Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces

Trom (The King) Character Analysis

The King is the father of Orual, Psyche, and Redival. He’s a cruel, selfish man who dislikes Orual and generally ignores his other daughters, as he wants only the son he never gets. He’s physically and emotionally abusive to Orual, often reminding her that her ugliness makes her practically unlovable. The King also proves himself a coward when he readily gives Psyche up for sacrifice, glad of his own safety. When the King lies ill on his deathbed, he becomes desperately afraid of Orual, constantly telling his guards to take her away. He seems to think she’s someone else, someone who wants to torture him, and it’s possible that in his delirium, he perceives Ungit inside of her. Orual considers murdering him, but he eventually dies a natural death.

Trom (The King) Quotes in Till We Have Faces

The Till We Have Faces quotes below are all either spoken by Trom (The King) or refer to Trom (The King). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Till We Have Faces published in 2012.
Part 1: Chapter 5 Quotes

I, King, have dealt with the gods for three generations of men, and I know that they dazzle our eyes and flow in and out of one another like eddies on a river, and nothing that is said clearly can be said truly about them. Holy places are dark places. It is life and strength, not knowledge and words, that we get in them.

Related Characters: The Priest of Ungit (speaker), Trom (The King), The god of the Grey Mountain (the Brute/the Shadowbrute)
Related Symbols: Ungit
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

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Trom (The King) Character Timeline in Till We Have Faces

