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Alanna the Lioness
Baroness of Pirate's Swoop
Heir to Fief Olau
Style Sir Knight
Tenure Baroness (upon marriage to George in 439 HE - present)
Heir to Olau (437 HE - present)
Heir Apparent
Heir Presumptive
Bequeathed by
Date Bequeathed
Style '
King's Champion
Reigning Monarch King Jonathan IV
Years of Service 438 HE - present
Predecessor Duke Gareth of Naxen
Birth Name
Mage Name
Maiden Name
Honorific Burning-Brightly One
Alias Alan (during training)
Born 419 HE
Nationality Tortallan
Gift Violet
Specialization Healing
Physical Description
Height 5' 4"[1]
Hair Copper
Eyes Violet
Other Forearm scars (from Bazhir adoptions)
Family Information
Noble House Pirate's Swoop family
Olau family (heir apparent)
Trebond family (former)
Ancestors Lionel of Trebond (presumed)
Parents Alan of Trebond
Marinie of Tasride[2]
Adoptive Parents Myles of Olau
Siblings Thom of Trebond
Husband George of Pirate's Swoop
Lover Liam Ironarm(former)
Prince Jonathan (former)
Children Thom of Pirate's Swoop
Alan of Pirate's Swoop
Alianne Crow
Unnamed daughter (born 467 HE)
Adoptive Children
Grandchildren Ochobai Crow
Junim Crow
Ulasu Crow[3]
Godsparents Lady Catherine
Godschildren Sarralyn Salmalín
Other Family Nawat Crow (son-in-law)
Animals Darkmoon (warhorse)
Moonlight (warhorse)
Faithful (cat)
Patron God Great Mother Goddess
Rank Nobility
Estates Barony Pirate's Swoop
Barony Olau
Fief Trebond (former)
Residence Pirate's Swoop
Frasrlund (Scanran War)
Great Southern Desert (437 HE)
Tortallan Royal Palace
Castle Trebond (former)
Bazhir Tribe Bloody Hawk
Occupation Shaman (former)
Sponsored by Gary of Naxen
Sponsor to
Training Master
Knight Master Prince Jonathan (433 - 437 HE) [4]
Year Knighted 437 HE
Squire Neal of Queenscove (456 - 460 HE) [4]
Military Affiliation
Military Branch
Squad Leader Sergeant
Combat Tusaine War
Siege of Pirate's Swoop
Immortals War
Scanran War
Provost's Guard
Guard District
Guard Watch
Bibliographical Information
Tortallan Universe character
First Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared Alanna: The First Adventure
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance Trickster's Queen
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau, born in 419 HE as Alanna of Trebond (pronounced a-LAH-nah of tray-BOND / oh-LAU), was the only daughter of the late Alan of Trebond and the late Marinie of Tasride. Alanna is the first female knight in Tortall in over a century. She was enlisted by the gods, namely the Great Mother Goddess, in order to stop Duke Roger and his associates. She became a hero and a legend by stopping Duke Roger, finding and retrieving the Dominion Jewel, and becoming the first woman knight in a century. She became the first female King's Champion in known history, and was a fully realized and able warrior as well as a fully realized and able mage. She specialized mostly in healing magics, but used battle magics when necessary. Because of the rearing lioness that was put on her shield, she was known as Alanna the Lioness, or just simply The Lioness. She became a member of the Bloody Hawk tribe of the Bazhir and was their shaman for a brief period, thus heightening her abilities with her magic, as well as her teaching skills. She was adopted by Myles of Olau, and she became the heir to Barony Olau after Myles, as he has no other children.

She married George Cooper, a former Rogue and King of Thieves, who became the respectable baron of Pirate's Swoop as well as one of the two spymasters. She has three children with him: Thom of Pirate's Swoop, who was named after her brother, Alan of Pirate's Swoop, a tribute both to her father and her old days as Page/Squire Alan, and Alianne of Pirate's Swoop. Through Alianne, or Aly, she has three grandchildren: Ochobai, Ulasu, and Junim Crow.

The novella “Tortall: A Spy’s Guide” reveals that she is pregnant again several years after the twins are born. Pg 48


Early life

"D'you think I want to be a lady? 'Walk slowly, Alanna. Sit still, Alanna. Shoulders back, Alanna.' As if that's all I can do with myself! There has to be another way."
—Alanna to her twin brother Thom, after their father told them they were to be sent away[src]

Ten-year old Alanna with Maude and Thom

Alanna of Trebond, along with her twin brother Thom, was born in 419 HE as the only daughter of Lady Marinie and Alan of Trebond. Lady Marinie died while birthing the twins, even though Marinie and her newborn children had the magical Gift. After the loss of his wife, Alan lived a secluded life and occupied himself with his scholarly work as opposed to kindling relationships with his two children. He failed at giving them the impression that they were loved, and they were primarily raised by Coram Smythesson, a former soldier and family servant, and Maude Tanner, the village healer. Coram taught them basic fighting skills and how to track and hunt while Maude showed them how to handle their Gift. Alanna proved to be quite adept at Coram's lessons, more so than her brother, but was hesitant at using the full potential of her magic, fearing the gift. Thus, she "had to be tricked and begged into trying spells"[5]. Lord Alan hated the Gift because he thought his wife's magic and his children's magic should have kept his wife from dying. He did not approve of it being taught, and he certainly did not approve of Thom becoming a great sorcerer like the boy wished to be.

