The Essence of Radovan & the Count (and Arni)

Art by Roberto Pitturru

Let’s say you’ve read two or more of my Pathfinder Tales novels and know the boys pretty well. Balancing brevity with completeness, how would you describe Radovan, the Count, and Arnisant to someone who hadn’t read the books?

To ask it a different way, if I were writing a book introducing the characters for the first time, what are the essential qualities of the characters that readers would need to know within the first few chapters? Keep in mind that these qualities must be true of them after the events of King of Chaos, so I should warn everyone right now…


Let me start off with a few obvious ones, but tell me if you think they aren’t actually essential qualities.

Radovan: The big smile, the big knife, spurs, hellspawn, “Desna Weeps,” the ladies, the Tines, a little fire don’t hurt him

Count Jeggare: Erudite, vast knowledge, class-conscious, the Shadowless Sword, riffle scrolls (and the new development), likes his wine, half a heart, the Red Carriage, half-elven

Arnisant: He’s a good dog




8 thoughts on “The Essence of Radovan & the Count (and Arni)

  1. Radovan: Can’t hold onto a nice jacket. Interesting family tree. Disliked by equines.

    Jeggare: Loyalties to multiple powerful groups/entities.

    Arni: he’s a VERY good dog.

    -Will / @revenganceful

  2. Radovan: Rakish, incorrigible, deadly and fiend-haunted. His perception is often underestimated.

    Varian: Wealthy intellectual, arcane, staid but recovering, on a journey of self-discovery including his own nature and loyalties.

    The half a heart part is important, I think in how it’s affected other things so far.

    Arnisant: Large, effective, loyal, intelligent.

  3. I think there are commonalities and contrasts across all three. They’re not just defined individually (or by their individual accomplishments/legacies), but also in how they’re connected (and relate) to one another.

    Radovan: Rash, brash, lucky (Desna smiles!)/unlucky (Desna weeps!), street smart/resourceful, not afraid to get his hands dirty, looks forward to physically mixing it up with anyone he meets (as a fighter or a lover), loyal to Varian not just as his boss but as someone he admires

    Varian: Strategic, reserved/refined, lucky (born into wealth/influence)/unlucky (on uncertain terms/favor with Chelish aristocracy and Pathfinder Decemvirate), book smart/resourceful, not afraid to look into any mystery, looks forward to matching wits with anyone he meets (as a fighter or potential lover), loyal to Radovan out of sympathy and an interest in helping him rise above his station

    Arnisant: Perceptive, empathic, unquestionable/unflinching loyalty to Varian (and by extension, Radovan)

  4. From my Goodreads review, which I standby.
    I have never found Varian sympathetic — his nose being perpetually upturned — but I have found him intriguing. … whose whole identity seems to be an artificial veneer.

    Radovan: To borrow a phrase, men want to run away from him, women want to give him the runaround, and devils want to just run him down.

    Arnisant. Varian doesn’t deserve such a loyal dog. But maybe Varian is learning something about himself.

    • Thanks for your perspective, Troy.

      I’ve considered accelerating the revelations of Varian’s past, but I’ve stuck to measuring it out on coffee spoons. There are a surprising number of readers who actually prefer him to Radovan. Part of that is probably because they like his knowledge and intelligence, but sometimes readers say it’s because his flaws don’t just fall away all at once. Still, I think there’s a huge difference between Varian at the beginning of “Hell’s Pawns” and Varian at the end of Prince of Wolves. I like to think he, as well as Radovan, change a little by the end of each of the novels.

      All of these comments are useful as I consider ways to present the boys in the future to new readers. I’d like the next book to be one you can recommend as someone’s first encounter with the boys, offering them up “fresh,” not ignoring their history but making nothing depend on knowing it.

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