The series has Loads and Loads of Characters
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PhèdreIncludes the novels Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar
Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève
"That which yields is not always weak."
The heroine and narrator of the first three books, her most distinguishing feature is a scarlet mote in her left eye. Phèdre is sold into indentured servitude as a child and her bond is eventually purchased by Anafiel Delaunay. Delaunay recognizes what the scarlet mote in her eye means: Phèdre is an anguissette
, one who is cursed to experience pain and pleasure as one. He teaches her how to listen and observe as well as the "arts of the bedchamber." Phèdre frequently uses her skills as both courtesan and spy to save Terre d'Ange from various deadly plots.
- Bi the Way: Like all D'Angelines
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to her a lot.
- Brains and Bondage: She's made of this trope.
- Brainy Brunette: Phèdre is a very smart brunette.
- Brown Eyes: But with a red mote in her left iris.
- The Chosen One: She is Kushiel's Chosen.
- Compelling Voice: A few times Kushiel has made his influence known through her. Generally simple things like getting people to stand down and listen. Also taken to the max when she learned the name of God.
- Cunning Linguist: Both meanings.
- Daughter of a Whore: Her mother was an adept of the Night Court.
- Diamonds in the Buff: Melisande gives her a sheer dress studded with diamonds and a matching collar with a diamond to wear when they attend the Midwinter Masque together.
- Ethical Slut: She has other lovers, such as Nicola, but Joscelin is ok with it and he's still her official consort.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Has female patrons as well as male ones. This is perfectly normal in Terre d'Ange.
- Famed in Story: Becomes famous as a hero of the realm and one of the top courtesans in Terre d'Ange. 100 years later, Moirin is very familiar with Phèdre's story.
- The Fashionista: She does care quite a bit about clothing, and eventually becomes a fashion trendsetter.
- Friends with Benefits: Phèdre and Nicola L'Envers y Aragon are essentially this.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: She heals quickly, an added bonus of being an anguissette.
- High-Class Call Girl: She's one of the top courtesans in all of Terre d'Ange.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's a kind person and will go out of her way to help those less fortunate, such as when she paid Favrielle's marque.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Phèdre goes through a stage in Avatar when she wishes she were no longer Kushiel's Chosen. There are also other times in the books when she hates the fact that she's an anguissette.
- Lady in Red: Wears red dresses on several occasions, most notably at the Midwinter Masque in Chosen. There's also her sangoire cloak, made of a special shade of dark red that may only be worn by anguissettes.
- Made a Slave: Sold to the Skaldi in Dart by Melisande, and to the Margkhagir in Drujan in Avatar.
- Meaningful Name: Phèdre mentions that hers is an "ill-luck" name but says her parents were likely unaware of this connotation.
- Ms. Fanservice: Many of her sex scenes definitely qualify as fanservice.
- Omniglot: Learns many languages over the course of the series. She has a talent for them and often picks them up quickly.
- Parental Abandonment: Her parents sell her into indentured servitude because they're broke.
- Parental Substitute: Is one to Imriel.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Wears a lot of these, usually to an assignation or at the Midwinter Masque.
- Rags to Riches: She starts out as a "whore's unwanted get" and ends up the Comtesse de Montrève.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Less so on the covers, but describes herself as this in the books proper.
- Really Gets Around: Causes Imriel no small amount of angst when he realizes she's slept with quite a few really important people, including a decent chunk of the D'Angeline aristocracy. Curiously, Phèdre tends towards monogamy when Kushiel grants her peace.
- Sex Is Violence: She craves this due to her nature as an anguissette, but can enjoy sex that doesn't involve pain.
- Sex Slave: Is sold as a sex slave to the Skaldi and the Mahrkagir. Melisande also wants to keep her as one.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: To show off her marque.
- Slave Collar: Melisande puts a leash and collar on Phèdre when they spend the Longest Night together.
- Too Kinky to Torture: She says in Dart that she cannot be forced to reveal secrets through torture. This is proven true when Waldemar Selig tries skinning her alive to make her talk.
- Whip It Good: She frequently gets whipped during assignations.
- Yuri Genre: Most notably with Melisande and Nicola.
Liliane de Souverain and Pierre Cantrel
The biological parents of Phèdre nó Delaunay. Liliane de Souverain was part of a long line of women who served Naamah as adepts of the Night Court, namely Jasmine House. Due to the exotic tenets of Jasmine House, she is honey skinned, dark haired and black eyed. Pierre was the third son of a merchant of blond hair and blue eyed persuasion. Liliane ran away to elope with Pierre Cantrel because the Dowayne of the House forbade her marriage to Pierre on the basis that a child from their union would not fit the standards for Jasmine House and because Pierre could not afford to buy her marque. Phèdre was born as a result of their union, but was "too pale for Jasmine House and too dark haired and dark eyed for Cereus House". Before the discovery of Kushiel's Dart, the mote in her eye is seen as a blemish and thus made Phèdre unfit for any of the Houses in the Night Court. When the two are too poor to settle their debts, they sell Phèdre as an indentured servant to the Dowayne of Cereus House.
- Hot Gypsy Woman: Liliane. One of the reasons Phèdre as a child noticed Hyacinthe was because he resembled her mother complexion wise. Most adepts of Jasmine House are rumoured to have Bhodistani (analogous to Indian) ancestry in their heritage.
- Parental Abandonment
"All knowledge is worth having."
Phèdre's mentor. Delaunay is a nobleman with a mysterious past and an important mission. He adopts Phèdre into his household, trains her, and uses her to spy on his enemies. Eventually it is revealed that Delaunay was once the consort of long-dead Prince Rolande. He swore a vow to protect Rolande's daughter Ysandre, the Dauphine. His choice to honor this vow leads to his death at the hands of Isidore d'Aiglemort's men, who botched their orders to watch him.
