A charismatic and ruthless leader. An excellent military tactician who intends to conquer Angland after he has defeated almost every clan in the North. He is Logen's bitter enemy after he betrayed him and his band of men. He has two sons, Calder and Scale.
- Affably Evil: He's very charismatic as well as power-hungry. He also turns out to be less one-dimensionally megalomaniacal and more well-intentioned than he initially appears.
- Arc Villain: He's the main antagonist for the story arc dealing with the Union's war against the Northmen.
- Bad Boss: After a decade of using him to unify the North, he exiled Logen under pain of death. Of course, that's Logen's side of the story. According to Bethod, Logen's psychotic actions as the Bloody Nine kept forcing Bethod into situations where violence was the only option. The only reason he didn't kill Logen and his men is because Bayaz forced him to exile them instead.
- Combat by Champion: Bethod conquered many tribes by having Logen fight as his champion. Logen won every single fight.
- Combat Pragmatist: As a commander.Logen: He delights in every trick of war - in setting traps and ambushes, in mounting feints and deceptions, in sending sudden raids against the unwary. Look for him where you expect him least, and expect him to be strongest where he seems the weakest. Beware him most of all when he seems to run.
- Cool Crown: His golden crown is often commented on.
- Create Your Own Villain: Bethod claims this is what Logen did - he was just one of many war chiefs originally, who hoped to gain a few victory's and then get good terms from his enemies, like everyone else did, so he could keep his home safe and give his sons a little more land. When Logen became his champion, he forced him into all out war by killing the men Bethod wanted to spare or ransom, leading to total war in the North, forcing Bethod to beat everyone or die.
- Deal with the Devil: Made one with Bayaz, and a related one with the Shanka.
- Defiant to the End: After Logen kills Bethod's champion, Fenris, and advances on him, Bethod doesn't cower or flee. He just keeps mocking Logen and calling him out of his own dark deeds. He keeps insulting him until Logen smashes his head in.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Calder thinks very highly of him in The Heroes, showing that, for all his villainous acts, Bethod really cared for his sons. He even says that one of his only goals in starting the war was to leave more behind for his sons than his own father left behind for him.
- Evil Former Friend: To Logen, who served him for many years before being banished. Except then it turns out Logen is an Unreliable Narrator and according to Bethod, Logen's actions as the Bloody Nine are responsible for escalating the war until it reached the point of no return.
- Genghis Gambit: His war against the Union is an attempt to strengthen his fragile hold over the North by uniting the recently conquered clans against a common enemy.
- The Good King: The things he did for the North make him a legend by The Heroes.
- Good Parent: Surprisingly, in later books he comes off as wanting only the best for his sons and doing his best to teach them how to rule.
- Noble Savage: The image he attempts to cultivate.
- Poisonous Friend: Claims that Logen was this to him, and he only had to conquer the North because Logen made too many enemies with his brutality.
- Pragmatic Villainy: While Bethod was not opposed to murder, he also saw the power in mercy. When Calder murdered Forley the Weakest to make himself appear tough, Bethod merely saw the display as wasting an asset. Afterwards he cautioned Calder to appraise a thing's value before destroying it instead of smashing a thing because he can.
- Repressive, but Efficient: Stories following his death say Bethod was the evilest bastard who ever set foot in the North, but that's only because people like simple stories of good and evil. Though he was a conqueror, Craw mentions how people don't remember the good Bethod did for the North, like building infrastructure, creating great walls, roads and bridges, and stopping the constant warring between the clans—albeit by waging war on the South.
- The Strategist: He unified the North mostly by defeating all his enemies in battle, something he was very good at. Bethod is wildly regarded to be one of the greatest military minds alive, and a severe threat to the Union.
- Tragic Villain: The reason Bethod said he had to conquer the North in the first place was because Logen's psychotic episodes as the Bloody-Nine caused so much bloodshed against Bethod's wishes, that he was essentially backed into a corner and had to start a war.
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Logen were once friends before becoming bitter enemies. Logen even comments that you can't truly hate a person unless you've loved them once, and he did once love Method.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: One interpretation of his actions in conquering the north. He started off by defeating the local clans to stop the bigger ones from squeezing his own. His success grew to the point where he defeated and united almost all the clans, and started to focus on infrastructure to improve the North. His war against the Union is partly to gain territory, but also to strengthen his hold over the North by setting his new subjects against a common enemy.
King Scale Ironhand
- Bayaz: "Brave as a bull, strong as a bull, thick as a bull's arse."
Bethod's older son and heir to the Northern Throne. At least he was until Black Dow became ruler by betraying Logen Ninefingers. As of the end of The Heroes, Scale has become King of the Northmen.
- Adipose Rex: Thanks to the lose of his hand, Scale as gone to siege as King of the Northmen, transforming from a mountain of muscle to a mountain of blubber.
- The Alcoholic: Frequently seen drinking during his time as king.
- An Arm and a Leg: He loses a hand to Bremer dan Gorst in their duel. He gets it replaced with an iron prosthesis earning the nickname Scale Ironhand.
- Awesome, but Impractical: he wears a horned helmet into battle. In their fight, Gorst grabs a hold of one of the horns and hammers its impracticality into Scale's head. Literally.
- The Berserker: He goes into a blood rage
- Big Brother Instinct: In spite of having nothing in common with his witty, wimpy half-brother Calder, he loves him and protects him from his own sharp tongue.
- Big Brother Mentor: Tries to be this to Calder, but Calder's twice as smart as he is. His presence does dissuade people from just killing Calder, though.
- Blood Knight: Scale absolutely loves fighting and war.
- The Brute: Not a bad guy, really, but only understands solving things through violence.
- Cool Uncle: He acts this way to his nephew and heir, Stour Nightfall, whom he dotes on. This is likely because he has no children of his own, coupled with the fact that the two have a lot in common, particularly during Scale's younger days. Stour even gets along better with Scale more than he does his own father. Not that this stops Stour from killing him to be king all the sooner.
- Dual Wielding: Sword and mace combo.
- Dumb Muscle: Played so very straight. He's brawny, mean, and prefers to solve his problems through violence, but he's not intelligent, especially when compared to his more calculating little brother.
- Enemy Mine: He and Calder team up with Black Dow to make one last attempt on Logen's life in Last Argument of Kings. They fail, and afterwards both end up subservient to Black Dow, who surpasses them as ruler.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Though he doesn't agree with some of Calder's ideas and wishes he was a warrior, Scale really does love his little brother. His first instinct on hearing he was nearly assassinated is to try to kill the man believed to be responsible, even though it would just get them both into trouble.
- Frontline General: One of the reasons why Scale is so well-liked by his men is because he fights with them in battles. This seems to be a prerequisite for any Northerner who wants respect. His near death at the hands of Bremer dan Gorst is evidence why this isn't always a good decision.
- Glory Days: His time as King is mostly spent reminiscing on his past exploits and reveling in the tales of his nephew, Stour Nightfall, who greatly resembles him in his youth.
- Graceful Loser: At the end of A Little Hatred, Scale takes the loss of his war against the Union remarkably rather well considering that he was on the verge of winning and only lost because Stour challenged Leo dan Brock to a duel in the circle, only gently chastising Stour for the failure.
- Hot-Blooded: Scale is a very passionate individual, and he's quick to anger and action without cooler heads to reign him in.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Stour shoves a knife in his throat without warning right in the middle of their conversation.
- Not Quite Dead: Loses his hand and is captured by the Union, but Bayaz returns him to Calder at the end of The Heroes.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The impulsive, violent Red to Calder's scheming, cowardly Blue.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Scale and Calder flee after Logen kills Bethod. They later return, having teamed up with Black Dow for one last chance at Logen.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Scale is an unintelligent brute who prefers to settle his problems through violence. Calder is a scheming snake who is terrified of the mere thought of fighting.
- Puppet King: Even though Calder ultimately decides he loves his brother too much to assassinate and usurp him, the end of The Heroes implies that Scale is more of a puppet that Calder rules through. This is confirmed in A Little Hatred where it's an open secret that Calder is the real ruler, with even Scale good-naturedly acknowledging it.
- Warrior Prince: He's heir to the Northern throne and a skilled fighter who's earned the admiration and respect of his men through battle.
