The eponymous heroine of the first book. Sabriel has been living in Wyverly College ("For Young Ladies of Quality") since she was very young, and though she excels in academia and leadership, she knows that her true destiny lies in helping her father, Abhorsen, in fighting the Dead in the mysterious Old Kingdom. But she is not prepared when news comes that her father has met with terrible danger. Armed with her bells, her sword, and her courage, she ventures into the Old Kingdom alone, little knowing what adventure and horror she will find there.
- A Boy and His X: As a cat and occasional dwarf, Mogget is this to Sabriel.
- Action Girl: In her first book. Swordfighting is taught in her school, and she was top of the class.
- Action Mom: In Lirael and Abhorsen.
- Back from the Dead: Is briefly stillborn at the beginning of the book, but is revived by her father before she passes the First Gate. At the end of the book, she is killed defeating Kerrigor, but is sent back by her ancestors because the Abhorsen's work is not done.
- Bad Powers, Good People: Like all Abhorsens, she uses necromantic powers. Instead of raising the dead, she puts them back where they belong.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Thanks to being brought back from the dead as a newborn.
- Happily Married: To Touchstone in Lirael and Abhorsen.
- Heroic Lineage: Her father is the Abhorsen and taught her a great deal about the craft.
- The High Queen: When she's not being Abhorsen, she fits this trope. She's stoic, commanding and elegant as a diplomat and ruler. She's named The Abhorsen Queen by her enemies.
- It Is Not Your Time: Why her ancestors' spirits save her life at the end of the first book.
- Kid with the Leash: To Mogget.
- Lady of War: When she's older.
- Magical Girl: Her school is close enough to the Wall that there are Charter mages there, and classes offered to a select few.
- Magic Music: The weapon of all necromancers are bells — and it so happens Sabriel did very well in music at Wyverly, too!
- Master Swordsman: She topped her fencing classes and proves a lethal swordswoman when confronting the Dead.
- The Necromancer: Abilities-wise, anyway, though as an Abhorsen she uses them to combat the undead, rather than creating or controlling them.
- Official Couple: With Touchstone, whom she marries.
- Proper Lady: Her boarding school included etiquette classes, and Sabriel tends to fall back on them in social situations, particularly otherwise-awkward ones.
- Refusal of the Call: In the beginning, Sabriel dislikes being called Abhorsen because her father would have to die in order to pass on his title, and she is in firm denial. As far as she's concerned, she's helping him out, and then joining him in his duties.
- Silk Hiding Steel: In her introduction. Mind you, it doesn't hide for long as she's busy banishing one of the Dead from her school in the first few pages. Throughout the series she slays zombies with elegance and poise, rarely losing her composure.
- They Do: With Touchstone.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Not only does she have this problem with her father, but her duties stopping horrific undead monstrosities and radioactive magic constructs from killing everyone tend to cut into her time with her kids later. It's indicated that she deeply regrets it, and she's looking forward to Sameth coming into his powers so that they can spend more time together.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mogget
Mogget looks like a well-fed white cat with malicious green eyes and a red collar, with a small bell on it. This, however, is only a temporary shape, forced upon him by someone or something long-forgotten. Now Mogget is bound to serve the Abhorsens, and he despises every minute of it. He provides information, sarcasm, and fish, for his own consumption. If the collar is ever loosened... your best bet is to run, and fast.
- Animalistic Abomination: Looks like a small white cat (normally). Is actually a tremendously ancient and powerful Free Magic elemental and essentially a god being punished, as it turns out.
- Anti-Hero: He's sarcastic, bitter and really doesn't like most Abhorsens, but serves them anyway (albeit against his will). In the third and fourth books he joins forces with the good guys of his own free will.
- Big Damn Heroes: When he feels like it. Double subverted in Goldenhand.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: After the bell that binds him changes to Ranna, he is not above playing up its effects.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: An effect of the compulsion is that Mogget can't actively lie to the Abhorsen. That being said he liberally exploits From a Certain Point of View and lying by omission if he can get away with it.
- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: He's like this toward any given Abhorsen on a good day, though more often with Sabriel than with anyone else.
- Cats Are Mean: Mogget is bitter, sarcastic, and acerbic, jumping straight to downright homicidal when loosed from his collar in Sabriel. He loses the homicidal part by the end of Abhorsen.
- Cats Are Snarkers: He's snarky at all times, but particularly so in his usual cat form.
- Conflicting Loyalty: He's bound to serve the Abhorsen, but that doesn't mean he's willing to do so nicely. Without his collar he's even worse.
- In Abhorsen he prevents Chlorr of the Mask from being cast into Death, instead shouting for her to retreat, which, whilst still effective, causes Lirael and the Dog to suspect he may be up to something. We never quite see why he did this, but there is the possibility that he did it due to his former relationship with Chlorr when she was Clariel, one of the Abhorsen family.
- The Corrupter: Talks Clariel into quite a bit more with Free Magic that she probably would have attempted on her own.
- Deadpan Snarker: His primary means of communication, especially in cat form.
- Defeat Means Friendship: With Sabriel, at least, and perhaps her father - at the very least, he respects her. With Sameth and Lirael he's far more reluctant to help, especially as he doesn't think much of the competence of the former.
- Depraved Dwarf: Subverted with one of Mogget's other forms as an albino dwarf. He has hair as white as Mogget's fur and wears a belt around his waist where the bell hangs from. Also, he's not depraved, he just still likes to eat small creatures similar to his cat form.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He was enslaved by the Seven Bright Shiners for apparently nothing more than refusing to side with them against Orannis. While the whole truth of the event is unknown it still seems kinda shitty of them.
- Eldritch Abomination: Mogget's true form is an incredibly powerful Free Magic being that prefers the form of a humanoid torso atop a whirling tornado, all made of bright white fire.
- Enigmatic Minion: Sort-of-heroic example. Nobody knows exactly where Mogget came from, what he is, or why he was first bound to serve the Abhorsens, but they do know that he will serve dutifully - so long as his collar stays on. Once it comes off, so do all bets. He's actually Yrael, one of the Bright Shiners, bound as punishment for refusing to help the Seven against Orannis.
- Evil Mentor: A rather more benign version of this trope than usual, but he still influenced Clariel to take the road she did, believing it would set in motion his own path to freedom. Played With in that Clariel becomes fully aware of this and doesn't hold a grudge against Mogget, even parting with him as something of a friend at the end of her novel. He mellows somewhat over the next couple of centuries, and gives Sabriel and Sameth a great deal of good advice - if in a blunt, snarky sort of way - and genuinely seems to care for both of them, in a backhanded sort of way.
- Friendly Enemy: When he's collared, at least.
- God Was My Copilot: Real name: Yrael.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In Clariel. He isn't related to the Big Bad and even helps Clariel along in her quest, but this is at least partly because he feels influencing Clariel will result in him gaining his freedom down the line.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Well, sort of. Usually the agenda consists of attempting to violently murder the Abhorsen if he's unbound. Until the end.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: It's implied that the reason Yrael tried to stay neutral in the original conflict between the Seven and Orannis was because he didn't want to be on the losing side. Things didn't exactly go according to plan.
- Intellectual Animal: Though, not quite just an animal.
- Mysterious Past: Aside from no-one actually knowing what he really is or where he really came from until The Reveal at the end of Abhorsen, somehow/for some reason he ended up being worshipped as the totem of Ferin's tribe, as revealed in Goldenhand (making this somewhat less ridiculous is the fact that he was in the form an athask, a giant tiger-like creature, at the time).
- Neutrality Backlash: In the Creation Myth of the world, the Eighth Bright Shiner was originally neutral in regards to the conflict between the other Nine, and was bound for his troubles when the Charter won.
- Neutral No Longer: For millennia he makes his hatred of the Charter bloodlines abundantly clear, and there's no hint that he'll side with them against anyone if he has any choice in the matter. When he does have a choice in the matter... Yrael shares that he has developed a liking to the living word, particularly fish, and got off the fence to fight Orannis. After that, he wanders off to do his own thing, but pops up at the climax of Goldenhand in a vaguely helpful capacity.
- Noodle Incident: Goldenhand shows that at some point, he ended up in the far north as 'the great athask', a giant tiger-like creature treated as a totem by Ferin's tribe. She is justifiably sceptical when she meets him in the form of a little white cat. Guess what happens next.
