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Characters / The Chronicles of Amber

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Most of the characters in the Chronicles are deliberately iconic - in other words, they're rich in Vitamin Trope. These characters all share certain tropes, unless otherwise noted:

  • Cain and Abel: All of them consider their siblings capable of a little fratricide. And they're right.
  • The Chessmaster: Unfortunately for them, the long centuries of sibling rivalry have left them Properly Paranoid. They can't stop thinking in terms of who's about to betray them and why, even when trust would be the wisest option.
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  • Functional Magic: Mostly of the 'inherent gift' type. All the serious contenders have it, generally either in the form of the Pattern or the Logrus. Some have additional sources.
  • Healing Factor: A very slow version for Amberites: they can recover from almost anything, but major damage (paralysis, blinding, loss of a limb) can take months or years. A much quicker variation for shape-shifters.
  • Immortal Immaturity
    I sometimes think of us as a bunch of mean little old ladies in a combination rest home and obstacle course.
  • One Steve Limit: In spite of infinite universes full of imperfect duplicates of themselves, nobody has to ask "Which Benedict?"
  • Really 700 Years Old: Eternal youthfulness is a standard part of the package.
  • Super Strength / World's Strongest Man: So are superhuman vitality and inhuman strength.
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  • Taking You with Me: The dying curse of a noble of Amber manifests in many ways, but all of them amount to "you're screwed."

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Prince Benedict of Amber

Eldest of three children of Oberon and his first wife, Cymnea (the other two, Osric and Finndo, are dead). Also the great-great-grandfather of his half-brother Corwin's son Merlin.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: In the Licensed Game, if Benedict is forced to take the throne to prevent Amber from collapsing, it's over, just as Corwin feared in the novels. That said, it's one of the better endings, since it's one of the few where Corwin won't be killed and can live unmolested, and it's definitely one of the best possible endings for Amber as a whole.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Seen in the second book. For some reason, Benedict strongly disapproves of discussions of the various family claims to the throne. It's implied that he's simply sick to death of the family habit of plotting, hence his self-exile to get away from everyone.
    • The deaths of his Shadow retainers are enough to drive him into a rage to kill his younger brother.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Not very strongly. But he won't allow his younger siblings to kill each other in his presence.
  • Cain and Abel: Zig-Zagged. It would take a powerful incentive for Benedict to decide to kill one of his siblings...
  • The Chessmaster: Played with. He's generally considered an unbeatable strategist, to the extent that Corwin says if Benedict wanted the throne, Corwin would bow down and pay him homage because there would be no way to stop him. But Benedict doesn't care to turn those abilities against his siblings.
  • Cool Horse: A black-and-red-striped horse named Glemdenning, which seems virtually fearless - earthquakes, forest fires and so forth don't seem to faze it.
  • Fatal Attraction: Sleeps with the hellmaid Lintra, who happens to be commanding an army invading his realm, and who later cuts off his arm.
  • Four-Star Badass: He's used the nature of Shadow to make a scientific study of warfare, making him probably the best commander in the multiverse. He's also easily the best swordsman among the Amberites.
  • Handicapped Badass: Events prior to Benedict's first appearance in The Guns of Avalon cost him his right forearm. Although he shares the Healing Factor of his family, it works slowly enough that his appearances in all future books invoke this trope.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Played with. Benedict (great-grand)fathered Dara with a creature of Chaos, the latter of which is a shapeshifter. Dara is said to be "the first of [her] line to bear all the markings of humanity," but whatever Lintra and her fellow hellmaidens were, she was probably close enough to not be this trope with Benedict.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Played with. He still can't cope very well with family, but at least he treats ordinary Shadow beings like people, not toys.
  • The Juggernaut: Do not piss off Benedict. Ever. He has spent countless lifetimes fighting wars to perfect his skill as a general and is nigh-invincible with a blade. He will not listen to your stammered excuses, and he will cut through trees to get at you more quickly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Averted. Benedict uses his brilliance mostly to stay out of family politics.
  • Master Swordsman: Even more so than the other Amberites to whom this applies. Although Benedict is The Juggernaut in a fair fight, some of the talents ascribed to him by fans and in the RPG push him into Memetic Badass territory - his ability to parry the bullets of invisible snipers, for example.
  • Memetic Badass: In-Universe. When it starts to seem likely that one of his siblings is the Big Bad, Corwin has a short inner monologue to the effect of, "I really, really hope it's not Benedict, because if it is, we're screwed." Later, Fiona says the Big Bad can't be Benedict because if he'd wanted the throne, he would simply have taken it through military might and strategy, and nobody - not even Oberon - would've been able to stop him.
    Corwin: "I fear Benedict. [...] He is the Master of Arms for Amber. Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategy? [...] All that there is of military science thunders in his head. He has often journeyed from shadow to shadow, witnessing variation after variation on the same battle, with but slightly altered circumstances, in order to test his theories of warfare. He has commanded armies so vast that you could watch them march by day after day and see no end to the columns. Although he is inconvenienced by the loss of his arm, I would not wish to fight with him either with weapons or barehanded. It is fortunate that he has no designs upon the throne, or he would be occupying it right now. If he were, I believe that I would give up at this moment and pay him homage. I fear Benedict."
  • Noodle Incident/Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: The Moonriders of Ghenesh were the only serious threat to Amber in her entire history (prior to the Black Road) and their invasion force made it as far as the slopes of Kolvir itself. It's implied that they overpowered Oberon himself, Eric, Corwin, Bleys and all the other Princes of Amber. Benedict was recalled and stopped them cold with an elite regiment in the pass above Arden.
  • Only Sane Man: He willingly exiled himself for centuries because he knew his siblings would not react responsibly to Oberon's absence.
  • Papa Wolf: Subverted. In the second book, after hearing Dara's sob story, Corwin thinks he's seeing this - he's actually seeing a more conventional Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Played straight in the fifth book.
  • Parental Substitute: To Martin.
  • Sole Survivor: Not just during his centuries of military adventure off in Shadow; he's also the only survivor of Oberon's first set of children. This may explain some of his other traits, considering that the family scheming he despises was what got his two brothers killed.
  • The Strategist: Shown in books two, five, eight, and mentioned several times in a Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? sort of way.
    Random (describing his battle with a mighty Shadow serpent): "Benedict would not have missed the eye. He would have had one in each pocket by then and be playing football with the head while composing a footnote to Clausewitz."
  • The Stoic: When Merlin asks Benedict to explain something and is told "Not now," he admits the answer was twice as long as he expected it to be.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Kind of. Corwin says he reminds him of Ichabod Crane.
  • Tranquil Fury: A textbook example of the trope occurs in the second book, when Corwin is framed for the death of some of Benedict's servants.
    Benedict (attacking): Murderer.
    Corwin (retreating like crazy): I don't understand. I haven't murdered anybody lately. Certainly not in Avalon.
    Benedict (pressing the attack): Liar.

