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The (rather large) main cast of Stranger Things. Beware of spoilers.

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The Party

The Party, circa Season 3

"We have a lot of rules in our party, but the most important is, 'Friends don't lie'. Never ever. No matter what."
Lucas Sinclair, "Dig Dug"

A group of children and close friends from Hawkins, Indiana.

  • Adorkable: They are all very likable and massive nerds.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Played straight, as the four boys of the group are Dungeons and Dragons fanatics who end up in their own fantasy-like adventure. And it also works to their advantage.
  • Badass Crew: They may be kids, but they're creative, intelligent, and brave youngsters with one of them having powerful psychic abilities.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: As the Party grows up, they start spending more time with girlfriends than with each other, something Will desperately tries to resist. At the end of Season 3, the Byers are forced to move away due to economic problems, taking Eleven with them since Hopper is presumed dead. However this is heavily Downplayed as they clearly intend to stay in contact with things like Will promising to return and Eleven transitioning to a Long-Distance Relationship with Mike.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Eleven has killed numerous government agents (both American and Soviet) and interdimensional monsters during the course of her lifetime, so much that she appears desensitized to the idea of murder, though she does avoid taking lives whenever possible. Dustin is implied to have killed a Russian interrogator with an electric prod while rescuing Steve and Robin.
  • Guile Hero: Being kids in middle school (and one preteen girl with powerful but limited psychic abilities), they tend to overcome adversity through cleverness, scientific knowledge, and being sufficiently Genre Savvy much more so than do Hopper or the teens. This status is especially prominent in season 2, where Eleven's absence means the group no longer has any real protection from supernatural threats.
  • Kid Hero: The Party, and its ever-growing membership, all start the series around twelve years old. They go on to stop the end of the world and the wholesale slaughter of innocent people by beings much higher up the food chain than themselves multiple times.
  • Limited Social Circle: At first. By Season 3 they've started to break apart, with Mike dating Eleven and Lucas dating Max. Dustin notably doesn't spend nearly as much time in the group as he used to, going on vacation in Utah and later becoming a sidekick to Steve.
  • Nice Guy: They are all very friendly and likable kids.
  • One of the Boys: Eleven and later Max to a larger extent.
  • Reality Ensues: The Party could always depend on Eleven's powers to carry most of the weight and save the world in Seasons 1 and 2, but are forced to rely on old-fashioned planning, teamwork, knowledge, collective talents, outside help and explosives to defeat the Big Bad in Season 3 when Eleven loses her powers.
  • The Team: They describe themselves as Dungeons & Dragons roles but they also work together as a team. This is especially seen in season two when the group helps El out despite being intentionally left out of the adults' plan to stop the Mind Flayer.
  • Two Girls to a Team: After Max joins the Part in the second season, she and El become this.
  • Undying Loyalty: Especially seen in season two where El goes to close the gate to the Upside Down and the other members of the Party, against Steve's orders, go underground in order to distract the Mind Flayer. Dustin explains to Steve, as if reading from a manual, that a member of the Party "needs assistance" and they're duty-bound to help. They literally put their lives on the line for one another.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: For all their yelling and bickering and sometimes punching, nothing gets between them, and nothing can stand in their way.

    Mike Wheeler 

Michael "Mike" Wheeler
"A friend is someone you'd do anything for."
Played By: Finn Wolfhard

"Something is coming. Something hungry for blood. A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is almost here..."

The Leader of the group. A preteen boy who tasks himself and his friends to find their missing friend Will with the help of the mysterious young girl known as "Eleven".

  • Act of True Love: Mike jumps off a cliff into the quarry because Troy made a genuine, timely threat of mutilating Dustin otherwise.
  • Batman Gambit: Comes up with a successful plan to lure Billy into a trap that hinges entirely on Billy's famously short temper.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: How his friendship with Will started. At their first day of kindergarten, Mike was all alone and then saw Will, who was also alone. Mike went over to Will to ask if he wanted to be friends with him. And Will replied, "Yes".
  • The Big Damn Kiss: In season one, Mike and El kiss for the first time and the music swells as they do. This marks more development for their relationship to come.
  • Big Little Brother: By Season 3 he is actually taller than Nancy.
  • Break the Cutie: In season 2. Due to Eleven's disappearance, he has become a pretty unhappy, depressed boy, stuck in the denial phase and behaving more apathetic and introverted than before. This gradually gets worse as horrific situations advance in the plot. Being reunited with Eleven in "The Mind Flayer" was honestly the first time he seemed genuinely happy all season.
  • Bullying the Dragon: He openly taunts Hopper to his face while Hopper is trying to have a heart-to-heart about his relationship with El, which isn't a good idea with a man who can (and does) stop you from seeing your girlfriend. Somewhat Justified considering Hopper hid Eleven from Mike for a year and he still may have hard feelings over the emotional torment Hopper put him through.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Mike tends to get flustered easily when talking about his feelings for Eleven and thus has a hard time putting his feelings into words. In Season 1 he found himself unable to directly tell her he liked her romantically so decided to just kiss her instead. In Season 3 he could not bring himself to even say the word "love" in front of Eleven let alone the phrase "I love you". It ultimately took a heated argument with his friends for him to admit it out loud, albeit accidentally, though with El being in the next room she doesn't hear him say it. At least that's what Eleven let's Mike think at the time, before revealing that she not only heard, she also loves him.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: Mike is averse to melee but will bash a Flayed Super-Billy with a pipe for overpowering Eleven and almost choking her to death.
  • Demoted to Extra: A downplayed version happens to him in Season 2. While much of the focus in Season 1 is on his and Eleven's relationship and him being The Leader of party means that he frequently is the driving force in their search for Will, Season 2 splits up its main focus between Eleven's search for her past, Will's struggle with the Mindflayer, Dustin caring for — and later hunting for — Dart, and Lucas trying to show Max the truth behind the happenings in Hawkins, resulting in Mike getting more of a secondary focus.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: At the end of Season 1, everyone including the audience is left to believe El disintegrates when she destroys the Demogorgon. However, the trope is subverted as she did survive and by the end of season two, Mike and El are clearly in a relationship.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: He treats Max coldly after she joins the group in Season 2 (not from any personal dislike but because he's still reeling from Eleven's disappearance).
  • Fairy Tale Motif: Mike is the brave and overall good-hearted leader of his group of friends, spurring people around him to do the right thing despite terrible danger, which resembles the nature of a Paladin from Dungeons & Dragons. In-Universe, he is often the Dungeon Master when he and his friends play the game.
  • Game Master: Arranges the campaigns his friends go on in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Despite his nice, caring nature, he's also rough and prone to emotional outbursts.
  • Go Through Me: When Dr. Brenner arrives at the school demanding Eleven, Mike unhesitatingly tells him that if he wants Eleven, they'll have to kill him, with Dustin and Lucas instantly agreeing. Unfortunately, the conspiracy is more than willing to kill them. Fortunately, the Demogorgon chooses that moment to attack, allowing them to escape.
  • Guile Hero: Mike is incredibly deductive, clever, and strategic for his age.
  • The Hero: He also serves as The Leader of the group. He's the one driving the search for Will in season 1. Although he becomes more of a Supporting Leader in season two, he remains the most significant motivating voice behind the Party's actions, such as by suggesting the attack on the Mind Flayer's tunnels to draw off the Demodogs and give Eleven and Hopper a clear path to the Gate. He's The Paladin of the Party, a bold and courageous character class.
  • Hot-Blooded: Whenever he's sufficiently stressed, Mike is very prone to emotional outbursts.
  • Iconic Outfit: Mike almost always wears striped shirts or sweaters.
  • Interspecies Romance: Downplayed with Eleven, as while they are both technically human, he is a regular human while she's an enhanced one.
  • I Will Find You:
    • Not as strong as Joyce, but he's determined to find Will.
    • As revealed in Season 2, he's been calling out to Eleven for 353 days, not having giving up hope that she's still alive.
  • The Kirk: He forms the middle ground between the more impulsive Dustin and the more logical Lucas, being the leader who makes the decisions.
  • The Leader: Mike is the one who rallies his friends to search for Will. He's even described as one in the promos.
  • Love at First Sight: His actor states as such in an interview, "He's been in love with Eleven since the first season. Since he laid eyes on her".
  • Love Cannot Overcome: When Hopper is seemingly killed, the Byers adopt Eleven. Yet they also have to move, which means Eleven and Mike have to part ways, however this Trope is quickly subverted as they clearly intend to maintain a Long-Distance Relationship and are already making plans for regular visits.
  • Nice Guy: More so in season 1. He is notably the first of the kids to warm up to Eleven and introduce her to concepts like promises and friendship. Other than that, Mike is a loyal friend and a helpful person.
  • Non-Action Guy: Zig-Zagged for the most part. He doesn't do any fighting per se, but he is willing to improvise a candlestick as a weapon and is willing to go above and beyond for his friends; he's also seen his share of carnivorous monsters by age 13. In Season 3, when a Flayed Billy is choking Eleven, Mike's reaction is to grab a metal pipe and hit the older boy over the head, but since Mike is a fourteen year old of average exercise who is fighting an 18 year old who regularly exercises (not to mention is being augmented by possession from an Eldritch Abomination) it isn't long before Mike is overpowered and thrown into the wall by the Flayed Billy. So yeah, Mike is a lover, not a fighter.
  • Official Couple: With Eleven by the end of Season 2. Eleven dumps him early in Season 3 when he lies to her for the first time, but she's more angry at him for lying than wanting to end the relationship. After they save each other from a Flayed Billy, they're on the road to a quick reconciliation. Additionally, Mike begins to understand that he was becoming too possessive of Eleven. By the end of the season, they are not only planning a Long-Distance Relationship when the Byers move out of Hawkins and take Eleven, but have also admitted they love each other.
  • The Paladin: When Mike describes the dynamics of the Party to Max, he identifies himself as this. His courage, determination to find Will, and willingness to sacrifice himself for those he loves all fit the archetype.
  • Puppy Love: He really, really likes El, even when he won't admit it to his sister.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: His roleplaying campaign in the final episode, which has several parallels to the events and characters showcased in the series, is mocked by his friends because of its abrupt ending and all its dangling plot threads.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Dismisses both Lucas and later Nancy when they imply he is smitten with Eleven, despite it being obvious.
  • Standardized Leader: Compared to the rest of the Party, Mike's life is fairly drama-free (aside from getting sucked into fighting monsters and amoral organisations, that is). He's not a magnet for paranormal terrors like Will, not a Hollywood Nerd like Dustin, isn't the designated token in an almost all-white town like Lucas, wasn't experimented on like Eleven and he doesn't come from an abusive household like Max, in fact the worst personal drama he goes through is tied directly to his relationships with Eleven and the rest of the party.
  • The Strategist: He's good at setting clear goals for his team and organizing people into tasks.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: He can sometimes go from being patient and nurturing, to agitated and angry, all in the same breath. One example is when he softly explains to Eleven how a watch works, only to turn around and snap "Coming!" when his mom tells him to get ready for school, and go right back to a sweet tone with Eleven afterwards. He's particularly cold to Max due to his resistance over her joining the group.
  • Supporting Protagonist: While he was the main focus of the Kids/Eleven plotline in the first season, he takes a much less involved role as a main character in the Joyce/Will plotline of the second season, most likely to give the other members of the Party some development.
  • Sweet Tooth: He slathers maple syrup over his scrambled eggs in Chapter 1, which disgusts Nancy and provokes an argument.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Downplayed. Mike goes through this in season 2 due to Eleven's disappearance. He's still kind to his friends, but he's noticeably rougher around the edges and was very hostile to Max due to a fear that she was taking Eleven's place. His parents explicitly bring this up in season 2 episode 1, listing off his behavior changes over the last year (getting in fights at school, stealing from Nancy, etc).
    • Again in the early episodes of Season 3; both the confidence of having a girlfriend and, presumably, the hormonal changes of puberty have apparently gone to his head a bit, as he's a lot more arrogant, smug and disrespectful than previously. Events quickly bring him crashing back down to earth, however.
  • Undying Loyalty: Towards his friends. He'll do anything to keep them safe, even if it's a great risk to himself.
  • Verbal Tic: Downplayed. He tends to repeat himself, but mostly just when he's upset.
    In "Holly, Jolly": What's wrong with you? What is wrong with you?!
    In "The Body": You made me think Will was okay, that he was still out there, but he wasn't. He wasn't.
    In "The Gate": I don't blame her, I blame you! I blame you!
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He lacks Lucas' apprehensions and Dustin's practicality. This works out for him a lot of the time, but the occasions where it doesn't hurt a lot.

    Will Byers 

William "Will" Byers
"Sometimes the bad guys are smart too."
Played By: Noah Schnapp

"The Demogorgon — it got me."

Mike's, Dustin's, and Lucas' vanished friend. Joyce's son and Jonathan's brother.

  • Adorkable: Will likes science and playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends. He even draws pictures based on their campaigns.
  • The All-American Boy: Seems to possess some elements of the classic trope, like being polite, having a fort, bicycling, and being able to work a loaded rifle. However, his shy nature and interest in science, art, and fantasy boardgames rather than sports makes him a Downplayed case. It seems his dad wants him to act more like this trope, as such behavior would be conventional in Indiana during the '80s.
  • Alone Among the Couples: In season 3, Will is the only member of the Party not in a relationship.
  • Ambiguously Gay: This is a contentious topic among fans, but Will is specifically singled out as "the gay one" of the party by other characters (albeit bullies like Troy and Lonnie) and is the only one of the kids to never show overt interest in the opposite gender. Probably intentional: the show bible used to pitch the series describes him as having "sexual identity issues," and the script for "The Gate" describes Will looking at Mike during the Snow Ball instead of the girl he's dancing with. The only reason these aren't considered Word of Gay is that not everything in those documents is still canon. In Season 3, he doesn't deny it when Mike accuses him of not liking girls, but doesn't confirm that he likes boys either. Ultimately it's not clear whether he's asexual, gay or simply hasn't matured into sexual desire as quickly as his friends.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Because of his reticent nature, coupled with his hardships in the Upside Down, Will tends to apologize for things that aren't his fault.
    Joyce: What have we talked about? You've got to stop it with the "I'm sorry."
    Will: Sorry.
  • Ascended Extra: Despite his importance to the story of Season 1, the very nature of that story meant he had little actual screen-time, which is greatly expanded in later seasons.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Will is the youngest in his family and the smallest among his friends. They all love him and are very protective of his well-being. However, he begins to break away from this in Season 2, as he reveals to Jonathan that he doesn't like to be babied by everyone. In Season 3, he has a hard time accepting that his friends are growing out of playing D & D and would rather spend time with their girlfriends.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Will is a polite, sweet kid. However, the very first episode shows that when he was threatened by an unknown entity, he immediately ran into a shed to load a gun, and then point it in the direction of said entity.
  • Big Brother Worship: Will is very close to his older brother Jonathan, who would always look out for him and give him good advice. They also both share a love for The Clash.
  • Came Back Wrong: In the Season 1 finale, he excuses himself from the Christmas table to go to the bathroom, where he retches and throws up a larval creature, presumably from when the Demogorgon kept him prisoner. He then briefly jumps to the Upside Down and back, returning to the table to finish dinner with his family. The second season reveals that he was a host for a Demogorgon larva, and was psychically linked to the Mind Flayer, who is pulling him back into the Upside-Down to attempt to possess him completely.
  • Character Tics: Whenever he feels the Mind Flayer near, he rubs the back of his neck as the hairs stand up.
  • Childhood Friend: Mike reveals that Will was his first friend.
  • Creepy Child: The Shadow Monster occasionally possesses him to chilling effect.
  • Defiant Captive:
    • In the first season, he escapes the Demogorgon, and hides from him, while managing to communicate with his mother and aiding her in finding him.
    • In the second season, while possessed by the Mind Flayer, he manages to warn the others of its treachery (unfortunately too late) and even when it has assumed full control, he manages to communicate to the others and tell them how to seal it for good.
  • Demonic Possession: He gradually gets taken over by the Mind Flayer during Season 2. Thankfully, the condition turns out to be reversible.
  • Detect Evil: He develops a sort of psychic connection to the Upside-Down after his rescue, which intensifies after being possessed by the Mind Flayer.
  • Distinguishing Mark: He has a birthmark on his right arm which Joyce points out when rejecting the dead body as her son's.
  • Distressed Dude: He was Trapped in Another World, waiting to be saved. He ultimately was saved from the Upside-Down, by his mother and Chief Jim Hopper. He becomes this again in season 2 when the Mind Flayer possesses him through one of his visions.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: In season 2, Will is given the nickname "Zombie Boy" because of the events of the previous season, but it's out of mockery and cruelty.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Will admitting to Mike that the Demogorgon got him is both foreshadowing and shows that Will is a good, honest kid worth saving.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Rescued from this fate in the first season finale, but the final scene reveals that it was at best partially successful.
  • Fairy Tale Motif:
    • Will's stealth and skillfulness at evading danger is very similar to the Rogue class in Dungeons & Dragons, a game he and his friends enjoy playing. However, his In-Universe character is a Wizard named Will the Wise. In Season 2, however, his connection to the Mind Flayer definitely mirrors a Warlock rather than a Rogue.
    • In Season 2, Mike says that he's the party's Cleric, which fits his gentle personality. Clerics also act as servants for higher powers, which Will unwillingly becomes. As Warlocks weren't in 1st Edition D&D, the relationship between a Cleric and their deity is the next best analogy. Though in this case the "deity" is an abusive controlling dick, and the "cleric" would rather not go along with its plan, thank you very much.
  • Faking the Dead: After his disappearance, the bad men produce a fake corpse to end the search for Will.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Despite the Mind Flayer taking control of him in late Season 2, he is able to tell the protagonists what to do via Morse code.
  • Forced into Evil: The Mind Flayer takes over Will's mind and body during season 2, making him do things he would never do.
  • Growing Up Sucks: This defines his storyline in Season 3. Most of the party is concerned with romantic drama while Will still just wants to play D&D and hang out as a group, and feels that the group's dynamic is being ruined by growing up.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: His D&D character, "Will the Wise", performs a heroic sacrifice during their game in the first episode, a fact which Mike uses to convince his friends to continue the search for Will even when it gets dangerous. He was also willing to die in order to close the gate on the Mind Flayer.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Lonnie had absolutely no respect for Will's nerdy pursuits, and mistreated him because of them.
  • Living MacGuffin: His mysterious disappearance is what kicks off the adventures for the main characters in the first season.
  • Loss of Identity: He gradually loses his memory after being possessed by the Mind Flayer.
  • Mad Artist: In Season 2, when he starts experiencing visions of the Upside-Down. First, he uses his crayons to draw a picture of the Mind Flayer. Later, he spends a day furiously sketching the dark tunnels growing beneath Hawkins.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: A subtle example in Season 2—his irises get slowly darker over the course of the season as he gradually loses more and more control to the Mind Flayer, ultimately going from bright green to almost black.
  • Mind over Matter: While trapped in the Upside-Down, he can put this to use to a far greater extent than the Demogorgon does and manipulate his house in the real world, behaving much like a poltergeist. He's somehow able to make phone calls, set the stereo to play his favorite song, and very carefully manipulate electric lights, which very quickly convinces his mother that he's in the house somehow.
  • The Mole: Due to the Mind Flayer taking control of him in late Season 2, he feeds it information about the human heroes until Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy drive it out of him. It also works the other way to an extent, as he's able to use his connection to the Mind Flayer to help his friends and family until his personality is dominated completely. And even then, he still finds a way.
  • Momma's Boy: If having your head screwed-on enough to survive what he goes through, partly thanks to how Joyce has raised him to keep going in a physical and emotional crisis by seeking support, is being a Momma's Boy, then his dad is right. Others may suggest that just not being super-macho doesn't make you this trope.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: He can sense in his neck when the creatures of the Upside Down are gaining on him.
  • Nice Guy: Even though Will spends most of the first season trapped in the Upside-Down, he is still shown to be an honest and kind person. Before his taking in the first episode, he admits to Mike that the former's roll landed on a seven and finished him off in their D&D game. When he's rescued and hospitalized near the end of Chapter 8, one of the first things he does when he wakes up is ask if his brother is okay when he sees Jonathan's bandaged hand.
  • Older Than He Looks: He's small, lanky, and doe-eyed, but he's actually about the same age as his friends. His dainty appearance is the main reason he's bullied.
  • Red Baron: A local newspaper dubs him "The Boy Who Came Back to Life" following his return from the Upside-Down after having thought to have been dead by the rest of Hawkins.
  • Seers: Season 2 has him acting as one, due to his connection with the Mind Flayer allowing him to see its plans.
  • Shrinking Violet: He is more soft-spoken and gentle than his friends.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: His only concern in Season 3 seems to be about playing D&D with his friends who themselves are not interested anymore. He grows out of this towards the end of the season.
  • The Smart Guy: Although all of the kids are unusually bright and Dustin in particular may be the most learned, "Will the Wise's" savvy and intuition casts him in this role in the ensemble, particularly in season 2, where his connection to the Mind Flayer gives the insight needed to defeat it. Will is the Cleric, a class based around wisdom.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Will is often described as being "good at hiding." So good that he manages to evade the Demogorgon for almost a week in the Upside Down, whereas other victims like Barbara and Shepard get taken out in minutes. It's also implied that the Demogorgon has other uses for him.
  • Spider-Sense: In season 3 he can feel when something Upside down related is happening. During this he gets chills on the back of his neck.
  • Stepford Smiler: In the Season 1 finale, he tries to hide that he is still being affected by the Upside-Down, even after escaping, from his loved ones with a smile.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Develops one in Season 2 referred to as "the Spy", who is a part of the Mind Flayer. The superpowers manifest themselves in the Season 2 finale.
  • Survival Mantra: The glimpses that shows him in the Upside-Down often has him repeating the chorus to "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash over and over again, seemingly in an attempt to comfort himself.
  • Touched by Vorlons: After coming back from the Upside-Down, he seems to have developed a permanent connection with the other plane, and he starts to have visions of the Upside-Down. Considering that the Mind Flayer was able to possess him through one of these visions, it seems that his mind might actually enter the other dimension during these episodes.
  • Trauma Conga Line: This boy grew up with an emotionally abusive father, constant bullying, and all before he was abducted by an interdimensional monster hell-bent on either eating him or implanting him with Demogorgon slug babies. At twelve, he had to survive alone for a week in an environment with no food, no water, toxic air, and a monster hunting for him. He is eventually found by the monster after he's too weak to escape, taken to its nest, has a living tube shoved down his throat, and is actually dead by time Hopper and Joyce rescue him. Only Hopper's timely CPR saves his life. In season 2, he is living through severe PTSD, only to realize it's not really all PTSD, and he then gets taken over by a preeminent bastion of evil that makes him try to kill his friends and family.


