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Characters / Dollanganger Series

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In keeping with general consensus Only the Creator Does It Right and Fanon Discontinuity, anything from the ghostwriter (Garden of Shadows and the Christopher's Diary series) should kept on those works' pages, not here.

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Dollanganger/Foxworth Clan

Main generation


Catherine Leigh "Cathy" Dollanganger

Actors: Kristy Swanson (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Kiernan Shipka (2014 Flowers TV film), Rose McIver (2014 Petals on the Wind TV film), Rachael Carpani (2015 If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday TV films)

The oldest daughter of the Dollanganger family, and the narrator for Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, and Seeds of Yesterday.

  • Ballet: Dreams of becoming a famous ballerina; she does manage to become well-regarded, though she settles into being just a teacher.
  • Career-Ending Injury: In Petals, Cathy never quite addresses why she ends her dance career. In Thorns, Chris says very explicitly that it's her knee. This points to Cathy as an Unreliable Narrator, avoiding talking about a particularly emotional pain point.
    Chris: Cathy, you know you're not supposed to dance on your trick knee! You promised me you would never dance professionally again. At any moment that knee could give way, and down you'd go. One more fall and you may end up crippled for life.
  • Cartwright Curse: Julian, Bart, Paul. She even bitterly lampshades this at the end of Petals, wondering why Chris isn't afraid to get together with her, given that "behind me lay a trail of dead men."
  • Character Catchphrase: Exclaimed "Golly-lolly day" or "Golly day" when she's a child in Flowers. This is dropped in later books, though it gets a Call-Back in Petals.
    Oh, golly-lolly! I used my little-girl exclamation of delight, of surprise, of dismay or frustration, though I had better and more accurate words at my disposal now.
  • Child Supplants Parent: Cathy very much wants to supplant her mother—her power over men, and her poise. What complicates this is that Cathy is also afraid of becoming like the mother she so hates. The warring of these two opposing drives is at the very heart of her character.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: Cynical Cathy and idealistic Chris. We mostly hear the story from Cathy's POV, and she often thinks Chris is a "prisoner of hope," but she also loves him for this and depends on him as her counterbalance.
  • Daddy's Girl: Very dearly loved her father, and was probably closer to him than the rest of the family before his death.
    Corrine: But remember always you were blessed to have for almost twelve years a father who thought you were something very special.
    Cathy: Because I look like you.
    Corrine: I'm going to tell you something now, Cathy, that I've never told you before. You look very much as I did at your age, but you are not like me in your personality. You are much more aggressive and much more determined. Your father used to say that you were like his mother, and he loved his mother.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Cathy has long blonde hair and is seen as being very beautiful, to the point many men desire her.
  • Generation Xerox: Cathy is a lot like her mother Corrine—she is The Ingenue, and then The Tease, and occasionally the Femme Fatale. This is a major theme of the books, and explored in depth. At the center of her character is Cathy's desire to be like her mother warring with her fear of being like her mother.
  • Happily Married: Her third marriage, that is. Her first marriage is abusive, and her second marriage mostly involves playing nursemaid to her husband after a heart attack.
  • Incest Subtext: Even with his early death, this is still very much present through the books with her father. Cathy often has a sense of competing with her mother for her father's attention, and never shuts up about how hot he is.
    Cathy: Was it so terrible what our mother did, to marry her half-uncle when he was only three years older than she? No woman with a heart could have resisted him. I know I couldn't have.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Cathy's blonde hair is very long, and she's a feminine character who takes up ballet as a career.
  • I Am Not My Father: Later in the series Cathy is terrified of being like Corrine. Especially after she has her own children.
  • I Owe You My Life: In her relationship with Paul, Cathy at multiple points states that she feels like she owes him for taking in her and her siblings when they were so desperately in need. For his part, Paul insists that they do not own him anything.
    Madam Marisha: You married a man almost dead. Was it a guilty conscience?
    Cathy: I don't know. I used to think it was because I loved him and I owed him. I had a thousand reasons for marrying him, the most important being he wanted me, and that was enough.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's fairly whiny and can be especially hard on people when they anger her, but she thinks the world of those she cares about and will go to any length to keep them safe.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: After she can no longer dance, Cathy begins to start writing about her past.
  • Never My Fault: Cathy could have been a gymnast after all the mental gymnastics she performs in order to blame everything on Corrine during Petals.
  • Not So Similar: Cathy is a lot like her mother Corrine. Ultimately though, the key difference between them is that Cathy is proactive and driven, with an iron will. Corrine never gets a job, even after her husband dies. Cathy spends years pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer, which is, for the most part, portrayed as very grueling. While Corrine was spoiled (and emotionally abused) as a child, Cathy was abused far differently, lighting a fire under her ass, making her determined as all hell, and left knowing that she can only rely on herself in the end.
  • Only Sane Man: She has the suspicion that something's going on almost as soon as she and her siblings are taken to the attic, is the first to lose faith in Corrine and recognize when Corrine is being manipulative, and Cathy's the one who makes the suggestion to just run away. Chris, on the other hand, is a part of the reason why they stay in the attic as long as they do, in part because he still has some faith in Corrine.
  • Promotion to Parent: To her younger siblings Carrie and Cory, from the time they're trapped in Foxworth onward.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cathy is the Red Oni and Chris is the Blue Oni. Chris is stable to the point of complacency, while Cathy is mercurial to the point of recklessness. In Flowers, Cathy wants to run away while Chris wants to do nothing. Cathy is in the right. In Petals, the positions get reversed: Cathy wants to pursue revenge against their mother, while Chris wants to do nothing. It sure looks like Chris's suggestion would've been the better idea this time.
  • Revenge Before Reason/Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Particularly in Petals, where she literally and figuratively wrecks homes to get revenge on her murderous mother.
  • Stage Name: In-universe example, as a young girl she wanted to be billed as Catherine Doll, but her ballet teacher in New York insisted she go with Catherine Dahl instead.

