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Characters: The Book of the Dun Cow

Chauntecleer's Coop:


A rooster who is the main character and the leader of the Coop.
  • Anti-Hero: Type II.
  • The Atoner: For both his Dark and Troubled Past and Mundo Cani's fate.
  • Badass: He can fight very well for a chicken.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Chauntecleer was a thief and criminal, scheming to murder his land's leaders after his mother was killed by a wolf. An encounter with God allowed for a pre-story Heel-Face Turn.
  • Driven to Suicide: He does this to destroy the parasitic, evil worms which entered his body and maddened him.
  • The Determinator: During his fight with Cockatrice. This trait resurfaces in The Book of Sorrows', but plays a darker role.
  • Due to the Dead: If one of his animals dies, Chauntecleer will do anything in his power to ensure a proper burial, especially for Mundo Cani and Lord Russel.
  • Dying as Yourself: Because he killed the worms inside him along with himself, Chauntecleer is able to spend a few last moments with Pertelote.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Although well-meaning, Chauntecleer is haughty, quick to insult others, and can occasionally be quite selfish.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Is envious of Mundo Cani's connection with the Dun Cow until he finds out why.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Chauntecleer's most glaring negative trait is his terrible temper.
  • Hearing Voices: An effect of the worms which get inside him in The Book of Sorrows and slowly drive him mad.
  • The Hero
  • The Hero Dies: At the end of The Book of Sorrows.
  • Heroic BSOD: Quite prone to these, and when they hit, they hit hard.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his short temper and arrogance, Chauntecleer cares for his animals and his wife and especially, once he gets used to him, Mundo Cani.
  • Knight Templar: When driven mad by parasitic worms which have gotten inside of him from Wyrm's skeleton.
  • Loud of War: The Crows Potens, a useful weapon against the Basilisks.
  • Meaningful Name: Chauntecleer is the name of the rooster who appears in The Canterbury Tales.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Genuinely heroic and well-meaning, but his prickly temper, reluctance to trust others, and his vanity are his biggest character flaws.
  • My Greatest Failure: His abandonment of Mundo Cani just before the dog defeated Wyrm and saved the animals. This leads to the main conflict of the sequel, in which Chauntecleer becomes dangerously obsessed with setting things right.
  • Named Weapons: Gaff and the Slasher, his battle spurs.
  • Out With A Smile: His last words are a joke about how he was unable to bury Mundo Cani's skull because the dog's nose was too big.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite his temperamental nature and verbal abuse of Mundo Cani, Chauntecleer tries very hard to save the Wee Widow Mouse and is a devoted husband to Pertelote.
  • Pride: Chauntecleer's other major flaw.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: After the death of his children.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Chauntecleer's redemption in The Book of Sorrows comes after a fatal battle with some evil wolves.
  • Reformed Criminal
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: During the battle, Chauntecleer crows to disorient the Basilisks and later fights Cockatrice to the death.
  • Sanity Slippage: In The Book of Sorrows, Chauntcleer's quest to raise Mundo Cani and the effects of the worms feeding on Wyrm's corpse damage his mind and alienate him from his animals, even driving him to try and kill his loyal ally John Wesley Weasel.
  • Taking You with Me: Chauntecleer slashes himself open with Gaff and the Slasher to kill the evil worms inside him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the sequel, due to stress and infection with parasitic worms that encourage his worst tendencies.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Type I with Mundo Cani, who he constantly abuses verbally (but who he secretly cares deeply for).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: After the war, Chauntecleer decides to resurrect Mundo Cani and kill Wyrm by finding a way into the earth. In the process, Ferric the coyote's wife and child are killed in a stampede.

Mundo Cani

Chauntecleer's Number Two, a dog who came to the Coop and was allowed in by Chauntecleer. He is very depressed and is often seen crying, but his loyalty is proven when he sacrifices himself to stop Wyrm.


