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Characters / Tortall Universe

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Although the Tortall books have Loads and Loads of Characters, it's currently practical to keep them all in one spot because the protagonists from one series end up as supporting characters in the next—or extras take center stage.note 

Watch out for spoilers.

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First appearing in Song of the Lioness


Alanna of Trebond (and Olau)

The protagonist of the "Song of the Lioness" quartet, Alanna switches places with her brother to train as a knight despite being a girl. For eight years she disguises herself as a boy, makes friends both among royalty and thieves, as well as some very powerful enemies.

Alanna is a very capable fighter, especially with a sword, and a powerful Mage, though for years she was afraid of using it. She is rash, somewhat arrogant and has a terrible temper.

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Lightning, her sword. Helps that magic is involved.
  • Abusive Parents: Her father neglected her and Thom after his wife had died giving birth to the twins.
  • The Ace: The best knight of her generation and quite a few generations after, a very powerful mage who's only explicitly surpassed for pure power by Numair (and even then, she's far more precise than he is), and Goddess-chosen. Raoul and many others consider her the archetype of a "hero" knight, one that goes on quests and accomplishes great feats that no one else can. Of course, as the first female knight in a long time, she couldn't afford to be anything less.
  • Action Girl: Later upgraded to Action Mom.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Via Word of God from Pierce:
    Alanna has always defied labels. She took the best bits of being a woman and a man, and created her own unique identity. I think the term is 'gender-fluid', though there wasn't a word for this (to my knowledge) when I was writing her.
  • Amicable Exes: With Jonathan. They both marry other people, but remain extremely close.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Implied; she names one of her children after her brother and the loss of her brother obviously effects her greatly.
  • Animal Motifs: The lioness, as a female warrior who outclasses the men around her. Thom put it on her shield and it became so famous that she's called "Sir Alanna" and "The Lioness" almost interchangeably.
  • Animal Talk: With Faithful.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: As the wife of a baron and a regular knight she's relatively low in the noble hierarchy (although the Trebond family is very old and noble). As the King's Champion of Tortall, she speaks with the authority of the Crown when neither the king nor queen is near.
  • Berserk Button: Looking down on her or anyone else for being female. Her reaction will vary in intensity but she'll never let it slide.
  • Bling of War: She has gold-washed mail picked out with amethysts for fancy occasions, but she can fight in it if she has to.
  • The Champion: "King's Champion" is the position given to the best knight in the realm. Post-Lioness Rampant, Alanna has held this position as Tortall's first female Champion. At the end of Trickster's Queen, chronologically the last book in the series, she's held it for well over twenty years.
  • Character Tics: She fiddles with her emberstone pendant when she's worried.
  • Combat Medic: In In The Hand Of The Goddess, where she learns to control her healing magic.
  • Cool Horse: Moonlight, then later Darkmoon.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For the Mother Goddess. She doesn't mind as the missions are for Tortall's good.
  • Custom Heraldry: A lioness rampant on a red field rather than the Trebond arms (black tower on yellow field).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually at Jonathan's expense, which is part of why he values her opinion so much - she's a perfect Sarcastic Devotee, and will gleefully deflate his ego.
  • Fiery Redhead: She has flaming red hair, a wicked temper and, strangely, purple eyes (which match the color of her Gift).
  • First Love: Jonathan was her first love, though they broke up due to factors such as I-would-not-make-a-good-queen, among others.
  • God Was My Copilot: Heck, the second book is titled In the Hands of the Goddess.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Played With. She's often thoroughly blunt and occasionally quite abrasive, as seen through Daine's perspective, but she's also kind to Daine and offers her a place, no questions asked.
  • Happily Adopted: Myles adopted her in the third book.
  • Happily Married: With George. Their daughter sees them as Sickeningly Sweethearts, as teenagers do.
  • The Hero: Of the first quartet. She overcomes internal and external struggles, loves and loses, and her actions help to save her king and country.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Alanna, being a hero herself, was romantically pursued by the three greatest heroes in the story, namely, her Warrior Prince (Jonathan), The King of Thieves (George), and The Shang Dragon (Liam).
  • Gut Feeling: She hates Roger on sight even though she admits herself she has no actual reason to. (He gives her actual reasons soon enough.) She also Just Knows that George is a good person despite being a thief and brings the actual crown prince to befriend him.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: She says this to George. They ruin it anyway.
  • Informed Attribute: Alanna is mentioned numerous times to have a fear of her magic and to avoid using it because she initially doubts her ability to control it and later feels it can too easily be turned to evil purposes. However, this supposed aversion never actually comes into play at moments in the plot where it would be inconvenient for Alanna to hesitate over spellcasting; in fact, she consistently comes off as a highly competent and self-assured mage long before the story actually acknowledges that she's reached that point.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Seen best when Alanna and her apprentices have to defend the Bloody Hawk tribe from being attacked.
  • Knight Errant: Alanna does this in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man to avoid the scandal from the reveal of her gender and to find adventure.
  • Magic Knight: Though she fears her magical abilities in the beginning.
  • The Magnificent: Known as Alanna the Lioness. And to the Bazhir, she's first the Burning Brightly One and then Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
  • Mercy Kill: Does this for a badly wounded soldier friend during the Tusaine War.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played With. She becomes a respected shaman to the Bloody Hawk Tribe in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, but only because she killed the last one in self-defence, though she didn't mean to. Additionally, she doesn't want the position, only taking it because the headman points out that her leaving the tribe without a shaman would be leaving them at the mercy of raiders with mages of their own and You Kill It, You Bought It applies, and immediately sets about training students to take over for her. Furthermore, it is also established that she has just as much to learn as she has to teach.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Alanna is smaller than the men she fights, and usually relies on speed, agility, and skill to make up for power, but she does still do push-ups and other strength exercises to make up for it.
  • Never Mess with Granny: As of the end of Daughter of the Lioness.
  • Old Soldier: It's technically Old Knight but by the time of the Trickster's Duet she's well into middle age and still kicking just as much ass. She's on the verge of being a grandmother when she gives her protégé a lesson in the value of "age and treachery" during a spar.
  • One of the Boys: Considering that she spent the better part of a decade posing as a boy this was inevitable, and even once the cat's out of the bag she still has many masculine and aggressive mannerisms. These traits helped her maintain the illusion for as long as she did.
  • The Paragon: In The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, according to Bazhir law she must be the tribe's shaman until she trains a new one to replace her or someone kills her and takes her place. So Alanna selects three Gifted children of the tribe, Ishak, Kara, and Kourrem, and begins to train them in magic. They (except for Ishak, who gets killed through a mixture of his own over-confidence and messing with an Evil Weapon that Alanna's been keeping hold of precisely to prevent something like that happening) succeed her later in the book, acting as joint shamans.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother died giving birth to her and her father went into a deep depression as a result, neglecting his children until he sent them away when they were ten.
    • Alanna outright says at one point that his neglect has made her ruse much easier, but it still stings that even when he's sent a letter saying what a good job "Alan" is doing, he just writes back that he's glad Thom is doing well.
  • Parental Substitute: Myles looked after her during her training years and they become close friends. He would eventually adopt Alanna.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Physically smaller than almost all opponents she faces, but makes up for it with speed and skill.
  • Red Baron: Alanna is frequently addressed as just "Lioness" by other knights.
  • Self-Proclaimed Knight: In the first half of the quartet she pretends to be a boy so that she can train for knighthood.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In Lioness Rampant. Jon doesn't recognize her in a dress, and she is described as being at least very cute, if not convenitonally beautiful.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Faithful.
  • Spanner in the Works: Alanna being Alanna foils both of Roger's attempts to kill Jon in The First Adventure; he couldn't predict that some new kid with untrained but powerful healing abilities would just happen to be in the city during the Sweating Sickness. After sending Jon to the Black City fails, Roger cottons on and starts singling her out for assassination attempts too. But even so, his plots are derailed by the fact that he thinks she's a boy, so his suspicion-veiling waxwork of "Alan" is just off enough that she can suspect him.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: As a ten-year old she starts dressing as a boy in order to train for knighthood.
  • Taking the Bullet: Rather taking the arrow for Jon in a battle during the Tusaine War, but it grazes her rather than hitting her directly.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
    • Once she's ready to take on Ralon, she goes to the training yard and starts insulting him loudly in front of the other lads so that he has no choice but to answer her in a fair fight.
    • Alanna was forbidden by Jon to challenge men to duels on personal grounds after becoming a knight, simply because if she kept doing so every time she was insulted, Tortall's population would drop rapidly.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Numair notes that "her eyes are extraordinary", and other characters gush as well. It is also noted that she is otherwise merely reasonably pretty, and certainly not a stunning beauty on the level of, say, Thayet.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She really hates the idea of drowning, especially after an attempt on her life is made this way. Naturally, the Chamber makes use of this during her Ordeal.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Killed a Bazhir shaman - in self-defense, by accident - and so has to replace him.
  • You Say Girl Like It's A Bad Thing:
    • She has this attitude towards herself in the first book. She hates that she's a girl and thinks herself unworthy of her friends solely because of that fact. This changes over time.
    • The Shang Dragon found it distasteful when he saw The Lioness in a dress. She found it distasteful that he found it distasteful.

Thom of Trebond

Alanna's twin brother. While Alanna was always fearful of her magic, Thom relished in his, and trained to become a mage. Over the years he grew more and more distant as he became engrossed in academia, magic and the power it offered. It's often stated that the only person he truly loves is his sister.

  • The Archmage: He's one of the most powerful mages in the entire Tortall series, and one of the most knowledgeable, too. Unfortunately, this does not come with an equivalent dose of common sense. Or empathy.
  • Break the Haughty: His instructors tried and failed to teach him humility. It took a terminal magical illness and endangering the realm to do so.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Pity makes him really angry.
  • Ineffectual Loner: He eventually grows to disdain everyone except for his twin sister, and he's even distant with her when he reaches adulthood. Alanna and her friends often remark how unhealthy this is since he's basically stewing in his own sense of superiority.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Mainly self-imposed, as he lacks interest in socializing with anyone but Alanna and believes that his teachers envy him.
  • It's All About Me: He puts near-lethal wards on his "experiment" in the third book to keep any mages from messing with it; when Eleni Cooper tries an innocuous spell to figure out what it even is, she's laid up for days. George is understandably pissed as hell, but Thom says it was her own fault for meddling. And the fact that said experiment is to resurrect Roger, who tried to kill his sister multiple times, solely to prove that he's That Good at magic? Yeaaaaah.
  • Lack of Empathy: He doesn't really care for anyone except for his twin sister - and even then, he's not always the most considerate brother.
  • Lonely at the Top: He soon learns that there's a price for being the best.
  • Loners Are Freaks: He's disinterested in making friends or getting close to people unless they can directly benefit him somehow, something the others don't view favorably.
  • Morality Pet: his sister is just about the only one he consistently acts decently towards, and the consistently part fades as time goes by. He's not evil, but he is incredibly self-centered.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Before he takes his exams, he pretends to be stupid and even suggests that Alanna put it about that her twin brother is a dullard, since he doesn't want to get Roger's attention. Once he does graduate, he sheds this, and his teachers are completely freaked out.
  • Parental Abandonment: His mother died giving birth to him and his father went into a deep depression as a result, neglecting his children until he sent them away when they were ten.
  • Pride: He is proud beyond the point of arrogance about his magical prowess. This is how Delia goads him into resurrecting Roger.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Granted, he's still a selfish little thing as a kid, but at least he cares about Alanna. By book three he's siphoning off her magic without even asking... to bring her Arch-Nemesis back from the dead. On a bet. He also becomes rude and dismissive of everyone and decides that all his teachers (even the one genuinely trying to help him be more of a person) are just jealous of how awesome he is.
  • Squishy Wizard: He was glad to not have to learn how to be a knight as he'd be completely unfit for it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He's called out on his shenanigans multiple times. It never seems to stick which has tragic results.

Coram Smythesson

A faithful man-at-arms to Trebond. Coram is an initially-reluctant participant in Alanna's plan to become a knight, but supports her nonetheless. He acts as a manservant during her page years and travels with her during her time as Knight Errant to provide a second sword arm and emotional support. Word of God claims that he eventually received the Trebond fief as a baron's title grant from King Jonathan, became the Baron of Trebond, and had loads of kids.

  • Beta Couple: Strikes up a happy and uncomplicated "understanding" with George's cousin Rispah, which eventually becomes a marriage.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Alanna pressures him into helping her by threatening to make him "see things." He gets over it eventually.
  • The Lancer: A rather classical example—the Lancer character was traditionally The Hero's man-at-arms, which is exactly the position Coram holds. While Alanna is young, adventurous, and Hot-Blooded, Coram is older, steady, and levelheaded.
  • Like a Son to Me: Openly admits to having "a father's interest" in Alanna's welfare, particularly when dealing with her love interests.
  • Old Retainer: He's been with the Trebond family for years and raised the twins almost from birth. When asked why he travels with her, his reply is simply "Smythessons have always served Trebonds."
  • Older Sidekick: Especially in the third and fourth books, when Alanna is a full-fledged knight. He's a sounding board, adviser, and person she can vent to.
  • Parental Substitute: He raised Alanna far more than her father did, teaching her how to hunt and fight. He even gets to be an embarrassing dad.
  • Retired Badass: He served in the King's army at one time and is known to the other veterans at the palace, who respect him greatly. Occasionally he helps out in combat lessons. Effectively un-retires after she becomes a Knight Errant and he watches her back on the road.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Alanna. As much as he might grumble about it, he'll follow wherever she wants to go.
  • Unexpected Successor: Jon elevates him and Rispah to the nobility and gives them Trebond, in light of his good service and the fact that Thom is dead and Alanna, who has Pirate's Swoop with George and is in line to inherit Olau, isn't interested in inheriting it.

George Coopernote 

When Alanna first met him, George Cooper was a thief—but not just any thief, the King of the Rogue. George was one of the first people to discover Alanna's true gender, and he supported her throughout, whether it was finding her fine horses or teaching her to fight dirty. Eventually he revealed that his feelings towards her were more than just friendly...

Later, he left the Rogue after King Jon made him a nobleman. He's now married to Alanna and serves as a spy for Tortall.

  • Adult Fear: He refuses Aly's requests to be a field agent because of how dangerous the work is. If she'd been satisfied with just being his office assistant, he'd have been much happier. A Spy's Guide goes into detail about the incident that made him take this stance, having previously been supportive of her desire there. What was meant to be an easy meet up to start giving Aly practical experiences got rapidly out of control and they barely made it out with their lives.
  • Age-Gap Romance: He's several years older than Alanna, and was described as a 'man' on her first visit, when she's still eleven. (He claims to be seventeen at the time, though Alanna thinks he looks older.)
  • Big Brother Instinct: A subtle example towards "Alan", making sure that the "boy's" bullies never leave the city with a full purse, and ensuring that his young friend gets what's needed even if it isn't always the most up-and-up method.
  • Famed in Story: Downplayed, but even during the first series, he's known to Jonathan even before they meet, and to Ali Mukhtab, the Bazhir's Voice of the Tribes, the latter noting that he is reputed to be "a hard man to cross." Since this is a man known for his ear collection, this is not entirely surprising.
  • First Guy Wins: He's the first guy that "Alan" meets in Corus and quickly befriends him.
  • Gentleman Thief: Not classically, in that he doesn't have polished manners, but he's a Nice Guy and a thief. The Court of the Rogue has rules and he follows them.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He cares a lot about his friends and helps out the kingdom if he can. He also cuts off the ears of his enemies (and keeps a collection) and kills rogues who fail him three times. First time, he warns you. Second time, he takes an ear. Third time, he takes the rest and everything attached.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: He romantically pursued Alanna.
  • Improbable Age: He's pretty young to be running the Thieves' Guild of a capital city. However, it's Justified, as the rule of the Court of the Rogue runs off Klingon Promotion - he killed the previous King and he's ruthless enough, and good enough with knives, to hold onto the job. He also cites his Sight early on as a crucial advantage.
  • Kavorka Man: he's not bad looking, but he's certainly not as classically good looking as Jon. He does, however, have bucket loads of charm and self-confidence.
  • Klingon Promotion: How he got the job of Rogue. In The First Adventure, he cheerfully mentions the possibility that it's going to happen to him eventually.
  • Knife Nut: As a thief, this is his Weapon of Choice.
  • Loveable Rogue: Despite his collection of enemies' ears, he's a good friend to his allies.
  • Overprotective Dad: He's happy to have Aly as his secretary, but point-blank refuses to let her do field work. (Pierce explained that he did take her on a trip once and it turned into a fight, which quite spooked him).
  • The Spymaster: After the events of the first quartet, he takes up this position. Sir Myles handles a lot of the administrative details for him, an open secret among the court, but George's identity as the mysterious Whisper Man who actually does the bulk of the legwork is very closely held.
  • Stalking Is Love: He sends out agents to follow Alanna during her time as a Knight Errant. Pierce admits that this was a creepy move.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: In Lioness Rampant he's torn between warning Jon about the plots against his life, or following the Rogue's law, which would condemn him for turning in conspirators who are part of his court. He goes with Jon because it would hurt all of Tortall as well as George.

Jonathan of Conté

Originally the heir to Tortall's throne, Jon was one of Alanna's closest friends since she arrived at court. He discovered her true gender when they faced off against some evil demons, and decided to make her his squire. Despite being friends, and sometimes lovers, he and Alanna tend to clash. Jon can be very proud, arrogant and pragmatic, which can make him difficult to deal with, despite being a fine leader.

Later, he became the Voice of the Tribes to stop the fighting between Tortall and the Bazhir. He was crowned King despite his cousin's best attempts to stop him, and eventually married Thayet. He now tries his best to advance social progress in Tortall while balancing politics.