Eleven / "El"
Click here  Season 3

"Friends don't lie."

A mysterious young girl with psychokinetic powers found by Mike and his friends the day after Will's disappearance.

  • Action Girl: Eleven, who is able to fight off attackers by either moving objects into their path, breaking their bones with telekinesis, or even crushing their brains with her mind.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When she and Max use El's abilities to spy on their ex-boyfriends after their temporary breakup, she catches Mike and Lucas right before they engage in a burp-and-fart contest. El immediately tears her blindfold off, looks at Max with a disgusted expression on her face... and breaks down laughing.
  • Badass Adorable: A sweet, vulnerable girl who, whilst generally being very even-tempered and timid, nonetheless readily unleashes her deadly psychokinetic powers in defense of her friends.
  • Bad Liar: Played with, as it comes with her complete deprivation from socialization. Due to this shortcoming, she's usually unable to respond effectively to accusations of lying. When she's forced to tamper with the boys' compasses in order to keep them away from the gate, she gives herself away by wiping her nosebleed with her coat.
  • Bald Woman: Well, not quite, but in Season 1, she has a buzzcut as a result of her being a laboratory test subject. It is difficult to discern a pre-pubescent girl with short hair from a boy, making her a red herring for the missing Will. It also adds to the perception of her as a weird outsider and they have to hide it with a wig when the boys have to move her through public. By Season 2, enough time has passed for her to grow hair.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • Meeting Mike, Lucas, and Dustin and being their friend is unlike anything she had experienced before, so she becomes fiercely protective of them.
    • This is one of the reasons she avenges Benny Hammond by finally (and graphically) killing Connie Frazier.
    • Ultimately, having experience with real niceness also what helps her see what Kali offers for the flawed, dead-end relationship it is, for all it seems to, at first, share a similar dynamic. Without the genuine article to compare with and go back to, she might not have. What is rather sad is that Kali probably didn't get any real niceness aimed her way, so she doesn't quite understand the difference, herself.
  • Berserk Button: She hates being lied to.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Her sweet natured and mellow personality is genuine, but so is the fiery temper she has deep down; push her too far and this girl will not hesitate to melt your brain with a literal Death Glare. Also overlaps with Beware the Quiet Ones.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Levitates Mike when Troy forces him to jump off a cliff, before breaking Troy's arm and driving both him and James off. Later, in "The Upside-Down", she singlehandedly kills nearly a dozen agents that are about to gun down her friends.
    • In "The Mind Flayer," she arrives at the last minute to kill a Demo-dog that seemingly had the rest of the main cast cornered.
    • In "The Bite", she saves Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Erica from Russian soldiers by splattering them with the mall's display car.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Two with Mike. The first is at the end of Season 1, and the second is during the finale of Season 2.
  • Big Eater: To start — El helps herself to a basket of fries, and later a burger and some ice cream at Benny's. She also eats all the snacks Dustin brings over to Mike's house (minus an apple) for their confrontation with the monster. Finally, in Chapter 6, she cleans out several boxes of Eggo waffles. Justified, as this is probably to replenish her energy after using her powers.
  • The Big Guy: While Dustin may be the physically strongest of the kids, it's Eleven whose mental powers are a force to be reckoned with. They make her the most powerful member of the Party, able to casually snap a bully's arm, or liquefy someone's brain. Mike describes Eleven as the Party's Mage, reflecting her supernatural powers.
  • Big "NO!": In "Will the Wise", after Hopper unplugs the TV and takes away her privileges to use it, followed by a Rapid-Fire "No!" as she tries to get it working again.
  • Blessed with Suck: She was born with her psychic powers and was trained to hone them to current strength the cost of her family, early childhood, and innocence.
  • Blown Across the Room: Eleven is capable of doing this to anyone with her psychic powers. Lucas, Mike, and the Demogorgon all get their share of it.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Eleven exhausts herself exerting her powers over the course of Season 3, using them even while sporting a leg injury. The epilogue reveals that even 3 months later she's completely burned out, though it may be temporary as Mike believes they'll come back sooner or later. Her nose still bleeds from the effort, so she hasn’t exactly lost whatever makes it possible.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Calls out her "Papa" in the first season finale with just one word: "Bad."
    • Does it to Hopper in season 2 when he won't let her leave. Even going so far as to compare him to Brenner.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Using her Psychic Powers causes fatigue and can eventually knock her out if she overextends herself and causes her Psychic Nosebleed. There's also an element of Cast from Calories, as it's explicitly stated more than once that eating helps her to "recharge".
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Friends don't lie", which is a phrase that Mike originally taught to her. She parrots it back at him on several occasions, usually to get him to open up when he's being secretive.
    • "Promise".
  • Character Development:
    • In the first season, Eleven is submissive, quiet, and easily frightened. By season 2, she has become more aggressive and open about her feelings. By Season 3 she acts like any ordinary teenage girl.
    • Eleven at first wanted to use her powers her hurt the ones who hurt her, but later chooses to use them to protect the loved ones in her life.
    • Her first big fight with Mike prompts her to reach out to Max, who helps her become more independent and encourages her to express herself more.
  • Character Tics: Whenever Eleven uses her powers to break someone's bones, she sharply jerks her head to one side. The first time we see it is when she snaps an abusive orderly's neck before her escape, and it comes up again later when she breaks Troy's arm. Her Kubrick Stare when using her telepathy also qualifies.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Eleven doesn't like Max a lot because she saw Max and Mike hanging out alone during Season 2. She gets angry about Mike's not-quite friendship with Max, and psychically knocks her off her skateboard. Ironically, Mike didn't like Max at the time either. In Season 3 she and Max finally bury the hatchet after Eleven asks her for advice about boys.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: As a mysterious, socially naive girl with superpowers, she's pretty much considered the weirdo but given her tragic background for seeming so strange it makes sense and she does start seeming more like a well-developed human being thanks to her friends, though she never quite looses this trait.
  • Conditional Powers: She is extremely powerful, but she seems to be limited by her bodily limits. This is usually manifested by bruising and ruptures in her mucosal capillaries, causing either nose or ear canal bleeding. She faints whenever she overexerts herself.
  • Creepy Child: In Season 1 she barely speaks and her entire body language is that of a skittish and scared animal. She also has no idea how to interact with regular people. Being raised as a subject of study in a laboratory will do that. Did we mention she has telekinetic powers?
  • Daddy's Girl: She becomes this in Season 2 to Hopper after a year living together, some healthy, plentiful bickering, and her going "runaway-train" on him. When he ends up dying in season 3, she is utterly devastated.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Stolen from her birth mother, raised as a weapon, put through emotionally grueling training.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has developed shades of this in Season 2, possibly through having spent nearly a year in Hopper's company.
  • Death Glare: Even when she isn't angry, she can look pretty intense. When she is angry... well, given the choice between facing the Demogorgon or being on the receiving end of one of El's glares, you'd be entirely justified to take the Demogorgon, because the fact that she takes a very literal approach to this trope makes her glares even more terrifying.
    • She gives a great one when she walks up on Troy and James blackmailing Mike into jumping off a cliff by threatening Dustin with a knife. Troy winds up fleeing the scene with a broken arm.
    • An even better one comes when she, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas are cornered by government agents in Hawkins Middle. It's made all the more disturbing by the fact that it's accompanied by her telekinetically crushing the agents' brains.
    • Out of all of them, though, her face when, after years of abuse, she finally snaps and kills two orderlies in Hawkins Lab when they try to force her into solitary confinement is horrifying. The amount of anger and hatred radiating from her in that moment is virtually indescribable.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: She is a Magical Girlfriend to Mike for the most part, but once they become an Official Couple, El has no idea how to handle the pitfalls of a normal romantic relationship, along with having a life centered entirely on Hopper and Mike's desires. Fortunately Reconstructed when she seeks out Max in Season 3 who shows her "there's more to life than stupid boys", helps El develop her own inner life and independence, while also pushing Mike to treat El like a real partner rather than a Wish Fulfillment pet, so by the end of the season the two have a just as loving but much better relationship.
  • Escaped from the Lab: She escaped from Hawkins Laboratory where experiments were being performed on her.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: She has a shaved buzzcut for all of season 1 before it grows out in season 2.
  • Fairy Tale Motif: El's powerful and otherworldly abilities, which were a talent she was born with and honed via practice, is similar to the Sorcerer class in Dungeons & Dragons, and In-Universe Mike has assigned her the role as the mage for their party.
  • Freak Out!: Does this in "The Bathtub" when she sees Barb's body.
  • Girliness Upgrade: El's shaved head and hospital gown leads to her being mistaken for a boy by several characters in the first season, which inadvertently helps Hopper reveal the Lab's conspiracy. The boys dress her up in one of Nancy's old dresses and give her a wig, but she eventually ditches the latter, which leaves her with a distinctly androgynous look. In season two she mostly wears her hair in a tomboyish mop once it grows in, paired with jeans or overalls provided by Hopper. "Punk El" from later in the season has more feminine elements with lots of makeup, but is still a rather hard-edged Joan Jett sort of masculine look. However by season 3 her hair is even longer, and her style becomes more recognizably feminine after the trip to the mall with Max.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: She is visibly jealous of Max. While mistaking Max spending time with Mike for Mike forgetting about Eleven is understandable, that doesn't justify her later decision to give Max the cold shoulder much later when she introduces herself as part of the party. The two eventually warm up to each other in season 3.
  • Handicapped Badass: Of the mental variety, though not in a literal sense. Eleven has spent her entire life locked away in a laboratory, and therefore suffers from an extreme lack of social skills, as well as a basic understanding of how the world works. As a result, she is quite naïve, timid and has a limited vocabulary. Don't underestimate her ability to pose a threat however, as she can and will use her Psychokinetic powers to epic and often deadly use.
  • Happily Adopted: By the end of season 2, Hopper adopts her and their growing bond over the season shows she doesn't mind. At the end of Season 3, Eleven is adopted again by Joyce after Hopper is presumed dead, though this is less happy as Eleven is still mourning Hopper.
  • Heroic Bastard: Implied. There's no mention of her mother being married at the time of El's birth, indicating this trope.
  • Heroic RRoD: Overuse of El's powers tends to start with a Psychic Nosebleed before overflowing into fatigue and eventual fainting spells if she doesn't have the time to rest and recover. In the final two episodes of Season 1, she repeatedly overtaxes her abilities and eventually finds herself unable to walk — unfortunately, the Demogorgon decides to attack her and her friends, tragically leading into the trope below. In Season 3, she overtaxes her powers to the point where she's Brought Down to Normal.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In "The Upside-Down", El, already exhausted from repeated use of her powers to protect Mike, Lucas, and Dustin, finds herself faced with the Demogorgon about to kill her friends. In response, she pins it against a wall before disintegrating it, but seemingly dies herself in the process. She's Not Quite Dead, though, and returns in Season 2.
  • I Am a Monster: She says this verbatim when she confesses that she opened the portal to the Upside-Down.
  • If You Thought That Was Bad...: Her name, Eleven, opens the possibility that there are more ESP children out there like her doing who knows what. We eventually meet one in season 2...
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: At first, she flees the facility in the chaos during the Demogorgon's breach and mostly goes here and there to survive. When she is found by Mike, Lucas, and Dustin, she tasks herself to help them with mixed results, as she is extremely socially withdrawn. She eventually warms up to them and they reciprocate, ultimately choosing to sacrifice herself to protect them. She initially keeps trying to protect them by basically holing up with Hopper and pretending not to exist: it takes a toll on her, him — and them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Downplayed with Mike, as while they are both technically human, she is an enhanced human while he's a regular one.
  • In-Universe Nickname: The kids call her "El" for short.
  • I See Dead People: She's able to channel the presence of other people through electrical devices such as speakers and walkie-talkies, alive or not. Including from the Upside-Down, such as Will.
  • It's All My Fault: She holds a lot of guilt from making contact with the Demogorgon.
  • Killer Rabbit: Eleven doesn't look all that intimidating in season 1. Her slight frame and short-cropped hair in the first season make her appear quite delicate and vulnerable, and she's ultimately a quiet, young, scared, and confused girl. Hopper's Clueless Deputies even mock Troy after she deals with him at the quarry. But endanger someone she loves, and she will reduce your brain to the consistency of oatmeal.
  • Kubrick Stare: Eleven does several of these throughout the series, usually before using her psychic powers.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Because of her androgynous appearance (too young to be obviously a girl, and has a buzz cut), she is briefly mistaken for a boy in the first episode. This later leads to her case getting mixed up with Will's during Hopper's investigation.. Not so much the case later when she starts wearing a dress.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Hopper adopts this view in Season 2, taking care of Eleven for the good part of a year. It's later shown that she does reciprocate the sentiment, and finally Dr. Owens pulls some strings to make the girl Hopper's daughter in paper as a gesture of appreciation for saving his life.
  • Little Miss Badass: Only about 12 years old in Season 1, but she is capable of laying waste to squads of armed orderlies and schoolyard bullies alike.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Hopper's apparent death and the Byers having to move for financial reasons forces her and Mike into one of these at the end of Season 3, though considering everything they have been through this is likely just a minor inconvenience as far as they are concerned.
  • Mama Bear: Inverted. She's this to her mother, Terry Ives. It begins when she tracks Terry down, who shares her memories with Eleven; this reveals to Eleven that Terry never stopped looking and fighting for her until she was forcibly silenced by Brenner. After this, Eleven shows a strong desire to get vengeance on the people who hurt her mother.
  • Meaningful Rename: At the end of season 2, Eleven takes on the name "Jane Hopper", which is significant for two reasons: One, "Jane" is her birth name given to by her mother; two, "Hopper" signifies her becoming Jim's adopted daughter. However, she continues to Only Be Known By Her Nickname.
  • Messianic Archetype: She has special powers and at the end of Season 1 she sacrifices herself to save her friends and kill a monster, only to come back alive in Season 2. Also, Mike pretty much prays to her daily for almost a year.
  • Military Brat: Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds reveals that El's birth father was sent by Brenner to the Vietnam War before she was born, so the former would be killed and not get in the way of "raising" El.
  • Mind over Matter: She has telekinesis, which she uses in various ways, from closing doors to flipping vans over her and her friends' heads.
  • Mugging the Monster: When Eleven finally has enough of her pursuers' shit — especially when they threaten her new friends — the results aren't pretty, and uses her powers to puree their brains inside their skulls. And they deserved every agonizing moment of it. She also does it to a pair of abusive orderlies before her escape, throwing one into a concrete wall so hard he leaves a massive dent, and casually snapping the neck of the second like a twig.
  • Mundane Utility: The first showing of her psychokinetic powers when she's at large is to turn off a squeaky table fan at Benny's diner. She later levitates some of Mike's toys to entertain herself while he's at school and uses her powers to change channels on the TV.
  • Mystical Waif: She's a young girl with No Social Skills and psychic powers whom the boys feel the need to protect, and the supernatural happenings in Hawkins are heralded by her appearance in the aftermath of Will's disappearance.
  • Never Found the Body: The aforementioned Heroic Sacrifice disintegrates her body right alongside the Demogorgon's, one of the possible implications being she forcefully relocated the both of them to another dimension. It's later confirmed in Season 2 that she was transported into the Upside-Down, but managed to escape using the tear at the school the Demogorgon used.
  • Never Say "Die": Several times, she cannot bring herself to warn Mike of the real danger they are all in. When she searches for Barb, but only finds her decaying corpse in the Upside-Down, all she can scream is "Gone! Gone!" She also continues to use the word ‘gone’ as opposed to words such as died/dead.
  • Nice Girl: She has a strong sense of right and wrong, even when she has been almost completely socially deprived for most of her life. She also lacks malicious intent and does her best to help and protect her friends, though she goes overboard a couple of times.
  • No Social Skills: Growing up isolated from the outside world has left her unaware of known concepts and devices such as television, friendship, and promises, though this doesn't stop her from making friends or falling in love. Finding friends (and parental substitutes) and learning through TVs really helps improve things for her throughout Season 2, even though she still remains rough around the edges. By Season 3 she remains very socially naïve but has still progressed to the point that she is able to pass as a more or less normal teenager.
  • Numerological Motif: Her full name is "Eleven". She has a corresponding tattoo on her right arm that reads "011".
  • Official Couple: With Mike at the end of Season Two. Eleven dumps Mike early in Season 3 after he lies to her for the first time, but she's more angry at Mike than wanting to end the relationship, and after they save each other from a Flayed Billy, they're on the road to a relatively quick reconciliation. Additionally, encouragement from Max during the breakup allowed Eleven to better discover her own identity, independent of both Mike and Hopper. By the end of the season, not only are Eleven and Mike planning a Long-Distance Relationship when the Byers take her when they move out of town, but have also admitted they love each other.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: It is heavily implied, and later confirmed, that her actual birth name is Jane Ives. Averted by her newfound aunt Becky and her "sister" Kali, who both refer to her as Jane; she is later registered through forgery by Dr. Owens to appear as Jim Hopper's daughter, thus making her "Jane Hopper" on paper, though only on paper as no one ever calls her that at any point in Season 3 with everyone including herself prefering "El" or occasionally "Eleven".
  • Parrot Exposition: Given her limited grasp of the English language from being held captive in the Hawkins National Lab for most of her life, Eleven often responds to the boys' statements with this. In Season 2, having spent near a year with Hopper, she does this much less, up to having full-on arguments with him over her frustration with being cooped up in the middle of nowhere with no end in sight.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Subverted. She's dressed in an old pink dress of Nancy's so she can blend in better, but isn't particularly girly. She does care more about her appearance than Max, though.
  • The Power of Hate: Has shades of this in Season 1 since she generally makes use of her powers when threatened or defending her friends, but comes into this trope in full in Season 2 due to Kali's tutelage. When properly wrathful, she can move a grounded train car by herself, and ultimately closed the Gate into the Upside-Down she opened at the Hawkins Lab. However...
  • The Power of Love: ...while she does draw on her rage against Hawkins Lab to amplify her powers, Eleven's love for her friends — especially Mike — has allowed her to channel it rather than be consumed by it. This empathy saves her from the same violent path of empty revenge that Kali has fallen into, when she refuses to kill the man who lobotomized her mother after learning he has children of his own. Eleven makes a conscious a choice to fight for the ones she loves, rather than lash out with blind hatred.
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: At the climax of the first Season, Eleven uses her powers to destroy the Demogorgon, apparently killing herself in the process. Before this, she turns to Mike, the first person to have shown her genuine kindness, and calmly says a final goodbye to him. Thankfully, her Heroic Sacrifice turns out to have simply transported her into the Upside-Down, where she manages to escape in Season 2.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Subverted. In "The Lost Sister", while spending time with Kali, Eleven comes dangerously close to having this happen to her. Kali encourages her to use her anger and hatred to channel her powers. As a result, Eleven uses her powers to harm innocent people, even nearly committing murder as a result. Granted, her target wasn't exactly innocent, but he was merely a retired Punch-Clock Villain who was only following orders, and is currently a father to two young daughters. When she discovers this she spares his life, and returns to Hawkins when she realises that Kali is not a positive influence on her.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Gets these every time she uses her telekinesis. Becomes a plot point when it's used to prove that she's been using her powers. The nosebleed also comes with widespread temporary bruising on her skin when she has to put an extra effort.
  • Psychic Powers: She has several psychic powers — including telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to communicate inter-dimensionally.
    • Coming to terms with them and her situation is a little... well... "bringing up Carrie". Thankfully, El has a much better parent in Hopper, so the destruction is minimal.
  • Puppy Love: Mike has a thing for her from the get-go. She quite likes him, in return. Especially after being cut off from everybody for about a year — it probably helped clarify a few things. They become an Official Couple by the end of Season 2.
  • The Quiet One: Given her upbringing, she's a quiet girl, usually talking only when spoken to and during times of conflict, often preferring hand gestures to get her point across. She's more vocal in Season 2, which in no small part seems to be due to being around Hopper for nearly a year and picking up a lot more vocabulary from him. By the beginning of Season 3, Eleven can talk like a normal girl her age, though she tends toward the terse side, and she sometimes struggles with pronunciation (mispronounces Illinois as "Ill-Annoy", for example).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: It's subtle, but in the Season 1 finale, her eyes are absolutely bloodshot from the strain of pushing her powers like she has, especially against the Demogorgon.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Hopper outright admits that his overprotective attitude to Eleven at least partly stems from the trauma of losing his biological daughter Sara. At the end of Season 2, Eleven (via forgery of official documents thanks to Dr. Owens) does become legally recognized as Hopper's adoptive daughter.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Earlier on Season 1, she was easily mistaken for a boy, thanks to her buzz-cut hairdo.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Due to being kept in isolation and experimented on her entire life, she not only has very poor social skills, she can also barely talk when the boys first find her in the woods. At least she can pick up vans with her brain, though.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • When introduced, one would be forgiven for thinking she were a preteen boy, but when she borrows one of Nancy's cute pink dresses and a light blond wig to better blend in, she reveals herself to be a very pretty young girl.
    • Happens a lot more naturally at the end of the second season, where she puts on a fancy dress for the Snow Ball, and has a decent head of styleable hair at that point.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: At the beginning of season 3 her puppy love with Mike has evolved into this, complete with them being glued at the hip and only having eyes for each other. They tone it down a little after their first big fight.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: When she joins Kali's gang, she gets a punk makeover, which she describes as "bitchin'" and keeps through the season climax.
  • Silent Snarker: El is endearingly sweet, but some of her body language when communicating confusion or displeasure can come across as this. The best example is when Dustin asks her to make a toy spaceship fly, akin to an owner asking a dog to perform tricks, and she just glares at him.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Eleven falls in love with the friendly, loyal, and selfless Mike who was the main one of their group to consistently be nice to her as well as not treat her like a freak.
  • Spock Speak: Eleven's way of speaking is stilted at best, but she seems to be getting better by Season 3. Justified in that she was raised in a lab and has No Social Skills prior to meeting Mike and the group.
  • Stealth Pun: Eleven’s actual birth name is Jane Ives, and she was kidnapped by the Department of Energy as an infant. The Department of Energy’s acronym is DOE, and since Eleven doesn’t officially exist, this makes her a literal Jane Doe.
  • Technopath: She can channel the voices of other people through radios and other electronic devices.
  • Telepathy: Sorta. She can't talk in people's heads, but can hear and detect others from long distances, even across entire continents (or dimensions, in the case of the Upside-Down), and being placed in the sensory deprivation tank at the lab (which the main characters recreate in "The Bathtub") grants her a sort of Astral Projection.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Zigzagged. She's cold towards Max and shrugs off her friendly introduction when they meet — not because Eleven isn't the only girl in the Party anymore, but rather because she was jealous of the moment Max and Mike shared in the gym.
    • Overcomes this entirely in season 3 as she and Max become best friends.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: When Lucas accuses her of being a monster, she attacks him and runs away. She then takes her wig off and uses her powers more aggressively to steal food, before snapping out of this mindset thanks to Mike and Dustin later in the same episode.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Loosely a girly girl to Max's Tomboy, this is played with since Eleven hasn't spent a lot of time in the human world to form any impressions or be influenced by gender roles. However, Eleven does care about her appearance and in contrast to Max's low-key presentation; as seen at the Snow Ball, where Eleven shows up with gelled hair, makeup, and a dress.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In season 2, not only are her Psychic Powers stronger, she can also use them more frequently/for longer periods of time before weakening. What's more, she no longer needs a sensory deprivation tank to perform Astral Projection; she just needs to blindfold herself to remove one sense instead of all five.
    • Eleven's personality has also become much more forceful and proactive. While in season 1 she was meek, quiet, and submissive, by the time season 2 rolls around, she demonstrates much more agency, confidence, and self-determination. This is best demonstrated during her squabble with Hopper after he grounds her for sneaking out; it's hard to imagine season 1 El snapping at him the way she does in season 2.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: El loves Eggo™ waffles. She steals several boxes' worth of waffles while robbing a supermarket, and her thoughts zero in on them when Mike talks about his mom making her whatever food she wants. Hopper leaving an Eggo™ in a box in the woods in the last episode is the main hint that she's still alive after her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Trauma Button: Events trigger a Troubled Backstory Flashback to her dark past at the lab at least Once per Episode.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Eleven's life has been far from easy. She spent much of her life being tortured and experimented on, after she was kidnapped from her mother at birth. Until, that is, she meets Mike, where her life becomes much more complicated but undeniably much, much much better.
    • Second season continues it. She has to hide away for her own safety, but her powers let her know that Mike is looking for her but unable to let him know she's okay. When she blows up at Hopper things get worse, then she finds out her mother is alive, but permanently broken. When trying to find help for her, she falls in with a crowd of troubled youths who try to use her for revenge, and she ultimately has to flee them to save Hopper and Mike and the others, and then has to go back into hiding. Fortunately they have an friendly agent in Dr. Owens, who is helping bury the secret so she can have a normal life within the next year.
    • It gets even worse in the third season. She first discovers the Mind Flayer's plot during a perfectly innocent game of spin-the-bottle with Max, where she discovers Billy communicating with it. Later, she delves into Billy's memories, and in the process she accidentally reveals her location to the Flayer, which causes its flesh avatar to arrive at the cottage and try and take her. Eventually, Billy catches up to her in the mall and tries to kill her, only for her to be treated to seeing Billy bloodily murdered by the Flayer in order to protect the Party. The cherry on top? Hopper dies. Not to mention the nasty leg injury she sustained as well as the loss of her powers...
  • Tsurime Eyes: She sports these when she gets extremely angry.
  • Tyke Bomb: From the day of her birth. Being the daughter of an MKULTRA test subject, she inherited supernatural abilities from her mother and, among other things, is being used by Brenner to spy on and assassinate Russians, this being the Cold War era.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Mike in particular, Dustin, and even Lucas; she even sabotages their search for Will in order to keep them from harm, and later sacrifices her own life to keep them safe from the Demogorgon.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: For all El's power, she doesn't show precise control beyond whether she chooses to kill someone, break their bones, or knock the wind out of them. It's entirely possible she didn't intend to kill anyone but the woman who killed Benny, and killed the other guards by mistake.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • She flees from the boys after she knocks Lucas out by giving him a psychokinetic push that sends him flying; this, after he berates her for tampering with their compasses.
    • She gets in a fight with Hopper sneaking out of the cabin to see Mike.
  • When She Smiles: She starts the series as an extremely socially inept Tyke Bomb and understandably doesn't smile often, but shows signs of this as early as the first episode — when Benny is trying to communicate with her, he mentions that she has a nice smile.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Ironically this trope tends to come into play when Mike and Eleven aren't dating, in Season 1 before she even knew about romance as a concept she breaks Troy's arm for forcing Mike to jump off a cliff (and threatening to cut out Dustin's teeth with a knife), in Season 3 during a temporary break up she sends a flayed Billy through a brick wall when he decides to go after Mike who just moments prior fit this trope himself.
  • You Are Number 6: The number 011, her identity given by Hawkins Lab, is tattooed on her arm.

