A list of major and supporting characters from the 2015 version of Poldark. There will be spoilers, so it is advised that the first series is watched in full before reading the below.
Poldarks by birth
Captain Ross Poldark, Esq.
- Arch-Enemy: George Warleggan. They are absolutely pitched against each other, and Ross is the person that has the ability to make George feel inferior more than anyone else. He strives to get the respect he feels he deserves, but Ross is the person who cares least about that, and is least afraid to put him in his place.
- Big Brother Instinct: Exhibits this to his younger cousin Verity, and the pair are very close. He tries to look out for his other cousin Francis, but he generally is too proud to accept his help.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the Season 4 premiere, when Drake and Sam Carne are sentenced to hang along with Jago Martin, he convinces Sir Francis Bassett to remove the Carne brothers from the scaffold at the last minute through a speech to Bassett.
- Blue Blood: Ross is from the "landed gentry", a largely historical, privileged British social class, consisting of land owners who, whilst not titled, could live entirely off rental income.
- Byronic Hero: A classic example, he's physically attractive with a magnetic personality, is prone to bouts of melancholy and world-weariness, he is very rebellious, having a distaste for social institutions and norms, and is disrespectful of rank and privilege, despite his own privileged status.
- The Chains of Commanding: He takes his position of authority within the community very seriously, and feels directly responsible for the livelihood of all those who live within his employ, especially the miners at Wheal Leisure.
- Chekhov's Hobby: Ross's love of cards is established in the first episode, and mentioned in the fourth in a build up to his gambit in episode 5, where he outs Matthew Warleggan as a Card Sharp.
- Did Not Get the Girl / Love Hurts: When he returns to England in episode 1, he finds that his sweetheart Elizabeth is engaged to his cousin Francis, which causes him a great deal of anguish and confusion.
- Everyone Can See It: The popular rumours about Ross and Demelza, which may be exaggerated, but were inspired by their obvious attraction to each other.
- Exiled to the Couch: After his tryst with Elizabeth, Demelza forces him out of the master bedroom at Nampara and makes a cot for him in the library.
- Experienced Protagonist: Ross is a war veteran with mining and farming experience.
- A Father to His Men: He takes great care of his close friends and employees, especially Jim Carter (even going so far as to bust him out of Bodmin prison), despite the class chasm between them.
- The Hero
- Honor Before Reason: His strict adherence to his principles often blinds him to the most effective way to advance them.
- Hunk: Aidan Turner's dashing good looks and rippling torso are undoubtedly part of the reason for the series's unprecedented popularity.
- Impoverished Patrician: Despite his status within the community, and very old family name, he occasionally hovers dangerously near the bread-line himself.
- Interclass Romance: Between him, a member of the landed gentry (albeit impoverished) and Demelza, an illiterate peasant girl who starts out as his kitchen maid.
- Internalized Categorism: On more than one occasion, he voices contempt for his own class.
- Mr. Fanservice: Oh yes — he's been dubbed this generation's "Mr Darcy" by the popular press. Very much helped by his fondness for getting shirtless.
- Nice to the Waiter: Very much so — most of those he classes as his best friends are actually in his employ at Wheal Leisure, and his sense of pastoral responsibility for their welfare is very apparent.
- Non-Idle Rich: He actually works in the fields and mines himself. Although initially he's been impoverished, he still keeps working alongside his men after earning enough money not to need to.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He's a British Army officer, and returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War as the series begins.
- Pragmatic Hero: He shows shades of this in the second series, and his defense at his arraignment over an alleged connection to a smuggling ring near the end thereof isn't even the worst thing he does in that regard.*
- Rescue Romance: Ross rescues Demelza when she is attacked at the market, kicking off their romance arc.
- Rugged Scar: Received one from his time in the Americas, battling the revolutionaries.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: A man of contradictions, Ross has a strong sense of social justice but a contempt for authority.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Ross is offered money to start a new life by his uncle, but turns the offer down out of duty.
- Shirtless Scene: He's very fond of these, which kicked off with his now famous "threshing scene".
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: When he arrives back in Cornwall, everything has changed for him: his father has died, his land is barren, the local tin mines are going through a hard time and laying off workers, leaving the region on its knees, and he's lost Elizabeth, his childhood sweetheart who he expected to marry on his return.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- Vigilante Man: Regularly takes the law into his own hands, whether that's busting Jim Carter out of jail, or pilfering goods from wrecked Warleggan brigantines.
Charles Poldark, Esq.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The head of it, in fact.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The christening of Geoffrey Charles coincides with his first heart attack. Lampshaded by Agatha, who points out the poignancy of a man's health declining in tandem with the birth of a grandchild of the same name, claiming: "t'is a sign!".
- Blue Blood: Charles is the elder statesman of the venerable Poldark family.
- Character Death: Charles dies from heart complications mid-way through the first series. In a tragic twist of fate, his actor Warren Clarke died very shortly after filming the show, his final role.
- Old Windbag
- Parental Substitute: He's Ross's uncle, and in the absence of his late brother, he treats his nephew as something of a surrogate son — even showing him a little Parental Favoritism over his own son, Francis.
- The Patriarch: Of the Poldark clan.
Francis Poldark, Esq.
- Always Someone Better: He is not as capable as his father or his cousin Ross and his struggles become instantly apparent. Francis has one of the starkest journeys of all the characters in this series and has huge self-confidence issues, constantly living in the shadow of his cousin Ross.
- Awful Wedded Life: When Ross was presumed dead, Francis stepped in and became engaged to Elizabeth. However, the marriage is a disaster, and neither party are happy — mostly due to Ross and Elizabeth's lingering feelings, and his subsequent jealousy.
- Big Brother Bully: To Verity. He justifies most of his actions as being done in protection of her honour, but mostly he's just overly controlling and enjoys having her around to wait on the family hand and foot. However, he becomes notably kinder in Season 2 and they do reconcile.