- You Shall Not Pass!: Does this at the old bridge. Thanks to Bremer dan Gorst, it doesn't work. He is revealed to have survived though.
Prince "Black" Calder
- Dogman: "Bethod's youngest son. And a snake."
- All for Nothing: He spent years trying to achieve his deceased father's ambition for the North by waging another war against the Union. By the end of the book, all of his ambitions have fallen apart thanks to his son challenging Leo dan Brock to the Circle and losing.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: With his wife Sef, and occasionally comes through in interactions with his older brother Scale. In the end, played straight as he loves Scale too much to assassinate and usurp him, instead giving Scale rulership of the North.
- Bad Dreams: Ever since he murdered Forley the Weakest, he's had nightmares of the event, regretting his decision to kill a good person just to make himself appear strong.
- Best Served Cold: After he figures out that his father-in-law, Caul Reachey, was the one behind the assassination attempt on him, he waits until after his son is born before having Reachey poisoned, framing another enemy for the deed.
- Blue Oni, Red Oni: With Scale. Calder's the scheming blue, to his brother's impulsive, violent red.
- The Casanova: His love for his wife is enough to make him swear off other women. Well, almost enough.
- The Chessmaster: He spends most of The Heroes trying to scheme and manipulate his way into gaining control of the North from Black Dow. By the end, his plans bare fruit, though only after one incredibly lucky break saves his life.
- Curb-Stomp Battle Though Calder challenges Dow to a duel to the death, it's only to buy himself more time, as he doesn't believe he has a chance against him. Sure enough, he's right, and Black Dow spends their "duel" beating the living crap out of him.
- Deadpan Snarker: His contempt for his fellow Northerners mentality combined with his quick wit leads to Calder getting some great zingers. Even some of his enemies can't help but laugh at them.
- Dirty Coward: By his own admission, Calder takes every opportunity he can to avoid fighting, especially in battles. When he finds out his brother needs him and his men as a reserve, Calder is too cowardly to help, and is horrified when it seemingly leads to Scale's death.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Calder is deeply in love with his wife, Seff, to the point where he swears off other women for her... mostly. Though she's long dead by the time of A Little Hatred, Calder never remarried and says the reason why he could never discipline their son is because she saw too much of her in his face.
- Calder loved and respected his father, whose advice he frequently remembers long after his death.
- He shows care for his Honorary Uncle, Curnden Craw, even after the latter sells him out to Black Dow, mostly because he respects Craw as being a "straight-edge" and sticking to his principles. In contrast, he assassinates his father-in-law for also selling him out because he'd merely been pretending to be a "straight-edge."
- He also loves his older brother, Scale, even though he also resents him for his brutish nature and for standing in line for the throne. However, by the end of The Heroes, he proves his love for him when he refuses to kill and usurp his weakened brother, willingly giving up the throne he always wanted. And he's horrified when Stour murders him at the end of A Little Hatred.
- Evil Is Petty: Even after remembering his father's words that mercy can be power, and reflecting on what a mistake it was to execute Forley the Weakest to make himself seem strong, he still decides to order a kid who played a small role in an assassination attempt on him killed because of some minor pain he got as a result.
- The Evil Prince: He's Bethod's second son, a scheming snake of a man, and is deeply resentful of Scale, a brute, being next in line for the throne even though he views himself as more deserving. Subverted when he willingly gives up a chance at the throne rather than murder his brother.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: It seems that no one in the North, other than his wife and brother, respects him, because his cowardly, scheming ways are completely antithetical to the Proud Warrior Race Guy mindset of most Northerners.
- Happily Married: Calder and his wife, Seff, are completely head over heels in love with each other.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Not ugly per se, but Sef's most mentioned physical trait is her pig nose.
- I Have Your Wife: Black Dow is holding Calder's wife, Seff, hostage to ensure Calder—as well as Seff's father—don't try to betray him.
- Like Father, Like Son: Part of his bitterness over not being heir to the throne is that Calder believes he's more like his father than Scale is. Whether that's completely true is up for debate, but he's certainly as cunning and ruthless as his father.
- The Lost Lenore: Calder remains in mourning for the death of his wife, Seff. Even a decade later he still expresses devotion to her and never remarried.
- The Man in Front of the Man: He ends up as this to Scale after the latter becomes king.
- Manipulative Bastard: Dead set on reclaiming his father's throne from Black Dow.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Doesn't start with one, since he's never earned it. Then after he defeats Black Dow in the circle (with a little help), people start calling him Black Calder.
- Non-Action Guy: He's completely useless in a fight. Even when he does have to fight in an actual battle, his sword is completely unbloodied.
- No Respect Guy: Calder is a very competent schemer and actually raises some decent points about why Black Dow should sue for peace, but his lack of bravery or combat experience means everyone just thinks of Calder as a cowardly weakling not worth listening to.
- Older and Wiser: By the time of A Little Hatred, Calder has completely shrugged off his old, arrogant demeanor and become a much more subtle in his scheming.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Calder's own positive, scheming qualities are overshadowed by his older brother's strength and martial prowess.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: At first he was offended that his father forced him to marry a woman he considered unattractive. After they married, however, Calder grew to truly care for her, to the point that he's so in love with her, he's almost completely sworn off other women... almost.
- Puppet King: Bayaz plans on using him as one after he becomes King of the Northmen at the end of The Heroes. Instead, Calder decides to pass over the crown to Scale and Scale becomes one to Calder and, through him, Bayaz. Calder being the real power behind the throne is an open-secret to everyone by the time of A Little Hatred.
- Rage Breaking Point: After Scale's apparent death, Calder's response is uncharacteristically hot-headed.
- Rejected Apology: He tells the Dogman that he hasn't gone a day without regretting ordering Forley the Weakest's execution. The Dogman responds by threatening to murder him if he ever comes into the Dogman's territory.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Scale and Calder flee after Logen kills Bethod. They later return, having teamed up with Black Dow for one last chance at Logen.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!/Shut Up, Kirk!: Depending on your perspective, delivers a pretty awesome one to Black Dow, so much so that many of the people there to watch Dow butcher him start laughing.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Scale is an unintelligent brute who prefers to settle his problems through violence. Calder is a scheming snake who is terrified of the mere thought of fighting.
- Sleazy Politician: He definitely has the personality of an ambitious, back-stabber who's trying to scheme his way into power. This reputation does him no favors in the martial-focused North.
- Smug Smiler: His arrogant smirk is noted to be one of his most defining characteristics. His POV shows that it's a defense mechanism, and he tries to wear that smirk like armor.
- Smug Snake: In the original trilogy he certainly fits the mold as a scheming, ambitious, arrogant man. However, it becomes zig-zagged throughout The Heroes. Calder repeatedly schemes himself into a corner and wriggles out in unexpected ways, and displays far more charismatic and humanizing qualities than he previously did. He reverts to his arrogant snake personality when it appears he'll be ruler of the North, but then Bayaz puts him in his place by forcing Calder to be his puppet. Then he escapes that through brotherly love. As of A Little Hatred he's escaped this trope entirely after becoming Older and Wiser.
- Too Clever by Half: While Calder is a very smart individual, but he's not quite smart enough to ever get ahead. In fact his scheming usually gets him into big trouble that he's forced to talk his way out of.
- The Unfavorite: Calder believes Scale was favored more by his father than him.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Calder's narration reveals he really wanted his father's approval. In fact, one of the reasons why he killed Forley the Weakest was a failed attempt to gain his dad's respect.
- Would Hurt a Child: Orders the death of a kid who was involved in an assassination attempt on him. Notably, the kid didn't actually try to kill him, he just minded the others' horses, and while Calder recognizes there's probably nothing to gain from the act, he orders it anyway out of wounded pride.
- "Folk say a lot o' things about my grandfather, Bethod this and Bethod that, but I never even met the bastard. I got my own dreams to think about."
The only son of Black Calder and Seff, nephew to King Scale Ironhand, and heir to the kingdom of the Northmen. Nicknamed the Great Wolf for his prowess in battle, he's helping his father and uncle in waging another war against the Union to seize the Dogman's Protectorate. His prowess as a warrior is matched only by his bloodlust and desire for glory.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: When he goes into the Circle with Leo dan Brock, he's so cocky that even when he's the one allowed to choose which weapon the combatants use, he doesn't care and says his opponent can pick. The ensuing duel proves his confidence was wellfounded as he spends the entirety of it wiping the floor with his opponent with minimal effort.