  • The Ace: Skilled knight, one of the most powerful and well-studied sorcerers in the series, and The Good King to boot, combining his conquering grandfather's steel with his father's peace-making. Oh, and he's exceptionally handsome.
  • Amicable Exes: With Alanna.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's first seen as a page, and he becomes both a very skilled knight and an extremely powerful mage. This seems to be a thing with the royal line of Contés, as his son Roald is trained as a knight too.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: All sorts of pomp for his official coronation.
  • The Beautiful Elite: There are many words devoted to what a good-looking man he is.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When he found out that the new page "Alan" was being bullied, he was quick to help out "him" and was severe against the one who bullied her.
  • The Charmer: He's exceptionally handsome and very charismatic, to the point where he leaves Daine instantly flustered when she first meets him.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: He is very jealous with Alanna, and when he's upset accuses her of preferring George to him, given that George has made his feelings for her known many times. Alanna starts off finding the trait amusing, then annoying, then frustrating. He seems to have grown out of it by the time he marries Thayet, however, as he shows no sign of it again outside of his final conversation with Alanna about their relationship.
  • Cultural Rebel: Mostly during Woman Who Rides Like a Man. He's chafing under the obligations of prince and heir, and decides that the loudest way to declare that he's not going to be beholden to anyone is to marry Alanna, which she does not consider a good motive to marry.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While usually kind and friendly, Jon invokes this, pointing out that his father's kindness and willingness to forgive and forget sowed the seeds of many of the problems that he and Alanna had to deal with later, wishing that his father would have been "less kind and more just." Fittingly, he learned this from George.
  • The Good King: He wanted to be this since the beginning; at the end of the first book he expresses a serious interest in learning about the Bazhir on the grounds that one day they'll be his subjects too, and shortly after says that people will think twice before they take on a prince—or a king—who can defeat demons.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Alanna is the first girl who wasn't overawed by his title. Thayet is the first woman who wasn't charmed by him.
  • Love at First Sight: Takes one look at Thayet and falls head over heels.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played With. He's selected to become the Voice of Tribes to the Bazhir Tribesmen in The Woman Who Rides Like A Man. However, this is mostly done as a political manoeuvre by the previous Voice (a Bazhir) who realises - via a minor prophetic gift related to the position - that Tortall will win in their war in the end, devastating both sides. It is also made clear that he has a lot to learn, and that much of the training is about proving himself to the Bazhir. The initial reaction to his becoming the Voice is less "how magnificent!" more, "You'll do."
  • Older and Wiser: In the subsequent series. He has to very carefully manage his reformist agenda so as not to incite his conservative nobles to start an uprising.
  • Pragmatic Hero: He's noble, decent, and heroic, but in subsequent series, he's also a pragmatic politician who has to carefully manage the balance between the reformist and conservative factions at court - while he is part of the former, the latter is still powerful.
  • Prince Charming: He's remarkably charismatic and charmed Alanna, initially, though they end up as friends. The fact that his charm doesn't affect her later on is something he cites as why he needs her around - if only to deflate his ego, which she does gleefully. It has the same effect on almost every other female, as Daine finds, being rather flustered in his presence and being told "yeah, he has that effect on everyone". Thayet is the only woman who wasn't swept off her feet and she became his wife.
    • Kel is also not particularly impressed with him at first, feeling that his charm is merely a facade. This is on the grounds that he agreed to her being put on probation for her first year as a page - while it was nothing personal, being part of the balancing act in dealing with the conservative faction at court, Kel understandably doesn't see this and resents it. She later comes to like and understand him a bit better, in large part thanks to Raoul, her mentor, explaining the politics of the situation and that he didn't have much of a choice.
  • Prince Incognito: When he visits the Court of the Rogue as "Johnny." Since this means that he isn't deferred to, and is often told to pipe down and listen to his elders, it's part of a valuable learning experience.
  • Secret Keeper: When he becomes Alanna's knight-master, he helps her to maintain the masquerade.
  • Sorcerer King: He's a very powerful mage in his own right, and eventually gains the Dominion Jewel, giving him the power to rouse the land itself to Tortall's defense (albeit at a cost). As Wyldon puts it in a training lecture, if you tried attacking the palace via the Royal Forest, between Jonathan rousing the land and Daine recruiting the animals, you'd never make it out of the woods alive.
  • Really Gets Around: Before he married.
  • Rebel Prince: He is an inverted version, as he wants to defeat demons and become the Voice of the People to be the best king he can be.
  • Reluctant Ruler: He feels restless because of the trap he was born into but he thinks that he'll get over it because he really does want to be a good king. In Lioness Rampant this trope is evoked again after he's forced to take up the mantle of kingship unexpectedly, due to his mother passing away after Roger's resurrection and his father committing suicide after being overcome by grief, forcing him to take up the reins of Tortall's government well before he truly felt ready to do so.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He has several big adventures with Alanna, fights in wars, and in later quartets pursues social and political reforms. This sets him in stark contrast to his father, King Roald, whose approach to ruling was once charitably described by Myles as "beneficent negligence," which produced a great many of the conflicts that Jon and Alanna had to deal with over the course of the Lioness quartet. Jonathan deliberately aims not to be the kind of king his father was by taking a much more active role in the governing of his country, rather than simply sit in the royal palace all the time.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: His dark hair, Conté-blue eyes, and gorgeous features are described many times as making Court ladies swoon.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass; During the third Lioness book he's very imperious towards Alanna, acting like his proposal of marriage is a foregone conclusion, refusing to understand that it's an even bigger deal than a regular proposal because she would have to be queen for the rest of her life on top of the whole "lifelong commitment to another person" thing. When she refuses, he flips out and insults her for being unfeminine before taking up with Josiane of the Copper Isles mostly to spite her. Life whacks him in the gut between then and the next book (including his father's suicide, returning him to normal.
  • Warrior Prince: After he becomes a knight and Tortall goes to war in In the Hand of the Goddess.
  • The Wise Prince: Seen best in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man when he becomes the Voice Of Tribes.

Gareth of Naxen

Often referred to as Gary, Gareth is one of Alanna's closest friends. Though he completes his knighthood, his true strength seems to lie in organization and management. Has a sharp and biting wit.

  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Alanna when she first started her training.
  • Desk Jockey: His job after knighthood is largely a bureaucratic one, more likely to be seen with a quill than a sword. His job is legitimately important and he's not a slacker in the least, being one of Jon's trusted advisers, but pages worry about getting stuck doing paperwork with him if they're not picked by a field knight.
  • The Good Chancellor: To Jonathan. Additionally, after her father died, he managed Alanna's fief while she trained.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the cleverest of Alanna's friends while they're both pages and squires, and he's the organizer-in-chief once John takes the throne.

Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak

A goodhearted and humorous man, both as in training and as a knight. Absolutely hates social engagements. A fine warrior and eventually becomes Knight Commander of the King's Own. Takes on Keladry of Mindelan as his squire.

  • The Alcoholic: Strongly implied to be the case when he was a young man, but by Squire he no longer drinks, commenting that alcohol turns him into someone that he doesn't like very much.
  • Ascended Extra: In Squire he becomes Kel's mentor and one of the most important characters in the book.
  • Badass Army: The King's Own.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Alanna. When he found out that Ralon was bullying and hurting her, he gave Ralon his own beatings in retaliation.
  • The Big Guy: He's a man-mountain and the biggest in his personal team.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: big, bluff and friendly, a man who likes a fight and, as a young man, a drink too.
  • A Father to His Men: To Kel, and to the King's Own in general.
  • Four-Star Badass: Becomes The Leader of a Badass Army after the first quartet. He takes down a giant all by himself.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Buri in Protector of the Small.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Fights off the bandits and engages in less glamorous activities like grunt work.
    Raoul: When people say a knight's job is all glory, I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Often I can stop laughing before they edge away and talk about soothing drinks.
  • Large and in Charge: Again, a man-mountain and officer.
  • The Mentor: He takes Kel as his squire and teaches her about how to be a good commander, navigating personal relationships, and why the King can't always do the most "right" thing. Kel later reflects with some surprise that if she had the opportunity to go back and change things - to train with Lady Alanna as she originally wanted - she wouldn't do it; Raoul was the best mentor for her particular talents that she could possibly have had, as Alanna would not have been able to nourish Kel's talent for leadership.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Giant killer"; giants, obviously, should run especially fast.
  • Nice Guy: Kel considers him one of the nicest people she knows, second only to her father.
  • Parental Substitute: Though Kel has Good Parents who love her, she is separated from them during most of her squiredom, which means Raoul is the one who gets her through her teenage years. (Except "girl issues" - Kel waits to talk to her mother for that one, to the relief of both of them.)
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: For Kel in particular. He's also the only person who would allow an Eldorne (as in, one of Delia's relations) in his company despite the shame on the family.
  • Red Baron: Giantkiller; he killed a giant single-handed.

Myles of Olau

Technically a knight, though he much prefers academia to fighting. Kindhearted and intelligent, he took Alanna under his wing when he saw that how little her father cared for her. Indeed, he was the only person to correctly guess she wasn't really a boy. Eventually adopted Alanna, married Eleni Cooper and is now Tortall's spymaster.

  • The Alcoholic: Well-known as the court drunk, Alanna frequently has to tow him back to his rooms when he overindulges at dinner. By Kel's books, this reputation seems to have been replaced with the fact that he's the royal spymaster.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's the page's fictive grandfather because they admire him so much.
  • Cool Teacher: His lessons are the favorites of pages. He openly encourages them to question the stories and stereotypes about knights and honor and offers a sympathetic ear to both Alanna and Kel.
  • December–December Romance: With Eleni Cooper. They become Happily Married.
  • Desk Jockey: Even in Alanna's day he's retired from combat service, although he does participate in the Final Battle. He continues serving as an instructor in Kel's time.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Normally he's a genial middle-aged man who likes his drink too much, but there are several points when Alanna is reminded that he was once a serving knight.
  • Parental Substitute: To Alanna. He eventually makes it official, becoming a case of Happily Adopted.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Similar to Raoul.
  • The Spymaster: He's the more publicly-known spymaster, though as of the end of the first series, the mysterious "Whisper Man" actually George does all the legwork.


A black, purple-eyed kitten given to Alanna as a squire by the goddess. Alanna spent some time trying to convince herself it was just an ordinary cat until the fact that it was able to talk to her made that almost impossible. On a similar note, several hundred years earlier, guards-woman Beka Cooper had a purple eyed feline named Pounce just like him. At both times the constellation of "The Cat" was missing from the sky.

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Whenever he "dies" he has to chill in the Divine Realms for a couple centuries until he gets bored.
  • The Cameo: Makes a brief, unnamed appearance in "Realms of the Gods". He falls asleep on Mithros's throne so he can't sit down. Truly a cat in all the ways that matter, then...
  • Cats Are Snarkers: To both heroines, who he humbles with snark.
  • Continuity Nod: "Pounce" was one of the names suggested by Alanna's friends when she finds him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And since he controls who hears him, he can target his snark for maximum effectiveness.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: He has wide latitude in helping his charges and using magic, but there are certain things he's barred from doing—he can help, but he can't make decisions for that person and he can't save them from everything.
  • Insistent Terminology: Pounce insists that he's not a god, but a constellation.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Since George Cooper grew up reading the journals of his ancestor Beka, he had to wipe George's memory so that George wouldn't recognize the similarities between Faithful and Pounce.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Part of the reason he keeps coming down to the mortal realms is because there's always more heroes to follow and snark at.
  • The Mentor: To his human charges.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Cat to human.
  • Physical God: For all intents and purposes. Both Beka and Alanna find him as a kitten and he grows to adulthood. He "dies" in Lioness Rampant but he's fine in the Divine Realms, as mentioned above.
  • Put on a Bus: He leaves Beka's side for most of Bloodhound because he's doing something to sort out other constellations. In Mastiff, the Great Gods banish him back to the skies for a century.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In Mastiff, he heals Achoo of a mortal wound even though he knows the gods are going to punish him for interfering so directly.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: With justification in Bloodhound. First, he does have to go, but he also realizes Beka takes his help and protection for granted, so she needs to stand on her own two feet when he can't be around.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Purple. The mark of the supernatural!

Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon

Shang Warriors are some of the most powerful fighters in the world- Liam, having earned the designation of "Dragon", is even more powerful still. When he meets Alanna they immediately strike it off, though their similar personalities and his deep fear of magic causes some difficulties between them.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He acts as though he knows better than Alanna about anything, from travel sense to the life she's chosen for herself. It's a big part of why their romantic relationship doesn't last very long.
  • Doomed by Canon: interestingly, in universe. Being the greatest unarmed combatant alive means you also have a freaking huge target on your back. In his farewell letter to Alanna, Liam states baldly that no Dragon has ever lived to the age of forty - and he's already the oldest Dragon in a century.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: When he teaches Alanna unarmed combat, though he eases up when he sees she's serious about it, and according to his old teacher, thought that despite being well over-age, she could have been a Shang Warrior.
  • The Magnificent: The Shang Dragon.
  • Moving the Goalposts: He criticizes Alanna for thinking she has to decide between knighthood and womanhood. When she puts on a dress a few chapters later, he criticizes her for... thinking she can be both knight and woman. She calls him out for this, hard.
  • Kavorka Man: not particularly good looking, but well built and self-confident. He also has considerable sexual charisma.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The title of mythological animals are only given to the greatest of the Shang warriors. The rank of Dragon is given to the Shang warrior considered the greatest alive.
  • One Last Fling: Liam is Alanna's. They don't work well together as lovers for very long.
  • One-Man Army: He's able to take down multiple bandits all on his own, and his final fight is something to behold. Jonathon says outright that "They'll sing about the Dragon's last fight for centuries".
  • Real Men Get Shot: He advocates against using magic to heal injuries, though he admits that it's out of his personal fear when Alanna points that other Shang don't shun it.
  • Technicolor Eyes: His eyes change color with his mood.
  • Warrior Monk: Kinda sorta; Shang martial arts has its own culture and beliefs but it's technically not a religion.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He hates magic and is very upset when Alanna uses it.

Thayet jian Wilimanote 

A Sarain princess exiled from her country after civil war broke out. She is beautiful and, fortunately for all involved, far from useless. She's very intelligent, a strong fighter, a champion of women, and since her marriage to King Jonathan, one of the most powerful forces for social change in Tortall. She is both Founder and original Commander of the Queen's Riders.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: This princess, and later queen, will kick your ass at the head of her own army.
  • Happily Married: Ends up as this with Jonathan.
  • The High Queen: After her marriage to Jonathan.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: She ends up ruining a very expensive Pimped-Out Dress when responding to an emergency with the Queen's Riders. Her husband's sole remark is that he'd prefer it if she changed first, next time.
  • Lady of War: She eventually founds a military group that has a large population of these, too.
  • The Lancer: To Alanna once she joins the group. She's able to keep a cooler head and mediate between fiery tempers.
  • The Magnificent: Thayet the Peerless.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Her mother was K'miri (an egalitarian, nomadic people) and her father was the king of Sarain (emphatically not). She later refers to her father's side as "bad blood."
  • Modest Royalty: See the story at Pimped-Out Dress.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: In one story Thayet utterly ruined a very expensive pink tissue dress when she went to the aid of the Queen's Riders in the middle of a dinner party. She didn't consider it a loss. (Nor did Jonathan — apparently all said was that he would appreciate it if she'd change first next time.)
  • Politically Active Princess: She is very patriotic and is willing to fight for her people and country. At one point she left a court function to respond to a call of the Queen's Riders. While still wearing the requisite fancy dress.
  • Princess in Rags: Thayet is a runaway princess from a country at war. She plans on creating her own life in Tortall without rank or title since her father is dead and she is in exile. Then she catches the attention of Prince Jonathan...
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: As soon as we meet her in Lioness Rampant she is described as follows:
    Her face — particularly her nose — was strong boned; her hazel eyes were deep-set under even brows; her chin was determined. Her mouth was naturally red, accented by ivory skin. She wore her jet-black hair pulled into a knot. Alanna sighed. "Cute" was the best she could hope for.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Not only does she found the Queen's Riders, she's its first leader.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: A model court lady who could insult and frustrate her would-be suitor (and future husband) Jon while remaining impeccably polite. She's also the founder of the Queen's Riders, a branch of Tortall's military.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Her father had the priests pray to give him a son daily, which had no good effect on Thayet's self-esteem.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Hailed as the "most beautiful woman in the world", which is the same thing that her mother had been called in her lifetime and was why her Sarain warlord father forced her mother to marry him despite his loathing for and persecution of her people, the K'mir. Ironically, the princess says that she takes after her father in looks. Alanna lampshades it by pointing out that the Court Herald, who once told her that he'd seen all the beauties come and go and was no longer impressed... is literally gaping at her.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The fortune teller explicitly says that she will never return to Sarain. The country is far too misogynistic to ever accept a woman on the throne. She's not all that bothered.

Buriram Tourakom note 

Buri's first duty was to protect Thayet, no matter what. She takes her duty very seriously, and being such an adept fighter, deserves (and earns) a lot of respect.

  • Action Girl: Upgraded to Lady of War in Protector of the Small, where she's older and less rough around the edges.
  • Battle Butler: Thayet's.
  • Badass Army: The Queen's Riders, which she takes leadership of after queenly duties force Thayet to resign.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: She's very tough on recruits, on the principle that if they can survive her, they should be able to survive anything else — or at least do a lot of damage before they go down.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Raoul, who is called a "man-mountain" for a reason.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Although she's tough on recruits, she gives Kel some good advice on how to deal with mistakes and regrets.


Duke Roger of Conté

Handsome, intelligent, and the most powerful mage in the land, everyone loves Jonathan's cousin. Except Alanna, who can't shake a strange suspicion about him...

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: This applies to him too, fitting in with the idea that noble titles carry an expectation for martial skill.
  • Big Bad: He is the architect for every bad thing that happens to Alanna—the Mystical Plague, secretly ginning up a war between Tortall and Tusaine, numerous assassination attempts, Delia's antics... even after he dies and Alanna is in the Southern Desert, she finds an Evil Weapon that's got his magic fingerprints all over it, and that causes a boatload of problems too. And then, he comes back.
  • The Chessmaster: Even in the fourth book where everyone is suspicious of him, he can endanger the realm with his schemes.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: He plays the lovable uncle bit to the hilt, and only Alanna is able to have a "bad feeling" about him. It turns out he was magicking everyone to not suspect him. It's implied that only Alanna's status as the Chosen of the Mother Goddess gave her protection against this, and even that was more instinctive than anyone else.
  • Evil Mentor: To Alex of Tirragen. Roger morphs him from a secretive boy who has trouble with Ethics to Alanna's enemy.
  • Evil Plan: First a subtle usurpation by bumping off those ahead of them. This covers the first half of the quartet. Then in the final book he Came Back Wrong and tried to destroy the palace (and most of the capital city) instead.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Part of his Evil Plan was a voodoo thing and he has other magic besides. He's extremely powerful, enough to engineer the healer-draining plague on Corus while he himself is in Carthak.
  • Evil Uncle: To Jonathan. (Although he is technically a cousin, as he's Roald's nephew, Jon refers to him as uncle.)
  • Faux Affably Evil: His charm is part of the reason no one suspected him of regicide.
  • Magic Knight: He is one of the most powerful mages in the realm and also a full knight and master swordsman.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He projects a very charming front, easily manipulates Jon into visiting the Black City, and turns Alex against all of his old friends, among other things. Roger also augments his manipulations with magic, just in case his standard charm abilities fail. One of the things that makes Roger so dangerous is that he's the full package - magic, martial ability, brains and charisma.
  • Nay-Theist: He believes in the gods, but he doesn't like them. The feeling is mutual.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He probably wasn't going to use the Ysandir for anything more than a cheap way to kill Jon, but accidentally invoking The Prophecy for their defeat by the Night One and Burning-Brightly One? Impressive.
  • Obviously Evil: Although Alanna is the only one who suspects him at first thanks to Roger's magic on the royal family.
  • Take That!: His character is based on Pierce's lousy ex-boyfriend.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Again, like the other men in the family.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Toward Alanna in the final book.
  • Villainous Crush: Implied to have developed one on Alanna after she killed him, which he expresses mostly through Terms of Endangerment and trying to kill her right back.
  • Villain Respect: He's indicated to have a real respect for Alanna, albeit one mixed with hatred. He also seems to respect George, informing Claw at one point that 'the present Rogue is worth twenty of you'. Then again, this isn't exactly hard.
  • Word of God: Tammy has something to say about his Start of Darkness and what happened later.
    As for later, I don’t think of him as evil so much as I think of him as apocalyptically crazy. 8 months buried alive would do that to a person, I think. He had no guarantee that he’d be resurrected, and even when he was, he felt his people could have made it happen sooner. He decided to punish everyone involved in his trial and death and if the world was destroyed with them, he really didn’t care. Like I said, nuts. He was always self-centered. This just took it to the extreme. He’d have to acknowledge his wants and desires were evil, and he never did.

Delia of Eldorne

A stunning beauty who comes to Corus during In the Hands of the Goddess. Delia is unpleasant from the start, seducing Jon and encouraging the other men in court to fight over her, all as a part of Duke Roger's plan to take the throne.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: She makes "Squire Alan" her special favorite at court, mostly because "he" seems to play hard to get. Alanna can't stand her; not because she's ugly, but because of the way her friends fight over Delia.
  • Alpha Bitch: She delights in making "Alan" uncomfortable, enjoys the fights over her, and plots in regicide.
  • Evil Aunt: To Lerant of Eldorne in Protector of the Small. Granted, she's serving a life sentence and isn't scheming anymore, but her actions disgraced Lerant in the eyes of most nobles because they think evil is inborn.
  • Lady in Red: Being a Lady in Green has the effect of this trope, making her stand out at court and indicating that she is sexy and flirtatious.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Myles suggest that she's a woman who enjoys breaking up men's friendships. Later we learn that she goaded Thom into raising Roger from the not-quite-dead.
  • Smug Snake: Even Duke Roger yells at her for messing up his plans.
  • The Vamp: She openly seduces (or tries to seduce, in Alan's case) the men at court and becomes Prince Jonathan's lover, toying with his emotions.
  • We Can Rule Together: Why she sides with Roger—at least, she assumes this is going to be the case.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Her brilliant green eyes are noted as part of her charm and allure.

