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    Kaz Brekker 

Kaz Brekker Rietveld

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_oabj4yu3fy1rs0b4vo6_1280.png
"Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever."
Kaz: I'm a businessman. No more, no less.
Inej: You're a thief, Kaz.
Kaz: Isn't that what I just said?

Kaz is the infamous lieutenant of the Dregs who rule over the Barrel neighborhood in Ketterdam.


  • Always Save the Girl: Kaz's tendencies towards this with his second, Inej, are a clue towards his true feelings.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Actually, he's pale as death, but Kaz is described as having both black hair and black eyes; given Kerch's close location to Shu Han, a fantasy China, he might have Shu ancestry. Word of God has also suggested Rami Malek, an Egyptian actor, to play him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: His ingeniosity emerges from his buttheaded nature: if he sees someone perform a trick, he will not stop until he has broken it down, and learned to do it even better.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Kaz wears neat, tailored suits, in an effort to look like the businessmen he scams, dupes, and steals from.
  • Best Served Cold: He won't be satisfied by just killing Pekka Rollins, oh no; he wants to take him apart "brick by brick".
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Due to his extreme aversion to skin-to-skin contact, Kaz winces when Inej simply touches his cheek. Inej alludes to this at the end of the first book.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: More like will not spit it out. He refuses to ever admit he has feelings for Inej out of fear of emotional attachment, always referring to his kinder actions towards her as "protecting an investment". It's been damaging for their relationship, as Inej genuinely believes he doesn't care for her for much of the duology.
  • Character Development: He grows more comfortable with admitting and showing his feelings for Inej over the duology. To the point he buys her a ship, finds her parents, and holds her hand.
  • Classy Cane: Had one custom-made after breaking his leg.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Kaz sports a pair of black gloves that he never takes off in public, which leads to much speculation about what he might be hiding under them (ranging from injuries to demonic talons). He actually wears them due to trauma from handing his brothers dead body leaving him unable to bear touching skin.
  • Cruel Mercy: His stated reason for pulling a particularly cruel Batman Gambit on Pekka Rollins without actually hurting anyone.
    Inej: You showed mercy, Kaz. You were the better man.
    Kaz: Inej, I could only kill Pekka's son once. He can imagine his death a thousand times.
  • The Determinator: As stated, Kaz is extremely stubborn. He tells Inej in Crooked Kingdom that if he'd had to crawl to rescue her, he would have.
  • Disabled Badass/Evil Cripple: And how! Despite suffering from osteocronosis, limping, and needing a cane (as well as dealing with severe PTSD and resulting touch aversion), Kaz has clawed his way up the Dregs' chain of command and become one of the most dreaded figures in Ketterdam.
  • The Dreaded: A reputation he works hard to achieve and maintain.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Kaz is... not a great person. But even he's appalled at the sheer lack of love that Jan Van Eck has for Wylan. To the extent that in the first book, he and Wylan have a wager, Kaz betting that Jan will be swayed if he thinks Wylan could die. Kaz is genuinely surprised (and disgusted) when he loses — but Wylan isn't.
  • Evil Genius: Of the precociously mature type.
  • Farm Boy: What Kaz Rietveld was.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was once a naive Farm Boy, but after a trip to Ketterdam, a traumatic loss, and a horrifying ordeal, that trusting youth was replaced by the Bastard of the Barrel.
  • Gang Banger: How Kaz started out, and what most of his gang seems to consist of.
  • Genius Cripple: Of the street smart, rather than academic, variety.
  • Guttural Growler: More striking because he is only seventeen.
  • Handicapped Badass: Kaz suffers chronic pain in his right leg, has a limp, and relies on a cane. It's the result of falling off a building, but Leigh Bardugo links it to her own condition of osteonecrosis (which can be caused by injury).
  • Harmful to Minors: While you'd be hard pressed to find a character in Six of Crows to whom this doesn't apply, Kaz is a special case. After being conned out of their money by Pekka Rollins, he and his big brother Jordie ended up on the streets during an epidemic. Kaz woke up one day to find he'd been dumped in a watery mass grave, with Jordie's bloated corpse right beside him. Worse still, he had to use the corpse as a floater to swim back to shore. He emerged from the sea as Dirtyhands.
