Character Appreciation Post: Jorg Ancrath

Mark Lawrence's Prince Jorg Ancrath from The Prince of Thorns. Fan art by Kim Kincaid

Mark Lawrence’s Jorg Ancrath. Fan art by Kim Kincaid

“Jorg. The name felt right. It fit my mouth and my person.
Hard and direct.”

Readers first meet Honorous Jorg Ancrath as the thirteen year old heir to Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire. Jorg himself is a broken child turned adult too quickly by tragedy. Forced to watch the brutal death of his mother and younger brother while ensnared by the barbs of a bush, he was reborn as the literal Prince of Thorns.

Batman had bats. Jorg had thorns.

Like Bruce Wayne, Jorg has been set on a path of sociopathic vengeance, with the difference being that Jorg has no moral code. His decisions are ruthless in their practicality, and he harbours no claims to loyalty. If you piss him off, he will kill you. Unless he needs you… for the moment.

After his rescue and physical rehabilitation, a ten year old Jorg came under the tutelage of Lundist, who instilled in him the philosophies of Nietzsche, Sun Tzu and more. More importantly, Lundist recognized that Jorg’s experience had broken something within the boy. Literary sociopaths like this often have wise mentors who try to steer their proteges away from their darkness, while still understanding that that darkness must be vented in some way, lest it fester into something far worse. Which, invariably, is what happens when that mentor is removed from the picture.

I have a soft spot for broken people. For the assholes, jerks and bastards that others shun. I am not naïve enough to wholly trust them, and I am mostly not I arrogant enough to believe I am the one who can “fix” them. But I appreciate their honesty about who they are, and how they see the world. Jorg is no exception, which is why he instantly became a favourite character. He is as aware of his flaws as he is his strengths, which is what makes him a truly intriguing and deadly character indeed.

15 Comments on “Character Appreciation Post: Jorg Ancrath”

  1. I 100% agree. Yes, Jorg is definitely one of the vilest characters I’ve met but at least, he was honest about it and never pretended otherwise. I know that there are other readers who really hated the Broken Empire series because of Jorg and that they do not understand why other readers root for Jorg when he’s an unrepentant murderer, thief and rapist. But IMO, those deeds are actually one of the reasons why Jorg is a very interesting character. He may not be book boyfriend material but I certainly love studying his character. He’s not just your generic male protagonist.

    I love this feature. 😀


    • Thanks! He’s definitely not someone to bring home to meet mom and dad, but I really like that, so far in what I’ve read, Lawrence has kept the character true to this and hasn’t tried to redeem him. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but like you, I love how interesting he is. Great character study opportunity.


  2. Love him or hate him, Jorg is a character who always sparks really interesting conversations! I’ve heard both sides of the “but is he evil and should we hate him?” argument and both have some really good points (although admittedly I haven’t read the series!!!). Personally I can appreciate a character even if I don’t like them – and I really appreciate a writer like Lawrence whose writing makes people have such extreme responses to Jorg.


    • I love when a good creator/actor can make you truly hate a character — but appreciate why you hate them. I think that’s far more challenging to do than make you love a character. And to stay true to that is even harder. I definitely don’t *like* Jorg as a person, but I love what Lawrence has done with him. It’s a big change from the typical. I almost don’t even notice what he’s actually doing in the stories. I’m far more interested in how he does it and what he’s thinking as he does.


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  7. I work at a bookstore so I am always reading; romance, teens, mystery etc. and havent read a scfi/fantasy book(recently) that really consumed my attention but this did. I have always said I want a movie or a book that is exactly like this. I have been waiting for a character such as Jorg. Someone who knows who and what he is and dosen’t shy away from that. His age is also what makes it extremely fascinating that he has this much power and its not really a good thing, but that is what makes it a good read. I cant believe that it took me this long to find this series. I love Lawrence so much, cant wait to devour Prince of Fools. Thank you for giving Jorg the recognition he deserves.


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