Characters: John Carter of Mars

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     John Carter 

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...
  • Badass
  • 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.

     Red Martians 
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.

Dejah Thoris

Princess of Helium and John Carter's Love Interest. She is repeatedly captured through out the books.


Son of John and Dejah. He was born the very day his father disappeared from Barsoom.


A 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 Helium

Daughter of John and Dejah and younger sister of Carthoris.

Kantos Kan

A Jedwar (Captain) in Helium's army.

Tardos Mors

Dejah Thoris' grandfather and Jeddak of Helium.

Tan Hadron of Hastor

The 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."


Sanoma Tora

  • 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.
  • Veronica

Tul Axtar

Bent 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 Tak

Originally 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.


Ras Thavas

  • 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.

Valla Dia

  • 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.

Sab Than

  • 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.

     Green Martians 
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.

Tars Tarkas

A 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.

Tal Hajus

Jeddak of the Tharks in A Princess of Mars.



     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. The First Born are a proud people who live to fight and are loathe to work, relying on slaves for nearly everything except warfare. They are also a very religious people who worship Issus, the Living Goddess, a deity that is honored throughout in Barsoom, but they are directly controlled by her. The Black Martians were infamous raiders that frequently targeted Valley Dor, capturing Thern and Red Martian females.


The Supreme Deity of Mars, she is in reality an very ancient female Black Martian.
  • A God Am I
  • Big Bad: Of 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 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.
  • 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.



A 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.

     White Martians (Therns) 
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. Their descendants still live to this day as reclusive beings split into two races: the Therns, who inhabit Valley Dor and keep an complex Path of Inspiration to lure other races to be enslaved and devoured, and the Lotharians, a Dying Race of very powerful psychics who spend their time debating philosophy among themselves. White Martians resemble Caucasian humans with blonde hair, though the Therns are actually bald and wear wigs to cover themselves.

Matai Shang, "The Father of Therns"

Holy Hekkador (High Priest) of the Therns.
  • A God Am I
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Strange aversion. He's a blue-eyed, blond-haired (well, blond-wigged), white-skinned man who believes himself superior to other races and therefore has the right to exploit them however he sees fit and has a cult of followers who believe the same- but at the time Gods and Warlord were written, nobody had heard of a Nazi. Older Than They Think?
  • 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'm a Humanitarian: A Thern of his rank only eats the flesh of Red and Green Martians.
  • 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 into being captured by the First Born.


Kar Komak

     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.

Salensus Oll

Jeddak of Okara, seated on the city of Kadabra.


Oll'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.


Though 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.

     Other Characters 



  • 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 in a very plainly manner, except for a single metal plate and hieroglyph that indicates his rank.
  • Take Over the World: Wants to invade and enslave Mars.

Ulysses Paxton


A 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 Vas

Tarid 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.