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The characters of the book and movie Trainspotting and its related works, and their associated tropes.

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The Lads

    Mark "Rents / Rent Boy" Renton 
Played by Ewan McGregor
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/renton.png

"Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose your friends. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you've spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life..."

The Villain Protagonist of the story. Mark is the voice of (relative) sanity among his friends, many of whom he actually hates. At the beginning, he's in the middle of his addiction to heroin. He is capable of fitting in well enough to common society, is relatively good-looking and of above-average intelligence, but is often socially awkward, and uses heroin as a means to withdraw into his own world. A self-loathing Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire who narrates everything from supporting his drug addiction to interacting with "the normal world" in a cynical way.

  • Adaptational Dye Job: He has ginger hair in the book, though dyes it black at one point. In the film, he has short, cropped hair. In the sequel, he has brown hair.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The play ends on an optimistic note, with him moving to London and swearing off drugs forever, omitting him robbing his friends of the proceeds of a drug deal.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He contemplates this for a time, even giving another man a blowjob at one point (and receiving one in return, which he didn't really find a turn on) and wanking off his disabled younger brother (though more to ease his frustration than out of any sexual gratification on his own part), though decides against it.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Was known for doing this as a child.
  • Bi the Way: He ends up hooking up with a few men over the course of the novel, and doesn't see it as a big deal, although he feels more comfortable with women.
  • Brother Brother Incest: Billy once caught him masturbating their disabled brother Davie because he couldn't do it himself.
  • Byronic Hero
  • Character Development: The novel is about, in part, Mark's development from heroin addict into the mature adult that appears in Porno.
  • Composite Character: Gets some elements of Spud in the play. Especially hilarious given that Ewen Bremner played Renton in the stage version.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Due to Spud being Adapted Out of the play, the infamous scene where he empties a shitty bed sheet over his girlfriend's parents is Mark instead.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He's not thrilled with the nickname "Rent Boy".
  • Erudite Stoner: In the book, he's constantly ruminating on his views on the world, quickly getting a grasp at psychoanalytical ideas when he is being examined and having an understanding on the overall ideas of Kierkegaard.
  • Evil Vegetarian: Has no qualms killing animals, just hates the taste of meat.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Cynic.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic/Melancholic.
  • Friend to Psychos: This comes with the territory for any of Begbie's pals, but unluckily for Renton every other nutter seems to dig him, too. For what it's worth, he acknowledges that he indulges their peculiarities as they make life more interesting for him. He later comes to regret justifying Franco's attacks on random folk and holds himself and the others in contempt for it.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Renton tries to break free of his heroin addiction this way, but doesn't go all the way. After his overdose, his parents lock him in his room and force Cold Turkey on him.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sick Boy prior to Porno. They reaffirm their friendship by the end of T2 Trainspotting, in contrast to the ending of Porno, where Renton burns his bridges with Sick Boy for good after finding out he intended to sic Begbie on him all along.
  • Hipster: Mark was one even before the term was coined. This is reflected in his cynical view of modern society, his refusal to seek or keep any kind of employment and his refusal to play along with the social norms in his "Choose Life" speech.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
    Sick Boy: For a vegetarian, Mark, you're a fucking EVIL shot.
  • Informed Attribute: He's, presumably, supposedly good at football. We never really get to see his skills, but he does wear the sacred #10 jersey.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As immoral and cynical as he may be, Mark does have moments that show a sense of humanity. He feels genuinely bad about getting Tommy addicted to Heroin and guilty that it killed him and tries his best to be a good friend to Spud, to whom he leaves his share of the drug deal money.
  • Karma Houdini: By the end of the story, he escaped any particular punishment, besides his life threatening withdrawal and his guilt.
  • Kissing Cousins: He attempts to hit on his teenage cousin Nina at one point in the book.
  • Made of Iron: Aside from surviving heroin use, in T2, he survives what is essentially a heart attack, getting beaten up by Simon (including a head-first collision into a wall), getting his entire arm slashed by Begbie, and being hanged until the edge of death.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Caught between an elder brother in the army, and a younger, extensively disabled brother in a wheelchair. The former gets respect and earnings while the latter has constant doting attention from the family and close friends. Mark receives abuse from both: directly from Billy and his mates; indirectly due to people heartlessly insulting wee Davie in proxy to him.
  • Only Sane Man: Of his friends, though when your friends include a complete psychopath and an immoral pimp with delusions of grandeur, it doesn't mean much. Spud may rival him for understanding of himself and others, but the key difference is that Renton can actually function.
  • Recovered Addict: In the movie, he gets Nailed to the Wagon and eventually manages to stick with it.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: isn't sad about either of his brothers being dead, with Billy being a Big Brother Bully and the handicapped Davie being an embarrassment who took all their mother's attention.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Inverted. Begbie tells Renton that he should keep going to University so he can make something of himself. Allison cites Renton's self inflicted Tall Poppy Syndrome as one of the reasons she dislikes him.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: In the book, he's stated to be a dead ringer for Alex McLeish.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Porno, he's been learning martial arts just in case he runs into Begbie again. This becomes a Chekhov's Skill, which he uses, ironically, to save Begbie from a Rabid Cop who has it in for him. Begbie is actually impressed by this.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In Porno.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Deconstructed by his on/off girlfriend Hazel:
    Hazel: "You just want tae fuck up on drugs so that everyone'll think how deep and fucking complex you are. It's pathetic, and fucking boring."
  • The Unfavorite: To his parents. Especially due to throwing his chance as a university student away to become a dole mole heroin addict. Especially ironic since he winds up as the only surviving sibling. His dad warms to him more in the later books, though.
  • Villain Protagonist: He has no ethics at all, and the only thing that matters to him is getting his fix. Sadly, this is how many real-life drug addicts think. He is also, after all, an amoral heroin addict who steals, sells drugs, and gets his friend addicted to heroin.
    • That does apply in the film, but it's less clear-cut in the book, where he disgustedly pulls Sick Boy up after he offers to pimp his girlfriend out to a grotesque and unsociable man. He is also protective of his mother, as much as she embarrasses him. Earlier, in Skagboys, he was the member of a group of housebreakers who nevertheless unhesitantly led an attempt to save a maid's life, and was successful because he knew how to remove drugs and fluids from a vulnerable person because of caring for his disabled brother, Wee Davie. In all three sequel media (T2, Porno and Dead Men's Trousers) he's gone more "straight" (that is, sober and more in line with normal societal expectations of holding down a stable job, a girlfriend, a house etc) and his personality and actions reflect that, even though he still has elements of the former Villain Protagonist he was in the earlier film/novels.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sick Boy.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: He gets one at the end of the film. It's the closing monologue to the film that closely mirrors his opening monologue.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He cheated on Fiona with Joanne in Skagboys. It's something he feels very guilty about though.
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     Simon "Sick Boy" David Williamson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sick_boy.png

"Personality, that's what matters. What keeps a relationship going. I mean, heroin has a great fucking personality."

The Deuteragonist of the story, an Italian-Scots charmer who's obsessed with being the sexual alpha of the group and making money via cons without recourse to violence. Amoral, stylish and Mark Renton's oldest friend, Sick Boy is a borderline-sociopath and born exploiter who only feels disdain for his friends and for society. He has an obsession with Sean Connery, and enjoys showing off with his ability to casually use heroin and stopping without developing an addiction. Sick Boy considers himself superior to everyone else he interacts with. In the story, he represents cold and calculating pragmatism without any moral restraints.

