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First appearing in Song of the Lioness
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.
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.
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.
Combat Medic: In In The Hand Of The Goddess, where she learns to control her healing magic.
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).
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.
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: Alanna was forbidden by Jon to challenge men to duels on personal grounds, 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.
You Say Girl Like A Bad Thing: 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.
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: At one point he tells Alanna that he's pretending to be stupid in his magic lessons and that she should do the same.
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.
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.
Word of Gay: In the original draft of the story, it was to be explicitly stated that he was in a relationship with Roger, but when the story was re-marketed as a Young Adult title Pierce was forced to remove this. There's still subtext if you squint.
George Coopernote (later of Pirate's Swoop)
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.
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.
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.
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 Smart Guy: Again, his true strength is organization and management.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He acts as though he knows better than Alanna about anything, from travel sense to the life she's chosen for herself.
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 Jon, one of the most powerful forces for social change in Tortall. She is both Founder and original Commander of the Queen's Riders.
Pimped-Out Dress: In one story Thayet utterly ruined a very expensive pink tissue dress when she went to the aid of the Queen's Riders in the middle of a dinner party. She didn't consider it a loss. (Nor did Jonathan. He just asked her to try and change next time.)
Politically-Active Princess: She is very patriotic and is willing to fight for her people and country. At one point she left a court function to respond to a call of the Queen's Riders.
Princess in Rags: Thayet is a runaway princess from a country at war. She plans on creating her own life in Tortall without rank or title since her father is dead and she is in exile. Then she catches the attention of Prince Jonathan...
Her face — particularly her nose — was strong boned; her hazel eyes were deep-set under even brows; her chin was determined. Her mouth was naturally red, accented by ivory skin. She wore her jet-black hair pulled into a knot. Alanna sighed. "Cute" was the best she could hope for.
World's Most Beautiful Woman: Hailed as the "most beautiful woman in the world," which is the same thing that her mother had been called in her lifetime. Ironically, the princess says that she takes after her father in looks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 * formerly Arram Draper
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 God
Exactly 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.
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.
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.
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.
Villainous Breakdown: When he cornered and beaten at the end of Emperor Mage he becomes frantic and desperate.
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.
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.
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 didn't, but it's one of the arguments that conservatives like to make against training women.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
A Credit To Your Gender: He tells Keladry a few times that he wishes she was a boy. She just says that she likes being a girl.
Badass: Being completely at home on a battlefield aside, he's also an extremely skilled jouster. While knights would usually feel proud after defeating an opponent, especially if they knocked them off their horses, when put up against Wyldon, even Raoul considers it an accomplishment to simply stay in the saddle for the three bouts, at which point the judges would always rule in Wyldon's favour.
Badass Normal: Not only does he lack magic but he doesn't like it used unless absolutely necessary.
Four-Star Badass: A general who much prefers fighting at the border and protecting people than living at the capital training kids. Kel realizes this in Lady Knight.
Heel Realization: He very nearly rejects Kel's pagehood despite the fact that she'd thoroughly earned it, but his conscience won the wrestling match.
Jerkass Has a Point: To first-time readers, especially young ones, his constantly forcing Kel to face her fear of heights seems more like torture than anything else. But in hindsight, Wyldon was absolutely right; Kel's phobia would have crippled her in a fight, and his methods did work. He really wasn't doing it just to be mean; he was doing it to help her, too. (He does later admit that he was still trying to make her quit at that point, however.)
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He was a colossal prick to Kel, and openly misogynistic. However, after she proves him wrong about her, not only does he lighten up on her, but he begins to hold her in extremely high esteem. When he resigned from his position, he apologized to her for all the shit he put her through and told her that she was the best student he ever had.
Meaningful Name: The name of his fief, Cavall, also happens to be the name of King Arthur's favourite hunting hound. This is not a coincidence.
My Greatest Failure: In Squire, he resigns as a training instructor after the spectacular failures of Joren and Vinson and the realization that his greatest achievement would be Keladry's success—the thing that he spent most of her page years trying to prevent.
Nice to the Waiter: He gets along well with the staff and civilians; it's the pages he's nasty to.
Parental Substitute: For Kel, to an extent, as he guides her on the path to knighthood. Kel later tells him that he's the kind of knight she'd like to be.
Wyldon: I am not. But that you believe it is the greatest compliment I will ever receive.