When Alanna was five years old she tried ice skating. The ice broke and her skates and wet clothes pulled the girl down, nearly drowning her. This left her with a fear of ice skating for her entire childhood. As a squire she once accepted a skating match proposed by Alexander of Tirragen and experienced the same, which probably lead to a even greater fear, although this was never confirmed[6]. As children, Thom and Alanna were likely often out in the woods around Trebond, probably hiking or hunting with Coram. The manservant taught her about survival in the snow, which came in useful in later life. However Alanna had never been far away from her home, certainly never in any big city.

At the age of ten, Lord Alan arranged for his children to leave Trebond; Alanna would go to the convent to become a lady, and Thom would go to the palace to train to be a knight. Neither child wanted the future that was planned for them, so Alanna devised a plan to switch places. When they asked for Maude's help, the healer said she couldn't decide on this scheme herself and asked the gods by scrying in the fire. Not only did Maude see something in the flames, but Alanna as well—this was not supposed to happen, as Maude cast the spell and only the spellcaster would have been able to see anything. Alanna was able to see a city of black shining stone[5]. After this, Maude agreed to help the twins and to take Thom to the City of the Gods to become a sorcerer. Maude helped dress Alanna like a boy and she filled Coram's flask with strong brandy so he would be more willing to listen to Alanna when he found out he was bringing the wrong twin to Corus. He realised en route and was furious at first, but Alanna threatened to make him see things with magic and pointed out that she was by far the more capable twin and more likely to be a credit to him. He reluctantly agreed.

Training for knighthood

Page years

"I wish I could say 'have fun'," Thom said frankly, "but I can't see how anyone can have fun learning to be a knight. Good luck, though. If we're caught, we'll both be skinned ... There are a lot of tests ahead for you."
—Thom to Alanna when they parted[src]

Coram, although at first hesitant, eventually agreed to go with the plan. He stayed with Alanna in Corus as her manservant, sharing her rooms in the pages' wing[7]. The first days in the palace - with a whole new schedule and hard work Alanna was unaccustomed to - proved difficult for her. She even considered quitting, but Coram managed to talk her out of it and Alanna soon developed a routine and became comfortable with palace life.[7]As a page Alanna also had to serve at the evening meals. At first she was assigned to wait on Duke Gareth[7], but later she waited on Sir Myles of Olau, also one of her teachers.

In her early time at the palace Alanna made both friends and enemies. One of her first friends was Gary of Naxen, her sponsor and also the son of the Training Master. He showed her around and introduced her to his group of friends, who subsequently also became Alanna's friends. This group included Alexander of Tirragen, Raoul of Goldenlake, Francis of Nond and the Crown Prince, Jonathan of Conté. As a page Alanna also had to serve at the evening meals.

On her first visit to the city of Corus, three months after her arrival in the capital,[7] she met George Cooper, the King of the Thieves. They became friends and George later provided Alanna with a good horse of her own, Moonlight. Another friend she made was Sir Myles of Olau, her teacher in history and the knight she was assigned to wait on during dinner. He took her to visit his Barony once and Alanna found a sword in the ruins of the Old Ones, which she named Lightning.

Her earliest enemy in the palace was Ralon of Malven. He picked on Alanna and she had quite a few talks with the Training Master, Duke Gareth of Naxen, because of the fights they got in. She refused the help offered by her friends in dealing with Ralon. Instead, she decided to stand up against him on her own and asked George to teach her some tricks in fighting which the pages weren't taught at the palace. Alanna finally defeated Ralon in an even fight and he left the palace.[8]

Alanna's friendship with Prince Jonathan deepened when their other friends became squires. Thus in early 431 HE Alanna and Jon started to help each other with their classroom work in the evenings, Alanna tutoring Jon in history and Jon helping Alanna with maths.[9]


In March of 431 HE, the year after Alanna's arrival at the palace, the Sweating Sickness struck Corus. There were rumors that it was caused by magic as it drained the healers of all their power. Alanna, who herself possessed the healing gift, argued with herself about whether she should go to the healers and offer them her help. Before she could decide, Francis fell ill and died. The sickness took the decision out of her hand when Jonathan fell ill as well. He was one of the last to catch the sickness and the healers were already drained from all the other patients. In a desperate effort, Alanna took care of him and saved him from death using her Gift.[9]

Some time later, the king's nephew, Roger of Conté, arrived. The king had called for him and he was to teach the pages and squires in magic. Alanna was immediately suspicious of him. However she couldn't prove or even initially understand any of her suspicions.

Before turning 13, Alanna woke one morning to find blood on her sheets. In a panic and with no understanding of what was happening she rode down into the city to find George, since he would know a woman healer. She told George that she was a girl and George took her to see his mother Eleni. Eleni explained to Alanna that she experienced a part of growing up and that her bleedings were a sign that her body was mature enough to bear children. To prevent pregnancy Eleni also gave Alanna a charm.

When the squires and Alanna accompanied Lord Martin to the city of Persopolis in the Great Southern Desert, Roger bewitched Jonathan to go to the Black City of the Ysandir and Alanna felt obliged to go with him and protect him. They defeated the Ysandir and in doing so Alanna was revealed to be female in front of Jonathan.

