Characters: The Death Gate Cycle

The Death Gate Cycle has Loads and Loads of Characters, partially because all seven worlds are visited and re-visited over the course of the seven-book series. This is a list of some of the prominent ones.

The Patryn


A "Runner" whose goal was to escape the Labyrinth (as opposed to "Squatters" who camp and continue the species), Haplo is one of the few to actually succeed. He is introduced as a Villain Protagonist doing reconaissance for Lord Xar, with the express mission of spreading chaos and discord throughout the four worlds so that Lord Xar can arrive as a savior later. Of course, then Character Development happens, and Haplo begins to mature from The Dragon of the Big Bad of a Sealed Evil in a Can organization into The Hero (well, an Anti-Hero at least) and force for peace. Haplo is quiet, unassuming and The Nondescript, aside from his Power Tattoos and his ever-present Canine Companion.

Haplo appears in all seven books.

Lord Xar

The leader of the Patryn, the first of them to escape the Labyrinth... and the only one of them with the testicular fortutide to voluntarily re-enter it. Which he does, on a daily basis, to help more of his people escape. Oh, and he's also an Evil Overlord who plans to Take Over the World (or rather, all seven worlds).

Xar appears in some form in all seven books.

  • Anti-Villain
  • Asskicking Equals Authority
  • Badass Grandpa (big time. He may look the part of the elderly wizard, but he's every bit as much of a Magic Knight as any of his followers)
  • The Chessmaster
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good (As he falls into Sang-drax's influence, he loses the ability to grasp that not all people are motivated by personal ambition)
  • Evil Overlord (at least half averted; he may be an Overlord but he is hardly evil at least until he starts listening to Sang-drax)
    • Well, it's all in the perspective. He cares deeply for his own people (until the spoilered events, anyway), but barely spares a thought for the well-being of the Mensch. At one point he seriously considers a mass genocide simply because their stupidity gets on his nerves.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
  • Meaningful Name (Xar is speculated to have derived from the Russian "czar", which of course is itself derivative of "Caesar".)
    • Meaningful Rename (Xar himself has long since forgotten what his birth name was, and since he's old enough to be the grandfather or possibly great-grandfather of every other Patryn character in the series, nobody else ever knew it)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist


A Patryn woman whom Haplo loved. They were happy together in the Labyrinth for a short time, but then she left him. Haplo speculates that she was pregnant. He was right. Later, after she too escapes, Xar brands Haplo a traitor and assigns her to kill him.

Marit appears in Elven Star (flashback only), Serpent Mage (flashback only), Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.


Haplo and Marit's daughter.

May or may not have appeared in Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.

  • Disappeared Dad / Missing Mom: Never knowingly met her father, and her mother gave her over to be raised by Squatters shortly after her birth. This scenario is typical among the children of Runners; the fact that Haplo has any memory of his parents at all is unusual among Patryns.
  • The Ghost: She never provably appears in the series. Her main impact on the story is the implication of her existence to her father and how it affects his relationship with her mother once he learns she exists at all. Haplo's attempts to find her prove futile, as Rue is a very common name in the Labyrinth.
  • Happily Adopted: In the epilogue, Haplo and Marit adopt numerous girls named Rue, whom they love equally. One of them theoretically could be their actual daughter.


Headman of the city of Abri, the only permanent settlement in the Labyrinth. Partially descended from Sartan exiles banished to the Labyrinth for opposing the Sundering. Becomes leader of the Patryns after Xar's death.

Appears in Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.

The Sartan


Alfred was but a young man when the Sartan on Arianus put themselves into stasis. He was an old man when he woke up. As the Last of His Kind on Arianus, he went undercover, posing as a human and engaging in all sorts of shenanigans rather than use his enormous power: for instance, he faints when confronted with danger. He is also The Klutz writ large. But then he meets Haplo and discovers that the Patryns, formerly Sealed Evil in a Can, have escaped. Then Character Development, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork (on Haplo's part) and Friendly Enemies (on Alfred's part) set in, and Alfred begins to come into his own as the other main character of the series... a clumsy, balding Sartan whose Level in Badass is not because of his own cowardice, but despite it.

