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William "Billy" Hargrove, portrayed by Dacre Montgomery, was a main character and antagonist in Stranger Things, appearing in the second and third seasons.

Raised in California, Billy moved to Hawkins, Indiana in 1984, after his mother left him and his father married a woman named Susan Hargrove. There, he attended Hawkins High School until his demise.

He was the older step-brother of Max Mayfield, who he often mistreated, among others. He got a job as a lifeguard at the Hawkins Community Pool alongside Heather Holloway, and flirted with Karen Wheeler. Eventually, he came under the possession of the Mind Flayer, who used him as a vessel and as a tool to gather the civilians of Hawkins, to create a larger physical vessel to host the Mind Flayer: the Spider Monster. Unlike the rest of the Flayed, he was never integrated into the Spider Monster's body and was granted a degree of superhuman ability while acting under the Mind Flayer's command.

During the moment in which Billy dragged Eleven toward the Mind Flayer and was about to give her up to it, she was able to reach his humanity by reminding Billy of the boy he was: the boy that existed before his mother's departure, which left him to be raised by his abusive father, eventually turning him into the bully he became. Deciding to make a change, Billy physically held back the Spider Monster, who killed him by stabbing him in the chest. In his final words, he apologized to Max. His death was covered up by the government, as part of the Starcourt Mall's fire.

Billy's death had a major effect on Max, who isolated herself from her friends; in 1986, her trauma made her the target of another threat from the Upside Down.

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Who portrays the character of Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things? toggle section
The character of Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things is portrayed by actor Dacre Montgomery.
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What is the relationship between Billy Hargrove and Max Mayfield in Stranger Things? toggle section
Billy Hargrove and Max Mayfield from Stranger Things are step-siblings. Billy is Max's stepbrother, a relationship that came about when Billy's father, Neil Hargrove, married Max's mother, Susan Hargrove. This makes them a part of the same family, despite not being related by blood.
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What job does Billy Hargrove have at Hawkins Community Pool in Stranger Things? toggle section
In the popular series Stranger Things, Billy Hargrove, who is also known as Max's brother, works as a lifeguard at the Hawkins Community Pool. This role allows him to become a well-known figure in the community, often seen sitting at his lifeguard post or interacting with the pool-goers.
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Why did Billy Hargrove move to Hawkins, Indiana in Stranger Things? toggle section
Billy Hargrove, portrayed by Dacre Montgomery in Stranger Things, moved to Hawkins, Indiana in 1984. This move was prompted by a change in his family situation. After his mother left him, his father remarried a woman named Susan Hargrove. Billy, who is also known as Max's brother in the series, then attended Hawkins High School until his untimely demise.
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How does Billy Hargrove's character evolve from the second to the third season of Stranger Things? toggle section
Billy Hargrove, portrayed by Dacre Montgomery, is a significant character in Stranger Things, appearing in both the second and third seasons. In the second season, Billy moves to Hawkins, Indiana after his mother leaves him and his father remarries. He is introduced as an antagonist and the older step-brother of Max. Billy's character is further developed in the third season, where we learn more about his troubled past, including his abusive father and the departure of his mother. Billy is flayed in Season 3; however, his character arc culminates in a tragic demise when he sacrifices himself for Eleven. His sacrifice suggests he still had a soft heart within his flayed body, enabling him to break free of the monster he had become and save a life.
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Billy was born on March 29, 1967,[1] in California[3] to Neil Hargrove and an unnamed mother. His father was physically abusive to him and his mother. Billy had a strong passion for surfing as a kid, and his mother was very supportive of him. He has fond memories of her standing on the beach watching him surf. His mother left him sometime later when he was about ten years old, due to Neil's abusive behavior.[4] Neil eventually married Susan Mayfield, the mother of Max Mayfield, who was introduced to Billy as his "new sister" which he did not like. Neil's abuse towards Billy turned him into a childhood bully, and he would beat up other kids[4] and began to extend to the abuse of Max.[5]

In 1984, Billy and his new family moved from California to Hawkins, Indiana, and he began attending Hawkins High School.[6]


Billy arrived at Hawkins High School in his blue Camaro with his stepsister, Max. As Max skateboarded towards Hawkins Middle School, Billy got out of his car and was noticed by several students including Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler, as well as three other girls who admired his figure.[6]

On October 31st, Billy waited to pick up Max from school. When she arrived, he chastised her for being late and said next time it happened she would have to skateboard home. On the way home, Billy noted that Max seemed to enjoy their new town, despite her denial of this. Billy then asked her whose fault it was that they had to move to Hawkins; Max muttered that it was his. Billy was enraged by this comment and began speeding and yelling. Billy then threatened to run over Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair as they were cycling home. Max grabbed the steering wheel and swerved to the other lane to avoid collision with the boys.

