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WinespringBrother
10-07-2011, 09:05 AM
To recap the concept:

First, pop over here (http://www.theoryland.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5669)for the main thread, to see our list of upcoming characters.

I’d like discussions to link back to any existing theories, threads and ideas, but let’s try and integrate them into new theories, thoughts and ideas okay? This is less to do with whether we “like” characters – we are Theorylanders, and we are not vapid. If you want to be a Theorylander, practice thinking critically and objectively. Don’t worry, we’ll help!

This week, we're discussing Thomdril Merrilin.

Thom is the quintessential jack of all trades (though not a master of none by any stretch). Bard, assassin, hero, adventurer, politician, puppet-master, etc. It was even speculated that he could channel, despite denials by RJ. He has finally completed his trial by fire in invading the Tower of Ghenjei (aka Hell) to liberate Moiraine. So how will he further add to the gleeman's tales of his own heroics? Will Rand finally realize the depths of Thom's genius and use him as a general, or decipherer of intrigues, or spy? Will Thom help track down Demandred's spider hole? Does he have a future in politics, given his ties to the thrones of Andor and Cairhien? Did he ever get to replace his special (likely One-Power forged) daggers (another Chekhov's gun btw)?

Rand al'Fain
10-08-2011, 02:56 PM
I think that after TG, Thom and Moiraine will settle down for a quiet life. Considering the lives they have led for the past 20 or so years, I'd say it would be well earned.

Kimon
10-09-2011, 10:59 AM
There is still the question of whether or not his vengeance for Owyn will be resolved. Moiraine did tell him in the Stone that when they met again she would provide him with the names of the Reds that murdered his nephew. Might we see some en passant attachment to one of the chapters in which we perhaps see him assassinating Katerine or Javindhra or Elaida. Would he even have time for such personal side-quests at this point?

Zombie Sammael
10-09-2011, 11:04 AM
There is still the question of whether or not his vengeance for Owyn will be resolved. Moiraine did tell him in the Stone that they would meet again and that when they did she would provide him with the names of the Reds that murdered his nephew. Might we see some en passant attachment to one of the chapters in which we perhaps see him assassinating Katerine or Javindhra or Elaida. Would he even have time for such personal side-quests at this point?

Perhaps the more interesting question is would he still need to. Before arriving in the Two Rivers Thom spent many years on the run as a "Master Gleeman" from what happened with Owen and its consequences. Since arriving in the Two Rivers, Thom has assisted the Dragon Reborn in learning to channel and staying out of Aes Sedai hands long enough to do what was necessary, made his peace with Morgase (to some extent) by taking care of her daughter and training her as a politician, and discovered the love of his life - and saved her life - in the form of an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. I'd say a lot has changed for him in the past few years, and the need for vengeance might not be as strong, especially given that he now has personal ties to individuals - such as the Amyrlin Seat - who might be willing to take care of things officially for him.

Kimon
10-09-2011, 11:14 AM
Perhaps the more interesting question is would he still need to. Before arriving in the Two Rivers Thom spent many years on the run as a "Master Gleeman" from what happened with Owen and its consequences. Since arriving in the Two Rivers, Thom has assisted the Dragon Reborn in learning to channel and staying out of Aes Sedai hands long enough to do what was necessary, made his peace with Morgase (to some extent) by taking care of her daughter and training her as a politician, and discovered the love of his life - and saved her life - in the form of an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. I'd say a lot has changed for him in the past few years, and the need for vengeance might not be as strong, especially given that he now has personal ties to individuals - such as the Amyrlin Seat - who might be willing to take care of things officially for him.

He did still get vengeance for Dena. Would not Owyn still be at least as worthy of avenging? Mind you, Elaida has already gotten more than she deserved (as has Galina), unless she is freed, but Katerine and Javindhra (assuming that they were both involved, which frankly seems likely) both need to still be dealt with. Seems, at least to me, that it would be fitting for Thom to get first dibs on the two of them.

Edit: duh...Katerine is already dead. So just Javindhra.

Zombie Sammael
10-09-2011, 11:18 AM
He did still get vengeance for Dena. Would not Owyn still be at least as worthy of avenging? Mind you, Elaida has already gotten more than she deserved (as has Galina), unless she is freed, but Katerine and Javindhra (assuming that they were both involved, which frankly seems likely) both need to still be dealt with. Seems, at least to me, that it would be fitting for Thom to get first dibs on the two of them.

