His August Majesty Guslav the Fifth is High King of the Union at the start of the series. He has two sons, Crown Prince Ladisla and Prince Raynault. His wife the Queen briefly appears in The Blade Itself.

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Guslav is an enormously fat man, with great low jowls and a roll of fat around his neck. His eyes are glassy and bulging, with huge dark bags hanging beneath. His health is rapidly failing, and his mind is slipping into senility. He is mostly seen slumped in his seat, asleep and drooling. The brief occasions when he is awake, he's quite befuddled[1].


In his youth, the King was very fond of a courtesan called Carmee dan Roth, who is rumoured to have died while giving birth to his illegitimate child.

The Blade ItselfEdit

King Guslav the Fifth attends the Open Council assembly for the first time in years, supposedly to hear emissaries from The North agree to peace with The Union. However, Bethod's champion, Fenris the Feared, demands the territory of Angland or face war. As the room erupts in chaos, Guslav himself doesn't understand any of what is happening.[1]

Later, King Guslav attends the final of The Contest, and happily sleeps through the whole thing. When the champion is presented to Guslav, the addled King mistakes Jezal dan Luthar for his own son Raynault. He goes on to celebrate his return to Adua, for without Raynault, surely Ladisla would be incapable of rule.

Before They Are HangedEdit


Guslav loses both his sons in a short time - Ladisla by his own foolishness in battle and his lust[2], and Raynault murdered in his sleep[3]. With no heir to the throne and the King in poor health, the next King would have to be elected upon his death in Open Council. This put the nobility of the Union into a frenzy, ready to rig the votes in their interests.

Last Argument of KingsEdit

Gustav the Fifth is taken to greet Colonel Jezal dan Luthar, after his victorious return from quelling the troublesome peasant rebellion.[4] The King is slumped in his chair as usual. When Chamberlain Hoff nudges the King, he promptly falls from his throne, dead as a doornail. The resulting vote in Open Council elects Gustav's supposed illegitimate son, High King Jezal the First, thanks to Bayaz' scheming.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Blade Itself, Part I, An Offer and a Gift
  2. Before They Are Hanged, Part II, Furious
  3. Before They Are Hanged, Part II, Questions
  4. Last Argument of Kings, Part I, Flowers and Plaudits