Becoming King of Hawkins High

That night, Billy attended Tina's Halloween party and impressed many Hawkins teenagers by winning a drinking contest, a contest that Steve Harrington, a very popular student at their school, had (up until then) claimed the title of. Billy quickly gained Tommy H. as a friend and lackey. Tommy H. then introduced Billy to Steve Harrington. Although the introduction was brief, it ignited a rivalry between Billy and Steve.[3]

Billy joined the school basketball team and played against Steve, demonstrating skill and strength over him. Billy's team won easily against Steve's team. That day, Billy was waiting with a date at his car for Max to come. However, Billy got annoyed waiting for Max and left with his date, being angered further when his date called Max his sister. The next day, when Billy played against Steve in basketball, he continued mocking and annoying the latter which he enjoyed. Then, in the showers, he and Tommy wound him up about his failing relationship with Nancy. Billy also made Steve unnerved by telling him that a "big boy" like him has nothing to worry about, and gave him questionable advice about girls in general and that, there are "plenty of bitches in the sea" and would be sure to leave him some, before turning off the showers and leaving the locker room after getting dressed.[7]

After school, when Billy was waiting to pick Max up outside the middle school, he witnessed an argument between Max and Lucas Sinclair, which left Max visibly upset and angry. Billy questioned Max if she knew him, and Max denied knowing Lucas, saying he was someone from her class. When Max got into his car, Billy asked Max why Lucas was talking to her where Max lied that they were only talking about a class assignment. When Billy further questioned Max if Lucas had caused her any trouble as he noticed how upset she was, Max wondered why Billy was starting to care about her feelings, causing Billy to reveal that now they are family, he has to look after her now, something he hates having to do. When Max tried to stand up for herself, Billy tightly gripped her arm and told her that there are people in the world who she should avoid, and that Lucas was one of them where he threateningly demanded her to stay away from Lucas. Once Billy released his grip on her arm, Max quietly cried as they drove home.

The next day, Billy took Max to the arcade where he tried to remind her if she wasn't out by the time he arrived back, she'll have to walk home, which Max replied she already knew. This caused Billy to reprimand Max, telling her to watch her attitude before driving off. Hours later, Billy returned to the arcade to pick up Max, only to see her with Lucas again. Max tried to convince Billy that she wasn't hanging out with Lucas, but she failed to convince him. Billy then reminded Max of what happened when she lied, and despite Max telling him she wasn't lying to him, he possibly broke her skateboard as punishment.

On the very next day, Billy was lifting weights and listening to loud music while Max was trying to fix her skateboard.

Max later left with Lucas without Billy knowing. His father and stepmother arrived home later that night as he was preparing to leave on a date. When his father and stepmother found Max gone from the house, his father angrily questioned Billy where his stepsister had gone. Billy replied he didn't really know where she went before stating that he didn't acknowledge Max as his family. Infuriated with Billy for his behavior and for disrespecting his stepmother, his father pushed him against the wall, called him a 'faggot', and hit Billy. He then ordered Billy to cancel his date and find his stepsister. After his father and stepmother left, a few tears escape his eyes, showing the abuse Billy endured at the hands of his father deeply affected him.

Billy first went to the Sinclair house to look for Max. Unable to find her there, he then left for the Wheeler residence. Mike's mother, Karen Wheeler, having just gotten out of the tub because her husband wasn't answering the door, greets him and Billy flirted with her before getting the directions to the Byers residence, the hangout for the boys. Billy drove to the Byers residence, finding Steve and the rest of the kids there. Billy pushed Steve away and threatened Lucas to stay away from Max, and in response Lucas kicked him in the groin. Before Billy could harm him, Steve intervened. Steve then initiated a fist fight with Billy who had the upper hand initially before Billy recovered and started brutally beating Steve repeatedly. Max, having had enough, drugged Billy with the syringe taken from the lab (probably containing sodium thiopental) and made Billy promise to leave her and her friends alone.[8]


