Lady And A Scholar: Matilda is a genuinely sweet-natured kid, and never thinks of herself as superior for her brains. If she's asked anything intellectual, she will respond in a polite fashion. She really only dislikes people who are annoying or rude to her. The book carefully emphasizes this.
Kid Heroine: She's only 5 (In the film, she says she is six and a half).
Took a Level in Badass: When she stands up to Trunchbull, she physically removes Agatha's arm away from her own despite the fact that not only is she an Olympian, but have made clear that she has broken her arm before.
Abusive Parents: Matilda's parents verbally berate her and neglect her every need.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: When Miss Honey visits Matilda's parents, Mr. Wormwood noisily slurps a beer and both parents take cheap potshots at Matilda's teacher. In the movie, Matilda's super glue hat prank plays out in public.
Big Bad Wannabe: As it turns out, Agatha Trunchbull is far worse than they are.
Butt Monkey: Harry Wormwood, once Matilda works out how to get even with him without being found out.
Daytime Drama Queen: Matilda's parents are addicted to television, which is shown as one of their many character flaws. When Miss Honey goes to visit them at home, there's an American soap opera on, and Mrs. Wormwood in particular objects to being interrupted when "Willard is just about to propose to Angelica!"
Dumb Blonde: Matilda's mother, though she dyes her hair.
Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Matilda's parents don't understand Matilda's love of books and learning, rejecting her for it. They prefer the more mundane Michael who is being coached to take over his father's company.
Fat Bastard: Matilda's mother in the book and her father in the movie.
Honest John's Dealership: Mr. Wormwood's secondhand car business. Matilda's dad is the stereotypical sleazy car salesman, even putting sawdust in the oil so that the engine will burn out and they have to come back and buy a new car. The book contains a scene in which Mr. Wormwood teaches Michael the tricks to making a lemon look better.
No Name Given: Mrs. Wormwood, her first name is not revealed in the book. The film calls her Zinnia.
Parental Favoritism: Matilda's parents inexplicably hate her and refuse to believe she is any more intelligent than a lima bean, favoring her average if not mildly-crooked brother, Michael.
Parental Neglect: The Wormwoods leave Matilda alone in the house, the entire day.
Pet the Dog: In the movie, it's somewhat implied at the end that despite all her neglect and dislike for her, Mrs. Wormwood does hold some affection for Matilda: she shows some humanity by giving her daughter away because she is better suited to a life with Miss Honey (while in the book, both parents drop their daughter without a second thought).
Meaningful Name: The Wormwoods (Matilda excepted) are as sleazy as they come.
Small Name, Big Ego: Matilda's mother believes herself to be beautiful and seductive, while her husband regards himself as sly, clever, and intelligent. Both could not be further from the truth.
Smug Snake: Mr. Wormwood. Shown best when he gleefully brags about the tricks he uses to scam customers.
Starter Villain: Mr Wormwood serves as the antagonist for the first few chapters...but he quickly loses this title when the Trunchbull is introduced.
Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Both book and movie. In the book, Matilda's mother is tall and pudgy, and her father is short and skinny. While their Fat and Skinny roles are reversed in the movie, their heights are still the same as in the book.
Big Brother Bully: In the movie. Averted in the book as he and his sister have a neutral relationship and it's implied that he treats her better than her parents (he's the only one to say goodbye to Matilda when the family flees the country).
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Gave advice to newbie Matilda about Trunchbull. Although she's a Nice Girl only in the movie. Averted in the book where she looks down on Matilda and Lavender and even insults them.
Miss Exposition: Tells Matilda about the Chokey and other horror stories about the Trunchbull.
The Prankster: She pulled two pranks on Miss Trunchbull and was sent to The Chokey because of this.