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Duchess Balitang
By Right of Husband
Style Her Grace
Start of Reign
Coronation Date
End of Reign
Tenure Late 450s and ongoing
Regency Council
Predecessor Sarugani Temaida
Heir Apparent
Heir Presumptive
King's Champion
Prime Minister
Bequeathed by
Date Bequeathed
Style '
Reigning Monarch
Liege Lord
Years of Service
Biographical Information
Birth Name
Maiden Name
Nickname Winna
Honorific '
Race Luarin
Nationality Copper Islander
Physical Description
Gender Female
Height 5' 9"
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Family Information
Noble House Balitang family
Fonfala family (former)
Parents Matfrid Fonfala (father)
Adoptive Parents
Siblings Brothers
Husband Mequen Balitang (deceased)
Children Petranne Balitang
Elsren Balitang (deceased)
Saraiyu Hetnim (stepdaughter)
Dovasary Balitang (stepdaughter)
Adoptive Children
Grandchildren Mequen Hetnim (grandson)
Other Family Zaimid Hetnim (son-in-law)
Patron God
Rank Nobility
Bazhir Tribe
K'miri Tribe
Sponsored by
Sponsor to
Training Master
Knight Master
Year Knighted
Affiliation Luarin conspiracy
Sarugani Temaida
Military Affiliation
Military Branch
Squad Leader Sergeant
Rider Group Group
Provost's Guard
Guard District
Guard Watch
Bibliographical Information
Tortallan Universe character
First Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared Trickster's Choice
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance Trickster's Queen
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned '

Winnamine Balitang (pronounced WIN-ah-meen BAHL-ee-tahng), born Winnamine Fonfala, is a luarin noblewoman of the Copper Isles, who holds the title Duchess. She was the late Mequen Balitang's second wife after Sarugani Temaida, and is the mother of Petranne and the late Elsren Balitang. She is the stepmother of the current Queen of the Copper Isles, Dovasary Balitang, and is one of the queen's closest advisers.


Early life

Winnamine was born into the luarin nobility, but it seemed that she didn't learn the cruelty that a few other luarin nobles learned against the raka. She was best friends with Duchess Sarugani, a member of a lesser raka noble house, the Temaida family. She used to court Prince Bronau Jimajen when she was younger, but then married the widower of her late friend, Mequen. They did not marry right away, as it took years for them both to get over Sarugani's death.

Saraiyu, Winnamine's eldest stepdaughter, had taken fencing lessons in Rajmuat but Winnamine halted them, saying that it was not proper for the daughter of a Rittevon duke to do. This made Sarai very angry with Winnamine.

Tanair and exile

In 462 HE, when Alianne of Pirate's Swoop was purchased as a slave for the Balitang household, Winnamine and her husband were forced into exile by King Oron, who was convinced of Mequen's treachery[1]. They were forced to sell many of their slaves, and let many servants go. Before she and her husband could sell Aly, Kyprioth came to them in the form of Mithros to trick the Balitangs into thinking Aly was a Mithran emissary. With that knowledge, they welcomed Aly into their household[1]. Winnamine was just as sharp as her husband for noticing Aly's odd traits and characteristics, things that would give her away. When Bronau Jimajen visited Tanair, Winnamine was shocked and pleased to learn that Aly knew how to read lips, but attributed this skill to Mithros's influence, as opposed to what Aly learned as a child from her father[2]. When her stepdaughter, Sarai, got the better of one of the assassins that were sent to kill Mequen, Winnamine restarted Sarai's swordfighting lessons.

When Mequen died, Winnamine went into a deep state of grief. However, she did not completely lose her wits, and even remembered some safety precautions when George Cooper visited, disguised as a slave merchant who said he wished to buy Aly. She was quick to discover the relationship between him and Aly, and was also quick to give them some alone time. When Rubinyan Jimajen came to Tanair to mourn the death of Mequen, he invited the Balitang family back to Rajmuat. Winnamine declined the offer and begged him to allow her family some time to recuperate before they had to brave court functions. He acquiesced, however he told her that he and his wife, Princess Imajane, expected to see them back in Rajmuat after the season.

Rajmuat and return to court

When the Balitangs landed back in Rajmuat, Winnamine was shocked to see what damage the regents had done while they were away, including the executions without trials of Hunod and Dravinna Ibadun, who used to be friends with Rubinyan.[3] She was acutely aware of the dangers that surrounded her and her family in Rajmuat, and warned them all. She argued with Princess Imajane when the woman offered, and then demanded that Sarai be a lady-in-waiting at the palace, and Elsren serve the young king Dunevon Rittevon.[4] Winnamine, however, received backing from many of the great noble houses of the Kyprish Isles, staving off the day when her children would be taken from her. These nobles included very high-ranking people, such as Duke Nomru, Countess Tomang and her son, as well as members of the wealthy Adona family.

