Although the Tortall books have Loads and Loads of Characters
, it's currently practical to keep them all in one spot because the protagonists from one series end up as supporting characters in the next—or extras take center stage.note
Watch out for spoilers.
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Alanna of Trebond (and Olau)
The protagonist of the "Song of the Lioness" quartet, Alanna switches places with her brother to train as a knight despite being a girl. For eight years she disguises herself as a boy, makes friends both among royalty and thieves, as well as some very powerful enemies.
Alanna is a very capable fighter, especially with a sword, and a powerful Mage, though for years she was afraid of using it. She is rash, somewhat arrogant and has a terrible temper.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Lightning, her sword. Helps that magic is involved.
- Abusive Parents: Her father neglected her and Thom after his wife had died giving birth to the twins.
- Action Girl: Later upgraded to Action Mom.
- Animal Talk: With Faithful.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: As the wife of a baron and a regular knight she's relatively low in the noble hierarchy (although the Trebond family is very old and noble). As the King's Champion of Tortall, she speaks with the authority of the Crown when neither the king nor queen is near.
- Badass Grandma: By the time of Daughter of the Lioness she's well into middle age and still kicking just as much ass. Plus she's literally a grandmother-to-be by the end.
- Better as Friends: With Jonathan. They both marry other people, but remain extremely close.
- Bling of War: She has gold-washed mail picked out with amethysts for fancy occasions, but she can fight in it if she has to.
- Bully Hunter: Alanna is small and weak, but she learns the skill to make Ralon leave her alone for good.
- The Champion: "King's Champion" is the position given to the best knight in the realm. Post-Lioness Rampant, Alanna has held this position as Tortall's first female Champion. At the end of Trickster's Queen, chronologically the last book in the series, she's held it for well over twenty years.
- Character Tics: She fiddles with her emberstone pendant when she's worried.
- Combat Medic: In In The Hand Of The Goddess, where she learns to control her healing magic.
- Cool Horse: Moonlight, then later Darkmoon.
- Cosmic Plaything: For the Mother Goddess. She doesn't mind as the missions are for Tortall's good.
- Custom Heraldry: A lioness rampant on a red field rather than the Trebond arms (black tower on yellow field).
- Fiery Redhead: She has flaming red hair, a wicked temper and, strangely, purple eyes (which match the colour of her Gift).
- First Love: Hers is Jonathan.
- God Was My Copilot: Heck, the second book is titled In the Hands of the Goddess.
- Happily Adopted: Myles adopted her in the third book.
- Happily Married: With George. Their daughter sees them as Sickeningly Sweethearts, as teenagers do.
- The Hero: Of the first quartet. She overcomes internal and external struggles, loves and loses, and her actions help to save her king and country.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Alanna, being a hero herself, was romantically pursued by the three greatest heroes in the story, namely, her Warrior Prince (Jonathan), The King of Thieves (George), and The Shang Dragon (Liam).
- Gut Feeling: She hates Roger on sight even though she admits herself she has no actual reason to. (He gives her actual reasons soon enough.) She also Just Knows that George is a good person despite being a thief and brings the actual crown prince to befriend him.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: She says this to George. They ruin it anyway.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Seen best when Alanna and her apprentices have to defend the Bloody Hawk tribe from being attacked.
- Knight Errant: Alanna does this in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man to avoid the scandal from the reveal of her gender and to find adventure.
- Magic Knight: Though she fears her magical abilities in the beginning.
- The Magnificent: Known as Alanna the Lioness. And to the Bazhir, she's first the Burning Brightly One and then Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
- Mercy Kill: Does this for a badly wounded soldier friend during the Tusaine War.
- Mighty Whitey: She becomes a respected shaman to the Bloody Hawk Tribe in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (because she killed the last one, though she didn't mean to).
- Never Mess with Granny: As of the end of Daughter of the Lioness.
- One of the Boys: Considering that she spent the better part of a decade posing as a boy this was inevitable, and even once the cat's out of the bag she still has many masculine and aggressive mannerisms. These traits helped her maintain the illusion for as long as she did.
- The Paragon: In The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, according to Bazhir law she must be the tribe's shaman until she trains a new one to replace her or someone kills her and takes her place. So Alanna selects three Gifted children of the tribe, Ishak, Kara, and Kourrem, and begins to train them in magic.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother died giving birth to her and her father went into a deep depression as a result, neglecting his children until he sent them away when they were ten.
- Parental Substitute: Myles looked after her during her training years and they become close friends. He would eventually adopt Alanna.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Physically smaller than almost all opponents she faces, but makes up for it with speed and skill.
- Red Baron: Alanna is frequently addressed as just "Lioness" by other knights.
- Redheaded Heroine: Her flaming red hair is one of her trademarks.
- Self-Proclaimed Knight: In the first half of the quartet she pretends to be a boy so that she can train for knighthood.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: In Lioness Rampant. Jon doesn't recognize her in a dress.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Faithful.
- Spanner in the Works: Alanna being Alanna foils both of Roger's attempts to kill Jon in The First Adventure; he couldn't predict that some new kid with untrained but powerful healing abilities would just happen to be in the city during the Sweating Sickness. After sending Jon to the Black City fails, Roger cottons on and starts singling her out for assassination attempts too.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: As a ten-year old she starts dressing as a boy in order to train for knighthood.
- Taking the Bullet: Rather taking the arrow for Jon in a battle during the Tusaine War, but it grazes her rather than hitting her directly.
- Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
- Once she's ready to take on Ralon, she goes to the training yard and starts insulting him loudly in front of the other lads so that he has no choice but to answer her in a fair fight.
- Alanna was forbidden by Jon to challenge men to duels on personal grounds after becoming a knight, simply because if she kept doing so every time she was insulted, Tortall's population would drop rapidly.
- What Beautiful Eyes: Numair notes that "her eyes are extraordinary", and other characters gush as well. It is also noted that she is otherwise merely reasonably pretty, and certainly not a stunning beauty on the level of, say, Thayet.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She really hates the idea of drowning, especially after an attempt on her life is made this way. Naturally, the Chamber makes use of this during her Ordeal.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Killed a Bazhir shaman and so has to replace him.
- You Say Girl Like A Bad Thing:
- She has this attitude towards herself in the first book. She hates that she's a girl and thinks herself unworthy of her friends solely because of that fact.
- The Shang Dragon found it distasteful when he saw The Lioness in a dress. She found it distasteful that he found it distasteful.
Thom of Trebond
Alanna's twin brother. While Alanna was always fearful of her magic, Thom relished in his, and trained to become a mage. Over the years he grew more and more distant as he became engrossed in acedemia, magic and the power it offerred. It's often stated that the only person he truly loves is his sister.
- Break the Haughty: His instructors tried and failed to teach him humility. It took a terminal magical illness and endangering the realm to do so.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Pity makes him really angry.
- Ineffectual Loner: He eventually grows to disdain everyone except for his twin sister, and he's even distant with her when he reaches adulthood. Alanna and her friends often remark how unhealthy this is since he's basically stewing in his own sense of superiority.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Mainly self-imposed, as he lacks interest in socializing with anyone but Alanna and believes that his teachers envy him.
- It's All About Me: He puts near-lethal wards on his "experiment" in the third book to keep any mages from messing with it; when Eleni Cooper tries an innocuous spell to figure out what it even is, she's laid up for days. George is understandably pissed as hell, but Thom says it was her own fault for meddling. And the fact that said experiment is to resurrect Roger, who tried to kill his sister multiple times, solely to prove that he's That Good at magic? Yeaaaaah.
- Lonely at the Top: He soon learns that there's a price for being the best.
- Loners Are Freaks: He's disinterested in making friends or getting close to people unless they can directly benefit him somehow, something the others don't view favorably.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Before he takes his exams, he pretends to be stupid and even suggests that Alanna put it about that her twin brother is a dullard, since he doesn't want to get Roger's attention. Once he does graduate, he sheds this, and his teachers are completely freaked out.
- Parental Abandonment: His mother died giving birth to him and his father went into a deep depression as a result, neglecting his children until he sent them away when they were ten.
- Pride: He is proud beyond the point of arrogance about his magical prowess. This is how Delia goads him into resurrecting Roger.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Granted, he's still a selfish little thing as a kid, but at least he cares about Alanna. By book three he's siphoning off her magic without even asking... to bring her Arch-Nemesis back from the dead. On a bet. He also becomes rude and dismissive of everyone and decides that all his teachers (even the one genuinely trying to help him be more of a person) are just jealous of how awesome he is.
- Squishy Wizard: He was glad to not have to learn how to be a knight as he'd be completely unfit for it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He's called out on his shenanigans multiple times. It never seems to stick which has tragic results.
A faithful man-at-arms to Trebond. Coram is an initially-reluctant participant in Alanna's plan to become a knight, but supports her nonetheless. He acts as a manservant during her page years and travels with her during her time as Knight Errant
to provide a second sword arm and emotional support.
- Beta Couple: Strikes up a happy and uncomplicated "understanding" with George's cousin Rispah, which eventually becomes a marriage.
- Does Not Like Magic: Alanna pressures him into helping her by threatening to make him "see things." He gets over it eventually.
- The Lancer: A rather classical example—the Lancer character was traditionally The Hero's man-at-arms, which is exactly the position Coram holds. While Alanna is young, adventurous, and Hot-Blooded, Coram is older, steady, and levelheaded.
- Like a Son to Me: Openly admits to having "a father's interest" in Alanna's welfare, particularly when dealing with her love interests.
- Old Retainer: He's been with the Trebond family for years and raised the twins almost from birth. When asked why he travels with her, his reply is simply "Smythessons have always served Trebonds."
- Older Sidekick: Especially in the third and fourth books, when Alanna is a full-fledged knight. He's a sounding board, adviser, and person she can vent to.
- Parental Substitute: He raised Alanna far more than her father did, teaching her how to hunt and fight. He even gets to be an embarrassing dad.
- Retired Badass: He served in the King's army at one time and is known to the other veterans at the palace, who respect him greatly. Occasionally he helps out in combat lessons. Effectively un-retires after she becomes a Knight Errant and he watches her back on the road.
- Undying Loyalty: To Alanna. As much as he might grumble about it, he'll follow wherever she wants to go.
- Unexpected Successor: Jon elevates him and Rispah to the nobility and gives them Trebond, in light of his good service and the fact that Thom is dead and Alanna isn't interested in inheriting it.
When Alanna first met him, George Cooper was a thief—but not just any thief, the King of the Rogue. George was one of the first people to discover Alanna's true gender, and he supported her throughout, whether it was finding her fine horses or teaching her to fight dirty. Eventually he revealed that his feelings towards her were more than just friendly...
Later, he left the Rogue after King Jon made him a nobleman
. He's now married to Alanna and serves as a spy for Tortall.
- Adult Fear: He refuses Aly's requests to be a field agent because of how dangerous the work is. If she'd been satisfied with just being his office assistant, he'd have been much happier.
- First Guy Wins: He's the first guy that "Alan" meets in Corus and quickly befriends him.
- Improbable Age: He's pretty young to be running the Thieves' Guild of a capital city, but he's ruthless enough to hold onto the job.
- Gentleman Thief: He's a Nice Guy and a thief. The Court of the Rogue has rules and he follows them.
- Good Is Not Soft: He cares a lot about his friends and helps out the kingdom if he can. He also cuts off the ears of his enemies and kills rogues who fail him twice.
- Heroes Want Redheads: He romantically pursued Alanna.
- Klingon Promotion: How he got the job of Rogue. In The First Adventure, he cheerfully mentions the possibility that it's going to happen to him eventually.
- Knife Nut: As a thief, this is his Weapon of Choice.
- Loveable Rogue: Despite his collection of enemies' ears, he's a good friend to his allies.
- May-December Romance: He's several years older than Alanna, and was described as being a man on her first visit, when she's still eleven.
- Overprotective Dad: He's happy to have Aly as his secretary, but point-blank refuses to let her do field work. (Pierce explained that he did take her on a trip once and it turned into a fight, which quite spooked him).
- The Spymaster: After the events of the first quartet, he takes up this position.
- Stalking Is Love: He sends out agents to follow Alanna during her time as a Knight Errant. Pierce admits that this was a creepy move.
Jonathan of Conté
Originally the heir to Tortall's throne, Jon was one of Alanna's closest friends since she arrived at court. He discovered her true gender when they faced off against some evil demons, and decided to make her his squire. Despite being friends, and sometimes lovers, he and Alanna tend to clash. Jon can be very proud, arrogant and pragmatic, which can make him difficult to deal with, despite being a fine leader.
Later, he became the Voice of the Tribes to stop the fighting between Tortall and the Bazhir
. He was crowned King despite his cousin's best attempts to stop him, and eventually married Thayet. He now tries his best to advance social progress in Tortall while balancing politics.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's first seen as a page. This seems to be a thing with the royal line of Contés, as his son Roald is trained as a knight too.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: All sorts of pomp for his official coronation.
- The Beautiful Elite: There are many words devoted to what a good-looking man he is.
- Better as Friends: With Alanna.
- Big Brother Instinct: When he found out that the new page "Alan" was being bullied, he was quick to help out "him" and was severe against the one who bullied her.
- The Good King: He wanted to be this since the beginning; at the end of the first book he says that people will think twice before they take on a prince—or a king—who can defeat demons.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Alanna is the first girl who wasn't overawed by his title. Thayet is the first woman who wasn't charmed by him.
- Love at First Sight: Takes one look at Thayet and falls head over heels.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: He had already had experience with at least Delia of Eldorne when he first became sexually active with Alanna, and Alanna mentions other affairs when he proposes to her.
