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Morrolan e'Drien is a substantially more complex character than he at first appears; there is much that is unusual about him. Some interesting areas of speculation include the following:

The Problem of Deathgate FallsEdit

One of the biggest discrepancies in the books about Dragaera involves how many times Morrolan has been to Deathgate Falls. In Taltos, he tells Vlad Taltos that he, Morrolan, helped Zerika when she went Deathgate in order to access the Paths of the Dead and retrieve the Orb: "I was at the top of the falls with Zerika, holding off some local brigands while she made her descent."

Yet in Paarfi's depiction of Zerika's and Morrolan's histories, they had never met at the point in time that Zerika descended Deathgate Falls. Indeed, Paarfi seems to be almost gleefully emphasizing this when he titles Chapter 27 of The Paths of the Dead as "How Morrolan, Teldra and Arra Traveled South as Piro and Company Traveled North, and Very Nearly Met Each Other". Zerika first meets Morrolan much later in time, after she had already retrieved the Orb and started consolidating herself as Empress against Kâna, and after Morrolan had established himself as Count of Southmoor and begun rebuilding Castle Black.

While there are times when Paarfi's reliability is highly questionable, in this case, it would seem very likely -- indeed, nearly a certainty -- that while the exact sequence of events has been reconstructed by him as a fiction, the identities of the specific persons involved with the quest to Deathgate for the retrieval of the Orb would be very well known, recorded in miscellaneous records, and still available from at least some of the principals, not the least of whom is Zerika herself.

Therefore, the question exists: Why did Morrolan assert that he was involved with assisting Zerika when she went to retrieve the Orb?

Vlad misunderstood or misrememberedEdit

While this is the most likely (and boring) of the possibilities, it ought to be addressed: In Dragon, for example, Vlad did mention an event that had occurred at the Paths when he was there with Morrolan, but which he "forgot" to include in Taltos, and then later remembered. So perhaps Morrolan explained to Vlad that Zerika had friends who held off bandits while she descended Deathgate Falls, and Vlad simply misunderstood Morrolan as implying that he had been one of those friends.

Objections: Forgetting a minor event is not quite the same as confusing the speaker of an anecdote with the subject of the anecdote.

Morrolan liedEdit

This possibility seems rather confusing. What purpose does the lie serve? Just to make himself look heroic? This does not seem quite like Morrolan (that is, while he likes being heroic, he seems more inclined to actually do things than to boast about his deeds). Given that the historical events were likely recorded (and again, some of the principals (especially Zerika!) are still alive), it seems like a poor choice of deeds to lie about; at some point, his words will be contrasted with the historical record (or with Zerika's account of the events), and the glaring discrepancy will be most painfully noted.

Yet this appears to be the explanation the Paarfi seems to have settled on. He says at one point that Morrolan "is capable of exaggeration, prevarication, disingenuousness, and making something up out of whole cloth, wherefore we cannot insist upon the truth of the matter.", and occasionally snarks about Morrolan in ways that suggests a certain lack of respect for Morrolan's intelligence as well.

Morrolan's memories were confusedEdit

This possibility has perhaps the most interesting potential; Morrolan thinks he's telling the truth because he has memories of being there.

Of those who were at the encounter at Deathgate Falls, most survived the event, and lived on into the beginning of Zerika's reign. While many of them died afterwards, Paarfi himself relates that Piro and Zerika survived, and for that matter, so did Ritt, and while he was at that time one of the bandits opposing them, he survived, and became a reformed character, eventually joining the Phoenix Guard. The only one whose fate is uncertain at the time that Paarfi concludes his narrative of The Viscount of Adrilankha is Lar, who is probably still Piro's lackey.

Of those who were on the quest for the Orb, there are two interesting possibilities for confusing Morrolan's memories. We should also keep in mind that both of the following speculations could be correct (Morrolan wanting all of the information he could get), thus leading to even more memory confusion.

Confusion by Zerika and the OrbEdit

When Morrolan determined that it was necessary for someone to travel to the Paths of the Dead in order to request a great boon from the Gods (namely, the resurrection of Aliera e'Kieron), it may have occurred to either himself or to Sethra Lavode to request the assistance of the previous individual who had made such a journey, namely, the Empress Zerika the Fourth. We know that the Orb contains the memories of the previous Emperors; we may easily generalize that it has functions providing easy access to any memories that an Emperor has, and further speculate that the Empress can, if she so chooses, provide psychic access to these memories - even if these memories were formed before the Empress took the Orb. Thus, Zerika might have provided Morrolan with the memories most likely to prove useful to him on his own journey to the Paths of the Dead, with the side effect that these memories were more vivid to him when he went there with Vlad Taltos than his own true memories of that period of time, thus leading to Morrolan's statements indicating that he had been there with Zerika when she went to the Paths.

Confusion via Tazendra LavodeEdit

Another possibility involves Tazendra Lavode, who was also with Zerika at the Paths of the Dead. We know that Tazendra survived this, and for that matter, Paarfi indicates that she was one of those who was invited to Morrolan's party at Castle Black when it was first started.

It could easily be that Tazendra related her memories of the quest to Morrolan. Perhaps, just barely possibly, Morrolan internalized this story and thought of it as his own, but this seems rather tenuous. Morrolan has no doubt heard many hundreds or thousands of anecdotes; why would he think that this one occurred to him?

Far more interesting is a possibility involving Sethra Lavode, and her training Tazendra as a wizard. We don't know a great deal about wizardry, although Vlad seems to understand that it involves binding one's soul to an object. What if, then, rather than being specifically one's soul, what is bound to the staff is one's memories? Thus, when one performs a spell, or reviews an event, one can have a clear idea of how that spell is meant to be performed, or what occurred at that particular event.

