The Hero and Audience Surrogate, Bastian borrows the Neverending Story from Mr. Coreander and discovers its wonders and how it is acutally a real Magical Land, learning of his required involvement to keep it alive.
A God Am I: Bastian goes powermad thanks to excessive wishing, memory loss and Xayide's manipulation, planning to make himself the Emperor of Fantastica.
The Storyteller: He enjoyed regaling a younger girl with his stories that he made up. When in Fantastica, this ability is vital to him as he is hte only person, being human, who can create stories. Eventually creates a library containing all of his stories with a story of his.
A skilled huntsman from the Greenskins of the Grassy Ocean, Atreyu is selected by the Childlike Empress to go on a quest to find a cure to her illness and save Fantastica from the Nothing. Atreyu acts as The Hero, shared with Bastian and becomes the Supporting Protagonist in the second half of the book.
A Boy and His X: First his horse Artax until his death, and then Falkor the Luckdragon.
Adaptation Dye-Job: His skin, which is not green in the movie. His hair is also somewhat less blue-black, though by comparison that hardly seems like a big deal.
The God Empress of Fantastica, the Childlike Empress never ages and can only be met once in a person's lifetime. She becomes deathly ill during the novel, sending Atreyu on a quest to find a cure and a way to stop the Nothing. However, it is all a Batman Gambit to get Bastian to Fantastica.
Above Good and Evil: She is completely True Neutral and draws no distinctions between anything, never judges anyone, and almost never actually uses her power. In her view, good and evil are both important parts of Fantastica's existence. She also doesn't warn Bastian about the fact that wishing will make him lose memories, and several of her past saviors have ended up in the City of Old Emperors.
Batman Gambit: The Empress uses this to bring Bastian to Fantastica. She sends Atreyu on a quest for no real purpose but to give Bastian a story to follow, and then ventures to the Old Man of the Wandering Mountains to read out the Neverending Story's content to her in a literal neverending fashion until Bastian names her and comes to the Magical Land.
Fisher King: Without her, Fantastica cannot live. Her illness and the destruction of Fantastica are one and the same.
Really 700 Years Old: She takes the form of a ten-year-old girl, but is much older than even Morla or any other of the ancient inhabitants of Fantastica. Her appearance may be A Form You Are Comfortable With, especially since both Atreyu and Bastian are also young children of about the same age that she appears as.
Say My Name: Forces Bastian to shout out a new name for her to save her kingdom: Moon Child.
Ancient Keeper: Subverted; when Bastian tries to apologize to him at the end for losing his book, it turns out that he has never seen or heard of it, and it presented itself to Bastian in Coreander's store of its own accord. When Coreander got to Fantastica, it was by a different route.
Played straight in the film, where he is reading the book when Bastian comes in.
Briar Patching: In the film, he makes a point of warning Bastian that The Neverending Story is "not for you" because it is unlike the "safe," normal books that Bastian is familiar with. Unlike in the original novel, the film's Coreander seems to have done this for the express purpose of getting Bastian interested enough in the book to swipe it while Coreander's back is turned.
Child Hater: When he first meets Bastian, he explains that he doesn't abide children, because they're only good for "screaming, torturing people, smearing books with jam and tearing the pages." When Bastian reveals that he's being chased, Coreander immediately assumes that the police are after him.
Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: A variant in the movie - Coreander goes into his office to answer the phone, conveniently leaving The Neverending Story within Bastian's reach with only the most cursory of efforts to hide it by putting a newspaper on top of it. As mentioned above (see Briar Patching), given the look on his face when he returns to find both Bastian and the book gone, it seems to have been intentional.
Falkor the Luckdragon
A luckdragon who befriends Atreyu. He is very courageous and upbeat, believing luck is a wonderful thing. As a Giant Flyer, he spends most of his time flying. He is a shining white Eastern-type dragon with leonine features.
Meaningful Name: Possibly. His German name, Fuchur, sounds a bit like the Chinese word "fuk". Which means blessing, happiness, or luck.
Took a Level in Dumbass: He is supposed to be a very smart character. He is a smart character in the first film and still somewhat smart in the second. In the third film, however, he becomes a downright moron.
Our Dragons Are Different: He's an eastern dragon, and distinct from the more western dragons like the one that Bastian creates.
A rock chewer, although more commonly known as the Rockbiter, Pyornkrachzark is one of the travelling companions on their way to visit the Childlike Empress for help against the Nothing. A giant man made of rock, Pyornkrachzark enjoys eating rocks and rides on a large bike.
The Big Bad of the first half of the book, the Nothing uses The Power of the Void to erase Fantastica from existence. Created from the forgotten hopes and dreams of mankind, the Nothing is used by the unseen Manipulators to destroy human imagination so that humanity will be more controllable.
The Dragon to the Nothing, Gmork aids the destroyer of worlds to prevent Atreyu from finding a way to defeat it. A servant of the Manipulators, Gmork appears as a wolf and relentlessly hunts Atreyu through the book and film.
Adaptational Villainy: In the book, Gmork had a somewhat sympathetic, if petty, backstory, wherein he never had a home, and, as a result, wanted Fantastica and the human world destroyed so others could suffer like him. The film, on the other hand, removed this motivation, instead giving him his Straw Nihilist characterization, in addition to simply being hungry for power.
Back from the Dead: Downplayed. After he dies, his body springs to life and wounds Atreyu.
