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Index: The Mystery Shack (Dipper Pines | Mabel Pines | Grunkle Stan) | The Author | Main Antagonists | Bill Cipher | Adults of Gravity Falls | Youth of Gravity Falls | Creatures and other Oddities

Stanford Filbrick "Ford" Pines
"Unfortunately, my suspicions have been confirmed. I'm being watched. I must hide this book before he finds it. Remember: in Gravity Falls, there is no one you can trust."
Voiced by: J. K. Simmons, Christian Mardini (young)

An enigmatic figure who researched in Gravity Falls years ago prior to Dipper and Mabel's summer vacation, and is responsible for writing the three journals that catalog and explain the supernatural creatures and phenomena that exist in the town, some of which he had a hand in creating. His fate and identity are the biggest mysteries the Mystery Twins aim to decipher. About halfway through season two, his identity is revealed as Stanford "Ford" Pines, Grunkle Stan's twin brother.

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  • Absentee Actor:
    • His introduction causes a huge shift in the status quo and overall group dynamic among the main cast, which makes his unexplained absence from the episode "Roadside Attraction", in which the aforementioned main cast goes on a road trip together, all the more noticeable. The behind-the-scenes reason for this is that the episode was originally supposed to air earlier in the season, before he had been introduced.
    • Even more noticeably, the tie-in game Legend of the Gnome Gemulets at one point alludes to Dipper and Pacifica's hug from "Northwest Mansion Mystery", which takes place one day before the events of "Not What He Seems" and "A Tale of Two Stans", in which he is respectively introduced and joins the main cast. Nevertheless, Ford himself is nowhere to be seen. While this can probably be chalked up to the creative team behind the game not wanting to spoil such a huge twist for anyone not caught up with the show proper, his absence does start to feel a little weird in the back half of the game, when the entire town is plunged into darkness as a result of Dark Jeff's newly gained magical powers, and the Mystery Shack employees fall victim to Jeff's mind control.
  • Absent-Minded Professor:
    • His somewhat lax safety habits have been a cause of conflict in both "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons" and "The Stanchurian Candidate" - he kept an infinity-sided die that could literally cause anything to happen in a rather weak container, and saw nothing wrong with giving a mind-control device to children. Common sense is not exactly a strong trait in the Pines family.
    • On a darker note, his lack of safety features for the Portal (which amounts to one warning border line, nothing else), is partially responsible for both the incident that ended up driving McGucket mad, and later Stanford himself being trapped in another dimension for 30 years.
  • Action Survivor: He has seen and studied most of the strange and dangerous anomalies in Gravity Falls, and survived for 30 years in another dimension.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Journal 3 depicts him as being an arrogant Knight Templar obsessed with getting fame as much as he is with doing things For Science!., though he mellowed out after being stuck traveloing the multiverse for 30 years.
  • Adorkable: Shows shades of this at times:
    • When he obsesses over the tabletop game Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons and poses as Princess Unattainabelle.
    • The look on his face after stunning the Cycloptopus earlier in the episode, also the page image, also qualifies.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • The world is literally ending because Ford can't learn to follow basic safety procedures, no matter how many times not doing so has bitten him in the butt.
    • His obsession with his research and inability to destroy it cost him a great deal 30 years ago. He had apparently learned his lesson, writing warnings all over the Journals advocating against investigating further and going so far as to dismantle the Portal when he got back, but this didn't stick, as he goes right back to his dangerous tinkering again, eager to gain an apprentice along with it.
    • He just can't help but correct his brother's grammar, even when their newly-patched relationship is the only thing that stands between them and the end of the world.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Was frequently mocked for his intelligence, nerdy interests and extra digit finger. It's probably part of what made him a distrustful recluse.
  • All Take and No Give: Has elements of this in his relationship with Stan when he first got back. Stan is clearly willing to sacrifice anything for his family as evidenced by his dedicating 30 years of his life to bring Ford back. Only, Ford doesn't do anything to repay him and even reprimands him for his work. This understandably leads Stan to stop giving after "A Tale of Two Stans," though they both get better by the end of the series.
  • Anti-Hero: He is firmly on the side of good and is very protective of Dipper and Mabel, but has been known to be quite callous and selfish, especially to Stan. Journal 3 reveals that he looked down on the residents of Gravity Falls, and both it and Lost Legends reveal that Ford is a wanted criminal in other dimensions.
  • Artifact of Doom: He carries an infinity-sided die for the game Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons that can mess with the entire space-time continuum and can cause infinite unpredictable outcomes. He specifically notes that, "Our faces could turn into jelly. The world could turn into an egg. Or you could just roll an eight."
  • Asexuality: Or at least, aromanticism. In Journal 3, Ford laughs at Fiddleford's suggestion that he meet someone and start a family, stating that "romance was far more baffling to me than the greatest mysteries of the universe."
  • The Atoner:
    • Felt guilty for inadvertently giving Bill the tools he needed to invade our world, and spent many years working to stop him.
    • After having to erase his brother's memories as part of a Heroic Sacrifice and helping Stan recover them, Ford has finally adopted this attitude. He asks if Stan will give him a second chance and go treasure-hunting with him on the day of the twins' birthday.
  • Badass Baritone: Courtesy of being voiced by J. K. Simmons.
