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Zelandonii
Jondalar's tribe, found in Western Europe in the area that is now France. The tribe is divided into sub-groups known as Caves, with the most prominently featured one being the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii. They are known for their arts and crafts, especially cave paintings, and for their highly skilled shamans and healers (known collectively as the zelandonia).


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     In General 
  • Facial Markings: Fully initiated Zelandoni have tattoos on their foreheads.
  • Fantastic Honorifics:
    • Full members of the zelandonia are known as zelandoni, going by this title publicly instead of their birth names. The leader of the zelandonia is called Zelandoni Who Is First, the First Among Those Who Serve the Mother, or just the First if that's too much of a mouthful. If they're in the company of other zelandoni, then a zelandoni will also be referred to by the number of their cave to avoid confusion.
    • Trade Master of the Zelandonii is a title bestowed upon the lead trader of the Zelandonii (during the main events of the series, Willomar holds this title).
  • Fantastic Racism: The Zelandonii are often very hostile towards so-called flatheads (Neanderthals) and those of 'mixed spirits'. Some people are more indifferent towards them, while others actually become tolerant towards them, but the prejudice towards them is clearly deeply ingrained in their culture. It's theorised that this may be because many generations ago, the Zelandonii and the Clan shared territory and ended up getting into fights over it, causing ongoing distrust and resentment on both sides.
  • Theme Naming: The Zelandonii often have names with an "a" or "o" as the second letter, and/or ending with "a", "ar" or "an".
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Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii

     Zelandoni Who Is First/Zolena 

Zelandoni Who Is First/Zolena

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

The leader of the Zelandonii shamans and Jondalar's former lover.


  • Amicable Exes: With Jondalar.
  • Berserk Button: Downplayed, but she becomes infuriated when Jondalar mentions Madenia, a young girl who had been gang-raped before First Rites, claiming that the men responsible are "abominations".
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Played with. Zelandoni no longer considers herself very attractive due to her large weight gain, though some people still find her pretty, and she was once considered the most beautiful woman of the Zelandonii.
  • Commonality Connection: She and Ayla really start to hit it off when Zelandoni realizes Ayla is also a trained healer, with them swapping knowledge on medicines and treatments.
  • False Soulmate: She comes across as one to Jondalar. Their relationship was never ideal due to her being several years older and his donii-woman – her role was to introduce an adolescent Jondalar to the 'Gift of Pleasure', but nothing more. Having a serious relationship would be considered quite scandalous and could've gotten Zolena in trouble (Jondalar mentions that as the older woman, she would've received more blame). Despite this, Jondalar deeply loved her and was never interested in being with anyone else, while Zolena herself even considered breaking the taboo and mating him. The incident with Madroman, wherein Jondalar beat the crap out of him for publicly revealing their Secret Relationship made Zolena realise it would never work out and she broke things off. Years later, Jondalar meets his Second Love Ayla and while they also face many challenges to their relationship, they're ultimately more compatible and end up Happily Married. Zelandoni herself greatly approves of Ayla and thinks it was destiny she and Jondalar didn't end up together, as otherwise, she would probably not have become Zelandoni Who is First.
  • First Love: Was Jondalar's.
  • Formerly Fit: She was always considered "voluptuous", but is now obese.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: She lets a few people, though particularly Jondalar, call her Zolena, her birth name which she formally gave up when she became a zelandoni.
  • High Priestess: Of the Zelandonii.
  • Hot for Student: She was quite attracted to Jondalar when she was his donii-woman and was at one point tempted to leave the zelandonia to mate him. However, she ultimately decided against this. She now views Jondalar only as a friend, though she is still somewhat responsive to his flirting and charms.
  • Improbable Age: Downplayed. It's mentioned on a number of occasions that she is unusually young to be the leader of the zelandonia, though seeing as she's shown to be exceptionally skilled and more than capable of handling the challenges that come with the position, it's likely justified.
  • Iron Lady: She's tough and authoritative, and isn't afraid to exercise her power if someone gets out of line.
  • Just the First Citizen: She's more or the less the Stone Age equivalent of the Pope and the spiritual leader of all the Zelandonii, but is simply known as "Zelandoni Who is First", "First Among Those Who Serve the Mother" or "the First".
  • The Medic: She has a fair amount of medicinal knowledge, often being called on to treat injuries and ailments as part of her job. She also tends Ayla when she gives birth to her second child.
  • My God, What Have I Done? / Oh, Crap!: When she realises just how badly she underestimated the power of the psychotropic roots the Clan’s mog-urs use, she having talked Ayla into taking them with her, which almost results in Ayla's death.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the climax of The Land of Painted Caves, she talks Ayla into taking powerful psychotropic roots as part of a ritual, believing they will be capable of traversing the ‘spirit realm’ they seemingly travel to under their influence. She turns out to be horribly wrong and as a result Ayla - who is already quite fragile due to a recent miscarriage and marital issues with Jondalar - slips into a coma and nearly dies. Afterwards, she swears off touching the roots again, due to how dangerous they are.
  • The Obi-Wan: To Ayla in the sixth book.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like most shamans, she's referred to primarily by her title; - either Zelandoni, Zelandoni who is First, or the First - though a few people (namely Jondalar) still call her Zolena in private.
  • Rank Up: It's mentioned that she was promoted to the position of Zelandoni Who Is First shortly before Jondalar left on his journey with Thonolan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To Ayla and Jondalar.
  • Secret Keeper: She's one of the few people who knows Ayla has a half-Clan son.
  • Sexy Mentor: Zelandoni was a justified example to Jondalar in the past. She was actually assigned the sacred role of introducing him to sex and teaching him all about it; she just happened to be gorgeous as well. It's largely because of her that Jondalar is the Sex God he is now.