In the summer of 1985, Billy began working as a lifeguard at Hawkins Community Pool. Billy, being in very good shape, gathered much attention from women, most notably from Karen Wheeler. Billy also had a particular interest in Karen as well, and while flirting with her, he invited her to join him for "private swimming lessons" in an attempt to seduce her. Karen initially agreed to meet up with him, however on the night of their "date", as she was leaving, Karen sees her husband Ted Wheeler and daughter Holly in his arms sleeping together on the couch and changed her mind about having an affair and jeopardizing her family's stability. Billy was unaware of this, and while in the car on his way to go meet her, rehearsed his date with her to himself.[9]

While driving something slammed into his windshield and broke it, making him lose control and slide to a stop in front of Brimborn Steel Works. Getting out of the car, he found the windshield covered in a slimy substance. He heard something moving nearby and called out to it. Suddenly he was grabbed by the foot and dragged into the steel mill, where the Mind Flayer planted a part of itself inside him. He then ran out of the mill and got back into his car, speeding away in a panic. He stopped at a payphone to call 911, but as soon as the phone picked up, he found himself in the Upside Down, and a group of people emerging from the fog, slowly walking towards him. He was approached by a copy of himself and asked what it wanted. It told him to "build what you see", referring to the zombie-like mob behind it, then suddenly he returned to the real world, clueless as to what happened.

The next day, Billy arrived at the pool in a drunk-like state, stumbling, sweating, and physically uncomfortable. He sat atop the lifeguard chair with a shirt on, which is later noted by Max as being very unusual for him. He later covered himself completely with a towel. Karen, thinking that Billy must have been troubled about her standing him up the previous night, approached Billy in the locker room, facing the wall, where she apologized to him and explained that she doesn't want to ruin her family. Billy briefly thought about attacking Karen (to possess her like he later does with Heather), but instead warned her to get away from him, showing that Billy possibly had genuine feelings for her and did not want her to get hurt or killed. While sitting in the sun on the lifeguard chair, Billy gets a severe burn on the part of his arm exposed to direct sunlight. He goes into the shower and touches it, which sends dark veins expanding out from the wound and leaves him screaming in agony and curled up onto the floor. Heather comes in to check on him after hearing his screams. Billy then attacks and subdues her, takes her to the steel mill and presents her to the Mind Flayer for possession.

Heather began working with Billy to kidnap victims for the Mind Flayer's physical body. They first went after Heather's parents (Tom, who also owns The Hawkins Post, and Janet Holloway) by having dinner with them and feeding them drugged food. They were interrupted by Max and El, who had grown suspicious that Billy had harmed Heather, but after seeing Heather seemingly alive and well, they left the residence. Janet consumed a cookie and passed out. Tom was subsequently knocked out by Heather with a champagne bottle, and the two of them dragged the Holloways to the steel mill for possession.

After further spying on Billy, hearing his strange behavior somewhat matched Will's when he was possessed the previous, the crew (consisting of Max, El, Mike, Will, and Lucas), decided to test and see if Billy was indeed possessed by the Mind Flayer. They lured him into the sauna at the Hawkins Community Pool using a drowning dummy and a walkie-talkie, where El threw him against the wall (shattering part of it) and barricaded the door. Billy furiously pounded on the door and demanded they let him out. After breaking down into tears of remorse for his actions under the Mind Flayer’s control and begging Max to believe him, he was taken over again and then used a piece of the shattered wall to break through the glass window and attempted to stab Max with it, yelling "I'll fucking gut you!". He then broke through the door with superhuman strength and had a brief fight with El and Mike, which ended with her throwing him outside through a brick wall. He then fled back to the steel mill, where Heather tended to his wounds and acknowledged the small army of "flayed" people that they had accrued.

El later visited Billy in the Void again, to "make contact" with him and find out what happened to him. El noted to the group that he was just sitting in his room, doing nothing. El was able to access his memories and was taken to a beach in California, where a young Billy is surfing while his mother watches and cheers him on. He proudly exclaimed "that wave was at least 7 feet!". El walked towards the massive storm raging in the distance, where she witnessed Billy's memories of his whole childhood being abused by Neil and later taking on the traits of his father by bullying others. Inside the eye of the storm was Brimborn Steel Works, the "source". Mike urged her to come back, but when she tried to return, she found herself in the room alone, and not in the real dimension. The Mind Flayer in Billy's body spoke to El about his plan to kill her, her friends, and then everyone. El finally returned to the real world and told everyone the Mind Flayer's plan to kill them all. At this point, all of the people that were possessed (excluding Billy) were gathering in the basement of the steel mill where the Mind Flayer had been waiting, and morphed together into the Spider Monster, making it bigger and stronger than ever.

