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Shivers: I had my dreams of being a better man, once upon a time.
Temple: What happened?
Shivers: I woke up.

–Caul Shivers and Temple, Red Country

Caul Shivers is introduced as an amicable Named Man from The North, who carries a bitter need for vengeance. Although, he has a relatively minor role in the trilogy, he appears prominantly in all three standalone novels. 

BackgroundEdit

Shivers is the youngest son of Rattleneck, a chieftain who was opposed to Bethod. His elder brother was captured in battle by Logen Ninefingers. Bethod promised the boy mercy to pressure Rattleneck to make peace with him, however Ninefingers butchered him anyway and nailed his head to Bethod's standard. The death of his eldest son drove Rattleneck into alcoholism and an early death. Shivers still blames Logen for both of their deaths, and has long dreamed of vengeance.

It is revealed that, in truth Shivers hated his brother, and resented his father. His brother seemed outwardly caring, but would secretly beat his younger brother. While his father was so proud of his eldest son that he wished Shivers had gone back to the mud instead. Shivers sometimes wonders if he hates Logen just for killing his brother, or for taking away his chance of killing him himself.

Shivers claims that he got his Name because his enemies shiver in fear when they see him, but actually he got pegged with the unfortunate nickname after he fell into a freezing river on his first raid, and climbing out shivering with cold.

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Shivers is very tall and broad through the shoulders. He has long black hair that hangs in his face.

He goes through quite an inner journey over the course of the books. In the trilogy, he's a well-intentioned and amiable fellow with a "lot of bones". He carries a bitter need for vengeance against Logen, though he decides in the end not to participate in the betrayal of Ninefingers. In Best Served Cold, he goes far from home to try to be a better man. But following his torture where one of his eyes is burnt out, he starts a slide towards darkness, and betrays his leader. In The Heroes, he's an amoral barbarian and a cut-priced Bloody-Nine; do not mistreat him or you'll learns the hard way. In Red Country, he shows signs of his former idealism, when he finally decides to lay his feud with Logen to rest.

Recent EventsEdit

Before They Are HangedEdit

Shivers has grown up to be a well-respected Named Man, and a leader of two score Carls. However, he doesn’t like Bethod much, nor his witch Caurib, his allies from beyond the Crinna, his champion The Feared, and worst of all, his alliance with the Shanka. Shivers tracks down Rudd Threetrees and his crew of rebel Northmen near Dunbrec. Although intimidated a bit by the famous Named Men around him, Shivers argues passionately that Bethod is no good. They join Threetrees crew against Bethod in the First Northern War.

During the battle near Dunbrec, Threetrees' crew are assigned to the high flanks. However Bethod lays on some surprises, first the Shanka attack, and then Fenris the Feared. During the mêlée, Threetrees finds himself facing the Feared alone. The old warrior gives it his best, but the Feared crunches him to the turf, mortally wounded. Eventually, the Feared is routed by Tul, Dow and Shivers, leaving behind him a devastated crew, its leader dead. Afterwards, Shivers agrees with The Dogman being named their new chief.

Last Argument of KingsEdit

Shivers and Dogman's growing crew seize the town of Uffrith with as little bloodshed as possible, to allow The Union to use the city as a port for supplies. Later, when Dogman is holding a war council, Logen Ninefingers returns from his journey to the amazement of all his old crew. Not everyone is happy at the return of the Bloody-Nine, especially Shivers. Logen makes an effort to make it right with him but its clear Shivers possesses a level of animosity that will not go away.

Soon they come up with a plan to lure Bethod into a trap in Crummock-i-Phail's fort in the High Places. Shivers fights among Logen’s crew on the walls during the seven days of bloody siege. At one stage, Logen saves Shivers life, and the pair fight fight back-to-back that day. Afterwards, Shivers asks him why he saved him, and Logen tells him simply he’s trying to be a better man.

After Bethod's final defeat in Carleon, Shivers accompany new King Logen south to help The Union repel the Gurkish invasion of Midderland in the Battle of Adua. Dogman urges Shivers to forget his beef with Logen, but the young man wonders if it is possible. However, Shivers still helps Ninefingers when he is attacked by an Eater. In the end, Shivers accompanies Logen on his return to The North to assume his throne. Black Dow tries to embroil him in his betrayal of Ninefingers, but at the last minute Shiver tosses his knife aside, saying “I’m better than the pair o’ you”, and stalks out.