     Marthona 

Marthona

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

The mother of Jondalar, Joharran, Thonolan and Folara. Widow of Joconan, ex wife of Dalanar and current wife of Willomar. She was leader of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii before passing the mantle to her son, though she is still greatly respected and turned to for advice.


  • Amicable Exes: With Dalanar.
  • Connected All Along: It turns out she was once very close friends with S'Armuna, the shaman of the Three Sisters Camp.
  • Cool Old Lady: Though she's more middle-aged than elderly.
  • Determined Widow: After her first mate died, she took his place as leader of the Ninth Cave, becoming a beloved and highly respected leader, as well as being a single mother.
  • First Girl Wins: To Joconan. However, it's subverted as Joconan died only a few years into their marriage. Marthona was also very upset that her 'winning' Joconan ruined her close friendship with S'Armuna.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: She usually comes across as quite feminine, her interests including sewing, cooking, healing and organising social gatherings etc. However, Jondalar mentions that she was also a skilled hunter, capable of hitting birds out of the sky with only a throwing stick, though she doesn't get out as much now due to her eyesight.
  • Happily Married: Was to her first mate Joconan until he died. Is now Happily Married to Willomar.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Although she loved him, she amicably ended things with her second mate Dalanar because they couldn't reconcile their differences. Though it's never explictly mentioned what went wrong, it's implied she found him overbearing, whilst he felt she didn't really need him around.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Loses her youngest son, Thonolan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To Ayla and Jondalar.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Bodoa, aka. S'Armuna. At one point, they even considered entering an Exotic Extended Marriage with Joconan, the man they both loved.
  • Serial Spouse: Downplayed. She's been mated three times; her first mate died, she and her second mate amicably 'severed the knot' and she's been Happily Married to her third mate for many years.

     Willomar 

Willomar/Willamar

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

The master trader of the Zelandonii and Marthona's third mate. He is the father of Thonolan and Folara, and stepfather to Joharran and Jondalar.