- Mighty Whitey: He becomes the Voice of Tribes to the Bazhir Tribesmen in The Woman Who Rides Like A Man. This is mostly done as a political manoeuvre by the previous Voice who realizes - via a minor prophetic gift - that Tortall will win in their war in the end.
- Older and Wiser: In the subsequent series. He has to very carefully mange his reformist agenda so as not to incite his conservative nobles to start an uprising.
- Prince Charming: He charmed Alanna (initially) and almost every other female. Thayet is the only woman who wasn't swept off her feet and she became his wife.
- Prince Incognito: When he visits the Court of the Rogue as "Johnny."
- Secret Keeper: When he becomes Alanna's knight-master, he helps her to maintain the masquerade.
- Sorcerer King: He's a powerful mage, something which is augmented when Alanna brings him the Dominion Jewel.
- Rebel Prince: Mostly during Woman Who Rides Like a Man. He's chafing under the obligations of prince and heir, and decides that the loudest way to declare that he's not going to be beholden to anyone is to marry Alanna, which she does not consider a good motive to marry.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He has several big adventures with Alanna, fights in wars, and in later quartets pursues social and political reforms.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: His dark hair, Conte-blue eyes, and gorgeous features are described many times as making Court ladies swoon.
- Took a Level in Jerkass; During the third Lioness book he's very imperious towards Alanna, acting like his proposal of marriage is a foregone conclusion, refusing to understand that it's an even bigger deal than a regular proposal because she would have to be queen for the rest of her life on top of the whole "lifelong commitment to another person" thing. When she refuses, he flips out and insults her for being unfeminine before taking up with Josiane of the Copper Isles mostly to spite her. Life whacks him in the gut between then and the next book, returning him to normal.
- Warrior Prince: After he becomes a knight and Tortall goes to war in In the Hand of the Goddess.
- The Wise Prince: Seen best in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man when he becomes the Voice Of Tribes.
Gareth of Naxen
Often referred to as Gary, Gareth is one of Alanna's closest friends. Though he completes his knighthood, his true strength seems to lie in organization and management. Has a sharp and biting wit.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Alanna when she first started her training.
- Desk Jockey: His job after knighthood is largely a bureaucratic one, more likely to be seen with a quill than a sword. His job is legitimately important and he's not a slacker in the least, being one of Jon's trusted advisers, but pages worry about getting stuck doing paperwork with him if they're not picked by a field knight.
- The Good Chancellor: After her father died, he managed Alanna's fief while she trained.
- Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids.
- The Smart Guy: He's the cleverest of Alanna's friends while they're both pages and squires, and he's the organizer-in-chief once John takes the throne.
Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak
A goodhearted and humorous man, both as in training and as a knight. Absolutely hates social engagements. A fine warrior and eventually becomes Knight Commander of the King's Own. Takes on Keladry of Mindelan as his squire.
- The Alcoholic: Strongly implied to be the case when he was a young man, but by Squire he no longer drinks.
- Ascended Extra: In Squire he becomes Kel's mentor and one of the most important characters in the book.
- Badass: Takes down a giant all by himself.
- Badass Army: The King's Own.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Alanna. When he found out that Ralon was bullying and hurting her, he gave Ralon his own beatings in retaliation.
- The Big Guy: He's a man-mountain and the biggest in his personal team.
- A Father to His Men: To Kel, and to the King's Own in general.
- Four-Star Badass: Becomes The Leader of a Badass Army after the first quartet.
- Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Buri in Protector of the Small.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Fights off the bandits and engages in less glamorous activities like grunt work.
Raoul: When people say a knight's job is all glory, I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Often I can stop laughing before they edge away and talk about soothing drinks.
- Large and In Charge: Again, a man-mountain.
- The Mentor: He takes Kel as his squire and teaches her about how to be a good commander, navigating personal relationships, and why the King can't always do the most "right" thing. Kel later reflects with some surprise that if she had the opportunity to go back and change things - to train with Lady Alanna as she originally wanted - she wouldn't do it; Raoul was the best mentor for her particular talents that she could possibly have had, as Alanna would not have been able to nourish Kel's talent for leadership.
- Nice Guy: Kel considers him one of the nicest people she knows, second only to her father.
- Parental Substitute: Though Kel has Good Parents who love her, she is separated from them during most of her squiredom, which means Raoul is the one who gets her through her teenage years. (Except "girl issues" - Kel waits to talk to her mother for that one, to the relief of both of them.)
- Reasonable Authority Figure: For Kel in particular. He's also the only person who would allow an Eldorne (as in, one of Delia's relations) in his company despite the shame on the family.
- Red Baron/Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Giantkiller; he killed a giant single-handed.
Myles of Olau
Technically a knight, though he much prefers academia to fighting. Kind-hearted and intelligent, he took Alanna under his wing when he saw that how little her father cared for her. Indeed, he was the only person to correctly guess
she wasn't really a boy. Eventually adopted Alanna, married Eleni Cooper and is now Tortall's spymaster
- The Alcoholic: Well-known as the court drunk, Alanna frequently has to tow him back to his rooms when he overindulges at dinner. By Kel's books, this reputation seems to have been replaced with the fact that he's the royal spymaster.
- Cool Old Guy: He's the page's fictive grandfather because they admire him so much.
- Cool Teacher: His lessons are the favorites of pages. He openly encourages them to question the stories and stereotypes about knights and honor and offers a sympathetic ear to both Alanna and Kel.
- December-December Romance: With Eleni Cooper. They become Happily Married.
- Desk Jockey: Even in Alanna's day he's retired from combat service, although he does participate in the Final Battle. He continues serving as an instructor in Kel's time.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Normally he's a genial old man who likes his drink too much, but there are several points when Alanna is reminded that he was once a serving knight.
- Parental Substitute: To Alanna. He eventually makes it official, becoming a case of Happily Adopted.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Similar to Raoul.
- The Spymaster: He's the more publicly-known spymaster, though the mysterious "Whisper Man" does all the legwork.
A black, purple-eyed kitten given to Alanna as a squire by the goddess. Alanna spent some time trying to convince herself it was just an ordinary cat until the fact that it was able to talk to her made that almost impossible. On a similar note, several hundred years earlier, guards-woman Beka Cooper had a purple eyed feline named Pounce just
like him. At both times the constellation of "The Cat" was missing from the sky.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Though he's not really your regular cat...
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Whenever he "dies" he has to chill in the Divine Realms for a couple centuries until he gets bored.
- The Cameo: Makes a brief, unnamed appearance in "Realms of the Gods". He falls asleep on Mithros's throne so he can't sit down. Truly a cat in all the ways that matter, then...
- Cats Are Snarkers: To both heroines he humbles with snark.
- Continuity Nod: "Pounce" was one of the names suggested by Alanna's friends when she finds him.
- Deadpan Snarker: And since he controls who hears him, he can target his snark for maximum effectiveness.
- God's Hands Are Tied: He has wide latitude in helping his charges and using magic, but there are certain things he's barred from doing—he can help, but he can't make decisions for that person and he can't save them from everything.
- Insistent Terminology: Pounce insists that he's not a god, but a constellation.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Since George Cooper grew up reading the journals of his ancestor Beka, he had to wipe his memory so that he wouldn't recognise the similarities between Faithful and Pounce.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Part of the reason he keeps coming down to the mortal realms is because there's always more heroes to follow and snark at.
- The Mentor: To his human charges.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Cat to human.
- Physical God: For all intents and purposes. Both Beka and Alanna find him as a kitten and he grows to adulthood. He "dies" in Lioness Rampant but he's fine in the Divine Realms, as mentioned above.
- Purple Eyes: Any time someone new meets him, they're quite startled by his purple eyes and start speculating on his nature.
- Put on a Bus: He leaves Beka's side for most of Bloodhound because he's doing something to sort out other constellations. In Mastiff, the Great Gods banish him back to the skies for a century.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: In Mastiff, he heals Achoo of a mortal wound even though he knows the gods are going to punish him for interfering so directly.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: With justification in Bloodhound. First, he does have to go, but he also realizes Beka takes his help and protection for granted, so she needs to stand on her own two feet when he can't be around.
- Technicolor Eyes: Purple.
Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon
Shang Warriors are some of the most powerful fighters in the world- Liam, having earned the designation of "Dragon", is even more powerful still. When he meets Alanna they immediately strike it off, though their similar personalities and his deep hatred of magic causes some difficulties between them.
Thayet jian Wilimanote
A Sarain princess exiled from her country after civil war broke out. She is beautiful and, fortunately for all involved, far from useless. She's very intelligent, a strong fighter, a champion of women, and since her marriage to King Jonathan, one of the most powerful forces for social change in Tortall. She is both Founder and original Commander of the Queen's Riders.
Buriram Tourakom note
Buri's first duty was to protect Thayet, no matter what. She takes her duty very
seriously, and being such an adept fighter, deserves (and earns) a lot
- Action Girl: Upgraded to Lady of War in Protector of the Small, where she's older and less rough around the edges.
- Battle Butler: Thayet's.
- Badass Army: The Queen's Riders, which she takes leadership of after queenly duties force Thayet to resign.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: She's very tough on recruits, on the principle that if they can survive her, they should be able to survive anything else — or at least do a lot of damage before they go down.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Raoul, who is called a "man-mountain" for a reason.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Although she's tough on recruits, she gives Kel some good advice on how to deal with mistakes and regrets.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Thayet's the girly-girl, Buri's the tomboy.
Duke Roger of Conté
Handsome, intelligent, and the most powerful mage in the land, everyone loves Jonathan's cousin. Except Alanna, who can't shake a strange suspicion about him...
- Authority Equals Asskicking: This applies to him too, fitting in with the idea that noble titles carry an expectation for martial skill.
- Big Bad: He is the architect for every bad thing that happens to Alanna—the Mystical Plague, secretly ginning up a war between Tortall and Tusaine, numerous assassination attempts, Delia's antics... even after he dies and Alanna is in the Southern Desert, she finds an Evil Weapon that's got his magic fingerprints all over it, and that causes a boatload of problems too.
- The Chessmaster: Even in the fourth book where eveyone is suspicious of him, he can endanger the realm with his schemes.
- Devil in Plain Sight: He plays the lovable uncle bit to the hilt, and only Alanna is able to have a "bad feeling" about him. It turns out he was magicking everyone to not suspect him.
- Evil Mentor: To Alex of Tirragen. Roger morphs him from a secretive boy who has trouble with Ethics to Alanna's enemy.
- Evil Plan: First a subtle usurpation by bumping off those ahead of them. This covers the first half of the quartet. Then in the final book he Came Back Wrong and tried to destroy the place instead.
- Evil Sorcerer: Part of his Evil Plan was a vodoo thing and he has other magic besides. He's extremely powerful, enough to engineer the healer-draining plague on Corus while he himself is in Carthak.
- Evil Uncle: To Jonathan. (Although he is technically a cousin, as he's Roald's nephew, Jon refers to him as uncle.)
- Faux Affably Evil: His charm is part of the reason no one suspected him of regicide.
- Genre Savvy: He is very good at hiding what he's up to, with the help of this trait.
- Manipulative Bastard: He projects a very charming front, easily manipulates Jon into visiting the Black City, and turns Alex against all of his old friends, among other things. Roger also augments his manipulations with magic, just in case his standard charm abilities fail.
- Nay-Theist: He believes in the gods, but he doesn't like them. The feeling is mutual.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He probably wasn't going to use the Ysandir for anything more than a cheap way to kill Jon, but accidentally invoking The Prophecy for their defeat by the Night One and Burning-Brightly One? Impressive.
- Obviously Evil: Although Alanna is the only one who suspects him at first thanks to Roger's magic on the royal family.
- Take That: His character is based on Pierce's lousy ex-boyfriend.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Again, like the other men in the family.
- Word of God: Tammy has something to say about his Start of Darkness and what happened later.
As for later, I don’t think of him as evil so much as I think of him as apocalyptically crazy. 8 months buried alive would do that to a person, I think. He had no guarantee that he’d be resurrected, and even when he was, he felt his people could have made it happen sooner. He decided to punish everyone involved in his trial and death and if the world was destroyed with them, he really didn’t care. Like I said, nuts. He was always self-centered. This just took it to the extreme. He’d have to acknowledge his wants and desires were evil, and he never did.
Delia of Eldorne
A stunning beauty who comes to Corus during In the Hands of the Goddess
. Delia is unpleasant from the start, seducing Jon and encouraging the other men in court to fight over her, all as a part of Duke Roger's plan to take the throne.
- Abhorrent Admirer: She makes "Squire Alan" her special favorite at court. Alanna can't stand her—not because she's ugly, but because of the way her friends fight over Delia.
- Alpha Bitch: She delights in making "Alan" uncomfortable, enjoys the fights over her, and plots in regicide.
- Evil Aunt: To Lerant of Eldorne in Protector of the Small. Granted, she's serving a life sentence and isn't scheming anymore, but her actions disgraced Lerant in the eyes of most nobles because they think evil is In the Blood.
- Green Eyes: Her brilliant green eyes are noted as part of her charm and allure.
- Lady in Red: Being a Lady in Green has the effect of this trope, making her stand out at court and indicating that she is sexy and flirtatious.
- Manipulative Bastard: Myles suggest that she's a woman who enjoys breaking up men's friendships. Later we learn that she goaded Thom into raising Roger from the not-quite-dead.
- Smug Snake: Even Duke Roger yells at her for messing up his plans.
- The Vamp: She openly seduces (or tries to seduce, in Alan's case) the men at court and becomes Prince Jonathan's lover, toying with his emotions.
