|Occupation|| Dark King |
Adviser to the Summer Monarchs (formerly)
|First Appearance||Wicked Lovely|
Niall is the current Dark King, and the beloved of Irial and Leslie.
Niall has lived for at least twelve hundred years at the beginning of Wicked Lovely.
At least a millennium ago, he met Irial and they spent several years together; at this time, unbeknownst to Niall, Irial was Dark King. It is heavily implied that they were romantically involved during this time, though they also frequently slept with male and female mortals.
Irial, having been a Gancanagh before becoming Dark King, knew that Niall was a Gancanagh but didn't tell him, instead allowing many mortals to become addicted to Niall, which often led to their deaths. Though it is unclear exactly what took place at the culmination of their time together, it seems that Niall found out about his effect on mortals and that Irial asked Niall to be his successor as king at about the same time. Niall, horrified that he had caused so many deaths, refused to be Irial's heir. Niall was then given the choice between being tortured or letting the mortals he had addicted be killed. He chose the former, and was left with the scar on his face as well as many on his body.
After this, Niall joined the Summer Court and became adviser to Miach, the Summer King. When Keenan became the next Summer King, Niall acted as his adviser and friend. It is also suggested that Niall spent some time with Sorcha, the High Queen, as she is seen to be fond of him.
Though Niall is only a minor character in Wicked Lovely, he is one of the three main characters in Ink Exchange. In this novel, Niall is romantically attracted to Leslie, a mortal friend of Aislinn's. Despite knowing that his Queen disapproves, he spends much of his time guarding Leslie while wearing a glamour so that he remains unseen by her. He reveals himself to her in an art gallery and they hold their first conversation of length.
When Leslie gets a tattoo laced with Irial's blood and becomes a part of the Dark Court, Niall does all that he can to retrieve her and protect her from experiencing the same pain Irial caused him. Keenan, the Summer King, tells Niall to use his talents as a Gancanagh to make Leslie addicted to him, believing that this would give Niall some influence or insight into the Dark Court, which Keenan could use. Niall, trusting his King and already in love with Leslie, kisses her before realizing that he is being manipulated. Furious at having kissed a mortal for the first time since discovering that he was a Gancanagh, Niall confronts Keenan and leaves the Summer Court.
Having been unable to find any other heir, Irial is delighted that Niall is finally a solitary faery. He invites Niall to talk with him, guaranteeing Niall's safety before even his own while they sit together, and tells him that the Dark fey feed on emotions -- primarily lust and emotions triggered by violence. This is remarkably trusting, since it is information that could be easily used against the Dark Court.
Niall eventually finds a way to free Leslie from her connection to Irial through the tattoo. Using ice from Donia, the Winter Queen, and sunlight from Aislinn, the Summer Queen, Niall breaks the bond between Leslie and Irial, though the tattoo remains.
In the epilogue, Irial seeks out Niall and transfers his power to him by kissing his scar; this makes Niall the new Dark King. Niall frantically plans to hand the court over to another faery, but Irial warns him that the power of a king is dangerous in the wrong hands. Irial kneels before Niall and promises his help when he desires it; he then disappears into a crowd of mortals and leaves Niall to be Dark King.
Old Habits is a novella set soon after Ink Exchange. In the first chapter, Niall gives Seth a stone which prevents faery glamours from affecting him; the two of them are clearly friends by this point, as Seth states "you need a few friends who aren't crazy faeries".
Later, Irial finds Niall outside of the mortal library, which Niall finds familiar. He presses Irial to explain the familiarity of it, and Irial admits that he influenced the architect to design the library in a way that was similar to a place where Irial and Niall were happy together previously. Niall then criticizes Irial for going to Faerie, the realm where the High Court resides, as Sorcha could have killed Irial if she had chosen to.
Niall visits one of the gates to Faerie and is surprised by an elderly mortal man stepping through the gate. The man has been blinded at Sorcha's command and, in order to balance his opposing court, Niall offers the man his help. Upon bringing the mortal to his court, Niall tells him that the Dark fey are not "calmly cruel" like the High Court. He leaves the mortal with one of the Vilas, named Natanya.