    Bill Roth 

Bill Roth

An exception to the general tropes listed above: Bill is just an ordinary human attorney on 'our' Earth whom Corwin knows fairly well. Corwin tries to keep Bill uninvolved with his abruptly far-more-complicated life, but to no avail.


Prince Bleys of Amber

Second child of Oberon and his third wife, Clarissa.
  • A God Am I: Downplayed. To galvanise his Shadow soldiers for war, he sets himself up as The Messiah to his brother Eric's The Anti-Christ, but it's clearly just a strategy to ensure their loyalty.
  • Bash Brothers: With Corwin in the first book.
  • Always Second Best: He's competent at all the skills expected of a prince of Amber, but isn't the paragon in any of them, unlike his brothers. The RPG, short stories and other material outside the main books confirm his status as Jack-of-All-Stats.
  • Disney Death
  • Fiery Redhead
  • Four-Star Badass: Subverted in the first book when he and Corwin are summarily overwhelmed by Eric's generalship: played straight later on, when Corwin is told Bleys deliberately lost that battle in order to get Corwin out of the way. He does win several battles, some of which had him massively outnumbered for; it was Eric's control of the weather that caused most of his casualties.
  • Heel–Face Turn: One of the three who initially ally with Chaos to get Oberon out of the way.
  • Karma Houdini: He's included in the general amnesty in the fifth book.
  • Loveable Rogue
  • Master Swordsman: His abilities are underplayed in comparison to his brothers Benedict, Eric, and Corwin, but he's still remarkably good.
  • Mook Horror Show: The battle on the face of Kolvir.
  • The Trickster
  • The Unseen: After the first book he switches to this tactic.


Prince Brand of Amber

Third child of Oberon and his third wife, Clarissa. Born after Llewella, from a temporary reconciliation between his parents.


Prince Caine of Amber

The eldest child of Oberon and his fourth wife, Rilga.


Princess Coral of Begma

Coral is a princess of Begma, a Shadow-realm close enough to Amber to trade and otherwise hold commerce with the city. Thus, not all of the tropes apply to her. Well, actually, only Cain and Abel and Immortal Immaturity are disqualified, and even those may just be due to her not being immortal for long enough yet. Coral is actually Oberon's daughter via an affair with her mother Kinta, wife of the Begman Prime Minister.
  • Badass Bystander: Coral starts out in this role and rapidly becomes far more central to events.
  • Damsel in Distress: At one point, Merlin finds her lying in an enchanted sleep at the center of the Broken Pattern. Sound familiar?
  • Incest Is Relative: She's both Merlin's Love Interest and his half-aunt. She was also meant to have an Arranged Marriage with her half-nephew Rinaldo, but the arrangers probably didn't know they were related.
  • Secret Identity: Coral is an illegitimate daughter of Oberon.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dworkin tends to Coral's eye injury by implanting the Jewel of Judgement in place of her missing eye. Coral immediately starts displaying unusual powers similar to those Brand and Corwin had when they attuned to the Jewel. Unfortunately, Author Existence Failure intervened before the reasons and consequences of this surgery could be explored.