- We Can Rule Together: Why she sides with Roger—at least, she assumes this is going to be the case.
Alex of Tirragen
A squire in Jon's group of friends. He's clever and secretive, and doesn't take being bested well. Duke Roger takes him as his squire, and everything goes downhill from there.
- Ambiguously Brown: He's described as a "slim, dark boy".
- Foreshadowing: There are a number of things in the first book that hint Alex might not stay Alanna's friend. She never takes him to visit George, he argues with Myles over right and wrong and has to do extra work in Ethics, and Ali Mukhtab outright says he wouldn't want to meet him.
- Pride: Alex does not like it that people might be better than him at things.
- Master Swordsman: He's probably the best fencer out of all Alanna's peers. She can't even beat him by swords during the Final Battle and has to turn to unarmed Shang techniques instead.
- More Than Mind Control: He tries to kill Alanna during a practice duel in the second book. It may or may not have been Roger directly possessing him, but it was certainly due to Roger's influence on him.
- Rival Turned Evil: He and Alanna are the top swordfighters at the palace, and he comes to see her as a personal rival.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He orders all of his men to stay back in Lioness Rampant because he wants to beat Alanna himself.
Ralon of Malven
A page who immediately targets the new boy "Alan" for abuse. He antagonizes Alanna until she learns how to wrestle from George; after she thrashes him once and for all, he flees back to his family. It is not the last time he'll cross paths with her or her friends.
- Attempted Rape: He tries to rape a woman from a neighboring fief, but her maid catches him in the attempt and makes him leave. With acid.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: After he breaks Alanna's arm, her friends all visit and beat him up. And after months of torment, Alanna learns how to fight left-handed and unarmed. When she's ready she forces Ralon to answer in front of all the boys and trounces him thoroughly.
- Dirty Coward: He only goes after Alanna when there's nobody else around (or at least no nobles, since commoners can't interfere in noble fights). He also tries to kill George through underhanded and indirect methods.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Invoked by George, who orders his thieves to make sure Ralon always gets pickpocketed when he visits the city.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: You couldn't expect a kid named Malven to turn out any good. Later he goes around calling himself Claw.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He inflicts more than one on Alanna, breaking bone several times.
- Riches to Rags: He was disinherited by his family for attempting to rape a woman, after which he involves himself in the criminal world.
- Scars Are Forever: His would-be victim's made chucks acid in his face, leaving permanent scars and burning out one of his eyes.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: He returns in the third book to cause trouble in George and Alanna's lives again.
- Smug Snake: Even though his behavior ensures that nobody likes him at all and more than one of Page Alan's friends beats him in revenge, he keeps thinking that he'll win. He also thinks that he has what it takes to go up against George Cooper. Doesn't work.
Heroes and supporting
Veralidaine "Daine" Sarrasri *
After having her family killed by raiders and succumbing to "madness", Daine was a runaway and an outcast. Due to her knack with animals she was hired to help manage ponies, which is where people first began to suspect her "knack" might be much more.
Daine is a practical-minded soul, but also sweet and caring — with an anger that only comes out when you threaten the ones she loves. Capable of talking to animals, and later transforming into them, she's a very powerful fighter.
- Animal Talk: Played with: Daine can talk to all animals because of her magic, and all the animals could talk to each other with relative ease, but it is implied that each species has its own distinct dialect.
- The Beastmaster: One aspect of her wild magic involves this ability, but Daine is something of an aversion in that it's the power she least likes to call on, and more often than not only does so to keep animals out of the fighting.
- Berserk Button: Whatever you do don't try to kill Numair. UNDEAD ZOMBIE DINOSAURS get involved if you do. No, seriously.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Besides this being part of her back story when she was literally Raised by Wolves, just look what she does if she "loses her temper."
- Big "NO!": When Rikash dies.
- Blessed with Suck: Wild magic when she knows too much, affects animals without intending to, and when she passes on her powers to her child, resulting in a shapeshifting fetus. Oy.
- Carnivore Confusion: Because of her Voluntary Shapeshifting, Daine knows what it's like for game animals to be hunted and killed, which turns her off from eating them as a human. Before she started to learn about her magic, she grew up eating meat like anybody else, and continued to hunt and eat meat for a long time after discovering it — she says at one point that she doesn't see why this would surprise anybody, since animals kill and eat each other all the time, and it's not as if she kills for sport or uses her magic to lure prey towards her. This changes, however, after a bad experience or two when she herself is pursued in animal form by hunters — game meat becomes Nausea Fuel for her, and she can't stand to eat it anymore, having felt what the animal went through. She doesn't object to it in principle or try to stop other people; she just literally can't stomach it herself. It's mentioned that she gets by okay with domesticated meat by never bonding mentally with any farm animals, and how she feels about fish or insects isn't mentioned.
- Cosmic Plaything: In Emperor Mage only, thanks to a Carthaki goddess named the Graveyard Hag claiming her as her "vessel." Otherwise, Daine is entirely her own woman and likes it that way.
- Friend to All Living Things: Justified: Daine's magic allows her to communicate with animals, i.e. explain to them that she isn't a cold-blooded killer, heal them, and animals gravitate to her because of this.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Not terribly uncommon for Daine, because aside from the badger god's silver claw nothing she wears can follow her through her shapeshifting, leaving her naked fairly often. This is how she kills Ozorne, because that claw is razor-sharp.
- Heroic Bastard: Of a god, no less. This does cause her some difficulty in certain social circles, since the matrynomic "Sarrasri" makes her uncertain parentage obvious. According to Word of God, it's also what finally convinces her to marry Numair while heavily pregnant, since she didn't want her child to go through what she went through.
- Hot for Teacher: Magic teacher in this case.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Lands a fatal hit on a fast-moving spidren in the dark — even Alanna is impressed. Later explicitly named as part of her magical ability, inherited from her father, the Hunt God.
- Just Friends: See Numair's entry below.
- The Magnificent: The Wildmage.
- Merlin and Nimue: The magic, age difference, and sexual tension are present, but not the betrayal.
- Nature Heroine: Because of her wild magic.
- The Nicknamer: She does this with dragons, which tend to have very poetic names like Skysong. She calls them things like "Kitten" and "Big Blue." Big Blue, AKA Diamondscale, a very powerful fully grown adult, is amused and slightly bewildered at this.
- Nom de Mom: After discovering her father's identity, she toys with the idea of changing her last name to Weirynsra, but decides that she's gone through so much as Sarrasri that she'd rather keep it.
- Not Good with People: Type 1. The bandit attack on her home soured her on her fellow humans, and she's quick to sympathize with animals affected by human mischief.
- Odd Friendship: With Rikash the Stormwing because his duty is defiling the battlefield dead.
- Raised by Wolves: Literally, but only for a little while after her mother died. The local pack took her in and let her run with them until humans found out what was going on and she had to flee.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At the end of Emperor Mage, when she thought a certain friend of hers had been executed. Sadly, the person her revenge was supposed to be directed at — the executor — turned into a Stormwing, and his innocent nephew had to pay the damages.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: She looks lovely in noble dress, but she doesn't enjoy dresses at all. In the first book she ranted about all the ways it was impractical.
- Student and Master Team: Throughout her quartet.
- Understatement :Emperor Mage, chapter nine: "Daine Loses Her Temper." She wrecks a palace complex with zombie dinosaurs!
- Unstoppable Rage: The aforementioned explosion.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: She can take on the form of any vertebrate due to wild magic, though she can't take the shape of any Immortal because the laws of magic would leave her unable to change back.
- Wild Child: For a little while, thanks to grief and some confusion caused by her untrained magic.
Numair Salmalin *
A black robe mage, the highest possible degree, Numair was trained at the University of Carthak, though he was forced to flee after his his incredible magical power and outspoken opinions angered Emperor Ozorne. He's an extremely powerful mage, though you might not notice at first, what with him being a somewhat absentminded academic.
He first met Daine in the form of a drugged black hawk, and shortly after returning to human form, took her on as his student.
- The Ace: A powerful mage, a charming courtier and famous throughout the land.
- The Archmage: He's the royal court's magician and famous for his mighty feats of magic.
- Awesome McCoolname: Which he picked out himself since Arram Draper is too plain. Of course, it also had to do with being on the run from his former friend, who was trying to kill him. Word Of God cites the reason for his choice was "geeky old Arram Draper would want a majorly cool mage name to announce to the world he was a mighty black robe, no longer the geek who fell off his horse and forgot to take spells down before he left the room."
- Badass Bookworm: Before coming to Tortall, he was a student.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The most powerful mage in Tortall is also the most vain mage in Tortall, and kinda lazy.
- Cloudcuckoolander: When Tkaa and Numair first met, Tkaa described him as 'unusual,' putting it mildly. Daine calls him the "last person qualified to diagnose madness in another."
- Court Mage: He works for King Jonathan.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: He does... now. Numair recalls lighting his shirt on fire when he tried to dry it with his magic, and Duke Baird mentions to Neal that Numair has to get up to blow out candles; if he uses he Gift, the candle explodes. So does the table it was sitting on and possibly the wall behind it. Also, while he was on hand at Haven in Lady Knight, Numair calls a massive pile of boulders from ten miles away, instead of carrying a few over a couple of miles, as Baird or Neal would have done.
- Fan Nickname: Numy. Later upgraded to canon by Aly, Alanna's daughter.
- Genius Ditz: An intelligent former student and powerful sorcerer who forgets to take a restraining spell off rowdy pages before he tells them to clear off.
- Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Daine. Mind you, Daine isn't particularly short (about 5'6"), but compared to Numair (who is 6'5"), she seems small in comparison.
- Just Friends: Numair's situation is a sort of mash-up of the different subtypes: Over the course of time, he falls in love with Daine, but didn't realize it for a long time, claiming that "she [was his] student, and "laughing it off" (Daine's words) if anyone suggested he was interested in her sexually. At the same time, he began warning anyone who might take an interest in her not to interfere with her, and is very protective of her; as to Daine, she gets jealous of Numair's ex. When Numair finally realizes he's in love with her, he decides not to tell Daine for fear of the reciprocation that would arise over various things.
- Magic Music: In Lady Knight, to the chagrin of many normal people in the fort, he uses a recorder to enact a spell called the Sorceror's Dance. The sight of a small army of boulders answering his call from as far off as ten miles and following behind a dancing Numair like a gang of ducklings leaves a lot of people out of sorts.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: It's well-known that he has a few ex-lovers. He and Daine run into one of them in Carthak.
- Meaningful Rename: See Awesome McCoolname
- Merlin and Nimue: Him and Daine, without tragic consequences.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: In Wolf-speaker, to lull the conspirators into a false sense of security. They knew him when he was much more of a book-absorbed scholar and had no idea of the depth of practical knowledge he'd picked up in the years since.
- Older Sidekick: For Daine because she's the hero of Immortals.
- Relationship Ceiling: Inverted, but shown more on Numair's part than Daine's. After nearly ten years of being lovers, Numair seems to be more in love with Daine, not less. Then they get married.
- Student and Master Team: With his magelet, Daine.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: How some people describe him. Word of God says he's based on Jeff Goldblum.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Hawk shape only, although not a true shapeshift, as the hawk shape he takes is too large and black to be a real hawk. He won't try other shapes since the first one already gives him migraines; he needs incredible amounts of power and the ability to control and hang onto it.
Onua Chamtong of the K'miri Raadeh
Responsible for all the ponies and horses of the Riders, Onua was Daine's first human companion and ally in Tortall. She's no-nonsense and matter-of-fact.
- Angry Guard Dog: Tahoi's supposed to be, but around Daine he's a Big Friendly Dog.
- Badass Normal: Downplayed. Although in Wild Magic Daine can see she has a touch of wild magic herself, and her Gift specializes in hiding things. Compared to Numair and Daine, though, she is quite normal, and it doesn't come up when she reappears in Protector of the Small.
- Domestic Abuse: Her ex-husband abused her and left her in the street to die.
- Living Lie Detector: Can do a spell that allows her to tell if someone is lying.
- Nature Heroine: Stable hand.
- Put on a Bus: Although Daine considers her a best friend throughout the series, Onua only has a prominent role in the first book and is barely mentioned in the second and third.
When Kitten's mother was summoned to the human realms she was flung into battle, and nearly miscarried. Daine accidentally healed the child, but when the mother still died in battle, she was placed in charge of raising the hatchling.
Though still very young and unable to speak, Kitten is an intelligent as any human, though she the maturity of a child. She loves her adopted family and gets angry when she's separated from them.
- Happily Adopted: By Daine.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: In this case, 'adorable' is more appropriate.
- Muggle Foster Parents: Considering Kitten's birth parents were dragons, and this series' dragons have no compulsions about challenging gods, Daine and Numair are definitely muggles in comparison.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Kitten is always discovering new things she's able to do, such as magically forcing locks in book 2 or commanding lesser dragonkin in book 4. This is primarily a result of Kitten's status as an infant, since she's slowly mastering her natural dragon magic.
- Only Known By Her Nickname: Although we do know her real name, 90% of the time everyone calls her Kitten—or even Kit.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Immortal, sentient, and immensely powerful. Even though she's just a baby, she can exert control over other draconics (such as wyverns) by the fourth book.
- Pet Baby, Wild Animal: A wild dragon who becomes Daine's charge.
A grey mountain pony, Cloud is the last member of Daine's family that's still alive. She lost her mate and offspring in the same bandit raid, and has stayed with Daine since, even when her mind started to become more and more wolf-like. She often acts as the voice of reason.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Justified. Prolonged exposure to Daine's magic (and her blood from biting her) means that she's much more intelligent in a "human" way than the average pony, even understanding human language.
