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Eddie Cantrell joined his friends for a game of D&D in Grantville instead of Barackville on the day of the Ring of Fire. Within a few years, Eddie went from a would-be adventurer to a soldier, sailor, spy, and husband to royalty.
- Altar Diplomacy: Eddie is seduced by/seduces Princess Anne Catherine of Denmark, helping to cement peace and an alliance with the Danes.
- Artificial Limbs: Eddie Cantrell later gets one after losing his leg during the engagement at Wismar, in 1633.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Eddie just had to go to Grantville to play D&D on the day of the Ring of Fire. Now he, Jeff Higgins, Larry Wild, and Jimmy Andersen are all trapped in the past with no parents.
- Hero of Another Story: After Eddie's misadventures in Denmark, he's sent to the West Indies (the Caribbean) to help Denmark create a colony in the Americas.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: While neither of them would ever be able to admit it, it's plain to see that all Eddie Cantrell really wants is for Admiral Simpson to be proud of him. Which he is, even if he'd never be able to admit it to Eddie himself.
Grantville's original Mayor, the 66-year-old Henry finds himself too old and ill equipped to lead Grantville after the Ring of Fire, refusing to run for the Emergency Committee. Mike re-instates Henry as Mayor of Grantville and orders him to manage rationing efforts.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Henry meets his end via an assassination by radical French Huguenots, aiming to kick off a pogrom of the United States of Europe's Jews and restart the war with France. A Pogrom does happen: Operation Krystalnacht. The organized expulsion of all anti-Semites in the United States of Europe at the hands of the Committees of Correspondence.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Rather than try to hold on to his political power, Henry knows he doesn't have it in him to run Grantville after the Ring of Fire and steps down.
Grantville High School's Science Teacher, Greg and his best students assist in the construction of rocket artillery in the first battles fought by Grantville's soldiers. Mike Stearns puts Greg in charge of research and development ("research" being the development of sustainable technology before Grantville's modern machinery breaks down for good).
Initially the Sheriff of the small town of Grantville, Dan found himself coordinating the initial posse that faced down marauding German mercenaries after the Ring of Fire. After founding the New United States, Dan retires and begins working to standardize the police forces and policies in all the smaller German states under the USE's jurisdiction.
- Dual Wielding: Defied. Dan contemplates living out the legends of the Matewan strike when called upon to face down invading Croat cavalry, but ultimately decides against it, calling it impractical.
- The Posse: Dan deputizes a group of miners in the first book, to deal with marauding mercenaries.
- The Sheriff: Dan is the police chief in Grantville, and later becomes responsible for training police for the NUS.
One of Grantville's four nerds, Jeff was resigned to a small town life when the Ring of Fire hit. Now trapped in the past, he quickly finds himself turned into a poster-boy soldier and married to a rabble-rousing bombshell of a German woman, separated from his friends by the chaos of the era.
- Adorkable: Jeff is a major wargaming and Dungeons & Dragons geek before the Ring of Fire, and outside of a few friends was uneasy in a social context.
- Specs of Awesome: Glasses aren't that common in the 17th Century, and most downtimers expect them to be used only by nobility or high-rank academics. They are deemed an unnecessary luxury for soldiers. So when downtimers see the glasses worn by Jeff Higgins, who is actually pretty intimidating as a soldier, they conclude that he is a cold killer who uses the glasses to see his victims better. Given also that his initial pudginess has been turned to muscle by 1636, and that his stature was big to begin with, and it's a very good thing that he's generally so good-natured.
One of Mike's associates in the United Mine Workers of America, Frank found himself drafted into the position of Army Chief of Staff by Mike where he put his training from the Vietnam War to use.
- Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Frank Jackson came back from The Vietnam War with a Vietnamese wife. Subverted when the wife actually makes an appearance; Diane Jackson does not often put her foot down over something, but when she does, Frank can't overrule her.
- Up Through the Ranks: Frank Jackson had served as a grunt in the Vietnam War and then worked as a miner, when he was called to organise and lead the defense of first Grantville and then the United States of Europe.
A registered nurse, Anne was only passing through Grantville when the Ring of Fire hit. Flung back in time, she puts her medical training in obstetrics to use educating physicians downtime. Even if it gets her into trouble from time to time.
- I Ate WHAT?!: At one point, cornered by witch-finders, Anne demonstrates that her herbal brews aren't poisons but early modern medicine by drinking her own mixture. One of her assistants corrects her that, due to a mistranslation, the potion did in fact contain foxglove. Anne recovered from the poison.
One of Mike's Union Organizers in West Virginia, Harry helped assemble the Grantville militia after the Ring of Fire transported the town back in time. Now something of a Special Forces/Secret Agent operative, he's gained a reputation for loud but effective results.
- Monumental Damage: Part of Harry's plans to break the USE embassy out of the Tower of London. Bye-bye London Bridge and Globe Theater!
- Overt Operative: The longer Lefferts' exploits are ongoing, the less he is able to keep a low profile, so he does not even try to. It ultimately bites him in the ass
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Her actual first name is Kristen. She started using "Marla" back up-time after the heroine Miss Fury (though they never explicitly name her idol, probably for copyright reasons).
Julie Mackay (née Sims)
Originally one of Grantville High School's Cheerleaders, Julie was also a contender for the United States' Olympic Team for the biathlon. Her skill with a rifle accompanied by proper sniper training makes her one of the most feared individuals among generals opposing the USE.
- Action Girl: Before the Ring of Fire, she was being seriously considered for the Olympic biathalon, and was training up for it when Grantville shifted in time.
- Friendly Sniper: High school cheerleader and would-be Olympic sharpshooter. Ebullient, enthusiastic, and personable, but on her first battlefield, when she's asked if she'll have trouble killing people, she makes it pretty clear that she has no qualms, given her probable fate if the army she's in loses.
- Girl Next Door: Julie is noted as pretty but not knock-out gorgeous, but thanks to her cheery personality she doesn't really have any enemies outside of those opposed to the USE.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Julie isn't opposed to dressing up in a "feminine" way or doing traditionally "female" things, but is a crack shot and was at one point under consideration for attempting to gain a slot on the US Olympic team in the biathlon.