Alex of Tirragen

A squire in Jon's group of friends. He's clever and secretive, and doesn't take being bested well. Duke Roger takes him as his squire, and everything goes downhill from there.

  • Ambiguously Brown: He's described as a "slim, dark boy", and he's from Tirragen, a fief not too far from the Bazhir lands. Of course, 'dark' has often been used to describe white people with dark hair and dark eyes, so this may not mean much.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a number of things in the first book that hint Alex might not stay Alanna's friend. She never takes him to visit George, he argues with Myles over right and wrong and has to do extra work in Ethics, and Ali Mukhtab outright says he wouldn't want to meet him.
  • Pride: Alex does not like it that people might be better than him at things.
  • Master Swordsman: He's probably the best fencer out of all Alanna's peers. She can't even beat him by swords during the Final Battle and has to turn to unarmed Shang techniques instead.
  • More Than Mind Control: He tries to kill Alanna during a practice duel in the second book. It may or may not have been Roger directly possessing him, but it was certainly due to Roger's influence on him.
  • Rival Turned Evil: He and Alanna are the top sword-fighters at the palace, and he comes to see her as a personal rival. It's hinted that this is at least partially due to Roger's influence.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He orders all of his men to stay back in Lioness Rampant because he wants to beat Alanna himself.
  • Villain Respect: Alanna is the only fencer he sees as his equal, and accordingly looks forward to fighting her. In fact, it's his only concern in Roger's final plot, to the latter's mild surprise.

Ralon of Malven

A page who immediately targets the new boy "Alan" for abuse. He antagonizes Alanna until she learns how to wrestle from George; after she thrashes him once and for all, he flees back to his family. It is not the last time he'll cross paths with her or her friends.

  • Attempted Rape: He tries to rape a woman from a neighboring fief, but her maid catches him in the attempt and makes him leave. With acid, which ends up rendering him unrecognisable as 'Claw'.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After he breaks Alanna's arm, her friends all visit and beat him up. And after months of torment, Alanna learns how to fight left-handed and unarmed. When she's ready she forces Ralon to answer in front of all the boys and trounces him thoroughly.
  • Dirty Coward: He only goes after Alanna when there's nobody else around (or at least no nobles, since commoners can't interfere in noble fights). He also tries to kill George through underhanded and indirect methods.
  • Knife Nut: In the last two books. He's reasonably competent with them, but he's at least smart enough to recognise that he isn't as good as George.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Invoked by George, who orders his thieves to make sure Ralon always gets pickpocketed when he visits the city.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: You couldn't expect a kid named Malven to turn out any good. Later he goes around calling himself Claw.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He inflicts more than one on Alanna, breaking bones several times.
  • Riches to Rags: He was disinherited by his family for attempting to rape a woman, after which he involves himself in the criminal world.
  • Scars Are Forever: His would-be victim's maid chucks acid in his face, leaving permanent scars and burning out one of his eyes.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: He returns in the third book to cause trouble in George and Alanna's lives again.
  • Smug Snake: Even though his behavior ensures that nobody likes him at all and more than one of Page Alan's friends beats him in revenge, he keeps thinking that he'll win. He also thinks that he has what it takes to go up against George Cooper. It doesn't work.


First appearing in The Immortals

    Heroes and supporting 

Veralidaine "Daine" Sarrasri

After having her family killed by raiders and succumbing to "madness", Daine was a runaway and an outcast. Due to her knack with animals she was hired to help manage ponies, which is where people first began to suspect her "knack" might be much more.

Daine is a practical-minded soul, but also sweet and caring — with an anger that only comes out when you threaten the ones she loves. Capable of talking to animals, and later transforming into them, she's a very powerful fighter.

  • Animal Talk: Daine can talk to all animals because of her magic, and all the animals could talk to each other with relative ease, but it is implied that each species has its own distinct dialect.
  • The Beastmaster: One aspect of her wild magic involves this ability, but Daine is something of an aversion in that it's the power she least likes to call on, and more often than not only does so to keep animals out of the fighting.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever you do don't try to kill Numair. ZOMBIE DINOSAURS get involved if you do. No, seriously.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Besides this being part of her back story when she was literally Raised by Wolves, just look what she does if she "loses her temper."
  • Big "NO!": She screams when Rikash dies, because he had become her friend by then.
  • Blessed with Suck: Wild magic when she knows too much, affects animals without intending to, and when she passes on her powers to her child, resulting in a shapeshifting fetus. Oy.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Because of her Voluntary Shapeshifting, Daine knows what it's like for game animals to be hunted and killed, which turns her off from eating them as a human. Before she started to learn about her magic, she grew up eating meat like anybody else, and continued to hunt and eat meat for a long time after discovering it — she says at one point that she doesn't see why this would surprise anybody, since animals kill and eat each other all the time, and it's not as if she kills for sport or uses her magic to lure prey towards her. This changes, however, after a bad experience or two when she herself is pursued in animal form by hunters — game meat becomes Nausea Fuel for her, and she can't stand to eat it anymore, having felt what the animal went through. She doesn't object to it in principle or try to stop other people; she just literally can't stomach it herself. It's mentioned that she gets by okay with domesticated meat by never bonding mentally with any farm animals, and how she feels about fish or insects isn't mentioned.
  • Cosmic Plaything: In Emperor Mage only, thanks to a Carthaki goddess named the Graveyard Hag claiming her as her "vessel." Otherwise, Daine is entirely her own woman and likes it that way.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Justified: Daine's magic allows her to communicate with animals, i.e. explain to them that she isn't a cold-blooded killer, heal them, and animals gravitate to her because of this.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Not terribly uncommon for Daine, because aside from the badger god's silver claw nothing she wears can follow her through her shapeshifting, leaving her naked fairly often. This is how she kills Ozorne, because that claw is razor-sharp.
  • Heroic Bastard: Of a god, no less. This does cause her some difficulty in certain social circles, since the matronymic "Sarrasri" makes her uncertain parentage obvious. According to Word of God, it's also what finally convinces her to marry Numair while heavily pregnant, since she didn't want her child to go through what she went through.
  • Hot for Teacher: Magic teacher in this case, although it's worth noting that Pierce deliberately kept her and Numair both in denial about it until they considered themselves working partners instead of teacher and student.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Lands a fatal hit on a fast-moving spidren overhead in the dark — even Alanna is impressed. Later explicitly named as part of her magical ability, inherited from her father, the Hunt God.
  • Just Friends: Even while thinking of herself as Numair's student, she still gets jealous when other women, such as his former lover, interact with him. Even admitting the truth to herself, she hesitated on getting married until she was pregnant.
  • The Magnificent: The Wildmage.
  • Merlin and Nimue: The magic, age difference, and sexual tension are present, but the tragic betrayal is Averted.
  • Nature Heroine: Because of her wild magic, she is heavily entuned to non-human animals and to wild places.
  • The Nicknamer: She does this with dragons, which tend to have very poetic names like Skysong. She calls them things like "Kitten" and "Big Blue." Big Blue, AKA Diamondscale, a very powerful fully grown adult, is amused and slightly bewildered at this.
  • Nom de Mom: After discovering her father's identity, she toys with the idea of changing her last name to Weirynsra, but decides that she's gone through so much as Sarrasri that she'd rather keep it. And frankly, she's proud to be named after her Ma!
  • Not Good with People: Type 1. The bandit attack on her home soured her on her fellow humans (Onua is later astonished she persuaded herself to interact with humans ever again), and she's quick to sympathize with animals affected by human mischief.
  • Odd Friendship: With Rikash the Stormwing, because his duty is defiling the battlefield dead.
  • Raised by Wolves: Literally, but only for a little while after her mother and grandfather died. The local pack took her in and helped her get revenge after she managed to convey what had happened (since the idea of hunting their own kind, let alone so brutally, is anathema to them, they kind of went batshit), and let her run with them until humans found out what was going on and she had to flee.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: She's known to do this when sufficiently provoked.
    • After her mother and grandfather (and all their animals, bar Cloud) were killed by bandits, she ended up falling in with the local wolf-pack, led by Brokefang, who - once they understood what had been done - went batshit and helped hunt down and slaughter the remaining bandits.
    • At the end of Emperor Mage, when she thought a certain friend of hers had been executed, when she tore the royal palace apart with zombie dinosaurs. Sadly, the person her revenge was supposed to be directed at — the executor — turned into a Stormwing, and his innocent nephew had to pay the damages. It did, however, serve as an object lesson for many generations that you don't ignore the Graveyard Hag in Carthak!
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: She looks lovely in noble dress and widely considered to be one of the most beautiful women at Court once she grows up, but she doesn't enjoy dresses at all. In the first book she ranted about all the ways it was impractical.
  • Student and Master Team: Throughout her quartet, she works with her instructor in magic in defense of the realm.
  • Understatement: Emperor Mage, chapter nine: "Daine Loses Her Temper." She wrecks a palace complex with zombie dinosaurs!
  • Unstoppable Rage: A grieving girl with an army of zombie dinosaurs isn't going to be stopped by anything. This wasn't the first time, either: at the tender age of thirteen, she avenges the deaths of her mother, grandfather, and many of their farm animals by going native with the local wolfpack and with their help, wiping out the bandit group responsible. Permanently.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: She can take on the form of any vertebrate due to wild magic, though she can't take the shape of any Immortal because the laws of magic would leave her unable to change back.
  • Wild Child: For a little while, thanks to grief and some confusion caused by her untrained magic.

Numair Salmalin

A black robe mage, the highest possible degree, Numair was trained at the University of Carthak, though he was forced to flee after his his incredible magical power and outspoken opinions angered Emperor Ozorne. He's an extremely powerful mage, one of the strongest in the setting, though you might not notice at first, what with him being a somewhat absentminded academic.

He first met Daine in the form of a drugged black hawk, and shortly after returning to human form, took her on as his student.

  • Absent-Minded Professor: He can begin a lesson on the behaviour of hurrocks and end up getting distracted talking about the tides.
    • His absent-mindedness got him into a lot of trouble as a student. He ends up flooding his classroom when he got too focused on modifying a spell instead of following the teacher's instructions.
  • The Ace: A powerful mage, a charming courtier and famous throughout the land.
  • The Archmage: He's the royal court's magician and famous for his mighty feats of magic.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: According to him, most of the magic he had to learn in order to earn his black robe was of this nature, with the more useful magic being stuff he actually picked up later.
    • His magic itself. He can work massive feats of magic with apparent ease, but if he tries to use his magic to put out a candle, it blows up in his face. Literally.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Which he picked out himself since Arram Draper is too plain. Of course, it also had to do with being on the run from his former friend, who was trying to kill him. Word Of God cites the reason for his choice was "geeky old Arram Draper would want a majorly cool mage name to announce to the world he was a mighty black robe, no longer the geek who fell off his horse and forgot to take spells down before he left the room."
  • Badass Bookworm: Before coming to Tortall, he was a student at the Imperial University of Carthak. He was placed in advanced classes far ahead of his peers and excelled in them.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The most powerful mage in Tortall is also the most vain mage in Tortall, and kinda lazy.
    • He's very easily distracted when he isn't focused on anything important.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: He was friends with Varice as children. They eventually became a couple as young adults. Unfortunately, their relationship was interrupted by Numair's flight to Tortall.
  • Child Prodigy: He was placed in advanced classes with Ozorne and Varice as a kid due to the immense power of his Gift and impressive intellect, and was one of the very rare students to receive his magical education almost exclusively through one-to-one instruction with the academy's masters rather than through classroom settings.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: When Tkaa and Numair first met, Tkaa described him as 'unusual,' putting it mildly. Daine calls him the "last person qualified to diagnose madness in another."
  • Court Mage: He works for King Jonathan.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: He does... now.
    • Numair recalls lighting his shirt on fire when he tried to dry it with his magic, and Duke Baird mentions to Neal that Numair has to get up to blow out candles; if he uses he Gift, the candle explodes. So does the table it was sitting on and possibly the wall behind it. Also, while he was on hand at Haven in Lady Knight, Numair calls a massive pile of boulders from ten miles away, instead of carrying a few over a couple of miles, as Baird or Neal would have done.
    • As a kid, his Gift would often get away from him. He flooded his classroom when a simple spell got out of his control. He also had major trouble keeping fire magic under control, particularly when it came to offensive uses, which he had serious trouble performing without completely obliterating whatever it was he was targeting.
  • Inseries Nickname: Numy began in the fandom but it was later upgraded to canon by Aly, Alanna's daughter.
  • Genius Ditz: An intelligent former student and powerful sorcerer who forgets to take a restraining spell off rowdy pages before he tells them to clear off.
  • Healing Hands: He was taught to heal during his time at the Imperial University.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Alanna and George's kids, he is "Uncle Numy".
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Daine. Mind you, Daine isn't particularly short (about 5'6"), but compared to Numair (who is 6'5"), she seems small in comparison.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: As the youngest student in his class at the University, he was ostracized by jealous classmates. It was only when he met Ozorne and Varice that he gained friends.
  • Just Friends: Numair's situation is a sort of mash-up of the different sub-types: Over the course of time, he falls in love with Daine, but didn't realize it for a long time, claiming that "she [was his] student, and "laughing it off" (Daine's words) if anyone suggested he was interested in her sexually. At the same time, he began warning anyone who might take an interest in her not to interfere with her, and is very protective of her; as to Daine, she gets jealous of Numair's ex. When Numair finally realizes he's in love with her, he decides not to tell Daine for fear of the reciprocation that would arise over various things.
  • Magic Music: In Lady Knight, to the chagrin of many normal people in the fort, he uses a recorder to enact a spell called the Sorcerer's Dance. The sight of a small army of boulders answering his call from as far off as ten miles and following behind a dancing Numair like a gang of ducklings leaves a lot of people out of sorts, since the spell itself is incredibly basic but the sheer scale he applies it to is terrifying.
  • Martial Pacifist: He actually hates violence. He despised the Gladiator Games that he attended as a student in Carthak. That doesn't mean that he won't defend himself when needed.
  • Meaningful Rename: See Awesome Mc Coolname. That's why it was meaningful. He's a new man!
  • Merlin and Nimue: He and Daine fit due to their magic teaching and romance, but the tragic consequences are Averted.
  • Mistaken for Gay: With Ozorne in "Tempests and Slaughter". It's used as an insult by other students on occasion and even Numair/Arram is aware of how their relationship might be misconstrued.
    "Did you have to pay so the other two could share your...classes?".
  • Morality Chain: For Ozorne in "Tempest and Slaughter". Ozorne straight up tells him that he needs him to help keep him sane.
    Don't ever abandon me, Arram. I don't know what I would do if you weren't at my side."
  • Mundane Utility: There are many mages in this setting who can use their magic for such means as lighting candles but Numair isn't one of them. He has to actually blow it out because his magic would blow it up.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In Wolf-speaker, to lull the conspirators into a false sense of security. They knew him when he was much more of a book-absorbed scholar and had no idea of the depth of practical knowledge he'd picked up in the years since.
  • Oblivious to Love: It's implied he's gotten somewhat better by the Immortal series given his mild playboy status, (Discounting Daine as noted under the Just Friends entry above) but as a youth he definitely had this in spades.
    "Those were hints? I thought those were... kisses like you'd give a brother."
  • Raging Stiffie: Has some problems with "excitement" when he hits puberty.
  • Relationship Ceiling: Inverted, but shown more on Numair's part than Daine's. After nearly ten years of being lovers, Numair seems to be more in love with Daine, not less. Then they get married.
  • Student and Master Team: With his magelet, Daine.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: How some people describe him. Word of God says he's based on Jeff Goldblum.
    • A picture of Numair is shown in Tortall: A Spy's Guide. He is indeed fairly attractive.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Hawk shape only, although not a true shapeshift, as the hawk shape he takes is too large and black to be a real hawk. He won't try other shapes since the first one already gives him migraines; he needs incredible amounts of power and the ability to control and hang onto it.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Arram and Ozorne were very close friends in university. At some point, their relationship went so sour that Arram had to flee Carthak to escape Ozorne's wrath.

Onua Chamtong of the K'miri Raadeh

Responsible for all the ponies and horses of the Riders, Onua was Daine's first human companion and ally in Tortall. She's no-nonsense and matter-of-fact.

  • Angry Guard Dog: Tahoi's supposed to be angry, but around Daine he's a Big Friendly Dog.
  • Badass Normal: Downplayed. Although in Wild Magic Daine can see she has a touch of wild magic herself, and her Gift specializes in hiding things. Compared to Numair and Daine, though, she is quite normal, and it doesn't come up when she reappears in Protector of the Small.
  • Domestic Abuse: Her ex-husband abused her and left her in the street to die.
  • Living Lie Detector: Can do a spell that allows her to tell if someone is lying.
  • Nature Heroine: Stable hand.
  • Put on a Bus: Although Daine considers her a best friend throughout the series, Onua only has a prominent role in the first book and is barely mentioned in the second and third.

Sarge (Musenda)

A massive man with a fearsome bellow, Sarge is responsible for training new Riders.

  • Big Brother Instinct: He looked after his sister and her children while working as a gladiator. He also develops a close friendship with Arram Draper during the latter's university days, frequently looking after the younger man whenever their paths crossed.
  • Covered in Scars: His days as a gladiator have covered his entire body in scars.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Don't expect him to go easy on you if you're a trainee Rider.
  • Gentle Giant: Daine notes that he must be part-bear because of his size. He's actually a very kind and gentle person.
  • Gladiator Games: Sarge was once a slave, forced to fight in the gladiatorial arenas of Carthak City.
  • No Indoor Voice: Even during his days as a gladiator, he was known for having a very loud and commanding voice. In his time with the Riders, he uses his bellow to snap trainees into shape.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In The Immortals, he's only known by his nickname, Sarge. His actual name, Musenda, is revealed in The Numair Chronicles.

Skysong (Kitten)

When Kitten's mother was summoned to the human realms she was flung into battle, and nearly miscarried. Daine accidentally healed the child, but when the mother still died in battle, she was placed in charge of raising the hatchling.

Though still very young and unable to speak, Kitten is an intelligent as any human, though she has the maturity of a child. She loves her adopted family and gets angry when she's separated from them.

  • Child Prodigy: At least a little bit. Her grandfather notes that her adventures among the mortal realms have left her much more advanced than normal baby dragons her age.
  • Happily Adopted: Daine is basically her foster mother.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Considering Kitten's birth parents were dragons, and this series' dragons have no compunctions about challenging gods, Daine and Numair are definitely muggles in comparison. Though it is mentioned by one of the older and wiser dragons that some mortals are capable of challenging dragons on an even footing, with the implication being that an angry Numair is one of them.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Kitten is always discovering new things she's able to do, such as magically forcing locks in book 2 or commanding lesser dragonkin in book 4. This is primarily a result of Kitten's status as an infant, since she's slowly mastering her natural dragon magic.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Although we do know her real name, 90% of the time everyone calls her Kitten—or even Kit.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Immortal, sentient, and immensely powerful. Even though Kitten is just a baby, she can exert control over other draconic creatures (such as wyverns) by the fourth book.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: A wild dragon who becomes Daine's charge.


A grey mountain pony, Cloud is the last member of Daine's family that's still alive. She lost her mate and offspring in the same bandit raid, and has stayed with Daine since, even when her mind started to become more and more wolf-like. She often acts as the voice of reason.

