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Characters: Circle of Magic
Here be unmarked spoilers.

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    The Circle 

Sandrilene (Sandry) fa Toren

A young noblewoman, and the great-niece of Duke Vedris. Sandry's lineage makes her nearly royalty, but she prefers not to show off her noble status unless necessary. She is a "stitch-witch", having ambient magic with thread. After her parents died in a plague, her nurse hid her underground in a cellar, until she was discovered by Niko and brought to Winding Circle.
  • Bad Dreams: She sometimes has nightmares related to the plague that killed her parents and the events in the books themselves.
  • Badass Boast: After another girl says that if Daja is a lady, then she is a cat:
    "I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Weelwright- a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you"-carefully she poured milk into Esmelle's plate- "you had best start lapping, kitty."
  • Badass Teacher: "I tore three people to pieces to save the life of my student."
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Sandry, the most dutiful and altruistic of the four, gets a scolding from her uncle, the Duke, at the start of The Will of the Empress. He guilt-trips her because she doesn't immediately start reading reports from her cousin in Namorn. Bear in mind that she always reads the reports - she's just a little slower to do so than she is to attend to matters in Emelan, and she has taken over most of Vedris' workload at this point to boot.
    • She also gets sternly told off whenever she's less than sweet or starts (very much against her will) crying during an argument. Sometimes by Tris, of all people.
  • Don't Call Me Sir: Insists upon people calling her just "Sandry" instead of "Lady Sandrilene fa Toren" or even "Lady Sandrilene" unless there's a specific reason for being formal.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Threads. How lame… wait a minute. What's made of thread? Clothes… upholstery… blankets… bandages… saddles and boots are held together by thread… and she can control all of this… and make it all come undone if she wants… or move… or unweave itself and reweave itself in whatever shape she wants… including trussing you up like a turkey… And it can extend to treating other things as thread: light, magic itself, human skin… Okay; not lame! Not lame!
    • When her uncle was having a heart attack, his guards tried to keep her from getting to him. It took hours to cut them out of the thread cocoons she created around them, since the damned things kept trying to reweave themselves, and after that the Duke's Guard knew better than to argue when Sandry was in a mood.
    • There's also a passing mention of her using her power to "stitch" the Duke's soul to his body and keep him alive until the healers could get to him.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: How Sandry has to operate in Magic Steps to weave a net of unmagic.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: 'My name is Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his Countess Amiliane fa Landreg. I am great-niece to His Grace Duke Vedris IV of Emelan, and cousin to Her Imperial Highness Empress Berenene of Namorn…'
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Before she came to Winding Circle. The children of commoners didn't want to play with a noble girl, and the nobles she met thought their children would get strange ideas from her, leaving Sandry to make friends with anyone who she could (slowly) win over.
  • Nice Girl
  • Nobles Who Actually Do Something: She had a front row seat and was a key participator battling various perils that befell Summersea including the earthquake, pirate attack, forest fire, and epidemic.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Her railing at Tris for the way she saved the caravan in Empress. It's supposed to show how much they've drifted apart, but it's strange for a person who was always described as kind and sympathetic—to the point where Briar thought of her as "too understanding"—to a) be mad at Tris for acting as she did in a situation where there was obviously no time for niceties and b) not notice that Tris is woozy even though all of them have had personal experience with the effects of using big magic.
  • Parental Abandonment: Via smallpox epidemic.
  • Proper Lady: Most of the time. She's much more noble than her friends by birth and can play the part quite well, but she prefers to be somewhat informal.
  • Shipper on Deck: Encourages a romance between Duke Vedris and Yazmín Hebet in Magic Steps.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: A rather literal instance. Sandry is friendly, polite, and would like nothing better than to talk to you about fashion and textile work for hours. But threaten her or hers, and she'll do everything in her considerable ability to stop you.
  • Spirited Young Lady: She has status, an elegant bearing, and no hesitation about going into danger if there's a good reason.
  • Spoiled Sweet: She was raised by a pair of Idle Rich parents for her first ten years and wanted for nothing (except friends) until the smallpox that killed them, but she's a very kindhearted person.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Sandry get this fairly often from people in universe through a combination of being a noble, a girl, and having thread magic. She has very little patience for that attitude and isn't shy about telling people to get bent when they try to tell her so. If they try to push it, it doesn't end well. A fair amount of those who tried end up cocooned in their own clothes.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Daja's Tomboy.
  • Town Girls: The Femme to Daja's Butch and Tris's Neither.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She ends up having to do some fairly nasty things as a teenager, and grows up a lot.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Afraid of the dark thanks to the aftermath of said smallpox epidemic (she was locked away in a small room so she wouldn't catch the smallpox or be killed by the riot, but the woman who locked her away was killed, and her light source ran out, leaving her with nothing to do but try to make light from thread).

