Joram MacRorie

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Joram MacRorie (right), Javan Haldane (left), and Saint Camber on the cover of King Javan's Year (1992); artwork by Michael Herring.

Joram MacRorie is a fictional character in the Deryni series of historical fantasy novels by Katherine Kurtz.

Character introduction[edit]

Joram Angus MacRorie is the son of Earl Camber MacRorie, and a priest and knight of the Order of Saint Michael. He plays a central role in the Haldane Restoration, and later becomes the primary leader of the secret Deryni resistance movement.

Explanation of the character's name[edit]

Both of the character's first two names have an established significance within his family. His first name honors his great-uncle, Joram, who is the fourth Earl of Culdi. His middle name, Angus, is shared by both a distant ancestor, the second Earl of Culdi, and his uncle, Camber's elder brother.

Character sketch[edit]

Motivation[edit]

Joram is a very moral and ethical person, one who believes in doing the right thing at all times. This central part of his personality is at the core of almost all the major decisions he makes, from supporting the Haldane Restoration to leading the Deryni resistance movement.

Goals[edit]

Throughout the Legends of Camber of Culdi trilogy, most of Joram's efforts are focused on overthrowing King Imre Furstán-Festil, securing the reign of King Cinhil I Haldane, and maintaining a peaceful balance between humans and Deryni in Gwynedd. In the following trilogy, The Heirs of Saint Camber, Joram focuses primarily on removing the lords of state from power and protecting the remaining Deryni in Gwynedd.

Conflicts[edit]

Joram's first significant conflict in the novels is his opposition to the House of Festil, which lasts through Camber of Culdi and into Saint Camber, in which he also struggles against Dom Queron Kinevan to protect his father's secret identity and prevent Camber's canonization. Throughout the remainder of the novels, Joram's primary conflict is his struggle against the Regents and great lords who rule Gwynedd. In addition, Joram has several heated debates with both his father and his sister.

Epiphany[edit]

Following the true death of his father, Joram is forced to consider the possibility that Camber may actually be a saint. Having opposed Camber's canonization for years, it is a difficult realization for the character, not only because it requires him to adjust his established opinions, but also because the possibility of his father's sanctity touches very close to Joram's religious beliefs as a priest. Camber's subsequent and mysterious appearances further force Joram to re-evaluate his father's status, which makes Joram noticeably more tolerant and accepting of those who believe in Camber's sainthood.

Biographical summary[edit]

Prior story[edit]

Joram is born on November 23, 878, the third son of Earl Camber MacRorie of Culdi. Much like his father, Joram is drawn to a religious life from an early age, and he joins the Order of Saint Michael shortly after his knighting in 896. After three years of seminary training, he is ordained as a priest by Archbishop Anscom of Valoret in 899. Joram later becomes a teacher and instructor at Saint Liam's Abbey.

Actions in Camber of Culdi[edit]

In September 903, Joram is visited by his close friend and future brother-in-law, Lord Rhys Thuryn, who informs Joram of the existence of a legitimate Haldane heir to the throne of Gwynedd. Disgruntled with the arrogant abuses of King Imre Furstán-Festil, Joram agrees to help Rhys locate Prince Cinhil Haldane, and the two soon begin searching through various records to determine the prince's whereabouts. They soon secure the guarded support of Joram's father, Earl Camber MacRorie, enabling them to continue their investigation over the following months, but it is Rhys and Camber who eventually locate Cinhil. As a plan to overthrow King Imre begins to take shape, Joram serves as an intermediary between Camber and the Vicar General of the Michaelines, Father Alister Cullen. After Imre murders Joram's older brother, Lord Cathan MacRorie, Joram returns to his father's estates to conduct Cathan's funeral, but Camber dispatches Joram and Rhys to abduct Prince Cinhil. The pair succeeds in their mission, and they soon arrive at a secret Michaeline sanctuary near the city of Dhassa with the reluctant prince in tow. Joram spends the following year with his family at the sanctuary, assisting in Cinhil's training and planning for the upcoming coup. During this time, he conducts the wedding of his sister Evaine and Rhys, and also participates in the ritual to activate Cinhil's Haldane potential. On December 2, 904, Joram accompanies his family and his Michaeline brethren as they infiltrate Valoret Castle in an attempt to depose King Imre. He leads the charge into the king's private chambers, but he is unable to prevent the escape of the king's sister, Princess Ariella. At the end of the novel, he stands beside his father as Camber crowns Cinhil as the new King of Gwynedd.

