Thom Merrilin

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Thomdril Merrilin
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First Appearance The Eye of the World, Chapter 4

Author: Atarah al'Norahn

Pronunciation: TOM MER-rih-lihn

Thom Merrilin is a gleeman with an unusually big knowledge base about the world and especially the Game of Houses, Daes Dae'mar. He was hired to perform on Bel Tine at the village of Emond's Field, but was instead, along with the villagers, attacked by Trollocs on Winter's Night. After he saw that an Aes Sedai wants something with three village youths Rand, Mat, and Perrin, Thom decides to leave the village with them in hopes to protect them.


This section contains spoilers relating to The Shadow Rising. Please expand to view.

Though he is now a gleeman, Thom once lived in Caemlyn and served as both court bard, and lover, to Queen Morgase.

Thom has a long and painful past. He became Morgase's lover after discovering that her husband, Taringail Damodred, was plotting to kill her. Instead, Thom murdered Taringail. But however strong his attachment to Morgase, eventually an even tighter bond calls to him.

In an attempt to save his nephew and only living relative, Thom leaves the Royal Palace in Andor. However, it does no good; he is too late to save Owyn, a man who can channel. When he finally returns to Caemlyn, Morgase is furious with him. He was exiled, and has not seen her since.


Thom is an older man, with white hair and mustaches. His eyes are blue, and he is tall despite a stoop, and later a limp.


Condensed Timeline

Thom's Journey

The Eye of the World

The Great Hunt

The Dragon Reborn

The Shadow Rising

This section contains spoilers relating to The Shadow Rising. Please expand to view.

The Fires of Heaven

This section contains spoilers relating to The Fires of Heaven. Please expand to view.

  • Thom travels with Elayne, Juilin and Nynaeve towards Amadicia. (TFoH, Ch. 8)
  • Thom, along with Juilin, go into a village in Amadicia and rescues Elayne and Nynaeve. (TFoH, Ch. 10)
  • Thom and the others join Valan Luca's circus. Thom throws knives and juggles. (TFoH, Ch. 17)
  • Thom and Juilin find Birgitte lying outside, and take her into Elayne and Nynaeve's wagon. (TFoH, Ch. 35)
  • Thom and the others travel towards Salidar by ship. (TFoH, Ch. 49)
  • Thom and the others arrive in Salidar. (TFoH, Ch. 50)

Lord of Chaos

This section contains spoilers relating to Lord of Chaos. Please expand to view.

A Crown of Swords

This section contains spoilers relating to A Crown of Swords. Please expand to view.

There is no relevant reference to Thom in this book.

The Path of Daggers

This section contains spoilers relating to The Path of Daggers. Please expand to view.

There is no relevant reference to Thom in this book.

Winter's Heart

Crossroads of Twilight

This section contains spoilers relating to Crossroads of Twilight. Please expand to view.

  • Thom and the others travel with Valan Luca's circus on their way out of Altara. (CoT)

Knife of Dreams

This section contains spoilers relating to Knife of Dreams. Please expand to view.

  • Thom shows Mat a letter he got from Moiraine telling him that she would be held captive by the Aelfinn and that Thom, Mat and one other man might be able to rescue her if the three did it together, but even then it would not be certain (KoD, Ch. 10).
  • Thom notices Selucia fighting when they are attacked and tells her that he didn't see anything (KoD, Ch. 11).

The Gathering Storm

This section contains spoilers relating to The Gathering Storm. Please expand to view.

  • Thom goes to Hinderstap with Mat, though he separates from Mat's group in the hope of picking up information (TGS, Ch. 27).
  • Thom is in the village when it goes crazy, and with Mat, fights his way out (TGS, Ch. 28).
  • Once out of Hinderstap, Thom tells Mat that a woman in Trustair has a very good likeness of him and is offering money for information on his wherabouts (TGS, Ch. 28).
  • Thom goes with Mat to Hinderstap to learn what had happened. He memorises the tale (TGS, Ch. 28).
  • Mat intended to take Thom to Trustair with him, but when Verin showed up, that was not necessary (TGS, Ch. 34).

Towers of Midnight

This section contains spoilers relating to Towers of Midnight. Please expand to view.

  • After the gholam attack in Mat's camp, Thom, Mat and Noal meet to discuss it. Mat tells him the gholam intends to kill him (ToM, Ch. 9).
  • He goes with Mat to see Elayne, dressed as a courtier (ToM, Ch. 17).
  • Elayne offers him the position of court Bard and gives him a full pardon for any crimes committed in Andor or Cairhien (ToM, Ch. 17).
  • He begins to prepare for the trip to the Tower of Ghenjei by bringing drums and hand cymbals (ToM, Ch. 22).
  • He puts his gleeman's coat back on for the trip to the Tower of Ghenjei and carves the symbol on the outside to enter (ToM, Ch. 53).
  • Thom plays The Wind that Shakes the Willow to distract the Eelfinn that come for them (ToM, Ch. 53).

A Memory of Light

This section contains spoilers relating to A Memory of Light. Please expand to view.

  • After rescuing Moiraine, she bonds him and they agree to marry (ToM, Ch. 57). They marry at some time (AMoL, Ch. 23).
  • He returns with Moiraine (AMoL, Ch. 6).
  • He guards the Pit of Doom when Rand goes in with Moiraine and Nynaeve (AMoL, Ch. 23).
  • Black Ajah sisters try to disguise themselves as one of Rand's allies and sneak past him, but they all fail to convince him, and he kills them (AMoL, Ch. 44).

Strengths and Talents

He is a skilled gleeman, talented in juggling, knives, and eating fire.