  • Animal Motif: The golden eagle. He is said to be restless with a love of travelling and adventure like an eagle.
  • Good Stepmother. Gender Flip. He has a loving relationship with his stepsons, though his relationship with Joharran is more one of friendship, due to the fact he was already an adult when Willomar mated Marthona.
  • Happily Married: To Marthona.
  • Heroic BSoD: Has a brief one in The Shelters of Stone, after finding out Thonolan is dead.
  • Intrepid Merchant: He is the Trade Master of the Zelandonii and loves to travel to new places to trade. He's even open to the idea of trading with Neanderthals, who most Zelandonii view merely as animals.
  • Near-Death Experience: As a baby, he was snatched by a golden eagle. His mother grabbed him and hung on until the eagle let go. Afterwards, the golden eagle is regarded as Willomar's personal totem.
  • Nice Guy: Is very open-minded and accepting of others; notably he's one of the few people who does not believe the Clan are simply animals.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His son Thonolan dies.
  • Scars Are Forever: He bears scars from an eagle's talons when it tried to grab him as a baby. It's believed that the scars mark him as having been 'chosen' by the totem spirit of the Eagle.
  • Sudden Name Change: His name is spelt as Willomar for most of the series...then is suddenly changed to Willamar from The Shelters of Stone onwards for no apparent reason. This was just one of several things that irked some fans about the fifth book.
  • You Didn't Ask: In The Shelters of Stone, he casually reveals he never believed the Clan were just animals, as he’d encountered them so many times he realized they were sapient. When everyone asks him why he never mentioned this, he says it never really came up.

     Joharran 

Joharran

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

Marthona's eldest son with her first mate, Joconan. Older half-brother to Jondalar, Thonolan and Folara; mate to Proleva and father of Jaradal. He is leader of the Ninth Cave.


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     Folara 

Folara

Appears in: The Plains of Passage | The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

Marthona and Willomar's youngest child and only daughter. Sister to Joharran, Jondalar and Thonolan.


     Proleva 

Proleva

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

Joharran’s mate; mother of Jaradal.


     Joconan 

Joconan

Appears in: First mentioned in The Valley of Horses

Joconan was leader of the Ninth Cave, the first mate of Marthona and father of Joharran, before his untimely death.


  • Happily Married: To Marthona, before he died.
  • The Leader: Of the Ninth Cave. He was apparently a very skilled and popular leader, traits he passed on to his son.
  • The Lost Lenore: To Marthona. And Bodoa/S’Armuna as well, as it turns out, though she doesn't learn of his death until years after the fact.
  • Love Triangle: Was in one with Marthona and Bodoa. It's implied he loved them both and they considered a 'co-mating', but their Zelandoni spoke against it and Joconan ultimately picked Marthona. Bodoa wasn't happy.
  • The One That Got Away: For Bodoa.
  • Posthumous Character: He's been deceased for over a decade by the main events of the series.

     Brukeval 

Brukeval

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

A member of the Ninth Cave, who is implied to be part Clan and thus got bullied as a child. He now has some serious self-esteem problems and develops an unhealthy obsession with Ayla.


  • Anti-Villain: He's unpleasant to be around, but besides being unnecessarily hostile towards Ayla and Echozar, he never does anything really villainous or harmful to the protagonists and posesses sympathetic qualities.
  • Berserk Button: Referring to him as a 'flathead' or even mentioning the Clan around him at all.
  • Child by Rape: His mother most likely was.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father apparently had no involvement in his upbringing.
  • Freudian Excuse: His mother (who was most likely the product of her own mother being raped by a Neanderthal) died when he was young, he was raised by an uncaring relative and bullied and ostracised for being a 'child of mixed spirits'. As a result, he's not only got anger and trust issues, but despises the Clan, blaming them for his misfortune.
  • Jerkass: He's short-tempered, overly sensitive and bigoted towards the Clan and those of 'mixed spirits'. However, he's still quite sympathetic and not completely an asshole.
  • Missing Mom: His mother died when he was young.
  • Mixed Ancestry: He is most likely a quarter Neanderthal, on his mother's side.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell / Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He doesn't take the revelation that sexual intercourse between a man and woman leads to pregnancy very well, as this all but confirms he is indeed a child of mixed spirits with a Neanderthal grandfather, and proceeds to run away from the Ninth Cave with Madroman.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Has shades of this towards Ayla, following her around, spying on her with Jondalar and fantasising about her.
  • Tragic Villain: He arguably only became a Jerkass because of how others have treated him all his life.
  • You Are What You Hate: He is heavily implied to be of 'mixed spirits' (his mother was apparently half-Clan), but utterly despises the Clan and even calls Echozar, another man who is more obviously mixed, an "animal" and refuses to be around him. This is due to the fact there is a great deal of social stigma around children of 'mixed spirits' and he was bullied for it as a child, which the characters discuss.