- Odd Friendship: Develops this, eventually, with Sameth, in part because Sam gives him fish and it persists after he's finally freed from his imprisonment, probably because Sam trusted him enough to set him free, giving him the freedom to choose for the first time in millennia.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Mogget can be very stealthy when he wants to and has a tendency to pop up randomly around the heroes. Being what he is, it's unclear if he's actually teleporting or just channelling his cat side.
- OOC Is Serious Business: He is terrified at the prospect of going down Kalliel's well. This proves to be justified when it turns out to house Astarael.
- Quit Your Whining: Says this a lot, especially to Sam. To be fair, he usually has a point, though Sam also has understandable PTSD.
- And is on the receiving end from the Disreputable Dog, who's one of the few people who can more or less control him.
- Redemption Equals Life: Figuratively. He earns his freedom from his lifelong enslavement clause to the Abhorsen line after siding with the heroes against Orannis.
- Releasing from the Promise: Sam frees him to fight Orannis, giving him the chance to freely choose his side, and after he chooses to help, Sabriel releases Mogget/Yrael from his contract with the Abhorsens. Despite this, he changes back to his cat form after the battle and occasionally pops up to help the Abhorsen.
- Restraining Bolt: His ensorcelled red leather collar, which has a miniature Saraneth and then Ranna hanging from it.
- The Resenter: Resents the Abhorsens for binding him. Shows similar resentment for his "siblings" the other Bright Shiners, most especially Kibeth, since she's the only one generally present for him to snark at.
- The Reveal: Mogget, that snarky, Free Magic thing disguised as a cat? He's actually Yrael, the Eighth Bright Shiner. Yeah.
- Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: An immensely dangerous magical being who is normally forced to take the shape of a small white cat.
- Servile Snarker: Mogget has to serve the Abhorsens. That does not mean Mogget likes most of the Abhorsens, and tends to provide a snarky running commentary of all of their deficiencies.
- The Shadow Knows: It's not always that of a cat.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Oh so very much.
- Sour Supporter: Again, Mogget is bound to serve the Abhorsens, but most of the time he'll make sure you know he's doing so under duress.
- Talking Animal: Subverted. he's not an animal.
- This Is Gonna Suck: When Belatiel renews his vow of allegiance (read: enslavement) to the Abhorsen line.
- Token Evil Teammate: Has the meanest temperament of any character on the Abhorsen's side. Is also constantly plotting against the Abhorsens
- Took a Level in Kindness: Even if it doesn't seem like it. Clariel shows Mogget actively plotting the break the Charter despite being bound. By Sabriel, despite being snarky and bad tempered, he's occasionally helpful and even seems to care for the Abhorsen, only trying to kill them when unbound.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sabriel and, to an extent, the Disreputable Dog, by the end of Abhorsen - having chosen to fight on the side of life probably helped mend the rift between him and Kibeth.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Somewhat. If he's allowed, he can go from little white cat to albino dwarf. Without his collar, he can change into pretty much whatever the hell he likes, displaying, in Goldenhand the capacity to turn into a huge white tiger like creature.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: When his collar is gone, we definitely want snarky Mogget back.
- Wild Card: Even back in his Shiner days when he could have tipped the balance. Mogget tends to have his own agenda and only begrudgingly helps when he wants to. Giving back his free will seems to have made him even more this.
Sabriel first finds Touchstone, frozen in a fighting position, transmogrified into a wooden ship's figurehead. Of course, Sabriel rescues him, as a hero should, but when he wakes up, he prompts questions. Who is he? Who sealed him as a figurehead, and why? All Sabriel suspects is that he's ashamed of something from his past, which is why he acts so irritatingly servile.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Becomes King at the end of Sabriel.
- Badass in Distress: As a ship figurehead. But his hands were frozen in a spellcasting position, so it's clear from the start he's an able warrior.
- The Berserker: When Sabriel is badly wounded, he completely flips out. Later assassination attempts result in similar. Either Touchstone inherited his madness from his father, or he is unstable due to trauma, namely being present at the breaking of a Charter Stone where his mother and half-sisters were killed in front of him.
- Cain and Abel: With Kerrigor. He's Abel.
- Consistent Clothing Style: Touchstone has a lifelong fondness for kilts. He's introduced Naked on Revival from being Taken for Granite and a kilt is the only legwear available that fits him at the time, but, decades later, he's still trying unsuccessfully to popularize them as king.
- Dual Wielding: He claims a pair of swords he finds in the unfinished ship in Holehallow.
- Happily Married: To Sabriel in Lirael, Abhorsen and Goldenhand.
- Heroic Bastard: The son of the last reigning queen of the Old Kingdom through an affair with a lesser nobleman after her husband's death. As an illegitimate son, he served as a retainer to his trueborn siblings.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: At first, he constantly puts himself down and acts like Sabriel's servant, even when she makes it clear it bothers her. He's ashamed of having failed the Royal Family by trusting his half-brother Kerrigor, and thus allowing them to be killed.
- Human Popsicle: He was turned into the figurehead of a ship. Mid-battle. He's understandably disoriented when he wakes up.
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself for the deaths of his mother and sisters.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Yeah, trying describing the second and third books without giving away that he's the last survivor of the royal family.
- Man in a Kilt: They were in fashion back in his day, and he still likes to wear them.
- Meaningful Rename: Mogget calls him Touchstone, a fool's name, in fact a Shakespearean fool's name. Touchstone grudgingly accepts it, and bears it for the rest of his life, even ruling as King Touchstone. He probably earned it by going berserk at the worst possible time.
- Mr. Fanservice: Well, when you arrive in the story naked you're gonna be this. As of Goldenhand, he's singlehandedly trying to bring the kilt back into fashion.
- Naked on Arrival: Sabriel finds it hard not to notice how anatomically correct the "statue" is.
- Official Couple: With Sabriel.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Touchstone" is referred to as "a fool's name" and while he initially objects when Mogget calls him this, he accepts it because of what he's done. At the end of Abhorsen we find out his real name is Torrigan.
- Royal Blood: Illegitimate, but still plenty strong enough to effectively rule the Old Kingdom.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He and Sabriel expend a lot of time — and in Touchstone's case, literal blood — to restore the Old Kingdom to order and prosperity.
- They Do: He marries Sabriel after the events of the first book.
A Greater Dead Adept who has been battling the Abhorsens for the past two hundred years, and winning. Powerful in Free Magic and the commander of terrible armies, he is singlehandedly responsible for the coup d'etat that obliterated the royal family two hundred years ago, and is hellbent on finishing the job, and breaking the Charter for good.
- Arch-Enemy: To the Abhorsens.
- Big Bad: Of the first book.
- Big Bad Friend: To Touchstone.
- Cain and Abel: With Touchstone. He's Cain.
- Came Back Strong: All the Greater Dead do this. Kerrigor did it moreso than most.
- Cats Are Mean: Trapped as a cat by the end. And good lord, is he mean. Subverted in that, once he's sealed as a cat, he's never seen again and is said to be sleeping in the Abhorsen's basement.
- Dark Is Evil: The Dead in general are described as wraith-like creatures of smoke and shadow, at least when not attached to a particular corpse. Kerrigor goes through several forms during Sabriel, and each of them follows this aesthetic to a greater or lesser degree.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Being an exceptionally powerful Greater Dead, he's totally inimical to life as we know it.
- Evil Is Hammy: As Prince Rogir he was a flamboyant guy who loved being the center of attention. As Kerrigor, his taste for the theatrical is even more pronounced.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Repeated uses of Free Magic and banishments into Death gave him such a monstruous appearance that it comes as a shock when his human form is revealed as quite handsome.
- The Evil Prince: Real name: Prince Rogir of the Royal line. Murdered the rest of his family in order to break the Great Charter Stones and add to his power.
- Evil Overlord: Of sorts. He's the dominant force in the Old Kingdom during the first book, but doesn't "rule" so much as "manage the chaos for his own purposes". That said, he was still the closest thing the Kingdom had to a ruler after the last regent died, albeit more in the vein of a warlord than a crowned head of state.
- Evil Sorcerer: He possesses great knowledge of magic, and his combination of necromancy, Free Magic, Dead powers and royal magic makes him exceptionally formidable.
- Faux Affably Evil: He fakes politeness and affability with his enemies, but it's completely transparent (though before he originally revealed himself, the mask was good enough to fool Touchstone, his half-brother a childhood friend and his own mother.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Like all Greater Dead, his eyes appear as flaming pits.