- All There in the Manual: His full backstory and relationship with Prince Rolande was revealed in a short story called "You, and You Alone."
- Anyone Can Die: Did anyone see his death coming?
- Batman Gambit: Uses these on several occasions, such as when he told Barquiel the identity of Isabel's poisoners, knowing he'd take revenge and thus remove them as threats.
- Bi the Way: Has relationships with both men and women, but his most important ones are with men.
- Bury Your Gays: He and Alcuin die in the first third of Dart.
- The Chessmaster: Patiently works behind the scenes to protect Ysandre.
- Declaration of Protection: He swore a vow to protect Ysandre.
- Enemy Mine: He decides to make peace with Barquiel L'Envers, who's been his enemy for years, since they both have an interest in protecting Ysandre.
- Love Triangle: Between Delaunay, Rolande, and Isabel L'Envers. A second one occurs between himself, Alcuin and Phèdre, though he's largely unaware of it.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Dies during Dart.
- Mysterious Past: Phèdre, Alcuin, and Hyacinthe spend a lot of time puzzling over Delaunay's past. Eventually they learn the truth.
- Parental Substitute: Is this for Phèdre and Alcuin. Until they both fall in love with him.
- Redheaded Hero
- Second Love: Alcuin is his.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: He and Rolande, due to Isabel L'Envers' jealousy.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: See Enemy Mine example above.
- Warrior Poet: He was one of the most skilled poets in Terre d'Ange, to the degree that the King's Poet thought he was better than her. He's also a capable warrior.
- Wife Husbandry: Unintentional example. He adopts Phèdre and Alcuin and raises them, thinking they see him as a father figure. Instead they both fall in love with him.
- Yaoi Guys: He has long-term relationships with Rolande and Alcuin.
Alcuin nó Delaunay
Alcuin is Delaunay's other pupil. As with Phèdre, he teaches Alcuin to listen and observe and uses him to spy on his enemies. But unlike Phèdre, Alcuin hates working as a courtesan and does it all out of love for Delaunay. He and Delaunay become a couple once Alcuin has made his marque.
"In Cassiel's name, I protect and serve."
Joscelin is a member of the Cassiline Brotherhood, a celibate order of warrior-priests, who is hired by Delaunay to protect Phèdre on her assignations. At first Joscelin is very prudish and uptight, but he gradually relaxes. He and Phèdre dislike each other initially, but they eventually fall in love. He is one of the most skilled and dangerous warriors in the series.
- Berserk Button: Do not, DO NOT try to harm Phèdre near him. Imriel's also off limits.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: His relationship with Phèdre.
- Celibate Hero: Is this until his first time with Phèdre.
- The Comically Serious
- Declarationof Protection: He vows to protect Phèdre.
- Duel to the Death: See Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Even the Guys Want Him: In-universe inversion: the Skaldi men think he's a pretty boy and not a real man because he doesn't have a beard, but the Skaldi women certainly find him attractive.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Phèdre does this to him when they're enslaved in Skaldia.
- Honor Before Reason: Especially in Dart. He gradually relaxes, though.
- Interrupted Suicide: Joscelin is about to kill himself and Phèdre to save them from Waldemar Selig when Barquiel L'Envers charges in at the last minute to rescue them.
- Knife Nut: He typically fights with a pair of daggers. Cassiline Brothers are only supposed to draw their swords to kill.
- Let's Get Dangerous: When he gets his sword out, especially if Phèdre is in danger. The same is true of all Cassilines.
- Made a Slave: Being sold as a slave to the Skaldi nearly kills him, until Phèdre snaps him out of it.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Inversion. He's a virgin before his first time with Phèdre, but she isn't.
- Master Swordsman: Though he relies primarily on his daggers and only draws his sword to kill.
- Mercy Kill: He comes to do this for Phèdre when Selig is skinning her alive. Fortunately, he doesn't need to go through with it.
- Mr. Fanservice: Many women in the series find him attractive. Has plenty of fangirls in the fandom.
- My Girl Is a Slut: At first, Joscelin is disgusted by what Phèdre's chosen occupation. They nearly break up when she decides to resume working as a courtesan. However, he comes to terms with it eventually.
- No Accounting for Taste: How most D'Angelines see Phèdre's relationship with him.
- Conversely, this is how he feels about Phèdre's attraction to Melisande.
- Parental Substitute: Is one to Imriel.
- Undying Loyalty: To Phèdre, especially after Chosen.. He willingly followed her into Drujan when nobody else would.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: It gets pretty thick between him and Phèdre, but then it gets resolved.
- Warrior Monk: All Cassiline Brothers are basically this.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Gets seasick ridiculously easily.
- You Are Worth Hell: He goes to Darsanga, the Kushielverse's equivalent of hell on earth, for Phèdre.
A Tsingano (Roma) who is Phèdre's oldest and dearest friend. Hyacinthe and Phèdre meet as children and stay friends well into adulthood. Hyacinthe has the ability to see the future (called the dromonde
), which his mother taught him despite it being forbidden to men by Tsingano law. Towards the end of Dart, Hyacinthe takes Phèdre's place to become the new Master of the Straits so that the Alban army can reach Terre d'Ange. Phèdre spends the next two books searching for a way to free him from his curse, which she eventually does in what is both a Crowning Moment of Awesome and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Black Sheep: He ends up being rejected and disowned by his long-lost family when he speaks the dromonde in front of them. The dromonde is strictly forbidden to men in Tsingani culture.
- Child by Rape: His mother was raped and impregnated by a Bryony House patron who paid to seduce a Tsingani virgin.
