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Characters introduced or appearing prominently in Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy.

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Jezal dan Luthar

A wealthy young Union nobleman and Captain in the King's Own.

  • Arranged Marriage: After being crowned king following the death of King Guslav's legitimate heirs, Jezal is married to Prince Ladisla's former intended, Terez. It happens so fast, Jezal realizes he technically never agreed to it.
  • Awful Wedded Life: His marriage to Terez is a nightmare. Not only does she hate him and make no secret of it, but unbeknownst to everyone, she's a lesbian who's in love with her childhood friend.
  • Big Brother Worship: Jezal doesn't have good relationships with his biological brothers, but he comes to look up to Logen Ninefingers as a brother during their adventures in the second book. Even after they part ways, Jezal tries to follow Logen's example.
  • Character Development: Arguably the most significant of any of the main characters in the trilogy. He starts off as a shallow, self-centered jackass and ends the original trilogy a king who cares about his people and tries to look out for their best interests. Unfortunately, given the crapsack nature of the setting, he's a rendered a Puppet King by Bayaz, and limited in the reforms he wants to make to benefit the Union's people.
  • The Chosen One:He's presented as the bastard son of the King of the Union and raised to the throne to rescue the royal line. In reality, Bayaz had a dozen different babies planted with different families to see which one would turn out the most kingly. He has no idea who Jezal's parents were and doesn't care.
  • The Dandy: Very impressed by his own appearance.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first appearance is a card game with comrades, where he bleeds them dry for money he doesn't need merely because it amuses him to watch them lose. All the while he has resentful, condescending thoughts about each of them in turn while they enjoy his company. When the group turns on him for baiting a poor officer out of most of his money and then rubbing it in, he feels like the victim.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Specifically built up as such by Bayaz for the reason above. Although he didn't do much besides whining and complaining during the entire quest for the Seed in the second book, when he returns to Adua, he hears stories about his glorious and heroic actions during a big battle in the Old Empire. Bayaz, of course, is the source of the rumours. Then, in the third book, he is credited as the man who ended the peasant rebellion although he had nothing whatsoever to do with it - again, it was ended by Bayaz, who also started it.
  • Foil: To Collem West. Collem is a lowborn but honest man who earned his rank through service, is an experienced soldier and commander and has the deepest respect for the common man, while wholeheartedly unimpressed with the airs and games of the elites. Jezal, on the other hand, is a spoiled nobleman who's father bought his commission, is initially a pathetic fighter and inept leader, and treats the poor like dirt while kissing his superiors' asses. Jezal shows off and puts on airs but is ultimately spineless, and Collem is gentle and reasonable but has an explosive temper when pushed. To drive it all home, Jezal is strikingly handsome and a famous playboy, while Collem has more "common" features, and his hair is thinning with stress.
  • Hidden Back Up Prince: Bayaz tells the Open Council that Jezal is the bastard son of King Guslav V and a lady-at-court, securing Jezal's rise to the throne. When Jezal defies Bayaz in private, Bayaz reveals Jezal is a Son of a Whore that Bayaz purchased and had raised by a noble family for his schemes, and that Jezal is only one among many "back-up princes," telling Jezal in no uncertain terms he'll have him killed if he keeps defying him.
  • Jerkass: Starts the series as a vain and shallow jerk.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His growth from selfish, spoiled jerk to a more mature and empathetic person takes up the first three books.
  • Kick the Dog: Spends a lot of his initial chapters displaying his contempt for the lower classes and generally being an ass.
  • Lack of Empathy: He starts off the trilogy as a callous individual who barely cares about his "friends" let alone commoners. By the end of the first trilogy he's probably become the most empathetic of the POV characters.
  • Manchild: At the start of the series, he's interested only in money and girls, and wants the world to be handed to him on a platter.
  • Master Swordsman: He's an excellent swordsman and makes it to the final round of the Contest, but would have lost to Bremer dan Gorst if not for the intervention of Bayaz.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Flips the fuck out on one of his friends for talking about Ardee West's reputation.
  • Puppet King: What he's reduced. Jezal grows enough as a person that he truly wants to help his less fortunate subjects, but he's unable to enact his reforms after Bayaz makes it clear his life will be forfeit if Jezal doesn't cater to the instructions of Bayaz's mouthpiece, Sand dan Glokta.
  • Scars Are Forever: His battle injury of a broken and scarred jaw is occasionally brought up.
  • Son of a Whore: Bayaz reveals in private that Jezal has no noble blood and is really the son of a prostitute who sold Jezal to Bayaz as a baby.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After a near-death experience in the second book that leaves him permanently scarred, he realizes what a terrible person he is and strives to be a much better person.

