The Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale is located at the eastern end of Westeros, next to the Mountains of the Moon, which serve as a natural defense. Mountainous yet lush, as well as secluded from the rest of the continent, the Vale always had it easy compared to other kingdoms. They have rarely been involved in the wars of others, instead focussing on their own independence. That said, harsh winters and raiding bandit clans from the mountains have always posed a threat to the citizens of the Vale.
House Arryn of the Eyrie is one of the youngest royal houses of Westeros, having been founded during the Andal Invasion and not by the First Men, which means they look back at a history about half as old as most of the other royal houses, who date back to the Age of Heroes. As such, the Arryn kings can trace their lineage primarily back to the Andals and not to the First Men. This makes them the most influential Andal house in all of Westeros. They rule from the Eyrie, a huge fortress located in the Mountains of the Moon and said to be impregnable. Their current head is Ronnel Arryn, a mere boy, whose mother Sharra rules in his stead until he comes off age.
- Animal Motifs: The members of House Arryn are commonly associated with falcons, which is also seen on their sigil.
- Big Fancy Castle: Their castle, the Eyrie, is perhaps the only castle in Westeros that can truly pride itself with being impregnable. Located atop a mountain, it is only accessible by a narrow staircase, as well as generally one of the largest castles in Westeros.
- Famous Ancestor: There's the founder Artys Arryn, the Winged Knight, who was crowned first King of the Mountain and the Vale. There's also Roland I Arryn, who began construction of the Eyrie, Osgood the Old Falcon and his son Oswin the Talon, who warred with the North centuries prior.
- Knight in Shining Armor: As the first and foremost Andal house, it is expected of House Arryn to uphold the ideals of knighthood to a far greater degree than other houses. True enough, many past Arryn kings played this trope straight.
- Team Switzerland: Due to their remote location, the Vale of Arryn is hard to invade, something that is only made harder by their powerful military. As such, the Arryn kings are able to stay out of conflicts in Westeros, a privilege they have used quite often in their history.
Queen Regent Sharra Arryn
The Flower of the MountainThe Queen Regent of the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale at the time of the story. Sharra is the mother of Ronnel Arryn, who is too young to rule himself, as well as the widow of the previous king, Alester Arryn. She is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Westeros and known as a caring queen regent.
She was born to House Corbray of Heart's Home, making her full sister of Lord Lyndon Corbray, and half-sister of Rodrik Stone.
- The Chains of Commanding: Sharra never thought she would become regent and be forced to lead an entire kingdom, but tries her best for the sake of her children.
- The Ghost: For Book 1, where she and her son are only mentioned. They make their first appearance in the Interlude between Book 1 and Book 2.
- Mama Bear: Having lost her husband, Sharra became quite protective of her sons, Ronnel and Jonos. She even admits that they come first for her and her duties as a ruler second.
- Widow Woman: Her husband, King Alester Arryn, died about a year before the events of the story after a brief, but ill fated war against the Mountain Clans. She is still in mourning and misses him deeply.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Though a woman in her mid-thirties, Sharra is still widely regarded as stunningly beautiful and seen as one of the most beautiful women in Westeros.
- You Are in Command Now: With the death of her husband, she now rules the Vale until her son comes of age. She herself admits that she is far from the best leader the Vale could have in the current situation, though tries to make the best ouf ot it.
King Ronnel Arryn
The Falcon King, The King of Mountain and ValeThe young son of Alester Arryn and the current Queen Regent, Sharra, as well as the older brother of Jonos. After the early death of his father, he was named king, though remains too young to rule by himself, which leaves the governing up to his mother.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Ronnel is not even ten years old by the time the story starts. Due to the death of his father, he is the nominal Arryn king however, even if the kingdom is ruled by his mother until he comes of age.
- Little Big Brother: Despite being two years older, he's shorter than Jonos.
- Disappeared Dad: His father, Alester Arryn, died about a year ago, leaving him as the king.
- The Ghost: In Book 1, he and his mother are merely mentioned. He makes his first appearance in the Interlude between Book 1 and 2.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: While Ronnel seems more even tempered and kind, as well as softer in general nature, his brother Jonos is more hot-tempered and aggressive.
Prince Jonos ArrynThe younger brother of King Ronnel and technically his brother's heir. He's about seven years old.
- Big Little Brother: Despite being two years younger, he's taller than his brother.
- Disappeared Dad: The death of his father Alester has apparently affected him far more than his brother.
- Remember the New Guy?: Whereas his mother and son are mentioned occasionally and established characters by the time of the Interlude, he himself is not even mentioned before his first appearance.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: While Jonos is hot-tempered and aggressive, outright hitting his brother for breaking a toy of his, Ronnel is kinder and more calm.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Sharra thinks he will grow up to be the splitting image of his father.
Lady Helen ArrynCousin of the late King Alester and cousin in-law of Queen Sharra. Her husband Jasper Egen was killed by the Mountain Men only a few months prior, leaving her a widow with a young son, Hubert Arryn.