- Deadpan Snarker: She calls Numair a "stork man" and makes it clear whenever she's unimpressed with twolegger habits.
- Demoted to Extra: Though a main character in the first two novels, she's completely absent in Emperor Mage and only appears at the end of Realms of the Gods.
- Team Mom: She borders on a Parental Substitute for Daine after Sarra's death and extends her maternalistic commonsense to Numair as well.
- Sapient Steed: See Amplified Animal Aptitude.
Rikash is a terrible monster—the body of giant metal bird of prey with a human head, smeared with blood and feces, that exists to desecrate the dead and feed off the misery of war. When Daine meets him, she immediately hates him. However, his care for Maura, biting sense of humor, and fierce loyalty to his clan makes her question her hatred of Stormwings.
- Deadpan Snarker: His biting sense of humor.
- Embarrassing Last Name: Lampshaded by Daine when she finds out.
- Friend to All Children: It's hard for Stormwings to bear children, so they tend to be fond and protective of any they come across, regardless of race or species.
- Genre Savvy: Enough to know what Daine being The Beastmaster means when he discovers small animals reading military reports.
- Odd Friendship: With Daine and Maura of Dunlath.
- Noble Demon: He has a cantankerous personality and makes it clear that he delights in defiling the battlefield dead. Then we find that the only reason he (and the rest of his kind, for that matter) treat dead soldiers so badly is in the hope that any who see the "corpses" would harbor no ideas that War Is Glorious.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: He takes being a Stormwing very seriously and is very angry when Stormwings try to wage war on humans when their raison d'etre is to be a deterrent.
- Ship Tease: Sees Numair entering his conversation with Daine and loudly wonders if Numair thinks he's "corrupting" her.
- Shmuck Bait: Tells Daine to try Stormwing form because she'll totally like it, but she knows better. Once a human has assumed an immortal's form they are Mode Locked. He pulls it on Ozorne, as well, offering him a Stormwing feather and promising that when it contacts his blood it will let him fly away from his enemies on wings of steel; the feather ends up turning Ozorne into a Stormwing, losing him his throne and his magic powers in an instant. (Immortals are permitted neither mortal thrones nor the mortal Gift.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Daine. They argue and bicker, but when he dies, she is horrified and saddened.
The Badger GodExactly What It Says on the Tin
. Tasked with protecting Daine by her mysterious father as a baby, when he next checked in, he was quite surprised to see that over ten years had passed, the girl's home had burned down and she was now in Tortall. Determined not to let it happen again, he gave her one of his magical claws so he could always follow her. Slightly grumpy and pompous, he nonetheless has a soft spot for her.
- Chekhov's Gun: The badger claw. After over three books of just being a necklace, Daine eventually uses it to stab Ozorne in the chest. The Badger approves.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Daine thinks he's doing this to her whenever she "forgets" to ask him who her father is.
- The Mentor: With a touch of Parental Substitute. He watches over and advises Daine throughout the quartet.
- No Name Given: He's just "The Badger God", even though all the other animal gods have names.
- Papa Wolf: He steps in to aid Daine when she needs it. Such as when she accidentally kills herself with wild magic and he has to pull her back from the Divine Realm.
Brokefang the Wolf
Leader of his pack, Brokefang took Daine in and helped her get revenge on the raiders that killed her family. However, licking her wounds led to a high exposure to her magic, making him much more...human. Terrified by all these foreign thoughts and ideas, Brokefang nonethless tries to do the best for his pack...including using his new found intelligence to fight again humans destroying the forest.
Kaddar Ghazanoi Iliniat
Ozone's nephew and heir, Kaddar seems like an okay guy, all things considered- while pompous, arrogant and discriminatory against the poor, he genuinely wants to help people (if he can live long enough to do so). Becomes emperor after Orzone is dethroned
, and later marries Princess Kalasin
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: He's lived for all his life in Carthak, where slavery is commonplace, and he has a casual disregard for slaves and their lives that shocks Daine, who had found him so nice before.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Apart from the above, he's basically a Nice Guy who would rather see Carthak ruled properly.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He does indeed rule properly when His uncle turns into a Stormwing and flees the empire, leaving him in charge.
Villains and neutral
One of Numair's colleagues (sort of) during his days at the Carthaki University; they didn't get along. When they meet again some two decades later, not much has changed in that department.
- Baleful Polymorph: Into a tree.
- Evil Counterpart: To Numair.
- Evil Sorcerer: Again, like Numair but evil.
- Jerk Ass: While Numair's vanity is endearing, this guy is a creep.
- Muggle Power: Tristan is by no means on Numair's level as a mage, but he has lots of the black opals being mined from Fief Dunlath to boost his power. Unfortunately for Tristan, he's still not on Numair's level.
Ozorne Muhassin Tasikhe
Emperor of Carthak and a powerful mage, Orzone is obsessed with power and expanding his empire. He hates anyone who he can't control, and will quash
those who disobey him. Really, the only good think you can say on his behalf is that he really cares for animals.
Later, he gets turned into a Stormwing. He manages to learn their magic, creating a spy network of darklings from his blood, and becomes a pawn of Chaos itself. Eventually killed in one-one-one battle with Daine
- Affably Evil: To Daine in Emperor Mage. She helps his birds!
- Bad Boss: Numair says that working under him is a terrifying prospect. That's why he risked punishment by fleeing to Tortall.
- Break the Haughty: His defeat by Daine and transformation into a filthy, loathed creature.
- Deadly Decadent Court: He piles on entertainment to distract his court from problems in the empire and kills those that can or have caused issues.
- The Emperor: Of Carthak.
- Evil Plan: Two at once; Take Over the World for Torall and A God Am I domestically. When they didn't pan out he decided to Rage Against the Heavens.
- Evil Sorcerer: He uses his power to oppress his people, and later, Rage Against the Heavens.
- Faux Affably Evil: To everyone other Daine in Emperor Mage, he is politely evil.
- A God Am I: This is his Evil Plan; to displace the worship of the gods by his citizens with worship of himself. The other gods are not terribly amused, and Carthak's local patron deity, the Graveyard Hag, is downright furious.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Uses a Stormwing feather to escape death or being desposed in the third book, only to discover that it turns him into a Stormwing. Which means he is now ineligible to continue ruling and subject to Stormwing justice for his crimes against them.
- It's All About Me: What other mindset would force his subjects to worship him instead of genuine gods that can manifest themselves before mortals and get shirty about blasphemy?
- I Want Them Alive: In the last book he gives this order regarding Daine and Numair as he wants to kill them himself.
- Manipulative Bastard: For all his magical power, he's more likely to work social magic to get what he wants.
- Pet the Dog: Inverted and Lampshaded by Kaddar at the beginning, who complains that Ozorne cares far more about his birds than his subjects. This makes him less sympathetic than instead of more.
- Sorcerous Overlord: He's known as Emperor Mage.
- Villainous Breakdown: When he cornered and beaten at the end of Emperor Mage he becomes frantic and desperate.
Heroes and supporting
Keladry of Mindelan
Raised in the Yamani Islands, Kel is obsessed with doing what's right. Deeply inspired by Sir Alanna and the warrior women of Yaman, Kel signed up to be the first openly female page—and was so disgusted at being given the unfair title of "probationer" that she almost gave up right then and there. Still determined, she preserved through bullying, double-standards and the hardships of training to eventually win her shield.
Kel is a natural-born leader, possessing a cool head and stoicism, and shows brilliance as a commander even during her page years. She has a deeply instilled sense of duty, which often clashes with her desire to do what's right.
- Action Girl: Proving this trope is her personal goal.
- Badass Normal:
- The whole point of her character according to Word of God and the final book. She has no powers at all but still kicks ass and leads others. (She is also the only one of the Tortall protagonists to be one).
- This is also why her success is just as important for would-be Lady Knights as Alanna's: nobody can say that she leaned on magic to succeed. Word of God is that this was the intended message for readers just as much as the other characters.note
Alanna: I had the magic, you see, and the hand of the Goddess on me. Everyone could and did say I was a freak, one of those once-a-century people. No one else needs to strive for what I did, because they couldn't reach it. But you, bless you, you are real.
- Blade on a Stick: Her preferred weapon due to her Yamani upbringing, though she's also competent with the sword and excellent with the lance.
- Bifauxnen: Invoked. Due to her training and height, she is much larger and stockier than most women and her practical haircut makes it easy for strangers to assume she's a boy.
- Bully Hunter: She didn't like the hazing and thought fighting the older boys who did it was good training, and so she steps in repeatedly to stop people who are abusing weaker people or animals.
- Buxom Is Better: Inverted, Kel was not happy in the least when she started growing breasts.
- The Chains of Commanding: In Lady Knight. For the first half, she's constantly torn between her desire to go after Blayce and protect her refugee camp. It doesn't help that some of those refugees are incredibly demanding and obnoxious.
- Cosmic Plaything: For the Chamber of the Ordeal. It's the one who named her "Protector of the Small."
- Cool Horse: Peachblossom, who is a Badass in his own right. He's an extremely ill-tempered horse with a knack for causing trouble, but he's fond and protective of Kel.
- Determinator: One of Kel's defining traits. Discussed in Lady Knight by her friends. They admit they should have expected her to chase after the captive civilians. Once they were in her care she was going to save them even if she had to invade an enemy country by herself.
- Due to the Dead: As military commander in Haven, she insists on burying the enemy dead, even though most commanders bury only their own and leave enemies for the Stormwings. She eventually leaves the bodies of Blayce and his men to the Stormwings, because that way someone will benefit from them.
- Ensign Newbie: One of her protests to being put in charge of Haven is that the "paint is still wet on her shield." Wyldon sticks by it because she trained with the commander of the King's Own and she's responsible enough to do the job properly; she's also the only person he knows he can trust to actually lead the refugees, as opposed to treating them like a dirty chore or waste of time like many other nobles would.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Inverted into Even Goodness Has Limits. Kel is just about the only Tortallan who will burn dead enemy soldiers and pray for them instead of leaving them for Stormwings, immortal semihuman scavengers who defile battlefield corpses. However, she leaves Blayce the Gallan and the soldiers who guarded him for them.
- Friend to All Living Things: Kel is a much more down-to-earth example than most, but she makes a habit of caring for animals, protecting them, and taking in strays. Since a lot of them have had their intelligence enhanced by proximity to Daine, they repay the kindness by helping her in battle.
- Girls Need Role Models: A justified in-universe example, as Kel is the first girl to openly try for her shield after Alanna. Her success inspires a number of girls who might otherwise not have tried.
- Good Parents: She has them; in fact, Kel's mother and father are easily the best biological parents Pierce has written to date (and possibly the best parents, period). They are extremely supportive of her dream and are there to help her with other issues like periods and romance.
- Good with Numbers: She greatly enjoys her math lessons as a page, and the skill serves her well while dealing with logistical and engineering problems as a squire and knight. It also wins her a lot of support among her peers, and her year-mates claim, half-seriously, that their entire year would have probably failed their mathematics classes without her tutoring.
- Honor Before Reason: When her people are captured by Blayce, it was a matter of honor and responsiblity to rescue them even though she herself realized it was suicidally stupid to do so on her own. However considering that if she hadn't done this an enemy mage would have gone on to make two hundred children into monstrous killing devices, abandoning her post to save them wasn't entirely unreasonable.
- Huge Schoolgirl: A running gag. Even Alanna jokes that the only bad thing about Keladry's fantastic successes as a page and squire is that the stocky Alanna looks fairly runty standing next to her.
- Humble Heroine: She has a tendency to dismiss any compliments her friends try to give her and is quick to attribute her successes to luck, her training, or some other factor, rather than her own personal merit.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Her dream is to be this.
- Lady of War: She becomes this by the time of the fourth book. Literally; the standard address is "Lady Knight."
- The Leader: Type Levelheaded. She is remarkably good at staying cool in a crisis, a quality that is noticed early on. Raoul later gives her specific lessons, saying that a good, solid commander is often a more useful asset for the realm than a questing hero.
- Like Brother and Sister: Kel and Neal eventually, once she gets over her schoolgirl crush on him.
- Mama Bear: Despite not being a mom she is this for Haven.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She has at least four brothers and three sisters.
- Parental Substitute: To her sidekick, Tobe, whom she more or less adopts.
- Maybe Ever After: Though she's eager to see Dom again at the end of Lady Knight, that's as far as any romantic implications go at the end of the quartet.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Takes it upon herself to defy this trope all over the country. Whenever she can wear a dress, she will — not because she likes dresses particularly, but because she's determined to remind everyone that she is, in fact, a girl.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: She deliberately wears dresses to dinner as a page to remind people that she's a girl.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Defied in Squire. Lerant, Raoul's jealous standard-bearer, grabs her to try and intimidate her. She responds simply by flexing her bicep and popping his hand right off.
- The Stoic: She has a "Yamani face", which she uses to avoid showing bullies and other enemies that they've upset her. (This winds up getting her the nickname "Yamani Lump" in training.)
- Tranquil Fury: This is what happens whenever you break through Kel's Yamani calm and get her mad.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Out of everyone, Kel wants Wyldon's approval. She gets it, eventually.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: With heights. After the end of Page, she stops getting dizzy and throwing up, but she still doesn't like them.
Lord Wyldon of Cavall
Wyldon is a conservative, obsessed with tradition and firmly of the opinion that women are not fit to be warriors. It was he that insisted Kel be placed on probation due to her gender, and caused her a lot of hardships in her first year of training.
