Queen Selenay and Companion Caryo
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Zig-Zagged. Selenay was Wise Beyond Her Years and a good Queen when she first took the throne at 20. However, her advisors can't take her seriously, she's painfully naive at times and the stress of ruling when she should be enjoying her youth nearly breaks her.
- The High Queen: What she has matured into by the "Arrows" trilogy.
- Hunting "Accident": Her late husband planned to arrange one. It ends up backfiring on him.
- Iron Lady: She tries to be this in public, and usually succeeds (it helps to have Talia to talk to in private). Her facade breaks at least once, when a messenger brings news that a group of child hostages had been murdered in a standoff gone awry — everyone at the Council table stares while Selenay weeps openly.
- Lady of War
- Love at First Sight: When she first sees Daren in By the Sword.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Deconstructed with her and Prince Thanel. Sure, he's a bad choice, and she definitely does not think the marriage through as much as she should because she's decided it is True Love...but she's also under a massive amount of pressure and still grieving for her father, plus her therapist/main adviser is more or less out of commission, and Thanel seems like the only uncomplicated good thing in her life. So it's more like "having lots of stress and no good outlets makes you vulnerable to manipulation".
- Maiden Aunt: Selenay sees Caryo as this; a sweet but asexual figure who doesn't understand relationships, let alone sex.
- Mama Bear: Comes through in a rather obstructive, somewhat belated way to Elspeth during Winds of Fate, much to the latter's frustration. Selenay is not pleased when her daughter quite reasonably points out that she's expendable, since Selenay ends up having twins with Daren and Elspeth is no longer the sole Heir.
- Mindlink Mates: With Daren
- Modest Royalty: She dresses quite simply on most days, enough that Talia had no idea who she was for a good portion of their first conversation. Her armor is well-made but the only concession to her rank is a small gold crown on her helm.
- Parents as People: Selenay is a Herald first, the Queen second, and a mother to Elspeth third. Between her royal duties and her very early forced maturation, she doesn't know how to treat or discipline Elspeth and mostly leaves her in the hands of her tutors, completely oblivious to the fact that one such tutor has an agenda of her own. Talia has to provide the parenting that Selenay can't.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: In the general tradition of most rulers of Valdemar.
- Strangled by the Red String: Her lifebond to Daren is the clearest example of marriage by divine decree in the series. The gods need Valdemar and Rethwellan firmly allied to each other when the Mage Storms hit (and they need a Spare to the Throne so Elspeth is free to take up other duties), and accordingly both of them fall in Love at First Sight. However, this is Reconstructed considering by the time they do get together, the audience knows that both of them are strong adults who are compatible enough that they probably would have gotten together on their own.
- Warrior Princess: It helps that Valdemar requires Monarchs and Heirs to be Heralds too, so Princess Selenay had rigorous academic and martial training, took an active role in her father's council, and sat in the city's courts as an adjudicator. Though understandably terrified, she accompanied her father to the frontlines of a war and while there, visited different campfires and to the sick tents to visit the common soldiers.
- Winter Royal Lady: As a Herald, she's going to have a rather limited color palette - white (though often with gold embellishments as her role as Monarch as well as black trim for mourning). However, this really comes into play during the Ice Festival, when she holds a party in an ice palace constructed on the river, with her royal regalia predominantly of white fur and diamonds.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Her father's Heroic Sacrifice during the Tedrel Wars thrusts her very early onto the throne. Her sense of duty keeps her carrying on and she starts becoming a quite able leader, including in dealing with an obstructive and obstinate Council. But her forced maturation, unresolved grief, feelings of isolation, and despair seethe in her with no healthy outlet for quite some time, leading to a disastrous marriage. She never quite outgrows this, but she has more trustworthy friends in later books to share the burden.
Weaponsmaster Alberich and Companion Kantor
The weapons master has no heart; his hide is iron cold
His soul within that hide is steel or so I have been told—
- Adorkable: He is scary as all hell — until he falls flat on his face in love, at which point he turns into a clueless, adorkable schoolboy.
- Almighty Janitor: Is officially only the Collegium's Weaponsmaster. Unofficially, he's the spymaster and (prior to Talia) the closest thing to a Queen's Own
- Badass Grandpa: In later books.