- Mystical White Hair: She has pale, silvery hair, which is not shared by either her cousin, nor son, hinting at some distant, valyrian ancestry among the non-Arryn side of her family.
- Number Two: As Sharra's cousin-in-law, she is the closest family she has at the Eyrie, not counting her young sons. As a result, Sharra puts great trust onto Helen and even gave her a seat at her makeshift council.
- Statuesque Stunner: Helen is described as quite tall, definitely more so than Sharra and probably also more than many men. The fact that she is mostly surrounded by women in her introductory part though means there is little to measure this by.
- Widow Woman: A few month before the story, Helen lost her husband, a member of House Egen, to the Mountain Men, just like her Queen before her. She is also clearly still grieving.
House Arryn of Gulltown
Lord Zeth Arryn
The Falcon of GulltownThe head of House Arryn of Gulltown, a less aloof but wealthy branch distant from their Eyrie kin. He forms an alliance with Lady Octavia Shett and Torgold Tollett to counter Lord Royce's influence.
- Animal Motifs: Has the demeanor of a bird of prey, fitting his moniker.
- Bold Explorer: Being a trader as well as a nobleman, he has many treasures in his collection, like leviathan skin patches and even the fang of an ice dragon!
- The Conspiracy: He conspires against Lord Orson Royce alongside Octavia Shett and Torgold Tollett.
- The Dandy: Zeth is always well-dressed and trying to look as dashing as possible.
- Thicker Than Water: Despite there being at least a hundred other men before him in the line of succession, he still cares enough about his distant Eyrie kin to work alongside Octavia and Torgold against the scheming Orson Royce.
Arryn Bannermen and Retainers
Without a doubt the most powerful vassal of House Arryn, House Royce is also among the oldest houses in Westeros. Having ruled large parts of the Vale as kings, they have been the fiercest enemies of the invading Andals, nearly driving them off the shores of Westeros again. Even after kneeling and giving up significant portions of their wealth, they remain the strongest of the Arryn kings vassals, a strength many see as unsettling, due to the bad blood between the houses. Their current head is Orson Royce.
Lord Orson Royce
The Bronze Lord, The Lord of RunestoneThe Lord of Runestone and head of House Royce at the time of the story. Orson is a feared man, who has plenty of dark rumours surrounding him, the truthfulness of which is questionable in many cases. It is also known that he has several children.
- Ambiguously Evil: It is not quite clear if Orson is truly an evil man, or merely a schemer who had the misfortune of being the target of malevolent rumours. In any way, he doesn't quite help his case by being shady and suspiciously affable.
- The Chessmaster: Orson Royce is perhaps the biggest chessmaster in the story, even rivalling the likes of Maron Mullendore or Petyr Vyrwel with the degree of detail he puts into them. This is shown when he correctly predicts his agent Maya to travel across the Bay of Crabs for her mission, where she met with Trymon Brune, an old enemy of Orson. Together with Aldrik Wolver, whom the Bronze Lord has sent to inflitrate House Brune many years ago, she ends up killing the old lord, ending another threat to the Vale.
- Crazy-Prepared: Part of his chessmaster tendencies is an outright insane level of preparation for his plans.
- Depraved Homosexual: One of the most persistent rumours about him is that he favours young boys.
- The Dreaded: Due to several of outright terrifying tales that are told about him, Orson is a much-feared man. His employee, Maya, is especially terrified by him and even his other underlings are wary what to say about him.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: If he's evil or not is left to be seen, but he has at the least several children.
- Number Two: As the head of House Royce, Orson is the most powerful lord of the Vale by a country mile. It is said that only his loyalty to Queen Regent Sharra prevents him from being reclaiming the crown his ancestors lost during the Andal Invasion.
- Red Baron: The Bronze Lord.
- Revenge by Proxy: He is on the receiving end, when one of his agents, Maya Iresons, is assaulted by Lord Trymon Brune of the Dyre Den. This happens out of vengeance for Brune's daughter, whom Orson supposedly raped and deflowered many years ago.
- Shrouded in Myth: Much about the Bronze Lord is the stuff of legends, most of them unpleasant. He seems to take delight in surrounding himself with the darkest, most depraved rumours he can find. How much of them is true is left unclear, with him as the only one who can know for sure.
- The Un-Smile: Though generally a creepy man on his own, what makes him truly terrifying, at least in Maya's eyes, is his smile, which is noted to barely look like a smile at all.
- White Hair, Black Heart: For someone who prides himself in his First Men blood, Orson is noted to have very light hair. His morality is also questionable, though he is at the least a cold-hearted schemer.
Osborn RoyceThe eldest child and heir of Lord Orson Royce. He has a past history with Octavia Shett, and he has also fathered a bastard, Rylis Stone. He is the current wielder of the Valyrian steel sword of the family, Lamentation.
Remi RoyceThe only daughter out of four children of Lord Orson Royce. Remi is a smart, competent young woman, whose talents are highly appreciated by her father. As such, she serves as his right hand woman even over her older brother Osborn, the actual heir to Runestone.
