Hile Troy seems to be to all intents and purposes a man from Covenant's "real world", thus poking a few substantial holes in the theory that the Land and all its inhabitants are a fevered figment of TC's imagination. He first appears on stage in The Illearth War, the second book in The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but also turns up in the Second Chronicles as well, albeit in somewhat transfigured manner - see below,
Appearance and CharacterEdit
Hile Troy is a slim black man in his mid thirties. Being born without any eyes - what is it with Donaldson and blindness? - Hile has been completely sightless all his life. To cover his deformity, he invariably wears a pair of wrap-around RayBans™. To give another take on his appearance, imagine a cross between Stevie Wonder and Geordi Laforge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Primarily due to his handicap, Hile Troy is a brilliant military strategist. This is because he is able to perfectly visualize and work through all types of tactical situations inside his own head without the distraction of any external influences. Indeed, in the "real world", we are told that Hile Troy worked for some shady Government agency closely involved with defence - though it is not made clear whether this is the CIA, DARPA, the NSA, the DoD or some even more secretive alphabet soup cadre of individuals. In any event, Hile Troy is supremely confident in his abilities - but as we all know, pride comes before a fall...
When Hile Troy mysteriously appears in the Land, the caring inhabitants who find him apply hurtloam, the magical healing loam that contains traces of Earthpower, to his blank eyesockets, which wondrously enables him to see for the very first time ever. He is quite overcome at the beauty of all he sees - and especially that of High Lord Elena, who he instantly develops a serious and ill-hidden crush on. Thus he is driven to commit himself body and soul to aiding the Lords in their war with Lord Foul. Because of his strategic genius, he is quickly appointed Warmark of the Warward, supreme commander of all the armies of the Land.
It's probably because of his unrequited hots for Elena that Hile Troy is permanently so pissed at Thomas Covenant. Y'see, Elena clearly prefers gaunt, leprous, unbelieving older white guys in an unwittingly incestuous manner - ewwww. Okay it's accidental, but it's still ewwww. Well it's that and the fact that Covenant's refusal to believe in the Land drives Hile absolutely nuts.
Transportation to The LandEdit
Unlike Covenant, who in the First Chronicles seems to require a magical summoning to the Land in order to get there, Hile Troy wakes up there at the apparent point of his own death in the "real world". He had been caught in a fire in his 5th floor apartment and had been desperately hanging onto his window-sill by his fingertips when he started to fall. Next second and he finds himself in the Land. A word of advice here - it's not a good idea to get adventurous culinarily speaking and try to flambé crepes suzette for your supper when you're blind as a stone.
It is later revealed that Atiaran Trell-mate had a significant if accidental hand in Hile Troy's appearance. She had been trying to summon Thomas Covenant to the Land again in its hour of need, but had obviously got her thaumaturgic wires seriously crossed, in that a) she unfortunately ended up with the Stevie Wonder look-alike materialising before her in a puff of eldritch smoke and b) she rather more unfortunately burned to death in a sorcerous short circuit as the summoning reached its climax - or possibly because she summoned the fire in Hile Troy's apartment along with him. Note to self - these puissant magicks are tricky stuff.
Role in the First ChroniclesEdit
As has been noted above, Hile Troy has immense confidence in his tactical genius and it is his plan to defeat Lord Foul's armies once and for all that is enacted, even though he keeps the details of such entirely to himself. Unfortunately, his strategy turns out in the end to be fatally flawed, compelling him and the remnants of the decimated Warward to head towards Doom's Retreat in a horrifically grueling forced march. Even more of the army's members die like flies in this last quite desperate throw of the dice and things look utterly hopeless.
Not to fear, though. Just when all seems lost, Hile Troy bumps into Caerroil Wildwood, the Forestal of Garroting Deep and in pure desperation agrees to pay any price that the cross between arcane tree elemental and murderously grumpy old man chooses to name in return for his aid. Once this bargain has been sealed, Hile Troy leads the ragtag remnants of his once proud army, all of whom are by now near dead on their feet, into the trees of Garroting Deep, whereupon the entirety of Lord Foul's forces pour on after them with ill-suppressed evil glee, led by moksha Raver - aka Jehannum aka Fleshharrower - one of the Despiser's three malign incorporeal deputies.
It is unknown exactly what transpires within the mystic arboretum, but suffice it to say that the good guys make it out unscathed, whereas Lord Foul's army is utterly destroyed by the trees that have been roused to killing anger. Special treatment is reserved by Caerroil Wildwood for moksha Raver, whom he delightedly hangs from his gibbet on Gallows Howe.
Only then do we discover the price to be exacted by the Forestal. He requires Hile Troy's life... well, ok not exactly. Wildwood decides to appoint Hile Troy as a Forestal, but to give him a general apprenticeship in understanding landscape gardening and other matters horticultural, Hile Troy is first turned into a tree-stump for a few millennia. Sounds incredibly boring for Hile, but that'll teach him to make ill-thought through bargains with angry old men of mighty theurgical puissance.