  • Hates Being Touched: Human contact makes Kaz physically sick, to the point where he faints when he gets into a cramped prison wagon. The feeling of touching another human induces panic, nausea, and flashbacks to when he used his brother's decomposing body to swim back to Ketterdam.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: His relationship with Inej seems to be going this way at the end of the books. Inej is all ready to go out hunting slavers while he stays and wrestles Ketterdam under control, but she promises to visit and they manage to hold hands for the first time.
  • Love Epiphany: He slowly realizes the extent of his feelings for Inej over the course of the story, in particular whenever she's in danger.
  • Made of Iron:
    • He lost his parents, lost his brother, was put on a funeral barge, was forced to use his brother's decomposing body as a raft to survive, fell off a building, and now struggles with chronic pain in his leg (which broke and healed wrong).
    • In Crooked Kingdom he continues this by surviving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from his former gang.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Per Haskell may be the face of the Dregs, but everyone knows it's Kaz Brekker who keeps things running.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Strongly, strongly subverted. It takes effort for Kaz to even allow Inej to touch his face. Towards the end of the first book, Kaz asks Inej to stay in Ketterdam with him. She turns him down because she (likely rightly) believes he will not allow for any kind of intimacy, emotional or physical, between them.
    Kaz: I want you to stay. I want you to... I want you.
    Inej: You want me. And how will you have me, Kaz? How will you have me? Fully clothed, gloves on, your head turned away so our lips can never touch? I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: So many. Kaz Brekker and its harsh sonorities could've been enough, but no. To date, he is also nicknamed Dirtyhands and Bastard of the Barrel.
  • Nominal Hero: Slides between this and the villain protagonist, at least in the first book. His motives are, after all, purely financial (although part of a larger scheme of revenge against Pekka Rollins.) By the start of the second book, he looks to be sliding into Unscrupulous Hero territory.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Inej knows something's up when permanently in control, gravel-voiced, vicious bastard Kaz faints in the middle of the prisoner cart.
  • Official Couple: He and Inej get their Relationship Upgrade in literally the last few pages of Crooked Kingdom.
  • Pet the Dog: For all the terrible things he does, at least he really cares about the other Crows, and on rare occasions he'll let them know it.
  • Red Right Hand: Two of these, actually. He walks with a weighted "fabrikated" cane because of a poorly set broken leg that hurts worse depending on the weather, and wears gloves due to a traumatic aversion to skin contact.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: On his path to becoming Dirtyhands.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: For Inej.
  • The Stoic: He takes the utmost effort to always maintain a poker face.
  • Tranquil Fury: Calmly cuts out a man's eye, then drowns him after Inej is injured.
  • Trauma Button: Any contact with anyone else's skin - or even the sight of a lot of bare skin - triggers Kaz into remembering when he used his brother's decomposing body as a float.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He holds this sort of appeal for the girls of the Barrel. And the boys of the Barrel. And the readers.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Looks to sliding into this territory in Crooked Kingdom. His motives have changed from money to rescuing Inej and, more nominally, taking down Van Eck and Rollins. While the first chapter he's in has him toss a man off a lighthouse and terrify a little girl to pieces, the reasoning behind both was definitely of the A Lighter Shade of Grey variety. The first was the Vigilante Execution of a man who blackmailed trafficking victims, and the second was the choice that caused the least harm to the little girl (physically, at least).
  • Would Hurt a Child/Would Not Hurt A Child: He's a curious mix of both tropes, as shown by the incident with the little girl in Unscrupulous Hero. And then he pretends to kidnap Pekka Rollins' son and bury him alive. Afterwards, he has Inej sneak into Pekka's house and place a stuffed crow in the sleeping boy's arms to mess with Pekka even more.
  • Young Conqueror: Played With. At 17, he's already one of the most powerful criminals in the Barrel, and he plans to become the crime king of all Ketterdam. However, while he's certainly ruthless, his idealism died with Jordie.