Sand dan Glokta

A former Union war hero, now a crippled member of the Inquisition.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Glokta is often Disappointed by the Motive when performing his interrogations, and wishes he'd get an answer more interesting than the questions he poses. When Practical Frost reveals he's a traitor and prepares to kill him, Glokta demands to know why. Frost simply shrugs, and Glokta reflects that sometimes there really are no answers.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Played with. Glokta spent two years being tortured by the Gurkish Empire, and was mutilated and crippled. After he returned home, he joined the Inquisition and started torturing others for a living. However, according to others and Glokta himself, he was as big an asshole in his youth as Jezal was pre-Character Development.
  • Broken Ace: He was a champion swordsman, war hero and renowned ladies man. Now he's a shunned cripple that inspires pity at best, and disgust or fear at worst.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He spent two years being tortured by the Gurkish Empire, and now he's become an expert at performing torture on others.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Without his Practicals, everyone expects Glokta to be a helpless cripple. But when his back's against the wall, he reveals his cane is secretly a sword that he's still handy with. He used to fence, after all. Jab, jab.
  • Death Seeker: A version. He doesn't go out actively looking for his death, but he'd dearly like someone to kill him. He's positively thrilled when Ferro and Salem Lews hold his life in the palm of their hands and thinks they're about to kill him. He can't stand to lose though...
  • Disabled Snarker: Especially in his inner monologue.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: After spending so much of his life questioning others and hearing their motivations, he often finds himself disappointed at how petty their reasons for their actions are. Even discovering that Arch Lector Sult is secretly trying to control demons is seen as a surprisingly childish scheme by Glokta.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Glokta thinks the Superiors are assholes. Not to mention his professional disgust when he learned an inquisitor had tortured someone to death and not even bothered to ask any questions.
    • Despite being an unrepentant torturer, schemer and misanthrope, Glokta is not at all impressed with the white population's segregation of natives in Dagoska, and privately sympathises with them when dealing with the city council.
      Harker: "Then three years ago, the ungrateful swine mounted a rebellion."
      Glokta, internally: After we gave them the freedom to live like animals in their own city? Shocking.
  • Evil Chancellor: He becomes this at the end of the trilogy. His efforts have earned him some respect from Bayaz, who makes him de facto ruler of the Union in his absence. Though he's technically an "advisor" even King Jezal obeys the instructions Glokta relays on behalf of Bayaz.
  • Evil Cripple: Although "amoral cripple" would be more accurate, this is how people tend to perceive him. He definitely plays up the image to frighten others.
  • First-Person Smartass: His inner monologue is entertaining in just how much snark he can dole out, especially when dealing with people either more powerful than himself or less untrustworthy.
  • Handicapped Badass: A distinct subversion. Being tortured for two years has made him a wreck of ineffective bodily functions. Then subverted again when he reveals he possesses a Sword Cane and stabs Frost to death.
  • Happily Ever After: Though he's certainly not happy about it.
  • It Gets Easier: He expounds on the theme in Before They Are Hanged:
    "You could not even guess at the things that I have done. Awful, evil, obscene. The telling of them alone could make you puke... They nag at me from time to time, but I tell myself I had good reasons. The years pass, the unimaginable becomes everyday, the hideous becomes tedious, the unbearable becomes routine. I push it all into the dark corners of my mind. And it's incredible; the room back there. Amazing. What one can live with."
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: It's his speciality. His victims confess to their crimes, even if they're innocent, after spending some time with him and his instruments.
  • Karma Houdini: A notable example. Whether or not you think he is, Glokta certainly thinks so. He commits horrific crimes but ends the original trilogy as the new Arch Lector of the Inquisition, married to Ardee West, a beautiful woman who's one of the few people to treat him decently, and the second most powerful man in the Union as Bayaz's Mouth of Sauron.
  • Kick the Dog: One of his monstrous deeds is forcing a Scarpia Ultimatum on Queen Terez, threatening to torture her childhood love unless she essentially becomes a baby-farm to an unknowing King Jezal. He takes some morbid delight when he first summons his Practicals, though even he admits what he did is disgusting. Not that it stops him from doing it, however.
  • Master Swordsman: He apparently won a prestigious swordsmanship tournament, before he was crippled by torture.
  • Morality Pet: Collem and Ardee West are the only two people Glokta shows consistent kindness to, especially when he finds out Collem didn't abandon him after his mutilation, but was driven away by Glokta's own mother. Glokta even refuses to murder Ardee, who's presence risks a scandal after she becomes pregnant with Jezal's bastard child. Instead, he marries her to protect her from any attempts on her life by other members of the Closed Council.
  • Mouth of Sauron: After Bayaz lets Jezal and the Closed Council know who's really in charge, he leaves Glokta behind as his mouthpiece to relay his orders. Everyone knows that disobeying Glokta and causing Bayaz to return to the Union would be a bad thing for everyone.
  • My Beloved Smother: Following his torture, mutilation and crippling, he was returned home to his mother's to heal. Unbeknownst to Glokta, his mother sent away his friend, Collem West, on account of West being lowborn, driving away the only person who hadn't abandoned Glokta and convincing him that he was truly friendless.
  • Pet the Dog: In spite of seeing himself as a monster, he does show mercy many times. It usually comes back to bite him.
  • Sadist: Averted. While it doesn't bother him, Glokta gets no pleasure out of torturing people. Indeed, many times he asks himself why he does what he does.
  • Scars Are Forever: Inside and out. Worse, they still cause him terrible agony.
  • Sword Cane: It's revealed in The Last Argument of Kings that is cane secretly contains a fencing sword, which he uses to great effect on the treacherous Practical Frost.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Had half of his teeth broken as part of his torture. Its now one of his favourite methods of interrogation.
  • Torture Technician: Thanks to his firsthand experience of torture at the hands of true professionals, he's very good at extracting answers from people.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: After what he went through in the Gurkish prisons, amateurs don't exactly bother him. Nor is he afraid of death either.
  • To the Pain: What his torture sessions often boil down to before he gets to work.
  • Villainous Friendship: His Practicals, Severard and Frost, are the closest thing he has to friends in his line of work. He takes it hard when he finds out both of them betrayed him, for separate parties and for separate reasons.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's thirty-five, but seems far older due to his disabilities.