- Curse: Inherits the curse of the Master of the Straits. He has power over the sea, but he is bound to the Three Sisters and can never leave.
- Elemental Powers: His are water/air.
- Fate Worse Than Death: But he gets better!
- Fortune Teller: His mother was one. She passes her skills on to him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Taking Phèdre's place and becoming the new Master of the Straits, condemning himself to a miserable and lonely existence.
- In-Series Nickname: The Prince of Travelers
- Long-Lost Relative: He meets his grandfather and many other family members while traveling to Alba. They welcome him into their midst, but it unfortunately doesn't last long.
- Loveable Rogue
- Oracular Urchin
- The Power of Friendship: He takes Phèdre's place to become the next Master of the Straits. She spends years of study and faces countless dangers to find a way to free him.
- Romani: The Tsingani are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Roma.
- Screw Destiny: Phèdre saves him from his destiny as the Master of the Straits.
- Second Love with the second of Drustan's sisters
- Seers: Uses the dromonde to see the future.
- Take Me Instead: He offers to take Phèdre's place and become the next Master of the Straits.
- True Companions: Him and Phèdre.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend He and Phèdre end up being this to one another.
"Elua cared naught for mortal politics, nor did Kushiel."
The main villainess of the series. Melisande is ambitious, sadistic, and utterly lacking in any sort of conscience. Her great ambition is to be queen, and so she concocts several Machiavellian plots to help her achieve this. She becomes a patron of Phèdre's, and Phèdre falls in love with her. Phèdre, as an anguisette,
is the perfect outlet for her sadistic desires.
Imriel is her son.
- Affably Evil
- Beauty Is Bad: Melisande is exceptionally beautiful, even among D'Angelines.
- Brains and Bondage
- The Chessmaster
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Later in the series, Melisande starts claiming that she always keeps her promises. Like many things she says, this statement should be taken with a pinch of salt.
- The Corrupter: She excels at manipulating powerful people around her into committing treason.
- Depraved Bisexual
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Imriel.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She won't stoop to blasphemy and claims to always keep her promises (though both statements should be taken with a grain of salt and then some. Also, she really loves her son.
- Even the Girls Want Her
- Evil Plan: Most of her plots can be categorized as this.
- For the Evulz: When Phèdre asks her why she did it, she replies, "Because I could."
- It's a little bit more complicated than that. Melisande describes herself as being incapable of caring about the pieces in her games, while simultaneously loving the games she plays. Why does she play? She's D'Angeline.
- Freudian Excuse: Its a minor excuse, but in the second trilogy she appears to have some remorse for her actions and its suggested-that the reason she is the way she is-is because of her father Casimar.
- Girls Love: With Phèdre.
- Heel-Face Turn: Debatable, but she does appear to have some remorse for her actions later on in the series. And she does help save Terre d'Ange in Mercy.
- In the Blood: It's implied that her father's method of raising her deeply affected her character. As seen above its a minor excuse.
- Jedi Truth: Melisande claims she'd never commit blasphemy personally, but looks the other way when Marie-Celeste corrupts the Serenissiman priestesses. She's also forbidden by Kushieline doctrine to kill the bearer of Kushiel's Dart, but has no problem sending Phèdre into dangerous situations where she'd be indirectly responsible for her death.
- Karma Houdini: Manages to escape all punishment, and gets to live out her days in a villa on a Mediterranean isle. Although it is implied that Imriel's torture at the Mahrkagir's hands is Kushiel's punishment for her.
- Lady Macbeth: Melisande manipulates both Isidore d'Aiglemort and Prince Benedicte into committing treason in order to further her own ambitions.
- Likable Villain: A large portion of the fandom loves her despite her actions.
- Loophole Abuse: See the Jedi Truth section.
- Manipulative Bitch
- Pet the Dog: She loves her son.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Like all Shahrizai.
- Romanticized Abuser
- Sadist: Naturally
- Sex Is Violence: That's how she likes it.
- Woman in Black: Wears black when she attends the Midwinter Masque with Phèdre.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Not explicitly described as such, but her beauty is constantly commented on in a nation full of beautiful people.
Persia and Marmion Shahrizai
Brother and sister pair who help to bring Melisande to trial for treason at the end of Dart.
Ysandre de la Courcel
"Steel beneath a fragile bloom."
Queen of Terre d'Ange, daughter of Prince Rolande de la Courcel and Isabel L'Envers. Both of her parents die when she is very young, and she inherits the throne after her grandfather's death. She has to deal with numerous plots to overthrow her (mostly orchestrated by Melisande) and family members who want to take her place. Ysandre is a lot tougher than she appears, which frequently causes people to underestimate her. She marries Drustan mab Necthana, the Cruarch of Alba, and they have two daughters: Sidonie and Alais.
Rolande de la Courcel
Crown prince or dauphin
to the throne of Terre d'Ange in Phèdre's trilogy and father of Ysandre. He was killed during the Battle of the Three Princes twenty or so years before the main action of Dart. He and Delaunay were lovers.
Sister of Barquiel L'Envers and wife of Prince Rolande. Isabel had the girth of Edmee de Rocaille's saddle tampered with before a hunt, causing her to fall to her death. Delaunay wrote a poem implicating Isabel in the incident, which led to her being called a murderer by some. She and Rolande had one daughter, Ysandre. She is poisoned by Dominic and Therese Stregazza.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Edmee's Betty
- Blondes Are Evil: While not exactly evil, platinum blonde Isabel doesn't come off very well from the limited information we get on her. Even Barquiel, who doesn't respond well to anyone insulting his sister, admits she was responsible for Edmee's death.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Was very possessive of Rolande
- Love Triangle: First with Rolande and Edmee, then with Rolande and Delaunay.
