The Legendary Gleeman of Wheel of Time

Thom Merrilin, the renowned gleeman, captivates readers as he weaves his tales throughout the epic fantasy series, Wheel of Time. From his first encounter with the young heroes to his ultimate sacrifice, Thom’s character grows in complexity and adds depth to the storyline.

The Encounter in Two Rivers

Thom’s journey begins in the Two Rivers village, where he is unceremoniously hurried out of the Winespring Inn. Irritated, he meets Rand, Perrin, Mat, and Egwene, sparking a conversation about peddler Padan Fain. Thom’s sarcasm earns him disapproval from Egwene, but he quickly makes amends and charms the group, recruiting Egwene as his assistant and encouraging the boys to participate.

The Rise of the Gleeman

Thom’s presence, accompanied by his gleeman’s cloak, draws a crowd in the village. Eager listeners request stories, and Thom obliges with tales from the Age before the Age of Legends. He vividly describes a world where men ruled the heavens, stars, and earth. From Mosk the Giant to Materese the Healer, Thom’s stories capture the imagination of the audience.

Unveiling the Mysteries of the Past

As Thom juggles intricate patterns of multicolored balls, he reveals the end of the Age of Legends and the subsequent Time of Madness. He recounts the Trolloc Wars, the War of the Hundred Years, and other adventures of men and women. With each story, Thom’s words transport the crowd to realms filled with valor and wonder. He even shares lighthearted tales like “How Goodwife Karil Cured Her Husband of Snoring.”

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The Mysterious Lady and the Master Bard

Thom’s performance catches the attention of Moiraine Damodred and Lan Mandragoran, who observe from the crowd. However, their presence causes Thom to abruptly stop speaking and juggling. Ewin Fingar informs Thom that Moiraine is a Lady and a collector of stories from the Two Rivers. Though their brief interaction sparks discomfort for Thom, he leaves in haste as the group departs.

Thom’s Support in Dark Times

After the tragic events of Winternight, Rand finds Thom sitting near the foundation stones of the inn. Thom assures Rand that Nynaeve, the Wisdom, is the best hope for saving Tam al’Thor’s life. He also shares his concerns about Fain and the Trollocs. Thom rushes off to find Nynaeve but returns, visibly upset that Rand did not inform him about her earlier encounter with Tam.

Thom’s Secret Past

Curiosity piques as Thom questions the identity of the one who drew the Dragon’s Fang on the inn door. The truth dawns on him as Bran al’Vere reveals that Moiraine is an Aes Sedai. Conflicted and wary of Aes Sedai, Thom advises Rand to seek Moiraine’s help, revealing his own complicated history with the powerful women. Intrigued by Thom’s burns from battling Trollocs, Bran realizes there is more to the gleeman than meets the eye.

A Change of Fate

Thom surprises the group, including Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene, by joining their journey to Tar Valon. He sees this as an opportunity to perform in the city he has never visited before. Moiraine grants his request, and the party sets off, hunted by shadowspawn and facing the dangers that lie ahead.

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A Loyal Comrade

Thom proves himself a loyal companion as the group nears Watch Hill and encounters danger. He assists Lan in intimidating the ferryman and his group to ensure their safety, showcasing his impressive knife skills. Thom’s presence brings levity to the group, earning the amusement of Moiraine and Egwene.

Mysteries Unfold

Throughout their journey, Thom entertains the group with his music and stories, teaching the boys the art of juggling. His tales of Mara, Anla the Wise Counselor, and The Great Hunt of the Horn keep their minds occupied, providing moments of joy amidst the uncertainty they face.

A City of Wonders

Their arrival in Baerlon astonishes the Two Rivers youths, and Thom takes pleasure in their amazement at the city’s size. As they navigate the gates, Moiraine and Lan instruct them to use false names, Master Andra and Mistress Alys. Unbeknownst to the group, Baerlon harbors the Children of the Light, who claim to protect the town from The False Dragon, Logain Ablar.

Facing the Shadows

Thom’s quick thinking keeps the boys from revealing too much when they encounter Min Farshaw. Recognizing the danger, Thom warns them to be cautious about mentioning certain names, especially in the presence of the Whitecloaks. His wisdom guides them through troubling times.

A Sacrifice for Friendship

Forced to flee once again due to Whitecloak interference, Thom faces a difficult decision. He must choose whether to stay with the group or seek safety elsewhere. Despite the risks, Thom remains by their side, knowing that his association with them in town puts him in danger. His loyalty and dedication shine through as he stands against the encroaching Shadow.

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A Legend Lives On

Although Thom’s fate appears uncertain, his absence does not go unnoticed. At the Queen’s Blessing in Caemlyn, Basel Gill, an old friend of Thom’s, assures Rand and Mat that the legendary gleeman’s death is not as it seems. Basel recounts Thom’s past as the Court-bard of Caemlyn and his complicated relationship with Queen Morgase Trakand. His tales remind them that Thom is no ordinary bard.

Thom Merrilin, the gleeman of Wheel of Time, leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of readers. From his first encounter with the Two Rivers youths to his fateful sacrifice, Thom’s presence enriches the narrative and brings the world of Wheel of Time to life. As the story unfolds, the legacy of the legendary gleeman lives on, forever etched in the memories of those who journey through the Wheel of Time.

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