After the kids escaped the Mind Flayer, they arrived at Bradley's Big Buy to treat El's wounds and steal weapons such as fireworks before leaving to rescue Dustin at Starcourt Mall after Mike received a transmission from him. Shortly after they left, Billy arrived and found traces of their presence before continuing to hunt them down.

Billy managed to track them to Starcourt and removed the ignition cable from Nancy's car to prevent them from escaping. When they noticed the missing ignition cable as they tried to leave for Murray's Warehouse, Billy, sitting in his car, revved the engine while watching them, forcing them to retreat into the mall. After stealing the cable off the mall's 1986 model year Chrysler Lebaron Turbo, Billy charged towards them but was T-boned by Steve and Robin in a stolen Cadillac. Jonathan, Nancy, Steve, Robin, and Lucas fled in the station wagon while the Mind Flayer chased them. Billy, recovering from the crash, noticed Mike, El, and Max and pursued them as they attempted to flee. Billy cornered them in the utility halls of the mall, knocked Mike and Max out and kidnapped El. The Mind Flayer, who had realized the diversion through its connection to Billy, returned and almost killed El, but was stopped by the group bombarding it with fireworks, distracting it while Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers were attempting to close the gate. El mentioned "7 feet" to Billy, which stopped him. El talked to him about the memory she witnessed when she went into his mind; his last memory of true happiness with his mother. Billy gave a faint smile and shed a tear, before turning and attacking the Mind Flayer as it attempted to kill El, giving her enough time to be safe. The enraged creature impaled Billy several times in the side, before punching a hole through his chest, fatally wounding him. The creature died shortly after due to the gate's closure, and Billy apologized to Max before succumbing to his injuries.[2]


Following his death, Billy was ultimately buried at Roane Hill Cemetery.[1]

By 1986, Billy's death had caused his father to divorce and abandon his step-mother and Max, which forced them to move out of their house and live in the local trailer park. Susan became an alcoholic and was forced to work two jobs, in order to support herself and Max. Max, on the other hand, continued to mourn for Billy where she started blaming herself for his death, drifting into solitude.[10] Max's grief caused Vecna, the true ruler of the Upside Down and master of the Mind Flayer, to target Max.[11]

Max believed that she would be killed by Vecna soon, she arrived at Billy's grave and read a posthumous letter to him, wishing they had gotten a chance to be better siblings to each other. Vecna then used a hallucination of Billy to taunt Max before attempting to kill her, but she was saved when Lucas, Dustin and Steve played her favorite song, allowing her to be free from Vecna's influence.[1]

Attempting to draw Vecna's attention, Max stopped listening to her favorite song and confessed to Vecna that he was correct when he deduced that there was a part of her that wanted Billy out of her life permanently as a result of his constant bullying, which she later felt guilty about when he was murdered by the Mind Flayer's proxy form. Taking the bait by possessing Max, Vecna forced her to relive the memory when she and the rest of the Party had locked Billy in the sauna but with enough concentration, she managed to flee to a happy memory - the Snow Ball of Hakwins Middle School 1984 where she danced with Lucas. Unfortunately, Vecna overcame the security of said memory and cornered Max, telling her that while she was braver than Billy was, she was weak and fragile like him and humanity in general. Although Vecna fatally wounded Max by snapping many of her limbs and leaving her blind, Eleven resuscitated her by restarting her heart with her telekinesis.[12]

Personality and Traits

Billy initially comes across as a classic "bad boy" type but with more sinister, violent undertones. He portrays himself as charming, irresistible, and the new King of Hawkins High with a "devil may care" attitude. However due to the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, he has a violent and unpredictable nature. Much like how Neil Hargrove treats his son, Billy reveals his violence only to those closest to him, especially those he's more likely to win in a fight against. He acts antagonistic to Steve and sees him as a rival to overcome. He quickly falls into homicidal outbursts of violence, nearly running over Lucas Sinclair, Mike Wheeler, and Dustin Henderson out of sheer annoyance with Max[3] and later almost beating Steve to death.[7]

Billy is shown to be a misogynist who has no respect for women, calling them "cows" and "bitches".[3] Some of his actions and words had racist undertones; after Billy saw Max interact with Lucas, he demanded that she stay away from "certain types of people"; he later threatened and physically attacked Lucas (but not Mike or Dustin) just for standing near Max.[8]

Billy drives a blue Camaro and is a drinking-game pro, immediately becoming keg king in Hawkins.[7] Despite being popular at school, Billy is never shown having any meaningful connection with another person. Billy had a dysfunctional relationship with his abusive father, Neil Hargrove, who physically abused his mother to the point that she left Billy with Neil. Neil then took out his violent tendencies onto his son, as well as calling him a "faggot". Susan was a horrified witness to this abuse, but made no move to protect Billy (other than one verbal comment).[13]

Billy did have a few humanizing moments. When the Mind Flayer tried to force him to kill Karen Wheeler, he instead warned her to stay away from him. He later broke down into tears of remorse in the sauna for what the Mind Flayer forced him to do.[14] He also shed a tear when talking to Eleven about the Mind Flayer’s plans to end humanity.[4]

But in 1985, when Eleven enters Billy's mind to find out the location of the Mind Flayer it is seen that when he was younger, he was a friendly and happy child. He only became violent after his mother left; when she divorced his father, starting to reflect the abuse his father dealt out onto him from a young age.[4] Despite having been abandoned by his mother to endure Neil's abuse, he still deeply loves her and desperately misses her, and the strength of that emotion is enough for him to overcome the Mind Flayer's thrall and eventually save the Party.[2]

Powers and Abilities

Billy gained inhuman powers after becoming one of the Mind Flayer's Flayed. Though most of these are typical powers gained from being a flayed, he is shown to possess higher powers then most other flayed seen in the show, becoming a sort of "general" for the Flayed.

  • Hive Mind: As one of the Flayed, Billy was connected to a hive mind where he was able to communicate to and share the pain of other Flayed.
  • Enhanced Strength: After being activated by the Mind Flayer, Billy was able to bust out of the sauna room that he was trapped in with pure force. He was also able to temporarily resist Eleven's telekinesis and throw a heavy weighted barbell at her with ease. It's possible this allowed him to hold his own against the Monster's tentacles temporarily. Additionally, Billy was able to effortlessly lift Eleven off the ground.
  • Enhanced Durability: Another ability he had gained after becoming one of the Flayed was that he was able to take hits and blows that a normal human would not be able to. He was able to recover from getting hit in the head with a metal barbell in seconds and was able to escape even after being thrown through a brick wall with considerable force, caused by Eleven.
  • Perception: While being controlled by the hive mind, Billy was able to sense Eleven's presence while she was using her mental remote viewing ability. This is something that most other Flayed in the series hasn't shown, suggesting that he may be the only Flayed that possesses this ability.



As Billy's father, Neil was incredibly both physically and verbally abusive to his son, dismissing his love of surfing and forcing him to play baseball. When Neil and his first wife's fights became physical, Billy would rush to his mother's side, only to be hit in the crossfire. Once Billy's mother left, unable to handle the abuse, Neil turned all of his anger towards Billy, who in turn grew more violent and vindictive. Upon Neil remarrying, he forced Billy to address his new stepsister, Max, and his biological sister instead. Behind closed doors, Billy continued the cycle of abuse by taking his anger out on Max.

In 1984, upon the family's arrival to Hawkins, Neil and Susan returned home to find Max missing. Knocking at his door, Billy reluctantly opened it upon Neil demanding him to. When asking where she was and scolding Billy for not watching Max, Billy pointed out that Neil and Susan were late and he had a date to get ready for. Things turned ugly when Neil called Billy a "fag" for looking at himself in the mirror, causing Billy to snap back, saying Max didn't need to be babysat and that she wasn't his sister. Neil forced Billy against the wall, smacking him in the face and apologizing to Susan, despite her trying to intervene. He then said that Billy was going to cancel his date with "whatever whore" he was going out with and would look for his sister. Billy tearfully agreed as Neil and Susan left, leaving Billy to throw down his keys in anger and cry.

In 1985, upon being infected with the Mind Flayer, Eleven used her abilities and traveled into his psyche, showing that even when possessed, Neil's abuse haunted Billy. After Billy's death, Max told him in a letter she wrote to him posthumously that Neil was a "total mess", with he and Susan fighting so much that he eventually abandoned the girls. Max hypothesized that Neil couldn't handle his son's death, hence why he disappeared.