- Blue Blood: Born into wealth, Francis stands to inherit the greater Poldark Trenwith estate from his father, Charles.
- Butt-Monkey: Of the Poldark family.
- The Corruptible: George Warleggan expertly takes advantage of Francis's jealousy of Ross when he manages to extract the full list of Wheal Leisure shareholders from him. At the time, Francis was particularly vulnerable to his influence, and was enraged with Ross because he suspected him of acting as his sister Verity's go-between for her forbidden love affair with Captain Blamey.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being manipulated and having his cousin slandered by George, Francis tears into him early in series 2. Francis calls him out as the callous bastard he is and says that all of his social climbing and wealth can't make him a gentleman. Francis's insults cut deep and George is furious that he won't bend to his threats.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: A huge problem for him is the fact that he feels constantly over-shadowed by Ross.
- Get Out!: After Demelza comes clean and reveals that it was she who had been acting as Verity's go-between for her secret love affair with with Captain Blamey, Francis explodes with rage and tells her to get out of Trenwith and never return. However, all is resolved by the finale (see below)
- Green-Eyed Monster: Any time Ross comes within yards of Elizabeth.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He's great friends with the manipulative George Warleggan, Ross's sworn enemy and the series designated villain. Francis appears to really have no clue about George's wicked side.
- Impoverished Patrician: Becomes one, having gambled away Grambler (his mine, and source of income) in a rigged game of cards with George Warleggan's cousin.
- Love Hurts: He does love Elizabeth in his way, but his jealousy destroys their relationship.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Kyle Soller is American, and his accent does slip through occasionally, but not disastrously.
- Redemption Equals Death: Just after reconciling with his cousin, Francis dies in a mining accident.
- Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Despite his dramatic fall-out with both Ross and Demelza, after the "putrid throat" strikes the community, Demelza steps in to nurse the Trenwith household and saves the life of Geoffrey Charles, but loses her own child Julia after having been in close proximity to the disease. Francis and Elizabeth are both horrified at Ross and Demelza's loss, and unbelievably grateful thereafter.
- Throwing Down the Gauntlet: When he finds out that Verity has been seeing Captain Blamey (an apparent wife-beater) behind the family's back, he challenges the captain to a duel with pistols — and ends up nearly dying when he is shot in the neck.
- Unwitting Pawn: In George Warleggan's schemes to bring down Ross.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He struggles with having an over-bearing father who he feels he can never please. The fact that Charles lavishes more praise on Ross than Francis really doesn't help.
Mrs Verity Blamey (née Poldark)
- Big Brother Worship: She's very close to her cousin Ross, and takes an active interest in his well-being — not so much to her actual brother, though.
- Blue Blood
- Christmas Cake: She says it herself — a woman of over 25 was considered past it in the late 1700's.
- The Confidant: Verity acts as Ross's confidant on various matters, and keeps his continued love for Elizabeth a secret.
- Extreme Doormat: Having not managed to land herself a husband, Verity still lives at home at the age of 26 (unusual for the period), and is gradually slipping into the role of family caretaker.
- Forbidden Friendship: With Captain Blamey. After a rocky start, and massive disapproval from her own family, the two eventually tie the knot at the end of the series.
- Love at First Sight: With Blamey. They meet at an assembly and he's ready to make a bid for her hand within the hour.
- Love Hurts: Her paramour, Captain Blamey is slandered within the local community as being a wife-beater, and Verity is greatly torn between following her heart (she doesn't believe the rumours one bit) and loyalty to her family's wishes.
- Nice Girl: Very sweet and kind.
- Old Maid: At 26, she's resigned to the fact that marriage is now unlikely.
- Parent with New Paramour: She is very worried that her husband's adult children will not like her or want her as their stepmother. Blamey's daughter (Esther) is cold to Verity, but his son (James) is warm and accepting.
- Plain Jane: Poor old Verity.
- The Unfavorite: She gets treated quite poorly by her family who don't seem to recognize what a great person she is and take advantage of her kindness.
- Will They or Won't They?: Her and Captain Blamey — They Do, despite her family's massive disapproval.
Miss Agatha Poldark
- Berserk Button: Don't deny her her 100th birthday party, or she will tell you an unpleasant truth about your supposed offspring you do not want to hear.
- Blue Blood
- The Cassandra: Frequently seen reading tarot cards and making dire predictions that turn out to come true not long after.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Her younger Poldark relations, plus Elizabeth, refer to her only as "Aunt."
- Heroic RRoD: How she's finally done in. Worked up over the denial of her 100th birthday party by George, she reacts by telling him the bitter truth about his newborn son: that he was born of Ross. Then she expires.
- Made of Iron: When the "putrid throat" (Cynanche Maligna) strikes the local area, and incapacitates the entire Trenwith household, she is the only person to remain miraculously unaffected, despite being 93 years old.
- Maiden Aunt: She's Charles's ancient aunt, and due to being an unmarried spinster, she still lives with the family at Trenwith.
- Old Maid: Aunt Agatha is the trope codifier for this (let's see... old, check; skinny, check; favorite pass-time is spinning, check; uses Tarot Cards, check). Verity is worried that she might become this too, as she is 26 years old, plain, and unmarried.
- Scatterbrained Senior: She's pretty bonkers, and is prone to mild outbursts of advice or chastisement in equal measure.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Very bossy, especially to poor old Verity.
Geoffrey Charles Poldark
- Cool Uncle: Sees both Ross Poldark and Drake Carne in this way, and wants to spend time with them despite the rift between Trenwith and Nampara.
- Deadpan Snarker: The older he gets, the more he displays the Poldark family snarkiness. George in particular becomes a favorite target.
- Nice to the Waiter: He's an absolute sweetheart to his governess Morwenna, and befriends the "lowly" blacksmith Drake, even shipping them.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He accidentally kills his own mother by casually pointing out the visual similarities between Valentine and Ross right in front of George.
- Wicked Stepfather: His new stepfather George Warleggan does not like him, and schemes to send him off to boarding school.
