- ‘‘ True Evil means accepting Good as your equal. ’’
- —Leonora Lesso
Lady Leonora Lesso was the former Dean of the School for Evil.
Lady Lesso is an intricate character. Although she appears intimidating and isolated, she can be kind and compassionate. Her actions, from secretly visiting her son for five years to breaking the terms of the Trial by Tale, betray her courage and kind heart, though she prefers to maintain a cold facade because of her tough past, and because she needs to teach students how to act.
Little is known of Lady Lesso's past. She became a teacher fifteen years before the events of The Last Ever After. At the time, she'd already hidden her son in a cave near the School. Eventually, she rose to the position of Dean. After five years, Evelyn Sader arrived and revealed Leonora's son to the School Master. Sader was then evicted for committing crimes against students and Leonora was forbidden to see her son, an event that caused devastating consequences: her own death at the hands of her son, Aric. She lived in Netherwood.
School for Good and Evil
In this book Lesso mainly taught students to get colder, and focus on finding their nemesis later on in the future. She was annoyed at Sophie at first, enough to seal her mouth shut. But later on as Sophie started to become more and more evil and having her hair sheared off she started to go softer on Sophie. It was implied that Lesso loved Sophie's "trick" to win the trail the most. Calling it the "Sophie Trap." and like many evil teachers she gaver Sophie a gift containing a carved ice flower. She was petrified by the school master later on.
A World Without Princes
It had been discovered that Lesso and Dovey had been friends, they both had a disliking towards Evelyn for what she has done in the past, Lesso feared, and disliked Evelyn the most due to Evelyn knowing Lady Lesso's biggest secrets. Lesso firmly believed that if Agatha went back to Tedros, and Sophie as slain then things would go back to normal, but her mind was changed later on after trusting Sophie and Agatha that if they wished for eachother then things would return to the way it was before. Later on in the trial by tale Lesso snuck in and thought Tedros was attacking the girls but soon realized that Sophie was the one who caused the mess, she got caught and Evelyn's blue butterflies were taking her away, but not before Lesso whispered to Agatha to kiss Tedros.
The Last Ever After
Lady Lesso was seemingly loyal to Rafal. But after some mistakes like calling him "Rafal" and not master it got Sophie irritated, doubting Lesso. Lady Lesso taught Sophie how to get her true ending, saying that it can't always be love but it can be a friend or someone else's happiness. She was attacked by Sophie but Lesso deflected the spell easily. She helped fight during the war but then Aric escaped with the "help" of Sophie and he tried to kill Dovey knowing that was Lesso's weak spot, Lesso fought back. Aric had a knife and they both fought for it trying to murder the other, Dovey was the one who killed Aric with a stymph bone, but Lesso had been stabbed already, she had a quick and short conversation with Sophie asking her what made Sophie destroy the ring Rafal had given her and Sophie responded, "A friend." That made Lesso happy and as she was dying she said her real name, "Leonora." Before her death Lesso had saved a gift for Sophie. Merlin knew it and ordered Sophie to get his belonging, there was nothing there but the gift, Sophie opened it and knew that as soon as she saw the dress she would become the Dean of evil.
None of Leonora's family members were mentioned in the books except for her son, Aric. She raised him for a some time outside of the School and visited him regularly for about five years. However, the School Master suspended her privileges to leave School grounds, forcing her to abandon him. From that point on, Aric developed an obsessive hatred towards his mother.
He made a few appearances in A World Without Princes, and Lady Lesso mentions that Aric tried to kill her in the end-chaos of Trial by Tale. During the events depicted in The Last Ever After, he was Dean of the School for New Evil, while his mother was Dean of the School for Old Evil. He repeatedly attempted to kill her, be it poisoning her coffee or placing an asp in her toilet.
During the final battle in Book Three, Aric took this chance to attack Lady Lesso. He delivered a fatal wound before being stabbed in the back with a broken stymph bone by Professor Dovey.
Lady Lesso's Husband
It is said in the Never Ever Handbook that Aric's father was seen just outside the gates of the School For Good and Evil. He was extremely muscular with dark eyes that held "fiery madness." It is mentioned that Lady Lesso turned pale when this encounter was brought up.
Clarissa Dovey is Dean for the School for Good and is Lady Lesso's best friend. Lady Lesso explains to Sophie that Dean Dovey is, for her, what Agatha is to Sophie: her "true love." Sophie tries to dismiss this notion but eventually comes to accept the idea that this is part of the balance that both sides need to maintain. Lady Lesso's last words were to Dovey. Though uncomfirmed, many fans believe that Lady Lesso was a lesbian. In book 5 after Dovey's sacrifice to save Tedros she died and went up in Heaven, there she met Lesso and they lived happily.
When Sophie arrives at the School for Evil, she does not want to accept Lady Lesso's assurances that she, Sophie, belongs with Evil. Nevertheless, Lady Lesso's beauty and sense of fashion helped Sophie attempt to move beyond the restrictions of sack uniforms and awful food which the Nevers are given. She and Lesso don't get along very well at first, Lesso takes a liking to Sophie after she wins the trail. In book 2 Lesso dislikes Sophie all over again for ruining everything, she later on decides to trust Sophie but feels betrayed much later on in the book. In book 3 Lesso was "loyal" to Sophie but she was found out to be the spy for good. Lady Lesso gives her a long speech about the true meaning of evil and how Sophie will find her true ending. After Lady Lesso's death, Sophie finds a large box in Lady Lesso's office with a gift for her. When she opens the box, she discovers that Lady Lesso wishes for Sophie to become the new Dean for Evil in her place. She considers Sophie to be like her daughter.
- Many readers of the series suspected that Lady Lesso's son was Aric due to clues in A World Without Princes. This was later confirmed in Book Three.
- The name Leonora means "compassion and light," which is ironic for the Dean of Evil.
- Sophie and Lady Lesso share many similarities. They both have "good bone structure," a "love for high heels," "a vanity uncommon in Nevers," and "are great witches when provoked."
- Her last words were "My name is Leonora."
- It is implied that Lesso favors the color: purple. Having violet eyes, dress, and even giving Sophie a gift tied with a purple ribbon