As Dark King, Niall now needs nourishment from emotions such as lust, anger, and fear, so sex and violence are requirements of his being strong. Irial finds him fighting with the Hounds in an arena, which Gabriel states he has done most nights since becoming king. For the other nourishment, a Hound sends Siobhan, a Summer Girl Niall was particularly close to in the Summer Court, to spend the night with him.
Sorcha sends Devlin to the Dark Court to make a point of the High Court's strength. Irial wishes to take the injuries Devlin would inflict on others in the court, but Niall doesn't let him and instead the whole court fights and is nourished. Furious with Irial for working against him and keeping secrets, Niall insists that Irial fully inform him of all the Dark Court's secrets, though Irial states that full disclosure would take years.
From Seth's perspective, Niall is described as having grown out his hair since becoming Dark King. His eyes have also changed, now containing "weird abyss people", very much like Irial's eyes. It is apparent that Niall is now more comfortable in his own body and confident that he is stronger than the vast majority of faeries. In the same chapter, he is attacked by Bananach and defeats her relatively easily; Niall is also approached by Devlin, who warns him about Bananach's danger to the Dark Court, and reveals that he once considered Devlin a friend.
When Keenan and Aislinn enter the Crow's Nest, Niall's hostility towards Keenan is obvious. He warns the Summer King that he will not allow Seth to be hurt, and he offers Seth the protection of the Dark Court, to be sealed with blood. Seth accepts and Niall, stating that he doesn't resist temptation well, punches Keenan. "Sealed and paid with blood. The rules don't say it has to be your blood, Seth." Consequently, Aislinn tries to hurt Niall, but he forms a wall of shadows around them and pushes her into it, so that her emotions turn to fear and lust. Having threatened her sufficiently, Niall lets her go and, after explaining his actions to Seth, leaves.
Provoked by his inability to protect Aislinn, Seth asks Niall to help him become a faerie. Niall informs him that the only ways to achieve this are through a curse, which Niall refuses to do, or to ask Sorcha to swap their essences. However, since this would make Niall fit to remain Dark King, he decides against this idea as well and advises Seth to accept his mortality.
Eighteen days after Seth goes to Faerie with Bananach, Niall confronts Aislinn at Keenan's Loft and demands to know Seth's whereabouts. Upon discovering that Aislinn hasn't seen him, Niall realizes that Seth has gone to see Sorcha; with this knowledge, he leaves wordlessly. He then travels to Faerie to speak to Sorcha. After telling her that she has made a mistake and that Seth "was not [hers] to take", Niall threatens to return his court to Faerie, where the Dark Court was once equal to the High Court, all in order to take Seth back. Sorcha allows Niall to see Seth, but he is disturbed by how devoted Seth is to Sorcha.
Aislinn, now the only Faerie not to know of Seth's whereabouts, goes to the Dark Court with Keenan and begs Niall to tell her what he knows. He tells her to kneel before him, and she does, but he still denies her the knowledge of Seth's being in Faerie.
In the epilogue, Seth requests to be trained by the Hounds of the Dark Court, and Niall agrees.
The novella Stopping Time focuses on the relationships between Niall, Irial and Leslie. The story-line mostly follows Leslie; early in the novella, she receives repeated unknown phone calls that make her anxious. Niall rings her and she snaps at him as she answers the phone, believing him to be the unknown caller. To calm her, Niall tells her about the prints her bought at an art gallery and then he stays on the phone all night while Leslie sleeps, just so that someone will be there for her when she wakes up. Niall wishes to be there for her in person, but Leslie doesn't want to be dragged back into the world of Faeries, as she believes it would change her into a bad person.
Later, the caller sends Leslie text messages claiming to know about faeries and Leslie, panicked, rushes out of her class to find the caller, who reveals himself as her brother, Ren. Holding a gun to her side, Ren takes Leslie back to her apartment building, where Leslie pushes him down the stairs and shuts herself in her apartment. Niall, alerted by Irial of the danger Leslie is in, drags Ren out into the street and kills him.
Afterwards, Niall and Irial go to a café and discuss Leslie and the past. Niall admits that he forgives Irial for letting the Dark fey torture him. Irial in turn admits that he had to behave cruelly in front of his court or they would have perceived him as a weak king and deposed him; moreover, if he had ordered his faeries to stop, they would have simply killed Niall. They talk about the various things Irial did to get Niall’s attention while he was in the Summer Court, and Niall admits that he had noticed both the small and grand gestures. Irial kisses Niall and feels both of their hearts race; Niall then asks Irial to move back into his house with him, which Irial agrees to do.
