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Arthur PenhaligonThe protagonist of the series, Arthur was an average asthmatic who was about to die until Mister Monday tried to loophole the Will by making him Heir. Even half of Monday's Key was enough to save Arthur's life, however, setting him on the path to collecting all the keys and fulfilling the Will.
- A God I Am Not: Played with later on. Arthur himself never claims to be godlike in any way, and doesn't want to be, but his transformation as a result of using the keys gradually makes him act more and more like one. Arthur himself is aware of and deeply troubled by this, and works against it, culminating in him choosing to remake the old universe entirely instead of creating one of his own, and then splitting his human and architect selves from each other.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end of Lord Sunday, Arthur becomes the New Architect.
- Child Soldier: He's twelve when he gets drafted into the House's army in Sir Thursday, though he doesn't end up having to serve the century he was drafted for.
- The Chosen One: Possibly deconstructed since he was chosen as he was about to die and Monday expected that he would get the Key back.
- Cool Shades: As the New Architect.
- The Corruption: The more he uses the keys, the closer he gets to becoming a Denzien. Or so he thinks at first, but it turns out humans can't become denizens so he's changing into something else.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Not actually the dark side, but his transformation from using the keys also has this kind of effect. In the seventh book in particular, he feels almost suicidally overconfident while wielding both the fifth and sixth keys at once and comes very close to torching an entire planet in a show of force.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Thanks to a 'Thesaurus' denizen he rescued from the pit in Book 2. From book 3 onwards, everyone shows disbelief at who he says he is just because he's not 10 feet tall, has a beard and isn't accompanied by a frog/bear hybrid.
- Kid Hero: He's only twelve years old when he gets dragged into the whole mess.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Really wants to just go home and stop transforming into an immortal-but-completely-inhuman Denizen.
- Ill Boy: He suffers from asthma as a plot point. Holding a Key alleviates the symptoms.
- The Power of Friendship: Arthur has a habit of making friends wherever he is. It might help however that he says please to denizens, who are surprised someone higher than them actually says it. He gets a lot of extra help this way.
- Shrouded in Myth: by the third book he has become this, due to the Will providing publicity. As for how well he lives up to it, see Expecting Someone Taller above.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Apart from "Rightful Heir to the architect" he acquires new titles with every key he claims. By the later books, the full list has reached ridiculous extremes.
- Weapon of Choice: The Keys. Justified, as they have very useful abilities, such as aiding Arthur's survival in more ways than one.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: The First and Fourth Keys turn into swords at various times. Subverted in that he never actually wields them as such.
- Prongs of Poseidon: The Third Key, which is a trident in its default form.
- Power Fist: The Second Key, which consists of two gauntlets.
- Royal Rapier:
- The complete First Key, which is a sword made of two clock hands.
- The Fourth Key in its combat form, a sword.
Suzy Turquoise BlueOne of the Piper's Children, and one of Arthur's few friends in the House.
- Genki Girl: She's very, very talkative and energetic.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: She has nothing against taking off her clothes around others.
- Kid Hero: Well, not really. She's a 4 hundred-year-old woman with the mind and body of a young girl.
- Nice Hat: A slightly squashed top hat.
- Overnight Age-Up: In Lord Sunday's epilogue, requested of the New Architect given her actual age. She also calls dibs on being Lady Sunday.
- Plucky Girl: The epitome of the trope.
- Really 700 Years Old: Like most of the Piper's Children.
LeafOne of Arthur's friends from Earth, Leaf is largely the POV character for all the strange things that happen on Earth due to the chaos in the House.
- Deuteragonist: Of Sir Thursday and Lady Friday.
- Kid Hero: She's the same age as Arthur.
- I See Them, Too: She can see things from the House that are supposed to be Invisible to Normals, due apparently to the spiritual sense she gets from her grandmother.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Hippie parents strike even 20 Minutes into the Future.
Fred Initial Numbers GoldOne of the Piper's Children, serving in the Glorious Army of the Architect.
- Black Best Friend: To Arthur in Sir Thursday.
