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Martin Kenneth BanksAn ordinary 23-year-old hacker from Seattle. In 2012, he discovers the file and, eventually, ends up in Medieval England. After ending up in the past, he uses a top-of-the-line 2012 laptop as well as his Android phone.
- Insistent Terminology: Martin is not a hacker. He's just a guy, who knows his way around networks and likes to figure out how much he can get away with.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Martin's defining feature. He frequently leaps into action without thinking, putting him in contrast to many of the other characters. In the third novel, his ability to do that ends up saving the day, as his three companions (Roy, Gwen, and Brit the Younger) are all used to planning things ahead and can't think of something to do on the spot. His friends have learned to use Martin's inability not to attract attention to their advantage, working behind the scenes, while Martin distracts the bad guy.
- Mixed Ancestry: A mild example. Martin's mother is Mexican, while his father is Caucasian. However, the novels pay little homage to his Mexican heritage with the exception of his Magic Staff topper: the bust of the masked wrestler El Santo he got while visiting his mother's side of the family in Mexico.
Phillip McCallA British-born American in his early 40s, who found the file in 1983. One of the first to arrive to Medieval England. Martin's teacher. Uses a Commodore 64 at first, then Martin gets him a 2012 laptop, although Phillip then installs a Commodore 64 emulator on it.
- The Alleged Car: Phillip still has his Pontiac Fiero, the only example of the model that wasn't a lemon thanks to Phillip modifying its parameters in the file. During the climax of the first novel, Phillip drives it through Leadchurch, scaring the Medieval townsfolk, especially since he insists on blasting music through the headrest speakers.
- The Archmage: After Jimmy was banished back to his own time, the wizards all unanimously elected Phillip to be their new Chancellor. Phillip reluctantly agrees if not to help Camelot's royal family learn to run its kingdom without a wizard calling the shots for them and prevent a potential destabilizing civil war.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Despite his British origins, Phillip enjoys spicy food (he loves burritos). His Magic Staff topper is a red flask filled with Tabasco sauce, which he claims is dragon's blood. He allows any doubter to sniff the "blood" and confirm that it is what he claims it is. One time, some locals noticed him pouring "dragon's blood" onto his food. While Phillip initially thinks he'll have to come up with a good explanation, the locals simply conclude that, as a wizard, he likes to consume dragon's blood. Phillip decides to roll with it. During the climax of the first novel, Phillip ends up subduing Jimmy by breaking the flask over his head, resulting in the sauce getting into Jimmy's eyes.
- Eccentric Mentor: Phillip acts this to Martin during the brief training period. It helps that Phillip is originally from London and still has his accent despite living in the US for some time.
- Foil: Sees himself as this to Jimmy, whom he steadfastly refuses to call Merlin. As far as Phillip is concerned, rules exist for a reason. However, what annoys Phillip the most is that he knows that people like Jimmy always win in the end. Despite Jimmy's seemingly friendly nature, Phillip stubbornly insists that they're not friends, frequently resulting in a lot of And Zoidberg situations.
- Hypocrite: He'll loudly insist that they are not in a Stable Time Loop and that the different Brit are totally separate people. However, when the chips are down he acts like they're the same person at different times and uses it to justify working with the Elder and Much Elder behind the Younger's back. This is the real reason she breaks up with him, and why she feels justified altering her memories to him simply cheating on her.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Phillip is an MIT graduate.
- Screw Destiny: Phillip is firm believer in free will. This is despite him knowing that he's nothing more than a subroutine in a complex computer program. Every time someone suggests that he's wrong, he always yells "SHUT UP!" at the top of his lungs as an indicator of his free will. Of course, Martin then points out that this response could have been pre-programmed into him, resulting in Phillip screaming "SHUT UP!" several times. This view is also what first attracts Brit the Younger to him.
James Isadore Sadler (AKA Merlin)A crafty hacker from 1985, who insists that people call him "Merlin" and becomes the de facto ruler of England and the self-imposed leader of all wizards in Medieval Europe.