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: His name is Stour Nightfall because he was born during an eclipse. At least, that's how the legend goes. In actuality he was born an hour beforehand but his family's too powerful for anyone to say otherwise.
- Ax-Crazy: In addition to being a ruthless war criminal, Clover and Wonderful worry Stour might be actually insane after he details his plan for Rikke. He plans on putting her on display where the Dogman's forces can see her then having her gang-raped by his soldiers, horses and possibly a pig, before cutting the bloody cross into her and sending her guts in a box to her father scented with herbs so he won't know what's inside until he opens it.
- Blood Knight: Stour truly is a masterful fighter and loves fighting like the warriors of legend, whether on the battlefield or in the Circle.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After defeating him in the Circle and sparing his life, Leo tries to invoke this on Stour, reminding him this was how Logen Ninefingers, whom they both admire, won those he bested over to his side. This and a few other arguments end up convincing Stour to be friends with Leo. It's then deconstructed when Stour proves himself to still be an utter sociopath who takes Leo's "friendship" as a justification to do whatever he wants by murdering his uncle to become King of the Northmen.
- The Dragon: He acts as one to his uncle and his father both in their third war against the Union.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Though he's not a match for his father's intelligence, at the time of the story, he's leagues more dangerous as a warrior than his uncle.
- The Evil Prince: Averted. His uncle, the King of the Northmen, is one of the only people Stour is shown getting along with. This is most likely because, not only has Scale already named Stour his heir, but the two of them are much alike, reveling in tales of past glories, and preferring simple combat to intricate schemes. Then unfortunately played straight at the end of A Little Hatred when Stour's near-death experience has taught him life is too short to wait for his moment and he just murders his uncle to become King.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride. He could've killed Leo a dozen times over in the Circle but spent most of it just toying with him. By the time he's ready to deliver the killing blow, enough time has passed for Rikke to use her Long Eye to cry out a warning that ends the duel in Leo's favor. Stour only survives because Leo shows mercy and, surprisingly, Stour learns from this encounter.
- Frontline General: Ruthless bastard or not, no one can fault his bravery. He goes where the fighting is because that's where the glory's earned.
- Glory Hound: Stour doesn't just want to win the war against the Union, he wants to become a Living Legend in the process. He loves hearing tales about his past victories and wants knew songs to be sung of him the same way Northmen sing of Shama Heartless, Whirrun of Bligh and the Bloody-Nine.
- Hate Sink: He has his father and uncle's vices with none of their virtues and proves to be a vicious, unlikable bastard even by Northern standards. It almost seems to be lampshaded by Rikke, who loathes him after overhearing him plotting her horrific death, but speculated that when she saw him in person she'd see he's just another human being with his own loves and redeeming aspects. Instead she sees the same strutting jackass he's always been.
- Jerkass: Most of his interactions with other people amount to belittling them and treating them with utter contempt. Even his own father isn't spared his scorn.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He killed Stranger-Come-Knocking in the Circle, not because the latter was a monstrous rapist, but because he was infamous enough for his death to add to Stour's legend.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Instead of being strategically minded and cunning like his father, Black Calder, Stour is much more like his uncle, Scale, a warrior who enjoys fighting in the battlefield in search of glory.
- Master Swordsman: Stour is a prodigy with a sword and just a few minutes into his duel against Leo dan Brock is enough time for everyone present to know that, despite the latter's skill, Stour is the far more capable swordsman of the two.
- Not So Different: He and Leo dan Brock share a lot of similarities. Both identify as warriors rather than soldiers, both are self-centered and hungry for personal glory, both prefer to fight openly rather than listen to the strategic advice of their much more competent single parent, whom they chafe under. Highlighting their similarities is one of the ways Leo sways Stour to ally with him rather than remain enemies.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: His Establishing Character Moment is razing a village by personally going from house-to-house to burn it down. Afterwards he says he wants to burn a few more before dinner.
- The Red Baron: Due to his exploits, Stour has garnered the nickname "The Great Wolf" and has made a wolf his personal standard.
- Red Right Hand: His eyes are described as constantly watering. Clover speculates they're "tears of acid contempt" for everyone around him.
- Royal Brat: Calder partially believes the reason why Stour turned out the way he did is because Calder never disciplined him after the death of his beloved wife, since he saw too much of Seff in Stour's face. The end result is a spoiled sociopath who's heir to the Northmen Kingdom.
- The Sociopath: Stour partakes in acts of excessive cruelty on a whim without thought to their long-term consequences, shows no remorse for any of his crimes, displays no real love or loyalty for friends and family, and only cares about himself and glorifying his own massive ego. The only times he shows respect to another person, it's to his uncle Scale, whom he's very similar to. But even then Stour ends up murdering him without batting an eye to become King of the Northmen.
- Soldier vs. Warrior: Stour falls firmly on the "Warrior" side, fighting for the thrill of it as well as his own personal glory.
- Stupid Evil: After his father spent years plotting the conquest of Uffrith, Stour burns it to the ground for no reason. He later intends to have Rikke raped then tortured to death rather than use her as a valuable hostage, and takes his time slowly bleeding Leo dan Brock in the Circle rather than killing him outright. Clearly he never took his grandfather and father's lessons of not breaking something just because he can.
Fenris the Feared
- "With this hand I tore down the statues of Aulcus. Now I kill little men, in little wars."
Bethod's champion, an unstoppable giant.
- Achilles' Heel: The entire left side of his body is covered in blue writing that gives the left side of his body a Healing Factor which makes him impervious to harm. Meanwhile, he wears impenetrable armor over his right side. Logen kills him by stabbing his sword into his left side and pushes it further and further in until it starts stabbing the organs on his right.
- Ambiguously Human: He appears more or less human, if rather imposing. But he's big enough to be a giant and strong enough to fight off several named men at once without a weapon of his own. His very presence inspires a queasy, instinctive fear in the hardest of men, and he is at least thousands of years old yet still in the prime of his power. Plus his magical tattoos, which make half of him invincible, elevate what little humanity he may have had to something supernatural. The spirits claim he is no man at all, but something far more. His life before becoming Glustrod's champion is left untold, but given Glustrod's penchant for communing with devils and the devil-blooded, it's entirely possible he was never fully human to begin with.
- The Brute: To Bethod, he's a giant that stands over seven-feet-tall and is borderline indestructible thanks to his armor and mystical Healing Factor. It's no surprise Bethod uses him strictly for killing.
- The Champion: He serves as Bethod's after Logen was exiled.
- The Dreaded: Right there in the name. His mere presence mystically compels his enemies to break down in his presence.
- Eldritch Abomination: He appears to be a terrifying man, but that by itself is relatively mundane. The real horror of him is the overpowering sense of sickening, dizzying dread he inspires in all who behold him. Logen realizes that Fenris gives off the same vibe as the cursed, radiated ruins of Aulcus, being powered by similar forces as those that destroyed the old city.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Of some sort. Invoked with his armor and tattoos.
- Humanoid Abomination: He appears human-esque, but his form towers above all other men and is rippling with tight muscle and hslf-coated in intricate tattoos. His unblinking eyes bulge from his thick skull and his voice is grating and inhuman. His wounds on one side never bleed and his strength is more than enough to mown the greatest warriors with ease. Worst of all, he radiates an upsetting, otherworldly aura that reduces the bravest men to nausea and terror.
- The Juggernaut: He's completely unstoppable in battle. Even Logen doesn't stand a chance against him until Caurib is killed.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Start with naming him after a legendary, giant, god-killing wolf. Then add "the Feared."
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Half of his body is covered with magic runes in the language of demons that make him impervious to any harm.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Fenris, or Fenrir, is a figure from Norse mythology. The son of Loki, he is a great and vicious wolf that can barely be contained by the most powerful of binds, prophesied to break free during Ragnarok and kill Odin the Allfather himself. A name to inspire fear and power.
- Really 700 Years Old: If his claims that he served under Glustrod during the fall of the Old Empire are true. And given the fact that a spirit corroborates the story, they most likely are.
A sorceress from the utmost North, unaffiliated with the Order of the Magi, who serves King Bethod.