Alfred appears in all novels of the series except the second one, though his appearance in the fifth is via Flash Back.


Samah is the leader of the Council of Seven. It was his idea to sunder the world. He is also charismatic, idealistic and just sympathetic enough to make you wonder.

Samah appears in Serpent Mage, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate (flashback only).

Arianus, the World of Air

Hugh The Hand

A member of the Brotherhood of the Hand, Professional Killers to the core, Hugh is hired to assassinate the crown prince of the Volkaran Isles, Prince Bane. He is hired to do so by... his father, the King of the Volkaran Isles, King Stephen. Hilarity Ensues, especially since Prince Bane's manservant, a butler named Alfred Montbank, chooses to tag along for the ride...

Hugh appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

Prince Bane

The adopted child of King Stephen and Queen Anne... If by "adopted" we mean "My extremely powerful wizard father stole their actual child and put me in his place instead, and I'm here to help him Take Over the World, and everyone knows it, and I don't even have to hide it because he gave me an Orphan's Plot Trinket that lets me talk to him and also casts Charm Person on anyone who sees me. Oh, and, I'm an Enfant Terrible and a Bastard Understudy."

Bane appears in Dragon Wing, Fire Sea (flashback only), and The Hand of Chaos.

Limbeck Bolttightener

A member of the "Gegs," dwarves who live on the continent of Drevlin and spend their entire lives in service of 1) an Eternal Engine called the Kicksey-Winsey, and 2) the Welves, their gods. Limbeck is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander in that he is always asking "Why," and is convinced that these "Welves" are actually elves from the Tribus Kingdom. This is why the High Froman ("foreman", not anybody else) decides to execute him by throwing him off the edge. Limbeck falls to a low island where he comes across a man with glowing Power Tattoos and a dog...

Limbeck appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.


Bane's father. A completely Evil Sorcerer and proud of it, he concocts a plan to rule Arianus purely for his own gain, though he pitches himself to his fellow mysteriarchs (powerful human wizards) as a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to preserve their culture and prominence among the human kingdoms. Very clever, though not quite the Magnificent Bastard he thinks he is, largely because of a need to see his enemies squirm and a complete disregard for all life that isn't him. Both these traits come back to bite him hard in the end.

Sinistrad appears in Dragon Wing.

  • Bald of Evil
  • Card-Carrying Villain
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe to Iridal when they were both young. She's largely wisened up by now, but he can still invoke it when he needs to control her.
  • Evil Sorcerer
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Meaningful Name
    • Meaningful Rename: Deliberately changed his name to fit the persona he was crafting for himself- we never learn his real name.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. He seems at first to genuinely care about Bane, but even that's just part of the plan. Iridal is not happy when she finds out...
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Ask him up front and he'll freely admit what he's doing and why. This is not because of any sense of honesty on his part but because he loves it when his enemies know what he's planning, but are helpless to stop it. He will lie though if there's no other way to advance a scheme.

Lady Iridal

Sinistrad's wife and Bane's mother. Though a powerful mysteriarch in her own right, Sinistrad has used a combination of charisma and fear to keep her under control for years, and she is less a willing participant in his plots than just another pawn. With Hugh's help she breaks free from Sinistrad's control and kills him, only to have Bane snatched away by Haplo. She devoted herself to searching for him, but finally was forced to admit that he was beyond saving and killed him herself to save King Stephen's life.

Iridal appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, and Into the Labyrinth.

Paithan Quindiniar

An elf trader, son of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who wants to fly to the stars in a rocket, Paithan begins the story by trying to sell some elven weapons to the dwarves through human intermediaries. Then one of those humans tries to seduce him. Then the dwarf buyer informs them that his entire tribe has been wiped out by walking death giants called tytans. Then those tytans knock on the Quindiniar household's front door...

Paithan appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.

Aleatha Quindiniar

Paithan's sister, a wealthy trollop known for using her fortune and beauty to get whatever she wants. Then the tytans show up...

Aleatha appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.