At Irial's suggestion, Niall goes to see Leslie, who decides that she can no longer deny that Niall and Irial are a part of her life. She still won't be a part of the Dark Court, but she asks to "stop time" so that she and Niall can be together for a while. After Leslie advises Niall that he would be able to do the same thing with Irial, she and Niall go upstairs to her apartment with the implication that they spend the night together.
Niall's role in Radiant Shadows is a small one; he mostly appears towards the end of the novel, as he is one of the major fighters in the fight with Bananach, during which Irial is stabbed. After the fight, Devlin and Ani contact Niall and Irial from Faerie by using Rae to intertwine their dreams. Devlin wishes for Niall to return the Dark Court to Faerie to balance Sorcha, but Niall believes this would be bad for his court and refuses. At the end of their exchange, Niall asks for Rae, the dreamweaver, to link his and Irial's dreams together, which Rae does.
The prologue of Darkest Mercy takes place in the aftermath of the fight with Bananach. Irial is injured and a healer states that he's as good as dead, since he was stabbed with a knife carved of poison. Niall refuses to accept this and demands that Irial be saved.
As the novel progresses, Niall grows more distressed over Irial's injury as healer after healer is unable to help him. Irial sinks into unconsciousness and does not wake, but the two of them still share their dreams, since Rae knitted them together. Niall feels himself slowly going mad and Gabriel attributes it to grief, but this is combined with Niall's separation from Sorcha, his balance, and so his reaction to Irial's death is disproportionate.
In one of Niall's shared dreams with Irial, Irial finally convinces Niall to rest. When he awakes, he finds that Irial is dead. Following this, Niall loses his remaining sanity and is reduced to incoherence. He is aware that Bananach is a threat and therefore assumes there are threats everywhere and ends up hurting his own fey; he repeats the same orders over and over though they have no real purpose to them; his only sensible decision is, at the prompting of Gabriel, to send more guards to Leslie.
Seth returns from Faerie and immediately goes to see Niall, who regains some sense in Seth's presence, which causes him to frequently repeat that Irial is dead. Niall claims that he would not hurt Seth and informs him that he can taste his emotions. Upon being given the permission to order the Dark fey for just one minute, Seth orders a Hound to knock Niall out, as he needs sleep.
When he awakes, Niall is furious with Seth and immediately attacks him. Seth tries to tell Niall that Bananach can be killed, but he reveals that he is a seer in the process of convincing Niall of this; Niall realizes that Seth could have saved Irial and imprisons him, along with the Hound who knocked Niall out.
In an attempt to bring Irial back, Niall begs, threatens, and bargains with Far Dorcha (Death). Far Dorcha will only trade Irial for someone who is both willing to sacrifice their life and who Niall will mourn -- he will not accept Niall's life in exchange for Irial's, nor the life of any of Niall's fey, but he offers to trade for Leslie. Niall pleads for any other offer, as he will not sacrifice Leslie, but Far Dorcha refuses.
Keenan goes to see Niall and is surprised to find Seth caged. He tries to reason with Niall, reminding him that he struck Keenan for Seth, but his reason is met with alternating madness and scorn. Niall actively provokes Keenan, refers to him as "kingling", and reminds Keenan "uncannily" of Irial.
Niall, now seemingly blaming Seth entirely for Irial's death, tries to blind him with a hot poker. Seth moves quickly enough to avoid being blinded, but the poker grazes his forehead and scars him. Before Niall can harm Seth further, Leslie arrives and stops him.
Keenan visits Niall again, this time voicing a theory that Niall is literally not himself. When he addresses Irial, Irial is able to admit to inhabiting Niall's body, as he had been unable to speak of it until someone figured it out. When Niall regains control of his body, Keenan explains that, though their shared dreams, Irial remains alive in Niall's body. Niall finally accepts this and then Keenan informs Leslie of the same thing, though she doesn't believe him until Irial confirms this.