    Chris Jr. 

Christopher "Chris" Garland Dollanganger Jr.

Actors: Jeb Stuart Adams (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Mason Dye (2014 Flowers TV film), Wyatt Nash (2014 Petals on the Wind TV film), Jason Lewis (2015 If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday TV films)

The oldest of the Dollanganger children.

  • Brother–Sister Incest: Develops a mutual attraction with his sister Cathy in the attic, and years later they live as husband and wife.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: Cynical Cathy and idealistic Chris. We mostly hear the story from Cathy's POV, and she often thinks Chris is a "prisoner of hope," but she also loves him for this and depends on him as her counterbalance.
  • History Repeats: Besides falling in love with his sister and later living with her as her husband, having a commuter marriage, Chris is killed in a car crash, just as Chris Sr. had in their childhood.
  • Hope Springs Eternal/The Idealist: In the attic, Chris holds out hope that their mother will come through long after the evidence stops pointing that way. Even after they escape, he is always inclined to give their mother the benefit of the doubt and believe the best of her. He carries a flame for Cathy for 15 years, all the while believing they are endgame. When Bart insists You're Not My Father and spurns him at every turn, Chris loves Bart as his own son and holds out hope they'll repair their relationship someday. In Flowers, Chris says the following, which makes it seem like this is less his worldview than it is his coping mechanism:
    Chris: Sure I've got doubts and suspicions hidden away in me, but I smile and I laugh, and make myself believe because I want to survive.
  • Incest Subtext: It's basically textual that Christopher is sexually attracted to—or at least very confused by—his mother Corrine. Corrine plays into it a bit, what with her spinning around in negligees and constantly cradling him to her breast, and one very memorable moment when she kisses him full on the lips.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: Chris—the eternal optimist—spends the duration of Petals (about 15 years) holding out hope that he and Cathy were endgame. Around the age of 40, he tries to explain it to his son, saying:
    Chris: During all those years I waited, I somehow knew eventually she'd be mine as long as I held fast to my faith, and kept the flame of my first love burning. It was so easy for her to love other men. It was impossible for me to find any woman who could compare. She took me for her own when I was about your age, Jory. Be careful whom you love first, for that is the girl you will never forget.
  • Mama's Boy: He is Corrine's favorite child. He adores his mother and puts her on a pedestal. Even when she fails them in every imaginable way, he still half-forgives her.
  • Promotion to Parent: To his younger siblings Carrie and Cory, from the time they're trapped in Foxworth onward.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cathy is the Red Oni and Chris is the Blue Oni. Chris is stable to the point of complacency, while Cathy is mercurial to the point of recklessness. In Flowers, Cathy wants to run away while Chris wants to do nothing. Cathy is in the right. In Petals, the positions get reversed: Cathy wants to pursue revenge against their mother, while Chris wants to do nothing. It sure looks like Chris's suggestion would've been the better idea this time.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: From childhood, Chris always talks in a way that is sometimes flowery, and sometimes just plain weird. Hilariously lampshaded in Thorns, when—as a parent—he gives his sons a new word to learn each day to expand their vocabularies.
    Chris: The world belongs to those who know how to speak well, and fortunes are made by those who write well.


