Year of Birth:
Thomdril, The Gray Fox
Actions During the Story (Spoilers)
Character Summaries (Spoilers)
Thom was a leathery skinned older man with sharp blue eyes, white hair that touched his collar, and long white mustaches that hung down to either side of his mouth. He had a lanky build standing around 6’ (183 cm) and was rarely seen without his patchwork gleeman’s cloak around his shoulders. Despite his age, he is still an attractive and vigorous man.
Thom is highly intelligent, crafty, and well educated in music, storytelling, and politics and has traveled extensively as a gleeman. He is protective of the people he cares for and has the heart of a hero even when he claims otherwise, but seems unable to keep himself out of intrigue and politics no matter where he is. He is gregarious and knows how to start and guide conversations to gain valuable information without making his intentions obvious and uses this skill extensively to learn about events in the world.
Thom is quite arrogant at times, having a level of education, skill, and world experience that far surpasses most of those around him, making Thom appear to be slightly condescending at times, which doesn’t always go unnoticed by his companions. He also has a sarcastic sense of humor, which he makes liberal use of throughout the series, and truly loves his craft as a gleeman/bard, never missing an opportunity to fan his bright cloak to a crowd. Thom instinctively turns to music and storytelling when there is tension, often able to calm groups of people down before fighting can break out.
Actions During the Story
Actions Before the Story
Thom was most likely born between 928-938 NE. His exact age is never directly revealed in the books, but according to Morgase, he was twice her age when they were lovers indicating that in 984-985 NE he would have been in his mid-50s and at the start of the series in his late 60s, although he could be as much as ten years younger according to Robert Jordan’s notes on Andor which place Thom in his mid-forties when he was Moragase’s lover.
Prior to 972 NE, he was the house bard of House Trakand under High Seat Maighdin Trakand prior to her death. It was here he learned the ins and outs of Daes Dae’mar before the Andoran War of Succession. When Morgase Trakand gained the Rose Crown of Andor he accompanied her to Caemlyn becoming the Court Bard of Andor and was known as the Gray Fox due to his acumen in the Game of Houses.
Thom is still the Court Bard of Andor in Caemlyn and is never seen or mentioned in the book. He presumably met Basel Gill during the years around the Aiel War and remained friendly with the future innkeeper of the Queen’s Blessing in Caemlyn.
Actions Between the Books
Sometime after Elayne Trakand’s birth in 981 NE, he was likely responsible for the assassination/death of Taringail Damodred, husband of Morgase and father of Gawyn and Elayne Trakand. Taringail had plans to kill Morgase and claim the Lion Throne and see his children crowned as king and queen of Cairhien and Andor. After Taringail’s death, Thom became romantically involved with Morgase and became something of a father-figure to Elayne, the very young Daughter-Heir of Andor.
Around 984 NE his only living blood relation, a nephew named Owyn, was captured and gentled on the spot by members of the Red Ajah, including some involvement by Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan the queen’s Aes Sedai advisor and Thom’s political rival. Owyn was possibly the last male channeler gentled during the period known as the ‘Vileness’. Thom left the court without explanation, infuriating Morgase, but found his nephew had been killed by his neighbors and the young man’s wife had died out of depression shortly following these events. Upon his return to Caemlyn, Thom and Morgase fought angrily, leading to Morgase ordering Thom’s capture and execution. Thom escaped Caemlyn and went into hiding as an obscure, if incredibly talented, gleeman. These events instilled a deep hatred of the Red Ajah in Thom as well as an overall distrust for Aes Sedai.
Thom spends the next 13 years traveling extensively throughout the nations of the Westlands performing songs, acrobatics, telling stories of the past, and juggling in common rooms at inns and encounters a great many people.
Eye of the World
Thom Merrilin first appears in the last sentence of Chapter Three: The Peddler, stepping out of the Winespring Inn as if being hurried out the door. He quickly encounters Rand al’Thor, Perrin Aybara, Mat Cauthon, and Egwene al’Vere. Thom is visibly irritated by being told to leave the Inn while the Village Council questioned peddler Padan Fain and comments to the youths that Fain often enjoyed carrying news of dark events, noting the man was more raven than man. Egwene disapproves of Thom’s assessment and informs him Fain has often come to the Two Rivers and was more likely to bring positive news. Egwene also picks up on Thom’s sarcasm and tells Thom he is not kind to make fun of them. Thom quickly apologizes and moves to charm the group and asks Egwene to be his assistant during his performances as well as encouraging the boys to participate.
Drawn by Thom’s gleeman’s cloak a crowd starts to form in the village and begin asking Thom to tell stories, Egwene asking to hear about Lenn, who flew to the moon in the belly of an eagle made of fire. And about Lenn’s daughter Salya who walked among the stars. Thom notes these are old stories, from the Age before the Age of Legends. He tells the crowd he knows many stories, of Ages long gone when men ruled the heavens and the stars and when men roamed the earth as brothers to animals. Ages that ended in fire and others that ended in ice. He names tales such as Mosk the Giant, with his Lance of Fire that could reach around the world, and his wars with Alsbet, the Queen of All as well as stories of Materese the Healer, Mother of the Wonderous Ind. Thom begins juggling intricate patterns of multicolored balls and says he will also tell them of the end of the Age of Legends and of the Dragon and his attempt to free the Dark One into the world of man and the ensuing Time of Madness when Aes Sedai shattered the world. The Trolloc Wars and the War of the Hundred Years and of other adventures of men and women such as the Siege of the Pillars of the Sky and ‘How Goodwife Karil Cured Her Husband of Snoring’.
Thom notices Moiraine Damodred and Lan Mandragoran in the crowd and abruptly stops speaking and juggling and notes that she is surely not from the Two Rivers. He is informed by Ewin Fingar that she is a Lady and goes on to tell Thom that Moiraine is a collector of old stories of things that had happened in the Two Rivers. Thom begs her pardon but she tells him no apologies are necessary and calls him a Master Bard. Thom is clearly unhappy with the exchange and heads back into the inn as soon as Nynaeve and the Village council leave.
After the events of Winternight, Rand encounters Thom sitting near the foundation stones of the inn. Thom tells Rand that he has seen Nynaeve working all night and that if anyone can save Tam al’Thor’s life it will be the Wisdom. Thom also tells Rand that Fain is missing and likely a victim of the Trollocs who probably have used him as food. Thom hurries off to find Nynaeve, but returns unhappily minutes later being upset that Rand did not tell him Nynaeve had already seen Tam, and snapped at Thom for interrupting her work. As Rand begins to panic about his father Thom asks Bran al’Vere if he knew who had drawn the Dragon’s Fang on the inn door. Bran tells Rand and Thom that it must be one of the Congars or Coplins and that it was intended for Moiraine, who is in fact an Aes Sedai. This reminds the Mayor that stories of Aes Sedai include the ability to Heal, but he realizes that Thom was manipulating him and asks why. Thom tells him that he is a stranger and like the Coplins didn’t want to be involved with an Aes Sedai, but tells Rand he may have no other option than to ask Moiraine for her help. When Moiraine and Lan come to the inn Thom abruptly leaves, Lan notes to Bran that he did not see the gleeman during the fighting the night before but the Mayor tells Lan he had seen burns on the gleeman’s cloak indicating that the man had fought against the Trollocs.