Prince Corwin of Amber; Carl Corey

Second child of Oberon and his second wife, Faiella, and the first of their children to be born after their marriage. Hated rival of his brother Eric. Main protagonist and viewpoint character of the first five books.
  • A God I Am Not: One of the few family members to take this attitude... in his humbler moments. He does occasionally recruit armies from a shadow that thinks he's a god, and he thinks of them as mercenaries being paid in "spiritual coin".
  • Always Someone Better: Towards Eric, initially.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Not exactly - but his memory loss and three hundred years on Earth helped him to become a better person.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Mostly cured by the middle of the first book, although he continues to suffer from bouts of plot-convenient amnesia here and there.
  • Anti-Hero: Generally a Good Is Not Nice type. And this is considerably nicer than he used to be. Stories about his past imply he used to be a Byronic Hero or Nominal Hero.
  • The Atoner: Having used the terrible power of a blood curse to hurt Amber in his darkest moment, Corwin spends the rest of the first series trying to make it right.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Well, Visiting Your Own Memorial Tomb. Corwin quite likes it up there. And then he takes delight in pissing on his own grave, mainly because how many people even get the opportunity?
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The closer Corwin gets to becoming king of Amber, the more he realizes he doesn’t really want to.
  • Big Eater
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Has romantic feelings towards Deirdre, his full sister. Oberon forbids such unions, though, and nobody dares to defy him.
  • Character Development: Particularly in the second book.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: His green eyes indicate that he's driven by envy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Corwin IS this trope. He will fight to win and use any dirty tactic necessary to do so.
    Borel (dying): Oh, basely done! I had expected better of thee.
  • Cool Sword: Greyswandir, which has a silver coat on the blade (useful for killing werewolves) and Pattern-related powers.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Determinator / Implacable Man: Depending on your perspective.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to Corwin in the first book.
    "...Then he had me blinded and sent to the dungeons."
    He leaned forward and studied my face. "Yes," he said, "I had heard that. How was it done?"
    "Hot irons," I said, wincing involuntarily and repressing an impulse to clutch at my eyes. "I passed out partway through the ordeal."
  • Fate Worse than Death: What's intended for Corwin when he's blinded and tossed into the dungeons to be forgotten except for once a year when he's paraded around as a trophy of Eric's rule. Later Corwin is told that this torture was "for his protection," although his source had good reason to cover up the details.
  • First-Person Perspective: For the first five books.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Grows a new pair of eyes after the last set got seared out of his head with red-hot irons.
  • Healing Factor: Of all the Amberites his is supposed to be the fastest and strongest. Nobody was really surprised that he regrew his eyes but nobody expected him to do it in just under four years while being horribly neglected in Amber's dungeons.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Eventually, almost everything he thought about his siblings is turned upside-down. Could be due to his own Character Development, though.
  • Identity Amnesia: Starts off with this in the first book; the reasons for it are explored in the third and fourth.
  • In Its Hour of Need: Returns to Lorraine, a shadow of the Avalon he once ruled, to help defeat the Chaosite incursions there.
  • Incest Is Relative: Sleeps with, and has a son with, Dara, his half-great-great-great-niece.
  • Knight In Sour Armor
  • Master Swordsman: The third (possibly second) best around.
  • May–December Romance: With Dara. Maybe. The time differentials make it hard to tell.
  • Mook Horror Show: The mook deserved it, but...
    ... it was not long before I overtook him, riding as though he were pursued by the Devil, which he was. I spoke not a word when I unhorsed him, nor afterward, and I did not use my blade, though he drew his own. I hurled his broken body into a high oak tree, and when I looked back it was dark with birds.
  • Necessarily Evil: Corwin at one point describes himself as 'a part of that evil that exists to oppose other evil'.
  • Not So Different: From Eric.
  • Private Eye Monologue
  • Sanity Slippage: During his imprisonment.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Corwin narrates the first five books and demonstrably gets some things wrong, either through ignorance or misremembering. Also, his descriptions of his siblings are slanted through his personal prejudices.
  • Victory Is Boring: Corwin found this out after Eric's death, and soon decided that becoming King wasn't for him after all.
  • Warrior Poet: Literally. A renowned swordsman and poet in Amber. On Earth, Corwin was both a soldier and a composer of popular music. His narration exemplifies the trait as well, switching from hard-nosed, cynical commentary to prettily-expressed, poetic sentiment.
    • He is said to have composed "The Ballad of the Water-Crossers," the anthem of Amber's merchant navy (the most important aspect of their culture).
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Played with.
  • What Have I Done: Has this moment upon beholding Garnath near the end of Nine Princes in Amber.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: He begins the series in a long-term care facility, and has to reconstruct his past.


Dara of House Sawall

A Mysterious Waif Corwin encounters in the Shadow Avalon. She is the great-granddaughter of Benedict through an affair with his mortal enemy, the hell-maid Lintra of Chaos. Dara seduces Corwin before revealing herself to be an agent of the Courts of Chaos, and later gives birth to their son, Merlin. She is descended from Houses Helgram and Hendrake of Chaos and married to Duke Gramble of House Sawall, with whom she has two younger sons, Jurt and Despil.