We can thus speculate that Tazendra's staff contained her memories of her experience at Deathgate Falls. Given that Tazendra was attacked and taken away from her staff, and confined in a cave very far away from her staff, it seems likely that her staff still existed after her death. So perhaps Sethra Lavode thought it would be a good idea to take this staff, and make sure that the memories it contained did not go to waste.

We see that in Issola, Morrolan has a staff that he keeps with him in a transformed state, as a ring. What if this staff is indeed Tazendra Lavode's staff, passed on to him by Sethra Lavode? This would then create situations where, in some circumstances, he accesses Tazendra Lavode's memories for practical reasons, such as preparing himself for his journey to Deathgate Falls, where she had been. As with the Orb speculation above, this might have the side effect of confusing her memories with his own.

This possibility seems far more likely than the one given above about the Orb, since Morrolan also says in Taltos that "As you approach Greymist Valley, sorcery becomes more difficult. From the time you reach the Deathgate, it is impossible" -- which is something that the wizard Tazendra would be more certain of, and experience more viscerally, than Zerika. It should be emphasized that Morrolan's usage of "sorcery" most likely means "regular sorcery and Elder Sorcery", since before the Orb was retrieved, Elder Sorcery was the only sorcery that was available. In support of this, note that neither Tazendra nor Orlaan resorted to using magic of any kind at Deathgate in Paarfi's account. And Morrolan's own words make it look like he is echoing what Tazendra presumably would have thought in that situation: "If I could have used sorcery, I would have.".

As another hint that Morrolan might be sharing Tazendra's memories, note that he halts and stares at the statue of a dzur - which would have far more importance for someone of the House of the Dzur than for someone of House Dragon. We can also therefore speculate that when Vlad asked Morrolan "Know any Dzurlords who've come this way?", and Morrolan answered "Sethra", that perhaps Morrolan started saying "Sethra's student Tazendra", or "Sethra, and her student Tazendra" but changed his mind about telling Vlad anything about Tazendra, and cut himself off from saying anything more on the topic.




As an alternative to the speculation about Mororlan's staff, it has also been noted that Morrolan's Great Weapon Blackwand has been described as 'extremely aggressive and female', qualities which provide a remarkable accurate and succinct description of Tazendra. It is possible that, by some chain of circumstances as yet unchronicled, Tazendra's soul becomes a part of that weapon in much the same manner as Lady Teldra's is part of Godslayer. The chain of circumstances would have to be quite extraordinary indeed, since Tazendra is still alive at the time that Morrolan receives Blackwand, shortly before the Ninth (or Tenth) Battle of Dzur Mountain described in The Lord of Castle Black. Indeed, she is in Morrolan's presence, accompanying Zerika when the Empress takes refuge at Morrolan's soon-to-be-floating castle.

In this case, it would have been Tazendra, speaking through Morrolan's lips, who related the story of the battle of Deathgate Falls as she experienced it herself.

Given that Tazendra died at a location nowhere near Morrolan, and was given to Deathgate by her closest friends, which did not include Morrolan among their number, this speculation seems far less likely.

Confusion of causalityEdit

Another possibility that can be considered is that Morrolan somehow managed to travel back in time, most likely by way of the Window at the top of his tower, although Devera's influence might also be a possibility.

While this would allow him to be where he said he was, when he said he was there, it does not account for the others who were there not mentioning his presence. However, it may be that Morrolan asked them to swear to silence, since he probably wanted to keep the time-bending nature of his Window a secret, and avoid confusing causality more than necessary.

It might also be that while Morrolan was there, he kept himself hidden, perhaps not even passing fully through the Window, and while he helped dispatch the bandits who were threatening Zerika, Zerika and her allies were entirely unaware of it.


Metafictive AnalysisEdit

From a metafictive standpoint, Paarfi's real-world counterpart, Alexandre Dumas, notably made claims similar to those of Paarfi in regards to the historical accuracy of the events he described, yet is well known to have heavily embellished existing facts and to have completely made up others. Tazendra's Dumasian counterpart, Porthos, was based primarily on historical Isaac de Portau, but Dumas also drew inspiration for the character from a number of other figures. Some of the actions attributed to Porthos by Dumas were actually commited not by Portau himself but rather by other variously associated people; still other actions never actually occurred at all. In this light, it is quite possible that Paarfi made a similar choice in regards to this event: for the purposes of the narrative that Paarfi was constructing, it would have been more dramatic, comprehensible, or otherwise appropriate to omit Morrolan from the party that escorted Zerika to the Falls, and either conflate his role in that journey with Tazendra's, if she was also part of the real group; or else replace him with her entirely, if she was not.

Note, however, that this puts Paarfi in the position of deliberately slighting one (or more) of the friends of the Empress, which is perhaps not the best choice for him to have made. It also makes the accusation of outright lying, noted above, rebound rather unfavorably upon him.

Morrolan's BloodEdit

In Taltos, Vlad was given a vial by Kiera, and was told that it contained the blood of a goddess.  In order to escape the Paths of the Dead, Vlad summoned it, and Morrolan added the contents of the vial to his own blood.

As of Dragon, Morrolan does not seem to know what was in the vial, and Vlad, whenever he mentions it, seems smug about this.

Source of the bloodEdit

It is heavily implied (if not outright confirmed) that the blood is Verra's.

Pre-Empire sorceryEdit

In The Lord of Castle Black, Verra says of Morrolan that, "he will, someday, pass beyond [Eastern arts and those of the Empire] to the oldest of the magical arts , which are my province."

When Kéurana observes, "And yet, he has not the bloodlines to use such powers fully," Verra replies, "As to that, we shall see."

Perhaps having Verra's blood flowing directly through him will allow him to use pre-Empire sorcery.

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