  • Adaptational Dye Job: He's Tall, Dark, and Snarky in the books, blond in the film. Although, in the drug trip sections in Dead Men's Trousers (pictured above), he's blond.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Ends up saving Mark's life in T2 Trainspotting, and is overall much less of a sociopathic womanizer in the films.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: He'll remove purses from any random schemie girl he pulls, and as for guys, his friends and employers have to watch out or he'll snake a sly hand round for their wallets even as he's pretending to comfort/greet them, too.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He exhibits most of the traits associated with sociopaths, though it's never outright confirmed whether he is one or not. It's more likely he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, owing to his intensely selfish, manipulative ways and Lack of Empathy towards others.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He notes in Dead Men's Trousers that he wishes he could be gay, but he hates men. He's not averse to letting a woman use a strap on on him, though, as shown in both Skagboys and Dead Men's Trousers.
  • Ambition Is Evil
  • Ascended Extra: In Porno, Skagboys and Dead Men's Trousers he gets more narration, especially in Porno.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Likes to shoot dogs from a distance to see if he can get them to attack their owners then runs over with a baseball bat, pretending to be a hero and saves the owner from the dog.
  • Batter Up!: In the novel, he makes use of one to kill a dog who had attacked its owner (who had done so because Sick Boy shot him in the balls with an air rifle). He lampshades its use, noting that nobody on the east side of the Atlantic ocean keeps a baseball bat for playing baseball.
  • Byronic Hero: On The Other Wiki, he's described as a "combination of a Byronic hero and villain."
  • The Cameo: He has a small role in A Decent Ride, which is set quite some time after Porno. It reveals Sick Boy is still directing pornography.
  • The Casanova: He Really Gets Around with women, often stringing several along at a time.
  • Character Development: Over the course of Skagboys he develops from a Loveable Rogue with a heart of gold to the borderline-sociopathic pimp and pusher that appears in Trainspotting and Porno.
  • Character Focus: Whilst he does narrate two chapters in Trainspotting, he doesn't get much characterization. Whereas in Porno he is essentially the protagonist, and shares the role with Renton in Skagboys.
  • The Chessmaster: He's always running scams, though he can end up being Out-Gambitted from time to time.
  • Chick Magnet: He's the biggest player in the group, and often seduces female tourists. Renton thinks, at one point, that he wants to keep Sick Boy as far away from Dianne as possible, not even mentioning him in conversation.
  • Complexity Addiction: This proves to be his major flaw in Porno, as he draws out his manipulations and scams instead of just running off with the money - which is what Renton does.
  • Cool Shades: Wears them in the movie.
  • Copiously Credited Creator: In universe in Porno, he plasters his name over every part of the opening credits, including taking credit for Nikki and Rab's scriptwork. Comes back to bite him in the ass when the police raid him.
  • The Dandy: Downplayed.
  • Delusions of Eloquence / Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Often. Skagboys shows that he used to carry a dictionary around with him and look up a new word for each day. You can tell he does this to make himself seem more intelligent.
  • Demoted to Extra: Doesn't appear agin in the play after the cot death. The same actor plays Tommy who gets more stage time.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When his baby daughter Dawn dies from neglect. After that, all good in him is broken forever.
  • Deuteragonist: In Skagboys.
  • Disappeared Dad: He tells Renton he has a son living in London with his "whore mother" whom he sees only once "every ten years."
  • Does Not Like Men: A rare male example. He considers other heterosexual males to be rivals and only tolerates them. He is delighted when his son comes out as gay, as it means he's not a rival for the affections of women in the way he was with his own father.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He certainly thinks so in Porno.
  • Empty Shell: After Dawn's death.
  • Erudite Stoner:
    Renton He's always been lacking in moral fibre.
    Swanny He knows a lot about Sean Connery.
    Renton That's hardly a substitute.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He engages in various criminal enterprises and in T2 plans to do in a returned Mark, but does care for Veronika and comes to repair his relationship with Mark. In the novel canon, it's also likely he loves his family (minus his father), even if he sometimes draws them into his awful scheming.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Realist.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic/Choleric.
  • Friendly Enemy: In contrast to his friendship with Renton, Sick Boy has this mode of interaction with Begbie. He views Franco as a crass, vicious thug and tenapenny muscle for more dangerous scams. On Begbie's part, he's morally disgusted with Sick Boy's pimping and heroin related activities, but admires his scheming ways otherwise as it brings in money. Renton hates them both when they decide to socially gang up on him, stealing both female attention and parental affection, and when they pretend to be great mates in front of new people when really "all they generally did was get on each other's tits".
  • Handsome Lech
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Renton prior to Porno. They reaffirm their friendship by the end of T2 Trainspotting, in contrast to the ending of Porno, where Renton burns his bridges with Sick Boy for good after finding out he intended to sic Begbie on him all along.
  • Hipster: Even more than Mark as seen in his high view of himself and his cultural snobbery.
  • Humiliation Conga: In Porno, and how. Having spent the entire novel, no, his life scamming, fucking over, using and otherwise pissing off a great many people, it all comes crashing down on him. Trying to phone Renton from the Cannes porn festival, he realises with shock that Rents has cleared out the joint production bank account (in which were the embezzled earnings of dozens of Rangers supporters, to the tune of over £60,000) and stolen the prints of the film. He tries and fails to catch Renton via Begbie, and in doing so causes the latter grievous injuries in a car crash. Embarrassing himself in front of his friends and Nikki, he just barely misses Renton at the airport. To pour salt on his wounds, he learns that the authorities have found out he illegally produced the porno in the UK and is named and shamed in the paper. He's now forced to do a runner with Nikki, only to find... that she's left him to run away with Renton and Dianne. He headbutts himself in the mirror in self loathing yet decides to get one tiny victory over the comatose Begbie by taunting him at the hospital. But to cap it all off, Franco wakes up and grabs his arm with ferocious intent...
    • Well and truly justified, because apart from everything else, he had always been intending to sic Begbie on Renton like he did on Spud.
    • Hoist by His Own Petard: He actually made his arrest for making the porno worse, on account of having replaced his name over everyone else on the crew. As a result, the police are only looking for him.
    • It gets to the point where he has literally nine different suspects (and counting) as to who got the cops on him, because he didn't realise how badly he antagonised certain people.
  • Informed Attribute: He's supposedly an extremely disgusting human being, but compared to Francis Begbie and Alan Venters, he comes off as just a lovable rogue. He does become a lot worse in the sequel. He's not above blackmailing city officials and pimping out girls for his own ends.
    • Subverted when you look at the trilogy overall. Sick Boy wants you to think of him as a loveable rogue, all the better for him to manipulate you. He's fooled his friends, anyone he can get business off of, his mother and sisters, Renton's parents (and they are also taken in by Franco and Billy's public personas so clearly aren't the best judges of character) and of course the innumerable women he's been with. He only had two narrated chapters in the original, but got many more in Skagboys and Porno which go a very long way to show you what a scumbag he really is. Combined with other characters narrating about finding out sooner or later about his true nature, the reader is in no doubts he that is an extremely ropey, unlikeable individual. It was to his benefit that Renton and Spud could have been interpreted as giving him a bad press in the original.
  • It's All About Me: By the end, he is pimping young girls. Renton notes that he's become "untainted by compassion or conscience."
    • Skagboys reveals that he was doing this when he first started using smack, with a sixteen year old girl and keeping her wrapped round his little finger with dope, no less.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Initially sort of started off as this in Skagboys. The 'heart of gold' part slowly erodes away over the course of the book though, especially with what he does to Maria. He actually admits at the end that he's done terrible things and that Mark's better than him. However, all the good in him seems to disappear after Dawn's death. He may have always been a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, but there are a few instances that say otherwise.
  • Karma Houdini: At various times over his life. If he's to be believed during his police interview at the end of Dead Men's Trousers, then notably, despite enduring the massive Humiliation Conga detailed above, he's only faced charges twice in his life, and somehow managed to displace suspiscion about the whole production of Seven Rides from not only the cops, but the tax authorities too.
  • Lack of Empathy: By the time of Trainspotting. He did seem to have a degree of empathy in Skagboys, though his opportunistic side usually got the better of him. Examples are him genuinely being shocked at Coke's death, comforting Renton before his brother's funeral, actually intending to kill Maria's father's murderer, and internally begging Nicksy not to jump to his death, as Nicksy "has been sound" by putting him and Mark up in his flat.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Apart from his personal disaster in the third novel, in Skagboys he's milking a rich London girl Lucinda for all she's worth. Hoping to marry and bairn his way into the family fortune, he almost gets away with it, until Nicksy causes a scene with his attempted suicide. As a result, the Jamaican-Cockney bint he's been shafting gleefully tells Cinders about his infidelity, and the scam goes kaput big time.
  • Like Father, Like Son: His dad messed his mother about with various girls, just as he's been wont to do ever since puberty. But unlike the old man, he's had a measure of success with scams in other fields and has travelled Europe, showing his wider aspirations.
  • Lovable Rogue: How he'd like to be seen by those around him.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Manly Tears: In the film, he sheds them when Baby Dawn is found dead from starvation and neglect (because he was the father). No one else does, though they are all in utter shock.
  • Meaningful Name: As Renton notes in the first chapter of Trainspotting, Sick Boy is named as such not because he's always sick from heroin withdrawal, but rather because he's a "sick cunt".
  • Mixed Ancestry: He's very proud of his Italian heritage, inherited from his mother.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Very briefly has a moment like this towards the end of Skagboys, though he lies to Renton about what it is he's done exactly.
  • Narcissist: His defining characteristic.
  • Never My Fault
  • Nietzsche Wannabe
  • Pet the Dog: Has a few moments, mostly in the prequel. An example would be when he gives Spud money, despite Spud having not asked for any. As his heroin addiction grows these moments get more rare, and begin to be more manipulative in nature. He also has far more Kick the Dog moments.
    • He gets a few more in Dead Men's Trousers, notably being delighted when his son comes out as gay.
  • The Pornomancer: He has so many women on the go in Porno that he has three mobile phones that he uses for different levels of "relationship".
  • Really Gets Around: He always has women on the go, though often for his own ends.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: One of his few legitimate jobs was as a hairdresser. His employer didn't even mind that he was sleeping with customers, so long as they kept coming, but he eventually gets the sack for stealing from the till.
  • Screwy Squirrel: As Renton puts it...
    The mischief making cunt staggers through life leaving these interpersonal booby-traps for his mates. What fucking pleasure the radge derives fae these activities is beyond me.
  • Serious Business: Sean Connery.
    Renton: "He's always been lacking in moral fiber."
    Mother Superior: "Well he knows a lot about Sean Connery."
    Renton: "That's hardly a substitute."
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Becomes more apparent in Porno.
  • Smug Snake: He's nowhere near as clever or charming as he clearly thinks he is.
  • The Sociopath: Borderline. Whilst he displays many of the qualities associated with sociopaths, it's left up to interpretation as to whether he truly is one.
  • Sociopathic Hero
  • Start of Darkness: This is his main arc in Skagboys.
    Sick Boy perceives himself as prisoner of his own lying lips. Standing every day at the shaving mirror, watching those eyes grow colder and more pitiless in face of drug's dictates and the world's brutal coarseness.
  • STD Immunity: Seemingly, given his disdain for wearing condoms during sex coupled with the amount of girls he sleeps with.
  • Sticky Fingers: To the point where even his own friends have to keep an eye on their wallets around him.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After his daughter dies.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Nikki in Porno says that he looks a bit like Steven Seagal.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Throughout the course of Skagboys, and in Porno, where his already huge ego has expanded.
  • Troll: Anonymously sends "poof's porn" to an incarcerated Begbie regularly, for no reason other than to fuck with his head.
  • The Unfettered: "He doesnae care. Because he doesnae care, he cannae be hurt. Ever."
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In both the literary and movie canon. In T2, even though Renton gave him his £4000 share of the original £16000, he's still angry because it didn't come with interest, and giving him the money after twenty years won't get rid of the fact that Renton stole it in the first place.
  • Villainous Breakdown: See Humiliation Conga above.
    I'm in shock. It's like everything good's gone, and the rest's been turned upside down.
  • Villain Protagonist: In Porno.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Renton.

