Earth's Children
Species The Others
Culture Zelandonii
Camp Ninth Cave
Born 3 years before Ayla
Died Year 17
Spouse Jetamio
Children Thonolia (with Filonia)
Stillborn child (with Jetamio)
Novel appearances The Valley of Horses

Thonolan is the youngest son of Marthona, with her third mate Willamar, and the brother of Joharran, Jondalar and Folara. He is a member of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, like the rest of his family, and later joins the Sharamudoi. He travels with Jondalar on his Journey in The Valley of Horses.


The Valley of Horses[]

Thonolan had been intending to go travelling and is unexpectedly joined by his brother Jondalar. Thonolan has no objection, as he is close to his brother and is also glad he did not go through with mating the spiteful Marona, whom Thonolan feels is wrong for Jondalar. They visit with the Losadunai, where Thonolan has a brief tryst with a woman named Filonia, ultimately resulting in pregnancy, though Thonolan never learns about this. After many trials and adventures, the brothers are attacked and wounded by a wooly rhinoceros, but are found and saved by a tribe of people known as the Sharamudoi. Thonolan falls deeply in love with a Sharamudoi woman named Jetamio and decides to stay with her people to mate her. Sadly, their happy mating is marred by Jetamio suffering several miscarriages. Thonolan is upset that Jetamio seems unable to keep any of the babies the Mother gives her and worries about the toll the each miscarriage takes on her health. Jetamio finally carries a pregnancy to term; unfortunately, she dies in labour, with the baby dying as well. Thonolan is overcome with grief over the loss of his mate and child and falls into a deep depression.

He ultimately decides to leave the Sharamudoi after Jetamio and their child is buried, vaguely expressing a desire to hunt mammoth with the Mamutoi, but it is clear his heart is not in it and he is wandering aimlessly. Jondalar accompanies his brother, not wanting to leave him alone in such a state and knowing he will not truly be happy staying with the Sharamudoi. The brothers wander into the Valley of Horses, where they hunt a deer. Thonolan manages to bring down the deer, but the kill is stolen by a cave lioness. Thonolan, who has grown reckless in his depression, decides to follow the lioness to her den and take back his deer, despite his brother's warnings. Unfortunately, they do not realise the lioness has a mate, who attacks the brothers. Thonolan is mauled to death by the lion, whilst Jondalar is seriously wounded.


Thonolan at his deathbed, having been mauled by Baby in the gorge.

Fortunately, Ayla hears their screams and orders the cave lion - whom she raised from a cub - to leave, saving Jondalar. Ayla tries to help Thonolan too, but immediately sees he is dead. She has no time to perform a proper burial for Thonolan, as Jondalar needs urgent medical attention, but she cannot bring herself to leave him as he is. Instead, she loosens a pile of rocks over him to cover his body and then, using the Clan's sign language, conducts the Mog-ur's burial ritual and asks Ursus and her Cave Lion totem to guide his spirit to the afterlife.

Ayla is ultimately able to save Jondalar's life; upon regaining consciousness, he demands to know where Thonolan is, but despite their language barrier, he realises Thonolan is dead and breaks down over his brother's death. Some time later, whilst exploring the Valley with Ayla, she brings Jondalar to the canyon where Thonolan is buried so that Jondalar can pay his respects. A small rock suddenly falls from the pile and lands at Jondalar's feet. Ayla, believing it to be a sign, tells Jondalar to keep it and put it in the amulet she made for him. Jondalar resolves to return to the Zelandonii to tell his family of Thonolan's fate and to try and ensure his spirit finds its way to the afterlife.

The Plains of Passage[]

After travelling back to the Losadunai with Ayla, Jondalar meets Filonia again and learns she has a daughter, Thonolia. Filonia believes that Thonolia is a child of Thonolan's spirit and named her after him - upon seeing the strong resemblance between Thonolia and his younger sister Folara when she was her age, Jondalar agrees Filonia is probably right. Filonia is saddened to learn of Thonolan's death, though she and Jondalar take comfort from the fact he left a piece of him behind in the form of Thonolia.

The Shelters of Stone[]

Upon arriving back at the Ninth Cave, Jondalar breaks the news of Thonolan's death to his family, who are all shocked and deeply saddened. Marthona reveals that she sensed she would never see her son again, as when he left on his Journey, instead of the usual goodbye, she told him "Good Journey". They are happy to hear that Thonolan left behind a child of his spirit and found love with Jetamio before his death, though they are saddened to lean of Tamio's death and Thonolan's subsequent depression.

Jondalar later meets with Zelandoni Who Is First, expressing a concern that Thonolan's spirit may not be able to move on. During a special ritual, they find apparently find Thonolan's spirit, still travelling, and convince him to move onto the spirit world, where Jetamio and their child are waiting for him. This ritual helps bring closure over Thonolan's death for his family.


Thonolan is depicted as being a charming, friendly and open young man, with a sense of adventure and restlessness. He is much more laid back and makes friends more easily compared to his older brother Jondalar; he is one of the few people who can bring Jondalar out of his brooding and is usually lighthearted and prone to making jokes. Thonolan is quite popular with women, due to his wit and charisma. Sadly, after losing the love of his life, Jetamio, in childbirth, Thonolan becomes a changed man. He loses his carefree spirit, becoming reckless, despondent and even apathetic. Jondalar doesn't believe his brother would ever be the same again after Tamio's death; it is ultimately unknown if Thonolan would ever truly have come to terms with the death of his child and mate, as he was killed shortly after. Right up until the end though, Thonolan never stopped caring about his family, trying to protect Jondalar from the cave lion that claimed his life.


Ancestors: Willamar (father), Marthona (mother), Rabanar (maternal grandfather), and Jemara (maternal grandmother)
Siblings: Joharran (half-brother), Jondalar (half-brother), and Folara (sister)
Mate: Jetamio
Issue: Thonolia (daughter by Filonia)
Extended Family: Jaradal (nephew), Jondal (nephew)*, unnamed nephew or niece*, and Jonayla (niece)

  • Whether Noria conceived a child by Jondalar was never confirmed. However, Haduma predicted that she would have a son named Jondal with Jondalar's blue eyes.
  • Before Jondalar left with Thonolan, Serenio told him that she believed that she was pregnant.

When Thonolan was mated to Jetamio of the Shamudoi, they became kin to a counterpart family of Ramudoi.