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Characters / The Secret Garden

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Here are the characters for the book The Secret Garden:

Mary Lennox

A child born to British elites in India. Her parents foisted her off on servants with orders to keep her quiet and out of the way. As a result, she quite quickly learned how to get her way in everything, and has become quite the Spoiled Brat. She was sent to live at her uncle Archibald's estate in England after everyone else died in a cholera outbreak.


  • Brutal Honesty: This was the reason she was able to snap Colin out of his temper tantrum - she was just as spoiled and mean as he was, and refused to give him any pity or comfort about his "bad back", instead telling him straight out what a horrible person he's being and how he's only imagining that there's lumps on his back.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: She refers to her parents as 'Mr. and Mrs. Lennox', showing how detached she is from them.
  • Friendless Background: She's an only child and grew up without any friends her age. Of course, her attitude played a large part in that.
  • Jerkass: When the book started, she was a spoiled and selfish twit who would throw tantrums at the drop of a hat. She grows out of it.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Not at first, as the servants never standing up to her when she was young meant that she found it perfectly okay to fly into a tantrum and hit them when they didn't give her exactly what she wanted. When she gets some Character Development, however, she grows out of that belief and befriends her maid Martha.
    • The 1975 BBC miniseries adds a footman named John who slyly teaches Mary to say "please" and "thank you" by telling her it's customary to do so in England (just as, apparently, it's okay to treat servants imperiously in Mary's version of India). Mary remains consistently polite to John throughout; this spills over to others, except Medlock.
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  • Parental Substitute: When she was growing up, her biggest mother figure was the Indian servant that Mary calls the 'Ayah'.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Once she starts getting more exercise, wearing white clothes, and smiling, she looks far nicer than she did at the beginning of the book.
  • Spoiled Brat: Very much so. It started because the servants would give way to her to avoid her crying (which might disturb her mother). She very quickly learned what this means, and it's mentioned that she doesn't have much schooling because every governess who was sent in to teach her very quickly got sick of her.


Mary's parents

The parents of Mary Lennox, who never wanted a child. Mr. Lennox was never there and Mrs. Lennox's handing Mary off to servants so that she could be a socialite resulted in Mary being the Spoiled Brat she is. They die of cholera in the first chapter, resulting in Mary being sent off to her uncle's estate, Misselthwaite Manor.

  • The Beautiful Elite: Mary's mother is described as being quite beautiful.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Nope. They were horrible parents even when they were alive.
  • Parental Neglect: The main thing we know about them. We don't know much about Mr. Lennox, but we do know that Mary's nature is because Mrs. Lennox didn't want to be disturbed by Mary crying.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: After their death, Mary is sent to live with Mr. Craven at Misselthwaite. Once there, she discovers the Secret Garden, and starts along the path towards becoming a better person.
  • Too Dumb to Live: They might have avoided dying of cholera had Mrs. Lennox not stayed to go to a dinner party. She even calls herself a fool for it.

Archibald Craven

Mary's uncle by marriage. He's a hunchback, and he very much loved his wife Lillias, but when she died, he just shut down. He spends most of his time traveling.

  • Despair Event Horizon: He took it hard when Lillias died.
  • Disappeared Dad: He avoids Misselthwaite for long periods of time because he cannot abide the lack of Lillias's presence.
  • Happily Married: With Lillias, until she died.
  • Informed Flaw: Rumours about Lord Craven describe him as quite hideous and deformed, but when Mary meets him, she notices that, aside from crooked shoulders, he looks surprisingly normal.
  • The Mourning After: He's still in it.
  • Parental Neglect: He loves Colin, yet can barely stand to see his son since Colin reminds him of Lillias. This changes by the ending.

Lillias Craven

Mary's maternal aunt and the wife of Archibald Craven. She died a long time ago, but the influence she left still lingers- the 'secret garden' of the title was hers.

Colin Craven

The son of Archibald and Lillias Craven. His existence is at first kept secret from Mary, but she eventually finds out while exploring the house. He's very hypochondriac and confined to bed due to his firm belief that he has lumps on his back. After he throws a crying fit about it, Mary wastes no words disabusing him of this notion.

  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: The reason Colin initially hates people looking at him is because he always thinks they've Come to Gawk at the little crippled freak.
  • Friendless Background: Lived all his life pretty much alone at Misselthwaite, although it didn't help that he threw tantrums when taken out.
  • Ill Boy: Subverted- all of his symptoms that aren't due to being stuck in bed his whole life are psychosomatic.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Colin throws monstrous hissy fits and is rude and ornery to his servants, mostly because he knows they wouldn't dare scold him. Of course, how else do you expect a child to act when they've always been told that he will either die young or grow up to be disfigured? Never mind that his father is neglectful and depressed.
  • Spoiled Brat: Like Mary. The servants are so worried about the 'sick boy' throwing a tantrum that they do whatever he asks and feed his delusion of being hunchbacked.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Big, sparkly, grey ones, like his mother's.

Mrs. Medlock

The keeper of Misselthwaite Manor and its steward while Lord Craven is away.

  • Creepy Housekeeper: Not really creepy, but she is quite austere and can be unkind to Mary.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Medlock's job is to take care of Colin, and that is exactly what she does. She had no way of knowing that her actions were impeding the boy's chances of improvement any more than the other residents of Misselthwaite.

Dickon Sowerby

Martha's younger brother. He's the one who helps teach Mary gardening.

Martha Sowerby

An underservant in the Craven manor who's assigned to be Mary's personal maid. She is friendly and good at her job, but she's also blunt and very unaware of (or unimpressed by) the customs regarding tending to rich kids.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mary doesn't hit her for being impertinent (as she might have with Indian servants) because she thinks that Martha might hit back.
  • Brutal Honesty: Does not mince her opinions about anything.
  • Cool Big Sis: She has a lot of younger siblings, and she eventually grows into this role with Mary.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Downplayed since it was something Mary really needed to hear, but she openly mocks rich kids being led around and coddled by nurses in front of Mary, who's spent her whole life being treated like that and expects it from all servants.
    • She's also this because at first, she assumes Mary will be a native Indian, and says this to her face. Mary does not take it well.

Susan Sowerby

Mother of the Sowerby clan, which includes Dickon and Martha. She lives out in the countryside and is rather poor, but generous enough to use her own money to buy Mary a jump rope, since Mary really wouldn't have anything else to do.

  • Good Parent: Probably the only example in the story, unless you count deceased Lillias Craven. Everyone who knows Susan deeply respects her, and they treat her child rearing advice as indisputable.
  • Team Mom: Downplayed, but yes. If she's not a direct mother figure, she's providing motherly advice to others who directly care for kids like Colin and Mary. Uniquely, in the 1975 miniseries, Susan gets to meet our two main children. She treats them as kindly and firmly as one would expect.

Ben Weatherstaff

The crusty old gardener at the Craven Manor.

  • Cool Old Guy: After a fashion, especially when he agrees to keep secret that Mary and Colin have gotten into the garden.
  • Crusty Caretaker: To the gardens.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Not only is he a gifted gardener, he also talks to and dotes on a robin central to the story.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ben and Mary get off to a rocky start, as both are cantankerous loners, but eventually those very similarities bring about a mutual understanding.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Despite Lord Craven's orders to leave Lilias' garden to die after her death, Ben continued to care for it in secret over the years. He knew Lilias would have wanted him to.

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