Book Characters The Death Gate Cycle features a large cast of characters, as well as a number of groups and creatures. The main purpose of this page is to provide a reference list to help with recalling names; however, I will attempt to provide brief information as well.
Some characters may have been overlooked as they were never named and/or only briefly mentioned rather than playing much of a role, though I have tried to include all of them regardless. Parentheses are used to indicate additional (nick)names or changes in the name between books, such as varying use of the letter "h." In one case, a minor character changed names between books; this is noted with a slash. All page numbers for quotes and paraphrasing come from the paperback editions. I've referred to the books by number when it would get too wordy to list them all.
Serpent MageA cousin of Grundle's, Fricka followed dwarven tradition and promptly moved into Grundle's room when Grundle was believed to have been sacrificed to the dragon-snakes. Her mother, Gertrude, hastily removed Fricka when Grundle's mother took offense.
Serpent MageAn aunt to Grundle (though it's unclear on which side), she implied that Hilda had lost her mind because of Hilda's belief that Grundle was still alive when all others believed her dead. When Hilda threatened Gertrude with ax-throwing at her head, Gertrude hastily removed her daughter from Grundle's room.
Serpent MageHartmut, an auburn-haired dwarf with the military rank of fourclan master, was mutually in love with Grundle. She was certain that they would marry in the future, especially after he did well in the appropriate contests. When the dragon-snakes appeared to the dwarvens, Hartmut was the one to inform Grundle and Hilda of the sighting. He prepared to defend his people against the dragon-snakes, if possible, and assisted in the wake of their attack on the sunchasers. Grundle relied on him to cover her when she was being sneaky. In The Seventh Gate, Haplo believes that Grundle and Hartmut would have married by then.
Dragon Wing, books 5-7
Dragon Wing, The Hand of ChaosLof, who was part of the Lectriczinger scrift and Limbeck's WUPP group, admired and harbored an unrequited crush on Jarre despite her relationship with Limbeck. In Dragon Wing, Lof's hopes about Jarre were dashed when Limbeck returned safely from his intended execution. Still, Lof assisted them with moving the wounded Haplo. He's described as comely, flat-footed, and strong enough to push Haplo's cart up an incline when the other dwarves are unable.
Dragon WingA Geg of about sixty "turns" in age, Darral became High Froman upon his father's death and served as something of a king. He sentenced Limbeck to execution for blasphemously asking "why?" and making trouble. Darral was very proud of himself and never wanted to show ignorance of anything, especially in front of his brother-in-law, Head Clark Wes Wrenchwranger. In fact, Darral regarded Limbeck's trial mostly as an opportunity to try to one-up Wes when he wasn't annoyed at the physical discomfort of sitting through it.Darral's main concern was doing whatever would secure power for himself and his clan, not doing what's best for the Gegs. Gods-who-weren't appeared— Haplo, Hugh the Hand, Alfred, and Bane. Darral's worry about them, for instance, was that his cozy situation would get disrupted if the Gegs took after Limbeck and questioned why they were serving the "Welves" and never studying the Kicksey-winsey. Though Darral believed in the existence of gods, he had no use for gods who would send troublemaking Limbeck back to them— or who would take away his cushy authority. Out of mutual love of their respective positions, the rival brothers-in-law allied to try to stamp out the growing rebellion and turn the "gods" over to the elves. When their plans again failed and Limbeck returned from the High Realm, Darral was removed from office and replaced by Limbeck.
The Hand of Chaos appendixHe led the dwarves in Arianus's early history when the Sartan established them on Drevlin.
The Hand of Chaos appendixHe was Limbeck's friend, but he met with an accident, presumably while purging and flushing. Not the Balin from The Hobbit.
The Hand of Chaos appendixHis theory of the Kicksey-winsey competed with Groth Staredial's. A contemporary of Limbeck's, he believed that the Conveyer served as alternate transportation for living beings rather than material conveyance. His tests near the Erm Melty-vat fatally disproved this.