Unlike his father, Billy seemed to have a good relationship with his biological mother when he was young. She always supported and encouraged Billy's dreams to be a surfer. Billy loved his mother dearly as he tried to protect her from his father's abuse. However, after his mother finally had enough of the abuse and left, Billy was heartbroken and tried to get his mother to come back, but to no avail. When his father remarried, Max became an easy target for his anger. After being reminded of his mother and her beauty by Eleven, Billy cried, showing deep down he still loved his mother. This memory and love for his mother, made Billy sacrifice himself to the Mind Flayer and apologize to Max for abusing her as he died.

Susan is Billy's stepmother. Billy showed no warm feelings towards Susan, but she was a horrified witness to the abuse he suffered at Neil's hands. She even lied about Billy giving Max a cigarette to smoke so Neil wouldn’t beat Billy.[15]

Max and Billy were stepsiblings, with Neil introducing them to each other when they were young, with Neil saying Max was Billy's "new sister". The two hated one another out of spite for how broken each of their respective families were. Max had admitted that Billy had always been a "dick", but the straw that broke the camel's back was when Susan and Neil had the family move from California to Hawkins, Indiana, as a way to get away from Max's father. Since Billy couldn't take out his anger on either of his parents, he used Max as a lightning rod to absorb his bitterness, making her life a living hell. He opposed Max hanging out with Lucas because of his race and tried to beat him to death, only for Max to sedate Billy and threaten him with a baseball bat full of claws to leave her, Lucas and their friends alone, forcing Billy to comply.

In the summer 1985, Eleven and Max realized Billy was acting unusual and they and their friends came to realize he had been possessed by their enemy from the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer. The entity turned Billy into his loyal minion and forced him to kidnap and sacrifice numerous fellow citizens, such as his fellow lifeguard Heather Holloway and her parents, to create a proxy form through which the entity could dominate humanity. Fortunately, Eleven managed to reawaken Billy's humanity by reminding him of his last moments of happiness with his beloved mother before she abandoned him to be raised by Neil. Billy decided to allow the Mind Flayer's proxy to kill him to prevent it from killing Eleven and he apologized to Max for tormenting her before succumbing to his wounds, leaving Max heartbroken.

Eight months later, Max had withdrew into isolation as she continued to mourn Billy's loss, causing her to perform poorly at school. Not only was she sorry that she could not reveal the true circumstances of his death and his noble sacrifice but she also regretted wishing for "something awful" to happen to him due to his abuse towards her. Her grief and guilt turned her into a target for Vecna, the true ruler of the Upside Down and master of the Mind Flayer, who sought to kill Max in order to break the barrier between the human world and the Upside Down, which would allow him to eradicate humanity and reshape the world to his liking. Though Max was ultimately killed by Vecna upon having most of her limbs broken and apparently losing her eyesight, she was revived and placed in a coma by Eleven, who restarted her heart with her telekinesis. Unfortunately, this intervention was too late as Max's technical death triggered the creation of Vecna's final gate, which combined with the other three to create a rift between both worlds.


Shortly after his arrival, Billy started a rivalry with Steve Harrington, surpassing him and claiming his title as “King” of the high school. Their rivalry later turned violent when Billy discovered that Steve was trying to prevent him from seeing Max. When Steve's attempts to lie about Max's whereabouts were undone, Billy stormed into the house to retrieve her. A violent fight ensued after he rounded on Lucas, and Billy and Steve started to beat each other. Steve started to win, forcing him to use dirty tactics to gain the upper hand; before he was sedated; by Max.

When Billy began to outperform Steve, Tommy gladly became Billy's lackey. It remains to be seen if Billy cares about Tommy in any capacity.

In 1984, Billy took notice of Lucas from afar when seeing him and Max argue. When Max and Billy got into his car, Billy asked who he was. Max simply said he was someone from her class asking about an assignment, but Billy could tell Max was upset. Billy soon forcefully grabbed Max by the wrist, lecturing her that there are "certain type of people" in the world that she should stay away from, indicating that Lucas was one of them due to his race. Despite his orders to stay away from Lucas, Max was caught speaking to him at the Palace Arcade when Billy picked her up, knowing his name and punishing Max by breaking her skateboard in half. The next day, Lucas arrived at the Hargrove house, almost getting caught by Billy before Max told him to hide on the other side of the house. She then snuck out through her bedroom window and rode off riding on the back of Lucas' bike. After being ordered by his father to find Max, Billy finally found her at the Byers' house, forcing himself in to discover her and Lucas together. Billy pinned Lucas against a shelf, barking at him to stay away from Max. Lucas responded by kneeing in the crotch, causing Billy to threaten him, before Steve Harrington intervened. Billy ultimately backed off once Max drugged him and threatened to leave her and her friends alone.

