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Characters / The Death Gate Cycle

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The Death Gate Cycle has Loads and Loads of Characters, partially because all seven worlds are visited and re-visited over the course of the seven-book series. This is a list of some of the prominent ones.

The Patryn


A "Runner" whose goal was to escape the Labyrinth (as opposed to "Squatters" who camp and continue the species), Haplo is one of the few to actually succeed. He is introduced as a Villain Protagonist doing reconaissance for Lord Xar, with the express mission of spreading chaos and discord throughout the four worlds so that Lord Xar can arrive as a savior later. Of course, then Character Development happens, and Haplo begins to mature from The Dragon of the Big Bad of a Sealed Evil in a Can organization into The Hero (well, an Anti-Hero at least) and force for peace. Haplo is quiet, unassuming and The Nondescript, aside from his Power Tattoos and his ever-present Canine Companion.


Haplo appears in all seven books.

  • Canine Companion: the dog
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Deus Exit Machina: Haplo explicitly notes that he could solve all the problems of the first book in about two minutes—if he didn't have to worry about the Sartan blowing up the universe again if they caught wind of him.
  • The Dragon
  • In Another Man's Shoes (due to some weird phlebotinum with Death's Gate, Alfred and Haplo have to experience the worst moment in each other's lives. This is the beginning of Haplo's Character Development, as he can no longer hate Alfred, or indeed any of the Sartan.)
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  • Meaningful Name ("Haplo", from haploid, meaning "half" or "single")
  • Morality Pet (In a rather literal sense.)
  • Rebel Relaxation
  • Scars Are Forever (Sang-drax puts a scar across his "heart-rune")
  • Villain Protagonist (at least in the beginning; evolves up to Anti-Hero)
  • I Work Alone (Haplo rarely refers to important people by name: Alfred is "You, Sartan!", Marit is "the woman", and his dog is "the dog". Alfred calls him on this at one point.)

Lord Xar

The leader of the Patryn, the first of them to escape the Labyrinth... and the only one of them with the testicular fortitude to voluntarily re-enter it. Which he does, on a daily basis, to help more of his people escape. Oh, and he's also an Evil Overlord who plans to Take Over the World (or rather, all seven worlds).

Xar appears in some form in all seven books.


