[[folder:Central Characters]]
!!Sadako Yamamura
The central character, BigBad, and definitive StringyHairedGhostGirl. Sadako was a teenage girl with PsychicPowers, had a pretty miserable childhood, and was then chucked down a well to her death. Years on, her spirit [[HauntedTechnology haunts a videotape]] which contains a [[BrownNote curse that will kill whoever watches it within seven days]] unless they copy it and show it to someone else. Sadako's character, backstory, and powers vary between each different continuity, but all maintain her desire to get revenge on the world through the videotape, and by other means.
* AchillesHeel: Sadako's tape is both her strength and weakness. Her curse can only spread if someone copies the tape and shows it to someone else, though the deaths of those who do watch it may inspire others to investigate the tape - and that actually happens.
* AndIMustScream: We learn that Sadako survived in the well for seven days before dying. [[spoiler: In ''Ring 2'', Sadako is revealed to have survived in the well for a good three decades by sheer will, and only died a short time before Reiko found the tape.]]
* AntiVillain: Type II.
* AlasPoorVillain
* [[spoiler: BackFromTheDead: Sadako's entire plan was to be reborn, since she had a premonition of her return before she died and made the cursed videotape and subsequent Ring Virus to achieve her goal. She succeeds and proceeds to spread her curse through Asakawa's journal as a published novel, and then through a film adaptation.]]
** [[spoiler: Tries to achieve this in ''Sadako 3D 2'', impregnating Akane after invading her body, but Akane keeps Sadako at bay, allowing her child Nagi to be born. Takanori has to keep mother and daughter apart otherwise Sadako could escape.]]
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Sadako was a sweet girl and very kind when she was alive. Subverted in ''Ring 0'', [[spoiler: where Sadako had split into two girls due to her powers, one being innocent and kind but had no control of her powers, and a SuperpoweredEvilSide.]]
* BlessedWithSuck: Her powers brought Sadako and her loved ones a lot of grief in the novels, films, and television series.
* BreakTheCutie
* BreakingTheFourthWall: In the scariest way possible.
* BrownNote: The tape.
* TheChessmaster: Definitely in the novels, and on and off in the films.
* CreepyChild: Sadako has a child in the film series. [[spoiler: Not to mention Sadako's evil twin in ''Ring 0''.]]
* DivineParentage: In the films, it is heavily implied that Sadako's father is some kind of water deity, who gave Shizuko her psychic powers.
* DoomedByCanon: ''Ring 0'' from beginning to end is this for Sadako.
* [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide: Throws herself off a building in the ''Rasen'' television series after growing tired of being used by humanity.]]
* EnfanteTerrible
** [[spoiler: FetusTerrible: In ''Coffin the Sky'', Mai unwillingly gives birth to a reborn Sadako who grows at a phenomenal rate and can escape a roof ventilation shaft like an adult.]]
* {{Expy}}: Sadako is based on one Sadako Takahashi, a Japanese woman said to have developed psychic powers and was a test subject for Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai, who Dr. Ikuma is based on.
* TheFaceless: We never see Sadako's post-dead face. It is covered in hair most of the time and the only glimpse we get is a psychotic-looking eye, which is enough to kill her victims. In ''Ring 2'', Sadako's face is reconstructed and her ghost appears with the clay head sculpture for a face, and even then it looks like a deformed skull.
* {{Fingore}}: Sadako broke off her fingernails and tips while trying to get out of the well, so we always see her with nail-less fingers.
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: In-universe example. Sadako's iconic crawl out of the television to kill Ryuji. Apparently, some Japanese audiences were so terrified that they did not turn on their [=TV=]s for weeks.
* HauntedTechnology: Her cursed videotape.
** A recorded piece of audio acts as a precursor to the videotape in ''Lemonheart'' and ''Ring 0''.
** The ''Rasen'' television series put the video onto a CD.
** ''Sadako 3D'' saw the creation of a new suicide video that was online. Computers, laptops and phones were haunted in its sequel.
* HealingFactor: Shown to heal an old man's disability in ''Ring 0''.
* [[spoiler: {{Hermaphrodite}}: Sadako is a hermaphrodite, meaning she is a woman but is genetically male and has a man's privates. She also has Androgen insensitivity syndrome, an intersex condition that means she cannon give birth. In ''Spiral'', the reborn Sadako gains the ability to give birth, making her, as she puts it, "A complete hermaphrodite."]]
* HopeSpot / YankTheDogsChain: [[spoiler: The ending of ''Ring 0'' - Sadako is thrown down the well by her dad, but suddenly awakens in a bed with her boyfriend Toyama standing over her, telling her its all a dream. Sadako reaches for him, then we jump cut to Sadako back in the well. Sadako realises what is going on and can only scream in despair as Dr. Ikuma seals her in.]]
* IAmAMonster
* KillEmAll: One part of Sadako's vendetta against the world.
* LoveTriangle: Gets in one with Hiroshi Toyama and his girlfriend Etsuko.
* MarionetteMotion: Walks in a pretty freaky manner as a ghost. Her unnatural style was performed by Sadako's first actress, kabuki star Rie Inou who walked backwards with the scene then reversed.
* MindRape: Does this a lot to others.
* NightmareFace
* ParentalAbandonment: Sadako's mother Shizuko commits suicide from depression, going quite mad in the films, possibly jealous of her daughter's powers.
* PrehensileHair
* PsychicPowers: Sadako pretty much has displayed the entire variety of powers listed on the trope's page. Her most notably power is psychography (or "nensha") which she used to create the videotape. [[spoiler: Also able to alter the genetics of human biology, and mutate a smallpox strand with her DNA into a virus able to cause tumours, heart attacks, and impregnate women with said DNA to ensure that she can be resurrected, as well as create clones of the dead.]]
* RapeAsBackstory: In the novels, and all television adaptations.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: [[spoiler: After fusing with her evil twin in ''Ring 0'', Sadako goes on a silent walk of death through the woods, killing all of her tormentors.]]
* [[spoiler: ShesAManInJapan]]
* SpookyPhotographs: A side-effect of watching the tape.
* SealedEvilInACan: Thrown down a well to die, leading to her rise as a vengeful ghost.
* ShrinkingViolet: In ''Ring 0''.
* StarCrossedLovers: Sadako and Toyama.
* StringyHairedGhostGirl: TropeCodifier.
* [[spoiler: SuperpoweredEvilSide]]
* ThrownDownAWell
* TraumaCongaLine: Where to begin? In the novels, Shizuko loses her second child to illness, becomes depressed and eventually commits suicide, joins an acting troupe and finds love but a recording of Sadako and her boyfriend Toyama having sex kills six people, her father develops tuberculosis, and then she is raped by Jotaro Nagao who discovers [[spoiler: she is a hermaphrodite]] and chucks her down a well to her death.
** In the films, she is abandoned at birth for a day, kills a journalist, her mother commits suicide, her out-of-control powers lead to several deaths and she is the victim of a WitchHunt, murders all of her tormentors, is thrown down a well by her father, [[spoiler: and survives down there for thirty years.]] And that is just the short version.
* TheVirus
* WindowLove: Confesses to Toyama through one in one of the loveliest moments of the film series.
* WomanInWhite
* XanatosGambit: Sadako's plan in the novels goes pretty much as she hoped, also backed up by the visions she had of the successful outcome.

