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Characters / The Giver Quartet
aka: The Giver

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A listing of characters who appear in Lois Lowry's The Giver Quartet, consisting of The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

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     Recurring Characters 


The main protagonist of The Giver and supporting character in Messenger and Son. At the onset of the first book twelve-year-old Jonas is selected to become the next Receiver of Memory, who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness so they can aid the Community in making decisions the Elders lack the experience to make. As Jonas receives memories of beautiful things such as sunshine, love, and family, as well as terrible things like war and starvation, the more horrified he becomes at how emotionally sterile the community has to be in order to function at all, and he and the Giver set out to change things.

Played by Brenton Thwaites in the 2014 film.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: He has brown eyes in the film, instead of blue eyes like in the book.
  • Age Lift: He was eleven going on twelve in the book, but has been aged up to sixteen for the movie.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite his plans to leave the Community, leaning that Gabe is going to be killed promptly causes him to ditch the Giver's advice and leave early.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You: He is being trained to take a role in perpetuating the dystopia they all live in.
  • The Cameo: In Gathering Blue, Matt describes a boy with "amazing blue eyes."
  • The Chosen One: He is chosen by his society to be the new Receiver of Memory, a very revered position. Halfway through the book he decides that pulling a Screw Destiny will work for the better of society in the long run.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Like most people in his community, Jonas takes things that would be downright horrifying to many people as normal — although once he receives memories of better times, he realizes how horrible the Community is to make its residents live this way.
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison: Inverted. At first he thinks that he's in a utopia and takes great pains to reiterate how good the community is compared to the past, but eventually realizes it's a Crapsack World.
  • Erotic Dream: His dream of his "favorite female friend," Fiona, which prompts his mother to start giving him the pills.
  • First Snow: He is very confused upon seeing snow for the first time (because he's used to total climate control).
  • Heroes Want Redheads: He has his Stirrings (basically a first crush) over Fiona, who has red hair. He ends up with the dark-haired Kira, though.
  • Inferred Survival: It's all but said outright in Messenger that Leader is Jonas: the mentions of his blue eyes, his sister, and Fiona, the sled makes an appearance, and that he first discovered his powers via an apple. Confirmed in Son.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: He comes to realize that the community gave up genuine emotion and humanity for an emotionally sterile, functional utopia.
  • Love Interest: Fiona is this at first in The Giver, though it doesn't end up coming to be. In Messenger, Kira gets some implications with him, too. He graduates to full-on Official Couple with the latter.
  • Meaningful Name: "Jonas" is a variant form of the Hebrew name "Jonah". Much like the prophet Jonah in The Bible, Jonas (who's arguably a "prophet" in his own way) is a Chosen One selected by his rulers to receive great messages, and he ultimately decides to elude his destiny by running away and starting a new life somewhere else.
  • Mentor's New Hope: The Receiver of Memory who mentors Jonas is revealed to have had another protege in the past, hinted to have been his own biological daughter (in their society, children are assigned to parents other than their birthmothers), who committed suicide out of despair brought on by the knowledge she received from her mentor, and was unpersoned by the Community.
  • Nice Guy: Intuitive, understanding, sensitive, kind, well-meaning, polite, and wanting to do what's best for the Community.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Has blue eyes, which are very rare in the community, and is a sign that he is capable of "seeing beyond".
  • Official Couple: By Son, he and Kira have two children together.
  • Only One Name: Justified, since he and the rest of the Community are raised by adoptive parents assigned by the government, and have no reason to carry family names.
  • Papa Wolf: Towards Gabriel; Jonas is pretty protective of him.
  • Parental Substitute: He becomes protective of Gabriel, and when they reappear in Son they have a dynamic sort of like this, although Jonas notes he could never have been a true parent to him.
  • Psychic Powers: It's vaguely mentioned that he has the capacity to "see beyond." He fully displays this in Messenger, where he gets visions and can see people's true selves.
  • Rite of Passage: Getting assigned a job is an important rite that determines the rest of a person's life; being assigned the unusual job of Receiver is what marks Jonas as special in the community.
  • Someone Has to Do It: How he deals with his duties as the Receiver of Memory, at least initially.
  • Splash of Color: In-universe. He first starts seeing color by noticing red for the first time, when everyone else is unable to see anything other than black and white.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Why the Giver asks to be left behind in the Community while Jonas escapes, and why, years later, Jonas lets Gabe fight Trademaster by himself.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: He grows up in a false Utopian society where the word "love" has become obsolete. When he learns about it through memories received from the Giver and asks his parents if they love him, they admonish him for not using precise language and say that asking "Do you enjoy me?" or "Do you take pride in my accomplishments?" would have been better. What makes it better is that they actually laugh and treat the question as meaningless. Jonas can't help but think that what he felt earlier was anything but meaningless. He realizes that further questions would also be met with either ignorance or programmed responses.