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Justified. Prolonged exposure to Daine's magic (and her blood from biting her) means that she's much more intelligent in a "human" way than the average pony, even understanding human language.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She calls Numair a "stork man" and makes it clear whenever she's unimpressed with twolegger habits.
  • Demoted to Extra: Though a main character in the first two novels, she's completely absent in Emperor Mage and only appears at the end of Realms of the Gods. Emperor Mage makes sense given that it takes place in an entirely different country and Cloud likely dislikes the idea of going on a ship and given that Realms of the Gods is either in the middle of a war zone (between humans and immortals) or in the Realm of the Gods, it's unlikely Daine would have Cloud with her unless absolutely necessary.
  • Team Mom: She borders on a Parental Substitute for Daine after Sarra's death and extends her maternal common sense to Numair as well.
  • Sapient Steed: She's basically Daine's only living family member because of her blood-induced sapience.

Rikash Moonsword

Rikash is a terrible monster—the body of giant metal bird of prey with a human head, smeared with blood and feces, that exists to desecrate the dead and feed off the misery of war. When Daine meets him, she immediately hates him. However, his care for Maura, biting sense of humor, and fierce loyalty to his clan makes her question her hatred of Stormwings.

  • Dark Is Not Evil: Rikash makes no apologies for being what he is. However he shows a very human side and displays a certain dignity about his kind's purpose that makes it hard to hate him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His biting sense of humor.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Lampshaded by Daine when she finds out his last name is Moonsword.
  • Friend to All Children: It's hard for Stormwings to bear children, so they tend to be fond and protective of any they come across, regardless of race or species.
  • Odd Friendship: With Daine (who initially despises Stormwings) and Maura of Dunlath.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Gets the better of Ozorne in Emperor Mage, tricking him into transforming into a Stormwing, something which leaves Ozorne Mode Locked, simultaneously depriving him of his human throne, magic, and pretty-boy appearance.
  • Noble Demon: He has a cantankerous personality and makes it clear that he delights in defiling the battlefield dead. Then we find that the only reason he (and the rest of his kind, for that matter) treat dead soldiers so badly is in the hope that any who see the "corpses" would harbor no ideas that War Is Glorious.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: He takes being a Stormwing very seriously and is very angry when Stormwings try to wage war on humans when their raison d'etre is to be a deterrent.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mostly for his own amusement value, but when he sees Numair entering his conversation with Daine and loudly wonders if Numair thinks he's "corrupting" her.
  • Shmuck Bait: Tells Daine to try Stormwing form because she'll totally like it, but she knows better. Once a human has assumed an immortal's form they are Mode Locked. He pulls it on Ozorne, as well, offering him a Stormwing feather and promising that when it contacts his blood, it will let him fly away from his enemies on wings of steel; the feather ends up turning Ozorne into a Stormwing, losing him his throne and his magic powers in an instant. (Immortals are permitted neither mortal thrones nor the mortal Gift.)
  • Undying Loyalty: To his Queen and to his friends.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Daine. They argue and bicker, but when he dies, she is horrified and saddened.

The Badger God

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the god of badgers. Tasked with protecting Daine by her mysterious father as a baby, when he next checked in, he was quite surprised to see that over ten years had passed, the girl's home had burned down and she was now in Tortall. Determined not to let it happen again, he gave her one of his magical claws so he could always follow her. Slightly grumpy and pompous, he nonetheless has a soft spot for her.

  • Chekhov's Gun: The badger claw. After over three books of just being a necklace, Daine eventually uses it to stab Ozorne in the chest. The Badger approves.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Daine thinks he's doing this to her whenever she "forgets" to ask him who her father is.
  • The Mentor: He watches over and advises Daine throughout the quartet.
  • No Name Given: He's just "The Badger God", even though all the other animal gods have names.
  • Papa Wolf: He steps in to aid Daine when she needs it. Such as when she accidentally kills herself with wild magic and he has to pull her back from the Divine Realm.
  • Parental Substitute: He's basically Daine's second father since her first father tasked him with it.

Brokefang the Wolf

Leader of his pack, Brokefang took Daine in and helped her get revenge on the raiders that killed her family. However, licking her wounds led to a high exposure to her magic, making him much more... human. Terrified by all these foreign thoughts and ideas, Brokefang nonetheless tries to do the best for his pack... including using his new found intelligence to fight again humans destroying the forest.

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Justified and explained. He has a particularly acute case because he licked Daine's wounds clean, thus swallowing some of her blood accidentally. Daine is disturbed at what she's done.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Considers it his responsibility to solve the pack's problems.
  • Papa Wolf: To the pack's cubs, naturally.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He does an admirable job watching out for his pack; in fact, his introduction scene is him planning their future.

Kaddar Ghazanoi Iliniat

Ozone's nephew and heir, Kaddar seems like an okay guy, all things considered- while pompous, arrogant and discriminatory against the poor, he genuinely wants to help people (if he can live long enough to do so). Becomes emperor after Ozorne is dethroned, and later marries Princess Kalasin.

  • Character Development: He has no problem with slavery to begin with, though this changes with exposure to Daine.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: He's lived for all his life in Carthak, where slavery is commonplace, and as a result, he has a casual disregard for slaves and their lives that shocks Daine, who had found him so nice before. This changes with Character Development.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Aside from the Deliberate Values Dissonance, he's also a bit pompous and arrogant. However, he's also genuinely kind, polite, immediately bonds with Daine despite initially thinking that he'd be encumbered with some yokel, and puts his neck on the line for his kingdom at the end of Emperor Mage.
  • Noble Bigot: He's heir to the throne of a slave-owning empire and outright ignores slaves thanks to Deliberate Values Dissonance, and he's a bit snobbish. He's also brave, kind, friendly with Daine (not much more than a peasant, legally speaking), and determined to do right by his people.
  • Odd Friendship: Imperial Prince of blood royal, on both sides, and northern peasant (who, admittedly, happens to be Semi-Divine). Not two people you think would get on, but they do, famously. It gets to the point where Numair suspects that he might be interested in the very pretty Daine and gives him a speech to make clear the potential consequences, though Kaddar isn't interested and just shrugs it off as Numair looking out for her.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Apart from the above, he's basically a Nice Guy who would rather see Carthak ruled properly, and puts himself at mercy of the Gods to ensure it.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He's quietly outraged at his uncle's misrule and militaristic posturing, and he does indeed rule properly once his Evil Uncle is tricked into turning into a Stormwing and flees the empire, leaving him in charge.

    Villains and neutral 

Tristan Staghorn

One of Numair's colleagues (sort of) during his days at the Carthaki University; they didn't get along. When they meet again some two decades later, not much has changed in that department.

  • Baleful Polymorph/ And I Must Scream: Numair turns him into a tree.
  • Evil Counterpart: He's a mage like Numair, and they even studied in the same school, but he has darker and more selfish use for his magic.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Again, like Numair but evil. He was Numair's classmate at mage school.
  • Jerkass: While Numair's vanity is endearing, this guy is a creep.
    • He was a dick even in his university days. He frequently insulted Arram, then claimed that it was a joke when he was called out on it.
  • Muggle Power: Tristan is by no means on Numair's level as a mage, but he has lots of the black opals being mined from Fief Dunlath to boost his power. Unfortunately for Tristan, he's still not on Numair's level.

Ozorne Muhassin Tasikhe

Emperor of Carthak and a powerful mage, Ozorne is obsessed with power and expanding his empire. He hates anyone who he can't control, and will quash those who disobey him. Really, the only good thing you can say on his behalf is that he really cares for animals. Later on, he gets turned into a Stormwing. He manages to learn their magic, creating a spy network of darklings from his blood, and becomes a pawn of Chaos itself. Eventually killed in one-one-one battle with Daine.

  • Affably Evil: To Daine in Emperor Mage. She helps his birds!
  • Bad Boss: Numair says that working under him is a terrifying prospect. That's why he risked punishment by fleeing to Tortall.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Arram/Numair in "Tempests and Slaughter" to such a degree that Arram asks him about erections when they're alone, and Ozorne willingly explains what's going on.
  • Break the Haughty: His defeat by Daine and transformation into a filthy, loathed creature.
  • Decadent Court: He piles on entertainment to distract his court from problems in the empire and kills those that can or have caused issues.
  • The Emperor: Of Carthak.
  • Evil Plan: Two at once; Take Over the World for Tortall and A God Am I domestically. When they didn't pan out he decided to Rage Against the Heavens.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He uses his power to oppress his people, and later, Rage Against the Heavens.
  • Evil Uncle: Kaddar is his nephew, which makes the boy's living situation precarious. They also set a neat contrast of Carthak royals.
  • Faux Affably Evil: To everyone other than Daine in Emperor Mage, he is politely evil.
  • Friend to All Living Things: That aren't human, anyways. Ozorne loved animals even as a kid and greatly enjoyed his time working under Lindhall.
  • A God Am I: This is his Evil Plan; to displace the worship of the gods by his citizens with worship of himself. The other gods are not terribly amused, and Carthak's local patron deity, the Graveyard Hag, is downright furious.
  • Child Prodigy: He was placed in advanced classes when attending the Imperial University, along with Arram and Varice.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Uses a Stormwing feather to escape death or being deposed in the third book, only to discover that it turns him into a Stormwing. Which means he is now ineligible to continue ruling and subject to Stormwing justice for his crimes against them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: During his university days, he had frequent bouts of moodiness and haughtiness, but he was otherwise a decent friend to Arram and Varice.
  • It's All About Me: What other mindset would force his subjects to worship him instead of genuine gods that can manifest themselves before mortals and get shirty about blasphemy?
    • According to the afterword in Emperor Mage, Ozorne legitimately doesn't understand why he can't just do whatever he wants. He doesn't get why he shouldn't be allowed to keep Daine to look after his birds, or get revenge on Numair for leaving him.
  • I Want Them Alive: In the last book he gives this order regarding Daine and Numair as he wants to kill them himself.
  • Karmic Transformation: That Stormwing feather! The vain and beautiful man who loves birds, has taken great effort to shape the Empire he inherited, and worked for years to master his magical Gift unwittingly makes himself into a birdlike creature with a reputation for being foul. He has no human magic, cannot have hereditary human power, and is even without hands with which to maintain his appearance and easily enjoy the luxuries he's accustomed to.
  • Manipulative Bastard: For all his magical power, he's more likely to work social magic to get what he wants. He tries to charm Daine into trusting him and lures the Tortallan representatives to Carthak under false gestures of peace.
  • Mistaken for Gay: With Arram in "Tempests and Slaughter". It's used as an insult by other students on occasion and even Arram is aware of how their relationship might be misconstrued.
    "Did you have to pay so the other two could share your...classes?".
  • Pet the Dog: Inverted and Lampshaded by Kaddar at the beginning, who complains that Ozorne cares far more about his birds than his subjects. This makes him less sympathetic than instead of more.
  • Revenge Before Reason: His father was assassinated in a conflict with the Sirajit people as a child. Ozorne swears revenge on the Sirajit people as a whole as a teenager, even though the people that were actually responsible for killing his father are already dead.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: He's known as Emperor Mage.
  • Unexpected Successor: In Tempests and Slaughter, Ozorne begins as the seventh heir for the throne. Over the course of the story, the heirs are wiped out one by one until Ozorne becomes second-in-line to become emperor.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was a friendly and outgoing person in university. He and Varice took a young Arram under their wing and formed a close-knit group of three.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When he cornered and beaten at the end of Emperor Mage he becomes frantic and desperate.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He used to be very close to Arram during their time at university. At some point, their relationship goes so sour that Arram has to flee to Tortall to escape Ozorne's wrath.

Varice Kingsford

An old friend and former lover of Numair's, she works in the Imperial Palace.

  • Childhood Friend Romance: Varice knew Numair as children when they were placed in advanced classes together. They quickly forged a close friendship, eventually culminating in a romance as teenagers. Unfortunately, their relationship was not to last as Numair had to flee to Tortall to escape Ozorne.
  • Dude Magnet: Multiple men express interest in her in Tempests and Slaughter.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Her magical abilities are most often used for this, because she genuinely loves cooking. And as noted below, they have many more applications than one might expect.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Varice's skills in the kitchen also translate to making medicines and poisons. She creates magically-enhanced drinks to calm Princess Mahira's bouts of dissociation and melancholy.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Daine and Numair aren't in a relationship—they aren't aware of their feelings yet — but Varice showing up makes things awkward, and Daine gets jealous.
  • Mundane Utility: She uses her magic primarily in the kitchen, using it to make elaborately decorated foodstuffs, something she dearly enjoys, which actually set her at odds with Numair, who always used to badger her about using her magic for greater purposes.
  • Nice Girl: While her more classically feminine attributes, status as Numair's ex, and position working for Ozorne, all at a contrast to Daine, would seem to set her up as an Alpha Bitch and minor antagonist, like Delia of Eldorne, she's actually perfectly friendly, and absolutely devastated when she thinks that Numair's been executed, enough that an enraged Daine takes pity on her. Indeed, she seems intentionally placed in the narrative to demonstrate that being a Proper Lady is just as valid a choice as being an Action Girl and doesn't indicate weakness.
  • Proper Lady: A textbook example, though with magical abilities.
  • The Social Expert: Varice possesses impressive social skills that Arram and Ozorne lack. She can easily put people at ease and steer conversations in the direction that she wants.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: People often don't take Varice seriously because her skills lie mostly in kitchen work and other domestic skills. Arram points out that she's studying at the same level as himself and Ozorne, two known child prodigies.
  • Tranquil Fury: Arram notes that Varice hides her anger underneath a cheerful tone of voice.


First appearing in Protector of the Small

    Heroes and supporting 

Keladry of Mindelan

Raised in the Yamani Islands, Kel is obsessed with doing what's right. Deeply inspired by Sir Alanna and the warrior women of Yaman, Kel signed up to be the first openly female page—and was so disgusted at being given the unfair title of "probationer" that she almost gave up right then and there. Still determined, she preserved through bullying, double-standards and the hardships of training to eventually win her shield.

Kel is a natural-born leader, possessing a cool head and stoicism, and shows brilliance as a commander even during her page years. She has a deeply instilled sense of duty, which often clashes with her desire to do what's right.

  • Action Girl: Proving herself as action-capable enough to be a knight is her personal goal.
  • Asexuality: She shows no real desire for sex, and after her first few romances fizzle out she realizes that she doesn't care much for romance either.
  • Badass Normal:
    • The whole point of her character according to Word of God and the final book. She has no powers at all but still kicks monster ass and leads others. (She is also the only one of the Tortall heroes to be one).
    • This is also why her success is just as important for would-be Lady Knights as Alanna's: nobody can say that she leaned on magic to succeed. Word of God is that this was the intended message for readers just as much as the other characters.note 
    Alanna: I had the magic, you see, and the hand of the Goddess on me. Everyone could and did say I was a freak, one of those once-a-century people. No one else needs to strive for what I did, because they couldn't reach it. But you, bless you, you are real.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Should she take on a friendship or position of responsibility over anyone, younger or older, and they come under threat, she will find them, she will rescue them unless they're already dead and she will make the ones who caused the threat regret it dearly. This applies in general to anyone small (Protector of the Small!) and/or weak that she comes across and this trope is part of why she's a Bully Hunter.
  • Blade on a Stick: Her preferred weapon due to her Yamani upbringing, though she's also competent with the sword and excellent with the lance.
  • Bifauxnen: Invoked. Due to her training and height, she is much larger and stockier than most women and her practical haircut makes it easy for strangers to assume she's a boy.
  • Bully Hunter: She didn't like the hazing and thought fighting the older boys who did it was good training, and so she steps in repeatedly to stop people who are abusing weaker people or animals.
  • Buxom Is Better: Inverted, Kel was not happy in the least when she started growing breasts. Additionally, it's noted in later books that her knight training has burned away a lot of her body fat, which, combined with her exceptional musculature, has left her flat-chested.
  • The Chains of Commanding: In Lady Knight. For the first half, she's constantly torn between her desire to go after Blayce and protect her refugee camp. It doesn't help that some of those refugees are incredibly demanding and obnoxious.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For the Chamber of the Ordeal. It's the one who named her "Protector of the Small."
  • Cool Horse: Peachblossom, who is a mighty warhorse. He's an extremely ill-tempered horse with a knack for causing trouble, but he's fond and protective of Kel.
  • Determinator: One of Kel's defining traits. Discussed in Lady Knight by her friends. They admit they should have expected her to chase after the captive civilians. Once they were in her care she was going to save them even if she had to invade an enemy country by herself.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: In Lady Knight, Kel essentially turns the tide of the entire Scanran War by killing Blayce and ending the threat of his killing devices, thus depriving King Maggur of his most powerful weapon against the Tortallans and the only thing that gave him an advantage. Instead of being lauded as a hero, Kel's achievements are instead ascribed to a "powerful new mage" and she's simply assigned to build a new refugee camp. This at least makes sense, considering that, in order to go into Scanra to find Blayce (along with the children he'd had kidnapped), Kel disobeyed a direct order from her superior and essentially deserted. Not that she minds, given that she has little concern for whether or not she's lauded for her actions.
  • Due to the Dead: As military commander in Haven, she insists on burying the enemy dead, even though most commanders bury only their own and leave enemies for the Stormwings. She eventually leaves the bodies of Blayce and his men to the Stormwings, because that way someone will benefit from them.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: She doesn't like being called "Protector of the Small" because she think it is a silly title.
  • Ensign Newbie: One of her protests to being put in charge of Haven is that the "paint is still wet on her shield." Wyldon sticks by it because she trained with the commander of the King's Own and she's responsible enough to do the job properly; she's also the only person he knows he can trust to actually lead the refugees, as opposed to treating them like a dirty chore or waste of time like many other nobles would.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Inverted into Even Goodness Has Limits. Kel is just about the only Tortallan who will burn dead enemy soldiers and pray for them instead of leaving them for Stormwings, immortal semi-human scavengers who defile battlefield corpses. However, she leaves Blayce the Gallan and the soldiers who guarded him for them.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kel is a much more down-to-earth example than most, but she makes a habit of caring for animals, protecting them, and taking in strays. Since a lot of them have had their intelligence enhanced by proximity to Daine, they repay the kindness by helping her in battle.
  • Good Parents: She has them; in fact, Kel's mother and father are easily the best biological parents Pierce has written to date (and possibly the best parents, period). They are extremely supportive of her dream and are there to help her with other issues like periods and romance.
  • Good with Numbers: She greatly enjoys her math lessons as a page, and the skill serves her well while dealing with logistical and engineering problems as a squire and knight. It also wins her a lot of support among her peers, and her year-mates claim, half-seriously, that their entire year would have probably failed their mathematics classes without her tutoring.
  • Heroic Build: Invoked. Early on, Kel takes advantage of her huge build to put on as much muscle mass as possible to keep up with her male counterparts. After eight years of non-stop training, she's left with broad shoulders, huge biceps and calves, and a flat, thickly muscled chest. She's also very tall for a woman.
  • Honor Before Reason: When her people are captured by Blayce, it was a matter of honor and responsibility to rescue them even though she herself realized it was suicidally stupid to do so on her own. However considering that if she hadn't done this an enemy mage would have gone on to make two hundred children into monstrous killing devices, abandoning her post to save them wasn't entirely unreasonable.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: A running gag. Even Alanna jokes that the only bad thing about Keladry's fantastic successes as a page and squire is that the stocky Alanna looks fairly runty standing next to her.
  • Humble Heroine: She has a tendency to dismiss any compliments her friends try to give her and is quick to attribute her successes to luck, her training, or some other factor, rather than her own personal merit.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Her dream is to be a knight that saves people but she would never call it something as as silly as "Protector of the Small".
  • Lady of War: She becomes this by the time of the fourth book. Literally; the standard address is "Lady Knight."
  • The Leader: She is remarkably good at staying cool in a crisis, a quality that is noticed early on. Raoul later gives her specific lessons, saying that a good, solid commander is often a more useful asset for the realm than a questing hero.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Kel and Neal eventually, once she gets over her schoolgirl crush on him.
  • Mama Bear: Despite not being a mom she is this for Haven; its people are her responsibility.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: She has at least four brothers and three sisters.
  • Parental Substitute: To her sidekick, Tobe, whom she more or less adopts.
  • Maybe Ever After: Though she's eager to see Dom again at the end of Lady Knight, that's as far as any romantic implications go at the end of the quartet. Disconfirmed by Word of God; it's possible she has an impermanent relationship with Dom, but definitely does not end up with him or anybody else.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Unlike Alanna, Kel seems to have a naturally more robust build than most girls (judging by the "cow" and "lump" insults) and does numerous strength exercises, from push-ups to using weighted weapons all the time in training. By the end she's more or less built like an oak tree.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Takes it upon herself to defy this trope all over the country. Whenever she can wear a dress, she will — not because she likes dresses particularly, but because she's determined to remind everyone that she is, in fact, a girl.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: She deliberately wears dresses to dinner as a page to remind people that she's a girl.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Defied in Squire. Lerant, Raoul's jealous standard-bearer, grabs her to try and intimidate her. She responds simply by flexing her bicep and popping his hand right off.
  • The Stoic: She has a "Yamani face", which she uses to avoid showing bullies and other enemies that they've upset her. (This winds up getting her the nickname "Yamani Lump" in training.)
  • Tranquil Fury: This is what happens whenever you break through Kel's Yamani calm and get her mad.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Out of everyone, Kel wants Wyldon's approval. She gets it, eventually.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: With heights. After the end of Page, she stops getting dizzy and throwing up, but she still doesn't like them.