Best Served ColdEdit

In the intervening years, Caul Shivers has become an idealistic man who wanted to escape from the violence of The North. In a tavern in Uffrith, a Talinese merchant named Vossula convinces him that Styria is a land of opportunity. Shivers arrives in Talins intent on finding honest work and becoming a better person. However, he soon finds himself running short of money, with the locals unwilling to employ a Northman with no skills other than killing.  

When three thugs try to rob him, Shiver is saved by a hooded woman with tar-black hair; Monzcarro Murcatto. She offers him money to arrange a meeting for her with a mobster called Sajaam. Afterwards, Monza tries to convince Shivers to help her kill some men for murdering her brother Benna. Despite his desires to be a better man, remembering his desire for vengeance for the death of his own brother, Shivers agrees. Along with Friendly, Shivers abducts Grand Duke Orso's bodyguard Gobba, and takes him to an isolated shed, where Monza brutally kills him with a hammer. 

In Westport, Monza adds the master poisoner Castor Morveer and his assistant Day to her crew. Their target is Duke Orso's banker Mauthis from Valint & Balk. Under cover of night, Shivers scales the bank, and uses a crossbow and rope to haul the poisoners onto the building's roof. Friendly then lowers Morveer and Day into the bank through the skylight, where they poison every ledger in order to be sure; Mauthis is killed, along with dozens of other banking staff and clients. Shivers is horrified by the carnage, but Monza convinces him to stay with her saying "Steer me down the righteous path." It is in Westport that Monza and Shivers start their on again, off again sexual relationship 

In Sipani, where King Jezal of The Union has arranged a peace conference between the factions in Styria, their target is Orso's son Prince Ario. They set a trap for him in Cardotti’s House of Leisure, disguised as entertainers and whores, with Shivers and a Northman called Greylock playing a recreation of the duel between Logen Ninefingers and Fenris the Feared. However, Greylock is revealed to be the brother of a boy killed when Uffrith was taken by The Dogman, and tries to kill Shivers for real. Shivers attempts to pacify him turn to rage, and he kills Greylock. With Friendly also killing someone in the dice hall, chaos ensues. As Cardotti’s burns to the ground, Shivers fights his way through the whorehouse, and helps Monza escape after she kills Ario.

Monza's misfit crew head to Visserine, which is put to siege by Grand Duke Orso’s army. The plan is to kill General Ganmark by disguising themselves as Talinese soldiers. However, Duke Salier has Monza, Shivers, and Day arrested as spies. Shivers gets one of his eyes burned out during a torture session, before Nicomo Cosca saves them thanks to his old friendship with Salier. When Ganmark and his forces breach Salier's art gallery, Monza's crew drop the portcullis sealing them inside. Shivers lays into the two dozen soldiers with a newfound brutality, as do the others. In the aftermath of the fight, Ganmark is dead under a statue, and Cosca is mortally wounded. Cosca insists they should leave him and flee.

After Visserine, Shivers becomes far more dour, no longer talks about doing the right thing anymore, and secretly resentful that Monza escaped the torture unharmed. In Puranti, Shivers pretends to betray Monza to Faithful Carpi in order to claim the bounty on her head; this being Styria, his treachery is accepted with very little doubt. Shivers leads Carpi into a trap, where Osprian soldiers dispatch the mercenaries. However, Monza's plan to take over The Thousand Swords fail, when Cosca turns up miraculously alive with his own plans.

In Ospria, Monza makes an alliance with Duke Rogont, and even becomes his lover. While Shivers is brooding on this rejection, Carlot dan Eider begins to work on convincing Shivers to betray Monza. Although Shivers is far from stupid, Eider effortlessly senses his mood; his bitterness at being treated as an ignored embarrassment after all the times he's saved Monza. Despite this, Shivers still saves Monza's life on the battlefield, where Duke Rogont defeats the Talinese army. However, Shivers has truly become a cold-blooded killer as demonstrated when he kills Count Foscar with his bare hands. He finally agrees to kill Monza, when Eider reveals Monza's secret; that she and her brother Benna were lovers.