- Hero Killer: Given what badasses the royal line produces, it's quite a feat to murder all of them and near-permanently incapacitate the last. And then he becomes responsible for the death of Abhorsen Terciel, and has been fighting off Abhorsens for centuries, wearing the family down without being destroyed himself- again, quite a feat. Taken to its final, terrifying extreme when he bests and consumes Mogget, one of the Bright Shiners, without any notable effort.
- Humanoid Abomination: As a Greater Dead. At first, he apparently still looked human enough to fool his family, all accomplished Charter Mages. During most of Sabriel, he uses an artificial body that resembles a twisted, distorted version of his original appearance- Touchstone speculates that he likely was trying to recreate his mortal appearance, but had forgotten enough of what being human was like that he ended up monstrous instead. By the end of the book, even that body is destroyed when Terciel sacrifices himself, and Kerrigor just uses his raw spirit form- an amorphous, vaguely-humanoid giant of shadows, featureless save for his burning eyes - until he's briefly forced into his own body.
- Hybrid Monster: Why Kerrigor is just so dangerous. Not only is he a powerful Dead spirit and a Free Magic practioner, but he is a royal prince with the powers that come with that. He gives his followers a mark to link them to himself, increasing his own power in the perversion of the bond between Old Kingdom subjects and royals, where each one strengthens the other.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Like all the Dead he has to feed on Life in order to keep himself out of Death.
- In the Blood: With the royal bloodline, who descend in a roundabout way from the original makers of the Charter, he is naturally good at commanding others and has a formidable will, which he extrapolated into an ability to draw on the powers of all those who bore his mark.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: Last seen in the form of a cat, like Mogget.
- Joker Immunity: In the backstory. The Abhorsens have spent 200 years driving him back into Death, but he returns every single time. Over the course of Sabriel itself, he's pushed back into death twice by Terciel, but still returns for the finale. This is explained by his Soul Jar, and Sabriel finally comes up with a solution - accidentally, according to the Disreputable Dog - to his threat that cuts him off from much of his power and bypasses his apparent immortality. And even then all that can be done is to bind him Mogget style and put him to sleep.
- Kill the God: Kerrigor briefly consumed a deity when he swallowed Mogget.
- Lack of Empathy: Noticeable when talking to him. He doesn't care about anyone or anything beyond becoming as powerful as possible; it's unclear if he was always The Sociopath, or if this is a case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
- The Necromancer: And since he's Dead himself, he doesn't need bells; he appears to command his minions through sheer force of will.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Kerrigor is a Greater Dead spirit, a Free Magic Adept, a necromancer, and a renegade member of the royal family. In-universe this renders him an entirely unique threat and one of the most powerful beings in existence.
- Our Liches Are Different: Or rather, as a Greater Dead and Free Magic Adept, he's the local equivalent.
- Resurrective Immortality: As long as his body exists, Kerrigor will always crawl back out of Death into Life.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: And once that part is done, he's locked up in the basement of the Abhorsen's House behind every warding that Sabriel and Touchstone between them can put up, with the intention that he'll sleep there until the end of the world.
- Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Gets turned into a cat like Mogget.
- Sdrawkcab Alias: His actual name is Rogir, or Rogirek to be formal; "Kerrigor" was a childhood nickname that stuck.
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered his mother and his sisters to break the Charter Stones.
- Sorcerous Overlord: In addition to being a Free Magic Adept and one of the Greater Dead, he's the reigning warlord in what's left of the Old Kingdom.
- Soul Jar: The reason that no Abhorsen was ever able to banish him fully is that he uses his original body- which he still maintains a connection to- as one of these; so long as it exists, he can always return to Life.
- Strong Family Resemblance: When she lays eyes upon his Soul Jar - his own human body - Sabriel is a mite unbalanced by his uncanny likeness to his half-brother, Touchstone, and tries to not look at it while she's busy destroying it.
- The Undead: And the evidence points to him having sought out the condition, rather than having it forced on him by a necromancer.
- Villain Respect: Seemed to have some genuine regard for Terciel, who in turn was calmly polite when talking to him.
- Was Once a Man: Like all Dead, he was originally a living person. Specifically, Touchstone's half-brother, Prince Rogir.
- Bears Are Bad News: It's a flaming mud bear.
- The Dragon: To Kerrigor; it's his most powerful minion and chief hunter.
- Golem: A Mordicant is essentially an artificial body of inorganic materials possessed and animated by a Dead spirit, and is therefore equal parts Golem and undead.
- Implacable Man: Follows Sabriel, Mogget, and Touchstone across the entire Old Kingdom, with nothing except Astarael slowing it down.
- No Name Given: A Mordicant is what it is, being the name of one of the most powerful types of Dead. Its own personal name is never revealed, if it has one.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Can seemingly follow its quarry anywhere; Kerrigor even refers to it as "my Hound".
- Villain Teleportation: A unique trait of Mordicants is their ability to take their physical bodies with them into Death, and then emerge somewhere entirely different still intact. This allows it to bypass virtually any physical obstacles in its pursuit of Sabriel.
- The Voiceless: It sometimes makes verbal sounds, particularly loud howls, but despite being apparently sentient it never actually speaks during any of its appearances.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Sabriel is never exactly a light or cheerful book, but the Mordicant is the first enemy that Sabriel just can't defeat in a straight-up fight, and its presence adds a much greater tension and urgency to the plot.
- Was Once a Man: Presumably, though we're given no indication of who or what its animating spirit really was in Life.
Sanar and RyelleWhen we meet them in Sabriel, these identical twins appear as the Voice of the entire tribe of Clayr. Their skills include speaking in unison, predicting the future, and flying Paperwings. In later books, we see that they have ascended to becoming the de facto leader of the Clayr, as their Sight is among the strongest in the Kingdom.
- Cool Big Sis: While all the Clayr are cousins, they take this role to Lirael when they can, including standing up to her overbearing Aunt Kirrith on her behalf and taking her down several pegs.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: A trait of the Clayr.
- Mad Oracle: Especially in their first appearance, where they have a hard time speaking in a way Sabriel can follow linearly owing to being mentally Unstuck in Time. Less pronounced in Lirael and Abhorsen, possibly owing to them being older and more experienced, or possibly because Lirael, who grew up around the Clayr, is just better at following their mannerisms and way of speaking.
- Prescience Is Predictable: Toyed with. They see many fragments of possible futures, some of which are the results of Lirael failing.
- Psychic Link: As twins they have a magical bond with each other.
- Psychic Powers: Particularly of the prescient variety; part-and-parcel of being Clayr.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A lot of Clayr prophecies seem to work this way, at least when the Clayr themselves are the subject; they do things a certain way because they Saw themselves doing it that way.
- Single-Minded Twins: They really come off this way. The only time they're given any distinction is when Sanar says that Ryelle is the better Paperwing pilot of the two. In the final confrontation, they wield one bell together instead of taking one bell each, further adding to this impression.
- Twin Banter: They have a distinct tendency to finish each other's sentences and generally carry on a conversation as if they were one person, which, combined with their Mad Oracle tendencies can make following a conversation with them quite a headache.
- Unstuck in Time: Mentally, at least; they live as much in the future as in the present, because their Sight is so strong.
- Wonder Twin Powers: They're both very strong in the Sight, and can combine their vision for stronger viewings.
Abhorsen TercielThe father of Sabriel, and the current Abhorsen when Sabriel begins. He wanders all over the Kingdom in fighting off the Dead, though his own sacrifices have been dear. He put Sabriel in a boarding school in Ancelstierre so that she would be safe and have something of a normal childhood... and because the Clayr foresaw that the Kingdom would need an Abhorsen who knew Ancelstierre well.
- Bad Powers, Good People: As an Abhorsen, he uses necromancy to fight against the undead.
- Disappeared Dad: He's absent a lot of the time in the course of his normal duties, but his failure to make a scheduled visit is the signal that something is badly wrong. Additionally, his first concern when he realises that Arielle is being serious about how they need to have a child together to save the world Because Destiny Says So, is that he won't be around for that child.
- Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Not only the soldiers on the Wall but his own daughter think that Abhorsen is his name, not his title.
- Good Parents: He clearly cares a lot for his daughter. However he often has to be dragged away by his crucial duty. His immediate concern - after he comes around to the idea - when Arielle explains that destiny says they need to have a child is that he wouldn't be there for the resultant daughter.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Wielded Astarael against Kerrigor to drag him deep into death and buy time for Sabriel.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: He dies about three-quarters of the way through the first book, leaving Sabriel to take up his sword- literally and figuratively- as the new Abhorsen.