  • Gold Digger: Was planning to marry the powerful Lord Durndrun purely for the title and status it would bring her. This gets called off when her fiancee (And just about everyone else in Equilan) is killed by the tytans.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Roland

Roland and Rega Redleaf

The human intermediaries, Roland and Rega are brother and sister, but pretend to be married so that Rega can pretend to fall in love with Paithan so that Roland can pretend to be offended and the two of them can get a bigger share of the profit. A Simple Plan. What Could Possibly Go Wrong??

Roland and Rega appear in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.

  • Action Girl (Rega)
    • Faux Action Girl (Rega is supposed to be very tough, but we don't get too many chances to see it. Probably justified, though, by the fact that she never winds up pitted against someone in her weight class- not much even the best human warrior can do against a tytan...)
  • Brother-Sister Team
  • The Con
  • Interspecies Romance (Rega with Paithan, Roland with Aleatha)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold (both of them qualify, though Roland has more "jerk" and Rega has more "heart of gold".)


A prince of the dwarven tribe, who is attempting to buy elven weapons to defend his people against the tytans. Last of His Kind, now that his tribe's been wiped out.

Drugar appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.


An eccentric old man who claims to be a wizard. And James Bond. And/or Dorothy Gale. And/or Luke Skywalker. His pet dragon constantly has to keep him straightened out. He's probably insane. Or maybe it's just Obfuscating Stupidity... No, he's just insane. (No, seriously, he is. But when you find out why he's insane, you totally don't blame him.)

Zifnab appears in Elven Star, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Back from the Dead (another one of his eccentricities. He does a Heroic Sacrifice twice, to save the same characters each time. [The second one is revealed quite directly to be a sham.])
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall: Constantly.
  • Eccentric Mentor
  • Go Mad from the Revelation (he is a Sartan who opposed the Sundering and stayed on Earth during The End of the World as We Know It, attempting without success to save the millions abandoned there.)
    • Action Survivor (and if that wasn't enough, Samah then condemned him, along with all the other Sartan dissenters, to the Labyrinth. Zifnab is believed to have been the first to escape it, after which he wrote a huge collection of books for other escapees to educate themselves with. This library forms the foundation of Xar's knowledge base.)
  • Small Name, Big Ego
  • The Slow Path: The Sundering was twelve (Sartan) generations ago. The Sartans of Chelestra (and Alfred, a generation or so later) spent most of that time in hibernation. Zifnab didn't.

Zifnab's Dragon

Zifnab's constant companion, a highly intelligent but bloodthirsty being kept in check only by a powerful spell that makes him think he's a butler. Or is he...

The dragon appears in Elven Star, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.



A minor noblewoman of the Sartan capitol city of Necropolis, and a necromancer in charge of maintaining the city's support staff of cadavers. She and her husband Jonathan are Happily Married. When Haplo is kidnapped by the Sartan king, Dynast Kleitus, the two of them volunteer to help Alfred rescue him. This is where things go Off the Rails: Jera is killed by a guard, and Jonathan, distraught, brings her back to life. But because he didn't wait the required three days for her soul to depart, she Came Back Wrong: now she is a "lazar," eternally doomed to neither life nor death, and Axe Crazy with hatred for both...

Jera appears in Fire Sea.


A minor nobleman in the Sartan capitol city of Necropolis, and a necromancer in charge of maintaining the city's support staff of cadavers. He is Happily Married to Jera. After her messy resurrection, he joins Haplo and Alfred in their flight, eventually entering a room fraught with Abarrachi history, the "Chamber of the Damned." Strangely, though, entering the chamber brings on a feeling of peace and contentment to the three. Jonathan is eventually turned into a lazar as well, but his adventures are not over...