Edit: duh...Katerine is already dead. So just Javindhra.

His vengeance for Dena was much closer to the actual event, though. Looking after Rand and the boys was meant to be a way to make up for what happened with Owen. I could see it being mentioned in AMOL, but in such a way as to say Thom already has had his revenge in terms of what's happened to most of those characters, or to say that he no longer needed it and had moved on.

GonzoTheGreat
10-09-2011, 11:32 AM
Then again, Thom may also teem up with Logain and get some really sophisticated revenge.

Zombie Sammael
10-09-2011, 12:25 PM
Then again, Thom may also teem up with Logain and get some really sophisticated revenge.

Has it ever been fully confirmed that Logain was lying about the Red Ajah plan, or did Siuan inadvertently hit upon the truth?

looqas
10-10-2011, 02:12 AM
Although the killing/gentling of his nephew was one of the pivotal moments in Thom's life that defined him, he does not seem to be that vengeaful. So I don't think he will go after the Reds, but if the opportunity presents itself then I would say he does it. I.e. Thom is not driven by hatred, but neither is he too forgiving either.

I think Thom has admirably filled his role as a second tier character. His main mission lately has been bringing Moiraine back to Rand. After Mo does whatever she needs to do then they both are a spent force in literary terms. Fans love themm still, but they need to fade away.

Oden
10-10-2011, 03:56 AM
Has it ever been fully confirmed that Logain was lying about the Red Ajah plan, or did Siuan inadvertently hit upon the truth?

Didn't Siuan come up with that story and shared it with the SA before talking to Logain? She seemed real eager to talk with Logain after coming to Salidar, and no one was to talk with him.

Why did Thom learn Daes Dae'mar? His talk with the innkeeper in Cairhien implied that he was operating there at some point. Why would a musician need to do that?

Zombie Sammael
10-10-2011, 04:01 AM
Didn't Siuan come up with that story and shared it with the SA before talking to Logain? She seemed real eager to talk with Logain after coming to Salidar, and no one was to talk with him.

Why did Thom learn Daes Dae'mar? His talk with the innkeeper in Cairhien implied that he was operating there at some point. Why would a musician need to do that?

It was always hinted that there might be more truth to the lie than Siuan realised. Logain himself, certainly, never contradicted himself, even in the most private of conversations.

Thom was bard to House Trakand long before Morgase was queen, or he was Court Bard to the Queen of Andor. As such, aside from being "just" a musician, he was well aware of the intrigues and schemes going on even in "straightforward" Andor. I believe there is a reference that he saved Morgase's life from the schemes of Taringail at one point, and as a Queen's lover, he would have needed to be a competent manipulator in order to stay one step ahead of those who would use him against her.

GonzoTheGreat
10-10-2011, 04:21 AM
Not a reference to him saving Morgase from Taringail, just some innuendo. And probably baseles at that:
Her smile was just short of laughter, but she spoke as if reading from a page. "Thomdril Merrilin. Called the Gray Fox, once, by some who knew him, or knew of him. Court-bard at the Royal Palace of Andor in Caemlyn. Morgase's lover for a time, after Taringail died. Fortunate for Morgase, Taringail's death. I do not suppose she ever learned he meant her to die and himself to be Andor's first king. But we were speaking of Thom Merrilin, a man who, it was said, could play the Game of Houses in his sleep. It is a shame that such a man calls himself a simple gleeman. But such arrogance to keep the same name."
Thom masked his shock with an effort. How much did she know? Too much if she knew not another word. But she was not the only one with knowledge. "Speaking of names," he said levelly, "it is remarkable how much can be puzzled out from a name. Moiraine Damodred. The Lady Moiraine of House Damodred, in Cairhien. Taringail's youngest half-sister. King Laman's niece. And Aes Sedai, let us not forget. An Aes Sedai aiding the Dragon Reborn since before she could have known that he was more than just another poor fool who could channel. An Aes Sedai with connections high in the White Tower, I would say, else she'd not risk what she has. Someone in the Hall of the Tower? More than one, I'd say; it would have to be. News of that would shake the world. But why should there be trouble? Perhaps it's best to leave an old gleeman tucked away in his hole in the servants' quarters. Just an old gleeman playing his harp and telling his tales. Tales that harm no one."

Enigma
10-10-2011, 06:57 AM
Thom had already shown that he is not beyond killing royalty. It never says flat out that he engineered the death of Taringail but we know that Thom loved Morgage and that Taringail was up to no good. Its not that much of a stretch for Thom to step in and take action that results in no more Taringail.