Collem West

A Major in the King's Own; Jezal's friend despite his lack of noble blood. He's a tall, slender man with thinning hair and a gaunt face.

  • Abusive Parents: His father was a drunken bastard who abused him and his sister. When Collem was old enough, he left and joined the army. He still regrets how he abandoned his sister to their father to look out for himself.
  • The Berserker: In spite of being a pretty nice guy, he has a bad temper. When fighting alongside the Northmen, he goes completely berserk and bites an enemy's face. He's given the name "Furious" by the impressed Northmen.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's one of the most noble character in the series, but he has a deadly temper, and commits cold-blooded murder on Prince Ladisla when he catches him trying to rape Cathil.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite their strained relationship, Collem really cares about his younger sister, Ardee, and when his duties prevent him from looking out for her, he asks Glokta to look out for her in his stead. He still has regrets over abandoning her to their abusive father in the past.
  • Body Horror: Suffers what appears to be radiation poisoning after the use of the Seed. He loses most of his hair and becomes a shrunken shell of his former self.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He spends most of Before They Are Hanged with his heart set on Cathil. He enjoys her company more than that of Prince Ladisla and the other soldiers, he respects that she can take care of herself, and he even saves her from Ladisla's attempt to rape her. However, just as he's about to confess his feelings he nearly walks in on her sleeping with Dogman. Later, West demands to know why she chose Dogman over him, and Cathil tells him that he's just too angry for her.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He doesn't like his Northmen allies coining the name "Furious" for him, after a particularly brutal fight where he fell into an unstoppable rage.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He's prone to losing his temper and doing unfortunate things, though it occasionally helps him in a fight. The Northmen even give him the name "Furious" because of his anger-fuelled acts of violence on the battlefield.
  • Kick the Dog: A big one when he punches his sister.
  • Killed Offscreen: The ending of The Last Argument of Kings implies he's minutes away from dying as he's rushed away for medical attention. In The Heroes he's remembered as a good man who died too soon, confirming his fate.
  • Majorly Awesome: Eventually becomes a Four-Star Badass.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He's immediately remorseful after he strikes his sister in a rage, especially since it's something their father would've done.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: He makes no secret he wants Jezel to stay away from his sister. But since this is before his Character Development, Jezal doesn't listen. Even after his Character Development, he doesn't.
  • Only Sane Man: Played with, as he is this most of the time, but has a terrible temper that sometimes makes him half mad- at one point, in a fit of rage, he bites a guy's nose off.
  • Pet the Dog: In an Establishing Character Moment, he helps a scribe grab a page that was fluttering by, while Jezal was enjoying watching the man struggle.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: First established when he asks Logen for advice on fighting in the North, codified when he becomes Lord Marshal and wins two wars inside of six months.
  • Self-Made Man: Rises from the peasantry to an officer in the King's Own based on his hard work. He eventually becomes Lord Marshal of the Union.
  • Unexpected Successor: He's promoted to Lord Marshal over the heads of much more senior officers, because he was nominated by his friend, Jezal dan Luthar, who himself was an Unexpected Successor to the late King Guslav V.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When he expresses his disdain for the prison work camp in Angland, he's thoroughly dressed down by the resident Inquisitor on just how much West benefits from the Inquisition's terrible actions, causing him to shut up.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: He's embarrassed by his berserk rage during a battle. When the appreciative Northmen start calling him "Furious" because of it, he becomes even more embarrassed.