    Inej Ghafa 

Inej Ghafa

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_oabj4yu3fy1rs0b4vo2_1280.png
"The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true."
"Men mock the gods until they need them, Kaz."

Inej is a Suli acrobat, turned spy and assassin for the Dregs, second in command to Kaz.


  • Ambiguously Brown: Inej is described as bronze skinned. Suli appear to be coded as Romani of close Indian descent, but this is mere conjecture. Word of God has said Neelam Gill, a British-Indian model, was close to how Inej was intended to appear. However, her 'race' is very much up for interpretation as she is literally just described as brown-skinned.
  • Behind Every Great Man: There is no doubt that Kaz Brekker wouldn't be Dirtyhands without his Wraith.
  • Braids of Action: She has long black hair, wrapped in a tight coiled braid.
  • Combat Parkour: Inej makes use of her past in acrobatics while fighting, but she's more of a stealthy backstabber than a showy ballet fighter.
  • The Consigliere: As Kaz's most trusted member of the Dregs, Inej functions as this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often combined with religious proverbs and Suli sayings, for maximum effect.
  • Defiled Forever: Nobody else considers Inej to be "defiled", but she feels she died on the slaver ship that stole her away from Ravka.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From nameless sex slave to pirate and vigilante.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Completely averted. Inej uses knives and hand-to-hand combat, Jesper shoots.
  • Harmful to Minors: Inej was kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery at only fourteen years old.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Unusually, this doesn't entail a betrayal. Inej simply decides to use the money from the Bo Yul Bayur heist to leave her life of crime and start a career of hunting slavers, even if it means saying goodbye to Kaz.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: What Tante Heleen sold Inej to customers as.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Kaz will pull unexpected stunts during an operation, because he knows she can handle whatever comes her way.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Kaz's refusal to open up and insistence she's just an investment have not been good for Inej. She doubts he could ever like her romantically, that even if he did anything would come of it, and genuinely believes he considers her replaceable. Her heartbreaking plea to stop Van Eck from breaking her legs shows just how deep Inej's insecurities run.
    Inej: (screaming) He'll never trade if you break me! I'll be of no use to him anymore!
  • Knight In Sour Armor: She knows painfully well how cruel the world can be, but doesn't let it stop her from believing in a better one. Inej prays in penance for every kill she makes and is the only person to continually believe in (and try to encourage) Kaz's inner goodness. By the end of the series, not only is she ready to live out her dream of forming a crew and taking down slavers, she believes both Kaz and Ketterdam are both worth saving.
  • The Lancer: She is unambiguously the second, the Wraith to the Bastard.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Her relationship with Kaz seems to be going this way at the end of the books. Inej is all ready to go out hunting slavers while he stays and wrestles Ketterdam under control, but she promises to visit and they manage to hold hands for the first time.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Wraith.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • She's generally calm, even in the face of torture. But when Van Eck threatens to break her legs so badly they never get repaired, Inej's composure cracks and she begins pleading for him not to.
    • In a much happier example, she starts crying Tears of Joy when she sees her parents again.
  • Official Couple: She and Kaz get their Relationship Upgrade in literally the last few pages of Crooked Kingdom.
  • Rescue Romance: Kaz negotiated with the Menagerie to get a hold of her contract, rescuing her from sexual slavery. As such, Inej holds great affection for him, though she's well aware he is not a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Servile Snarker: Inej is one of the only people who can actually talk back to Kaz, but that doesn't mean he necessarily heeds her advice.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's one of the more virtuous members of the crows, being kind, pious, and reserved. But Inej will not let anyone make her a victim anymore. Her second POV chapter has her punching one of the Dregs giving her trouble, then kindly telling him to clean himself up and go home.
  • Stealth Expert: Inej can move around completely noiselessly, and climb a near flat surface.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Has faith in her saints, to the point of naming knives after them.
  • Vigilante Man: While scaling an incinerator that is active, Inej has an epiphany that her dream isn't to just survive, pay off her debt, or help Kaz; those are all nice, but what she really dreams of is hunting down slavers. By the end of Crooked Kingdom, she's well on her way to making it a reality.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Inej has a tendency to spout Suli proverbs, which occasionally makes her sound like an old man.

