This article is about the character. For the song of the same name, see Inside & Outside: Friends At The Table Soundtrack, Season Three.
Samol, nicknamed Sam, is a god in Hieron associated with the land, plants, and trees. He is the first of the five gods of Hieron's old pantheon, and is said to give his body and blood to be worked on.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Samol has very dark skin (darker than Sige's), blue eyes, and a somewhat angular and androgynous build, described by Austin as "what if David Bowie was super black". When Sige met him, Samol wore brown slacks and suspenders, a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and a wide hat that shielded his face.
Samol also appeared during the Quiet Year in the form of a monstrous purple plesiosaur that emerged from the water around Marielda, broke through a cracked section of the wall, and went on a rampage. As the creature came onto the beach, its fins began to pick up sand which formed around them into legs, feet, and claws. Similarly, it picked up stone as it moved through the broken wall, becoming a mixture of mortar, dirt, rock and scaly flesh.
When the party meets him in Winter in Hieron, Samol is described as "a black man, with dreadlocks that are ... very clean and well-kept, but his body is not. He looks emaciated. His face is receding into itself. You can see the sockets of his eyes ... the pants that he's wearing are way too baggy for him." A chunk of his shoulder has been displaced and now floats above where it would have been. This chunk represents Ordenna, which is made of land displaced from the Mark of the Erasure, as the state of the continent of Hieron is reflected in the state of Samol's body.
In the beginning of Spring in Hieron, Samol is described in his human form as having "dark, leathery skin," with blotches of discoloration that weren't there during Winter in Hieron. He has long, gray-white dreadlocks, a weathered face, and sharp, thin features, now even older and with more wrinkles. Samol can take the form of a great purple dragon with a chromatic sheen to his scales. In this form he is known as the dragon Hieron.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Samol plays the role of storyteller throughout the story of Hieron, and is a playful and subjective narrator, adding his own wry commentary on the events which he retells. He is also an omniscent narrator, and has knowledge of everything that happens in Hieron (as Hieron is his own body). Austin describes him as "a god who knows everything, and also has fucking thoughts!" Nick describes him affectionately as "an irascible old bastard".
Samol is short-tempered and sharp-tongued, especially after being sick for an unknowably long period of time. At the same time, he is largely friendly towards the player characters, even when he is frustrated with them. Even though he often resents the actions of his family, he expresses a great deal of love towards them.
Despite being a major and very opinionated presence, he is largely a passive actor in the events of Hieron. As the land itself, other people fight over him, for him, or seek to harm him with Samol usually watching on without intervening.
History and Involvement[edit | edit source]
Creation and Early Hieron[edit | edit source]
If every god sprang from somethin' else, where did I come from? Well, one day, Nothing flinched. And there I was. And instantly, it regretted me.”
Samol is the first "material being", born into the void when Nothing "flinched". Immediately regretting Samol's existence, Nothing sprang forth Death in the form of Tristero in order to kill Samol. However, because Tristero was also a material being, he and Samol became friends instead, "like a farmer and a butcher". From then on, Nothing would only send immaterial forces like the shadowy Word eaters and the Heat and the Dark after Samol and the other gods.
Seeing that the world was lonely, Samol sprung forth his sister, Severea, who in turn filled it with creatures. Seeing then that those creatures were "dumb and unable to care for themselves", Samol sprung forth his son, Samothes, to build them tools and shelter.At some point, a particularly violent shadow slew Severea and stole her name, but subsequently became fascinated with her name and freed her shortly afterwards. Samol and Severea's joy upon their reunion filled the world with "new, imaginary creatures". As a reward for his repentance, Samol gave the shadow a body and took him in as a son, Samot. Later Samol would also grant him godhood.
As part of the five-god pantheon, Samol's religious icon is a man "kind of split into four", holding an uprooted blooming tree in one hand and a ball of fire in the other. He has also been represented as a tree-like humanoid whose limbs turn into blooming flowers and whose hair turns into tree branches.
Marielda[edit | edit source]
Prior to the events of Marielda, Samol began to fall ill due to the effects of The Heat and the Dark, manifesting in Samol as a cancer. Knowing that the progression of the disease would eventually lead to his death and the destruction of Hieron, Samol urged his family to let him go and to find a way to live without him. However, out of sentimentality, he gave Samot and Samothes a mansion as a token to remember him by. Samol later speculates that this gift might have helped drive them apart.