A local schoolteacher in Grantville and a self-described "Bleeding-heart liberal," Melissa becomes an integral member of Mike Stearns' cabinet with her knowledge of history and economics.
- Angrish: Melissa Mailey devolves into this when she learns that Harry Lefferts and company set fire to the Globe Theatre to cover their escape from the Tower of London. Which they also blew up, along with London Bridge. The adjective used to describe her reaction is "gobbling".
- Blue Blood: She is hailed from the Boston Brahmins. Being Melissa Mailey, however, she is a flaming radical liberal feminist who has, in her quite checkered past, been arrested multiple times for protest marches and acts of civil disobedience — and is currently (and quite happily) living in sin with an African-American doctor who served in the Marines and grew up in the Chicago ghetto.
- Hahvahd Yahd In My Cah: Despite living for decades in West Virginia, Melissa's Boston accent hasn't faded.
- Stern Teacher: Melissa "Schoolmarm from Hell" Mailey. Other, more pejorative names for her include "Melissa the Hun" and her personal favorite, "She-Creature from the Black Lagoon" — after which, according to Mailey herself, they get worse. If she found out she was no longer being called those things, she'd consider herself to be slipping. That said, according to her once-student Harry Lefferts, whom she made write "I will not be a smartass in front of a way smarter teacher" 200 times on the board for sassing her, "I was being a smartass, and she is smarter than me."
- There Is a God!: Melissa Mailey (aka "Schoolmarm from Hell", a self-identified atheist) uses the phrase several times in regards to Daryl McCarthy, when he acts as a mature adult with a good education, neither of which were previously considered to be accurate descriptions of him.
- When She Smiles: Prim, proper, acerbic schoolteacher Melissa Mailey has a rarely-seen smile that Mike Stearns actually calls "quite dazzling".
Father Lawrence Mazzare
Grantville's resident Catholic priest, Father Mazzare initially partners with the Methodist preachers to help Mike and the Grantvillers navigate the religious politics of the era, and to help the down-timers understand the ins and outs of Freedom of Religion. Mike eventually picks Father Lawrence to lead a diplomatic mission to Italy and open trade routes with the Venetians.
- The Engineer: Maintains cars in his spare time, both for recreation and to raise a bit of extra cash.
- Good Shepherd: Father Lawrence "Larry" Mazzare, noted as one of the finest examples of a small-town Catholic priest anywhere in the up-time universe, so impresses His Holiness Pope Urban VIII that, about ten minutes after the two meet, Father Mazzare becomes Cardinal Mazzare.
A guest at the wedding of Tom and Rita Stearns, James is one of the few Uptime Doctors to be sent back in time with Grantville. James romances the schoolteacher Melissa Mailey while working to educate Downtime physicians.
- Combat Medic: Being a veteran Marine who does as much asskicking as lifesaving.
An Uptime Nurse and Doctor-in-Training, Sharon was the Maid of Honor at Tom and Rita's wedding on the day of the Ring of Fire. She initially married Hans Richter before his demise, then is sent to Italy with Father Mazzare and Tom Stone to create trade networks with the Venetians and share her medical knowledge with the Downtimers in Italy's prestigious universities.
- Open Heart Dentistry: Sharon is technically a nurse, so in Uptime she'd never be allowed anywhere near the O-R. But her father is teaching Grantville's medical staff everything he knows, and Sharon puts it to good use saving Ruy Sanchez' life after a nasty stab wound to his gut.
- Parental Sexuality Squick: Just because Sharon Nichols highly approves of the romance between her father and Melissa Mailey does not mean she wants to think about what goes on between them in the bedroom.
- White Collar Crime: Sharon and Mrs. Stone meet with some of the local merchants in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice to try and find sellers for desperately needed resources. The merchants broach the subject of the secret radio that the embassy has and propose a scheme that could get Sharon and Stone the funds to buy all the supplies they need.note Sharon thinks for a moment that this would be a serious crime uptime but realizes A.) Insider Trading isn't illegal yet, and B.) They'd essentially be stealing from the people who put the Jews into the Ghetto. Within a month they have all the money and supplies Grantville will ever need.
Morris and Judith Roth
Local Jewish residents of Grantville, Morris and Judith initially help the Abrabanel clan settle into the strangeness of "modern" Grantville, and show that these Christian Up-timers are perfectly accepting of the Jewish faith.
- Fire-Forged Friends: More like Fire Forged Families, but the Roths to the Stearns. Morris' father was rescued from the Nazi Buchenwald concentration camp by Mike's father. Morris' dad emigrated to Grantville after recovering, assuming it was the safest place to be for a Jew after The Holocaust if it was the kind of place the Stearns came from.
- Horseback Heroism: Morris Roth, in the novella "The Wallenstein Gambit" in the first Ring of Fire anthology, assumes a leadership role in the defense of Prague. He doesn't inspire the defenders with sword-waving and speeches, though. He simply keeps his cool and his uptime rifle at hand, calmly awaiting the arrival of the mercenaries. The militia see that he isn't being overly dramatic or panicky and keep their cool as a result.
John Chandler Simpson
A Boardroom Executive Uptime, John and his wife were in Grantville by coincidence when the Ring of Fire happened. He initially proposed an isolationist government rejected by Mike and Grantville at large. Initially a foil to Mike Stearns, he is picked by Mike for a special assignment where his top-down leadership style would be perfectly suited: head of the New United States' Navy.
- Artificial Limbs: John Simpson has a prosthetic replacing a lower leg lost in an ambush, in his service during The Vietnam War, first mentioned in 1633, co-authored by David Weber.
- Badass Grandpa: While he doesn't have grandchildren yet, John Simpson fits this. It surprises up-timers, given their initial perception of him as some stuffy, old rich prick, but he was a naval combat veteran. He demonstrates this experience in the short story "In the Navy" where he quickly shoots down three assassins with his Browning Hi-power pistol with practiced ease.