A newchild informally adopted by Jonas's family due to his slightly stunted development. He and Jonas form a strong bond, especially after Jonas realizes that he can Receive memories as well.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: As an infant, he's considered extraordinarily difficult and slow to learn basic skills, at least compared to the average child in the Community. This is somewhere between downplayed and nonexistent in later books; there are a few mentions of him slacking off in school, but nothing to suggest his behavior is especially out of the ordinary.
  • Breaking Speech: Gives one in Son to Trademaster, on how the people he's victimized still manage to find good lives for themselves.
  • Cheerful Child: As a baby, he's very loud and happy. He's also mentioned to have skipped homework to go play in Messenger.
  • The Determinator: He's so determined to find his mother that he tries to build a boat all by himself and sail down a very turbulent river to find her. Jonas also describes him as tenacious.
  • In-Series Nickname: His real name is Gabriel, but Jonas's father dubs him "Gabe" and it sticks.
  • Meaningful Name: Gabriel is the name of an angel who is often considered a symbol of healing.
  • Mysterious Past: In Son. He only knows what Jonas has told him, which isn't a lot, and is frustrated by his answers of, essentially, "that's just how it was."
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Has blue eyes, which are very rare in the community, and is a sign that he is capable of "seeing beyond". Gabe's power is veering, in which he can briefly transport himself into another person's body and experience their thoughts and feelings.
  • Psychic Powers: His revolve around seeing another person's emotions.


The main character of Gathering Blue and supporting character in Messenger and Son. Born with a deformed leg, Kira is ostracized by members of her community and would have been put to death at birth had it not been for her mother's intervention. Upon her mother's death she is nearly sentenced to die, but is instead singled out for her exceptional weaving skills and is chosen to be the Threader, the person who will embroider the Singer's robe with the history of their people.
  • The Chosen One: Along with Thomas and Jo, she's chosen by the council to pass on the history of human civilization.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Matty. She teaches him manners. Also, she develops a relationship like this with Jo later on.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: In a way, to Jonas — while Jonas is from a futuristic society, able-bodied, had been treated well since birth, and male, Kira is from a backwater village, disabled, ostracized because of it, and female. However, they're both determined young people burdened to pass on the history of human civilization. Jonas eventually has to make a sacrifice by leaving his community and Kira makes a sacrifice by staying in hers, for the betterment of both. Also, they end up together.
  • Dead Guy Junior: In Son, her and Jonas's son is named Matthew for Matty and their daughter is named Annabelle for Annabella.
  • Disabled Love Interest: To Jonas. Unlike most examples, it's pretty permanent.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: How her gift manifests itself — visions of the future appear in her embroidery.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness
  • Insecure Love Interest: Downplayed in Son, in which she's still insecure about her deformed leg even after two children with Jonas.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: She's been crippled since birth, but since her mother's death, her weaving and embroidery skills keep her from being killed by the council, and she later rises above those who scorn her.
  • Keeping the Handicap: After Matty discovers his power of Healing Hands, he offers to heal Kira's lame leg. She refuses because her disability is intrinsic to who she is.
  • Like Brother and Sister: In Messenger, she and Matty are this way.
  • Loose Lips: Mentioning to Jamison that Annabella knows there are no beasts in the woods gets Annabella killed.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Has the blue eyes linked to "seeing beyond."
  • Psychic Powers: It's implied her prodigious talent at embroidery is somewhat psychic in origin. This is elaborated on in Messenger, where she's now able to see temporary visions of the future in her work.
  • Supreme Chef: It's mentioned in Son that she's an exceptional cook.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Her job is to embroider the Singer's robe while Thomas's is to carve the Singer's staff.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Actively defied. Matty offers to heal her leg in Messenger, but Kira refuses.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: With Thomas and Matt.


Supporting character in Gathering Blue and protagonist of Messenger. Matt is a tyke from the Fen, a swampy region with strange customs and an odd way of speaking. He is at first Kira's only friend and acts as a sidekick of sorts to her. By Messenger, he's been adopted by Christopher and has taken on the name "Matty."