Chauntecleer's favorite hen and a refugee from Cockatrice's land. She is capable and intelligent, and cares deeply for him.
  • Broken Bird: A literal example. Pertelote endured sexual abuse from Cockatrice alongside all of her fellow hens, who eventually were killed. For a while she is worried about Chauntecleer, who looks almost exactly like her tormentor. She goes berserk when she first sees him, which is understandable given what she went through.
  • The Chick
  • Closer to Earth: She tends to be more terse and practical than Chauntecleer.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Pertelote once lived across the river, and was one of Senex's hens who was raped by Cockatrice. However, she kept her spirit by using a stone to break the Basilisk eggs in her body, and was one of the only hens to escape.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: It's Pertelote who comforts Chauntecleer during his last moments.
  • The Heart: Pertelote helps to bring out Chauntecleer's good side.
  • Meaningful Name: Pertelote was Chauntecleer's favorite hen in The Canterbury Tales, who misinterprets his dream warning against the fox.
  • Music for Courage: Pertelote sings to calm down the animals who are terrified of Cockatrice and the basilisks.
  • Plucky Girl: After being raped by Cockatrice, Pertelote uses a stone to break the Basilisk eggs in her body before they hatch. She can also hold her own in a fight, too, although Chauntecleer wasn't trying to harm her.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: When Chauntecleer is away in The Book Of Sorrows, he leaves Pertelote in charge of the Coop.
  • Women Are Wiser: Pertelote plays an important role in keeping the excitable Chauntecleer calm when he needs it.

John Wesley Weasel

A weasel and former thief who befriends the Wee Widow Mouse. He becomes one of Chauntecleer's best warriors, and has a special advantage against Basilisks.
  • Anti-Hero: Type III. He is significantly more ruthless when fighting than most of the other animals and is quick to call for the execution of Ebenezer Rat, but is without question on the heroes' side and is very protective of anyone he cares about.
  • The Atoner: Apparently, some time in the past, Chauntecleer kicked his ass but good, triggering a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Badass: One of the most badass characters in the book.
  • The Determinator: John Wesley Weasel continues to fight even after he suffers heavy wounds and loses an ear in the fight with the Basilisks.
  • The Berserker: Very much so, especially after the Wee Widow Mouse's death.
  • Heroic BSOD: Has a relatively minor one after the war.
  • I Can Still Fight: Even while recovering from his wounds, including a missing ear, he still wants to avenge the Widow's death.
  • Number Two: In The Book of Sorrows, John Wesley Weasel has become Chauntecleer's chief general.
  • Odd Friendship: With the Wee Widow Mouse.
  • One-Man Army: During the fight with the Basilisks, John Wesley's courage and badassery give the animals the strength to successfully drive the surviving Basilisks into the river, not to mention the several hundred that he kills himself.
  • Parental Substitute: For the Wee Widow Mouse's children, whose father died fighting against Toad.
  • Pet the Dog: John Wesley Weasel's relationship with the Widow's children helps to show that he isn't a bad guy at heart.
  • Red Herring: John Wesley is briefly suspected of eating the hens' eggs and is brought before Chauntecleer for questioning, but correctly points to Ebenezer Rat as the culprit.
  • Reformed Criminal: Implied to be one, although he has had a Heel-Face Turn since then.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: John Wesley Weasel viciously attacks the Basilisks to avenge the Widow's death. He kills so many that Cockatrice intervenes directly to stop him from completely wiping them out.
  • Third-Person Person: Sometimes calls himself "John Double-u of the Double-us."
  • Undying Loyalty: When the animals are afraid that Chauntecleer abandoned them to save himself, John Wesley Weasel is the only one who refuses to believe this. This carries over to the sequel, when Chauntecleer goes insane and tries to kill him.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After the Wee Widow Mouse's death, John Wesley Weasel becomes an unquestioned Badass, killing a slew of Basilisks on his own. Despite injuries. With one ear missing.
  • Wicked Weasel: Averted with him. Despite his ambiguous nature early in the book, John Wesley Weasel proves to be one of the good guys, and is disgusted by cowardice.

The Wee Widow Mouse (and family)

Another refugee of Cockatrice's kingdom, whose husband was killed by the Basilisks. She moves into Ebenezer Rat's hole with her children and befriends John Wesley Weasel. She is killed by a Basilisk which got into the Coop.

The Wild Turkeys

A group of turkeys who are the stupidest animals in the Coop. They are well-meaning but pouty and very dim-witted, and all of them die before the final battle.
  • Big Eater: Ocellata eats a stripe of Mundo Cani's hair and some pebbles.
  • The Ditz: The turkeys as a group are this. For example, they throw a pout en masse in protest of Mundo Cani saving their lives. Their stupidity is to the extent that they aren't aware if one of their own dies.
  • The Load: Ocellata and the other turkeys pout during war preparations, and do not help at all.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The mass death of the Wild Turkeys shifts the mood of the book to very, very dark.
  • Stupid Good: The turkeys are friendly enough, but are too stupid to be aware of danger.
  • Too Dumb to Live: All of them, but special mention goes to Thuringer, who died while giving a Basilisk a friendly greeting.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: A mild example in Ocelatta, who is too stupid to realize that Mundo Cani saved him from certain death.

