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The Party

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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.

  • Arc Words: "Friends don't lie" and variations.
  • 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.
  • Angst? What Angst?: After losing friends and loved ones, being chased by government agents, seeing said agents get their brains liquefied in front of them, having interdimensional monsters stalk, capture, pretty much rape one of them, the gang seems to always bounce back without much psychological trauma.
  • Badass Crew: They may be kids, but they're creative, intelligent, and brave youngsters with one of them having powerful psychic abilities.
  • Badass Normal: Only one of the six of them has superpowers. The rest have only courage and ingenuity, and they still kick the asses of monsters, government agents, and Russians.
  • 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 (as well as Joyce's desire to protect her children from the supernatural happenings in Hawkins), 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.
  • Geek Physiques: The boys in the Party all start off this way in Season 1. By Season 3, puberty and life experience have tempered the geeky frames of most, with Dustin growing into his baby fat, Lucas gaining lean muscle as a result of being the most physically active, and Mike growing taller than his older sister.
  • 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.
  • Home Base: The Wheelers' basement is the usual chill spot and base of operations for the Party, especially when a Code Red is sent out to other party members.
  • 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 to a month-long summer camp out of state and later becoming partners with Steve.
  • Nice Guy: They are all very friendly and likable kids.
  • One of the Boys: Eleven and later Max to a larger extent.
  • The Only One: The Party and its offshoots like the Scoops Troop and Hopper P.I. are the only ones holding the line against the Upside Down and its connected government conspiracies. Justified in-universe by Murray as the general public would automatically dismiss people with wild stories that threaten mainstream order and their perception of reality, Max being an example when Lucas tries to bring her into the loop.
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Mike's leadership style generally puts the Party at odds with the adults around them who are justifiably concerned for their children's safety. You wouldn't have much in the way of adventures if the kids always listened to the adults.
  • Shout-Out: They're a homage to pretty much every kid team from the 80s and 90s, such as The Goonies, the Losers, The Sandlot team and Sam and the Frog brothers.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Applies to them in Season 1, with El as the sole girl and Season 2, where El and Max are both main characters, but El has left the Party for a chunk of time, and she dislikes Max at first sight. Subverted in Season 3, where Max and El become close friends.
  • The Team: They describe themselves as Dungeons & Dragons roles but they also work together as a team. This is especially seen in Season 2 when the group helps El out despite being intentionally left out of the adults' plan to stop the Mind Flayer. Usually, Mike takes the lead, Lucas contrasts him, Dustin thinks of a plan, and Eleven is the brawn because of her Psychic Powers. Sensitive, kind Will acts as The Heart whose torment at the hands of the Upside Down drives the boys' plots in the first two seasons, while newcomer Max is the Sixth Ranger who has trouble ingratiating herself at first.
  • Two Girls to a Team: After Max joins the Party in the Season 2, she and El become this.
  • Undying Loyalty: Especially seen in Season 2 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 Party. 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.
    • He also intervenes when Dr. Brenner and his goons come to take Eleven back, stepping into the line of fire to stop them.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: When Eleven is trying to located a Flayed!Billy, Mike is incredibly worried for her safety. Everyone present tries to reassure him but to no avail, as he impulsively states he loves her and is afraid of losing her.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: In early episodes, he's seen bickering with Nancy and she found him annoying.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: "It's not my fault you don't like girls", which he says to Will when their season long tension comes to a boil.
  • Batman Gambit: Comes up with a successful plan to lure Billy into a trap that hinges entirely on Billy's famously short temper.
  • Batman in My Basement: Hides El from government baddies in a makeshift fort in his basement in Season 1.
  • 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 1, 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 Brother Instinct: Inverted, as Mike is Nancy's younger brother. Despite their constant bickering, Mike is quick to defend Nancy when someone theorizes she may be a traitor and absolutely refuses to "prostitute" her to Keith.
    • He's also become much more protective of Max in season 3. Especially when he yells for her to get out of the was from Possessed!Billy in the sauna, and he is visibly angered when Billy knocks her out.
