Rhys Thuryn

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

Character introduction[edit]

Rhys Malachy Thuryn is a highly talented Deryni Healer and the son-in-law of Earl Camber MacRorie of Culdi. Through his connection to the MacRorie family, he plays a central role in the Haldane Restoration, and he is later a founding member of the Camberian Council. In addition, he is the inventor of a Deryni meditation practice known as "the Thuryn technique."

Explanation of the character's name[edit]

Although the name Rhys has no established significance within the novels, the character carries his father's first name, Malachy, as his middle name.

Character sketch[edit]


Rhys is motivated by both his personal morals and his loyalty to the MacRorie family.


Rhys' first goal in the series, to find Prince Cinhil Haldane, eventually leads to his participation in a plot to place Cinhil on the throne of Gwynedd. In addition, Rhys seeks to maintain the peaceful balance of power between Deryni and humans in Gwynedd, and to conceal the truth of Camber's apparent death.


Although Rhys is one of the primary protagonists in the Legends of Camber of Culdi trilogy, he does not have a specific personal conflict with another character. He supports the coup against Imre's tyrannical rule, and he opposes the actions and policies of those humans who seek to persecute Deryni, but there is no one character in particular with whom Rhys has a direct conflict. Although Tavis O'Neill does bear some animosity toward Rhys in Camber the Heretic, it is a relatively minor contention that is driven more by circumstances than any personal antagonism.

Biographical summary[edit]

Prior story[edit]

Rhys is born on February 17, 877, the only child of Lord Malachy Thuryn and his wife, Lady Rosanagh FitzWilliam. When his parents are killed in the Great Plague the following year, Rhys is taken in by his mother's close friend, Countess Jocelyn de la Marche MacRorie, and her husband, Earl Camber MacRorie of Culdi. At the age of eleven, Rhys discovers that he has the ability to be a Healer, and he eventually pursues formal training in that vocation. Upon completing his training, Rhys establishes a medical practice in the city of Valoret, where he quickly develops a reputation as a talented and promising young Healer.

Actions in Camber of Culdi[edit]

While tending to an elderly patient that he has known for years, Rhys is stunned to discover that the man is actually Prince Aidan Haldane, the sole survivor of the Festillic coup that deposed the Haldanes from the throne of Gwynedd almost eighty years ago. Before his death, Aidan tells Rhys of his grandson, Cinhil, who becomes the last Haldane heir to the throne following Aidan's death. Rhys tells Joram MacRorie of his discovery, and the two decide to locate Cinhil. They later inform Camber and Evaine MacRorie of their plans, debating the necessity of a possible coup against the current king, and it is Rhys and Camber who eventually locate Cinhil in a monastery in November 903. When King Imre Furstán-Festil murders Camber's eldest son several weeks later, Camber sends Rhys and Joram to abduct Cinhil from the monastery, determined to place the Haldane prince upon the throne of Gwynedd. By the time Rhys and Joram arrive with Cinhil in tow, the rest of the MacRorie family has been forced to go into hiding to escape Imre's growing suspicions, and Rhys spends the next year in exile as the MacRories and their allies attempt to prepare Cinhil for his future role. Rhys marries Evaine in January, and both of them join with Camber and Joram in May to conduct an arcane ritual to bestow magical powers upon Cinhil. After a year of preparation, the coup is finally launched in December, and Rhys accompanies the forces that infiltrate Valoret Castle. He watches as Cinhil defeats Imre, and later stands witness as Camber crowns Cinhil as the new King of Gwynedd.

Actions in Saint Camber[edit]

Rhys begins the novel by tending to the wounds of several people after a failed attempt on King Cinhil's life. Afterwards, he joins with Evaine and Joram as they assist Camber in a powerful magical working. Rhys accompanies the royal army that defeats the invasion of Princess Ariella Festila-Furstána, and, other than Joram, he is the only person who is initially aware of Camber's magical masquerade as Alister Cullen. Upon returning to Valoret, Rhys informs his wife of her father's condition, and they soon assist Camber in his assimilation of Cullen's memories. Rhys spends much of the following year and a half at court as Healer of the royal family, a position which allows both him and Evaine to remain in close contact with Camber and Joram as they work to stabilize Cinhil's throne and secure Camber's new position as Alister Cullen. When a formal attempt to canonize Camber is made in October 906, Rhys briefly testifies at the proceedings, and, although he manages to maintain Camber's secret identity, he is ultimately unable to prevent his father-in-law from being declared a saint.