Logen Ninefingers

An aging Northman with a black name and a blacker past.
  • Barbarian Hero: A classic, if gritty example.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: A rare heroic example. Logen Ninefingers used to be the worst man in the North.
  • The Berserker: On occasion. Bad occasion.
  • Boring, but Practical: Logen's entire approach to combat and life itself. He avoids conflict, tries not to think too deeply about things he cannot change, keeps a realistic mindset in hardship and believes that simplicity and contentment are more desirable than adventure and glory. His tactics in combat are straightforward and practical, doesn't believe in showing off and will happily pretend to be stupid or cowardly in a fight or a conversation if it gives him the upper hand.
    • His weapon, the Maker's Sword, is plain and rough almost to the point of crudeness, but it can cut through stone or steel with ease, and its simplicity suits his fighting style well.
  • Catchphrase: 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
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: He used to be this to Bethod, as his champion during the early parts of the war.
  • The Dreaded: By the time of The Heroes, just the rumor of his presence can send Northern warriors fleeing.
  • Foil: To Jezal. Logen is a thoughtful, wise man from a "barbasric" culture, Jezal is an ignorant, arrogant cad of wealth and means from the heart of civilization. Jezal looks down his nose at everyone, Logen strives to empathize with his comrades and gives all enemies due respect as potential threats. Jezal is a coward who puts on a brave face while making excuses, Logen accepts his fears but does what he must in spite of them. By the end of their journey, Jezal unexpectedly develops an immense respect for the Northman and takes his lessons to heart.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: His alter-ego the Bloody Nine is more of a trance-like state than a Split Personality, but once the bloodlust gets flowing, the Bloody Nine makes Logen do things he will come to regret.
  • Gonk: Ferro and Jezal, among others, find him hideous. Granted, they're each an Unreliable Narrator, note  but Logen's flesh from head to toe is absolutely riddled with scars, his nose has been broken multiple times, and the bones and skin of his face have been injured so many times that his facial features appear lumpy and asymmetrical.
  • 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.
  • Karmic Nod: Countless men in the North are out for his blood, but he doesn't blame them or try to hide. He hurt a lot of people in his past.
  • 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."
  • Martial Pacifist: Has shades of this. With age and experience he's developed a distaste for bloodshed, and would much rather avoid a fight entirely or talk his way out of it. He's far from naive, however, so when a fight is necessary or inevitable, he fight savagely to end it as quickly and decisively as possible.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Bloody-Nine.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Warrior Poet: Has a bit of a philosophical side.

The Dogman

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.
  • Cowardly Lion: Downplayed. An interesting case as only the Dogman percieves himself as one. By the standards of anyone who isn't a Northman, he'd probably be the most fearless person they'd ever met. But, at the end of The Blade Itself, after Forley's death Dogman muses that he's the coward of the band now. In reality, it's more that Dogman is the Only Sane Man who is willing to do the right thing unless it is detrimental to his own well-being.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: What he became with Logen and the rest of the crew before the books began, fighting together in Bethod's wars to unify the North.
  • The Good King: Becomes about as close to this as you can in this world. By the time of A Little Hatred after a twenty year time skip he is the chief of The Dogman's Protectorate in the Union-controlled territory of the North.
    Jonas Clover: Only man won any kind of power in the North in my lifetime and stayed halfway decent.
  • The Nose Knows: His namesake is his extremely sharp sense of smell.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Helped by his sense of smell. It's so good it earned him the name "Dogman."
  • Scary Teeth: He has sharp, yellow pointed teeth.
  • 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.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Asks this at the end of The Last Argument of Kings, brooding over the fact that he is the last of Logen's crew left alive and wondering what it was all for.

Ferro Maljinn

An ex-slave of the Gurkish Empire, now the most feared rebel in Gurkhul.

  • The Archer: She's an almost impossibly good shot due to her demon blood.
  • Axe-Crazy: Killing people is generally her first impulse, though she's not completely unreasonable.
  • Commonality Connection: With Glokta
  • Establishing Character Moment: Her introductory scene has a Gurkish aoldier she had fatally wounded begging her for a sip of water as he slowly djed in the desert sun. Realizing she has a rare surplus of water, she guzzles it sloppily right in front of him and pours some on her hands and face, but gives him none.
  • Fantastic Racism: She has no respect or empathy for anyone north of Gurkul, who she derisively calls "pinks". She hates the Gurkish with a burning passion, but she did suffer much at their hands, and at least still considers them fundamentally human. She sees the Union's atheistic secularism as alien and ignorant, and muses that she wouldn't give a damn if all the pinks in the whole world were conquered amd enslaved so long as the "real people" went free.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Well, mostly human, but she has demon blood.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: She has nothing but utter contempt for everyone she meets. The entire Gurkish Empire is her enemy, the Union are a load of soft godless pinks, the Northmen are savage brutes, etc. Even people she grows close to over time are barely tolerated with immense disdain.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Introduced burying a couple of her companions, fellow bandits who she generally despised, because you bury your companions when they die.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Ferro barely feels pain, rarely sleeps, recovers quickly and cleanly from injures, and has Improbable Aiming Skills with a bow. When she's informed of her devil blood, she realizes she never really thought about how she was so tough and lethal compared to everyone else.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: She has immediate contempt and hostility for every single person she meets. Even people she spends months with are rarely trusted and never respected. She disdains friendship and actually takes comfort in the sense of purpose of having an enemy and derives something close to pleasure from the certainty of fighting. The horrors she suffered as a child and the rough life she has been forced to live ever since would make anyone a bitter cynic, but it's implied that her devil heritage is partially to blame when an Eater muses that "her kind" are always prone to violence and rage.
  • Nay-Theist: She doesn't worship the Gurkish God, but she does acknowledge He must exist. She'll shout "fuck your god!" at the Gurkish, yet is appalled that the Union is godless.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Lifts one off a Gurkish soldier early on and wields it for much of her adventure.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Well, more yellow, but they indicate her demonic ancestry.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her life prior to the books.
  • Troll: There's a large part of Ferro that just enjoys provoking people.
  • Verbal Tic: She hisses when angry, which is written out as "Ssssss."