Despite all this, he has a deep sense of honor and wants to serve the crown as best he can, and is most certainly a hero. Though he never seems to fully shake off his misogyny, he becomes one of Kel's staunchest supporters
Nealan "Neal" of Queenscove
One of the oldest pages ever, Neal changed his mind about being a healer in order to do his perceived duty as a knight. Having grown up around women like Alanna and Thayet, he was already convinced that women deserved a chance to become warriors, and so took Kel under his wing. A hopeless romantic and intellectual, Neal is prone to poetic outbursts and extreme snarking.
A mean-spirited, nasty, ill-tempered horse that's suffered a lifetime of abuse; Kel decides to take him on despite all his faults, since he was almost certainly due to be killed if not put to work. While their relationship is often rocky, the two eventually become great partners.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Once again, due to Daine's presence.
- Cool Horse: Sure, he's not particularly pretty, but he's great in battle.
- Fluffy the Terrible: 'Peachblossom' is an oddly docile name for such a mean horse.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's uncooperative towards anyone but Kel, prone to lashing out at other horses, and bites Neal just to hear him squeak, but he's loyal to Kel and, later, protective of Tobe.
- Silent Snarker: He doesn't communicate with Kel the way that Cloud does with Daine, but he's still quite opinionated.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He's especially fond of biting Neal. It's eventually revealed he just likes the noises Neal makes.
Cleon of Kennan
A third-year when Kel enters page training. He becomes part of her friend group after she finishes her probationary year; his joke flirting turns into a genuine attraction to her and they start dating in Squire
. He squires under her brother Inness.
- Arranged Marriage: He's betrothed to Ermelian of Aminar and he strongly considers asking his mother to break it off so he can marry Kel instead. Circumstances force him to go through with it, which is for the best.
- First Love: For Keladry.
- Friend to All Children: Kel's nieces and nephews love him, and she can see that he'd like to have kids of his own.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Described as having curly red hair, although Kel doesn't take an interest in him until she realizes his flirting has gotten serious.
- Impoverished Patrician: His fief is hit hard by floods between Squire and Lady Knight, wiping out their stored grains. This forces him to abandon his wish to marry Kel, as marrying for love would be selfish when Ermelian's dowry would keep his people from hunger.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Initially. He has no problem hazing the first years, but he's not malicious about it, so Kel doesn't mind being his gofer quite as much.
- Purple Prose: Prone to calling Kel "pearl of my heart" and other absurdly flowery compliments for fun; she replies by pointing out the logical errors in them. Later he gets serious about the flirting.
A stray dog who Kel rescues from an angry butcher he's been stealing from. She tries to give him to Daine, but he will only stay with her.
- Pet the Dog: He provides Wyldon with plenty of literal opportunities.
- Scars Are Forever: Despite Daine healing many of his injuries, he retains the two breaks in his tail and his missing ear, because they're old and have already "healed" naturally.
- Ugly Cute: In-universe. Kel frequently remarks that he wouldn't win any prizes for beauty, but he charms most everyone he meets regardless. From the descriptions he seems to be a bull terrier, a popular real life instance.
A shy and timid girl who Kel decides to take on as maid at her uncle Gower's request. Afraid of her own shadow, and terrified that Kel's kindness is just a mask that will one day fall off, Lalasa slowly learns to find confidence and friendship.
- Ambiguously Brown: She's described as "dark" when Kel first meets her.
- Character Development: At first she's incredibly timid and afraid of Kel. By the end of the book she's much more confident in herself.
- Does Not Like Men: With good reason. She tells Kel that Gower is the only member of her family who treats women well (and they think he's weird because of it). She's frequently harassed and menaced by men in the palace, and she was raped by her own brother. Not hard to see why she warns Kel that Children Are Innocent won't last with the male pages.
- Parental Abandonment: Her uncle took her in after her parents were killed. They abandoned her long before that.
- Scullery Maid: Started this way before becoming Kel's personal maid.
- Shrinking Violet: Starts out timid but gradually gains confidence.
- Took a Level in Badass: As she served under Kel she became more confident, and on one occasion held off a squire - a "strong, brawny fighter." In Squire, Kel is told that she teaches the self-defense Kel taught her to other girls in the city.
Owen of Jesslaw
A page who starts training during Kel's second year. Owen is a very energetic and enthusiastic boy with a strong sense of right and wrong, but he's quite impulsive and has a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth. He befriends Kel when she defends him from Joren's gang and he piles into the ensuing fight.
- Badass Bookworm: Kel first meets him in a library because he absolutely loves books.
- Bad Liar: Wyldon doesn't tell him Keladry's orders because he know it'll show all over Owen's face. Kel tells him to take this as a compliment to Owen's sense of honesty.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Owen generally gives the impression of a bouncy ball with curly hair when he first arrives. But when the pages are surprised by bandits during summer camp, he's one of the few besides Kel who keeps a completely cool head and is an excellent shot.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He really enjoys fighting, calling it jolly.
- Break the Cutie: The grueling slog of war and aftermath of Fort Mastiff in Lady Knight leaves Owen hurt and disillusioned.
- Catch Phrase: Describing things as "jolly."
- Character Development: As a result of becoming Wyldon's squire in the third book. Wyldon gets his feet on the ground and instills some manners and savvy into him.
- Scars Are Forever: Invoked. He asks Neal not to heal a cut on his face because he wants a scar to impress the girls.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: In Lady Knight, he leaves his knight-master Wyldon to join Kel's party. This saddens Kel, as she feels guilt for leading Owen into betraying his personal oaths to Wyldon on top of her own betrayal of Wyldon's orders.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: It's not a big deal, given medieval attitudes towards death and killing, but Kel is still surprised when ten-year-old Owen feels nothing but intense satisfaction for killing bandits.
- You Killed My Mother: He hates bandits and his main motivation for becoming a knight is to hunt them because they killed his mother.
Domitan of Masbolle
Neal's cousin, a sergeant in the King's Own. Also Raoul's unofficial protégé, albeit in a different way than Kel, with whom he becomes quite close. First appears in First Test
, though he's unnamed; he takes a much larger role in Squire
and Lady Knight
, and remains one of Kel's firmest champions throughout.
- Badass Normal: No magic and still formidable fighter.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: He primarily uses the sword, but is more than capable with a bow as well.
- Deadpan Snarker: Apparently this is a family trait.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He first appears, unnamed, as part of a group of the King's Own watching Kel and the pages joust in First Test, but it's not until Squire that he becomes a major character.
- The Lancer: To Raoul in a similar vein to Neal/Kel.
- Maybe Ever After: Implied with Kel at the end of Lady Knight.
- Non-Idle Rich: Member of the noble house of Masbolle (related to Queenscove, Neal's family) but serves in the King's Own.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Sergeant and a gentleman.
- Sergeant Badass: He's a squad leader (one rank below commander of the Company) who can and will take you to school.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Kel.
- Up to Eleven: Kel had a small schoolgirl crush on Neal early on. Then she met his cousin who is described (more or less) as "Neal but better." That was the end of the first crush.
Captain of Third Company in the King's Own, he also serves as Raoul's second in command. Although he's not as nice as Raoul and highly skeptical of Kel, he's a competent and fair commander.
- Commander Contrarian: This is a key part of his job. Raoul values his viewpoint, though he doesn't always act on it.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He shows up as part of the spidren hunt in First Test (and unlike Dom, actually gets named there).
- The Lancer: He has a much harder demeanor than Raoul. Dom says that this is necessary; otherwise Raoul would be too easygoing.
- The Reliable One: To Raoul and the King's Own.
- Slut Shaming: This is one of his objections to Raoul taking on Kel as a squire; Flyn worries that it will ruin both of their reputations.
- Token Minority: He's a commoner in high command.
Lerant of Eldorne
Standard-bearer of the Second Company of the King’s Own, and nephew to Delia of Eldorne. He is extremely loyal to Lord Raoul because Raoul accepted him into the King's Own, after the army and navy refused him because of his aunt's high treason. He resents Kel for having what he sees as a closer relationship to his commander.
- Impoverished Patrician: The reason he isn't a knight is that his family simply didn't have the money to pay for a page's equipment.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He shows an unpleasant side to Kel, particularly at first, but he does have his good qualities.
- Pet the Dog: He raises an orphaned baby squirrel late in Squire.
- The Resenter: Lerant resents Kel because she's Lord Raoul's squire, a position that he could never have. Lerant is unique as the only character who starts out resenting Kel and never becomes friendly with her—though they do come to understand one another.
- The Rival: Lerant sees himself and Kel as rivals, although she thinks it’s pointless. He'll try to compete with her for tasks serving Lord Raoul, and she'll frequently put up a token effort and let him win.
- Taking the Bullet: At some point before Squire, he took an arrow meant for Lord Raoul. Qasim mentions this as an example of Lerant’s Undying Loyalty.
- Undying Loyalty: He is completely loyal to Lord Raoul, because Raoul let him join the King's Own despite his relationship to a traitor.
Tobeis "Tobe" Boon
A young boy introduced in the final book, Lady Knight
. He's an abused servant boy in a northern inn until Kel buys his indenture. Although he's nominally her servant, she really did it to give him a good upbringing, and he sticks to her like glue from then on.
- Animal Talk: He has minor horse magic. This makes him the only person besides Daine and Kel who can approach Peachblossom without fear, something which shocks anyone who knows her; even Kel was afraid that Peachblossom would kill the boy the first time he dove into the gelding's stall.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He's a good lad, although the hair color indicates his heritage rather than personality.
- Happily Adopted: By Kel, who becomes his Parental Substitute.
- Orphan's Ordeal: His mother died in childbirth and he was essentially sold to an abusive innkeeper after the death of the midwife who raised him.
- People of Hair Color: One reason that he was rejected by most people was his blond hair and blue eyes, indicating that his parents were Scanran.
- The Reliable One: He is a pretty good servant and reliably brings the equipment and other items she requests in a battle situation.
- Servile Snarker: Alvik wasn't able to beat his penchant for smart remarks out of him.
- Undying Loyalty: To Kel once he's convinced that she's not going to abandon him. He even follows her into Scanra without hesitation after the attack on Haven.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: A darker version, as being abused and given false hope of rescue multiple times has made him cynical. Kel calls him a "litle old man."
A second-rank princess of the Yamani Islands, chosen by her uncle the Emperor to be the future wife of Prince Roald in the alliance marriage with Tortall (following the death of the previous choice, Chisakami, in an earthquake). First introduced in Squire
, when she is sent to Tortall to get to know her future husband and his family. She was friends with Kel when Kel's family were ambassadors in the Yamani Islands.
- In-Series Nickname: Kel calls her 'Shinko' for short, and when they were children, her nickname was 'Cricket'.
- King Incognito: Kel didn't know that Shinko was part of the Imperial bloodline when they first met, as Shinko's family was out of favor with the Emperor at the time and she liked being treated as an ordinary person.
- Naginatas Are Feminine: Skilled in the use of naginatas
- No Man Wants An Amazon: She's afraid at first that this is the case with Roald, as the Yamani Crown prince told her that men with unconventional mothers want conventional wives. Kel is able to help set the record straight.
- Paper Fan of Doom: Carries a shukusen, a silk fan with steel ribs that are dull at the base and razor sharp on the ends. Yamani ladies have them when they think they are in danger, but don't want to complicate things by opening carrying a weapon.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: While the marriage between her and Roald is an Arranged Marriage for alliance reasons, they have much in common and fall in love.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Shinko and Roald postpone their marriage due to the Scanran War and do what they can to help, though they are rather constrained in how much they can do, what with being the Crown Prince and Princess.
- Silk Hiding Steel: As most ladies of the Yamani Islands are.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: What with being from the Yamani Islands, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan.
Yukimi noh Daiomoru
Friend and lady-in-waiting to Princess Shinkokami. She is first introduced in Squire
, when the princess is sent to Tortall to meet her future husband before the marriage. She was friends with Kel in the Yamani Islands. She later falls in love with Nealan of Queenscove and marries him.
- In Love with Love: Not as bad as Neal, but Kel notes that Yuki had flirted with so many men that she wasn't sure that Yuki was really in love with Neal until his Ordeal. Yuki admits that she felt the same way.
- In-Series Nickname: She is called Yuki for short.
- Lady-In-Waiting: To Princess Shinkokami
- Naginatas Are Feminine: She is skilled in the use of naginatas
- Paper Fan of Doom: Carries a shukusen, which she gives to Neal after his Ordeal. He accepts it and wears at his belt during his knighting ceremony.
- Silk Hiding Steel: As most ladies of the Yamani Islands are. She's the one who provided the proverb on this trope: "beware the women of the warrior class, for all they touch is both beautiful and deadly."
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Again, like most ladies of the Yamani Islands.
Villains and neutral
Joren of Stone Mountain
Son of one of the oldest families in Tortall, Joren firmly believes that women should never be knights, and will stop at nothing to prevent Kel from becoming one. Outside of that, he is a great believer in the superiority of nobles.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: His hair is so pale that it borders on White Hair, Black Heart, too.
- Evil Plan: As the first proper antagonist, his plan is to force Kel out of knight training. He tries this several ways, like kidnapping her maid or persuading knights to joust her in the hopes that she'll die or be crippled.
- Hypocrite: He accuses Kel of being unable to fight her own battles blaming her for Vinson's exposure by the Chamber. Never mind that he spends all his time on the Progress persuading other knights to challenge Kel without ever picking up a sword himself.
- Jerkass: He bullies younger pages and is offended by Keladry's mere presence because of her gender.
