Simon, the main character of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, is at the beginning of the story a hapless fourteen year old scullion, who is seemingly always in trouble. As the plot unfolds, he becomes a man, growing older, learning the meaning of love and grief. He develops in more ways than purely physically; growing in his perception of how the world works. On his quest for a place he can call home, he finds that, contrary to Binabiks statement that If the bears dont eat you, its home, home is always in your mind.
Binabik is a troll and a member of the League of the Scroll by default almost. He befriends Simon on his desperate flight from the Hayholt, and the two remain more or less together throughout the trilogy. He aids Simons process of growing up, by explaining things and teaching him the meaning of life. Yet even he is surprised at Simons hidden strength of character and development during the quest. Binabik is patient, wise, witty and honourable; he seems to show no defects in his character, and one is correct in assuming that he has no wrong intentions in his heart.
Miriamele is the young and beautiful daughter of King Elias. She disagrees with her fathers designs and flees the Hayholt to join Joshua, her uncle. She and her maid are rescued by Simon and Binabik in the forest of Aldheorte. Eventually, after many false starts, she and Simon fall in love. She is sometimes wrong in her judgement of circumstances, and does not like to admit she is in the wrong. She also finds herself on a wild quest that guides her through the lands of Osten Ard, where she, like Simon, grows up and finds her own heart and home.
Josua, also known as Lackhand, is King Elias estranged, one-handed brother. He is a Christ-like figure who would rather sacrifice himself than send innocents to their death, fighting for his cause. He is a troubled and some think, unsuited leader of the rebellion against Elias rule of terror. He is a compassionate man, weaker in body than some, yet stronger in mind than most. He accepts Simon as a protégé, knighting him for his deeds and achievements. In staging his own death at the end of the saga, Josua escapes all publicity and the embarrassment of having to take the throne, a job he thinks Simon is much more suited for, especially since his claim to the throne could be considered better.
Morgenes, also known simply as the Doctor, was the leader of the League of the Scroll, residing in the Hayholt. He was a very learned, old man; well versed in the Art, something he did not directly admit existed. He was also very open to the tutelage of young, ignorant boys like Simon. Although he dies fairly early in the saga, he remains a motivating force among the people fighting the encroaching darkness and despair. Most of all he is an inspiration to Simon in his development, as a League member, destined to follow his former master.
Ineluki is a disembodied spirit of the one-time prince of the Sithi. When the Rimmersgarders invaded Osten Ard and tried to overthrow the Hayholt, he worked strange magic to combine a sword of two totally opposite and inimical substances, iron and witchwood. The sword thus forged was named Jingizu, Sorrow. The making of this sword finally disfigured and changed Inelukis essence so much, that he drove out the Sithi with the combination of these two materials. He then blasted himself into oblivion with five of his most faithful followers, named the Red Hand. They were doomed to live forever in the between-realms of the spirit world. Long had he planned his revenge, and with the aid of Utukku, his mother, the Ice Queen, he was able to ally himself with Pryrates and Elias. He is supposedly a creature with no feelings whatsoever, but all he really wishes is to live again in the love of the world.
Growing up in the Hayholt, the orphan boy, Simon has known no other reality than that of the servants and scullions life. Under the tyranny of Rachael the Dragon, he grows up into a teenager whose main interest is getting out of work. He is therefore gladly placed in the tuition of Doctor Morgenes, who teaches him to read and write. After the old king has died, Elias assumes the throne. On one of Simons exploratory roams through the nether regions of the castle, Simon discovers Joshua, Elias younger brother, locked away in a secret room by Pryrates, the kings advisor. Simon reports this find to Morgenes, who assists the Prince in escaping, but is soon thereafter accosted by Pryrates and dies in the ensuing unnatural fire in his work room. Simon escapes the same way that Josua left; through the tunnels of the Sithi castle Asua upon which the human castle of the Hayholt had been built.
