King Horn Characters

King Horn Character List


The titular character and main protagonist of the story. His life is turned over when his kingdom is invaded and his family is slain. He is the archetypal chivalric hero, who has honor and goes through intense hardship to win his wife. He is described as immensely beautiful and truly intelligent. This goes as far that his beauty was enough to make the evil Saracene release him and his friends. His loyalty to those that help him and his beloved can be seen as the stereotype for the "perfect man".

King Murry

The father of Horn who gets killed at the beginning of the poem. He is described as a great king, whose death brings despair to the country.


One of the two archetypal companions of Horn. He is the loyal one that gets rewarded in the end. Throughout the story he sticks by Horn's side and helps him in all his endeavors. A typical side character, his own thoughts and feelings play little role within the story line. He even only gets to marry the bride Horn chooses for him. However, his story is a happy one, as he always shows true friendship towards Horn.


One of the two archetypal companions of Horn. He is the opposite of Athulf. He is a scheming, malicious and jealous character that only looks out for himself. His deeds get him killed towards the end of the story, creating a lovely moral for the audience. He is also a major plot device, as his actions drive Horn out of Westernesse and make him return there later.

King Ailmar

The king of Westernesse and father of Rymenhild. He disapproves of the relationship between Horn and his daughter, banning Horn from Westernesse. His dislike of Horn is another plot device that allows the hero to grow in adversity, again proving his chivalric steadiness.


The stereotypical love interest. The hero, Horn, and she fall into love that rings eternal. Their relationship is described as the purest and most admirable of romantic feelings. Rymenhild herself has very little agency, as most of her actions are direct reactions to the actions of Horn. In the absence of him she is married off twice, showing the status of women and their own freedom within the fictional land of the story and the real environment of the author.

King Thurston

The king of Ireland for whom Horn fights the Saracens. He is a quintessential side character, as he gives the main character a refuge once he has been thrown out of Westernesse and he allows Horn to grow as a human. The death of his sons, followed by him offering to make Horn his heir and his daughter, are another important function. In order to prove his love and chivalry, Horn has to refuse these gifts, but later repay the honorable king for his generosity.


The daughter of king Thurston and potential wife of Horn. As all women in the story she has no agency on her own and is finally married of to Athulf, as a reward for his loyalty. Horn's refusal of her hand and the throne of Ireland are important plot devices that drive the romantic story onward.

King Modi

The king of Reynes, who marries Rymenhild once the seven years of waiting have passed. He is only described as hated by Rymenhild. He gets slain gloriously by Horn who reclaims his love.

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