- John Simpson: The Browning is an excellent weapon, although the nine-millimeter round is a little short on stopping power, compared to something like the .45.
Eddie Cantrell: I see. How long have you been carrying it?
John Simpson: For considerably longer than you've been alive.
- Frozen Face: John Simpson is noted for giving absolutely nothing of his feelings away, leading most to assume he simply doesn't have any. This makes the moments when he does lose control all the more powerful — the ending of 1633 is a textbook example.
- Like a Son to Me: Though he's never said the words out loud and can, in fact, hardly bring himself to think them, John Chandler Simpson feels this way about Eddie Cantrell — much to his own surprise.
- Manly Tears: At the end of 1633, Admiral John Simpson completely breaks down when he finds out that Eddie Cantrell survived the Battle of Wismar.
- Mistaken for Racist: In 1633, after coming off very badly in the previous book with his attempts to shut out German refugees etc., John Simpson asserts that he's not actually racist—against Germans or otherwise—though many of his supporters are. His wife also calls him out on catering to the bigoted demographic during his election campaign.
- Papa Wolf: John Chandler Simpson has quite a few flaws, all of which are illustrated in painstaking detail in the text — but God help you if you hurt one of his Navy boys. 'The Navy protects its own' might as well be tattooed on the man's forehead.Frank Jackson: [after Denmark has been rather decisively defeated by the USE Navy] ...the admiral... was making loud noises by then about reducing the rest of Copenhagen to rubble if his lieutenant wasn't goddamit produced on his flagship right fucking now. Even then, Gustav had to do some truly imperial squelching before the admiral shut up.
- Sophisticated as Hell: In 1634: The Baltic War, Admiral Simpson's debriefing of Eddie Cantrell uses this to truly epic effect as he attempts to cajole his junior officer ("whom I have quite distinct recollections of being forthright even to the point of annoying the piss out of me") into acknowledging that he has had premarital sex with the daughter of the king of Denmark.
John Simpson's estranged wife. While John handles the establishment of the New United States Navy, Mary puts her socialite ways to use hobnobbing with European royalty and smoothing over the transition from Absolute Monarchism to Republican Democracy.
- Ballet Episode: Mary has a significant part to play in helping to establish the Grantville Ballet Company- one of the venues for spreading the stories of Brillo the Ram.
- Socialite: While John lived in the boardroom, Mary was perfectly happy to be a patron of the arts and manager of charitable functions. Stranded Downtime, she quickly finds herself hobnobbing with royals and nobles at a time when these activities bring significant social prestige.
Rita Simpson (née Stearns)
Sister of Mike Stearns and wife of Tom Simpson. Rita was educated as a nurse at the University of West Virginia, marrying Tom Simpson on the day of the Ring of Fire. Rita opts to travel to England as part of the American Embassy to the court of Charles I.
- The Medic: Rita accompanies the embassy in this role. Turns out, treating their guards' families in the Tower of London is an excellent way to get them to aid in an escape.
Husband of Rita Stearns and son of John and Mary Simpson. Tom lived his life a perpetual disappointment to his parents, going to school for football at the less prestigious University of West Virginia, and then marrying the less wealthy Rita for love. Tom enlists in the army as a soldier but is only passable there. He accompanies Rita to the court of King Charles I as the embassy's head of security.
- The Big Guy: Most of the Grantvillers at his wedding to Rita Stearns remark about how huge Tom is. Namely, he wouldn't be out of place as an NFL linebacker.
- You're Not My Father: After John Simpson caters to the racist vote in the election of the Emergency Committee, Tom no longer wants anything to do with his father.
President of the United Mine Workers in Grantville, initial President of the New United States, then first Prime Minister of the USE. Mike lived his life as a Union organizer for the coal miners in the West Virginia town of Grantville, then applied his ground-up political organizing skills to help the town residents re-organize and confront their new reality.
- Author Avatar: To Eric Flint, as both are ardent labor union activists and leftists.
- The Charmer: Mike's main electoral strategy- be himself. Determined, friendly, and never willing to give up. It doesn't carry him through his re-election campaign.
- Demoted to Dragon: Mike isn't evil by any stretch of the imagination, but he loses his re-election campaign and is promptly made a general by Gustavus Adolphus.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Mike Stearns, in 1633, decides he needs a much stronger drink than the after-work beer he had been contemplating prior to getting a radio message from Gustav Adolf at Lübeck.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Mike and Don Nasi knows that Mayor Dreeson's assassination is the work of French Huguenots, not anti-Semites within Germany. To reveal the truth is to provoke a war with France. To follow the lie means that the German anti-Semites will be expelled from the United States of Europe in Operation: Krystalnacht. Mike opts for the latter.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from labour activist to 'the Prince of Germany' in the space of approximately two years.
The resident hippy and father of three boys. Uptime, Tom was considered a no-good communist stoner who could barely feed his family. Downtime, his knowledge of tye-dye and marijuana cultivation make him a master chemist and a priceless pharmacist.
- Disappointed in You: Tom's preferred method of disciplining his three sons. He doesn't get angry or use corporal punishment, just explains how they've let down his expectations and he hopes they will do better in the future.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: As the only person in town with the means to produce a potent painkiller for the war effort (cannabis), Tom knows he can make an absolute fortune off of selling to the Grantville army and locals. Instead he sells his crop at cost and instead makes his money selling dyed cloth to Downtime Nobility.
Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz
An older gentleman hailing from Spain's New World colonies before he became employed by the Spanish Netherlands' Embassy in Venice.
- Badass Grandpa: Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz, among his other adventures, engages six assassins, taking down four of them before his uptime allies can assist, and kill the last two.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Sharon Nichols describes Ruy as having the sex drive of a goat, but never overstepping himself in his courtship of her.
- Cool Old Guy: Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz, 55+ years old. Former settler in New Spain, soldier in the army of Spain, and still as sharp as a tack.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: When he runs into a bunch of assassins looking to kill the Americans, Ruy introduces himself to them before proceeding to kick their asses. "My name is Ruy Sanchez de Casador y Ortiz. Prepare to die."