The Will/Dame Primus/ The ArchitectThe Will of the Architect, a sentient piece of magical legislation sent to the Trustees for them to carry out. Instead, they ripped it into seven pieces and imprisoned each.
- Big Good: Not quite.
- The Chessmaster: It was all her plan. All of it.
- Embodiment of Virtue: Each part of The Will represents one of seven virtues. In order: Fortitude, Prudence, Faith, Justice, Temperance, Charity, and Hope.
- Lawful Stupid: Part 2, Prudence, refuses to acknowledge Arthur as the Rightful Heir without proper documentation. As such, they're forced to carry it around, while it does nothing but sleep.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Insists on going through a ridiculously long agenda even though the situation calls for urgent action.
- Have You Seen My God?: The seven parts of her were imprisoned and incapable of action for millennium after the Architect left and the House fell into decay.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Temperance is perhaps the most reasonable of the Will's pieces. They even outright say their purpose is to ballance out the other pieces to make them more reasonable.
- Revenge Before Reason: Part 4 is described as vindictive, and actually attacks the Piper during diplomatic negotiation. Arthur even sees this coming and makes them promise not to, and they stoop to Loophole Abuse and Exact Words to do it.
- Supporting Leader: Does most of the actual leading of the various parts of the House off-screen while Arthur goes to free the other parts of her.
- Token Good Teammate: Not Primus herself, but part 6, Charity, is quite helpful to Arthur, and even goes on to help Suzy and Giac later. Suzy is quite dissapointed when it merges with the others, saying that it was the nicest of the lot by far.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Most of the individual pieces. Dame Primus is generally much better about this.
- Part 4, Justice, attacks The Piper in negotiations.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Her motif at the end. She wanted to die, but had to tear down her entire creation to do so
- Winged Humanoid: Initially, but as more parts were added to her, they soon faded away.
The Trustees as a whole
The rulers of the House, who were meant to carry out the Will of the Architect. They refused to give up power, tearing up the Will and imprisoning the pieces.
- Day of the Week Name: Each of the Trustees is named for a day of the week.
- Hour of Power: The Accord between the Trustees forbids them from interfering with the Secondary Realms outside the day they are named after. Their Dawn, Noon and Dusk can only leave the House during their time of day.
- Evil Overlord: All of them, to one degree or another (except Wednesday).
- Seven Deadly Sins: Each of them now represents one of the seven sins, having been corrupted by the Will.
- Statuesque Stunner: Their major status within the House grants them both attractiveness and physical height.
Mister MondayThe first Trustee, who suffers from Sloth.
- The Atoner: Once Arthur takes the key away from him and heals his mind, Monday becomes a much better and more-helpful person.
- Redemption Equals Death: Delayed, but present: he and Tuesday both get assassinated off-page by Dame Primus partway through the third book.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Quite calculating and clever in his machinations, despite wanting to just sleep all day.
- Lazy Bum: Does nothing but sleep, although it's suggested he can communicate words with a flicker of eyelids.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: When he finally steps into the fray, well, see Scaled Up below.
- Save the Villain: Arthur heals his 'Sloth' affliction at the end of the book, resulting in him becoming cheery and less evil.
- Scaled Up: He can transform into a massive serpent to attack.
Grim TuesdayThe second Trustee, who suffers from Greed.
- Cool Train: Covered in spikes on the outside to stop denizens climbing on it, and is the only way to get in, or out, of the massive pit in the Secondary Realms. Also has an equally cool train station (which Tuesday has to repair all the time because it keeps being degraded by Nothing) copied from one on Earth.
- Creative Sterility: Can create beautiful things, and combine existing things to make something new, but not from scratch.
- The Collector: Has a tower filled with treasures, including the Mariner.
- Greed: His deadly sin.
- Lean and Mean: 7 feet tall.
- Tricked-Out Gloves: The Second Key, in the form of a pair of gauntlets which can be used to create things out of nothing.
- Waistcoat of Style: Sort of. He wears a leather one and nothing else above the waist.
- Unusual Eyebrows: Well, one eyebrow. Both got singed off in an explosion of nothing but one gained sentience and helps out Arthur.