Jonathan appears in Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • The Atoner (for what he did to Jera)
  • Genius Ditz (in life- he's a very skilled necromancer, but is otherwise rather naive and absent minded. This changes following his religious experience)
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness (the only lazar to be at peace with himself, and—more pertinently—the only being, living or otherwise, who can undo a lazar and separate soul from corpse.)
  • Necromancer

Dynast Kleitus

The ruler of Necropolis, the last surviving city on Abarrach. As a ruler, he is Affably Evil, offering his enemies drinks and polite gaming sessions, while on the side poisoning Haplo so that he can study the runes on the Patryn's body (keep in mind that the Sartan of Abarrach have lost much of their knowledge of magic, having had more important things to occupy themselves with; to them, Haplo and the power he brings might be the difference between life and extinction). When he gets turned into a lazar, though, he goes all Evil Overlord and manages to keep his rulership of Abarrach despite the lazar being Always Chaotic Evil in general. This tells you something about just how Axe Crazy Kleitus is.

Kleitus appears in Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.


The chancellor to a small tribe of Abarrach natives who, under the leadership of Prince Edmund, travel to Necropolis seeking sanctuary. A fair amount of the third book is narrated from his point of view. While he serves mostly as a viewpoint character in Fire Sea, the narrative returns to Abarrach in Book Seven, where he comes into more prominence as the desperate-but-strong-willed, and very canny, leader of the remaining Abarrach population.

Balthazar appears in Fire Sea and The Seventh Gate.

  • Action Survivor
  • Anti-Villain (in Fire Sea he takes a somewhat antagonistic role despite having good motivations. He becomes a more purely heroic character in Seventh Gate)
  • Evil Chancellor (subverted. He fits almost all the stereotypes, but is a good man who only wants the best for his people and his prince. To put it in his own words: "I am not an evil man. But I am a desperate one.")
  • Mediator (again, too smart to see anything but the truth. This comes in handy late in the series: a time comes when the Sartan could use a leader who will broker a peace with the Patryn...)
  • Necromancer



A dwarf woman (yes, you heard that right) who is the princess of her tribe. Her two best friends are Alake, the princess of the human population, and Sabia, the princess of the elven tribe. All three races have worked together on a set of submarines called the Sun-Chasers, which are set to do just that: the seasun of Chelestra is migrating, and the mensch must follow it or freeze to death. But then the subs are destroyed by horrendous slimy serpents, who demand that the three princesses be sacrificed to them...

Grundle appears in Serpent Mage.


A young elf prince who is betrothed to Sabia. He deliberately restrains her and goes to sacrifice himself in her place. Of course, the sub runs over Haplo as they travel, so things go Off the Rails from there, with the "dragon-snakes" swearing allegiance to Haplo. Haplo returns the trio of kids to their families, and helps the mensch plan the next leg in their migration: there is only one landmass in Chelestra that will remain unfrozen no matter where the sea-sun goes, but it is already populated by the Sartan...

Devon appears in Serpent Mage.

  • Crossdresser (his Paper-Thin Disguise)
  • Driven to Suicide (after he returns and finds out that Sabia was also Driven to Suicide by the thought of living without her betrothed and best friends. Gets some Clean Pretty Reliable from Haplo to straighten him out.)
  • Non-Action Guy (the elves of Chelestra know the basics of how to use weapons, but since it's been generations since they actually went to war, this isn't good for much besides entertainment at parties and they know it)
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage (he and Sabia were an arranged couple who were very much in love so much so that she killed herself when she thought the serpents had him)


The princess of the human kingdom of Phondra, she is another one of Grundle's childhood friends. She falls in love with Haplo shortly after meeting him.

Alake appears in Serpent Mage.

The Serpents

Called varyingly serpents (by the Sartan) and dragon-snakes (by the mensch), these creatures are literally evil incarnate, created by the hate and fear of the mortal soul and given physical form by the Sundering. Their power is absolute, matched within the series only by their cousins and opposites, the dragons of Pryan, but they are very cunning as well, using their shape-changing to appear in whatever form suits their current purposes. They're immortal themselves, but have a real fondness for the painful deaths of others, whether inflicted by themselves or a third party. Though only introduced in Serpent Mage, they are the ultimate antagonists of the series.

The serpents appear in Serpent Mage, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.


A dragon-snake who begins working undercover in Arianus. While he is not the leader of the dragon-snakes in Serpent Mage, he grows into that position in The Hand of Chaos, and serves as The Rival and a Recurring Boss to Haplo.

Sang-drax appears in Serpent Mage (unnamed), The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.