- Missing Mom: To Ysandre, who's only 7 when she dies
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Had the girth of Edmee's saddle cut as a means of petty revenge on her rival, but Edmee ended up snapping her neck.
- Posthumous Character: Most of what we know about her comes from other characters.
- Purple Eyes: Like all of House L'Envers.
- The Rival: To Edmee and Delaunay, her competitors for Rolande's affections.
"Didn't you enjoy my largesse in the Khalif's court? I heard I sent you to Khebbel-im-Akkad after paying you to betray your master."
Duc of the province of Namarre and maternal uncle of Ysandre. He is both a shrewd politician and a feared warrior and general. He and Delaunay were old enemies due to a poem Delaunay wrote implicating his sister Isabel in the death of Edmee de Rocaille. He appears as both antagonist and reluctant ally at different times throughout the series, but he is always loyal to Ysandre.
- Animal Motifs: Is frequently described as "cat-like." Phèdre compares him to a leopard numerous times.
- Awesome McCoolname: Barquiel comes from the Hebrew Barkiel, meaning "Lightning of God."
- Badass Grandpa: He is this in later books, once he has grandchildren.
- Big Brother Instinct: Barquiel doesn't take kindly to anyone insulting his sister or writing poems accusing her of murder.
- Big Damn Heroes: Joscelin is about to mercifully end his and Phèdre's lives when Barquiel charges out of besieged Troyes-le-Mont at the last minute to rescue them.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Declaration of Protection: He became the oathsworn protector of Imriel and Sidonie's firstborn.
- Enemy Mine: He agrees to make peace with Delaunay for the sake of protecting Ysandre. Also, he and Imriel work together to defeat the Carthaginians in Mercy.
- Evil Uncle: Appears to be this, but is actually a subversion.
- A Friend in Need: Phèdre bids him to hold the City of Elua against the traitors using the password of House L'Envers.
- Going Native: He does this during his time as ambassador to Khebbel-im-Akkad. He is frequently seen in a turban or burnouse and is quite fond of Akkadian furnishings.
- Heartbroken Badass: In Mercy. He says that seeing Ysandre twisted by Carthage's spell broke his heart.
- Hero Antagonist: In the 2nd trilogy. His hatred of Imriel comes from a fear that he is involved in his mother's plots & wants to steal the throne.
- Hidden Depths: On the surface he appears to be a coldly ambitious snarky jerkass, but there are moments throughout the series which hint there's more to him than that. He really does love his niece and cares deeply for his family in general.
- Horse Archer: Barquiel loves these, and is one himself.
- Jerkass: Especially to Delaunay and Imriel.
- Master Swordsman: He impressed the Proud Warrior Race Akkadians with his skills.
- Only Sane Man: He is the only great lord who isn't in the City of Elua when the Carthaginians put their spell on the city.
- Parental Substitute: To Ysandre.
- Poisonous Friend: Is perfectly willing to get his hands dirty & use amoral methods to protect his niece, such as his assassination of Dominic Stregazza.
- Purple Eyes: Like all of House L'Envers.
- Revenge: Once he finds out who poisoned his sister, he has him assassinated.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Delaunay in Dart and then again with Imriel in Mercy. He comes to respect Imriel during their time working together and realizes he misjudged him.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between him and Phèdre in Chosen. He insinuates that he'd make a proposal for an assignation if he weren't so wary of her. Phèdre contemplates the possibility, then promises Joscelin she won't accept if he offers.
Nicola L'Envers y Aragon
Cousin of Ysandre and Barquiel. Nicola is married to an Aragonian nobleman, but she frequently visits the court of Terre d'Ange. She becomes a patron of Phèdre's, and they have a Friends with Benefits
sort of relationship.
Drustan mab Necthana
Drustan is the Cruarch of Alba and husband of Ysandre. In Kushiel's Dart,
his throne is usurped and he fights to regain it. Afterward, he leads an army to Terre d'Ange to fight the Skaldi. His army, along with Isidore d'Aiglemort's, breaks the siege of Troyes-le-Mont and defeats the Skaldi.
He typically spends half the year in Alba and half in Terre d'Ange. He and Ysandre have two daughters: Sidonie and Alais.
Grainne and Eamonn mac Conor of Eire
The twin rulers of the Dalriada, a tribe in Eire. They are allied with the Alban rebels and later help Phèdre, Drustan and the d'Angelines against the Skaldi invasion.
Sister of the former Cruarch and the mother of Drustan and his sisters.
Duc of the province of Camlach and a skilled warrior. He plots with Melisande to betray Terre d'Ange to the Skaldi by letting them in the mountain passes of Camlach. He later learns that Melisande double crossed him, and joins up with the Alban army to defeat the Skaldi and get back at Melisande. He slays Waldemar Selig in battle, but dies shortly afterward, thereby redeeming himself.
A Skaldi warlord who is able to unite all of the various Skaldi tribes under him. In addition to being a fearsome warrior, he is also a cunning leader. He tries to invade Terre d'Ange. It doesn't go well.
"Ill thoughts, ill words, ill deeds."
The ruler of Drujan, the Mahrkagir is extremely sadistic and completely evil. Imriel is sold to him, and he subjects the boy to horrific abuse. Phèdre comes to save him, and the Mahrkagir ends up falling in love with her (although his definition of love is rather different from most people's). She kills him with a hairpin.
Thelesis de Mornay
The former King's Poet to Ysandre's grandfather, King Ganelon, now Queen's Poet to Queen Ysandre. She has a beautiful voice and her poetry is famed throughout Terre d'Ange.