Actions in Camber the Heretic[edit]

At the beginning of the novel, Rhys and Evaine are tending to Earl Gregory MacDinan of Ebor, a colleague from the Camberian Council who has been badly wounded. While engaged in a Healing trace, Rhys discovers the ability to block Gregory's Deryni abilities. He immediately summons Camber and Joram from Valoret to observe the discovery, but all four of them return to Valoret shortly to tend to the dying King Cinhil. At Cinhil's request, Rhys and Joram prepare a ritual that will enable the king to activate the Haldane potential in all three of his sons. Rhys sedates the royal princes at Cinhil's command, and is forced to physically assault their Healer, Tavis O'Neill, to prevent his interference. Cinhil succeeds in performing the ritual, but, despite Rhys' best efforts, the strain of the working is too much for the aging king, and Cinhil dies afterwards.

Following Cinhil's death, the human Regents of young King Alroy quickly dismiss almost all Deryni from the royal court, including Rhys. Nonetheless, as a member of the Camberian Council, he continues to monitor the situation at court and attempt to maintain peaceful relations between the races. At the same time, he conducts a series of experiments with his newly discovered talent on various subjects from the Council, including Evaine, Joram, Camber, and Jebediah d'Alcara. He soon discovers that his talent is apparently unique, as he is unable to teach it to other highly trained Healers. In May, Rhys returns to court to tend to the wounded Tavis O'Neill, during which time Prince Javan learns that Rhys is concealing information about the events that occurred the night of Cinhil's death.

Rhys and Evaine spend much of the next several months at their estate north of Valoret, though they continue their clandestine work on behalf of the Camberian Council. When Camber is chosen as the new Archbishop of Valoret in December, he summons Rhys to Valoret, despite the impending birth of Rhys and Evaine's fourth child. On Christmas Eve, Rhys is captured and drugged by Javan and Tavis, who are determined to find out the truth about Cinhil's death. Tavis reads Rhys' memories of the night's events, at the same time learning how to block Deryni powers. The following morning, Rhys eventually convinces his captors to release him and allow him to warn Camber of an impending attack by the Regents. Despite Rhys' warning, the Regents storm the cathedral and attack the bishops. In the ensuing chaos, Rhys slips and cracks his skull on the edge of a step. Camber transports Rhys to safety, but the Healer's injury is too severe and he dies shortly thereafter. Rhys Thuryn dies on December 25, 917, at the age of forty years.

Actions in other Deryni works[edit]

Rhys appears in two of the short stories that were published in the book The Deryni Archives. The story "Catalyst", set fifteen years before the events of Camber of Culdi, tells the tale of how the eleven-year-old Rhys discovered his ability to Heal. In "Healer's Song", set between Saint Camber and Camber the Heretic, Rhys and Evaine celebrate the birth of their third child, Tieg Thuryn. "The Thuryn technique" of Deryni meditation is mentioned several times in the Chronicles of the Deryni trilogy.


  • Parents:
    • Lord Malachy Thuryn and Lady Rosanagh FitzWilliam
  • Siblings:
    • (none)
  • Spouse:
    • Married Lady Evaine MacRorie on January 6, 904
      • Lord Aidan Camber Thuryn (died age 10)
      • Lady Rhysel Jocelyn Thuryn (later marries Lord Robert Ainslie)
      • Lord Tieg Joram Thuryn (Healer, later marries Lady Karis d'Oriel)
      • Lady Jerusha Evaine Jodotha Thuryn (Healer, later marries Lord Cathan Drummond)

Major themes[edit]

Although Rhys fills a variety of roles in the novels, the character's primary role is his place as one of Camber's most trusted advisors. Much like the characters of Joram and Evaine, Rhys is a loyal follower who implicitly trusts Camber and occupies a place within Camber's inner circle. In the larger social and political struggles, Rhys provides a unique voice because he is neither a soldier, nor a politician, nor a cleric. Although he lacks Camber's power, or Joram's military acumen, or Evaine's arcane knowledge and training, Rhys' actions throughout the novels have repercussions that are just as significant as the other protagonists. It is Rhys' discovery of Aidan Haldane in Camber of Culdi that eventually leads to the Haldane Restoration, and his discovery of the blocking talent in Camber the Heretic sets a chain of events into motion that last throughout The Harrowing of Gwynedd and King Javan's Year.