- Alliterative Name: Remi Royce.
- Deadpan Snarker: Remi has a strong sense of humour and loves sarcastic, teasing replies, especially to questions she perceives as stupid. Her humour can also be very dry and witty.
- The Dutiful Daughter: As Orson Royce's only daughter, she has a special place in the family, though she is very much aware of her duties, using her intelligence to be of as much use to her father as possible.
- Outnumbered Sibling: She has three brothers.
Redmond the Hated, the Bastard of RunestoneThird son and legitimized bastard of Lord Orson Royce. A man greatly disliked for his attitude and the implications in the death of Tenison Tollett.
- Alliterative Name: Redmond Royce
- Bastard Bastard: Well, he is a legitimized bastard and far from a pleasant person. Among other things, he reportedly murdered Lord Tenison Tollett, though this seems to be more of an open secret instead of a publically recognized fact.
- Evil Redhead: Unlike his half-siblings, he has a shade of red-hair and has a very bad reputation, even compared to his father.
- Lean and Mean: Described as almost gaunt looking, and certainly the meanest member of House Royce.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: In comparison to the dutiful Remi and the romantic Osborn, he's far more unpleasant and certainly fierce.
Ser Aldrik WolverA hedge knight from the North, who started to work for Lord Orson Royce several years ago. One of his assignments in the service of the Bronze Lord led to him infiltrating the court of House Brune of the Dyre Den, a potential enemy of the Vale of Arryn. It was here where he first encountered Maya Iresons, whom he eventually joined on her mission.
- Anti-Hero: Despite being a Knight In Shining Armour with a cool Canis Major as his animal companion, Aldrik is still far from a fully-fledged hero. His work for Orson Royce means that he often has to do morally questionable things in order to succeed, something he might not be okay with, but goes along with regardless.
- The Big Guy: After joining Maya's team, he contributes to a major part of their fighting power, being a trained and experienced knight who is accompanied by a direwolf.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: While posing as Lord Brune's bodyguard, he disposes of him by merely not intervening when Maya overpowers him and turns to kill him. This overlaps with Betrayal by Inaction.
- The Bus Came Back: After being absent for the first two chapters of Book 2, Aldrik finally makes his return alongside Maya in the third chapter.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: He is constantly accompanied by Knightfang, a direwolf, who is shown to have good instincts about whom to trust and whom not.
- HeelFace Turn: Though it was revealed that he has always worked for Lord Royce, he was introuced as an antagonist, who took Maya and her companions as captives for Lord Brune, who seemed to be his employer at that time. Eventually, he turns on the Lord of the Dyre Den, joining Maya and her group for good.
- Heroes Love Dogs: His companion is Knightfang, a young direwolf, whom he is shown to adore.
- Heroic BSoD: During the Raid on Raylansfair, Knightfang is killed by one of the Second Sons. Aldrik takes this very badly, as he breaks down, showing genuine rage for the first time since his introduction into the story and even afterwards being mentioned as having barely rested.
- Honour Before Reason: For a hedge knight working for a highly pragmatic man, Aldrik has some surprising objections towards dishonourable things. As a rule of thumb, he doesn't mind anything dishonourable as long as everything else has been tried, but he heavily opposes of criminal actions as long as there is a realistic chance for another way to work.
- Knight In Shining Armour: All things considered, Aldrik is not only a knight, but also an honourable and straightforward man, who believes in his vows and values and tends to take both very seriously.
- The Mole: Years ago, he was placed as a mole at the court of Trymon Brune, whose strategic position at the Bay of Crabs could have caused trouble for the Vale. During these years, he became Brune's right-hand man and valuable bodyguard, while continously feeding Lord Royce with important information.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Aldrik is an honourable knight, putting special value onto loyalty. As such, he continues to serve Lord Royce even when the man's orders clash with the other values he believes in.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He is the blue oni to Gregar's red. Whereas Gregar is passionate, hot-headed and fierce, Aldrik is calm, polite and honourable, keeping his urges in check as much as possible. He also advices to think before acting, whereas Gregar is far more impulsive.
- Ship Tease: With Maya.
- Sour Supporter: For Lord Royce. Aldrik clearly dislikes working for the man and only does so for the handsome payment. He also doesn't waste any time to make sure how dishonourable he considers some of the Bronze Lord's actions.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: As a Northerner, he already fits the tall and dark part, given that most of his kind tend to have such looks. Despite being over ten years her senior, Maya also considers him to be very handsome.
- True Companions: It takes him a bit longer to bond with the other members of Team Maya, but he eventually considers all three of his companions as good and true friends despite their shortcomings.
One of House Arryn's principal bannermen and major rivals of House Royce in terms of influence over the kingdom, House Redfort originates from First Men who sided with the Andals during the Invasion, becoming fierce loyalists of House Arryn for thousands of years. Their seat, the Redfort, is one of the eldest castles in the Vale. Their current head is Richard Redfort.