Squire years

In the beginning of 434 HE<ref name="atfa3 /> Alanna became Jonathan's squire. In spring that year her father died, making her brother Thom the Lord of Trebond. Around that time Alanna was sent on an errand for Sir Myles, collecting a three-hundred-year-old document for him. On her journey home she met a strange woman, who was actually the Great Mother Goddess, her patroness. She knew that Alanna wasn't a boy, as she still pretended to be, but a girl. Furthermore the Goddess knew of Alanna's three greatest fears and told her that she will have to conquer them, even her greatest fear of loving someone. She also gave Alanna the Ember-stone, an artifact to protect her. At the same time Alanna found a black cat, or rather the cat found her. She took him with her and finally named him Faithful. The cat was quite extraordinary as he had purple eyes - the same color as Alanna's, and if he wished humans could understand his speech.

The time of Alanna's squiredom was quite eventful. Not only did she still suspect Duke Roger of plotting against the monarchs, she was also attacked by a magicked boar and was nearly killed by her friend Alex, who was Duke Roger's squire. Moreover, the Tusaine War broke out in Alanna's second year as a squire. Together with Jonathan and Sir Myles she was stationed directly on the shore of the Drell River, in the valley. When she was wounded in a battle the healers banned her from taking part in further fighting. As she didn't like not being useful, Alanna offered her help to the healers and even the smiths. One night, when Alanna was on watch duty, she had a peculiar conversation with Duke Roger. Shortly after that she was taken prisoner by soldiers from Tusaine. Jonathan and other friends defied King Roald's orders and crossed the Drell River in order to come to her rescue. As they could also take the brothers of King Ain as prisoner themselves, the war ended shortly afterwards as the King was very keen on getting his brothers back.

In the following year Alanna and Jonathan became lovers while she still fought off the George Cooper's attentions. Shortly before her Ordeal of Knighthood Alanna revealed her true sex to Gary as she needed two Knights to instruct her before the Ordeal. When she presented evidence of Duke Roger's evil doings in front of the whole Court, Roger demanded trial by combat. Thus they fought and Alanna defeated Roger by killing him. During the fight, Alanna's true sex was revealed, though she was allowed to keep her shield[10].

Early years of knighthood

Alanna in armour with Faithful at her side

Shaman of the Bazhir

Alanna left Corus shortly after she gained her shield and killed Duke Roger. Together with Coram she went to the Great Southern Desert. There, they encountered some Bazhir of the Bloody Hawk tribe. In order to be accepted among them Alanna agreed to a fight between herself and a man of the tribe. She won, not killing her opponent as is the custom, but only wounding him. After this she and Coram were adopted into the tribe. The shaman, Akhnan ibn Nazzir, conspired against her. He died when he tried to kill Alanna and used up his life-force to power his Gift. Afterwards Alanna became the shaman of the tribe. Because she didn't intend to stay forever she trained three young members of the tribe, Ishak, Kara and Kourrem. Ishak died when he attempted to control the crystal sword that Alanna took from Akhnan ibn Nazzir. Kara and Kourrem eventually finished their education and became shamans of the tribe. While Alanna was with the Bazhir, Jonathan arrived as he is to become the next Voice of the Tribes. They continued their love affair until it ended in an argument when Jonathan proposed to Alanna and couldn't accept her wish for more time to think it over.

Retrieving the Dominion Jewel

After Jonathan returned to Corus, Alanna went to Port Caynn, where George was living at the time. There, she found comfort and after some time also a new love in George. When George had to return to Corus, Alanna went back to the Bloody Hawk, where Halef Seif, the tribe's headman, sent her on an errand. Alanna was to look for a friend of Seif's in the north. Alanna found her burning on a stake and was unable to save her. However, the woman gave her a map leading her to the legendary Dominion Jewel[11].

Alanna and Coram went to Berat, Maren to speak with an expert on the language of the Old Ones—the tongue that the map was written in. Nahom Jendrai was a friend of both Alanna's biological father, Lord Alan, as well as her adoptive father, Sir Myles. Jendrai was happy to translate the map and to tell them where to find the Jewel. Alanna met Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon, while staying at the Wandering Bard, an inn in Berat[12]. Ironarm began teaching Alanna Shang fighting techniques, and the two started a romantic relationship. Alanna also proved that she matched the Dragon in fencing skills, and was even better. Liam joined Coram, Alanna, and Faithful on their trip to retrieve the Jewel, as Sarain was in shambles due to a brutal civil war.

Alanna and her companions happened across Thayet jian Wilima and Buriram Tourakom. They convinced the princess and her K'miri guard to join them in their quest, and then to come with them to Tortall. Many rebels were hunting Princess Thayet as she was the only child of Adigun jin Wilima, the warlord of Sarain.

They went to the Roof of the World, where the Dominion Jewel was located. After their arrival at the Roof of the World, Alanna had to fight her way through a snow storm and to battle an immortal called Chitral before finally gaining the Dominion Jewel. Her old friend, Raoul of Goldenlake, came to bring them back in Port Udayapur. Their journey home by ship was painful for Alanna as she had a tendency to become seasick. She learned that Roger of Conté had returned from the dead because of her own brother. On her return, Jon convinced Alanna to become his King's Champion, much to her chagrin. She played matchmaker between Jon and Thayet as well, much to George's amusement.

On the Coronation Day Battle Alanna lost both her brother Thom and her companion Faithful. She had to fight and kill her former friend Alexander of Tirragen in order to stop Duke Roger.

King's Champion of Tortall

adult Alanna

Marriage and motherhood

After the Coronation Day Battle at the palace, Alanna returned to the Bloody Hawk. George, the newly made baron of Pirate's Swoop, visited her and they became engaged. Alanna and George married later that year in 439 HE[13]. In 443 HE[4], their first son, Thom, was born while they were on a mission. George had to deliver his oldest son himself[14]. Two years later, Alanna gave birth to twins, Alianne and Alan.