     Other Characters: The Union 


One of Sand dan Glokta's Practicals, a hulking albino with a speech impediment.

  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Frost doesn't speak much due to his speech impediment, usually reserving his words for either when he has to, or when he can't a resist a joke. This becomes especially terrifying when Glokta realizes he betrayed him to Sult, at the same time that Frost realizes he's figured it out. Frost snaps Severard's neck without a word before trying to finish off his old boss. When Glokta demands to know why, Frost simply shrugs.
  • Brains and Brawn: Subverted. While Severard is the smirking quipster and Frost is a hulking lisper, Frost shows Hidden Depths in a few occasions, including excellent penmanship and being a mole for Arch Lector Sult.
  • The Brute: Frost is an especially strong bruiser who provides the muscle for Glokta.
  • Deadpan Snarker/Disabled Snarker: Frost's speech impediment doesn't stop him from occasionally making snide remarks.
  • Did Not See That Coming: When Frost tries to kill Glokta he's shocked to discover that Glokta's cane secretly doubles as a fencing sword, which his ex-employer uses to fatally stab him. Frost has just enough time to express mild surprise before dying.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Frost is always impassive, even during torture sessions, even when the victim is his a long-time co-worker, Severard.
  • Hidden Depths: Frost, the lisping albino brute, has beautiful penmanship. He's also the one who identifies the mural of the Magi fighting the Master Maker.
  • The Mole: Glokta begins to suspect that either he or Severard is a traitor. It turns out, both of them are but for separate reasons and employers. Severard was forced to betray Glokta because he was threatened into it by Valint and Balk. Frost was willingly informing for Arch Lector Sult and never gives a reason why he betrayed Glokta.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite being mostly grim and silent, he will quip on occasion.
  • The Sociopath: Unlike Glokta and Severard who are capable of some kindness, Frost really is just an emotionless killer. He shows no hesitancy in torturing Severard, and even less in snapping his neck. When Glokta demands to know why Frost turned on him, Frost shrugs, implying he did it for no reason.
  • The Stoic: Frost rarely displays any kind of reaction to anything. Even his own death doesn't elicit much more than a mildly surprised reaction.
  • Speech Impediment: Frost has a chronically swollen tongue that causes him to slur his speech.
  • Terrible Trio: He makes up one with his boss, Glokta, and his fellow Practical, Severard.
  • Torture Technician: Since he works for the Inquisition, this is a given.


One of Sand dan Glokta's Practicals, a smart-mouthed joker who's in it for the money.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite being a professional torturer, it's hard not to pity him considering he was forced to betray Glokta and then ends up tortured by Glokta and killed by Frost, the two people he had that were closest to friends.
  • Brains and Brawn: Subverted. While Severard is the smirking quipster and Frost is a hulking lisper, Frost shows Hidden Depths in a few occasions, including being a mole.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Severard is often smiling and humming to himself when he engages in acts of violence.
  • Hidden Depths: When Ferro threatens to kill him for spying on her and demands a reason why she should spare him, he says he doesn't deserve mercy, but no one will feed his birds if he dies. It's enough for Ferro to let him live.
  • Knife Nut: Severard really likes his knives.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He aides Glokta in his tortures, even complimenting him on his precision in using a meat cleaver to cut off bits off fingers. When Glokta finds out he's a mole, he uses the cleaver to cut off Severard's own fingers. Glokta even asks if Severard still values his precision.
  • The Mole: Glokta begins to suspect that either he or Severard is a traitor. It turns out, both of them are but for separate reasons and employers. Severard was forced to betray Glokta because he was threatened into it by Valint and Balk. Frost was willingly informing for Arch Lector Sult and never gives a reason why he betrayed Glokta.
  • Neck Snap: When Glokta realizes Frost has betrayed him to Sult, Frost snaps Severard's neck.
  • Pet the Dog: Severard likes to feed stray birds.
  • Terrible Trio: He makes up one with his boss, Glokta, and his fellow Practical, Frost.
  • Torture Technician: Since he works for the Inquisition, this is a given.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A short story in Sharp Ends reveals that Severard was a nice, loyal, naive kid before an incident taught him what doing good deeds gets you.

Arch Lector Sult

The head of His Majesty's Inquisition.

