The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (1849)
A lawyer traveling across the Pacific to get to San Fransisco before his illness ends him. His journal makes up the first and last chapters of the book.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When Goose is strangling Autua, Adam gains enough strength to kill Goose.
- Birthmark of Destiny: He has the comet-shaped birthmark all the protagonists share. His is on his chest.
- Body Horror: His infection by a parasitic worm.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: He starts off as having views that would seem quite racist to a modern audience, but were the conventional views held by many at the time. Adam is at worse guilty of apathy, but when faced with the harsh realities of slavery be becomes a fervent abolitionist.
- Fainting: The heat and the sight of Autua getting whipped get to him.
- Happily Married: To his wife, Tilda.
- Horrible Judge of Character: So much so that Frobisher is able to guess that Dr Goose is a charlatan before Ewing knows it himself, just from his journal.
- I Owe You My Life: Autua feels indebted to him for aiding in his liberation. Later, Adam's gratitude for Autua saving him from Goose is what spurs him to join an abolitionist movement.
- Ill Boy: He gets progressively sicker over the course of his journey.
- Nice Hat: A nice top hat.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Adam's Character Development culminates in him adopting this attitude; despite knowing he will be shunned by society, he still stands up to his father-in-law and joins an abolitionist movement.
- Took a Level in Badass: Although initially mild-mannered and incapable, he manages to gain enough strength to both kill Dr. Goose and stand up to Haskell Moore.
Adam Ewing's wife.
- Abusive Father: Until she stands up to him.
- Calling the Old Man Out: To her father.Tilda: I've been afraid of you my whole life, father. I'm going with my husband.
- Happily Married: To Adam.
- Nice Girl: A patient, loving wife willing to stand up for what is right.
- Race Lift: The white Tilda of the book is played by the Korean Bae Doona.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: She stands up to her father and announces that she's going to join an abolitionist movement with Adam.
Adam Ewing's bigoted father-in-law, who deals with the trading of slaves.
- Abusive Parents: Implied, judging by the comments by Tilda.
- Breaking Speech: Tries giving one to Adam, whose response shows that it doesn't quite work:Haskell More: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive; if you join them, you and your entire family will be shunned. At best, you will exist a pariah to be spat at and beaten-at worst, to be lynched or crucified. And for what? For what? No matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?
- Evil Sounds Deep: Applies to all of Weaving's characters in the film, really. Except for one, but we'll get to that.
- Faux Affably Evil: Though he initially greets Adam in a jovial manner upon his return, he flips out when Adam discards the contract by Horrox and gives a very arrogant Breaking Speech to him and Tilda.
- Jerkass: Bigoted and proud of it, mean to his daughter and his son-in-law, the list goes on.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He's involved in the slave trade and is deeply entrenched in its values.
- The Social Darwinist: See Breaking Speech.
Dr. Henry Goose
A sinister doctor traveling alongside Ewing with no intention but to obtain his riches.
- Balding of Evil
- Beard of Evil: A thick and bushy one.
- Beneath the Mask: Up until his reveal as a villain, Goose is able to present himself as a well-meaning, albeit cynical and eccentric, doctor. Once he has Adam at his mercy, however, Goose quickly drops the facade and reveals himself for the capricious and sadistic monster that he is, gleefully gloating to his victim about how he has tricked, poisoned, and stolen from him.
- Big Bad: Of The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: You'd be surprised how well he can keep his unscrupulous demeanor hidden from everybody, including poor ol' Adam.
- Deadly Doctor: How competent a doctor he actually is is unknown, as he's poisoning Adam in order to get his hands on the latter's money.
- Death by Adaptation: A Karma Houdini in the book, in the film he's killed by Adam hitting him on the head with a chest.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Though it may be part of his act, even he is horrified at the circumstances leading to Rafael's suicide.
- Evil All Along: In-universe example. See Evil Gloating.
- Evil Gloating: He goes on a gleeful one when he reveals to Adam that he had no intention of saving Adam and was just poisoning him to get his riches.
- Faux Affably Evil: He pretends to be an affable doctor, but when shit hits the fan he reverts to crude, racist language.
