Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Horton Hears a Who!

Go To

    open/close all folders 

Jungle of Nool

    Horton the Elephant
Voiced by: Kent Rogers (1st, Horton Hatches the Egg cartoon), Hans Conried (1970 TV Special), John Kennedy (The Wubbulous World of Dr Seuss), Jim Carrey (2008 animated film)

An outgoing, big-hearted, loving, sweet, and thoughtful elephant. Horton has no tusks, lives by himself and possesses acute hearing abilities.

  • Adaptational Personality Change: To some degree in the 2008 movie, while he's still a Gentle Giant, he takes on a much more a hyperactive and quip heavy personality, likely due to Jim Carrey voicing him.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: He's uncoloured in the books. He's usually given a grey skin tone in most adaptations, though the Horton Hatches the Egg Merrie Melodies short makes him bright pink.
  • All-Loving Hero: All there with his frequent mantra: "A person's a person. No matter how small".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As can be seen when he finally gets good and pissed off during the final stretch of chasing Vlad for the clover. He looks ready to murder the guy!
  • Butt-Monkey: Persistently conned, terrorized or mocked by the other animals in all his stories, even if he tends to get some vindication in the end.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mistaken for one when he goes around talking to a flower, though he's actually talking to the Whos on the speck on the flower. He does have a few goofy imaginings in the movie, though.
  • Elephants Are Scared of Mice: Averted, since his best friend is a mouse.
  • Elephants Never Forget: Not only does he mention this trope, he has a Photographic Memory.
  • Forgiveness: Quickly forgives Sour Kangaroo and offers her a cookie.
  • Friend to All Children: He teaches some of the youngsters in the forest.
  • Gentle Giant: A huge elephant with an even bigger heart (metaphorically, of course).
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Is best buds with Morton and Ned.
  • Honorable Elephant: And he's faithful 100 percent.
  • Large Ham: When Jim Carrey plays him naturally. Also considering the size of the character, it adds the goofball version of Horton's rather LARGE personality.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: His catchphrase is "I meant what I said and I said what I meant, ——- 100%".
  • Mr. Imagination: In the movie, he's prone to having daydreams about being a spy or an anime character.
  • Nice Guy: His heart is as huge as him.
  • Protagonist Title: "Horton Hears A Who".
  • Shaking the Rump: Shakes his butt at one point in the 2008 movie.
  • Simpleton Voice: Kent Rogers essentially uses his Beaky Buzzard voice for his take on Horton in the Merrie Melodies adaptation of Horton Hatches An Egg.
  • Undying Loyalty: "And an elephant's faithful 100 percent."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Is shown to be scared of spiders in one episode of Wubbulous World, though gets over it when he takes pity on a friendlier case.

    Jane/The Sour Kangaroo
Voiced by: June Foray (1970 TV Special), Stephanie D'Abruzzo (The Wubbulous World of Dr Seuss), Carol Burnett (2008 animated film)

The film's main antagonist, she thinks that Horton is a fool for thinking that there is life on a speck of dust.