  • Ambiguously Evil: Whether he can be considered "evil" mostly boils down to whether one thinks the "save my people" part of his motivation trumps the "conquer the universe" part.
  • Anti-Villain: Xar is, by his own admission, a ruthless and often cruel man, but he's also deeply invested in the survival and wellbeing of his people, risking his life on a nearly daily basis on the chance he might be able to free Patryns from the Labyrinth.
  • The Archmage: Quite possibly the most powerful mortal wizard alive at the time of the novels; his only real competition is Samah and Alfred.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Patryns don't give their allegiance lightly; the fact that Xar made a career out of kicking the crap out of the Labyrinth was what won him the loyalty of most of his followers.
  • Berserk Button: Anything and everything to do with the Labyrinth and his people's imprisonment therein; meeting Samah (the Labyrinth's creator) for the first time finds Xar nearly incoherent with sheer, spitting rage.
  • Big Bad: Initially appears to be the head villain. Things get more complicated when he ends up with Sang-drax and Kleitus, simultaneously manipulating and being manipulated by both of them, while also opposing the Knight Templar Sartan (who are also being advised by the serpents, who play both sides). In the end, even Xar is forced to admit that the serpents were the greatest threat, and he'd been playing into their, er, hands.
  • Black Cloak: Xar always wears robes that are either all black or all white, perhaps a nod to his rather extreme and harsh personality.
  • The Chessmaster: Xar is very intelligent and has been building his plans for domination of the worlds for decades.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Kleitus informs Xar that he intends to murder him at the first opportunity, Xar dryly responds that it must be pleasant for the lazar to have a goal still. Apparently, Kleitus makes Xar nervous, and being nervous makes the Lord of the Nexus particularly snarky.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: As he falls into Sang-drax's influence, he loses the ability to grasp that not all people are motivated by personal ambition, since the serpents want him to see everyone as potential rivals. Haplo manages to snap him out of it.
  • Evil Overlord: He's undeniably an overlord; how evil he is varies depending on one's perception of him, but he starts falling into it more and more as Sang-drax gains greater influence over him.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride (in his own power) and Wrath (against the Sartan) are his big ones.
  • Heel Realization: During his final confrontation with Haplo and Sang-drax, he finally realizes that he'd been had and was turning into the very thing he once fought against. Redemption Equals Death quickly followed.
  • Human Notepad: Being a Patryn, it goes without saying, but Xar has so many tattoos he's actually started tattooing over his tattoos.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He becomes increasingly tyrannical, brutal, and paranoid in the later books, largely due to Sang-drax's influence. Haplo manages to recall him to himself just barely before he hits rock bottom.
  • Like a Son to Me: He calls all his followers "my son/daughter", but with Haplo, he really means it, explicitly musing that Haplo is closer to him than his own (long-dead) biological children. Though he's too proud and stoic to show it, it's clear that even when he thinks Haplo has betrayed him, having him killed breaks his heart.
  • Magic Knight: To be expected of a Patryn; best illustrated by the beginning of The Hand of Chaos where he defeats a legion of chaodyn through a combination of superior spellcasting and swordplay.
  • Meaningful Name: Xar is speculated to have derived from the Russian "czar", which of course is itself derivative of "Caesar".
  • Meaningful Rename: Xar himself has long since forgotten what his birth name was, thanks to having tattooed over his heart-rune, and since he's old enough to be the grandfather or possibly great-grandfather of every other Patryn character in the series, nobody else ever knew it.
  • Motive Decay: At some point his motivation became more about acquiring power for himself than about saving his people, something he slowly realizes during The Seventh Gate. "How did I end here, from where I began?"
  • Not So Different: To Samah, emphasized by Haplo and especially by the vision of the Sundering that he, Haplo, and Alfred share, which casts each observer as the historical figure they most resemble. Xar, of course, gets cast in Samah's role.
  • Not So Stoic: Around Sang-drax and Kleitus, two beings he doesn't understand and can't control, he finds himself in the uncomfortable position of being visibly nervous. He covers by being very snarky to them.
  • Old Master: He looks the part of the elderly mage, which means he is an immensely powerful mage and every bit as much of a Magic Knight as any of his followers.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the end, he realizes that Haplo was telling him the truth all along and Sang-drax is his true enemy; he reverses the spell that would collapse the worlds together, but is killed by the serpent immediately for his trouble.
  • Stronger with Age: It's explicitly stated that Sartan and Patryn magic strengthens as the wielder ages; Xar, who is both immensely old and incredibly powerful, is a walking testament to this fact.
  • That Man Is Dead: Accidental self-inflicted example. Xar tattooed over his heart-rune with symbols of power, which had a side-effect of making him forget his real name. He has a brief moment of horror in the last book when he realizes that he can no longer remember the name of that young warrior who escaped the Labyrinth so long ago.
  • Villainous Valor: He's not the only Patryn who wants to save the rest of their people from the Labyrinth. He's just the only one who can bring himself to step back into that hell after having once escaped it. And it's not that the Labyrinth doesn't scare him as shitless as anyone else, he just forces himself to do it anyway.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xar will save his people from the Labyrinth and restore to them their birthright - that birthright being, unfortunately, as conquerors of the other races.
  • World's Strongest Man: Well, strongest Patryn.


A Patryn woman whom Haplo loved. They were happy together in the Labyrinth for a short time, but then she left him. Haplo speculates that she was pregnant. He was right. Later, after she too escapes, Xar brands Haplo a traitor and assigns her to kill him.

Marit appears in Elven Star (flashback only), Serpent Mage (flashback only), Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.


Haplo and Marit's daughter.

May or may not have appeared in Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.

  • Disappeared Dad / Missing Mom: Never knowingly met her father, and her mother gave her over to be raised by Squatters shortly after her birth. This scenario is typical among the children of Runners; the fact that Haplo has any memory of his parents at all is unusual among Patryns.
  • The Ghost: She never provably appears in the series. Her main impact on the story is the implication of her existence to her father and how it affects his relationship with her mother once he learns she exists at all. Haplo's attempts to find her prove futile, as Rue is a very common name in the Labyrinth.
  • Happily Adopted: In the epilogue, Haplo and Marit adopt numerous girls named Rue, whom they love equally. One of them theoretically could be their actual daughter.


Headman of the city of Abri, the only permanent settlement in the Labyrinth. Partially descended from Sartan exiles banished to the Labyrinth for opposing the Sundering. Becomes leader of the Patryns after Xar's death.

Appears in Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.

The Sartan


Alfred was but a young man when the Sartan on Arianus put themselves into stasis. He was an old man when he woke up. As the Last of His Kind on Arianus, he went undercover, posing as a human and engaging in all sorts of shenanigans rather than use his enormous power: for instance, he faints when confronted with danger. He is also The Klutz writ large. But then he meets Haplo and discovers that the Patryns, formerly Sealed Evil in a Can, have escaped. Then Character Development, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork (on Haplo's part) and Friendly Enemies (on Alfred's part) set in, and Alfred begins to come into his own as the other main character of the series... a clumsy, balding Sartan whose Level in Badass is not because of his own cowardice, but despite it.