The Dark, Summer and Winter courts all go to war against Bananach and her fey. Niall rushes straight to meet Bananach and fight her, with Donia's aid until Bananach wounds her. Niall continues to fight, but is unable to defeat Bananach alone. Aislinn, however, tells Niall to shield himself and uses her sunlight and her control of earth to entrap, burn, and kill Bananach.
After the battle, Far Dorcha offers the role of Discord to, in turn, Aislinn, Seth, Niall and, finally, Irial, who accepts and is returned to his body. Seth and Niall discuss Seth's new role as Niall's balance and, despite all, they remain brothers to each other. Niall and Irial, neither of them addictive to mortals any longer, return to their home and to Leslie. To Niall’s amusement, Seth comments that they (Niall and Irial) sometimes like to be at odds with each other, an assessment he agrees with.
This short story, published in Marr's Faery Tales and Nightmares, primarily follows Seth but Niall is also a major character. Seth and Niall travel to see Seth's parents, who have contacted Seth to say that they are in trouble; he asks Niall to go with him because he doesn't have the transport to get there himself and because, after the events of Darkest Mercy, he believes that the two of them need to talk.
Irial and Niall's relationship, which seemed repaired at the end of Darkest Mercy, is shown to be as such in Unexpected Family. The two of them seem comfortable kissing in front of Seth and Niall trusts Irial with his court for the weekend while he is away. Irial assures Niall that he would do anything for Niall’s happiness.
During the journey, which they make in a Hound's steed in the form of a Mustang, Seth and Niall agree that it would be best if Seth continued to be Niall's balance. They make a vow: that Niall will never imprison or torture Seth again, and that Seth will tell Niall if he foresees the deaths of Irial or Leslie.
At the campsite where Seth's parents are being forced to stay by several solitary faeries, Niall confronts the faeries while Seth speaks to his parents. They tell him that Seth is their champion; when Niall claims to be able to stand up to them, several hundred fey appear and surround him, and so he backs down. They don mortal glamours and go to greet Seth, who accepts the role as their protector, but claims to not be their king. Niall congratulates him on dealing with the fey well, and Seth's court have their first revelry.
Dark Promises Edit
In an excerpt of an unfinished short story tentatively titled Dark Promises, Niall visits Leslie and spends some time with her. Irial is supposed to join them but is conspicuously absent. Niall makes some excuses to Leslie on Irial’s behalf but she isn’t satisfied and later visits Irial to get an explanation from him. For as yet unknown reasons, Irial muses that he (Irial) is going to lose her. Niall seems to be absent during this interaction, but they both mention their beloved.
He is a Gancanagh with wood-brown hair. According to Aislinn, his face is "forgettable" save for a long scar running from his temple to the corner of his mouth. At the start of the series, he deliberately keeps his hair cut short to lessen his physical appeal to mortals. In Ink Exchange, Gabriel addressed him as “pretty boy” and Leslie describes him as attractive with a “drool-worthy” body, so his appearance could be a Dark Court preference. After becoming Dark King, his eyes change to show his shadow guardians and he starts growing his hair out again.
emotional, aggressive, vulnerable, temperamental
Of all Niall’s relationships, easily the most complex is his relationship with Irial. They met more than a millennium ago when Irial saw Niall struggling to fend off a woman he had unknowingly addicted. Irial was fascinated by Niall’s not knowing about being a Gancanagh. They spent six years together and traveled to many different places. Niall also trained with the Hounds during this time and became a skilled fighter.
Their happiness was relatively short-lived. After six years, Irial finally told Niall the truth: both the fact that he was a Gancanagh and that Irial was the Dark King. He then asked Niall to be his successor. Horrified and guilty, Niall fled but was brought back by Gabriel. Irial then gave Niall the choice of letting the court torture him or the mortals he’d unknowingly addicted. Niall chose the latter and was left with both physical and mental scars. Soon afterwards, he joined the Summer Court. Irial, who had never genuinely meant to hurt him, got into several scuffles over the centuries to get his attention and also designed buildings that would remind Niall of happier times.
After Niall leaves the Summer Court, Irial approaches him and transfers the kingship to him. Although initially reluctant to be king, Niall soon settles into his new position. Irial visits Sorcha in Faerie and negotiates with her for Niall’s safety.