    Dustin Henderson 

Dustin Henderson
"Sometimes, your total obliviousness blows my mind."
Played By: Gaten Matarazzo

"Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?"

Mike's classmate and close friend. An enthusiastic chubby boy with a lisp who aids him in the search for Will, acting as the voice of reason.

  • Adorkable: He plays Dungeons & Dragons, is a member of the Hawkins AV Club, and is possibly the second most intelligent member of the group. On top of that, he has next to no social skills and finds himself in socially awkward situations frequently.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • "Dusty" from his mother.
    • "Dusty-bun" from his girlfriend Suzie, which doubles as an Embarassing Nickname.
  • Agent Mulder: He seems to be a very credulous boy, usually being the first to (correctly) suggest some sort of supernatural explanation for the events of the story. He's also the quickest to come to terms with the weirdness going down in Hawkins.
  • Big Eater: Out of the viewpoint characters, he's the one most obsessed with food.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Son of a bitch."
    • "Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod."
  • Character Development: In regards to his opinions of Steve Harrington. In the first season, Dustin notably disliked the teen mainly because of implied jealousy of the latter being a love interest for Nancy, who Dustin was heavily implied to have a crush on. They spend some time together during season 2, in which the duo bond and form an Odd Friendship. By season 3, Dustin has come to Steve as a close and dear friend he would die for.
  • Cowardly Lion: He's the party member least inclined to leap into danger, and is constantly moaning and complaining whenever the gang's being chased, but he never fails to step up against danger whenever he's called.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Though what he's right about occasionally goes off the rails without him knowing or manifests at ill-timed moments. He was rather completely on point about the compasses pointing towards the direction of the portal, but didn't think to question why they later began steering them back home. He was wrong about Hopper being a Lando Calrissian... at the time he said it, since Jim does betray Eleven's location to Brenner during the finale in exchange for a shot at saving Will.
  • Ditzy Genius: Dustin is the most intellectual member of the Party. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of D&D, comparing the Upside-Down to the Vale of Shadows, the Shadow Monster to the Mind Flayer, and readily equated Will's "Now Memories" to True Sight. He quickly narrows down what type of natural creature Dart could be, though he ends up very wrong. He's also the most knowledgeable on how compasses work, loves books, and has a huge passion for science. However, he is also incredibly impulsive and often fails to think things through (like thinking about keeping a creature from the Upside-Down as a pet to impress a girl is a great idea). To keep with the D&D theme, he rolled an 8 on Wisdom.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends, Dustin is on the defensive, and urges Will to use a protection spell. This shows his practical approach to situations. He is also the one who eats the last slice of pizza.
  • Expy: of Chunk from The Goonies. The comic relief, cowardly, food-loving chubby kid who gets separated from the main group early on and befriends a big, dumb counterpart (sorry, Steve!) to assist the main group later. Also ends up embracing said counterpart as family.
  • Fairy Tale Motif: Dustin's upbeat personality along with his being diplomatic enough to settle disputes among members of the party makes him analogous to a Bard from Dungeons & Dragons. In one episode, he wears a Drama Club t-shirt; entertainment and the creative arts being things strongly associated with bards. In Season 3, Dustin is forced to sing a magical song to help the Party, the primary skill Bards are known for. This is how Mike describes Dustin's role in the Party, although in their campaigns he plays as a Dwarf.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: He loses his brand-new dentures in an action sequence towards the end of season 2, but has a new pair by the time of the dance.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Downplayed. In Season 2, Dustin adopts a pollywog-like creature found in his garbage, naming it "D'Artagan" after its love of Three Musketeers candy bars ("Dart" for short). While he is able to befriend Dart, he can't really control him, which leads to the creature growing in size and eating Dustin's pet cat.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Downplayed, but he has a lot of pets as shown in Season 2. From a turtle, a cat, and later Dart.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: In Season 3 no one believes his stories about meeting the perfect girl at science camp, who lives in Utah. Turns out she's real.
  • Handicapped Badass: Downplayed. Dustin (like his actor) was born with cleidocranial dysostosis but isn't particularly inconvenienced by said disability like most examples of the trope. And just like the rest of the Party, Dustin is a badass kid.
  • The Heart: Dustin is the most emotional member of the group. Whenever the other boys fight, Dustin's the one who calls them all out for being out of line and reminds them that they're friends. With Will missing, it's possible that Dustin had to step up as the replacement-Heart. He's ascribed the role of The Bard in the party, a class that makes every group member stronger.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Has a crush on the Fiery Redhead Max during season 2.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: While he's usually cheerful, it has been hinted that he has insecurities about himself. Season 2 reveals he's not sure that girls will like him for himself and is desperate enough to keep Dart to get Max's attention.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Towards Mr. Clarke, who he treats with great reverence and always addresses by some honorary title.
  • High School Hustler: Well, Middle School. Dustin is a fast-talker able to think quickly on his feet to manipulate people (especially grown-ups) into getting his way, or to talk himself out of trouble. His quote at the top of the section comes from a scene where he railroads Mr. Clarke into explaining how sensory deprivation tanks were late at night on a Saturday, rather than wait until Monday. It doesn't always work (such as his attempt to talk his way into checking out several books from the library when he was already at his limit) but he still has an impressive track record.
  • Idiot Ball: His "love affair" with Dart in season 2 really was out of line with his otherwise prudent character. His excitement from the discovery got the better of him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He's blunt, but means well, such as finding Eleven's powers extremely cool... and then asking her to do demeaning tricks to show them off in season 1.
  • Keet: He's the most excitable of the boys.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: He locks Dart in the shelter because it killed his cat Mews.
  • Love Hurts: He got a crush on Max, but saw that she chose Lucas. He looks at her wistfully when she dances with Lucas at the Snow Ball.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: His decision to keep Dart was because he wanted to impress Max. Steve lampshades how stupid this is.
  • Magic Music: Played for Laughs near the end of Season 3 when Dustin is forced by his girlfriend Suzie to sing a duet of "The Neverending Story" song with her over the radio so she will give him the code to open a safe with the keys Hopper and Joyce need to shut down the new gate. This happens while everyone listening in is in mortal danger. Lucas and Max later make fun of Dustin with their own rendition of the duet.
  • Mama's Boy: He's very close to his mother, and they have a good relationship.
  • The McCoy: He is easily the most impulsive member of the group, often blurting out whatever is on his mind. But he is also the most emotionally aware and idealistic one, often being the first to try to lighten the mood whenever tensions run high.
  • The Navigator: Among the boys, Dustin knows the most about compasses and realizes that they can use them to find the Gate. Lucas even refers to him as the "compass genius".
  • Never Split The Party: Dustin admonishes Mike over his fight with Lucas and tries to get both of them to work together, and he cites an incident in a Dungeons & Dragons game they played where trolls picked off the party when they split up.
  • Nice Guy: One of the nicest kids of the group. Dustin is an approachable and sweet guy.
  • Nice Hat:
    • He is almost always wearing his red, white, and blue baseball cap.
    • By season 3, he replaces the above hat with a green and yellow cap he got from his time at Camp Know Where. The season 3 finale episode shows in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, that his girlfriend from Utah, Suzy, now has it. This implies that during their time at the camp, he gave it to her.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Definitely shows some of this with his fascination with Dart.
    Dustin: An interdimensional slug? Which is awesome?
  • Not Always Evil: In-universe invoked trope. After the boys find out that Dart is from the Upside-Down, Dustin uses this trope to stop Mike from killing it. It's Zigzagged how right he was, as Dart does become dangerous, but still has a soft spot for Dustin later on.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Forms one with Steve in season 2. Steve even becomes his Big Brother Mentor.
    • He even forms one with Erica in Season 3, over their love of fantasies and their snark.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Of his main guy friends, he is the only one without a sibling. He gets a Big Brother Mentor in Steve.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Even in the most dire situations, Dustin tends to be the most lighthearted out of his friends.
  • Precocious Crush: He's implied to have a crush on Nancy in the first episode, going so far as to offer her pizza. She's got a Love Triangle of her own and doesn't really reciprocate, but she does dance with him at the Snow Ball, saying that out of all Mike's friends, Dustin was always her favorite.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Gaten Matarazzo has cleidocranial dysostosis, so Dustin does too. It gives the bullies one more reason to pick on him. Could be seen as a downplayed version of Disabled Character, Disabled Actor, as neither Dustin nor Gaten is particularly inconvenienced by their condition.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He's able to provide an accurate and surprisingly detailed recap of one of the My Little Pony TV Specials off the top of his head, specifically Rescue at Midnight Castle, although he explain that he's a fan because of the fantasy elements as opposed to the ponies themselves.invoked
  • Sad Clown: His cheerful, goofy personality hides a great deal of social insecurity, which becomes most evident at the Snow Ball dance. After building up his confidence and putting loads of effort into his appearance, he is rudely rejected by all the girls he asks to dance. He is so broken by this that he retreats to the bleachers and cries alone. Seeing Max, his crush of Season 2, dance with Lucas probably didn't help either. He does get rescued by Nancy moments later, but apparently even the camera operator was moved to tears by Dustin's sadness!
  • Shipper on Deck: Season 3 has Dustin trying to pair up Steve with Robin.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Swears the most out of the kids, often using the same word: "shit".
  • The Smart Guy: Dustin not only has an encyclopedic knowledge of science and AD&D, he's good at doing research and using analogies to help the group contextualize and solve problems.
  • Speech Impediment: Has a prominent lisp because a few of his front teeth are missing.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He and Lucas spy on the new girl (Max) because they are enamored with her after she beat their high score. She finds this rather annoying at first.
  • Sweet Tooth: When the boys are preparing to search for Will, he brings an assortment of snacks, much of it junk food. When the group is later hiding out in the school gymnasium during Chapter 8, Dustin decides to go find where lunch lady Phyllis hides the chocolate pudding.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After Max chooses Lucas and no one wants to dance at him at the Snow Ball, Nancy dances with him to show up the girls that rejected him and reassures him when the girls grow up, they'll be lucky to have him.
  • Toothy Issue: Like his actor, Dustin suffers from cleidocranial dysostosis, a hereditary congenital disorder where there is delayed ossification of midline structures, which can result in a slowed or non-development of one's permanent (adult) teeth. This, unfortunately for Dustin, makes him perfect bullying fodder. By Season 2, this is no longer an issue, and he happily shows off his "pearlies" every chance he gets.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The nougat in 3 Musketeers bars, a trait he shares with Dart.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: There's no way of knowing how the story of him and his friends would have unfolded if he hadn't challenged Will to that race at the start of the series.

    Lucas Sinclair 

Lucas Sinclair
"Everything I said about you being a traitor and stuff, I was wrong. I'm sorry."
Played By: Caleb McLaughlin

"If there is something out there, I'm gonna shoot it in the eyes... and blind it!"

Mike's childhood friend, next-door neighbor, and classmate, who is apprehensive about the prospect of collaborating with Eleven in the search for Will.