Drowned WednesdayThe third Trustee, who suffers from Gluttony.
- Baleful Polymorph: Her Leviathan form, a gigantic whale.
- Big Eater: Oh yeah. Ties in to her sin of Gluttony.
- Bigger on the Inside: Her body works like this, especially in human form. Apparently everything contracts or grows depending on her size.
- Dying as Yourself: She struggles to maintain her human form as she dies rather than becoming the malformed beast Arthur had seen earlier. Arthur notes that it seems to be taking a large amount of effort to do so.
- Heel–Face Turn: She concludes that her affliction was caused by the Trustees disobeying the Will and thus aims to give her Key to a Rightful Heir. Unfortunately, she told Superior Saturday of her intention first...
- Prongs of Poseidon: Her key.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She attempts to give Arthur the Key and Will of her own accord, knowing she wasn't a suitable Duchess of the Border Sea. If she hadn't told Superior Saturday of her plan, she would have been much more successful.
- Redemption Equals Death: Of a sort. She was already trying for redemption, but died within moments of giving her key to Arthur and being cured of her sin.
- Token Good Teammate: The only Trustee to seek to give Arthur her Key willingly. This turns out to be a bad thing in the end.
- Womb Level: Since Feverfew's island is inside her, they have to go into her stomach to defeat him.
Sir ThursdayThe fourth Trustee, who suffers from Wrath.
- Bad Boss: He spends a fair bit of his page time beating up his subordinates. And then there's his killing of the mind-controlled Piper's Children.
- BFS: His key, while it's in his possession.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: A particularly nasty one. Doesn't help that he is curse with Wrath.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He shreds a map with a bayonet upon the mere description of the New Nithling's attack. However it's implied he was holding back, as the fourth part of the will was waiting for him to become angry enough to break free of his control.
- Just Following Orders: Upon talking to Arthur for the first time in private, he makes it quite clear he does not plan to relinquish the Fourth Key or Will without a change in orders from Lord Sunday or his deputy, Superior Saturday.
- Unstoppable Rage: It takes his three Lieutenants to hold him back while Arthur tries to get control of the Fourth key.
- Villainous Valor: His incredible willpower and self-control is the only thing holding back the power of the Will, and it must be constant. It'd be almost inspiring if he weren't such a violent jerk.
- Would Hurt a Child: Oh, yes. He decapitated two Piper's children in a row.
Lady FridayThe fifth Trustee, who suffers from Lust.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Her addiction to "experiencing."
- I Surrender, Suckers: She pretends to leave her key in her realm and give it up to whoever takes it first. Said key is actually a fake, and a very dangerous trap.
- Lust: Interpreted for a younger audience as an insatiable desire for the experiences and pleasures of mortal life, rather than, well...
- Magic Mirror: The Fifth Key, which she uses to transport herself and her entourage throughout the universe and drain mortals of their memories.
- Winged Humanoid: One of only a few Trustees to demonstrate the form — preceding members of the Court of Days either had charge of regions of the House where flight was inadvisable (Tuesday and Thursday) or were prevented from using wings by the nature of their afflictions (Monday and Wednesday).
Superior SaturdayThe sixth Trustee, who suffers from Envy.
- Asshole Victim: After everything she's done throughout the series, it's nigh-impossible to feel any sympathy when the Piper kills her in revenge for disfiguring him.
- Bad Boss: She punishes subordinates who have failed her by essentially turning them inside out. Since Denizens are immortal, this is a Fate Worse than Death for them.
- Big Bad: Except really a Disc-One Final Boss.
- Blackmail: She attempts to blackmail Arthur into giving up the Keys he has acquired by using his family, who the Skinless Boy has under his control, as leverage. However, Arthur manages to destroy the Skinless Boy.
- Can't Catch Up: To Lord Sunday. He even mocks her for it by giving her glimpses of the Incomparable Gardens.
- Envy: Being the second most powerful being still active in the universe is utterly intolerable to her not for the privileges that being the top dog would grant her, but because the thought of someone having it better than her consumes her.
- Evil Sorcerer: Her full self-styled title is "Superior Sorcerer of the Upper House."