Alfred appears in all novels of the series except the second one, though his appearance in the fifth is via Flash Back.


Samah is the leader of the Council of Seven. It was his idea to sunder the world. He is also charismatic, idealistic and just sympathetic enough to make you wonder.

Samah appears in Serpent Mage, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate (flashback only).

Arianus, the World of Air

Hugh The Hand

A member of the Brotherhood of the Hand, Professional Killers to the core, Hugh is hired to assassinate the crown prince of the Volkaran Isles, Prince Bane. He is hired to do so by... Bane's father, the King of the Volkaran Isles, King Stephen. Hilarity Ensues, especially since Prince Bane's manservant, a butler named Alfred Montbank, chooses to tag along for the ride...

Hugh appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Anti-Hero: he and Haplo get along just fine
  • Badass Beard: Hugh has a long, braided, instantly-recognizable beard.
  • Badass Normal: Hugh has no magical abilities, but is one of the deadliest warriors in Arianus, to the point of being able to kill the most powerful wizard in the World of Air.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: He kills Sinistrad in single combat but doing so costs him his life.
  • Boxed Crook: Saved from execution early in book one because King Stephen has need of an assassin.
  • Call-Back: Early in Dragon Wing when he thinks he's about to be executed, he remarks that his one regret in life is that he never killed a wizard. At the end of the book, he dies killing a wizard.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has his moments. His conversation with King Stephen is particularly snarky.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Reading the series for the first time, you'd think Hugh is the hero of at least the first book, and technically he actually is. Then he dies in the climax of Dragon Wing and you realise you haven't seen the half of it yet.
  • The Cynic: Hugh is an incredibly bitter, cynical man as of the beginning of Dragon Wing. His later experiences such as dying and coming back change him profoundly.
  • Famed in Story: Elf or human, most everyone in the Mid Realm knows his reputation.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Dragon Wing, he sacrifices himself to kill Sinistrad...
  • Jerkass: Initially. Later develops into more of a...
  • Karmic Death: Providing these for those who escape justice is his specialty; he advertises himself as "the Hand of Retribution". He says it's just a means of attracting customers, but there may be a bit more to it...
  • Love Redeems: He falls hard for Iridal from pretty much the moment he sees her, and this ends up providing a good chunk of the impetus to finally take a stand.
  • Noble Demon: Hugh may be a ruthless killer, but he's an honorable man in his own way.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: His mother died when he was a kid, and he never knew his father until he later tracked him down and killed him. He was raised by the Kir, an order of spooky death-worshippers not exactly known for their overflowing compassion. Small wonder he grew up a bitter loner with a fixation on death.
  • Professional Killers: Considered the second greatest assassin in Arianus... and the first is past her prime.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Though Alfred doesn't let the "death" part stick.

Prince Bane

The adopted child of King Stephen and Queen Anne... If by "adopted" we mean "My extremely powerful wizard father stole their actual child and put me in his place instead, and I'm here to help him Take Over the World, and everyone knows it, and I don't even have to hide it because he gave me an Orphan's Plot Trinket that lets me talk to him and also casts Charm Person on anyone who sees me. Oh, and, I'm an Enfant Terrible and a Bastard Understudy."

Bane appears in Dragon Wing, Fire Sea (flashback only), and The Hand of Chaos.