  • Bad Boss: His primary management technique seems to be threatening his subordinates with torture and death.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While he thinks that he's running the Union, he's actually just another of Bayaz's pawns.
  • The Chessmaster: A canny political operative. Subverted; he gets Out-Gambitted pretty regularly and his grand plan in the end involves a demon-summoning spell that doesn't actually do anything.
  • Evil Old Folks: He's in his sixties, but far from frail.
  • Fate Worse than Death: He ends the original trilogy as the captive of the new Arch Lector, Sand dan Glokta, who, along with his new Practical, Pike aka Salem Rews, are about to torture Sult for their amusement.
  • High Collar of Doom: Wears a long white robe with high collar.
  • Knight Templar: Fanatically devoted to maintaining what he sees as the natural order, aristocrats on top, everyone else down in the gutter.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Furious that common peasants and laborers have the cheek to demand any sort of rights. Also, the whole torture thing.
  • The Rival: Has a bitter rivalry with High Justice Marovia, at least partially because Marovia champions the rights of commoners, while Sult wants to suppress them.
  • Smug Snake: Accomplishes very little except to be a pawn to Bayaz.

Ardee West

Collem West's sister, a country girl in the big city.
  • Broken Bird: Abused by her father since childhood - when she gets pregnant he beats her so badly she has a miscarriage - and then ignored by polite society, except for her brother, who's embarrassed by her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her barbed tongue marks her in strong contrast to the noble ladies that Jezal usually meets.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After a steady diet of misery and abuse, ends up married to Glokta, ensuring no one will be able to harm her or her illegitimate child, or ever mock or ignore her again.
  • Lady Drunk: Her male associates note how she spends most of her free time getting drunk.
  • Morality Pet: To Glokta; Collem asks him to keep an eye on her as a favor between old friends, but Glokta grows genuinely fond of her.
  • Really Gets Around

Carlot dan Eider

A merchant, head of the Guild of Spicers.
  • The Charmer: Dipping into Femme Fatale when necessary.
  • Determined Widow: Married a far older man to pay off her father's debt, and gradually took over his responsibilities in the Guild of Spicers as his health declined. After his death, she effectively inherited his title as a Magister.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Athough for pretty altruistic reasons.
  • Miss Kitty: In Red Country, true to the book's Western theme.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Does everything in her power to support Glokta in his defence of Dagoska.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: When she first appears, she tries to use her resources and wiles to save the population of Dagoska. With every appearance after that she compromises her principles further.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Her role in the ruling council of Dagoska and as the Mayor in Red Country.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Glokta exposes her as a traitor and later forces her to work for him as a spy in Styria, where she becomes Ario's mistress. In Best Seved Cold, she's tortured and blackmailed into assisting Monza in Ario's assassination, forcing her to seek protection in the League of Eight in order to escape the wrath of both Glokta and Grand Duke Orso. Fortunately, things start to look a little brighter for her by the time of Red Country.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: Though her name is never mentioned, it's pretty obvious that she's the Mayor of Crease in Red Country.

     Other Characters: the North 

Rudd Threetrees

A Named Man and Logen's second. He's one of the most famous and well-respected men in the North.

  • Cool Old Guy: He's getting on in years but he's still personable and reasonable.
  • 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.
  • Old Soldier: The oldest member of the band, but still plenty of fight left in him.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Dies in battle to Fenris the Feared.

Black Dow

A callous Named Man in Logen's band. He has a far-spread reputation for cruelty and is considered bloodthirsty and harsh even by the rough standards of Logen's band, with none of their honour.

  • 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.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: When the warriors hesitate to execute a helpless tenaged captive, Dow has a rare moment of empathy when he insists that such horrific work is best left to him, not one of his honorable brothers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: He has a particularly vile reputation for having done just about every underhanded deed you could think of.
  • Dual Wielding: Sword and axe.
  • Ear Ache: One of his most notable traits is his missing ear.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: What keeps him as a member of Logen's band. He's loyal to his mates and occasionally expresses support for moral actions and disgust at truly heinous things.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Doesn't actually kill Logen, which is a large part of his reputation.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Among Logen's band. Most members are mutual friends, or at least comrades, but Dow's savagery and bitterness make him unpopular. Tul Duru, Threetrees and even the Dogman frequently bicker with or criticize him, and Logen remembers him with little fondness. No one denies he's a good friend to have in a fight, though, and better to have at your side than against you.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Although he seems to be able to turn it off just as quickly. It's 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.
  • Jerkass: Generally acts hostile and abrasive, even to his own allies.
  • 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.
  • The Lancer: To Threetrees.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He has a habit of killing at the first chance during talk, springing into action before the signal during ambushes and skulking off ahead of his comrades during stealthy tasks. It gives his chiefs no end of frustration.
  • Meaningful Name: Black Dow, for his cruelty and evil ways. Alternative origins for the name are his preference for killing in the black of night or his penchant for burning villages to black ash.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lampshaded when he often comments about why they don't call him "White" Dow for a reason.
  • Pet the Dog: Has a few notable moments, such as his interactions with West or his words at Threetrees' funeral.
  • 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: Lampshaded. "This ain't for you, to kill a man tied up. It's for work like this, you bring along a man like me."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Has no qualms about killing women.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Or children, for that matter.

Tul Duru Thunderhead

A giant Named Man in Logen's band.