    Nina Zenik 

Nina Zenik

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_oabj4yu3fy1rs0b4vo7_1280.png
"Oh, I see. I'm the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!"
Matthias: It’s not natural for women to fight.
Nina: It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.

Nina was a heartrender in the Second Army, recruited from school early due to numbers being low, until she was captured by Fjerdan Drüskelle.


  • Ambiguously Bi: She flirts with women, too.
  • The Atoner: She feels horrible for accusing Matthias of slavery and getting him thrown into prison, even if the other choice was letting him be tortured by Grisha. Kaz gets her onboard by simply promising to rescue Matthias.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Goodness, she and Matthias. There's hardly a word between them that isn't bickering.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: A kindhearted, loyal friend... and an absolute terror in battle.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Is described as "generous" and curvy in the novel, and plus-sized by the author. This has subsided somewhat by Crooked Kingdom due to her encounter with Jurda Parem and its negative impact on her health.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sarcasm may be well one of the many languages she speaks.
  • Genki Girl: Nina is loud, funny, and unapologetic about herself.
    Matthias: Nina is everything you say. It's too much.
    Inej: Mmm. Maybe you're just not enough.
  • Girly Bruiser: She's unabashedly feminine and takes care of her appearance, but she's also one of the more deadly members of Kaz's crew.
  • Healing Hands: This is far from being her domain of expertise, but Nina can piece people back together when push comes to shove.
  • The Hedonist: Is said to flirt with cake and shoes.
  • Honey Trap: She briefly tries this on Jarl Brum in order to get close to the highest security Ice Court prisoners. It doesn't work out.
  • Military Mage: Nina is a soldier of the Second Army.
  • Nice Girl: Although she's not to be trifled with, she's easily the kindest of the Crows.
  • People Puppets: She can't quite control a person's entire body, but as a heartrender she can influence the beating of the heart, hormone production, oxygen flow, and all sorts of fun stuff. When she is under the influence of Jurda Parem, this trope becomes a lot more literal, and she is able to take out a large group of guards by simply making them go to sleep.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Runs a sort of magical counseling center (she manipulates the hormones in customer's bodies to give them a respite from grief) out of a brothel.
  • Polyglot: Speaks Fjerdan, Shu, Kaelish, and Kerch in addition to her native Ravkan. It's part of how she became a soldier so young.
  • Skyward Scream: Her reaction when Matthias dies.
  • Sweet Tooth: She has a noticeable penchant for waffles and cake.
  • The Tease: Nina likes to flirt. Nina likes to flirt a lot. This includes Kaz, random guards, and even women.

    Jesper Fahey 

Jesper Fahey

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_oabj4yu3fy1rs0b4vo3_1280.png
"If I see a single scratch or nick on those, I’ll spell forgive me on your chest in bullet holes."
Jesper: Sure, I'm skinny, but I stay drier in the rain.
Matthias: How?
Jesper: Less falls on me.

Jesper was once a freshfaced student at the University of Ketterdam, before falling into debt due to his gambling habits and getting in with the Dregs to get by.