- False Friend: Saturday pretends to agree to take part in Wednesday's plan to give their Keys to a Rightful Heir, but she betrays Wednesday with the help of the other Trustees.
- It's All About Me: She destroys entire sections of the house in an attempt to catch up to Lord Sunday, just because she wants his position. Even as she dies, she claims that nothing would have ever gone wrong if she'd just been Sunday.
- The Starscream: She's second in command within the House as run by the Trustees and spends the bulk of her resources attempting to reach the Incomparable Gardens and overthrow Sunday.
- Time Abyss: She claims to be the first Denizen ever created, which would make her the oldest being in the Universe aside from the Architect and the Old One.
- The Unfought: Arthur takes her down immediately in a very anticlimactic confrontation even though she was constantly made out to be the ultra-powerful chessmaster behind all the evil in the series.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Physically appears very rarely, though she's behind most of the evil throughout the books.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Has electric blue hair.
Lord SundayThe seventh Trustee, who suffers from Pride.
- Affably Evil: He offers to let Arthur go free if he relinquishes his Keys to him, which will enable him to stop the flow of Nothing, and will not get involved in further intrusions on Earth. However, he does so whilst threatening to have Arthur's eyes removed...
- All-Powerful Bystander: An awful lot of trouble could have been avoided if he'd just got involved sooner, but his pride got in the way
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: With the Mariner near the end of his titular book.
- Dimension Lord: Why, it's even in his name.
- Genre Savvy: He knows about Saturday's attempts to reach his tower, but doesn't care.
- Pride: His sin. Which is why he didn't tell Arthur about Dame Primus' true motives until it was too late...
- Satanic Archetype: Almost certainly intended to bring this to mind given his sin and position.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Takes the form of a Piper's Child in order to fool Arthur.
The Old One
The Old OneThe second oldest entity in existence, outpaced only by the Architect herself.
- Chained to a Rock: A clock, with torture-puppets instead of cuckoos that rip out his eyes every day.
- Eye Scream: It could be worse. Used to be his liver, as per the Shout-Out below. He almost lets it happen to Arthur instead, just to see if he's fallen far enough to let it happen for a moment's reprieve. He hasn't, but it's a close thing. After all, Arthur's won't grow back...
- Good Thing You Can Heal: His eyes do regrow almost as soon as his daily torture is over. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it hurt less.
- Shout-Out: To Prometheus.
- Time Abyss: he is very abtly named, being far older than most Denizens. Ultimately revealed to be part of the arcitect, making him techncially the oldest being in the entire universe
The MarinerSon of the Old One and the Architect, the Mariner explores the Secondary Realms as a sailor.
The PiperAnother son of the Old One and the Architect, the Piper is best known for calling mortal children to the House. He was exiled into Nothing centuries ago.
- Body Horror: Being soaked in corrosive proto-matter is awful for the complexion.
- Cool Mask: To cover his deformity.
- The Dog Bites Back: He kills Superior Saturday after learning that she had him thrown in Nothing and then blamed his brother, Lord Sunday.
- Magical Flutist: Controls the Piper's children with his pipes.
- Magic Music: Many of his powers revolve around the use of music.
- Shout-Out: To The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
- The Starscream: He was exiled for attempting to usurp the Architect, and is currently trying to conquer the House again with a new army behind him.
PravuilAn ally of Arthur's in the House.
The Skinless Boy
The Skinless BoyA Cocigrue, or Spirit-Eater, that was created by Superior Saturday as part of her plan to blackmail Arthur into giving up his Keys.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's first introduced in Grim Tuesday, but gains a prominent role in Sir Thursday.
- Dem Bones: Half his true form resembles a red skeleton.
- Evil Twin: He's identical in appearance to Arthur.
- Glamour Failure: His true form can be seen through a veil of raindrops on a sunny day or by the application of various sorceries.
- Hive Mind: He is able to form one with the people he controls, due to them being infected by the same type of mold in his body.
- Humanoid Abomination: He looks mostly like a normal human boy, but is actually a type of dangerous Nithling.