As for avenging the death of his nephew Thom strikes me as having gone beyond that. When we first met him he was carring serious bagage that he was not there to save his nephew, that the AS left him to die and that Morgase did not really care. Helping Rand & co was a way he could deal with that but he seems to have moved on since them.

I doubt if he would do the Red's any serious favours if he ran across them but instead of being driven by revenge he has stepped up to help save Mat and the world and he has found love as well. I suspect that the wounds have healed to a degree.

What would be really awkard was if the Reds who gentled and abandoned Owen were not BA and not dead and Thom demanded Egwene do something about it. Rightly or wrongly any action that Egwene might want to take would be viewed by the Red Ajah as getting at them and it would set back all the peace and reconciliation work Egwene it trying to do in the Tower.

GonzoTheGreat
10-10-2011, 07:43 AM
What would be really awkard was if the Reds who gentled and abandoned Owen were not BA and not dead and Thom demanded Egwene do something about it. Rightly or wrongly any action that Egwene might want to take would be viewed by the Red Ajah as getting at them and it would set back all the peace and reconciliation work Egwene it trying to do in the Tower.On the other hand, silencing Thom might not work out very well either.
And having him go public wouldn't be much fun for Egwene, so we'll have to wait and see what happens here.

Rand al'Fain
10-10-2011, 03:37 PM
On the other hand, silencing Thom might not work out very well either.
And having him go public wouldn't be much fun for Egwene, so we'll have to wait and see what happens here.
Plus, according to Moiraine, gentling Owen at his home (or wherever it was) and not in Tar Valon was against Tower Law. So there would be some base to singling out a couple of Red Aes Sedai.

David Selig
10-10-2011, 06:44 PM
Moiraine should have plenty of influence and prestige in the White Tower given her hero status now, killing a Forsaken and saving the Dragon Reborn's life about 37 times. If she puts pressure on Egwene and the Hall to punish those Reds who gentled Owyn, I don't see them refusing. What the Reds did was against Tower law after all, so they Reds can't really complain hat they are being treated unfairly if the punishment they get is what the Tower Law prescribes in such cases.

Kimon
10-10-2011, 08:42 PM
What would be really awkard was if the Reds who gentled and abandoned Owen were not BA and not dead and Thom demanded Egwene do something about it. Rightly or wrongly any action that Egwene might want to take would be viewed by the Red Ajah as getting at them and it would set back all the peace and reconciliation work Egwene it trying to do in the Tower.

I think that we can make a reasonable assumption that these were the names that Moiraine was apt to have provided:

Elaida
Galina
Javindhra
Katerine
*Toveine
*Tsutama
*Lirene
Barasine?
Duhara?

Tsutama, Toveine, and Lirene all are known to have been involved, and were all punished and exiled by Marith Jaen in 985 while she was Amyrlin. Moiraine implied to Thom that she was going to give him all the names of those involved, plus the one who gave them their orders, but highlighted the fact that what they did should not have been excused (TSR CH 17). That might just include the idea that exile was not in her opinion punishment enough, but it might imply that those three have been punished enough. In any case, none of them seem to be black, and they've all paid for their crimes.

We know from Toveine that Elaida was involved and got away with it, hence some of her bitterness. I'd imagine that this was the name that Moiraine was most interested in handing over to Thom. But she is now Suffa, which might be punishment enough. Galina was likely the one that gave them the order, and doubtless was involved, got away with it, and was very much deserving of retribution, but Therava has already broken her, and regardless, she is likely out of Thom's reach. Katerine was possibly involved, and if so, might also have been a convenient target for Moiraine's machinations, but she's dead. That leaves Javindhra. The fact that Siuan seemingly highlighted her (or else Logain added this nugget on his own) would seem to suggest that she was involved in this sort of nastiness in the past as well. She's definitely black, and definitely needs killing. Why not Thom?

The only other names worth mentioning are Barasine and Duhara. Barasine is the other name highlighted by Logain. Perhaps indicative of prior indiscretions, assuming that Logain was prompted into dropping those two names by Siuan. And Duhara? Well, she's black ajah, she's still alive, and she's in Caemlyn.

Landro
10-11-2011, 12:24 PM
If I remember correctly, Tsutama, Toveine, and Lirene were sitters at that time. Because the Reds didn't want to give up the names of those responsible, the sitters were punished instead. They could have been involved or not.