     Madroman 

Ladroman/Madroman

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

A shaman-in-training, who has some troubled history with Jondalar.


  • Always Someone Better: Sees Jondalar as this.
  • The Apprentice: In The Shelters of Stone and most of The Land of Painted Caves, he's training to become a zelandoni.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Played with. When the zelandonia learn he faked his Call, they expel him from their ranks. However, it’s possible he’ll travel to a distant cave and pretend to be a zelandoni with no one being any the wiser, but everyone else knows the truth and he’ll have to spend the rest of his life lying.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": He gets annoyed when people call him by his old name, Ladroman, not Madroman. Justified when one considers that referring to a zelandoni, even one in training, by their pre-zelandoni name is considered not only inappropriate, but disrespectful.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He is extremely jealous of Jondalar. It's implied this is the real reason he revealed Jondalar and Zolena's Secret Relationship, as Zolena preferred Jondalar to him.
  • Hot for Teacher: Was obsessed with Zolena, his donii-woman.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: When he meets Ayla, he bitterly thinks to himself that he could've gotten a woman like her if it weren't for Jondalar knocking his teeth out when he was a teen.
  • Love Triangle: Fancied he was in one with Jondalar, for Zolena. She barely looked twice at him, which he didn’t take well.
  • Never My Fault: After Ayla discovers he faked his Call and turns him in to the zelandonia, he blames her and even Jondalar for him getting kicked out. Even though Ayla was doing the right thing and initially didn’t even know he’d done something wrong, and Jondalar has got nothing to do with the situation. He also blames Jondalar beating him up for everything that’s gone wrong with his life, even though it happened around a decade ago and he’s had plenty of time and opportunity to make something of himself. He seems to find it easier to just blame it all on Jondalar and play the victim, never taking any responsibility in screwing his life up.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Was on the receiving end of this as a teen for trying to come between Jondalar and Zolena.
  • Not Good with Rejection: When Zolena rejected him, he publicly revealed she and Jondalar had deeper feelings for each other, which was seen as taboo. It’s implied he did this purely from spite and jealousy. It backfired, as Jondalar lost his shit and beat him so badly some of his teeth were knocked out.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell / Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After being kicked out of the zelandonia, he leaves the Ninth Cave along with Brukeval. It's theorised he may intend to travel to a distant cave where people won't know he's not a qualified zelandoni.
  • Rank Up: He claims that he was Called by the Mother, meaning he will be promoted to full zelandoni status soon. Subverted, when it’s revealed he faked his Call, resulting in his expulsion from the zelandonia.
  • The Resenter: To Jondalar, big time. Eventually, to Ayla as well.
  • Sore Loser: Dear god, yes.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ayla discovers he faked his Call completely by accident; after going through her own Call and getting lost in the sacred caves, she finds a bag of water and mind-altering herbs he left there and returns it to the zelandonia.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Was apparently one to Zolena.
  • Tragic Dream: Becoming a zelandoni (shaman). He simply doesn’t have the skills or temperament for it, and has no hope of becoming fully qualified after the stunt he pulled in the last book.
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     Marona 

Marona

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

An attractive but obnoxious member of the Ninth Cave and Jondalar's ex-fiancee, who is none too pleased when he returns to his tribe with Ayla in tow.