  • Badass Bookworm: A certifiable genius, and although being the more nerdy of the two siblings, and having a noticeably slimmer and smaller build. He can keep up with his brother in a fight (at least until Stan goes all out), which considering what we've seen Stan is capable of is more than enough to qualify him.
  • Badass in Distress: Despite researching the mysteries of Gravity Falls for 10 years and surviving in the portal for 30, he gets captured/incapacitated a lot.
    • In "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons", he and Dipper get captured by Probabilitor and almost have their brains eaten. Then they get turned into game characters and are only saved thanks to Mabel's imagination and Stan's cheating.
    • In "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future", Ford gets captured by alien drones and almost sent to space prison, but is saved by Dipper.
    • In "Weirdmageddon Part 1", he gets turned into a golden statue by Bill Cipher.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears an old tan version as his standard attire. It also contains pockets to keep his journals and his gun.
  • Badass Normal: He's survived for decades in an Eldritch Location within another dimension (one that freaked out his assistant to death from a peek).
  • Big Brother Instinct: Or older twin brother, in this case. A flashback in Lost Legends has him try to defend Stanley from their father when the latter accuses Stanley of stealing his gold necklace despite his fear of him.
  • Big Good:
    • Seems to have filled this role. Much of what he has written has been ways of fighting the various unnatural elements of Gravity Falls which has helped Dipper save the day countless times.
    • Zig zagged as of his character introduction in the show. While Stanford seems to have a great deal of knowledge and skill and has genuinely good intentions, he isn't perfect and his arrival set off a lot of hidden tensions in the Pines family.
  • Berserk Button: Journal 3 shows that he despises the M Dimension with a burning passion, and he spends his entry on it ranting about how stupid it is.
  • Body Horror: Six fingers aside, "The Last Mabelcorn" reveals that he has a metal plate in his head that makes an audible clanking when struck. According to the real life Journal 3, it was a difficult surgery done by Jheselbraum the Unswerving, whom suggested it as a measure to ward off Bill's influence on his mind.
  • Body Motifs: Hands, his journal emblem is an outline of his hand, his 6th finger is what lead his fascination with science and abnormalities. Finally, his mark on the zodiac is his hand emblem.
  • Brains and Brawn: Was the Brains to Stan's Brawn when they were children. Downplayed in their adulthood and present, as while still the more intellectual of the two, Ford isn't so bad in a fight himself.
  • Butt-Monkey: A subtle, very dramatic example. None of his efforts to deal with Bill lasted. He failed to protect the rift, whose breaking undid his dismantling of the portal and his proofing of the Shack with the unicorn hair. The metal plate on his head became useless now that Bill became physical and Ford missed his one chance of thwarting him with the quantum destabilizer. He knew of another way via the Zodiac, but Bill seized and petrified him before he could tell Dipper.
    • His luck has finally changed in the finale. With Stan's help, Ford traps Bill in his brother's mind and erases it with the memory-wiping gun, defeating his nemesis once and for all.
  • Celibate Hero: Unlike his womanizing brother Stanley, he had always been more focused on studying science than chasing after women. One of the notes about the Portal that he left behind ends with "Girls will finally talk to me!", which implies that he's never dated anyone before. This might also be a case of Nerds Are Virgins.
  • Character Tics: Tends to keep his hands folded behind his back. This is likely a leftover defensive measure from his childhood, to hide his six fingers.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He considers setting his face on fire a great way to shave.
  • Cool Uncle: Both Dipper and Mabel are fond of him. Mabel instantly refers to him as "Grunkle Ford", and Dipper opts to formally (and complimentary) call him "Great Uncle Ford". During "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future", "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls" and in Journal 3, Dipper comes round to addressing Ford as "Grunkle Ford".
  • Crazy-Prepared: Wrote several journal entries in invisible ink that could only be seen with blacklight in case his supposed enemy obtained the journals, and wrote entire pages in Journal 3 with said ink to give the impression that it was unfinished.
  • Cue Card Pause: When writing the entry of the Gremloblin in Journal 3, the vital part that water makes it even scarier carries over to the over side, which unfortunately gets Dipper and Mabel in a jam while fighting one.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Made a lightbulb that can last a thousand years in at most a few hours without any sort of actual budget. Think of what he could've done with his grant.
  • Deal with the Devil: It's revealed that Bill Cipher made a deal with him when he was in a rut examining Gravity Falls. It lasted until McGucket was accidentally pulled into the portal and saw Bill for what he truly was.
  • Defiant to the End: Refuses to join Bill Cipher, and gets turned to gold and later, tortured.
  • Determinator: Despite having to attend a lesser college, he applied himself to his studies so hard that he earned considerable acclaim before he even graduated.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: He separated his three Journals, hoping they would never be found, or at least reunited. In Season 2, we find out that he entrusted Stan with Journal 1; it's unknown where Gideon got Journal 2. (The real life Journal 3 reveals that Ford hid Journal 2 near an elementary school playground, so that might be where Gideon found it.) By the end of Season 1, Stan has all three, and we find out they hold the code for an incredibly powerful - and unstable - portal device.
  • Ditzy Genius: Ford is one of smartest people in the show, but when it comes to common sense and safety he can be a bit lacking.
    Ford: "I haven't been in this dimension for a while. It's okay to give children weapons, right?"
