The main villain of The Elder Throne is Janus Atropa, who is the Commander of the UnSeelie Court. The position makes her the de-facto ruler of the Court, as they do not have a royal family or a hereditary leadership.
Interestingly – and unusually – her predecessor was also her father, Thorne Atropa, making her the first UnSeelie to inherit Court leadership from a family member since their last (overthrown) king, Ruari.
The snag (and Janus’ biggest regret) is this: to be made the new UnSeelie Commander, competitors must kill the old one in combat.
Janus killed her father in cold blood in order to take control of the army for her own ends. Having more (misplaced) affection for his daughter than she ever had for him, Thorne kept her at bay using defence moves only, not wanting to hurt her. He needn’t have worried; Janus was, by this point, a far superior fighter and the battle was over very quickly.
Janus is many things but she is not sentimental. A fierce, talented warrior who deals out death with a calculating and callous eye, she has butchered hundreds on and off the battlefield. It is a bit of an anomaly that she feels anything at all about her father’s death: it would be more accurate to say that she regrets the fact he’s dead, rather than regrets she was the one to kill him. Her last living parent and the only one she actually liked, Thorne taught Janus everything she knew, training her as a warrior despite her mother’s protests.
Respecting Thorne’s legacy and acknowledging his worth as a mentor, Janus still raises a glass of his favourite mead (which she personally despises) to him on his birthday. No one knows this but her.
Four more facts about Janus:
- Janus is one of the New Moon Children, legendary warriors found in UnSeelie folklore – but, importantly, not found in Seelie folklore. In order to be a New Moon Child, one has to be: a) a descendent of one of the Three Families [Blackwood; Atropa; Vale]; b) conceived during the New Moon three months before their parents’ marriage and c) born during a New Moon. Legend tells that they are gifted with indomitable warrior skill – a fact that Janus proves daily.
- One other New Moon Child exists: Commander Knightshade Valerian, through his UnSeelie mother Blossom Blackwood. Janus discovered his status when they were teenagers and delights in the fact that he is completely unaware of it, having been raised in the Seelie Court. Her hope is that he will one day fight by her side, instead of always against her.
- Janus has battled for her continued reign as UnSeelie Commander on no fewer than seventeen occasions. Her challengers didn’t stand a chance.
- When Janus was thirteen, she had the opportunity to save her mother Pomona from death. She deliberately chose to do nothing, such was her hatred for the unassuming, gentle woman. Janus considered her mother weak and has no regrets about this decision.