Study Guide

Ralon of Malven in Alanna: The First Adventure

By Tamora Pierce

Ralon of Malven

Ralon is a "tall, gangling boy of nearly fourteen…a sneer on his thick mouth. He had cold blue eyes and sandy-blond hair that flopped over his forehead" (2.36). Plus he has "crooked teeth" (2.37). Sounds like a real winner; you've really got to watch out for the ones with the crooked teeth. (JK, we <3 our orthodontist. She's a miracle worker.)

Teeth aside, Ralon is no good. He immediately starts picking on Alanna, but don't ask him to put his sword where his taunts are. He may accuse Alanna of cowardice, saying, "You're too big for your breeches. You aren't so much when you don't have Raoul or Gary to hide behind, are you?" (3.73)—but he's the one acting like a coward, only beating up on Alanna when there's no one around to interfere.

Not only is Ralon a coward, he's utterly dishonorable. When Alanna finishes training in secret and finally calls him out to fight her, he tries to punch her again after he's already ceded the fight. Low move, dude. Of course, Alanna was prepared for it, and she breaks his nose. Which he totally deserves.

Ralon is unpopular with the other pages, too. As soon as Ralon starts causing trouble with Alanna, the other boys meet to discuss the issue. Alex says, "It's time we dealt with him…He forgets his place" (3.108). Turns out the grownups don't like Ralon either. When Duke Gareth is talking to Alan about how he "fell down" yet again, he says, "I wish you would thrash him. He deserves it" (3.143). (We agree with the sentiment, but not with the solution.)

In sum, Ralon has really biffed his knight training. How much? Let's count the ways:

  • He picks on someone smaller than him, which is totally dishonorable.
  • He rats out Raoul for beating him up (another no-no according to the code of chivalry)
  • When he suspects that Alanna has told her friends about their conflict, he reacts hypocritically by beating her up even worse.

After the fight, Ralon leaves court for good, and everyone—including us—breathes a sigh of relief. We almost want to throw a party.