Picture 10
The Lady Killer
Vital Statistics
Full Name Lady Katsa of the Middluns
Family Prince Raffin (cousin)
King Randa (uncle)
Unnamed mother
Unnamed father
Age 18 (as of Graceling)
28 (as of Bitterblue)
Gender Female
Hair Color Dark
Eye Color Green and blue
Height N/A
Status Alive
Grace Survival
Weapon/Skill Dagger
Allegiance Prince Po
Appears Graceling

Katsa is the main protagonist of Graceling. Her uncle is King Randa of the Middluns, and her cousin and good friend is Prince Raffin. She has one blue eye and one green eye[1] and dark hair. She is initially believed to be Graced with killing.  Her real grace is survival as she later discovers with the help of Prince Po.


Family lineageEdit

Katsa's mother and father died when she was very young, before her eyes had even settled: her mother died from a fever, the same one that took Katsa's aunt, Raffin's mother, and her father was killed in a Westeran raid on a Nanderan village he had volunteered to defend. Both her parents were gone before she even spoke a single word. King Randa kept his niece to live in his castle, with his son, Raffin.


She was raised in the castle, with little supervision. She found companionship with Raffin, and she would sneak through the castle's hidden passageways with him, or help him with experiments, until Bann took that duty from her. Her peaceful childhood effectively ended when she was eight years old, when her Grace revealed itself. 

Discovery of her GraceEdit

When Katsa was eight, a distant cousin of hers visited the court. Katsa hadn't liked him; he'd treated women poorly, leering and touching them. He began to pay special attention to Katsa, as he was drawn to her eyes, and as he pondered the nature of her Grace, he touched her thigh. Katsa reacted immediately. She spun around and punched him in the face with enough force that the bones of his nose smashed into his brain, killing him instantly.

Instead of banishing her, King Randa punished her with three weeks of solitude in her chambers, as he knew that a Graceling with a Grace of killing would be useful. Helda, a nursery worker with a Graced son of her own, offered to be Katsa's servant in times of need. Unfazed by the Lady killer, they soon formed a friendship.


With Raffin's advice, young Katsa went to Oll, the spymaster. He started her training first with dummies, filled with grain, and with the prisoners Oll brought to her, "men whose deaths were already decreed."

"She learned her own speed and her explosive force. She learned the angle, position, and intensity of a killing blow versus a maiming blow. She learned how to disarm a man and how to break his leg, and how to twist his arm so severely that he would stop struggling and beg for release. She learned to fight with a sword and with knives and daggers. She was so fast and focused, so creative, she could find a way to beat a man senseless with both arms tied to her sides. Such was her Grace."

Eventually, her skill grew so drastically, the art of her own body so perfected, that she began to practice on eight or ten soldiers at a time, all in full body armour, without even so much as a knife to defend herself. She would take them down one by one, in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, Randa grew satisfied with her progress, and decided to put Katsa to use.

Randa's DogEdit

When the King of the Middluns decided to employ his niece, she had been ten years old. Katsa had been ordered to kill an underlord spy in public, without weapons. He had wanted a bloody spectacle to start her forced reign of terror. Katsa had led the man to kneel, and snapped his neck without more than an instant of pain. Once Randa realized her dissent, he began making more clear and concise orders for her killing and maiming. She had then, for six years, carried out all of his orders, miserably building Randa's reputation and her own for cruelty.

The Making of the CouncilEdit

In her sixteenth year, Katsa was suddenly overcome with the idea of doing good, of helping the people in the gruesome stories Oll told her of the horrors and injustices in the other kingdoms. There was no way out of Randa's ordered punishments, but there was a way to at least do something useful with her Grace. She brought the idea to Oll and Raffin, and they sent her on her first mission. And her second, missions inspired others, and attracted more people to her cause, kept in secret. They worked and fought in the name of the Council, and it had become so large in only a matter of months that Katsa was no longer the sole executor of the missions. It was an endeavor that spanned through the entire lands.


Katsa, Oll, and Giddon travel to King Murgon's dungeons in Sunder to rescue the Lienid Grandfather Tealiff held captive inside them. Katsa encounters a mysterious Lienid man on her way out of the city who recognizes her, Graced with fighting, but she quickly knocks him unconscious. They return to Randa City and pass the old man into Prince Raffin's care, utilizing his knowledge of the medicines to nurse the man back to health.

The three ride quickly out again to perform the task King Randa sent them off for, having used it as a cover for their rescue in Murgon. Once in front of Randa's chosen victim, Katsa decides not to cut his fingers off, as the King had ordered, and knocks him out instead, feeling suddenly tired with his orders and exhibiting a rare instance of disobedience. Returning to Randa City, she discovers the Lienid prince from Sunder has arrived, proclaiming to be looking for his grandfather, the missing Prince Tealiff. Katsa finds herself to be enamored with him, particularly his startling Graceling eyes.


Katsa is a fiercely independent woman who does not like being restrained. She also likes the short, buzz cut like hairstyle and introduces the style to Bitterblue. She has a somewhat apathetic nature due to the isolation in her past and can become easily angered. She will often seem stern and very serious, not laughing much at all in Graceling. Her grace makes other people believe she is a born killer incapable of showing mercy. By her own admission, her grace is hard to control due to her intense emotions occasionally getting the better of her.

However, she has a very kind heart, as shown by how she started the Council just to help all the people of the seven kingdoms who have been wronged by the seven kings. She helped Bitterblue learn to defend herself and decided to help other girls across the country with self-defense lessons. In Bitterblue, she has a much nicer and sociable personality, able to stand insults better and joke around with her friends more. However, she still keeps a bit of a temper as she was very upset that Giddon had attacked Po despite him allowing it.

Katsa seems to have a certain level of dignity and respect for life, as she says that she tries to avoid killing when she can. She was disgusted by her past actions to others, occasionally refering to herself as a "murderous dog" or "monster" and says she wants to atone for past deeds. She has a good sense of leadership, which has allowed her to be regarded as the leader of the Council. She seems to be fearless for the most part and has no problem doing potentially dangerous missions. Such examples include fighting a wildcat and doing dangerous missions for Bitterblue: the first being to go search the cave in a nearby mountain (later shown to be a passegeway to the Dells) and the second was searching for her crown in the river.

However, while she can be seen as a very analytical and perceptive combatant, she is oblivious to the emotions of others, including her own. She did not realize that Giddon loved her until Po told her and Giddon proposed. She did not recognize her feelings for Po until much later after being smitten with him. She also did not recognize the gloomy demeanor of Bitterblue after the suicides of her advisors when she came to her in Bitterblue.


  1. Revealed in Graceling, page 21