Several hours later Thom surprises the group of Emond’s Fielders, Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene who are leaving the village with Moiraine and Lan. Thom tells the Aes Sedai that he has never performed in Tar Valon and sees this as an opportunity to do so and chooses to join them, Moiraine allows this and the party makes a quick exit from Emond’s Field, heading north toward Watch Hill. Hunted by shadowspawn including Draghkar, which Thom claims to be a creation from the war that ended the Age of Legends, and were even worse than Trollocs and Myrddraal. When the group nears Watch Hill after a hard night of riding Moiraine uses the One Power to wash the exhaustion from the horses and villagers before they continue north toward the town of Taren Ferry where Moiraine hopes to cross the river and evade the shadowspawn.
Entering the town of Taren Ferry the group makes its way to the ferryman, Master Hightower, and Lan pays the man to take them across the Taren despite their late-night arrival. Thom helps Lan intimidate the man and his group of haulers to ensure they don’t try to rob the party, flourishing his knife skills to the amusement of both Moiraine and Egwene. Once they have safely crossed the river the group is shocked when the ferry is suddenly taken by a whirlpool, something never seen on the Taren in the past. Master Hightower and his men rush after it in an attempt to save the craft, but it is lost to the river. Lan pays the man even more gold and leads the Emond’s Fielders and Thom away.
Moiraine uses the One Power to create a bank of heavy fog stretching miles up and down the river, a feat few Aes Sedai could manage unaided. Thom asks why not give the group more cover in the direction of Baerlon and she replies that she is using the fog as a misdirection as the Draghkar are not very intelligent and it will more likely inform the Myrddraal that the group is hidden by the fog rather than look further. Lan then leads the group to a small clearing where they can all rest. Egwene notes that he had prepared the location before he and Moiraine entered the Two Rivers. Moiraine takes Egwene to the side that evening to have a private conversation, Thom warns Rand not to be a fool when he begins to eavesdrop on the women. Moiraine informs Egwene only a few can learn to touch the True Source and use the One Power but Egwene has been born with the ability and would begin to channel even without being taught and that she must gain an education in Tar Valon to use her ability fully, and there is a risk of death should she not, the few women who do survive often become Wisdoms. Moiraine explains that men who are born this way are the ones the Red Ajah finds and gentles, this elicited a deep growl from Thom. Moiraine notes that Egwene is very close to touching the Source and guides her in an exercise to make the process easier and will avoid the effects of not having a guide. Egwene successfully creates a small flash of light in the blue stone Moiraine wears and is very excited at the prospect of becoming an Aes Sedai. Moiraine notes that most women must study for months before being able to do what Egwene did in her first lesson and she has the potential to go far in Tar Valon, perhaps even to the Amyrlin Seat. Later that evening Moiraine uses the One Power to wash the exhaustion from the group and Thom attempts to refuse, jerking away from the Aes Sedai, but she quells his response with a firm look and he submits to having the Power used on him.
Over the next days as the party travels toward Baelron Thom entertains them with music and stories such as Mara and the Three Foolish Kinds or one of the hundreds of tales about Anla the Wise Counselor and The Great Hunt of the Horn. Thom attempts to intercede for the youths when they upset Moiraine with questions and does his best to keep tensions down with stories that have happy endings about joyous homecomings. Thom goes so far as to teach the boys to juggle to pass the time.
The group arrives in Baerlon, to Thom’s amusement, the Two Rivers youths find the “city” astounding for its size. At the gates to the town, Lan and Moiraine explain to the others that they are to use the names Master Andra and Mistress Alys while in the Baerlon. They learn there are Children of the Light in Baerlon, claiming to be there to protect the town from The False Dragon, Logain Ablar, in Ghealdan, though Master Avin the gate guard has heard that a large battle had been fought which killed Aes Sedai. Thom tells Rand that the man was referencing The Karaethon Cycle, The Prophecies of the Dragon when he spoke of the city of Tear and the People of the Dragon. Thom remains with the villagers and goes to the Stag and Lion inn. Rand meets Min Farshaw and she tells him that everyone in their party is involved in the same situation, including Thom, she also tells Rand she sees images around Thom that are of a man, not Thom, juggling fire and of the White Tower. Innkeeper Master Finch hoping the gleeman would play for the common room, Thom obliges and entertains crowds in the inn and even goes out to draw in crowds while the boys explore Baerlon. When Thom hears the boys discussing their dreams of Ba’alzamon he warns them to hold their tongues and not speak that name where others, especially the Whitecloaks, might hear them. They give him more details about the dreams including names such as Guaire Amalason, Raolin Darksbane, Davian, Yurian Stonebow, and Logain. Thom notes these are dangerous names as they are all men that have rocked the world over the last two thousand years.
When they return to the inn they discover Nynaeve al’Meara is in Baerlon looking for the Emond’s Field people. Thom leaves the room with the boys and Rand tells him about some of Min’s viewings, including that Nynaeve is a part of this. When they return to the group Thom attempts to intimidate Nynaeve after she threatens to reveal their identities, claiming to be concerned that the Whitecloaks and townspeople knew he had arrived with the group and he had no desire to be questioned by the Whitecloaks. Thom returns to performing in the common room, telling stories of Hunters for the Horn, Blaes of Matuchin, Rogosh Eagle Eye, Lian, The Fall of Aleth-Loriel, Gaidal Cain’s Sword, and the Last Ride of Buad of Albhain. He played songs on his harp and flute as well including The Wind that Shakes the Willow, Only One Bucket of Water, and Wild Geese on the Wing.
Once again forced to run in the night due to Whitecloaks stirring up trouble in town, Thom decides to remain with the group as he knows he is already associated with them in the town and would not be safe staying. As they leave the town Moiraine uses the One Power to make herself appear as a giant and scares a party of Whitecloaks away allowing the party to leave. They see fire go up in the town and Thom informs the villagers it is the Stag and Lion Inn. Moiraine and Lan lead them to the Caemlyn Road and push hard to keep ahead of any trailing Shadowspawn, Lan’s scouting indicates at least three fists of Trollocs and as many as five Myrddraal tracking them. An advance party of Trollocs led by a Myrddraal attacks and Lan leads the boys and Thom to fight them off. Moiraine uses the One Power to envelop Trollocs in flames. Lan engaged and killed the Myrddraal, decapitating the creature. Thom informs the villagers that even though it was dead the body would not become inanimate until nightfall.