A Daughter of the Clayr — who is forever an outsider from them. Lirael has been marked as an outcast from the beginning: her mother left the Glacier, came back pregnant, and never named her child's father, all contrary to tradition, before vanishing when the girl was five and dying just before her tenth birthday. As a teenager, Lirael desperately wishes to gain the Sight that is every Clayr's birthright, and the transition into adulthood. Without it, she waits, and waits, despondent and solitary. Looks like an assignment as a Third Assistant Librarian might lift her spirits... if it doesn't get her killed, first. But Lirael has no idea of what destiny awaits her beyond the Glacier's frozen walls.
- Action Girl: She will admit she's not as good at swordfighting as she should be, but she gets better as time goes by.
- Action Girlfriend: To Nicholas. She's the Abhorsen-In-Waiting and a Clayr Librarian, while he's a civilian (albeit a resourceful one) from a place without magic.
- Badass Bookworm: The "badass" part is a requirement for Clayr librarians, due to some of the things lurking in the deeper shelves.
- Bad Powers, Good People: As the Abhorsen, particularly when using Free Magic to traverse Death.
- The Call Put Me on Hold: It gets back on the line when she finds a door with her name on in deep in the Clayr's Glacier and finds the tools of a Remembrancer.
- The Chosen One: She's a type of Chosen One that hasn't been seen in centuries: being half-Clayr and half-Abhorsen makes her the only person capable of being a Remembrancer, on top of Abhorsen-In-Waiting.
- Driven to Suicide: She seriously considers it during the first part of the book, and even gets up to the edge of the Glacier before the arrival of Sabriel and Touchstone forces her to leave.
- First Kiss: Finally with Nicolas Sayre in Goldenhand.
- Foreshadowing: Her tendency towards morbid thinking. At first it seems like it's due to her chronically low self-esteem. Which is part of it, but it also has a lot to do with her being Terciel's daughter and being related to Sabriel who is quite a bit of a Deadpan Snarker.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Where other Clayr are tanned and blonde with light eyes, Lirael has pale skin that burns, and black hair and eyes. Younger Clayr regard her as a freak, afraid that they'll turn out Sightless, like her.
- Handicapped Badass: With her titular Goldenhand.
- Heroic Lineage: Her mother had a one-night stand with Terciel specifically to become pregnant with the next Abhorsen, Because Destiny Says So.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: It takes her a very long time to like herself, thanks to her lack of coming-of-age in Clayr society.
- Instant Expert: Although, magic books in the Old Kingdom tend to work by reappearing with clarity in the reader's mind at need, so it makes sense by the world's rules.
- In the Blood: Just not Clayr blood.
- Kid with the Leash: In a technical sense on the Disreputable Dog, who acts like a dog out of personal preference. Moreso on Mogget later on.
- Locked into Strangeness: Due to her Abhorsen heritage, her hair is black instead of blond.
- Long Lost Sibling: Sabriel's much younger half-sister.
- Magic Mirror: The Remembrancer's mirror allows her to see the past if she walks into Death.
- Magic Music: The Remembrancer's panpipes, which are basically a weaker version of a necromancer's bells.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: She learns how to make several animal "skins" with Charter magic, but they leave her with the residual instincts of whatever she becomes for some time afterwards.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother left her at a young age and is reported dead before the beginning of Lirael. Her father, meanwhile, died before she was born.
- Shrinking Violet: Never spoke or interacted much in the Glacier other than with the Dog. Grows out of it once she leaves mostly due to Sam being even more introverted and indecisive and someone needing to take charge.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Lirael returns to the Clayr after becoming Abhorsen-In-Waiting to find that she no longer fits in like she used to. Part of it is that she's grown but part of it is that she's treated differently.
- The Unfavorite: Most Clayr manifest the sight before age fourteen, making Lirael stick out as a teenage "child" in their society, exposing her to unwanted pity and condescension.
The Disreputable Dog
The Disreputable Dog began life as a Charter sending that Lirael made to keep her company — or did she? Or did Lirael instead summon up some much older and more powerful spirit than she bargained for?
Wonder away, the Dog's not here to answer questions. She's here to be chipper and friendly, Lirael's best friend and guide through any hardship or peril. Beware of her teeth, and her bark — the Dog can use Charter Spells and Free Magic, without being corrupted by it. Rest assured, she's a good dog in every sense of the word.
Now, who's ready for a walk?
- Animalistic Abomination: A benevolent variant. Most of the time she appears to be a normal dog that can talk, but she can shapeshift at will—usually only parts of her, like when she lengthens her toes to climb down a ladder.
- Back from the Dead: Sort of, in Goldenhand - she's technically still dead, but is plenty capable of being helpful.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Lirael has bite scars from the last time she considered suicide.
- God Was My Copilot: She's the remnants of Kibeth, although she isn't nearly as powerful as she once was.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She stops Lirael's own sacrifice by biting her hand off during the binding of Orannis, which redirects his last rage onto her.
- Hidden Depths: Many. She starts out as a mischievous magical dog with strange abilities and human intelligence, but comes off as being little more. Later on, she hints at her true nature by making a crossbowman 'walk' and proving to be pretty much the only person who can cow Mogget into grudging obedience.
- I Lied: She is the Disreputable Dog.
- Mentor Mascot: Not cutesy, but she quite likes being a dog... except for baths.
- Intellectual Animal: She's not only a talking animal, but a smart one, too.
- Interspecies Friendship: With Lirael.
- Not Too Dead to Save the Day: For Nick. Twice. And Lirael in Goldenhand.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Is a master at this, even more so than Mogget - which is saying something.
Sameth a.k.a. Sam
The second child of Sabriel and Touchstone, and a Royal Prince. Since his sister Ellimere clearly got the royalty genes, what's left for Sameth is to be the Abhorsen — and he'll get around to studying the Book of the Dead one of these days, just as soon as he's wrapped up his education as a normal, magic-free boy in Ancelstierre. Though Sameth wants to be brave, he often fears he's not the warrior type, much less the Abhorsen type. He's quite certain he'll never live up to the glorious examples of his (distant) parents, so why bother, when tinkering away in his workshop is more fun?
- Achievements in Ignorance: Sam accomplishes enormous and unique feats of magic without even realizing that it's impossible for most Charter Mages.
- All Your Powers Combined: Despite being a Wallmaker, Sameth has the powers and qualities of the Abhorsen and Royal lines albeit at a weaker extent than his family. He has a death sense and can use a Necromancer's panpipes and on occasion displays both Berserker rage and leadership abilities.
- Character Development: He starts off in Lirael uncomfortable as his role as Abhorsen-in-waiting, and feels out of place in the Old Kingdom. By the end of his journey with Lirael he's found a path that suits him better and become more responsible.
- Chekhov's Gun: His hobby is tinkering and adding magic to it. Because he's a Wallmaker.
- Constantly Curious: Sameth is constantly fascinated by strange and unknown magical artefacts. He observes Lirael when she's making Charter Skins and examines the Despicable Dog's collar.
- Cowardly Lion: Played With. Mostly, he's suffering acute PTSD after going into Death unarmed early in Lirael and running into Hedge, who nearly makes him suffer a fate far worse than death. Consequently, he is understandably terrified of going into Death, and telling his parents that he's afraid, but he still risks his life willingly against the Dead (if not happily), and is less fazed by more mortal threats. Once he finds out that he's not actually the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, he's much less worried.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: To most people, he comes off as irresponsible, reclusive, and an incompetent Abhorsen-In-Waiting, far more interested in tinkering than doing his job as a Prince. As Lirael observes, however, he's an extremely powerful Charter Mage, very brave underneath his (very justified) fear of Death, takes responsibility for trying to find and save Nick, and isn't actually meant to be the Abhorsen-In-Waiting, explaining his lack of competence in that area - and even so, in Abhorsen, he manages to use the panpipes effectively enough to stop fifty Dead Hands and to slow down three Shadow Hands.
- Odd Friendship: With Mogget. After Mogget is freed, he's the only person the cat occasionally visits and willingly interacts with. It might have to do with Sameth's slightly less wary and judgmental attitude, the fact that he gives Mogget fish, and the fact that in the end, he willingly released Mogget and gave him the choice whether or not to fight the Destroyer.
- Opposites Attract: With Ferin filling out the Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl dynamic.