  • Arranged Marriage: Discussed in the first series; Oberon is hoping to set a marriage up between her and Corwin.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: She manipulates her son Merlin onto the throne of Chaos, only to find that he is no longer under her (magical or emotional) control.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: She, Mandor, and the Logrus are the conspirators driving events in books seven through ten.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Consummate Liar: Everything she says to Corwin in book 2 is revealed to be a lie in the book's final scene. Then the Merlin cycle reveals that pretty much everything she said throughout the entire first series was a lie. Then, she is revealed to have also lied to Merlin about everything for his entire life. Even the Logrus, which is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Chaos itself thinks this lady is slippery, and with good reason.
  • The Dragon: To the Logrus of Chaos itself.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Rejects Corwin at the end of the fifth book because he killed her old dueling master (and presumable relative of some degree), Lord Borel Hendrake, and not in honorable combat.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Dara is this trope. Could almost be a trope namer or codifier.
  • Incest Is Relative: Sleeps with, and has a son with, Corwin, her half-great-great-great-uncle.
  • The Ingenue: Subverted.
  • Irony: Dara's sudden-but-inevitable betrayals always seem to come just as the side she just left is about to win.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: She claims to be descended from Benedict and Lintra, who only could have come into contact after the damaging of the Pattern and the creation of the black road, but then she later states that she was a part of the faction in Chaos that was responsible for corrupting Brand and manipulating him into damaging the Pattern in the first place. Also, during the Corwin cycle she and Oberon plot to use the events of the Patternfall war to maneuver Merlin onto the throne of Amber, while in the Merlin cycle she and the Logrus are shown to have been plotting all along to maneuver Merlin onto the throne of Chaos. Of course, this all makes sense when one considers her most prominent character trait.
  • My Beloved Smother: Has been plotting and conniving Merlin's path since before he was born, and was willing to attempt using Mind Control on him to make him go along with it.
  • Shapeshifter
  • Loving a Shadow: To Corwin. After he kills Borel, whom she was fond of/loved, decides that he is not the man she believed him to be.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Working at the behest of the Logrus itself, it was ultimately her machinations that started Brand down his dark path, although she maintains that he would have walked it regardless. She claims that she only sped the process up.
  • Tsundere: She shows her attraction to Corwin by challenging him immediately to a fencing match. If one assumes she really cares for Corwin at all, then her true personality reflects this trope even more strongly, to Yandere levels.
  • Walking Spoiler: If the fact that every single one of the above tropes is tagged with spoilers didn't tip you off, just about any information about Dara will spoil several revelations from both the Corwin and Merlin series. Even reading most of these tropes' names isn't safe.


Princess Deirdre of Amber

Third child of Oberon and his second wife, Faiella, who died giving birth to her.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When contacting the family members after discovering Caine's apparent death, Corwin notes to Random that Deirdre seems pleased, and clearly doesn't believe Corwin's account of non-involvement.
  • Damsel in Distress: When we first meet her, Deirdre is tied to a tree and has to be rescued (although she joins the fight once released). At the end of the series, she is held hostage by Brand. This time it doesn’t end well.
  • Faux Action Girl: During the battle at the Courts of Chaos, she is the most heavily armored of the princesses and wields a large axe. Two minutes later, Brand is holding a knife to her throat.
    • Debatable, as Brand can take on Benedict. Deirdre may not have had an opportunity to defend herself - if, for instance, she accepted a Trump contact and he overwhelmed her as he once did to Martin.
  • Warrior Princess: At one point in Nine Princes in Amber, she and her brothers are attacked by werewolves. She is unarmed, so she grapples one and snaps its spine.


Dworkin Barimen


Prince Eric of Amber

Eldest child of Oberon and his second wife, Faiella. Eric was born from an affair before his parents actually married, while Oberon was still married to Cymnea. Eric was never formally acknowledged, although everyone knew his paternity. The hated rival of his brother Corwin.
  • Bastard Bastard: Subverted. Eric, bastard son of Oberon and Faiella and hated rival of Corwin seems to be the main antagonist of the series. Mortally wounds his brother Corwin and carries his comatose body off to some plague-infested Shadow. Later, he locks Corwin up and burns his eyes out with a red hot iron (Though to be fair, the blinding was Julian's idea.) Yet, at the end, he turns out to be a good king and a good man, and he ultimately dies a hero's death saving his city and his crown from disaster and forcing Corwin to acknowledge that just because Eric was his personal enemy he wasn't necessarily a bad person.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: To Corwin.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Initially appears to be the Big Bad of the series. By the end of book 2, though, the real threat is revealed to be something else entirely.
  • Defiant to the End / Famous Last Words:
    "Acquit yourself as well as I have—bastard!"
  • The Evil Prince: Subverted.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He dies defending Amber from its enemies. Corwin speculates that there is a further layer to his heroism, if he knew the draining effects of the Jewel of Judgement, and used it anyway.
  • Master Swordsman: The second (possibly) best around.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Corwin slowly lets go of his hatred for Eric after his death, and acknowledges that his brother died a heroic death in defense of their homeland.
  • Nothing Personal: Eric doesn't use this trope in so many words, but he's willing to put blood feuds aside for the good of the kingdom.
  • Not So Different: Corwin reflects that he and Eric were probably the most alike of the Amberite siblings.
  • The Reliable One: Much as Corwin hates to admit it.
  • The Unfavorite: Oberon wasn't fond of him. Fiona admits that her cabal conspired to inflame this dislike.
  • Ultimate Evil: Exploited Trope. He isn't — hell, as far as monarchs go, he's not even a bad one — but Bleys makes sure to convince his Shadow soldiers that Eric is evil incarnate. Corwin quickly realises that Bleys has essentially created an entire army of zealously loyal cannon fodder who are willing, and perfectly happy, to throw their lives away for a chance to bring Eric, the "Lord of Evil", to justice.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: In his final moments, Eric uses his blood curse against the Courts of Chaos instead of his hated brother Corwin. This last act of nobility haunts Corwin, as Corwin's own blood curse was used in a moment of weakness against Eric, and manifested as a threat to all of Amber.