  • Archer Archetype: He is the analytical, ranged combatant of the party, and can keep a cool head when he gets down to business.
  • Agent Scully: To contrast Dustin, Lucas tends to show the most doubt and is the most distrusting of Eleven and her powers.
  • Badass Adorable: Is willing to strap himself up like a soldier, climb trees, and scout out a government facility if it means a chance at saving his friend. All while not being old enough to drive.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Lucas is a very action-oriented member of The Party, and dons a camo bandanna whenever things start getting dangerous.
  • The Big Guy: While not physically the biggest and possessing no superpowers, Lucas is strong-willed and possesses a fierceness the other boys lack, often acting as the backbone of the group. When the Demogorgon is closing in on them in Hawkins Middle, everyone turns to Lucas to fend it off with his slingshot.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Downplayed. Is Mike's love adviser in Season 3. While both are young and inexperienced in relationships, and much of Lucas's advice is immature and backfires on Mike, Lucas has managed to maintain a steady if on-off romance with Max, and unlike Mike, spots a tell from Eleven that indicates she dislikes being broken up as much as Mike does and wants to get back together.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has a thick pair of unobscured eyebrows, which come in handy for the Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • Black and Nerdy: He's black and a nerd like the rest of his friends.
  • Black Best Friend: Subverted. Dustin believes that Mike considers Lucas to be his best friend. Not because he's black, but because they've known each other longest and are practically neighbours. He's also quite put out that Mike expected him to be the Winston Zeddemore of their Ghostbusters Halloween costumes, while Mike insists it's not because he's black. Lucas has his own character development and arc like his friends.
  • Blood Knight: In their D&D campaigns, Lucas will encourage Will to strike down enemies with fireballs instead of using protection spells. In Chapter 8, when the boys defeat the Thessalhydra in a new game, he is the one who cuts off its seven heads.
  • Brats with Slingshots: In their pursuit to find Will, Lucas decides to wield a wrist rocket in case they run into the monster. He doesn't use it until Chapter 8, but proves to be a very good shot, as every rock he fires hits the Demogorgon. Unfortunately, this has little to no effect on it, until El steps in.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Lucas is tough and no-nonsense, but he still has a sweet side and takes care of his friends.
  • Brutal Honesty: Doesn't mince words and says what's on his mind. He also never hesitates to criticize someone if he thinks they're wrong. Friends don't lie, indeed.
  • Cassandra Truth: He tells Max what happened in season 1 and she thinks it's just an interesting story.
  • Character Development: In Season 1, he starts out as wary and distrustful of Eleven and her abilities, but grows to trust and befriend her by the end of the first season.
  • Childhood Friend: As Dustin points out, Mike, Will, and Lucas basically grew up together. Dustin joined after.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When preparing to fight the The Demogorgon, he brings a lot of weapons. Subverted in that they're all completely ineffective against the monster. Played straight in Season 3 when Lucas spots a large display of dangerous fireworks during a store raid, and with El injured from their last fight, convinces the Party to bring them along as support weapons. The fireworks later become critical in suppressing the Mind Flayer, saving El from getting flayed and buying more time to close the gate
  • Deadpan Snarker: In line with his Action Hero personality and being the Only Sane Man of the group, Lucas has a penchant for sarcastic quips and rejoinders. It's also present in his nonvocal mannerisms.
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed. Lucas is still a central character in season 3 and helps out during the season finale, but unlike his friends, he doesn't have a story arc or character growth in the season.
  • Determinator: Lucas never wavers from the boys' search to find Will, and almost ventures into the Upside-Down all by himself in order to rescue him.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When the boys and a passed-out Eleven are cornered by Brenner in Hawkins Middle School, they all step in front of her prepared to fight, but Lucas takes it a step further and commands the government agents to "eat shit!" Done literally in Season 3 when Lucas yells "Flay this, you ugly piece of shit!" before lobbing a firebomb into the Mind Flayer's mouth.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: Of the trio, Lucas was quite vocal over his dislike and suspicions of El, mainly because Mike is paying more attention to her.
  • Epic Hail: Warns Mike, Dustin, and Eleven through a walkie-talkie that Brenner and company are coming after them in Chapter 7, whilst yelling "the bad men are coming!".
  • Establishing Character Moment: When playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends, Lucas is the first into the fray, and urges Will to take the offensive with a risky fireball spell. Later, he tells Will that if Mike didn't see the roll, then it shouldn't count. This displays his logical nature as well as his courage in battle. It also shows that Lucas isn't afraid to bend the rules a little.
  • Eye Scream: Brought along his slingshot and several rocks as ammo with the intention of blinding whatever took away Will via a well-placed shot in its eyes. It turns out that the monster is completely blind, rendering this pragmatic aim useless.
  • Fairy Tale Motif: Lucas's single-minded focus on finding Will, combing the woods by himself, and proficiency with a long-range weapon all bear semblance to the Ranger class from Dungeons & Dragons. He's also very good at scouting, tracking, and spying — even owning a pair of binoculars, and this is how Mike describes his dynamic in the Party to Max. However he plays as a Knight in their D&D campaign.
  • Friendly Sniper: Lucas has impeccable aim with projectiles and isn't afraid to show it. He is also jocular, reliable, fiercely loyal, and endearingly nerdy to boot.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Dustin at least believes this is part of why Lucas is more hostile to Eleven than the rest of the group. He's Mike's best friend, but all Mike wants to do is spend time with Eleven.
  • First Kiss: Has his with Max in Season 2.
  • Groin Attack: Gives Billy a well-deserved one.
  • Happily Married: His parents are shown to be an affectionate couple.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: To the casual observer, bringing a wrist rocket into battle against monsters from another world would seem ill-advised. However, this never stopped Lucas from trying, and Season 3 finally sees him putting it to good use. He temporarily incapacitates a possessed Billy Hargrove when the latter is trapped in "The Sauna Test". Later, Lucas ensures everyone's escape from Starcourt Mall by distracting the Meat Flayer in "The Battle of Starcourt".
  • Heroes Want Redheads: He gets a crush on the redheaded Max in Season 2 and ends up with her in the end of the season.
  • Hyper-Awareness: His suspicious nature makes him vigilant enough to pick up on things that his friends don't notice, as shown when he realizes that Eleven is using her powers to disrupt the boys' compasses in "The Flea and the Acrobat". In "The Monster", he discovers that the mysterious "Hawkins Power & Light" van parked outside his house is one of the many stationed at Hawkins Lab, the location of The Gate.
  • Insult of Endearment: Max calls Lucas "Stalker" angrily after noticing the guys are following her around, but once she decides to join their group, she repurposes "Stalker" as a playful nickname.
  • I Will Find You: Sets out to find Will on his own after El sabotages the boys' search.
  • Jerkass Realization: He can be pretty cruel in his comments to Eleven about her being a traitor or weirdo, but he is just a young kid who understandably sees her behavior, powers, and knowledge of Will as suspicious. When he finds out he was wrong, he apologizes to El for his actions.
  • The Lancer: Serves as Mike's primary foil within the main group of kids, providing a healthy dose of skepticism to Mike's claims. He's also most frequently at odds with Mike over the search for Will and in his doubts about Eleven. However he's nonetheless steadfastly loyal to his friends. Lucas is the Party's Ranger, a warrior class known for long-ranged combat, just as Lucas is devoted to his wrist rocket.
  • Light Is Good: "Lucas" is a Latin name that means "light", and Lucas is a heroic individual. When faced with threatening foes while playing Dungeons & Dragons in Season 1, he counsels Will to rely on fireball spells. In Season 3, he hatches a strategy to use fireworks on the Meat Flayer, as this would generate enough heat to weaken it and give everyone more to finish their respective missions.
  • Military Brat: His father fought in the Vietnam War, and Lucas views him as a hero.
  • Mr. Exposition: Acts as one to Max when she gets fed up about the secrets the group is keeping from her.
  • Nerves of Steel: Being a kid, he's not immune to fear or panic, but Lucas can show stoicism and admirable endurance in the face of adversity — whether it's staring down a Demogorgon or being attacked by Billy Hargrove.
  • Nice Guy: Despite taking the longest to warm up to Eleven, he is actually a very kind-hearted person and a true friend. This is ultimately what made Max fall for him in Season 2.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Gets one when he sets out to save Will by himself.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he sees the small army of Brenner's men drive towards his neighbourhood.
  • Only Sane Man: He's the only one of the friends who recognizes just how insane the occurrences happening around Hawkins are, and usually takes the most direct approach to solving a problem. This doesn't always work out.
  • Puppy Love: He develops a crush on Max in Season 2 and they become an Official Couple by season's end.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: He tells Mike that Max has broken up with him on five different occasions, yet they always come back together.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Shown when Max jumps them on Halloween and his reaction when she is driving.
  • The Spock: He is the most logical member of the group, the best example being him bringing along tools and even weapons when the boys go out searching for Will, whereas Dustin exclusively loads up on snacks and food. He is also very skeptical towards the weirdness they encounter during the series.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He and Dustin spy on the new girl Max. She finds this rather annoying at first.
  • Street Smart: Lucas is a realist who tends to bring a hefty amount of common sense and critical thinking skills to the table. He is not easily deceived and is careful where he puts his trust.
  • This Means Warpaint: In Season 2, he wears black war paint on his face along with his bandana when he suits up for the action.
  • Token Minority: The only black character in the entire main cast.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: When Lucas first meets Eleven, he doesn't think she can be trusted and singles her out as a "weirdo". After witnessing Eleven defend him, Mike, and Dustin from Brenner's forces in Chapter 7, he realizes that he was wrong and apologizes to her, becoming her friend. After this, Lucas does everything in his power to protect Eleven from the bad men and The Demogorgon.
  • Undying Loyalty: Is very protective of his friends, and will brave any force that puts them in danger.
  • Weapon of Choice: Lucas uses his wrist rocket when faced off against creatures of the unknown. Dustin even makes sure he brings it along in Season 2.
  • Walking Armory: Opts to carry a hammer, a bayonet, and a wrist-mounted slingshot on his person when going on the lookout for the monster. He also sports surplus ammo pouches when he goes off on his own.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Max reveals that she's scared of being similar to Billy, he tells her that she's much better than that.

    Max Mayfield 

Maxine "Max" Mayfield
"That's presumptuous of you."
Played By: Sadie Sink

"From here on out, you leave me and my friends alone. Understand?"

A transfer student to Hawkins Middle School. She later becomes the group's Sixth Ranger.

  • Affirmative Action Girl: The second girl member of the Party, introduced in the second season. She also serves to fill the role of token girl while Eleven is off on her own story arc.
  • Agent Scully: When she and Eleven investigate Billy in season 3, she's quick to offer a rational explanation for the things they find, while El is more rattled by Billy and his possible connection to the Upside-Down.
  • Alliterative Name: Her first and last name start with the letters 'Ma', as does her nickname Mad Max.
  • Always Someone Better: She starts feeling that Eleven is this to her when she's continuously Locked Out of the Loop by the guys, but Eleven wasn't.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite everything that happened in the previous season, Max is still skeptical at the strange things that occur in season 3, even coming up with plausible excuses to Billy's odd behavior. Although this could be because she was in denial.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all the abuse Billy put her through in Season 2, Season 3 shows that Max does still care for him, and is absolutely heartbroken when he sacrifices himself to hold back the Mind Flayer and save Eleven and her friends.
  • Badass Driver: For a 13-year-old, she's an incredible driver, considering everyone is still in one piece after driving. She even names herself the "zoomer" of the group, despite that not being a real D&D class. This also makes the nickname "Mad Max" even more adequate.
  • Batter Up!: After drugging Billy, she uses Steve's bat with nails in it to threaten Billy to never bother her or her friends again.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: While Mike irrationally disliked her because he feared she would replace El, Dustin became distant due to her growing relationship with Lucas, and El coldly shrugged off Max's greeting when they first met, Lucas was the only one of them to be consistently nice to her, and as such, she is the closest to him.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Downplayed. Is Eleven's love adviser in Season 3. Max encourages immature emotional manipulation to Eleven to torment Mike into behaving better, which also explains why her relationship with Lucas is so rocky. But she also helps Eleven assert her own identity, and takes a less toxic approach to reuniting Mike and Eleven after the former proclaims his love for the latter in front of everyone.
  • Cool Board: Max is pretty handy on her skateboard. Dustin points out that just owning one proves she's awesome.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her sense of humour and personality tends towards the sarcastic. Initially, she's rather more caustic and cutting than she needs to be, but the longer she and the boys spend in each other's company and the more comfortable they all get with each other, the more playful she becomes.
  • Death Glare: She gives a good one to Billy in the second season finale. The glare and memory of her threat was enough to scare him away.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After being bullied by Billy throughout the season, she's the one that takes him down and threatens him to leave her and her friends alone or face Crippling Castration.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": "No one calls me Maxine. It's Max."
  • Dude Magnet: Dustin and Lucas got crushes the second they saw her.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Even before she appears, the group discovers she's beaten Dustin's long-standing high score at Dig Dug.
  • Everyone Has Standards: After Lucas gives Max an abridged version of the incident that happened in the first season and the reason the school call Will "Zombie Boy," she admits that she doesn't find the nickname funny anymore.
  • Fairy Tale Motif: While she is never officially given a D&D class like the others (despite dubbing herself the "Zoomer"), a lot of her characteristics bring to mind a Rogue (which, prior to her introduction, was a very conspicuous omission from The Party's lineup). Her subversive attitude, skill with a lockpick, being associated with speed (her skateboard and the scene where she drives Billy's car), and stabbing her brother in the back with a "poison" needle are all characteristics and behaviors you'd expect from a Rogue. Further, her fiery personality, acerbic wisecracking, and Tomboy appearance are all classic Rogue staples; she's pretty much as close as you can get to Woodchuck or Han Solo as a teenage suburban girl.
  • Fiery Red Head: She has bright red hair and has a bit of a temper.
  • First Kiss: Has hers with Lucas in the season two finale.
  • Foil: To Eleven. Both are the sole females of the Party for most of a season, it was the entire first season for El, and most of season 2 for Max. One of the boys had an irrational dislike of said girl during the season (Lucas disliked El mainly because Mike wanted to spend all of his time with her and Mike disliked Max because he feared she would replace El). They both have a dysfunctional family life to some extent and are newcomers to Hawkins, Indiana (El because she ran away from Hawkins Lab and Max because she moved there from California). The Party included El in most other adventures, but hesitated with Max because of Mike's insistence and the fact that what they went through had to be kept secret. Both of them have some sort of physical skill the others don't (El's psychic abilities and Max's skateboarding (and later driving) skills. El has No Social Skills while Max is relatively adjusted for her age. They both also mainly go by shorter variations of their names and form a close, romantic bond with another Party member (El for Mike and Max for Lucas) because said boy was the one to [initially treat them with the most kindness and respect of the group, and are very protective of respective boyfriends.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Zigzagged. While she feels this way for sure, she isn't for three-fifths of the group. While Mike and Eleven are cold to her for various reasons, Lucas and Dustin have crushes on her but have individually come off as mocking her. Will likes her just fine, but has so much shit to deal with on his own that he doesn't really interact with her much.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her rough attitude can be explained from her mother divorcing her father and then moving to Hawkins to get away from him. And having Billy as a stepbrother. To say nothing of probably seeing how Neil treats Billy and her mother sticking her in this whole situation for unclear reasons.
  • Gamer Chick: Arcade games specifically. The boys first grew interested in her when they discovered that she had beaten Dustin's top score for the game Dig Dug.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sometimes sports braided pigtails in Season 3.
  • Girliness Upgrade: She's somewhat more feminine in Season 3. While she's still her feisty, snarky, skateboarding self, she does show a girlier side when she introduces Eleven to shopping at the mall, and has a blast helping her pick out clothes.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: She just moved schools from California and the boys are the first schoolmates that approach her to be their friend. Considering that she needs a refuge from her abusive step-brother Billy, she feels an increasing need to feel included in the group.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her video game handle is Mad Max, which initially fools the Party into thinking she's a guy. Once she warms up to the group, she assigns herself another nickname, "the Zoomer," to act as her D&D class.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be rude and rough around the edges, but her heart is in the right place.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Her default mode is sarcastic and defensive when the boys first encounter her, and whilst she still retains this trait following the ordeal they share in Season 2, she warms up quite a bit by the close of the Season and her snarkiness becomes more playful and less catty.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: To her annoyance, the boys keep her out of the loop when it comes to the Upside-Down till she leaves the group. Lucas finally reveals the truth so she'll rejoin.
  • Logical Latecomer: She and her stepbrother are new in town, and thus, she is the least accustomed to all the supernatural goings-on in Hawkins. She is skeptical at first to the existence of the Demogorgon and Demodogs, and thinks they just might be a bear and actual large dogs. She also questions why the others run toward a mysterious noise in forest in "The Mind Flayer".
  • The Medic: Serves as Closest Thing We Got in Season 3, correcting the others on how to treat an injury due to her skateboarding.
    "I skateboard, trust me".
  • Meta Guy: After hearing about everything from Season 1, she assumes it's just a story Lucas made up and repeats a lot of the real-world reactions to the season.
  • My God, You Are Serious: When Lucas tells her everything that happened, she at first laughs it off... until the moment that Lucas slaps his hands over her mouth and says that he could die for telling her.
  • New Transfer Student: She joins Hawkins Middle School at the start of season two.
  • One of the Boys: She decided to join the four boys rather than any girls clique.
  • Otaku Surrogate: She owns and enjoys comic books, especially Wonder Woman.
  • Puppy Love: Lucas is quite infatuated with her, and she eventually returns his feelings. They become an Official Couple by the end of Season 2.
  • Red-Headed Hero: The only red head of the Party and is the sole Fiery Redhead.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Apparently between seasons 2 and 3, Max has dumped Lucas on five different occasions.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She eventually falls for Lucas, the only person of the group that consistently makes her feel welcome.
  • Sixth Ranger: Max joins the Party in season 2. She's eagerly accepted by Dustin and Lucas, who enter into a rivalry over her affections, but her inclusion is resisted by Mike. Max offers to be the Party's "Zoomer," (which Mike rejects on account of there being no such thing) but also fits the archetype of the Rogue.
  • Skeptic No Longer: She reasonably didn't believe Lucas when he recounted Season 1. But when she saw Dart fully grown, she fully believed.
  • Tomboy: She uses Max instead of Maxine, plays video games, skateboards, and happily hangs out with a group of boys.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Very much a Tomboy full of piss and vinegar, but during Season 3, she's shown doing things like enjoying shopping, dancing to pop music, reading teen magazines, and fawning over Ralph Macchio.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Eleven's Girly Girl. In the finale, Max doesn't really like the styling her mother gives her hair and wears some corduroy slacks and a sweater in contrast to the other girls in dresses, skirts, and jumpsuits; this is in contrast to Eleven who, while not very feminine-looking, does care about how she looks.
  • Tomboyish Name: Downplayed. Her full name is "Maxine" but she'd rather go by the more masculine sounding nickname, "Max".
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Like Eleven for Mike in Season One, Max isn't yet Lucas's girlfriend, when she uses an injection needle to subdue her abusive stepbrother Billy and threaten his groin with a nail-embedded bat, after he had forcibly shoved Lucas against Joyce's shelf of knick-knacks; though beating Steve to a pulp probably helped.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She berates Lucas for giving her mixed messages about being her friend and keeping her out of the loop. Lucas is shown to be reluctant to tell her everything, as it's an outlandish tale by all measures (and there's the small matter of the Government Conspiracy, its confidentiality agreements, and its presumed assassins to enforce them).

The Adults

    Joyce Byers 

Joyce Byers
"Just ring me up, Donald."
Played By: Winona Ryder

"Maybe I’m a mess, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m out of my mind! But God help me, I’ll keep these lights up until the day I die if I think there’s any chance that Will is still out there!"

A divorced supermarket cashier and Will and Jonathan's single mother.

