|SPOILER WARNING: This article has important plot information. Caution is advised!|
Before serving as the Captain of Adarlan's Guard, Chaol was the heir to his father's lands, and often travelled with him after their lands became secure against attacks from the White Fang Mountains. Chaol's father wanted to focus more on politics, and brought Chaol with him to Rifthold. His father was a hard man, and treated him with little affection.
As members of the Royal Council, the Westfall family took up residence in the Glass Castle where Chaol befriended Crown Prince Dorian Havilliard. While at the Castle, Chaol was educated beside Dorian, and trained under Theodus Brullo. When he was thirteen, his father moved the family back to Anielle but Chaol missed his life in Rifthold. With the help of Brullo and Dorian, Chaol became the apprentice to the Captain of the Guard and abdicated his title as the Lord of Anielle to his younger brother, Terrin. At the age of twenty, he became the Captain of the Guard.
When Chaol explained his decision to his father to return to Rifthold, Lord Westfall became enraged and threw his son down a flight of stairs out of their home. Lady Westfall pleaded with her husband to stop, but he wouldn't listen to her. Due to his fall, Chaol was left with a scar on his temple from where his head hit the stone.
Ignoring their Lord's orders, three of the household guards supplied Chaol with a horse, clothing and food to make his wasy to Rifthold. He later learned that his father banished the guards and their families into the White Fang Mountains, and that only two of the families were alive come Summer. Chaol tried to send them money, but the messenger he sent reported the families were nowhere to be found, possibly killed by his lord father.
Throne of Glass
Chaol arrives at the Endovier salt mine with Prince Dorian, as the Captain of the Guard. He introduces himself to the guards as Chaol Westfall, and takes Celaena Sardothien to the prince. During their journey to the capital, and later on, he is mocked by her.
Gradually, Chaol changes his judgement of Celaena as he realizes she is a person with virtues and emotions and not a deadly and heartless killing machine - but he can never erase that fact completely from his mind. He trains with Celaena to prepare her for the King's Champion Tournament, and later tries to solve the murders of the other contestants. During Celaena's battle to become the Champion, Chaol watches her and worries when she is hurt. She then wins the King's competition to become the Champion.
Crown of Midnight
Chaol and Celaena's relationship takes on a whole new level of intimacy. At the very beginning it seems that his and Celaena's friendship has greatly escalated and it is even hinted that he is falling in love with her. He notices himself watching her, and realizes that he has begun to deeply care about her. During their late night conversations by the fireplace in Chaol’s chamber, he reveals that he used to be a lover to a woman who betrayed him and has since never had any "lady friends," while Celaena talks about the events that led to her capture and what she felt for Sam Cortland.
Chaol finds it difficult to keep himself behind the imaginary line he drew between himself and Celaena and asks her to dance with him at the royal ball, which she does. He does not however realize that these may be feelings of love until he and Celaena share an intimate hug after he comforts her on the anniversary of her parents' deaths. Celaena also seems to realize that she has feelings for him too on that day.
Celaena and he go out for dinner for his birthday. Celaena had meant the dinner to show how much she appreciated him and she wanted him to feel cherished. Chaol even said that no one had ever done something like this for him and Celaena thought how long has it been since he had felt cherished. Celaena then tells him that she has not been killing the people the king had sent her to but helping them escape and change their identites. This leads to a discussion Chaol and her have in which she says that she plans to run away to a place where she can forget her life as an assassin and King's Champion. Chaol says that he will abandon his title as Captain and go with her. Celaena admits to him that he shows her how good the world can be, they share a passionate kiss and then return to the castle, where they make love to one another.
They both think about each other a lot in the days that follow, but an unexpected and unfortunate event leads to an enraged Celaena attacking him and getting locked up in a cell in the dungeons. Though the misunderstanding is cleared up later, Celaena tells him about the difficulty she would have in trusting him again. Dorian takes a back seat for a while as he has become even more entangled with court and Chaol is more focused on Celaena. Even though he and Chaol remain friends, at the very end they break off their friendship due to Chaol’s involvement in the king’s decision to send Celaena to Wendlyn for a mission, which according to Chaol, is ultimately for her own good.