- Compelling Voice: Her power, the Golden Voice, allows her to seduce anyone and control them with her voice. When the Dogman and Harding Grim try to assassinate her, she uses it to convince Grim to stab the Dogman. They're only saved by Black Dow's arrival.
- The Evil Genius: Though Bethod is a genius when it comes to warfare, she provides the magical genius and skills integral to his war.
- Evil Sorceress: A sorceress who uses her magic to help Bethod conquer the North and wage war against the South.
- Fog of Doom: She summons mists to conceal Bethod's armies.
- Makeup Is Evil: Bayaz even mocks her for wearing so much makeup.
- "I've no doubt the world would be a better place if I'd been killed years ago, but I haven't been, and I don't know why."
An aging Northman with a black name and a blacker past. After living a life of senseless violence, Logen tries to turn away from the path he's walked so long only to find, no matter where he goes, he can't easily escape his deeds, or his nature. By the time of Red Country he goes by the name Lamb.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: After he kills Bethod, Logen becomes the new King of the North. Unfortunately, his rule is short-lived.
- Barbarian Hero: A classic, if gritty example.
- Battle Couple: More like "Battle Friends with Benefits," but he and Ferro Maljinn get into a physical relationship on their journey to the Edge of the World, and they frequently face threats together.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: A rare heroic example. Logen Ninefingers used to be the worst man in the North. By the time of Red Country he's a nonviolent, non-confrontational coward named Lamb... at least until his children are stolen.
- The Berserker: On occasion. Bad occasion. When he becomes the Bloody-Nine he doesn't distinguish friend from foe. All that matters is killing.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Logen is one of the nicest characters in the original trilogy, but he's one of the most feared men in the North for a reason. His Bloody-Nine persona is a dangerous psychotic who's a danger to friend and foe alike.
- But Now I Must Go: At the end of Red Country, he realizes that his past as the Bloody-Nine will always put his adoptive children at risk, and decides that the best thing he can do for them is leave.
- Catch Phrase: Several. Almost all of them are shown to be inaccurate or delusional over the course of the books.
- "You have to be realistic about these things."
- "You can never have too many knives."
- "Still alive."
- "Say one thing for Logen Ninefingers, say he...*insert relevant trait here.*"
- Combat Pragmatist: During a fight, all Logen cares about is surviving, meaning he'll do whatever it takes to win.
- Cool Sword: Carried the Maker's Sword for a while.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Outside the North, he comes off to many people as a dim-witted savage. In reality, he's not only a very intelligent and philosophical person, he's quite possibly the deadliest fighter in the series.
- The Dragon: He used to be this to Bethod, as his champion during the early parts of the war.
- The Dreaded: People in the North are terrified of him. By the time of The Heroes, just the rumor of his presence can send Northern warriors fleeing.
- The Heart: Despite his incredibly dark and bloody past, Logen adopts this role in Bayaz's group as they make their way to the Edge of the World. While Bayaz and Quai remain distant, Logen tries to inspire camaraderie in the rest of the group. He convinces Ferro to stay and his lessons trigger Jezal's development into a better person.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Discussed. Logen states that he has no preference in weapons, but Bayaz tells him that Heroes Prefer Swords, so he gives him one.
- I See Dead People: Not "dead people" exactly, but he's one of the only people left in the world who can see spirits, creatures that are otherwise invisible to normal folk. It's one of the reasons Bayaz takes Logen with him on his trip to the Edge of the World.
- Knife Nut: Prefers larger weapons in a fight, but always has a few knives as backup. One of his mottoes is, "You can never have too many knives."
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Bloody-Nine.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His children with his wife, Thelfi, died during a Shanka raid on his village.
- Papa Wolf: In Red Country, he's adopted three kids: Shy South (who's a grown woman by the time of the story), Ro and Pit. When Pit and Ro are kidnapped, Logen brings his Bloody-Nine persona out of retirement to rip apart anyone who stands between him and his missing kids.
- Poisonous Friend: Bethod reveals that it was Logen's bloodlust as the Bloody-Nine that forced Bethod's hand to become king. The times when Bethod tried to smooth things over nonviolently were usually sabotaged by Logen killing important people, making peace impossible.
- Retired Monster: By the beginning of the series, Logen is ashamed of his past atrocities and his Bloody-Nine personality. In The Red Country, he goes a step farther by retiring to a farm and changing his name, but he still can't escape the Bloody-Nine.
- The So-Called Coward: As Lamb he becomes a dark take on this. He puts on a cowardly, non-confrontational personality, because if he engages in combat, it tends to bring out a not so nice side of his personality. His adoptive daughter, Shy, not realizing the truth, thinks of him as a coward as a result and is horrified when she finds out differently.
- Superpowered Evil Side: The Bloody-Nine. It's an alternate personality in which he gains seemingly superhuman fighting abilities, yet also goes into a battle lust that causes him to kill just about anything in front of him. Even friends and children. By the start of the series, Logen hates the Bloody-Nine and resists him taking over in anything less than the most extreme circumstances.
- Two Aliases, One Character: In Red Country, he's Lamb. While the book can be enjoyed without knowing this, it's a Late-Arrival Spoiler that is important to understanding his character.
- Uncertain Doom: The original trilogy ends with him escaping an assassination attempt by leaping from a window and plunging to the river far below. The book ends on a cliffhanger as to whether he survived. Years later, he's presumed dead, and Black Dow has taken credit for killing him, but considering the body wasn't found and he managed to survive an earlier plunge in the beginning of the very first story, it's possible he survived. Red Country confirms he's still alive.
- Warrior Poet: Has a bit of a philosophical side.
- We Used to Be Friends: Logen says that you can't truly hate a man without loving him first, and he admits to himself that he did love Bethod before they became bitter enemies.
- Would Hurt a Child: Or, rather, the Bloody-Nine would. During the Battle in the High Places, he kills one of Crummock-i-Phail's young sons.
Logen's oldest friend, a Named Man of some repute. He has sharp teeth, a sharp nose and an even sharper sense of smell.
- The Archer: His primary weapon, as a scout.
- Combat Pragmatist: Pretty common among the Northmen.
- The Good King: He becomes leader of a Northern Protectorate by the end of The Heroes and is widely beloved by his people over fifteen years later in A Little Hatred.
- Good Parent: He's a loving and devoted father to his daughter Rikke, whom he provides with equal amounts of loving support and worldly wisdom.
- The Nose Knows: His namesake is his extremely sharp sense of smell.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Helped by his sense of smell.
- Stealth Expert: Played with. He's famous for his stealth, but due to the relatively realistic nature of the series, we occasionally see Dogman trip over things or bump into people he wasn't expecting.
- Harding Grim: Never took an easy path, if he thought it was the wrong one. Never stepped back from a fight, if he thought it had to be done. I stood with him, walked with him, fought with him, ten years, all over the North. I've no complaints.
An elderly member of Logen's band, a skilled and inspiring leader in his own right.
- Cool Old Guy: Admit it, you want to get drunk and smoke chagga with him.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Has an old-fashioned Northern sense of honor, despite his circumstances.
- The Lancer: He was second to Logen. When Logen seemingly dies, Threetrees takes over leadership of their group.
- The Leader: After Logen is separated from his crew.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: He wields a big, round shield in battle along with his sword.
- Old Soldier: The oldest member of the band, but still plenty of fight left in him.
- Sacrificial Lion: He's a major character in the first two books but dies in battle to Fenris the Feared.
- The Strategist: He always spells out the plan.
- "This ain't for you, to kill a man tied up. It's for work like this, you bring along a man like me."
A sharp-tongued member of Logen's band who is famed for his ruthlessness.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Becomes King of the Northmen after the trilogy.
- At Least I Admit It: He despises people who pretend that they're the good guys despite being ruthless killers. This is also large part of his justification for trying to assassinate Logen.
- Axe-Crazy: Has this reputation, though The Heroes implies that he's actually quite calculated.
- Bad Boss: Zigzagged in The Heroes. He can be perfectly affable to his subordinates if he deems them worthy of his respect, but behaves like a total jerk to everyone else. His constant mistreatment of Shivers has fatal consequences for him.