Ryman RedfortMember of House Redfort of Redfort and captain of the guards of the Eyrie. He was also one of the few survivors in the war against the Mountain clans, returning to the Eyrie with the corpse of the old king and his crown.
- Alliterative Name: Ryman Redfort
- Badass Cape: Over his red armor, he wears a cloak with the colors of House Arryn, to show his allegiance to the ruling house of the Vale. As the Sole Survivor of the ill-fated war against the Mountain clans, he also is definitely badass enough to live through a heated battle that claimed many of the best knights of the Vale.
- The Captain: Of the Eyrie's guard.
- The One Guy: He's currently the only man at Queen Sharra's council.
- Sole Survivor: The only member of Alester's inner council that returned alive from the war with the Mountain Men. He brought the corpse of the old king with him and his crown.
One of the eldest houses in the Vale, House Moore has always been a vassal to House Royce, keeping faith in them during the Andal Invasion and ever since, though they have also been essential in ensuring peace in the Vale, through having close ties to their lieges of Royce and their Arryn overlords. Their current head is Terrence Moore.
Myranda MooreLady-in-waiting of Queen Sharra and member of House Moore. She's the twin sister of Meredith Moore.
Meredith MooreTwin sister of Myranda Moore. Though technically also a lady-in-waiting for Sharra Arryn, she also serves as guide to the entrance of the Eyrie.
- Alliterative Name: Meredith Moore
- Boyish Short Hair: She wears her hair this way in contrast with her sister's long hair. That being said, Sharra thinks that the short hair brings out her beauty more than it does for her sister.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Meredith is boyish and short-haired compared to her girly long-haired sister.
- Tomboy: Dresses like a man and serves as guide to the Eyrie, meaning she's having one of the most physically demanding jobs in the entire castle.
A noble house from Witch Isle on the eastern shore of the Vale, House Upcliff has a sinister reputation, their members rumoured to dabble in dark secrets and arcane arts. Never a house with a strong military might, they nonetheless managed to resist the Arryn kings of old until marriage brought them into the kingdom. Their current head is Lucina Upcliff.
Lady Rhonda UpcliffLady-in-waiting of Lady Helen Arryn and member of House Upcliff of Witch Isle. She is the niece of Lady Lucina Upcliff, the Lady of Witch Isle.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Rhonda has long black hair, and she's aloof, reserved and quiet.
- Enigmatic Minion: Not exactly minion, but Sharra finds her too mysterious and her rather prophetic responses too unsettling to be trustworthy.
- Ice Queen: She has cold blue eyes, and her demeanor is reserved and mysterious.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Her piercing blue eyes unsettle Sharra quite a bit.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Between her eery looks, her quiet behaviour, unusual speech patterns and the outright unsettling content of many things she says, there is little Rhonda does that is not considered creepy by those around her.
- The Quiet One: She doesn't talk much unless directly spoken to. The only exception is when she mentions that the young son of Aegon and Rhaenys Targaryen is weak and will die young.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's pale with black hair. And despite her eery demeanor, Sharra considers her to be quite a beautiful woman as well, in her own way.
A smaller knightly house from the keep of Phoenixfall in the Vale of Arryn. Sworn to House Royce since the day of their foundation a couple hundred years ago, House Keding is nonetheless a bit distant to their liege lords and almost as close to the Arryn's of the Eyrie, with many Keding knights having served in the personal guard of the Arryn kings. Their current head is Lord Dale Keding
Ser Lachlan KedingThe only son and eldest child of Lord Dale Keding and the late Lady Amberly Keding neé Coldwater. He is a young, aspiring knight of skill and fame, constantly seeking to improve both. As the only male heir of House Keding, he also seeks to improve the position of his house. He is a Point-of-View character.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Lachlan is clearly attracted to Remi Royce, daughter of Lord Orson, but what captivates him the most ouf of her features is her golden blonde hair.
- Genius Bruiser: As a knight, Lachlan is a highly skilled swordsman, but what catches most people off guard is that he is also sharp and perceptive, capable of catching small details and coming to the right conclusions all by himself.
- Glory Hound: Though already having great skill and fame, he desires more of both, which leads to him hungering to bring glory to House Keding and his own name.
- Knight In Shining Armour: At heart, Lachlan has taken the vows of knighthood very seriously and it can be assumed that he embodies quite some knightly virtues.
- Missing Mom: His mother, Amberly Keding, has died several years ago.
- Primal Fear: It seems and despite him trying to insist that this is not the case, that Lachlan is somewhat afraid of heights, as shown by his uneasy reaction at having to cross the bridge to Runestone.
- Odd Friendship: He and Ames Howard get along well, so much in fact that when he confronts the sellsword over his involvement in the conspiracy against House Royce, they decide to rather talk it out instead of fighting.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Lachlan is presented with such a dilemma early on in his storyline, when he realizes that his liege lord, Orson Royce, is potentially scheming against the good of the Vale and that the people he himself was sent to spy on might actually be working for the good of House Arryn.
