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John Carter, Prince of Helium, Warlord of Mars
Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, he finds himself transported to Mars through mysterious ways involving astral projecton. Due to the planet's atmosphere and gravity, he is much stronger there than he is on Earth. There, he encounters both formidable alien creatures and various warring Martian races, wins the hand of Martian princess Dejah Thoris, and rises to the position of Warlord of Mars.
- The Ageless
- Ambiguously Human: Well, he looks, acts, and considers himself human, but there is the little matter of the immortality...
- Big Good: After becoming the Warlord of Mars.
- Blood Knight: He admits that he enjoys fighting a great deal, although he's quite pacifist compared to the Barsoomians.
- Dual Wielding: On Barsoom, he adopts the traditional paired long and short swords.
- Gray Eyes: Like many other Burroughs' heroes (and pulp heroes in general).
- Guile Hero / Idiot Hero: An odd combination, depending on context. He's quite clever in a fight, but can often be clueless in social situations, particularly (and self-admittedly) around women.
- Heavyworlder: Of the second variety - an Earth-normal human on a light-gravity world.
- The Hero: Of the initial trilogy and some of the later books.
- Heroic BSOD: Has one at the end of The Gods of Mars.
- Master Swordsman: Considers himself one of the best swordsman on two planets; the books show that this is for good reason.
- Though there is one case where he discovers a master swordsman among the Yellow Men who was a superior swordsman. He had to get clever.
- Mighty Whitey: Though he's a human among aliens, rather than a white man among non-whites; also the mighty part is unusually literal.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: On Earth, he's perfectly normal. However, due to lower gravity on Mars, he's superhuman by comparison.
- Out of Focus: He's the main character of the first three books, then fades into the background for a while so that other characters can take the spotlight, then becomes The Hero again later in the series.
- Outside Context Hero: Carter is this for the rest of Barsoom; an monstrously-strong, nigh immortal juggernaut of a warrior that no one ever faced before in its history.
- Slasher Smile: his "fighting grin" is a heroic version.
The Red Martians are the most predominant people in Barsoom, originated from the interbreeding between White, Black and Yellow Martians. They are organized into a system of imperial city-states such as Helium, Zodanga, Ptarth and many others. They resemble humans very closely, except for their red-copper skintone and laying eggs instead of giving birth.Tropes related to the Red People:
- Bizarre Alien Biology: They lay eggs instead of give birth, they mature extremely quickly (Carthoris is already an young adult by the time he reunites with his father only after a decade has passed) and after reaching physical maturity, their aging process is significantly slowed down.
- Butt Monkey: The Red Martians are preyed by quite literally everyone else in the planet. If they aren't being raided by Greens or Blacks, they are being lured to A Fate Worse Than Death by the Whites.
- In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: They are the product of crossbreeding between the (supposedly) long extinct precursors in Barsoom history.
- Foil: To the Green Martians.
- Human Aliens: They are the most human people in the series. For whatever the term holds.
- Mixed Ancestry: White, Black and Yellow.
- Perma Shave: Facial hair is considered unknown to Red Martians.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Of the "soldier" variety. They are more disciplined and well-structured than the other warrior races.
- Red Skinned Space Babe: Female Red Martians are noted for their extreme beauty and its rather notable that all female love interests in this series belong to this race.
Princess of Helium and John Carter's Love Interest. She is repeatedly captured through out the books.
- Deuteragonist: In the first book, of which she is the eponymous character.
- Distressed Damsel / Defiant Captive: She gets kidnapped a lot. Still, while she doesn't usually fight her captors physically, she's generally quick to show her contempt for them. In Warlord, she once has to be knocked out and carried by her captors, as there was no way they could drag her along with them.
- Damsel out of Distress: Sometimes she can get herself out of trouble, or if nothing else, assist John in doing so.
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Happily Married: With John Carter.
- Hot Scientist: Went on a scientific expedition to find and fix the atmosphere factory.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Done to her constantly.
- Interspecies Romance: With John Carter.
- Kirk Summation: She delivers an epic one to the Tharks who captured her while attempting to convince them to reach peace with the Red Martians."Why, oh, why will you not learn to live in amity with your fellows, must you ever go on down the ages to your final extinction but little above the plane of the dumb brutes that serve you! A people without written language, without art, without homes, without love; the victim of eons of the horrible community idea. Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves. Come back to the ways of our common ancestors, come back to the light of kindliness and fellowship. The way is open to you, you will find the hands of the red men stretched out to aid you. Together we may do still more to regenerate our dying planet. The grand-daughter of the greatest and mightiest of the red jeddaks has asked you. Will you come?"
- The Matchmaker: She develops a talent for this, because her husband has no idea how to deal with women falling in love with him. She usually befriends the women in question and pairs them off with someone else.
- Ms. Fanservice: Like most female Martians. Hell, its even Lampshaded by Carter in her first appearance."She was destitute of clothes (...) save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure."
- Nice Girl: Dejah is a faithful wife, a caring mother and overall a empathetic and nice person. She managed to push a Thern, of all people, who tried to kill her into perform a Heel–Face Turn.