Dragon WingDirk was infamous among the Gegs for his crime and his execution. After passing out drunk during a shift, the Kicksey-winsey suffered an explosion and several Gegs were hurt or killed. Dirk was sentenced to Walk the Steps of Terrel Fen. This became the last time the public could attend an execution after the crowd, overexcitedly pushing forward to see, accidentally sent other Gegs tumbling off the isle.
The Hand of Chaos appendixHis theory of the Kicksey-winsey, popularly known as the "Blood-winsey" theory, posited that raw materials travelled through the machine like blood through a dwarf's veins. Limbeck believed this theory crude but close to correct.
Dragon WingMore often, this character was referred to by his title, "Head Clark"— the religious leader among the Gegs. He was the brother-in-law of Darral Longshoreman, and together despite their rivalry, they tried to maintain the traditional Geg way of life when Limbeck kicked off rebellion against it. The Head Clark was dazzled by Bane and, believing Bane to be a god, tried at first to please him. Darral, however, reminded him that they would lose their lifestyles if the gods were really gods, and their lives if it turned out they'd been lying about the dwarves' servitude. Their plan to calm things down by sending the gods away with the Welves failed, and the Head Clark lost his office.
Elixnoir was a wizard and master astrologer to Lenthan Quindiniar. Calandra believed that Elixnoir took advantage of her father's grief to eat their meals, drink their wine, and sleep in their spare bedroom; Aleatha called him lecherous. Elixnoir held influence over Lenthan, telling him that in ancient times, people travelled to the stars in flying ships. He considered this scientific fact and became very upset that Lenthan was also taking advice from a "human priest" (actually Zifnab) about the stars, while Calandra considered both positions blasphemous.
Kasia [short story]
Keeper of the Book
Keeper of the Door
Keeper of the Soul
Dragon WingShe was mentioned by Hugh the Hand as an elven wizardess on Aristagon who could examine Bane's feather.
Kris'ah (Baron) [short story]
Elven StarElithenia met Lenthan Quindiniar when she was a factory wizardess. They fell in love, married, and had three children— Calandra, Paithan, and Aleatha. Though she had renowned beauty and taste, along with the family's resources, she felt out of place among the nobility who were born to different status. She wished her children to have the same level of education as the high-born and hired a governess to that end; the children, however, did not take advantage of this. Elithenia became ill and died about eight years before the events of Elven Star, leaving her widowed husband distraught and desperate to be reunited with her. Lenthan died happy with a vision of her returning to him; the book leaves open to interpretation whether or not this was a hallucination or a genuine spiritual encounter.
Elven StarQuintain was Lenthan Quindiniar's father, and he was described as a "legendary explorer and inventor." The Quindiniar's home city, Equilan, was established in part by him. He also created the family's prosperous trading company, further increasing their fortunes. He later turned the business over to Lenthan when he wished to return to exploring, about a hundred years before the events of Elven Star. He was never heard from again and presumed dead.
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos
Blackthorn, Hugh (the Hand)
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth, The Seventh Gate
Blackthorn, Perceval (Sir)
Dragon WingThe lord of Blackthorn Hall, Djern Hereva, Perceval was a noble with little nobility in his behavior. He had a reputation for lechery towards girls and young men. He fathered a son with a servant named Lucy, but refused to acknowledge the son and gladly let the Kir monks keep him. The son, Hugh, would later discover his father's identity in monastery records. When Hugh tracked Perceval down, Perceval was drunk and wielding a sword. Hugh told Perceval who he was, who his mother was, and where she was buried, and killed Perceval with his own sword. Perceval's reputation helped Hugh pretend the death was an accident, as it was assumed by the sheriff that Perceval had abducted and abused Hugh.