A paramedic and nurse specializing in obstetrics, Priscilla joins her husband Rodney in a perilous journey from Grantville to Mughal India.
- Exact Words: Shah Jahan promises Priscilla her weight in silver after she saves his grandson and daughter-in-law from a breech birth. Priscilla laughs it off as a promise of some money. Then she is summoned to court and sees the human-size scale set up before the throne...
- Roadside Surgery: Saving Nadira and her son Suleiman from a breech birth in a tent in the Indian countryside? Not ideal.
Uptime, Quentin was the foreman of the Grantville Coal Mine, making him Mike Stearns' primary opponent as a union rep. Post Ring of Fire sees Quentin elevated to the position of Secretary of Energy in Mike's cabinet and put in charge of keeping the lights on for as long as possible.
- Bad Boss: Quentin wasn't particularly liked by any of the coal miners Uptime. Downtime, the desperation of the situation makes him borderline evil- even threatening to shoot his own routing guards during a French cavalry raid on the USE's oil field.
- Mean Boss: Quentin can be downright nasty to his downtimer workers.
- Oh, Crap!: Quentin's death triggers a massive one from his killers. The French raiders realize they've not just killed an uptimer, but also a member of the USE government.
- Too Dumb to Live: Quentin is advised to immediately evacuate his oil field, assuming the garrison will protect him from the French. What he sees: His entire garrison put to rout by a mounted French army. What he does: Threatens to kill his routing guards, then shoots a mounted French soldier. What the French do: Shoot Quentin dead three times.
A former tanker pilot in the United States Air Force, Jesse was living out his retirement in Grantville when the Ring of Fire hit. He quickly found himself tasked with building a functional airplane for the United States of Europe.
Father of Rebecca, Balthazar is saved from mercenaries and a heart attack by Grantville's modern technology. As soon as he realizes the Uptimer Christians do not persecute Jews (and make it a point of pride to ensure religious freedom) he writes to all members of the Abrabanel family to come to Grantville for safety and opportunity.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Balthazar suffers a classic Hollywood heart attack while he and Rebecca are fleeing German mercenaries. The people of Grantville are able to save him from almost certain death at the hands of the mercenaries and his own heart.
- Omniglot: Balthazar introduces himself as skilled in roughly eight languages, including English. What's a common skill for him becomes a Godsend for the people of Grantville- barely any of whom speak a lick of German when they're transported to Germany.
Rebecca Stearns (née Abrabanel)
A member of the Jewish Abrabanel family, and one of the first Downtimers to interact with the people of Grantville.
- The Clan: When Rebecca realizes that Freedom of Religion will guarantee the Abrabanels safety from Christian persecution, she and her father start to bring the entire Abrabanel clan to the New United States. The whole family starts to move in, bringing their knowledge, skills, and mercantile connections to help Grantville survive and thrive.
- Rescue Romance: Rebecca and her father are saved by the residents of Grantville while her father is having a massive heart attack in their carriage. Not only do the Grantvillers save his life, they find that Rebecca is able to speak English and can explain where and when they are. Mike Stearns comes to rely on her multilingual ability and knowledge of international affairs, until the two get married and she becomes First Lady and a Senator.
Don Francisco Nasi
Once a bureaucrat in the court of the Ottoman Sultan, Don Nasi read the news of Grantville's appearance from Balthasar and quickly abandoned his position at court to join Grantville, reasoning that he could advance according to his abilities rather than the whims of the Sultan. He quickly becomes head of the Intelligence agencies of the New United States.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Don Nasi enjoys the idea of unleashing the Committees of Correspondence on the anti-Semites of the New United States in Operation: Krystalnacht.
- The Spymaster: Don Nasi picked up his skills in espionage in the Ottoman courts, and has taken to his new position with some vigor. Even if he had some trouble initially understanding that "due process" meant he could not simply torture an answer out of someone. He picked up on the new rules quickly, though.
A cousin to Don Nasi and a budding intelligence agent in the United States of Europe, Bertram is picked by Don Nasi as the chief intelligence officer for the mission to Mughal India.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT call him Bert, Berty, or any other nickname. It's Bertram or nothing.
Committees of Correspondence
Head of the Venetian Committee and the Marcoli family. Antonio and the Marcolis reside in Venice's glass-blowing district and attempt to spread Gretchen's revolutionary ideals to Italy.
- Action Dad: Antonio and by extension the other Marcoli men. When his daughter and Frank Stone are accosted by muggers, they beat the men within an inch of their lives and cut off their ears, hanging them as a warning to other thieves in the quarter. Which says nothing about their plan to dynamite their way into Galileo's trial and free him.
Initially a camp follower in an army and living a life of constant poverty and rape, Gretchen is found by Grantville's soldiers and is shocked by the treatment of prisoners. She establishes the Committees of Correspondence to organize Europe's peasantry and help them fight for a better future.
- Marry for Love: Gretchen's marriage to Jeff is this entirely. She at first expects him to be another soldier demanding sex from her, only to find him to be an inexperienced but kind young man. The two are head-over-heels before long and get hitched.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Gretchen's baptismal name is Maria Margaretha, but it hardly ever comes up.note Her younger sister, Annelise, was baptised "Anna Elisabeth" but is never called that.
- Sexy Coat Flashing: In 1632, Gretchen almost does this with a bathrobe to Jeff Higgins, but decides to stop at the last moment. (It works anyway.)
- Drives Like Crazy: Hans Richter. Somewhat justified because he's a 17th-century printer's assistant, and there were not many driving schools in the 1600s. However, even other 17th-century natives who have been taught to drive think Hans drives like a lunatic. Fortunately for the nascent USE Air Force, his flying is much better at least until his death in 1633.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: For such a memorable and beloved character, Hans was killed very early on in the series.