The Pins

Chauntecleer and Pertelote's three sons. All of them are killed by the Basilisks.


The Pins' nurse and caretaker. She is very superstitious and uses her words very carefully. She is killed by the Basilisks with the Pins.

Peck and Scrape

Two members of the Mad House of Otter.
  • Dirty Coward: Both of them, but more so Scrape.
  • Heel-Face Turn: They do participate in the battle with Cockatrice, if unwillingly.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Chauntecleer punishes Scrape for trying to desert by dropping him in with the Weasels, rivals and enemies of the Otters.
  • Playful Otter: Averted. Scrape and Peck, along with the rest of the Mad House of Otter, are careless and something of Dirty Cowards.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Scrape and Peck try this on Chauntecleer. He has none of it, and delivers some well-deserved karma.

Tick-Tock the Black Ant

A hardworking ant who is friendly to Chauntecleer and the Pins.


A deer who is a member of Chauntecleer's army. Despite his wary nature, he takes part in the fight against the Basilisks. He doesn't make it.

Lord Russel

A fox who is a good friend of Chauntecleer. He is extremely chatty, making him seem cleverer than he really is. He helps look after the Pins, and is indirectly responsible for their deaths. He later dies of illness in The Book of Sorrows.
  • Came Back Wrong: After his death of infection, Wyrm's evil essence briefly reanimates Russel as a zombie.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Despite the fact that Lord Russel is a fox, Chauntecleer is willing to leave his children alone with him. This has fatal results, although the killer is a Basilisk, not Russel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Lord Russel discovers that rue means protection from Basilisks before the other characters do.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Played with. While he isn't stupid, Lord Russel isn't as clever as he or the Pins think he is.
  • Due to the Dead: After Russel's death, Chauntecleer goes out of his way to ensure that the fox gets a proper burial, resorting to a Burial at Sea at Wyrmsmere when the corpse reanimates and has to be re-killed.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: A heroic and well-meaning one, although his Little Known Facts contribute to the deaths of the Pins and Beryl.
  • Meaningful Name: Russel is named after the fox who appears in The Canterbury Tales.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lord Russel is genuinely remorseful for his (unintentional) role in the deaths of the Pins, and is eventually forgiven by Chauntecleer.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Lord Russel specializes in making lengthy, impressive-sounding speeches that are redundant or mean nothing at all.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Russel dies of his injuries at the beginning of The Book Of Sorrows.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Because the Pins sneak out of the Coop to play with Lord Russel, Basilisks kill them.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Biting Basilisks to death during the war infects Russel's mouth, stopping him from talking and eventually killing him, both slowly and painfully.

Ebenezer Rat

A rat who lived in Chauntecleer's Coop and ate the hens' eggs. Chauntecleer drives him away with the help of Tick-Tock. He later returns to the Coop and dies in battle with a basilisk.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Chauntecleer absolves him after his death.
  • Heel Face Door Slam
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: He has this reputation. However, Chauntecleer ruins it by bringing him out and planting feathers on his back.
  • Mutual Kill: Ebenezer Rat manages to kill a Basilisk in a fight, but is mortally injured in the process.
  • Red Herring: John Wesley Weasel incorrectly accuses Ebenezer of killing Chauntecleer's children as revenge for his exile, only to be proven wrong when the rat is found dying after killing a Basilisk.
  • Starter Villain: Ebenezer is skilled in using his teeth and isn't reluctant to kill Chauntecleer, but is far from as much of a threat as Wyrm, Cockatrice and the Basilisks.
  • The Voiceless: The only animal character in the novel who doesn't talk, and it is unclear whether or not this is by choice.
  • Would Hurt a Child: His eating the hens' eggs is treated like this.
  • You Dirty Rat: Very much so. However, Ebenezer Rat is still a Keeper of Wyrm and is nowhere near as bad as the later villains.


One of Chauntecleer's hens, she becomes an important character in The Book of Sorrows during a period of great hunger in Chauntecleer's community.
  • Ascended Extra: In The Book of the Dun Cow, Chalcedony is only a background character. In The Book of Sorrows, she takes a more significant role.
  • Broken Bird: In the sequel.
  • Ill Girl: Her illness leaves her crippled, although she doesn't die.
  • Meaningful Name: Chalcedony is a kind of mineral that is made of quartz and moganite.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Chalcedony is so hungry during the famine that she is only able to eat empty locust shells.

Black Lazarus

A black beetle who digs graves for the animals. Chauntecleer calls on him to bury Lord Russel.