    Danny Robert "Spud" Murphy 
Played by Ewen Bremner
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spud.png

"Ah suppose man, ah'm too much ay a perfectionist, ken? It's likesay, if things go a bit dodgy, ah jist cannae be bothered, y'know?"

One of the stalwart members of the crew, he's by far the most gentle and pleasant to be around, albeit a major tea leaf. After being made redundant from his furniture removals job, he applies his skills in a more ropey fashion in houses across Edinburgh city limits. Unfortunately, he also falls into heroin with the rest of the gang for the greater part of his life. Yet when he and Allison fall in love, things start to look up...somewhat.

  • Adapted Out: Isn't in the stage play.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He'll only recourse to violence as a last resort, if you attack one of his mates, or else if you really infuriate him.
    • You also have to push his buttons pretty damn hard to get him to curse.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Played with. He comes across as a bit weird due to him still being a junkie, but he's skilled in construction, forging signatures and writing, and that last one even impressed Begbie.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor, poor Spud. He always screws up.
  • Character Death: Sadly dies of a heart attack after having his kidney removed in Dead Men's Trousers.
  • Cool Shades: Attempts to invoke this during the drug deal in the movie. Key word being "attempts".
  • Disappeared Dad: In T2, he becomes one to his son with Gail, Fergus, after losing custody of him.
  • The Ditz
  • Driven to Suicide: In Porno, he tries to trick Begbie into killing him.
    • In T2, he tries to hang himself, convinced that he's a burden.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Wakes up in his girlfriend's bed and realized he's drunkenly pissed, share and vomited all over the sheets. Everyone's all right about it until he accidentally empties the contents of the sheet over her parents.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Optimist. Except when he gets brought down by despair and considers suicide.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine/Phlegmatic.
  • Hidden Depths: Spud is surprisingly well-read and insightful about both himself and his friends for an unintelligible heroin addict. In both Porno and T2 Trainspotting, he writes a book.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Mark conveniently walks in while he's hanging himself in T2.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Writes a book about the history of Leith in Porno but it's rejected by the publisher. In T2 he's strongly implied to be writing the original Trainspotting novel.
  • Killed Off for Real: Complications from the Meatgrinder Surgery to remove his kidney and a bag of skag in Dead Men's Trousers results in him suffering a fatal heart attack.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: As many bad things as you can say about Spud, one thing you can't is that he doesn't love cats.
  • Matzo Fever: His plans for his cut of the drug money involve settling down with a beautiful, rich Jewish princess.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Ends up on the receiving end of this twice in Dead Men's Trousers. The first time, Victor Syme has a bag of heroin placed inside him to smuggle into Berlin. The second time is in Berlin itself where Sick Boy removes the skag along with his kidney with the aid of a YouTube video, a podiatrist, and a dodgy former veterinary anaesthetist. Complications from this result in him suffering a fatal heart attack.
  • Morality Pet / Morality Chain: Acts as one to Renton. See Throw the Dog a Bone, below.
  • Motor Mouth: Whilst on speed.
  • The Southpaw: Whenever he's seen writing, he is seen to be left-handed, as is his actor, Ewen Bremmner.
  • Sticky Fingers: Well known as a burgler, something he took to after he lost legitimate employment.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: At the end, when he rips off the others after the drug deal Spud is the only one Renton does right by, giving him his full share of the proceeds.
  • The Unintelligible: It's hard to understand him if you're not an Edinburgh native. Even in the book, his chapters are narrated in a thick Scottish mush.
  • Verbal Tic: Tends to describe people as cats and runs the full gamut of feline metaphors, from "wee sexy kittens" for attractive girls to "jungle cat" for Begbie and his nutter mates. Miaaaawwwow.
    • Also, "likesay" or in other words, "know what I mean?". Other character occasionally use it but no way near as much as him.
  • You Look Familar: Brenner had played Renton in the stageplay before starring in the movie.

    Francis "Franco" James Begbie (later Jim Francis) 
Played by Robert Carlyle
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/begbie.png

"Are ye sorry for being a fat fuckin cunt?"

The only one of the main characters who doesn't do heroin (though in the original book and its sequel he does speed and cocaine). He does people, and regards junkies as the lowest forms of life; well, after peadophiles, that is. An ex-convict from prison, Begbie is extremely sadistic and frequently terrorizes his "friends" who are wary around him. In the past, he was much more like them, but after being in jail he has come to believe in his own (and their) propaganda about him being the baddest guy in town. Begbie views himself as a straight-up guy, a leader, and a heroic badass who everyone should respect.

While he has beaten up people that deserve it and maybe fallen into at least one of those aforementioned qualities at some point at irregular intervals, it doesn't apply... He seems to try to believe he has morals, though he still loves having an excuse to beat someone up, no matter how disturbingly minor said excuse is. The best defence against him is not being in the same room as him, as that poor guy with the bag of crisps can attest.

By the time of The Blade Artist, Franco has gone through the prison cycle once again but this time actually reformed. He educated himself in art, literature and poetry and has become a respected shock-artist/sculptor in California, married to an American prison therapist who turned his life around. They have two lovely young girls, but "Jim Francis" as he's now known has cut almost all ties with Leith. But he's forced to return after a family bereavement and to come to terms with the past... or rather, make it and it's occupants come to his terms.

