- Complete Monster: Prince Balekin Greenbriar desires the throne of Elfhame from his father, King Eldred. A psychopath from a young age, Balekin beat and abused his younger brother Cardan for his entire life, even trying to force him to kill someone, and when his father favors his other sibling Dain as his heir, launches a coup against him, personally murdering his family with only Cardan surviving. Imprisoned for his crimes, Balekin allies with the undersea and helps them lay siege to the land and its populace, kidnaps heroine Jude Duarte and has her tortured for weeks in order to break her into his pet assassin and only allows her return if Cardan forces his subjects to not fight back as he unleashes the undersea to slaughter many civilians, with Balekin targeting the court of King Roiben in particular due to a petty grudge, nearly having Roiben's consort burned alive out of spite. Balekin even tries to kill Cardan by poisoning him with a deadly drug and then frame Jude for the crime, willing to do anything to get the throne for himself.
- Jerkass Woobie: It would be easier to list who doesn't fit in this category, but on top of everyone are the main characters, Jude and Cardan:
- Jude is often very mean, violent, outright deceptive and has a bad habit of rushing towards conclusions that end up biting her in the ass, but it's hard not to feel bad about her when you think in her life: watching her parents being brutally murdered, being raised by said murderer and being deeply disturbed about developing familial feelings for him, being raised in a magical land where at best everyone looks down on humans and at worst everyone hates them and treats them like garbage which has lead her to become The Paranoiac when it comes to dealing with everyone.
- Cardan is at first presented as an all around jerkass who uses his status as Prince of Faerie to do whateer he wants, the one prince who is supposedly the worse of his siblings who was barred from the palace due to this behaviour then, it turns out he has been neglected by his own family since infancy, his mother cared nothing for him and left him to be nursed by a cat, his father and older sisters outright don't care for him, one of his brothers schemed to have him kicked out of the palace and the other brother who took him in regularly beat him up and belittle him at the slightest chance. It reaches the point when it's not hard to see why he turned the way he did.
- Magnificent Bastard: The cunning, charismatic General Madoc is the high general of Elfahme who desires to expand and rule Elfahme and adopted the heroine Jude Duarte and her sister and raised them as his own after killing their parents. Allying with Prince Balekin Greenbriar, Madoc skillfully pulls a coup while making Balekin think that he'll be his easily fooled puppet. Instead, Madoc turns the tables on him and plans to use his adopted son who is secretly one of Eldred's descendants as a Puppet King allowing him to become the ruler of Elfhame instead. After being foiled by Jude, Madoc changes tactics and uses Jude's twin sister to trick Jude's lover King Cardan into freeing him from his vows to the crown so he can begin his attempted takeover. Madoc later manipulates the poisoning of the Queen of the Undersea to ensure her daughter will now be forced to side with him in his war against Cardan, pushing him to the edge of total victory. Madoc skillfully mixes wit with cunning intelligence while possessing many admirable traits like love for all of his children even Jude and even steps down gracefully into exile when she shows that the people of Elfhame side with her.
YMMV / The Folk of the Air