Moiraine leads them into an abandoned city she calls Shadar Logoth but is clearly unhappy about the need to enter the place and keeps the group in a tight formation leading them into one of the ruined buildings for shelter. She is certain the shadowspawn will not follow them without extreme force as the ruins are a place of fear for them as well as humans. Thom stays behind when the boys sneak off to go investigate the ruins of the ancient city. When the boys come running back and inform Moiraine they have encountered a strange man named Mordeth the Aes Sedai tells the party of the fall of Aridhol, once one of the Ten Nations of the Second Covenant. Aridhol was led by King Balwen Mayel, known as Balwen Ironhand. A man named Mordeth came to the court of Aridhol during the late stages of the Trolloc Wars and counseled Balwen to become as hard as the Shadow, showing no mercy to their enemies. Eventually, the evil wrought by this approach engulfed the nation and city of Aridhol and became so embedded in the city of Aridhol that it took physical form in a deadly soul eating fog known as Mashadar, killing the inhabitants of the city and destroying any, including shadowspawn who entered. Mordeth was trapped within the walls of the city waiting for an unsuspecting human whose soul he could devour and use to leave and spread evil throughout the world. Lan returns from scouting the area and announces Trollocs and Myrddraal have entered the ruins and they must flee once again.
Thom and the villagers stay close together as Moiraine and Lan attempt to lead them from the ruins safely, but they are separated by the mindless fog of Mashadar and attacked by Trollocs, scattering them into smaller parties. Thom finds Rand and Mat and hurries them to run as they are being chased. The trio escapes the city into the surrounding wilderness and make their way to the nearby river and find the riverboat Spray owned by Captain Bayle Domon, leaping aboard while being chased by Trollocs. Thom spins a tale of being a treasure hunter and running afoul of shadowspawn, keeping Mat and Rand from telling too much of the truth while he and Domon bargain for secure passage to Whitebridge downriver. Thom is unhappy that the two boys showed Domon their silver as he was sure he could have gotten passage in exchange for his services as a gleeman. They spend the next several days onboard with Thom teaching them as though they were truly apprenticed gleemen.
Eventually arriving in the town of Whitebridge, known for its incredible bridge, a remnant of the Age of Legends made from an unknown material. The trio leaves the Spray, despite Domon pushing them to stay aboard to keep his crew light-hearted on the rest of their voyage to the city of Illian on the Sea of Storms. Thom tries to convince Rand and Mat to stay, but the boys are determined to find the other Emond’s Fielders and Moiraine and are determined to continue to Caemlyn. The men make their way to an inn, The Wayfarer’s Rest run by a man named Bartim, to discuss their plans on getting to Caemlyn. Bartim informs them that there is big news and tells them the False Dragon Logain had been captured after a big battle near Lugard as he was moving his army from Ghealdan toward Tear. They also learn that the nation of Illian has called The Great Hunt for the Horn for the first time in hundreds of years. When Thom asks if the innkeeper had any news of strangers meeting the description of Moiraine and the others the man told him a week prior a weaselly man that appeared insane had come to the town looking for a group that matched this description. The following day a frightening man wearing all black with his hood hiding his face began coming into the town in a mysterious fashion and was also searching for this group. The innkeeper then asks Thom and the boys to leave his inn as though he was truly afraid. The men recognized this as a Mryddraal and are unsure what to do next. Thom wants them to return to the Spray and go to Illian for the Great Hunt, but Rand and Mat remain adamant that they must go on to Caemlyn. Thom splits the money they have amongst the three of them in case they get separated and then they leave the inn and Thom tells Rand and Mat that he is helping them because he had a nephew, Owyn his brother’s only child and Thom’s only living relative, who had gotten in trouble with Aes Sedai and Thom had not helped him. Thom holds Aes Sedai accountable for Owyn’s death. The three then hide their faces in their hoods and begin making their way to the town gates. The Myrddraal intercepts them. Thom shoves his bundled harp and flute into Rand’s hands and tells the two boys to make their way to an inn in Caemlyn called the Queen’s Blessing and yells at them to run for their lives, he then charges the creature with his knives out, crashing into the Myrddraal in a flash of eye-searing blue. On their journey to Caemlyn Rand has many dreams of Thom.
When they finally arrive in the city Rand and Mat seek out the Queen’s Blessing and encounter one of Thom’s old friends, innkeeper Basel Gill who takes the boys in and tells them he doesn’t believe Thom is dead as the man had escaped many dangerous situations in the past. Gill tells Rand that Thom had once been the Court-bard in Caemlyn and the lover of Queen Morgase Trakand of Andor, but they had fallen out after the trouble with Thom’s nephew occurred which led to the Queen ordering Thom’s execution. Thom fled Caemlyn and took up the life of a wandering gleeman. When the rest of the group eventually arrives at the Queen’s Blessing Mat tells Moiraine of Thom’s death and the events in Whitebridge, but she is also skeptical as Min’s viewings indicated Thom’s further involvement with the Two Rivers people and because the people in Whitebridge mentioned the gleeman, but did not speak of him dying which would have been huge news for the town.
The Great Hunt
Rand encounters the still living Thom in the city of Cairhien, the man had in fact escaped the Myrddraal in Whitebridge though he had been injured badly and now walked with a limp due to his right leg not bending properly and was clearly no longer able to perform the acrobatics he once had been capable of. Thom tells Rand that the Fade was not truly interested in Thom and had left him quickly after Rand and Mat had escaped. Thom reveals that he was aware that one of the three boys must have been able to channel but given Rands presence in Cairhien now assumed it must have been either Mat or Perrin. Thom asks Rand about his harp and flute and Rand tells the gleeman he does and will bring them to him. Thom tells Rand to bring them to him at an inn called The Bunch of Grapes just beyond the Jangai Gate in the area known as the Foregate, outside the walls of the city of Cairhien itself.
When Rand and Loial, son of Arent son of Halan, go to the inn he is sent to Thom’s room and encounters a young woman named Dena who is juggling on the bed. Dena is practicing and expects Thom to bring her to play in the halls the following week. Dena makes it very clear that she and Thom are lovers and that she intends to be the first female gleeman and travel the world. Thom enters the room and complains about a new form of entertainer known as “players'', individuals acting out scenes as characters in the story. Thom is quite contemptuous of this and Dena interrupts him to note that Rand and Loial are present. Thom sends Dena out to pick up the knives they had made for her by Ivon. She is unhappy, but obliges Thom. Thom tells Rand and Loial that the woman is talented enough to become a bard one day. Rand returns the harp and flute to Thom, and the old gleeman is very happy to have them back, but irritated that Rand has not kept the harp tuned. Thom laughs when Rand tells him about the Horn of Valere, not truly believing the tale, but becomes more serious when Rand tells him Moiraine believes it is the Horn. Thom stops Rand from telling him more and wants nothing to do with the Trollocs and darkfriends pursuing Rand. Rand asks Loial to leave and then asks Thom about the Prophecies of the Dragon, Thom tells him there are many translations in the great libraries and recites a verse while noting the herons on Rands collar:
"Twice and twice shall he be marked,
twice to live, and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost.
Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay."
Thom also recites another, darker verse:
"Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed.
Once for mourning, once for birth.
Red on black, the Dragon's blood stains the
rock of Shayol Ghul.
In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men
from the Shadow."
Thom asks Rand once again about Aes Sedai and pushes the younger man about why he would ask such questions after sending the Ogier from the room. Rand tells Thom he has learned that a darkfriend could blow the Horn, which Thom was unaware of. Thom relates the story of his dead nephew Owyn, who had been taken and gentled by the Red Ajah and had given up the will to live. Owyn held off the madness for almost three years and never harmed another person, only using the Power if there was great need and only to help his village. Thom acknowledges there was no true alternative to gentling these men and notes that Owyn’s neighbors had begun to see the signs of darkness in him for the last year. Despite this Thom still hates the Aes Sedai for what they had to do to his nephew. Rand asks Thom to join him and Loial, but Thom refuses, telling Rand that Dena and he are in love and he wishes to forge a new life with her.
Later, at Lord Barthanes Damodred’s manor, Rand speaks to Thom once again and is seen by Cairhienin nobles who believe Thom is mixed up in whatever game Rand seems to be playing. Rand tells Thom that the Horn has been stolen from him and Thom again notes that Rand is once again in the company of an Aes Sedai, Verin Mathwin of the Brown Ajah. Thom leaves the party and returns to The Bunch of Grapes where he discovers Dena dead in their room and is attacked by two men. Thom kills them after learning why they had been sent to his rooms. When the innkeeper, Zera, comes to his room and tells Thom he must leave Cairhien and that Barthanes has been murdered. She also notes that the men sent to kill Thom were in fact known to work for the King, Galldrian Riatin. Thom tells her he will leave Cairhien after killing one more man.
The Dragon Reborn
Mat encounters Thom in Tar Valon, performing at an inn called The Woman of Tanchico. Thom is depressed and drinking heavily and the serving women Mada and her younger sister Saal are worried about his health. He tells Mat about the two women he had loved, Morgase who wanted to kill him, and Dena who he had gotten killed. Thom tells Mat that he had fled Cairhien for killing a man who needed killing and had come to Tar Valon because he believed it to be the worst place outside of Caemlyn for him to be. Thom is clearly punishing himself for the death of Dena, but Mat refuses to allow him to wallow in his misery. Mat convinces the gleeman to come with him to Caemlyn to deliver a letter to Queen Morgase from her daughter, Elayne Trakand. Thom agrees and as they are leaving Mada and Saal thank Mat for breathing new life into Thom.
Mat takes Thom to Southharbor, the great Ogier made docks in Tar Valon, and is amazed when Mat shows one of the guards a letter in his possession which allows them to pass. Mat is intent on being on the first available boat out of Tar Valon and the two men are forced to leap from the dock onto the vessel of Tairen Captain Huan Mallia the Gray Gull heading down river toward Aringill. Thom is stunned by how much gold Mat has with him and offers Mallia his services in exchange for passage, but the man refuses. Mat eventually pays the captain an exorbitant fee of ten gold crowns, plus two more those displaced, and takes the man’s own cabin and all the food he and Thom could eat while on the journey. Mat and Thom learn of The High Lord Samon’s leadership in Tear and how the man claimed Aes Sedai planned to conquer the world and must be eradicated with the exception of some of the untrained Novices and Accepted. Thom is intrigued as he has never heard of a Tairen High Lord named Samon and he knows all the names of the Kings, Queens, and all the High Lords. That night the ship is attacked by a small group of men searching for Mat, but are killed or thrown overboard. Thom notes how lucky Mat is. During their journey south Mat and Thom pry open the letter to Morgase which seems innocuous to Mat but Thom believes it could be written in a code or cipher to communicate some secret message to Morgase, though he could not understand what it might say.
Thom and Mat arrive in Aringil only to find poverty and near-starvation despite the bustling trade. Andoran soldiers keep a close eye on the town and seem to be gearing up for conflict with Cairhien just across the river. Thom considers this to be extremely out of character for Morgase, who has always been good at keeping her people safe and prosperous. Mat secures a place for them to sleep in the stables of a local inn, as all of the rooms are full. While they are in the loft they witness a woman sneak into the stables and light a torch in a mysterious way. Audra Nendenhald, formerly of the Illuminators Guild, has been pursued from Cairhien by five of her former compatriots led by Tammuz. Mat and Thom stop the men and Aludra gives Mat a large bundle of fireworks as a reward. Thom is constantly nervous about how Mat handles the bundle as fireworks are considered the next thing to the One Power.
Thom arrives in Caemlyn with Mat Thom heading to the Queen’s Blessing but Mat determines to deliver the letter immediately and heads to the royal palace. Mat eventually joins Thom and explains that the guards at the gate would not let him in. Master Gill informs them that there are many new guardsmen that have unsavory reputations and that Morgase has a new advisor and lover, Lord Gaebril. Mat returns to the palace and sneaks in through the same garden Rand used in their previous visit, claiming to be Thom Grinwell who had been asked by the Daughter-heir to deliver a letter after he had gone to visit his sister Else Grinwell, who was also a Novice in the White Tower. Lieutenant Martin Tallanvor escorts him to Morgase who reads the letter. Mat returns to the Queen’s Blessing and relates the experience to Thom and Gill as well as what he learned by overhearing a conversation between Lord Gaebril and his darkfriend henchman Lord Comar who was being sent to Tear to kill Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve. Gill relates what history he knows of Gaebril who arrived during the riots that Spring and became a leader for the faction supporting Morgase. Mat decides to head to Tear to stop Comar and Thom chooses to go with him.
Thom and Mat arrive in Tear on the riverboat Swift, Mat forcing Captain Derne more speed throughout the journey. The two men leave the ship and head into the city of Tear to find an inn and, despite the pouring rain, begin their search for Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve. They find The White Crescent and innkeeper Cavan Lopar and immediately head back out into the night. Thom tells Mat that as a gleeman he will have no problem getting people to speak to him and discovering where Lord Comar might be staying. After hours of stopping into inns and dicing Thom tells Mat they need rest and Mat responds that they will go to one more. They walk into The Golden Cup and immediately spot Comar at a table dicing with the commoners and winning nearly every throw. The innkeeper tells them Comar must be a wealthy foreign merchant as he is carrying a sword which would not be allowed a Tairen commoner. Thom realizes Comar is using weighted dice to cheat the men out of their coin and Mat goes to confront Comar. Mat’s luck interferes with Comar’s dice and a fight breaks loose when Comar attacks Mat. Mat kills the man and learns that there are other darkfriends hunting the women. The locals hurry Mat and Thom from the inn and tell them they will cover up the incident with the Defenders of the Stone.