Relationships with Other Characters

This section contains spoilers relating to the whole series. Please expand to view.

For years, Thom and Morgase were lovers. He was also her biggest supporter during the Succession. However, after he left Caemlyn to try to help his nephew, she was furious and exiled him. They have not seen each other since, but Thom remembers her fondly, though he no longer loves her. By now, Morgase has forgiven him (This passage needs a reference).

Thom and Elayne are very close; Elayne considers him to be the father that she never really had. When Elayne was younger and Thom still lived in Caemlyn, he loved to play with her, and let her pull his mustaches. When, years later, Elayne and Thom meet again, she does not know who he is, but still cares for him. When she realizes who he really is, she is at first angry when she learns that he was one of Morgase's lovers. After Thom explains everything to her, they become even closer.

Thom seems to have a good relationship with Rand, as well as with Mat and Perrin. When they all leave Emond's Field in The Eye of the World he spends time talking to them, telling them stories, and playing songs for them. After Thom, Rand, and Mat are separated from the others, he seems to care for them like his own kin; when the Fade appears to kill Rand and Mat, Thom urges them to run and stays behind to fight it. His reasoning is that if he can save Rand and Mat, maybe he will be able to stop thinking of his dead nephew, Owyn. In the later books, he helps Rand several times by forging letters and finding information. He travels with Mat both to Ebou Dar, and accompanies him when they leave at the end of Winter's Heart.

Thom and Juilin seem to be rather good friends. They seem to stick together while accompanying Elayne and Moiraine, even though she is Aes Sedai. Several times he mentions Moiraine, saying that she is a fine-looking woman, and just a fine woman. In a dream of Egwene's, he puts his hand into a fire to pull out the blue stone that she wears on a chain fastened in her hair, and many people take this to mean that he will save her from the Aelfinn and Eelfinn.

Basel Gill is an old friend of Thom's. In The Eye of the World when Thom stays to battle the Myrddraal and sends Rand and Mat on ahead, he tells them to go to Caemlyn and find an inn called 'The Queen's Blessing.' When they arrive there and tell Basel Gill that Thom is dead, Basel is quite adamant in his belief that Thom is not dead.

Thom and Moiraine have agreed to be married (ToM, Ch. 57).

Visions and Prophecies

  • Min has a viewing of Thom: "A man - not him - juggling fire, and the White Tower." (TEotW, Ch. 15)
  • Egwene has a dream of Thom: "Mat throwing dice with blood streaming down his face, the wide brim of his hat pulled low so she could not see his wound, while Thom Merrilin put his hand into a fire to draw out the small blue stone that now dangled on Moiraine's forehead." (TEotW, Ch. 15)


Quotes by Thom

"This village has no use for me, now, while on the other hand, I have never performed in Tar Valon. And though I usually journey alone, after last night I have no objections at all to traveling in company." (TEotW, Ch. 10)

"I say hold your peace," he said finally. "Don't tell anyone, for the time, at least. You can always change your mind, if you have to, but once you tell, it's done, and you're tied up worse than ever with...with her." (TEotW, Ch. 15)

"I could have gotten us passage for a few songs and stories if you two hadn't been so quick to show silver." (TEotW, Ch. 21)

"I had a nephew, Owyn," he said wearily, shrugging out of his cloak. He made a pile with his blanket-roll as he talked, carefully setting his cased instruments on top. "My brother's only son, my only living kin. He got in trouble with the Aes Sedai, but I was too busy with...other things. I don't know what I could have done, but when I finally tried, it was too late. Owyn died a few years later. You could say Aes Sedai killed him." He straightened up, not looking at them. His voice was still level, but Rand glimpsed tears in his eyes as he turned his head away. "If I can keep you two free of Tar Valon, maybe I can stop thinking about Owyn." (TEotW, Ch. 26)

"I never should have gotten mixed up with you boys. Should never have." He shrugged the bundled gleeman's cloak off of his back and thrust it into Rand's arms. "Take care of that. When I say run, you run and don't stop until you get to Caemlyn. The Queen's Blessing. An inn. Remember that, in case...Just remember it." (TEotW, Ch. 26)

"That Fade -" He looked around; there was no one close enough to hear, but he lowered his voice anyway - "had no interest in me. It left me a little present of a stiff leg and ran off after you and Mat. All you could have done was die." (TGH, Ch. 25)

"Too bad, in a way. She's a fine woman, even if she is?" He left it unsaid. "So it was Mat or Perrin she was after. I won't ask which. They were good boys, and I don't want to know." Rand shifted uneasily, and gave a start when Thom fixed him with a bony finger. "What I do want to know is, do you still have my harp and flute? I want them back, boy. What I have now are not fit for a pig to play." (TGH, Ch. 25)

"Kill a man who needs killing, and sometimes others pay for it. The question is, was it worth doing it anyway? There's always a balance, you know. Good and evil. Light and Shadow. We would not be human if there wasn't a balance." (TDR, Ch. 31)

"What are you talking about? The man is dead. If he already killed them...Well, you've avenged them. If he hasn't, you saved them. Now will you bloody walk faster? The Defenders won't be long coming, and they are not so gentle as the Queen's Guards." (TDR, Ch. 49)

"As you say, Tanchico is dangerous now, but then it always was. I wish the young women well, yet I've no wish to stick my head into a vipers' nest. I am too old for that sort of thing. I have been thinking of taking up farming. A quiet life. Safe." (TSR, Ch. 17)

"The Tower has its own rules. What Aes Sedai do, they do for reasons of their own, and often not for those they give. If they give reasons at all." (TFoH, Ch. 10)