Grizzly Bear

General Info

Species: Grizzly Bear
Gender: Female


Son-Unknown bear cub killed by cougars
Son-Unknown bear cub killed by another grizzly bear
Faolan- Adoptive Son


Fur- Brown
Eyes- Brown


Various dens around the beyond


Lone Wolf

Current and Previous Status

Current: Deceased; in Ursulana
Past: Adoptive mother of Faolan


Deceased; crushed by a boulder



"I seek death, and it seeks life." - Lone Wolf, page 19

Thunderheart (first known as "The Milk Giver" then sometimes known as "The Second Milk Giver" by Faolan) 'Thunderheart' was the name Faolan named her, so her real name is unknown. She was a female Grizzly Bear who rescued and raised Faolan after her last cub was killed by cougars.  She found him on an ice floe, when she was trying to drown herself. To Faolan, she became known as Thunderheart because of her large, booming heart that he was able to hear while nursing. She died in an earthquake while looking for Faolan.

While her true name does not appear, Thunderheart is constantly mentioned by her adopted son, Faolan.


Thunderheart is a massive female grizzly bear, with silver tips on her brown fur due to age. Like other grizzlies, she had a large hump on her back, where her adopted son, Faolan, would often climb aboard. She also had rich, gleaming, brown eyes, so shiny you could see your reflection in them, and on bright days they were described as being "tawny gold."


Faolan - Foster son

Unknown Cub - Killed by male bear

Unnamed Cub - Taken and killed by a cougar

other cubs - grown up, died


Lone Wolf

The ice melts, and makes an abandoned pup, a malcadh because of his splayed paw, open his eyes and ears. He struggles to grip the ice. At that moment, a female grizzly appears on the bank, full of grief. Her cub was killed by cougars when she looked to see if the river would flood. As she pleads with Great Ursus, the bear spirit, she asks that her life be ripped from her, and the river swallow her, although the water is too shallow for her to drown. Just at that moment, the pup snagged her paw, and she thought it was some river debris. The grizzly tries to shake it off, but it won't come off, so then she picks it up. The sun rose, and shined into the pup's eyes. She thought, "I seek death, and it seeks life". The she-bear thinks it's a sign from Great Ursus. She names the pup, Faolan, Fao meaning both river and wolf, and Lan meaning gift. She brings him back to her den, where he lives and drinks her milk.

Faolan hears the heartbeat of the grizzly, which is louder and more frightening than his fir

st Milk Giver's. He calls her Thunderheart for her booming heartbeat. Thunderheart doesn't know anything about wolves, so she teaches him the ways of the bears, such as fishing and walking on his hind legs.


Thunderheart and Faolan

One day, Faolan tries to dig for onions using his "good" paw. Thunderheart tells him to use the splayed one. Faolan keeps on whining, saying his favorite word, "no", over and over. Thunderheart corrects him by slapping him. Faolan does what he is told, without speaking a word, and digs out many onions.

Later on, Thunderheart is teaching Faolan to fish. She kills a trout, and drops it near her step-son. Faolan lays on his stomach in a submissive position, whining and not touching the fish. Thunderheart takes a bite of the tail and gives the rest to him. He eats it up, acting like a true wolf. The pair pass a mother and her two cubs. The cubs laugh at Faolan, making their mother nervous. At first, he hides behind his second milk giver's leg, but comes out and stands up for himself, as if an invisible wolf pack were surrounding him, and scares the bears away.

When winter is near, Faolan follows Thunderheart to find a winter den. The twosome find the winter den and settle down. A waterfall was nearby. Thunderheart tells Faolan that she'll sleep for a long time, called the Long Sleep, for the whole winter. She gives him permission to go out, hunt, and play. Sometimes, Thunderheart would wake up and Faolan had left food for her. Near spring, she wakes up, and her wolf pup is not there. Forgetting she gave him permission to go out the den, she panics and begins to look for him.

During this time, an earthquake struck. While the she-bear was out, a boulder from a nearby hill rolls down, crushing her spine and killing her. Faolan returns to the den and finds Thunderheart gone. He travels to the Outermost, think she went there. He thought that if he killed a cougar to avenge her cub she would come back.

He finds her when he returns to the Beyond and is shaken with grief at the sight of her skeleton. He howls in sorrow and pain and grabs the attention of Gwynneth, a rogue Masked owl smith.

Thunderheart is mentioned at the end of Lone Wolf when Faolan returns to the MacDuncun Clan.

Shadow Wolf

Faolan remembers during the gaddergnaw the paw bone he carved for Thunderheart, knowing that she would keep them safe.

Faolan carves the story of his life with Thunderheart on his story bones for the gaddergnaw. After Faolan wins the gaddergnaw, Heep seeks Thunderheart's paw bone to get even with Faolan. He is stopped by Gwynneth and is chased from the Beyond to the Outermost by Faolan.

Creakle also says that he and the other gnaw wolves of the gaddergnaw, excluding Heep, would have loved to meet Thunderheart.

Watch Wolf

After Faolan finds his tummfraw he drags Thunderheart's massive femur from where she had died to where she first found him and became his second Milk Giver. At the end of the book, her lochin is spotted leading Morag to the Cave of Souls.

"When he had first came upon her huge skull a few moons after her death, it loomed immense and pure white in the moonlight. But now, after two years, new life had taken root in it. Mosses and lichen crept over the cranium and down her long muzzle."

Spirit Wolf

When Faolan and his friends were crossing the Crystal Plain. A plain were in the daylight the snow is so bright it blinds wolves. They then had to cross it at night. During their traveling the friends see lost souls, and Faolan saw Thunderheart in the lochins/ Scrooms.


When Thunderheart awoke early from hibernation, she was very groggy and had forgotten she had given Faolan permission to go outside to hunt and play. Thinking he was lost, she ran out of the den in panic to find him.

It was during this time that an earthquake erupted, and a boulder falls down a hill and kills Thunderheart by breaking her spine. Morag, Faolan's birth mother, is the one who found her dead body and kept it safe from hungry ravens, as she smelled Faolan on her fur, and instantly knew Thunderheart had nursed Faolan and allowed him to live.



Thunderheart had beautiful brown eyes.

Thunderheart was a very good mother, often wondering if her child, Faolan, was eating enough. She was very concerned about the Long Cold and how Faolan would be during the winter.

Thunderheart could get very annoyed and angry, and cared about what happened to herself and her cubs. Much like all mother grizzlies, Thunderheart would attack if she felt that her cubs or herself were being attacked or threatened. She often used a bear curse word that she gave Faolan the habit of saying.


  • Some people mistake her as "ThunderHeart".
  • Her real name is unknown. Faolan named her Thunderheart for her large, beating heart, that sounded like thunder when he first began to nurse from her. At first it made him uncomfortable, but he learned to love her thunderous heart. She may have not had a real name or had the name Thunderheart before.
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