  • Big Little Brother: By Season 3, he towers over 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.
  • Character Tics: He tends to cover his ears when he's anxious or stressed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: On the rare occasion Mike has to defend himself or others, he'll grab what's near, usually blunt objects like trophies, mop handles, or steel pipes.
  • Consistent Clothing Style: Mike always wears striped shirts or sweaters.
  • 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 2, 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).
  • Dreadful Musician: Played for Laughs. Mike serenades Eleven with Corey Hart's "Never Surrender" after which she playfully covers his mouth and begs him to stop. Mike's actor is the lead vocalist for a signed indie rock band, so that only adds to the humor.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In one scene he's shamelessly stealing from Nancy's piggy bank, but only a few minutes later he absolutely refuses to "prostitute" her to Keith.
    • While he and Max initially didn't get along at all, he was obviously concerned when she fell off her skateboard in the gym.
  • 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.
  • First Friend: Before the Party officially got together, he was this to Will when they first met.
  • 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.
  • Grew a Spine: Mike and his friends were bullied by Troy without resistance until Troy crosses the line by openly mocking Will's memory at a school assembly. Mike confronts an unrepentant Troy over his disrespect and picks a fight by knocking him to ground.
  • 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 2, 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.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: During season 3 when his relationship with Eleven has taken top priority. He's often short with Will and dismisses any of his attempts to play D&D. This eventually leads to them having a fight, and he accuses Will of not liking girls.
  • 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.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: How he and El's relationship is by the end of the third season — Hopper is seemingly dead and El is adopted by Joyce, but they have to move because of financial reasons. However, he is planning to call and visit El.
  • 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.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Implied. His parents' attention is focused mainly on Holly's infancy and Nancy's teen angst, though this works to Mike's advantage when he goes searching for Will and hides El in their basement without anyone noticing. This becomes downplayed later when Nancy graduates high school and Mike seeks his mother's comfort when El is forced to move away.
  • Motor Mouth: He talks incessantly and this is lampshaded in Season 3 by El and Max.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction after he has a heated argument with Will.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When Hopper tries to have a heart-to-heart with Mike and Eleven, Mike gives Hopper attitude, which takes Hopper out of the right mood. By the time Eleven finds out what he really wanted to tell her, Hopper is presumed dead.
  • 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.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: He is the only boy (and middle child) in a family of five (two sisters and his parents).
  • 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.
  • Red Oni: To Lucas Sinclair's Blue Oni and to Will's depressive Blue Oni in Season 3, Mike prefers to snapping back, being brave, and fighting.
  • 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.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Smart Guy to Eleven's Strong Girl. Eleven is a powerful Little Miss Badass with psychic powers but, due to her isolated upbringing, she can barely speak. Mike is a smart, nerdy boy who teaches her some vocabulary.
  • 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 Season 1, he takes a much less involved role as a main character in the Joyce/Will plotline of the Season 2, 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.
  • Teens Are Short: Defied and averted, by Season 3 he is 14 years old and already towers over his sister and his mother (who has to stretch herself vertically when he hugs her).
  • 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 the first episode of Season 2, 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. Calling out Will for not liking girls, instantly assuming Dustin is lying about his girlfriend, and laughing at Hopper when he tries some real parenting signal Season 3 Mike as a total ass. Events quickly bring him crashing back down to earth, however.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: The added trials of dating a traumatized, socially maladjusted girl with deadly powers, who is a regular target of government agents and interdimensional monsters, have not kept Mike away from Eleven.
  • 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!
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-inverted. It doesn't matter if El has powers or if there's a Flayed!Billy or powerful servant of the Mind Flayer, Mike will not tolerate anyone harming his girlfriend.
  • 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.
  • Youthful Freckles: Has a very freckled face and starts the series at the age of 12.