The timeline below shows where the character Trom (The King) appears in Till We Have Faces. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The writer is Orual, the daughter of the King of Glome. The city of Glome lies on the river Shennit, and near the city... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The princesses’ nurse, Batta, is a rough slave woman. She warns that as soon as the King marries a stepmother for Orual and Redival, their lives will become much harder. One day,... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
In the King ’s Pillar Room, Orual finds traders just packing up. They’ve sold the King a slave,... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
The sisters and the Fox usually work behind some pear trees. One day the King finds them there and announces that there will soon be a prince for the Fox... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The King has become engaged to a princess of Caphad, a powerful kingdom. The fact that the... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The King decides that the Fox must teach Orual, Redival, and other noble girls to sing a... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The new Queen survives less than a year. She becomes pregnant, and the King is ecstatic, sacrificing to Ungit frequently. Once, Orual overhears the King tell his wife that... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...related to nature. She falls asleep, and when she wakes up, she hears women wailing. The King has left the hall, and there has been a sacrifice. (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
...the wild idea to visit the new Queen. As the Fox tries to stop her, the King comes out of the Queen’s chamber in a dangerous rage. He calls for wine, but... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The King tells the Priest of Ungit that he must repay what the King has sacrificed to... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The King throws everyone out of the hall. Orual begs the Fox to run away, but he... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
...and when he and Orual go to the Pillar Room, it is crowded with strangers. The King sends Orual away. Although he sounds less angry, she is terrified for the Fox for... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The King names his baby daughter Istra. Orual knows that in Greek, the name is Psyche. There... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
...like a grandfather to her. Orual, Psyche, and the Fox are always together, and with the King ’s mind elsewhere, Redival stays away from the trio. (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The King now completely trusts the Fox, who often brings Orual and Psyche to a hilltop where... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
One night Batta hears Redival and Tarin, a guardsman, kissing beneath her window. She alerts the King , who surprises the couple and has Tarin made into a eunuch. The King blames... (full context)
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The next year is a bad one for Glome. The harvest is poor and the King fails in his attempts to remarry. One day, Psyche and Redival wander off through the... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...doesn’t hesitate to do so. Redival orders the Fox to use his great influence with the King to get her a husband. (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
The next year, there is a rebellion. Tarin’s father allies himself with strong noblemen, and the King himself rides into battle against them. Many people are killed, and it weakens the King’s... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...palace gate, demanding that Psyche come to heal them. When they begin to get violent, the King says she must go out to them, and she is willing. (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...the ground where she walks. As Psyche becomes pale, Orual worries she will die, but the King says the people will kill them if Psyche stops. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...their demands have been met once, the people return to the palace gates, demanding corn. The King gives them some, but they associate his lack of sons with the lack of a... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The King decides he no longer needs Orual to help with affairs of state, and one day... (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Orual is angry at the people and insists the King must know. Psyche soothes her, saying she looks like the King when she gets angry.... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...the days pass, the river dries up, animals die, and lions come to steal sheep. The King needs Orual’s help again, for there are conflicts with the neighboring kingdoms. He alternates between... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...who wear wigs and have their faces painted. They accompany him into the palace, and the King bars the doors behind them. The Priest comes to the Pillar Room, where he has... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 5
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The King offers the Priest of Ungit wine, but he’s under a vow not to eat or... (full context)
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The King offers to give them the next thief captured, but the Priest of Ungit specifies that... (full context)
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The King asks how to make the Great Offering. The Priest of Ungit explains that the victim... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...and make the Fox king, but she can tell that the Priest’s argument is succeeding. The King asks what the next step is. The Priest says he has cast the holy lots,... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The King orders Bardia to kill the temple guards waiting outside. Bardia is skeptical, and the Priest... (full context)
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When Bardia leaves, the King takes out his dagger and puts it to the Priest of Ungit’s ribs, threatening to... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The King throws himself back to his chair. The Priest finally reveals that the lots said the... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
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Orual wakes to the King and the Fox lifting her into a chair. The King is surprisingly gentle, and he... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Orual says the King must do something to stop the sacrifice, and he reveals that it will happen the... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The King says that his counselors are supposed to tell him how to strengthen his position as... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Orual argues that it will shame their house if the King lets a girl die to save him, but he only threatens to beat her again.... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Orual stands and asks that she be sacrificed in Psyche’s place. The King then leads her to a huge mirror on the other side of the room. It’s... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Orual is injured from the King ’s beatings, but she goes to the room where Psyche has been imprisoned. Bardia is... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
...Orual says she wishes she could take Psyche’s place. Psyche forces Orual to tell what the King did to her, though Orual says the King is nothing to them. (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...wants her to promise not to kill herself, for the Fox’s sake. Though Psyche feels the King is a stranger to her, she asks Orual to give him whatever message would be... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...have become stiff and painful. The servants tell her not to get up, particularly since the King has forbidden her to watch the sacrifice. When one woman asks if she should bring... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...ended, the fever has left, and the animals are returning. Furthermore, the people now adore the King . When Psyche was sacrificed, he grieved very publicly but said he had to let... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 9
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
...long, Orual is well enough to be up and about, but she hides this from the King so that he won’t make her do work for him. The King speaks as though... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
...with her to give guidance and protection. They’ll ride one horse together. Orual worries that the King will keep him from going, but Bardia tells her that the King understands soldiers much... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 10
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The next thing she knew, she was being chained to the Tree. She saw the King lamenting her fate, and it seemed that he saw her for the first time. She... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 11
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Psyche thinks that Orual does see the palace, and Orual becomes angry like her father the King . She screams at Psyche to stop saying that there’s a palace. Psyche tries to... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
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...her back to the river. She promises to return if she can get out of the King ’s house. Psyche predicts that the King won’t be much trouble in the next few... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 12
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...city, Bardia says that Orual must enter the palace by a back entrance to avoid the King ’s notice. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 13
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...Mountain. The Fox reveals that lions have been sighted again, far from the city, and the King is going on a hunt. Orual assumes the King is angry, but the Fox says... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 14
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Jealousy Theme Icon
...the Pillar Room and sends for Bardia. She thinks the whole palace feels freer since the King is gone. (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...love—Psyche joyful, Orual the bearer of pain. Psyche points out that she correctly predicted that the King wouldn’t keep Orual from returning. Orual had forgotten she said this, but she refuses to... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 16
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Orual enters the palace through the back and finds that the King is still away. She creeps to her room, realizing that she’s avoiding the Fox. She’s... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The King comes home a week later drunk and in a bad mood. A few days later,... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
After the Midwinter feast, the King slips on ice and injures his leg. He is carried to his bed in pain.... (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Three nights later, Arnom tells Orual, Bardia, and the Fox that the King will probably die. Orual thinks she’ll be driven out of Glome in the struggle for... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
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Arnom brings up the long conflict over the “Crumbles,” land claimed by both Ungit and the King . Orual has always thought Ungit should have it so the priests won’t have to... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
...some bushes, and when she investigates, a man’s voice tells her to take him to the King . (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 17
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...to end, but she demands to know who the man is. He says he needs the King ’s help and must speak with him. (full context)
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Orual reveals that she is the Queen, unless the King recovers. The man says he is Trunia of Phars and has come looking for protection.... (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Orual goes to the King ’s bedroom. He seems worse, and he can’t speak. The Fox tells her that he’s... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Orual goes to the King ’s chamber, where Batta sits at his bedside. He’s awake, but can’t speak. He looks... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 18
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The next morning, Orual goes to check on the King as soon as she wakes. Redival comes in, desperately asking what’s going on in the... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
...night. She feels restless from all of the changes that are happening. It’s as though the King ’s illness had disintegrated all the established elements of her world. She can’t even feel... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
...it’s natural and she must ignore it. She needs better armor, so they go to the King ’s room to find some. The Fox sits at his bed. As Orual and Bardia... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 19
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
...warrior. She has her servant Poobi shut the window, contemplates how she could have killed the King , and decides that the Queen will kill Orual. (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 20
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The next day, they burn the King ’s body. The day after, Redival becomes engaged to Trunia. Finally, the palace goes back... (full context)
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The Queen also makes the silver mines more productive. The King only used them as a place to send people as punishment, and they never made... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
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Self-understanding Theme Icon
The Queen imagines torturing Ansit to death. She tells her that the King would have cut her tongue out, but she leaves. As she rides home, she thinks... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
Self-understanding Theme Icon
...to find her father beside her. All the years she’s been Queen seem to disappear. The King tells her to leave her veil off and come to the Pillar Room. Once there... (full context)
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The King makes Orual jump into the hole with him. They land safely far below in a... (full context)
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The King asks who Ungit is, and drags Orual to the mirror that used to hang in... (full context)