Carnes by birth
Mrs Demelza Poldark (née Carne)
- Abusive Parents: She runs away from her physically abusive father in the first episode.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books Demelza is a brown-eyed brunette, but here she is a blue-eyed redhead. It might be a case of Original Cast Precedent as the 1975 version's Demelza (Angharad Rees) also played her as a redhead.
- Age Lift: Demelza is 13 at the start of the first book, and she seems to be closer to 17 in the show, which is good as she has sex with Ross in episode 3.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Demelza is very kind, and very loving, and very loyal, but that doesn't stop her backhanding Ross so hard she actually knocks him down the morning after he's spent the night with Elizabeth.
- Canine Companion: Her dog, Garrick, comes with her everywhere and occasionally demonstrates the power to detect evil.
- Chekhov's Skill: Demelza's singing skill is shown off at least once in each episode in the buildup to her performance to the Poldark family at Christmas dinner.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: In the first episode, her father is depicted as an abusive drunk who organises a posse of thugs to march on Nampara and drag Demelza home after she runs away. After some time, when rumours circulate as to the nature of Ross and Demelza's relationship, her father, now a sober but crazed religious zealot, once again comes to Nampara and denounces their relationship as ungodly.
- Death Glare: Has a fairly epic one. When she's angry enough, she looks like she wants to set someone on fire through sheer force of will.
- Fiery Redhead: Due to her rough upbringing, she knows how to look after herself — as seen when she rugby tackles Jud across the Nampara courtyard for stealing a pie she has baked for Ross.
- Fish out of Water: Amongst the local upper-classes, once she's married to Ross. Luckily for her, Verity is on hand to guide her through the maze of societal decorum.
- Green-Eyed Redhead: Possesses flame-red hair and eyes of an unusual aquamarine green.note
- Innocent Cohabitation: She starts out as Ross's live-in servant, at least at first...
- Insecure Love Interest: Due to his past infatuation, she's often worried that Ross will cast her aside for Elizabeth. If she hadn't been unconscious at the time, Ross sharply telling Elizabeth "You can pray to God I do not lose the love of my life!" should have put paid to that.
- Interclass Romance: Between her, an illiterate peasant girl, and Ross Poldark, a member of the landed gentry.
- Naming Conventions: Right at the southern tip of the British mainland, Cornwall has for centuries had its own distinct heritage and culture, language and names — Demelza is typically Cornish. Female names from the region are characterised by the (comparatively unusual) use of the letter "z" — Demelza, Tamzin, Kerenza etc.
- Near-Rape Experience: From Captain McNeil in season 2 and Monk Adderley in season 4.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Her attempts to act as a go-between and note-passer for Verity and her forbidden love Captain Blamey end in disaster when Francis finds out and presumes that it was Ross. In revenge, Francis drunkenly betrays Wheal Leisure's list of shareholders to George Warleggan — something which has a huge impact on the entire local community.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Demelza helps out Francis and his family when they're stricken by the "putrid throat" epidemic, despite his rudeness to her in the previous episode, thus exposing herself to the virus and passing it on to her baby daughter, who tragically dies in the series finale.
- Obliviously Beautiful: It's apparent she has no idea of how attractive she is.
- Plucky Girl: She is extremely resilient and has a streetwise edge to her, but never loses her vulnerable charm.
- Quirky Curls
- Rags to Riches: Though it's not exactly riches, she starts off as a dirt poor drudge with worn clothes and wild hair but ends up mistress of Nampara mid-way through Series 1.
- Scullery Maid: Initially, she starts life at Nampara as Ross's servant.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Despite being so scruffy that she is mistaken for a boy in the first episode, Demelza becomes magically beautiful by the end of episode two, and stunning by the end of episode three.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Can never attend a party without being followed around all evening by a gaggle of admirers. Invariably at least one of them, sometimes more, will be an Abhorrent Admirer.
- Unkempt Beauty: Despite her dramatic shift in status to mistress of Nampara following her marriage to Ross, she never quite manages to tame her wild mane of red, curly locks. Compared to the other ladies in local Society, she is far less coiffed.
- Abusive Parents: Before the series he used to beat Demelza. In series he's verbally abusive and controlling to all of his kids.
- Hate Sink: In the first episode he's something of the final antagonist. He's crass, violent, and cruel to Demelza and Ross has to fight him off to make sure she doesn't return to his abusive household. He's still hatable in the rest of the series but not to the same extent and his embracing of religion adds a strangely comedic angle to him.
- HeelFaith Turn: He remarried and embraced god to a ridiculous degree. When he reappears he's sobered up, dresses better, and repeatedly preaches his religion to everyone. Though Tom views himself as this trope his behavior in series is still abusive and domineering but now he's got a Holier Than Thou attitude on top of it.
- Holier Than Thou: With his conversion to religion, Tom acquired a massive superiority complex. He can't go a scene without lecturing anyone around him about why they're sinners and all damned to hell.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In the series 4 finale, when Morwenna is being menaced by some of George Warleggan's thugs, Drake arrives at the last second and makes it plain that he's prepared to fight to protect her. .Drake: (picks up a hefty tree branch) WELL YOU THOUGHT WRONG, BROTHER! (The thugs weigh up their options)Harry: Next time.
- The Blacksmith: Ross buys him a smithy to repay him for saving his life in France.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The Series 4 finale ends with him and Morwenna married at last.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish counterpart to Sam's responsible one.
- Interclass Romance: With Morwenna Chynoweth.
- Mr. Fanservice: In-universe, as both Prudie and giggling local girls are seen ogling him when he's bathing or shirtless
- Unable to Support a Wife: Stated to be the reason Morwenna cannot marry him. Ross and Demelza eventually help him out with money enough to propose to her, but by then it is too late and she has been essentially forced to marry Mr. Whitworth.
- Big Brother Instinct: Messing with Drake is a sure way to anger him.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He's the responsible sibling to the more foolish Drake.