  • Action Survivor: Joyce willingly goes into the Upside-Down with Hopper to find her son. That's damned courageous for anyone, let alone a middle-aged mother with no self-defense training.
  • Almighty Mom: She brooks no mistreatment of her sons, she doesn't care if you're an interdimensional monster or a local police officer. When she finds out that Jonathan has been arrested, she demands, nay, commands that he be let out of his handcuffs. It's telling that whenever she gives an order to Chief Hopper, he never argues.
  • An Axe to Grind: She brandishes one from her shed after the Demogorgon first bursts through the walls of her house, fully intending to face it and save her son. She later uses it to hack down one of her house's walls, where she made brief contact with Will. Unfortunately, the portal doesn't last long.
  • Beauty Inversion: A decidedly un-glamorous role for Ryder, with terrible fried hair and a polyester wardrobe. It works for the time and the role. In later seasons she's relaxed enough to put effort into her appearance.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As kind and gentle as she can be, she does have a lot of limits. Ridiculing the tactics she comes up with in order to find her son, calling her crazy, and not being able to understand what is wrong with Will is going to get you into serious trouble with her.
  • Big "NO!": She lets out several in "The Mind Flayer" as she witnesses a pack of Demodogs mauling Bob to death.
  • Cartwright Curse: By the end of season 3, her last two relationships ended with the (at least apparent) death of her boyfriend.
  • Cassandra Truth: Joyce insists that Will is not dead. For good reason, she's dismissed as simply being in denial. She's absolutely, 100% right, however.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: She starts bumming Camels following the stress of Will's vanishing.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: At some point Hopper realizes that Joyce' crazy idea about Will communicating with her through Christmas lights may not be so crazy after all.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Anxious, tired, stressed, and focused on getting her son back she may be... but, the minute she sees how love-deprived Eleven is, you can see her hasty progression to Mom-Mode on her behalf, too.
  • Determinator: She refuses to stop searching for her son, going as far as smashing down a wall with an axe to try and find him.
  • Fisher King: Her home becomes a dilapidated mess as the show goes on, mirroring the stress and trauma she undergoes to find her son. It's fully repaired and comforting a month after Will is rescued. Season 2 has it grown just as crazy as the Mind Flayer grows in strength, though this time, her significant others know what this means.
  • Foil: To Brenner. Both are parents to missing children, but while Joyce seemingly loses her mind from anxiety and grief, Brenner never so much as raises his voice or walks at a hurried pace. This also illustrates the fundamental difference between them; Joyce is frantic and borderline crazed because she's a loving mother in a nightmarish situation for such a parent (even before the paranormal starts to butt in), while Brenner obviously doesn't really care about Eleven beyond her abilities and usefulness as a weapon.
  • Former Teen Rebel: She used to skip class and smoke cigarettes with Hopper when she was a teenager. She later lights one up with him at the Snowball.
  • Genre Savvy: Not only about what kind of missing her son is, but the lengths she might have to go to get him back. And, she quickly gets that the body of Will she's shown isn't Will — and, what that could mean. She also sees through her ever-beloved ex enough to dig through his stuff. Joyce is a savvy, if frazzled, bunny.
  • Good Parents: A more realistic type in that while she's constantly stressed out, overworked, and underpaid trying to keep the family afloat, and sometimes neglects them, she values her kids more than herself. She takes the time to understand them (like knowing that Jonathan's dream school is NYU and Will's artistic leanings) and spend time with them. She also takes her time in making sure Eleven is comfortable with a real and caring adult around.
  • Informed Poverty:
    • Downplayed. She and her boys live in the more rural outskirts of the town in a 1-floor house with no paved driveway or road leading to it. While they're not poor per-se, they are shown to have it harder than the other families depicted, who live in the town in bigger houses; this also comes into collation considering that both Joyce and her son Jonathan work to get by. Further downplayed because her house has a lot of seventies holdovers in interior decorating, contrasting the 80's look of most other houses and implying that they did not had enough money to redecorate to newer styles.
    • But even then: somehow, after all the expenditures of season 1, Joyce is able to somehow afford an Atari 2600 for Will for Christmas '83, and even setting aside possible explanations for that, whenever plot-relevant events go down at the Byers' place, they always seem to have exactly what's needed for the situation at hand. Still somewhat downplayed as they're often shown repurposing or scrounging for things (in "The Mind Flayer", they have to dig cardboard and newspaper out of the trash in order to have enough material to cover the interior of the shed), but it sometimes stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • The Insomniac: Becomes this for most of the season, especially after making contact with Will.
  • It's Personal: Joyce is more determined than ever to kill the Mind Flayer after Bob's death.
  • I Will Find You: Said word-for-word to Will in "The Body".
  • Mama Bear:
    • To Will more than Jonathan; of course, Jonathan is capable of looking after himself. She doesn't hesitate to walk into another dimension for a chance at saving her son! It comes out in full force while trying to cure Will of the Mind Flayer's influence in "The Mind Flayer". It ultimately pays off.
    • Is also this to Eleven, and to an extent, most of the group.
  • My Beloved Smother: According to Lonnie, her over-parenting is ruining their boys. Did we mention that Lonnie is an abusive, neglectful asshat?
    • She gets slightly clingy in Season 2 as an emotional response to what happened in season 1.
    • She lampshades her own genuine (justifiably developed by this point, since Will has twice now been a victim of otherworldly evils in as many years) Smotherly tendencies to Hopper at the end of the second season, noting that Will wants some space, so she is giving him "a few feet."
  • Nervous Wreck: She has a history of anxiety problems according to Jonathan and Lonnie. The show's main conflict isn't helping her one bit. This very history is depicted as both a boon and a curse. On the plus-side, she knows exactly what a downward spiral presents and feels like, so quickly realises that what she's going through isn't like previous bouts she's had. Which clues her in to the existing weirdness behind Will's disappearance. The downside is, she also knows exactly why there's almost no chance to convince others of this, even as she gets more frustrated trying. Knowing this doesn't help her nerves... which feeds back into her behaviour, thereby making her look more unhinged to others.
  • Nice Girl: She's an incredibly devoted and protective mother who is loving, caring and understanding to her very core.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Joyce skips work, blows a paycheck, and goes into credit to buy more lights and phones to communicate with Will, holds a funeral, and breaks down a wall in her house, while her son Jonathan tears the place apart and sets it on fire in a confrontation with the Demogorgon. One month later, she's bought Will an Atari, a comparatively pricey present for someone who was struggling to make ends meet before the show began. note 
    • Averted in Season 3, where the new shopping mall has starved the local businesses and Joyce's store is hanging by a thread. She's eventually forced to move away.
  • Parental Substitute: Not quite on Hopper's level, but Joyce is the closest thing to a mother that Eleven has. When Eleven finds Barb's corpse in "The Bath" and is understandably horrified, Joyce is the one to rush into the pool and reassure her everything is all right, which is the first instance of maternal affection Eleven has ever had. When reunited in "The Gate", Eleven just goes over and wordlessly hugs Joyce, who is only too happy to see that she's all right. In Season 3, Joyce also helps Hopper in parenting Eleven, serving as a sounding board in how to interact with Eleven and Mike. Then she reaches Hopper's level by taking Eleven in when Hopper is presumed to be killed at Starcourt.
  • Parents Know Their Children:
    • This is one of Joyce's most prominent character traits, and key to the strength of Ryder's performance. Joyce has a thorough and timely understanding of her son's social life. She deduces that the drawing Hopper found within the Department wasn't created by Will by asking the exact right question, "Was it good?" and shows pride of her son's artistic talent. She remembers where his birthmarks are. Most importantly, her motherly intuition leads her to the conclusion, despite knowing full well just how crazy it sounds, that Will is communicating from the Upside-Down through flickering the lights and playing the Clash, knowing it's one of Will's favorite songs.
    • In Season 2, she recognizes when the Mind Flayer, not Will, is in control of Will's body. When Will begins screaming and convulsing violently while they try to drive it out of his body by heating up the room, Jonathan can't bear to look at his brother in pain, but Joyce, knowing that it's the Mind Flayer up to its tricks, cranks up the heaters to drive the monster out of her son.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Mind Flayer took over her son's body and caused the death of her boyfriend. She declares that she wants it dead, setting the plot to do just that into motion.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Her house eventually devolves into a messy living space with tons of Christmas lights and a wall filled with alphabet letters as a reflection of her mental state. It gets another one in Season 2 with Will's drawings, but she's much more mentally equipped to handle that situation.
  • Sanity Slippage: After Will's disappearance. Given some of the townspeople's comments, she wasn't that stable before he left. Having said that, given her asshole ex-husband, she might have had a reason or two behind any other anxiety episodes, as well. Lonnie has done some divide and conquer gaslighting as a tactic on screen; who knows what he previously put her through.
  • Stronger Than They Look: In an emotional sense rather than a physical one. Joyce initially appears to be the typical, frail, hysterical mother going out of her mind over her missing son. But years of putting up with an emotionally manipulative husband, walking out on said husband, and taking care of two boys by herself has given her a core strength that can only be rivaled by Hopper. When the Demogorgon climbs out of her walls, she initially runs, but later returns to her living room with an axe.
  • Team Mom: For the core group as of Season 2. She's the nurturing and gentle presence to contrast Jim's strict Team Dad approach. Most evident in her eternally warm and caring interactions with Eleven.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gradually transitions from barely keeping it together to punching out the town's corrupt mayor.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Delivers a blistering one to Jonathan after learning that not only did he decide to take on the Demogorgon alone, he roped in Nancy in the plan as well.
    Joyce: [breaking down] My God, Jonathan, what if it took you, too...
  • You Have to Believe Me!: She falls victim to this a bit; she's naturally a rather anxious and nervous person even before her son disappeared, the campaign of gaslighting and discrediting her ex-husband did to smear her reputation hasn't helped her credibility, and her story is, let's be fair, very hard to believe. She has enough self-awareness to realise that she doesn't come across as very believable, but personality traits can be hard to overcome.

    Jim Hopper 

Chief James "Jim" Hopper / "Hop" / "The Chief"
"Mornings are for coffee and contemplation."
Played By: David Harbour

"This is Hawkins. You wanna know the worst thing that’s ever happened here in the four years I’ve been working here? The worst thing was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie's head because it thought that her hair was a nest."

The town of Hawkins's Police Chief and main investigator of Will's disappearance. A divorced former law enforcer in an undisclosed big city, whose daughter died of cancer. He struggles with alcoholism and substance abuse to cope with his losses.

  • Action Dad: After adopting El, as he's a badass Police Chief.
  • Adorkable: Doesn't show up as often due to his manly nature, but his awkwardly endearing dance moves to, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim", are definitely an example.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Hopper's attitude towards finding out that El had snuck out of the house in "Will The Wise" is clearly about how worried he was about her putting herself in danger like that. He confirms this with her directly during their conversation in the car in "The Gate."
  • Anti-Hero: He's spurred into action by Joyce's Armor-Piercing Question from the first act and is clearly trying to find Will as a means of finding closure for the death of his daughter, whom he couldn't save. To do it, there's no one he won't punch, threaten, exploit, or betray.
  • The Atoner:
    • His life spiralled out of control after his divorce, following the death of his child. It appears that if he can save Will, he might assuage some of his guilt.
    • Seems that he feels this way over El's disappearance at the end. He even feeds her via dead drops, implying she's still alive. Then he takes her in, acting as El's Parental Substitute in Season 2.
  • Badass Baritone: A big, powerful fighter and a very competent cop with a deep voice.
  • Badass Beard: It varies from a full beard to stubble. Later on it becomes a Badass Moustache.
  • Bad Liar: Completely unconvincing when trying to cook up a fib, which simply results in him just giving up and punching someone.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Hopper takes a very lackadaisical attitude toward shaving in spite of being a police officer. In Season 1, he's deeply depressed about his daughter's death. In Seasons 2 and 3, he's still not shaving much, perhaps due to the various sources of stress in his life.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Joyce in Season 3. She missed a dinner date, which he took personally and they spend the rest of the season arguing over everything. In a moment of frustration, Murray tells them to just go fuck in the bushes because there's bigger issues to worry about.
  • Big Beautiful Man: Years of donuts and grief have taken their toll on his physique, but he's quite rugged-looking nonetheless.
  • The Big Guy: Aside from Eleven, he's almost certainly the best fighter amongst the viewpoint characters.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: At the start of Season 1, he's a lazy drunk slob who may or may not also be a junkie. He's also a pretty damn good cop when he actually applies himself.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Interestingly less of a problem at the beginning of the show, where he doesn't have any significant relationships to worry about. But by season 2 he's struggling to talk to Eleven about important things, made even worse by her lack of social skills. In season 3 he can't talk to Eleven about her relationship with Mike, and seriously cannot bring himself to communicate with Joyce properly.
  • The Casanova: Has a number of exes. The guy gets around even when he doesn't have his feet on the ground.
  • Character Signature Song: Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim."
  • Close to Home The experience with El keeps remind him of his lost daughter.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Chief is very fond of sucker punches and sneaking up on his opponents.
  • Cool Guns: Hopper wields a Smith and Wesson Model 66 in the first season and upgrades to a Colt Python in the second.
  • Cowboy Cop:
    • After he realizes the government is covering up what happened with Will he begins to act outside the law. May still be doing it. Hopper is more than bright enough to work out that El and Will are but the tip of the conspiracy iceberg; model security guard/ contractor? Bloody doubt it.
    • Taken to new heights in season three, where he (with Joyce's help) takes the mayor of Hawkins hostage, threatens to cut off his finger, and later straight up steals a car. It doesn't help that he spends much of the season without his uniform.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Reacts very negatively when Joyce misses a date to get an impromptu physics lesson from Mr. Clarke and accuses her of wanting to date him instead. He doesn't let up about it either.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • He is initially presented as a struggling alcoholic/addict and uncaring police officer who rolls into work hours late, but later proves to be more than capable of handling himself. He knocks out a State Trooper with only two punches, is able to take down a government agent and disarm an MP in the space of a few seconds, and later incapacitates three more agents whilst avoiding being spotted by a helicopter. Later, even when threatened with torture and death whilst being interrogated, he remains unfazed and warns the agents they are going to negotiate with him for the safety of the boys.
    • A box hidden beneath the floor of his cabin in Season 2 hints he served during the Vietnam War. Possibly even in special forces, as he demonstrates a keen knowledge of irregular warfare (such as booby-trapping the house he shares with Eleven to help protect her). He also expertly handles an M-16 he salvages from a dead guard later in the season.
    • This proves to be his biggest advantage in dealing with the Government Conspiracy. They pretty clearly thought they were dealing with a barely-competent small-town sheriff who wouldn't recognize a clue if it walked up and gave him its business card. By the time they realize that's not who Hopper is, he's pretty much got their number.
    • In Season 3, it seems as though the hot-tempered and bullheaded Hopper has bungled yet again when he tries to stop Alexei's constant demands by giving him the means to escape. In the end, however, he's confirmed to have read the situation perfectly.
  • Cutting the Knot: While he usually does try the subtle approach to solving a problem first, he tends to default to rather direct violence as the way out whenever it doesn't work. The greatest example is perhaps how he deals with the state trooper guarding the morgue; when his attempt to bluff his way past him fails, Hopper instead nonchalantly knocks the guy out cold with a swift punch to the face.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a rather dry and dark sense of humor.
  • Death Seeker: Is implied to have started smoking sometime after his daughter died of lung cancer, though season 2 reveals he and Joyce used to skip class to smoke together when they were in high school.
  • Defective Detective: Hopper was once a big-city cop, but he's become a mess since his daughter died. He's divorced, spends his time abusing substances, and returned to his hometown Hawkins where he grew up in.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In the pilot, his first order of business when he arrives at the station is to grab a coffee and donut. Season 2 shows a funny moment with Flo taking a donut out of his mouth and handing him an apple, only for him to throw the apple in the garbage after one bite.
  • Doom Magnet: Reveals to Eleven that he's afraid he destroys everything good that happens to him. He says this as he's driving them on an extremely risky mission, but they both survive.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He wakes up on a couch, smokes a cigarette, brushes his teeth, washes down some pills with Schlitz, smokes another cigarette... and then puts on a police uniform. Yeesh! Later on in the series, though, his reliable, steadfast nature and heart of gold get more of the spotlight.
  • Former Teen Rebel: He used to cut class with Joyce and smoke cigarettes as teenagers; they later light some up at the Snow Ball.
  • Functional Addict: A hard drinker and pill-popper. It comes back to bite him when he's under threat from the agents. They threaten to shoot him full of dope and make it look like an OD, before he strikes a deal. By season 2, it appears he's quit his pill-popping habit, since he's not shown taking any pills.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The guy has his flaws and shortcomings, but he's a force to be reckoned with. He can be rather intimidating at times when the situation warrants it and even throw some fisticuffs for good measure. And he will use a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique when needed.
  • Go Out with a Smile: When Joyce has to destroy the collider but is worried about Hopper getting caught in it, he gives her a reassuring smile to let her know he's at peace with his fate.
  • Hidden Depths: He is a more insightful, conniving, and caring person than he lets on.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In season 1, after discovering Will's death was faked, he immediately decides to invade the facility, alone, with no backup, and without telling anyone or leaving any sort of notes. And he already has plenty of reason to know they're willing to murder people to cover things up!
    • In season 2, he manages to find the underground tunnels Will's drawings led to and decides to explore them all alone without calling for any backup. It doesn't take long before he ends up trapped and, if not for Will and Bob having managed to find where he was located, he would have surely died.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At first, Hopper seems lazy, irritable and just plain bored. He exerts the minimal amount of effort into finding Will. Once he realizes that Will's case is serious, however, he becomes more competent and determined, even risking his life to solve the case.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Starts as a jaded cynical addict with a Dark and Troubled Past who's basically just going through the motions of his daily life. Over the course of season one, he develops into a gruff, protective determinator. In season two he's developed into a harsh protector of Eleven, hiding her from those who would lock her away for study. At the end of Season 2 he winds up becoming her adoptive father thanks to some help from Dr. Owens. He still retains the rough edges even after all of this character development, however.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: It comes with being played by David Harbour.
  • Last-Name Basis: Referred to as "Hopper" or "Hop" by most everyone.
  • The Mourning After: He is still haunted by the death of his daughter and his divorce, still not coming to terms with those in the beginning of the series. His bout with substance addiction and alcoholism are attributed to this. Whenever he mentions his daughter, he frequently talks about her in the present tense, which tells you just how much in grief he's still in over her death.
  • My Beloved Smother: Gender Inverted to Eleven in Season 2. He more or less forbids her from leaving their cabin out of fear of the government finding her again. He gives her more freedom by the end, but in Season 3 we find him struggling to manage her budding relationship with Mike, ultimately causing him to take drastic action.
  • Mysterious Past: Aside from a brief mention that he used to work in "the big city", and that he and his wife separated after the death of their daughter, nothing concrete is revealed. However, given his combat and infiltration skills, connections to reporters with the New York Times, and his ability to parlay with the government agents to negotiate the safety of the boys and ensure he doesn't end up getting tied up as a loose end (he is seen to still be alive and have his job a month later), one can speculate he may have also worked for the government prior to relocating to Hawkins. In Season 2, Eleven finds a bunch of boxes stored under the cabin; one of them is marked "New York" and the other "Vietnam". Depending on how you view canon, the tie-in novel Darkness on the Edge of Town reveals that he was a detective in New York during the 1970s, and was present during the Blackout of 1977.
  • Name's the Same: He is not (as far as we know) the Green Beret out of Fort Bragg.
  • Nerves of Steel: Almost never hesitates in dangerous or tense situations, not even when he has to cut open Will's body to find out it is a fake dummy.
  • Never Found the Body: There's no trace of him after Joyce closes the Gate in the season 3 finale, and it was already established that the energies given off by the Soviets' device can completely vaporize a human. And yet there's the American in the Soviet prison in The Stinger...
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In what can be considered a borderline villainous move, Hopper sells out Eleven to Brenner for the chance to save Will. This directly results in the attack at the school in the climax of the first season.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Although he seemed to have died, the dialogue of a certain guard in a Soviet prison implies that he isn't done just yet.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter died of cancer. It still very much haunts him.
  • Overprotective Dad: He doesn't react at all well to the Puppy Love of Mike and Eleven, and violently threatens the former.
  • Papa Wolf: He eventually becomes extremely protective of the whole group of kids, especially Eleven, whom he later formally adopts.
  • Parental Substitute: In Season 2, Hopper takes care of Eleven by having her move into and live in his own house. And by the end of the season, he legally becomes her adoptive father (via forgery of official documents thanks to Dr. Owens).
  • Parents as People: He explains to Eleven that he's so hard on her because he's scared of losing her like Sarah.
  • Police are Useless: Played with; by the time the series starts, he clearly only values his job because being the police chief of a small, quiet town gives him plenty of opportunity to slack off and indulge his vices without being overly inconvenienced by having to do much actual serious policing. Will's disappearance spurs him to pick his boots up and remember his long-atrophied competence, however, implying that he wasn't always like this but simply fell into depression and apathy due to his personal grief.
  • Porn Stache: He is sporting one in Season 3. Since he's shown watching Magnum P.I. at the TV, this could be not coincidental.
  • Rabid Cop: Even though his suspicions turn out to be correct, Hopper pretty quickly descends to the point of beating up two (possible) members of the State Police.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Hopper is actually pretty willing to listen once he sees actual evidence. He's also remarkably quick on the uptake, as seen in "Holly, Jolly" when he realizes the tape they were shown wasn't the night after Will's disappearance, as it was pouring rain while the tape showed none.
  • Relative Button: As Mayor Kline learns the hard way in season 3, do not insult his late daughter's memory.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Uses one, in contrast to the Hawkins Lab agents who favor semi-automatics. Justified since he's a small town police chief and they're well-funded government agents. Given his suggested experience in the Vietnam War, and automatic handguns of that period's propensity for jamming, his choice may be justified as a sidearm. This is also Truth in Television as revolvers were standard police issue until the mid-nineties. For example, the NYPD didn't stop issuing them until 1993. It is highly unlikely that a small-town Indiana police department would have had the resources in 1984 to issue automatic pistols which were very expensive in those days.
  • Running Gag: Whenever he tries to talk his way into a place he isn't supposed to be in, it always ends with Talk to the Fist.
  • The Sheriff: Not his actual job title, but he fits the archetype nonetheless.
  • Spotting the Thread: One reason why Hopper is a Reasonable Authority Figure — when he sees something amiss, he doesn't write it off as just a coincidence until he's investigated it fully.
    • He sees Will's "abandoned" bike. He knows the kid's running, as even a kid in pain would walk the bike home. He sees a dent in the wall the shape of a doorknob lock? He notices that the rest of the house is too well-maintained for it to be a normal occurrence, meaning the door was opened forcibly from the outside. He sees a half-empty box of rifle rounds next to a gun rack but no gun? He knows that someone loaded the rifle but was unable to fire it.
    • The lab people think they've quieted Hopper by showing video of the night in question that shows all normal. However, Hopper knows something is wrong because the video has a clear sky but the actual night had a torrential downpour in the area.
    • When Will's "body" is found in the quarry, he knows it's is a fake — because a fall from the cliffs around it should have pulped it.
    • He instantly realizes that the state trooper who found the "body" is part of the conspiracy when the trooper lies to his face regarding the jurisdiction of the quarry.
  • Stout Strength: Hopper is stocky, sports a noticeable gut, and lives a pretty unhealthy lifestyle, but he's strong and can hold his own in a fight.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Hopper carries a lot of this around over his daughter's death from cancer prior to the series throughout much of season 1 and 2. It led to the collapse of his marriage, and is the source of his reputation as a junkie. It also drives his Anger Born of Worry with Eleven in season 2. Notably, in the conversation he has with El on the subject in "The Gate," he calls himself a black hole that sucks in and destroys everything around him, and he was terrified of doing the same to her.
  • Talk to the Fist: He makes quite a bit of progress just with sucker punches.
  • Team Dad: To the core group of heroes as of Season 2, especially given that all of them (except for Joyce) are underage. He's protective of all of them (especially Will and Eleven) and is the one most likely to shoot first to defend them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Having to endure the brunt of Mike and Eleven being Sickening Sweethearts constantly for seven straight months has clearly taken a toll on not just his anger management skills but arguably his sanity as he's much more belligerent in Season 3, getting in Mike's face anytime he kisses El, regularly bickering with Joyce over a missed date, outright bullying Alexei out of frustration at the language barrier. That's not even counting the level of Cowboy Cop he goes to, with him doing things like kidnapping and subjecting his own boss Mayor Kline to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for a little bit of information.
  • Trauma Button: He is still coping with the death of his daughter and the case of missing Will brings it to the surface via Troubled Backstory Flashback.
  • Uncertain Doom: Seemingly killed at the end of Season 3 but The Stinger provides evidence suggesting that he might still be alive as a prisoner of the Soviet Union.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Murray in Season 3. They seem to know each other much better than their season 2 interaction implied, and even as they bicker there seems to be a lot of trust and understanding between them.
  • You Are Fat: Alexei aptly describing Hopper as "Fat Rambo".

