The eponymous heroine of the first book. Sabriel has been living in Wyverly College ("For Young Ladies of Quality") since she was very young, and though she excels in academia and leadership, she knows that her true destiny lies in helping her father, Abhorsen, in fighting the Dead in the mysterious Old Kingdom. But she is not prepared when news comes that her father has met with terrible danger. Armed with her bells, her sword, and her courage, she ventures into the Old Kingdom alone, little knowing what adventure and horror she will find there.
Back from the Dead: Is briefly stillborn at the beginning of the book, but is revived by her father before she passes the First Gate. At the end of the book, she is killed defeating Kerrigor, but is sent back by her ancestors because the Abhorsen's work is not done.
Badass: Practically a part of the Abhorsen's job requirements; even as a teenager Sabriel is very formidable both physically and magically, and as an adult in the later books she's become a legend in her own time for it.
Proper Lady: Her boarding school included etiquette classes, and Sabriel tends to fall back on them in social situations, particularly otherwise-awkward ones.
Refusal of the Call: In the beginning, Sabriel dislikes being called Abhorsen because her father would have to die in order to pass on his title, and she is in firm denial. As far as she's concerned, she's helping him out, and then joining him in his duties.
Silk Hiding Steel: In her introduction. Mind you, it doesn't hide for long as she's busy banishing one of the Dead from her school in the first few pages. Throughout the series she slays zombies with elegance and poise, rarely losing her composure.
When You Coming Home, Dad?: Not only does she have this problem with her father, but her duties stopping horrific undead monstrosities and radioactive magic constructs from killing everyone tend to cut into her time with her kids later.
Mogget looks like a well-fed white cat with malicious green eyes and a red collar, with a small bell on it. This, however, is only a temporary shape, forced upon him by someone or something long-forgotten. Now Mogget is bound to serve the Abhorsens, and he despises every minute of it. He provides information, sarcasm, and fish, for his own consumption. If the collar is ever loosened... your best bet is to run, and fast.
Defeat Means Friendship: With Sabriel, at least, and perhaps her father. With Sameth and Lirael he's far more reluctant to help, especially as he doesn't think much of the competence of the former.
Depraved Dwarf: Subverted with one of Mogget's other forms as an albino dwarf. He has hair as white as Mogget's fur and wears a belt around his waist where the bell hangs from. Also, he's not depraved, he just still likes to eat small creatures similar to his cat form.
Eldritch Abomination: Mogget's true form is an incredibly powerful Free Magic being that prefers the form of a humanoid torso atop a whirling tornado, all made of bright white fire.
Enigmatic Minion: Sort-of-heroic example. Nobody knows exactly where Moggert came from, what he is, or why he was first bound to serve the Abhorsens, but they do know that he will serve dutifully- so long as his collar stays on. He's actually Yrael, one of the Bright Shiners, bound as punishment for refusing to help the Seven against Orannis.
Feline Abomination: Looks like a small white cat (normally). Is actually a tremendously ancient and powerful free magic elemental and essentially a god being punished, as it turns out.
Hidden Agenda Villain: Well, sort of. Usually the agenda consists of attempting to violently murder the Abhorsen if he's unbound. Until the end.
I Fight for the Strongest Side: It's implied that the reason Yrael tried to stay neutral in the original conflict between the Seven and Orannis was because he didn't want to be on the losing side. Things didn't exactly go according to plan.
Neutral No Longer: Originally neutral in regards to the other eight Bright Shiners and was bound for his troubles. Over time Yrael has developed a liking to the living word, particularly fish, and got off the fence to fight Orannis.
Offscreen Teleportation: Mogget can be very stealthy when he wants to and has a tendency to pop up randomly around the heroes. Being what he is, it's unclear if he's actually teleporting or just channeling his cat side.
Sour Supporter: Again, Mogget is bound to serve the Abhorsens, but most of the time he'll make sure you know he's doing so under duress.
Releasing from the Promise: Sabriel releases Mogget/Yrael from his contract with the Abhorsens after helping them defeat the Big Bad. Despite this, he changes back to his cat form after the battle and remains with the Abhorsen.