  • Adaptational Karma:
    • Downplayed in the 2008 film, where the rest of the animals briefly shame and overrule her when the speck indeed turns out to be populated. She is still Easily Forgiven by Horton however.
    • Usually played straight in Wubbulous World where most of her worst moments result in her becoming The Chew Toy or being forced to make amends.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In Wubbulous World. Though she's still pretty conceited, she's generally much nicer towards Horton, and her antagonistic moments are more mundane or accidental with her often repenting. This is likely due to the series taking place after Hears A Who.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The 2008 film by contrast makes her a far more short-tempered tyrant, with Horton not her only target of abuse, and while she does undergo the same Heel–Face Turn after discovering about the Whos, it's not before she tries to hide the truth from the other animals to save face.
    • Both animated adaptations promote her to The Queenpin of sorts, spearheading or enlisting all of the other animals to turn on Horton, while in the book she is seemingly only another heckler in the jungle, with the others working on their own accord until their last resort.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: She's coloured into a yellow kangaroo in the 1970 special and Wubbulous World TV series. She's purple in the 2008 film.
  • Anti-Villain: She commits villainous acts like child abuse (upon her son and other children) and attempted to destroy Horton's clover, only out of her belief that Horton is insane and that she is doing so for the well-fare of the animals of Nool and the safety of the children. See Obliviously Evil below.
  • Ascended Extra: She only appeared as an antagonist in one Seuss book, though a lot of adaptations like using her prominently. In Wubbulous World in particular she appears in several stories, a few of which she is the main character.
  • The Atoner: Becomes co-guardian of the Whos with Horton in the ending.
  • Big Bad: An unintentional example. She sees Horton's belief that a tiny civilization being real is absurd and tries to destroy the speck at various points. But once she realises that Horton was right, she is deeply ashamed of what she almost did.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Both Mayzie the bird and the Kwuggerbug were mean spirited con artists who took advantage of Horton's good nature and paid for it. Jane by contrast is a Well-Intentioned Extremist hell bent on separating Horton from his supposed delusions of Whos, only to repent when she realises her error.
  • Control Freak: The 2008 version seems more obsessed over her authority over Nool and Horton undermining it. When the Whos are revealed to everyone and she is proven wrong, she has an understated Villainous Breakdown.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: In the 2008 film she has purple fur and purple eyes.
  • The Dreaded: Most of the other animals cower and run before her in the 2008 movie. She realises she has truly lost when this ends and they turn their back on her when Horton is proven right.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A very similar looking kangaroo and her joey are seen laughing at Horton in Horton Hatches An Egg.
  • Easily Forgiven: She attempted to commit genocide of the Whos on the clover and she is easily forgiven by Horton and the other animals for her villainous acts.
  • Expressive Ears: Her ears droop down in sadness when the whole community of the Jungle of Nool (sans Horton) isolate her.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Mother: Doesn't want Rudy to join in the "speck nonsense".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Becomes co-guardian of the Whos with Horton in the ending.
  • In-Series Nickname: Is known as "Sour Kangaroo".
  • Karma Houdini: Out of the three antagonists in the Horton books, she is the only one to not receive a comeuppance of any kind, though at least has a Heel Realization in the 2008 movie. Subverted in Wubbulous World, where most of her worst actions backfire onto her or lead to a remorseful moment.
  • Mama Bear: She is very protective of Junior in Wubbulous World. She believes she is this to Rudy in the 2008 movie, though it's debatable.
  • Meaningful Name: More like "meaningful nickname" thanks to her sour disposition on things.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • She's truly ashamed of herself when she realizes that she almost destroyed an entire civilization.
    • Said word for word in the Wubbulous World episode "The Muckster" when she accidentally commands the title device onto Junior.
  • Named by the Adaptation: She only goes by the moniker "the Sour Kangaroo" in the original book. She is named Jane in the 1970 special, which carries over into some other works like Wubbulous World.
  • Neat Freak: Her Wubbulous World characterisation. "You can never be too clean".
  • Obnoxious Entitled Housewife: Most incarnations depict her as argumentative and a Control Freak both towards the jungle and towards her child. This is most evident in the 2008 film, where she insists on keeping her son "pouch-schooled," and invokes Think of the Children! to rally everybody against Horton for believing something out of the ordinary.
  • Obliviously Evil: In all interpretations, she really doesn't know that the speck is an entire civilization and just wants to keep order in Nool. She later comes to regret her actions.
  • Sanity Slippage: Averted. She almost starts to lose it when the Wickersham brothers refusing to trust her, but completely calms down when the animals of Nool pull the "shame on you" face on her and isolate her.
  • Smug Snake: Both adaptations convey her as incredibly pompous and obsessed with proving her scepticism about the speck is correct. This is demonstrated vividly in the 2008 film where she offers Horton a chance out if he directly admits she is right, and even when she is disproven makes a final desperate attempt to cover it up, reduced to a whimpering shell when she realises no one is listening to her anymore.
  • Super OCD: Wubbulous World seems to handwave her obsessive behaviour as such. She even lullabies her son to sleep on a strict regiment.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Almost destroys Whoville and all its inhabitants, assuming it is merely an unimportant speck. This role is repeated in several instances in Wubbulous World, where her lack of foresight or vanity keeps accidentally causing problems.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Through the 2008 movie. She already starts with a very thinly contained temper, but the more Horton persists with the speck, the increasingly more vicious and maniacally desperate she gets in getting rid of it. When she is finally disproven however, and the other animals refuse to listen to her, she is reduced to deflated whimpering wreck.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jane goes to incredible lengths to dispose of Horton's speck, though genuinely because she thinks it's delusional and needs to be dispelled. When the Whos are proven to be real, she accepts Horton is right and helps take care of them. Leans a bit more into Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist in the 2008 movie, where she is a Control Freak fuelled more by ego and spite, even if she does still repent in the end.