- Only Sane Man: By the time of the first book, all Martians are fully aware that the atmosphere will soon be unbreathable. Dejah Thoris is the only political figure interested in any truce to try to prevent this common problem.
- Out of Focus: She has little screen-time in later books than she does in the first book.
- Princess Classic
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: In attitude, though she isn't herself a fighter.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's an incredibly popular political figure in Helium, and she's introduced leading an expedition to test the conditions of Barsoom's decaying atmosphere.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Virtually every male Big Bad in the first trilogy tries to force her into marriage or rape her.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman
- Xenafication: The Film of the Book gives her the fighting skills to back up aforementioned Proud Warrior Race Girl attitude, making her a full-on Lady of War.
CarthorisSon of John and Dejah. He was born the very day his father disappeared from Barsoom.
- Ascended Extra: A supporting character in Gods and Warlord, he's one of the two leads in Thuvia.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Though he only seems to have invented one thing that gets used (essentially, an autopilot for airships). Otherwise an Informed Ability.
- Half-Human Hybrid
- The Hero: Of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
- Luke, You Are My Father: In Gods with Carter, though it takes both an embarassingly long amount of time to realize they're father and son.
- Meaningful Name: Carthoris = Carter + Thoris.
- Super Strength: Though not to the extent of his dad, he's still stronger and more agile than most Martians.
ThuviaA young princess of Ptarth that was captured 15 years ago by the White Martians and made their slave. She is freed by Carter when he returns to Barsoom and develops an infatuation to the Earthman. She is the female lead of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
- Ascended Extra: After being a supporting character in Gods and Warlord, she gets to be one of the two central protagonists of the fourth book, which is named for her.
- The Beastmaster: she has the ability to command banths, and uses this frequently.
- Damsel out of Distress: Somewhat more proactive than Dejah; she shoots and kills a Thern who had abused her and manages to throw off the influence of Tario, who while completely insane was still one of the strongest psychics on the planet. She also kills Salensus Oll along with Dejah and Phaidor.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: She's the princess of Ptarth, though this isn't immediately revealed.
- Friend to All Living Things: Well, all banths, anyway. Its said she always had a way to deal with them ever since she had one as a pet when she was a child. She doesn't understand this ability any better than everyone else.
- Love Father, Love Son: She initially showed attraction towards Carter, but eventually got over him when she realized he was faithful to his wife. She settled for their son, Carthoris, in her own spin-off book.
- Loving a Shadow
- Psychic Powers: Beyond the usual subtle telepathy of Red Martians, she can communicate with and control banths.
Tara of HeliumDaughter of John and Dejah and younger sister of Carthoris.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-Red Martian, half-Earthling. Unlike her brother, however, she demonstrates none of her father's Super Strength or other abilities.
- Hello, Nurse!: She has inherited her mother's extreme beauty, and many men are willing to ignore her less than appealing personality flaws because of it.
- Nerves of Steel: She inherited her father's resourcefulness and resolve.
- Royal Brat
- Spoiled Brat
- Survival Mantra: "I still live"—learned from her father.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!
Kantos KanA Jedwar (Captain) in Helium's army.
Tardos MorsDejah Thoris' grandfather and Jeddak of Helium.
- Badass Grandpa
- Big Good: He served this role prior to John ascending as Warlord of Mars.
- The Good King: He is regarded as the noblest and greatest of all Jeddaks among the Reds.
- Made a Slave: While under Salensus Oll's captivity.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
Tan Hadron of HastorThe main protagonist in A Fighting Man of Mars, Hadron is a officer in Helium's army who embarks in the search of his beloved Sanoma Tora.
- Badass Normal: Compared to John Carter, Ulysses Paxton and Carthoris, Hadron is just an average Red Martian soldier that lacks Super Strength like other main protagonists of other books and also several times more vulnerable than they are, which makes all his feats of bravery even more impressive.
- Impoverished Patrician: Hadron is technically a prince of Gathol through his mother side, but he doesn't enjoy any special privileges, not that he minds it initially though it frustrates him because Sanoma Tora won't spare a thought about him due to his station.
- The Hero: In A Fighting Man of Mars.
- Humble Hero: Hadron is quite comfortable with his humble life as a padwar in Helium's army.
- Loving a Shadow: He is infatuated with a idealized version of Sanoma, projecting many virtues that the real deal lacks. He grows out of it when he sees
- Oblivious to Love: Hadron doesn't realize he fell in love with Tavia until late in the story.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: He just considers Tavia a good friend. No really.
- Survival Mantra / Badass Boast: He also uses John Carter's "I still live."
- Action Girl: Compared to most Barsoomian heroines, Tavia is more hands-on, directed to combat and more likely to free herself if captured.
- Badass Princess: The one most deserving of the title.
- Battle Couple: With Hadron.
- Boyish Short Hair: She is described as having cropped, short hair.
- Everything Is Better With Princesses: In a unsurprising turn of events, Tavia reveals she is actually a princess.