Still searching for Elayne, Nynaeve, and Egwene, Mat has realized that Thom has become very ill due to the nights out in the rain. He learns from Lopar that there is a Wise Woman not far from the inn and forces Thom to go with him. When they arrive Mat realizes this was a house he had seen the first night they arrived. Mother Ailhuin Guenna takes Thom into her care and tells Mat what had happened in her house with Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve. Mat leaves an indignant Thom in Guenna’s care and heads to the Stone of Tear to rescue the women.
The Shadow Rising
After the events in the Stone of Tear, a fully recovered Thom has taken a room in the servant’s quarters of the Stone and is surreptitiously begun helping Rand secure his control over the unruly Tairen nobility. Starting rumors, passing information to Rand, and leaving provocative notes in coat pockets to set the various Tairen factions against each other to keep them from uniting against Rand. Eventually, Moiraine notices his actions and confronts him with her knowledge of his true identity as Thomdril Merrilin, called the Gray Fox, a master of the Game of Houses. She threatens him and sets him on a task to protect Elayne and Nynaeve as they venture to Tanchico to pursue the Black Ajah. She also Heals his leg, removing at least part of his limp.
Thom is on the docks when Nynaeve and Elayne arrive to seek passage on the Sea Folk Raker, Wavedancer. Sailmistress Coine din Jubai Wild Winds and her blood sister and Windfinder Jorin din Jubai White Wing are prepared to break Atha’an Miere custom and refuse Thom and Juilin Sandar passage unless the two men swear to obey Nynaeve and Elayne. The men agree and the party sets sail to Tanchico. Elayne does not know why, but Thom seems familiar to her and tells Nynaeve she believes they can trust him but cannot explain why. Thom and Elayne speak on the ship and Thom tells her he may write an epic about the Dragon Reborn, but he does not believe it will matter as when the next Age comes it will be long forgotten to history.
After ten days at sea Wavedancer docks in Tanchico. Thom and Juilin follow Nynaeve and Elayne to find a suitable inn to begin their search for Liandrin Guirale and her remaining coterie of Black Ajah. On the docks, Nynaeve is recognized by Bayle Domon, who she had met in Falme. The man, now a wealthy smuggler in Tanchico and he has a connection at the Three Plum Court where the innkeeper Rendra will find rooms for the party. The three men nearly immediately begin to compete over which would find the first signs of the Black Ajah each using their personal skills to hunt the eleven women last seen in Tear. Elayne continues to ponder why she feels like she knows Thom and follows him into the common room to watch him perform. After being overserved by a rather predatory young serving-man, Elayne drunkenly yanks Thom’s mustaches and recalls seeing her mother sitting on Thom’s lap. He admits that he was once the Court-bard in Caemlyn and tells Elayne she is remembering things wrong, but Elayne concludes that Thom had been her mother’s lover. He slaps her when she insults Morgase for having multiple lovers and implying Morgase was a whore. Thom escorts Elayne to her room where Nynaeve is less than amused by her state.
Thom, Juilin and Domon eventually begin to hone in on the Black Ajah and piece together the plans they have in motion to acquire the object that could harm Rand out of the Panarch’s Palace. Thom helps Elayne and Nynaeve sneak into the Panarch’s Palace to stop the Black Ajah plan and they eventually obtain the “sad bracelets” ter’angreal capable of controlling a male channeler. They entrust the device to Domon and Egeanin Tarmath who plan to take it out to see and drop it in the deepest trench they can find. Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom, Juilin and the Panarch Amathera Aelfdene Casmir Lounalt return to the Three Plum Court and plan to escape Tanchico.
Fires of Heaven
Thom and the group have fled Tanchico in the guise of a small dye merchant, making their way across Tarabon for the last several weeks, and are attempting to avoid bands of brigands and groups of Dragonsworn. Thom and Elayne spend a lot of time together with Thom attempting to take on a father-figure role even while Elayne flirts with the older man. As they approach the border of Amadicia they encounter a troupe of Whitecloaks who claim they are on orders from the Lord Captain Commander to bring food into war-torn Tarabon. After the encounter, Thom is very irritated with Nynaeve and Elayne for their constant bickering while on the road and snaps at the women to shut up.
Thom finds a campsite outside of the Amadician town of Mardecin and he and Juilin flip a coin to see which of them will head into the town to buy supplies. Thom wins and after strict instructions from Nynaeve to find fruit and green vegetables heads into town. He returns later with news that the town is struggling as trade with nearby Tarabon has slowed and he has learned that there is a garrison of nearly fifty Whitecloaks and there are many rumors about Pedron Niall and King Ailron’s intentions with most Amadician’s being displeased that their tax money is being spent to feed Taraboners. Nynaeve is unhappy with the selection of vegetables Thom has returned with and she and Elayne decide to head into town by themselves to find more. In truth, Nynaeve wanted to confront Elayne over her behavior regarding Thom. The two women encounter seamstress Ronde Macura, secretly an agent of Yellow Sister Narenwin Barda, and her assistant Luci. The two women use forkroot tea to subdue and capture the two women later informing them this was done on the order of the Amyrlin Seat who wanted to have Elayne brought to Tar Valon at all costs. Thom and Juilin rescue the women after Juilin followed them into town and discovered the situation. Macura passes along the Tower’s message for all Aes Sedai “All Sisters are welcome to return to the Tower'' which confuses Thom as well as the others. Thom sells their wagon and dyes and procures a carriage which they use to quickly leave Mardecin before Macura and Luci can be discovered tied up in the room above the dress shop.
After some hard riding with Elayne posing as a spoiled noblewoman, Lady Morelin, and Nynaeve her very unhappy maid Nana they arrive outside of the Amadician town of Sienda where they encounter Valan Luca’s traveling show and after a rocky introduction and a later encounter with Galadedrid Damodred, the now Whitecloak half brother of Elayne, they decide to double back and join the show to travel under the disguise of performers. Thom uses his expert knife throwing abilities as well as his skills as a gleeman while Juilin and Elayne become tightrope walkers and Nynaeve reluctantly plays the screaming damsel having knives thrown at her. During this time Elayne tells Nynaeve that Thom had once been Morgase’s lover and Court-bard in Caemlyn, but she had not recognized him until they were in Tanchico as she had been very young when she last saw Thom.
Egwene has a dream that includes Thom putting his hand into a fire to draw out a small blue stone that Moiraine wears on her forehead. She does not understand what the dream is referencing, but is aware that it is one of her prophetic true dreams.