Carrie Dollanganger

Actors: Lindsay Parker (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Ava Telek (2014 Flowers TV film), Bailey De Young (2014 Petals on the Wind TV film)

The loud and opinionated youngest daughter of the family, twin to Cory.

  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Carrie is never the same after her twin Cory dies.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Known to scream and stamp her feet when she's angry.
  • Broken Bird: After the attic she's never really alright, in part because Cory is dead.
  • Creepy Twins: Cory and Carrie were perceived as such, though they weren't aware of it.
  • Delicate and Sickly: After the attic, she is forever dainty from the arsenic poisoning. Not only that, she is miles behind her peers in weight and height, not getting much taller than four and a half feet when she's an adult.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Carrie is this to Alex.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Very loud and adamant in comparison to Cory.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Unbeknownst to Cathy, the Grandmother managed to drill this trope into Carrie's head. Carrie seems to view perfectly normal sexual desire as evil and herself as bad because of Julian molesting her and she kind of liked it.


Cory Dollanganger

Actors: Ben Ganger (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Maxwell Kovach (2014 Flowers TV film)

Carrie's twin brother, who is much quieter.

  • The Chew Toy: Poor Cory has the worst luck in the attic from getting locked in a chest while playing hide-and-seek, to dying of arsenic poison.
  • Creepy Twins: Cory and Carrie were perceived as such, though they weren't aware of it. Probably fuelled by the paperback cover art, as well as their thin bodies, oversized heads, pale skin and the dark circles under their eyes from arsenic poisoning.
  • Death of a Child: Cory is the first (and only) to die of arsenic poisoning at Foxworth Hall.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Something of a quiet type, in contrast to Carrie.
  • Kill the Cutie: He is the only one of the four children to die in the attic of the arsenic poisoning.

Parents' generation


Corrine Dollanganger (née Foxworth)

Actors: Victoria Tennant (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Heather Graham (2014-2015 TV films of Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, and If There Be Thorns)

The beautiful but spoiled mother of the Dollanganger children that harbors a Dark Secret that only she and their father know of.

