The main characters, who form the central cast for most stories, especially the older and the more adventure-centric ones:
Bamse, the ego of the Power Trio, is a small brown bear, usually dressed in blue. He's actually pretty small for a bear (but was apparently quite large at birth) He is described as "The world's strongest, and kindest, bear." and prefers the latter title to the former. He becomes incredibly strong by eating a special honey ('Dunderhonung,' which loosely translated means "Thunder Honey") cooked by his grandmother. Married with four children. While having had a variety of jobs, Bamse most commonly works as a lumberjack. His name means "big" and is also a euphemism for "bear".
Catch Phrase: He has two, which he uses infrequently: "Nobody turns good by being beaten" and "Better to be kind than strong." The last one is lightly Deconstructed in one story, when he thinks the dunderhonung has stopped working on hin, and is forced to admit that it's a lot easier to say that sort of thing when you already are strong.
Technical Pacifist: Hitting people is wrong, but throwing them several miles is perfectly OK.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: The world of Bamse isn't quite cynical enough for this trope to be played completely straight, but Bamse does have a tendency to think better of people than they really deserve, and has often been manipulated or played for a fool by villains who knew how to exploit his desire to see the best in everyone.
The Smart Guy: Played with. While he's actually pretty dumb, the rest of the town sees him as this. This was made clear when Reinard once sold a drink that supposedly made one smart if one drank it... unless you were exceedingly stupid, in which case you would get itches. When Bamse got itches, the townsfolk called the bluff out... since Bamse can't be stupid, right?
To be fair, though, Bamse has repeatedly been shown to be smarter than most of the town anyway.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: With dunderhonung in him he could overpower anyone. Which is exactly why it's important that he doesn't use force to solve problems but opts for peaceful resolutions by talking things out instead.
It helps that most of his antagonists calm down considerably if he reveals that he's currently super strong, making them more open to diplomatic solutions.
The superego of the Power Trio, is a tortoise of indeterminable age. Definitely brains of the group, although his effectiveness and borderline Deus ex Machina nature is often checked by his obsessive adherence to a complicated schedule of eating and sleeping, governed by his "Eat-and-sleep clock". Directly translated his name becomes "Shell-man".
Arbitrary Skepticism: He generally dismisses anything that seems supernatural as trickery or superstition, despite him *having worked for not one but two evil wizards* and having multiple encounters with witches. He doesn't deny the existance of magic or monsters, which exist in the comic's world in spades, but is still a skeptic by nature.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Has outshot Robin Hood and beaten the world records at discus and polejumping (on separate occasions) using mathematics.
Deadpan Snarker: Usually of the subtle kind — the others are often unsure of whether he's making fun of them or not. Most often, he is.
For Science!: The reasoning for a good chunk of his inventions. In fact, he directly states on several occasions that he doesn't care overly much about his finished inventions — it's the process of inventing that interests him. (The ones he keeps and uses after they're finished are usually the ones designed to make life more comfortable for him or will help him learn new things; any other invention, no matter how brilliant or revolutionizing, he'll either casually give away or — if he thinks it's too dangerous — destroy.)
Hammerspace: He keeps all sorts of things in his shell, most of which are much too big for them to have fit in there. (In the early TV movies, he states that he does not have transoceanic steamships or lunar rockets in his shell, but heavily hints that he might have anything up to that.)
One story actually explained how he can store all these things in his shell; it's thanks to an old invention of his, which allows him to shrink objects to microscopic size. The objects immediately grow to their proper size as soon as they are taken out of the shell.
Heavy Sleeper: When Skalman sleeps, he is completely unwakable. What's more, he obsessively obeys his Food-and-Sleep clock; if the clock says it's time for a nap, he'll instantly fall asleep no matter what he's doing or what's going on around him at the time.This is used to lower hisDexhina-ness.
That said, there have been instances in which he ignored the clock. Usually these have been circumstances where his friends' lives are in immediate danger and they'll die if he falls asleep. Famously, he also stayed awake for the birth of Bamse's children.
Honorary Uncle: Not actually named as such, but still fulfills the role for Bamse's and Lille Skutt's children.
Intergenerational Friendship: With everyone. The fact that Bamse's son, Teddy, is one of his friends probably doesn't seem especially odd from Skalman's perspective.
Is the id of the Power Trio, and the youngest of a large litter of rabbits (most of which have punny names about jumping) in the adventure stories his task is generally to fetch things, as he's the fastest of the group. He is usually the person to complain about heading into dangerous situations but inevitably follows anyway. Married since 1985 to Nina Kanin ("Nina Rabbit"). When not doing something else, he works as a mailman. His name means "little hop" or "little jump".
