It is unknown what Gorl did prior to coming to the Forests of Silence, but in his time Adin had not made the Belt of Deltora - and may not have even been born yet - and Gorl believed he would be the one to lead the seven tribes. He and his two brothers came to the Forests of Silence in search of the Lilies of Life, only to find them already pouring out their nectar. As his two brothers ran towards the Lilies, Gorl killed them. When he turned back to the Lilies, they had just finished pouring their nectar and wilted into the mud.
As he waited for them to bloom again, he made a wall of vines around the Lilies to protect them. He killed any travellers or animals that came by and fed their bodies and blood to the vines, making them even stronger, all while waiting for the Lilies to bloom again. Doran encountered the knight at one point during his travels, but fled as soon as he was able, later warning travellers of the Forests not to challenge him in his book Secrets of Deltora. In time, one of the seven Ak-Baba flew above the Forest and dropped the topaz down, so Gorl took it and set it in the hilt of his sword. Gorl was probably unaware that the topaz was a sister gem of the diamond, and only thought it as some sort of magical artifact that would come in handy during his law.
Lief and Barda, led by Jasmine, came to Gorl's area of the Forests, in the centre of Mid Wood, a place called "The Dark", in search for the topaz. Gorl mistook them for thieves trying to take the Lilies, and forced Lief and Barda toward him with his powers.Barda successfully distracted Gorl by making him remember his past, causing Gorl to become so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he did not notice his hold on Barda and Lief loosen. Barda lunged at him and stabbed his sword into an area on Gorl's neck not covered by armour, but Gorl pulled out the weapon and tossed it aside, completely unharmed. He grabbed Barda by the neck and forced him to his knees, and then plunged his sword into Barda's chest. He then grabbed Lief, but just as he was about to stab the boy as well Gorl heard someone call out his name. He looked up and spotted Jasmine, high up in the trees. Before he could take action, however, the largest branch of the tree Jasmine was on fell and crushed him; Jasmine later explained that she convinced the tree to sacrifice its limb to be free of Gorl's vines. As the dust cleared and the remains of Gorl's armour became visible, it became apparent that there was nothing inside the armour to begin with. Gorl's body had long since withered away, and his sheer force of will, shelled inside the armour, was all that remained of him. With the armour destroyed, Gorl's will was released and vanished.
As the vines died and the Lilies of Life were exposed to the light, they finally bloomed. Ironically, the very protection Gorl worked so hard to create was what prevented the Lilies from blooming. Jasmine rushed to them and gathered their nectar, using enough of it to heal the mortally wounded Barda. Lief then removed the topaz from Gorl's sword, successfully gaining the first gem of his quest.
Lief thought of removing the vines after Gorl had died, but Jasmine stopped him, saying that the birds will remove the vines. At the end of the book, Jasmine tells the birds to spread the word that the 'The Dark' is no longer 'dark', and 'The Dark' becomes flooded with sunlight.
Gorl was a large being that wore golden Jalis battle armour and wielded a large heavy sword with the topaz set in its pommel. His helmet was crowned with golden horns and has a T-shaped visor, through which nothing but darkness was visible, because he no longer had a physical body. Gorl's belt was decorated with stylized skulls, a spider, and, by some accounts, the Shadow Lord's symbol. His armour was much bulkier in the anime, and the topaz is instead set in the crossguard of his sword.
Gorl seemed to be quite power-hungry. He was greedy and willing to kill his own brothers to gain immortality and rule the seven tribes. When reminded of his past, he almost seemed to express sorrow at his actions, though he still insisted that his brothers' deaths were their own fault, not his, stating that they should have known he would need all of the nectar from the Lilies for himself. He was brutal, a trait shared by most other Jalis, though he lacked some of the others' honour, as Gorl was willing to slay an opponent that could not fight back. He seemed quite arrogant or stubborn as well, absolutely convinced that his vines were helping the Lilies of Life, not hindering them, even after his years of waiting, and in the anime, despite being told of the history of the land by Lief, he refused to believe him (ironically, despite his holding of the topaz, which strengthens and clears the mind.)
While Gorl's body withered away, his will remained attached to his armour, animating it. This made him all but invincible, as he could not be wounded by conventional methods such as sword wounds. He was only defeated when his armour was destroyed. Gorl's will was so strong that he could impose it on others, and was actually able to control the physical actions of his opponents. He needed to focus in order to maintain this control, however, limiting its use when facing multiple opponents. As a Jalis, Gorl was also presumably a skilled swordsman, though he never engaged in actual swordplay against Lief and Barda. He was good enough to best his two brothers in battle, apparently at the same time.
Although there is no indication that he was a servant of the Shadow Lord, Gorl wears the Shadow Lord's symbol on his belt in Secrets of Deltora. The symbol may have been an artistic addition by Withick, the book's illustrator.
"I am Gorl, guardian of this place and owner of its treasure. You are trespassers. Go, now, and you may live. Stay, and you will die."
"So, you plot against me. Very well. The choice is made."
"Thieves! Fools! You dare to try and steal my treasure. Now you will join the others who have tried, and you bodies will feed my vines, as theirs have done."
"You know well what they are, thief. They are the Lilies of Life, the treasures you have come to steal."
"You lie! You want them for yourselves, as I did, long ago. You wish to have their nectar so that you may live forever. But you shall not! I have protected my prize too well."
"When the Lilies bloom at last, and the nectar flows, only I shall drink of it. Then I shall be ruler of all seven tribes, for no one will be able to stand against me, and I shall live forever."
"I must protect the Lilies of Life. I knew my destiny the moment I saw their golden nectar dropping from their petals, long ago."
"I had to do it! I could not share with them! I needed a whole cup of the nectar for myself. They should have known that. While my brothers fought me, trying to save themselves, the Lilies wilted, and the nectar fell to waste in the mud. But I did not despair. The Lilies were mine, and mine alone. All I had to do was wait until they bloomed again. As the new buds rose from the mud, I raised my wall around them, to protect the from intruders. I did my work well. never would the vines have grown so strong without my care. I have cut the branches from the trees that dared to resist my vines. I have fed the vines with the bodies of my enemies - man, woman, bird, or beast - who dared to approach them. And I have kept my treasures safe. I have waited long for them to bloom. But surely my time has nearly come."