  • Abusive Parents: In T2, he shows traces of this towards his son, Frank Jr., showing contempt of his son's desire to go to college and into hotel management, swearing at him and belittling him when he threatens Frank Jr. to hit him and he doesn't.
  • The Alcoholic: Very much so, at least until The Blade Artist.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: His actor and director both consider him a closet gay but this wasn't Welsh's interested toon when writing the book.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Oh dear God, yes. He wasn't originally written that way, but Danny Boyle saw traces of it in the book and decided to play that aspect up in his film. Irvine Welsh later agreed that it was a fair portrayal. However, the novel version of the character can easily be interpreted as straight (and straightforwardly so), including in the follow-up works.
    • Bi the Way: In the cinematic canon, taking into account that he's gotten married at least once.
  • Ax-Crazy: He gets physically aroused from violence and hurts people for no reason. In the book, this is a result of both his own sadistic aggression and due to his friends "painting him as the ultimate psychopath" so they'll look cooler by hanging out with him. Interestingly, Renton remembers how Begbie was much more mellow and easy-going as a teenager (when he wasn't yet the toughest guy in the neighbourhood).
  • Badass Mustache: In the film anyway.
    • At least by the era of 2015-16, it appears to be the case for the books too, according to the cover art of The Blade Artist (a slashed up photo of a real life Franco doppleganger) and the tripped out DMT hallucinations illustrated in Dead Men's Trousers.
  • Berserk Button: Begbie has so many of these that having a conversation with him is akin to walking through a minefield. Child molesters and threatening his most beloved family members seem to be the top two.
    Renton has learned over the years that the worst thing you can do is to make Frank Begbie feel isolated, so he feels it politic to join in on his side.
  • Blood Knight: Revels in the fight. In the movie, Renton notes that he "didn't do drugs, he just did people" just before he starts a massive Bar Brawl.
  • Bullying a Dragon: How his friends mock him when his back is turned. They do so with great amusement but also paralysing fear of him actually catching on.
  • Bump into Confrontation: More or less every time he goes to a pub.
  • Catchphrase: "End ay fucking story!" and delivering a firm statement followed by "mates or nae mates", "fitba or nae fitba" etc.
  • Chaotic Stupid: Begbie strays into this territory frequently, given that he insists not only on being a violent and often sadistic brawler, but often doing it within plain sight of people who are liable to call the police or remember his face. At one point in the movie, after kicking in a man's head, glassing him and accidentally slicing open Spud's hand, he stands right in front of the bar and various shocked witnesses and demands that Renton take at least a minute to "bring me doon a fukken ciggareh" before even considering leaving — or taking his injured friend to a hospital. He's also been known to attack bystanders for eating crisps too loudly. Neutral Axe-Crazy might be a better description of his alignment, come to think of it.
    • Porno implicitly justifies this by suggesting that for example, when he murders Chizzy in the pub, he's relying on the fact that it's in one of his local pubs and that the witnesses are an old (if now teetotal) friend, a reliable if disgruntled barman and elderly drinkers who know him and are either nonchalant about it or else cowed into not grassing on him, like the culture of fear the Kray Twins were able to leverage to avoid public witnesses to their crimes from coming forward at least for a time. Indeed, he seems to get away scott-free with this crime. However, the movie depicts the aforementioned assualt in a London pub, away from his usual stomping grounds (aka territory) and with witnesses who don't know his bad reputation; he's also committing the crime after a highly publicised robbery he participated in, no less.
  • Character Development: Has gone through some by The Blade Artist, becoming more well-read, amicable and accepting of others, though his violent, psychopathic tendencies and urges - apparently stemming from what American analysts diagnose as intermittent explosive disorder - tend to resurface.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: You rarely go more than eight or so words without a "fuckin", "shite", "cunt" or other hard curse stabbing in through Begbie's thoughts/speech.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Relies on random tools and beer glasses to batter his enemies into submission. Failing that, he'll throw in a sneaky headbutt, quick one-two punches and multiple bootings while the guy is helpless on the deck.
  • Determinator: In T2, he's been nursing a grudge against Renton for twenty years and will stop at nothing to settle the score.
  • Disappeared Dad: In both canons. In T2 was one to his son, Frank Jr., while he was in prison, until he broke out and made his way home. Same goes for his (known) sons, Sean and Michael, for much of their lives in the novels. Again this is mainly due to doing time, but also because he hates June and is indifferent about his offspring. Bear in mind he's also gotten other girls pregnant in one night stands and entirely forsaken responsibility as a parent, making him a Non-Existent Dad for these unfortunate children. Averted with his two young girls with Melanie, because he's rehabilitated and out of prison and discovers he actually loves having daughters much more than sons.
  • Disco Dan: In both Porno and T2, he is shown to be very behind the times. In the former, he's taken aback by the gentrification of Leith and wonders why everyone suddenly has a mobile phone. In the latter, he wears the same kind of clothes, right down to the loafers with white socks, that he wore in the first film.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • He glasses a man, possibly fatally, for the crime of bumping into him and spilling his beer.
    • He beats another with a pool cue for opening a packet of crisps and distracting him from taking his shot on the pool table. From the other end of the bar. While facing the opposite direction.
    • In the sequel, he tells Renton that he killed a man for looking at him funny.
    • In Dead Men's Trousers, he murders a Hollywood star, Chuck Ponce, by pushing him off a cliff, and for only using Begbie as a character/dialogue coach whilst in the slammer, and ignoring his calls throughout much of the period since getting out
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Zig zagged. Not out of morality, he just thinks they're boring. In the film, he's not above using a replica firearm as a Weapon for Intimidation. Same thing for an actual handgun in Dead Men's Trousers, although he doesn't end up firing it.
  • Domestic Abuse: An especially cruel one, who beats and kicks his pregnant girlfriend June in the groin. After she gives birth, he abandons both her and the child, never even mentioning them again. He also directly (albeit probably unintentionally) caused her to miscarriage from a violent shag. And that's not all; when she miscarriaged another time (likely due to alcohol and smoking) he utterly failed to comfort her, instead rubbing the bloodied underwear in her face and calling her a murderer.
    • For what it's worth though, on the last one he might have shown some remorse in the form of a tear. Or Alison might have been mistaken.
    • Notably never laid a finger on his later girlfriend Kate, although he threatened to.
    • Has entirely abandoned this behaviour by The Blade Artist onwards, with the possible exception of the fact that he doesn't tell Melanie about most of his crimes since "going straight", albeit this could also be interpreted as a loving guesture.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In T2, he has a wife, June, and son, Frank Jr., at home. He even named his son after himself and sees him as a chip off the old block, even though it's not true. By the time of The Blade Artist onwards, he has a wife and two daughters in America, far away from his dark past and all of the villains it contained.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Has a variety of aversions to sins he considers beyond the pale, despite having his own hypocritical flaws relative to each.
    • Despises paedophiles with every fibre of his being, and incurred more jail time for his beatings on them. But his hatred of sex offenders hardly makes him any better of a father when you consider his neglect, poor parental advice and occasional violence against his sons.
    • Has a measure of respect for the elderly. But he still kicks in his auld Uncle Dickey for forcing him to choose between loyalty to him and the advancement of his criminal reputation. Also abused his Grandpa Jock during their last ever meeting by kicking out his Zimmer frame.
    • He can't stand to see women beaten by abusive boyfriends... perhaps something of a projection of his own domestic abuser tendencies. It doesn't take much to get him to justify severly assualting his ex-wife, and he would have done the same to his new lassie Kate if not for a last minute change of heart.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Double-subverted in T2. When he first returns home, he sees his son, Frank Jr., as a chip off the old block, even down to naming him after himself and taking him along to burglary crimes, while his son wants to go to college. In their last scene together, Begbie hugs Frank Jr. and tells him he can be a better man than Begbie himself is, implying he now accepts his son's decision to attend college.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: In Porno. He's spent most of The Nineties in prison and everyone has mobile phones when he gets out, much to his chagrin. Also, his furniture store he owned with fellow bam Lexo has been converted into a Thai restaurant/cafe and he's not best pleased with the poxy payoff given as remuneration. And Sick Boy and Spud can hardly be bothered to play card games with him and the other nutters!
    "Wits fuckin wrong with ivray cunt?!"
    • There's also shades of this in The Blade Artist because Leith just keeps gentrifying and reinventing itself, but because he's undertaking an investigation with specific objectives rather than indulging in the usual Begbie brand of self-destruction, he doesn't let it throw him off his game this time.
  • Football Hooligans: In Skagboys, he's revealed to be one of these, which should come as a surprise to no-one. In fact, it went back further than that to when he was a teenager, when he, Joe, Tommy, the Glue lads and some others participated in a casuals infiltration of the Rangers end and carried out a succesful sneak attack on the Huns.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Apathetic.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric/Sanguine.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He clearly terrifies his "friends" with his Hair-Trigger Temper. When Renton flees his former lifestyle, Begbie tracks him down and becomes The Thing That Would Not Leave.
    Tommy: Begbie's fuckin' psycho, man! But he's a mate, so... what can you daenote ?
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Most definitely evil smoking. Gives it up by the mid New Tens.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He's almost as dangerous to his "mates" as he is to everyone else. Renton even outlines a number of Begbie's myths that the gang must play along with, so as not to get beaten up.
  • Held Back in School: Mentioned by Renton during their final confrontation, as he recalls how he and Begbie met as schoolchildren.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently has a great singing voice. And who would have guessed he could paint?! His artistic side actually goes back to his school days.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Unintentionally by him, significant amounts of the dark comedy Begbie offers comes from this. For example, identifying other people as psychotic, drunks, impulsive, sick, murderers etc.
    • Blaming June for letting his sons watch Home Alone 2 as a scapegoat for their violence, rather than acknowledging his own behavior.
    • Says he'll never poison his body with drugs because of all the chemicals while drinking and smoking away.
  • Improbable Weapon User: As an accomplished brawler, Begbie makes plenty of use of these. The book mentions that he has an arsenal of Stanley knives, knuckledusters, sharpened screwdrivers, and knitting needles (because there's less chance they get stuck in the victim's ribcage). Renton states that he does not actually rate Begbie as a terribly strong fighter without his blades.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Makes a cameo in Filth where the protagonist says that Begbie's so paranoid that if you asked him where he was when John Lennon was shot, he would say he was playing pool in The Volley and had loads of witnesses.
  • Improvised Weapon: Carries around sharpened knitting needles in the book, and is said to be not much cop when it comes to a fair fight without weapons.
  • In-Series Nickname‎: The Beggar Boy, Generalissimo Franco.
  • Jerkass: That's putting it very lightly.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: He's paroled in Porno after doing ten years for fatally stabbing a man. In T2, his parole is denied, so he escapes instead.
    • Averted in The Blade Artist, where he's been out of jail for several years and clearly has no intention of ever returning this time round.
  • Knife Nut: In the movie, he always carries a "chib" with him and pulls it on just about everyone who sets him off. Averted in the books, where he prefers knitting needles and screwdrivers, since he finds it easier to stick them in between someone's ribs. Also enjoys the similar sharp weapon of alcohol bottles and glasses.
  • Memetic Badass: In universe, the other characters built up a mythos around how much of a psychopath and all round badass Begbie is. Unfortunately, he starts to believe his own hype.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Elspeth is a real honey, but this trope goes way beyond saying for any of his mates. Or indeed, for almost anyone else. Unfortunately, nobody told her new boyfriend that, or that Franco doesn't like to be slapped on the back even while choking on a chickenbone. He slowly comes to grudgingly tolerate Greg, however.
  • Napoleon Complex: Implied in the movie but averted in the book, where he is described as tall and muscular.
  • Parental Abandonment: In the movie, Begbie abandons his son shortly after he's born, and the same likely happened to him. Same goes for his sons Sean and Michael in the novels for the most part, and certainly this applies 100% for the unknown amount of bastard children he's fathered with random floozies over the years.
  • Properly Paranoid: He's convinced everyone's out to get him in some way or another, and often uses this as a flimsy pretense to beat someone up. Justified in the novels by the implication that he's haunted by the men he's killed in his dreams and subconscious.
    Renton: The nutter's para glint ignites in Begbie's eyes.
  • Redemption Equals Affliction: Gets run over in Porno and after a distraught Renton rushes to his aid, he implicitly forgives him for nicking his share of the cash. This makes him shift his focus to his real enemy, Sick Boy. Although it turns out that he and Simon didn't actually have a confrontation during his temporary coma, as it was just a reflex action.
  • Sadist/Torture Technician: As part of his Character Development in The Blade Artist, Begbie has adopted a more controlled, cold-blooded way of unleashing his violent impulses, such as torturing Davie "Tyrone" Power in the end before leaving him to die in a blaze. He also maims sculptures of famous celebrities as a form of shock art and venting out via percussive therapy.
  • Sanity Slippage: Far from the most stable person in the first place, Begbie seems to be going through some sort of mental breakdown in Porno, suffering from tension headaches, most likely due to being a Fish out of Temporal Water after having spent a decade in prison. His state of mind in The Blade Artist and Dead Men's Trousers is better, but still open to debate.
    Begbie: Muh heid is fuckin nippin. This fuckin migraine. Too much thinkin, that's ma problem, no thit some ay the thick cunts roond here wid understand that. That's what comes ay huvin fuckin brains; makes ye fuckin well think too much, think about aw the fuckin wide cunts thit need tae git thir fuckin faces burst.
  • Serious Business: Rod Stewart. Don't even imply that he could be gay. You'll get your head smashed in.
  • Sex Is Violence
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He uses the word cunt like it was punctuation.
  • The Sociopath: Exhibits many of the qualities associated with low-functioning psychopaths, such as superficial charm, manipulation and a constant need for stimulation, not to mention his violent outbursts and inability to take responsibility for his actions. It's also revealed he harmed and even killed animals in his youth, which is an early indicator of psychopathy (albeit his companion Renton also abused animals, but is comparatively much more mentally sound]]. By the time of Skagboys, Begbie has just begun to blossom as a hardcore psychopath, through a combination of genuine mental disorder, environment, and being built up as the ultimate badass by his friends. He appears to have subverted it by the time of The Blade Artist, displaying what appears to be empathy, positive emotion and love, but he has ultimately just become better at hiding his psychopathic urges. Even saying that, though, those good attributes do seem to be fully in effect with regard to his new family, if perhaps only for them, and maybe Elspeth's small family too. This novel also identifies him as suffering from Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Averted. Not only does he have a mental disorder, but his mental instability is shown to partly come from being bullied for dyslexia in school, and his turbulent upbringing.
  • Sociopathic Hero: How his friends treat him. The book makes it clear that Begbie's friends are just as guilty as he is - they have painted him as the ultimate psychopath so they will look cooler by hanging out with him. He believes that, and, unfortunately, believes his own hype as well. It takes getting hit with a car to get him to stop thinking like this, and it's unknown how long into the interim gap between novels that this change of behaviour really started to take.
  • Straight Edge Evil: In the movie, Begbie has absolute disdain for drugs (specifically downers like smack; he'd probably also write off things like MDMA and poppers as "poofy uppers") and all drug users and dealers and is easily the most despicable of the main characters. Despite his disdain for chemicals, he loves to drink and smoke. It's not really covered in the original book, but by the time Porno comes around, he's become a cocaine user, which really unhinges him. At some point in the early noughties, he slaughtered Seeker, taking belated revenge on behalf of his ex-junky friends and indeed much of Edinburgh and the wider UK by eliminating this horrible dealer who blighted many lives with his heroin distribution network. By The Blade Artist, he's totally given up alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs.
    • It should also be noted that he was happy to perform the smack deal in London and profit from it, suggesting that he doesn't care about selling (and by extension, ruining lives) far from his home turf, but dealing in Edinburgh is unacceptable in his book.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Begbie is a damn good singer when the occasion calls.
    Franco’s voice is something tae hear, it’s like wi it bein Hogmanay, he’s absorbed just the right amount ay alcohol n good vibes and they intersect at this wonderous vector as he briefly becomes something else, this force ay grace and soul.
    • Not for long, however. He doesn't appreciate playing the soulful rocker, at least not with the attendant fan attention. Spud nearly comes to regret paying him compliments.
    Spud falls silent, as does the rest ay the room. We all instantly understand how Begbie sees that this wee fragment ay beauty in his soul has been exposed, and how even through his ain ego and the flattery received, he looks on it as a potential weakness, something that might one day compromise him.
    Begbie: "It’s jist fuckin singin, right."
    • Was beaten by his brother and his father (who also occasionally assualted him) was an absentee drunk. No wonder he turned out into such a bad egg.
    • Had to administer a Mercy Kill on a victim of his grandfather and pals; indeed, this was the first person Begbie ever took out, which may have further warped his personality into the future psycho he was to become.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Zigzagged. In The Blade Artist and Dead Men's Trousers, he has restrained his Hair-Trigger Temper having given up the drink. He's no longer interested in revenge against Renton or even in the debt he once felt Rents owed him for ripping him off. On the other hand, he still ends up murdering several people over the course of both books.
  • The Unintelligible: His chapters in the books are often unreadable because he's so full of profanity and swears so much at the expense of actually describing what's going on. A particularly memorable chapter is the very short one in which every single person is referred to as 'that cunt' with maybe the odd character attribute thrown in to help you along your way.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the film when the police finally come for him, everyone around him has the sense to leave him alone and split while he tears apart the bedroom. Later too in T2, when he comes to realise that he's locked in a car boot and likely to be sent back to prison when the cops swoop down on him.
    • Doesn't really happen in the books. During his psychotic criminal period, he never really feared prison and being held to account for his crimes (although he obviously would rather avoid that and suffered a nasty bout of paranoia after he wasted Chizzy. And during his reformation period, he's simply too cold and calculating to allow anything to seriously mess with his cool.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's a supporting character in the original novel and Skagboys, but it still fits. More so when he's brought to centre stage in Porno and especially The Blade Artist. In Dead Men's Trousers, he and the other three of the Big Four have approximately equal roles to play.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Well, technically a violent Edinburgher.
  • Where Did I Go Wrong?: His mother's reaction when he erratically nuts his sister's new boyfriend at Christmas dinner.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Beats his pregnant girlfriend June when she hassles him about not telling her where he goes. And later in Porno when he believes she's been smoking crack in front of their sons.

