All about Sulfin Evend

originally posted by Nora


New thread for convenience, hopping off of some things (thank you Janny for answers!) from another thread.

I, like many other readers here, found Sulfin Evend to be one of the most compelling and interesting characters this book. He was fascinating in Peril's Gate, but it's across the (artificial) volume break that he changes and becomes really dynamic.

One of the hallmarks of this series is that we the readers are constantly having to think "I know X, but does character Y know this too?" Without that constantly in mind, many subtle things in the POV shifts are lost completely.

Now, it becomes clearer and clearer as we go along that SE knows a lot of things that we didn't know that he knew, and that Lysaer and many others didn't know. So with him, exposition of information about Athera is also exposition about his character, and it makes for really fascinating scenes like his talk with Lysaer near the end of Peril's Gate.

There's an essential difference between some kinds of knowledge, though. It's one thing to know that the Paravians are a direct connection to the mysteries and that this is irreplacable, but to know this solely because you've been told. It's rather another to *experience* some facet of the mysteries and come to a realization that your knowledge really is true. When we the readers are riding along with one of the F7, we know that they *know* this and thus the impact is not as strong. But to see a character who 'knew' this really come to *know* this…it's riveting.

Now he's in an unenviable situation. He's the type to watch and learn and has seen some very troubling things; but he's also seen a side of Lysaer that no one else (especially now, when Lysaer is more alone than ever) gets access to. He's really needed, but now has to balance loyalty to a person with knowledge and a deeper loyalty to his caithdein's oath (and mercifully, I think he really does realize his situation and how binding and serious it is). He probably gets naked more than anyone else in the book. :smiley: He's gone a long way from his beginnings–so now I'll ask some questions which are probably going to be answered down the line, but I think I'm asking the right questions.

Sulfin Evend is a s'Gannley descendant, from Diarin who was stolen from her own intended by a past Mayor of Hanshire. This begs the question–why exactly? Why would the townborn *want* the clan lineage at all, enough to steal a woman and keep her enough to get a child?

Several possibilities. One is that it's a power thing, a way of displaying dominance to the clans. Two is more intriguing. We know that Hanshire has no love for the monarchy (although I don't remember if we know exactly why). We also know that they know more about sorcery than most towns, and don't have the irrational flaming hatred of it. The Koriathain have a strong presence there, as opposed to somewhere like Erdane. SE knows Paravian and was taught it. So was the rape of Diarin s'Gannley a *deliberate* method of bringing a prodigiously gifted clanblood line into the control of the ruling family? [Mayor of Hanshire is a hereditary position, it seems.]

Morriel was, naturally, Prime at the time this occurred. We know she wanted a child of Sulfin Evend's as a potential Prime candidate. Could her plot extend back that far, the clanblood line in a place where the Koriathain could get to it if they wanted to?

Putting the pieces together, the obligation to the Koriathain was almost certainly the source of the shouting argument SE had with dear Daddy on the night that he rode out of Hanshire as an escort and into the mess of events that brings him firmly into our story. But it begs the question: what was the Mayor's son, presumably raised to statecraft (Raiett Raven makes comment about SE's acumen in this area) doing as a captain of the guard? Would this be a normal stint of service for a young nobleman to get experience in the world?

And is it possible to give us the wording of a caithdein's oath, or is that giving something away? Both Asandir and Sethvir refer to him as that, and I'm sure those powers *and* responsibilities are going to be important down the line.

Can't wait to see what happens in Sanpashir!

originally posted by Cheryl Detmer


I was really shocked at the beginning to learn about Sulvin and the Caithdein Oath and how he had to swear it to save Lysaer. I'm still in the middle of the book but wanted to comment on Sulfin. I like his loyalty to Lysaer and how he seems to care about him. So now that he swore to be Caithdein does that mean he has to betray Lysaer? I'm sure I'll find out as I read but that really shocked me. He is the bad guy in my eyes still as far as him being against Arithon goes. I'm sympathizing more and more with him though but anyone against Arithon isn't a friend of mine. Even though I know that the curse is causing Lysaer to be this way and I feel for him more than most. Just some thoughts I've had so far while reading TK. I love this book. It's the best one but all of them are wonderful books. I'm reading it slower so I can enjoy it and make Arithon stay with me longer this time. lol Sulfin does seem to be an intriguing character in this book and I'm enjoying the chapters with him the most which surprised me.

originally posted by R’is’n

*Grin* Cheryl - radical shifts of point of view are a hallmark of this series… the mistake is to try to keep sides - you'll just end up swinging too and fro so often - you'll get sea-sick!

Janny is exploring themes of wrong and right, bad and good, and never lets us stick to one view. - I love it.

originally posted by Cheryl Detmer

I stick to Arithon's view though and don't get swung too far away from him though I sympathize with almost everyone's dilemna in the series. grin I know Janny is doing that in the series and it is fun. LOL I do have sympathy for Lysaer more than most and hope somehow he's freed of that curse one day and Arithon too. I liked Sulfin and Asandir's conversation early on about Lysaer.

originally posted by Sean Monahan

There were extending portions of this book where I was rooting for Lysaer to succeed against those other than Arithon. You are right Roisin, the shifts of POV are nothing less than radical. And we must be careful lest we forget, Lysaer was sacrificed by the F7 to the Mistwraith. All the Alliance of Light is and will be is the cause of that. Arithon understands this in a way none other than the F7, Dakar, and Elaira do. He feels more pity than hatred, when not subject to Curse.

originally posted by neilw

Yes, I agree about Arithon. He has tried 1) fighting directly, 2) avoidance, and currently trying 3) peace. He understands Lysaer's motives and problems.