Actions in Saint Camber[edit]

At the beginning of the novel, Joram is nearly killed when King Cinhil unleashes his arcane powers against a pair of assassins. However, Joram survives, and he later joins Camber, Rhys, Evaine, and Alister Cullen in a magical ritual. As the royal army marches to meet the invasion of Princess Ariella, Joram and his Deryni allies clash repeatedly with Cinhil, with Joram repeatedly losing his patience with the reluctant monarch. During the battle with Ariella's forces, Joram fights at his father's side, and the two later discover the bodies of Cullen and Ariella after the conflict is over. When Camber proposes assuming Cullen's identity, Joram vehemently opposes the idea. Nonetheless, Camber eventually convinces his son of the necessity of the plan, and Joram reluctantly helps his father take on Cullen's appearance and memories. Over the following weeks, Joram, Evaine, and Rhys do their best to preserve Camber's true identity and assist him in assimilating Cullen's memories. Joram achieves a moral victory when he convinces Camber to be formally ordained a priest, which enables the elder MacRorie to become Bishop of Grecotha without violating canon law. Several months later, Joram becomes Camber's private secretary, enabling him to work closely with his father. The following year, Dom Queron Kinevan leads an attempt to have Camber canonized. Although Joram is horrified by the idea, he is unable to fully explain his opposition to an ecclesiastical tribunal without exposing Camber's secret. As a result, Joram can do nothing but watch as his father is made a saint.

Actions in Camber the Heretic[edit]

Joram begins the novel in Valoret with Camber and Cinhil, but father and son soon depart the city in response to an urgent summons from Rhys, who has discovered the ability to block Deryni powers. Upon returning to Valoret, Cinhil asks Joram to prepare an arcane ritual that will enable the king to set the Haldane potential in his three sons. Joram complies, and he later joins Camber, Rhys, and Evaine in assisting Cinhil with the ritual. However, the strain of the magical working is too much for the aging king, and Cinhil dies after its completion. When the human Regents of the underage King Alroy force nearly all Deryni from the royal court, Joram and Camber return to their duties in Grecotha, though they both continue their work with the Camberian Council to secretly make preparations for an anti-Deryni backlash. Although the Council overrules Joram's opposition to a plan to use his nephew, Earl Davin MacRorie, to infiltrate the royal court, Joram's concerns prove to be well-founded when Davin is killed protecting the king's brothers from an assassination attempt.

Near the end of 917, Joram accompanies Camber to Valoret when the curia of bishops meets to elect a new Primate of All Gwynedd. When Camber is eventually chosen to fill the position, the Regents retaliate by launching attacks against several Deryni abbeys, assaults which Joram and Camber are unable to prevent. Joram quickly warns Evaine of the increasing danger, then returns to Valoret for his father's installation ceremony. However, the ceremony is interrupted when the Regents attack the cathedral. Camber, Joram, and their allies manage to escape to Dhassa, but Rhys soon dies from the injuries he sustains in the fracas. Over the next several days, Camber and Joram attempt to regroup as the Regents unleash a brutal wave of persecution against Deryni throughout the kingdom. Camber sends Joram to remote abbey to meet Evaine, and the two of them are still at the abbey when Camber is killed while attempting to rendezvous with them. At the end of the novel, after examining Camber's body, brother and sister mourn their father's death while contemplating the possibility of bringing him back to life.

Actions in The Harrowing of Gwynedd[edit]

In the wake of Camber's death and the onslaught of persecutions against Deryni, Joram and Evaine attempt to re-organize their allies and preserve as many lives as possible. At the same time, they begin investigating the unusual condition of their father's body in an attempt to determine if Camber is actually dead, trapped in a spell, or truly a divine saint. After inducting Jesse MacGregor and Queron Kinevan into the Camberian Council, they proceed with their plan to establish a quasi-religious cult as a way to block the powers of Deryni, thereby enabling the Deryni to escape the persecutions. Joram and Evaine eventually confess the truth of their father's secret identity to Queron, enlisting his aide in researching Camber's condition. The trio searches the ruins beneath Grecotha, eventually discovering the bodies of two legendary Deryni adepts and additional useful information. Over the next few months, they successfully establish Revan's baptizer cult while maintaining regular contact with Prince Javan Haldane, the younger twin of King Alroy. Evaine finally completes her research into Camber's final spell, but Joram is convinced that his sister is hiding information from him. Nonetheless, on August 1, 918, Joram, Queron, and Evaine finish their final preparations and attempt to bring Camber back to life. Although they fail restore Camber, Evaine sacrifices her life to complete Camber's spell, thus enabling him to cross into a higher plane of existence and leaving Joram as the sole surviving child of Camber MacRorie.

Actions in King Javan's Year[edit]

Following the deaths of Camber and Evaine, Joram has become the primary leader of the Deryni resistance movement, coordinating the clandestine efforts of his allies from the Michaeline sanctuary near Dhassa. After the death of King Alroy, Joram secretly meets with Prince Javan for the first time in three years, and they begin making plans to secure Javan's place on the throne. The following night, Javan returns to the sanctuary, and his Haldane potential is fully activated by Joram, Queron, and Tavis O'Neill. During the ritual, Joram is stunned by the appearance of his father, who briefly participates in the working. Several days before Javan's coronation, Joram once again meets with the prince after a new Transfer Portal is established in Rhemuth Castle. Camber appears once again as Joram symbolically crowns Javan, echoing the words Camber spoke when crowning Cinhil over sixteen years earlier. Joram maintains periodic contact with Javan throughout the rest of the novel, offering advice and guidance to the young king, but Javan is ultimately betrayed and murdered by his lords of state.