    Tommy Lawrence 
Played by Kevin McKidd
"Better than sex. The ultimate hit. I'm a fucking adult, I can find out for myself. Well, I'm finding out all right."

A childhood friend of Renton's who doesn't do heroin, preferring instead to take speed. After a series of events initiated by Renton, Tommy's girlfriend, Lizzie, dumps him, leading Tommy to go on a downward spiral. He begins taking heroin, eventually becoming HIV Positive. Tommy dies in the film, and is mentioned to have died sometime between Trainspotting and Porno in the books.

    Rab "Second Prize" McLaughlin/McNaughton 

A washed up former star striker. His drug of choice is booze, and in quantities to put even any of his peeve-friendly pals to shame. In the original novel, he is one of the five who journey down to London for the big heroin deal. By the time of Porno, he's teetotal, found God and wants as little to do with the lads as possible. Second Prize's constant battle with the bottle mirrors the others’ dalliance with heroin and highlights the other social problems facing contemporary Scotland: namely, alcoholism.

  • Adapted Out: He doesn't appear in the film despite having quite a prominent role in the book.
  • The Alcoholic: His love of the bottle costs him his trial at Manchester United, but he ends up on the wagon by Porno.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: It's how he got his nickname. When drunk, he often starts fights and ends up claiming "Second Prize" by losing.
  • The Artifact: Due to the Big Four (Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie) receiving the most limelight in later books, and Second Prize's absence from the film adaptation, his presence at the climatic drug deal in the first book is treated this way in Porno and Dead Men's Trousers, with him being little more than an afterthought or mild obstacle for Renton.
  • Berserk Button: When the others take him to a club that doesn't serve alcohol, he explodes in anger, shouting at the others before leaving.
    • He also took a swing at Renton after Tommy got the virus, blaming Renton for introducing Tommy to heroin.
  • Broken Ace: Second Prize is popular, handsome, and a star football player with skills that could rival professionals - but he's also a massive alcoholic with a need to prove himself in fights. He ultimately wastes his talents.
  • Butt-Monkey: Thankfully he's usually too drunk to even care.
  • Character Development: By the time of Porno, he's embraced sobriety (not that he had much of a choice) and religion, having distanced himself from the lads after getting ripped off by Renton.
  • Composite Character: Some of his characteristics are given to Spud in the film.
  • A Day in the Limelight: His narrative chapter, Her Man, could be seen as this.
  • Demoted to Extra: He has narration duties for a chapter in Trainspotting, but appears only sporadically in both Porno and Skagboys. Appears in Dead Men's Trousers, where he only has one line.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Being an alcoholic, he turns to drink when feeling low. Not that he even needs that excuse.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: He finds religion to help him kick the drink.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Tommy.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Had a trial on the Manchester United youth team until the drink got the better of him.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Much to his disgust in Skagboys, he finds that the Blackpool establishment they visit isn't licensed. He makes a speedy exit.
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!
  • The Load: Often described as a "liability".
  • Meaningful Name: Gets into many fights whilst inebriated, which often end up with him 'coming second place', i.e. losing the fight.
  • Off the Wagon: Implied by his cameo in Dead Men's Trousers when Renton describes him as being near skeletal.
  • Out of Focus: When compared to the other main characters in the trilogy.
  • Sixth Ranger: Joins the main four on the trip to London at the end of the book.
  • The Teetotaler: His reaction to being stiffed for the money by Renton. He distances himself from the old crew, joins an alcoholics anonymous group and starts attending church.
    • Before that, he had sober periods in between heavy binging, mostly when he thought he could get back into a respectable team. They didn't last long.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Seems to have vanished off the face of the Earth by Dead Men's Trousers, with Mark guessing he likely drank himself to death after last seeing him in Porno. He shows up towards the end at Spud's funeral for the money Mark owes him, though no explanation is given as to where he's been.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Seems to be on death's door when he finally shows up at the end in Dead Men's Trousers, being described as 'cadaver-like' and 'hollowed out by some virulent wasting disease' with a 'death's-head grin'.
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    Matty Connell 

"Cunt, it's like a fuckin school project tae you! Well, it'll be like tryin tae find a needle in a haystack. Cunt, ye dinnae even ken whaire the fuckin skag is! They've goat guards, probably dugs..."