  • Awesome McCoolname: 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. Logen kills him in one of his blackouts during the battle of the High Places.
  • 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. They argue all the time, and each refuses to follow the other, but when Tul dies, Dow delivers an impassioned eulogy at his funeral.

Harding Grim

A laconic Named Man in 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: When he does say something, it usually didn't need to be said in the first place.
  • Hidden Depths: Speaks fluent Union, for one.
  • The Quiet One: Rarely speaks, which is where his name comes from.

Forley the Weakest

A cowardly Named Man in Logen's band.

  • 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: The weakest member of Logen's group.
  • The Heart: The Dogman notes that while Forley is not particularly good at fighting, he's very good at preventing fights, which 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.


The first and current King of the Northmen.

  • Affably Evil: He's very charismatic as well as power-hungry.
  • 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.
  • Cool Crown: His golden crown is often commented on.
  • 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 cares 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.
  • Good Parents: 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.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Noble Savage: The image he attempts to cultivate.
  • Poisonous Friend: Claims that Logen was this to him, and he only tried to conquer the North because Logen kept making more enemies with his brutality.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: He is presented as a villain because our protagonists are opposing him, but we gradually learn that the line between hero and villain is much more complicated.
  • The Strategist: He unified the North mostly by defeating all his enemies in battle, something he was very good at. Logen, Threetrees and many others comment on how Bethod is brilliant when it comes to warfare, and he always seems one step ahead of everyone else.
  • 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 Bethod.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: One interpretation of his actions in conquering the North.

Fenris the Feared

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.
  • 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Of some sort. Invoked with his armor and tattoos.
  • 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.
  • Really 700 Years Old: If his claims that he served under Glustrod during the fall of the Old Empire are true.

Crummock i-Phail

A chieftain of the hill tribes, one of the last holdouts against Bethod.

  • 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.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He seems insane but in an entertaining way, in particular with regards to believing Logen to be "favored by the moon."
  • Creepy Souvenir: Wears a necklace made of the finger bones of his fallen enemies.
  • Drop the Hammer: His Weapon of Choice is an enormous war hammer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Other Characters: etc. 


The First of the Magi, who has returned after centuries of isolation to save the Union.

  • A God Am I: Expresses this mentality when he uses the Seed to destroy Khalul's Eaters. "Yes! I am greater than Juvens! I am greater than Euz himself!"
  • The Atoner: He has shades of this given that his actions led to the death of his master, Juvens, and his lover, Tolomei. Then it's averted when it's strongly implied Bayaz had a had in Juvens' death himself, and an undead Tolomei confirms he personally murdered her to hide his secrets.
  • Bald of Evil: He's bald as an egg, and turns out to be less moral than he seems.
  • Big Bad: Arguably, which makes the fact that he gets everything he wants in the end even worse.
  • The Chessmaster: People and nations are just pieces to him in his fight against Khalul.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It's implied he had a hand in the death of his original mentor, Juvens', and used that death as a pretext to wage war against his second master, Kanedias. Whatever else may have happened, it's confirmed that Bayaz personally murdered his lover, Tolomei, who happened to be Kanedias' daughter, just to cover up his own secrets. He even consigns Yulwei, one of his best friends, to a Fate Worse than Death just to further his own interests.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: After being gone for so long, he has a lot of difficulty in getting respect from Union authority figures upon his return.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Serves as one to the main characters, especially to Jezal, who's frequently annoyed by Bayaz' long-winded speeches. Subverted when he reveals his true colors at the end of the trilogy
  • Evil All Along: He was the real villain of his backstory, and is now a brutal tyrant behind the scenes.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Khalul violated the Second Law by eating the flesh of man, and even created an entire army of Eaters. For this, Bayaz calls him a monster. However, Bayaz knowingly employs Yoru Sulfur who happens to be an Eater himself.
    • The First Law of Magic forbids contact with the Other Side, the realm of demons, but Bayaz seeks out the Seed, a piece of the Other Side made flesh, to use as a weapon against his enemies. Even his ally, Yulwei, says if he's not breaking the First Law outright, he's coming dangerously close to it. Bayaz justifies his actions by saying the First Law is filled with contradictions, since all magic comes from the Other Side.
  • It's All About Me: For all his fancy talk about justice and righteousness, all he really cares for is satisfying his egomania.
  • Jerkass: Has a bit of a temper, although as it turns out Jerkass doesn't even come close to covering it.
  • Karma Houdini: Not only does he get away with every atrocity he committed over the course of the series, but thanks to the main characters' actions, he's more powerful than ever.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Often demands people to kneel in his presence.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: His first use of serious magic is to lose his temper and explode a Practical of the Inquisition.
  • Magitek: Averted. Since The Magic Goes Away, Bayaz has turned to other means, but seems unable to synthesize low-grade technology with what magic he still has access too. Until he finds the Seed.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He was responsible for the founding of the Union and served as advisor to many kings under various aliases. He's also both Valint and Balk.
  • Old Master: He is the First Magy, a very old and commanding man with magical powers than can turn you inside out.
  • Playing with Fire: Specialized in this type of magic, alongside force and will.
  • Really 700 Years Old: He was around before the Union was the Union.
  • Spot of Tea: Bayaz really loves to drink tea, having picked up the habit in Gurkhul, and is frequently shown enjoying it, especially when chaos/nasty stuff is happening around him.
  • Squishy Wizard: Played with. He's fairly physically capable for an old man, but using actual magic takes a lot out of him.
  • Tautological Templar: What he's eventually revealed to be, arguably best exemplified in this quote: "I am the First of the Magi. I am the highest authority, and I say... I am righteous."
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about the series without spoiling some of the later revelations about him.
  • Wizard Classic: Averted, to the point that Logen is initially shocked and disappointed that the famous magus looks and acts so little like a wise, gentle old man. He is stocky and powerfully built, with a bald head and a short, neat beard. He radiates virility and energy for a man of such advanced age, and is well-muscled and able-bodied.