Princess Fiona of Amber

Eldest child of Oberon and his third wife, Clarissa.
  • Brainy Brunette / Fiery Redhead: Both subverted: Fiona's the brainy redhead.
  • The Chessmaster: It's been remarked that while (most) of her siblings play the game of Amber, Fiona plays with the game.
  • Cool Old Lady: How Merlin sees her in the second series.
  • Evil Redhead: Formerly a straight version, by Courts of Chaos Fiona is as close as it gets without actually being on the bad guys’ side.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She was part of the triumvirate that started the plot against Oberon and Amber, prior to the series' opening. She is also instrumental in stopping it, by the last book.
  • Hot Witch: Her vanity is alluded to in Corwin's narration.
  • Karma Houdini: She was part of the cabal that intended to use the Courts of Chaos to unseat Oberon. On the other hand, she exerted herself pretty heavily to defend Amber, so her pardon might be justified.
  • Lady of Black Magic
  • Manipulative Bitch: Accuses Julian of attempting to murder another character in ice-cold blood, while knowing full well that it wasn't him. because it was she.
  • Redhead In Green


Princess Florimel of Amber

The only child of Oberon and his fifth wife, Dybele.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: She doesn't feel safe without a powerful protector. Whoever's on top tends to win her loyalty.
  • Crazy-Prepared: She's not a match for most of the others in a fight. For this reason she maintains six huge attack dogs in her home... and carries a grenade in her purse.
  • Dumb Blonde: She's not outright dumb, but is mostly out of her depth and regarded as such by the others.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: In the big battle in the fifth book, she's commanding archers.
  • Hello, Nurse!: She's the pretty one.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Her rather fancy birth name is eschewed in favor of 'Flora'.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: In Corwin's story she's seen as a light-weight, though she does know how to wind up on the winning side. In Merlin's story she comes off as more confident and formidable, most likely due to the shift in narrator viewpoint.


Prince Gerard of Amber

The third child of Oberon and his fourth wife, Rilga.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite being born after most of the other Princes, Gerard displays this trope.
  • The Big Guy: The royalty of Amber don't usually team up, but in those rare situations, Gerard is the strong, reliable one.
  • Cain and Abel: He subverts the trope that most of his family shares.
    Brand: He is the only decent one among us, you know.
    Corwin: He's high on my list.
  • The Caretaker: To Brand, for a while.
  • Dumb Muscle: While he is not dumb per se, his trusting and straightforward nature makes him appear like this in comparison to his scheming relatives. On the other hand, he's not usually considered a threat, so nobody goes after him.
  • Gentle Giant: By comparison, at any rate. Don't push him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In Sign of the Unicorn, Gerard suspects Corwin of fratricide and treason. Gerard takes him to an out-of-the-way place, knocks him silly, dangles him over a thousand-foot drop, and delivers a Badass Boast.
    Gerard: "You may be as innocent as you say or as guilty as possible[...] Look down at the black road. Death is the limit of the distance you travel if that is your doing. I have shown you my strength once again, lest you have forgotten. I can kill you, Corwin. Do not even be certain that your blade will protect you, if I can get my hands on you but once. And I will, to keep my promise. My promise is only that if you are guilty I will kill you the moment I learn of it."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Subverted; he's less manipulative than his brothers.
  • Mighty Glacier: Corwin flat-out states that Gerard is the strongest of the children of Amber, but that he is comparatively slow when fighting with swords or quarterstaves, rather than hand-to-hand.
  • Super Strength: True of all the Princes, but Gerard is acknowledged as the very strongest. Corwin, who is capable of using a recliner as a lethal throwing weapon, regards Gerard's strength as "a thing of legend." At one point, he snaps a chain that had successfully held one of his brothers in place for years, and begins using it to dispense Chain Pain to his enemies.
  • Multiverse’s Strongest Man: As indicated under Super Strength.



At one point Merlin, having taken an interest in computer design (after his phases of interest in sorcery and Trump artistry), picks a particular Shadow where the physical laws will allow him to design a machine programmed like a computer, but capable of designing 'virtual' Trumps instantly and thus reaching through Shadow. Soon, it develops its own personality and agenda. Subverting the usual tropes, Ghostwheel doesn't turn into the Big Bad of the series. Since it's an "ideally synthesized" being, usually only present as an immaterial projection, and quite young, it doesn't share in the tropes listed at the top of the page aside from Functional Magic.