Catholic King of Denmark, Christian and his nation were bound by treaty to refrain from joining the war in Germany, but constantly looks to Gustavus' Sweden as a threat to Danish survival. In our timeline, Christian would strike at Sweden in 1643 with disastrous results. The arrival of Grantville and Gustavus' survival at Breitenfeld only accelerates his plans to modernize the Danish navy and strike at Sweden and the New United States.
- The Alcoholic: Christian's boozing is legendary even by the standards of the time.
- The Alliance: Christian brings Denmark into the war against Gustavus and the United States of Europe with Cardinal Richeliu's League of Ostend.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Mostly courtesy of Eddie's romancing Christian's daughter, but after John Simpson thrashes the Danish navy, the Danes leave the League of Ostend and help the Americans establish a colony in the New World to bring back much needed oil.
Fourth son to King Christian IV, the historical Ulrik was often at the center of negotiations with Albrecht von Wallenstein and Axel Oxenstierna over his proposed marriage to Gustavus Adolphus' daughter. He would be killed during peace negotiations by a pistol shot from an Imperial rider. In this timeline, Ulrik's fate is altered alongside Gustavus', and Christian IV tasks him with applying his education toward making effective countermeasures to Grantville's technology.
- Crazy Awesome: Both Ulrik and Baldur show both a brilliant facility for adapting uptime technology, and a shocking willingness to attempt crazy things. Thus far in the stories, they're the only ones who've managed to do any kind of damage to the USE fleet, though this very nearly gets them both killed.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: One of the more impressive examples of royalty in the series: brilliant, active and seemingly fearless. He seems to appreciate the fact that he's not the immediate heir to the throne (having two older brothers), and is thus allowed to take more risks with his own safety.
- Wife Husbandry: Not by his own choosing, but he's betrothed to Kristina when she's eight years old, and he's about ten years older. With her mother's mental issues and later assassination and her father being frequently absent and later in a coma, he quickly becomes a mentor and protector, if not quite a father figure. If this makes the fact that they're eventually going to get married awkward, everyone seems to roll with it pretty easily.
- Nom de Guerre: "Baldur (name of a Norse god, at a time when Aesir worship was extinct in all but the most remote parts of Norway) Norddahl" (North Valley) is very clearly assumed, but everyone rolls with it.
Daughter of Christian IV via a Morganatic marriage, Anne Catherine is technically not a Princess though she is treated as one by Eddie Cantrell.
King of England, Scotland and Ireland. In our timeline Charles' excesses and quarrels with Parliament would be the cause of the English Revolution, Oliver Cromwell's rise, and lead to his own execution in 1642. Charles quickly learns of this potential future and does everything he can to avert his early demise.
- Butt-Monkey: Charles and the Kingdom of England are regularly brushed off as an afterthought by the League of Ostend. Richelieu merely needs uncontested control of the English channel for the more powerful members like France, Spain, and Denmark.
- Evil Cripple: While Charles wasn't a particularly kind person before, the carriage accident that kills his wife and breaks both of his legs does not do much to improve his temperament.
- In Spite of a Nail Charles I has the benefit of hindsight/foresight, knowing who the leaders of the rebellion that would ultimately cost him his head would be, but the way he handles this knowledge turns people (like Cromwell) who had not yet even thought of fighting against the king into staunch enemies. Being arrested for no reason and having your wife and child killed before your very eyes does that to people.
The Lord Regent of the Realm. In our timeline, Cromwell helps create the English New Model Army, overthrows Charles I, and becomes a President for Life tyrant. In this timeline, Cromwell is arrested for his future actions against Charles and wrestles with whether he should follow down the path of rebellion and tyranny or try to avoid it himself by remaining in jail.
- For Want of a Nail: Ironically, it's the King of England that sets Cromwell on the path to kicking off the Glorious Revolution. His men kill Cromwell's young son in the process of arresting him, setting the unaware Cromwell onto his revolutionary path.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: The way the one Irish-American character (who knows little history, but knows who the "villains" in Irish history were) perceives Cromwell and really hates his guts until he gets to meet him and finds out that the actual Cromwellian invasion of Ireland was a much more complicated and nuanced story than he thought.
- Warts and All: Him being the Trope Namer, it gets of course namechecked. Interestingly, the portrayal of him as a person is also much more nuanced than a lot of the literature about him, both the hero worshiping and the demonizing.
Lord of Cork, in our timeline Richard was the Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. Boyle was instrumental in seizing Catholic land for the English Protestants and their colonization of Ireland, and his sons played important parts in the destruction of Irish rebellions against the Crown- though he often butted heads with Thomas Wentworth when Thomas curtailed his efforts to seize land for the Boyle family. In this timeline, Boyle opts to oppose Wentworth and his plans to keep England in the League of Ostend.
Royal physician to James I of England, having only recently returned to England from Padua. In our timeline, William Harvey would make numerous advancements in medical study, particularly with regards to the human heart and musculature. In this timeline, Harvey journeys to Grantville and obtains modern medical texts as well as the encyclopedia pages detailing the English Revolution- which he presents to Charles I.
Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud was one of Charles' allies and sowed deeper religious divisions throughout England, being thought to be secretly a Roman Catholic. In our timeline, Laud is tried and executed by Parliament after the English Civil War. In this timeline, Laud serves as the right hand to Thomas Wentworth, relenting from his divisive religious decisions and serving the heavy-handed Wentworth in quelling the future English Revolution.
Lord Deputy of Ireland, in our timeline, Thomas Wentworth would be an ardent supporter of Charles I against Parliament and Cromwell up until his trial and execution at their hands. In this timeline, Wentworth
- President Evil: Wentworth is made de facto Prime Minister by Charles I and immediately sets about imprisoning any members of the future revolution against Charles. Wentworth relents from this path after he sees that Charles refuses to take responsibility for his more block-headed actions.
A true, historical Magnificent Bastard. In our timeline, Richelieu was the right-hand-man to King Louis XIII and while he was a Catholic Cardinal, he had no scruples about collaborating with Protestants and Muslims against fellow Catholics if it advanced the power of France. The appearance of Grantville in this timeline only gives him more tools to advance the agenda of Europe's strongest land power and prevent the overthrow of the monarchies by the common folk.