    Murray Bauman 

Murray Bauman
Played By: Brett Gelman

A former journalist turned private detective, Murray was hired by Barb's mother and father to locate their daughter and bring her home.

  • All There in the Manual: Although not elaborated upon in the series, actor Brett Gelman revealed in the Beyond Stranger Things 2 aftershow that Murray's journalism career and family were destroyed as a result of his efforts to expose what happened in Hawkins in the aftermath of season 1.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: An abrasive, sarcastic know-it-all with a Jewish name, a big beard, and a Chicago accent, who has an old anti-Nazi poster on his wall and he's fluent in Russian. He's also played by a Jewish actor.
  • Befriending the Enemy: When Hopper and Joyce bring him a Russian scientist so he can translate for them, they become quite chummy, mainly because they talk about Hopper in Russian while he's right in front of them.
  • Berserk Button: There's actually a fair amount of stuff that pisses him off, but he really loathes the "Bald Eagle" Call Sign Dustin gave him.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: He's a paranoid full-on Conspiracy Theorist but he's also very intelligent. He is right that something off is happening in Hawkins, just with interdimensional monsters and psychic children instead of aliens and Russian spies. He was also able to see Nancy's and Jonathan's obvious feelings for each other and their personalities.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Big time. He's certain something happened in Hawkins the government is now trying to cover up. Ironically, while he's right about that, he mistakenly believes it's connected to the Cold War and Russian agents operating on US soil. And he's correct about that too when it's revealed that the Russians are operating below ground in Hawkins in a misguided attempt to open the Upside Down.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Delivers a lot of this in his scene with Jonathan and Nancy, particularly over their denial of their feelings for one another.
  • Double Entendre: Drops the mother of them all the morning after Jonathan and Nancy do the deed. His complete shit-eating grin afterwards completely sells it.
    Murray: So how was the pull-out?
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Given the callsign "Bald Eagle" by Dustin who takes some glee in forcing Murray to repeat it back during radio communication.
  • Eureka Moment: Watering down his vodka gives him the inspiration for how to leak the truth about Hawkins Lab in a manner that people would actually believe it: Rather than expose the inter-dimensional shenanigans and eldritch abominations, instead leak that something did happen, but fudge the details into something more believable (in this case, experimental chemicals leaking into the environment and killing Barb).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The posters in Murray's house imply he might have participated in some anti-Vietnam protests-turned-riots in the late '60's.
  • Functional Addict: Uses vodka to help him think, since it suppresses the central nervous system.
  • Odd Friendship: With Alexei the Russian scientist.
  • Sherlock Scan: Murray demonstrates an aptitude for reading people, and thoroughly dissects both Jonathan's and Nancy's personalities after only a brief meeting. Even correctly deducing that they harbor more feelings for one another than anyone else would admit.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • He notices the clear attraction Nancy and Jonathan have for each other and points this out gleefully. Then he offers them to share his guest bedroom to let it work itself out. He then ribs Jonathan rather mercilessly when he insists on sleeping on the sofa instead, offers him to use the pull-out mattress, but suggests he take the bed with Nancy instead.
    Murray: What's going on here? A lovers' quarrel?
    Jonathan: No, no. I mean, we're just friends!
    Nancy: (frantically) Friends! (chuckles nervously)
    Murray: (laughs in disbelief) You've told me a lot of shockers today, but that, that is the first lie.
    • Again with Joyce and Hopper, at one point telling them to stop bickering and just screw already.
  • String Theory: He has a big board in his home, with everything connected to the incident in Hawkins connected via strings.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Hopper. They spend all of their time together bickering, but they seem to know each other well (Hopper knows off-hand that he's fluent in Russian and where to find him in a time of need) and there's a lot of implicit trust between them. Murray's pretty obviously devastated by Hop's apparent death.

The Teenagers

    Jonathan Byers 

Jonathan Byers
"You shouldn't like things because people tell you you're supposed to."
Played By: Charlie Heaton

"Sometimes, people don't really say what they're really thinking. When you capture the right moment, it says more."

Joyce's older son and Will's brother. An adolescent loner who balances between his duties at school and contributing at home by working due to their father's abandonment. A classmate of Nancy and Steve.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Whatever you do, don't taunt, nor make fun about, Will. Steve's bloodied, bruised face is Jonathan's response to it.
  • Be Yourself: He told Will that he shouldn't do what society does just to make their father like him.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Protects Will from bullies, comforts him during his parents' arguments, and turns him on to punk and new wave music. And, goes ballistic if people try bad-mouthing his brother when he's not in sight. Isn't that right, Steve?
    • In the season 2 finale, he has to turn away and hold Nancy just so he wouldn't give in as the monster infecting Will screams for him to be let go when Joyce turn up the temperature. He ends up not being able to hold out as he unties one of his hands.
    • In season 3 when Nancy realizes that Will might not be safe, that's all the incentive Jonathan needs to go look for him and realize something is horribly wrong.
  • Camera Fiend: Has an interest in photography, which he uses to effect making missing posters for Will.
    • According to "Stranger Things Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion", he is a member of the Photography Club, the School Newspaper, and the Yearbook Club.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The nail-spiked bat Jonathan prepares to fight the Demogorgon turns out to be the only true deterrent they have against the monster... when Steve picks it up and takes some well-placed swings at it.
  • Cool Big Bro: To Will. Jonathan looks after his brother and gives him good advice, like how it's important to stay true to yourself instead of acting a certain way because someone thinks you should. There are more than a few other hints that he's shielded and deflected Will not just from the abuse of bullies, but from their own father many times before.
  • Determinator: He'll stop at nothing to look after and protect his family.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Steve and Nancy following the fight with the Demogorgon.
  • Friendless Background:
    • Unlike his little brother, he doesn't seem to have any friends. Till the end of the series, after which him, Nancy, and Steve become Fire-Forged Friends.
    • At the start of the second season, he's back to avoiding hanging out with the two. Mostly implied to be to give them space due to his and Nancy's UST.
  • Genre Savvy: Eventually. Once he gets it, he goes all in on the whole "I'm in a creature feature" thing.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He seems jealous of Steve and Nancy's relationship, due to having a crush on Nancy. By the end of the season, however, Steve's change in attitude and their mutual fight against the Demogorgon has turned them into friends.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Nancy and he bring a bat and a revolver respectively to kill the monster. Initially, they try practicing with the weapons they picked, but trade when Nancy proves to be the better shot.
  • It's All My Fault: He's terribly remorseful for not being at home when Will was being chased by the monster. Though what he could have done to prevent Will's abduction is debatable.
  • Jump Scare: Supplies one in the second act as we get an abrupt and loud Smash Cut to him trying to improve his aim with a revolver.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: Like Joyce, Jonathan is a quiet person who doesn't get along with most other people, but his bond with his family is stronger than steel, and he quietly sacrifices his own comforts to provide for them, especially Will. He can take a lot of abuse hurled his way, but, just like his mother, the moment you threaten or insult his family, you will regret and deserve the ferocity that he unleashes on you.
  • Loners Are Freaks: What most of the other high school kids think of him, given that he apparently has no (or very few) friends. He occasionally doesn't help his case.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: Steve calls him this almost verbatim before their fight in Season 1.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: He's forced to part with Nancy due to moving out of town, though it's possible they may try a long-distance relationship.
  • Made of Iron: During the hospital fight, Jonathan is strangled, thrown into several walls, hit with a metal stool, and slammed into the ground. He still manages to get up in time to stab his possessed boss to death with scissors.
  • Nice Guy: He's very kind and loving to his family (aside from his POS father) and to Nancy. He's rarely outwardly rude or antagonistic, unless you threaten or make fun of Will. Steve learned that the hard way towards the end of season 1.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gives one to Steve after the latter taunts him about Will's death. It takes three people to pull him away.
  • No Social Skills: He's rather shy and socially awkward, and clearly prefers interacting with the world through a camera lens rather than in person. This contributes to the perception people have of him as a bit of a creep.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Downplayed. In Season 2, he has some hostility towards Joyce's new boyfriend, Bob — he freezes out Bob's attempts to befriend the boys and complains that he doesn't understand what his mother sees in him. However, he never really seems to dislike Bob, he just finds him a bit of a clueless dork. He turns out to be wrong about Bob.
  • The Peeping Tom: Played with. Steve and his friends think that he's just simply a pervert, though Jonathan says that this is not the case. He argues to Nancy that he takes pictures of people while hiding because he wants to assess their demeanor during open conversation. Jonathan's fight with Nancy at the woods confirms this notion, as he pretty much nails down Nancy with remarkable accuracy, to which she has no retort. However, Jonathan turns out to be wrong about his assessment of Steve as a petty jock (though in this case a certain amount of jealousy and resentment can be assumed to be colouring his perceptions). And he admits he should not have taken the pictures of Nancy in her bra, that was the hormones talking, and it was wrong.
  • Promotion to Parent: Thanks to Joyce being overworked, and Lonnie being a terrible person, he's pretty much taken up the 'Dad' role for Will.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: His dad forcing this trope on him using those hunting expeditions when he was younger pretty much convinced him to step in to prevent Lonnie doing similar macho-making things to Will.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He and Nancy deliver these to each other. See Nancy's folder for details.
  • Relationship Upgrade: With Nancy, midway through Season 2.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He accidentally ends up spying on Nancy's and Steve's party, and not-so-accidentally ends up taking creepy pictures of her. This trope is invoked by Steve, Tommy, and Carol after they find out about the photos.
  • The Unfavorite: Downplayed given the circumstances, but during Joyce's obsession over finding Will in the first season, Jonathan states that it's like she forgot that she still has a son that is alive.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Nancy at the end of the first season; she gets back together with Steve but the tension between her and Jonathan is obvious. They get a Relationship Upgrade in Season 2.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Due to his mother's Sanity Slippage and the fact that his dad is a prime douche, he has to step up to take care of a lot of things. Like his little brother's funeral. He also has to deal with the worry that his mother is going through another anxiety episode on top of everything else, yet still keeps it together enough to work out that she's not wrong when Nancy hands him the proof.

    Nancy Wheeler 

Nancy Wheeler
"I wanna finish what we started. I want to kill it."
Played By: Natalia Dyer

"My mom was young. My dad was older, but he had a cushy job, money, came from a good family. So they bought a nice house at the end of the cul-de-sac and started their nuclear family."

Mike's older sister. A straight-arrow highschooler who is starting to experiment with girlfriendhood.

  • Action Girl: She starts out as an Action Survivor, but later graduates to a full-on Action Girl in Season 2 — she even volunteers to be Hopper's backup in gunplay.
  • Academic Athlete: According to "Stranger Things Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion", when she isn't wielding a shotgun at monsters, Nancy is a cheerleader and a player on Varsity Volleyball team in addition to being a member of the National Honor Society, French Club, Student Council, Model UN, and tutoring her peers in writing. She also volunteers at Meals On Wheels and at the Presbyterian Youth Fellowship.
  • Action Survivor: She might be a high school girl coping with hormones and boys, but she has the instincts of a survivor. She can shoot a gun, is willing to face man-eating inter-dimensional monsters while barely blinking, and is perceptive and intelligent enough to figure out that the Demogorgon is drawn to blood.
  • Adorkable: While she's been investing time in being a "proper", image-obsessed, popular-wannabe teenage girl who has never been into D&D, honest, nor playing with her younger brother and his pals, also honest, she's still quite a bit of a nervous dork inside... She's also not exactly lost the trap-sense or improvised weaponry skills: she almost immediately goes on the alert when things start going wonky and makes her initiative and saving rolls count.
  • Aloof Big Sister: At the start of the series, she's rather distant to Mike and she even admits they haven't been talking recently. She decides to drop this in episode 7 when she finds that he's in danger.
  • Amicable Exes: Despite breaking up with Steve, they seem to get along fine as friends.
  • Big Sister Instinct: In spite of her aloof nature towards Mike, she shows her protective towards him when she realizes the danger he's in.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Downplayed. She does occasionally complain and lie about her whereabouts, but when things get serious, like when Barb disappeared, she does go to her mother for help. She's not as self-absorbed as the trope might suggest, however, and is in fact willing to get down and dirty in order to fight the Demogorgon. The only time she really goes all-out on the brattiness is towards her mother shortly after Barb's disappearance which is... fairly justified.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: With Jonathan.
  • Catchphrase: Frequently calling things she doesn't like or disagrees with "bullshit" seems to be her thing. Especially when drunk.
  • Cool Big Sis: Used to be this, and resumes this role by the end of the first season.
    Dustin: She used to be cool. Like that time she dressed as an elf for our Elder tree campaign.
    Mike: Four years ago!
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Gets sloshed at a Halloween party due to the guilt she feels over Barb's death.
  • Dude Magnet: Steve, the local ladykiller of their high school, falls for her. Jonathan has an unresolved romantic tension with her, until season 2. It's heavily implied that Dustin had a crush on in season 1. And the teen employee of the local video arcade attempted to hustle a date from her.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Like another plucky and intellectual brunette from a not-too-distant era, Nancy has to deal with men who put her and her ideas down and see her as nothing but a servant in Season 3.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Starts the series in pinned and styled long hair as a giddy teenage girl seeking popularity, later in the season she puts on a Tomboyish Ponytail when working with Jonathan on finding and killing the Demogorgon; in the second season she has a shorter (though still styled) hairdo that makes her look more mature, as a result of the traumas she's suffered and how much she's grown. Season Three gives her a very curled and teased bob that would help her fit into an office environment where she hopes to start her journalism career, while retaining a sense of being hip and feminine.
  • Expy: To another Nancy: Nancy Thompson, a young woman who turns out to be more than just a small town girl by hunting and destroying the monster that killed her friend.
  • Freak Out!: She suffers a mild breakdown in the shower after her nightmarish chase in the Upside Down with the Demogorgon, having clearly been traumatized by the encounter despite escaping unscathed (she even outright states that she cannot close her eyes without seeing the creature). Part of her reasoning for wanting to kill the creature after this encounter is not just to try and save Barbara but also so she can rest easy knowing it is dead.
  • Generation Xerox: Doesn't want to be like her mom, but shares several of her personality traits, including a Sugar-and-Ice Personality. And while she rags on Karen for marrying someone as dull as her father, Nancy has a fondness for the comparatively taciturn Jonathan.
  • The Gunslinger: Out of the teenagers, Nancy is the only one to consistently use firearms and is the best shooter overall.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Nancy and Jonathan bring a bat and a revolver respectively to kill the monster. Initially, they try practicing with the weapons they picked, but trade when Nancy proves to be the better shot. By the second season, she's apparently been taking firearm lessons on the side, as she proves familiar with a rifle. In season 3, she loots a pistol off a dead Russian and handles it with casual efficiency.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Starts interning at the local paper and tries to break stories surrounding the odd incidents around town. Unfortunately, everyone above her is incredibly sexist so she's ignored and ridiculed for being over-ambitious.
  • In Vino Veritas: Nancy gets trashed at a house party early in season 2, and while completely hammered reveals she believes that everything that's happened since season 1 — the deal with the lab, letting Barb's parents believe she's still out there, and most importantly, her relationship with Steve — is all "bullshit."
  • It's All My Fault: Nancy feels responsible for what happened to Barb because she left her alone to have sex with Steve.
  • It's Personal: After confirmation that the Demogorgon killed Barb, Nancy's reaction is "I want to kill it."
  • Nerves of Steel: Does not even flinch when standing between her friends and a speeding car driven at top speed by Billy, while coolly and accurately shooting an entire pistol-load of bullets at him.
  • Nice Girl: She is one of the few people to be deeply concerned about Barb's disappearance and shows genuine sympathy for Jonathan when his brother goes missing. In the season 2 finale she notices Dustin sitting alone, sad after several girls reject him for a dance and dances with him. She also tells him he's always been her favorite of her brother's friends.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: Nancy is introduced lying on her bed and talking on her bedroom phone in a classic invocation of this trope.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She and Jonathan deliver these to each other: she calls him out for being a "pretentious creep" who assumes that she's being someone she's not by partying and dating Steve, and he calls her out for judging her parents' normal, boring lives while simultaneously acting exactly like every other faux-rebellious suburban girl and not actually doing anything to change her life or break the status quo.
  • Relationship Upgrade: With Jonathan mid-way through Season 2. It is hilariously lamp-shaded by Murray.
  • Sanity Slippage: A mild case, but her second encounter with the creature, in which she is chased and nearly eaten in its dimension, is terrifying enough to leave a bad mental mark on her. She takes this trauma and channels it into determination to kill the creature.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Her response to the shop's owner when she and Jonathan are checking out various equipment and tools to kill the Demogorgon.
    Shop Owner: What are you doing with all this stuff?
    Nancy: Monster hunting.
  • Sherlock Scan: Nancy accurately deduces what happened to the Holloways based on their destroyed furniture and comparing notes to El and Max's findings on them.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: She harbors a crush on Steve, Hawkins High School's local heartthrob.
  • Slut-Shaming: On the receiving end of it from Steve, Carol, and Tommy who spray paint "Nancy the slut Wheeler" on a movie theater marquee. It was assumed she was two-timing Steve with Jonathan, when they were simply teaming up to find Barb and Will.
  • Spoiled Sweet: She uses her internship to try and make a difference, even if it means breaking the rules. After this gets her and Jonathan fired Jonathan tells her that while she can afford to take risks and be rebel against unfair authority, he has to put up with it due to his poverty.
  • Survivor's Guilt: It's pretty clear she feels more than a little responsible for Barb going AWOL in the first place. Not that she could have known what would happen, but she did pretty much shove Barb out the door to become the easily picked-off spare wheel. Barb wasn't wrong in her suspicions that Nancy was just using her as transport/cover for what she had been planning for days (especially since she convinced Barb to go by asking her to make sure Nancy didn't get into something she didn't want). Her guilt at Barb's parents' lack of closure drives her actions in season 2.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Dons one when she and Jonathan begin to cooperate together to find and kill the Demogorgon. Dons it again at the end of season 2 following her Relationship Upgrade with Jonathan and keeps it until all the fighting and monster-killing is over.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nancy goes from the typical teenage archetype to a badass, gun-wielding Action Girl.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Towards Mike's friends. She goes from slamming the door in Dustin's face (first episode), to telling him that he was her favorite among Mike's friends (season 2 finale).
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Jonathan, given she gets back together with Steve despite her charged history with Jonathan. It gets resolved in 2x06, but with generous - and hilarious - lampshading on Murray's part.
    Murray: So... Jonathan... how was the pull-out?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Subjected to this by Jonathan after they're chewed out by their boss. Nancy comes from a privileged background and upper-middle class family who may likely provide her with enough connections for her to have some clout even at her age. Jonathan meanwhile came from a broken family that teeters on the edge of poverty while he's trying to save up for college tuition. So if Nancy's actions drag him down with her, he has every right to call her out on it.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: She's basically a glorified waitress for the staff at the newspaper, running out to get everyone lunch and pouring coffee. Any attempts for her to rise above this are brutally shot down with sexist remarks and staff condescendingly calling her "Nancy Drew."

    Steve Harrington 

Steven "Steve" Harrington
"I'm stealthy, like a ninja."
Played By: Joe Keery

"I was worried about you... I can’t believe that I was actually worried about you."

A popular jock at Hawkins High with a crush on Nancy and some skewed priorities.