- Bodyguard Crush: The possibility of this is teasingly hinted at and Lampshaded by King Sendar when he approves Selenay's proposal that Alberich be her bodyguard for when she goes to the city courts. Of course, there is a foregone conclusion on Selenay's love life ( she's lifebonded to Prince Daren in By the Sword), but this comes up again at the end of Exile's Valor, when Alberich realizes that Selenary is worried he does have feelings for her and is able to honestly assure her that he respects her as his Monarch and that's it.
- Chaste Hero: Though not a virgin (he does offhandedly mention that he's been with at least one woman... who he paid), he is adorably oblivious about romance and gets flustered when a woman pays him positive attention. Kantor notes drolly that Alberich really doesn't know how to interact with a woman who's neither unattainable nor a prostitute.
- Combat Pragmatist: And ruthlessly tries to enforce that in his students
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Has been both the rescuer and the rescued.
- The Confidant: Before Talia comes along, Alberich is Selenay's closest friend (Talamir being unable to perform that duty). However, he's far too busy being Weaponmaster and Spymaster to be Queen's Own too.
- Deadpan Snarker: Though Alberich wryly notes that Kantor is much better at the verbal barbs than he is, Alberich manages a few good one-liners every so often.
- Defector from Decadence: Was a successful captain in the enemy's army before he became a Herald.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Weaponmaster fits the "the more you will hate me, the more you will learn" line to a tee, and quotes it (in slightly different words and Karsite syntax) at one point. Of course, he embodies the positive side of the trope rather than the negative.
- Dual Wielding: Both swords and knives.
- Good Is Not Nice: His teaching philosophy.
- Honor Before Reason: Struggles with this in Exile's Honor where he broods himself to pieces over his personal code of honor. It's implied that it's a response to the corrupt Karsite priesthood; a good person like Alberich needs something to believe in but Karse was so corrupt and so he turned to personal honor.
- Master of Disguise: Inherited from his predecessor, who was Weaponsmaster and second-in-command Spymaster. He most often takes on the role of a sword-for-hire but other roles have included a cantankerous scholar, carter, wealthy old man, priest of an obscure sect, and information broker.
- Master Swordsman: Until Kerowyn shows up, he's the finest swordsman in Valdemar.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Hilariously averted. Kantor outright tells Myste that she has to make the first move, because otherwise he'd never make one at all.
- Only One Name: His parents were not married (to each other), therefore Alberich has only a personal name — last names, like lineage, come from the father in Karse.
- Sadist Teacher / Stern Teacher: Lackey's song The Face Within is framed as a debate between these two views regarding Alberich. He has to be tougher on his students than any possible enemy... and he has to steel himself for the possibility that it won't be enough.
- Son of a Whore: Spent his childhood being called this. Inaccurately, for the record — his mother only had sexual relations with Alberich's father, and never for money. But given the legal status (none) of women in Karse before Solaris, a single mother who couldn't prove she was a widow would automatically be considered a prostitute.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: Valdemaran vocabulary, Karsite grammar.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: When he's using Mindspeech, Lackey writes it as normal grammar. Since Mindspeech acts as a universal language in this setting, he would be thinking in grammatical Karsite and being heard (by Valdemarans) in grammatical Valdemaran.
- Training from Hell: Though in fact partly self-inflicted. Told by his armsmasters at the Karsite military academy that he's quite naturally talented, young Alberich then worked himself to the ground to prove that he's just as good as anyone else, if not better, especially because the social cards were stacked against him due to his status as an illegitimate child of an impoverished single mother.
Herald Chronicler Myste and Companion Aleirian
- Author Avatar: Mild example. Her name is close to the author's nickname, and her job is literally to write down everything important that happens in Valdemar.
- Blind Without 'Em: Myste is severely myopic. Alberich notes the first thing an opponent would do is smash her glasses, and she knows it too; it's one of the arguments she uses to convince him to teach her a self-defense style based on running away rather than something more conventional.
- Disabled Means Sexless: Averted. As noted above, Myste is visually impaired, but she is unapologetically sexual, as well as being sexually assertive.
- Guile Hero: She's the only female Herald who is not a fighter, but she uses her brains (along with a dose of Obfuscating Stupidity) to play Alberich's sidekick and get information out of places where he can't go.