- The Archmage: When it was only a few wizards wandering around, Jimmy had elected himself Chancellor of the Wizards. While Phillip thought little of it at the beginning, the increasing number of wizards that started to appear made the role all the more meaningful, with Jimmy spreading misinformation that he had written the Shell and not Phillip. Overtime, his authority spread out to London (who he had renamed Camelot), becoming the Dragon-in-Chief to its royal family.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: After Todd is captured in the third novel, Jimmy knows that the others can't bring themselves to kill him, so he does it himself by erasing Todd's file entry.
- Boxed Crook: At the end of book 5, Brit the Much Elder recruits Jimmy as a special consultant to her US Treasury task force, with Miller and Murphy assigned as his handlers.
- Creative Sterility: All of Jimmy's ideas are rehashed versions of what others have come up with, which doesn't stop him from claiming that they're original. Even the way he torments Agents Miller and Murphy in the fifth book is "borrowed" from Beverly Hills Cop. He's quick to protest that refining someone else's idea (like his more effective version of Martin's giant spell) still counts as innovation.note
- Even Evil Has Standards: Jimmy may be a Manipulative Bastard, who scoffs at rules, but even he is repulsed by Todd's psychopathic ideas (which doesn't stop him from using one of those himself).
- Faking the Dead: At the end of the third novel, Jimmy pretends to delete himself from the file. Instead, he resolves to live in the 21st century and not interfere with the wizards. This lasts until the fifth novel, when Brit the Much Elder takes Phillip to see Jimmy. Strangely, it appears that Phillip is the only one who actually believed that Jimmy was really dead, despite claiming from the get-go that Jimmy would never kill himself. Everyone else has tracked Jimmy down and kept an eye on him.
- Historical Domain Character: When Jimmy finds out that the the King Arthur myth was just a legend, he resolves to correct this by "becoming" Merlin. He convinces King Stephen to rename London "Camelot" and his son Eustace "Arthur".
- Jerkass Has a Point: No matter how much he hates Jimmy, even Philip admits that it can be hard to hate him sometimes due to his charming personality and he tends to make a lot of good points. He also brings up that this is what makes him more dangerous than if he were just a harmless con artist.
- Manipulative Bastard: Jimmy is a master manipulator, although some of the tricks he uses are pretty easy to spot and tend to be mocked by Phillip. Justified, since, in Real Life, hackers tend to rely more on social engineering (i.e. using psychology to trick people) than writing code to break into computers.
- The Slow Path: After being exiled to The '80s, Jimmy ends up trying to get back to the US using low-tech means from Argentina, where Phillip and the others have sent him. By the time he encounters the wizards again, he's in his sixties, having spent 30 years living in poor conditions.
- Straw Nihilist: With the revelation that reality - and everyone that exists in it, i.e. everyone - is just a computer program that anyone with a computer can rewrite, he seems to see the moral standards that the wizards have upheld is completely superfluous and that the suffering his experiments have caused is incidental to his own ends.
- Token Evil Teammate: In the third novel, the others have to, reluctantly, deal with Jimmy being with them.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In the first novel, Jimmy is revered by both the wizard community and the Muggles of Medieval England alike for his charming personality and innovative ideas. The only person who thinks otherwise is Phillip, who had known him longer than anybody, and even then it is very clear his hatred for him is mostly just personal gripes. This goes right out the window when his plans to turn Medieval England into The Theme Park Version of itself go public.
- Walking Tech Bane: After being exiled from Medieval England back to The '80s, Jimmy is forced to live off the grid and avoid any electronic system due to his strong magnetic field. He eventually ends up tricking Special Agents Miller and Murphy to remove the effect.
Eddie (AKA Wing Po)An Asian-American hacker, who pretends to be a "mysterious sorcerer from the East" named Wing Po despite his thick Joisey accent.
- The Dragon: Subverted. While Eddie is Jimmy's Number Two in the first novel, he doesn't know about Jimmy's more secretive projects. When the truth comes out, he's just as shocked as everyone else. After Jimmy's exile, he continues to run Camelot's day-to-day operations, as Arthur is a Puppet King with no experience ruling his own kingdom thanks to Jimmy.
