Characters / Locke & Key

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     The Locke Children 

Tyler Locke

The oldest of the Locke children, Tyler does his best to be the man of the house, but is still haunted by Sam Lesser's words.

  • The Atoner: The quote at the top of the main page torments him constantly.
  • Book Dumb: Though he struggles at schoolwork, Tyler is by far the most cunning of his siblings. He is pretty fast at thinking on his feet, manages to piece together that Zack, Dodge and the Dark Lady are one and the same, and creates a very safe hiding place for the Omega Key: inside his own head.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Gentle Giant: The Giant-ness seems to be something he inherited from his father, who is also built like a truck. Runs in the Family, perhaps. Eventually the giant part became literal, but he wasn't too gentle.
  • Genre Savvy: Especially obvious when he gives an irrefutable and logical explanation as to why Kinsey can't be trusted with secrets.
  • Heroes Want Redheads
  • Hypocrite: In a minor way. He constantly gets on the others to be more careful about using the keys and keeping secrets, but he's barely any better about it for most of the first 4 volumes.
  • Idiot Ball: Sure, go ahead and tell everyone about the magical key that can unlock people's minds... I'm sure nothing bad's going to come out of that one. Lampshaded by Kinsey.
  • Instant Expert: Subverted. Turns out simply absorbing the contents of a textbook doesn't help much in actually understanding it enough to write a paper on the subject.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Gets a pair of glasses that, according to Kinsey, make him look smart. He comments they do serve a purpose, as they help with his reading.

Kinsey Locke
The middle Locke child. Tired of being sad and afraid, Kinsey used the Head Key to totally remove her sense of fear and sadness, making her brave to the point of recklessness.

  • Anime Hair
  • Badass Boast: Her various "I'm not afraid to ___" statements, but especially "I'm not afraid to kill you".
  • Blessed with Suck: Completely removing your fears and sadness turns out to have some negative effects on your social life.
  • Broken Bird: Averted, but she strayed very close to it early on.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Scot, Jackie and Jamal after they all almost drown together.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jackie.
  • Important Haircut: Changing her haircut from a conventional style to a short cut with a braid and green stripe marks when she starts bouncing back from her father's death.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After removing her fears, although it led to some unforeseen consequences.
  • Plucky Girl: Actually enforced. She doesn't get scared or sad because she literally can't. Deconstructed in that this also means that she lacks the benefits of fears and sadness, such as truly empathizing with others' negative emotions, and avoiding dangers.

Bode Locke
The youngest of the Locke family. Has a knack for finding keys. Or maybe they're finding him?

     The Rest of the Locke Family 

Rendell Locke
The father of the Locke family, Rendell is killed by Sam Lesser (under the orders of Dodge) at the very beginning of the series.

Nina Locke
The mother of the Locke family. Has been hitting the bottle ever since her husband died and she was raped on the same day. She knew Rendell since they went to college together.

  • The Alcoholic
  • Broken Bird
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Constantly. As of the end of Keys to the Kingdom, she's trying to quit, though.
    • Horribly, forcibly invoked during Omega, where she's pretty horrifically force-fed several bottles of wine and worse by something that, to her, appears to be her own son. Comes with an extra, horrid sting when Kinsey discovers her and the state she's in and doesn't care, simply thinking her mother's fallen off the wagon big-style.
  • Muggle
  • Rape as Drama: It's only mentioned explicitly once, by Kinsey. Other than that it is just horribly suggested.
  • Weirdness Censor: Like nearly all adults, she has one that keeps her from recognizing the effects of the keys. However, when she has too much to drink, she recognizes and tries experimenting with one key.

Duncan Locke
Rendell's brother, Duncan helps take care of the Lockes with their father gone.

  • Straight Gay: Though it's implied he might not always be; he suggests they go to a club (as opposed to a bar) that is known to play Cher (though this may be because he correctly thought the club might be safer).
    • However as a kid, he liked to dress as a girl by using the gender key.
  • Tap on the Head: Gets knocked out pretty easily. A beer bottle is one thing, but a plastic gas can?
  • The Reveal: It was actually his fault that Dodge got possessed.