- Big Bad: If only by default, according to Word of God they would have liked him to play another role, but Eric Flint simply needed a smart and capable antagonist for narrative reasons and Richelieu is smart and capable
- The Chessmaster: Cardinal Richelieu was a master manipulator in the original timeline, but uptime history knowledge allows him to hone his craft.
- Pet the Dog: In the opening scene of 1633, Richelieu is genuinely delighted by the gift of a Siamese kitten. The same chapter establishes that he's also Nice to the Waiter.
- Right-Hand Cat: Surely this was the point of presenting Richelieu with a Siamese kitten. The image of the elegant, aristocratic Cardinal stroking a sapphire eyed Siamese lazing in the lap of his scarlet robes as he schemes is one to conjure with.
Claude de Mesmes, Comte d'Avaux
A noted French diplomat and administrator, in our timeline the Comte would forge crucial treaties between France and Venice, Sweden, and the various powers at the Peace of Westphalia which formally ended the Thirty Years' War. In this timeline, the Comte finds himself playing dangerous political games with the Church, the Venetians, and the Grantvillers.
Gaston, Duke of Orléans
The third son of King Henry IV of France, in our timeline Gaston opposed the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his brother King Louis XIII. He made multiple attempts to seize power throughout the 1630s, all of which were unsuccessful. He was exiled to Blois in 1652 and die there in 1660. In this timeline, Gaston uses the appearance of Grantville to continue his opposition Cardinal Richelieu and attempt to seize power from his brother.
An agent of Claude de Mesmes in Venice, Michel is the centerpiece of a deeper conspiracy working at the heart of French politics.
Son of Shah Jahan, in our timeline Aurangzeb would succeed Shah Jahan after fighting a civil war for control of Mughal India, then institute broad religious persecution of Hindus and Sikhs, favoring the Muslim minority and creating much of the modern Hindu-Muslim tension in India which allowed the British to play Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh factions against one another in their dominance of India. In this timeline, while Aurangzeb is only 15 years old he has received word of his victory in the future and works to bring about his ascension early.
- Cain and Abel: Dara and Aurangzeb are both young and vying for the Mughal throne. Neither is aware that Aurangzeb will kill Dara for the throne... at first.
- Did Not Think This Through: Aurangzeb is the one who summons his grandmother Nur Jahan back to court from exile, looking for a keen political right hand to help engineer his rise to power. He never counted on the fact that Nur Jahan was smart and capable enough to follow her own agenda without the help of a teenage prince.
- Evil Mentor: "Evil" might be too strong a term, but Aurangzeb was educated by the more radical Mullah Mohan during his captivity in Shah Jahan's civil war. Mullah Mohan encouraged Aurangzeb's Islamic piety but also pushed him toward shutting the Hindus and Sikhs out of the halls of power should he ever take the Mughal throne.
- The Fundamentalist: Aurangzeb fervently believes he must show is devotion to God by purging Mughal India of the Hindu temples and polytheistic religion. The future history brought by Grantville only cements his divine destiny in his young mind.
- Future Me Scares Me: Defied. Aurangzeb reads about his conquests and persecutions in a Grantville Encyclopedia and thinks his future self didn't go far enough.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Aurangzeb's instructions to his Mullah, when he finds that the court messenger Salim is coming back to court with word of the future from Grantville.
- Teen Genius: For a fifteen year old, Aurangzeb has a remarkable grasp of politics. Justified, since the harem he grew up in was a pit of spies, plots, and counterplots. He also has the presence of mind to bring Nur Jahan back to court in order to boost his chances of success in his coup.
- Youngest Child Wins: In our timeline. In Grantville's timeline? To be determined.
The eldest daughter of Shah Jahan, Jahanara Begum would wield enormous political influence as her father's favored daughter, becoming an unofficial Queen. In our timeline she would support Dara Shikoh against her brother Aurangzeb, only for Dara to be defeated and see her power and influence severely reduced until her death. In this timeline, Dara is grievously wounded while suppressing a Sikh rebellion and Jahanara looks to the Grantville envoys for an advantage at court.
- Cultured Badass: When not running a den of political vipers like the harem with impeccable skill, Jahanara passes the time by writing poetry.
- Daddy's Girl: Jahanara is eminently capable of running managing royal finances and even something as complicated as the royal harem, but it's also clear that Shah Jahan dotes on her as his favored child.
Stepmother of Shah Jahan and a leader of the rebellion that precipitated his reign. In our timeline, Nur Jahan wielded considerable influence in the court of Jahangir before being forced to "retire" by Shah Jahan. She lived the remainder of her days in Lahore. In this timeline, the knowledge of future events makes its way to the royal court from Grantville and Nur Jahan returns to the harem for one last round of power politics...
- The Chessmaster: After being foiled by the rise of her stepson, Shah Jahan, Nur has only recently been returned to the harem. She wastes no time in laying plots and counter-plots to stymie all the factions at court.
- Did Not Think This Through: Nur Jahan sees an opportunity for more power when she makes common cause with Mullah Mohan. Then Mullah Mohan is stripped of his access to the court, but his power doesn't come from the royal court- it comes from his religious followers among the common folk. Nur realizes this too late when the Mullah mobilizes fanatical assassins and kills the Emperor and assaults the harem.
- Rich Genius: Rich from her royal allowance, but Nur Jahan uses her funds to experiment with the brewing of unique perfumes.
- Timeline Altering Macguffin: Nur Jahan is one of the first people in India to learn of their future history from Grantville- courtesy of an Encyclopedia Britannica she somehow found.
Emperor of the Mughals, Shah Jahan ascended to the throne in 1627 after waging a civil war with the passing of Jahangir. In our timeline, he would be known for relative religious toleration and construction of public monuments- most notably, the Taj Mahal. He would become crippled by illness in 1657 and see a disastrous civil war carried out by his sons for control of Mughal India, culminating in the rise of Aurangzeb. In this timeline, Shah Jahan has only just begun building the Taj Mahal when a court spy returns from Grantville with a postcard image of the Taj Mahal from the future and a history book explaining the "future" of India...