- Magical Asian: More of a Magical Asian-American, Eddie pretends to be a "mysterious sorcerer from the East" and even uses a made-up Asian name. In fact, he was born and raised in Joisey.
GaryA hacker from Minneapolis, 1992, who thinks of himself as The Casanova. Lives in a skull-shaped cave and uses a first-generation Apple PowerBook.
- Casanova Wannabe: Gary thinks himself a ladies' man, but he's just as much a nerd as all the other wizards. When Phillip and Martin are invited to a conference in Atlantis, Gary insists that he must go. Why? Because of all the ladies there. Naturally, they don't bring him along.
- Cave Mouth: Gary has sculpted the entrance to his cave as a large human skull with glowing eyes. In front of the mouth is a blue flame that never goes out.
TylerThe only black time traveler in Medieval England. Comes from Montana, 2003. Pretends to be a Moor to the locals. Writes fantasy novels in his spare time.
- I Should Write a Book About This: Averted. While Tyler writes fantasy novels, they tend to be more in line with the mainstream fantasy literature, since the lives of the wizards in Medieval England tend to be far more mundane than that. Sure, they can simulate magic by Rewriting Reality, but there are no magical creatures, no other races, and no other staple of a good fantasy novel. In book 6, he's writing a fantasy novel that's an allegory on The Vietnam War, except with elves, gnomes, and dwarves.
- Mundane Utility: Tyler uses time travel... to go number two. Being male, number one is no problem for him, especially during the Middle Ages. But rather than deal with The Dung Ages' lack of plumbing, he prefers to simply teleport back to his apartment in 2003 and use the modern bathroom there. To this end, he bought tons of toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. Anyone from outside would simply see Tyler appear at the apartment, go into the bathroom for a few minutes, come out, disappear, then re-appear a moment later, and repeat (time travelers always return only a moment after they left their present, as it's impossible for one to travel into one's future).
- No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: Averted. None of the locals care that Tyler is black. He simply claims to be a Moor, and that's enough for everyone. This is because Tyler has travelled back to before racism became common.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Downplayed, but due to the way time travel works Tyler's modern day bathroom has been in continuous use for over a year by the third book. His toilet is legendary among the wizard community.
JeffA time traveler with an engineering degree, originally from Delaware in 2021. His pet project is to port video game graphics and sounds into the real world. His cell phone looks like two sheets of glass glued together.
RoyA middle-aged engineer from 1973, the earliest to find the file. Worked on the SR-71 Blackbird for Lockheed. Becomes Martin's and then Jeff's protege.
- Grumpy Old Man: Roy is this to all the other wizards, most of whom are in their 20s or 30s (except for Phillip and Jimmy after the first novel, who's in his sixties). It doesn't help that he lived during the height of the Cold War. He mellows out a little by the third novel and is shown enjoying hanging out with the other wizards. He tends to get along most with Phillip (who is from the same general time period) and Jeff (due to their shared engineering background).
- Stay in the Kitchen: Being from The '70s, Roy's attitude towards women is far from egalitarian. He frequently butts heads with Brit the Younger and, to a lesser extent, Gwen over gender roles.
GwenA 22-year-old seamstress in Medieval England, who turns out to be a time traveler from 2014. Only Phillip, Jimmy, and Eddie knew the truth. Gwen moves to Atlantis after the first novel and back to Medieval England after the second novel.
- Fashion Designer: Gwen's real job. She pretends to be just a seamstress in Medieval England, buying fabric in the 21st century and sewing it in her workshop. She designs all the wizards' robes.
- Geeky Turn-On: After Martin finds out that Gwen is one of them, he's more turned on by her ingenious solution to a coding problem he's been tackling rather than her looks.
- Happily Married: With Martin from the end of book 5.
- Love Interest: Most wizards have, at one point or another, tried to hit on Gwen, unaware that she was a time traveler as well, only to be rebuffed. In Atlantis, she's also the only sorceress not to get a personal servant. Martin is the first who, eventually, manages to get her to like him. By the end of the second novel, they start dating. Since she's a bit old-fashioned in this respect, it's quite a while before she moves in with Martin and they, presumably, consummate their relationship.