- The Fundamentalist: A Methodist, and a very committed one at that.
- Good Shepherd: Genuinely cares about the well-being of the community he his preaching to.
- Nice Guy: Sam is the kind of man you can bring home to meet your mother: a good-doer who treats women with the utmost respect.Emma: Walk me home. And mind ye, don't lay yer hands on me behind a hedge.Sam: I - I never would!
- The Teetotaler: Won't accept a drop of alcohol.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Falls for Emma Tregirls despite their vast differences.
Chynoweths by birth
Mrs Elizabeth Warleggan (née Chynoweth, formerly Poldark)
- Adaptational Dye Job: In the books, she is blonde.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: She is rather more warm-hearted in the TV series than in the books where she was a bit of an Ice Queen.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: A classic example: pretty, tall, dark haired and well-composed, with a reserved personality.
- Awful Wedded Life:
- Her marriage to Francis starts off well enough, but his resentment and jealousy festers and they end up barely speaking.
- She tells Morwenna that her marriage to George is more successful than her marriage to Francis, but she is still unhappy and has taken to Drowning Her Sorrows.
- The Beautiful Elite
- Becoming the Mask: In season 3, after marrying George, she becomes completely aligned with his political ambitions and is willing to agree with his often farfetched accusations against Ross. This may be an overcorrection on her part due to Valentine's doubtful paternity.
- Blue Blood: She's the eldest daughter of the influential Chynoweth family.
- Death by Childbirth Dies in the Season 4 finale, due to poisonous side effects from an illicit substance she took to induce premature labour.
- Elegant Classical Musician: Very skilled on the harp.
- English Rose: She's slender with wavy brown hair and a rosy-tinged complexion, plus a strong will beneath her proper and polite exterior.
- First Love: For Ross.
- Good Parents: Virtually everything she does is ultimately for the long-term benefit of her children. She's surprisingly demonstrative with her sons for a woman of her time.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Always immaculately turned out. Her dresses emphasize her femininity: she pretty much exclusively wears purple, pink, and blue. This is a notable contrast to Demelza, who wears earth tones.
- I Will Wait for You: Elizabeth promises to wait for her first love Ross while he goes off to fight for the British in the American War of Independence, but she marries Francis after everyone believes Ross has been killed.
- It's Personal: She has a personal stake in keeping George in line after her cousin told her about her repeated violations at the hands of Reverend Whitworth, who George had coerced her into marrying.
- Lust Object: For quite a few men in local Society, including the Poldark's arch-enemy George Warleggan.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Her son Valentine who is born in series 3, could be either George's or Ross's. He is born early if the former, implying that Ross is the father.
- Meadow Run: Ross and Elizabeth do this in a flash-back in the first episode as a sort of love exposition.
- My God, What Have I Done?: This is Elizabeth's reaction to Morwenna telling her and George in no uncertain terms what kind of monster Osborne Whitworth was and that she holds them both to blame for the years of hell she endured in that marriage they arranged for her.
- Nobility Marries Money: Elizabeth marries George mostly to save herself and Geoffrey Charles from destitution, since the Chynoweths are old and respectable but not wealthy, and Francis's mismanagement and subsequent death has left Trenwith in a wretched state.
- Proper Lady: Very dignified, elegant and composed, she's very much a lady of her time, trapped in a restrictive world. It is important for her to know her place in Society and be respected by those around her.
- Rage Breaking Point: After having enough of George's ill treatment of Valentine, resulting from his (Properly Paranoid) doubt of the boy's true paternity. She commands George to let go of his suspicion and jealousy, which he tearfully agrees to do. Unfortunately a later comment from Geoffrey Charles reverses this entirely.
- Regal Ringlets: Like most women in the late Georgian era, her hair is piled high up on top of her head, with either one large or several small ringlets draped over one shoulder.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Every man who has ever loved her has been driven mad with jealousy over her at least once.
- Stiff Upper Lip: She remains remarkably composed throughout the series, despite the scenarios she finds herself faced with (Ross's return, Francis gambling their mine away etc), and resolutely refuses to succumb to high drama or emotion.
- The Stoic: With regards to her feelings for Ross; morally she feels she must do the right thing even if she suffers for it.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: She becomes much icier following her marriage to George, though she retains a fundamentally decent heart.
Mrs Morwenna Carne (née Chynoweth, formerly Whitworth)
- Armour-Piercing Question: After letting George and Elisabeth know that she holds them to blame for the hell she endured while married to Osborne Whitworth, George protests that all they did was try to find an advantageous marriage for her. Morwenna snarls back "Advantageous for whom?", a question George and Elizabeth can't bring themselves to answer.
- Blue Blood: Elizabeth's cousin and a member of the upper-class Chynoweth family.
- Break the Cutie: She's a naive, innocent Nice Girl, who ends up married to an abusive rapist.
- Defiled Forever: The driving trope behind her Heroic BSoD in Series 4.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The series 4 finale ends with her and Drake married at last.
- Heroic BSoD: Immediately after Reverend Whitworth's death, she suffers one, believing herself to have been ruined for marriage by what the Reverend had done to her.
- Interclass Romance: With Drake Carne, a poor miner's son.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Inverted. Wears her hair loose earlier in Series 3 when she's carefree and falling in love but after her marriage to Osborne Whitworth she begins to wear it up.
- Love at First Sight: Falls hard and fast for Drake Carne.
- Old Man Marrying a Child: George Warleggan sets up an Arranged Marriage for the teenage Morwenna with the much older, slimy widower Mr Whitworth.
- Would Hurt a Child: A heroic example. She threatens to kill the son Mr. Whitworth had with her, but when he departs she reassures the child she didn't really mean it.
Mrs Rowella Solway (née Chynoweth)
- The Baby Trap: Claims to be pregnant with Whitworth's child in order to get herself married off to cover up the shame. Whether she really was pregnant or not is uncertain.
- Manipulative Bitch: Has absolutely no compunction about preying on Whitworth's lust for her in order to get what she wants, including money, before and after her marriage to Arthur Solway.