Niall grows frustrated with Irial’s secretiveness and teasing behaviour. When Devlin shows up in their court on Sorcha’s behalf, Niall forced Irial to kneel in full sight of everyone else in the Court. While the court fights Devlin and nourishes themselves, Niall demands more honesty from Irial, who admits that full disclosure will take a long time. They then join the fight. Once the fight ends, Irial tells Niall that he trusts Niall with his life. Niall replies that Irial should trust him with his own life as well, and storms away.
Their relationship remains strained for a while until Irial eventually reveals that the Dark fey would have killed him and lost respect for Irial if he’d ordered them to stop hurting Niall. Irial asks Niall to tell Leslie that he (Irial) was the one who killed her abusive brother Ren so that Leslie can go on believing that Niall is the more innocent of the two. At Niall’s request, Irial later moves back into the main house.
Banananch wages war on all the Courts and Irial is fatally injured after being stabbed with a poisoned blade meant for Gabriel’s daughter Ani. Niall gets several healers to look after Irial but none of them can save him. As a result, Niall soon begins to lose his sanity. In a shared dream, Irial tells Niall to rest. But upon waking up, Niall finds that Irial is dead. Fortunately Irial is not completely dead because he can still possess Niall’s body. Far Dorcha grants Irial the role of Discord after Bananach is defeated.
Their relationship is fully restored after the war and they are even openly intimate in front of Seth.
She’s the other beloved of Niall. At first, he kept a distance from her out of respect for Aislinn’s wishes, as Ash was his queen at the time. Some time later, they have their first actual conversation in a museum and discuss their opinions on art. After Niall returns to the Dark Court, he kills her abusive brother Ren and spends a night with her. In Darkest Mercy, they are able to continue their complex love triangle with Irial and decide to spend as many weekends together as possible.
Niall was one of Keenan’s advisers until Keenan betrayed him. They had an altercation soon after the fallout, and Niall punched Keenan so hard that the latter fell unconscious. Keenan later admitted to Aislinn that he missed Niall, and also admitted to Donia that he knew Niall hated him. During the war against Banananach, it was Keenan who noticed that Irial was possessing Niall’s body. Their relationship after the war is unknown.
He helped her adjust to her role as Summer Queen and they were on good terms while he was still in the Summer Court. However, their relationship deteriorated due to her failure in protecting Leslie. He openly taunted and mocked her, and she was frightened by the changes in him. He also scorned her request to know Seth’s whereabouts, even when she knelt before him, and said that she didn’t deserve Seth. But in the final battle, they set their differences aside and fought together to kill Banananach.
Seth and Niall are sworn brothers. Their friendship is so strong that Seth didn’t resent Niall for striking out at Aislinn. Throughout the series, they’re rather protective of each other. In the last book, Niall was angry at Seth for not revealing Irial’s death despite having foreseen it, and hit him with a hot poker. However, they soon reconciled and reaffirmed their brotherhood. Seth became Niall’s balance after the war and the brothers traveled together to rescue Seth’s parents.
Their relationship has been described by many fans as a bromance. Seth sometimes shows a slight attraction to Niall: in Fragile Eternity, he was momentarily overwhelmed by Niall’s Gancanagh nature and perceived Niall as a god. When they met in town to play darts, Seth had to grip a special stone in order to resist Niall’s appeal. Moreover, he didn’t want to think about the Summer Girls crushing on Niall and when Niall visited him in Faerie, he felt that aside from Aislinn, Niall was the only other person he wanted to see-implying that Niall is as important to him as his girlfriend.
Niall and Gabe were enemies for a while and traded derogatory banter. After Niall became Dark King, Gabriel was very loyal to him and they presumably renewed their past friendship, with Gabriel often giving Niall advice and agreeing to train Niall’s sworn brother Seth. The Hounds all showed up to support Niall during his quarrel with Keenan, with Gabriel at the helm. Later in the series, grief-stricken by his daughter Tish’s death, Gabriel prompted Niall to send more guards for Leslie, then went into battle and was soon killed. Niall’s reaction to his death was not shown in much detail. He avenged Gabriel’s death when he worked with Aislinn to kill Banananach.