!!Kazuyuki Asakawa
The protagonist of the first novel and ''Ring: The Final Chapter''. Kazuyuki is a Tokyo-based journalist who investigates the death of his niece Tomoko and three other teenagers, discovering the cursed videotape's existence and seeks to end its curse. At first he is a workaholic but when his wife and daughter watch the tape, he is determined to move mountains to save them. In ''The Final Chapter'', he is Yoichi's father.
* AdultFear: Kazuyuki is disturbed by the though of dying still presses on. It is when his wife and one-year old daughter watch the tape that he really freaks out.
* AuthorAppeal: One of the driving forces behind Asakawa's character in the novel is his relationship with his daughter. The author is a leading advocate of stronger father/daughter relationships in Japanese society.
* BadassNormal
* ChekhovsGun: The copy of the tape Kazuyuki made for Ryuji. He tries to use it to save his family.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: In ''The Final Chapter''.
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: After his family watch the tape, when Ryuji dies and the enormity of the virus, and when Sadako manipulates him into writing the journal to spread the virus.]]
* IntrepidReporter
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: Kazuyuki finds Sadako's body and it gives it to her family and looks fine. That is until Ryuji dies of a heart attack, revealing the Ring Virus is still active and can only be stopped by copying the tape. In ''Spiral'', it is revealed Kazuyuki wrote a journal on his investigation, thought manipulated by Sadako into doing, thus having a secondary container to spread the virus with. By the end of the novel, it has been adapted into a novel by Kazuyuki's brother, and an eventual film.]]
* PapaWolf
* {{Salaryman}}
* [[spoiler: SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: Kazuyuki and his family are abruptly caught in a car crash a few days after the events of the first novel. His wife and daughter die, though it is later revealed they may have died before the crash. Kazuyuki ends up in a coma for a month and eventually dies.]]
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: As part of Sadako's plan to spread the tape.