    Will Byers 

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

"The Demogorgon — it got me."

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

  • 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.
  • Bad Mood Retreat: Castle Byers was this for him. When Mike accuses him of not liking girls, it's the first place he goes to for comfort. Though, he's so distraught after, he destroys it.
  • 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.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Downplayed. His eyes are pretty dark already, and the change only affects his irises (instead of the whole eye as is the norm for this trope), but as the Mind Flayer exerts more and more control over Will, his eyes grow steadily darker. It's so subtle you may not notice until he's already fully possessed.
  • Break the Cutie: His time in the Upside-Down is this to him.
  • 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. Season 2 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.
    • He also tends to sway back and forth when he's anxious.
  • Childhood Friend: Mike reveals that Will was his first friend.
  • Creepy Child: The Shadow Monster occasionally possesses him to chilling effect.
  • Defiant Captive:
    • In Season 1, he escapes the Demogorgon, and hides from him, while managing to communicate with his mother and aiding her in finding him.
    • In the Season 2, 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: While the first two seasons were about saving him (though he rarely had screen time in season 1), he gets less of a focus on in season 3.
  • 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 in their D&D campaign is both foreshadowing and shows that Will is a good, honest kid worth saving.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Mostly in season 2, with everyone still treating him like he's made of glass.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Rescued from this fate in the Season 1 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.
  • First Friend: Before the Party officially got together, he was this to Mike when they first met.
  • Flat Character: More so than his friends. With being absent for most of season 1, and being possessed in season 2, he hasn't had the time to develop as much as the others.
  • Forced into Evil: The Mind Flayer takes over Will's mind and body during Season 2, making him do things he would never do.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Played with in season 3. While his friends obviously do like him they are far more developed personally. Will is still in his childhood (and wants nothing more to play D&D all day), while the rest of the Party are obsessed with their relationships. This is one of the main conflicts in the season.
  • 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.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: He wears long sleeves despite it being in the middle of the summer in season 3. It seems he does this to try and keep the Mind Flayer from possessing him again.
  • 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.
  • Kiddie Kid: More so in season 3, much to the Partys' annoyance. He wants nothing more than to play D&D, and is annoyed at how obsessed with relationships the others are. Mike even calls him out on this.
  • Living MacGuffin: His mysterious disappearance is what kicks off the adventures for the main characters in Season 1.
  • The Load: Seems to be this to the Party in season 3. With his friends maturing before him, they are often dismissive with him. Unlike the first two seasons where he had most of their attention.
  • 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.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: When he and Mike spar with words, the latter accuses him of not liking girls. In response, Will leaves in tears, and tears down Castle Byers.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: With Mike, though mostly in season 2. While Mike was short and hostile to mostly everyone, he always took the time to check on Will's well-being.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: He gets goosebumps on the back of his neck and the hairs stand up when the creatures of the Upside Down are gaining on him.
  • Nice Guy: Even though Will spends most of Season 1 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 (if not the oldest, as he's born in March of 1971). 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.
  • Teens Are Short: He's the smallest of his friends during the first two seasons. However, he does hit a growth spurt in season 3.
  • 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" / Jane Hopper (née Ives)
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 melt 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 horrified expression on her face... and breaks down laughing.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Eleven gives Mike a Love Confession. Why is this moment a anguished example? Because it's after she loses her powers and (seemingly) Hopper and before she moves to a new town with the Byers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Downplayed, but her relationship with Hopper resembles this in Season 3 and some of Season 2, where she obsesses over using the television and will often throw tantrums if he tries to stop her, or when he tries to split her up with Mike.
  • 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, 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.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Unwillingly to Brenner, whom she calls "Papa". But she breaks out of it and gets better at the end of Season 1 and beginning of Season 2.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Stolen from her birth mother, raised as a weapon and put through emotionally grueling training as a start.
  • 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 disturbed 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 Reconstruction 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.
  • Emotionless Girl: Deconstructed. El doesn't show a great deal of emotion in Season 1, then by Season 2 seems hardened by her experiences, but she becomes much more emotional in Season 3 as she gets reassimilated into the Party.
  • 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.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: She's a young preteen with tremendous telekinetic powers making her the most powerful character of this page.
  • Extremely Protective Child: 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.
  • 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 Season 1, 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 2, 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. and while she has improved greatly over the years it's likely that spending her entire early childhood in the lab has left her with a permanent social learning disability of some kind. 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. Finally confirmed in the novel, Suspicious Minds, as her parents were not married when Terry became pregnant will El.
  • 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 actually reduce your brain to the consistency of oatmeal with a literal Death Glare.
  • 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.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Downplayed as her hair is still pretty short, but in Season 2 and 3, her hair growing out corresponds to her growing femininity.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet:To Billy, as she provokes his Heroic Sacrifice by empathizing with him and reminding him of his mother.
  • 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. Possibly justified as her not knowing the correct words, having such a limited vocabulary.
  • 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, albeit one with an unspecified social learning disability.
  • 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 2. 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 birth name is Jane Ives. Averted by her newfound aunt Becky and her "sister" Kali, who both refer to her as Jane. Dr. Owens later forges a birth certificate that lists her as Jim Hopper's daughter, thus making her "Jane Hopper" on paper; this is only on paper however, as no one ever calls her that at any point in Season 3, with everyone continuing to call her "El" or occasionally "Eleven". It appears that she herself prefers "El" as well.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: After Hopper is considered dead and the Byers family takes her in, she becomes the only girl in a family with two boys.
  • 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.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: She clearly has very strong powers.
  • 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.
  • Progressively Prettier: On account of being away from the lab and her hair growing back.
  • 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 Season 2, 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 finale. In the third season, when she's trying to figure out who she is and develop as a person independently of other people, Max encourages her to try on different clothes at the mall until she finds an outfit that feels like her, which influences her appearance for the rest of the series.
  • 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.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: In the novel Suspicious Minds, Terry finds out she's pregnant with El after her boyfriend, (and El's biological father), Andrew got killed in the Vietnam War.
  • 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.
  • Squishy Wizard: She haves useful Psychic Powers but she's still a young girl frail against Flayed Bill's physical strength during their fight in Season 3.
  • 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.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Strong Girl to Mike's Smart Guy. Eleven is a powerful Little Miss Badass with psychic powers but, due to her isolated upbringing, she can barely speak. Mike is a smart, nerdy boy who teaches her some vocabulary.
  • Sue Donym: Mike blurts out "Eleanor!" when Mr. Clarke asks El what her name is when he accidentally meets her at Hawkins Middle School.
  • 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. She 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.
  • Token Super: Of the entire main cast, El is the only one of them with abilities that can be described as superpowers.
  • 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 a blindfold and some form of white noise, removing two senses 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, to say the least;
    • 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.
    • Season 2 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 Season 3. 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...
  • Traumatic Haircut: Hard not to view her previously shaved head as this, as she clearly enjoys having longer hair in Season 2 and Season 3.
  • 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. She also develops a very close bond with
  • 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.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Several times, but most notably in Season 3, when she gets a tentacle in her leg which prevents her from using her powers when the party are being hunted by Billy and the Mind Flayer.
  • 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. It is also the basis of her nickname.