A long time mate of the main group. Went down to London with Renton in the late 70s, riding the punk movement for cynical shits and giggles. Unfortunately, it only went downhill from there. Has been using heroin the longest out of any of them apart from the dealers. He serves to epitomise the thieving, self-destroying junkie with poor health and hygiene which the others are in ever greater danger of becoming.

  • Adapted Out: He's omitted from the film, despite being one of the main characters.
  • Ascended Extra: To some degree in Skagboys.
  • Berserk Button: Calling him a "tramp" or "scruff".
  • Composite Character: His tragic death is combined with the literary Tommy's breakup and subsequent decline into heroin addiction for the film's version of Tommy.
  • Country Matters / Sir Swears-a-Lot: In Skagboys, he starts almost every sentence off with the word 'cunt'. It seems he's stopped this by Trainspotting, which suggests he's even more dead inside by that point.
  • Dreadful Musician: He loved playing the guitar, even holding onto it as his addiction drove him to sell everything else. Renton describes him as the shitest guitarist he'd ever known.
  • Empty Shell: Has been doing hard drugs for so long (even before the beginning of Skagboys) that he's probably the most jaded, emotionless junkie of the group, living purely from fix to fix. The only less sympathetic individuals are the dealers. He does evoke pity, however.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: One gets this impression throughout Skagboys. Nobody has much good to say about him and he spends the whole novel being a caustic Jerkass to every character.
  • Jerkass
  • Morality Pet: His daughter.
  • Pet the Dog: He attempts to apologize to Renton after making fun of his disabled brother. It's pretty much the only moment in the trilogy where he does something "nice".
    • There's also the fact that he wants to see his daughter after his girlfriend dumps him.
  • The Pig Pen
  • Really Gets Around: Well, really got around anyway, during the height of punk.
  • The Rival: Views Keezbo as this. This culminates in him kicking out a plank that was Keezbo's only means of escape from a factory when they're being chased by security.

    Gav Temperley 
Played by Stuart McQuarrie

A friend of the group who works in the dole office. His position there is taken advantage of by them more often than not. He is one of the few people Renton stays in contact with after he moves to Amsterdam.

  • A Day in the Limelight: The short story Victor Spoils focuses around him.
  • Demoted to Extra: He had a big part in the book. In the film, he's in the background of a couple of scenes, and tells Renton how Tommy died. He's mentioned in the sequel, but doesn't appear.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not much of a Jerkass, but he does have his moments. Nevertheless, he's one of the nicer lads in the group.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: By the time Porno rolls around, he's still doing the same job. He tells Renton that he's been turned down for promotion so many times that he's stopped applying.

    Davie Mitchell 

A friend of Mark and Tommy's. He contracts AIDS after sleeping with a girl Alan Venters raped, and decides to get revenge on him before he dies.

    Keith "Keezbo" Yule 

"Ah'm starvin, Mr Tommy...ah'm wastin away tae nothing here. Tell them, Mr Mark!"

A character mentioned briefly in Trainspotting as being in jail. In Skagboys, Keezbo is an overweight, extroverted member of the group who starts doing heroin alongside the others. He is revealed to be HIV positive in one of the final chapters. He is one of the five, along with Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Matty, who go to try and steal heroin from a factory at the end of the book. When they are chased by police, he is left behind after Matty knocks down a plank of wood that was his only means of escape.

     Brian "Nicksy" Nixon 

"I ain't got much time for blokes who think they're better than anyone else, like they're the only ones full of big ideas and dodgy scams."

A Cockney friend of Renton's, whom he met in 1979 with Matty during the punk scene. Renton and Sick Boy stay with him in his flat in London during Skagboys, as they agree to smuggle drugs across from Amsterdam on the ferries.

  • Ascended Extra: Gets narration duties in Skagboys, having only been mentioned a few times in Trainspotting.
  • Driven to Suicide: Doesn't go through with it though.
  • Heroic BSoD: Seems to have one when he finds the aborted fetus of his unborn child in the skip.
  • Nice Guy: One of the nicest members of the group.
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    Stevie Hutchinson 

A friend of the group who lives in London with his girlfriend, Stella.

    Nelly Hunter 

A friend of Franco's who often hangs around with the group. Serves as a rival at times to Begbie too, especially when it comes to currying favour with their mob boss employer Fat Tyrone.

  • Foil: Represents the dead-end, no hope cycle of crime, imprisonment and failed rehabiltation which Franco himself was stuck in for many years, and which may drag Franco back into darkness once again. He's still working for Power by the time of The Blade Artist and is still stoking the old nutter grudges, despite always being somewhat more sane than his frenemy. The difference is, Begbie found an exotic new love and had some success with the penal rehabilitation programs at long last. So Nelly tries his best to drag Frank back into the old ways, but ultimately fails.
  • Psycho Sidekick / Satellite Character: To Begbie, though he is far less psychotic than Beggars.
  • Tattooed Crook: Has three tattoos on his face: an anchor on one cheek, a snake on the other, and a palm tree on his forehead. He's wisely had them removed by the time of Porno.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we see of him in Porno, he's been stabbed in the back by Larry Wylie - a fellow psycho associated with Begbie. He returns briefly in The Blade Artist, still working for Davie "Tyrone" Power, only to be stabbed in the back again, this time by Begbie using a sharpened knitting needle.

    Dawsy 

A generic friend of the group who appears sporadically, with little to no importance. He apparently takes jokes way too far, often still finding something funny long after everyone else has grown tired of it.

    "Juice" Terry Lawson 

A former aerated waters salesman, taxi driver and sometimes pornographic actor, Terry is one of the protagonists of Glue and is later a supporting character in Porno and Dead Men's Trousers and takes centre stage in A Decent Ride.

  • Biggus Dickus: He's pretty well hung, which makes him perfect for Sick Boy's porn movies.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: He won't pay for a prostitute. He doesn't need to. This doesn't stop him from seducing them off the clock, however. He also saves a girl from suicide, though he does this to shag her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Especially after his Character Development in A Decent Ride, he starts to take an interest in his children and is willing to help out those around him.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being overweight and ageing, Terry has no problem pulling women with little effort.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. His medical records get mixed up with another Terry Lawson, meaning that his heart isn't as weak as he thought.
  • Really Gets Around: He often sleeps with multiple women on a daily basis, even taking advantage of his taxi work to do so.

The Bams

Besides Franco and Nelly, some of the many nutters who inhabit Leith and the other areas of Edinburgh. Naturally, most of them know Begbie, either playing friend, arch-nemesis or both to him over the years. Most participated with him in the Young Leith Team and Capital City Service casual associations, and share an interest in alcohol, cocaine and miscellaneous violent crime. Few of them are quite as deranged as the Generalissimo.

    Larry Wylie 

A cowardly bully and opportunist sleazebag, who most likely joined the psycho network out of self preservation. Picked on a kid in highschool and got into an altercation with Tommy as a result. By the Nineties, he's dabbling in smack with Andrew Galloway. At the Turn of the Millennium, he and Nelly end up at each other's throats. Later, in 2015, it's revealed that he's HIV positive and is making heinous scud flicks with victimised girls. The newly reformed Begbie starts to see that Larry set him up for much of his problems in the past, and an angry Larry falsely takes the credit for Sean's death. Then shit starts to hit the fan.

  • The Bully: As noted above, he bullies those who are too weak to fight back.
  • Character Death: Tortured close to death by Anton Miller, then roasted to a crisp along with him by Franco in The Blade Artist.
  • Dirty Coward: Though Larry will gladly stab anyone in the back when they're not looking, he backs down from confrontation when faced head-on.
  • Knife Nut: Is said to be particularly deadly with a knife, and proves it when he stabs Nelly in the back towards the end of Porno. Albeit, his victim recovered eventually.

    Alexander "Lexo" Setterington 
Played by Jordan Young (to date, only in Filth's adaptation)

One of Begbie's inner circle. A major player in the Capital City Service in his youth, known for leading his boys with soap bars in socks to attack Rangers fans. Participated in a gangrape on an unfortunate girl but never saw punishment for it. Runs a furniture shop with Begbie until Franco gets put away for an extended period of time, during which Lexo decided to rebrand it as a Thai dinner with his partner being non-too-happy when he finds out. A cousin of Martin Gentleman, Dozo Doyle's right hand man. Notable for having roles which range from minor to significant in Nightmares all the way through Porno.

  • The Dragon: To Ghostie Gorman, before his death.
  • Karma Houdini: It's difficult to parse out the narrative of Marabou Stork Nightmares as it's such a Mind Screw. But according to the chronology of all the novels, it seems that Lexo got away scott-free with the gangrape in that book. This is in contrast to his accomplices, all of whom suffer exploitation-film level revenge by the end.

    Graeme "Ghostie" Gorman 
Played by Martin Compston

A career criminal and sociopath operating within Edinburgh, who becomes the main suspect in Bruce Robertson's murder investigation. Leads a small gang of criminal youths, including Lexo.

    Charles "Cha" Morrison 

A local hard-nut who mostly serves as an off-screen arch-nemesis to Franco throughout Skagboys and Trainspotting.

  • Arch-Enemy: Served as a prominent one to Franco in Skagboys and Trainspotting, although Franco notes in The Blade Artist that their rivalry was fairly superficial, and that it started purely out of boredom.
  • Jerkass: Tries to intimidate Renton in Skagboys with a gang of boys backing him up, but actually ends up being won over by Renton's unflappable nature.

