John Barron Grey: runaway Unseelie prince and heir to The Throne, which he really doesn’t want.
The Throne and the Scepter rule the lives of the Seelie and Unseelie Fey, respectively. While both are somewhat sentient, only the Throne is truly awake and aware of its surroundings.
Really, I should say her surroundings. After all, that’s Grey’s great-grandmother in there. Mab is a subject for a whole other story, however, so for now, we’re focusing on Grey.
Born to Owen (mother unknown), who was the son of Leith, who was the son of Mab, John Baron Grey was kind of doomed right from the start. The Fey were largely isolationists when he was born, and this combined with the insane pressure of being one of the few Fey allowed enough power (nebulous though that term is) soured him toward any kind of friendships early on. The Fey’s magic is choked off from them; they never have enough. As a member of the royal family, Grey did, and he learned pretty early on that the people who clamored to be around him didn’t really want to be his friend. They were desperate to share his allowance.
Notte feels (and I agree) that Grey has more potential than Grey has any idea. Notte knows there’s a good person in there; he fully believes Grey is capable of stepping up to his responsibilities, and more than that, possibly helping his people in the trials to come.
Grey, of course, disagrees on this wholeheartedly. Why? Because it’s incredibly convenient to be a flibbertigibbet.
If he’s selfish, no one expects him to be selfless. If he’s a coward, no one expects him to be brave. So goes his reasoning. It’s just a pity Notte keeps insisting on seeing something more.
Until Grey ran into Katie in The Christmas Dragon, he really had no plans of ever changing his life of vagabond-musician. He knew eventually his people would catch him and force him to go home, but until that day came, he thought he was happy alone and wild and free.
Then Katie happened, and Suvi, and after that, the events of Strings. Now that he knows something terrible is coming, and now that he knows even Notte is worried, Grey has a heavy choice in front of him: go home like a good boy, try to continue to vagabond his way around the world until it ends, or… find somewhere else to go.
He hasn’t forgotten Merlin’s offer. It’s just not that easy to swallow his pride and take it.