Queen Jasra of Kashfa

A woman from Shadow (near the Courts of Chaos) who shows up as an inexplicable enemy of Amber in the seventh book. Looks human; has a poisonous bite... which sums up her personality as well, actually. Mother of Luke/Rinaldo by Brand, former servant of Dara, mentor of Julia.
  • Dead Partner / Dragon Ascendant: Brand was married.
  • Enemy Mine: She eventually drops her vendetta and helps Merlin storm the Keep of Four Worlds after Mask usurps it.
  • Evil Sorceress
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: In Kashfa she seduced the captain of the royal guard to help her carry out a coup. The details are a bit vague about what happened after that, but when Luke carries out a second coup to try to put her back on the throne it's made very clear to him that there would be a rebellion if she ever came back.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: She comes around, but not due to any change in direction of her moral compass; fortune simply puts her in a position where siding with the heroes is far more profitable than not.
  • My Beloved Smother: Acts as this to Rinaldo.
    • As part of the Always Someone Better dynamic between Merlin and Luke, her attitude towards Luke is more conventionally maternal than Dara's is towards Merlin (she keeps tabs on his girlfriends and college grades, and even attends his sporting meets), and he is very capable of denying her if need be. Her final appearance, in the short stories following Prince of Chaos, has her wishing him the best of luck in ruling Kashfa.
  • Sixth Ranger: Merlin recruits her to help attack Mask's keep in the eighth book.
  • The Vamp: Unapologetic about it.


Prince Julian of Amber

The second child of Oberon and his fourth wife, Rilga.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Unrequited, towards Fiona.
    Fiona: "Julian has no friends. That frosty personality of his is warmed only by thoughts of himself."
  • Cool Horse: The grey stallion Morgenstern - seemingly tireless and fearless, capable of astonishing speed and agility. It may be a horse-shaped construct rather than simply an extraordinary animal: Corwin recalls at one point that Julian created it, and Random (after trying a few shots) is pretty sure that it's bulletproof.
    Morgenstern stood five hands taller than any other horse I had ever seen, and its hooves were like polished steel and its eyes were the dead color of a Weimeraner dog's.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He doesn't like Corwin, or much of anybody else, but he's too fond of his self-control to be aggressive about it.
    Julian: "We spend so much time lying to each other that I decided it might be amusing to say what I really felt. Just to see whether anyone noticed."
  • Egomaniac Hunter:
    Julian: "I enjoy slaughtering beasts. And I think of my relatives....constantly."
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • Icy Blue Eyes: A sign of his cold, remorseless nature.
  • It's Personal: When Caine's body is found, Julian insists on the privilege of questioning and executing his killer.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eventually, although it’s possible he was this all along and it's only Corwin's perspective that's changed.
    • Corwin learns that Julian suggested to Eric that Corwin have his eyes burnt out and be imprisoned as... a sideways way of protecting his life.
      • Saving Corwin's life was more for Eric's benefit than Corwin's, according to Julian himself - otherwise, had Oberon had ever returned to reclaim the throne, having Corwin executed would have been Eric's only unpardonable act. Julian still qualifies for the trope in the above example, but from a slightly different angle.
      • It still counts, as apart from covering Eric's back, it preserved Corwin from any reprisal from Brand after having outlived his usefulness to the triumvirate.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Julian's not presented as a nice person. However, Corwin never claimed to be unbiased.
  • Man in White: Wears white armor; is cold, stoic, emotionless, and merciless. (Initially).
  • Obviously Evil: Despite literally being a Knight In Shining Armour, Julian has a sinister presence and doesn't make it easy for people to trust him – probably not helped by his monstrous steed Morgenstern. This is ironic, as Julian is probably the most honest of the Amberite siblings, and would rather just be his casually unpleasant self than keep up with his family's constant scheming. Corwin eventually concedes that Julian has good intentions and genuine loyalty to Amber, and Julian is never less than accommodating to Merlin.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Merlin mentions that Julian fought and killed the powerful Chaosite General Larsus during Patternfall.
  • Red Herring: He's a formidable warrior with a sinister presence, a noted personal antagonist to Corwin, and owns a monster horse observed to have a specific weakness to silver. He's never fought directly, serves Random loyally, and is ultimately firmly on Amber's side.
  • The Stoic: Has an "almost legendary self-control". One of Corwin’s memorable past exploits involved shattering it, causing Julian to throw a glass of wine in his face and curse him.
  • Walk into Mordor: The infinite roads to Amber all pass through the Forest of Arden, which is crawling with Julian's hounds, hawks and forest guardsmen.


Jurt of the House Sawall

One of Merlin's half-brothers from the Chaos side of the family, who has a longstanding rivalry with Merlin. He has made many attempts on Merlin's life and schemes against him, which inevitably tend to fail.