- Outside Context Magic: Multiple characters remark that Sam uses his magic in ways that are unusual and unheard of. It's because he's a Wallmaker and instinctively using a brand of magic long forgotten
- Gadgeteer Genius: Loves tinkering with and building toys, some of which are sophisticated enough to grudgingly impress even Mogget. What cements him as this is when he reforged Nehima using Lirael's panpipes in an enormous feat of magic in only a few hours. Potentially even more impressive is his creation of her prosthetic hand, which is near perfect by the events of Goldenhand - though it tends not to do so well when out of the range of the Charter.
- Heroic BSoD: What Sam really needed was a therapist to deal with his encounter with Hedge - he's clearly suffering some form of trauma and PTSD.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He thinks of himself as a failure because he can't even bring himself to open the Book of the Dead.
- Hikikomori: Ellimere was pretty much the only person stopping him from locking himself in his workshop and never leaving.
- Improvised Weapon User: Shortly after we meet him, he organizes a group of kids in fighting off the Dead with cricket equipment.
- Incest Subtext: He hits on Lirael, with neither of them knowing that she's actually his half-aunt. To be fair, he had absolutely no reason to know (and neither did she), given that his only known relatives at this point are his sister, his parents, and his undead half-uncle. Thankfully, she finds it so awkward that she pretends to be considerably older than she looks.
- Kid with the Leash: On Mogget, the family heirloom.
- Missed the Call: Sam was chosen by Hedge to free Orannis. However, 1. he manages to avoid being bound by Saraneth and 2. the fight with Hedge wears him out and so Nicholas Sayre ends up getting hit by the Call.
- Refusal of the Call: Really, really, really does not like the prospect of being an Abhorsen. Turns out, he was never meant to be an Abhorsen in the first place; everyone just assumed he would be because he's Sabriel's son and his sister doesn't have any affinity for Death. No one knew about Lirael's existence as the true successor.
- Royal Blood: Though contrary to the trope, he's completely unsuited to being a ruler.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: When a magical attack strikes his cricket team en route back from a game, he springs into action, directing the boys on how to fight the Dead effectively, and going out to confront the necromancer at work himself.
- Took a Level in Badass: Once Sameth stops trying to be the Abhorsen and gains some confidence, he becomes much more effective. His powerful Charter mage abilities start feeding into his inventing.
- Unskilledbut Strong: Sameth is a very powerful Charter Mage but tends to use his magic in ways that aren't quite as effective and efficient and mostly just blasts away powerful spells. As he's a Wallmaker, he's blessed with power but doesn't have to training or knowledge to fully use his gifts, making him come off as this trope. Once he realizes his heritage, he become much more effective by putting his skills towards craftsmanship.
Nicholas 'Nick' Sayre
Nicholas Sayre is a nephew of the Chief Minister of Ancelstierre, a member of an old and rich family, and therefore just the sort of fellow you'd expect to see attending school with Prince Sameth. More than that, Nick is Sam's best friend, even if he does regard Charter Magic as a scientific curiosity rather than a profound fact of the universe. Nick is bright, cheerful, and interested in everything. He's a natural leader and, like a true-born son of the industrialized south, loves to develop and work on projects. But a chance encounter with Hedge means that all of Nick's energy might be turned to a dark purpose...
- Action Survivor: He doesn't have any fighting skills, as such, but he's brave, intelligent, quick-witted, and determined.
- Agent Scully: At first, highly skeptical of magic and the Old Kingdom; he's sure that it can somehow be explained by science. It persists long after it normally would because of the influence of the Destroyer, and fades towards the end of Abhorsen.
- Badass Abnormal: Gets Charter and Free Magic in his blood by the end of the series, serving as a sort of living Charter Stone (which makes him very useful at the climax of Goldenhand.)
- Badass Bookworm: Essentially designs what would, in another world, have been a functional nuclear reactor — or nuclear bomb. Either way, in a world where the mundane half is in the 1920's at the latest, that's incredibly impressive.
- Constantly Curious: Spends most of Goldenhand awed and fascinated by the Old Kingdom and its customs, magic and technology.
- Demonic Possession: Is infested by a shard of Orannis until the end of Abhorsen, which compels him to try and free the main body and occasionally takes over his own.
- Fighting from the Inside: Tries very hard to do this after encountering Lirael and learning just what is happening to him.
- Improvised Weapon User: Wields a mean cricket bat.
- Last Guy Wins: For Lirael.
- Non-Action Guy: Nick serves as the emotional and magical support for Lirael but leaves the combat to her. As a Fish out of Water civilian who only recently learned magic, Nick simply doesn't know enough to be useful in combat.
- The Pollyanna: A rare male version. In Goldenhand, Nick's rather blasé and upbeat, finding time to be childishly curious and flirting with Lirael despite being self-exiled, the kingdom getting invaded and the horrible Break the Cutie he'd been through.
- Spanner in the Works: Nick rushing forward to face Hedge derailed his plans as the shard of Orannis was supposed to go to Sameth.
- Took a Level in Badass
- Weirdness Censor: He sees the "Night Crew" (a horde of Dead Hands created by Hedge) as alive but diseased and Hedge as an odd but damned useful chap. This is because the fragment of Orannis is clouding his mind.
- You Can't Go Home Again: The Free and Charter Magic now living in Nick means that he'll never be able to go back to Ancelstierre. Or at least, he'll never be comfortable there.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: As soon as the Lightning Farm does its work, the last shard of Orannis zips out of his body, mortally wounding him. It would have been even gorier - bursting from his chest cavity and instantly killing him - if he'd been any closer.
The first child of Sabriel and Touchstone, and the Crown Princess. Bossy — no, commanding — and meddling — rather, micromanaging — clearly Ellimere inherited the Royal Bloodline. She takes her duties as future queen very seriously, often practically ruling (with the aid of a Regent) while her father is out slaying Dead (i.e. nine days out of ten). Her current project is to slap some sense and work ethic into her layabout, good-for-nothing-brother, Sam. He'll be an efficient Prince and Abhorsen if it kills him. No, really.
- Action Girl: Though she doesn't get to do much on page, she's mentioned to be an avid hunter and athlete and generally comes off as more than capable of handling herself.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Is a capable ruler despite only being a couple of years older than Sam. She's also implied to have been ruling since she graduated as Touchstone is busy fixing Charter Stones.
- Cool Big Sis: She's friendly to everyone she meets, hard-working and dedicated and she dearly loves Sam, even if she is a bit overbearing.
- Hero of Another Story: She's basically running the country (with help from a co-regent) during Sam and Lirael's adventures. A message she sends near the end of Lirael mentions her calling up the Old Kingdom's armed forces to deal with the threat from Hedge and Chlorr.
- Large Ham: Oh so much. She's loud and authoritative even in messages. It's contrast from her more subdued family members.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A platonic variant. She's clearly trying to bring Sam out of his funk by forcing him to attend royal events and setting him up on dates. At one point, she even throws a grand birthday party just for him. However, she fails partly because her energy alienates the more introverted Sam and partly because his worries aren't that easily solved.
- Royal Blood: Explicitly so: her mother has the Abhorsen bloodline, but Ellimere clearly manifests the commanding and leadership abilities inherent in the Royal bloodline.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something:
- She sits on the council and the courts along with more mundane activities like sentry duty.
- She's also the one raising the troops and leading the Army during a crisis
- Shipper on Deck: At one point, she seems to think that all that's needed for Sam is a girlfriend and tries to hook him up with pretty much every girl in the kingdom. Goldenhand reveals that she's been trying and failing to do the same for Lirael.
The right-hand of the mysterious power in the mound, and the architect of most of the villainous schemes in Lirael and Abhorsen
- Bald of Evil: Or at least he's on his way, more like Balding of Evil.
- Big Bad: Being the leash-holder of most of the Dead that are after Sam and Lirael. Until the end of Lirael, where we learn he's The Dragon to something far worse.
- The Dragon: To Orannis.
- Enemy to All Living Things: Hence not being able to use a normal horse.
- Evil Sorcerer: A master Free Magic Sorcerer and necromancer, who once served Kerrigor and now uses his powers to free Orannis.
- FaceHeel Turn: He was a decent man and a member of the Crossing Point Scouts until he was seduced by the prospect of more magical power, initially serving Kerrigor.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was apparently born in Ancelstierre and was a perfectly normal man and member of the Crossing Point Scouts before being seduced by the promise of magical power, serving Kerrigor, before ultimately becoming the right hand to Orannis, a Humanoid Abomination in his own right, and capable of arranging a coup in Ancelstierre and, it is hinted, the war the Southerlings are fleeing from.