Cowardly Lion: Frequently lampshaded; despite being constantly afraid he always comes through in the end.
Cowardly Sidekick: Also frequently lampshaded; he never wants to join in on any adventures but he always does — partly because he feels it's safer by Bamse's side and partly because deep down he knows his speed and small size make him useful on the adventures.
Deadpan Snarker: Often when Bamse decides to trust or be kind to a villain, Skutt will think he's making a bad decision and/or snark about it.
Heroes Love Dogs: He has a pet dog named Lurvas, whom he saved from drowning and has kept ever since.
Horrible Judge of Character: Is often quick to judge people by a first impression, which is usually never a good thing. Subverted occasionally when he turns out to be right.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not the most jerkish of jerks, but of the main heroes he's by far the most judgmental, the most vindictive, the most unwilling to help those in need and the most likely to jump to unfair conclusions. He's also always the one who goes against Bamse's "forgive and forget" parole and suggests doing something nasty to the villains instead. However, he's not malicious about it; all his Jerkass moments are simply due to him being afraid. He always comes around when he realizes that there's nothing to be afraid of, or when he realizes that he has to face his fear in order to aid his friends.
The families of the main trio, who play important parts in the comic and — in the case of the children — are the main faces of the second-generation Cast Herd.
Bamse's paternal grandmother, who raised him after his parents were lost at sea, and who makes the dunderhonung. Even in her old age, she is incredibly strong and agile, and more than capable of taking care of herself — as most of the villains who have tried interferring with her have discovered.
Honorary Grandma: Most of the cast call her "Farmor" (Grandma), no matter if they're actually related to her or not. Only a few of the senior citizens regularly call her by her real name, Augusta Beata.
True Art Is Angsty: Usually, Brum's artwork is pretty cheery, but the trope was invoked in the story where he went through a "dark" period due to a rejection from a girl he liked and was promptly "discovered" as an artist.
The second of Bamse's triplets; The Smart Guy of the younger generation (or sometimes even to the adults when Skalman is not around). An avid reader and collector of knowledge, he's the definite Superego of the secondary Power Trio.
Blind Without 'Em: When he was very young, his parents and siblings thought he was The Klutz because he kept tripping over things. Turned out he simply had very bad eyesight, and after he got his glasses his clumsy streak lessened considerably.
The third of Bamse's triplets, and one of the very few characters in the comic to gain super-strength from dunderhonung (though in her case, she also gets the three-day-long stomachache, after the strength had faded — which is why she only eats the honey if it's an emergency. Then again, one story indicated that she used to get just the strength — which was the central problem of the story, since she was still a baby at the time. Farmor solved it by altering the recipe for dunderhonung, and the stomachache made baby Nalle-Maja not want to eat it anymore). She's the Id of the secondary Power Trio.
Bamse's youngest daughter, Friend to All Living Things, and utterly adorable Cheerful Child with a smile that can melt the hearts of even the most hardened crooks. Some time after her birth, she was revealed as intellectually handicapped with serious communication and learning disabilities, which famously led to what's often regarded as the comic's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming; the story "A Liberating Smile." She is the only character in the comic on whom dunderhonung has no effect whatsoever; it doesn't make her strong and it doesn't give her stomachaches.
Children Are Innocent: She is utterly incapable of seeing the bad in anyone, and is always the first to go and hug anyone who's looking upset.
Hulk Speak: She sometimes uses this and sometimes not.
Imaginary Friend: She often visit the anthropomorphic household articles who live in an imaginary land under the kitchen sink.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue, with her best friend Mini-Hopp being the red half. Their fur colors are light brown and white, respectively, but their usual clothes are a perfect match.
Lille Skutts's wife, and the second half of the series' Beta Couple. For the longest of time, they were in a Cannot Spit It Out courtship, until he finally managed to propose (and promptly fainted when she immediately said yes).
Intrepid Reporter: Averted. While she does work as a newspaper reporter, she largely avoids the trope, and has also been seen as sharing the mail route with her husband.
Plucky Girl: Not the most extreme of examples, but she usually handles trouble very well and is far braver than her husband.
The son of Lille Skutt and Nina Kanin; he's Brumma's age and her best friend. He has inherited his father's speed and ability for large leaps — making his name, which means "Mini-Jump" a largely ironic one. (This was at one point Lampshaded by Teddy, who wondered if the kid shouldn't have been named "Maxi-Hopp" instead.) Unlike his father, he is not afraid of anything and will cheerfully leap into and out of any danger he may encounter.