After the Rittevon (the ship) catastrophe at sea, Winnamine was heartbroken to learn that Elsren did not survive the wreck. She then went into a deeper state of mourning.[5] She, along with Nuritin Balitang, became a part of a group of noble luarin who were bent on resisting the mad rulings of Imajane and Rubinyan. Winnamine learned of the raka rebellion and offered her support to Ulasim. When the man said that they need money and weapons, Winnamine said that they have all of that, and were offering finances to the rebellion. Ulasim accepted.

When Dove took the throne of the Copper Isles, Winna became one of her trusted advisers.

Personality and Traits

Winnamine is an intelligent lady and understands strategy and finance. She is considered the equal of her husband, and can communicate with him without speaking—in a non-magical sense. She is strong-willed, but is willing to change if she sees that her viewpoint isn't the correct one. She has a very demanding presence, but she's also very caring and a good mother.

Physical Description

Winnamine is an elegant woman with brown eyes, brown hair, and a sharp straight nose. Her neatly curved mouth gives evidence of a strong will. She usually shows restraint in jewelry for an Islander, only wearing a few pieces.

Winnamine was based on Sigourney Weaver. She shares this real-life model with Lady Sabine.[6]


Mequen Balitang

Winnamine and Mequen had a long history together, including when he was married to her best friend, Sarugani. This probably only made the three of them closer. Once Sarugani died, they probably went to each other for comfort, because they both saw the best in the woman. After they were married, the quality of their relationship simply increased. They had two children together. Aly described their coupling as being two people who could understand each other without speaking, and using just body language or facial expressions. Aly cited this as a sign of strength in their marriage.

In the Copper Isles, women have far fewer rights than men, and is very similar to how it was in Tortall before the reign of King Jonathan IV. Mequen gave every single right to Winnamine, and treated her with respect. When she voiced an opinion that was unpopular, he listened to her and respected her voice. When he died, Winnamine was distraught.

Sarai and Dove

Her relationship with Sarai was strained, especially since Sarai thought Winnamine was disrespecting her mother when she married Mequen. This worsened further when Winna forbade Sarai from fencing, and created more resentment for her from Sarai. Once Winna saw that Sarai could defend her father against assassins, Winna offered to allow Sarai to take up the sword again. After Mequen's death, the two became closer, and it became more of a mother daughter relationship. Long after Sarai ran off with Zaimid Hetnim, Sarai wrote to Winna and Dove saying she was pregnant, and that if it was a boy, she'd name him Mequen. This deeply touched Winna.

Her relationship with Dove was never that bad, as Dove was less of a firebrand than Sarai. At twelve, Dove could easily understand the things around her, and it only made a closer relationship with Winna. After Dove took the throne, Winna became one of her stepdaughter's closest advisers.

Alianne of Pirate's Swoop

At first, Winnamine thought of Aly as just another slave, but the girl proved her worth to the family many times, including when she was able to decipher Bronau's speaking, and when she saved the family from an assassination attempt the first time. The second time, with Bronau, Aly risked her life to save Mequen and the rest of the family from the prince's greed, and got injured. It was this event that made Winnamine start to think of Aly as a member of the family, and cited that as a reason for why George Cooper could not buy Aly. Their relationship did begin to be strained after the death of Elsren. Winnamine demanded of Aly if Mithros had meant her husband and son to die.

Once Dove was crowned Queen, and Aly had told them of her connections to powerful players in Tortall, Winnamine did not think it was that bad, as Aly had proven her worth to them.


                             ?                                    Rittevon Dynasty
               ┌—————————————┴————————┐                  ┌—————————————┴————————┐
               │                      │                  │                      │
           Nuritin Balitang  unnamed brother ┬ Rittevon princess               Rittevon king or prince
                                             │                                           │                          
                   Sarugani Temaida † ┬ Mequen BalitangWinnamine Fonfala          Oron Rittevon
                                      │                 │
     ┌————————————————————————————————┴——┐             ┌┴———————————————————┐
     │                                   │             │                    │
Saraiyu BalitangZaimid Hetnim  Dovasary Balitang  Petranne Balitang   Elsren Balitang †
            Mequen Hetnim

Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Trickster's Choice, Ch. 2 "Trickster" (pages 41 through 50)
  2. Trickster's Choice, Ch. 7 "Conversations" (pg. 152; Random House paperback)
  3. Trickster's Queen, Chapter 1
  4. Trickster's Queen, Chapter 4
  5. Trickster's Queen, Chapter 16
  6. Randombuzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce - Tortall - retrieved on March 11, 2011

See Also

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