The Hooded One is an ominous, Grim Reaper-looking figure who serves as the primary antagonist in the graphic novel series, Bone. She is an immensely powerful Veni-Yan-Cari (Dream Shaman) who leads the Rat Creatures and seeks to release the frightful Lord of the Locusts. She is eventually revealed to be Princess Briar Harvestar, sister of Gran'ma Rose and great-aunt of the female primary protagonist Thorn Harvestar.
The Hooded One is a scary figure wearing a greyish green (sometimes depicted dark blue) robe whose hood completely conceals her face. She walks crouched, as if hunchbacked, and carries a scythe. Being undead, she is deathly frail and shrivelled. Given that she was killed being sliced in two, her body consists in two halves held together by a swarm of locusts hidden under her robe.
When she was alive, she was a very beautiful woman, tall and slender, with middle-length auburn hair, blue eyes and regal features, looking almost exactly like her sister Rose. Now her face is hideously emaciated and twisted, with demented yellow eyes, deathly greyish skin and dishevelled hair; in stark contrast with her sister who retained rather good looks despite her old age.
Briar has always been aware of the Locust's whispers and seems glad of it, as she describes it as "feeling like being the smartest one in the world", but whether or not she once resisted the Locust's corruption is not known. Briar always felt inferior to her sister, oblivious to the fact that hiding her power made her fall out of favour (making her responsible for her own misery). Such envy later grew into fierce hatred. She would do anything she could to spite Rose, and would later sacrifice her entire family to the Rat Creatures without a qualm.
Briar claims that she was treated as nothing but a nursemaid for Princess Thorn and Rose indeed describes her as such when she tells Thorn the story of her parents' death. However, Rose mourns her death and is genuinely disheartnened when learning the Hooded One's identity; proving that at least her sister loved her. Rose might avoid speaking about Briar to spare Thorn the pain of knowing that her great-aunt caused her parents' death. It is possible that Briar hateful personality alienated her from her family, as Lucius Down's flashback hints that she was already spiteful and malevolent in her youth.
During the course of the story, the Hooded One appears as a calm, collected and frightening figure, extremely devoted to the Lord of the Locusts. She strives to become the Locust's host and expresses strong jealousy upon learning that Thorn is best suited for the role. (Although she hides it behind her concern that Thorn, who is more powerful than she is, could grow into a threat.) She is cruel, vicious and ruthless, relishing the prospect of killing Rose and Thorn, and killing any obstacle (or useless follower) without second thought. She is also a very efficient war tactician and knows how to play with people's emotions to make them vulnerable. She is determined to take back Atheia, without caring whether she would do it as the Locust's host, despite knowing that the Locust would leave no one alive to be her subjects.
Abilities and Powers
The Hooded One is one of the most powerful Veni-Yan-Cari to ever live, second only to her great-niece Thorn. She can dwell freely into the Dreaming and experience prophetic dreams. She can enter anyone's dreams to influence them as she pleases or to compel dreaming people (as seen when she put an unconscious Thorn into a trance). Should she capture someone in their dreams, she apparently would be able to seize them in the Waking World as well; however, she is only seen doing so in the dreams of another Veni-Yan-Cari.
She is also able to reach into the mind of many people at once, to induce mass illusions, and to alter her aspect at will. Within or out dreams, she can appear as anyone, be it her younger self, one of the protagonists or anyone else, being apparently able to delve into people's memories and copy it. Moreover, she controls the Dreaming's influence over the Waking World and can use it to perform magic, such as telekinetically blasting the hulking Kingdok away, disappearing at will, sensing people's presence even far away, among others; and was apparently able to restore Kingdok's ability to speak after his tongue was ripped off. (Thorn was able to understand other languages and even to fly at one point.)
Finally, being a princess of the Harvestar bloodline, the Hooded One is a highly dangerous warrior who wields her scythe with enough skill to destroy several arrows fired at her, and enough strength to cut steel and shatter stone with her blade. Despite her age and her condition of undead, she is much fitter and stronger than most warriors in their prime. Even worse, she cannot truly die as long as the Lord of the Locusts is willing to revive her.
- The Hooded One is referred to as a he, while Briar is a she.
- The Hooded One bares a few similarities to Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars franchise. Both wore hoods over their heads to hide their true identities, were disfigured or aged at some point during the story and died when their bodies exploded.