    Junior/Rudy Kangaroo
Voiced by: Chuck Jones (1970 TV Special); Josh Flitter (2008 animated film)

Sour Kangaroo's son.

  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • He is shown to have a much nicer disposition compared to Jane in the 2008 movie.
    • Zigzagged in Wubbulous World, he's still a Yes-Man to Jane, but shares her redeeming qualities, and is also friends with Horton's son.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Like his mother, Rudy is a purple kangaroo.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: His dad is never seen.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the book, the joey willingly agrees with Sour Kangaroo's belief that a civilization cannot exist on a tiny flower. In the film, the joey (named Rudy here) is more accepting of Horton's assertions, and does not like it when his mother (named Jane here) accuses Horton of being crazy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rudy jumps in to save the clover, just before it falls into the pot of oil.
  • Momma's Boy: Invoked by his bossy mom who always keeps Rudy in her protective pouch. Until the end.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Zig-Zagged in the 2008 movie. Rudy does make Jane look more understandable, but his presence doesn't stop her from going after Horton.
    • Played more straight in Wubbulous World where in spite of her still-evident snobbishness, Jane is unambiguously loving towards Junior.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Rudy in the 2008 movie. Junior in the 1970 special and some other works.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: A small, male version of Jane.
  • Yes-Man: To his mother in the books and most adaptations. Subverted in the 2008 movie.

    The Wickersham Brothers 
A herd of monkeys sent to steal Horton's clover.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Their Wubbulous World incarnations tend to be depicted as clumsy louts who talk in Hulk Speak.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original book they are largely just mischievous fellow cynics who try to get rid of the clover along with the other animals. In the 2008 movie, they are conveyed as more sadistic thugs (if not to quite the same level exaggeration as the kangaroo and Vlad).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In the 2008 movie. While far more sadistic and eager to harm Horton, when they discover the Whos are real and they almost unknowingly killed an entire civilisation, they instantly back down from their job and refuse to obey the Sour Kangaroo, even shooting her one hell of a Death Glare.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Most adaptations interpret them as mooks hired to do the kangaroo's dirty work. Jane sometimes re-enlists them in Wubbulous World though they also sometimes do grunt work for other characters such as Yertle the Turtle.
  • Psycho for Hire: Played for Laughs in the 2008 movie. Not as blatantly as Vlad (as he himself insists), but they clearly enjoy their work, and even express disappointment when the kangaroo suggests a less harmful approach if Horton cooperates. On the other hand, they still draw the line at mass genocide when the Whos turn out to be real.

    Vlad Vladikoff
Voiced by: Will Arnett

A vulture hired by the Sour Kangaroo to steal Horton's clover.

  • Adaptational Name Change: Is named Whizzer McWhoff in one cartoon version of the book.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book he's just another accomplice for the Sour Kangaroo, while in the 2008 movie he is a gleeful Psycho for Hire that wants to make a snack out of Rudy as payment.
  • Adaptation Species Change: He was an eagle in the book, but 2008 film changed him to a vulture.
  • Alliterative Name: Vlad Vladikoff.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Is genuinely touched by Horton's defense of the Who's, and he openly weeps when Horton and Sour Kangaroo make up.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his obvious instability, he's the only antagonist who manages the get the clover out of Horton's grasp. This includes the mob of Wickersham Brothers.
  • Dark Is Evil: A giant vulture with black and grey feathers in the film, although he was an eagle in the book his plumage was still very dark.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In the film, he's prone to overdramatic dialogue to make himself look more sinister. His accent helps too.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Seems to go through this on seeing Horton's forgiveness since he gets teary-eyed over the happy resolution.
  • Laughably Evil: His hamminess certainly makes him funny at certain points. Particularly when he shows his inferiority complex when the Wickersham Brothers are brought up, or the slapstick he is involved with during his first encounter with Horton.
  • Psycho for Hire: He is hired by Jane Kangaroo to get rid of the clover, and seems to enjoy it.
  • Toothy Bird: Has a set of sharp teeth.
  • Vile Vulture: He's a sinister, creepy vulture who wants to eat Rudy.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Possibly, given how he would do Kangaroo's work if she gives him Rudy.