During the war and the events of Marielda, Samol disapproves of his sons' actions, but acts mostly as a bystander. During The Quiet Year, he takes the form of a purple plesiosaur and destroys part of the city, killing about a hundred people, possibly as a warning against people entering the Western Wood.
Later, he recruits Sige Coleburn and asks him to help stop The Gardeners, as Samol does not approve of their attempts to expand the woods. When Sige fails, Samol offers him a new deal, asking him to stop Maelgwyn from killing Samothes. During the climax of Marielda 14: The Killing of the King-God Samothes By The Traitor Prince Maelgwyn Pt. 4, Samol again takes the form of a plesiosaur and attempts to reach the volcano, but he is too late to stop Samothes' death.
Samol does not take direct part in the events that follow Marielda, but it is clear that he has become more and more cynical and resentful of being kept alive.
Winter in Hieron[edit | edit source]
In Winter in Hieron 24: An Open Mind, Hella, Adaire, Hadrian, and Throndir all arrive on an island on the outskirts of The Buoy, where Samol lives in the mansion that he once gave to Samot and Samothes. They first meet him in the garden of the house, where he is sitting and playing the guitar.
Samol begins to tell them the story of Marielda, covering the events of the first two episodes. Partway into the evening, Lem and Throndir switch places across the continent via pattern magic, and Lem is the one who joins for the rest of the story. Samol makes food for them, which Austin describes: "Samol comes into the dining room with ... a fucking feast. Hieron has Southern cooking, it might only exist in this room, but here it is! And it's good." Over dinner, Samol begins again with the narration from Marielda 03: The Crosstown Job Pt. 1.
After dinner, Samol looks out the window and sees an Ordennan boat approaching, so he moves the island away, detaching it from the land and water so that it begins to float through the strata and lamina. Samol tells the party that they can stay in the house and has guest rooms for each of them. He invites the party to ask him questions as he smokes his pipe on the balcony, although he doesn't necessarily give satisfying answers.
Samol is very particular about cleaning the house for guests, and claims that he cannot snap his fingers and make it clean: "the problem with being material is, it's material. I don't get to make it so there isn't dust!"
In the night, a group of Ordennans with Anchor attack the house. The party fends them off, although Lem accidentally injures an off-screen Samol in a failed attempt to use pattern magic with his broken violin. After the fight is over, near morning, Samol comes out in a housecoat, disoriented and gaunter than before. He deflects when Hella asks him to heal Adaire, instead making coffee and breakfast for the party.
Samol continues the story of Marielda, from Marielda 10: Four Conversations through the finale. The party tries to ask him questions about what their next course of action should be, but Samol's answers are cynical, and he has long since lost interest in trying to prolong his own life. Samol plans to take his house far away to live out the rest of his life, because while the Stars or the Heat and the Dark might kill him, he won't let the Ordennans do it. He encourages them to give up on saving the world and try to live a good life with what time is left. Lem becomes frustrated with the conversation and leaves.
Another group of Ordennan ships begin to approach the island. Samol tells the party: "Y'all wanna stay and fight, y'all can stay and fight. I'll cook you dinner after. Y'all wanna leave? You let me know." Samol gives Lem his guitar to replace his broken violin, possibly because Lem said that he had broken the violin to defend Samol.
The party ultimately stays to fight off the second wave of Ordennans. In the middle of the fight, Lem decides to go back inside and attempt to perform pattern magic, flooding Samol's kitchen in the process. Seeing green hills reflected in the water, Lem goes to find Samol, who is outside gardening, and pulls him back inside. Seeing the flooding, Samol tells Lem off for making a mess of his kitchen, and frantically goes to try to save his books from the water. Lem continues the pattern, causing a line of water to flow outside and to Hadrian, who has been struck through with the Blade in the Dark. Outside, Lem fails badly at playing the guitar, and Samol, now so frustrated that his face and body literally begin to become younger, angrily transforms it into a violin. Lem jumps into the water and looks back to see that Samol is climbing up to the roof of the house to get to safety.
Adaire attempts to give back the rapier she borrowed from Samol, but Samol tells her to keep it, because she reminds him of its previous owners.