    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.

  • 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 Season 1, 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
  • 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, diplomacy at settling disputes among members of the party, and affable personality to befriend/charm/bluff people makes him analogous to a Bard from Dungeons & Dragons. He is also highly intelligent, but uses it to recall facts and lore, another specialty of the Bard (Wizards use their intelligence scores for spellcasting and have lower Lore). 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 also how Mike describes Dustin's role in the Party.
  • 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.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Erica. He sees her only as Lucas' Annoying Younger Sibling who makes fun of nerds, and only lets her join because he, Robin and Steve are too big to fit through the ducts. During their time foiling the Russian plot, they slowly overcome their petty differences and form an Odd Friendship. It probably helps that he realizes that she's a nerd too.
  • 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.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Throughout the series it's heavily implied that he views himself as this. It eventually gets resolved in season 3.
  • 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.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Built multiple working gadgets while away at science camp, including his prized deluxe ham radio, Cerebro.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless Suitor:
    • Dustin has a Precocious Crush on Nancy but she's not interested.
    • He enters a Love Triangle with Lucas over their shared feelings for Max in season 2. In the end, Max and Lucas become a couple.
    • Averted in season 3, when it's revealed he's in a Long-Distance Relationship with Suzie.
  • 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.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: His girlfriend, Suzie, lives in Utah.
  • 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.
  • Minnesota Nice: According to Season 1, Dustin and his family moved from Minnesota when most of the main group were in 2nd grade and he is a definite Nice Guy.
  • 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.
  • 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 explains 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!
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: In his Odd Friendship with Steve, he's the nerdy Sensitive Guy to Steve's confident and jockish Manly Man.
  • 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.
  • Speech-Impeded Love Interest: Inverted. He is a central character in the show and has a notable lisp and becomes this trope to his girlfriend from Utah, Suzie.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: How Dustin describes his relationship with Suzie, in season 3, due to the distance and disapproving parents.
  • 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 Charles 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.