The Resenter: Resents the Abhorsens for binding him. Shows similar resentment for his "siblings" the other Bright Shiners, most especially Kibeth, since she's the only one generally present for him to snark at.
Sabriel first finds Touchstone, frozen in a fighting position, transmogrified into a wooden ship's figurehead. Of course, Sabriel rescues him, as a hero should, but when he wakes up, he prompts questions. Who is he? Who sealed him as a figurehead, and why? All Sabriel suspects is that he's ashamed of something from his past, which is why he acts so irritatingly servile.
Badass in Distress: As a ship figurehead. But his hands were frozen in a spellcasting position, so it's clear from the start he's an able warrior.
The Berserker: When Sabriel is badly wounded, he completely flips out. Later assassination attempts result in similar. Either Touchstone inherited his madness from his father, or he is unstable due to trauma, namely being present at the breaking of a Charter Stone where his mother and half-sisters were killed in front of him.
Heroic Bastard: As an illegitimate son, he served as a retainer to his trueborn siblings.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: At first, he constantly puts himself down and acts like Sabriel's servant, even when she makes it clear it bothers her. He's ashamed of having failed the Royal Family, and allowing them to be killed.
Human Popsicle: He was turned into the figurehead of a ship. Mid-battle. He's understandably disoriented when he wakes up.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Yeah, trying describing the second and third books without giving away that he's the last survivor of the royal family.
Meaningful Rename: Mogget calls him Touchstone, a fool's name, in fact a Shakespearean fool's name. Touchstone grudgingly accepts it, and bears it for the rest of his life. He probably earned it by going berserk at the worst possible time.
Naked on Arrival: Sabriel finds it hard not to notice how anatomically correct the "statue" is.
Only Known by Their Nickname: "Touchstone" is referred to as "a fool's name" and while he initially objects when Mogget calls him this, he accepts it because of what he's done. At the end of Abhorsen we find out his real name is Torrigan.
Royal Blood: Illegitimate, but still plenty strong enough to effectively rule the Old Kingdom.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: He and Sabriel expend a lot of time—and in Touchstone's case, literally blood—to restore the Old Kingdom to order and prosperity.
A Greater Dead Adept, who has been battling the Abhorsens for the past two hundred years, and winning. Powerful in Free Magic and commander of terrible armies, he is singlehandedly responsible for the coup d'etat that obliterated the royal family two hundred years ago, and is hellbent on finishing the job, and breaking the Charter for good.
Came Back Strong: All the Greater Dead do this. Kerrigor did it moreso than most.
Cats Are Mean: Trapped as a cat by the end. And good lord, is he mean. Subverted in that, once he's sealed as a cat, he's never seen again and is said to be sleeping in Abhorsen's basement.
Dark Is Evil: The Dead in general are generally described as wraith-like creatures of smoke and shadow, at least when not attached to a particular corpse. Kerrigor goes through several forms during Sabriel, and each of them follows this aesthetic to a greater or lesser degree.
Evil Is Hammy: As Prince Rogir he was a flamboyant guy who loved being the center of attention. As Kerrigor, his taste for the theatrical is even more pronounced.
The Evil Prince: Real name: Prince Rogir of the Royal line. Murdered the rest of his family in order to break the Great Charter Stones and add to his power.
Evil Overlord: Of sorts. He's the dominant force in the Old Kingdom during the first book, but doesn't "rule" so much as "manage the chaos for his own purposes". That said, he was still the closest thing the Kingdom had to a ruler after the last regent died, albeit more in the vein of a warlord than a crowned head of state.
Evil Sorcerer: He possesses great knowledge of magic, and his combination of necromancy, Free Magic, Dead powers and royal magic makes him exceptionally formidable.
Hero Killer: Given what Badasses the royal line produces, it's quite a feat to murder all of them and near-permanently incapacitate the last. And then he becomes responsible for the death of Abhorsen Terciel, and has been fighting off Abhorsens for centuries, wearing the family down without being destroyed himself- again, quite a feat.