Because of her duties as King's Champion and a knight of the realm, Alanna was forced to leave home quite a bit. Her children, at least in Aly's case, were mostly raised by George with interludes of their mother. This created tension between her and Aly, and regret in Alanna. She doesn't regret her choice as a knight, though, as she knows it was the best way for her to give back to and serve her king and country. And Alanna was never long away from Pirate's Swoop unless there was a war, namely the Scanran War, that took place much later during her children's years. As such, her children still saw her as their mother, but they knew and understood why she had to leave so often.

Veralidaine Sarrasri and the Immortals War

Prior to meeting Veralidaine Sarrasri, Alanna became good friends with Numair Salmalín, a mage who had garnered the wrath of Ozorne Tasikhe, the Emperor Mage of Carthak. When Numair had turned himself into a hawk and was drugged by Synthia, Alanna rode in with the King's Own in order to help Numair back into human form. The idea was to quickly help him and then he would fly off, however they required Daine to call to him in his bird form, thus breaking the secret. She left later in order to arrest traitors as the King's Champion and executor of the King's law.

She later reconnected with Daine and Onua Chamtong with the Queen's Riders. She rode with her childhood friend, Queen Thayet to Pirate's Swoop, where the queen's children, and Alanna's children and husband, were waiting. There was a short battle with Carthaki pirates, who were interested in capturing Queen Thayet and her royal children. Alanna convinced Daine that Daine should let the animals fight because they would be protecting their home as well. As Daine managed to save Pirate's Swoop and destroy the pirates, Alanna offered her a home with her family in thanks. This started a very close friendship between Alanna and Daine.

When Yolane of Dunlath's and Tristan Staghorn's treacherous plans had gotten to the King, Alanna went up to Dunlath with Raoul of Goldenlake and the King's Own in order to aid Daine and Numair in taking down the traitors. Staghorn was working on behalf of the Emperor Mage and was turned into a tree with a word of power from Numair.

As the King's Champion and one of the king's closest advisers, Alanna was part of the Tortallan delegation sent to Carthak. She took part in the talks, and was later exiled from Carthak when Emperor Ozorne kidnapped Daine to make it look like she was a rebel. Alanna came back later after Daine won a decisive battle using the animated skeletons of dinosaurs to destroy the Emperor's palace. Alanna assured Daine that no one in Tortall would believe Daine's story, as the girl didn't want to be treated with the fear or awe that she was getting in Carthak. Coming from a woman who herself was a legend, this was valuable advice.

She took part in the fighting when the Immortals War was declared.

Along with Gary and Numair Alanna was also part of Jonathan's private council.[15]

First openly female page

When Keladry of Mindelan wants to enter page training, Alanna disputed on Keladry's behalf with Jon and the Training Master, Lord Wyldon of Cavall. She was overruled, primarily due to the fact that King Jon wanted to honor the man who saved his children from hurroks. King Jon also did not want the conservative faction of nobles saying that he did not honor Lord Wyldon by at least listening to him in part. King Jon and Lord Wyldon made it so Kel would have to go through a probationary period lasting one year before she could become a full page. He also forbade Alanna from contacting Keladry because people would think that the knight magicked the girl into earning her Shield and beating the Ordeal of Knighthood, as the more conservative nobles already thought that Alanna had cheated because of her powerful magic and her affiliation with the Great Mother Goddess. This angered Alanna, and she refused to visit the Royal Palace and even speak to Jonathan because she was so angry. Alanna helped in more subtle ways by becoming Kel's mysterious benefactor, someone not even Kel knew the identity of until much later, and after the girl had completed her training and became a Knight of Tortall. Her gifts to Kel were: Bruise balm, exercise balls, saddles and tack for Peachblossom and later Hoshi, weapons, and more. Alanna revealed that her plan was not to help Kel with magic, like the "mammering conservatives believed", but by showing Kel how to survive in that environment and different exercises.

Alanna took Nealan of Queenscove on as her squire in 456 HE. Neal was a good friend of Kel's and the son of Baird of Queenscove, a Duke and a good friend of Alanna's. Neal argued at first, saying that Alanna should take Kel on because it was his friend's greatest wish. Alanna knew that she couldn't because there would be rumors that Kel would be magicked and they would both be jeopardized. Alanna had already asked her childhood friend Raoul of Goldenlake of the King's Own to look after Kel, because he was so respected. As Alanna was one of the few knights who was a fully realized warrior as well as a fully realized mage with teaching and healing experience, she offered to teach Neal more about magic and healing, as well as fighting skills.

Scanran War

In the Scanran War Alanna was also involved in the fighting. There she was stationed at Frasrlund, a fortified town on the Scanran and Tortallan border. She was wounded at the thigh in the autumn of 461 HE; the wound still bothered her in the following spring. The war kept her in the north for more than a year, even over winter. It was the longest separation Alanna and George have had so far in their marriage.[13]

During one of her brief visits to Pirate's Swoop, Alanna nagged Aly to find something to do with her life. Her daughter, who was sixteen and unwilling to commit to anything except spy work, refused. Aly was later abducted by Copper Isles slavers when she was sailing to Port Legann in order to visit Lord Imrah and his lady. George kept news of Aly's abduction secret from his wife after she had returned to the border to fight more Scanrans. She found out later from King Jonathan IV, who thought she knew and who told her that his best mages were on the hunt for Aly. Because Aly was connected to the very power structure of Tortall, no one could search or look for her outright, for fear of alerting enemies to the fact that Aly, the King's Champion's daughter and the godsdaughter of the King and Queen of Tortall, was missing.