- Blood Knight: There's nothing that Dow enjoys more than killing. In The Heroes, he jumps at the chance of fighting on the frontlines again after years of inactivity.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: He betrays Logen at the end of the original trilogy, and, in The Heroes, is betrayed and killed by Caul Shivers.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's an unrepentant murderer and rapist, and enjoys every minute of it.
- Combat Pragmatist: Despite being a fearsome fighter, he doesn't like to take unnecessary risks and is not above fighting dirty. Logen finds out the hard way at the end of the trilogy.
- Cool Sword: After betraying Logen, he claims the Maker's sword for himself.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His duel to the death with Calder is painfully one-sided in Black Dow's favor. The only reason Calder survives is because Caul Shivers betrays and kills him in the middle of it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a very dark, cynical kind of humor.
- The Dog Bites Back: Pulls this on Logen, and then years later Shivers pulls it on him.
- The Dreaded: Nearly as much as Logen. He has a particularly vile reputation for having done just about every underhanded deed you could think of.
- Dual Wielding: Sword and axe.
- Duel to the Death: He's forced to accept Calder's challenge of a duel to save face. Everyone expects Dow to win due to his fearsome reputation and his opponent's status as a Non-Action Guy. Dow would have won had Caul Shivers not betrayed him.
- Ear Ache: One of his most notable traits is his missing ear.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Claims to not be as bad as Bethod's tax collectors, who leave nothing from villages they 'collect' from. He then claims he never would kill his friends to Logen, and kills him to prevent a madman becoming the King of the North.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Doesn't actually kill Logen Ninefingers, which is a large part of his reputation.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Dow reveals he used to be a potter's apprentice before becoming one of the most feared men in the North.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Although he seems to be able to turn it off just as quickly. Its hinted at in The Heroes that he plays the part on purpose. Being known as a crazy fucker who might start killing people on the drop of a hat has its perks.
- Hidden Depths. Used to be a craftsman's apprentice and sometimes regrets leaving that life.
- In the Back: He's killed in the middle of his duel with Calder when Caul Shivers attacks him while his back is turned.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although his heart is pretty black, he's noted to express moral disgust on a few rare occasions. The Dogman is also surprised to see how emotional he gets at Forley's funeral.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: He is even more a ruthless a despot than Bethod ever was and while he gets annoyed at Logen dragging the North into someone else's war, the first thing he does after coming to power is start conquering the rest of the North for himself.
- Jerkass: Generally acts hostile and abrasive, even to his own allies.
- The Lancer: To Threetrees.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Is this trope.What's my name? White Dow?
- Pet the Dog: Has a few notable moments, such as his interactions with West or his words at Threetrees' funeral. In The Heroes he surprises Craw by allowing him to retire once the war is done.
- Retired Monster: Has shades of this in The Heroes. Being King of the Northmen does not leave one with much time for Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
- Slasher Smile: Often flashes a menacing grin.
- The Sneaky Guy: "You won't see Black Dow coming. Not if he doesn't want to be seen."
- Token Evil Teammate: Seems to revel in it - he claims he's the one to kill teenagers who they've captured. Revelations about the Bloody Nine shows he might not be so bad in comparison.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Surprisingly, he comes across as much more personable in The Heroes, though this might just be how Craw sees him.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: He usurps Logen as new King of the North at the end of the original trilogy. Surprisingly enough, he's not really any worse than any other ruler.
- The Usurper: At the end of the original trilogy, while he fails to assassinate Logen, he takes credit for his death and becomes the new King of the North.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Tul Duru will occasionally work each other into a screaming argument that requires the others to tone down before it comes to blows, but their both good friends.
- We Used to Be Friends: He still respects the Dogman even years after the two became enemies, following Dow usurping Logen as King of the North. He regrets that they've become enemies and gets pissed off when one of his allies besmirches the Dogman's reputation.
- Would Hit a Girl: Has no qualms about killing women.
- Would Hurt a Child: Or children, for that matter.
Tul Duru "Thunderhead"
- Dogman: The Thunderhead was a different animal. Once that big ox got properly riled there was no calming him. Not without ten strong men and a lot of rope.
A giant member of Logen's band, he is extremely tall and strong.
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: Even by Named Man standards.
- Badass Beard: He's a gigantic warrior with an impressive beard.
- BFS: He wields an enormous sword that he often rests on his shoulder.
- The Big Guy: His role in the Logen's group of Named Men, being the literal biggest and strongest.
- Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: He's the third member of the band to die. Logan kills him in one of his blackouts during the battle of the High Places.
- Nice Guy: He's not one to use his size to bully others, and is "slow to anger."
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The cause of his death. When Logen is wounded in battle, Tul tries to help him up, not realizing that Logen is in full Bloody-Nine mode and no longer able to distinguish between friends and enemies.
- No Indoor Voice: Has a deep, booming voice, giving him his name.
- Rage Breaking Point: The Dogman muses at one point that Tul Duru is extremely slow to anger, and that's a very good thing for everyone.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Dow. With Dow. They argue all the time, and each refuses to follow the other, but when Tul dies, Dow delivers an impassioned eulogy at his funeral.
A laconic member of Logen's band.
- Archer Archetype: Logen accounts him the best archer he's ever seen... before he met Ferro.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Logen recalls nearly being spitted by Grim with a spear during their duel.
- Captain Obvious: The Dogman notes that, when Grim does choose to speak, it's rarely something profound and usually something that didn't need saying in the first place.
- Catchphrase: "Uh."
- Cold Sniper: A very laconic and stoic archer.
- Deadpan Snarker: On the rare occasions where he does talk, he can be quite snarky.
- Hidden Depths: Speaks fluent Union, for one.
- The Quiet One: He rarely speaks, which is where his name comes from.
Forley the Weakest
- Dogman: He might not have been much at killing, Forley, but he was a damn good boy for stopping those that were from killing each other.
A member of Logen's band, nervous and cowardly but acts to keep the group together and stop them fighting each other.
- Decapitation Presentation: Bethod's son, Calder, has Forley killed out of spite, and one of his lieutenants throws the sack containing his head at Threetrees' feet. Logen's band proceed to kill all of Calder's lieutenants for this.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's the weakest member of his tribe, and certainly of the band.
- The Heart: Lousy at winning fights, but excellent at preventing them, which the Dogman notes is a very useful ability.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: With the Shanka advancing and Bethod's army on the move, it's only a matter of time before the Shanka overwhelm the North. Forley volunteers to deliver a warning to Bethod's people about the Shanka since he's the least threatening member of Logen's band, so they're most inclined to listen to him. Not only does Bethod's son, Calder, have Forley killed, it turns out Bethod is working with the Shanka.
- Non-Action Guy: He generally just hides during fights. When he does manage to kill a flathead, it's a matter of celebration.
- Sacrificial Lamb: In-universe; his village sent him to duel Logen as a form of surrender. This turns out to be his role in-story as well.
- The So-Called Coward: Everyone, including himself, considers him a coward due to his Non-Action Guy status. But in the end Forley is willing to risk his life by parlaying with Bethod's people in the hopes of warning the North about a Shanka invasion. He ends up killed for it and Threetrees' remarks at his courage and self-sacrifice at his funeral.
- "Every sword's a curse, boy."
Leader of a crew of Named Men, known to all as a real straight edge.
- A Father to His Men: Craw cares about every member of his Dozen. He does his best to keep them alive and if he fails, he says the words over their graves.
- Catch Phrase: "Those are the times."
- Conflicting Loyalties: He has to choose whether to be loyal to his principles in serving his chief, Black Dow, or loyal to Calder, someone he loves like a son, when he tries to convince him to assassinate Dow. In the end he reluctantly chooses his principles.
- Cool Old Guy: He's an old man who's also funny, personable, reasonable, and a caring leader.
- Embarrassing Nickname: His name "Craw" comes from nearly choking on a chicken bone that got stuck in his throat. At the time he was furious at Threetrees for giving him such an embarrassing name, but as time went on he became grateful for it.
- Feeling Their Age: While he's an Old Soldier, his age is definitely catching up to him, as he reflects any time he's getting ready to go into battle. His knees in particular give him a lot of trouble.
- Friendly Enemy: With fellow Northman, Hardbread. They're old friends and they genuinely like each other, it's just that every time they meet in The Heroes, they're on opposite sides of a war. At least until the epilogue where they're on the same side.