  • Big Brother Mentor: To Gabe. It's mentioned in Son that Gabe really admired and looked up to him.
  • Courier: Matty craves the admiration and prestige of being the village's Messenger.
  • Happily Adopted: In Messenger, he is now Seer / Christopher's adopted son.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Essentially sacrifices himself to heal the world.
  • Like Brother and Sister: He and Kira have this dynamic; she acts as the Cool Big Sis to his Tagalong Kid. Solidified when Christopher adopts him.
  • Hates Baths: Due to growing up in the Fen, he's never without layers of dirt. He hates it when Thomas forcibly bathes him.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He forms a strong attachment to Branchie and is devastated when he dies. He later adopts Frolic and loves him just as easily.
  • Messianic Archetype: He sacrifices himself so that the residents of Village can find the good in themselves again. It's outright stated in Son that the villagers found ways to become worthy of his sacrifice.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Branchie in Gathering Blue and Frolic in Messenger after the former's death.
  • Only Friend: After Kira's mother's death, he's at first the only person willing to interact with her.
  • The Pig-Pen: Kira often describes him as filthy. He cleans up by Messenger.
  • Sidekick: To Kira at first, although he graduates to full-on Hero in Messenger.
  • Tagalong Kid: To Kira in Gathering Blue, where he's her eight-year-old sidekick.
  • World-Healing Wave: At the end of Messenger — effectively healing the world of all evil, but effectively taking his life in the process.


Kira's Disappeared Dad. Before his reappearance in Gathering Blue all that was known of him was that he was taken by beasts (which, he eventually reveals, was a lie). In Messenger it's revealed that in the interim he'd found himself a new home in Village, where he serves as a source of guidance to its residents.
  • Disappeared Dad: To Kira, although they end up reuniting.
  • Good Parents: He clearly cares about Kira, and he does a good job raising Matty after adopting him in Messenger.
  • Killed Offscreen: Dies between Messenger and Son.
  • Left for Dead: What really happened to him when he was supposedly "taken by beasts". He was hunting when another man, envious of his position, savagely attacked him and left him blinded and barely alive. But he was found by people from the Village, who nursed him back to health and helped him build a new life for himself.
  • Parental Substitute: He becomes one to Matty — the boy ends up being his eyes while he serves as a much-needed parental influence.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Like the Giver, he's a wise old man who's experienced extremely trying times and serves as a source of wisdom to his community. Both of them also lost their daughters (although Kira and Seer reunite) and take gifted young boys under their wing.


The antagonist of Messenger and Son, a mysterious man with the power to grant your wishes at a high price.

  • Big Bad: The instigator of the main problems in Messenger and Son.
  • Dark Is Evil: Dark hair, dark outfit, dark outcomes to his wishes...
  • Deal with the Devil: His whole schtick. He'll give you what you want, but his prices require you to trade away the best part of yourself — for example, it's implied Ramon's mother traded her children's health for a Gaming Machine. But refuse to trade with him and it's possible you'll be even worse off than when you started — he cripples Einar for being proud enough to refuse his help.
  • The Dreaded: To the people in the Village after the events of Messenger.
  • Emotion Eater: It's suggested that selfishness, and the chaos and destruction it causes, feed him in some way.
  • Evil Smells Bad: In Son, it's mentioned several times that he smells absolutely disgusting.
  • I Shall Taunt You: He gives a big speech out of all the chaos he's caused to Gabe in an attempt to unnerve him.
  • Made of Evil: According to Leader, he's pure evil. Gabe describes him as a force disguised as a man.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Claire describes him as surprisingly well-dressed.

    The Giver 

The Giver

The current Receiver of Memory, who selects Jonas to become his replacement, a lonely, isolated man who carries all the memories of the time before Sameness. He considers them a burden, but cares deeply about Jonas and the Community and looks out for their best interests.

Played by Jeff Bridges in the 2014 film.