- Kick the Dog: Kel catches him verbally abusing a palace servant after his claim that he had changed, and he bullies Lerant, who can't fight back because he's not a squire.
- Manipulative Bastard: After becoming a squire, his face-to-face interactions with Kel become passive-aggressive rather than aggressive-aggressive. Then he has Lalasa kidnapped during exams, because she'll be caught between publicly abandoning her servant — very bad — or repeating all four years as a page, which he doesn't think she'll do.
- Muscle Angst: Tries to provoke this in Kel, see below.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He gives Kel a weighted lance to make tilting harder for her. When she figures it out, she decides to start training with other weighted weapons, because it is a good way to build up strength (that's why the training yard has them in the first place). A couple of years later, Kel is so strong that the regular lance actually throws her off.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: That's how he sees it because he's a misogynist.
- Pretty Boy: He's described as "lovely" and "as rosy-cheeked as a girl" with long blond hair. His appearance was based on a real person Pierce knew (who was similarly pretty outside and rotten inside), but there's some unintentional ironic value in a misogynist having such feminine looks.
- The Unfought: Kel fights him repeatedly when they're both pages. When he becomes a squire he stops — but that doesn't mean he stops trying to bring her down through indirect means. If he ever challenged her himself, it would be a tacit admission that she has the same rights as other squires, and he couldn't do that.
Blayce's guard dog. He's the one who brings abducted children to Blayce's hideout for the killing devices as well as guarding him. He's well-equipped to do so, being a mountain of a man with no qualms about killing anyone.
- An Axe to Grind: He wields a huge double-headed axe with a spike at the top.
- Badass He tops Kel at about seven feet and is an excellent fighter; his axe is proportional and he uses it to great effect. Kel's fight with him is long and difficult even with the help of Jump and a camp cat, and he manages to inflict a couple of bad wounds. Even after she inflicts a mortal wound, she decides to make sure he's dead by cutting his throat.
- Bad Boss: Ditches his dead men without any kind of funeral rite, nor does he pause long enough to find out who's killing them (i.e. Kel's band) because getting the children to Blayce is more important to him. When they protest, he backhands one of them in the throat.
- The Brute: He's a low ranking thug that works for Blayce, who works for the Scanran king.
- Expy: Word of God states that he is based (physically, at least) on Kevin Nash.
- Lack of Empathy: He appears not to have any kind of human feeling other than professionalism and getting paid for his work.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: There's only one plausible reason he could be called "Kinslayer".
- Only in It for the Money: When Kel questions why he works for a monster like Blayce, his reply is simply that Blayce pays well.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Kel during their battle after she expresses disgust for his motive—his rejoinder is that Blayce at least treats the children to some luxury before killing them, whereas she's just saving them for a short and miserable life of disease, poverty, battle, and starvation. She's not swayed at all by this cynical statement.
- Red Baron: Not that it's ever directly confirmed, but it's easy to infer that "Kinslayer" is probably not his family's surname.
Blayce the Gallan
The antagonist of the final book. A mage working for the King of Scanra, he creates twelve-foot metal and bone monstrosities known only as "killing devices", which he powers with the souls of dead children. Despite his fearsome invention, in person he's nebbish and unremarkable. After passing her Ordeal, Kel is charged by the Chamber with stopping him.
- Anti-Climax Boss: In-universe example. Kel is startled at how easily he goes down, given the monstrosity of his crimes.
- Blessed with Suck: He claims that he has no choice but to use his necromantic "gifts" because that's what he got, but Kel calls bullshit because he clearly enjoys what he's doing.
- Evil Genius: Although Maggur is an excellent strategist, Blayce is what makes the Scanrans such a threat. The Scanran army is tough, but manageable. The killing devices, however, make seasoned veterans flee, and finding Blayce is top priority for the spies.
- In Universe Nickname: Kel calls him "The Nothing Man" because he's such a bland-looking individual, and also because he's a soulless bastard.
- The Heavy: Although Maggur is the cause of the war, he is a minor character in Kel's part of it. It is Blayce himself that is the plot relevant villain and the one driving the conflict of Lady Knight.
- The Necromancer: Which is frowned upon by the gods, although he says that it's the Gift he got.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: He's a dumpy little fidgeter with acne. The kind of person you'd avoid on a bus, maybe, but certainly not one you'd assume to be a total monster.
Heroes and supporting
Alianne "Aly" of Pirate's Swoop*
Daughter of Alanna, Aly has no interest in becoming a knight, much preferring her father's spy work (and stringing along boys). When she's captured by slavers and shipped to the Copper Isles, she finds herself in the middle of a underground rebellion and the plaything of a god. Quick-witted, stealthy and intelligent, Aly must find a way of placing the right person on the throne without
- Anti-Hero: Aly starts the series as a spoiled rich girl who views war and spy work as fun. She enjoys stringing boys along. She gets better, though she still retains some Jerk Ass traits. See Magnificent Bitch.
- The Chessmaster: She plays people like a champion.
- Cosmic Plaything: For Kyprioth, who engineered her abduction and enslavement. Unlike the rest of her family, she gives him as much grief as he does her.
- Dead Guy Junior: Both herself and her kids, in roundabout ways.
- Desperately Looking For A Way To Achieve Her Intended Purpose In Life: Before the story starts, Aly wants to be a spy, but her parents won't let her, instead asking that she find another line of work. Aly has no other wish than to be a spy, and the skills to be a master. Then Kyprioth makes her an offer...
- Dirty Business: She is troubled by some aspects of her work such as when she comes up against the reality that Elsren Balitang, as a potential heir to the luarin throne, is a severe liability to the rebels.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: When the Duke and Duchess offer to free her from slavery, she asks to keep the collar and is given a task for which nobody would notice or question her for running all around the estate.
- Genre Savvy: To a lot of spying and espionage tropes. Chapter breaks often include excerpts from books on spying that she's read or her father's own words.
- Guile Hero: She can fight if she has to, but that's not what she prefers. Her specialty is manipulations and plans.
- Interspecies Romance: With Nawat the crow-man.
- Knife Nut: Her last resort, but she carries a variety of concealed blades.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Initially she's just in it to prove to her father that he should let her join the spy corps.
- Saying Too Much: She is keenly aware of this trope and has to work hard to make sure that she doesn't fall into it, which is difficult when Dove and Sarai want to know everything about her famous mother and other family members. Even so, she sometimes slips. (Fortunately, being "Mithros'" chosen helper gives her leeway.)
- The Spymaster: Eventually becomes this for the whole rebellion.
- Spy Glasses: Aly's Sight serves this purpose because it can perform a variety of functions like great distance and zoom.
- Teen Superspy: Being the daughter of Tortall's spymaster helps.
The Trickster God of this particular pantheon, Kyprioth has two main forms- a grey haired raka man and a crow. After centuries of subjugation by his older siblings Mithros and the Goddess, Kyprioth is ready to win back his power...and is going to use Aly to get it.
- Batman Gambit: His wager with Aly. Of course he will return her to her parents if she wins. But he was rather banking on the idea that she would want to stay and help the revolution to its conclusion.
- Big Good: To the raka, he is their leader and inspiration.
- Blasphemous Boast: Even though he's a god himself. Turns out the other trickster gods get offended if you say you're better than the rest of them! It gets him a sharp slap on the wrist from the Graveyard Hag when she repays a loyal worshipper and helps Sarai leave the Islands—and Kyprioth's plans for her—at the same time.
- I Gave My Word: When Aly doubts his commitment to their wager, he assures her that he always pays his debts.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Kyrpioth has two sides: silly prankster and extremely bitter exiled king. Aly finds the latter unnerving.
- Physical God: Likes to manifest as a colorfully-dressed and very handsome (but distinguished) raka man.
- Rule of Drama: He enjoys invoking this. Any time he appears before a follower will be accompanied by some impressive special effects, which Aly lampshades.
- Trickster Archetype: Proudly calls himself the trickster, ahead of all the others in the Tortallverse. Those tricksters don't appreciate such boasting.
- What Measure is a NonGod: It's pointed out several times in the series that he sees humans, Aly included, as pets at best and pawns at worst. This is best shown when he encourages Imajane and Rubinyan to kill Elsren, Dunevon and their friends, because the boys needed to die for the revolution to succeed. He has no empathy for them at all.
A crow that helps with the rebellion. He learns to transform into a human to better aid them (and to be with Aly).
- Ambiguously Brown: He's dark-skinned in human form but doesn't look quite the same as a raka.
- Arrow Catch: His crow reflexes let him do it with tremendous ease.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He was after Aly early in book 1. She didn't reciprocate until book 2.
- The Face: The Crows are a Cast Herd. They communicate with Aly primarily through him because, unlike them, he likes humans. He becomes their official spokesman in book 2.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Offscreen. He's absent for a little while after turning human because he has to learn how to move around in the new body.
- Innocently Insensitive: He doesn't understand that mating practices among humans are much different than crows, leading him to casually suggest anything from mating with Aly so that their brood can help them fight to feeding her bugs.
- Interspecies Romance: With Aly, but according to raka legend, crows and humans arose from the same eggs.
- May-December Romance: He's all of three years old when he and Aly officially get together, but in crow years it more or less works out okay.
- Mr. Fanservice: In universe. He's very popular among the young women in the duke's employ.
- Raised By Crows: Justified because he is one and gets along pretty well with humans. It still weirds people out when he eats bugs or tries to feed his children bugs.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Alysexual.
- Skunk Stripe: He has a wavy white patch in his feathers that he got from pissing off Ochobu.
- Spider-Sense: In "Nawat." He can sense apparently anything about his flock, whether they're in great pain or if his children need to pee.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Has to choose between culling one of his triplets according to crow law, or letting her live, but being cast out from his flock forever.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Apparently, any crow can turn into a human if they want in the Tortall universe. He can change back and forth at need, with some Power Incontinence if he's upset, as we see in "Nawat."
Duke Mequen's oldest child with his first wife, Sarugani Temaida, who was part of the raka royal line, making her "twice royal." Beautiful, charming, and passionate in her beliefs, Sarai's birthright is the focus of the raka conspiracy to retake the Isles.
- The Chosen One: The raka believe her to be this due to the Trickster's prophecy. She doesn't take the job.
- The Beautiful Elite: One reason why she gets so much attention over Dove as The Chosen One is her great beauty.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: When she gets the thanks for an idea of Dove's, Dove attributes it to this.
- Expy: She actually has quite a few similarities with Alanna, ultimately including not being suited at all to ruling a country.
- Hot-Blooded: After her father's death, she becomes increasingly prone to criticize the luarin noblility's lifestyle and policy to their faces, which is not appreciated by the subterfuge-based rebellion.
- Locked Out of the Loop: The leaders of the raka rebellion stipulate that she and her sister not be told of the plans being made on their behalf, because it would put them in further danger.
- Loose Lips: In Trickster's Queen she ignores her family's advice about the wrong time to criticize luarin racism, as well as flippantly telling her social circle where there are secrecy spells. Everything she says about the luarin nobility is true, but with the monarchs being as tyrannical as they are, making her opinions public is outright reckless.
- Mixed Ancestry: As well as being luarin/raka, she is a daughter of both the luarin and raka royal bloodlines; hence "twice-royal."
- Rebellious Princess: Rebellious duke's daughter, anyway. It's deconstructed; her passionate tendencies are a liability for the rebels and she eventually abandons the rebellion to elope with a foreign prince.
- Refusal of the Call: Although she doesn't actually know about the plans being made for her, she frequently laments being in the position she's in—a mixed-race daughter of a royal house. And when offered an arranged marriage, she elopes to Carthak and has nothing more to do with the Copper Isles. A case where it works out for her; not that anyone else is happy about it.
- Silk Hiding Steel: The most popular belle in the Copper Isles. One time she talked down a poorly planned noble revolt while making it sound like she was only interested in a date for the Summersend ball. She's no slouch with a sword either, even if she's a bit out of practice.
- Spirited Young Lady: She's an excellent rider who impresses suitors with her adventerous nature, used to train in swordplay, and is quite charming.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Between the first and second books, particularly in how she treats the servants. In Choice, she makes a point of not ordering Aly to give her an alibi for dallying with Bronau. In Queen, she threatens her with a riding crop.
- What Could Have Been: The original plan was that she would run her mouth about the Rittevons one too many times and be killed.
Sarai's younger sister by Duke Mequen's first wife. Dove is often in her more beautiful and gregarious sister's shadow and doesn't draw attention to herself. She's both thoughtful and sharp-minded.
- Actually Pretty Funny: She's incensed with Nawat for using a palace boulevard as a diaper for his kids and lists all the horrible things that could have happened if it, ahem, hit an ambassador from Yamannote or Carthaknote . But she did find the expression on the Tyran ambassador's secretary to be pretty funny.
- Badass Bookworm: Not a fighter, but she's just as smart as Aly.
- Hidden Depths: She cultivates friendships with servants and commoners, unlike Sarai, and is much more thoughtful. This makes her the better candidate to take the throne.
- Genre Savvy: She's well aware that Sarai is going to get more attention than her when they're both in the room (even if Dove is the one who finds the solution to a problem) so she deliberately allows herself to be in her sister's shadow and learns much more by hanging around with the servants and commoners.
- Locked Out of the Loop: For the same reasons as Sarai. She figures it out on her own.
- Mixed Ancestry: Like Sarai.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: As one of the hidden princesses of the raka line. She decides to take an active hand in the rebellion and insists on knowing everything that's relevant to her future. When she replaces Sarai as the intended queen, Dove takes part in the fighting by riding a kudarang to inspire the rebels.
- Smart People Play Chess: Has a few chess partners in the palace.