- Thrill Seeker: Shares her grandfather's risk-taking nature.
Warleggans by birth
George Warleggan, Esq.
- Alas, Poor Villain: While the other characters end season 4 on happy or at least hopeful notes, he is left mourning Elizabeth, whose death deeply affects him.
- Always Someone Better: A Running Gag in the show is his expectation of invitations and compliments that often go to Ross instead.
- Ambition Is Evil: George is an ambitious young banker who will stop at nothing to make a killing, even if it means seeing his closest friends financially ruined. The ultimate goal is to break the back of the "great families" and install the Warleggans in their place, unmovable.
- Arch-Enemy: Ross Poldark. They are absolutely pitched against each other, and Ross is the person that has the ability to make George feel inferior more than anyone else. He strives to get the respect he feels he deserves, but Ross is the person who cares least about that, and is least afraid to put him in his place.
- Berserk Button: Insinuating that he had anything to do with the failure of Pascoe's bank. It's enough for him to, in a rare public outburst, loudly threaten to see Ross expelled from Parliament.
- Blatant Lies: When he comes into possession of a promissory note that Ross signed, he uses it to manipulate Elizabeth into renewing their friendship, claiming he can't return the note to Ross himself for reasons the viewer knows to be Psychological Projection:George: Ross and I have never seen eye to eye. On my part, it's no more than a clash of personalities. On his, it's a disease. He plunges headlong from one disaster to another and blames me for all of them.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Of the whole series, along with his uncle, Cary.
- Comical Angry Face: When his plans are foiled, he narrows his eyes and sets his jaw, emitting the slightest hiss of anger. The fact that the viewer is meant to want to see him fail, paired with his somewhat high-pitched voice, makes this face comical.
- Corrupt Politician: As a local justice of the peace and then as a member of Parliament who maintains private business interests, he has zero compassion for the starving poor and sees 15 years for stealing grain as perfectly proportionate.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Assumes the upper-class people of Cornwall look down on him because of the Warleggans' humble beginnings. In fact, it's his blatantly obvious social climbing, selfishness, and general jerkassery that turn people off. Yet he never seems to figure this out, even when he is told exactly this to his face.
- Empty Promise: As much as he loves Elizabeth and readily agrees to anything she asks of him, he may ultimately act according to his own whims, figuring she won't find out.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Does seem to genuinely care for Elizabeth and wants her to be happy. He is also clearly heartbroken by Elizabeth's death due to complications from childbirth.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Is genuinely disgusted when his uncle expresses glee that the death of Ross's daughter will keep him out of their hair.
- Evil Duo: With his uncle.
- Evil Former Friend: In the loosest sense, to the Poldarks.
- False Friend: To Francis — he acts like they are best mates, but only wants to use Francis as a pawn to get back at Ross.
- Faux Affably Evil: As Society dictates, he must never be seen to be openly hostile or rude to his fellow gentlemen, and hides behind a polite, but sinister façade.
- For the Evulz: While most of George's actions are motivated by money, status, Elizabeth's love, or messing with Ross, others—such as sending his armed goons and dogs after Morwenna—are purely and randomly vindictive.
- Freudian Excuse: He sees his mission to bring the older upper class families to their knees financially as teaching them a lesson for their contempt at his nouveau riche status.
- I Own This Town: As Ross mentions to Enys, the Warleggans are gradually taking over the entire area, due to the vast influence of their bank and the hold it has over the inhabitants lives.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: The fact that he is from a nouveau riche family bothers him, and it's likely this feeling of not quite being accepted in Society that drives his machinations against the older, blue-blooded families like the Poldarks.
- Irrational Hatred: Finds a way to loudly blame Ross for even the slightest inconvenience or offense, however much mental gymnastics it takes, and massively overreacts in a way that often makes others suffer.
- Ross is running a new smelting company that doesn't involve George in any way? Better trick a drunk Francis into divulging the shareholders' names and call in all their loans!
- Elizabeth postponed the wedding? Ross must have something to do with it. Better get the Amoral Attorney to "debauch" Demelza!
- Sam Carne visits to ask about land that Francis promised to the local Methodists? He's Demelza's brother; Ross must have sent him. Better move to Truro this very day and leave Geoffrey Charles behind!
- Drake put toads in the pond? Ross knows George hates toads; he must have come up with the idea. Better falsely accuse Drake of a hanging offense!
- Drake's new smithy borders Trenwith land? Ross must have bought him the smithy to annoy George. Better send some Evil Minions to harass him out of it! With fire!
- That money George donated at Caroline's behest ended up going to starving miners? Ross must have orchestrated the whole thing to embarrass him. Better close the now-profitable mine he once owned and put all those miners out of work!
- Ross is now also in Parliament? Better challenge a slimy MP to seduce Demelza! Because that worked so well the first time!
- Kick the Dog: He not only has Morwenna cast out of her house upon hearing she's to marry Drake, he also sends his gatekeeper after her.
- Malicious Slander: His specialty.
- Manipulative Bastard: Manages to tease the list of Wheal Leisure shareholders out of Francis with a glass of wine and a few carefully selected, inflammatory remarks about Ross.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: The Warleggans make their money from shady loan contracts and the massive rates of interest the Warleggan Bank charges.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He's genuinely remorseful when his suspicion over Valentine not being his son indirectly leads to Elizabeth's death. (He was right, but still.)
- Nouveau Riche: From humble beginnings as blacksmiths, the Warleggans strived to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Cornwall.
- Oddly Small Organization: From the way they are talked about, one would imagine the Warleggans to be like some sort of Cornish mafia, but in fact most of their diabolical scheming takes place between just George and Cary in their rather nice drawing room.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- There are two instances where he drops his gentlemanly demeanor in public in Series 4.
- When Ross publicly accuses him of corruption, he loudly declares his intention in front of everyone to see him pay dearly for it.
