Characters / Neverwhere

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    Richard Mayhew 

Richard Mayhew
Played by: Gary Bakewell (Television), James McAvoy (Radio)
  • Action Survivor: Survivor is the keyword here, considering how many dangerous things there are in London Below.
  • Can't Stay Normal: At the end of the book, Richard finally manages to regain his normal life back. However, he really can't get accustomed to it anymore, so he decides to return.
  • Captain Obvious: Briefly becomes this during his initial confusion about the events going on around him.
  • The Everyman: Richard really isn't anything special (though Serpentine recognizes him as a Hero).
  • Genre Blindness: It takes him a few days to catch on, protesting that all these things are just Tube Stations!
  • Good Samaritan: He's eager to help people. This is the reason why he was drawn into the events of London Below.
  • The Hero's Journey: Richard leaves the familiar world (London Above) thanks to the Herald (Door). He learns to navigate the unfamiliar world of adventure (London Below). He grows, and finds he's stronger than he thought he was (he goes through an ordeal, slays a monster). At the end, he returns to his normal world… then changes this mind.
  • Home Sweet Home: Triple subversionat the end, when Richard asks about going home, the Marquis says they can't do that—this isn't the Wizard of Oz. But then it turns out they can send him home, and he goes. After being home for a day, he changes his mind and decides to return to London Below.
  • I Choose to Stay: Double subversionfor a minute it seems like Richard might decide to stay, but then he goes home. After being back for a day, he changes his mind and returns.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nice job with the key, Richard.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Richard saves Door from dying on the street. And his reward? Being turned into an Unperson.
  • Red Baron: By the end, he's known as The Warrior, for killing The Beast of London.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: At the end of the book, when Richard finally managed to return back to the London Above, he finds it hard to fit in to a normal life again. Being unable to stand this, he manages to find a way back.
  • Unfazed Everyman: After a day or so, he stops protesting impossible things and just starts accepting them, though he still doesn't really understand.
  • Unkempt Beauty: He has Messy Hair, and in the book he's described as having "a rumpled, just woken up look to him, which just made him more attractive"
  • Unperson: After he had helped Door, no one could remember him. They also could barely notice him, unless Richard really tried to gain their attention. And even then it's really minimal.


The Lady Door
Played by: Laura Fraser (Television), Natalie Dormer (Radio)
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: When she shows up on the street in front of Richard, bleeding profusely.
  • Healing Factor: Her entire family has one to some degree. Not instant, but she recovers from a bad knife wound almost overnight.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: How useful would it be to open a door anywhere? Maybe inside your assassin's chest, critically wounding him or making the villains be Dragged Off to Hell.
  • The Hero: Though Serpentine would disagree.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Much as the Marquis may protest, it's reasonable considering her family was massacred.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Her multicolored eyes are mentioned almost every time she's described. What color they actually are isn't really mentioned, as they seem to constantly be changing.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: She can open a door anywhere, like in your chest. Or to anywhere, like Hell.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: Why do you think her family, with their ability to open doors anywhere, were hunted down?
  • Messy Hair: As a result of her travels through the sewer, it's unkempt to the point that Richard wasn't sure of her hair color.
  • Mysterious Waif: Perhaps the ultimate example; an unnamed, oddly dressed girl appears from nowhere, bleeding and begging for help, which kicks off the adventure.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Door fills the role of the Magical Girlfriend, but she and Richard don't get together in the scope of the story. Lampshaded near the end, when Jess asks Richard if he met someone else. He hesitates, thinks about it for a moment, then says earnestly, "No." He's not leaving Jess because of Door, but because of himself.
    Jessica: Did you meet someone?
    Richard: [thinks for a moment] No. no one. I've just… changed, that's all.
  • Open and Shut: The whole family can open pretty much anything.
  • Our Doors Are Different: If she opens them.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Her clothes are an odd mix of laces, velvets, and an oversized leather coat.
  • Theme Naming: Her family—Portico, Portia, Ingress, Arch, and Door.