Arithon may have to proactively help Lysaer in order to achieve the final goals of Paravian return / Fellowship freedom. At least, Lysear's alliance may give rise to more trained humans who can appreciate the mysteries but who are not bound to clan responsibilties. Sooner of later the priests will wise up or destroy themselves. (power whout wisdom etc. etc.)

originally posted by Andy


I was really shocked at the beginning to learn about Sulvin and the Caithdein Oath and how he had to swear it to save Lysaer. I'm still in the middle of the book but wanted to comment on Sulfin. I like his loyalty to Lysaer and how he seems to care about him. So now that he swore to be Caithdein does that mean he has to betray Lysaer?

Sorry if this has already been answered, but is SE is the caithdein for Lysaer or Tysan? Doesn't the caithdein have to serve a kingdom and the land? If so, how can Tysan have two caithdeins (SE and Maenol?)

originally posted by Miranda Bertram

Well, he couldn't be the caithdein for Lysaer, since Lysaer isn't a sanctioned high king, and I think the caithdein is always for the land, never for the king himself. Could be wrong. I guess the rules are somewhat flexible?

originally posted by Ryan Gohl

Well, in TK, Sulfin made his oath to the land. The text was clear on that.

One thing to mention, I've never seen it stated there can be only one cathdein at a time, as a rule. I theink there is generally only one for expedience for the fellowship, tradition if you would. If the oath is to the land, would the land care that there was more than one link? I would think that the land would be joyous with more links.

originally posted by Nora

Re-reading in Peril's Gate, it's interesting to see how SE taking up the caithdein's oath is hinted at/foreshadowed. He has the encounter with the centaur, and it's specifically mentioned that both Jieret and SE are watching Lysaer during that encounter, and understand him then. The offense to SE's honesty of Lysaer's plans (when Morriel's conspiracy breaks) and the shock of everyone killed on Daon Ramon all build up. [Note how SE has changed there; early in Grand Conspiracy, he'd be happy to leave the tree-bound men asleep for the sake of the Light. Late in Peril's Gate, he's more concerned about the men and what they're being led into than the cause of the Light.]

And given everything that happens in TK, and what he sees, I think (and hope) that Sulfin realizes just what his oath means, and what it is given too. He and Lysaer are finally, in a sense, driven to disparity by the end of the book. I wonder what his reaction to Raiett's death will be, and which loyalty he will be sacrificed? How close of tabs is the Fellowship keeping on him?

originally posted by Blue

Spoilers just in case!

I wonder what his reaction to Raiett's death will be, and which loyalty he will be sacrificed? How close of tabs is the Fellowship keeping on him?

Two very good questions, Nora. I wonder if SE would go so far as to contact the clansmen on his own recognizance, and warn them of the firestorm to come - in SF? I also wonder if he will ever encounter Arithon, and what the two of them will make of one another.

originally posted by Nora

Potential spoilers!

As SE's oath is to the land of Tysan and the weal of its people, he may well end up doing something drastic to try to save the soldiers in his command (and thus his responsibility) from a bloody battle that he knows is about nuthin' good. SE has seen the curse effects up close and personal, and has developed enough of a backbone to argue against Lysaer's kind of strategic war. Well, one can hope, after all.

And Arithon is at Sanpashir and SE is heading that way; I'm very excited to see what will happen with SE returning the knife, as he's hardly a popular figure amongst any kind of clansmen…

originally posted by Andy

Potential SPOILERS.

I just re-read Sulfin's visit to Althain and his conversation with Asandir. It is clear that Sulfin will take a caithdein's oath and that oath is to the land, and enforceable by the his true self as well as the Fellowship. Asandir also makes it clear that his caithdein's oath will not supplant Maenol as caithdein of Tysan. But what is also clear from their conversation is that Sulfin's caithdein oath will irrevocably tie him to Lysaer, and Asandir attempts to dissuade him from this, as Lysaer has been cast out of the protection of the Compact, is under the curse of the Mistwraith, and has attracted the perilous interest of necromancers. So while Lysaer is obviously not a sanctioned prince or king, Sulfin willl apparently play the part of Lysaer's caithdein–at least for Lysaer's benefit. Asandir even makes the point in a way that Sulfin will be able to perhaps protect Lysaer from the necromancers where the Fellowship could not due to their sparse resources or his forfeited right to ask for intercession. Maybe he just swore a caithdein's oath to the land but has not become a caithdein.

Aside: In explaining Sulfin's heritage, Asandir explains that his ancestor's split into three lines: (1) Maenol's; (2) his own Westwood/Hanshire; and (3) some Erdani prince who was inopportune or misbehaved. To whom does the third line pertain?