  • Alpha Bitch: Of the Ninth Cave. Jondalar and Thonolan mention she has a reputation for being vindictive and sharp-tongued even before she actually appears. When she's finally introduced, she soon proves to be even worse than they let on, being very petty, self-centred, manipulative and just generally obnoxious to be around. She's even got a Girl Posse of sorts who follow her around, do her bidding and snigger along with her snide remarks and cruel jokes.
  • Attention Whore: She loves to be the centre of attention, wearing provocative clothing, stirring up trouble and hanging around with high-ranking men; she also revels in being considered 'the Beauty of the Bunch'. She gets very irritated and jealous when she feels the equally beautiful Ayla and Joplaya are unstaging her, especially seeing as the former is marrying her ex.
  • Bait the Dog: When she first meets Ayla early in The Shelters of Stone, she is outwardly quite pleasant to her and indicates to Jondalar she wants to let bygones be bygones. She even offers to take Ayla with her to get her some new clothes and do her hair and make-up, in preparation for the welcoming ceremony the Ninth Cave is holding for her that evening. However, it's soon revealed that Marona is actually using it as an opportunity to try and humiliate Ayla. See also Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Beauty Is Bad: She's said to be the most beautiful woman of the Zelandonii, but that's about her only positive trait.
  • Betty and Veronica: She's the Veronica to Ayla's Betty for Jondalar.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To Ayla. She tricks her into wearing inappropriate clothes to a welcoming ceremony, on the pretense of befriending her and extending an olive branch to Jondalar.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Towards Jondalar.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Her prank on Ayla. Though it may have been very embarrassing for Ayla at the time, it means Marona is going to be associated with it as well. As a result, everyone’s going to remember her as 'the asshole who thinks it's funny to humiliate newcomers and make our tribe look bad'. She realises this later, when people start to shun her, and is pretty pissed off.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Her being vexed at Jondalar leaving her at the altar is understandable...but she still resents him for it over five years later and after she mated (then divorced) another man. It's clear she never actually loved Jondalar and they weren't even formally Promised; it was simply expected they would get together because she's the most beautiful woman of the tribe, whilst he's considered one of the most handsome and has a high social standing. She is also cruel to Ayla, simply for being his new girlfriend, when she'd never even met the woman and Ayla had only ever been nice to her.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Very beautiful with pale blonde hair. However, it should be noted that her unpleasant personality is seen as making her less attractive in spite of her looks, and the one man she really wants has no interest in her.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her mother was very neglectful and uninterested in raising her properly, basically letting her do whatever she wanted and never showing her affection.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Most of her antagonism towards Ayla is motivated by jealousy over Ayla's beauty and popularity, especially because Jondalar - whom Marona once expected to mate - is with her now.
  • Insult Backfire: This keeps happening to her.
    • First, she tricks Ayla into wearing boy's winter underwear and a puberty belt to the ceremony to welcome her, to publicly humiliate her. But, Ayla continues wearing the clothes and acting like nothing is out of the ordinary. People notice that, overlooking what the clothes symbolise, Ayla actually looks really good in them, and some women begin copying the style. Oops.
    • Marona calls Zelandoni (Zolena) a "fat old woman". Zelandoni simply points out that she herself was once considered the most beautiful woman in the Ninth Cave and is living proof that no one stays young and beautiful forever. Zelandoni's not too bothered, because she holds one of the most prestigious positions in the Zelandonii and is respected by many people, whereas most people agree that, besides looking hot, Marona has few positive traits.
  • Karma Houdini: Zig-zagged. She ends up moving away from the Ninth Cave and marrying some random guy she met at the Summer Meeting. But, it's implied she did this because she realises that no one in the Ninth Cave really likes her, and that Jondalar, even though he was willing to sleep with her, doesn't actually care about her and isn’t interested in rekindling their relationship.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Even a child she was a bit of a bitch, bullying her cousin Brukeval, who is implied to be of 'mixed spirits'.
  • Meaningful Name: Possibly unintentional, but a few readers have pointed out it sounds a bit like 'moron'. Marona isn't exactly stupid, but her spite and pettiness does lead to her doing some pretty idiotic things, most of which backfire on her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Wears very skimpy clothing, such as a red 'fringe' skirt (which is considered very provocative amongst the Zelandonii) and is well-known for her skill with 'the Mother's Gift of Pleasure'.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: A minor example, but her prank on Ayla leads to Ayla winning the majority of the Cave's respect almost immediately for maintaining her pride and dignity, and kickstarting a fashion trend to boot. Marona is not a happy bunny when she figures this out.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: To Ayla, for Jondalar. To the point where even though she succeeded in seducing Jondalar in the sixth book, it's still made blatantly obvious that he'll always prefer Ayla.
  • Sex with the Ex: Played for Drama in The Land of Painted Caves. It's revealed that while Ayla was away doing her zelandoni training, Marona began following Jondalar around and actively trying to seduce him. Jondalar eventually gave in out of frustration and loneliness. When Ayla finds out and is clearly upset, Marona even gloats about it to her face...but is left looking pretty stupid when Jondalar immediately ends it and states he only had sex with her out of convenience more than anything, regards it as being a huge mistake and couldn't care less about getting back with Marona.
  • Woman Scorned: Jondalar and Ayla find out the hard way that she doesn't handle being rejected well.