  • Abusive Parents: his real dad, Sinistrad, uses him in his Evil Plan the day after he was born.
  • Affably Evil: Bane is always cheerful and charming, even while poisoning people.
  • Ambition Is Evil: [[spoiler "I will be king!"]]
  • Bastard Understudy: To Sinistrad, who seemed himself rather ignorant of just how intelligent (and ruthless) the boy was. Later becomes this to Xar himself, who sees through the human child easily but like's the kid's intelligence, ruthlessness and guts.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Though raised as the son of King Stephen and Queen Anne, he was really the offspring of the wizard Sinistrad. Of course, everyone knew this - they just couldn't do anything about it.
  • Charm Person: Sinistrad wrapped Bane in a powerful spell that compels anyone who sees him to adore and dote on him.
  • Child Mage: Inherited his parents' magical ability, though he doesn't know many spells without Sinistrad to walk him through it.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Sinistrad's Charm Person spell on him works on this principle.
  • Enfant Terrible: What a charming, adorable, precocious little sociopath.
  • The Evil Prince: The fact that Bane qualifies for this trope at ten should tell you something about him.
  • Freudian Excuse: Growing up in a loveless royal court with your only companion being the disembodied voice of an evil wizard would leave anyone a little twisted.
  • God Guise: Tries to pass himself off as a young god to the Gegs. Fails when it becomes apparent that even with Sinistrad's help, he just doesn't have the magical chops to fake it believably.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bane is very good at using peoples' emotions - particularly adults' instinctive desire to protect him - to make them do what he wants.
  • Offing the Offspring: King Stephen explains that Queen Anne is pregnant, so now that there's a real heir to the throne they can do away with the Creepy Child they got left with.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Tries (and fails) to kill Sinistrad after realizing he has no intention of sharing power; later hires Hugh to kill his adoptive father and mother.
  • The Sociopath: It's outright stated that "right" and "wrong" mean nothing to Bane, only "What do I want?" and "how do I get it?"
  • Switched at Birth: With Stephen and Anne's real son.

Limbeck Bolttightener

A member of the "Gegs," dwarves who live on the continent of Drevlin and spend their entire lives in service of 1) an Eternal Engine called the Kicksey-Winsey, and 2) the Welves, their gods. Limbeck is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander in that he is always asking "Why," and is convinced that these "Welves" are actually elves from the Tribus Kingdom. This is why the High Froman ("foreman", not anybody else) decides to execute him by throwing him off the edge. Limbeck falls to a low island where he comes across a man with glowing Power Tattoos and a dog...

Limbeck appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Adorkable: Jarre particularly finds him this way.
  • Agent Mulder: Limbeck desperately wants to believe that there is more to life than serving the Kicksey-winsey
  • Non-Action Guy: Limbeck is no fighter, and is actually rather out of shape (unusual for a Geg).
  • Rebel Leader: Though he starts off an unusually nice one.
  • Rule of Symbolism (during his second appearance, he now has a pair of glasses that cause abominable headaches but allow him to see clearly. His wife Jarre comments that she liked the blind and idealistic version of him better.)
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: embodied in a single character! He starts off massively idealistic, becomes completely cynical, and later is jolted back to idealism
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Initially, he really doesn't understand why everyone can't just get along.


Bane's father. A completely Evil Sorcerer and proud of it, he concocts a plan to rule Arianus purely for his own gain, though he pitches himself to his fellow mysteriarchs (powerful human wizards) as a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to preserve their culture and prominence among the human kingdoms. Very clever, though not quite the Magnificent Bastard he thinks he is, largely because of a need to see his enemies squirm and a complete disregard for all life that isn't him. Both these traits come back to bite him hard in the end.

Sinistrad appears in Dragon Wing.

  • The Archmage: The mysteriarchs are the most powerful human wizards; Sinistrad is the most powerful mysteriarch. With the possible exception of the Kenkari keepers, he was almost certainly the most powerful mensch wizard on Arianus. Haplo's not that impressed with him, though.
  • Asexuality: He only had sex with Iridal to produce Bane; he outright states he found the process unpleasant and has no desire to resume it.
  • Bald of Evil: He has no hair anywhere on his body; it's apparently a birth defect.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The fact that he aactually changed his name to Sinistrad in the first place indicates that he doesn't care about being seen as evil.
  • The Chessmaster: He developed an elaborate long-term plan that, had it succeeded, would have resulted in the mysteriarchs - and by extension, Sinistrad himself - ruling Arianus.
  • Dark Is Evil: From his deathly pallor to his black robes and skullcap, every inch of his aesthetic screams this.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: He dies at the end of the first book, and later books show him for the small fish he really was.
  • Domestic Abuse: After Bane's birth, he seemed to keep Iridal around mostly so he'd have a convenient target whenever he felt the urge to Kick the Dog.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-universe to Iridal when they were both young. She's largely wisened up by now, but he can still invoke it when he needs to control her.
  • Evil Sorcerer: A ruthless man single-mindedly dedicated to using his magic to acquire more and more power.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Played his fellow mysteriarchs for fools for more than ten years.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sinistrad" is pretty obviously "sinister"
    • Meaningful Rename: Deliberately changed his name to fit the persona he was crafting for himself- we never learn his real name.
  • Necessarily Evil: How he pitches himself to his fellow mysteriarchs.
  • Obviously Evil: And will freely admit it.
  • Offing the Offspring: Tried to kill Bane after he turned on him. "I can get more sons!" Iridal and Hugh stopped him from succeeding.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. He seems at first to genuinely care about Bane, but even that's just part of the plan. Iridal is not happy when she finds out...
  • Scaled Up: A successful one! He didn't succeed in saving himself, as he'd already been fatally knifed before transforming, but he did manage to kill Hugh with this form before expiring.
  • The Sociopath: Like father, like son.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Already the ruler of the mysteriarchs. Had his eyes on rulership of Arianus as well.
  • Squishy Wizard: dies to Hugh's knife as easily as any man.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Ask him up front and he'll freely admit what he's doing and why. This is not because of any sense of honesty on his part but because he loves it when his enemies know what he's planning, but are helpless to stop it. He will lie though if there's no other way to advance a scheme.

