Hawthorne is one of the most dangerous people in Seaside. He has literally and figuratively brought a gun to a knife fight.
Firearms are a difficult thing to manage in this world. They are out there. They are potent. They are illegal. The reason for their illegality is discussed in the novel. To sum it up, firearms are illegal because people are simply not good enough with them. They are considered to be sloppy and inaccurate, difficult to wield, and resource intensive. (Metal and wood are some of the more expensive commodities in this world). With it being the case that a single gunshot can kill from a distance but not prevent a body from rising back up as an undead monster, almost all the Great City States prohibit the use of firearms within their walls. Britania on the other hand goes to great lengths to train their gunman as snipers and to use those snipers to defend their walls during their construction projects. Thus Hawthorne was trained.
Hawthorne was in fact one of the premier marksmen of his time. He was skilled with the rifle and had a good mind for gunsmithing in general. Like many men who effortlessly come to skill and renown, this was never quite enough for Hawthorne. He began his own business of selling weapons and stock piling rifles for his own use. Despite his skill and popularity, the Central Government of Britania did not take kindly to such crimes and ordered Hawthorne’s arrest. Being a man of means, Hawthorne made plans to escape Britania and as such ended up in Seaside where he would meet Julian and Face.
Hawthorne is one of those tragically flawed people with great talent and no direction. Seeing money and status as the only true measures of life, he has always made those a priority. Taking the lead, assuming leadership, or just planning ahead for life’s challenges were never things that interested him. So when Julian put the offer to him, it was easy enough to sign on. Hawthorne had no problem at all being a hired gun.
Hawthorne evolves quietly through the book. From someone who is content to go with the flow of life, sure of his abilities, to something more considered where he must face the fact that he has natural leadership qualities; Hawthorne is almost the complete opposite of Julian.
The reader will get to see Hawthorne in an almost one-dimensional way through the first half of Master of the House. He plays a role and is the wry commentary to what is going on around him. As his story begins tying in with on of the other noted gangsters in Seaside and responsibility is forcefully dropped into Hawthorne’s lap, we see how this character responds to having power and responsibility. Even among the other core cast characters this is something that sets him apart. Careful readers will see how Dori sets this path into motion upon the first meeting of Master Jack and Hawthorne.