In the Wheel of Time series, the first sight we get of a gholam is (I think) when one squeezes under Herid Fel's door to murder him at the end of Lord of Chaos. This is in Cairhien.

Later on, Mat encounters a gholam at least twice in Ebou Dar. (Perhaps there are other appearances of gholam later on; I've only got as far as book 11.)

We know from a Forsaken-PoV chapter somewhere that exactly six gholam were created: three male and three female. Do we ever find out how many appear in the books? Was the one in Cairhien the same as the one in Ebou Dar?

  • I don't think we've ever had any indication that more than one was found in the books, so it's probably safe to assume there's just the one. E.g., we never have one of the Forsaken musing how <insert-other-Forsaken> isn't the only one with a gholam at their disposal... That said I'm hesitant to post an Answer based on an adverse inference.
    – gowenfawr
    Jul 15, 2015 at 11:42
  • i just read through all of the interviews, and they refer to a singular gholam through the entire thing. Also they specifically say the gholam can go through a gateway without dieing so they could simply move the gholam from cairhien to ebou dar quite quickly.
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


Only 1 gholam appears in the wheel of time series, he moves around quite often throughout the series. we know he is able to walk through gateways so when he appears in Ebou Dar i believe in a relatively quick manner (something that should take months on foot) its speculated that he traveled there with Moridin.


We know that Shadowspawn cannot survive going through a gateway. Would the gholam have died just by going though the gateway in Towers of Midnight, or was it necessary for Mat to have kicked him off into the abyss?


No, he wouldn't have died just by going through the gateway, but he's unique.

Then from sanderson.


gholam CAN go THROUGH gateways (from one place to another). Gholam are Shadowspawn of a more perfected kind. It would have been way too easy to kill if you just needed to shove it through a gateway (to another place). However, falling through the skimming gateway did kill the gholam and it is really dead and it's not going to show up again.

Over and over people ask questions about the gholam to both team Jordan as well as Jordan himself and they only ever refer to this one singular gholam.


Are gholam immortal?




Because they were in...a box?


Stasis box. A stasis box is an artifact of the Age of Legends, and is in effect an artificial vacuole. Time does not move inside a stasis box. It is a thing devised for storing things that are fragile or that might decay in some way.


So the gholam can die by a natural death?


I don’t know if you’d call it a natural death, but yeah, they can decay. You saw what happened with Mat’s medallion—it just fell on the gholam’s cheek and branded it.


But do they die of old age?


Yeah, they do, but they live a little longer than you’d like them to, let me tell you (laughter)—not as long as an Aes Sedai, but...not as long as an Aes Sedai that hasn’t sworn the Three Oaths, anyway...not as long as a strong Aes Sedai that hasn’t sworn the Three Oaths.

  • Your answer proves that it's possible for the same gholam to have got from Cairhien to Ebou Dar, but I can't see anything to back up the statement that only one gholam appears...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:59
  • well since no one asked the question of team jordan since everyone assumed it was the same one, we wont know 100% for sure, but after 10 years of interviews this never coming up we can be 99.999(repeating of course) sure that its the same one.
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:02
  • @randal'thor the other key point is sanderson says that "falling through the skimming gateway did kill the gholam and it is really dead and it's not going to show up again" which is a pretty definitive statement that says THE gholam is dead and wont reappear in future books, not well 1 gholam died and that other one is still running around. So Sanderson himself is writing and answering about a Single gholam not multiple.
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:06
  • OK, maybe this is the best answer I'm going to get. I'll wait a while before accepting it though, in case someone comes up with better evidence one way or the other. Even a gholam-PoV scene (I checked the one in book 8) in which the Ebou Dar gholam recalls killing Herid Fel would do.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:07
  • 1
    @CreationEdge yeah ive seen another interview with sanderson i believe where he expands on the fact that the gholam dies either from lack of food, or old age by essentially falling for ever, but to keep it simple for all intents and purposes once they closed that skimming gate he was dead as he became un retrievable/trapped indefinitely.
    – Himarm
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:29

We are told that only 6 gholam were ever created, and we know that if not otherwise preserved they will die of old age (as noted in Himarm's answer). We are not told explicitly how many gholam have actually died since their construction, but we know that the only way they could have survived would be placement in a stasis box.

That is how the gholam we do see survived, which we know from its own thought perspective. It is possible that other gholam were also preserved in statis boxes in the same way, but given that the vast majority of stasis boxes were lost during the breaking they would likely never be found.

There are two reasons from the text itself that we can assume that we only saw one gholam. We know that we only see male gholam, so the three female gholam are not actively used in the books. We also know that we only see one gholam from the time that Mat branded it with the fox head medallion since it has that mark from then until its death. Finally we know that no gholam is seen after that one is killed, which I would expect we would if there was another still in action.

The only other alternative I can think of is that another gholam survived, was freed from its stasis box, and is now in hiding rather than being used by one of the Forsaken. While this is possible, there would almost certainly be reports of gruesome murders like we see with the gholam in the books as it would need to feed on fresh blood to stay alive.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the other 5 gholam either died long before the events of the books, or that they are trapped in stasis boxes until they are someday found (or are forever lost).

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