- Damsel out of Distress: In a sharp contrast to Sanoma Tora.
- Deuteragonist: In A Fighting Man of Mars.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Made a Slave
- Plucky Girl
- Sweet Polly Oliver: She escaped from Tul Axtar's harem by disguising herself in male warrior trappings.
- Tomboy Princess: Though its not initially established she is an princess, Tavia is definitely a tomboy. In fact, she is deemed too masculine-looking for Axtar's tastes and he strands her alongside Hadron, rather than adding her to his harem (much to Hadron's relief).
- Alpha Bitch
- Beauty Is Bad: Tora is extremely beautiful and alluring, but these are pretty much her only redeeming traits.
- Dirty Coward
- Distressed Damsel: Being captured by Tul Axtar and added to his harem is what kicks off the events of A Fighting Man of Mars as Hadron goes to rescue her. In a unusual turn of events, she betrays her rescuers and sides with her kidnapper.
- Romantic False Lead: To Hadron.
- Rich Bitch: Her father is a Nouveau Riche, who is merely distinguished by his immense wealth than any other quality.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Hadron spends the book searching for her out of love, to prevent her from being made Axtar's concubine and manages to save her and imprison her captor. How does Sanoma repays? She basically sells Hadron and Tavia out by siding with Tul Axtar when he promised to make her his Jeddara if she released him. In her defense, she convinced Axtar to merely maroon Hadron and Tavia in a savage land instead of outright kill them out of mercy.
- Uptown Girl: She is this to Tan Hadron at first. While he has Blue Blood himself, he is neither rich or privileged - He is identified rather as a lowly, poor padwar (army officer) than a chieftain and as such Sanoma looks down on him, which is ironic given his background, he would stand higher than her due to him being a prince and her being merely a noblewoman from a recently ascended family.
Tul AxtarBent on conquering the world, Tul Axatar caused several advanced war products to be developed which would make victory guaranteed; disentegrating rays, cloaking devices, millions of starving warriors. He also had a harem of thousands of women kidnapped around Mars, with Sanoma Tora as the newest addition.
- Big Bad: In A Fighting Man of Mars.
- Dirty Coward: Even compared to other villains in Barsoom, Axtar stands out. He postpones his conquest of Barsoom out of fear, despite having all advantages at his disposal such as superior weaponry that nobody can match and surprise. Whenever he is backed into the corner by Hadron, he is utterly terrified.
- Evil Overlord: Rules his kingdom of Jahar with iron fist, regularly kidnaps beautiful women for his harem and has plans of conquering Barsoom.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Does this to Sanoma Tora. Would have done it to Tavia too, but she took measures to make herself look unappealing enough for him to leave her alone.
- Take Over the World: His ultimate plan.
- We Can Rule Together: Makes this offer to Sanoma.
Phor TakOriginally from Jahar, this ancient scientist fled Tul Axtar's oppressive influence and relocated at a white castle he named Jhama. He is the creator of the disentegrator ray, the invisiblity paint, and "the flying death," a smart bomb.
- The Dragon: He was originally this to Axtar.
- Enemy Mine: He forms an alliance with Hadron to help against Axtar, though its clear that Phor Tak is just as evil and also wants to take over Barsoom.
- Evil Laugh: Has a very distinctive cackle that sounds like "Heigh-oo"
- Mad Scientist: He created fearsome disintegrating rays that are capable of dissolving ships effortlessly.
- Animal Motifs: Spiders. He has then adorned in his inner quarters and then there is his nickname.
- Beard of Evil: Unusual in Red Martians, since they are said to lack facial hair.
- The Caligula: Even more so than Tul Axtar.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: His favored pastime.
- Karma Houdini: After the heroes escape him, Ghron is never mentioned again and therefore never faces any punishment or repercussions for his actions.
- Torture Technician
- The Red Baron: The Spider of Ghasta
- Creating Life Is Bad: Ras Thavas discovers this the hard way when he creates the Hormads.
- Grand Theft Me: specializes in this, and has his student, Vad Varo, do it for him.
- Grey and Gray Morality: he is one of the few charactes in the books who is not clearly good or bad, but rather somewhere in between. He does do morally quastionable things, yet he also uses his skills as a surgeon to help people.
- Mad Scientist: swaps peoples minds for money and later creates an army of synthetic creatures.
- Tin Man: Ras Thavas, just like the Toonolians, appears to have reached this state from excessive desire to be The Stoic. He professes to be above such things as sentiment, but when he manifests it, and Ulysses Paxton calls him on it, he is in complete denial.
- Turned Against Their Masters: he falls victim to this with the Hormads.
- Grand Theft Me: She falls victim to this.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Warriors used to fought over to claim her. She is perfectly fine with having her body switched with a old hag if it means no more people dying because of her.
- Big Bad: In Master Mind of Mars.
- Evil Old Folks: Just like Issus, Xaxa is extremely old and looks like it. Given how slowly Martians age, she must be centuries old.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: She is said to have cruelly taxed and exploited her citizens and used the fear of their deity to keep them from rebelling.