Humanoid Abomination: As a Greater Dead. At first, he apparently still looked human enough to fool his family, all accomplished Charter Mages. During most of Sabriel, he uses an artificial body that resembles a twisted, distorted version of his original appearance- Touchstone speculates that he likely was trying to recreate his mortal appearance, but had forgotten enough of what being human was like that he ended up monstrous instead. By the end of the book, even that body is destroyed when Terciel sacrifices himself, and Kerrigor just uses his raw spirit form- an amorphous, vaguely-humanoid giant of shadows, featureless save for his burning eyes.
Hybrid Monster: Why Kerrigor is just so dangerous. Not only is he a powerful Dead spirit and a Free Magic practioner, but he is a royal prince with the powers that come with that. He gives his followers a mark to link them to himself, increasing his own power in the perversion of the bond between Old Kingdom subjects and royals, where each one strengthens the other.
In the Blood: With the royal bloodline, who descend in a roundabout way from the original makers of the Charter, he is naturally good at commanding others and has a formidable will.
Sealed Evil in a Can: And once that part is done, he's locked up in the basement of the Abhorsen's House behind every warding that Sabriel and Touchstone between them can put up, with the intention that he'll sleep there until the end of the world.
Sdrawkcab Alias: His actual name is Rogir, or Rogirek to be formal; "Kerrigor" was a childhood nickname that stuck.
Self-Made Orphan: Murdered his mother and his sisters to break the Charter Stones.
Soul Jar: The reason that no Abhorsen was ever able to banish him fully is that he uses his original body- which he still maintains a connection to- as one of these; so long as it exists, he can always return to Life.
The Undead: And the evidence points to him having sought out the condition, rather than having it forced on him by a necromancer.
Was Once a Man: Like all Dead, he was originally a living person. Specifically, Touchstone's half-brother, Prince Rogir.
Villain Teleportation: A unique trait of Mordicants is their ability to take their physical bodies with them into Death, and then emerge somewhere entirely different still intact. This allows it to bypass virtually any physical obstacles in its pursuit of Sabriel.
The Voiceless: It sometimes makes verbal sounds, particularly loud howls, but despite being apparently sentient it never actually speaks during any of its appearances.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Sabriel is never exactly a light or cheerful book, but the Mordicant is the first enemy that Sabriel just can't defeat in a straight-up fight, and its presence adds a much greater tension and urgency to the plot.
Was Once a Man: Presumably, though we're given no indication of who or what its animating spirit really was in Life.
Sanar and Ryelle
When we meet them in Sabriel, these identical twins appear as the Voice of the entire tribe of Clayr. Their skills include speaking in unison, predicting the future, and flying Paperwings. In later books, we see that they have ascended to becoming the de facto leader of the Clayr, as their Sight is among the strongest in the Kingdom.
Mad Oracle: Especially in their first appearance, where they have a hard time speaking in a way Sabriel can follow linearly owing to being mentally Unstuck in Time. Less pronounced in Lirael and Abhorsen, possibly owing to them being older, or possibly because Lirael, who grew up around the Clayr, is just better at following their mannerisms and way of speaking.
Prescience Is Predictable: Toyed with. They see many fragments of possible futures, some of which are the results of Lirael failing.
Psychic Link: As twins they have a magical bond with each other.
Psychic Powers: Particularly of the prescient variety; part-and-parcel of being Clayr.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A lot of Clayr prophecies seem to work this way, at least when the Clayr themselves are the subject; they do things a certain way because they Saw themselves doing it that way.
Single-Minded Twins: They really come off this way. The only time they're given any distinction is when Sanar says that Ryelle is the better Paperwing pilot of the two. In the final confrontation, they wield one bell together instead of taking one bell each, further adding to this impression.
Twin Banter: They have a distinct tendency to finish each other's sentences and generally carry on a conversation as if they were one person, which, combined with their Mad Oracle tendencies can make following a conversation with them quite a headache.