Heir of Fire
Chaol's friendship with Dorian remains strained as a result of Chaol's involvement in sending Celaena to Wendlyn. Although Chaol resigns that he will not shed light on the real reason he sent Celaena away, Chaol continues to care deeply for Dorian and is even saddened by how things have changed.
Since learning of Celaena's true identity, Chaol continues to struggle with where his true loyalties lie. Upon the return of the king's general, Aedion Ashryver, Chaol's immediate reaction is to distrust him and to be disgusted by what kind of a man Aelin's cousin has become in her absence. Chaol is determined to learn more about Aedion and takes it upon himself to track the general's movements, learning that Aedion is far from the king's influence and is in fact in league with the rebellion. The only way to gain Aedion's trust is for Chaol to take a chance with the only leverage he truly has: the fact that Aelin Ashryver Galathynius is alive and her current whereabouts.
Fortunately, Aedion trusts him and the two begin working together, continuing Celaena's work in figuring out how magic was wiped away from Adarlan. Thus, Chaol teams up with Aedion as well as former members of the Terrasen court, Ren Allsbrook and his grandfather. Dorian sneaks up on Chaol and Aedion talking in the tomb of Elena Galathynius, resulting in Chaol having to finally explain the truth about Celaena. Aedion questions Chaol's intentions and his response is that he is doing this to protect Dorian before he leaves to take his place as the heir of Anielle.
In another confrontation with Dorian, the prince claims that Chaol neither accepts his newly found abilities or the truth about Celaena being the heir of Terrasen, Aelin Galathynius. Chaol sees some merit in Dorian's claims and upon further contemplation he comes to understand that although he may still love her he will have to let her go. When word spreads of Aelin Galathynius taking part in a battle against men sent by the King of Adarlan to Mistward, Chaol and Aedion both rejoice in knowing that not only is she alive but also that she is reclaiming her name. Chaol is also saddened by this because he realizes that even though Celaena would always pick him, Aelin would not. As events unfold in the castle, resulting in Aedion taking the fall as traitor in Chaol's stead and Dorian exposing his raw magic in front of the king to protect his friend, Chaol flees the castle with Fleetfoot and the sword named Damaris. Chaol forsakes his former position as Captain of the Royal Guard and goes back on his agreement with his father to return to Anielle. Chaol himself is now a traitor to Adarlan and hides in Celaena's old apartment along with Ren Allsbrook and Fleetfoot, awaiting her return.
Queen of Shadows
Chaol becomes one of the rebels. He especially struggles with saving Dorian, who has been possesed by a Valg; unlike Aelin, who believes that killing the prince would be the greatest act of mercy, Chaol firmly believes that Dorian can be still saved from the valg that possesses him.
Chaol later participates in a battle against the King and is grievously injured, resulting in his legs being paralysed. He decides to travel with Nesryn Faliq to Torre Cesme, a city of healers in Antica, where he might find people who can fix his spinal injury. He says goodbye to Dorian, who names him as Hand of the King before he leaves.
Empire of Storms Exclusive (WHSmith)
Chaol and Nesryn travel across the sea on their way to Antica on a ship procured for them by Aelin. Chaol and Nesryn grow closer, though Chaol struggles with being unable to be intimate with her. His negative attitude begins to grate on Nesryn, who tells him off for feeling sorry for himself.
Tower of Dawn
|"So good of you to find us additional help, Prince." |
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After a three week journey by sea, Chaol and Nesryn arrive at Antica and are immediately taken to the Khagan's palace for an audience. Tasked with gaining Antica's support for the war against Erawan, Chaol pleads their case and attempts to flatter the Khagan with jewels provided by Aelin. The Khagan examines the treasure and dismisses it, and reveals to Chaol and Nesryn that Rifthold has been invaded and is under Valg rule. Chaol fears for Dorian, who has disappeared and cannot be located by the Khagan's spies, nor that of his five children. The Khagan also reveals that his youngest daughter is dead. Chaol realises how callous his request for aid seems during the time of mourning, and apologises.