- Go Out with a Smile: Upon seeing the Stars of the Ninth Gate, the flames in his eyes go out, he smiles and raises his hands to the sky before falling into the last gate.
- The Heavy: He's the most heavily featured villain in the second and third books though he's not actually the Big Bad.
- Hellish Horse: Ordinary horses can't stand him, so he rides undead ones instead. Even these tend to destroy themselves when loosed from his direct control.
- Humanoid Abomination: An exercise in knowing when to stop using Free Magic. It takes him over and transforms his body and soul. Mostly his soul, though.
- It's All About Me: Willingly serves Orannis, knowing full well that it will destroy the world, because, in his own words, nothing matters to him other than himself, and Orannis promised him a place at its side and greater dominion over the dead for his service.
- Magic Knight: A powerful sorcerer who always goes armored and carries a sword.
- Manipulative Bastard: Has shades of it, especially towards Nick and a bit towards Chlorr. He's shown to have arranged the coup in Ancelstierre, and implied to have arranged the war the Southerlings are fleeing.
- Mook Carry Over: Ascending from a highly ranked Mook of Kerrigor's to The Heavy of Orannis by the start of Lirael.
- Mysterious Past: It is hinted that he was born in Ancelstierre and served as a soldier at the Wall around 50 years before the books' events.
- Necromancer: One of the most powerful in the series.
- Older Than They Look: Most likely to be just over one hundred years old.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Or at least, the Omnicidal Maniac's loyal helper.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Hedge always wears red plate armour, and as he becomes more inhuman he gains red fire in his eyes and black smoke on his head.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: Particularly notable in Abhorsen, he becomes increasingly inhuman the more he falls under the sway of Free Magic. Of course, since this comes with an increase in power, it's not like he minds...
- Wizards Live Longer: See Older Than They Look.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: His original plan was to implant a shard of the Destroyer's prison into Sam. When that failed and the shard ended up in Nick instead, he rolled with it masterfully.
Chlorr of the Mask/ClarielThe main villain of Lirael, Chlorr is a necromancer who has extended her life through unholy means. Though her powers of commanding the Dead and Free Magic are terrible, she willingly submits herself to the power buried beside the Red Lake, when Hedge gives her but a taste of it. Only an Abhorsen can have a prayer of matching Chlorr in combat.
For tropes applying to Clariel, see below.
- Ascended Extra: Received her own book called Clariel, detailing her Start of Darkness.
- The Berserker: A trait that runs in the Royal and Abhorsen lines.
- Body Surf: Goldenhand reveals that she used to do this before Sabriel destroyed her ability to take physical form.
- Characterization Marches On: Mogget describes her as "never bold" in Abhorsen, which is decidedly not true of her in Clariel. Though this could simply be a case of Mogget referring to her not quite giving in to all of his temptations, his having a Self-Serving Memory or simply lying.
- Death Equals Redemption: For the part of her that remained Clariel, at least, which saves Lirael from Chlorr during their battle at the Ninth Gate, forcing Chlorr to look up.
- The Dragon: To Hedge.
- Dragon Ascendant: She takes over as the main threat in Goldenhand following the final death of Hedge and the rebinding of Orannis.
- The Dreaded: For the Northern Barbarians who hate her greatly for costing them so many women but fear her power too much to stop the Offerings.
- Enigmatic Minion: She's very powerful, very old, and very evil, but exactly what her deal is when not taking orders from Hedge is never made clear...
- Evil Aunt: More like cousin, but she's a distant relative of the Abhorsen bloodline.
- Evil Feels Good: Using Free Magic gives one a rush to control and destroy.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Tapping into an ancient, powerful, source of Free Magic you know next to nothing about: bad idea.
- Evil Mentor: In Goldenhand it is conjectured that she taught Kerrigor the trick with his body.
- Evil Old Folks: Several centuries old through the power of Free Magic, and nearly an adult Sabriel's equal in power even before becoming one of the Greater Dead — though it is implied that she was already one of the Greater Dead and had been for some time, it's just that her habit of possessing offerings from the steppe tribes meant that this was not necessarily apparent. What Sabriel did was prevent her from taking physical form again.
- Evil Sorceress: A powerful Free Magic user and necromancer and she only gets worse as one of the Dead.
- The Faceless: Well, she is Chlorr of the Mask, after all. Mogget hints it may be more than that- he taunts her by calling her "Chlorr No-face", and refuses to explain himself when questioned about it.
- Fallen Hero: Once upon a time Chlorr was a member of the Abhorsen lineage named Clariel.
- Humanoid Abomination: Notice a trend here?
- Karma Houdini: Runs off in Abhorsen after Lirael stands up to her and Mogget taunts her about her past and apparently survives the book. Karma catches up with her at the end of Goldenhand when the remnant of her that is Clariel forces her beyond the Ninth Gate.
- Literal Split Personality: When she was corrupted by Free Magic, she extracted the part of herself that remained Clariel and bound it, comatose, in Death. After Lirael wakes Clariel up, she helps in the fight against Chlorr.
- Mysterious Past: Mogget hints that Chlorr was once an Abhorsen. Her new book, Clariel, reveals some of this, but ends with Clariel travelling to the north, with her Free Magic bound away. Obviously at some point in the intervening centuries she gets it back. Goldenhand elaborates somewhat, with the remnant of her that is still Clariel vaguely remarking that she had temptations whispering away at her and eventually she gave in.
- Necromancer: And once she becomes a Greater Dead, she no longer needs bells, being able to command her Dead minions with sheer force of will.
- Our Liches Are Different: Sabriel defeats and kills her offscreen early in Lirael. Unfortunately, death is not an inconvenience for a necromancer, especially not this one.
- Pride: Is extremely arrogant and sure of her power. This leads her to try to dominate Hedge, only to be controlled by him when she drinks Orannis' water.
- Clariel shows that this is a problem even before she turned evil.
- Red Baron: Chlorr of the Mask. The Northern Barbarians call her The Witch with No Face.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: She bails after Lirael and Mogget present the first real challenge she's had on-page. Mogget notes that she was never all that bold, even when she was an A - alive.
- Was Once Human: Starts off human, becomes a powerful Dead creature.
An Ancelstierran politician of the conservative bent, seeking the highest offices in the land. He hates the Old Kingdom and distrusts the existence of "magic".
- Big Bad Wannabe: Based on how his deputy acts in his brief appearance, he seems to think he's in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Hedge. Not exactly...
- Fantastic Racism: Towards anyone non-Ancelstierran, especially Southerlings.
- The Ghost: Plays a pretty important role in Lirael and Abhorsen but never actually shows up in person.
- Karma Houdini: Seizes power midway through Abhorsen, and the end of the book gives no indication if he was deposed or not. "The Creature in the Case" reveals that his coup ultimately failed, but gives no indication of how or what happened to him afterwards.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The seizing of power and trying to overthrow the moderate government making it very clear.
- Offscreen Villainy: None of the main characters ever interact with him.
- Pragmatic Villainy: When Sabriel and Touchstone start interfering in his plans, he simply arranges for them to be assassinated. Unfortunately for him, they survive.
- Smug Snake: Though he never shows up directly, his reputation gives off this vibe.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Hedge.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He is popular in Ancelstierre.
The Enemy/Orannis the Destroyer
What Hedge serves. What Chlorr serves. The enemy so terrible the Disreputable Dog will not speak its name. The thing that, long ago, was sealed beneath seven wards beside the Red Lake, but it has slowly cracked its prison open and its working its way to freedom. But what is it?
- Apocalypse How: Several levels of this are suggested to happen as he comes closer to being unsealed. Goldenhand shows a glimpse of a world that he had destroyed; it's an utterly barren wasteland with no atmosphere.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the second and third books, and the series as a whole.
- Compelling Voice: Its words seem to have some sort of physical power.
- Demonic Possession: Controls Nicholas Sayre via a tiny sliver of the silver sphere, that was lodged into his heart by Hedge.
- The Dreaded: Even the Disreputable Dog, who is actually Kibeth in disguise, and Mogget, who's actually Yrael, a fully fledged - if bound - one of the Nine are afraid of It, and with good reason.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Its form is of two bisected silver halves of a sphere. When brought together, they eventually cast an enormous eruption of heat, fire, light and concussive sound that completely vaporizes all life within vicinity, leaving a mushroom cloud...