Tortallan delegation to Copper Isles

Alanna, along with many other delegates, took part in the Tortallan envoy to welcome and recognize Dovasary Balitang to be Queen of the Copper Isles. Of course, the Queen knew that her spymaster Aly was Alanna's daughter, and they met in secret. Alanna and Aly officially reconciled their differences.

Physical description

As children, Thom and Alanna were so much alike in face and body shape as to be mistaken for each other, if dressed alike. The only distinguishing feature of the twins at that time was the length of their hair.[5]

Alanna has fiery red hair in the color of copper and bright violet, amethyst colored eyes, the same as the color of her magical Gift. She is quite short, only five feet four inches[1][16] and has a stocky build. Her heraldic insignia is a lioness rampant, earning her the nickname "Lioness".

By 462 HE fine lines frame her eyes and mouth. Her then shoulder long hair shows strands of grey.[13] She is slightly limping from a wound to the thigh which hasn't completely healed.


Personality and traits

"Th' lad's got guts. Not much sense, but guts."
Stefan, thinking about Alanna[src]

Alanna always possessed a tenacity for whatever she set her mind. Her determination to achieve what she desired most was always unwavering. At the age of ten she was already "stubborn as a mule" and had enough courage to face a rearing horse[5]. She had also already enough pride to fight her own fights and felt insulted when George implied that she wanted his thieves to take care of Ralon.[8] She kept going through her page training despite grueling odds and bullies, and retrieved the Dominion Jewel with the same sort of determination and tenacity exhibited in her earlier years. She didn't like to sit idle and preferred having something to do. When there was nothing for her to do she found herself work, no matter if that included helping smiths and healers alike when she was wounded during the Tusaine War and therefore unable to do anything else or if she later found herself a "project" while being at Pirate's Swoop. Her daughter Alianne even ran away from home because she didn't want to become her mother's newest "project".[13]

Alanna had a fiery personality. She was infamous for her quick temper and her sharp tongue that was said to be as fiery as her hair. Alanna had learned a rich vocabulary of curse words from soldiers and thieves, which only added to her tongue. She was known to "swear like a guardsman." Nealan of Queenscove mentioned that his new knight-mistress was infamous for wielding sharp edges: sword, knife, and tongue, and that Keladry of Mindelan was lucky to get a knight-master as easygoing as Raoul of Goldenlake. She also was called "serene as a volcano" in Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales, by her daughter Alianne, when asked by the midwife "Didn't your mother ever teach you to be serene in the birth chamber?"

At her early time at the royal palace Alanna could still be quite quiet listening to conversations and keeping her thoughts to herself, especially when it came to Roger of Conté[7]. Alanna didn't like to eat much in the mornings, preferring light food like fruits for breakfast.[7]

She was originally afraid of her magic, having to be tricked into using spells by Maude as a child.[5] She was still hesitant to use her Gift as a page until the Sweating Sickness struck Corus and she realized that she could help the sick by using her magic. After saving Prince Jonathan from the sickness, Alanna accepted her Gift as part of herself and was less opposed to using it. She would grow into a fine healer, and even learned a more offensive way to use her Gift while traveling with Coram, Liam Ironarm, Thayet jian Wilima, and Buriram Tourakom.

Skills and abilities

"You've a gift for healing. It's greater than mine, greater than any I have ever known. And you've other magic, power you'll learn to use. [...] It's harder to heal than it is to kill. The Mother knows why, but you've a gift for both."
—Maude to Alanna shortly before the girl left Trebond to become a knight[src]

Physical and mental skills

Alanna "had a feeling for the fighting arts", being already an adept archer at the age of ten. She could also use a dagger, was a "decent rider" and good at tracking.[7] At the same age she could even skin a rabbit faster than any grown man that Coram knew of.[5] But all those were just basic skills and she was still considered a beginner in the fighting arts when she began her page training.[7] Soon after her arrival at the palace she broke her right arm in a fight with Ralon and had to use her left hand instead. Thus she had to use her left hand during her first real fighting lessons. Her struggle with Ralon also decided her to take lessons with George in hand-to-hand and knife fighting.[8]

Due to her father's strictness regarding book learning Alanna also already knew how to read and write and could do basic mathematics when she arrived at the royal palace. These were skills many nobleman's sons first coming to the palace didn't have, according to Gary.[7] As a child Alanna had also been taught manners, but upon her arrival at the royal palace she soon learned that her education in deportment was still inadequate regarding Court manners. In addition to filling her gaps in this area Alanna also had to learn how to dance, play a lap-harp and speak and read two other languages other than the one she was raised with.[7]

Magical abilities

Alanna had a strong magical gift in the purple color of the Trebond line. She was first taught the use of it by the local village healer of Trebond, Maude Tanner, and later learned additional things while training as a page. Although Duke Roger was made the page's teacher in magic Alanna also studied it in the library by herself to a certain degree. She also learned from the healers at Fort Drell when she was a squire and from the Bazhir as a knight.

Her gift was mainly for healing, as such it was quite powerful.[5] She couldn't only use it to heal others, but could also heal or at least accelerate healing of her own wounds. She did so when her right arm was broken in a fight with Ralon shortly after her arrival at the palace.[8]

She wasn't as adept at scrying. Later, she used a wide edge sword in order to scry, as she must have gotten the hang of it later in life.