Now with only the roof of Samol's house floating on top of the water, Stornras Glasseye pulls his boat up to the roof and steps out. He attempts to address Samol, and Samol responds "I think I better start from the top" and launches in to the narration from Hieron: The Months of Autumn.
The Months of Autumn[edit | edit source]
Samol tells Stornras Glasseye the story of Autumn in Hieron. When he is done speaking to Stornras, Samol gives him a sword and tells him to either kill him with it so he can finally die, or to deliver it to Lem, Fero, and Fantasmo in the mountains.[note 1][note 2] It is later confirmed that the sword was the Blade in the Dark, which Stornras ultimately passed along to Sunder Havelton.
Spring in Hieron[edit | edit source]
After losing his house in The Buoy, Samol moves to the ruins of Samot's tower near the Mark of the Erasure and there begins to work on the Breath of Hieron, a mass of his own life energy that he hopes could serve as a "beating heart" for Hieron after his death. Fero spends several years living beside Samol, learning to control his powers of creation and keeping Samol company.
After Samot is fatally injured by an Ordennan attack, Samol takes the form of a dragon and flies to the Last University. There he performs Tell Me and other songs for the people of the University and speaks with each of the player characters present. He goes to Samot to have a final conversation. Without telling Samot, he passes the Breath of Hieron to him while they speak, bringing Samot back from the brink of death but killing himself in the process. Samol's death causes magic to fade from the world of Hieron, as the land that remains is merely a corpse now.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
This relationships section contains major spoilers for all of Seasons of Hieron. Tread carefully!
Tristero[edit | edit source]
Severea[edit | edit source]
Severea was born of Samol, and he calls her his sister. He was deeply joyful and grateful when Samot allowed her to return to life. As of Winter in Hieron, Severea and Galenica have both spent many years leading The Grand Tour, responsible for stitching up Hieron where the Heat and the Dark has torn it apart. Samol seems to resent this process.
Samothes[edit | edit source]
Samothes was born of Samol when he saw that the creatures in the world were helpless and unable to care for themselves. He is Samol's son. Samol seems to have a regard for Samothes that goes beyond fatherly affection, and speaks with a certain degree of respect about Samothes' inventions and teachings.
Samot[edit | edit source]
Samot was taken in by Samol after he killed and then freed Severea. Samol gave him a body and later godhood. Samol considers him like a son. They seem estranged in the present day, and Samol speaks of him both affectionately and disparagingly. Nevertheless, when Samot is on the brink of death Samol does not hesitate to come to his side, and has even written a song about their father-son relationship.
Fero[edit | edit source]
Samol and Fero spend several years living as neighbors at the Mark of the Erasure. Samol enjoys Fero's sense of humor and the two develop a close friendship. Eventually, Samol encourages Fero to return to the Last University to help the other characters, but he affectionately tells Fero to "stay rude" before they part. Samol also uses his powers to speak to Fero one last time before he sacrifices himself to save Samot.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The name "Hieron" comes from a joke about Art and Austin's college friend Ron ("Hi, Ron"), who comes up several times during the Hieron worldbuilding episode. Keith lampshades this when Fero calls Samol "Ron" during Spring in Hieron 03.
- Olday is named after him.
- The Cult of Wolf and Dragon is dedicated to him and Severea.
- The eidolon Apole whose domains are personal sacrifice, family, and the collection of resources, is named after Samol.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Because this was recorded before Winter in Hieron, there are some continuity errors here.
- Samol says in Winter in Hieron 28: What Life Looks Like that if he was killed with the Blade in the Dark, all of Hieron would probably get sucked inside and then the blade itself would be destroyed by the Heat and the Dark. It's possible that he just doesn't think Stornras would do it.
References[edit | edit source]
- Marielda 10: Four Conversations
- Spring in Hieron 01: The Touch of Others
- Winter in Hieron & Marielda Post Mortem
- Marielda 12: The Killing of the King-God Samothes By The Traitor Prince Maelgwyn Pt. 2
- Autumn in Hieron 26: Why Are You Here, Again?
- Winter in Hieron 18: Try to Live Normally
- Marielda 09: The Valentine Affair Pt. 4
- Winter in Hieron 26: A Shattering Note
- Winter in Hieron 28: What Life Looks Like