  • '80s Hair: The best example of '80s Hair in the show — it's very tall, with a single curl looping over his forehead from under his quiff. In Season 2 it gets longer and more mullet-y, and he admits he actually uses women's shampoo and hairspray to get the look, specifically designed to emulate Farrah Fawcett's feathery locks.
    Steve: [to Dustin] Faberge Organics. Use the shampoo and the conditioner and when your hair is damp - not wet, but damp - you do four puffs of the Farrah Fawcett spray.
  • Action Survivor: Probably the most pronounced example of this in the series since Steve absolutely sucks in a fistfight. Though he is effective at fighting with his nail-spiked baseball bat.
  • Adorkable: When he isn't focused on trying to be a walking stereotype, he actually lets a little of the inner-dork shine through — particularly when alone with Nancy. It's, admittedly, a good look on him. Pity he's spent a lot of time trying to bury it. However, not with as much success as he'd want: he projects the physically-capable-anywhere-Jock, but cannot seem to fully follow through.
  • Always Someone Better: He turns out to be on the receiving end quite frequently: Jonathan kicks his ass in a fight, and it's indicated he has no chance to take on Tommy, either. And Billy is pretty much this all around: the girls swoon over him the second he turns up, he's better on the basketball courts, and he laughs off Steve's punches before subjecting him to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • The Atoner: After the fight with Jonathan, he starts realizing what an ass he's been. He tells Tommy and Carol off, helps clean up their vandalism, and goes to apologize to Jonathan. This puts him right in the thick of the monster hunt so he can further prove his remorse by returning to save Jonathan and Nancy in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Badass Normal: Lacking Eleven's psychic powers or Hopper's veteran combat skills, he's the third most capable character on the show against the threats from the Upside Down, only using a spiked baseball bat, when heavily armed soldiers are shown to fail at the same task.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: The Scoops Ahoy uniform in Season 3, complete with a sailor hat. Sorry Steve, company policy.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Unofficially the party's babysitter by the final episodes of Season 2. He declares himself responsible for their safety, but gets concussed by Billy and hauled into a car driven by an underage girl en route to the Upside-Down by the kids in short order. He goes with it, though, and still has their well-being as his top priority.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Implied to be this from his introduction, but gets subverted as he fills a big brother role.
  • Batter Up!: Despite basketball supposedly being his specialty, he proves very effective with a baseball bat when fighting alongside Nancy and Jonathan against the Demogorgon. Season 2 reveals he kept it.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In Season 2 he grows very protective of the kids under his care particularly Dustin. He even lampshades that he's a shockingly good babysitter, and on the fan side of things, there's no shortage of Mom!Steve memes.
  • Big Brother Mentor: In Season 2, to Dustin of all people. He advises the kid on hairstyling, how to attract girls, and even gives him a ride to the Snow Ball.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In Season 1, he promptly comes to Jonathan and Nancy's aid against the Demogorgon.
    • In Season 3, he arrives just in time to crash a car into the car Billy is driving towards the other characters, saving them at the last second.
  • Big Man on Campus: Steve is a star jock and a Casanova with the ladies, making him the most popular guy in school. In season 2, however, Billy rather easily unseats him. Possibly due to Steve's character development, however.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Steve is a jock and the Big Man on Campus, so he's pretty confident in his brawling skills. In practice, however, he's a pretty terrible fist fighter (without a baseball bat in his hands).
    • He gets soundly beaten by Jonathan (in an Unstoppable Rage) in Season 1, not providing much of a fight back.
    • In Season 1 he threatens but ultimately backs down from fighting Tommy, who reminds him that if he couldn't beat Jonathan on his own, he doesn't stand a chance against Tommy.
    • In Season 2 he's marginally more successful against the Ax Crazy Billy but still loses very definitively. Whilst he gets in a few decent punches this time, Billy literally laughs them off, and when he really fights back, Steve goes down hard - lampshaded by Dustin.
    • Dustin lampshades the trope in Season 3 and gives him somewhat condescending congratulations when he finally wins a fight.
  • Burger Fool: King Steve, former ruler of Hawkins High, is the newest sailor on deck at Scoops Ahoy in Season 3.
  • Butt-Monkey: By and large things just really don't go his way.
    • He gets his ass kicked by Jonathan in Season 1. Tommy mocks him for this, and Steve is simply not able to do anything about it because, as Tommy points out, if he can't take Jonathan Byers, he has no chance against him.
    • Later loses Nancy to Jonathan in Season 2, though to his credit he's very mature about it and remains friends with both of them.
    • Then Billy shows up in Season 2, fully intending to "dethrone" "King Steve". He beats him at basketball, all the girls swoon over him, and then he kicks Steve's ass during their fight in "The Gate", with a notable amount of glee no less. He only stops battering Steve's face in when Max drugs him.
    • Played with concerning the kids. He ends up being dragged along against his will to enter the tunnels and act as a distraction for the Demo-Dogs by setting a fire in the 'hub'... but this is mainly because he was knocked unconscious by Billy during the aforementioned fight, meaning the kids could just drag him along against his will, and his attempts to show authority over them were initially hampered by the fact that he was clearly suffering a mild concussion and so wasn't exactly at peak performance. The rest of the time, when we see them together he is a lot more successful at establishing authority over them (although of the kids, Mike tends to be the most openly defiant and rebellious; Lucas, Dustin and Max are a lot more inclined to defer to Steve).
    • Season 3 continues with the tradition of him getting a serious beating, this time courtesy of the Soviets. He would almost qualify as a Chew Toy if the situations he finds himself in wouldn't get progressively more dangerous.
    • Also in season 3, he falls for and eventually pours out his heart to Robin... and gets rejected, apparently as the result of Incompatible Orientation. To Steve’s credit, he once again handles rejection maturely, and remains very close friends with Robin. This is especially impressive given the time period the show is set in, where homosexuality was not widely accepted.
  • Car Fu: During the season 3 finale, he arrives as The Cavalry and saves Nancy from being crushed by Billy.
  • Character Development: He has one of the more distinct character arcs in the series, starting out as fun but somewhat pushy about a relationship with Nancy, becoming a jealous jerk when it comes to Jonathan's friendship with Nancy (due in no small part to his poisonous friends), and finally realizing what a jerk he was and genuinely trying to make things right. Season 2 develops him further, with him becoming something of a big brother figure to Dustin and helping out the kids throughout the season.
  • The Charmer: He's the local heartthrob of Hawkins and supposedly had an impressive track record prior to falling for Nancy.
  • Chew Toy: Even though the punishment he goes through in every season isn't exactly funny in itself, his reaction afterwards is, like him being completely dazed after Billy's beating, or being drugged by the Russians.
  • Chick Magnet: Besides Nancy, Steve is often noted to be a local heartthrob around Hawkins High. This starts to fail him in Season 3, see Future Loser.
  • Cool Car: It's not featured as prominently as Billy's Camaro, but Steve has a pretty nice BMW 733i. Steve also joyously commandeered "The Toddfather" and was its "daddy" while it lasted.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He holds onto the spiked bat after fighting the Demogorgon, keeping it in his car trunk. Though when Dustin asks if he still has it in season 2, there's no denying the dawning realisation and fear in his eyes as he realises what Dustin is implying.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Steve can, for the lack of a better term, be considered an expert monster-slayer. In a world where professionally trained soldiers are regularly eaten alive by the horrors of the Upside Down, Steve's track record puts him right below Eleven and Hopper in terms of being a badass. And yet...he absolutely sucks when up against regular, ordinary people. Jonathan is considerably scrawnier, and still beats him in a fight. Billy isn't much more built than him either, and utterly beats his ass in.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Ever sat through an 80s film and yelled at the chick-magnet Jerk Jock for being a stereotypical Card-Carrying Villain for no good reason beyond "we need a jerk character in this spot for you to hate"? Well, here we have one who refreshingly wises up to, and actively faces down, his Poisonous Friend and slight Inferiority Superiority Complex problems. He also goes quite a long way towards mending busted fences like a human being with a semi-functional social intelligence quotient should. Season 2 continues this as he grows closer to the kids and becomes protective to them, even turning into a Big Brother Mentor for Dustin.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Ultimately breaks up with Nancy in season 2. In season 3, he gains an interest in Robin and they seem like an ideal couple... But Robin isn't into Steve like that, or any guy for that matter.
  • Dork Knight: Has plenty of Adorkable moments around Nancy and ultimately subverts the Jerk Jock trope by showing he genuinely cares for her.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first appearance has him successfully woo Nancy in true 1980s king-of-the-school fashion, but arguably his real establishing moment comes later, when he's trying to sneak into Nancy's house courtesy of a garbage can, a garage roof and a drain pipe... and is making an utter hash of it, to the point where Mike, who notices him, can only roll his eyes. For all his surface cool and charm, he's a lot more hapless and klutzy than he first seems. His true character is further established when, after finally making into Nancy's room, he begins to help her prepare for her test, makes a move to seduce her... and then, when she reveals she's not comfortable doing so, willingly goes back to helping her prepare for the test. He's also a lot nicer and more decent than he first seems.
  • Flanderization: In a show that boasts some pretty extensive Character Development for the main cast, Steve seems to have been hit by this, at least partially: he starts out as a somewhat lazy jock in the first season, but gets progressively more Book Dumb until, in season 3, he not only knows literally nothing brainy (which fits his characterization) but is also pretty oblivious about pop culture (like movies) as well. On top of that, he has become more than just a bit clumsy.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • While the entire protagonist main cast qualifies as this, Steve is this the most with Dustin, the one of the original four with whom he has had shared story arcs in seasons 2 and 3. Also doubles as his Big Brother Mentor, at least in the second season.
    • He also becomes this with Robin in the third season; they start out as reluctant co-workers who can barely tolerate each other's presence, and end up being practically best friends with each other.
  • First Guy Wins: Played with. While Nancy and Jonathan grow closer throughout the season, the finale shows she's chosen to stay with Steve after his Heel–Face Turn. The pair are a cute couple supposedly very in love ...up until Nancy gets drunk, the pair fight, and Nancy hooks up with Jonathan in Season 2.
  • Freak Out!: Has a minor one when he finally sees the Demogorgon. Cue screaming, cursing and an impressively high leap over an open bear trap in Jonathan's hallway. He takes it quite well, all things considered.
  • Future Loser:
    • It's subtle, but early in the second season it's implied that Steve is fearful that this is the direction that his life is veering. He's struggling with his essay for his college admission application, Billy starts to show him up as the Big Man on Campus, and then Nancy winds up dumping him while she's drunk.
    • Season 3 shows Steve well on his way to loser-hood. He admits he was unable to get into any college and his $3-an-hour Scoops Ahoy job becomes a terrible taste of things to come. It even degrades his romantic skills; as Robin gleefully notes, he is 0/7 hitting on cute female customers, due primarily to the overpowering Future Loser signals he's sending out now.
      • By the end of the season, there’s some hope for him, as Robin is helping him get a job.
    • Not to mention his attempts to input on the group's plan-making, which usually end with him making himself look a little dumb. He means well, but he's not especially book-smart.
      Steve: What's that?
      Literally everyone else present: Morse code.
  • Has a Type: Both of his major Love Interests (Nancy and Robin) are tough, independent-minded Brainy Brunettes who see Steve's good side but aren't afraid to call out his flaws. The similarities between the two girls make his insistence to Dustin that Robin is not his type all the more dubious.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He is more caring and brave than he shows at first, finally revealing the person Nancy sees in him.
    • In season 2, following a fight in which he arguably wasn't in the wrong, he shows up at Nancy's house with flowers, practicing an "I'm sorry and I love you" speech. He's interrupted by Dustin, who has bigger and grimmer concerns, however.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Most of his worst behavior against Nancy and Jonathan is born out of a misunderstanding: he observes them in what appears to be a tender moment, and believes that Nancy is cheating on him. He realizes that his behavior was out of line and strives to make up for it even before finding out that his impression was wrong. Though the second season shows that his early suspicions were in fact correct, and this time he reacts to it with more maturity.
  • Incompatible Orientation: He falls for Robin, only for her to reveal that she's gay.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: It's pretty clear he's set out to become what he thinks A Real Man should be... and, to do that, constantly tries to shore that up by using the worst sounding-board "friends" imaginable to bounce off. It's not that successful, as it's clearly costing him emotionally, even at the start of the series.
  • Insult of Endearment: Robin regularly refers to Steve as "dingus".
  • It's All About Me: He could be rather self-centered before changing. His first reaction when he realized that Barb was missing that how much trouble he was going to get in when his parents found out about the party.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In Season 2, when he realizes that Nancy loves Jonathan, he's completely supportive of her. The pair of them are friendly with no hint of lingering bitterness, though it's clear at the end of season 2 that he still has feelings for her. In Season 3, after he admits he's starting to fall for Robin, but she comes out to him as a lesbian, he decides he still wants to be her supportive friend.
  • Jerkass: For most of Season 1, he was a total prick to Jonathan (and Nancy at times).
  • Jerkass Realization: His better qualities are clear from the start, such as when he genuinely helps Nancy study for a test, but he was nevertheless something of a smug bully. He becomes nicer and reorders his priorities when Jonathan delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to him after being taunted by him about his dead brother. He regrets his actions toward Nancy and realizes that his so-called friends, Carol and Tommy, are jerkasses.
  • Jerk Jock: At first, he was a rude and arrogant basketball player.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though he really does prove to be a decent person beneath; he genuinely cares for Nancy, later Dustin and the other kids.
  • Ladykiller in Love:
    • Lampshaded by Tommy who teases Steve, local heartthrob of Hawkins High, for having fallen for Nancy. Also lampshaded by Steve himself in season 2, when giving girl advice for Dustin, he warns the younger boy not to fall in love, as "she'll only break your heart, and you're too young for that", giving insight into his own feelings about Nancy and perhaps a slight bitterness about how it didn't go so well. To his credit, he doesn't obsess over it and behaves very maturely.
    • He develops an attachment to Robin after getting to know her better. Unfortunately Robin doesn't feel the same way, not just because she's a lesbian but because his popularity with the girls meant she had to give up on a crush.
  • Lez Bro: He's one for Robin, being that he's a straight ladykiller and she's only one of those things.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He suspects that Nancy is cheating on him with Jonathan and later gets in a fight with him. Little does he know that Nancy and Jonathan are actually joining forces to fight a monster of unspeakable horror. He enters the loop late in the season the hard way, as Nancy and Jonathan bait the Demogorgon in the Byers home.
  • Made of Iron: His unimpressive offense skills are in stark contrast to his ability to call attention to himself in dangerous group situations and take massive and sometimes unusual levels of punishment. Whether its putting himself on the front line to protect the Party against Demodogs, getting pummeled into hamburger by Billy or Russians, or providing a safe emotional space for Robin to come out after rejecting his advances, Steve is a classic "meat shield" for other characters.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gets a shirtless shower scene alongside Billy in Season 2.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He reaches a new low after he taunts Jonathan with the death of Will. After he calms down and his conscience breaks through the red anger, he both regrets it completely and mans-up to head to the Byers' home to do the harder thing: genuinely apologize. Considering his face is still covered in blood from the beating Jonathan gave him it's especially admirable.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Subverted. While guns don't tend to have much effect on demogorgons, the impact of Steve's baseball bat does knock them around and make them retreat. With the exception of Eleven, he's the only person who deals any real damage to the Demogorgon and later the Demodogs.
  • Nice Guy: He mellows out into one by Season 2, though he's still not above (jokingly) using insults like "dipshit" to his dear friends. By Season 3 you'd never guess how much of a prick he used to be, aside from the occasional snark. While he's much less of a one in the first season, there are nevertheless hints at this, the implication being he's deep down a pretty decent guy who's happened to fall in with a bad crowd.
  • Odd Friendship: In Season 2, he becomes a Big Brother Mentor to Dustin, of all people. The two have a hilarious yet heart-warming dynamic.
  • Once a Season: Steve getting curb stomped into a bloody mess. Lampshaded by Dustin in Season 3 who brings up Steve's asswhoopings from Billy in Season 2 and Jonathan in Season 1. Doubly subverted when he wins his first fistfight against a Russian guard, but is subsequently captured and beaten bloody during interrogation.
  • Parental Neglect: From what little we see, his parents appear to be rather emotionally checked out where he's concerned and seem to spend long periods away from the family home leaving him to his own devices. This is probably a key contributing factor to many of his issues.
  • Reality Ensues: In Season 3, now out in the work force, his neglect of his studies in high school means no college will accept him, limiting his career options to minimum wage jobs like Scoops Ahoy. No one in the real world cares about his high school popularity, either.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He reveals to Dustin that he styles his hair with Farrah Fawcett hairspray and with Faberge Organics shampoo.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • He is more worried about being caught for drinking than for the disappearance of either Will or Barb. He snaps out of it when he realizes what a complete douche he's being to people he actually likes. Cue a massive refocus as he actively tries to make amends.
    • He never really comes to grips with the Barb thing, but by Season 2 it looks more like he's deflecting the fear and guilt of her death as a coping mechanism, particularly when he attends a dinner with Nancy at Barb's parents' house.
  • Team Dad: Of sorts, with Dustin, Lucas, and Max - less so to Mike. While he takes on the role somewhat begrudgingly, he does genuinely care about them and does his best to protect them from harm. When the Demodogs attack the kids, he's the first to either get between them and the dogs or in the finale of Season 2, to push them up the rope to get them out of the tunnels with the demodogs chasing them and shields Dustin when he can't get him up in time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Goes from barely having the courage to face the Demogorgon to being ready to face down an army of Demodogs.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Several. While he does some pretty awful, self-absorbed things, Steve eventually proves to be a decent guy. He clearly has Nancy's best interests in mind, and makes up for smashing Jonathan's camera by buying him a new one for Christmas. By season two, he's developed a Big Brother Instinct for the kids. It's implied that Tommy and Carol were a bad influence on an otherwise good kid going through a confusing adolescence, since in Season 2 Tommy only speaks to Steve once to insult him and Carol is rarely seen at all (and never anywhere near Steve), and Steve has become an all-round nice guy. Taken to legendary levels in Season 3 when Steve reveals enough of his good nature to Robin during their adventures that she eventually feels safe enough to out herself as lesbian to him, which was a huge personal risk in the 80s with the AIDS epidemic and queer acceptance not in the mainstream yet. Steve responds by making Robin laugh with an impression of her unrequited girl crush's awful singing voice and gently reaffirming their friendship.
  • Weapon of Choice: His nail-spiked bat that proved extremely effective against the Demogorgon, with Season 2 revealing that he kept it and actually has become legend among the other protagonists.
  • Weapon Twirling: He tends to twirl his baseball bat when gearing up to go into battle.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Immediately after his first (terrifying) encounter with the creature, Jonathan and Nancy tell Steve to leave for his own safety, Nancy going so far as to point a loaded gun at his head. With this in mind it's no surprise he leaves the house. He gets as far as his car, then sees the flickering lights that indicate the monster has returned... and goes back into the house to help.

    Billy Hargrove 

Billy Hargrove
"You smell that, Max? That’s actually shit. Cow shit."

Played By: Dacre Montgomery

"I'm older than you and something you learned is that there's certain people in this world that you stay away from... and that kid Max... that kid is one of them."

Hawkins High School's new transfer student and Max's stepbrother.

