by Gail Carson Levine
The Other Fairies
At the giant's wedding, Ella meets two other fairies: Cyril and Claudia. Unlike Lucinda, they're trying to pass as human. They have the good sense to be horrified at Lucinda's latest "blessing" by which the new couple will always be together, with Claudia protesting "They'll hate each other within a month" (17.64). Cyril adds: "If they argue—and all loving couples argue—they'll never be alone to recollect themselves, to find ways to forgive each other" (17.66).
So, Cyril and Claudia both have enough common sense that we're starting to see Lucinda as the exception rather than the rule when it comes to fairies. Cyril even correctly guesses that Ella is yet another person who's come to beg Lucinda to take away her "blessing." And then Claudia intervenes to keep Lucinda from turning into a squirrel. Since they seem kind and not too self-important, we'd take Cyril and Claudia as fairy mentors over Lucinda any day. (Although our hearts are still with Mandy.)
The Girls at Finishing School
Other than Hattie, Olive, and Areida, Ella interacts with a few girls at finishing school. There's a tall girl named Julia who makes fun of Areida's Ayorthaian accent, but Areida is kind enough to take care of her one night while she's sick. Hattie's buddies, Blossom and Delicia, are noble-born and about as pleasant to be around as Hattie (which is to say, not much).
Large and loveable, the giants of Kyrria speak their own language, which involves whistles and screams as well as normal words. They're said to be generous hosts, and indeed, you can't beat a giant's party: when the food's served on plates as large as your head, it's impossible to leave unsatisfied.
When Ella crashes a giant wedding, she meets the hostess, Uaaxee, who kindly urges Sir Stephan to stay even though he cannot. She makes Ella more than welcome, and then the wedding begins. Uaaxee's daughter, Udabee, is getting married, and the ceremony is pretty cool, with the new couple pantomiming the stages of life they'll go through together. Uaaxee is then a guest at Ella's wedding, which is a nice symmetrical way of wrapping up the story.
Another of Kyrria's magical races, gnomes tend to be short and stout. When Ella meets zhatapH (not a typo), the grandmother of the toddler gnome named zhulpH that she saves (also not a typo), the matriarch is described as Ella's height (and this is before Ella hits a growth spurt) but "much wider—not stout, but wide, which is the direction gnomes grow after they reach adulthood" (7.24).
Gnomes are also known as craftsmen, since they're the ones who made Lady Eleanor's beautiful silver and pearl necklace (5.70). And some gnomes have prophetic skills, such as zhatapH, who sees in Ella's future "Danger, a quest, three figures. They are close to you, but they are not your friends" (7.39). You mean, Dame Olga, Hattie, and Olive? Good call, gnome lady.
King Jerrold, Queen Daria, and the Other Royal Family
The rulers of Kyrria seem like decent folks. Ella meets them in disguise as "Lela" during the third masked ball and notes: "The queen had a wide face, perfect for broad smiles. An honest face. Char resembled his father, but softened a bit. The king's face was severe in repose, although merry now" (28.37). They're polite to "Lela" despite not knowing who she actually is. (Although they do seem a bit insistent that Char find someone to marry.)
We know from Char's letters to Ella that he has a younger sister, Cecilia. And he mentions in a letter to his father that his mother, sister, and brothers are all in good health. It's likely that Char is the eldest son since there's all this hubbub over him getting married upon his return from Ayortha, and since he takes on the responsibility of telling his father about the status of his other siblings at home. At any rate, whatever the sibling configuration, the royal family seems well-adjusted, a happy counterpart to Ella's dysfunctional family.
Madame Edith and the Other Finishing School Teachers
Madame Edith, the proprietress of the finishing school, is an expert businesswoman. When Ella shows up unexpectedly with a letter and a purse for Madame Edith: "She tucked the letter and the purse (after weighing it expertly in her palm) into her apron pocket" (9.23) and proceeds to be very polite to Ella. Well-played, madam.