  • Early-Bird Cameo: His proper appearance at the end of "Not What He Seems" implies he'd actually been on-camera three times before.
    • In "The Time Traveler's Pig", Mabel and Dipper pass by the Mystery Shack in the past, and it appears that Stan opened the door to look. However, the type of glasses the man is wearing aren't the style Stan has worn since childhood, but a slightly different style the Author is wearing when he comes out of the portal (another pair was on the desk of the Mystery Shack's secret room from "Carpet Diem"). Said man also has his hands off-camera, obscuring any extra fingers.
    • Stan's flashback in "Dreamscaperers" to his boxing lessons has a child in the background whose face is covered by a book, but has the same hair and body type as young Stan. His fingers are also obscured, this time by wearing boxing gloves.
      • Also in "Dreamscapers" is when Bill says "Stan Pines...", where we briefly see another shot of Ford's face and part of one hand. The hand is angled in such a way that the image is cut off by the angle of Bill's body and keeping the extra finger hidden.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite his stubborn refusal to forgive or thank Stan and the unintentionally insensitive treatment of Mabel, neither of the twins seem to hold it against him, and ultimately part on good terms. Likewise, Stan seems to regard his offer of fulfilling their childhood dreams as all the thanks he really needs. Invoked in the same episode, when Ford finally meets Fiddleford again after many years: after everything McGucket went through because of the bargain with Bill, Ford fully expects Fiddleford to hate him. Quite the contrary - as the hug makes clear.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • The Author's obsession with work, to the exclusion of all else has often had drastic consequences for sleep and the rest of his life. As Fiddleford pointed out in the Journal before he tested the Portal, he easily could have stopped and found immense personal success at any time. His drive to succeed at work has often driven away any person he could care about, including his twin and his best friend Fiddleford. He also has a tendency to accidentally trivialize things important to others when planning for the big picture, like his brother's feelings when he was planning for college, his childhood dream, or his utter loneliness when asking him to hide Journal 1. It's a flaw he and his brother share.
    • His lack of consideration for the potential consequences of his actions is another, he never once questioned trusting Bill Cipher and building a portal, until McGucket's incident made him realise something was very wrong. Due to this he created a device that could bring the end of the world. While having gotten somewhat better now (at least in relation to the portal), he still doesn't provide enough care towards the potentially dangerous objects and inventions he owns, such as carrying an infinity-sided dice that he admits could cause anything to occur with him, or handing out a mind control tie to Dipper.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Having been gone for thirty years, he's more than a bit behind on the advancements that have occurred. Such as scoffing the idea of personal computers, and asking the agents for their Floppy disks during his Bavarian Fire Drill.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Adding more parallels with Dipper and Mabel, flashbacks to their youth show that Stanford was the responsible to Stanley's foolish, showing Stanford studying diligently on a test while Stanley kicks his feet up on the desk one over. As adults, it's more complicated; Ford doesn't fear the weird things in Gravity Falls as much as Stan does, and when dealing with something he thinks is safe and/or harmless, pretty easygoing. But when confronted with something he knows without a doubt that something is dangerous, he'll go out of his way to deal with it, such as coming up with countermeasures and warning the family. While he does initially stay away from the kids and holes himself in the Shack's basement to work, when he learns that Bill Cipher is coming his first instinct is to warn them and get their help setting up defenses, a stark contrast to Stan's practice of Selective Obliviousness and tinkering with the Portal.
  • Foreshadowing: From The Last Mabelcorn, Dipper thought the Author was possessed by Bill, and shot him with the Memory-Wiping Gun. Didn't work thanks to his Psychic Block Defense, but he pointed out that Dipper would have done great if he really was possessed. In the finale, that's exactly how they took Bill down.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Apathetic, in the "enigmatic, different/removed background/priorities" sense rather than the "uninvested."

  • Genre Blindness: Asking Dipper to abandon his twin on the spot to further his own gifts, because that most definitely worked out well the last time. For a genius with 12 PhDs, Stanford isn't too good at recognizing a pattern.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: It's heavily implied that his research into the paranormal activity of Gravity Falls drove him insane, especially after meeting Bill Cipher. Sure enough, flashbacks in "A Tale of Two Stans" show him with heavy bags under his eyes, looking decidedly paranoid and disheveled as he inspects his brother's eyes with a small flashlight.
    • "The Last Mabelcorn" goes into even more detail on this: What came close to driving him insane was that Bill was originally friends with him, but he got him to build the portal while pretending to be a muse. After Fiddleford was sucked in, he discovered that Bill had lied to him and was trying to open a doorway between Earth and his dimension, making him incredibly paranoid towards other people that he'd originally trusted.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: McGucket's video log explains that this was the case with the Portal Stanford designed, with a graph in the background showing that the longer it remains activated, the more powerful - and unstable - it becomes.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He is very harsh toward Stanley, first for ruining his chance for getting into a good college, and then when he calls Stan after 10 years but only uses him in an attempt to hide his research, causing the fight that would trap him in the other dimension, and then when he's finally free he blows up at Stan for reactivating the portal in order to rescue him. But he did this to protect the portal from anyone who could abuse its power, and he does unbend after meeting Dipper and Mabel.