The Khagan has Chaol and Nesryn shown to their rooms in the palace and arranges for a healer from the Torre Cesme to examine him the next day. True to his word, a gifted healer named Yrene Towers arrives the following day and carries out an examination, though she is visibly reluctant to be near him. Chaol asks her questions and irritates her, and she responds by asking him awkward questions relating to his injury.
Over the next few weeks, Yrene attempts to heal Chaol. They have a hateful relationship at first, with Chaol not understanding that she hates him for his former position as Captain to the King of Adarlan's guard. Their relationship improves over time as they get to know each other.
Initially, Yrene is unable to help Chaol as she discovers a knot of black magic resting in the location of his injury that resists her healing magic and causes him excruciating pain when she attempts to touch it. The two spend hours trying to work past it, with each session leaving Yrene weak and exhausted and Chaol wiped out from the pain he has to endure. While they continue their sessions, Chaol is approached by one of the Princes, Kashin, who is in love with Yrene and frustrated by her rebuffs. Following a murder of one of the healers at the Torre, Chaol becomes concerned that the Valg have infiltrated Antica and are trying to kill Yrene for helping him. He and Kashin exchange information and Kashin enlists Chaol's help in searching for anyone with outward signs of Valg possession.
At one point, Chaol agrees to help teach Yrene's self-defence class. Having ordered a custom saddle built to allow him to ride, Yrene and the former captain ride to the Torre and Yrene instructs her interns to help Chaol down from his horse. The ensuing situation angers Chaol greatly, as he is bitter about his helplessness and the way he is handled by the interns makes him feel like a toy. Despite his anger, he teaches the class.
After many failed sessions Yrene makes a breakthrough when she pushes past the dark magic inside him and manages to move it further down his back, giving him the ability to move his toes. Further sessions allow him to move his ankles and feel his legs to some degree. Yrene shows Chaol the texts she used to learn about the Valg, and they learn that there are actually three Valg kings, Erawan, Mantyx and Orcus. Scared by this new revelation, Chaol tries to learn more about what the texts say.
During a party thrown by the Khagan's children where opiate smoke is pumped into the room, Yrene and Chaol share an intimate moment and almost kiss, though Chaol pulls away after remembering that Nesryn is present. Feeling guilty, he makes a point of asking after her family that night and listens to her talk all night. Yrene walks into his room at dawn for their session and mistakes Nesryn sleeping in his bed for a sign that they slept together. He rushes to explain the situation.
Nesryn realises that Chaol doesn't love her and leaves with Prince Sartaq on a long journey to the rukhin nests, leaving Chaol a blunt note about not holding him to any promises. After reading the note Chaol becomes upset as he feels guilty and treats Yrene harshly, throwing her out of his room when she admonishes him for his behavior. To cope with his guilt he pushes his body to the limit with exercises.
Yrene returns to his room later on to yell at him, and is followed by the Valg who murdered the healer at the Torre. She runs to Chaol's room and they barricade the door, with him keeping her calm as she panics. Kashin and his guards arrive and the Valg leaves, and Yrene chooses to stay with Chaol as he makes her feel safe.
Feeling hopeful and happy with her trust in him, Chaol begins training with the Khagan's Captain of Guards and his soldiers, and learns their way of fighting.
Chaol can be a cold figure to his enemies. Chaol was one of the few people not afraid of Aelin. He had always been suspicious of Aelin but seemed to respect her abilities. Chaol has been described to have a friendly relationship with his guards, and they appear to trust and respect him. The person whom Chaol loves the most is Dorian Havilliard.
Chaol values his position as the Captain of the Royal Guard highly. He is extremely proud of his position and is shown to be competent.