     Friends of the Locke Children 

Rufus Whedon
Ellie Whedon's son and Bode's friend. Has some sort of mental disabilitynote , which makes him immune to some of the key's effects.

Jackie Veda

Kinsey's best friend, although Kinsey's social problems due to her head tampering may have driven her off.

Jamal Saturday

One of Kinsey's friends.

Scot Kavanaugh

One of Kinsey's friends. Has a British punk jokester thing going on.

     Friends and Associates of the Entire Locke Family 

Brian Rogan

Duncan's boyfriend.

  • Bury Your Gays: Toyed with. At the end of Head Games when he's run over, but is later revealed to be in a coma, which he eventually wakes up from to deliver important plot-relevant information.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns
  • Manly Gay: Though he's a bit on the portly side.
  • Nice Guy: He treats Tyler basically like his own nephew.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. We don't know his exact age but he's no spring chicken.
  • Straight Gay: He doesn't want to go to a club with Duncan, but to a local bar so he can watch the game.

Detective Mutuku

A local police detective who helps out the Lockes. Seems to have a bit of a thing for Nina.

  • Bad Ass: A couple of wounds from a rapier (including a swipe that just missed the eyes and then getting impaled) would slow down most people, but Mutuku barely pauses before going into ass kicking mode.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played with. He mentions to Nina at one point that his mother enrolled him in fencing classes because she had a dream that one day he would need to defend himself with a sword. However, when Dodge attacks him with a rapier, Mutuku just starts knocking him around with a rolling pin while lecturing him about how this isn't a fencing match.
    • And of course, knowing how to defend against someone who is using a sword certainly came in handy.
  • Determinator
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Unceremoniously impaled by a shadow.
  • Dual Wielding: Kitchen knife AND rolling pin.
  • Great Detective: Or at least a competent and damned dogged one.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
  • Improvised Weapon
  • Killed Off for Real

     Rendell and Nina's Old Circle of Friends 

Ellie Whedon

The track coach at the Locke's high school. Was one of Rendell's original circle back in 1988, and the one who started the whole mess over again.

Erin Voss

Formerly one of Rendell's circle, she is now a mental patient after Dodge completely emptied out her mind with the Head Key while searching for the whereabouts of the Omega Key. Used to be in love with Rendell.

Joe Ridgeway

Drama teacher at the high school, Joe was the director for the school's legendary production of The Tempest starring Dodge's circle in 1988. He recognizes Dodge when he sees him again, which doesn't work out too well for him.


Dodge, aka Zack Wells
The main villain of the story, Dodge seeks to open the Black Door. He almost did it in 1988, and doesn't intend to fail this time.

Sam Lesser
A mentally unbalanced classmate of Tyler's, Sam was used by Dodge to kill Rendell Locke.

  • Abusive Parents
  • The Atoner: As a ghost, he realizes his manipulations by Dodge and attempts to kill him. He fails and is tricked by Dodge into being killed by Kinsey in Zack's body, but the information that he passes onto Rufus leads to Dodge's ultimate undoing.
  • Back from the Dead: For about a minute before Kinsey re-kills him.
  • Broken Bad
  • Chainsaw Good: Forms an astral chainsaw at one point.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Attempted and failed.
  • The Dragon: To Dodge in Welcome to Lovecraft.
  • Empty Shell: According to Dodge, this is what allowed him to contact Sam; an echo's voice can reach anywhere hollow, like caves, wells and Sam's soul.
  • Freudian Excuse
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Gets one when Tyler bashes his face in with a brick (he gets better) and one in Dodge's body when Kinsey beats him to death with an ice skate (he doesn't).
  • Gonk
  • The Sociopath: Dodge heavily implies he is such. Some of his behaviour implies that he is just severely mentally disturbed instead.
  • Teens Are Monsters

Al Grubb

A friend of Sam's, Al helps him murder Rendell.


An obnoxious orderly at the local booby-hatch, Dodge uses him to find Erin Voss.