    Donnelly 

A Muirhouse-based wideo, a tourist of the Scottish penal system and an associate of Mikey Forrester's. During one day when Renton is desperate enough for a fix to go to Forrester's, he is present and correct to laugh at Renton's misfortunes and indulge his friend's pretensions of being a hard man. He isn't seen much after that, but it comes to light by the time of Porno that he had an altercation with Begbie, and became his first murder victim, albeit Franco managed to disguise it as justified manslaughter to get a reduced jail sentence. It's said by Begbie that this was driven by his rage at being betrayed by Renton.

    Davie "Fat Tyrone" Power 

The feared head of a criminal empire in Edinburgh. Mentored Begbie and Nelly in the 80s, using them as his hired muscle and intimidation-merchants. Offers sponsorship and protection from other thugs to Billy Birrel in GLue as he is his preferred boxer to bet on. His influence wanes through the new millenium with Franco being absent in prison and then taking up a new life in America, which in part allows Anton Miller to take over in gangland prominence. When Begbie returns to Leith to seek answers about a family bereavment, Tyrone leans on him to come back into his orbit, but his efforts repeatedly result in failure and eventually his demise.

  • Greater-Scope Villain: As the head of a crime syndicate, Power oversees most of the criminal activity in Edinburgh.
  • Pet the Dog: Power is introduced in Glue as, yes, a mob boss, but one with shades of Pragmatic Villainy. Due to his affinity for boxing, he leans on Dozo Doyle to (temporarily, at least) drop his feud with Billy Birrel and the Glue lads, allowing him to heal his facial injury for a big bout. This stands in contrast to his interaction with his employed underlings such as Nelly and Franco, where his villainy is more outright and apparent.

    Anton Miller 

The leader of a gang of youths in The Blade Artist, who are responsible for a large chunk of Leith's criminal activity and have taken place as the most dangerous, feared figures in Franco's absence.

  • The Dreaded: Many of the characters encountered in The Blade Artist fear him, and not without reason.
  • Man on Fire: Burned alive by Franco, along with Larry Wylie.
  • Torture Technician: Tortures Larry to near-death before being burned alive by Franco, and if Larry's reaction beforehand is any indication, this isn't the first time he's done this to someone who's crossed him.

    Gary "Chizzie" Chisholm 

An antagonist in Porno. A notorious "nonce/beast" who did time for sexual assualt, possibly against minors. He threatens Nikkie, Lauren and Dianne at a pub, but is humiliated by the latter and leaves in disgrace. He later backs a winning horse and celebrates with Spud with a disturbing, alcohol and tranquillizers-fuelled binge where they encounter a debauched woman. Ultimately, he has an altercation with Franco in a Leith pub.

  • Depraved Bisexual: He rapes Spud by demonstrating how to perform oral sex on him, while Spud is in a tranquilized state. Either this, or he's just a depraved straight guy who made this transgression during experimentation under a cocktail of drugs and alcohol.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When a newspaper story is written concerning his death and appealing for witnesses, his sister makes an emotional appeal to the public, and it's unclear what her views on his status as a sex offender are.
  • Memetic Molester: Begbie is unsure as to exactly what this man did to end up in the beast's wing at Saughton, but he's pretty sure it was against a child. Or several. Supported by his appalling treatment of women in what we see him do during the novel's present time.
  • Pedo Hunt: Definitely a rapist, but it's unknown if he "just" targeted women or also children. Franco thinks he did go for kids, but he's been known to be an Unreliable Narrator before, especially when it comes to what he thinks his fellow ex-cons did time for. Of course, this is all the justification Begbie needs to kill Chizzie in front of several witnesses.
  • Verbal Tic: Refers to other guys as "chavvy".

    Victor "The Poof" Syme 

Introduced in A Decent Ride. A childhood classmate of Juice Terry's, bullied with homophobia and fat shaming by many other young boys. As it turns out, he wasn't gay at all, and developed from his formative traumas into a major player in the Edinburgh crime world. The nickname persists into his adult life, albeit on a much more discrete basis. Runs a sleazy sauna in Leith, where he and his brother in law exploit and sometimes abuse vulnerable prostitutes in various ways. Terry counts him as a boss/associate of sorts, reluctantly, doing some supervisory work while Vic is away in Spain. Several years later, Syme exploits the power vacuum caused by the downfall of both Tyrone and Anton to become the new underworld top dog, even taking credit for their deaths as the supposed aftermath of a three-way gangland war. This sets him up to serve as a major antagonist in Dead Men's Trousers.

  • Asshole Victim: On top of being an abusive pimp and a powerful gangster, he gets Spud, Sick Boy, and Euan mixed up in the illegal organ trade. So, nobody is really bothered when Begbie brutally murders him.
  • Groin Attack: Ends up on the receiving end of one courtesy of Begbie and a sword.

Love Interests

    Dianne Coulston 
Played by Kelly Macdonald
Mark's underage one night stand, who returns in Porno as his Love Interest.

"You're not getting any younger, Mark. The world is changing, music is changing, even drugs are changing. You can't stay in here all day dreaming about Ziggy Pop and heroin."

  • Adapted Out: Isn't in the play.
  • Age Lift: Is sixteen in the film, compared to fourteen in the book.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Although she wears a shiny dress when she seduces Renton.
  • Character Development: The first time around, both book- and movie-wise, Dianne is portrayed as a sex-crazed, club-hopping teenager; by the time Porno comes up she's toned her recreational drug use down and she matured into a pretty well-adjusted university student, working on her thesis and being more than capable to hold her own in a conversation. She still loves to party, though. In the film continuity, she's a lawyer by the time T2 rolls around.
  • Fille Fatale
  • Jail Bait: Mark Renton has sex with her, discovering the next morning that she is fifteen when she appears in her school uniform and her "flatmates" are actually her parents. Later, she threatens to tell the police if he does not see her again.
  • Hello, Attorney!: In T2 Trainspotting, she's become a lawyer.
  • Really Gets Around: In the book, Renton is creeped out because she's fourteen and already so sexually experienced.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black
  • Younger Than They Look: Mark Renton meets her in a club, then goes to her house where they have sex. Immediately after the act she kicks him out of her room and he sleeps on a sofa. In the morning it's revealed that she's underage. She even threatens to report him for sex with a minor if he doesn't see her againnote .

    Nikki Fuller-Smith 

One of the main characters and narrators of Porno.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Enters into a relationship with Sick Boy, so this goes without saying.
  • Alpha Bitch: Turns a bit this way when she starts filming the titular porno, as it gives her more confidence. The other cast members nickname her Nikki Fuller-Shit.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: She'd been a gymnast in her youth and trained alongside another girl who ended up hitting the big time. She notes that while the other girl got the talent, she got tits instead.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Genuinely cares about her friends.
  • Manipulative Bitch: In Dead Men's Trousers, Renton describes her and Dianne as having ripped him off once they got away from Sick Boy.
  • Weight Woe: She's implied to have some sort of eating disorder, as she's constantly making herself throw up.

    Hazel McLeod  

Mark's on-again, off-again "girlfriend of convenience".

    Kelly 

Mark's Love Interest in the book.

  • Catchphrase: "Too radge!", though this is mostly limited to her narration.
  • Demoted to Extra: Had narration duties in Trainspotting. She is barely mentioned in Porno, and only appears a few times throughout Skagboys.
  • Nice Girl

    Allison Lozinska 
Played by Susan Vidler
Spud's Love Interest and a friend of the group.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. She dated Billy Renton in her teens and has a casual relationship with Sick Boy. But she ends up with Spud who, despite burning his brain out on all manner of drugs and stealing from anyone, is very much a sweet guy.
  • Ascended Extra: In Porno (to an extent) and Skagboys, where she gets narration duties.
  • Beware the Nice Ones
  • Composite Character: In the film she is combined with Lesley (who was the mother of the baby in the novel) and isn't shown again after the cot death scene. Strangely, her role in Porno is merged with Gail in T2 Trainspotting.
  • Straw Feminist: Has a bit of this going on in Trainspotting.

    Lesley 

A buxom barmaid and friend of the group. Her baby daughter, Dawn, dies in the book and film.

  • Buxom Is Better
  • Not What It Looks Like: She and Rents want to shag on Hogmanay 1985, but he's too bombed out to get it up, so they just literally sleep in the nude together. Spud and some others find them like this, and Renton's denial tells them that he "did" slip her a length. As opposed to if he had boasted about it, whereby nobody would believe that they did it.
    • A Call-Forward to the original novel, where Mark was briefly accused of impregnating her and leaving the baby to die of cot death.

    Gail Houston 
Davie's (Spud's in the films) girlfriend.

    June Begbie (nee Chisolm/Taylor) 

Begbie's abused ex girlfriend. Raised two of his sons almost exclusively while he was doing time in Saughton. Note that her name isn't actually Begbie, but she took it on regardless in some kind of needy obsession with him.

    Melanie Francis 

Begbie's new wife, a prison psychologist who sees something in him few others do and causes him to find redemption and a career in art. They move to her home state of California, where they have a beautiful pair of daughters.

Family Members

    Davie and Cathy Renton 
Played by James Cosmo and Eileen Nicholas
Mark's folks. They are quite understandably devastated about his addiction, along with the deaths of their other two sons. They try everything in their power to get him off the skag.