  • Abusive Parents: Of the neglectful variety at first. She brings her children gifts and clothes that show she doesn't realise how they're aging (specifically Cathy has developed breasts and Corinne doesn't get her age-appropriate clothes). Then a certain set of powdered donuts (cookies in the 1987 film) start arriving with their food...
  • Animal Motif: Swans.
  • Beauty Is Best: She muses that it'll be hard for her to get a job that'll support four children, because she feels she was only best at being "an ornament". In the book she says she's planning on taking a secretary course so she can get hired as one, but of course that doesn't happen.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's a beautiful blonde woman with an angelic appearance and wardrobe, always ready to give a beaming smile to anyone. But she soon has a Face–Heel Turn and ends up trying to poison her children.
  • Daddy's Girl: Used to be this before being disowned, and aspires to be this again.
  • Dumb Blonde: About halfway between this and Obfuscating Stupidity. She plays up her helplessness to get what she wants, but is secretly very manipulative. She's cunning but not all that smart.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Two in the 2014 film:
    • Her very first line is "Did you forget about me?" to her husband when he's embracing his children after returning from a business trip, showing how she is an Attention Whore.
    • In the very next scene, Corrine tries to pass off a store-bought apple pie for her husband as one she cooked herself, before Cathy reveals she forgot to take off the bakery label. This cleverly foreshadows how she is not as truthful or dedicated to her family's well-being as she seems. Also, that she's cunning but not all that smart.
  • Fallen Princess: Was disinherited by her father after eloping with her half-uncle.
  • Flanderization: Also doubles as Face–Heel Turn. Corrine still has some traits of vanity and materialism at the start of the story, but is still a decent person and a loving mother to her children who only imprisons them in the attic because her mother has forced her into it. However, once Corrine is reintroduced to high society, her selfish traits grow stronger while her redeeming qualities weaken, to the point where she is perfectly willing to poison her children as she cannot part with her money.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While hitting Christopher and threatening to whip him was completely uncalled for, she is rightfully angry with Christopher for not returning to the attic after allowing them to hide and watch the Christmas party for a while, and instead exploring the house where he could easily be caught.
  • Light Is Not Good: The film adaptations tend to put her in white clothes or pastels to emphasize the contrast between how she presents herself and her evil actions.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: She marries Christopher, who looks just like her dad, who's doting and wrapped around her little finger like her dad — but who isn't mean, or strict, or punishing like her dad. He's just the parts of her dad that worked for her.
  • Offing the Offspring: Succeeds in poisoning Cory, and fails at doing the same to the rest of her children.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Cathy thinks she and her siblings are suffering in the attic? Well, whatever they've suffered, Corrine's suffered worse! She's had to suck up to her father and she gets to come and go as she pleases! Such a cross to bear...
  • Spoiled Brat: Corrine was spoiled heavily by her father and later her husband, to the point where she was constantly depending on a man. She doesn't even try to get a career when her first husband dies even though she has four children to support.
  • The Scapegoat: Becomes this to Cathy through Petals on the Wind. That's not to say Corrine isn't responsible for her children's trauma, but Cathy finds a way to link everything that goes wrong in her life to Corrine.
  • Stepford Smiler: The Unstable type.

    Chris Sr. 

Christopher "Chris" Garland Dollanganger Sr.

Actors: Marshall Colt (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Chad Willett (2014 Flowers TV film)

The Dollangangers' father. Dies in a car crash at the beginning of Flowers in the Attic.

  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: In a series full of fraught parent-children relationships, Cathy never questions her late father's perfection.
  • Died on Their Birthday: He was on his way to his 36th birthday party, but he is killed in a car crash while driving there.
  • Doting Parent: Was this before his death, particularly to Cathy.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: His blond hair is symbolic of his warm-hearted and generous personality.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: His death leaves the family without a source of income, driving Corrine to crawl back to parents and beg for forgiveness.
  • Practically Different Generations: Malcolm was 28 when his father Garland (55) married Alicia (16). Garland and Alicia's son—Malcolm's half-brother—was born the following year, making him younger than Malcolm's own sons, and older than his youngest child.
  • Shed the Family Name: His birth name, as Corrine tells us, was Garland Christopher Foxworth the Fourth, though, "We never called him anything but Chris." When they eloped, Chris and Corrine took the surname Dollanganger. He also appears to have swapped middle and first name at this point, because when the officers come to tell Corrine he has died, they call her "Mrs. Christopher Garland Dollanganger."
    Corrine: For heaven's sake, Cathy, names can be changed legally. And the name Dollanganger does belong to us, more or less. Your father borrowed that name from way back in his ancestry. He thought it an amusing name, a joke, and it served its purpose well enough.
Small Role, Big Impact: He dies after the first chapter of the original book and roughly within the first five minutes of both film adaptations, but if not for his death, the entire series never would have happened.


Malcolm "Mal" Foxworth Jr.

Corrine's eldest brother.
  • Cool Bike: The way Corrine describes Mal certainly gives this impression.
    Corrine: He was a very good-looking young man, and on weekends, Mal would escape the life he hated by riding up into the mountains on his motorcycle. In his own private retreat, a log cabin he had built himself, he composed music.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Malcolm, to his sons Mal and Joel.
    Corrine: Both my brothers were musicians. The pity of it was my father had no patience for the arts, or the type of men who were artists—not only those who were musicians, but painters, poets, and so forth. He thought them weak and effeminate. He forced this older brother to work in a bank he owned, not caring if his son detested the job that didn't suit him at all.


