Orual (The Queen)
Orual is the narrator of the novel. She begins as a princess of Glome, and becomes Queen at her father’s death. Orual writes because she hates the gods, and in fact she is a character… read analysis of Orual (The Queen)
Psyche is Orual’s half-sister, the King’s daughter by his second marriage. She is the most perfect and beautiful woman imaginable, inspiring comparisons to Helen of Troy and Aphrodite herself. Psyche’s physical appearance corresponds… read analysis of Psyche (Istral)
Redival is the middle sister of the royal family. She’s beautiful, flirtatious, and empty-headed, but she can also be manipulative and cruel. Before Psyche’s birth, she and Orual are close, and Redival then becomes… read analysis of Redival
The Fox, so named by the King for his red hair, is a slave from the Greeklands who becomes the teacher of the princesses of Glome. Orual and Psyche see him as a grandfather figure… read analysis of The Fox
Batta acts as nurse to Orual and Redival when they’re children, frightening them with stories of what an evil stepmother they’ll have. Later, the King assigns her to guard Redival to keep her from getting… read analysis of Batta
Bardia starts out as the captain of the palace guard and becomes one of Queen Orual’s closest advisors. He is a brave, loyal, hardworking man who always sees the good in Orual and never… read analysis of Bardia
Ansit is Bardia’s wife. He marries her out of love, without a dowry, which other men tease him for. Orual hears that she fusses much over Bardia and Orual thinks of her as slightly… read analysis of Ansit
The god of the Grey Mountain (the Brute/the Shadowbrute)
This character seems able to take on different forms as part of the gods’ ability to flow through each other and appear in various ways. At the same time, it’s possible that the Brute is… read analysis of The god of the Grey Mountain (the Brute/the Shadowbrute)
The Priest of Ungit
The Priest of Ungit presides over the goddess’s temple and interprets her will to the King. He believes deeply in Ungit’s presence and power, and his faith makes Orual question the Fox’s… read analysis of The Priest of Ungit
Arnom becomes the Priest of Ungit when the original Priest dies. Orual is less afraid of him, finding him less drenched in holiness and more relatable. Even before either of them comes to power, she… read analysis of Arnom
Argan of Phars
Argan is a prince of Phars, a neighboring kingdom. He and Trunia, his brother, fight a civil war over who should succeed to the throne. Argan is disliked by the people of Phars because… read analysis of Argan of Phars
Trunia of Phars
Trunia is the younger prince of Phars, a neighboring kingdom. He and Argan, his brother, fight a civil war over who should succeed to the throne. When he’s driven out of Phars, he turns… read analysis of Trunia of Phars
The priest of Istra
Orual comes across this priest in a small temple in the woods. He tells her the story of the goddess Istra, which is identical to the story of Orual’s Psyche except for a few essential… read analysis of The priest of Istra
The peasant woman
The peasant woman comes into the house of Ungit to pray when Orual is taking part in an annual ritual there. The woman finds comfort only in the rough stone of Ungit, and not in… read analysis of The peasant woman
Orual appears before the judge in the court in the mountain when she presents her complaint against the gods. She can’t tell if the judge is male or female, as it’s entirely veiled in black… read analysis of The judge
Tarin begins as a palace guard, but when he’s caught kissing Redival, the King makes him a eunuch. At the end of the book, he comes back to Glome in a delegation from a… read analysis of Tarin
The New Queen
Psyche’s mother, the King’s second wife, is known only as the Queen. She comes from the kingdom of Caphad, but the alliance with Caphad proves badly chosen when it becomes clear that Caphad… read analysis of The New Queen
Gram is an almost silent guard whom Bardia sends along with Orual on her second trip to Psyche’s valley. Orual dislikes him and wishes Bardia were with her instead. He makes her realize how much she values Bardia’s advice.
Daaran is the son of Redival and Trunia, and the heir to Orual’s throne. Orual doesn’t let herself love him because she wants to avoid heartache, but at the end of the book she wishes she had brought him to the palace to love him and train him.
West-wind is the god of the wind who plucks Psyche up from the Holy Tree where she’s been sacrificed and brings her to the palace of the god of the Mountain.
Poobi is Orual’s loyal and favorite servant. Orual eventually frees her when she becomes Queen, and some of her happiest times are spent in Poobi’s company.
Ilerdia is the son of Bardia and Ansit. He accompanies Orual on her travels to other kingdoms, and when Ansit accuses her of consuming his life as she did Bardia’s, she bitterly considers sending him home to be a farmer instead of grooming him for greatness.
Alit is Poobi’s daughter. She accompanies Orual on her travels to other kingdoms.