House ColdwaterA House of First Men descent, House Coldwater of Coldwater Burn is one of the many vassals of House Royce. Their seat is located in the northernmost glacial river valley of the snakewood forest. The House suffered a great loss when Lord Coldwater and his son Ondrew perished fighting the Mountain Men, leaving his second son Kyle as ruler.
Lord Kyle ColdwaterThe Lord of Coldwater Burn and cousin of Ser Lachlan Keding. Being second son of the previous lord, he wasn't expected to inherit, until his father and brother died during the same campaign as King Alester.
- Berserk Button: Usually pleasant and affable, he gets easily defensive when talking about his father and brother and implying in any way that he is glad about being put in charge of House Coldwater after their deaths is one the few topics that can make him genuinely angry.
- Nice Guy: Around his cousin at least, Kyle is a friendly and jovial man who gets along quite well with Lachlan and generally tries his best to stay on good terms with most people he meets.
- Precision F-Strike: Drops one when he hears about Aegon and his three dragons.
- Unexpected Successor: Becoming head of his house was certainly not what he expected, but has no choice in the matter.
- You Are in Command Now: He became Lord of Coldwater Burn after the untimely death of his father and brother.
Lady Viera ColdwaterThe elderly great-aunt of Kyle Coldwater and Lachlan Keding. She also serves as liaison with Eudoxia Tournebulle and Lord Orson Royce.
- Maiden Aunt: Never married and now she's old and fat.
House GraftonThe ruling house of Gulltown, the only city in the Vale. Coming into power when Andal adventurer Gerold Grafton replaced King Osgood III Shett thousands of years ago, the Graftons control the only major fleet on the eastern coast. It's current head is Lord Eduard Grafton.
Ser Edgar GraftonThe heir of Gulltown. Despite his position as heir of one of the most important houses in the Vale, he's rather shy and withdrawn, especially around women. He's also first cousin of Zeth Arryn.
- Badass Mustache: Regardless of his shyness, he has a thick mustache.
- Can Not Talk To Women: He's not very good with people, especially women.
- No Social Skills: Doesn't speak much and has difficulty establishing a conversation, which heavily contrasts his cousin's friendliness and charisma.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: He correctly deduces that Octavia Shett is trying to manipulate him and gets particularly distrustful at the fact that she has invited the Hawk and his three companies to Gulltown. While she is indeed scheming behind the back of him and their liege lord for her own reasons she has so far shown no interest in taking back the ancestral seat of House Shett, the city of Gulltown.
- The Smart Guy: While he is uncomfortable in social situations and not good with people in general, he has shown himself to be a perceptive and intelligent man, who quickly picks up on Octavia's feigned interest in him and even comes to the conclusion that she is trying to manipulate him.
Lady Octavia Shett
The Raven of Gull TowerThe daughter of Ser Sterling Shett, Knight of Gull Tower. She forms an alliance with Lord Torgold Tollett and hires the Three Companies to weaken Lord Orson Royce's power, and hopefully reclaim their ancestral seat of Gulltown.
- Ambiguously Evil: Octavia is definitely a schemer and involved in a secret conspiracy against Orson Royce. If her own words can be believed, she is anything but evil and more of a Big Good for the Vale of Arryn by going against the traitor Lord Royce. However, so far her words is the only thing supporting her claim and the Hawk is shown to distrust her.
- Animal Motifs: Her intelligence and beauty leads to her being often compared to a raven, hence her moniker.
- The Chessmaster: To a degree that gives even her main opponent, Orson Royce, quite some work to do. While the full extent of her schemes are not known yet, Octavia has managed to put herself into a favourable position, gaining allies and hiring hundreds of sellswords for her goals, without arousing even the slightest bit of suspicion. Instead, even Orson Royce blames other culprits, such as her own father, without even suspecting her.
- The Conspiracy: Leads one alongside Zeth Arryn and Torgold Tollett against Orson Royce.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Being dark-haired and notably beautiful, Octavia fits the trope to a t. Her nickname, The Raven of Gull Tower even reverences this.
- The Starscream: Among other things, Octavia wishes to remove House Grafton from power and reclaim the city that once belonged to her family. She also seems to seek this for her liege lord Orson Royce.
The captain of the guard at Gull Tower and a personal friend of Ser Sterling Shett. Ames is formerly a sellsword, who has entered the service of House Shett decades ago and has become the most trusted member of the Shett household over the years.
- Number Two: As the highest-ranking member of Sterling Shett's house guard, he is also Sterling's right-hand man and most trusted ally.
- Odd Friendship: He, the grizzled and jaded sellsword gets along quite well with the young and idealistic knight Lachlan Keding. They warm up to each other even though they find themselves on opposite sides when Lachlan uncovers more evidence about the conspiracy against House Royce. In fact, they get along so well that instead of fighting each other immediately, they both are rather glad to just talk it out.
- Undying Loyalty: To House Shett, not just Ser Sterling. When he realizes that Lord Royce has his suspicions about the conspiracy against him and that Octavia might be in danger, he decides to leave Gull Tower at night to ride to Gulltown and warn her.