  • A God Am I: Falls into this error at the end of Sign of Chaos.
  • Always Someone Better/Sibling Rivalry: Supposedly, he's driven to hate Merlin by this... but we only have Merlin's word for it.
  • Ambition Is Evil
  • Bash Brothers: Merlin travels through a dimension where he meets a younger copy of Jurt, and surprisingly enough the two become this, despite Merlin pointing out that logically a younger version of Jurt would only be more likely to blindly hate him than one who has possibly had time to grow up and mature. Towards the end of the 10th book, as more and more of the people ahead of them for the throne of Chaos are murdered, Jurt calls a truce in his feud with Merlin and the two fight on the same side.
  • Being Evil Sucks: He goes from one embarrassing failure to another until he and Merlin bury the hatchet.
  • Cain and Abel: Like most of the others, but he's specifically murderous toward Merlin and seems indifferent to his brother Despil and half-brother Mandor.
  • The Dragon: For Mask.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: His plans against Merlin tend to be rather bad and to fall apart.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In the climactic battle of Sign of Chaos... wait, does it still count as Full-Frontal Assault if you're wearing an eyepatch?
  • Heel–Face Turn: Played with. The suddenly high mortality rate among Chaos nobles makes him call off his vendetta with Merlin, but he states outright that he's not joining 'Merlin's side', just 'the winning side'.
  • Love Redeems: Played with. It's strongly implied that he has feelings for Mask/Julia, who played a part in his decision to align himself with Merlin... but she was as much a villain as he was — and hated Merlin just as much — until they had both been thoroughly defeated and forced to reevaluate their future.
  • The Rival: One-sided: he seemingly lives to destroy Merlin, while Merlin thinks the whole business is a tedious nuisance.
  • Shapeshifter: And he seems to have almost come to prefer a wolf's form to a man's.


Princess Llewella of Rebma

Daughter of Oberon through an affair with Moins, the former Queen of Rebma, while Oberon was married to Clarissa. Unlike Eric, she was formally legitimized, mostly to spite Clarissa.



A woman whom Corwin meets and befriends in one of the Shadows. As a Shadow human, she doesn't qualify for the tropes at the top of the page, aside from Functional Magic.


Mandor of House Sawall

A Lord of Chaos who was one of Merlin's tutors in the magical arts, Mandor is considered powerful and subtle even by the standards of the Courts. He is Merlin's stepbrother, as Mandor's father Gramble is married to Merlin's mother Dara. Ironically, Merlin gets along better with Mandor than with their shared half-brothers Jurt and Despil.
  • Affably Evil: Although sinister and Machiavellian, Mandor is usually polite, and even capable of friendship. Just don't count on him allowing your friendship to get in his way.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: He and Dara (and, to a lesser extent, the Logrus) act as Merlin's final adversaries in book ten.
  • Big Bad Friend
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: We find out at the end of the series that he actively tried to magically enslave Merlin, and when he found out it hadn't worked he attacked Merlin and tried to forcibly put the spells back. He accepts his defeat rather gracefully, though.
  • Broken Pedestal: Merlin admires him and his abilities, particularly after Mandor is willing to go out of his way to be Merlin's ally on all sorts of quests. And he's part of a conspiracy to turn Merlin into a Puppet King.
  • Graceful Loser: It might be part of a ploy, but when Merlin defeats his conspiracy and spares him, he makes a seemingly genuine offer to be Merlin's Honest Advisor.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He prefers to remain behind the scenes.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Always fashionably dressed, rarely shaken by crisis, and never revealing his true motives.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted.
  • Wicked Cultured: Mandor is a master chef as well as a designer of custom realities. In entertaining, he always knows the best wine to go with each course.


Martin of Rebma; Prince Martin of Amber

Son of Random through an affair with Princess Morganthe of Rebma.
  • Aerith and Bob: Martin, the son of Morganthe, daughter of Moire.
  • The Aloner: Self-imposed for a long time after he got stabbed by Brand.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Gender-flipped. It is his blood that damages reality, an event that took place off-stage in the first book but was not discovered until the fourth.
  • Darker and Edgier: He drops out of sight for a few years, and when he returns for a brief visit to Amber he's got a punk hairstyle and some kind of cybernetic implant. This is strictly appearance-wise, though; he seems to be the same pleasant but gun-shy Martin on the inside.
  • Disappeared Dad: Random abandoned his mother before he was born.
  • Heroic Bastard: Martin was born of an affair that ended about as badly as they can, but seems to have become a straightforward, helpful man.
  • Properly Paranoid: After his first experience with Trumps (and family politics), Martin opted to stay the hell away from his father's homeland.
  • Unwitting Pawn: One day he received a random psychic contact, had a brief chat with his uncle, and got stabbed. He never did find out why, until the fourth book.
  • Walking the Earth: Martin spends a lot of time adventuring in Shadow.


Mask: Julia Barnes

A cryptic, masked sorcerer who - for reasons unknown to Merlin - keeps trying to kill him. And keeps sending him flowers. As a Shadow being, Mask isn't subject to most of the 'universal tropes' above - except for The Chessmaster and Functional Magic.