Unstuck in Time: Mentally, at least; they live as much in the future as in the present, because their Sight is so strong.;
Wonder Twin Powers: They're both very strong in the Sight, and can combine their vision for stronger viewings.
The father of Sabriel, and the current Abhorsen when Sabriel begins. He wanders all over the Kingdom in fighting off the Dead, though his own sacrifices have been dear. He put Sabriel in a boarding school in Ancelstierre so that she would be safe and have something of a normal childhood... and because the Clayr foresaw that the Kingdom would need an Abhorsen who knew Ancelstierre well.
Good Parents: He clearly cares a lot for his daughter. However he often has to be dragged away by his crucial duty.
Heroic Sacrifice: Wielded Astarael against Kerrigor to drag him deep into death and buy time for Sabriel.
Mentor Occupational Hazard: He dies about three-quarters of the way through the first book, leaving Sabriel to take up his sword- literally and figuratively- as the new Abhorsen.
Characters introduced in Lirael and Abhorsen
A Daughter of the Clayr — who is forever an outsider from them. Lirael has been marked as an outcast from the beginning: her mother left the Glacier, came back pregnant, and never named her child's father, all contrary to tradition, before vanishing when the girl was five and dying just before her tenth birthday. As a teenager, Lirael desperately wishes to gain the Sight that is every Clayr's birthright, and the transition into adulthood. Without it, she waits, and waits, despondent and solitary. Looks like an assignment as a Third Assistant Librarian might lift her spirits... if it doesn't get her killed, first. But Lirael has no idea of what destiny awaits her beyond the Glacier's frozen walls.
Action Girl: She will admit she's not as good at swordfighting as she should be.
Badass Bookworm: The "badass" part is a requirement for Clayr librarians, due to some of the things lurking in the deeper shelves.
The Call Put Me On Hold: It gets back on the line when she finds a door with her name on in deep in the Clayr's Glacier and finds the tools of a Remembrancer.
The Chosen One: She's a type of Chosen One that hasn't been seen in centuries: being half-Clayr and half-Abhorsen makes her the only person capable of being a Remembrancer, on top of Abhorsen-In-Waiting.
Driven to Suicide: She seriously considers it during the first part of the book, and even gets up to the edge of the Glacier before the arrival of Sabriel and Touchstone forces her to leave.
Foreshadowing: Her tendency towards morbid thinking. At first it seems like it's due to her chronically low self-esteem. Which is part of it, but it also has a lot to do with her being Terciel's daughter.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Where other Clayr are tanned and blonde, Lirael has pale skin that burns, and black hair and eyes. Younger Clayr regard her as a freak, afraid that they'll turn out Sightless, like her.
Magic Mirror: The Remembrancer's mirror allows her to see the past if she walks into Death.
Magic Music: The Remembrancer's panpipes, which are basically a weaker version of a necromancer's bells.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: She learns how to make several animal "skins" with Charter magic, but they leave her with the residual instincts of whatever she becomes for some timeafterwards.
Parental Abandonment: Her mother left her at a young age and is reported dead before the beginning of Lirael.
The Unfavorite: Most Clayr manifest the sight before age fourteen, making Lirael stick out as a teenage "child" in their society, exposing her to unwanted pity and condescension.
The Disreputable Dog
The Disreputable Dog began life as a Charter sending that Lirael made to keep her company — or did she? Or did Lirael instead summon up some much older and more powerful spirit than she bargained for?Wonder away, the Dog's not here to answer questions. She's here to be chipper and friendly, Lirael's best friend and guide through any hardship or peril. Beware of her teeth, and her bark — the Dog can use Charter Spells and Free Magic, without being corrupted by it. Rest assured, she's a good dog in every sense of the word.Now, who's ready for a walk?
Animalistic Abomination: Most of the time she appears to be a normal dog that can talk, but she can shapeshift at will—usually only parts of her, like when she lengthens her toes to climb down a ladder.