A noble house of Andal descent, House Tollett is nonetheless sworn to House Royce of Runestone, but their relationship has turned uneasy to say the least in the past few years after the death of Tenison Tollett. Their elderly head Edwyn Tollett passed away recently, leaving his son Torgold as lord.
Lord Torgold TollettThe Lord of Grey Glen and head of House Tollett. Despite being sworn to House Royce of Runestone, he never got along with Lord Orson, and after the suspicious death of his brother Tenison, he decided to support Octavia Shett and Zeth Arryn against the Bronze Lord.
- Alliterative Name: Torgold Tollett.
- Action Dad: He's married with two children, and a strong warrior of the Vale.
- Badass Beard: Has a full beard that is starting to go grey, and he's undoubtedly a warrior.
- Bald of Awesome: He's also completely bald, and strong enough to warrant it.
- The Conspiracy: Alongside Octavia Shett and Zeth Arryn, he conspires against House Royce, whom he sees as a threat to the safety of the Vale.
- Large and in Charge: A big man who leads without trouble House Tollett.
- Named After Somebody Famous: He shares name with the most famous member of his house, Torgold the Grim, who fought at the Battle of the Seven Stars thousands of years prior.
- Revenge Before Reason: Going against the Bronze Lord is definitely not a particularly smart move, but Torgold doesn't seem to care for the potential consequences, out of sheer anger at his brother's death.
- You Killed My Father: Wants revenge on Orson Royce and his son Redmond for apparently killing his brother Tenison. It is the sole reason he supports Octavia's conspiracy.
Other inhabitants of the Vale
Maya IresonsA woman of humble birth, working for Lord Orson Royce of Runestone, who noticed her ferocity and determination. Naming her the Ambassador of Runestone, he prepared her for a mission that would decide over the future of Runestone and the entire Kingdom of Mountain and Vale. She is also a Point-of-View character.
- Action Girl: Growing up in a poor family, Maya always had to fight for survival.
- Ambadassador: Always having been an Action Girl, as described above, Maya is promoted to the rank of Ambassador of Runestone and the Vale of Arryn for her mission to Raylansfair, making her a bona fide example of this trope.
- Anti-Hero: Despite being heroic and always well-intentioned, Maya is generally not opposed of shady actions, such as breaking into a building to just steal the things she needs. She is also quick to use violence as a method of solving conflicts, showing quite a temper in such situations.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Maya is generally seen as very pretty and she is also a heroic and moral person.
- Beleaguered Assistant: While she works for Lord Royce, she enjoys absolutely nothing about it save for the handsome payment he gives her for her service. She is terrified of her employer and his dark reputation, while also being concerned of the morality of the missions he orders her to undertake.
- Big Sister Instinct: Through her internal thoughts, it is revealed that Maya has several younger brothers and keeping them save is the main reason for why she works with Lord Royce. It was this trait that gained her Lord Royce's interest in the first place.
- Brainy Brunette: Maya has brown hair and is not only a good fighter, but also a smart tactician. Interestingly, she was originally conceived as a blonde, though circumstances detailed on the Trivia page have led to her being a blonde in the story proper instead.
- The Bus Came Back: After being absent for the first two chapters of Book 2, Maya finally makes her return alongside her companions in the third chapter.
- Damsel out of Distress: Shortly after arriving at the Dyre Den for the first part of her journey to Raylansfair, Maya is confronted by Trymon Brune, the resident lord. As it turns out, her employer has once allegedly raped Lord Brune's daughter, for which the vengeful lord now wishes to return the favour on Maya. After being in a bit of danger for a short while, she manages to free herself, stabbing Brune to death in the process.
- Dark Is Not Evil: To prepare her for her mission to Raylansfair, Maya received a black cloak with red runes on it. However, she fully subverts Red and Black and Evil All Over, instead being one of the nicer, more moral characters in the entire story.
- Determinator: Seeing how her family is directly involved when it comes to her mission to Raylansfair, which holds the potential of saving the entire Vale of Arryn from a potentially lethal war against the Storm King, Maya will stop at nothing to ensure success.
- Everyone Has Standards: Maya, who can get quite pragmatic in the way she approaches a mission, still holds strong standards when it comes to staying true to her word, as seen when she decides to pay Keat despite him failing to deliver the goods, simply for the danger he put himself into while working for her.
- The Idealist: Despite being a bit of an Anti-Hero in the things she is willing to do, is still quite an idealist when her moral views are taken under closer inspection.
- In the Hood: The cloak she received from Lord Royce features a hood, which she wears quite often.
- Knife Nut: Maya's weapons of choice are two fine daggers, similarly a gift from Lord Royce.
- Odd Friendship: A very odd one, as the fierce and badass Action Girl Maya strikes up a friendship with the lazy, cowardly Irving. While he does get on her nerves, she is eventually shown to become quite fond of him after their journey together.