Big, Badass Wolf: "The size of an ox," according to the book's English translation.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: After Gmork dies, Atreyu gets too close and Gmork's jaws clamp down on his leg, holding him tight, unable to move. Intended to keep Atreyu from leaving as the Nothing moved in, it also helped to keep him from walking into the Nothing, which attracts Fantasticans when it came closer. This allowed Falkor to find Atreyu and save him.
Rule of Symbolism: They represent the darkside of human imagination. Whereas Fantastica is filled with dreams and stories that inspire goodness in humanity, the Manipulators twist those dreams into illusions and fears that cause chaos in the human world.
An evil sorceress who serves as a villain in the second half of the novel, while pretending to be Bastian's humble servant after he defeats her on her home turf. She manipulates Bastian to siege the Ivory Tower, planning to use him to take over Fantastica. She dwells in the hand-shaped castle Horok, and controls an army of empty iron minions.
Big Bad: Of the second film. In the book, she's closest thing to an antagonist in the second half, but since she's killed off before the climax and never comes to blows with Bastian, she's not really big enough to be a Big Bad.
A group of Fantasticans who are travelling together to the Ivory Tower. They consists of Pyornkrachzark the rock chewer, the will o'wisp Blubb, the nighthob Whooshwazool (and his stupid bat), and the tiny man Gluckuk with his racing snail.
The oldest being in Fantastica, discounting the Childlike Empress and the Old Man of Wandering Mountain, who are ageless. Morla is a tortoise of fantastic size, who has been inert in the Swamps of Sadness for so long that she has become a landmark, Tortoise Shell Mountain.
Amoral Nihilist: As a result of living in Fantastica so long, and coming to believe that life is meaningless and simply repeats itself. She doesn't even care whether Fantastica is destroyed or not. Then again, what would you expect from someone living in the Swamps of Sadness?
Supreme Chef: Urgl. The food she makes for Atreyu is described as so delicious that Bastian's mouth waters just reading about it.
Averted in the film, when Urgl reveals her healing potion as all kinds of Squick in it (a newt's eye, tree mold, lizard brain, scales of a sea serpent).
Uyulala the Southern Oracle
A legendary being known to be able to answer nearly any question, but can only be met by those who can pass three magic gates to reach her.
Made Of Air: Her body is a living construct of pure sound; her body is the melody that she sings.
The Omniscient: She is borderline this, as people from all over Fantastica travel to speak to her and she can give answers to just about anything.
Rhymes on a Dime: In fact, she can't speak without rhyming, and also cannot hear people if they do not talk to her in verse. (Atreyu manages to get a knack for it rather quickly.)
The Old Man of Wandering Mountain
An ancient being of the same kind as the Childlike Empress. The Old Man of Wandering Mountain writes the Neverending Story, recording every event that has ever happened into the book, in absolute solitude.
The Omniscient: He writes down everything that happens in Fantastica. The only thing that he doesn't seem sure about are the Childlike Empress's motivations.
Rewriting Reality: For the most part, reality and the book he writes are indistinguishable and simultaneous, so the fact that everything he writes into the book becomes real doesn't matter, since everything that happens is written, by him, into the book as it happens. However, when the Childlike Empress makes him recite the book to her, he writes the words he says as he says them, which causes the events described to repeat themselves, up to his own recitation of the book. This would have gone on without end without outside intervention, forcing Bastian's hand.
Time Abyss: He is as old as the Childlike Empress, and Fantastica itself.
Grograman the Many Coloured Death
The Many-Colored Death, Lord of the Desert of Colors, and the deadliest creature in Fantastica.
Fisher King: He fulfills this role to the desert Goab itself, feeling it as he feels his own body. When he dies, the desert becomes a forest.
Super Strength: He is capable of wrestling with Bastian on an even footing.
Walking Wasteland: Everywhere he goes, all the land around him turns into desert and all living things die, because he is the deadliest creature in Fantastica.
The Four Heroes and Princess Oglamar
A group of travelers that Bastian meets shortly after arriving in Fantastica. Hero Hynreck is a knight determined to be the greatest and impress Oglamar, the Princess of Luna, who is only interested in the very best of heroes. Hykrion, Hysbald, and Hydorn are wandering knights looking to prove themselves as the strongest, swiftest, and most enduring of all knights, respectively, who met up with Hynreck and Oglamar by chance and became his friends.
Break the Haughty: Both Hynreck and Oglamar. Bastian doesn't think too much of Hynreck's boasting and deriding of how saving Fantastica "didn't require much of a hero," and soundly defeats him. Oglamar, who is only interested in the best, leaves Hynreck because of this. To remedy the situation, Bastian then invents a story about Oglamar getting kidnapped by a dragon, getting her into a situation for Hynreck to rescue her from. In both cases, Bastian realizes afterwards that what he did was Disproportionate Retribution.
In Harm's Way: How Hynreck wants to live. His greatest frustration is that Fantastica is too boring and doesn't have enough monsters, demons, and wars, thus depriving him of opportunities to demonstrate his skill. His reaction to hearing that his girlfriend has been kidnapped by a dragon is to jump up and clap his hands with joy.
The saddest, ugliest, and most depressed creatures in existence, who fashion the indestructible silver that composes the City of Amarganth and weep endlessly. Later, they are transformed by Bastian into their polar opposites, the Shlamoofs, a race of clowns and everlasting laughers.