The Hate U Give

King Character Analysis

King is the biggest drug dealer in Garden Heights, a leader of the King Lords, and father to Kenya and Lyric. He is abusive towards both his girlfriend Iesha and his daughters, and reviled by much of the neighborhood. King’s attempts to recruit Khalil to the King Lords are rebuffed, and he tries to save face by laying a gray bandana across Khalil’s body at his funeral (thus falsely suggesting that Khalil had joined the King Lords). King repeatedly threatens the Carters for speaking up in the wake of Khalil’s murder, and beats up the elderly Mr. Lewis for snitching on him in a television interview. He also badly beats DeVante after finding out he stole from him, and would likely have killed the teen if he wasn’t saved by Starr, Seven, Chris, and Kenya. After he sets fire to Maverick’s store, the neighborhood turns on King and he is arrested. DeVante agrees to turn witness on King, which Carlos says will ensure he remains locked up.
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King Character Timeline in The Hate U Give

The timeline below shows where the character King appears in The Hate U Give. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...the Black Panther’s Ten-Point Program more closely than the Bible. At breakfast, Seven discusses how King, a major neighborhood drug dealer, has moved in with his girlfriend, Seven’s mother Iesha. Maverick... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...his regulars’ names and orders. On the way back, they are stopped by Kenya’s father, King. Maverick, who used to be in the same gang as King, bristles when King addresses... (full context)
Chapter 8
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
King, Iesha, and a group of King Lords suddenly enter from the back of the church.... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The group walks to the front of the church and one of the King Lords lays a gray bandana across Khalil’s chest. A furious Mrs. Rosalie snatches the bandana... (full context)
Chapter 10
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...is trying to hide from someone; he finally admits he is trying to hide from King because King wants him to “handle”—kill—the people who killed his brother Dalvin. Starr realizes that... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...father was the “biggest drug dealer” Garden Heights had ever seen, effectively making Maverick a King from birth. Maverick had to “king” since childhood as a way to survive; people would... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
Maverick agrees to help DeVante get free of King, and says he can start by working in the store. While showing him how to... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...can come and get.” Much to Starr and her family’s horror, he then snitches on King. (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...walking.” Mr. Lewis asserts that unlike the rest of the neighborhood, he isn’t scared of King. He reveals the prosthetic leg he got from the war as well as a scar... (full context)
Chapter 12
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...the black trash bag of clothes next to Seven’s bed, and Seven tells her that King moved back in with Iesha and officially kicked him out of the house. Starr tries... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...Kenya took a long time to respond because she was dealing with the fallout of King, who beats her and her sister in addition to Iesha, moving back into her house.... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...he had to get DeVante situated at the shop to watch over Mr. Lewis, fearing King’s retaliation for Mr. Lewis’s snitching in his TV interview. (full context)
Chapter 13
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...a badly beaten Mr. Lewis, his eye swollen shut and cheek slashed. He says five King Lords attacked him, and is proud of putting up a fight. Lisa and Maverick note... (full context)
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...the neck, slams him against a freezer, and asks what is going on; he knows King would not want DeVante dead unless he had done something very bad. DeVante tries to... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
DeVante reveals that King wanted him to kill the men who shot Dalvin, which would only lead to Garden... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...used to talk about her. He also asserts that Khalil was not in a gang. King tried to get him to become a King Lord, but Khalil refused, and the bandana... (full context)
Chapter 15
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
King pulls up to the store in his gray BMW and asks for DeVante’s whereabouts. Maverick... (full context)
Chapter 16
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Ofrah had warned Starr not to go into too many details, and in spite of King’s threats, Starr hears Kenya’s voice in her head and decides to tell the world why... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...is an outpouring of support for Starr online. Kenya texts her approval, but also says King is angry that Starr effectively snitched on him. (full context)
Chapter 18
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
Soon a group of King Lords, led by Goon, arrive at the Carters’ door. They are “Cedar Grove” King Lords,... (full context)
Chapter 20
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...guard even at Williamson; he has grown more protective of Starr following her dry-snitching on King, whom Carlos has said the police are watching closely. (full context)
Chapter 21
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...never showing up to things, putting him out of the house, and for always choosing King over her son—even when King hits her. His voice cracks as he tells Iesha that... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...to kill her. Kenya apologizes on behalf of Iesha, saying she wishes she would leave King. Starr sympathizes, saying Iesha might be too afraid—just like Starr was too afraid to speak... (full context)
Chapter 22
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...in pain. Blood is all over the carpet and drips from his mouth. He says King beat him up, and when Kenya tried to stop the fight, King pushed her. Seven... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...help, and scoffs at his calling her “momma.” Starr knows that if she calls for King, they are in deep trouble. Her eyes flick to the door, and she angrily tells... (full context)
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
As the group rushes out, Starr notices Iesha dancing in King’s face and pushing him down seductively when he tries to stand. The whole time she... (full context)
Chapter 24
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
DeVante clutches his side, and Seven asks if King kicked him with his boots. Seven notes that he did that to Iesha once, breaking... (full context)
Chapter 25
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
...spread to Mr. Lewis’s store as well, but the fire is too big to control. King pulls up across the street in his gray BMW. He and other King Lords laugh... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
Maverick screams at King for starting the fire, but King keeps laughing and hides behind his King Lords. Mr.... (full context)
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The police take King and his boys away in their patrol cars. DeVante asks Carlos if he is going... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
DeVante asks if knowing where King’s stash was would help them put King away for good. Carlos says it would help... (full context)
Chapter 26
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
...arrives and says she heard her father started the fire. She also tells Starr that King beat Iesha so badly that she is in the hospital, but she will be okay.... (full context)