In Robin Hobb's books on the Realm of the Elderlings, specifically the FitzChivalry books, Fitz ends up on an island that is revealed in the Liveship books to be the island of the "Others." I haven't read them in quite some time so I can't quite remember in exactly which books it happens or how.

What I do remember though is that around this time Fitz nearly loses himself - as in his soul or mind or identity - whilst trying to use the Skill. A powerful (mystical) being then comes upon him in this, for want of a better word, mind-stream or Skill world and then sort of puts him back together, commenting on the fragility of the human identity.

My question is, who or what is this being? My only clue is from the title of the universe these books are set in, that he/she is an Elderling. Other than that I have no clue as to what or who these Elderlings are. My memory might just be foggy, but I don't recall her ever explaining or referring to these beings in any of the other books. Nor do I seem to recall this experience or "other being" ever being remembered by Fitz or the idea revisited.

  • 2
    Great question, I don't remember any explanation either.
    – hromanko
    May 11, 2011 at 17:14
  • Are you sure you are remembering this right? What I remember is that the mind losing incident happens towards the end of the last book. Fitz moves through the "pillar" to go back to the Buckkeep from the North, and that is when he loses his mind and is put together by a powerful being.
    – apoorv020
    May 11, 2011 at 19:09
  • @apoorv020, as I mentioned it's been quite some time since I actually read the books, so I may have the setting wrong. I had actually forgotten about the pillars, but that doesn't change my question. I still would like to know who or what this being was and how they relate to the story. The problem I have is that the appearance of this being was a little too deus ex machina for me. As I say I don't actually recall these beings ever being discussed or remembered further in the books.
    – DeVil
    May 12, 2011 at 7:17
  • Are there no other insights from anyone? The Lord Of The Rings questions receive so much feedback and detailed discussions. Is there no one on here who can help me? Guess I'll have to remain clueless for a while longer.
    – DeVil
    May 13, 2011 at 8:42
  • 1
    @DeVil:The concept of elderlings is explored in other books set in the universe, the live-ship trilogy and rain-wild chronicles. The being does not seem to be the kind of elderling portrayed in the books.
    – apoorv020
    May 13, 2011 at 17:11

5 Answers 5


Fitz encounters a being in the skill on the island of the others because of his Dutiful who is just beginning to skill delves to deeply into the skill and loses himself. Fitz pursues him and a kindly being who fitz remembers as female but dutiful as male rescues/returns both. This being is hinted at as being an elderling in some parts, but has more of the qualities of a god than a citizen of the ancient civilization which had close contact with dragons. Fitz has one other encounter with this being when traveling back from aslevjal towards the very end. The being remembers him and saves him again but he is delayed a month. The being tells him not o return again until he is ready to stay forever which makes me think the being is some form of god. I think Fitz hints at this too.

  • Ah, thank you. This is basically all I was looking for. Thanks @Clark.
    – DeVil
    Jun 1, 2011 at 12:06

Yes but in the last book, Fitz says to dutiful that it simply exists in a different dimension kinda thing where Skilling was existing, at the actual time it was happening he described the being as a star drawning him in and also says there are many other stars, could this not just be one of the other races an Elderling, Dragon or maybe an oppisite race to that of the one on the Others beach


Robin Hobb finally explains it in Dragon Haven, book 2 of the Rain Wild Chronicles, that the others are the offspring of 2 dragons that both have been too close too humans (Elderlings) for to long.

Other's Island is where the dragon lay their eggs, which usually hatch into serpents, which go to the ocean for a time to grow, then travel to the Rain Wild River, to cocoon on the banks of the Rain Wild River (in what humans call wizard wood), to emerge as dragons.

  • Do you have a quote from the book? That would greatly improve this answer Oct 23, 2015 at 19:44

I got the impression it was a more evolved soul, far removed from its earthly life, but fortunately not too far removed to have forgotten it completely.

  • Welcome to the site. Can you elaborate on what you by 'more evolved soul' ? Very vague. Can have implications of reincarnation, extremely long life spans, ...
    – Stan
    Oct 13, 2013 at 10:38

It's not an elderling, at least not in the traditional sense. I don't think its a dragon either. Before the last Tawny Man, I assumed it was Tintaglia, but that exchange makes its unlikely.

Nor is it an example deus ex machina, rather I suspect it is simply frustrating foreshadowing, and we'll get more insight in later books. I do believe that they are gods, in the sense that much of what is ascribed to El and Eda and the like, are actually their works in the distant past.

As to whether the are deceased dragons, elderlings, coteries, or a separate race. I don't know, but the fact that Fitz was invited to join them is he is able, leads me to think its some higher state of consciousness that any/most mortal beings can achieve should they have the Skil/power/ability.

If I had to wager, I'd say the are what the race of Whites evolved into.

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