Trisana (Tris) Chandler

The daughter of a merchant family, known for her temper. Tris' powers caused the weather to change around her and brought distant voices to her on the wind, but when she was tested for magic, none was detected. Believing her to be possessed, she was shifted around from family member to family member until Niko met her and brought her to Winding Circle. Tris' ambient power is with weather, particularly lightning, and also extending to geothermal events like earthquakes and volcanoes.

  • Author Avatar: Pierce isn't afraid to admit this herself. May possibly be why she's so hard on poor Tris…
  • Badass Bookworm: She loves libraries and learning new things.
  • Bad Dreams: After becoming aware that she accidentally drowned several ships full of innocent slaves, she dreamt about the incident repeatedly, in graphic detail.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: She could cause enormous amounts of damage (and has-she took out part of a pirate fleet by herself) with her powers, but she refuses to use them for bad purposes.
  • Black Mage: And she hates it. She's been offered jobs by multiple rulers, but while they may start off as simple positions as a weather mage, they always eventually come down to 'kill people with lightning for me'. She wants to learn magical healing, but her control is nowhere near fine enough for the job.
  • Blessed with Suck: Being quite possibly one of the most powerful mages in the world has its downsides, to say the least. She can't make a living with her powers unless she wants to be a battlemage or cause weather disasters in other places, which she emphatically does not. The reputation about her abilities makes other mages view her as either a braggart, a liar, and/or terrifying rather than a potential friend. Once she learns wind scrying, the previous problem magnifies tenfold, plus she now gets migraines until she learns how to block out the images. Oh, and because her magic works with incredibly powerful forces of nature, overusing it just a little leaves her Asleep for Days at best.
  • Blow You Away: She has some control over the wind.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: She frequently notes that she had to learn iron-hard control and a sense of responsibility faster than her foster-siblings because her powers are so potentially destructive and, after killing numerous slaves in the process of sinking a pirate fleet, she refuses to hurt anyone but her intended targets. She also refuses to alter weather for anything other than minor purposes or correcting what other mages have done because weather moves in a complex, interconnected pattern and it will ruin someone's day eventually.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Heavy on the deadpan, also on the snarking. You could even consider her at The Snark Knight status.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Particularly in Will of the Empress. When Daja—now rich—offers her a place in her house, Tris immediately declares that she'll be a maid rather than live on Daja's charity.
  • Fiery Redhead: Lightning redhead, once she starts using her hair as her mage-kit.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Why she helps save Little Bear the dog. She also adopts a starling named Shriek and immediately lays claim to Chime. Better with animals than people, though.
  • Friend to All Children: She is pretty good with kids, often treating them with thoughtfulness. She also doesn't approve of dumbing things down when talking to them. The mistreatment she endured from her relatives makes her determined to treat other kids better.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Even Lampshaded by her student. While Tris has a good heart, she is generally difficult to get along with. In Briar's Book, while stressed over Briar's quarantine, she has an outburst where she derides Briar for hanging out with street kids. Not only was that part of required charity work for the temple, but Briar grew up in the slums and those were his other friends. She also offends Lark, who was homeless for a while.
    • Also, she tends to be very snappish. Partly Justified by the way she was treated by her family.
  • Gray Eyes: Possibly to match her weather magic.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: At the beginning of Empress, Tris wants to study at Lightsbridge, be a normal mage, do normal mage things. It makes a good deal of sense for her; unlike her friends, she can't do "everyday" things like simple protective charms, because her natural magic works on such a grand scale.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: She is first and foremost a mage and scholar, but Briar and Daja taught her a number of useful fighting techniques.
  • Neat Freak: After being used as a free maid by several of her relatives, Tris takes great pride in her cleaning abilities and can't abide a messy space. She has a habit of pitching in to help the staff of whatever household she's a guest in.
  • Parental Abandonment: Gave her up because they were afraid of her, as did just about every other member of her family.
  • Power Incontinence: Oh, so very much. She wears her hair short in Daja's and Briar's books because after her own she started breeding baby thunderstorms in her hair whenever she got upset.
  • Quirky Curls: Lightning tends to accumulate in them. Eventually she takes advantage of this and uses a complicated pattern of braids to store her magic.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: Tris has curly red hair (her friend Briar calls her "Coppercurls"), gray eyes, and wears spectacles. She believes herself to be fat and is called "Fatty" a few times by some of the series' crueler characters. Before she learned control over her magic, strange things would happen when she got angry or emotional, such as causing it to hail indoors or to strike lightning nearby.
  • Shock and Awe: Her weather magic allows her to attract, create, and control lightning.
  • Superpower Lottery: She seems to have a measure of power in every force of nature, from weather to geology. This is due to her ability to control energy that comes in currents or waves: tides in water, electrical currents, seismic movements, convection currents and air currents.
  • Town Girls: The Neither to Sandry's Femme and Daja's Butch.
  • Tsundere: Tris is a rather mild case.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: When Keth asks why she doesn't return to the Chandlers, Tris says that her accreditation is the only reason they'd want her back, and she has no fond memories of them.