- Eldritch Abomination: An extraordinarily powerful Free Magic entity, so strong that even the Seven Bright Shiners couldn't kill it.
- Kill It with Fire: Its destructive phases can best be described as explosions of flame and heat.
- Large Ham: After it's freed. Before, it's more of a Cold Ham, by which means it terrifies Hedge.
- The Magnificent: One of his titles is The Destroyer.
- The Man Behind the Man: Chlorr, one of history's most powerful necromancers, asks Hedge why she should serve Hedge's master. Hedge instructs her to drink just a little water that trickles out from beneath the master's prison. And Chlorr at once agrees and serves It loyally.
- Meaningful Name: "Orannis" is similar to Οὐρανός (Ouranos), the classical Greek spelling of Uranus and the namesake of uranium.
- No Biological Sex: It doesn't really seem to have anything comparable to a sex or gender identity, always being identified as "It" (with capital). Interestingly, this appears to be unique to It and not a trait of Shiners as a whole- Astarael and Kibeth are clearly female, while Yrael is clearly male, but Orannis is neither.
- Numerological Motif: The Ninth Bright Shiner, nine manifestations, nine second countdown before the Destroyer phase activates.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Why does It try to wipe out everything wherever he goes? It just does. Implied is that it is in Its nature to obliterate life.
- The Scottish Trope: The Disreputable Dog will write Its name, but doesn't say it and warns Lirael and Sam not to either.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Its current physical form is something like a huge, bisected silver ball buried in the ground.
- Walking Spoiler: In case you couldn't tell. It's not until the last chapter of Lirael that we get a hint as to Its true nature.
- Xanatos Gambit: Puts together a long-running plan to gain followers, make a son of the royal line his slave, and have his hemispheres united so he can destroy the world. Unfortunately for Orannis, It did not seem to foresee Yrael's decision.
The eponymous main character of Clariel.
Is the human form of Chlorr of the Mask before she turned evil.
- Appropriated Appelation: It's implied at the end of Clariel that "Chlorr" comes from her cutting herself off when giving her name to Orrikan, who misheard it as "Claw", which is pretty easy to twist into "Chlorr".
- Arranged Marriage: Thankfully avoided.
- Asexual: Clariel has no interest in a sexual relationship with anyone, and specifically mentions that this applies to both men and women. When Mistress Ader is talking to her she speculates that Clariel may be "a natural singleton" and apparently doesn't find anything odd about this. It's mentioned that she did have a brief sexual relationship with a young man prior to moving to Belisaere, but this seems to have been more because of societal expectation and she didn't particularly see what the big deal was or seem all that sad when she left him. She's also probably of the nonromantic variety, though this is a little harder to determine was the book goes on.
- The Berserker: It runs in the royal line, and she inherited it.
- Birds of a Feather: Clariel empathises with Aziminil, feeling just as trapped and constrained as the Free Magic creature, and relents when she has the monster at her mercy, letting it go free. At the same time, though, Clariel is seduced by the power and dominance she felt while bending Aziminil to her will.
- Brutal Honesty: Clariel is blunt, always says whats on her mind and has no appetite for smalltalk or platitudes
- The Corruption: The more she uses Free Magic, the further she is pushed away from the Charter.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Clariel makes this observation of several tragic occurrences in her novel, sometimes towards herself.
- Country Mouse: Is entirely out of place in the city, and longs to return to the country. It becomes a problem because Belisaere is a powder keg waiting to blow and Clariel and her family are at the center of multiple plots. She simply cannot afford to be out of place.
- Daddy's Girl: She used to be one.
- The Determinator: Free Magic relies on strength of will. A defining feature of Clariel is her stubbornness.
- Didn't Think This Through: Clariel has a habit of doing things without fully considering the consequences beyond the short term and often lets her emotions and berserker rage get the best of her.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Can't fully resist the urge to use Free Magic.
- Dying as Yourself: The bit of Chlorr that is still Clariel fuses with Chlorr after saving Lirael. They enter the Ninth Gate as one.
- Evil Feels Good: From Clariel's POV, it's shown that Free Magic is incredibly seductive. Dominating a creature and using it's power grants a powerful rush. Clariel after using Free Magic once is treated like a addict surrounded by temptation.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Clariel dominates and uses two Free Magic creatures. However, they try to break free of her control many times and will turn on her at any sign of weakness. They also turn out to have their own agenda.
- Foregone Conclusion: She is locked away from her Free Magic at the end of Clariel, but must regain it and become truly evil by Lirael.
- The bronze mask sticks to her face in Clariel.
- When attacking Kilp and Aronzo in a berserker rage late in the novel, steam pours from Clariel's mask as a result of her Free Magic. Chlorr's mask produces the same steam several times in Lirael and Abhorsen whenever she is fighting or using Free Magic.
- King Orrikan mishears a portion of Clariel's name and calls her "Claw", which sounds remarkably similar to "Chlorr" and may have inspired her to choose the name in later life.
- When presented with a necromancer's bells, Clariel refuses them, controlling her Free Magic creatures with her berserk rage. Similarly, in Lirael and Abhorsen Chlorr does not use bells and instead controls her Dead and Free Magic servants through sheer force of will.
- Forest Ranger: Her goal is to join the Borderers or become an independent hunter living in the forest.
- Friendship Moment: With Mogget in her novel's epilogue.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Due to being a berserk.
- The Hermit: Wants to be one.
- In the Blood: Her status as a Berserk and affinity for Free Magic. Abhorsens balance Free Magic and strength in the Charter, but Clariel's affinity for the former is much stronger. This causes problems.
- I Just Want to Be Free: To the degree that she sympathises with Free Magic creatures.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Clariel doesn't want to have the magic of the Abhorsens or the responsibility of a Royal; all she wants is to live a normal life as a hunter.
- It's All About Me: A subtle but present trait. Clariel can prioritize her own wants and desires over everyone else making her slightly self-centered. Her desire to stay in the Great Forest for example - it's not wrong for her mother to move to Belisaere to expand her business and also to not want a young, underaged woman joining the Forest Rangers by herself. Of note is Clariel thinking that her mother should have compromised with Kilp's plan as she would have been spared, ignoring the fact that would mean working with a Free Magic creature to usurp and destroy the Royal Family and the Old Kingdom.
- Just Friends: Insists this is so with Bel.
- Kissing Cousins: Bel has a crush on Clariel, which she tries not to reciprocate.
- Like Mother, Like Daughter: For all her resentment of her mother, Clariel is very much like Jaciel. Namely, she inherited all her mother's fatal flaws — her berserker rage, single-minded focus on her interest (smithing for Jaciel, the forest for Clariel) and an inability to understand and predict people.
- Nature Hero: Strong affinity for the forest, but also Free Magic, the unbound, chaotic form of magic that existed before the Charter.
- No Social Skills: Due to a combination of having a Berserk's temper, no training in social etiquette and being Brutally Honest.
- Pinball Protagonist: While Clariel's certainly bold and active, most of the time she's being unwittingly manipulated and led by someone. Every time she tries to take the initiative, it either comes to nothing or because someone's subtly or otherwise prodding her.
- After dominating Aziminil, Clariel enlists the help of an even stronger Free Magic creature, completely confident in her ability to maintain control. Of course, the creatures have their own agenda.
- This is how Clariel first died. She found a sealed Free Magic creature and instead of getting rid of it, she kept it thinking that she was strong enough to resist temptation. Predictably, her lust for power overcomes her and she opens the bottle but the creature fatally wounds her.
- Rebellious Princess: Wants to live her own life in the forest. Played far less positively than usual, as her desire for freedom is compared to Free Magic creatures and is a symbol of her affinity for them.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Avenging her parents' murder. But after the deed is done, she realizes that Vengeance Feels Empty.
- Shipper on Deck: Is fully supportive of Denima and Belatiel. A good part of it is to deflect Bel's crush on her.
- Start of Darkness: Clariel is the story of hers.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Due to her own situation, she sympathizes with Aziminil, a Free Magic creature, and begins to question whether or not they're really as inimical to life as she's been taught. Turns out, yes, they are, which she learns the hard way when the two she's bound to her betray her the first chance they get and go on a killing spree, and only barely avoid killing her thanks to the timely arrival of Belatiel.
- That Woman Is Dead: Killed, in her own words, by Clariel herself.