Kimon
10-11-2011, 03:58 PM
If I remember correctly, Tsutama, Toveine, and Lirene were sitters at that time. Because the Reds didn't want to give up the names of those responsible, the sitters were punished instead. They could have been involved or not.

Toveine has a POV where she made clear that she was involved, at least indirectly, in the extra-legal gentlings. We don't have anything quite as explicit concerning Lirene and Tsutama, but they were presumably involved in the same activities, and along with Toveine were scapegoated since someone had to pay, and it couldn't be the Highest, so Galina couldn't be outed. They might not have been involved in Owyn's in particular, indeed, since they were the Sitters, it's probably more likely that it was grunts who did the actual dirty work, but that they knew about it. Most of them, like Toveine (since we have her POV) were likely just well-intentioned pawns of the black ajah. The involved black sisters (Galina, and likely Javindhra and Duhara - both of whom are even known blacks, Duhara, or at least unfathomable that they aren't black, Javindhra), on the other would have known, or at least been following the orders of those who knew, the real reason for this unpleasantness. Hence, if Thom does actually get revenge on any of them, Javindhra and Duhara seem the only likely candidates, since they are both Black Ajah, and they are both still up to trouble in locations where it might make sense for Thom and Moiraine to show up on their way to rejoining Rand.

alleluia_cone
10-11-2011, 04:26 PM
It would be really interesting if Tsutama was one of the more culpable participants because it would constrain Egwene and Thom from really doing anything. It just wouldn't be politically feasible for Egwene to take on the head of the Red Ajah and expect any sort of conciliation with the Reds at the same time.

But given how much needs resolving in one book, my expectation is that the Red sisters most culpable are all Black Ajah (i.e., Katerine, Galina, Duhara, and Javinhdra) and they will all be dead or lost by the time Thom is in a position to do anything.

The exceptions are Toveine and Elaida, but they will both have served a kind of penance to mitigate punishment.

Enigma
10-12-2011, 08:26 AM
It just wouldn't be politically feasible for Egwene to take on the head of the Red Ajah and expect any sort of conciliation with the Reds at the same time

Egwene does not actually know that Tsutama is the head of the Red Ajah. You are right however that moving against any Red for something that happened that long ago would be problamatic at best. Not to mention as other's have said I don't think there is really time to deal with this given the whole end of the world happening.

alleluia_cone
10-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Egwene does not actually know that Tsutama is the head of the Red Ajah. You are right however that moving against any Red for something that happened that long ago would be problamatic at best. Not to mention as other's have said I don't think there is really time to deal with this given the whole end of the world happening.

Pretty much my thoughts as well. There are several storylines I find absolutely fascinating (including the future of the Red Ajah) which I realize, given the way the final three books have been structured, will be dropped or not addressed in any great detail.

As for Tsutama as the head of the Red Ajah, I agree that Egwene doesn't know that at the moment, but out of all the Ajah heads she's the most easily discernible. Honestly, the most cursory of investigations would reveal her position. And as to taking her on, I think moving against her would be more than problematic, given that her election to the position was described as "by acclamation." In other words, not only is she the head of the Red Ajah, she is supported by literally every Red sister.

Enigma
10-12-2011, 01:31 PM
There are several storylines I find absolutely fascinating (including the future of the Red Ajah) which I realize, given the way the final three books have structured, will be dropped or not addressed in any great detail.

The future of the Red Ajah was probably one of those loose ends that won't be wrapped up that RJ talked about. Egwene did say that there would be a need for the Red Ajah, I believe she said something about their vengence. Personally I could see them as being a sort of channeling police regulating channeling as hunting down channelers is what they do.

As for Tsutama as the head of the Red Ajah, I agree that Egwene doesn't know that at the moment, but out of all the Ajah heads she's the most easily discernible. Honestly, the most cursory of investigations would reveal her position. And as to taking her on, I think moving against her would be more than problematic, given that her election to the position was described as "by acclamation." In other words, not only is she the head of the Red Ajah, she is supported by literally every Red sister.

It might be harder for Egwene that we might imagine. She has close contacts among a lot of the Ajah's but amond the Reds her only real contact is her Keeper who does no strike me as the sort to blab her mouth off. Other Reds might show deference to Tsutama but I suspect that its not too obvious around non Reds.

Weiramon
10-12-2011, 11:47 PM
It was even speculated that he could channel, despite denials by RJ.