Lord Wyldon of Cavall

Wyldon is a conservative, obsessed with tradition and firmly of the opinion that women are not fit to be warriors. It was he that insisted Kel be placed on probation due to her gender, and caused her a lot of hardships in her first year of training. Despite all this, he has a deep sense of honor and wants to serve the crown as best he can, and is most certainly a hero. Though he never seems to fully shake off his sexism, he becomes one of Kel's staunchest supporters.

  • The Ace: His sexist views aside, Wyldon is constantly held up as a paragon of knightly virtue. He's unfailingly devoted to his duty, even to the extent that he will overlook his own prejudices to carry it out (even though he admitted it was a near thing, he was still virtuous enough to realize just how bad his bias was, and it's part of why he retired a few years later). He believes firmly in a knight's duty to act honorably and help others in need, to the extent that Kel realizes he's actually happy to be on duty fighting and protecting others, rather than simply training the next set of pages. He's a master of everything related to a knight's job, from combat to field-craft, a superb instructor, and so good at jousting that not even Raoul is not willing to tilt against him (in order to preserve his own pride).
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: He tells Keladry a few times that he wishes she was a boy. She just says that she likes being a girl.
  • Badass Normal: Not only does he lack magic but he doesn't like it used unless absolutely necessary.
  • Dramatic Irony: Tortall: A Spy's Guide revealed that the entire reason he took up the post of training master was to prove that girls can't be knights, believing that Alanna had been a fluke. Then Kel came along.
  • Four-Star Badass: A general who much prefers fighting at the border and protecting people than living at the capital training kids. Kel realizes this in Lady Knight.
  • Happily Married: To Lady Vivenne, via Word of God.
  • Heel Realization: He very nearly rejects Kel's page-hood despite the fact that she'd thoroughly earned it, but his conscience won the wrestling match. This is part of why he retired some years later. That, and how Joren and his crew turned out.
  • Honor Before Reason: Reconstructed. He probably sees it this way, because his honor keeps preventing him from disqualifying Kel, but he ultimately realizes he was right in putting his promise to be fair to her above his agenda to keep women from being knights.
  • In-Series Nickname: Neal refers to him as 'The Stump' because he's stocky and stubborn.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: To first-time readers, especially young ones, his constantly forcing Kel to face her fear of heights seems more like torture than anything else. But in hindsight, Wyldon was absolutely right; Kel's phobia would have crippled her in a fight, and his methods worked. He later admits that he was still trying to make her quit at that point, but afterwards was a different story.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He was a colossal prick to Kel, and openly misogynistic. However, after she proves him wrong about her, not only does he lighten up on her, but he begins to hold her in extremely high esteem. When he resigned from his position, he apologized to her for all the shit he put her through and told her that she was the best student he ever had.
  • Meaningful Name: The name of his fief, Cavall, also happens to be the name of King Arthur's favorite hunting hound. This is not a coincidence.
  • Moving the Goalposts: He made Keladry do a probationary year and only barely let her return, and throughout the first two books he's continuously making things harder for her than the other pages in an attempt to prove her unworthy. The fact that she keeps succeeding eventually earns his respect, and he continues doing this to make her the best she can be.
  • My Greatest Failure: In Squire, he resigns as a training instructor after the spectacular failures of Joren and Vinson and the realization that his greatest achievement would be Keladry's success—the thing that he spent most of her page years trying to prevent.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He gets along well with the staff and civilians; it's the pages he's nasty to.
  • Old Soldier: A veteran of many battles.
  • Parental Substitute: For Kel, to an extent, as he guides her on the path to knighthood. Kel later tells him that he's the kind of knight she'd like to be.
    Wyldon: I am not. But that you believe it is the greatest compliment I will ever receive.
  • Pet the Dog: One of the first clues that Wyldon isn't that bad a guy is his kindness toward Kel's technically disallowed terrier mix, Jump. Later on it's revealed that he breeds hunting dogs, and that Cavall produces some of the finest in Tortall.
  • Politically Motivated Teacher: He seems to spend half his time making sure the entire class knows his opinion on female knights and being forced to train Kel, and constantly works insults into her training. Because he's so focused on her, he neglects his other students, letting Joren and Vinson get worse until they fail the Chamber of the Ordeal. Once he realizes this, he's deeply ashamed and resigns.
  • Real Men Get Shot: Wyldon is a firm believer that suffering makes you a real man. Unless it's absolutely necessary to survive or stay in the field, he won't accept a magic healing. Duke Baird, the palace healer, openly hates this and tries to train Kel out of it with limited success.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When not overcome with misogyny, and later when he gets better, he has sound judgement.
  • Scars Are Forever: His face and arm were scarred defending the royal children from hurroks shortly before First Test, and they're still there in Lady Knight.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Part of his bigotry. He tells Kel she'll receive no special treatment for being a girl, despite having put her on probation when no other boy had to, and keeps being unfair to her to ensure that she won't be unfairly advantaged. He also believes that once Kel sees battle she'll turn tail and run, even though Hakuin told him that Kel has already seen battle in the Yamani Islands at the age of five.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: His attitude at first. He doesn't believe noble families should let their daughters step out of their domestic spheres because only men are suited to be knights, telling Alanna herself that girls are too weak and fearful for combat. This changes as Kel proves herself not only as capable but more so than her male peers.
  • Stern Teacher: To pages. He's famous among them for his rule that if a page is late to the year-end ceremony, even if it's just a minute, they have to repeat the entire year of page training, and if they're really late, they have to repeat all four. His reason is "Tardiness in knights causes fatalities."note 
  • Training from Hell: Sometimes intentional, as when he forces Kel to constantly climb things, and sometimes accidental, as when he takes the pages out on a training exercise after the local leaders have falsely claimed there weren't any bandits where Wyldon wanted to send them.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally he was slated to be an outright villain. He wasn't interested.
  • World's Best Warrior: A fair competitor with Alanna for this - being completely at home on a battlefield aside, he's also an extremely skilled jouster. While knights would usually feel proud after defeating an opponent, especially if they knocked them off their horses, when put up against Wyldon, even Raoul considers it an accomplishment to simply stay in the saddle for the three bouts, at which point the judges would always rule in Wyldon's favor.

Nealan "Neal" of Queenscove

One of the oldest pages ever, Neal changed his mind about being a healer in order to do his perceived duty as a knight. Having grown up around women like Alanna and Thayet, he was already convinced that women deserved a chance to become warriors, and so took Kel under his wing. A hopeless romantic and intellectual, Neal is prone to poetic outbursts and extreme snarking.

  • Combat Medic: He's a knight and a healer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kel is his favorite target for his clever wit and jokes, though The Stump (Wyldon) had the first honor.
  • Drama Queen: If a situation needs overreaction or ranting, Neal's the one to provide it. His father dryly lampshades it in the first book.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: His family (and most especially his cousin Dom) calls him "Meathead."
  • Good Is Not Soft: Usually he's perfectly friendly and averse to taking anything seriously. However, he can turn on the "nasty noble" act when he needs to, as he does when encountering a child abuser.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He remains Kel's best friend throughout their training and into knighthood.
  • The Lancer: To Kel. He's comical and snarky and doesn't take anything seriously.
  • Likes Older Women: Not that much older, but still older in the case of Daine, whom he crushes on for a while.
  • In Love with Love: Discussed by his friends after seeing him fall in love time after time with the same type of women. Ultimately Happily Married to Lady Yukimi noh Daiomoru, one of Princess Shinkokami's Yamani ladies-in-waiting.
  • The Medic: He has healing magic and can make potions and ointments.
  • The Snark Knight: Literally, after passing his Ordeal. He can quip about his own misfortunes as well as everyone else's, including his tendency to get in trouble by snarking at authority figures.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Kel and Neal eventually, once she gets over her schoolgirl crush on him.
  • Oblivious to Love: He's completely clueless about Kel's crush on him, which relieves her when she gets over it after being away during her first few months as a squire.
  • Overprotective Dad: According to a seer in Protector of the Small, he is totally going to stress out when his future daughter starts knight training.
  • Serial Romeo: He likes to moan, groan, and write bad poetry about unattainable ladies, but when he really falls in love, not even Kel has any idea until his Ordeal.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: He was originally a university student training to be a healer and Non-Action Guy. When his older brothers died in the Immortals War, though, Neal felt obligated to enter page training at age 15 (the standard age is ten) because Queenscove has had a serving knight from its house for centuries.
    Neal: A knight from our House —
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to mages like Numair, he and his father don't have a lot of power; they can, however, use it with much more precision, able to even perform surgery magically. If Numair tried that, the patient would most likely end up as a fine red paste, or perhaps even mist.


A mean-spirited, nasty, ill-tempered horse that's suffered a lifetime of abuse; Kel decides to take him on despite all his faults, since he was almost certainly due to be killed if not put to work. While their relationship is often rocky, the two eventually become great partners.

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Once again, due to Daine's presence he is much more clever than a standard war horse.
  • Cool Horse: Sure, he's not particularly pretty, but he's great in battle.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: 'Peachblossom' is an oddly docile name for such a mean horse.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's uncooperative towards anyone but Kel, prone to lashing out at other horses, and bites Neal just to hear him squeak, but he's loyal to Kel and, later, protective of Tobe.
  • Silent Snarker: He doesn't communicate with Kel the way that Cloud does with Daine, but he's still quite opinionated.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He's especially fond of biting Neal. It's eventually revealed he just likes the noises Neal makes.

Cleon of Kennan

A third-year when Kel enters page training. He becomes part of her friend group after she finishes her probationary year; his joke flirting turns into a genuine attraction to her and they start dating in Squire. He squires under her brother Inness.

  • Arranged Marriage: He's betrothed to Ermelian of Aminar and he strongly considers asking his mother to break it off so he can marry Kel instead. Circumstances force him to go through with it, which is for the best.
  • First Love: Neal was Keladry's first crush but Cleon was the first guy she was kind of serious about.
  • Friend to All Children: Kel's nieces and nephews love him, and she can see that he'd like to have kids of his own.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Described as having curly red hair, although Kel doesn't take an interest in him until she realizes his flirting has gotten serious.
  • Impoverished Patrician: His fief is hit hard by floods between Squire and Lady Knight, wiping out their stored grains. This forces him to abandon his wish to marry Kel, as marrying for love would be selfish when Ermelian's dowry would keep his people from hunger.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Initially. He has no problem hazing the first years, but he's not malicious about it, so Kel doesn't mind being his gofer quite as much.
  • Purple Prose: Prone to calling Kel "pearl of my heart" and other absurdly flowery compliments for fun; she replies by pointing out the logical errors in them. Later he gets serious about the flirting.


A stray dog whom Kel rescues from an angry butcher he's been stealing from. She tries to give him to Daine, but he will only stay with her.

  • Pet the Dog: He provides Wyldon with plenty of literal opportunities to show his hidden heart of gold.
  • Scars Are Forever: Despite Daine healing many of his injuries, he retains the two breaks in his tail and his missing ear, because they're old and have already "healed" naturally.
  • Ugly Cute: In-universe. Kel frequently remarks that he wouldn't win any prizes for beauty, but he charms most everyone he meets regardless. From the descriptions he seems to be a bull terrier, a popular real life instance.

Lalasa Isran

A shy and timid girl who Kel decides to take on as a maid at her uncle Gower's request. Afraid of her own shadow, and terrified that Kel's kindness is just a mask that will one day fall off, Lalasa slowly learns to find confidence and friendship.

  • Ambiguously Brown: She's described as "dark" when Kel first meets her - though this could just mean that she's dark haired and dark eyed, in traditional English usage of the term. The narrative never elaborates either way.
  • Character Development: At first she's incredibly timid and afraid of Kel. By the end of the book she's much more confident in herself.
  • Does Not Like Men: With good reason. She tells Kel that Gower is the only member of her family who treats women well (and they think he's weird because of it). She's frequently harassed and menaced by men in the palace, and she was assaulted, probably sexually, by her own brother. Not hard to see why she warns Kel that Children Are Innocent won't last with the male pages.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: She's a maid turned dress designer and is dating Kel's sister's maid.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her uncle took her in after her parents were killed. They abandoned her long before that.
  • Scullery Maid: Started this way before becoming Kel's personal maid.
  • Shrinking Violet: Starts out timid but gradually gains confidence.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As she served under Kel she became more confident, and on one occasion held off a squire - a "strong, brawny fighter." In Squire, Kel is told that she teaches the self-defense Kel taught her to other girls in the city.

Owen of Jesslaw

A page who starts training during Kel's second year. Owen is a very energetic and enthusiastic boy with a strong sense of right and wrong, but he's quite impulsive and has a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth. He befriends Kel when she defends him from Joren's gang and he piles into the ensuing fight. He squires for Lord Wyldon of Cavall, who manages to settle him down without breaking his spirit, and Word of God states that he eventually goes on to marry Wyldon's youngest daughter, Margarry.

  • Badass Bookworm: Kel first meets him in a library because he absolutely loves books.
  • Bad Liar: Wyldon doesn't tell him Keladry's orders because he know it'll show all over Owen's face. Kel tells him to take this as a compliment to Owen's sense of honesty.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Owen generally gives the impression of a bouncy ball with curly hair when he first arrives. But when the pages are surprised by bandits during summer camp, he's one of the few besides Kel who keeps a completely cool head and is an excellent shot.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He really enjoys fighting, calling it jolly.
  • Break the Cutie: The gruelling slog of war and aftermath of Fort Mastiff in Lady Knight leaves Owen hurt and disillusioned.
  • Catchphrase: Describing things as "jolly."
  • Character Development: As a result of becoming Wyldon's squire in the third book. Wyldon gets his feet on the ground and instils some manners and savvy into him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced being bullied by Joren. When Kel fights Joren and his cronies, Owen jumps one of them from behind, and later asks Kel: "That was jolly! Did you learn how to fight like that here?"
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: He's very tactless. Wyldon mostly cures him of it in Lady Knight.
  • Scars Are Forever: Invoked. He asks Neal not to heal a cut on his face because he wants a scar to impress the girls.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In Lady Knight, he leaves his knight-master Wyldon to join Kel's party. This saddens Kel, as she feels guilt for leading Owen into betraying his personal oaths to Wyldon on top of her own betrayal of Wyldon's orders. Wyldon forgives both without a qualm, having known almost as soon as he gave it that there was exactly zero chance his order would be obeyed.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: It's not a big deal, given medieval attitudes towards death and killing, but Kel is still surprised when ten-year-old Owen feels nothing but intense satisfaction for killing bandits.
  • You Killed My Father: He hates bandits and his main motivation for becoming a knight is to hunt them because they killed his mother.

Domitan of Masbolle

Neal's cousin, a sergeant in the King's Own. Also Raoul's unofficial protégé, albeit in a different way than Kel, with whom he becomes quite close. First appears in First Test, though he's unnamed; he takes a much larger role in Squire and Lady Knight, and remains one of Kel's firmest champions throughout.

  • Badass Normal: No magic and still formidable fighter.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: He primarily uses the sword, but is more than capable with a bow as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Apparently this is a family trait, because he is just as fond of sarcasm as his cousin.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He first appears, unnamed, as part of a group of the King's Own watching Kel and the pages joust in First Test, but it's not until Squire that he becomes a major character.
  • The Lancer: To Raoul in a similar vein to Neal/Kel; a loyal and joking supporter.
  • Maybe Ever After: Implied with Kel at the end of Lady Knight where she is excited to see him again. Disconfirmed by Word of God.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Member of the noble house of Masbolle (related to Queenscove, Neal's family) but serves in the King's Own.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Sergeant and a gentleman.
  • Colonel Badass: He's a squad leader (one rank below commander of the Company) who can and will take you to school.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Kel. Since Kel's the viewpoint character, we see more of her struggles than Dom's and unusually for this trope in Tortall, we don't get a resolution and Word of God denied it.
  • Up to Eleven: Kel had a small schoolgirl crush on Neal early on. Then she met his cousin who is described (more or less) as "Neal but better." That was the end of the first crush.

Flyndan Whiteford

Captain of Third Company in the King's Own, he also serves as Raoul's second in command. Although he's not as nice as Raoul and highly skeptical of Kel, he's a competent and fair commander.

  • Commander Contrarian: This is a key part of his job. Raoul values his viewpoint, though he doesn't always act on it.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He shows up as part of the spidren hunt in First Test (and unlike Dom, actually gets named there).
  • The Lancer: He has a much harder demeanor than Raoul. Dom says that this is necessary; otherwise Raoul would be too easygoing.
  • The Reliable One: Raoul can definitely count on him to do what he needs and what is good for the King's Own.
  • Slut-Shaming: This is one of his objections to Raoul taking on Kel as a squire; Flyn worries that it will ruin both of their reputations.
  • Token Minority: He's a commoner in high command.

Lerant of Eldorne

Standard-bearer of the Second Company of the King’s Own, and nephew to Delia of Eldorne. He is extremely loyal to Lord Raoul because Raoul accepted him into the King's Own, after the army and navy refused him because of his aunt's high treason. He resents Kel for having what he sees as a closer relationship to his commander.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The reason he isn't a knight is that his family simply didn't have the money to pay for a page's equipment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He shows an unpleasant side to Kel, particularly at first, but he does have his good qualities.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Because of his Aunt Delia's treachery in the Lioness Quartet, he's been persecuted and denied entry into even the regular army and the navy, which led to Raoul bringing him into the King's Own as standard bearer.
  • Pet the Dog: He raises an orphaned baby squirrel late in Squire, which shows his nice side.
  • The Resenter: Lerant resents Kel because she's Lord Raoul's squire, a position that he could never have. Lerant is unique as the only character who starts out resenting Kel and never becomes friendly with her—though they do come to understand one another.
  • The Rival: Lerant sees himself and Kel as rivals, although she thinks it’s pointless. He'll try to compete with her for tasks serving Lord Raoul, and she'll frequently put up a token effort and let him win.
  • Taking the Bullet: At some point before Squire, he took an arrow meant for Lord Raoul. Qasim mentions this as an example of Lerant’s Undying Loyalty.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is completely loyal to Lord Raoul, because Raoul let him join the King's Own despite his relationship to a traitor.