- Honor Before Reason: Even though he doesn't like Black Dow, and he loves Calder like a son, he still chooses to live up to his principles by telling Black Dow that Calder wanted Craw to assassinate him. He does this knowing it'll likely mean Calder's death.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Craw always tries to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it is or how much he grumbles about it.
- Like a Son to Me: He loves Calder like a son.
- Like an Old Married Couple: A platonic example. His second, Wonderful, describes their relationship like a married couple that no longer fuck.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He chooses to remain loyal to his chief, Black Dow, even though it means confessing that Calder, who's practically his surrogate son, tried to convince Craw to assassinate Dow. Calder is nearly executed as a result.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: How he views his Sadistic Choice.
- Number Two: He used to be second to Rudd Threetrees. He later becomes Black Dow's second, but only until the war is over.
- Old Soldier: He's an old man who's been involved in wars practically his entire life. He's been meaning to retire for a long time but never quite gets around to it.
- Parental Substitute: He was practically Calder's second father. Even after Craw sides with Dow over him, nearly causing Calder's death, Calder doesn't hold a grudge.
- The Reliable One: Craw has a reputation as a "straight edge" due to his commitment to doing the right thing, sticking by the old ways, and standing by his chief and crew. It's the reason why Black Dow chooses him as his second.
- Retired Badass: Craw's dream is to retire from soldiering and live a quiet life. Unfortunately he can never quite find a time to hang up his sword. He finally does at the end of The Heroes only to realize he doesn't want to stop soldiering, and joins up to help Calder in his war against Glama Golden.
- Sadistic Choice: Faced with one when his old friend and former chief's son Calder attempts to turn him against his new chief.
- Undying Loyalty: He's famed for stellar loyalty among the North.
- You Remind Me of X: Black Dow tells Craw that he reminds him of Threetrees, which Craw is deeply flattered by.
- Action Girl: She's one of the only women seen fighting along with the men in the North.
- Action Mom: She has children at home and visits them between jobs.
- Bald Woman: Wonderful has shaved-stubble hair. She first shaved her head when trouble started up with Bethod's men trying to attack her farm.
- Cold Sniper: A sarcastic warrior who's skilled with a bow.
- Combat Pragmatist: Anyway to win a fight is the right strategy.
- Deadpan Snarker: Wonderful has a very sarcastic and snide sense of humor.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: After stabbing her in the heart, Clover holds her as she dies, since he thinks he'd want someone to hold him when he dies.
- Happily Married: Has a husband and kids back at home, whom she visits between jobs. This turns out to be a lie as they packed up and left years ago, and she couldn't bear to tell anyone.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be snide and sarcastic towards her friends, but it's obvious she cares about them a lot.
- The Lad-ette: Wonderful is a capable fighter who's described as tough as any man.
- The Lancer: To Craw. Later to Dow, when she takes command of his Carls.
- Number Two: She's Craw's second in his Dozen.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: She and the rest of her Dozen make a run for it rather than stick around to see the aftermath of Dow's murder at Shivers' hands.
- Shoot Your Mate: Stour Nightfall orders Clover to murder her to prove his loyalty to him. Clover doesn't even hesitate, even though he hates doing it.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: After Stour orders Jonas Clover to kill her to prove his loyalty, she doesn't even have time to finish saying Clover's name before he's stabbed her in the heart.
- When You Coming Home Mom: She doesn't get a chance to visit her husband and kids often because she's usually too busy off fighting. She says they understand it's just who she is. Except it turns out she's lying, and they packed up and left years ago and she couldn't bear to tell anyone.
Whirrun of Bligh
A hero from a valley in the far north of the North, and a member of Craw's dozen.
- Because Destiny Says So: The reason he joined up with Craw was because the sorceress Shoglig told him that he'd be shown his destiny by a man choking on a bone. He's also unafraid when fighting because she told him the day and manner of his death. He's pretty bummed when dying that she was just making shit up.
- BFS: The Father of Swords, an impossibly large two-hander.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: People put up with his gonzo personality because he's such a good fighter.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's usually chipper, even during war, partly because he knows when and how he'll die.
- Character Development: In "The Fool Jobs," a story concerning Craw's crew several years before The Heroes, Whirrun is new to the band, so he's detached from his comrades and rather reticent. By the time of The Heroes, he's an old hand with the group won't shut up about whatever is on his mind.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Whirrun has an... odd way of thinking at times.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Acts like a weird goofball most of the time.
- Cursed With Awesome: He wields the Father of Swords, a sword said to have been dropped by God and is worshipped by people way up North in the valleys. Whirrun says he views it as both a blessing and a curse, though, he admits as he lays dying, that now he only considers it a curse, and asks Craw to bury it with him so no one else needs to carry that burden.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: He dies in Craw's arms.
- Face Death with Dignity: He takes his death remarkably well, only being disappointed that Shoglig had no clue what the hell she was talking about when she predicted his death.
- Famed in Story: Other Northmen spend the time between battles talking about his ridiculous list of accomplishments.
- Foreseeing My Death: He has no fear because the witch Shoglig told him to the day and manner of his death. He often gloats that today is not the day of his prophesied death, so he is sure to overcome his enemies. Subverted when he's mortally wounded by a random spear. As he lay dying, he's not too happy to realize that Shoglig had no idea what she'd been talking about all along.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He dies when he's stabbed by a random spear while fighting Bremer dan Gorst.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Whirrun can somehow use the impractically large Father of Swords to deadly effect. Bremer dan Gorst has never seen such swordsmanship.
- Master Swordsman: His swordsmanship skills are legendary. Gorst, a Master Swordsman himself, regards him as a Worthy Opponent when they meet on the battlefield.
- Non-Indicative Name: He's never even been to Bligh. That's just the northernmost place that anyone locally has ever heard of, so he's assumed to be from around there.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Has less clothes on every time he fights. This ultimately gets him killed.
- Worthy Opponent: He and Bremer dan Gorst acknowledge each other as this during their duel. Unfortunately, in the middle of it, Whirrun ends up killed by a random spear.
A Northern lad of seventeen, whose father was a famous champion.
- Dirty Coward: Deconstructed. Beck abandons his comrades and hides during a battle, but it's part of the deconstruction of warfare. Who would want to participate in such an atrocious waste of human life?
- Dramatic Irony: Beck becomes a Named Man, doing so by hiding in a pile of corpses and getting covered in blood, so that his comrades believe he'd fought through hell to survive.
- Jerkass: Well, he is seventeen.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Of course, throughout the novel there are obvious signs that Beck cares, and that much of his jerkish behaviour is overcompensating. And while a good part of his aversion to war is (arguably sensible) cowardice, much more of it has to do with the fact that he's just not a killer, and after his first taste of battle, he doesn't want to be.
- Momma's Boy: He was raised by his mother, but abandons her and his siblings to become a man. When the realities of being a warrior dawn on him, he starts thinking a lot about his mother. He returns to her in the end.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Kills a comrade after spending most of a battle hiding. When the northman veterans give him a name, he tries to correct them, but he's too exhausted and traumatized to do so. At the end of the novel, he confesses this to Craw hoping to be punished, and when Craw simply says he's seen and heard stories like that dozens of times, he only feels worse.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of the battle, having seen enough of his father's lifestyle.
- Small Name, Big Ego: His father was Shama Heartless yet he acts like he's owed the same level of reverence without having to do anything to earn it. He soon becomes disavowed of that notion.
- Took a Level in Kindness: One of the very few in the First Law Universe. He goes from being a selfish, vain, jerkass of a teenager who dreams of being a butcher on the battlefield to a humble, caring man content to live the rest of his life on a farm and forget about the war.
Black Dow's War-Chiefs
One of Black Dow's five war-chiefs, and Calder's father-in-law.
- Broken Pedestal: Calder expresses disappointment in Reachey's attempt on his life, mostly because he thought better of Reachey than that. In contrast, when Craw betrayed Calder, there were no hard feelings because Calder knew Craw was sticking to his principles.
- Cool Old Guy: He's a reasonable old man with a reputation as a straight edge and promises to side with Calder within reason. Turns out he's not quite as much of a straight edge as he advertises.]
- Frame-Up: Calder has him assassinated in revenge for his attempt on Calder's life, and frames Glama Golden for the deed.