  • Grammar Nazi: He is an extreme example of this during the finale. When the heroes attempt to use The Power of Friendship to defeat Bill, his brother agrees to hold his hand to complete the prophecy. Stan makes a comment to Soos, but says "Just between me and you". Ford, corrects him, giving Bill time to show up, almost causing the end of the world.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Because he's Stan's twin brother, Stanford, he's made two appearances that the audience was not aware was him. See also Early-Bird Cameo.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He always rags on Stanley for being a common crook and a conman; Stan is beyond pleased when he finds out that his own brother is an interdimensional criminal in Lost Legends. Stan agrees with a truck driver giving them a ride to handcuff Ford and let him stay in the backseat, as Ford seethes.
  • Hypocrite: He calls out Stanley for his Always Save the Girl tendencies, but was still willing to let Bill know how to destroy the barrier around Gravity Falls so he can conquer the universe just to save Dipper and Mabel.
  • I Have No Son!: Or rather, brother. Following Ford's return to Earth, both him and Stan no longer saw each other as brothers and the latter considered Dipper and Mabel as the only remaining family he has. Although they still referred to each other as brothers for the sake of clarity.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Part of the reason that he built the portal? So girls would find him interesting and finally talk to him.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Since he burned every bridge he had with his brother, he's so happy to find a kindred spirit in Dipper that it even momentarily distracts him from caution.
  • Immune to Mind Control: He cannot be possessed by Bill because of the metal plate in his head.
  • Ineffectual Loner: The Author's Fatal Flaw, as he himself admits in the real-life Journal 3; His belief that in order to be a great man meant that he had to be apart from others caused him to drive others away, including his brother over an accident, and his assistant for suggesting against the Portal. Even those he lets into his circle, he keeps at a distance, partially due to his desire to be the lone hero. If he had sought out the rest of The Chosen Many or at the very least told Dipper about them in case Plan A went wrong, they might have been able to destroy Bill with the Zodiac and end Weirdmageddon before the end of the first day. He admits that his "TRUST NO ONE!" warning was an Advice Backfire.
  • The Insomniac: A page of Journal 3 has the words "CAN'T SLEEP!" written over and over on it in invisible ink. Dealing with a dream demon and letting one into your mind will do that to you.
  • I Work Alone: "I'm sorry, but the dark, weird road I travel, I'm afraid you cannot follow." As with most examples, this doesn't last terribly long as he does have some interest to connect to his newfound niece and nephew - Dipper in particular manages to get through to him over the course of a few episodes. Much of his character arc is based around overcoming this mentality.
  • Insufferable Genius: Was a child prodigy when he was younger, but he developed into this when he began his supernatural research: He wanted Stan to hide his journal to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, but flipped out when Stan tried to take the simple route and destroy it, because it contained his research. It is also reflected in his writings in Journal 3, where he frequently expresses pity for the people of Gravity Falls for being so naïve and simple-minded.
    • Bill Cipher used this trait against him by claiming to be a muse who inspired "one great mind" every hundred years, and further priming Ford.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When it comes to his family, he tends to undervalue emotional bonds which is why he didn't quite understand just how upset Stan would be at the idea of the two being separated, nor did he realize just how much Mabel values being with Dipper.
  • Intelligence = Isolation: Besides being mocked over it since childhood, part of what drove a wedge between him and his brother was said brother's complete inability to understand why going to a famous college or seeking knowledge would be important to him. Actually bonds over this with Dipper, who is glad to find someone who actually shares his interests.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He bonds with Dipper over their nerdy interests like "Dungeons, Dungeons, And More Dungeons".
  • Interspecies Romance: According to Gravity Falls: Lost Legends, he once dated a siren.
  • Irony:
    • Ford bonds with Dipper, clearly projecting himself onto the younger twin. But while they share interests and obsessions, Ford's flaws (oblivious selfishness, a tendency to hold other's opinions and desires at lesser regard than his own), creativity (very good artist, puns all over the journals), styles of interaction (natural tendency to take charge, go-getter, Cloud Cuckoo Lander), and The Needs of the Many approach actually make him equally if not more similar to Mabel, the twin he spends far less time with on-screen and is implied to somewhat project his feelings towards Stan onto.
    • Despite the setback of losing his chance to go to his choice college, he still managed to make a name for himself regardless, even finishing his college studies two years ahead of schedule and it was his choice to go into studying paranormal activity. So there's no real reason he should even hold a grudge to his brother anymore, it just his own pride won't let him forgive him.
      • Though it does seem he did forgive him in the ten years before he was lost to the Portal, trusting him enough to call for his help. However, the fight they had just before that, in addition with Stan's reactivating the incredibly dangerous machine and endangering the lives of billions, seems to have rekindled the ire. Which is still pretty ironic, considering how careless Ford is with every other super-dangerous object he has...
    • Claims that Stan would have seen Bill as the scam artist he is and wouldn't have fallen for his easy flattery. Stan has demonstrated that he can fall for easy flattery, at least if there's a pretty face and a hot body attached to it.
    • As Fiddleford pointed out in Journal 3, Ford didn't have to make the portal to establish himself as a great scientist. He had several years' worth of research into the weirdness. But of course, Ford didn't listen and bought into Bill's lies about how this portal would be his greatest's life work. By the time Ford realizes thirty years later that he was duped, he no longer cares about the glory.
