Skulduggery Pleasant is an Elemental and the main character of Skulduggery Pleasant.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a powerful sorcerer who was killed in battle many years ago but came back to life as a skeleton. Many centuries ago an evil sorcerer named Mevolent gathered an army and tried to conquer the world but he was opposed by a resistance movement. Skulduggery was one of the leaders of the resistance movement but he fell victim to Mevolent's second-in-command, Nefarian Serpine, who killed Skulduggery's wife and child and then attacked Skulduggery himself with a dagger. Skulduggery then grabbed it, and discovered that it was barbed with poison. Skulduggery was tortured for several days before being killed by Nefarian Serpine. Mevolent's minions then stuck Skulduggery's body on a pike and burnt it for all to see.
One by one the other leaders of the resistance fell but strangely Skulduggery's spirit did not move on. His bones had been placed in a bag and thrown in a river, but Skulduggery was somehow able to go into the bag, re-attach his bones and quite literally pull himself together. He then returned, and with his help the resistance was able to defeat Mevolent whose minions were either imprisoned or rehabilitated, Serpine included. Another of Mevolent's henchmen, Baron Vengeous, was personally tracked down by Skulduggery, who threw a stick of lit dynamite at him. A truce was signed between the Sanctuaries and the former followers of Mevolent and an uneasy peace began. After Mevolent's defeat, Skulduggery became a detective, but he never lost his hatred for and desire for revenge on Serpine. During the war, Skulduggery was part of a group, ironically named the Dead Men, as they would always come back from suicide missions alive. Ghastly Bespoke (who Skulduggery has known since they were young sorcerers) and Erskine Ravel are some of the members.
Skulduggery, despite his bizarre appearance (which he hides while in public with a disguise), is something of a dapper gentleman. He has a polite, old-fashioned way of speech, and a velvety-smooth voice which enraptures Valkyrie when they first meet. As well as a powerful sorcerer, more specifically an Elemental, he is particularly enthusiastic about detecting, always searching for clues, much to Valkyrie's and Tanith's chagrin. He is also a flamboyant egotist, vocally exalting his own plans and showing off his magical abilities to Valkyrie, at one point walking on the ocean's surface after falling from a cliff.
Skulduggery is a clever strategist, usually forming the plan the team uses (when they actually have a plan) and sharpening his wit on Valkyrie's, taking pleasure in his own wisecracks. The two partners develop a relationship throughout the books. He reveals in Playing With Fire that he used to be great at motivational speeches, although he has obviously lost this talent, as his attempt to psyche up the party before they confront the Grotesquery ends with "I seem to have lost track of this speech, I'm not sure where it is going, but I know where it started and that's what I want you to remember. Has anyone seen my hat?"
Skulduggery's suave demeanor hides a desire for revenge. Because he died hating Serpine and his hatred brought him back, it forms part of his existence. At Valkyrie's questioning, he describes his true nature as a "dark, twisted thing." Several characters throughout the series have commented about his legendary rage, though he has never displayed this in the books. Conversely, witnessing the murder of his family makes him sensitive to the loss of others. Although he accepts sacrifice of individuals as part of war, he is highly reluctant to allow this to happen. He protects Valkyrie diligently throughout the novels; originally only about to arrest Serpine, he is forced to kill him when he attempts to kill Valkyrie.
When the Faceless Ones returned to Earth, Skulduggery is sucked into the vortex along with them. He was trapped with them in a different universe.
On an interesting note, the head he was wearing was not his own, he won it in a poker game. His real head was stolen from him by goblins while he was asleep. When Skulduggery came back to Earth alot of characters believed him to be unhinged but he says he is faking this side of his personalty. Skulduggery particularly hates being shot at as he finds it very rude.
Skulduggery is an Elemental and he excels at magic. He considers air to be his most powerful element. At the beginning of the first book to the end of the third Skulduggerry possessed standard use of elemental powers. However during his imprisonment in the Faceless Ones' dimension, Skulduggery had time to enhance previous techniques. He can now also create streams of fire, fly, create solid walls of air and manipulate the earth more than just as a defensive element.