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Podo Helmer (POE-doe[1]), descendant of Edd and Yamsa Helmer, father of Nia Helmer Wingfeather and grandfather of Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli Wingfeather, was a pirate and renowned dragoneer late in the Fourth Epoch before settling down in the Green Hollows and marrying Wendolyn Igiby.


Early Life

Podo was born in Glipwood Township, Skree, and grew up in a cottage built by his father Edd Helmer.

When he was a teenager, Podo was fishing redgill in the River Blapp east of Dugtown when he was stopped by Growlfist the Strander King. Growlfist was about to punish Podo for fishing in his river when Podo revealed that he had stolen Growlfist's pone. Though Growlfist promptly punched Podo and took his pone back, Podo had earned the respect of the Stranders and the right to become one of them.[2]

While a strander, Podo was sent by Growlfist to Bylome Falls to fell some wood out of which Growlfist made a treasure box. A rumor was spread by a drunken strander that this treasure box was bottomless. A man named Wyle heard of this rumor and kidnapped Podo, forcing him to show where he got the wood. Podo escaped through one of Wyle's magic cupboards, which led to the Jungles of Plontst.[3]

During his time on the Strand, Podo courted the Strander woman Nurgabog. Their relationship ended around 4/396 when Podo left the Strand.[4]

Pre-Great War

After leaving the Strand, Podo became a dragoneer. His last and most famous voyage as a dragoneer was when he took command of the Gilded Whilly. He convinced Captain Whilly and his crew that he could kill four sea dragons in a single day. Podo led the Gilded Whilly to the Sunken Mountains while the dangerous adult dragons were away in Glipwood. The dragoneers succeeded in capturing four juvenile dragons before Podo injured—but did not kill—a fifth. After that, they were charged by a half-grown female dragon. The dragoneers managed to kill it, but lost the Gilded Whilly, the four captured dragons, and Podo's left leg. Afterward, Podo made himself a stump to replace is leg.[5]

After the fateful voyage of the Gilded Whilly, Podo became a pirate.

Eventually, Podo made his way to Ban Rona, Green Hollows, where he fell in love with Nurgabog. He began to court her after receiving permission from her father, who was a fabric and wicker merchant. Podo gave up pirating and found a job chopping glipper fish. While courting Zola May, Podo met the Rubleshaw's servant, Wendolyn Igiby. As he continued his courtship, Podo began to like Wendolyn more and Zola May less. Finally, he left Zola May and attempted to court Wendolyn.

Wendolyn's father, Kargan Igiby, did not approve of his daughter courting an outsider like Podo, and made sure Podo was beaten any time he came near Wendolyn. After a year, Podo realized that the only way to win Kargan's respect was to compete in the Bannick Durga. In the Bannick Durga, Podo failed the first two events. In the third event, he found MacDullogh's boot first, but when he reached the Field of Finley with it, he was beaten out of consciousness and the boot was taken from him. However, his efforts earned him the respect and friendship of Kargan Igiby. With Kargan's permission, Podo married Wendolyn.[6]

Years later, Esben Wingfeather, High King of Anniera, married Podo and Wendolyn's daughter Nia. Podo and Wendolyn moved to the Shining Isle to live with the royal couple.

Great War

When Gnag the Nameless's army invaded Anniera, Podo escaped with Nia and her children and sailed to the Skree, where they moved into the cottage in which Podo had grown up in.

Post-Great War

Podo lived peacefully in the Igiby Cottage with Nia, Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli for nine years. Podo worked the land to support his family.

Shortly preceding the start of the Wingfeather War, on the day after the Dragon Day Festival, Podo went with Janner and Tink to town. While the children helped Oskar N. Reteep unload a shipment of books at his bookstore, Podo visited Shaggy's tavern. Satisfied that his grandkids were safe, Podo went back home before they were done in order to return a shovel to the Fangs.[7]

Wingfeather War

On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Three days after Dragon Day, the Igiby children returned to the bookstore, and Podo once again escorted them as far as Shaggy's tavern. After he had had a drink, he returned to the cottage, promising to come back to bring his grandchildren home before dark. While he was back home hoeing the garden, Janner and Tink came running home to tell him that Leeli had been kidnapped by Slarb the Fang, who was taking her into Glipwood Forest. Podo mounted Danny the carthorse and chased down Slarb. Podo never found Slarb, but after being attacked by a cave blat and a quill diggle, he found Leeli with Peet the Sockman in Peet's treehouse. Podo took Leeli safely home without further incident.

A few days later, Podo met with Peet. He told Peet to stay away from his grandchildren and hit him in the lip.