- Break the Haughty: The uptime knowledge that his sons will kill one another for possession of the Mughal throne in the future sends Shah Jahan into a private spiral of despair. Until he finds out that Dara is alive, and Priscilla Totman saves both his grandson and daughter-in-law from a breech birth.
- The Lost Lenore: Shah Jahan spends his days at the construction site of the Taj Mahal, smoking opium and pining for his lost love while the harem plays politics.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Shah Jahan's style of rule runs off this trope. He openly drinks wine at court (a practice forbidden by his own religion of Islam), he does not enforce the Jizya note but he allows local lords to collect it as a kind of bribe, and he unilaterally orders foreign traders expelled from India regardless of their prior agreements.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Once Shah Jahan learns the "history" of India and that the Grantvillers can be trusted, he sets to work preventing the destruction of the subcontinent by colonization and religious conflict.
- While Shah Jahan does expel the English and the East India Company (who at this time only possess a single port and factory), the Portuguese are still entrenched at Goa and much more powerful than the English. He is assassinated before he can enact their expulsion, and 1636: Mission to the Mughals ends with a Po V from their commander, who indicates he's not going to sit idle while Aurangzeb and Dara fight for the throne.
- Wicked Father: During Shah Jahan's rebellion against his father, both Aurangzeb and Dara were captured by their grandfather Jahangir. Rather than being imprisoned or executed when it became apparent Shah Jahan would win, Jahangir poisoned the children against one another through their education. Jahangir educated them under two radically different teachers and philosophers in order to ensure they would destroy one another, and Shah Jahan's legacy. Dara was taught by the liberal and tolerant Mian Mir, Aurangzeb by the conservative and reactionary Mullah Mohan.
Shah Jahan's eldest legitimate son, in our timeline Dara would prove a dutiful and liberal-minded son until the succession war launched when Shah Jahan is crippled by illness. He would ultimately be defeated by Aurangzeb, paraded through the streets of Delhi, and murdered by followers of Aurangzeb. In this timeline, Dara finds himself struggling to mature into a better commander and more astute politician than Aurangzeb, now that word of India's future has reached the Mughal court and Aurangzeb prepares a coup and early ascension to power.
- Big Brother Bully: Defied. Dara was used as a hostage in Shah Jahan's civil war but was given to the Living Saint Mian Mir as a student. Mian Mir taught Dara the value of religious tolerance and observance of the arts.
- Cain and Abel: Dara and Aurangzeb are both young and vying for the Mughal throne. Neither is aware that Aurangzeb will kill Dara for the throne... at first.
- Going Cold Turkey: While recovering from his injuries in battle Dara becomes addicted to Opium. The birth of his son and an assassination attempt via poisoned opium leads to a months-long cold turkey struggle.
Władysław IV Vasa
King of Poland-Lithuania, Wladyslaw reigned from November 8, 1632 until 1648. In our timeline, he was considered the last King of the Commonwealth's Golden Age. Wladyslaw kept the Commonwealth out of the disastrous Thirty-years war, opened the realm to the forces of religious toleration, and was even elected to the position of Tsar of Russia by the Boyars (though did not have the political power to enforce the claim). In this timeline, Wladyslaw decides to push his claims to the Russian and Swedish thrones knowing the Commonwealth is as deadly a threat to Grantville as France and the Ottomans.
A historical noble and Grand Crown hetman (Field Marshal) of the Commonwealth army. The historical Stanisław lived a life of constant warfare in the east against Slavic kingdoms and south against the Ottomans. He even managed to fight Gustavus Adolphus to a draw in Prussia, with a weakened and inferior army. In this timeline, Stanisław draws on his knowledge of politics and intelligence networks to fight against the technologically superior United States of Europe.
Mikhail I Romanov
The first of the Romanov Tsars in Russia, Mikhail would be responsible for bringing the Russian aristocracy to heel and creating the absolute rule of the Tsars of Russia. In this timeline, Mikhail is attempting to oversee a modernization of Russia without the instability brought on by the use of Serfdom, with a little help from Grantville.
- Butterfly of Doom: Mikhail does the politically difficult but moral thing and makes sweeping reforms to Russia'a practice of Serfdom. Unfortunately, so many peasants escape bondage that crops are left to rot in the fields and a famine ensues- quickly followed by a coup that puts Mikhail under house arrest.
- Reluctant Ruler: Mikhail Romanov in 1636: The Kremlin Games. The narrative notes that when he was informed of taking the throne as Tsar, he cried.
A Russian prince and spy in the service of Tsar Mikhail I, Vladimir is sent to Grantville to learn all he can about this town from the future and their scientific innovations. Unusually for the series, while the Gorchakovs were Russian nobility Vladimir is a completely fictional character.
A Boyar of the Russian Aristocracy, in our timeline Fedor would be a powerful figure in the Russian court, often ruling as an early Prime Minister until Tsar Mikhail I came of age. Mikhail would curtail the power of the Boyars, leading to the absolute monarchy of the Romanovs and even after Fedor returned to power in the 1640s, he was too old, poorly connected, and ill-tempered to turn back the Tsar's work before his death in 1650. In this timeline, Fedor works to quickly undermine the new Tsar and use him as a puppet for the establishment of a new and modern Russia.
Sweden and the United States of Europe
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Warrior King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus led the Protestants of Sweden in the Thirty Years War, making the Swedes into a Superpower nation, dominating eastern and central Europe for the better part of a century. No, really. Historically, he would be killed in battle at Lutzen- this death is the first major historical event thrown off by the Ring of Fire. In this timeline, Gustavus survives Lutzen and comes to the aid of the New United States. After some political wrangling with the Grantvillers, Gustavus becomes the chief ally of Mike Stearns against Cardinal Richelieu's League of Ostend.