- Always Someone Better: Despite being seen as the most skilled poet across the kingdom (and possibly in-universe too) she is said to have always thought that Anafiel Delaunay was the better poet.
- Ill Girl
- Mrs Exposition
- Odd Friendship: She becomes one of Phèdre's closest allies after the events of Dart.
- Plain Jane: One of the very few examples in the whole of Terre d'Ange. Phèdre notes that her voice however makes up for her lack of beauty.
The Dowayne of Cereus House early on in Phèdre's trilogy. It is she who introduces Phèdre to Anafiel Delaunay.
A widow and former adept of Cereus House and friend of Anafiel Delaunay. Anafiel hires her to teach Phèdre and Alcuin how to be courtesans in the first trilogy.
Favrielle no Eglantine
Dressmaker and designer. She fashions most of Phèdre's clothes during Avatar and Imriel's trilogy. By the time of Moirin's trilogy her business Atelier Favrielle is the most popular dress maker in Terre d'Ange.
Imriel Includes the novels Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice and Kushiel's Mercy
Imriel de la Courcel
"I will try to be good."
The hero and narrator of the second trilogy. Son of Prince Benedicte de la Courcel and Melisande Shahrizai, the realm's most infamous traitors. Imriel spends his childhood innocent and unaware of his parentage until he is kidnapped by slave traders and sold to the Mahrkagir. Imriel suffers all sorts of horrific abuse until he is rescued by Phèdre and Joscelin. They take him back to Terre d'Ange and adopt him into their household.
Imriel's trilogy focuses on his struggles to accept his own nature, his attempts to find a place for himself, and his forbidden romance with Sidonie de la Courcel, Ysandre's daughter and heir.
- Angst: Especially in Scion.
- Arranged Marriage: He agrees to marry Dorelei out of a sense of duty despite being in love with Sidonie. It doesn't end well.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: He tries hard to avert this, and succeeds.
- Break the Cutie: Undergoes a Break the Cutie process in Drujan, but doesn't actually break.
- Coming-of-Age Story: His trilogy is very much one of these.
- Determinator: Oh so much. When he was fourteen, a Priest of Elua prophesied that he would 'find love and lose it, again and again'. This was proven true repeatedly through the course of the trilogy, and with each loss Imriel matures and never gives up. When Sidonie is abducted by Astegal of Carthage, and the City of Elua is put under Bodeshmun's spell, Imriel swears that he will do whatever it takes to rescue Sidonie and not lose her and her love for him, for, having lost love so many times before, he is not willing to let it slip away from his grasp again.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And boy does he ever.
- Enemy Mine: In Mercy, Imriel is forced to seek the aid of Barquiel L'Envers who he hates (and who hates him right back) to defeat the Carthaginians.
- The Evil Prince: Subversion. Some people think he is this and that his relationship with Sidonie is a plot to get the throne. It's not true.
- Family Relationship Switcheroo: Imriel actually meets his mother once as a child without knowing she's his mother. Phèdre tells him the truth later on.
- Frame-Up: Is framed in Scion by Barquiel L'Envers who is determined that he be outed as a villain. Though Queen Ysandre, Phedre and Joscelin don't believe it, many people do and it results in Imriel's reputation decreasing rapidly among his peers at Court. This also leads to Bernadette de Trevalion attempting to assassinate Imriel in Tiberium as she believes that Imriel is finally following in his mother's footsteps and plotting treachery similar to what brought her family down. She is understandably distraught and guilt-stricken when she realises the truth of the matter.
- Grey and Gray Morality: After his experiences during the siege in Lucca and the things Galladus did to protect that city, Imriel eventually decides that nobody is entirely good or entirely evil. This finally convinces him to set aside his anger for his mother and read her letters.
- Happily Adopted: By Phedre and Joscelin at the end of Avatar. Imriel is ecstatic at the outcome.
- Hope Bringer: Fills this role in Mercy.
- In the Blood: Many D'Angelines fear that he will take after his mother. However, it is quite clear that Imriel is not his mother's son.
- I Will Find You: Imriel's silent promise to rescue Sidonie from Astegal in Mercy.
- Kissing Cousins: Him and Sidonie. No one minds, being D'Angeline. The only thing they care about is that Imriel is the son of two traitors, and that his loving Sidonie may be a part of a plot to take over the country.
- Likes Older Women: If his affair with Claudia in Scion is anything to go by, Imriel does occasionally have a thing for older women.
- Manchurian Agent: Becomes one of these in Mercy. The trigger is a kiss from Sidonie.
- Mommy Issues: Imriel has a complicated relationship with his mother, Melisande. After realising that she is the most famous traitoress in D'Angeline history and responsible for the deaths of millions of people, Imriel hates her and refuses to acknowledge her as his mother. He also resents the pall her actions cast on his life in the D'Angeline Court, as most of the peerage are waiting to see him turn out like her and tear the realm down. After his stay in Lucca, however, Imriel realises that no person is objectively black or white (or good or evil) and finally reads his mother's letters to him, getting to understand her better in the process. By Mercy Imriel accepts that Melisande is his biological mother and no longer hates her for her actions. However, he is still wary of her and her charm, and cannot forget the pain and bloodshed she caused toward her victims, even if Melisande now regrets her actions and how they effected Imriel.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Mysterious Protector: Canis is this for Imriel in Scion. He later learns Canis was sent by his mother.
- Only Sane Man: Becomes the only sane man in the City of Elua (by being made temporarily insane) when the Carthaginians put their spell on the city.
- Orphanage of Love: Had a happy childhood in the Sanctuary of Elua.
- Parental Marriage Veto
- Psycho Serum: Gets a dose in Mercy.
- Rags to Royalty: He grows up herding goats, with no idea that he's actually a prince.