Joel Foxworth

The younger of Corrine's two elder brothers.
  • Back from the Dead: Joel. He was thought to have died in a skiing accident, but has been living in an Italian monastery. However...
  • The Runaway: Joel, after Mal's death
    Corrine: My younger brother was named Joel, and he ran away the day of his brother's funeral. He and Mal had been very close, and I guess he just couldn't bear the thought that now he would have to take Mal's place, and be the heir to his father's business dynasty.
  • The Illegible:
    Cathy: I never saw such a strange assortment of crooked handwriting, all in various shades of blue, violet, green, black and brown ink. Joel, you changed pens to make it seem those cards were signed by different guests, when it was you who signed them all!
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Malcolm, to his sons Mal and Joel.
    Corrine: Both my brothers were musicians. The pity of it was my father had no patience for the arts, or the type of men who were artists—not only those who were musicians, but painters, poets, and so forth. He thought them weak and effeminate. He forced this older brother to work in a bank he owned, not caring if his son detested the job that didn't suit him at all.

Grandparents' generation


Olivia Foxworth (née Winfield)

Actors: Louise Fletcher (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Ellen Burstyn (2014 TV films of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind)

Corrine's cruel religious fanatic of a mother. She arranges to hide the children.

  • Claustrophobia: She will not, cannot, go up the narrow staircase to the attic.
  • Evil Matriarch
  • The Fundamentalist
  • Gruesome Grandparent: An abusive religious fanatic who believed that her grandchildren's existence is an abomination against God.
  • No Name Given: After referring to her only as "the Grandmother" in Flowers, it becomes a Subverted Trope when Cathy realizes in Petals that she's never heard her real name, and—in morbid curiosity—asks.
    Cathy: Do you call her Mrs. Foxworth?
    Bart: Olivia, that's what I call her!
  • Pet the Dog: In a very rare show of kindness, in Flowers Olivia gives the children real flowers after she learns that they're turning the attic into a playground. It also turns out, after Corinne is disinherited once it's discovered that she had children, that she left her all her money with no strings attached, indicating that for all her abuse of her daughter and grandchildren, she was a sliver less punitive than her husband.


Malcolm Neal Foxworth

Actors: Nathan Davis (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Beau Daniels (2014 TV film of Flowers in the Attic)

Corrine's elderly father who at the beginning of Flowers in the Attic is on death's doorstep.

  • Churchgoing Villain: Builds his own church on his own property, just so he can always be treated like a patriarch there.
  • Dead All Along: Malcolm has in reality been for almost a year when the remaining three kids finally escape.
  • Hemo Erotic: A misogynistic sadist:
    Malcolm's journal: I took pleasure in beating them, putting red welts on their fair unbroken skins. I saw blood, their blood, and it made me excited.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: He adored his mother but as a result of her abandonment of him, he hates beautiful women. This doesn't even stop when he's married, as he tries to rape his beautiful stepmother, Alicia.
  • Marital Rape License: Raped his wife Olivia, conceiving their son Mal in the process.
  • Pervert Dad: To Corrine
  • Practically Different Generations: Malcolm was 28 when his father Garland (55) married Alicia (16). Garland and Alicia's son—Malcolm's half-brother—was born the following year, making him younger than Malcolm's sons, and older than his youngest child.
  • Stalker with a Crush: For his (much younger) stepmother Alicia.
    Cathy: Your husband Malcolm was in love with his father's younger wife, ten times more beautiful and sweeter than you [Olivia] ever were! So when Alicia had a son, you suspected that child was your own husband's, and that's why you hated our father [...] Yet how wrong you were about Malcolm and Alicia, for my father's mother despised Malcolm! She fought him off time and again—and the baby she had was not your husband's son! Though he would have been, if Malcolm had had his way!



Garland Christopher Foxworth's young wife.

  • Childhood Friend Romance: She had a happy second marriage to her childhood sweetheart—good for her!
    Corrine: They fled back to Richmond, to Alicia's parents, and there she lived until she married a second time. She had a few years of happiness with a young man she'd loved since her childhood, and then he, too, died.
  • May–December Romance: She married her husband Garland when she was 16 and him 55.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The one account we hear of Alicia's personality is from her son, who says that Cathy's iron will—the one trait she doesn't have in common with Corrine—comes from Alicia.
    Corrine: I'm going to tell you something now, Cathy, that I've never told you before. You look very much as I did at your age, but you are not like me in your personality. You are much more aggressive, and much more determined. Your father used to say that you were like his mother, and he loved his mother.

