Essek Thelyss

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Name: Essek Thelyss
Relationships: Denmother Deirta Thelyss (mother), Taskhand Verin Thelyss (brother)
Fandom: Critical Role
Other: NPC, portrayed by Matt Mercer
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Essek Thelyss is a popular NPC from Campaign 2 of Critical Role portrayed by Dungeon Master Matt Mercer. Holding a title of Shadowhand in the Kryn Dynasty, he became a liaison between The Bright Queen and The Mighty Nein.



Initially, there was a question about the spelling of Essek's name, with an alternative of Essik being used in tags and discussion. The spelling was later clarified by Matt Mercer on Twitter[1].

Fandom quickly fell in love with Essek, dubbing him Hot Boi on social media, as a result the cast has been referring to him as such outside of the game, with Nott referring to him as Hot Boi in the game as well.

Fans have been speculating from early on whether Essek can be trusted, before his true alignment has been revealed[2]. It was noted by some that Essek approached his relationship with M9 in a very transactional way, swapping favors etc.[3] Some fans don't understand his motivations at all.[4]

Remember when Essek’s biggest controversy was how to spell his name? And now we’ve got the fandom divided on whether or not he is working for a corrupt abuser or a mad god? Good times, good times.[5]

Essek's insistence on Levitating instead of walking has been interpreted by some fans as compensating for physical disability. That resulted in some portrayals of Essek in fanworks (fanfics especially, but also fanart) as having chronic pain, or being paralyzed from waist down. In Modern AUs Essek is using a wheelchair as a substitute for the Levitation spell.

Essek's primary ship is Essek/Caleb.



  • Careful Steps by Chaya - Shadowhand Essik pursues his interests in the most culturally respectful way possible.
  • Package Deal by Cardinal_Daughter - Beginning a relationship with Caleb Widogast also means forming relationships with all of the Mighty Nein, as Essik quickly learns. A series of moments in which Essik bonds with the members of Caleb’s family.
  • I am thankful to have met you by thesweetpianowritingdownmylife - Now that peace has been declared, things are finally calm in the Dynasty. With the return of the second stolen beacon, perhaps Essek can relax at last, and work on mending his relationship with his only friends. Or, Essek has a private conversation with each member of the Mighty Nein.
  • found in translation by midnightindigo - In the time Essek has been traveling with the Mighty Nein, Beauregard has maintained a cool distance, and he's willing to give her that space. What he didn't realize is that she speaks his language.
  • to thine own self by mnemememory - "You know, Lord Thane, you remind me of someone.”//Essek smiles tightly. "Oh?"//"Caleb can tell you more. Hey, Caleb, come tell Lord Thane how smart Essek is.”
  • allowed to be not okay by BexLibris - Essek has chronic pain. He's used to it. He's not used to people helping him through it.
  • And I will try to breathe, 'til it turns to muscle memory by SkyScribbles - In which Beau and Essek discuss loyalty, and Beau shares stories of a fallen friend.