- Really Royalty Reveal: Happens to him in Avatar.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Secret Relationship: He and Sidonie, in Justice. Eventually they get found out.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: He and Sidonie.
- Stern Chase: His search for Berlik in Justice counts as one of these.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: See Enemy Mine. Also, the time he teams up with Maslin.
- Tell Me About My Mother Phèdre saves letters Melisande sent to Imriel, knowing he'll want them someday.
- Tranquil Fury: His reaction to Berlik murdering Dorelei. While recovering from his wounds, Imriel calmly decides to hunt Berlik down and kill him like an animal.
- Troubled, but Cute
- Wedding Day: The trilogy ends with his and Sidonie's wedding.
Sidonie de la Courcel
Daughter of Queen Ysandre and Drustan mab Necthana, Dauphine of Terre d'Ange. Sidonie first appears to be very haughty and unlikable. However, she gradually becomes more likable and less haughty as Imriel starts to fall for her. Once they are no longer able to hold back their feelings for each other, she and Imriel begin a relationship. Together they struggle to win her parents' approval.
Alais de la Courcel
Younger daughter of Queen Ysandre and Drustan mab Necthana. Alais and Imriel become close as children and remain so as they get older. She feels more of a connection to her Alban heritage than her D'Angeline heritage. At the end of series, she announces that she wants to stay in Alba and become an ollamh.
Dorelei mab Breidaia
Drustan's niece and Imriel's later wife. She is killed by Berlik of the Maghuin Dhonn in order to prevent a prophecy that her son with Imriel would grow up to destroy the Maghuin Dhonn.
Maslin de Lombelon
Bastard son of Isidore d'Aiglemort, who dies before he can acknowledge him.
Maslin serves as a sort of foil to Imriel, since they are both sons of traitors but they are treated very differently. Because of this, Maslin holds a lot of resentment toward Imriel. They eventually do become friends when he shows up in Vralia to rescue Imriel during Kushiel's Justice.
foil, Mavros is a Shahrizai, and is utterly unapologetic of this fact, and the ramifications and desires that come with it. While Imriel's past experiences
initially cause difficulties with their relationship, as he becomes more comfortable with his sexuality, they bond. Mavros eventually fills a roll somewhere between Imriel's at-home Lancer, and a big brother figure, providing advice and support about both politics and relations. He has a rather one-sided infatuation with Sidonie's lady-in-waiting.
Daughter of the head priestess of Naamah whom Mavros Shahrizai has an unrequited crush on. She is hired in the 2nd trilogy to teach Sidonie the arts of the bed chamber.
Eamonn mac Grainne
Son of Grainne and Quintilius Rousse.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- I Will Find You: Falls in love with Brigitta, a Skaldic woman in Imriel's trilogy and after she leaves for Jutland with her brother, Eamonn vows to find her.
Conor mac Graine
Son of Grainne with an unamed lover, later revealed to be of the Maghuin Dhonn. The third trilogy reveals that he later married Alais de la Courcel
The Carthaginian general who tried to make Sidonie his wife via means of a magic spell cast over Terre d'Ange.
Ptolemy Solon aka The Wise Ape of Cythera Melisande's
lover and governor of the Hellene island of Cythera. Imriel travels to meet him in Kushiel's Mercy.
- ChekhovsGunman: his study of magic is essential to Imriel being able to change his face to look like Leander Maignard and enter Carthage unknown.
- Detractor Nickname: The Wise Ape
- The Smart Guy
- Ugly Guy Hot Consort Cytheran opinion of his relationship with Melisande, to the extent that they compare it with that of the [in-universe] Greek god Vulcan and his wife the Greek goddess Venus.
A kinsman of House Shahrizai, albeit a few generations removed. He is living with the rest of his family in Cythera with Melisande as her retainers. Imriel meets him in Kushiel's Justice.
- Wild Mass Guessing : Fans theorised that Melisande used a shapeshifting magic to use his form to go to Terre d'Ange and see Imriel (her son) get married, as she is in exile. Jacqueline Carey has flat out denied this on her blog, saying that it was "a good idea", but that " Melisande is the sort to see her games to the end and that she would rather show her face than hide in the shadows".
MoirinIncludes the books Naamah's Kiss, Naamah's Curse, Naamah's Blessing
This trilogy takes place 100 years after the events of the first two trilogies.
Moirin mac Fainche
The protagonist of the third trilogy. She begins the story as something of a Wild Child
, living with her Alban mother in the wilderness. She discovers that she is half Alban and half d'Angeline and that her heritage has given her access to powers outside of the Maghuin Donn. In the first book she travels to Terre d'Ange to find her father and as a result finds herself torn between her desires and her duty.
- Babies Ever After
- Bi the Way: Most of her relationships in the Naamah novels involve women but her two most recurring paramours are both men.
- Cosmic Plaything
- Declaration of Protection: Becomes Desiree's oathsworn protector
- Ethical Slut
- Fish out of Water: Her status during Kiss.
- Girls Love: Has notable relationships with several women, most importantly Jehanne & Snow Tiger
- Green Eyes: Inherited from her father.
- Green Thumb: One of the abilities her bloodline gives her is the ability to talk to plants and make them grow.
- Heroic Seductress: What her powers from Naamah give her. Every time she feels the pull of her diadh-anam towards a certain person she will end up having sex with them.
- Hot Witch
- I Gave My Word: She cannot break an oath sworn on her diadh-aman without losing her powers & connection to the Maghuin Dhonn.
- I Will Find You: With Bao in Curse & Thierry in Blessing.