    John Amos 

John Amos Jackson

Olivia's cousin and butler to the Foxworths

  • The Corrupter: He ultimately does this to Bart, imparting Malcolm's view of women onto him.
  • A God Am I: He believes that God talks through him,
  • Manipulative Bastard: John Amos actively manipulated Bart so that he could ultimately gain Corinne's fortune for himself and live as Malcolm Foxworth did.

Children's generation


Julian Janus "Jory" Marquet Sheffield

Cathy's eldest child.

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Has several such moments with his brother Bart. Bart is difficult, so say the least, but Jory really does love his little brother.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Of the I Can't Feel My Legs! variety.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Jory is named for his father Julian and uncle Cory.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Jory's father committed suicide after a crippling accident meant he would never dance again, even knowing that his wife was pregnant with their firstborn child at the time. Jory himself is in turn placed in the same situation, and must decide to live instead.
  • Nice Guy: Jory is remarkable well-adjusted, within his family.
Portmanteau: Julian + Cory = Jory


Bartholomew "Bart" Scott Winslow Sheffield

Cathy's younger son.

  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Revealed to have one late in Seeds of Yesterday. In fact, Bart's singing is so beautiful Cathy outright has a religious experience.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named for his father. (His middle name—Scott—is his stepfather Paul's middle name, Paul didn't die until few years after Bart was born.)
  • Friend to All Children: Bart has a soft spot for his niece and nephew.
  • Hypocrite: He hates Chris and Cathy (especially Chris) for their incestuous union. Calling it sinful... but then has an affair with his brother's wife and tries to justify it. It gets even more egregious when he Slut Shames Cindy.
  • It's All About Me / Never My Fault: He demands to be the center of Cathy and Corinne's universes but the instant they don't love Bart precisely the way he wants he makes everyone around him miserable. He has a mental disorder? Well, it's Chris's fault for being intimate with his sister. Doesn't matter if Bart had these problems long before he found out Chris and Cathy were siblings. Something doesn't go his way, then Bart has a screaming fit at the age of twenty-five. Cindy calls Bart out on his Jerkass behavior towards her? Well, it's her fault she was adopted. The rest of the family calls him out on his behavior? It's always someone else fault, never because of his own choices.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Cathy realizes that Bart will never find the "perfect" woman that he's looking for, because he's really looking for a replica of her. Even worse, at the same time, Bart also projects all his resentments of Cathy onto other women, destroying his chances for love.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Born after his father's death, a la his mother's Cartwright Curse.
  • You're Not My Father: Bart pulls this frequently and aggressively with his Chris. Bart's biological father died before he was born, and Chris has been his stepfather since he was a toddler. He is the man who raised him, and the only father Bart can remember. Chris, for his part, unquestionably considers Bart his son, loves him, and holds out hope their relationship will improve someday. But Bart refuses to call Chris his father, calling him by his name or simply not speaking to him at all. He also denies Cindy as his sister in an Adoption Diss, and sometimes Jory as his brother too in Half-Sibling Angst. He, thankfully, does get better by the end of Seeds However, it's only after Chris dies that Bart acknowledges that Chris was his father and admits having loved him.
    Cathy: What's wrong with you, Bart? You deny Chris as your father, Cindy as your sister, Jory as your brother. Don't you need to have anyone but yourself—and that hateful old man who trails you about?
  • The Un-Favorite: Of his mother. She really did love him... but she also really did favor his siblings. In all fairness, though, she did acknowledge her favoring towards his siblings, and the favoritism was always very obvious, she still felt this way unintentionally, because she and Chris always loved him just as much.
    Bart: You think because you gave me all the necessary things, all the clothes I needed, all the food I could eat, and a house to shelter me, you made yourself believe that was enough, but it wasn't. I knew you saved the best of your love for Jory. Then, after Cindy came, you gave your second best to her. You had nothing left to give me but pity—and I hate you for pitying me!


Cynthia "Cindy" Jane Nickols Sheffield

Cathy and Chris's adoptive daughter.

