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Characters / Leviathan

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Characters from the novel series by Scott Westerfeld:


The Central Powers are Germany, Austro-Hungary and The Ottoman Empire. They use machinery for everything and largely believe that the genetically engineered animals of Darwinists are godless monsters.

His Serene Highness Prince Aleksandar Von Hohenberg

Alek for most people, Aleksandar is the only child of archduke Franz Ferdinand. Duchess Sophia, his mother, was enough of a commoner to exclude him from inheriting the Austro-Hungarian throne, but after his parents' assassination, he is taken away with the intent of eventually being returned to claim the throne once Emperor Franz Joseph, his grandfather dies.

  • Ace Pilot: Can pilot a Stormwalker easily - and at night, too. (Not a common skill. You can't SEE at night.)
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: He is a very poor liar up until the third book. After that he finds it distressingly easy.
  • Celibate Hero: Alek started out as this because of his title.
  • Cultured Badass: The "cultured" part is of no use on an airship, much to his annoyance.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Before he meets Lilit and gets some Character Development, anyway.
  • Emo Teen: Lampshaded by Volger.
  • Guilt Complex: Struggles with blaming himself for literally all of World War I happening.
  • Impoverished Patrician: At first he's actually quite well off in spite of being on the run, but by midway through Goliath is down to a single shaving of gold.
  • Emperor Incognito: Potentially; the old Emperor is still alive. It does make Alek a target for assassins and opportunists.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Being the Prince - and an unapproved one - has limited his pool of potential "friends" to his much-older teachers.
  • Noble Fugitive: Spends the majority of the series on the run due to his status as a potential heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Deryn's Red.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: He's always doing things that make him conspicuous - using the wrong words, having too much money, etc. He doesn't know how to buy a newspaper. He's been sheltered and therefore very naive in dealing with other people. However, behind the levers of a Stormwalker or coming up with battle plans, he's a certified genius. Hell, he's compared to Mozart.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: When he flees into the countryside at the start of Leviathan, it's the first time he's been among common people.
  • Shipper on Deck: For "Dylan"/Lilit.
  • Spanner in the Works: For the Clanker powers. For Volger. For basically everyone, since his actions tend to upset the best-laid plans.
  • Stupid Good: While Alek's highly educated and actually pretty intelligent, he has a strong tendency to do the right thing over the smart or necessary one, especially early in the series. Which makes it even more heartwrenching when he kills Tesla to protect Deryn.
  • They Do: Abandons his claim to the throne to be with Deryn.
  • Warrior Prince: He's well-trained in fencing and walker piloting, although it sounds like his mother would not have allowed him in actual combat situations if she had survived.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: To Count Volger, whom he sees as something of a father (and certainly a mentor).

Wildcount Ernst Volger

A low-level noble, Volger is Alek's fencing tutor and his father's strongest supporter. After Franz Ferdinand's assassination he whisks Alek out of his family estate and becomes the de-facto leader of the fugitive group. He's trying to his best to protect Alek and his inheritance, stopping at next-to-nothing to achieve his goals.

  • Beta Couple: With Dr. Barlow.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow
  • Guile Hero: He's very crafty and tries a number of things to keep his own people secure while on a nominally hostile ship, such as concealing his fluency in English.
  • Noble Fugitive
  • Parental Substitute: Because Alek's parents are dead.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Alek's safety is really his only priority and he's wiling to do anything from sacrifice himself to let the crew of the Leviathan freeze to death if he has to. But he's ultimately a good person and doesn't play dirty without a reason.
  • The Strategist: He's been involved in the plan to keep Alek safe for years and plots their way through many dangers. Not that it always helps when dealing with Alek.
  • Stern Teacher: He has very little patience for Alek's moodiness and selfless shenanigans.

Otto Klopp
Klopp [centre] with Hoffman and Bauer

Alek's mechaniks and Walker-piloting tutor.

Corporal Hans Bauer

A Stormwalker gunner who joins Alek's group after the assassination of his father.