Lady Iridal

Sinistrad's wife and Bane's mother. Though a powerful mysteriarch in her own right, Sinistrad has used a combination of charisma and fear to keep her under control for years, and she is less a willing participant in his plots than just another pawn. With Hugh's help she breaks free from Sinistrad's control and kills him, only to have Bane snatched away by Haplo. She devoted herself to searching for him, but finally was forced to admit that he was beyond saving and killed him herself to save King Stephen's life.

Iridal appears in Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, and Into the Labyrinth.

  • Big Damn Heroes: Twice. First, saving Bane from Sinistrad in Dragon Wing, and later saving Stephen from Bane in Hand of Chaos.
  • Broken Bird: Once an idealistic, good-natured young woman, years of living in Sinistrad's shadow ground her into the dirt. In her appearances after he's dead, she seems to be putting herself back together again fairly well.
  • Fatal Flaw: Iridal consistently believes that she can influence her family to be better people; unfortunately, her husband and son are manipulative sociopaths. Not to say she doesn't get over it.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Iridal's eyes constantly change colors, possibly a side-effect of her coming from a powerful wizard lineage.
  • Mama Bear: One of the few things that can provoke a violent reaction from Iridal is to try and hurt Bane. And when she realizes that Bane doesn't need to be protected from the world so much as the world needs to be protected from Bane, she takes it upon herself to Shoot the Dog.
  • Mystical White Hair: This powerful wizardess has long, thick white hair.
  • Shoot the Dog: Kills Bane herself rather than let him assassinate Stephen.
  • The Dog Bites Back: To Sinistrad; when he tries to kill Bane, she immediately attacks him, which in turn gives Hugh the opening he needs.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She was a teenager when she married Sinistrad and had Bane (not that he seemed to have been much older); by the present of the story, she's still only 26.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Being out from under Sinistrad's shadow did wonders for her- she comes off as far more formidable in Hand of Chaos than in Dragon Wing.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Initially, she was Sinistrad's tool in birthing a child to act as his emissary to the Mid Realms. Later on, Bane himself manipulates her to his advantage, but she's wizened up by now...
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: As a young woman. The present Iridal in Hand of Chaos is more of a...
  • Wizard Duel: Has a brief one against Sinistrad after he tries to kill Bane. She loses, creates an opening for Hugh...

Paithan Quindiniar

An elf trader, son of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who wants to fly to the stars in a rocket, Paithan begins the story by trying to sell some elven weapons to the dwarves through human intermediaries. Then one of those humans tries to seduce him. Then the dwarf buyer informs them that his entire tribe has been wiped out by walking death giants called tytans. Then those tytans knock on the Quindiniar household's front door...

Paithan appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.

Aleatha Quindiniar

Paithan's sister, a wealthy trollop known for using her fortune and beauty to get whatever she wants. Then the tytans show up...

Aleatha appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.

  • Gold Digger: Was planning to marry the powerful Lord Durndrun purely for the title and status it would bring her. This gets called off when her fiancee (And just about everyone else in Equilan) is killed by the tytans.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Roland

Roland and Rega Redleaf

The human intermediaries, Roland and Rega are brother and sister, but pretend to be married so that Rega can pretend to fall in love with Paithan so that Roland can pretend to be offended and the two of them can get a bigger share of the profit. A Simple Plan. What Could Possibly Go Wrong??

Roland and Rega appear in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.


A prince of the dwarven tribe, who is attempting to buy elven weapons to defend his people against the tytans. Last of His Kind, now that his tribe's been wiped out.

Drugar appears in Elven Star and Into the Labyrinth.


An eccentric old man who claims to be a wizard. And James Bond. And/or Dorothy Gale. And/or Luke Skywalker. His pet dragon constantly has to keep him straightened out. He's probably insane. Or maybe it's just Obfuscating Stupidity... No, he's just insane. (No, seriously, he is. But when you find out why he's insane, you totally don't blame him.)

