Jesper grew up on a jurda farm in western Novyi Zem with his Kaelish father, Colm Fahey, and Zemeni mother, Aditi Hilli. They were all very close. Aditi taught him about life on the Zemeni frontier, how to shoot, and about their shared zowa (Grisha) power. When Jesper was seven, his mother died after using her power to save a young girl from poison. Jesper and Colm buried her under a cherry tree on the farm.
Colm discouraged Jesper from mentioning Grisha, and when Jesper began Fabrikating things as a child, his father told him to keep his power hidden and never use it. When Jesper was ten, Leoni's family offered to take Jesper with Leoni to train in their zowa abilities, but Jesper's father refused. Colm later offered to let Jesper go, but Jesper did not want to leave his father alone.
Both Jesper and his father recognized that Jesper did not belong on the farm. Jesper left Novyi Zem when he was fifteen to attend university in Ketterdam, but within his first week in the city he began gambling and quickly became addicted. He started taking on work with the gangs to earn more money to gamble, and joined the Dregs after Kaz Brekker saved him from a beating.
Jesper is always deeply in debt. When his father's farm began turning a profit, Jesper used the farm as collateral for a loan, which caused several plotlines in the Six of Crows duology, including Pekka Rollins' knowledge of the Dregs' involvement in the Ice Court heist and the presence of Colm Fahey in Ketterdam.
Six of Crows
Jesper is one of Kaz's seconds for the parley with Geels between the Dregs and the Black Tips at the Exchange. When the parley goes south and Big Bolliger is revealed as a traitor to the Dregs, Jesper is angry with Kaz for keeping this information secret, but Kaz soothes him with the bribe of a line of credit at the Crow Club. At the Club, Jesper backs up Inej when she fires Rojakke.
To cover Matthias Helvar's escape from Hellgate prison, Jesper opens the cages containing the feral animals of the Hellshow. He then commandeers a boat to take Kaz, Inej, Nina Zenik, and Matthias away from the island. When Kaz reveals Wylan Van Eck's identity, Jesper is deeply amused, but upset with Kaz for withholding vital information. He begins to tease Wylan mercilessly about his mercher background and lack of street knowledge. Kaz leaves Wylan and Jesper to watch out for each other and purchase the supplies necessary for the trip to Fjerda.
When the decoy schooner Ferolind is ambushed at the docks, Jesper rescues Wylan, gives him his rifle, and is ordered by Kaz to protect the merchling. They run to berth twenty-two to the real Ferolind. Jesper climbs up the mast, but is shot in the leg; he manages to reach the crow's nest, where he shoots enemies with his rifle. Wylan sets off a flash bomb that inhibits everyone's vision but Jesper's, allowing Jesper to take out most of the rival gang members.
Aboard the Ferolind, Jesper questions Kaz about the ambush and holds Oomen while Kaz interrogates him. Jesper councils Wylan not to question Kaz while he's upset, then heads belowdecks to find shackles for Matthias on Kaz's orders. He talks briefly with Nina and reveals his fear that Inej will die. Back on deck, Kaz discusses the Ice Court maps with Jesper, Wylan, and Matthias. Jesper thinks they should abandon the job once they find out Pekka Rollins is their competition, but he eventually acquiesces to go forward with Kaz's plan.
The long days on the Ferolind grate on Jesper, who misses the drama and danger of the city, and he and Wylan insult each other throughout most of their conversations on the ship. Jesper visits Inej's sickbed every morning and every night, and is thrilled when she finally wakes up. He helps her walk around the ship and the two discuss Kaz's reaction to her injury and Wylan's relationship with his father, Jan Van Eck. Jesper confides in Inej about how he gambled his father's farm to "the wrong people" and what led him to join the Dregs.
The Crows depart the Ferolind and Jesper leaves his pearl-handled revolvers aboard the ship, since they plan to lose all of their weapons at the Ice Court's prison. Using Jesper's compass to guide them, they make their way across northern Fjerda. When the group stumbles upon the pyres of three burned Grisha and realize one is still alive and suffering, Jesper gives them a mercy kill. The Crows are then attacked by two Grisha on jurda parem; Jesper tries to shoot them, but the quaking earth makes him miss. The Grisha are killed anyway, and the group continues to Djerholm.