  • Adult Fear: Perhaps one of the most extreme examples of this trope out there. As part of the process of training his daughter Rosemary to be the next Receiver, he is forced to give her all of the memories that he holds- good and bad. She does okay with the good ones, but the bad ones quickly become too much for her to bear and she chooses to Release herselfwith the Giver watching (unsurprisingly, the poor guy quickly finds himself having to turn his head). It gets REALLY bad when you consider that not only did the Giver lose a child, but he couldn't even turn to his family or community for support- because they literally don't have any concept of what grief even IS (let alone the love that leads to grief!) Really, it's a miracle the guy managed to stay sane.
  • Cast from Lifespan: He mentions that using his memory-absorbing power has "aged" him; though it isn't clear whether it has actually shortened his life, or if he just looks much older than he really is.
  • Character Title: The titular "Giver" of the novel, although his real title is Receiver.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His real name is never revealed and he is always just called "Giver" by Jonas and "Receiver" by other characters.
  • The Good Chancellor: His role in the Community is to advise them well based on the memories he's received.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: The only one in the Community (apart from his predecessor and successor) allowed to know how things used to be.
  • The Mentor: He is this to Jonas.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After the startling failure of the previous Receiver-in-training, he is determined to do right by Jonas.
  • No Name Given: His real name is never revealed.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Has blue eyes, which are very rare in the community, and is a sign that he is capable of "seeing beyond".
  • Passing the Torch: An essential part of his relationship with Jonas. Jonas accepts the job as the Receiver with the understanding that he will eventually become the next Giver, with the task of passing on the accumulated memories to the next Receiver.
  • Psychic Powers: Like the other characters who can "see beyond," he has these. His started when he began "hearing beyond."
  • Together in Death: It's implied that Rosemary is his biological daughter, and that, after he helps the Community adjust to having emotions, he'll "release" himself to reunite with her.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the film adaptation, he stalls the Chief Elder long enough to prevent Fiona's execution.
  • Younger Than They Look: While it's unclear how old he actually is, it's mentioned that the stress of keeping all the memories is part of the reason he looks so old.


Jonas's best friend, a cheerful boy whose main concern is having fun — as such, he's assigned to become the next Assistant Director of Recreation. Although their friendship is genuine, the knowledge Jonas has to bear puts a strain on their friendship.

Played by Cameron Monaghan in the 2014 film.

  • Adaptation Personality Change: He is consistently happy and cheerful throughout the book (where he's assigned a recreational position), while in the film he starts off that way but becomes more serious and unsmiling after being assigned drone pilot.
  • Age Lift: He was eleven going on twelve in the book, but has been aged up to sixteen for the movie.
  • Ascended Extra: In the book, he fades into the background as Jonas gets farther and farther in his training, until he eventually isn't mentioned anymore. He has far more to do in the film.
  • Cheerful Child: He's a very outgoing and energetic child.
  • Corporal Punishment: As a three, he asked for a "smack" instead of a "snack" when he was hungry and was hit so often with the stick that his legs had marks and he went silent for a time. The Chief Elder remembered this fondly.
  • Meaningful Name: "Asher" means "happy." Not so much in the film, where he's a serious, unsmiling busybody.
  • Only One Name: Justified, since he and the rest of the Community are raised by adoptive parents assigned by the government, and have no reason to carry family names.


Jonas's closest female friend, a kind and gentle girl who is assigned to care for the people at the House of the Old.

Played by Odeya Rush in the 2014 film.

  • Age Lift: She was eleven going on twelve in the book, but has been aged up to sixteen for the movie.
  • Ascended Extra: Like Asher, Fiona in the book fades away as the story progresses. In the film, she's a major part of Jonas' arc.
  • Damsel in Distress: During the climax of the film adaptation, in which she's sentenced to Release for her role in helping Jonas escape.
  • Fiery Redhead: Inverted. She is said to be calm and serene from Jonas.
  • Meaningful Name: Fiona is an Irish name; although ethnic names of all types appear in "the community," Fiona is the only person with red hair, a feature the Irish are known for.
  • Nice Girl: She's caring and considerate, which makes her a good fit for the job of caring for old people. Although her job of "releasing" old people is not so nice, but she doesn't understand the implications of such an act.
  • Only One Name: Justified, since she and the rest of the Community are raised by adoptive parents assigned by the government, and have no reason to carry family names.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: In the book, she is a good friend of Jonas's whom he eventually drifts apart from (although he's definitely interested in her). In the film, he manages to convince her to stop taking the injections and she realizes she loves him as well. She eventually aids in his escape, and he promises her he'd come back for her.


The previous Receiver-in-training. When she failed in her duties, the Community had to absorb the horrifying memories she'd received. Determined not to let this happen again, she was unpersoned by the Community and took great pains in choosing Jonas to be Rosemary's successor.

Played by Taylor Swift in the 2014 film.

