King Javan's Year Characters
by Katherine Kurtz

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King Javan's Year Characters

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

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King Javan's court is crowded with courtiers and other worthies, but only a handful are truly significant. The unctuous Archbishop Hubert and Lord Rhun the Ruthless are united only in their disdain for Javan's rule, but that leads to the plot that ultimately brings him down. Some major characters from the previous books appear only briefly here: Joram, Jesse MacGregor, Queron, Revan. At the story's end the latter two appear to have been killed at the baptismal lake. Joram and Jesse are among the few left as a saving remnant.

The most fully-explored character is Javan. He is a very sober sixteen-year-old, aware that any lapse in duty or demeanor can be dangerous. Although he has a crippled foot, he has learned to walk with scarcely a limp. Under his monastic disguise he kept the heart and bearing of a king. He shows this early on, when the Custodes abbot tries to stop him from going to the bedside of the dying Alroy. Javan first reminds the monk that he is defying their king's express order, then says if he wants to argue further, he can do so with the escort of armed knights waiting in the courtyard. Throughout the book Javan acts with this mixture of assurance and wit. To keep fit — and to allay any hint of weakness — he hunts and practices swordplay like any other vigorous young man. He has few chances to do so, however, as most of his time is taken up by politics and statecraft.

The three brothers have been close, and the youngest, Rhys Michael, is another focus of attention in the book. Rhys sometimes acts as Javan's friend and confidante. Since he shares royal blood, Javan can entrust him with missions and secrets he cannot share with his aides. Yet unlike Javan, Rhys sees no reason he cannot enjoy the normal pursuits of a young noble, including dalliance and small lapses in responsibility. Javan worries about Rhys, but Rhys matures even as the novel goes on. At book's end, he is ready to cope with the tragic trap the plotters have set for him.