!!Ryuji Takayama
An associate of Kazuyuki. A mathematician, philosophy university teacher, and former medical student, Ryuji is an eccentric but intelligent man who aids Kazuyuki in investigating the origins of the cursed videotape. His character alters between different continuities. In the film series, he is Reiko Asakawa's ex-husband and Yoichi's father, being calm, thoughtful but just as cognitive as his novel counterpart, and has PsychicPowers. In ''Ring: The Final Chapter'', he is a calm but creepy individual who has to care for his half-sister Mai Takano.
* TheAce
* [[spoiler: BackFromTheDead: After dying, Ryuji is resurrected by Sadako and reappears as his adult self a few months after Ando makes his deal with Sadako. In ''Loop'', it is revealed protagonist Kaoru Futami is the resurrected Ryuji. Extracted from the Loop computer system as a baby, he was raised as a normal person until the Metastatic Human Cancer infects his father, prompting him to return to Loop to counterattact the Ring Virus, the cancer's real form.]]
* AxCrazy: His TV counterpart is, particularly if anyone messes with Mai.
* BadassBeard
* BatDeduction: Realises the tape must be copied to escape the curse.
* CelibateEccentricGenius: To an extent. Ryuji has a relationship of sorts with his assistant/student Mai, and claims to have raped three women, though he has no proof of it other than stories.
* CoolTeacher
* CloudCuckoolander: His novel counterpart is pretty nuts.
* [[spoiler: KilledOffForReal: Dies of a heart attack in ''Ring'' after failing to copy the tape. Also dies in all other incarnations of the story, most iconically in the film where Sadako crawls out of his TV and kills him via a DeathGlare.]]
* [[spoiler: LegacyCharacter: In the TV series, Ryuji is Sadako's child and is meant to spread her virus.]]
* MentorOccupationalHazard
* PapaWolf: To Yoichi.
* ThePhilosopher
** StrawNihilist: Makes quips about wanting the world to end. [[spoiler: Ends up playing a part in its "evolution" by helping spread Sadako's virus.]]
* PsychicLink: His TV incarnation has one with Mai. Kind of. [[spoiler: Turns out he carries Sadako's virus, and Mai is the key to unleashing it, and she will always know where he is.]]
* PsychicPowers: Has a form of ESP in the films, able to sense spirits or bad omens.
* PunchClockHero
* [[spoiler: SacrificialLion]]
* TheStoic: Very calm and focused in the films and only gets riled up if things get desperate. His counterpart is the ''Ring'' television series is pretty stoic too, albeit in a creepy term.
* WorkingWithTheEx: He works with his ex-wife Reiko in the film to solve the videotape's mystery. They get on very well, using honorifics, with plenty of ShipTease accompanying them.

!!Mai Takano
Ryuji's student and possible girlfriend. She has a major expansion in ''Spiral'', being an emotional woman but very fond of Ryuji. Experiences a pretty horrible AndIMustScream moment in the novels. She is the main protagonist of ''Ring 2''. In ''Ring: The Final Chapter'', she is a troubled girl who is Ryuji's half-sister.
* ADayInTheLimelight
** [[spoiler: ADeathInTheLimelight: The jist of ''Coffin in the Sky''.]]
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler: Used by Sadako as an incubator for her resurrection. She is trapped in the ventilation shaft on her apartment roof, unable to move as Sadako gives birth to herself and leaves Mai to die.]]
* AscendedExtra: Has a relatively minor role in the first novel and film, but gets a major boost to a protagonist in the sequels.
* TheChick
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: After finding Ryuji's corpse.]]
* LivingMacGuffin: [[spoiler: In ''Ring: The Final Chapter'', Mai carries both the cure for the curse in her blood but also the trigger that activates it.]]
* MysteriousInformant: Mai becomes this in the ''Rasen'' TV series.
* [[spoiler: MysticalPregnancy.]]
* PromotionToParent: [[spoiler: Becomes Yoichi's guardian in ''Ring 2'' after his parents both die.]]
* PsychicLink: Shares one with Ryuji in ''Ring: The Final Chapter''.
* ShrinkingViolet
* UnwittingPawn