  • Driven to Suicide: She couldn't take the horrors of the memories she received, and applied for Release, which, unknown to most of the characters, is a lethal injection. And she knew exactly what it was—she asked to perform the Release herself. Her death caused the memories she had absorbed to revert back to the community, with near-catastrophic results. This prompted the community to add a new rule, in that future Receivers of Memory cannot ask to be released.
  • Meaningful Name: Rosemary (which stands for remembrance, according to Ophelia in Hamlet). Her name will never be used again after her death forced the community to remember the vivid emotions they have left behind.
  • Only One Name: Justified, since she and the rest of the Community are raised by adoptive parents assigned by the government, and have no reason to carry family names.
  • Posthumous Character: Her suicide took place years before the story starts.
  • Psychic Powers: Like the Giver and Jonas, she was able to "see beyond."
  • Released to Elsewhere: Somewhat unusual in that she asked to be released, but she still counts.
  • Unperson: The story's dystopian society has removed her from the public memory, going as far as to forbid her name to be used for a new child ever again, after the memories she received dissipated out into the community when she applied for release (assisted suicide, and she knew what it was) and the members of the community had to feel emotion and pain for the first time.

Chief Elder

The leader of the Community, the Chief Elder is the speaker at all of the ceremonies in the Community as well.

Played by Meryl Streep in the 2014 film.

  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Her real name is never revealed, and she's known to everyone only as "Chief Elder."
  • Freudian Excuse: The film implies that that Rosemary was her daughter, showing why her loss drove her to be obstinate and controlling.
  • Humans Are Flawed: She believes in this in the film, which is why she endorses the Community's methods.
    Chief Elder: "People are weak, people are selfish, when people have the freedom to choose, they chose wrong. Every single time."
  • Light Is Not Good: In the film adaptation, she wears white despite being the Big Bad.
  • Love Is a Weakness: She believes this as part of her Humans Are Flawed viewpoint in the film. She's the leader of a society that tries to tamp down emotions.
    Chief Elder: (scoffing with contempt): "Love is just passion. Passion that can turn, turn into contempt and murder."
  • No Name Given: Her name isn't mentioned in the book or movie.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: In the film, she's shown to firmly believe this, because according to her, when people have the freedom to choose they choose wrong, and that tamping down this freedom by taking away people's emotions is the best way to build an efficient society. Especially with her conversation to the Giver at the end:
    Chief Elder: You have seen children starve, seen people stand on each other's necks, just for the view. You know what it feels like when men blow each other up over a simple line in the sand, and yet, and yet, you and Jonas want to open that door again, bring all that back."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the film, she actually believes that the society she endorses is the best solution for mankind.

Jonas' family

Jonas's family, consisting of his parents and little sister, Lily — although like the rest of the family units, none of them are biologically related. Like the rest of the Community, they are Conditioned to Accept Horror and remain oblivious to Jonas's increasing distance.

Played by Alexander Skarsgård (Jonas's father), Katie Holmes (Jonas's mother), and Emma Tremblay (Lily) in the 2014 film.

  • Affably Evil: Jonas thinks of his dad as a stand-up kind of guy who loves his job caring for the babies. And... he is and he does. But in this society, "caring" for the babies can sometimes mean euthanizing them.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: Like all couples in the Community, they are arranged this way, so that they complement each other and work well together, though it's still loveless and sexless.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jonas's parents are this to Jonas. It's especially so for the father after Jonas saw a recording of the former "releasing" a twin baby. In the sequels Jonas does not even refer to them as his parents anymore, instead calling them "the people who raised him."
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • People who work with the very young or the old are conditioned to accept euthanasia as a fact of life, starting from their early adolescence. This includes Jonas's father, who nonchalantly euthanizes a baby.
    • Presumably Jonas' mother as well, since her job involves sentencing people to Release if the laws require it. She admits to being a little sad about the possibility in one case, but it's more like disappointment that it came to that; she, too, clearly has no concept of the magnitude of this.
  • Daddy's Girl: Lily appears to be very close to her father.
  • Friend to All Children: Jonas's father works with newborn babies, and is very good at it, doting on Gabriel and even persuading the Elders to let him take him home to help nurse him back to health, so he won't have to be released. Disturbingly, this is still true even after it's revealed what being released actually means, since Jonas's father is Obliviously Evilwe know he's murdering a defenseless baby, but he genuinely has no idea. "Bye-bye, little guy!" Brr...
  • Genki Girl: Lily is very energetic.
  • Motor Mouth: Lily has to stop and catch her breath after speaking sometimes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the film adaptation, Jonas's father realizes that he had been committing institutionalized murder with each Release all along as the memories return to the Community.
  • Nice Guy: Claire singles out Jonas's father as being especially kind and friendly.
  • Obliviously Evil: Jonas's father has no idea what death even is, so he has no way of knowing he's committing infanticide. The way he sees it, he's just doing his job of seeing to it that an infant is Released to Elsewhere, which, as far as he knows, will be perfectly well and good for the little one. Similarly, Jonas's mother, who's a judge, doesn't realize she's been handing out death sentences for harmless mistakes.
  • Nuclear Family: Minus the dog, as pets don't exist in the Community. Invoked by the Community, as all families are intentionally set up like this.
  • Sexless Marriage: Like every other marriage in the Community, theirs is this, since sexual desires are suppressed by pills.
  • Unnamed Parent: Both of Jonas's parents are unnamed.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: When Jonas asks them if they love him, they admonish him for not using precise language and say that asking "Do you enjoy me?" or "Do you take pride in my accomplishments?" would have been better. What makes it better is that they actually laugh and treat the question as meaningless.