Pet the Dog: One of the first clues that Wyldon isn't that bad a guy is his kindness toward Kel's technically disallowed terrier mix, Jump. Later on it's revealed that he breeds hunting dogs, and that Cavall produces some of the finest in Tortall.
Real Men Get Shot: Wyldon is a firm believer that suffering makes you a real man. Unless it's absolutely necessary to survive or stay in the field, he won't accept a magic healing.
Scars Are Forever: His face and arm were scarred defending the royal children from hurroks shortly before First Test, and they're still there in Lady Knight.
Stay in the Kitchen: His attitude at first, though it gradually changes as Kel proves herself more worthy than most men.
Stern Teacher: To pages. He's famous among them for his rule that if a page is late to the year-end ceremony, even if it's just a minute, they have to repeat the entire year of page training, and if they're really late, they have to repeat all four. His reason is "Tardiness in knights causes fatalities."
Training from Hell: Sometimes intentional, as when he forces Kel to constantly climb things, and sometimes accidental, as when he takes the pages out on a training exercise after the local leaders have falsely claimed there weren't any bandits where Wyldon wanted to send them.
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.
The Lancer: To Kel. He's comical and snarky and doesn't take anything seriously.
In Love with Love: Discussed by his friends after seeing him fall in love time after time with the same type of women. Ultimately Happily Married to Lady Yukimi noh Daiomoru, one of Princess Shinkokami's Yamani ladies-in-waiting.
The Medic: He has healing magic and can make potions and ointments.
Serial Romeo: He likes to moan, groan, and write bad poetry about unattainable ladies, but when he really falls in love, not even Kel has any idea until his Ordeal.
My Sibling Will Live Through Me: He was originally a university student training to be a healer and Non-Action Guy. When his older brothers died in the Immortals War, though, Neal felt obligated to enter page training at age 15 (the standard age is ten) because Queenscove has had a serving knight from its house for centuries.
Weak, but Skilled: Compared to mages like Numair, he and his father don't have a lot of power; they can, however, use it with much more precision, able to even perform surgery magically. If Numair tried that, the patient would most likely end up as a fine red paste.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Word of God says that he couldn't ever directly challenge Kel as knights and squires do; that would mean he accepts the fact that she is a squire with the same rights to a duel of honor.
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.
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 and 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.
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 Ermelian has much more to bring to a marriage, and it becomes an issue of "marrying for love" or "marrying for the wealth to keep his fief from starving."
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.
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.
Word of Gay: With plenty of subtext. It's not mentioned in-story because TP thought it would be gratuitous; it wasn't important to the storyline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alianne "Aly" of Pirate's Swoop* Aly originally appears in The Immortals Quartet, but she is the main character of Daughter of the Lioness, so she's listed here.
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 dying.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Summer Send 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 defilement and ritual suicide or Carthaknote possible war. But she did find the expression on the Tyran ambassador's secretary to be pretty funny.
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.
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 insists on taking part in the fighting by riding a kudarang to inspire the rebels.
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.
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.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Like her husband, she's both kind and very intelligent. She's all too 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 raspberry or cider vinegar in water 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boisterous Bruiser: Downplayed, but certainly by a knight's standards. Beka meets her in a fight at the Barrel's Bottom, also called the "Barrel of Blood," later skips a party to hang out with Goodwin and Tunstall, and helps them break heads throughout the rest of the book.
Good Is Not Soft: She casually suggests that Beka kill Yates Noll. It's what Sabine would do.
"Oh, I forgot—I'm in Corus again. They care about things like that here."
Guile Hero: In Mastiff. She wins over the women of Queensgrace with a Purple Prose-y tale of woe to appeal to the "Gentle Mother" and immediately "agrees" to marry Prince Baird when the group is captured by the traitors, and in general uses her status to her advantage in every way.
Lady of War: Well, obviously. But she's just as good in a Lower City brawl as she is in more chivalrous combat.
Nice to the Waiter: Beka quickly notices that Sabine's knight friends treat their surroundings with a proprietary air out of long habit, while Sabine is much more friendly (and sensible) towards people in the Lower City.
Noodle Incident: Her companions mention some disagreement with the King that required her to be away from Corus for some time. Later we learn that she threatened to break every bone in his hand if he tried to touch her with it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.