!!Mitsuo Ando
The protagonist of ''Spiral'' (referred to as ''Rasen'' in adaptations), Mitsuo Ando is a lonely man grieving his son's death, traumatized by the accident and blaming himself for it and for his wife's emotional condition. Because of that he lost the desire to live, he has suicidal tendencies, but is not brave enough to commit suicide. He is also very intelligent and curious, and a very good person who wants to do the right thing, but is easily tempted by beautiful women.
* AdultFear: The death of his son.
* ClassicalAntiHero: Ando works as a pathologist, his son drowned, and hates himself for not minding Takanori properly.
* CoolTeacher: His counterpart in the ''Rasen'' series.
* TheCoroner: [[spoiler: Performs the autopsy on Ryuji's corpse, kicking off ''Spiral'''s story.]]
* [[spoiler: DealWithTheDevil: Ando agrees to spread Sadako's virus in exchange for resurrecting Takanori.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: Tried this but was too afraid to.
* GuiltComplex
* [[spoiler: KilledOffForReal: Performs a HeroicSacrifice in the TV series to prevent the spread of the cursed video. However, he is revived by his loved ones as a clone, but expires quickly after due to the short lifespan of Sadako's clones without medication.]]
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: [[spoiler: Has sex with Mai, leading to the resurrection of Sadako, who kills Mai while being reborn.]]

!!Kaoru Futami
A 20-year old medical student, Kaoru is protagonist of ''Loop''. An intelligent man, Kaoru strives to find a cure for the Metastatic Human Virus that has plagued humanity for twenty years, including his father. His investigation into the cancer leads to him to the Loop computer project, discovering much about the virus and his own existence.
* AmateurSleuth
* [[spoiler: CloneJesus: The resurrected Ryuji Takayama. As a baby, he was extracted form the Loop program and raised in the real world, but brought the Ring Virus with him, where it mutated into the Metastatic Human Virus cancer.]]
* TheHero
* [[spoiler: HeroicSacrifice: Willingly dies to stop the Metastatic Human Virus in the real world and is reborn in the Loop world as the revived Ryuji.]]
* TheMedic
* ThePhilosopher: Enjoys philosphising. It makes a lot of sense [[spoiler: considering he is revealed to be the reborn Ryuji.]]


[[folder:Supporting Characters]]
!!Kenzo Yoshino
A journalist friend of Kazuyuki, Yoshino could be considered the tritagonist of the first novel. Working in the Yokosuka city hall press club, Yoshino performs secondary tasks for Kazuyuki to find information of Sadako's past. In ''Ring: The Final Chapter'', Yoshino becomes Akiko Yoshino, Kazuyuki's subordinate, a ShrinkingViolet but very loyal to her superior.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Has his own chapters in ''Ring'' and is a supporting player in ''Lemonheart''.
* BadassBeard
* CuriosityIsACrapshoot: Very weary around urban legends but investigates Sadako's past on Kazuyuki's request, but is kept in the dark about some of the more darker elements of his friend's investigation. Ends up being one of the few characters to escape Sadako's wrath in one piece.
* DemotedToExtra: Has one scene cameo in the 1998 film, but gained a supporting role in the retconned ''Rasen''.
* FireForgedFriends: With Kazuyuki.
* GenderFlip: In ''Ring: The Final Chapter''.
* TheHeart: Akiko for Kazuyuki.
* IntrepidReporter
* [[spoiler: KilledOffForReal: In ''Rasen'', because Yoshino had handled Reiko Asakawa's journal, he is infected with the Ring Virus and dies of a heart attack.]]
* ShipTease: Akiko and Kazuyuki. Akiko often serves as a motherly figure for Yoichi.
* ShrinkingViolet: Akiko, though she becomes more confident and open.

A supporting character in ''Spiral''. Miyashita is Mitsuo Ando's co-worker at the pathology department and also his friend. He is a smart person, down to Earth, scientifically oriented and disbelieves in the paranormal. In the TV series, Miyashita is replaced by a female character Rieko Miyashita. Rieko is a very hardworking microbiologist, scientifically oriented, and loyal friend to Asakawa.
* AgentScully: Disbelieves in the curse and the paranormal until he is dragged into it himself.
* AmateurSleuth
* TheCoroner
* GenderFlip: In the TV series.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Ando.
* HotScientist
* TheMedic: Rieko is a microbiologist but knows how to treat people too.
* NecessaryEvil: [[spoiler: Aids Ando is spreading the Ring Virus in order to save his friend and himself after handling Asakawa's cursed journal.]]