    Morton the Mouse
Voiced by: Seth Rogen

Horton's best friend in the Jungle of Nool.


Voiced by: Joey King (2008 animated film)
Katie is known throughout the movie "Horton Hears A Who," as the weird, annoying little fluff ball of joy.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: She is a small yellow and orange baby yak.
  • Canon Foreigner: Only appears in the 2008 film.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: She often does strange things including making sounds, walking backwards, sitting backwards and saying oquried things. Her imagination is out of this world and imagines that the little people living on her clover (like Horton and his Whos) are all ponies "who eat rainbows and poop butterflies".

    Tommy and Jessica 
Two other students from the movie: a plump, orange creature and a bird.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Downplayed for Tommy, whose size was the butt of one joke: him landing heavily on Horton's back.


    Mayor Nedd McDodd
Voiced by: Steve Carell (2008 animated film)

The mayor of Whoville. He has 96 daughters, 1 son named JoJo and his wife Sally.

  • Happily Married: With Sally O' Malley; they seem to have a stable marriage and she's patient even when he's acting crazy.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Married to redheaded, Sally.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In the 1970 special, he is named Dr. Hoovey (and is also downgraded to a science professor) and is named Ned McDodd in the film.
  • Nice Guy: "Devoted, fair, and a little bit odd".

    Sally O' Malley
Voiced by: Amy Poehler

Ned's wife and mother to JoJo and 96 daughters.


    Dr. Mary Lou LaRue
Voiced by: Isla Fisher

A teacher at Who U.

  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Wears a lab coat and is a scientist.
  • Speech Impediment: Dr. LaRue has an audible lisp.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She appears in exactly three scenes in the movie, and there's nothing much of her character development. This despite the fact that, until Vlad dropped the clover into the clover field, she was the only other Who besides the Mayor to understand the truth about their world. She notably doesn't even come to the Mayor's defense when he's being mocked for his claims.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Dr. LaRue has light purple hair.

    JoJo McDodd
Voiced by: Jesse McCartney

Ned and Sally's only son and eldest child. He's next in line for being the Mayor of Whoville.

  • Adaptational Badass: The book only showed him as the last resort to save Whoville. And while he still is the one to save Whoville in the animated adaptation, he also becomes a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Ascended Extra: In the book, he was brought in as a last resort to save Whoville. In the movie, he's a much more prominent character and in the Seussical, he's the protagonist.
  • Big Little Brother: He is the next mayor because he is the oldest, but he is smaller than all of his sisters.
  • Brainy Brunette: Of the making music variety. He is smarter than he looks and is capable of making musical instruments out of discarded various objects.
  • Breakout Character: Jojo quickly became the most popular character in the film adaptation.
  • Comically Serious: He is this many time to his father's antics in Whoville.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: His color schemes are black and white and he's the tritagonist.
  • Emo Teen: A sullen, apathetic boy in dark clothing who's so terrified of disappointing his father that he never speaks.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: JoJo filled the abandon observatory with castaway items and set up an elaborate system to produce music.
  • Goth: Jojo shows some shades of this.
  • Goths Have It Hard: Jojo, who wears dark clothes, keeps to himself and is pressured to be the next mayor one day. Something he doesn't want, but he is too scared of possibly disappointing his father.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • "But he's anything but silent. He hears music in the tapping of an old keyboard, feels the beat in the rhythmic bounce of a basketball and finds harmony in wind whistling over a comb."
    • The ending shows that JoJo has a great singing voice.
  • Odd Name Out: Ninety-six of the Mayor's ninety-seven children all have names beginning with the letter H. Jojo, the Mayor's only son, is the Odd Name Out.
  • Only Sane Man: Jojo to the antics going on in Whoville.
  • The Quiet One: He only has four lines in the entire movie.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the original book the Mayor and Jojo are unrelated. Here, they are father and son.
  • Resentful Outnumbered Sibling: He has 96 sisters and is the only son in his family.
  • Skyward Scream: Uses this to save everyone in Who Ville by shouting, "YOPP!".
  • Suddenly Speaking: Jojo shouts "YOPP!", and finally speaking for the first time.
  • Tritagonist: To Horton's protagonist and his father's Deuteragonist.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: "JoJo is so worried that he'll say something to disappoint his father that he finds it best not to speak- ever."
  • Unlikely Hero: Although you can see it coming a mile away, the mopey, silent Jojo is, of course, the one who comes through in the end.