Quite possibly the most significant character introduced in Valley of the Shadow (he and Natalya can duke it out for the grand prize, and they will!), Lennart Ostberg, King of Estenor, is also one of the most fun to write. He gets a POV in Hammer of the Gods, but in Valley of the Shadow we see him only through Gwynneth’s eyes, colored by the history they already have..
Lennart came to the throne in his late teens, but unlike Kendryk, he waited until he was a little older to look for a wife. As the daughter of the King of Norovaea, Gwynneth was a prime candidate, but it didn’t work out. She was too much woman for him and he decided to look elsewhere.
During the events of Rise of the Storm and Valley of the Shadow, Lennart has stayed in the background, involved in a lengthy war with Sanova. Gwynneth desperately needs Estenor to help her get Kendryk’s kingdom back, so she travels to a remote island from which Lennart is launching winter raids into Sanova. She’s hoping to broker a political marriage with Sanova so Lennart can turn his attention to Terragand. I was going to go into a lengthy description of Lennart’s looks and personality, then realized I’d already written it.
From somewhere around the middle of Valley of the Shadow:
“Is it …” He began, and then “By Ercos, it really is you, Gwynn. I didn’t believe them when they told me. What in the name of all the gods are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry to bother you on campaign.” Gwynneth curtsied, finding herself every bit as awkward before him as she had been at fifteen.
“Not at all, not at all. And what are you doing? Stand up straight and let me take a look at you. By the Father, you’re as beautiful as ever.”
Gwynneth blushed in spite of herself. King Lennart was just as loud, and as large as she remembered. She steeled herself to look him in the eye, cursing herself for her lack of composure. Even Arian Orland had never caught her off guard like this.
His dark hazel eyes were as large and clear as ever, though she detected a faint weariness and lines that weren’t from laughter alone. He wore his light brown hair shorter than before, though the wind had blown it into a tousled mess. If he didn’t frighten the poor Sanovan princess half to death first, she might find him attractive.