The second child of Sabriel and Touchstone, and a Royal Prince. Since his sister Ellimere clearly got the royalty genes, what's left for Sameth is to be the Abhorsen — and he'll get around to studying the Book of the Dead one of these days, just as soon as he's wrapped up his education as a normal, magic-free boy in Ancelstierre. Though Sameth wants to be brave, he often fears he's not the warrior type, much less the Abhorsen type. He's quite certain he'll never live up to the glorious examples of his (distant) parents, so why bother, when tinkering away in his workshop is more fun?You'll never get out of destiny that easy, Sam.
Character Development: He starts off in Lirael uncomfortable as his role as Abhorsen-in-waiting, and feels out of place in the Old Kingdom. By the end of his journey with Lirael he's found a path that suits him better and become more responsible.
Chekhov's Gun: His hobby is tinkering and adding magic to it. Because he's a Wallmaker.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: When a magical attack strikes his cricket team en route back from a game, he springs into action, directing the boys on how to fight the Dead effectively, and going out to confront the necromancer at work himself.
Nicholas Sayre is a nephew of the High Minister in Ancelstierre, a member of an old and rich family, and therefore just the sort of fellow you'd expect to see attending school with Prince Sameth. More than that, Nick is Sam's best friend, even if he does regard Charter Magic as a scientific curiosity rather than a profound fact of the universe. Nick is bright, cheerful, and interested in everything. He's a natural leader and, like a true-born son of the industrialized south, loves to develop and work on projects. But a chance encounter with Hedge means that all of Nick's energy might be turned to a dark purpose...
Agent Scully: Highly skeptical of magic and the Old Kingdom; he's sure that it can somehow be explained by science.
Weirdness Censor: He sees the "Night Crew" (a horde of Dead Hands created by Hedge) as alive but diseased and Hedge as an odd but damned useful chap. This is because the fragment of Orannis is clouding his mind.
The first child of Sabriel and Touchstone, and the Crown Princess. Bossy — no, commanding — and meddling — rather, micromanaging — clearly Ellimere inherited the Royal Bloodline. She takes her duties as future queen very seriously, often practically ruling (with the aid of a Regent) while her father is out slaying Dead (i.e. nine days out of ten). Her current project is to slap some sense and work ethic into her layabout, good-for-nothing-brother, Sam. He'll be an efficient Prince and Abhorsen if it kills him. No, really.
Action Girl: Though she doesn't get to do much on page, she's mentioned to be an avid hunter and athlete and generally comes off as more than capable of handling herself.
Hero of Another Story: She's basically running the country (with help from a co-regent) during Sam and Lirael's adventures. A message she sends near the end of Lirael mentiones her calling up the Old Kingdom's armed forces to deal with the threat from Hedge and Chlorr.
Royal Blood: Explicitly so: her mother has the Abhorsen bloodline, but Ellimere clearly manifests the commanding and leadership abilities inherent in the Royal bloodline.
Red and Black and Evil All Over: Hedge always wears red plate armour, and as he becomes more inhuman he gains red fire in his eyes and black smoke on his head.
This Is Your Brain on Evil: Particularly notable in Abhorsen, he becomes increasingly inhuman the more he falls under the sway of Free Magic. Of course, since this comes with an increase in power, it's not like he minds...
Xanatos Speed Chess: His original plan was to implant a shard of the Destroyer's prison into Sam. When that failed and the shard ended up in Nick instead, he rolled masterfully with it.
Chlorr of the Mask
The main villain of Lirael, Chlorr is a necromancer who has extended her life through unholy means. Though her powers of commanding the Dead and Free Magic are terrible, she willingly submits herself to the power buried beside the Red Lake, when Hedge gives her but a taste of it. Only an Abhorsen can have a prayer of matching Chlorr in combat.
Ascended Extra: Getting her own book called Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen.
Badass Grandma: Several centuries old through the power of Free Magic and nearly an adult Sabriel's equal in power even before becoming a Greater Dead.
The Ghost: Plays a pretty important role in Lirael and Abhorsen but never actually shows up in person.
Karma Houdini: Seizes power midway through Abhorsen, and the end of the book gives no indication if he was deposed or not. "The Creature in the Case" reveals that his coup ultimately failed, but gives no indication of how or what happened to him afterwards.
