The Reachmen say his human heart was too big for his chest, so he traded it in for a smaller model.
Unlike most NPCs, Thendrick doesn’t have an actor. He doesn’t have a single line of dialogue. His story is one told through his companions, Yseld and Ynvar. Nevertheless, I find him no less compelling.
This isn’t to say the trio are incomplete. Yseld has her quirks – she’s forgetful, indifferent, and at times aloof. She can turn a phrase, and maybe even turn a few heads. This is in sharp contrast to her sister Ynvar – who’s the kind of rough, unforgiving woman who eats scorpions and uses tarantulas to brush her hair. You might say she’s as hard as the very rocks that cover the Reach. And yet, while the two have depth both as individuals and as sisters, it’s their relationship with Thendrick that truly gives them character.
When I visit Ynvar and Thendrick, I’m reminded of those summer days as a kid. Maybe you met someone off at camp, and you were both a little bit shy, and a little bit excited, because it was so fresh and innocent and real. And when you go back to school in the fall and back to the real world, those summer days are like special little secrets you keep between the two of you, moments frozen in time.
I also think about how much of that innocence was lost as she grew older. As the war sharpened her edges, it left her angry, jaded, and mean. But Thendrick always believed that girl was still there. Sure, she never showed it, but that’s because it was something they shared between the two of them. He always remembered those words by the river, and the smile that came with it. It was their little secret.
And now, it’s a secret he takes to his grave.
When Thendrick transformed, you might say he lost more than his heart. He lost his innocence. Ynvar’s refusal to stop him is proof she had done the same. And yet while the story of Ynvar and Thendrick is inherently tragic, their secret still lives on through their hopes for Yseld. After all, she has her sister’s smile. Here’s hoping she never loses it.