- Spotting the Thread: She's very good at noticing when Aly says, does, or thinks something that a country maidservant shouldn't.
- The Unfavorite: Not to her parents, but she's hardly noticed by the raka and rebels except as Sarai's quiet younger sister. Aly has to remind Kyprioth that Dove is qualified to fulfill the prophecy after Sarai runs away to Carthak.
- The Unchosen One: Aly realizes early on that Dove is far more savvy and motivated than gorgeous, gregarious Sarai, and laments that she's not the older one. When Sarai runs off, Dove has to remind the rebels that she is qualified to become queen under the prophecy.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite being thirteen, adults often enjoy conversing with her and respect her intellect.
Duke Mequen Balitang
A luarin noble and relative of the Rittevons. His first wife was a raka noblewoman named Sarugani, who was part of their royal line. He's very unusual for a high-ranking luarin noble for that fact, as well as the fact that he treats his raka servants just like his luarin servants.
- Nice Guy: A good father to his children, a sincere friend to Rubinyan and Bronau, and all-in-all the most genuinely decent adult in the Rittevon line.
- Nice to the Waiter: When he's forced to fire or sell much of his household for the move to Lombyn, he does his best to ensure that they'll have good masters.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's very fair to his servants and slaves. In particular he protects his female servants and slaves from unwelcome attentions of other nobles and makes sure his children treat them well, inspiring a great deal of loyalty from them.
- Royally Screwed Up: Although he's a good man who would much rather not get involved with court intrigues, he can't escape the complications that his relatives throw into his life.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Tends to believe other people have his sense of decency when they don't. He thinks of Bronau and Rubinyan as his good friends, what a shame they don't get along better. On a more positive note, though, this also means he treats raka and other people considered beneath his station with respect and decency.
Duchess Winnamine Balitang
Mequen's second wife and best friend to Sarugani. She married him several years after Sarugani's death and became the girls' stepmother, as well as giving birth to two children of her own, a girl and a boy.
- Adult Fear: Her whole family is under attack and she has to endure numerous occasions where her children's lives are at risk. She also loses her husband and her youngest child, Elsren, which devastates her.
- Crisis of Faith: Because she thinks Aly was sent by Mithros and not Kyprioth, she has an anguished conversation with Aly to ask if Mithros' will was really for her husband and son to die in Trickster's Queen.
- Good Parents: As well as thoroughly averting the Wicked Stepmother trope, she teaches her own children to treat the household slaves and servants well. It's mentioned she once made Petranne do the work after hitting her maid.
- Nice to the Waiter: Cheanol remarks that Winnamine doesn't have any of the prejudice you'd expect of a luarin noble.
- Parental Substitute: She's an excellent stepmother to Sarai and Dove.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Like her husband, she's both kind and very intelligent. She's quite happy to take Aly's suggestions for keeping the family safe.
- Second Love: To Mequen. We later learn that his aunt Nuritin basically ordered him to marry again so he'd have a male heir, but they're in love nonetheless.
- Silk Hiding Steel: She starts learning combat techniques after the assassination attempt on the family. She's also less idealistic than her husband and has a better idea of the dangers that the family connections impose on them.
- "Well Done, Dad" Guy: She is sensitive about being Sarai and Dove's stepmother. She's very happy when Sarai acknowledges that she's been good to them late in the first book.
Prince Bronau Jimajen
The younger brother of Rubinyan and brother-in-law to Imajane Rittevon, making him a prince. Bronau is an old friend of the Balitangs and once courted Winnamine, but despite his charming personality he's a liability to the family in their exile.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's very charming and flirtatious, but Aly and Nawat both note his "hawk-like" nature; he is willing to go to any length to get ahead.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: The Balitangs quickly decide to keep mum about anything they don't want him to carelessly gossip about when he returns to Rajmuat.
- The Dandy: He spends more on shoes than Maude spends on the food for Pirate's Swoop.
- Fantastic Racism: He insults raka food and customs while he's being hosted by them.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: He tries to force Sarai's hand in marriage so that he can take the throne from his brother.
- Prince Charmless: You don't get much more charmless than killing the father of the girl you're courting.
- Really Gets Around: He flirts with Aly, Sarai, and has a well-earned reputation for sleeping with all the willing female servants and slaves of any household he visits.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: A skilled warrior who is respected by his men, despite his other faults.
- Sibling Rivalry: He and Rubinyan hate each other, to Mequen's sorrow. In contrast, he's a favorite of his brother-in-law.
- Smug Snake: His opinion of his intellect is inflated. He plots to pay off his considerable debts by marrying Sarai because her half-brother is in the royal line and he wants to use the connection to get the cash. When things go awry, he tries to abduct the new child king in an incredibly foolish manner and then flees to the Balitangs.
- Adipose Rex: Hazarin Rittevon, whose chief vices are rich food and his insistence on overindulging in it. He dies of it shortly after ascending the throne.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Excluding Dunevon, who's too young to be evil yet.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed:
- An understated version with Hazarin. He's repeatedly told by the royal doctors that he has to eat healthier if he wants to live. He knows he's not going to survive for long after becoming king, so he decides to die of something self-inflicted and enjoyable rather than a painful assassination.
- At the end of Queen, Imajane jumps to her death rather than face capture and execution after the rebel victory.
- The Caligula: Rittevons are genetically inclined towards insanity, so the line tosses up one of these every so often. King Oron was turning into one by the time of his death; he had several court families executed and exiled the Balitangs out of paranoia.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Dunevon, the five-year-old king who succeeds his brother Hazarin.
- Deadly Decadent Court: There's a lot of back-stabbing in this court. For instance, when Hazarin dies from gluttony he's relieved because he thought he'd die from poison and that's also the immediate assumption of others at court.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Princess Imajane is far quicker to punish dissent than Rubinyan; not that Rubinyan is a paragon of morality himself.
- Heir Club for Men: Unlike the old raka nobility, they only inherit through the male line.
- Incest Is Relative: Imajane and Rubinyan offer a marriage contract with Dunevon to Sarai and later to Dove. They didn't expect her to accept.
- Puppet King: Poor Dunevon.
- Royally Screwed Up: Insanity runs in the family.
Heroes and supporting
Rebakah "Beka" Cooper
The protagonist and narrator of the story through her journals. Beka showed an early talent for policing when she tracked the man who beat and robbed her mother Ilony and helped Lord Gershom bag a notorious gang in the process; in gratitude, he took her family into his household. She is sixteen when she starts writing her journal to aid in her policework and shows a dogged
determination to protect the poor and powerless of the realm.
- Always Gets Her Man: Her doggedness earns her each book title as a nickname.
- Animal Talk: Pounce and the pigeons, although it's the ghosts riding the pigeons that do the talking rather than the birds themselves.
- Asleep for Days: Due to a combination of bloodloss and powerful healing magic at the end of Bloodhound.
- Berserk Button: Don't criticise Dogs or Lord Gershom. And don't hurt Pounce or Achoo.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Demonstrated frequently—as Aniki observes, she's shy, not stupid, and she's very good at the physical part of her job. She's also prone to giving voice to all of her pent-up frustrations when the person she's mad at pushes her once too far.
- Braids of Action: She braids a spiked strap into it so nobody can grab it in a fight.
- Dating Catwoman: Her UST with Rosto—this trope is why Beka makes sure it stays unresolved. It's both out of professionalism and the memory of how her mother was treated by her own criminal boyfriends.
- Determinator: She earns the nickname of "Terrier" while she's still a Puppy for going all-out to apprehend criminals (whether in hot pursuit or investigation).
- Does Not Like Magic: A mild and rather understandable case in Mastiff. Mostly she just wants to know when someone is going to magic her and exactly what it will do, having been attacked with magic in the previous book. Otherwise she's fine with Farmer's magic stuff.
- Drink Order: Twilseynote or barley water. She avoids alcohol because she dislikes not being in control, although she does get drunk a couple of times.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Fishpuppy; fortunately it doesn't last long. She reacts to Terrier with embarrassment too, although by Bloodhound, Pounce scolds her for "preening" over it.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Complete with a Death Glare. Her eyes are pale blue. When she gets pissed people say she has spooky Ghost Eyes. And they pretty much scare everyone, even her friends and partner.
- Heroic BSOD: She nearly breaks in Mastiff when, after a long chase that has already involved many ugly deaths, they find the slavers and slaves hiding Prince Gareth murdered and left like trash—men, women, and children. She's desperate to find some way to give their rotting bodies some dignity even though they don't have time. The Black God takes pity on her and arrives in person to bury them.
- Idiot Ball: There are a few times in the trilogy where Beka struggles to remember a key detail that would advance (or even crack) the case. This is always a detail that she has already written about in the journal that is explicitly a memory aid. Does she go back and re-read previous entries? Nope.
- Knife Nut: The baton is her go-to weapon. But try and count how many knives she carries hidden on her person. Clearly, favoring easily concealed, sharp, pointy things is a Cooper family trait.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Subverted, as while she's not exactly promiscuous, she has been around the block a few times. No one really seems to care, though.
- Parental Abandonment: Her father's name is never mentioned, although his mother is a minor character and Beka inherited her Gift from him. Her mother Ilony died of tuberculosis not long after the Coopers were taken in by Lord Gershom.
- Psychopomp: Hence her status as an unofficial priestess of the Black God.
- Shrinking Violet: She's incredibly shy and finds it nearly impossible to talk to people she doesn't know. It tends to go away when she's in uniform or on Dog business, though.
- She Fights Crime: Her books are crime novels rather than involving quests or wars.
- The One Who Made It Out: Gershom of Haryse took her family out of Mutt Piddle Lane in gratitude. She frequently counts her blessings for this. However, she voluntarily goes back to the Lower City because she likes and understands it better than the wealthier districts.
- The Unfavorite: To Lady Teodorie, who's offended that Beka chose to be a Dog rather than a maid or seamstress like her sisters, and tries to keep Beka from her siblings. She also half-blames Beka for the times Gershom gets particularly into his job. Beka is also avoided by her father's side of the family for being a Dog.
- You Need to Get Laid: Granny Fern suggests this in Bloodhound.
Lord Provost Gershom of Haryse
Head of the Provost's Guard. Gershom took in the Coopers when Beka helped him track down a notorious gang and became her inspiration to join the Provost's Guard. He's a good man who's good at a very difficult job and taught Beka much of what she knows.
- A Father to His Men: He attends every Dog funeral and walks a beat with his Dogs afterwards.
- Da Chief: A benevolent version. He allows his trusted Dogs a lot of leeway, but he's not about to take insubordination or too much corruption from his forces.
- Henpecked Husband: Downplayed. Teodorie is a dutiful wife, but she hates Gershom's job and closes her bedchamber to him whenever he does field duty.
- In-Series Nickname: His family calls him "Granite."
- I Owe You My Career: Eight-year-old Beka saved him from disgrace, so he ensured that she and her family would be taken care of after Ilony's death.
- Parental Substitute: For Beka, who follows in his footsteps.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He was the only member of the Guard who would actually listen to Beka when she tried to tell them where the Bold Brass gang was.
Tansy is a childhood friend of Beka's who has also escaped Mutt Piddle Lane, in her case by marriage. Her two-year-old son Rolond was murdered by the Shadow Snake, which pulls Beka into two cases at once.
A friend of Beka's and a fellow Puppy. He's a very amiable fellow who has a knack for being liked.
- Beware the Nice Ones: For all that he's a sweetheart, Ersken is a very good Dog.
- Dating Catwoman: He and Kora become lovers. They deal with it by not talking shop.
- Nice Guy: Beka says that he's the kindest of the Puppies entering training that year.
Clara "Clary" Goodwin
Beka's female training partner. Goodwin is a veteran with an excellent reputation and resistant to taking on a Puppy. Although she is stern and intimidating, Goodwin has a nicer side for those she likes and respects and she eventually admits that Beka's not so bad.
- The Atoner: Was a "loose dog" in her youth. A couple of Rats decided that a bribe wasn't enough insurance and nearly killed her.
- Badass: A tough-as-nails Dog who has won many a street battle. Beka even says at one point "I want to be Clary Goodwin when I grow up."
- Character Tics: Paces around when thinking. Also makes a two-fingered beckoning gesture when she wants someone to talk to her.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: It takes her a bit to warm up to Beka. Pounce helps.
- Demoted to Extra: In Mastiff. She never actually appears.
- Happily Married: She did have difficulties in her marriage during the time she was a Dirty Cop, but they're well settled now. She does use the image that they're not when she and Beka go to Port Caynn.
- Heel-Faith Turn: She told the Goddess that she'd change her ways if she survived in The Atoner incident. The Goddess apparently answered, and Goodwin kept her promise.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Her Pet the Dog moment is actually a Pet The Cat moment when she shamelessly flatters Pounce.
- In-Series Nickname: Everyone on a first-name basis with her calls her Clary.
- Limited Advancement Opportunities: She's been refusing promotions to Sergeant for quite a while because she prefers street duty. She finally takes it after the end of the rough assignment in Bloodhound, having had more than her fill of it.
- Odd Couple: She's known to be much more grouchy and reluctant to take a Puppy than her partner Mattes.
- Opposites Attract: With her friendly, easygoing, and trusting husband Tomlan.
- Religious Bruiser: In addition to Dog work, she also serves as the Goddess' Magistrate for the Lower City.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Beka is quite shocked at Clary's appearance whenever she's dressed as a citywoman and not a Dog.
Matthias "Mattes" Tunstall
Beka's other training partner. Tunstall is significantly more easygoing than Goodwin, but he is just as respected (and feared) in the Lower City. He's happy to have Beka along and tends to get on well with most people until he has to arrest them.