Tobeis "Tobe" Boon

A young boy introduced in the final book, Lady Knight. He's an abused servant boy in a northern inn until Kel buys his indenture. Although he's nominally her servant, she really did it to give him a good upbringing, and he sticks to her like glue from then on.
  • Animal Talk: He has minor horse magic. This makes him the only person besides Daine and Kel who can approach Peachblossom without fear, something which shocks anyone who knows her; even Kel was afraid that Peachblossom would kill the boy the first time he dove into the gelding's stall.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He's a good lad, although the hair color indicates his heritage rather than personality.
  • Happily Adopted: By Kel, who becomes his Parental Substitute.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: His mother died in childbirth and he was essentially sold to an abusive innkeeper after the death of the midwife who raised him.
  • People of Hair Color: One reason that he was rejected by most people was his blond hair and blue eyes, indicating that his parents were Scanran.
  • The Reliable One: He is a pretty good servant and reliably brings the equipment and other items Kel requests in a battle situation.
  • Servile Snarker: Alvik wasn't able to beat his penchant for smart remarks out of him.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Kel once he's convinced that she's not going to abandon him. He even follows her into Scanra without hesitation after the attack on Haven.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: A darker version, as being abused and given false hope of rescue multiple times has made him cynical. Kel calls him a "little old man."

Princess Shinkokami

A second-rank princess of the Yamani Islands, chosen by her uncle the Emperor to be the future wife of Prince Roald in the alliance marriage with Tortall (following the death of the previous choice, Chisakami, in an earthquake). First introduced in Squire, when she is sent to Tortall to get to know her future husband and his family. She was friends with Kel when Kel's family were ambassadors in the Yamani Islands.
  • Geeky Turn-On: At a Midwinter party, Kel gets the stiff-and-awkward (due to nerves) Shinkokami to talk about the various weapons and tactics in use in the Isles, kicking off a discussion with the equally stiff-and-awkward Roald on the similarities and differences with Tortallan warfare. They left the party several hours later still talking. Cue the Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • In-Series Nickname: Kel calls her 'Shinko' for short, and when they were children, her nickname was 'Cricket'.
  • King Incognito: Kel didn't know that Shinko was part of the Imperial bloodline when they first met, as Shinko's family was out of favor with the Emperor at the time and she liked being treated as an ordinary person.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: Skilled in the use of naginata, as expected of women of her class.
  • No Man Wants an Amazon: She's afraid at first that this is the case with Roald, as the Yamani crown prince told her that men with unconventional mothers want conventional wives. Kel is able to help set the record straight.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Carries a shukusen, a silk fan with steel ribs that are dull at the base and razor sharp on the ends. Yamani ladies have them when they think they are in danger, but don't want to complicate things by openly carrying a weapon.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: While the marriage between her and Roald is an Arranged Marriage for diplomatic reasons, they have much in common and fall in love.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Shinko and Roald postpone their marriage due to the Scanran War and do what they can to help, though they are rather constrained in how much they can do, what with being the Crown Prince and Princess.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: As most ladies of the Yamani Islands are, she is polite and graceful and also fairly deadly and cunning.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: What with being from the Yamani Islands, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan, and fitting Silk Hiding Steel, she fits.

Yukimi noh Daiomoru

Friend and lady-in-waiting to Princess Shinkokami. She is first introduced in Squire, when the princess is sent to Tortall to meet her future husband before the marriage. She was friends with Kel in the Yamani Islands. She later falls in love with Nealan of Queenscove and marries him.

  • In Love with Love: Not as bad as Neal, but Kel notes that Yuki had flirted with so many men that she wasn't sure that Yuki was really in love with Neal until his Ordeal. Yuki admits that she felt the same way.
  • In-Series Nickname: She is called Yuki for short.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: To Princess Shinkokami, and was one of only two to remain in Tortall with her after Shinkokami's wedding.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: She is skilled in the use of naginata, as expected of a Yamani noblewoman.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Carries a shukusen, which she gives to Neal after his Ordeal. He accepts it and wears it at his belt during his knighting ceremony.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: As most ladies of the Yamani Islands are. She's the one who provided the proverb on this trope: "beware the women of the warrior class, for all they touch is both beautiful and deadly."
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Again, like most ladies of the Yamani Islands, she fits this trope due to the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan.

    Villains and neutral 

Joren of Stone Mountain

Son of one of the oldest families in Tortall, Joren firmly believes that women should never be knights, and will stop at nothing to prevent Kel from becoming one. Outside of that, he is a great believer in the superiority of nobles.

  • Despair Event Horizon: It's implied that the Chamber of the Ordeal pushed him across this during his ordeal, which resulted in his death.
  • Dirty Coward: During Kel's page years, he had no problem going up against her in a straight-up fight as long as he thought she was grossly inferior to him, similar to how he enjoys picking on the younger pages, who are less likely to try and defend themselves. However, once people start standing up to him, he backs down and instead resorts to working behind their backs, arranging a kidnapping and manipulating other knights to tilt against Kel, whilst never trying to fight her himself.
  • Evil Plan: As the first proper antagonist, his plan is to force Kel out of knight training. He tries this several ways, like kidnapping her maid or persuading knights to joust her in the hopes that she'll die or be crippled.
  • Hypocrite: He accuses Kel of being unable to fight her own battles blaming her for Vinson's exposure by the Chamber. Never mind that he spends all his time on the Progress persuading other knights to challenge Kel without ever picking up a sword himself.
  • Jerkass: He bullies younger pages and is offended by Keladry's mere presence because of her gender.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed. While he is made to stand trial for kidnapping Lalasa, the worst they can charge him with is a fine because he's a noble and she's a commoner. Even with the judge throwing every charge he can think of at him, the resultant fine isn't enough to even inconvience him, and he knows it.
    • Karma Houdini Warranty: Unfortunately for him, the Chamber of the Ordeal isn't bound by the same classist rules and kills him for being inflexible and dishonorable.
  • Kick the Dog: Kel catches him verbally abusing a palace servant after his claim that he had changed, and he bullies Lerant, who can't fight back because he's not a squire.
  • Manipulative Bastard: After becoming a squire, his face-to-face interactions with Kel become passive-aggressive rather than aggressive-aggressive. Then he has Lalasa kidnapped during exams, because she'll be caught between publicly abandoning her servant — very bad — or repeating all four years as a page, which he doesn't think she'll do.
  • Muscle Angst: Tries to provoke thoughts of weakness in Kel, as part of his general attempt to make her quit.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He gives Kel a weighted lance to make tilting harder for her. When she figures it out, she decides to start training with other weighted weapons, because it is a good way to build up strength (that's why the training yard has them in the first place). A couple of years later, Kel is so strong that the regular lance actually throws her off. In fact, the vast majority of the things he does to try and trip up Kel or get her to fail end up backfiring in this manner. He arranges for Kel's maid to be kidnapped and stowed up on top of Balor's Needle, then locks them out so they have to go down the outer stairway... and ends up breaking Kel out of her fear of heights. He manipulates numerous knights into tilting against her during the Progress in order to have them show her up and prove she's not as good as men (and possibly arranging for an attempt on her life in the process)...and she wins more often than she loses and it actually aids her in changing people's opinions about female knights. He constantly tries to discredit her in Lord Wyldon's eyes... and winds up putting her through enough crap that Wyldon eventually considers her the best knight he's ever trained. Whoops.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: That's how he sees it because he's a misogynist. The Chamber of the Ordeal pulls up a vision where he counts fighting skills as a negative for women.
  • Pretty Boy: He's described as "lovely" and "as rosy-cheeked as a girl" with long blond hair. His appearance was based on a real person Pierce knew (who was similarly pretty outside and rotten inside), but there's some unintentional ironic value in a misogynist having such feminine looks.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He blows off his own crimes since his family can easily pay the fines he incurs.
  • The Unfought: Kel fights him repeatedly when they're both pages. When he becomes a squire he stops — but that doesn't mean he stops trying to bring her down through indirect means. If he ever challenged her himself, it would be a tacit admission that she has the same rights as other squires, and he couldn't do that. He ends up dying during his Ordeal when his inflexible nature causes him to break under the Chamber's power.

Maggur Rathhausak

A Scanran Warlord who starts to rally several clans of the notoriously uncooperative Scanran people under his banner and leading raids across the border into Tortal. By Lady Knight, Maggur has gained enough support to have himself crowned as king of Scanra and starts a war with Tortall in earnest. A notorious strategic and tactical genius whose methods of fighting showcase a great deal more forethought than most Scanran leaders, his biggest advantage is the killing devices created by Blayce the Gallan.

  • Bad Boss: Hands over his old fief for Blayce to with as he pleases and doesn't give a damn about what happens to his people, so long as he gets his killing devices.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Blayce and Stenmun are the main antagonists of the Protector of the Small series and Kel's story revolves around ultimately finding and killing them. But Maggur is the one who enabled Blayce in the first place and gave him everything he needed to do his vile work. He's also the instigator of the war with Tortal, which continues, even after he's lost his best weapons.
  • I Have Your Wife: According to Miles, this is the main way Maggur accumulates power. He has the close family and loved ones of clan leaders spirited away to his stronghold for their "protection" so that said clan will fight for him.
  • Private Military Contractors: He left Scanra to fight in other lands as a mercenary before returning and applying what he'd learned to the war with Tortal.
  • The Unfought: He never even actually appears on page in the story and all references to him are by other characters. Even after Blayce is killed and the killing devices stop working, he still continues the war with Tortal, though by the Trickster series, the war has gone bad for the Scanrans and the last reference to Maggur is that his own nobles are hunting him down to curry favor with the Tortallans.
  • Would Hurt a Child: By proxy. He's perfectly happy to allow Blayce to have all the children he wants, so long as he gets his killing devices.

Stenmun "Kinslayer" Fodeben

Blayce's guard dog. He's the one who brings abducted children to Blayce's hideout for the killing devices as well as guarding him. He's well-equipped to do so, being a mountain of a man with no qualms about killing anyone.

  • An Axe to Grind: He wields a huge double-headed ax with a spike at the top.
  • The Dragon: He's a classic example of the "physical challenge to the hero" aspect of the trope. He tops Kel at about seven feet and is an excellent fighter; his ax is proportional and he uses it to great effect. Kel's fight with him is long and difficult even with the help of Jump and a camp cat, and he manages to inflict a couple of bad wounds. Even after she inflicts a mortal wound, she decides to make sure he's dead by cutting his throat. It's a lot more difficult than the fight with his boss which is more abstract of a challenge.
  • Bad Boss: Ditches his dead men without any kind of funeral rite, nor does he pause long enough to find out who's killing them (i.e. Kel's band) because getting the children to Blayce is more important to him. When they protest, he backhands one of them in the throat.
  • The Brute: He's a low ranking thug that works for Blayce, who works for the Scanran king.
  • Expy: Word of God states that he is based (physically, at least) on Kevin Nash.
  • Lack of Empathy: He appears not to have any kind of human feeling other than professionalism and getting paid for his work.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: There's only one plausible reason he could be called "Kinslayer".
  • Only in It for the Money: When Kel questions why he works for a monster like Blayce, his reply is simply that Blayce pays well.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Kel during their battle after she expresses disgust for his motive—his rejoinder is that Blayce at least treats the children to some luxury before killing them, whereas she's just saving them for a short and miserable life of disease, poverty, battle, and starvation. She's not swayed at all by this cynical statement.
  • Red Baron: Not that it's ever directly confirmed, but it's easy to infer that "Kinslayer" is probably not his family's surname.

Blayce the Gallan

The antagonist of the final book. A mage working for the King of Scanra, he creates twelve-foot metal and bone monstrosities known only as "killing devices", which he powers with the souls of dead children. Despite his fearsome invention, in person he's nebbish and unremarkable. After passing her Ordeal, Kel is charged by the Chamber with stopping him.

  • Anti-Climax Boss: In-universe example. Kel is startled at how easily he goes down, given the monstrosity of his crimes.
  • Blessed with Suck: He claims that he has no choice but to use his necromantic "gifts" because that's what he got, but Kel calls bullshit because he clearly enjoys what he's doing.
  • Evil Genius: Although Maggur is an excellent strategist, Blayce is what makes the Scanrans such a threat. The Scanran army is tough, but manageable. The killing devices, however, make seasoned veterans flee, and finding Blayce is top priority for the spies.
  • In-Universe Nickname: Kel calls him "The Nothing Man" because he's such a bland-looking individual, and also because he's a soulless bastard.
  • The Heavy: Although Maggur is the cause of the war, he is a minor character in Kel's part of it. It is Blayce himself that is the plot relevant villain and the one driving the conflict of Lady Knight.
  • The Necromancer: Death magic of the kind he uses for his killing machines is frowned upon by the gods, although he says that it's the Gift he got.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: He's a dumpy little fidgeter with acne. The kind of person you'd avoid on a bus, maybe, but certainly not one you'd assume to be a total monster.

First appearing in the Trickster's Duet

    Heroes and supporting 

Alianne "Aly" of Pirate's Swoop

Daughter of Alanna, Aly has no interest in becoming a knight, much preferring her father's spy work (and stringing along boys). When she's captured by slavers and shipped to the Copper Isles, she finds herself in the middle of a underground rebellion and the plaything of a god. Quick-witted, stealthy and intelligent, Aly must find a way of placing the right person on the throne without dying.

  • Anti-Hero: Aly starts the series as a spoiled rich girl who views war and spy work as fun. She enjoys stringing boys along. She gets better, though she still retains some Jerkass traits. See Magnificent Bitch.
  • Ascended Extra: Appears alongside her siblings in The Immortals Quartet but after her first scene or so, is just mentioned by other characters, including older brother Thom who gets to hang out with Daine. Come Daughter of the Lioness and she's the main character.
  • The Chessmaster: She plays people like a champion.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For Kyprioth, who engineered her abduction and enslavement. Unlike the rest of her family, she gives him as much grief as he does her.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Both herself and her kids, in roundabout ways.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Before the story starts, Aly wants to be a spy, but her parents won't let her, instead asking that she find another line of work. Aly has no other wish than to be a spy, and the skills to be a master. Then Kyprioth makes her an offer...
  • Dirty Business: She is troubled by some aspects of her work such as when she comes up against the reality that Elsren Balitang, as a potential heir to the luarin throne and a small child, is a severe liability to the rebels.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: When the Duke and Duchess offer to free her from slavery, she asks to keep the collar and is given a task for which nobody would notice or question her for running all around the estate.
  • Genre Savvy: To a lot of spying and espionage tropes. Chapter breaks often include excerpts from books on spying that she's read or her father's own words.
  • Guile Hero: She can fight if she has to, but that's not what she prefers. Her speciality is manipulations and plans.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Nawat the crow-man.
  • Keeping the Handicap: She deliberately scars herself and breaks her nose when enslaved to avoid being sold for sex. She later complains when a god explains that this was totally unnecessary, but when the god offers to fix her nose, she refuses, saying "I got this the hard way, thanks."
  • Knife Nut: Her last resort, but she carries a variety of concealed blades.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Initially she's just in it to prove to her father that he should let her join the spy corps.
  • Saying Too Much: She is keenly aware of this trope and has to work hard to make sure that she doesn't fall into it, which is difficult when Dove and Sarai want to know everything about her famous mother and other family members. Even so, she sometimes slips. (Fortunately, being "Mithros'" chosen helper gives her leeway.)
  • The Spymaster: Eventually becomes this for the whole rebellion.
  • Spy Glasses: Aly's Sight serves this purpose because it can perform a variety of functions like great distance and zoom.
  • Teen Superspy: Being the daughter of Tortall's spymaster helps.


The Trickster God of this particular pantheon, Kyprioth has two main forms- a grey haired raka man and a crow. After centuries of subjugation by his older siblings Mithros and the Goddess, Kyprioth is ready to win back his power... and is going to use Aly to get it.

  • Batman Gambit: His wager with Aly. Of course he will return her to her parents if she wins. But he was rather banking on the idea that she would want to stay and help the revolution to its conclusion.
  • Big Good: To the raka, he is their leader and inspiration.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Even though he's a god himself. Turns out the other trickster gods get offended if you say you're better than the rest of them! It gets him a sharp slap on the wrist from the Graveyard Hag when she repays a loyal worshipper and helps Sarai leave the Islands—and Kyprioth's plans for her—at the same time.
  • I Gave My Word: When Aly doubts his commitment to their wager, he assures her that he always pays his debts.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Kyrpioth has two sides: silly prankster and extremely bitter exiled king. Aly finds the latter unnerving.
  • Physical God: Likes to manifest as a colorfully-dressed and very handsome (but distinguished) raka man.
  • Rule of Drama: He enjoys invoking this. Any time he appears before a follower will be accompanied by some impressive special effects, which Aly lampshades.
  • Trickster God: Proudly calls himself the trickster, ahead of all the others in the Tortallverse. Those tricksters don't appreciate such boasting.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In his case, What Measure is a Non God: It's pointed out several times in the series that he sees humans, Aly included, as pets at best and pawns at worst. This is best shown when he encourages Imajane and Rubinyan to kill Elsren, Dunevon and their friends, because the boys needed to die for the revolution to succeed. He has no empathy for them at all.


A crow that helps with the rebellion. He learns to transform into a human to better aid them (and to be with Aly).

  • Ambiguously Brown: He's dark-skinned in human form but doesn't look quite the same as a raka.
  • Arrow Catch: His crow reflexes let him do it with tremendous ease.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He was after Aly early in book 1. She didn't reciprocate until book 2.
  • The Face: The Crows are a Cast Herd. They communicate with Aly primarily through him because, unlike them, he likes humans. He becomes their official spokesman in book 2.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Off-page. He's absent for a little while after turning human because he has to learn how to move around in the new body.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He doesn't understand that mating practices among humans are much different than crows, leading him to casually suggest anything from mating with Aly so that their brood can help them fight to feeding her bugs.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Aly, but according to raka legend, crows and humans arose from the same eggs.
  • May–December Romance: He's all of three years old when he and Aly officially get together, but in crow years it more or less works out okay.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In universe. He's very popular among the young women in the duke's employ.
  • Raised by Wolves: He has crow manners and behaviors because he is a crow and gets along pretty well with humans. It still weirds people out when he eats bugs or tries to feed his children bugs.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Alysexual.
  • Skunk Stripe: He has a wavy white patch in his feathers that he got from pissing off Ochobu.
  • Spider-Sense: In "Nawat." He can sense apparently anything about his flock, whether they're in great pain or if his children need to pee.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Has to choose between culling one of his triplets according to crow law, or letting her live, but being cast out from his flock forever.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Apparently, any crow can turn into a human if they want in the Tortall universe. He can change back and forth at need, with some Power Incontinence if he's upset, as we see in "Nawat."

Saraiyu "Sarai" Balitang

Duke Mequen's oldest child with his first wife, Sarugani Temaida, who was part of the raka royal line, making her "twice royal." Beautiful, charming, and passionate in her beliefs, Sarai's birthright is the focus of the raka conspiracy to retake the Isles.

  • The Chosen One: The raka believe her to be this due to the Trickster's prophecy. She doesn't take the job.
  • The Beautiful Elite: One reason why she gets so much attention over Dove as The Chosen One is her great beauty.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: When she gets the thanks for an idea of Dove's, Dove attributes it to this.
  • Expy: She actually has quite a few similarities with Alanna: they're both headstrong, skilled at fighting, outspoken, not inclined to back down, driven to protect and defend those who need it, and critically, they both pick the life they want over the life others picked out for them, and they're both not suited at all to ruling a country.
  • Hot-Blooded: After her father's death, she becomes increasingly prone to criticize the luarin nobility's lifestyle and policy to their faces, which is not appreciated by the subterfuge-based rebellion.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: The leaders of the raka rebellion stipulate that she and her sister not be told of the plans being made on their behalf, because it would put them in further danger.
  • Loose Lips: In Trickster's Queen she ignores her family's advice about the wrong time to criticize luarin racism, as well as flippantly telling her social circle where there are secrecy spells. Everything she says about the luarin nobility is true, but with the monarchs being as tyrannical as they are, making her opinions public is outright reckless.
  • Mixed Ancestry: As well as being luarin/raka, she is a daughter of both the luarin and raka royal bloodlines; hence "twice-royal."
  • Rebellious Princess: Rebellious duke's daughter, anyway. It's deconstructed; her passionate tendencies and rebellious nature, which would be useful if she were part of the rebellion, are a liability for the actual rebels because she draws attention to herself and upsets their plans. Eventually she abandons the rebellion and the country itself to elope with a foreign prince. She's an excellent rider who impresses suitors with her adventurous nature, used to train in swordplay, and is quite charming.
  • Refusal of the Call: Although she doesn't actually know about the plans being made for her, she frequently laments being in the position she's in—a mixed-race daughter of a royal house. When offered an arranged marriage, she elopes to Carthak and has nothing more to do with the Copper Isles. It's a case where it works out for her; not that anyone else is happy about it.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The most popular belle in the Copper Isles. One time she talked down a poorly planned noble revolt while making it sound like she was only interested in a date for the Summersend ball. She's no slouch with a sword either, even if she's a bit out of practice.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Between the first and second books, particularly in how she treats the servants. In Choice, she makes a point of not ordering Aly to give her an alibi for dallying with Bronau. In Queen, she threatens her with a riding crop.
  • What Could Have Been: The original plan was that she would run her mouth about the Rittevons one too many times and be killed.