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In fairness, Renton can make the feeling go both ways with his addiction and cynicism.
  • Death by Adaptation: Cathy's alive in Porno but dies between the two movies. This is worked into the books, as Cathy dies between Porno and Dead Men's Trousers.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: They're completely taken in by Sick Boy and Begbie's public personas, and regard Spud with suspicion and contempt.
  • Hypocrite: Mark steals some Valium from his mother, "who is, in her own domestic and socially acceptable way, also a drug addict"
  • Put on a Bus: They've moved by the events of Porno. It's mentioned that Mark visits them but the reader never sees them.
  • Tough Love: Them making Mark give up Heroin cold turkey.

    "Wee" Davie Renton 
The tragically disabled younger brother of Mark. A Posthumous Character in Trainspotting, he is depicted in Skagboys as having a vanishingly rare combination of cystic fybrosis, muscular dystrophy and severe autism. The difficulty of caring for him and the social stigma of having "such a freak" for a son/brother weighs hard on the other Rentons, and he sadly dies young by drowning on his own drool. His all-too-short life is celebrated in a bang-up funeral which allows for a rare feeling of love and bonhomie between the main lads.

  • Adapted Out: Isn't mentioned in the movie and is implied not to exist in the stage play continuity because Mrs. Renton mentions she's already lost one son, referring to Billy.
  • Bury Your Disabled
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Couldn't do this himself, so Mark had to do it for him.
  • Doomed by Canon: If you're reading Skagboys after Trainspotting then you know what will happen to him.

    Billy Renton 
The elder brother of Mark, serving in the British Army. The two are constantly at odds with one another, dating back to their childhood years. Billy and his mates are Hearts supporters or "Jambos", in contrast to Renton and co's Hibernian team. When Billy isn't in deployment, he's often engaged in petty and violent crime with his buddies, and he has actually been in trouble with the law a lot more than the misunderstood Mark. Albeit, his misdemeanours never rivalled Begbie's shocking acts. Billy is killed by an IRA attack, and Renton is forced to endure the Protestant members of the family at the funeral along with army representatives. Renton gets acquainted with Billy's girlfriend Shannon in retaliation.

    Joe Begbie 

Franco's elder brother. While they hated each other growing up, they now seem to be on better, if largely indifferent terms. Joe is also violent but has a better control on his temper than Franco. He occasionally acts as a mediator for the Generalissimo's random acts of brutality, or to set up an appointment should you want to visit him in prison. Conversely, Beggars sometimes cites sticking up for him as a flimsy excuse to attack whoever he likes across Edinburgh's schemes.

  • The Alcoholic: Definitely in middle age.
  • Big Brother Bully: Beat Franco frequently as youths, until the wee lad figured to attack him with a half brick in his sleep.
  • Football Hooligans: Introduces some of the group to the Glue boys before their epic battle against Rangers circa 1980.
  • Retired Badass: While he might still go out looking for fights and to get trashed on alcohol, he seems to have simmered down somewhat in middle age. He's got a wife and two kids and is better in both capacities than Franco could ever dream of; at least until their divorce and his enstangement from his family. He quite possibly even holds down a regular job, unlike his brother who relies on criminal activity and dole handouts to get by (at least, until he became a shock sculpture artist).

    Elspeth Begbie 

"Since when did you start caring about good manners?"

The much younger sister of Joe and Franco. Unlike her brothers, she doesn't have an inclination towards violence, alcoholism or criminality. She holds down a stable life, marrying a successful man named Greg (their marital last name is unknown) and having two ordinary sons with him. Her relationship with Franco has always been strained, and particularly so when she brings him home from California in 2015 by informing him of a family loss. She is suspicious about his apparent reformation, and observes his investigation into the incident with growing trepidation and eventually a fair amount of estrangement. Views Joe in similar contempt for being a jakey waster, albeit one not as malevolent as Franco. She comes round to Frank's change of heart in Dead Men's Trousers when it emerges that she's had a hysterectomy.

  • Ascended Extra: Was not even properly seen in any writings by Welsh until The Blade Artist, and it's prequel short stories Elspeth's Boyfriend and He Ain't Water.

    Carlotta McCorkindale (nee Williamson) 

"You are a total fucking bastard. You wreck people's lives tae gie yirsel cheap thrills!"

One of Sick Boy's younger sisters, clearly named for her Italian heritage. She shares her brother's good looks, attention-demanding eyes and Leither-Italiano passionate personality. Has a son, Ross, with her husband Euan. In younger life, she had a minimal role in the novels, just doting with her sister Louisa over Simon when he's back up from London and cooking with their mother. But in Dead Mens's Trousers, she takes a more prominent role, precipitated by her husband's infidelity and Sick Boy's machinations.

Drug Dealers

Edinburgh and Leith's drug distributers. While they are mostly on good terms with the junkies, they are all definitely bad news. Each has a penchant for addicting young girls to heroin and then mercilessly pimping them out for more fixes, cash flow or first dibs on their bodiesnote . Some, however, are more agreeable than others.

    Johnny "Mother Superior" Swan 
Played by Peter Mullan
Yet another of Renton and Sick Boy's teenage friends, playing amateur football for a small local team. He got deep into the seedy underside of Edinburgh in the eighties, becoming a long term dealer and user. He's one of the friendlier hustlers, at least superficially.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Towards Alison and Leslie.
  • Affably Evil
  • An Arm and a Leg: His tendency to shoot heroin into his leg ended up leaving it infected and requiring amputation.
  • Death by Adaptation: In T2 Trainspotting, Sick Boy mentions that he passed away some time between films, whereas in Porno he is mentioned to have made his way to Thailand, despite having had his leg amputated. In the books, he's dead by the time Dead Men's Trousers rolls around.
  • The Gadfly: Is this during his rehabilitation stint, where he delights in stirring the pot to his and other more sadistic attendant's amusement. Notably when he begins lovingly describing the sensation of shooting up to a company going through withdrawal, or when he creates a tape for their rec room filled entirely with songs referencing drugs on one side, and songs regarding death and suicide on the other.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he tries to live up to his "Nae friends in this game, jist associates" motto, and is about as self-centered and predatory as the rest when it comes to skag, he does often crack to show a more jovial or caring side. Most notably when Alison loses her mother to cancer and is surprised by how emphatically Johnny is in comforting her.
  • Meaningful Name: He became a dealer in order to fund his own addiction. His nickname comes from how long he's had his habit.
  • Phony Veteran: Starts begging after he loses his leg saying that he lost it in The Falklands War.

    Raymond "Raymie" Airlie 
A dealer in Tollcross who serves as Johnny's sidekick. Known for his Cloudcuckoo Lander behavior and for spouting bizarre, nonsensical phrases.

    Michael "Mikey/Miguel" Jacob Forrester 
Played by Irvine Welsh
A hardman from Muirhouse, who hangs around very sketchy characters while punting class As in his scheme. Instantly dislikes Renton due to him pulling a random bint he had a crush on, and the feeling is mutual.

  • Abhorrent Admirer
  • Ascended Extra: He has a more expanded role in Dead Men's Trousers, having gotten Spud into the illegal organ trade.
  • Catapult Nightmare: In the movie when realising he bought 2 kilogrammes of heroin the night before.
  • Creator Cameo: Played by the book's author, Irvine Welsh.
  • Friendly Enemy: With him and Rents, it's purely business. They resented each other greatly from their first meeting. It's explained in the books that Rents slept with a girl Mikey was into and he'd never forgiven him since.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Mark just tolerates him because he supplies his drugs.

    Craig "Seeker" Liddel 

Probably the most violent, scary dealer in town; on par with Begbie for sheer menace. Procures a highly potent strain of heroin from a Gorgie pharmaceutical factory, forming the original source of skag for the city. But when his inside man gets caught he angrily turns him into an (unwilling) national courier. Gets thrown into rehab along with the lads, but unlike most of the patients there he genuinely wants to get off heroin so that he can focus full time on dealing. He sticks to this plan, but by the time of Porno he's not changed for the better in any perceivable fashion.

  • Ascended Extra: He's mentioned a few times throughout Trainspotting, but never makes an appearance. He makes an appearance in Porno, and is quite prominent in Skagboys towards the end.
  • Badass Biker: Got himself into a nasty accident. What with all the metalwork from the surgery, he now relies on heroin to soothe his pains over the winter.
  • Character Death: Revealed in The Blade Artist to have been killed by Begbie in a carpark after several previous altercations.
  • Cool Shades
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul"
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: While his light sensitivity could be said to provide one of his few sympathies, it certainly adds to his menace.
  • Meaningful Name: It lends itself to several interpretations.
    • He seeks drugs, junkies and lassies to further his nefarious interests.
    • He simply seeks to bring out the bad in everyone while attempting to degrade the good.
    • In Welsh's vernacular, "seek" is the equivalent of sick. He is one of the few individuals who you could make a fine case for being more twisted and manipulative than Sick Boy, so he's "sicker".
  • Sunglasses at Night: Due to a biking accident, he's seen with shades even indoors (despite Scotland's usual terrible weather).
  • The Unseen: At least until Porno and Skagboys.

    Michael "Skreel" 

A Glaswegian junkie/dealer known for his unfathomably high level of skag consumption. Gets arrested for breaking out of rehab for a fix, and many years later helps Sick Boy with a scam.

  • Too Dumb to Live: If you're going to bust out of rehab and journey to Kirkaldy to get a fix, why bother returning to rehab? Why not head back to Glasgow or elsewhere, on the run, and guarantee further drug activity for yourself? By doing this, he guarantees himself a stint in prison instead.


Alternative Title(s): T 2 Trainspotting, Skagboys, Porno, The Blade Artist

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