Thom and Juilin help conceal Birgitte’s sudden presence after she is pulled from tel’aran’rhiod by Moghedien. Thom piecing together who the woman might be based on her distinctive blonde braid and the single silver arrow she had in her possession. Thom notes that every story he has found that mentions the Hero of the Horn by the name Birgitte includes the braid. He is concerned by Nynaeve’s behavior following the incident as the only other time he had seen someone so melancholy the woman had committed suicide. Elyane tells both Thom and Juilin about Moghedien’s pursuit of Nynaeve and herself and offers them the choice between swearing to uphold these secrets or to leave the group. Both men swear to stay the course. Along with Luca’s show, the group continues to travel through Amadicia, eventually making their way to the Ghealdanin border town of Samara. Nynaeve encounters the Shienaran lancers who had accompanied Rand to Falme who have followed The Prophet, Maesema Dagar who has spent the last months preaching about The Dragon Reborn and has thrown Ghealdan into chaos. Uno Nomesta, after taking Nynaeve to the Prophet and having another encounter with Galad, agrees to help Nynaeve find a riverboat to escape the situation. Eventually, Uno brings news of a suitable ship, the Riversnake run by captain Neres, and the group along with several refugees take passage downriver toward Boanna. Two women, Nicola Treehill and Marigan, and her two children Seve and Jaril continue downriver. The entire party eventually made their way to the rebel Aes Sedai stronghold in the abandoned Altaran town of Salidar. Thom encounters an old nemesis in the form of Gareth Bryne, former Captain-General of Andor and another past lover of Morgase, in the town and the men carefully come to an agreement to leave the past in the past. After Moiraine vanishes with Lanfear Rand sends a letter from her addressed to Thom along with Mat.
Lord of Chaos
Thom and Juilin have been sent to Amadicia by the Salidar Aes Sedai to scout as far as the capital Amador. After more than a month the two men eventually return to Salidar to make their report to the Salidar Six and then to the Rebel Hall. They have discovered very few Whitecloaks near the Aes Sedai position and have seen the strongest forces aligned near the Tarabon border with Amadicia and forces in place to hold the Prophet’s forces at bay near Ghealdan in the north. Whitecloak Lord Captain Commander Pedron Niall and Amadician King Ailron Rovere Lukan seem to be gathering the bulk of their forces around Amador. They have also heard rumors of the troubles in Tarabon increasing. Thom admits to hearing many wild rumors and eventually tells Elayne that some of these place her mother, Morgase Trakand, in the Fortress of Light. Elayne tells Thom she is unconcerned about such an obviously false tale and that she has laid her grief over her mother’s death aside.
When Mat arrives in Salidar he asks Egwene if Thom is in the town and she confirms his presence. Mat goes to Thom and asks him for help convincing Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve to leave and go to Rand. Thom tells him not to try rescuing a woman when she doesn’t want or need rescuing. Thom notes that Egwene, while young, shows the intelligence and backbone to actually become a strong leader. Mat notices a letter in Thom’s possession but does not push for more information after Thom says it is from a woman he abandoned to her fate. Thom and Juilin are told by Elayne and Nynaeve that they were not allowed to speak to Mat and the two men begin to avoid him. Eventually, Thom apologizes to him when the party gathers to leave for Ebou Dar and explains that he and Juilin had vowed to obey the two women. Mat apologizes for his flip words regarding the letter and tells Thom he hopes the letter contained good news. Once again Thom deflects a direct answer. The party then leaves for Ebou Dar, using a gateway for Traveling to a location roughly ten days journey from the city. As they travel Thom, Juilin, and Nalesean Aldiaya of the Band of the Red Hand, share stories of Ebou Dar with Mat who is incredulous about the culture he hears about in the city. The men all pick up on the tension between the Aes Sedai they are traveling with, Vandene Namelle of the Green Ajah, Adelease Namelle of the Brown Ajah, and Elayne, Nynaeve, Aviendha, and Birgitte. However, they are all uncertain as to the cause beyond Elayne admitting she had Bonded Birgitte as a Warder.
When the party arrives in Ebou Dar, Thom and Juilin go with the Aes Sedai to the Tarasin Palace and Mat finds an inn, The Wandering Woman, across the Mol Hara Square. Thom and Juilin keep Mat appraised of when Elayne and Nyneave have left the palace, but none of the men seem to know how the women continue to vanish without being seen, a mystery that is a great source of frustration to Thom.
A Crown of Swords
Thom is in Ebou Dar along with Juilin, Mat, Elayne, Birgitte, Aviendha, and Nynaeve on their quest to find the ter’angreal the Aes Sedai believe can remove the Dark One’s touch and restore the weather to normal. Thom and Juilin each stay in the servant’s quarters within the Tarasin Palace and attempt to aid Elayne and Nynaeve but also keep an eye on the two women for Mat. Thom spends some time, unsuccessfully trying to piece together what Teslyn Baradon of the Red Ajah and Joline Maza of the Green Ajah are doing as Ambassadors of the White Tower under Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan. Thom acts as a political educator to the young Aes Sedai and Aviendha, explaining Queen Tylin Quintara Mitsobar’s precarious position as a weak queen trying to avoid complications from a stronger adversary in the form of Whitecloak Ambassador Jaichim Caradin, Inquisitor of the Hand of the Light (and known Darkfriend). Thom is quite amused when Elayne begins acting drunk, only to learn that her Bond with Birgitte is passing the other woman’s inebriation to Elayne.
After Mat is brought to stay in the palace, Thom and Juilin accidentally walk into Mat’s room and witness Tylin’s sexual advances on Mat. Both men are amused and slightly embarrassed by what they have seen but go on to discuss what Elayne, Aviendha, Birgitte, and Nynaeve have been up to using Power wrought disguises to hunt for the Bowl of the Winds in the dangerous area of the city known as the Rahad and spy on Carridin. When the women return and discuss their meeting with Setalle Anan and a group of mysterious women Thom begins to ponder who these mysterious women are and what connection they have to Setalle. Mat sends Thom and Juilin to investigate Carridin. Thom learns the Whitcloak donates frequently to beggars, an odd coincidence since Mat had recently been attacked by a group of men disguised as beggars and Juilin discovers Carridin had purchased a plan of the Tarasin Palace which could mean a number of things. Rumors in Ebou Dar also indicate that Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light may be dead, some even saying an army of Aes Sedai had killed the man.
After recovering the Bowl of the Winds and facing the Gholam, Thom helps Mat and the rest of the group prepare to leave Ebou Dar. However, Olver has gone missing and Thom stays behind with Mat and Juilin, and the Band to search the city for the boy. The Seanchan invade the city while the men are still searching for the boy.
Path of Daggers
Thom does not appear in the book but is in Ebou Dar with Mat, Juilin, Olver, and the remaining Red Arms from the Band of the Red Hand.
Thom is still in Ebou Dar with Mat and has begun teaching Olver to juggle and play the harp and the flute. It is heavily implied that Thom has been having an affair with Lady Riselle, who has been teaching the boy reading. Thom is also likely helping Belan Mitsobar, heir to the throne of Altara, plot a rebellion against the Seanchan now holding the city, but is also attempting to keep the young man from acting foolishly and ending up on the executioner's block. He also explains to Mat that huge numbers of Seanchan have arrived in Ebou Dar, starting the Corenne or “The Return''. Mat tries to convince Thom and Juilin to take passage with Olver to Illian to avoid the Gholam, but the men refuse to leave Mat to the creature.