Daja Kisubo

A young Trader (a heavily ostracized merchant race). Daja's family ship sank, leaving her the only survivor. As a result, she was declared unlucky by all other Traders, and became an outcast. Niko took her to Winding Circle Temple, where she quickly became friends with Sandry. Daja is an ambient smith-mage, which also grants her immunity to fire.

  • Action Girl
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Traders are an outcast race who keep to themselves. Many believe that they steal from others and kill others for their own profit. When Daja first comes to Winding Circle, the other children frequently attack her because of this prejudice.
  • Badass: She held off a firestorm, alone, to save a Trader caravan full of people who detested her.
  • Butch Lesbian: As revealed in ''The Will of the Empress"'.
  • The Blacksmith: She has power over metal and makes a tidy living for herself at it.
  • Carry a Big Stick: She carries her Trader staff wherever she goes. And she knows how to use it.
  • Companion Cube: The suraku (survival box) from her ship, which she calls to her by the metal in it and becomes attached to before her rescue. She later turns it into her mage kit.
  • Doom Magnet: Because she was the only survivor of her family's shipwreck, the Traders diagnose her as this and cast her out accordingly.
  • Green Rocks: The living metal of her hand is very useful for magical workings, although it does have limitations. It grows slowly, apparently using minerals from her body.
  • God Guise: Unintentionally. In Cold Fire, Ben Ladradun's POV of her initially has him thinking she's some sort of goddess.
  • Going Native: Averted. Daja hasn't lived with Traders since Third Ship Kisubo sank, but she refuses to set aside her culture.
  • Honor Before Reason: When dealing with the Trader Polyam, who is at the bottom of her caravan's pecking order. Daja bends over backwards to make sure their deal increases Polyam's stock with them, to Polyam's bewilderment.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Cold Fire after she learns that Ben, the man she made fireproof gloves for, is the arsonist.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: She designs a pair of fireproof gloves for a firefighter who has no magic of any sort to protect him. All well and good, except that he's actually an arsonist and she just handed him a tool that lets him kill dozens of people. To be fair, she's horrified when she finds out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Died in a shipwreck.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Fire/heat resistance, some resistance to smoke in the air, though too much still makes her sick.
  • Simple Staff: She carries one around. Traders carve/attach designs to the caps on the staves so they tell the holder's story, and show where the holder lives/is from.
  • Sole Survivor: Her backstory.
  • So Happy Together: She hooks up with Rizu, her first love, and they spend a summer in perfect bliss… until Sandry gets abducted and freed, and the Circle decides to go home. Rizu picks the Empress, who did her many kindnesses, over Daja; Daja refuses to pick the Empress, even for Rizu. Neither takes it well.
  • The Stoic
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Sandry's Girly Girl.
  • Town Girls: The Butch to Sandry's Femme and Tris's Neither.
  • Unperson: Declared such by her entire race. Other Traders pretend she isn't there and will only speak to her through another, with the hypothetical assumption that there is a trangshi in the room.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Daja was keenly interested in smithing from a young age. Her family was always quick to remind her (sometimes physically) that a Trader can never be lugsha.note 

Briar Moss

Beginning his life as a street-rat named Roach, this young man was caught stealing three times, which meant he was sentenced to a hard life working on the docks. Niko found him being sentenced, and seeing the ambient magic in him, decided to take him to Winding Circle; because he needed a new name, and liked plants, he chose the name Briar Moss. Briar's power, naturally, is with plants.