  • Agent Scully: To contrast Dustin, Lucas tends to show the most doubt and is the most distrusting of Eleven and her powers.
  • Archer Archetype: He is the analytical, ranged combatant of the party, and can keep a cool head when he gets down to business.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Blue Oni: To Mike Wheeler's Red Oni. First most evident in the fact that he doesn't want as much to do with El as everyone else, preferring to stay out of it; even more evident in Season 3 when he and Mike have girlfriends, and Lucas is much more chill about letting Max have her own way, while Mike is much more impetuous.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: "Theoretically".
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friend: As Dustin points out, Mike, Will, and Lucas basically grew up together. Dustin joined after.
  • The Comically Serious: While all the main kids are pretty intelligent in their own ways, he's probably the most rational, earnest and level-headed of the group but he can also be pretty funny in a rather childish and awkward way.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When preparing to fight 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. Although this is subverted in Season 2, as he adores Max and instantly welcomes 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 that "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.
    • That single-mindedness is also analogous to Rangers, who in some D&D editions can only be Chaotic Good, an alignment that does good deeds with little regard for how their actions or intentions might affect others.
  • Fatal Fireworks: He jury rigs fireworks into firebombs to use in their fight against the Mind Flayers avatar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded: Lucas is fiercely devoted, passionate and intense in what he sets his mind to.
  • 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.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Puppy love first relationship, anyway. Billy is not happy that Lucas and Max have a romantic relationship.
  • 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 Black Friend: Subverted. Lucas is the only black main character. 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. However, he has his own character development and arc like his friends.
  • 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.

  • A Day In The Lime Light: “Runaway Max” is one for her, detailing both the events of Season Two from her perspective and her backstory.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: The second girl member of the Party, introduced in Season 2. 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.
  • Aw, 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. She even tries to protect him from Neil’s abuse in Runaway Max
  • 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, Will being too wrapped up in visions of (and later full on Demonic Possession by) an Eldritch Abomination 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.
  • Bruiser With A Soft Centre: While Max can be pretty aggressive and ready to fight due to her rough upbringing with Billy, Max loves her friends and is particularly a very good friend to El.
  • Cool Board: Max is pretty handy on her skateboard. Dustin points out that just owning one proves she's awesome.
  • Daddy's Girl: In “Runaway Max”, she notes that she’s closer to her father than to her mother.
  • 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.
  • Feminine Mother, Tomboyish Daughter: Aside from her tastes in shopping, Max is very much a tomboy who likes arcade games and skateboarding, while Susan wants her to be dainty and meek like herself.
  • Fiery Red Head: She has bright red hair and has a bit of a temper.
  • First Kiss: Has hers with Lucas in the second season finale.
  • Foil: To Eleven. Both are the sole females of the Party for most of a season — 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 2.
  • 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.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: Played with. Something of a loner in school, but viewed as being very cool by the (also fairly uncool) main clique.
  • Red-Headed Hero: The only red head of the Party and is the sole Fiery Redhead.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Apparently between Season 2 and Season 3, Max has dumped Lucas on five different occasions.
  • The Runaway: She attempts this twice in her book, giving it its title of “Runaway Max”. The first time is at the beginning of the book, trying to catch a bus to Los Angeles to live with her dad and avoid moving to Hawkins. She was actually going to try this a second time, but then Lucas showed up to her house. After both her experiences with the Party and Steve and standing up to Billy, she decides to stay in Hawkins.
  • 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.
  • Teens Are Short: As of season 3, she's the shortest member of the Party.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Downplayed. The rest of the Party are fairly well-behaved and have mundane hobbies like playing tabletop games, while Max is brusque and has some conventionally "delinquent" hobbies such as skateboarding and using Eleven's psychic powers to play pranks or spy on people.
  • Tomboy: She uses Max instead of Maxine, plays video games, skateboards, and happily hangs out with a group of boys.
  • Tomboyish Name: Downplayed. Her full name is "Maxine" but she'd rather go by the more masculine sounding nickname, "Max".
  • 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.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Like Eleven for Mike in Season 1, 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.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Gal: Max's mother really wants her to be a meek, sweet, feminine Proper Lady like some other girls. Runaway Max explains it:
    I wanted to make her happy, but none of the things that would make her happy were things I could be without lying. When my mom looked at me, she saw a problem that needed to be solved. She saw someone too prickly and rude to feel good around, and too much like my dad to really understand.
  • 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).
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Played with. Max can be immature in a relationship (as her advice to Eleven shows), but the rest of the Party tend to defer to her as being more experienced; she skateboards, she is The Medic, and she can drive.
  • Youthful Freckles: A freckled young teen who skateboards.


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