Dovasary "Dove" Balitang

Sarai's younger sister by Duke Mequen's first wife. Dove is often in her more beautiful and gregarious sister's shadow and doesn't draw attention to herself. She's both thoughtful and sharp-minded.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: She's incensed with Nawat for using a palace boulevard as a diaper for his kids and lists all the horrible things that could have happened if it, ahem, hit an ambassador from Yamannote  or Carthaknote . But she did find the expression on the Tyran ambassador's secretary to be pretty funny.
  • Badass Bookworm: Not a fighter, but she's just as smart as Aly.
  • Expy: According to Word of God, she is loosely based on Elizabeth I: smart, well educated, and in spite of being The Unfavorite proved to be most capable to rule over a country.
  • Hidden Depths: She cultivates friendships with servants and commoners, unlike Sarai, and is much more thoughtful. This makes her the better candidate to take the throne.
  • Genre Savvy: She's well aware that Sarai is going to get more attention than her when they're both in the room (even if Dove is the one who finds the solution to a problem) so she deliberately allows herself to be in her sister's shadow and learns much more by hanging around with the servants and commoners.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: For the same reasons as Sarai. She figures it out on her own.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Like Sarai, she is "twice royal".
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: As one of the hidden princesses of the raka line. She decides to take an active hand in the rebellion and insists on knowing everything that's relevant to her future. When she replaces Sarai as the intended queen, Dove takes part in the fighting by riding a kudarang to inspire the rebels.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Has a few chess partners in the palace.
  • Spotting the Thread: She's very good at noticing when Aly says, does, or thinks something that a country maidservant shouldn't.
  • The Unfavorite: Not to her parents, but she's hardly noticed by the raka and rebels except as Sarai's quiet younger sister. Aly has to remind Kyprioth that Dove is qualified to fulfill the prophecy after Sarai runs away to Carthak.
  • The Unchosen One: Aly realizes early on that Dove is far more savvy and motivated than gorgeous, gregarious Sarai, and laments that she's not the older one. When Sarai runs off, Dove has to remind the rebels that she is qualified to become queen under the prophecy.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite being thirteen, adults often enjoy conversing with her and respect her intellect.

Duke Mequen Balitang

A luarin noble and relative of the Rittevons. His first wife was a raka noblewoman named Sarugani, who was part of their royal line. He's very unusual for a high-ranking luarin noble for that fact, as well as the fact that he treats his raka servants just like his luarin servants.
  • Nice Guy: A good father to his children, a sincere friend to Rubinyan and Bronau, and all-in-all the most genuinely decent adult in the Rittevon line.
  • Nice to the Waiter: When he's forced to fire or sell much of his household for the move to Lombyn, he does his best to ensure that they'll have good masters.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's very fair to his servants and slaves. In particular he protects his female servants and slaves from unwelcome attentions of other nobles and makes sure his children treat them well, inspiring a great deal of loyalty from them.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Although he's a good man who would much rather not get involved with court intrigues, he can't escape the complications that his relatives throw into his life.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Tends to believe other people have his sense of decency when they don't. He thinks of Bronau and Rubinyan as his good friends; what a shame they don't get along better. On a more positive note, though, this also means he treats raka and other people considered beneath his station with respect and decency.

Duchess Winnamine Balitang

Mequen's second wife and best friend to Sarugani. She married him several years after Sarugani's death and became the girls' stepmother, as well as giving birth to two children of her own, a girl and a boy.
  • Adult Fear: Her whole family is under attack and she has to endure numerous occasions where her children's lives are at risk. She also loses her husband and her youngest child, Elsren, which devastates her.
  • Crisis of Faith: Because she thinks Aly was sent by Mithros and not Kyprioth, she has an anguished conversation with Aly to ask if Mithros' will was really for her husband and son to die in Trickster's Queen.
  • Good Parents: As well as thoroughly averting the Wicked Stepmother trope, she teaches her own children to treat the household slaves and servants well. It's mentioned she once made Petranne do the work after hitting her maid.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Cheanol remarks that Winnamine doesn't have any of the prejudice you'd expect of a luarin noble.
  • Parental Substitute: She's an excellent stepmother to Sarai and Dove.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Like her husband, she's both kind and very intelligent. She's quite happy to take Aly's suggestions for keeping the family safe.
  • Second Love: To Mequen. We later learn that his aunt Nuritin basically ordered him to marry again so he'd have a male heir, but they're in love nonetheless.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She starts learning combat techniques after the assassination attempt on the family. She's also less idealistic than her husband and has a better idea of the dangers that the family connections impose on them.
  • "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: She is sensitive about being Sarai and Dove's stepmother. She's very happy when Sarai acknowledges that she's been good to them late in the first book.


Prince Bronau Jimajen

The younger brother of Rubinyan and brother-in-law to Imajane Rittevon, making him a prince. Bronau is an old friend of the Balitangs and once courted Winnamine, but despite his charming personality he's a liability to the family in their exile.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's very charming and flirtatious, but Aly and Nawat both note his "hawk-like" nature; he is willing to go to any length to get ahead.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: The Balitangs quickly decide to keep mum about anything they don't want him to carelessly gossip about when he returns to Rajmuat.
  • The Dandy: He spends more on shoes than Maude spends on the food for Pirate's Swoop.
  • Fantastic Racism: He insults raka food and customs while he's being hosted by them.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: He tries to force Sarai's hand in marriage so that he can take the throne from his brother.
  • Prince Charmless: You don't get much more charmless than killing the father of the girl you're courting.
  • Really Gets Around: He flirts with Aly, Sarai, and has a well-earned reputation for sleeping with all the willing female servants and slaves of any household he visits.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: A skilled warrior who is respected by his men, despite his other faults.
  • Sibling Rivalry: He and Rubinyan hate each other, to Mequen's sorrow. In contrast, he's a favorite of his brother-in-law.
  • Smug Snake: His opinion of his intellect is inflated. He plots to pay off his considerable debts by marrying Sarai because her half-brother is in the royal line and he wants to use the connection to get the cash. When things go awry, he tries to abduct the new child king in an incredibly foolish manner and then flees to the Balitangs.

The Rittevons

  • Adipose Rex: Hazarin Rittevon, whose chief vices are rich food and his insistence on overindulging in it. He dies of it shortly after ascending the throne.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Excluding Dunevon, who's too young to be evil yet.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed:
    • An understated version with Hazarin. He's repeatedly told by the royal doctors that he has to eat healthier if he wants to live. He knows he's not going to survive for long after becoming king, so he decides to die of something self-inflicted and enjoyable rather than a painful assassination.
    • At the end of Queen, Imajane jumps to her death rather than face capture and execution after the rebel victory.
  • The Caligula: Rittevons are genetically inclined towards insanity, so the line tosses up one of these every so often. King Oron was turning into one by the time of his death; he had several court families executed and exiled the Balitangs out of paranoia.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Dunevon, the five-year-old king who succeeds his brother Hazarin.
  • Decadent Court: There's a lot of back-stabbing in this court. For instance, when Hazarin dies from gluttony he's relieved because he thought he'd die from poison and that's also the immediate assumption of others at court.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Princess Imajane is far quicker to punish dissent than Rubinyan; not that Rubinyan is a paragon of morality himself.
  • Heir Club for Men: Unlike the old raka nobility, they only inherit through the male line.
  • Incest Is Relative: Imajane and Rubinyan offer a marriage contract with Dunevon to Sarai and later to Dove. They didn't expect her to accept.
  • Puppet King: Poor Dunevon is put on the throne only for his relatives to exploit him.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Insanity runs in the family.

First appearing in Beka Cooper

    Heroes and supporting 

Rebakah "Beka" Cooper

The protagonist and narrator of the story through her journals. Beka showed an early talent for policing when she tracked the man who beat and robbed her mother Ilony and helped Lord Gershom bag a notorious gang in the process; in gratitude, he took her family into his household. She is sixteen when she starts writing her journal to aid in her policework and shows a dogged determination to protect the poor and powerless of the realm.
  • Always Gets Her Man: Her doggedness earns her each book title as a nickname.
  • Animal Talk: Pounce and the pigeons, although it's the ghosts riding the pigeons that do the talking rather than the birds themselves.
  • Asleep for Days: Due to a combination of blood loss and powerful healing magic at the end of Bloodhound.
  • Berserk Button: Don't criticize Dogs or Lord Gershom. And don't hurt Pounce or Achoo.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Demonstrated frequently—as Aniki observes, she's shy, not stupid, and she's very good at the physical part of her job. She's also prone to giving voice to all of her pent-up frustrations when the person she's mad at pushes her once too far.
  • Braids of Action: She braids a spiked strap into it so nobody can grab it in a fight.
  • Dating Catwoman: Her UST with Rosto—this trope is why Beka makes sure it stays unresolved. It's both out of professionalism and the memory of how her mother was treated by her own criminal boyfriends.
  • Determinator: She earns the nickname of "Terrier" while she's still a Puppy for going all-out to apprehend criminals (whether in hot pursuit or investigation).
  • Does Not Like Magic: A mild and rather understandable case in Mastiff. Mostly she just wants to know when someone is going to magic her and exactly what it will do, having been attacked with magic in the previous book. Otherwise she's fine with Farmer's magic stuff.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Twilseynote  or barley water. She avoids alcohol because she dislikes not being in control, although she does get drunk a couple of times.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Fishpuppy; fortunately it doesn't last long. She reacts to Terrier with embarrassment too, although by Bloodhound, Pounce scolds her for "preening" over it.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Complete with a Death Glare. Her eyes are pale blue. When she gets pissed people say she has spooky Ghost Eyes. And they pretty much scare everyone, even her friends and partner.
  • Heroic BSoD: She nearly breaks in Mastiff when, after a long chase that has already involved many ugly deaths, they find the slavers and slaves hiding Prince Gareth murdered and left like trash—men, women, and children. She's desperate to find some way to give their rotting bodies some dignity even though they don't have time. The Black God takes pity on her and arrives in person to bury them.
  • Idiot Ball: There are a few times in the trilogy where Beka struggles to remember a key detail that would advance (or even crack) the case. This is always a detail that she has already written about in the journal that is explicitly a memory aid. Does she go back and re-read previous entries? Nope.
  • Irony: She's the ancestress of George Cooper, who several centuries later becomes 'King of the Rogue', Tortall's King of Thieves.
  • Knife Nut: The baton is her go-to weapon. But try and count how many knives she carries hidden on her person. Clearly, favoring easily concealed, sharp, pointy things is a Cooper family trait.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Subverted, as while she's not exactly promiscuous, she has been around the block a few times, and Bloodhound and Mastiff prove that she's willing to enter into relationships with coves she's known only briefly, as long as they aren't criminals. No one really seems to care, though.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her father's name is never mentioned, although his mother is a minor character and Beka inherited her Gift from him. Her mother Ilony died of tuberculosis not long after the Coopers were taken in by Lord Gershom.
  • Psychopomp: Hence her status as an unofficial priestess of the Black God.
  • Shrinking Violet: She's incredibly shy and finds it nearly impossible to talk to people she doesn't know. When she first starts her Dog business, she fears that she will have more trouble telling someone that they are under arrest than actually placing them under arrest.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Gershom of Haryse took her family out of Mutt Piddle Lane in gratitude. She frequently counts her blessings for this. However, she voluntarily goes back to the Lower City because she likes and understands it better than the wealthier districts.
  • The Unfavorite: To Lady Teodorie, who's offended that Beka chose to be a Dog rather than a maid or seamstress like her sisters, and tries to keep Beka from her siblings. She also half-blames Beka for the times Gershom gets particularly into his job. Beka is also avoided by her father's side of the family for being a Dog.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Granny Fern suggests this in Bloodhound.

Lord Provost Gershom of Haryse

Head of the Provost's Guard. Gershom took in the Coopers when Beka helped him track down a notorious gang and became her inspiration to join the Provost's Guard. He's a good man who's good at a very difficult job and taught Beka much of what she knows.
  • A Father to His Men: He attends every Dog funeral and walks a beat with his Dogs afterwards.
  • Da Chief: A benevolent version. He allows his trusted Dogs a lot of leeway, but he's not about to take insubordination or too much corruption from his forces.
  • Henpecked Husband: Downplayed. Teodorie is a dutiful wife, but she hates Gershom's job and closes her bedchamber to him whenever he does field duty, because she's worried that one day he might not come back.
  • In-Series Nickname: His family calls him "Granite", because he doesn't bend and he doesn't break.
  • I Owe You My Life: It's Career in this case but the thought is the same. Eight-year-old Beka saved him from disgrace, so he ensured that she and her family would be taken care of after Ilony's death.
  • Parental Substitute: For Beka, who follows in his footsteps; when talking about her to another Dog, he calls her his foster daughter.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He was the only member of the Guard who would listen to Beka when she tried to tell them where the Bold Brass gang was.

Tansy Lofts

Tansy is a childhood friend of Beka's who has also escaped Mutt Piddle Lane, in her case by marriage. Her two-year-old son Rolond was murdered by the Shadow Snake, which pulls Beka into two cases at once.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: She's on the receiving end of this when distraught with grief over her son's death.
  • Happily Married: To Herun Lofts, who apparently didn't inherit his father's nastiness.
  • The One Who Made It Out: She didn't get into high society or anything, but she was able to marry into one of the richest families in the Lower City.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Is only 3 years older than Beka, but got married and had her first child around age 16. Truth in Television for the Real Life Dark Ages and Medieval periods of history.

Ersken Westover

A friend of Beka's and a fellow Puppy. He's a very amiable fellow who has a knack for being liked.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: For all that he's a sweetheart, Ersken is a very good Dog.
  • Dating Catwoman: He and Kora become lovers. They deal with it by not talking shop.
  • Nice Guy: Beka says that he's the kindest of the Puppies entering training that year.

Clara "Clary" Goodwin

Beka's female training partner. Goodwin is a veteran with an excellent reputation and resistant to taking on a Puppy. Although she is stern and intimidating, Goodwin has a nicer side for those she likes and respects and she eventually admits that Beka's not so bad.
  • The Atoner: Was a "loose dog" in her youth. A couple of Rats decided that a bribe wasn't enough insurance and nearly killed her.
  • Character Tics: Paces around when thinking. Also makes a two-fingered beckoning gesture when she wants someone to talk to her.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Pounce quickly melted her gruff demeanor. All he had to do was pat her nose with his paw.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: It takes her a bit to warm up to Beka. On day 1, she pointedly refuses to have a puppy and acts stiff and is disapproving. On day 3, she's referring to Beka as "our puppy" and insisting on paying for her supper. Pounce helps.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Mastiff. She has exactly one line.
  • Happily Married: She did have difficulties in her marriage during the time she was a Dirty Cop, but they're well settled now. She's entirely happy to look at a handsome man when with Beka in Port Caynn, but makes no bones about missing her man.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: She told the Goddess that she'd change her ways if she survived in The Atoner incident. The Goddess apparently answered, and Goodwin kept her promise.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Her Pet the Dog moment is actually a Pet The Cat moment when she shamelessly flatters Pounce.
  • In-Series Nickname: Everyone on a first-name basis with her calls her Clary.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: She's been refusing promotions to Sergeant for quite a while because she prefers street duty. She finally takes it after the end of the rough assignment in Bloodhound, feeling her age and injuries.
  • Odd Couple: She's known to be much more grouchy and reluctant to take a Puppy than her partner Mattes.
  • Old Soldier: A tough-as-nails Dog who has won many a street battle. Beka even says at one point "I want to be Clary Goodwin when I grow up."
  • Opposites Attract: With her friendly, easygoing, and trusting husband Tomlan.
  • Religious Bruiser: In addition to Dog work, she also serves as the Goddess' Magistrate for the Lower City.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Beka is quite shocked at Clary's appearance whenever she's dressed as a city-woman and not a Dog.

Matthias "Mattes" Tunstall

Beka's other training partner. Tunstall is significantly more easygoing than Goodwin, but he is just as respected (and feared) in the Lower City. He's happy to have Beka along and tends to get on well with most people until he has to arrest them.
  • Amazon Chaser: He meets Lady Sabine during a bar brawl, finds out she's a lady knight and then, a couple days later, they do a sword dance in a tavern. As Beka's mother often said, dancing in a tavern leads to dancing at home.
  • Berserk Button: You should really think twice about commenting on his relationship with Lady Sabine.
  • The Berserker: When he gets into a full-out brawl he gets fighting mad, and has been known to roar.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As easy-going as he is, he didn't survive to be a Senior Dog on Evening Watch in the Lower City by being an ineffectual fighter. This trope turns sinister in the third book.
  • The Big Guy: Of the trio. He's well over six feet and a very powerful fighter.
  • Death Glare: Can get people to leave just by looking at them.
  • Dented Iron: Although he's one of the most feared Dogs in the Lower City, he's been doing the job for a long time and has built up such a resistance to magical healing that his broken legs in Bloodhound take almost as long to heal as the natural way. (For comparison, Beka's broken bones from an unrelated incident take a few days.) By Mastiff, he won't even visit the Guards' healers because they would immediately take him off of street duty, and it's feared that one more blow to the head will kill him.
  • Gentle Giant: Very tall, but generally an easy-going and friendly individual unless you give him reason not to be. He forsakes the 'gentle' part in the third book.
  • Like a Son to Me: He's much more outwardly kind and encouraging to Beka than Goodwin is while they're training her, and says that he's wanted a Puppy for a long time. Later, he says the trope name outright (with the correct gender, obviously). Sadly, this is while they're trying to kill each other.
  • Pink Is for Sissies: Oddly combined with the trope that follows. He looks down on men who have 'unmanly' habits like embroidery, to Beka and Goodwin's exasperation.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Likes to grow miniature roses, which he learned from a Yamani friend.
  • The Resenter: In the third book. He resented the difference in status between him and Sabine, which constantly led to such things as the two of them being placed apart at functions, endless mockery, and—in his opinion—Sabine's reluctance to marry him. In the end, he joined the conspiracy in the hope of obtaining a title and land, which would put him on her level.
  • Serious Business: Gardening. He's rather affronted when Beka suggests he could just pick some flowers from a public garden!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: First evident in the second book, during and after the riots, when he's injured and his easygoing nature cracks. In the third book, while he's not injured he's still noticeably cranky and spends a good chunk of the book picking at Farmer's temper for no apparent reason. It's explained away by the fact that he's aging and very achy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mistress Noll's apple-raisin patties, although he'll eat any pastry she makes.
  • Uptown Girl: With Sabine. Her higher social standing than his own causes him a great deal of inner anguish, but she doesn't care.