- Grand Theft Me: She switched bodies with Valla Dia.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Or you precious home will fall.
- Arranged Marriage: With Dejah Thoris.
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Tal Hajus in A Princess of Mars. He is the final obstacle to be overcome in the first book.
- Flat Character: There isn't much to his character other than being a Prince of Zodanga (the rival city-state to Helium) and forcing Dejah to marry him and secure peace between the two.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The marriage ceremony is crashed by Carter with an army of Tharks. According to Martian customs, a woman cannot marry the man who murders her husband or groom. The problem is settled when Tars Tarks is the one to kill Than instead of Carter.
The other most predominant race in Barsoom, the Green Martians are a nomadic, primitive race of green-skinned humanoids with two pair of arms. They are extremely warlike and brutal, pretty much being orcs, as they frequently raid Red Martians and are the most common foes battled by the main heroes, with the exception of the Tharks, who become allied to them from the end of first book on.Tropes related to the Green People
- Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted with the Tharks at least. They are shown to be savage raiders that look down upon weakness, have no written language or do not form bonds of marriage or family, but they can be reasoned with and eventually become allies to Carter (albeit only because of his strength).
- Barbarian Tribe
- Foil: To the Red Martians as two most predominant peoples of Barsoom.
- Humanoid Aliens: They are easily the most monstrous and inhuman-looking race in the planet.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Averted! While they are green-skinned, they are not even remotely attractive.
- The Horde: Any tribe that isn't the Tharks.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Green Martians have two pair of arms.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Notable that they precede the Trope Codifier, but they have elements of both the Tolkien and Blizzard molds.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: They value strength above everything else, its why they dislike Sola for being too soft or Tal Hajus for being a coward and why the respect Carter.
Tars TarkasA Thark warrior who is the first being to befriend John Carter when he first sojourns on Mars. He is Carter's most valuable ally and his blood brother, having become Jeddak of the Tharks with his help.
- Asskicking Equals Authority
- Blood Knight: Like most Tharks.
- Bash Brothers: He's Carter's best Martian friend and probably the best warrior on the planet after him- if they're fighting together, well, you don't want to be a mook.
- The Lancer
- Klingon Promotion: He becomes the new Jeddak by killing the previous one, not that it was that hard.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He is noted for being too noble and honorable for a Thark. His daughter Sola shares the same trait.
- Out of Focus: From the third book onwards, Tars rarely appears again.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
Tal HajusJeddak of the Tharks in A Princess of Mars.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Subverted. He must have been a powerful warrior in his youth to win his throne, but by the time he shows up in-story he's gone badly to seed.
- Arch-Enemy: To Tars Tarkas
- Big Bad Ensemble: With Sab Than in A Princess of Mars. He is the initial antagonist during the book's first half.
- The Caligula
- Curb-Stomp Battle: When Tars challenges him, Burroughs doesn't even bother describing the fight. Tars wins that effortlessly.
- Dirty Old Man: He has absolutely no compunctions about forcing himself on Dejah or Sola.
- Fat Bastard
- Orcus on His Throne: He is too bloated and degenerated to even move, let alone fight.
- Villainous Glutton
- The Chick: for whatever weight the term holds on Barsoom.
- Establishing Character Moment: when she provides a Comforting Comforter for John Carter.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Tars Tarkas is her father. Most Green Martians don't know either parent.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother was tortured and killed when she was little and her father never knew who she was.
- Nice Girl: Sola is very nice and gentle, which is unusual for her kind.
SarkojaA very cruel and bitter Green Martian crone charged with looking over the Tharks' prisoners.
- Asshole Victim: Tars has her exiled to the River Iss upon becoming a Jeddak. Nobody ever heard or saw her again, but given what awaits everyone who undertakes pilgrimage to Valley Dor, it supposedly wasn't a very good way to die. Not that she didn't have it coming either way.
- Evil Old Folks: She is 900 years old and a very evil Martian.
- Jerkass: Sarkoja cruelly abuses Dejah while she is her captive, tries to have Carter killed for daring to step up to protect her. Its also revealed she is responsible for the death of Sola's mother Gozava.
Black Martians "The First Born"
Referred to as the very first race of men in Barsoom, the Black Martians trace their origins to 23 million years in the past, being the very first people to break from their egg shells. To the rest of Barsoom, they came from the nearest moon of Thuria but in reality, they dwell in the Lost Sea of Korus under Valley Dor, but they also inhabit the hidden stronghold of Kamtol in the great rift valley. The First Born are a proud people that consider themselves superior to all Martians.Tropes related to the Black Martians
- A God Am I
- Dark Is Evil: They pull a Heel–Face Turn after Issus is dethroned, but they still remain ruthless racist pirate-lords as seen with the First-Born in Kamtol. Xodar is honorable, but its clear he is the exception.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: To any female Thern, being taken alive by the First-Born pirates is considered one.
- Food Chain of Evil: You know White Martians are bad because they eat Red and Green ones. The Black Martians eat all of these.
