In "The Deed of Paksenarrion" by Elizabeth Moon, Master Oakhallow the Kuakgan in the grove at Brewersbridge is a recurring character and a major force in Paksenarrion's life. He has unusual powers and a special connection with nature.

It is not clear to me what "Kuakgan" is. Is "Kuakgan" a title or acquired status, such as "Paladin" or "Marshal", or is it a race? If the former, do we know the race of Master Oakhallow himself?

  • paksworld.com/people.html
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 9:34
  • @Valorum - thanks, but I'd looked there. It only mentions Kuakgan when discussing the Kuaknom, but does not define the Kuakgan themselves.
    – Basya
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 10:02
  • Master Oakhallow is repeatedly referred to as being a Kuakganni (which appears to be the name of a race), with Kuakgan being the singular form.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 11:59
  • 1
    Possibly a religion. Or a regional descriptor. I'm only going on the google books snippets, hence not positing an answer
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 15:04
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    I had assumed he was human, with his powers coming from his religion. Evidently a priest or something. "Master" Oakhollow.
    – FlaStorm32
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Kuakgan is an acquired status, as described in the later book Kings Of The North:

“There are other ways not to marry than cutting off an arm and grafting a tree onto your shoulder,” the Lady said, her expression grim.


“Did you not know that is what they do? Every Kuakgan, red blood with green, a tree with a limb once human, and the Kuakgan with an arm once tree. They thrive and die together.”

Kuakkganni is the plural of Kuakgan, but the term kuakgannir is used to refer to the followers of the Kuagkanni, who have no powers themselves. I don't think this is ever spelled out, but it seems clear from context in a few places, e.g. this line from Master Oakhallow in Divided Allegiance:

You aren't a Girdsman, which would put you under command of Marshal Cedfer, or a kuakgannir, which would put you under mine.

I don't believe we ever learn Master Oakhallow's race for certain, but it seems likely that he is human. He is introduced as a "tall, dark-faced man" (Divided Allegiance) and though "man" could be ambiguous, in the context of the series it seems to imply "human", for example (from Divided Allegiance again):

The teamsters are all dead, gnome and man alike.

The first quote above from Kings Of The North, depending on interpretation, could also be taken to imply that all Kuakkganni are human.

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    books.google.nl/… - A kuakgan is a "tree shepherd"
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 10:16
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    "At the far end of a large room, much larger than the common room at the inn. a knot of people clustered around the one table Paks recognized Marshal Cedfer, now in mail, and looking much more like the Marshal she’d seen in Aarenis. His surcoat bore the crescent of Gird on a dark blue field. Master Oakhallow, in the same long robe he had worn in the afternoon, was already seated, and talking to one of the other men. Another man in mail - Paks assumed it was Sir Pelis - stood at the end of the table, lips folded tightly as he listened."
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 10:19
  • The implication that Master Oakhallow was born a regular human seems heavily implied. Also the fact that there is competition to get Paks to join his order, suggests any worthy and willing sentient being can join and become a Kuakgan Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 18:34

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