     Laramar 

Laramar

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

One of the lowest ranking members of the Ninth Cave, on account of the fact he contributes nothing but barma (an alcoholic drink) and is very neglectful towards his family.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Just about the entire cave detests him. It's implied he only has a handful of friends because he gives them free barma.
  • The Alcoholic: He spends a lot of time drinking the barma he makes and using the resulting hang-overs as an excuse not to help out with the rest of the cave.
  • Asshole Victim: After Jondalar beats him up in the sixth book. Although Jondalar is clearly in the wrong, Laramar is a total Jerkass with a habit of provoking people and utterly rebuffs a remorseful Jondalar’s attempts to make restitution. It doesn’t help that Jondalar attacked him because he caught him having sex with Ayla…whilst she was drunk out of her mind and emotionally unstable.
  • Awful Wedded Life / Dead Sparks: With his mate, Tremeda. He reveals in the last book that they haven’t slept together for many years (not since his first child was born) and the only thing they seem to have in common anymore is a shared love of alcohol. He leaves her at the end of the last book.
  • Jerkass: He’s rude, lazy, irresponsible, constantly complaining and very neglectful towards his children. He also kicks up a fuss about Echozar being allowed to mate Joplaya, because of his half-Clan heritage, even though he doesn’t even know the couple. In the middle of their Matrimonial ceremony it should be noted.
  • Lazy Bum: His sole contribution to his community is making booze...which he then drinks or gives away to his 'friends'.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In the sixth book, Jondalar catches him having drunken sex with Ayla, loses it and beats the crap out of him.
  • Parental Neglect: He barely even acknowledges his children exist, to the point that he lets his young daughter care for her baby sister and doesn’t notice that his eldest son has been passed out with a head injury after getting into a fight. He eventually abandons his kids altogether after discovering they’re probably not even his.
  • The Resenter: To Ayla, because despite being a foreigner, she has higher status than him. He fails to notice it’s possibly because she actually contributes to the cave with her hunting and healing skills. Also, to Jondalar, for being mated to Ayla and later for beating him up after he catches him having drunken sex with Ayla.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: At the end of the last book, he breaks up with his wife, abandons his children and moves to a different cave.
  • Slimeball: Occasionally comes across as one, especially when he has rough sex with an intoxicated Ayla.