Merlin of House Sawall; Merle Corey

Son of Corwin and Dara. Main protagonist and viewpoint character of the second five books.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: And will attempt to assassinate you on April 30th. Every April 30th.
  • The Casanova: Merlin seems to be setting himself up for a Love Dodecahedron with Coral, Julia, Gilva, Rhanda, etc. as possible paramours. He generally doesn't say no to a willing woman, much like his father and grandfather.
  • Disappeared Dad: Merlin was raised knowing his father was technically his enemy. Later becomes Disappeared Dad in a more literal sense, because nobody seems to know what happened to Corwin after the fifth book.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In Knight of Shadows, and it's not one of Merlin's brighter decisions.
    The Unicorn & the Serpent: We are not pleased by your attitude.
    Merlin: "Vice versa."
  • First-Person Perspective: For the second five books.
  • Incest Is Relative: His Love Interest, Coral, is also his half-aunt.
  • Momma's Boy: Inverted. He has a distant relationship with Dara, whose motives and plans he's often suspicious of, yet greatly admires the missing father he'd only briefly known.
  • My Beloved Smother: Dara has definite plans for Merlin, having had him for just such a reason, and doesn't mind using a few dozen hundred political assassinations and mind control of her own son to have her plans come true. Also to a lesser extent, Merlin's aunts are very snoopy in his life, although they generally seem more benevolent.
  • Parental Substitute: To his creation, Ghostwheel.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Merlin is normally quite low-key. But if you push him hard enough, you'll discover that under that calm, reasonable exterior is a talented sorcerer who's good at improvisation, can call on the two greatest sources of power in the known universe, can kick the ass of most beings even without magic, and as a last ditch option, can summon elemental chaos to utterly obliterate everyone and everything within the target area.
  • Shapeshifter
  • Weirdness Magnet: Starts shortly before he becomes the narrator in Trumps of Doom, and gets worse continuously for the next five books.


King Oberon, Lord of Amber; Ganelon)

First King of Amber.
  • The Ace: His most impressive deeds take place offstage, but he does casually display strength and magical abilities that baffle his children. Corwin also infers that Oberon's been interfering on the basis that nobody else could play everybody this well.
  • Back from the Dead: Subverted. In the ninth book Merlin encounters "Oberon," only to learn that what he's seeing is a duplicate created by the Pattern from its last "recording" of Oberon.
  • Badass Grandpa: Of Merlin.
  • Becoming the Mask: To an extent. Actually inverted, as he says that his Ganelon-disguise was closer to his actual self than his official persona.
  • Big Good: Well, okay, morally not very 'good'. But very powerful, and implacably devoted to Amber.
  • The Casanova: Oberon seems to leave kids everywhere he goes, though considering how long he's lived, the actual number seems relatively small. He also seems to have trouble with the "forsaking all others" part of marriage. In the Merlin books, his ghost claims to have fathered forty-seven children (thanks in part to time proceeding more slowly in some Shadows than others). That doesn't sound like a lot when you've been alive for maybe tens of thousands of years, but of his children (who have probably at least as many years between them) only four have had children of their own that we know of, and in three of those cases magic might have been used to help things along. Corwin even muses that Oberon, and by extension the royal family of Amber, seems to have a low fertility rate relative to his libido.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hm, maybe it's genetic.
  • God Was My Copilot: In disguise as Ganelon, he's copilot to Corwin.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: If Dworkin is to be believed, Oberon is half-Unicorn. Admittedly, Dworkin is insane at the time he makes that statement.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The only course of action that will save Amber requires him to destroy himself. So he does.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Widely considered a Magnificent Bastard - even by his children, many of whom qualify for that label themselves.
  • The Reveal
  • Shapeshifter
  • Time Abyss: He's so old that, well, the calendars don't go back that far.
  • Trickster Mentor: He takes on this role with his kids, manipulating them because they would never willingly take his instruction directly. He uses shape-shifting, false messages, subterfuge, murder and a reality-bending time-loop to make things come out according his his plans. And he does generally succeed in leaving his kids better off.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Many of the other characters would be a lot less screwed up if Oberon weren't such a terrible father.


Prince Random of Amber

The only son of Oberon by his sixth wife, Paulettenote . The second King of Amber.


Prince Rinaldo of Kashfa: (Luke Raynard)

Son of Brand and Jasra.

    The Serpent 

The Serpent Which Manifests the Logrus

  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: The Serpent is the Chaos side of this trope to the Unicorn's Order. The two almost solely focus on their ancient feud, and will callously use and throw away the lives of their followers.
  • Church Of Evil: Played with. A faith dedicated to it exists in the Courts of Chaos, but even the High Priest seems to be a nonentity in the political arena.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Serpent is only concerned with its ancient contest with the Unicorn. It wants Amber and, later, Corwin's Pattern destroyed to reclaim its ancient supremacy over reality-as-we-know-it. The innumerable deaths that would result are utterly, utterly inconsequential.
  • Living Shadow: Merlin is the only one to see the Serpent incarnate, and describes it as a slithering darkness, with the exception of its one luminous eye.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It's revealed in the tenth book that Dara and Mandor are the Lords of Chaos it has employed in an attempt to regain its previous level of power.
  • Serpentine Personification: It doesn't manifest as often as the Unicorn, but it can.

    The Unicorn 

The Unicorn

  • Ambiguous Gender: "It" and "its" are used. Possibly later subverted... if Dworkin's claim that the Unicorn is Oberon's mother can be trusted.
  • Big Good: Played straight in the first series; toyed with in the second.
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: The Unicorn is the Order side of this trope to the Serpent's Chaos. The two almost solely focus on their ancient feud, and will callously use and throw away the lives of their followers.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Averted. The later books reveal that there is a religion based around the Unicorn, but the royal family seem to regard it as a respected totem creature rather than actually worshiping it.
  • Mythic Beast Personification: Although what exactly it personifies is open to debate (maybe Order).


Vialle of Rebma

An exception to the usual tropes (aside from Functional Magic) because Vialle is not a member of Amber's royalty except through marriage. She is a minor noblewoman of Rebma, a sculptress and a seer despite being blind.


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