Characters: The NeverEnding Story
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Bastian Balthazar BuxThe 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.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sikanda
- Alliterative Name
- Audience Surrogate
- The Chosen One: Shared with Atreyu.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Bastian attempts to wield Sikanda without its permission.
- Expy: of Peer Gynt nonetheless.
- The Hero: Shared with Atreyu.
- Heroic BSOD / My God, What Have I Done?: Bastian has this upon realizing he could have suffered a Fate Worse Than Death upon finding the City of Old Emperors, and also realizing he very well might have killed Atreyu.
- Jerkass: In the second half of the book, and notably in the second film.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Bastian was a sweeter kid in the first film, becomes a selfish jerk in the second and finally a spineless coward in the third.
- Jumped Off The Slippery Slope: Averted, eventually.
- Missing Mom: Not long before the beginning of the story, his mother died.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Whilst he wears the AURYN.
- Save Both Worlds
- 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.
- Trapped in Another World
- What the Hell, Hero?: His actions in the second half of the book.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
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.
The Childlike Empress (Moon Child)
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.
- God Empress
- Omniscient Morality License
- 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.
- Shining City: The Ivory Tower.
- Sliding Scale of Beauty: She is a Divine Level beauty.
- Time Abyss: The Empress and the Old Man are some of the oldest residents in Fantastica.
- Woman in White
A mysterious but Magic Librarian
(actually a bookstore owner), in whose store the titular book appears. He once went to Fantastica himself.
- Alliterative Name: Carl Conrad Coreander
- 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.
- Grumpy Old Man
- Magic Librarian: Although he actually isn't a librarian, but a bookstore owner.
- Scary Librarian
- 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.
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.
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 Badass: While a deadly servant in the book, the movie makes him even scarier and more of a Straw Nihilist which is indeed more terrifying.
- 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.
- Canis Major: "The size of an ox," according to the book's English translation.
- Chained to a Rock: Thanks to Gaya, the Dark Princess.
- The Dragon: He describes himself as: "I am the servant, of the force behind the nothing."
- Envy: His reason for wanting to destroy Fantastica. Werewolves can travel between Earth and Fantastica, but have no world of their own.
- Guttural Growler: In the movie.
- The Heavy: In the movie he does most of the on-screen villain work.
- Honey Trap: How Gaya loosened his tongue about the Manipulators' plans and then tied him up.
- Killed Off for Real: He is killed by Atreyu and despite his body coming to life he does not.
- 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.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Creatures that appear human on Earth and appear like Fantastican monsters in Fantastica.
- Savage Wolf: Gmork is a hitman sent by "the force behind the Nothing" to kill Atreyu and thereby doom the world.
Gmork's employers. Mysterious beings who wish to use the Nothing to turn Fantasticans into delusions and lies, wherein they will be set loose in the human world, driving humanity insane.
- Bigger Bad: Of the first half of the book; they control the Nothing, and hired Gmork to take out Atreyu.
- Eldritch Abomination: What they are is never elaborated upon, but one can assume they are this trope.
- Evil Plan: Turn Fantasticans into lies and delusions with the Nothing, and then use them to plague humanity.
- The Ghost
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Does "The Manipulators" sound at all like a group you'd trust?
- 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.
- It is possible that they are not symbols, or even a real group of characters, as much as they are simply a collective name for any people in the story's human world who use imagination solely for manipulation, and frown upon it being used for other purposes. Gnork describes them as having fairly diverse mundane goals like selling things people things they don't need (false advertisement) and making them hate things they don't know (propaganda). Under this interpretation, the Nothing is not truly part of the Manipulators' Evil Plan as much as it's a byproduct of people in general shunning "innocent" imagination, such as for storytelling, and using it only to dominate others. Hence Fantastica, the embodiment of positive imagination being surpressed by Manipulators, being slowly consumed by the Nothing and turned into nothing but a series of lies and manipulations.
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.
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.
A black zebra-centaur who is the last and greatest of the five hundred doctors summoned to examine the Childlike Empress. She gives him AURYN and sends him to find Atreyu and put him on his quest.
Morla the Ancient One
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?
- Really 700 Years Old: One of the oldest beings in Fantastica.
- Split Personality: Morla has been alone with herself for so long that she's separated herself into two distinct identities and often talks to herself, calling herself "old woman."
- Turtle Island
Ygramul the Many
A feared and powerful monster that lives in the deep chasm.
- The Dreaded: Called the Horror of Horrors by the Greenskins, who consider meeting her to be A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Hive Mind: Ygramul is composed of a swarm of steel-blue insects that move to compose a shapeshifting form.
Engywook and Urgl
The Gnomics. Engywook is a gnome scientist who lives near and studies the Southern Oracle, and Urgl, a gnome healer, is his wife.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: They always argue and insult each other, but when at his worst, Urgl comforted Engywook.
- Fantastic Science: Engywook is a scientist trying to figure out how the Southern Oracle works.
- Glory Seeker: Engywook's goal is to become the most famous gnome in Fantastica. He succeeds, but not in the way that he thought that he would.
- Grumpy Old Man: Engywook. Urgl is a Grumpy Old Woman.
- Mad Scientist: Urgl seems to think that Engywook is one.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder
- The Professor: Engywook.
- 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.
- Because Destiny Says So: Legend says that the only way to meet him is by fate.
- 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.
- Back from the Dead: He dies with every nightfall, but is resurrected in the morning.
- Cats Are Mean: Subverted
- 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.
- Badass Mustache: Hykrion.
- Badass Normal: All four heroes.
- 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.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Oglamar.
- Distressed Damsel: Oglamar.
- 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.
- Knight in Shining Armor
- Knight in Sour Armor: Hynreck views himself as a Failure Hero after Bastian defeats him and gives up on his relationship with Oglamar, but when she is kidnapped, he rescues her anyway.
- Knight Errant: Hykrion, Hysbald, and Hydorn become this. At one point, however, after getting lost several times, they declare that they are absolute failures at it.
- The Sword Master: All of them, but especially Hysbald and Hynreck.
- World's Strongest Man: Subverted with Hykrion, who claims to be the strongest, but is later outperformed by Hynreck, who is then outperformed by Bastian.
A talking mule in service to Hykrion, Hysbald, and Hydorn, who later becomes Bastian's mount.
The Acharis / Shlamoofs
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.
- The Eeyore: The Acharis to the extreme.
- Ocular Gushers: The Acharis constantly cry an endless amount of acidic tears.
- Plucky Comic Relief: The Shlamoofs are created to be the embodiment of laughter and comedy.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When they meet up with Bastian for the second time, they reveal just what happened as a result of Bastian's well intended wish.
The prince of the djinn, who seeks out Bastian and becomes one of his most trusted administrators.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He dies in the Battle for the Ivory Tower in order to save the invisibility belt Gemmal for Bastian.
An immortal plant woman who lives in the House of Change, repeatedly dying and being reborn. Her desire and purpose is to have a child to love.
The blind miner, who spends his days going deep underneath Fantastica to harvest the forgotten dreams of humanity from the Picture Mine.
Bastian's father, who became depressed and distant from his son after the death of his wife, Bastian's mother.