The crew scouts the best location for their ambush of the prison wagon. Jesper volunteers to be lookout and heads down the road to signal the rest of the group with a flare when the wagon is approaching. As they enter the prison, Jesper and Matthias briefly discuss their knowledge of tanks. The boys are taken to the men's cellblock, and Jesper is upset that he was too worried about impending death to appreciate finally seeing Kaz naked. In the holding cells, Jesper and Wylan vaguely discuss their histories, but mostly insult each other. Jesper sets off a chloro gas pellet he'd sewn into his ankle to knock out the other prisoners, then makes lockpicks from the iron bars for Kaz. Wylan is shocked by the revelation that Jesper is a Fabrikator and Jesper warns him not to tell anyone.
Jesper and Matthias retrieve rope from the stables and return to the laundry room. After the rest of the group has climbed the incinerator shaft, Jesper worries Kaz won't make it, but Kaz returns just as Jesper prepared to climb the rope. On the roof of the prison sector, Jesper helps Inej by removing the rubber of her shoes that had fused to her feet. When Yellow Protocol shuts down the team's plan to get onto the White Island, Jesper once again suggests abandoning the plan, but Inej and Kaz form a new plan.
Jesper and Wylan climb across the roof of the drüskelle sector. Jesper is initially thrilled with adrenaline, but when he recognizes the huge banner in the drüskelle dining hall as sewn from Grisha kefta trophies, he becomes afraid. Jesper rappels down the wall to take out the guards and is almost caught, but Wylan draws the guards' attention, allowing Jesper to take out the three guards. The boys dress in the guards' uniforms and head for the gate in the ringwall. The lifting mechanism of the gate is different than Wylan expected, so Jesper spends half an hour weakening the links of the steel chain while Wylan saws at it with shears. The boys finally manage to open the gate and trigger Black Protocol.
In the courtyard, Jesper and Wylan watch two Shu Tidemakers on parem drain the blood of the Fjerdan guards. The Tidemakers notice them and attack, and Wylan tells Jesper to use the metal shavings from the gate chain to attack the Tidemakers. Jesper feels terrible about killing two of his own kind, but Wylan forces him to move and continue with the escape plan.
Still dressed as guards, Jesper and Wylan head back down to the prison sector via the incinerator shaft. Jesper helps Inej escape the guards, then uses his powers to cut the diamonds Inej stole from Heleen Van Houden into a drill bit. He and Wylan create a drill and cut a small opening in the glass for Inej to jump through, then provide cover fire while Inej climbs to a tank. The boys use ropes to climb down to Inej, and Jesper happily takes control of the tank. He blows open the glass, then drives the tank through the wall of the Ice Court, across the bridge, and through the streets of Djerholm to the harbor.
On board the Ferolind once more, Jesper is sad that Wylan no longer spends time with him. When they return to Ketterdam, Jesper accompanies Kaz and Rotty to the city, but Kaz forbids him from doing anything in the city. They return to the Ferolind, pick up Matthias, Inej, and Kuwei Yul-Bo, and row to Vellgeluk to meet with Van Eck. When Van Eck double-crosses them and reveals the truth of his relationship with Wylan, Jesper is angry on Wylan's behalf, then furious when Van Eck seems to kill Wylan by destroying the Ferolind. Van Eck's parem-using Grisha attack the crew and Jesper prepares to shoot them and Van Eck, but Kaz stays his hand.
Jesper speaks with Wylan, now disguised as Kuwei, and is upset that he was kept in the dark regarding the plan. Kaz reveals that Jesper was the one who (accidentally) made Pekka Rollins realize the Crows were heading to the Ice Court. Jesper tries to fight Kaz, but Matthias and Wylan intervene. Though Jesper and Kaz's relationship is strained, Jesper accompanies Kaz, Wylan, Matthias, and Nina to the Emerald Palace, where Kaz negotiates with Pekka Rollins for money to retrieve Inej from Van Eck.
To distract Cornelis Smeet from the heist at his house, Jesper plays four hours of Three Man Bramble with the lawyer and loses his prized pearl revolvers in the game. Jesper and Nina return to Black Veil Island, arguing, and inform the other Crows about the encroaching interest in Ketterdam from the other countries. He learns that a man claiming to be his father has arrived in the city and arranges a meeting at the university Jesper used to attend. Wylan accompanies him. Colm Fahey is indeed in Ketterdam, and Jesper is thrilled to reunite with his father. However, someone begins shooting at them, and after returning fire, Jesper, Wylan, and Colm run to the university's reading room. Wylan leads them through a secret passage to the printmaker's shop. Jesper fears for his father's safety in Ketterdam as the three head to Black Veil.