Alanna is especially sensitive to the presence of magic, and strong magic usually makes her sneeze.



Biological parents

Alanna didn't have much of a relationship with either of her parents. Her mother died of childbirth, so she never knew her; and her father became incredibly distant after the death of his wife, since he blamed his children and their magic for not saving Marinie. Lord Alan mostly busied himself with his scholarly work, leaving the child-rearing to trusted family servants like Coram Smythesson and Maude Tanner[5]. He didn't even notice when his children traded places with each other, even though Duke Gareth wrote about "Page Alan" and his progress, as opposed to "Page Thom".

Her father also got involved romantically with people she didn't like, like Lady Catherine, who gave herself airs and was cruel to servants. Alanna would get rid of these paramours using her magic to scare them away. She was always successful, as Lord Alan never did marry again.

Adoptive parents

Alanna first met Myles shortly after her arrival at the palace as one of her teachers. He taught the pages History and Law of the Realm and Alanna soon preferred his classes to all other, because he had the ability to present history in an interesting way.[7] Alanna was also assigned to wait on Sir Myles during evening meals, where she encounters him as the court drunkard—which was his epithet at court. Soon a friendship develops and Alanna not only helps Myles get to his rooms when he drank too much but also plays chess with him. She appreciates his company because he is the first adult with whom she can really talk. Myles also invites her to his estates. In the ruins of Castle Olau, Alanna finds her sword Lightning. He is one of the first to guess that "page Alan" is really a girl as he heard her adult self speak when she used magic to save Prince Jon from the Sweating Sickness. Myles says nothing of it, however, and keeps her identity a secret until she chooses to reveal it herself. After Alanna received her shield, Myles adopted her as his heir. She was adopted in the Bazhir ceremony.

Eleni Cooper was the first person in Corus besides George who knew she was a girl. Eleni became a surrogate mother to Alanna while helping her go through puberty, especially when dealing with periods and changing bodies. Eleni also was Alanna's introduction into the more feminine arts, including wearing gowns, and other womanly behaviors. Eleni also knew that her son loved Alanna before Alanna did, and she even heard about Alanna's romantic tryst with Prince Jon. Although at first it must have been difficult for Eleni to see her son in love with Alanna while she had a romantic relationship with another man, she never wavered from accepting Alanna.

Thom of Trebond

Alanna and Thom are complete and utter opposites. Thom had to be yelled at before he went hunting and Alanna had to be tricked and begged to do some sorcery, because they both wanted the opposite. She tried to ignore her Gift until one of her friends died from the sweating sickness and she had to save Jon from dying by using her gift. Thom on the other hand was always keen to use his gift and eventually even became the youngest Master in history. Although the twins were so different they had also a close relationship, which was most probably the result of their father's rejection. It is said that Alanna was the only person who Thom loved. Alanna always worried for her brother and she even consented to take part of his gift while his was purged, which involved some risk for her, too. Her brother died after giving some of his gift to resurrect Duke Roger of Conte.

George Cooper

George Cooper was one of Alanna's first friends in Corus. They first laid eyes on each other when Alanna, accompanied by Coram, arrived in the capital to begin her page training. They were introduced three months later, when Alanna had been granted her first Market Day. Although both Coram and Gary were suspicious of George, Alanna instantly liked him and befriended him. George was also the first person in Corus, inside the palace or outside of it (aside from Coram, that is) to know Alanna's true sex. Alanna's first kiss came from George, and when she asked Faithful why he didn't intervene, he merely responded "you looked like you were enjoying yourself." After her time spent as shaman of the Bloody Hawk Bazhir tribe Alanna went to find George after she rejected Jonathan of Conté's marriage proposal. This was also when they slept together for the first time.

In Lioness Rampant, George's appears when Alanna is getting off of the boat with her comrades after finding the Dominion Jewel. Although he kisses her upon first seeing her, she notes sadly later that he seems to be distant and to want nothing more than friendship. However, at the end of the book, after Jonathan and Thayet jian Wilima fall in love and Liam Ironarm is killed, they decide to get married. Between Lioness Rampant and Wild Magic Alanna and George are married and Alanna gives birth to four children: Thom, named after her deceased twin brother; the twins, Alan and Alianne, better known as Aly; and an unnamed daughter born in 467 HE, when Alanna was forty-eight years old.[17]


Alanna spent quite a bit of time away from her children and home, dealing with problems in the realm as King's Champion. This left George as the primary caregiver for their children, which George had no problem with. There was a bit of friction between Alanna and her daughter when Aly became a teenager, as Alanna wanted her to figure out her life with honest work. She did not want her daughter to become a spy, but for slightly different reasons than why her husband did not want Aly to become one. Their relationship was strained until Alanna visited Aly in the Copper Isles after the raka rebellion was successful. She saw then that her daughter had found work she truly loved, as well as a husband. They buried the hatchet, and forged a good relationship. Of course, as they now lived in separate countries, serving different rulers and interests, they would not be able to share their work with each other.