One of Gustav's most important generals and political allies, in our timeline Axel survives Gustav and leads Sweden via the Regency Council established until Princess Kristina would come of age, ensuring Sweden continued fighting disastrously in Germany until the Thirty Years War ended- and lead a successful attack against the Danish crown. In this timeline, Axel advocates for the old nobility, cautioning Gustav against providing full and unconditional support for the Grantville.
Princess Kristina of Sweden
Daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, Kristina is a smart but spoiled child. In our timeline, Kristina never marries, becomes a learned 17th Century scholar, and is forced to abdicate the throne due to numerous court scandals. In this timeline, Gustavus brings Kristina closer to Grantville for a modern, Uptime education to encourage her inquisitive nature while trying to prevent her later political troubles from ever arising.
- Rebellious Princess: Smart, stubborn, and unwilling to be fobbed off with Because I Said So. One scene in The Baltic War shows Caroline Platzer working hard to keep this from spilling over into Royal Brat.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Her father does not want her to grow up to be an abdicated Catholic, and has her brought to Germany for a modified upbringing.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Princess Kristina of Sweden is characterized as an extremely intelligent and intuitive seven year old. To many characters, uptime and downtime alike, her uncannily sharp mind borders on Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour. The Danish Prince Ulrik, betrothed to Kristina after the events of 1634: The Baltic War is just fine with this, though; his greatest fear had been that he would have been matched up with a dull, boring woman when the time came for him to be married, and life with Kristina will never be boring.
A Swedish general serving under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, in our timeline Lennart would continue to serve the Swedish Crown after the death of Gustavus, helping to prosecute a successful war against Denmark before retiring to his estate and dying in 1651 of natural causes. In this timeline, Lennart becomes the commanding general of the USE Army and leads succesful campaigns in France and Poland.
Erik Haakanson Hand
Gustav Adolf's cousin
- Colonel Badass
- Handicapped Badass: Hand has lost most of the use of his right arm due to a battle injury. He doesn't let this stop him from carrying out field operations as Duke Ernst's aide and taking a prominent role in 1636: The Saxon Uprising, after Gustav Adolf recovers and resumes power following his incapacitation at the hands of Polish forces.
Illegitimate son of a Scottish noble, Alexander became a mercenary and cavalry officer in the employ of the King of Sweden. Alexander advocated for Grantville as favorable allies to the court of Gustavus Adolphus and brought the King of Sweden and Mike Stearns into a formal alliance.
A prodigy of a violinist, Franz had a promising career before him in music up until his dominant hand was maimed by a rival. Grantville's modern medicine, their High School music teacher, and Mary Simpson's patronage come together to give Franz a chance to show the world his skill.
Duke of Saxe-Weimar, in our timeline Wilhelm aligned himself with Sweden but was denied further military commands after Gustavus' death and became known for his piety up until his death in 1662. In this timeline, Grantville appears on his territory and threatens to shatter the alliance of German nobles and the Swedish crown fighting against the Holy Roman Empire. Wilhelm voluntarily abdicates his duchy and becomes leader of the Loyal Opposition to Mike Stearns in the USE.
- Abdicate the Throne: Wilhelm is at the center of a German/Swedish alliance and the appearance of Grantville on his territory threatens to break up the coalition. Either he can compel his allies to subjugate the Grantvillers (which they all know will go swimmingly) or he will lose all of his wealth and power as Grantville incorporates more villages into their sphere of influence. He abdicates, then runs for office in the USE Congress.
Other Historical characters
Albrecht von Wallenstein
Born a peasant in the Holy Roman Empire, the historical Albrecht von Wallenstein moved up the ranks of military and nobility through his actions in the Thirty Years War, fighting on behalf of the Holy Roman Empire until he was forced into retirement to forestall any rebellion Wallenstein might launch, then assassinated by the Emperor in 1634. In this timeline, Wallenstein is reinstated after Gustavus survives the Battle of Lubeck and is ordered to attack Grantville. A fateful encounter with Julie Sims' deadly ability with a rifle forces him to turn to the Grantvillers for medical aid, and the knowledge of the Holy Roman Emperor's impending betrayal sees Wallenstein align with Grantville and Gustavus Adolphus.
- Boom, Headshot!: Albrecht runs afoul of Julie Sims' skill with a rifle in 1632. After the encounter, he needs to see an Uptime dentist for a new jaw.
- Determinator: Shot in the face, a treacherous Emperor, outnumbered, outgunned. Wallenstein faces all and refuses to give up on his ambitions. It pays off when he installs himself as King of Bohemia and Moravia.
- You Have Failed Me: Mike Stearns has this to say about Wallenstein."He's ambitious as Satan and, whatever else, one of the most capable men in the world. Plus, he doesn't seem to share most of this century's religious bigotry. That doesn't mean he won't burn down the ghetto. He will, Morris, in a heartbeat. But he won't do it because you're Jews. He'll do it because you failed him."
Italian Astronomer and follower of the Copernican theory of Heliocentrism. In our timeline, Galileo would be found guilty of heresy by the Inquisition and sentenced to life in prison (commuted to life under house arrest the day after the sentencing) and his treatise would be banned by the Roman Catholic Inquisition until the mid-1700s. In this timeline, Galileo's trial plays a central role in the shifting of Catholic politics to align with modern Uptime reforms, thus preventing the erosion of Church power.
Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria
Pope Urban VIII
The Vicar of Rome. Born Maffeo Barberini, in our timeline Pope Urban VIII oversaw an expansion of the Church's power via force of arms and patronage of the arts, as well as ordering the trial of Galileo Galilei. With the arrival of Grantville, Pope Urban receives word of the future histories and attempts to square church teachings with sound scientific principles, preventing the future diminishing of Church power.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Pope Urban often engages in deadly power politics while working in his flower garden.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Pope Urban receives word of future histories via Father Mazzare. Knowing that the Church effectively loses all political power in the future due to its intractability, Urban tries to force later reformations that came too little, too late in our timeline (chief example, not fully admitting Galileo was right until 1992) in order to preserve the power of the Catholic Church.