  • Ambiguously Brown: Briar is described as darker-skinned. From his description, he probably meant to be of Asian or Mediterranean descent.
  • Animated Tattoo: To hide the two X tattoos that means he's been arrested twice, he decided to tattoo vines over them with vegetable dyes. His magic over plants plus the fact that he used the needles from Sandry's sewing basket, which also doubles as her mage kit, turned the vines into living ones that move around his hands.
  • The Artful Dodger: Was a street thief under the leadership of an older boy before his discovery.
  • Badass: Green magic is surprisingly dangerous. For other people. Briar is also probably the most skilled of the four in a plain fight, though it's a close race with Daja.
  • Bad Dreams: From Empress onward. It's implied (though not outright stated) that he's suffering from PTSD.
    • Also after he goes through Lady Zenadia's house and finds all the corpses of everyone she had murdered and thrown into the ground, without even a funeral. He's perplexed by these dreams, because he didn't kill any of them, and he never dreams about the mute, who he did kill.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Evvy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Fast-growing thornbushes? Check. Creeping vines for restraints? Check. Poison? Check. Knives? Check, check, check, check… In Street Magic, he realizes one attacker has hay fever and incapacitates her with blooming roses.
  • Criminal: How Niko found him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Against Lady Zenadia's mute assassin.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Debt Detester: The first book mentions him as being one.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: His double X's meant he got caught twice. Trying to hide them up gave him a new kind of embarrassing tattoo: living vines.
  • Friend to All Living Things: With plants instead of animals.
  • Green Eyes: Matching his plant magic.
  • Green Thumb: This is the foundation of his magic; in prison he unknowingly uses his power to tend a patch of moss.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Briar's moral system clearly revolves around gang mentality rather than society as a whole, leaving him ill at ease with authority and law but devoted and honorable to those he considers his mates.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's had the roughest upbringing of the four of them and snarks at them frequently, but he's a good friend and hates seeing people abused as much as they do.
  • Knife Nut: His weapon of choice.
  • Loveable Rogue: Although he doesn't actually steal anymore, he's still got the attitude.
  • Meaningful Rename: His original name is unknown; his name as a street thief was Roach. Briar Moss is the name he chose for himself when he came to Winding Circle.
  • The Medic: Not quite a healer, but good with herbal medicines.
  • Never Learned to Read: Until he 'fesses up to Tris. And years later, he pays it forward by teaching Evvy to read.
  • Omniglot: He appears to be able to speak and understand a little of everything, especially if it's for insults.
  • The One Guy
  • Parental Abandonment: His mom was killed when he was little. His dad isn't really mentioned.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: He does this.
    "Girls," Briar said with disgust. "Aggrimentatious, argufying…"
    "Is it that you learned too many languages, and so you must mangle the ones you have?" Sandry asked, curious.
  • Really Gets Around: As of Will of the Empress. Deconstructed slightly as this isn't treated as being manly; rather it's treated as him being deeply damaged.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: But the girls soften him up and Rosethorn is enough to stop him from getting into too much trouble.
  • Sex for Solace: Again, Empress. In this case, it's not necessarily about the sex so much as he gets trauma-induced nightmares if he sleeps alone.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Notably around Dedicate Crane's plants in the first book and in Aymery's belongings in the second book.
  • Street Urchin: Until Niko found him.
  • Survivor Guilt: By Will of the Empress.

     In Summersea And Winding Circle 

Rosethorn

A dedicate at Winding Circle, and an ambient plant mage; she acts as a "mother" to Discipline Cottage. She is known for her sharp temper. Briar becomes her student, and later on she takes on the teaching of Evvy, Briar's student.

Lark

An ambient thread mage. She is a dedicate at Winding Circle and serves as the other "mother" to Discipline Cottage. She is known for being kindhearted. She becomes Sandry's teacher.

  • Ambiguously Brown: Described as having a skin tone similar to Briar's.
  • Berserk Button: She doesn't go 'berserk' as such, but she does get extremely disappointed with Tris saying that 'everyone knows the poor breed disease' and that Rosethorn and Briar can only blame themselves for getting stuck in an epidemic.
  • Cool Big Sis / Cool Teacher: To all of the children but especially Sandry. She's very patient, motherly, and encouraging towards them.
  • Lipstick Lesbian
  • Nice Girl: She's an extremely kind and patient teacher to Sandry and very motherly to the other kids.
  • Opposites Attract: Formerly dirt-poor, yet saintly. Likely comes off as No Accounting for Taste to people who haven't seen Rosethorn's very subtle nice side.
  • Parental Substitute: Mostly to Sandry.
  • Rags to Riches: A milder, Zig Zagging example. She started out as a dancer and was likely middle-class to fairly comfortable, then contracted asthma and had to live in the slums, then eventually settled down in Winding Circle Temple, which was definitely better but not Riches.
  • Silk Hiding Steel
  • Team Mom: To the kids, when they're ten or so.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly girl, with Rosethorn serving as the tomboy half.

Niklaren (Niko) Goldeye

A famous mage, Niko has seeing powers. He discovers the power of the main characters, and serves as Tris' teacher.