!!Tomoko Oishi, Shuichi Iwata, Haruko Tsuji, and Takehiko Nomi
Four high school students who go on a trip to the Izu Pacific Land Resort. There, they stumble across Sadako's curse, which is recorded onto a videotape and they watch it. A week later, the four all die of heart attacks, kicking off Asakawa's investigation.
* [[spoiler: CameBackWrong: In the film, Tomoko comes back as an unseen ghost and allegedly told Yoichi to watch the cursed videotape. Ryuji theorises she became Sadako's minion ("She isn't Tomoko anymore.")]]
* DecoyProtagonist: Tomoko is the focus of ''Ring'''s first chapter.
* DontGoInTheWoods: Subverted. Tomoko and co. to a relatively popular camp ground. It is inside their cabin they find terror.
* InnocentBystander
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent
* [[spoiler: OurGhostsAreDifferent]]
* OutWithABang: Tsuji and Nomi were parking when they both died.
* PeekABooCorpse: In the film, Tomoko's mother Yoshimi found her body in her bedroom corpse, her face frozen in a scream. Tsuji's corpse also springs out of a locked car when police try to get her out.
* SacrificialLamb
* TheirFirstTime: Tomoko and Iwata.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: They record the cursed videotape and are Sadako's first victims.
* VictimOfTheWeek

!!Shizuko Yamamura
Sadako's mother. Gaining PsychicPowers via supernatural means, Shizuko had an affair with Heihachiro Ikuma and gave birth to Sadako. After a botched public demonstration of her powers, Shizuko became depressed and eventually was DrivenToSuicide.
* BrokenBird
* DisastrousDemonstration: Her attempt to display her powers to the public and the press failed. Made worse in the films, where a journalist accused her of faking her powers, only to be killed by an angry Sadako. This has severe consequences for Sadako in ''Ring 0''.
* DrivenToSuicide: Grew depressed and threw herself into a volcano. In the novels, it was due to the botched public demonstration of her powers and the loss of her second child. [[spoiler: The films had her go mad after Sadako killed a man by sheer will and then split into two twins.]]
* {{Expy}}: Shizuko is based on Chizuko Mifune, a woman who claimed to have foresight. Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai, a university psychology professor, studied her and exposed her to the public. She was branded a fraud, which shook Chizuko so much that she committed suicide via poison.
* KarmicDeath: Shizuko predicts that Mount Mihara will erupt on a specific date. She jumps in into the volcano on the day it erupts.
* MirrorScare: The film's cursed videotape has Shizuko brushing her hair in front of a mirror, which Sadako telekinetically moves around as a prank. In ''Ring 2'', Mai witnesses a live demonstration of this, before Shizuko acknowledges her presence and gives her a haunting DeathGlare before the mirror explodes.
* ParentalAbandonment
* PosthumousCharacter
* PsychicPowers: Gains the power of foresight after picking up a statue of Japanese figure of folklore En no Ozuno. In the films, it is implied Shizuko had her powers at birth, but gave birth to Sadako through paranormal means.
* SanitySlippage: Spends hours attending to her hair in front of a mirror, looking quite mad.

!!Heihachiro Ikuma
Sadako's father. He was a psychology professor at Tokyo University, having an affair with Shizuko after learning of her powers and eventually fathered Sadako. [[spoiler: In the films, he is ultimately responsible for chucking Sadako down the well.]]
* DeadlyDoctor: Subverted. [[spoiler: He cared for the Sadako twins, but drugged the evil one and kept her locked away. The good twin was allowed to live a normal life but her powers caused her to be the victim of a WitchHunt. After the twins reunite and kill numerous people, Dr. Ikuma realises he must protect the world from Sadako and throws her down a well, much to his regret.]]
* DisastrousDemonstration: Arranged Shizuko's public demonstration of her powers. It didn't go very well, leading to her suicide.
* {{Expy}}: Dr. Ikuma is based on Dr. Fukurai, a real life DeadlyDoctor, who tried to prove the existence of psychic powers. It took the deaths of two women for him to call it quits.
* MeditatingUnderAWaterfall: Sat under waterfalls to try to gain psychic powers but it only gives him tuberculosis.
* NecessaryEvil: [[spoiler: Threw Sadako down the well in the film canon.]]
* PapaWolf
* PosthumousCharacter
* TheProfessor
* WellIntentionedExtremist
* YourCheatingHeart: Had an affair with Shizuko behind his wife's back. Shizuko ended the affair to avert scandal, but Ikuma divorced his wife anyway.

!!Takashi Yamamura
Shizuko's cousin and Sadako's uncle. A fisherman and inkeeper living on Oshima, Takashi has a minor role in the novels. In the films, he was the instigator of Sadako's doom, and became a bitter man in his later years.
* AscendedExtra
* TheAtoner: Expresses great regret for what happened to Shizuko and Sadako, sending the latter's body out to sea in an attempt to appease her spirit.
* CharacterDevelopment: Takashi is haunted by the memory of Sadako, but also has great guilt for playing a part in the fates of her and Shizuko. Upon being forced to admit Sadako existed, he ends up taking Reiko and Ryuji to the mainland to appease Sadako. In the second film, when he learns Sadako was alive in the well for years, he takes possession of her body and performs a burial at sea.
* GrumpyBear
* EvilUncle: By no means evil, but he thought Sadako was a monster.
* [[spoiler: HeroicSacrifice: Takashi sacrifices himself to Sadako to end her rage, drowning in a swimming pool.]]
* [[spoiler: RedemptionEqualsDeath]]
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Pretends not to know Sadako, mainly because of how horrifying she was to Takashi.
* TraumaInn: His home has seen a lot of drama over the years like Shizuko's breakdown, and ''Ring 2'''s third act takes place there.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Films only. Takashi suggested putting Shizuko on display to the press, kicking off the chain of events that led to Sadako's imprisonment in the well.