  • Conveniently an Orphan: Bauer believes he was chosen for the mission because he had no family, which would make it easier for him to undertake a mission that would cause him to be labeled a traitor.
  • Only One Name: Until halfway through the Behemoth, Alek didn't even know that Bauer has a name.


An engineer who helps Alek escape Austria-Hungary.


Daughter of the Ottoman revolutionary movement's leader, Lilit is a definite Action Girl whose cause for revolution is achieving equal rights for women.


Leader of the Committee for Union and Progress, the Ottoman revolutionary movement, and Lilit's father.

Nikola Tesla

A brilliant scientist and creator of Goliath, the world's first Weapon of Mass Destruction. Much like in Real Life, he's an idealist, and believes he has a moral obligation to end the war - whatever the cost.

  • Badass Boast: Again, much like in Real Life, about the capabilities of his Goliath superweapon. He claims it caused The Tunguska Event. It's believed that this was untrue, and that Tesla kept the remains of the meteorite in his luggage to hide this fact. Though it might be that his weapon summoned the meteorite in the first place.
  • Badass Bookworm: Nikola Tesla. How badass? He takes on three fighting bears, at the same time, with an electrified walking stick he invented himself, and wins.
  • Big Eater: He likes ordering lavish multi-course meals.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: But he plays up his eccentricities (such as pigeons and his thing about the number three) so that people find them more charming than strange.
  • Foreshadowing: In his first scene we find out that to stop the warbears around his camp from starving, he fed them his airship, which is seen as quite horrible by everybody in the air force. He's explanation is that he couldn't stand seeing them suffer, so he let nature take its course. The entire situation foreshadows his plan to end the war.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The plans for his Death Ray bear fruit in this story. While he's not evil, it does make him extremely dangerous. He eventually decides to use it on Berlin, but Alek kills him and it's believed that it probably wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • Insufferable Genius
  • Knight Templar: He believes that he must stop the war, whatever the cost and however many people must die to achieve it.
  • Mad Scientist: It's agreed by everyone that he's bonkers. Barlow wonders later if he might have genuinely believed Goliath would work.



The Entente powers. The most prominent here are Russia, France and and The British Empire. They use genetically modified animals, since Charles Darwin also discovered the "threads of life" (DNA) in this timeline. Darwinists consider themselves superior, as they use clean technology and, according to them, have no prejudices, in opposition to the so-called "monkey-Luddites", who believe that beasties are the works of Satan.

  • Attack Animal: The beasties.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Russian fighting bears are 'taller than a house'', and often eat their handlers (at least according to Mr. Rigby, the man in charge of the middies). In short, terrifying.
  • Bio Punk
  • Eldritch Abomination: What the Clankers see the Beasties, in particular the more horrific ones, like the Krakens and Behemoth.
  • Alternate History Slang: At least as far as British English is concerned: Boffins (genetic engineers), beasties (genetically modified animals), curses like "barking spiders" and words like "clart" (crap).
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Most of them are mash-ups of two or more creatures.
  • Not So Different: They're no more saintly than the Clankers, or less likely to use dirty strategies. Also, while Clanker industry is seen as a great source of pollution, a few people (like Count Volger) point out that Darwinist fabricated animals have escaped into the wild many times and pose a danger to natural species.

Midshipman Deryn Sharp

Daughter of balloon flyer from the pre-Darwinist era, she always wanted to fly. However, as women are not permitted in the military, she disguises herself as a boy. With the aid of her brother Jaspert, she joins Air Force, posing as her nonexistent cousin Dylan Sharp and arrives on the Leviathan when one of her flight exams goes wrong.

Doctor Emma Nora Barlow

Granddaughter of the Charles Darwin. She works at the London Zoological Society, which is More Than Meets the Eye, and appears aboard the Leviathan on a mission to Turkey, which kickstarts most of the plot.