Zifnab appears in Elven Star, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Back from the Dead: Another one of his eccentricities. He does a Heroic Sacrifice twice, to save the same characters each time. Both cases are almost immediately revealed to have been faked.
  • Blatant Lies: In Elven Star, he insists that he's not a Sartan despite being able to effortlessly bypass Haplo's wards, a feat no mensch wizard would be capable of. Haplo doesn't buy it for a second, and in Hand of Chaos he finally admits that yes, he is a Sartan.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall: Constantly. Zifnab is wise enough - or insane enough - to seemingly be fully aware that he's a fictional character, and also aware of other fictional characters to boot.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Zifnab speaks almost entirely in non-sequiturs and pop culture references none of the other characters can get. It's almost impossible to hold a coherent conversation with him even when he doesn't think he's James Bond.
  • Eccentric Mentor: He's genuinely one of the oldest and wisest people in the Sundered Realms. Alas, he's also (almost) completely insane.
  • Expy: of Fizban from the same authors' Dragonlance Chroniclesnote  - though Zifnab may be even weirder, if possible.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation : He is a Sartan who opposed the Sundering and stayed on Earth during The End of the World as We Know It, attempting without success to save the millions abandoned there.
    • Action Survivor: and if that wasn't enough, Samah then condemned him, along with all the other Sartan dissenters, to the Labyrinth. Zifnab is believed to have been the first to escape it, after which he wrote a huge collection of books for other escapees to educate themselves with. This library forms the foundation of Xar's knowledge base.)
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Zifnab stops goofing around and starts talking sense, for the love of the One, listen to him.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: At least as far as the people he interacts with are concerned, as despite his constant claims of being a powerful wizard, he almost never does anything to prove it. Of course, as an immensely ancient and -when lucid - powerful Sartan and the actual first person to escape the Labyrinth, that sense of his own importance may not be so inflated...
  • The Slow Path: The Sundering was twelve (Sartan) generations ago. The Sartans of Chelestra (and Alfred, a generation or so later) spent most of that time in hibernation. Zifnab didn't.
  • Time Abyss: Zifnab is older than most civilizations' histories. Even for a Sartan, that's old. And considering he was a contemporary of Samah's, he was presumably fairly old even before the Sundering.
  • Wizard Classic: A rather ragged version, admittedly, just like his inspiration Fizban.

Zifnab's Dragon

Zifnab's constant companion, a highly intelligent but bloodthirsty being kept in check only by a powerful spell that makes him think he's a butler. Or is he...

The dragon appears in Elven Star, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Arch-Enemy: he and Sang-Drax appear to have a history, though it's not elaborated on
  • Big Good: As the apparent leader - or at least spokesman - of the Pryan dragons, he's the chief opposition to the Serpents.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall: though not quite as much as Zifnab, he'll get in a pop-culture related one-liner here and there. Being a timeless cosmic being, he may well have been there for that pop culture
  • Deadpan Snarker: The dragon often has the long-suffering air of someone forced to shepherd a bunch of unruly children, "his" wizard being foremost among them, and frequently makes dry remarks about the situation.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: From his and Zifnab's interactions, it's clear who's the brains of the operation, especially in later books
  • No Name Given: He's only ever "the dragon" or "Zifnab's dragon".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretends to be a bloodthirsty beast placed under a spell that compels him to act like a butler. He's really an immensely ancient and wise embodiment of order.
  • Only Sane Man: He's usually the voice of reason compared to Zifnab's lunacy.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: He's a giant, wingless serpent from the depths of Pryan's jungle and an ancient embodiment of peace and harmony.



A minor noblewoman of the Sartan capitol city of Necropolis, and a necromancer in charge of maintaining the city's support staff of cadavers. She and her husband Jonathan are Happily Married. When Haplo is kidnapped by the Sartan king, Dynast Kleitus, the two of them volunteer to help Alfred rescue him. This is where things go Off the Rails: Jera is killed by a guard, and Jonathan, distraught, brings her back to life. But because he didn't wait the required three days for her soul to depart, she Came Back Wrong: now she is a "lazar," eternally doomed to neither life nor death, and Axe-Crazy with hatred for both...

Jera appears in Fire Sea.


A minor nobleman in the Sartan capitol city of Necropolis, and a necromancer in charge of maintaining the city's support staff of cadavers. He is Happily Married to Jera. After her messy resurrection, he joins Haplo and Alfred in their flight, eventually entering a room fraught with Abarrachi history, the "Chamber of the Damned." Strangely, though, entering the chamber brings on a feeling of peace and contentment to the three. Jonathan is eventually turned into a lazar as well, but his adventures are not over...