Romantic relationships

Jonathan of Conté

Prince Jonathan of Conté became one of Alanna's closest friends when they were both still pages, and eventually asked her to be his personal squire. He is also one of very few who knew of her true identity before her ordeal of knighthood. Jon and Alanna become lovers around her seventeenth birthday, and he even asked her to marry him. However, Alanna refused his proposal due to her aversion to becoming Queen of Tortall and his duty to make a marriage that is good for the kingdom. Jonathan and Alanna accepted the fact that, although they will always love each other, they are unsuited for a life together. Alanna became King's Champion and remained at Jonathan's side for her the rest of her days, as his most trusted advisor, most loyal knight, and his best friend.

Liam Ironarm

Alanna and Liam meet on her journey towards the Roof of the World. He decides to accompany Alanna and Coram and after some arguing even agrees to teaching Alanna some fighting-skills of the Shang. They fall in love quickly but their relationship is always quite strained as they have different opinions on many topics. Furthermore Liam is afraid of the Gift and Alanna can't help herself but use hers as it is a part of her. That's why their relationship doesn't last and they separate after Alanna's fight for the Dominion Jewel.


Coram and Maude

Growing up, Coram and Maude were her surrogate parents, as her father's distance left her and Thom to be raised by trusted familial servants. Coram taught fighting and horseriding, while Maude focused on developing their magical skills. Maude helped Alanna disguise herself as Thom, and warned her that she should also learn to use her magic to heal, as taking lives was a burden for the soul. Coram helped her while at the palace in her years as a page.

Once she won her shield, she became a knight errant, and Coram accompanied her on her travels. He thought of her with a father's interest and was fiercely protective of her, especially from potential lovers like George Cooper and Liam Ironarm. He was an incredibly good friend of Alanna's, and they had a very good friendship.

After Alanna married George, Coram married Rispah Cooper and were gifted with the barony of Trebond. Maude actually moved to Pirate's Swoop to help George and Alanna raise any children they might have. She became the nurse of Thom, Alan, and Alianne.

Sir Gareth

Gary was Alanna's first friend at the palace. He was her sponsor and explained palace ways to her. He also helped her with her extra work whenever she could "bring herself to ask" him. Alanna also liked his humorous ways.[7]

Thayet of Conté

Alanna met the Saren princess while she and Buriram Tourakom were fleeing for their lives from the Saren Civil War. They became good friends on their journey to retrieve the Dominion Jewel, and Thayet helped her navigate her romantic and sexual relationship with Liam Ironarm, who seemed to blow hot and cold no matter what she did. Alanna later played matchmaker with Thayet and Jonathan, as she thought they would be good for each other. Their friendship strengthened over the years, and Alanna seemed to identify more with Thayet than her husband. They often rode together with the Queen's Riders. Thayet became godsmother to Alanna's three children, as did Cythera of Naxen.

Raoul of Goldenlake

Alanna and Raoul were good friends since Alanna's arrival at the palace for page training. Raoul offered to beat up Alanna's bully, Ralon of Malven, several times, but was refused on each count. Raoul was impressed when Alanna took care of Ralon herself. He also accepted her immediately upon learning that she was a girl, and went to retrieve her from Port Udayapur. Alanna was happy to learn that her friend was doing something he loves with the King's Own. After the Coronation Day Battle and beyond that, Alanna sometimes rode with the Own, and became close friends with Raoul—closer than she was with Gary at that point. In 456 HE, she asked Raoul to take Keladry of Mindelan on as his squire, as she would be unable to do so. Raoul accepted, but not just for that reason.

Raoul and Alanna were seen together after that, joking and laughing with each other.

Daine the Wildmage

Alanna and Daine met shortly after Daine came to Tortall. Alanna was in the area with some men of the King's Own when Onua called for help with the hurt Numair, who was in caught in his hawk-shape and couldn't change back on his own. The first meeting between Daine and Alanna didn't go all too well considering Alanna was short-tempered and brusque. She later apologized to Daine. Together they faced their first spidren and killed it. Alanna promised Daine her help if she ever needed it. Later that same summer the trainees of the Queen's Riders went to their summer camp in Pirate's Swoop. While Daine was responsible for the trainees' horses along with Onua, Alanna accompanied the group back to her home. Alanna was called away when the swoop was under siege. After her return she was grateful to Daine for looking after her family and offered her a home. As Daine got several offers for a new home at that occasion it's uncertain which offer in particular she accepted. By then Alanna and Daine counted each other as friends.

They worked together on several occasions under the threat of Emperor Ozorne. Alanna was present at the incident at Dunlath valley and later was part of the peace delegation that went to Carthak. When they were forced to leave Carthak again under false accusations against Daine and had to leave her behind, Alanna was furious that she couldn't do anything to help her, because she knew the accusations to be false. Instead she volunteers to take Numair's knowledge about the underground rebellion against the Emperor back to Tortall to enable him to stay behind.

Alanna's children would later know Daine as an aunt.

Divine characters

As one of the god-touched, Alanna has been exposed to divine characters from a young age.

The Great Mother

The Queen of the Gods became Alanna's patron goddess since she was a page, although it is believed that the Goddess had always been with her, knowing how she would affect the world. The Great Mother had a hand in saving Jonathan of Conté from dying of the Sweating Sickness. She also asked the Cat, a constellation, to help Alanna, and gave him to her when she was a squire. Even after Alanna defeated her great foe, Roger of Conté, the Great Mother still was her patroness. In dire straits, Alanna still prays to the Great Mother for guidance and help, as she did when her only daughter, Alianne Crow, went missing.