  • Badass Bisexual: He's pan and by far the best sharpshooter in Ketterdam.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Wylan.
  • Bi the Way: Though his closeted Grisha-ness is far more important to the plot.
  • Broken Pedestal: To his father in Crooked Kingdom, when he's finally coming to terms with being a Grisha after being forced to suppress it due to a combination of his father's fear about him being hunted for being a Grisha, and his father's anger over Jesper's mother dying as a result of overusing her powers.
  • The Charmer: Cocky and ever smirking, he makes an Olympic sport out of flirting.
  • Dual Wielding: Jesper is in a devoted and loving relationship with his twin pistols.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Slightly averted; he's annoyed with himself that he didn't appreciate the view of a stripping Kaz when he had the chance.
  • Elemental Powers: He is a Durast, meaning he can manipulate glass, wood, metal, stone and more. He is untrained, however, and not very powerful.
  • Farm Boy: He was raised on an ordinary farm in Novyi Zem, though he had a few brushes with guns and death in those years already.
  • Foil: To Jordie for Kaz, subconsciously.
  • Functional Addict: He's a gambling addict who still gets his job done most of the time, but his functioning can be put into question. He did drop out of university, and is having to resort to more and more desperate smoothtalking to keep himself and his father safe.
  • The Gambling Addict: Jesper has a taste for all sorts of thrills, but gambling is his most common infraction.
  • Gang Banger: Initially to feed his gambling addiction.
  • Gay Cowboy: Has a strong Western flavor to his character, due to being a gunslinging frontier farm boy.
  • Gayngster: Flirts cheerfully with people of any gender, and is one of Kaz's inner circle among the Dregs.
  • The Gunslinger: He's a sharpshooter, and is particularly enamored of his twin guns.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Wylan.
  • Loose Lips: Jesper spilled that the Dregs were going on a major heist to one of Pekka Rollins' men, leading to them attacking on the Ketterdam harbor and racing them to Fjerda.
  • Love Martyr: It's implied that one of the reasons he's part of the inner circle is because Kaz knows he will do any of the dirty work without turning against him.
  • Noodle People: Downplayed, but the narration often goes on about Jesper's long arms and general lankiness.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: He's in trouble with the Dime Lions, and is turning desperate as they threaten his father.
  • They Do: With Wylan at the end of Crooked Kingdom.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Jesper has been careful not to let his father know that he dropped out of university and became a hired sharpshooter, in spite or perhaps because of their good relationship.

    Matthias Helvar 

Matthias Helvar

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_oabj4yu3fy1rs0b4vo5_1280.png
"The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive."

A previous Drüskelle, now a hardened convict. Kaz seeks his expertise on the Ice Court.


  • Antimagical Faction: Matthias starts as a Drüskelle, a Fjerdan soldier trained specifically to track and neutralize Grisha.
  • Broken Pedestal: He holds up Jarl Brum as an exemplar Drüskelle warrior, mentor and father figure. He's very shaken to discover Brum actually enjoys torturing Grisha; Matthias hates them, but he considers it a duty to stop them, not a pleasure.
  • Character Development: He goes from an angry, sulky convict who despises Grisha, wants revenge and holds his homeland on a pedestal, to a happier man willing to see the flaws in his culture's beliefs and the good in Grisha. His dying wish is for Nina to help the rest of Fjerdan see the same good he did.
  • Defecting for Love: He ends up turning against his old commanding officer Jarl Brum to save Nina.
  • Fantastic Racism: He doesn't think of Grisha as people, or at least he doesn't want to think of them as people. He gradually gets over this due to his love for Nina and witnessing how Grisha are persecuted.
  • Gladiator Games: Matthias, during his imprisonment at Hellgate, proved to be exceptionally talented at these.
  • Love Across Battlelines: He met Nina while he was holding her prisoner on a ship. They traveled together after the ship sank and grew to know one another.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Matthias turns his back on the Drüskelle when he realizes the Grisha aren't inherently evil. He pays for it when he's killed by a teenaged Drüskelle who's as brainwashed as Matthias once was.
  • Only Sane Man: Best illustrated in the following.
    Kaz: What's the easiest way to steal a man's wallet?
    Inej: Knife to the throat?
    Jesper: Gun to the back?
    Nina: Poison in his cup?
    Matthias: You're all horrible.
    • This becomes a Brick Joke in Crooked Kingdom.
      Kaz: Where do you think the money went?
      Jesper: Guns?
      Inej: Ships?
      Wylan: Bombs?
      Nina: Political bribes? (to Matthias) This is where you tell us how awful we are.
      Matthias: (shrugs) They all seem like practical choices.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: He was strong before, but after a year of illegal gladiator games in Hellgate, Mattias becomes a violent, muscled, fighting machine.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Near the end of Crooked Kingdom, he's killed by an angry young Drüskelle who regards him as a traitor.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Very much so. He's also the most physically muscled of the Crows, although Nina's powers give her an edge over him in fighting scenarios.
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    Wylan Van Eck 

Wylan Van Eck

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_nr4ikxbdt11rs0b4vo6_r1_1280.jpg
"Music. Numbers. Equations. They're not like words. They don't get mixed up."
Click here  to see Wylan post-Crooked Kingdom
Wylan: I may not have had your … education, but I’m sure I know plenty of words that you don’t.
Jesper: Also the proper way to fold a napkin and dance a minuet. Oh, and you can play the flute. Marketable skills, merchling. Marketable skills.
Wylan: No one dances the minuet any more.