  • Awesome McCoolname: Probably a large part of why he chose it.
  • Cool Teacher: Mainly to Tris, but he teaches all of the kids.
  • The Dandy: Likes to wear nice and stylish clothes, and takes great care of them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is one.
    "I can't think of the last time I held dragon vomit in my hand," Niko remarked, his voice dry. "Why, never, in fact. There are no such things as dragons. Need I also point out there are no such things as living glass dragons?"
    • He's noted as snarking "dryly" sometimes, but you know he's being especially snarky when it notes his voice as being "very dry".
  • Living Lie Detector: One of his powers is a near-infallible truth spell.
  • Meaningful Rename: Like most secular mages, he chose his last name himself, describing his powers as a Seer.
  • Neat Freak
  • Not so Above It All: When he and Tris have to go into the sewers, she realizes that he's probably freaking out more than she is at their disgusting surroundings.
  • Seer: While avoiding all associated tropes, though a character or two have suggested that they think he has shades of Mad Oracle.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: While not as irritable as Rosethorn, Niko is quite aloof and unapproachable at first, and only really opens up to close friends.

Frostpine

A well-known ambient smith-mage and dedicate of Winding Circle. He becomes Daja's teacher.

  • Berserk Button: Giving one's magic to someone else. It's because his parents allowed the village shaman to use his powers (without his consent) from when he was born until he was a teenager; the day he found out he had magic was the day the shaman died, and Frostpine found that his magic was so out-of-control he couldn't even pick up a smith's hammer without melting it.
  • The Blacksmith: Quite possibly the greatest smith-mage in the world. He and Daja are the only two smith-mages known to have an affinity for all types of metal.
  • Cool Teacher Again, this time for Daja.
  • Gentle Giant: He raises his voice about twice in the first series.
  • Meaningful Rename: Subverted. Like all dedicates, he took a new name when he took his vows, but he chose it because he thought frostpines were pretty trees. Later in life, he discovered that he hated the climate that went with them.
  • Naked People Are Funny: There's a scene in Cold Fire where he's caught meditating in a fire, having removed his clothes so they wouldn't burn. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Fire/heat resistance. (This isn't universal for smith-mages, but it is very useful.)
  • Scary Black Man: Subverted, since he's one of the nicest characters in the series.

Dedicate Crane

A dedicate at Winding Circle Temple. He is a plant-mage. He is known for being stubborn and having a temper, but he is an expert in healing and discovering cures for diseases, and is willing to give respect where it is due.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He doesn't like trespassers in his greenhouse and bickers with Rosethorn, but when the epidemic strikes he's working as hard as anyone else to find a cure.
  • Meaningful Rename: His childhood name was Isas; he chose the name Crane upon becoming a dedicate.
  • The Rival: To Rosethorn.
  • Rich Bastard: Briar immediately identifies him as a "Bag"- Money-Bag, or rich person- for his haughty bearing and expensive taste in clothes.
  • The Smart Guy: He and Rosethorn have done a lot of work on diseases together, and they were part of a team that devised 'human essence', which allowed them to test potential cures without potentially hurting the test subjects.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky

Dedicate Gorse

The chef of Winding Circle Temple. Not much is known about him, but there is generally nothing that happens in his kitchens without his knowledge.

  • Chef of Iron: Makes delicious food and knows how to (physically) discourage his help from harassing his guests.
  • Nice Guy: Insists that nobody go from one end of his kitchen to the other without getting something to eat.
  • Supreme Chef

Duke Vedris IV

Sandry's great-uncle, and the ruler of Emelan.

     Students 

Pasco Acalon

Pasco Acalon is a twelve-year-old from Summersea. He has ambient dance magic, though his family wishes him to become a police officer ("harrier"). Sandry discovers his magic and becomes his teacher.

  • The Chew Toy: His family view him as a dreamer and a weakling who spends time dreaming of dancers when he should be practicing his fighting skills, and his cousin beats him up for any offence, imagined or real.
  • Dance Magic: He's already dancing good-luck spells over fishermen's nets when Sandry finds him.
  • Meddling Parents: His family thought that he should be sent to Lightsbridge to study proper harrier magic. Sandry had to get cross with them.
  • Perception Filter: He invents a spell that causes others to ignore him. It works fine, until the unmagic assassins catch him grabbing a snack while invisible.

Evumeimei (Evvy) Dingzai

A ten-year-old from Yanjing. Her parents sold her into slavery; eventually she escaped and became a street-rat in Chammur. Briar discovered that Evvy is an ambient stone mage, and he became her first teacher. At Winding Circle, she was able to be trained by stone mages. After Briar went to Namorn with Sandry, Daja and Tris, Rosethorn took Evvy with her to the Battle Islands to investigate the dying plant life.