  • It's All About Me: During his introduction to the story, a series of flashbacks makes it clear that after his teenage years he had difficulty prioritizing things over himself and his research. He seems to have grown out of this during the thirty years in the portal, as his first action upon his return was to dismantle it. Ford's an interesting example because while it's clear he had good big-picture intentions, it led to him trivializing everything else as less important—though again it seems he's gotten better since his youth, as he was willing to drop all of his work to play with his great-nephew when he was feeling lonely, and even invited his brother to play. Even so, this tendency only goes away during Weirdmageddon when Bill threatens to torture the kids to get into Ford's mind and Ford is forced to confront that his thoughtless deals with Bill are going to lead to his family suffering torture or dying.
  • Jerkass: Journal 3 depicts him as extremely spiteful and arrogant, obsessed with gaining fame through his studies, and even more selfish than in the series. That said, he was still capable of great kindness and some of his Jerkass behavior could just be the natural result of his lack of people skills and being isolated inside a cabin for six years with his only form of communication being with Bill, and he mellows out after being sucked into the portal.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be quite selfish and insensitive at times. Likewise he is still hostile, ungrateful and unforgiving towards his brother Stanley. He does however get along with Dipper and Mabel pretty well, and agrees with Stan to stay away from them so they aren't put in danger, though he does fail to live up to this agreement (but around the same time, Stan decided to let Dipper hang out with him if he wanted to). Granted, his Ungrateful Bastard attitude at Stan does stem from a deep concern to protect his world/dimension from danger. In "The Stanchurian Candidate", he does actually try to to something nice for his brother, even if it was morally questionable, and ultimately patches things up with him in the finale after realizing his own screw-ups.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Played with. After mentoring Dipper for a while, Ford finally proposes in "Dipper and Mabel Vs. the Future" that the boy leave his friends and family behind, drop out of school, and join him full-time in his investigations, urging that they can accomplish great things together; even though the suggestion is shown to make Dipper uncomfortable, he still goes along with it at first because it is a logical course of action. Having already established that he sees Dipper as a younger version of himself, Ford's emphasis on Dipper isolating himself from others for the sake of "the mission" also comes off as a continuation of the bad blood between he and Stan, and so the offer is justifiably seen by many as a wrong thing for him to do. However, most of that bad blood between the brothers stems from Stan being unable to let Ford live his own life if it didn't match up with Stan's, essentially trapping them in Stan's idea of a dynamic duo and giving neither twin room to breathe as their own individual. As this is an unhealthy and destructive behavior in its own right that the younger twins are also showing, it's equally justifiable to say that there needs to be some growing space between Dipper and Mabel, a conceded point which muddies things even further.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • He implied that Mabel was suffocating Dipper and that he should separate them by taking his grand-nephew as an apprentice, giving no thought to how Mabel would feel about it. Mabel disappearing during Weirdmaggedon and Bill torturing him for several days straight, with Ford most likely thinking his relatives are dead, snaps him out of it. He praises the kids for mounting a counterattack and hugs them when they reunite.
    • After screwing up the Zodiac by condescendingly correcting Stanley's language and inadvertently endangering Dipper and Mabel's life in the process, Ford ultimately realizes just how much of a mess he's made by pushing people away and subsequently decides to bury the hatchet with him to stop Bill.
  • Justified Criminal: In Journal 3 he reveals that he became a criminal in several alternate dimensions for stealing supplies and weapons to construct the quantum destabilizer to destroy Bill. He also admits that he committed a few petty crimes, like being kicked out of the Casino Dimension for counting cards.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Although firmly on the side of good, his many revelations in particular his history with Bill Cipher and what Bill's plans are really ramp up the seriousness and just how much is at stake, not to mention that his arrival is ultimately the catalyst needed for Dipper and Mabel's relationship to truly begin cracking apart.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After having No Sympathy for Stan and his motives from the moment he emerged from the portal (before, even), Ford is the one who is not only forcibly torn away from his brother, but also has to deal with the guilt of being the cause of it, allowing him to finally understand what Stan had been going through for decades.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Revealed in "Not What He Seems" to be Grunkle Stan's twin brother, Stanford, whom Grunkle Stan was using the machine under the Mystery Shack to retrieve. And, by extension...
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: ... this means that he's related to Mabel and Dipper, the latter of whom has been obsessing over his journals for most of the series.

  • Mad Scientist: He created a massive portal machine, and developed a carpet capable of generating enough static charge to cause a "Freaky Friday" Flip. We don't know what his other experiments involved.
    • One involved catching a bunch of small eyebats and putting them in a jar with no airholes.
    • "The Stanchurian Candidate" shows us he invented a necktie used to control someone like a puppet, explicitly made for "Ronald Reagan's masters".
  • Meaningful Name: Stanford is the name of a prominent college in America, hinting at his genius-level intellect.
    • Even though he was the meeker of the two as a child, his preferred nickname seems chosen to distinguish himself from his brother/ imply discontent with the alliterative names their father gave them. As of "Mabel and Dipper vs the Future", it's revealed that he feels his development as an individual fell by the wayside in his upbringing, and wants to spare the younger twins the same fate.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Downplayed, non-villainous example. Stanford was shown via flashback to have achieved a PhD while fairly young, which automatically grants him the doctorate title, and used his grant money to fund his experiments in Gravity Falls before he disappeared, some of which appear to have been... less than morally acceptable. See Mad Scientist above. That being said, he isn't evil, just prone to rushing into using his inventions and seeing "Build a new device" or "use Weird Science" the way some people see hammers without thinking of the implications.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • During their fight, Ford was horrified about accidentally burning Stanley and stopped to apologize. In the Series Finale, he is regretful about having to erase Stan's memory to stop Bill once and for all. It was Stan's idea to make up for accidentally sabotaging the final plan, but Ford nevertheless cries Tears of Remorse and hugs an amnesiac Stanley, who wanted that hug back in July. When Stan's memory returns in full, Ford does what he can to ease the process along and decides to make up for it by taking Stan on the dream trip they both wanted as kids.