Faithful was Alanna's companion while she was a squire and for her first year of knighthood. He showed his worth to her in a variety of ways; in sensing dark magic, Roger's evilness, warning her of danger, knowing when she exceeded her limits, and suchlike. After he was killed by Josiane Rittevon during the Coronation Day Battle, Alanna was heartbroken. In the 460s HE, long after the battle, she sometimes still wept over him according to her daughter Aly.


Ralon of Malven

Myles: "He'll kill you!"
Alanna: "Then I fight him till he lets me alone or till I get big enough to beat him. I can't let him walk all over me, Sir Myles!"
— Alanna and Myles after Ralon picked on her.[src]

Ralon was already one of the older pages when Alanna arrived at the palace and entered into page training. On their first encounter she estimated his age to nearly fourteen. They began their acquaintance with an argument, started by Ralon. During her first year he repeatedly picked on Alanna until she began to take fighting lessons with George and eventually beat Ralon in a fair fight. After that he left the palace and Alanna didn't hear from him again until "Claw" began to pester George. Claw also sent thugs after Alanna to kill her while she was traveling to the Roof of the World. Later she learned that Claw was actually Ralon.

Roger of Conté

Roger of Conté was Jonathan's cousin. The prince looked up to him. Alanna disliked him from the first moment she saw the duke. She also didn't trust him and believed him responsible for several events during her time as a page and squire. Jonathan's loyalty to his cousin prevented her from pointing her suspicions against the duke out to him a second time. The first time she had spoken of her suspicions Jonathan didn't want to hear about them. Duke Roger made several attempts on Alanna's life and also influenced Alexander of Tirragen in a similar way. She finally acted on her suspicions on the evening of her Ordeal of Knighthood. During an official duel Duke Roger tried to confuse her with magic and revealed her true sex by cutting the bindings around her breasts. Alanna eventually killed him during this duel. He later hunted her in nightmares and she was shocked to get to know that her twin Thom had brought the duke back from the dead. After his ploy to disturb Jonathan's coronation and to pull as much magical power as possible to him Alanna killed Duke Roger for good.

Alexander of Tirragen

When Alanna first came to the palace for page training, Alex was a member of Prince Jon's inner circle and had the prince's trust. She and Alex became friends due to this, but their relationship changed when Roger took Alex as his squire. Since then, Alex became one of Duke Roger's associates, and felt he had a score to settle with Alanna. He tried to kill her subtly by putting salt on part of the ice she was skating on, and another time outright in two duels. She ended up having to kill Alex in order to reach the catacombs of the palace in time, where Duke Roger was creating the earthquakes in the Coronation Day Battle.

Titles and styles

Even after it was revealed that Alanna was a woman, she was always styled as "Sir" as opposed to "Lady Knight", unless her status as a knight was not referenced.[18] She also never claimed the distaff shield, unlike Keladry of Mindelan, which would keep her from becoming a Lady Knight in full.[19]

  • From birth till 437 HE: Lady Alanna of Trebond
    • At the palace: Page Alan, Squire Alan
    • Upon receiving her shield: Sir Alan of Trebond, Knight of Tortall
    • Upon discovery: Sir Alanna of Trebond, Knight of Tortall
  • Upon adoption: Sir Alanna of Trebond and Olau, Knight
  • Upon return: Sir Alanna of Trebond and Olau, King's Champion, Knight of Tortall
  • Upon marriage: Sir Alanna of Olau, Baroness of Pirate's Swoop, King's Champion, Knight of Tortall

Family Tree

                                                           Lionel of Trebond
                                     Marinie of TasrideAlan of TrebondEleni Cooper             ┌—————————————————┴————————————————┐
                │                    │                                   │
              George CooperAlanna of Trebond                   Thom of Trebond
        │                              │                                          │                    │
 Thom of Pirate's Swoop    Alianne of Pirate's SwoopNawat Crow     Alan of Pirate's Swoop     unnamed daughter
                                 │                    │                       │
                             Ochobai Crow       Ulasu Crow               Junim Crow


Tamora Pierce based Alanna on her younger sister Kimberley[20], a paramedic, but as opposed to Alanna, Kimberley is blond.[21]

Alanna appears in all of the Tortall series, not just her own, at least once. In The Immortals, she is first introduced in Wild Magic. In Protector of the Small, she appears first in First Test. In Daughter of the Lioness, she is seen in Trickster's Choice. In Provost's Dog, she is mentioned on the front cover flap of Terrier and in the Epilogue of Mastiff, in George's diary entry.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Readergirlz; "Welcome Tamora Pierce"; December 8, 2009
  2. Random Buzz; "Alanna's Mother"; April 20, 2009
  3. Sheroes-Central; "a special thanks"; April 20, 2005
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tl
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 1
  6. In the Hand of the Goddess, Cp. 8
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 3
  9. 9.0 9.1 Alanna: The First Adventure, Ch. 4
  10. In the Hand of the Goddess, final chapters
  11. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, final chapter
  12. Lioness Rampant, Chapter 1
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Trickster's Choice, Cp. 1
  14. Random Buzz; "Yuki and 'labor and delivery' in Tortall."; April 20, 2009
  15. Emperor Mage, Cp. 2
  16. She is described in Wild Magic as being at least two full inches shorter than Daine, who is three years later described as being five feet six inches tall and has most possibly grown since Wild Magic.
  17. Tortall: A Spy's Guide, pp. 1-4; Random House
  18. Wild Magic, early chapters
  19. Squire, latter chapters
  20. Tamora Pierce's biography on her website
  21. Randombuzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce - Tortall - retrieved on March 11, 2011

See also