Malacus Quai

Bayaz's young apprentice.

  • Butt-Monkey: In his first appearance, needs repeated rescuing by the guy he was sent to rescue, and it's all downhill from there. Nobody respects him, his master treats him with contempt, and he ends up murdered, eaten and impersonated and Bayaz doesn't even care.
  • Non-Action Guy: Initially.
  • Kill and Replace: He's murdered, eaten and then impersonated by a shapeshifter since midway through the first book.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He becomes notably more confident over the course of the trilogy, and even kills an enemy soldier with a frying pan in the second book. It's later revealed that the real Quai was already dead at that point.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: From the second book onwards, Quai acts more aloof, contemptuous and macabre. He even begins snapping at Bayaz during their lessons. It turns out this is because it's not Quai at all, but an undead Tolomei impersonating him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed and replaced by a shapeshifting Eater about halfway through the first book.

Yoru Sulfur

A graduated apprentice, now Bayaz's servant. Is an Eater.

  • Ambiguously Brown: People from the Union and the Gurkish Empire alike have trouble placing his accent, and his skin tone is considered too light for the South but too dark for Midderland or the North.
  • Battle Butler
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Revealed as an Eater at the end of the trilogy.
  • Mouth of Sauron: Represents Bayaz when Bayaz can't show up in person and as a representative of Valint and Balk, the bank Bayaz uses to manipulate the world behind the scenes.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Sulfur, which evokes Hell/demons and is generally "shady".
  • The Nondescript: Except for his mismatched eyes, he's very nondescript, having a blandly pleasant manner and plain appearance and dress that allows him to fit in comfortably everywhere.
  • Perpetual Smiler: When Sulfur does interact with others, he's always smiling and has a friendly demeanor, with one exception in Best Served Cold where Monza angers him enough that he drops the facade and flashes a a threatening "smile" of sharp teeth and clearly intended to eat her.
  • Red Right Hand: He has mismatched eyes which are noted by everyone who meets him. The feature follows him in all his forms.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: His primary power.


One of the Magi.

  • And I Must Scream: Bayaz sacrifices him by trapping him in the House of the Maker along with the undead Tolomei. Even if he survived, Bayaz says the House must remain closed forever to prevent her from getting out.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's a good enough person that even Ferro likes him, however much she denies it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Yulwei has a lot of moral qualms with Bay's actions, in particular when Bayaz seems to be skirting the Laws of magic without actually breaking them. He disapproves of Bayaz's search for the Seed and his employment of the shady Yoru Sulfur.
  • Token Good Teammate: When it's revealed just how evil Bayaz and his subordinates really are, Yulwei comes across as the only member of Bayaz's faction who's a genuinely good person.
  • Uncertain Doom: He's last seen possibly crushed beneath one of the Master Maker's machines, and even if he did survive, he's now trapped in the House of the Maker with a vengeful, nearly indestructible, undead woman.

Nicomo Cosca

A Styrian soldier of fortune, often found without it.

  • The Alcoholic: He's rarely found sober
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He'll never betray an employer until there's a better offer on the table.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Will often try to throw a preemptive knife before a fight.
  • Large Ham: My name is Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, and I am here for dinner
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Normally provides the Comic Relief, but don't let that fool you.
  • Lovable Rogue: Cosca may be a mercenary bastard, but damn if he isn't likable. This becomes less and less true with every appearance, culminating in his being arguable the Big Bad of Red Country.
  • Master Swordsman: Cosca is extremely skilled with a blade, though his advancing age and deteriorating condition have eaten away at his abilities.
  • Running Gag: Whiffing with his thrown knives.

Brother Longfoot "The Navigator"

A member of the Guild of Navigators hired by Bayaz to lead his group on their journey.

  • Non-Action Guy: Combat is not among his many skills.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He doesn't have much depth beyond providing humor to that plotline.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Following the journey, he is captured by the Inquisition and barely escapes (mostly) intact, before exiting the story. Things get worse after that.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: One of his signature traits is constantly boasting about his skills and knowledge, and having a very high opinion of himself despite his relative unhelpfulness to the group.

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