  • Happily Adopted: Cindy is quite happily adopted by Cathy and Chris, who very much consider her their own daughter.
  • Has a Type: As Melodie says, it seems Cindy likes dark-haired men who look like her brothers.
  • Generation Xerox: Cindy takes pages on sexuality from her mother. Cathy describes her as eager for love, but not mature enough to avoid decisions that will come back to bite her.
  • Spoiled Brat: Cindy can come off as entitled and petty in her teen years. Considering how she was heavily spoiled by Cathy, Chris, and Jory, it's not a surprise. She grows out of it eventually and even forgives Bart for his mistreatment of her.

     Darren & Deidre 
The twin children of Jory and Melodie.
  • Doppelgänger: Cathy declares them to be this the moment they're born. As they grow, they continue to bear an extremely strong resemblance, both physically and personality-wise , to their long-deceased great-uncle and great-aunt Cory and Carrie, causing Cathy to constantly slip up and call them by the latter pairs names.


    Bart Winslow 

Bartholomew "Bart" Winslow

Actors: Leonard Mann (1987 Flowers in the Attic film), Dylan Bruce (2014 TV films of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind)
Corrine's second husband.

  • Love Mather, Love Daughter: Married to Corrine, and then had an affair with her daughter—not that he knew she was her daughter. He Has a Type. (Bart is 8 years Corrine's junior, making him roughly 13 years Cathy's senior.)
  • Millionaire Playboy: The rare married version of this trope.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Bart at times claims he's put off by Cathy's pointed pursuit of him. But—as she demonstrates—he's also annoyed when she makes no effort. Cathy claims this is born of misogyny and insecurity; Bart claims "I just don't like the feeling of being the victim of a huntress leading me into a trap." They're both right: Bart is misogynistic, but Cathy is also very deliberately seducing Bart as part of a her scheme, and he's right to feel he's being led into a trap.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: Apparently handles both estate planning and insurance cases.
  • Porn Stache: When she first sees him, he has a thick moustache, which Cathy is really into. She later encourages Paul to grow a mustache as well because of it. By the time she sees Bart again in Petals, he has shaved it off.
  • Trophy Wife: Gender-Inverted Trope. He is 8 years Corrine's junior, and comes from a working class background. Cathy often taunts him about this, and it's clearly something of a sore spot for Bart.
    Cathy: A lap dog for a pampered, spoiled, rich woman who can buy anything she wants—including a much younger husband!

    Paul Sheffield 

Dr. Paul Scott Sheffield

  • Ephebophile: Cathy's 15 when he begins lusting after her, and 17 when they consummate their relationship. His sister Amanda claims this is a pattern with him, although it's hard to know what to believe with Amanda.
    Amanda: Paul's made an ass of himself before, you know. You're not his first little playmate; though he's never given one a fur coat before, and a diamond ring. Just as if he could possibly marry you. Such flawless skin you have, so firm, like porcelain. You won't keep that skin, or all that hair once you're thirty-five or so, and long before then he'll have tired of you. He likes his women young, very young. He likes them pretty, intelligent and talented. I have to acknowledge he has good taste, if not good sense.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Near the end of his life, Paul encourages Cathy to go be happy with Chris.
  • May–December Romance: Has one with Cathy, beginning when she's 17 and he's 42. He specifically refers to them as "April and September." These slightly closer months are more true of their actual ages (and they're also their birth months respectively).
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Paul admits to cheating on his late wife, but excuses himself because she was mentally ill and sexually unresponsive and I'm a Man; I Can't Help It.

    Julian Marquet 

Julian Marquet

Actor: Will Kemp (2014 TV film of Petals on the Wind)