- I Have Your Wife: His daughter is held hostage by Black Dow to ensure Reachey's good behavior.
- Killed Offscreen: He's killed by Calder offscreen.
- Papa Wolf: Reachey will do anything to protect his daughter, Seff, who's being held hostage by Black Dow to ensure his good behavior. He's even willing to try to assassinate his son-in-law, Calder, rather than risk his scheming costing his daughter her life.
- The Reliable One: Like Craw, Reachey has a reputation as a straight edge due to his dedication to the old way. Unlike Craw, Reachey has no illusions about the old way and is willing to backstab and betray his son-in-law out of pragmatism.
One of Black Dow's five war-chiefs. He's the most loyal among them and possesses a burning hatred of Bethod's sons.
- Big Damn Villains: Tenways actually saves Calder's life from Mitterick's soldiers.
- Evil Old Folks: An evil, elderly war-chief.
- Gonk: Tenways has bad teeth, a foul smell, and patches of a hideous rash covering his twisted face. The overall effect has Calder describe him as "ugly as incest."
- The Mole: Bayaz reveals that Tenways' loyalty was mostly a show, and he was really one of his agents.
- Not Me This Time: He wasn't behind the assassination attempt on Calder. Caul Reachey was.
- Sins of the Father: Tenways lost to Bethod twice in battle and lost everything he had as a result. Since Bethod's death, however, he's transferred all his loathing to his sons, Scale and Calder, instead.
- Uriah Gambit: He withholds backup for Scale during a battle, nearly resulting in his death.
- Yes-Man: He's the most vocal in his support of Black Dow, and comes across as a toadying bootlicker as a result. In reality, this is an act, and he's really one of Bayaz's pawns.
One of Black Dow's war-chiefs and Glama Golden's rival.
- Hidden Depths: Calder is surprised to realize that Ironhead is more politically cunning than Calder anticipated.
- The Rival: He and Glama Golden despise each other and are in frequent competition.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Glama hate each other but they're forced to work together under Black Dow.
One of Black Dow's war-chiefs who's known for his vanity and his rivalry with Cairm Ironhead.
- Bling of War: He goes into battle decked out with golden armor, rings, bracelets and necklaces. It's where he got his name from.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets an undeservedly excruciating death in Red Country when Logen, as the Bloody-Nine, literally rips him apart during their duel to the death.
- Curbstomp Battle: In Red Country, while his and Logen's duel starts off seemingly on even footing, it ends with Logen effortlessly killing him.
- Duel to the Death: In Red Country he's become a pit fighter who engages in these. His last one, against Logen Ninefingers, does not go well for him.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's introduced in Red Country defending Shy South from some of Papa Ring's thugs. When Papa Ring kidnaps Shy to force Logen to throw the duel, he keeps it secret from Golden because he knows he'd disapprove.
- The Exile: After he's framed for Reachey's assassination, he's forced to flee the North and remain in exile in the Far Country.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: From a mighty, feared war-chief to a measly pit fighter for a crime boss.
- Frame-Up: Calder assassinates Caul Reachey and frames Glama Golden for the deed.
- Noble Top Enforcer: He becomes this to the crime boss, Papa Ring. Unlike his other hired muscle, Glama is reserved, has standards, and no longer relishes violence.
- Not So Different: By the time of Red Country he's become a lot like Logen, a killer who's remorseful of his violent past but can't quite escape it's shadow.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He works for the crime boss, Papa Ring, but otherwise he's nowhere close to being a villain.
- The Rival: He and Cairm Ironhead despise each other and are in frequent competition.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Ironhead hate each other but they're forced to work together under Black Dow.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's lost a lot of his vanity and arrogance by the time of Red Country, having become a more thoughtful and less violent person. Not that it helps him any.
A bitter Northman, he searches for vengeance against Logen for butchering his brother many years ago.
- Ascended Extra: Had a supporting role in the original trilogy before becoming a main character in Best Served Cold.
- Ax-Crazy: After his FaceHeel Turn.
- Battle Couple: He and Monza become lovers during Best Served Cold. To say it ends poorly would be an understatement.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: From a well-intentioned man who was victimized by the Bloody Nine to an amoral barbarian who is a cut-price Bloody Nine.
- Bedmate Reveal: With Monza at one point. She demands he take payment in gold for the night and is quite annoyed when he tries to refuse.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Shivers getting his eye burned away in a torture chamber finally pushes him over the edge.
- Big Brother Bully: It's revealed that far from loving his older brother, Shivers despised him, since he acted caring in public, only to mercilessly abuse him in private. Shivers wonders if he's mad at Logen for killing his brother, or mad at him for taking away Shivers' own chance at killing him.
- The Big Guy: Not his role in the group or story, but he often gets tagged with this stereotype due to being Northern.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: He tries to kill Monza in Best Served Cold and successfully kills Black Dow in The Heroes.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Played with. He ends up betraying almost everyone he ever serves to some degree or another, but every time it's due to mistreatment, and the one time it isn't is also something of a redemptive moment for him.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He can't help but agree with Monza's assessment that he's essentially trying to kill her just because she slept with someone else.
- The Dog Bites Back: Don't mistreat Shivers. Seriously. Don't.
- In Best Served Cold after Monza distances herself from him following his torture and mutilation, and starts sleeping with someone else, Shivers tries to kill her.
- In The Heroes Black Dow continually belittling him leads to Shivers murdering him.
- The Dreaded: By the time of The Heroes he's become one of the most feared men in the North, and is considered Black Dow's dog.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Speaks in a raspy whisper following his torture, due to his vocal chords being damaged from his screams of pain.
- Eye Scream: One of his eyes is burnt out when he's captured and tortured by Salier's soldiers.
- Facial Horror: As a result of the aforementioned Eye Scream.
- Good Feels Good: When he decides to let go of his feud with Logen, Shivers comments on how good it feels to let go of something.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Throughout the entire series. He starts out as fairly heroic in the original trilogy, undergoes a Start of Darkness in Best Seved Cold, is firmly on the villainous side during The Heroes, and shows signs of his former idealism at the end of Red Country.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: He's one of the more heroic characters in the series, and uses a sword. He switches to an axe after his FaceHeel Turn in Best Served Cold.
- Knight In Sour Armor: More or less slides into this after leaving the North. He loses this attitude by the end of Best Served Cold and essentially becomes a straight-up villain.
- The Lancer/The Dragon: To Monza. And Black Dow. And Calder. And most recently the Dogman.
- Madness Mantra: "It should have been you" to Monza after his torture.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Officially, Monza's child is said to be Duke Rogont's, though it could just as easily be Shivers.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Subverted. He claims that he's called Shivers because his enemies shiver in fear when they see him, but it's actually an Embarrassing Nickname he got after he fell into a freezing river on his first raid. However, after his FaceHeel Turn in Best Served Cold, people really start being afraid of him.
- Pet the Dog: At the end of Red Country, when he finally decides to lay his feud with Logen to rest.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of the original trilogy, he decides not to participate in Dow's betrayal of Logen.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Monza has him get a haircut, cleans him up and gets him into fancy clothes. He looks rather dashing. It's implied, rather disturbingly, she's trying to make him look like Benna.
- Sixth Ranger: Joins Threetrees' band of Named Men in Before They Are Hanged.
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: During Best Served Cold, he goes from an idealistic trying to become a better person to a bitter, broken psychopath.
- Start of Darkness: Best Served Cold is this for him. He tries to be a good man, but when it proves difficult, he ends up falling in with Monza's revenge scheme for the money. He's continually disillusioned, ends up tortured and disfigured, and essentially ends the story as the new Bloody-Nine.
- Woman Scorned: The rare gender-flipped example. The final straw that causes Shivers to betray and attempt to murder Monza is because she she sleeps with another man. Though, being discarded and treated as an embarrassment after he repeatedly saved her life and ended up tortured because of her didn't help.
- You Killed My Father: The reason Shivers loathes Logen is because he murdered Shivers's brother even though he promised him mercy. Logan cut off his arms and legs and nailed his head on Bethod's standard. His father, Rattleneck, was driven to depression, alcoholism, and an early death as a result. It's later revealed Shivers hated his brother, who was an abusive bastard, and resented his father, who wished Shivers had been killed instead. Shivers wonders if he hates Logen just for killing his brother, or for making it so that Shivers could never kill his brother himself.