Jonathan appears in Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • The Atoner For what he did to Jera.
  • Genius Ditz In life- he's a very skilled necromancer, but is otherwise rather naive and absent minded. This changes following his religious experience.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness The only lazar to be at peace with himself, and—more pertinently—the only being, living or otherwise, who can undo a lazar and separate soul from corpse.
  • Necromancer

Dynast Kleitus

The ruler of Necropolis, the last surviving city on Abarrach. As a ruler, he is Affably Evil, offering his enemies drinks and polite gaming sessions, while on the side poisoning Haplo so that he can study the runes on the Patryn's body (keep in mind that the Sartan of Abarrach have lost much of their knowledge of magic, having had more important things to occupy themselves with; to them, Haplo and the power he brings might be the difference between life and extinction). When he gets turned into a lazar, though, he goes all Evil Overlord and manages to keep his rulership of Abarrach despite the lazar being Always Chaotic Evil in general. This tells you something about just how Axe-Crazy Kleitus is.

Kleitus appears in Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.

  • Affably Evil: While alive, Kleitus is a polite, cultured man who'll invite his enemies over for drinks and gaming, execute them out of hand when they become more valuable dead than alive, and calmly discuss the finer points of rune magic with Haplo while the Patryn is dying from the poison Kleitus himself gave him. As a lazar, he's at least capable of holding conversation without immediately murdering whoever he's talking to, which may not sound like much, but is really quite something when compared to the other lazar.
  • Arc Villain: Of Fire Sea.
  • Ax-Crazy: As a lazar, he's consumed with hatred for the living, but unlike most of the other lazar, he can make that hate work for him rather than being dominated by it.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He's not as powerful as Xar, but he's up there. His plans for the universe are almost as horrifying as the Serpents' (and may be worse depending on if you think "universe locked in a state of eternal chaos and misery" is better or worse than "universe of tormented undead ruled by Kleitus"). Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for everyone else) things in the last books never quite work out in his favor.
  • Black Cloak: He wears heavy black robes (as a Sartan necromancer) with purple trim (because he's royalty).
  • The Chessmaster: Kleitus is fond of strategy games, and is no slouch at applying that skill to his day-to-day life; he schemes rings around Haplo in Fire Sea, and keeps plotting even after he's dead.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Xar manages to force him into servitude through a display of more powerful magic. Kleitus is less than enthused about this.
  • The Emperor: His title as Dynast is equivalent to this; he's explicitly stated to outrank other monarchs such as kings and princes, something even his opponents admit.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jera notes that, whatever his other failings, Kleitus was a dutiful son. Even in death, his mother remains housed in the palacenote  and is constantly attended by servants and necromancers courtesy of her son.
  • Evil Overlord: As Dynast, he's the most powerful ruler on Abarrach. As lord of the lazar, he's one of the most dangerous rulers in the multiverse.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Really the only Sartan or Patryn who fits this trope. Even in life he was a power-hungry necromancer. In death, he's a power-hungry Nigh Invulnerable, Omnicidal Maniac necromancer. Fun guy.
  • Evil vs. Evil: He and the serpents despise each other, as their goals are mutually exclusive- they want to corrupt all life so they can feed on the ensuing chaos, while Kleitus just wants to kill everyone so he can rule an empire of the deadnote . He also doesn't get along with Xar or the Patryns, being a (former) Sartan.
  • Implacable Man: As a lazar, he's functionally indestructible, as there's only one spell that can reliably kill him, and few Sartan are capable of casting it. He'll come back from anything less.
  • Large and in Charge: Sartan on the whole tend to be either slender or pudgy and aren't all that physically imposing. Kleitus, on the other hand, is a tall and powerfully built man who looks the part of the ruler of his world.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Near the climax of Fire Sea, one of the Kairn Telest Sartan shoots him dead center with an arrow while in the middle of a speech. Kleitus, not missing a beat, proceeds to rip the arrow out and start gesturing with it.
  • Necromancer: One of the most powerful of the Abarrach Sartan, and they're a culture with "necromancer" as their hat.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He's noted to promote the perception of himself as a lighthearted gamester to distract his court from his true political acumen.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: his first encounter with Xar- it's remarked on as having been a spectacular, albeit brief, battle, but it only gets referenced in passing and we never see it.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: It's explicitly stated that the lazar Kleitus's goal is to kill every living person on every world, then rule over a universe of the undead for all eternity. You can't say the man thinks small...
  • Our Liches Are Different: As a lazar, he's an undead wizard of immense strength.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: In Seventh Gate, he's the "bigger fish" the Cursed Blade summons to combat Ramu and the Sartan.
  • The Starscream: He may be forced to serve Xar in Into the Labyrinth, but that's not say he's fond of the arrangement, and outright states his intentions to kill Xar as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Xar, for his part, doesn't trust Kleitus as far as he can throw him, but keeps him around because he knows more about necromancy than anyone (and, admittedly, because he's close to impossible to kill).
  • Voice of the Legion: As a lazar, he speaks with the voice of his soul and the voice of his body slightly out of sync, producing this effect. Even Xar finds it unsettling.