Wylan, Nina, and Kaz construct a lie to explain Jesper's absence from the university to Colm. Jesper is desperate to get back into everyone's good graces, but he doesn't want his father to lose his mother's farm; Kaz returns Jesper's revolvers but shows Jesper no compassion. Jesper and Matthias set off a gondel to Eil Komedie, then Jesper and Nina head to the lakehouse to kidnap Alys Van Eck. On Black Veil, he asks Alys about her stepson Wylan.
For the exchange between Kaz and Van Eck on Goedmedbridge, Jesper waits with his rifle on the top of the Ammbers Hotel, and is the first to notice the stadwatch. When Van Eck reveals his ploy to involve the city against Kaz, Jesper sets off Wylan's fireworks as a distraction. Jesper decides to gamble, but an explosion at the House of the White Rose sends him and Nina running. They encounter two Kherguud soldiers; Jesper and Matthias's bullets fail to harm them. Jesper becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of being hunted as a Grisha.
Reunited with Inej on Black Veil, the Crows discuss the Kherguud and their plan to discredit Van Eck. The next day, Jesper accompanies Wylan to Olendaal to retrieve supplies for Wylan's auric acid and visit his mother's grave. They discover that Marya Hendriks is alive and institutionalized at Saint Hilde's, to Wylan's horror. Jesper helps Wylan through a panic attack and distracts the nurses so he can speak with his mother. With a renewed desire to destroy Van Eck, the boys return to Ketterdam.
Back on the island, Jesper attempts to explain the plan to Kuwei, who feigns misunderstanding, to Jesper's frustration. Jesper refuses Nina's offer to go to Ravka with the Grisha refugees, as he wants to see his father safely returned to his farm. Jesper realizes Kaz knew Marya was alive and kept this information from Wylan and is furious. Before the Crows split up again, Jesper talks to Wylan about his future; he begins to address his feelings for Wylan, but Kaz interrupts to take Wylan to the Van Eck manor, leaving Jesper with Matthias and Kuwei. Jesper grows upset with Matthias's insight and the three discuss an antidote to parem. Based on his experience with jurda farming practices in Novyi Zem, Jesper suggests using the balm in the jurda stalks.
They are ambushed by Dime Lions and Matthias instructs Jesper and Kuwei in his plan to escape. Jesper moves Wylan's chemical powders into Kuwei's flames, turning the fire colors and stalling the Dime Lions, then the three escape Black Veil and run to Colm's suite at the Geldrenner Hotel. From the clocktower, the Crows watch as the gangs, including the Dregs, are deputized and turn against them. Jesper suggests they all hide in the countryside, but Kaz refuses. Their argument turns to a physical brawl until Colm arrives and chastises Jesper.
Inej, having learned Jesper indirectly caused her to be stabbed on the way to the Ice Court, talks to Jesper about what it means to apologize. She also advises him to take the first step to remedy his gambling addiction, and to tell his father the truth about his situation. Jesper tells his father the truth, but Colm is angry and refuses to accept that Jesper's Grisha ability could have been a gift rather than a curse. Upset, Jesper leaves the room and finds Wylan sitting at a piano, and the two kiss. However, the real Wylan appears in the doorway, causing Jesper to realize that he just kissed Kuwei instead.
Kaz outlines his plan to auction Kuwei and con the Merchant Council. Jesper refuses to involve his father, but Colm agrees to play the role for the con. Before meeting with the Ravkans, Jesper apologizes for mistaking Kuwei for Wylan, gives Wylan a painting of young Wylan from his mother's art room, and offers to accompany Wylan to meet with the Tailor Genya Safin. Jesper is thrilled to meet the legendary Sturmhond. While Genya tailors Wylan back to his original appearance, Jesper watches for a while, then runs errands around the hotel until Genya is finished. Jesper and Wylan discuss their abilities and disabilities, and the two kiss.
Before the auction, Jesper asks Kaz for the remaining parem in case something goes wrong, but Kaz refuses to let Jesper be a martyr. Jesper enters the Church of Barter disguised as a member of the Zemeni delegation. When the fake Council of Tides arrives at the auction, Jesper feigns illness to leave the cathedral, but is attacked by a Kherguud soldier. Just as the soldier is about to capture him, Jesper remembers the chemical weevil in his pocket and forces it into the soldier's mouth, causing the soldier to decay from the inside.
Inej meets him in the cathedral and gives Jesper his rifle. Jesper is out of time to move to his sniper's position on the upper level, but he is able to shoot Kuwei from around a corner by guiding the bullet with his power. After the chaos at the auction, Jesper sits in the church with Wylan and Alys to watch the Merchant Council turn on Van Eck. When Van Eck tells the Council that Wylan can't read, Jesper subtly helps Wylan select a document he has memorized and tells Van Eck that he can read to Wylan.