- The Hedonist: First-Born's society is so decadent that they see menial labor beneath them. Everything that doesn't involve warfare is left to the slaves and its said their females are so idle they require slaves to narrate and describe the world around then so they wouldn't have to open their eyes.
- Made a Slave: The First-Born rely very heavily on pillaging and slavery so any of the Barsoomian races are prone to being this.
- Master Race: They consider themselves so above everyone else in Barsoom that even the lowliest First-Born peasant is a God of his own right, tended by his own slave retinue. They even run risk of being enslaved themselves when they fall out in favor of Issus.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: All men are expected to fight and die for Issus as their privileged honor and duty. Those that are defeated and survive suffer immense disgrace and lose their favor with Issus and are reduced to slaves themselves - the only way to recover their favor was to fight in the arena.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Raiding Valley Dor for women to enslave is not merely their pastime, its their sacred duty. They are not the only ones, since they target the Red People too.
- Space Pirates
IssusThe Supreme Deity of Mars, she is in reality an very ancient female Black Martian.
- A God Am I
- Big Bad: Of the second book The Gods of Mars.
- Do with Him as You Will: Carter leaves Issus at the mercy of her subjects after exposing.
- Elderly Immortal: Martians are said to be The Ageless, yet Issus clearly shows signs of age. She is probably that old.
- God Empress
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Issus ruled over her kingdom with iron fist, had female slaves regularly sacrificed to her for no reason but to glorify her "divinity".
- Hoist by His Own Petard: She was butchered by her own people after Carter revealed she was nothing more than an crazy old woman.
- I Am A Humanitarian: After a year or so, Issus devours her handmaidens.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: When actually confronted, she's revealed to be powerless.
- Psychic Powers: Part of how she maintains the fiction of her divinity; most Martians are mildly telepathic, but the ability is unknown among the First Born- except for her. Carter recognizes what it is almost immediately, though.
- Revenge by Proxy: She has Dejah, Thuvia and Phaidor thrown inside the Temple of the Sun, sentencing them to a slow death by starvation, because all three women were in love with John Carter, the Earthman who dared to defy her divine will.
- Time Abyss: How old is she said to be is not stated, but judging by how long Barsoom venerated her as a goddess, its believed she is over hundreds of thousands years old.
- Villainous Breakdown: Issus gradually looses her sanity after having her will defied by John Carter. When he has the crone at his mercy, she had gone so off the deep end that it even disturbed him.And then it was that she went mad. A screaming, gibbering maniac writhed in my grasp. It bit and clawed and scratched in impotent fury. And then it laughed a weird and terrible laughter that froze the blood. The slave girls upon the dais shrieked and cowered away. And the thing jumped at them and gnashed its teeth and then spat upon them from frothing lips. God, but it was a horrid sight.
- Defector from Decadence: He renounces Issus once she realizes she is not all-powerful as he was lead to believe.
- Defeat Means Friendship
- Fire-Forged Friends: He and Carter start out enemies, but become allies after being imprisoned in Issus' dungeons together.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: At first, he's the only sympathetic Black Martian.
- Noble Demon
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Worthy Opponent
ThuridA First Born Dator that first appeared in the second book to humiliate Xodar after he had fallen from grace. John defends Xodar by knocking out Thurid and severely wounding his pride. He joined forces with Matai Shang in Warlord of Mars, providing him with a secret entrance to the Temple of Issus where his wife Dejah Thoris is imprisioned, motivated to absolutely hurt the Earthman for humiliating him.
- Ascended Extra: In Gods he appears in one scene, where all he does is get badly beaten by Carter. In the next book, Warlord, he's one of the main villains.
- Big Bad: Of Warlord, with Matai Shang and Salensus Oll.
- The Brute
- Master Race: He's a First Born. It's their thing. Not that it stops him from lusting after females from "lesser races".
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Matai Shang; he's red. He's a Hot-Blooded warrior motivated primarily by a desire for revenge.
- Revenge Before Reason: He hates Carter for humiliating him in front of Issus' court.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Matai Shang.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He backstabs Matai Shang when the Thern's last plan goes belly-up. Of course, Thurid himself dies minutes later when Phaidor Avenges the Villain.
- Villainous Crush: Towards Dejah Thoris.
The White Martians are the Precursors in Barsoom's history. Its said they ruled Mars over 500.000 years ago as a seafaring culture, but their empire degenerated over the years after the oceans started to dry up. White Martians resemble Caucasian humans with blonde hair though some of their descendants are either auburn-haired or bald. Their people still live to this day as reclusive beings split into three races:
- The Orovars, the original White Martian people hiding within Horz, one of the oldest of the dead cities of Mars, and are very adamant to keep their existence secret.
- The Therns, who inhabit Valley Dor and promote an complex Path of Inspiration to lure other races into their home in search of paradise, only to be enslaved and devoured. They are the primary antagonists in the second and third book.
- the Lotharians, a Dying Race of very powerful psychics who spend their time debating philosophy among themselves.