- In the next episode, he violently throws down a late payment of Monk Adderly's debt offered by Ross. Ross suspects there was something more to George's reaction than simply his involvement in Adderly's demise, and indeed he now truly believes by this point that Ross was Valentine's father all along.
- When Ross comes to check on Elizabeth, George allows him to see Elizabeth's dead body for himself, blaming not just Ross but also himself from Elizabeth's death, the latter most evident in his screaming at Ross to "see what we've brought her to".
- There are two instances where he drops his gentlemanly demeanor in public in Series 4.
- Pet the Dog: Takes the time to genuinely express sympathy for Ross's loss after his daughter dies.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: George is the shortest of the show's male characters, but is a very good boxer and can match Ross in a fight.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- He's less given to rashness than his uncle, and when Ross is acquitted at the start of the second series he simply considers it a small setback compared to his uncle's opinion on the matter, carefully planning his next move in the plan to ruin Ross.
- After Tom seemingly killed Jud, George explodes at Tankard for letting it happen as he only wanted the man scared not killed. With the action done George fears that Ross will come after him for it.
- Received Pronunciation: Unlike his uncle Cary, who retains a fairly strong (if unsteady) Cornish accent, George has cultivated a decent RP.
- Sanity Slippage: In Season Five, he sees and hears Elizabeth, despite her being dead, and genuinely believes she's still alive and with him.
- Sugary Malice: His default mode in conversation.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Basically his reaction in a nutshell when he thinks his thugs murdered Jud after he specifically ordered them to simply beat him up, knowing that Ross will most likely find out and, when he does, go after him.
- Took a Level in Badass: After his attempt to have Ross hanged in series 2 fails, George fears retribution and begins training. In several episodes he's seen practicing boxing.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Not that he was ever nice, mind you, but it's not until Season Three that the puppies really start flying. Just ask poor Geoffrey Charles.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
- An explosive confrontation with Ross in front of Valentine results in Elizabeth taking the birth control drug which ultimately kills her.
- It's his idea to marry Morwenna to Whitworth, mostly so the Warleggans can make a connection to Whitworth's high-society relations. He has zero regard for Morwenna's feelings on the subject until she blames him and Elizabeth for her Awful Wedded Life.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: During the flashback in the Series 4 finale, we see a younger George who just seems amazed to see a lovely house like Trenwith.
- Villainous Crush: On Elizabeth Poldark — he makes it quite clear in the first series finale that he wants her as his wife, despite the fact that she is married to his "friend", Francis.
- Wicked Stepmother: A gender-flipped example. He does not like Geoffrey Charles, and treats the poor kid mostly like crap.
Mr Cary Warleggan
- Bald of Evil: He wears a wig when he is with company.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even he and his nephew are genuinely appalled by Merceron's actions, especially his throwing Ross down a mine — and not just any mine, but Wheal Leisure.
- Evil Duo: With his nephew — and he seems to be even crueler than George.
- Evil Plan: Bankrupt any local gentry who oppose them and take over the county — simple as that.
- Grumpy Bear: He's thoroughly aggressive most of the time he's on screen.
- Kick the Dog: Gloats that Ross's child dying is a good thing since it will keep Ross out of their hair. Notably even George is somewhat appalled and taken aback.
- The Man Behind the Man: George is equally villainous and acts as his mouthpiece, but it is Cary who is providing most of the instruction.
- The Matchmaker: Tries to engineer a marriage between Cecily Hanson, the daughter of a wealthy client, and the then-widowed George. This doesn't work out well.
- In the novels, this trope applies to George's father, Nicholas, who does not appear the show. He's constantly trying to marry George to various young noblewomen, but his attempts come to nothing because of George's unceasing crush on Elizabeth.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: The Warleggans make their money from shady loan contracts and the massive rates of interest the Warleggan Bank charges.
- Nouveau Riche: Ostensibly so — the vast Warleggan fortune was made in his lifetime, and he retains many of the traits that betray his humbler, blacksmith origins.
- Obviously Evil: Unlike George, who hides his malice behind a veil of gentlemanly charm, Cary is overtly aggressive and rude, to the point where even George finds himself keeping him in check from time to time.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Pip Torrens makes a valiant effort to add Cornish vocal tics to his natural Home Counties accent.
- The Patriarch: Of the Warleggan clan.
- Perpetual Frowner: Not surprising given that he's played by Pip Torrens. He does occasionally crack a Psychotic Smirk, though.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He criticizes George's attempts to pin Matthew's death on Ross, as it would be a much more difficult thing to convict Ross of rather than pillaging their wrecked ship. Cary further states that he doesn't hold Ross responsible for Matthew's death but George insists that Ross leaving his body on the beach is an insult to their family and proceeds with the allegations.
- Born Unlucky: His birth takes place during a full lunar eclipse, or "under a black moon," as Aunt Agatha frequently and chillingly warns. And so it proves.
- Child by Rape: Arguably in the series, definitely in the books.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Valentine is biologically Ross' son rather than George's, but they have no real way of proving it.
- Meaningful Name: Valentine was born on St. Valentine's Day.
- Parental Neglect:
- George's belief that Valentine is not his son prompts him to ignore and dismiss the poor boy quite often.
- While in London after Elizabeth's death, George leaves Valentine at Trenwith with baby Ursula and a maid. The scant attention he gets prompts him to begin acting out.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Valentine resembles his biological father, Ross.
Penvenens by birth
Mrs Caroline Enys (née Penvenen)
- Adaptational Dye Job: Was ginger in the books, but blonde in the series.
- Break the Haughty: Dwight does this to her.
- Choosing Neutrality: One of the only characters who's equally at home with the Poldarks and the Warleggans.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's quite witty and tends to navigate her way through society by making smart-ass comments.Ray Penvenen: Are you confident, Unwin?Caroline: Winning his seat or my hand?
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Dwight in their romance arc.