A year later, in 1985, Lucas helped his friends confirm whether Billy was possessed by the Mind Flayer by trapping him in a sauna. When Billy tried to attack Max, Lucas saved her by flinging a rock at him with his sling shot. After Billy was confirmed to be possessed, Lucas wanted to find him and burn the Mind Flayer out of Billy but was reprimanded by Mike who said they'd also need to stop the Mind Flayer. While trying to escape Starcourt Mall, Lucas and his friends were nearly run over by a possessed Billy until Steve and Robin Buckley managed to save them. Then, as Lucas fought the Mind Flayer with fireworks, Billy felt the Mind Flayer's pain. It is unknown how Lucas felt when Billy sacrificed himself to protect him, Eleven, Max, and the rest of his friends from the Mind Flayer.

Heather was Billy's co-worker at the Hawkins Community Pool. switching shifts as lifeguards. Though their relationship seemed nothing more than co-workers, everything changed upon the Mind Flayer's possession of Billy. When Billy arrived at work disoriented and stumbling into things, Heather grew concerned for his well-being, following him into the locker room. When Heather asked if Billy was alright, the Mind Flayer became activated and forced Billy to knock Heather out. That night, Billy brought a unconscious, tied-up Heather to the abandoned Brimborn Steelworks. In the basement, Heather awoke, panicking before Billy told her to not be afraid, and to try and stay still. She began to scream upon the Mind Flayer's new host approached her and possessed her. The next day, a now possessed Heather joined Billy in entrapping her parents, Tom and Janet. After successfully forcing away Billy's stepsister Max and her friend Eleven, the pair drug Janet's wine, causing her to fall to the floor. As Tom began to panic, Heather hit him in the head with the wine bottle, before knocking him out with chloroform in a rag. Billy and Heather repeat the ritual of bringing her parents to Brimborn, and soon assist giving the Mind Flayer an army of "flayed". When confronted by Eleven, a wounded Billy is tended to by Heather, who comforted him that she wouldn't be able to kill the rest of them. Soon, the Mind Flayer activated the "flayed" members when Billy revealed Eleven's location, including Heather, which ultimately led to Heather's death.

In 1984, Karen met Billy when he was searching for Max. Karen answered the door in her bathrobe after stepping out of the shower, which caused some sexual tension. Billy charmed Karen by addressing her as Nancy's sister, and falsely carried the persona of being a concerned brother looking for Max. Giving him a cookie and an address for the Byers' house, Karen and Billy parted ways, but not before Karen watched Billy walk out.

In 1985, Karen's lust for Billy came to an all-time high, joining her friends at the Hawkins Community Pool to ogle at Billy, who now worked as a lifeguard. Billy reciprocated her feelings, specifically complimenting her swimsuit and soon offering her "private swimming lessons" at the local hotel, promising that it would be the "workout" of her life. That night, though Karen dressed up, she ultimately stopped out of guilt, when seeing her husband, Ted, sleeping with their youngest daughter, Holly, on his lap. Meanwhile, as Billy confidently drove to the hotel, his car crashed as a result of the Mind Flayer, who possessed him. The next day, Karen approached Billy, now disoriented and closed-off. Karen explained that she understood if he was angry with her, but explained that she had a family and didn't want to hurt them. The Mind Flayer was urging Billy to kill Karen, causing Billy to sternly tell her to stay away from him, much to Karen's surprise. It can be assumed she was saddened by Billy's death.


Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed* E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt
Season Four appearances
The Hellfire Club* Vecna's Curse The Monster and the Superhero*
Dear Billy* The Nina Project The Dive
The Massacre at Hawkins Lab Papa* The Piggyback*
*Appears via flashback in "The Flayed".
*Appears as a hallucination in "Dear Billy" and "The Piggyback", and via flashback in "The Hellfire Club", "The Monster and the Superhero", and "Papa".

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Sam Mayfield
Susan Hargrove
Susan Hargrove
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Neil Hargrove
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Billy's mother
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Max Mayfield
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Billy Hargrove

Memorable Quotes

Billy to his mom:

  • "It was seven feet! The wave was seven feet."