Bayle Domon convinces Egeanin Tarmath to talk to Mat and enlist his and Thom’s help in escaping the city ahead of the Seeker who is investigating her role in events in Tanchico. Eventually, they come to an agreement, Mat who has already had Thom and Juilin working on a plan to free Aes Sedai Teslyn Baradon of the Red Ajah and Edesina Azzedin of the Yellow Ajah from the damane pens where they are being held captive by the Seanchan Sul’dam. The entire group, along with Setalle Anan and Joline Maza of the Green Ajah, slip out of Ebou Dar. Mat has also inadvertently kidnapped The Daughter of the Nine Moons, Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag, and her da’covale and so’jhin Selucia.
Thom does not appear in the book but is still traveling with Mat as the party moves across Altara toward Murrandy to rejoin the Band of the Red Hand.
Crossroads of Twilight
Thom is with Mat traveling north of Ebou Dar toward Murrandy disguised as performers and patrons of Valan Luca’s Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders (The Largest Traveling Show in the World). Thom is a frequent confidant of Mat’s and often gives the younger man advice and information about situations. Eventually, Thom shares a letter from the presumed dead Aes Sedai Moiraine, outlining that she is not truly dead, but a captive of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. She has foreseen that Thom, Mat, and a third man unknown to her, will attempt to rescue her from the Tower of Ghenjei and there will be many perils along the way. Noal Charin recognizes the name and the legends of the Tower, but none of the men are sure of its location until recalls that Domon had once described it to him. Mat does not believe he will be able to accompany Thom as he is certain that due to his past association with them, the Eelfinn and possibly the Aelfinn will see him coming if he does. As they travel, Thom begins to help Mat manage his situation with Tuon, pointing out taverns and common rooms in towns that would be appropriate to take the young woman to see. Specifically, Thom brings the small group to a location called The White Ring which he claims is a “Hell” in the town of Maderin. Thom uncovers rumors of an impostor in the countryside posing as The Daughter of the Nine Moons and learns that the Seanchan forces in the area are looking to capture and execute the woman. As they leave The White Ring the group is attacked by a group of thieves and Thom notices Selucia is more than she appears but assures her that an old man such as himself couldn’t have seen what he saw.
Thom leaves Luca’s show along with Mat’s group and moves toward Murrandy, looking for a safe passage through the Damona mountains. They are eventually pursued and caught up by Seanchan Banner-General Furyk Karede, leader of Tuon’s Deathwatch Guards and fiercely loyal protector of The Daughter of the Nine Moons. Karede believes Thom is the leader of the Band and assumes he could be one of the Great Generals, possibly Agelmar Jagad of Shienar or Gareth Bryne of Andor. Thom remains with the group and witnesses the battles orchestrated by Mat and the Seanchan to destroy the force hunting Tuon. Karede eventually escorts Tuon, who has declared her marriage to Mat, back to Ebou Dar to claim the Seanchan throne.
Knife of Dreams
Now outside of the town of Hinderstap in northern Murandy, Thom goes with Mat, Talmanes Delovinde, and the three Aes Sedai to buy supplies in the town. Thom branches off to investigate what rumors and news he can find throughout the town while the Aes Sedai go to a fine inn to bathe and have a good meal and Mat and Talmanes go in search of supplies for the Band. Thom rejoins the group as they flee from the town after the residents turn into savage killers when the sun goes down. The next morning they return to the town and learn about the Bubble of Evil which has locked the town in a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth each night.
Mat and Thom learn of a mysterious woman searching for Mat and Perrin, sending out drawings of them into the surrounding area from the town of Trustair. They plan to go into the town in disguise to discover the woman’s identity. They eventually encounter Verin Mathwin, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah is the woman behind the situation and Mat strikes a bargain with the Sister, she will provide a gateway for Traveling for the Band to go directly to Caemlyn, but in return extracts a promise from Mat to either stay in the city for thirty days or open a letter after ten days and follow its instructions exactly.
The Gathering Storm
Thom is outside of Caemlyn with the Band of the Red Hand helping Mat gather information about the situation in Andor and along with Noal they plan their journey to the Tower of Ghenjei to rescue Moiraine. Mat considered having Thom approach Elayne for him as his request to meet with the Queen has not received a response. After the Gholam attacks Mat in the camp they consider how intelligent the creature is and wonder how it might be killed. Mat eventually sends Elayne a very colorful personal letter requesting an audience for himself and Thom. Elayne is overjoyed to learn that Thom is alive and invites Mat and Thom to an audience in the royal palace.
Thom accompanies Mat and Talmanes to the royal palace and dresses in an extravagant red coat and trousers with gold and lace trim and a cravat tied at his neck. Elayne greets Thom warmly, shedding tears of joy to see him alive after their separation in Ebou Dar. Elayne and Mat negotiate a favorable situation for The Band and the creation of the Dragons and Elayne offers Thom his former position as Court-bard as well as pardoning him from all crimes he may have committed in either Andor or Cairhien. Thom correctly deduces from this that Elayne plans on claiming the Sun Throne of Cairhien soon.
Thom, Mat, and Noal continue to plan Moiraine’s rescue, using knowledge from a very reluctant Birgitte about the world of the ‘Finns and the rules outlined in the game Snakes and Foxes to prepare themselves for the mission. Mat obtains roarsticks, a form of fireworks, from Aludra while Thom and Noal collect lanterns and torches as well as musical instruments to use against the creatures. Mat then sets up a trap to lure and destroy the Gholam prior to their departure for the Tower of Ghenjei. When Perrin arrives in Caemlyn, Mat asks for the use of one of the Asha’man to create a gateway to the Tower. The three men enter the Tower and proceed to find Moiraine, encountering a guide and using the tenant of the game: Courage to strengthen, fire to bind, music to dazzle, and iron to bind. After encountering many strange obstacles the group eventually finds Moiraine. Mat negotiates a bargain with the Eelfinn to release Moiraine and Thom pulls her body from her prison. However, Mat neglects to include the Aelfinn from his bargain and the group is forced to flee through the realm in search of an escape. Noal, who admits to being the world-famous traveler and author, Jain Charin (aka Jain Farstrider), sacrifices his life to buy Mat, Thom, and Moiraine time to escape. Eventually, Mat discovers the weapon given to him by the Eelfinn is also a key to exiting the Tower of Ghenjei and uses the device to open a portal back to the world of men.
After their return, Thom and Mat learn about Moiraine’s experience while in her captivity. Her ability to channel being vastly reduced but the angreal in her possession giving her more power than she originally possessed. Moiraine asks Thom to marry her and to become her Warder. Thom accepts Moiraine’s proposal and the two determine to spend their days traveling together as Aes Sedai and Warder should they survive the Last Battle.