Actions in The Bastard Prince[edit]

Six years after the death of King Javan, Joram continues to lead the struggle against the human lords who control the throne of Gwynedd. His plan to launch a precise military strike into the heart of Rhemuth Castle, much like original Haldane Restoration, is disrupted by a TorenthI invasion of northern Gwynedd. Fearing that King Rhys Michael Haldane will be unable to survive an arcane confrontation with the Festillic Pretender Marek Furstán-Festil, Joram's niece, Rhysel Thuryn, convinces Joram to activate the king's Haldane potential. That night, Joram and his nephew, Tieg Thuryn, transport to Rhemuth and meet with king to gain his cooperation. Rhys Michael agrees to attempt the procedure, and Tieg unblocks Queen Michaela Drummond's Deryni powers to enlist her aid in the working. Joram conducts the ritual with assistance from Rhysel, Tieg, and Michaela, and succeeds in activating Rhys Michael's arcane powers. While en route to depart Rhemuth, Joram and Tieg stumble upon Master Dimitri, a Deryni collaborator who has been serving the great lords. They capture Dimitri and take him back to the Michaeline sanctuary, where they probe his mind and override his allegiance to his Torenthi masters. Although Joram's actions enable Rhys Michael to survive his eventual confrontation with the Torenthi invaders, the king later dies from an injury he sustains in the battle. However, before his death, Rhys Michael signs a codicil to his will, appointing new regents for his underage son in an attempt to break the power of the great lords. After learning of the king's death, Joram quickly reworks his original plan in an effort to enforce the codicil. While maintaining communications with his allies throughout Gwynedd, Joram coordinates the various efforts that enable the new regents to eventually challenge and defeat the great lords. After more than a decade of fighting against the human lords of state, Joram finally secures the independence of the Crown.

Actions in other Deryni works[edit]

Joram appears in two of the short stories that were published in the book The Deryni Archives. In "Catalyst", set fifteen years before the events of Camber of Culdi, the ten-year-old Joram bravely attempts to fight off several thieves who break into his father's estate. In "Healer's Song", set between Saint Camber and Camber the Heretic, Joram takes part in an intimate family ritual after the birth of his nephew, Tieg Thuryn. According to the Codex Derynianus, Joram dies at the age of 69 in 948.

Family[edit]

  • Parents:
  • Siblings:
    • Lord Cathan MacRorie (died age 30)
    • Lady Jerusha MacRorie (died age 12)
    • Lord Ballard MacRorie (died age 11)
    • Lady Ardissa MacRorie (born still)
    • Lady Evaine MacRorie (later married the Healer Rhys Thuryn)
  • Spouse:
    • (none)

Major themes[edit]

Throughout the series, Joram is depicted a younger, more cautious version of his famous father. Although he has inherited the full measure of Camber's intelligence, arcane power, and political acumen, Joram lacks the impulsive nature occasionally displayed by both his father and his sister. He is meticulous and detailed in his planning, and his efforts to achieve his goals are steadfast and tenacious. The differences in Joram's and Camber's personalities result in several heated arguments between father and son, most often arising from Joram's vehement disapproval of intentional falsehoods and duplicity. Camber's use of a shape-changing spell in Camber of Culdi, Camber's assumption of Alister Cullen's identity in Saint Camber, and the use of another shape-changing spell on Davin in Camber the Heretic are all actions that Joram angrily opposes. However, he eventually concedes his position in every case, reluctantly agreeing that such actions, although morally unpleasant, are nonetheless necessary for the greater good. This theme is repeated in The Bastard Prince, when Rhysel and Tieg succeed in convincing Joram to follow their plan despite his objections.

Despite their occasional conflicts, Joram and Camber still enjoy a very close relationship throughout the series. Neither of them agrees with all of the other's decisions and rationale, but their familial love remains strong through all of their troubles. In the later novels, Joram is forced to re-evaluate his opinion on his father's sanctity, a process that strikes to the core of Joram's personality as both a son and a priest. Although Joram initially opposes Camber's canonization because he knows it is based on a lie, Camber's mysterious appearances after his death leave Joram with no choice but to finally acknowledge his father as a saint. In both King Javan's Year and The Bastard Prince, he openly expresses his belief in his father's sainthood, a confession that he would never had made in the earlier novels.

Joram spends much his time in the novels fighting a political battle of some kind, first against the House of Festil and later against the great lords. Over time, due to a variety of circumstances, Joram evolves from an active participant in these battles to a leader, but he still retains many of the traits of a heroic protagonist: bravery, loyalty, determination, and an uncompromising morality. He is the only major character to survive all six novels in the Legends of Camber of Culdi and Heirs of Saint Camber trilogies, and the overall influence of his actions in these novels is surpassed only by his father.

Sources[edit]