- A God Am I: The Therns of Valley Dor have this attitude. Ironically, the Lotharians (who have extremely advanced superpowers to back up the claim) lack it.
- Big Bad Wannabe: The Therns like to think themselves as the masters of Barsoom in reality, they are just puppets to another people who manipulated them the same way they had with the other Martian peoples.
- Bald of Evil: The Therns are completely hairless, but use wigs to emulate their ancestors and its considered extremely shameful to be seen without them.
- Dirty Coward: The Therns are noted to fight dirty and refuse to strike back at the First-Born pirates who venture into their domain and capture any female Therns they can put their hands on.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: A race of white-skinned, blonde haired and blue-eyed people who sees themselves as superior and therefore has the right to exploit them however they sees fit. A Nazy By Any Other Name is averted however, since they were introduced decades before the Nazis came to power.
- Dying Race: By the time they are discovered, there are only 1000 Lotharian males left with no females. On one hand, they have been able to live indefinitely thanks to their powers, but have became such shut-ins that is very unlikely they would have been able to rebuild themselves or be re-integrated with the remaining Therns.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Therns devour the flesh of Red and Green Martians after it has been drained of its defiling blood by Plant-Man.
- Hidden Elf Village: Valley Dor for the Therns, Horz for the Orovar and the Torquas Swamps for the Lotharians.
- Light Is Not Good: White Martians have served as antagonists from time to time in the books. While it is mentioned in the background Whites have joined the heroes after Issus' downfall and became integrated to Red Martian society, the number of sympathetic named characters can be counted in one hand.
- Made a Slave: The Therns enslave those lured to Valley Dor that survive the White Apes and the Plant Men.
- Religion of Evil: The Therns used to promote the Cult of Issus to make slaves out of anyone who ventured into Valley Dor. They are also on the receiving end by the First-Born who lured them towards the Temple of Issus in the underground Sea of Omean where paradise waited them.
- The Lotharians venerated a deity called Komal (in reality, it was a large banth) to whom Tario sacrificed people who displeased him.
- Vestigial Empire: Once the White Martians were the most predominant people of Barsoom, now all that remains are three hidden cities, of which only one of them still preserves their past.
Matai Shang, "The Father of Therns"The Holy Hekkador (High Priest) of the Therns.
- A God Am I
- Bald of Evil / Blond Guys Are Evil: Like all Therns, he's naturally bald but wears a wig to cover it up.
- Big Bad: Of The Warlord of Mars, shared with Thurid and Salensus Oll
- The Chessmaster
- Cold-Blooded Torture: He and Thurid agreed to inflict any vileness they could think on John Carter's princess.
- Evil Gloating
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: In Gods he's mentioned a lot but never shows up in the flesh. This changes in the first chapter of Warlord.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: He says it to Carter's face this is what he intend to do with Dejah after killing him.(...) But that the death you die tonight may be doubly bitter, know you that when you have passed, your widow becomes the wife of Matai Shang, Hekkador of the Holy Therns, for a Martian year. At the end of that time, as you know, she shall be discarded, as is the law among us, but not, as is usual, to lead a quiet and honored life as high priestess of some hallowed shrine. Instead, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, shall become the plaything of my lieutenants—perhaps of thy most hated enemy, Thurid, the black dator."
- Priest King
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Thurid; he's the blue. He's a cold-blooded schemer who stays away from the action and is mostly motivated by a desire to maintain his power.
- Smug Snake
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Thurid; they hate each other, but hate Carter more.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Matai Shang, Holy Hekkador of the Holy Therns, Father of the Therns, Brother of Issus, Master of Life and Death Upon Barsoom.
Matai Shang's daughter, she was introduced being captured by the First Born.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Carter and Dejah are legitimately moved and grieved at her death.
- Alpha Bitch: The Martian equivalent of one, being the princess of a cannibal cult that looks down on all other Martian peoples and consider themselves as divine beings and acting extremely condescending towards John Carter at times. While her age is not specified, she is possibly much younger than Carter, who refers to her as "young girl" many times.
- Anti-Villain: While she's not a very good person, and has all the character flaws of your average Thern, she's genuinely in love with John Carter and Obliviously Evil for most of her life.
- Avenging the Villain: Part of why she kills Thurid- at the very least, his murder of her father was the immediate provocation.
- Break the Haughty: She is captured by Black Martian pirates which is considered A Fate Worse Than Death among her kind and upon learning that her people are not truly gods, but prey to another race that had manipulated them the same way her people did with the Red and Green Martians, she sits in a corner with her face buried in her arms sobbing like a very unhappy little girl than a proud and all-powerful goddess.
- Cute and Psycho: She is an extremely beautiful and sweet young girl who is introduced as a unfortunate damsel abducted by the First-Born pirates and falls for John Carter when he attempts to rescue her. She also smiles cruelly when Carter kills said pirates and turns murderous when learning he was already married to another woman and tries to kill the poor woman.
- Dark Chick: In Warlord of Mars. She is not really part of the Villain Team-Up between her father, Thurid and Salensus Oll, she is just mostly along for the ride.
