Darken Dahl to people that allied themselves with Richard and as himself to Rahl's Allies), Michael saw Richard as Richard, meaning, in short, that he and Richard were on opposite sides of the struggle. Richard managed to escape from Michael and his army.
After Darken Rahl's defeat, Richard ordered Michael's execution, not for betraying Richard, but for all the other innocent people Michael's defection betrayed.
Personality and traits Edit
Not only was he shorter than Richard, Michael was also heavier and softer. On his head was a mop of unruly hair. His upper lip proudly displayed a mustache. In public, he often wore baggy white trousers and his white tunic with bloused sleeves would be cinched at the waist by a gold belt. He was jealous of his brother, and frequently tried to upstage him and take what was his, for no other reason than it was Richard's.
Behind the Scenes Edit
- In the Legend of the Seeker, a television series based on the Sword of Truth series, Michael is portrayed by actor David de Lautour.
- On the show, Michael had a slightly more positive relationship with Richard than in the books, though he did accuse Richard of killing his father, thinking that he was under the witch's "spell", and renounced him as his brother. While he did become a supporter of Darken Rahl for a time, this was only because he was tricked into it—he truly believed that the D'Harans were helping them. Upon Richard's return to Hartland, he learned of the D'Haran's true intentions and repented. He began helping Richard and the others in their efforts against the D'Haran envoy in Hartland. Michael later died in Hartland while fighting alongside and defending Richard. He died in his brother's arms and told him that if he were to find George in the Underworld, he would tell him that Richard was a great hero.