- Outnumbered Sibling: The exact number of her brothers is not mentioned, but they are certainly more than her, the only female child in the family. She is also the eldest child.
- Out of Focus: Naturally not in her own parts, but for a Point-of-View character introduced in the second chapter of the story, Maya has received far less attention than others. Even Point-of-Views who have been introduced later on, such as Kersea or Raenna, have gotten more screentime and importance to the plot.
- Ship Tease: With Aldrik.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Though very much an Action Girl, not afraid to get physical in a fight and having always fought for anything she needed in life, Maya is still taking care of her appearance and is positively baffled when being gifted a valuable and stylish dark cloak with the runes of House Royce on it.
- True Companions: With Gregar, Aldrik and Irving, her companions for the journey to Raylansfair.
- Unwitting Pawn: As it turns out, Lord Royce fully expected her to arrive at the Dyre Den, he fully expected Brune to be angry and to try and harm her and he certainly expected her to get out of this situation alive, with his long-time enemy Brune taken out of the picture. Finding out about this, Maya is far from thrilled.
- What the Hell, Hero?: After realizing that she has been set up by Lord Royce and Ser Aldrik in order to take care of Lord Brune for them, she snaps pretty heavily, giving Aldrik a brutal punch in the face for the troubles.
Gregar BalvindA scout in service of House Redfort of Redfort and one of Maya Iresons' travelling companions. His gruff appearances fits his cold, aloof personality, though he is a loyal man and highly resourceful. As a scout, he is always accompanied by his owl, Ember.
- An Ax To Grind: His weapon of choice is a one-handed axe, similar to those use by the Mountain Clans.
- Anti-Hero: A Pragmatic Hero for the most part, Gregar is not afraid to indulge in morally questionable or unlawful acts if it gives him an advantage on his mission. He is still firmly one of the good guys, loyally serving Maya, whom he eventually grows to respect.
- The Bus Came Back: After being absent for the first two chapters of Book 2, Gregar finally makes his return alongside Maya in the third chapter.
- Defrosting Ice King: Gregar starts the story as a borderline Aloof Ally, barely even talking to his companion Maya. However, he gradually warms up to her, becoming a genuine friend over the course of their journey together.
- Fiery Redhead: His bright red hair matches his personality very well.
- Guttural Growler: On the few instances where Gregar actually speaks, he does so with a deep baritone.
- Hot-Blooded: Gregar is very much a Fiery Redhead, as described above. He is fierce and short-tempered, something that often causes him to clash with others, but at the same time, he is a passionate friend and servant of the Vale.
- In the Hood: His most memorable piece of clothing is a white fur hood.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Initially, Gregar was quite strong on the jerk part, being a quiet and aloof guy, whose few lines of speech were quite cold and distanced. However, he eventually warmed up to Maya, revealing a more likable side of himself, such as his fierce loyalty towards her and by extension to the entire Vale of Arryn.
- The Lancer: Not only is he Maya's first companion, he is also her most loyal and capable one.
- Ominous Owl: Gregar has an animal companion, an owl named Ember. Fittingly for this trope, Gregar is a shady, morally ambiguous man, willing to act pragmatically, to bend or even break the law if it means success at his mission.
- Properly Paranoid: From the very beginning of their journey, Gregar is distrustful of Irving and his ability to pull his weight during their mission. Sure enough, he is proven right rather quickly, when Irving goes on to become a serious danger to their mission with his constant screw-ups.
- The Quiet One: Gregar is not a big talker, being gruff and aloof, mostly speaking when spoken to and answering with short sentences. He warms slightly up to those he trusts, but even then, he doesn't quite indulge in small talk.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Aldrik Wolver. Compared to the hedge knight, Gregar is passionate, a fierce hot-head and occasionally quite the jerk, who prefers to act on impulse. Aldrik meanwhile is calm and rational, thinking before he takes action and preferring honourable actions.
- The Reliable One: The main reason why he was assigned to Maya's team is because he is widely known as a trustworthy and capable man. Even Lord Royce seems to respect him for this.
- The Scrounger: One of Gregar's finest talents is his ability to come up with exactly what is needed in dire times. His knowledge of how the criminal underworld works also allows him to find people that are urgently needed, such as a thief when Maya and her companions have to break into the archives of Raylansfair.
- True Companions: With Maya and in a slightly downplayed form with Aldrik. Not with Irving though, whom he dislikes.
- Undying Loyalty: Eventually, he develops this towards Maya. He also always had it to the Vale of Arryn.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gregar gives a massive one to Irving, who fell asleep instead of watching out for the city guard during their break into the archive. This resulted in the capture of Gregar and Keat, so his anger is more than justified.
Irving ToddIrving is a watchguard from the city of Gulltown, nominally in service of Lord Royce of Runestone. He is a cowardly man, who contributes little to any mission he is assigned to, yet is not without talents. To everyone's surprise, he is assigned to accompany Maya Iresons on her mission.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Irving shows early signs of crushing hard on Maya, though a talk with Marak and Alan in the tavern of Raylansfair eventually reveals that he has genuine feelings for her.