- Daddy's Little Villain: To Matai Shang.
- Distressed Damsel: An evil version, mind you.
- Driven to Suicide: After her Heel Realization, invoking Death Equals Redemption.
- Establishing Character Moment: In her first scene, Phaidor is a First-Born captive. When Carter releases her saying he will kill her captors, she flashes a Slasher Smile towards him, which greatly disturbs Carter how could such lovely and beautiful face sport such cruel smile. It gives the impression that she isn't as innocent she appears.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: About half her dialogue to Carter involves expressing bafflement about why he does the things he does (the other half is her admitting she's attracted to him anyway).
- Heel Realization: At the end of Warlord. After seeing the lengths Carter is willing to go to rescue Dejah, she realizes how shallow and selfish her own life and love for Carter has been.
- Made a Slave: Very briefly was forced to be Issus' handmaiden.
- Ms. Fanservice: She is described as divinely beautiful.
- Obliviously Evil: It's clear that, even more than your average thern, Phaidor simply does not get why being a cannibalistic would-be goddess or attempting to Murder the Hypotenuse would be a bad thing. She suffers a Heel Realization when she can't deny it anymore.
- Shadow Archetype: To Dejah.
- Villainesses Want Heroes
- Woman Scorned: Let's just say that princesses of races of creepy mystics with god complexes don't take rejection very well...
- Yandere: Trying to murder a woman married to a man that she is infatuated with certainly makes her one.
TarioJeddak of Lothar.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Rather unusually for White Martians, Tario is regarded as the most powerful mind among the Lotharians, therefore he is their Jeddak.
- Evil Overlord: Of the Lotharians.
- Evil Redhead
- Fed to the Beast: Tario throws those who displeases him to Komal - a very large, monstrous banth (a Martian lion).
- Hypnotize the Princess: Literally tried to pull this on Thuvia.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Tario attempted this on Thuvia of Ptarth. It ended badly for him. Komak reveals that Tario was attempting to materialize a beautiful girl to serve as this purpose.
- Master of Illusion
- The Needless: Believes that he doesn't need to eat illusionary food to keep his internal functions working, so he doesn't.
- Psychic Powers: All Martians possess it to some degree, but the Lotharians have it to the extreme and Tario is considered the most powerful of them all.
- Reality Warper
- Your Mind Makes It Real
- Archer Archetype: He is a bowman.
- Humanity Ensues: Well, he is not necessarily "human", but he used to be a construct created from Tario's mind and summoned to serve him, but eventually becomes a being of flesh and blood.
- The Lancer: To Carthoris during Thuvia, Maid of Mars.
- Master of Illusion
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He is the only fully sympathetic White Martian, unlike Phaidor who is introduced as a villain and performs a late Heel–Face Turn followed by Redemption Equals Death, Komak on the other hand is heroic from beginning to end.
- Noble Top Enforcer: To Tario before rebelling.
- Nice Guy: The very first thing he does upon meeting Carthoris is to greet him and quickly befriends the young red prince.
- Reality Warper: He gains this ability later, being able to create his own construct-bowmen.
- Redheaded Hero: Komak is described as having auburn hair and is firmly on the good side.
Ho Ran KimJeddak of the Orovars in Horz.
- Affably Evil: He and his people are noted to be surprisingly nice to Carter and don't seem to lack the same sense of superiority as his Thern cousins. But sadly he will still have to execute Carter to preserve their secret existence.
- Blonde Guys Are Evil: He is a White Martian, so its expected. He is nicer than most of them.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: His policy towards any outside that discover the Orovars still live.
- Knight Templar: Any outsiders are executed out of fear that their existence is revealed to Barsoom.
- Mr. Exposition: Kim explains Barsoom's backstory and the fall of the White Martian empire.
The Yellow Martians
Believed to have been wiped out by the Green Martians thousands of years ago, the Yellow Martians of Okar still live as recluses in the North Pole. They kept themselves hidden using their technology to bring down any ship or vehicle that came near, and due to the extreme conditions of their land, travel on foot is considered impossible. They lived under domed cities that protected them from the extreme cold, and the only two know city-states to exist are Kadabra and Marentina. Yellow Martians are noted for being very large and powerfully built as well as sporting beards.Tropes related to the Yellow Martians
- Badass Beard: They were noted for having thick beards, which is highly unusual for other Barsoomians.
- Beard of Evil: The Yellow Martians of Kadabra are very much evil.
- Grim Up North: They inhabit the North Pole, which is dubbed Okara among the Barsoomians.
- Hidden Elf Village: A combination of their naturally hostile environment and their anti-aircraft technology kept them hidden for centuries. Unlike the Therns and the First-Born, the Okarans don't risk bringing outsiders close to their domain and reveal their existence.
- Higher-Tech Species: Their technology is comparatively more advanced than all other races in Barsoom, since they constructed giant domed cities to live in the cold North and their anti-aircraft protection to stop ships from coming close is unequal to anything else in Barsoom.