- Women Are Wiser: Gwen exemplifies this trope, especially compared to the less-than-mature male wizards.
Britney Ryan (AKA Brit the Elder / Brit the Younger / Brit the Much Elder)An architect from 1996, who comes up with a macro to build things quickly on a molecular level and uses it to construct the city of Atlantis in ancient Mediterranean. Due to a Stable Time Loop, exists as two versions of herself: Brit the Elder and Brit the Younger. Brit the Elder is the one who actually built the city, while the event is still in Brit the Younger's personal future. Both Brits take up the two non-elected posts of the Atlantean triumvirate.
- Future Me Scares Me:
- Brit the Younger can't wait to part ways with Brit the Elder. as the latter always acts condescendingly towards her and always tells Brit the Younger what her eventual decision is going to be, not even giving her a chance to think for herself. Then there's the fact the Brit the Elder also has a lot of information about the future but refuses to reveal it on the grounds that she didn't have that info the first time around.
- It's eventually revealed that Brit the Elder fells this way towards Brit the Much Elder (who was her own Brit the Elder), because Brit the Much Elder's treatment of her when she was Brit the Younger is the reason she's forced to be such a jerk to her own Brit the Younger (to maintain the Stable Time Loop).
- I Hate Past Me: Less "hate" and more "embarrassed". Brit the Elder is always reliving the same events she remembers but from a more experienced, wiser perspective. To her, her younger self's actions seem childish and immature, and she can't help but cringe at that.
- Love Interest: For Phillip. Their relationship is threatened a little, when Brit the Younger becomes jealous of Brit the Elder and her intimate knowledge of Phillip. In the fourth novel, she reveals that, from her point of view, they're no longer together, so she looks at Phillip with both a sense of happiness (for their time together) and sadness (for their eventual breakup).
- Matter Replicator: Brit develops a macro for building complicated structures out of a single monolithic material, such as diamond, in a manner similar to this trope. Basically, the macro creates a molecule, then another one right next to it, then another, and so on. This is how the outer shell of Atlantis is created out of a single piece of diamond. Since matter manipulation only works on monolithic objects, this macro is perfect for creating such objects.
- Secret Diary: Brit the Younger keeps one religiously, sometimes putting incredible detail into it. Brit the Elder uses that diary to remind herself about past events. It helps that she still has the same computer as Brit the Younger, so the document files are there from when Brit the Younger typed them up. Phillip is eager to read the diary after learning about it, only for Brit the Elder to shut him down, pointing out that no version of Brit would be happy about that. The fith book reveals that parts of it were falsified as part of a Fake Memory Gambit on herself.
- Stable Time Loop: When Brit the Younger first arrived into the past with the intent to build Atlantis, she found Atlantis already built and Brit the Elder waiting for her. Brit the Elder explained that, in several decades, Brit the Younger is supposed to go back to before the city's existence and build it. This is also how she will become Brit the Elder.
- Your Cheating Heart: Brit eventually breaks up with Phillip, thinking that he cheated on her. In fact, a version of Brit decides to fake this memory in order to keep any other version of her from getting back together with him, as she's mad about him keeping certain things from her and believing his claim that she's not stuck in a Stable Time Loop.
President IdaThe current elected leader of the Sorceresses of Atlantis and one-third of the Atlantean triumvirate.
Special Agent MillerThe "violently unstable rage-aholic" half of the US Treasury special task force investigating Martin and others like him with a penchant for Cluster F Bombs.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Miller is known for his profuse swearing fits. At the same time, he is against Murphy swearing. Not because of some warped sense of decorum, though. It's just that he feels Murphy doesn't have what it takes to swear properly.
Special Agent MurphyThe "friendly, talkative youth pastor" half of the US Treasury special task force investigating Martin and others like him. Tries to keep Murphy's violent tendencies in check.