- Berserk Button: You should really think twice about commenting on his relationship with Lady Sabine.
- The Berserker: When he gets into a full-out brawl he gets fighting mad, and has been known to roar.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As easy-going as he is, he didn't survive to be a Senior Dog on Evening Watch in the Lower City by being an ineffectual fighter. This trope turns sinister in the third book.
- The Big Guy: Of the trio. He's well over six feet and a very powerful fighter.
- Death Glare: Can get people to leave just by looking at them.
- Dented Iron: Although he's one of the most feared Dogs in the Lower City, he's been doing the job for a long time and has built up such a resistance to magical healing that his broken legs in Bloodhound take almost as long to heal as the natural way. (For comparison, Beka's broken bones from an unrelated incident take a few days.) By Mastiff, he won't even visit the Guards' healers because they would immediately take him off of street duty.
- Gentle Giant: Very tall, but generally an easy-going and friendly individual unless you give him reason not to be. Until the third book.
- Like a Son to Me: He's much more outwardly kind and encouraging to Beka than Goodwin is while they're training her, and says that he's wanted a Puppy for a long time. Later says the trope name outright (with the correct gender, obviously). While they're trying to kill each other, sadly.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Likes to grow miniature roses, which he learned from a Yamani friend.
- The Resenter: In the third book. He resented the difference in status between him and Sabine, which constantly led to such things as the two of them being placed apart at functions, endless mockery, and—in his opinion—Sabine's reluctance to marry him. In the end, he joined the conspiracy in the hope of obtaining a title and land, which would put him on her level.
- Serious Business: Gardening. He's rather affronted when Beka suggests he could just pick some flowers from a public garden!
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the third book. He's noticeably cranky and spends a good chunk of the book picking at Farmer's temper for no real reason. Explained away by the fact that he's aging and very achy.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mistress Noll's apple-raisin patties, although he'll eat any pastry she makes.
- Uptown Girl: With Sabine. It doesn't end well.
Rosto the Piper
A Scanran rusher who comes to Corus for better opportunity. He is instantly attracted to Beka and flirts with her shamelessly despite her refusals. He is also a deadly fighter who enters the Rogue's court with a good deal of ambition.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Both Aniki and Kora are his lovers, and in Bloodhound he's said to have slept his way around the Lower City.
- Demoted to Extra: Although he becomes the Rogue at the end of Terrier, he has a much more minor role in the rest of the trilogy since Beka hardly spends any time in Corus.
- Gentleman Thief: He really is a good musician and he's had some kind of education. Some Dogs speculate that he used to be a noble back in Scanra and well-regarded for being an intelligent, sensible Rogue.
- I Have This Friend: Tells a hypothetical story about if someone attacked a man in the Royal Palace, King Roger would have no choice but to retaliate because it happened right in his own walls, to justify having the Pell brothers killed for attacking Beka across the street from the Dancing Dove.
- Loveable Rogue: Literally.
- No Last Name Given: He seems to lack a surname or a patrynomic/matrynomic, something that Beka takes note of.
- Pretty Boy: He's even called a "Scanran pretty boy" by one of Beka's friends.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Beka, as he will, according to her, insult you as he's trying to tumble you.
A Scanran who came to Corus with Rosto. She's a friendly swordswoman, but as easygoing as she is, there's no mistaking that she's deadly.
- Aborted Arc: She helps Beka and her partners "dog" Crookshank's associates and Goodwin makes a few comments that Aniki would make an excellent Dog. Nothing comes of this.
- Bar Brawl: First meets Beka when she jumps into one.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: She keeps trying to cuddle Pounce until he gets fed up enough to bring her a kitten of her own.
- Master Swordswoman: Beka notes that when she's holding her sword, it's like an extension of her arm.
- Meaningful Name: "Forfrysning" is Danish for frostbite, something a Scanran would know a lot about.
- Lady of War: As a rusher it's almost a prerequisite.
- True Companions: With Rosto and Kora. If it comes between her boss or her friends, she'll pick her friends, as do they. Rosto becoming the Rogue takes care of this problem, though.
Rosto's other lady companion. Kora is a mage and rather a Nice Girl
, despite the fact that she's a criminal.
- Berserk Button: People who kill children, as her older sister was murdered.
- A bit less seriously, trying to wake her up early in the morning will get you a face full of fire.
- Friend to All Living Things: She keeps a number of city animals in her rooms and is better at animal medicine than people medicine.
- Healing Hands: Subverted. For humans, her limit seems to be a potion that functions like Mucinex. Her healing spells for animals, however, work much better.
- Mundane Utility: Uses her magic to make laundry charms, among other things.
- Nice Girl: She's an incredibly sweet person and a good friend to Beka. That said, Beware the Nice Ones.
- Not a Morning Person/Wake Up Fighting: If you wake her up early, be prepared to get a fireball to the face.
- Weak, but Skilled: As Kora will freely admit, she's just a simple hedgewitch — but she's perfectly capable of using what power she does have to, say, force you walk into a Kennel and confess to murdering your own child. And never remember that it was her who did it.
Lady Sabine of Macayhill
A lady knight, since this is a time in Tortall's history where women were allowed to be so. She's not the usual kind of knight, avoiding the high society she'd be expected to mix with to help Tunstall, Goodwin, and Beka with their police work.
A Kennel mage who joins Beka and Tunstall during their investigation in Mastiff
. Although he acts silly, he's more than he appears. He and Beka eventually fall in love and get married
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Comes across is silly or stupid, but he knows what he's doing.
- Catch Phrase: "My ma always said [piece of advice and/or Self-Deprecating Humor]."
- Engaging Conversation: Once joked about wanting to marry Beka because she's so clever. The genuine offer came much later.
- Fail O'Suckyname: His birth name was Pincas Huckleburr. Beka nearly dies laughing when he confesses this.
- Farm Boy: Well, sort of.
- Healing Hands: His Gift allows him to treat injuries. As one would imagine, this is very useful to the group.
- Minored In Ass Kicking: Can hold his own in a fight.
- Nice Guy: He's very genuinely good-natured and caring towards his friends. Although he could attain status and wealth if he really wanted to, he would much rather help people with his abilities and learn outside of academia.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He makes an art form of it. It means he avoids people who enslave mages and doesn't have to get into pissing contests with other mages if they assume he's worthless from the start.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Fond of shawls, and a talented seamster(?) and cook.
- The Smart Guy: Of the group looking for the kidnapped prince.
- Weak, but Skilled: Supplements his own Gift with heaps of studying and a talent for gathering and utilizing the leftover magic of other mages.
A baker Beka knows from childhood. Deirdry Noll is an expert in her profession and works very hard to make her business succeed. Her wares are a particular favorite of Tunstall's, so they end up visiting her stall whenever possible.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She turns out to be one of the two Big Bads of Terrier.
- Cool Old Lady: Beka remembers how Mistress Noll taught her how to knead dough, she doesn't charge Dogs, and Goodwin and Tunstall can rely on her for information. Subverted in the end.
- Self-Made Man: She used to run her bakery on Mutt Piddle Lane and broke her back working to get herself into a more respectable area of the Lower City. By the present day she can even afford servants. Later turns out that she was supplementing her income with extorted valuables.
- Supreme Chef: She's described as the best baker in the Lower City, and Tunstall always finds an excuse to detour to her stall.
A Dog from Port Caynn and Lord Gershom's cousin. He was "born on the wrong side of the sheets," which is another way to say he was born out of wedlock.
- Beta Couple: He and Okha have a (mostly) harmonious relationship, contrasting with Beka's burgeoning Slap-Slap-Kiss with Dale.
- Dating Catwoman: Not a straight example, as Okha is emphatically a good guy. However, Okha does have some ties to the underworld of Port Caynn, which causes tension.
- Happily Married: It's unknown if gay marriage is legal in Tortall, but he and Okha are included in Beka's annoyance with older couples showing affection like teenagers.
- Hero of Another Story: Both Okha and Nestor are hinted at having deeper connections to Pearl Skinner than explored in the novel.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Although he warns Beka about not doing too much obvious Dog work, it's to do with the fact that Pearl threatened her for it. His main problem is that he's hobbled by Sir Lionel's complete unwillingness to do anything about Pearl.
Okha Soyan (Amber Orchid)
A gorgeous singer in Port Caynn and Nestor's lover. She is also a transwoman.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her family kicked her out for unknown reasons, she's met others like her, and Pearl Skinner had someone she loved killed. Other than that, we get little from her.
- Guile Hero: While not the protagonist, Okha serves as this in the context of Bloodhound. She helps Beka primarily by gossiping and spying, and keeps several secrets from Nestor in order to protect him (at least until the time is right), in contrast to Nestor, Beka, and even Goodwin, who are much more direct.
- Happily Married: To Nestor.
- Magical Queer: Older, wiser, teaches Beka how to wear makeup and perfume so she can better woo Dale. Although she is in a relationship with Nestor herself.
- Transsexual: Sex-reassignment surgery doesn't exist in-universe, so she could also count as a Drag Queen. Beka refers to her as "him", since it may have been confusing for the reader had Pierce switched mid-novel from calling Okha 'he' to 'she'. Alternatively, Beka may not have had a full understanding that just because Okha is physically male, she should not actually be referred to as male.
- Wholesome Crossdresser
The Rogue of Port Caynn. She doesn't care about the common folk, who look to the Rogue for help because official channels don't care tuppence about commoners; instead she exploits them for all they're worth. She's selfish and cruel, dealing out terminal retribution to any underling who fails her.
- Big Bad: Of the second book.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Pearl is cruel and self-centered, but can't stand people who mistreat animals.
- Freudian Excuse: Averted. While it's implied that Pearl is from an abusive family, there's no hint of it justifying her present nastiness. The fact that she had them murdered later just adds to her notoriety.
- Gold Tooth: Rather, pearl teeth. She has them magically transformed even though it's bad for her dental health.
- It's All About Me: Beka and Goodwin are mystified by the way Pearl drenches Port Caynn with coles because it would just make her riches worthless before long. But she doesn't care; she just wants to have the most money out of anyone. And she was planning to flee to Yaman when it went bad anyway.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Skinner, to Beka's surprise, turns out to actually be her real last name, in addition to her preferred torture and execution method.
- Pet the Dog: Subverted in that this doesn't hint at any secret good tendencies. She's still a very horrible person who happens to genuinely like dogs.
- Self-Made Orphan: Her family members mysteriously died after she became Rogue. It's hinted that her father was abusive, but nobody considers excusing her present behavior for it.
- Sweet Tooth: She apparently has a fondness for sticky candies. Bad for the teeth under normal circumstances, but they rip pearls right out.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She will do this to anyone who works for her, anyone at all.
First appearing in short stories
Kylaia al Jmaa
A girl from a African-like
village and the future Shang Unicorn.
- Action Girl: Her self-taught moves are very effective in combat and attract the notice of a Shang warrior.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: She teaches herself to fight by observing the fighting moves of animals at the waterhole and imitating them herself.
- Bad Ass: And how.
- The Champion: When her sister is falsely accused of witching a boy into a marriage contract, Kylaia steps up as champion for trial by combat in her father's place.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She was mentioned in Lioness Rampant by Liam Ironarm as one of the three Shang warriors named after immortals- the Shang Unicorn.
- Kick Chick: She doesn't just use kicks, but the first fighting technique she developed was based on ostriches' kicks.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Her father says that "Even less than a bride possessed by a demon will a young man like a wife who can kick his ribs in".
- Training Montage: The scene that takes place over a few years, teaching herself to fight.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He rescues Fadal from execution in the temple because Fadal persisted in giving him food and taught him to hope.
- Driven to Suicide: After a few days of misery he gives up and tries to starve himself to death. Fadal finds him before he succumbs.
- Green Thumb: Knows about plants, since he was a tree before being turned to a human.]]
- Super Strength: The axe gives him blisters so he rips up firewood with his bare hands.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Although Numair gives him some knowledge so he knows how to eat, he has no idea about basic human custom and how to get food and other necessities.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His story is an answer to the question "what happened to the tree that Numair turned into a man?"
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He hates fire.
A boy who finds Qiom starving himself to death and convinces him to give living another try.
- The Cameo: Fadal also appears in the next story, "The Hidden Girl."
- Kill It with Fire: Her would-be fate when she's discovered. Qiom stops it.
- Samus is a Girl: Nobody discovers that Fadal is really a girl until towards the end of the story.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Disguised herself as a boy and ran away from home because her stepfather wanted her to be veiled like the other females in their country and later married.
- Walking the Earth: She wanders from place to place, not wanting to be caught out.
A girl who wanders with her father, teaching the parts of scripture that the official priests don't like to hear (namely, the bits about how women aren't inherently evil).
- Bad Ass: See her speech to Fadal about how men may have all the obvious strength, but women are the ones who do the real work. "Ask yourself how much power a woman has the next time she hands you a bowl of food. And taste it carefully."
- Chekhov's Skill: Her ability to imitate her grandmother, Omi Heza. At the end, she pretends to be Omi because an old woman will get more respect and notice than a girl.
- The Chosen One: The God in the Flame selects her as their new Oracle, who will teach everyone both books and thus give women back their rights.
- Preacher Man: With her dad. They spread the hidden teachings out of protest that the priests of the God in the Flame have decided that they will only teach from one of the Oracle's books, not both of them.
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses: No. When Fadal goes on a rant about how terrible veils are, Teky says that she likes hers because nobody can judge her looks and it's easier to escape in a crowd.