     Tremeda 

Tremeda

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

A low-ranking member of the Ninth Cave, mate to Laramar and mother to Bologan, Lanoga, Trelara, Lavogan, Ganamar and Lorala...though the term 'mother' is used rather loosely, given she lets her eldest daughter do most of the parenting.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: A downplayed example. At the end of the last book, when Jondalar offers to take in Tremeda and her kids and provide for them after Laramar abandons them, Tremeda tries flirting with him a bit and suggests she'll be his "second woman". Jondalar shuts her down immediately, making it clear he's only helping her out and that he in no way thinks of her in such terms.
  • The Alcoholic: She spends most of her time drinking her mate's barma or nursing a hang-over from said drinking.
  • Awful Wedded Life / Dead Sparks: With Laramar. Besides neglecting their kids and drinking, they don't have much in common anymore and haven't had sex in years. Laramar dumps her at the end of the last book. She doesn't seem too upset.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: It turns out in the last book that because she and Laramar haven't slept together (according to him) since their eldest child was born, then it's extremely unlikely that any of the kids beside Bologan are biologically his.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Though she never really bothers with her children, she's not above using them to guilt-trip people into helping her for the sake of her "poor, hungry children".
  • Parental Neglect: Hoo, boy.

     Bologan 

Bologan

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

Eldest child and son of Laramar and Tremeda. Older brother to Lanoga, Trelara, Lavogan, Ganamar and Lorala. He is learning barma-making from his father.


  • Harmful to Minors: His parents are both neglectful Jerkasses, who offer him no guidance or support. When he’s first introduced, Ayla finds him unconscious with a head wound after getting drunk and fighting with some other boys. The kid is about twelve.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Generally treated this way by most of the cave.
  • Promoted to Parent: Along with his sister Lanoga, to his younger siblings.

     Lanoga 

Lanoga

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

Second child and eldest daughter of Laramar and Tremeda. She acts as a mother figure to her younger siblings.


  • Birds of a Feather: Arguably her and Lanidar. They’re both overlooked or judged for things beyond their control (Lanoga for having crappy parents, Lanidar for his crippled arm).
  • Don't Split Us Up: When their neighbours learn just how neglectful Tremeda is, they try to take Lanoga's younger siblings away from her. Luckily, Ayla intervenes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: She mates Lanidar, who treats her kindly and freely offers to help care for her younger siblings, and she learns skills like cooking and healing from Ayla, who along with Jondalar, become a surrogate family to her.
  • Happily Married: Ends up being this to Lanidar.
  • Loser Daughter of Loser Dad: Treated this way by many people in the cave, along with the rest of her siblings.
  • Promoted to Parent: Along with Bologan. She’s more of a mother to her siblings, especially baby Lorala, than Tremeda ever was.
  • Puppy Love: With Lanidar.

     Lanidar 

Lanidar

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

A Zelandonii boy who has a deformed arm and is determined to prove himself and become independent in spite of this.


  • Birds of a Feather: Arguably him and Lanoga. They’re both overlooked or judged for things beyond their control (Lanoga for having crappy parents, Lanidar for his crippled arm).
  • Determinator: The kid will let nothing stop him from achieving his dream and from trying to help Lanoga and her family. Case in point, when the neighbours try to remove the younger children from Lanoga's care against her wishes, he defends them, insisting he will learn how to hunt and then help provide for Lanoga and her siblings.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father died shortly before he was born.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Subverted. He was initially unable to become a hunter because of his arm, which was deformed at birth, preventing him from using it properly. However, when Ayla and Jondalar introduce the spear-thrower they invented, Lanidar realises he can use it to bypass the physical limitations of his arm and quickly begins learning how to use it.
  • Happily Married: Eventually to Lanoga.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: He is determined to become a hunter and provide for himself and his community despite having a crippled arm.
  • My Beloved Smother: His mother is very overprotective and never lets him do much because of his arm. He eventually begins standing up her and persuading her to let him be more independent.
  • Puppy Love: With Lanoga.

     Matagan 

Matagan

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

A young hunter who takes up flint knapping after being mauled by a wooly rhino – although Ayla saves his life, he is left with a permanent limp.