[[folder:American Films]]
!!Rachel Keller
The main protagonist of the series. A hardworking journalist from Seattle who investigates her niece's mysterious death and connections to an alleged cursed videotape. Upon watching the tape, Rachel discovers the rumours are true and teams up with her ex-boyfriend Noah to find its origins before they and their son Aidan are killed within seven days.
* ActionMom
* BadassNormal
* {{Expy}}: Of Reiko Asakawa.
* FalseReassurance: She tells Aidan that they did nothing wrong when they sent Samara's tape out into the public.
* [[GoodParents Good Parent]]: To Aidan, yes. To Samara, no.
* HeroicBSOD: When she finds [[spoiler: Noah's corpse.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: In the second film, Rachel allows Samara to drag her into the tape's monochromatic world to protect Aidan. [[spoiler: She escapes though after sealing Samara in the well.]]
* HotScoop
* IntrepidReporter
* MamaBear
* NaomiWatts
* NecessarilyEvil: In ''The Ring 2'', [[spoiler:when Samara has fully taken over Aidan's body, the only way to subdue her and drive her out of her son is by nearly killing him]]. Which Rachel accomplishes by taking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and [[spoiler:lacing it with enough pills to horrify the audience]].
* ParentalAbandonment: It's strongly hinted that Rachel's focus on her career takes her away from Aidan, resulting in her being in the dark about his anxieties (if not outright dismissive) and going to parent-teacher meetings only out of obligation. This changes A LOT by the second film, specifically seeking out a smaller newspaper so she can spend more time with her son.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Granted, the Curse is hardly believable as it is, but she only has herself to blame when the lack of reasonable explanation for her actions in the second film gets Child Protection Services on her head.
* WhatTheHellHero: Surprisingly does this a lot in the series. Aidan calls her out when she reveals she freed Samara's body from the well, but he never told her before that she can never be at peace so he shares this trope.
** Rachel unleashes the tape onto an unsuspecting world, causing the events in ''Rings''.
** And again in the second film when she seals Samara in the well.
* WorkingWithTheEx: With Noah, who was her boyfriend for a time until they had Aidan.

!!Noah Clay
Rachel's ex-boyfriend and a media analyst, Noah is enlisted by Rachel to discover the origins of the cursed videotape. He is Aidan's father but doubts he would ever be a good father due to his own being a disappointment.
* BadassNormal
* IndyPloy: He's very resourceful at getting what he wants.
* LighterAndSofter: He couldn't be more different from Ryuji if he tried. Unfortunately, this also extends to his investigative skills.
* PapaWolf
* [[spoiler:SacrificialLion]]: [[spoiler: He's killed so that Rachel knows the curse isn't over]].
* TechnoWizard
* WorkingWithTheEx: Noah works with Rachel. They seem to rekindle their old flame in the process.

!!Aidan Keller
Rachel and Noah's young son who possesses a degree of psychic powers.
* CreepyChild: On par with Samara, and it becomes worse when she possesses him.
* DemonicPossession: At the hands of Samara, who appears behind him in ''The Ring Two'' in a public bathroom and approaches him with each photo he takes of himself in a mirror.
* {{Expy}}: Of Yoichi Asakawa.
* NightmareFuelColoringBook: He drew many unsettling sketches of his cousin Katie buried deep underground (or even underwater) in the run up to her death. After watching the tape, his artistic focus changes to Samara's house, the inside of the well, and progressively obsessive drawings of circles.
* PromotionToParent: Rachel's parenting and Noah's absence have forced him to take this role.
* PsychicPowers
* SpiderSense
* PoorCommunicationKills: He never volunteers any information on his visions, it has to be Rachel who asks him about them after his behavior or drawings tip her off. It's only after Rachel frees Samara from the well that he tells her she will continue to kill people.
* WhatTheHellHero: He's the one to break this to Rachel.