Grand Duke Orso is put to siege in his fortress of Fontezarmo in Talins. During the final assault, Shivers turns on Monza, but before he can kill her, Friendly intervenes. Shivers and Friendly set on each other, with shield and axe, and cleaver and dagger, but they are too well matched and neither can kill the other. Ultimately, Shenkt breaks the pair apart, and flings Shivers across the hall, where he crumples unconscious.

In the end, Shivers seems destined for the gallows, but to his bemusement Monza spares him. Shivers walks free with a smile on his face at the thought of getting out of Styria, a killer who doesn't care about much of anything

The HeroesEdit

Back in the North, Caul Shivers continues to embrace his evil side, becoming King Black Dow’s enforcer, taking care of tasks too black for his own hands. Folk called him Black Dow’s dog, but never to his burned-out face.

Calder is escorted by Shivers to Black Dow, who tries to undermine Dow in Shivers eyes. Shivers is sent to make sure Curnden Craw holds the hill, crowned by ancient standing stones known as The Heroes; he wasn’t happy playing messenger boy. He helped them drive off a group of Union scouts, but when the whole Union army reach the valley of Osrung, he and Craw’s crew abandon the hill and return to Dow’s camp nearby.

Dow sends Shiver to get a Union officer held prisoner. A Northman named Crossfeet makes the mistake of calling him Black Dow’s dog to his face; Shivers stabs him and lets him bleed to death.

When Craw is appointed Dow’s second after Splitfoot is killed, he apologises to Shivers, saying Shivers should have been given the role. Shivers just shrugs and says that he’s not greedy, all he wants is a little respect. Shivers is again overlooked when Craw steps down as second and is replaced by Wonderful.

Shivers brings Calder to the duel with Black Dow. Dow jokes,“I was worried my dog might’ve eaten you in the night”. During the duel, Dow takes his time humiliating Calder. When he tosses his sword through the air, Shivers catches it by the hilt. Shivers steps into the circle, splits Dow’s skull with his own sword, and says “I’m no dog.”

At the peace talks, Bremer dan Gorst thinks he recognises Shivers from Cardotti's House of Leisure in Sipani, where Shivers pushed Gorst down a flight of stairs in the fire.

Bremer dan Gorst: Have you ever been to Styria?
Caul Shivers: Styria?
Gorst: Yes, to Sipani.
Shivers: Sipani?
Gorst: Yes. To Cardotti’s House of Leisure.
Shivers: Cardotti’s? Never heard of it.

In the end, Union and Northmen prisoners are exchanged, and Calder is re-united with Scale, who survived his confrontation with Gorst. Calder had previously intended on quickly having Shivers kill Scale to consolidate his rule, but after his encounter with Bayaz he choses to be the man-behind-the-man. He shakes his head to Shivers, and places Bethod's chain around Scale's neck, making him the King of the North.

Red Country Edit

Shivers returns in Red Country in search of a 'nine-fingered man', whom he and Black Calder have a score to settle with. Shivers takes Dimbik, a Captain in the Company of the Gracious Hand, hostage in Supfer's Meat House, and is re-united with Nicomo Cosca and Friendly. He releases Dimbik and Cosca promises Shivers he'll let him know if he runs into any nine-fingered men.

Temple, after deserting the Company of the Gracious Hand, comes across Shivers' camp. In the night, Shivers rescues Temple from an attack by the Ghosts, but Temple falls down a gorge near the camp.

In the final chapter of the book, Shivers finally finds Lamb, the 'nine-fingered man' he has been looking for, in the town of Squaredeal. Shivers and Lamb confront each other, but Shivers doesn't attack Lamb, and instead tells Lamb he'll be heading back to the North. When Lamb asks why, Shivers tells him that he has to inform everyone that The Bloody-Nine is back to the mud. Just before leaving, Shivers tells Lamb that it feels good to let go of something, ultimately deciding not to avenge his brother.

IllustrationsEdit

  • Caul Shivers by darey dawn
  • Caul Shivers, by Claire JonesGo to http://feagaer.deviantart.com/
  • Caul Shivers, by Mathia ArkonielGo to http://mathiaarkoniel.deviantart.com/
  • Depicted as interpreted from Best Served Cold
  • Depicted as interpreted from The First Law Trilogy
  • Depicted as interpreted from The Heroes and Red Country

ReferencesEdit

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