Towers of Midnight
Thom is with Moiraine when she enters the deliberations at the Field of Merrilor and witnesses the finalization of the Dragon’s Peace to include the Aiel as law enforcement throughout the nations. Moiraine goes on to convince Rand that he should not act as the ultimate military leader during the Last Battle as his priorities might conflict and he must focus on defeating the Dark One and allowing the leaders of the nations to focus on preserving the lives of humanity. Moiraine also convinces Rand to give the remaining Seals for the Dark One’s prison to Egwene so that she may break them when the time comes.
Thom is with Moiraine, Rand, and Nynaeve as they head to Shayol Ghul and the Pit of Doom and tells the group he will guard the entrance against enemies trying to come at them while they are attempting to permanently seal the Dark One’s prison, and begin composing a ballad. Thom, who believes it has been 5-6 days since the trio entered the cavern but is unsure due to the distortion of time. He observes the Aiel fighting Samma N’sei and Darkhounds and works on writing his ballad while Rand, Moiraine, and Nynaeve face Ishamael/Moridin and the Dark One. When he sees Aes Sedai Cadsuane Melaidhrin approaching the entrance to the cavern he lets her pass, only to hurl a knife at her back, severing her spine and instantly killing her. Upon her death, a Mask of Mirrors weaves faded to reveal the corpse of Black Ajah Sister Jeaine Caide, Thom recognizing the way the woman walked as inconsistent with the true Cadsuane. Thom drags the body to a nearby hollow to join four other bodies of women he had killed, each having used the Mask of Mirrors and assuming changing their faces would be enough to fool Thom. When Moiraine and Nynaeve exit the cavern he helps the exhausted Aes Sedai and witnesses the light inside expanding and consuming both Rand and Moridin until it vanishes. Thom is last seen with Moiraine attending Rand’s funeral, the couple being the last people Tam al’Thor approached before lighting the pyre for his son.
A Memory of Light
For most of the series, Thom is a normal human man who exhibits advanced athletic ability for his age. Prior to his injury at the hands of a Fade, he is able to perform handsprings and flips. He is also an expert hand to hand combatant using knives as his primary weapon. He is also an expert marksman with his knives able to throw with deadly aim even under severe combat situations. Thom eventually gained a measure of enhanced physical abilities when Moiraine bonded him as her Warder; which would include being able to sense Shadowspawn as well as added endurance, reflexes, and possibly overall longevity.
Thom is a fully trained Bard and later gleeman, able to play the harp and the flute with a master level ability. Thom also recites many stories and histories using High Chant, Plain Chant, and Common Chant based on his audience. Thom is a master entertainer who has spent many years in his craft and once rose to Court Bard for the nation of Andor, certainly making him one of the best performers in the known world.
Thom, also known as the Gray Fox, was a master at the Game of Houses, Daes Dae’mar, and skillfully used his abilities as a provocateur, spy, and on a few occasions an assassin. Throughout the series, we see Thom consistently becoming a source of information gathering, but more importantly having the ability to piece together analysis on what the information meant. His skill in the Game was highly regarded even by Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred who had to take steps to remove his presence in Tear where he had begun maneuvering nobles in favor of Rand. He was later able to track the movement of the Black Ajah and discover the intentions of White Cloaks within Tanchico and was of continuous use to Mat in Ebou Dar and Caemlyn.
Thom’s is rarely seen without his harp, his flute, his gleeman’s cloak, and several sets of daggers. Early in the series, there was much speculation about the nature of Thom’s “best knives” with many fans questioning Robert Jordan about the blue sparks seen when Thom engaged the Myrddraal in Whitebridge, something only Power wrought weapons and blades forged in Thakan Dar produced. This is never confirmed in the books.
Thom’s harp and flute are each very ornate, worked in gold and silver, and clearly fit for a noble court. These instruments draw the attention of many greedy individuals throughout the early series. Thom is very possessive of his instruments and takes extremely good care of them regardless of his circumstances.
Thom survives the Last Battle and is both married to and Bonded as Moiraine’s warder. As an integral part of the events leading to the Last Battle and possessing the skills of a Bard Thom will likely complete the Epic of the Dragon Reborn as he often joked about during the series and, in fact, began to write during the Last Battle. Thom and Moiraine have married and plan to live as Aes Sedai and Warder for the remainder of Thom’s life, depending on the effect of the Warder Bond on his lifespan Thom could be expected to live as many as ~30 years after the Last Battle. He has once again been named the Court Bard of Andor and Cairhien by Elayne Trakand and may choose to openly participate in the political world once again, something he and Moiraine excel at.
During the Last Battle Thom plays a critical, if unsung role, protecting Moiraine, Nynaeve, and Rand at the entrance to the Pit of Doom in Shayol Ghul. Thom remains outside the cavern to guard the trio and kills at least five would-be intruders. The last being Black Ajah member Jeaine Caide who had disguised herself as Cadsuane Melaidhrin in an attempt to gain entry. Thom cleverly hides their bodies in a nearby hollow to keep himself hidden from enemy channelers and remain an unseen line of defense.
Throughout his various journeys, Thom is often portrayed as an advisor and teacher to the younger characters and his vast experience helps each of them complete their tasks. In fact, Thom is one of the primary supporting characters throughout the series, first helping Rand and Mat on their journey to Caemlyn and later helping Mat on his way to Tear. Thom then accompanies Nynaeve and Elayne to find and stop the Black Ajah in Tanchico and travels with the two women to Salidar and then on to Ebou Dar. Thom stays with Mat in Ebou Dar after the Seanchan invasion and plays an integral role in Mat’s storyline leading up to Moiraine’s rescue from the Aelfinn and Eelfinn by entering their realm through the Tower of Ghenjei.
Thom and Moiraine are in many ways portrayed as the parental figures to the main characters in the books and their ultimate fate as husband and wife solidifies these roles. Although the relationship is often seen by fans as a strange “happy ending” that reflects negatively on Moiraine as a character. Thom’s relationship with Moiraine is complicated from the outset of the story as he is highly mistrustful of Aes Sedai and initially joins the young men from Emond’s Field in an attempt to help them avoid entanglement with the White Tower. Thom clearly recognizes that one of the men is likely a channeler, and he is in some way attempting to make amends for neglecting his own nephew Owyn’s need. Thom’s story arc concludes with him showing the ultimate level of trust in an Aes Sedai and moving on from the pain of his past failure with Owyn.
In Other Media
The role of Thom Merrilin will be played by 48-year-old Danish actor Alexandre Willaume. Willaume has many films and television acting credits dating back to 1996, including supporting roles in Tomb Raider (2018), Home Fries (2016), and Gidseltagningen (2017-2019). He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2017 Bodil Awards for his work in the Danish film Hundeliv.