!!Samara Morgan
The antagonist of the series and the American version of Sadako Yamamura. An eight year old who was tossed down a well by her adoptive mother Anna, Samara created the cursed videotape to get attention and possible revenge on the world.
* AbusiveParents: Richard Morgan banished her to the ranch barn. Her biological and adoptive mother tried to drown her.
* AffablyEvil: This is debatable, even though she is an eight-year old girl.
* ArtifactOfDoom: Her version of the cursed videotape which is as twice as long as Sadako's and twice as terrifying.
* BreakTheCutie: It doesn't appear to take long. She makes verbal threats about her future rage against the world.
* CreepyChild
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Samara was nearly drowned by her birth mother Evelyn, and then received even more misery at the Morgan Ranch thanks to her uncontrolled powers. She was locked in the barn by her father, and took her frustration out on her mother's beloved horses by driving them to suicide. She was eventually tossed down a well by Anna.
* DemonicPossession: Possesses Aidan and fails to act like him when in Rachel's company.
* {{Expy}}: Obviously based on Sadako, but also on her evil twin from ''Ring 0''.
* HalfHumanHybrid: Half human, half [[EldritchAbomination something else]], according to her birth mother.
* HumanoidAbomination: see HalfHumanHybrid. Aside from that she's got PsychicPowers that are borderline RealityWarper in scale. The power she possesses is so intense that she can MindRape people just by being in proximity to her.
* IronicEcho: Rachel watches an interview from the mental institution:
-->'''Psychiatrist''': You don't want to hurt anyone.
-->'''Samara''': [[PowerIncontinence But I do]] [hurt people], and I'm ''sorry'' it won't stop.\\
Later, Rachel remembers the video with a slight change in tone:
-->'''Psychiatrist''': You don't want to hurt anyone.
-->'''Samara''': But I ''[[ForTheEvulz do]]'' [want to]... And it ''won't stop''.
* IronicNurseryTune: "[[{{Leitmotif}} Here we go, the world is spinning, when it stops, it's just beginning. Sun goes up, we live and we cry, Sun goes down, and then we all die.]]"
* MadnessMantra: [[VoiceOfTheLegion "Mommy!"]]
* MakingASplash: Samara is so terrified of water, she can subconsciously use her powers to repel it high into the air --only for it to come splashing down when her focus is removed.
* NightmareFuelColoringBook: Unwittingly made on X-ray plaques with her PsychicPowers. Like any other child, she likes images of horsies and trees, but the images themselves are horrifying.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent
* PowerIncontinence: Even before birth, she possessed PsychicPowers that exceeded her ability to control. Anyone who came close to her, man or beast, suffered horrendous hallucinations just from her being there.
* PsychicPowers: Samara has uncontrollably nensha powers, which allow her to burn images onto surfaces and into people's minds.
* SealedEvilInACan: Trapped in a well by Anna Morgan. Suffered the same fate as a ghost in ''The Ring Two''.
* StringyHairedGhostGirl
* TragicVillain: Heavily hinted that the relationship between Samara and her foster parents was anything but a loving one. [[TheDogBitesBack She repaid the favor]] [[MindRape by making their]] [[EnfanteTerrible lives a living hell]]
* WomanInWhite
* {{Yandere}}: A non-romantic example in ''The Ring Two''. Samara considers Rachel to be a surrogate mother [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe because she was nice to her in the first movie]], and [[DemonicPossession nothing is going]] [[MurderTheHypotenuse to stop them from]] [[IfICantHaveYou being a happy family]].
* YankTheDogsChain: Samara possesses Aidan and finally has her wish granted, to be loved by a mother, in this case Rachel. That is until Rachel drugs her and then exorcises her from her son in a bath, before sealing her again in the well. Nice, really nice. Any wonder many people [[{{Sequelitis}} hate the sequel?]]

!!Anna and Richard Morgan
Samara's foster parents. Anna and Richard Morgan ran a family horse ranch on Moesko Island and were renowned horse trainers in the local area. After adopting Samara, Anna suffered from horrible visions caused by Samara's powers, causing Richard to banish the girl to the barn. In revenge, Samara tortured the ranch horses into suicide by jumping off cliffs. Anna eventually kills Samara by pushing her down a well, before committing suicide herself by leaping off a cliff.
* AbusiveParents: Richard in particular, forcing Samara to live in the barn and prefers the horses to her.
* BathSuicide: Richard kills himself via electrocution in a bath. It's not a pretty sight.
* [[CoolHorse Cool Horses]]: The Morgans' famous racing horses made them famous. Then they killed themselves, making them even more famous.
* DownOnTheFarm: Make that horse ranch.
* DrivenToSuicide: Pretty much everyone in the family save Samara. Anna leapt off a cliff, Richard electrocuted himself in a bathtub, and the family horses leapt off cliffs thanks to Samara.
* ElectrifiedBathtub
* {{Expy}}: Anna is the equivalent of Shizuko Yamamura, and Richard is the equivalent of Takashi Yamamura.
* FalseReassurance: Richard tries to pull this on Rachel when she asks about the existence of Samara and the tape.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: As soon as Rachel reveals she's made a copy of the tape, Richard realizes that killing her right then and there with a hook won't keep the curse from spreading.
* HorseRacing
* IronicEcho: When Richard refers to all reporters (and Rachel in particular) as unable to leave well enough alone, "spreading the sickness" via their investigations. Which is exactly what Rachel did with Samara's curse.
* MirrorScare: A scene on the tape depicts Anna brushing her hair and the mirror is moved about telekinetically by Samara, lifted straight out of the Japanese films.
* RedHerring: That Richard killed Samara, when in fact Anna did.
* VillainousBreakdown: Richard ("MY WIFE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE A CHILD!")

