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Deltora Quest Wiki
Belt of Deltora300
Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.

Josef is in need of more information! Josef is lacking more details in the History: There are several scenes from the various books in which Josef appears which are not surmised here. The Relationships section is also in need of information.

Biographical information



Palace of Del


Elderly (deceased)


Marilen (as chief palace librarian)



Cause of death

Poisoned by Paff

Physical description




Hair colour


Personal information



The Shadow Lord

Chronological and political information



Chief palace librarian


The royal family

First appearance

Cavern of The Fear

Last appearance

The Sister of the South

Josef was a former chief librarian of the palace of Del who spent his life preserving and documenting Deltora's history. He served as librarian during the reign of King Alton, until he was forced to fake his death in order to flee from the conspiring chief advisors who wished to destroy The Deltora Annals. After the Shadow Lord had been banished by the heir to the throne, Lief, Josef was reinstalled as Palace Librarian. With him Josef brought The Deltora Annals back into the library and served Lief for two years before his death.[1]


The Deltora Book of Monsters[]

Josef was the palace librarian during the reign of King Alton. One day, chief advisor Prandine came to Josef and told him to destroy The Deltora Annals on the command of the king. Josef could not bring himself to do it, since the Annals contained the records of Deltora's history. Instead, he burned some lesser books and faked his own death by tossing pig bones into the fire and writing a suicide note. That night he fled the city of Del with The Deltora Annals.[2]

Josef found his way to the Plains territory, where he found room and board with an innkeeper. Here he worked on a book called The Deltora Book of Monsters, which served as both a journal and documentation on some of Deltora's most fearsome creatures.[2]

Returning to Del while writing the book, Josef met a Dread Gnome who had fled from Dread Mountain, pleading for help in freeing her people from the Ooze Toad Gellick. Josef ignored her pleas, and the next morning she was discovered dead. Josef realised that the killers were two fruit sellers who had overheard the conversation. The next day these same men arrived at the inn Josef was staying at. Luckily he was able to escape, and met a peddlar named Steven, who showed him the way to the city sewers, where many homeless people were living.[2]

It was here that Josef met a boy named Ranesh, who had recently escaped from pirates after they raided his hometown of Where Waters Meet. In exchange for food, reading, and writing lessons, Josef managed to get information about the Glus and the Guardian from Ranesh. The two quickly formed a friendship, with Ranesh going out and stealing food for Josef when they could not find any. Josef eventually came to love Ranesh like a son.[2]

Eventually the fruit vendors found Josef and attempted to kill him and Ranesh. Luckily Steven arrived and, with the help of his brother Nevets, was able to kill both vendors, who were Ols in disguise. Steven then directed Josef and Ranesh to a family in Del who could shelter them.[2]

The pair were taken in by a potter named Mikal, who housed them in his pottery. Here the pair met and befriended the workers of the pottery, among who was a woman called Amarantz. Mikal sheltered and cared for the two until the Shadow Lord had the pottery ransacked and burned to the ground and its residents and workers taken to the Shadowlands after it had learned of a resistance group towards it was brewing there. During the Grey Guards' raid of the pottery, the owners of the pottery told Josef and Ranesh to hide in the cellar. While the fire burned, the pair thought they were going to suffucate from the heat, but they luckily survived.

After the raid Ranesh was forced to return to stealing to keep the pair alive.[3]

Cavern of The Fear[]

Josef and Ranesh had continued to live in the cellar, with Josef rarely coming out in fear of being seen and The Deltora Annals being discovered and destroyed. Josef continued to work on the Annals because he saw it as his duty to paint a word picture of the land in the time of tummult.

After the Shadow Lord was banished from Deltora, Josef sent Ranesh to find Jasmine and bring her to him. Josef explained to Jasmine who he was, and that The Deltora Annals contained the secrets to helping Lief rescue the prisoners the Shadow Lord took back to the Shadowlands. She agreed to take him back to the palace, where Josef was met with a warm welcome and quickly given back his position as chief librarian.

Josef showed Lief The Tale of the Pirran Pipe, The Girl with the Golden Hair, and several documents by Doran the Dragonlover in regards to a possible entrance to the Shadowlands located in the Os-Mine Hills. This passageway turned out to be true, and lead the companions into the Pirran Caverns.[1]

The Isle of Illusion[]

Josef was one of the few individuals who knew about Marilen's arrival at the palace. She spent much of her time in the library, and grew close to Josef and Ranesh. However, Josef began to fear that she was growing fond of Ranesh. As such, he sent Ranesh away on an errand, hoping to buy time for Lief to return and marry Marilen so he would not have to send his foster son away forever.

Going to the kitchens, Josef was unexpectedly reunited with Amarantz, who had escaped the Shadowlands and had been giving work as a cook in the palace kitchen. Beatings from Grey Guards had left her deaf, so she had come to plead to King Lief for help. Josef informed her that Lief was away, causing Amarantz to sink into depression. Pained at watching his friend's suffering, Josef informed Amarantz of Marilen's existence, saying that Lief will have to return eventually to wed her. The conversation was abruptly ended when Lindal of Broome arrived with Jinks.[3]

The Shadowlands[]

Josef was among the people to welcome Lief, Barda, and Jasmine back to the palace after they had rescued the slaves from the Shadowlands.[4]

Dragon's Nest[]

After Lief's return from the Shadowlands, Josef tried to educate Lief by encouraging him to read The Deltora Annals, as well as The Deltora Book of Monsters. Sadly, Lief never did for one reason or another. Josef also began work on Tales of Deltora, a book containing Deltora's greatest stories and historical moments.