- Tragic Dream: Clariel's desire to go back to the Great Forest becomes impossible to fulfill about halfway through the story, yet she still clings to it. A less sympathetic version as 1) her single-minded desire makes her easy to manipulate, and 2) she abandons nearly all her morals and friends to try to make her dream come true. That said, it's worth noting that she has multiple opportunities to fulfill the dream, and chooses not to take them - once for the sake of an injured friend, and once for the sake of her unavenged parents.
- Tragic Villain: She begins on the path of Free Magic because she wanted to avenge her parents and rescue her aunt and the King.
- The Unfettered: Free Magic sorcerers become this. Clariel comes very close, many times during her story but is able to hang on to some part of herself. Presumably, she looses all compunctions in the next couple hundred years.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Bel, in the prequel. It's very one-sided on his part.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Very little training with the Charter, but has the willpower to be very strong in Free Magic.
- Even without training or knowledge, Clariel has a very powerful Deathsense and is able to see flashes of Death.
- Unwitting Pawn: Clariel is at the center of multiple plots and while aware of it, is not quite savvy enough to figure out what the plots are or how to protect herself.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This is the effect Free Magic has.
A member of the Abhorsen family.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Arrives at the Abhorsen's house to find the garden on fire and the house in chaos. He takes charge of the situation, calms the sendings and calls for a set of bells. The Sendings all bow to him acknowledging him as the new Abhorsen.
- Cassandra Truth: He's absolutely correct that the Abhorsens are neglecting their duty and putting the kingdom in danger but the rest of the family refuses to listen to him
- Incompatible Orientation: Likes Clariel, who is asexual.
- Kissing Cousins: Has a crush on his second cousin Clariel.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sparing Clariel was a mistake that would haunt the kingdom to come. He's made more unsympathetic by the fact that it's motivated by his hopeless crush on her making him irrationally sentimental. Clariel herself points out that it's a mistake as she's not sure that she can resist the lure of Free Magic.
- Only Sane Man: Zig-zagged. He's the only one of his family that takes his duty seriously and is the only one dealing with Kilp's Free Magic plot. He also tries to act as a Morality Chain for Clariel, keeping her away from Free Magic and under observation when it becomes clear she can't quite resist it's lure. That being said, his crush on Clariel is a massive blind spot, leading him to spare her life against the advice of everyone involved (including Clariel herself)
- Came Back Strong: The stronger the Dead, the deeper from Death it came back from. The more powerful Dead also seem to be more intelligent and cunning.
- Cannot Cross Running Water: Running water is the best deterrent for the Dead. Most are physically incapable of even trying, and the rest are extremely cautious because of their Super Drowning Skills.
- Implacable Man: Most of the mindless Dead are single-minded in their orders, and don't stop until their bodies are completely useless.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Most are technically zombies, but their aversion to sunlight, fire and running water as well as their feeding on Life evokes this instead.
- Super Drowning Skills: Submerging the Dead in running water will always destroy them.
- The Undead: Well, duh.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Lesser Dead tend to be very, very stupid. For instance, a Gore Crow charging right into a flying slingstone, and various Hands walking off a cliff into running water. Shadow Hands and up, on the other hand, tend to be smarter and thus much more dangerous.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: To a limited extent — their bodies are reshaped into more horrific and combat-effective forms by the spirit within.
- Weakened by the Light: Though it has much less of an effect on the stronger Dead.
- Didn't Need Those Anyway!: There's not a whole lot holding them together, but they just keep coming.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: Dead, Undead, Dead Hands, Hands.
- Our Zombies Are Different: These can only be destroyed if their current body is absolutely ruined.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Inverted. The corpses are not controlled by their brains but a spirit; even if the body is completely smashed into something even barely describable as human, they can still move. However, that being said, a sufficiently damaged body will encourage the spirit to look for a new one.
- Too Dumb to Live: With the possible exception of Gore Crows, they tend to be by far the stupidest form of Dead.
- Elite Mook: The next step up from Dead Hands. They're stronger, much harder to kill (effectively impossible to kill for anyone who doesn't have a necromancer's bells or panpipes to hand), and generally a good deal smarter.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: To any physical or magical attack that isn't necromancy.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Almost unique among the Dead in that they don't have physical forms; the only others that hold that distinction are the Greater Dead - and even those prefer to create a body for themselves.
- Clever Crows: Hedge invokes this with two of his Gore Crows, one to watch Sam, the other to transfer its information.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Hedge invokes this with two of his Gore Crows. Instead of making a huge swarm, he only made two from a spirit. One crow to watch Sam, the other to transfer its information. Conservation of Ninjutsu comes in when the individual crows are stronger, thanks to having half a spirit instead of a hundredth.
- Feathered Fiend: Evil birds.
- Glass Cannon: This has the unfortunate side-effect of the whole swarm dropping like stones if one crow is killed.
- Hive Mind: An entire flock of Gore Crows is powered by one dead spirit.
- Keystone Army: And every crow is the keystone.
- Body Surf: They can hop from one host to another.
- Puppeteer Parasite: A variant, where it gives mental commands instead of just taking over.
The most powerful, intelligent, and dangerous of the Dead. Two of them - Kerrigor and Chlorr - serve as Big Bads in Sabriel and Clariel respectively.
- Came Back Strong: This is what happens when someone hangs around the later precincts in Death - or to be more accurate, when someone hangs around the lower precincts in Death and has the strength to force their way back up. Thankfully, only two are shown breaking out.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Even more than most Deep Dead, who have this as standard, owing to their greater power.
- Humanoid Abomination: They're significantly more powerful than most Dead creatures and Free Magic monsters. The longer they stay in death, the more their shapes are distorted.
- Mugging the Monster: In Abhorsen, a trio of them make the mistake of believing that Lirael is just another low-level necromancer in over their head. One is Killed Off for Real, the rest wisely stay away.
- Our Liches Are Different: If Kerrigor and Chlorr (who's implied to have taught him) are any indication. Both used their bodies as Soul Jars in very difficult to access locations, but where Chlorr made the effort to arrange for a stream of hosts to Body Surf between, concealing the fact that she was technically dead, Kerrigor either didn't need to or didn't bother.
- Humanoid Abomination: It looks like a beautiful woman at first glance — and then you notice the scythe-forearms. And the glowing eyes.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Has a mouth full of long, sharp teeth.
- Sinister Scythe: It has two for hands.
- The Vamp: Though not a human woman, she does take the shape of a "comely woman"... with giant mantis scythes for forearms.
- Dishing Out Dirt: It's a mud monster. Like the Mordicant, but without the fire.
- Large Ham: All sound and bluster.
- Small Name, Big Ego: It's pretty much powerless on its own, and can only scare people and eat corpses.
Creature of Free Magic and the Flesh of Swine
- Animalistic Abomination: Its true form is a boar. Made of fire. That can Walk on Water.
- Full-Boar Action: Because it was made with the "flesh of swine", it takes the form of a gigantic boar.
- Humanoid Abomination: Its disguise as a boat captain.
- Walk on Water: It's destroyed by total immersion, though. Given that most free magic creatures, like the Dead, are harmed by running water, this counts as fighting off the kryptonite.
- Humanoid Abomination: Look like a hominid, albeit a purple one with cross-hatched leathery skin, and clubbed hands.
- Immune to Bullets: Much to the Ancelstierrans' dismay.
- Noodle People: It's a wasp-waisted thing with limbs and a neck that are way too long.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: It's a stretched out hominid with cross-hatched, bulletproof skin, barbed clubs instead of hands and it's freaking purple.
- Weaksauce Weakness: It can only be wounded by a thistle. On the other hand, this is such a specific weakness that most people are unfamiliar with it.
- Happiness in Slavery: Sort of. They're generally created to do one thing, and most are devoted to that one thing. It gets problematic when there are tons of them, they have essentially the same programming, and half of them are senile. See any scene at Abhorsen's House.
- Made of Magic/Pure Magic Being: They're composed of Charter marks.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Nonphysical beings comprised totally of Charter Magic.
- Servant Race: Created to serve their masters.
- Silent Snarker: Mogget's interpretation of them. One flicks water at him when it's annoyed.
- Animal Motifs: Their paint jobs invoke themes of birds of prey.
- Sapient Ship: They have an uncertain degree of intelligence, but they can fly themselves and respond to compliments.
- Sapient Ship: A much better example than the Paperwings, as Finder is animate, fully capable of saving her passengers' lives, and apparently has limited forms of communication. She even smiles when Lirael kisses her cheek.
- Troll: At High Bridge, she tilts slightly just to splash Mogget, who is accordingly irritated.