Samara's birth mother. Having possibly mentally unstable prior to child birth, Evelyn was young when she gave birth to Samara and lived in a hospital run by nuns. However, Samara did not cry unless put near water. Evelyn claimed Samara was possessed by a demon and was told by her daughter to drown her in order to save her. She attempted this but was stopped by the nuns and carted off to an asylum. She appears in ''The Ring Two'', and cryptically tells Rachel how to exorcise Samara from Aidan.
* BedlamHouse
** Her younger self is played by Creator/MaryElizabethWinstead.
* MadnessMantra: The melody she hums to herself, which is [[{{Leitmotif}} the American series' theme tune]].
* ParentalAbandonment
* PassingTheTorch: Evelyn asks Rachel to out away her child since she failed to in the past.
* PatronSaint: According to an orderly at the asylum, Evelyn is visited by young mothers for guidance.

!!Max Rourke
Editor-in-chief of the Daily Astorian newspaper, Max Rourke becomes Rachel's ally in ''The Ring Two''. He is very sceptical about Samara's existence and powers, but the strange goings on changes his mind. He is eventually killed by Samara.
* DaEditor
* {{Expy}}: Appears to be the American equivalent of Okazaki.
* InnocentBystander: He is killed by Samara when he tries to record her on camera.
* IntrepidReporter
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure

!!Katie Embry and Becca Kohtler
Best friends who discuss the rumours of the cursed videotape. Katie is Rachel's 16-year old niece and close to her and Aidan. Katie reveals to Becca that she and three other students, Josh, Stacey and Scott, went to Shelter Mountain where they became the first viewers of the tape. Minutes later, Katie is killed by Samara. Her death leads to the events of the film. Becca witnessed her friend's death and was institutionalised, possibly gaining psychic powers in the process.
* BedlamHouse: Poor Becca ends up in one after seeing Samara kill Katie, and has a fear of televisions.
* HauntedTechnology: Katie has to deal with a TV that turns itself on, and the fridge door which opens by itself too.
* NightmareFuelColoringBook: Katie draws sketches of images in her head in her work book, eventually writing "Why is this in my head!?"
** She also scribbled "hair" over the faces in a fashion magazine, making all the models look like Samara.
* PeekABooCorpse: Perhaps one of the [[NightmareFuel scariest images of the film]] is when Kaite's mum Ruth opens a closet and finds Katie's body with a deformed face. The fright is not from the corpse but from the sudden appearance of the imagery.
** Katie's facial fate is hinted at in the final frames of the opening scene when the camera zooms at her face - it distorts.
* PowerBornOfMadness: Becca appears to gain some form of PsychicPowers, predicting the number of days Rachel has to live.
* VictimOfTheWeek: Katie fills this along with three others, or four if you count Becca as witnessing her death.

!!The Ring Groups
After Rachel released the tape into the public, copies were made among teenager groups, creating a teenage cult called "Rings" as seen in the short film of the same name. These [[SecretCircleOfSecrets Secret Circles of Secrets]] involve about five people, each person watching the tape to see how long they can last with the supernatural symptoms of the curse, whilst recording what they see. If they panic or give up, they can pass the tape to the next member, and so on. Very few rings have seen anyone get beyond Day 7, and the Astorian Ring seem very determined to do that, particularly with their newest member Jake.
* AssholeVictim: Subverted for Jake, who desperately tries to trick his friend Emily to watch the tape only for her to close her eyes when watching it.
* {{Cult}}
* HiddenAgendaVillain: Vanessa really wants to see the outcome of Day 7, regardless of who gets sacrificied.
* LoveHurts: Jake's crush on Vanessa leads to his involvement with the tape and to his fate at the beginning of ''The Ring Two''.
* SecretCircleOfSecrets