  • Domestic Abuse: Julian is emotionally, physically and sexually abusive toward Cathy, including a memorable scene where he breaks several of her toes in a fit of rage. During their marriage, he follows the classic cycle of explosions, regret and apologies, honeymoon phase, growing tension, and then another explosion.
    Chris: Damn him to hell! How many times has he vented his rage on you? How many black eyes—I've seen one—but how many others?
    Cathy: Please don't. He never hit me that he didn't cry afterward, and he'd say he was sorry.
  • Driven to Suicide: After an accident leaves him paralyzed and unlikely to even walk again, much less dance.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette : He's described as having jet black hair and very pale skin, and becomes the face of Cathy's dream dancer/lover.
  • Ephebophile: Cathy is well-aware that Julian is attracted to very young girls, enough to even need to get him to promise to leave Carrie alone. Years later, after Julian's death, she learns that he didn't keep that promise.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Cathy sometimes thinks there's more to Julian—he has a Freudian Excuse after all! But ultimately no. He's just a dick who is also a gifted dancer.
  • Loving a Shadow: We know that Julian put Cathy on a pedestal very early on, and that his conceptualization of her had little to do with who she really was. What did he imagine her to be? That's somewhat less clear. Cathy herself says she never really understood Julian's interiority. We know there's some inner conflict going on there, and we get glimpes of it, but we never get the full picture—and that's the point.
  • Shed the Family Name: Julian changed his legal name to distance himself from his parents as well, both in a professional and personal capacity. Zigzagged when Cathy—with his mother's approval—buries him under the name Julian Marquet Rosencoff.
    Cathy: Why do you call yourself Marquet when your father's name is Rosencoff?
    Julian: […] My father sees me as an extension of himself. If I become a great dancer, it won't be to my credit; it will be just because I am his son and bear his name. So I put an end to that idea by changing my name. I made it up, just like any performer does when he wants to change his name.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A lot of Julian's emotional issues seem to stem from trying to get his parents' approval, though he also hates himself for being so needy of them.

    Madame Marisha 

Marisha Rosencoff

  • Follow in My Footsteps: The Rosencoffs are a long line of Russian ballet stars. Madame Marisha claims she tried not to do this with Julian, but she ultimately did. By the time Jory comes along, Madame Marisha is over any such qualms about forcing dance onto kids.
    Madame Marisha: I tell myself we didn't force the dance upon our son, but we did keep him with us, so the ballet became part of his world, the most important part. [sighs]
  • Parental Substitute: She's a bad mother to her actual son Julian, but she's pretty good as a mother figure to Cathy.

    Madame Zolta 

Naverena Zolta Korovenskov

  • Classy Cane: She carries an ivory cane.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: She has photos in her office of her dancing when she was young and beautiful.
    Madame Zolta: Beautiful faces don't usually go with great dancers. Beauty thinks it needs no talent and can feed on itself, so it soon dies. Look at me. Once I was young and a great beauty. What do you see now?
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Elderly and under 5 feet tall.
    She wasn't five feet tall, but radiated six feet of authority.
  • Parental Substitute: Downplayed Trope, but Madame Zolta to Cathy.
    Madame Zolta: [tears in her eyes.] You are my delight, did you know? I think you are the daughter I never had; you take me back to when I was young and thought all life was one big romantic adventure. I'm so afraid life will steal your look of enchantment, your childish wonderment.
  • Stern Teacher: She is strict and demanding as a teacher. She also has moments where she makes it clear that she is very fond of both Cathy and Julian.


Melodie Richarme


Antonia "Toni" Waters

     Julia Sheffield 
  • A Deadly Affair: She kills herself and Paul's son as revenge for his affair.
  • Died on Their Birthday: She murders hers and Paul's son Scott on his birthday.
  • Murder-Suicide: She kills herself and her son as revenge for Paul's affair.
  • Offing the Offspring: She murders hers and Paul's son Scott as revenge for his affair.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Julia was sexually abused by a cousin at age four, and this really stuck with her, to the point of screaming when Paul tries to undress her on their wedding night.
    Paul: I talked to her mother about our problem, and her mother hinted at some dark secret in Julia's past, a cousin of hers who'd done something to Julia when she was only four. I never learned just what he'd done, but whatever it was, it spoiled sex forever for my wife.
  • Posthumous Character: By the time Paul tells the story of their ill-fated marriage, she's been dead for years.
  • Sex Is Evil: Her reaction whenever Paul tried to make advances to her was to whine "Why can't you just lie there and hold me? Why does it have to be so ugly?" One gets the feeling she would have hated sex even without whatever childhood incident turned her off.
  • Sexless Marriage: She cut Paul off once she had their son.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Paul cites this as the reason he resorted to occasionally forcing her to have sex—"she was so beautiful, so near. . ."
  • There Are No Therapists: She refused to see one to help her get over her sexual fears, basically laughing in Paul's face when he suggested it, asking why he couldn't just leave her alone, fully expecting him to be okay with them never having sex again.

Alternative Title(s): Flowers In The Attic, Petals On The Wind, Seeds Of Yesterday, If There Be Thorns