|“||He wiped his face, and then—his favourite part of the day—gazed at himself in the looking glass.||”|
–Jezal, 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 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 become a better man.
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 quest to the end of the world fails, Jezal returns to Adua with the rest of the party, every piece of friendship they might have gained along the way turned into frustration with the Magus. Bayaz stays with Jezal during the events of Last Argument of Kings, and is pressured into unintentional greatness. The wizard forces Jezal to take the credit for many miraculous events that he had no direct say in, gaining him popularity with the people.
During the King's Election, Bayaz reveals that Jezal is related to the king (albeit a bastard), and has bribed various members of the Council to vote for Jezal when he steps onto the stage. Jezal forlornly watches as Adua votes him into the role of king, a position which he has no desire to fill.
After he is king, he's taken away from Ardee, and placed in the palace. It turns out that Bayaz wants him to be a puppet king, allowing the Magus to indirectly control the Union. Jezal marries Terez, the Princess of Talins, who treats him like dirt by calling him a son of a whore and refuses to sleep with him. She declares that she is disgusted by Jezal because of his low-born blood, but it is revealed later to the reader (through Glokta) that she is a lesbian. However, Jezal does find some satisfaction in promoting Collem West to the rank of Lord Marshall of the Army, vastly helping the war in the North.
During the Battle of Adua, he leads a charge of the Knights of the Body against Gurkish troops coming out of a breach in the walls. After the fighting, he participates actively in the rescuing the wounded, and visits a hospital where he holds a comforting conversation with his old friend Collem West.
Nothing changes after the battle in Adua, and at the end of Jezal's final scene, he stares off into the distance on the castle balcony, still in the role of king, hoping to rebuild the wrecked city.
Best Served Cold Edit
Jezal holds a peace meeting in Sipani, hoping to play as the mediator in the conflict between Orso and the League of Eight. He parades in the street along with both Prince Ario, Count Foscar, Duke Salier and Duke Rogont.
Jezal is invited by his brother-in-law Ario to replace his brother Foscar who could not attend the party at Cardotti's house due to a headache. He finds himself in the same room as Monza Murcatto who gets him to sleep with a smoke pipe and leaves the room. After the burning of the place, he is said to have barely escaped the fire with his life.
After Prince Foscar's death and the Talinese defeat against Duke Rogont, Jezal sends his regrets to his father-in-law Orso.
He is never referred to with his first name in the book, but rather as "the King of the Union."
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.