- Amazon Chaser: Part of what draws him to Maya is her physical skill, something he notably lacks.
- Anti-Hero: A Classical Anti-Hero who is constantly complaining about his lot in life and about the tasks he has to assign, which he only does half-heartedly. However, he is also firmly on the side of the more heroic Maya and her companions, ready to support them when it is truly necessary.
- The Atoner: After his screw-up caused the Vale mission to Raylansfair to fail, with Gregar and Keat being taken prisoner, Irving is kicked out of Maya's group. However, he eventually returns and saves her life, vowing to prove himself worthy of being a part of her team.
- Big Damn Heroes: Surprisingly for someone who screws up so often, Irving is one of the characters who are most likely to pull such a moment, especially when his Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass trait kicks in. Over the course of Book 1, he saves Maya twice, once by shooting a bandit that was about to spot her and alert his companions, the other time by killing a sellsword about to deliver a fatal blow on her.
- Bumbling Sidekick: At his worst, Irving is this. Being lazy and incompetent, he is prone to screwing up, yet he is continued to be dragged along for the few positive traits he actually has.
- The Bus Came Back: After being absent for the first two chapters of Book 2, Irving finally makes his return alongside Maya in the third chapter.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Though Irving may appears useless at first glance, with his prominent negative traits and flaws, he does have a very specific set of skills, which makes for moments of surprising badassery from him, such as his talent for archery.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: In a baffling display of delusion, Irving actually complains about the lack of respect he gets from his companions during his talk with Marak and Alan. He also outright calls Maya out on this, for relatively little reason.
- The Eeyore: The pessimism Irving shows is usually Played for Laughs, though that doesn't change that he is one of the most negative characters in the story, constantly complaining, depressed about the lack of respect he is shown and generally in a bad mood.
- Extreme Doormat: Irving is lazy, he fully admits to it and doesn't really want to change anything about it. While it is possible to motivate him to help, he only does so begrudgingly and often has to be outright forced to do it.
- Friendly Sniper: For all his flaws, Irving is a talented archer. Whenever he is not annoyed by something or complaining, he is also a rather friendly person and as long as one can look past his flaws and mistakes, he is easy to get along with.
- Hopeless Suitor: It is established pretty obviously that Irving has a crush on Maya. However, she sees him merely as a friend at best and given his notable flaws, he doesn't believe he has much of a chance with her.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Irving might be a coward with few uses, troubled by his flaws, but deep down, he genuinely wants to change, to win Maya's trust and to prove himself worthy. He shows deep frustration over his screw-ups and takes no pride in how little use he has. This eventually prompts him to try his best to better himself.
- The Load: Maya considers him to be this, though he sometimes takes things even further. He does little to help his team on their important mission to Raylansfair and his complaining is slowly wearing them down for sure.
- Lovable Coward: For a given value of lovability. Irving surely is a huge coward, but just heroic enough to not qualify as a Dirty Coward. He still is a loyal companion to Maya, never screws her over intentionally and still has his moments of heroism inbetween.
- The Millstone: At his absolute worst, Irving becomes this. He not only barely contributes to the effort of the others, he occasionally outright screws up and causes problems they have to solve. He has such a reputation back in the Vale, which is the main reason Maya shows distrust of his skills from the very beginning of their journey.
- Never My Fault: Whenever he seriously screws up, Irving is quick to blame others for it, often citing ridiculous statements for his defense, such as blaming others for putting trust into him in the first place.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His signature move. Irving does screw up a serious lot, so much that he has become infamous for it in the Gulltown area. Sure enough, he proves himself worthy of his reputation, when he turns out to be The Millstone to Maya's group, by causing the capture of Gregar and Keat through him falling asleep at the worst possible time.
- Odd Friendship: Irving, the cowardly, nearly useless Bumbling Sidekick who constantly complains about his position surprisingly forms a deep bond with Maya, the brave, determined Action Girl that leads their group. It does take her a while to warm up to him though.
- Sleepyhead: One of Irving's worst traits is his tendency to fall asleep even at the worst possible occasions. This is the source of quite a number of problems for his group, most prominently the time when he falls asleep as a lookout during their break-in into the archive, resulting in the capture of Gregar and Keat.
Eudoxia TournebulleA member of Queen Sharra's council. She's in charge of gathering intel for the Eyrie. She's assigned by Queen Sharra to investigate the tensions between Orson Royce, and House Shett.
- Miss Exposition: Eudoxia's role in the storyline has so far mostly consisted of her giving exposition on the threats the Vale has to deal with in the story.
- The Spymaster: This is Eudoxia's main role at Sharra Arryn's court, gathering intel on potential enemies to House Arryn.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Wears her hair in one.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As spymistress, she takes any threat to the Vale quite seriously, which leads to her being among the few to not underestimate Aegon Targaryen.
- Ridiculously Average Guy: Sharra thinks of her as rather plain, although this actually helps her role as spymaster.