    Gathering Blue 


An old woman skilled in the art of dyeing threads who teaches Kira the skill.
  • Cool Old Lady: Age hasn't diminished her talent with plants at all.
  • He Knows Too Much: It's heavily implied the Council killed her for knowing that the "beasts" were just them manipulating the residents.
  • The Mentor: She teaches Kira everything she knows about making dyes — not with weaving and embroidery, however, as she notes she never had the talent. That comes from Kira's mother and Kira's own innate talent.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: She's offed when Kira tells the Council that Annabella knows there are no beasts.


Kira's kind mother, who died of an unspecified illness prior to Gathering Blue.


One of the Guardians, a group of wise old men who rule over Kira's village and oversee all decision-making. He is appointed as Kira's defender during her trial and later oversees her duties as the Threader.

  • Cool Old Guy: A renowned hunter and respected Guardian.
  • Evil All Along: Turns out he was just manipulating Kira the whole time.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He was jealous of the power and influence Christopher wielded and set him up to die for it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He defends Kira at her trial in order to gain her trust so she wouldn't suspect she was being used for her gift.
  • Karma Houdini: Although we see in Messenger that Kira's village has gotten better in some aspects, we don't see any direct comeuppance Jamison gets.
  • Treacherous Advisor: He looks like he supports Kira at first, but, well...


The Carver, a boy Kira's age singled out by the Guardians for his amazing woodcarving skills (much like Kira). His job is to carve the Singer's staff with key events so the Singer would not forget their place in the Song.
  • Birds of a Feather: He and Kira bond thanks to their similar experiences and circumstances.
  • The Chosen One: By the Council, to carve the Singer's staff.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: He was taken in by the Council and his gifts were nurtured by them after his parents were killed in a lightning storm. Both of them. At the same time. A little too convenient...
  • Nice Guy: He helps Kira adjust to her new way of living.
  • Ship Tease: With Kira, with whom he quickly bonds, but they end up married to different people.


A little girl from the Fen in training to become the next Singer. Unlike Thomas and Kira's relative freedom, the Guardians are cruel to her.
  • Cheerful Child: She's upbeat and enthusiastic at the Gathering.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Like Thomas, both of her parents recently died; her mother succumbed to illness, and her father apparently killed himself out of grief. It's one more piece suggesting there's something amiss in the Community.
  • The Chosen One: To become the next Singer.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: When she's first introduced, she's scared and lonely due to her mother's death and Jamison's treatment of her. Jo then becomes happier and more outgoing thanks to Kira and Thomas.



The young and powerful leader of Village.

  • Big Good: One of the most moral, well-intentioned people in Village and also its leader.
  • Character Overlap: In the fourth and final book, Son, it's outright stated that he and Jonas are the same person.
  • The Faceless: His appearance is not described, other than the fact that he's a young man.
  • The Leader: Of his community.
  • I Know Your True Name: His psychic powers allow him to sense a person's true name and purpose.
  • Psychic Powers: He "sees beyond," and uses this power to watch over Village.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He does his best to accommodate everyone in Village and lead them well.
  • Ship Tease: Done rather subtly with Kira. When he first sees Kira, he describes her as being beautiful. By Son, they have two kids together.
  • Young and in Charge: It's pointed out that he's much younger than plenty of the people he leads, but is in such a position because of the wisdom brought about by his Psychic Powers.