Across the River


A gigantic serpent, so large that he can coil around the world. Although he was sealed into the Earth by God, he can communicate through dreams. He is the Big Bad of the book.

  • Altum Videtur: Wyrm speaks in Latin, the "language of the powers".
  • Big Bad: Emphasis on the "big" part.
  • Captain Ersatz: Of Satan and the Midgard Serpent of Norse Mythology.
  • The Chessmaster: Very good at manipulating others into doing what he wants.
  • The Corrupter: Wyrm tempts Senex into birthing Cockatrice and beginning the true conflict in the book by promising to make the rooster young and respected again through his son.
  • The Corruption: Even death and decay doesn't stop Wyrm's evil. The worms feeding on him inherit his powers to some degree and enter Chauntecleer's body, driving him insane.
  • Dream Weaver: A very, very nasty one. He uses this ability to manipulate Senex and tempt him, and later to harass Chauntecleer.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Finally Found the Body
  • The Man Behind the Man: To Cockatrice, his "son".
  • Mind Rape: His specialty.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Wyrm hates the universe and plots to destroy it. It is mentioned that he is able to kill angels if he wants to.
  • Posthumous Character: Even after he is permanently trapped inside the earth and dies, Wyrm still causes problems, his essence reanimating Lord Russel and worms from his corpse corrupting Chauntecleer.
  • Our Dragons Are Different
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Wyrm was sealed inside the Earth by God to prevent him from destroying everything. He is held in by the natural goodness of the animals.


The Dragon and Wyrm's agent on Earth. Cockatrice was born when Wyrm tricked an old rooster named Senex into fathering its son. He murders his father before forcing the hens to produce an army of basilisks for him.


An old rooster who Wyrm fools into fathering Cockatrice through dreams. He is eventually murdered by Cockatrice.


A toad who Senex forces to nurse Cockatrice's egg. Later he acts as Cockatrice's voice and enforcer, but is killed by the Basilisks anyway.


Cockatrice's army of slimy, vicious black serpents. They are the children of Cockatrice and Senex's hens, who he raped repeatedly to produce them.
  • Achilles' Heel: Basilisks hate loud noise, which is why Chauntecleer's Crows Potens have such an effect on them. Rue offers some protection, too. Both weaknesses are exploited by the animals.
  • Always Chaotic Evil
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One Basilisk hides in the body of Oscellata the wild turkey, killing the Wee Widow Mouse a chapter later.
  • Dark Is Evil
  • Mooks
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. During battle, the Basilisks fight ruthlessly and brutally, and many times killing one ends in the death of the attacker.
  • Neck Snap: The Basilisks' method for attacking larger animals is to fasten themselves around the victim's neck and squeeze.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: All of the Basilisks have red eyes.
  • Walking Wasteland: The Basilisks wilt plants simply by touching them, and their bite is fatal almost instantly.

The Canyon


A coyote who lives in a canyon with his wife, Rachel, and his children, Benoni, Hopsacking and Twill. He knows about the existence of a hole which leads into the earth, which Chauntecleer believes will allow him to save Mundo Cani.
  • All-Loving Hero: It's Ferric's love that eventually helps to snap Chauntecleer out of his delirium and realize what his actions have done.
  • Forgiveness: He is able to forgive Chauntecleer for the deaths of his family.
  • Those Wily Coyotes: A heroic example.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His arrival leads to Chauntecleer's paranoia intensifying and eventually the deaths of his wife and children when the rooster starts a stampede during an attempt to kill John Wesley Weasel.
  • Walking the Earth: Temporarily, to find food for his family. This is how he finds Chauntecleer's Coop.

The Bird With No Tongue

A bird who is only able to speak gibberish. A long time ago, she was tricked by Wyrm into drinking his essence, causing her to lose her voice and twisting her body.
  • Break the Cutie: Wyrm broke her fairly thoroughly, for little reason outside of sheer meanness. A visit from the Dun Cow helps her.
    • She sits at the tunnel into the earth, thinking she is preventing others from going down. She winds up serving as a lure for Chantecleer, which was part of the reason Wyrm does this to her.
  • The Speechless: Thanks to Wyrm, she can only say "Jug jug" and "Tereu".
  • Waif Prophet: Despite her weakness, she is the only one able to find the tunnel into the earth, which makes Chauntecleer obsessed with finding her.


The Dun Cow

A dun-colored cow who is implied to be one of God's angels. She has prophetic abilities and was sent to Earth to guide Chauntecleer and Mundo Cani.

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