  • Breakout Character: So far we haven't seen the other Circle Opens students, but Evvy is the protagonist of one Reforged book and tritagonist in another.
  • Break the Cutie: As if being sold for a slave by her own parents wasn't enough, she's tortured in Battle Magic and her cats are killed as a part of it.
  • Character Development: She spends most of Melting Stones being rude and uncaring to everyone, to the point that once she convinces them that the island is an active volcano that's due to erupt, she wants to take Rosethorn and Myrrhtide and leave the islanders to get themselves out. At the end of the book, she realizes that she came too close to giving up her humanity altogether, and decides to become an initiate when she gets back.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: When you're not part of a gang, cats are the best sources for companionship. She brings all seven of them on the trip to Gyongxe and Yanjing with various magic leashes.
  • Crocodile Tears: Can force herself to cry on cue… by remembering her mother's face as she told the slavemasters to sell Evvy for as much as possible.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: As a stone mage, she throws superheated rocks at her enemies or just pulls the walls down on them
  • Hates Being Touched: Especially after her experiences in war; if someone grabs her unexpectedly, she'll attack them.
  • Moral Dissonance: Throughout Street Magic, she criticizes Briar for repeatedly asking her what gang she's with and being surprised when she says that she's not in one, even when he tells her that he was in a gang himself. Except that she doesn't seem to realize that the only reason she never ended up in a gang is because she has magic, so she really doesn't have room to act as though only a certain kind of moron would ever join one.
  • Never Learned to Read: Briar teaches her with a "stone alphabet." A for Amethyst, etcetera.
  • Not Good with People: She even gets a filibuster about it in Melting Stones. Justified in that just about everyone she knew before Briar and Rosethorn were complete pricks.
  • Parental Abandonment: They sold her into slavery.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Rosethorn has to point out to Myrrhtide that when she told him not to touch her to wake her, he respected her wishes, but he has to remember that Evvy was in the same war as Rosethorn, and she's only a child.
  • Street Urchin: Although she's able to avoid being forced into a gang, she still has to pick through garbage for her meals and lives in the oldest slum in Chammur's caves.
  • Taking the Veil: Decides to become a novice in the Living Circle religion at the end of Melting Stones; not precisely out of a vocation to serve their gods, but because she believes in their philosophy and wants to be a better person.

Niamara (Nia) and Jorality (Jory) Bancanor

A pair of twins from a well-to-do family. Daja discovers that they both have ambient magic: Nia has woodworking magic, while Jory has cooking magic. Nia is soft-spoken and shy, while Jory is outgoing and constantly moving. Daja is able to find suitable teachers for both of them, but still must teach the two meditation.

  • Bad Dreams: Nia has bad dreams about fire. Daja explains that it'll get better with more training once Nia can seal herself off from her magic and thus stop thinking like she's made of wood.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Nia is the quieter twin, while Jory is more outgoing.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: There's got to be some kind of subversion in the fact that the outspoken, brash, and just plain more physical Jory has cooking magic, while Nia the shy has woodworking magic, which should be "manlier."
    • Considering the personality type which fares best in the hustle and bustle of a kitchen the size of Olennika Potcracker's, and the type of person who can happily spend hours sanding and days applying incredibly thin layers of stain and varnish, this may be less a subversion than Reality Is Unrealistic.
    • Nia initially is upset about having wood magic, believing it would seem 'unladylike' and would make her less attractive as a bride. Her parents point out that the various shipbuilding clans would pay her weight in gold for a daughter-in-law who can instantly detect wood rot in a ship.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Jory has heat resistance, enough that when Daja puts enough heat in her hands to burn cloth, Jory just thinks it's warm.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the end of the book, Nia runs into a house that she knows is on fire to save her adopted aunt, while Jory helps out when the hospital she works at is on fire.
  • Twin Telepathy: They always know where the other one is, and if the other one is in danger of some sort. It isn't connected to their magic, since other twins they know can do the same.

Kethlun (Keth) Warder

A twenty-year-old glassmaker. Keth was skilled at his craft until he was struck by lightning, making many physical actions difficult for him for a while, and imbuing him with lightning magic in addition to his ambient glass magic. Tris discovers his magic after he accidentally creates Chime, a glass dragon, and serves as his teacher.