What Hedge serves. What Chlorr serves. The enemy so terrible the Disreputable Dog will not speak its name. The thing that, long ago, was sealed beneath seven wards beside the Red Lake, but it has slowly cracked its prison open and its working its way to freedom. But what is it?You may be sorry you asked.
Demonic Possession: Controls Nicholas Sayre via a tiny sliver of the silver sphere, that was lodged into his heart by Hedge.
The Dreaded: Even the Disreputable Dog, who is actually Kibeth in disguise, is afraid of It, and with good reason.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Its form is of two bisected silver halves of a sphere. When brought together, they eventually cast an enormous eruption of heat, fire, light and concussive sound that completely vaporizes all life within vicinity, leaving a mushroom cloud...
The Eldritch Abomination Behind The Man: Chlorr, one of history's most powerful necromancers, asks Hedge why she should serve Hedge's master. Hedge instructs her to drink just a little water that trickles out from beneath the master's prison. And Chlorr at once agrees and serves It loyally.
No Biological Sex: It doesn't really seem to have anything comparable to a sex or gender identity, always being identified as "It" (with capital). Interestingly, this appears to be unique to It and not a trait of Shiners as a whole- Astarael and Kibeth are clearly female, while Yrael is clearly male, but Orannis is neither.
Numerological Motif: note There may be a better trope for this akin to Arc Number Ninth Bright Shiner, nine manifestations, nine second countdown before the Destroyer phase activates...
Omnicidal Maniac: Why does It try to wipe out everything wherever he goes? It just does. Implied is that it is in It's nature to obliterate life.
The Scottish Trope: The Disreputable Dog will write Its name, but doesn't say it and warns Lirael and Sam not to either.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Its current physical form is something like a huge, bisected silver ball buried in the ground.
Walking Spoiler: In case you couldn't tell. It's not until the last chapter of Lirael that we get a hint as to Its true nature.
Xanatos Gambit: Puts together a long-running plan to gain followers, make a son of the royal line his slave, and have his hemispheres united so he can destroy the world. Unfortunately for Orannis, It did not seem to foresee Yrael's decision.
Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Inverted. The corpses are not controlled by their brain but a spirit; even if the body is completely smashed into something even barely describable as human, they can still move.
Hive Mind: An entire flock of Gore Crows is powered by one dead spirit.
Glass Cannon: This has the unfortunate side-effect of the whole swarm dropping like stones if one crow is killed.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Hedge invokes this with two of his Gore Crows. Instead of making a huge swarm, he only made two from a spirit. One crow to watch Sam, the other to transfer its information. Conservation of Ninjutsu comes in when the individual crows are stronger, thanks to having half a spirit instead of a hundredth.
Puppeteer Parasite: A variant, where it gives mental commands instead of just taking over.
Came Back Strong: This is what happens when someone hangs around the later precincts in Death. Thankfully, only two are shown breaking out.
Humanoid Abomination: They're significantly more powerful than most Dead creatures and Free Magic monsters. The longer they stay in death, the more their shapes are distorted.
Mugging the Monster: In the third book, a gang of them make the mistake of believing that Lirael is just another low-level necromancer in over their head. One is Killed Off for Real, the rest wisely stay away.
Noodle People: It's a wasp-waisted thing with limbs and a neck that are way too long.
Our Monsters Are Weird: It's a stretched out hominid with cross-hatched, bulletproof skin, barbed clubs instead of hands and it's freaking purple.
Happiness in Slavery: Sort of. They're generally created to do one thing, and most are devoted to that one thing. It gets problematic when there are tons of them, they have essentially the same programming, and half of them are senile. See any scene at Abhorsen's House.
Sapient Ship: A much better example than Paperwings, as Finder is animate, fully capable of saving her passengers' lives, and apparently has limited forms of communication. She even smiles when Lirael kisses her cheek.
Troll: At High Bridge, she tilts slightly just to splash Mogget, who is accordingly irritated.