Rosto the Piper

A Scanran rusher who comes to Corus for better opportunity. He is instantly attracted to Beka and flirts with her shamelessly despite her refusals. He is also a deadly fighter who enters the Rogue's court with a good deal of ambition.
  • Berserk Button: His hair is not white. It's blonde! Like corn silk or gold!
  • Demoted to Extra: Although he becomes the Rogue at the end of Terrier, he has a much more minor role in the rest of the trilogy since Beka hardly spends any time in Corus.
  • Gentleman Thief: He really is a good musician and he's had some kind of education. Some Dogs speculate that he used to be a noble back in Scanra, and he is well-regarded for being an intelligent, sensible Rogue.
  • I Have This Friend...: Tells a hypothetical story about if someone attacked a man in the Royal Palace, King Roger would have no choice but to retaliate because it happened right in his own walls, to justify having the Pell brothers killed for attacking Beka across the street from the Dancing Dove.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Envious of Beka's boyfriends but supports her anyway, and acts purely as a close, caring friend after Beka's fiance dies.
  • Loveable Rogue: Not necessarily always on the up-and-up but likable all the same.
  • No Last Name Given: He seems to lack a surname or a patrynomic/matrynomic, something that Beka takes note of.
  • Polyamory: Is with both Kora and Aniki at the start of Terrier and seeks to add Beka.
  • Pretty Boy: He's even called a "Scanran pretty boy" by one of Beka's friends.
  • Romantic False Lead: His position as Rogue and his ownership of the Dancing Dove would imply that George takes after him. Unfortunately for him, Beka demands monogamy and won't date a criminal, so he Did Not Get the Girl.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Beka, as he will, according to her, insult you as he's trying to tumble you.

Aniki Forfrysning

A Scanran who came to Corus with Rosto. She's a friendly swordswoman, but as easygoing as she is, there's no mistaking that she's deadly.
  • Aborted Arc: She helps Beka and her partners "dog" Crookshank's associates and Goodwin makes a few comments that Aniki would make an excellent Dog. Nothing comes of this because Aniki refuses to be a Dog.
  • Bar Brawl: First meets Beka when she jumps into one.
  • Hero-Worshipper: When Beka pretends to be Clara Goodwin, Aniki says that if she's going to pretend to be anyone, it should be the best: Lady Sabine.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: She keeps trying to cuddle Pounce until he gets fed up enough to bring her a kitten of her own.
  • Master Swordswoman: Beka notes that when she's holding her sword, it's like an extension of her arm.
  • Meaningful Name: "Forfrysning" is Danish for frostbite, something a Scanran would know a lot about.
  • Lady of War: As a rusher it's almost a prerequisite; the almost is because other rushers don't have her elegance.
  • True Companions: With Rosto and Kora. If it comes between her boss or her friends, she'll pick her friends, as do they. Rosto becoming the Rogue takes care of this problem.

Koramin "Kora" Ingensra

Rosto's other lady companion. Kora is a mage and rather a Nice Girl, despite the fact that she's a criminal.
  • Berserk Button:
    • People who kill children, as her older sister was murdered.
    • Trying to wake her up early in the morning will get you a face full of fire.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's a great friend, a nice girl and if she hears you murdered your own child, she will magick you into confessing in a kennel.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She keeps a number of city animals in her rooms and is better at animal medicine than people medicine.
  • Healing Hands: For humans, her limit seems to be a potion that functions like Mucinex. Her healing spells for animals work much better.
  • Mundane Utility: Uses her magic to make laundry charms, among other things.
  • Nice Girl: She's an incredibly sweet person and a good friend to Beka.
  • Not a Morning Person: If you wake her up early, be prepared to get a fireball to the face.
  • Single Woman Seeks Goodman: She finds Ersken the good-natured young Dog to be "cuddlier" than Rosto the Rat, and is still with him in the third book, four years later.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Truth spells? Compulsion spells? She would never use such "naughty magic". Not even to force a woman to confess to killing her only child so her latest lover would move in with her.
  • Weak, but Skilled: As Kora will freely admit, she's just a simple hedgewitch — but she's perfectly capable of using what power she does have to, say, force you to walk into a Kennel and confess to murdering your own child. You will never remember that it was her who did it.

Lady Sabine of Macayhill

A lady knight, since this is a time in Tortall's history where women were allowed to be so. She's not the usual kind of knight, avoiding the high society she'd be expected to mix with to help Tunstall, Goodwin, and Beka with their police work.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Downplayed, but certainly by a knight's standards. Beka meets her in a fight at the Barrel's Bottom, also called the "Barrel of Blood," later skips a party to hang out with Goodwin and Tunstall, and helps them break heads throughout the rest of the book.
  • Cool Horse: The Macayhills are minor horse mages.
  • Good Is Not Soft: She casually suggests that Beka kill Yates Noll. It's what Sabine would do.
    "Oh, I forgot—I'm in Corus again. They care about things like that here."
  • Guile Hero: In Mastiff. She wins over the women of Queensgrace with a Purple Prose-y tale of woe to appeal to the "Gentle Mother" and immediately "agrees" to marry Prince Baird when the group is captured by the traitors, and in general uses her status to her advantage in every way.
  • Lady of War: She's just as good in a Lower City brawl as she is in more chivalrous combat.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Beka quickly notices that Sabine's knight friends treat their surroundings with a proprietary air out of long habit, while Sabine is much more friendly (and sensible) towards people in the Lower City.
  • Noodle Incident: Her companions mention some disagreement with the King that required her to be away from Corus for some time. Later we learn that she threatened to break every bone in his hand if he tried to touch her with it.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's the same height as Tunstall: 6'1".
  • Uptown Girl: She and Tunstall hit it off quickly and start a relationship. She's not bothered at all by the class disparity, though, since she's pretty rough-and-tumble.

Farmer Cape/ Cooper

A Kennel mage who joins Beka and Tunstall during their investigation in Mastiff. Although he acts silly, he's more than he appears. He and Beka eventually fall in love and get married.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Comes across is silly or stupid, but he knows what he's doing.
  • Catchphrase: "My ma always said [piece of advice and/or Self-Deprecating Humor]."
  • Engaging Conversation: Once joked about wanting to marry Beka because she's so clever. The genuine offer came much later.
  • Farm Boy: Averted as he is called Farmer but he is not a farmer.
  • Healing Hands: His Gift allows him to treat injuries. As one would imagine, this is very useful to the group.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: He's a kennel mage professionally but he can hold his own in a fight.
  • Nice Guy: He's very genuinely good-natured and caring towards his friends. Although he could attain status and wealth if he really wanted to, he would much rather help people with his abilities and learn outside of academia.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He makes an art form of it. It means he avoids people who enslave mages and doesn't have to get into pissing contests with other mages if they assume he's worthless from the start.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Fond of shawls, and a talented seamster(?) and cook.
  • The Smart Guy: Of the group looking for the kidnapped prince, he's the brains of the outfit.
  • Unfortunate Names: His birth name was Pincas Huckleburr. Beka nearly dies laughing when he confesses this.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Supplements his own Gift with heaps of studying and a talent for gathering and utilizing the leftover magic of other mages.

Deirdry Noll

A baker Beka knows from childhood. Deirdry Noll is an expert in her profession and works very hard to make her business succeed. Her wares are a particular favorite of Tunstall's, so they end up visiting her stall whenever possible.
  • Abusive Parents: At very least, she verbally abuses Gemna and turns a blind eye to her son Yates.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She turns out to be one of the two Big Bads of Terrier.
  • Cool Old Lady: Beka remembers how Mistress Noll taught her how to knead dough, she doesn't charge Dogs, and Goodwin and Tunstall can rely on her for information. Subverted in the end; petty serial killing is not cool.
  • Evil Old Folks: She's a grandmother, and also a serial killer.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Her motive for being the Shadow Snake? She was jealous that other people had pretty things and she didn't.
  • Self-Made Man: She used to run her bakery on Mutt Piddle Lane and broke her back working to get herself into a more respectable area of the Lower City. By the present day she can even afford servants. Later, it turns out that she was supplementing her income with extorted valuables.
  • Supreme Chef: She's described as the best baker in the Lower City, and Tunstall always finds an excuse to detour to her stall.

Nestor Haryse

A Dog from Port Caynn and Lord Gershom's cousin. He was "born on the wrong side of the sheets," which is another way to say he was born out of wedlock.
  • Beta Couple: He and Okha have a (mostly) harmonious relationship, contrasting with Beka's burgeoning Slap-Slap-Kiss with Dale.
  • Dating Catwoman: Not a straight example, as Okha is emphatically a good guy. However, Okha does have some ties to the underworld of Port Caynn, which causes tension.
  • Happily Married: It's unknown if gay marriage is legal in Tortall, but he and Okha are included in Beka's annoyance with older couples showing affection like teenagers.
  • Hero of Another Story: Both Okha and Nestor are hinted at having deeper connections to Pearl Skinner than explored in the novel.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Although he warns Beka about not doing too much obvious Dog work, it's to do with the fact that Pearl threatened her for it. His main problem is that he's hobbled by Sir Lionel's complete unwillingness to do anything about Pearl. He's also one of the few completely honest cops in Port Caynn.
  • Nice Guy: Quite pleasant and friendly.

Okha Soyan (Amber Orchid)

A gorgeous singer in Port Caynn and Nestor's lover. She is also a trans woman.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Beka refers to her as "him", since it may have been confusing for the reader had Pierce switched mid-novel from calling Okha 'he' to 'she'. Alternatively, Beka may not have had a full understanding that just because Okha is physically male, she should not actually be referred to as male.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Her family kicked her out for unknown reasons, she's met others like her, and Pearl Skinner had someone she loved killed. Other than that, we get little from her.
  • Guile Hero: Okha serves as this in the context of Bloodhound. She helps Beka primarily by gossiping and spying, and keeps several secrets from Nestor in order to protect him (at least until the time is right), in contrast to Nestor, Beka, and even Goodwin, who are much more direct.
  • Happily Married: It's unknown if gay marriage is legal in Tortall, but she and Nestor are included in Beka's annoyance with older couples showing affection like teenagers.
  • Magical Queer: She doesn't use magic herself, but she otherwise fits the bill. She's older, wiser, and teaches Beka how to wear makeup and perfume so she can better woo Dale. Although she is in a relationship with Nestor herself.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: As Amber Orchid.


The Shadow Snake

One of the two villains of Terrier. The Shadow Snake is a criminal who kidnaps the children of poor people and ransoms them for any item of value the person might have picked up. If the person doesn't pay, then the Shadow Snake kills the child. For tropes pertaining to Deirdry Noll, go to the Heroes and Supporting folder.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Snaak is one of the two villians, a shadowy contrast with Crookshank.
  • Cassandra Truth: Exploits it to get away with child murder. The people the Snake preys on are so poor that no one cares about them enough to listen to what they have to say, and even if they did, people would blame the Snake's crimes on other sources, like slavers.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Shadow Snake, serial child killer, vs Crookshank, absolutely vile slumlord and scale (reciever of stolen goods). Because of this, no one really cared who came out on top.
  • The Dreaded: For the Lower City. Everyone is scared that the Shadow Snake will come to take their children.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Shadow Snake's name is taken from a story parents use to frighten their kids. The story's Shadow Snake waits at the crossroads and eats bad children.
  • The Reveal: Deirdry Noll is the Shadow Snake.
  • Serial Killer: Comfort/Profit version. The Snake kills the children of parents who won't pay the ransom. This has been going on for three years.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Shadow Snake's entire modus operandi is based on kidnapping children and killing them if their parents don't pay.

Ammon Lofts/Crookshank

The other Big Bad of Terrier. Crookshank is a scale and slumlord in the lower city, and widely hated. He is Tansy's grandfather-in-law. He discovered fire opals in the Lower City, and dug them out in secret. To keep the secret, he had all the diggers killed.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Nobody likes him. Beka only hunts for Rolond's killer because she knew the boy personally, not out of any sympathy for his loss.
  • Berserk Button: Does not like being ordered to do anything, because he seems himself as de-facto lord of the Lower City.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: He is one half of the book's villains, a more public contrast with the Shadow Snake.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Dogs he picked to hunt for Rolond's killer all have grudges against him. As Beka writes, "Crookshank has so many enemies he doesn't even know them all."
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: He believes that Corus's Rogue, Kayfer Deerborn, is the Shadow Snake. The real Snake was Deirdry Noll.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dies off-page in the riots at the end of the book.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He really did love his great-grandson Rolond and his grandson Herun, although not enough to pay the Snake for him.
  • Evil Old Folks: A great-grandfather and an all-around vile man.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Crookshank, scale, slumlord, and all around horrible man, versus the Shadow Snake, who kidnaps and kills children. For this reason, nobody really cared enough to help him.
  • Greed: A defining point of his character, and why he does anything. It's commented that he doesn't even need to go anywhere near stolen goods, because he makes enough money as a landlord.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He is an old man with no combat ability aside from paying for thugs. The real problem Beka has in dealing with him is solving the Reverse Whodunnit.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: It's pretty obvious from the start that it's Crookshank who's behind the Opal Murders. The problem is finding evidence and finding where his diggers were before he could have them killed.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is Ammon Lofts, but everyone calls him Crookshank.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Spends most of Terrier in one, caused by Rolond's death. It only gets worse when Herun is taken, and cumulates in trying to make Tansy miscarry so that no one could use her baby against him.

Orva Ashmiller

Minor antagonist from Terrier. She is a drug addict, drunkard, and abusive to her family, but they love her anyways.
  • Abusive Parents: She is introduced by yelling that she'll cut her children's throats if they don't stop telling her that they love her.
  • The Alcoholic: She's addicted to hotblood wine, which is wine spiked with amphetamines.
  • Domestic Abuse: She abuses her husband too, and throws a pot at him in her introductory scene.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. Her attacking her husband is taken completely seriously, and she is sentenced to several years of hard labor.
  • Knife Nut: Threatens her children with a knife and hits Goodwin with the handle.
  • Never My Fault: Blames Beka for ruining her life by arresting her, despite the fact that Beka was after her because she was violent against her family and attacked a Dog with a knife (which is very, very illegal). Beka even points it out in the narration.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: She does not return her family's love.

Yates Noll

Deirdry Noll's ne'er-do-well son, who leads his own gang of friends.
  • Big Brother Bully: Towards Genma, whom he regularly picks on.
  • The Dragon: A young and strong enforcer for his older and weaker mother, Deirdry.
  • Dumb Muscle: He's strong, but not smart enough for the Court of the Rogue.
  • Jerkass: Mean to just about everybody.

Pearl Skinner

The Rogue of Port Caynn. She doesn't care about the common folk, who look to the Rogue for help because official channels don't care tuppence about commoners; instead she exploits them for all they're worth. She's selfish and cruel, dealing out terminal retribution to any underling who fails her.
  • Big Bad: She is the villain of the second book.
  • Calling Card: For a particularly important death, Pearl will leave pearls on or around the victim.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Pearl is cruel and self-centered, but can't stand people who mistreat animals (like Achoo the scent hound's previous handler). She thinks that it's cowardly to hurt animals, since they can't tell anyone about it.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's implied that Pearl had an abusive father ("vicious old sot"), although in context it sounds more like Pearl out-eviled him, and later had him killed. It's only brought up as rumors, and how Pearl felt about her upbringing is never explored.
  • Gold Tooth: Rather, pearl teeth. They're not replacements- they're her real teeth transformed magically. It's not very good for her dental health, though.
  • It's All About Me: Beka and Goodwin are mystified by the way Pearl drenches Port Caynn with coles because it would just make her riches worthless before long. But she doesn't care; she just wants to have the most money out of anyone. And she was planning to flee to Yaman when it went bad anyway.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Skinner, to Beka's surprise, turns out to actually be her real last name, in addition to her preferred torture and execution method.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally, with Achoo. She really does like playing with the friendly dog, and her only moment of Even Evil Has Standards is a comment that animal abuse is cowardly as well as cruel.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Her family members mysteriously died after she became Rogue. It's hinted that her father was abusive, but nobody considers excusing her present behavior for it.
  • Sweet Tooth: She apparently has a fondness for sticky candies. Bad for the teeth under normal circumstances, but they rip pearls right out.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nobody is safe once Pearl doesn't have an immediate reason to keep them around.

Lionel of Trebond

The Deputy Provost of Port Caynn, who's too scared of Pearl to do his job. He opposes Beka's operations in the city, hoping that if the problem is ignored, it'll blow over, and Pearl won't go after his family, even going so far as to imprison Beka when she comes to him with enough evidence to justify an investigation. Oh, and he's also a misogynist who subscribes to the cult of the Gentle Mother.

  • Dirty Coward: Pearl wouldn't have been able to get away with nearly as much if Lionel had had the courage to arrest her.
  • Dirty Cop: Pearl's got him completely under her thumb.
  • Fallen Hero: He was a good cop, once. Then he lost family members to the Sweating Sickness, and he collapsed like a house of cards when Pearl threatened his remaining loved ones.
  • Generation Xerox: Averted. He's a spineless, misogynistic wimp who would shame his descendant Alanna with their relation.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: His approach to managing Pearl, in a nutshell, is to hope that she will stop on her own, or go away or something like that.
  • It's All About Me: He won't prosecute Pearl because he's scared of what she would do to his family, even though that means that she's free to ruin Tortall's economy with her counterfeit coins.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He justifies letting Pearl run rampant as not upsetting the balance of power in Port Caynn, but it's fairly obvious to everyone around him that he's just scared of Pearl's retribution against him, personally.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Tries to block Beka's investigation because of his fear of Pearl.

First appearing in short stories

     Heroes and Supporting 

Kylaia al Jmaa

A girl from a African-like village and the future Shang Unicorn.

  • Action Girl: Her self-taught moves are very effective in combat and attract the notice of a Shang warrior.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: She teaches herself to fight by observing the fighting moves of animals at the waterhole and imitating them herself.
  • The Champion: When her sister is falsely accused of witching a boy into a marriage contract, Kylaia steps up as champion for trial by combat in her father's place.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: She was mentioned in Lioness Rampant by Liam Ironarm as one of the three Shang warriors named after immortals- the Shang Unicorn.
  • Kick Chick: She doesn't just use kicks, but the first fighting technique she developed was based on ostriches' kicks.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Her father says that "Even less than a bride possessed by a demon will a young man like a wife who can kick his ribs in".
  • Training Montage: The scene that takes place over a few years, teaching herself to fight.


  • Because You Were Nice to Me: He rescues Fadal from execution in the temple because Fadal persisted in giving him food and taught him to hope.
  • Driven to Suicide: After a few days of misery he gives up and tries to starve himself to death. Fadal finds him before he succumbs.
  • Green Thumb: Knows about plants, since he was a tree before being turned to a human.
  • Super Strength: The ax gives him blisters so he rips up firewood with his bare hands.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Although Numair gives him some knowledge so he knows how to eat, he has no idea about basic human custom and how to get food and other necessities.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: His story is an answer to the question "what happened to the tree that Numair turned into a man?"
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He hates fire. He used to be a tree, you know.

Fadal/ Fadala

A boy who finds Qiom starving himself to death and convinces him to give living another try.

  • The Cameo: Fadal also appears in the next story, "The Hidden Girl."
  • Kill It with Fire: Her would-be fate when she's discovered. Qiom stops it.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Nobody discovers that Fadal is really a girl until towards the end of the story.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Disguised herself as a boy and ran away from home because her stepfather wanted her to be veiled like the other females in their country and later married.
  • Walking the Earth: She wanders from place to place, not wanting to be caught out.


A girl who wanders with her father, teaching the parts of scripture that the official priests don't like to hear (namely, the bits about how women aren't inherently evil).

  • Chekhov's Skill: Her ability to imitate her grandmother, Omi Heza. At the end, she pretends to be Omi because an old woman will get more respect and notice than a girl.
  • The Chosen One: The God in the Flame selects her as their new Oracle, who will teach everyone both books and thus give women back their rights.
  • Preacher Man: With her dad. They spread the hidden teachings out of protest that the priests of the God in the Flame have decided that they will only teach from one of the Oracle's books, not both of them.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: No. When Fadal goes on a rant about how terrible veils are, Teky says that she likes hers because nobody can judge her looks and it's easier to escape in a crowd.

Alternative Title(s): Tortall, Protector Of The Small, Song Of The Lioness, The Immortals, The Numair Chronicles, Tricksters Duet, Beka Cooper


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