Dragon WingGareth served for thirty years under Lord Rogar and was captain of his knights. At some point, Gareth had hired Hugh the Hand to avenge his daughter's death. When Hugh was framed for Lord Rogar's murder, Gareth initially believed and went along with the story that an elflord had hired Hugh for it; Trian had arranged for rumors of this to reach Gareth. As the intended execution got out of control, Gareth had a change of heart and returned Hugh's knife, knowing that the real killer was Rogar's wizard. Gareth felt he had nothing to live for anymore and considered someday killing the wizard himself.
Hamish, Peter [Arianus]
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos
Dragon WingLucy was a servant of Perceval Blackthorn. After she gave birth to a son, Hugh, she was cast out by Perceval. She was killed in an elven attack on Firstfall, but before her death, she told the Kir monks who her son's father was. Her last name was unknown.
Dragon WingThis particular wizard— only identified by this generic title— served as land magus to Lord Rogar. He craved more standing than Lord Rogar would grant, and so after Rogar's heir was born, the wizard killed Lord Rogar to serve in his stead. He framed Hugh the Hand for the murder. Unfortunately for the wizard, King Stephen's people knew who had really killed Lord Rogar, and used that information to insure that the wizard turn over Hugh the Hand moments before execution. It's possible that the wizard didn't live long after this, as Gareth wished to either hire Hugh or kill the wizard himself to avenge Rogar.
Dragon WingIn Hugh the Hand's youth, he helped gather up offerings to the Kir monks for collecting plague bodies. On a memorable occasion for Hugh, he was collecting bread when he witnessed a boy named Mikal getting sent away by his mother, supposedly to collect water, but in fact to keep Mikal from seeing her die. Hugh watched her death and then guided Mikal away from the water, knowing that the Kir monks would take in the now-orphaned boy.
Rogar (Lord and Lady)
Dragon WingLord Rogar of Ke'lith and his wife had just welcomed a son and heir when Rogar's wizard murdered him, hoping to gain power for himself by manipulating the son and acting as lord. Hugh the Hand was framed for Rogar's murder and was to be executed for it as part of the funeral services. Distraught, Lady Rogar would have thrown herself on the funeral bier if she hadn't been sedated with poppy syrup. After Hugh and Rogar's prize dragon were removed by Trian, the funeral continued, minus the sacrificial dragon and the head of Rogar's alleged murderer.
Dragon WingRolf was a boyhood friend of Hugh's in the Kir monastery. At around nine cycles old, he took ill and Hugh tried to help break the fever, but a monk beat Hugh for unnaturally interfering with death. Rolf died as he was rocked and soothed in Hugh's arms.
Stephen of Pitrin (King)
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth
Dragon Wing, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth
Elven StarMarit spent the night with this handsome young man from a Squatter tribe after leaving Haplo when they were still in the Labyrinth. When Haplo found out that she had spent the night with Antius, he abandoned his search for her.
All seven books
Into the LabyrinthThis woman was tall and lank, and had brown eyes and a hard-muscled body (p 318). She led a hunting party sent by Vasu to find Haplo, Marit, Alfred, and Hugh; the party ended up rescuing them from tiger-men. Initially friendly and courteous to Haplo, she became suspicious and treated the three men as prisoners after Marit revealed that Alfred was a Sartan. She was sent home by Vasu after returning to Abri, and seen again when she and the hunters volunteered to fight the serpents with Haplo. One of them fell to her sword. Hugh carried her back to the city after finding her wounded under the bodies of dead chaodyn; later she is revealed to have given her life in the battle.
Elven Star appendixA Runner in the early days of attempts to reach the Nexus, he returned to the Vortex through the First Gate and wrote of his observations as his magic faced the challenges of the Labyrinth. He discovered the Barrier of Uncertainty; a rune could only be so detailed before its very presence affected the magic and imbalanced it. His work was submitted to the Lyceum, where Sage Rethis discovered it. See the appendix for details of the theory.