  • The Ace: Before the lightning strike, he was a genius at making glass, to the point that he never even needed to measure his colouring agents, he just knew.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: After creating Chime, he chases it around the shop and then vehemently argues with Tris when she tries talking to him about the magic he doesn't think he has.
  • Black Sheep: A minor case, Keth's family (many being glass mages) would often bemoan the fact that he had very little magic himself. He did point out however that while he lacked much magic, he had considerable talent and that did seem to satisfy them.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's very good with little Glaki and even has a kind of relationship with Tris, when he's not treating her like his Annoying Younger Sibling that is.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Glass magic and lightning magic.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: When he gets lightning in his glassblowing, it reveals murder victims.
  • Nice Guy: Yali and Tris both notice this. Yali even tells him so, Tris… not so much.
  • Not What It Looks Like: He's briefly held for suspicion of murder, thanks to the lightning glass. The fact that he was close to both victims doesn't help him either.
  • Not Good with People: Not nearly as bad as his teacher though. In fact, he's rather cheery and pleasant by comparison.
  • Only Sane Man: He, Tris and Niko often feel like they're the only sane people in Tharios, as they're all outsiders.
  • Speech Impediment: Speaks very slowly, occasionally with a stutter, since the lightning strike.

     Other Circle Opens Characters 

Chime

A glass dragon accidentally created by Kethlun Warder, and who was subsequently adopted and is cared for by Tris.

  • Big Eater: Constantly tastes new substances.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: This one's made from glass. According to Niko, dragons are as mythical in their world as they are in the real one.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: She's able to charm almost everyone she meets.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Or rather, colored glass poop, influenced by the things she eats. It also works with her other excretions; she likes eating colored sand because it lets her blow colored flames (which solidify instantly), and she's also been known to eat herself sick and vomit up glass.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Subverted. She doesn't have any evident genitalianote  but Niko calls her a "she" because she's too beautiful and graceful to be considered male.

Lady Zenadia

A very rich lady of Chammur who has strong connections to the leader of the city, she has become the unofficial leader of the Viper gang.

  • Bad Boss: She's big on You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and You Have Failed Me. Vipers who fail her are strangled by her eunuch.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She looks like an ordinary, well-off noblewoman. She's one of the cruelest characters in the series.
  • Child Soldiers: She takes on several street gangs of children for fun- hers, not theirs, because she doesn't get hurt by any of their fights.
  • Christmas Cake / Foxy Grandma: It's mentioned every time she is described that she is around fifty, and very attractive.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed / Driven to Suicide: She poisons herself rather than be captured by the authorities.
  • Did You Actually Believe?: She asks Briar if he really believed that he could just trash her house and expect that she'd be arrested, because nobody cares about the people she killed and her family are very powerful. Briar and Evvy tell her how many people are going to care, and how fucked she is.
  • The Fagin: To the Vipers. She provides them with jewelry, weaponry, and strategic advice.
  • Human Resources: As fertilizer.
  • Rich Bitch
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money! / Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: A major plot point of the book is that she's above legal investigation because of her connections to the ruling family, even though law enforcement suspects something is up and are trying to spy on her. Eventually, as the mutabir tells Briar and Briar and Evvy tell Zenadia, she's gone too far and her family won't want to be associated with her, especially because her actions may well end up sparking riots.

Bennat (Ben) Ladradun

A firefighter in Kugisko. After his wife and children are killed in a fire, he goes to live with his witch of a mother, and organizes fire brigades to fight the city's fires, despite not having any magic.

  • Badass Normal: He fights fires without so much as a drop of magic to help or protect him. Daja quite openly admires him for this.
  • Evil Feels Good: At first, he ensures that the buildings he targets are empty of people, but one night he misses someone. The realization that he has killed a person gives him such a thrill that he starts setting fire to populated buildings deliberately.
  • Freudian Excuse: His wife and children died in a fire, and his mother is an A-grade bitch.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He's in his 30's, Daja's about fourteen. They get along quite well... before the whole arson thing comes out.
  • Karmic Death: Because he was an arsonist, the manner of his death sentence was that he would be burned alive at the site of one of his worst crimes.
  • Manly Tears: When he sees victims of a fire. They're tears of joy.
  • Mercy Kill: All the fire-capable mages present at his execution decide to make his death quick, rather than letting him suffer as the fire slowly, painfully consumed him.
  • Mommy Issues: He's under the heel of his verbally (and previously physically) abusive mother after his family dies.
  • Pyro Maniac: It gets exponentially worse after he accidentally kills someone.
  • Walking Spoiler
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Started as one, and frequently justifies his arson to himself this way. It's somewhat justified in that the people of Kugisko refuse to take his warnings about fire to heart, and it's only when he started setting fires that they actually formed some kind of fire-fighting team. He loses the good intentions after he accidentally kills a homeless woman and stops making any effort to set fires that will only burn property.