    • Journal 3 reveals that he felt immensely guilty for ruining Fiddleford's life. Ford knows that if he hadn't invited his college roommate to Gravity Falls in the first place, then Fiddleford wouldn't have lost his job, sanity, or family trying to forget what he saw on the other side of the portal. While Ford can't restore Fiddleford's sanity or family — the banjo guy does that himself after Dipper and Mabel help him regain his memories from the Society of the Blind Eye— he does make up for it by encouraging Fiddleford to submit his patents to the American government. This makes McGucket a wealthy man, which is a little bit of recompense for the last thirty years of suffering.
  • My Greatest Failure: For a while he refuses to tell Dipper the full story of his past with Bill Cipher, simply because of how ashamed he is that a little flattering of his ego tricked him into opening the door to an invasion from another dimension.
  • The Needs of the Many: In stark contrast to his brother Stanley, he's always thinking about the big picture, and he's generally focused on advancing the knowledge of mankind, and preventing any Bill-related disasters. Notable instances include:
    • Being furious that Stanley would reactivate the portal and risk destroying the universe, even if it was to save him.
    • Telling Dipper to leave him behind and seal the rift on his own, when he got captured by an alien security drone. Interestingly, this could have prevented Weirdmageddon.
    • In the finale he stops thinking like this when Bill threatens to kill Dipper and Mabel and Ford is prepare to help Bill conquer the rest of the universe, just to for the chance to save his family.
  • Nerd: He is a genius scientist, is much better at dealing with monsters than girls, and loves complicated tabletop games with lots of math.
  • Never My Fault: An unusual example where he isn't completely responsible. He has a legitimate gripe with Stan for ruining his chance at going to his dream school but in all other negative events where Stan has been involved he puts the blame entirely on his brother, disregarding his own role in what happens.
    • He's also been on the receiving end by Stan, having to tell him he ruined his own life. Of course, this was in the past. Stan doesn't seem to blame anyone anymore, though he does seem to subconsciously begrudge classic intelligence and gives those who exhibit it a harder time than others.
    • Though subverted concerning his believing Bill's claim of wanting to inspire a one-in-a-century genius, and for a while is too ashamed to reveal the story to Dipper. After this fact is revealed, he takes full responsibility for it.
  • Nice Guy: While stern and unyielding when it comes to his research or anything related to Bill Cipher and Stanley, in casual conversation Ford has shown to be a polite, soft-spoken fellow, a contrast to his charismatic but abrasive brother Stan. Dipper flat-out states that the reason he enjoys spending time with Ford is that, unlike Mabel and Stan, Ford doesn't make fun of him. Plus, while he might be a bit insensitive towards Mabel when matters of apprenticeship crop up, he genuinely seems to like her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Even after half-heartedly apologizing to Stan and joining hands in the circle, Ford corrects Stan's grammar like a know-it-all, causing Stan to angrily break the chain and start grappling with him.
  • No-Sell: To combat Bill Ford has a metal plate installed in his head thus making him immune to the demons possession, and to McGucket's mind-wiping device.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite his serious demeanor, he positively squees at the DDMD game, even putting aside his work immediately to play the game with Dipper.
  • Older Than They Look: He's in his 60's, but he looks like he's in his 40's. In fact, he looks like he could pass off as Stan's SON rather than his twin brother (and older twin at that).
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He's capable of building perpetual motion machines, he studied a shapeshifter, he's built at least two labs in Gravity Falls, and he built the Portal under Stan's house.
    Ford: "Dipper, I have 12 PhDs. Your parents would be thrilled I could give you such an advanced education."
  • One Steve Limit: His name is also Stan. That said, it's subverted because unlike his brother Stanley, his name is short for Stanford. Any potential confusion over his brother being named Stanley is mitigated by his desire for his great-niece and nephew to call him Great-Uncle Ford. Everyone in Gravity Falls still calls Grunkle Stan Stanford. The show chalks this up to his father being unimaginative.
  • Only Friend:
    • His brother Stanley, until they had a falling out.
    • Prior to Weirdmaggedon, he regards Dipper as the only true friend he has to the point that he is willing to recruit him as a personal apprentice.
  • Papa Wolf: He becomes extremely protective over Dipper and Mabel.
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • Much more well liked than his brother Stanley Pines because he was more studious and successful. When they had a fight, his brother was disowned as a result. Though they, and Filbrick in particular, didn't show too much care and affection toward either of their sons and seemed to care more about their son's financial prospects than Stanford as a person. It's implied that he didn't stay in touch with them after going to college, at least not enough for them to notice the switcheroo after the portal incident.
