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Human, you've changed nothing. Your species has the attention of those infinitely your greater. That which you know as Reapers are your salvation to destruction.
~ Harbinger to Commander Shepard as he escapes the Collectors' base.
I am assuming direct control.
~ Harbinger's most famous quote.

Harbinger is the main antagonist of the original Mass Effect trilogy. It is the leader of the Reapers, who every 50,000 years destroy all organic life and convert them into slaves for their use.

He was voiced by Keith Szarabajka, who also voiced Trigon in the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon, Daniel Holtz in Angel, Venom in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, El Mago in Dora the Explorer, the Didact in Halo 4, Mr. Freeze in Young Justice, Reed Wahl in Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den, Kalrow in Asura's Wrath, and Cornelius Slate in Bioshock: Infinite.


Harbinger serves as the unseen overarching antagonist of Mass Effect, the main antagonist of Mass Effect 2, its Expansion Arrival, Mass Effect: Paragon lost, Mass Effect: Redemption and Mass Effect: Ascension, one of the two main antagonists (alongside Illusive Man) of Mass Effect 3 and the main antagonist of Mass effect 3: Multiplayer.


Harbinger was the first Reaper to be built by the Intelligence, also known as the Catalyst, who was created by the Leviathans (the first sapient and complex species to ever rise and dominate the galaxy billion years ago). The Leviathans who noticed that many of the organic races they commanded were eventually felled by their own synthetic creations once their civilizations grew too much powerful and technological, created the Catalyst to oversee the relations between organics and synthetics in the hopes to stop this infinite cycle and keep life preserved in the galaxy. After million years analyzing, the Catalyst came to the conclusion that organics create synthetics to improve their own existence and technology that allows them to travel across the space. To exceed those limits, synthetics must be allowed to evolve to surpass their creators, resulting in ultimate betrayal of an entire species. The final conclusion of the Catalyst is that to prevent such thing from happening synthetics must exterminate their creators so they can no longer reach their status as a technological advanced race and keep them as primitives and limited as much as possible.

The Catalyst then turned on its creators without a single warning, using its organic pawns to overthrow the Leviathans and use their bodies to use their liquids to construct the very first Reaper, the Harbinger that took form of the Leviathans. The memories of the Leviathans used to create Harbinger were preserved as the Reaper's gestalt consciousness, which in turn was incorporated into the Catalyst itself. As the first Reaper, Harbinger solely wiped out all life in the galaxy at its first harvest for countless million years, producing more Reapers on the process for thousands, if not millions of harvests every 50,000 years; the limit of waiting put by the Catalyst to let all civilizations rise from the ashes once the Reapers can once again harvest the galaxy for hundred years before returning to their slumber in the dark space (the dark space located outside of the galaxy). 

It is the very first Reaper, like Sovereign from the first game, and is the controlling force behind the mysterious aliens known as the Collectors (who are actually indoctrinated and highly modified Protheans). It directly controls the Collector General, and during gameplay it can possess the body of any regular Collector, changing it from a normal grunt into a super-powered enemy with a damage absorbing barrier, enhanced durability, and the ability to fire biotic attacks and fireballs. Harbinger also expresses an interest in Commander Shepard, due to their victory over Sovereign, and often orders the Collectors to capture Shepard alive if possible. Harbinger's goal is to use the Collectors to kidnap humans and use them to create a Human-Reaper. At the end of the game, Shepard and friends destroy this monstrosity and destroy the Collector base (or alternatively, sterilize it and allow Cerberus to salvage its technology). Harbinger is then forced to lead the Reaper invasion manually by slowly travelling across the Galaxy towards civilization

In Mass Effect 3, Harbinger is still the leader of the Reapers but has a much smaller role, thus making him the Bigger Bad. It is leading the Reapers' invasion of Earth. Its only actual appearance is during the final mission, where it appears behind the beam to the Citadel and personally attacks what remains of Hammer strike force, though the Normandy manages to evacuate Shepard's critically injured squad. Harbinger fires a powerful laser beam at Shepard which severely injures them, but immediately assumes that the Commander is dead and leaves, allowing Shepard to get to the Citadel beam. Afterwards, Harbinger, along with all other Reapers, is either destroyed or helps to rebuild the galaxy depending on Shepard's final choice.


You will surrender your potential against the growing void. We return, and you will rise. We are the harbinger of your perfection. We will bring your species into harmony with our own. Your species will be raised to a new existence. We are the beginning, you will be the end. Prepare for our domination. Prepare for our coming.
Harbinger: Shepard. You have become an annoyance. You fight against inevitability. Dust struggling against cosmic winds. This seems a victory to you. A star system sacrificed. But even now, your greatest civilizations are doomed to fall. Your leaders will beg to serve us.
Shepard: We will not go quietly.
Harbinger: Know this as you die in vain: Your time will come. Your species will fall. Prepare yourselves for the Arrival.



  • Harbinger is best known by fans for its famous line "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL", which he says sometimes when he takes control of a Collector.

External Links


           Masseffect logo.png Villains

Reapers and Servants
Sovereign | Harbinger | Human-Reaper Larvae | Saren Arterius | Matriarch Benezia | Collector General | Husks | Collectors

Illusive Man | Renegade Commander Shepard | Kai Leng | Oleg Petrovsky | Henry Lawson | Maya Brooks | Gavin Archer

Corrupt Party Members
Jack | Morinth

Villainous Organizations and Species
CAT6 | Geth | The Citadel Council | The Blood Pack | The Blue Suns | The Eclipse | The Archon

Mercenaries and other Criminals
Aria T'Loak | Captain Enyala | Clone | Doctor Saleon | Garm | Golo'Mekk vas Usela | Harkin | Jaroth | Jedore | Ka'hairal Balak | Nassana Dantius | Shadow Broker | Tarak | Tela Vasir | Vido Santiago | Warden Kuril

Other Villains
The Catalyst | Admiral Daro'Xen | Admiral Han'Gerrel vas Neema | Clan Chief Weyrloc Guld | Dalatrass Linron | Gatatog Uvenk | Maelon Heplorn | Ronald Taylor | Thorian | Urdnot Wreav