After his injury, Chaol becomes bitter and depressed as he values his independence and cannot stand to be helped. He even goes so far as to throw his sword into the Avery as a sign that he is no longer who he once was. When under stress or in pain, Chaol's coping mechanism is exercise, pushing his body and muscles until they can't take any more.
Chaol exhibits signs of trauma, as he is haunted by the deaths of Nehemia Ytger, who he felt he could have saved, his men, who were tortured and killed, and Sorscha, who he watched be beheaded. Dorian's enslavement by his father after buying Chaol time to escape Rifthold also haunts him.
Chaol is described as handsome with close-cropped, chestnut hair and golden-brown eyes. Like most characters, his eyes are depicted to change slightly, and Aelin has described them as copper colored. His hair is short, though it is initially indicated that his hair fell long enough for certain strands to reach farther down his head, almost touching his neck. Yrene describes Chaol as incredibly muscled and tall, he is in fact 6'1.
Chaol is an expert swordsman, having trained with the Adarlanian Master of Arms, Theodus Brullo, since boyhood. Chaol carries a finely crafted sword with golden pommel in the shape of the flying eagle.
His skills are such that he wins the first time he and Celaena spar together. In a sword fight, he even can beat Dorian. His professional skills are outstanding: only Chaol is sent to watch Celaena while she is wandering around the palace site. In contrast, over ten guards are needed the prevent Celaena from escaping while she is staying in her own rooms.
Chaol has incredible strength and endurance as he has honed his body to perfection. His strength is such that he can move himself around and even mount a horse using only his arms.
Chaol is Dorian Havilliard's good friend since early childhood, but Celaena's arrival has in some way severed that relationship. His love for Celaena is evident to Dorian.
Chaol and Dorian's relationship becomes more difficult as they both realize that they share somewhat romantic feelings for Celaena. However, after Celaena and Dorian sever their romantic ties, this makes way for Chaol and Celaena's relationship. Throughout their relationship, there are often bumps—most of those from Celaena—however they still remain close friends, although it is often implied that something has shifted in their relationship. His relationship with Dorian strains slightly when Dorian suspects his feelings for Celaena. Although both he and Celaena deny their feelings for some time, Chaol admits to not liking Celaena with anyone else, particularly when she danced with Prince Dorian during the Yulemas ball in. This continues when Chaol and Celaena finally confess their feelings for one another, choosing to exclude Dorian, knowing that he'll likely figure it out anyway.
Chaol and Dorian's relationship remains strained, although Chaol claims that the reason behind everything he is doing is to help his prince. Eventually the two come to an understanding, but their friendship is never the same. There is a showdown with Dorian's father, the king, in which the king has not only arrested Aedion Ashryver for treason, killed Dorian's servant lover, Sorscha, and then commands the death of the captain resulting in Dorian exposing his magic to give Chaol time to escape the castle. Chaol's last words to Dorian are "I love you," before he flees.
Later, even when Dorian is possessed by a Valg prince, Chaol is fiercely protective of him. Aelin almost cuts of Dorian's head, to kill the demon inside him, even if it would kill Dorian. Chaol gets extremely angry at Aelin for that, and continues to protect Dorian despite the demon possessing him. Once Dorian's Valg collar is removed, Dorian returns to normal. When Chaol and Dorian are reunited Dorian informs Chaol that he has made him the king's hand.
Chaol and Celaena first interact in the mines of Endovier, after Dorian's arrival. At the beginning, Chaol does not trust Sardothien, and is persuaded she might attempt to escape Rifthold, and fears about the prince's life, when he is alone with the infamous assassin, however, Chaol does train Celaena for the royal tournament, and soon the two of them develop some kind of a bond—Westfall offers Sardothien an amethyst ring as a gift. During one of the banquets, which Sardothien attends incognito, Chaol tries to force her into returning back into her apartments, what does not succeed. The two of them share a dance. Westfall continues to support Adarlan's Assassin until the finals, encouraging her to fight off Cain and the demons.