During this time, Ranesh left for Tora and married Marilen. Josef was forced to take a woman named Paff as his new assistant, and while she was eager to work, Josef could not help but compare her to Ranesh on everything.

Josef came to Lief on the night of the Full Moon Meeting. He attempted to give council to the king in regards to the famine ravaging Deltora, and how it might be connected to the disappearance of the dragons. Barda dismissed this information, and Lief wasn't able to listen more before the meeting began.

Lief later came to Josef after learning of the Four Sisters. Josef originally thought of the Tenna Birdsong Tale of the same name, but upon seeing the map fragment Jasmine had found, he remembered Doran the Dragonlover's last entry, which made reference to the sisters as devices that were poisoning Deltora. With this knowledge, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine went off in secrecy to destroy the sisters.[5]


While Lief was away, Josef began studying maps of Deltora, as well as passages from The Deltora Annals for more information on the Four Sisters. Paff, who was secretly working for the Shadow Lord, began to slowly slip poison into his food and drink, causing his health to worsen, and make Josef distrust those around him.[6]

Isle of the Dead[]

Josef had Paff send a letter to Tora in hopes of warning Lief about the Blood Lilies and Fleshbanes on Blood Lily Island. However, Paff removed the key sections of the letter before sending the incomplete message.[7]

The Sister of the South[]

Lief received another message from Josef urging him to return to Del, just as word of the Toran Plague reached them. Using water from the Dreaming Spring, Lief went to him one night while he was studying a map of Deltora. Paff's poisoning had left him weak, and he openly doubted and questioned himself. Doom then came in with Paff, whom Josef sent to give Queen Sharn a message.

When Lief, Barda, and Jasmine returned to Del, Lief made his way to Josef's library. He was passed out over his work. When he looked at Lief, he thought it was just a fever vision, but he still managed to tell Lief odd words before passing out again.

Ranesh later visited Josef after arriving with Zeean. The old librarian was on his deathbed, but he had enough time to tell Ranesh about his tunic, which Ranesh interpreted as he wanted to be buried in it. He also told Ranesh that he loved him, and that he was his son in all but blood before the poison finally killed him. Ranesh then brought his body to the palace sept to stand vigil over him.

Sisters map cross

Josef was the first to figure out the secret about the Four Sisters.

Josef's ghost was among those that visited Lief in the sept when, in his grief, he tried to remove the Belt of Deltora. Josef tried to tell the king something important, but no voice came from his mouth.

After the Sister of the South was destroyed, Lief finally looked at Josef's last book, Tales of Deltora. He read the tale of the Four Sisters, and realised what the librarian was trying to tell him; by destroying the sisters, they unleashed something worse that would destroy all of Deltora. Ranesh also found a map in Josef's tunic, which marked the city of Hira as the hiding spot for the grey tide.

Ranesh and Marilen named their son after him.[8]

Physical appearance[]

Josef was a frail, old man with white hair and a wrinkled face. As palace librarian, he wore a velvet tunic and a silken gloves.[1][8]


Josef was very wise and knowledgeable. He studied The Deltora Annals page by page, and could bring up specific documents for any problem brought to him. He was very protective of the royal family he served, and knew the value of keeping secrets.[1]

In his later years, Josef often let his tongue slip when it came to secrets entrusted to him. This often caused him to feel terrible guilt until he was personally forgiven. When Paff began to poison him, he constantly questioned himself, and openly called himself a fool for not being completely sure about something.[8]

Josef knew the value of remembering the past so as not to repeat the same mistake twice, something which he attempted to convey with Tales of Deltora.[9]


Josef was a wise and knowledgeable scholar, able to write and illustrate his own books. He remembered tales and history which had been forgotten by most people, or had been dismissed as nothing more than make-believe fairy tales. He undersood the value of ancient myths, and the truths held within them.[1][2]



Josef shares a close father-son relationship with Ranesh, who he adopted during the years of the Shadow Lord's rule.







Deltora Quest[]

Deltora Quest 2[]

Deltora Quest 3[]

​ Supplementary books[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rodda, Emily. Cavern of The Fear. Scholastic Australia. February 1, 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Rodda, Emily. The Deltora Book of Monsters. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rodda, Emily. The Isle of Illusion. Scholastic Australia. March 1, 2002.
  4. Rodda, Emily. The Shadowlands. Scholastic Australia. May 1, 2002.
  5. Rodda, Emily. Dragon's Nest. Scholastic Australia. November 1, 2003.
  6. Rodda, Emily. Shadowgate. Scholastic Australia. February 1, 2004.
  7. Rodda, Emily. Isle of the Dead. Scholastic Australia. May 31, 2004.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. October 1, 2004.
  9. Rodda, Emily. Tales of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2005.

See also[]