All of the various teachers get annoyed at Ella for her inexperience, her impertinence, or both. Sewing Mistress dismisses Ella to bed without supper for being bad at sewing. (Gee, that sounds effective.) Manners Mistress chides Ella for her impolite habits. We don't see enough of any individual teacher to get to know them personally, but in general, they all seem to revel in etiquette the same way we revel in a pint of really good ice cream.
To an ogre, everything looks like food, sentient beings included. And they're really good at getting their stinky jaws around it. According to Ella: "Ogres weren't dangerous only because of their size and their cruelty. They knew your secrets just by looking at you, and they used their knowledge. When they wanted to be, they were incredibly persuasive" (6.55). Like, so persuasive they can convince you to offer themselves up as a snack.
The ogres who captured Ella outside the elves' woods travel in a large band. The one who captures her is SEEf, and he seems quite intent on eating Ella ASAP. The youngest ogre, NiSSh, is somewhat kind to Ella, but really, he's just trying to keep her calm before she's dinner. Or best case scenario, keep her as a pet for a while.
Fortunately for Ella, ogres aren't immune to their own magic. When Ella tries to imitate their way of speaking, she imagines that her throat needs "honey for sweetness and oil for smoothness" (14.56). The ogres resist when Char and his knights show up to tie them up, but Ella's imitation is convincing enough to get them to chill. We get the impression that ogres aren't inherently evil, just very hungry. (The circle of life, and all that.) And they've evolved to get very good at acquiring food.
Sir Stephan and Char's Other Knights
The knights who Char travels with on his ogre expedition are named John, Aubrey, Bertram, Percival, Martin, and Stephan. They seem to work well as a team, and they're all loyal to Char.
As Ella rides with Sir Stephan to the giant's land, she gets to know him a bit better than the others. Sir Aubrey characterizes Sir Stephan as a talker: "His speech stops only when the stars shine green in a yellow sky" (15.97). In other words—never. This turns out to be true: Ella learns all about his family, his manor, and his hounds, of which he is immensely proud, recounting "tales after tale of their bravery and cleverness" (16.1). Sir Stephan, while a bit hound-obsessed, seems like an all-around good guy, as do the rest of the knights.
The Servants (Bertha, Nancy, and Nathan)
Mandy's not the only servant at Sir Peter's household, though she is the only fairy one. Bertha, characterized as "the head maid" (1.8), was the one who sewed Ella's fifth birthday celebration dress, and she's sometimes described as doing laundry (which Ella manages to knock into). Nathan is the manservant, and he does tasks around the household, such as picking flowers for Ella's fifth birthday celebration or getting the doctor when Lady Eleanor falls ill.
Nancy, the serving maid, gets fleshed out a bit more. She pantomimes dumping a bucket of water over Dame Olga's head while Dame Olga makes Ella scrub on her hands and knees (23.79) and she approves of Ella's prank of sprinkling passiflora on Dame Olga's food to make her fall asleep during a feast. (23.89) We approve of her sense of humor. At the novel's end, it's said that Nancy joins Mandy in migrating to the palace, and we imagine that the other servants might've come along too, as they're friendly folks.
Slannen and the Elves
According to Ella, "The elves were the same height as humans. With their mossy hair and green skin tinged orange for the coming autumn, they were no more frightening than a pumpkin vine" (13.34). They're so gentle that they're mostly vegetarian, and they're good hosts, inviting Ella to dine with them and stay the night.
And then, when Ella falls in love with a beautiful piece of sculpture, Slannen gives it to her, saying: "We like to give our best pieces away sometimes, when we find people who love them" (13.61). So the elves dig art, and they also dig people who appreciate art.
Added to that, Elfian phrase for "hello" is "Kummeck ims powd," meaning "sun and rain" (13.17). Between their vegetarianism, their nature-loving, and their art, we're thinking elves are the tree-hugging hippies of Kyrria. Hey, we're not judging.