Olennika Potcracker

An ambient cooking mage - one of the best. She cooked for the Empress before working for a hospital in Kugisko and setting up a soup kitchen.

     In The Circle Reforged 

Berenene dor Ocmore

The Empress of Namorn, and one of Sandry's cousins.

  • The Chessmaster: It's noted that she hasn't stayed in power for as long as she has by being stupid.
  • Christmas Cake: Has pretty much an entire court in love with her and she's old enough to be the mother of many of them.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: According to Fin, though at least some of this was just a dig at Rizu.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Her character is inspired by Catherine the Great of Russia.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Exhibits this attitude in-universe. Get kidnapped and forced into marriage? Why, you must have deserved it for being strong enough to escape.
    • Deconstructed further when it's noted that she was probably given the chances to escape when she was kidnapped, which most such brides are not. Sandry certainly wasn't, and even she points out that she was probably would have been treated worse had she not been an Imperial cousin.
  • Silk Hiding Steel

Zhegorz

A man who was formally a patient at Yorgiry Hospital in Kugisko, only to escape from the mental ward with Daja's help when it was set on fire. He sees and hears things on the winds, and these uncontrolled visions, in addition to the healers' "helpful" potions, have convinced everyone, including himself, that he is crazy.

Luvo

The living heart of a mountain. Luvo met Rosethorn, Evvy, and Briar on their travels through Yanjing. He is thousands of years old, wise, and patient. He is shaped like a bear and is made out of crystals.

  • Animate Inanimate Object: He's basically a sentient rock. You could make a drinking game out of the number of times characters call him a "talking rock".
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: He says he's powerless to do anything with the volcano spirits, since they'd melt him. That might be true, but his voice alone is enough to scare the bejeesus out of them. Evvy is pretty disgruntled with him.
  • Full-Name Basis: Insists on not using nicknames. It even takes him some convincing for him to not use Evvy's last name.
  • Insistent Terminology: He prefers to call everyone by their full first name rather than their nickname.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Thousands of years old, though he never came out from underground until Evvy was nearby.
  • The Smart Guy
  • The Unpronounceable: His full name. "Luvo" is the only part Evvy can pronounce.

Dedicate Myrrhtide

A water-mage and dedicate of Winding Circle, he goes with Rosethorn and Evvy to the Battle Islands to discover why plants are dying.

  • Commander Contrarian
  • Jerkass: He's quite rude and abrasive to Evvy (who he knows only as a pet of Rosethorn who delights in being rude to people), and lords it over the people of Starns. At least some of this is justified in that most mages of Evvy's age really aren't that powerful; and unlike Rosethorn, Myrrhtide likely never met the Circle and would have no idea of what they were capable of; so once Evvy actually proved her worth, he was much less bitchy. Also, he and Evvy have naturally conflicting personalities.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After Evvy discovers that the volcano is due to erupt he becomes much less rude to her, standing up for her at the council, agreeing with her assessment of the situation and telling her not to get herself killed because she is 'beginning to grow on [him]'.
    • Not to mention, he's a lot happier when in non-contaminated water, as opposed to the poisoned, acidic water on Starns.
  • Smug Super: Give him his due, he is actually a decent water-mage, and when the emergency becomes clear, he does everything he can to help.

The God-King of Gyongxe

Parahan

A court slave of Emperor Weishu. He meets Evvy, Rosethorn, and Briar when they travel to Weishu's palace.

  • Made a Slave: His uncle sold him to the Emperor, where he's humiliated by being kept on a leash and forced to sleep in a golden cage.
  • Rebel Prince: Says he was reckless and wild before his uncle sold him.
  • Warrior Prince: He was a general in Kombanpur. When he's freed and joins up with the Gyongxin army, he gets a command again.

Emperor Weishu of Yanjing

The Emperor of Yanjing.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's very charming at first, but he uses Evvy to humiliate one of his generals in front of the entire court which ends up scaring her too. That's before we learn what he does to gardeners who allow any kind of blemish on the roses.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Burns a rose garden and the gardeners in it because there was a tiny patch of mold on one plant.
  • The Emperor: The malevolent, grasping conqueror sort.
  • It's All About Me: He invades Gyongxe just to improve his considerable power and reputation and cares little for even his own armies.
  • The Rival: He's got a longstanding diplomatic feud with Empress Berenene and Namorn.

Soudamini

Parahan's twin sister, a Banpuri princess.

Ciaphas CainCharacters/LiteratureCodex Alera

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