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Zaoz Mervarma Tlara

Zaoz Mervarma Tlara translated means "a full brain explodes". It's a folk saying that comes from a story that Garruw will tell those who get a little too full of themselves.   It's a little bit like "your face will stick that way" except this one isn't "stop making that face" and more "if you get too full of your own importance and intelligence, bad things will happen."


There are about a million different ways to tell the story, but the basic layout is as follows.

Standard characters

  The Apostate: person whose head explodes (usually shown as enough of a jerk that you want to see them explode). Always arrogant.   The Acolyte: slightly naive underling who is waffling over whether or not to follow the Apostate   The Teacher: the wise elder who is training both the Acolyte and the Apostate in whatever discipline is related to the Project.  

The Setting

  Somewhere relatively remote, like a mountaintop, or a science lab, or a sentient storm cloud thick enough you can stand on it.  

The Project

  Usually chemistry, sometimes physics. Meteorology is a fun variation. It can also be a handicraft in rare occasions.  

The Knowledge

  Whatever skill it is that is necessary to do the Project, or else know that it is not possible.  

The Story

  The Apostate is a disruptive fool, attempting to persuade the Acolyte to try something dangerous. The Teacher tries to talk them out of it, can't, and decides to take both students out to the Setting. There, the Apostate continues their belligerence, and sets up to complete whatever the Project is, while the Teacher prepares whatever the correct way is to do it.   The Apostate sets off the Project, and somehow it goes perfectly and works. This is a fun point for little children, because retellings will usually make it simple enough that they know that things shouldn't work this way and they'll call it out, often quite loudly. The Teacher also uses their own method, which also works. The Acolyte watches both, and sides with the Teacher because they achieved their task and did it without being loud and rude.   As they watch, the Apostate's experiment begins leaking Knowledge, which metaphorically might be energy or poison or else something toxic, but can be presented as literal intelligence. The Apostate refuses to correct things, and then their head explodes.

Historical Basis

There is absolutely no evidence that a Garruw's head has exploded from knowing too much about something. It is probable that the story started when some fool attempted an experiment that ended in explosion, and it was probably their whole body, not just the head, and started as a cautionary tale to not attempt dangerous science.   Then a parent trying to talk their child out of doing something stupid modified the tale to have a more directed focus against foolish behavior. Now it's something that all parents tell their children at some point or another, and that adults will tell to each other to get a laugh.


This is one of the most commonly known old wives tales. There are many variations, such as the names of the people involved, or where, or what caused the explosion. It's been retold so many times that most people are a little sick of seeing it pop up in literature.

In Literature

The phrase "zaoz mervarma tlara" shows up as a common cliche in written works. Characters will say it when warning someone else not to be arrogant about something.
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