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Rhys Rhysson is the current Low King of the dwarfs. He comes from a small coal-mining clan in Llamedos, who won his election because his clan was too unimportant for the others to hate. The more obvious candidates ruled each other out as so many would have voted against them. Coming from Llamedos, his is a softly-spoken clan. The double L sounds hinting at the Discworld equivalent of Welsh in the spoken language. It must be remembered that for dwarfs who live underground, the deeper the better, low is better than high so a low king is as high as one can get. He is described as being short even for a dwarf, but he has a large presence and commands the respect of Sam Vimes for being a hard-working king who cares deeply enough about his people to avoid wars even at the risk of costing him his own kingship. Coming from Vimes, whose respect is legendarily in short supply, especially for kings, this is fine praise indeed.

He is instrumental in leading the Dwarfs in major shifts in their thinking. With two handshakes, in The Fifth Elephant he declared dwarven femininity to have the royal seal of approval, and trolls to be possible friends. Both of these things should naturally have destroyed the unity of all dwarfs as gender is unspeakable - and certainly unshowable! It is strongly implied that Rhys is, in fact, female him or herself - when he/she mentions to Cheery Littlebottom that there may well be further custom for her dressmaker from the King him-her-self.

In Thud!, Rhys and Mr Shine, the Diamond King of the Trolls, agree to a truce by which most of the heads of the major dwarfish and trollish clans abide, working toward the day when hostilities between the two races end. The truce is - at least in part - based on the newly-discovered translation of the Things that Tak wrote.

She finally "comes out" in Raising Steam, announcing that she is not only female, but pregnant and that she will rule henceforth as Queen Blodwen, taking the name of the Dwarf bride killed at her wedding by the Deep Downer Dwarfs, even though Dwarfs traditionally don't have sex-appropriate names.

The Low Queen of the Dwarfs takes her names from "Blodwen" which is the first opera in the Welsh (Llamedos) language and the name of the main character. In the opera the real father of Blowdwen is Rhys Gwyn. Therefore both the male and female names of the Low King/Queen seem to refer to the opera.


The Fifth Elephant


Raising Steam