Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe is the son of Cedric of Rotherwood, a Saxon noble. Although he is a skilled fighter, Ivanhoe is injured early in the story and misses out on some of the heroics. But his heart is in the right place, which wins him friends in high places. In the end he saves a damsel in distress and marries the woman he loves.
Unbeknownst to his brother, Prince John, King Richard I has returned to England and is riding around the county incognito. He helps his friend and fellow Crusader Ivanhoe win a tournament, befriends the outlaw band led by the popular hero Robin Hood, saves a group of Saxon prisoners from their Norman captors, and finally takes back his throne.
Locksley is perhaps the finest archer in England. This and his quick, level-headed intelligence have earned him the respect and command of his merry men. When luck throws him together with the Black Knight, they find mutual respect. So when the Black Knight reveals he is actually King Richard, Locksley immediately swears allegiance to him, and his men follow his lead.
Brian de Bois-Guilbert
The passionate and short-tempered Templar Bois-Guilbert has distinguished himself as a warrior in battle and in tournaments. Proud and ambitious, he won't accept defeat. Despite his membership in a military order, his experience of the world has opened Sir Brian's heart and mind to other creeds and cultures, which ultimately lead him to challenge the rules of his order.
Prince John is a villainous character with no redeeming qualities. Power-mad and paranoid, he commands no respect from the noblemen as he plots to keep the throne that belongs to his brother.
Rowena's mild manners and the way in which she is defined in relation to male characters (Cedric's ward, Athelstane's fiancée, Ivanhoe's love interest) make her seem pale in comparison to the feisty Rebecca. She exists in the novel as an ideal of feminine beauty and courtly love.
Rebecca was trained as a healer by a highly skilled Jewish healer called Miriam, who was burned at the stake for sorcery in France. Rebecca still has a supply of a special medicine Miriam created and uses it to save Ivanhoe's life. While tending him she falls in love with the Saxon knight, but it is impossible for a Christian and a Jew to be together, so she suppresses her feelings. Kidnapped by the amorous Templar knight Bois-Guilbert, Rebecca must fight for her honor and then for her life.