- Large and in Charge: They are much larger and imposing than the Reds, Whites and Black Martians.
- Not So Extinct: They were thought to be wiped out by the Green People milennia ago, they managed to stop their invaders dead in the North pole and proceeded to hide themselves and make everyone believe they were gone.
Salensus OllJeddak of Okara, seated on the city of Kadabra.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: In Warlord of Mars, he declares that Dejah Thoris shall become his queen after having her husband executed.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Defied. We explicitly never learn how good a fighter he is; Carter, motivated by The Power of Love for Dejah, kills him before he even lands a blow.
- Big Bad: Of Warlord, with Matai Shang and Thurid.
- Evil Overlord: Of the Yellow Martians.
- Evil Uncle: To Talu.
- Large and in Charge: He's a huge, imposing man.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute / Sequel Escalation: In his role in the story, he's basically a bigger, meaner version of Sab Than from the first book.
- 0% Approval Rating: His own people largely hate him, except for his warriors who are loyal.
TaluOll's rebellious nephew, he is the Jed of Marentina.
- Rebel Leader: Against his uncle's rule.
- The Wise Prince: He provides Carter his support into helping rescuing his wife. The Okarans prefer him over his uncle as well.
SolanThough he appears to be nothing more than a mere, old Yellow Martian lackey, Solan is a fearsome swordsman, arguably the best challenge faced by Carter in any of the books.
- Badass Grandpa: He's a tiny old man, but don't underestimate him.
- Elite Mook: What he amounts to story-wise, though it doesn't quite do him justice.
- Master Swordsman: Considering he's able to overcome the advantage of Carter's super-Martian strength, he's probably the more skilled of the two by a fair margin. Let that sink in. He was almost certainly the best swordsman on Mars.
- Worthy Opponent: Carter himself regrets that no one witnessed their duel because of how impressive they both were.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Woola is a calot, the Barsoomian equivalent to a dog.
- Badass Adorable
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Woola used to be an guard dog for Tharks and mistreated all his life. After Carter saved him from a white ape, Woola became fiercely loyal to the Earthman.
- Big Friendly Dog
- Undying Loyalty: To John Carter and his family.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Bandolian is a invader from Jupiter (or as Martians call it, Sasoom) and quite the Jerkass.
- Big Bad: Of Skeleton Men of Jupiter.
- The Emperor: Of the Morgors.
- Dem Bones: Being a Morgor, he has a ghoulish appearance resembling a undead skeleton.
- Fantastic Racism: Bandolian has little patience with Barsoomian races and refers to them as "things" and "animals".
- Karma Houdini: Bandolian is still at large at the end of the book and his plan hasn't been spoiled completely yet. As a result of his plot being left unresolved due to Author Existence Failure, he is the only major villain to survive.
- Outside-Context Villain: Unlike John Carter's enemies who were Martian beings, Bandolian is a being from another world much like Carter himself.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: More psychotic than Barsoomian's races since Morgors are a conquering race.
- Modest Royalty: Unlike most Evil Overlords in the series, Bandolian doesn't distinct himself in appearance from his men and dresses plainly, except for a single metal plate and hieroglyph that indicates his rank.
- Take Over the World: Wants to invade and enslave Mars.
- An Arm and a Leg: He lost both his legs on World War One, but his body is whole again when he is transported to Mars.
- Always Save the Girl: Vows to restore Valla Dia to her old body.
- Framing Device: Paxton serves as this for A Fighting Man of Mars as he transcribe and relays the story via radio frequency.
- Interspecies Romance: With Valla Dia.
- Heavy Worlder: Just like John Carter.
- The Hero: In Master Mind of Mars.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Like any Earthman in Barsoom.
OzaraA Tarid princess that was kidnapped from Domnia, her home country and was made the wife of Ul Vas, Jeddak of Ombra. She tried to seduce John Carter into freeing her, but he turns down her advance, but still he vows to free her from her husband.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Victim of this.
- Distressed Damsel: This one was taken from her home and forced to marry an tyrant. If that wasn't bad enough, her life is at the stake when its clear that her husband found another more beautiful woman to take her place...
- I Just Want to Be Free: She begs John Carter to escape her fate.
- Hot Consort: To Ul Vas, but not by her own volition.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She is an Tarid, therefore she has literal blue hair.
- Woman Scorned: Subverted. She attempts to seduce John Carter into helping her escape from Ul Vas and drips with jealousy when she realizes he is already taken. Ozara, however, takes it with more grace than Phaidor ever did and ends up befriending Carter instead.
Ul VasTarid ruler of Ombra and an obstacle faced by the heroes while they are on Thuria.
- The Blue Beard: He is prone to changing Jeddaras very frequently. That is because he disposes of his wives once he grows bored with them, or finds another one even more beautiful.
- Evil Overlord: Of Ombra.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: His favorite pastime in fact.
- Human Sacrifice: Ul Vas worships the Fire God instead of Issus like the Barsoomians, and has sentenced John Carter and his friends to be sacrificed in his honor once they are his prisoners.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: He is a Tarid after all.