The Stranger is the given designation to the nameless protagonist of the Myst series of games. All personal details of this character are left ambiguous so as to better immerse the player into each game.
The exact origins of The Stranger are unknown. The only thing that can be determined is that he or she found the Myst Linking Book that had come through the Star Fissure in what later became the state of New Mexico sometime in the 1800's. The Stranger soon discovered the Ages of Myst and, traveling to each, learned of Sirrus and Achenar's evil deeds.
He or she later found a third option by helping their father, Atrus, reacquire the missing page of his Myst Linking Book, thus freeing him to return to the island to destroy the two trap Linking Books. He thanked The Stranger and gave his new friend full access to his library on Myst, mentioning that one day he would need their help again.
Soon after, The Stranger returned to K'veer to assist Atrus in rescuing his wife Catherine and capturing his father, Gehn. Linking to Riven with a K'veer-looking Prison Book in hand, The Stranger had discovered that Gehn was revered as some sort of god by the Rivenese people. Catherine had linked there some days before and had been captured by Gehn's followers. There was also a splinter rebel group called the Moiety, supported by Catherine from her prison, that fought to free themselves and their people from Gehn's rule.
Through the game, The Stranger was able to trap Gehn in a Prison Age and free Catherine. They opened the Star Fissure to signal Atrus, who thanked them before linking away with Catherine, believing the fissure would return his friend to where they had come from.
Years later, Atrus and Catherine had settled in Tomahna, which, coincidentally, was only miles from where The Stranger had returned to Earth, enabling them to visit on occasion. Ten years after Myst and Riven, on the day Atrus intended to bring his friend to Releeshahn to finally meet the D'ni survivors, a man named Saavedro linked into his study and stole the Book, but not before panicking and throwing something into the tapestries on the walls, setting the room ablaze. Saavedro used a J'nanin Linking Book to escape with Releeshahn, and The Stranger soon followed.
They eventually ended up on Narayan, Saavedro's home Age. The Stranger was able to get the book back from Saavedro and, in a final act of compassion, lowered the shield that had been keeping the man from his family and people. They returned to Tomahna with Releeshahn.
Ten years after the events of Exile, Atrus calls The Stranger to his home once more. He reveals that he, Catherine and Yeesha have been in contact with Sirrus and Achenar. Both Catherine and Yeesha felt they had served their time for their crimes, but he wanted his friend's objective opinion before he considered releasing them. Yeesha brought The Stranger to Tomahna, where Atrus greeted them. While getting the machinery to hear his sons' Prison Ages to work, the machinery broke down, requiring Atrus to leave for Rime for replacement parts. He left Yeesha in his friend's care.
Soon after, a large explosion of sorts caused The Stranger to be knocked unconscious for several hours. In that time, Yeesha had been kidnapped. Searching through Sirrus' Prison Age of Spire, Achenar's Haven, and Serenia, they learned the location of Yeesha and Sirrus' horrendous plot to take his sister's place and learn The Art. His plan was foiled by the efforts of both The Stranger and Achenar, who had truly seen the error of his ways and worked to save his sister. However, it cost Achenar his life and both brothers died at the end.
The Stranger is, essentially, whoever is playing the game. Cyan left the gender and other personal details ambiguous to create a better sense of immersion, and any time the character is spoken to or referenced, it is kept just as neutral. Unlike some other adventure games, there is no way for the player to respond or interact directly with characters.
- It has been determined that The Stranger is responsible for all the events between Myst and Myst IV. However, for Myst V, a much older Atrus calls the player "my old friend", as he had referred to The Stranger many times. Despite that fact, in Myst Online: URU Live, it was revealed that Dr. Richard Watson was responsible for securing the tablet and freeing the Bahro. Atrus' comment could be due to several reasons: that Atrus is quite old and was confused, that Atrus had met Watson long before, or that Atrus was breaking the "fourth wall" and referring directly to the player themselves.
- Since trap books were retconned by Cyan, and speaking through a Linking Panel is impossible, it is reasonable to assume that Sirrus and Achenar did not know who The Stranger was until the events of Myst IV. Given that both Sirrus and Achenar recognize the character, it could be that he or she was mentioned by Atrus and Catherine as to how they both had escaped their prisons.