Books 2-5 as "the woman;" by name in books 6-7
Existence suspected in book 2, confirmed in book 5, named in books 6-7Daughter of Marit and Haplo, she would be seven or eight gates at the time of the books. Her name is very common in the Labyrinth. Marit imagined that she would be skinny, wiry, tall for her age, chestnut-haired like Marit and with a quiet smile like Haplo (The Seventh Gate p 43). It's possible that one of the children Haplo and Marit adopt could actually be her.
The Seventh GateXar left a man named Sadet in charge when he sent all of the Patryns he had brought to Abarrach away on a ship to pursue that of Ramu and his followers as they headed for the Labyrinth.
Elven Star and The Seventh Gate appendicesHe lived in the time when the Patryns apparently still resided in the Vortex. In the Year of Exile 1391, he developed his basic laws of rune magic to explain problems the Patryns had always observed with their magic failing unexpectedly. He adopted Sendric Klausten's discovery of the Barrier of Uncertainty after finding it at the Lyceum where he'd studied. His work had disturbing, controversial philosophical ramifications that led to his death at the decree of the Lords in Exile, who later accepted his laws as "the standard foundation of our understanding of magic" (Elven Star p 363). The crime was "anarchistic heresy," but songs were later sung in praise of him. See these appendices for details of the theories.
The Seventh GateThis gray-streaked and wrinkled— but strong— woman lived near Marit in the Nexus, though she references "our" headman being killed; perhaps she was a former Squatter who kept up tribe bonds (p 78). The people turned to her to be their acting headman after they were forced to flee the burning Nexus through the Final Gate. She spat at Xar's name because he went on to Abarrach with a promise to return later. Vasu and she left together to discuss strategies to keep holding the Final Gate open; she doesn't appear again.
Xar (aka the Lord of the Nexus)
Referenced in all seven books; first use of name in Serpent MageWhen he was the first Patryn to escape the Labyrinth and enter the Nexus, he imagined children playing there; later, as its self-proclaimed Lord, he would envision armies to help him rule all four elemental realms. With his great magical power, he might have done so for a time. His ambition was his downfall.Although he deeply cared for his people and selflessly risked his life to return to the Labyrinth and rescue them, he became too focused on world domination and grew afraid of anything that could challenge Patryn rule. His distrust of Haplo led him to order the death of his former servant and "son," eventually allowing Haplo's gravely injured form to die so that the corpse could still provide him with information; this failed, however, since Haplo's body contained no soul. Xar redeemed himself by destroying the spell he'd constructed to collapse the realms into one, preventing Sang-drax from using it before the dragon-snake killed him.Patryns still honor his memory. Until his death, every Patryn who escaped the Labyrinth did so with his help, whether he brought them out from its depths or encouraged them to reach the Final Gate when they might have given up; nobody else had the will to overcome their fear (a fear he also felt) and enter the Labyrinth again. He put the runes on the Final Gate that allowed it to swing inwards, so that it could be re-entered.It is unknown if he fathered any children in his lifetime, which is speculated to be well over ninety gates. Into the Labyrinth notes that if they existed, they would have been old by Patryn standards and probably long dead by the time of the books. He did, however, consider Haplo to be like a son to him; all Patryns he brought out of the Labyrinth were "his children," but Haplo was very dear to him.Xar was "a man of keen, cold, sharp intelligence" (Elven Star p 85). His age and the hardships of the Labyrinth left his face lined and marked, but his skin didn't sag, his jaw was firm, his nose jutting and beak-like, and his eyes "bright and wise and hungry" (Serpent Mage p 9). He commonly wore black, hooded robes, and he was described as having "long hair that fell over his forehead," which would disguise the sigil tattooed there for use in his many rune-joinings (Into the Labyrinth p 49). In a sense, he was polygamous— against Patryn tradition— because rune-joining benefitted him by allowing easy access to the thoughts and feelings of his rune-mates, as they would inadvertantly reveal things they would otherwise keep secret. Marit became one of these rune-mates.He forgot his own name after tattooing over his heart rune with runes of strength and power. The name "Xar" was "not his real name. It is not a Patryn name at all, in fact, and is undoubtedly one he devised himself, possibly a corruption of the ancient word tsar, derived from Caesar" (Serpent Mage p 1).Xar kept a daily journal called A Chronicle of Power. As of Serpent Mage, it had reached twenty-four volumes.
