Earth's Children

Marona is a member of the Zelandonii and Jondalar's former lover. She is a minor antagonist in The Shelters of Stone and The Land of Painted Caves.


Jondalar began a relationship with Marona at some point between his return from the Lanzadonii cave and leaving with Thonolan on their Journey. Marona was a fellow member of the Ninth Cave and a cousin of Jondalar's, though distantly related. Known for her spiteful behavior and her skill with the Mother's Gift of Pleasure, Marona was planning to tie the knot with Jondalar at the Summer Meeting before he left unexpectedly.

She was understandably vexed, but when Jondalar returned five years later he discovered that she still begrudged him their sundered engagement; she has also, by extension, shown vicious hostility towards Ayla. Though she found an acceptable substitute to mate, she and her unnamed spouse severed the knot several years later; she has no children, and characters have speculated that she is barren, or that she may even abort the babies she conceives simply because she doesn't want to go to the trouble of raising a child. This, coupled with her often cruel and vindictive behaviour, makes her far less desirable in the eyes of many men, despite her great beauty.

When Jondalar arrives back at the Ninth Cave, bringing Ayla with him, Marona was instantly jealous of her, because of her beauty and Jondalar's obvious affection for her. She plots, with her friends, to play a cruel prank on Ayla and humiliate her in front of the entire Cave. Marona offers to lend Ayla some clothes to wear to the celebration to welcome her and Jondalar, but gives Ayla boys' winter underwear and a puberty belt, knowing she wouldn't understand the meaning of the garments. She also has her friend give Ayla a ridiculous hairstyle, though Ayla decides to simply wear it down instead. She also refuses Marona's offer to paint her face; Ala later strongly suspects that Marona had planned to give her ridiculous-looking paint to further humiliate her. Unfortunately for Marona, her plan backfires, as Ayla refuses to remove the clothes and carries herself with pride and dignity, earning her the respect of the Cave. The Cave also notes that she actually looks good in the clothes; Marona also earns her people's animosity due to her lack of courtesy and respect for a newcomer, which reflects badly upon the rest of the Cave. This makes Marona despise Ayla even more and she continues to make trouble for her, though not on the scale of the prank she played in The Shelters of Stone.

Marona temporarily has an affair with Jondalar in The Land of Painted Caves; however, when she realizes that Jondalar was only using her for Pleasures and still only has eyes for Ayla, she finally gives up trying to get him back. It is revealed towards the end of the novel that she mated a man from another cave and moved there with him, presumably to get away from Ayla, Jondalar and the rest of the Ninth Cave, where she was not well liked. It is unknown whether her new mating lasted or if Marona ever finds happiness.

Physical Appearance[]

Marona is described as being extremely beautiful, with long, light blonde, almost white hair, a shapely figure and dark grey eyes.


Marona was sometimes referred to as the 'Beauty of the Bunch', and is used to having all the attention focused on her (so she is none too pleased when Ayla comes to live with the Zelandonii, and later when the exotically beautiful Joplaya arrives to mate Echozar). Despite her beauty, Marona is not a particularly nice person. It is mentioned by Jondalar and Thonolan even before her character physically appears in the series that she known to be spiteful and vindictive, with a "nasty temper". Marona is shown to be self-centered, vain, easily jealous and attention-seeking, bordering on narcissism. She can be very cruel to people, especially those she believes have wronged her some way. She bullied and ostracized her cousin Brukeval when they were growing up, simply because he looked a little different. She also played an especially nasty and humiliating prank on Ayla just moments after they met, simply because she was Jondalar's new love interest. Marona can be very cunning and sly. She is actually quite intelligent, but generally uses her smarts to cause trouble.

She seems to take a perverse pleasure in causing harm to others and can be quite childish at times. She is also rude and disrespectful towards people, in particular authority figures. This is clearly demonstrated when she rudely refers to Zelandoni Who is First as a "fat old woman". Probably because of her short temper and selfishness, Marona seems to have difficulty maintaining serious, long-term relationships. It is implied that Marona may in fact be lonely and deeply insecure, and takes out her disappointments and frustrations on everyone else.


  • The Valley of Horses (mentioned only)
  • The Plains of Passage (mentioned only)
  • The Shelters of Stone
  • The Land of Painted Caves