- Living Lie Detector: More than most Heralds. She has a truth-sense that doesn't require the Truth Spell.
- Plucky Comic Relief: She's the butt of more than her share of (affectionate) jokes.
- Plucky Office Girl: A medieval version; she's the one who can find (or "find" as the case may be) any documents the Queen needs to support her position in Council. (Also, her usual role when she's spying.)
King's/Queen's Own Herald Talamir and Grove-born Companions Taver/Rolan
- Death Seeker: After Taver's death, Talamir seems to always have one foot in the grave and on the edge of death.
- The Confidant: Talamir is this for Sendar and is supposed to be this for Selenay... but in practice, as a man of advancing years he finds it difficult to connect with and properly advise a much younger woman. It doesn't help that he's traumatized from Taver's death and having been mostly dead himself.
- He Knows Too Much: While he didn't connect all the dots on Orthallen's treachery, he did realize that Elspeth was in need of an intervention. Orthallen had him killed before he could act (which would have spiked The Plan).
- Honest Advisor: Again, Talamir is this for Sendar and is supposed to be this for Selenay.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While he's incompetent as an advisor and confidant to Selenay, and he's half-dead inside after losing Taver and Sendar, there's nothing wrong with his brain. He's the first one in the Court who realizes that Elspeth is in need of a course correction if she's ever to qualify for the throne.
King Sendar and Companion Lorenil
- Good Parents: Between what we see of him in Honor and what Selenay thinks of him in Valor, it's made very clear that Sendar is as good a father as he is a king, and has a very close bond with his daughter despite all his responsibilities.
- Hot-Blooded: His Fatal Flaw. Sendar wants to fight and acts before he thinks which is what causes his death.
- Modest Royalty
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: A rare deconstruction. Sendar's insistence in being on the front lines and leading a charge ends up killing him. There's a reason why kings shouldn't take to battlefield - they immediately become the primary target.
- Heroic Sacrifice
Lord OrthallenSee entry on the Arrows Trilogy And Related Books page.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He and Selenay have so much in common! He's so charming and witty and nice! He's going to be a great husband! He's...actually a massive Jerk Ass who deliberately seduced her in order to bump her off and become regent once they have a child.
- Black Sheep: He does an excellent job of alienating himself from his brothers and marking himself as unfit for the throne of Rethwellan. When his father dies, the Rethwellan court sends word of the death... after the oldest brother is crowned.
- Hunting "Accident": Attempted to arrange one for Selenay. Also the official explanation for his death.
- Prince Charmless: When he starts showing his true colors... and then he morphs right into The Evil Prince.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Karal being a spoiled, entitled little brat is the best antidote to his own seduction of Selenay possible. He can't handle being told "no", so he pulls something massively stupid and cruel and then blows up when Selenay calls him on his BS, thus handily undoing at least half his own work.
- Royal Brat: Tarma notes sourly in By the Sword that he was horrifically spoiled by his mother and had no redeeming features except for oily charm that he used to great effect in riling his brother Daren up and pinning trouble on him. When no one in Rethwellan is willing to put up with him, he turns his sights to Valdemar, where his reputation is not quite as well-known.
- Too Dumb to Live: Not understanding exactly what Heralds and Companions are? Understandable, since even plenty of Valdemarans don't quite get it. Not understanding that he must be Chosen to rule, after having had it explained to him multiple times by multiple people, including in his marriage contract? Incredibly dumb. Trying to kidnap and break a Companion, and then threatening to murder her when he fails, which is both a capital crime and high treason in the country he's now Prince-Consort of? Unforgivably dumb. (For bonus idiocy points, he also expects Selenay to take his side.)
- Your Cheating Heart: Goes right back to his favorite brothel the second Selenay stops being besotted into compliance.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Deadly Doctor: Excellent Mind Healer and terrifyingly skilled with knives. He gets added to Sendar's bodyguard detail during the Tedrel Wars as a result. As he tells Alberich, "Healers know how bodies are put together. We can take them apart far more easily."
- Good Is Not Nice: After several years of seeing to the wounded and traumatized at the Healers' Collegium, he has no compunction about killing would-be Tedrel assassins.