Fearless Fool: And, due to his age, far less self-aware about it than Bamse.
Keet: Probably the purest example of the trope in the entire series.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red, to Brumma's blue. He's impulsive and energetic while she's calm and serene. Their favorite clothes are, naturally, red and blue.
Abusive Parents: Abusive step-parents, anyway — they didn't even bother to give him a proper name, just calling him "lilla vargen" ("little wolf"). Which is why he is now the only wolf in the comic whose name is "Wolf."
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Was portrayed as this for a short time before and a long time after his Heel-Face Turn, though his jerkishness lessened considerably over time and the heart of gold becoming more prominent.
Make It Look Like an Accident: During his darkest moments as a villain, he often planned to kill Bamse and friends in this manner. Favourite method? Massive boulder crushing Skalmans car.
Then Let Me Be Evil: Had this moment already as a kid. He grew up with abusive step-parents who constantly used him in their criminal schemes and introduced him to a life of crime. When they were arrested, he escaped the law and tried making a new, honest life for himself — but once his criminal past was discovered he found himself distrusted and harrassed by "honest" people who told him in no uncertain terms that "once a crook, always a crook." Believing there was no hope or salvation for him, he decided that if he was going to be a crook anyway, he'd be the worst one.
He had a couple of such moments after his Heel-Face Turn as well, when he was framed by other villains and people turned against him because they thought he'd returned to his evil ways. In these cases, however, his conscience generally got the better of him and he found he didn't have the heart to go through with anything really nasty.
Three of Bamse's friends and among the more notable members of the "Bamse Gang." They were more prominent in the comic's early years, but got much more minor roles as the years went on and other characters (such as Bamse's and Lille Skutt's wives and children) were introduced and got more development. They still show up every now and again, though; Mickelina especially.
Demoted to Extra: All three of them, though Annika is probably the most notable example. She was never a major character to begin with, and appears very rarely in later years.
Platonic Life Partners: Ola and Mickelina, who after moving out from their respective parents's houses, became roommates in an apartment in the city. A lot of their friends thought this meant they were romantically involved (and, to be fair, some stories have hinted of a possible romance between them), but they denied that any romance was happening, and have remain "just" best friends since.
Those Two Guys: Well, Those Two Girls And One Guy. Or That Guy And That Girl, for when Ola and Mickelina appear without Annika.
Vague Age: Perhaps one reason for their lessening roles in the stories; Bamse and Lille Skutt were also this for a long time but after some time were firmly established as adults, as they married and had children, but Ola, Mickelina and Annika remained possibly-children-possibly-teenagers for a long time afterwards.
Katten Jansson and Husmusen
Farmor's pet cat and mouse, who frequently act as Team Pets on various adventures. Unlike the other main characters, they are (fairly) non-anthropomorphic animals, adding to the Furry Confusion of the comic.
A Dog Named Dog: Husmusen — the name means 'the House Mouse' (Katten Jansson, meanwhile, is literally a cat named the Cat, but supplements it with the surname Jansson).
Ambiguous Gender: Or possibly a very strong case of Viewer Gender Confusion. Husmusen is usually identified as male, but in several stories and adaptations (and even sometimes on the letter page) is referred to as female.
Animal Talk: The most obvious example here, as Katten Jansson and Husmusen can talk to each other and to any other non-anthropomorphic animals, but not to the anthropomorphic ones. They are shown to perfectly understand what Bamse and Farmor say to them, though.
Art Evolution: Husmusen is possibly the only character in the comic to be notably affected by this — unlike just about everyone else, he looks markedly different in later appearances.
Cats Are Mean: Mostly averted; Jansson can be selfish and mischevious, but is basically good-hearted.
Cats Are Snarkers: And so, apparently, are mice. Sometimes the two engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat, sometimes they team up to snark about everyone else. Just as well, perhaps, that most of the other characters don't understand what they're saying.
Expy: Jansson looks and acts almost exactly like Colombus, the pet cat of Lille Rickard (a previous comic by Rune Andreasson), and Husmusen owes a lot of his appearance (especially in earlier comics, before the Art Evolution kicked in) to the toy mouse Pip, from Pellefant (yet another earlier Rune Andreasson comic). Furthermore, their friendship is a lot like that of Pellefant and Pip from that comic, with Jansson's personality being a lot like a toned-down version of Pellefant's.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 2, mild case. They love to prank, trick and tease one another, but are still the best of friends. In addition, they occasionally team up in a similar Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with Lurvas, Lille Skutt's pet dog.