Wylan is the sheltered son of Ketterdam mercher Jan Van Eck, who also happens to be the man who ordered the Dregs to rescue Bo Yul Bayur.


  • Abusive Parents: Wylan's father shamed him continuously for his inability to read, to the point of intentionally sending him loving letters he couldn't read just to mock him.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Wylan is inexperienced and shy, but he's also eager to prove himself in the world of organized crime, perfectly willing to be an accomplice to murder, and to Jesper's surprise, might be more sexually experienced than one would expect.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Jesper, who makes a sport out of antagonistic flirting, and is pleasantly surprised when Wylan responds with actual flirting in the end.
  • Demolitions Expert: One of Wylan's less peaceful talents lies with explosive chemicals. He's initially dismissed as a "passable" demo expert, but soon proves to have an innovative streak.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: He's said to be a good flautist and singer, as well as being talented in drawing.
  • Foil: To Kaz, in many, many ways. Wylan is the man Kaz could have been if Jordie had been able to watch out for him. Additionally, both almost drowned in the waters around Ketterdam, and came back "reborn." Both have genius level intellects and, likely, great futures in leadership.
  • Heroic BSoD: He has one when he discovers that his mother Marya has been alive in an asylum all along, despite his father telling him that she was dead.
  • I Have Your Wife: He allows himself to be a hostage for the Dregs without kicking up much of a fuss. He doesn't believe his father would pay much for him anyway.
  • Innocent Prodigy: Despite being dyslexic, Wylan has considerable skill at playing the flute, singing, demolitions, engineering, technical drawing, and thinking on his feet.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": His inability to read isn't because he was never taught—his father certainly had many try. For Wylan, it's a matter of genuinely struggling to put the letters together.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Jesper, though Wylan takes a while to grow accustomed to his brand of banter.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Wylan has only survived for the past four months because Kaz secretly had him under protection.
  • The Runaway: He left his home four months before the story begins, and got involved with the Dregs while on the streets.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: For the sake of the mission (and with Nina's help), he assumes the appearance of Kuwei Yul-Bo, and the effects may be permanent. However, Genya Safin eventually restores his true appearance.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: In this case, a quote is worth a thousand paraphrases.
    Kaz: Always hit where the mark isn't looking.
    Wylan: Who's Mark?
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Rumour says he may have been caught having sex with one of his tutors, which accelerated his decision to run away.

Villains:

    Pekka Rollins 

Pekka Rollins

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He gets down on his knees and begs Kaz to release his son, whom Kaz claims to have kidnapped and Buried Alive.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Kaz, due to his central role in Kaz's Start of Darkness.
  • Con Artist/Create Your Own Villain: Years ago, he swindled two naive farm boys out of everything they owned. The boys were Kaz Rietveld and his brother Jordie. The result: Jordie died, causing Kaz to undergo his Start of Darkness, become the Bastard of the Barrel, and seek revenge.
  • The Irish Mob: Well technically the Kaelish mob, but it's pretty clear. Rollins likes displaying his Kaelish heritage with fake pots of gold and red haired lasses.
  • Properly Paranoid: In the epilogue of Crooked Kingdom, he and his son are in hiding from the Crows, surrounded by bodyguards. Inej manages to sneak into both their bedrooms and threaten Pekka anyway.
  • The Syndicate: What he seems to be running.