- Heroic BSoD: After the death of her daughter Sarah.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Despite her best efforts to act like she doesn't care, her kindness shines through in her actions.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She calls off their elopement to Bath after Dwight fails to show up for it and leaves for London, arguing that a marriage between them would've been ill-fated from the start as having to desert his poor Cornish patients and treat a genteel clientel instead would've made him unhappy.
- Lady in Red: Is constantly walking around in eye-catching red redingotes in season 2.
- Not So Stoic: Ross essentially makes it his mission to make her face her grief after she flees from her feelings after the death of her infant daughter. He's successful.
- Odd Friendship: With Demelza.
- Parental Marriage Veto: Her guardian and uncle, Ray Penvenen, does not approve of her plans to marry Dr Enys because of their differences in wealth and status. He eventually comes around.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Gives off the impression of a pretty rich girl at first, but is actually very intelligent and perceptive as well as eqipped with a good portion of willpower.
- Spirited Young Lady: Caroline is intelligent, bold, pretty, independent, outspoken and generally one of the most modern female characters of the show. While she enjoys the popular past-times of her class like attending balls, socialising and horse-riding, she proves herself to be good with money and is not above nursing her uncle and later Dwight.
- The Fashionista: Her gowns are always the most fashionable and up-to-date among the ladies of the show.
- The Stoic: Instead of grieving openly, she shuts down after her infant daughter dies and turns into somewhat of a Stepford Smiler in the direct aftermath.
- Wealthy Philanthropist: After Dwight tells her of the outbreak of scurvy in the area due to a lack of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, she anonymously donates him a cart of oranges. This is one of several examples of her using her immense wealth to benefit the local poor, in contrast to George, who openly scoffs at the idea.
Raymond "Ray" Penvenen
- Cool Uncle: He has a very loving and happy relationship with his niece, Caroline. In turn Caroline sees him as a kind of father figure.
- Overprotective Dad: The uncle version.
- Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: Ray is generally a kindly old man who loves his niece Caroline unconditionally, however he is also terribly prejudiced against Dwight due to his low status and lack of money.
Whitworths by birth
Rev. Osbourne "Ossie" Whitworth
- Asshole Victim: Dies in a fall from a horse. Pretty much no one bar his mother mourns him.
- Beauty Inversion: Fans of the show were surprised to discover that Christian Brassington is actually quite good-looking out of costume.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With George Warleggan, for the third season and the first half of the fourth.
- Blatant Lies: After an "appointment" with Margaret, he runs into Ross and Demelza in an area of Truro with a large contingent of prostitutes. Noting the Poldarks' knowing smiles, he scrambles for the excuse that he was assisting "fallen women" in finding God.
- Dirty Old Vicar: He's very lecherous.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: His attempt to have Morwenna institutionalized through an accusation of sinfulness-induced madness reeks of what would in modern times be known as "alternative facts" thanks to the madness of His Majesty, and Dr. Enys calls him on it, warning him that if he tries to have Morwenna institutionalized on those grounds he could risk a treason charge being hung on him.
- Establishing Character Moment: We know he's going to be trouble when—just one week after the death of his first wife—he immediately takes a lecherous tone upon meeting Morwenna.Whitworth: Shall we assay the gavotte, Miss Chynoweth?
Morwenna: Oh, I hope you'll excuse me, sir. I am not fond of dancing.
Whitworth: That can only be because your partners thus far have lacked expertise. Allow a master to initiate you in the pleasures.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He is quite close to his mother, who in turn continues his Evil Plan to ruin Morwenna and spite Drake.
- Fat Bastard
- Hate Sink: The most unrelentingly loathsome character in the series.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He has an affair with Rowella when Morwenna refuses his sexual advances. Rowella's husband finds out and attacks Whitworth alone in a forest one night, leading to the good Reverend to fall from the saddle and be dragged to his death by his panicking horse while screaming like a little girl.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: She takes over from her son following his grisly accident.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She appears to truly love her grandson.
- Evil Matriarch: She's every bit as nasty as her son, minus the lechery.
- Female Misogynist: She strongly believes girls are completely worthless in society.
- It's Personal: She won't stop until her son is avenged sevenfold.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Her icy heart finally seems to melt when she sees Morwenna saying goodbye to her son for the last time and realizes she has finally learned to let go.
Dr Dwight Enys
- Beard of Sorrow: Grows one whilst captive in a French prisoner of war camp.
- Break the Cutie: During his time as prisoner of war in France, a guard kills one of Dwight's patients for sport - cue Dwight breaking down sobbing.
- Chick Magnet: Particularly among his female patients.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Despite being a rather gentle soul, he's quite intelligent and not easily fooled.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Before the hair department decided to let Luke Norris keep his natural hair colour, anyway.
- Hospital Hottie: He's a handsome doctor.
- Friend to All Children: He's consistently shown to be good with kids. Too bad his own firstborn daughter dies in infancy.
- Nice Guy: He's a kind, collected kind of person who treats his fellow humans with respect regardless of how well he actually likes them and thus gets on with almost everyone (with the notable exception of Osborne Whitworth).
- Only Sane Man: Turned Up to Eleven when Ross chooses him as his second in an unnecessary duel with Monk Adderly. Dwight tries to talk some sense into all participants, but ultimately fails.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Suffers from PTSD after his rescue from a prisoner of war camp in France.
- Voice of Reason: To Ross.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Even though he does lose some of his naïveté over the years, Dwight holds fast to his ideal of providing healthcare for everyone regardless of their financial situations.Dr Choake: The only cases are miners, and they rarely pay.Dwight: I wonder if healing is not its own reward?
Jud & Prudie Paynter
- Afraid of Blood: When Francis is shot in the second episode of the first series, Ross tries to get Prudie to help stop the bleeding. She provides no assistance as she is afraid of blood and Demelza has to intervene.
- The Alcoholic: Jud, who doesn't even bother to hide it. He goes too far in Episode 7 when Ross overhears his slandering, and both he and Prudie are cast from the house.
- Catchphrase: T'int right, t'int fair, t'int fit, t'int proper!