- You Should Have Died Instead: His father would've preferred if Shivers had died rather than his elder son. Later, after being tortured, Shivers tells Monza that she should've been the one tortured instead.
Regarded "the maddest bastard in the north" he leads a clan of Treemen, he wears a necklace of finger bones around his neck and has his three children carry his weapons around for him (unable to tell his daughter from his sons), he seems friendly if crazy.
- Acrofatic: Despite his considerable girth, he's a capable fighter.
- Affably Evil: Beneath his goofy, easy-going facade, he's surprisingly ruthless and cunning.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Zigzagged. He wants to see Logen fight in a war as the Bloody Nine again, but when the Bloody Nine does take over in battle, he ends up murdering one of Crummock's sons. However, afterwards Crummock doesn't seem too shook up about it, and seems ignorant Logen was even the killer. At least until their final conversation where Crummock flat-out tells Logen he knows he murdered his son and gives him an Implied Death Threat if he ever comes back into Crummock's territory.
- Big Fun: He's a fat man who's cheerful and entertaining in his borderline insanity. Then it turns out he's not as insane as he leads others to believe and he's much more ruthless than first expected.
- Boisterous Bruiser: The only Northman who is always in a good mood. Even when outnumbered and outclassed against an attacking army. He loves to fight, laugh and tell stories, often laughing at stories about fights.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He seems insane, in particular with regards to believing Logen to be "favored by the moon". He struggles to remember his own children's names, and is shocked to find out one is his daughter where he remembered having a son.
- Creepy Souvenir: Wears a necklace made of the finger bones of his fallen enemies.
- Dissonant Serenity: He reveals to Logen that he knew all along that the Bloody Nine killed his son, yet, beyond dropping his mad facade for a moment of seriousness, the Hillman is remarkably comfortable with the fact. He does warn Logen to keep out of the High Places unless he wants retaliation, but leaves in surprisingly good humor about the whole affair."You don't put a wolf amongst your sheep, then cry when you find one eaten."
- Drop the Hammer: His Weapon of Choice is an enormous war hammer.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's proud to be considered bloodthirsty and mad, calling himself and those like him "beloved of the moon". Once he sees enough of Logen's fighting, however, he admit's it's possible to be too beloved.
- Fat Bastard: Despite the above tropes, he's also happy to get other people killed pursuing his ideas about destiny, and remarkably unconcerned about his own son's death.
- Just Between You and Me: In his last scene with Logen, he drops his usual loony behavior, revealing that he's completely aware that Logen killed his son and advising him never to come back to the High Places before leaving.
- In Love with Your Carnage: He respects Logen mostly because of how brutal and impressive his Bloody Nine personality is in battle.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Hilariously, has this reaction to Logen.
- Lunacy: He seems to have some sort of religious fixation or superstition about the moon, claiming that the mad, such as himself, can commune with it, and that the bloodthirsty and brutal, like Logen, draw their power from its favor.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Everyone regards him as a complete lunatic, but he's apparently sane enough to lead men into battle, and was able to evade Bethod's armies longer than any other chieftain. His conversation with Logen after the battle of the High Places shows that his insanity is mostly a charade.
- Old Soldier: He's well past his prime, but still a highly respected chieftain and warrior.
- Papa Wolf: Averted. When one of his children is killed in battle, he seems remarkably unconcerned about it. Then subverted when he drops his facade of insanity in his last conversation with Logen, where he reveals he knows Logen killed his son in one of his Bloody Nine episodes. While he doesn't attack Logen outright, and says maybe the weak should be culled for the strong, he still says he won't be one of Logen's subjects and warns him to stay out of the High Places.
- Parental Favoritism: He confides in Logen that his daughter, Isern, who Crummock acts dismissive of, is actually his favorite of all his children.
A towering savage who brings his Northmen to Dow's cause.
- Affably Evil: He acts surprisingly polite for a towering monster and rapist who relishes bloodshed.
- Blood Knight: Specifically joins Dow's army because he wants a good fight. He repeatedly asks about fighting his own allies, like Whirrun or Dow himself.
- The Dreaded: One of the most feared men in the North these days.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: After he captures Finree dan Brock, he makes it perfectly clear he intends to rape and impregnate her, being impressed with her boldness and wanting to have "civilized" children. Luckily, Finree gets to go free. Unluckily, her friend doesn't.
- Killed Offscreen: He died in the Circle against Stour Nightfall before the events of A Little Hatred.
- Large and in Charge: He's a veritable giant and is chieftain of the region beyond the Cinna.
- The Mole: He's revealed to be working for Bayaz at the end of The Heroes.
- You Have Failed Me: He kills one of his men for trying to defile Finree, but only because he wants her for himself.
Formerly known as Jonas Steepfield, after a battle in the Circle that didn't go his way, he lost it all and changed his name to Clover. Now he's content to spend his days sitting on his ass, teaching boys to fight with swords while doing as little work as humanly possible. Unfortunately for him, Calder wants him to use his age and experience to set his dangerous son, Stour Nightfall, down the right path.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: It's implied he still has some skill at fightingenough that people pay him to teach their kids how to swordfightbut he'd much rather spend his time sitting under a tree or munching on a piece of fruit than doing any actual work.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Clover is remarked on as being loyal for a Northman. However, the North's version of loyalty is "faithfully serving until it no longer becomes practical." Clover's served many people then jumped ship when it became clear they and even admitted to killing a few friends too. By then end, Wonderful is added to that list.
- Combat Pragmatist: Clover's preferred method of winning a fight is killing his enemy before they even realize what's happening. He kills one of Stour's flunkies this way, then does the same thing to Wonderful near the end.
- Cool Old Guy: He's an old man who's seen and learned much about the world and is happy to hand out pearls of wisdom in his customary dry wit to those who will and won't listen. He'd also rather spend the majority of his time retired, doing absolutely nothing if possible.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite the setting's Grim Dark nature and the typical ennui Northmen have to violence, Stour's stated plans for Rikke are so vile that Clover and Wonderful begin to think he's genuinely insane instead of just being a bog-standard prick.
- Ignored Expert: He has years of experience under his belt, so much so that Calder sent him to steer his son in the right direction. In spite of his pragmatic suggestions, however, Stour ignores his advice at every turn. After losing the entire war and nearly his life in a duel against Leo, Stour spares Clover because he's come to recognize the usefulness of his advice. But only lets Clover live once he proves his loyalty by killing his friend, Wonderful.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He murders one of Stour's toadies, not because the man had been a bastard harassing him for much of the book, but because it gave Clover an excuse to drag the man's corpse to the healers so Clover could avoid actually fighting in a battle.
- Lazy Bum: Clover would really rather spend his life doing as little work as he can possibly get away with, even down to drawing out menial gestures for the sake of it. It's only when more powerful players force his hand that he can be bothered to do any work at all.
- Lovable Coward: He's an amusing, old man, so it's hard to fault him from wanting to stay as far away from any actual danger as much as possible, especially when commanded by an ass like Stour Nightfall. He falls more into Dirty Coward by the end of A Little Hatred when he murders Wonderful in cold-blood on Stour's orders to save his own ass, even if he does hate doing it.
- Mysterious Past: He's said to have lost everything in the Circle and changed his name afterwards, but who he fought, for what reasons, and what he was really like before are all left unclear.
- Remember the New Guy?: Clover has never mentioned before A Little Hatred but apparently he held a shield during Logen's duel with Fenris the Feared, has been friends with Wonderful for a good while, and is trusted enough by Calder that he picks him to be Stour's advisor during the North's latest war against the Union.
- Servile Snarker: Not even Prince Calder and Stour are spared his usual deadpan sarcasm, though at least with Stour he'll walk back some of his jokes if he senses the latter is in a black enough mood.
- Shoot Your Mate: He's confessed that he's had to kill friends before to survive. This is mentioned not five minutes before Stour Nightfall forces him to kill Wonderful to prove his loyalty, which Clover does immediately, even while regretting it all the while.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Jonas changed his named from "Steepfield" to "Clover" to make himself sound less dangerous, but it's implied by multiple characters throughout the book that he's not as harmless as he tries to pass himself off as. This is abundantly clear when he murders Wonderful without even hesitating in order to save his own life.