- Invisibility: Can make herself invisible by summoning the twilight, but can't do it if someone's watching her.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: Inverted. In Alban custom children inherit through the female line. This is why her surname is mac Fainche, meaning "from Fainche". However, her father's lineage is just as important as it's the source of her powers from Naamah and Anael.
- Magical Girl: Compared to Phèdre at least. Moirin has a lot more access to magic than the former.
- Memory Wiping Crew: Becomes the Ch'in emperor's one-woman memory wiping crew at the end of Kiss.
- Mixed Ancestry: Half Alban and half D'Angeline.
- My Diadh-Anam Made Me Do It: This is often the reason for starting a quest.
- Naïve Newcomer: When she leaves Alba for Terre d'Ange to find her father in Kiss, she's bewildered by d'Angeline customs and almost makes a fool of herself at court.
- Psychic Link: With Bao after his resurrection
- Rags to Riches: Spent her childhood in a cave, then becomes the Queen of Terre d'Ange's lover.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Her looks are commented on as "exotic" by the d'Angelines and supernatural by the Albans, due to her mixed blood status.
- Really Gets Around: And how. Lets put it this way. Phèdre and Imriel from the first two trilogies were either a magically induced to enjoy pain courtesan or an issue-ridden, angsty prince. Both encountered problems directly related to their attitudes about sex (more on Imriel's side). Moirin has no such hang ups. She may possibly be the protagonist that has the most sex of the three. Judging by the theme of Moirin's trilogy this is probably because her gifts come from Naamah rather than Kushiel.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Her relationship with Jehanne develops into this by the last third of Naamah's Kiss.
- Super Power Lottery: Her mother's line is descended from Princess Alais of the second trilogy, giving her the powers of an ollamh a type of combined seer and priestess. On that note, she also has descent from fallen angels Elua and Naamah through Princess Alais' own combined Courcel/L'Envers heritage. Her father's line is descended from Anael, the fallen angel who gave d'Angelines their farming skills. This gives Moirin the power to turn herself invisible, talk to plants, incite lust in other characters and access the powers of the Maghuin Dhonn or "bear-witch" in the Alban language.
- Talking to Plants
- Wild Child: At the beginning of the first book.
The apprentice to Master Lo Feng and a former slave. He and Moirin do not get along at first and he spends the first book being a Jerk Ass
. Later on readers learn his tragic backstory and he becomes more sympathetic. Serves as Moirin's protector and later her lover
throughout the Naamah trilogy.
Master Lo Feng
King Daniel's considerably younger second wife and step mother to Prince Thierry. She was once a famed courtesan in Cereus House before giving up her profession to become queen. At first at odds with Moirin due to a shared rivalry over Raphael de Mereliot, she later becomes a friend and trusted confidante as well as lover to Moirin.
Raphael de Mereliot
The Big Bad
of the third trilogy and a former lover of both Jehanne and Moirin. He is a d'Angeline nobleman and the brother of the current Lady of Marsilikos.
King Daniel de la Courcel
The king of Terre d'Ange at the beginning of the trilogy and a descendant of both Imriel and Sidonie de la Courcel from the previous trilogy.
- Death by Despair
- Despair Event Horizon: Hits it when he learns of Thierry's supposed death
- Driven to Suicide He was devastated by Jehanne's death and hearing a (false) rumour that his son had died drove him to commit suicide.
- Parental Neglect: Is unable to bear spending time with Desiree due to her strong resemblance to Jehanne.
- Parent with New Paramour
- Puppet King: Becomes this as he cedes more and more power to the Duc de Barthelme.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Supports his wife's extra-marital affairs by way of an agreement made before they married; that she could keep her lovers for the first few years of marriage until they both agree to have a child. He even comments that her relationship with Moirin made her a better ruler.
- Second Love: Its stated that Jehanne is this for him after the death of his first wife and Thierry's mother. However he is still deeply in love with her and Thierry even notes that courting Jehanne helped bring him out of his depression in the years after his first wife died.
Thierry de la Courcel.
Son of Daniel de la Courcel and his first wife; he is the Dauphin to the throne of Terre d'Ange during Moirin's trilogy.
Duc Rogier de Barthelme
The daughter of the Ch'in Emperor who is believed to have been possessed by a supernatural creature. If she sees her reflection in anything she goes on a killing spree. On the day of her wedding to a Ch'in nobleman she went on a rampage and killed her betrothed and most of his party. Since then she has been locked away in a tower by her father in the hope of keeping her violent sprees under control.
The Rani Amrita
The Rani (aka queen) of Bhodistan. Moirin travels to meet her in Naamah's Curse.
A Nahuatl warrior from Terra Nova, (analogous to undiscovered North America)with whom Moirin meets during her travels in Blessing.
A close friend of Prince Thierry. He declines to join Thierry on his first expedition to Terra Nova, but insists on going with Moirin to find him when he learns that Thierry's alive. Moirin is initially wary of him, though she eventually comes to like and respect him after their experiences in Terra Nova.
Moirin's father and a priest of Naamah. She gets her power to make plants grow from his side of her heritage.
Fainche mac Eithne
Moirin's mother and a seer
of the Maghuin Dhonn tribe of Alba.
Blessed Elua and his Companions
Elua and his Companions
The deities of the D'Angeline pantheon. The people of Terre d'Ange are descended from them. Blessed Elua is the misbegotten grandson of the One God of the Yeshuites, born from the mingled blood of Yeshua ben Yosef and tears of the Magdalene. His eight Companions are angels of God who came to earth to join him in his wanderings.
Chief god of the D'Angeline pantheon. Elua was born from the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef and the tears of the Magdalene nurtured in the womb of the earth. After his birth Elua began wandering the earth aimlessly until being captured by the King of Persis. His distress caught the attention of eight angels, who decided to come to earth and aid him. Eventually they came to Terre d'Ange, where the people welcomed them. Elua claimed no territory for himself, but founded the City of Elua. He gave the people of Terre d'Ange one commandment: Love As Thou Wilt.