That same day, the Fangs ransacked the Igiby homestead. Podo attempted to resist, but was overcome by Fangs, who rendered him unconscious and bound him. Podo and his family were taken to the Glipwood Jail until the Black Carriage arrived. While in the jail cell, Tink managed to escape his bonds. He then freed Podo and the rest of the family. When they were taken out to be put in the Black Carriage, Podo grabbed Commander Gnorm's dagger and prepared to fight the Fangs while Nia, Janner, Tink, and Leeli fled. However, one of the Fangs clubbed Podo from behind. The family was quickly subdued again. However, as the Igibys entered the Carriage, Peet came running to their rescue. He incapacitated five Fangs before the rest could even think to do something. Podo and Peet fought and beat all sixteen of the Fangs that were stationed at the Glipwood Jail. Janner assisted in slaying Commander Gnorm. After the fight, Oskar N. Reteep ushered the Igibys into his bookstore to decide what to do next. After assuring the citizens that they would figure something out, Podo decided that the only safe place for the Jewels of Anniera was the Ice Prairies. He told the Glipfolk that they could either burn with the town or flee, then headed back to the cottage with Janner and Tink to gather some supplies. After a brief encounter with Slarb the Fang, Podo and the boys returned to town, only to find that the Fangs had already arrived. They rescued Nia and Leeli, who had been captured, and escaped to Anklejelly Manor, where they made a last stand in a hidden weapons chamber in the cellar of the manor. Podo started a fire outside the chamber, attracting the creatures of Glipwood Forest, who devoured the Fang army. However, Podo received a mortal wound from a Fang while starting the fire. He was dying, but in the morning after the Fangs had been destroyed and the forest creatures had left, Peet the Sockman gave Podo a drop from the Water from the First Well, which healed him. The Wingfeathers then traveled to Peet's treehouse, where they stayed until they began their journey to the Ice Prairies.[7]

North! Or Be Eaten

When the Fang army found Peet's treehouse, Podo, his family, and Oskar N. Reteep were forced to keep moving on their way to the Ice Prairies.[8] They were pursued through Glipwood forest to the River Blapp. Podo and the Igibys crossed the river at Miller's Bridge, previously believed to be nonexistent. The bridge collapsed after the Igibys crossed, separating them from the Fang army.[9]

Podo led his family and Oskar west along the river, until they came to the Strand.[10] The Stranders did not like the strangers and planned to drown them in the river. Podo attempted to pacify them by telling them how he met Growlfist and by swiping various Stranders' trinkets. The leader of the Stranders, Claxton Weaver, was not satisfied, however, and proceeded with his plans to dump the Igibys into the river. Before this could be done, however, Kalmar Wingfeather stole Claxton's pone and knocked him out, dethroning Claxton as ruler of the Stranders of the East Bend.[11] The Wingfeathersig were then allowed to continue on in peace.

The Igibys and Oskar travelled to Dugtown. In Dugtown, Podo and Oskar arranged for Migg Landers to lead them to the Ice Prairies. Landers betrayed them, however, and brought the Fangs to them. Podo, Oskar, Nia, and Leeli managed to escap, but were separated from Janner and Kalmar. After waiting for them in the Strander burrow for several days, Podo led the rest of the group to the Ice Prairies, trusting that Janner and Kalmar would soon follow.

After being reunited with Janner in Kimera, the Wingfeathers were seemingly betrayed by the Kimerans, who were supposedly handing them off to the Fangs. However, their betrayal turned out to be a trap for the Fangs. When the Fangs arrived to collect the Wingfeathers, instead of handing them over, the Kimerans launched a surprise attack.

The Monster in the Hollows

The Wingfeathers were released and sent to a waiting ship bound for the Green Hollows. Upon reaching the open sea, the ship was confronted by Yurgen and the sea dragons, who wanted to kill Podo for killing their young during his days as a dragoneer.[12] Because Artham Wingfeather identified the children as the royalty of Anniera, the dragons allowed the ship to pass, but would not let Podo go until Leeli pacified them by playing Yurgen's Tune from the First Book.[13]

The Warden and the Wolf King

In 4/452, during the battle for Ban Rona, Podo entered the shallows of the Ban Rona harbor in an attempt to summon the dragons and obtain their aid. Though he was ultimately successful, Yurgen swallowed him, Podo Died. [14]

Personality and Traits

Podo Helmer is described as having long, white hair and a wooden peg-leg. Before he lost his leg, he was known for his muscular legs.legs.

Podo was known to be adventurous and strong-willed, especially in his younger days, when he sought adventure on as a Strander, and later as a pirate and a dragoneer.

Though he mellowed with age and quit running when he met Wendolyn Igiby, Podo remained fiercely stubborn and protective to the end of his days. There are numerous points in the saga where Peterson points out that it takes several men to subdue him. It also took him much longer than the rest of his family to trust Peet the Sockman.

Podo was always willing to fight for his family, but, as shown by his attitude towards Yurgen's judgement at the end of North! Or Be Eaten, he was also willing to sacrifice himself to ensure the safety of his loved ones.

He is described as having a sweet spot for his granddaughter. His grandchildren think very fondly of his storytelling, and he never hesitates to talk to them.


  2. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 23: "Growlfist the Strander King"
  3. Wingfeather Tales: "Willow Worlds"
  4. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 25: "Tackleball in the Fog"
  5. Wingfeather Tales: "From the Deeps of the Dragon King"
  6. The Monster in the Hollows, Chapter 16: "Podo Helmer Falls in Love"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Peterson, Andrew. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
  8. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 5: "A Traitor in the Trees"
  9. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 14: "The Last Tower"
  10. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 22: "The Stranders of the East Bend"
  11. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 24: "Quick Hands and Quicker Feet"
  12. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 62: "Ancient Anger"
  13. North! Or Be Eaten, Chapter 64: "And the Sea Turned Red"
  14. The Warden and the Wolf King, Chapter 79: "The Dark Alliance"

Residence Timeline