Fire Sea and Serpent MageShe was the lovely young woman Alfred had loved for a long time, but she unfortunately died during their long hibernation. (I wonder if her name was intentionally changed by the authors between books to reflect her true Sartan name, or if it was actually a mistake.)
Fire Sea, The Seventh Gate
Coren (aka Alfred Montbank)
Dragon Wing, Fire Sea, Serpent Mage, Into the Labyrinth, The Seventh Gate
Fire SeaAlfred knew him in his youth, but he died during the hibernation.
Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, The Seventh Gate
Fire Sea appendixAlfred described him as a Sartan magical researcher, likely the one who built the rune that Alfred analyzed from the Table of Elders in the Chamber of the Damned, and the "narrator" of that text (p 404). He suggested studying ancient necromantic texts for possible solutions to the problem of communicating with the other worlds.
Fire Sea, Into the Labyrinth, The Seventh Gate
Mother Peytin (aka Peytin Sartan, Matriarch of Heaven)
Elven StarAccording to the myths of Pryan's elves, she created a world for her mortal children— at the time, humans— but it was sundered by the war between her sons, the twins Obi and Om and their younger brother San. For their participation in the war, the humans were cast out of the ancient world and sent to Pryan. She then created the elven race and sent them to restore the world's purity (p 100). Her name is invoked by the various Quindiniars, and they have a prayer icon of her that features the typical Sartan hair coloring; it proves to Haplo that Sartan had been on Pryan. As these elves are matriarchal, it makes sense that they would have a Sartan goddess instead of a god.
Elven StarAccording to the myths of Pryan's elves, he was one of Mother Peytin's elder twin sons and they were appointed to rule over the ancient world. Their younger brother was San.
Serpent Mage, Into the Labyrinth
Elven StarAccording to the myths of Pryan's elves, he was Mother Peytin's other twin son and was appointed to rule over the ancient world with Obi. Their younger brother was San. His name is commonly invoked in elven expressions.
Fire Sea appendixAlfred wondered if Orstan was a fellow researcher to Peartree. Orstan developed a rune structure intended to facilitate communication by allowing the Sartan to break through the Death Gate and contact the ancient world; instead, it apparently led to contact with a higher power and horrified them.
Fire Sea appendixHe was a researcher who analyzed Delsart Sparanga's work on the difference between the coarse physical state and the spiritual state, and the one to suggest that order existed in the chaos beyond the Runestate Boundary, a belief considered heretical by many (p 409).
Serpent Mage, The Seventh Gate
Serpent Mage, The Hand of Chaos, Into the Labyrinth
Elven StarAccording to the myths of Pryan's elves, he was the younger brother of Orn and Obi and was jealous of their rule, so he gathered the humans to wage war against them. Their war supposedly sundered the ancient world, and he was banished below for it.
Fire Sea appendix, The Seventh Gate appendix IIAlfred described him as "an aging Sartan mage" (The Seventh Gate p 341). Delsart discovered the Delsart Near State (or Delsart Similitude) and the Runestate Boundary, which was also discovered by Sendric Klausten and named the "Barrier of Uncertainty" (and later adopted by Sage Rethis.) Delsart's were the first major insights of the Abarrach Sartan into better understanding the difference between coarse physical reality and the finer spiritual state. The Delsart Solution was used to improve necromancy so that the corpses better reflected their original spiritual state— rather than being automatons, they were more self-motivated and had more of their living personalities and capabilities. Attempts to apply his Solution, however, led to the creation of lazar since the necromancers were not sure how long to wait to prevent the spiritual state from binding too closely.