  • '80s Hair: Sports a fairly raggedy rocker's mullet, which contrasts Steve's perfectly coiffed, though still mulleted 'do. Billy does take care to style it when he's going out on a date.
  • Aloof Big Brother: He's a mix of this and Big Brother Bully to Max. He either bullies or just ignores her existence without a care in the world.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Kind of a given, being a human high school bully in a Lovecraftian horror story.
  • And I Must Scream: While he's possessed by the Mind-Flayer, Billy is fully conscious and forced to witness himself doing things even he'd draw the line at doing.
  • Anti-Role Model: Max states she hates Billy, and she refuses to be anything like him. Her deciding to hang out with Mike and the rest seems to be explicitly based on Billy's attempt to kill them on top of remembering how she blew them off earlier.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all the abuse Billy put her through in Season 2, Season 3 shows that he holds some care for her. His final words are an apology for everything he had done after sacrificing himself to save El and the rest of her friends, including Max herself.
  • Ax-Crazy:
  • Bait the Dog: Twice in a row, even!
    • During basketball practice, Billy knocks Steve to the floor and offers him an outstretched hand to help him up. Steve accepts, and Billy gives Steve good advice on keeping a stable stance in basketball — before violently shoving him to the floor.
    • Later, in the showers, Billy seems to initially be sympathetic towards Steve breaking up with Nancy. He then says that "there are plenty of bitches in the sea", and says he'll "save [Steve] some" as he leaves.
  • Barbarian Longhair: He has an '80s Hair and is extremely capable in put a fight. During his final confrontation with Steve in season 2, Billy is practically unstoppable. This makes sense, as Billy's favorite exercise is weight training routinely. Invoked near the end of Season 2; shortly before Karen Wheeler meets him, she's shown reading a bodice-ripper with one of these on the cover - and they're a dead ringer for him.
  • Berserk Button: Referring to Max as his sister will set him off.
  • Big Brother Bully: A major one to Max, at times being emotionally and physically abusive to her.
  • Big Man on Campus: He tells Steve that he's taking his place as the ruler of the school.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He finally gets pressed into this when Eleven makes him realize just how terrible he's become. It's enough that he goes on a suicide mission to protect the kids from the Mind Flayer.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To Karen. He lies that he's worried about Max when he doesn't care about her at all; it's just to get in her good graces.
  • The Bully: He always treats Steve like crap. Season 3 shows that he gradually became this as a result of his father's abuse, even taking up Neil's insults and aggression when a younger Billy is shown beating up another kid.
  • Bully Brutality: Nothing more brutal than thinking about running over three students without a hint of guilt.
  • The Casanova: He makes it clear that he plans of dating Hawkins's female population and even had a date only a few days after moving to Hawkins.
  • The Charmer: He's pretty much taken over Steve's old position of local asshole heartthrob. While his scenes with Max make him unambiguously despicable, the girls at the school swoon over him and he's seen charming Mrs. Wheeler in another scene.
  • Chick Magnet: On his first day of school, three girls instantly become hot for him. Mike's mother is attracted to him. In season three there's even an entourage of women who regularly turn up to the pool where he works as a lifeguard to check out Billy.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Despite being a high school student, he turns out to have the abs of an underwear model.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Billy has no trouble bashing Steve's head in with a plate to daze and distract him so he can turn the tables in their fight.
  • Cool Car: Speeds around in a vintage Camaro.
  • Death by Irony: Alpha male wanna-be, prone to violent outbursts, seeks to dominate others, etc. Within the first minute of his confrontation with the Cthulhu of this universe, he screams, threatens, gets a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, and then the Upside Down proceeds to dominate him up until his death.
  • Defiant to the End: Billy's final moments? Screaming in defiant rage against the Mind Flayer, even as he knows the end is coming.
  • The Dreaded: And for a very good reason. During his final confrontation with Steve in season 2, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas are clearly disturbed by his presence.
  • Dying as Yourself: Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer for almost the entire season, and only briefly manages a few lucid moments. However in the climax he manages to throw off its influence, and chooses to go down swinging by delaying the Mind Flayer long enough for Joyce to close the Gate even though it costs him his life.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His moment comes when he drives Max home. He's indifferent to her, blames her for them being stuck in Hawkins in an extremely violent manner, calls the girls at his school sluts and scares Max by trying to run down Lucas, Dustin, and Mike.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He dearly loved his mother, but when she left his abusive father he took out his angst on other kids. When Eleven probed his mind, the first thing she saw was Billy's mother, hinting that he still misses her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In an ephemeral period of lucidity, Billy is genuinely horrified and even distraught at the deaths he's caused under the Mind Flayer's influence, even tearfully telling Max that he was forced to do those things. He does manage to stop himself attacking Karen Wheeler, which very likely saves the Wheelers the same fate as the other unfortunate souls he can't stop himself abducting.
  • Evil Counterpart: He's one to both Jonathan and Steve but more one for Steve.
    • For Steve — They were both the teen heartthrob and something of a Jerk Jock. But while Steve learned the error of his ways and changes for the better, Billy never learns anything. Also, they are both forced into position of responsibilities over children. Billy turns out to be a huge bully to Max, forget simply what he did to the main group of protagonists early on in Season 2; Steve becomes protective of the whole gaggle of misfits, even becoming a Big Brother Mentor to Dustin.
    • For Jonathan — They both have horrible fathers and a sibling that shapes their characters. But while Jonathan is a great big brother and the school's freak, Billy is abusive towards Max and the new big man on campus. The comparison does Billy no favours, as he's slowly turning into a Lonnie Byers in front of our eyes, while Jonathan quite carefully isn't.
  • Evil Is Petty: Threatens to run over Max's new friends because she angered him.
  • Expy: A pretty blatant one of Henry Bowers from Stephen King's IT: an obnoxious, violent older bully with a racist streak, who treats the local "losers" like shit, and ultimately proves himself to be an unhinged and sadistic maniac... but who is also the product of his own violently abusive father who influenced his horrible behavior.
    • Season 3 makes him one for Lucas "Dodge" Caravaggio, a popular teenager who gets possessed by an eldritch demon from a dimension of evil, then proceeds to spread the sickness so he can end the world, and after getting foiled, is able to die as himself . A key difference is that Dodge is a genuinely good person before getting mind-flayed, while Billy is not.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: When the Party locks him in a sauna, he resorts to getting on his knees and begging Max to let him out. Then he collapses on his side, where he's able to grab a shard of floor tile without drawing suspicion.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's quite suave when he wants to be, almost literally charming the pants off Karen Wheeler, but it's a facade that hides an extremely callous and cruel interior.
  • Foil: Billy has an antagonistic Sensitive Guy and Manly Man dynamic with Steve through the second season. By this point, Steve has dropped a lot of his posturing from the first season and has mellowed out enough to understand that wearing a bit of pink now and again won't kill him, while Billy more or less has all of Steve's former negative traits cranked up to an ugly eleven. What Steve has lost in terms of Jockdom, he's gained more through happiness being a better, more capable brother figure (and bona fide monster hunter) than Billy can even imagine being. In many ways, it shows that, although still highly unsympathetic, Billy is quite the Tragic Villain on a very shallow lifestyle trajectory.
  • Freudian Excuse: He's a jackass because of his father's abuse. Eleven confirmed this when she scanned his memories.
  • From New York to Nowhere: Implied to be the case with him and his step sister. While it's never stated which part of California they moved from, Billy is clearly disgusted by how small and rural Hawkins is.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In full swing. As a child, he had a loving, supportive mother alongside a bright future as a surfer ahead of him. But then his abusive, apparently homophobic father drove his mother away and he grew up to be the psychopathic bully he is today - and in Season 3, he's the Mind Flayer's fearsome right-hand man and one of its most tenacious, powerful minions.
  • Gym Bunny: When he's not sleeping around, bullying Max, or being a jerk in general, he's seen working out to maintain his physique.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Billy's temperament is a powder-keg that can literally blow at any second.
  • Hate Sink: In Season 2, he routinely cusses out his younger stepsister, attempts to run over Mike, Lucas, and Dustin, shows a violent and unstable personality, makes many misogynistic comments, and physically attacks the kids more than once. Toned down in Season 3, as he's more focused on flirting around than causing senseless violence and spends most of the season possessed by the Mind Flayer. Well and truly broken when Eleven discovers why he turned out the way he did, which results in him redeeming himself.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He falls against the Mind Flayer for the sake of the others, even though he knows it will mean his end.
  • Hidden Depths: Billy is the product of an abusive and unpleasable parent who stamped out his kindness, forced him to abandon hobbies like surfing and fostered a resentment towards Max. Yet he does care for her beneath all his vitriol and despite his penchant for violence is deeply disturbed by the things he's forced to do in season 3. We also learn that a major turning point in his life was when his mother left him and this was the final nail in the coffin of the nice boy he once was in the past.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The beginning of the end for him comes about during a failed attempt to get Nancy and Mike’s mom, Karen Wheeler, to cheat on her husband. Its all downhill from there.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: When he was a child he showed a passion and talent for surfing. His father (who is a violent homophobe) discouraged him from it because it didn't meet his standard of manliness.
  • Jerkass: He is aggressive, easily-angered, physically violent, confrontational, possessive and controlling.
  • Jerk Jock: He's shown to be rather muscular and good at basketball and a major jerk to everyone around him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: The only time Billy shows concern for Max is because his father bullied him into searching for her. Amazingly, this scene with his father is brutal enough to elicit at least some sympathy towards the otherwise-sociopathic douchebag.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's finally stopped by Max, the person he picked on the most, when she gives him a drug that makes him faint and threatens a Crippling Castration if he doesn't leave her and her friends alone while he's incapacitated.
  • Laughably Evil: His constant Large Ham tendencies occasionally crosses the line into hilarious.
  • Likes Older Women: If his interaction with Karen Wheeler is an indicator, older women are also included in the slew of females he likes to woo.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He's unaware of The Upside Down and its dangers.
  • Men Are Tough: Could very well be the textbook example of machismo; constantly brags about the amount of girls he sleeps with, makes it his mission on the basketball court to try and one-up Steve, spends all of his free-time when he's not dating trying to maintain his physique, and also has a Hair-Trigger Temper and prone to violent mood-swings. Naturally, this is all brutal overcompensation for how much his father demeans and bullies him at home. And fittingly enough, it takes Max threatening him in a very specific way for him to finally back off.
  • Mood-Swinger: His outbursts of anger are incredibly spontaneous.
  • Mouth of Sauron: To the Mind-Flayer in Season 3.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He and Steve get a shirtless shower scene together, revealing that both have very toned chests. He is also seen playing basketball with his shirt off more than once. Then he becomes a lifeguard.
  • Mundanger. In a world filled with monsters, psychic children, and unseen horrors from other dimensions, Billy's unstable psyche, and willingness to harm any of the kids makes him one of the most dangerous human threats to the Party.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When the Mind-Flayer is intimidating Eleven by talking to her through Billy, he weeps openly, implying that all the horrific things he's done over the past few days were too much even for him.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Implied that because of how abusive his father is to him, Billy is in turn controlling of Max to compensate for that.
  • Narcissist: Incredibly so. He spends plenty of time on his appearance, blames his stepsister for them moving to Hawkins when she had nothing to do with it, goes murderous if she talks back to him and when Max disappeared, he was more concerned about his date than her safety. He also had the gall to pretend to care about her in front of Karen.
  • New Transfer Student: He transfers into Hawkins High from California at the start of season 2.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: During his final confrontation with Steve in season 2, Billy gives him a very brutal and violent beatdown with a sadistic glee after smashing a plate over Steve's head to turn the tables of the fight.
  • One-Winged Angel: Downplayed. Billy as a regular human alone is physically intimidating enough. He is significantly more terrifying when the Mind Flayer turns him into Flayed Billy, who can easily smash through steel doors, shrug off attacks with blunt objects, and proves more than a match for Eleven's psychic powers.
  • Parental Abandonment: Part of what turned him into what he is today. Although his mother was much more loving towards him than his father, she left the family because of her husband's constant abuse and never bothered to take Billy with her or even have contact with him for that matter.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Subtle, but him getting a job as a lifeguard in Season 3 implies that he has a genuine commitment to doing something with his life besides causing torment, and he is never seen being abusive to Max in any way before the Mind Flayer hijacks his body.
    • After getting possessed by the Mind Flayer, Billy experiences the urge to kill Karen, but resists just long enough to tell her to get away from him. Given how wired he is for violence, that's pretty impressive.
    • After being reminded of his happier memories with his mother by Eleven, Billy holds off against the Mind Flayer's influence and stands in front of her to stop the monster from getting to her, which is quite sweet considering that up until this point that El had been a stranger to him, but he still makes the choice to save her.
    • His last words to Max, although they count as a Tear Jerker moment as well - "I'm sorry."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He's a racist who dislikes Lucas just because he's black (Word of God confirmed that), and the way he talks about the girls at school would today be recognized as highly misogynistic.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Certainly isn't very adult in manner, especially when he's angry or euphoric.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After being antagonistic for most of the series, he dies sacrificing himself to save Max and her friends.
  • The Renfield: He becomes one to the Mind Flayer in Season 3.
  • Sadist: Once he throws Steve to the ground, he manages to give him an extremely brutal beating and deriving great pleasure from it. He clearly was enjoying doing this.
  • Serious Business: When he becomes a lifeguard, he shows a surprising amount of responsibility for the job. He routinely stops kids from running around the pool and shows up for his shift on the dot, even when he'd just been in a car accident the night before. Possibly because the job lets him flirt with local women and he's not going to throw away such an opportunity. Less admirably, it also gives him a socially-acceptable reason to pick on his chosen targets; notice how, of all the possible people he could have made an example of, he chose to humiliate an overweight child.
  • Shirtless Scene: He has a few scenes that show off his muscles.
  • The Sociopath: Possibly. So much so, the creators of the show even stated that he was going to be the sociopathic character type. At very least, it's clearly demonstrated or at least hinted that he has many of the relevant character traits:
    • Lack of Empathy. He revels in hurting other people and displays no concern or remorse towards them beyond how doing so affects him;
    • Manipulative. Contrast how effortlessly he turns on the charm with Mrs. Wheeler to get what he wants and knows exactly what buttons to press with her compared with the cruel, sullen and hostile person we've seen throughout the series;
    • Thrill-seeking. He's constantly gunning his car around the streets at reckless speeds and his response when Steve actually starts fighting him is to burst out laughing in delight;
    • Shallow personal relationships based on his own gratification. He's frequently shown to be dominating the social scene at the school, with lots of female attention, but he never seems particularly interested in any of the people surrounding him and constantly gives off a cold, disengaged vibe;
    • Narcissism. He spends a lot of time weight-lifting and otherwise concerned with his physical appearances.
    • Blames others for his own shortcomings. Heavily implied between him and Max; while the actual reasons are sketchy, he seems to blame her for the reasons their family had to move to Indiana, whereas a quick glimpse at the dynamics between the two would clearly suggest that he's the more likely culprit behind whatever happened.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Troy, who is absent from the second season. Both are bullies, and borderline homicidal... although Billy is even more Ax-Crazy than Troy!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Everything that happens to him in Season 3 all came about because he decided to check his hair in his rear-view mirror while driving at night.
  • Troubled Abuser: His psychotic behavior and mistreatment of Max is rooted in his own father's violent treatment of him and his original mother.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He’s got the rebel look down. Most, if not all scenes with women actively lusting after someone from afar, the attention is on him. He’s also a psychopathic man child in season 2, and in season 3 it's even worse.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Very much so. It's all but explicitly stated that had he been raised to maturity by his loving mother rather than his abusive prick of a father, he would have been a sweetheart as a young adult rather than the jackass bully that he turned out to be.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Upon being reminded of a happier time in his life by Eleven, Billy finally realises that he's turned out like his father and decides to fight the Mind Flayer by himself, all to protect the others and knowing full well it would easily kill him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He nearly murdered Mike, Lucas, and Dustin (three children, no less!) by trying to run them over with his car, just because Max talked back to him. He even pins Lucas against a wall, threatening to physically harm him. It's also implied he abuses Max physically.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He gets taken over by the Mind Flayer in Season 3, and starts turning other townspeople, but he had an abusive father. The only time he was truly happy was when he was with his biological mother.

    Robin Buckley 

Robin Buckley

Played By: Maya Hawke
"How many children are you friends with?"
Steve's coworker at Scoops Ahoy.
  • Allergic to Routine: She's bored out of her mind at work and seeks every opportunity to do more engaging things like keep score of Steve's pickup failures. She lucks out when Dustin arrives with a Russian radio transmission to decipher.
  • Badass Gay: She's smart, comes out to Steve as a lesbian, and figures out many of the mysteries in Season 3.
  • Band Geek: Mentions that she was a 'loser' in high school, and was in band for twelve years.
  • Burger Fool: Serves ice cream and frequently has to deal with Erica's blatant abuse of their free samples.
  • Cool Loser: Was a self-proclaimed band loser in high school despite being attractive and intelligent. Her sexuality might have had something to do with it.
  • Cunning Linguist: Fluent in four languages, and is able to translate a Russian coded message just by listening to it for hours on end despite Russian not being one of the languages she speaks.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Around Steve, she has an endless supply of snark.
  • False Soulmate: There's a lot of ship teasing between her and Steve, who eventually admits that he's falling for her, but she rebuffs his advances because it turns out she's a lesbian and a girl she was pining for was obsessed with Steve.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: She understandably hated Steve in high school, given how he used to act, and that the girl she liked only had eyes for him, but over the course of Season 3 they become thick as thieves, even getting jobs together.
  • Foil: To Barb. Whereas Barb and Robin were both ignored (at best) by Steve and his ilk in Hawkins High and were both in band, Barb was more conventional and hung out with more conventional kids who were interested in academics and hung out on the sidelines and was coded lesbian. In contrast Robin was more isolated from her peers unless hanging out with kids who were way outside the margins despite being more conventionally attractive, didn't try to fulfill what was the feminine ideal, is outwardly a lesbian, and her snarkiness was a lot stronger.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: In school she was an outcast despite evidently being intelligent.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Robin and Steve are drugged by Soviet interrogators, which leaves them high as a kite and laughing at everything.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: She's feminine and, as it turns out, gay.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Despite getting Ship Tease with Steve, as the girl he spends time around in Season 3 and whom he gradually opens up to, it turns out she's a lesbian and they end the season as friends.
  • Serious Business: When Steve and Dustin erase her scoreboard to take notes on Dustin's signals, Robin says that was important data, hinting that she was more invested in Steve's pickup game than she needed to be.
  • Sherlock Scan: Accurately figures out what the Soviet code meant just by glancing at various logos around the mall.
  • Teen Genius: A seemingly average girl who gets dragged into a Soviet conspiracy by Steve and Dustin because she quickly learns to understand Russian and can interpret coded messages.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Curls into herself when Steve confesses his feelings for her, her fear and dread evident that she'll have to tell him the truth and that on learning it, Steve won't want to be her friend anymore (and that being the tip of the iceberg of what he might do). Fortunately, Steve immediately accepts her and teases her for her taste in girls.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: The Scoops Ahoy uniform is evocative of a sailor's uniform, so she wears high socks with fairly short culottes.


    Erica Sinclair 

Erica Sinclair
Played By: Priah Ferguson

Lucas's younger sister.

  • All Girls Like Ponies: She's a fan of My Little Pony. Dustin uses this trait as evidence for her "nerd" status, pointing out that many of the staples of the franchise (magic, dragons, The Power of Friendship) are also prominent fantasy tropes of geek culture.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Making fun of Lucas for being a nerd seems to be her mission in life. Played more seriously when she unknowingly seriously undermines Dustin's "Code Red" call because to her, it's just more of her brother's nerdy stuff.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Played for Laughs. She has no problem believing Dustin when he tells her the events of seasons 1 and 2, but she simply doesn't believe her brother had any involvement in it.
  • Ascended Extra: She goes from being a bit comic relief character to being one of the main heroes in Season 3.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Implied, from what little we see of her; contrast how sugary-sweet she is with her parents at breakfast with her mean treatment of Lucas.
  • Black and Nerdy: She's African-American and a Child Prodigy. It takes Dustin to convince her to embrace the latter, though.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Constantly insults Lucas and his friends by calling them "nerds." As Dustin thoroughly points out, she herself is a nerd.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: A 10-year-old who often makes insulting remarks to her brother and his friends. Plus, she's an implied Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Catchphrase: "Just the facts!"
  • Child Prodigy: She can do advanced calculations in her head, has strong opinions about the dichotomy between capitalism and communism, and is smart enough to keep up with Robin, who's no slouch on intelligence. She's also a ten-year-old who drops words like "equation" and "ideology" into her sentences. . . while refuting the fact that she's a nerd.
  • Closet Geek: She's a ten year old genius, which Dustin playfully needles her for.
  • Good with Numbers: Capable of performing complex math calculations on the fly all in her head, which surprises (and impresses) Dustin. As she puts it, "math is easy".
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In Season 3, she becomes the latecoming fourth member of the Dustin/Steve/Robin team, being the only person they know small enough to fit in Starcourt's vent system. At the end of the season, Will leaves her his Dungeons & Dragons books, implying she might become a more regular part of the Party's adventures in future.
  • Hidden Depths: Erica appears to be the typical Annoying Younger Sibling who loves girly things but season 3 shows that she's a math prodigy and is politically savvy.
  • Hypocrite: She often calls out her brother and his friends for being nerds, but as Dustin points out, she's just as nerdy as they are.
  • Irony: If she knew half of the stuff Lucas has gone through, he'd still be a nerd, but she probably wouldn't make fun of him as much. As it turns out, Lucas is way cooler than she thinks.
  • Like Father, Like Son: She seems to have inherited the snark from her parents, or at least more than Lucas did.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Her default tone is exaggerated sarcasm directed at her older brother.
  • Military Brat: Her father fought in the Vietnam War.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: "Free ice cream FOR LIFE!"
  • Odd Friendship: She forms one of these with Dustin, of all people, in Season 3.
  • Passing the Torch: Is on the receiving end of this (though it's admittedly a rather mild example): The group pass D&D books on to her, implying that she'll take over the hobby now that the guys have more or less stopped playing.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Despite being only 10 she has a firm enough understanding of both Communism and the tensions between America and Soviet Russia to proudly stand with her home team.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: As of Season 3.
  • Sassy Black Girl: Her most prominent trait is her obnoxious snarkiness.
  • Sweet Tooth: One scene has her drowning her pancakes in maple syrup while her parents are distracted, much to Mrs. Sinclair's annoyance. Season 3 makes a Running Gag of her abusing Scoops Ahoy's sample policy to eat tons of ice cream for free, and Dustin and Steve manage to buy her loyalty to the team by promising her free ice cream for life.
  • Tagalong Kid: The youngest of the main cast by virtue of being Lucas's younger sister, and is roped into the "Scoops Troop"'s mission. She's helpful despite mocking them at every opportunity.
  • Troll: She's excellent at pushing her brother's buttons.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Erica spent most of season 2 insulting and demeaning her brother and his friends. When she realizes that the Party routinely save the world, she joins with them and becomes much friendlier.


Example of: