|“||He wiped his face, and then—his favourite part of the day—gazed at himself in the looking glass.||”|
–Jezal dan Luthar, The Blade Itself
Jezal is a nobleborn, whose life of much ease and little responsibility, has made him shallow, naïve and self-centred. He’s quite vain, and concerned with his clothing and appearance. However, his main interest is his own advancement, which he considers he’s entitled to by virtue of his birth; he views the lower classes as inferior to himself. He resents the rigorous training for The Contest, and would much prefer to spend his time drinking, gambling, and womanizing with his friends.
When he’s finally exposed to the real world, it quickly becomes apparent that he’s out of his depth. He’s unable to deal with strong personalities, first Ardee West and later Bayaz. However, he does possess some basic human decency and the capacity for growth.
He’s a pretty good swordsman, but far from incredible.
Jezal was born into a minor noble family. He joined the King's Own, and shortly before the start of the trilogy, his father bought his promotion to Captain.
The Blade ItselfEdit
Jezal dan Luthar enters as a contestant in The Contest – the annual competition for the coveted title of the best swordsman in The Union – in order to gain recognition and advancement. However, rather than training with Lord Marshall Varuz, he’d much prefer to spend his time drinking, gambling, and womanizing with his friends Major West, Lieutenant Jalenhorm, Lieutenant Kaspa, and Lieutenant Brint.
One day, after yet another abject fencing display, his training partner Collem West enlists Jezal’s help in entertaining his sister. Ardee West turns out to be far more than the Captain bargained. She twists him around her finger with clever comments and light touches, and by the end of their walk he’s smitten. They continue to see each other after this, despite her being lowborn, and he getting warned off by her brother.
Varuz enlists Sand dan Glokta to help with Jezal’s lack of commitment to training. However, it is Ardee who ends up having the desired effect. He goes to her seeking sympathy for his desire to quit fencing, but her reaction is laughter, “I had a bet with Collem. He was sure you’d stick at it. And now I’m ten marks richer.” Captain Luthar reacts with anger and embarrassment, and then determination to prove Ardee wrong.
Jezal has enough talent, and now focus, to get through the preliminary rounds of The Contest. After another strong victory he makes it to the final to face Bremer dan Gorst. Drinking with the other officers, one of them makes a lewd comment about Ardee, and Jezal reacts with an aggression that surprises even himself; he realizes he’s actually in love with her.
In the final, Jezal struggles with the brutally effective Gorst and begins to lose badly. The Magus Bayaz, watching from the stands, manipulates Jezal with his Art, temporarily giving him greater strength, speed and stamina. Gorst is overwhelmed and Jezal is declared the winner. When Jezal is presented to High King Guslav, the addled King awkwardly mistakes him for his own son.
Arch Lector Sult and Glokta plot to discredit the Bayaz as a fraud at Jezal’s victory banquet. Sult challenges the First of the Magi to prove his identity with the key to House of the Maker. Bayaz casually removes the key from his robe - tomorrow he will open the ever closed House. Bayaz takes Jezal, Logen Ninefingers, and Glokta to the House of the Maker. As the four men approach, all but Bayaz are crippled by a sense of dread. Bayaz unlocks the House like so much clockwork, and the door opens to reveals a massive creepy space inside. Before they leave, Logen is tasked with carrying out a disconcertingly heavy box.
Before he leaves for Angland and war, Jezal asks Ardee to wait for him because he... loves... her. Ardee is amuses by his foolishness, but agrees to wait. However, before Jezal can ship out, he is ordered to a meeting with High Justice Marovia. In the High Justices' office, Jezal is greeted by the one man he never wants to see again, Bayaz. The Magus invites Jezal to join his “adventure” to the Edge of the World, and Marovia makes it clear that he doesn’t have a choice but to agree.
Before They are HangedEdit
Jezal and the rest of Bayaz’ band of heroes reach the city of Calcis in the Old Empire. They soon leave toward Darmium. As they journey, Bayaz lectures Jezal on history and how to rule, which bores Jezal and he continues to begrudge being on the quest. Soon, Bayaz announces that rather than Darmium, they’ll divert and cross the river Aos at Aulcus. No one is amused.
Meanwhile, Ferro spies riders following them. They hides in some ruins as the riders pass, but later they find a massive log in their path. The riders emerge, and their leader Finnius explains that they were sent by Emperor Cabrian to find them. Bayaz becomes annoyed; the air ripples and men go flying. As the others fight, Jezal finds himself crippled by fear. Then, Bayaz seems to lose control, the world bends and then suddenly rights itself, leaving the battle ended, but Bayaz unconscious. Quai explains that using the Art is always a risk, and Bayaz will recover... probably.
With Logen now the leader, they continue towards Aulcus. Stopping at an ancient ruin on a hill, Ferro sees thirteen riders still following them. They decide to stay and fight. Logen and Ferro deal with most of them, but two men flank them. Jezal faces them alone. As they approach, he draws his steels and both men are dead seconds later. Elated at his victory Jezal loses track of what’s behind him, and a third man knocks him unconscious and beats him.
Jezal slowly recovers from his wounds thanks to Ferro’s expert healing skills, though his jaw is left permanently scarred and slightly crooked. During his recuperation, he gains respect for Logen and Ferro, and also realizes that perhaps he has not been such a good person; he vows to be a better man in future.
Later, Bayaz wakes after weeks of torpor, looking older than ever. When they arrive at Aulcus, the city stuns them, the jewel of cities, but nothing lives there, not even birds. Before continuing, Bayaz tells them of a hill south of the city with a temple, which will be their rendezvous should they be separated.
They ride through the city in silence brought on by the desolation. The Magus guides them to a massive domed structure, the Imperial Senate of Aulcus. As they explore, Logen smells something and recognizes the stink of Shanka. As they flee, more and more flatheads emerge from the shadows. About to be overwhelmed, Bayaz reaches to The Other Side and causes the buildings around them to collapse. Despite Jezal's efforts to save them, Logen and Ferro fall into a rent in the earth.
Jezal, Bayaz, Quai, and Longfoot make it to rendezvous. Everyone finds it unlikely that Logen and Ferro survived, but then they spot the duo in the distance, very much alive. Reunited, Bayaz leads them from Aulcus over the Broken Mountains. As they journey, Jezal realises that Logen and Ferro have become lovers, and admits to Logen that he himself wants to go home and marry Ardee.
They reach the Great Western Library. Inside Cawneil flirts with Jezal, and invites them to dinner. However, the food is poor and the company rancid. She reminds Bayaz of his failings, of when he left her for Tolomei, and when his actions led to Tolomei’s death. Bayaz calls her a fool for hiding at the edge of the world. There is a long and sordid history between these two. Bayaz asks about the boat that will take them to Shabulyan, a duty commanded by Juvens of Cawneil.
Bayaz’s crew sail to the desolate rocky island of Shabulyan. They find a cave, and huddled around a meagre fire, Logen drinks some liquor to draw the Spirit. It arrives and offers Ferro the stone from its stomach that Juvens gave it centuries ago. Its duty done, the Spirit fades away. Bayaz investigates the stone and flies into a rage; this is not the Seed, but a trick of Kanedias to keep the power for himself. Bayaz declares the journey a failure. Despite the journey being a failure, Jezal has grown up before our eye, to become a less arrogant man.
Last Argument of KingsEdit
After the arduous journey, Jezal dan Luthar and Bayaz' band of heroes return to Adua. After saying their goodbyes to Ninefingers and Longfoot, the others make their way through the city. As they walk, Jezal sees three city guards abusing a beggar, and intercedes on the woman’s behalf. When Bayaz loudly proclaiming Jezal’s righteousness, he reprimands the Magus, but he just smiles knowingly. When they part, Bayaz suggests they may collaborate again someday.
Jezal's first visit is to Ardee West. After month apart, their reunion is less than tender, when she forces herself on him, in a rough and unromantic sexual encounter. Despite this, the pair become lovers. Eventually, Jezal is called back to his duties by Lord Marshall Varuz, who promote him to Colonel and order him to quell a peasant revolt near Keln. He will be accompanied by none other than Bayaz. Hurrying to prepare for his departure, Jezal is confronted by Superior Glokta, who demands he either marry Ardee or break it off entirely. However, Jezal insists he has every intention of marrying her.
Colonel Jezal apprehensively meets with the leader of the peasant revolt. To his bewilderment, The Tanner quickly accepts the meagre concessions offered. Jezal returns to Adua to a hero’s welcome, seemingly much as Bayaz planned; Bayaz is meticulously weaving a mythology around Jezal. As he is welcomed by the King, Guslav slumps from his throne, dead as a doornail.
Jezal stands guard in Open Council for the election of the new High King. However, Bayaz interupts the voting to reveal the existence of an illegitimate son of King Guslav; none other than Colonel Luthar. Jezal watches baffled, as pleas for proof are ignored, and the nobles, including Sult and Marovia's factions, vote to elect High King Jezal the First.
Having achieved more than he ever dreamed of, Jezal's life at the pinnacle of power turns out to be an illusion; ignored by his Closed Council, sitting through tedious audiences, and dominated by Bayaz. Even his marriage to the famed beauty Princess Terez of Talins, proves unhappy, as she resents him illegitimate birth. However, Jezal does find some satisfaction in promoting Collem West to the rank of Lord Marshall.
Soon war breaks out, with the Gurkish invading Midderland and laying siege to Adua in the Battle of Adua. With the bulk of The Union strength still in The North, Jezal demands that anyone willing and able to fight must be given a weapon. Before the fighting begins, King Jezal and Bayaz meet with the Gurkish emisarries, General Malzagurt and Mamun. After Bayaz and Mamun quarrel over their centuries old conflict, they offer terms. Despite the rather generous terms, King Jezal rejects them outright, choosing being dominated by Bayaz rather than the Gurkish.
The Gurkish bombardment begins and over the weeks that follow, the Gurkish breach the outer city-wall in two places. They seem on the verge of victory after penetrating the inner city through Arnault’s Wall, when Lord Marshal West returns just in time to turn the tide of the battle. Nevertheless, the Gurkish Eaters breach the palace, intent on killing the King. High Justice Marovia keeps King Jezal moving even as the Knights of the Body die. Eventually, The Twins corner the King, Marovia and the King's First Guard Gorst in the Chambre of Mirrors. Tired of running, Jezal confronts the Eaters, side by side with Gorst. Before they can attack, Marovia dashes between them, and slices the Eaters in two with The Divider. Before their eyes Marovia then becomes Yoru Sulfur.
After the war, King Jezal actively participates in the rescuing the wounded, and visits the heroes of Adua in hospital, including his old friend Collem West. He also announces that the noblemen must fund the reconstruction of Adua by giving up a quarter of their lands to the crown. The protests of the nobles are quickly crushed, as Grand Duke Orso and King Logen pledge their full support for their royal brother. Afterwards, Jezal's heart lifts briefly when Bayaz declares that he's leaving Adua, but he has one final directive before he leaves; the King is to obey Arch Lector Glokta in all things. King Jezal recoils at Bayaz’ impertinence, but the Magus crushes him to the ground with his Art, forcing him to agree.
In the end, King Jezal watches Bayaz leave like a snivelling child, resigned to being a puppet King at best, and knowing that Glokta has married the only woman he ever loved.
Best Served Cold Edit
King Jezal organises a peace conference in Sipani, hoping to play mediator between the competing factions in Styria; Grand Duke Orso and The League of Eight. The King and Queen look so magnificent parading through the streets of the city, that the crowd cheered louder for them than for Chancellor Sotorius. During the conference, Prince Ario invites Jezal to a masked ball in the famous whorehouses Cardotti’s House of Leisure. Jezal finds himself alone in the luxurious royal suite with a dark haired prostitute; the dreaded Monza Murcatto in disguise. Jezal nervously insists that he is here with his wife permission. To calm his nerves, Monza offers him a husk pipe to smoke. He is passed out.from the husk as the chaos ensues that results in Cardotti’s burning to the ground. It is said that he barely escaped with his life.
In the end, Duke Orso is on the verge of defeat, after his army is routed by Duke Rogont near Ospria. However, King Jezal sends only his regrets to his father-in-law.
The Heroes Edit
Jezal is referred to many times, but once again as "King of the Union", never with his first name. Bremer dan Gorst is charged with writing him letters in which he describes the progression of the war. He is said to have cried when reading the letter about the assault on the Heroes, probably mourning the death of General Jalenhorm. At the end of the battle, he writes back to Gorst, restoring him as First Guard.
He is never referred to by name in the Standalones, only as "the King of the Union."