- Common Law Marriage: They have one.
- Disney Death: Jud, when George's servants beat him half to death for betraying him early in the second series.
- Divergent Character Evolution: They're very similar at first both being lazy drunks living off of the Poldark estate. Throughout Series 1, Prudie becomes nicer and more accepting of Demelza whilst Jud wallows in his misery. Notably when drinking too much, Jud slanders Ross whilst Prudie defends him.
- Fat Slob: Both of them are overweight and horribly grimy. In the first episode, when Ross arrives back at Nampara out of the blue, he finds the house full of rats and chickens, and both of them asleep in his bed.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Over time, Demelza and Prudie become less antagonistic of each other and start to get along.
- Lazy Bum: Again, both of them. Ross keeps them on in recognition of their relationship with his late father, but it is a struggle to get them to clean the house, or even themselves.
- Legacy of Service: Jud and Prudie were Rosss father's servants, but they are drunken, lazy, and not averse to stealing from their masters drinks cabinet.
- Old Retainer: They've both been in the Poldark family service for years.
- Put on a Bus: Jud does not appear in Series 3 and his absence is hand-waved away with a line from Prudie explaining that life is more peaceful since he "carted off".
- Revenge by Proxy:
- By the end of season 2, their affection for Demelza has grown to the point that Tom Harry grazing her with a bullet is The Last Straw in a long line of straws from George, and Prudie sends Jud to lead a Powder Keg Crowd to Trenwith to avenge their mistress. Demelza and Ross stop them from putting the house to the torch.
- Downplayed leading up to this: They're so disgusted by Ross's infidelity that they feel even less compunction about snarking at him.
- Servile Snarker: Both are shockingly cheeky to Demelza when she becomes mistress of Nampara, and even to Ross himself most of the time.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Prudie is noticeably nicer and more helpful after Jud is gone.
- Weasel Co-Worker: Demelza ends up doing most of their duties when Ross takes her on while they put their feet up.
Dr. Tom Choake
- Dr. Jerk: Choake is impatient, classist, and looks down on anyone unable to afford his medical treatments.
- Foil: To Enys.
- Meaningful Name: The bad doctor's name is "choke."
- Medical Horror: Believes extracting bodily fluids is the solution to any medical problem.If in doubt, purge. That's our motto. Bleed, boil, blister, sweat.
- The Proud Elite: Speaks openly of his disdain for patients who can't afford to pay him and doctors, like Enys, who treat them anyway.
Mrs Ruth Treneglos (née Teague)
- Abhorrent Admirer: Of Ross early in season 1. The sound of her voice causes him visible pain.
- Determinator: Absolutely shameless in her efforts to make herself agreeable to Ross. Later, her father-in-law describes her as "a determined girl" when speaking of her recent marriage to his son John.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Even her husband and Elizabeth can't help but smirk when Ruth is embarrassed, which isn't uncommon.
- Generation Xerox: Of her equally class-obsessed mother.
- Gossipy Hens: With Mrs Teague and Mrs Chynoweth.
- Humble Pie: Attempts to embarrass Demelza by forcing her to sing at Trenwith. Demelza turns out to have a beautiful voice, putting paid to Ruth's bullying.
- Plain Jane: The least beautiful of the five Teague sisters.
- The Proud Elite: Never hesitates to remind everyone of her social status or denigrate someone else's.
- Slut-Shaming: Demelza's father, scandalized by Ruth's exposed cleavage, rips a strip off her in front of everyone at Julia's christening.
- Sugary Malice: Everything she says to Demelza at the Christmas dinner at Trenwith is laced with this.
- Upper-Class Twit
- Asshole Victim: Ross says that the world is brighter without him to Matthew's cousin.
- Card Sharp: He's a talented gambler, Francis loses his Mine and all of his money in a game with him. Ross challenges him later and unveils his cheating in front of all of Warleggan's friends. Though his reputation is tarnished he's still kept in relatively good standing; people just don't want to gamble with him anymore.
- Mauve Shirt: He's a recurring agent of the Warleggans, being George's cousin. Even after his cheating is outed he still serves as a representative for their shipping business. His death concludes series 1 and plays into Ross's arrest and trial in series 2.
- Amoral Attorney: He's George's attorney and assists him in trying to manipulate the law against Ross. During Ross's trial early in series 2 he's buying off witnesses and spreading libel to convict him.
- Only One Name: Just Tankard. At the investor's meeting he's referred to as Mr. Tankard so it seems to be a case of Last-Name Basis.
- Slimeball: Oily, self-serving, smug, and greedy; Tankard has many of George's qualities but none of his confidence and cadence.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Though he's a major antagonistic figure in series 2, on account of him being George's chief minion, he simply disapears from series 3 onward.
- Blithe Spirit: Often seen skipping and dancing through the woods without a care for who might see her.
- Daddy's Girl: She and her father, Tholly, are peas in a pod.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Admits to Sam that she enjoys her life as this and has no wish to give it up.
- Love Cannot Overcome: Despite her deep affection for Sam, she ends up marrying another man with whom she considers herself more compatible.
- Opposites Attract: With the devoutly religious teetotaler Sam Carne.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She's right there with the starving miners trying to ram their way into George's grain stores.
Lieutenant Hugh Armitage
- Eat the Rich: Believes violence against the business owners of Cornwall is an acceptable solution to the miners' poverty.
- The Resenter: Against Demelza, who she wrongfully accuses of having forgotten her hardscrabble background.
- Soap Box Sadie: First seen agitating before a crowd of miners.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Emma, but Up to Eleven.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Ahead of her time in supporting feminism and opposing slavery.
- Missing Mom: Bonds with Geoffrey Charles over this they have in common.
- Runaway Bride: At her arranged wedding to George, she speaks now and declares her love for Geoffrey Charles, sending an infuriated George out of the church and earning a promise of her father's wrath.
- Spirited Young Lady: Never afraid to speak her mind, not even in the presence of her father and his business associates.