Pshaw! No doubt this Merrilin scoundrel could channel. Why, the buildings 'round were burned as by lightning called with the One Power. It's not as if a sparker was nearby fleeing, just beginning to channel and getting sick afterwards.

Ishara
10-19-2011, 01:04 PM
Let's talk about Thom's knives, just for a second.

We have been told via interview that the blue flash of light that the boys saw in Whitebridge was *not* the spark of power-wrought blades against those of the Shaidar Haran v1. So, what was it? Simple gunpowder? Oh wait, that doesn't exist to people like Thom. It's just fishy is all.

Those blades haven't been seen since Whitebridhe if I'm recalling correctly - so why do we think he still has them? Where did he find them in the first place?

We know from his experiences with Owyn and Rand, and from his experience as the Court Bard to a Kingdom (Queendom?) with tight ties to the White Tower, and the fact that he's a worldy and educated fellow that we would almost certainly know what power-wrought weapons were, as well as their value. So, did he seek them out? Find them fortuitously?

The Unreasoner
10-19-2011, 02:12 PM
Let's talk about Thom's knives, just for a second.

We have been told via interview that the blue flash of light that the boys saw in Whitebridge was *not* the spark of power-wrought blades against those of the Shaidar Haran v1.
We were also told that the flash was caused by Thom's knives being 'very special indeed.' And that these points are not contradictory... :confused:

I think Thom just threw power-wrought knives at the thing.

Toss the dice
10-19-2011, 02:23 PM
My memory is pretty hazy, but I seem to remember Thom losing his "best set of knives" in Shadar Logoth? Possibly when he comes galloping from behind, meeting up with Rand and Mat when they are all separated. I don't think he ended up recovering his "best set of knives", but I suppose it is possible, or it was possible that he had one left and wasn't able to recover the rest. It doesn't really make sense that his 2nd best set of knives are the special ones that are capable of making a blue flash against a Fade, but there it is.

It's a mystery to me, too.

Ishara
10-19-2011, 02:25 PM
But that doesn't jive. We have been told, explicitly, that the flash was NOT from the knives against the weapon of the Myrdraal.

The Unreasoner
10-19-2011, 03:07 PM
But that doesn't jive. We have been told, explicitly, that the flash was NOT from the knives against the weapon of the Myrdraal.

Maybe it doesn't jive. But with the relevant quotes:
Brandon on Twitter - 8 January 2011
Much has been made of the blue flash when Thom fights the Fade. I can't say what it was, but it's not what most seem to think.Matt Eitner on Twitter - 17 July 2010 4:03 am
Will we ever find out why there were blue flashes when Thom fought the Myrddraal at Whitebridge while Rand and Mat fled?
Brandon - 19 July 1:47 pm
I believe Robert Jordan said something along the lines of "Thom's knives are special."Emma: I started asking him about the two conflicting chats.1 The question was already sent to him, but he declined to answer it for the Q&A session. I was wondering about why he would do it, but as you might guess when reading his answer, it's because its a RAFO question.

Both answers on the chat are RIGHT!!!! He knows exactly how Thom managed to escape with only a limp and how he managed to survive that. But he might use it in the next book and doesn't want to give away anything. So we have to do it with the knowledge that both answers, although seemingly conflicting are both CORRECT.NY, NY: Why was there a blue light flashing when Thom met the Fade in Whitebridge?
RJ: Because Thom's best knives are very special indeed.

Malivar: If a Fade's blade will not produce lightning except against other Thakan'dar wrought blades, and power-wrought blades, why do Thom's daggers produce it when he attacks the Fade at Whitebridge?
RJ: Thom's daggers did not produce the effect. It was produced before Thom reached the Fade....my best guess is that 'throwing knife' is different than dagger. Not great, and I'm not too attached to it, but it seems to work: Thom throws Power-wrought knives at the Fade, the Fade deflects them with his Thakan'dar steel, which causes a flash before Thom reaches the Fade. And it incorporates knives that are 'very special indeed.'

Like I said, not great. And I'm open to alternatives.

More interesting, to me, is how he managed to escape with only a limp. If he was even knicked by the Fade's sword, shouldn't he have died? Maybe someone Healed him (and maybe that someone in some way contributed to the flash. With Thom's knives. God knows how). Maybe the deflected knives flew back and hit Thom's leg. A non-tainted semi-serious wound, left to heal on its own might give the result we see. Hell, maybe Moiraine wished to travel back in time to save Thom then. I don't think the Finn can do that, but who knows?