Billy to Steve:

  • "I've been waiting to meet this "King Steve" everyone's been telling me so much about!"
  • "Am I dreaming or is that you, Harrington?"

Billy to Lucas:

  • "You are so dead, Sinclair. You're dead."

Billy to His Victims:

  • "Don't be afraid. It'll all be over soon. Just try to hold still..."

Billy after breaking the sauna window:

  • "Let me outta here, you bitch! I'll fucking gut you!"

Billy to Max before his death:

  • "I'm sorry."

Behind the scenes

Character development

The Duffer Brothers wanted to introduce Billy into the series because "it was important to [them] to have a human villain in there that could disrupt the lives of our characters."[16]

The character draws inspiration from Stephen King's human villains who are often as bad or worse than the supernatural evil.[17] The Duffers say that Billy is the type of character who can "take things too far and end up killing someone." He was meant to be the human villain who was "kind of irredeemable and a bit of a sociopath." he Duffers encouraged actor Dacre Montgomery to look to Jack Nicholson's work for inspiration for the role, in particular, his portrayal of Jack Torrance in the 1980 film, The Shining.[18]

Montgomery's mullet is a wig. [19] Billy's look and namesake was inspired by Billy Hicks, Rob Lowe's character in the 1985 romance drama St. Elmo's Fire, and was also inspired by Kiefer Sutherland; in fact, Dacre's audition tape involved a reenactment of Kiefer's role in Stand by Me.


The character's identity was first revealed to the public via a casting call obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.[20] On October 14, 2016, it was revealed that the role had gone to Australian actor Dacre Montgomery.[21]

S02E09 - Billy arrives at night

Montgomery submitted an audition tape after being informed by his manager that Stranger Things was casting two regulars. In the tape, which was made in the style of a short film, Montgomery danced to ‘80s music wearing only a G-string, leather jacket, and "crazy glasses." He was offered the role of Billy after a Skype call with the Duffer Brothers.[22]


View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see Billy Hargrove/Gallery.


  • Will and Billy are the only main characters to share the same first name, though they both use different forms of abbreviations.
  • For the third season, Dacre adopted a "beefier" physique for the role; instead of a lean, cut figure, he put on additional muscle to fit in with the season's time period and Billy's job position as a lifeguard.
  • Billy's car has a Californian license plate that says "PCE 235".
  • In regards to Billy's treatment of Lucas being racist, actors Dacre Montgomery and Caleb McLaughlin initially stated that they believed Billy's hatred of Lucas had more to due with Max wanting to spend time with boys rather than being racially motivated. The pair eventually would change their minds and agree with the Duffer Brothers' original intention, with Billy being racist and was meant to represent how an interracial couple would face challenges during the time period, even if Billy's prejudice stemmed from his father. It has been stated Billy was originally going to call Lucas a racist slur, but Dacre refused to use it, and thus it was ultimately removed.
  • Billy was the second character to drop the F-bomb; though Will dropped it in "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard", the subtitles didn't pick it up. For Billy, it was featured in "The Sauna Test", with Billy saying, "I'll fucking gut you!".
  • Billy was the third teenager to die in Stranger Things; the first being Barbara Holland and the second being Heather Holloway.
  • In the trailer for the fourth season, the name upon the character’s tombstone alternated between “Billy” and the more formal "William" - which inadvertently led to fan theories regarding alternate timelines and universes. Ultimately, Sadie Sink confirmed that the inconsistency was simply a production error.[23] It was fixed by the release of the season.
  • In "Dear Billy", actor Dacre Montgomery was unable to travel to film remotely due to the restrictions of the covid pandemic in Australia, so his scene in Max's vision was filmed remotely via an Internet connection and merged with Sadie Sink's performance in post-production.
  • When asked what song would wake Billy if he was possessed by Vecna, Dacre Montgomery speculated that it would be "anything by Jimi Hendrix."[24]
  • On October 25, 2017, streaming music service Spotify created playlists based on main characters, coinciding with the premiere of Season Two. Billy's playlist is Billy's Pedal to the Metal, described as "80s hair metal and aggro rock paired best with after-school beatdowns, road rage, and mullets."
  • Like Will Byers, season 3 is the only season where he appears in every episode.
    • However, he only appeared in a flashback for one episode.