    Marquis de Carabas 

The Marquis de Carabas
Played by: Paterson Joseph (Television), David Harewood (Radio)
  • Animal Motifs: Cats.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He's a marquis (an aristocrat), and while he's certainly not a villainous character, but he's "a little dodgy in the same way the ocean is a little wet".
  • Back from the Dead: About halfway through, he's tortured to death by Croup and Vandemar, but by the end he's been brought back thanks to his Soul Jar.
  • Badass Longcoat: An iconic item on the Marquis. There's an entire story devoted to him getting it after it was taken from his dead body.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick: Casually snags what turns out to be an important trinket from Portico's study; it's a totem of the Beast Islington gave him, pulls an impressive Thanatos Gambit on Croup and Vandemar, and is generally awesome.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Everything from a Soul Jar to a convenient bit of fruitcake.
  • Evil Chancellor: Richard explicitly compares him to a grand vizier.
    Richard: I'm wandering around with a girl called Door, her bodyguard, and her psychotic grand vizier.
  • The Lancer: Door is noble, Richard is good (though helpless), the Marquis is just kind of a selfish prick.
  • Lovable Traitor/Loveable Rogue: Played with. Is he? Isn't he? He's a Wild Card.
  • Meaningful Name: He's named for a character in Puss in Boots, which name he chose and styled himself after.
  • Race Lift: A bit of a weird example. On the show, and in the book, he was portrayed as a black man, and a black man voiced him on the radio. But in the comic adaptation, his hair and lips seemed those of a white person, while the rest of his face was actually the colour black.
  • Red Herring Mole: The bit in the middle when he meets with Croup and Vandemar is intended to make you think he might be their nameless employer.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Though not nearly as bad as Croup, he's willing to talk, and talk fancy.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the first one to figure out the plot, thanks to some clever gambits and some little bits and pieces the audience won't notice the first time around.
  • Trickster Archetype: He wants to torment poor Richard, but Richard is just so naive and ignorant and helpless, he takes the fun out of it.
  • You Owe Me: He deals in favors. Those he deals with usually regret it.


Played by: Tanya Moodie (Television), Sophie Okonedo (Radio)
  • Action Girl: Hence the name.
  • Almost Dead Guy: In the labyrinth with the Beast.
  • Ambiguously Brown: She's described as "caramel" at one points in the book, but her exact background isn't even alluded to.
  • Ambiguously Gay/Word of Gay: Her dealings with Serpentine in the past, along with the memory of her giving a pelt to a girl "who caught her eye." Gaiman has said two the characters in the story are gay, and she seems like a likely bet, but this isn't confirmed in the story.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Lioness

    Mr. Croup & Mr. Vandemar. 

Mr. Croup & Mr. Vandemar.

Joint tropes

Mr. Croup

Played by: Hywel Bennett (Television), Anthony Head (Radio)

Mr. Vandemar

Played by: Clive Russell (Television), David Schofield (Radio)

    Angel Islington 

The Angel Islington
Played by: Peter Capaldi (Television), Benedict Cumberbatch (Radio)
  • Above Good and Evil: As revealed at the end.
  • Ambiguous Gender: It's an angel, and no one objects to calling it "it".
  • Big Bad: As we learn about two-thirds of the way through.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Though it loses that serenity a few times.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Door sends it to the place furthest from Heaven at the end when she opens the door for it..
  • Fallen Angel: After Atlantis.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Because it's fairly polite, but doesn't really seem to get the point of the things humans care about.
  • Light Is Not Good: It even lights up candles just by walking by them.
  • Our Angels Are Different: To begin with, most don't live in subway stations. Or Islington.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: At the end, it seems childishly confused when Door accuses it of killing her father, replying uncertainly "I didn't kill your father. I had him killed." Its temper tantrums also fit this trope.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Oh boy. "They deserved it!"
  • Your Heart's Desire: It agrees to help Door find who killed her parents, and get Richard home. And get Hunter that spear. And it does tell Door who killed her parents, and why. As for Richard, finding the way home was kind of incidental to its own goals, so, technically...
  • Walking Spoiler: Because its fate is central to the Big Bad's motives.