Maelgwyn is muscular and "stunningly handsome" with dark tan skin, cutting blue eyes, and shoulder-length blonde hair. He wears the clothing of a lay brother of the Church of Samothes, and carries no weapon.
When the Six find Maelgwyn in the library vault of Memoriam College, he is tired-looking, wearing a dress uniform and with his hair cut short. He wears a gauntlet on one hand through which he can channel divine power. Later in the season, he is often seen wearing an iron crown and a mask bearing the face of his father, Samot.
|“||I've never felt regret in my life. I am confidence, breathing.||”|
–Maelgwyn, "Four Conversations"
Maelgwyn is charismatic and self-assured, said to carry the air of Samothes with him.
Early life Edit
The Quiet Year Edit
Maelgwyn came to prominence during autumn of the Quiet Year when he appeared leading members of the original school to shift the tides in the wizard duel between the mage tower and the underground school, siding with the latter only to give them a look of contempt afterward. He went on to act as prosecutor in the ill-fated trial of Christopher for the murder of Winsley Cartwright, which was cut short by a reinvestigation following Snitch Nightly's confession to the same murder. That winter, Maelgwyn began organizing an army in the northern part of the island before disappearing mysteriously during training exercises. He had impressed upon the troops so strongly the importance of focusing on preparations for Samot's assault that they did not divert any resources for a search party.
Fifteen years after his disappearance, Maelgwyn was discovered imprisoned in the Memoriam College vault by The Six, who freed him from his bondage. During his absence, Maelgwyn had become a cult figure in Marielda, worshiped by a sect known as Maelgwyn's Faithful, who believed him to be a blessed figure, either the son of Samothes or some aspect of him.
Maelgwyn, who had little understanding of what had happened to him, formed an unlikely relationship with Castille, the living pala-din of The Six, who he had once fought when she was Charter Castille, the elven leader of the mages who appeared in Marielda during the Quiet Year. The two met regularly as they tried to sort out their lives and lost memories.
Searching to find what needed to be done about the Heat and the Dark, Maelgwyn left Marielda to consult with the mages of the University, who convinced him, in part by posing as his father Samot, that in order to save Hieron, he would need to kill Samothes, under the assumption that the remorse he would feel at seeing his father's dead body would provoke something divine into being that could stop it.
Maelgwyn did so, stabbing the Samothes with the Blade in the Dark on High Sun Day. Stricken with the feeling of loss and the desire to have his father back, Maelgwyn was transformed into an ashen-haired approximation of the King-God and trapped beneath Marielda on the lowest strata of Hieron by the magic of his father's tomb.
Seasons of Hieron Edit
It was revealed in Spring in Hieron 00: What Came Before that the new Samothes who was once Maelgwyn walked from underneath Marielda to underneath the southwestern islands of Hieron and set up his base there, which would become the basis of operations for the Cult of the Dark Sun. Although he was unable to leave the lowest strata, his followers could come to him there to receive direction.
This Samothes believed that directly working with and understanding the Heat and the Dark could save Hieron, and created and shaped tools out of it. Seeing a kindred spirit in Ephrim, who also had a tumultuous childhood, this Samothes granted him his supernatural power over fire. In Make the Spring Last Forever, he saves Ephrim's life after Ephrim is killed by Ordennan steel arrows, in exchange for Ephrim helping steal a special sword hilt from Lem and helping convert Fero to their side.
In An Open Mind, he breaks Hadrian's sword and forges a new blade for it out of a semi-liquid form of the Heat and the Dark and his own blood. He also places Alyosha under mind control for lacking confidence.
In Slow Justice, Ephrim reassembles the Sword of Samothes and uses it to kill this Samothes. As he dies, he reverts back into Maelgwyn, and perishes in agony as he repeats "I tried" over and over. Alyosha then takes Samothes' hammer and begins to work at the forge, causing flowers to spring forth from Samothes/Maelgwyn's blood and filling the void with "the breath and force of Ingenuity Alive".
There have been several Welsh kings and princes with the name Maelgwyn (also spelled Maelgwn), meaning "princely hound" or "princely warrior".
After it was revealed in "The Killing of the King-God Samothes By The Traitor Prince Maelgwyn Pt. 4" that Maelgwyn had been transformed into a new incarnation of Samothes after killing his father, it became necessary for fans to differentiate the two. In an homage to the 'alternate' flavor of Doritos corn chips, the former Maelgwyn is often referred to as "Cool Ranch", as a means of contrast with the "original flavor" or "original recipe" Samothes[note 1]. More straightforward portmanteau nicknames such as "Maelothes" or "Samaelthes" may also be used to indicate which incarnation of the deity is being discussed.