Janny – I'm asking – can a kingdom have more than one caithdein at the same time? Can a uncrowned and nonsanctioned prince have a caithdein? I suspect we're bordering on RAFO-land, but any light you can shed would be appreciated.


originally posted by Ryan Gohl

Very well put Andy. I couldn't have stated it better.

originally posted by Hellcat

I think the 3rd branch that forfitted its heratige was the gentleman (whose name I've forgotten) who captured Arithon in CoTM and dangled him over a chasm head down. Though IIRC his crime was not what he did to Arithon but the fact that he intended to carry out a raid for the sake of it rather than for reasons of survival.

Will have to re-read.

originally posted by Nora

Potential spoilers…

I was taking another look at the scene with Sulfin and Lysaer in the bathtub, and I noted how often it was emphasized that anyone else would shut up, but a man bound to the cause of the land kept pressing things. Sulfin Evend's experience at Avenor, coming into contact with Sethvir and helping to purge the necromancers–I think that was a really big thing for his character. [Also note the divergent paths of Lysaer and SE in Althain Tower–Lysaer is not moved by the Paravian statuary, but SE weeps and looses his composure. SE is able to be sensitive in ways that Lysaer has cut himself off from.]

A caithdein wears black, we know–because, I think, a caithdein is bound in responsibility to the land (and thus the F7 and the Paravians) more deeply than to the royal office or occupant itself. A king's oath is to the kingdom, but the caithdein also has a direct connection of sorts, I think. When SE is in Hanshire, he says that his oath is to the land and the weal of the people, and that Lysaer's cause is the same. But it's obvious that he *knows* those two things are diverging, and he moves into being a direct goad to Lysaer's ambitions.

It was fascinating to see how the F7 could act through a caithdein, with the oath and due permission, to enact powerful intervention.

Can we find out what exactly the oath a caithdein swears is, or is that confidential? :smiley:

Andy – You Asked.


There cannot be two caithdein, precisely. Sulfin Evend's state of affaris is a shattering precident.

Maenol is sanctioned caithdein for Tysan - that means, by Tysan's old charter law, he may speak for crown justice in the absence of the king or sanctioned crown prince. ONLY MAENOL can stand in for this responsibility.

Sulfin Evend swore the caithdein's oath - which is to the weal of the land - and holds the people subject to the land's prosperity. He swore this oath, which enables him the standing to ask for Fellowship intercession - he can ask for help as a caithdein might, if the land and the people who are in harmony with the terms of the compact are jeopardized. And legit, the Fellowship can answer.

This allows the Sorcerers, also, the opening to temper what happens to Lysaer - without that opening, the horrid little brush with necromancy would have had little opening at all - if not none, for Lysaer's survival… a Fellowship intercession could NOT have salvaged his life, while he was caught "under the influence."

The Fellowship agrees to stand on Sulfin Evend's oath in order to temper the impact of Lysaer, under the curse. It does NOT give Sulfin Evend any power to claim authority under Tysan's crown charter, and it certainly does NOT elevate Lysaer's status to crown heir in any shape or form. He would not, either, wear black, which signifies "shadow behind the throne" or perform the office of royal conscience for even a potential s'Ilessid heir.

Maenol's lineage is the legit Caithdein for the realm. No way Sulfin Evend would supplant him.

originally posted by Nora

Possible TK spoilers!

Ooh, new information–that clears things up, wow and thanks. It makes sense that there never would have been a situation like this before, with such a powerful rogue agent wreaking havoc as a ruler. I'm guessing that the oath and related issues will come into play next book, and it's probably things that would be spoily.

This is the first inroad the Fellowship has had with someone near to Lysaer in some time, isn't it?

originally posted by Andy


I think the 3rd branch that forfitted its heratige was the gentleman (whose name I've forgotten) who captured Arithon in CoTM and dangled him over a chasm head down. Though IIRC his crime was not what he did to Arithon but the fact that he intended to carry out a raid for the sake of it rather than for reasons of survival.

Ah yes, I remember now. I don't recall his name either, but wasn't his uncle Lord Tashan or something like that. Basically, he planned to raid the next non-clan travellers who came through out of malice, Arithon "used" him to force Asandir to reveal Lysaer's s'Illesid ancestory, and then Asandir chastised Arithon afterwards, explaining that the unintended consequence of Arithon's rash action was that the would-be raider would suffer punishment at Maenolle's hand which would potentially end a irreplacable clan lineage/descent. Does this mean he was killed as punishment? If not, I wonder if we'll ever see that guy again.

originally posted by Blue

The name of the third s'Gannley branch heir was Grithen, who was the Earl of Erdane. Lord Tashan had rebuked him BEFORE the raid that captured Arithon, chewing him out for being rash. It was after the raid that Lady Maenalle, Maenol's predecessor [and namesake?] formally disinherited him from his position. He had violated clan tradition [and charter law?] in his actions, and the offense was sufficiently bad enough for him to lose everything.

If Grithen had children, would they inherit the Erdane title, or is that branch line of s'Gannley out of luck?