    Tante Heleen 

Tante Heleen

    Jan Van Eck 

Jan Van Eck

  • Abusive Parents: Enacted nothing less but psychological warfare (and the occasional beating) on Wylan for his inability to read, in spite of him being a prodigy in almost every other subject. This culminates in attempted filicide.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Undoubtedly the main villain of the series and Wylan's worst enemy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: His reasons for wanting Bo Yul Bayur out of the Ice Court seem quite smart at first, but then he goes back on his deal with Kaz, destroys a ship he believes to be carrying his son, and holds Inej ransom for Kuwei's location. He also threatens to break Inej's legs, and it's clear that he's deadly serious.
  • Death Faked for You: He has Marya, his first wife and Wylan's mother, secretly committed to an asylum so he can divorce her and take all her assets, then claims that she died.
  • Hypocrite: He's just as brutal and corrupt as Kaz. However, Kaz is aware what a bastard he is, truly cares about the other Crows (although he rarely admits it), and has occasional Pet the Dog moments. By contrast, Jan is a self-righteous, sanctimonious sociopath who cares for no one but himself, yet seems blissfully ignorant of how evil he is.
  • It's Personal: In Crooked Kingdom, he makes it clear that he resents Kaz, whom he regards as a brutal (if brilliant) street thug who victimizes noble, pious businessmen like himself.
    Jan: But I confess Kaz Brekker does offend me. Vile, ruthless, amoral. He feeds corruption with corruption. Such a remarkable mind might have been put to great use. He might have ruled this city, built something, created profit that would have benefited all. Instead he leeches off the work of better men.
    Inej: Better men? Like you?
    Jan: It pains you to hear it, but it is true. When I leave this world, the greatest shipping empire ever known will remain, an engine of wealth, a tribute to Ghezen and a sign of his favor. Who will remember a girl like you, Miss Ghafa? What will you and Kaz Brekker leave behind but corpses to be burned on the Reaper's Barge?
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: He has Kaz literally tied up while he makes his business offer.
  • Offing the Offspring: Well, he tries it, at least.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted, in the cruelest way imaginable. Those letters Jesper found, where Jan kept saying he loves Wylan and wants him to come home? Yeah, Wylan can't read them. And Jan knows it. He didn't mean a word of it; he was just taunting his son in an absurdly cruel manner.
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    Jarl Brum 

Jarl Brum

  • Dirty Old Man: He appears as a drunk old pervert at first. He's actually playing along with Nina's game until he can trap her.
  • Made of Iron: He was once Matthias' commanding officer on the ship transporting Grisha prisoners, and much to Matthias' surprise, survived the ship sinking.

    Dunyasha Lazareva 

Dunyasha Lazareva

A mad assassin hired by Pekka Rollins to eliminate Inej, Dunyasha claims descent from royalty.


  • All There in the Manual: Her last name isn't given in the narrative; it's revealed in the Dramatis Personae at the end of Crooked Kingdom.
  • Axe-Crazy: Insane enough that Fjerda decided she was too unstable to back for the throne.
  • The Chosen One: Subverted. Dunyasha seems like a prototypical YA chosen one. She has royal blood, has been trained as an assassin, and kills as holy work. Of course she's also a delusional lunatic, who hires herself out as a Psycho for Hire.
  • Evil Redhead: Auburn hair and no conscience.
  • Expy: A hammy, arrogant assassin who claims royal heritage. Some readers have pointed out that she seems a lot like a villainous version of Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass.
  • Ninja: Complete with shiriken.
  • Not So Different: She and Inej are around the same age, acrobats, Knife Nuts, actively religious, and rely on a very similar style of acrobatics and fighting.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Well, two scenes actually.
  • Psycho for Hire: She's a lunatic who hires herself out as a killer because she gets off on it.
  • Woman in White: Dresses in ivory.
  • Worthy Opponent: How she refers to Inej, even using the exact phrase, just before subverting the trope.
    Dunyasha: There is no shame in meeting a worthy opponent. It means there is more to learn, a welcome reminder to pursue humility. (beat) I have learned humility. And now you will learn that some are meant to serve. And some are meant to rule.

Other Characters

     Jordan "Jordie" Rietveld 

Jordan "Jordie" Rietveld

     Kuwei Yul-Bo 

Kuwei Yul-Bo

  • Bed Trick: Performs a version where he pretends to be Wylan to kiss Jesper.

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