KludgeThe leader of a Medieval gang called the Bastards. Has a special score to settle with wizards and absolutely loves to hurt people.
NiloPresident Ida's personal servant in every meaning of the word. In excellent physical shape.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Nilo is eventually revealed to despise women, who don't behave as women ought to, which begs the question of why he even came to Atlantis in the first place.
AmpyxA man from the ancient Mediterranean, who wishes to become Gwen's personal servant.
- Mr. Fanservice: His theoretical job as a guard is actually just this. He's not actually a trained fighter, and while his natural musculature makes him quite strong and looks hot for the ladies he's not really all that athletic.
- Shipper on Deck: His initial plan is to observe Martin to try and imitate whatever Gwen sees in him. When he realizes the ridiculous degree of Unresolved Sexual Tension between them he abandons this and tries to get them together.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Ampyx has adapted his cultural ideas about strict gender roles to the Lady Land of Atlantis pretty cleanly. He believes women are unsuited for certain tasks, such as gardening, cleaning, and giving manicures; meanwhile, men have more important things to do than concern themselves with womanly interests like "having magic" and "running everything".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: According to the second book's Distant Finale he stayed close to the main characters for the remaining decades of his life, but in the books set in between he's never mentioned.
Todd DouglasA wizard-in-training, who was exiled for his sadistic tendencies. He manages to escape prison in the third book and tries to exact revenge on the wizards who exiled him.
- Best Served Cold: After removing his Walking Techbane property and escaping from prison, Todd decides to go to college instead of exacting his revenge immediately. He gets a degree in computer programming and starts a video game company, becoming moderately successful. Then, however, he gets bored and decides to exact revenge after all, but in his own way.
- Fate Worse than Death: Todd considers prison to be this. When Jimmy gives him a choice between prison and death, Todd chooses the latter. Jimmy obliges, deleting Todd's entry from the file.
- People Puppets: For his presentation, Todd develops a way to control Kludge with a Nintendo Wavebird controller through the use of force field bands on his limbs. It backfires, as the other wizards (even Jimmy) are so horrified they exile him the next day.
- Too Dumb to Live: After first getting access to the file, Todd decides that the best thing he can do is kill his own boss by cutting the connections between the atoms in his body, turning the man into a large puddle of goo. Then he gives up his own involvement by showing up to work in galoshes the next day.
- Walking Techbane: As part of his exile, Todd's magnetic field is turned Up to Eleven, meaning any electronic device shuts down near him, which means he can't get access to the file, as that would require being next to a computer.
Sid and Gilbert
Sid and GilbertA pair of stage magicians, living in Victorian London, originally from England in 2003. They have a slightly adversarial history with Martin and Phillip but don't actually wish them harm. They use a netbook to access the file.
- Cool Airship: They live in a rigid dirigible, although, since they use magic to keep it aloft, they have no need for helium-filled bladders, giving them more internal room. Instead, they have two houses (not very big ones, though) and a pool inside the airship. The main reason they live in it, though, is to attract attention from the Londoners, which is always a good thing for a stage performer.
- Friendly Rivalry: While they resent Martin and Phillip for setting up their own magic theater right across the street from theirs and for using actual magic on stage, they don't actually hate either wizard. Martin they don't mind and Phillip they respect (and they think the world of Gwen). So when Mattie and Brewster come to them and claim that Phillip hurt their parents, Sid and Gilbert are just as adamant that Phillip would never hurt Martin and Gwen.
- Magicians Are Wizards: Sid and Gilbert are adamant that using actual magic on stage would be cheating and unfair to the audience. So they work the same way any stage magician works. However, they do use actual magic to steal modern stage magic tricks, so they can copy them in Victorian England. That said, their style of magic involves using their stage magician outfits: top hats are used to access menus (displayed on the inner side like a touchscreen) and retrieve items, canes are used for directional spells like levitation and to adjust altitude in flight, and white gloves are used for certain spells like invisibility.
- Mentor Archetype: Sid and Gilbert play this role for Mattie and Brewster in book 6, explaining to them the reality and how to do magic.