The Grishaverse
The Grishaverse

Heleen Van Houden (known as Tante Heleen to her girls) is the owner of the Menagerie, a successful brothel on Ketterdam's West Stave.


On the deck of a slave ship, Heleen stripped Inej Ghafa and examined her body in a humiliating display, then bartered with the slavers to purchase her. Heleen then forced Inej to sign an indenture contract, coercing her into prostitution. Heleen regularly obtains at least some of her girls from the slave trade.

Kaz Brekker paid Heleen for information. One night, he purchased Inej's indenture from Heleen; Heleen taunted Inej with the violence of the Barrel before leaving her with Kaz.

Six of Crows

As Inej walks through West Stave to board a ship to Fjerda, Heleen accosts her outside of the Menagerie. She claims Inej will work for her again, despite Inej's desperate protests.

A delegation from the Menagerie, including Heleen, attends the Hringkälla celebrations at the Ice Court. Heleen recognizes Inej, dressed in the outfit of the Menagerie's Suli girl, and tells the guards she is a criminal. When Heleen grabs Inej, Inej seizes Heleen's throat, choking her until guards pull her off. As the guards drag Inej away, Heleen taunts Inej, reminding her that she'd said Inej would wear the silks of the Menagerie's Suli lynx again. Unbeknownst to Heleen, during their scuffle, Inej stole her diamond necklace as part of the Crows' plan to break out of the Ice Court.

After Kaz and Nina stage a plague outbreak at the Menagerie, Heleen struggles to pay her rent.

Personality and traits

Heleen is cruel and physically and emotionally abuses the girls who work at the Menagerie. Although slavery is illegal, Heleen procures at least some of her girls via slavery, forcing them into indentures and preventing them from ever paying off the indenture. If the girls try to run away, Heleen has her enforcers beat them severely, then locks them in chains. If the girls cannot work due to injury, Heleen charges them for the lost income, uncaring about their situation.[1][2] She dehumanizes the girls by calling them only by the name of the animal associated with their ethnicity.

Heleen takes great pride in her appearance, particularly her diamond choker and peacock feathers. She likes to make an entrance.

Physical description

Heleen is tall with a sinuous frame. She has thick, luscious piles of golden hair; her eyes are hazel and slightly feline. She wears vibrantly colored silks with plunging necklines and peacock feathers, and carries a fan. Heleen's favored perfume is lilies.

Until Inej Ghafa stole it at the Ice Court, Heleen was always seen with her signature diamond choker. It consists of many jewels, at least one of them extremely large, and is a sign of her wealth.



  1. Six of Crows, Chapter 25
  2. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 17


v  d  e
Main Characters Kaz BrekkerInej GhafaJesper FaheyNina ZenikMatthias HelvarWylan Van EckKuwei Yul-BoJan Van EckPekka Rollins
Minor Characters JoostAnyaEmil RetvenkoCouncilman HoedeGeelsBo Yul-BayurPer HaskellTante HeleenJordie RietveldSpechtRottyJarl BrumCornelis SmeetAdem BajanColm FaheyAditi HilliAlys Van EckMarya HendriksZoya NazyalenskySturmhondGenya SafinDunyasha LazarevaAnikaPimKeegRoederKarl DrydenJellen Radmakker
Locations KetterdamThe BarrelHellgateIce CourtDjerholmBlack Veil IslandKerchFjerdaRavkaNovyi ZemShu HanWandering Isle
Groups The DregsDime LionsBlack TipsStadwatchGrishaDrüskelleThe MenagerieHouse of the White RoseMerchant CouncilCouncil of TidesKhergud Soldiers
Events HringkällaHellshowQueen's Lady PlagueKomedie Brute
Miscellaneous JurdaJurda paremKeftaIndentureDjelGhezen