Celaena and Chaol grow closer. On his birthday, Celaena arranges for a fancy private dinner for the two of them. She admits that she has not killed any of her targets; rather, she faked their deaths. Chaol exclaims that she is crazy and reveals his fear that the king will order Chaol to kill Celaena as punishment for being her friend. Celaena tells him that she plans to be out of the king's servitude before he finds out, living far away. Chaol worries that she will not return if she does this and realizes just how much he hates the idea of her moving far away and marrying someone else. He then tells her that he would go with her and that he would give up his duties to be with her. They kiss passionately; eventually they ride in the carriage back to the glass castle. Once they arrive in Celaena's chambers, they make love.
Things are going well until the rebels capture Chaol. Upon reading the note the rebels left for her, Celaena slips into "the killing calm" and hastily heads to the warehouse mentioned in the note. Meanwhile, Chaol overhears his captors discussing a "she" and, realizing that they are talking about Celaena, threatens to rip them apart if they harm her. When Celaena arrives, she kills several people without hesitation. After the fight pauses, Archer venomously accuses Chaol of knowing about the threat to Nehemia's life for more than a week and of being the person assigned to question her. Chaol admits to knowing about the anonymous threat but denies being the questioner.
When Celaena reaches the castle to find Nehemia and her two guards slaughtered in the princess's chambers, she flies into a rage and recriminates Chaol for her death. In their fight, she deeply scratches his cheek with her nails, leaving a permanent scar. Dorian intervenes before Celaena can kill him.
Chaol is heartbroken, but he has no choice but to carry Celaena to the dungeons. He displays a great deal of self-loathing and remarks that he deserves it if the wound on his cheek scars. After her release from the dungeons, Celaena remains angry with Chaol. She even embarrasses him in front of the king by implying that he doesn't know how to do his job. Chaol spots Celaena's will, signed two days prior to Nehemia's death, and discovers that she has willed every copper to her name to Chaol because she understands that returning to his father, should he lose his position, because he has no money would destroy him. Celaena tells him that she will not change the will.
Dorian, believing that Celaena is in serious trouble, entreats Chaol for help. Chaol readily agrees, and the two of them break into Celaena's chambers to find them empty. They find the tunnel and follow it. When the creature from the Wyrdgate grabs Fleetfoot, Chaol pursues it and rescues the dog, but the creature then turns on him. Celaena rushes to his rescue: She enters the portal, shifts into her Fae form, wards off the monster long enough for Chaol to retreat, and then creates a rift between them and the monster to keep it from returning before they can close the portal. As Celaena kills Archer, Chaol watches in horror, struggling to reconcile the woman he loves with this killer.
Celaena apologizes to Chaol for scarring him and tells him that she really did love him.
Fearing for her safety, Chaol agrees to return to Anielle if his father supports his plan to send Celaena to Wendlyn. Celaena does not seek Chaol out to say goodbye because there is so much she wants to ask, but she is afraid. Chaol locates her anyway. She tells him that she will always pick him; Chaol tells her that he loves her. She boards the boat and gazes at him as the boat sets sail.
Before knowing Celaena, Chaol had an affair with Lithaen. It is unknown how long it went on for, and Chaol speaks of it with great seriousness. The affair ended when Chaol discovered Lithaen in bed with Roland Havilliard, Dorian's cousin, and Chaol punched Roland. Dorian makes mention of the affair as "appointment to Captain of the Guard. If anything, it had improved his standing among the guards and lesser nobles. Lithaen's betrayal led the profoundly wounded captain to develop a total mistrust of others.
In Queen of Shadows they start showing interest in each other. Finally Aelin encourages them to pursue each other. In the British version of Empire of Storms there is a chapter from Chaol's point of view in which a romance between them is strongly hinted at.
- The Assassin's Blade (first mention)
- Throne of Glass (first appearance)
- Crown of Midnight
- Heir of Fire
- Queen of Shadows
- Empire of Storms (mentioned only)
- Tower of Dawn
- Kingdom of Ash
- See more here
- In the original story, Queen of Glass, his surname was Wydrael.