Niall has a cordial relationship with Donia and it is said that their courts have always been on good terms. They had a friendly interaction in Fragile Eternity and bonded over the fact that they had both been mistreated by Keenan. They fought together against Banananch until Donia was injured. Despite being Keenan’s lover, Donia had no problem admitting that Keenan had abused him, and was quick to align herself with Niall. She was also happy to see him doing better after having suffered a lot, showing that she cares for him.
Summer Girls Edit
Niall was and still is popular with the Summer Girls, especially Siobhan and Tracey. As Seth noted, more than a few of them still desire him. He was annoyed with them for trying to make Seth stay in the Summer Court by luring the then-mortal into a dance, but was nonetheless still polite to them. Siobhan later willingly slept with Niall for his nourishment and due to his ability to taste emotions, he noticed that she truly loved him.
Aobheall, the Summer Court’s fountain faery, is a friendly acquaintance of Niall. She helped his sworn brother Seth when Seth was being seduced by the Summer Girls and alerted Niall to the then-mortal’s predicament. In gratitude, he kissed her and she clearly enjoyed it, joking that she likes keeping him in her debt.
Miach was Niall’s king after the latter’s departure from the Dark Court. Niall was very loyal to Miach and grateful for his new home. After Miach’s death, Niall served his son Keenan. Considering that Miach was a friend of Irial, it is possible that he sheltered Niall at Irial’s request.
When Niall was in the Summer Court, Tavish was his fellow adviser. After Niall returned to the Dark Court, it was Tavish who explained his complicated relationship with Irial to Aislinn.
Niall has a fairly good relationship with Sorcha. They genuinely care for each other and her fondness of him has been noted by her brother-son Devlin. At one point, he thought he might be in love with her but in the end they’re just friends. Unlike Irial, he doesn’t have intimate relations with her nor does he purposely try to disturb her. Sorcha was open to negotiation with Irial for Niall’s safety and has told Seth that she wants Irial and Niall to be at peace.
However, their relationship hasn’t always been smooth sailing. When she adopted Seth, he threatened to take his court back to Faerie so he could retrieve his brother. In response, she called him a “babe”, pointing out his young age and relative inexperience in comparison to herself. He was also disturbed by Seth’s devotion to her and commented that it wasn’t normal.
When the newly formed Shadow Court becomes Sorcha’s balance, Niall is unbalanced and begins to lose his mind as a result. To correct this imbalance, Seth appoints himself as Niall’s balance in her stead.
Niall used to consider Devlin a friend but when Devlin is sent to the mortal world on Sorcha’s behalf, Niall is quick to step in and protect Seth. When Devlin falls in love with Ani, a halfling from Niall’s Court, with Niall’s blessing they leave and form their own court.
Niall and Ani didn’t get along very well, mostly because Ani didn’t have much respect for him and preferred Irial’s rule. He was furious when he caught her sleeping on a couch with Irial and mistakenly assumed that they were in a sexual relationship. Despite his anger, he was still gentlemanly towards her and helped her up. She soon left the room, not wanting to be caught between her current and former kings in their personal dispute. Ani isn’t entirely opposed to him, seeing as she said he was “kind of sexy“ when he got angry at her, and acknowledged him as the true king of Nightmares when he was enraged by Bananach’s stabbing of Irial. She also refused to comply when Banananach tried to incite her to kill Niall.
After he avenged her sister and father by killing Bananach, it remains unknown if their relationship changed in any way.
Tish and Rabbit Edit
Niall had a better relationship with Ani’s siblings. He was enraged when Bananach killed Tish, declaring that she was his to protect as she was one of his fe, and later avenged her death.
She approached him after he left the Summer Court, inviting him to help her start a war though he refused. They remained at odds throughout the series and she often provoked him, causing him to violently attack her so that she would be more obedient and acknowledge him as her king. Interestingly, some parts of the fandom pair him with her and in canon they do have some slightly flirtatious interactions, such as when he called her “my darling “ in Fragile Eternity and she kissed him in response. Ultimately, however, he and Aislinn cooperated to kill her once and for all.
Chela is Niall’s new Gabriel after the previous Gabriel died fighting Banananch. She is as loyal to her king as her deceased mate was.
Rae is a dream walker who stitched Niall’s dreams together with Irial’s. This somehow enabled Irial to remain alive by possessing Niall’s body, though Irial eventually regained his own body after accepting the role of Discord.