The chancellor to a small tribe of Abarrach natives who, under the leadership of Prince Edmund, travel to Necropolis seeking sanctuary. A fair amount of the third book is narrated from his point of view. While he serves mostly as a viewpoint character in Fire Sea, the narrative returns to Abarrach in Book Seven, where he comes into more prominence as the desperate-but-strong-willed, and very canny, leader of the remaining Abarrach population.

Balthazar appears in Fire Sea and The Seventh Gate.

  • Action Survivor
  • Anti-Villain (in Fire Sea he takes a somewhat antagonistic role despite having good motivations. He becomes a more purely heroic character in Seventh Gate)
  • Evil Chancellor (subverted. He fits almost all the stereotypes, but is a good man who only wants the best for his people and his prince. To put it in his own words: "I am not an evil man. But I am a desperate one.")
  • Mediator (again, too smart to see anything but the truth. This comes in handy late in the series: a time comes when the Sartan could use a leader who will broker a peace with the Patryn...)
  • Necromancer



A dwarf woman (yes, you heard that right) who is the princess of her tribe. Her two best friends are Alake, the princess of the human population, and Sabia, the princess of the elven tribe. All three races have worked together on a set of submarines called the Sun-Chasers, which are set to do just that: the seasun of Chelestra is migrating, and the mensch must follow it or freeze to death. But then the subs are destroyed by horrendous slimy serpents, who demand that the three princesses be sacrificed to them...

Grundle appears in Serpent Mage.

  • Action Girl (all dwarven women on Chelestra are expected to be proficient in such activities as axe-throwing)
  • Determinator (any time she makes up her mind to do something, it's next to impossible to get her to stop)
  • Plucky Girl (keeps her head remarkably well, considering she's facing villains that are Made of Evil and makes every Spider-Sense for miles start tingling)


A young elf prince who is betrothed to Sabia. He deliberately restrains her and goes to sacrifice himself in her place. Of course, the sub runs over Haplo as they travel, so things go Off the Rails from there, with the "dragon-snakes" swearing allegiance to Haplo. Haplo returns the trio of kids to their families, and helps the mensch plan the next leg in their migration: there is only one landmass in Chelestra that will remain unfrozen no matter where the sea-sun goes, but it is already populated by the Sartan...

Devon appears in Serpent Mage.

  • Crossdresser (his Paper-Thin Disguise)
  • Driven to Suicide: (after he returns and finds out that Sabia was also Driven to Suicide by the thought of living without her betrothed and best friends. Gets some Clean Pretty Reliable from Haplo to straighten him out.)
  • Non-Action Guy (the elves of Chelestra know the basics of how to use weapons, but since it's been generations since they actually went to war, this isn't good for much besides entertainment at parties and they know it)
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage (he and Sabia were an arranged couple who were very much in love so much so that she killed herself when she thought the serpents had him)


The princess of the human kingdom of Phondra, she is another one of Grundle's childhood friends. She falls in love with Haplo shortly after meeting him.

Alake appears in Serpent Mage.

The Serpents

Called varyingly serpents (by the Sartan) and dragon-snakes (by the mensch), these creatures are literally evil incarnate, created by the hate and fear of the mortal soul and given physical form by the Sundering. Their power is absolute, matched within the series only by their cousins and opposites, the dragons of Pryan, but they are very cunning as well, using their shape-changing to appear in whatever form suits their current purposes. They're immortal themselves, but have a real fondness for the painful deaths of others, whether inflicted by themselves or a third party. Though only introduced in Serpent Mage, they are the ultimate antagonists of the series.

The serpents appear in Serpent Mage, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth and The Seventh Gate.


A dragon-snake who begins working undercover in Arianus. While he is not the leader of the dragon-snakes in Serpent Mage, he grows into that position in The Hand of Chaos, and serves as The Rival and a Recurring Boss to Haplo.

Sang-drax appears in Serpent Mage (unnamed), The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, and The Seventh Gate.


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