  • Beta Couple: With Volger, apparently.
  • Cool Pet: Tazza, her Tasmanian Wolf.
  • Dashingly Dapper Derby: Justified, as she's a boffin. The boffins wear bowlers.
  • Dull Surprise Deliberately; it's useful for a diplomat to appear in control when there are shocking developments. She admits that her ability to maintain it is quite strained when Deryn reveals her gender.
  • Historical Domain Character: Nora Barlow really lived, and she was a noteworthy scientist, just... not like this.
  • Lady of Adventure: Although she's a non-combatant, her participation is crucial; she accompanies and assists the Leviathan through its many adventures.
  • The Professor: She's not a Mad Scientist, but she is an expert biologist and genetic engineer, not to mention multilingual and a trained diplomat.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    "Nascient Fixation sounded vaguely sinister, even if it was something baby ducks did."
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: She's the Head of the London Zoo, which seems to give her diplomatic authority and her suggestions have force with Captain Hobbes - Deryn finds it all quite puzzling until Barlow points out that being a "zookeeper" in a Darwinist society means a lot more than finding room for a tiger habitat.

Midshipman Newkirk

The other midshipman left on the Leviathan after Doctor Barlow moved in, he wants to participate in war, but doesn't like beasties very much.

  • Butt-Monkey: If something happens to a midshipman, this midshipman will be Newkirk.
  • One Name Only: We never learn what's Newkirk's first name.


Eddie Malone

American journalist. He first appears in Istanbul in Behemoth, chronicling the Clanker-Darwinist conflict in the city, and then in Goliath to write about Nikola Tesla.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's very friendly and can be quite helpful, but he is very good at finding out things that people don't want known, and if he thinks his editors would like it in a story, he's going to send it to them.
  • Cool Pet: He has a beastie frog named Rusty who will remember everything it hears when ordered to.
  • Historical Domain Character: Eddie Malone was a real journalist who worked for New York Times and specialized in "yellow journalism", that is, he cared only about stories that would sell.
  • Human-Interest Story: His article about the Sharp family.
  • Intrepid Reporter: He lives in conflict-boiling Istanbul and then dresses as an airport worker to get aboard the Leviathan, even though he might have been badly mauled if the airport staff found out.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Finding out things is his job, and he's very good at it. He's even willing to delay or not publish some of his more troublesome stories if he's offered something just as interesting.
  • Purple Prose: Alek regards his writing as this.
  • Shoulder Teammate: Rusty travels on Eddie's shoulder.
  • Spanner in the Works: He's the reason the C.U.P.'s plan actually succeeded, as he inadvertently warned Alek about the giant Tesla cannon (He thought they were building a wireless tower) the Germans were building, which would have destroyed the Leviathan and left the rebels vulnerable to the Goeben and Breslau.
  • Tagalong Reporter: In Behemoth and, to some extent, in Goliath.
  • Wild Card: He has no loyalty to either the Clankers or the Darwinists, and is just there for the story. He likes the protagonists and has no objection to helping them, but his newspaper has to come first.


Bovril is one of Nora Barlow's creations, the "Nycticebus perscitus" ("smart lemur") or Perspicacious Loris. It was originally supposed to be gift for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, but after hatching in Alek's presence, it bonds with the prince and accompanies him and Deryn.

  • Bond Creatures: It bonds with the first person it sees after hatching - Alek in this case - but has a strong bond with Deryn as well.
  • Clever Crows: Lemur variation, actually.
  • Cool Pet: It's a genetically modified lemur that specializes in attention and analysis.
  • Creepy Child: Bovril's actually very young (barely few months by the end of the story) and its speaking freaks Alek out.
  • Flawed Prototype: Nora considers it this, as the events of Leviathan may have damaged it - for example, it bonds with two people and acts oddly sometimes. Alek and Deryn consider it rather a Super Prototype, though.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: It's probably the most intelligent beastie of the crew (they're called "perspicacious" for a reason) and it talks, although it mostly repeats relevant words that it's previously heard.
  • Kill 'Em All: Out of over ten loris that were travelling aboard Leviathan, only Bovril and Nora's survive to hatching.
  • Nonindicative Name: "Bovril" is a type of Scottish meat-extract paste. Lilit named it, explaining that it's the only British thing she likes.
  • Shoulder Teammate: It travels on Deryn's or Alek's shoulder.
  • Team Pet: After Alek and Deryn reunite, Bovril becomes one.


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