Jesper, Kaz, Wylan, and Alys walk to the Van Eck house, where Jesper assures Wylan that he will stay. Nina, Inej, and Kuwei arrive with Matthias's body and they hold a small funeral for the Fjerdan. When Kaz gives the Crows their money, Jesper has him put Jesper's share in his father's name. Jesper and Colm say goodbye, with Jesper planning to visit Novyi Zem again soon. Kuwei offers for Jesper to come to Ravka and train, but Jesper remains with Wylan.
Jesper moves in with Wylan at the Van Eck house and spends time with Inej there, too. Wylan gives Jesper a small allowance to play the stock markets and makes him promise to begin training as a Fabrikator.
Rule of Wolves
Personality and traits
Jesper is witty, sarcastic, cocky, and teasing, but good-natured and friendly when he wants to be. Jesper is a flirt, and shamelessly so. He angers easily but doesn't hold a grudge for long. Though he has good intentions, he doesn't always consider the consequences of his actions. Jesper is a gambler who enjoys figuring the odds of anything, whether in the cards or his own survival.
Jesper is restless and often anxious, and uses gunfights and gambling to distract himself with an adrenaline rush. When he feels overwhelmed he rests his hands on his pistols to keep from fidgeting. Some of his recklessness likely comes from not using his Fabrikator powers. Jesper's impulsiveness sometimes leads him to make poor decisions, which makes him feel guilty and leads to low self-esteem.
Jesper is of Zemeni and Kaelish descent, with Zemeni dark skin and hair and grey eyes from his Kaelish father. He is lean, gangly, and very tall. Jesper always carries his prized pearl-handled revolvers wherever he goes; Inej Ghafa says that without them he looks less himself. He prefers to dress in Barrel flash: brightly-colored, patterned outfits that rarely match. He has the Dregs tattoo on his forearm. According to Leigh Bardugo, Jesper's height is 6′2" - 6′3".
Powers and abilities
Jesper is a Grisha Fabrikator (Durast), though in Novyi Zem he and other Grisha are referred to as zowa, meaning "blessed". However, Jesper remains untrained, so his power is not properly honed and rather weak. Still, he is able to use his power to create several items that the Crows use in their escape from the Ice Court, kill two Tidemakers on jurda parem, and manipulate Wylan's chemical powders to escape from Black Veil Island.
When a Grisha doesn't use their power, they become "sick". Although Jesper never fell ill, not using his Fabrikator ability caused a seemingly endless amount of energy build up inside of him and making him even more impulsive, reckless, and desperate for action.
Jesper is also a talented sharpshooter and marksman. Wylan Van Eck believes that part of the reason Jesper is such a good shot is that he subconsciously uses his Fabrikator ability to guide his bullets, a theory supported by the fact that Jesper's mother was also a Fabrikator and the one who taught him to shoot. In Crooked Kingdom, Jesper is able to shoot Kuwei Yul-Bo from around a corner without being able to see his target by manipulating the bullet with his power.
Jesper's preferred weapons are two pearl-handled Zemeni-made revolvers that can fire six shots in rapid succession. He also carries a rifle.
Wylan Van Eck
- Jesper: "If only you could talk to girls in equations."
- Wylan: "Just girls?"
- Jesper: "No. Not just girls."
- ―Jesper and Wylan, Six of Crows Chapter 32
Jesper is one of Wylan's contacts with the Dregs when the merchling is living in the Barrel. Both find the other attractive from their first meeting, but Jesper is amused by Wylan's lack of worldly experience. They spend most of their time while preparing for the Ice Court heist bickering and insulting each other, though Jesper's banter begins to approach flirting. On the journey to Fjerda, Jesper begins to feel something for Wylan, and flirts with him more throughout the heist. As the Crows return to Ketterdam, Jesper misses Wylan; Wylan, disguised as Kuwei, regularly visits Jesper on the ship, though Jesper believes him to be Kuwei. Jesper is furious when he learns of Jan Van Eck's disregard for his son, revealing that Jesper has become protective of Wylan.
Jesper continues to bombard Wylan with flirting and innuendo. When more of Van Eck's cruelty is revealed, Jesper takes care of Wylan emotionally and works to build up Wylan's self-esteem. Jesper tries to kiss Wylan, only to learn that he was kissing Kuwei instead; Wylan is upset until Jesper explains the mix-up. After Genya Safin tailors Wylan back to his original appearance, he kisses Jesper. At the end of Crooked Kingdom, Jesper has moved in with Wylan and the two have a romantic relationship.