    • Although he has a good relationship with both the twins, Ford gives most of his time and attention to Dipper, the one he seems to see as the most similar to him. However, when he offers to make Dipper his apprentice (as they share the same interest in fields of study), it has the unintended consequence of driving an already upset Mabel into a Heroic BSoD from pre-separation anxiety. She doesn't take it well, and things get worse from there.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The Author is a genius researcher who dedicated his life to study, contrast his brother Grunkle Stan, who is a greedy shyster but dedicated to his family.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Despite continuing his grudge towards Stan, he does mellow down and act nice towards the twins.
    • Despite the feud between them, he attempts to convince Stan to join his and Dipper's game in "Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons" instead of continuing their argument.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • If Ford had told Stan more about his research - i.e. Bill Cipher he wouldn't have to worry about the dimensional rift. Given Stan's attitude however, he isn't in the mindset to be understanding.
    • He tells Dipper about the rift, but then makes him promise not to tell Mabel or Stan about it; Journal 3 it's explained that Mabel enjoys smashing snowglobes for fun, so Ford was a little concerned. This backfires because Bill is able to manipulate Mabel into giving it to him, because she's completely unaware of just how important it is.
  • Posthumous Character: Averted. The Shapeshifter comments that the author is alive though somehow different from how he was following his disappearance. He makes his grand entrance into the series proper at the end of "Not What He Seems."
  • Pride: He has or had a problem with this, so much so that Bill was able to appeal to it, convince Stanford to build the portal.
  • Properly Paranoid: His apparently diminished sanity, his Madness Mantra of "Trust no one" and his decision to hide the journals makes sense when it's revealed that Bill can possess any human. He even checked Stan's eyes to make sure they weren't Bill's when they met again.
  • Psychic Block Defense: He has metal plate installed in his skull to prevent any more possession by Bill Cipher. Also has a device that 'bioelectrically encrypts' one's thoughts so it can't be read, and was installing one for Dipper before the process was interrupted.
  • Psychological Projection: Due to his experience with his own twin, he seems to have mentally paralleled Dipper and Mabel with him and Stan, underestimating the bond between them and forgetting that Dipper and Mabel are their own complex individuals, not Ford and Stan 2.0.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Stan's red.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: He does admit he was rather foolish back then, but even so, what couldn't this guy have done for the world? In the present, it's justified in that he feels really guilty over nearly causing the end of the world, nearly getting his grand-niece and nephew killed, wiping his brother's memory, and ruining Fiddleford McGucket's life. Ford seems to think he doesn't deserve the glory from his scientific adventures and instead encourages Fiddleford to go this route.
  • The Reveal: In Not What He Seems, the Author is revealed to be the real Stanford Pines, Grunkle Stan(ley)'s twin brother whose identity he stole after his disappearance, and the great-uncle of Dipper and Mabel.

  • Sanity Slippage: Judging by the paranoid entries in his journal, and the fact that the Shapeshifter mentions that he hasn't been himself for 30 years, maybe. Though that could refer to other things than Sanity Slippage. It turns out he became ever more paranoid and driven after McGucket quit working for him, and started to fear his research would fall into the wrong hands. The realisation that Bill had being lying to him all along also clearly hit him very hard.
    • Journal 3 expands on this, showing that Bill began possessing Ford while he was sleeping after he realized Bill was lying to him, and began possessing other townsfolk, meaning Ford had nowhere to turn to. Thus, Ford began deliberately depriving himself of sleep, which of course caused some huge knocks to hissanity.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Pulls this in The Last Mabelcorn when Dipper thinks he's possessed by Bill Cipher. He wasn't, but he looked terrifying.
  • Self-Made Man: Despite not getting into his dream college (and in fact being forced into a pretty mediocre one) he was still able to emerge on top, due to extra work. Leaving with both a PhD three years ahead of schedule and a research grant.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Dipper. Both are the smarter, more logical twin with a thirst for knowledge and both were mocked because of their strange physical trait (Dipper's birthmark, Ford's six fingers). They both also have a distrusting natures, however Ford represents what Dipper could become had he took the whole "TRUST NO ONE" advice to an even greater extent.
  • Silver Fox: Despite his somewhat advanced age, he's still quite attractive. He's aged much better than his brother, Stan. Pacifica in Lost Legends calls him hot. In the blacklight edition of the third journal, the Author uses what's left of the invisible ink to write a few personal notes, one of which is to "figure out what a 'Silver Fox' is and why everyone keeps calling [him] one".
  • Sixth Ranger: Played with. He joins the main cast after Stan brings him back to Earth through the underground portal. However, while not the cause of (most of) the division that follows his arrival, his arrival and subsequent presence in the main cast reveals a lot of hidden tensions in the usually unified Pines family dynamics.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Upon learning his favorite board game is still being made, he immediately abandons his hugely important work to play a game.
    • In the most tense moment imaginable, the guy still can't resist lecturing his brother on proper grammar.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: The real Stanford Pines has worn circular glasses since he was a kid and was noted as a genius.
  • So Proud of You: Says this near verbatim about Dipper in Journal 3, in entries written after the book's return after Weirdmageddon. Dipper worries Ford may be a little disappointed when Dipper not only studies the Journals for himself for a bit after finding them, but also declines his apprenticeship. Ford has this to say about all that.