- Giggling Villain: He's certainly very giggly when giving Adam the final dose of poison.
- Greed: This quote sums it up pretty well.Goose: There is gold in your trunk. I want it. So I have killed you for it.
- Karma Houdini: In the book, he gets off scot-free.
- Karmic Death: In the film. He's bludgeoned by the chest of coins he was willing to murder for.
- Large Ham: Hanks is seems to be channeling Professor G.H. Dorr from The Ladykillers.
- Light Is Not Good: A name like Goose should be trustworthy. As one can note from all the tropes listed here, the good Doctor sure isn't one of them.
- Alternatively, he's a quack doctor.
- Manipulative Bastard: He stays in Adam's good graces and trust, all the while slowly murdering him in order to get his hands on Adam's money.
- Nice Hat: A straw one, to be precise.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He shares the extremely racist views common to his society.
- Sickbed Slaying: To Adam.
- The Social Darwinist:
- Villainous Breakdown: When Autua stands up to him right before he kills Adam, Goose's "friendly" demeanor drops and he flips out him. Later, during his tussle with Autua, he outright yells DIE! at him. Luckily, Adam kills him.
A Moriori slave stowaway on the ship upon which Ewing travels home.
- The Ace: He is a very good sailor.
- Actual Pacifist: Autua doesn't like violence. In the film, when he discovers Goose's duplicity, he attacks Goose but it's Adam that does Goose in.
- Bald of Awesome: He's bald and quite the awesome sailor.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Ewing when Goose is about to put the finishing blow on him. Just a few moments later, Ewing gains enough strength to return the favor.
- Made a Slave: But he eventually frees himself.
- Meaningful Name: "Autua" is a palindrome, similar to the structure of the stories in the book.
- Nice Guy: He's a hard worker, patient, moral, and loyal to Adam.
- I Owe You My Life: To Adam, as the latter is instrumental in his self-liberation. Later flipped over its head, as Ewing states he owes his life to Autua for saving him from Goose.
- A Taste of the Lash: His first scene is him getting brutally whipped.
- Undying Loyalty: To Adam.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He's never seen with a shirt on, although justified as he's a freed slave and would be used to this.
The captain of the the sailing vessel upon which Adam Ewing is sailing to return to the United States.
Rev. Giles Horrox
A missionary who has several slaves assisting him on his plantations.
- Affably Evil: For a hypocritical reverand, Horrox is very polite and charming.
- British Teeth: Ugly, crooked, and yellowed.
- Corrupt Church: He's a corrupt minister.
- Happiness in Slavery: Fully believes in this.
Rev. Horrox's wife.
- Deadpan Snarker: Rarely enough, but not quite to the point of being a Silent Snarker.Adam Ewing: Oh... well let's see... ah, it is an inquiry concerning God's will and the nature of men.Mme. Horrox: And what does he have to say about the nature of women?Adam Ewing: I'm afraid that's a subject he prefers to pass by in silence.Mme. Horrox: He wouldn't be the first.
- Everyone Has Standards: Although it isn't explored in much depth, it appears that she disagrees with her idiot husband's views on "the ladder of civilization" and despises his and Moore's straw misogyny.
- Proper Lady: As expected of a minister's wife, Madame Horrox is polite and refined, but that doesn't stop her from being a Deadpan Snarker.
- Stepford Smiler: Her conversation at the dinner table implies that she's deeply unhappy in her marriage.Mme. Horrox: Please, Giles, do shut up.
A Maori slave owned by Reverend Horrox.
- Adaptational Heroism: Though a bit too small a part in the film to constitute a "hero", in the books Kupaka was a Maori slaveowner from whom Autua escaped.
- Badass Baritone: Well, he is played by Keith David.
- Servile Snarker: He manages to deliver his lines sarcastically to an unsuspecting Horrox.
- Silent Snarker: Appears docile and obedient, but his facial expressions give the game away.
- Third-Person Person: Though the way he refers himself is almost said mockingly.Giles Horrox: Uh, Kupaka...you enjoy your life, here with us, do you not?Kupaka: Oh yes, Reverend, sir. Kupaka very happy here.