After having made his way out of these dark and mystical tunnels, he heads north to Naglimund. Becoming almost a creature of the wild, he witnesses a strange ritual on the Thisterborg, a haunted mound to the north of the Hayholt. Heading north through the fringes of the forest, he frees a Sitha from a woodsmans trap, killing the woodsman for the greater good. He then meets Binabik, a troll sent indirectly by Morgenes, to look after Simon. They travel together through the forest, fleeing into the depths of the forest when pursued by the Hounds of Stormspike. There they meet Princess Miriamele in disguise, and help her and her young companion. This little band of travellers seeks shelter in the hut of Geloë, a wise woman living in the centre of the forest.
Eventually they reach Naglimund, and after a council of war decide with the aid of Morgenes manuscript on the recovery of three swords of power. Their first task is to seek out Thorn, which was lost on the flanks of Urmsheim, a mythical mountain in the far north of Osten Ard. Simon is one of this company, and he learns the art of the soldier during the long trek north. In the forests of the north, they are once again accosted by Norns, yet are saved by a hunting-party of Sithi. Their leader is Jiriki, the royal Sitha whom Simon saved from the woodsmans trap. Joined by Jiriki and another Sitha, they come to Urmsheim, and find the sword in a cave there. Attacked once more by Norns, they fight, and awaken the dragon Igjarjuk, who had slumbered for many centuries undisturbed under Urmsheim. Simon unexpectedly faces the dragon with Thorn and, although not slaying it, wounds it, and it then is carried from the snow-field. Simon is scarred by the dragons blood, thereafter being called Seoman Snowlock because of the white patch left at the front his reddish hair. He is also scarred internally, the dragons blood opening a mystical door of perception within him.
The next thing Simon knows is awakening in Yiqanuc, finding that two of his companions, a Rimmersgarder, Sludig, and Binabik, are being held prisoner, with the death penalty hanging over their crimes. Sludig for being a Rimmersgarder and Binabik for having broken his betrothal vows. They are freed by the finding of a testament scroll written by Binabiks former deceased master before his fateful journey south. Heading south, they make their way to the Stone of Farewell, to which Simon was summoned in a dream.
Meanwhile, Miriamele and a misguided monk, Cadrach, have made their way south to Nabban, to try and win over the Nabbanai to Joshuas cause. They are followed by Isgrimnur, a close friend of the late King John. They meet up in an Inn in the southern swamp city of Kwanitupul, after numerous adventures.
Joshua, after being driven from Naglimund has made his way to the Stone of Farewell, on the southern border of Aldheorte. There he sets up his base and slowly collects an army around him.
Simon, Binabik and Sludig, making their way south along the eastern border of Aldheorte, become separated and Simon summons Sithi aid by way of a mirror given to him by Jiriki. The form of the aid is Aditu, Jirikis younger sister. She leads Simon to the Sithi city of JaoeTinukai. From there he is released after a few months and led to the Stone of Farewell.
Miriamele, Cadrach and Isgrimnur discover Caramis, the greatest knight Osten Ard has ever known. He was found living in squalid conditions with total amnesia at a particular inn in Kwanitupul, the main town found in the Wran. Falling in with Tiamak, a Wrannaman, and having also been summoned in a dream to the Stone of Farewell they take the unknowing Caramis with them on their way west through the swamps, experiencing the horrors of a ghants nest (insect-like creatures) and then north through the grasslands of the Thrithings. Cadrach abandons them along the way and no more is heard of him for some while.
