Slytherin Greatness: Character Profile on Kaz Brekker

Blog Updates

Despite how excited I was when I first came up with this topic, I’ve only written two posts for it so far. And they were each two to three months apart. Sue me. (Please don’t. I’m very poor.) But whatever. Today I’m doing another one. Better late than never.

Kaz Brekker
Art by Kevin Wada

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Why Kaz Brekker is a Slytherin

Honestly, this choice is almost too easy. And yet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Kaz Brekker is the epitome of ruthlessness. He is cunning and WILL destroy you if you cross him. He holds grudges with the best of them and is extremely clever. He has a very particular type of loyalty, one that is conditional. He does not handle betrayal well. He’s also able to commit a level of violence most people cannot even dream of. He’s a savage to the core and you do not want to get on his bad side.

Kaz single-handedly planned every single con and heist we see in a two-book period. He has a way of reading people and anticipating things that helps him stay three steps ahead of everyone else. He also knows the exact right people to pick for his heist teams, based on their strengths and what will need to be done. This level of craftiness would get Kaz to the top of any group or corporation (and does, as he ends the series a Barrel Boss).

Similarly, he knows how to manipulate people in order to get what he wants. While taking Wylan under his wing, he places Wylan in a situation where he will find out the truth about his mother. This leads him to making the decisions Kaz needs him to. Cruel, perhaps, but effective. Wylan even learns a thing or two about playing a role from Kaz. Within the first few chapters of Crooked Kingdom, Kaz is able to pretend to be a clumsy, but well-meaning young man. This even earns him a few bucks (which he gives to Wylan). We also see Kaz play the role of a prisoner, a dealer, and a person-not-madly-in-love-with-Inej. In a way, his affiliation for magic and sleight-of-hand is a part of this. Kaz loves to manipulate your very perception. It enhances his ability to play roles and his trickery. Due to this, not only can you not trust what you hear from Kaz, you also can’t trust what you see.

Kaz portrays the very singular loyalty of Slytherins. However, rather than giving his loyalty to one person or small group, Kaz’s loyalty is conditional. If you are loyal to him, he will be loyal to you. We see this in how his loyalty in Wylan never wavers, despite being the son of a merchant. Wylan stays firmly in Kaz’s corner, and so Kaz stays loyal to Wylan. On the other hand, when Jesper accidentally sells out the Dregs, it takes about three quarters of Crooked Kingdom for him to win Kaz’s loyalty back. We see this again at the beginning of Six of Crows when Big Boll two-times the Dregs. Kaz lets him be killed rather than even giving him a chance to explain himself. In order to gain any allegiance from Kaz, you must first prove your own.

As I mentioned briefly, Kaz is the character in this series most okay with committing violence. While violent behavior isn’t strictly a Slytherin trait, the way it’s used is. Kaz is never violent just for the sake of being violent. It is always to make a point or get what he wants. To Kaz, the ends justify the means. This is a very Slytherin notion: you do whatever it takes to get what you want. In Kaz’s world, this is most often done through violence. After all, to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs.

Lastly, Kaz is ruthless to a fault. If you cross him, you are fucked. We see this in Six of Crows when Oomen stabs Inej. In retribution, Kaz stabs Oomen’s eyes out and throws him into the sea. He has zero tolerance for any action against his crew (or the love of his life). He does this with zero hesitation; for Kaz, this is fitting justice. We also see this ruthlessness in his long-con vengeance plot against Pekka Rollins. He counts Pekka responsible for the death of his brother, and so he plots to tear Pekka’s empire to the ground. Even children get caught up in the mix (although, in both cases, they were bluffs). For Kaz, nothing— nothing— is more important than destroying Pekka Rollins and everything he stands for. And if that single-minded grudge isn’t a Slytherin trait, I don’t know what is.

While Kaz Rietveld may have become something closer to a Ravenclaw, Kaz Brekker is all Slytherin. Life on the streets helped shape who he needed to become, and he became the best. He’s conniving and clever, a champion at life’s chess game. He offers his loyalty only to those who are loyal to him first, but will not hesitate to revoke that loyalty if crossed. He uses violence as a means to an end and prioritizes vengeance and his own ambition above all. He is one scary ass motherfucker. And I would bet you good money that if you cut that boy open, his blood would run silver and green.

Are there any characters you think are Slytherins that you’d like me to do an analysis on? Let me know in the comments! Maybe I’ll actually get to them someday.

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