Lurvas and Amanda
Lille Skutt and Nina Kanin's two pet dogs, who have a romance going on between themselves. Lurvas has been in the comic for longest; Lille Skutt saved him from drowning and has kept him as a pet ever since. Amanda originally belonged to an aunt of Nina's, who had to go away for a long time and left her dog in Nina's care. Since Lille Skutt and Nina married, the two dogs have been pretty much inseparable.
Animal Talk: Like Katten Jansson and Husmusen, they can talk to each other and to the other non-athropopmorphic animals, but not to the anthropomorphic ones.
Green-Eyed Monster: When Lille Skutt was still in his Can't Spit It Out phase and was pretty much obsessing over Nina, Lurvas was incredibly jealous and resolved to hate Nina. He came around because he realized she was kind to him — and when Nina got Amanda, whom Lurvas immediately developed a crush on, any dislike for Nina that was left vanished.
Satellite Character: Amanda is pretty much there to interact with Lurvas and doesn't seem to have many relationships outside him.
Out of Focus: The two dogs very rarely appear in the comic in later years; even in stories that take place in Lille Skutt's home they're usually nowhere to be seen and unlike Katten Jansson and Husmusen they never go along on any of the journeys or adventures.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Lurvas with Katten Jansson and Husmusen. When the cat and mouse aren't teasing and pranking each other, they loive to team up in order to tease and prank the dog — who responds in kind. It's all good-natured, though, and at the end they really are the best of friends.
Bamse's pet bee. While usually a very minor character, he's notable as the only recurring character in the comic apart from Bamse and Nalle-Maja who gets super-strength from eating dunderhonung.
Animal Talk: Same deal as the other non-anthropomorphic animals in the comic.
Big Damn Heroes: On at least a couple of occasions; despite being so tiny he's extremely tough.
Rich capitalist and Corrupt Corporate Executive who will do anything for profit. He's probably the closest thing the comic has to a Big Bad — there have been several villains who were both more evil and bigger threats, but they were usually One Shot Characters — and is consistently portrayed as one of the very few characters with little or no hope for redemption.
Moral Event Horizon: Crossed it at the very beginning of his career, when his more popular and successful brother won a huge amount of money in the lottery. Krösus stole the winning ticket and left a fake one in its place, which resulted not only in Krösus getting the prize money with which he'd start his fortune, but his brother going to jail for forgery and fraud.
Karma Houdini: Sort of. He is one of the more successful villains is the story, and one of few who acctually succeed with his plans every now and then. Even when his greedy schemes fail or backfire, he's never arrested because there is never enough evidence to incriminate him. His mooks, the fixer-voles, frequently take the fall for him.
The Bad Guy Wins: Uniquely for the comic, Reinard manages to come out on top in several stories; or at least accomplish some small victory. It was made clear that he wasn't quite like the other villains in his debut story — while his plan to get rid of Bamse failed, and he never got to carry out his plan to break into the museum, he managed to turn his failure to his advantage: Since he was stopped before he broke in, he hadn't actually committed any crime and as such couldn't be arrested or punished for anything.
The Chessmaster: He's the smartest of all the villains, and is good at manipulating and using people to his own advantage.
Expy: He's pretty much a more elegant, more subtly manipulative and more successful version of Vargen from his earlier, villainous days.
Especially noticable in the stage play Bamse och Väldsmästaren i Elakhet ("Bamse and the World Champion of Nastiness"), where Reinard is the main villain and behaves almost exactly like Vargen did in the early stories, and doesn't come across as too out of character.
Faux Affably Evil: He can be very polite and charming, but it's usually just a way of tricking and manipulating others.
Pet the Dog: Very rarely, but he gets a few moments where he shows some redeeming qualities — they mostly revolve around his crush on Mickelina.
To Be a Master: Reinard's biggest goal is to become the World Champion of Nastiness, the title formerly held by Vargen. Though he actually has a higher success rate in his stories than Vargen did, he never quite manages to qualify for that diploma...
A classmate and friend of Bamse's children. He comes from a poor and slightly dysfunctional family, and sometimes lashes out at others because of this. When he was introduced he was the biggest bully in playschool, and often got into fights with Nalle-Maja, but he mellowed out over time and became friendlier with the other kids — even if he's still a bit of a rascal.
Bully Bulldog: Of the anthropomorphic kind; though the "bully" part has diminished a lot.
Intergenerational Friendship: With Vargen, which really isn't so surprising given how much alike they are. Burre thinks Vargen is the coolest adult ever.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's really not a bad guy, but he has a problem with his temper and sometimes can't resist getting into mischief.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Nalle-Maja, though they're perhaps a little too young for it to be romantic.