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Great Mother Goddess
Goddess of Women
Crops, Weaving, Spinning
Territories Known World
Symbol Moon
Powers Giver of Gifts
Sacred Animals Mares
Human Beneficiary Alanna the Lioness
Events Luarin Conquest (won)
Immortals War (against Uusoae)
Biographical information
Aliases Mother of Mountains
Mother of Waters
Mother of Mares
Gentle Mother
Species Goddess
Physical description
Gender Female
Height Tall
Other Traits Threefold Goddess
(Maiden, Mother, Crone)
Family information
Parents Father Universe
Mother Flame
Siblings Great Gods
Lesser Gods
Animal gods
Spouse Mithros
Other family
Rank Queen of the Gods
Residence Divine Realms
Bibliographical Information
Tortallan Universe character
First Mentioned Alanna: The First Adventure
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared In the Hand of the Goddess
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance Trickster's Choice
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned Tempests and Slaughter

The Great Mother Goddess is the Queen of the Gods of the main Tortallan Universe pantheon. She is a Great God and is the most powerful goddess of the pantheon. Bright Mithros, her brother, is her consort. She is worshipped widely in the Eastern and Southern Lands and even on the other side of the world, under some other alias. She is also called Mother of Mountains, Mother of Mares, and Mother of Waters. In southwestern Tortall she is also known as Wave-Walker, a goddess of the sea and of mercy[1][2].


Territorial designations

The Goddess is the patron deity of women. She is also associated with crops, weaving, spinning and the moon. She is also supreme over childbirth.

Sacred people, animals, and objects

The Great Mother became the patroness of Alanna of Trebond when the girl started to go through page training. She was still Alanna's patroness in 462 HE, and was willing to help her more than she did other mortals.

Great Mysteries

There are some aspects of womanhood considered "Great Mysteries". One of these is birth. Because of this mostly men are barred from the birth chamber, especially when the woman worships the Great Mother Goddess, which is often the case. In general it's the decision of the woman whether the child's father is allowed into the birth chamber or not[3].


The symbol of the Great Mother is the Ladymoon[4]. She is a threefold goddess and has three aspects: maiden, mother, and crone. The three aspects correspond to a woman's stages of life.

In her mother aspect, the Goddes appears as a stunningly beautiful woman, with emerald eyes, dazzlingly white skin, black hair, and full red lips. According to Alanna, who is one of her chosen, her voice sounds like the baying of hounds and the call of the huntress urging them on. It can be painful for mortals to hear.


The Goddess is worshipped throughout the Eastern Lands. She has convents dedicated to her where young noblewomen may be sent to learn "feminine arts such as embroidery. Her clergy is exclusively female. Temples of the Goddess are guarded by fierce warrior priestesses. These temples also serve as sanctuary for women fleeing from abusive men. But women may also seek refugee in the Goddess's temples in other matters of law, because no woman may be taken from a Goddess's temple unless her guilt is proven before a Goddess's court[5]. They also have their own courts which can help women in need. Eleni Cooper, mother of George Cooper, was a priestess of the Goddess in her youth and Clara Goodwin is a magistrate for the Goddess in the Lower City of Corus[6]. The priestesses wear robes in white, brown or black[7].


The head of the priesthood is called the First Daughter, and she presides over all the Great Mother temples in a country.

The temples of the Great Mother Goddess were protected by female warriors. They wore moon-stamped breastplates, back plates, arm and leg armor, and short leather skirts. In the third century of the Human Era thirty of those warriors joined the forces of the Provost's Guard under Gershom of Haryse to clear Port Caynn of corruption. Serenity was leading the warriors on that instance[8]. In the fifth century of the Human Era the women protecting the Goddess' temple in the Temple District of Corus were armed with double-headed axes to prevent men from setting foot on the ground sacred to the Goddess[9].


Marriages performed under the Goddess are much like the pagan ceremony of handfasting, which involves binding the hands of the couple together. A priestess of the Goddess, along with a priest of Mithros, performs Tortallan royal marriages.

On Beltane, which occurs on the last day of April in the Tortallan Universe, couples jump over bonfires together and ask the Goddess to bless the crops for a good harvest.

When a girl has her first period she is brought to the local temple for blessing.[10] A girl also cannot change her period with her Gift, like Alanna of Trebond wanted to when she was a young girl. Eleni Cooper said this was foolishness, and that the Goddess had willed it to be so therefore Alanna must accept it.

Gentle-Mother cult

In the mid 200s HE, a cult sprung up in Tortall for the Gentle-Mother, an aspect of the Great Mother Goddess. It was first learned about through Lionel of Trebond, who disapproved of women who did not have children or did warrior's work. It believed that women were gentle creatures who yearned for the cry of a baby. The cult believed that women had no place in battle or in the upper echelon of Tortall's politics. Most of the believers in the cult, or at least the powerful ones, were nobles, including Aeldra of Queensgrace, Dewin of Queensgrace, and Baylisa of Disart.

At some point, at around 300 HE, the Gentle-Mother cult would gain more favor in the high courts and among the royalty. This would be the ending of the female knights, female Provost's Guard members, and other women warriors.

The idea that the Goddess represents gentle femininity is not untrue, she represents that aspect. However, the Goddess represents all aspects of femininity, including the warlike aspect, or the magical aspect, etc. This was the reason that the Great Mother sought to turn around the work of the cult so that all aspects of femininity were appreciated, instead of only just the parts that the patriarchal society deemed fitting for women to have.

Involvement in the Mortal Realms

  • In the 170s HE, the Great Mother and Mithros allied together against Kyprioth, Gunapi the Sunrose, and the Jaguar Goddess, in a divine war to take the Copper Isles. They defeated them, and imprisoned the Jaguar Goddess. They allowed Kyprioth to be free, but they ordered his new designation to be the seas around the Copper Isles.
  • In the 430s HE, the Great Mother appointed Alanna of Trebond to be her warrior on earth. She wanted women to be liberated and to be able to take up arms again. She gave Alanna The Cat, a constellation, to help her.
  • In 452 HE, it was decided by the gods to punish Ozorne Tasikhe and Carthak. The Graveyard Hag carried out her plan and punishment.
  • In 462 HE, Bright Mithros and the Great Mother discovered that their defeated brother Kyprioth came out of the seas. Alianne of Pirate's Swoop vouched for him, telling them only a quarter of the tale.

Real-Life Connections

The Threefold Goddess is based on Persephone (Proserpina), Demeter (Ceres), and Hecate (Trivia) from Greek (Roman) mythology[11].


  1. List of Tortallan Gods on Pierce's webpage
  2. There are a few inconsistencies in this claim. In Bloodhound the goddess known as the Wavewalker was Oinomi Wavewalker, goddess of mercy and of the seas.
  3. Random Buzz; "Yuki and 'labor and delivery' in Tortall."; April 20, 2009
  4. Terrier, Glossary (p. 578; Random House paperback)
  5. Bloodhound, September 19, 247 I (p. 376; Random House hardcover)
  6. Terrier, April 2, 246 (p. 86; Random House paperback)
  7. Terrier, April 7, 246 (p. 246; Random House paperback)
  8. Bloodhound, September 24, 247 I (p. 464; Random House hardcover)
  9. Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 1 (p. 19; Random House paperback)
  10. Terrier, April 2, 246 (p. 72; Random House paperback)
  11. Tumblr: "Who is your goddess from mythology?

See also

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