Over the course of the duology, Jesper and Wylan connect and begin to look out for each other. They talk about their abilities and struggles and try to build up each other's confidence. They both see value in their partner that the other refuses to see in himself.
Colm is Jesper's father. When Jesper showed signs of Grisha power as a child, Colm encouraged Jesper to keep his power hidden, since he was afraid for Jesper; however, Jesper believed his father might have been afraid of him, too. After Colm's wife, Aditi, died overextending her power, Colm became further convinced that being Grisha was a curse. Colm discouraged Jesper from traveling to Ravka to train, but he encouraged him to attend university in Ketterdam to direct his energy into something else. According to Jesper, his father is the only one who understood Jesper's restless energy. In Six of Crows, Jesper often thinks of how his father would be disappointed to see Jesper's current life of crime and debt.
Colm is an honest man who cares deeply for his son and wife. He believes the best of Jesper, which causes Jesper to feel guilty when lying to his father in Crooked Kingdom. When the truth comes to light, the two fight; Colm is upset to learn of Jesper's criminal activities, and Jesper is upset that his father doesn't see the problems hiding his Grisha power has caused. They reconcile at the end of the duology, with Jesper promising to do better and Colm encouraging Jesper to train with other Fabrikators.
Aditi was Jesper's mother. Jesper spent his childhood days with his mother, who taught him how to shoot and how to live on the Zemeni frontier. She also secretly taught him about their zowa ability and told him it was a blessing. She was extremely compassionate and always willing to help or heal. Aditi died when Jesper was seven. Jesper still thinks about his mother often, when he sees cherry blossoms and when he thinks about or uses his Fabrikator ability.
Kaz is the leader of Jesper's gang and the reason Jesper joined the Dregs. In Six of Crows, Jesper was considered Kaz's right-hand man and the person he liked most after Inej. Early in the duology, Jesper harbors a crush on Kaz, which he commiserates with Inej about and which Kaz does not return. He is also occasionally jealous of Inej's close relationship with Kaz. Jesper is often angry with Kaz for leaving him out of the loop and refusing to tell him vital information. Jesper wants to believe Kaz trusts him, but also worries he doesn't deserve that trust. When Kaz learns that Jesper's loose talk was the reason their mission to the Ice Court was almost stopped before it started, Kaz claims he will never be able to trust Jesper again.
Jesper and Kaz often argue, occasionally leading to physical altercations. Jesper is not afraid to question Kaz's judgment and plans, though he almost always defers to Kaz in the end.
- Jesper is confirmed as a bisexual character.
- Jesper's astrological sign is Gemini.
- "How tall are your The dregs characters?" on Leigh Bardugo's Tumblr
- Six of Crows, Chapter 2
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 14
- Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 28
- Six of Crows, Chapter 30
- Six of Crows, Chapter 23
- Six of Crows, Chapter 17
- Six of Crows, Chapter 8
- Six of Crows, Chapter 3
- Collector's edition of Crooked Kingdom
|Main Characters||Kaz Brekker • Inej Ghafa • Jesper Fahey • Nina Zenik • Matthias Helvar • Wylan Van Eck • Kuwei Yul-Bo • Jan Van Eck • Pekka Rollins|
|Minor Characters||Joost • Anya • Emil Retvenko • Councilman Hoede • Geels • Bo Yul-Bayur • Per Haskell • Tante Heleen • Jordie Rietveld • Specht • Rotty • Jarl Brum • Cornelis Smeet • Adem Bajan • Colm Fahey • Aditi Hilli • Alys Van Eck • Marya Hendriks • Zoya Nazyalensky • Sturmhond • Genya Safin • Dunyasha Lazareva • Anika • Pim • Keeg • Roeder • Karl Dryden • Jellen Radmakker|
|Locations||Ketterdam • The Barrel • Hellgate • Ice Court • Djerholm • Black Veil Island • Kerch • Fjerda • Ravka • Novyi Zem • Shu Han • Wandering Isle|
|Groups||The Dregs • Dime Lions • Black Tips • Stadwatch • Grisha • Drüskelle • The Menagerie • House of the White Rose • Merchant Council • Council of Tides • Khergud Soldiers|
|Events||Hringkälla • Hellshow • Queen's Lady Plague • Komedie Brute|
|Miscellaneous||Jurda • Jurda parem • Kefta • Indenture • Djel • Ghezen|