  • The Apprentice: To Jondalar following his hunting accident, learning flint knapping from him.
  • Career-Ending Injury: His limp means he is no longer able to hunt; however, he takes up flint knapping instead. He also bears no ill will towards Ayla over it, as without her intervention, he would probably have died instead.

     Spoiler Character 

Jonayla

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

The daughter of Ayla and Jondalar, conceived in The Plains of Passage and born right at the end of The Shelters of Stone.


  • Adorably Precocious Child: At times.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Fond of riding horses, like her parents, and takes Gray (Whinney's second foal, who was born round about the same time as her)as her personal horse. See also Go Through Me below.
  • Children Are Innocent: Mostly played straight, although she gets in a bit of trouble for teasing her cousin Bokovan. Her parents's marital issues in the sixth book clearly affects her, though she doesn't fully understand what is happening.
  • Go Through Me: When a group of hunters try to harm her family's horses, she bravely stands between them.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Inherited blonde hair from her parents and is kind and innocent.
  • Last Episode, New Character: She's born right at the end of The Shelters of Stone and is a main character in the final book.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name has two meanings. In addition to being a combination of both her parents' names, it also highlights Ayla's belief that she is of both her and Jondalar's 'essence'.
  • Walking Spoiler: Her whole character is a spoiler for the ending of the fourth and fifth books, revealing that Ayla gets pregnant, and that she gives birth to a girl.

Other Caves

     Kareja 

Kareja

Appears in: The Shelters of Stone | The Land of Painted Caves

The leader of the Eleventh Cave of the Zelandonii.


  • The Leader: Of the Eleventh Cave.
  • Meaningful Name: Lampshaded. Her mother intentionally named her Kareja due to the fact it sounds like ‘courage’, hoping she would grow to be as brave as her name.

     Balderan 

Balderan

Appears in: The Land of Painted Caves

The leader of a violent gang causing trouble around the Third Cave of the Zelandonii.


  • Asshole Victim: He's beaten to death by a mob of people he hurt and terrorised, after trying to kill Ayla.
  • Batman Gambit: He plots to take Ayla hostage to get himself free, expecting that Jondalar and the others will do anything he says to have her released unharmed. Unfortunately for Balderan, he misinterprets Jondalar's character as a "gentle giant"...
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Averted. Balderan reportedly didn't give a toss about his mother and was unwilling to provide for her.
  • Freudian Excuse: Possibly. He never had a father figure, his mother had difficulty controlling him and expected him to look after her when he grew up.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Ever since he was a kid, he's had a nasty temper, often erupting into violence.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He makes a huge mistake assuming Jondalar is a 'gentle giant' who would do anything he said if he took his mate hostage.
  • Jerkass: One of the biggest in the series. He actively enjoys hurting and killing people, targeting women in particular, and feels no remorse for any of it.
  • Kick the Dog: After raping Amelina and killing her mate when he tried to protect her, he and his gang stole her bedroll and supplies and left her in the woods alone. As a result, she miscarried her pregnancy when she finally made it back home.
  • Not So Stoic: When he overhears the cave discussing executing him, he finally loses his smugness and starts to become afraid. And again when Jondalar punches him for attacking Ayla, triggering a mass No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realises that threatening Ayla didn't render Jondalar helpless, but actually pushed his Berserk Button.
  • Serial Killer: On his way to becoming one.
  • The Sociopath: It's implied he's one, showing little to no empathy for other people, experiencing no remorse for his crimes and deriving pleasure from hurting people, and has been this way since he was young. Some people outright state it's as if he's 'broken' or 'deformed' on the 'inside'. He does have some charisma though, being able to convince some his friends who admired him to follow him when he was banished from his cave.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's a serial rapist who once held a girl prisoner for months and did god know's what to her, left one woman he attacked alone in the wilderness without her supplies and intended to attack Ayla and later tries to strangle her.
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