An eleven-year old Scottish-American, Marnie finds her troubled life turned upside down when a shoebox containing living toys comes into her possession. She is prophesized to find the Book of Forbidden Knowledge created by Michael Scot and restore the Shoebox Zoo to their human forms. However, she refuses the call, filled with angst from the recent death of her mother. Mopey and cries for most of the series, but with good reason.
Angst: Poor Marnie goes through some trials. Her mother dies of cancer three months prior to the series' events, and her father Ross whisks her away from her home in Colorado to Edinburgh in a matter of weeks. Marnie's grief is a major part of the series' narrative, going through the five stages to tearjerking lengths and takes a walk on The Dark Side for a while. Also doubles as Age-Appropriate Angst.
Face-Heel Turn: Corrupted by the Book's dark magic and driven by her own grief, Marnie turns evil with the plan to resurrect her mother and performs a lot of cruel acts. She eventually has a Heel-Face Turn after having a talk with Ross.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Marnie acts like a real bitch towards others, particularly towards the Shoebox Zoo, but this mostly stems from her angst and not wanting more weight on her shoulders. At heart she is a kind girl and becomes very wise despite only being eleven.
What the Hell, Hero?: When she terrifies Becky by using her magic to revive a dead crow, sealing Bruno into a rock, framing Kyle for stealing the Arrow of Truth, torturing Wolfgang's spirit, trying to resurrect her mum, disintegrating Nathaniel. Yeah, Marnie does quite a lot of bad things in the second season, but has a Heel-Face Turn and becomes The Atoner.
The Great Wizard of Scotland, Michael Scot is an 1100-year old mathematician, scientist, alchemist and wizard who created the Book of Forbidden Knowledge. His pride and arrogance led to turning his four students into toys after they stole the Book, and he follows a prophecy that one day a Chosen One will find the Book.
The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Michael places the Shoebox Zoo in a number of junk shops during his search for the Chosen One. Marnie finds them in a junk shop in Edinburgh, that mysteriously disappears after Michael gives them to her. It is later revealed that Marnie's mother Rosemary found them in a similar shop in Denver, Colorado when she was eleven. Her concerned mother took them back to the shop when Rosemary became a bit obsessed with them. Marnie later returns the Shoebox Zoo herself to the Denver store so other people can help them.
My Greatest Failure: The creation of Toledo, and being unable to save Rosemary from her cancer.
The Obi-Wan: Very much so. He is Marnie's mentor, but also has a beard, and wears a hooded cloak. Later dies, and then comes back as a ghost.
Pride: Michael's Fatal Flaw. His pride and desire to master alchemy, magic, and science nearly corrupted him, to the point that both his students and servant McTaggart stole the Book to prevent it from destroying him. Michael then punished them all by turning his students into toys, and imprisoning McTaggart in his dungeon for eleven years then making him immortal until the book was found. It's only centuries later does he become The Atoner.
Michael's manservant. Eleven-hundred years ago, he stole the Book of Forbidden Knowledge from his master to protect him from its evil, and shortly after it disappeared. As punishment, he was made immortal until the Book was found. By the time of the series' beginning, McTaggart works as a mole for Michael, acting as a servant for Toledo.
Battle Butler: Revealed to have learnt a couple of spells in his time.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Imprisoned and tortured in Tantallon Castle's dungeon for eleven years after stealing the Book. And then made immortal.
Heroic Sacrifice: Fights off Toledo in the second season using Michael's staff, but is overpowered and blasted down a waterfall to his death.