Companion who taught D'Angelines agriculture and animal husbandry. He is commonly known as the Good Steward.
Companion responsible for teaching D'Angelines about ships and navigation. The Yeshuites identify his sin as pride, a trait that is consistently associated with him.
Companion who taught D'Angelines the art of war and created the first D'Angeline armies. He chose to found his province on the Skaldi border because it was the area most in need of his martial hand.
Known as the Perfect Companion, Cassiel joined Elua in order to take up the duty of loving him that the One God neglected. He remained by Elua's side throughout all of his wanderings. He was only one of the Companions to obey the One God's laws by claiming no territory and fathering no children. He has no temples and is not commonly prayed to. The Cassiline Brotherhood was founded in his honor.
Companion associated with healing, music, and storytelling. In addition to being the goddess of healing in general, Eisheth is particularly concerned with womens' health. In order to become pregnant, D'Angeline women must light a candle to Eisheth and pray for the goddess to open her womb.
God of justice and punishment. Kushiel was once the One God's punisher, charged with administering punishment to sinners. He understood that the chastisement he gave them was an act of mercy. They came to love him for it, so much that when given a chance to repent they refused out of love for their lord. Kushiel joined Elua because he felt Elua understood what he did. He will occasionally mark a mortal as his own with a red mote in his/her eye. These are known as anguissettes
, Kushiel's Chosen who are cursed to feel pain as pleasure.
Goddess of sexuality, prostitution, and desire. Naamah was the first of the Companions to join Elua. She gave herself to the King of Persis for a night in exchange for Elua's freedom. While traveling in Bhodistan, she lay with strangers so that Elua might eat. It is because of this that prostitution is referred to Naamah's Service and considered a sacred calling in Terre d'Ange. The thirteen houses of the Night Court are considered the most elite of these. Her clergy practice sacred prostitution.
God of wisdom and knowledge. He taught D'Angelines how to write. He is associated with knowledge of all kinds as well as engineering. A common phrase associated with Shemhazai is "All knowledge is worth having."
The Court of Night-Blooming Flowers
Court of Night-Blooming Flowers
An elite cadre of prostitutes known as Servants of Naamah
that are the highest ranked courtesans in Terre d'Ange. Prostitution is considered a religious act for adepts of the Court, as it is elsewhere in Terre d'Ange, and adepts make offerings to Naamah during their service. All thirteen houses are based in the City of Elua, the d'Angeline capital in the district known as Mont Nuit
. Each house has its own motto which both serves to provide their unique theory as to why Naamah offered herself to the King of Persis in d'Angeline folklore and to describe the tenets conveyed by each house.
With Eyes Averted
Rest and Be Soothed
House of the Night Court dedicated to healing. Balm adepts are often expert masseurs. Imriel visits Balm for his first assignation during Kushiel's Scion.
Wealth Seeks Company
The house of the Night Court associated with wealth. Byrony caters to patrons who find money and wealth arousing. The adepts are skilled in money management and many go on to work in the royal treasury after making their marques. They are also expert gamblers.
Without Fault or Flaw
All Loveliness Fades
The first of the 13 houses, Cereus House celebrates the fragile and ephemeral nature of beauty. Because of its status as the first house, Cereus hosts the Midwinter Masque for the Night Court every year. Phèdre was fostered in Cereus House for six years before joining Delaunay's household. In Moirin's trilogy, Queen Jehanne is a former Cereus adept.
Upright and Unbending
To Create is to Live
Truth and Vision
The house of spirituality and mysticism. Gentian adepts specialize in mystic disciplines, such as dream interpretation. Phèdre visits Gentian during Kushiel's Chosen
to make sense of her troubled dreams.
Thou, and No Other
The house of devotion. Heliotrope adepts specialize in creating an illusion of love for their patrons.
For Pleasure's Sake
The house of pleasure and sensuality. Phèdre's mother was a Jasmine adept before marrying her father. The house caters to sensual pleasure and has an exotic atmosphere. It is even said that there is Bhodistani (Indian) blood in the houses's adepts.
- Belly Dancer: Some adepts are this.
- The Hedonist
- Royal Harem: The house has an Eastern-inspired harem atmosphere, to the extent that the adepts actually dress up as harem members for the Longest Night.
- Sex God: Jasmine adepts are known for their stamina
One of the two houses of the Night Court specializing in BDSM, Mandrake is the house of Dom(me)s.
Joy in Laughter
One of the two houses of the Night Court specializing in BDSM, Valerian is the house of subs. Phèdre would've ended up in Valerian House if Delaunay hadn't bought her marque. The Shahrizai have a standing contract with the house, which includes their own private dungeon.
Other Characters and Groups
The Unseen Guild
The Guild does not directly appear in the novels, but references to them and members of the Guild turn up throughout the first two trilogies. They are based in Caerdicca Unitas and were the ones who taught both Anafiel Delaunay and Melisande Shahrizai
their skills. Imriel encounters them in Kushiels Mercy and Kushiels Justice.
Hyacinthe's mother, a former Tsingani princess who was cast out of the nation when her cousin Csavin gambled away her virginity to a D'Angeline nobleman when gambling in the Night Court. Hyacinthe was born as a result.
- Pyotr Rostov
- Leba Rostov - Pyotr's wife
- Valentina Rostov - Pyotr's sister, mother of Aleksei
- Aleksei Rostov - Son of Valentina, nephew of Pyotr
Micah ben Ximon
Eleazar ben Enokh
Seth ben Yavin