Claire is a girl from the Community three years ahead of Jonas, whose disastrous first birth (by emergency C-section) terminates her assignment as Birthmother and gets her reassigned to Fish Hatchery. However, thanks to a slip-up by one of the handlers (they forgot to put her back on the Stirrings pills), she can't stop thinking about her son, Number Thirty-Six: whom the readers know as Gabriel. Overwhelmed with love and grief — feelings she's kept bottled up due to them being forbidden — she ends up amnesiac and living with a caring seaside community. As her memories slowly return, she knows she has one goal — to find her son.
  • Cool Big Sis: She develops a relationship like this with some of the younger girls in the seaside village, Bethan in particular.
  • Defiled Forever: Few people in her new home want anything to do with her after her Teen Pregnancy is discovered, largely because they can't wrap their heads around the idea that it didn't happen the "usual" way, leading them to assume other things about her character.
  • The Determinator: She won't give up on finding her son, even if it means scaling the terrifying cliffs that prevent escape or having to watch him from afar as he won't believe her story due to her Rapid Aging.
  • Easy Amnesia: When Claire wakes up from her shipwreck she can remember her name, but not much else. Her memories begin to come back, although the residents are astounded that things like colors and animals seem completely new to her.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: She grows restless with her repetitive days in the Community after going off her pills, always yearning for something more.
  • Meaningful Name: "Claire" means "clear," as in the horrors of her society becoming clear to her.
  • Missing Mom: To Gabe. Unlike most examples, she takes an active role in searching for her son.
  • Mysterious Waif: She's this to the seaside community who take her in, as she's young, amnesiac, talks "elegantly" compared to the way the others speak, and is almost childlike in her ignorance of common knowledge such as animals and colors. Of course, to those familiar with the world of The Giver, this is not her own fault.
  • Rapid Aging: Trademaster's bargain for finding her son is taking her youth, rendering her as an old woman. She gets better.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Her eyes are described as green and her hair is described as coppery and red-gold. Given how red hair is unusual for the Community, this makes her significant as the protagonist of Son.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She gave birth at fourteen, not that this is unusual for the Community — but it's definitely unusual for the people who take her in, and she's ostracized a little once the knowledge is out.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She performs some pretty amazing things in the name of finding Gabe but retains a fear of water after nearly drowning in the sea.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Birthmothers are kept off the "pills" that keep deeper feelings in line in order to keep their hormones and such functioning. When Claire is reassigned nobody tells her to start taking them again, so she doesn't. This results in her feeling love for Gabe. Too bad nobody can relate to it. After her memories are wiped she begins to adjust to it (it helps that by this point she's living in a different community, with people who DO understand love).


The old woman who takes Claire in.
  • Cool Old Lady: She's an important person in the village and is always kind to Claire.
  • Like a Son to Me: She grows to view Claire as her own daughter.
  • The Medic: She functions as this for the whole community, being skilled with herbs and healing.
  • Old Maid: She's an old woman who never married, which Claire specifically takes note of. She did, however, use to be in a relationship with one of the old men in the village.
  • Parental Substitute: To the teenage Claire, she's a much-needed source of maturity and guidance.


Once called Fierce Einar due to his rebelliousness, he was the first to climb out of the cliffs that isolate their community — only to come down just as quickly with part of his foot missing, the circumstances of which he refuses to discuss. Having been re-dubbed Lame Einar, he now tends the sheep.
  • Abusive Parents: His father was verbally and physically cruel towards him, due to Einar "causing" his mother's death.
  • Death by Childbirth: His mother died giving birth to him.
  • Disabled Love Interest: To Claire. Despite his needing a pair of makeshift crutches to walk they easily bond, and Einar teaches her how to climb. They do not, however, end up together, as Claire eventually moves on to Village, in order to find Gabe.
  • Fingore: Trademaster cut off half his foot for being too proud to trade.
  • Parental Incest: Heavily implied. Einar tells Claire that, in addition to being made to cook for his father and do his laundry, he was "a wife in other ways that are too horrible to mention".
  • The Quiet One: He talks a lot to Claire, but Einar usually keeps to himself otherwise.
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe. Claire as an old woman frequently wonders what would have happened if she'd just stayed and married Einar.

Alternative Title(s): The Giver, Gathering Blue, Son, Messenger


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