    The Author: My grandnephew's fears are unfounded. All I feel toward him is love and pride. He is a wiser man at thirteen than I was at thirty. He has an incredible future ahead of him - on in which he will hopefully avoid repeating my terrible errors.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Similar to the entry under Grunkle Stan, flashbacks to their childhood show that both of them greatly resembled Dipper.
  • Taken for Granite: Bill turns him into a golden backscratcher in "Weirdmageddon Part 1".
  • Theme Twin Naming: Both he and his brother are named Stan, with this one being Stanford and the other whom we've been following the whole series actually being Stanley. It does them as as much good as it would in real life.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: He's the author of 3 such Journals.
  • Too Clever by Half: His Fatal Flaw in a nutshell. It is hard to convince him that he is in wrong about something, because he firmly believes that if he was wrong about something, his great intelligence would allowed him to come to that conclusion himself. This is how Bill manages to exploit him. Ford trusts Bill as a helpful spirit, and ignores Fiddleford's misgivings and warnings about him, because he believes that if Bill was untrustworthy or otherwise up to no good, he would have seen it coming himself. It is outright lampshaded, when he had his palm read by the Hand Witch (As detailed in Journal 3;
    She said I was too smart for my own good. Personally, I took this as a compliment.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After his rather impersonal entrance, subsequent episodes show him in a better light. He bonds with Dipper, congratulates Mabel for getting unicorn hair, and even takes the time to create a new lightbulb for the kitchen. When he and Stan get into a spat over who should have the TV room, Ford - after a few minutes of bickering - forces himself calm and invites Stan to play Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons with him. Also admitting to Dipper later on that he's aware Stan saved him, but was mainly mad about the use of the portal. It's shown that while his people skills are not the best (growing up a social outcast will do that), he's not trying to be a jerk.
    • Journal 3 shows that being trapped in the multiverse for 30 years really mellowed him out, as a lot of his Jerkass tendencies vanish or become less pronounced after he returns.
  • Tragic Dream: He just wanted to find a place where a "weirdo" like him fits in. It's what led to his interest in science and the paranormal, but probably also what made him susceptible to Bill's sweet talk, and why he took it so badly when he lost a chance at going to a college for people with comparable intelligence.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Stanley accuses him of this when Stanford doesn't thank him for rescuing him from the portal.
    • Ford explained his feelings on the matter to Dipper a little further in the next episode. He acknowledges that Stan did save him, but he was particularly mad about the use of the portal, as the machine's instability had created an interdimensional rift like he feared it would. He felt saving him wasn't the best course of action if it meant risking the entire universe. Later on, however, he does give a Grudging "Thank You" about it when Stan demands it.
    • Journal 3 implies that Ford was genuinely grateful, but that this was outweighed by the risk Stan took and the fact Stan brought him back just as he was about to kill Bill omce and for all.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Bill played Stanford's pride and desire to learn the secrets of Gravity Falls, manipulating him into building the portal.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: When he found out what Bill's true intentions were for the portal, he was more concerned about hiding his journals than dismantling the darn thing immediately like he should've done.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was a nice kid when he was younger, with only one friend that would stick up for him: his brother. As an adult, he was self centered and paranoid.
  • Walking Spoiler: The author's identity absolutely is. Stan was the only one who knew all along.
  • Walking the Earth: Ford decides Gravity Falls gave all the mysteries it could offer to him. After finally reconciling, he and his brother decide to set off and find new mysteries together.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • A journal entry indicates that the author had met Bill and that they were close enough that he had nothing but good things to say about him. The same entry was later crossed out and went on to describe Bill as The Dreaded. It later turns out Bill was in fact a False Friend to him.
    • He was college buddies with McGucket which is why he asked him to be his research assistant. But when Fiddleford accidentally got sucked through the portal and Ford refused to stop his studies, their friendship soured - big time.
    • "A Tale of Two Stans" shows that Stanford and Grunkle Stan were thick as thieves in their childhood... not so much in their adult lives. Luckily, they eventually manage to become thick as thieves again after making amends.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Averted, his immediate response to Probabilitor is to whip out a gun. Unfortunately, it doesn't do any good.
    • He asked Stanley to take one of his journals and run away to the other part of the earth. Stanley asked that if the journal is that dangerous, why didn't he just destroy it? His reply was that it is his life's work.
  • The Worf Effect: He's undeniably badass, given that he nearly outfights Stan in his first appearance and effectively shuts down Powers and Trigger with a little help from the mind-eraser. In subsequent episodes, villains tend to go for him first just to demonstrate the stakes:
    • In his second episode, he ends up getting captured by Probabilitor, requiring Grenda, Mabel, and Stan to rescue him.
    • After taking down one of the alien drones in "Dipper And Mabel Vs The Future," he gets shot in the shoulder and captured by the second drone.
    • Weirdmageddon brings this on fiercely. After a random Weirdness Wave spoils his plan, Bill's easily able to capture Ford and turn him into a golden backscratcher; granted, Dipper's attempt at stopping Bill wasn't much more successful either.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Ford has this reaction as Bill introduces him to his other friends as the man who built the portal, congratulating him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gravity Falls Mystery Shack The Author


The Author Revealed!

When Mable trusts Grunkle Stan and leaves the universe portal on, not only does everyone survive, but we get the biggest surprise of all: a figure emerges from the portal with six figures, and Stan reveals him as his brother and the author of the journals.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhamEpisode

Media sources:

Main / WhamEpisode