Arriving at the Stone of Farewell, stories are exchanged and Simon is knighted by Joshua. Caramis is awakened from his state of forgetfulness, in which he has resided for twenty years, and he is given back Thorn, his sword. After the first battle of Joshuas troops against the kings army, Josua leads his followers out onto the grasslands and towards Nabban, to win the support of the nobles there against Elias. He also hopes to win their support in condemnation of the patricide of the former Baron of Nabban, by his son Benigaris. Miriamele and Simon steal off and make their way to the Hayholt, for Miriamele wishes to convince her father that everything started because of his love and guilt about his lost wife. She is convinced, naively perhaps that he could finish it the same way, by forgiving himself and renouncing all of Inelukis power. They are pursued by Binabik, who frees them from a band of Inelukis worshippers. Arriving in Erchester, they try to recover Bright-Nail, Prester Johns sword, known to be Minneyar - Memory, the third great sword, according to Morgens manuscript. In Johns barrow, Simon falls through into the dark unexplored tunnels beneath the Swertcliff and thence the Hayholt and is forced to make his way once more through darkness and despair, but this time not as Simon Scullion, but Sir Seoman Snowlock. He ends up in the forge cavern under the Hayholt, under the evil rule of Inch, Morgenes one-time assistant. Inch holds a grudge against Simon for having replaced him as the Doctors apprentice. When discovered by Inch, he is bound to the great water wheel that drives all the machinery of Pryrates in the castle, and left to die a slow and painful death.
However, Guthwulf, who was once Elias most trusted advisor and was blinded by Pryrates, frees him from his martyrdom upon the wheel and leads him to safety. Guthwulf is in possession of Bright-Nail, and when Guthwulf subsequently dies, Simon takes his clothes and the sword, and after saying a quick prayer for the dead man, feels himself drawn to Green Angel Tower, the only remnant of the Sithi Asua.
Climbing to the spire of Green Angle Tower, he finds Elias and Camaris already there with their respective swords. Reluctantly joining the spell of the three swords he realises that the swords will not help the cause of the rebellion at all, but will enable Ineluki to return to Osten Ard in the body of Elias the King. Pryrates has started the spell in the full knowledge that once started it will never be undone. The wheel of time turns backwards to the point where Ineluki banished himself from Osten Ard, and Simon realises what must be done to break the spell. With the words, I will not hate you he withdraws Minneyar from the triangle and Camaris follows suit. Elias becomes himself for a few instants and is able to tell Miriamele in a look that he always loved her, and as he becomes possessed by the Storm King again, Miriamele shoots him with a Sithii arrow. The surplus energy created by this final passing of the Storm King turns Pryrates to ash and destroys Green Angel Tower. Cadrach who has turned up at Miriameles side during the battle for the Hayholt aids them to escape with his knowledge of the Art and sacrifices himself in order to save Simon and his companions.
During the aftermath of the passing of Elias reign of terror, Simons heritage as the heir of Eahlstan Fiskerne, the last hereditary king of the Hayholt is revealed and he is asked to take up the position of king, as Josua was killed in the destruction of Green Angel Tower. Miriamele and he are married and together they reinstate the High Kings Ward, the order of peace that Prester John introduced during his unification of Osten Ard.
The Three Swords, Minneyar, Jingizu and Thorn have one thing in common: they are not made of indigenous materials of Osten Ard. Minneyar was forged from the iron keel of one of the Rimmersgarder ships that came from the west, Jingizu was crafted from witchwood and iron, an inimical mixture, and Thorn was made from the metal of a star that fell on the day of Usires execution. The great Words of Making, known only to the Dwarrows (specialist Sithi craftsmen) had to be used in the forging of each Sword. As the Dwarrows refused to have anything to do with the forging of Sorrow, Ineluki himself learnt the Words of Making for exactly that purpose. It is not a well-known fact that Dwarrow smiths forged the metal of Thorn, for in Nabban they were thought to be a mythical race. In the making of Minneyar, the Rimmersgard smiths requested the aid of the Dwarrow race.
The power thus stored in these swords through the peculiarity of their making was supposed to be used by Ineluki or his (more or less) human servants to enable his return to Osten Ard. Yet the power could only be fuelled by hatred which Elias and Pryrates tried to cultivate among their enemies. When Simon saw Inelukis mind, however, he could see the truth of the matter, that Ineluki wanted the race of Men to hate him, so as to feed on this hatred and gain energy. With the disclaiming sentence of I will not hate you, Simon speaks the only spell strong enough to dispel the dire influence of Pryrates magic. This is a direct teaching from Usires Aedon, to forgive ones enemies.
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